Yes Radio Works

JUNE 18, 2019

ATTENTION VENDORS

Vendors are being accepted to provide concessions at the Star Spangled Spectacular Fireworks Show on July 4. Vendors must be local non-profit groups. This is on a first come first serve basis, and duplications are not allowed. To sign up, please call 870-807-1468.

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
Resident hit by vehicle on the Trace
Yesterday at 8:41 am Officer Nathan Lane was dispatched to the area of West Washing Street and Dooley Womack Drive in reference to a crash involving a pedestrian. The Officer arrived and saw a black female, later identifies as Mary McElroy laying on her back in the middle of the east bound lane of Washington Street. She was being taken care of by EMS. Officer Lane observed McElroy to be approximately 40 to 50 feet east of the Trace crossing. He also observed Ford Ranger with significant damage to the front end. The vehicle's front grill was cracked and pushed in on the driver side, the hood on the driver side was pushed in and dented where McElroy was struck.

Officer Lane made contact with Julie Smith, the driver of the vehicle. Smith stated she was traveling East on West Washington Street and said she was driving twenty-five to thirty-five miles per hour. Smith said she looked both ways as she approached the Trace. Smith went on to say that she did not see anyone on the Trace a proceeded East across the Trace. Smith said when she was going across the Trace, she finally saw McElroy walking south on the Trace. She said she tried to slow down, but it was too late. She said she struck the pedestrian with the front of her vehicle. Smith said she couldn’t remember what happened after the accident.  

When asking Smith about insurance information she stated several time on scene she had insurance through GEICO. She could not provide any proof of insurance but stated she has a picture of her Proof of Insurance on her phone. When Smith turned her phone screen on, Officer Lane observed a text message sent at 8:38 am. He also saw a reply being typed that had not been sent. Smith was asked multiple time about testing while driving but she denied texting ans said she never texted while driving.

McElroy was transported to the Ouachita County Medical Center by EMS.  The extent of McElroy's injures on scene were unknown. Once at the hospital it was determined that McElroy had multiple injuries including two broken legs and a broken pelvis. She was later air lifted to Wadley Regional medical Center in Texarkana.

A witness to the collision stated that she was in her vehicle driving West on Washington Street and was close to the Trace at the time of the crash. She said she had a clear view of the collision. The woman said she had stopped at the Trace to let McElroy cross the street. The witness saw Smith enter the crossing without slowing down or yielding. She went on to say she saw Smith’s head looking down as though she were texting when she entered the crossing. She witnessed McElroy being struck by Smith’s truck. The impact sent the victim airborne.  

Another walker on the Trace, stated he saw McElroy walking south on the Trace. He said he saw a silver truck not slowing down as it approached the trace. He stated the truck proceeded to cross the Trace without yielding to McElroy. He said he heard the impact and he saw her go airborne .

Smith was arrested at t eh scene and transported to the Police Station without incident. Her vehicle was towed from the scene. While at the station Smith was advised to call her insurance agency to prove she had insurance on her vehicle. Before calling GEICO, Smith advised she had not paid her premium in a “couple of months.” A representative at GEICO stated that Smith’s vehicle insurance had lapsed due to non-payment and said the last time she was insured with the company was April of 2019.

Smith was read her statement of rights and agreed to take a breathalyze tes. She provided two good brath samples. The test showed her to have no alcohol in her system. Smith was charged with Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian, No Proof of Insurance, Reckless Driving and Texting While Driving. Smith was later released.  

Public Intoxication
Criminal Trespass

On June 12th at 12:07 am Officer Kayla Reynolds was parked in the Hardwick Furniture parking lot when she observed a male, later identified as Craig Stevens, walking from behind Good Home Center.  The Officer watched as he walked from the Good Home Center to the Post Office. Stevens walked under the garage of the Post Office and began looking into the windows of the parked vehicles under the garage. Officer Reynolds observed Stevens walk to three different trucks looking into the windows and then he walked to a parked four-wheeler, which was on a trailer under the Post Office garage. Stevens then walked back to the second truck he had looked inside and put his hand on the rear driver side door as if he was trying open it.

 Officer Reynolds relocated to Stevens's location and made contact with him for the suspicious activity. She observed Stevens to have slurred speech and watery eyes. Stevens appeared unsteady on his feet and at times would lean backwards as if he might fall. At times Stevens's would begin talking about his water bottle nervously rambling.

When asked what he was doing under the Post Office garage Stevens stated he stopped at the Post Office to rest and drink a bottle of water. As Stevens spoke Officer Reynolds could smell the strong odor of intoxicants emitting from his breath and person. She asked Stevens how much alcohol he had to drink tonight. Stevens stated he had a few beers and a "Jamaican me Happy" alcoholic drink.

At one point, Stevens believed the Officer was on her cell phone and kept making comments about it. At no point was any officer on their cell phone which Officer Reynolds had to explain to him more than one time. Stevens was asked again why he was under the garage looking in the vehicle windows. Stevens attempted to deny looking in the windows but the Officer advised him she had watched the action take place. Stevens at one point stated he was just "looking around". Stevens's story for why he was under the garage was very inconsistent every time he was asked why he was there. Officer Reynolds noted signs posted at the entrance of the Post Office garage which stated "NO ADMITTANCE AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY". Stevens admitted he did not work at the Post Office but stops there to rest often on his way home. ·

Due to the Stevens's mannerisms and admittance of ingesting alcohol it was deemed Stevens would not be safe to continue walking home, as well as Stevens having no purpose for being on the Post Office property, he was taken into custody for public intoxication and criminal trespass.

Stevens was transported to the Camden Police Department where booking procedures were completed.

Stevens was later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center to be held for a sobriety period. Upon release Stevens will be issued criminal citations for public intoxication and criminal trespass with a District Court date.

During the past week the Camden City Police have also served a number of outstanding warrants and answered calls regarding shoplifting.

AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road in Camden, Arkansas.

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES SERVICE OF ARKANSAS ARMY NATIONAL GUARD VETERAN
WASHINGTON-
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of Colonel (retired) Mark McMullen in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.

McMullen was raised on a farm in Hazen. He was driving a tractor by the age of 10, but he didn’t keep his feet on the ground for long. He developed an interest in aviation after flying in a crop duster. “I would either ride on the wing or in the hopper of the crop duster, until my mom found out,” McMullen laughed. McMullen’s dad hired an instructor to teach him to fly. A week after his 16th birthday he flew his first solo flight.

McMullen’s best friend talked him into enlisting in the Army Reserve while in school at the University of Central Arkansas. Commissioned in the ROTC, he credits his Captain for turning his life around and encouraging him to take his education seriously.

He planned to go to flight school, but had to settle for the infantry because of his grades earlier in his college career. After completing an officer basic course at Fort Benning, Georgia, he returned to the UCA ROTC department where he learned that Arkansas was standing up the 437th Attack Helicopter Battalion and they were looking for pilots. Four months later McMullen was in flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama where he graduated as a UH-1 (Huey) helicopter pilot.

At the time, the 437th had 107 pilots, 72 of whom were Vietnam War veterans. McMullen was assigned as a flight instructor, and he recognized he could learn a lot from his students. “I only had 100 hours of flight time and I’m teaching guys with a thousand hours in combat time. And guys who’d been shot down and captured,” he said. “I cut my teeth with some of the finest men that the military has ever built.”

 

Among his other assignments was serving as an officer recruiter for Arkansas. “I held myself to the same standard we asked our enlisted recruiters to do.” He met the goal of enlisting 50 recruits, two years in a row.

McMullen says he was looking forward to retirement in 2007 when he would achieve 20 years of service, but in 2003 he was selected as 2nd Battalion commander of the Arkansas Army National Guard. In September of that year, the battalion received deployment orders for Operation Iraqi Freedom. One month later, he was at Fort Hood, Texas for pre-deployment training.

In January 2004, McMullen relied on fellow Arkansans to get his advance team to Iraq. “We found an Air Guard unit from Arkansas that had a Razorback painted on a C-130 in Kuwait,” McMullen said. He landed in Balad, Iraq much to the surprise of the movement officer. The rest of the soldiers arrived via convoy in the following days.

McMullen served as Battalion Commander for an Air Traffic Services operation, transforming from tactical operations to fixed base operations at four airfields.

“In Balad we were taking mortars, heavy, and rockets,” McMullen said. “We were surrounded. You could go any direction that you wanted and engage with the enemy.”

McMullen deployed for one year and is especially proud of his team for receiving the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

One of the biggest challenges of McMullen’s career was January 2007 when he was notified that crew members of Easy 40, three of whom were Arkansas National Guardsmen, were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq.

McMullen acknowledges his successful military career was due in part to the support of his wife. “I could have never done it without her,” he said. While his call to serve kept him away from his family, it didn’t stop his son from following in his footsteps. “I’m proud of the fact that my son and I served in Iraq together. He went on for two more tours.” 

“I am grateful for Mark McMullen’s dedication and service to our nation. His memories of military service are an important part of our history and I am pleased to be able to collect and preserve his stories,” Boozman said.

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

JUNE 17, 2019

LOCKHEED MARTIN ANNOUNCES $142M INVESTMENT, 326 NEW JOBS WITH EXPANSION AT CAMDEN, ARK PLANT
Governor Asa Hutchinson and officials with Lockheed Martin announced today at the Paris Air Show that the company is expanding its center of excellence in Camden, Arkansas, that produces the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System {Ml MARS) and performs final assembly for Integrated Air and Missile Defense

{IAMD) and Precision Fires products for U.S. and allied military services.

"Lockheed Martin is a leading technology firm with facilities and clients around the world," said Hutchinson. "Lockheed's investment illustrates the fact that Arkansas continues to be a global player in the aero-defense industry."

The expansion will support new construction and improve existing facilities for products like Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS), Patriot Advanced Capability-3 {PAC-3) and others, plus new machinery and equipment. Previously the facility was dedicated to High Mobility Artillery Rocket System {HIMARS) production only.

The company plans to invest $142 million and hire 326 new employees over the next few years. There are approximately 700 employees currently in Camden.

"Our facility in Camden is a highly efficient, high quality center of excellence that contributes components and performs final assembly for products that are important to the defense of the United States and a growing number of allied nations," said Frank St. John, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "The facility has a long record of precision manufacturing and·on-time deliveries, which is the reason we continue to invest in and expand our Camden Operations. This expansion will help ensure the availability, affordability and quality of systems we build for our customers around the world."

The private aerospace and defense industry employ about 10,000 Arkansans and was the state's largest export in 2018, totaling $1.8 billion. The state is home to nearly 180 companies in the. industry, 'Which is· part of why the governor, industry partners and Arkansas Economic Development Commission participate in the annual trade shows in Paris and London, said Mike Preston, currently AEDC executive director and Secretary of Commerce effective July 1.

"The high-paying jobs Lockheed Martin provides in the Camden area improve the quality of life for our communities and the state as a whole," said James Lee Silliman, Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development executive director, "and we're thankful for their partnership in the Golden Triangle."

Calhoun County Judge Floyd Nutt said, "I can't say enough good things about the contributions Lockheed Martin makes in aerospace and missile defense around the world along with our local economy. We're proud to continue our longstanding relationship."

About Arkansas Economic Development Commission {AEDC)
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) seeks to create economic opportunity by attracting higher-paying jobs, expanding and diversifying local economies in the state, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout The Natural State. Arkansas is a pro-business environment operating leaner, faster and more focused through a streamlined state government designed to act on corporate interests quickly and decisively. For more information, visit www.ArkansasEDC.com.

About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. For more information, visit www.LockheedMartin.com.

VENDORS BEING ACCEPTED FOR STAR SPANGLED SPECTACULAR
Vendors are being accepted to provide concessions at the Star-Spangled Spectacular Fireworks Show on July 4th.Vendors MUST BE local non-profit groups.  This is on a first come first serve basis, duplications are not allowed. To sign up, please call 870-807-1468. 

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon lion;s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistre. This week the Lion’s will have Officer Installation.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE SETTLES WITH ITT TECH AND CUSO FOR HIGH PRESSURE TACTICS
Affected Arkansans to receive $1,073,688 in student debt relief
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a settlement with Student CU Connect LLC (CUSO) for former ITT Tech students resolving a multistate investigation which alleged that ITT and CUSO used high pressure tactics to accept CUSO loans. These student loans carried higher interest rates than federal loans, ultimately resulting in a high number of loan defaults.

“ITT and CUSO deceived Arkansans by using illegal and high pressure tactics and they must be held responsible for their actions,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This settlement provides relief to Arkansans who attended ITT Tech and incurred debts for a questionable education that they could neither repay nor discharge.”

Attorney General Rutledge and other states’ attorneys general alleged that ITT, with CUSO’s knowledge, offered students temporary credit upon enrollment to cover the gap in tuition between federal student aid and the full cost of the education. The temporary credit was due to be repaid before the student’s next academic year, although ITT and CUSO knew or should have known that most students would not be able to repay the temporary credit when it became due. Many students complained that they thought the temporary credit was like a federal loan and would not be due until six months after they graduated.

When it became due, however, ITT pressured and coerced students into accepting loans from CUSO, which for many students carried high interest rates, far above rates for federal loans. Pressure tactics used by ITT included pulling students out of class and threatening to expel them if they did not accept the loan terms. Because students were left with the choice of dropping out and losing any benefit of the credits they had earned – ITT’s credits would not transfer to most other schools – most students enrolled in the CUSO loans. Neither ITT nor CUSO made students aware of the true cost of repayment for the temporary credit until after the credit was converted to a loan.

Not surprisingly, the default rate on the CUSO loans was extremely high (projected to exceed 90%) due to both the high cost of the loans as well as the lack of success ITT graduates had getting jobs that paid enough to make repayment feasible. The defaulted loans continue to affect students’ credit ratings and are usually not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Under the settlement, the CUSO, under threat of litigation, has agreed that it will forego collection of the outstanding loans. The CUSO, which was organized for the sole purpose of providing the ITT loans, will also cease doing business. Under the Redress Plan, CUSO’s loan servicer will send notices to borrowers about the cancelled debt and ensure that automatic payments are cancelled. The settlement also requires the CUSO to supply Credit Reporting Agencies with information to update credit information for affected borrowers.

ITT filed bankruptcy in 2016 amid investigations by state attorneys general and following action by the U.S. Department of Education to restrict ITT’s access to federal student aid. The CUSO Loan program originated approximately $189 million in student loans to ITT students between 2009 and 2011.

The settlement includes $1,073,688.40 in debt relief for 128 Arkansans.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES 5TH FORMER PFH EMPLOYEE ARRESTED
Says, ‘This culture of corruption is unacceptable’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Friday announced the arrest of former Preferred Family Healthcare (PFH) employee Michelle Davis for Medicaid fraud related charges. This action comes after four previous PFH employees were arrested and charged with unrelated crimes.

“Davis is the fifth employee my office has investigated and arrested at Preferred Family Healthcare,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This culture of corruption is unacceptable and I will root out those who take advantage of taxpayers and hurt our healthcare system.”

Michelle Davis, 59 of Texarkana has been charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, Class C felonies, for making false statements and receiving funding for services not provided from November 20, 2015, to March 21, 2018, totaling $4,258.80. Davis was a licensed professional counselor at PFH.

The Attorney General’s office was assisted in this investigation by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and will be prosecuted in cooperation with 6th Judicial Prosecutor Larry Jegley.

Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or oag@arkansasag.gov.

BOOZMAN JOINS COLLEAGUES TO BUILD ON EFFORTS TO REDUCE MILITARY SPOUSE UNEMPLOYMENT
WASHINGTON –
 U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Jon Tester (D-MT) to introduce legislation to build on efforts to reduce military spouse unemployment and improve access to affordable childcare.

The Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act of 2019 would change the tax code to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses and make it easier for military families to afford childcare.

“Military spouses are vital to our all-volunteer force. They make sacrifices, like taking on family duties during long deployments and supporting frequent moves, and they do it mostly without recognition. As a result, they face a unique set of challenges that make career advancement more difficult. This is a thoughtful approach to help ease the burden on our military families by improving employment opportunities for spouses,” Boozman said.

“The men and women who support our troops deserve our support too. This bill is an effort to improve job opportunities and access to affordable childcare for military spouses as they face frequent moves and unexpected transfers. The families who sacrifice so much to serve our country should never have to choose between staying in the military and supporting their own families,” Kaine said.

“Our nation’s military spouses and families make great professional and personal sacrifices every day. We’ve got to improve access to employment opportunities for military families, and help ensure they can afford quality childcare without breaking the bank,” Tester said.

Military families frequently face financial insecurity due to spousal unemployment—which is an often overlooked military readiness issue—and obstacles to accessing quality, affordable childcare exacerbate these challenges. Unlocking the full talent of the nearly one million active duty, reserve and National Guard spouses would improve these families’ financial security while boosting their local economies.

The Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act includes two main provisions:

  • Expands the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses. The tax credit is already offered to businesses that hire veterans and other populations that face employment obstacles.
  • Makes flexible spending accounts available to military families so they can opt in to reserve pre-tax dollars from their paychecks to pay for out-of-pocket childcare expenses.

In addition to Kaine, Boozman and Tester, the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act is cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The bill is endorsed by Blue Star Families, Military Officers Association of America, National Military Families Association and Servicewomen’s Action Network.

 

June 14, 2019

OECC 80TH ANNUAL MEETING
A SOLAR POWERED EVENT
Ouachita Electric will have their 80th Annual Meeting on June 27th beginning at 4 pm. The event will feature an address from Governor Asa Hutchinson. Jason Morrison, Michael Henderson and Mark Cayce will also address attendees.
5 pm will see the Official SAU Technical College Solar "Flip the Switch". This will be done on Facebook live. There will be a Drone Demonstration from 5:30 to 6:00 pm.

Natural State Natural Energy: A solar powered panel composed of Ted Thomas, Michael Henderson, Heather Nelson and Bill Halter will be answering questions about Solar Power from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. The discussion will be moderated by Katie Niebaum.

EV Drive-N-Learn will take place from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.

OPED BOARD OF DIRECTORS SPECIAL CALLED BOARD MEETING
The OPED Board of Director’s will meet in special session on Monday, June 17th at 8:30 am. The meeting will be held in the CDIC Training Room at the OPED Building located at 625 Adams Avenue SE in Camden.

 OUACHITA COUNTY CAREGIVER’S SUPPORT GROUP TO MEET.
The Ouachita County Caregiver’s Support Group including Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson and Cancer Caregivers will Meet on Wednesday, June 19th from 12:00 to 1:00 pm at Kindred at Home located at 222 Washington Street in Camden. Lunch will be served

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR PRICE GOUGING
Says, ‘will hold any business accountable that takes advantage of flood victims’
LITTLE ROCK – As Arkansans continue to recover from the recent historic flooding, some businesses may try to take advantage of consumers by raising prices beyond legal limits. Arkansas’s price-gouging law prohibits businesses from charging more than 10 percent above the pre-disaster price of goods or services.
 
“I will hold any business accountable that takes advantage of flood victims by illegally overcharging for needed supplies,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Businesses must follow the law and find a balance between supply and demand when pricing goods and services following a declared state of emergency.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to avoid price gouging:

  • Shop around before purchasing goods or services, especially for post-disaster home repairs.
  • Avoid “drive-by” quotes from door-to-door solicitors.
  • When possible, deal with established, reputable businesses in the community.
  • Always get estimates and price quotes in writing.

The price-gouging law is triggered whenever a state of emergency is declared by federal, State or local governments. The ban on price gouging remains in effect for at least 30 days on goods or services related to the emergency (e.g., medical supplies, storage services, motor fuel, etc.) and can be extended another 30 days by the local governing body, if needed. For home repair and cleanup services, the law remains in effect for 180 days. The scope of the law is broad and is intended to cover anything that may be needed in the event of a state of emergency.
 
While the law sets a general 10 percent cap on price increases during an emergency, businesses may lawfully charge a higher price if they can establish that the higher price is directly attributable to additional costs incurred by the retailer, by its supplier, or as the result of additional costs for labor or materials used to provide the goods or service. In such a limited situation, the business may charge no more than 10 percent above the total of the cost to the business, in addition to the markup which would customarily be applied by the business for the goods or service.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
 

YEAR-FOUR PARTICIPANTS OF ARKANSAS DECLARATION OF LEARNING PROGRAM TO RECEIVER RECOGNITION
LITTLE ROCK —
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Education, and state and national partners are pleased to recognize 28 teachers, six mentors, and two super mentors this afternoon for their participation in year four of the Arkansas Declaration of Learning program.

Arkansas is the first state in the nation to participate in the program that gives educators the opportunity to create innovative units and lesson plans using historical objects and art from state and national museums. Through access to these artifacts, sixth-through-twelfth-grade art, English language arts, and social studies teachers and school librarians bring history to life. Unique to this program is the addition of a civic engagement project that extends the learning for students beyond classroom walls.

Program partners include the Arkansas Department of Education, Clinton Foundation, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Central Arkansas Library System, William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms.

“I continue to be amazed at the exceptional ability our teachers have to impart not only academic knowledge to their students but the importance of serving others,” Hutchinson said. “There is no better way to instill the importance of civic engagement than by using history to lay the foundation for our future. Not only are you shaping the future of your students, you are making Arkansas a better place to live.”

“The Arkansas Declaration of Learning program is one of many that put Arkansas at the forefront of education in the nation,” ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. “The hard work and commitment from these outstanding educators are to be commended. They have worked for an entire year to create, review, and revise dynamic lesson plans that incorporate multiple subject areas and promote community engagement. I congratulate each of you for your contribution and know that your students have benefited greatly from your efforts.”

The celebration will be held at 4 p.m. today in the Choctaw Building on the Clinton Presidential Center Campus, 1200 President Clinton Ave., in Little Rock, followed by a reception and dinner at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. During the events, the following four Arkansas educators will receive Best of the Best awards for their outstanding lesson plans: Anne Canada, School Librarian, Paris Middle School; Taylor Gilbreth, Social Studies, Future School of Fort Smith; Susan Jobe, English Language Arts and Theatre, Vilonia High School; and Arin Parks, School Librarian, Westside High School in Jonesboro.

In four years, approximately 110 Arkansas educators have participated in the program, reaching more than 8,000 students with their lesson plans. The program was expanded for year-five participants. Approximately 40 additional educators from grades four through 12 have been selected to participate in year five of the program, which began this week with an in-depth training about the program and object-based learning. These new participants will spend the next year developing, revising, and implementing lesson plans in the classroom and school libraries and working with their students to create civic engagement projects that address issues in their school or community.

To learn more about the program and to hear testimonials from past participants, visit https://bit.ly/2WqBJcC. Applications for the sixth year of the program will open in January 2020. 

GRIFFIN APPLAUDS GOVERNOR’S COMMITMENT TO FULLY FUND SUCCEED SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Says, Succeed Scholarships are 'helping some of our most vulnerable children' and expanding school choice will ensure children receive the 'best education for their individual learning needs'

 LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement in response to Governor Asa Hutchinson's commitment to fully fund the Succeed Scholarship Program:

"I applaud Governor Asa Hutchinson's commitment to fully fund the Succeed Scholarship Program (SSP). Succeed Scholarships are already helping some of our most vulnerable children, and we must expand school choice, so that all children can obtain the best education for their individual learning needs regardless of income or ZIP code."

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE WELCOME SUMMER SESSION ILAW CLERKS
Says ‘The clerks perform essential research and writing projects’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks during the first summer session to the Attorney General’s office. These law students work in various departments assisting with legal research, drafting memos and legal documents and accompanying lawyers at trials, client meetings and hearings.

“The Attorney General’s office law clerk program gives law students the opportunity to work with some of the state’s top attorneys,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The clerks perform essential research and writing projects which provides invaluable experience in a service-driven learning environment.”

Lauren Ford, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. She graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a major in political science in 2018. Ford is from Cabot and graduated from Vilonia High School in 2014.

Grace Lee, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from Hendrix College in 2017 with a degree in politics. Lee is from Gosnell and graduated from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in 2013.

Jessica Lowery, a third-year student at the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Lowery is from Turrell and graduated from Marion High School in 2013.

Clayton Rowe, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. He graduated from John Brown University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in construction management. Rowe is from Hope and graduated from Siloam Springs High School in 2011.

Cheston Wright, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. He graduated from Henderson State University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 2014 and a Masters of Business Administration in 2015. Wright is from Arkadelphia and graduated from Arkadelphia High School in 2010.


BOOZMAN PROVISION INCLUDED IN LEGISLATION TO AID BLUE WATER NAVY VETERANS
WASHINGTON–
A bill that expands U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during the Vietnam War includes a provision authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that extends benefits to the children of Vietnam veterans who served in Thailand who were born with spina bifida.

H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, passed the Senate unanimously after passing the House of Representatives last month. The bill, backed by many veterans service organizations, now heads to the president’s desk.

“Providing VA benefits to the children of Vietnam veterans stationed in Thailand born with spina bifida is the fair and right thing to do. They will now be eligible for the same health care, monetary allowance and vocational training as children of Vietnam veterans who served in Vietnam born with the same condition,” Boozman said. “I’m pleased this provision was included in the Blue Water Navy bill and am hopeful that access to these benefits will help improve the lives of former service members exposed to toxic chemicals during their time in uniform, as well as the lives of their families.”

Background
Veterans who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam but did not dock or approach close to the shore were previously ineligible for certain VA disability benefits covering certain medical conditions associated with the chemical herbicide Agent Orange commonly used in Vietnam. In a recent court decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit determined the VA must grant these benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently declined to challenge the decision at the Supreme Court. However, the passage of this legislation will codify the benefits into law and ensure that future judicial action will not reverse the outcome.

H.R.299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, will:

  • Expand the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam.
  • Extend presumption of Agent Orange exposure to veterans who served in or near the Korean demilitarized zone.
  • Provide benefits to children of Vietnam veterans who served in Thailand and were born with spina bifida.=

JUNE 13, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO ARREST
FLEEING ON FOOT

On June 10th at 7:14 pm Sergeant Jamario Bush of the Camden Police Department noticed Brittany McDaniels walking near the Tobacco Superstore on Cash Road. The Officer had knowledge that McDaniels had a valid warrant for her arrest McDaniels appeared to be walking toward her residence located at 615 Lincoln Center.

Sergeant Bush exited his vehicle and verified her name to be Brittany McDaniels. He then told her she had a warrant and reached for her wrist. Just as he grabbed her wrist, McDaniels broke free and began fleeing on foot east toward Cash Road. Sergeant Bush chased her and deployed his Taser as they were running but the probes did not make contact. He yelled to McDaniels to stop running but she continued as they entered the roadway crossing Cash Road and onto the sidewalk leading into Lincoln Center. Shortly after entering the sidewalk, McDaniels stopped running and followed the Officers commands to get on the ground. McDaniels then stated she was just trying to get home.

McDaniels was taken into custody without further dispute. She was transported to the station and served her warrant and later transported to the County Jail to await a court appearance.

DWI
Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing
Obstruction

On June 8th at approximately 12:51 am Sergeant Brian Finney was traveling south on California Avenue when he observed a gold Buick. The vehicle turned on its left tum signal and began turning halfway between Olive drive and Walmart Drive.

The vehicle almost drove completely off the roadway before swerving back. The vehicle then went left of center and drove down the double yellow line until entering the tum lane for Wal-Mart Drive. The vehicle failed to tum on a tum signal when making the left tum onto Wal Mart Drive. While traveling on Wal Mart drive the vehicle swerved right and went onto the curb.

Sergeant Finney activated his emergency lights and initiated a traffic stop with the vehicle. The vehicle continued to drive until reaching a parking space near the front of the store. The driver exited the vehicle and began walking towards to the store. The driver, Terry Jones, was informed that he was not free to go and to remain with the vehicle.

Jones was asked multiple times to provide his ID or name and date of birth. He ignored the Officers’ requests and continued talking on his cell phone. I informed Jones he would be arrested for obstruction if he did not provide the information being requested. Jones continued to ignore my requests and was arrested for obstruction.

While speaking with Jones I observed his eyes to be bloodshot and watery. His speech was slurred and his balance was unsteady. He had a strong odor of intoxicants on his person. Officer Finney told Jones that he suspected him to be impaired and that the investigation regarding his impairment would be continued at the at the station.

Jones was transported to the Camden Police Department. His driver’s license was located in his pocket. He was read his statement of righs and a 20-minute observation period was conducted. Jones refused to sign his statement of rights and refused to take the breathalyzer test.

Jones was issued traffic citations for DWI, Driving on a Suspended License, Refusal to Submit to a to chemical testing, no turn signal, no proof of insurance, driving left of center, careless and prohibited driving and obstruction.

CALIFORNIA MAN SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING AND WITNESS TAMPERING
Hot Springs, Arkansas -
Duane (DAK) Kees, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Rasheen Murdock, age 37, of Modesto, California, was sentenced today to 240 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and Witness Tampering. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court records, during the course of an investigation into methamphetamine trafficking in the Western District of Arkansas in March 2016, the Eighteenth East Drug Task Force received information that Murdock and other individuals were engaged in a methamphetamine drug trafficking operation in the Hot Springs area. Based on this information, investigators were able to identify, and confirm the location of eight baggies of methamphetamine containing 231 grams of actual methamphetamine. Investigators were able to set up surveillance at this location and await the arrival of Murdock, and his co-conspirators. Once they arrived, Murdock and his co-conspirators discussed the current and future drug transactions, including the sale of methamphetamine, heroin, and other drugs. Murdock left the Hot Springs area and returned to California, where he was ultimately arrested.  In November of 2017, while awaiting trial, Murdock was housed in the same cell as one of his co-conspirators. Murdock forced the co-conspirator to write a letter to the Court and the AUSA prosecuting his case stating that Murdock was innocent of all charges.  The co-conspirator advised the Court and Jury that he felt that if he did not do what Murdock asked, there would be conflict, and that the letter Murdock had him write contained all lies.

Murdock was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2016. Murdock was found guilty, after a jury trial on April 25, 2018.

This case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Eighteenth East Drug Task Force, and Arkansas State Police. Assistant United States Attorney David Harris and Kim Harris prosecuted the case for the United States.

BOOZMAN ADVOCATES FOR FARMERS HARMED BY OVERREACHING WATER RULE WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), encouraged support for the Trump administration’s definition of water rules that will provide certainty for Arkansas agriculture producers.

During an EPW hearing to review the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulations, Boozman shared the challenges farmers face under the previous administration’s WOTUS rule and the need to redefine the policy.

“The permitting exemption for ordinary farming and ranching activities from the Obama administration’s stated WOTUS rule was meaningless,” Boozman said. “Imagine the frustration that farmers feel as they go through the permitting process.”

Boozman highlighted the experience of a landowner who was changing the use of a field from growing alfalfa to instead plant orchards in 2015. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that action would constitute a land use change which would allow Corps regulators to pursue enforcement action if plowing the field to plant trees involved a discharge to wetlands.

The Corps regulator informed the landowner that despite an extensive farming history, orchards were never planted on the ranch so they are not the same kind of farming and might not be considered a normal farming activity.

Doug Goehring, commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, testified before the committee and told Boozman that he had conversations with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials about what defined normal agricultural practices.

“Everybody said ‘we’re going to deal with this case-by-case.’ The problem is you never had a consistent answer depending on who you’re talking to,” Goehring said. “All of a sudden it could be detrimental or perceived detrimental that a normal common practice would have constituted a permit or permission to actually farm and ranch in a responsible manner.”

This was the first committee hearing on WOTUS since the Trump administration published its definition of the rule. Boozman has been strongly opposed to the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule and worked to overturn it.

2019 FLOOD RESOURCES AND INFORMATION FOR ARKANSANS
Following requests from Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas federal delegation, President Donald Trump has issued a major disaster declaration for Arkansas, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide various forms of federal assistance for 16 counties: Arkansas, Chicot, Conway, Crawford, Desha, Faulkner, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell.

Arkansans living in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties may be eligible for individual assistance. If they are not sufficiently covered for flood damage, Arkansans in these eight counties should register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The resources below can help Arkansans in those counties when recovery efforts start.

“I appreciate President Trump’s swift response to the Governor’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration. Arkansans are tough, and challenging times only make us tougher—we are going to help each other recover from these historic floods. My office stands ready to help. Please contact us by phone at 202-224-2353 (DC Office), 501-223-9081 (Little Rock Office), 479-751-0879 (Springdale Office), or visit my website at cotton.senate.gov,” said Cotton.

FEMA AND SBA
Individuals who have lost property to the flooding in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties should first contact their insurance agencies. If they are not sufficiently covered for their flood losses, they should register with FEMA at either 1-800-621-3362 (open 6am to 10pm CT, seven days a week) or at disasterassistance.gov (open at all times.)

For qualified individuals, FEMA can provide housing assistance and help with other needs generated by the flooding, including certain medical, dental, funeral, and child care expenses. FEMA can also refer individuals to the Small Business Administration (SBA). For qualified individuals in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties, the SBA can provide loans for up to $200,000 to replace or repair damaged or destroyed real estate, and up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property. Interest rates on these loans for individual homeowners and renters can be as low as 1.938%. To be considered for such loans, applicants must first register with FEMA.

For qualified businesses and private nonprofits that have suffered losses due to the flooding in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties, SBA disaster loans of up to $2 million are available to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Economic injury loans from the SBA may also be available, regardless of property damage, to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Interest rates can be as low as 4% for businesses and 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations.

FEMA Helpline – For help by phone 6am-10pm CT, seven days a week: 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362); TTY 1-800-462-7585

FEMA Website https://disasterassistance.gov

Regional FEMA Contacts – 940-898-5399 | Twitter: @FEMARegion6 | FEMA Region VI website: https://www.fema.gov/region-vi-arkansas-louisiana-new-mexico-oklahoma-texas

 Basic FEMA Information – Basics for disaster assistance: https://www.fema.gov/media-library

SBA Disaster Loan Informationhttps://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/Index

SBA Customer Service Center – 1-800-659-2955

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The USDA offers a variety of programs and services to help communities, farmers, ranchers, and businesses that have been affected by the flooding. In general, these resources are available to those who have suffered damages statewide—not just within the eight counties currently covered by the federal Major Disaster Declaration. Producers who incurred a loss as a result of the flooding should visit their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to file a loss claim and discuss eligibility. In addition, producers with crop insurance who experience a loss should consult their policy and speak with their insurance agent.

USDA Disaster Assistance Websitehttps://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/

FSA Disaster Assistance Programs at a Glancehttps://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/2017/fsa_disaster_assistance_programs_at_a_glance_oct2017.pdf

FSA Arkansas State Office – 501-301-3000 | https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Arkansas/index

ADDITIONAL DISASTER AID LINKS
Beware of Scams – For post-flood tips to avoid ‘flood insurance’ or ‘home improvement’ scams click here.

IRS Relief Options – For information on the most recent IRS-issued tax relief provisions for taxpayers affected by disaster situations click here.

Emergency Food – For assistance paying for food in emergency situations through the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) click here.

Paying Utility Bills – For emergency assistance with utility bills through the Arkansas Department of Human Services click here. You can also call the Arkansas Department of Human Services for utility assistance at 501-682-8714.

  

FLOOD TIPS FROM THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL RUTLEDGE
Avoid Additional Risks
– Check for warping, loosened, or cracked foundation elements, cracks, and holes. Turn off all water and electrical sources to the home. Beware of rodents, snakes, and other reptiles.

Document the Damage – Take photos or video of the damage before removing the water or any flood-damaged items for any future insurance claims.

Protect Your Health – Standing water and affected areas of your home may be contaminated with sewage or household chemicals. Wear protective gear while cleaning up. Throw out any food that came into contact with flood waters.

Mitigate Mold Damage – Remove carpeting and bedding. Keep affected areas as dry as possible and use a strong cleaner such as bleach.

Removal and Repair – Beware of door-to-door solicitors or anyone asking for payment for the entire job upfront. Verify that the contractor is licensed and insist upon a written contract.

MAPS AND LOCAL EMERGENCY INFORMATION FROM THE OFFIC OF SENATOR BOOZMAN
Army Corps of Engineers flooding map
– https://bit.ly/30Lo0eG

  • Click on “2019 Event Inundation Forecast” tab (top right)
  • Accept Disclaimer and click ‘OK’
  • Click on icon with four squares under address search and select streets
       

Road closures – https://www.idrivearkansas.com/
Twitter: @myARDOT

Arkansas.gov website – https://portal.arkansas.gov/pages/flood/

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management – https://adem.arkansas.gov/
Twitter: @AR_Emergencies | Facebook: @ARemergencies

Arkansas State Police – https://asp.arkansas.gov/
Twitter: @ARStatePolice | Facebook: @ARStatePolice

 

Little Rock District, Army Corps of Engineers – https://www.swl.usace.army.mil/
 Twitter: @usacelittlerock | Facebook: @littlerockusace
(covers AR River from Little Rock to Western Arkansas)

Vicksburg District, Army Corps of Engineers – https://www.mvk.usace.army.mil/
 Twitter: @VicksburgUSACE | Facebook: @VicksburgUSACE
(covers Pine Bluff and Southeast Arkansas)
Permalink: https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/dr-boozman-s-check-up?id=E0E75FE8-7E00-4340-92E7-A94A9F6F1D67

 BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS SUPPORT HONG KONG PROTESTORS
Washington, D.C. - Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Angus King (I-Maine), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) released the following statement of support for the millions of citizens protesting the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong:

"The extradition law proposed by Beijing loyalists in Hong Kong would allow political dissidents, minorities, and foreign travelers in Hong Kong to be spirited away to China's secret police on the mainland. The people of Hong Kong are assembling in the streets to resist this threat to their freedom and send a message to the Chinese Communist Party.

Hong Kong demonstrators know what happened in Tiananmen Square in 1989, unlike so many Chinese on the mainland. They know the risk they run by defying the Chinese Communist Party. The demonstrators' courage in the face of threats, police batons, and tear gas is an example for the world to follow. We support these demonstrators as they fight for freedom and call on Hong Kong and Chinese authorities to respect their right to peacefully protest," said the Senators.

BOOZMAN STATEMENT ON U.S.-POLAND JOINT DEFENSE DECLARATION
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement on the joint declaration on U.S. force posture signed today by President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda: 

“Increasing U.S. forces in Poland is a strong deterrent against Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. I am pleased that President Trump is strengthening our presence in Eastern Europe and ensuring that our military presence in Europe supports our operational plans and reinforces our commitment to our allies,” Boozman said. 

In 2018, Boozman visited Poland and saw first-hand the work being done by U.S. forces to sustain operations in Europe to ensure we have a credible force to deter Russian aggression.   

Boozman also introduced an amendment that was included in the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act to require the Pentagon to conduct an assessment of the need for combat enablers as it examines the feasibility and advisability of permanently stationing a U.S. Army brigade combat team in Poland.

June 12, 2019

 

CITY OF CAMDEN COUNCIL MEETING
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday night in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm. Scott Bodenhamer, Pastor or the Freedom Church gave the invocation. The minutes and Financial reports from the month of May were approved. During the Audience Participation the Women’s Crises Center requested to regain ownership of the property as they can’t receive any grants for repairs of the property unless they own the property. The Crises Center Board had sent a letter to the Mayor prior to the Council meeting. They asked that the City donate the property back to them or sell it at a reasonable monthly payment. The Mayor stated that he had received their letter and was looking into the matter. The City cannot give the property to them, but he is looking at options.  Before continuing with the regular agenda, the Council went into executive session. After they returned, an ordinance abandoning Gallop Street located in the W. L. Ellis Subdivision was passed. A resolution setting the salary of the current City Clerk was tabled. A resolution setting a date for a public hearing on a petition to abandon Santa Fe Street located in W. L. Ellis Subdivision was passed. A resolution awarding the bid for the purchase of a 2020 Residential Automated Side Loader and Truck for the Sanitation Division of the Public Works Department was passed.  A resolution awarding the bid for the purchase of a 4 New Digital Portable Radios for the Camden Public Works Department was passed and a resolution increasing the compensation for certain employees was tabled. In other business, the condition of the buildings at Ivra Clark and Carnes Parks was discussed.

FLAG RETIREMENT CEREMONY TO BE HELD IN CAMDEN
There will be a flag retirement ceremony held at the WoodmenLife Office on Tuesday, June 25th at 6 PM. The American Creed states “We retire flags with dignity and respect when they become worn, torn, faded, or badly soiled.” The community is invited to attend. A meal will be served following the ceremony WoodmenLife Office is located at 1250 Cash Road in Camden.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE TO HOST MOBILE OFFICE AND COMMUNITY EVENTS IN OUACHITA COUNTY
CAMDEN
– Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office will hold the county’s annual mobile office, a prescription drug take back and a presentation on common scams in Ouachita County on Tuesday, June 18.

“In 2015, I began holding mobile offices to reach Arkansans where they live,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans deserve to have access to the Attorney General’s Office without having to drive to downtown Little Rock. In addition to the mobile office, my staff provides additional outreach programs and educational opportunities while visiting communities around the State all year.”

During the Attorney General Mobile Office, staff members will assist constituents with consumer-related issues by filing consumer complaints and providing information about scams, identity theft, fraud and other threats from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Camden Senior Center. During that time, authorities from Ouachita County Sheriff David Norwood’s office will also collect prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, pet medicines, medicated ointments and lotions, inhalers, liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers and medicine samples as part of a prescription drug take back event.

Community educators will also present a senior scams and identity theft prevention presentation to senior citizens. From 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Camden Senior Center, seniors and older adults can learn about common scams that target them, along with ways to spot and prevent identity theft.

For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.

FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR ARKANSAS FLOOD VICTIMS
June 10, 2019 –
As a result of the recent flooding in Arkansas, the Arkansas Bar and the Young Lawyers’ Section, in conjunction with FEMA, the Arkansas Emergency Management Agency, the American Bar Association, Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas, and Arkansas Access to Justice, is providing free disaster legal assistance efforts to affected individuals who were affected by the recent floods.

FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of Arkansas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms and flooding beginning on May 21, 2019 and continuing.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding is also available to the state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B), including direct federal assistance under the Public Assistance program, in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties.

Federal funding is also available to the state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures (Category B), including limited federal assistance under the Public Assistance program, in Arkansas, Chicot, Desha, Franklin, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, and Pope counties.

The toll-free number is 1-800-950-5817 and flood victims may now call the hotline. Local legal aid providers and pro bono attorneys will be available to help with the following:

 Assistance securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster victims;

 Assistance with life, medical, and property insurance claims;

 Help with home repair contracts and contractors;

 Replacement of wills and other important legal documents lost or destroyed in the disaster;

Consumer protection to guard against price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process;

Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and

Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

Flood victims may call the toll-free number and a volunteer attorney will respond by telephone to answer their legal questions. The goal is to assist as many individuals affected by the floods as possible.

Beware of Fraud

Both FEMA and the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office urge Arkansans to be aware of the risk of fraud and common scams in the wake of severe weather. Common post-disaster fraud practices include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations, and fake offers of state or federal aid. Arkansans are urged to ask questions and to require identification when someone claims to represent a government agency.

Affected individuals should also keep in mind that state and federal workers never ask for or accept money and always carry identification badges with a photograph. There is no fee required to apply for or to receive disaster assistance from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), or the State. Additionally, no state or federal government disaster assistance agency will call to ask for you financial account information. Unless you place a call to the agency yourself, you should not provide personal information over the phone as it can lead to identity theft.

Those who suspect fraud can call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 (toll free). Complaints may also be made to local law enforcement.

 Partnership Members

The following organizations have joined forces to support a toll-free phone line for Arkansas flood victims to request free legal assistance, and to provide volunteer attorneys to handle cases arising from recent storm damage.

American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division - The ABA YLD, the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession, and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law. Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and one of the largest voluntary professional membership groups in the world.

 Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror

 The Arkansas Bar – (www.arkbar.com) The Arkansas Bar Association is a voluntary, statewide organization with 5,000 members. Among its purposes are the advancement of the administration of justice and the fostering among its members of high ideals of integrity, learning and public service.

 National Disaster Legal Aid Online – (http://www.disasterlegalaid.org/) NDLA is a collaborative effort of Lone Star Legal Aid, the American Bar Association, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and Pro Bono Net.

 The Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas are the only free civil legal aid organizations in the state. Together, they help more than 12,000 clients each year.

The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission (https://arkansasjustice.org/) works to ensure justice for all. That means that all Arkansans get the protections of the law. We research the unmet legal problems of Arkansans, encourage attorneys to do pro bono work for families who are priced out of the legal market, and recommend evidence-based solutions to policymakers.

Free Legal Answers (AR.freelegalanswers.org) is a virtual legal advice clinic. Qualifying users post their civil legal question to their state's website. Users will then be emailed when their question receives a response. Attorney volunteers, who must be authorized to provide pro bono assistance in their state, log in to the website, select questions to answer, and provide legal information and advice. Volunteer attorneys will not answer criminal law questions.    

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, June 13 at 12:00 at Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be presented  by Terri Walker who will talk about  CASA.

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES LEON JONES AS NEW DIRECTOR OF ARKANSAS FAIR HOUSING COMMISSION 
Carol Johnson resigns for a new opportunity after 14 years as director
LITTLE ROCK – This week Governor Asa Hutchinson, in conjunction with Elizabeth Smith, Secretary-Designate of the Department of Inspector General, announced Leon Jones as the new executive director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission. Jones, the former director of the Arkansas Department of Labor, will replace Carol Johnson, who has served as executive director of the commission for the past 14 years.

Director Johnson will step down as executive director of the commission on June 30. Jones will assume the role on July 1.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“Leon has been an integral part of my administration from day one, and he has served the state well for the past four years as the director of the Arkansas Department of Labor. Today, I’m delighted to announce that he will be the new executive director for the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission. Leon’s background in the housing sector, in addition to his experience as an attorney and small-business owner, will serve him and the people of Arkansas well in this new role.

“I also want to thank Carol Johnson for her nearly two decades of service to our state, including the last 14 years she’s served as the executive director of the Fair Housing Commission. I want to congratulate her on her new opportunity, and I wish her the best in all future endeavors.” 

Jones issued the following statement:

“It is with pleasure that I am accepting the assignment as executive director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission. I have been working in the housing arena since 2007, where I served as a Commissioner of the Fayetteville Housing Authority until 2014. I look forward to the opportunity to get back into a space where I have a passion, and I look forward to working with Secretary-Designate Smith. 

“I thank the Governor for the opportunity to have served for four-and-a-half years as Director of the Arkansas Department of Labor. It has been a great learning experience, and I have established many great relationships.” 

June 11, 2019

SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES INVOLVED IN SHOOTING; STATE POLICE CID ASKED TO INVESTIGATE
William James Beck, 41, of Shirley (Van Buren County) died Sunday evening (June 9, 2019) during a reported exchange of gunfire with Van Buren County Sheriff’s Deputies.

Authorities within the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department have requested Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division to conduct a use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer investigation.

The deputies were dispatched about 10:40 PM to a disturbance at 205 Hazel Avenue.  They entered the home and were allegedly met with gunfire and returned fire both inside and outside the home.

Beck’s body was later discovered inside the house.  A gun found near the body was also recovered.  The body and other evidence have been turned over to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory.  A manner and cause of death will be determined by the state medical examiner.

Once the investigation is completed, the Arkansas State Police will submit the case file to Van Buren County Prosecuting Attorney to consider whether the shooting was consistent with Arkansas laws relating to use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer.

Questions relating to the identity of the deputies and their current administrative status should be directed to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.


SAAC ANNOUNCES NEW PENGUIN PROJECT PRODUCTION OF “SEUSSICAL KIDS”
"Today you are you. That is truer than true. And there's no one alive who is you-er than you," a quote from Dr. Seuss's Horton, the Who.

The South Arkansas Arts Center announces its upcoming Penguin Project production of "Seussical KIDS", a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza. Sponsored by Simmons First Foundation, the play has a projected production date of October 4 and 5.

The Penguin Project is a unique opportunity for children with special needs to perform in a live stage production in front of an audience. Through targeted outreach, special needs children are recruited as Artists and cast in the production, from starring roles to ensemble. Each special-needs Artist is paired with a Mentor of similar age, who guides them through the production from start to finish, helping them learn lines, dances, songs, and blocking. The children operate as a pair throughout the entire process and appear on stage together, resulting in a full theatrical performance, with costumes, sets, and music.

Even though the dates seem far away at this point, now is the time to sign up your Artists and Mentors for this fun and challenging, yet heartwarming experience. SAAC is accepting applications for performers now. The directors are looking for Mentors, age 12-18 and Artists age 8-18.

By providing access to community theater, The Penguin Project demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability should not handicap a child's ability to participate in life's experiences

Now one of the most performed shows in America, "Seussical KIDS" is fun for everyone! The directors have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, and a little boy with a big imagination - Jojo. The colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos. Performers of all ages will be excited to portray the characters from the familiar Dr. Seuss fables!

Some fun summer get-togethers are in the works for the Artists and Mentors so they can hang out and get to know each other better. The Penguin Project Summer Fun Fest will consist of some time together at SAAC, as well as some family based outings around town. Movies and Splash Pad visits are part of the fun. Actual rehearsals for the project begin August 15 and 17 for Mentors and August 20 for Artists. Rehearsals will meet twice a week from 3:45-5:30 at SAAC on Tuesday and Thursday and concludes seven weeks later with the production.

For more information about Penguin Project, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East Main Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

COTTON, COLLEAGUES UNVEIL LEGISLATION TO COMBAT TERROR FINANCE, MONEY LAUNDERING
Washington, D.C. —U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Mark R. Warner (D-Virginia), Doug Jones (D-Alabama), and Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) today unveiled draft bipartisan legislation to improve corporate transparency, strengthen national security, and help law enforcement combat illicit financial activity being carried out by terrorists, drug and human traffickers, and other criminals. 

The Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act would, for the first time, require shell companies – often used as fronts for criminal activity – to disclose their true owners to the Treasury Department. It also would update decades-old policies to combat money laundering and terror finance by giving Treasury and law enforcement the tools they need to fight criminal networks. This includes improving communication between law enforcement, financial institutions, and regulators, and facilitating the adoption of critical 21st century technologies. 

“The United States ought to make it as difficult as possible for criminals and terrorists to finance their evil deeds. Our draft bill makes it easier for law enforcement to track ill-gotten gains without burdening legitimate businesses,” said Cotton.

“We must be vigilant and ensure that our financial system is not being misused to fund individuals and groups who intend harm to the United States and our allies,” said Warner. “This legislation will empower the Treasury Department and other appropriate agencies to better protect our financial system from such abuse and will ensure that we are using all the tools at our disposal to protect our national security.”

“As a former U.S. Attorney, I am all too familiar with criminals hiding behind shell corporations to enable their illegal behavior. At the same time, our anti-money laundering laws have not kept pace with the increasingly sophisticated means by which criminals and terrorist organizations use our financial system to move their money around the world. This bipartisan legislation addresses both challenges and gives law enforcement the tools they need to protect Americans and prosecute criminals,” said Jones.

"Fighting crime and depriving terrorists of the tools they use to engage in illicit activity within our financial system is vital to protecting Americans,” said Rounds. “Our legislation seeks to protect our financial system from bad actors by streamlining our government's anti-money laundering system and simultaneously protecting small businesses from undue compliance burdens. I'm proud to partner with my colleagues on this important legislation and look forward to advancing it in the Senate.”

Background: According to research from the University of Texas and Brigham Young University, the United States remains one of the easiest places in the world to set up an anonymous shell company. A recent report by Global Financial Integrity demonstrated that in every state more information is required to obtain a library card than to register a company. Human traffickers, terrorist groups, arms dealers, transnational criminal organizations, kleptocrats, drug cartels, and rogue regimes have all used U.S.-registered shell companies to hide their identities and facilitate illicit activities. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies find it difficult to investigate these illicit financial networks without access to information about corporate ownership.

U.S. AML-CFT laws have not kept pace with criminals’ exploitation of the global financial system.  According to a United Nations report, money laundering and illicit cross-border financial flows generate upwards of $300 billion annually in criminal proceeds. While tracking these vast sums is increasingly difficult, U.S. laws also have failed to adequately address the small-dollar financing of global terrorist groups. 

The ILLICIT CASH Act would create a more transparent corporate ownership system and an updated, effective, and efficient AML-CFT regime designed for the 21st century. Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Establish federal reporting requirements mandating that all beneficial ownership information be maintained in a comprehensive federal database, accessible by federal and local law enforcement.
  • Help recruit and retain top talent at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) by putting employees on a pay scale comparable to that of federal financial regulators.
  • Create a hub of financial expert investigators at FinCEN to investigate potential AML-CFT activity in collaboration with federal government agencies.
  • Create a team of FinCEN technology experts to further the development of new and essential technologies to combat money laundering.
  • Facilitate communications between Treasury and financial institutions by establishing a Treasury financial institution liaison to seek and receive comments regarding AML-CFT rules, regulations, and examinations.
  • Require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide the Treasury Department with metrics on the usefulness of AML-CFT data from financial institutions for law enforcement purposes, as well as data on trends identified by DOJ in the AML-CFT landscape.
  • Require law enforcement to coordinate with financial regulators to provide periodic feedback to financial institutions on their suspicious activity reports.
  • Prioritize the protection of personally identifying information while establishing a clear path for financial institutions to share AML-CFT information for the purposes of identifying suspicious activity.
  • Prevent foreign banks from obstructing money laundering or terrorist financing investigations by requiring these banks to produce records in a manner that establishes their authenticity and reliability for evidentiary purposes, and compelling them to comply with subpoenas. This legislation would also authorize contempt sanctions for banks that fail to comply.
  • Ensure the inclusion of current and future payment systems in the AML-CFT regime by updating the definition of “coins and currency” to include digital currency.
     

Senators Cotton, Warner, Jones and Rounds are now seeking input from stakeholders regarding their draft legislation. Submissions can be made to Sen. Warner’s office at AML-BSAReform@warner.senate.gov by July 19, 2019.

For an in-depth look at this bill, click here. The full text of the bill is available here.  

 

 

JUNE 10, 2019

ARKANSAS BASS TEAM TRAIL AND THE CITY OF CAMDEN AR PRESENTS “THE RUMBLE ON THE RIVER BASS TEAM TOURNAMENT”
Camden, AR – The Rumble on the River Bass Team Tournament is a 1 day only event held on Saturday, July 6th at the Camden River Walk on the Ouachita River in Downtown Camden, AR. Take off is at 6am and weigh-in is at 3pm at River Walk park and boat launch (405 Washington St. SE. Camden AR 71701) in Downtown Camden. Free lunch provided for all participants at weigh-in.

1st place $5,000 Cash Guaranteed plus pay out through 10th place in cash and prizes!

Entry fee is only $125 per boat with a 2 person per boat limit.

Registration will begin online June 1st, early registration June 1st - July. 2nd will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Academy Sports Gift Card.

Register online at www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net, www.explorecamden.com or in Person at The Camden Area Chamber of Commerce (314 S Adams Ave) in Camden AR.

Final registration will be held Friday, July 5th from 6-8pm at The First Friday Market in Downtown Camden, AR. You may also want to take part in our special casting competition that we will be holding during the First Friday Market. There will be an Adult as well as a Child division for an opportunity to win prizes.

So come early on Friday evening for family fun in Camden, AR with the First Friday Market and a wide variety of restaurants and shops open late Friday evening the day before the event. First Friday is an open-air evening market which takes place from 6PM till 9PM in downtown Camden. In addition you can stroll the streets downtown and enjoy live music, shop a great variety of vendors and artists, while enjoying a relaxed fun evening. There are LOTS of things to see and do while you visit Camden for the tournament.

For Rules and Registration, visit www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net

For more Information on Camden, lodging and travel, visit www.explorecamden.com

SBA CLASSES OFFERED THIS SUMMER
NEW! Summer Startup Series Workshop #1
*Complete the 3-part series and earn a certificate*

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
The Arkansas Secretary of State's Office Business & Commercial Services (BCS) provides a wide range of services to individuals and companies who conduct business within Arkansas, whether they’re based inside the state or elsewhere. BCS is Arkansas’s starting point for entrepreneurs wishing to transact business in the state. Consumers can search for a unique name for their company as well as file the appropriate document types for their business. In this workshop, you will learn how to navigate the Secretary of State's Office website and how to appropriately register your business.

