Yes Radio Works

October 19, 2021

THE OUCHITA COUNTY COMMUNITY CONCERTS PRESENTS BILLSTOWN
The Ouachita County Community Concerts presents Billstown on October 23rd at 7PM at the Events Center at Fairview Park. Tickets will be $20 at the door or FREE for Community Concert Members.

Billstown was formed in 2008 by reuniting the members of The Campbell Family Band, with a few new additions. Billstown includes three generations of band members and music variety. Billstown's set list is quite diverse. It ranges from Classic Rock & Roll (Elvis, Red Foley, ETC.), Traditional Country (Johnny Cash, Ronnie Milsap, Hank Williams, George Strait, ETC.), 70's Rock (Eagles, Doobie Brothers, ETC.), Southern Rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Georgia Satellites, ETC.), to Modern Country (Gary Allen, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Keith Urban, ETC.). Learn more at www.ExploreCamden.com.

 

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID UPDATE – 10-19-2021
Public health officials in Arkansas are loosening quarantine procedures for students in K-12 in hopes of keeping more kids in class.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the changes during his weekly COVID-19 Taskforce press conference on Tuesday. Those changes include reducing the close contact definition from six feet to three feet over a 15-minute period. In addition, the state's test-to-stay guidelines have been expanded to include not just the school day but all school-related extracurricular activities. 

Other guidelines already in place include removing the requirement to quarantine if the contact is vaccinated, or if both the case and contact were wearing a mask at the time of exposure. These guidelines, as well as the changes announced Tuesday, only affect students in grades K-12. 

Dr. Tony Thurman, superintendent of the Cabot School District, said these changes will have a beneficial impact on school attendance rates and education in general. 

Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero said his department will continue to perform contact tracing within schools. In addition, he said the three-feet rule could return to six-feet if the COVID-19 situation worsens in Arkansas schools.

Regarding the state's COVID-19 figures, the Arkansas Department of Health reported an additional 661 new cases on Tuesday - signifying a continued drop in new cases across the state. Active cases fell to 5,853 currently. Deaths rose over the same period by 19 to 8,221 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations fell by one to leave 461 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus.

 

NTS AWARDED CONTRACT
National Technical Systems (NTS), Camden, Arkansas, has been awarded a $9,961,646 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for rapid energetic systems response testing support. Work will be performed in Camden, Arkansas, and is expected to complete October 2026. Fiscal 2022 Navy working capital funding of $500 will be obligated on the first task order at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the beta.sam.gov website with two offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00174-22-D-0001). 

 

GUNMAN SHOT BY PINE BLUFF OFFICER IN CRITICAL CONDITION; STATE POLICE DISCOVER IDENTITY MIX-UP
OCTOBER 18, 2021
The ongoing investigation of a shooting incident involving a Pine Bluff police officer who wounded a gunman outside 820 South Main Street early Sunday morning (October 17th) was not the person identified in a news release distributed yesterday.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division learned today that Keyyontae Vignaude, a University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff student from Hanover Park, Illinois, was the person holding a gun and backing away from an exit when struck by gunfire from the local police officer.

Duane A. Everett of Eudora, identified in the news release as the gunman seen by the officer, was wounded.  However, it remains uncertain whether Everett was struck by gunfire outside the Sahara Shriner’s Temple which was the site of the party, or if the wound was sustained inside the building where gunfire had erupted moments earlier, leaving multiple individuals wounded and at least one dead.

Everett assisted the police officer in rendering aid to Vignaude and both were transported by ambulance to a Pine Bluff hospital.  Everett was treated and released, but Vignaude was later transferred by air ambulance to a Little Rock hospital where he is listed in critical condition.

The role of the Arkansas State Police investigation is limited in scope only to the officer involved shooting.  Upon completion of the investigation, the case file will be used by the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney to determine whether the use of deadly force by the police officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions related to the identify of the Pine Bluff police officer, the administrative status of the officer or the investigation relating to the shooting incident inside the party site, should be directed to the Pine Bluff Police Department.
 

BRADLEY COUNTY MAN VICTIM IN APPARENT HOMICIDE CASE; STATE POLICE INVESTIGATING
OCTOBER 18, 2021
The body of a Warren man was discovered about 7:20 AM today alongside U.S. Highway 63, approximately four miles south Warren.  Terry Adams, 38, was the victim of an apparent homicide.

  Special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division found evidence to indicate Adams had been shot.  Agents have begun questioning individuals who may have information about Adams’ death.

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

October 18, 2021

THE CRAWLING DEAD AT LOGOLY STATE PARK
On October 29 at 7 p.m., Logoly State Park will present “The Crawling Dead,” a program about the bugs that are dead, but their bodies haven’t realized it yet. You may have heard about the zombie ants of the rainforest, but many people don’t know about the creepier parts of the creepy, crawly world of bugs found here in Arkansas.

Join the park interpreter to discover the “zombie” bugs that can be found in our own backyard. Free popcorn will be available at the program courtesy of Car-Mart of Magnolia and general manager Shaun Haynie.

This program may not be suitable for the park’s youngest guests. For more information, contact the park at (870) 695-3561. Logoly State Park is in McNeil, six miles north of Magnolia.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

About Logoly State Park
Established as a state park in 1974, Logoly State Park was created as Arkansas’ first environmental education park. Logoly State Park is located in McNeil, Arkansas and covers 368 acres. It serves as both a State Park and a Natural Area. As such, park staff work with the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission to conserve and protect the natural resources found in the park. 

The Logoly State Park visitor center is filled with interactive exhibits. Here guests can learn about this unique place through sight, sound, touch, and smell. The visitor center is LEED certified and uses a variety of environmentally friendly technologies, such as geothermal heating and rainwater collection. In addition to the visitor center there is a playground, pavilion, picnic area, and multiple trails for guests to enjoy. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.

About Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities, and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and War Memorial Stadium.

The state parks have 1,800 campsites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities, and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.

 

INCIDENT INVOLVING OFFICER’S USE OF FORCE INVESTIGATED BY STATE POLICE
OCTOBER 17, 2021
The Arkansas State Police has been asked to investigate an incident involving a Pine Bluff police officer who shot a gunman encountered by the officer outside a downtown party site where gunfire had erupted minutes earlier.

Pine Bluff authorities contacted the state police Criminal Investigation Division shortly after 1 AM today requesting the investigation.

A local police officer responding to the sound of gunshots coming from 820 South Main Street encountered a man holding a gun exiting the Sahara Shriner’s Temple.  Inside the location eight people had already sustained gunshot wounds.

The officer directed gunfire at the unknown man who was later identified as Duane A. Everett, 24, of Eudora (Chicot County).  Everett was wounded and transported to a hospital for medical attention, then later released.

State police special agents are attempting to determine why Everett was armed and what he may know about the shootings that occurred prior to the arrival of Pine Bluff police.

The Arkansas State Police is not involved in the investigation of the shooting inside the Shriner’s temple.

Agents are preparing an investigative file related specifically to the officer involved shooting.  It will be used by the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney to determine whether the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identity of the Pine Bluff police officer or the officer’s administrative status, should be directed to the Pine Bluff Police Department.


SUSPECT QUESTIONED IN GOULD SHOOTING INCIDENT AND DEATH
OCTOBER 16, 2021
City police officers in Gould (Lincoln County) have asked Arkansas State Police special agents to investigate what is preliminarily believed to be a homicide that occurred at 206 Jocelyn Street.  Agents were contacted about 8 PM Friday [October 15] by the Lincoln County sheriff.

The body of Vintrael Allen McKinzie, 36, of Gould, was found inside the residence where state police Criminal Investigation Division special agents found evidence of a shooting incident that may have occurred late in the afternoon or early evening yesterday.  McKinzie’s body is being transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where a state medical examiner will determine the exact manner and cause of death.

Late Friday night, agents questioned a suspect in the death investigation.  No arrest has been made in the case.  As the investigation continues, the Lincoln County prosecuting attorney will meet with agents to review the case file and determine whether an arrest warrant should be issued.
 

TWELVE ARKANSAS PLAYGROUNDS SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL SHADE TREES ON PLAYGROUNDS PROGRAM
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division has selected twelve playgrounds at the following schools to participate in the Shade Trees on Playgrounds program:
DeWitt Elementary School – DeWitt
Meekins Middle School – Stuttgart
Western Yell County Elementary – Belleville
Nevada Elementary – Rosston
Hot Springs Child Care Center – Hot Springs
Pea Ridge Middle School – Pea Ridge
Atkins Elementary School & Middle School – Atkins
Nemo Vista Middle School – Center Ridge
Don Roberts Elementary School – Little Rock
Highland Pre-K – Highland
Nettleton STEAM – Jonesboro

The Shade Trees on Playgrounds program (STOP) was organized to lower adult skin cancer risk by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight where children play, like school playgrounds. Winning schools receive up to five shade trees, mulch, watering supplies, and planting guidelines after participating in program training.

“The STOP program combines hands-on, outdoor experiences with classroom curriculum about the importance of trees and how to care for trees,” says Urban & Community Forestry Program Coordinator, Kristine Kimbro. “We hope this program not only improves the health of Arkansas students, but also leaves a lasting impression about the value of forests and how to be good stewards of our natural resources.”

Schools are invited to submit STOP applications annually. To qualify, participating schools must lack shade, participate in a virtual STOP workshop, agree to use Forestry Division curriculum to emphasize the importance of trees and forestry in Arkansas, hold a tree-planting ceremony with students, and agree to long-term maintenance of the planted shade trees. Forestry Division personnel assist with the transport and planting of the trees. Trees for each campus are chosen by local Forestry Division staff to fit the unique region and conditions of each playground and are purchased from local nurseries and suppliers.

Learn more about the STOP program and other Urban & Community Forestry services and programs at agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/urban-community-forestry. With program questions, contact Kristine Kimbro at 479-228-7929 or kristine.kimbro@agriculture.arkansas.gov, or Harold Fisher at 501-580-4054 or harold.fisher@agriculture.arkansas.gov.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

October 15, 2021

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WARN DRIVERS, “EYES ON THE ROAD, NOT THE PHONE”
U Drive.  U Text.  U Pay.
OCTOBER 14, 2021
Arkansas law enforcement agencies will unite in the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” initiative aimed at stopping the dangerous practice of distracted driving.  Starting Sunday, Arkansas State Troopers, joined by local police officers and sheriff’s deputies across the state, will begin a week-long (October 17-23) intensified patrol effort to stop drivers who are distracted and fail to keep their eyes on the road.

One of the leading factors contributing to the epidemic of distracted driving is the simultaneous use of cell phones and other electronic devices to communicate while drivers travel across state highways and local streets.  In recent years, young drivers have become the largest segment among distracted driving offenders, using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while they’re supposed to be in control of their vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, since 2007 the number of drivers 16 to 24 years old observed using handheld electronic devices while driving has continually increased compared to older drivers.  During 2018, 8 percent of the people killed in teen driving crashes (ages 15-19) died when teen drivers were distracted at the time of the crash, and the following year (2019) 10 percent of the teenage drivers were distracted at the time of the crashes.  

National Teen Driver Safety Week coincides with the planned distracted driving operation.  Parents are encouraged to have conversations with their teenage children who are drivers about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe while operating a motor vehicle.

Texting while driving is illegal in 47 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Teenage drivers need to be reminded of the dangers when using a phone while driving and that any use of a cell phone to text, talk or use social media applications raises the chances of someone being injured or killed.  Even when stopped at a traffic light, distracted driving laws can and will be enforced by law enforcement officers.  Additionally, young drivers should be told it’s not advisable to use headphones or earbuds while driving.  All drivers need to be able to hear another vehicle’s horn or the siren from an emergency vehicle.

 “The growing disregard of distracted driving laws isn’t limited just to teenagers,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “It’s frightening to realize many adults are now mimicking the dangerous distracted driving practices of their children and grandchildren which is taking a toll in the form of injuries and deaths on Arkansas roadways.”

Cell phones aren’t the only cause of distracted driving.  A driver who takes their eyes off the road to speak to a passenger, adjust entertainment programming or temperature controls, even eating while driving are all examples of distracted driving.

 “People know texting and driving is dangerous and illegal, but they selfishly do it anyway while putting others at risk,” said Colonel Bryant.  “We have to get the message out and beginning this weekend state troopers will be sending that message in the form of violator citations to anyone caught texting and driving.”Arkansas law enforcement officers and the Highway Safety Office urge drivers of any age to put their phones away while behind the wheel and operating a vehicle. If a text message is necessary, safely exit the street or highway and find a location to stop and use the phone.  Never try to read or send a text message while a vehicle is moving.  Drivers are also asked to consider other safety precautions:
•  Designate a passenger as a “designated texter.” Allow the passenger to access the driver’s phone.
•  Never engage in social media scrolling or posting messages while driving.
•  Cell phone use is habit-forming.  If a driver is struggling with safe practices, activate the cell phone “Do Not Disturb” feature, or put the phone out of reach from the driver such as in the trunk, glove box, or back seat.

 Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal.  Remember, U Drive. U Text. U Pay.  For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.
 

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW SCHOOL BOARD TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in regular session on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 6:30 pm at garrison Auditorium.

The agenda is as follows:
Call to order.
Student Hearings
Approval of minutes of previous meetings

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
None

NEW BUSINESS
Presentation and recommendation regarding mask policy.
Presentation and adoption of Board re-zoning Resolution
Presentation regarding the CFSD Annual Report to the Public.
Presentation and recommendation regarding CFMS camera systems paid out of ARP ESSR Ill for contact tracing.
Presentation and recommendation of additional pay for licensed employees from ARP ESSR Ill Funds.
Presentation and recommendation of additional pay for classified employees from ARP ESSR Ill Funds
Presentation and recommendation of additional pay for part-time employees from ARP ESSR Ill Funds.
Presentation and recommendation of purchase service contract for communication/PR
Presentation and recommendation regarding Juvenile Probation Officer Contract
Presentation and recommendation regarding a solution required by AC.A §6-13- 635 salary increase for CFSD employees 5% or more for fiscal year 2021-2022.
Presentation and recommendation of ADE Annual Equity Compliance Report
Presentation and recommendation regarding selection of delegate to ASBA 2021
Conference.
Facility Rentals

Superintendent's report to the Board.
Financial report
Personnel
Hiring
Resignations
Retirement

Adjournment

ARKANSAS STUDENTS, SCHOOLS RECEIVE MONETARY REWARDS
for Qualifying Scores on Advanced Placement Computer Science Exams

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce the awarding of $136,350 to students and schools under its Arkansas Advanced Placement Computer Science A Incentive Program. 

The purpose of the incentive program is to increase the number of qualifying scores (3, 4, or 5) on AP Computer Science A exams. For the 2020-21 school year, the fourth year of this incentive program, 193 students and 42 Arkansas schools earned $136,350 for exams taken.

“Arkansas is leading the way in preparing students to successfully join the future workforce with Arkansas’ Computer Science Education Initiative,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said, “It is important to make sure our students can receive the best level of education we can provide. The money awarded by the AP Computer Science program will help push these schools to put students in a position to succeed."

The schools representing the top ten amounts awarded under this program are as follows:
Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock - $18,450
Haas Hall Academy in Fayetteville - $13,850
Rogers High School in Rogers - $13,100
Bentonville High School in Bentonville - $10,950
Har-Ber High School in Springdale - $7,400
Southside High School in Fort Smith - $7,350
Northside High School in Fort Smith - $5,200
Haas Hall Academy in Rogers - $4,300
White Hall High School in White Hall - $3,900
Benton High School in Benton - $3,400

Under this program, Arkansas public school students and schools were eligible to receive a monetary incentive when the student earned one computer science flex credit for successfully completing an AP Computer Science A course and received a qualifying score on the AP exam taken between August 1, 2020, and May 30, 2021.

The tiered rewards are as follows:
For a qualifying score of 5 on the AP Computer Science A exam, an Arkansas public school student received $1,000, with the school receiving $250.
For a qualifying score of 4 on the AP Computer Science A exam, an Arkansas public school student received $750, with the school receiving $150.
For a qualifying score of 3 on the AP Computer Science A exam, an Arkansas public school student received $250, with the school receiving $50.

Approved student and school reward payments will be sent to the schools by November 2021 for distribution to students.

Continuation of this program for the 2021-2022 school year was announced at https://bit.ly/2Ys5Xh8
 

2021 STATE, FEDERAL ACCOUNTABILITY REPORTS FOR SCHOOLS RELEASED
97 Percent of Students Tested Statewide, 12 Percent of Schools Improved
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education released today the 2021 accountability reports for public schools. The reports include data from the 2020-2021 school year, including 2021 ACT Aspire results. 

“There is no doubt that it has been a challenging year-and-a-half in education,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “Arkansas students and educators have faced unprecedented circumstances, but they have risen above them all and continued learning. The results released today reflect some highlights and positive movement among some school districts, and because of that, we know student learning can and will persist despite the circumstances. While we know there is still work to do, today, as always, I am proud of our educators and students who faced the pandemic head-on and rose above its challenges.”

This year’s reports reflect three years of trend data (2018, 2019, 2021) for all students and student subgroups (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, White, Economically Disadvantaged, English Learners, and Students with Disabilities). The user may select the year to hide or show the data. Trend data give schools a sense of how students perform academically over time and whether schools are improving access and opportunity for success within all ESSA School Index indicators and components.

ESSA School Index
Available on the division’s My School Info website, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) School Index report includes students’ weighted achievement and growth on state-required assessments for third through tenth grade, graduation rates, and school quality and student success indicators. Act 89 of 2021 suspended school letter grades for the 2020-2021 school year. 

School Rating
The Accountability-at-a-Glance (School Rating) report, also available on the My School Info website, provides a quick one-page overview of the accountability scores for the school. This year, DESE included an adjusted and unadjusted ESSA School Index Score for the school and student subgroups. Schools that tested at least 95 percent of students will have the same adjusted and unadjusted score; however, if a school tested less than 95 percent of its students, the adjusted and unadjusted scores may differ. Only the adjusted ESSA School Index Score is used for accountability purposes. Both scores are available this year to highlight the importance of testing 95 percent and the impact of COVID-19. 

ESSA School Index Improvements 
The results below show the total number of schools that increased in overall ESSA School Index Score, Weighted Achievement, and Value-Added Growth for 2020-2021 compared to 2018-2019. Some of the highlights listed below also are reflected on DESE’s Schools on the Move Towards Excellence webpage at https://bit.ly/2SYnhFZ.

A total of 125 schools improved their overall ESSA School Index Score (all students).
A total of 40 schools improved their Weighted Achievement Score.
A total of 531 schools scored 80 or more points on Value Added Growth Score. 


Communication
Each school’s ESSA School Index data can be found on the My School Info website (https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov/). After searching for a particular school, click on the school's name and then the Reports tab. The ESSA School Index tab will then be available. To learn more about how to access the reports for each school, visit the 2021 ESSA School Index Public Release video at https://bit.ly/3lJkjCT.

All stakeholders, including students, caregivers, educators, and community members, are encouraged to review their schools’ data and discuss how to meet the educational needs of all students. Schools are encouraged to utilize these reports to revisit their school-level improvement plan. Districts may also review their district support plan and reallocate resources as needed to ensure successful implementation of school plans. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the 2020-2021 academic year. Results may reflect the unusual circumstances for instruction and assessment. Please use caution when comparing the results.

Additional information about Arkansas’ ESSA plan and informational documents are available on the DESE website at https://bit.ly/3oH1yC4.

October 14, 2021

CAMDEN RESIDENT DIES IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
A Camden resident died in a wreck Wednesday, according to Arkansas State Police reports. At around 4:00 Wednesday morning, 31-year-old Derek Kendra Brown of Camden was driving south on U.S. Highway 79, according to police reports. His 1993 GMC ran off the right side of the road into a ditch, driving about 290 feet before striking a driveway culvert, and flipping onto its top, the police report states. The accident report lists conditions at the time of the crash as clear and dry.

 

CITY COUNCIL SCHEDULES BUDGET WORKSHOP
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen are having a series of Budget Workshops to address the needs of the City for 2022. Each meeting addresses the needs of a different Department within the City.

The Council will meet for a workshop on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 6:30 pm in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building located at 206 Van Buren NE. This Workshop is for the purpose of addressing the 2022 udget needs of the Public Works Department.
 

ACT RELEASES TEST SCORES FOR 2021 GRADUATING CLASS
LITTLE ROCK — ACT scores released today for Arkansas’ 2021 graduating class held steady compared to results from 2020.

A total of 31,152 public school students who graduated in 2021 took the ACT at least once. While this is a decrease of 1,360 from the previous year, this number represents approximately 97 percent of the graduating class. The average ACT scores and percent of students who met readiness benchmarks were stable as well. 

Arkansas provides all 11th-grade students the opportunity to take the ACT during the spring of their junior year at no charge to the student. Students are encouraged to take the test multiple times, as scores typically increase the more times a student takes the test. The results for the 2021 graduating class, however, largely reflect testing that occurred in the spring of 2020, prior to COVID-19’s disruption to student learning and testing.

“While the effects of COVID-19 may not be fully reflected in these scores, the pandemic definitely limited the number of opportunities typically available for graduating seniors who choose to take the ACT multiple times,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. “These additional opportunities would have been included in the data and provided a better reflection of student achievement for the 2021 graduating class. Even without a clear picture, we know that we still have work to do. Through local and statewide efforts that are currently under way, we hope to accelerate student learning and prepare students for a very successful future despite the pandemic.”

Summary of Arkansas’ Results (data compared to 2020):
The percent of students who met all four readiness benchmarks (Reading, English, Math, and Science) remained the same (14 percent).

The average composite score also remained the same (18.8).

Average composite scores for each of the four subject areas changed little, with slight decreases in English, Math, and Reading and a small increase in Science.

The average composite score for Arkansas students who retested in 2021 was 21.3 compared to 16.8 for students who only took the test once.


Qualifying students used 8,943 testing fee waivers (an increase of 289), giving them the opportunity to take the ACT multiple times at no cost. 


To see the complete results, go to https://bit.ly/2Yyr41r
 

CABOT EDUCATOR NAMED 2022 ARKANSAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR
LITTLE ROCK — When Jessica Saum, a special education teacher at Stagecoach Elementary School in Cabot, woke up this morning, she knew she was one of four Arkansas Teacher of the Year state semi-finalists. What she didn’t know until a surprise ceremony this afternoon, however, was that she was in fact selected as the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

Saum, who has been a self-contained special education teacher for grades K-4 in Cabot since 2018, is known not only for her excellence in the classroom but for her advocacy work on behalf of her students, her efforts to connect her students with learning opportunities in the community, and her support for military families.

“For successful students, there are numerous exceptional teachers who help them on their journey of life,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “Based on her track record both in and out of the classroom, Ms. Saum definitely falls in that category and represents the best of the best in Arkansas. Not only do her students and fellow teachers know that, but as the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, now the rest of the state does too. I am honored to recognize Ms. Saum for her excellence in the classroom and congratulate her on this high honor.”

“As secretary of education, I am humbled and honored each year to be part of an amazing event that recognizes an outstanding teacher such as Ms. Saum,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. “It always brings me joy to see a teacher receive the much-deserved recognition that is long overdue. I commend Ms. Saum not only on her dedication to her students and community but also for her sacrifice and service as the spouse of a military serviceman. She understands firsthand the commitment it takes to balance work and life and whole-heartedly support your family, students, and country at the same time. Thank you, Ms. Saum, for all you do. This honor is well-deserved, and we at the department look forward to working alongside you when you begin your tenure as the next Teacher of the Year.”

Saum was not only named the 2021 Cabot Public Schools Teacher of the Year, she also was recognized as the 2020 314th Airlift Wing Key Spouse of the Year for her volunteer work at the Little Rock Air Force Base. As Teacher of the Year, Saum will use her platform to focus on increasing awareness and improving resources for districts who assist students of military families when they transition to a new school and state.

Inside the classroom, Saum regularly partners with other teachers and community members to bring hands-on lessons that cross multiple content areas to her students, as well as provide opportunities for her students to learn in general education classrooms. For example, in addition to partnering with a gifted and talented teacher on a lesson about earthworms, Saum also collaborated with the 314th Airlift Wing at the Little Rock Air Force Base to take her students on a virtual C-130 field trip. She has partnered with Ballet Arkansas to have a sugar plum fairy in full costume read The Nutcracker to her school via Zoom and has organized a class outdoor camping day event for her students. She also planned a school-level Special Olympics event for students in May.

Saum’s passion for her students’ learning is evident. “Special education students should not be treated as ‘guests at the table’ but included as meaningful members of a larger learning community,” Saum said in her Teacher of the Year application. “Ensuring exposure to grade-level peers and curriculum should be the standard, not the exception."

Prior to teaching at Cabot, Saum was a preschool teacher at the former Arnold Drive Elementary School in Jacksonville, as well as a long-term substitute in early childhood special education in the Pulaski County Special School District.

Saum obtained a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Special Education P-4, a Master of Science in Special Education Educational Specialist 4-12, and a graduate certificate as a Special Education Director from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. She has received numerous awards, such as being named an Association of American Educators Advocacy Fellow in 2021 and an Arkansas State Teacher Association Fellow in 2020, and is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

In addition to receiving a $1,000 prize when named a regional finalist and an additional $1,000 for being a state semi-finalist, Saum received an additional $14,000 award today sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation. She is now eligible to apply for the National Teacher of the Year honor.

Saum’s one-year tenure as Arkansas Teacher of the Year will begin July 1, 2022, when she will travel the state as a representative for teachers and will serve as a non-voting member on the State Board of Education.

To learn more about the Arkansas Teacher of the Year program, visit https://bit.ly/3Dmhf5S.
 

CADC BOARD TO MEET
The Board of Directors of Central Arkansas Development Council will have a board meeting Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.  The meeting will be held at the Benton Senior Activity Center, 1800 Citizens Drive, Benton, AR.  The public is invited to join the meeting.

October 13, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order promptly at 7:00. Rev. Mark Smith, Pastor of Thrive Church, gave the invocation. The Invocation was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk Donna Stewart called the roll. All alderman were in attendance.

The minutes from the September meeting a were presented in print. Motion was made and seconded. There was  no discussion.Approval of the minutes passed unanimously.

The Financial Report was presented. Motion was made to approve and seconded. There was no discussion.  The Financial Report passed unanimously.

The Mayor recognized that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. He also gave details regarding the upcoming Budget workshops. He stated that the Workshops are open to the public. Jason Holsclaw with Stephens Inc. addressed the Counsel regarding the Camden Water & Sewer Bond Issue.

Ordinance No. 09-21, an ordinance rezoning property located at 1315 W. Washington from RS-2 (Single
Family District) to C-1 (Professional Office District). Motion was made to suspend the rules. Rules were suspended. There was a motion made to approve and seconded. There was no discussion and the Ordinance passed unanimously.

Ordinance No. 10-21, an ordinance fixing the rate of taxation for the year 2022; declaring an emergency; and for other purposes. Motion was made and seconded to suspend the rules. The rules were suspended. Motion was made and seconded. There was no discussion. The Ordinance passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 61-21, a resolution authorizing the offering of Bonds to refund the City’s Water and Sewer Revenue Bond, Series 2016; and prescribing other matters pertaining thereto. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 62-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Travis Daniel to the Advertising and         Promotion Commission. Motion made and seconded to approve. There was no discussion. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 63-21, a resolution amending the budget for 2021; and for other purposes. Motion was made and seconded to approve. There was no discussion. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 64-21, a resolution authorizing obsolete or no longer used personal property to be sold at  Public Auction; and for other purposes. Camden was referred to as “East Camden” in one part of the Resolution. Motion was made and seconded to amend the Resolution to strike the word "East". There was a motion made and seconded to approve as amended. LE Lindsey asked if properties would be listed somewhere. The Mayor said there would be a list on explorecamden.com by Monday. He said the auction will be November 6th. Passed unanimously.

James Bell requested that a workshop and public meeting be scheduled to re visit and discuss an entertainment district. There was no other discussion. The meeting was adjourned.

The next scheduled meeting of the City Council will be November 09, 2021.

CITY OF CAMDEN TO HOLD PUBLIC AUCTION
The City of Camden will hold a Public Auction on November 06, 2021. The items listed below are on the Auction List.
SWINTECH TYPEWRITER  - MODEl#7040
SWINTECH TYPEWRITER - MODEl# 8014S
PRINCETON MONITOR  - TVUH2601566
ASUS MONITOR - FClMQS052621
ASUS MONITOR - FClMQS052635
ACER MONITOR - ETl480B18265108174392F
CANNON PRINTER - RWH07436
BROTHER PRINTER - 163080H4N797914
DLLl PRINTER - CN-OW5519-72211-214-0049
BROTHER PRINTER - U63881E1N144896
CANNON PRINTER - WHD23537
DELL PRINTER - CN-OW5519-72211-214-0264
BROTHER PRINTER - U63885G1N351205
KEYBOARD WIRED - 18Q-02H9-AOJ
KEYBOARD WIRED - 73N-0560-A02
LOGITECH KEYBOARD WIRELESS - 0473-11-3229
DELL KEYBOARD - CN-03WPNC-75134-46Q-0178-A02
KEYBOARD - 818294013804
KEYBOARD - 41106103185
LOGITECH KEYBOARD - 0413-11-3229
DELL KEYBOARD - CN-05P02F-11581-18R-03KZ-A01
WIRED KEYBOARD - 818294032034
DELL MOUSE -N889
ALUMINUM 35 FT. EXTENSION LADDER (2 SECTIONS)
ALUMINUM 35 FT. EXTENSION LADDER (3 SECTIONS)
ALUMINUM 50 FT. EXTENSION LADDER WITH STABILIZER POLES
KOHLER 17KW GENERATOR WITH TRANSFER SWITCH (NEED WATER PUMP)
HEAVY SHELVES
POSITIVE PRESSURE FAN WITH HONDA MOTOR (NEEDS REPAIR)
ASSORTED AIR PACKS AND BOTTLES (SCBA)
SMALL DESK
ASSORTED ITEMS (SHELVING, EPOXY, PUMP UP SPRAYER, PARTS TO GROUND MONITOR)
2008 CHEVY IMPALA
2006 FORD CROWN VICTORIA – NO KEY
(2) 2010 FORD CROWN VIC – MISSING RADIATOR
2006 FORD CROWN VIC -
2007 MERCURY MARQUIS – NO KEY
(2) 2006 DODGE CHARGER
2004 FORD CROWN VIC
2008 FORD CROWN VIC
2000 FORD EXPLORER
1991 CHEVROLET C70 KNUCKLE BOOM
2005 VERMEER S600TX MINI LOADER
1974 FORD 4110 TRACTOR
1998 FORD F-150
1996 FORD F-150
1986 JOHN DEERE LOADER
1996 INTERNATIONAL DT466

 

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 13, 2021
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he will not sign two legislative bills seeking to counter a White House mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or rigorous testing for federal employees and contractors. 

Hutchinson announced during his weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday that he would not veto either bill nor would he sign them. The two bills include SB739 and HB1977. The two identical bills were passed last week by the Arkansas legislature and would force employers requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees to provide specific exemptions. These exemptions include a negative antigen detection test or proof of immunity for the virus.

Hutchinson said these bills are contrary to the state and nation's efforts to encourage vaccination against COVID-19. In addition, he stated his opposition to further and more complicated mandates on employers.

Hutchinson said he is also against legislation recently passed in Texas that prohibits the establishment of any vaccination requirement in the state.

Arkansas Health Secretary Jose Romero then spoke on the expected upcoming approval by the FDA of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11. He said approval could come as early as next month.

Regarding the state's COVID-19 figures, the Arkansas Department of Health reported 694 new cases on Wednesday - signifying a continued drop in the state's new caseload. With Wednesday's new cases, the state is now reporting more than 504,000 transmissions of COVID-19 in Arkansas since the pandemic began. Active cases fell on Wednesday by 104 to 6,702 currently. Deaths rose over the same period by 19 for a total of 8,166 since spring of 2020. Hospitalizations declined by six to leave 531 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus.

The number of fully vaccinated Arkansans increased but remains below 1.4 million.

FREE MEDICARE COUNSELING AND INFORMATION AVAILABLE FOR ARKANSANS
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – With the Medicare Open Enrollment Period fast approaching, the Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) Senior Health Insurance Information Program (AR SHIIP) offers free counseling to assist Arkansans who are eligible for Medicare.  AR SHIIP connects Medicare beneficiaries as well as their families and caregivers with certified counselors statewide. The counselors provide guidance in person or over the telephone regarding Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Supplements, and Medicare Part D (drug plans) at no cost to Arkansans.

AR SHIIP partners conduct informational screenings to determine whether Medicare recipients are eligible for low-income subsidies and/or help with medication costs. The partners review ways to lower out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare recipients and review other ways to save money.

“The Senior Health Insurance Information Program is an important and valuable service we provide Arkansans," said Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Alan McClain. "We hope that consumers will take advantage of these free services meant to assist them in making the best possible Medicare decisions for their individual needs."

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15 through December 7. During this time, beneficiaries can review coverage options as well as make changes to their current health insurance coverage.

“Our mission is to educate and empower Arkansans about their options for Medicare,” said AR SHIIP Director, Carroll Astin. “We hope to make the Medicare Open Enrollment process as straightforward as possible so that navigating and selecting coverage options is seamless for Arkansans.”

AR SHIIP provides one-on-one counseling and information for Arkansans eligible for Medicare. All services are free, unbiased, and confidential. For more information, call 1-800-224-6330 toll-free or visit https://www.shiipar.com/.

SOCIAL SECURITY ANNOUNCES 5.9 PERCENT BENEFIT INCREASE FOR 2022
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9 percent in 2022, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022.  Increased payments to approximately 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021.  (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).  The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $147,000 from $142,800. 

Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail starting in early December about their new benefit amount.  Most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their personal my Social Security account.  People may create or access their my Social Security account online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.    

Information about Medicare changes for 2022, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov.  For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2022 are announced.  Final 2022 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security’s Message Center.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated.  To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

SURVEY: SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM SLIPS IN SEPTEMBER AS LABOR SHORTAGES, INFLATION IMPACT OPERATIONS
LITTLE ROCK (Oct. 12, 2021) — The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased one point in September to 99.1. Three of the 10 Index components improved, five declined, and two were unchanged.  

“Small business owners are doing their best to meet the needs of customers, but are unable to hire workers or receive the needed supplies and inventories,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The outlook for economic policy is not encouraging to owners, as lawmakers shift to talks about tax increases and additional regulations.” 

State-specific data isn’t available, but NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith said, “Our small business members throughout the state are having a tough time maintaining supply chains and finding people to work, and that’s affecting their ability to provide the goods and services their customers need.” 

Key findings include: 

The NFIB Uncertainty Index increased five points to 74. 

Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased five points to a net negative 33%. 

Fifty-one percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a 48-year record high for the third consecutive month.  

A net 42% of owners reported raising compensation, a 48-year record high. 

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, a record 51% of small business owners (seasonally adjusted) reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up one point from August. A net 42% of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, up one point from August and a 48-year record high reading.  

A net 30% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up four points from August’s record high reading. Twelve percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 28% said that labor quality was their top business problem – both record-high readings.   

Fifty-three percent of owners reported capital outlays in the next six months, down two points from August and historically a weak reading. Of those making expenditures, 37% reported spending on new equipment, 21% acquired vehicles, and 12% improved or expanded facilities. Six percent of owners acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 10% of owners spent money for new fixtures and furniture. Twenty-eight percent plan capital outlays in the next few months, down two points from August and one point below the 48-year average.  

Seasonally adjusted, 3% of owners reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, up three points from August. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes improved by four points to a net 2%. 

The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases rose five points to a net 3%, back into positive territory after two months of owners reporting more declines than gains. This is the highest reading since the pandemic started. 

Over 35% of owners report supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business. Another 32% report a moderate impact and 21% report a mild impact. Only 10% of owners report no impact from recent supply chain disruptions. A net 10% of owners viewed current inventory stocks as “too low” in September, down one point from August. A net 9% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months, down two points from August but historically a very elevated reading. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased three points to a net 46% (seasonally adjusted). Unadjusted, 8% of owners reported lower average selling prices and 53% reported higher average prices. Price hikes were the most frequent in wholesale (75% higher, 0% lower), manufacturing (67% higher, 4% lower), and retail (71% higher, 2% lower). Seasonally adjusted, a net 46% of owners plan price hikes. 

The frequency of positive profit trends increased one point to a net negative 14%. Among the owners reporting lower profits, 26% blamed the rise in the cost of materials, 23% blamed weaker sales, 19% cited labor costs, 10% cited the usual season change, 6% cited lower prices, and 6% cited higher taxes or regulatory costs. For those owners reporting higher profits, 57% credited sales volumes, 19% cited usual seasonal change, and 5% cited higher prices.  

Two percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied. Twenty percent reported all credit needs were met and 62% said they were not interested in a loan. A net 4% of owners reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts. Zero percent reported that financing was their top business problem. A net 0% of owners reported paying a higher rate on their most recent loan.  

The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in September 2021.

About NFIB
For more than 75 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the voice of small business, advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit www.NFIB.com

 

AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will meet in regular session on Friday, October 15, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road, in Camden.

OKLAHOMA PHYSICIAN CHARGED IN DEATH OF WOMAN FOUND NEAR LAKE VILLAGE
OCTOBER 12, 2021
An Oklahoma physician was arrested last night (*Monday, October 11th) by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.  Dr. Tyler Tait, 34, of Tahlequah, was taken into custody at Lake Village and is being held at the Chicot County Jail charged with first degree murder.

Chicot County sheriff’s deputies requested the Arkansas State Police to investigate the death of Moria Kinsey, 37, of Tahlequah.  Deputies responded to a report of a woman in need of medical assistance about 12:15 PM, Monday.  Kinsey was located lying outside a vehicle parked alongside U.S. Highway 65, approximately two miles north of Lake Village, near the McMillan Corner community.  Tait was found near the vehicle.  Kinsey was transported to an area hospital and pronounced deceased by a local doctor at 2:18 PM yesterday.

Kinsey’s body was transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the manner and cause of death is being determined.

State police special agents examined the vehicle Tait and Kinsey had been traveling in from Mississippi and found evidence of a physical altercation inside.

Monday evening, after interviewing Tait and later consulting with Thomas Deen, 10th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, agents arrested Tait.

WESTERMAN CONCLUDES ANNUAL AGRICULTURE TOUR 
WASHINGTON – U.S Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) concluded his annual tour of Arkansas agriculture, where he visited farmers and other agriculture producers across the Fourth District. Westerman issued the following statement:

“It was an honor to spend time with folks who have dedicated their lives to feeding and clothing America, hear their concerns, and learn how I can help from the federal level,” said Congressman Westerman. “Agriculture is a demanding career made all the more difficult by nationwide labor shortages and rising inflation. Far too often, Washington bureaucrats legislate without understanding how regulations and taxation affects rural Americans, the producers of the food and clothing so often taken for granted. Those in agriculture are some of our nation’s most essential workers and I understand that our farmers’ success is our nation’s succuss. I am committed to continuing to be a voice for rural America in Congress, taking back their insights to Washington, D.C., and ensuring they are heard.” 

Background
The annual agriculture tour is an opportunity for Westerman to meet one-on-one with constituents and learn more about the issues they’re facing and how he can assist.

Full 2021 Agriculture Tour Itinerary:
Pilgrim’s Pride processing facility | De Queen, Ark.
JACO Meats | Hope, Ark.
Seinpro Farms | Portland, Ark.
Row Crop Roundtable | Hamburg, Ark.
Triple M Farms | Hamburg, Ark.
Ray White Lumbar Company | Sparkman, Ark.
University of Arkansas Fruit Research Station | Clarksville, Ark.
Livestock Roundtable | Ozark, Ark.
Feral Hot Removal Demonstration | Danville, Ark.
Lew Thompson and Sons Trucking | Huntsville, Ark.

October 11, 2021

PERRIN NO LONGER EMPLOYED BY THE CITY OF CAMDEN
It is official.  As of the ending of September, also ended Assistant to the Mayor, Amy Perrin’s employment with the City of Camden as the Assistant to Camden City Mayor Lott.

City Attorney Michael Fry spoke confirming Perrin’s employment was no longer valid with the City of Camden last Friday.  The claim is the employment was terminated without the presence of a resignation letter.  It appears to be a personnel matter. 

This reporter is reaching out with attorneys from both sides to sure up what’s fact and what‘s rumor.  Radio Works has possession of copied documentation and have more detail on this story as it develops when representatives involved have their statements ready.


PROJECT SEARCH NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
Project SEARCH Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative is an innovative job-training program providing a nine-month internship program for young adults, with developmental disabilities. Interns in the program complete (3) ten-week rotations at a partnering business with the goal of gaining the necessary skills to obtain competitive employment. Upon completion of the program, staff provides assistance with finding employment within the community and continued support during employment. Internships are currently available at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs (CHI St. Vincent), Ouachita County Medical Center (OCMC) in Camden, St. Bernards Medical Center (St. Bernards) in Jonesboro, Mercy Fort Smith Hospital (Mercy Fort Smith), and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB).

Applications are available now online at www.projectsearcharkansas.org. Application deadline is January 31, 2022. To learn more or request a paper application call Rebekah at 501-515-2691.

 

GOVERNOR TO REVIEW NEW CONGRESSIONAL MAP
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans to review a new congressional map for the state this week. Lawmakers gave final approval to the map Thursday. Arkansas' current map has five counties split into different districts.

Arkansas lawmakers have rejected legislation that would have prevented businesses from requiring employees to say whether they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The majority-Republican House on Friday voted 41-46 to defeat Senate Bill 731 , which would have created a “right of privacy” for employees and contractors regarding their vaccination status.


CENTRAL ARKANSAS GROUP SENTENCED TO OVER 20 YEARS COMBINED IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The final member of a central Arkansas group has been sentenced to federal prison for the Distribution of Methamphetamine. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

In January 2019, Detectives with the 18th Judicial Drug Task Force launched an investigation into drug trafficking in the Western District of Arkansas. Between the months of January and June of 2019, detectives conducted several controlled purchases of methamphetamine from John Rickey Stinger and members of his drug trafficking organization.

The sentencings are as follows:

Kenneth Traylor, age 60, of Malvern, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 72 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Aiding and Abetting in the Distribution of Methamphetamine.

Krista Graves, age 27, of Malvern, Arkansas, was sentenced June 25, 2020 to 30 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.

John Rickey Stinger, age 36, of Malvern, Arkansas, was sentenced on June 23, 2020 to 121 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and one count of Aiding and Abetting in the Distribution of Methamphetamine.

Joshua Tollett, age 40, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, was sentenced on June 23, 2020 to 18 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release on one count of Aiding and Abetting in the Distribution of Methamphetamine.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The 18th East Judicial District Drug Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations Little Rock, and the 18th East Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Achorn and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Daniels prosecuted the case.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website @ www.pacer.gov


SAAC BOX OFFICE OPEN FOR "CLUE: ON STAGE"
The South Arkansas Arts Center box office is now open for its upcoming production of "Clue: On Stage". Dates for the production are October 22-24, 28 and 30-31. Shows will begin at 7:30 on the 22, 23, 28 and 30th, with the curtain going up at 2:30 on the 23, 24 and 31. There will also be a 2:30 and 7:30 show on Saturday, October 23. Ticket cost is $5 for students, $10 for SAAC members and $20 for general public. Call the SAAC office to reserve your seats for all showings.

SAAC will also host a champagne reception on opening night before the show beginning at 7pm in the gallery. All seats are $20. Call the SAAC office to reserve your seats for all showings.

Based on the iconic 1985 Paramount movie which was inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, Clue is a hilarious farce-meets-murder mystery. The tale begins at a remote mansion, where six mysterious guests assemble for an unusual dinner party where murder and blackmail are on the menu. When their host turns up dead, they all become suspects. Led by Wadsworth - the butler, Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Colonel Mustard race to find the killer as the body count stacks up. Clue is the comedy whodunit that will leave both cult-fans and newcomers in stitches as they try to figure out...WHO did it, WHERE, and with WHAT!

Kenneth Burns, who plays Mr. Boddy, the mysterious host in the production, said, when asked about his favorite part of the play, "I'd have to say I really like the scene where Colonel Mustard and Wadsworth go through the bit about whether or not 'there is someone else in this house'. I think the comedic element of the miscommunication is extremely universal to the human condition, in that it highlights just how easily people can miscommunicate even when they are trying to get on the same page. You just can't help but laugh. If you like comedy mixed in with a bit of mystery, then you'll want to see this show. This cast is talented, the chemistry is on point and if you've never seen this before, you will not regret it!"

SAAC is also hosting a "Colors and Costume Night" on Saturday, October 30 to add a little fun to the show on Halloween Eve. Rhett Davis, director for the production, said, "If you'd like, we'd love for you to come dressed as your favorite character from the game or the movie or come dressed in a solid color showing your support for that character."

For more information on or to make reservations for this slapstick show, 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. 

October 08, 2021

BRIDGE NEAR SMACKOVER SHUT DOWN
The bridge over Camp Creek Relief southwest of Smackover will be closed beginning Monday, October 11th through October 22nd. The Bridge is located on Arkansas 160 near Smackover. According to the Arkansas Department of Transportation detours will be required during the next two weeks while repairs are being made.

The detour will take traffic around the area of the bridge by way of Arkansas 57 to U.S. 82, Arkansas 172, back to Arkansas 7.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SEE BUSY WEEK
CONVICTED FELON SENTENCED TO OVER 7 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR FIREARMS POSSESSION
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A Hot Springs man was sentenced on October 5, 2021 to 92 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court documents, on May 25, 2019, an Arkansas State Police Trooper conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle operated by Redmon DeShawn Logan, 33, for a traffic violation. As the Trooper approached the vehicle the Trooper observed a bullet in the driver’s door handle. The Trooper asked Logan if he had any weapons in the vehicle. As Logan began to reach down toward the weapon the Trooper pulled Logan from the vehicle and placed him under arrest. A vehicle search was conducted and resulted in the Trooper locating and seizing two stolen handguns, an assault rifle, and over 200 rounds of ammunition.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The Arkansas State Police investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Harris prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website @ www.pacer.gov.

 

HOT SPRINGS MAN SENTENCED TO OVER 17 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A Hot Springs man was sentenced today to 210 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Distribution of a Controlled Substance Methamphetamine. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court documents, in the summer of 2019, Detectives with the 18th East Judicial District Drug Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration launched an investigation into Paul Scaife, 41, for drug trafficking in the Western District of Arkansas.  In July of 2019, detectives conducted a controlled purchase of methamphetamine from Scaife.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The 18th East Judicial District Drug Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations Little Rock, and the 18th East Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Achorn and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Daniels prosecuted the case.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website @ www.pacer.gov.

INDIANA MAN SENTENCED TO 9 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR ROBBING A HOT SPRINGS PHARMACY
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – An Anderson, Indiana man was sentenced yesterday to 108 months on each count (to run concurrently) in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Robberies Involving Controlled Substances (Aiding and Abetting) and one count of Conspiracy and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule II Controlled Substances. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court documents, on or about June 7, 2018, Jerome Scott King, 22, along with two (2) other unidentified males, entered the CVS Pharmacy in Hot Springs, Arkansas, brandished a weapon, and forced employees to give them several Schedule II controlled substances.  The amount of controlled substance taken were valued at $22,421.87. In September of 2019, King was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison, out of the Western District of Missouri, Central Division, for a similar pharmacy robbery.  Yesterday’s sentencing was ordered to run consecutive to that 168-month sentence.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The Hot Springs Police Department and the FBI Little Rock investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Achorn and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Daniels  prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

October 07, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.

at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, City Hall is continuing to social distance and you are asked to wear your masks.

The Agenda is as follows:
A.    CALL TO ORDER
B.    INVOCATION – Rev. Mark Smith, Pastor – Thrive Church, 746 California Avenue SW, Camden,                 Arkansas
C.    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D.    ROLL CALL
E.    APPROVAL OF MINUTES
1.   Minutes Regular Meeting September 14, 2021
F.    ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORT
1.  Financial Report for September 2021
G.    AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
H.    MAYOR’S REPORT
1.   Jason Holsclaw with Stephens Inc., - Camden Water & Sewer Bond Issue (Present to answer any questions.)
I.    OLD BUSINESS
J.    NEW BUSINESS
1.   Ordinance No. 09-21, an ordinance rezoning property located at 1315 W. Washington from RS-2 (Single
Family District) to C-1 (Professional Office District).
2.   Ordinance No. 10-21, an ordinance fixing the rate of taxation for the year 2022; declaring an emergency; and for other purposes.
3.   Resolution No. 61-21, a resolution authorizing the offering of Bonds to refund the City’s Water and Sewer            Revenue Bond, Series 2016; and prescribing other matters pertaining thereto.
4.   Resolution No. 62-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Travis Daniel to the Advertising and   Promotion Commission.
5.   Resolution No. 63-21, a resolution amending the budget for 2021; and for other purposes.
6.   Resolution No. 64-21, a resolution authorizing obsolete or no longer used personal property to be sold at             Public Auction; and for other purposes.
K.    OTHER BUSINESS
L.    ADJOURNMENT

UAMS RESTRUCTURING GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM IN MAGNOLIA
LITTLE ROCK -- In an effort to ensure long-term growth and the highest quality residency training, UAMS is planning to restructure its Graduate Medical Education (GME) training program in Magnolia.

As part of the plan, the GME program will be closed in its current format on June 30, 2022, restructured and reopened in the future. This will not affect the UAMS Family Medical Center currently in operation on the UAMS South Regional Campus in Magnolia. The clinic will continue to provide primary care medical services to patients of all ages.

The GME program, which is currently operating as a standard three-year family medicine regional training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), will be restructured as an ACGME Rural Training Track (RTT), allowing for increased training opportunities for physician residents. The UAMS South campus opened in Magnolia in 2013. There are currently six physician residents in the program.

“UAMS is committed to the community of Magnolia and has been discussing this change for some time,” said Amy Wenger, MHSA, vice chancellor for regional programs. “Moving to an RTT program will allow us to strengthen our physician training opportunities and ensure that these future Arkansas doctors have the best possible experience,” Wenger said. “We value our longtime relationship with our hospital partner, Magnolia Regional Medical Center, and look forward to continuing to work together. We appreciate their support of our programs, and we will be working with them to ensure a smooth transition to this new program. We are both committed to the same goal of training high quality physicians and improving the health and health care of the people who live in south Arkansas.”

“While we are disappointed in the change to the residency program here in Magnolia, we are encouraged that UAMS is pursuing a Rural Training Track program,” said Rex Jones, MBA, CEO of Magnolia Regional Medical Center. “There is a critical shortage of family physicians across the nation but especially so in rural Arkansas. Providing a continued pipeline to develop physicians with an interest in rural medicine is extremely important across the state and not just here in Magnolia. Magnolia Regional Medical Center supports rural medicine and wants to help UAMS make the new program a success.”

“Restructuring the program as a Rural Training Track will allow our resident physicians at UAMS South Regional Campus in Magnolia to essentially enjoy the best of both worlds,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA. “They will continue to enjoy serving the community of Magnolia and south Arkansas for the last two years of their training, but will also have the added learning experience of rotating through a training program at one of our seven other regional campuses and being mentored by faculty there for their first year of residency.