JULY
NEW! Summer Startup Series Workshop #2
*Complete the 3-part series and earn a certificate*

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration's mission is to provide Arkansas businesses convenient, effective, and courteous service which will encourage voluntary compliance with tax, license, and child support laws. In this workshop, you will learn how to navigate through the business tax registration form and learn about various forms of taxes required for different businesses.

Top-Notch Customer Service
Monday, July 29, 2019 | 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
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.


AUGUST
NEW! Summer Startup Series Workshop #3
*Complete the 3-part series and earn a certificate*

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
The City of Camden and Ouachita County officials will band together in this informative workshop to share information about properly registering your business with the city and/or county, code enforcement rules and regulations, and general information about starting a business in Camden and Ouachita County.

NEW! Summer Startup Series Bonus Workshop: Food Code
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
This workshop offers an overview of what it takes to open and run a successful restaurant or other food establishment. The Arkansas Department of Health will join us to answer questions regarding the startup process, rules, regulations, and more to operating a successful food-based business.

ARKANSAS FLOOD INSURANCE AVAILABILITY
Little Rock, Arkansas
–– Current flooding in Arkansas brings to light common misconceptions and misinformation about flood insurance.  See below for myths and facts.  

Myth: I was told I can’t purchase flood insurance.
Fact: National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies are being sold, policies are being renewed and claims are being paid in participating communities. If you are told that you can’t purchase flood insurance, call the NFIP Referral Call Center at 1-800-427-4661 to find out if your community participates in the NFIP and to request an agent referral. Policies take 30 days to go into effect. For more information, view: How Do I Buy Flood Insurance.

AR Fact for Private Flood Insurance: Flood damage is not typically covered by a homeowner’s policy.  Arkansans can purchase private flood insurance at any time, even if they do no not live in a floodplain or high-flood-risk area.  You can also purchase private flood insurance even if your mortgage broker doesn’t require it.  Keep in mind that any policy bought today will not cover the current flood event, but you will be prepared for a future flood.  If you have any questions, please contact the Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) Consumer Services Division at 800-852-5494.

Myth: My current policy recently expired, or my carrier is going to cancel my policy, leaving me without coverage.  
NFIP Fact: All policies expire at 12:01 a.m. on the last day of the policy term. However, coverage remains in force for 30 days after the expiration of the policy and claims for losses that occur during the period will be honored provided that the full renewal premium is received within 30 days of the policy expiration date. For NFIP policyholders, contact your insurance company immediately if your policy recently expired or canceled to determine renewal. If you don’t know your insurance company, call the NFIP Referral Call Center at 1-800-427-4661. For more information, view: Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program.

AR Fact for Private Flood Insurance: On May 21, 2019, AID set a 60-day window where flood victims are protected from having any type of insurance policy cancelled for non-payment of premiums. This is not a waiver of payment. Policyholders must still pay premiums. Arkansans must contact their insurance companies to set up a payment plan to continue coverage once the 60-day window expires. If you have any questions, please contact AID’s Consumer Services Division at 800-852-5494 or view our 60-Day Bulletin for Flood Victims.

Myth: I was told I don’t need flood insurance.
Fact: People need flood insurance to protect their most important investment: their homes or businesses. Even if flood insurance is not mandated for your property, you are still at risk—even if you live in a moderate- to low-risk area. Where it can rain, it can flood. Living in a low- to moderate-risk flood zone (Zone X shaded/unshaded), does not mean no risk. In fact, more than 20 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program claims come from outside the areas of highest risk. Protect the life you’ve built and get a quote for the amount of flood insurance you can afford. For more information, view: Why Do I Need Flood Insurance

Myth: My homeowners or renters insurance policy covers flood damage.
Fact: Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, affecting every region and state. Floods cause physical and emotional anguish, as well as financial devastation. In fact, just one inch of water in an average sized home can cause more than $25,000 in damage. Whether you rent or own, make sure to ask your insurance agent about contents coverage. For most standard policies, contents coverage is not automatically included with the building coverage.. 

Purchasing flood insurance is one of the most important steps residents can take to protect the lives they’ve built. Just one inch of water in a home can cause more than $25,000 in damage. Most homeowners and renters policies do not cover flood damage. Call your insurance agent to get a quote today. Call 1-800-427-4661 or visit www.floodsmart.gov. Don’t delay. Policies typically take up to 30 days to go into effect.

CHEF LILLE ELLEN TO HOST BAKING WORKSHOP AT SAAC
The South Arkansas Arts Center is thrilled to announce an exciting culinary opportunity for aspiring bakers in conjunction with its summer musical production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.  El Dorado native Chef Lilli Ellen will be teaching two afternoons of French bread and pastry techniques in her “Bon Baguette” class. The “hands on” classes will be held on June 29 and 30, from 1:00-4:00pm each day in the professional kitchens at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Chef Ellen will demonstrate a rustic baguette during the class on Saturday and a delicate French pastry dough, pate a choux, and pastry cream for eclairs during the Sunday afternoon class. Participants will take home their fresh baked creations each day to lucky family and friends!

“Le petit boulangerie d’amusement is French for ‘fun little bakery’ and that’s what we will be those two afternoons,” Chef Ellen said about the class.  “I love bread making.  It can be as hard or as simple as you want it to be.”

Chef Ellen attended the Culinary Institute of America, the country’s oldest and most prestigious culinary school, which she added, was a fun but challenging experience. Her extensive culinary resume includes pre and post education experience as a cook, chef and baker.  She has at least 4000 baguettes to her credit so she is the perfect instructor to lead this dough adventure.

After some traveling around and working in different kitchens to give her some experience, Chef Ellen now resides in El Dorado and is the upcoming Chef Director of the Culinary Arts Program at South Arkansas Community College, which will begin in August.

Tickets for the French bread and pastry classes are $55 for the two days of classes.  For more information or to register, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

CADC BOARD TO MEET
The Board of Directors of Central Arkansas Development Council will have a board meeting Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held at Central Arkansas Development Council’s Administrative Office, 321 Edison Avenue, Benton, Arkansas. The public is invited.

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet on Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Craig Lawson  with ALETA.  He will be give the group an update on what’s happening at ALETA.

ARKANSAS DELEGATION URGES PRESIDENT TO APPROVE DISASTER ASSISTANCE 
WASHINGTON -U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—sent a letter to President Donald Trump and administration officials urging them to support Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a major disaster declaration because of extensive damage caused by continued flooding and recent severe storms in the state.  

“Simply put, this is a historic flood that demands the immediate attention of the federal government. This unprecedented flooding is something unseen on the Arkansas River before,” members wrote in the letter. “Our citizens will be in dire need of assistance in order to regain suitable living conditions.”

The following is the full text of the delegation’s letter of support:  

On behalf of the State of Arkansas, we are writing to support Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request to declare a major disaster, pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act, as a result of the devastating flooding and severe storms that began on May 21, 2019, and continue across the state.   

Currently, 16 counties are reporting damage from extremely heavy rainfall, both locally and upriver in the Arkansas River system, with multiple levee breaches across the state leaving hundreds of structures still at risk. Governor Hutchinson declared a state of emergency on May 24, 2019, and the counties of Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell has subsequently declared states of emergency. Local, state and federal officials have assisted with evacuations and emergency protective measures in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell counties, and shelters operating in 6 counties are currently housing Arkansans displaced by dangerously high waters.

Simply put, this is a historic flood that demands the immediate attention of the federal government. This unprecedented flooding is something unseen on the Arkansas River before. Preliminary Damage Assessments indicate that over 857 homes have sustained major damage or were destroyed across eight counties, with many not yet experiencing the full impact of the floodwaters. Out of the 1,147 homes assessed thus far, an estimated 97% are uninsured.  It is also estimated that over 20% of those individuals are low income. Our citizens will be in dire need of assistance in order to regain suitable living conditions.  

While Preliminary Damage Assessments have occurred, the Arkansas River has not yet crested. It is anticipated that the number of homes damaged will increase as communities experience further flooding and state and federal teams are able to fully assess the damage across the state. 

The resourcefulness and resilience of Arkansans in recent weeks has been impressive, however, as losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts. Federal government resources are critical in the immediate aftermath of this devastating flooding, and coordination between the federal government and state and local officials is crucial to begin the process of recovery and rebuilding. 

We strongly support Governor Hutchinson’s request for immediate federal assistance through both Individual and Public Assistance. We are eager to assist in any way possible to ensure expedited evaluation of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices with any questions.

We thank you for the support you have already offered, and respectfully ask for your continued attention and assistance in providing the resources necessary to ensure the safety of Arkansans.

 

Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL CHARGES FOR NEW BEGINNINGS HEALTH SERVICES OWNER
Bazzelle lied during investigation
LITTLE ROCK – Last Thursday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced an additional and related charge against the owner and CEO of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services LLC, Chirie Bazzelle.

Bazzelle, 46, of Benton, is accused of giving a false statement to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit during the course of an investigation. During a June 2018 interview, Bazzelle stated that she had no prior knowledge of a letter sent by then-Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson on behalf of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services to the Department of Human Services Division of Behavioral Health requesting she be allowed to operate in Cleveland County. Email documentation proves that Bazzelle reviewed the letter and sent edits to the letter prior to its submission.

In April, Bazzelle was arrested for failing to report contracts with Milton “Rusty” Cranford, Robin Raveendran, and her former husband Michael Grimes who is a convicted felon. She was also accused of continuing the employment of individuals who had been convicted of Medicaid fraud and ignoring additional Medicaid fraud claims of other employees. Bazzelle has been listed as the sole owner of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services in Pulaski County since 2010. Bazzelle was also accused of attempting to evade taxes from January 2014 through February 2019.

“Criminals who steal from Arkansans and lie during investigations must be held accountable,” said Attorney General Rutledge.

In June 2018, Rutledge announced the arrest of Raveendran, former Preferred Family Healthcare Director of Program Integrity and Director of Operations for scamming the Arkansas Medicaid Program of $2.2 million. Raveendran is also a former Senior Auditor with Arkansas’s Medicaid Program Integrity Unit. In August, Rutledge announced the arrest of former Preferred Family Healthcare Director of Billing, Helen Balding, for similar actions. In October, Rutledge announced the arrest of Vicki Chisam who is accused of being an accomplice to Raveendran, Balding and other individuals known and unknown to the Office of the Attorney General.

The Office of the Medicaid Inspector General assisted the Attorney General’s office in this investigation, which will be prosecuted in cooperation with 6th Judicial Prosecutor Larry Jegley.

Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or oag@arkansasag.gov.

 

June 07, 2019

CAMDEN TO CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH
Schedule of events
Friday, June 14
6 p.m. - Juneteenth Jam On talent show (Camden Fairview Middle School)
The classic Jam On talent show from the old school is making its triumphant return during the 2019 Camden Juneteenth Celebration. All singer, rappers, poets, dancers, actors, steppers and comedians are invited!! There are cash prizes for the winners which will be decided by a panel of judges! All music must be edited and all outfits must be appropriate for a family audience. Failure to comply will result in disqualification. Admittance is $5 with all proceeds going towards the Juneteenth Scholarship program.

Sunday June 16 (Carnes Park)
4 p.m. - Juneteenth Car, Bike and Truck Show and Concert (Carnes Park)

Friday June 21
7 p.m. - Juneteenth Parade (Starting at post office, heading east on Washington before turning south on Adams and then turning west on Jackson and ending near the CFIS.)
7:45 p.m. - Kids Block Party (Famers Bank and Trust)
Come out for the annual Camden Juneteenth Parade!! The parade will start at the Post Office on Washington, head east before turning on Adams Street and then turning again on Jackson Street and ending near Divine Antidote. This year will feature several local motorcycle clubs, custom cars, horse, dance teams, church groups, sports teams, greek and social club and organizations. Also tabbed to appear is the Camden Fairview High School State Championship Gymnastics team and the legendary L.C. Buckshot Smith. We want this to be the LOUDEST and most ENTERTAINING parade of the year!!! A children's block party will follow immediately afterwards at the Farmers Bank and Trust parking lot with free food and refreshments, fun activities and a special guest DJ!!!

Saturday June 22 
12 p.m - Juneteenth Health Fair (Camden Fairview Middle School)
12 p.m. and 3 p.m. - African American Landmark Tour and 1st Kansas Colored Regiment Historical Presentation (Starting at Carnes Park and going throughout Camden before ending with presentation at Zion Hill)

CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. The Agenda includes an ordinance abandoning Gallop Street located in the W. L. Ellis Subdivision, a resolution setting the salary of the current City Clerk, a resolution setting a date for a public hearing on a petition to abandon Santa Fe Street located in W. L. Ellis Subdivision, a resolution awarding the bid for the purchase of a 2020 Residential Automated Side Loader and Truck for the Sanitation Division of the Public Works Department, a resolution awarding the bid for the purchase of a 4 New Digital Portable Radios for the Camden Public Works Department and a resolution increasing the compensation for certain employees.

SENATOR COTTON SECURES ARKANSAS MILITARY FAMILY PRIORITIES IN DEFENSE BILL
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chairman of the Airland Subcommittee in the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement on committee passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. Senator Cotton secured dozens of provisions in the annual defense bill, which now awaits consideration by the full United States Senate. Several directly impact Arkansas military families. Click here for an executive summary of the NDAA.

“Military families in Arkansas shoulder much of the responsibility in defending our nation, and we must ensure they’re treated with full respect. I’m pleased that so many of my bills to help Arkansas military families were included in the Senate version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, and I’ll continue fighting for these priorities as we move toward final passage,” said Cotton

Senator Cotton’s provisions address a range of issues, including expanding Arkansas’s State Veterans Cemetery, easing the process of military spouse licensing transfers, supporting U.S. partners in the Indo-Pacific region, improving homeschool inclusion within JROTC programs, and updating burial honors for certain veterans.

  • Allows Military Spouses to Transfer Occupational Licenses: Many Arkansas military spouses struggle with recertifying their occupational licenses as they move from state to state. The Portable Certification of Spouses amendment will improve the portability of occupational licenses. The bill will also help alleviate the burden military spouses bear when having to re-register a small business in a new state each time a service member changes station.
  • Expanded Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery: Ensures we keep our promises to Arkansas veterans who choose to be buried alongside their brothers and sisters in arms by transferring approximately 141 acres from the Army National Guard to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Includes Homeschool Students in Local JROTC Units: Mandates inclusion of homeschooled students residing in the geographic area served by a JROTC unit. The bill ensures that homeschool students who want to participate in JROTC can.
  • Grants Full Military Honors Burial Rites: Allows Medal of Honor and Prisoner of War Medal recipients to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors, regardless of rank.
  • Increases Security in Indo-Pacific Region: Encourages the Department of Defense to establish open-source intelligence fusion centers between the U.S. and the Pacific Island countries. These centers will strengthen our valuable partnership with Pacific Island nations. Arkansas is proud to be home to the largest Marshallese population in the country.

BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION TO HONOR THE NATION’S FIRST RESPONDERS UNANIMOUSLY PASSES U.S. SENATE
Washington, D.C. — United States Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Gary Peters (D-Michigan), Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), and James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), celebrated the unanimous Senate passage of a resolution to designate October 28, 2019, as "Honoring the Nation's First Responders Day."

According to the Department of Homeland Security, an estimated 4.6 million career and volunteer firefighters, police, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics serve communities all across the United States. The resolution encourages Americans to honor our country's first responders with ceremonies and activities to recognize their contributions.

"Historic floods have ravaged my home state of Arkansas, but the rising waters are no match for the brave Arkansas first responders who stepped up to protect their friends and neighbors," said Cotton. "First responders across the nation work tirelessly during times of crisis, often putting their own lives at risk to save others. Although these dedicated professionals deserve appreciation every day, our bill will now officially and properly celebrate their service on October 28th."

"First responders put their lives on the line to keep us safe. That's why it's up to every single one of us to honor their service and their sacrifices," said Warren. "I'm glad the Senate passed our bipartisan resolution to recognize first responders, and I hope Americans view every day as an opportunity to celebrate the courage and strength of these exceptional public servants in our communities."

"Our first responders save countless lives every day, and many tragically pay the ultimate price in the line of duty -- a sacrifice we should never forget. Designating a day to honor their service and sacrifice is the least we can do to express our gratitude," said Johnson.

"First responders are dedicated to protecting our communities, and deserve to be recognized for the sacrifices they have made to keep each and every one of us safe," said Peters. "I'm pleased the Senate passed this bipartisan resolution to honor the heroes in Michigan and across the country who stand ready to help in an emergency."

In 2017, Cotton and Warren worked to pass a similar resolution honoring first responders.

 

JUNE 6, 2019

4-H MEMBERS INFORMATION REGARDING COUNTY AND STATE FAIRS
Any youth between the ages of 5-19 that wish to exhibit livestock as a Ouachita County 4-H member must declare their intention to show with the Ouachita County Extension Office by June13th, 2019. Also, any exhibitor planning to show at state fair must have tags paid for by 4:00 p.m. on June 13th, 2019. Contact Keri Weatherford, 231-1160 or kweatherford@uaex.edu, for more information. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/ equal access/affirmative action institution.

 

Arkansas AG logo

 ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT:
 Use Caution When Giving to Those Affected By the Flood  
 LITTLE ROCK – The record-setting and devastating   flooding in Arkansas means many people are looking for   charities and organizations to assist those who are directly   impacted by the widespread disaster. While there are many organizations collecting money and resources to help fellow Arkansans, there are also some bad actors who are lining their own pockets by posing as legitimate organizations or setting up crowdfunding sites claiming to be giving to those in need.
 
“It is despicable that some are preying on Arkansans in need and taking advantage of our kind-hearted,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “My office will investigate and go after those who choose to lie, cheat and steal.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tip for those considering helping their fellow Arkansans:

  • Do not fall prey to high-pressure sales tactics as they are often the first sign of an unscrupulous and fraudulent charity.
  • Before getting out a checkbook or credit card in response to a phone solicitation, make attempts to determine the validity of the organization by conducting research.
  • Watch out for similar but different organization names as some con artists will use names like those of existing, reputable nonprofits in order to trick consumers.
  • On crowdfunding sites, determine any relation the organizer has to the recipient and who is in control of the withdrawals.
  • Never send cash. Make check or credit card payments for increased security and for tax purposes.
  • If donating via text message, verify the organization’s number prior to sending information.

Also be wary of charities that pop up quickly in response to the recent flooding and other emergencies. Even if they are legitimate, they oftentimes do not have a system in place to get donations to those in need. Consider giving to an established organization which helps disaster victims in the area.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

COTTON, KENNEDY INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO CRACK DOWN ON FENTANYL TRAFFICKERS
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) filed the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act of 2019 today to ensure that sentencing penalties for trafficking fentanyl reflect the deadliness of the drug. This legislation marks a major step toward addressing the nation’s opioid epidemic.

The bill reduces the threshold amount of fentanyl to trigger mandatory minimum sentences for drug traffickers under federal law. Under current sentencing guidelines, a trafficker with two grams of fentanyl is treated the same as a trafficker with five grams of heroin, even though fentanyl is 50 times deadlier.

“Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs there is. It killed nearly 30,000 Americans last year and has been a driving force behind the opioid crisis in the United States. But while the epidemic has spiraled, our drug laws have been stuck in the past. This bill will make sure, when it comes to opioid distribution and trafficking, the punishment fits the crime,” said Cotton.

“The opioid crisis kills more than 175 Americans every single day. Fentanyl and fentanyl analogues play a huge role in our drug epidemic. All it takes is an amount of fentanyl weighing less than a sprinkle of sugar to kill someone,” said Kennedy. “Our sentencing laws have to reflect the potency of this drug in order for us to get it off the streets.”

“Fentanyl is fueling mass suicide,” said Sasse. “Too many of our friends, family, and neighbors are dying deaths of despair. While families, schools, and churches are on the frontlines, there’s an important role for lawmakers: we need to give law enforcement the tools they need to put fentanyl traffickers behind bars.” 

“Fentanyl is deadly, and it is killing Americans every single day,” said Blackburn. “It’s time the punishment fit the crime for these drug traffickers.”

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO BAN RULE-BREAKING CHINESE FIRMS FROM U.S. STOCK EXCHANGES
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced the Ensuring Quality Information and Transparency for Abroad-Based Listings on our Exchanges (EQUITABLE) Act, which would increase oversight of Chinese and other foreign companies listed on American exchanges and delist firms that are out of compliance with U.S. regulators for a period of three years. Rubio previewed the legislation in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. A one pager outlining the legislation is available here.

The legislation will force the Chinese government, which currently blocks U.S. regulators from viewing the full audit reports of publicly traded companies headquartered in Hong Kong and mainland China, to change its behavior. The EQUITABLE Act will ensure investors are better informed about their exposure to financial risks, delist non-compliant issuers of securities, and ban Chinese and other foreign firms that flaunt investor protections and regulatory norms from entering U.S. capital markets. U.S. Representatives Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) introduced companion legislation in the House.

“The Chinese Communist Party shields its prized companies from financial audits and accountability, yet we still allow those companies to be traded on U.S. stock exchanges. If foreign companies want to stay on American exchanges, they need to abide by the same rules everyone else does. Our bill would ensure that foreign companies traded on U.S. stock exchanges provide regulators with information already required by law,” said Cotton. 

“Beijing should no longer be allowed to shield U.S.-listed Chinese companies from complying with American laws and regulations for financial transparency and accountability,” said Rubio. “If China-based companies want to list on stock exchanges or access capital markets in the U.S., we should make them comply with American laws. The EQUITABLE Act makes it clear that there is a price for the Chinese government and Communist Party’s disregard for the rules of responsible economic and financial engagement in international capital markets.”

“It’s time for China’s government and companies to play by the same rules as American companies in our financial markets,” said Menendez. “Our legislation would ensure that foreign companies comply with U.S. accounting regulations. This will stop Chinese firms from hiding behind the Communist Party’s efforts to take advantage of our capital markets by withholding accounting information. U.S. investors trust that both foreign and domestic publicly-listed firms are held to the same standard – and the EQUITABLE Act will make it so.”

“Chinese firms should not be allowed to play by a different set of rules than American companies, yet they are currently allowed to operate on our stock exchanges without the same oversight that American companies have to comply with,” said Gillibrand. “Americans deserve full transparency about the companies listed on our stock exchanges, and I am proud to join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce legislation that would allow U.S. regulators to verify that any foreign company that enters into our market is properly audited. If China refuses to comply with international norms of transparency, then its companies should not have access to the U.S. market.”  

“The Chinese Communist government consistently manipulates the law and our regulations to protect their companies from being held to basic global accounting standards, creating unfair advantages and further encouraging corrupt behavior,” said Conaway. “The EQUITABLE Act is simple: any Chinese company who wishes to be listed on U.S. stock exchanges, or access U.S. capital, should be required to comply with U.S. laws on financial transparency. Beijing shows no apprehension while obstructing attempts to audit Chinese companies or breaking U.S. law. Without the EQUITABLE Act, the Chinese government will only escalate this malicious pattern of conduct.”

“If Chinese companies, or any other foreign firm, want to list on the U.S. stock exchange, they need to follow U.S. financial laws. The Chinese government’s continued attempts to undermine our laws is appalling and displays a pattern of disrespect to the United States. Congress needs to put an end to this,” said Ryan. “I’m proud to join Congressman Conaway and Senators Rubio and Cotton in introducing the EQUITABLE Act. This bipartisan, bicameral bill will rein in China’s deceptive practices and increase financial transparency and accountability.”

“Companies that list on U.S. stock exchanges should have to play by our rules,” said Gallagher. “American investors deserve transparency and accountability when it comes to their hard-earned dollars, and this bipartisan legislation takes important steps to reduce the risks of fraud while also making clear that the United States will not continue to tolerate Chinese financial misbehavior.”

Background:

  • In December 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) issued a joint warning to investors about the challenges American regulators face when attempting to conduct oversight of U.S.-listed companies whose operations are based in China and Hong Kong.
  • While the PCAOB regularly inspects audits of U.S.-listed firms at home and abroad, Beijing consistently and systemically challenges those efforts. For example, Chinese law requires that records remain in China, and the Communist Party routinely restricts access to typical accounting information on the grounds of national security and state secrecy.
  • The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission identified 156 Chinese companies, including 11 state-owned-enterprises, that are listed on America’s three largest exchanges with a combined market capitalization of $1.2 trillion.
  • In March 2018, the influential global index provider MSCI announced that it would quadruple its weighting of Chinese company shares in one of its key index products.
 

JUNE 5, 2019

ARKANSAS TOURISM OPEN FOR BUSINESS AND READY TO HELP MAKE MEMORIES
LITTLE ROCK, AR (June 5, 2019) – Summertime is fun time in Arkansas, and our state is open for business and waiting to welcome you to The Natural State. From our majestic mountains to our sparkling blue recreational waters, Arkansas is ready to help families make new vacation memories.

“The flooding in our state has been challenging for those impacted,” said Jim Shamburger, chairman of the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission. “However, it is isolated and confined to areas along the Arkansas River. The rest of the state is in great shape and our interstate system, including Interstates 30 and 40, are clear for travel.”  

Only Pinnacle Mountain State Park in central Arkansas is currently closed. Arkansas public and private lodging accommodations, federal recreation areas, and outdoor sporting venues are open and ready for your business.  

“No matter the activity – water sports, fishing, biking or road trips – our tourism industry is ready to make this a summer to remember with the outstanding hospitality for which Arkansas is known,” Shamburger said.

Tourism is the second largest industry in Arkansas with an annual economic impact of approximately $7.5 billion and employing more than 116,000 Arkansans.

For more information, go to Arkansas.com and ArkansasStateParks.com.

CABS FREE SEMINAR TO BE HELD IN JUNE
 NEW! Summer Startup Series Workshop #1
*Complete the 3-part series and earn a certificate*
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
The Arkansas Secretary of State's Office Business & Commercial Services (BCS) provides a wide range of services to individuals and companies who conduct business within Arkansas, whether they’re based inside the state or elsewhere. BCS is Arkansas’s starting point for entrepreneurs wishing to transact business in the state. Consumers can search for a unique name for their company as well as file the appropriate document types for their business. In this workshop, you will learn how to navigate the Secretary of State's Office website and how to appropriately register your business.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday,  June 6 at 12:00 at  Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be presented  by Wesley Stewart. She will be talking about “The Call”.

COTTON STATEMENT ON THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF TIANANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE
Washington, D.C. -
 Yesterday,  Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the 30th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre:

"Thirty years ago today, the Chinese Communist Party's tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square, killing thousands of peaceful protestors seeking freedom. We'll never forget the bravery and sacrifice of those Chinese students. The Communist Party hasn't changed in the intervening decades. It has only updated its tactics. In addition to brute force, it now uses digital surveillance, mass detention, brainwashing, and other Orwellian methods to crush the Chinese people. The United States will continue to oppose the evils of the Communist Party."

   Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES NEARLY $72,000                 RESTITUTION FOR SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD
   Says, ‘punish  who receive Social Security benefits based         on  deception and deceit’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced a Sebastian County man has been sentenced for social security fraud.

Carl Smith, 43, from Fort Smith, pleaded guilty in February to one count of making a false statement. He has been sentenced to 13 months in prison, three years on probation and ordered to pay $71,946 in restitution to the Social Security Administration.

“I will not tolerate individuals who commit fraudulent activities to steal from taxpayers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Investigators in my office work closely with federal authorities to crack down and punish criminals who receive Social Security benefits based on deception and deceit.”

Law enforcement officers from the Arkansas Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) Unit conducted the investigation. The CDI Unit is a cooperative effort supported by the Social Security Administration, Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), the Arkansas Attorney General and Arkansas's Disability Determination for Social Security Administration (DDSSA). The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carly Marshall from the Office of United States Attorney Duane Kees.

Two special agents and an analyst from the Attorney General’s Office are assigned to Arkansas’s CDI Unit which began operation in October 2015 as a state and local cooperative effort funded by the Social Security Administration. The mission of the CDI Unit is to combat fraud by investigating questionable statements and activities of claimants, medical providers, interpreters or other service providers who facilitate or promote disability fraud.

 

June 04, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
Residential Burglary, Robbery, Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Theft of Property Under $1000.00, and Battery 3rd.
On June 2, 2019 around 12 noon, Camden Police Department was dispatched to 310 Johnson in reference to a residential burglary report. Dispatch advised the reporting party stated Dhasia Wade had kicked their door in and kidnapped Desaray Clarke. CPD made contact with Desaray Clarke and Wilson Rogers 3rd, Desaray’s boyfriend. Clarke stated she was inside the residence when she heard a loud bang to the front door, and two black females later identified as Wade and Takira Burnell came inside and begin to attack her. Clarke stated she was punched in the face/head multiple times and also hit in the head multiple times with the hilt of a fixed blade knife Wade was carrying. Wade reportedly then drug her outside the residence by her hair. She went on to say the two girls drug her down the street toward Carver Street and began dragging her down Carver toward Stewart Street towards their parked car. Clarke was placed in the car and the girls put her on Facebook Live saying they had kidnapped her, and where going to kill her and take her back to where she was from. Clarke said they stopped at a gas station, and that's when she noticed her boyfriend, Rogers, pull up to the same gas station.

Clarke said Wade ran out of the store and began trying to leave with her still in the car, but Rogers was able to stop her by ramming Wade's car with his own and disabling it. Clarke said she ran an got into Rogers' car. Wade then got out and jumped on the hood of the car with a knife. Clarke said they drove off and the woman fell of the hood, and they went back to 310 Johnson and called the police.

Rogers stated Wade had called him telling him she needed to meet her at the park, and made it seem like it was an emergency, so he went to go meet her at the park to see what was wrong. He stated after he got to the park, he got a call from Wade saying that she had Clarke. Rogers said he just so happened to have driven by the gas station and was able to see Wade's car. He then blocked her off to try and prevent her from leaving and began telling Clarke to get into his car. He said Wade ran from out of the store and began backing up trying to get away, so he hit the front tire of the car trying to prevent it from leaving. Rogers went on to say Clarke got into his car, and Wade got out and jumped on his hood with a knife yelling and screaming. Rogers said he drove away trying to get away from Wade, and while doing so Wade fell off the car. He said he then brought Clarke to 310 Johnson where he called the police.

The Officer asked Rogers how long Wade had not been living with him, and he said they broke up a couple months ago and she had been living in Arkadelphia for the past two months he thought.  Clarke said Wade had a kitchen knife and had threatened to use it on her while she was being dragged to the car and inside it. She went on to say Wade had put the knife to her throat, and that was why she didn't fight back or try to run away at first. She also mentioned Wade and Burnell had stolen her blue Motorola cell phone from her, and still had possession of it.

Both Rogers and Wade completed a voluntary written statement sheet. Another witness named Roberta Samuels, who also observed the incident and possibly had a video of what happened.

Contact was made with Samuels who did in fact record the incident on Snapchat. Samuels agreed to let Police record the video she took. In the video it’s observed Wade and Burnell get out of their car which was parked on Carver near Stewart walking toward Johnson. Once on Johnson it’s observed both Wade and Burnell go inside 310 Johnson. They both are inside for a short period of time, and both later came out with Wade dragging Clarke by her hair out the front door. Wade stopped and hands some items to Burnell then proceeded to punch Clarke several times in the face yelling at her "Let's go Bitch" several times, and "Move your ass or I'm going to hit you again." Both Wade and Burnell then drug Clarke down to Carver Street toward their parked car near Stewart and forced Clarke into the car. Samuels then videoed the front of the house where she saw that the door had been kicked in. She then talked to Rogers and tells him of what just happened. Samuels stated Wade and Burnell had a small kitchen knife with them also.

Samuels also completed a voluntary written statement, and the recorded Snapchat video was also turned over to Camden Police Department.

Photos of the front door and the residence where also taken and later uploaded to CID.

Both Wade and Burnell were taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. They were both booked in for Residential Burglary, Robbery, Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Theft of Property Under $1000.00, and Battery 3rd.


Public Intoxication
On June 1, 2019 at 5:45 am Officer Daniel Hughes along with Officer Kayla Reynolds and Sergeant Bush were dispatched to 1500 Vickie St. in reference to someone banging on the side of the residence. Friday Mat

Upon arrival, Officer Hughes observed Officer Reynolds talking to two male subjects, identified as Donald and Richard Stover, outside of the house.

The subjects stated they came here from Monroe, LA to check on their friend who lives at 1500 Vickie. Officer Hughes could smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from both subjects as they spoke. The subjects also kept repeating themselves over and over and slurring some of their words. The subjects were becoming very agitated the longer we were there with them. I t was apparent both subjects were intoxicated. Donald Stover stated they could not go anywhere because they had been drinking.

The Reporting Party came outside and stated she did not know they were coming and she didn’t  want them at her house.

The two subjects stated they just wanted to see their friend and make sure he was okay.

Their friend came outside and stated the two subjects were his friends but he did not know they were going to come to his house. The man stated he has been sick but told the two subjects they needed to go.

The two subjects made it apparent they were not going anywhere, so they were both taken into custody for public intoxication and transported to the Camden Police Department where booking procedures were completed.

The two were later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center for a 12-hour hold. Later, Richard and Donald Stover were both released with a criminal citation for Public Intoxication and given the District Court.

Possession of a controlled substance, Schedule VI, with purpose of deliver (Less than 14grams) 
On May 30, 2019 at approximately of 10:54 pm Sergeant Brian Finney was traveling south on Cash Road when noticed a white Ford F-150 that matched the description of a recent call concerning suspicious activity in the neighborhood. The Officer conducted a registration check on the vehicle and the tags displayed did not return to the vehicle.

Sergeant Finney initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Dejzwan Thrower. Thrower was informed as to why he had been stopped. When asked for his license, Thrower stated the he did not have a license. While speaking with Thrower,  the Officer noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

A search of the vehicle was conducted, and Sergeant Finney located a set of digital scales, plastic baggies, and approximately 11 grams of marijuana in individual baggies.

Thrower was taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. Booking procedures were completed and he was charged with driving on a suspended license, failure to register, and Possession of a controlled substance, Schedule VI, with purpose of deliver (Less than 14grams ). Thrower was released with a citation and court date before being released.

OUACHITA COUNTY SHERIFF’S REPORTS
On June 1st at at about 9:23 am Deputy Zach Craig was dispatched to the Red Hill United Methodist Church located at 781 Ouachita 22 in Chidester in reference to criminal mischief. The reporting party said that she was visiting a cemetery behind the church. When she was leaving, she noticed glass broken form the side window on the church. The broken glass, window screen and a wooden cross was sitting under the window The woman said the wooden cross was in the back of the church he last time she was there on Sunday, May 25th. Deputy Craig looked around the church but didn’t notice any other damage. The reporting party said she didn’t notice anything missing from the church. The front side door wasn’t locked, and the reporting party said that that door was rarely used and she didn’t know if the door was locked or unlocked on Sunday, May 15th when the church was last occupied. A report will be on file at the Sheriff’s Office.

On June 2nd at about 6:12 am Deputy Zach Craig was dispatched to Spoon bin landing in reference to a Vehicle mishap. The Deputy arrived and made contact with Johnathan Schofer who said he was backing his boat into the river with his pickup. He said he engaged the parking brake once the boat was in the water. He went on to say that when he got out of the vehicle, it began to roll back into the river. Schofer stated that he got back in the truck to stop it, but the truck was already taking in water. He stated once the truck was pulled out of the water, it wouldn’t start. Schoffer had a valid insurance police at the time of the incident. Schofer was advised a report would be on file at the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office.

On June 2nd at 12:27 am Deputy Jared Brownlee received information that Tabetha Crouse, who was known to have a felony warrant, was seen at EZ Mart in Chidester. The Officer got a description of the car along with a tag number. By the time the Officer got to the store, Crouse was gone. Officer Brownlee parked near EZMart. Within just a few minutes the Silver Buick returned to the store. Crouse was identified by the Officer. The vehicle left the lot of EZ Mart and began to travel on Ouachita Road 23. The Officer could see there was a driver and 3 passengers in the car. He decided to follow them until back-up arrived. After a few minutes the suspect vehicle tuned int o the driveway of 3087 Ouachita 25. Crouse immediately exited the vehicle and began to run. The Officer found Crouse hiding under a truck. She was placed in custody for felony warrants out of Ouachita County. Deputy Vaughan had arrived on scene and was checking the others that were in the car for warrants. One suspect gave a false name and birthdate several times. Officer Vaughan knew the suspect looked familiar and then remembered arresting the subject shoes name was Anthony Antonio Jones. Jones had felony warrant with the ADC. ADC advised that they would extradite Jones. Crouse and Jones were taken to the Ouachita county Sheriff’s Office. Crouse was charged with fleeing on foot. Jones was charged with Obstruction.

On Friday, May 31st at about 5:06 pm, Deputy Justin Creech s poke wih a man via a telephone call in reference to a theft. The man told Deputy Creech that he had some property stolen from his hunting lease on Ouachita Road 3. He said he had last seen the property in question in late February or early March. The man went on to say he went to the property on Monday, May 27th and noticed the missing property.  He told the Deputy that a camouflage hunting blind, a game camera, two folding chairs, a camouflage cooler and a set of Binoculars was missing. The victim stated that he did not have any idea of a possible suspect. Deputy Creech advised that a report would be on file at the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office.

DRAFT CEDS (COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY) DRAFT AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: JUNE 30TH!
The Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District, Inc. has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration to prepare a 5 year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the 12 county region of southwest Arkansas which includes Calhoun, Columbia, Dallas, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Sevier, and Union counties. A CEDS is a strategy-driven plan for economic development resulting from a regionally owned planning process designed to build capacity and guide the economic prosperity and resiliency of a region. 

 The DRAFT CEDS will be available to the public for review and comment beginning June 1, 2019 through noon on June 30, 2019. The DRAFT CEDS can be viewed at southwestarshines.org.

All comments should be emailed to info@southwestarshines.org. A hard copy will be made available upon request.   

Any questions should be directed to Renee Dycus, Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District, P.O. Box 767, 101 Harvey Couch Boulevard, Magnolia, AR 71754. Send email inquiries to renee.dycus@arkansas.gov or call (870) 235-7517.


BON BAGUETTE WORKSHOP JUNE 29-30

SAAC is offering an exciting culinary opportunity for aspiring bakers in conjunction with its summer musical production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. El Dorado native Chef Lilli Ellen will be teaching two afternoons of French bread and pastry techniques in her “Bon Baguette” class.

The “hands on” classes will be held on June 29 and 30, from 1:00-4:00pm each day. Chef Ellen will demonstrate a rustic baguette during the class on Saturday and a delicate French pastry dough, pate a choux, and pastry cream for eclairs during the Sunday afternoon class. Participants will take home their fresh baked creations each day to lucky family and friends!piring bakers in conjunction with its summer musical production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. El Dorado native Chef Lilli Ellen will be teaching two afternoons of French bread and pastry techniques in her “Bon Baguette” class.

“Le petit boulangerie d’amusement is French for ‘fun little bakery’ and that’s what we will be those two afternoons,” Chef Ellen said about the class. “I love bread making. It can be as hard or as simple as you want it to be.”

Chef Ellen attended the Culinary Institute of America, the country’s oldest and most prestigious culinary school, which she added, was a fun but challenging experience. Her extensive culinary resume includes pre and post education experience as a cook, chef and baker. She has at least 4000 baguettes to her credit so she is the perfect instructor to lead this dough adventure.

After some traveling around and working in different kitchens to give her some experience, Chef Ellen now resides in El Dorado and is the new Chef Director of the Culinary Arts Program at South Arkansas Community College, which will begin in August.

The Bon Baguette French bread and pastry workshop is $55 for the two days of classes. For more information or to register, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474.

SAAC TO OFFER BROADWAY CAMP AND THEATER CAMP
The South Arkansas Arts Center wants to enrich your children's summer with two camps designed for stage and theatre loving kids! Register now in the SAAC office for Broadway Camp and Theatre Camp so they will be assured of a spot for these incredible experiences, taught by professional actors, dancers and singers. SAAC's summer camps are sponsored by First Financial Bank.

D. Brent Miller, visiting musical director for "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", and assistant director Hannah Davis will lead Broadway Camp, "A Week on Fifth Avenue", June 17-22 for grades 7-12. The camp will be held from 8:00-12:00pm each day with a performance on Saturday, August 22 at 2:00pm in the Callaway Theater.

Travel to the world within a world that is theatre this summer. Join them as they embark upon this adventure into musical theater. Explore how Broadway themes of light and dark impact the theatre experience as we sing our way through the shows.

"I'm really excited about this whole camp experience this year," said Miller. "We're going to explore several different shows, looking at how the creators of the pieces told a story within a song to paint one cohesive work. We will be looking at ‘Hamilton', ‘Sweeney Todd', 'A Chours Line', 'Aida', 'Finding Neverland', 'Come From Away', and ‘Company', among others. This is going to be an amazing experience, and I just cannot wait to dive in!"

Theatre Camp will be offered July 29-August 2 for grades 2-9. Grades 2-5 will meet from 8:00- 12:00 and grades 6-9 will meet from 1:00-5:00pm each day. The kids will say "au revoir" to the boredom of summer as they are transported to Paris and the music and story of Quasimodo, Esmerelda, and all the great characters from this summer's main stage production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" with visiting director Kristen Blossom and SAAC kids' drama instructor Hannah Davis. Your camper will have unforgettable experiences singing, dancing, acting and more, with a performance of "The Topsy Turvy Review" on Friday evening at 5:30pm.

All camp fees are $110 for SAAC members and the out of town guests of current members. New and renewing students will require an additional $25 student membership, which is good for discounts on classes and programming for one full year at SAAC. Fees are non-refundable. Class sizes are limited and will be filled on a first come basis.

For more information about these camps, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

 

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON APPROVES $100,000 IN EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR FLOOD RESPONSE
LITTLE ROCK –  Governor Asa Hutchinson was briefed on Sunday morning on the flooding along the Arkansas River that has begun in western Arkansas and is expected to reach record levels throughout the state in the coming week. Governor Hutchinson has approved $100,000 in emergency funding to assist with support efforts.

“This morning, the Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, and Arkansas State Police provided me with a detailed briefing about the state's ongoing support efforts in communities experiencing record flood levels along the Arkansas River," Governor Hutchinson said. "I have received a number of requests for aid from communities, and I immediately approved the release of $100,000 of emergency funds to support sandbagging work. 

"I appreciate all the neighbors and volunteers filling sandbags and assisting with evacuations. The state team is continuing to respond to assistance requests, and more funds will be allocated as the situation demands.”

June 03, 2019

SPRINGDALE MAN IDENTIFIED IN PURSUIT & I-49 SHOOTING INCIDENTS – CHARGES FILED
Jaime Leonel Reinosa-Salguero, 43, of Springdale, has been identified as the individual who fled from Arkansas State Troopers on May 29th along Interstate 49.

Reinosa-Salguero, who was wounded in the exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers, has been charged with attempted capital murder and felony fleeing.  He remains hospitalized in Washington County and his medical condition is reported to be stable.

While the Arkansas State Police continues to conduct an internal administrative review of the officer involved shooting, both federal and local law enforcement agencies are investigating at least two other incidents in which Reinosa-Salguero is a suspect.  The investigations involve an Alma bank robbery and an attempted carjacking.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are also preparing a use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer investigative file that will be turned-over to the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney, who will determine whether the use of force by state troopers was consistent with Arkansas law.

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM COURT TO MEET
The Ouachita County Quorum Court will meet in regular session Tuesday, June 4th at 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held in Courtroom A at the Ouachita County Courthouse located at 145 Jefferson street SW in Camden. The agenda includes an Appropriation Ordinance to appropriate funds in the jail operating fund, jail and sheriff budgets, an appropriation Ordinance to appropriate funds in the road fund, highway budget and a Resolution appointing members to the Ouachita County Historic Commission.

CASA HOSTS FUNDRAISER LUNCHEON
The 13th Judicial District CASA North Program is having a spaghetti luncheon on Thursday, June 6th from 11:00 to 1:00 at the Camden First Presbyterian Church located at 313 Greening St. in Camden. Dine in, carry out, and delivery will be available.

Meal includes Chicken Spaghetti or Spaghetti with Marinara, Green Beans, Roll, dessert, and Water. All for only $10.00. You can preorder today by calling 870-818-8284 or 870-574-4433.

All proceeds benefit the 13th Judicial District CASA North Program and the abused and neglected children served!

CARNES PARK POOL HOURS
The City of Camden Public Works Department has announced the hours of operation for the Carnes Park Swimming Pool for Summer 2019. The pool will be open Tuesday through Saturday from Noon to 6:00 pm and on Sunday from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm if weather permits. Call 870-836-6436 for more information.

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Teresa Roark from the Chemical Dependency Unit at OCMC.  She will talk about the services they offer.

May 31, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORT
On May 28, 2019 at 6:15 am Detective Alec Faulkner was dispatched to John Street for a hang up 911 call. Prior to his arrival Sgt. Elliott and Officer VanAssche arrived in the area and observed the front door of 720 John Street standing open. Officer VanAssche made contact with Tyrel Johnson. When Detective Faulkner arrived, he made contact with Jennifer McKinney who was standing in the doorway of the residence. McKinney was asked to provide identification which she could not provide. McKinney was asked to provide her name and date of birth. McKinney initially provided a name of Jennifer Johnson, a date of birth of September 1, 1982, and advised her identification was from Ohio. Dispatch was unable to get a return on the information provided. Eventually McKinney gave the Officer two separate last names of Gulley and McKinney with a date of birth of September 1, 1983. Using this information dispatch was able to locate McKinney in ACIC which showed she had a valid warrant for her arrest with the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office for Violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law.

While at the residence Officer Faulkner smelled a strong chemical odor emitting from inside of the residence. He saw a mattress laying on the floor in the living room of the residence. The residence appeared to be in disorder. The Office then saw a 5 years old boy walk into the living room wearing nothing but a shirt. The child walked around the living room without any underwear on while Officers attempted to identify McKinney through ACIC. The backyard was strewn with debris. Officer VanAssche arrested Tyrel Johnson in front of the residence for a valid warrant for his arrest. Johnson was searched and methamphetamine was found on his person.

McKinney was placed into custody pursuant to the warrant and was transported to the station. Booking procedures were completed and McKinney was later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Complex where she was transferred to the custody of the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office.

The report did not list the charges given to the two.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: BEWARE OF FLOOD INSURANCE SCAMS
LITTLE ROCK – As Arkansas experiences historic flooding and damage, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge warns Arkansans to beware of flood insurance scam artists who will look to steal your money in the midst of the chaos. As the most common natural disaster, flooding can strike at any time, and flood insurance is available to defray the costs of repair and property loss. Flood insurance, however, requires advance preparation and despite what scam artists may say, it cannot be purchased as a quick fix to ongoing flood disasters.
 
“My heart aches for the many who have and will suffer losses as the Arkansas River continues to rise to record levels this week,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Scam artists see disaster as an opportunity to steal from those in need. Remember, there are insurance options to help Arkansans navigate future threats of flooding disasters, but consumers should be mindful of the limitations and requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program.” 
 
Rutledge released the following tips to help consumers considering flood insurance as an option to protect their property:

  • Flood insurance policies are not instantly effective and generally require 30 days before they become effective;
  • Consult with an insurance agent to purchase a flood insurance policy, and beware of insurance agents that accept the filing of a claim before purchasing a policy;
  • Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not include flood insurance, and flood insurance must be purchased as a separate policy;
  • Properties that have been flooded in the past may obtain flood insurance policies;
  • The price of flood insurance may vary based upon the risk of flooding at the property location.

Consumers who have additional questions about flood insurance should contact the Arkansas Attorney General's office at (800) 482-8982 or (501) 682-2007 or the Arkansas Insurance Department at (800) 282-9134 or (501) 371-2600.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program, and provides answers to specific questions at https://www.floodsmart.gov/faqs.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

STATE AGENCIES HELPING WITH ARKANSAS RIVER FLOODING NORTH LITTLE ROCK— The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) continues to be activated at Level I today in response to rising water levels and expected flooding along the Arkansas River. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) has operated at full activation daily since Saturday, May 25.

ADEM provides the physical location for the SEOC. Staff coordinate requests from county governments with state agencies who provide the resources and support to the community. Here are a few examples of state agencies in action making sure that citizens remain safe:

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is closely monitoring the status of roads as the river waters rise. Rising water that covers roadways makes roads impassable. Barriers are set up and signs are posted. State highways that are closed are marked on the department’s website, idrivearkansas.com. Citizens are encouraged to look at this website to determine the best routes to drive until the flood waters recede and repairs are made if needed. A call center has been established that operates daily between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to assist travelers navigate around detours. Remember - turn around, don’t drown.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission is conducting drone flights along the levees of the Arkansas River. Their staff provides reports of waters progress towards covering up a levee or if a levee is leaking. This provides valuable information to other state agencies and county officials as they determine how to address water issues.

The Department of Human Services is working with county officials, Red Cross and churches in communities to establish shelters for those who need to leave their homes because of the flood waters. They are also working with communities to set up locations for those who want to donate to the citizens that have been affected by the floods.

The Arkansas National Guard is providing high water rescue teams to help with residents who need to leave their property because of flood waters. They are also helping transport sand bagging machines to counties to fill sand bags to protect property and roads. Sandbag operations are currently being conducted in three counties.

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES JUDGMENT FOR FIRST-EVER HIPAA RELATED DATA BREACH
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge yesterday announced that the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Indiana signed the consent judgment negotiated by 16 state attorneys general and Medical Informatics Engineering Inc. The lawsuit, led by Indiana and Arkansas, was first filed in December of 2018 against a web-based electronic health records company based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The company allegedly sustained a data breach compromising the data of more than 3.9 million people. Arkansas will receive a $112,950 payment due to the defendants’ conduct.

Arkansans have enough to worry about in their daily lives, but protecting their deeply personal health insurance information should never be a concern,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Technology is rapidly changing and protecting users from data breaches must always be a top priority for companies as they expand their reach and platform. Today’s historic multistate action reaffirms our dedication to consumer protection.”

The lawsuit resolved allegations that Medical Informatics Engineering and NoMoreClipboard LLC violated provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as state claims including unfair and deceptive practice laws, notice of data breach statutes, and state personal information protection acts.

Between May 7, 2015, and May 26, 2015, hackers infiltrated WebChart, a web application run by Medical Informatics Engineering. The hackers stole the electronic protected health information of more than 3.9 million individuals – including individual names, telephone numbers, mailing addresses, usernames, hashed passwords, security questions and answers, spousal information (name and potentially dates of birth), email addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, lab results, health insurance policy information, diagnoses, disability codes, doctors’ names, medical conditions, and children’s names and birth statistics. This case was the nation’s first-ever multistate lawsuit involving a HIPAA-related data breach.

ARKANSAS DELEGATION APPLAUDS EMERGENCY DECLARATION FOR STATE FROM FLOODING AND SEVERE STORMS WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—announced that President Donald Trump has issued an emergency declaration for Arkansas, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide assistance for emergency protective measures for 16 counties: Arkansas, Chicot, Conway, Crawford, Desha, Faulkner, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell.

“We are pleased with President Trump’s quick response for federal assistance to Arkansas. This declaration is critical to protecting Arkansans, preventing further damage and improving public safety,” members said.

On Wednesday, the Arkansas Congressional Delegation wrote a letter to President Trump and other administration officials urging them to support Governor Asa Hutchinson’s call for an emergency declaration.

COTTON, HYDE-SMITH INTRODUCE BILL TO HELP PRIVATE FOREST RECOVER FROM DISASTERS
Washington, D.C.
– With one-third of forest land in the United States held by family owners who currently have little recourse for relief following floods, wildfires, and other disasters, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi) introduced legislation to amend the tax code to support recovery work.  The measure is cosponsored by Senators Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida).

The Forest Recovery Act (S.1687) would amend the U.S. tax code to establish a special rule for losses of uncut timber following natural disasters.  Providing a tax deduction for casualty losses would not only help landowners recover, but also encourage investment in reforesting damaged acres.

“More than half of Arkansas is forestland that supports thousands of jobs and contributes to the state’s natural beauty.  This bill will benefit Arkansas’s many family forest landowners and encourage the rehabilitation of our forests after natural disasters,” said Cotton.

“Not allowing these timber interests, many of whom are family-owned small business operations, to recover their losses doesn’t help anyone—not them, the local economy, or the environment,” said Hyde-Smith.  “My bill would create an opportunity to make this right.”

“Mississippi’s millions of acres of forests are our state’s second largest agricultural product by value but are not eligible for tax relief in case of disaster,” said Wicker. “This proposal would provide landowners much-needed relief in the event of a catastrophe and encourage the return of this land to active production.

“Hurricane Michael devastated Northwest Florida’s timber industry,” said Rubio.  “I am glad to join my colleagues in proposing legislation to ensure that future timber losses due to natural disasters, like Hurricane Michael, will receive needed tax relief.” 

"The nation's family forest owners are grateful for the support of Senator Hyde-Smith in introducing legislation that can help them better care for their forests today and in the future,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation.

“There are more than 20 million families and individuals who own and care for the largest portion of U.S. forests, providing all Americans with important resources such as wildlife habitat, clean air and water, and wood for homes and products we use every day.  When disasters like hurricanes and wildfires strike, family forest owners do not have access to affordable insurance like most farmers, yet face similar significant economic losses.  We applaud Senator Hyde-Smith for addressing these important issues for family forest owners with the introduction of the Forest Recovery Act,” said Martin.

BACKGROUND:
The legislation would adjust current tax law, which restricts casualty loss deductions to losses incurred in federally-declared disaster areas.  Even when wildfires or floods do not result in a formal disaster designation, federal crop insurance coverage is unavailable for forest lands, and there are no affordable private insurance products. 

Specifically, the Forest Recovery Act would:

  • Modify the tax deduction for casualty losses to establish special rules for losses of uncut timber;
  • Establish that basis used for determining the amount of the deduction in cases of uncut timber losses from fire, storm, other casualty, or theft may not be less than the excess of the fair market value of the uncut timber determined immediately before the loss was sustained over the salvage value of the timber;
  • Apply the special rule only if (1) the timber was held for the purpose of being cut and sold and (2) the uncut timber subject to the loss is reforested within five years of the loss; and 
  • Exempt casualty losses from uncut timber from the rule restricting the deduction for personal casualty losses to losses attributable to a federally declared disaster.

BOOZMAN JOINS GOVERNOR & MEMBERS OF THE ARKANSAS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION FOR AERIAL TOUR OF FLOODING
LITTLE ROCK
– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined Governor Asa Hutchinson and members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation for an aerial tour of Arkansas River flooding.

“Historic flooding has left many communities along the Arkansas River unrecognizable. This is one of the worst natural disasters in our state’s history, but we can be proud of the resolve that Arkansans have demonstrated to face this challenge. This continues to be a dangerous situation and we are fortunate to have the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, law enforcement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Arkansas National Guard and many other organizations and individuals who are closely monitoring the water levels, levees and dams and are ready to respond to potential emergencies,” Boozman said.

The tour allowed Boozman and other elected leaders to see the record flooding at Toad Suck, Dardanelle, Ozark, Trimble Lock and Dam, Van Buren and Fort Smith.

Boozman plans to continue surveying flood damage on the ground Friday.

On Wednesday, the Arkansas Congressional Delegation sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to support the governor’s request for a federal disaster declaration.

MAY 30, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
Commercial Burglary

Theft of Property
On May 27, 2019 at 8:20 am Detective Alec Faulkner was dispatched to Wal-Mart for a shoplifter. Elizabeth Huff with Asset Protection advised the shoplifter was a black male wearing a brown shirt and camouflage hat. The Officer arrived and observed a subject, who matched the description provided, walking toward California A venue from the Wal-Mart parking lot. As Officer Faulkner approached the subject, he recognized him as Billy Holmes. The Officer knew that Holmes was on the ban list as there had been numerous dealings with Holmes at Wal-Mart. Holmes was stopped and Dispatch advised that Holmes was on the ban list. The Officer placed Holmes into custody for Criminal Trespass.

Officer Jacob VanAssche had arrived on scene and met with Huff inside Wal Mart where he gathered information while Officer Faulkner dealt with Holmes. Officer VanAssche told Officer Faulkner that he had learned that Holmes had tried to walk out with a beer and was stopped by Wal-Mart employees as he did not have a receipt. a receipt. Officer Faulkner was also advised after being stopped, Holmes drank the beer inside of the store. With the new information Officer Faulkner changed Holmes's charge to Commercial Burglary. Holmes was transported to the station without incident.

Officer Faulkner conducted a follow up  with Huff after transporting Holmes to the station. Huff stated Holmes came into the store and got a motorized cart and then drove to the isle where the beer was located. Holmes placed a 32oz Corona Familiar, priced at $3.72,  in his basket along with a six pack of Coors Light 16oz cans valued at $7.98. He drove the cart to the frozen isle where he parked the cart and left the store for a moment. He came back into the store and grabbed a bag which he took back to the cart and  placed the bottles in the.bag. He then attempted to ride the cart out of the store without paying. Holmes was stopped by a worker and was asked 'to produce a receipt. Huff said Holmes stated "let me go get it" and turned around driving the cart away. While driving the cart away from the door Holmes opened one of the 16oz Coors Light cans and began to chug it. Holmes drank half of the can before he left the store.

Booking procedures were completed and Holmes was later taken to the Ouachita County Detention Complex awaiting first appearance.

There have been four other cases of shoplifting reported in Camden the past week.

ELDORADO MAN KILLED IN ACCIDENT
The Arkansas State Police responded to a two-vehicle accident near Smackover.

According to preliminary reports the accident happened about 9:20 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28th.  53-year-old Tony Sims was driving a 2007 Ford Fusion at Arkansas 7 and Arkansas 172 near Smackover when he pulled in front of a pick-up truck while attempting to cross the intersection. Sims suffered fatal injuries.

The truck was driven by an unidentified 24-year-old driver. The driver of the pick-up was taken to the Medical Center of South Arkansas. The report did not note the extent of his injuries.

According to the report, both men reside in El Dorado. The weather clear and roads were dry at the time of the accident.

JUNTEENTH EVENT WILL CELEBRATE HISTORY THROUGH EDUCATION AND FAMILY EVENTS

Little Rock- The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission in partnership with the McGehee MLK Committee will host the 2019 Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 15, 2019, 11:00 AM 6:00 PM, Burgess and Gregory Park 103 Park, McGehee, Arkansas, 71654 The event which is free and open to the public will feature live entertainment, historical re-enactments, kids’ zone, free food and giveaways. Juneteenth commemorates the 1865 announcement of the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America. 

“Every time we come to Southeast Arkansas, I am inspired by the enthusiasm and pride that these Arkansans have for their community. We hosted a “Back to School Bash” and the community service was so overwhelming that we decided to sponsor the MLK Committee’s Juneteenth Celebration. Southeast Arkansas has so much culture and history and I am proud to assist these fine individuals in bringing light to the jewels right here in McGehee,” says DuShun Scarbrough, Executive Director. 

“As a new Commissioner, I am looking forward to this event. This is an opportunity to give our youth something to do, something educational and positive. We need these types of events here in Southeast Arkansas. Many of our youth lack positive influence and we have to set the example for them that we want them to model, says Reverend Charles Killion, Commissioner, Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. “It all starts with us, we have to lead the way in sharing our history and expectations for youth.” 

“We are looking forward to this event which is important for the McGehee community, says Reverend Leroy Hood,” McGehee MLK Committee, one of the event organizers. Beyond King Holiday, Dr. King would want communities to continue efforts to build relationships and promote service.” 

The family friendly event is free and open to the public. For more information contact Reverend Leroy Hood, McGehee MLK Committee or DuShun Scarbrough at 888-290-KING. 

WESTROCK COFFEE COMPANY ANNOUNCES ARKANSAS PLANT EXPANSION DUE TO CUSTOMER GROWTH
Little Rock, Ark. (May 29, 2019) – WESTROCK COFFEE COMPANY, a vertically-integrated coffee supply and service provider, is expanding its North Little Rock, Arkansas-based roasting and packaging plant.

Westrock Coffee is pleased to announce it is expanding its manufacturing facility in North Little Rock as part of a $50 million financing to meet growing customer demand and address emerging customer needs. This includes product manufacturing for Arkansas-based Walmart, Inc. for coffee items under Walmart’s Great Value brand and Sam’s Club Member’s Mark brand. 

“This is an exciting time for Westrock Coffee and marks a huge milestone for the company, our employees, community, and customers who will all benefit from the opportunities this expansion presents,” said Scott Ford, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “We are experiencing unprecedented customer growth that requires our physical plant expansion and increased production capacity. This expansion will add more than 60 full-time employees, bringing our total Arkansas-based employees to more than 130 and our global employees to approximately 400.”

Out of our North Little Rock facility, Westrock Coffee roasts, grinds, packages, and delivers branded and private-label coffee in bags, fractional packs, and single serve cups to customers in retail, hospitality, and other distribution channels in the USA, Europe, and Asia. 

Westrock Coffee’s physical facilities expansion was aided by the strong support received from the Governor’s office, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Pulaski County, Mayor Joe Smith of the city of North Little Rock, and First Security Bank.

“The success of Westrock Coffee shows that a great idea can become a game changer in any industry,” said Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Executive Director Mike Preston. “We are proud to support a homegrown company that has found its niche and is on the rise thanks to a proven business model and delicious product.”

About the company:

Westrock Coffee Company is a farmer-focused, fully-integrated, global coffee company providing coffee sourcing, supply chain management, roasting, and distribution services to customers around the world. Westrock Coffee builds ethical and sustainable coffee supply chains from the farmer to the end consumer. 

Through our green coffee trading team based in the United Kingdom, we source, finance, and manage the logistics of green coffee through sustainable supply chains from more than 21 producing countries. We also have teams at origin – working hand-in-hand with smallholder coffee farmers - in Rwanda, Peru, Uganda, and Ethiopia. This combination makes Westrock Coffee Company one of the largest, fully integrated coffee supply chains in the world today.

COTTON ANNOUNCES FLOOD ASSISTANCE FOR AFFECTED ARKANSANS AND SUPPORT FOR EMERGENCY DECLARATION
Washington, D.C.— As Arkansas faces historic flooding, Senator Cotton and his office are ready to assist affected Arkansans. Arkansans who need assistance dealing with federal agencies can contact Senator Cotton’s office at (501) 223-9081.

“We’re facing historic, devastating floods along the Arkansas River, and the biggest danger may be yet to come. In the next day, I’ll meet with affected Arkansans and tour the worst-hit areas along with Governor Hutchinson and other officials. My office stands ready to assist any Arkansan threatened by these historic floods. Arkansans are strong and resilient. We’ll rebuild together,” said Cotton.

Senator Cotton and the Arkansas delegation have asked President Trump to support Governor Hutchinson’s request declare a Federal Emergency in Arkansas.

ARKANSAS DELEGATION SUPPORTS GOVERNOR'S REQUEST FOR  DISASTER DECLARATION
WASHINGTON -U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Representatives Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—sent a letter to President Donald Trump and  administration officials urging them to support Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a federal disaster declaration due to extensive damage as a result of continued flooding and recent severe storms in the state.  

“The resourcefulness and resilience of Arkansans in recent days has been impressive; however, as losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts,” members wrote in the letter.

The following is the full text of the delegation’s letter of support:

Dear Mr. President: 

On behalf of the State of Arkansas, we are writing to support Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request to declare a major disaster, pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act, as a result of the recent devastating flooding and severe storms across the state.   

Currently, 15 counties are reporting damage from extremely heavy rainfall, both locally and upriver in the Arkansas River system, with multiple levee breaches across the state. Voluntary evacuations are currently underway across at least four counties, with shelters opening in the cities of Fort Smith, Conway, Altheimer and Wright. These facilities can only take in 755 Arkansans displaced by dangerously high waters.

Simply put this is a historic flood that demands the immediate attention of the federal government. Since May 21, 2019, the Arkansas River has seen levels rise at a historic rate, surpassing the record floods of 2015, 1990, 1941 and 1927. This unprecedented flooding is something unseen on the Arkansas River before. Long-term saturation will provide prolonged stress on the levee system, yielding devasting impacts to infrastructure and personal property if failure occurs. 

As Governor Hutchinson noted in his request, there has been extensive damage across the state. Presently, the state is conducting extensive flood fighting operations with multiple counties impacted, and considerable property and infrastructure damage either occurring or anticipated to occur. There are approximately 3,124 total structures with potential impacts, and this number will continue to rise as the flooding continues. 

Due to the unknowns associated with this event, and the amount of rain and changing conditions, it is difficult to estimate the level of Direct Federal Assistance required. The activities listed below are our current estimates based on past experiences:

  • United States Army Corps of Engineers - sandbags, self-contained pumps, damage assessment teams, power generation, technical assistance, mapping, GIS support, and inundation mapping
  • United States Coast Guard - air transportation assets, technical assistance
  • Civil Air Patrol - air assets 
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service - wildlife management assistance and technical assistance
  • United States Department of Agriculture - crop damage assessment, technical assistance water management and inundation mapping
  • Federal Highway Administration - Emergency Relief Program
  • Environmental Protection Agency – damage assessments, technical assistance
  • National Guard – heavy lift helicopters, aerial imagery 

The resourcefulness and resilience of Arkansans in recent days has been impressive; however, as losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts.

Federal government resources are critical in the immediate aftermath of this devastating storm, and coordination between the federal government and state and local officials is crucial to begin the process of recovery and rebuilding. 

We are eager to assist in any way possible to ensure expedited evaluation of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices with any questions. 

We thank you for the support you have already offered, and respectfully ask for your continued attention and assistance in providing the resources necessary to ensure the safety of Arkansans.

May 29, 2019

UPDATE
ROBBERY SUSPECT FLEES, WOUNDED IN EXCHANGE OF GUNFIRE WITH STATE POLICE

MAY 29, 2019
A man believed to reside in Springdale was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with Arkansas State Troopers today during a pursuit and brief armed standoff along the northbound lanes of Interstate 49.  The suspect was taken to a Washington County hospital where he underwent surgery and is reported to be in stable condition.

Federal and state authorities are working together to confirm the identity of the individual.

At 10:58 AM a state trooper patrolling I-49 spotted a vehicle traveling northbound that matched the description of one driven by suspect involved in an earlier robbery of an Alma bank.

The driver of the vehicle, later confirmed to be the robbery suspect, refused to comply with a traffic stop and fled from the trooper.  A pursuit continued into Washington County when the suspect reportedly began firing a gun at law enforcement officers who returned fire.

A precision immobilization technique was used by state troopers involved in the pursuit, causing the suspect to drive the vehicle off the highway at the 56 mile marker and travel into a wooded area where the driver again began shooting at officers who returned fire.

The suspect was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital.  No law enforcement officers were injured in the pursuit or shooting incidents.

Consistent with Arkansas State Police policy, two state troopers have been placed on administrative leave while the use of deadly force review is underway.

STATE TROOPERS ARREST SUSPECT FOLLOWING PURSUIT AND GUNFIRE
MAY 29, 2019

Arkansas State Troopers have arrested one suspect who fled from law enforcement officers along I-49 in Washington County.  The individual is believed to be a suspect in the robbery that occurred earlier today at an Alma bank.

During the pursuit the suspect reportedly used a gun to fire on state troopers.  The pursuit ended south of Fayetteville near West Fork.  I-49 was briefly blocked during a stand-off between law enforcement officers and the suspect.

A news release will be distributed later today once additional facts of the case are documented.

THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND COUNTIES PREPARE FOR RECORD FLOODS – MAY 28TH RELEASE
 Camp Joseph T. Robinson | North Little Rock, Arkansas 72199 | (501) 683-6700
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 28, 2019 6:05 pm
State and Local Emergency Management Continue Response to Flooding
NORTH LITTLE ROCK— The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) activated to Level I (full activation) at 8 a.m. today in response to rising water levels and flooding along the Arkansas River. Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) staff have been joined by representatives from other state and federal agencies to support Arkansas’s response efforts. Participating State agencies include: Department of Transportation, Department of Information Services, Forestry Commission, Department of Human Services, Department of Finance and Administration, Department of Health, Game and Fish Commission, Department of Environmental Quality, the Arkansas National Guard, and GIS Office. Federal agencies include: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service.

ADEM has received disaster declarations from Arkansas, Chicot, Conway, Crawford, Desha, Faulkner, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell counties and the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock. Disaster declarations are an administrative tool that allows the jurisdiction to request disaster resources and assistance from other jurisdictions, including the State of Arkansas. Governor Asa Hutchinson declared a State of Emergency in Arkansas ahead of the anticipated flooding as an additional tool to provide disaster resources.

Counties continue to request sand bags, sand, and sand bag fillers. ADEM anticipates that this will be an ongoing request from affected counties as flooding waters move down the Arkansas River to the Mississippi River.

This morning the Arkansas National Guard assisted Conway County in dropping large sandbags by helicopter on to Levee #16 which had heavy seepage. This evening, the Arkansas National Guard is assisting Crawford County in dropping large sandbags by helicopter on the Crawford County Levee, Board 1.

The SEOC will continue daily activation during the duration of the Arkansas River floods.

Citizens affected by this flood event should take all safety precautions and follow the advice of local officials. If property damage occurs, and if it is safe to do so, take pictures of the damage. Citizens can contact their local Office of Emergency Management to determine what preparedness measures they should take.

May 28, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 27, 2019 
THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND COUNTIES PREPARE FOR RECORD FLOODS

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) activated to Level I at 8 a.m. today in response to rising water levels and expected flooding along the Arkansas River. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) anticipates that the SEOC will remain at Level I beginning at 8 a.m. each day for the duration of the expected flooding.

ADEM has received requests from the majority of the impacted counties for sand, sand bags and sand bagging machines. The U.S. Corps of Engineers has provided two sand bagging machines and Arkansas Department of Corrections has provided inmates to fill sand bags.  

In order to meet the demand for sand bags, ADEM reached out to the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) to borrow additional sand bagging machines.  The Missouri and Tennessee National Guard are lending three sand bagging machines to Arkansas for counties to use.  The five sand bagging machines are being sent to counties as they prepare for the flood waters.

EMAC offers assistance during governor-declared states of emergency through a system that allows states to send personnel, equipment and commodities to assist with response and recovery efforts in other states.

The following is a list of current conditions in affected counties as of 6:00 p.m. May 27, 2019:

Chicot County - The County has verbally declared.

Conway County – The County has verbally declared. Residents of homes in low lying areas have been encouraged to evacuate. Levees are being inspected for seepage and repairs as needed.  All levees are being patrolled with drones.

Crawford County – The County has verbally declared. Sheriff's Office is notifying residents in the area to evacuate low lying areas including several RV parks in the area. Livestock have been evacuated from the impacted areas. The Field of Dreams Sports Complex has moved all of their equipment in anticipation of the flooding. 

Desha County – The County has verbally declared. Sandbags are being filled in anticipation of flooding.

Faulkner County – The County has verbally declared. One shelter is open at this time. It is located at 10 Lower Ridge Road, Conway 72032. Pets will be housed in a separate facility close to the shelter. Residents in low lying areas are being encouraged to evacuate. Officials are currently checking Lollie Levee for weak points. Sand bagging operations are ongoing. Roads are being closed due to flood waters.

Franklin County – The County has verbally declared. An evacuation zone was established by local officials and persons within that zone have been evacuated. A number of parks and roads have been closed due to flooding. Sand bagging operations are taking place in south Ozark.

Jefferson County – The County has verbally declared. Pine Bluff Regional Park, Tar Camp Park, Island Harbor Marina and Rising Star public use area have been evacuated. Others living in low lying areas have been advised to evacuate. Due to a predicted increase in flood levels, county officials are estimating that more residents will be impacted by higher waters. Two shelters have been opened. Swan Lake VFD is located at 11997 Highway 88 in Altheimer. Wright-Pastoria Shelter is located at 8550 Surrat Road in Wright.

Johnson County – The County has submitted a Written Declaration. The County’s Emergency Operations Center is currently activated at a limited level. Levees are being inspected. Flooding is expected in forested and agricultural areas.

Logan County – The County has verbally declared. The county is encouraging voluntary evacuations in areas where flooded roads might cut off travel to and from residences. There are residences that are flooding, and occupants have voluntarily evacuated. Displaced residents are being directed to a shelter open in Ft. Smith.

City of North Little Rock - The City has verbally declared.

Perry County - The County has submitted a written declaration. The Toad Suck Park area has been evacuated. Officials are going to residents’ houses in the area and advising them to evacuate. No mandatory evacuations have been made.  Sandbags are being filled to use for anticipated flooding. 

Pope County - The County has verbally declared. Visitors to RV parks in low lying areas are being encouraged to leave. State Highway 105 has been closed due to flooding. Drones are being used to patrol levees.

Pulaski County – The County has verbally declared. 

Sebastian County – The County has verbally declared. The Red Cross has opened one shelter at Evangel Temple. The shelter is located at 1110 South 12th Street, Ft. Smith 72903. Sand bagging operations continue. Due to water inundation, county officials have transitioned from a proactive to reactive stance.

Yell County – The County has verbally declared. County officials continue to review plans and adjust as more information becomes available.

Local disaster declarations are an administrative tool that allows the jurisdiction to request disaster resources and assistance from other jurisdictions, including the State of Arkansas. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson has declared a State of Emergency in Arkansas ahead of the anticipated flooding as an additional tool to provide disaster resources. 

Citizens affected by this flood event should take all safety precautions and follow the advice of local officials. If property damage occurs, and if it is safe to do so, take pictures of the damage. Citizens can contact their local Office of Emergency Management to determine what preparedness measures they should take. 

More information will follow as it becomes available.

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

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES LATE SHERWOOD WWII VETERAN IN “SALUTE TO VETERANS”
WASHINGTON-
As we recognize Military Appreciation Month, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) honored the service and sacrifice of the late Thurlow Fernandez, a WWII veteran who served in the European and Pacific Theaters, in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series commemorating the military service of Arkansans.

Fernandez passed away shortly after being interviewed by a member of Boozman’s staff for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. This initiative provides all of us the opportunity to continue to honor and remember those who have served our nation.

Fernandez was a first-generation American. His Spanish family lived in an Italian neighborhood in Chicago, so Fernandez said he had to learn how to defend himself. “The type of neighborhood I grew up in, you had to learn how to fight,” Fernandez said. He took that energy to the boxing ring. When he joined the Navy he continued with the sport, becoming the service’s welter weight champion at 147 pounds. “Nobody wanted to mess around with me.”

Fernandez enlisted in the Navy when he was 18-years-old and completed basic training at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois. He still had a lot to learn when he boarded his first ship. “I had to go to the bathroom. Some sailor said ‘We don’t have bathrooms on this ship, you have to ask for the head.’ I found out where the head was at. That was the toilet,” Fernandez said.

He recalled his eight-day trip across the Atlantic Ocean during an interview in late 2016. Fernandez was serving on a ship that was part of a convoy that came under attack. “I have no idea how many ships were lost,” he said.

Fernandez was stationed at US Naval Operating Base, Londonderry in Northern Ireland. While he and his fellow sailors were getting ships ready for the invasion of Normandy, Fernandez also fell in love. “I needed permission from the Navy to get married,” he said. He received permission and wed. He and his wife Joyce received two days leave for their honeymoon.

Fernandez didn’t participate in the D-Day invasion because he was hospitalized at the time, and said it’s unlikely that he would have survived. “All of my shipmates were killed.” He returned to the United States on a ship carrying soldiers wounded from the Normandy invasion in addition to German prisoners of war. 

He also served in the Pacific Theater where he was in charge of the diesel room on the ship he was serving on. It was during this assignment that he befriended a new member to his team, Bob Drexel, a sailor who was pulled from the water after his ship had been torpedoed by the Japanese.

“He took a liking to me and gave me his address and phone number,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez witnessed the Japanese surrender at Tokyo Bay. He also helped decommission the USS Delta. During the interview at his Sherwood home, he proudly pointed out the clock sitting on his mantle that he saved from the ship as a memento.

Fernandez was honorably discharged in 1947 and used the GI bill to go to school. He also reconnected with his friend Drexel. “When I got out of the Navy I looked him up. He worked at General Motors. That’s how I got to work at General Motors.” Fernandez held a variety of jobs in his 32 years at the company.

He was married to Joyce for 38 years before she passed away. He found love again with an Arkansan, Margie, to whom he was married for more than 30 years.

“As a member of the Greatest Generation, there is a lot we can learn from people like Thurlow Fernandez, whose service and sacrifice helped defeat tyranny. Honoring Thurlow and our veterans by sharing their experiences of serving our nation in uniform is important to understanding our history. I’m pleased he shared his story with us so his family and future generations of Americans can learn about his remarkable memories,” Boozman said.

Fernandez’s entire interview is part of the Veterans History Project collection. This initiative of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center aims to collect and retain the oral histories of our nation’s veterans.

BOOZMAN, COTTON RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING MARSHALL ISLANDS CLEARS SENATE
Senators stress unique relationship, partnership in meetings with Republic of the Marshall Islands president ahead of measure’s passage
WASHINGTON— The U.S. Senate passed a resolution introduced by Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) recognizing the strategic importance of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Marshallese who live in the United States. 

Since the 1980s, thousands of Marshallese have legally migrated to the United States and Springdale, Arkansas is home to the largest population of Marshallese in the continental U.S.

“Arkansas and the Republic of the Marshall Islands have a special relationship given the number of Marshallese living in Northwest Arkansas. Recognizing and celebrating this community is important because it shows that our state, and the country, understands their unique role and expresses our commitment to work alongside them to improve their lives and serve their needs,” Boozman said.

“Just as the people of Arkansas and our Marshallese neighbors continue to strengthen their friendships, so the United States ought to continue bolstering our own relations with their home republic. Our resolution celebrates the bond our countries share and the need for our two nations to keep working together, and I’m pleased that the U.S. Senate agrees,” Cotton said.

The resolution, which commends the history and heritage of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and encourages a continued commitment to improve census data to better serve Marshallese living in the U.S., passed the Senate unanimously on May 23.

Prior to the measure’s passage, Boozman and Cotton both met with the Republic of the Marshall Islands President Dr. Hilda C. Heine in Washington where President Heine thanked them for their leadership on introducing the resolution. They also discussed the senators’ support and efforts to pass the REAL ID Act Modification for Freely Associated States Act – which became law in December 2018 and allows citizens of the Marshall Islands and other Pacific Freely Associated States who legally live in the U.S. to obtain a driver’s license or personal identification card – and other issues related to security and cooperation between the Marshall Islands, Arkansas and the federal government.

“We were honored to host President Heine for an opportunity to discuss how we can continue to strengthen the ties between Arkansas, the United States and the Marshall Islands,” the senators said. “Supporting the Marshallese living in Arkansas means working to ensure their quality of life here is suitable, but it also means making sure we are developing and maintaining a close relationship with the government in their home country. Our meetings were a timely occasion to build on that support and demonstrate our shared commitment to work cooperatively on issues of mutual interest and concern.” 

The U.S. has a unique relationship with the Marshall Islands. In the aftermath of World War II, the Marshall Islands was a U.S.-administered United Nations Trust Territory. In 1986, the Marshall Islands entered into a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the U.S. and became a sovereign, “freely associated” state. Under the COFA, the U.S. is obligated to defend the Republic of the Marshall Islands against attack or threat of attack. The U.S. also maintains unique military basing rights in the Marshall Islands that extend through at least 2066. The security and sovereignty of the Marshall Islands is important to our country and to the thousands of Marshallese who have planted roots in Arkansas. The COFA agreement is up for renewal in 2023.

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet at Catherine’s Bistro. This week the Lion’s Club will be presenting the four winners from the Reading In Action Program with their bookcases and books.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday,  May 30th  at 12:00 at  Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be by Charles Moore and Kimberly Moore who will inform the Club about the Plant a Seed Foundation.

SAAC MAKES AUDITION CALL FOR SUMMER MUSICAL, “HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME”
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to audition for this year’s magical summer musical, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Director Kristen Blossom will hold auditions in the Callaway Theater at SAAC June 1-3, 2019.  The show, sponsored by Murphy USA, will run from July 18 to July 28, 2019.  

The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is based on the Victor Hugo novel, as well as songs from the Disney animated feature. The musical showcases the film’s Academy Award-nominated score, as well as new songs by Menken and Schwartz. A sweeping score and powerful story make “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”an instant classic. Audiences will be dazzled by the magic of this truly unforgettable musical.

Call for community singers who want to sing in the cathedral choir is Saturday, June 1. It’s easy…just show-up and sing! This is a show for every voice type, range, and level of training. Vocal sectionals will be held in the morning - 9:00 am men, 10:00 am altos and 11:00 am sopranos - with everyone singing again together starting at 1 pm. People interested in auditioning for character roles are encouraged to join this rehearsal to get more familiar with the music. This is the first music rehearsal - everyone welcome! Check the SAAC website for more details about the choir call.

General auditions will be held the following day, Sunday, June 2 at 2:30 pm.  Everyone will be asked to sing and dance for the general auditions with readings at call backs on Sunday, June 3. To prepare for auditions, be ready to sing 24-36 bars of a song selection in the style of “Hunchback” (in the vein of Les Misérables or a Disney ballad). For the dance section, expect to learn a short movement combination. If you are a dancer or actor that doesn't sing, you can come audition to be a dancer only or for one of the three spoken roles. Be sure to let them know at the check-in desk!

On Monday, June 3, the directors will start at 6:00 pm by seeing new faces wanting to audition; followed by call backs for the character roles at 6:30 pm. Registration will be open in the Lobby 30 minutes prior to each event.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is a beautiful story with captivating music throughout.  The musical begins as the bells of Notre Dame sound through the famed cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer who longs to be "Out There," observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools. Held captive by his devious caretaker, the archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, he escapes for the day and joins the boisterous crowd, only to be treated cruelly by all but the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda. Quasimodo isn’t the only one captivated by her free spirit, though – the handsome Captain Phoebus and Frollo are equally enthralled. As the three vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the gypsies – and it’s up to Quasimodo to save them all.

When asked about the vision for the production, director Kristen Blossom said, “In the novel, Victor Hugo writes, ‘Spira, Spera,’ translated from Latin this means, ‘While I breathe, I hope.’  Despite this musical's heavy content, my concept from the beginning has been centered around hope.  Especially after the tragic fire in Paris, I believe now is a time to focus on resilience and restoration.”

Please visit the SAAC website at www.saac-arts.org  for more information about the audition process or to download an audition form. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

MAY 28, 2019

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON APPROVES $100,000 IN EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR FLOOD RESPONSE
LITTLE ROCK 
–  Governor Asa Hutchinson was briefed on Sunday morning on the flooding along the Arkansas River that has begun in western Arkansas and is expected to reach record levels throughout the state in the coming week. Governor Hutchinson has approved $100,000 in emergency funding to assist with support efforts.

“This morning, the Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, and Arkansas State Police provided me with a detailed briefing about the state's ongoing support efforts in communities experiencing record flood levels along the Arkansas River," Governor Hutchinson said. "I have received a number of requests for aid from communities, and I immediately approved the release of $100,000 of emergency funds to support sandbagging work. 

"I appreciate all the neighbors and volunteers filling sandbags and assisting with evacuations. The state team is continuing to respond to assistance requests, and more funds will be allocated as the situation demands.”

May 24, 2019

BOOZMAN INTRODUCES BILL TO IMPROVE HEALTH CARE SERVICES
Addresses rising demand for radiology services by enhancing role of radiology assistants performing non-diagnostic services
WASHINGTON–
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is working to address the rising demand and clinical need for timely medical imaging services by introducing legislation that enhances the role of radiology assistants (RAs).

The increased complexity of radiologic studies, coupled with high demand for radiology services, has placed an added burden on our already strained Medicare program. One value-based, efficient solution to address this need and improve patient outcome is to enhance the role of RAs.

Boozman’s legislation—the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act—would enable radiologists to submit claims to Medicare for non-diagnostic services performed by RAs they directly supervise in both the hospital and office setting. It will ensure patients—particularly those in rural areas where health care options are fewer—have timely and quality access to services.

“Hospitals in Arkansas and around the country are always searching for better ways to deliver medical services to patients in more cost-effective ways. Many health policy experts have identified the use of physician extenders as one way to help achieve that goal,” Boozman said.

While RAs are newly recognized under Medicare to perform services under direct supervision, the radiology practices that employ them are unable to submit claims to Medicare for RA performed services in hospitals, where they normally work.

“These healthcare professionals are well qualified to address the increased demand in medical imaging services and fill the gap in the shortage of radiologists, particularly in rural areas. Ensuring the procedures performed by RAs are covered by Medicare is a commonsense way to provide seniors with the specialized services they deserve,” Boozman said.

The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act is cosponsored by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jon Tester (D-MT).

PORTABLE CERTIFICATION OF SPOUSES (PCS) ACT INCLUDED IN NDAA
Washington, D.C. — The Portable Certification of Spouses (PCS) Act, introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), and Martha McSally (R-Arizona), was included in the Chairman’s mark of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020.

The PCS Act will improve the portability of occupational licenses from state to state. The bill will also help alleviate the burden military spouses bear when having to re-register a small business in a new state each time a service member changes station. The legislation would allow the Department of Defense to use defense dollars to help states come up with universal standards for professional licenses, allowing military spouses to start work soon after they arrive at a new assignment. By making it easier for military spouses to continue their professional careers, the PCS Act is expected to help the Armed Forces retain skilled soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.

“One-in-three military spouses work in a field that requires an occupational license, and too many of them are forced to re-certify every time they move between states. The PCS Act will ensure those spouses can pursue their careers uninterrupted, even while they're moving their family from state to state and base to base. Today, we learned the PCS act is one step closer to becoming law. Relief is coming for our military families,” said Cotton.  
“Whenever we can find ways to support military spouses, we should act,” said Shaheen. “Military spouse unemployment and underemployment is a significant problem, which is why we need to do all that we can to support those who are entrepreneurs and have professional licenses. By adding this legislation to the defense bill, we’re taking an important step forward in helping military spouses cut through needless red tape as they practice their licensed professions and move their businesses from state to state. I will continue my efforts to support military spouses and will work to grow the bipartisan consensus for this measure as the NDAA is considered by the full Senate.”
“Family readiness is military readiness," said McSally, "Our legislation removes critical barriers to military spouses fully contributing in the workforce simply because their loved one serves in uniform. We must unleash their full potential, and that's what our legislation will do. This is a critical step to moving it forward.”

Background
Over 34% of military spouses work in fields that require a state license in order to practice. These spouses are often required to recertify and pay to recertify this license every time they move between states with their spouse. Re-certification has become too long, expensive, detrimental to the careers of spouses, and prohibitive financially to military families who could benefit from two household incomes instead of one. This process often effects a service member's desire to stay in the military long-term. 

This legislation would impact spouses working in fields such as health-related occupations and education. 56 percent of licensed military spouses in health-related occupations and 29 percent in education respectively. The fields which could potentially benefit from this legislation include, but are not limited to, the following: teachers, advance practice nurses, physician's assistants, occupational therapists, dentists, dental hygienists, nutritionists, counselors, social workers, veterinarians, cosmetologists, and realtors.

COTTON, SHELBY, REPRESENTATIVE BYRNE INTRODUCE NO LENIENCY FOR TERRORISTS ACT OF 1019
Washington, D.C. — Earlier today, Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) introduced legislation making anyone convicted of a terrorist offense ineligible for early release from federal prison for “good behavior.” Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Our safety depends on keeping dangerous terrorists where they can’t harm Americans, but right now even unrepentant terrorists are eligible for early release from prison, sometimes for so-called ‘good behavior.’ Supporting radical Islamist groups like ISIS is savage behavior, not good behavior. Our bill would make convicted terrorists ineligible for early release,” said Cotton.

“The early release of convicted terrorists sends the wrong message to those who have fought against terrorism and those who want to cause us harm,” said Shelby.  “This legislation will help us prioritize the safety and security of our nation above all else. Today’s early release of John Walker Lindh is disheartening and unacceptable, and I am proud we are taking this step to make terrorists ineligible for early release.”

“A convicted terrorist walking free before his sentence is completed should never happen again,” said Byrne.  “The Spann family asked me to address this injustice, and I want to make sure no other family has to go through what the they have been through.  The No Leniency for Terrorists Act will prevent terrorists from taking advantage of our laws to avoid paying their debt to society.  We must ensure that terrorist will remain behind bars where they belong.”

BACKGROUND:
The first person convicted of terrorism charges in the War on Terror was released early from prison this morning. John Walker Lindh, an American citizen who left to join the Taliban, was caught on the battlefield by U.S. military forces. Lindh had been convicted of providing material support to the Taliban and sentenced to 20 years in prison.  

He only served 17 of those years, getting three years off for “good behavior.” In prison, Lindh continued supporting the actions and missions of ISIS and the Taliban. In a letter from prison, Lindh wrote as recently as 2015 that ISIS was, “doing a spectacular job.” Supporters of ISIS and other radical terrorists should never qualify for “good behavior.”

A & P COMMISSION CANCELS MAY MEETING
The Camden Advertising and Promotion Committee will NOT meet on Tuesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:00 P.M. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building due to the fact that there is no old business or any new business.

May 23, 2019

ARKANSAS STATE POLICE PRESENT AWARDS: NORTHEAST ARKANSAS STATE TROOPERS SHARE TOP HONOR,
OTHERS RECOGNIZED AT ARKANSAS STATE POLICE AWARDS CEREMONY
GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES PLANS TO FUND PORTION OF COST FOR DRIVING TRACK
(LITTLE ROCK) –
Corporals Rockey Rapert of Harrisburg and Brandon Bennett of Blytheville were presented the prestigious Arkansas State Trooper of the Year Award today during the annual state police awards ceremony.  The recipient of the Trooper of the Year Award personifies the highest standards of public service and has demonstrates a record of esteemed law enforcement action.

The two troopers were among a group of more than 33 Arkansas State Police personnel recognized for their personal sacrifice during the course of a particular assignment, or cumulative work results, associated with incidents during the 2018 calendar year.

During his keynote address to state troopers attending today’s award ceremony, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced his intentions to release $4-millon dollars in state funds that will be used in the construction of the Arkansas law enforcement driver training track.  The track, to be located at Camp Robinson will be available to all Arkansas law enforcement agencies.  Arkansas is one of only a small number of states without a track facility to train law enforcement officers in emergency driving techniques.

“Equipping our police officers with the skills to drive safely in all situations is as important as teaching self-defense or training them in the use of firearms,” said Governor Hutchinson. “This driving track will allow the state to train officers in everything from driving in bad weather to the often risky, but sometimes necessary, high-speed pursuits. I am pleased to release this money so that we reduce the risks for these public servants who risk their lives for the rest of us every time they put on the uniform.”

Corporals Rapert and Bennett were also awarded the department’s Troopers Cross.  The nominations, Trooper of the Year and Troopers Cross, were both based on a July 30, 2018 deadly shootout in Mississippi County along I-55.

A suspect who had refused to comply with a traffic stop abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot into a farm field where he shot and killed “Hemi”, an Arkansas State Police K9, assigned to Corporal Rapert, who along with the K9 and Corporal Bennett had trailed the suspect.

The suspect then refused repeated orders from the troopers to drop his gun and turned toward them pointing the gun.  The troopers fired and wounded the suspect.  As law enforcement officers approached the wounded suspect, he rose again, pointing the gun at them and was shot.  He later died at an area hospital.

All departmental awards, other than Official Commendations, were presented today by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson & Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.

Georgia Whatley, 54, of Benton, was awarded the Arkansas State Police Civilian Employee of the Year Award.  She has served the State of Arkansas as an employee for 21 years.

Ms. Whatley was recognized specifically for her extraordinary work on an assignment, beginning in 2018, devoted to the implementation of new administration and human resources software (EASE) now used in all divisions and offices of the Arkansas State Police.

Michael Patterson, assigned to the Highway Patrol Division administrative offices, Caitlin Teague, assigned to the Administrative Services Division, Training Section, and Karen Calaway, assigned to the department’s Fiscal Section, Asset Management and Inventory Unit were the other employees nominated for the civilian award.

Other award recipients recognized today are:

Lifesaving:
Trooper Christopher Barnett, of Batesville, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, who on August 4, 2018, responded to a motor vehicle crash along U.S. Highway 67 near Searcy where he discovered a victim who was in critical condition and in a shock from a significant blood loss.  Trooper Barnett used a state police trauma kit to begin life saving measures using tourniquets to stop the bleeding.  The trooper’s action, according to physicians, saved the crash victim’s life.

Trooper Corey Earls, of Clarksville, assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, who on April 30, 2018, recognized the deteriorating medical condition of a crash victim and quickly determined the driver was exhibiting symptoms of a drug overdose.  Trooper Earls used a supply of Narcan, provided to troopers by the Arkansas State Police, to save the woman’s life and on August 13, 2018 after discovering a shooting victim in the backyard of a Morrilton residence began applying tourniquets to the arm and leg of the victim, saving the man’s life.

Corporal Todd Harris, of Paragould, assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop C, who on August 24, 2018, responded to a motor vehicle crash and coordinated the rescue of an injured victim, then used a state police trauma kit to begin life saving measures which continued until emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene.

Corporal Ronald Laslo, of Newark, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, who on May 22, 2018, began providing life saving measures to a suicide victim found in a rural part of Jackson County.  Using a state police trauma kit, Corporal Laslo was able to keep the victim alive until emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene.

Trooper First Class Terry Sawyer, of Malvern, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop K, who on October 11, 2018, responded to a shooting incident along U.S. Highway 270 and discovered a wounded victim.  TFC Sawyer used his state police trauma kit to apply a tourniquet to the wounded limb of the victim and stabilize the man until emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene.

Corporal Brian Syfert, of Clarksville, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, who on December 15, 2018, saved the life of a motor vehicle crash victim by using a state police trauma kit to stop the bleeding of the victim whose leg had been severed during the crash.

 

Corporal Flarcell Tate, of Marion, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, who on February 9, 2018, who came to the aid of a female passenger traveling along I-40 when she entered labor and discovered the newborn child was not breathing.  Corporal Tate used his training to repeatedly apply lifesaving measures eventually leading to the child to breathe and survive.

Distinguished Meritorious Service Awards:
Lieutenant Chris Goodman, of Clarksville, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, who was recognized for work in highway narcotics interdiction during 2016 – 2018.  Lieutenant Goodman, during 2018, is credited with seizing more than 2,500 pounds of marijuana and 20 pounds of cocaine.  His work prior to 2018 includes 165 felony arrests associated with the seizure of thousands of pounds of illegal drugs being transported along Arkansas highways.  

Medal of Valor:
Sergeant Philip Hydron, of Marion, assigned to Highway Patrol Troop D, Corporal Chad Staley of Little Rock, assigned to Administrative Services Division, Training Section and Trooper First Class Clayton McDonald, of Little Rock, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, were each presented the Arkansas State Police Medal of Valor.  The three were recognized for the assignments as members of the Arkansas State Police SWAT team which responded to Russellville on June 28, 2018.

The three state troopers were among the SWAT team members who entered a barricaded apartment after an individual inside had earlier threaten local police office.  As troopers entered they were met with gunfire from the suspect who died as the result of gunfire returned by the troopers.

Troopers Cross:
Trooper First Class Jason Baethke, of Mount Judea (Newton County) who on October 9, 2018 used lethal force to protect members of the Arkansas State Police SWAT team as they approached a suspect who was about to exit a residence in Arkansas County where a prolonged armed stand-off with a suspect had continued late into the night and the following morning.  The suspect opened the door of a camper trailer, raised his gun at the approaching state troopers and was shot by TFC Baethke who was positioned along the stand-off perimeter. 

Memorial Medal Award:
Sergeant K9 Hemi was honored with the Arkansas State Police Memorial Medal for his in line of duty death.  The medal was presented to Hemi’s partner, Corporal Rockey Rapert. (*See narrative comments from the Trooper of the Year Award.)  

Official Commendations: (Presented for acts of exemplary service and awarded during the course of 2018 during regular monthly meetings of the Arkansas State Police Commission.  *Supporting information is available upon request.)

Special Agent Jake Bartlett, of Russellville, Criminal Investigation Division, Company E

Troop John Bass, of Waldron, Highway Patrol Division, Troop H Special Agent Stephen Briggs, of Little Rock, Criminal Investigation Division, Special Investigations Unit

Special Agent Scott Ellis, of Paron, Director’s Office, Executive Protection Unit

Trooper Josh Elmore, of Van Buren, Highway Patrol Division, Troop H

Special Agent Josh Heckel, of Hot Springs, Criminal Investigation Division, Company D

Trooper First Class Ryan Leuer, of Farmington, Highway Patrol Division, Troop L

Sergeant Elvis Mull, of Little Rock, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A

Corporal Brandon Love, of Little Rock, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A

Special Agent Randall Murphy, of McCrory, Criminal Investigation Division, Company A

Keri Permenter, of Malvern, Criminal Investigation Division, Arkansas State Fusion Center

Chris Carter, of North Little Rock, Criminal Investigation Division, Arkansas State Fusion Center

Special Agent Kevin Webb, of Benton, Criminal Investigation Division, Company A

 Distinguished Service Awards: (Presented to ten law enforcement officers from departments other than the Arkansas State Police, and non-department civilians who collectively or individually came to the assistance of Arkansas State Troopers. *Supporting information is available upon request.)
Jason Bourg, Mountain Home

Deputy Jimmy Huffstetler, of Paragould, Greene County Sheriff’s Department

Chris Davis, of Everton (Boone County).

Sergeant Keith Prince, of Malvern, Malvern Police Department

Corporal Jack Seely, of Malvern, Malvern Police Department

Deputy Jeremy Bray, of Malvern, Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Department

Patrolman Brian Douglas, of Rockport (Hot Spring County), Rockport Police Department

Deputy Harrison Hughes, of Blytheville, Mississippi County Sheriff’s Department

Beverly Thornton, of Maumelle

Randall Woodall, of Maumelle

Harold W. Cantwell, of Jacksonville

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: THE VICIOUS TREND OF VAPING  
LITTLE ROCK – The use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, has become a dangerous trend in which too many Arkansas teens are participating. Eight years ago, just two percent of Arkansas teens vaped. Today, more than 20 percent of Arkansas teens vape. Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling a vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. The term “vaping” is used because e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol that actually consists of fine particles containing varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as seizures, respiratory and heart diseases.
 
“As adults, we need to be watchful of the young people around us and educate them about the dangers of vaping,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Manufacturers make these products to look flashy and appealing to teens. This is an extremely dangerous trend that is hitting Arkansas’s middle and high school students at alarming numbers.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to warn parents, teachers and children of the dangers of vaping e-cigarettes:

  • Review the ingredients carefully because many of them contain substances known to be carcinogenic, such as nicotine, vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol.
  • Consult your physician about the risks associated with vaping. One pod used in an e-cigarette can have the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of traditional cigarettes. Exposure to nicotine can alter the structure and function of developing children’s brains.
  • Remember that studies have shown that nicotine products are highly addictive and are associated with later onset of cigarette smoking habits.
  • Investigate the incidence of product failure as some e-cigarette device batteries have exploded or caught on fire, causing burns or even death.
  • Remember to keep e-cigarette supplies out of the reach of small children as some have become sick or died from swallowing the pleasant-smelling e-juice.
  • Be mindful that e-cigarette pods can be used for illegal purposes such as for odorless marijuana oils based upon online tutorials.

There are many different types of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices, most of which contain pods of nicotine-filled e-liquid, sweet-smelling flavorings, and other potentially harmful chemicals. With sweet-smelling aromas and catchy flavor names like Strawberry Watermelon POP, Sunrise Pressed eJuice, Pink Lemonade Risky and Ice Cream, teens are experimenting with, and ultimately becoming addicted, to e-cigarettes. Once they get hooked, teens are often able to hide their addictions from parents, teachers and other adults by purchasing widely available vaping devices disguised as everyday items like pens or USB flash drives.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge
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BOOZMAN PRESSES FOR PASSAGE OF LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE BENEFITS AND SERVICES FOR WOMEN VETERANS
WASHINGTON
–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, urged committee members to approve the Deborah Sampson Act, legislation that would eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face. 

There are more than two million women veterans in the United States. More than 20,000 women veterans call Arkansas home. The number of women veterans accessing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care services has steadily increased, but the VA’s policies are in need of reform to better serve this population.

“This is something that we can solve. It’s going to take some work. It’s going to take a little bit of change in attitude in some cases,” Boozman said during the Wednesday hearing. “We can do a better job of providing the resources that women veterans need.”

Boozman and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Ranking Member of the Senate VA Committee, reintroduced the Deborah Sampson Act in February. The legislation has widespread support of Veterans Service Organizations.

The pair have aggressively pursed reforms to policies that impact women veterans. Most recently, they sent a letter in December 2018 to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie urging him to implement provisions in the Deborah Sampson Act that are within his authority.

The VA Committee considered additional legislation cosponsored by Boozman including:

  • S. 123 - Ensuring Quality Care for our Veterans Act – Introduced by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), this would ensure that every VA health care provider with a revoked license undergoes a third party clinical review of their patient care. If the review determines that a standard of care was not met, the veteran will be notified.
  • S. 805Veteran Debt Fairness Act of 2019 – Introduced by Tester, this would prevent the VA from charging veterans for its own accounting mistakes.
  • S. 857 – Legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) that would increase the amount of special pension for Medal of Honor recipients.

 

 

May 22, 2019

SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS REPORT INCREASE NUMBER OF ILLEGAL PASSES OF STOPPED SCHOOL BUSES
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas school bus drivers recently reported an alarming 884 instances of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses in one day.

A total of 3,896 school bus drivers representing 227 school districts participated in the yearly, one-day survey that occurred on April 24. This reflects an increase from April 2018, when 3,258 bus drivers representing 194 districts participated and reported 857 instances of illegal passes.

“I want to thank the bus drivers and school districts for participating in this year’s survey,” said Jerry Owens, senior transportation manager for the Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation. “Never before have we achieved almost 100 percent participation by districts. This indicates that our bus drivers and school districts are making school bus safety a priority and are expressing their concern about the high number of instances regarding illegal passes of stopped school buses. I believe motorists are becoming more aware of the law, but one instance is one too many. Let’s all do our part to ensure our students arrive to and from school safely. Remember: Flashing Red. Kids Ahead."

During the April 24 morning and afternoon bus routes, bus drivers recorded the number of instances where motorists passed stopped school buses that had their red lights flashing. According to Act 166 of 2019, it is illegal for motorists to pass a stopped bus with its red lights flashing, as students are getting on and off the bus at that time. If convicted, the fines for doing so range from $500 to $2,500.

Of the 884 instances, survey results show that 491 instances occurred during the afternoon versus 393 in the morning. A total of 711 motorists passed from the front of the bus. While a small number, 12 frightening instances occurred where motorists passed on the right side of the bus where students enter and exit the bus. This is compared to 872 instances where motorists passed on the bus driver’s left side. 

“In almost every case, motorists who are travelling in the opposite direction of the bus also must stop when they see a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing,” Owens said. “In these cases, students may need to cross the road in front of the bus to get to their destination."

The Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation conducts the survey each year at the request of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. The survey results help both the national association and the state better determine the severity of the issue here in Arkansas and improve education and outreach efforts, such as Arkansas’ Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. campaign. 

To learn more about the Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. campaign, to find outreach resources, and to review transportation laws, visit https://bit.ly/1Nlj2rK.

NEW AUCTION PROGRAM BRINGS MORE MONEY FOR STATE TREASURY
Nearly $1 million in additional funds
Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan has created a new online auction program for banks looking to hold certificates of deposits. The Arkansas Transparent Treasury Auction (ATTA) has increased efficiency, fairness and transparency – in addition to interest money, Milligan announced today.

“Previously, we had to call through lists of banks when we had CDs to place and the process could take up to a full days’ worth of work for our investment team. Using the auction platform, we’ve reduced the amount of time it takes to roughly 30 minutes from start to finish,” Milligan said.

“We’ve also added $845,000 worth of additional interest in just the eight short months that we’ve been using the new auction platform.”

The electronic auction platform is public, meaning anyone can view an auction online in real time. Banks receive email notifications on days an auction is scheduled to take place, and can choose whether or not to participate.

The platform also provides for automatic data input, reducing the risk of human error and increasing efficiency. But the most significant change in the program has been the increase in interest rate that the state has been able to get on CDs because banks now compete to buy Treasury funds.

“Before the creation of the ATTA program, the State Treasury was getting a rate of return of between 0.85 to 1.10 percent from banks who purchased CDs,” Milligan said. “Since the auction program began, the highest return we’ve seen with this new program is 2.93 percent, and the lowest was 1.74 percent. That is a significantly higher return than what we were previously getting.”

The State Treasury has successfully auctioned more than $1 billion in state funds – money required by statute to be placed in CDs – through the ATTA program.

“We’re seeing participants from both large banks and small, hometown banks, so we’ve accomplished what we set out to do, which was create a level playing field for all banks statewide,” he added.

Banks wishing to participate in the online auction program may call the Treasury at 501-682-5888, or visit the website for more information: https://auctions.artreasury.gov/.

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO STOP TRAFFICKING OF UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN
Washington, D.C. – Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) introduced the Accountability for Care of Unaccompanied Alien Children Act (S. 1561) to protect children from being trafficked at the southern border.

“When unaccompanied children are caught being smuggled into the United States, they often remain in government care until we can place them with an adult sponsor or resolve their immigration status,” said Cotton. “However, some adults who claim to be sponsors are actually criminals engaged in trafficking, child labor, or prostitution. Our bill would require proper vetting for potential sponsors and other members of their households so these children aren’t exploited.”

“The U.S. has the responsibility to ensure an unaccompanied child in the care of HHS is placed with a responsible adult who will keep them out of harm’s way,” said Blackburn. “This bill will promote greater information sharing between HHS and DHS, and hold them accountable in ensuring those placements are done with the child’s best interest.”

“All children deserve safe homes, regardless of their immigration status. We’ve known for a long time that background checks of potential sponsors for these children need improvement. We need to know that we are not placing these children with criminals or predators. This bill ensures that government officials have access to all available information about potential sponsors before entrusting them with the care of a child,” said Grassley.

“Human traffickers and criminal gangs continue to exploit our broken immigration system by smuggling children across our border,” said Hawley. “This critical legislation will ensure that law enforcement at the border has the authority to prevent unaccompanied minors taken into federal custody from being released to sponsors who are criminals within the United States.”

Background: At a 2018 Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing, a Department of Health and Human Services official admitted the agency lost track of nearly 1,500 unaccompanied minors after their release from federal custody over a three-month span in 2017.

This bill has three objectives to stop this problem:

1. Protect children in HHS custody from falling victim to traffickers;

2. Codify the existing agreement between HHS and the Department of Homeland Security to screen sponsors for criminal records or trafficking history; and

3. Affirm the continued authority of law enforcement agencies to investigate any criminal conduct committed by the adult sponsors.

BOOZMAN, PETERS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT HEALTHY AGING AND AGE-FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES
WASHINGTON—
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) to introduce bipartisan legislation that would direct federal agencies to set national standards for healthy aging and creating age-friendly communities.

The Age-Friendly Communities Act would amend the Older Americans Act by requiring departments across the federal government to develop a national set of goals on healthy aging and age-friendly communities and establish a public-private coordinating body to provide recommendations and best practices for implementing those goals.

Age-friendly communities are those committed to working toward ensuring seniors have access to amenities such as housing, transportation, social and civic opportunities, volunteerism, employment and supportive services. The national set of goals will support aging in place, as well as senior’s access to preventive and long-term care, including home-based and community-based health services and caregivers.

“According to the 2013 Census, Arkansas is ranked 10th in the nation for percentage of persons 60 and above so we certainly need to ensure our communities are prepared for the needs of a rapidly aging population. Our legislation will help bring communities together to address this challenge by creating public-private partnerships to modernize long-term care practices and increase access to preventative care services older Americans need, while helping to make our communities more age-friendly across the country,” Boozman said.

“As increasingly larger generations of Michiganders and Americans enter into the later stages of adulthood and retirement, it is important to have meaningful public and private initiatives that help allow our senior citizens to continue leading healthy and independent lives. This bipartisan legislation recognizes we need a cross-sector and comprehensive approach to supporting older Americans on a community-wide basis, from transportation and affordable housing to caregiving and aging in place,” Peters said.

It is estimated that America’s senior population will expand dramatically in the coming decade. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, every member of the baby boomer generation will be older than age 65 by 2030.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday  May 23rd at 12:00 at  Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be presented by David Preston - FCA director for Southeast Arkansas.

May 21, 2019

Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES JUNE MOBILE OFFICE SCHEDULE
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced mobile office locations for June on Monday.

Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties each year during her first term, assisting 3,300 Arkansans. In 2019, Attorney General Mobile Offices have already served over 1,000 Arkansans.

Rutledge believes face-to-face conversations are the best way to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.

Rutledge continues her partnerships with the Cooperative Extension Service and local law enforcement across Arkansas. Law enforcement officials will be on hand to collect unused and expired prescription medications to ensure they are secured and properly disposed. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office. During Rutledge’s first term, over 618 pounds of medications were collected at mobile offices. Another 135 pounds of medications have been collected so far this year.

For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.

The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:

Cleburne County
Tuesday, June 4
noon to 1:30 p.m.
Fairfield Bay Senior Center
385 Dave Creek Parkway
Fairfield Bay, AR 72088

Miller County
Thursday, June 6
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Miller County Senior Adult Center
1007 Jefferson Ave.
Texarkana, AR 71854

Fulton County
Tuesday, June 11
10:30 a.m. to noon
Salem Senior Life Center
309 W. Church St.
Salem, AR 72576

Hot Spring County
Friday, June 14
9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Malvern Senior Activity Center
1800 W. Moline St.
Malvern, AR 72104
Ouachita County
Tuesday, June 18
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Camden Senior Center
465 Columbia Ave. SW
Camden, AR 71701

St. Francis County
Thursday, June 20
St. Bernards Senior Life Center
2550 S. Washington St.
Forrest City, AR 72335
Polk County
Tuesday, June 25
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Mena-Polk County Senior Center
401 Autumn Drive
Mena, AR 71953

 

STATE POLICE AWARDS CEREMONY SCHEDULED
The annual Arkansas State Police Awards Ceremony & Luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 AM, Wednesday, May 22nd at the Camp Robinson Army Aviation Support Facility.

The aviation facility is located at 26th Street along the western edge of the Camp Robinson property.  News reporters and photographers will need to clear the post’s main security gate along Military Drive from North Little Rock in order to be directed to the aviation facility.

The Arkansas State Trooper of the Year Award will be one of the twenty-nine total awards to be presented to state troopers, state police civilian employees and other individuals.

Governor Asa Hutchinson will be the keynote speaker for the luncheon and awards ceremony.

SAAC TO OFFER SUMMER BALLET CAMPS
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces two summer ballet camps designed for different ages and levels of experience. Ballet Camp Jr. is scheduled for June 3-7 for grades K-3, while ballet camp for dancers in grades 4-12 will meet August 5-10.

SAAC ballet instructor Stephanie Lowrey is excited to offer a ballet camp this year designed specifically for younger dancers. Previous ballet experience is not necessary. At this camp, students will be introduced to the classical music of Mozart and the art of classical ballet. Stephanie will give students an overview of basic ballet steps and show students how ballet steps can be combined to choreograph a complete dance. Students will also see how dance can be used to tell stories.