“This change in no way diminishes our commitment to Magnolia or south Arkansas,” he stressed. “On the contrary, it underscores our commitment to this area of the state and to the very highest quality residency training at all eight of our regional campuses.”

Three of the six residents currently in Magnolia will graduate at the end of this academic year.  After they graduate, three residents will remain for their third and final year in the GME program. They will be offered additional training opportunities to allow them to continue in the program.

UAMS operates eight regional campuses throughout the state. They serve as an educational outreach network for UAMS and the principal means to decentralize medical education and locate training programs throughout the state. The mission of the regional campuses is to improve the health of Arkansans by training skilled and caring health professionals and delivering high quality patient-centered primary care.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE REMINDS AGRICULTURE PARTNERS ABOUT SAFE PRESCRIBED BURNING AND SMOKE MANAGEMENT
LITTLE ROCK, AR – With harvest underway, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture reminds our partners in agriculture and conservation of the importance of safe prescribed burning techniques as a valuable tool in crop management plans. 

Row crop farmers use prescribed fire in the fall as part of crop management plans to remove stubble following the harvest of rice, soybeans, corn, and cotton. Prescribed burning is an efficient and economical control method for preparing fields for the next growing season and eliminating pests and diseases. Burning crop residue also allows for no-till or reduced-till planting during the next growing season. Smoke management planning prior to the application of prescribed fires helps to reduce smoke impact on roadways, nearby towns, and sensitive areas like schools, nursing homes, churches, and other facilities.

“We want to remind all farmers who are using prescribed burns to make a safe smoke management plan, so we can continue to be good neighbors to all Arkansans,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture, Wes Ward.

Farmers can report a prescribed fire here. There is a Safe Burning Checklist which farmers complete before applying prescribed fire:
·        Take extra precautions for smoke sensitive areas (highways, residents, communities, etc.)
·        Report prescribed burns to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Dispatch Center (1-800-830-8015)
·        Check to make sure relative humidity is above 20%
·        Check to make sure wind speed is less than 15 mph
·        Be sure to follow appropriate Smoke Category Day guidelines

Reporting the burn to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Dispatch Center provides a full understanding to the farmer of weather conditions, information about other burns in the area, and proximity of nearby smoke sensitive areas like schools, nursing homes, and highways.

“It is crucial for farmers to practice the responsible stewardship of our resources and avoid future regulations and red tape for our producers. Prescribed fire is a valuable tool and calling the hotline before burning takes only seconds. Taking these proactive measures today will help us ensure a quality air shed for our families and communities for generations to come,” said David Gairhan, Arkansas Rice Federation Chairman.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

SAAC ANNOUNCES NEXT CORKS AND CANVAS NIGHT
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces its time for another Corks and Canvas night! Local artist Kelly Campbell will lead the fun as she presents “Pick Your Pumpkin” on Thursday, October 21, from 6-9pm.

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. No art experience needed!  The $40.00 prepaid non-refundable fee covers all supplies.  SAAC will be providing individually wrapped snacks and all supplies needed to create your masterpieces.  Participants are welcome to bring their own drink of choice.

Pumpkin season is here, and Campbell will lead participants through choosing background colors and pumpkin colors for each individual. She said, "I want everyone to choose a background color and colors for pumpkins that suits them and their own taste. And once the canvases are dry, we're going to paint glass bead medium over the pumpkins. That will give them a little subtle sparkle that's not too little, and not too much." She added, "I'm so happy to be hosting Corks & Canvas in person again!" 

Get your friends together for a fun and memorable night trying something that might be “out of the box” for you.  Share some laughs, re-connect and re-charge.  And at the end of the night you’ll have a memento — a unique piece of art to remind you of a fabulous night out! From the seasoned artist to the newbie, these classes have something for everyone! 

Participants may register for Corks and Canvas online at www.saac-arts.org or call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

BOOZMAN, COTTON PRESS DHS FOR ANSWERS ON RELEASE OF HAITIAN MIGRANTS INTO U.S.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in calling on Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to address reports that thousands of migrants sheltering in Del Rio, Texas were released into the interior of the U.S. instead of facing deportation as the Biden administration had previously pledged.

They wrote: “While we applaud the Administration’s original stated intent to expel the majority of migrants under the CDC’s Title 42 order or to expeditiously remove them, we are concerned that DHS did not actually carry out this plan, deployed resources in a manner that weakened border security, and undermined the deterrent effect of any future statements that the Biden administration will enforce our immigration laws at the border.”

“DHS has openly admitted that the rapid influx of Haitian migrants into the interior was orchestrated by smuggling organizations, which only makes some aspects of the agency’s response more puzzling.”

“The administration’s response to the ongoing border crisis only makes it more likely that we will continue to experience surges like the one in Del Rio.”

The letter was signed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Todd Young (R-IN), Jim Risch (R-ID), John Hoeven (R-ND), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Braun (R-IN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

Full text of the letter is  below.

October 6, 2021
Hon. Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
2707 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20528-0525 

Dear Secretary Mayorkas:

We are writing to inquire about DHS’s response to the recent surge of migrants into Del Rio, Texas. While we applaud the Administration’s original stated intent to expel the majority of migrants under the CDC’s Title 42 order or to expeditiously remove them, we are concerned that DHS did not actually carry out this plan, deployed resources in a manner that weakened border security, and undermined the deterrent effect of any future statements that the Biden Administration will enforce our immigration laws at the border.

The recent influx of migrants into Del Rio is exactly the kind of situation the CDC’s Title 42 order is meant to address. The New York Times described the conditions under the Del Rio International Bridge as “squalid,” and there is a significant risk of COVID-19 transmission in a migrant population of this size and concentration. You have described 42 U.S.C. 265 as “a public health authority to protect the American public, to protect the communities along the border, and to protect the migrants themselves.”  We were thus pleased that the Administration secured a stay pending appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan’s recent preliminary injunction on the use of the CDC’s Title 42 order with respect to family units. It is vital that DHS preserve this important authority as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the extent to which migrants in Del Rio were expelled under Title 42 remains unclear. On Friday September 24, when you announced that the area under the Del Rio International Bridge had been cleared, you stated that only 2,000 migrants had been placed on expulsion flights to Haiti. Reports indicate that single adults—which formed only a minority of the population under the Del Rio International Bridge—were prioritized, and that many migrant families were released into the interior. 

According to the strategy you released on September 18, 2021, those migrants “who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain will be placed in expedited removal proceedings.” Expedited removal is a very effective tool, as DHS demonstrated in June 2005 when it was used to respond to a massive influx of Brazilian nationals in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector. Following implementation in 2005 in RGV, the number of apprehensions per day dropped precipitously, and it created a strong deterrent effect. Significantly, however, then-U.S. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar noted that “aliens processed in expedited removal are required to be detained by law.” Media reports suggest that DHS has not followed through on its stated strategy of using expedited removal to address the surge of migrants into Del Rio. According to these reports, senior Executive Branch officials have stated that Haitian migrants have been released into the United States and freed on a “very, very large scale” in recent days, and that many have been released with a Notice to Report, or with parole and a requirement to enroll in Alternatives to Detention. Releasing large numbers of migrants into the interior with the request that they later report to ICE to commence their removal proceedings will only further incentivize illegal migration. And failing to follow through on a promise to expel or expeditiously remove migrants will only further convince them and the smuggling organizations that exploit them that the Biden Administration is not serious about enforcing our immigration laws at the southwest border.

DHS has openly admitted that the rapid influx of Haitian migrants into the interior was orchestrated by smuggling organizations, which only makes some aspects of the agency’s response more puzzling. On September 20, 2021, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz stated that “smugglers are significant drivers of the misinformation that gets people to undertake these dangerous journeys.” And Administration officials have communicated to congressional staff that smuggling organizations strategically bused migrants into Ciudad Acuña in order to concentrate migrants at a single location and overwhelm the Border Patrol. Despite knowing this, however, DHS shut down Border Patrol checkpoints in the Del Rio Sector and reassigned those agents to process migrants under the Del Rio International Bridge. DHS also reassigned agents from neighboring sectors in order to handle processing. This approach seems to play directly into the smuggling organizations’ hands, reducing operational control in the area and making it easier to move narcotics and other contraband into the interior.

Finally, the Administration’s response to the ongoing border crisis only makes it more likely that we will continue to experience surges like the one in Del Rio. In August, despite the summer heat, encounters along the southwest border stood above 200,000 for the second month in a row. Until DHS consistently enforces our immigration laws to swiftly remove migrants with weak or nonexistent asylum claims, smuggling organizations will continue to prey on these individuals and convince them to undertake the treacherous journey to our southwest border.

In order to better understand DHS’s response to the recent influx of migrants in Del Rio, we ask that you respond to the following questions by October 19, 2021:

Exactly how many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were expelled pursuant to the CDC’s Title 42 order? Of those migrants, how many were expelled between September 1 and September 24, and how many were expelled after that time? Does DHS anticipate expelling additional migrants encountered at the Del Rio International Bridge using Title 42? Please break down the totals by single adults, family units, and unaccompanied minors.

Exactly how many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were processed under one of the exceptions to Title 42? Of those who were processed under an exception to Title 42, how many migrants placed claims under the Convention Against Torture, how many were processed under the capacity exception to Title 42, and how many were processed under the humanitarian/medical exception to Title 42? Please break down the totals for each exception by single adults, family units, and unaccompanied minors.

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were placed into expedited removal proceedings? Of these, how many claimed credible fear or another form of protection? Were any of these migrants subsequently released within the United States, and if so, at what stage in their proceedings were they released? How many migrants placed into expedited removal proceedings have been removed, and how many are currently being detained? Please break down the totals by single adults and family units.

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were processed through the Electronic Nationality Verification Pilot?

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge whose removal proceedings have commenced have been placed onto the dedicated docket for families who arrive between ports of entry at the Southwest Border? 

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were apprehended and transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services as unaccompanied minors?

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were issued a Notice to Report and released (as opposed to the Notice to Report Plus process described below)? Of these, how many have reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in order to commence removal proceedings? Please break down the totals by single adults and family units.

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were processed through the so-called Notice to Report Plus process, where they are released with parole, enrolled in Alternatives to Detention and asked to report to an ICE field office in order to commence removal proceedings? Of these, how many have reported to ICE? Please break down the totals by single adults and family units.

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were issued a Notice to Appear? Please break down the totals by single adults and family units.

How many Border Patrol agents were transferred to process migrants or otherwise respond to the situation at the Del Rio International Bridge, and what locations were they transferred from? What was the average length of time such agents were away from their primary duty stations?

Why did DHS decide to shut down checkpoints in the Del Rio Sector? Were any actions taken to maintain operational control in areas from which Border Patrol agents were transferred?

Of the migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge, how many were Haitian nationals who resided in another country immediately prior to migrating to the United States? If these migrants make asylum claims, does DHS intend to assert evidence of an offer of firm resettlement in their immigration court proceedings?

Of the migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge, how many were transported to other sectors for processing? Please break down the totals by sector, and within that, by the authorities under which they were processed (i.e., Title 8, Title 42). 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

October 06, 2021

GUNMAN FOUND DEAD FOLLOWING STAND-OFF
OCTOBER 6, 2021
Nicholas Barker, 41, was found dead inside a residence south of Conway shortly before 3 AM today.  The Arkansas State Police is investigating the death.

Faulkner County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of gunfire inside a home at 139 Crestview Road about 2:45 PM yesterday (October 5th).  When deputies arrived, they heard gunfire emanating from within the house.  A woman later left the home and approached deputies to report Barker had fired a gun at her.  The woman was uninjured.

As a stand-off between law enforcement officers and Barker continued into the evening hours, deputies and state troopers of the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division witnessed Barker walk from the house and fire a gun into the air, then re-enter the residence.

The Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department later relinquished command and control of the stand-off, handing-off operations to the Arkansas State Police SWAT team.

State police obtained an arrest warrant from a Faulkner County judge charging Barker with terroristic threatening and aggravated assault.  When the state police SWAT team entered the home, troopers found Barker dead of what is suspected to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  The Arkansas State Medical Examiner will make a final determination as to the manner and cause of death.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are leading the investigation related to the incident and Barker’s death.  Their findings will be presented to the Faulkner Count prosecuting attorney.
 

HUB MONTHLY MEETING
The Hub will have its regular Monthly Meeting on Tuesday, October 12th. The meeting will be held at noon in the Great Hall at First Methodist Church.

 

METHODIST FAMILY HEALTH BREAKS GROUND ON NEW SPIRITUAL LIFE CENTER
$5.2 Million Multi-Use Center Named in Honor of Mike Millar, Prominent Attorney, Philanthropist and United Methodist
LITTLE ROCK, AR (Oct. 12, 2021) – Methodist Family Health is breaking ground on its newest, multi-use building at its oldest campus in Little Rock at 10:30 a.m. on its YouTube channel (YouTube.com/MethodistFamilyHealth) on Tues., Oct. 12. 

The state’s only complete continuum of care for Arkansas children and families who are abandoned, abused, neglected and struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues, Methodist Family Health raised $5.2 million to construct the Mike Millar Spiritual Life Center on the campus of the Methodist Children’s Home at 2002 S. Fillmore St. in Little Rock. The new center is named in memory of Mike Millar, a lifelong United Methodist from Searcy, Arkansas who served on both Methodist Family Health’s operations and foundation boards of directors. Millar was a prominent attorney, philanthropist and volunteer who died in 2020. The chapel of the center is named in memory of Elaine and Bishop Kenneth Hicks, longtime supporters 

Construction of this facility will begin in October and should be completed in summer 2022. It will replace the original chapel on Methodist Family Health’s oldest campus, Methodist Children’s Home. 

In October 2020, the Mabee Foundation awarded a challenge grant of $950,000 to Methodist Family Health for the construction of the Mike Millar Spiritual Life Center. This challenge grant stipulated Methodist Family Health Foundation raise the total project cost of $4,256,175 by October 13, 2021. The challenge was met in July 2021, and a total $4,259,671.72 has been raised.

“In addition to the Elaine and Bishop Kenneth Hicks Chapel, this center will include a multipurpose space, a welcome center for the campus, and administrative space for our Methodist Children’s Home administrators,” said Carolyn McCone, CFRE, executive director of Methodist Family Health Foundation. “We also will include an outdoor labyrinth, new landscaping, and enhanced parking to complement the center. The facility will also provide space for community partners to meet for neighborhood association meetings and community education.”

For more information about the Mike Millar Spiritual Life Center or Methodist Family Health, visit MethodistFamily.org
 

COTTON DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM BIDEN DOJ ABOUT INVESTIGATIONS OF ANTI-CRT PARENTS AS DOMESTIC TERRORISTS
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers about a memo he drafted addressing protests against local school board officials. This memo came after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to President Biden requesting federal law enforcement be tasked with investigating a “growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation” against local school board officials.

In part, Cotton wrote, “The NSBA letter requested that the Biden administration examine whether these purported acts violated several statutes, including the PATRIOT Act and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The letter further asserted that these acts may amount to a form of ‘domestic terrorism.’”

“Your memo, issued just five days after the NSBA letter and copying some of its recommendations, certainly appears to be a response to and tacit approval of that letter. The Department of Justice’s endorsement of such outlandish allegations threatens to intimidate parents, chill free speech, and discourage lawful assemblies,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

The Honorable Merrick Garland
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Garland,

I write regarding your October 4th memo addressing protests against local school board policies.

Your memo was issued shortly after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to President Biden urging him to task federal law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with investigating a “growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation” against local school board officials. The NSBA letter requested that the Biden administration examine whether these purported acts violated several statutes, including the PATRIOT Act and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The letter further asserted that these acts may amount to a form of “domestic terrorism.”

It is never appropriate to use violence or threats of violence to achieve political goals. However, NSBA went much further by suggesting that concerned parents, who are merely exercising their constitutionally protected rights to speak freely and protect their children, should be treated as domestic terrorists. Your memo, issued just five days after the NSBA letter and copying some of its recommendations, certainly appears to be a response to and tacit approval of that letter. The Department of Justice’s endorsement of such outlandish allegations threatens to intimidate parents, chill free speech, and discourage lawful assemblies.

Given these concerns, please respond to the following questions by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 13, 2021:

Did the NSBA letter prompt you to issue the aforementioned memorandum? If not, what considerations prompted you to issue the memorandum?

Have any state or local authorities or other organizations besides the NSBA requested or encouraged the Biden administration to take action against this alleged rise in violence and intimidation against school officials? If so, which organizations?

Please provide all sources to support your claim in the memorandum that “there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

Please document any cases of physical violence committed against school district officials in recent protests against school policies and curriculum.

When, according to your analysis, did this purported spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence occur? Do you agree with the NSBA’s claim that the alleged spike is being fomented by mask mandates and curricula teaching critical race theory?

Do you agree with the NSBA’s assessment that protests against school district policies and curricular instruction may amount to domestic terrorism?

The NSBA requested that you invoke specific authorities to prosecute as “domestic extremists” parents who disagree with the positions of their school boards. Please explain whether you believe any of the following federal laws could be used to prosecute those who protest against local school board policies and their members:

Gun-Free School Zones Act
PATRIOT Act
Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights statute
Conspiracy Against Rights statute

I look forward to your prompt response regarding this important matter.

COTTON CALLS ON U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE TO STOP CHINA’S ADMISSION TO 11-NATION TRADING PACT
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai calling on her to use tools available under the USMCA to stop China’s admission to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an 11-nation free trade agreement (FTA).

In part, Cotton wrote, “As you know, the CPTPP is an 11-nation trading pact between market economies from around the Pacific Rim. China comes nowhere close to complying with CPTPP’s standards on state-owned enterprises, intellectual property, labor, the environment, and many other areas. Its policy of economic warfare against market economies stands in stark contrast to the general practices of the participating nations. China’s entry into the CPTPP would reward the state-sponsored theft and economic coercion that has been a hallmark of the Chinese Communist Party.”

“Fortunately, you are in a position to take action. As you know, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMA) includes a provision that requires any member of the USMCA to notify the other members if they intend to enter into free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with “non-market” economies. Further, the pact allows USMCA parties to terminate the agreement within six months if any member enters into an FTA with a non-market economy…I urge you to remind Canada and Mexico of their obligations under the USMCA. I further request that you to notify them that the United States will use all mechanisms available to us in the USMCA to ensure China not be allowed to join the CPTPP,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

The Honorable Katherine Tai
U.S. Trade Representative
600 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20508

Dear Ambassador Tai,
I write to express my concerns about China’s interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). China reportedly sent a formal notice on September 16th to New Zealand requesting to join the pact.

As you know, the CPTPP is an 11-nation trading pact between market economies from around the Pacific Rim. China comes nowhere close to complying with CPTPP’s standards on state-owned enterprises, intellectual property, labor, the environment, and many other areas. Its policy of economic warfare against market economies stands in stark contrast to the general practices of the participating nations. China’s entry into the CPTPP would reward the state-sponsored theft and economic coercion that has been a hallmark of the Chinese Communist Party. For example, the 2004 theft of Canadian company Nortel’s intellectual property by Chinese hackers ended with the bankruptcy of Nortel, a company that was one of the world’s preeminent fiber optic data transmission systems producers. Market economies should decouple themselves from communist China, not encourage Beijing’s malign behavior with more market access.

For these reasons, one would expect that the CPTPP nations—which include several strong U.S. allies and partners—will swiftly reject China’s cynical bid for membership. But we know China is not above using economic coercion, kidnapping, and bribery to achieve its objectives. Moreover, China’s membership in CPTPP would have major consequences for the United States, as China effectively would be able to free-ride off of the duty-free access that CPTPP members have to the U.S. market through our own free trade agreements. 

Fortunately, you are in a position to take action. As you know, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMA) includes a provision that requires any member of the USMCA to notify the other members if they intend to enter into free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with “non-market” economies. Further, the pact allows USMCA parties to terminate the agreement within six months if any member enters into an FTA with a non-market economy.  As CPTPP members, Canada and Mexico have the power to veto China’s accession to the agreement. And under Article 32.10 of the USMCA, each would be required to formally notify the United States three months before negotiations on China’s accession begin and provide us with information about the negotiating objectives. The United States should use the leverage we negotiated in USMCA to encourage our trading partners to reject China’s application and to support them in resisting any pressure tactics China may employ against them.   

I urge you to remind Canada and Mexico of their obligations under the USMCA. I further request that you to notify them that the United States will use all mechanisms available to us in the USMCA to ensure China not be allowed to join the CPTPP.

I would also note that on October 4th, during a question-and-answer session at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, you were asked, “are you going to block China joining the CPTPP?” While you refrained from directly answering the question at that time, I request that you clearly state your position in your response to this letter.

Sincerely,

ARYAN CIRCLE GANG LEADER SENTENCED TO 87 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR VIOLENT CRIME IN AID OF RACKETEERING
A Texas man was sentenced today to 87 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in directing subordinate Aryan Circle (AC) gang members to assault and inflict serious bodily injury on a victim.

Michael Martin, aka Aryan Prodigy and AP, 38, of Santa Fe, Texas, pleaded guilty to committing assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering on March 4, 2021. According to court documents, the AC is a violent, race-based, prison-based gang with hundreds of members operating inside and outside of state and federal prisons in states throughout the country. The AC enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects and associates through threats, intimidation and acts of violence including, but not limited to, acts involving assault and murder. Members are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members without question.

Martin joined the AC in the early 2000s and held the rank of upper board member at the time of the offense, meaning that he was one of the five highest-ranking AC members in the country. In this role, Martin made decisions and directed the actions of other gang members regarding a range of issues including who to recruit and admit as members of the gang; who should be disciplined or removed for violating the AC rules; and which rival gangs the AC would fight with or against. 

According to court documents, Martin learned that another AC member wanted to switch his gang affiliation, or “patch over,” from the AC to a different gang. Martin ordered AC members to attack the member to “X” him, or remove him from the gang, because it violated the AC’s rules to join a different organization. On Martin’s orders, several AC members then violently beat the victim, including by kicking the victim in the head while he was on the ground. The attack resulted in the victim obtaining medical care and suffering long-term injury.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei for the Eastern District of Texas made the announcement.

The case was investigated by the following agencies: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Prisons; Texas Department of Public Safety; Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Montgomery County (TX) Precinct One Constable’s Office; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Texas Department of Criminal Justice; New Jersey Department of Corrections-Special Investigations Division; Indiana State Police; Fort Smith (AR) Police Department; Arkansas Department of Corrections; Arnold (MO) Police Department; Jefferson County (MO) Sheriff’s Department; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; St. Louis County (MO) Police Department; Indiana Department of Corrections; Carrollton (TX) Police Department; Montgomery County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Travis County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Tarrant County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Evangeline Parish (LA) Sheriff’s Office; Smith County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; McCurtain County (OK) Sheriff’s Office; Montgomery County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Liberty County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Harris County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Mercer County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office; Evangeline Parish (LA) District Attorney’s Office; and the Sebastian County (AR) District Attorney’s Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.

Trial Attorneys Beth Lipman and Rebecca Dunnan of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Rapp of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas prosecuted the case.October 06, 2021

October 04, 2021

ARKANSAS LAWMAKERS EXTENDED SESSION
Arkansas lawmakers got together October 1st for an extended session to redraw the district map and voted on three COVID-19 related bills. 

The Senate committee on public health, welfare, and labor board heard testimony from both sides of the Senate on Senate Bill 730, Senate Bill 732, and Senate Bill 739. 

Senate Bill 730 — allows individuals to avail unemployment benefits if they get terminated for refusing to obtain the vaccine.

State Senator Trent Garner, a sponsor for Senate Bill 730, stated, “If you were fired for COVID reasons, specifically for not taken the vaccine, that’s a termination, and you can get those benefits.”

Senate Bill 732 — prohibits the coercion of individuals from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Senator Blake Johnson, a sponsor for Senate Bill 732, stated that the said bill seeks to protect individual freedoms, liberties, and the people in Arkansas.

Senate Bill 739 — provides employees with exemptions from federal and employer-mandated vaccines. Among these exclusions is the provision of a weekly negative test, which may be reimbursed using COVID-19 relief funds.

All three bills were submitted to the committee and now head to the Senate floor.

The Legislature will reassemble to redraw a new congressional district map during the extended session. So far, a map has not yet been introduced on the House or Senate floor.  This occurs every ten years when the United States census data is released.

MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR CAPITAL MURDER AND RAPE
Quake Lewellyn, 29, of Jonesboro, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty Friday to capital murder and rape charges as part of a plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty. Prosecutors also agreed to dismiss kidnapping and abuse of a corpse charges.

Lewellyn was charged in the August 2020 death of Sydney Sutherland, 25. Defense attorneys have called Sutherland’s death a “horrible accident.”

Sutherland’s body was found near Newport, about 80 miles northeast of Little Rock, several days after she disappeared.

Lewellyn later told investigators in an affidavit that he struck Sutherland with his pickup truck, then drove to another location where he said he violated her and buried her body.

FREE PROGRAM ON PIONEER ARKANSAN
Washington, Ark – The Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives, a branch of the Arkansas State Archives, presents “Nicholas Trammell: His life, his legend, his road” at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Historic Washington State Park and via Zoom.

Gary Pinkerton, author of the book Trammel’s Trace: The First Road to Texas from the North, will tell the story of Nicholas Trammell, replacing myth and legend with an incredibly interesting biography of a frontier opportunist and troublemaker.  

Trammell’s road is considered one of the earliest routes for migration toward Texas in the early 1800s and was named for Trammell, a Tennessean who made his home in Arkansas and Texas on the fringes of territorial expansion.

Those attending the event in person should follow COVID-19 protocols while inside the WPA Gymnasium, 100 SW Morrison St, Washington, AR.

Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sara-in-person-and-virtual-event-on-nicholas-trammell-tickets-183758836627 or to obtain the Zoom link or for more information on this free program, please contact Melissa Nesbitt at 870.983.2633 or melissa.nesbitt@arkansas.gov.

SMALL WORKS ON PAPER IS NOW OPEN IN RUSSELLVILLE
Russellville -- The 2021 Small Works on Paper, an annual touring visual arts exhibition that showcases the work of Arkansas artists, will open at 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 4 in the Norman Hall Gallery at Arkansas Tech University at 203 West Q St. in Russellville. 

“We are excited to be able to recognize the wonderful and diverse talent of visual artists throughout Arkansas,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary for the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “Small Works on Paper showcases artists from every corner of our state and gives art lovers the opportunity to discover emerging artists and experience one-of-a-kind artworks they may otherwise never see.”   

The visual arts exhibition will be on display through Oct. 22. The gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The gallery is closed on weekends and university holidays. 

There will be a reception on Wednesday, Oct. 6th at 2:30 p.m. Masks are required and no food or drinks will be served.  

The Arkansas Arts Council coordinates the exhibition and makes it available for loan to qualifying galleries around the state. The 2021 exhibition kicked off in January at East Arkansas Community College in Forrest City.  

The 2021 Small Works on Paper exhibition will feature 26 artists from across Arkansas and will tour up to 10 venues statewide. 38 artworks will be on display during the yearlong tour. Most works will be available for sale.   

Small Works on Paper is a juried visual art exhibition that showcases artwork no larger than 18-by-24 inches. Now in its 34th year, the exhibition spotlights Arkansas artists who are members of the Arkansas Artist Registry, an online gallery.  

The 2021 Small Works on Paper entries were juried by Judy Ledgerwood, a professional artist and recently retired Professor in the Arts in the Department of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. 

Ledgerwood reviewed about 200 submitted artworks to pick out the 38 pieces that are part of the Small Works on Paper exhibition. She also selected works to receive purchase awards, which are cash prizes equivalent to the value of the artworks. Purchase award pieces become part of the Small Works on Paper permanent collection.  

“The 2021 Small Works on Paper will be an experience no Arkansan will want to miss. In 2020, Arkansas artists submitted an array of works that capture the emotions, hopes and fears of 2020,” said Patrick Ralston, Arkansas Arts Council director. “Artists are a vital resource for Arkansas, and they are an important component of our state’s vision, heritage, culture and economy.”  

The following artists were selected to participate in the exhibit:   
Tony Baker, Little Rock  
Win Bruhl, Little Rock  
Ian Scott Campbell, Batesville  
Gary Cawood,Little Rock  
Susan Baker Chambers, Little Rock  
Kinya Christian, Springdale  
Taylor Dolan, Fayetteville  
Laura Fanning, Little Rock  
Terra Fondriest, St. Joe  
Ike Garlington, Little Rock  
Neal Harrington, Russellville  
Tammy Harrington, Russellville  
Diana Michelle Hausam, West Fork  
Crystal Jennings, Rison  
Kimiara L. Johnson, Pine Bluff  
Stephen Koch, Little Rock  
Pat Langewis, Hot Springs Village  
Sandra Marson, Jacksonville  
Dennis McCann, Maumelle  
Moises Menendez, Magnolia  
Cindy Momchilov, Little Rock  
Eloa Jane Pereira, Fayetteville
David Rackley, Russellville  
Lynn Reinbolt, Searcy  
Kendall Schulz, Bentonville  
Gary Simmons, Hot Springs  
For more information about Small Works on Paper, contact Cheri Leffew, special events-projects manager, at 501-324-9767 or at cheri.leffew@arkansas.gov.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY ANNOUNCES REDESIGNED STATEMENT -- NOW AVAILABLE WITH A MY SOCIAL SECURITY ACCOUNT
Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today introduced a new look and feel to the Social Security Statement, available online through the my Social Security portal at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and by mail. The Statement is one of the most effective tools people can use to learn about their earnings and future Social Security benefits. This fresh look will allow millions of people to see their earnings information and estimates of future benefits quickly and securely.

“One of my top priorities is to provide information to people in clear and plain terms about Social Security’s programs and services,” said Acting Commissioner Kijakazi. “The streamlined Social Security Statement contains clear messaging and makes it easier to find information at a glance, helping to simplify our complex programs for the public.”

The agency conducted extensive research, review, and testing to make the updated Statement easy to understand. The new Statement is shorter, uses visuals and plain language, and includes fact sheets tailored to a person’s age and earnings history. It also includes important information people have come to expect from the Statement, such as how much a worker and family members could expect to receive in Social Security benefits and a personalized earnings history, in a clear, concise manner. Examples of the new Statement and fact sheets are available at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/statement.html.

More than 61 million people have already created my Social Security accounts. U.S. citizens age 18 or older can easily view their redesigned Social Security Statement online by creating a my Social Security account. People age 60 or older who do not receive benefits and do not have a my Social Security account will receive their Statement by mail three months before their birthday. Workers should check their Statement at least once a year for accuracy.

People can check information and conduct most Social Security business through their personal my Social Security account. If they already receive Social Security benefits, they can start or change direct deposit online, request a replacement SSA-1099, and if they need proof of their benefits, they can print or download a current Benefit Verification Letter from their account.

In addition to obtaining their personalized Social Security Statement, people not yet receiving benefits can use their account to request a replacement Social Security card online if they meet certain requirements. The portal also includes a retirement calculator and links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits.

Many Social Security services are also conveniently available by dialing toll-free, 1-800-772-1213. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call Social Security’s TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

 

TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN CELEBRATES COMPLETION OF OFFICE’S HISTORIC RESTORATION
State Treasury officially reopens to public
Little Rock, Ark. – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan officially reopened the Treasury suite in the State Capitol on Monday, following a historical restoration effort to return the office to its original 1912 appearance.

“What a great day in Arkansas history,” Milligan said. “This restoration effort – made possible by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council – has been a labor of love for the thousands of visitors who come through our office each year, and I think you’re going to like what you see.”

The Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) granted the Treasurer’s Office two grants in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 that totaled $1.65 million. The grants were awarded to restore the public spaces of the Treasury to their original look. That included raising ceilings that had been lowered during previous administrations, fixing cracked marble, updating the 108-year-old vault and restoring the paint scheme to its original colors.

“Aside from public hallways and the House and Senate chambers, the Treasury is the only other space within the Capitol that has marble used extensively,” Milligan said. “Prior to this effort, the marble hadn’t been touched since its original installation in the 1900s.”

“Additionally, the teller stations had been altered over the years to narrow the amount of space that could be used for housing large tour groups. Since we’re one of the most toured offices in the Capitol – with around 23,000 visitors annually – we wanted to be able to offer the public a larger space to be able to enjoy as they wait to tour the historic vault,” Milligan said.

The State Capitol is on the National Register of Historic Places, so restoring it and keeping its rich history alive is important, said Stacy Hurst, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

“The Arkansas State Capitol is such an architectural treasure,” said Hurst, who is also state historic preservation officer and secretary of the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. “The Treasurer and his staff have done a wonderful job restoring the offices to reflect the importance of this National Register-listed building.”

Milligan held a grand reopening ceremony and ribbon cutting in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday, then led the first official tour of the newly-restored office.

“I always want to leave things better than I found them,” Milligan said, “so my hope is that by restoring this office, we’ve preserved a piece of history that will be able to be enjoyed for many generations to come.”

COTTON DEMANDS ANSWERS ABOUT AFGHAN EVACUEE ‘INDEPENDENT DEPARTURES’
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding answers about how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to respond to reports of “independent departures” by Afghan evacuees from military bases in the United States.

In part, Cotton wrote, “According to public reports, hundreds of Afghan evacuees housed at U.S. military bases have simply walked off of the bases at which they were being housed. Individuals with lawful immigration status prior to the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan—such as United States citizens, lawful permanent residents, and approved special immigrant visa holders—justly expected a speedy departure from U.S. custody once they arrived safely in the United States.”

“However, a more extensive review and vetting process is absolutely essential for the tens of thousands of unknown Afghans who were airlifted during the evacuation. The Biden administration’s obfuscation and steadfast refusal to answer oversight inquiries from Congress exacerbates these concerns,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.
The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Secretary Mayorkas:

According to public reports, hundreds of Afghan evacuees housed at U.S. military bases have simply walked off of the bases at which they were being housed.  Individuals with lawful immigration status prior to the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan—such as United States citizens, lawful permanent residents, and approved special immigrant visa holders—justly expected a speedy departure from U.S. custody once they arrived safely in the United States. However, a more extensive review and vetting process is absolutely essential for the tens of thousands of unknown Afghans who were airlifted during the evacuation. The Biden administration’s obfuscation and steadfast refusal to answer oversight inquiries from Congress exacerbates these concerns.        

The U.S. government is currently investigating multiple crimes committed in evacuee facilities. The American people have seen reports of a group of male Afghan evacuees assaulting a female servicemember at a Fort Bliss facility in New Mexico.  An Afghan evacuee allegedly sexually assaulted young boys at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.  Another Afghan evacuee reportedly choked his wife at Fort McCoy.  The State Department has raised concerns about child trafficking by older Afghan men.  Even previously-deported criminals—including an Afghan who had previously been convicted of rape in the United States,  and another who had previously been convicted of aggravated robbery —were airlifted back to the United States. In light of these reports, it is alarming that hundreds of Afghan evacuees have reportedly left U.S. military bases directly into our communities, possibly before completing our vetting and immigration processes. Accordingly, please provide answers to the following questions:

How many Afghan evacuees have made “independent departures,” in which they simply left U.S. military bases on their own accord?

What requirements, if any, must Afghan evacuees meet before being allowed to leave military bases in the United States? What conditions are placed on such Afghan evacuees when they leave?

What vetting, if any, have Afghan evacuees completed before arriving at military bases in the United States? Is the Department of Homeland Security undertaking any additional vetting after Afghan evacuees have arrived at military bases in the United States? If so, how many of the evacuees who have made “independent departures” completed all additional vetting prior to their leaving the military base?

Of the number of evacuees who have made “independent departures,” how many received affirmative approval from Department of Homeland Security officials to leave the base?

What are the immigration statuses, if any, held by evacuees who have made “independent departures?” Please provide a breakdown of the number of evacuees who had American citizenship, lawful permanent residency (“green cards”), approved special immigrant visas (SIVs), or other status, as well as the number of evacuees who have only been paroled into the United States but who do not have any other immigration status.

What measures is the Department of Homeland Security taking to track the whereabouts and activities of evacuees who have made “independent departures” in the United States?

Of the evacuees who have made “independent departures,” for how many does the Department of Homeland Security have a confirmed current location?

Please provide complete, written responses to these questions as soon as possible, but no later than 5:00PM on Friday, October 8, 2021. Please also arrange for a staff briefing on this matter by contacting my office’s counsel at (202) 224-2353. Thank you for your attention to this concerning matter.

Sincerely,

October 01, 2021

THE CALL IN ARKANSAS WINS A $25,000 STATE FARM NEIGHBORHOOD ASSIST® GRANT
Little Rock, AR.  (September 29, 2021) - In just 10 days in August, 125,000 people cast more than 3 million votes in support of their favorite causes. As a result, 40 communities, in 18 states, including The CALL in Arkansas will be getting an assist from State Farm®. State Farm is proud to announce the Top 40 vote-getting causes that have won $25,000 grants to improve their communities.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. Non-profits affiliated with each of the top 40 causes receive grants to address them.

 The CALL started in 2007 after a group of concerned individuals came together to look for a way to provide for children in foster care. What started in one county, quickly spread to other counties. In 2010, The CALL became a statewide organization and is now active in 57 counties around Arkansas. The goal is to serve all 75 counties in the state, so that whenever and wherever a child comes into foster care, that child will find a welcoming foster home in their own community. The CALL just celebrated its 14th year of operation, helping meet the needs of children and youth in foster care throughout Arkansas. More than 23,000 children have been cared for by over 2,600 families recruited by The CALL. Over 1,800 children have been adopted into their forever family as a result. The CALL works closely with the Arkansas DCFS. Today, 60% of foster families statewide were recruited/trained by The CALL. Our services are provided at no cost to the state of Arkansas or families.

We need "more than enough" foster homes to provide the most appropriate home to meet the needs of children and youth in foster care who have experienced trauma. Currently, there are 4,899 children and youth in foster care in Arkansas, with only 1,560 homes available. When children enter care, over 55% cannot stay in their hometown. Many are already behind in school because of the circumstances resulting in their removal. Without enough homes in their local communities, they are forced to leave all that they know. More than enough homes would allow these children to stay in their local communities. Funds provided through this grant will provide training and support to foster and adoptive families, as well as the recruitment of additional families.

Jill Bobo, Development Director of The CALL, said, “The CALL is thrilled to be the only organization in Arkansas selected for the neighborhood assist grant program.  We appreciate our supporters and community members across the state voting for The CALL.”

Two thousand cause submissions were accepted in June at www.neighborhoodassist.com. The State Farm Review Committee selected the Top 200 finalists and public voting determined the Top 40. In the ten years of the program, more than 380 causes have received a total of $10 million to enact change in their communities.

For a complete list of this year’s top 40 causes, please visit: www.neighborhoodassist.com. 

CENSUS DATA
Every 10 years, the census is taken, and that information is used to determine where your dollars are spent, as well as who is deciding things for you on a local level like your Quorum Court, your City Council, and your school boards. 

On the State level, the General Assembly makes the decisions about the congressional districts, for which there are four. The legislature is meeting this week to discuss different proposed maps by lawmakers from different sides of the aisle. 

More than 3 million people live in Arkansas according to the 2020 census. As populations shift in the state, some areas like Northwest Arkansas could see more representation while other areas may now see less.

ARKANSAS LAWMAKERS ADVANCE LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALLOW WORKERS TO OPT OUT OF EMPLOYER’S COVID-19 VACCINE REQUIREMENT
Arkansas lawmakers on Wednesday advanced legislation that would allow workers to opt out of their employer’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement if they’re tested weekly or can prove they have natural antibodies.

The House and Senate Public Health committees endorsed identical versions of the bill, which also would require the state to pay unemployment benefits to workers who are fired for not getting vaccinated.

Republican lawmakers have filed numerous bills targeting vaccine mandates as the Legislature reconvened this week to take up congressional redistricting. The proposals are primarily in response to President Joe Biden’s order requiring workers at businesses with at least 100 employees to get vaccinated or tested regularly.

Legislative leaders have said the anti-vaccine mandate bills should not be considered since lawmakers are meeting primarily to take up congressional redistricting.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he hadn’t read the proposal advanced by both panels, but repeated concerns he’s raised about lawmakers taking up something outside of redistricting.

Arkansas law prohibits COVID-19 vaccine requirements by state and local government entities, including schools.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SETTLES SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT AGAINST ARKANSAS HOUSING AUTHORITY
The Justice Department announced Thursday that the White River Regional Housing Authority in Melbourne, Arkansas, has agreed to pay $70,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging that it and its former employee, Duane Johnson, violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) when Johnson sexually harassed an applicant who sought a Housing Choice Voucher from the Housing Authority. 

The settlement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, will resolve the United States’ lawsuit, also filed Thursday, under the Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit alleges that in 2020, a woman who was living with her two minor children at a shelter for survivors of domestic violence and abuse applied to the Housing Authority for a Housing Choice Voucher in Cleburne County, Arkansas. The Housing Authority assigned the application to Duane Johnson, a Housing Authority employee who, among other duties, served as the Housing Choice Voucher coordinator for Cleburne County. 

“All people deserve equal access to critical housing benefits, including vouchers, without being subjected to sexual harassment,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Housing assistance programs are designed to help people when they need it the most. The Justice Department will not tolerate officials who abuse their power by sexually harassing housing voucher applicants and will continue to use the law to hold perpetrators accountable.”

“Thursday’s announcement demonstrates that officials who use their control over the grant of public assistance programs in order to exploit sexual acts from those in need of assistance will be held accountable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan D. Ross for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “Our office will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate and hold accountable all who similarly abuse their positions of public trust.”

“Renters whose names rise to the top of coveted Housing Choice Voucher waiting lists should not have to submit to unwelcomed sexual harassment before obtaining housing assistance,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Demetria McCain of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD applauds Thursday’s settlement and remains committed to working with the Justice Department to ensure that everyone in a position to control access to housing meets their responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.”  

The lawsuit alleges that Johnson sexually harassed the applicant. Specifically, the suit alleges, Johnson touched the applicant without her consent, requested that she provide him with full-frontal nude photographs in exchange for his assistance in finding housing, made graphic descriptions of the poses he wanted for the photographs, made other unwelcome sexual advances and threatened to post nude photographs of the applicant on Facebook if she reported him. Although the Housing Authority later notified the applicant that she could receive a Housing Choice Voucher, the lawsuit alleges that she chose not accept a voucher because she was afraid of Johnson and did not want him to know where she lived. The lawsuit also alleges that the Housing Authority is vicariously liable for Johnson’s unlawful conduct.

The applicant filed a complaint against the Housing Authority and Johnson with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After an investigation, HUD determined that the Housing Authority and Johnson had discriminated against the applicant in violation of the Fair Housing Act and it issued a charge of discrimination. After the applicant chose to have the matter decided in federal court, the HUD referred the matter to the Department of Justice. 

Under the settlement, the Housing Authority will pay a total of $70,000 in monetary damages to the applicant, adopt and maintain an anti-discrimination policy with a complaint procedure, and provide training on the Fair Housing Act to its employees. The settlement also permanently bars Johnson from participating in the management of residential rental property and from participating in any public housing program.

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorneys' Offices across the country. The goal of the initiative is to address and raise awareness about sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers or other people who have control over housing. Since launching the Initiative in October 2017, the Department of Justice has filed 23 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment in housing and recovered over $4.1 million for victims of such harassment. HUD also has developed a Sexual Harassment training initiative with training sessions and educational resources about preventing and addressing sexual harassment, and launched a public awareness campaign – Call HUD: Because Sexual Harassment in Housing is Illegal.

If you think you are a victim of sexual harassment by a landlord or other forms of housing discrimination, you may contact the Justice Department by calling the Justice Department’s Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-833-591-0291, e-mailing the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or submitting a report online. Individuals may also report such discrimination by contacting HUD at 1-800-669-9777 or by filing a complaint online.

September 30, 2021

STATE SENATOR PROPOSES THOSE WITH NATURAL IMMUNITY BE TREATED LIKE VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS
Arkansas Republican State Senator Trent Garner of El Dorado is proposing new legislation that would look to have natural immunity to COVID-19 be treated the same as someone being vaccinated from the virus.

Sen. Garner posted on his Re-Elect Senator Trent Garner Facebook page Tuesday, an image of a draft of the bill, saying he wanted to see the state “recognize natural immunity with the same degree as vaccination rates.”

Garner claimed that “We know natural immunity is as strong a protection from COVID-19 as vaccination.” on his Facebook post attached with the image.  Garner added “It is time for Arkansas to recognize natural immunity with the same degree as vaccination rates.”

SAU TECH AWARDED 3 ROUND WORC GRANT
Southern Arkansas University Tech is pleased to announce a $1,495,154 grant award from the United States Department of Labor and the Delta Regional Authority through the Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities Initiative. 

The new award is the second WORC grant SAU Tech has received in the last few years. In Round 2, the College was awarded a grant to expand the healthcare training opportunities for the Delta counties in SAU Tech’s service area. The project includes developing partnerships, new healthcare programs, and serving healthcare students with added supports. 

The WORC grant awarded on September 28, 2021, provides funds to create an Aerospace Defense Manufacturing Center of Excellence that will provide the following activities: 

Deliver training to 600 participants (entrants into the workforce, dislocated workers, and incumbent workers) in the DRA counties of Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Dallas, Ouachita, and Union Counties in South Arkansas.

Develop and grow new and current partnerships with Highland Park Industries-Aerojet Rocketdyne, Lockheed Martin, Armtec Defense Technologies, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Spectra Technologies and Arkansas Workforce Services, the Arkansas Office of Skills Development, The Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development, SAU Tech Adult Education, and SAU Tech Career Academy Program. 

 Update and renovation of dedicated training space on SAU Tech’s main campus inside the Highland Industrial Park, creating a unique Center for customized training, pre-employment training, and industry-delivered training for years to come. 

The grant project is located under the College’s Division of Workforce Training under the supervision of Director Randy Harper and Assistant Director, Karmen House. The project will start October 1, 2021, with notification of all partner industries involved in the delivery of the project. 

The College’s success with this project will change the landscape of the economy in the area by utilizing partnerships with WIOA programs and Adult Education to provide a support system for new and dislocated workers who participate in the project. The DOL/DRA WORC grant initiative aims to grow and prosper Delta communities so the people who live there can work and thrive right where they live.

BISMARCK MAN SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF A MINOR
HOT SPRINGS, ARK. – Aaron Edward Briggs, 28, formerly of Morgan City, Louisiana, was sentenced yesterday to thirty (30) years in prison without the possibility of parole on one count of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor via the Production of Child Pornography. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the U.S. District Court in Hot Springs.   

According to court documents, in 2019, Briggs met and began a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female. During the course of the sexual relationship, Briggs sent a picture of his genitals to the minor via Facebook Messenger. During a subsequent online conversation, Briggs requested that the minor take and send him sexually explicit images of herself. The evidence recovered during the investigation revealed numerous sexually explicit images of the minor that were sent to Briggs. 

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigations, Little Rock Division investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner prosecuted the case for the United States.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website @ www.pacer.gov
 

ADE AND ERZS PARTNER TO OFFER ARKANSAS TUTORING CORPS PROGRAM
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is partnering with the Education Renewal Zones to build and grow the Arkansas Tutoring Corps program, which is a system of trained tutors around the state who will provide tutoring assistance to students who need additional academic support.

The program, which is funded by state set-aside American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds, seeks to recruit at least 500 tutors who will be connected to organizations in their geographic areas that provide academic support to students. These organizations include schools, community organizations, faith-based organizations, and other entities that provide academic assistance to students.

“The availability of federal funds makes this much-needed program possible,” said Dr. Missy Walley, the director of special projects for ADE’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. “We know that COVID-19 has impacted students’ academic achievement, but with these resources and this network of tutors, students can obtain additional assistance to help them recoup some of the learning loss that occurred as a result of the pandemic. I look forward to the program’s growth and the positive impact it will have on student learning.”

The program’s initial focus is on providing tutors for students in grades K-8, with goals of expanding the program to include tutors for students in higher grades. 

In order to become a tutor, a candidate must complete an application and an initial training (see the link below for more information) in addition to successfully completing a background check. Those who complete the initial process receive a $500 stipend. Upon completing the first learning module in addition to 20 completed hours of tutoring at an approved site, the tutor will receive an additional $300. Additional $300 stipends are available for completing subsequent learning modules and tutoring hours. 

Upon completing all training and learning modules, as well as logging a total of 175 tutoring hours, tutors receive the Arkansas Tutoring Corp Certified Member designation along with an additional $1,000 stipend. The total amount a tutor can receive the first year is $3,000. Members can earn an additional $2,500 if they maintain their status by completing the renewal process and additional training, as well as additional tutoring hours. 

To learn more, visit https://bit.ly/3kDZJ6F
 

COTTON, GALLAGHER CALL FOR CHINESE BIOTECHNOLOGY COMPANIES TO BE BLACKLISTED
Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin calling for Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) and other Chinese biotechnology companies to be added to the Department of the Treasury’s Non-SDN Chinese Military Industrial Complex Companies List, the Department of Commerce’s Entity List, and the Department of Defense’s list of Chinese military companies.

In part, the members wrote, “The Party’s focus on biotech also extends to biotech’s potential military applications. The former head of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University identified biology as one of seven ‘new domains of warfare’ including the possibility of ‘specific ethnic genetic attacks,’ in a 2017 publication.”

“Given BGI’s and other Chinese biotechnology companies’ support for and collaboration with the PLA, I urge you to include BGI and other Chinese biotech companies on the NS-CMIC List, the Entity List, and the Section 1260H Chinese military companies list. The United States must not turn a blind eye to the threat posed by Chinese biotechnology companies operating at the CCP’s behest. Blacklisting BGI and its fellow biotech companies will help the United States counter the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to capture Americans’ most private information—their DNA,” the members continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

Dear Secretaries Yellen, Raimondo, and Austin,
I write to you today regarding China’s use of biotechnology companies including the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) strategy of “Military-Civil Fusion” (MCF). I urge you to add BGI and other Chinese biotechnology companies to the Department of the Treasury’s Non-SDN Chinese Military Industrial Complex Companies List (NS-CMIC List), the Department of Commerce’s Entity List, and the Department of Defense’s list of Chinese military companies required by Section 1260H of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

BGI and other Chinese biotech companies meet the grounds for inclusion on the NS-CMIC List, the Entity List, and the Section 1260H list. BGI operates in the defense and related materiel sector of the Chinese economy, it is involved in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, and it is a clear military-civil fusion contributor to China’s defense industrial base.

The CCP’s ambition to dominate biotechnology is well known. The Chinese government designated biotech as a “strategic emerging industry” and has prioritized state support for the industry through Made in China 2025 and other state-directed MCF plans.  BGI plays a key role in these biotech aspirations. Thanks to at least $1.5 billion in Chinese state subsidies, BGI has grown to become China’s biotech “national champion” and now manages China’s national gene database.  BGI has also purchased American firms and used state subsidies to undercut the global DNA sequencing market.

BGI has used its dominant position to further the CCP’s strategic goals by acquiring sensitive health data from the rest of the world. BGI and at least 14 other Chinese companies perform genomic sequencing for U.S. healthcare patients.  As mandated by Chinese law, these companies have almost certainly shared this data with the Chinese government.