At the end of the week, students will perform a few dances that tell the story of some famous Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes like "The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" and "Little Miss Muffet". The young dancers will also get to help create the set for their performance and their own costumes. "I've had the idea for this ballet camp in my mind for quite some time," said Stephanie, "and I'm very excited to see it come to life. I think it is going to be really fun to tell the story of these nursery rhymes through dance."

The camp will run from 1:00-5:00pm with a performance of "Mother Goose Meets Mozart" at 5:30pm on Friday, June 7.

SAAC will also offer ballet camp for older students running August 5-10. Grades 4-6 will meet from 1-5 p.m. and grades 7-12 will meet from 3-7 p.m, with a performance at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 10th in SAAC's Callaway Theater.

Current SAAC ballet instructors Stephanie Lowrey and Cami Lowrey and SAAC's newest ballet instructor, Elizabeth Wood, are excited about this year's ballet camp. Previous summer ballets have included "Where the Wild Things Are" , "The Lion and the Mouse", "The Rainbow Fish", "The True Story of the Big Bad Wolf", "Barnyard Dance", "Fairy Tale Frolic", and "Alice in Wonderland". SAAC ballet camps are unique in that over the course of just one week students not only take rigorous classical ballet classes but also perform an original mini-ballet. Students will be involved in all aspects of the production including costume design, set construction, and developing parts of the choreography.

This year's ballet, "The Adventures of Peter Pan", was chosen by Cami, who is both a SAAC instructor and a ballet student. When asked why she wanted to create a ballet based on this classical story, Cami said, "I have always loved Peter Pan and have been fascinated by the fantasy of Neverland. Creating this ballet will be a challenge as we try to encapsulate Peter's shadow, flying, and magic in the choreography; however, I am confident that our dancers will have enough talent to truly capture the mystique of Neverland and am excited to see how our version of this story develops."

Stephanie added, "The instructors are hoping to see many returning and new faces at ballet camp this year. Dancers from all studios are welcome at ballet camp as there will be many roles to fill in this summer's ballet. It is always exciting to see new dancers take the stage at SAAC."

Registration for all summer camps is ongoing in the SAAC office now. For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

COTTON, COLLEAGUES REINTRODUCE THE RESTORING THE ARMED CAREER CRIMINAL ACT
Washington, D.C. 
— Today, Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), David Perdue (R-Georgia), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) introduced the Restoring the Armed Career Criminal Act of 2019, legislation that will protect Americans from the most violent, repeat offenders. The legislation reinstates an important tool for prosecutors to seek enhanced penalties against violent, repeat offenders. For bill text, click here.  

Representative David Kustoff (R-Tennessee) also introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

"Violent, repeat criminals should be behind bars, not roaming the streets threatening law-abiding citizens. The Restoring the Armed Career Criminal Act will give back federal prosecutors the tool they need to lock up hardened, repeat offenders.” said Cotton

“Dangerous, repeat offenders must be held fully-accountable for their crimes and kept out of our communities,” said Perdue. “With the safety of Americans at stake, it’s critical that the Armed Career Criminal Act be restored so that law enforcement can ensure offenders with an extensive criminal history serve the appropriate amount of time.” 

“The practice of releasing violent serial criminals has to end,” said Blackburn. “Repeat offenders should not be rewarded with the freedom to needlessly victimize more law-abiding Americans.”

“When prosecutors lack the tools to take repeat offenders off the streets, more crimes are committed and all of us are less safe. This bill sends the message that if you commit multiple serious felonies and carry a gun illegally, you’ll be spending the next 15 years in prison,” said Hawley.

Our law enforcement works around the clock to keep our streets safe.  The least we can do to aid them in their mission is ensure that fewer violent criminals are released back on the streets. This bill is a common sense measure that gives prosecutors the tools to keep hardened criminals behind bars. Thank you to Senator Cotton for working alongside me to introduce this important legislation, and I look forward to swiftly passing this measure to not only protect the American people but to help our men and women in law enforcement,” said Kustoff.

Statements of Support
“NSA strongly supports this legislation because it will help sheriffs across the country keep their communities safe by ensuring that repeat offenders are kept off the streets. We thank Senators Cotton, Blackburn, Perdue, Hawley, and Graham for continuing to work with law enforcement to find solutions to critical public safety issues the country faces,” said Jonathan F. Thompson, Executive Director and CEO, National Sheriffs’ Association.

“When the Supreme Court effectively voided the ACCA in its decision in Johnson v. United States in 2015 due to part of the definition of “violent felony” being unconstitutionally vague, it took away an important tool that law enforcement used to get the worst career criminals off our streets. The Restoring the Armed Career Criminal Act will fix the ACCA by using a specific definition for ‘serious felony’ and restore the Act, thus giving prosecutors and law enforcement back a significant resource in the fight against violent crime,” said William J. Johnson, Executive Director, National Association of Police Organizations.

Background
Originally passed by a unanimous vote in the House and Senate in 1984, the Armed Career Criminal Act requires a minimum 15-year prison sentence for felons convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm who have three prior state or federal convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses, which must have been committed on three different occasions. These are the worst-of-the worst, career criminals.

The ACCA defines serious drug offenses as those punishable by imprisonment for 10 years or more. It defines violent felonies as those:
1. that have an element of threat, attempt, or use of physical force against another;
2. that involve burglary, arson, or extortion; or
3. that constitute crimes similar to burglary, arson, or extortion under what is known as the ACCA's "residual clause" (any crime that "otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another").

In 2015, the Supreme Court in Johnson v. United States declared the residual clause unconstitutionally vague and thus effectively void.

The Johnson Fallout
Many criminals were sentenced under the ACCA and their premature release after the Johnson decision resulted in tragic consequences. In 2016, Cornelius Spencer, a gang member guilty of nine felonies including drug trafficking, aggravated assault, and robbery, was released a full five years before his sentence was up. Last year, he was charged with raping two homeless Arkansans, a 62-year-old woman and a 21-year-old autistic man. These crimes would've never happened if Spencer hadn't been prematurely released.

The Legislative Solution
The Restoring the Armed Career Criminal Act of 2019 would do away with the concepts of "violent felony" and "serious drug offense" and replace them with a single category of "serious felony." A serious felony would be any crime punishable by 10 years or more. By defining "serious felony" solely based on the potential term of imprisonment, the bill would address the vagueness issue and remove any discretion or doubt about which offenses qualify.

The bill would give federal prosecutors an additional tool to go after the most dangerous, career criminals and would not apply to low-level offenders. Specifically, the ACCA would still apply only in a case where a felon who possesses a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) has previously been convicted three times of serious felonies, which must have been committed on different occasions.

 

May 20, 2019

WINNERS OF ALL-STATE CODING COMPETITION ANNOUNCED
LITTLE ROCK —
After multiple rounds of competition on the regional and state levels, students from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts were named winners of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s All-State Coding Competition.

As winners, Karsen Beck, Noah Raby, and William Shaver from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts received 529 College Savings Plan scholarships totaling $2,000, each. Bradley Baltz, Lucas Jaggernauth, and Austin Parker from Haas Hall Academy in Rogers placed second, with each receiving $1,000 scholarships deposited into 529 plans. The third-place team of Owen Bell, Julian Sanker, and Daniel Whitmire from Haas Hall Academy at Fayetteville each received 529 College Savings Plan scholarships totaling $500. In addition to these individual scholarships, the schools that sponsored the winning teams were awarded $10,000, $6,000, and $4,000, respectively, to support their computer science programs.

 

“The increasing number of schools that compete each year and the caliber of the competitors shows that coding is catching on all over Arkansas,” Hutchinson said. “Our students and educators understand that computer science is a key to a great future for themselves and for our state. Congratulations to the winners.”

A total of 122 teams from across the state first participated in competitions held regionally. The top 16 teams from the regional competitions, along with a team from last year’s first-place school, competed in the All-State Competition, held May 18 at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s Bell Engineering Center. 

A three-year sponsor, Verizon donated $50,000 to ARCodeKids to support the competition again this year. The company announced it would also contribute $50,000 to sponsor next year’s competition, with a portion of those funds to be used to train and certify computer science teachers across the state.

"On behalf of Verizon, we recognize the leadership of Governor Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Education, and ARCodeKids to create a competition that will afford lifelong skills in teamwork and decision-making in a fun learning atmosphere," said Darlene Brugnoli, director of Government Affairs at Verizon. "Verizon is proud to partner in this program that provides students with the skills needed to put them on the path to success in an increasingly technology-dependent economy." 

To learn more about Arkansas’ Computer Science Initiative, visit https://bit.ly/2nwlgmf

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet at Catherine’s Bistro on Wednesday. This week the speakers will be Mayor Julian Lott and Ouachita County Judge Robbie McAdoo.  They will give  updates on what is going on with the city and county.

MAY 17, 2019

RURAL DEVELOPMENT GRANT PROGRAM
49 rural communities and counties received more than $585,000 in grant funding Thursday in the 2019 Arkansas Rural Development Conference Grant Program Awards at the Hot Springs Convention Center. The awards were presented at the Governor’s Luncheon, which concluded the three day conference. Governor Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Economic Development Council Director Mike Preston presented the awards.

The Bearden Fire Department received a check for $2,727.50 and the City of Thornton received $15,000 from the Rural Community Grant Program.

 Calhoun County received $27,500 and Dallas County received $50,369 from the Arkansas Unpaved Roads Grant Program.

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZED FOR CHAMPIONING FULBRIGHT AND INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION EXCHANGE PROGRAMS
WASHINGTON
–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) was presented with the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Centennial Medal for his dedication to international education and cultural exchange programs.

“Educational exchanges like the Fulbright Program help change the world. Providing opportunities for students to participate in international programs allows for the exchange of ideas, fosters an understanding of different cultures and strengthens diplomatic relations. I’m proud to support programs that break down barriers by building a network of global ambassadors,” Boozman said.

During the medal presentation Boozman met with Colton Flynn, a native of Farmington, Arkansas who recently earned his Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University. Flynn was a Fulbright Scholar who conducted agriculture research in Ethiopia with Ethiopian farmers and scientists.

The Fulbright Program, the United States’ flagship educational exchange program, was created by former Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946.

IIE is a global leader in international education. The not-for-profit organization works internationally to design and manage scholarship, study abroad, workforce training and leadership development programs. IIE is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

SAAC TO HOST ARTIST’S RECEPTION FOR AIE EXHIBIT AND LILY PHILLIPS
The South Arkansas Arts Center will host an artist's reception on Saturday, May 18 at 2:00pm to honor two exhibits being shown in the galleries during the month of May.

Hanging in the Price Gallery is a collection of works by El Dorado teenager Lily Phillips. Her show, entitled "A Morsel of My Being", contains paintings, fiber art, design sketches, and costumes. This amazing show will hang through the 28th of May.

Also on display this month in the Merkle Gallery is a photography collaboration between local Arts In Education artist Lisa Burton Tarver and the gifted and talented elementary students from El Dorado's 4th grade and Junction City's 4th-6th grades. The show is entitled "Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder".

Along with Tarver and GT Teacher Teresa Brady, Junction City students, grades 4-6, created still life compositions to photograph from flowers, fruit and vegetables. A print of the still life was hand tinted with markers, after which the tinted photo was enlarged and matted for the exhibit.

El Dorado 4th graders went with GT Teacher Brooke Bagwell and Tarver on a field trip to the Arboretum and used a digital pad to photograph things they thought were beautiful, mysterious and interesting. Some edited colors or made images black and white and cropped them. They also matted their own 8x10 print for the exhibit.

For more information on this reception, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

BOOZMAN AND COTTON RECOGNIZE EUREKA SPEINGS AVIATION CADET MUSEUM
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced a Senate resolution recognizing the Aviation Cadet Museum in Eureka Springs as America’s National Aviation Cadet Museum.

From 1917 to 1965, the flying cadet and succeeding aviation cadet programs served as the primary production source for nearly 500,000 joint service pilots, navigators and bombardiers. The bravery, courage, dedication and heroism of these aviators and their supporting ground crews during World War I and World War II were critical factors in defeating our nation’s enemies.

“Preserving the history of our nation’s aviation cadets demonstrates our gratitude for their sacrifice and service. For more than two decades, the Aviation Cadet Museum has been dedicated to sharing their stories and educating the public about our nation’s military aviation history. I’m proud to honor the accomplishments of these heroes whose achievements in the air helped defeat our adversaries.” Boozman said.

“Our nation’s aviation cadets fought bravely in our nation’s defense, and we should honor their service,” said Cotton. "This resolution will help ensure their legacy is long remembered.”

Founded in 1994 by former aviation cadet and Air Force First Lieutenant Errol Severe, the museum preserves and promotes an understanding of the aviators who built the air arm of this nation. It honors the teamwork, collaboration, patriotism and courage of those men as well as those individuals on the home front who mobilized and supported the national aviation effort in the 20th century. 

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE LEADS COALITION THAT SUPPORTS RESCINDING CFPB RULE
12 states send letter to CFPB Director urging rule to keep states as the frontline consumer defenders
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge co-led a coalition of 12 states, along with the Indiana Attorney General, in support of the rule proposed this year by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that would replace a 2017 CFPB rule governing small, short-term loans. The states contend that the CFPB should recognize them as the frontline consumer defenders and that the 2017 rule improperly tried to cut the states out of the consumer-protection picture. This hurt consumers’ freedom to choose which financial products best serve their own interests.

“The CFPB’s proposed rule would return consumer protection to the states,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The 2017 rule took a one-size-fits-all approach to short-term lending that did not account for individual consumers’ needs. States understand their citizens’ needs better than Washington bureaucrats ever could. The CFPB has realized this, and the proposed rule returns powers to the states to make sure their citizens are protected, along with allowing additional innovative solutions to enhance the consumers’ access to credit on fair terms.”

In the letter, the attorneys general wrote, “The proposed rule respects the states’ role in maximizing consumers’ welfare by ensuring both that consumers are protected from illegal practices and that they have access to credit.”

Arkansas, along with Indiana, led the group which included Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

 

MAY 16, 2019

BOOZMAN & COTTON RECOGNIZE EUREKA SPRINGS AVIATION CADET MUSEUM
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced a Senate resolution recognizing the Aviation Cadet Museum in Eureka Springs as America’s National Aviation Cadet Museum. 

From 1917 to 1965, the flying cadet and succeeding aviation cadet programs served as the primary production source for nearly 500,000 joint service pilots, navigators and bombardiers. The bravery, courage, dedication and heroism of these aviators and their supporting ground crews during World War I and World War II were critical factors in defeating our nation’s enemies.

“Preserving the history of our nation’s aviation cadets demonstrates our gratitude for their sacrifice and service. For more than two decades, the Aviation Cadet Museum has been dedicated to sharing their stories and educating the public about our nation’s military aviation history. I’m proud to honor the accomplishments of these heroes whose achievements in the air helped defeat our adversaries.” Boozman said.

“Our nation’s aviation cadets fought bravely in our nation’s defense, and we should honor their service,” said Cotton. "This resolution will help ensure their legacy is long remembered.” 

Founded in 1994 by former aviation cadet and Air Force First Lieutenant Errol Severe, the museum preserves and promotes an understanding of the aviators who built the air arm of this nation. It honors the teamwork, collaboration, patriotism and courage of those men as well as those individuals on the home front who mobilized and supported the national aviation effort in the 20thcentury.

Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE REACHES NEARLY $200,000 SETTLEMENT WITH LITTLE ROCK SPA
Says, ‘Arkansans who were hurt financially by Indulgences by Body Bronze’
LITTLE ROCK
– Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Body Bronze LLC and its owners, Molly Verbrugge and Lila Riggs have reached a settlement to resolve allegations that Indulgences by Body Bronze continued to sell VIP membership plans, spa service packages and gift certificates during the busy 2017 holiday season, but abruptly closed its doors on January 8, 2018, without warning to consumers or employees.

“Arkansans who were hurt financially by Indulgences by Body Bronze will now be made whole,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The owners are being held accountable for soliciting and accepting prepayments from customers without regard to whether the company would be able to provide customers the goods and services they purchased.”

The consent judgment, which was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, includes $98,510.02 in restitution to 241 Arkansas consumers, and $100,000 in civil penalties. Verbrugge and Riggs are also prohibited from operating another spa-type business in Arkansas.

Indulgences by Body Bronze was a day spa in west Little Rock and advertised services including pedicures, massages, facial treatments and laser hair removal.

Rutledge filed a consumer-protection lawsuit against Indulgences by Body Bronze in February 2018.

MAY 13, 2019

BOOZMAN, TESTER FIGHT FOR VETERANS EXPOSED TO AGENT ORANGE DURING SERVICE IN THAILAND
WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced legislation to allow veterans who served in Thailand during the Vietnam War-era the opportunity to prove toxic exposure in order to qualify for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.

“We made a commitment to our veterans, and must continue that promise to care and provide assistance for those exposed to Agent Orange regardless of where they served in Thailand. Expanding the VA’s policy to provide service-connected benefits is crucial to that pledge. Arbitrarily limiting consideration of a veteran’s claim is misguided, especially considering the VA determined that herbicides were used on fenced-in perimeters of military bases in Thailand. This bill will eliminate the unreasonable burden on veterans to prove toxic exposure,” Boozman said. 

“Exposure to Agent Orange has had serious, lasting impacts on Montana’s veterans, and the VA needs to address their needs, no matter where the veteran served,” Tester said. “These folks risked their lives for our country when they were deployed to Thailand and we have a duty to ensure they get the benefits to which they’re entitled.” 

The VA currently awards service-connected benefits for exposure to toxic chemicals to veterans whose duties placed them on or near the perimeters of Thai military bases from February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975. This restriction arbitrarily disqualifies veterans who may otherwise be able to prove their exposure, regardless of their assigned duties during their time stationed in Thailand. 

Veteran Service Organizations including Disabled American Veterans (DAV) have long advocated for improvements to health coverage for veterans exposed to dangerous herbicides. 

“DAV strongly supports legislation to extend presumptions for Agent Orange and other herbicide exposure to all veterans who served at military installations in Thailand during the Vietnam Era, regardless of the base, duty or military occupational specialty. This legislation would also extend benefits to children of Thailand Vietnam-era veterans who develop spina bifida, which are now granted to children of veterans who served in Vietnam. We applaud Senators Boozman and Tester for introducing this important legislation to provide Vietnam-era veterans who served in Thailand greater equity with respect to presumptive diseases associated with herbicide exposure,” said Joy Ilem, DAV National Legislative Director.

Similar legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives in April. 

MAY 10, 2019

COTTON, SHAHEEN, MCSALLY INTRODUCE THE PORTABLE CERTIFICATION OF SPOUSES (PCS) ACT OF 2019
Washington, D.C. - Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), and Martha McSally (R-Arizona) introduced the Portable Certification of Spouses Act, legislation that seeks to improve the portability of occupational licenses from state to state. The bill will also help alleviate the burden military spouses bear when having to re-register a small business in a new state each time a service member gets reassigned to a new military installation.

Representatives Jim Banks (R-Indiana) and Susan Davis (D-California) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

This proposed legislation would allow the Department of Defense to use defense dollars to help states come up with universal standards for such licenses. Resolving the issue of military spouse licensing is a national security concern, helping alleviate the choice for service members between their career and the career of their spouses.

"One-in-three military spouses work in a field that requires an occupational license, and too many of them are forced to re-certify every time they move between states. Military families already shoulder heavy loads for our country-they shouldn't also have to worry about state regulations that prevent wives or husbands from working in their own profession. Our bipartisan bill will ensure those spouses can pursue their careers uninterrupted, even while they're moving their family from state to state and base to base," said Cotton.

"Military spouses make immense sacrifices and whenever we can find ways to support them, we should act. This legislation will cut through red tape that military spouses face as they practice their licensed professions and move their businesses from state-to-state. This legislation is an opportunity to demonstrate to the nation that Congress can still work across the aisle to solve urgent problems," said Shaheen.

"Family readiness is military readiness," said McSally, "We need to continue backing military spouses and families who want to serve our country. This legislation will help ease the burden on military families during moves through the career of a service member. Our support will allow service members to continue their active duty service without negatively impacting their loved ones. I'm happy to join this effort to do that."

"Military spouses are the keystone in any service member's family, providing love, stability, and support to our military families. They make enormous sacrifices, enduring long periods away from their loved ones and often are required to move from state to state, leaving behind jobs and friends. Currently, military spouses with careers requiring occupational licenses often face the burdensome task of professionally recertifying each time they must move out of state. This process severely impedes their ability to sustain their careers and increases the stress of frequent reassignments. I am proud to lead this bipartisan initiative in the House with Congresswoman Susan Davis and thank Second Lady Karen Pence, Senator Tom Cotton, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen for their leadership," said Rep. Banks.

"When our men and women in uniform serve, so do their families - especially military spouses," said Rep. Davis. "Multiple moves by servicemembers impact the careers of military spouses. I am proud to join in introducing the Portable Certification of Spouses (PCS) Act to cut through red tape and help create career continuity. It's not only good for military spouses but also our communities who benefit from their talents."

Background

Over 34% of military spouses work in fields that require a state license in order to practice. These spouses are often required to recertify and pay to recertify this license every time they move between states with their spouse. Re-certification has become too long, expensive, detrimental to the careers of spouses, and prohibitive financially to military families who could benefit from two household incomes instead of one. This process often effects a service member's desire to stay in the military long-term.

This legislation would impact spouses working in fields such as health-related occupations and education. 56 percent of licensed military spouses in health-related occupations and 29 percent in education respectively. The fields which could potentially benefit from this legislation include, but are not limited to, the following: teachers, advance practice nurses, physician's assistants, occupational therapists, dentists, dental hygienists, nutritionists, counselors, social workers, veterinarians, cosmetologists, and realtors.

The bill text can be found
here.

 

May 09, 2019

SAAC TO HOST CORKS AND CANVAS MAY 16TH
Uncork your creativity at SAAC's Corks and Canvas art classes! This month's class will be led by local artist Pam Vernon, and will be held on May 16 from 6:00-9:00pm.

Come to this class ready to create a Monet-inspired painting of a sunset. Pam said, "This is an easy, fun project. I wanted to do something to celebrate summer." She added, "We will paint a colorful summer sunset in the style of the famous French painter Claude Monet. I love the impressionist style of painting because the brush strokes are so simple, yet they transform into a beautiful work of art."

From the newbie to the seasoned painter, Corks and Canvas painting classes have something for everyone. These classes offer a fun and unique way to uncork your creativity. Enjoy a time of relaxation with your friends re-creating a featured painting of the night. Paint, canvas, and brushes are provided as an experienced award winning local artist leads you step-by-step through the process of unleashing your inner Van Gogh to complete a work of art in three hours.

SAAC executive director Laura Allen said, "Because it is really geared toward artists of all skill levels-even those who have never held a paintbrush before-Corks & Canvas truly is an accessible way to have some fun and learn a new skill at the same time. Making art together is a great icebreaker for friends new and old. "

The $40.00 fee covers all supplies and snacks. Those taking the class should bring their favorite libation and get ready to have a good time.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: VACATIONERS SCAMMED BY ONLINE HOTEL BOOKERS
LITTLE ROCK
– Third-party travel websites are popular but some may charge Arkansans unnecessary, hidden fees. As Arkansans begin to make summer vacation plans, they should use caution when going online for services including booking travel through an online third-party vendor.

“Some unscrupulous online travel vendors use deceptive and misleading marketing tactics to convince consumers they are talking directly to a hotel,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “In these situations, the consumer is actually talking to a third party that may charge additional fees and may cause the reservation and any special reservation requests to be lost or incorrectly recorded.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge urges all Arkansans to observe the recommendations of the Better Business Bureau and the American Hotel and Lodging Association to ensure safe travel booking:

 

  • Whenever possible, book directly with the hotel or resort.
  • If using a third-party booking site, make sure the site is legitimate. Do not trust a website just because it appears to be legitimate or comes up near the top of online search results. 
  • The best hotel deals are often available far in advance. Planning ahead will give the opportunity  to research different sites, compare options and amenities, and lock in a good rate.
  • Avoid broad internet searches like “best deals” or “cheapest rates.” Broad search terms can sometimes lead to websites that look official, but are not. Deceptive travel sites often pose as the actual hotel’s website, even using the hotel’s name in the URL and its logo and copyrighted images throughout the site. Double check the website address before providing your credit card information. 
  • Call the hotel a few weeks before the travel date to confirm the reservation.

 
In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission settled a federal lawsuit with a third-party hotel-booking website accused of misleading consumers into believing they were booking directly with a hotel.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO FIX EXCESSIVE TAXATION FOR GOLD STAR FAMILIES
Washington, D.C.— U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R- Arkansas), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-Louisiana), Doug Jones (D-Alabama), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Mark Warner (D-Virginia), Angus King (I-Maine), and 20 other senators introduced legislation providing tax relief for children receiving benefits who have lost a parent serving in the military.

Simplification of a special tax dating back to 1986 that was intended to stop wealthy parents from sheltering income at lower tax rates by shifting it to their children inadvertently caused higher taxes on military survivor benefits. This bipartisan legislation effectively removes these benefits from the special 1986 tax, resolving the unintended tax treatment of survivor benefits.

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), Patty Murray (D-Washington), Gary Peters (D-Michigan), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), and Jon Tester (D-Montana) are also cosponsors of the legislation.

“The United States owes a debt to Gold Star families whose loved ones fell defending our flag. While their benefits will never make up for their loss, these families deserve all that our nation promised them. Our bipartisan legislation will provide a technical fix to an outrageous—even if unintended—consequence of tax reform so that Gold Star families receive what they are owed,” said Cotton.

“This bipartisan legislation helps those who lost a husband or wife, a father or mother, serving in the military to protect us. This legislation fixes an unintended problem and lessens the taxes of the surviving spouse,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The Tax Cut and Jobs act has helped millions. I thank Democratic colleagues for joining to improve the law and ensure more Americans benefit.”

“Gold Star families have given more to our country than most of us could ever imagine. While we can never repay their immense sacrifices, we do make a solemn commitment to care for them,” said Jones. “Unfortunately, thousands of these widows and widowers are currently denied the full benefits they’re due, which forces many to resort to putting some of these benefits in their children’s names. To significantly raise taxes on those children’s benefits is unconscionable, and I am proud to join with my colleague Senator Cassidy to propose legislation to correct this egregious mistake. It is a first step toward honoring our commitment and making these families whole financially.” 

“Gold Star families have all endured a terrible tragedy – the loss of a loved one in service to our nation – and deserve the gratitude of all Americans,” said Toomey. “The Department of Defense has long provided for the economic wellbeing of children who have lost a parent in military service through survivor benefits. Unfortunately, these benefits are currently being subjected to a higher tax rate than intended. Our bipartisan measure will correct this problem. I appreciate the work of Gold Star families who have led the fight to have Congress address this issue.” 

“Gold Star families have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country –– they shouldn’t have to sacrifice more,” said Klobuchar. “Our legislation will reverse the devastating mistake in the 2017 tax law that resulted in a much higher tax rate on Gold Star Families’ survivor benefits. The families of our fallen heroes deserve our gratitude, not a bill.”

“Historically, after major tax legislation, the long-standing practice has been to correct drafting errors and other technical issues on a bipartisan basis. I appreciate my Democratic colleagues who are working with Republicans to correct this problem. The families of military heroes who gave their lives serving their country shouldn’t be penalized by an unintended effect of tax reform.” said Grassley. 

“Gold Star families deserve our sympathy and gratitude, not an unfair tax increase thanks to a Congressional screw-up,” said Warner. “This bipartisan legislation fixes the mistake in the 2017 GOP tax legislation, ensuring surviving families aren’t unfairly penalized and paying back those families who have already been hit with this tax hike.” 

“Wisconsin’s Gold Star families have sacrificed so much for this nation and the freedoms we all cherish,” said Baldwin. “This bipartisan legislation is a much-needed fix to the 2017 law that unfairly raised taxes on these hardworking families.”

 

“Gold Star families have sacrificed deeply for our country – we owe them our support and gratitude, not an unexpected tax bill,” said Bennet. “This bipartisan bill is a common-sense fix that will make sure surviving family members aren’t left with an unfair and unnecessary tax burden.”

“The courage and resilience of Gold Star families are remarkable beyond words. These heroes deserve our nation’s respect and gratitude—not a tax hike on the benefits they have earned because of their sacrifice and tragic loss. I’m proud to support this bipartisan bill that will undo the harm done to Gold Star families by a provision in the Republican tax bill,” said Blumenthal. 

“Gold Star families have sacrificed so much for this country and nothing should get in the way of providing them with the support they need,” said Brown. “The last thing they need is a new tax hike from the same law that slashed tax bills for corporations.” 

“Americans who have lost a parent or a spouse in military service to our country have made the ultimate sacrifice and they don’t deserve an additional burden of a tax increase,” said Casey. “We have an obligation to support Gold Star families and I urge my colleagues to swiftly pass this bipartisan bill to lower taxes on survivors benefits for the children and spouses of fallen servicemembers.”

“Gold Star families have made an extraordinary sacrifice in supporting their loved ones’ service in the military and should not have to face additional hardships after their loss,” said Crapo. “This legislation ensures Gold Star families do not face unintended and unfair tax penalties on their survivor benefits.  We owe nothing less to the families of our nation’s fallen servicemembers.” 

“Texas’ Gold Star families deserve our gratitude and appreciation after experiencing tremendous loss,” said Cornyn. “Congress must right this wrong and clarify the law so children who have lost a parent serving in the military receive the survivor benefits they deserve.”

“The kids, spouses and family members of our service members deserve every support for the bravery and sacrifice of their loved one,” said Cortez Masto. “I’m proud to join this legislation that fixes an error in the recent tax legislation and restores tax relief to Gold Star Families in Nevada, and throughout America. I’ll continue to do everything I can in the United States Senate to honor the service of our brave men and women in uniform and support their families.”

“Families of those who have lost a loved one while serving in the military should not be forced to pay burdensome taxes,” said Daines. “This bipartisan bill would protect family members of brave men and women from unnecessary taxes, and I’m glad so many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are supporting this commonsense cause.”​

“Our bipartisan legislation would reverse a mistake in the Republican tax law that raised taxes on families of fallen servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms,” said Hassan. “Raising taxes on Gold Star families is outrageous and we must act swiftly to correct this egregious mistake.”

“When Congress sought to ensure that the tax code retained existing benefits for children who have lost a parent serving in the military, an unintended consequence resulted in higher taxes on the death-related benefits to military families. We must fix this issue without delay,” said Isakson. “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been an overwhelming success for hardworking Americans. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees tax policy, as well as the chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I’m proud to support this legislation to correct an oversight for our Gold Star Families.”

“Our Gold Star families don’t deserve to be burdened by the high tax rates they’re currently facing on survivor benefits,” said Roberts. “Their loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and this Marine will continue fighting for these Gold Star families.”

 “Gold Star families gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It is our duty to ensure they have the support and financial security they deserve,” said Sinema.

“Gold Star families have endured the unimaginable on behalf of our nation. In return for the life of a loved one, our country provides the grieving families of military heroes with some basic financial support. It can’t replace a fraction of what they’ve lost, but it’s a small token of appreciation from a thankful nation,” said Tester. “Now, thanks to Trump’s disastrous tax bill, these Gold Star children and spouses are having these basic benefits slashed—a particularly unacceptable consequence of this giveaway to corporations and the wealthy.”

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE RESOLUTION MARKING IRAN DEAL WITHDRAWAL ANNIVERSARY
Washington, D.C.— Wednesday, Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Todd Young (R-Indiana), Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), and Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) introduced a resolution to mark the anniversary of the United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. The resolution highlights the shortcomings of the Iran nuclear agreement, reaffirms Congressional opposition to Iran ever acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, and rejects the reapplication of JCPOA sanctions relief.

“Today marks one year since the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed a maximum pressure campaign against the regime. Now, Iran is threatening to stockpile and resume enrichment of uranium unless we relent and bail out its dying economy. I hope Iran’s threats serve as a wakeup call for our European allies and partners, as well as members of the business community. Any attempt to invest in the Iranian market, under any circumstances other than Iran’s complete and verifiable cessation of its full range of malign activities, will be fraught with huge legal and financial risks. Businesses should not put themselves in that compromising position, and our European partners should not give in to Iran’s high-stakes nuclear blackmail,” said Cotton.

“Iran’s ongoing nuclear misbehavior underscores why the United States was absolutely right to withdraw from the flawed deal. The people of Iran deserve better as they continue to suffer under the Iranian regime’s criminal corruption, massive economic mismanagement and systemic human rights abuses, in addition to its support for terrorists and the murderous Assad regime, ballistic missile aggression, and nuclear misbehavior,” said Rubio.

“The Obama Iran nuclear deal was a catastrophe for the national security of the United States and our allies,” said Cruz. “It legalized Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and was designed to fully expire and lift restrictions on Iran in the next few years. In the face of enormous amount of opposition, President Trump made the right call by terminating U.S. participation in the deal and imposing pressure on the Ayatollahs. Now there should be a consensus that there's no reason to re-enter a deal that will be winding down anyway.”

"President Trump made a courageous decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, which builds off his success of rooting out ISIS and keeping our country safe from the threat of global terrorism,” said Braun.

“The Iran nuclear deal was one of the single worst foreign policy disasters in recent memory. It severely threatened our closest allies and rewarded our worst adversaries by giving them a fast track toward acquiring nuclear weapons,” said Hawley. “I support the Administration’s maximum pressure campaign to hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of terrorism, human rights abuses and leading role in the proliferation of chemical weapons.”

“Today, on the one-year anniversary of America’s withdrawal from the flawed JCPOA, I am glad to join my colleagues in reaffirming this decision. As a nation, we should reject any sanctions relief that would allow the Iranian regime to continue its malign activities – and allied countries and businesses should do the same,” said Blackburn.

“An emboldened Iran is a threat to the world, and the disastrous Iran Nuclear Deal did nothing but strengthen this State Sponsor of Terrorism while endangering Israel and our Middle East allies. I agree with President Trump’s decision and firmly stand with his administration as the United States works to eliminate Iran’s ability to finance terrorism,” said Cramer.

“A year ago, the United States rightly walked away from a terrible nuclear deal with Iran, the largest state-sponsor of terror. Today, as they saber-rattle and threaten to restart their uranium enrichment program, Iran’s despots are making it clear that they’re still hell-bent on destabilizing the Middle East and threatening American interests. The United States and our allies must continue our maximum-pressure campaign,” said Sasse. 

 

May 08, 2019

OUACHITA COUNTY DEPUTIES ARREST MISSISSIPPI MAN
DWI 1ST
REFUSAL TO BAC
POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (MISD)
FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CONTROL
DRINKING ON THE HIGHWAY

On May 07 at 11:49 p.m. Deputy Andrew Tollefson was dispatched to U.S Highway 9 for a possible accident. Dispatch stated the reporting party advised there was skid marks in the road leading to a vehicle that had ran off the road and got stuck in ditch. Dispatch said the reporting party advised the driver was passed out behind the wheel of the vehicle and could not be woke up.

Upon arrival the Deputy observed a black 2005 Ford F250 in the ditch on the north side of U.S Highway 9 near Ouachita Road 412. The vehicle appeared to have missed the turn and slid into the ditch spinning around. The driver of the vehicle appeared to have tried to remove the vehicle from the ditch but got stuck in the process.

Deputy Chris Gill was already on scene prior to Officer Tollefson’s arrival and had already made contact with the driver who was identified as Jeremy Parker. Parker was standing at the rear of Gill's patrol vehicle. Deputy Gill then made contact with Deputy Tollefson handing him Parker's license advising him that he believed Parker to be intoxicated.

Deputy Tollefson then made contact with Parker. While speaking with him, the Deputy could smell a strong odor of an unknown intoxicant emitting from his breath. Parker had to use Gill's patrol vehicle to keep his balance in a effort not to fall down. Parker was asked how much he had to drink, and his reply was "Alot". Parker was also asked where he was coming from and where he was heading. Parker stated the he was corning from Mississippi and that he was going nowhere because he got his truck stuck in the ditch.

Parker was asked to submit to a Standardized Field Sobriety Test. Parker agreed to perform the test but advised me that he is guilty and to just put the cuffs on him. He was unable to complete the tests.

Parker was asked to provide a breath sample on PBT which he agreed and provided a breath sample with an ending result of. 0.19AC. Parker was then taken into custody for DWI.

While conducting a vehicle inventory a 20 ounce can of Coors Light was located in the center console. The container was opened approximately half empty, cold to the touch, and covered in condensation. A small baggie of marijuana was also located in the center console between the driver and passenger seat. No other contraband was located in the vehicle and Doherty's Wrecker later took possession of the vehicle.

While conducting the vehicle inventory several firearms were located inside the vehicle which were taken into the custody of the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Department. The firearms will be released to back to Parker upon his release.

Parker was then transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center. Upon arrival Parker was read his Arkansas Statement of Rights. Parker was asked to submit to a breath test but refused to provide a sample.

Parker was then released into the custody of Detention Center. Parker was charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Refusal to BAC, failure to Maintain Control, and Drinking on the Highway.

Upon release Parker will be issued traffic citations the charges and given a Ouachita County  District Court date.

CADC TO DISTRIBUTE USDA COMMODITIES May 21-22 2019 IN OUACHITA COUNTY
Camden –
Central Arkansas Development Council will distribute USDA Commodities in Ouachita County Tuesday, May 21, 2019 and Wednesday, May 22, 2019 in Camden. Distribution will begin at 9 am.

Food Items May Include: Dry Cherries, Cream Corn, Grits, Tomato Sauce, Tuna, Rotini, Mixed Fruit, Potato Flakes, Walnuts, Dry Great Northern Beans, Can Black Beans, Brown Rice, or Dry Split Peas.

ID must be present in order to receive commodities.

In Ouachita County, commodities will be distributed at the following location at Carnes Park located  at 955 Adams, S.E. in Camden Call (870) 836-3200 for more information.

In accordance with the federal law and US Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. If you believe that 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., SW, Washington DC 20250.

MEMORIAL FOR FALLEN STATE TROOPERS
State Police Commission meeting follows ceremony
A memorial service for the 19 Arkansas State Troopers who’ve died in the line of duty during the course of the department’s 84 year history is scheduled for 10 AM, Thursday (May 9th).  The ceremony will be conducted at the entry to the Arkansas State Police Hall of Honor inside administrative headquarters located at One State Police Plaza Drive, Little Rock. Surviving family members will be joined by department commanders, both active and retired state troopers, state police commissioners and others.

Immediately following the memorial service, the Arkansas State Police Commission will convene at administrative headquarters in a regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Upon adjournment of the meeting, one or more commissioners may meet with representatives of the Arkansas State Police Foundation

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday  May 9th at 12:00 noon at  Catherine’s Bistro.  Thw program will be by  Executive Director,  Ted Woodlock, Boy Scouts of America – DeSoto The Kiwanians will also have special guest:   Lt. Governor Elbert Bradley, Jr.

COTTON STATEMENT ON IRAN’S THREAT TO ABANDON JCPOA
Washington, D.C. —
 Following news reports that Iran intends to pull out of certain aspects of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement:

“Europe must not give in to Tehran’s nuclear blackmail as the ayatollahs threaten to renew their rush toward the bomb. The United Kingdom, Germany, and France ought to walk away from their financial backchannels with Iran and join the United States in imposing maximum pressure on the regime. The United States will remain steadfast in its approach until Iran abandons its nuclear and missile programs and support for terrorism.” 

MAY 7, 2019

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES INTENT TO GRANT EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY
LITTLE ROCK – On Monday, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced his intent to grant 10 pardons. An additional 41 clemency requests were denied and 7 had no action taken upon it. These include requests from both inmates and non-inmates.

The applicants intended for pardons have completed all jail time, fulfilled all parole and probationary requirements and paid all fines related to their sentences. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive public feedback on the notices before final action is taken.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant pardons to the following people:

Sarah Besancon (Sherwood): Battery-2nd Degree (D Felony) (CR-2004-4392). This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2005 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Michael Callahan (Van Buren): Breaking or Entering (D Felony) (CR 2006-1292a). This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2007 – Sebastian County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Casandra Neal Chambers (Little Rock): Theft of Property 1st (Misdemeanor) (CR 2004-2194). This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2005 – Arkansas County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Michael Ford, using the name Michael Brian Necaise, (Miami, OK): Unlawful Possession of Pseudoephedrine (C Felony) (CR 04-308-2A).This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2004 – Benton County), the  fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further Arkansas criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Stoney B. King (Greenbrier): Controlled Substance Act (C Felony) (CR 87-340), Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR 87-339), Theft by Receiving (C Felony) (CR 87-338), and Theft by Receiving (C Felony) (CR 87-341). This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1988 – Faulkner County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Janice Sparks (Camden): Theft Of Property over $2,500 (C Felony) (CR 2003-067).This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2003 – Ouachita County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Ricky E. Steele, Jr. (Laurel Hill, NC): Domestic Battering 3rd Degree (Misdemeanor) (CR 2006-02310); Domestic Battering 3rd Degree (Misdemeanor) (CR 2006-07057).This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (2006 and 2007 – Benton County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Prosecuting Attorney has raised objections to applicant's request.

Jerry A. Stone (Benton): Aggravated Assault (D Felony) (CR 1997-164-1).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1998 – Saline County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Jeffery Wallace (Mountain View): Manufacture Controlled Substance-Marijuana (C Felony) (CR 98-81). This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2000 – Stone County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

RoyShawn Wilson (Memphis, TN): Possession of Cocaine (C Felony) (CR 90-126).This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1990 – Crittenden County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

BOOZMAN URGES SUPPORT OF OPM NOMINEE
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR)urged members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to support the nomination of Dale Cabaniss to serve as the director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) while introducing her before the committee today.

 
 
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COTTON STATEMENT ON INCREASED

H-2B WORKER VISAS


Washington, D.C. - Just yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the decision to allow an additional 30,000 seasonal workers into the United States through the H-2B visa program:

"Our immigration system should prioritize the needs of U.S. citizens over cheap foreign labor. Allowing an additional 30,000 seasonal workers into the country forces Americans to compete for jobs against non-citizens who drag down wages. We should be setting immigration policies that support wage growth and employment for Americans instead of encouraging a race to the bottom by importing low-cost labor."

 


Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE SUBMITS COMMENTS TO THE FCC ON ILLEGAL SPOOFING 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge submitted comments on Monday on the Truth in Caller ID Act rulemaking process, which will enable the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to combat caller ID spoofing activities originating outside the United States.

“Arkansas has been leading the charge against these incessant and illegal spoofing calls that scam Arkansans out of thousands of dollars and are often directed to our most vulnerable citizens,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This proposed rule would expand the FCC’s authority to hold these bad actors accountable for the harm they cause.”

In March, Rutledge worked with legislators to enact stiffer penalties for illegal robocalls and spoofing, which faced no opposition. Arkansas has joined 49 other states and 4 U.S. territories in sending a letter to the U.S. Senate encouraging the passage of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act.

In February, Rutledge also sent a letter to the FCC demanding they take more aggressive measures to require telecoms to use existing technology to identify and stop illegal robocalls.

Rutledge joined the coalition with 42 other states to submit the comments.

May 06, 2019

UNION COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ARSON AND JURY TAMPERING AFTER ATTEMPT TO BURN WILDLIFE OFFICER’S TRUCK

EL DORADO – A Union County man has pleaded guilty to attempted arson and jury tampering in a case involving an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer’s truck. Harold S. Otwell, 47, of El Dorado, pleaded guilty to two felonies this week after he attempted to burn an AGFC wildlife officer’s truck.Otwell received 10 years for the attempted arson and five years for the jury tampering.

The attempted arson was discovered June 24, 2018, after the Union County wildlife officer noticed an oily substance and indications that someone had attempted to light the liquid on his state-issued vehicle. The officer’s vehicle was parked outside his residence when the incident occurred. Additional evidence showed that Otwell had attempted to contact one of the jurors in his case.

The investigation included the AGFC’s Enforcement Division, Criminal Investigation Division of the Arkansas State Police and Union County Sheriff's Office. Evidence was gathered from the scene and forwarded to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for analysis.

Maj. Brad Young, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Enforcement Division Assistant Chief, said he believes the attempted arson was in retaliation for actions taken previously by a wildlife officer in the performance of his job. “This was a very serious felony,” Young explained. “We’re pleased to see that something of this magnitude results in a substantial sentence,” he added.

CAMDEN NOON LIONS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lions Club will meet on Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Sharla Orren.  She will be speaking about the Selective Service.

 

MAY 3, 2019

 

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
DISORDERLY CONDUCT

On April 29th at 2:22 p.m. Officer Frank Remick was dispatched to 195 Ratcliff in reference to a disturbance. Upon arrival, the Officer heard a woman screaming at 180 Ratcliff, from her front porch to the reporting person. The woman located at 180 Ratcliff was identified as Sirmammus Howard. Howard continued to screamed profanities at the reporting party while on-lookers stood outside their homes.

Officer Remick advised Howard to stop mouthing and attempted to gather information from the reporting party. Howard continued to interrupt and curse while the other woman attempted to give her explanation of the reason for the call. Officer Jacob Vanassche and Sgt. Sharlotte Elliott arrived to hear Howard continuing with her language and was once again warned of her language.

After multiple attempts to speak with the reporting party, Howard became too disruptive and Officer Vanassche and Sgt. Elliott placed Howard in custody. Officer Vanassche transported her to the Camden Police Department where booking procedures were completed. Howard was issued a criminal citation, a District Court date and transported to Ouachita County Detention Center for holding.

LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT
DRIVING WITHOUT A DRIVER'S LICENSE
NO PROOF OF INSURANCE
FAILURE TO YIELD TO ONCOMING TRAFFIC
RECKLESS DRIVING
DISREGARDING A STOP SIGN

On May 1st at 3:03 p.m. Officer Ashley Watts, was dispatched to the area of Warren and Jenkins in reference to an accident. She arrived at the scene and made contact with Zachary Toms. Officer Watts observed Toms sitting on the side of the road on Warren Street. His vehicle, a white 2011 Honda Accord, was on the side of the road in the brush. Toms stated his brakes stopped working at the stop sign located at Jenkins and Warren. Toms also explained this was a secondary accident as he had just struck a pickup truck on Jenkins near Baker. He claimed he had to "throw the vehicle into reverse to stop" and that was how he ended up in the brush on the side of the road. However, after Officer Ben Opelt spoke with the driver of the vehicle he struck while on Jenkins Street, Toms admitted to "freaking out" because he did not have a driver's license or insurance on the vehicle and attempting to leave the scene of the accident. There was functional damage to the front of Toms vehicle, the rear driver side tire was flat and the front and rear bumpers were no longer attached to the vehicle. The front bumper of Toms' vehicle was located on Jenkins Street near Goza. Toms vehicle was removed from the scene by Rothwell's tow service.

Officer Watts observed Knights vehicle, a green 2006 Ford F150 pick-up truck parked on Warren Street with a flat back tire. Knight stated he was driving South on Jenkins and as he approached Baker Street, Toms pulled onto Jenkins from Baker heading North bound. Knight stated Toms made a wide turn onto Jenkins, striking the driver side rear quarter panel and tire with his driver side-front bumper. Knight said Toms backed back up onto Baker and then proceeded North bound on Jenkins toward Warren at a high rate of speed. Knight said he said he also backed onto Baker and then proceeded north bound on Jenkins toward Warren to catch up to the vehicle that had struck him. He said as he approached the intersection, he asked a lady, who was standing outside, which way Toms went and she pointed to the brush on the opposite side of the road on Warren. He said he observed Toms walking away from his vehicle approaching Monticello. He said he drove down Warren to Monticello and convinced Toms to return to the scene. Knight stated he drove onto Monticello and turned around back toward the intersection of Jenkins and Warren. Knight stated that Toms apologized to him numerous times. There appeared to be cosmetic damage to the rear driver side quarter panel of Knight's vehicle and the tire on the rear driver side of the vehicle to be flat. Knight had no injuries to report at the time of the incident and did not wish to be seen by EMS.

Officer Watts with a resident on Jenkins, who stated she was outside her residence walking to her vehicle at the time of the accident. She said she heard him before she saw him, as he was dragging his bumper. The womanstated she observed the white Honda Accord traveling at a high rate of speed down Jenkins, dragging the front bumper of the vehicle. She said he was driving too fast to make the stop at the intersection of Jenkins and Warren and she watched the vehicle leave the roadway. She said she observed Toms exit the vehicle and start walking West on Warren toward Monticello. She said Knight then drove to the intersection and asked where the vehicle went. The woman stated that she pointed to across the street on Warren and told Knight that the driver took off walking and pointed toward Monticello Street. She said Knight turned onto Warren and confronted Toms, telling him to come back to the vehicle until the authorities arrived. She said she observed Toms walk back to the vehicle and Knight turned his vehicle around and drove back to the intersection of Jenkins and Warren.

Toms was found at fault for the collision. He failed to yield to oncoming traffic while turning from Baker onto Jenkins causing him to strike Knight's vehicle. He then drove recklessly to attempt to leave the scene of the accident. He disregarded the stop sign at Jenkins and Warren while traveling at a high rate of speed and left the roadway causing him to end up in the brush. Toms was driving without a valid driver's license and had no proof of insurance in the vehicle at the time of the incident. Toms was taken into custody and transported to the Camden Police Department without incident where booking procedures were completed. Toms was later released with a Criminal Citation for Leaving the Scene of an Accident. He was also issued Traffic Citation for Driving Without a Driver's License, No Proof of Insurance, Failure to Yield to Oncoming Traffic, Reckless Driving, and Disregarding a Stop Sign. Toms was given a court in District Court.

CRIMINAL TRESPASS
On May 1st at 8:36 a.m. Officer Nathan Lane was dispatched to Pine Hills Nursing and Rehab (900 Magnolia Road) in reference to Billy Holmes being on the premise and he was banned. Upon arrival the Officer made contact with the reporting party who said Holmes walked into the building and went to his mother's room. She went on to say said after Holmes walked in she immediately called for police assistance. She said Holmes has been reported to be in the business over the weekend, but Police could not locate him.

Holmes was still on scene. He taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. Booking procedures were completed. Holmes was later released with Criminal a District of Camden court date.

SHOPLIFTING
On May 1st at 12:28 p.m. Officer Ashley Watts, was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to a shoplifter detained. Upon arrival contact was made with the asset protection manager in the office where he had Rynn Johnson detained.

The Officer viewed surveillance footage of Johnson at the self-checkout and was able to see Johnson put several clothing items into a bag without scanning them. Wal-Mart provided Officer Watts with an itemized receipt showing the value of the items she intended on stealing to be $50.02. After Johnson filled out the necessary paperwork for Wal-Mart she was taken into custody and transported to the Camden Police Department without incident. Booking procedures were completed. Johnson had a family member come to the station to pay the $400 bond and she was released with a citation number and given a District Court date.

SAAC TO SHOWCASE EL DORADO HIGH SCHOOL AIE WORKS
The South Arkansas Arts Center will host the El Dorado High School student artist and AIE project entitled "It's Your Journey! How Will You Maintain Momentum in Your life?" May 7-14. An artist's reception will be held on Thursday, May 9, 5:30-7:00 pm to honor all the students who participated. 

The Arts in Education (AIE) program is designed to strengthen the role of the arts in preK-12 educational settings by fostering participation in the arts as an integral part of life and the basic education process. Artists are based in a school or a community organization where they work with a site coordinator and key staff members to develop programs and activities for the students.

The AIE program in El Dorado High School assisted in and developed a project designed by EHS Visual Art 1 teacher Mrs. Katie Harwell. "Funded by the El Dorado Education Foundation, the South Arkansas Arts Center, the Arkansas Arts Council Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the project focused on the struggle of high school students, grades 9-12, to find their way into college and adulthood after they have finished high school," said Maria Villegas, AIE artist. "This was a wonderful opportunity for students to get in contact with the deepest parts of themselves, looking for answers to the questions of where they are going and how they are going to get there."

Teachers who worked on this project included Katie Harwell, AIE artist Maria Villegas, AIE artist Jorge Villegas and English department coordinator Jennifer Murphy .

This project provided Visual Art students with an exciting new way to integrate literacy and focus on their futures. Students identified obstacles they might encounter in life, and they made plans to maintain a positive attitude during times of transition. The art of linoleum block printing was mastered as each student designed a print that illustrated a tangible way they plan to maintain positive momentum in their lives. The students analyzed poetry that focused on challenges, choices, and perseverance. Some students wrote poetry about challenges they have faced. Others designed watercolor collages and paintings that illustrated figurative images of ways they plan to keep moving forward. 

Designing note cards was a fun way for the young artists to practice carving. Students were asked to illustrate an image from El Dorado. This was also an effort to help the students realize the beauty and originality of our town. Their drawings were then turned into linoleum block prints. They used linoleum carvers, a printing press, and block ink to create the prints. The students then attached the final prints to watercolor cards, to produce a unique stationery that is now for sale to the public.

For more information about this interesting exhibit, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Main Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.


GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON, ADE ANNOUNCE FIRST RECIPIENT OF ARKANSAS COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
LITTLE ROCK —
Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Education are excited to announce that Karma Turner, a computer science teacher at Lake Hamilton High School in Pearcy, was selected as the first recipient of the Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year award. The announcement was made at a press conference today at the Capitol.

“The creativity and enthusiasm of these five stellar teachers is evident in classrooms around the state. These teachers, and so many like them, are the reason we are on the national map as a leader in computer-science education,” Governor Hutchinson said. “It is a pleasure to recognize these finalists and honor Ms. Karma Turner as our state’s first Computer Science Educator of the Year. These educators are preparing our students for a good career, and in the process, they are ensuring Arkansas will have a solid workforce that will keep our economy strong."

"Since the launch of the Computer Science Initiative, we have made tremendous progress in building a nationally-recognized program that serves as a model for all states," Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. "We could not have achieved this success without the guidance and hard work from outstanding teachers who are devoted to their students each and every day. The five finalists not only serve as leaders at their schools and across the state, they also serve as models of excellence around the country. I commend each of them for their commitment to education, and I congratulate Ms. Turner for receiving this high honor. Through their commitment to education, we are leading the nation in student-focused education."

Five state finalists, including Turner, were recognized today at the press conference.

  • Carl Frank, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts in Hot Springs
  • Josefina Perez, Springdale High School in the Springdale School District
  • Brenda Qualls, Bryant High School in the Bryant School District
  • Kimberly Raup, Conway High School in the Conway School District
  • Karma Turner, Lake Hamilton High School in the Lake Hamilton School District

Turner was selected through a rigorous review process. The #CSforAR / #ARKidsCanCode specialist team reviewed all 30 applications and selected the five state finalists, which were recognized today. Education and computer science representatives then reviewed the finalists’ applications and selected Turner as the winner. Each review group considered the overall quality of each application; the applicants’ vision for and understanding of the value of computer science education; their understanding of how their implementation of computer science education exemplifies quality teaching; and the current and long-term impact on computer science education locally, statewide, and nationally.

During the press conference, each finalist received $2,500 and a recognition plaque, with Turner receiving an additional $12,500 and a 2019 Computer Science Educator of the Year trophy. The awards were provided through funding from the ADE Office of Computer Science, a special project unit formed to implement Hutchinson’s Computer Science Initiative.

Arkansas is recognized nationally and internationally as leading the computer science education movement through Hutchinson’s #CSforAR / #ARKidsCanCode initiative. To learn more, visit http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/special-projects/arkansas-computer-science-initiative.

BOOZMAN, COTTON SECURE ADDITIONAL PROTECTIONS FOR ARKANSAS CATFISH INDUSTRY
WASHINGTON-
U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton applauded a decision to impose antidumping duties on Vietnamese catfish exporters, a move that will help ensure Arkansas and all U.S. catfish producers can compete on a more level playing field. This action by the International Trade Administration (ITA) follows concerns raised by Boozman, Cotton and six other senators last fall.

The ITA this week issued its final determination on antidumping rates to impose on Vietnamese catfish exporters. The ITA found that Vietnamese firms continue to violate U.S. antidumping laws and the agency imposed higher penalties on offending export companies—some penalties as high as $3.87 per kilogram on imported frozen catfish fillets.