BGI also attempted to take advantage of the pandemic to acquire U.S. data, reaching out to the governors of six states with offers to build advanced COVID-19 testing labs before top U.S. intelligence officials convinced states to reject BGI’s offers.  Most recently, reports revealed that BGI was selling prenatal tests to pregnant women around the world and using the tests to collect vast swathes of genetic data on different populations.

The Party’s focus on biotech also extends to biotech’s potential military applications. The former head of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University identified biology as one of seven “new domains of warfare,” including the possibility of “specific ethnic genetic attacks,” in a 2017 publication.

BGI has a history of collaboration with the PLA and serving the PLA’s interests. A review of 40 publicly-available research papers demonstrates BGI’s work on PLA priorities, such as improved high-altitude soldier performance, neuroscience, and pathogens.  BGI’s worldwide prenatal test was itself developed in collaboration with the PLA.  BGI has also partnered with the PLA’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) to advance bioinformatics research and leverage supercomputers for biological research. Joint BGI-PLA research could have an application in future bioweapons—which is especially concerning because BGI’s national gene bank is presumably made available for military research.

Given BGI’s and other Chinese biotechnology companies’ support for and collaboration with the PLA, I urge you to include BGI and other Chinese biotech companies on the NS-CMIC List, the Entity List, and the Section 1260H Chinese military companies list. The United States must not turn a blind eye to the threat posed by Chinese biotechnology companies operating at the CCP’s behest. Blacklisting BGI and its fellow biotech companies will help the United States counter the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to capture Americans’ most private information—their DNA. 

Thank you for considering this important national security.

Sincerely,

September 29, 2021

OUACHITA COUNTY SCHOOL FLU CLINICS
Flu shots will be offered by the Ouachita County Health Unit at area schools. Dates are as follows:

October 4 -   Victory Christian School
October 5 –  Camden Fairview Middle School
October 12 - Bearden Schools
October 13 – Ivory Primary School
October 14 – Camden Fairview Intermediate 
October 15 – Harmony Grove Schools
October 19 – Camden Fairview High School
October 20 – SAU Tech Health Fair
October 21-   Camden Fairview Elementary

Call (870) 836-5033 for more information.

ADE LAUNCHES COLLEGE APPLICATION MONTH CAMPAIGN IN OCTOBER
LITTLE ROCK — Whether planning to attend a two-year or four-year university, technical program, apprenticeship program, or certificate program, every Arkansas student is encouraged to pursue educational opportunities beyond high school. In order to be successful, students need additional support to navigate the college and financial aid application processes. To assist students with these very important tasks and to shed a light on their importance, the Arkansas Department of Education has named October Arkansas College Application Month.

Approximately 60 high schools around the state have signed up to participate in helping students apply for college and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Activities include hosting financial aid nights to encourage and assist parents with the FAFSA process, assisting students with tracking college applications and financial aid data and following up with students who need to complete these tasks, and hosting school-wide events and celebrations to build excitement about going to college. These events are made even more valuable with the passage of Act 331 of 2021, which requires students to complete the FAFSA in order to be eligible for state scholarships so they can maximize their federal and state aid. Many students do not realize the amount of aid they are eligible to receive until they complete the FAFSA.

“A big misconception is that college only includes two-year and four-year institutions of higher education with a focus on obtaining an associate degree or higher,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “While that is one definition, other forms of post-secondary learning after high school, such as apprenticeship programs, technical programs, and certificate programs, can be vital to the educational and economic success of Arkansans. While completing college applications and the FAFSA can be time consuming and overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be with the right support. I want to thank the school counselors and career coaches for participating in this event and providing the assistance students need to not only succeed in completing their applications but also helping them be prepared for success in life.”

To kick off the month, some participating schools are holding assemblies focused on building excitement for the month’s activities. A few of the events are listed below.

October 1: 
El Dorado High School (El Dorado School District)
10:30 a.m. 
El Dorado High School Auditorium, 2000 Wildcat Drive, El Dorado, AR

October 4:
Little Rock Southwest High School (Little Rock School District) 
9:15 a.m. 
Arena Gym, 9715 Mabelvale Pike, Mabelvale, AR 
The Academies at Jonesboro High School (Jonesboro School District) 
9:30 a.m. 
Performing Arts Center, 300 Hurricane Drive, Jonesboro, AR

To learn more and to see the list of other participating schools, visit https://bit.ly/3m6XmZj. 

RADIO WORKS AND CAMDEN POLICE DEPARTMENT PRESENT “BOO BASH” 2021
Radio Works and Camden Police Department once again will be hosting Boo Bash 2021 with Trick or Treat on the Trace. The event will be held on Friday, October 29th beginning on the Trace at the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce Building. From 3:30 to 5:30 PM. Enjoy trick or treating fun along with lots of games and prizes. If your business or organization would like to join us on the trace please call Dana at  870-836-5755. All area businesses are invited to take part. If you would like to donate candy for the event you can take it by the Radio Station at 612 Fairview Road. Plan now to bring the kids out for loads of fun!

AG ALERT: PARENTS MUST SCHOOL THEMSELVES ON DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA APPS
LITTLE ROCK – As Arkansans fill their calendars with school activities this fall, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is sending an important warning for parents to make sure to take the time to monitor their child’s internet usage and social media accounts. The internet and social media sites are a valuable resource for learning and connecting with friends, but social networking sites are also prime targets for criminals.

“It is crucial that parents are aware of these apps and websites. While they can be invaluable resources for learning and connecting, they also can connect your child to a criminal if not watched closely,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important we all take the necessary steps to protect our most precious Arkansans from those who want to do them harm.”

There are 16 smartphone apps the Attorney General’s Office urges parents to know about that may make children vulnerable to dangers online:

Bumble – Bumble is a popular dating app that requires women to make the first contact. It is common for minors to use this app and falsify their age.

Calculator% – Calculator% is one of several "vault" style apps that appears to be a harmless app, but is used to hide photos, videos, files and even browser history.

Chatous – Chatous is a messaging app that allows users to chat and share images. This app makes it easy for predators to engage in age-inappropriate conversations with potential victims.

Discord – Discord is a voice and text chat tool that allows gamers to communicate in real time. Users can chat, add friends one-on-one or in larger groups. This app discusses content geared towards adults, but allows users as young as 13.

Grindr – Grindr is a dating app for LGBTQ adults, not children. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet with people based on a smartphone's GPS location.

House Party – House Party is a group video chat app that allows users to communicate via live video chats and texts. There is no screening, and the video is live. Users can also communicate with people they do not know.

Me – Live.Me allows users to livestream videos using geo-location to share the videos so other users can find the broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn "coins" to "pay" minors for photos.

Monkey – Monkey is an app that allows users as young as 12 to chat with people all over the world during a brief introductory call, then users are given the chance to add each other on Snapchat.

Snapchat – Snapchat is a photo & video sharing app that promises users their photo or video will disappear even though it does not. Snapchat stories allow users to view content for up to 24 hours and share their location.

TikTok – TikTok is a popular app among kids that is used to create and share short videos with limited privacy controls. Users are vulnerable to explicit content and cyberbullying.

Tinder – Tinder is a dating app that allows users to "swipe right" to like someone and "swipe left" to pass. Users can falsify their age, share photos, messages, and meet.

Tumblr – Tumblr is a blogging app and website that allows users as young as 13 to create an account. There are very few privacy settings and pornography is easy to find. Most posts are public and cannot be made private.

WhatsApp – WhatsApp is a popular messaging app allowing users to text, send photos, make calls and leave voicemails worldwide.

Whisper – Whisper is a social network that allows users to share secrets anonymously and it reveals the users’ location so strangers can meet.

YouTube – YouTube is a video sharing app that may not be age appropriate for kids. Inappropriate content can be found using innocent search terms, but with parental controls this can be avoided.

Yubo – Yubo is a social media app that allows users as young as 13 to create a profile, share their location, view other users’ profiles in their area and view livestreams. Substance abuse, profanity, racial slurs and scantily clad people are common.

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for parents to stay connected to their child’s online activity:
Talk to children about sexual victimization and the potential of online danger.
Keep the computer or laptop in a common room of the house, not in a child’s bedroom.
Utilize parental controls available from internet service providers or use blocking software.
Always maintain access to a child’s online account and monitor email.
Teach children the responsible use of online resources.
Find out the computer safeguards being utilized at school, the library and at friends’ homes.
Never automatically assume that what a child is told online is the truth.

Arkansans can report child exploitation by calling the National CyberTipline at (800) 843-5678, or visit CyberTipline.com. In the event of an emergency, dial 911, or call local law enforcement. For more information on smartphone apps and internet safety, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at OAG@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

September 28, 2021

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON'S COVID UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 28, 2021
Arkansas officials are adding COVID-19 booster shots to their campaign to increase vaccinations against the virus across the state. 

During his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Pfizer's COVID-19 booster shot is now available to eligible people in the state. Those include people who received their Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago and meet the following criteria:

-If a person is 65 years of age or older
-If a person is 18 years of age or older and residing in a long-term care setting
-Anyone 18 to 64 years old with an underlying medical condition
-Anyone 18 to 64 who is at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure or transmission because of their occupation

Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero addressed Pfizer's announcement on Tuesday that trials have been submitted to the FDA on the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine among children aged five to 11. Romero said those trials suggest the vaccine is both safe and available, and could be available to the public before the year's end.

In terms of Arkansas' COVID-19 figures, the Department of Health reported an additional 800 cases on Tuesday for a cumulative total of nearly 494,000 since the pandemic began. Active cases fell by 647 to nearly 11,000 currently. Deaths increased by 21 over the same period for a total of 7,651. Hospitalizations fell by 26 to leave 809 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus. 

CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET RETURNS OCTOBER 1ST TO DOWNTOWN CAMDEN
CAMDEN, AR - First Friday Monthly Market in Camden, AR is ready for “Downtown Get Down” for the market on October 1st.   Think all things block party and especially dancing in the streets.

Former American Idol contestant, Jacob Flores will be on hand to get everyone in the dancing mood.  Flores is an award-winning, one-made band. He has an extremely diverse repertoire of both American and Latin-American styles.  Being voted the Hot Springs “Sentinel-Record Reader’s Choice Best Local Performer” three years in a row (2019-2021) Flores is solidifying his position as a stunning icon in the genres of Pop, R&B and Soul. He will be performing in the park at Washington and Adams and everyone is welcome to dance in the streets.  If you need a bit f help getting in the mood, watch out for our line dancing demonstration, sure to get everyone involved.

Stop by Hollis Evans Floral to visit with this month’s featured author, Niki Benton Smith. Starting with her novel “Nightingale,” El Dorado author Niki Benton Smith explores the world of Samantha, a young nurse who’s been haunted all her life by horrifying prophetic dreams. Her story continues in two more books, “Last Dance” and “Secrets”.  

Everyone can get your shopping in with a vast array of vendors set up along Washington St and Adams Avenue selling everything from wood workings, clothing, jewelry, original artworks and more.   Special nonprofit groups and local organizations will be throughout the market to provide all kinds of entertainment for the young and old alike.  You will find farmers located all throughout the market with jellies, jams, baked goods, homemade pasta and more! Enjoy the special food vendors set up throughout the market. We are very happy this month to have Bills & Dimes food truck as well as Mr. Wendell’s Mobile Kitchen to take care of your hunger pains.  But remember, we have 4 great restaurants right in the market area with wonderful food that never fails to meet all expectations.

Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR, October 1st, 6PM – 9PM.

Come stroll, shop, nibble, browse and chat through downtown Camden… See you there!

CITY OF BEARDEN’S AUTUMN VERSION OF THE SEMI-ANNUAL CITY CLEANUP
The City of Bearden’s autumn version of the semi-annual City Cleanup is coming this week starting Wednesday, September 29th, 2021 through Saturday, October 2nd 2021. If you have something that needs to be hauled away, Bearden Mayor Ginger Bailey says to call Bearden City Hall at 687-2205.

 

DALLAS COUNTY TO HAVE TWO 911 DISPATCHER’S ON DUTY
In the near future, Citizens of Dallas County will have two 911 Dispatchers on duty 24 hours a day to make calls for assistance and the safety of first responders more timely and efficient  with the proposed 911 Emergency call Center. 

An agreement has been reached between Dallas County Quorum Court and the City of Fordyce in regard to better staffing of the center according to the Dallas County Office of Emergency Management Office.
 

DEMOCRAT JESSE GIBSON TO RUN FOR ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL
Democrat Jesse Gibson is running for the Arkansas AG spot, and says that if he’s elected, he’s going to take social media companies to court for spreading misinformation on COVID1-19.

Gibson says he has ads running that started over the weekend as he made public his proposal to hold social media platforms accountable. 

Gibson says that he thinks social media platforms could be pursued through the courts by using the State’s deceptive trade practices and false advertising laws.

ARKANSAS STATE FAIR TO BEGIN
Arkansas will kick off its 81st annual State Fair October 15th through October 24 since being canceled by COVID-19 in 2020

FORWARD ARKANSAS LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE PROGRAM TO TRANSFORM TEACHER PREPARATION
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Sept. 27, 2021) – Forward Arkansas is launching a grant program focused on building a collaborative of Arkansas Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) that will develop transformative plans to more effectively recruit, train and retain qualified, diverse classroom teachers across the state.

The nonprofit will award grants of $100,000 to six Arkansas EPPs to support a year of planning. A subset of participating EPPs will then have the opportunity to receive additional resources and support to implement the plans over the following three years.

“Arkansas schools already face a significant shortage of teachers, and COVID-19 has made it worse,” said Ben Kutylo, executive director of Forward. “Addressing this challenge is foundational to improving education in Arkansas. We need to act quickly and effectively or we will see lasting negative impacts across all districts, particularly in Arkansas’s most marginalized schools.”

Following the statewide grant competition, Forward will work with the national partners US PREP, TPI-US and 2Revolutions to help the selected universities design and plan for the growth and improvement of their teacher preparation programs. The collaborative of EPPs will focus on increasing the quantity, diversity and quality of prospective teacher candidates. In addition, it will make the state’s teaching program experience more practice-based. “Our teachers need to be prepared and supported to address the changing realities in schools and the needs of today’s students,” said Kutylo. “We believe this program will support university-based EPPs to provide a rigorous, modern and job-based experience to produce more high-quality and diverse educators across the state.” Research shows attracting and retaining quality teachers is essential to students’ learning and overall academic performance. The New Teacher Project, a national education nonprofit, found teachers who rank in the top 20 percent generate more than five-months’ worth of student learning annually compared to their peers. 

Throughout the process, Forward will collaborate closely with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) to ensure the new initiatives are aligned with the state’s education priorities. According to state data, Arkansas saw a more than 50% drop in teacher candidate enrollment from 2013 to 2018. Many schools now have teachers with less than three years of classroom experience. Nearly 10% of first-year educators are not retained, and just over 30% leave after five years. 

“Clearly, a good teacher can make a tremendous difference,” Kutylo said. “Our goals are that within five years, Arkansas will be producing more high-quality and diverse teachers, especially in high need areas of the state, and that performance levels and retention rates will have increased. That will have a positive impact on K-12 student outcomes, as students graduate and move on to college or careers.”

About Forward Arkansas
Forward Arkansas was established by the Walton Family Foundation and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to help ensure every student has access to, and is prepared for, opportunities in career and life. Forward works with districts, schools, educational partners and state leaders to transform student learning, build educator capacity and ensure equitable resources. To learn more, visit forwardarkansas.org.

BOOZMAN CONTINUES PUSH AGAINST BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S IRS POWER GRAB
Calls on Democrats to Abandon Proposal that Jeopardizes Security of Americans’ Financial Information
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) continues sounding the alarm over the Biden administration’s plan to expand the reporting of the private, confidential financial data of law-abiding Americans from financial institutions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Boozman and GOP senators urged Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to abandon the White House proposal that would alter banking account reporting requirements.

“This proposal represents a radical departure from existing reporting requirements associated with national security and actual taxable events,” the senators wrote in a letter. “Placing more requirements on financial institutions would not only adversely affect these institutions and their customers – who ultimately pay the price for compliance costs – but it would also inundate the IRS with layers of new paperwork and taxpayer data that is either redundant or irrelevant to improving federal tax compliance, as account inflows and outflows are not taxable events. Simply flooding the IRS with more data and burdening taxpayers, financial institutions, and already overwhelmed IRS service centers with more paperwork is of questionable value, especially when the IRS does not effectively use data already in its possession.”

The president’s plan would require all financial institutions to report to the IRS deposits and withdrawals of $600 or more from business and personal accounts maintained by federally regulated banking services. The current reporting requirement is for transactions of $10,000 or higher.

The letter was led by U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. In addition to Boozman, it was signed by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Steve Daines (R-MT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Todd Young (R-IN).

Last week, Boozman wrote a column warning of the additional threat to the security of personal information if this proposal is enacted.

Additionally, he joined legislation that would to block this overreach as a cosponsor of the Tax Gap Reform and Internal Revenue Service Enforcement Act a bicameral bill that safeguards taxpayers against IRS targeting and abuse.

BOOZMAN REJECTS PROPOSAL TO RAISE DEBT CEILING
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after opposing the Senate bill to raise the debt ceiling:

“The president and Congressional Democrats continue pursuing a reckless tax and spending spree to advance their partisan agenda. At a time when inflation is already rampant and Arkansans are paying higher prices for more and more essential goods and services, it is the height of irresponsibility to ask for a blank check in order to facilitate even more borrowing and debt, and threatening Americans with a government shutdown to get it is even worse. I will continue to oppose this out-of-control spending and protect hardworking Arkansans from misguided policies that burden future generations.”

September 27, 2021

UPDATE - OUACHITA COUNTY OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING UNDER STATE POLICE INVESTIGATION
SEPTEMBER 27, 2021
A Ouachita County man was shot and wounded by a local sheriff’s deputy yesterday after the suspect in a domestic disturbance reportedly raised a shotgun he was holding and aimed it at the deputy.  The Arkansas State Police has been requested to investigate the incident.

About 1:45 AM (Sunday, September 26th) two Ouachita County deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance at 3540 Arkansas Highway 376 south of Camden.  The deputies began searching a wooded area near the residence for John Wesley Williams, 47, who had fled the home where he resided with two females.

During the search Williams allegedly fired the shotgun twice as the deputies moved closer.  When Williams was located in thick underbrush, he was ordered by the deputies to drop the gun.  Williams reportedly ignored the command and pointed the gun at one of the deputies who fired his service weapon striking Williams.

Williams was transported by ambulance to a local hospital with a non-life threatening wound.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are preparing an investigative case file which will be submitted to the Ouachita County prosecuting attorney who will decide whether the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identity of the deputies and their current administrative should be directed to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Department.

OUACHITA COUNTY SHERIFF DEPUTY-INVOLVED SHOOTING OVER THE WEEKEND
According to Sheriff David Norwood, the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office received a domestic disturbance call early Sunday morning. Deputies responded to the call around 2 AM. When Deputies arrived at the residence, a male suspect ran into the woods and began firing shots from a sawed off shotgun.

The responding Deputy requested back-up. They located the man in the woods who still had his shot gun. Deputies ordered him to drop the gun, but he allegedly raised his gun and pointed it at the deputies. At this time, Deputies fired on the man. He was hit once in the arm.

The man was taken to the Ouachita County Medical Center where he was treated and released to the custody of the Sheriff’s Department who transported him to eh Ouachita County Detention Facility.

The Deputy has been placed on administrative leave. The Arkansas State Police are investigating the incident.

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in regular session on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 6:30 pm at Garrison Auditorium.

The Agenda is as follows:
1. Call to order.
2. Student Hearing
3. Approval of minutes of previous meetings
4. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
a. None
5. NEW BUSINESS
a. Presentation by Jonathan Wolfe.
b. Presentation and recommendation regarding the 2021-2022 Camden Fairview School District budget.
c. Presentation and recommendation by Whitney Moore regarding the 8th Circuit Court Ruling.
d. Presentation and recommendation regarding Minority Teacher and Administrator Recruitment Plan.
e. Presentation and recommendation regarding mowing bid.
f. Presentation and recommendation regarding Statement of Assurance for Programs Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act.
g. Presentation and recommendation regarding food service policies.
h. Presentation and recommendation regarding central office roof change order.
i. Presentation and recommendation regarding selection of WOO firm architect for facilities projects.
j. Presentation and recommendation regarding Covid-19 vaccination additional pay.
k. Presentation and recommendation for purchase and funding of softball and HS gym scoreboards and funding for football scoreboard.
4. Superintendent's report to the Board.
5. Financial report
6. Personnel
a. Hiring
b. Resignations
c. Retirement

MASK MUST BE WORN BY ALL THAT ATTEND.
 

PURSUIT AND GUNFIRE ENDS WITH ARREST IN LITTLE ROCK
SEPTEMBER 26, 2021
A man charged in connection with a Little Rock murder last year fled from an Arkansas State Trooper early today.  An attempted traffic stop by the trooper escalated to a vehicle pursuit when Marlo Akins refused to stop and reportedly shoved a female passenger from the car he was driving.  Akins then opened fire with a gun aimed at the pursuing trooper.
The pursuit began at 12:23 AM near Interstate 30 and Geyer Springs Road.  A short time later, Akins abandoned the car at 35 Eaton Street in southwest Little Rock and fled on foot as Akins and the pursuing trooper exchanged gunfire.

State police converged on the area and four hours later Akins was taken into custody.  A 9 millimeter handgun with a 50 round ammunition drum believed to have been used by Akins was recovered.

Jerika Presley, 31, told state police Criminal Investigation Division Special Agents she was shoved from Akins’ car and was not seriously injured.  Neither Akins nor the trooper involved in the pursuit were injured by gunfire.

Akins, 33, of Little Rock, is charged with Aggravated Assault, Fleeing, Possession of Firearms by Certain Persons, and executing a Terroristic Act, all felonies.

At the time of today’s incident, Akins was free on bond after he was charged last year with first-degree murder following a shooting in June 2020 at a southwest Little Rock nightclub.

ENJOY ARKANSAS A CUP AT A TIME
Little Rock – Ever have an idea “percolate” until you “brewed” up something so satisfying you just knew it was going to be a hit? That’s exactly what happened when the Main Street Arkansas team realized they were frequently dropping in on downtown coffee shops in their program communities. Not only are these shops hand-crafting java with care, but they are often thought of as the gathering place, or living rooms, of downtown communities.

“Traveling the state, it’s hard to beat the welcome in our 40 Main Street communities,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “Stopping into a local coffee shop while visiting a downtown you are struck by the hospitality and the sense of pride from these businesses.”

“The Main Street team was always sharing tips with their Arkansas Heritage colleagues about the best places to stop for coffee when out on the road,” said Scott Kaufman, director of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. “And so, it was during one of these conversations, probably over a cup of coffee, ironically, that the coffee trail idea was born.”

Starting September 29, or National Coffee Day, the map for the Coffee Trail can be viewed here https://bit.ly/2ZAVuR5. Follow-up stories about stops along the trail will appear on Main Street Arkansas social media throughout the fall.

Teaming up with Arkansas Tourism, more than 40 shops were earmarked for the inaugural coffee trail. Site visits were conducted and photos and videos were usually taken. The data was compiled into a map and now Arkansans and visitors can download this map and utilize it as they travel the Natural State.

“We know that coffee shops have played a significant role in downtown communities since Main Street Arkansas began in 1984,” said Greg Phillips, director of Main Street Arkansas. “These spaces, in many ways, have become a symbol for downtown vitality, culture, hospitality and sense of place.”

While there are many places that serve coffee in downtowns across the state, Main Street Arkansas wanted to focus on authentic Arkansas coffee shops. They exercised the following criteria in determining eligibility for the trail:

Physically located in a Main Street district
Locally owned and/or locally operated
Coffee is one of the business’s primary product

People visiting the Coffee Trail businesses are encouraged to post to social media using the hashtag #ARcoffeetrail. For more information about this project, please contact Exterior Design Consultant Hannah Ratzlaff at 501.324.9665 or  hannah.ratzlaff@arkansas.gov.

Main Street Arkansas is a program of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. AHPP is the agency of Arkansas Heritage responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Arkansas Heritage is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. For more on Arkansas Heritage and the agencies visit arkansasheritage.com.
 

SAAC TO HOST CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE ARTIST MARY LOUISE PORTER IN PRICE AND MERKLE GALLERIES
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to view a new exhibit by contemporary landscape artist Mary Louise Porter, entitled "Rhythms and Reflections". This beautiful and colorful exhibition will hang in the Price and Merkle Galleries October 1-27, with an artist's reception on October 2, from 6:00-7:30pm.

Now living and working in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Porter has deep roots in Arkansas and Louisiana. She received a BFA and MFA in painting from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. Her work represents a journey of memories and images drawn from landscapes seen in her travels, as well as experienced in the American South where she was born and raised. Each work of art captures the emotion and beauty of the location.

"Some people are born to sing, play an instrument, or write. I was born to be a painter. I have always known what I wanted to do in life: create," said Porter. "As a contemporary landscape painter I experiment with colors, lines, and shapes abstracting from reality to create my own contemporary landscape style. Inspiration is drawn from common areas such as patterns of the clouds, vibrant colors of the sky, reflections on water, barren trees, textures, and vivid color patterns. I work with acrylic, paper, plaster and other mediums to engage the viewer emotionally as well as visually in my paintings. Creativity and inspiration is the basis of my paintings."

Porter's artwork has been selected to represent Northwest Louisiana in John R. Kemp's book "Expression of Place, The Contemporary Louisiana Landscapes". Porter was also featured in the November 2014 "Louisiana Life" magazine, with emphasis on her life and artwork in Louisiana. She has participated innumerous artist residencies across the US and Costa Rica. Her work is also included in a number of galleries, and other public and private collections nationwide. Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport has one of her largest paintings "Louisiana Vibrations Red River Valley" in their permanent collection. The Alexandria Museum of Art in Alexandria, Louisiana, has a painting from one of her storm series, "Storms Coming", in its permanent collection, and The University of Arkansas in Monticello, Arkansas, has recently added her installation of paintings entitled "Venus" to its permanent collection. More information is also available on Porter's website at www.mlporterfineart.com.

For Porter, the creation of a new piece of artwork is a journey, rather than a destination. "The beginning of a painting is always mysterious to me," she said. "A painting develops for me, unraveling the composition, as the colors, line, shapes, and texture seems to emerge on the canvas."

Gallery viewing hours are Monday - Friday, 9-5pm. For more information on 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 Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.  

SAAC CONTINUES LECTURE SERIES WITH JOHN SINGER SARGENT ON OCTOBER 14
SAAC continues its "An Hour for the Arts" Fall Lecture Series on October 14 at 6:00pm. Artist and educator, Gay Bechtelheimer, will return to the SAAC stage with her new topic for this month. Bechtelheimer plans to focus on "people's choice" topics, all suggested by guests at the spring lectures.

"The October 14 lecture will delve into the work and life of John Singer Sargent, the leading portraitist of the Edwardian era," said Bechtelheimer. "The expatriate American was a prolific creator of watercolors, sketches and drawings. His most well-known work, 'Portrait of Madame X', created scandal in his contemporary world, but has received lasting acclaim long after."

This event will begin at 6:00pm in the galleries, followed by a multimedia presentation in the theater. Reservations are required to ensure physical distancing can be maintained. Beer and wine along with individual snacks will be served. October's "An Hour for the Arts" is sponsored by Cherie and Rudy Bright.

The remaining lecture in this series will be held on November 11, at 6:00pm where Bechtelheimer will explore the world of Pop Art.

For more information or to RSVP, visit www.saac-arts.com or call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

September 23, 2021

ARMED BARRICADED STAND-OFF ENDS WITH ARREST AT STAR CITY
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021
A Star City man surrendered to Arkansas State Troopers today following a four hour barricaded armed stand-off that began after the suspect allegedly fired a gun at Star City police officers.

Cristobal Palomerez-Heredia, 43, of 205 Park Street was taken into custody by state troopers assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop E.  Palomerez-Heredia is charged with aggravated assault and is being held at the Lincoln County Detention Center without bond.

About 7 AM Tuesday, officials of the Star City Police Department requested the Arkansas State Police to take charge of the scene outside Palomerez-Heredia’s residence.  The state police SWAT Team was activated and took command of the stand-off which ended at 11:09 AM when the suspect exited the residence.

No injuries were reported during the stand-off or arrest.

Questions relating to the events initially involving local police officers prior to the state police taking command of the stand-off should be directed to the Star City Police Department.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: STEPS TO TAKE IF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IS COMPROMISED
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans about the dangers of personal information being compromised. More and more, Arkansans’ personal information is requested to make an online purchase or sign up for a subscription. This can include “fun” quizzes or surveys on social media inviting participants to share the name of a first pet, the street first lived on or the name of a favorite teacher. However, each time personal information is shared, it may be vulnerable, compromised or stolen. This simple act could be handing over sensitive information that can be used to steal an identity. Arkansans should know what to do if personal information finds itself in the wrong hands. For instance, hackers have been known to infiltrate online businesses leading to data breaches, which can lead to private information being stolen and used for identity theft.

“Con artists will work overtime to steal your information and identity,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important Arkansans take the necessary steps to protect their personal information and privacy in the digital age.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips from the Federal Trade Commission for Arkansans who believe their information has been compromised online:
Review each of your three credit reports at least once a year. It's easy, and it's free.
Read your credit card and bank statements carefully and often. Contact your credit card or bank immediately if you notice errors or have concerns.
Know your payment due dates.
If a bill doesn't show up when you expect it, look into it.
Shred any documents with personal and financial information.
Before making an online purchase, check out the company first. Read the reviews and Google the name of the company along with the word “scam” or “complaint.”
Resist the urge to take social media quizzes or surveys that ask you to share personal information.
Report any lost, stolen, or compromised identification cards to appropriate authorities, such as local law enforcement and the Arkansas Revenue office.

There are many options available to better protect personal information if there is concern that personal information has been compromised. For more information on preventing identity theft, please visit the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection page at ArkansasAG.gov or the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Committing identity theft in Arkansas is a felony and comes with a sentence that could include incarceration, fines up to $25,000, and restitution. For more information on other consumer-related issues, please contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982, by emailing OAG@arkansasag.gov, or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
 

COTTON ACCEPTING SERVICE ACADEMY APPLICATIONS
Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) announced that he is accepting applications for Service Academy nominations. In order to be considered for a nomination, materials must be submitted by Monday, November 1, 2021.

"Students who attend U.S. service academies and go on to serve their country in uniform are the pride of Arkansas, and I encourage each young Arkansan with a sincere interest to apply," Cotton said.

Interested students can find the application, along with information on eligibility and other requirements, here. Please contact Nicole Miller  (501) 223-9081 for any additional questions.
 

BOOZMAN WARNS AGAINST INVASIVE IRS MONITORING, FIGHTS TO PROTECT AMERICANS’ PRIVACY
Senator Sounds Alarm on Banking Transactions Reporting Proposal, Supports Legislation to Reign in IRS Overreach
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is fighting back against the Biden administration’s campaign to expand the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) surveillance of taxpayers’ bank accounts and further erode Americans’ privacy.

The White House has proposed altering banking account reporting requirements as part of its reckless spending and tax bill in order to fund its partisan agenda.

In a column published in The Hill,  Boozman warned of the additional threat to the security of personal information if this policy is enacted.

“Given the IRS’s track record on data security, including a 2015 data breach, tasking the agency to secure additional taxpayer information from nearly every American is a complicated and hazardous gamble, and one the federal government isn’t historically capable of winning,” he wrote.

The president’s plan would require all financial institutions to report to the IRS deposits and withdrawals of $600 or more from business and personal accounts maintained by federally regulated banking services. The current reporting requirement is for transactions of $10,000 or higher.

Imposing this mandate on banks and credit unions would burden small, community financial institutions with additional unnecessary compliance costs that would potentially get passed along to customers.

Boozman also took action to block this overreach by recently joining U.S. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) in introducing the Tax Gap Reform and Internal Revenue Service Enforcement Act, bicameral legislation that safeguards taxpayers against IRS targeting and abuse.

“Big Brother is at it again. The president’s push to drastically expand monitoring of individuals’ finances and enlist more IRS agents to execute it is cause for alarm. Implementing protections that block IRS overreach is a necessary step to ensuring taxpayer privacy and preventing the agency from targeting Americans’ savings and income to fund Democrats’ partisan agenda,” Boozman said.

Arkansans have expressed their opposition to the Biden administration’s proposed changes to IRS reporting requirements. 

State Treasurer Dennis Milligan called the recommendation c a burden on the middle-class and small businesses “in the name of trying to catch tax evaders.”

President and CEO of the Arkansas Bankers Association, Lorrie Trogden, said the plan “will really hit our Arkansas community banks the hardest.”

September 22, ,2021

LOCAL PARAMEDIC KILLED IN AUTO ACCIDENT
The Arkansas State Police reported a fatal accident early this morning. According to the ASP Police Report, Joel David Yarberry, 33, of Whitehall was traveling South on 9 North about 12:20 AM. The vehicle exited the left side of the road and spun 90 degrees before striking a tree. The car then caught on fire. The cause of the accident is unknown. It was cloudy and the road was wet.

According to a Post on Ouachita County Medical Center’s Face Book page, Yarberry was a Paramedic in the EMS Department. He was not on dutey at the time of the accident. The hospital will fly flags at half-mast for the remainder of the week in Joel’s memory and in his honor.

The post, written by Peggy Abbott, CEO and President of OCMC, stated ”This is a very sad day for our organization, but I am grateful that Joel worked among us as part of our medical community and our OCMC family. We will remember him.”

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW SCHOOLS CELEBRATING HOMECOMING 2021
If you or your organization would like to participate in the Homecoming Parade on October 1st, 2021 you must pre-register your entry with Kwaniesha Leak, Tavitha Wooten or Darla Stivers by the end of day on September 27th, 2021. Registration forms will need to be picked up from the Camden Fairview High School. There will also be a fee of $10.00 per entry (per vehicle) this year. All proceeds from the fees will go towards materials for next year student floats. The theme for this year is “Cards, Playing to Win”. The start time for the parade will be at 3:00pm. No one will be allowed to participate in the parade without an entry form on file.

For more information, call Kwaniesha Leak, Tavitha Wooten, or Darla Stivers at Camden Fairview High School 870-837-1300 during school hours. The last day to register will be September 27, 2021.

FALL IS THE TIME FOR THE YEARLY FLU SHOT
Seasonal flu is a disease that causes mild to severe illness and is easily spread. Each year in the United States, 25-50 million infections are reported, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 23,600 die due to seasonal flu.

The seasonal flu virus is spread through coughing or sneezing and by touching a hard surface with the virus on it and then touching your nose or mouth.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot each year. The shot takes one to two weeks to start working. The Flu Shot has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children. The Flu shot will not give you the flu! The shot is a vaccine that helps protect you against the seasonal flu virus.

Children can catch the flu more often than adults but they usually aren’t as sick. Parents should keep their sick children at home so they do not spread the flu to others. For older adults and others who are at risk of complications, the flu shot can reduce hospitalizations by as much as 70 percent and deaths by 85 percent.

There is no out-of-pocket expense for flu shots, but you are encouraged to bring insurance information if you have it. The Ouachita County Health Unit will be having a Flu Shot Clinic on Thursday, September 20th between the hours of 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM. This is a drive through clinic. Drive around to the back of the building.

The Ouachita County Health Unit is located at 740 California Avenue Southwest in Camden. Call 870-836-5033 for more information.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID REPORT – SEPTEMBER 21, 2021
State officials are encouraging all Arkansans who can to get their influenza vaccination in anticipation of the upcoming flu season.

During Gov. Asa Hutchinson's weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero stressed the importance of getting the flu shot to help ease the current high demand on the state's medical facilities due to COVID-19. Romero added last year's flu season was mild likely due to precautions taken against the ongoing pandemic. However, he said getting the vaccine again this year will hopefully ensure another moderate flu season this year. 

Romero also addressed the announcement by Pfizer that its COVID-19 vaccines were safe for children five to 11 years old. That development is still awaiting FDA review.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson introduced Lori Arnold, Executive Director of the Arkansas Red Cross. She spoke on the need for eligible Arkansans to give blood due to current high demand and supply shortages.

In regard to Arkansas' COVID-19 figures, the state reported an additional 1,400 new cases on Tuesday for a cumulative total of nearly 487,000 since the pandemic began. Active cases fell by 779 over the previous 24-hour period for a current total of 14,225 across the state. Deaths increased by 17 over the same period to 7,499 since the spring of 2020. Hospitalizations saw another consecutive day of decline, falling by 34 to leave 994 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus. Finally, as of Tuesday, more than 1.3 million Arkansans are now fully vaccinated against the virus. 

BOOZMAN STATEMENT ON VA’S INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT ON FOLLOW-UP HEALTH CARE INSPECTION AT FAYETTEVILLE VA MEDICAL CENTER
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) health care inspection at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville to assess improvements following pathology oversight failures:

“Changes are clearly needed to prevent misconduct that puts the health of veterans at risk like what occurred at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center. Strengthening the reporting process for clinical disclosures will ensure appropriate measures are in place so we can make certain veterans receive the high-quality care they deserve. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I will continue to advance policies that put the needs of our veterans first and hold accountable those responsible for wrongdoing.”

Boozman has been leading efforts to ensure the VA improves oversight and accountability in order to prevent future health care failures. The senator recently joined Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee leaders in urging VA Secretary Denis McDonough to address oversight failures at medical facilities across the country.  

In August, Boozman helped introduce the bipartisan Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act to provide the VA OIG with the authority to subpoena testimony from former VA employees who have left federal service, former contractor personnel who performed work for the Department, or other potentially relevant individuals during the course of its inspections, reviews and investigations.

As then-Chairman of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, Boozman led the effort to include language in legislation that required the VA Secretary to submit a departmental response plan to Congress. The provision is now being implemented at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks and for all future cases of clinical disclosures to prevent similar incidents.

September 21, 2021

FOUR ARKANSAS SCHOOLS NAMED 2021 NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona today recognized 325 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021, including four schools in Arkansas. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Secretary Cardona made the announcement during his Return to School Road Trip , while visiting an awardee school, Walter R. Sundling Jr. High School, in Palatine, Illinois.

The Arkansas schools named as National Blue Ribbon Schools were:
Conway – Carolyn Lewis Elementary School, Conway Public Schools.
El Dorado – Hugh Goodwin Elementary School, El Dorado School District.
Hot Springs – Park Magnet School, Hot Springs School District.
Portland – Portland Elementary School, Hamburg School District.

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said Secretary Cardona. “I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.

The Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon Schools nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education.

SCOTT COUNTY DEATH: STATE POLICE INVESTIGATING SUSPECTED HOMICIDE
SEPTEMBER 20, 2021
Scott County authorities have requested the Arkansas State Police to lead an investigation into a suspected homicide reported to local authorities earlier today.

Alex Andrew Ingle, 56, was found dead inside his home at 5806 Lookout Gap Road, north of Waldron about 2:45 AM.  Ingle’s body and crime scene evidence will be transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory.  The state medical examiner will determine the manner and cause of death.

No arrests have been made.  Special agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing their investigation.

STATE ARCHIVES RECEIVES GRANT
LITTLE ROCK -- The Arkansas State Archives (ASA) announced it has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue the digitization of historic Arkansas newspapers for a third cycle of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). As a result of this award, 100,000 pages of additional newspaper content will be added to the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America website. 

Grants for the NDNP project are awarded to one “cultural heritage institution” from each state or territory. Arkansas has received sucessive grants since it began participation with NDNP in 2017. The Arkansas Digital Newspaper Project was created to work alongside the Library of Congress to digitize historic Arkansas newspapers, providing free online access to historic newspapers from across the United States and U.S. territories. At the end of the most recent grant cycle, ASA anticipates they will have more than 300,000 pages of newspaper content digitized specifically from this grant funding.  

"Arkansas State Archives is honored to receive continued grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities," said David Ware, ASA director. "In this cycle, we will target newspaper from Arkansas's under-represented communities, including female-owned and operated newspapers such as 'The Women’s Chronicle' and the 'Arkansas Ladies' Journal' of Pulaski County."

Ware said the ASA will also digitize content from minority-owned papers and cited as examples the Arkansas Mansion and Arkansas State Press (Pulaski County) and foreign-language papers including Arkansas Echo (Pulaski County) and Stuttgart Germania (Arkansas County).

The ASA's Chronicling America content can be found at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/arkansas. For information about this project, please contact Ware at david.ware@arkansas.gov or 501-682-6900.  

NEW TO THE NATIONAL REGISTER
El Dorado Overpass included
LITTLE ROCK -- The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program announces the latest additions to the National Register of Historic Places. The sites added include 10 listings from nine counties across the state. 

I-40 Overpass, Blackwell, Conway County
Arkansas Agricultural and Mechanical College Student Union, Monticello, Drew County
Batesville Overpass, Batesville, Independence County
Heathcliff Cabin, Mena, Polk County
Russellville West Overpass, Russellville, Pope County
Des Arc High School Home Economics Building, Des Arc, Prairie County
Alton and Ruby Mae Kerby House, North Little Rock, Pulaski County
Veterans Administration Hospital, Little Rock, Pulaski County
Rock Island Railroad Overpass, El Dorado, Union County
Anderson-Taylor House, Fayetteville, Washington County

The National Register of Historic Places is maintained by the National Parks Service. Listings are honorary and properties with this distinction may be eligible for grant and tax programs on the state and national level. 

For more information about the National Register, please contact Ralph Wilcox at ralph.wilcox@arkansas.gov or 501-324-9880. 

COTTON STATEMENT ON DEMOCRATS’ PLAN TO BLOCK IRON DOME FUNDING
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after Democrats announced a plan to remove funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system from a government funding package:

“On the same day that President Biden pledged to stand with our allies at the United Nations, members of his own party want to deny Israel the equipment to defend its citizens from terrorist missiles. Despite their best efforts, the United States will support Israel’s right to defend itself and fund the Iron Dome.”

COTTON, SASSE INTRODUCE BILL TO BLOCK TALIBAN ACCESS TO CHABAHAR PORT
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) today introduced the No Harbor for Terror Act to revoke the Afghanistan exception to the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012, which currently provides Afghanistan with access to the Chabahar Port for exports. Text of the legislation may be found here.

“Iran’s Chabahar Port provides a lifeline for Afghanistan’s trade exports, but the United States shouldn’t continue to waive sanctions for a nation now run by a terrorist organization. Our legislation would revoke Afghanistan’s exception and limit the Taliban and Iranian regime’s ability to use the Port as a harbor for their illicit trade,” said Cotton.

“President Biden’s shameful surrender has put the Taliban back in charge of Afghanistan,” said Sasse. “Why on earth should these bloodthirsty terrorists now enjoy the economic benefits from access to an Iranian controlled port? It’s time to ditch this sanctions waiver.”

September 20, 2021

JORY WORTHEN PLEADS GUILTY
Jory Worthen has accepted a plea agreement with the state. Worthen has entered pleas of guilty to amended charges of Murder, First Degree, Two Counts. The Prosecuting Attorney will recommend sentences of: Count One - Life in The Arkansas Department Of Corrections and Count Two – Life in the Arkansas Department Of Corrections, each to run Concurrent with the other, court costs and fees.

Worthen was charged with two counts of Capital murder in the June 2019 death of his girlfriend, Alyssa Cannon, and her young son, Braydon Ponder. The young mother and her son were slain in her home. Immediately after the murders, Worthen fled in Alyssa’s vehicle, which was later found abandoned in a parking lot in Seattle, Washington.

The Western Arkansas U.S. Marshals Task Force was brought into the investigation to assist with apprehension since Worthen had crossed state lines and was believed to be armed and dangerous. After searching for the man all over the country for over a year, Worthen was apprehended in October 2020 by US Marshall’s living under an alias at a Burbank motel.  

Had Worthen gone to trial for 2 Counts of Capital Murder and been found guilty, he would have faced either life in prison or the death penalty on each charge.


MURPHY USA EL DORADO SHOOTOUT ANNOUNCES CHARITIES
EL DORADO, AR, — Murphy USA is giving back to the community with the return of the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout and Symetra Tour, which is set for September 18 - 26 at Mystic Creek Golf Club. Presented by PepsiCo, the Shootout is a LPGA qualifying tournament that will help move 108 professional female golfers from around the world closer toward earning their LPGA cards as they vie for the purse of $175,000.

The sixth annual event will also serve as a fundraiser for two charitable foundations with a common goal: to provide a support system in the fight against breast cancer. Organizers have announced that the #teamcorrie Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen® will be the beneficiaries of proceeds that are raised by the 2021 Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout.

The tournament was not held in 2020 to accommodate construction of a new, state-of-the-art clubhouse at Mystic Creek. Tournament organizers said the new clubhouse will not only enhance one of the premiere golf courses in the region, but also the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout and Symetra Tour experience.

"We're very excited to bring the tournament back after not hosting it last year," said tournament director Courtney Crotty.

"It's ironic to us how things have progressed in the past year. We had already planned not to host the tournament in 2020," Crotty continued. "With (the coronavirus, COVID-19), it worked out that we decided to postpone it and just not have the tournament in 2020."

Crotty said the community and tournament volunteers are amped up to welcome Symetra golfers back to Mystic Creek, El Dorado, and Union County. The golfers with whom organizers have spoken are also looking forward to the event.

#teamcorrie Cancer Foundation

After having been on hiatus for a year, Shootout committee members also agreed they needed to raise the bar to celebrate the return of the event.

One of the first orders of business was to select a local charity that Murphy USA, tournament sponsors and the community could get behind.

"#teamcorrie came to mind, based on the work they have done for families in Union County for the last nine years," Crotty said.

The #teamcorrie Cancer Foundation was founded in 2013 in honor of Parkers Chapel resident Corrie Jo Gross Bechtelheimer, who lost a two-year battle with breast cancer on June 6, 2014. She was 35 years old. Gross Bechtelheimer was described as a "cancer warrior".

#teamcorrie offers financial assistance in the form of one-time grants to help offset extreme expenses that can incur for families with a “cancer warrior” who is undergoing medical treatment for the disease.

The Paint Mystic Creek Pink 5K family walk/run kicked off the Shootout at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 18. Crotty said the walk/run will replace the annual Paint the Town Pink that is traditionally held in downtown El Dorado.

The color pink denotes support of breast cancer patients, charities, foundations and research.

Susan G. Komen
The Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout typically selects one local charity to support, but this year, the tournament threw its support behind a second charitable cause that is also meeting a vital need in the community with a mission that is similar to #teamcorrie.

Susan G. Komen, based in Dallas, provides resources for breast cancer patients all over the U.S. The organization also funds research into the causes, treatment of, and finding a cure for breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen serves breast cancer patients in the state of Arkansas.

The national organization was formed in 1982 by Nancy Brinker, the younger sister of namesake Susan G. Komen, 36. Komen died of breast cancer in 1980.

"Breast cancer does not discriminate. It doesn't matter what your race or religion is, how you identify or what socio-economic group you're in, it can affect everybody in some way, shape or form," said Crotty.

The female-centered golf tournament planning committee and partnership with the two charities spawned another hashtag for Shootout 2021: #ChampioningWomen.

"The idea is that when we come together, so much can be accomplished," Crotty explained.

"Whether we get behind golfers and help them take the next step in their career, help organizations conduct further research for breast cancer or help someone who is going through breast cancer, men and women can get behind women and help build them up," she added.

Other activities for the Shootout include a Junior Golf Clinic at 4 p.m., September 20, for children ages 6-18 and a Pro-Am scramble on September 22 and 23, during which Symetra Tour professionals will be paired with local and national sponsors.

Actual tournament play takes place September 24 - 26.

For more information about the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, visit www.eldoradoshootout.com. Follow Facebook.com/road2eldo, Twitter.com/ROAD2ELDO, and Instagram @road2eldo.
 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOSTS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON SEPTEMBER 23
Call 501-370-3829 to make an appointment to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.

 WHAT:   Virtual Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans
WHO:     During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist them with specific questions regarding VA benefits claims.
WHEN:   Thursday, September 23, 4 - 6 p.m.
HOW:     To schedule a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, September 22, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

 BACKGROUND: 
“Even though we have all been affected by the pandemic, we still have a mission to serve the Veterans in the state of Arkansas,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “It is our responsibility to provide these services to our Veterans who answered the call of our nation and protected the freedom of our country.”

VA Regional Offices provide financial and other forms of assistance to veterans and their dependents. This includes disability compensation, survivor’s benefits, pension and fiduciary service, education and training, vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance, life insurance coverage, and home loans guaranties. 

VA recently added three presumptive disability conditions related to toxic exposure: asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. Military service members may have been exposed to a variety of airborne hazards or contaminants resulting in one or more of these presumptive conditions and potentially other related medical conditions while on active duty in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War from September 19, 2001 to present, or the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990 to present. 

During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office are available to answer questions about existing VA benefits claims and how to file a new one. 

“We have such a diverse population outside of the metropolitan areas of the state; we need to work even harder to reach those who are in our rural areas and those unable to reach us by other means,” said Quillin.  

For more information about VA’s benefits, go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call 800-827-1000.
 

GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR ARKANSAS ARTS ORGANIZATIONS AFFECTED BY COVID-19
LITTLE ROCK -- The Division of Arkansas Heritage is pleased to announce the application period is now open for the Arkansas Arts Council American Rescue Plan (ARP) Grant. This grant will aid 501(c)(3) arts groups based in Arkansas that have experienced financial hardships or loss of program capacity due to lost revenue in the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Funding for this grant comes from the $784,000 AAC received from the National Endowment for the Arts in the ARP. Eligible arts organizations may request up to $15,000. This is a one-time-only grant category and may not be extended or renewed.

“Arts organizations play an important role in their local economies and contribute substantially to the quality of life in our state,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “We are very pleased to be able to offer this grant to help offset the economic injury caused by COVID-19.”

Our agency recognizes this moment as an opportunity for the sector not just to reestablish old ways of operating, but to rebuild in a way that works better for all arts organizations. 

To qualify for the ARP grant, organizations will be considered on:
The quality of the arts organizations based on Artistic Excellence and Artistic Merit.
The potential of the proposal to have a significant and immediate impact on the arts workforce.
The proposal's significance to the arts mission and core work of the organizations.
The organization's ability to carry out an arts proposal, including the appropriateness of the budget, resources involved and personnel.
The extent to which the arts organization aids underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.

The Arkansas Arts Council ARP grant can be used for the following administrative costs:
Salary support (full or partial) for one or more staff positions.
Fees/stipends for contractual personnel to support the services they provide for specific activities. Jobs or positions supported through ARP may be existing or new.
Facilities costs such as rent and utilities, e.g., electric, phone and gas bills. Not to include upgrades to HVAC/ventilation systems. Note: costs related to home offices are not allowed.
Costs associated with health and safety supplies for staff and/or visitors/audiences (e.g., personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, etc.).
Costs associated with marketing, promotion and applicant/grantee technical assistance.

To apply for the ARP grant check out our grants portal website: https://bit.ly/2XnbWU4. New users will have to create an account to apply. The deadline to apply is October 15.

For more information or assistance contact Grant Programs Manager Jess Anthony at jess.anthony@arkansas.gov or 501-324-9768.
 

TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN TO HOST SMART WOMEN SMART MONEY CONFERENCE
Free, virtual conference empowers women financially
Little Rock, Ark. – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan is hosting the third annual Smart Women Smart Money Arkansas conference on Friday, Sept. 24. The free conference will be held virtually this year and is designed to empower women to improve their financial well-being.

“Arkansas ranks third worst in the nation for both women’s unemployment and earnings and poverty and opportunity,” Milligan said, citing the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “Our message with this conference is that it’s never too early or too late to help oneself improve their financial well-being.”

This year’s conference will feature general sessions presented by content experts as well as smaller breakout sessions tailored for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of understanding. Attendees can choose topics that best meet their needs and comfort level.

The keynote speaker this year is Rachel Marie Martin, author of the Brave Art of Motherhood and FindingJoy.net. Martin’s honest story of how she achieved financial independence starting from rock bottom with seven children will resonate with women of all ages, Milligan said.

“Rachel has a unique story of resilience amid dealing with bill collectors, being in quite a bit of debt, all while trying to juggle being a mother and cope with a failing marriage,” Milligan said. “Her story is so inspiring and I think attendees will walk away from the conference energized and encouraged.”

Smart Women Smart Money conferences began more than 20 years ago in Idaho. When Milligan brought the conference to Arkansas in 2019, it began the nationwide expansion of the program.

“Treasurer Milligan has been an instrumental leader in helping us expand the Smart Women Smart Money conference around the country,” said Derek Kreifels, President of the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF), the parent organization of Smart Women Smart Money. “His passion for Arkansans is evident in the work he has done as Treasurer, especially in serving as national chairman of SFOF for 2021.

“My wife, Melanie, and I are so excited to be working with our great sponsors in Arkansas – especially our title sponsor, KATV – to help bring financial awareness to Arkansans.”

To register for the Smart Women Smart Money conference, interested persons may visit https://smartwomensmartmoney.com/arkansas/

September 17, 2021

FORMER LONOKE COUNTY DEPUTY SURRENDERS TO STATE POLICE
SEPTEMBER 17, 2021
Former Lonoke County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Michael Davis surrendered to Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division Special Agents about noon today.

Davis, 30, of Lonoke County, was taken into custody based on a manslaughter arrest warrant filed in Lonoke County Circuit Court early today.  He was taken to the Lonoke County Detention Center for the required booking process.

The Arkansas State Police will transport Davis to an undisclosed county jail where he will be held until a first appearance hearing next week.

ARKANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION RELEASES CIVICS EDUCATIONAL VIDEO IN HONOR OF CONSTITUTION DAY
The Arkansas Bar Association (ArkBar) is releasing a video documentary today, “The Grand Experiment—Democracy in Motion,” to help educate Arkansas students and the public about the importance of the Constitution and the rule of law in the United States in honor of Constitution Day. Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Qwy8Hr3nE.

 High school Students Leslie Dixon and Aiden Eslinger begin the video on the front steps of the Arkansas State Capitol by saying: “This may sound strange and you probably don’t know this, but here in America we have been living a grand experiment for approximately 250 years. And what do we call this experiment? We call it democracy. Everyone around the world knows the word now, but back in the 1700s democracy was an experiment. And yes, it still is to this day.”

 The video covers several core principles that guide the judicial system: the rule of law, equal justice, a fair and impartial judiciary and trial by jury. The students help explain each topic with analogies that other students can understand while leading Arkansas judges, educators and law makers explain the principles.

 “The lawyers of Arkansas bring you this gift so that you will understand the rule of law,” said ArkBar Immediate Past President Paul Keith of Monticello. “Men and women have died on American soil and around the world in defense of the rule of law. The rule of law remains under assault every day and it could become simply a memory in only one generation. We’re counting on you to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

 We would like to thank the following participants for volunteering their time to make this video possible: Governor Asa Hutchinson; Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Kemp, Arkansas Supreme Court Justices Justice Robin Wynne, Justice Courtney Hudson, and Justice Barbara Webb; Arkansas Court of Appeals Chief Judge Brandon Harrison, Arkansas Court of Appeals Judges Judge Rita Gruber and Judge Waymond Brown; Circuit Judge Carlton Jones; former United States Senator Mark Pryor; Dean Emeritus Cynthia Nance; Professor Anthony McMullen; ArkBar Past President Paul W. Keith; attorneys Chris Hussein and Edith Chavez de Oseguera; and student moderators Leslie Dixon, Parkview High School, and Aiden Eslinger, Conway High School.

 We would also like to thank: Administrative Office of the Courts Director Marty Sullivan; ArkBar Board of Trustees; ArkBar President Bob Estes; ArkBar President-Elect Joe Kolb; ArkBar Past President Brian Rosenthal; Legal Related Education Committee Chair Beverly Brister; ArkBar Executive Director Karen K. Hutchins; ArkBar Director of Government Relations Jay Robbins; and Arkansas Supreme Court Public Education Coordinator Karen Tricot Steward.

 This video was produced by Steve Narisi, Executive Producer, and Hayot Tuychiev, Director of Photography and Video Editor, The Nastro Group.

 About the Arkansas Bar Association
Founded in 1898, the Arkansas Bar Association is the premier legal association in the state. As a voluntary organization of more than 5,000 members, the Association’s primary mission is to support attorneys; advance the practice of law; advocate for the legal profession; foster professionalism, civility, and integrity; and protect the rule of law.

ARTISTS NEEDED FOR PUBLIC ARTS PROJECTS
Camden Included in List Seeking Proposal
LITTLE ROCK -- The deadline for Arkansas Heritage Public Arts Grants will soon be here. This matching grant is specifically for Main Street Arkansas program communities and is intended to reimburse for the cost of commissioning, designing and installing artwork that can be enjoyed by the general public. Grants typically range from $2,500 to $10,000, although larger projects will be considered if grant funding is available.

Several Main Street Arkansas program communities are seeking requests for proposals (RFP) from qualified artists interested in working on their projects:

Camden – Sculpture
The RFP is posted on the Camden Downtown Network Facebook page at https://bit.ly/39k2TFP.
Contact Charlotte Young at director@camdendowntownnetwork.org or at 870-807-1468

Conway – Sculpture
The RFP is posted at https://bit.ly/3AkRxNP.
Contact Jamie Brice at jamie.brice@conwayarkansas.gov

Dumas – Mural
The RFP is posted at https://bit.ly/3Eq3WCr.
Contact Julianne Ford at mainstreetdumas@centurytel.net

Little Rock – Mural
The RFP is posted on the Downtown Little Rock Partnership Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3hGkXi3.
Contact Caroline Brown at cbrown@downtownlr.com; submit proposals to publicart@downtownlr.com

West Memphis – Mural
The RFP is posted on the Main Street West Memphis Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3Ajj0zA.
Contact Deborah Abernathy at dabernathy@broadwaywestmemphis.com or at 870-735-8814

Wynne – Mural
The RFP is posted on the Wynne Downtown Revitalization Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3EoBroT.
Contact Kimberly McGuire at wynne.drc@gmail.com.


The Main Street Programs will need RFPs from interested artists by Oct. 1 or as stated in the RFP. The final application deadline from participating Main Street Programs is Oct. 15.

The next Public Arts Grants Program cycle begins again in July of 2022. Those with questions or an interest in this program can contact Debra Fithen, grants manager, at 501-324-9158 or debra.fithen@arkansas.gov.  

 

COVID IN SCHOOLS
More than half of all eligible Arkansans ages 12 and up are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, an encouraging milestone reached this week, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Amid the spread of the highly infectious delta variant, a Pfizer spokesperson said this week that the company plans to seek emergency authorization from the FDA in November for the vaccine’s use among children younger than 5. Pfizer previously announced it will seek emergency authorization in October for children aged 5 to 11.

According to data updated by our team today, 161 Arkansas public school districts have COVID-19 infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, down from 189 last week. Also, three school districts have achieved COVID-19 vaccination rates of at least 50% of district residents: Bentonville (51%), Cleveland County (50%), and Magnet Cove (50%).

Among the 161 districts with 14-day infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 residents, 35 have 14-day infection rates of 100 or more new known infections per 10,000 residents, or more than 1% of the total population in each of those districts. This is down from last week’s total of 59, which was a pandemic record.

Read today’s news release for more. For additional data and maps tracking COVID-19 vaccinations and known infections in Arkansas school districts, communities, and ZIP codes, visit our COVID-19 in Arkansas page.
 

STATE TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN DISCUSSES IMPLICATIONS OF BIDEN TAX AGENDA
“Tax Compliance Agenda” Could Hurt Middle-Income Families, Small Businesses
Little Rock, Ark. – The Biden Administration and the US Treasury’s proposed agenda to change reporting requirements of banks and credit unions would have unintended consequences on middle-income Americans and small businesses, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan said today.

The proposed change would require all U.S. banks and credit unions to report transactions to the Internal Revenue Service of any bank account with a balance of $600 or more.

The Biden Administration claims that the change in reporting requirements would generate about $460 billion in tax revenue over the next 10 years. The Tax Compliance Agenda is part of the Biden Administration’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.

“The Democrats are trying their hardest to make up for the massive amount of debt they are putting our country in,” Milligan said. “In doing so, they are burdening middle-class Americans and small businesses in the name of trying to catch tax evaders. People who evade taxes aren’t your hardworking middle-class Arkansans. Instead, this is just another type of government overreach that is typical of a Democrat-controlled Congress.”

Milligan also has major concerns about the security such an overhaul would have on individuals’ personal data.

“As Treasurer, I serve as the state’s banker, so I’m familiar with cyber threats and the types of data breaches that are out there, and I have very strong concerns about this agenda. The IRS itself has a continued track record of data breaches, and I’m very concerned with the amount of security – or lack thereof – that the government has shown in the past,” Milligan said. 

The agenda would also affect the relationship that banks have with potential customers – many of whom, especially in Arkansas, are already leery of banking institutions.

At 9.7%, Arkansas already falls above the 7% national average of households who are unbanked, and this additional reporting requirement could cause an unnecessary breach of trust between Arkansans and banks, and force potential customers out of the industry altogether, Milligan said.

“Forcing banks to implement such rigorous reporting requirements would not only bog down their institutions with unnecessary red tape, but would violate Americans’ constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable search or seizure of their papers and effects,” Milligan said, adding that it could also overwhelm many small Arkansas banks.

“Moreover, it would have a detrimental effect here in Arkansas because of the number of  small banks we have here. Requiring them to implement such measures would overwhelm them with an excessive workload.”
 

KRISTY BRASFIELD NAMED 2021 ARKANSAS HISTORY TEACHER OF THE YEAR 
LITTLE ROCK — Kristy Brasfield, a teacher at Joe T. Robinson High School in the Pulaski County Special School District, has been named the 2021 Arkansas History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 

The institute, which provides educational programs and resources that focus on the knowledge and understanding of American history, recognizes one K-12 teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools, and U.S. territories each year. The 2021 National History Teacher of the Year will be named this fall.

"In addition to reading, history has always been one of my favorite subjects," Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. "I fondly remember the amazing history teachers I had as a student and their ability to make history come alive in the classroom. As the state History Teacher of the Year, Ms. Brasfield has set that example for the students in her classroom. They are fortunate to have her as a teacher, and I congratulate her on this honor."

Brasfield teaches U.S. History and English IV at Joe T. Robinson High School and previously taught AP and Pre-AP History in the Blytheville School District for eight years. She currently serves on the Arkansas Council for the Social Studies Board, the Rho Kappa Advisory Council, and the National Constitution Center's Teacher Advisory Council.

Brasfield previously was named the 2019 Arkansas Council for the Social Studies 9-12 Teacher of the Year and the 2016 Rotary Educator of the Year. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education in Social Science, a Master of Science in Education in Education Theory and Practice, and an Education Specialist in Educational Leadership, Curriculum Director from Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. She is currently writing her dissertation for a Doctorate in Education from ASU.

In addition to Brasfield receiving a $1,000 award, her school will receive a core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials.

Nominations for the 2022 History Teacher of the Year are now open. Students, parents, colleagues, and supervisors may nominate K-12 teachers for the award by visiting https://bit.ly/2XsbEbp. The deadline for nominations is March 30, 2022.
 

ADE RELEASES NEW CONCUSSION MANAGEMENT SUPPORT RESOURCE 
LITTLE ROCK — The effects of a concussion can linger long after a head trauma occurs, and oftentimes, the symptoms go unnoticed. Not only can the effects cause continued medical issues for a student, they can negatively impact a student’s ability to learn.

To help families, schools, and medical professionals develop an integrated, community-based approach of support for students affected by concussions, the Arkansas Department of Education, in conjunction with the Arkansas Brain Injury Support Program (a grant-funded program out of the department’s Office of Special Education), is pleased to release “REAP the Benefits of Good Concussion Management” today in support of National Concussion Awareness Day.

While any student can suffer from a concussion, student athletes are more susceptible to them because of the physical contact associated with sports.

“When I was a coach and a principal, I saw firsthand the long-lasting effects that concussions can have not only on the health of students but also on their ability to be successful in the classroom,” said Matt Sewell, the director of Special Education at ADE’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. “This new resource takes a multi-faceted approach to providing support by identifying roles and responsibilities for each member of a student’s support team. It’s important to remember that a combined approach is essential to helping a student fully recover long after the game is over and the student returns to the classroom.”

The Arkansas manual is based on the REAP (Remove/Reduce, Educate, Adjust/Accommodate, and Pace) concussion management community-based model that was developed in Colorado after a football player died from a head trauma. In developing Arkansas’ manual, partners (which include Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the Arkansas Activities Association, the Schmieding Center, and the Trauma Rehabilitation Resources Program) incorporated Return to Play principles that are outlined by Arkansas concussion legislation. 

The manual also identifies multiple myths about concussions, includes a symptom checklist, offers special considerations, and provides guidance regarding specific actions and timelines for a student’s family team, school physical and academic teams, and medical team. In addition to outlining the steps students can take to return to their sport, the manual also identifies the most common “thinking” problems that occur following a concussion and considerations for adjustments or accommodations needed when a student returns to the classroom. 

“The safety of all student athletes is our top priority, but when an injury does occur, we want to ensure students have the best support network available to help them not only ‘get back in the game’ but also succeed academically and in life,” said Dr. Joey Walters, deputy executive director of the Arkansas Activities Association. “The ‘REAP’ resource is a great tool that encourages a community-wide approach to helping students heal from a concussion. We are happy to be part of its development and know it will greatly benefit students in the future.”

The manual is available for review and download at https://bit.ly/3AdkXNT
 

COTTON DEMANDS ANSWERS ABOUT FAA FLIGHT RESTRICTION OVER SOUTHERN BORDER
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) demanding answers about the FAA’s temporary flight restriction over the southern border in Del Rio, Texas.

In part, Senator Cotton wrote, “Last night, the FAA implemented a two-week Temporary Flight Restriction over the migrant camp. This decision has forced media organizations covering the ongoing border crisis to ground their aircraft. I’m disturbed by the possibility that the FAA closed the airspace over the border for political reasons, perhaps to blackout unfavorable media coverage of the humanitarian disaster. The American people deserve to have access to information about this crisis.”

Text of the letter may be found below.

Dear Administrator Dickson,
I write with deep concerns about a recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision to restrict the airspace over Del Rio, Texas.

As you know, in recent days thousands of illegal aliens have poured over the U.S.-Mexico border into Del Rio, Texas. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol estimates that over 9,000 aliens, including many Haitians, are currently sheltering under the Del Rio International Bridge. Authorities expect thousands more to illegally cross the border in the coming days.

Last night, the FAA implemented a two-week Temporary Flight Restriction over the migrant camp. This decision has forced media organizations covering the ongoing border crisis to ground their aircraft. I’m disturbed by the possibility that the FAA closed the airspace over the border for political reasons, perhaps to blackout unfavorable media coverage of the humanitarian disaster. The American people deserve to have access to information about this crisis.

I ask that you promptly answer the following questions:
Why did the FAA implement a Temporary Flight Restriction over this area of Texas?
Who at the FAA made the decision to restrict this airspace?
In making this decision, did FAA leadership have any direct contact with the White House? If so, did White House officials order or pressure the FAA to make this decision?

I appreciate your consideration of this important matter.

Sincerely,

BOOZMAN URGES CONGRESS TO DESIGNATE BLYTHEVILLE EXHIBITION AS NATIONAL COLD WAR CENTER
Visits Facility on Former Eaker Air Force Base
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) visited the Blytheville Air Force Base Exhibition, home of a comprehensive collection of material and information from the Cold War. Boozman is leading Senate efforts to designate the facility as the National Cold War Center.

“Blytheville played a vital role in America’s national security and helped safeguard the world against the threat of nuclear war. The exhibit tells that story and recognizes the men and women who were called to defend our nation at such an incredibly sensitive and precarious time. Having a dedicated tribute to them and their experiences here in Arkansas would be a tremendous asset that realizes a fitting opportunity to preserve this important part of our history,” Boozman said. “I will continue urging Congress to recognize the significance of Eaker Air Force Base, and the dedicated Americans who served there, by designating it as the National Cold War Center.”

“Preserving the memories of those who served in uniform during the Cold War is a privilege, and it’s something our entire community is dedicated to supporting in a number of ways. This center is dedicated to telling the stories behind an important time in our history while also promoting education and drawing visitors from near and far to explore our exhibits and area. We appreciate Senator Boozman’s leadership to champion Blytheville’s unique role in defending our country and his advocacy for national recognition,” Cold War Center Board of Directors Chair Mary Gay Shipley said.

In May, Boozman and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) reintroduced legislation that would confer this national recognition on the existing facility. The following month, the Senate Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on the bill. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

The former Eaker Air Force Base was home to approximately 300,000 men and women from 1942-1992 and is America’s best-preserved Strategic Air Command Alert Aircrew Facility and Nuclear Weapons Storage Area. 

 

BOOZMAN COMMEMORATES POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY
Calls for Additional Resources for Agency that Helped Bring Missing World War II Arkansan Home in Stars and Stripes Column
WASHINGTON -  U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) called for additional support and resources for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to accomplish its mission to account for America’s missing war heroes.

Boozman’s column was published in Stars and Stripes and is printed below:
Lt. Henry Donald Mitchell developed a passion for aviation long before he piloted P-38 Lighting aircraft in World War II. He was a flight instructor known to show off his daredevil flying skills to his family in Northwest Arkansas. Mitchell applied his talent and love for aviation in response to his country’s call to serve, becoming a member of the 48th Fighter Squadron, 14th Fighter Group of the Army Air Corps. 

On July 8, 1944, while on a mission over Vienna, Austria, his squadron engaged with enemy aircraft. While the flight leader heard Lt. Mitchell radio that he was all right, he never returned and was declared missing in action.

On this National POW/MIA Recognition Day, for the first time in 77 years, Mitchell is not listed as MIA thanks to the relentless pursuit by his brother Bob, members of the Arkansas congressional delegation, international representatives and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to bring him home.

The DPAA is responsible for finding, identifying and accounting for American service members missing in action. Today, more than 80,000 Department of Defense personnel remain unaccounted for, including 72,000 World War II servicemembers.

The work of the DPAA touches every corner of the United States and brings hope to families missing someone they love. Our never-ending commitment to accounting for those who served in our nation’s uniform remains a priority. 

Increased challenges to locating our fallen heroes in remote or deep-water locations demonstrate the need for innovative technologies. However, limited resources hinder the agency’s ability to incorporate new strategies and implement state-of-the-art advancements. That’s why we must do more to help the agency successfully accomplish its mission.

One way we can make a difference is by creating a nonprofit foundation that will enable the agency to assist in recovery operations, support public-private partnerships, conduct research, and develop additional groundbreaking methods to search for and identify our heroes. 

We’ve experienced success with similar congressionally-supported nonprofits on advancing DOD medicine. I look forward to introducing legislation that expands DPAA’s capabilities in the same manner. This will enable us to harness the expertise of world-class researchers and other experts so we can ultimately bring closure to more families.

DPAA personnel will continue looking for those missing in action and providing answers to families waiting, sometimes for decades, to hear their loved one has been found. Bob Mitchell was one such case, but thankfully that very call came last month.

“I’m tickled to death,” the younger Mitchell told an Arkansas news outlet in the days after the DPAA positively identified the remains of his brother who was found at the site of a downed P-38 Lightning in Austria. Bob spent more than two decades working to bring his brother home.

“I never gave up, and that’s the secret to a lot of things,” he told my staff.

Bob has been a relentless advocate for his big brother and I am honored to have played a role in his homecoming.

This week, Lt. Mitchell was finally laid to rest in the Fayetteville National Cemetery with full military honors.

There are many more families waiting and hoping for the same opportunity. This National POW/MIA Recognition Day, let’s remember them and renew our country’s commitment to bring our heroes home.
 

SAAC ANNOUNCES CAST FOR “CLUE: ONSTAGE”
Rhett and Hannah Faith Davis, co-directors for the South Arkansas Arts Center’s production of “Clue: Onstage”, have announced the cast of talented actors selected to play the famous roles in this production, scheduled to run October 22-24, 28, 30-31. The principal cast includes Hayden Nooner as Wadsworth, Bonnie Murray as Miss Scarlet, Steven Vick as Mr. Green, Elva Melillo as Mrs. White, Jacarllus Hill as Colonel Mustard, Traci Stevenson as Mrs. Peacock and Darrin Riley as Professor Plum. Rounding out the supporting cast are Lainey Walthall as Yvette, Kenneth Burns as Mr. Boddy/the motorist/Chief of Police, Jessica Raines as the cook/singing telegram girl/auxiliary Scarlet/backup cop, and Holland Ruff as auxiliary Mustard/the unexpected cop/backup cop.

“We have assembled a very talented and new group of people for this show,” said Rhett. “We have actors with all levels of experience on the South Arkansas Arts Center stage. You will see some familiar faces mixed in with a largely new bunch taking center stage. We had a fantastic group show up to audition and it really has resulted in an incredible cast from top to bottom.” 

“Our lead, Hayden, will be having his first experience on this stage and he’s already leaving us in stitches as Wadsworth,” continued Hannah. “Our other six principal characters are all unique and hilarious, as well. Each brings their own form of comedy to the stage. The supporting cast is also incredible, as they really shape and mold the setting as both foreboding and comical. It’s been an amazing process so far, and I can’t wait for everyone to see how phenomenal our cast is. Come join us in October and see how far these characters will go when they’ve been backed into a corner!”

The classic board game is brought to life in “Clue: On Stage”. Six guests are invited to a dinner party thrown by an anonymous host. They are given aliases--Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet. Though discouraged from revealing personal information, it is soon discovered that all of them have fallen victim to the same blackmailer, their very host of the evening. Each is presented with a weapon and an option: pay their extortionist double, or kill the innocent butler. What follows is a madcap, slapstick evening full of murder, mystery, and laughs as they seek to puzzle out the culprit amongst criminals.

For the chance to meet this wild cast of characters, stop by SAAC between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 18 for Family Game Night. You can play a round or two of your favorite board game in the gallery, or try a custom dog from Kernel Mustard’s Hotdog Cart in the parking lot, all while having lots of laughs with the “Clue” crew.

For more information about this hilarious show, 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.

September 16, 2021

UAMS TO HOST ANNUAL DRIVE-THRU HEALTH FAIR IN EL DORADO
LITTLE ROCK — The South Arkansas Center on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will host its annual ‘Head 2 Toe’ drive-thru health fair on Sept. 23 for senior adults.

The health fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the Champagnolle Landing Senior Center, 910 Champagnolle Road, in El Dorado. Participants will remain in their vehicle as they move through the health fair line and visit with vendors.  CDC guidelines will be followed including social distancing and facemasks.

Flu shots and blood pressure checks will be available, in addition to educational handouts and giveaways. Registration is not required, but participants will need to bring their identification and insurance card to receive a flu shot.

For more information, please call 870-881-8969 or email jaturner2@uams.edu.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOSTS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON SEPTEMBER 23
Call 501-370-3829 to make an appointment to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.

 WHAT:   Virtual Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans
 WHO:     During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist them with specific questions regarding VA benefits claims.
 WHEN:   Thursday, September 23, 4 - 6 p.m.
 HOW:     To schedule a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, September 22, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

 BACKGROUND: 
“Even though we have all been affected by the pandemic, we still have a mission to serve the Veterans in the state of Arkansas,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “It is our responsibility to provide these services to our Veterans who answered the call of our nation and protected the freedom of our country.”

VA Regional Offices provide financial and other forms of assistance to veterans and their dependents. This includes disability compensation, survivor’s benefits, pension and fiduciary service, education and training, vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance, life insurance coverage, and home loans guaranties.

VA recently added three presumptive disability conditions related to toxic exposure: asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. Mitary service members may have been exposed to a variety of airborne hazards or contaminants resulting in one or more of these presumptive conditions and potentially other related medical conditions while on active duty in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War from September 19, 2001 to present, or the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990 to present.

During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office are available to answer questions about existing VA benefits claims and how to file a new one.

“We have such a diverse population outside of the metropolitan areas of the state; we need to work even harder to reach those who are in our rural areas and those unable to reach us by other means,” said Quillin.  

For more information about VA’s benefits, go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call 800-827-1000.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T LET A LEMON LEAVE A SOUR TASTE
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is reminding Arkansans the benefits of the Arkansas Lemon Law and how it provides a safety net for some buyers whose vehicles have recurring problems. A motor vehicle less than two years old, or with less than 24,000 miles, is covered under the Arkansas Lemon Law. Any recurring problem, including defects that impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle, could trigger this protection. Generally, when a new vehicle experiences the same issue or defect after a specified number of repair attempts, Arkansas consumers may have the right to a refund or replacement of the vehicle through the Lemon Law dispute resolution process.

“Buying a new car is one of the biggest purchases a person makes and it is important the vehicle is not a dud,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important to know about our Lemon Law and how to file a claim, even without hiring an attorney. My office publishes ‘A Consumer’s Guide to the Arkansas Lemon Law’ to help Arkansans who believe they may have purchased a lemon.”

Any consumer who buys, leases or licenses a new motor vehicle in the State of Arkansas is covered by the Lemon Law during the term of the manufacturer’s warranty for up to two years after the original delivery date of the vehicle, or for the first 24,000 miles, whichever is longer. If the vehicle is transferred to someone else during this period, that owner or person leasing the vehicle is also covered under the Lemon Law.

The Attorney General offered the following tips to consumers who notice nonconformities after purchasing a new vehicle:
Read “A Consumer’s Guide to the Arkansas Lemon Law” that the car dealer provides at the time of purchase. If you need a second copy, you can obtain one from the Attorney General’s Office or by clicking here.
Follow the steps outlined in the Consumer Guide to report problems to the dealer or manufacturer immediately and take your vehicle to the dealer for evaluation.
Keep repair receipts and a complete record of contacts with the dealer and manufacturer and visits to repair shops.
Use the form letters in the Consumer Guide to send a “demand letter” to the manufacturer, along with a copy to the Independent Dispute Settlement Program.

The Arkansas Lemon Law does not cover mopeds, motorcycles, the living quarters of motor homes or most vehicles weighing more than 14,000 pounds. The law also does not cover vehicles that have been substantially altered after its initial sale from the dealer.

For more information on consumer-related topics, visit ArkansasAG.gov, email Consumer@ArkansasAG.gov, or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.

SIX ARKANSAS TEACHERS SELECTED AS FINALISTS FOR NATIONAL AWARDS IN MATH, SCIENCE TEACHING  
LITTLE ROCK — Six Arkansas teachers were recently selected as 2021 state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

On behalf of The White House, the National Science Foundation oversees the program that recognizes outstanding science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers who have demonstrated a commitment to professional development, innovative teaching techniques, and technology use in their classrooms.

Forty-seven Arkansas teachers were nominated, and the following educators were selected as state finalists.

Math Finalists:
Jay Bly, DeWitt High School, DeWitt School District
Wes Davis, Cabot High School, Cabot School District
Diana Taylor, Rison High School, Cleveland County School District

Science Finalists:
Patrycja Krakowiak, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
Marc Reif, Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville School District
Jeffrey Rice, Southside High School, Fort Smith School District

“I am extremely proud of these six educators for being named state finalists for this national honor,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. “These educators represent the best of the best in their fields, and because of their excellence in the classroom, their students will be prepared for the future. Congratulations!”

A national committee of scientists, mathematicians, and educators will next review the applications and recommend up to 108 teachers to receive PAEMST awards. Winners are chosen from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. territories, and schools operated in the United States and overseas by the Department of Defense Education Activity. Teachers who are selected as national PAEMST awardees each receive a $10,000 award, a presidential citation, and a trip to Washington, DC, for a series of recognition events, professional development activities, and an awards ceremony.

The 2022 application cycle is now open. The deadline to apply is January 7, 2022. To learn more about the awards program, go to https://www.paemst.org
 

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OF ARKANSAS DISPATCH SECOND WAVE OF CREWS TO LOUISIANA
Little Rock, Ark. — Sept. 15, 2021 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are dispatching 181 line workers and utility vehicles, along with construction and right-of-way equipment, to assist South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association (SLECA) of Houma, La. in continued power restoration efforts.

Two weeks ago, the cooperatives sent 209 line crews that have worked 16-hour days for the past 14 days. The Arkansas crews are part of an 1,100 linemen team at SLECA. SLECA estimates that approximately 75-80 percent of its 21,000 members have service due to the efforts of the crews. At the height of the outages, more than 94 percent of its members were without electrical service.

The second phase crews include line workers from Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock, C&L Electric Cooperative of Star City, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro, Farmers Electric Cooperative of Newport, Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton, South Central Arkansas Electric of Arkadelphia, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana and Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City. The crews will provide construction, repair and right-of-way assistance.
 

UAMS TO HOST ANNUAL DRIVE-THRU HEALTH FAIR IN EL DORADO
LITTLE ROCK — The South Arkansas Center on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will host its annual ‘Head 2 Toe’ drive-thru health fair on Sept. 23 for senior adults.

The health fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the Champagnolle Landing Senior Center, 910 Champagnolle Road, in El Dorado. Participants will remain in their vehicle as they move through the health fair line and visit with vendors.  CDC guidelines will be followed including social distancing and facemasks.

Flu shots and blood pressure checks will be available, in addition to educational handouts and giveaways. Registration is not required, but participants will need to bring their identification and insurance card to receive a flu shot.

For more information, please call 870-881-8969 or email jaturner2@uams.edu.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOSTS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON SEPTEMBER 23
Call 501-370-3829 to make an appointment to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.

 WHAT:   Virtual Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans
 WHO:     During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist them with specific questions regarding VA benefits claims.
 WHEN:   Thursday, September 23, 4 - 6 p.m.
 HOW:     To schedule a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, September 22, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

 BACKGROUND: 
“Even though we have all been affected by the pandemic, we still have a mission to serve the Veterans in the state of Arkansas,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “It is our responsibility to provide these services to our Veterans who answered the call of our nation and protected the freedom of our country.”

VA Regional Offices provide financial and other forms of assistance to veterans and their dependents. This includes disability compensation, survivor’s benefits, pension and fiduciary service, education and training, vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance, life insurance coverage, and home loans guaranties.

VA recently added three presumptive disability conditions related to toxic exposure: asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. Military service members may have been exposed to a variety of airborne hazards or contaminants resulting in one or more of these presumptive conditions and potentially other related medical conditions while on active duty in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War from September 19, 2001 to present, or the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990 to present.

During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office are available to answer questions about existing VA benefits claims and how to file a new one.

“We have such a diverse population outside of the metropolitan areas of the state; we need to work even harder to reach those who are in our rural areas and those unable to reach us by other means,” said Quillin.  

 For more information about VA’s benefits, go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call 800-827-1000.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T LET A LEMON LEAVE A SOUR TASTE
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is reminding Arkansans the benefits of the Arkansas Lemon Law and how it provides a safety net for some buyers whose vehicles have recurring problems. A motor vehicle less than two years old, or with less than 24,000 miles, is covered under the Arkansas Lemon Law. Any recurring problem, including defects that impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle, could trigger this protection. Generally, when a new vehicle experiences the same issue or defect after a specified number of repair attempts, Arkansas consumers may have the right to a refund or replacement of the vehicle through the Lemon Law dispute resolution process.

“Buying a new car is one of the biggest purchases a person makes and it is important the vehicle is not a dud,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important to know about our Lemon Law and how to file a claim, even without hiring an attorney. My office publishes ‘A Consumer’s Guide to the Arkansas Lemon Law’ to help Arkansans who believe they may have purchased a lemon.”

Any consumer who buys, leases or licenses a new motor vehicle in the State of Arkansas is covered by the Lemon Law during the term of the manufacturer’s warranty for up to two years after the original delivery date of the vehicle, or for the first 24,000 miles, whichever is longer. If the vehicle is transferred to someone else during this period, that owner or person leasing the vehicle is also covered under the Lemon Law.

The Attorney General offered the following tips to consumers who notice nonconformities after purchasing a new vehicle:

Read “A Consumer’s Guide to the Arkansas Lemon Law” that the car dealer provides at the time of purchase. If you need a second copy, you can obtain one from the Attorney General’s Office or by clicking here.

Follow the steps outlined in the Consumer Guide to report problems to the dealer or manufacturer immediately and take your vehicle to the dealer for evaluation.

Keep repair receipts and a complete record of contacts with the dealer and manufacturer and visits to repair shops.

Use the form letters in the Consumer Guide to send a “demand letter” to the manufacturer, along with a copy to the Independent Dispute Settlement Program.

The Arkansas Lemon Law does not cover mopeds, motorcycles, the living quarters of motor homes or most vehicles weighing more than 14,000 pounds. The law also does not cover vehicles that have been substantially altered after its initial sale from the dealer.

For more information on consumer-related topics, visit ArkansasAG.gov, email Consumer@ArkansasAG.gov, or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.

 

SIX ARKANSAS TEACHERS SELECTED AS FINALISTS FOR NATIONAL AWARDS IN MATH, SCIENCE TEACHING  
LITTLE ROCK — Six Arkansas teachers were recently selected as 2021 state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

On behalf of The White House, the National Science Foundation oversees the program that recognizes outstanding science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers who have demonstrated a commitment to professional development, innovative teaching techniques, and technology use in their classrooms.

Forty-seven Arkansas teachers were nominated, and the following educators were selected as state finalists.

Math Finalists:
Jay Bly, DeWitt High School, DeWitt School District
Wes Davis, Cabot High School, Cabot School District
Diana Taylor, Rison High School, Cleveland County School District

Science Finalists:
Patrycja Krakowiak, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
Marc Reif, Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville School District
Jeffrey Rice, Southside High School, Fort Smith School District

“I am extremely proud of these six educators for being named state finalists for this national honor,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. “These educators represent the best of the best in their fields, and because of their excellence in the classroom, their students will be prepared for the future. Congratulations!”

A national committee of scientists, mathematicians, and educators will next review the applications and recommend up to 108 teachers to receive PAEMST awards. Winners are chosen from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. territories, and schools operated in the United States and overseas by the Department of Defense Education Activity. Teachers who are selected as national PAEMST awardees each receive a $10,000 award, a presidential citation, and a trip to Washington, DC, for a series of recognition events, professional development activities, and an awards ceremony.

The 2022 application cycle is now open. The deadline to apply is January 7, 2022. To learn more about the awards program, go to https://www.paemst.org

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OF ARKANSAS DISPATCH SECOND WAVE OF CREWS TO LOUISIANA
Little Rock, Ark. — Sept. 15, 2021 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are dispatching 181 line workers and utility vehicles, along with construction and right-of-way equipment, to assist South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association (SLECA) of Houma, La. in continued power restoration efforts.

Two weeks ago, the cooperatives sent 209 line crews that have worked 16-hour days for the past 14 days. The Arkansas crews are part of an 1,100 linemen team at SLECA. SLECA estimates that approximately 75-80 percent of its 21,000 members have service due to the efforts of the crews. At the height of the outages, more than 94 percent of its members were without electrical service.

The second phase crews include line workers from Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock, C&L Electric Cooperative of Star City, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro, Farmers Electric Cooperative of Newport, Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton, South Central Arkansas Electric of Arkadelphia, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana and Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City. The crews will provide construction, repair and right-of-way assistance.

In addition to the crews and equipment, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. and ERMCO have shipped more than 7,000 transformers and truckloads of power line infrastructure materials to cooperatives and municipal electric systems that were devastated by Hurricane Ida.

In addition to the crews and equipment, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. and ERMCO have shipped more than 7,000 transformers and truckloads of power line infrastructure materials to cooperatives and municipal electric systems that were devastated by Hurricane Ida.

 

September 15, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session last night, Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order at promptly 7 pm.  The invocation was given by Rev. Mary Jo Taylor, Pastor at the Pleasant Ridge Assembly Of God Church located at 2880 Fairview  Road in Camden. The invocation was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk Donna Stewart call the roll. Aldermen Chris Aregood, Terry Smith, Marvin Moore, Joe Askew, L.E. Lindsey, James Bell, Cecil McDonald and William McCoy were all present.

The Minutes of the regular Meeting dated August 10, 2021 were presented in print. Motion made and seconded. There was no discussion. Passed unanimously.

The Financial Report for August 2021 Was presented in print. Motion made and seconded. There was no discussion. The Financial Report was accepted by unanimous vote.

During Audience participation the it was brought to the Council’s attention the some City Employees pay into an insurance company to cover costs like co-pays and prescriptions. It is a type of medical saving account. Going back to June of 2021, the insurance company has been denying benefits to City Employees who are paying in to the insurance plan. The company has not given satisfactory answers as to why they are denying claims. The City was already aware and a meeting with the Insurance Company was already schedule for Tuesday, September 15, 2021. The Mayor assured the employees that the problem will be resolved and an email will be sent out when the City gets an answer.

During the Mayor’s Report, Mayor Lott offered condolences to Alderman Askew on the loss of his brother. He also asked residents to please support local endeavors such as the County Fair and the Barn sale.


There was no old business.

The Council move on to new business beginning with Ordinance No. 08-21, an ordinance permitting an employee of the Camden Fire Department to be interested in contracts with the City of Camden, Arkansas.  Motion made to suspend the rules and second. Motion to spend was approved. Motion was then made and seconded to approve. Passes unanimously.

Resolution No. 53-21 is a resolution declaring a vehicle obsolete and authorizing it donation to the Two Bayou Fire Department. Motion made a seconded. Vehicle is down. Could be auctioned but would be better used at Two Bayou as they will come help City if needed. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 54-21 is a resolution confirming the appointment of Trent Walker to the Airport Commission; and for other purposes. Motion made and seconded No discussion. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 55-21 is a resolution confirming the appointment of Charles Gaston to the Airport Commission; and for other purposes. Motion made and seconded. No discussion. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 56-21 is a resolution confirming the appointment of Jason Fletcher to the Airport Commission; Motion made and seconded. No discussion. Passed unanimously.
and for other purposes.

Resolution No. 57-21 is a resolution adding Juneteenth as a holiday, amending Resolution 07-17 and the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual. Motion made and seconded. No discussion. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 58-21 is a resolution authorizing the Mayor to submit an application for ACEDP Grant Funds to the state of Arkansas. Motion made and seconded. Alderman Chris Are good asked if Resolution 58-21 tied to Resolution 59-21. Resolution 59-21 must be passed to get the grant in that the City wants to apply for in Resolution 58-21.  Camden already has a higher standard regarding excessive force. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 59-21 is a resolution establishing a policy prohibiting the use of excessive force by law enforcement agencies, within the applicant’s jurisdiction, against individuals engaged in non-violent civil rights demonstrations. Motion made and seconded. Current excessive use policy is much tougher than this particular policy. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 60-21 is a resolution amending the budget for 2021; and for other purposes. Motion made and seconded. Resolution passed unanimously.

In Other Business City it was brought to the Mayor’s attention that the City website is out of date and the Lights at Ivra Clark Park are blinking. The Mayor made note of both issues. The Mayor aske that the Council start working on the 2022 Budget. There will be special Budget Workshops on September 21st, October 5th and October 19th.

Meeting was adjourned. The next scheduled regular meeting is scheduled for October 11, 2021.
 

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 14, 2021
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Tuesday he is against a broad federal mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccines for businesses across the United States.

In what was his 200th press conference since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hutchinson said he does not support the Biden Administration's announcement that it intends to require all employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that those employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Hutchinson said he recognizes the federal government's authority to mandate masks among federal employees and military personnel. However, the White House's recent announcement exceeds federal authority, Hutchinson explained.

Nevertheless, Hutchinson said the state continues to recommend Arkansans voluntary take the vaccine.

Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero then spoke to recommend the use of masks by school age children and the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies becoming increasingly available across the state. Those treatments are now available at approved pharmacies across the state. 

A list of where monoclonal antibodies are available can be found online at www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

In regard to Arkansas' COVID-19 figures, the Arkansas Department of Health reported more than 1,500 new cases on Tuesday for a cumulative total of just over 477,000 since the pandemic began. Active cases saw a sizable net decrease of 737 for a current total of 17,000 across the state. Over the same period deaths climbed by 36 for a total of 7,334 since the spring of 2020.

MusicFest on the Square is back!

MAIN STREET EL DORADO ANNOUNCES DETAILS ABOUT 33RD ANNUAL EVENT
EL DORADO, AR,— Main Street El Dorado (MSE) is putting the "Fest" in MusicFest, which returns Saturday, October 2, to Downtown El Dorado with more music, more attractions, food and more fun!

Following a year's hiatus due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, organizers promise that MusicFest XXXIII will offer something for everyone including new activities and popular favorites!

"We're so excited! It should be the 34th MusicFest but it's the 33rd. We had to cancel several events in 2020 because of COVID," said Beth Brumley, executive director of Main Street El Dorado. "We only did a few events last year. MusicFest is one we did not do so we're excited to bring it back. It's going to be everything that everyone has come to know and love about MusicFest on the Square," Brumley continued. "We have tons of fun stuff on the schedule."

Festival-goers are in for a family-friendly atmosphere with a dizzying array of activities, starting Sunday, September 26 with the Cole’s Jewelers Miss MusicFest Pageant and capping off October 2 with a 5K/10K run and walk, two stages of live music, food and arts-and-crafts vendors, a beer garden, games, KidsWorld and plenty of attractions including a rock-climbing wall, four-man bungee jumping, a zipline, mechanical bull, vertigo ride and laser tag and tons of inflatables.

Admission is free to MusicFest on the Square. Vendors, competitions and some attractions have fees.

New to MusicFest — and to MSE — the Pupp's BBQ Rib Cook-off! The cook-off is a part of the Grill Wars series that has been incorporated into other MSE events that are presented throughout the year. Each installment of Grill Wars features a different food and theme. "We're going to try our hand at ribs. This will be our first rib cook-off," Brumley said. "This will be Grill Wars for MusicFest. We encourage our locals to participate."

MusicFest headliners
MSE ramps up the variety offering an array of amazing local and regional acts to fill the two stages of music on the Square! Attendance to the shows on the Square is FREE! Performers include, Cody Cooke and the Bayou Outlaws, Trey Gauthreaux, Jacob Flores, Militia, Second Hand Jacket (formerly Soulpranos), Tunesmith, Brody McKinney, Erick Meadows, Carmelo Brown and Mason Halstead along with the El Dorado School District performing arts classes. The Murphy Arts District (MAD) takes on hosting the evening “headliners” that include country music star Frank Foster on Friday, October 1, and legendary rapper/actor Ice Cube, who will take the stage October 2. Both of these shows will begin at 7 p.m. in the First Financial Music Hall, 101 E. Locust. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 870-444-3007 or visit www.eldomad.com.

Registration for various festival events:
Cole’s Jewelers Miss MusicFest Pageant
September 26, 2 p.m., First Financial Music Hall.
The pageant is open to contestants, ages 0 - 18, who will compete in eight age divisions. Entry fee are $40 per child or $35 each for multiple contestants from one household. The optional, Outfit of Choice (OOC) portion of the pageant has a registration fee of $15 per contestant. Only music-themed outfits are allowed (genre, era, artist look-alike). Get creative and have fun with this part of the pageant! “Side awards” for Best Hair, Best Fashion and Best Personality will be judged during the OOC portion of the pageant ONLY. If you do not registered for OOC, you will not be eligible for the “side awards.”

Photogenic Award winners will be selected for each division. Registration fee for the photogenic competition is $5 per photo submitted.

A People's Choice award-winner will also be announced. Admission into the pageant is $5 per person over age 6. Each contestant will receive a pass for one person with a paid entry fee. The deadline to enter the Miss MusicFest Pageant is Monday, September 20 at the $40 price. The late registration fee is $60 per entry. Contestants may sign up from 10a.m. until 11 a.m. on the day of the pageant in the First Financial Music Hall.

Medical Center of South Arkansas-MusicFest 5K/10K Run and Walk
October 2, Downtown El Dorado.
Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the race starts at 7:35 a.m. at 214 N. Washington Avenue.

Early-bird registration is $25 until Friday, September 24 and includes a T-shirt! The registration fee increases to $35 from Saturday, September 25 until October 1. Day-of registration is $40 cash only.

T-shirts are not guaranteed for those registering after Thursday, September 16!

Winners will be named for first, second and third place in male and female categories and in each age division along with Male and Female 5/10K Over-all winners!

Pupp's BBQ Rib War
Saturday, October 2, Downtown El Dorado.
Contestants will vie for more than $4,000 in cash and other prizes, including a first-place prize of $1,500 cash and a trophy. Entry fee is $100 per team and $25 will get you in the pot for both “side awards” which is Best Team T-shirt and Best Music-Themed Cooking Area!

Rib samples will be available for a public-tasting. Tickets are $2 per sample (bone) and they will go on sale at noon, October 2, at the Chamber of Commerce Cook-off tent. Patrons will be able to go to any cook team they want with a purchased ticket to get the rib samples.

The deadline to sign up for the rib cook-off is noon, Monday, September 27!
Set-up cooking areas/pits from noon until 7 p.m. Friday, October 1 on Cleveland Avenue between Elm and Cedar streets. Cooking areas will be assigned on a first come, first served basis and grill teams need to check-in at the Cook-off tent located at the Chamber of Commerce, 111 W. Main before setting up. Check-in/final setup is scheduled for 7 a.m., October 2. A cooks' meeting will follow at 8 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce.

El Dorado Metals Cornhole Tournament
October 2, Main and Cleveland streets.
The entry fee is $50 per team. Download the SCOREHOLIO app in your app store to register!
Late registration is from 1-2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 2. Practice starts at 2 p.m. and tourney kicks off at 3 p.m. Prizes are $1,000 for first place, $500 for second and $250 for third.

For more information on the MusicFest on the Square activities, call the Main Street office at 870-862-4747 or visit www.mainstreeteldorado.org/musicfest-2021.

Schedule
The MusicFest schedule for Saturday, October 2 is:
7-8:00am:Check in and final Set-up for Pupp’s BBQ Rib War- 111 W Main/Cleveland-Chamber of Commerce
7:00am: MCSA 5/10K Late Registration 214 N Washington Ave.
7:35am: MCSA 5/10k Begins at 214 N Washington Ave.
9:00am: Information and T-Shirt Booth Opens-Location TBA MCSA 5/10K Awards on the Mac’s Tree Service Stage on Jefferson Craft and Food Vendors Open
10:00am: El Dorado Schools Perform on the Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage Kids World Opens – FREE ATTRACTIONS in the Mahony parking lot beside Merle Norman
11:00am: Attractions open around Elm/Washington Streets (Wristband is $20 for all access) or $5 each
12:00pm: Beer sales begin Public tasting tickets for Rib Cookoff go on sale at Chamber – 111 W. Main
1:00pm: El Dorado Metals Cornhole Tournament Registration by Main St. Antiques Carmelo Brown and Mason Halstead on Mac’s Tree Service Stage – Jefferson St.
1:15 pm: Musicfest Cole’s JewelersPageant Queens Recognition on Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage
1:30 pm: Jacob Flores – Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage
2:00 pm: El Dorado Metals Cornhole Tournament Practice
2:30-4pm:Rib Cookoff Public Tastings begin in Cook-Off area on Cleveland – ENDS AT 4:30 OR WHILE UPPLIES LAST- Must purchase tickets at the Cook-off tent at the Chamber first at 111 W Main $2 each
2:45pm: TuneSmith on Mac’s Tree Service Stage – Jefferson Street
3:00pm: El Dorado Metals Cornhole Tournament begins
3:15pm: Soulpranos on Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage
4:30pm: Rib War Awards on Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage Sponsored by Pupps BBQ Eric Meadows on Mac’s Tree Service Stage – Jefferson St.
5:00pm: Militia on the Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage
6:00pm: All Attractions and Kids World Close
6:15pm: Brody McKinny on Mac’s Tree Service Stage
6:45pm: Trey Gauthreaux on Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage
8:30pm: Cody Cooke and the Bayou Outlaws on Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage

September 14, 2021

FLORIDA DENTIST PLEADS GUILTY IN PUBLIC CORRUPTION SCHEME INVOLVING FORMER ARKANSAS STATE SENATOR
FAYETTEVILLE - A Florida dentist, formerly of Arkansas, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud in a scheme with former Arkansas State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson that occurred between 2014 and 2016. 

U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the change of plea hearing, in which Benjamin Gray Burris, age 49, pleaded guilty to count one of an Indictment issued by a grand jury charging him with conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.  Burris was charged with additional counts of honest services wire fraud, but according to the terms of the plea agreement, those charges will be dismissed at sentencing.  

According to court documents, between February of 2014 through November of 2016, Burris was the owner of several orthodontic clinics and practiced as an orthodontist through Arkansas.  The scheme began when on February 27, 2014, Burris, State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson, and others met for a dinner at a Little Rock restaurant and discussed Burris’s legislative objectives and hiring Hutchinson as Burris’s corporate legal counsel.  Jeremy Hutchinson, who then represented state Senate District 33, comprised of portions of Pulaski and Saline County, Arkansas, stated that as part of any arrangement there needed to be “real legal work.”  In his plea agreement, Burris admitted that part of his intent in hiring Hutchinson was to enable Burris to influence and request official action from Hutchinson on legislative issues and other matters as the need arose.  Throughout the course of their arrangement, Burris’s legal entities paid Hutchinson Law Firm an approximate total of $157,500 at a rate of approximately $5,000 per month as a general retainer and Hutchinson was assigned legal work.

Specifically, Burris sent Hutchinson an email outlining Burris’s “Legislative Objectives” in late February of 2014 in which Burris stated that he wanted specialty restrictions on orthodontists removed.  On January 26, 2015, Hutchinson filed a shell bill in the Arkansas Senate entitled “An Act to Clarify the Laws Governing Dental Practice.”  Later on, April 6, 2015, Hutchinson filed a related Interim Study Proposal with the Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare, and Labor.  On September 22, 2015, Hutchinson filed another Interim Study Proposal (ISP-2015-154) on the subject.  This ISP, among other things, proposed to remove the specialist restriction for orthodontists.  According to text messages cited in Burris’s plea agreement, in 2016 Burris texted Hutchinson complaining about a lack of “ROI” also known as “return on investment” in his arrangement with Hutchinson and he requested specific updates on legislative matters.    ISP-2015-154 was eventually filed as House Bill 1250 on January 23, 2017, after Hutchinson claimed a belated conflict, in the 91st General Assembly of the State of Arkansas, passed, and was later signed into law on or about March 15, 2017. 