“This decision is good for Arkansas’s catfish producers who supply a safe, high-quality product for American consumers,” Boozman said. “When other countries dump inferior products in the U.S. market at prices below the cost of production, American farmers and consumers are the ones who lose. I will continue working to level the playing field for the domestic catfish industry. Our farmers can compete with anyone in the world, but they cannot compete against foreign governments who do not play by the rules.”

“Arkansas catfish farmers shouldn’t be forced out of business by foreign companies who cheat the system. These steep penalties will make those firms think twice before illegally dumping their inferior fish products into the U.S. market,” Cotton said.

In October 2018, Boozman and Cotton sent a letter to the Department of Commerce that raised concerns regarding questionable ITA actions in assessing antidumping duties on Vietnamese companies exporting frozen catfish fillets to the United States. A preliminary ITA determination issued in September 2018 recommended only nominal penalties on these companies. However, congressional interest in the matter prompted further investigation of the companies’ dumping practices, resulting in higher penalties being assessed for violations.

The ITA determination, combined with ongoing U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) catfish inspection, are providing U.S. catfish producers with a fairer competitive market overall and ensuring that stringent food safety requirements are being met.

BOOZMAN, COTTON APPLAUD ANTIDUMPING DETERMINATION ON IMPORTED VIETNAMESE CATFISH
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton applauded a decision to impose antidumping duties on Vietnamese catfish exporters, a move that will help ensure Arkansas and all U.S. catfish producers can compete on a more level playing field.This action by the International Trade Administration (ITA) follows concerns raised by Boozman, Cotton and six other senators last fall. 

The ITA this week issued its final determination on antidumping rates to impose on Vietnamese catfish exporters. The ITA found that Vietnamese firms continue to violate U.S. antidumping laws and the agency imposed higher penalties on offending export companies—some penalties as high as $3.87 per kilogram on imported frozen catfish fillets.  

“This decision is good for Arkansas’s catfish producers who supply a safe, high-quality product for American consumers,” Boozman said. “When other countries dump inferior products in the U.S. market at prices below the cost of production, American farmers and consumers are the ones who lose. I will continue working to level the playing field for the domestic catfish industry. Our farmers can compete with anyone in the world, but they cannot compete against foreign governments who do not play by the rules.” 

“Arkansas catfish farmers shouldn’t be forced out of business by foreign companies who cheat the system. These steep penalties will make those firms think twice before illegally dumping their inferior fish products into the U.S. market,” Cotton said. 

In October 2018, Boozman and Cotton sent a letter to the Department of Commerce that raised concerns regarding questionable ITA actions in assessing antidumping duties on Vietnamese companies exporting frozen catfish fillets to the United States. A preliminary ITA determination issued in September 2018 recommended only nominal penalties on these companies. However, congressional interest in the matter prompted further investigation of the companies’ dumping practices, resulting in higher penalties being assessed for violations. 

The ITA determination, combined with ongoing U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) catfish inspection, are providing U.S. catfish producers with a fairer competitive market overall and ensuring that stringent food safety requirements are being met.  

 
 
 
 

May 02, 2019

TEEN FATALITY NEAR SMACKOVER
According to the Arkansas State Police, a Smackover teen was killed and another person was injured.

According to the State Police report about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, 18-year-old Jimmy Mitchell was driving a 2008 GMC east on Arkansas 160 at Arkansas 7 near Smackover. The teen was attempting to cross Highway 7. He pulled out in front a truck that hit his vehicle's front-right side.

Mitchell suffered fatal injuries, police said. The truck was driven by a 30-year-old Pine Bluff man who suffered unknown injuries.

The weather was clear and the roads were dry at the time of the accident.

RAYTHEON AWARDED CONTRACT
Raytheon Co. Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a $200,234,192 firm-fixed-price contract for procurement of M982A1 Excalibur Ib containerized projectiles. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona; Healdsburg, California; Karlskoga, Sweden; East Camden, Arkansas; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Southway, Plymouth, United Kingdom; Glenrothes, Scotland, United Kingdom; Cincinnati, Ohio; Farmington, New Mexico; McAlester, Oklahoma; Joplin Missouri; Salt Lake City, Utah; Gilbert, Arizona; Lansdale, Pennsylvania; and Santa Ana, California, with an estimated completion date of April 29, 2024. Fiscal 2017, 2018 and 2019 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $200,234,192 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (W15QKN-19-C-0017).

PROCLAMATION OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH
 LITTLE ROCK—Bearden Mayor Ginger Bailey has declared May as Preservation Month. “At the Department of Arkansas Heritage, we focus on preservation year-round,” said Stacy Hurst, state historic preservation officer and director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “But during the month of May, we highlight the richness of our state’s historic sites and structures, especially those listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We encourage the citizens of our state to join with us in celebrating Preservation Month this May.”

A list of National Register properties can be found at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/Historic-Properties/National-Register/search-national-register-listings    

The proclamation states that historic preservation is an effective tool for managing growth, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering local pride and maintaining community character while enhancing livability; and that historic preservation is relevant for communities across the nation, both urban and rural, and for Americans of all ages, walks of life and ethnic backgrounds.

According to the National Park Service website which oversees the National Register of Historic Places, “During the month of May many events are planned to promote historic places for the purpose of instilling national and community pride, promoting heritage tourism, and showing the social and economic benefits of historic preservation. Thousands of people participate annually in Preservation Month celebrations.” The National Trust for Historic Preservation established the proclamation program in 1973, to encourage awareness of preservation across the country. The event is traditionally co-sponsored by preservation groups, such as Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and the Department of Arkansas Heritage, as well as state historical societies, and business and civic organizations across the country.

Citizens are encouraged to visit historic places near them, include historic places in lesson plans, seek out preservation programs, and more. You can find local events through your county historic societies and state-wide programs at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/event-list.

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is the Department of Arkansas Heritage division responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other divisions are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.


2019 COUNTY FARM FAMILIES OF THE YEAR NAMED
LITTLE ROCK – County farm families for the 72nd annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program have been selected.

The county winners will be visited by a set of judges to determine the eight district winners, who will be announced June 17. They will be visited again by a different set of judges in July to determine a state winner, who will be announced Dec. 12 at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon in North Little Rock.

The county winners are:
East Central District
Lee – Jeff Hickman, Marianna
Lonoke – I.F. Anderson Farms Inc., Lonoke
Monroe – Curtis Kirkpatrick Family, Holly Grove
Prairie – Chris Berg Family, Stuttgart
Pulaski – Jeremy, Emily and Benjamin Bemis, Little Rock
St. Francis – Hobbs Family, Colt
White – Lester and Ouida Cossey Family with Flying C Ranch, Searcy
Woodruff – Johnny W. and Jennifer Taylor, McCrory

North Central District
Baxter – Wes Henderson Family, Mountain Home
Cleburne – Eldon and Anne Fry, Quitman
Fulton – Justin and Rachel Luther
Independence – Kenny and Edwina Hurley, Cushman
Izard – Bo and Whitney Lord Family, Evening Shade
Marion – Mike and Darcy King Family, Yellville
Searcy – Triple T Cattle Company, Marshall
Sharp – The Nathan and Eddie Walling Families, Cave City
Stone – Jerry and Barbara Davis, Marcello
Van Buren – Alan and Angela Mahan with Rabbit Ridge Farms, Bee Branch

Northeast District
Clay – David Hatcher Family, Corning
Craighead – Heath and Mari Ann McGaughey, Lake City
Crittenden – Cooper Morrison, Earle
Cross – Matthews Sweet Potato Farm, Wynne
Greene – Pillow Fish Farm and Family, Paragould
Jackson – Young’s Generation Three Partnership Farms, Tuckermanan
Lawrence – Steve Graham, Alicia
Mississippi – Robinson Melon Farms, Leachville
Poinsett – Jason and Tabithia Mullins, Trumann
Randolph – Weitkamp Farms Partnership, Pocahontas

Northwest District
Benton – Kevin and Jacqueline Smith Family, Decator
Boone – Jeff and Debbie Atkinson, Harrison
Carroll – Josh and Tonya McMahan, Green Forest
Crawford – Richard and Earlene Boone, Natural Dam
Franklin – Michael and Kasey Post, Altus
Johnson – Tanner and Amy Storment, Flat Rock
Madison – Greg Wheeler, Combs
Newton – Gene Davidson Family, Kingston
Washington – Pitts Family, Lincoln

Southeast District
Arkansas, N. – Chris and Heather Simpson, Stuttgart
 Arkansas, S. – Gary and Meagan Padget, Almyra
Ashley – Brad Graham, Portland
Desha – Tony Wells, McGehee
Drew – Eubanks Farms, Wilmar
Jefferson – Dewayne Goldmon Family with Dell-Cam Farm, Inc., Pine Bluff
Lincoln – Johnathan and Sara Bottoms, Gould
Phillips – John and Kaleb Hall, Elaine

Southwest District
 Bradley – Hamilton Farms, Hermitage
Calhoun – Allen Primm, Hampton
Hempstead – Donald and B.J. Hampton, Hope
Lafayette – Jamie and Kalen Knighton, Lewisville
Little River – La Voice Family, Ashdown
Nevada – Mike Cottingham, Prescott
Union – Charles and Debbie Foot, Tinsley

West Central District
Clark – Stockton Family Farm, Okolona
Cleveland – Gary and Melody Spears, Rison
Dallas – Michael and Cecilia Berry with Bluebird Farm, Sparkman
Grant – Chad and Katie Harper, Prattsville
Hot Spring – Chris and Piper Nelson, Malvern
Howard – The Greene Family, Athens
Saline – Renae Breckling, Benton
Sevier –Josh and Twyla Morris and Marilyn Morris, Gillham 

“The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program recognizes great farmers and ranchers each year,” said Randy Veach, president, Arkansas Farm Bureau. “These families are involved in noble and important work to provide food, fiber and shelter to the world.

“Congratulations to these great farm families. We are pleased to honor their success, stewardship and commitment to Arkansas agriculture.”

Since 1947, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program has served as a vehicle to recognized outstanding farm families throughout the state. The objectives of the Farm Family of the Year program is,
To give recognition and encouragement to farm families who are doing an outstanding job on their farm and in their community;
To gain recognition of the importance of agriculture in the community and state;
To disseminate information on improved farm practices and management.

The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with the selection of top farm families in each county and culminates in December with the selection of the state Farm Family of the Year who will then go on to represent Arkansas at the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. Arkansas has had two overall winners, Brian and Nan Kirksey of Clark County in 2008 and Wildy Family Farms of Mississippi County in 2016. All winners are judged on their farm production, efficiency, management, family life and rural/community leadership.

Sponsors of the Farm Family of the Year program are Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, and the three Farm Credit agencies that serve Arkansas: AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas and Midsouth Farm Credit. Additionally, support for the program is provided by the Arkansas Agriculture Department, Arkansas Department of Career Education, Arkansas Press Association, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development.

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T GET HUNG UP BY PHONE SCAMMERS
LITTLE ROCK
– Scammers are continuing to find ways to steal Arkansans’ Social Security numbers. Many of these attempts begin with a robocall requesting a call back and stating that the consumer’s Social Security number has been found, often at the scene of a crime. The person on the other end of the phone threatens the consumer by stating if they do not return the call they will be sent to jail.
 
“Never give out or confirm personal information, such as your Social Security number, to someone you don’t know,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Con artists are very good at convincing consumers to turn over personal information, sometimes even turning forceful or threatening. We must all remain vigilant and not turn over any information, especially through an unsolicited phone call.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission released the following tips to use if someone calls claiming to be from a government agency or have your personal information:

  • Use due diligence to confirm the identity and legitimacy of the person on the other end of the phone by hanging up and finding the phone number from an old bill or the organization’s website before giving or confirming any information.
  • Be cautious of callers using organization names similar to existing agencies. Scammers use internet technology to spoof area codes, so although it may seem the call is from Washington, D.C., for example, it could originate from anywhere in the world.
  • The Social Security Administration and other government agencies have warned about these scams and suggest contacting that agency directly.

    For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

MAY 1, 2019

10 SCHOOLS, 1 DISTRICT SELECTED FOR THIRD YEAR OF PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES AT WORK® PROJECT 
Camden Fairview Intermediate School Included
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education, in partnership with Solution Tree, a national professional development provider, announces the third cohort selected for the Professional Learning Communities at Work® project.

Ten schools and one district from around the state were selected for the 2019-2020 school year and join the 19 schools and three districts chosen in 2017 and 2018. As with the first two cohorts, each school and district in the third cohort will receive up to 50 days of training, coaching, and support to build and sustain a strong culture of collaboration that will enhance student learning.

Those chosen completed a rigorous application and evaluation process. A panel of education professionals reviewed all applications, and the ADE selected the following schools and district to receive support from Solution Tree. 

  • Buffalo Island Central School District
  • Camden Fairview Intermediate in the Camden Fairview School District
  • Darby Junior High in the Fort Smith School District
  • Eureka Springs Elementary in the Eureka Springs School District
  • Harrisburg Middle School in the Harrisburg School District
  • Lake Hamilton Intermediate in the Lake Hamilton School District
  • Mabelvale Elementary in the Little Rock School District
  • Mills University Studies High School in the Pulaski County Special School District
  • Park Avenue Elementary in the Stuttgart School District
  • Pinewood Elementary in the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District
  • Wonderview Elementary in the Wonderview School District

"I am proud of the schools and district selected to join the PLC at Work project this year," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. "Each year, this project yields fruit by providing educators with more tools to support our students and enhancing student-focused education. I look forward to seeing great things from the third group of schools selected to take part in this initiative."

"We are extremely pleased with the success of this project, now in its third year," ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. "From increased student growth and achievement to improved collaboration and culture, the PLC at Work process is a model for success here in Arkansas. We are confident that those selected for the third cohort will achieve the same results. Through programs like this, we are leading the nation in student-focused education."

"All of us at Solution Tree are delighted to see the accomplishments and progress of the first and second cohorts of schools and welcome the third cohort to our ongoing collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Education," Solution Tree President and COO Ed Ackerman said. "We look forward to continuing our mission of helping Arkansas' educators and students alike benefit from the transformative process of implementing professional learning communities in schools across the state."

The 2019-2020 schools and district will be matched with a certified PLC at Work associate from Solution Tree and receive intensive job-embedded training, observation, and coaching. The schools and district will create action plans that focus on increasing student achievement through aligned curriculum, formative assessments, and proven instructional strategies. During the second year, the schools and district will deepen their understanding and focus on implementing multi-tiered systems of support, followed by strengthening their systems and sustaining the process in year three.

Act 427 of 2017, which amended Arkansas Code Ann. § 6-20-2305(b)(5), provides funding for the project. For more information, please visit the ADE website at https://bit.ly/2ugELNw and follow this project on social media at #PLC4AR.

CABS CLASSES FOR MAY
NEW! Drive Business Results with Google Ads (LIVESTREAM)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Celebrate National Small Business Week with a livestream on the fundamentals of advertising with Google Ads. We'll explore popular campaign types and how each help your business connect with local customers online, promote special offers, and grow brand awareness.
What local businesses can expect from the livestream:

  • Real-time guidance from Google experts
  • Details on different advertising campaign types
  • Instructions on how to increase leads, sales, and brand awareness
  • How-tos for first-time users on choosing goals and measuring success

 

Facebook Business Pages: Beyond the "Likes" (New Hands-On Learning Experience)
Monday, May 20, 2019 | 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Turn your Facebook business page into a strategic advantage. Along with an overview of Facebook basics, get tips for managing your page, setting goals, measuring content reach, and analyzing post effectiveness. Bring your smart phone, tablet, or laptop for hands-on learning! *Please call or email us if you would like a computer provided at the event for you*

SAAC TO PRESENT SPRING STUDENT SHOWCASE MAY 3RD AND 4TH
Please join the South Arkansas Arts Center as they present the Spring Student Showcase, put on by the art and music classes at SAAC, on Friday, May 3 and the ballet classes on Saturday, May 4, 2019.

The festivities begin Friday with an art reception from 5:00-6:00pm in the Price and Merkle Galleries to honor the art students of Maria Villegas, Gay Bechtelhimer, Gaby Juarez and Mike Means, who will have their pieces on exhibit.

Also on Friday night in the Callaway Theatre, Amy Allen's Glee will perform their favorite Disney songs onstage in the Callaway Theater at 6:00pm. Followed by Charlsie Falcon's voice and piano students who will perform their recital pieces beginning at 7:00pm.

On Saturday, May 4, Stephanie Lowrey's ballet students will present "Peter and the Wolf" twice that afternoon, with the first performance at 2:30 and again at 3:30. Instructors Stephanie Lowrey, Cami Lowrey and Bekah Gunter are excited about this year's ballet. Based on the traditional story, each character dances to a unique instrument's melody. Free tickets will be distributed to help spread audience between the two shows. Please call the SAAC office to reserve yours in advance.

Kelly Campbell, SAAC's Arts Academy Administrator said, "Our student showcase is always one of my favorite events at SAAC. From the art students' beautiful, original work to the gleeks, from the voice and piano to the original ballet performances. . .it all adds up to a wonderful weekend!"

For more information about the Spring Showcase, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

SAAC TO HOLD “ACTING THE SONG WORKSHOP ON MAY 18TH
Kristen Blossom, visiting director for this summer's production of "Hunchback of Notre Dame" will lead a workshop delving into the art of acting...while singing! Blossom, assistant director of acting and directing at Louisiana Tech University, will give a crash course in how to discover and explore the story at the heart of each song in her "Acting the Song Workshop". Scheduled for Saturday, May 18, the free workshop runs from 1-4pm. Please call the SAAC office to register for this fun and enlightening experience.

Whether you want to delve deeper into a performance piece, hone your craft as an actor, or get prepared for "Hunchback" auditions, Blossom will help you unpack and understand your song you're your character.

"Every song tells a story! Once you start to really understand what your character wants, then you'll organically start to find natural physicality, power and confidence in your performance," Blossom said.

Together with "Hunchback" music director Brent Miller as musical accompanist, Blossom will guide the group through exercises, as well as working one-on-one with individuals. Come prepared with sheet music if possible and have at least 32 bars of your song memorized.

Thanks to support from the Homer and Gladys Rogers Entertainment and Educational Series, the workshop is free to participants.

"The Rogers Series committee was delighted to bring this workshop to SAAC, because it is the perfect lead-in to our summer musical," said Jay Brooks, Rogers committee chair. "We at SAAC are fortunate to have the Rogers Fund, and we thank the family for their generosity in providing us the ability to sponsor this workshop and other worthy programs."

Following the workshop, Blossom and Miller will be in the gallery beginning at 4 pm with the other members of the creative team to visit with the public at the Congregation and Choir Mixer.

Please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 to reserve space or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. for more information. SAAC is located at 110 East Main Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

SAAC's PRICE GALLERY TO FEATURE YOUNG ARTIST LILY PHILLIPS IN MAY The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to host "one of its own", Lily Phillips, in her very first solo art exhibit, which will run from May 1-28, 2019. The show, entitled "A Morsel of My Being", will be on exhibit in the Price Gallery. Paintings, fiber art, design sketches, and costumes will be on display. An artist's reception will be held on May 18 at 2:00pm. Gallery viewing hours are Monday- Friday 9:00-5:00.

Seventeen-year-old Lily Phillips is what some would call a "Jack of All Trades", trying out and mastering a host of artistic pursuits at a young age. Phillips began drawing at age 5. A few years later, she started sewing - just basic things at first, but as she became more proficient, she began making dolls and their clothes, as well as quilts.

Drawing is still her favorite way to express herself, though she has also picked up clothing and costume design, ukulele and banjo, acting, and story-telling. "I think drawing is the center of all my stuff that I do because I've been doing that the longest," she said. She also paints, mostly landscapes, but has recently dabbled in the portrait world.

Lily recently had the opportunity to act as costume designer for SAAC's Teen Drama Club's production of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." She had previously been a part of the costume crew for other productions, including "Fiddler on the Roof," "Music Man," "The Crucible" and "Into the Woods," but this was her first chance to be the primary costume designer for a production.

For more information about this exhibit, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Main Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

STUDY: ARKANSAS’ WESTERN COUNTIES HAVE HIGHER UNINSURED RATES
by Steve Brawner – Today’s Business and Politics
Counties along the state’s western edge had higher uninsured rates among the population served by Arkansas Works than the rest of the state in 2017. Eight of the state’s nine counties with the highest overall uninsured rates also were in western Arkansas.

That’s according to an analysis of county data released April 9 by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small

The uninsured rate for Arkansans of all income levels under age 65 in 2017 was 9.3%, or 226,179 people.

Meanwhile, 19% of working-age adults ages 18 to 64 who were living at or below 138% of the the poverty line, or 77,535, were uninsured. The number of Arkansans at that lowest income level decreased by more than 53,000, from 461,411 in 2013 to 408,357 in 2017.

That’s the population potentially served by Arkansas Works, the state program that uses mostly federal dollars to purchase private health insurance.

Originally known as the “private option,” Arkansas Works was created by legislators and Gov. Mike Beebe’s administration in 2013. It was created after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled states could choose whether or not to expand their Medicaid populations under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

Uninsured rates in that population ranged from a low of 11.3% in Phillips County, an eastern Arkansas county whose seat is Helena-West Helena, to a high of 36.4% in Sevier County in southwest Arkansas. Its county seat is DeQueen.

Benton County in Northwest Arkansas had the second highest uninsured rate for the population potentially served by Arkansas Works, 29.1%. Its county seat is Bentonville. Sebastian County (Fort Smith) had the third highest uninsured rate at 25.7%. Yell County in west-central Arkansas (Danville) was fourth with a rate of 25.2%.

The uninsured rate for working-age adults ages 18 to 64 who were living at or below 138% of the poverty line ranged from 11.3% to 19.5% in 58 Arkansas counties.

Sixteen of the other 17 counties had uninsured rates of 20.1% to 30% in that population, and all of them were in the western part of the state except Bradley County (Warren), which is in south-central Arkansas.

Along with Sevier, Benton, Sebastian and Yell counties, the others were Carroll, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Johnson, Pope, Scott, Polk, Montgomery, Howard, Pike and Hempstead counties.

Aside from Phillips County, other eastern Arkansas counties also had low uninsured rates among the population served by Arkansas Works. Jefferson County, home of Pine Bluff, had the third lowest rate at 13.4%. The second lowest was Ouachita County (Camden), at 13%. Lee County, (Marianna), was tied for fourth lowest with Clark County (Arkadelphia), with 13.5% uninsured in that population.

Other eastern Arkansas counties with low uninsured rates among the potential Arkansas Works population were Mississippi County (Blytheville), sixth lowest, 13.8%; and St. Francis County (Forrest City), seventh lowest, 13.9%.

So why the low uninsured rates among the Arkansas Works population in eastern Arkansas and higher rates in western Arkansas?

Craig Wilson, health policy director for the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, attributed the discrepancy to two factors.

“The eastern part of the state, including the Delta, has had more developed infrastructure for public program outreach historically including the faith community,” he wrote via email. “It [western Arkansas is also reflective – particularly for the four counties we mentioned – of concentrated pockets of migrants who historically have higher rates of uninsured.”

Those four counties were Sevier, Benton, Sebastian and Yell Counties. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Sevier County has the state’s highest percentage of Hispanic residents, at 33.8%. Yell County is second at 20.4%. Benton County is fourth at 16.7%. Sebastian County is eighth at 14.4%.

Sevier County also had the highest overall uninsured rate with 17.7% of its population under age 65 uninsured. Polk County (Mena) was next highest with 13%, followed by Sebastian County with 12.9%. Carroll County (Berryville) was fourth highest at 12.8%, followed by Washington County (Fayetteville) with 12.4%. Benton County was tied with Izard County (Melbourne) for the 19th highest at 10.4%.

Fifty-five counties had overall uninsured rates at 10% and below for Arkansans under age 65. The lowest was Grant County (Sheridan), with 6.1% uninsured, followed by Ouachita and Greene (Paragould) at 7%. Lonoke (largest city, Cabot) was next at 7.1%, followed by Jefferson and Clark at 7.2% and Phillips at 7.3%.

Rounding out the top 10 counties with the lowest uninsured rates were Saline (Benton-Bryant) at 7.5%, Mississippi at 7.6%, and Hot Spring (Malvern) at 7.6%. Pulaski County, the state’s largest county and home of Little Rock and North Little Rock, had the 11th lowest uninsured rate at 7.7%.

The uninsured rates were helped by high percentages of insured children. The statewide uninsured rate for children under age 19 was 4.3%.

Nationwide, the report found the median county uninsured rate was 10.6% for the population under age 65, with the rate ranging from 2.3% to 33.7%. Moreover, 38.4% of counties, or 1,206, had uninsured rates at or below 10% for residents under age 65. There are 3,142 counties in the United States. From 2013 to 2017, 95.5%, or 2,996, saw a decrease in uninsured adults under age 65.

As of Dec. 31, 2017, 31 states and the District of Columbia had expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. In those states, 9.3% of counties had estimated uninsured rates above 20%. In non-expansion states, 81.9% of counties had rates that high, the report said.

Among other Deep South states, only Louisiana had uninsured rates below 10% in a majority of its parishes. Like Arkansas, it participated in the Medicaid expansion program. In Kentucky, which also participated in Medicaid expansion, every county had a rate below 10%.

But other Southern states had not participated by that point. Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida had no counties with fewer than 10% uninsured, while Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama had only a small number of counties each.

Oklahoma and Texas, which also did not participate in Medicaid expansion, had no counties with rates below 10% according to the SAHIE analysis. Missouri, which did not participate, had 12 counties out of 114 reach that low of a rate.

BOOZMAN CONVENES HEARING ON PRESIDENT'S BUDGET REQUEST FOR VA
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, held a hearing to examine President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 funding request for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

The hearing included testimony from the Honorable Robert Wilkie, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Honorable Dr. Paul Lawrence, the Under Secretary for Benefits of the Veterans Benefits Administration; the Honorable Randy Reeves, the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs; the Honorable Jon Rychalski, the Assistant Secretary for Management and Chief Financial Officer and Dr. Richard Stone, Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration. 

COTTON STATEMENT ON U.S. SUPPORT FOR VENEZUELAN INTERIM PRESIDENT JUAN GUAIDO
Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on Venezuelan leader Juan Guaidó's call for his government to assume its rightful powers:

"True leaders earn the right to govern-they don't shoot and starve their people into submission. Nicolás Maduro has no legitimate claim to power, and his authoritarian backers in Moscow, Havana, and Beijing are only prolonging the suffering of millions. The United States stands with the interim government of Juan Guaidó and the Venezuelan people as they struggle to gain freedom from a corrupt, brutal, and anti-American regime."

BOOZMAN CONVENES HEARING ON PRESIDENT'S BUDGET REQUEST FOR VA

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, held a hearing to examine President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 funding request for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

The hearing included testimony from the Honorable Robert Wilkie, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Honorable Dr. Paul Lawrence, the Under Secretary for Benefits of the Veterans Benefits Administration; the Honorable Randy Reeves, the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs; the Honorable Jon Rychalski, the Assistant Secretary for Management and Chief Financial Officer and Dr. Richard Stone, Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration. 

The following is Chairman Boozman’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:

The budget requests $220 billion in FY 2020 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, including medical care collections.  This includes $93 billion in discretionary funds, a $6.5 billion or 7.5 percent increase over FY 2019. The budget also requests a total of $221 billion in advance appropriations for FY 2021. 

Although the large FY 2020 increase highlights the importance of programs for veterans, it also reflects creation of the Veterans Community Care Program, which consolidated multiple community care programs through the MISSION Act. VA estimates the FY 2020 cost of the MISSION Act-related programs is $8.9 billion – an amount that in past years would have been funded through mandatory appropriations, but now must be covered by discretionary funds.   

Members of this subcommittee remain committed to providing VA with the resources needed to care for our veterans. However, to do that we must have accurate cost and execution estimates from the department. None of us want to repeat the experience of past budget shortfalls. 

In addition, the Budget requests $1.6 billion for Electronic Health Record Modernization. This includes funds for the third year of a ten-year contract with Cerner. As I have previously noted, many of us on this committee have long advocated for a single, joint medical record that will follow a servicemember throughout their career in the military and into their time as a veteran.  We remain hopeful that the collaboration between VA, DOD and Cerner can deliver on this vision.  

Timely and effective implementation of the Veterans Community Care Program and the Electronic Health Record Modernization efforts pose significant challenges for the department in FY 2020. As VA addresses interoperability of both legacy and community health systems and programs, it is essential that its community – including staff, providers and veterans – are educated on the changes in policy and processes. 

In addition to updates on those programs, we look forward to hearing details about the department’s request for mental health services, including efforts to combat opioid use disorder and prevent veteran suicide, initiatives to prevent veteran homelessness and efforts to improve care for our rural veterans, including through telehealth. We also appreciate VA’s efforts to reduce the appeals backlog and address the implementation challenges of the Forever GI Bill, including ensuring veterans receive the benefits required under law. Finally, we are aware the Justice Department requested an extension on the deadline to appeal the Federal Circuit Court decision regarding benefits for Blue Water Navy Veterans. We would like to hear more about the expected costs associated with this case and what, if any, additional resources the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) may need as a result.

We look forward to discussing these and other issues this afternoon.

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APRIL 30, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
CRIMINAL TRESPASS

On April 25, 2019 at 5:35 p.m. Officer Ashley Watts, was dispatched to 1616 Mt. Holly. Upon my arrival Officer Watts made contact with Ryan Haeberle.

Haeberle stated he and Michael Jones spoke with Officer Remick pertaining to an agreement they had where Haeberle was buying a vehicle from Jones. Remick advised Haeberle and Jones that it was a civil matter and they would need to handle the situation in small claims court. They were instructed to leave the vehicle where it was parked until the matter was handled in court. At approximately 5:25 p.m., Jones arrived at the station to advise he had repossessed the vehicle.

Haeberle called to the police station to advise Jones had trespassed onto his property and stolen the vehicle. Haeberle said Jones messaged him and asked to meet him in Fordyce to discuss the vehicle. While in route to Fordyce he passed Jones headed to Camden. Haeberle said he turned around to follow Jones back into town and he ran out of gas. Haeberle believes Jones told him to meet him in Fordyce to ensure he would not be at the residence when he got there to repossess the vehicle. Haeberle advised that his daughter, Anabell Zaayer, was at the residence when Jones arrived. He stated Zaayer got into the truck to ensure Jones was not going to take any of his belongings from his tool box. He said Jones started to drive away in the vehicle while Zaayer was in the bed of the truck. Haeberle advised he had approximately $800 worth of tools, a $200 Yamaha guitar, $75 worth of clothing, a $50 car seat and a $100 Samsung Galaxy J3 cell phone in the vehicle at the time Jones repossessed it.

Officer Watts spoke with Zaayer about the incident and she stated Jones arrived at the residence at approximately 5:00 p.m. in a white Suburban driven by Anthony Jones. She said Jones told her that he was going to get some of his tools from the vehicle and she climbed into the bed of the truck and sat on the tool box to ensure he did not take any of Haeberle's tools. Zaayer said Jones was looking in the cab of the truck and claimed he smelled marijuana and that he was going to go get a K9 to sniff the vehicle. At that point she said Jones started the vehicle and proceeded to drive away while she was in the bed of the truck. She said she had to jump from the bed of the truck into the yard of the residence while the vehicle was in motion. Zaayer did not have any injuries at the time of the report:

Jones stated he got a ride from his brother, Anthony Jones, to Mt. Holly road near highway 7 to retrieve his truck which was parked on the side of the road. Officer Watts asked Jones why his truck was parked on the side of the road and he then stated it was parked in a driveway next to the side of the road. She asked Jones if there was anyone at the residence at the time he retrieved the vehicle and he stated there were children in the yard when he got there. He said he did not make contact with the children and denied that Zaayer was in the vehicle as he drove away. He was issued a citation for Criminal Trespass and given a court date.

OBSTRUCTING GOVERNMENT OPERATION
DRINKING ON THE HIGHWAY

On April 27, 2019 at 9:08 p.m.  Officer Nathan Lane was on a traffic stop where James Leaks was the passenger. When  asked Leaks was his name was he stated it was "Brandon Leaks". The Officer ran "Brandon Leaks" through dispatch for warrants. Dispatch advised "Brandon Leaks" did not have any warrants. "Brandon Leaks" was advised he was free to go. Leaks then left the scene. Lt. Ben Opelt located property that was dropped on the sidewalk with the name "James Leaks" on it. Due to Officers being able to still see Leaks they got out with him. While out with him, he advised his real name is James Leaks. Leaks was then taken into custody.

Leaks was transported to the station without incident. Booking was completed. While at the station Leaks was asked if he threw anything out of the vehicle. Leaks admitted that he had thrown a beer can out of the vehicle. Leaks was advised he will be charged with Obstructing Government Operation and Drinking on the Highway. Leaks was given a District of Camden court date.

DWI
FAILURE TO PAY REGISTRATION OVER SIXTY DAYS
NO PROOF OF LIABILITY INSURANCE
On April 26, 2019 at 9:08 p.m. Officer Nathan Lane was on patrol in the area of Lyons Lane and Hamilton Street, when he observed a silver 2007 Lincoln Town Car bearing AR temporary LPN CY-330-773. Officer Lane ran the temporary plate through dispatch. Dispatch advised the plate had expired May 2018. A traffic stop was initiated. Contact was made contact with the driver of the vehicle, Mark Goshen. Officer Lane could smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his vehicle. When asked if he had been drinking Goshen stated he had a 24 oz can of beer. When the Officer ran Goshen's name through dispatch they advised he had a warrant for his arrest.

Goshen was transported to the station without incident. While at the station I conducted Field Sobriety Test on Goshen. Goshen was unable to pass. After the field sobriety test, Goshen his was read his statement of rights. Goshen agreed to take the breathalyzer test. Goshen was administered a breathalyzer test. First test yielded a .186 blood alcohol content. The second test yielded a .179 blood alcohol content.

Booking was completed. Goshen was charged with Driving While Intoxicated first offense, Failure to Pay Registration Over Sixty Days, and No Proof of Liability Insurance. Goshen was given a Traffic Citation for Driving While Intoxicated and for Failure to Pay Registration Over Sixty Days, and No Proof of Liability Insurance.

THE 48TH ANNUAL SMACKOVER OIL TOWN FESTIVAL RETURNS!
May 10th – 11th, Friday-Saturday, in Downtown Smackover, Arkansas
Smackover Arkansas - Join Smackover for the 48th Annual SMACKOVER OIL TOWN FESTIVAL for FREE family fun. The Smackover Oil Town Festival, recently named in the “top five festivals of Arkansas” by the national website “Only In Your State.com”, will be held Friday-Saturday, May 10th – 11th in beautiful Downtown Smackover, Arkansas. Join thousands from around the region at this unique event for the entire family! This family festival features free concerts every night. Attendees can enjoy horseshoe pitching, arm wrestling, turtle races, bingo, Bunco, rod wrenching, a drill bit toss, pipe tote, rib cook-off, children’s activities, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, the world famous yellow duck race down No Name Creek, a myriad of vendor booths and festival food favorites.

Free Concerts with Live Music & Acts include:
Jason D Williams, Cummins Prison Band, J.T. Stocks Gospel Night with world famous Southern Gospel favorites, Southern Koast, Haley Creek Boys and more.

Schedule of events:
THURSDAY – May 9th
Bunko Tournament

FRIDAY – May 10th
J.T. Stocks Gospel Night Free Concerts with - Southern Koast, Haley Creek Boys
Bingo at the Lions Club

SATURDAY – May 11th
Rib Cook-Off
3 on 3 Basketball Tournament – Norphlet High School Gym
Car Show
KIDS EVENTS
Drill Bit Throwing Contest
Turtle Race
Rod Wrenching
Egg Toss
Tug of War
Pipe Tote
Arm Wrestling
Horseshoe Contest
Duck Race
Free Concerts – Cummins Prison Band and Jason D. Williams

It’s all at the 48th Annual Smackover Oil Town Festival, May 10th and 11th in Beautiful Downtown Smackover (Broadway and 10th Street). For times or questions please contact the Smackover Chamber of Commerce at: 870.725.3521.

CAMDEN CITY BOARD OF ALDERMAN TO MEET IN SPECIAL SESSION
The City Council will have a special called meeting on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 6:00 pm in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building located at 206 Van Buren NE.

Agenda:
1.  Solar Scenic
2.  Roof at Municipal Building
3.  Roof at Public Works Shop

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet at Catherine’s Bistro on Wednesday. This week the Lion’s Club will be hearing an update on the Cardinal Care Clinic.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, May 2nd at 12:00 at  Catherine’s Bistro.  The program will be presented by  Arkansas State Senator Bruce Maloch.

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
The National Day of Prayer Ceremony will be observed Thursday, May 2nd   at 12:00 (Noon)  on the Ouachita County Courthouse Lawn. The Camden Ministerial Alliance & Ouachita County Ministerial Alliance invites You to come take part in this National Observance. Grilled hamburgers will be prepared for those attending the ceremony. Everyone is welcome. In the event of rain – the ceremony will be held in the First Methodist Great Hall.

<img title="Links to https://arkansasag.gov/" arkansas="" ag="" logo"="" alt="Arkansas AG logo" data-cke-saved-src="https://arkansasag.gov/assets/img/lower-logo.png" src="https://arkansasag.gov/assets/img/lower-logo.png" style="box-sizing:border-box; float:left; height:96px; margin:0px; max-width:710px; padding:0px">RUTLEDGE HOSTS RETIREE RESOURCES EVENT IN JONESBORO
Says, ‘It is important to meet Arkansans in their communities’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Monday hosted a regional Rutledge Retiree Resources event in Jonesboro. The agenda included programs designed to educate retirees from northeast Arkansas about how they can protect themselves from pervasive and vicious scam artists.

“It is important to meet Arkansans in their communities to ensure they have access to services we provide,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These events provide educational tools to stop scammers and protect families.”

Attendees heard from the Attorney General’s public protection experts about protecting themselves from scams and identity theft, proper prescription drug disposal, resources regarding nursing homes and home care, and protecting finances.

The first Rutledge Retiree Resources was held in Fayetteville in March. Registration is available for additional Rutledge Retiree Resources events that are scheduled for June 25 in DeWitt and September 5 in Little Rock.

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES SERVICE OF LITTLE ROCK VIETNAM VETERAN
WASHINGTON-
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized Michael Smith, a Vietnam War veteran, in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series commemorating the military service of Arkansans.

Smith was born and raised in Joplin, Missouri. During high school he spent a summer in California with family and decided that he would move to the Golden State after graduation.

During his second year of college Smith was drafted into the Army. He reported to Fort Ord, California for basic training. Smith’s daily routine of doing 100 push-ups gave him confidence in his ability to handle the physical demands ahead of him. “I was a little bit cocky in basic training,” Smith laughed. “I think the first time someone said ‘give me 20,’ I said which hand.”

While he had the opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School, Smith declined because he wanted to pursue a career in art following military service. He went to advanced individual training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina where he qualified as expert in mortars. “I scored 800 points on the exam. It was a perfect score. No one had ever scored that on that base prior to that,” Smith said.

Despite his proficiency with mortars, Smith was assigned to an infantry platoon upon arrival in Vietnam. He was forced to hone his skills with some quick, on-the-job training.

Smith hadn’t been in Vietnam long before he turned 19-years-old. It’s a birthday that he will never forget. Instead of celebrating his special day with family and friends, he found himself in front of the patrol as point man. While walking through a village he became the target of a water buffalo that charged him. “I emptied my magazine, 20 rounds,” Smith recalled. The water buffalo fell a few feet in front of him. A few hours later in a clearing, Smith was in the same exposed position ahead of the unit when he was blown up in the air. “I laid on the ground stunned. I was pretty certain I’d lost both my legs,” he said. Fortunately he wasn’t injured after stepping on what he later learned was an old anti-tank mine. 

Smith didn’t like serving as a point man, but his next assignment wasn’t much better. “I became a tunnel rat,” he said. Armed with a flashlight, a .45 handgun and C-4 explosives, his job was to explore the Vietcong tunnels that his unit discovered. “That was very scary,” Smith recalled. “The first time I had to do that was the last time because I begged to get out of that.”

One method employed by the Vietcong was to make small changes to the landscape that would allow them to infiltrate American camps. On guard duty one day, Smith heard that some soldiers thought their perimeter terrain had changed. As an artist, Smith found a way to incorporate his skills to help with security of the camp. “I sketched the perimeter in front of me and put that on the wall of the bunker and then whoever came in there could see if anything had changed from the drawing,” Smith said. His commander learned of his work and assigned him to do the same for every bunker as well as draw a 360-degree panorama of the site.

When Smith landed in Oakland, California on his return, he was surprised by what he experienced. “There were protestors all over there screaming and yelling,” Smith said. “We had to walk past all of this. They were spitting on us.” The memory continues to be emotional for Smith.

He continued his education at Cal State Fullerton where he was asked by other students to join in protests against the war, but he did not participate.

During his tour, Smith wrote his cousin letters about his service. Those are saved in a scrapbook that he reviewed in preparation for the Veterans History Project interview conducted at his home in Little Rock. “In reading them it refreshed my memory about some of the things that happened,” Smith said.

“Michael Smith was called on to serve his country in uniform. He accepted this responsibility and courageously performed his duties. Preserving his memories for the Veterans History Project is a great way to show our appreciation for his outstanding military service to our country,” Boozman said.

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

APRIL 29, 2019

SENATOR COTTON APPLAUDS WITHDRAWAL FROM ARMS TRADE TREATY
Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Arms Trade Treaty:

"The Arms Trade Treaty undermines Americans' constitutional right to keep and bear arms. It also impairs the United States' ability to defend our allies and partners around the globe, while doing nothing to constrain the military exports of our greatest competitors, Russia and China. I applaud the president's decision to defend American sovereignty by withdrawing from this treaty."

April 26, 2019

CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
CRIMINAL TRESPASS

On April 24th at 12:15 p.m. Officer Frank Remick was dispatched to 890 Pierce, Apartment 17 in regards to an individual currently on site but on the Ban List for the apartment complex.

Upon arrival, Officer Remick spoke with Tanesha Bush at the apartment stating that he was looking for Albert Weaver. Bush said Weaver was not in the apartment. The Officer asked Bush, "You do know Weaver is banned, correct?" Bush nodded yes. The Officer readvised Bush she should handover Weaver if she was hiding him. Bush agreed and sent Weaver out and he was placed in custody. Weaver was confirmed banned on the ban list provided by the housing complex and confirmed by Officer Kayla Reynolds. Weaver was then transported to the Camden Police Department where booking procedures were completed. a Weaver was released with a Criminal Citation and a District Court date.

SHOPLIFTING
On April 23rd at 10:48 a.m., Officer Erin Manning responded to a shoplifting in progress at the Dollar General located at 461 California. Officer Manning arrived at the store and spoke with a Dollar General employee who advised she'd observed a white female (later identified to be Sherrie Evans) shopping in the store for over an hour. After browsing the merchandise, Evans proceeded to the checkout and purchased merchandise. Evans then reportedly walked towards the exit doors of the store and caused the anti-theft device to activate as she was walking through it. The employee said she stopped Evans and asked to see inside of her purse.

Upon opening the purse, the employee stated she observed two real tree wallet knives still in the packaging and stored inside of Evans' purse. She then held Evans inside of the store and contacted police.

The Officer then spoke with Evans. She admitted to placing the knives in her purse, but she claimed she did not realize that she had not paid for them. Evans was then taken into custody for shoplifting, and later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center without incident.

The stolen knives totaled a combined value of $22.25. Booking procedures were completed. A shoplifting report was completed for the incident.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT
On April 23RD at 8:06 A.M., Officer Jacob VanAssche was stationed at Camden Fairview High School as the School Resource Officer (SRO), when he was advised of a disturbance in the front office.

The Officer arrived at the Office and saw a student, Savannah Arnold, 18, yelling on the phone causing a scene. The Officer advised Arnold to quiet down, and I made contact with Principal Steelman. Steelman advised Arnold was upset because she got into a fight with a student on the bus and used profanity toward a teacher.

Arnold then again proceeded to get loud again, and the Officer had to tell her to step inside another room. Once in the room he advised Arnold to keep her voice down, and to stop disturbing the facility and students in the office. Once Officer VanAssche left Arnold in the room to fill out paperwork for the school, she proceeded to make a phone call and began yelling again. She continued to disrupt the facility and students who were in the front office at the time.  Arnold was then taken into custody and the Officer proceeded to transport her to the his patrol unit. Arnold began yelling and using profanities in front of other students and facility. While taking Arnold to the patrol unit she kept trying to pull away, and squat down trying to force away from me. She continued this and yelling profanities until he placed her in my patrol unit. Arnold was then transported to the station without incident.

At the station Arnold was booked for Disorderly Conduct. Arnold was later released with a criminal citation and a District Court date.

DWI
FICTITIOUS TAGS

On April 23rd at 12:08 a.m., Officer Nathan Lane was on patrol in the area of 900 Magnolia Road when he observed a black 2013 Dodge Durango bearing AR LPN: 316XUU sitting in the roadway. As he was approaching the vehicle the lights were on, and the driver turned them off when as he got closer. The Officer got out and asked if everything was ok. The driver of the vehicle, Maurice Sanders, stated the vehicle won't start and he thinks it is out of gas. Sanders stepped out of the vehicle and was talking the Officer. Officer Lanhe could smell an odor of intoxicants coming from his person. Sanders' speech was thick and slurred and his eyes were extremely bloodshot. While standing, he was swaying back and forth so much that he elected to kneel down and squat in the middle of the roadway.

I had Sanders step into the parking lot of Pine Hills Nursing Home to be in a safer location to conduct the Field Sobriety Tests. Almost half way through the test Sanders stated he could not finish the test and that he was intoxicated. He was taken into custody for DWI.

Dispatch advised the plates returned to a green 1997 Cadillac. When Sanders was asked about the license plate, and he stated they do not belong to the vehicle. The next wrecker on rotation was called and arrived on scene shortly afterwards.

Sanders was transported to the station without incident. Upon arrival at the station I conduct the Field Sobriety Tests again on Sanders.

Sanders was read his statement of rights. Sanders stated he agreed to a breathalyzer test. Sanders was administered a breathalyzer test. First test yielded a .21 blood alcohol content. The second test yielded a .20 blood alcohol content. While booking Sanders in it was determined that this will be Sanders first Driving While Intoxicated charge.

Booking approval was completed and approved by Lt. Ben Opelt. Sanders was charged with Driving While Intoxicated first offense, Driving with no Driver's License, and Fictitious Tabs. Sanders was given a District Court Date.

JUNCTION CITY MAN KILLED IN MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
According to State Police a driver was killed in a vehicle crash along a southern Arkansas road Thursday. It appears the vehicle veered off the road and struck a tree. The single-vehicle accident happened around 11:40 a.m. on East State Line Road in Junction City. The driver was identified as 36-year-old Justin Lynn Pennington of Junction City. Pennington suffered fatal injuries in the wreck according to the State Police Report. Pennington’s 2003 Volkswagen veered off the road, strucke a tree and stopped in a pool of standing water. According to the report, the weather was clear weather and roads were dry

SOUTHERN AIRWAYS EXPRESS DELIVERS EAS RELIABILITY IN THREE TOWNS
From Arkansas Business
bv Mark Friedman
Southern Airways Express LLC has seen its passenger traffic climb since it began offering flights in Arkansas in early 2017.

"We have seen either record-setting passenger traffic or near record-setting passenger traffic," said Keith Sisson, chief marketing officer for Southern, based in Hernando, Mississippi. "The response to the service has been beyond our expectations."

Southern was awarded the federal Essential Air Service contracts to serve El Dorado, Hot Springs and Harrison after Seaport Airlines of Portland, Oregon, landed in bankruptcy in September 2016.

Air Choice One of St. Louis is the EAS provider for the Jonesboro Municipal Airport and has weekly nonstop nights to St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).

The EAS is the federal program that subsidizes smaller carriers so they can profitably offer a minimal level of scheduled air service to smaller

communities. In February. the U.S. Department of Transportation renewed Southcrn's two-year contract to continue providing services in Arkansas. The contract for the Arkansas cities, which went into effect March 1, is worth $15.9 million.

Sisson said one reason for the passenger growth is Southcrn's reliable service. It has had to cancel very few flights.

'Jn the three markets that we serve ... we are 99 .4% of completion on all of our flights for the past 10 months," he said. ·'J don't know if there's an EAS airline in the country that can say that."

Starting May 2, Southern will offer six weekly nonstop round trips between South Arkansas Regional Airport in El Dorado and Memphis International lMEM). While adding Memphis, Southern will cut the number of nonstop round trips between El Dorado and Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) from 18 to 12 a week.

Sisson said Southern offered the Memphis connection as a convenience for passengers traveling cast. ·'We're able to open up the East Coast to El Dorado for the first time in a couple of years,'' he said.

Southern also has service to Memphis through Harrison.  Arrivals from El Dorado and Harrison will be almost simultaneous and about 20 minutes later, Southern has another plane heading for Nashvillc.

"So we're offering two Arkansas cities a one-stop service daily between their cities and Nashville, which we think is going to be very popular," Sisson said. "There's a lot of business and industry boom now in Nashville that we can take advantage of."

Jonathan Estes, manager at South Arkansas Regional, has seen more passengers since Southern began offering flights. In the first quarter of 2019, Estes said, passenger totals arc up about 5% from the same quarter in 2018.

But that trend might not continue. 'I do anticipate the passenger count to drop off whenever we start the Memphis flight simply because you have to rebuild a market,'' he said. Nevertheless, passenger counts on the flights to Dallas should stay steady as business and leisure travelers can get there for $89 one-way, a figure that includes taxes. Parking is also free at the airports Southern serves in Arkansas.

The Boonc County Regional Airport has reported an increase in passengers in 2018 for flights to Memphis and Dallas, to 5,300, up from 4,368 the previous year.

Judy McCutchcon, the airport manager, said the flights to Dallas arc almost always full. while the midday flights to Memphis arc typically 40% of capacity on the planes, which scat nine passengers.

She said Southern 's reliability is the reason more passengers arc flying out of Harrison. "Southern came in here and they've never canceled flights, which is a huge plus,'' she said.

Southern ·s Sisson said the airline plans to rebid for the EAS contract for the three Arkansas cities when it expires at the end of February 2021.

SAAC ANNOUNCES D. BRENT MILLER AS VISITING MUSIC DIRECTOR FOR “HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME”
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to announce that D. Brent Miller will join the creative team for the summer production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" as visiting music director. Miller joins director/choreographer Kristen Blossom at the helm of this musically and culturally rich production, which opens in July.

Miller, who hails from Warren and is currently the director of the Sheridan High School Theater Department, is enthusiastic about taking on the musically challenging production. He will serve as music director for both the traditional cast and "Congregation" ensemble, as well as the "Cathedral Choir" of high-church-inspired singers. The fusion of both theatrical and choral music provides fertile ground for creativity for singers of many backgrounds and many experience levels.

"The score of the Broadway production provides a color palette for the creative team to paint this story with sensitivity, and, on occasion, epic scale," said Miller. "My hope is that the production will masterfully put this story in front of an audience to share these circumstances, which have been a part of life since before the story was published in 1831."

Miller is an experienced actor, singer, and director, and he is no stranger to the SAAC stage. A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello, he previously served as music director for SAAC's productions of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "South Pacific", and he appeared as the Scarecrow in "Wizard of Oz". In the intervening years, he has been active in productions with the Argenta Community Theater, The Weekend Theater, and The Royal Players.

"Brent is going to be a wonderful addition to the team this summer," said executive director Laura Allen. "He brings a wealth of experience in both the theatrical and choral music worlds that will translate beautifully into his musical vision for this project."

Stop by SAAC on Saturday, May 18 to meet Miller and the other members of the creative team beginning at 4 pm at the Congregation and Choir Mixer in the gallery. Audition materials will be available. "The Hunchback of Notre" Dame is sponsored by Murphy USA and will run July 18-28, with auditions beginning June 1 with a call for choir members and June 2-3 for actors, singers and dancers. For more information, please call the SAAC at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

SENATORS URGE ADMINISTRATION TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF IRANIAN TERROR ATTACKS
Washington, D.C. - Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Solicitor General Noel Francisco urging them to support the victims of Iranian terror attacks in the case of Clearstream Banking S.A. v. Peterson. This case presents the administration with an opportunity to assist the Marine families who lost loved ones in the Beirut barracks bombing in 1983. These victims deserve restitution from a leading state sponsor of terror.

The full text of the letter can be found below or by clicking here.

The Honorable William Barr Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530

The Honorable Noel Francisco Solicitor General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Barr and Solicitor General Francisco,

We write to urge you to support the victims of Iranian terror attacks in the case of Clearstream Banking S.A. v. Peterson.

In October 1983, Iranian terrorists bombed the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. President Reagan had stationed U.S. Marines in Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping force. An Iranian national drove a truck bomb into the compound, killing 220 Marines and dozens of other personnel. The attack was perpetrated by Hezbollah, a terror group founded, trained, and financially supported by the Iranian regime. Since the attack, the victims' families have won a number of court judgments authorizing the seizure of Iranian funds as restitution for the attack. Currently, these families are seeking to enforce these judgments against Clearstream S.A., a financial institution that continues to launder money for the Iranian regime.

In October 2018, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the U.S. government's views on whether Iran should be able to protect its assets from these Marine families. Congress unanimously passed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, 22 U.S.C. § 8772, and members of Congress filed two amicus briefs supporting the victims of the Beirut bombing in related litigation, see Bank Markazi v. Peterson, 136 S.Ct. 1310 (2016), making clear that Congress strongly supports the ability of the terror victims and their families to recover on their judgments against Iran. This case presents your Administration with an opportunity to assist these victims, including our constituents, in claiming restitution from the world's leading state sponsor of terror.

We believe that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled correctly that U.S. courts can oblige banks to bring funds they hold for state sponsors of terror outside the United States to New York in compliance with judgments against those foreign governments. Therefore, we urge the Administration to oppose Iran' s request for certiorari before the Supreme Court.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

 

April 25, 2019

 

FIRST FRIDAY MARKET IN DOWNTOWN CAMDEN MAY 3RD
Make plans to join First Friday Market on May 3rd from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in downtown Camden. The theme for May will be, “Magnificent May”.  There will be a vast array of vendors set up on Washington St and Adams Ave for your shopping pleasure.

Several new vendors will be included in the May market.  Live Music will take place at the corner of Washington Street and Adams Ave with Harper & Lee performing.  The highlighted Food Truck this month will be Memphis Street Food Truck plus the Bamboo Café and LaLoma Grill will be welcomed back to the market.

Be sure to sign up for the team tug of war competition with Jenny’s Gym.  Your team can have the “Bragging Rights” for the next year of overtaking all the others.

For Magnificent May we will be having highlights of a vintage circus.  You will see special acts performing through tutThe venue such as a stilt walker, juggler, and a roaming hula hooper.  There will also be free hot air balloon rides taking place on the bluff overlooking the Ouachita River.  These special acts are made possible by sponsorships from Ouachita Electric Co-operative, Holiday Inn Express of Camden, and Highland Resources.

To further enhance the circus theme, you will find face painters, someone making balloon animals, popcorn and snow cones. There will be a special children’s area for the kid’s enjoyment.

Author Ramona Wood will be located at “A Frame of Mind” for a book signing.  Ramona has several published works Including “The Goat Woman of Smackover”.

Downtown merchants will be open late for your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials.

Come enjoy a great evening in Camden AR as you stroll, shop, nibble and chat. For more information, find First Friday Market on Facebook at:   First Friday: Monthly Market in Camden AR.

AEROJET ROCKETDYNE BREAKS GROUND ON LARGE SOLID ROCKET MOTOR DEVELOPMENT FACILITY AS EXPANSION IN ARKANSAS CONTINUES
New facility to develop large solid rocket motors
Will be the newest and most modern rocket development facility in the nation
Latest chapter of ongoing partnership with state and local community

CAMDEN, Ark., April 25, 2019 – Senior Aerojet Rocketdyne officials joined Arkansas state and local leaders to break ground today on the latest facility in a continuing expansion of the company’s Camden, Arkansas, solid rocket motor center of excellence.

The 17,000 square-foot Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) facility, set to open in spring 2020, will expand our decades-long capability of solid rocket motor production in Camden. The facility was specifically designed to serve as the developmental gateway to future Aerojet Rocketdyne large solid rocket motor product opportunities, to include the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, hypersonics and missile defense targets.  

“Once open for business, the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development facility will be the newest and most modern rocket development facility in the nation,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s CEO and president.

The expansion represents the latest chapter of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s ongoing partnership with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Calhoun County and the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development.

“The aerospace and defense industry continue to be one of the top economic drivers in Arkansas,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson, “and that wouldn’t happen without the incredible workforce and their employers. We’re thrilled to see Aerojet Rocketdyne continue to grow in Camden, and we appreciate the investments they make in South Arkansas and in our nation’s security.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne has had a presence in Arkansas since 1979 and its current 800-person workforce manufactures 75,000 solid rocket motors annually for programs, including tactical missiles and missile defense. In August of last year, Aerojet Rocketdyne announced plans to further grow the workforce to 900 over the next three years. 

“Our longstanding partnership with the great state of Arkansas continues to yield impressive results.”  Drake said. “On behalf of the men and women of Aerojet Rocketdyne, I thank Arkansas State and local officials, especially Gov. Asa Hutchinson, for helping us build increasingly advanced and affordable products for our warfighters and the nation.” 

EXILE, RICOCHET, AND THE MIDNIGHT HURRICANES TO PERFORM IN DEQUEEN
Collin Raye Benefit Concert Committee will host the bands EXILE and Ricochet for their 18th benefit concert on Saturday, May 25th.  Local group, the Midnight Hurricanes will be the opening act starting at 6:30 pm, at De Queen’s CCCUA Amphitheater.

With 11 #1 Hits, 3 Gold albums, and 8 million records sold worldwide, EXILE will bring their suitcase full of pop and country hits to the UA Cossatot Amphitheater in De Queen on Saturday, May 25th.

EXILE’S biggest hit, “Kiss You All Over” spent four weeks at the top of Billboard’s pop chart.  During their run on the country charts EXILE has successfully had ten No 1 singles and many more top 20’s. In addition to numerous ACM and CMA nominations for Vocal Group of the Year as well as their individual musicianship, band members J.P. Pennington, Sonny LeMaire, and Les Taylor have been recognized as songwriters of the year by BMI.

Ricochet’s debut single, “What Do I Know”, was the highest charting debut single, rising to #3 in R&R and #5 in Billboard. The follow up release, “Daddy’s Money”, was #1 in R&R, Billboard, Gavin and Country Network. Recognized as one of Country Music’s hardest working groups, Ricochet has performed thousands of shows over the past 15+ years and they continue to perform to sold out venues all over North America.

Ricochet is the only country artists to ever chart with our National Anthem and is in constant demand to perform it live. They have performed the anthem for our men and women in uniform, at NASCAR Sprint Cup Events, at Major League Baseball Events, at National Football League Events, at National Hockey League Events, at PBR and PRCA Professional Rodeo Events and others national events

The Collin Raye Benefit Concert Committee has donated approximately $300,000 from the previous concerts proceeds for scholarships to UA Cossatot for graduating seniors at area high schools and funding various other local projects each year. 

Tickets are on sale now at Radio Station KDQN’s studios at 921 West Collin Raye Drive in De Queen.  Reserved tickets are $26 in advance and General Admission are $16.00.  For more information call 870-642-2446.

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS
South Arkansans included
Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday announced a large number of following appointments. Among those appointed are the following from the South Arkansas area.


Alan Dean, Camden, to the HVACR Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2022. Replaces Joseph Kirby.

George Webb, Camden, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Seven. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Rob Reynolds, El Dorado, to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission. Appointment expires March 29, 2023. Reappointment.

Howard Beaty, Crossett, to the Board of Directors of the Division of Science and Technology of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Appointment expires Jan.14, 2023. Replaces Ed Winant.

Hugh Quimby, Warren, to the Ouachita River Commission. Appointment expires Sept. 1, 2025. Reappointment.

Wornest Lambert, Fordyce, as a justice of the peace for the Dallas County Quorum Court, District 1. Appointment expires Dec. 31, 2020. Replaces Wendell Lee.

Gordon Hornaday, Fordyce, as a justice of the peace for the Dallas County Quorum Court, District 5. Appointment expires Dec. 31, 2020. Replaces Clark Brent.

Will Jacobs, Rison, as a justice of the peace for the Cleveland County Quorum Court, District 8. Appointment expires Dec. 31, 2020. Replaces Paul Jacobs.

Chief Bo Higginbotham, Crossett, to the Arkansas Fire Protection Services Board. Appointment expires Oct. 14, 2021. Replaces Charles Johnson.

Addie Edwards, Camden, to the Arkansas State Rehabilitation Council. Appointment expires Feb. 1, 2020. Reappointment.

Dr. Kaleybra Morehead, Pine Bluff, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Six. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Gary Kirkpatrick, Gurdon, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Seven. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Yulonda Sims, Buckner, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Seven. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Daniel Heflin, Rison, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Eight. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Karen Breashears, Arkadelphia, to the State Apprenticeship Coordination Steering Committee. Appointment expires Dec. 1, 2022. Reappointment.

Dr. Kaleybra Morehead, Pine Bluff, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Six. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Gary Kirkpatrick, Gurdon, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Seven. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Yulonda Sims, Buckner, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Seven. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: FLOODING BRINGS HEADACHES FOR ARKANSANS
LITTLE ROCK – After the recent heavy rains and severe storms swept across Arkansas, which caused a section of I-30 to be temporarily shut down and storm damage throughout the State, Arkansans are left picking up the pieces and preparing for storm season. While nature’s fury can be devastating, there are many things that Arkansans can do to protect themselves and their property in the aftermath of a storm.
 
“Severe storms and flood waters can cause terrible damage to property,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Arkansans need to know the steps to take if their property has been impacted by the recent severe weather. We also need to know how to protect our pocketbook from those who want to take advantage of us during this difficult time.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers who are cleaning up water damage on their property:

  • Call your insurance agent. If insurance covers the damage, the agent should have an adjuster contact you.
  • Make a list of the damage and take photographs or video as you clean. This documentation will be needed for insurance claims, applications for disaster assistance, and income tax deductions.
  • Clear away any mud, and clean and disinfect every surface.
  • Check with the Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau before hiring anyone to clean up or make repairs.
  • Get multiple estimates and compare prices.
  • Turn off all electrical and heating and cooling systems to be inspected and repaired or cleaned by a qualified or licensed contractor.
  • Appliances and electronics should be professionally cleaned and serviced to prevent electrocution.
  • Never pay in advance for any repair service, and inspect the completed project before making the final payment.
  • Communicate with the insurance company directly rather than authorizing a contractor to negotiate with the company.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
 

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES ARREST OF NEW BEGINNINGS HEALTH SERVICES OWNER FOR MEDICAID FRAUD AND TAX EVASION
Failing to report contracts with Milton “Rusty” Cranford, Robin Raveendran, and her former husband Michael Grimes
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today the arrest of the owner and CEO of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services LLC, Chirie Bazzelle.

Bazzelle, 46, of Benton, is accused of failing to report contracts with Milton “Rusty” Cranford, Robin Raveendran, and her former husband Michael Grimes who is a convicted felon. She is also accused of continuing the employment of individuals who had been convicted of Medicaid fraud and ignoring additional Medicaid fraud claims of other employees. Bazzelle has been listed as the sole owner of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services in Pulaski County since 2010. Bazzelle is also accused of attempting to evade taxes from January 2014 through February 2019.

“Bad actors who have their hands in the taxpayer cookie jar must be held accountable,” says Attorney General Rutledge

In June, Rutledge announced the arrest of former Preferred Family Healthcare Director of Program Integrity and Director of Operations, Raveendran, for scamming the Arkansas Medicaid Program of $2.2 million. Raveendran is also a former Senior Auditor with Arkansas’s Medicaid Program Integrity Unit. In August, Rutledge announced the arrest of former Preferred Family Healthcare Director of Billing, Helen Balding, for similar actions. In October, Rutledge announced the arrest of Vicki Chisam who is accused of being an accomplice to Raveendran, Balding and other individuals known and unknown to the Office of the Attorney General.

The Attorney General’s office was assisted in this investigation by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and will be prosecuted in cooperation with 6th Judicial Prosecutor Larry Jegley.

Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or oag@arkansasag.gov.

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES ARKANSAS SUITS AGAINST OPIOID DISTRIBUTORS
Says, ‘another step in a deliberate approach to address this devastating crisis’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced she has filed a lawsuit against opioid distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation on behalf of the State of Arkansas.

“Today’s action is another step in a deliberate approach to address this devastating crisis,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Drug distributors are required by law to report suspicious shipments of opioids, but many have failed to do so, despite often obvious absurd shipment requests. These distributors have flooded Arkansas with nearly 67 dosage units for every man, woman and child which has ensured the availability of a more-than-adequate supply of opioids to fuel the crisis in our State.”

This lawsuit is the latest step in Rutledge’s multifaceted approach to solving the opioid crisis, which has devastated families across Arkansas and the country.

Opioid distributors have the responsibility of ensuring that medications are only distributed and dispensed to appropriate patients and not diverted to unauthorized users. But these users failed to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse and report suspicious orders of opioids, ultimately contributing to and creating a national and statewide emergency.

Rutledge is suing the opioid distributors who enabled the problem in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act as well as for negligence, creation of a public nuisance and for being unjustly enriched by their business practices.

Rutledge has been a leader in the State and nation combatting the opioid epidemic by using a multifaceted approach through education, litigation, treatment and enforcement. Her first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program is free for high schools and over the last year has reached 67 counties and almost 13,800 students. In November, the Attorney General hosted the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit with record attendance, which provided training and educational opportunities for law enforcement, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Rutledge has taken an aggressive approach to protect Arkansans and combat the epidemic by suing Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Endo for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.

 

APRIL 24, 2019

WELCOME CENTER EMPLOYEES VISIT CAMDEN
Tuesday evening, a group of State Welcome Center employees came to Camden. They are touring towns all aver the state this week. They had left Little Rock Tuesday morning and toured Pine Bluff, Fordyce, Hampton before coming to Camden. The group arrived at the Chamber Office on a Little Rock Tour bus shortly after 4 p.m. The Camden delegation consisted of Mayor Julian Lott, Judge Robbie McAdoo, Charlotte Young and Helen Aregood representing Arkansas South and Alderman Chris Aregood.

The group first went to Downtown Camden and visited Frame of Mind and Artesana Soap. We then returned to the Chamber Office where Travis Daniel was waiting to load everyone on the City Bus. Travis took the group down the Trace and gave a synopsis about how it came to be, the work that has been completed and the City’s vision for projects to be completed on the walking trail in the future. The Trace tour ended at Maul Road and the tour bus was waiting at Victory Christian School.

The bus took the group to the Chidester House parking lot where John Wheeler and Becky Davis joined us to go on a tour of the Historical District. We went through the Historical District in the area of Graham Street, Cleveland Avenue and Clifton Street. John and Becky talked about various homes of note, the history and style of the homes. We then went to the Ouachita County Courthouse and the Historical markers on the Courthouse Lawn were noted. Then it was down Washington Street to view more Historical Homes.

After the tour of Homes, we went to the Oakland Cemetery. The Historical Group put on an abbreviated Cemetery Walk. Sue Silliman, John Littrell, Dr. Dan Martin and others were in costume and played the parts of some that are buried in the historical cemetery. The Cemetery Walk concluded the tour of Camden. We want to thank Charlotte Young for putting a memorable tour for our visitors.

We then went to Catherine’s Bistro where everyone was fed what I call a 5-star dinner. Kristy and Danny Glaze and their staff served everyone with impeccable service. I suspect this dinner will be the best meal the group will have all week. I will put that meal up against any in the state. After dinner, our visitors spent the night at the Holiday Inn Express.

One of the visitors said “Everyone so enjoyed our time in Camden! Ya’ll made a huge impression.”

These tours give the Welcome Center Employees information about cities around the state so that when tourists ask about a particular area of the state, they know what each community has to offer and can give the State’s Visitor’s educated information as they have experienced Arkansas cities first hand.

LOCKHEED MARTIN RECEIVES $362 MILLION CONTRACT FOR MULTIPLE LAUNCH ROCKET SYSTEM LAUNCHER SYSTEM (M270A2) RECAPITALIZATION
DALLAS, April 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $362 million contract to recapitalize 50 of the U.S. Army's Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers.

The U.S. Army's MLRS recapitalization effort will eventually upgrade its existing fleet of 225 MLRS M270A1 launchers, and 160 decommissioned M270A0's slated for de-militarization, to M270A2s.

In partnership with the Red River Army Depot, these launchers will be completely refurbished as "zero time" launchers with new engines, transmissions, Launcher-Loader Modules, Improved Armored Cabs and the new Common Fire Control System.

"This investment to upgrade the MLRS launcher fleet reflects our customers continued confidence in our ability to provide a combat-proven precision strike system from the ground up," said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "These launchers will be returned to an "as-new" condition and serve our Army customer through 2050."

MLRS is a heavy tracked mobile launcher, transportable via C-17 and C-5 aircraft, that fires Guided MLRS rockets and Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles. MLRS will also be able to fire the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) and Extended-Range GMLRS rockets, both currently in development.

Three sites will be used to execute the contract. In addition to the Camden site, Lockheed Martin will be using locations in Grand Prairie and New Boston, Texas.The Camden site, located in the Highland Industrial Park, was esta blished in 1978 as the base for the MLRS production program. The facility serves as a manufacturing, final assembly, testing and storage location for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) program.

For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), ATACMS and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE: STATE RECEIVES $55 MILLION IN TOBACCO SETTLEMENT FUNDS
Bringing more than $1 billion total for public health programs
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has secured the 2019 share of proceeds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with tobacco companies. More than 20 years ago, 46 states and numerous other jurisdictions entered into a historic, multibillion dollar agreement to settle consumer-protection lawsuits for the costs that they had incurred for treating the negative health effects of smoking.

“The funds from the Master Settlement Agreement are important to the overall health and welfare of Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am proud to continue to enforce the tobacco statutes and secure the State’s disbursement from the agreement. This money funds smoking cessation programs, health care research and the Arkansas Medicaid program, which are all vital resources for a number of Arkansas families and children.”

This year’s disbursement of $ 55,375,060.96 brings the total amount received since 2001 to fund various public health programs in Arkansas to $1,059,678,391.78.

The MSA imposed health-related and advertising restrictions on tobacco companies. Additionally, the agreement requires the settling manufacturers to make annual payments to the settling states.

The Attorney General is tasked with enforcing the tobacco statutes that were enacted pursuant to the MSA. This enforcement includes operation of a certification process for tobacco manufacturers, ongoing quarterly and annual reporting, maintaining an Approved-For-Sale Directory, conducting audits, collection of escrow amounts and investigation or even litigation should violations of the tobacco statutes occur.

In 2000, Arkansas voters created the Tobacco Settlement Act, which governs how the funds received under the settlement are used. Payments are placed into the Tobacco Settlement Program Fund for later distribution to the programs supported by the settlement payments, including the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, an agricultural and medical research consortium; the Medicaid Expansion Program, which provides Medicaid coverage for pregnant women and increases hospital benefits for Medicaid beneficiaries; the Prevention and Cessation Program, which aims to reduce tobacco use; and the Targeted State Needs Program, which includes support for public health programs for minorities, older Arkansans and residents of rural areas and the Delta.

APRIL 23, 2019

OUACHITA COUNTY HEALTH UNIT TO OFFER EXTENDED HOURS
​Camden, AR - Starting on April 23, 2019, the Ouachita County Health Unit will have special hours on Tuesdays from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM. These extended hours allow the unit to stay open later to accommodate those who cannot come in during normal business hours.

Clinical services will be available from 9:30 until 6:00 each Tuesday and will include: Women Infants and Children (WIC), nutrition counseling and support, family planning,
​sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and services, and immunization appointments. Staff will be available from 8:00 until 6:00 on Tuesdays to schedule appointments, answer calls, and issue birth and death certificates.

On all other weekdays, the Ouachita County Health Unit will continue with regular business hours from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

For more information, please call (870) 836-5033. Local health unit location and services information can be found at www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

2019 SMALL BUSINESS NEEDS ASSESSMENT - SAU-ASBTDC, MAGNOLIA, AR
The SAU-ASBTDC office developed questions pertaining to the center’s outreach efforts and the small business needs of the communities in the SAU territory. Center staff collected survey responses from local mayors while promoting the SAU-ASBTDC and obtaining proclamations for America’s SBDC Day. Fourteen mayors provided responses to the survey through face-to-face interviews with ASBTDC staff. Responses will be used in planning various center activities.

Mayors from the following counties completed the assessments – Ashdown, Bradley, Camden, El Dorado, Hampton, Hope, Lewisville, Magnolia, McNeil, Norphlet, Prescott, Smackover, Stamps and Stephens.

SURVEY QUESTIONS:
QUESTION 1: How did you first hear about the ASBTDC network and its services?
QUESTION 2: What is the most effective way for the ASBTDC to inform your community about our free small business consulting services?
QUESTION 3 – What organization(s) work with or bring together small businesses in your community?
QUESTION 4 – What is the primary need expressed by the city’s current business owners?
QUESTION 5 – As Mayor, what do you believe your local small businesses need to succeed?

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: 1. Most mayors holding office for multiple terms heard about the SAU-ASBTDC at a local meeting. Mayors new to the office overwhelmingly heard about the center from contact with the current center staff – during proclamation signings.
2. Methods to get the word out about the services of the SAU-ASBTDC differ across the communities.
3. The majority of the communities have a Chamber of Commerce and many have local economic development offices. Churches, city councils and civic organizations are other avenues used in the communities to network and support the local business community.
4. The primary need expressed to the mayors by local businesses is a qualified workforce.
5. Mayors expressed access to capital and more customers to be what they think their small businesses need (in addition to a qualified workforce) in order to succeed.

KAWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, April 25th at Noon at Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be by Toni Greenlee from the Christian Health Center.  She will be talking about the upcoming Luau that is scheduled for April 26th.

GAME AND FISH FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES 2019 ARKANSAS OUTDOOR HAL OF FAME INDUCTEES
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.
, (April 22, 2019) – The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation today announced the 2019 Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees, to be recognized at ceremonies in August in Little Rock.

Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Inductees
MaryAnn King
, London - Considered the most knowledgeable in the state on using native plants in the landscape, King is the founder and longtime owner of Pine Ridge Gardens in London. She is credited with educating generations of amateurs and professionals alike on the subject of native plants and their role in naturalizing and restoring habitat for birds, wildlife and butterflies. Many of the State Parks Visitor Centers and AGFC Nature Centers across the state — as well as public gardens and arboretums nationwide — utilize her plant stock, among countless private gardeners and landowners.

Tommy III & Catherine Murchison, Cabot - The husband and wife team founded the Arkansas Big Buck Classic, an event that recognizes the quality of whitetail hunting available in Arkansas, as well as promoting good sportsmanship, conservation, education and ethical hunting. The event is held at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds and today averages nearly 38,000 visitors each year. Since its inception in 1990, the Arkansas Big Buck Classic has donated over $200,000 to worthy causes including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Shriners Hospital for Children and C.H. Vines 4-H Center. In addition, the event has gathered approximately 50,000 cans of food for Hunters Feeding the Hungry among other charities.

Woody Futrell, Nashville - For Woody Futrell, boats were both vocation and avocation. An avid boat racer in the 1950s, he took over the family business, Futrell Marine, which his father Dan Futrell established in 1948. Under Dan’s guidance, Woody quickly learned the ropes of the business and would become one of the most well-known and respected businessmen in retail boating, to be numbered among the industry elite via national design, sales and service awards multiple times over.

The McCollum Family, Stuttgart - Widely credited with refining the business model of the modern duck club, the McCollum Family occupies a unique place in the history of Arkansas duck hunting. Generations of McCollums have helped advance the business and habitat science of ducks, including perfecting many of the conservation and natural resources management practices so common today. Their vision, ingenuity and skill helped lay the foundation upon which Arkansas duck hunting has grown into a multi-million dollar industry.

“Every year, the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation recognizes individuals whose contributions to the great outdoors transcends mere hobby,” said Deke Whitbeck, president of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. “The individuals we honor have devoted their time, energy and passion for the outdoors in such a way that preserves and enhances our wild spaces for generations to come. We are proud to once again recognize such outstanding Arkansans.”

Honorees will be recognized during the 28th Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet, slated for Saturday, August 24, 2019 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Tickets for the event are $125 and tables of ten are available for $1,250 each. The night will include dinner, live and silent auctions and induction ceremony. The event is set to begin at 6pm.

Proceeds from the event support the year-round work of the Foundation, which helps introduce hundreds to the joy of the outdoors every year. AGFF’s mission supports Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) initiatives, particularly those aimed at getting young people unplugged and engaged in Arkansas’s outdoors.

Established in 1982, the Foundation is an independently operated 501c3 non-profit organization that serves as the fundraising adjunct to the AGFC. Its membership includes men and women who are passionate about promoting hunting, fishing and conservation education among the youth of Arkansas.

To purchase tickets to the event or for more information, contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation office at 501-223-6468 or email agff@agff.org.


Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES MAY MOBILE OFFICE SCHEDULE
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced mobile office locations for May.

Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties each year during her first term, assisting 3,300 Arkansans.

Rutledge believes face-to-face conversations are the best way to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.

Rutledge continues her partnerships with the Cooperative Extension Service and local law enforcement across Arkansas. Law enforcement officials will be on hand to collect unused and expired prescription medications to ensure they are secured and properly disposed. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office. During Rutledge’s first term, over 618 pounds of medications were collected at mobile offices.

For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.

The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:

Washington County
Thursday, May 2
10:30 a.m. to noon
Springdale Senior Center
203 Park St.
Springdale, AR 72764

Independence County
Friday, May 3
10:30 a.m. to noon
Independence County Senior Center
1590 E. College Ave.
Batesville, AR 72501

Lee County
Tuesday, May 7
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Lee County Courthouse
15 E. Chestnut St.
Marianna, AR 72360

Yell County
Wednesday. May 8
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Leon Millsap Senior Activity Center
1301 E. 8th St.
Danville, AR 72833

Poinsett County
Thursday, May 9
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
St. Bernarnds Senior Life Center – Harrisburg
300 Fairground St.
Harrisburg, AR 72432

Columbia County
Tuesday, May 14
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Columbia County Nutrition Center
600 Lelia St.
Magnolia, AR 71753

Lafayette County
Monday, May 20
9:45 to 11:15 a.m.
Lafayette County Senior Citizens Center
228 Church St.
Stamps, AR 71860
Montgomery County
Thursday, May 30
10 00 to 11:30 a.m.
Mount Ida Senior Activity Center
158 Senior Drive
Mount Ida, AR 71957

COTTON STATEMENT ON U.S. EFFORTS TO END IRANIAN OIL EXPORTS
Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the State Department's announcement that it will no longer grant sanctions waivers for the purchase of Iranian oil:

"The world pays a steep price for Iranian oil, which funds Iran's military aggression and terrorist proxies. Pressure on the Iranian regime was a necessary decision and I commend the leadership of Secretary Pompeo in the efforts to shift oil reliance from Iran."

 

April 22, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
PUBLIC INTOXICATION
DISORDERLY CONDUCT

On April 16, 2019 at 5:21 P.M., Officer Ashley Watts, responded as back up officer to the area of 1039 Fort Lookout Manor in reference to a disturbance. Upon arrival Officer Watts observed Officer Kayla Reynolds speaking with Darrell Dumas.

Dumas was speaking loudly outside of the apartments at Fort Lookout Manor and causing a scene. Officer Reynolds instructed Dumas to lower his voice, however Dumas did not comply with the request. Officer Watts could smell an odor of intoxicants on Dumas’ breath as he was speaking. She could not understand much of what Dumas was saying, as he was rambling and speaking incoherently. As Dumas was talking loudly, he began to cuss. Officer Reynolds informed him if he did not stop conducting himself in this manner that he would be placed under arrest for Disorderly Conduct. Dumas then turned around and knelt to the ground with his hands behind his back yelling for her to just arrest him. At this point there were multiple residents standing outside observing Dumas. Officer Reynolds instruct Officer Davis, who had also arrived as back-up, to take Dumas into custody. Officer VanAssche had arrived on-scene and went to secure the door to Dumas' apartment and observed an empty whiskey bottle on his stoop. Officer Watts placed Dumas into her patrol unit and transported him to the Camden Police Department without incident. Officer Reynolds later informed Officer Watts that their shift had been dispatched to Fort Lookout multiple times that day concerning Dumas. Booking procedures were completed and Dumas was transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center where he was held for twelve hours and later released with a citation for Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injury
On April 15, 2019 at 10:11 p.m., Officer Jake Perry was dispatched to a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle on Old Magnolia Road. Upon arrival contact was made with a James Sullivan. Sullivan advised the Officer the subject that was struck was in his shop. Officer Perry observed Eric Gulley to be sitting in a chair with a visible head injury. He was upset and stated he did not know who hit him and he doesn't remember being hit. EMS arrived on scene and assessed Gulley's injuries.

Officer Perry began speaking with Sullivan and Sara Bates. Both subjects stated they were at the dumpster when they heard a loud noise like a vehicle accident. Bates stated she walked towards the direction where she heard the noise and saw Gulley and a black female, later identified as Eric Gulley's sister, Erica Gulley. Bates stated she heard Erica ask Gulley if he was ok. Bates then stated Erica got back into her vehicle, a green or dark colored compact vehicle, and drove away from the scene. Bates and Sullivan ran to where Gulley was located and escorted him to their garage to ensure Gulley was ok.

Officer Perry knew Gulley to have had a previous altercation with a female subject and he went to her home to investigate her vehicle. After confirming it was not the vehicle, he proceeded back to the scene of the accident, but stopped as he could hear people screaming and yelling. Officer Perry then made his way to the subject yelling, Orlando Moore, and asked if everything was ok. He stated, " Damn that was his momma". Officer Perry gathered the information from Moore and was also told where Gulley's mother stayed. Sergeant Elliott had arrived on-scene earlier and both Officers went to 701 Crestwood where they located the vehicle the witness described. Officer Perry exited his patrol unit and noticed a subject looking at the front door, and when they noticed it was the police began to cry and scream. Contact was made with Melissa Williams and Erica Gulley inside the residence. He advised them of the reason he was there and asked who was driving the vehicle when it struck Gulley. Erica Gulley came forward and admitted to striking Gulley and driving off.

Erica was taken into custody by Sergeant Elliott and transported to the station without incident. At the station booking procedures were completed. Erica was later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center to await a mandatory first appearance.

CAMDEN NOON LIONS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet on Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Wyletta Johnson. She will be speaking on Autism.

GRIFFIN APPLAUDS SIGNING OF BILLS TO AID SERVICE MEMBERS AND FAMILIES
Says, 'opportunities' for spouses and children of our service members 'should not be limited by government red tape'

 LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin will attend the signing of SB564 to grant reciprocity for occupational licensure of active duty service members and their spouses, and SB638 to expand the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children:

"I applaud the Arkansas General Assembly for passing SB564 and SB638. Our service members and their families are often required to move many times in the course of their military service, but employment and education opportunities for their spouses and children should not be limited by government red tape. Establishing reciprocity of occupational licensing for military spouses is of particular importance because the secretaries of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force have identified it as a major hurdle facing members of our armed forces. I commend Governor Asa Hutchinson and the legislature for their work on these important issues."

AEDC’s MIKE PRESTON TO SPEAK AT GTEDC DINNER ON MAY 7
MAGNOLIA – The Golden Triangle Economic Development Council is hosting its 18th Annual GTEDC Dinner Meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at the El Dorado Conference Center, 311 Southwest Avenue in El Dorado, Ark.

Michael “Mike” Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), will deliver the keynote address. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Dinner tickets are $25 per person and may be purchased at the GTEDC Office at Southern Arkansas University, online at www.gtedc.org, through the local chamber of commerce and economic development offices in El Dorado and Magnolia, and at the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development in Camden.

Preston, who is highly regarded as a leading advocate in economic development, was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to executive director of the AEDC in March 2015.

Since that time, Preston has made successful business recruitment trips to Japan, China, France, Germany, Israel, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, United Kingdom, New York City and Silicon Valley. The trips continue to play an important role in the economic development efforts of Arkansas and have led to more than 300 companies signing agreements with AEDC to locate or expand in the state. These companies are investing $8.06 billion and creating more than 16,000 new jobs.

Before joining AEDC, he served more than six years as the vice president of government relations for Enterprise Florida, the state’s primary economic development organization. While there, he was part of the team that helped generate $10.07 billion in capital investment and create more than 147,000 jobs that paid an average wage of $56,437.

In 2018, Preston was selected to join The Wall Street Journal’s prestigious CEO Council. It is an invitation-only group that connects some of the world’s most ambitious and influential leaders to discuss the issues shaping the future. The members lead companies that collectively employ more than eight million people, generate $2.9 trillion in annual revenue, and represent 20 countries in a wide cross section of industries.

A 2005 graduate of the University of Florida, Preston and his wife, Anne, are proud to call Arkansas home. They both volunteer in the community in a variety of ways, including the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

WILDFIRE SUPPRESSION KITS DISTRIBUTED TO VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS THROUGH RURAL FIRE PROGRAM
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Rural Fire Program, managed by the Arkansas Agriculture Department's Forestry Commission (AFC), received $237,000 from the United States Forest Service to purchase and distribute 79 Wildfire Suppression Kits to statewide volunteer fire departments in 2019. Kits feature equipment and gear necessary for the safe suppression of wildfires and will be delivered to selected volunteer fire departments through May.

Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner to AFC crews in wildfire response and suppression but often need the specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. Since 2014, more than 300 volunteer fire departments have received Wildfire Suppression Kits through the Rural Fire Program. Kits distributed this year include lightweight wildfire-resistant personal protective equipment, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers.

Volunteer fire departments interested in participating in the Wildfire Suppression Kit program submit applications that are scored according to specific criteria including fire district population, the size of the response area, wildfire equipment response needs, and other factors. The application period for the 2020 Wildfire Protection Kit program starts in September. Contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at Kathryn.Mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501) 679-3183 with questions or to be added to the Rural Fire Program email distribution list.

Fire departments receiving kits in 2019 are listed below by fire department and county:

Antioch/White
Appleton/Pope
Ash Flat/Fulton&Sharp
Barton-Lexa/Phillips
Bee Branch/Van Buren
Board Camp /Polk
Bradley/Lafayette
Brinkley/Monroe
Buford/Baxter
Bussey Sharman/Columbia
Butlerville/Lonoke
Butterfield/Crawford
Calico Rock/Izard
Cecil Rural/Franklin
Center Point/Howard
Center Ridge /Conway
Chickalah/Yell
Chidester/Ouachita
Chimes/Van Buren
Collins-Cominto/Drew
Corning/Clay
Cross Roads/Hempstead
Cross Roads/Prairie
Daisy/Pike
Decatur/Benton
Dierks/Howard
Driggs/Logan
Dumas/Desha
East End/Saline
Elaine/Phillips
Elkins/Washington
Emerson/Columbia
Enola/Faulkner
Fisher/Poinsett
Fountain Lake/Garland
Hackett/Sebastian
Hardy/Sharp
Hoxie/Lawrence
Huttig/Union
Hwy 15 S/Jefferson
Johnsville/Bradley
Joy/White
Lacey-Ladell/Drew
Lamar/Johnson
Luxora/Mississippi
Lynn/Lawrence
Mammoth Spring/Fulton
Mandeville/Miller
Marvell Rural/Phillips
Maysville/Benton
McRae/White
Mulberry/Crawford
Murfreesboro/Pike
New Blaine/Logan
Norman/Montgomery
Norphlet/Union
Northside/Prairie
Oak Grove Heights/Greene
Oak Prairie/Prairie
Ouachita/Hot Spring
Oxford/Izard
Pansy/Cleveland
Paron/Saline
Ravenden/Lawrence
Rover/Yell
Selma/Drew
South Phillips/Phillips
Southeast White/White
Southwest/Hot Spring
Sparkman/Dallas
Swifton/Jackson
Turtle Creek/Saline
Valley/Drew
Watalula/Franklin
Watson/Desha
Williford/Sharp
Woodlawn/Cleveland
Y Community-212/Cleveland
Y City/Scott

 
 

April 19, 2019

ARKANSAS PARKS AND TOURISM EMPLOYEES TO VISIT CAMDEN
Twenty-three members of the Arkansas Parks and Tourism employees will be visiting Camden on Tuesday. The visitors work at all the Welcome Centers across the state. The group will arrive in Camden late Tuesday afternoon. They will visit two local businesses in Downtown Camden. The group will then tour “The Trace”. John Wheeler and Becky Davis will give a 30-minute narrated Tour of the Historic District. They will also have a booklet that has been prepared of all the historical markers in the area for each of the visitor. Catherine’s Bistro will serve dinner before the Historic Society puts on a shortened version of the All Hallow’s Eve Walk. The visitor’s will all spend the night in Camden. If you see visitor’s, please put Camden’s best face forward. Make them feel welcome and let them know what a wonderful town Camden is.

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
National Day of Prayer Ceremony will be Thursday, May 2nd at Noon on the Ouachita County Courthouse Lawn. Everyone is invited to come.  Hamburgers, chips & bottled water will be served to those attending. Sponsored by the Camden Ministerial Alliance and Ouachita County Ministerial Alliance.

VICTORY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL SPONSORS 2ND ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
Victory Christian School has announced details for their 2nd Annual Golf Tournament. The tournament will be held on Saturday May 4th at the Highland Golf Course in East Camden. Tee Time is at 8:00 a.m. and at 12 Noon if more than 20 teams register. Entry fee is $55.00 per person and includes Green Fees, Gold Cart and Door Prizes. This tournament will be a 2-person Scramble. Trophies will be awarded for the top 3 teams. There will be $130.00 cash prize for 1st place, $80.00 cash prize for 2nd place and a $50.00 cash prize for 3rd place.  Special prizes include closest to the pin on hole #15 and longest drive on hole #17. There is an additional $10 entry fee for each of the special prizes. Mulligans can be purchased for $5.00 each. Limit is 4 mulligans per golfer. Drinks and concessions will be for sale on the course. Tee times will only be held with payment of the entry fees. No acholic beverages. There is a 40-team limit. Registration must be made by Thursday, May 2nd. For registration or additional information contact Charlotte Young at 870-807-1468 or Larry Young at 870-818-7501.


SAAC ANNOUNCES KRISTEN BLOSSOM AS VISITING DIRECTOR FOR “HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME”
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to announce Kristen Blossom as the visiting director and choreographer for this summer’s production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Blossom, who is currently the Assistant Professor of Acting and Directing at Louisiana Tech University, will be making her directing debut at SAAC’s Callaway Theatre. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring to the stage this classic tale of the power of light and love to defeat darkness and anger in the lives of Quasimodo and Esmeralda, set in the famed cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. This year’s summer musical is sponsored by Murphy USA and scheduled for July 18-28.

“It is so easy to let our beliefs about ourselves be shaped and warped by the people around us. It requires a tremendous amount of courage to redirect those thought patterns, step outside of the abuse and refuse to let other people's opinions of us determine who we are,” Blossom says. “There is so much darkness in Quasimodo's world and a lot of it exists in his own mind. Re-defining how you see yourself is no small feat. It takes all the inner-strength Quasimodo can muster to step into his personal power and allow himself to be immersed in light and experience love.”

A show with wonderful creative opportunities for actors, singers, dancers, and choir members of varying skill levels, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney animated feature. It includes the film’s Academy Award-nominated score, as well as new songs, with a storyline that embraces theatrical storytelling while including verbatim passages from Hugo’s gothic novel.

Blossom has extensive experience directing both children and adults at the community theatre and collegiate levels. She holds an MFA in Acting, from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, which has been rated one of the top 25 Drama Schools in the world. She. As member of the Actors Equity Association, she has extensive experience performing and directing on stages all over the country. She is a trained dancer and registered yoga teacher, allowing her to incorporate her teaching techniques into all elements of the production.  

“Working with me means that together we will constantly be peeling back layers and finding a deeper meaning in every word, movement and moment. I lead with my heart and try to encourage other artists to do the same,” Blossom says. 

“The Hunchback of Notre” Dame is sponsored by Murphy USA and will run July 18-28, with auditions beginning June 1 with a call for choir members and June 2-3 for actors, singers and dancers. Stop by SAAC on Saturday, May 18 to meet Blossom and the other members of the creative team beginning at 4 pm. Audition materials will be available, and you will have a chance to hear more about Blossom’s vision for this classic tale. For more information, please call the SAAC at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

MAGIC SPRINGS OFFERS A SPECIAL “THANK YOU” TO OUR HEROS
Park honors service people during Heroes Appreciation Month
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (April 16, 2019) – Magic Springs Theme and Water Park will offer FREE admission for members of the military, both active duty and retired, as well as police, firefighters and EMTs during its Heroes Appreciation Month, April 27 – May 27, 2019. 

Spouses and dependents of military, police, firefighters and EMTs will receive admission at $35.99 plus tax when accompanied by a member of the qualified group May 11-17.

“This is just another way to express our gratitude to the brave men and women who

serve our communities and our country every day,” said Jack Bateman, general

manager at the park. “We salute them and their families during Heroes Appreciation Month every year at Magic Springs.”

First responders and members of the military need to show their military ID or proof of employment at the park ticket booths to receive free admission. Invited members of the military include active duty, retirees, veterans, reservists and Department of Defense.

Magic Springs Theme and Water Park is now open for weekend operations and will begin daily operation on May 27. The water park area will open for operations on May 11, 2019. For more information about this program and Magic Springs, visit MagicSprings.com.

A Season Pass gate price is $74.99 plus tax. General admission Saturday ticket price is

$59.99 plus tax. Junior (under 48” tall) and senior (ages 55+) Saturday ticket price is $39.99 plus tax. Call 501-318-5370 or visit MagicSprings.com/buy-tickets.php for more information and discounted tickets.

About Magic Springs Theme & Water Park:

Located on the FUN side of Hot Springs, about 50 miles west of Little Rock, AR, Magic Springs is Arkansas's ONLY theme and water park. A single price admission includes entrance to both the theme and water park, including use of the rides, slides, attractions, concerts and special events. The park is open weekends April, May, October and daily Memorial Day through mid-August. Magic Springs is operated by Premier Parks, LLC.

Visit MagicSprings.com for more information or to purchase Season Passes or discount tickets.

 

APRIL 18, 2019

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW ONE OF FOUR SOUTH ARKANSAS SCHOOLS EXEMPT FROM SCHOOL CHOICE ACT
The state Department of Education told four south Arkansas school systems on  Wednesday that they are exempted from participating in the school choice act for the 2019-20 school year because of an ongoing federal appeals court case.

The Department of Education sent letters to Camden Fairview, along with Hope, Junction City and Lafayette County schools granting the requested exemptions. Earlier, the Department of Education had handed down the decision that the schools were obligated to take part in the School Choice Act.

Attorney’s Allen Roberts and Whitney Moore represent all four of the exempted School Districts. The Attorneys have argued that the School’s in question participation in the state's School Choice Act of 2015 would result in racial segregation resulting the districts to be in conflict with their federal court-ordered school desegregation plans.

The Arkansas attorney general's office, representing the Education Department and state Board of Education, has appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis. The appeals court has denied the state's request that student transfers from the four districts be allowed to for the 2019-20 school year while the court appeal is in process. The state's written arguments in the appeal are due to the 8th Circuit on May 3rd. The school district will then submit arguments. A court date should then be set to determine the outcome of the matter.

AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, April 26, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road in Camden.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE BACK SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 27TH
LITTLE ROCK
– The bi-annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for April 27. It is an important opportunity for Arkansans to clean out old and unused prescription medications because more than half of Arkansas teens report it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. Prescription Drug Take Back is one way to ensure these lethal drugs stay out of the hands of addicted Arkansans.
 
“The prescription drug epidemic continues to wreak havoc on our state and country,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs impacts a staggering number of families across Arkansas. It will take all of us working together to make a difference, including properly disposing of medications.”
 
Rutledge released the following list of medications that will be accepted at these events across the State:

  • Opioids, such as OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, etc.
  • Stimulants, such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Dexedrine, etc.
  • Depressants, such as Ativan, Xanax, Valium, etc.
  • Other prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Vitamins
  • Pet medicines
  • Medicated ointments and lotions
  • Inhalers
  • Liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers (up to 12 ounces)
  • Medicine samples

Medications may be returned in the original bottle or in any other container for increased privacy.
 
Prescription drug Take Back locations will be available 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 27. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Days are held twice a year, but to find event sites and year-round drop-off locations near you, visit ARTakeBack.org.
 
Properly destroying these medications also protects the environment. Medicines that are flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting waters, which could contaminate food and water supplies. Wastewater treatment plants or septic systems may not remove many medicine compounds. Turning over these medications at Take Back Day events also reduces the risk of accidental poisonings by children, seniors or pets, as well as reduces the risk of drug abuse.
 
Attorney General Rutledge has been a leader in the State and nation combating the opioid epidemic by using a multifaceted approach through education, prevention and litigation. Her first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program is free for high schools and over the last year has reached almost 14,000 students. In November, the Attorney General hosted the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit with record attendance, which provided training and educational opportunities for law enforcement, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Rutledge has taken an aggressive approach to protect Arkansans and combat the epidemic by suing Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Endo, opioid manufacturers who created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
 
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
Rutledge joined attorneys general from Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah in signing the letter, which was led by the attorney general from West Virginia.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES DUMAS WOMAN SENTENCED FOR MEDICAID FRAUD
Says, ‘Shirley Owens took advantage of a vital resource’
LITTLE ROCK – Just yesterday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a Desha County woman pleaded guilty to theft of property by deception for caring for her husband, the patient, which is conduct that would make her ineligible to be paid by the Medicaid program.

“Shirley Owens took advantage of a vital resource by being illegally paid to care for her husband,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Medicaid is an important safety net for many, and what Owens did was take money and services away from another deserving Arkansan.”

Owens, 63, of Dumas, pleaded guilty to a form of Medicaid fraud involving theft of property by deception, a Class C felony, between December 2016 and July 2017. A Medicaid fraud investigation revealed that Owens and her husband, the Medicaid recipient had married in January 2006. She was ordered to pay $5,364 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund.

This case was referred to the Arkansas Attorney General’s office by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and prosecuted in coordination with Sixth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.

Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or oag@arkansasag.gov.

COTTON, CRUZ, COLLEAGUES URGE ADDITIONAL ACTION FOLLOWING GOLAN HEIGHTS DECISION
Washington, D.C.
 — U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) sent a letter to President Trump urging his administration to take several steps to implement his decision recognizing the Golan Heights as part of the State of Israel.

“The United States now recognizes the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli soil. Our official documents, maps, regulations, and international agreements ought to reflect that historic fact. We stand ready to help the president implement his decision, which strengthens Israel’s capacity for self-defense against enemies like Iran and the terrorist forces who want to destroy it,” said Senator Cotton.

“Deepening Israel’s sovereignty and control over the Golan Heights is in America’s national security interest. The president should be applauded for his decision to recognize the reality of that sovereignty, which he did over the objections of some in his administration who incorrectly predicted that it would cause unrest in the Middle East. Now it is imperative that all federal agencies implement the president’s decision, including by aligning the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual to reflect that it is United States policy that the Golan Heights is Israeli territory,” said Senator Cruz.

 An excerpt from the letter is below:

“We now urge you to take the following steps to implement your historic decision:

  1. Direct all federal government agencies to update their official documents, publications, and maps to recognize the Golan Heights as the State of Israel’s sovereign territory.
  1. Direct the State Department to treat the Golan Heights as the State of Israel’s sovereign territory for the purpose of: (a) issuing passports to Americans born in the Golan Heights and (b) all treaties and agreements.
  1. Direct the State Department to pursue talks with the Israeli government about updating the 1972 U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation agreement and the related 1977 agreements covering industrial and agricultural research. These agreements bar funding of projects in or relating to “geographic areas which came under the administration of the Government of Israel after June 5, 1967,” which is in conflict with your proclamation.
  1. Direct all federal government agencies responsible for foreign commerce and customs enforcement to allow products from the Golan Heights to be labeled ‘Made in Israel.’”
 

April 17, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
Leaving Scene of Accident with Injury- Felony
Damaged Property- Misdemeanor

On April 14, 2019 at 10:38 p.m., Officer Jake Perry and Officer Brandon Brangaccio were advised by dispatch of a hit and run accident at Soapy Suds (645 California Ave). Dispatch advised that the caller stated a white vehicle was the car that left the scene. While receiving this call the Officers were pulling to the stop light on California by Soapy Suds when they noticed a subject flagging us down.

Upon arrival Office Brangaccio observed significant damage to the vehicle that remained at the scene. The vehicle's entire front bumper was completely tom off the front of the vehicle and sitting on the ground in the parking lot of Soapy Suds. Officer Brangaccio made contact with victim who was in the front driver seat of the vehicle.

The Officer asked the woman "do you need to go to the hospital? At first she responded no when asked what happened the woman stated that she was sitting in her car in front of Soapy Suds waiting for her clothes to dry when a white car pulled up beside her letting a man dressed in all black out. She said the man and the woman began to argue when all of a sudden, the woman in the white car drove into her car attempting to hit the man who was on foot. The white car also ended up colliding with the front of the building as well. The car then backed out hitting the victim’s car again before driving away. The woman said she was not able to get a good look at either the woman driving off or the man who she stated just walked away up Lincoln Drive like nothing had happened, but she was able to get the License Plate Number of the white car. The plates were run and returned to a Sharia Holliman.

Other units began to search the surrounding area for the vehicle. Upon observing the front of the building Officer Brangaccio noticed damage to the bricks on the building. He was also able to see from the inside of Soapy Suds the front wall had been pushed inward and had a slight bend from where the impact happened. Pictures of both the inside and outside damage to the building were taken and the owner of the building was notified. There were also two witnesses who saw the accident and were able to give the same details as the victim’s account of the incident.

Officer Perry advised dispatch to call out Kelly's Wrecker Service to the scene per driver's request. At that time the victim said she was starting to have neck pains and called her husband to come pick her up. He arrived and told Officers that he would take his wife to the hospital for a precaution check out. Lt. Opelt advised he was not able to locate the white car who fled from the scene, but he was able to get in touch with the owner, Sharia Holliman who advised Lt. Opelt her daughter, Sherika Holliman had been driving the car. Sherika Holliman agreed to come to the station and explain her side of the situation.

 Once Sherika arrived to the station she began to tell us that she had dropped off Hayward Lucas at Soapy Suds. Sherika stated that Hayward owed her 30 dollars for doing one of his family member's hair, but once he got out the car he walked off and didn't pay her. Sherika said she started yelling out her window to Hayward asking for the money he owed her. Hayward came up to her car window and threw something inside according to Sherika. Sherika then stated she went to back up and leave when she drove forward almost hitting Hayward and ramming into the front of the building. Sherika said she panicked because she thought her car was in reverse and her intention were not to hit Hayward or even attempt too so she drove off and left the scene. Officer’s advised Sherika not only did she hit the building, but she also rammed into a car parked next to her causing significant damage also causing the driver of the other vehicle to go to the hospital due to neck pain. Sherika said she was not aware she hit another car and if she was she would not have left like she did.

Sherika was taken into custody. Standard booking procedures were completed and Sherika was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with an injury and Criminal Mischief 1st Degree. Sherika was transported to Ouachita County Detention Center with no incident.

DWI 1ST OFFENSE
On April 11, 2019 at 10:46 P.M. Officer Ashley Watts, was driving North bound on Cash Road when I observed a Chevy Silverado driving South on Cash in the turning lane. The Officer turned around to get behind the Silverado. The Officer observed the vehicle proceed straight on Cash through the intersection of Cash and Highway 278 from the turning lane. The Officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle in the parking lot of the Camden Market Place.

Officer Watts made contact with Elbert Miller III. She advised him why she had stopped him. Miller supplied me with all the information the Officer requested.  While speaking with Miller Officer Watts could smell the odor of intoxicants on his breath. When asked if he had been drinking that evening and he replied yes, that he made himself a drink approximately two hours prior. He estimated he drank about four shots of Apple Crown mixed with Sprite. Miller was asked to exit the vehicle so that the Officer could ensure he would be safe to drive from that location. Miller was very polite and compliant with all my requests as I conducted the Field Sobriety Test which indicated he was in fact intoxicated. During the entire process Miller remained very respectful and compliant, stating that he knew he messed up and would do whatever he was asked to do. Officer Watts administered the BAC to measure Miller's blood alcohol content. The BAC results showed Miller's blood alcohol content to be 0.130.

Miller's driver's license was confiscated to send to Driver Control and he was issued a temporary driver's license. He was issued a citation number  and court date before being released into the custody of his wife.

POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE-MISDEMEANOR
POSSESSION INSTRUMENT OF CRIME-X2

On April 11, 2019 at 10:31 p.m. hours, Officer Jacob VanAssche was patrolling the area of Red Bud near Cardinal, when he observed a black 2001 Ford F-150 driving west bound on Cardinal nearing the intersection. The Officer then observed the the vehicle fail to yield at the stop sign and make a right turn onto Red Bud also failing to use a tum signal. Officer VanAssche then attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The vehicle continued to travel north bound on Red Bud disregarding the blue lights. This continued till the vehicle pulled into the driveway of 2751 Red Bud. Once in the driveway the driver exited the vehicle and attempted to go inside the residence. The Officer stopped him and advised him he was detained.

The driver identified himself as Xavier Franklin, and the two passengers identified themselves as Eric Bigby and Ja'Curtis Madison. While gathering all the parties' information Officer VanAssche noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. He then requested another unit to be dispatched to the location for a vehicle search. The Officer also requested a warrant check be completed through dispatch on all three subjects. Dispatch advised all three where negative for warrants.

Sergeant Elliott arrived on scene, and all three subjects were taken out of the vehicle. While taking them out of the vehicle Officer VanAssche observed a new aroma in the vehicle. It appeared the subjects attempted to mask the odor of marijuana with a spray.

While searching the vehicle Officers found a clear bag of marijuana in the center console of the truck, a Bob Marley grinder with residue inside it in the cup holder, and a glass weed pipe with burnt residue in it in the side of the driver's door. The glass pipe was still very hot, which shows it was recently used.

All three passengers stated the contraband didn't belong to them but refused to say who it belonged to. All three were then taken into custody without incident.

A vehicle impound sheet was completed, and Rothwell Wrecker later arrived and took custody of the vehicle.

All three suspects were transported to the station without incident. At the station Franklin was booked for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession Instrument of a Crime X2. Bigby and Madison were booked for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession Instrument of a Crime. All three were later released with a Criminal Citations and a District Court. Franklin also received six Traffic Citations: No Driver's License, No Proof of Insurance, Failure to Yield to Stop Sign, Fail to Signal, Failure to Pay Registration Over 60 days, and Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle. Franklin was issued a District Court date.

CARRYING A WEAPON
On April 11, 2019 at 12:30 a.m. Officer Jacob VanAssche conducted a traffic stop on a 2005 black Mercury SUV for Failure to Signal and No License Plate Lamp.

The Officer made contact with the driver Demetri McCoy, who stated he was giving a friend a ride home and forgot to use his blinker. While speaking with McCoy a strong smell of burnt marijuana was coming from the vehicle. The Officer then requested another unit to be dispatched for a vehicle search. The Officer also requested a warrant check to be completed through dispatch on McCoy and his passenger, Jakeal Sheapard. McCoy seemed to be confused and had a lot of trouble answering questions and keeping his focus.

Officer Lane arrived on scene, and at which point dispatch advised Sheapard had a valid warrant with the county. He was taken into custody and placed into the patrol unit. Sheapard was later transported to the OCSO on his valid warrant. McCoy seemed to be under the influence of some form of substance, so he was then removed from the vehicle.

Once he was removed from the vehicle Officer VanAssche asked McCoy if he would complete the Standard Field Sobriety Test. The test resulted in no cues to support McCoy being under the influence of some substance. McCoy was then advised that the Officer was going to search his vehicle, due to the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. McCoy admitted he does smoke marijuana in his vehicle, and that's probably why I was smelling it. McCoy got visibly upset once the Officer began getting close to the vehicle. He started grabbing his head and saying, “They’re going to find it, oh man I'm in so much trouble, I'm going to go to jail." The Officer then went back to McCoy and asked him what he was talking about, and he refused to say. He continued to be upset, and he began to show a strong trepidation of the vehicle being searched. McCoy was then detained for officer safety, due to the fact that his behavior was continuing to deteriorate. The vehicle was then searched and Officer VanAssche found a loaded 380 Lorcin handgun in McCoy's glove box. The handgun had five rounds in the clip, and one round in the chamber. After unloading the handgun and making it safe, the Officer requested a wanted or stolen check be completed on the handgun. Dispatch later advised the handgun was negative for being wanted or reported stolen.

McCoy stated he was upset about this being in his vehicle, because it wasn't his. When asked whose handgun it was, he said it belonged to some trucker he gave a ride to a few weeks prior. McCoy stated he didn't know the guy, but said the trucker placed the gun in his glove box as soon as he got into McCoy's vehicle.

McCoy was taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. At the station a Criminal History was completed on McCoy, and it showed McCoy was never convicted on a felony charge. McCoy was then booked for Carrying a Weapon. Booking procedures were completed. McCoy was issued a Criminal Citation for Carrying a Weapon  and a Traffic Citation for No Driver's License and Failure to Signal and given a District Court date. McCoy was released.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, April 18th at 12:00 Noon at Catherine’s Bistro. The program will be presented by Terri Smith who serves in the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.

DRIVE HIGH – GET A DWI”: ARKANSAS JOINS REGIONAL ENFORCEMENT PLAN STRIKING AGAINST DRUG IMPAIRED DRIVING
Law enforcement agencies across six states will increase patrol officer presence on roads and highways beginning later this week as part of a regional plan aimed to reduce incidents of drug impaired driving.

Beginning Friday (April 19th) and continuing through Saturday, local police, sheriff’s deputies and highway patrol troopers in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma will concentrate patrols directed toward an effort to stop drivers who are impaired by drugs.  Impaired driving is illegal in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

Regardless of how a driver may come to be in possession of drugs, whether the substance is prescribed or illegal to possess; driving while impaired by drugs creates a safety threat to the driver, vehicle passengers and others traveling on public roadways.

“Drug impaired driving is a serious issue for drivers and law enforcement officers on Arkansas roadways,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “By intensifying enforcement of drug impaired driving laws we hope people will think twice before driving while impaired by any drug whether it is prescribed or not.”

 Almost all illegal drugs and many prescription drugs can slow the reaction time of a driver who must be alert and in control of the vehicle.  Just like alcohol, drugs make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their traffic lane.  It doesn’t matter what term is used to describe the impairment; if a driver is high, stoned, wasted or drunk, the individual is impaired.  Driving while impaired by any substance is illegal and can be deadly.

“Our goal is to save lives and we’re putting all drivers on notice that drug impaired driving is against the law,” said Colonel Bryant.

Remember, “Drive High – Get a DWI.”

Learn more about the dangers of drug impaired driving at Traffic Safety Marketing, https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov

altADE'S MY SHCOOL INFO WEBSITE SURPASSES 100,000 PAGE VIEWS IN 1 DAY

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education celebrates more than 100,000 page views in one day on its My School Info website, marking another milestone since the site’s launch in November 2016. 