Burris sold his businesses and moved to Florida in the spring of 2017 and has not practiced in Arkansas since that time. 

“This conviction for a bribe payor is an important milestone for the people of the State of Arkansas in our lengthy public corruption investigation,” said Acting United States Attorney David Clay Fowlkes.  “While the bribery conduct of several members of the Arkansas Legislature is disgraceful, the only lasting disgrace would be in meeting these schemes with silence and toleration.  The exposure of the truth of this arrangement, from the bribe payor to the bribe recipient, brings honor to our people, our law enforcement, and our Court institutions.  They have all displayed great strength in exposing and opposing official corruption and are a credit to our nation of laws.  We are also indebted to the many witnesses who came forward to tell their stories.  The series of cases in our sprawling corruption investigations has required the coordination of not only this office, but also the Eastern District of Arkansas, the Western District of Missouri, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation.  We are grateful for their continued assistance.”  

“Our nation has a well-established process by which its citizens communicate with their elected officials, and this process can never include bribery or fraud,” said FBI Little Rock Special Agent in Charge James A. Dawson.  “When Mr. Burris attempted to illegally induce the alteration of laws to favor his own purposes, he trod directly upon the democratic institutions of our Republic.”

Burris’s sentencing is expected to take place in approximately four months.  Burris faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the crime for which he pled guilty, however, the plea agreement also states that if the Court wishes to sentence Burris to a sentence that is not a year and a day in federal prison, Burris will have the right to withdraw from the plea agreement.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI and the IRS are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Wulff, Allison Bragg and Stephanie Mazzanti are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website at www.pacer.gov.

 

OUACHITA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE DISPATCHES LINE CREWS TO LOUISIANA
Camden, Ark. — Sept. 14, 2021 — Ouachita Electric Cooperative has dispatched lineman, Al Ferguson, Chris Sims, Eric McGee, and Justin Horstkamp to assist South Louisiana Electric Cooperative (SLECA) of Houma, La., in restoring power outages that were caused by Hurricane Ida.

The Ouachita Electric crew will join more than 1,100 linemen that have restored service to about 70 percent of SLECA’s 22,000 members. The restoration process at SLECA has been ongoing since Sept. 1.

The Ouachita crews will work with crews from Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock, C&L Electric Cooperative of Star City, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Salem, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton, South Central Arkansas Electric of Arkadelphia, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana and Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 600,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.
 

SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS YOU
By Tonya Cater
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Arkansas
We take pride in having provided vital benefits and services to this great nation for 86 years.  America has a diverse population with a variety of needs.  To meet those diverse needs, we’ve created web pages that speak directly to groups of people who may need information about our programs and services.  These pages are easy to share with friends and family on social media.  Here are just a few resources that might help you or someone you love:

We proudly serve wounded warriors and veterans, who made sacrifices to preserve the freedoms Amerans treasure.  Many veterans do not know they might be eligible for disability benefits from Social Security.  Please share this page with them to make sure they get the benefits they deserve:  www.ssa.gov/people/veterans.

Social Security plays an important role in providing economic security for women.  Nearly 55 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women.  A woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live, on average, until about 87.  A 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until about 84.  With longer life expectancies than men, women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater risk of exhausting their sources of income. 

Women often have lower lifetime earnings than men, which usually means lower benefits.  Women need to plan early and wisely for retirement.  We’re here to help with valuable information.  Please share this page with someone who needs this information and may need help planning for their golden years:  www.ssa.gov/people/women.

Do you know someone who is just starting their career?  Now is the best time for them to start preparing for retirement.  Social Security benefit payments provide only a portion of retirement income.  Those starting their careers should begin saving early to have adequate income in retirement.  Please share this page with a young worker you know: www.ssa.gov/people/earlycareer.

These are just a few of the web pages tailored to specific groups’ needs.  You can check out our People Like Me home page at www.ssa.gov/people to see all of them.


DEREK A. DYSON NAMED PRESIDENT/CEO OF TODAY’S POWER, INC.
Little Rock, Ark. — Sept.14, 2021 — Derek A. Dyson has been named as president and chief executive officer of Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI) effective January 1, 2022. Mr. Dyson replaces Michael Henderson, who is retiring after leading the organization since its founding in 2014.

Mr. Dyson has many years’ experience in the energy and renewable resources development industry. As a shareholder in the law firm of Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke, P.C. in Washington, D.C., Mr. Dyson has extensive knowledge and understanding of working with electric cooperatives, as well as municipal and commercial clients with projects that have included solar, wind, ocean thermal energy conversion, biomass, and waste-to-energy generation projects, as well as broadband telephony.   

“We are very excited to welcome Mr. Dyson with his unique and vast range of experience as he leads TPI going forward,” said Rick Love, chairman of the TPI board of directors. “We commend Michael Henderson for the solid foundation established during his leadership here at TPI.” 

In addition to Mr. Dyson’s aforementioned career achievements, he is also a former federal government contracting officer with the Department of Navy’s Office of Special Projects and a law clerk with Office of Administrative Law Judges at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). During his tenure with the Department of Navy, Dyson served as the acting chief of acquisition and resource management for the White House Situation Support Staff and the National Security Council.

He holds a J.D. (with honors) from the Washington College of Law, American University; a Master’s in Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology; and a Bachelor’s in Arts from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech). 

About TPI
TPI, headquartered in North Little Rock, is wholly owned by Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI). AECI is a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by the 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives. Arkansas’ electric cooperatives collectively serve more than 600,000 members, or consumers, in 74 counties.

Today's Power, Inc. currently provides services in the renewable energy space, primarily offering power purchase agreements (PPAs) on utility scale solar photovoltaic and energy storage systems, while entering markets for electric vehicles and charging stations for all sizes and applications.
 

FORMER REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR EDDIE JOE WILLIAMS ANNOUNCES HIS CANDIDACY FOR ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE.
Cabot- Williams has held numerous positions of leadership at the local, state, and federal levels. He was appointed by President Donald J. Trump to serve in his administration to represent the White House on energy issues where he served 16 states, including Arkansas, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

 Williams was first elected to the AR State Senate in 2010 and was the first elected Republican Majority leader since reconstruction. He served as chairman of the Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs where he worked to make state government smaller and more efficient. He also served on the Governor’s Transformation Team to further efforts in working to reduce the size of state agencies. Williams has sponsored legislation that targets cost savings in state agencies and restructuring government departments to increase efficiency.

 On a more personal level, Williams led legislation to construct a monument on the lawn of the State Capitol honoring Gold Star families. Williams is a veteran of the Army and Air National Guard. He also spearheaded a program to bring Arkansas Prison Seminary to the AR prison system where inmates can work toward 4-year accredited degrees. Williams has served on several boards including Lonoke County Safe Haven, a domestic shelter; Cabot Parks and Recreation; Swamp Angels, a board to support retired ministers; Child Advocate Centers of Arkansas and numerous church boards.

Before election to the Senate, Williams was elected to three terms on the Cabot City Council and served as Mayor of Cabot from 2007 through 2010. He also worked for the Union Pacific Railroad for 40 years where he wore many hats, working his way up from laborer to Regional Director of Transportation.  He was born in Sheridan, Arkansas. He and his wife, DeLona, live in Cabot. Together they have 4 daughters: Tiffinie and Josh Taylor of Cabot, Bethany and Justin Hartz of Cabot, Amanda and Michael Glover of Jonesboro and Hannah and David Warren of Jonesboro. When Williams is not working, he enjoys wood working, church activities, hunting and spending time with his 11 grandchildren.

Williams has strong feelings about serving the people of Arkansas: “My commitment to you, the voter, is to make sure our elections are fair, honest and always transparent.  I promise when you walk into the Capitol, you will be greeted with a warm and welcoming smile, because we will be working for you, the owner of the Capitol.”
 

REGISTRATION OPEN FOR ARTS CONFERENCE
LITTLE ROCK -- The Arkansas Arts Council is pleased to present "ArtLinks 2021: Bouncing Forward," an online arts conference taking place on Oct. 6-7. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. Register online at https://bit.ly/2YI6N9x.

Keynote speaker, Ron Finley, on urban gardening using his "gardening is gangsta" philosophy
National Endowment of the Arts sponsored presentation "Our Town" on creative approaches to rebuild communities
The new Arts + Technology boot camps, newly created by Arkansans for the Arts and approved by the Arkansas Legislature
The impact of three of Arkansas's most vibrant festivals
Networking activities including yoga, poetry and visual arts

"October is National Arts and Humanities Month and we certainly applaud the work of our state's artists who enhance the quality of our lives through their art," said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. "The Arkansas Arts Council's ArtLinks conference is a good opportunity for us to reflect on the important economic impact the arts have on Arkansas heritage and Arkansas tourism." 

"As we look toward an uncertain 2022, ArtLinks will host conversations about how the state's arts community can use the lessons of pandemic hardship to strengthen our organizations, our practices, and help our creative economy to bounce forward," said Patrick Ralston, director of the Arkansas Arts Council.

For more information, visit arkansasarts.org or contact Cheri Leffew at cheri.leffew@arkansas.gov or call (501) 324-9767. 

 

PAPER PALOOZA IS SUBJECT FOR SAAC’S CORKS AND CANVAS
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces its time for another Corks and Canvas night!  Local artist Rhonda Hicks will lead the fun that night as she presents “Paper Palooza” on Thursday, September 16, from 6-9pm.

Get your friends together for a fun and memorable night trying something that might be “out of the box” for you.  Share some laughs, re-connect and re-charge.  And at the end of the night you’ll have a memento — a unique piece of art to remind you of a fabulous night out! From the seasoned artist to the newbie, these classes have something for everyone!  Snacks are provided during class and participants are invited to bring their beverage of choice.

Hicks will lead her class in collage making with torn papers and Mod Podge to hold everything together.  "I have been going through a bunch of art papers and working on getting all the pieces ready for this workshop."  She added, " If you'd like to bring a picture or photo of something for the focal point of your collage, please do so, but its not mandatory.  They'll be just as fun with using what i have." 

Class fee is $40.  For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the SAAC website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

September 13, 2021

STATEMENT FROM THE ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.)
Over the past 18 months, amid the COVID pandemic, my office has worked diligently to provide a safe environment for employees, legislators, and citizens who want to visit our State Capitol. Last week we saw, what I would consider being, massive federal overreach by the Biden administration in mandating vaccinations. This comes despite his statement in December that vaccines shouldn’t be mandated.

I am a strong believer in personal freedoms and that each individual has the right to their own health decisions. Therefore, I will not require Secretary of State employees to be vaccinated nor will I require proof of negative COVID tests. Citizens who wish to come to visit our beautiful State Capitol will also not be required to be vaccinated.

UNITED STATES FLAG AND ARKANSAS STATE FLAG HALF-STAFF NOTIFICATION: HENRY DONALD MITCHELL MEMORIAL DAY IN ARKANSAS
United States Air Force Pilot, Lieutenant Henry Donald Mitchell of Harmon, Arkansas, disappeared on July 8, 1944, while on a fighter sweep in Vienna, Austria. Lt. Mitchell was flying in the No. 2 position as the flight was engaged by enemy aircraft. Lt. Donald E. Wimmer, flight leader of Green Flight, observed enemy aircraft attacking from the rear and noticed Lt. Mitchell's P-38 aircraft had disappeared.

Lt. Mitchell's last known words were "Green Two, okay."

Through DNA analysis, Lt. Mitchell was identified and, after 77 years, will be brought home to rest.

In tribute to the memory of Lt. Henry Donald Mitchell, and as an expression of public sorrow, Governor Asa Hutchinson has directed the United States flag and the state flag of Arkansas to fly at half-staff from sunrise September 13, 2021, to sunset on September 14, 2021.

The State of Arkansas is honored to bring home Lt. Mitchell and to remember his life and service to this Nation.

COSL ANNOUNCES OUACHITA COUNTY TAX AUCTION RESULTS
(September 13, 2021) LITTLE ROCK – The recent auction of tax-delinquent properties in Ouachita County raised over $244bct,000, the Commissioner of State Lands announced.

The auction drew 38 bidders, who purchased 41 of the 85 available parcels for a total of $244,835.67 for county and state government.

The Land Commissioner’s office holds one auction in each county each year to return tax-delinquent land to active status. Since all 2020 public auctions were canceled due to the COVID pandemic, this year’s auctions offer properties that were scheduled for sale last year.

“Only a small percentage of property certified to our office goes to auction,” Commissioner Tommy Land said. “The vast majority of owners redeem their property by paying the delinquent taxes. Of course, we always prefer that property be redeemed, but it is vital that the parcels return to the county’s active tax rolls.”

The COSL office forwards taxes and interest to the county, whether that money is collected through redemption or sale.

“Last year, this office sent more than $17 million to school districts and county governments,” Land said. “Of that, $295,852.47 went to Ouachita County, helping fund everything from roads to schools.”

Property owners have 10 business days to redeem parcels that were sold at auction. This can be done online at www.cosl.org, using a credit or debit card, or owners can call 501-324-9422 to request a Petition to Redeem.

If a parcel is not redeemed within 10 business days of being auctioned, the COSL will issue a Limited Warranty Deed to the buyer.

Property that did not sell at the public auction will be available after 30 days and can be purchased through an online auction by viewing the Post-Auction Sales List at www.cosl.org.

SAAC TO HOST "FAMILY GAME AND HOT DOG NIGHT"
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites the community to its "Family Game and Hot Dog Night", in conjunction with the upcoming production of "Clue: On Stage". This fun and competitive family night playing "Clue" will be held on Saturday, September 18, from 4:00-7:00 pm. Get your friends and family together for an easy supper and good, family fun!

All "Clue" lovers will want to assemble for this night of twists and turns on the game board! Murder and blackmail--as well as hot dogs--are on the menu when the six mysterious guests assemble for a dinner party. Was it Mrs. Peacock in the Study with the Knife? Or, perhaps Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Wrench?

The directors for the play, Hannah Faith and Rhett Davis, will be in attendance to give newbies some tips and get in on a game or two. Game tables will be set up and safely spaced in the gallery. Kernel Mustard and his hot dog food cart will be taking orders for supper in the parking lot. Guests are welcome to stop by and purchase a custom dog, even if the board games aren't on your menu for the evening.

"Family Game Night is a chance for the community to come together and let their hair down," said Rhett. "We will be having a variety of games available, and our cast will largely be present to talk about their roles and the upcoming show. Kernel Mustard's Hotdog Cart, appropriately named, will be there providing a tasty dinner. And there will be a fun door prize for one lucky person who comes to play. Come join us for an outrageous fun time of board games, hot dogs and laughs!"

For more information about this family fun night, 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 SHARES SERVICE MEMORIES OF LITTLE ROCK WORLD WAR II VETERAN
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of World War II veteran and entrepreneur Harry Hastings, Jr. in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans. 

He was born in Little Rock on May 24, 1927 and continues to call the city home. Hastings was struck with grief at an early age when he experienced the loss of his older sister Marie, but this tragedy strengthened the lifelong bond he had with his dad.

“I was just a daddy’s boy and I was with him all of the time,” Hastings said. “He taught me everything I know.”

Following his father’s positive example, he achieved great success in his endeavors including military service, business and family.

As typical with young men of his age during the 1940s, Hastings served in the military. While a student at Catholic High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, the predecessor to the U.S. Air Force. “We had no choice. Either be drafted or join,” Hastings recalled. “I turned 18 on May 24, I graduated on June 1 and I went to Camp Chaffee in Fort Smith on June 20 and off to service.”

Hastings underwent basic training at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. While there, Japan surrendered and ended the war. He was sent to New York and shipped to Germany to replace American soldiers headed home.

Hastings was stationed in Munich where he oversaw Army supplies stored at a BMW plant. “I had the only keys other than the CO.” Hastings was able to put to use the skills he learned at the warehouse of his father’s liquor distribution business teaching fellow troops how to drive a forklift. “These guys would run into a post with the forklift,” Hasting said. “A German lady who was working as a secretary and keeping books would dive underneath the desk thinking it was a bomb going off.”

While avoiding seasickness on his return home, Hastings’s employed hijinks to convince others they might be failing ill. “We would go through the chow line and there’d be a guy up there ahead of us and we’d say ‘Hey you look bad right there. Are you getting sick? You know you really look bad. Maybe you need to go?’ So he would leave and we’d get his dessert,” he laughed.

Once he returned to Arkansas, Hastings took over his father’s real estate portfolio. He started building warehouses and recognized the local need for bolts and bearings which led him to launch the Arkansas Bolt Company.

Hastings’ strong entrepreneurial spirit became further evident when he applied for a bank charter for the First State Bank of Sherwood in 1964. The institution became Eagle Bank and Trust Company more than two decades later.

He enjoyed thrill-seeking for much of his life, including by racing boats and piloting airplanes. Hastings has been married to the love of his life, Rosalyn for 69 years. The couple has three children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The younger generations of the Hastings family continue to operate the family businesses.

“When I turned 65 I turned all the businesses over to the children and I said ‘If you can run them fine. I’m going to sell them before they go broke.’ They’re still running,” Hastings said proudly.

“I’m grateful for Harry’s service to our nation. We can be proud of his accomplishments in uniform and for all he has achieved in the business world. His hard work and ingenuity led to fruitful business ventures that continue to be successful and serve as an inspiration to entrepreneurs aiming to develop their own ideas and grow their enterprises. I’m pleased to help capture and preserve his memories,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Hastings’ 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.

September 10, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, City Hall is continuing to social distance and you are asked to wear your masks.

The Agenda is as follows:
A. Call To Order
B. INVOCATION – Rev. Mary Jo Taylor, Pastor – Pleasant Ridge Assembly Of God Church, 2880 Fairview  Road, Camden, Arkansas
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. Approval Of Minutes
     1. Minutes Of Special Called Meeting August 10, 2021
F. Acceptance Of Financial Report
     1. Financial Report For August 2021
G. Audience Participation
H. Mayor’s Report
I. Old Business
J. New Business
     1. Ordinance No. 08-21, an ordinance permitting an employee of the Camden Fire Department to be interested in contracts with the City of Camden, Arkansas. 
     2. Resolution No. 53-21, a resolution declaring a vehicle obsolete and authorizing it donation to the Two Bayou Fire Department.
     3.   Resolution No. 54-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Trent Walker to the Airport Commission; and for other purposes.
    4. Resolution No. 55-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Charles Gaston to the Airport Commission; and for other purposes.
     5. Resolution No. 56-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Jason Fletcher to the Airport Commission;
and for other purposes.
     6. Resolution No. 57-21, a resolution adding Juneteenth as a holiday, amending Resolution 07-17 and the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.
     7. Resolution No. 58-21, a resolution authorizing the Mayor to submit an application for ACEDP Grant Funds  to the state of Arkansas.
     8. Resolution No. 59-21, a resolution establishing a policy prohibiting the use of excessive force by law enforcement agencies, within the applicant’s jurisdiction, against individuals engaged in non-violent civil rights
demonstrations.
     9. Resolution No. 60-21, a resolution amending the budget for 2021; and for other purposes.
K. Other Business
L. Adjournment

SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH
North Little Rock, AR-September 10, 2021- Suicide does not discriminate, and to prevent it, neither can we. #BeThere.

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it provides us with an opportunity to rally around the common goal of preventing suicide in our communities. The issues that divide us have received national headlines, but the issues that lead to death by suicide are ones that we must all face equally. No one is immune from depression, PTSD, substance use disorder, illness, job loss, or any of the myriad risk factors that can lead someone to considering suicide. To help end this epidemic, we must put aside our preconceived assumptions and biases about suicide and the people who may be at risk.  

Help is available.
As a trusted local behavioral healthcare provider, our team at The BridgeWay is dedicated to changing the national narrative about suicide in a manner that promotes hope, resiliency, equality and recovery. Mental health services that utilize proven evidence-based treatments and support are available.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional crisis or thoughts of suicide, no-cost 24/7 confidential support and crisis resources are available from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: 
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or via Chat from www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Crisis Text Line – text HELLO to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor

Additional resources to utilize:
Trevor Lifeline, the only national 24/7 lifeline for LGBTQ youth: call 1-866-488-7386.
Veterans Crisis Line, for U.S. Military Veterans: call 1-800-273-8255, press 1.

Recent events demonstrate that no one is beyond the reach of mental health struggles. Olympic athletes, musicians and fashion designers are not immune, and neither are you, your friends or your family members.

It’s time that we stop assuming who is and is not at risk, as these assumptions can cause us to disregard warning signs. Just because someone seems to be doing well at their new job, we should not ignore the fact that they have stopped communicating with friends and pursuing their hobbies. Just because someone appears happy/content in their social media photos, let’s not ignore their increased substance use and social isolation.

A simple conversation can save a life.
It’s time to stop thinking certain people in our lives are above this epidemic, and time to start seeing everyone around us for what they are – humans. Humans with complex lives, potentially unknown traumas, and an equally important worth and value to the world. Stop assuming, and start asking, “Is everything ok?” A simple question and conversation can save a life. Effective treatments and compassionate and knowledgeable mental health professionals are ready and waiting to help.  

We all need to join together to educate ourselves, #BeThere for our loved ones, and take the suicide prevention fight beyond September and into our everyday lives.

WESTERMAN STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT BIDEN’S VACCINE MANDATE ON PRIVATE BUSINESSES 
WASHINGTON – Reacting to President Biden’s executive order mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for private businesses with over 100 employees, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) released the following statement: 

“This week, the Biden Administration and Democrat leaders in D.C. have illustrated misguided priorities, out-of-touch policies, and incompetency,” said Congressman Westerman. “They ignore the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and on our southern border. They ignore inflation and double-down on it by supporting $3.5 trillion in radical spending that will increase consumer prices and our national debt doing considerably more damage than good.

Instead of solving problems, this Administration pushes another ill-conceived, divisive executive action. Biden's vaccine edict on private businesses is just another example of government overreach in Americans’ lives and does nothing to combat vaccine hesitancy.”

BOOZMAN CALLS ON VA SECRETARY TO IMPROVE OVERSIGHT AT VA MEDICAL FACILITIES
WASHINGTON –– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee,
joined Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT), Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in urging Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough to address oversight failures at medical facilities across the country. 

Earlier this year, the VA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued damning reports detailing failures at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville and the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia that resulted in the deaths of veterans in these facilities. In Fayetteville, the OIG found the Path and Lab Service Chief misdiagnosed more than 3,000 patients over the course of many years, including 589 major diagnostic discrepancies. 

“We write to discuss oversight failures at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. In particular, we are concerned with the failures at the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia (Clarksburg), and the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Arkansas (Fayetteville) that resulted in significant harm and death of veterans in VA’s care. In both instances, facility leadership created cultural conditions that fostered mismanagement and a lack of accountability resulting in tragic outcomes. The Department must work to prevent future similar incidents from occurring, and we request more information about how VA intends to accomplish this objective,” the Senators wrote in a letter to the secretary.

“It is sacrosanct to VA’s mission that veterans trust the medical treatment they receive is high-quality and the people treating them meet all relevant ethical and professional standards required by their field. VA must be proactive in identifying issues with staff as they arise, monitor the quality of care at all levels, and continue to advance a culture of safety at all facilities,” the Senators continued.

Under Boozman’s leadership as then-Chairman of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, he included language in legislation that required the VA Secretary to submit a departmental response plan to Congress. The provision is now being implemented at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks and for all future cases of clinical disclosures to prevent similar incidents.

Last month, Boozman, Tester and Manchin introduced the Srengthening Oversight for Veterans Act to provide the VA OIG with the authority to subpoena testimony from former VA employees who have left federal service, former contractor personnel who performed work for the Department, or other potentially relevant individuals during the course of its inspections, reviews and investigations.

September 09, 2021

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES MILITARY MEDICAL TEAM TO ASSIST IN COVID 19 CASES
A military medical team will soon arrive in Arkansas to help respond to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and the strain it has put on the state's medical facilities, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on Wednesday.

During a press conference held yesterday afternoon, Hutchinson said the 20-member team will include 14 nurses, four physicians and two respiratory therapists. The military team will be based from the UAMS hospital in Little Rock.

Hutchinson then gave an update on the state's effort to streamline rental assistance for Arkansans with mounting back rent. He said part of that effort includes prioritizing applications received from those currently facing eviction. In addition, tenants can now receive assistance even if their landlord has not completed their part of the rental assistance application.

In terms of Arkansas' COVID-19 figures, the state reported nearly 2,200 new cases on Wednesday along with 34 additional deaths. Hospitalizations did see a slight decline, falling by 19 to 1,209 currently. Nearly 500 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care units as of Wednesday, leaving just 23 ICU beds across the state.

ARREST IN OVERNIGHT I-55 SHOOTING INCIDENT
SEPTEMBER 8, 2021
A 63-year-old Byhalia, Mississippi man has been arrested by Arkansas State Police after shooting a gun at a motorist traveling Interstate 55 near the Arkansas – Tennessee border last night (Tuesday, September 7th).

Gerald Koelling is currently jailed at West Memphis and is expected to be charged with committing a terroristic act (Class B felony).

George Harris, 29, of Jonesboro, was not injured, however Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division did find evidence of a bullet that penetrated the rear of Harris’ vehicle.

Both drivers, Harris and Koelling, were northbound on I-55 about 9:30 PM when the shooting occurred.  Koelling was later stopped by an Arkansas State Trooper near the Poinsett and Crittenden County line and taken into custody.

COTTON STATEMENT ON AFGHAN GREEN CARDS, BENEFITS
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the Biden administration’s proposed short-term funding resolution that would grant green cards and other benefits to Afghans without regard for the normal screening and approval process.

“Joe Biden left behind thousands in Afghanistan who already have American citizenship, green cards, or pending visas, but now he wants to award unlimited green cards to people who didn’t serve alongside our troops and who may even threaten our safety and health—all while exempting them from the normal refugee screening process. This proposal is just another chapter in Biden’s rolling fiasco of an Afghanistan policy.”

Background
The Biden administration's unprecedented proposal allows any Afghans who come to the United States over at least the next year to obtain green cards, backdated to the day they entered the country, without completing the normal refugee screening or approval process. 

The proposal would give better benefits and less stringent screening to completely unknown Afghans than to our Afghan allies and interpreters. 

The proposal specifies that none of these Afghans will be counted against the normal annual refugee caps, despite that each of them would also be able to access all refugee benefits and services. 

The only screening required under the proposal is whatever screening Secretary Mayorkas deems sufficient. The proposal also gives Secretary Mayorkas explicit authority to waive any grounds of inadmissibility (including criminal records or ties to terrorism) if he feels it is useful for "humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when it is otherwise in the public interest."
 

COTTON STATEMENT ON CHIPMAN NOMINATION WITHDRAWAL
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement regarding President Biden’s decision to withdraw David Chipman’s nomination to serve as the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF):

“David Chipman is an erratic, anti-gun radical who planned to outlaw nearly every single sporting rifle in America. He is wholly unfit to run the ATF, and I’m glad to see President Biden has withdrawn his nomination.”

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this year, Senator Cotton questioned Mr. Chipman about his calls for an assault weapon ban, revealing his intention to outlaw the large majority of modern sporting rifles.

September 08, 2021

DON’T MISS SOUTH ARKANSAS’ LARGEST ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW. THE CAMDEN BARN SALE
Camden, Arkansas - Experience the appeal of Southern Living at South Arkansas’ Largest Arts & Crafts Show, the Camden Barn Sale, Saturday, September 25th, from 9am-4:30pm, now in its NEW LOCATION at the Historic COLEMAN STADIUM in Camden, AR. (302 Center Street, Camden, AR. 71701)

The Camden Barn Sale has grown into one of Arkansas’ major tourist attractions. Join thousands from all around the region to shop handcrafted southern favorites as you browse over 130 booths of vendors and artists from all over the US featuring traditional crafts and contemporary styles. Now moving to it’s new home, the spacious historic Coleman sports stadium provides the perfect venue to support the growth of over 50 years in the Camden Barn Sale’s history. With this larger venue to shop, expect to find even more handcrafted wooden pieces, ceramics, paintings, floral arrangements, handmade clothing, jewelry, stained glass, one-of-a-kind toys, and much more. Shop till your heart's content while browsing the crafts and original handmade works of art.

While shopping, enjoy a myriad of authentic foods as vendors from all over the South descend on the Barn Sale with their own unique southern favorites and festival treats. Musical entertainment takes place throughout the day with individual performances by the artists themselves at their vendor booths. It’s fun for the entire family complete with the Kids Zone fun & inflatables and festival traditions including the St. Louis Catholic Church Spaghetti Supper and much, much more.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: FOOTBALL SEASON EXCITEMENT MEANS SCAMMERS SEE OPPORTUNITY TO SCORE
LITTLE ROCK – This fall, Arkansans will once again have the opportunity to enjoy live football games at all of our great in-state institutions. However, Arkansans looking to buy tickets, should be leery of scammers. Unfortunately, scam artists will try to take advantage of fans by selling them tickets that are fake, duplicates or non-existing. They may use high-pressure-sales tactics to rush innocent Arkansans into buying tickets using deals that seem unbeatable and many times are. Sports fans should be spending their time cheering on their favorite teams – not calling penalties on scammers.

“Arkansans couldn’t be more excited to get back into the stadiums to watch live football, a cherished tradition,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Whether you support the Razorbacks, Red Wolves, Bears or Boll Weevils, everyone deserves to cheer for their favorite team without worry of scammers trying to take advantage of their wallets.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following tips to help Arkansans protect themselves when looking to buy game tickets during the upcoming football season.

Research the seller or broker with the Better Business Bureau and ensure it is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.
A legitimate ticket broker will offer a refund policy. Only buy tickets from a reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction.
Always use a credit card to make a ticket purchase because credit card laws provide buyers with some recourse if the tickets are fraudulent.
Check the seats ahead of time. Ask for section, row and seat numbers to avoid obstructed views and purchasing tickets that do not exist.
Stick with well-known ticket sellers who offer guarantees and policies that protect buyers and have the ability to investigate and restrict accounts of merchants who violate the policies.
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Refuse to be rushed. Scam artists often try to hurry prospective buyers into making a decision.

Consumers who think they may have purchased a counterfeit ticket can contact the National Association of Ticket Brokers at 630-510-4594 or the Arkansas Attorney General’s Public Protection Department.

For more information on how to avoid scams and other consumer-related topics, visit ArkansasAG.gov, email Consumer@ArkansasAG.gov, or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.

TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN ANNOUNCES 70% JUMP IN ASSETS OF ARKANSAS ABLE PLAN
In eight months, assets for savings plan for disability expenses grow exponentially
Little Rock, Ark. – Assets for the Arkansas Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Plan have jumped 70% since January, reaching a milestone of $2.5 million, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan announced today.

The Arkansas ABLE Plan, which Milligan’s office administers, offers individuals with disabilities an affordable way to save for disability-related expenses on a tax-deferred basis, without affecting their eligibility for income-based benefits. 

“Shortly after I took office in 2015, I worked with Rep. Julie Mayberry to create the ABLE program as a savings tool for people with disabilities,” Milligan said. “Since we built and launched the plan in October of 2018, we’ve seen tremendous growth, which just affirms the need for this type of plan in Arkansas.”

Individuals can use an Arkansas ABLE account for expenses such as education, housing, transportation, legal fees, assistive technology, employment training and so much more.

Not only has Milligan grown the program substantially, but he has worked with the legislature over the years to provide several benefits for Arkansans in order to make the program more attractive. Those include:
Creating an individual state tax deduction of $5,000 for people who contribute to an Arkansas ABLE Plan
Allowing an individual who is able to put in more than the $5,000 yearly maximum to carry forward the tax deduction over the upcoming four years
Providing protection for beneficiaries of ABLE account holders that prohibits entities from seeking payment from an ABLE account upon the beneficiary’s death
Allowing accounts to be transferred to an estate or another eligible individual upon the beneficiary’s death
Allowing payroll deductions for state employees to contribute to an Arkansas ABLE account

“Living with a disability is a life-altering challenge like no other. It’s made more complicated when you add in the financial ramifications, especially when determining eligibility for means-tested benefits such as Medicaid, SSDI, SNAP or TANF,” Milligan said. “Not being able to save more than $2,000 is a financial burden.” (Milligan is referring to Social Security Disability Insurance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.)

“Our hope with the Arkansas ABLE Plan is that we can empower families of people with disabilities to live more fulfilling and rewarding lives,” Milligan said.

For more information about the Arkansas Achieving a Better Life Experience Plan, people may visit https://savewithable.com/ar/home.html or call (501) 682-1406.

September 07, 2021

OUACHITA COUNTY FAIR GEARING UP FOR 2021 CELEBRATION OF “FARM FRESH, HOMEMADE AND HOME GROWN”, SEPTEMBER 15-18 IN CAMDEN, AR.
Camden AR - The 2021 Ouachita County Fair will kick off 4 days of fun on Sept. 15-18 at the Ouachita County Recreational Center (Former Boys & Girls Club Facility) 2708 Mt Holly Rd. Camden, AR 71701.

This September join us at the Ouachita County Recreational Center to support the youth of our community who are involved in 4-H and FFA programs. We will have all the things you love and expect from our county fair. Cows. Chickens. Goats. Hogs. Cotton Candy and Funnel Cakes. Plus there will be exhibits showcasing all our local talent, everything from preserved fruits and vegetables, baked items, hand crafted quilts, crafts, photography, and much, much more.

Back this year will be our Carnival! Armbands for the Carnival will be on sale at Ken’s Discount Hardware and Farmer’s Bank Main Branch in Downtown Camden. The Ouachita County Fair Board will also be at First Friday Monthly Market on September 3rd selling armbands. Discount pricing on armbands is $15.00. Once the fair opens armbands will only be sold at the fair for $20.00 Armbands do not include gate admission price.

Gate admission is $5.00 for adults and children 4 years of age and up.

Whatever your interests, the Ouachita County Fair has something that’s sure to excite your imagination, tickle your taste buds, or spark your imagination.

COST:
Admission – $5.00
Parking – Free!

EVENTS & ACTIVITIES SCHEDULE:
MONDAY & TUESDAY
5pm – 8pm Enter creative arts @ Shaddock Gym

WEDNESDAY
9:00am Poultry & Rabbits
6:00pm Sheep & Goat Show
Carnival Rides - $5.00 Admission

THURSDAY
6:00p.m Beef & Swine Show
Carnival Rides - $5.00 Admission

FRIDAY
11:30am Premium Sale Lunch (served in to-go trays)
12:00pm Premium Sale
Carnival Rides - $5.00 Admission

SATURDAY,
Free admission: 10:00 am till 12:00 (Noon) with a petting zoo
Carnival Rides - $5.00 Admission

TROOPERS TO UTILIZE NEW LOW-PROFILE PATROLS TARGETING AGGRESSIVE & DISTRACTED DRIVERS
SEPTEMBER 7, 2021
A dangerous and escalating trend in the number of aggressive driving violations on the state’s highways has Arkansas State Troopers turning to an improved tool to curb the deadly threats.

Twenty-five new low-profile highway patrol vehicles have been acquired by the Arkansas State Police to bolster the attack against incidents of aggressive and distracted driving.  The black Chevrolet Tahoes are partially marked with the state police insignia visible only from the passenger side, but fully equipped to conduct traffic stops.

“Putting state troopers in non-conventional patrol vehicles to blend unnoticed in traffic is nothing new; we’ve been doing it more than 20 years,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.  “What’s new today is the use of a taller vehicle platform like the Tahoe that will offer troopers an improved visual perspective to detect drivers violating distracted driving laws or spotting a vehicle being driven in an aggressive manner that threatens other motorist’s safety.”

During calendar year 2020 there were 641 Arkansas deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes, a 27% increase over the previous year.  The number of highway crash deaths has already surpassed 400 this year.

Colonel Bryant testified before a General Assembly sub-committee earlier this summer that Arkansas has not escaped a national epidemic of lawlessness on the nation’s highways.  He told the legislators, “. . . law abiding Arkansas motorists are finding themselves confronted with new threats on the highways and more frequently than ever before.”

Last year Arkansas troopers stopped 2,030 drivers who were traveling at 100 miles per hour, or faster, an increase of more than 100 percent from 2019 among violators exceeding the 100 miles per hour speed.

The three-digit speed violations in 2021 have already surpassed all last year with troopers issuing 2,381 tickets to violators between January – June this year for speeds between 100 – 160 miles per hour.

Cumulatively this year (*January - August) state troopers have issued 52,593 citations for various speeding and dangerous or aggressive driving type violations.

The anomaly of faster speeding violations has been compounded by a brazen spike in incidences of drivers refusing to stop when state troopers attempt to initiate traffic stops.

Over the past five years troopers in Arkansas have documented a 98 percent increase in pursuits involving drivers who choose to flee rather than pull-over for the initial violation.  In the metropolitan Little Rock/Central Arkansas area pursuits are up 170 percent since 2016.

Colonel Bryant told legislators, “When a driver makes the conscious choice to flee from law enforcement they increase their speed, drive erratically, weave in and out of traffic, passing other vehicles on the highway shoulder; they’re putting innocent lives at risk for no reason other than they refuse stop for the initial traffic violation.”

The danger on Arkansas highways is not just limited to speeding violations and aggressive driving but also incidents of gunfire directed at vehicles and occupants.  The state police Criminal Investigation Division has 21 open cases currently under investigation with at least two of the cases involving the deaths of three individuals.

Distracted driving violations continue to pose a danger for motorists on state highways with troopers already issuing more than 800 violator citations this year.

Using a phone or other device to send text messages or post social media comments while driving is one of the leading causes of distracted driving and is a violation of Arkansas law.

Statistically, teenage drivers are the most common violators, but middle age adults aren’t far behind,” commented Major Forrest Marks, commander of the state police Highway Patrol Division, Western Region.

Troopers assigned to the low-profile patrols will additionally be watching for drivers who illegally use the left lane of a multi-lane highway.  Arkansas law was amended this year to prohibit drivers from using the left lane of a multi-lane highway except when passing other traffic.  Presently troopers are issuing warnings to violators while drivers acclimate themselves to the change.  In the coming days troopers will transition to strict enforcement of the new law and begin issuing violator citations.

“Every highway patrol troop will have the low profile marked Tahoes and we hope the use of the special patrol vehicles throughout the state will be a deterrent to the growing threat caused by drivers who choose to ignore the law and safety of others”, said Major Jason Aaron, commander of the Highway Patrol Division, Eastern Region.  “If a trooper can stop just one of these dangerous drivers before killing an innocent motorist, the new tool we have in our patrol fleet will have been worth it."

The recognizable white sedan with blue stripes and state police markings will continue to be the mainstay of the ASP highway patrol fleet with aerial observation from two aircraft flying in support over the highways.

The low-profile vehicles will be assigned to each of the twelve highway patrol troops across the state.  The new low profile patrol vehicles and law enforcement equipment installed in the vehicles were purchased with federal grant money totaling $1.15 million provided by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

 

GREAT ARKANSAS CLEAN UP
Good Clean Fun
Are you signed up? The Great Arkansas Cleanup is "good clean fun" for the whole family, neighborhood, Scout troop, church group, business team, and well, just about anyone with a heart willing to spend an afternoon picking up trash from Arkansas communities. Cleanup crews can be large groups or, if you're concerned about social distancing, small.

Registration is now open for the Great Arkansas Cleanup!

Keep Arkansas Beautiful proudly promotes two annual cleanups – the Great American Cleanup and the Great Arkansas Cleanup. Our goal is to turn the entire state "green", by sponsoring a cleanup in every single county in Arkansas! Take the Go Green Challenge and register a cleanup event in your county!

Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup takes place each spring from March through May and is the nation’s largest community improvement effort. Thousands of Arkansas volunteers clean up and beautify their communities before the tourism and vacation seasons begin.

The Great Arkansas Cleanup takes place each fall from September through October. Thousands of Arkansans remove tons of trash from our state’s roadways, shorelines, parks, and public areas during this statewide community improvement campaign. All are welcome. Sign up today!

Visit https://keeparkansasbeautiful.com/get-involved/cleanups/ to learn more or to sign up.

CHRIS BEQUETTE ANNOUNCES 2022 CAMPAIGN FOR ARKANSAS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
Says, “As a business owner and lifelong Conservative, I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch Arkansas Republicans continue to govern like the Democrats who controlled State Government for 140-years.”
LITTLE ROCK - Chris Bequette, lifelong Republican not a lifelong politician, issued the following statement:

“It is with great honor that I announce my candidacy for Lieutenant Governor and launch a movement to finally put Arkansas on the path to the true Liberty, Safety and Prosperity that all Arkansans deserve. Too many milquetoast Republicans have failed to fulfill the mandate voters gave them 8-10 years ago. A mandate for a Republican Party version of State Government that's smaller and limited, that cuts wasteful spending, abolishes the State income tax and cracks down on crime. Only then will we finally deliver on issues that matter most to Arkansans.”

“For example, since taking control of the legislature after the 2012 elections, Republicans have increased State Government spending by 25% when they should have focused on cutting a bloated and overgrown, kudzu-like State Government by 25% – or more. In 2014, when a Republican supermajority and our current constitutional officers were voted into office, they should have abolished the immoral State income tax Democrats imposed in 1929. Only recently have they finally given lip service to this idea.”

“Today, State Government remains as if Democrats still govern, and the list of examples is long. Republicans have neglected to address the massive violent crime surge, failing to overhaul and strengthen a soft-on-crime criminal justice system. As a former prosecutor and the only candidate in this race with law enforcement experience, I stand ready to protect our State. Like Democrats, Republicans have let Illegal Aliens, too many committing heinous crimes, clog up State services, costing taxpayers over $450 million a year. Arkansas Republicans inherited Arkansas Works from Democrats and have continued funding the program, costing taxpayers nearly a quarter of a billion dollars a year. We need a Republican K-12 education system where parents have the sole right to choose which school receives the money to educate their child. Our public higher education system remains a bloated Democrat version that continues to skyrocket in cost, churn out too many graduates with worthless degees, saddle them with oppressive student loan debt, while ignoring the infestation of Leftist and Marxist administrators and faculty who indoctrinate Arkansas’ sons and daughters.”

“To be sure, putting in place a real Republican version of State Government demands that elected leaders use their political capital rather than hiding behind easy-to-pass or photo-op legislation. It requires politicians to courageously fight and go to the mat for citizens in tough, controversial and contentious fights. The prize will be well worth the effort because when we finally implement winning Republican policies, Liberty, Safety and Prosperity will be unleashed for all Arkansans.”

September 02, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE DEPARTMENT TO GIVE ENTRANCE EXAM FOR CITY POLICE
The City of Camden is looking for City Police Officers. The Civil Service Commission will conduct entry-level examinations Saturday, October 2nd at 8:00 am at the Camden City Police Department, #1 Police Drive in Camden. Applications will be accepted until, Friday September 24th. Competitive salary plus excellent benefits package. Applications and qualifications available at the Police Department online at www.camden-police.com. Visit Camden Police Department on Facebook. Call 836-5755, for more information. The City of Camden is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

SAAC HOSTS OPENING RECEPTION HONORING BETH HUBBERT
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites you to an opening reception honoring Sherman, Texas, acrylics artist Beth Hubbert on Saturday, September 4, 6-7:30pm. Her exhibit entitled "Adventure and Escape: Real and Imagined" will hang in the Lobby Gallery September 4-28.

Hubbert said about her SAAC show, "My mother, Betty Pittman Harper, was born and raised in El Dorado, so returning to SAAC is special to me. My exhibit contains paintings that are cheerful and hopeful with my goal being to provide a moment of escape for the viewer."

Hubbert paints from a place of happiness. This exhibit for SAAC decidedly avoids dark and dreary paintings, after more than a year of living in a pandemic. Instead, her use of vibrant, non-conforming color results in paintings that are cheerful and hopeful, and thus, the tile of the exhibit: "Adventure and Escape: Real and Imagined". Numerous paintings in the exhibit include bold depictions of places she has traveled around the world. Some of the work is simply something she saw along the way, such as chickens in Mexico or flowers spotted while driving country roads. The goal of this exhibit is to cause the viewer to smile and reflect on good times.

Enthused by bright colors, Hubbert responds to the happiness they create. The riotous colors in her paintings are extremely eye catching, and on closer inspection they reveal thick impasto textures. Her creations are inspired by her experiences and vary from expansive landscape vistas to abstracts and sometimes are as intimate as whimsical birds and flowers. Taking art lessons in elementary school led Hubbert to a desire to learn more about art in college, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing from the University of North Texas. She later returned to college to become certified as an all level art educator, enabling her to share the passion for creative learning with young people in public and private art education for 27 years before retiring from teaching. Currently, she focuses her creativity on completing paintings for art shows and exhibitions. Some of her works can be seen at bethhubbertart.com.

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 Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. 

 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES DEMAND ANSWERS ABOUT AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and 25 of his senate colleagues today sent a letter to President Joe Biden demanding information regarding the humanitarian crisis created by his withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan. Specifically, the letter requests information on Americans and allies who were left behind, and on the vetting process for evacuees who are being brought to the United States.

In part, the senators wrote, “The signatories of this letter may have differing opinions about whether the United States should have maintained a military presence in Afghanistan, but we all agree that the arbitrary and poorly-planned method by which you withdrew from Afghanistan caused this crisis.”

“We request thorough, unclassified answers to these questions that can be made available to the general public. Americans need to see that the United States will not abandon them to terrorists abroad forever,” the senators continued.

Senator Cotton was joined on the letter by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), John Thune (R-North Dakota), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).

Text of the letter may be found below.
September 2, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Biden:

We write regarding the humanitarian crisis created by your withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan, and the safety and well-being of our fellow countrymen and allies who you left behind. The signatories of this letter may have differing opinions about whether the United States should have maintained a military presence in Afghanistan, but we all agree that the arbitrary and poorly-planned method by which you withdrew from Afghanistan caused this crisis.

You say that more than 123,000 individuals have been evacuated from Afghanistan in recent weeks (nearly half of whom were evacuated by groups or countries other than the United States), but only an estimated 5,500 “self-identified” American citizens (4.5% of the total evacuees) were evacuated or left on their own. Further, while it does not appear that you have released exact numbers of our Afghan partners who were evacuated, your administration has publicly confirmed that fewer than 50% of evacuated Afghans were Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants or their families.

Our immediate priority is the safety and well-being of American citizens, permanent residents, and allies who were left behind in Afghanistan. We are also concerned by reports that ineligible individuals, including Afghans with ties to terrorist organizations or serious, violent criminals, were evacuated alongside innocent refugee families. We request that you provide answers to the following questions no later than 5:00PM on Tuesday, September 7:

How many American citizens does the administration believe to remain in Afghanistan?

Of the American citizens still in Afghanistan, how many are currently in contact with the State Department?

Of the American citizens still in Afghanistan, how many have expressed a desire to be repatriated to the United States?

How did the administration reach this estimate, and what steps is the administration taking to find and connect with Americans who may still be in Afghanistan but who are not in contact with the State Department?

How many green-card holders does the administration believe to remain in Afghanistan?

Of the green-card holders still in Afghanistan, how many are currently in contact with the State Department?

Of the green card holders still in Afghanistan, how many have expressed a desire to be repatriated to the United States?

How did the administration reach this estimate, and what efforts is the administration taking to find and connect with green-card holders who may still be in Afghanistan but who are not in contact with the State Department?

How many Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants remain in Afghanistan?

Of the SIVs remaining in Afghanistan, how many have already received final SIV approval from the U.S. Center for Immigration Services?

Of the SIVs remaining in Afghanistan, how many are currently in contact with the State Department?

Of the approved SIVs and the SIV applicants who were evacuated, how many served for a year or more as interpreters or translators for American or allied armed forces in Afghanistan?

Are the State Department and USCIS still processing pending SIV applications? What steps are being taken to ensure that pending applicants are safe from Taliban reprisals as their applications are adjudicated?

According to your administration, more than 50% of evacuated Afghans were not SIV applicants or their families, including vulnerable Afghans such as women and girls at high risk for Taliban reprisals. Of the more than 57,000 Afghans who are not American citizens, green-card holders, or SIV applicants or their families, how many had no pending immigration application or status with the United States prior to being airlifted?

By what criteria did your administration select these individuals for the airlift while leaving American citizens, green-card holders, and SIV applicants and their families behind?

How many evacuees, in total, are Afghans who are not American citizens, green-card holders, or SIV applicants or their families? Please also provide a breakdown of how many of these individuals are adult men, adult women, girls, or boys.

What steps did your administration take to verify the identities of these individuals before evacuation?

What steps are your administration taking to ensure that individuals are thoroughly vetted and their identities verified before entering the United States?

Who is responsible for vetting these evacuated individuals before they reach the United States?

Is the administration checking for potential criminal records and national-security concerns before admitting individuals to the United States?

There are reports that a convicted rapist—who had previously served a prison sentence in the United States before being deported—was flown to the national capital region as part of this airlift operation.  Was that individual vetted before being flown to the United States? If so, was his criminal record found and ignored, or was it not found in the first place?

How many other individuals have been allowed to enter the United States as part of this evacuation before undergoing vetting and background checks?

We request thorough, unclassified answers to these questions that can be made available to the general public. Americans need to see that the United States will not abandon them to terrorists abroad forever. If your answers implicate classified material, you may also submit a classified appendix to your answers and coordinate with us to provide a classified briefing.

We look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

September 01, 2021

OUACHITA COUNTY TO RECOGNIZE VETERANS AND PATRIOTS
Ouachita Judge Robbie McAdoo has designated September as “Veteran’s and Patriot’s Awareness & Appreciation Month” and is seeking names and information of veterans of Ouachita County to celebrate this event.  Information to be obtained includes name, town of residence, branch of service, rank, countries served in, conflict served, years served and medals and awards.   Submit names to Veterans Affairs Officer Jim Bob Davis at 870-837-2216 or to the County Judge’s Office at 870-837-2210, ext. 1.  

As a result of the pandemic but assuring that our veterans continue to be recognized, this year’s program will consist of drawings for gift certificates to local restaurants.  Four $25 gift certificates will be randomly drawn and given to veterans every day for the month of September.  Announcement of winners will be given to the Camden News, Radio Works and will be posted on the Ouachita County Veteran Services Facebook page.  Those who are selected can pick up the gift certificates at the Ouachita County Courthouse Monday-Friday from 8:30 am until 4 pm at the west elevator entrance of the building. 

The Veteran’s Appreciation Committee consists of County Judge Robbie McAdoo, Veterans Affairs Officer Jim Bob Davis, Amy Hughes (Administrative Assistant Ouachita County) Josh Steed (Pit Stop Quick Lube/Deluxe Barber Shop), Beth Osteen (Camden Area Chamber of Commerce), Tony Anthony (Shoppers Guide), Hurley McMoran (Cullendale First Baptist Church), Dotty Harris (Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development) and Huck Plyler (Huck’s Military Care Packages).

According to the Veterans Administration Office of Actuary there are currently 1,820 veterans in Ouachita County.  During this month, local businesses are encouraged to offer discounts to veterans to show their support.

Contacts:
Robbie McAdoo
Ouachita County Judge
870-837-2210, ext. 1
judge@ouachitacounty.org                                                                              

Jim B. Davis
County Veterans Service Officer
870-837-2210, ext. 1
jimdavis@ouachitacounty.org

Beth OsteenCamden Area Chamber of Commerce                                                     
870-818-9453
bosteen@camdenareachamberofcommerce.org

Josh Steed
870-818-0279                                                     
joshsteed1980@gmail.com              

SOUTHERN ARKANSAS UNIVERSITY TECH ANNOUNCES RIBBON CUTTING
Camden, AR (08/30/2021) — Southern Arkansas University is proud to announce the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Arkansas Fire Training Academy's new residential hall. The event is on September 10, 2021, at 10:00 am on the Arkansas Fire Training Academy grounds in Camden, Arkansas. The guest speaker for the event is Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. The press is welcome to attend.

Arkansas Fire Training Academy,
14668 AR 203 Hwy, Camden, AR 71701

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON WEEKLY COVID UPDATE – AUGUST 31, 2021
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he is challenging state officials to do more to help Arkansas residents struggling to meet their rent because of financial struggles due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Hutchinson said the state has so far provided around $7 million in rental assistance to Arkansas residents. In all the program has assisted less than 3,000 people out of the 13,700 applicants received by the Department of Human Services. The program has a total of $173 million in rental assistance. Hutchinson said he is challenging DHS to streamline the process to ensure more applicants are approved and funds are disbursed in a quicker manner.

Hutchison also took a moment to recognize Marine SSGT Taylor Hoover of Arkansas. Hoover was one of the 13 U.S. servicemembers killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan last Thursday. Hutchinson also announced the Arkansas National Guard was deploying members to assist in hurricane-ravaged parts of the Gulf Coast.

As far as the vaccination effort in Arkansas, an additional 8,000 Arkansans were fully immunized over the past 24 hours. In total more than 1.2 million Arkansans are now fully vaccinated against the virus. Hutchinson again stressed the vaccine's benefits, including the reduced chance for severe COVID-19 complications and hospitalization. 

The Arkansas Department of Health reported over 2,600 new cases of COVID-19 across the state on Tuesday. That raises the state's cumulative total of COVID-19 transmissions to more than 453,000 since the pandemic began. Deaths increased by 22 over the previous 24-hour period for a total of 6,934. The active caseload saw a slight decline but, at a current total of more than 22,000, remains at one of the highest levels recorded since COVID-19 first entered Arkansas.

The one bright spot in Tuesday's report was hospitalizations, which declined by 45 to leave 1,212 Arkansans still hospitalized due to the virus. 

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: CHARITIES SEEKING TO HELP THEMSELVES INSTEAD OF THOSE IN NEED
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansans have some of the most generous hearts when they see a neighbor or a fellow American struggling. From the devastating loss of our U.S. Troops in Kabul, to the hurricanes and wildfires devastating other states and the never-ending pandemic, Americans have always willingly faced and overcome these challenges. As Arkansans look for charities to support others near and far, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wants to remind everyone it is important to be vigilant and do their homework when donating to a charity for the first time.

“Arkansas is just one big small town and the fantastic people of our state have a giving spirit, especially when it comes to our men and women in uniform,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “It is my job to ensure generous Arkansans are not taken advantage of by con artists looking to make a quick buck on tragedies.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help consumers ensure an organization’s legitimacy before giving money:

Ask questions before giving. Only give when comfortable that the donation will support a trustworthy organization or activity. Refuse high-pressure appeals. Legitimate charities will not rush a donation.

Ask for written information or research the organization online. A legitimate charity will send information that provides the organization’s mission and how the donation will be used, along with proof that the contribution is tax deductible.

Call the charity directly before giving a donation to ensure it is not a scam.

Do not send cash. For security and tax records, make donations by check or credit card.

Search the Arkansas Charities Database for more information on charities in Arkansas, including those benefiting service members and their families.

The FTC has released a video to highlight tips on how to research charities on giving wisely to veterans organizations as well as information to avoid charity scams.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer related issues, please visit ArkansasAG.gov, email consumer@arkansasag.gov or call the Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982.

ADE LAUNCHES SOCIAL MEDIA AWARENESS CAMPAIGN (SMACTALK)
LITTLE ROCK — From networking with students across the country and the world to connecting with teachers and fellow students to discuss assignments and projects, education today involves more than just using books, paper, and pencils. With the growth of technology over recent years, students now regularly connect with others using computers, the internet, and social media.

While these tools bring a wealth of opportunities for learning, they also bring hazards and pitfalls if not used properly and professionally. To help students, educators, and parents navigate the world of social media in a safe and productive manner, the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education is launching its Social Media Awareness Campaign (SMACtalk) for the 2021-2022 school year.

“When we first launched SMACtalk last year, our goal was to share helpful tips and resources for safely using social media and the internet,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “The campaign, however, grew beyond what we expected, largely due to the overwhelming positive reception from educators, parents, and students. We are excited to expand the campaign this school year and will provide new resources, opportunities for involvement, and a heightened awareness to this issue.”

The campaign will focus on online etiquette and developing healthy virtual relationships, how to properly vet information received online, privacy protection tips and suggestions, avoiding online dangers, and knowing when to “unplug” from social media. Resources will provide awareness and encourage ongoing communication between teachers, students, and parents.

To kick off the campaign, DESE is releasing a new music video from Mr. Steve, The Music Man this afternoon. Every school that shares the Facebook post featuring the video by September 17 will be entered into a drawing to win a free concert by Mr. Steve at their school.

Additional resources this year will include a parent blog that features a first-person perspective about internet safety; posters, videos, articles, activities, and links to websites for schools and districts to share; new teacher podcasts; new videos featuring students’ perspectives; and links to games and other resources.

New campaign content will be released at the beginning of October and will continue throughout the school year. Be sure to visit the campaign at SMACtalk.info or follow ADE on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for notifications as new content becomes available.

CHICOT COUNTY REMAINS IDENTIFIED; ASP WORKING WITH LOUISIANA AUTHORITIES
AUGUST 31, 2021
A decomposed body recovered in Chicot County by Arkansas State Police last week (*Saturday, August 28th) has been identified.

The body of Shenita Hicks, 32, of Lake Providence, Louisiana was found south of Lake Village alongside U.S. Highway 65.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have been in contact today with deputies of the East Carroll Parish Sheriff’s Department as the investigation continues to determine where Hicks’ death occurred as well as the manner and cause of death.

August 31, 2021

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OF ARKANSAS DISPATCH 188 LINE CREWS TO LOUISIANA
Little Rock, Ark. — Aug. 31, 2021 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are dispatching 188 line workers and utility vehicles, along with construction and right-of-way equipment, to assist South Louisiana Electric Cooperative of Houma, La., as they work to restore power outages that were caused by Hurricane Ida.

The Louisiana cooperative reports that 94 percent of its 19,000 members are currently without electrical service.

Crews from Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock, C&L Electric Cooperative of Star City, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Salem, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton, South Central Arkansas Electric of Arkadelphia, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana and Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City will provide construction, repair and right-of-way assistance.

In addition to the crews and equipment, AECI will ship a substantial amount of power line infrastructure materials to cooperatives and municipal electric systems that were devastated by Hurricane Ida.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative

OUACHITA COUNTY OFFICES LABOR DAY SCHEDULE
Monday September 6, 2021, the Ouachita County Courthouse and the Extension office will be closed on that day for Labor Day.
The Sanitation Department will run on regular schedule. They will not observe the Holiday.

CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET RETURNS SEPTEMBER 3RD TO DOWNTOWN CAMDEN
“Off to the Fair” will be the theme for the First Friday Market on September 3rd in downtown Camden from 6 PM to 9 PM.

As everyone is preparing to move into fall and looking forward to the local fair we wanted to bring those elements into the market for everyone to experience. The Ouachita County Fair Board will be on hand selling armbands for the carnival rides which will be back at this year’s fair. They will also have a petting zoo for the children to enjoy. This will be located on the Farmer’s Bank Parking Lot along with a mechanical cow for the children to “milk”. The local Boys Scouts will be at the market with their inflatable BB Gun range for everyone to take their target practice.

Stop by Hollis Evans Floral to visit with this month’s featured author, Nyla Clemons. Nyla is a 9th grade student at Bearden. Her book “Cloaked in Flames” is currently selling on Amazon.

Regional favorite, Brody McKinney, will be the featured musician at this month’s market. Come out and bring your lawn chairs to sit a while and enjoy the music. Also during the musical breaks you can see a dancing demonstration from Trinity Grace Dance Studio dancers.

Everyone can get your shopping in with a vast array of vendors set up along Washington St and Adams Ave selling everything from wood workings, clothing, jewelry and more. Special nonprofit groups and local organizations will be throughout the market where you can learn bicycle safety, shoot some basketball and grab some bottled water and more! You will find jellies, jams, baked goods and even homemade pasta at this month’s market! Enjoy the special food vendors set up throughout the market with everything from BBQ, street tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes and iced coffee drinks.

You will especially want to see a very special vendor at the September market, Miss Arkansas Whitney Williams. Stop by chat and see what she has for sale.

For everyone loving competitions What’s Cookin’ will be hosting a corn hole tournament outside their restaurant, registration will be inside Hollis Evans. Native Dog Brewing will also have The Kilt with ax throwing happening on Madison Ave.

Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR this Friday, September 3rd from 6PM – 9PM.

Come stroll, shop, nibble, browse and chat through downtown Camden… See you there!

AT THE CARNIVAL WITH THE HUB
The Hub will host “At the Carnival”, September 25, 2021 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. The Family Fun event will be held at 125 Madison Avenue SE in Camden. There will be games prizes, hot dogs, sno cones, cotton candy, nachos, caramel apples and more. This is a Fundraiser for The Hub’s Back Pack Program.

SEE YOURSELF A WINNER AT THE VIRTUAL 2021 SOUTHERN SILKS STAKES
Methodist Family Health’s Signature Fundraiser is FREE to Attend, Available Online at Facebook and YouTube
LITTLE ROCK, AR (Sept. 1, 2021) – COVID-19 can’t keep us hitched. This year, Methodist Family Health is taking our 8th annual signature fundraiser online – again! – so you can stay safe, healthy, and still help the Arkansas children and families in our care. Tune in at 6 p.m. at Methodist Family Health’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/methodistfamilyhealth) and YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHfqX9gQHx2ZLts6_46mm4w), on Saturday, September 18. The 2021 Southern Silks Stakes is available for any Arkansan to tune in, bid on and have fun - for FREE - in comfort from anywhere they have a desktop, laptop, tablet, smart tv or smart phone.

This year’s short video will include a welcome from event co-chairs, Becka and Brian Webb, gratitude to sponsors, highlights of auction items and a special appeal for Methodist Family Health’s Compassion Fund. The online auction opens at 8 a.m. on Thursday, September 16 and closes at 8 p.m. Saturday, September 18. For details on how to bid, a list of event sponsors, our special appeal and more, visit https://www.methodistfamily.org/southern-silks.html.

The 2021 Southern Silks Stakes, benefiting Methodist Family Health, is presented by Gill Ragon Owen Attorneys. For more information, contact Jamie Griffith, Methodist Family Health Foundation’s project manager, at JGriffith@MethodistFamily.org or 501-906-4209.

About Methodist Family Health
Founded in 1899 as the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage, Methodist Family Health’s mission is to provide the best possible care to those who may need our help. A statewide continuum of care, Methodist Family Health each year serves thousands of Arkansas children and their families who are abandoned, abused, neglected and struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues. Methodist Family Health has locations throughout the state, including the Methodist Behavioral Hospital in Maumelle, psychiatric residential treatment centers, therapeutic group homes, a day treatment program, counseling clinics, school-based counseling clinics, a grief center for children and their families, and the Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES).

SAAC HOSTS "AN HOUR FOR THE ARTS" FALL LECTURE SERIES WITH GAY BECHTELHEIMER 
Artist and educator Gay Bechtelheimer will return to the SAAC stage with a fall series of "An Hour for the Arts" lectures, planned to focus on "people's choice" topics, all suggested by guests at the spring lectures. Lectures will be held on September 9, October 14, and November 11, all at 6:00 p.m.

September's talk, sponsored by Melinda and Michael Verdesca, will focus on the work and impact of artist Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secessionists.

"When we asked attendees at the previous lectures about artists whose work they were interested in learning more about, Klimt was the name that came up most often," says Bechtelheimer. "I was very familiar with his paintings, but when I began deeper research, I was surprised to discover how controversial and provocative much of his other work-and his life-really was."

Klimt's work, including his "golden phase" paintings "The Kiss" and "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I," is some of the most recognizable art in the world. However, he was often the subject of controversy, beginning with commissioned public art in his native Vienna. Klimt was a founding member of the Vienna Secession, which aimed to provide exposure for unconventional young artists and to bring the work of foreign artists to Vienna, without declaring support for any particular artistic style. Until his death in 1918 as a result of the worldwide influenza epidemic, Klimt continued to push boundaries and work prolifically.

After his death, Klimt's paintings have brought some of the highest prices recorded at auction, including "Adele Bloch-Bauer II," which sold for $150 million in 2016. In addition, they are some of the most recognizable works associated with the recovery and restitution of artwork stolen from Jewish families by the Nazis.
October's "An Hour for the Arts" is sponsored by Cherie and Rudy Bright, and will cover the work of John Singer Sargent. In November, Bechtelheimer will explore the world of Pop Art, sponsored by Mary Pat and Aubra Anthony. Each event will begin with a reception at 6:00 p.m. in the galleries, followed by a multimedia presentation in the theater, and reservations are required to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.

For more information or to RSVP, visit www.saac-arts.com or call 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

HUMAN REMAINS FOUND ON CHICOT COUNTY ROADSIDE
AUGUST 28, 2021
Arkansas State Police Special Agents are investigating the discovery of a person’s body found earlier today (Saturday) alongside U.S. Highway 65 near the Arkansas and Louisiana border.

Agents were unable to determine whether the remains were those of a man or woman.  The body was in an extended state of decomposition and is being transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for purposes of identification and to determine the manner and cause of death.

Meanwhile agents have begun contacting state and local law enforcement agencies in the area to inquire about missing person reports.  The investigation is continuing.

ICYMI: BOOZMAN TOUTS DUCK STAMP’S BENEFITS FOR DUCKS UNLIMITED
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC), celebrated the Natural State’s rich outdoor recreation legacy and praised the effectiveness of the Federal Duck Stamp in preserving waterfowl populations in a piece for Ducks Unlimited (DU).

Boozman, who this week embarked on his annual Ag Tour across Arkansas, highlighted the state’s reputation as a world-class duck hunting destination and the MBCC’s work to conserve duck and other waterfowl habitat on millions of acres nationwide.

“As a member of the MBCC, I’m proud to be a voice for the preservation of wetlands and play a leading role to enhance federal efforts to maintain and strengthen waterfowl habitat,” Boozman wrote. “In Arkansas, sales from the Duck Stamp have resulted in expanded access to hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

The full piece, which ran on DU’s blog, can be viewed here and below.

Sen. Boozman: The Duck Stamp Delivers Improved Wildlife Habitat
The Natural State is well-known for its beautiful rivers, majestic mountains and incredible wildlife. Arkansans have long celebrated and utilized these resources in a variety of ways. The abundance of natural treasures is one of the many reasons people are drawn to the state for recreation opportunities. We are particularly proud of the world-class duck hunting that attracts sportsmen and women from around the globe.

As a destination for duck hunters, Arkansas has a vested interest in ensuring it maintains the critical habitat that ducks and other waterfowl flock to including the flooded fields that abound in the nation’s top rice-producing state and the iconic bottomland hardwoods where hunters can enjoy ample opportunities to hit their limit. As the nation’s top producer of rice, when these fields are flooded at the end of the season, they make a great habitat for migrating ducks and an ideal location for hunters to bag some ducks.

This pastime is a major economic driver for the state, so farmers and citizens from across Arkansas are committed to maintaining an environment that supports waterfowl and draws hunters back each season. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission estimates that hunting contributes nearly $1 million to the state’s economy daily during duck season. According to a U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis study, the economic impact of hunting nationwide is more than $110 billion.

In addition to the investments outdoor recreation enthusiasts make in our communities, they also prove exceedingly willing to help expand conservation efforts on public lands. Sportsmen have consistently been responsible leaders in the stewardship of our resources and understand the importance of protecting wildlife habitat so they can continue to enjoy the hobby that brings them much satisfaction and instills in them an intense pride. One valuable tool to support the recreation activities of duck hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts, is, of course, the Duck Stamp.

Since 1934, sportsmen have been required to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp to hunt migratory birds. This initiative has been wildly successful – generating approximately $25 million annually. That money is deposited into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund and supports enhanced conservation efforts. The good news is that 98 cents of every dollar raised by the sale of the Duck Stamp is used to preserve waterfowl populations.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC) has used these funds to support conservation of duck and other waterfowl habitat on millions of acres nationwide. As a member of the MBCC, I’m proud to be a voice for the preservation of wetlands and play a leading role to enhance federal efforts to maintain and strengthen waterfowl habitat. In Arkansas, sales from the Duck Stamp have resulted in expanded access to hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

In the duck hunting capital of the world, outdoor recreation enthusiasts are looking to leaders at all levels of government to join in this effort to preserve waterfowl habitat so our state can continue to be a destination for hunters. The Duck Stamp has increased and improved these opportunities, which is why I will continue to advocate for this initiative at the federal level to strengthen migratory bird habitat.

As we’ve seen in the past year, COVID-19 has compelled countless Americans to reconnect with the outdoors. A recent study from the Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports found that hunting license sales were up in all regions of the country last year making it even more necessary for us to ensure the great outdoors are protected today and for future generations of Americans to enjoy. The Duck Stamp is one way outdoor recreation enthusiasts are leaving their mark on strengthening wildlife habitat and making sure we can pass down this time-honored tradition to our kids and grandkids.

August 27, 2021

SAAC MAKES OPEN AUDITION CALL FOR "CLUE: ON STAGE"
Calling all Sleuths! The South Arkansas Arts Center announces an open audition call for "Clue: On Stage" held promptly at 7pm on both on Monday, August 30 and Tuesday, August 31. The SAAC lobby will open at 6:30pm prior to the beginning of auditions, so arrive in time to fill out an audition form and to get a head shot. Everyone MUST be age 18 or older. The production, sponsored by Sarah and Jeff Teague and Southern Bancorp, is scheduled for October 22-31.

Please bring your calendar and provide a complete list of rehearsal conflicts. The director will provide scene readings that will be used at auditions. No advance preparation is necessary, but it is recommended to review the readings before auditions. Script copies are available at the SAAC office and may be checked out for a period of 48 hours for reading. Auditioners are encouraged to read the script before auditions. Expect cold reading from the script at callbacks. This is a very active show with lots of physical action and quick scene changes, as would be expected with a murder mystery. At callbacks on Wednesday, September 1 everyone should expect exercises in stage movement and, for the most physically active characters, some stage combat training. These will be closed auditions. Everyone will be asked to wait in the lobby or gallery until needed in the theater. Please bring your mask with you to auditions.

Roles available in this production are for 6 men & 5 women. This show also requires an ensemble cast that works as a team, so expect to be in close physical contact with fellow cast members. Characters included in the cast are Wadsworth, a traditional British butler, witty and sarcastic; Yvette, a sexy, French Maid; Miss Scarlett, a sultry, savvy, and "been around the block" type; Mrs. Peacock, a neurotic, motor mouth; Mrs. White, aloof, mysterious and secretive and Colonel Mustard, a dense, dumb man who is easily angered. Also in the cast are Professor Plum, an arrogant academic; Mr. Green, who is awkward and clumsy; the cook/singing telegram girl/auxiliary Scarlet/backup cop (must be willing to sing); Mr. Boddy /the motorist/Chief of Police and the unexpected cop/backup cop/auxiliary Mustard.

Don't forget to join the production staff at PJ's Coffee downtown in The Spot on Saturday, August 28 from 12:00-5:30 pm for "Coffee and Clue" Board Game Day. The production staff will have "Clue" game boards set up for a fun afternoon of board game play. Directors Hannah Faith and Rhett Davis are experienced board game players and will be on hand to get you started. Bring your family or friends as well as your competitive streak! Also be sure to enter your name in the drawing for a family movie and game night gift basket give away. Anyone interested in auditioning for the production is welcome to drop in for a chat with the directors or the production team. Audition material will also be on hand for anyone interested in auditioning. The "Clue" fun continues at 6:00 pm on Jefferson Street for a Live Clue Game before the Showdown performance.

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

LETTERS OF INTENT FOR GRANTS BEING ACCEPTED
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) is opening their Letter of Intent (LOI) phase for Courthouse Restoration Grants and Historic Preservation Restoration Grants (HPRG). LOIs should be delivered between Sept. 13 and Nov. 16 using the online grant portal at arkansasheritage.com.

Courthouse Restoration Grants are open to historic county courthouses for maintenance and repairs in return for façade easements. The grants come from the Real Estate Transfer Tax administered by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. Annually the AHPP distributes between $150,000 and $1 million in grants in the Courthouse Restoration category.
There are three options available to those seeking HPRG and all three are explained at https://www.arkansasheritage.com/arkansas-preservation/about/available-grants. It is important to note that all properties considered for the HPRG grant should be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the Arkansas Register and some options require a cash match percentage.

Applicants submitting a LOI may receive project development, on-site visit and technical services regarding preservation practices and material to prepare the final application. 
 
The grant application deadlines are Jan. 28 for Courthouse Restoration and March 3 for HPRG. A workshop for first-time applicants will be available via Zoom 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 28. To receive the meeting ID please contact AHPP Director Scott Kaufman at 501-324-9785 or scott.kaufman@arkansas.gov

AHPP is an agency of Arkansas Heritage responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Arkansas Heritage is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

 

COTTON STATEMENT ON KABUL AIRPORT BOMBING
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after the bombing outside the Kabul airport:

“Twelve U.S. troops sacrificed their lives today (August 26) to rescue their fellow Americans fleeing Afghanistan. We mourn their deaths and grieve with their families. To honor their lives, we should finish their mission: the United States must use all its might to rescue our remaining countrymen in Afghanistan and bring justice to the terrorists responsible for today’s savagery. We must send the clear and unmistakable message that we leave no man behind, and if you kill our service members, your days are numbered.”

August 26, 2021

CAMDEN CITY POLICE REPORTS
Shoplifting – Dollar General
On 08/26/2021, at approximately 0921 hours Sgt. Newkirk with the Camden City Police, was dispatched to Dollar General, 461 California Avenue SW, in reference to a shoplifting which had just occurred. While enroute, the Officer was advised by dispatch that the subject was still on scene. The subject was described as a black female, wearing red shorts, a black shirt, glasses, and sitting inside of a teal-colored vehicle.

Upon arrival, Sgt. Newkirk observed a teal-colored vehicle parked near the front of Dollar General. He approached the vehicle and observed the female sitting in the driver seat matched the description he was given. He made contact with the subject who was later identified as Tawanda Ford. The Officer informed Ford she matched the description of a reported shoplifter and requested she follow me back into the store.

When Ford and Sgt. Newkirk entered the store, contact wads made with the manager, who Ford as the individual she saw conceal merchandise on her person and pass the last point of sale without paying for the merchandise. She stated Ford had placed multiple pairs of socks into the pockets of her shorts, then left the store without paying for the merchandise. She stated surveillance footage of the incident was available and the store wished to pursue charges. At that time, Ford was taken into custody without incident.

The manager showed the Officer the surveillance footage and he observed the incident as she had described it. While securing Ford's car, as she requested, I observed three packages of youth socks lying on the passenger side front seat. The manager was able to positively identify the packages as the items which were stolen from the store.

Ford was transported to the station without incident where booking procedures were completed. During a check of records, it was determined Ford had previously used the name of Tawanda Williams and had a warrant for her arrest through the Arkansas Board of Parole under that name. Parole Agent Porcia was contacted regarding that warrant and Agent Porcia met with Ford at the station. Ford was issued criminal citation 13014, given a District Court date of 10/06/2021 at 0900 hours, and released from custody.

Shoplifting - WalMart

On August 24, 2021 at 1609 hours, Officer Dakota Davis was dispatched to Walmart in reference to a shoplifter being detained.

The Officer arrived and made contact with asset the protection manager who had Vivian Smead detained in the asset protection office.

Officer Davis was shown surveillance footage of Smead not scanning multiple items, which consisted of four plastic flowers worth $3.47, ice cream worth $7.24, pioneer woman bowl worth $19.92, and coffee creamer worth $3.48. Also, while in the asset protection office, it was discovered that Smead had $95.98 worth of spray paint in her purse.

A shoplifting affidavit as well as a Walmart ban form was completed. Smead was taken into custody and transported to the station where booking procedures were completed and later approved by Sergeant Elliott.

Smead was later released on Criminal Citation (13010) for Shoplifting. She was given a District Court date of October 6, 2021 at 0900 hours. Smead was banned from Walmart. today.

Dwi 1st
Driving With No Driver's License
On August 21, 2021 at 2020 hours Officer Nathan Lane was dispatched to U.S. Highway 278 at Cash Road in reference to a vehicle going off the roadway.

While in route dispatch advised the reporting party stated the driver was wearing a blue shirt and was hiding between two bushes in the Victory Church parking lot. Upon arrival Officer Lane observed a silver 2012 Hyundai Accent, bearing Arkansas license plate number 312UEC, in the grass median on U.S. Highway 278. He located the driver, Faustino Perez, in the parking lot of La Loma Grill.

When Officer Lane got out to speak with Perez, he stated that he did not understand English well. Officer Lane used Google Translator to communicate with Perez. While talking to him the Officer smelled the odor of intoxicants emitting from his person and breath. Perez was taken into custody. On Perez's person were the keys for the vehicle. Perez was transported to the station without incident.

At the Station with the help of Google Translator, Officer Lane was able to complete a sobriety test which Perez failed.

Due to the language barrier Perez was given the Spanish statement of rights to read. Again, Officer Lane turned to Google Translator to instruct Perez on what he was to do. Perez stated he understood his rights, initialed each line and signed stating he understood his rights.

Perez agreed to take a breath test. which yielded a 0.19 blood alcohol content. Perez was issued a Traffic Citation for Driving While Intoxicated and Driving With No Driver's License. Perez was given a District of Camden court date of October 6, 2021 at 0900 hours.

STERMAN REACTS TO TERRORIST ATTACKS IN KABUL
WASHINGTON – 
Reacting to reports of coordinated terrorist attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan on American troops and civilians, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) released the following statement: 

“My heart breaks for the American servicemen and Afghan nationals harmed or killed by the cowardly attacks outside of the Kabul airport,” said Congressman Westerman. “As the situation continues to develop, join me in praying for the safety of every American and Afghan civilian. I call on President Biden to do whatever necessary to find and extract every single American citizen before fully withdrawing from the country.

Anyone with knowledge of American citizens in Afghanistan in need of assistance should contact my office as soon as possible. We will help however possible to ensure their safe passage home.” 

August 24, 2021

MISSING OUACHITA COUNTY MAN FOUND
On Tuesday August 24, 2021, Ouachita County Sheriff's Department was dispatched to the Troy Community, on Arkansas Hwy 57, to the report of a missing elderly man and his dog. Once on scene, deputies gathered information and it was determined that the situation was serious in nature. Arkansas Games and Fish Officers and Arkansas Highway Patrol were called in for assistance in the efforts to find the missing person.

Due to the size of the area that was to be searched, even with the assistance of an unknown agency's ariel spraying helicopter, it took more personnel than could be immediately provided. This is where the community of Troy, Arkansas came together and began to help with the search. Citizens of the community searched all day, pushing through the heat and conditions, without being asked to do so.

The community of Troy Arkansas saved a life on this date, by finding the missing person and his dog just minutes before dark. Without their help, this search could have ended differently.

The Ouachita County Sheriff's Department appreciates each and every one who came out to help in the search. It's great to see a community come together like this!

 

STATE POLICE CID INVESTIGATING SUSPECTED MURDER IN YELLVILLE
AUGUST 24, 2021
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department has requested the Arkansas State Police lead a suspected homicide investigation after a man was found dead in his Yellville home this afternoon.

Christopher Smith, 86, was the apparent victim of a gunshot.  A family member discovered the crime scene at 617 Broadway about noon today.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are still in Marion County collecting evidence and following leads in the case.

UPDATE MARION COUNTY DEATH INVESTIGATION:
Editors please see amended information to be considered in supplementing the original news release distributed at 6:01 PM today. 2021

 During the course of a death investigation in Yellville tonight, additional evidence and information has been revealed that may change the course of the on-going investigation.  Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police will now await a formal ruling by the state medical examiner who will determine the manner of death.
 

BOOZMAN’S ANNUAL AGRICULTURE TOUR KICKS-OFF ON MONDAY
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, is launching his annual Ag Tour next week. The senator will kick off the week-long highlight of Arkansas agriculture operations on Monday in Charleston and continue with stops at farms and facilities across the state.  

 The Ag Tour is a cornerstone of the senator’s August in-state work period, but this is the first time Boozman will be holding it as the lead Republican on the Senate agriculture committee.

 “My leadership role on the Senate agriculture committee puts me in a strong position to shape the debates over how to address challenges facing farmers and ranchers in Arkansas and throughout the country. I’m committed to working toward a better future for them by pushing back on executive branch actions that are harmful to producers and pursuing policies that help rural America thrive. I look forward to visiting with Arkansas producers on this tour and taking their input back to Washington where it can be used to ensure Congress helps strengthen and support food and fiber production in the Natural State,” said Boozman.

Boozman has used his role as ranking member of the committee to continue to champion the cause of Arkansas’s family farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners. He has helped lead the charge against tax code changes proposed by the White House that put the future of family-run agriculture operations at risk. As a result of his leadership, the Senate overwhelming passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act after Boozman pushed for changes to make the bill more farmer friendly. Additionally, Boozman worked closely with Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to advance legislation that provides more than $7 billion in disaster assistance to help farmers and ranchers with losses due to natural disasters, including the recent flooding in Arkansas.
Boozman’s Ag Tour will include meetings with ranchers, farmers and other agricultural stakeholders as he visits farms, production facilities and research operations. The tour includes stops in Franklin, Logan, Pope, Faulkner, Garland, Hot Spring, Clark, Lonoke, Jackson, Craighead, Cross, Lee and Arkansas counties. Follow the Ag Tour on social media at #ARisAg.

August 23, 2021

THE CITY OF CAMDEN PORT AUTHORITY COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Port Authority Commission will meet Thursday, September 29, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber of the Municipal Building located at 206 Van Buren NE in Camden. Please wear a mask and social distance
The agenda is as follows:
Port Building Bids
Business Incubator Air Conditioner System

ENTERGY ARKANSAS EXTREME HEAT SAFETY PROTOCOLS CAN HELP YOU TO RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF HEAT ILLNESS
Knowing the signs can help you save lives
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Many Entergy Arkansas teammates spend hours outside each day and working in extreme heat can pose special health and safety hazards.

“You may see our crews taking breaks in the shade and rehydrating as part of the required safety protocols,” said Michael Considine, Entergy Arkansas acting vice president of distribution operations. “That doesn’t mean work has stopped. It means our employees are striving to maintain the highest level of efficiency.”

For people working outdoors in hot weather, both air temperature and humidity affect how hot they feel, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Heat Illness Prevention campaign. The “heat index” is a single value that takes both temperature and humidity into account. The higher the heat index, the hotter the weather feels since sweat does not readily evaporate and cool the skin.

By following safety guidelines to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses and taking steps to prevent them, Entergy Arkansas aims to keep employees safe, comfortable, and productive.

These same precautions can be used to keep other businesses’ employees safe, as well as individuals who are outside mowing yards, gardening, performing home maintenance or other outdoor chores.

Types of heat-related illnesses and warning signs
Heat exposure can affect worker health in several ways. Those include:

Heat stroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature. Symptoms include confusion, loss of consciousness, convulsions, and hot, dry skin. Heat stroke can be fatal unless treated immediately. If you suspect someone is the victim of heat stroke, call for medical assistance, move them to a shady or cool area and provide drinking water as soon as possible.

Heat exhaustion happens when fluids or sodium chloride lost through sweating aren’t adequately replenished. The victim continues to sweat while experiencing extreme weakness, fatigue, nausea, or headache. If an individual shows signs of heat exhaustion, have them rest in a cool place and drink fluids. If vomiting or loss of consciousness occurs, seek medical assistance immediately.

Heat cramps or muscle spasms can occur when sodium chloride is lost through sweating and isn’t replaced. Tired muscles are susceptible to cramps, which can be relieved by increasing fluid intake. If the cramps or spasms are severe, medical attention may be required.

Heat rash occurs in hot, humid environments when sweat doesn’t evaporate effectively. In severe cases, heat rash can become so uncomfortable that it inhibits sleep and impedes worker performance. To prevent heat rash, rest in a cool place.

The extent of stress each individual feels from heat exposure will depend on age, fitness, and other factors.

Preventing heat-related illnesses
People need time to adapt to a hot work environment. Begin heat exposure for short periods and gradually increase. Give new employees or workers returning from an absence time to adjust to the heat. Follow these tips to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses:

Provide plenty of drinking water in convenient, visible locations.

Use power tools to reduce manual labor.

Alternate work and rest periods in a cool area.

Schedule intense work during the coolest part of the day whenever possible.

Permit workers to stop and rest if they feel uncomfortable.

Consider an individual’s physical condition when determining their ability to work in hot weather conditions. People taking certain medications or with certain health conditions may be at greater risk.

For more information, see the Occupational Heat Exposure guide from the U.S. Department of Labor at https://www.osha.gov/heat/heat-index.

ABOUT ENTERGY ARKANSAS
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 722,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy delivers electricity to three million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $10 billion and approximately 12,500 employees.


JOBS FOR ARKANSAS GRADUATES PROGRAM RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR 15 CONSECUTIVE YEARS 25 SCHOOL PROGRAMS ALSO RECEIVE RECOGNITION FOR 2020 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce that the Jobs for Arkansas Graduates program received the national 5-of-5 Award for 2020, marking 15 consecutive years the program has received the honor. Twenty-five JAG programs at schools around the state also received 5-of-5 recognition for 2020.

The Arkansas program is an affiliate of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program and is designed to assist students who are at risk of dropping out of high school. Students enrolled in the program receive supports and services to help them not only graduate high school but also become successful whether pursuing post-secondary education, employment, or military service.

“I am extremely proud of the Division of Career and Technical Education for leading and supporting this outstanding program, as well as the 25 programs that also received national recognition,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “Because of the division’s efforts and the dedication from educators around the state, Arkansas has one of the most exemplary JAG programs in the country, as evidenced by this award over the last 15 years. Thank you to everyone who contributes to this programs’ success and provides critical supports to help students achieve success in life.”

In order to achieve the 5-of-5 Award, states must meet set criteria and goals for students enrolled in the program.

National Goals 

Arkansas’ Results

Graduation Rate: 90%

Arkansas: 97%

Job Placement Rate: 60%

Arkansas: 69%

Total Full-Time Employment: 60%

Arkansas: 80% 

Total Full-Time Positive Outcomes: 75%

Arkansas: 77%

Further Education Rate: 35% 

Arkansas: 39%

During the 2020-2021 school year, 116 JAG programs in 81 Arkansas school districts assisted more than 3,600 students. In addition to receiving academic support, students in the program participate in project-based and work-based learning projects, which lead to post-secondary education and workforce opportunities. 

The 25 programs that received 5-of-5 recognition are listed below.
Arch Ford HUB / Dover High School /Hector High School
Arch Ford HUB / Jessieville ALE
Arch Ford HUB / Shirley High School
Arch Ford HUB / Vilonia High School
Bald Knob High School
Cedar Ridge High School
Crossett High School
DeWitt High School
Fayetteville High School
Genoa Central High School
Har-Ber High School
Harmony Grove High School (There are two Schools in Arkansas named Harmony Grove. This article did not specify which school got the award.)
Heber Springs High School
Jacksonville High School
Malvern High School
Marshall High School
Mena High School
Midland High School ALE
Mount Ida High School
Paragould High School
Paris High School
Parkview High School
Springdale High School
Star City High School
Sylvan Hills High School

Arkansas’ program receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funding from the Division of Workforce Services, as well as funding from Entergy Arkansas, AT&T, and the Walton Family Foundation.

To learn more about the program, visit https://bit.ly/3sfgmHQ.

August 23, 2021

CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MARKET SEPTEMBER 3RD
“Off to the Fair” will be the theme for the First Friday Market on September 3rd in downtown Camden from 6PM – 9PM.
As everyone is preparing to move into fall and looking forward to the local fair we wanted to bring those elements into the market for everyone to experience.  The Ouachita County Fair Board will be on hand selling armbands for the carnival rides which will be back at this year’s fair.  They will also have a petting zoo for the children to enjoy.  This will be located on the Farmer’s Bank Parking Lot along with a mechanical cow for the children to “milk”.  The local Boys Scouts will be at the market with their inflatable BB Gun range for everyone to take their target practice.

Stop by Hollis Evans Floral to visit with this month’s featured author, Nyla Clemons.   Nyla is a 9th grade student at Bearden.  Her book “Cloaked in Flames” is currently selling on Amazon.

Regional favorite, Brody McKinney, will be the featured musician at this month’s market.  Come out and bring your lawn chairs to sit a while and enjoy the music.  Also during the musical breaks you can see a dancing demonstration from Trinity Grace Dance Studio dancers.

Everyone can get your shopping in with a vast array of vendors set up along Washington St and Adams Ave selling everything from wood workings, clothing, jewelry and more.  Special nonprofit groups and local organizations will be throughout the market where you can learn bicycle safety, shoot some basketball and grab some bottled water and more!  You will find jellies, jams, baked goods and even homemade pasta at this month’s market! Enjoy the special food vendors set up throughout the market with everything from BBQ, street tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes and iced coffee drinks. 

You will especially want to see a very special vendor at the September market, Miss Arkansas Whitney Williams.  Stop by chat and see what she has for sale.   

For everyone loving competitions What’s Cookin’ will be hosting a corn hole tournament outside their restaurant, registration will be inside Hollis Evans.  Native Dog Brewing will also have The Kilt with ax throwing happening on Madison Ave.

Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR,  September 3rd , 6PM – 9PM.  Come stroll, shop, nibble, browse and chat through downtown Camden… See you there!

COSL ANNOUNCES OUACHITA COUNTY TAX AUCTION
(August 23, 2021) LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Commissioner of State Lands Tommy Land announced that his office will auction tax-delinquent land in Ouachita County on Tuesday, September 7, at 1:00 p.m. The auction will be held at the County Courthouse – Courtroom A in Camden, with registration beginning at 12:30 p.m.

“Since we were unable to hold public auctions in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, we are auctioning properties that were scheduled for sale last year,” Land said. “These are properties whose taxes have been delinquent since 2015.”

Next year, during the 2022 auction season, the COSL office will auction two years’ worth of properties. “That will catch us up so that we’re current on all sales,” Land said.

Prospective bidders can find an online Public Auction Catalog, including a buyer’s guide; statutes governing sales; auction date, time and location; and a complete listing of parcels offered. This resource is on the Commissioner’s website, www.cosl.org, and is regularly updated.

The website also includes an instructional video demonstrating how to research information about each parcel available for sale.

“We open the bidding at the amount of taxes, penalties and interest due,” Land said. “Anyone who has delinquent property going up for auction should be aware they only have 10 business days after the auction to redeem property sold there.”

Bidders must register for the auction, but the registration is free. The first $100 of any parcel’s purchase price must be paid in cash, while the remainder may be paid by cash, check or credit card.

“Property taxes help fund schools, roads, libraries and public services including ambulances,” Land said. “Everyone benefits from paying those taxes — and the property owner benefits from paying on time, by avoiding interest and penalties on delinquent taxes.”

Properties that do not sell at auction will appear on the COSL’s post-auction sales list 30 days after the auction date. From there, they can be purchased through an online auction system. Another instructional video on the COSL website demonstrates that process to bidders.

Owners of delinquent parcels may redeem those delinquent taxes online at www.cosl.org using a credit or debit card. Those who prefer to pay by check or money order can print a Petition to Redeem from the website or call the office at 501-324-9422 to request the petition, which must accompany their payment.
 

UAMS SCHMIEDING PROGRAM TO PROVIDE FREE RESPITE TRAINING FOR VOLUNTEER CAREGIVERS IN EL DORADO
LITTLE ROCK — The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program, a program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), is offering free Respite Volunteer Training on Aug. 30 in El Dorado.

The all-day training session will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the UAMS South Arkansas Center on Aging, 106 West Main St., in El Dorado. The training is in-person and pre-registration is required. Participants can pre-register online at go.uams.edu/respite. For more information, please call 870-881-8969.

All CDC guidelines will be followed including health screenings, face masks and social distancing. Space is limited.

The training is held in cooperation with the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Coalition. The coalition’s research has shown 90% of Arkansas caregivers do not receive respite services, which can be provided in-home or out-of-home in health care facilities, day centers or camps. Across the nation, there are 53 million American caregivers, 85% of whom do not receive any respite services. Even the best of the best caregivers need a temporary break to care for themselves.

Using the evidence-based Respite Education & Support Tools (REST) curriculum, the session will provide unique, interactive training to help participants be confident and successful when providing assistance to those in need. The training is geared toward community and faith-based groups, family caregivers and volunteer groups.

In addition, seven hours of continuing education units are available to nursing home administrators who attend. This course is supported in part by a grant to the Arkansas Department of Human Services from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Aging.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
 

I-40 SHOOTING AT MORGAN LEAVES ONE DEAD, ANOTHER WOUNDED
AUGUST 21, 2021
A Crittenden County man was wounded by gunfire while he was a passenger inside an eastbound vehicle traveling east on Interstate 40 about 2:30 AM today.  Kindylen Roberts, 21, of Marion later died at a Little Rock hospital.

The shooting incident occurred near the Morgan/Maumelle exit as a front-seat passenger in a second eastbound car leaned out the window and began shooting at the car carrying Roberts and another passenger, Freangelo Dosty, 23, who was also wounded.  Dosty was treated at the scene and later released.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are leading the on-going investigation.  Meanwhile agents have arrested Justin Cantrell Mays, 24, who is being held at the Pulaski.
 

LAWRENCE COUNTY WOMAN FOUND DEAD AFTER GUNFIRE AIMED AT DEPUTIES AND POLICE
AUGUST 21, 2021
The Arkansas State Police has been requested to investigate the death of a Lawrence County woman who earlier today directed gunfire at a local law enforcement officer sent to confirm the woman’s wellbeing.

About 3:15 this morning when Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies and local police officers entered the home of Jennifer Shirley, 44, of 244 CR 429 near Walnut Ridge, Shirley was found inside holding a gun.

Shirley had agreed to set the gun aside when one law enforcement fired a less than lethal device at the woman who then grabbed the gun and began shooting.

Law enforcement officers who report they did not return fire at Shirley escaped the house uninjured.

A law enforcement perimeter was set-up around the residence and in the hours that followed an Arkansas State Trooper established a line of communication with Shirley.  The communications continued until shortly after 7:00 AM when smoke was seen coming from inside the house.

Emergency responders with deputies and police officers who entered the residence to extinguish the fire found Shirley dead.  Her body is being transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where a manner and cause of death will be determined.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are leading the investigation that is continuing.
 

POWERBALL TO LAUNCH THIRD WEEKLY DRAWING ON MONDAY NIGHTS
Aug. 20, 2021
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery (ASL) wants players to “Get Psyched for Mondays” because starting in three days they will have the chance to start the week playing Powerball®. The lottery game is expanding to drawings three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Saturday – on Aug. 23 at 9:59 p.m. CST.

“America’s jackpot game is picking up the pace to deliver bigger jackpots to our players,” said Eric Hagler, executive director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. “Players have let us know they want to play for bigger jackpots, and we want Powerball to deliver on their expectations.”

Hagler said the Powerball Product Group anticipates adding the Monday drawing will result in larger, faster-growing jackpots. The group also expects to see an increase in the number of cash prizes and jackpots awarded on an annual basis. Adding a third drawing will not change the Powerball game odds or set cash prizes. Powerball tickets will still cost $2 per play.

Players will continue to choose five numbers from 1 to 69 and one Powerball number from 1 to 26. The Power Play® add-on feature will also still be available for an additional $1 per play to multiply non-jackpot prizes.

All 48 U.S. lotteries will sell tickets for the Powerball drawing on Monday nights.

“Life-changing jackpots produce more than just lottery winners,” Hagler said. “Proceeds from draw game sales drive more money for scholarships, plus our retail partners receive a commission when a player cashes in a winning ticket that was sold at their store.”

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has raised more than $1 billion in proceeds for scholarships and awarded more than 650,000 scholarships since 2009.

Following each drawing, winning numbers can be viewed at MyArkansasLottery.com or at Powerball.com.

About the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery
More than 92 cents of every dollar of ASL revenue goes to prizes, scholarships, retailer commissions, and other expenses in Arkansas. Since 2009, the lottery has raised more than $1 billion in proceeds for scholarships. More than 650,000 college scholarships have been awarded to Arkansans. The lottery has awarded more than $3.7 billion in prizes to players, about $321 million in retailer commissions and provided more than $147 million in state and federal tax revenue.

Follow the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit MyArkansasLottery.com for more information on scholarships, winners, games, odds, promotions – and to join The Club for free. To hear winning numbers, call the Winning Numbers Hotline at 501-682-IWON (4966). To get help with problem gambling, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.
 

STUDENT ART CONTEST IN COMMEMORATION OF OUR HEROES
In Memory of the 20th Anniversary Attack on the 9.11 World Trade Center. Real heroes, ordinary people,
extraordinary courage. All gave some…some gave all.

As part of the 22nd SouthArk Outdoor Expo, SouthArk is hosting  a Student Art Contest sponsored by The Systems Group.

The contest is open to K-12 students from Union County Schools. All entries will be displayed at the Outdoor Expo on Saturday, September 11, 2021, in the El Dorado Conference Center.

Theme: Students are encouraged to use critical thinking skills in their works of art to address the question “Who is My Hero?” Each student’s work must somehow incorporate a creative acknowledgment of their “hero” whom they view as being courageous. This could be military personnel, first responders, health professionals, or their own family member or personal friend whom they view as a “hero.”
 

SAAC TO HOST "CLUE AND COFFEE" BOARD GAME DAY
Join the production staff of SAAC's upcoming production of "Clue: On Stage" at PJs downtown in The Spot on Saturday, August 28 from 12:00-5:30 pm for Board Game Day. The production staff will have "Clue" game boards setup for a fun afternoon of board game play. Directors Hannah Faith and Rhett Davis are experienced board game players and will be on hand to get you started. Bring your family or friends and your competitive streak!

This event is a new-fangled way to meet the directors and have a fun afternoon playing games, as well as an informative afternoon about upcoming auditions which will be held on August 30-31. Anyone interested in auditioning for the production is welcome to drop in for a chat with the directors or the production team. Audition material will be on hand for anyone interested in auditioning. The production team will play their own spirited game at 4pm. Even if you're not interested in auditioning, stop by to enter your name in our drawing to win a family game night gift basket or stay to play a game for fun.

The "Clue" fun continues at 6:00 pm on the main stage (east side of the courthouse) for the SAAC Spotlight and Live Clue Game with some of the Showdown cast hosted by "Clue: On Stage" directors Hannah Faith and Rhett Davis. Rhett has made a Showdown/El Dorado version of the Clue game for the day and Hannah will work the mic, inviting the crowd to answer the question "Who done it?"

Rhett said, "Come to The Spot and join the production crew of "Clue: On Stage" as we dive into the board game that spawned the play and the movie. Join us as we have 'Clue and Coffee' and discuss the upcoming auditions for the play at SAAC."

For more information about this fun game day or the upcoming production of "Clue: On Stage", 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.
 

DRAMA CLUB SELECTS NEW PLAY FOR FALL 2021
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces that Director Lynn Gunter has selected "Sherlock Holmes and the First Baker Street Irregulars", by Brian Guehring as its Fall 2021 production for students grades 7-12. The previously scheduled Drama Club production of "Disney's Frozen JR" is "on ice" until 2022.

An Information Party will be held on Thursday August 26, 4-5 pm at SAAC. Audition forms and scene readings for this straight play will be available at the party. Gunter will also be in attendance to answer questions about auditions and characters. Auditions will be held Tuesday, August 31 or Thursday, September 2 at 4pm and you may attend either day. Be prepared to read scenes from the script. It is recommended to review the scenes before auditions, but they do not need to be memorized.

Gunter is excited to begin work on this production. Sherlock Holmes is an iconic character and his adventures are always fun and mind boggling, as well as thought provoking, always making the audience ask the question, "How did he figure that out?"

"Sherlock Holmes and First Baker Street Irregulars" is based on the characters and mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. On a dare from her fellow street urchins, 14-year-old Wiggins tries to pickpocket a strange old man. Not only is Wiggins unsuccessful, but the old man, who is actually Sherlock Holmes in disguise, manages to take the gold ring that was in Wiggins' pocket and leave behind a note directing her where to go to get it back. When Wiggins goes to 221B Baker Street to retrieve the ring, she is shocked to find out how much Holmes knows about her based on a quick observation. After Wiggins sees Holmes use the ring to solve a case, Wiggins proposes to work as his assistant. Intrigued by her potential, Holmes agrees to begin training Wiggins on a trial basis, so long as she helps Mrs. Hudson with the chores. Wiggins and Holmes must learn to trust each other as Wiggins and her group of street urchins help him solve two dangerous mysteries: The Red Headed League and The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.

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.

AUGUST 20, 2021

CAMDEN AIRPORT MEETING
The Camden Airport Commission will meet today at 11:30 at the Camden Municipal Airport.

AUGUST 18, 2021

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TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN ANNOUNCES FISCAL YEAR EARNINGS FOR 2021

 

Receipts exceeded internal projections during pandemic economy

 

Little Rock, Ark. – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan earned the state $11.16 million during the fourth quarter of 2021, bringing the total earned for the fiscal year that ended June 30 to $35.4 million.

 

“Compared to FY 2015, when interest rates were similar and we weren’t going through a global pandemic, that’s a substantial increase,” he said. “My investment team has been relentless in pursuing opportunities to provide our portfolio with as much cost-saving and interest-producing opportunities as possible – exceeding even our own expectations for FY 21.”

 

The state’s short-term portfolio, which is made up of demand and money market accounts and is heavily dependent on the federal interest rate, earned $659,000, while the state’s long-term portfolio, made up mostly of agency and Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, earned $10.5 million during the fourth quarter.

 

Since the covid pandemic began, the Fed has been purchasing US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities weekly in order to help keep financial markets stable, Milligan told the State Board of Finance today. This has kept rates low and inflated asset prices across all sectors of the market, he added.

 

“For investors like the State of Arkansas, who only trade in fixed-income securities such as these, we’re in a unique situation. The market is flush with cash as investors wait on rates to rise, and anytime there is an upward fluctuation, bonds are scooped up quickly,” Milligan said. “Simply put, there just aren’t enough bonds for the amount of cash investors have.”

 

However, under Milligan’s administration the state’s investment portfolio has grown from roughly $3.5 billion to nearly $5 billion, meaning the state has more money to invest and thus more opportunities to increase its earnings.

“Through our continual monitoring of the bond market and taking advantage of opportunities where we can despite historically low interest rates, we’ve been able to substantially increase earnings since I took office in 2015,” Milligan said.