On April 15, 2019, the portal received 131,343 page views with the release of the 2018 Arkansas Report Cards. This breaks the previous record of more than 67,000 page views on a single day that occurred on April 12, 2018, when the 2017 Arkansas School Performance Reports and ESSA School Index scores were released. In September 2018, My School Info accomplished another milestone when the site reached more than 1 million page views since its launch.

“Our primary purpose when developing and launching My School Info was to provide stakeholders easy access to reliable, accurate education information,” Arijit Sarkar, ADE director of information systems and chief information officer, said. “The site’s recent milestones show that our stakeholders not only value the site but are using the information on the site to make informed education decisions. We are thrilled with the website’s success and are committed to working with our partners to make further improvements that benefit all stakeholders.”

My School Info is ADE’s free online resource for school and district data. The user-friendly site is interactive and allows visitors to do the following: 

  • access school and district contact information; 
  • search assessment and financial information; 
  • compare schools and districts; 
  • analyze trends over multiple years; and 
  • view school rating and report card information.

ADE continues to seek stakeholder feedback and make improvements to My School Info. Recent updates include the addition of the 2018 Report Cards and long-term goals reports. Stakeholders can access these reports and use the site to compare schools in districts, counties, education service cooperatives, and the state. By hovering a computer mouse over specific data elements, users can access additional explanations and definitions. Users also can export information into an Excel or PDF format, as well as share information with others via email.

To access My School Info, go to https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov. To provide feedback about the site, please email ADE.ITServices@Arkansas.Gov, or click on the feedback button located at the bottom of the My School Info home page. 

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Follow us on Instagram at arkansas_ed


Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE JOINS COALITION SUPPORTING NEW WOTUS RULE
Says, ‘Obama-era rule was never about protecting our water in a responsible way’
LITTLE ROCK – On Tuesday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined 16 other states in submitting a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers in support of the proposed revisions to define the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

“The overreaching Obama-era rule was never about protecting our water in a responsible way, and their action had disastrous implications for Arkansas farmers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The proposed revisions return the EPA to its core mission of environmental enforcement, pollution mitigation and disaster cleanup.”

The comment letter from Rutledge and her colleagues is part of the efforts to repeal the Obama-administration rule which allowed the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to assert federal authority over a vast number of small bodies of water, including roadside ditches, short-lived streams and any other area where water may flow once every 100 years.

In 2017, President Donald J. Trump directed a review of the WOTUS definition. And in February, a new rule was proposed which would not only rescind the unlawful Obama-era rule, but would also promulgate a new definition of WOTUS which would restore an understanding that is faithful to the text of the Clean Water Act.

Rutledge is part of a coalition that helped secure a nationwide injunction blocking enforcement of the rule in August 2015, allowing the new administration to review the rule. She also testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in March 2015 urging the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the Obama-era rule because of the negative impact it would have on Arkansas farmers.

Rutledge joined attorneys general from Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah in signing the letter, which was led by the attorney general from West Virginia.

 

April 16, 2019

alt2018 SCHOOL, DISTRICT AND STATE REPORT CARDS RELEASED
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education released today the 2018 Report Cards for schools, districts, and the state. The reports, which are available at the Report Card tab on the My School Info website (https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov), reflect school performance for the 2017-2018 school year. 

In addition to information about student achievement and growth, graduation rates, college readiness, teacher quality, school expenditures, and long-term goals, the 2018 reports feature several new components. Data about homeless students, students in foster care, gifted and talented students, and students of military families are available, as well as several new modules.

  • The Growth module provides a growth score for each grade level by content and subgroup of students.
  • The English Language Proficiency module provides information about the number and percentage of English learners earning a proficient score on the English Language Proficiency Assessment.
  • The School Quality and Student Success module provides information about school characteristics, such as the number and percentage of students reading on grade level.

  • The Cross Tab modules provide information regarding the achievement and growth of students by subgroups. 

  • The Long-Term Goals module provides information about the progress of schools in relation to the long-term goals set by the state. 


"I encourage students, parents, educators, and community members to spend time reviewing the reports for their school and district," ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. "The reports, combined with other available data and information, should be used to guide conversations regarding continuous school improvement. Together, we will provide a student-focused education to all students in Arkansas."

To assist with understanding and using the report cards, several communication tools have been developed. Available at https://bit.ly/1NdmlWt, resources include a video and several one-page documents that highlight how to access the report card and ways the report card can be used. A letter template also is available to assist schools when communicating with families and communities.

ADE welcomes feedback on the report cards. A survey is available at https://bit.ly/2Z7iPVF, and several feedback events and opportunities will be held around the state in the next couple of months.

To learn more about the report cards, visit https://bit.ly/1NdmlWt

COTTON STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT’S REFUSAL OF RESTASIS PATENT APPEAL
Washington, D.C.
 — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an appeal by Allergan regarding the company’s attempted purchase of sovereign immunity from an Indian tribe for the drug Restasis:

“The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for Arkansas seniors and all Americans who are hurting from the high price of prescription drugs. The drug company’s attempt to buy sovereign immunity from an Indian tribe was a sham, and I am glad that the scheme has failed.”

Background: In 2017, Allergan sold the patents to its dry-eye medication Restasis to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in an attempt to use the tribe’s sovereign immunity to avoid a review of the validity of the patents.

Senator Cotton introduced the Preserving Access to Cost-Effective Drugs Act (PACED) Act in response to Allergan’s attempt to purchase sovereign immunity to protect its patents and keep drug prices high. The PACED Act would prohibit patent-holders from using tribal sovereign immunity as a defense in proceedings before the U.S. Patent Office, the courts, and the International Trade Commission.

 
 

April 15, 2019

OUACHITA COUNTY SHERIFF’S REPORTS
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT
DOMESTIC BATTERY 3RD DEGREE
FALSE IMPRISONMENT 2ND DEGREE
INTRODUCTION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE INTO BODY OF ANOTHER PERSON
TERRORISTIC THREATENING
UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE

On April 9, 2019 at 8:20 P.M. Deputy Andrew Tollefson was dispatched to 2175 U.S Highway 24 (Y-Mart) for a domestic in progress. Upon arrival the deputy made contact with the reporting party and saw that she was covered in bruises and abrasions. Her nose was also swollen, and left eye was turning black. The woman stated that her ex-boyfriend, Christopher Peebles, had been beating her and would not let her leave. The victim explained that she and Peebles were at one time in a relationship that ended in March. She went on to say that her relationship with Peebles ended when he took her vehicle and returned to the Camden area. She stated she was finally able to get Peebles to bring her vehicle back to her in Little Rock on April 6th. She said once Peebles arrived in Little Rock, the plan was for Peebles to drive her back to Camden where she would take possession of the vehicle and return to Little Rock.

According to the woman, once they arrived in Camden, Peebles took her to a camper off or Ouachita road 154 and told her that he was renting the place. He then began to show her around Camden and told her he was taking her to meet his family. She said Peebles began to argue and she told him that their relationship would never work. She stated that once they returned to the camper she tried to get in her vehicle and leave when Peebles grabbed her by her arm and kicked her legs out from under her causing her to fall to the ground. Peebles then told her that she could not leave and if he could not have her no one can. Peebles forced her to stay the night with him and was waiting on her to receive some money from her brother. The next day was filled with the same incidents of Peebles becoming irate and not allowing her to leave. Later on that night, according to the report, Peebles began talking about their relationship and stated she made him fall in love with her and again stated the if he could not have her, no one could.

The woman told the Deputy that Peebles then started to make sexual advances toward her. She declined the advances as she did not not want to be in a relationship with him. She stated Peebles became irate and went outside and grabbed what she described as a "short piece of a metal shower curtain rod" and struck her twice once on her left thigh and once on the left side of her buttock area.

Peebles continued to try and get her to get money off a card that she was wired from her brother. According to the woman, Peebles was going to take her to an ATM to get the money, but she did not want to go with him. She refused to get in to the vehicle with him and Peebles began threatening her and telling her to get into the car. He then forced her into the car against her will. She said that after going to several ATM's to retrieve the money with failed attempts because Peebles had taken her cell phone so she did not have access to the account. She said that Peebles thought that she was hiding the money from her. After the last failed attempt at the ATM Peebles forced her to put her hand on the center console of the vehicle and began punching it and questioning her about the money stating she had him on a while goose chase. She went on to say at that time Peebles pulled out a large sharp knife and told her he was going to start chopping off her fingers if she did not tell the truth and answer his questions about the money.

 Peebles then began to drive down old logging roads and was asking her if she ever though that today would turn out like this. Peebles told her that he was taking her out in the woods to kill her and she it was not going to end well for her. She said Peebles eventually stopped the vehicle on one of the logging roads where he told her to stay in the car while he got out of the vehicle and went the back and began pleasuring himself. She thought this was a good time to try and run so she took her chance. but Peebles was able to run her down and catch her.

Peebles drug her back to the vehicle slamming her face into the side causing her to hit her nose and forced her back into vehicle. They rode around for a short period of time until they finally arrived at Y-Mart. The woman stated that Peebles told her to go inside and pay for some gas, but she didn’t have any money and knew Peebles would be mad. She went on to say once inside the store she ran into the manager’s office and told her she needed help. Peebles tried to get her out of the store, but eventually left in her vehicle.

Deputy Tollefson also stated the woman also said that over the past three days, Peebles had forcefully injected her with Methamphetamine through the veins in both arms.

The Deputy observed several bruises on the woman’s body. He also observed two very large whelps and bruising on her left thigh and buttocks. She also showed me the Deputy where Peebles allegedly injected her with Methamphetamine.

On-Call CID was contacted and Sgt. J. McClane arrived on-scene.

The victim was transported to the Ouachita County Medical Center for treatment and was later discharged with minor injuries. While at the Hospital the woman completed a voluntary statement form, and photographs were taken. She was later transported to the Women's Crisis Center for a safe place to stay. Her vehicle was entered into ACIC as an Unauthorized Use.

The victim was advised that a report would be on file and forwarded to the Criminal. Investigation Division for investigation. Radio Works will follow this story and report on any other actions taken on this crime.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to a number of other calls last week including  theft of a butane tank, a one vehicle accident with no injuries, shoplifting from Family Dollar in Bearden, a report of theft of a package from a home in Bearden, a U-Haul that was not returned, and other minor incidents.

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in regular session Tuesday night, April 16th at 6:30 p.m. at Garrison Auditorium. The agenda includes a presentation by the Camden Fairview High School Choir, student hearings, the Superintendent’s Report, a presentation and recommendation regarding the 2019-2020 Classified and Licensed Salary Schedules and a presentation regarding the legislative joint Auditing Committee report for fiscal year end June 20, 2018.

LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Demetria Rone from Bright Beginnings Child Care.

OUACHITA COUNTY GOOD FRIDAY SCHEDULE
The Ouachita County Courthouse and the Ouachita County Extension Office will be closed Friday, April 19th in observance of Good Friday.

DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICE SCHEDULE EGG HUNT
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. The Department of Children and Family Services will be hosting an Egg Hunt this Friday, April 19th, at Carnes Park in Camden from 12:00 Noon to 3 p.m.

COTTON STATEMENT ON REJECTION OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT INVESTIGATION
Washington, D.C. — Following news reports that the International Criminal Court (ICC) unanimously rejected its prosecutor’s request to proceed with an investigation of American personnel who served in Afghanistan because such an investigation “would not serve the interests of justice,” U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement:

“The United States holds its servicemembers to the highest standard, and the ICC’s decision not to pursue this investigation reflects that fact. Yesterday’s announcement was a victory for the men and women who fought to protect our nation abroad. When and if American personnel deviate from that standard of conduct, they’ll answer to their own democratically elected government.”

SAAC REGISTERING FOR BEGINNERS PASTEL CLASS HOSTED ON APRIL 27
Artist Kelly Campbell will host her popular Beginners Pastel Class on April 27. The one day workshop, designed for artists who are new to pastels, runs from 9am to 2pm on Saturday morning.  In five hours, learn the basics of using soft pastels on sanded paper, as well as how to tone paper for underpainting using a variety of methods, and the basics of using different kinds of soft pastels to create an original painting.  

Campbell said, “This one day class is for real beginners – I go into the different kinds of soft pastels, the different kinds of paper, color choices, composition, and how to work from a photograph once you get the hang of the medium. This is probably my favorite class to teach – I love working in pastels, and sharing that passion is a great way to spend a day.” 

A retired art teacher, Campbell is employed by the South Arkansas Arts Center. She has exhibited her own pastel work with Julia Slaughter in 2015 and in SAAC’s “Legacy and Inspiration” exhibit in 2014. She has had solo exhibits in 2009, 2010, 2012, and most recently with “Roughnecks and Roustabouts” in 2017. Her pastels and photographs were accepted into the SAAC National Juried Art Competition in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017. 

Cost for the class is $50 (includes supplies). Class limit 10. Call 870-862-5474 for more information or to register for the class.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

 
 

April 12, 2019

altGOVERNOR HUTCHINSON PROMOTES EDUCATOR COMMITMENT SIGNING WEEK
LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson continued the early celebration of Educator Commitment Signing Week at a press conference and signing event at the Capitol on Friday.

Similar to athletic signing events, Educator Commitment Signing Week, which is from April 14 to 20, 2019, celebrates those who are committed to the teaching profession and education in Arkansas.

"In my life, I have found few things more rewarding or important than education,” Hutchinson said. “Our students are our future, and our educators are a critical part of shaping that future. I am proud to celebrate a new generation that is committed to a career in the education profession."

In addition to the State Board of Education resolution signed at yesterday’s meeting and Hutchinson’s press conference today, the Arkansas Department of Education, colleges and universities, education service cooperatives, and high schools are coordinating and hosting more than 20 events around the state during this special week. New, veteran, and future teachers, as well as students, parents, and community members, are showing their support of education by signing a commitment to education certificate.

“It's an exciting time for education in Arkansas as educators, pre-service teachers, parents, students, policymakers, and community members come together to sign their commitment to education,” said 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Randi House. “This declaration of having the same vision of student-focused education to support the students of Arkansas is quite powerful."

Educator Commitment Signing Week events represent one of many efforts by ADE’s Teach Arkansas campaign to promote the teaching profession. The campaign’s goals are to increase teacher recruitment and retention and encourage those who have left the profession to return.

To further promote the profession and signing week activities, ADE will host the fourth Teach Arkansas Lecture Series event April 15 in Pine Bluff. Marie Ferdinand-Harris, an Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA basketball player, will provide a motivational speech about the importance of teachers in shaping the futures of their students.

To learn more about Educator Commitment Signing Week and to see a list of scheduled activities, visit https://bit.ly/2D5jq1r. Participants are encouraged to post photos or videos on social media during the week using #TeachArkansas and #ARSigningWeek2019

Signing Week and Lecture Series

Educator Commitment Signing Week events represent one of many efforts by ADE’s Teach Arkansas campaign to promote the teaching profession. The campaign’s goals are to increase teacher recruitment and retention and encourage those who have left the profession to return.

To further promote the profession and signing week activities, ADE will host the fourth Teach Arkansas Lecture Series event April 15 in Pine Bluff. Marie Ferdinand-Harris, an Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA basketball player, will provide a motivational speech about the importance of teachers in shaping the futures of their students.

Prior to Ferdinand-Harris’ presentation, an Educator Commitment Signing Event will be held at 5 p.m. at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center, 1200 N. University Drive, Pine Bluff, AR 71601. The first 200 educators will receive a free gift. Ferdinand-Harris’ presentation will begin at 6:15 p.m. at the same location, followed by a question and answer session at 7:30 p.m. Educators who attend the evening lecture will be eligible to receive 1.5 hours of professional development credit. To sign up to attend, go to http://bit.ly/TALectureFour.

Ferdinand-Harris also will be available from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 15 at the fine arts center to talk with the media.

To learn more about Educator Commitment Signing Week and to see a list of scheduled activities, visit https://bit.ly/2D5jq1r. Participants are encouraged to post photos or videos on social media during the week using #TeachArkansas and #ARSigningWeek2019

GRIFFIN APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON’S TRANSFORMATION PLAN
Says, HB1763 will help ‘create a leaner, smarter state government’ to provide ‘better value for taxpayers and improve government services’
 LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement after the signing of HB1763, the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019, to reorganize and reduce state agencies:

“I applaud the Arkansas General Assembly for passing HB1763 to reorganize and reduce the number of state agencies. As Lieutenant Governor and Vice Chair of the Transformation Advisory Board, it has been an honor to support this commonsense plan to create a leaner, smarter state government. Arkansans expect a government that does more with less, and this plan will lead to better value for taxpayers and improve government services. Embracing transformation and reforming state government are critical to reducing spending, lowering Arkansas’s tax burden, and competing with other states for jobs and economic opportunity. I commend the work of Governor Asa Hutchinson, the Transformation Advisory Board, and the legislature for their hard work on this important bill."

COTTON STATEMENT ON OMB GUIDANCE TO ENHANCE REGULATORY OVERSIGHT
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget to strengthen oversight of new federal regulations:

“The Constitution states that only Congress can make laws, but that doesn’t always stop overzealous bureaucrats from making up regulations that effectively have the force of law, but without oversight from the legislative branch. Congress created the Congressional Review Act in order to rein in regulations created by federal agencies. I commend the administration for drafting new guidelines that will ensure greater compliance with the CRA and enhance Congress’s oversight of federal regulations.”

Background: Today, OMB issued guidance to the heads of federal departments and agencies to ensure consistent compliance with the Congressional Review Act. You can read the full memorandum here. Senator Cotton has fought for years to strengthen congressional oversight of federal regulations and the rule-making process. 

  • Last session, Congress used the Congressional Review Act to repeal more than a dozen heavy-handed regulations imposed during the eleventh hour of the Obama presidency. Repealing these regulations saved Americans billions in compliance costs.
  • Earlier this year, Senator Cotton questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell about bank regulators’ potential abuse of regulatory “guidance” to impose burdensome tests on medium-sized and community banks.

BOOZMAN REVIEWS IMPLEMENTATION OF VETERANS HEALTH
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to share details on its implementation of landmark reforms to veterans’ community care programs.

Boozman, a member of the Senate VA Committee, has spoken with veterans, Veterans Service Organization officials and private sector health care providers around Arkansas who are looking forward to the expanded benefits within the VA MISSION Act, but are concerned about the lack of information provided by the VA on the program that is scheduled to come online June 6, 2019.

The senator pressed the VA on its readiness for launching this program during a hearing Wednesday. “Do veterans know what to expect on June 6? Are we being proactive to the veteran community?” Boozman asked.

Dr. Jennifer MacDonald, the Veterans Health Administration official in charge of the implementation, said a plan has been developed to educate veterans and providers about the new benefits.

For these and other stories visit www.yesradioworks.com/news

 
 
 

APRIL 11, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
DWI- Misdemeanor

On April 10, 2019 at 12:49 a.m. hours, Officer Jake Perry and Officer Brandon Brangaccio were dispatched to the area of 2615 South Adams Street in reference to a car stopped in the middle of the road with its lights on and still running. Upon arrival the Officers saw a silver Ford Fusion stopped in the on-coming lane of South Adams, facing the wrong way. Officer Brangacccio approached the car on the driver side where he noticed a male asleep in the driver's seat. Upon looking through the vehicle it was noted that the vehicle was still in drive and the driver had his foot on both the gas and the brake. The Officer attempted to open the driver side door, but it was locked. Both Officers attempted to wake the driver up by knocking on the driver window multiple times. After multiple attempts of  knocking on the driver window the male finally woke up, but still didn't notice us banging on his window for around another minute. The man was advised to open his front door. Once he unlocked and opened the door he was advised that the Officer was going to reach across him to put the car in park and turn off the engine; removing the keys from the ignition in the process.

Once the car was in park and the keys were removed, Officer Brangaccio advised the male to step out and lean on the side of his vehicle. When the suspect was asked if he had any identification on him, he replied yes. After minutes of the subject struggling to find his ID card Officer Perry advised the subject he would look for it. Once the ID was found in his wallet, the man was identified as Juan Rodriguez-Herrera. When speaking to Juan the Officer detected the smell of intoxicants emitting from his person and from his breathe. When standing there Juan was swaying back and forth and he had slurred speech. Juan's eyes were very bloodshot as well.

While Officer Perry was checking the status of Juan's driver's license, Officer Brangaccio and Juan talked for a moment regarding what he was doing stopped in the middle of the street. Juan was unable to provide a logical explanation for why he was stopped in the on-coming lane of the street. When asked if he had consumed any alcohol recently, Juan initially denied drinking anything but then admitted to drinking alcohol earlier. At one point, Lieutenant Opelt, who had arrived on-scene, asked him again why he was at this specific location and Juan stated he was driving drunk but then quickly corrected himself. Officer Perry advised Juan to walk to our patrol unit and then asked him if he was willing to complete a standard field sobriety test which Juan replied that he would. Officer Brangaccio observed Officer Perry conduct the standardized field sobriety tests on Juan, and based on his performance, took him into custody for DWI.

The vehicle was impounded. Juan was transported to the Police Department with no incident and remained cooperative throughout booking procedures. Juan was issued one citation for driving while intoxicated and given a court date.

OBSTRUCTING GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
On April 9, 2019 at 10:20 p.m., Officer Nathan Lane was on a traffic stop in the area of Morrison's Pharmacy on US Highway 278. The vehicle had a female passenger, later identified as Kawana Hardy. When the Officer asked Hardy for her ID, she stated she did not have it on her. Hardy stated her name was "Kay Hunt". The Officer ran "Kay Hunt" through dispatch for warrants and was advised there is no return for "Kay Hunt". He then asked "Kay Hunt" what is the name on her driver license and she stated "Kawana Hunt". The Officer ran "Kawana Hunt" through dispatch and again was advised there is no return for that name. Officer Perry arrived on scene and helped identify "Kawana Hunt" as Hardy. Hardy was taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. Booking was completed. Hardy was released with a Criminal Citation and given a District of Camden court date. Hardy was later transported to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office to be held for unrelated charges.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
DRIVING ON SUSPENDED
LICENSE
On April 9, 2019 at 10:20 p.m. hours, Officer Nathan Lane was on routine patrol in the area of Country Club Road and US Highway 278, when he observed a grey Hyundai Elantra bearing AR LPN 125UAV. The Officer ran the plates and it returned to a black Mazda. Officer Lane then initiated the lights to signal a traffic stop at the intersection of US Highway 278 in front of Morrison's Pharmacy. Officer Lane made contact with the driver who identified himself as Calvin McBride. McBride’s name was run through dispatch for warrants, and dispatch advised his driver license was suspended. The Officer called for the next wrecker on the list due to his license being suspended. While inventorying McBride's vehicle, two small plastic jars containing marijuana and a cigar holder that is used to slice them, in a Crown Royal bag were found in the back seat of the vehicle. McBride took ownership of the marijuana and cigar holder. Kelly's Wrecking Service was contacted and arrived shortly afterwards. The two small plastic jars containing marijuana, and the holder was bagged and tagged as evidence. McBride was advised of the Officer’s findings. McBride was taken into custody and transported to the police Station without incident. McBride was released with a criminal citation and court date.

DWI ACCIDENT WITH PROPERTY DAMAGE
On April 8, 2019 at 1:02 a.m. hours, Officer Jacob VanAssche was dispatched to State Highway 7 at Camden Pawn (2712 South Adams) in reference to a vehicle accident. Dispatch advised the reporting party stated there was a hole in the building, and a truck was upside down. The reporting party was unaware of any injuries.

Upon my arrival the Officer observed a white Chevrolet Silverado bearing laying on its driver side partially in the Camden Pawn building. Based on the damages to the truck it was determined it had rolled over. While making my way to the truck Officer VanAssche observed the driver, who later was identified as Luis Muniz, to be partially ejected from the front windshield and passenger side of the truck. Muniz was conscious and responsive at the time the Officer made contact. The Officer observed Muniz to have several lacerations all over his body; one of which was on the top of his head close to the crown. Muniz yelled his leg was stuck under the vehicle. Officer VanAssche then observed Muniz's right leg to be pinned underneath the passenger side A-Post. Muniz was struggling to remove his leg from under the vehicle, so the Officer went to stabilize him and get him to stop moving until Fire Rescue and EMS arrived on scene. While stabilizing Muniz, the Officer smelled a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his person. When asked if he had drank any alcohol this evening, and he said yes. The Officer then asked him how much did he have to drink, and he said "A lot. A little too much".

Fire Rescue and EMS later arrived on scene and were able to extract Muniz from the vehicle and transport him to the hospital. The Officer requested dispatch for the next available wrecker to be dispatched to the location.

While waiting for the wrecker, Officer VanAsschewas able to follow the path the vehicle took. It appeared the vehicle was driving Northbound on Highway 7  and was negotiating the curve before the intersection of Highway 7 at Fairview when he left the roadway. Then proceeded to drive up the hill striking the fence surrounding Camden Pawn; rolling over, then striking the building itself. The vehicle damaged a portion of the back wall down and destroyed a support beam along with the merchandise inside the room.

Contact was made with the owner of Camden Pawn who stated he was unable to provide an estimate of the damages due to the amount of damage and the merchandise inside the store being pawned property. The Owner stated he would contact the station once he was able to get an estimate of the damages.

After the vehicle was removed from the scene, Officer VanAssche went to the hospital to follow-up on Muniz. Upon my arrival he made contact with hospital staff, who informed him when they asked Muniz why he had the accident he stated he had been drinking a lot of alcohol before he began driving, and lost control of the vehicle. Muniz was stabilized.

Muniz later was issued Criminal Citation for DWI, and a Traffic Citation for Failure to Maintain Control, and No Seat Belt.

DWI 3rd OFFENSE
DAMAGED PROPERTY

On April 6, 2019 at 7:53 p.m. Officer Ashley Watts, was dispatched to 225 John F Kennedy Road in reference to a damaged property report. The Officer arrived and made contact with the home owner, Cynthia Thomas, and also Ricky Johnson. Thomas stated she got a call while she was at work that someone had driven into her yard and struck her house. She said Johnson came to pick her up from work to bring her home. Johnson stated when he arrived at the residence at approximately 7:00 p. m. hours he observed a black car in the yard at 225 JFK. He said it appeared as though his neighbor had lost control of the vehicle and struck the residence. Johnson said when he got there the rear bumper of the vehicle was against the house and the front of the vehicle was facing the road. Upon Thomas' arrival to the residence the vehicle had been removed from her yard and was parked across the street in the neighbor's driveway. Thomas pointed across the street to 200 JFK and stated the owner of the vehicle was outside in the yard.

Officer Watts then made contact with the owner of the vehicle involved, Samantha 'Duggins. Duggins stated she was not in the car at the time of the incident. She said that her fiance, Ibn Fort, was driving the vehicle when it struck the residence and that she wasn't really sure what happened to cause him to lose control of the vehicle. The Officer asked her to go get him from inside the residence so she could speak to him. Duggins went into the residence and returned shortly after, however it took Fort a while to exit the residence. Once Fort exited the residence, IOfficer Watts asked him what happened and he seemed hesitant to respond. While Detective Faulkner ran Fort's ID, Officre Watts continued to get Fort's statement. While speaking to Fort, the Officer could smell the odor of intoxicants on his breath. Fort stated he was backing out of the driveway as it was raining. He had his children in the car with him, he stated they were both in their car seats, one located in the rear driver side and one on the rear passenger side. He stated while backing out of the drive way he observed a vehicle moving at a high rate of speed heading west on JFK. In an attempt to avoid being struck by the vehicle he "goosed on it". He said he lost control of the vehicle because it was rainingand the roads were wet. He stated he avoided being struck by the vehicle, however his vehicle spun around backing into the neighbor's yard and striking the house with the rear bumper of the vehicle. Dispatch advised Fort's driver's license had been suspended for multiple DWI’s  and that he had multiple warrants for his arrest. At that point Fort was placed into custody. Officer Watts asked Fort if he had been drinking. Detective Faulkner then advised he observed a bottle of liquor in the floor board of the vehicle that was involved. Fort claimed the bottle of liquor belonged to a friend whom he gave a ride to earlier in the day. Duggins stated the children seemed to be fine and she did not wish for EMS to be called.

There was functional damage sustained to the black 2018 Chevrolet Malibu. The rear end of the vehicle was smashed, and the trunk could not be closed. The rear bumper of the vehicle was no longer intact. There was damage sustained to the front passenger side door, making it difficult to open the door. Officer Watts observed a bottle of whiskey in the floor board of the vehicle which was half empty. She also observed a booster seat located in the rear passenger seat.

Officer Watts then observed damage sustained to the residence of 225 JFK. The steps leading to the front door of the residence were busted on the bottom left comer, consistent with the damage sustained to the passenger side door of the vehicle. The exterior wall of the residence where the steps connected to the house was pushed in approximately an inch. There were cracks in the mortar of the residence where the rear of the vehicle made contact with it. She also observed what appeared to be particles of the tail lights embedded into the brick. The yard of the residence had ruts in it where Fort drove into the yard.

After transporting Fort to the police station he admitted that he had his daughter in his lap and was allowing her to drive the vehicle at the time of the incident. He said he would let her back the vehicle to the end of the drive way and then pull the car back to where it belonged. He said they did that about twenty times, then as she was backing the car toward the end of the driveway, her foot slipped off of the brake causing them to enter the road way. He said he observed the vehicle traveling west on JFK and in an attempt to avoid being struck by the vehicle he pressed the accelerator while the vehicle was in reverse. Fort stated he lost control of the vehicle while his daughter was in his lap and drove into the yard of 225 JFK, striking the residence. He said after getting the vehicle back to the house he went inside and drank a half pint of Crown. Standard Field Sobriety Test were administered to Fort at the police station. Fort's Blood Alcohol Content was 0.166. Fort was issued citations for Careless and Prohibited Driving, Driver’s License Suspended for DWI, DWI, No Seatbelt, and No Child Safety Restraint. He was given a District Court date. Fort was transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center to await first appearance.

WOMEN'S CRISIS CENTER SHELTER WISH LIST

  • Bleach
  • Powder/laundry detergent
  • Bathroom & kitchen cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Coffee
  • Creamer
  • Sugar
  • Batteries (double A & triple A)
  • Pine-Sol/Fabuloso
  • Diapers (all sizes)
  • Lysol
  • Furniture polish
  • Solid air fresheners
  • Trash bags (13 gallon)
  • Zip-loc bags
  • Mops
  • Brooms

OVERNIGHT HELENA OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING UNDER ASP INVESTIGATION
APRIL 11, 2019
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were contacted at 1:38 AM today by authorities within the Helena-West Helena Police Department.  A request was made for the agents to investigate an officer involved shooting that had occurred earlier today.

Approximately one hour prior to state police being called, a resident at 112 Caney Creek Road contacted a local ambulance company reporting an individual inside the home appeared to be in medical distress.  The caller indicated the individual was armed with a gun.

As police and ambulance personnel arrived they encountered Markel Barrow, 35, who was brandishing a pistol and pointed the gun at police officers. A Helena-West Helena police officer reportedly ordered Barrow to drop the gun.  Barrow allegedly refused to comply with the order and was shot by police.

Barrow was transported to a Memphis hospital where he is reported to be in stable condition.

The Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division will compile an investigative report limited to the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer and submit the case file to the prosecuting attorney to determine whether the use of force was consistent with Arkansas law.

Questions relating to the administrative status and identity of the officers at the shooting scene should be directed to the Helena-West Helena Police Department.

altARKANSAS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY NAMES NEW MASTER PRINCIPAL
LITTLE ROCK — Karrie Arbuckle, a principal at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Bentonville, achieved the status of Master School Principal and was recognized April 11 at the State Board of Education meeting. To achieve this designation from the Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Master Principal Program, Arbuckle completed three years of rigorous professional development plus an additional year of performance evaluations.

Arbuckle holds both a bachelor's degree and a master’s degree from Harding University at Searcy, where she currently serves as an adjunct professor. At the district level, she serves on the ALE placement committee and is an elementary representative for Bentonville’s personnel policy committee. As principal, she partners with Amazeum to implement Maker Space Education in Bentonville schools.

“The Department of Education and State Board of Education are pleased to recognize outstanding principals each year,” said Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key. “The Master Principal Program provides principals who are seeking to learn and grow professionally the opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills. In order to lead the nation in student-focused education, excellent leaders, such as Ms. Arbuckle, are essential. I congratulate her on this high achievement and look forward to her continued success in education.”

“Developing principals with the talent to lead complex organizations requires giving them a broad range of leadership experiences along the way,” said ALA Director Dr. Clint Jones. “This rigorous, four-year program enables school leaders to enhance and accelerate student and adult learning. I commend Mrs. Arbuckle for being dedicated to her students, teachers, and learning community. I also want to thank the Arkansas Legislature, the Arkansas Department of Education, and the academy’s partners for their support and vision in building the leadership capacity of principals across our great state.”

Successful completion of the program qualifies an individual for Master School Principal status. Master Principals receive a $9,000 bonus each year for five years upon earning the designation and are eligible for an additional $25,000 per year for five years if they are selected to serve at a low-performing school. 

To learn more about the program, visit https://bit.ly/2Ggmk4G or contact Brenda Tash at bgtash@uark.edu or 479-575-3030. 

SENATORS INTRODUCE THE PROTECT ACT TO ENSURE PROTECTIONS AND AFFORDABLE COVERAGE FOR AMERICANS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
Washington, D.C. – Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and others introduced the Protect Act, legislation that protects Americans with pre-existing conditions. The Protect Act amends the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to:

  • Guarantee the availability of health insurance coverage in the individual or group market, regardless of pre-existing conditions;
  • Prohibit discrimination against patients based on health statusincluding prohibiting higher premiums for patients due to pre-existing conditions; and
  • Prohibit insurance companies from excluding coverage of treatments for a beneficiary’s pre-existing condition.

Joining Senator Cotton and Senator Tillis as co-sponsors of the Protect Act are Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-Louisiana), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), David Perdue (R-Georgia), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia).

“Arkansans with pre-existing conditions should know that we’re committed to protecting their coverage, despite all the flaws of Obamacare,” said Cotton. “Our bill would guarantee that insurance companies can’t discriminate against Arkansas citizens living with pre-existing conditions.”

“I strongly believe that no hardworking American should ever have to go to bed worried about being denied coverage or treatment if they or their children have a pre-existing condition, which is why I’m introducing the Protect Act,” said Tillis. “The American people have two distinct choices when it comes to the future of their health care. The one-size-fits-all approach being pushed by Democrats is a government takeover of our health care system and would eliminate choices for families. The American people deserve better. The Protect Act is an important first step towards protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions and pursuing patient-centered reform that will provide all Americans with the affordable and quality choices that work best for their needs and their budget.” 

“This legislation reaffirms that Americans with pre-existing conditions are protected against being denied a health plan, denied treatment for a pre-existing condition, or charged more for their condition,” said Alexander. “It will make sure that regardless of what happens to Obamacare, protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions will not change.”

“Protecting patients with pre-existing conditions is something we can all agree on. I’ve long worked to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, even before the passage of Obamacare on a party line vote,” said Grassley. “The Protect Act would provide peace of mind to millions of Americans who have been frightened by scare tactics being pushed in the media by self-interested politicians trying to convince Americans that this is a partisan issue. It’s not. Passing this bill is a chance for Democrats to prove they care about the issue beyond its use as a partisan talking point. Health care decisions made in Washington impact every single American. It’s the responsibility of Congress to put politics aside and work in the best interest of the people. That’s exactly what this legislation would do.” 

“The greatest barrier to coverage for preexisting conditions under Obamacare is unaffordable health insurance and too high deductibles,” said Dr. Cassidy. “As Republicans work to lower the cost of health insurance and expand coverage, this legislation preserves protections for preexisting conditions for those who have this insurance.”

“No American family should ever have to worry that they will be denied health care coverage because of a pre-existing condition,” said Portman. “This is a promise to the American people and I will continue to support this principle and fight to ensure it remains the law of the land.”

“Obamacare is running off the rails, and we have to do something to make sure people with pre-existing conditions are protected no matter what,” said Perdue. “Right now, the insurance packages being offered to most Americans are so expensive that they can't afford them. Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed and priced people out of the market. In Georgia, 96 counties of 159 have just one carrier. Democrats claim they are covering pre-existing conditions with the so-called ‘Affordable Care Act,’ but if you can't actually afford insurance, you're not protected from anything. President Trump is ready to work with Congress and get this done for the American people, and this bill is a good first step in that process.”

“Texans shouldn’t have to fear being denied access to affordable health insurance because of a pre-existing condition,” said Cornyn. “This legislation will give them peace of mind they can choose an insurance plan for their families that offers quality, patient-centered coverage.”

“No American should lose their health care because they have a pre-existing condition,” said Cramer. “This bill ensures coverage is available and affordable no matter one’s current health status, and it prevents insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums due to pre-existing conditions. I urge my Senate colleagues to reject radical Democratic proposals that strip millions of Americans of their insurance plans and to support legislation that preserves and expands access to health care.”

“We are working to improve health care for all Americans, and as part of that effort, I’m proud to again cosponsor this legislation to protect Americans’ access to health care, regardless of whether or not they have a pre-existing condition,” said Isakson. “While there are many differences of opinion over the Affordable Care Act, we can all agree that we cannot allow insurance companies to deny coverage for someone who has a pre-existing condition or cancel coverage to someone who develops a condition. This legislation ensures that Americans will have the guarantee that, no matter what happens to Obamacare, these important protections for pre-existing medical conditions will be the law of the land.”

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Protect Act,” said Capito. “Protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions is simply the right thing to do.”

“As a doctor and the husband of a breast cancer survivor, I know firsthand how important it is to make sure that patients with pre-existing conditions have the ability to get the care they need,” said Barrasso. “The Protect Act clearly specifies in law protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The bottom line is protecting people – like my wife –with pre-existing conditions is not up for discussion.”

“It is absolutely necessary that we protect people with pre-existing conditions,” said Scott. “This is personal for me. I remember my mom, who didn’t have insurance, struggling to find care for my brother who had a serious disease. She eventually found a charity hospital four hours away where he could get treatment. I’m proud to co-sponsor Senator Tillis’s bill that guarantees protections for pre-existing conditions. No matter what happens in the courts, it’s imperative that we guarantee these protections and continue working to recuse health care costs for American families.”

“I don’t know a single person, Republican or Democrat, who thinks we shouldn’t cover pre-existing conditions,” said Kennedy. “It would behoove all of us to have a replacement health care plan ready, and we need to get started now. In the meantime, we can assure American families that they won't be denied health care coverage if they have a pre-existing condition.”

“When it comes to healthcare, Hoosiers want freedom, choice, and flexibility. We also want to protect people with pre-existing conditions,” said Young. “I’m joining Senator Tillis to introduce legislation that will help ensure patients with pre-existing conditions aren’t denied coverage.” 

“Americans should not be denied access to the health care coverage they need because of a pre-existing condition,” said Burr. “While the Affordable Care Act is systemically flawed and our health care system is facing 21st century challenges, standing up for those with pre-existing conditions is something we can all agree on. The Protect Act will help provide security and peace of mind for millions of Americans.”

BOOZMAN, HOEVEN INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) to introduce the Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act to enable members of the Guard and Reserve to concurrently use GI Bill benefits and Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) programs to fund their education.

“I am pleased to join with my colleague Senator Hoeven to offer this simple fix to a problem that should not exist. Our men and women in uniform deserve the benefits they have earned without strings attached. The Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act will remove this unnecessary barrier to education benefits for Guard and Reserve members,” Boozman said

“Our legislation is all about supporting our Guard and Reserve members and ensuring they receive the benefits that they have earned,” Hoeven said. “The Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act improves access to education benefits for Guard members and ensures that they are able to utilize their benefits in the same way as active duty servicemembers.”

Currently, individuals who qualify for Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) or the “Post 9/11 GI Bill” are, by statute, able to simultaneously use Tuition Assistance (TA) and GI Bill benefits. In late 2014, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a policy that prohibits similar concurrent usage of TA with the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). The legislation directs DoD to update its policy and allow Guard and Reserve members to utilize both their GI Bill benefits and the Tuition Assistance concurrently, providing parity with active duty servicemembers.

The legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

“For so many Vermonters and other Americans, the National Guard is a way to serve the nation and their communities, and to open up opportunities in their lives,” Leahy said. “With this bill we ensure women and men who sign up for the National Guard get all the educational benefits the nation intended they receive. It will allow access to all the opportunities their service provides, and allow a grateful nation the benefit of their full service.”

“Both Federal Tuition Assistance and the Montgomery GI Bill not only benefit service members, but also make our military and our economy stronger,” Cramer said. “Current restrictions prevent service members from using GI Bill benefits if they are already using tuition assistance, making it more difficult to cover education-related costs. This legislation closes this loophole and allows service members to use the educational benefits they have earned through years of dedicated service.”         
 

SAAC TO HOSE FOURTH ANNUAL 5X5 ART DASH ON MAY 5 The South Arkansas Arts Center will host its fourth annual 5x5 Art Dash on Sunday, May 5, in the Merkle Gallery. This is your chance to attend a fundraiser and leave with a "door prize" that is worth more than the ticket price! Tickets are $55 per person and are available at the SAAC office. The Art Dash is sponsored once again by East Camden and Highland Railroad.

The doors will open at 2pm for cocktails, light hors d'oeuvres, and advance viewing of the 55 paintings. The dash will begin at approximately 2:30, and each ticket holder will "dash" to grab a prized 5x5 piece of art donated by a local or regional artist who has exhibited at SAAC. While only the fastest will go home with first choice, you're guaranteed to have the chance to choose one of the original pieces on display.

Artwork has been donated for this fast and furious event by: Tracy Alderson, Amy Allen, Susan Barnes, Sandy Bennett, Angela Blann, Scott Brown, Stephanie Brown, Liz Butler, Kelly Campbell, Michele Clark, Margaret Combs, Melinda Dodson, Christy Edmonds, Treasa Evans, Gary Hall, Annaleigh Harper, Rhonda Hicks, Danny Hobbs, April Hoover, Beth Hubbert, Missy Inman, Brenda Keech, John Keech, Nancy Rae Kinard, Helene Lambert, Emmaline Landes, Shelley Landes, Pat Lowery, Becki Lusk, Mike Means, Selene Mondragon, Chrystal Osborn, Melania Osborn, Ann Palculict, Spencer Purinton, Lee Scroggins, Renee Skinner, Liz Slater, Julia Slaughter, Jerri Beth Smith, Cindy Snelson, Douglas Stanton, Christy Stone, Marla Tomlinson, Ann Trimble, Susan Turbeville, Pam Vernon, Jorge Villegas, Maria Villegas, Paul Washcka, Hayden White, Betty Wilson, and Emily Wood.

With only 55 tickets available, this is the most exclusive event hosted by SAAC each year, and tickets go quickly, but everyone is invited to view the work while it is on exhibit in the Lobby Gallery for a 3 day pre-view April 29 - May 2. For more information on the 5x5 Art Dash, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

 
 
 
 
 

APRIL 10, 2019

CAMDEN CITY COUNCIL MONTHLY MEETING
The City of Camden City Council met in regular session Tuesday night, April 9, 2019. The invocation was given by Reverend Gwen Edwards of the Set Free Christian Ministries. After the invocation was the Pledge of Allegiance and the Roll Call. Joe Askew was absent with all other Aldermen in attendance. The Minutes and Financial Reports were approved.

The Mayor’s Report thanked the Fire Department for aiding in the blast on Highway 278 earlier in the month. He stated that there was some damage to some of the Fire Trucks.

He spoke to the clean-up of Downtown Camden. New flowers are in the planters. He said if someone has a business out of the Downtown area that is adjacent to city property that needs attention to call and let the City know and it will be addressed.

The Mayor has met with all Department Heads in order to learn more about the individual department’s as well as to build relationships between City Hall and the Departments.

The Mayor reported that security cameras have been put in City Hall. More.

Grants have been written to continue work on the Trace. The Mayor has attended Training and continuing Education Sessions. He is looking for ways to improve the Quality of life In the City. He has Focus Groups to come up with ideas for improvement and learn what the City can do to better server the Community.

The Court Offices reported on the March Amnesty addressed. Total collected almost $98,000. Monthly average over the past two years is $62000.00. 250 warrants were served as part of this program. This is 6 times the number warrants normally served in any given month over the past two years. As a result of this over 2000 cases either are scheduled for court or paid in full. Many had Driver’s License reinstated because they were able to pay their fines off. Due to the over whelming response and success of the program the powers that be are contemplating doing this again in the fall of this year.

There was no old business.

New business included Resolution 17-19, a resolution expressing the willingness of the City Council to utilize the Federal Transportation Alternative Program Funds for Adams Avenue sidewalks. The question was posed as to how much money should the city invest in an area where there is an unsightly pile of bricks. The resolution passed with a 5 to 2 vote. Aldermen Lindsey and Aregood voted against the measure.

The meeting then went into other business. The Jaycee’s had reached out to Chris Aregood to see if the City was going to asked about helping the Jaycees in obtaining property for the Jaycee’s Haunted House. It was learned that the City offered a building last year but the Jaycee’ rejected the offer.

There is now an issue with the Municipal Building. It is now raining in the building near a light. There is also a smell of mold and mildew. Something has to be done to fix the building. The Mayor is very concerned about water coming in on electrical. There had been three quotes last year, but most quotes are only good for 90 days. The Mayor would have liked to have acted on the issue at the meeting, but the Council refused to give him a “blank check”. After much discussion it was decided that the Mayor would get three or four good bids on the job that needs to be done. When he has gotten the bids for the job, the Council will be called back for a Special Session to decide how best to make the repairs.

The next scheduled Regular Council Meeting is slated for May 14, 2019.

EL DORADO MAN PERISHES IN HOUSE FIRE
Sunday morning an El Dorado man perished at his home after as a result of a fire that originated in his kitchen. The fire was in the 100 Block fo Broadway Boulvard. The man has been identified as Josh Koon, 35, of El Dorado. It is reported that he died from smoke and soot inhalation from the fire

The fire was reported at 9:42 a.m. Sunday and El Dorado fire crews arrived by 9:45 a.m. according from a report from the El Dorado Fire Department. It was reported that the fire was visible from the street. Flames were coming out of the roof. The fire could be seen from the street, Evans said, with flames exiting through the roof. Neighbors told the Firemen that Koon was inside. As soon as the Firefighters gained access to the house, they found Koon and provided immediate medical attention but despite their best efforts, Koon was later pronounced dead.

The fire appeared to originate at Koon’s stove. According to the fire report, the fire was above the gas cook stove and range when firefighters entered the home to continue extinguishing it. Evans said the fire was isolated to the kitchen. “It started near the stove, in the kitchen,” Evans said. “We’re still trying to put all the pieces together, but we don’t believe it was weather-related.”

Koon was the only person found in the home. The fire department left at 11:35 a.m., after all remaining hot spots had been extinguished.

Despite the bad weather this weekend, the El Dorado Fire Department only responded to two structure fires, Evans said. He said he was not aware of any water rescues or other calls related to the storms.

LET’S CLEANUP THE NEIGHBORHOOD - CAMDEN IS CELEBRATING EARTH DAY THE WHOLE WEEK
Earth Day is April 22nd and the Keep Camden Beautiful Committee 2019, the City of Camden Public Works Department and the City of Camden are celebrating Earth Day is celebrating the whole week. April 22nd through April 17th Camden wants everyone to clean-up!

Clean-up your yards and ditches and dump you trash and debris absolutely free ant the Camden-City Landfill located at 2463 Country Club Road. Let’s get Camden FREE of Trash

The week of April 22nd thru April 27th you can clean your yard or even clean your neighbors’ yard. There will be no charge to bring your yard waste materials such as limbs, leaves, grass clippings and pine straw. Dump as much of this type stuff as you want absolutely free.

Help the City Celebrate Earth Day 2019!!!!

“YOU BLOOM” LADIES SUPPORT GROUP
A new group is being formed in the Ouachita County area. The “You Bloom” Ladies Support Group is a group of ladies supporting each other from the trauma of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. The group will meet every other Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the OPED Building located at 625 Adams Avenue in Camden. There will be be speakers to help motivate women who have been victims of abuse to find themselves again. There will be information on resources for women to help them break the cycle of abuse in their lives. The group is open to any woman who believes she can benefit from the meetings and resources. This includes anyone who has been in an abusive relationship as well as those who might currently be in a bad situation. The first meeting will be held Thursday, April 25th beginning at 11:00 a.m. Call Terica at 870-360-8476 for more information.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE RECOGNIZES CRIME VICTIMS' RIGHT WEEK
LITTLE ROCK – April 7-13 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to raise awareness for victims and the effect that the victimization has on victims. Victims of crime may receive financial assistance to cover the medical and funeral expenses incurred by the victim or the victim’s family. Communities across the country, including here in Arkansas, are hosting events this week to honor crime victims and recognize those who advocate on their behalf. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has also declared this week as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Arkansas.

“As a former prosecutor, I have worked with victims of violence,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “And as Attorney General it is important for me to promote safer communities and honor the advocates who empower victims and survivors of violence. I offer my sincere prayers for protection and healing. I will continue to support and thank the countless members of law enforcement and victim advocates in communities across Arkansas.”

This year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.”

The Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program, administered by the Office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on behalf of the Crime Victims Reparations Board, provides financial compensation to victims and family members who have suffered personal injury or death as the result of violent crime.

Additionally, the Sexual Assault Reimbursement Program allows evidence to be collected after a sexual assault has been committed without the victim bearing the burden of the expense, and it pays for ambulance services and medical or legal examinations.

Victims may apply for compensation by submitting an application to the Attorney General’s office. Applications are available at ArkansasAG.gov or from Arkansas’s 28 elected prosecuting attorneys.

In 2016, Rutledge unveiled Laura’s Card and has since distributed over 75,000 cards across Arkansas. Laura’s Card is a resource to assist and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to provide resources to people in abusive situations. The card can also be downloaded in English and Spanish at LaurasCard.ar.gov.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: SCAMMERS SELLING FAKE “FIDO” PETS FOR FAMILIES
LITTLE ROCK – Scam artists are hiding online pretending to sell domestic pets, but instead are taking the consumer’s money without turning over a new fluffy friend. Often, these ads are found on free buy-and-sell websites and use especially endearing photos of the animal they have no intention of sending, or may not even own.
 
“Con artists are scouring the internet looking for new ways to get into our wallets,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Families considering adding a new pet have a lot to think about, especially whether having this new pet is the right decision for them. They should not have to also worry if the seller is trying to scam them.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission released the following tips to avoid falling victim to a scammer selling a pet that does not exist.

  • Visit in person the breeder or rescue group offering the pet. Responsible individuals and organizations will allow potential customers to tour their facility.
  • Search the user’s profile for warning signs that it may be a scam. Fake breeder websites can often look real because they steal content from legitimate rescue sites. Look for duplicate sites by copying a line from the website into a search engine and looking for identical wording elsewhere on the Internet.
  • Arrange to pick up the animal from a kennel instead of meeting the breeder at a potentially unsafe location. Do not rely on the breeder to ship the animal, and never pay for shipping.
  • Check the organization’s references. Talk to others who have purchased pets from this breeder and the breeder’s veterinarian.
  • Pay for the puppy with a check or credit card. If a breeder pressures for a wire transfer or prepaid debit card payment, it is probably a scam.

Attorney General Rutledge encourages Arkansans to do their research regarding adopting and purchasing pets. If you have questions about a potential pet shipper, the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association provides a list of trusted shippers across the world.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

 

SENATORS COTTON, PERDUE AND HAWLEY RE-INTRODUCE THE REFORMING AMERICAN IMMIGRATION FOR A STRONG ECONOMY ACT (RAISE Act)
Washington, D.C.
— Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), David Perdue (R-Georgia), and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) re-introduced the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, a bill that would spur continued economic growth and raise working Americans' wages by giving priority to the best-skilled immigrants from around the world and reducing overall immigration levels. Representative Francis Rooney (R-Florida) will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives. 

The RAISE Act is supported by President Trump and has been described by the White House as a bill that “will create a merit-based immigration system that protects our workers, our taxpayers, and our economy.” 

“I’m proud to reintroduce the RAISE Act supported by the White House. For decades, our immigration system has been completely divorced from the needs of our country and has harmed the livelihoods of working-class Americans. The RAISE Act would build an immigration system that increases working-class wages, creates jobs, and gives every citizen a fair shot at achieving the American Dream, no matter whether their family came over on the Mayflower or just took the Oath of Allegiance,” said Cotton.

“Our current immigration system is broken and is not meeting the needs of our growing economy. If we want to continue to be the global economic leader, we have to welcome the best and brightest from around the world who wish to come to the United States legally to work and make a better life for themselves. This will require a skills-based immigration system that is pro-growth and pro-worker. The RAISE Act is proven to work and is still the only plan that responds to the needs of our economy, while preserving quality jobs and wages for American workers,” said Purdue.

"We need an immigration system that puts American workers first. Our broken immigration policies hurt hardworking Americans and the talented individuals who are stuck in line, waiting to contribute to our country. With the RAISE Act, the United States can finally end chain migration and move to a merit-based system. All Americans deserve rising wages, a growing economy, and an equal shot at the American Dream,” said Hawley.

“The United States immigration system is broken. Only one in every 15 immigrants to our country are granted visas because of their skills, and we do not prioritize the ultra high-skilled immigrants who spur innovation, create jobs, and make America more competitive. The system we have now supports programs like the Diversity Visa Lottery, which does not add skills or competitive workers to our workplace, and “chain migration,” whereby once a person enters, their family relations can automatically come to the U.S. regardless of their employability. Together with Senator Tom Cotton, I introduced the RAISE Act to end these failed programs and replace them with a merit-based system that considers education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative. Passing this legislation, along with legislation that I have cosponsored to fix the asylum-seeking process and mandate e-verify, will provide significantly better immigration policy and greater control of our borders,” said Congressman Rooney.

Specifically, the RAISE Act would:

  • Establish a Skills-Based Points System. The RAISE Act would replace the current permanent employment-visa system with a skills-based points system, akin to the systems used by Canada and Australia. The system would prioritize those immigrants who are best positioned to succeed in the United States and expand the economy. Applicants earn points based on education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative.
  • Prioritize Immediate Family Households. The RAISE Act would retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents while eliminating preferences for certain categories of extended and adult family members.
  • Eliminate the Outdated Diversity Visa Lottery. The Diversity Lottery is plagued with fraud, advances no economic or humanitarian interest, and does not even promote diversity. The RAISE Act would eliminate the 50,000 visas arbitrarily allocated to this lottery.
  • Place a Responsible Limit on Permanent Residency for Refugees. The RAISE Act would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year.
 

APRIL 9, 2019

ABRAM CONSTRUCTION & ASSOCIATES NOW BUILDING DREAM HOMES IN CAMDEN, AR
Camden, AR - Abram Construction & Associates, LLC is honored to build dream homes for families in Camden, Arkansas.  Abram Construction is a family-owned company founded on the principals of quality, craftsmanship, and integrity.  It has helped families and individuals in Tennessee and Mississippi realize the dream of owning a home for more than a decade.  Abram Construction is excited to do the same for citizens in Arkansas.

Abram Construction is pleased to announce it will build 19 single-family homes in Westridge Estates.  The superior crafted homes will enhance the beautiful well-established subdivision which features mature trees, generous-sized lots, and family-friendly neighbors.

 “When I build homes, they are more than just lots and plan numbers. Employees at Abram Construction not only know your name, but also understand your dreams, and what it will take to make your new house, your new home,” says Antonio Abram, President, Abram Construction & Associates.

As an experienced custom home builder, Abram Construction has the ability to ensure the workmanship to the highest standards. Abram Construction was created to meet a very real need in today's home building market.  It builds quality homes, at affordable prices, with honesty and integrity.   “There is a great need for affordable homes in Camden,” said Mayor Julian Lott.  “I reached to Abram Construction because of their dedication to not only building homes, but to also building up communities.”

Abram Construction has extensive experience in helping home buyers secure federal, state, and local grants and financing.  “It’s important to me to make sure families can not only move into their dream home, but can also afford to live in it for many years after,” says Abram. 

Abram Construction believes homes are more than just four walls and a roof.  “They say home is where the heart is for a reason. It’s where love, affection, and memories are made,” says Abram. “And we are honored that families choose an Abram Construction home to create those life-long bonds.”

For more information about Abram Construction & Associates go to www.AbramConstruction.us.

GROW CAMDEN GARDENING WORKSHOPS OFFERED
Grow Camden in conjunction with the U of A Division of Agriculture, the Master Gardeners, the USDA and First Friday are pleased to present Gardening Workshops throughout the spring. All Workshops will be held at the Events Center at Fairview Park.

The first Workshop entitled Gardening 101 will be this Thursday, April 11th at 6 p.m. and Saturday, April 13th at 10 a.m. This is the same workshop at two different times, for anyone busy at one time, just catch the other one. Learn about “Backyard Basics” presented by the Ouachita County Extension Office.

The Ouachita County Extension Service will present “Container Gardening” on April 15th at 6 p.m.

The Calhoun County Extension Office will present “Healthy Eating” on April 29th at 6 p.m.

Learn about “High Tunnels” as the USDA Soil and Conservation District present the program on May 6th at 6 p.m.

The final Workshop will be held on May 13th at 6 p.m. The Ouachita County Extension Office will present “Maintaining your Garden”.

These are FREE workshops to help you learn new techniques, ask questions, find a way to garden. Don't have a space you can garden....there's a solution for that too! Join with Keri Weatherford with Ouachita County Extension Service for these great workshops. You do NOT have to register to attend, just show up.

TEXTING DRIVERS BEWARE: U DRIVE – U TEXT – YOU PAY
APRIL 8, 2019
(LITTLE ROCK) – Distracted driving continues to be one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes across the nation’s roadways.  The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office is working with state and local law enforcement agencies to encourage drivers to put down their phones while driving.

Beginning April 11th and continuing through April 15th, law enforcement agencies in Arkansas will participate in the “U Drive, You Text, You Pay” campaign, which includes both educational as well as enforcement operations designed to make streets and roads safe.  The goal is to reduce traffic crashes caused by distracted driving associated with cell phone use while driving.

A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that examined motor vehicle crashes that occurred during 2012 - 2017 indicates nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers. During calendar year 2017 there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

In recent years a younger generation of millennial drivers has become the biggest texting-while-driving offenders, using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.  Since 2007, according to NHTSA, young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers.  During 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when teenage drivers were distracted at the time of each crash.  The statistical analysis indicates female drivers are the most at risk for being involved in a fatal crash when distracted.

“While on the road anyone can look out of their vehicle window and see drivers using their cell phones,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. “People know texting and driving is dangerous and illegal, but they do it anyway, and it puts others at risk.”

Colonel Bryant has committed to increasing state police patrols in the coming days.  Troopers will be stopping violators and ticketing them if caught texting and driving.

Violating Arkansas’ distracted driving laws can be costly.  Arkansas law prohibits the use of a hand-held cell phone for texting, typing, email or accessing the internet while driving, regardless of the driver's age.  It is also a "primary offense" law, which means a state trooper, police officer or sheriff's deputy can initiate a traffic stop without observing any other violation.  Fines can range from up to $250 for a first offense and up to $500 for any subsequent offense.

Arkansas law enforcement officers urge you to put your phone down when you get behind the wheel. If you need to text, then pull over and stop the vehicle.

If you’re driving, follow these steps for a safe driving experience:

  •If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location before you attempt to text.
 
  •Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
 
  •Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.  Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal. Break the cycle. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.  For more information on distracted driving issues, visit www.Distraction.gov, www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDarkansas.org.

OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING BEING INVESTIGATED BY ASP-CID
APRIL 8, 2019
The Arkansas State Police is investigating an overnight officer involved shooting incident that resulted in the death of Marzues Scott, 35, of Blytheville.

Authorities within the Blytheville Police Department requested the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division to investigate the use of deadly force by one of its officers.

A Blytheville police officer was dispatched at approximately 11:30 PM Sunday (April 7th) to a disturbance call at the Dodge’s convenience store located at 3605 South Division Street.

Once at the scene of the disturbance the officer encountered the suspect, identified as Scott, across the street at the Deerfield Inn located at 1100 Kari Lane.  Scott allegedly attacked the officer and during a scuffle, the officer shot Scott who died later at a local hospital.  The officer sustained minor injuries during the attack.

Questions relating to the identity of the officer and administrative status should be directed to the Blytheville Police Department.

Scott’s body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the manner and cause of death as well as collecting forensic evidence.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are preparing an investigative report to be submitted to the prosecuting attorney to determine whether use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer in this incident was consistent with Arkansas law.

ARKANSAS FOODBANK ANNOUNCES A DAY OF GIVING
Arkansas Foodbank has announced a Day of Giving taking place on Thursday, April 11. This event is a 24-hour opportunity for our community to come together and help change the lives of hungry Arkansans.

On Day of Giving, each donor gets to decide how they would like their funds to help. Donors will have 40 different giving opportunities to choose from on April 11th. They can direct their gift towards programs specifically in one of the 33 counties the Foodbank serves OR make a gift to help fund one of the Foodbank’s programs across our service area such as our Food For Kids, Food For Seniors or Food For Families programs. Donors can also help fund specific initiatives that the Foodbank is currently working towards such as our produce initiative to increase access to fresh produce for those we serve, mobile distributions to communities in need, or towards the “Bridging Hope” Capital Campaign to help fund a new volunteer center set to open next year. There will also be matching opportunities throughout the day to stretch donations even further.

“We’re so excited to launch this Day of Giving and share this opportunity for donors to support us in the area they are most passionate about,” said Rhonda Sanders, CEO of the Arkansas Foodbank. “The need is so great this time of year as we prepare for the warmer months when children are out of school and not receiving breakfast and lunch daily. Every gift can make such a large impact.”

Every $1 donated to the Foodbank provides food for 5 meals for those in need. For more information on how you can donate to Day of Giving, visit www.arkansasfoodbank.org <http://www.arkansasfoodbank.org.

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON APPOINTS JUDGE MEREDITH SWITZER TO COURT OF APPEALS, DISTRICT 4
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the appointment of Judge Meredith Switzer, Hot Springs, to the Court of Appeals, District 4. Judge Switzer will replace the late Judge David M. “Mac” Glover. Her term expires on December 31, 2020. 

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:
“I am pleased to appoint Judge Switzer, a native of Hot Springs, to the Court of Appeals for District 4. Her experience in the courtroom as both a practicing attorney and a former District Judge in Garland County have provided her with the knowledge and wisdom necessary to serve the people of Arkansas on the Court of Appeals.”

Meredith Blaise Switzer is a Hot Springs native who graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2001. In 2004, she graduated with honors from UALR Law School, where she served as Executive Editor of the UALR Law Review.  

Judge Switzer practiced as an Associate Attorney at Rose Law Firm but left private practice to pursue a career in public service in 2009.  She went to work for the Arkansas Attorney General and was promoted through the years to Deputy Attorney General of the State Agencies Department. In December 2016, Judge Switzer was appointed by Governor Hutchinson as District Judge in Garland County after the passing of her father and predecessor, Judge David Switzer. She served for two years on the District Court bench but, due to her appointment, was unable to run to succeed herself. 

In January 2019, she joined Quapaw House, Inc. as Chief Legal Counsel. Judge Switzer is a member of the Board of Trustees of Mid-America Science Museum and the First United Methodist Church Child Development Center. She was a member of Leadership Greater Little Rock, Class XXI and a former member of the William H. Overton Inn of Court. She is a current member of the American, Arkansas, and Garland County Bar Associations, as well as the newest member of the Hot Springs National Park Rotary.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday,  April 11th  at 12:00 at  Catherine’s Bistro. The program will be presented by Rajveer Kaur Kang, Executive Director at the Ouachita Valley Community Foundation.

April 08, 2019


Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE AND COTTON HOLD ROUNDTABLE TO TACKLE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUES 
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton held a roundtable discussion on Friday with state law enforcement and criminal justice leaders, followed by a question and answer session with the media, to address issues at the state and federal level. Topics included the continued effort to combat the opioid epidemic and stopping the sale of lethal unwashed poppy seeds. Also discussed were Senator Cotton’s legislation to allow cell phone jamming in prisons and Attorney General Rutledge’s efforts to curb illegal robocalls and spoofing, which was signed into law Wednesday.

“It is always a pleasure to join my friend Senator Cotton, and work with him on issues that require leadership at both the state and federal level,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s discussion gave us the opportunity to hear from state leaders on ideas to protect and serve all Arkansans. I look forward to continuing the partnership between our offices to make Arkansas a safer and better place to live.”

“There’s important work being done at the state and federal levels to curb serious problems like the opioid epidemic and prison contraband,” said Senator Cotton. “Arkansas is blessed to have dedicated law enforcement officials and public servants working hard to fix these problems and keep us safe.”

Today’s roundtable was attended by Arkansas Crime Lab Director Kermit Channell, Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute Director Dr. Cheryl May, Arkansas Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelley, Arkansas Department of Health Director Dr. Nate Smith, Arkansas Prosecutor Coordinator Bob McMahan, Arkansas State Police Col. Bill Bryant, Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Bryan Rorex, FBI Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch, Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham, Perry County Sheriff Scott Montgomery, Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue, and State Drug Director Kirk Lane.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: SCAMMERS POSING AS TRUSTED COMPANIES TO STEAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION
LITTLE ROCK – Scammers are posing as employees of legitimate and trusted businesses such as pest control, lawn care or alarm companies in an attempt to steal personal information from Arkansans. The caller tries to set up an in-home appointment or confirm personal information in hopes of gaining access to credit card numbers, social security numbers or bank account information. This is a scam, and Arkansans should hang up immediately.

“Arkansans should be cautious of unsolicited callers trying to confirm personal information and set up appointments,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “If you have any doubt, hang up and find the company’s phone number from an independent source and call them to confirm the information you have been told. Do not use the number on your caller ID from the original call.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for recognizing and responding to these types of scam calls:

  • These callers may request to be contacted only at the number provided instead of the company’s general number.
  • These scammers know your name but try to gather other personal information.
  • Be mindful that scammers can spoof the caller ID to suggest they are calling from the trusted company when they are not.
  • Do not trust the caller simply because they have personal information.
  • Do not verify information or give out personal banking or similar information because it could lead to identity theft.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, close accounts that have been tampered with or fraudulently opened, and file a complaintwith the FTC. The Attorney General’s office also offers an ID Theft Passport to help victims reestablish their good name, which requires that consumers first file a police report for financial identity theft.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

altARKANSAS’ FOUR-YEAR GRADUATION RATES INCREASE FOR THIRD YEAR
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ four-year graduation rates for all students and multiple student subgroups increased in 2018, continuing a three-year trend of positive improvement.

Graduation rate data for 2018, which will be released April 15 on the school, district, and state Report Cards, show that rates for all students, as well as African-American, Caucasian, and economically-disadvantaged students, increased for the third year in a row. The four-year graduation rate for Hispanic students held steady or increased every year since 2015, with 2018 increases noted for students with disabilities (84.6 percent) and English learners (82.7 percent). (See table below.)

Graduation rates reflect the 13-year journey students take from kindergarten through the twelfth grade. From learning to read in elementary school and exploring career options in middle school to honing skills and pursuing advanced, rigorous academic courses in high school, the effort and dedication from students and teachers each year are reflected in the rates.

“This is one of the most satisfying educational statistics that we’ve received in recent years,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “The fact that our graduation rate continues to improve in Arkansas shows that we are on the right path in terms of education in all categories, from minority students to economically-disadvantaged students. I applaud our educators in Arkansas for their dedication as we continue on this path to even greater achievement.” 

“The continued increase in Arkansas’ graduation rate is encouraging and worthy of celebration,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. “As we seek to lead the nation in student-focused education, it is essential that we provide the tools, resources, and opportunities for every student to graduate high school prepared for college, career, and community engagement. ADE is committed to providing the supports every school needs to ensure we accomplish this mission."

School, District, and State Efforts
Over the last several years, schools have focused on improving educational experiences for students. From increased course options to more flexibility to attend college classes, internships, and work activities during the school day, students now have more learning opportunities that exist beyond high school buildings. 

The expansion of family and community engagement also is having a positive impact on educational goals. Schools are encouraged to seek and utilize parent and community input when making decisions that impact student learning. The utilization of Student Success Plans, which are personalized education plans, this school year for all eighth-grade students is one example of this engagement. Combined with increased time school counselors will have with students this next school year, these efforts will lead to future success.

Several ADE supports include earlier access to information and data, multiple trainings regarding how to use ADE data tools and resources, and ongoing improvements to the My School Info data information website. As a result, data accuracy and data literacy have increased statewide, with schools and districts using student and school data to make informed educational decisions.

For the first time ever, graduation rates for additional student subgroups will be reported on the 2018 Report Card. The Report Card, which will be available on the My School Info website (https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov) on April 15, will include graduation rates for homeless students, children in foster care, children with parents on active military duty, gifted and talented students, females, males, and migrant students. 

Get Involved
It is important for parents and community members to review their districts’ graduation rates and school performance data and engage with their districts in addressing how students can be better supported during their learning journey. While each high school is focused on graduating every student on time, learning at each grade level builds the foundation for meeting the expectations for college, career, and community readiness.

Schools and districts also are currently developing their school improvement plans for the 2019-2020 school year. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s school to learn more about how they can contribute to the plans and the future of education for all students. 

Four-Year Graduation Rates

Graduation Rates 

2015

2016 

2017 

2018 

All Students 

84.9% 

87.0% 

88.0% 

89.2% 

African American 

77.5% 

81.5% 

83.4% 

85.6% 

Hispanic 

84.5% 

85.7% 

85.7% 

85.8% 

Caucasian 

87.4% 

89.2% 

90.0% 

91.2% 

Economically-Disadvantaged 

81.7% 

83.8% 

84.9% 

86.8% 

Students with Disabilities 

81.9% 

84.3% 

83.8% 

84.6% 

English Learners 

85.9% 

85.7% 

82.1% 

82.7% 


SAAC TO HOST CHRYSTAL OSBORN FOR CORKS AND CANVAS NIGHT
Ready to try a dirty pour? Want to learn to use a flip cup? Then Corks & Canvas at SAAC on April 18 is where you need to be! Join Chrystal Osborn from 6-9pm to learn the fun and fabulous techniques of acrylic paint pouring/fluid art.

"We had 2 very popular paint pouring classes at SAAC last year! This go around, I will be demonstrating different techniques; puddle pour, dirty pour, hairdryer manipulation. Each attendee will choose which one they want to use for their pour," said Osborn. "I am planning to use smaller canvases and focus on using 3-4 colors in addition to the base color of white or black; this seems to work best for those with little to no experience.

"My art experience is just from what I consider to be fun. I have no formal training other than past art teachers, a friend's grandmother, my grandmother, and friends that are artists. We will have a fun, light-hearted time painting with ‘fluid art' during the workshop and of course great snacks."

Corks & Canvas is an art class for non-artists who have always wanted to paint. Each class is conducted by a different art instructor, who takes the class through the step by step process to complete a work of art in three hours. The $40.00 prepaid non-refundable fee covers all supplies and snacks. This class is limited to 12. Those taking the class should bring their favorite beverage and get ready to have a good time.

For more information or to register for this class, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

SENATOR COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCT SUITE OF BIPARTISAN BILLS TO HELP AMERICANS SAVE FOR RETIREMENT
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Todd Young (R-Indiana), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), and Doug Jones (D-Alabama) announced they have introduced several bills to help boost retirement security for individuals and families during a time when many Americans are unprepared for retirement.

According to the Department of Labor, more than 40 million people do not have access to any workplace retirement plan. Additionally, nearly half of households nearing retirement do not have a retirement savings plan.

Senator Cotton introduced S. 1011, which would eliminate the regulatory barriers that prevent small business owners from joining professionally managed pooled employer plans, lowering the administrative cost of offering a plan.

"This legislation will help lighten the burden Arkansas small businesses face in offering retirement plans to their employees," said Cotton. "Making these few simple changes could make a big difference for Arkansas workers and help them retire with financial security and peace of mind."

Senator Young introduced S. 1020, which would expand access to workplace retirement plans by giving small employers more flexibility when setting up 401Ks for their employees. The bill would also make it easier for savers to auto enroll into long-term savings plans and more quickly escalate their savings.

“In order to improve retirement security, we must start by reforming and improving access to retirement plans,” said Young. “This legislation will help ensure families have the necessary tools to save for the days ahead.”

Senator Booker introduced S. 1018, which would enable individuals to build emergency savings during tax time by allowing filers to save a portion of their tax refund for “rainy day” or long-term savings. 

“Every American deserves to retire with dignity and financial security. However, this is not the reality for millions of Americans,” said Booker. “The rising cost of living makes it nearly impossible for hard-working Americans to withstand even small emergency expenses—let alone save for their retirement. These bipartisan bills address pressing economic challenges and provide tangible solutions for working families.”

Senator Jones introduced S. 1019, which would help workers set up short-term savings accounts to help with financial emergencies.

“Today, for far too many American families, a lifetime of hard work does not translate into a comfortable retirement. It’s past time that Congress address the retirement system to make it easier for workers to plan for their futures, while understanding that families today face rising costs for things like health care and education. These bipartisan bills show a commitment to making the system work better for hard-working families, ensuring they are able to adjust to today’s challenges without sacrificing economy security in their later years,” said Jones.  

Last Congress, Senators Young, Booker and Cotton introduced similar legislation.

CAMDEN NOON LIONS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden noon Lion’s Club will meet on Wednesday, April 10th at Catherine’s Bistro. This week’s speaker will be Dr. Carl Drexler who is an Archeologist at SAU.  He will speak about Archeological work done around Prescott relating to the Civil War.

 
 

April 05, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN ALDERMEN MEETING
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

The agenda includes the Mayor’s Report and Resolution No. 17-19, a resolution expressing the willingness of the City Council to utilize Federal-Aid Transportation Alternative Program Funds for Adams Avenue sidewalks.

CAMDEN WATER UTILITIES SCHEDULE CLEANING AND INSPECTION
Camden Water Utilities is scheduling divers to clean and inspect a 1,500,000 gallon clear well at the water treatment plant on Monday, April 8, 2019. Per guidelines and policies of the Arkansas Department of Health on Underwater Storage Tank Inspection, the public must be notified before entry. If anyone has any questions concerning this cleaning and inspection, please call Camden Water Utilities at 870-836-7331 and ask to speak with the manager.

U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY BOOSTS ORDER FOR CAMDEN-MADE THAAD BY $2.4 BILLION
The Department of Defense has more than doubled an order for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors and associated one-shot devices to almost $3.9 billion.

Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control of Dallas, which builds THAAD launchers and fire control systems at its Camden Launcher Complex, is being awarded a $2,457,390,566 modification to a previously-awarded contract from the Missile Defense Agency.

The additional production will support U.S. government and authorized foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia.

The DOD said the THAAD interceptors and associated one-shot devices will be procured under fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract line items. The value of the contract was increased from $1,431,251,585 to $3,888,642,151. One offer was solicited with one offer received.

SAAC TO HOST ARTIST’S RECEPTION FOR HOLLY TILLEY AND MELINDA ANTOON
The South Arkansas Arts Center will host an artist's reception to honor Holly Tilley and Melinda Antoon, on Saturday, April 6, from 6:00-7:30pm followed by a viewing of the "State of the Art" documentary from AETN and the curatorial team at Crystal Bridges in the theater at 7:30pm. Tilley's exhibit, entitiled "Rooted", will hang in the Price and Merkle Galleries while Antoon's show, "Shores and Gardens-Works by M. Antoon" will hang in the Lobby Gallery through April 29.

Little Rock artist Tilley's watercolor "Rooted" is the painting that started the idea for the show. According to Tilley, "To be rooted means you know where you came from." The works in pastel, watercolor, and oil feature her love of being outside, her travels abroad and her love of subjects from her childhood.

Former El Dorado resident Antoon enjoys working in many media in a wide variety of styles which keeps her fresh and interested. "The act of looking, the process of understanding, and the satisfaction of making--these are the elements that always draw me into expressing life by art," she explained, "Among the first images I can remember are those of light and shadow, and glorious color." She currently lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Join us in the Callaway Theater at 7:30pm for a free screening of "State of the Art" before the documentary premieres on AETN. From award-winning filmmakers Craig and Brent Renaud and Arkansas Educational Television Network, "State of the Art" tells a story of diverse artists driven to create -- with work that is intensely personal, firmly rooted in community, and inseparable from the lives they live. The film explores a few of the artists featured in the "State of the Art" exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, which was created when the museum's curatorial team crisscrossed the nation to find extraordinary contemporary art happening in unexpected places.

For more information about these two shows, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. 

ARORA CELEBRATES NATIONAL DONATE LIFE MONTH IN APRIL TO FOCUS ATTENEION ON THE 115,000 AMERICANS WAITING FOR A TRANSPLANT
[April 4, 2019-Little Rock, AR]— April is National Donate Life Month. Every year, Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Association, (ARORA) partners with Arkansas hospitals, transplant centers and other donation partners in the state in celebration of National Donate Life Month(NDLM). The observance focuses attention on organ, eye and tissue donation. The month-long celebration also shares the importance of registering your decision to become a donor and honors donors and their families by celebrating the lifesaving and healing gift of donation.

“This April, we want to remind everyone that they have the potential to save up to 8 lives and improve the health of up to 200 people. Registering your decision to become an organ, eye and tissue donor takes less than a minute and gives hope to those waiting. The decision to register as a donor is the beginning of a story that may bring life and healing to individuals, their families and their communities,” says ARORA Director of Communications, Audrey Coleman.

During April, ARORA celebrates that 64 percent of Arkansans have registered their decision to help restore lives as organ, eye and tissue donors at the time of their death. Currently, there are more than 300 Arkansans awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. Nationally, thousands more people are waiting for lifesaving and healing eye and tissue transplants.

Arkansans can register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor at donatelifearkansas.org, at their local Department of Motor Vehicles, or by “swiping” their driver’s license or state ID card through special software used by ARORA. Registering to become a donor through swipe technology will become more widely available in the state throughout this year. For more information about registering to become a donor, contact ARORA at 501.907.9150, or send a message to ARORA on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

ABOUT ARORA
The Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA) was established in 1987 as a non-profit, independent organ procurement agency. Serving 64 counties across the state, ARORA is headquartered in Little Rock and has a satellite office in northwest Arkansas. ARORA’s mission is to restore lives through the recovery of organs and tissues for transplant.

HOUSE VOTES TO “BAN THE BOX: GOVERNMENT AGENCIES CAN NO LONGER INQUIRE ABOUT CRIMINAL HISTORY ON JOB APPLICATIONS Human resources expert explains the impact of the Fair Chance Act on employers outside the gov. realm 
Last week the House Oversight and Reform Committee passed a bill which would effectively “ban the box” that would keep federal agencies and contractors from asking potential employees’ about their past criminal history until after these applicants had been offered a conditional employment offer.

Known as the “Fair Chance Act,” the measure is meant to help previously incarcerated individuals increase their ability to rebuild their life post-conviction. But what does this mean for employers?

“Currently, this legislation only prohibits federal agencies from including a criminal history box on their application and from asking these questions in interviews before a conditional job offer is made,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and human recourses expert. “However, ten states (and the District of Columbia) have ban-the-box laws that apply to private employers—including California, Illinois, Hawaii, and New Jersey, and other companies such as Target have banned the box across state lines at all their locations.”

Wilson says this number will likely continue to grow, but he explains that banning the box doesn’t mean that employers have no rights when it comes to establishing a person’s character and mental health.

“In most states, you can do a criminal background check on your applicant after a tentative offer has been made,” says Wilson. “But instead of banning people outright, you will have time to interview them and find out who they really are, rather than be dissuaded by a checked box that won't tell you the whole story."

However, Wilson believes banning the box could potentially give rise to a host of issues. 

"Possible safety concerns are only the beginning. Not only do criminal background laws vary from state to state, but they even vary from city to city. Employers will have much more legwork when it comes to staying on top of changing legislation, and they will also have to grapple with potential litigation and penalties. This is why many employers will likely opt to outsource their hiring to employment firms, as it will be more cost-effective and it will remove the legal headaches."

SENATORS COTTON, SCHUMER, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE TARGETED FENTANYL SANCTIONS BILL
Washington, D.C. – Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) today introduced the Fentanyl Sanctions Act—the first-ever fentanyl sanctions bill that would apply pressure on the Chinese government to honor its commitment to make all forms of synthetic opioids illegal and provide U.S. law enforcement with more tools and resources to go after illicit traffickers in China, Mexico, and other countries. 

“China is the world’s largest drug dealer. For years, the Chinese government has allowed fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to pour into the United States, killing tens of thousands of Americans. Although China has fulfilled a promise to the president by formally banning all forms of fentanyl, we have to make sure they keep their word. Our bipartisan bill will give law enforcement and intelligence agencies the tools they need to apply maximum pressure to fentanyl producers, traffickers, cartels, and other criminals who are funneling this poison across our borders and into our communities,” said Cotton.

“Combating the flow of illicit fentanyl into our country is imperative in the fight to save American lives from the opioid crisis.  We must hold China accountable for their role in the fentanyl trade. China’s new regulation to make all fentanyl categories illegal is an important step and the administration deserves praise for their efforts to secure this change. However, we have to demonstrate that we will demand China enforce these laws and take strong action against opioid traffickers,” said Schumer. “Our legislation would apply pressure on China to actually follow through and would equip the administration with tools to systematically go after the major manufacturers and traffickers of fentanyl before the killer drug gets to the U.S.” 

“On average, 11 Ohioans will die every day in my state due to an opioid overdose,” said Brown. “The addiction epidemic has taken too many lives and caused too much devastation in Ohio. This new bill will add effective new sanctions tools to help combat the flood of illicit fentanyl coming in primarily from China and from Mexico and help provide intelligence and funding to keep these dangerous drugs out of Ohio communities.”

“The flow of illicit fentanyl largely from China into the U.S. poses serious threats to our families, public health, economic vitality, and national security,” said Rubio. “With Florida suffering thousands of opioid-related deaths per year, we must do all we can to stop the opioid crisis sweeping across America and devastating our communities. This bipartisan effort to impose targeted sanctions on foreign illicit fentanyl manufacturers and traffickers makes clear that the U.S. will hold the Communist Chinese Government and other nations fully accountable when they turn a blind eye to international fentanyl trafficking.”

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Require sanctions on drug manufacturers in China who knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers, transnational criminal organizations in Mexico that mix fentanyl with other drugs and traffic them into the United States, and financial institutions that assist such entities. 
  • Authorize new funding to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the Department of Treasury, Department of Defense, and Department of State, to combat foreign trafficking of opioids.
  • Urges the president to commence diplomatic efforts with U.S. partners to impose multilateral sanctions against foreign opioid traffickers.
  • Establish a Commission on Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to monitor U.S. efforts and report on how to more effectively combat the flow of synthetic opioids from China, Mexico, and elsewhere. 

Following a commitment to the United States at the G-20 in December 2018, Chinese regulators announced on April 1, 2019 that a wider range of fentanyl derivatives would be declared controlled substances in China on May 1, 2019. China already has problems enforcing its current drug laws and continues to deny that its illicit fentanyl producers are major contributors to the U.S. opioid crisis. To increase accountability, the Fentanyl Sanctions Act would pressure the Chinese government to aggressively enforce its new laws and provide the U.S. government with flexible sanctions tools to go after drug traffickers in China and other countries. 

APRIL 4, 2019

CAREER CLOSET
If you are planning to attend the Job Fair on April 16th but need proper attire to look your best for a job interview, The Hub and Greater St. Paul have you covered. If you are job ready and need an outfit for a job interview, visit the Career Closet for free attire. The Career Closet is located at the Greater St. Paul Baptist Church. It is open on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.

NEW SECURITY AT FAIRVIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
As of Tuesday, April 2nd, all door of the Fairview Elementary School will be locked from 8:00 a.m. until 2:50 p.m.. Camden Fairview Elementary is the tirst school in the district to get this upgraded security system.

Administrators are asking for your help in making sure this system works to the best of its ability You will be required to be buzzed into the building after 8:00 a.m. It is suggested that you take your driver’s licenses to be scanned in order to go into the Halls of FES. Once your ID is scanned you will receive a name badge to wear. If you are just hneeding to come to the front office, no name badge is necessary, but you will still have to be buzzed in.

If you have any questions, contact the Fairview Elementary School at 870-231-5434.

HARMONY GROVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION
Harmony Grove Elementary School Kindergarten Registration is scheduled for April 22 through 26t,h Monday through Friday, from 8:00 - 3:00. If your child is 5 years old ON or BEFORE Aug. 1, 2019 your child is eligible for kindergarten. Parents must bring the following items to registration: social security card, state-issued birth certificate, immunization record, TWO proofs of physical residence in the Harmony Grove School District (e.g. utility receipts) and Medicaid number of ARKids number if applicable.

Please call 574-0960 or 574-0338 to schedule an appointment to register your child for kindergarten. It is very important for parents to register their children at this time. The number of students registered at this time will determine class sizes for next fall.

alt

FIVE TEACHES NAMED 2019 ARKANSAS COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce the five educators selected as finalists for the first annual Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year Award.

"We had many well-deserving applicants; however, when the #CSforAR team carefully considered every application, the team unanimously agreed that these five educators demonstrate both a long-term and ongoing commitment to, passion for, and impact on computer science education in Arkansas and the nation," said Anthony Owen, state director of Computer Science Education and chief state STEM officer. "These educators have earned and deserve this recognition."

The five finalists are listed below. 

Carl Frank
Computer Science Teacher
Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
Hot Springs, AR

Josefina Perez
Business/Computer Science Teacher
Springdale High School
Springdale, AR

Brenda Qualls
Computer Science Teacher
Bryant High School
Bryant, AR

Kimberly Raup
Computer Science Teacher
Conway High School 
Conway, AR

Karma Turner
Computer Science Teacher
Lake Hamilton High School
Pearcy, AR

Each of the finalists will receive a $2,500 award from the Arkansas Department of Education Office of Computer Science. A panel comprised of representatives from the ADE Computer Science Initiative Unit and external computer science and education leaders will review the five finalists' applications and select the 2019 Computer Science Educator of the Year based on a rubric scoring system. The winner, who will be announced at a later date, will receive an additional $12,500 award, paid registration and travel expenses to the ADE 2019 Summit, and a $1,000 sponsorship to attend the Computer Science Teachers Association's Annual Conference.

SENATORS COTTON, BOOZMAN, REPRESENTATIVE WOMACK INTRODUCE THE STEPHEN HACALA POPPY SEED SAFETY ACT
Washington, D.C.— Today Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and John Boozman (R-Arkansas), along with Congressman Steve Womack (R-Arkansas), introduced companion bills to stop the sale of deadly morphine-laced poppy seeds. The bill would classify poppy seeds that contain a harmful level of opiates as an adulterated food and prohibit their sale directly to consumers.  

While most poppy seeds are harmless, some manufacturers sell seeds laced with morphine at a cost far higher than normal seeds. These seeds can contain more than 20 times the therapeutic dosage of morphine. To date, there have been more than a dozen confirmed deaths from morphine-laced seeds. 

“Stephen Hacala Jr. died from an opioid overdose because of a dangerous gap in our nation’s drug laws. Despite government warnings, unwashed poppy seeds, which can contain lethal doses of morphine, are still available for sale online.  As our country continues to fight the opioid crisis, it’s time to end sales of unwashed seeds so that no other families experience the pain the Hacala family has endured,” said Cotton. 

“The sale of unwashed poppy seeds is a threat to the safety of Arkansans and all Americans. Approving this bill would honor Stephen Hacala Jr.’s memory by preventing other consumers from falling victim to dangerous, toxin-laced poppy seeds sold online,” said Boozman.

“Our drug laws haven’t kept pace with the many challenges we face as a nation. While unwashed poppy seeds don’t immediately sound dangerous, they can be laced with lethal substances like morphine. Stephen Hacala Jr.’s life was cut tragically short because of it—and his family used their grief to advocate for change. By prohibiting the sale of this harmful product, we will help ensure the safety of American consumers and prevent another family from losing a loved one,” said Womack. 

Background:

On April 3, 2016, Stephen Hacala of Fayetteville, Arkansas, died from morphine intoxication caused by morphine-laced poppy seeds purchased from Amazon. As many as 20 other Americans reportedly have died from overdoses caused by morphine-laced poppy seeds sold directly to consumers.

A research team led by Dr. Madeleine Swortwood, assistant professor of forensic science at Sam Houston State University, studied the morphine content in different bags of poppy seeds. The researchers found that some bags of poppy seeds contained morphine levels many times higher than a fatal dose. 

RUTLEDGE JOINS HUTCHINSON IN BILL SIGNING CEREMONY FOR LAWS ON ROBOCALLS AND FARM EQUIPMENT
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson for his bill-signing ceremony for two important pieces of legislation yesterday. The robocall legislation creates a process for state oversight of telecommunication providers and increases the penalty for robo-callers and spoofing. Meanwhile, the Farm Machinery Quality Assurance Act, a bill which Rutledge helped to guide and support, establishes a “lemon law” type protection for consumers purchasing new self-popelled farm machinery and equipment.

“Arkansans are eager to stop the incessant robocalls and scams,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The unopposed, bi-partisan support of this new law creates a path for enforcement to hold the bad actors accountable.

“The new legislation protecting farmers is important to ensure they are no longer vulnerable to potentially devastating financial losses due to faulty equipment. Arkansas’s economy relies heavily on our farmers and this bill will help them grow and expand their livelihood.”

Both pieces of legislation were passed by the General Assembly last week.

 

 
 

APRIL 3, 2019

 

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Meeting will be this Thursday, April 4th at Noon at Catherine's Bistro. The program will be presented by George Betts. He will be talking about a trip to Egypt.

R
 ag times=Arkansas AG logoUTLEDGE SUES BOURBON & BOOTS
Says, ‘consumers unwittingly wasted their hard-earned money on these products’
LITTLE ROCK – Yesterday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a consumer-protection lawsuit against Little Rock-based Bourbon & Boots Acquisition Company LLC, and its owner Rodney Ford, for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

“Bourbon & Boots advertised itself as a southern lifestyle brand which offered artisan inspired and quality craftsmanship,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Instead, consumers unwittingly wasted their hard-earned money on these products, only to never receive them or receive the wrong item. I will not tolerate deceptive business practices and will do everything in my power to ensure that the company and its owner are held responsible for their damaging actions.”

To date, 55 complaints have been identified where Bourbon & Boots failed to deliver items ordered by consumers, failed to fulfill orders of advertised products and failed to refund monies for unfulfilled orders or substandard products. The Attorney General’s office has reviewed an additional 293 complaints made to the Better Business Bureau.

Rutledge is asking the Pulaski County Circuit Court to impose civil penalties, restitution for affected consumers totaling $19,991.03, attorneys’ fees, costs and other relief against Bourbon & Boots.

If you are a consumer who has been impacted by the actions of Bourbon & Boots, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON, ADE ANNOUNCE RESULTS OF THIRD ANNUAL ALL-REGION CODING COMPETITION
17 Teams Invited to Participate in All-State Competition in May 
LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Education today announce the 17 winning teams from the All-Region Coding Competition that took place on March 14, 2019, at 15 regional contests around the state. 

The 17 selected teams will receive an invitation to participate in the Third Annual All-State Coding Competition, which will take place at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville on May 18, 2019. Each member of the first-place team will receive a $2,000 award that will be deposited into a 529 College Savings Plan. Each member of the second-place team will receive a $1,000 award deposited into a 529 College Savings Plan, with each member of the third-place team receiving a $500 award deposited into a 529 College Savings Plan. In addition, the schools that register/sponsor the first-place, second-place and third-place teams will receive $10,000, $6,000, and $4,000, respectively, to support their computer science programs. The prizes and competition expenses are provided by a Verizon grant to ARCodeKids. 

“Congratulations to the 17 teams heading to Fayetteville in May to compete in the Third Annual Governor’s All-State Coding Competition!” Hutchinson said. “Each year since I partnered with the Arkansas Department of Education to announce the first All-Region and All-State Coding Competitions, Arkansas students have risen to meet the challenge. I am proud of the creativity and innovation that our students showcase year after year in this competition, and I am confident that the teams this year will be no exception.

The following teams have been selected to advance to the All-State Coding Competition.

  • Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts - William Shaver, Karsen Beck, and Noah Raby
  • Cabot High School - Cody Billingsley, Ethan Peck, and Stanley Van
  • Conway High School - Archer Murray, Hunter Fleming, and Jonathon Hopkins
  • Don Tyson School of Innovation - James Cassady, Benjamin Easterling, and Abigail Herrera
  • Fayetteville High School - Jan Bobda Tagne, Andrew Ritter, and Lucas Faupel
  • Gentry High School Conversion Charter - Matthew Anderson, Jonathan Brinkley, and Carson Stell
  • Greenwood High School - Ryan Stracener, William Hutchinson, and Shea Brown
  • Haas Hall Academy - Rogers - Lucas Jaggernauth, Bradley Baltz, and Austin Parker
  • Haas Hall Academy - Fayetteville - Daniel Whitmire, Julian Sanker, and Owen Bell
  • Horatio High School - Hannah Norman, Duncan Connor, and Jacob Brecheisn
  • Little Rock Central High School - Zhaoying Li, Hetvi Shah, and Anne Li
  • Rogers Heritage High School - Allyson Hayes, Luis Guerra, and Adam Siwiec
  • Rogers High School - Garrett Chrisman, Brady Self, and Jack Norris
  • Rogers New Technology High School - David Daniel and Westley Taylor
  • Russellville High School - Michael O'Connor, Michael Draughon, and Xin Zhang
  • Spring Hill High School - Muhammad Athallah, Nick Yates, and Shay Stout
  • Valley View High School - Luke Wilson, Isaac La Ferney, and Alex Hoffman

"ADE extends congratulations to the advancing team members, sponsors, and schools," said Anthony Owen, state director of Computer Science Education. "In addition, all 15 hosting locations are to be commended for the work of their staff in making the regional events successful and fun for students." 

ARKANSAS LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO EXPAND STATE VETERANS CEMETERY
WASHINGTON-
U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman introduced legislation to transfer nearly 140 acres of land at Camp Robinson to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA). The land conveyance will facilitate expansion of the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.

“This is a commonsense solution that helps the Army Guard and the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs. The land is costly to maintain and not useful to the guard for training. It will provide a valuable expansion of burial space for veterans – an important step to securing a place of honor for future generations of veterans. This land conveyance will help the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs provide the men and women who served in uniform an appropriate final resting place that acknowledges of their service and sacrifice,” Boozman said.

“Our veterans deserve burials that reflect their service to our nation and the state of Arkansas. This expansion will ensure that we keep our promises to Arkansas veterans who choose to be buried alongside their brothers and sisters in arms,” Cotton said.

“Our men and women in uniform make substantial sacrifices so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we hold dear. We must continue to honor their commitment to our country. This land transfer to will ensure that our veterans are not turned away from having an appropriate burial ground that acknowledges their service,” Crawford said.

“Expanding the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery ensures that we can continue to honor veterans and their families with fitting tributes that memorialize their service to our country,” said Hill. “Transferring this land from the Arkansas National Guard to ADVA is an efficient and effective solution that benefits all Arkansans.”

“The grounds where America’s heroes lie are some of the most sacred among us. By allowing for the expansion of Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery, this bill ensures that our brave veterans can be laid to rest among their comrades in uniform for generations to come. It’s an honor they earned through service, and I call on Congress to swiftly approve this proposal,” Womack said. 

“Without this land transfer, the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery will run out of room and be forced to turn families of veterans away. The land conveyance is a practical solution to an imminent need, and I’m honored to sponsor legislation giving space for veterans to be laid to rest alongside their fellow patriots,” Westerman said.

The land that will be transferred from Camp Robinson to the ADVA has not been used for Army Guard training in over 25 years. The land lies in the flight path of the North Little Rock airport runway, which limits the use of training devices such as artillery simulators, flares and smoke. It is also separated from the main areas of Camp Robinson and has limited access.

The land transfer to the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery at North Little Rock will enable continuation of first burials beyond 2045, when the current cemetery is predicted to reach capacity. Rather than developing an additional cemetery in central Arkansas, the land conveyance provides an expansion opportunity which will be a more cost-efficient alternative for the ADVA.

SENATOR COTTON URGES IRS INVESTIGATION OF THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) sent a letter today to Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service Charles Rettig urging an investigation into whether the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) should retain its classification as a 501(c)(3). A copy of the letter may be found here.

An excerpt from the letter is below:

“Recent news reports have confirmed the long-established fact that the SPLC regularly engages in defamation of its political opponents. In fact, the SPLC’s defining characteristic is to fundraise off of defamation. 

This business model has paid well. The SPLC has accrued more than $500 million in assets. According to the group’s most recent financial statement, it holds $121 million offshore in non-U.S. equity funds. The SPLC uses these assets to pay its executives lavish salaries far higher than the comparable household average.

Further, CNN reported that the organization ‘suffers from a pervasive racist culture,’ and the SPLC’s leader has ‘been disciplined after a prior investigation into inappropriate conduct.’ The New York Times has charitably described the organization as ‘in turmoil’ and cited employees’ claims that SPLC leadership is ‘complicit in decades of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment and/or assault.’

Based on these reports, and in the interest of protecting taxpayer dollars from a racist and sexist slush fund devoted to defamation, I believe that the SPLC’s conduct warrants a serious and thorough investigation.”

BOOZMAN, COONS SEEK TO COMMEMORATE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF D-DAY
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senate French Caucus co-chairs Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced a resolution to mark the upcoming 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion and honor the members of the U.S. Armed Forces who helped bring an end to World War II.

“Seventy-five years ago, the brave men and women of the Allied Forces embarked on the opening phase of Operation Overlord in an effort to break the Nazi stranglehold on Western Europe. The courageous effort to storm the beaches of Normandy changed the trajectory of history,” said Boozman. “As co-chairs of the Senate French Caucus, Senator Coons and I have introduced this resolution to recognize the upcoming 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings and to express our gratitude and appreciation to the members of the U.S. Armed Forces—including those from Arkansas—who participated in these operations. The courage and sacrifice of the Allied troops who came to the aid of those oppressed by the Nazi and Fascist regimes will always serve to inspire future generations.”

“As co-chair of the Senate French Caucus, I am proud to introduce this resolution with Senator Boozman to recognize the brave members of the U.S. and Allied Forces who fought and died on the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago in the name of freedom,” said Coons. “Operation Overlord, commonly known as D-Day, lifted millions from the grasp of tyranny and helped forge lasting partnerships among nations that value freedom around the world. We owe a debt of gratitude to these heroes whose service and sacrifice changed the course of history.”

In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, 57,000 members of the United States Armed Forces, and 153,000 of their counterparts in the Allied Expeditionary Force, launched Operation Overlord by storming ashore five landing areas on the beaches of Normandy, France. The first day of the operation, which became known as D-Day, approximately 10,000 Allied soldiers were wounded or killed, including 6,000 Americans. Operation Overlord led to Allied liberation of Western Europe from the control of Nazi Germany and an end to World War II.

April 02, 2019


CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET RETURNS FRIDAY APRIL 5TH
Camden’s Evening Market
CAMDEN, ARKANSAS – The First Friday Monthly Market will kick off it’s much anticipated 2019 season on April 5th from 6PM till 9PM on Washington St. in Downtown Camden. The public is invited to come enjoy a relaxed evening with a large array of street vendors, live music, food, special children’s activities and more! Downtown shops stay open late for your shopping convenience while you enjoy the market.

The 2019 Season dates and themes will include:

  • April 5th • “Grow Camden”
    A look at special lawn & garden displays, competitions, etc.
  • May 3rd • “Magnificent May"
    A look at vintage circus
  • June 7th • “Dog Days"
    Enjoy a lazy summer evening with a pet parade
  • July 5th • “Rhythm & Blues”
    Celebrating great music
  • August 2nd • “Last Vacation”
    Getting your last fun in before the start of school
  • Sept. 6th • “A Taste of Camden”
    Come enjoy great food from area restaurant & dessert makers
  • Oct. 4th • “Celebrate Fall”
    Everything special about fall from hayrides to pumpkin carving
  • Nov. 1st • “Holiday Market”
    Getting everyone geared up for your holiday shopping

Less than a year from its inception in May 2018, First Friday: Monthly Market has grown immensely into one of the area’s most anticipated events. As a nonprofit organization aimed at encouraging and revitalizing the vibrancy of downtown Camden, event-goers always enjoy an intimate, hometown, family-friendly variety of local talent and entertainment. Whether it’s to try new cuisine or desserts, relax and listen to live music, peruse the local shops, discover new art, learn a new craft, gather information from other area businesses and organizations, let the kids play, or to just enjoy the fresh open air on a pleasant southern evening with friends and family, First Friday: Monthly Market truly has something for everyone.

Recently, in January 2019, the First Friday team proudly brought home the Bronze ALFIE Award for The Year’s Best New Event or Festival, provided by the Arkansas Festivals and Events Association.  First Friday was also named as a Finalist for the Bootstrap Award presented by Arkansas Parks and Tourism at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism in February 2019.

PLUG IN AND POWER UP FOR CAMDEN JOB SUCCESS AT THE CAMDEN JOB FAIR
Camden Arkansas serves as host to one of South Arkansas' largest Job Fairs, The Camden Job Fair, one day only! April 16th, 9am-3pm, at the SAU Tech Student Center Grand Hall, E. Camden Arkansas.
The 2019 Camden Job Fair offers an amazing opportunity for Camden and South Arkansas attendees to meet face to face with some of today’s largest companies about current and future openings in the area! Participating companies that will be at the Camden Job Fair and many ready to perform ON-SITE interviews, include: Aerojet-Rocketdyne, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas State Police, Community Compassion Center of Magnolia, First Step, Floor Pro of Arkansas LLC, General Dynamics, HNO Blending Solutions, Guardian Security &Merritt Phone, NTS, Ken’s Discount Camden/El Dorado, Hugg & Hall Equipment Company, Kindred at Home, Kindred at Home -Home Health, Lockheed Martin, Manpower, Cam-Tel, Ouachita Enrichment Centers, SAU Tech, Silver Oaks Health & Rehabilitation, SubTeach USA, Tim JordanCompany, Inc., Twin City Transportation, Woodland Hills Home Care, B & M Painting, ESA, Potlatch   Deltic – Magnolia, and many more

Prior to the event you can take advantage of free special training workshops to get you ready to go the next level in your career, with workshops on:
Job Search / Preparation – April 8th
Dress for Success – April 15th
These workshops will be held from 6PM – 8PM on the dates listed. Workshops will be held at Greater St. Paul Baptist Church, 896 S. Adams Ave, Camden. Transportation may be provided, if needed. All workshops are free and open to the public. Each workshop is taught by highly qualified trainers who specialize in the different areas surrounding career pursuit and career coaching for better job placement.

In addition: The Arkansas Department of Workforce Bus Unit will be in Camden to help job seekers to prepare for the upcoming CAMDEN JOB FAIR. The bus unit will help with resume writing, mock interviews, creating online profiles and other services. EVENTS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

EAST CAMDEN CITY WIDE GARAGE SALE TO BE HELD ON MAY 4TH
The City of East Camden will hold its annual City-Wide Garage Sale on Saturday, May 4th beginning at 8:00 a.m. A listing of all sales can be picked up at the East Camden Fire Station next door to city hall at 7:45 a.m. that morning. Fried Fish plates, bake sale and cold drinks will be sold at the fire station with all proceeds benefiting the East Camden Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary.

All East Camden residents having a sale are urged to contact City Hall at 574-2900 to register their sale. Outdoor spaces are available for nonresidents and organizations who wish to have a sale by calling City Hall and reserving a space for $10. Last year’s event included more than 70 garage sales and attracted a large number of shoppers. For more information please contact:

Mayor Angie McAdoo at (870) 833-2196.

BOOZMAN APPLAUDS CONGRESSIONAL YOUTH CABINET PARTICIPANTS
LITTLE ROCK – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) wrapped up the second year of his Congressional Youth Cabinet on Friday listening to presentations from 30 high school juniors at the Arkansas State Capitol. The students met with Boozman to share their ideas for legislation regarding workforce development, the opioid epidemic and trade tariffs.

“I am proud of these young leaders for their hard work and dedication to the Congressional Youth Cabinet,” Boozman said. “I have enjoyed visiting with them throughout the school year and was impressed with their policy presentations. I am confident these students will continue to be leaders and doers who give back to their communities. I hope their participation in the Congressional Youth Cabinet is something they can point to as having made a distinct and significant contribution to their development as students and informed, engaged citizens.”

Sean Cunningham attends DeWitt High School. He said, “Being on Senator Boozman's Youth Cabinet has given me the experience and courage that I will need to make major presentations in my future. I am so thankful for this opportunity, as well as the wonderful people that I got to meet.”

Lily Ryall is a junior at Central High School in Little Rock. She commented on her group’s final assignment saying, “This project has been unlike any other project I’ve ever had to do. But, it’s been challenging in all the best ways! I’ve learned a lot about how to work best in a group, managing my time, and thinking in a bipartisan way.” 

Rachel St. Onge attends Northside High School in Fort Smith. “Given the opportunity to participate in Senator Boozman's Congressional Youth Cabinet has been an honor,” St. Onge said. “Within the cabinet you learn how to step up and become a leader as well as getting to know students across Arkansas. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn how the government works and understanding the issues that the states face.”

Camden Jones attends El Dorado High School. He said, “My experience on this council has taught me the importance of being politically informed, and gotten me more involved in my community.”

The Congressional Youth Cabinet is designed to give students first-hand experience in the democratic process and a chance to understand how public policy impacts them, their families and their communities. The students selected issues to address at their first meeting and worked in teams divided by congressional district throughout the year. In addition to policy suggestions, the students had to describe how their proposal would be funded and implemented.

 

APRIL 1, 2019

CAMDEN CITY POLICE REPORTS
POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCCE
On March 28, 2019 at 10:51 A.M., Sergeant Jamario Bush and Officer Brandon Brangaccio were dispatched to 509 Fort Lookout in reference to an abandoned 911 call. Upon arrival the Officers made contact with Tevuance Harris. Harris and his girlfriend were having a verbal confrontation. Harris explained that he just wanted to go inside to grab his head wrap. While Harris was leaving the apartment a bag of marijuana fell out of his pocket. Harris was immediately searched and placed into custody.

Harris was transported to the Police Department without any incident. Booking procedures were completed. Harris was given a citation for possession of a controlled substance and a court date.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA- FELONY
On March 27, 2019 at 10:51 P.M. hours, Officer Jacob VanAssche, Officer Watts and Officer Dakota Davis were in the 500 block of Carver Courts on an unrelated call.

While in the area we began conducting a security check in the area. The Officers made contact with a man sitting with his head slumped over his lap on the sidewalk. The subject later identified himself as Frankie Joe Todd.

Upon making contact with Todd his speech was very slurred. It was observed Todd droppped an open bottle of Gin, which was close to being empty underneath his feet. Todd’s eyes were bloodshot red. While standing near Todd, Officer Davis was able to smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his person. Officer VanAssche asked Todd if he had been drinking, Todd stated "you know I have". When asked to stand up, Todd could barely stand and almost fell over multiple times. He had to be held up by the Officers.

While placing Todd into custody, Todd's hands were balled up in a fist-like position to prevent us from seeing what was in his hands. Officer Watts asked Todd to open his hands, which he refused at first, so Officer Watts pried open his hands. Upon opening Todd's hand, Officer Watts found a homemade crack pipe made out of a spool of string, a glass pipe, and some balled up brillo pad. After finding the pipe Todd complied to commands given.

Todd was then taken into custody. While walking Todd to the patrol unit, he could barely walk on his own; he stumbled a few times and had to have assistance to stand up. After getting Todd to the back of the unit, he refused to get in the patrol vehicle. Officer VanAssche advised Todd to get in the vehicle multiple times, to which Todd just kept refusing to comply and began yelling his refusal louder and louder. Officer VanAssche then placed Todd in the patrol unit, and Todd was transported to the station without incident.

At the station Todd was booked for Public Intoxication and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Booking procedures were completed. Todd was issued a Criminal Citation for Public Intoxication and was given a District Court date. Todd was later transported to the Ouachita County Detention center C to await his pretrial hearing.

CRIMINAL TRESPASS
On March 26, 2019 at 6:19 p.m., Officer Jake Perry and Officer Jacob VanAssche responded to a call for a security check to be completed at an unoccupied residence at the comer of Carver and Grinstead. Dispatch advised the reporting party calling said there was a lot of traffic around the house, and there shouldn't be anyone there.

Upon arrival it was discovered the address for the residence was 498 Carver. Officer Perry observed the front door to be secured and stated there was a side door which lead to the enclosed porch. Both Officers relocated to the side of the residence where Officer VanAssche observed the side screen to be open. He proceeded up the stairs, and heard a noise coming from inside the residence. Officer VanAssche observed a window to be open with a curtain up, and the curtain was moving. He went to pull the curtain back and observed two suspects inside the residence. One of the suspects grabbed the curtain out of the Officers hand and ran to the back door and shut it. The Officers set a perimeter around the residence and commanded the suspects out of the residence. They both complied and came out of the residence willingly. When asked if they knew the owner of the residence, both stated no they did not. Both suspects were then identified as David Stevens and Nadine Tinnin.

Both Stevens and Tinnin were then taken into custody and transported to the Police Station without incident. At the station both Stevens and Tinnin stated the reason they were inside the residence was to have sexual relations. When asked why they couldn’t go to their own residences and have coitus there both stated it was because they both are married, and were trying to avoid being caught by their spouses. Both Stevens and Tinnin were booked for Criminal Trespass. Booking procedures were completed. Both Stevens and Tinnin were issued Criminal Citations for Criminal Trespass and given a court date. Tinnin was later released, and Stevens was later transported to the OCSO on unrelated charges.

OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING IN OSCEOLA: ASP/CID INVESTIGATING INCIDENT
APRIL 1, 2019

Pete Denzel Edwards, 24, of Osceola, was critically wounded this morning stemming from a law enforcement officer involved shooting.  The incident occurred about 12:40 AM near the 400 block of Sims Street in Osceola (Mississippi County).

An Osceola police officer had stopped a vehicle driven by Edwards for a traffic violation.  According to the officer, during the course of the traffic stop, Edwards was “non-compliant”.

At some point during the encounter between the Osceola police officer and Edwards, shooting began.  Edwards was wounded and taken to a Memphis hospital.  At least one round from gunfire at the traffic stop entered a nearby home and reportedly wounded a resident who was transported from the scene and later released by a physician.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division will conduct an investigation and submit their findings to the prosecuting attorney of jurisdiction to determine whether the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identification of the local police officer or the administrative status of the officer should be directed to the Osceola Police Department.

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet on Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. This week’s speaker will be Rajveer Kang.  She will be speaking about First Friday Monthly Market which happens this Friday. She will also be informing the Club about the Ouachita Valley Community Foundation.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE PRAISES UNOPPOSED APPROVAL ROBOCAL AND SPOOFING LEGISLATION
Rutledge Praises Unopposed Approval of Robocall and Spoofing Legislation
LITTLE ROCK – On Thursday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement praising the passage of Senate Bill 514 to combat robocalls and “spoofing” calls. “Spoofing” allows scammers to disguise their identities, which makes it difficult for law enforcement to bring them to justice.

“Arkansans are fed up with incessant robocalls and scams,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This legislation, passed unopposed in both houses, reinforces how determined Arkansans are to stop these illegal calls and creates a path for enforcement to hold the bad actors accountable.”

The Attorney General, working with Senator Jonathan Dismang and Representative Clint Penzo, proposed stiffer criminal penalties for robocalls and spoofing and a process for state oversight of telecommunication providers.