 

“We’re setting up a solid foundation on which future treasurers can build upon, and by which taxpayers can rest assured they’re getting the most out of their hard-earned money.”

 

To watch a video summary of the fiscal year investment report, click here.

August 17, 2021

CADC BOARD TO MEET
The Board of Directors of Central Arkansas Development Council will have a board meeting Saturday, August 28, 2021 at 9:00 am.  The meeting will be held by at the Benton Senior Activity Center, 1800 Citizens Drive, Benton, AR.  The public is invited to join the meeting.

SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS AVAILABLE TO ARKANSAS SMALL BUSINESSES
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Small nonfarm businesses in the following counties are now eligible to apply for low‑interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by adverse weather conditions that occurred in the following primary counties in Arkansas, announced Director Tanya N. Garfield of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West.

Declaration

Number

Primary

Counties

Neighboring

Counties/Parishes

Incident Type

Incident Date

Deadline

17089

Lawrence

Craighead, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Randolph and Sharp in Arkansas

Hail

May 6, 2021

4/12/22

17090

Arkansas, Benton, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lonoke, Monroe, Phillips, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, White and Yell

Ashley, Carroll, Cleburne, Cleveland, Conway, Craighead, Dallas, Faulkner, Garland, Grant, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Johnson, Lee, Logan, Madison, Montgomery, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Randolph, St. Francis, Saline, Scott, Searcy, Sharp, Union, Van Buren, Washington and Woodruff in Arkansas;

East Carroll, Morehouse and West Carroll in Louisiana;

Bolivar, Coahoma, Issaquena, Tunica and Washington in Mississippi;

Barry and McDonald in Missouri;

Adair and Delaware in Oklahoma.

Excessive rain, flash flooding, flooding, high winds and lightning

April 1 - June 11, 2021

4/12/22


“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disasters and businesses directly impacted by the disasters,” Garfield said.

Small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disasters not occurred.

“Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disasters only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate as low as 2.88 percent for businesses and 2 percent for private nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Garfield said.

By law, SBA makes economic injury available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. The Secretary declared these declarations on Aug. 12, 2021.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY EXPANDS COMPASSIONATE ALLOWANCES PROGRAM FOR PEOPLE WITH SEVERE DISABILITIES
Program Expedites Decisions for Disability Benefits
Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today announced 12 new Compassionate Allowances conditions:  Charlevoix Saguenay Spastic Ataxia (ARSACS), Choroid Plexus Carcinoma, CIC-rearranged Sarcoma, Congenital Zika Syndrome, Desmoplastic Mesothelioma, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – Adult, Pericardial Mesothelioma, Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma, Renpenning Syndrome, SCN8A Related Epilepsy with Encephalopathy, SYNGAP1-related NSID, and Taybi-Linder Syndrome.  Compassionate Allowances is an initiative that quickly identifies severe medical conditions and diseases that meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits.

“Everyone who is eligible for benefits under the programs we administer should receive them,” said Acting Commissioner Kijakazi.  “Our Compassionate Allowances program helps us address barriers by helping accelerate the disability application process for people who are likely to get approved for benefits due to the severity of their medical condition.”

The Compassionate Allowances program quickly identifies claims where the applicant’s condition or disease clearly meets Social Security’s statutory standard for disability.  Due to the severe nature of many of these conditions, these claims are often allowed based on medical confirmation of the diagnosis alone; for example, certain cancers, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and a number of rare disorders that affect children.  To date, more than 700,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this accelerated, policy-compliant disability process, which has grown to a total of 254 conditions.

When a person applies for disability benefits, Social Security must obtain medical records in order to make an accurate determination.  The agency incorporates leading technology to identify potential Compassionate Allowances cases and make quick decisions.  Social Security’s Health IT brings the speed and efficiency of electronic medical records to the disability determination process.  With electronic records transmission, Social Security is able to quickly obtain a claimant’s medical information, review it, and make a fast determination.

For more information about the program, including a list of all Compassionate Allowances conditions, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

To learn more about Social Security’s Health IT program, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/hit

People may apply online for disability benefits by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov.

To create a my Social Security account, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

WCCSA FUNDRAISER POSTPONED
Due to safety concerns this fundraiser event "Dining to Demolish Domestic Violence" for the Women’s Crises Center of South Arkansas has been postponed until further notice.  if you should have any question please call (870) 836-0375.

SOUTHARK OUTDOOR EXPO SCHEDULED THIS SEPTEMBER
The SouthArk Outdoor Expo is in its 22nd year! Hosted by the SouthArk Foundation, come out Saturday, September 7th from 9:00-4:00 p.m., at the El Dorado Conference Center and enjoy a full day of hands-on activities, live entertainment, contests, activities, and exhibits for outdoor enthusiasts, families, and children.  Admission is one canned or packaged food item for a local food bank.  This year's event is set to be the best one yet and you won't want to miss it! You can now register online at www.southarkexpo.com<http://www.southarkexpo.com>. Contests include the Delek US Hero 5K run/walk, Withrow rib cook-off, Systems Group student art contest, and car show.

Live bands will be performing throughout the day including Jason D. Williams. A full day of hands-on activities and exhibits for outdoor enthusiasts, families and children will take place.  Plus a chainsaw wood carving demonstration, target shooting, archery, Timberlane Meat/T-Model’s KidsWorld, food trucks. Proceeds benefit SouthArk students.

August 16, 2021

THE CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education Agenda for the Camden Fairview Board Of Education regular meeting to be held on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at 6:30 P.M. At Garrison Auditorium.
1. Call to order.
2. Student Hearing (Readmitting)
3. Approval of minutes of previous meetings
3. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
    a. None
4. NEW BUSINESS
    a. Presentation and Recommendation regarding School Resource Officer Agreement.
    b. Presentation and Recommendation regarding transferring funds from operating funds to building funds
    c. Facility Rentals
5. Superintendent's report to the Board.
6. Financial report
7. Personnel
    a. Hiring
    b. Resignations
    c. Retirement
    d. Transfer
MASK MUST BE WORN BY ALL THAT ATTEND.

PLANNING A LABOR DAY GETAWAY? START WITH DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER
Arkansans Prepare For Final Summer Holiday, Law Enforcement Plans Aimed At Drunk Drivers
AUGUST 16, 2021
As Arkansans begin looking forward to plans of a final summer getaway, law enforcement officers are preparing to saturate the highways with additional patrols during the Labor Day holiday.  The mission is to keep streets and highways safe by identifying and arresting drunk drivers.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over impaired driving awareness campaign begins Friday, August 20th and will remain active through September 6th.  Arkansas State Troopers, sheriff’s deputies and city police officers will be unified during the operation designed to arrest drunk drivers who threaten the safety of others traveling on Arkansas road.

Lives lost in highway crashes across the nation involving alcohol impaired drivers during 2019 totaled 10,142, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  That’s one person killed every 52 minutes in a drunk driving crash.  On average, more than 10,000 people were killed in drunk driving crash each year from 2015 to 2019.

 “The statistics left behind from these deaths each year represent thousands of sad and troubling stories from the families of each victim,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “That’s why law enforcement agencies in Arkansas are working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, but also a matter of life and death for those who count on us to keep the highways safe by arresting drunk drivers.”

The Arkansas Highway Safety Office and NHTSA are reminding everyone of the many resources available to get them home safely and offer these tips:

If you plan on drinking, plan not to drive.
Plan a safe way home before you leave.  It’s never okay to drink and drive, even if the driver has consumed only one alcoholic beverage.  
Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to your destination safely.  
If you’ve been drinking, call a taxi or someone who is sober to drive you home.  
If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1.
If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.  

Buckle up, always. Your seat belt is your best defense against the drunk driver.  

  “The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is more than just a partnership among law enforcement to remove drunk drivers from the highway during the Labor Day holiday,” Colonel Bryant said.  “We need the commitment from communities and citizens to work with law enforcement every day and help keep the streets and highways safe for everyone.”

 For more information on impaired driving, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDArkansas.org
 

USACE VICKSBURG DISTRICT ANNOUNCES NEW CHIEF OF PROJECT RESOURCES MANAGEMENT BRANCH
VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District has selected Jason Mooney as Chief of Project Resources Management Branch (PRMB).

In this role, Mooney will lead the way of carrying out PRMB’s mission, which is to provide quality engineering and other professional services for flood damage reduction, hydropower production, recreation management, water supply, natural resource stewardship, and environmental compliance activities. They also manage all programs to ensure consistent and thorough implementation of policy, guidance, procedures, and programs as directed by higher headquarters in such a manner that meets or exceeds our customer’s expectations.

Mooney began his USACE career in the Design Branch in 2003 after graduating from the University of Mississippi.  He worked as a design engineer in Levee & Drainage Section until 2013.  During that time, he worked on a multitude of Mississippi River Levee enlargement designs as well as several channel improvement projects.  He also served as technical manager for the Viper Program, which included the designs of numerous levees, flood walls, and flood gates in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, which was developed for the New Orleans District after Hurricane Katrina. 

In July 2013, Mooney was selected as Chief, Inspection & Dam Safety Section in the Geotechnical Branch.  In this position, he was responsible for executing the Vicksburg District’s Dam Safety Program, which included performing formal inspections and assessments and carrying out dam safety maintenance for all dams, locks and dams, pumping plants, and numerous large flood control drainage structures in order to ensure that structural integrity was intact for each project.  He was also responsible for executing the Relief Well Maintenance Program for the District to ensure that the relief wells located along the levee toes operated at peak performance during high water and flood events.

Mooney replaces outgoing PRMB Chief Johnny Kiser, who will retire December of this year. Kiser and Mooney will work together over the next four months to ensure a smooth transition.

Project Resources Management Branch has O&M authority for 10 lakes in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana and nearly 2,000 miles of levees.  Overall project missions include flood control, hydropower, recreation, environmental stewardship, and water supply.  Other missions include carrying out the 208 and 408 permit programs for alteration requests to federally constructed projects and coordination with local, state, and federal partners/stakeholders regarding use of public lands.

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.

Arkansas Delegation Applauds USDA Disaster Declaration for Counties Impacted by Storms  

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—applauded U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s decision to issue a Secretarial Disaster Designation covering 18 Arkansas counties impacted by flooding, high winds, hail, tornadoes and other storm damage: Arkansas, Benton, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lonoke, Monroe, Phillips, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, White and Yell.

“This disaster designation is a critical step to helping Arkansas agricultural producers recover from devastating losses as a result of natural disasters. We are pleased Secretary Vilsack recognizes the need to provide this assistance to our farmers,” members said.

Last month, the congressional delegation wrote a letter to Secretary Vilsack in support of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation.  

LT. GOVERNOR GRIFFIN RESPONDS TO DISASTROUS WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN
Says ‘This catastrophe is damaging to our national interest and to our reputation around the world'
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin issued the following statement as Afghanistan falls to the Taliban regime amidst U.S. withdrawal:  

"Although my current role as Lt. Governor is not directly related to international relations, I have several thoughts as a veteran, former member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, and an American on the current situation in Afghanistan: 

 "It is both tragic and heartbreaking to watch Afghanistan fall back into the hands of the Taliban and radical Islamic terrorists. President Biden was dangerously wrong last month when he stubbornly boasted that Afghanistan would not be overrun by the Taliban, and his failure to plan for an orderly, conditions-based withdrawal makes America less safe as a result. This catastrophe is damaging to our national interest and to our reputation around the world.

"Unfortunately, this mistake was long in the planning. Instead of telling Americans the hard truths, politicians – Democrats and Republicans – have tried for years to govern using populist slogans like “endless war,” creating a false choice between nation-building with tens of thousands of American troops on the one hand and isolationism on the other. The truth is there are other options, and those options should be pursued. The American people have long understood the folly of nation-building in a country whose citizens are unable to build for themselves. They are now seeing the folly of complete withdrawal from a country where we have a strategic interest – not altogether different from our initial abandonment of Iraq. The proper role of U.S. forces in Afghanistan should not be one of governing or nation-building. It should be one employing minimal forces with access to the country for the purpose of killing those who would do us harm. While it is not always popular to argue for troops to be overseas in harm’s way, foreign policy shouldn’t be based on opinion polls. The sometimes-unpopular truth is that as the preeminent world leader, America has been able to maintain relative peace across the globe by maintaining a small security presence in hot spots such as the Sinai Peninsula, the Korean Peninsula, and especially Europe. Our national interest in Afghanistan is having the capacity to destroy and kill our enemies -- radical Islamic terrorists and the Taliban – on foreign soil so that our fights are in Bagram or Kabul, not in Boston or Kansas City.

"As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I pray for the American servicemembers and civilians who served and shed their blood for our country in Afghanistan. I also pray for the people of Afghanistan, particularly the Afghan women and children as well as the Afghan interpreters, scouts, and allies who will suffer at the hands of the evil Taliban regime.  Winston Churchill famously said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” May our nation learn from the real-time history lesson unfolding before our eyes."

COTTON STATEMENT ON SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement regarding the situation in Afghanistan:

“The fiasco in Afghanistan wasn’t just predictable, it was predicted. Joe Biden’s ill-planned retreat has now humiliated America and put at risk thousands of Americans left in Kabul. At a minimum, President Biden must unleash American air power to destroy every Taliban fighter in the vicinity of Kabul until we can save our fellow Americans. Anything less will further confirm Joe Biden’s impotence to the world.”

August 12, 2021

STINNETT NAMED GENERAL MANAGER OF OUACHITA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE CORPORATION
Ouachita Electric Cooperative and the Board of Directors are pleased to announce Robby Stinnett as the new General Manager.  Stinnett will assume the role of General Manger on August 30, 2021.   

Stinnett is a lifelong resident of Ouachita County, raised in the Elliott Community with family origins in the Chidester area. Stinnett is presently employed as System Planning Manager and has been a Cooperative employee since 1993.

“I am flattered to have been chosen by your board of directors to be the next general manager of Ouachita Electric Cooperative. As only the fifth general manager to serve the members of OECC in the 80 plus years of incorporation I am pleased to join a small group of dedicated individuals sacrificing their time and efforts to make OECC and south Arkansas a better place for everyone.”. Stinnett commented.

Ouachita Electric Cooperative currently has 38 full-time employees with a combined 614 years of experience.  OECC is a non-profit rural electric utility cooperative headquartered in Camden, Arkansas, with a district office in Hampton, Arkansas. The Cooperative was organized in 1938 and serves approximately 7,000 members in the counties of Ouachita, Dallas, Calhoun, Bradley and Nevada. 

SAAC HOSTS RECEPTION FOR ARTIST MIKE MEANS AND MICHAELA WISE SHOWING IN THE LOBBY GALLERY
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to an artist's reception honoring two SAAC instructors with an exhibit in the Lobby Gallery this month. The reception will be held this Friday, August 13, from 5:30-7:00pm. Their exhibit, entitled "Digital and Fine Art Works by Mike Means and Michaela Wise" will hang through August 30.

These two talented art instructors have a few things in common. Both spend much of their days teaching and helping children in El Dorado. Michaela works part time at the Boy's and Girl's Club as a grant assistant, takes care of the food bank there, and teaches visual arts to young kids at SAAC, while Mike is an Arts In Education instructor in the El Dorado schools and teaches graphic arts classes at SAAC.

Michaela is a local artist. She grew up in Louisiana, but moved to El Dorado before starting junior high. Moving to south Arkansas helped her make connections that would one day lead her to her current career as an artist. In junior high, she began taking classes with Maria Villegas and soon blossomed into a prodigious young artist. After graduating high school at Parkers Chapel, she pursued a degree in Studio Art from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. Now a mother to a 6-year-old little boy and a resident artist of El Dorado, Michaela continues to be devoted to art and teaching and conveys her enthusiasm through her classes. She hopes to inspire children to let their creativity and talent shine just as her teachers at SAAC inspired her when she was a young artist. 

"The pieces in this show are made of pencil and gouache paint - a medium that I recently discovered and now love," said Michaela. "I am inspired by people and personalities (also by impending deadlines), and am currently focused on creating work showcasing the people I love and memories surrounding them."

Mike said about his show, "My half of the work displayed shows you some of the art I have done using both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Art and computer go together. A digital palette can be just as fun as the real thing.

"I grew up in Fayetteville, where I did my first rendering of Snoopy on my bedroom wall. Since then I have worked in many other media, including graphite, colored pencil, and pastel, as well as on the computer. Drawing will always be my first love. I love working with the computer to create art and sharing the knowledge that I have gathered over the years. There is a ‘wow factor' when you show students what computer programs can do. Most people just need help getting started, and that is where I hope to help children and adults alike. I wanted to break from the traditional graphics classes and show just what you can do on the computer from an artist's point of view. Making the computer work for you as an artist is my goal."

Artist Ann Trimble, whose exhibit "A Collection of Portraits and Kaleidoscopes" is hanging in the Price and Merkle Galleries, will also be honored at Friday's reception. 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 Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. 

 

WESTERMAN CALLS FOR END OF UNCONSTITUTIONAL EVICTION MORATORIUM
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) joined Congressman Chris Jacobs (R-NY) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) in sending a bicameral letter with 27 members of Congress to President Biden calling on the Administration to change course and end its unconstitutional eviction moratorium. 

“We strongly oppose the Biden administration’s latest eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This latest action is plainly unconstitutional and will only serve to further distort the market and create a housing affordability crisis,” the lawmakers said. “Additionally, any further restrictions on evictions at this point are counterproductive. The economy is open, jobs and vaccines are abundant, and federal rental assistance is a reality.”

In a recent Supreme Court case, Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, five members of the Supreme Court effectively acknowledged that CDC exceeded its authority in issuing the moratorium. Justice Kavanaugh stated that “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”
 

“Instead of pursuing an unconstitutional moratorium, the Biden administration should be focused on distributing the nearly $50 billion in rental assistance that was appropriated through three separate stimulus packages.” the lawmakers said. “As long this moratorium remains in place, property owners will continue to struggle financially. These property owners must still pay mortgages, taxes, and maintenance for the dwelling. If this continues much longer, we will see a wave of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and blighted properties.”

Most states require the tenant to take the initiative when applying for rental assistance. A recent Treasury report found very little of the federal rental assistance money has been disbursed so far, and the new moratorium will act as an additional disincentive for tenants to apply for this aid, leaving property owners on the hook.

“We demand the Biden administration end this moratorium and allow the rental assistance funds to do what they were intended to do. This government overreach must end,” the lawmakers said. 

WESTERMAN DELIVERS REMARKS AT THE NATIONAL CENTER OF TOXICOLOGICAL RESEARCH 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) spoke to the 50th anniversary celebration of the National Center of Toxicological Research (NCTR) in Jefferson, Arkansas. Westerman released the following statement.

“NCTR has undoubtably improved the lives of every American by developing needed research to ensure safe medicine, food, and cosmetics,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman. “Without facilities such as this, the United States would not be home to the world’s safest and most abundant food supply. Consumers in the United States and around the world may never truly know the impact of NCTR’s work on their daily lives, but every time a patient is successfully treated, or a family safely uses countless familiar products, NCTR’s hard work deserves the credit.”

Background:
NCTR is the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research facility located outside of Washington, D.C. employs 670 people across 17 counties, contributing nearly $70 million to the state, local, and national economies. 

 NCTR was established on August 11, 1971 by President Richard Nixon. This research facility promotes and protects public health and provided critical support to Arkansas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The Arkansas Delegation recently introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to commemorate this 50th anniversary and recognize NCTR’s achievements. 

August 11, 2021

CADC TO DISTRIBUTE USDA COMMODITIES AUGUST 18 & 19, 2021 IN OUACHITA AND CALHOUN COUNTIES
The Central Arkansas Development Council will distribute USDA Commodities in Ouachita and Calhoun Counties on Wednesday, August 18 and Thursday, August 19, 2021 in Camden and Carnes Park located at 955 Adams SE in Camden 

In Calhoun County, commodities will be distributed at the CADC Office located at 210 South Lee Street in Hampton, AR.

ID must be present in order to receive commodities. All customers receiving commodities must present identification.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
 

SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM DIPS IN JULY AS LABOR SHORTAGE REMAINS BIGGEST CHALLENGE
Unfilled job openings hit a 48-year record high 
LITTLE ROCK (Aug. 10, 2021) – The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased in July to 99.7, a decrease of 2.8 points, reversing June’s 2.9-point gain. Six of the 10 components declined, three improved, and one was unchanged. The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased seven points to 76, indicating owners’ views are held with more certainty than in earlier months. 

“Small business owners are losing confidence in the strength of the economy and expect a slowdown in job creation,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “As owners look for qualified workers, they are also reporting that supply chain disruptions are having an impact on their businesses. Ultimately, owners could sell more if they could acquire more supplies and inventories from their supply chains.” 

State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith said, “The labor shortage and inconsistent supply chain are making things difficult for Arkansas’ small businesses, but owners determined to get through this.”

Other key findings include: 
Sales expectations over the next three months decreased 11 points to a net negative 4% of owners. 
Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased eight points to a net negative 20%. 
Earnings trends over the past three months decreased eight points to a net negative 13%. 

As reported in NIFB’s monthly jobs report, 49% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a 48-year record high. Owners’ plans to fill open positions remain at record high levels, with a seasonally adjusted net 27% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down one point from June’s record high reading.  

Fifty-five percent of owners reported capital outlays in the last six months, up two points from June but historically a below average reading. Of those making expenditures, 39% reported spending on new equipment, 23% acquired vehicles, and 14% improved or expanded facilities. Six percent of owners acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 11% spent money for new fixtures and furniture. Twenty-six percent of owners are planning capital outlays in the next few months. At some point, owners will have to step up capital spending to acquire and improve the quality of capital available to support new hires. 

A net 5% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down four points from June. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes declined 11 points to a net negative 4%, a stubbornly negative view but based on their realities. 

The percent of owners reporting inventory increases declined seven points to a net negative 6%. A net 12% of owners view current inventory stocks as “too low” in July, up one point from June and a 48-year record high reading. A net 6% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months, down five points from June and also a historically high reading.   

A net 46% of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising average selling prices. Unadjusted, 5% reported lower average selling prices and 52% reported higher average prices. Price hikes were the most frequent in wholesale (73% higher, 0% lower), manufacturing (61% higher, 6% lower), and retail (57% higher, 7% lower). Seasonally adjusted, a net 44% plan price hikes. This is inflation, the question is for how long? 

In July, 52% of owners reported raising average selling prices, two points higher than June. Price increases in wholesale and retail trades posted significant declines. The largest increases in price-raising activity were in the non-professional services and transportation.  

A net 38% of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, down one point from June’s record high of 39%. A net 27% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up one point from June and a 48-year record high reading.  

The frequency of reports of positive profit trends declined eight points to a net negative 13%. Among those small employers reporting lower profits, 32% blamed weaker sales, 31% cited a rise in the cost of materials, 10% cited labor costs, 7% cited lower prices, 6% cited the usual seasonal change, and 3% cited higher taxes or regulatory costs. For owners reporting higher profits, 62% credited sales volumes, 20% cited usual seasonal change, and 7% cited higher prices.  

Down from June, only 2% of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied. Twenty-three percent reported all credit needs were met and 61% said they were not interested in a loan. A net 2% reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts. One percent of owners reported that financing was their top business problem. Many small firms are still operating with PPP funds. 

 

BOOZMAN VOTES AGAINST BIDEN’S OUT-OF-CONTROL SPENDING SPREE
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after voting against President Joe Biden’s $4.2 massive spending bill:

“This reckless “budget” is a massive government overreach that will put Washington in charge of our everyday lives all while forcing hardworking Arkansans to foot the bill. On the heels of so-called COVID-19 relief, the Biden administration continues its out-of-control spending spree that will further fuel inflation and make it more difficult for Arkansans to make ends meet.

Ultimately, this bill advances a left-wing agenda that includes amnesty, the Green New Deal and enormous tax hikes that threaten the livelihoods of families, small business and agricultural producers. Arkansans rightfully reject this partisan takeover.”
 

SENATE AGREES TO BOOZMAN AMENDMENT PROTECTING RURAL AMERICANS’ ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE ENERGY  
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate adopted an amendment authored by Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, that prevents a ban on fossil fuels and supports access to affordable, reliable energy to power their farms, businesses and broadband networks in rural America. 

“I appreciate my colleagues taking a stand for rural America by supporting my amendment rejecting this harmful mandate. The push to ban fossil fuels is yet another Biden administration policy directive that punishes rural Americans. The inclusion of my amendment to the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending bill will force the administration to pursue an ‘all-of-the-above' strategy to meet the energy needs of our rural communities now and in the future,” Boozman said.  

Background 
Last year, a number of former Obama-era U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials authored the Climate 21 transition memo to guide the Biden administration’s policy objectives. This memo provided a roadmap for federal agencies to achieve the administration’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The recommendations in this memo included developing plans for retiring fossil fuel-burning power plants. 

 Boozman’s amendment prohibits the USDA from starving our rural electric providers of financing in an attempt to shutter fossil fuel-burning power plants. 

Boozman Introduces Amendment to Ensure Rural Americans Continue to Have Access to Affordable, Reliable Energy 

PROVISION BLOCKS DEMOCRAT EFFORT TO BAN FOSSIL FUELS, DAMAGE RURAL COMMUNITIES 
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, introduced an amendment to the Democrats’ reckless tax and spend bill to block attempts to ban fossil fuels which threaten rural communities’ access to affordable, reliable energy to power their farms, businesses and broadband networks. 

“While we pursue smart, responsible approaches to create new forms of sustainable energy, we must avoid mandates that jeopardize the supply of reliable, affordable energy in rural communities across the country. My amendment reinforces the need to embrace an all-of-the-above approach that encourages the responsible use of our nation’s unmatched energy resources. This is especially true for rural America, as the economic future of our rural communities continue to be endangered by this administration’s proposals,” Boozman said. 

Last year, a number of former Obama-era U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials authored the Climate 21 transition memo to guide the Biden administration’s policy objectives. This memo provided a roadmap for federal agencies to achieve the administration’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The recommendations in this memo included developing plans for retiring fossil fuel-burning power plants.  

Boozman’s amendment would prohibit the USDA from starving our rural electric providers of financing in an attempt to shutter fossil fuel-burning power plants. 
 

“The Senate agriculture committee is among those given reconciliation instructions by this bill. It is imperative that we prevent Washington from imposing mandates that put the future of rural America at risk. My amendment offers a common sense approach that will ensure the electricity needs of rural America continue to be met now and in the future,” Boozman said. 

August 10, 2021

MID-SOUTH SHIPPING COMPANY ANNOUNCES COMPANY NAME CHANGE AND NEW LOCATION
Camden, AR – GSP Pack & Ship, an industry-leading independent retail shipping company has announced today that the company will begin operating under a new name and will be known as The PACKAGE HUB™, effective immediately.  Along with this change, a newly redesigned company logo has been revealed and all of the company’s operations have moved their retail location to 117 Jefferson ST SW, Camden, AR 71701. 

“This rebranding strategy and relocation reflect both the evolution of the company as well as its vision for the future” stated a company spokesperson. 

The company had been serving the Camden community since 2000 and announced earlier this year the launch of their third-party (3PL) logistics division which added new capabilities for local, regional, and nationwide truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal, ocean, parcel, and integrated transportation management services. The improved resources, such as industry-leading transportation technology platforms, full-load planning and booking, real-time shipment visibility, and more, allows them to deliver a first-rate freight shipping  experience for their customers. Additionally, their partnership with AES Worldwide Logistics, a freight brokerage with 20 plus years of experience, allows them to leverage relationships with over 40 national, super-regional, regional, and local freight carriers to get the best possible service for their customers.

As a licensed and bonded FMCSA compliant brokerage, a member of the Camden Downtown Network, and a Premium Member of the Retail Shipping Associates, The Package Hub team is continually looking for new and innovative ways to serve their customers. For more information about The PACKAGE Hub™ and the broad array of services the company provides, give them a call at (870) 836-5273 or visit their website at www.gspship.com.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON COVID 19 UPDATE – AUGUST 10, 2021
State officials announced two new initiatives Tuesday afternoon in hopes of seeing COVID-19 vaccination rates improve among younger Arkansans.

The first will increase reimbursement rates for physicians when they administer a vaccine to a Medicaid recipient. The rate will be increased from the current rate of $40 to $100 for a two-dose complete vaccination or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the goal behind the rate increase is to increase vaccination rates by encouraging physicians to counsel Medicaid recipients towards getting the vaccine. In total, Hutchinson said only four percent of Arkansas' Medicaid population has received the vaccine.

Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key then spoke about a new campaign to be launched in Arkansas schools called "Stop the Hesitation, Get the Vaccination." The campaign will seek to encourage parents to speak with their children's healthcare providers to learn more about the vaccine and the benefits of taking it.

In all more than 1.1 million Arkansans are now fully immunized. Data from the Arkansas Department of Health shows 92 percent of the new cases detected over the past two weeks are among non-vaccinated people.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported another sizable increase in new cases Tuesday, with an additional 2,620 reported over the previous 24-hour period. In total, there have been nearly 408,000 transmissions in the state since the pandemic began. The delta variant of the virus continues to target younger Arkansans, with 19 percent of new cases among those 18 and under. That's an increase from 12 percent one year ago.

Active cases saw a net increase of 562 on Tuesday for a current total of 23,377 - one of the highest active caseloads seen so far. Over the same period deaths increased by 24 for a total of 6,346. Hospitalizations saw another rise into record territory with 1,435 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus.

SUNSTAR INSURANCE PARTNERS WITH CAMPBELL & COMPANY TO SHINE OVER ALL OF ARKANSAS
Little Rock, AR, 8/9/21 – Sunstar Insurance Group, LLC announced a new partnership with Campbell & Company Insurance that effectively blankets the entire state of Arkansas with an unrivaled, comprehensive insurance network comprised of industry veterans.

“I‘ve always heard about Campbell & Company my entire career. I am thrilled to now be associated with such a fine group of professionals,” said Andrew “A.B.” Meadors, CEO of Sunstar in Arkansas. “Jim Black and his team have built a great operation. The Sunstar model is working in Arkansas, as evidenced by our now 87 people in 12 locations across this great state.”

“I feel privileged to get to join forces with Andrew. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, especially our customers,” said Jim Black who will join the executive team of Sunstar Arkansas and work out of his office in Camden. “This allows Campbell & Company to offer our customers enhanced resources, better service and more competitive rates.”

Headquartered in Little Rock, Sunstar Arkansas now practically doubles its roster with 87 employees working from offices in Little Rock, Springdale, Jonesboro, Paragould, Camden, El Dorado, Magnolia, Hot Springs, Morrilton, Russellville, White Hall and Sheridan.

This is the seventh time Sunstar has expanded in Arkansas since Meadors joined the company in 2017.

Sunstar Insurance Group, based in Memphis, was founded in 2012 by Chairman and CEO David “Casey” Bowlin and has swiftly grown to become the 32nd largest property and casualty insurance agency in the U.S. as ranked by the industry trade magazine, Insurance Journal.

For more information, Andrew “A.B.” Meadors may be reached in the following ways. His office number is 501-225-3454. His cell number is 501-690-1818. And his e-mail address is abmeadors@sunstarins.com.

About Sunstar Insurance Group LLC
Sunstar Insurance Group was founded in 2012, in Memphis, Tennessee, by David L. "Casey" Bowlin, who serves as its Chairman and CEO. With offices in Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia and Kansas, the firm is owned by key employees and a group of outside private investors. It is managed by an Executive Committee composed of senior executives from our acquired agencies and governed by a Board of Directors. Our vision is to be recognized as the premier regional insurance agency in our market area by providing exceptional service, professional expertise, trusted advice, and competitively priced insurance products to our clients. Sunstar is the 32nd largest property and casualty insurance agency in the U.S. as ranked by the industry trade magazine, Insurance Journal. For more information, visit http://www.sunstarinsurancegroup.com.

 

SHERIFF OF FRANKLIN COUNTY, ARKANSAS FOUND GUILTY OF ASSAULTING TWO INDIVIDUALS IN CUSTODY
FORT SMITH
– A federal jury convicted the Sheriff of Franklin County, Arkansas today on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Anthony Boen, 51, of Ozark, used unreasonable force to punish pretrial detainees on two separate occasions.  On Dec. 3, 2018, Boen struck a detainee multiple times in the head with a closed fist while the detainee was sitting on the floor and shackled to a bench inside the Franklin County Jail.  On Nov. 21, 2018, Boen slammed a detainee onto the floor and ripped his hair during an interrogation.  Both detainees suffered bodily injury as a result of Boen’s actions.

“Anthony Boen swore an oath to support the United States Constitution and the State of Arkansas Constitution,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas.  “His actions clearly violated not only the civil rights of these individuals but also the trust of the people of Franklin County. Cases like this are very important to our office because they involve the most personal and basic of civil rights: the rights to be protected and unharmed while in the custody of law enforcement officers. Today’s guilty verdict shows that justice will prevail in cases where a person’s civil rights are violated. We will continue to vigorously pursue cases involving the violation of basic civil rights that should be afforded to everyone.”

“The defendant abused his power as the top law enforcement officer in Franklin County, Arkansas, by assaulting people in his custody,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute officers who abuse their authority to make clear that no one is above the law.” 

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers in the United States steadfastly protect and serve their communities,” said FBI Little Rock Special Agent in Charge James Dawson. “When officers charged with enforcing the law break their oaths and violate the rights of others, they gravely injure the public’s trust in law enforcement. Our FBI office remains committed to upholding the public’s trust by investigating all allegations of civil rights violations throughout Arkansas.”

The FBI investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon T. Carter and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer prosecuted the case.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website at www.pacer.gov.

August 09

ONE DEAD, ANOTHER WOUNDED IN WYNNE; THREE ARRESTED AS STATE POLICE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
AUGUST 6, 2021
A St. Francis County man is dead and another wounded, following a gunfight that played out along West Mulberry Street in Wynne (Cross County) late yesterday afternoon (*August 5th).

Wynne police officers found Daniel Smith, 31, of Forrest City about 5:45 PM lying next to a sport utility truck outside 321 Mulberry Street where he had died.  Officers found Douglas Miller, 32, also of Forrest City, inside the truck.  Miller was transported to a nearby hospital, treated, and later released.

Authorities within the Wynne Police Department have requested the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division to investigate the homicide.

As state police CID special agents began their investigation last night, they learned Christopher Scott, 29, of Wynne had also been in the same truck with Smith and Miller.  Agents believe the three men had driven to 529 West Mulberry Street a short time earlier where Denzel Mason, 29, of Wynne was targeted by gunfire.  Mason, who was uninjured, then pursued the truck a short distance to 321 West Mulberry where an exchange of gunfire occurred involving Mason and those in the truck.

Miller, Scott and Mason were taken into custody by state police last night on orders from the Cross County prosecuting attorney.  Earlier today Mason was charged with murder (1st degree).  Miller and Scott have been charged with charged with committing a terroristic act and criminal attempt to commit murder (1st degree).
 

ARKANSAS HUMANITIES COUNCIL OPENS MAJOR GRANT APPLICATIONS
The Arkansas Humanities Council is now accepting Major Grant applications from statewide humanities-based non-profits through September 15, 2021. Two free Zoom workshops highlighting the Major Grant application, guidelines, requirements, and process will be held on Thursday, August 19, from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Learn more and register at www.arkansashumanitiescouncil.org.

 

ARKANSAS BLUE CROSS REMINDS ARKANSANS WHO NEED HEALTH INSURANCE OF AUGUST 15 DEADLINE
American Rescue Plan special enrollment period for individuals & families ending
Little Rock, Ark. (August 9, 2021) — The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, allows for many Arkansans who are not on Medicare or who don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance to qualify for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Those who do not have a marketplace policy will have until August 15 to take advantage of this special enrollment period.

The purpose of the American Rescue Plan is to speed up the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill, which was passed by the federal government in March, lowers or eliminates health insurance premiums for many lower- and middle-income families enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace. “Enrollees may save up to 20% or more each month on premiums, for an average of savings of $50 per person per month,” said Samantha Skyrme, manager of agent marketing for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “Financial assistance may be available to people with higher incomes who did not qualify for it before.”

The percentage of income a person pays toward their Affordable Care Act plan premium will be reduced for everyone with income below 400% of the federal poverty limit. People with income equal to or higher than 400% of the federal poverty limit will be eligible for advance premium tax credits (APTC). The maximum anyone will pay for a benchmark plan will be 8.5% of their income. The federal marketplace will automatically increase advanced premium assistance September 1 for Arkansas Blue Cross marketplace policyholders who have not updated their policy since April 1.

“Since the American Rescue Plan was implemented, Arkansas Blue Cross has helped more than 20,000 Arkansans take advantage of these enhanced premium tax credits,” said Skyrme. “But you must enroll or make changes to your Health insurance Marketplace plan by August 15. Talk to an independent insurance agent or call Arkansas Blue Cross at 855-625-0376, visit an ArkansasBlue welcome center near you, or go online to arkbluecross.com/ARP.”

 

SAAC TO OFFER CORKS AND CANVAS ON AUGUST 19
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites you to uncork your creativity at the August Corks and Canvas art class!  This month’s Corks and Canvas class is being led by local artist Marla Tomlinson and will be held on Thursday, August 19 from 6-9pm. This will be a fun-filled night of painting and collaging that is designed for people who have always wanted to try their hand at art and also have some fun along the way.  

 Corks and Canvas classes have something for everyone from the newbie to the seasoned artist. Enjoy a time of relaxation with your friends re-creating the featured painting of the night. Paints, brushes, and all the supplies are provided, and an experienced local artist will lead you step-by-step through the process of completing a work of art in three hours.

 This month, our artist Marla has chosen a multi-media project where you will use watercolors, acrylics, and pencils to create fun and festive 2-dimensional cactuses!  This is one project that certainly won’t leave you feeling prickly. In fact, each participant will go home after the class with their own cactus creation. Now, that’s pretty fly for a cacti! 

No experience is needed. Just come and have a fun night with friends!  SAAC will be providing individually wrapped snacks and all supplies needed to create your masterpieces.  Participants are welcome to bring their own drink of choice.

Get ready to have a fun night with friends. You can register for the hands on workshop on SAAC’s website, www.saac-arts.org or call the office at 870-862-5474.  Limit of 10 participants. The workshop fee is $40.

 SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.
 

LOCAL ARTIST ANN TRIMBLE HAS NEW EXHIBIT AT SAAC
The South Arkansas Arts Center is proud to once again host local artist Ann Trimble and her newest exhibit entitled "A Collection of Portraits and Kaleidoscopes", which will hang in the Merkle and Price Galleries through August 30, with an artist's reception to be held on August 13, 5:30-7:00pm.

Born and raised in El Dorado, Ann developed a love of painting at an early age. She started art lessons at five years old, and while she used to describe herself as strictly an "abstract artist," she still discovers her style evolving today. Whether it's a portrait commission, a funky piece of clothing, an exciting wallpaper pattern, a landscape photograph or some incredible interior design full of color, Ann creates her own interpretation onto a canvas. Life always throws a new adventure, opportunity, or idea, so she feels an obligation to explore and create everything she finds meaningful.

After earning her BA in Film & Media Arts from Southern Methodist University she worked in Los Angeles in both film and television casting and talent management, all while continuing to paint on the side. Ann returned to Arkansas in 2017, and shifted her focus to painting full time.

‘I think it's safe to say there's just "a lot" going on in this show - both to the eye and the varying subject matter," said Trimble. "After showing in the SAAC lobby twice before, this is my first show in the Price and Merkle Galleries, so I think I felt some self-induced pressure to create a show based around one concept and have some grand story about how I came up with these ideas to tie them all together. While there are varying concepts in this show - kaleidoscope pattern paintings and funky, bright portraits all with varying subject matter- I guess the show can be summed up as a showcase of the new direction my work, focus, and abilities have both changed and evolved into over the last few years.

"Probably my favorite piece in this show is one of my personal pieces and that's of Marie Antoinette. It was the largest portrait I'd completed up to that point and I remember thinking to myself ‘wow, I'm super proud that I could do that.' I think many artists would agree that we go through varying degrees of self-doubt about our work at one point or another, so that portrait was a real turning point for me and my self-confidence. On another note, after finishing her piece of cake in the painting I realized that treats are just downright fun to create, so the cake kaleidoscope painting comes in a close second to my favorite piece."

Gallery viewing hours are Monday- Friday, 9-5pm. For more information on this stunning exhibit, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the SAAC website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

August 06, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET IN REGULAR SESSION
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, City Hall is continuing to social distance and you are asked to wear your masks.

The Agenda is as follows:
A. Call To Order
B. Invocation – Rev. Greg Nettles, Pastor - Bethel AME Church, 515 Madison Are. NE Camden, Arkansas 
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. Approval Of Minutes
     1. Minutes Of Special Called Meeting July 20, 2021
     2. Minutes Of Regular Meeting July 13, 2021
F. Acceptance of Financial Report
    1. Financial Report for July 2021
G. Audience Participation
H. Mayor’s Report
    1. David Richardson, Camden Water Utilities Manager – Biannual Water And Sewer
 I. Old Business
    1. Ordinance No. 06-21, An Ordinance Amending Camden Code Section 2-51 (Ordinance Numbers 576, 3-89 And 8-96) Regarding Purchases Up To One Thousand Dollars, And For Other Purposes.
J. New Business
     1. Resolution No. 47-21, A Resolution Approving The Repair Of The Transfer Station Compactor In The Sanitation
Division Of The Public Works Department.
K. Other Business
L.  Adjournment

THREE ARKANSAS STUDENTS WIN $15,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES SPONSOR YOUTH TOUR COMMUNITY SERVICE CONTEST
Little Rock, Ark. — Aug. 6, 2021 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas recently awarded Evan Cates of Perryville, Chloe Miller of Cabot and Elliott Ruegsegger of Norfork with $5,000 scholarships for their community service projects as part of the 2021 Washington, D.C. Youth Tour.

Cates, who represented First Electric Cooperative, dedicated 45 hours to restore and clean 20 headstones at the Ada Valley Cemetery. His project inspired others to clean grave markers in accordance with Cemetery Conservators Standards and make the project a long-term effort in the Ada Valley community.

First Electric Youth Tour Delegate Miller organized a Cabot Public Schools tennis fundraiser that benefited Lonoke County Safe Haven which provides shelter for those affected by domestic violence. Her 30-hour project involved 20 team members, food vendors, entertainment and videography which was a success despite many challenges.

Norfork Student Elliott Ruegsegger, a North Arkansas Electric Cooperative representative, spent more than 22 hours to establish a local high school track team practice facility. The school does not have track facilities and must travel to another school to practice on Sundays. He plans to continue his fundraising efforts in the future to acquire hurdles that will be used on the practice track.

 Other Youth Tour students, their respective electric cooperative sponsor and community projects were:
Brodi Kremer – Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative; Holy Redeemer Church Family Life Center – Landscape Restoration;
Ashton Jernigan – Craighead Electric Cooperative; Options on Main Pregnancy Resource Center Fundraiser;
Carly Shiver – Ashley-Chicot Electric Cooperative; Project Rice, Hamburg Food Pantry;
Elizabeth Ennis – Clay County Electric Cooperative; Corning Outreach Ministries Fundraiser;
Heath Williams – Ozarks Electric Cooperative; Farmington Middle School Library Construction;
Sophia Townsend – Clay County Electric Cooperative; City of Reyno Park Cleanup;
William Carter – Southwest Electric Cooperative; Haven Homes Fellowship Room Renovation;
Samera Orrantia – Craighead Electric Cooperative; Lawrence County Cemetery Cleanup;
Andretti Shears, Jr. – Woodruff Electric Cooperative; Teach for America Temporary Housing Project;
Allison Brown – Clay County Electric Cooperative; Thomas O’Marr Park Clean-up in Pocahontas;
Kenzie Blanchard – Clay County Electric Cooperative; Corning Community Garden

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides various services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 600,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.

ARKANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION AND CLINTON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCE 2ND PUBLIC SERVICE ACADEMY
The Arkansas Bar Association and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, in association with UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law and the University of Arkansas School of Law, announce the 2nd Public Service Academy for member lawyers and law students who are interested in public service in any capacity.

The Public Service Academy will be limited to approximately 25 diverse, statewide participants including law students. Applications for the Public Service Academy are due September 3rd and can be found at www.arkbar.com/cle--events/public-service-academy. There will be a $100 fee for those selected. Scholarships are available upon request.

The selected applicants will participate in two sessions; one in Little Rock (November 12-13, 2021) and one in Fayetteville (February 18-19, 2022).

The Public Service Academy is chaired by Nate Looney, co-chair of the inaugural Public Service Academy, and Michael Goswami; with assistance from vice-chairs Skye Martin and Madhav Shroff, graduates of the inaugural class of Public Service Academy.

The steering committee includes former Chief Justice Howard Brill, Vincent Foster Professor of Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility at the U of A School of Law; Circuit Judge Earnest Brown; House Speaker Matthew Shepherd; and Maggie Benson, co-chair of the inaugural Public Service Academy.

The Public Service Academy is sponsored by the University of Arkansas Law School, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School Law, Rose Law Firm, Brian Rosenthal, as well as the Civil Litigation and the Government Practice Sections of the Arkansas Bar Association.

Founded in 1898, the Arkansas Bar Association is the premier legal association in the state. As a voluntary organization of more than 5,000 members, the Association’s primary mission is to support attorneys; advance the practice of law; advocate for the legal profession; foster professionalism, civility, and integrity; and protect the rule of law.

TWO ARKANSAS MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO DAMAGING HISTORIC MINES IN BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER ILLEGALLY DUG CRYSTALS TO SELL AT ALPENA ROCK SHOP
FORT SMITH, Ark.—Two men pleaded guilty last week to felony violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, in connection with their illegal excavations of archaeological sites in the Historic Rush Mining District of Buffalo National River, and the sale of stolen geological and mineral specimens at a store in Alpena. U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III presided over the July 27 change-of-plea hearings, in which Nathan Bradford LeMay, 35, of Hot Springs Village, and Justin Charles Baird, 32, of Hot Springs, each pleaded guilty to the first count of the three-count indictment in which both were named.

According to court documents, on multiple occasions in 2015 and 2016, LeMay and Baird traveled to the Historic Rush Mining District, in Marion County, Arkansas, to dig for mineral and geological specimens to sell at LeMay’s business, Alpena Crystals. The pair’s plans went awry on Feb. 14, 2016, when a U.S. Park Ranger observed them camped in Buffalo National River, which is a United States National Park.

Noticing evidence of their excavations, the Ranger obtained consent to search their campsite and vehicles, recovering digging tools and containers of geological specimens. Two days later, officers were sent to several mines in the area to assess whether or not they had been entered. The Monte Cristo Mine, a gated, locked and controlled mine along Clabber Creek, was observed to have been broken into. Trash, water bottles and other items were located both just inside and outside this mine. On the Rush Creek side of the same mountain, drag marks in high grass, from the Morning Star/Ben Carney Mine, down to Rush Creek and the parking lot, indicated large heavy objects had been dragged down the mountain to the parking area.

A subsequent investigation by the National Park Service, assisted by local law enforcement and the Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, established the full extent of the pair’s illegal excavations. LeMay and Baird had excavated and damaged 22 areas within those mines, removing mineral and geological materials, and damaging the historic sites—which add to the knowledge of the mining community in the Ozarks as the industry transitioned from crude mining techniques to modern methods.  Dr. Caven Clark, an archaeologist with the National Park Service, now retired, conducted a resource damage assessment, determining that the cost of restoration and repair to the site was approximately $22,241.

Both men were indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2020. In addition to violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, which prohibits excavating, damaging, altering and defacing archaeological sites and resources, both men were also charged with theft of U.S. property and damage to government property. On February 10, 2021, LeMay was arrested at his residence, in Hot Springs Village, and was later released on a cash bond pending trial. Baird self-surrendered to authorities and was arraigned on April 16, 2021. Before they announced their intentions to plead guilty, the case had been scheduled to be tried beginning on July 26.

As a result of their guilty pleas both LeMay and Baird face up to two years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Additionally, both men have agreed to pay $22,241 in restitution as a shared obligation. The court will determine their sentences at a later date, after reviewing pre-sentence investigation reports prepared by the U.S. Probation Office, and considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The case was investigated by special agents of National Park Service, Investigative Services Branch, and U.S. Park Rangers at Buffalo National River, with the assistance of the Boone County, Ark. Sheriff’s Office, Eureka Springs Police Department, and the Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY STEVEN MOHLHENRICH PROSECUTED THE CASE FOR THE UNITED STATES.THE HISTORIC RUSH MINING DISTRICT
Located within the Buffalo National River is a designated historical district known as the Historic Rush Mining District, a 1316-acre former zinc mining district located on the lower Buffalo River and two of its tributaries, Rush Creek and Clabber Creek. It is a remnant industrial landscape with the remains of both open-pit and underground zinc mines, processing facilities, and worker housing. Waste rock piles form a dominant feature of the landscape. Within this district, are dozens of historic and archaeological sites and mines, including the Monte Cristo, Ben Carney, and Morning Star mines. The Rush Historic District buildings and structures, through isolation, have retained their historic design features and use and convey the sense of a turn-of-the century mining operation and Ozarks community. The ruins and archaeological sites fill in the community layout and add to the knowledge of historic mining techniques and mining community construction; they retain and contribute to the feeling of the widespread activity of this once bustling Ozarks mining community. The Rush Historic District portrays the story of the zinc mining industry in the Ozarks as the industry moved from crude mining techniques to modern methods.

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act
The National Park Service wishes to remind the public that all public lands are protected by federal law and regulation. In 1979, the Congress found that archaeological resources on public and Indian lands are an irreplaceable part of the Nation’s heritage. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 makes it a violation of federal law to excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface any archaeological resource located on public (federal) or Indian (Native American) lands, or attempt to do so. If convicted of a felony, penalties include up to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. Subsequent violations are punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

SECURITIES COMMISSIONER ORDERS STOP TO FRAUDULENT, UNREGISTERED ACTIVITY
Little Rock, Ark. (August 5, 2021) - The Arkansas Securities Commissioner Eric P. Munson entered a Cease-and-Desist Order against MyCapitaltradeFX.com (“MyCapital”) for promoting fraudulent investment plans and using fraudulent means to target Arkansas investors. In addition to MyCapital, Commissioner Munson found that several other online platforms were operating a similar scheme. The platforms are: Blinkotrade.com (“Blinko”), FidelityFXtrade.com (“FidelityFX”), Climaxcapitalfx.com (“Climax”), BitFX24.net (“BitFX”), Digitaltrademine.net (“Digital”), CentralFXmarkets.com (“CentralFX”) TraderFXpro247.com (“TraderFX”), and Funditmarkets.com (“Fundit”).

The Order found that all nine of the above-mentioned platforms were operating illegal schemes to advertise, hype and sell fraudulent cryptocurrency and forex investments. To accomplish the scheme, the platforms disguised their intentions by offering investors the option to choose between different types of investment plans. The platforms promised that investors would receive high returns without them having to do anything. Additionally, MyCapital utilized a fake online persona to defraud an Arkansas investor into investing money.

The Order also found that the nine platforms were claiming to be registered with certain licensing companies when in fact they were not. This tactic is used by bad actors to give the illusion that the activities and products they are promoting are legitimate and properly regulated.

“We are seeing a rise in cases where these bad actors are using online platforms to encourage people to start trading in cryptocurrencies,” said Commissioner Eric Munson. “Investors need to be cautious of the common ‘red flags’ we are seeing associated with these types of scams. Investors should look out for items such as promises of high returns, different level investment plans, and promises by firms to do trading on their behalf.” Commissioner Munson also advises investors to contact any licensing companies that appear on platforms to verify the legitimacy of the platform.

Investors are encouraged to investigate before they invest. Investors should contact the Arkansas Securities Department with questions about any investment opportunity or the persons offering it for sale before investing in the product. Contact 1-800-981-4429 to report suspected fraud, inappropriate securities business practices or to obtain consumer information.

A copy of the Cease-and-Desist Order is available on the Arkansas Securities Department’s website at www.securities.arkansas.gov.

August 05, 2021

2021 CENTRAL ARKANSAS SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
Theme:  Participating in the Progress II:  Helping Small Businesses Get in the Game.
Providing small and emerging business owners with the skills, tools and contacts needed to create and grow their enterprises and better engage in job creation activities are the goals of an upcoming business conference to be held via Zoom, with a small on-site audience in Little Rock, Arkansas. Funded primarily by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) and Arkansas Human Development Corporation (AHDC), the 2021 Central Arkansas Small Business Development Conference, with a theme of “Participating in the Progress II:  Helping Small Businesses Get in the Game” will bring together approximately 20 private, quasi-state, state, federal, non-profit, and international organizations with a singular focus of equipping existing and aspiring entrepreneurs with the resources to start and grow their businesses.

Hosted by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, AHDC, ASBTDC, Arkansas Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (APTAC), Center for Healing Hearts and Spirits, Greater Second Baptist Church, Mexican Consul, Saint Mark Baptist Church, U.S. Small Business Administration, Urban League of Arkansas and USDA, Rural Development, the conference will be held Friday, August 13, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. via Zoom.  Up to 35 participants, including some presenters, and preferably those who’ve received one of the Covid-19 vaccines, will be able to participate from a physical location in the State Office of the Cooperative Extension Service, located at 2301 S. University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72204. Social distancing, temperature checks, masks, and release forms will be required. Topics will include building strategic relationships, exploring and securing the right kind of capital, how to sell goods and services to the government, the basics of personal finance, and how to use the many services of the ASBTDC to begin and enhance your business.

Join us at 8:30 a.m. for a “Breakfast with the Lenders Roundtable,” where conference participants will network with local, regional and statewide lenders. Lenders currently confirmed to participate include: Arkansas Capital Corporation Group; Communities Unlimited; First Security Bank; FORGE; RMI, Inc.; Simmons Bank; Stone Bank; and, USDA, RD B&I. The Lenders Roundtable will be facilitated by Mr. Herb Lawrence, Lender Relations Specialist, Arkansas District Office, U.S. Small Business Administration.

A diverse panel of small business owners including, but not limited to: Mr. Dedrick Davis, owner of Mr. Davis Pickles, LLC; Mr. Enrique Fuentevilla, CEO, Cinco Media & Communications Group LLC; and, Mrs. Carmen Portillo, owner of Cocoa Belle Chocolates will make luncheon presentations. This panel will be facilitated by Ms. Joyce Raynor, CEO, Center for Healing Hearts & Spirits.

Don’t miss this opportunity to help your community create needed JOBS by acquiring the resources to help your small business GROW! AND, INNOVATE!

AN INVESTMENT OF TIME IS THE COST TO ATTEND BUT REGISTRATION IS ENCOURAGED. 

You may register by calling Arkansas Human Development Corporation toll free at (800) 482-7641 or (501) 374-1103, ext. 10 or online at bit.ly/3ijOqPO (case sensitive).

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES INTENT TO GRANT EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY
Rosston Man Included
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant 9 pardons. An additional 55 clemency requests were denied and zero had no action taken upon them. 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:

Keilon J. Bunn (North Little Rock): Theft of Property (A Misdemeanor) (CWC-15-4181).
This notice is issued based on the dates of conviction (2015 – 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.

John D. Glover (North Little Rock): Theft of Property (Felony) (CR 92-156).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1992 – 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.

Damian B. Henderson (Collierville, TN): Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell or Deliver: Marijuana (C Felony) (CR 2002-53).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2002 – 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.

David R. Hoover (Mansfield): Violation of Act 590 of 1971 (Possession of Marijuana, Class IV Controlled Substance, with Intent to Deliver) (Felony) (CR-77-143).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1977 – 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.

Thomas W. Massey. Jr. (Rosston): Breaking or Entering (D Felony) and Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR 96-22) and Breaking or Entering (Revocation) (D Felony) and Theft of Property (Revocation) (C Felony) (CR 96-22).
This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1996 – Hempstead County and 2000 – Hempstead 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.

Levi Roy, III (Little Rock): Possess/Intent to Deliver Controlled Substance, to-wit: Cocaine (Y Felony) (CR 2004-943).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2004 – 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.

Barbara A. Small-Dorn (Pine Bluff): Forgery 2nd Degree, 2 counts (C Felony) (CR-97-003837) and Residential Burglary (B Felony) and Theft of Property (B Felony) (CR-98-718).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1997 – Pulaski County and 1998 – Jefferson 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.

Cinda Thomas (Paragould): Possessing Instrument of Crime (A Misdemeanor) (CR-2001-74) and Furnishing Prohibited Article (C Felony) (CR-2007-645).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2001 – Mississippi County and 2007 – Craighead 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.

Felix Wilcots, Jr. (Grand Prairie, TX): Delivery of Marijuana, 2 counts (C Felony) (CR-98-177-1) and Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver (C Felony) (CR-98-197-1).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1998 – Jefferson County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further felony criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application

CAMDEN A&P COMMISSION TO MEET IN SPECIAL SESSION
The Camden Advertising and Promotion Committee will meet in Special Session on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 At 3:00 P.M. In the Council Chambers of The Municipal Building.

The Agenda is as follows”
Welcome
Old business
None

New business
1.  Additional funds for Christmas Decorations
2.   Research conclusions

RUTLEDGE FILES LAWSUIT SEEKING ARKANSAS BUSINESS’S MONEY FROM WIRE FRAUD HACK
ITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed a lawsuit to recover a Jonesboro company’s money following an online hack. A scam artist fraudulently hacked into email correspondence between Nitrogen Solutions LLC, a Jonesboro company, and Copper Tip Entergy Services USA LLC, a North Dakota company. The hackers infiltrated Nitrogen Solutions’s email system and sent fraudulent payment instructions to Copper Tip. Copper Tip’s employee believed they were wiring $55,072.58 to Nitrogen Solutions, however the money was sent to a JP Morgan Chase Bank account set up by the scam artist.

”These scammers are savvy and are constantly looking for new cons to steal money from hard-working Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “My office works diligently with financial institutions and state and federal law enforcement agencies to stay informed about new and changing tactics scammers are using to take people’s money. Please contact my office if you, or someone you know, may have been a victim of a scam such as this, and let my office do the fighting for you.”

When Nitrogen Solutions discovered it had not yet received the funds, it contacted Copper Tip and discovered the fraud. Nitrogen Solutions filed a complaint with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office where it was then discovered the scam artist had opened an account in a California resident’s name, who was completely unaware of the scam. Since neither Nitrogen Solutions nor Copper Tip were Chase customers, Chase refused to discuss the transaction with them. The lawsuit seeks an order allowing Chase Bank to immediately release the money to Nitrogen Solutions, the rightful owner

For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

FOUR ARKANSAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR STATE SEMI-FINALISTS NAMED 
LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key recognized four Arkansas teachers today who were named 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year State Semi-Finalists. During the ceremony held at the Governor’s Mansion, 12 regional finalists also were honored. 

“Congratulations to the four teachers recognized today,” Key said. “In light of the most recent unprecedented school year, I want to thank all educators for their commitment to their students. These four teachers recognized today are among some of the best educators around this state and represent the hard work and professionalism exhibited whether students learned in person or virtually. Thank you for serving as role models for your students, your fellow educators, and your communities.”

The state semi-finalists listed below each received a medallion and an additional $1,000 prize provided by the Walton Family Foundation. As a regional finalist, they also received a certificate and a $1,000 prize. 

Allison Dolan
Social Studies, Grades 9-12
Don Tyson School of Innovation
Springdale School District
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Jil’Lana Heard
Library Media Specialist, Grades 10-12
Lake Hamilton High School
Lake Hamilton School District
Dawson Education Service Cooperative

Vickie Lewis
English, Math, Reading, Science, & Social Studies, Grades 6-8
NewStart Academy ALE
Wynne School District
Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative

Jessica Saum
Special Education, Grades K-4
Stagecoach Elementary School
Cabot School District
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

The Arkansas Teacher of the Year program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program, which recognizes teachers for their teaching and leadership skills. The ATOY selection committee will conduct site visits for each of the four state semi-finalists, with the 2022 ATOY named this fall. The ATOY will be eligible to become the 2022 National Teacher of the Year.

To learn more about the ATOY program, visit https://bit.ly/3jiLkL2.

August 04, 2021

NFIB: BACK-TO-SCHOOL TAX HOLIDAY A TIME TO SUPPORT SMALL, LOCAL BUSINESSES
LITTLE ROCK (Aug. 4, 2021) -- NFIB State Executive Director Sylvester Smith says the upcoming back-to-school sales tax holiday is a good opportunity for people to support local businesses still recovering from the COVID-19 economic downturn. Arkansas’ sales tac holiday on clothes and school supplies in August 7th and 8th.  

“Arkansas’ economy is doing a lot better than it was a year ago, but a lot of employers are still recovering from the drop in sales caused by the pandemic,” Smith said. “Shopping small this weekend can make a big difference to small businesses and help them keep the doors open and keep people employed.” 

Small businesses account for 99.3% of all employers in the state and employ 47.6% of the state’s workforce, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. A study by American Express found that 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stays in the community and creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity as employees and owners purchase local goods and services. 

The National Federation of Independent Business is the nation's leading small business advocacy organization. To learn more about NFIB in Arkansas, visit www.NFIB.com/AR.

About NFIB
For more than 75 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit NFIB.com.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON COVID PRESS CONFERENCE – August 03, 2021
State officials are hopeful vaccination rates are increasing with an additional 30,000 Arkansans receiving their first COVID-19 vaccine dose over just a 24-hour period.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said demand for the vaccine saw a large increase between Monday and Tuesday, in line with a dramatic rise in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths across Arkansas. 

During a press conference on Tuesday, Hutchinson added state legislators approved the public health emergency declaration announced by the governor last week.

Hutchinson stressed the state is not considering any vaccine requirements or renewed mask mandates. However, Hutchinson said he is asking the state legislature to amend Act 1002 to provide school districts with local control over how they implement COVID-related guidelines and requirements. Passed in April, Act 1002 prohibits any public entity in Arkansas, including local governments and school districts, from issuing such requirements. The legislature is meeting Wednesday to vote on the amendment. 

Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero also spoke at Tuesday's press conference on how the virus is increasingly targeting children in Arkansas. 

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 2,343 new cases of COVID-19 across the state on Tuesday for a cumulative total of over 391,000 cases since the pandemic began. Active cases rose by 577 to total 19,499 currently. Deaths increased by 16 for a total of over 6,200. Hospitalizations rose by 30 to leave 1,250 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus.


HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE BUSINESSMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO NOT PAYING EMPLOYMENT TAXES AND FAILURE TO FILE A TAX RETURN
HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—A Hot Springs Village business owner pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of willfully failing to pay over employment taxes and one count of failing to file a tax return.

Chief U.S. District Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the plea hearing, in which Donald Lee Owen, 61, waived indictment by a grand jury and pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with violating two different federal statutes.

According to court documents, Owen owned and operated National Golf Classics, Inc. also known as All American Classics, located in Hot Springs Village. The company produced sports memorabilia for use in charity auctions and conducted charity auctions. From 2010 through 2018, Owen’s company paid wages to employees and withheld employment taxes from those wages. These taxes included federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare, also known as the "trust fund" taxes. Owen hired an accounting firm to calculate the taxes due and to prepare the IRS Forms 941, Employers Quarterly Federal Tax Return, for reporting those taxes to the IRS. However, Owens did not actually file those forms with the IRS, as he was required to do, nor did he pay over the employment taxes due to the IRS.

From 2010 through 2018, Owen willfully failed to file Forms 941 with the IRS, and to pay the at least $818,158 in employment taxes to the IRS, despite having ample funds to do so.

Court documents also reveal that during the period when the employment taxes were due to be paid to the IRS, Owen chose to pay millions of dollars to his company’s creditors, $800 per month for a tract of real estate having nothing to do with the company and transferred $1,000 per month to a family member to pay his share on a cabin they were buying on the Buffalo River.

In addition, Owen failed to pay $430,000 of the employer portions of the employment taxes and Federal Unemployment Tax Act taxes. Owen also failed to pay $169,883 to the state of Arkansas that were withheld from his employees' wages. This negatively impacted multiple employees who did not receive credit with the Social Security Administration for wages earned and taxes withheld. At the same time, Owen used the additional funds to support a lavish lifestyle, including purchasing and improving a luxury home in Hot Springs Village, buying 32.6 acres in Newton County, a cabin on the Buffalo River, a 2017 GMC Yukon SUV for which he paid $64,206, and a 2016 39-foot Tiffin Allegro recreational vehicle with a list price of $188,099.

When audited by the Arkansas Department of Finance on two occasions—on September 19, 2013 and on July 19, 2018—Owen falsely told the auditors he did not have regular employees, but instead used family and friends to help him during busy season. However, when approached by employees who had not received credit with the Social Security Administration for wages earned and employment taxes withheld, Owen admitted he had not reported or paid over the employment taxes to the IRS.

Owen’s second charge relates to his willful failure to file a personal federal income tax return for the year 2018. Owen acknowledged he knew he was required to file a tax return and that he willfully failed to do so. Additionally, Owen failed to file and pay $301,544 of his federal and $69,405 of his Arkansas state personal income taxes for the years 2008 through 2018. Finally, Owen also failed to file and his company’s federal corporate income taxes for the years 2014 through 2018.

As a result of his guilty plea, Owen may be sentenced to a maximum of six years in prison. The court will determine his sentence at a later date, after reviewing a pre-sentence investigation report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office and considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mohlhenrich is prosecuting the case for the United States.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website at www.pacer.gov.

 

COTTON INTRODUCES AMENDMENT TO INFRASTRUCTURE BILL TO ALLOW FISH FARMERS TO PROTECT PONDS FROM PREDATORY BIRD
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) introduced the Cormorant Relief Act as an amendment to the infrastructure package being considered on the Senate floor. This amendment would fully restore the ability of catfish farmers and other aquaculture producers to cull predatory double-crested cormorant populations. It would also restore U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations to allow producers to fight the cormorants, which threaten the livelihoods of aquaculture operations in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and other states.

"Double-crested cormorants pose a significant threat to Arkansas's fish farmers, but unnecessary regulation currently prevents them from taking additional steps to protect their ponds. This amendment would once again give fish farmers the ability to adequately defend their fish populations from the birds that are eating into their bottom line," said Cotton.

Background:
Cormorant populations have increased dramatically in recent decades to an estimated 1,031,757 birds. These large water birds that feast primarily on fish cause substantial damage and disruption to aquaculture and fishery operations. Ironically, efficient production practices by fish farmers make the ponds highly susceptible to bird predation, particularly by cormorants.

A two-year study published in 2012 of double-crested cormorant feeding on farm-raised catfish in Mississippi during the winter months found that cormorant depredation represents an annual estimated economic loss of $34.3 million to $73.4 million. A Government Accountability Office report noted: “Fish-eating birds (e.g., cormorants, herons, egrets, and pelicans) can cause severe damage at aquaculture farms, eating catfish, crawfish, salmon, bass, trout, and ornamental fish. According to a USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) survey of catfish producers from 15 states, 69 percent reported some wildlife-caused losses, with a financial loss of $12.5 million to wildlife predation in 1996.” Absent a proper aquaculture depredation order many fish farms will continue to face significant economic losses.

BOOZMAN: BIDEN’S RECKLESS SPENDING THREATENS ARKANSAS FARMERS AND RANCHERS
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, continues to call on President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats to abandon their reckless tax and spending spree that leaves hardworking Arkansas agriculture producers to foot the bill.

“These payfors would be devastating to American agriculture,” Boozman said about the plans that would burden farmers and ranchers.

Boozman has been leading the fight against tax code changes proposed by the White House to pay for a wish list of partisan priorities. The senator highlighted an analysis by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University that shows the president’s proposed inheritance tax changes would impact family farms and ranches. Researchers found that nearly 98 percent of family farms surveyed would be hit with an additional tax liability of more than $720,000.

Boozman has called Biden’s proposals a “massive burden on farmers and ranchers” and an “unfair hit to family farmers.” He has also joined Republican Senators in a letter urging the administration to withdraw its effort to impose a capital gains tax increase on family-owned businesses, farms and ranches. 

August 03, 2021

EDUCATION PAYS PROGRAM CONTINUES AT SAU TECH
Camden, AR-Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech) is pleased to announce the continuation of Education Pays, a pilot program through the Arkansas Division of Higher Education via the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative. SAU Tech started participation in the Education Pays Program in January 2021 and is approved to continue for the fall semester.

The Education Pays program augments the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative by adding incentives along the educational journey for adult students. Education Pays includes cash for enrollment and progression towards a degree or certification and completion of a credential. The program is for students who already meet the requirements for the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative and meet the following additional requirements:
Household income less than 150% of the federal poverty level
$32,940 for a family of 3
Have a child under the age of 21 who resides with you
Must be enrolled in at least six course credit hours or an approved non-credit program
Must maintain satisfactory progress:
For Credit: 2.0 GPA (minimum) for coursework taken during the semester
Non-credit: satisfactory progress certified by the student’s instructor

Dr. Edward Rice, SAU Tech’s Vice Chancellor for Student Services, supervises the program’s operation and had this to say. “Education Pays is an additional component to the Career Pathways program that will assist in removing barriers and helping students reach their educational goals. These programs are great for adults with children who are looking to go to college for the first time or to return to college to complete a degree or certification. It is a program that empowers the student by providing funds for expenses not traditionally covered by scholarships such as childcare, transportation, textbooks, and now, incentives to get started and work hard to complete.” Dr. Jason Morrison, SAU Tech’s Chancellor, says that he is excited about what the program brings to the table for students who typically struggle to earn a degree. The Education Pays and Career Pathways Initiative helps level the playing field for deserving adults to change their lives and the lives of their families by earning a degree.

For more information on Arkansas Career Pathways and the Education Pays initiatives, call 870-574-4704 or email SAU Tech’s CPI Director, LaTonya Reed, at lreed@sautech.edu. SAU Tech’s fall semester starts on August 18, and students can enroll until August 20.

The Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) is an education and training initiative administered by the Arkansas Division of Higher Education (ADHE) at Arkansas two-year colleges, which is designed to enable low-income parents to acquire the degrees and credentials required to obtain and hold jobs in selected high-demand, high wage industries. The CPI model was first initiated in Arkansas in 2003, when the Arkansas Community College association, the Southern Good Faith Fund (SGFF), and the Governor’s Office, with a grant from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, piloted the first career pathways effort to develop a strategy for improving educational attainment for low-income and low-skilled adults in partnership with Southeast Arkansas College in Pine Bluff. The model was unique in that it focused on non-traditional students by combining extensive student support, developmental education offerings, and a focus on high-wage and/or high-demand occupations. Following the pilot, the state TANF agency, the Arkansas Transitional Employment Assistance Program (TEA), in partnership with ADHE, replicated the program at ten additional two-year colleges throughout the state. The initiative became codified by state mandate in 2005 under the state’s Department of Workforce Services (DWS), and by 2007 had expanded to an additional 11 two-year college sites and three technical college campuses affiliated with four-year universities, for a total of 25 campuses statewide.

 

BOOZMAN CHAMPIONS LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE VETERAN ACCESS TO BREAST CANCER SCREENING & CARE CONTINUES SUPPORT FOR STRENGTHENING VA SERVICES FOR WOMEN VETERANS
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) continues leading legislative efforts to improve Department of Veterans (VA) Affairs health care for women veterans. The senator is spearheading a bipartisan effort to expand access to high-quality breast cancer screening and life-saving care for veterans with the recent introduction of the Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act.

“The VA is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the fight against breast cancer. By harnessing the research and technology available nationwide, the Department can be better-suited to address the needs of breast cancer patients across the country. Upgrading the VA’s breast cancer imaging capability and expanding its services is key to prevention and treatment,” Boozman said. “I’m pleased to continue our commitment to ensuring veterans have access to the best cancer care available and build on the momentum of the landmark Deborah Sampson Act so we can provide women veterans with the VA resources and specialty care they need.”

The MAMMO for Veterans Act would require the VA to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services, create a telemammography pilot program for veterans in areas where VA does not offer in-house mammography and expand veterans’ access to clinical trials through partnerships with the National Cancer Institute. 

The legislation would also require the VA to upgrade all in-house breast imaging to 3D mammography, which is considered the gold standard imaging technology. It would also direct the VA to expand partnerships for clinical trials and research on breast cancer care and emphasize improving access to care for women veterans, rural veterans and disabled and paralyzed veterans.

Boozman joined Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) as well as Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in introducing this legislation. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee members Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) and Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) are leading a companion bill in the House of Representatives.  

Numerous Veterans Service Organizations praised congressional efforts to improve and expand veterans’ access to critical breast cancer screening and treatment. The legislation has the support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Military Officers Association of America and the National Rural Health Association.

Boozman’s leadership on this legislation continues his commitment to expanding VA services to women veterans. This follows unanimous passage of Boozman’s Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee last week. His legislation would require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

These legislative efforts build on the Deborah Sampson Act, a bipartisan initiative to eliminate barriers to care and services that many women face when accessing VA benefits championed, by Boozman and signed into law by President Trump in January 2021.


HOEVEN, BOOZMAN STATEMENT AFTER SENATE AG APPROPRIATIONS ADVANCES BILL WITH $7 BILLION IN DISASTER ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS AND RANCHERS
Ranking Members Continue Working Together to Provide Producers with Support to Overcome Natural Disasters
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, and Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, released the following statements after working to include more than $7 billion in disaster assistance to help farmers and ranchers with losses due to drought and other natural disasters as part of the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which was approved by the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee today.

As the ranking member of Senate Agriculture Appropriations, Hoeven was responsible for crafting the legislation and worked with Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Boozman on the disaster assistance provisions. Specifically, the more than $7 billion includes:

$6.28 billion for disaster assistance to aid producers who suffered losses due to droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other qualifying natural disasters in calendar year 2020 and 2021.

$750 million for livestock producers for losses incurred during 2021 due to drought or wildfire. This disaster assistance will build on top of existing farm bill programs for livestock producers.

The legislation will now go to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

“With many of our farmers and ranchers facing a severe drought and other natural disasters, we worked to include more than $7 billion in this year’s agriculture appropriations bill, including $750 million for livestock producers. This will help to cover losses and keep our producers in the game as they overcome these challenges,” said Hoeven. “Ranking Member Boozman and I have been working together to provide our producers with the necessary support to overcome disasters, including severe drought, wildfire and flooding, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to do all we can to support our farmers, ranchers and rural America.” 

“Extreme weather and natural disasters have made for challenging conditions for farmers and ranchers that don’t appear to be subsiding soon. Well over half of the country is experiencing drought like conditions, wildfires are raging in the West and flooding has caused extensive damage to crops along the Mississippi Delta, including in Arkansas, where I have seen firsthand the destruction this flooding has left in its wake,” said Boozman. “I appreciate Ranking Member Hoeven’s leadership to ensure that disaster assistance was included in this bill. We are committed to working in a bipartisan manner with our Senate colleagues and our counterparts in the House to ensure we get much-needed disaster relief to producers impacted by these natural disasters.” 

August 02, 2021

CHIDESTER MAN LOSES LIFE IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
A Chidester man died in a crash Saturday morning in Ouachita County, according to the Arkansas State Police. At 9:40 Saturday morning, 35-year-old Christopher Heath was driving east on Arkansas Highway 24 in Chidester when his 2011 Ford Fusion ran off the road on the left, according to State Police. The vehicle struck a tree and burst into flames, trapping Heath inside, according to the report. The weather was clear, and the highway was dry at the time of the crash, the accident summary stated. 

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM COURT TO MEET
Ouachita County Quorum Court  will meet in regular session on Tuesday August 3, 2021  atv6:30 P.M.  The meeting will be held in the District Courtroom located at 109 Goodgame in Camden.The Agenda is as follows:
1. Rollcall
2. Invocation
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Approval of Minutes
5. Approval of Treasurer's report
6. Audience Participation
7. New Business
     1. An appropriation ordinance to appropriate funds in the general fund, courthouse maintenance and special projects budgets.
      2. An appropriation ordinance to appropriate funds in the general fund, grants and aid budget   for the county fair.
8. Unfinished business
9. Adjournment

ARKANSAS RENT RELIEF PROGRAM
On May 17, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) launched the Arkansas Rent Relief Program to provide rent and utility assistance to eligible Arkansans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the support of the Governor and State Legislature, DHS will distribute funding to help eligible renters who are unable to pay upcoming rent and utilities or have overdue rent and utility bills. You can find more information at DHS’s website: ar.gov/rentrelief.

FLEEING DRIVER CHARGED IN SHOOTING INCIDENT DURING ATTEMPTED TRAFFIC STOP
JULY 30, 2021
Edward Lee House, Jr., 25, of Little Rock is facing the following criminal charges in connection with an attempted traffic stop that escalated into an exchange of gunfire with an Arkansas State Trooper last Thursday.

Aggravated Assault upon a law enforcement officer, class Y felony
Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, class Y felony
Possession of a schedule I or schedule II controlled substance, class A felony
Fleeing, class D felony
Theft by Receiving, class C felony
False Imprisonment, class C felony
Speeding, misdemeanor
Possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor

Bond has been set at $2 million.  House continues to be held at the Faulkner County Detention Center.

The Arkansas State Police investigation of the incident is continuing. Consistent with Arkansas State Police policy and procedure, Trooper Tyler Langley remains on paid administrative leave during the course of the investigation.

SAAC ANNOUNCES DIRECTORS FOR THE FALL 2021 PRODUCTION OF "CLUE: ON STAGE"
Faith and Rhett Davis have been chosen as the directors of "Clue: On Stage," the SAAC Fall 2021 production. "Clue: On Stage" is proudly sponsored by Sarah & Jeff Teague and Southern Bancorp. Auditions for this spooky, silly, wild ride of a play are August 30 and 31, with the production slated for October 22-24, & 29-31. "Clue: On Stage" is based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, and the Hasbro board game you know and love! It is a slapstick, silly whodunnit mystery that is sure to intrigue...and cause some laughs. 

Hannah Faith Davis (formerly Johnson) has been around the SAAC as long as she remembers. She was in summer camps as a child, and moved to backstage work in high school. She visited the SAAC often while earning a Bachelor's degree in Theatre at Louisiana Tech University. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 2017, and got married to her husband, Rhett Davis, that same summer.

Born and raised in El Dorado, Rhett fell in love with theatre in high school under the tutelage of Delaine Gates at El Dorado High School. It was there that he grew to adore her role as director and the way it shaped the actions and story told on stage. He performed in many shows at the high school level before going off to college, where he also performed on stage.

Since being back in El Dorado, Hannah has done many things with the SAAC. She took over the role of theatre class instructor and has been heavily involved in the Drama Club. She has directed three children's productions: "Disney's Aristocats," "Annie KIDS," and "James and the Giant Peach Jr.," which is currently in production. 

Rhett and Hannah have also been heavily involved in the adult community theatre at SAAC. They have acted and worked backstage on many shows, including "110 in the Shade," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Peter and the Starcatcher," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Three Musketeers," and "Steel Magnolias." 

It was while working on "Steel Magnolias" and learning many things from director Tripp Phillips that Rhett decided to finally try his own hand at directing. He is a huge fan of board games, mysteries, and comedies and knew that "Clue: On Stage" was the perfect opportunity. He is excited to put on the directing hat alongside his beautiful wife as they ask you the question of... Who did it? Where? And with what weapon? 

Signing on as assistant director, Jacob George is enthusiastic about all the fun that "Clue: On Stage" has to offer. He has known Hannah Faith and Rhett since high school, where they all met in the theatre department. Jacob is a professional theatre artist, with many professional sound design credits under his belt, and a degree in theatre from Arkansas State University. He is no stranger to the SAAC stage, and is excited to be behind it once again, working with childhood friends. 

For more information about "Clue: On Stage", or auditions, 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.

WESTERMAN, ARKANSAS HOUSE DELEGATION HONOR 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF FULBRIGHT PROGRAM
WASHINGTON –  Congressmen Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Steve Womack (AR-3), French Hill (AR-2), and Rick Crawford (AR-1), introduced a resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, America’s flagship educational exchange program established by former Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. The milestone will officially be marked this Sunday, August 1st.

“The Fulbright Program has become a model for study-abroad education by providing students across the nation the opportunity to broaden their horizons and participate in foreign diplomacy by interacting with different cultures, ideas, and traditions,” said Congressman Westerman. “On the 75th anniversary of the program, I am proud of its significant impact in the lives of so many students, all due to the passion of one Arkansan.”

“The Fulbright Program has been a tool of diplomacy and force for good. It has advanced global cooperation and connected people and ideas, driving change and a brighter future,” said Congressman Womack. “As we mark 75 years of this prestigious program, we are proud to honor the scholars and legacy of service demonstrated. What was once a concept developed in Arkansas has become a pillar of international education.”

“Since 1946, the Fulbright Program, named for former Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright, has been the flagship international exchange program fostering a mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries through education,” said Congressman Hill. “I’ve seen the Fulbright Program’s success firsthand when I traveled to Afghanistan and met an extraordinary woman, Naheed Esar, who graduated from the University of Arkansas as a Fulbright Scholar with a master’s degree in cultural anthropology. I thank Congressman Womack for introducing this resolution honoring the 75th anniversary of the program, and I look forward to following the program’s success in the future.”

“The Fulbright Program has played an essential role in American diplomacy, ambassadorship, and education over the years,” said Congressman Crawford. “I am happy to represent a state that founded such a prestigious program. On the 75th anniversary of the program, it is my pleasure to emphasize its legacy represented by its alumni, who contribute to a more peaceful, equitable, prosperous, and just world through higher learning, service, and global relations.”

“For 75 years, Fulbright scholars, alumni, and global partners have exchanged ideas, built mutual understanding, and promoted American culture and values” said DeDe Long, Chair of the Fulbright Association Board of Directors. “As an Arkansan, I am especially proud of this program’s extraordinary contribution to the global community, and I look forward to its future.”

Background: 
The late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas introduced the program in the House in 1945 to promote peace and understanding in the aftermath of World War II. His goal was “to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs.” Since President Truman signed the Program into law on August 1, 1946, over 400,000 participants from the United States and 160 countries have studied, taught, and conducted research while immersed in a foreign culture.

Alumni include 60 Nobel Laureates, 39 Heads of State, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and leaders of industry, government, and education. The Fulbright Program serves as a critical tool in strengthening the United States’ diplomatic partnerships and goodwill across the globe.

The House resolution was introduced with 15 cosponsors and also has a companion bill in the Senate, which is supported by fellow Arkansans and U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton.

ARKANSAS DELEGATION URGES SUPPORT FOR USDA SECRETARIAL DISASTER DECLARATION FOR COUNTIES IMPACTED BY STORMS
WASHINGTON—Arkansas’s congressional delegation is voicing its support for the request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 18 counties impacted by flooding, high winds, hail, tornadoes and other storm damage.

U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—wrote Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to join Governor Asa Hutchinson’s support of the Arkansas USDA Farm Service Agency’s request for Secretarial Disaster Designation. 

“Agriculture is vital to the state, and losses our producers have endured will cause significant economic impacts. Since April 1, 2021, the flooding and other storms have either damaged or prevented the planting of row crops such as rice, soybeans, cotton, corn, and wheat; as well as certain fruit and vegetable crops,” members wrote in the letter. “We join Governor Asa Hutchinson in supporting the Arkansas USDA Farm Service Agency’s request for Secretarial Disaster Designation, submitted on June 25, 2021; and we ask that you declare the following counties as agriculture-related disaster areas.”

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

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As you are well aware, farmers and agricultural businesses across this nation have been hurt by recent natural disasters. In Arkansas, our farmers have experienced flooding, high winds, hail, tornadoes, and other storm damage resulting in thousands of acres of lost crops, necessitating replanting, which will likely result in smaller harvests and more expenses—a hit to revenue that Arkansas agriculture cannot afford.

Agriculture is vital to the state, and losses our producers have endured will cause significant economic impacts. Since April 1, 2021, the flooding and other storms have either damaged or prevented the planting of row crops such as rice, soybeans, cotton, corn, and wheat; as well as certain fruit and vegetable crops.

We join Governor Asa Hutchinson in supporting the Arkansas USDA Farm Service Agency’s request for Secretarial Disaster Designation, submitted on June 25, 2021; and we ask that you declare the following counties as agriculture-related disaster areas: Arkansas, Benton, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lonoke, Monroe, Phillips, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, White and Yell.


Due to the time sensitivity of this matter, we thank you for your consideration of this request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation, and we hope that you will support Arkansas farmers and agricultural businesses during this difficult time. Thank you.

BOOZMAN, COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO UPHOLD NAVIGABLE WATERS PROTECTION RULE
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined their colleagues to introduce legislation to protect Arkansas’s farmers, small businesses and property owners by codifying the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR).

With the Biden Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) promising to replace the NWPR with a new rule that goes even further than the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, this legislation is needed now more than ever. If the NWPR is replaced, the EPA could go as far as to regulate ditches on private lands and converted croplands, which could ultimately inflict severe harm upon the agriculture, construction, home building, forestry, mining and energy sectors of our economy.

“As we repeatedly reminded the Obama administration, giving the federal government the authority to control virtually every ditch, pond and puddle on private land in Arkansas and nationwide is unlawful and will have terrible consequences. Now the Biden administration is determined to follow the same playbook,” Boozman said. “The current Navigable Waters Protection Rule provides a clear, commonsense framework that allows state and local governments to protect waters within their jurisdiction rather than empowering federal bureaucrats to issue arbitrary decisions that breed uncertainty and upend livelihoods. Our bill will safeguard Arkansans against this power grab by maintaining the existing reasonable rule.”

“The Navigable Water Protection rule preserves our waterways while respecting the livelihoods of farmers and the rights of private landowners. They can’t afford a return to the heavy-handed WOTUS rule of the Obama-era—and we won’t allow it. Our bill will protect clean water and America’s agriculture producers by letting the Navigable Water Protection Rule stand,” Cotton said.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Barrasso (R-WY), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tim Scott (R-SC), James Lankford (R-OK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) joined Boozman and Cotton in cosponsoring the measure.

 BACKGROUND:
In 2015, the Obama administration finalized a rule that expanded the definition of the Waters of the United States, creating confusion and burdensome red tape for farmers and ranchers, developers and property owners.

The Trump administration released a proposed rule to replace the Obama administration’s 2015 WOTUS rule that provided much-needed predictability and certainty for farmers by establishing a clear and reasonable definition of what qualifies as a “Water of the United States.” The NWPR was finalized last year. Specifically, it established a definition that unambiguously identifies four simple categories of jurisdictional waters, provides clear exclusions for many water features —water features that traditionally have not been regulated at the federal level — and defines terms in the regulatory text that have never been defined before. The NWPR also protects the environment while respecting the cooperative federalism framework of the Clean Water Act by clearly delineating where federal regulations apply and giving states and local authorities more flexibility to determine how to best manage waters within their borders. 

On day one of his administration, President Biden signed an executive order rolling back the Trump administration’s action to rescind Obama’s WOTUS rule and finalize the NWPR. In January, Boozman, Cotton and Ranking Member Capito, along with 23 of their Senate colleagues, introduced a resolution that expresses the need for the U.S. Senate to uphold the NWPR. In June, Boozman and the other GOP members of the EPW Committee wrote a letter to the EPA questioning the basis for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to repeal and replace the 2020 Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

July 30, 2021

PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT APPEAL
The Ouachita County Equalization Board will begin its regular annual session August 2, 2021. An organizational meeting will be held at 2:00 p.m. Monday August 2 at the Ouachita County Courthouse.

Any property owner or an agent of a property owner may apply in person, by petition, or by letter to the secretary of the county equalization board on or before the third Monday in August of every year for the adjustment of the County Assessor's assessment on the property owner's property or the property of another person.

A property owner or an agent of the property owner may personally appear before the county equalization board or pursue the appeal by supplying written documentation as to the adjustment desired.

The property owner or an agent of the property owner shall notify the Secretary of the County Equalization Board, who shall schedule a hearing, and, if practicable, the hearing shall be held at the convenience of the property owner.

Please call the Ouachita County Clerk's Office, 837-2220, no later than Monday August 16, 2021 to schedule a hearing.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON REIMPLEMENTS ARKANSAS’ EMERGENCY HEALTH DECLARATION
A surge in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations has prompted state officials to reimplement Arkansas' emergency health declaration immediately, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced yesterday. 

The Arkansas Department of Health reported more than 2,800 new cases of the virus on Thursday - one of the highest single-day increases since the pandemic began. This one-day total follows several days with more than 1,000 daily new cases. Hospitalizations are also on the rise and hit the four-digit mark for the first time since the start of the year with 1,056 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus. 

These dramatic increases, part of what health officials call a third wave of COVID-19 infections in Arkansas, prompted renewal of the emergency declaration which expired back on May 31. Gov. Hutchinson announced the renewal during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

As part of the declaration, Hutchinson said the state is reimplementing a number of measures to ease the current shortage in hospital staff. Those include renewing the treatment compact between Arkansas and neighboring states as well as easing licensure requirements for retired healthcare workers who want to reenter the field. In addition, Hutchinson said he is seeking federal help to bring more emergency medical services to Arkansas. 

Hutchison added the state has no intentions of reimplementing mask mandates or restrictions in businesses. Hutchinson also said he is calling a special session of the Arkansas Legislature next week to amend Act 1002, which prohibits school districts from implementing their own measures against COVID-19. 

As of Thursday, more than 382,000 Arkansans have contracted COVID-19 since the spring of 2020. Of those, 6,110 have passed away due to the virus. Active cases continue to increase into some of the highest levels ever seen, with more than 14,000 currently confirmed or probable active COVID-19 cases in the state.

TROOPERS FIRED ON DURING HIGHWAY TRAFFIC STOPS; SUSPECTS ARRESTED
JULY 29, 2021
An Arkansas State Trooper on patrol along Interstate 40 near Conway was fired on by a gunman during an attempted traffic stop and foot pursuit involving a motorist exceeding the speed limit today.  The incident is the second this week involving Arkansas troopers who've been fired-on by speeding drivers.  Neither of the troopers were injured.

Trooper Tyler Langley initiated a traffic stop in Faulkner County along I-40 (westbound) at 1:43 this afternoon as a speeding violator neared Conway.  The driver of the vehicle refused to stop and began to accelerate and flee the area by exiting the interstate, westbound, along Dave Ward Drive.

During a short vehicle pursuit that ended near the Donaghey Avenue and South Mitchell Street area where the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot, there was an exchange of gunfire when the suspect fired a rifle at Trooper Langley who returned fire.

The suspect was quickly apprehended by state troopers and transported to a local hospital to be examined, however he was not wounded.

The suspect is being held at the Faulkner County Detention Center for questioning by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.  The identity of the suspect will be released once he is formally charged.

On Tuesday (July 27th), about 10:30 AM, Arkansas State Police Corporal Steve Roberts initiated a traffic stop along Interstate 40 (eastbound), west of Forrest City.

The driver of the speeding vehicle, Stevie Maxwell, 37, of Greenville, Mississippi refused to comply and stop the vehicle.  As Corporal Roberts pursued the suspect, Maxwell allegedly fired a gun from inside the car.

Maxwell later exited the interstate onto the median east of Forrest City and surrendered to Corporal Roberts.  Maxwell is charged with aggravated assault, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and speeding. 

July 29, 2021

RUTLEDGE FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST KRISTY AND ERIK SCHNEIDER FOR FALSIFYING THEIR CHILD’S HEALTH CONDITION TO RECEIVE CHARITABLE DONATIONS
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit today against Kristy and Erik Schneider, from Saline County, who wrongfully misrepresented that their minor child was deathly ill resulting in the Schneiders receiving over $31,000 in charitable contributions and assistance from Arkansas consumers, organizations, and law enforcement agencies. The Schneiders falsified their child’s health condition to medical providers and lied to the general public in order to provoke an outpouring of well wishes, which often resulted in donations. The complaint alleges the Schneiders’ actions violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA).

“It is inconceivable that parents would endanger their innocent child’s health for their own profit and no child should ever be treated in this manner,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The Schneiders conned so many who gave thousands of dollars in honor of their ill child. There is nothing more reprehensible than taking advantage of the goodwill and generosity of your neighbors.” 

In February 2019, Kristy started posting updates to CaringBridge.org about the health of her ill child. She claimed the child had a rare chromosomal disorder and was dependent on feeding tubes and about 15 different medications to keep the minor alive. She told her followers the child began to see a number of specialists including neurosurgeons, neurologists, geneticists, complex care physicians, and more. She wrote, “After seeing multiple specialists, trying everything possible, and consulting with doctors in multiple other states/facilities, it was determined that the recommended course of action was to come home on hospice care.”

The Schneiders decided the child’s feeding tubes would be withdrawn to cause the minor to die a “natural death.” By this time, their story had a following in the public eye from law enforcement, concerned citizens, local news reports and others. When the child returned to Arkansas Children’s for end-of-life care, the minor was accompanied by hundreds of law enforcement officers and first responders to fulfill his final wish to see as many first responders as possible before his death. This event was widely publicized and involved resources paid for by taxpayers in the form of hundreds of law enforcement officers from central Arkansas.

After the child arrived at Arkansas Children’s for end-of-life care, the minor made an unexpected recovery. Doctors removed the feeding tube and gave the child nutrition, including liquids and popsicles, for a week and a half. Doctors reported the patient appeared to look better than the minor had in months. Despite the positive development, the Schneiders forced doctors to put the child back on a feeding tube.

Even the Mayo Clinic later refused to grant Kristy’s request to return the child to hospice care. There, and at Arkansas Children’s, Kristy continued to exaggerate the child’s symptoms. Soon thereafter, doctors reported the child was a victim of Munchausen by Proxy.

As the child seemed to be battling for his life and doctors around the country struggled to understand the nature of his medical condition, the kindness of people and law enforcement across Arkansas and the world was on full display; thousands of dollars in donations and resources poured in from throughout the United States and even foreign countries. Between gifts, meals, cash contributions, and medical transportation, the Schneiders received $31,895 in donations from consumers motivated by nothing more than goodwill and kindness. In Arkansas, each violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act could result in injunctions and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

For more tips to help avoid falling victim to bad actors, or to file a consumer-related claim with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, call (800) 482-8982, email consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov. 
 

FAIRVIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ANNOUNCES REGISTRATION
Registration is going on now for the Fairview Elementary School 2021-2022 school year. The Elementary School includes Pre-k, Kindergarten and 1st Grade. Packets maybe picked up in front of the school in the newspaper stands for each grade. Fill out the forms for your child and return in the white box with the slot.
Incoming Kindergarteners nee dot include copies of your child’s Birth Certificate from the state, Shot records, Social Security Card, Proof of a Physical, and proof of residency.

Call 870-231-5434 for more information, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
 

SWEET REPEAT RESALE SHOP ANNOUNCES REGULAR HOURS
HELP!!!!! The Hub's Sweet Repeats Resale Shop is now open the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month from 7:00 am until Noon. Visit the shop on the corner of Mt. Holly Road and Tate Street for great deals on everything from furniture, household items, kitchen supplies to toys and holiday decorations. New items are recieved all the times.

 

REAL NEW YORK HOT DOGS AT AUGUST’S FIRST FRIDAY
Be on the lookout at 1st Friday on August 6th S.t. Louis Catholic Church will have a booth selling real NY Sabrett hotdogs that are sold by street vendors in midtown Manhattan around Broadway and the theater district. All proceeds from this will go to support our community including the Christian Heath Center HUB, the Women's Crisis Center and local food pantries. Come on out and enjoy a taste of NYC and help our community.

 

TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN ANNOUNCES APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR NEW STATEWIDE FINANCIAL EDUCATION COMMISSION
Little Rock, Ark. – Applications for the newly-formed Arkansas Financial Education Commission open today, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan announced. The Commission, which will be chaired by Milligan, was created during the 93rd General Assembly and sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin and Rep. Bruce Cozart.

“We’re so excited to have a unified organization to focus on financial awareness and knowledge for all Arkansans,” Milligan said. “By offering Arkansans resources to increase their financial knowledge, we hope to create a brighter future for generations to come.”

The Commission’s purpose is to provide financial education programs to Arkansans in all geographic areas and socioeconomic backgrounds, and to promote the importance of achieving financial well-being.

The nine-person Commission will operate under the authority of the State Treasurer. Six members will be represented by state financial or education agencies and three additional members will come from the public, private or nonprofit sector.

To apply for one of the three, two-year positions which are open to the public, persons may visit the Treasurer of State’s website at www.artreasury.gov. Applications are listed under the Programs tab on the homepage. The deadline for submission is August 31, 2021.

 

BREAKING: BOOZMAN BILL BROADENING ACCESS TO MAMMOGRAMS FOR WOMEN VETERANS ADVANCES IN SENATE
WASHINGTON– The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously passed legislation authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that would expand Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mammogram screening eligibility.

Boozman’s Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act would require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

“Given the additional risk factors associated with toxic exposure, which we know has occurred in recent combat settings, the VA must update its policies for administering mammograms,” Boozman said. “Committee passage of this bill is a positive step to providing women veterans with the health care they deserve and implementing improved procedures to better treat breast cancer patients.”

The SERVICE Act has the support of the Disabled American Veterans, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and Burn Pits 360.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) helped introduce the bill, which also has the support of Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

This legislation is the latest example of Boozman’s continuing commitment to improving VA care and services for women. Last Congress, he championed the Deborah Sampson Act, a bipartisan initiative to eliminate barriers to care and services that many women face when accessing VA benefits. The landmark bill was signed into law by President Trump in January 2021. Boozman’s SERVICE Act builds on this foundation.
 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES, CALL ON PRESIDENT BIDEN TO DENY ENTRY TO IRANIAN PRESIDENT, SENIOR IRANIAN OFFICIALS
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to deny entry visas to Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi and other senior Iranian officials to attend the UN General Assembly in September.

In part, the senators wrote, “Raisi’s record as a violator of human rights is long-standing and clear. In 1988, during his tenure as the deputy prosecutor of Tehran, Raisi served on a four-member Death Commission which oversaw the killing of over 5,000 prisoners, including women and children. The Death Commission conducted interviews that lasted only minutes to determine a prisoner’s loyalty to the Islamic Republic of Iran, then sentenced them to death without a lawyer, right to appeal, or fair trial. The executions, conducted by hanging or firing squad, often occurred on the same day as the Death Commission’s interrogations. After burying the dead in unmarked mass graves, Iranian officials refused to notify families for months and never shared with them the locations of their graves. Raisi’s Death Commission executed children as young as 15.”

“Ebrahim Raisi should remain sanctioned under U.S. law. If the United Nations General Assembly maintains its current plans to allow some in-person attendance, the White House should deny Raisi and other Iranian leaders visas to attend. Allowing Raisi to travel to the United States—to the same city where the Iranian regime just tried to kidnap a U.S. citizen—would legitimize his repression, undermine America’s moral leadership, and potentially endanger our national security, given the likely presence of intelligence agents in the Iranian traveling party,” the senators continued.
 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO BAN ANTI-SEMITIC COUNTRY-OF-ORIGIN LABELS
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) introduced the Anti-BDS Labeling Act to prohibit the Biden administration from reversing current guidelines that require Israeli goods produced in areas where Israel exercises the relevant authorities to be labeled as “Made in Israel.” Such a change would help the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement to target particular Israeli companies and goods. Text of the bill may be found here.

“Left-wing activists abuse county-of-origin labels in order to stigmatize products made in Israel. Our bill will defend the integrity of the Jewish State by ensuring that Israeli products may proudly bear the label ‘Made in Israel,’” said Cotton.

“As our most strategic and important ally in the Middle East, Israel should be assured that the U.S. government will not reverse course and take part in the campaign to delegitimize its authority and punish its economy,” said Boozman. “This legislation would ensure our support for the Jewish state, which reached new heights under the Trump administration, remains steadfast and rejects anti-Semitic movements attempting to undermine it.”

“We cannot allow the disgusting rise of anti-Semitism to continue to permeate our country and the halls of Congress. I’m proud to join this effort and continue my strong support of our great ally Israel. I will always stand with our Jewish community and fight the BDS movement and anti-Semitism wherever it is found,” said Scott.

“As the co-author of the bipartisan Combating BDS Act of 2021, I’m proud to join this legislative effort that would prohibit President Biden and his administration from reversing a common-sense Trump-era policy,” said Rubio. “As the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement continues with its destructive anti-Israel campaign, we must ensure products made in Israel aren’t the prime targets of economic warfare.”

“The antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is engaged in discriminatory economic warfare targeting the Jewish state of Israel.  Last year, President Trump dealt a serious blow to the BDS movement when he ended the U.S. government’s discriminatory treatment of Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria, and required these imported goods to be labeled as ‘Made in Israel.’  I’m proud to support Senator Cotton’s important legislation to counter efforts by the BDS movement and its anti-Israel supporters to pressure the Biden Administration into reversing President Trump’s pro-Israel policy change,” said Hagerty.

“Tennesseans are proud to stand with Israel. We must not allow the Biden Administration to roll back existing policy and allow the singling out and discrimination against products made in Israel,” said Blackburn. “It is a double standard that is not applied to other sovereign nations involved in territorial disputes.”

“Campaigns to boycott or discriminate against Israel and Israeli Jews are driven by antisemitic hate. I am proud to join Sen. Cotton on this bill blocking the Biden administration from reversing current guidelines that allow the State of Israel to exercise their sovereignty when marking goods made in their own country,” said Cruz.

“Israel is a pluralistic democracy in a repressive region, and one of America’s closest allies. Amid rising hate crimes and increasing anti-Israel rhetoric, we should not be supporting policies that promote anti-Semitism,” said Tillis. “I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation to allow Israel to maintain appropriate country-of-origins labeling for goods produced in areas they exercise relevant authority.”

Background:
In 1995, the Clinton administration changed longstanding U.S. policy and required “Made in West Bank” country-of-origin (COO) labels for Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria, even though the U.S. government treats these products as “articles of Israel” for trade purposes.

In 2016, the Obama administration republished these labeling guidelines as part of a broader effort to oppose the Israeli government.

In November 2020, Senator Cotton led a letter to President Trump urging the administration to change U.S. customs policy and guidelines to allow Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria to be labeled "Made in Israel."

Following Senator Cotton’s letter, the Trump administration created new guidelines that required Israeli goods produced in areas where Israel exercised the relevant authorities to be labeled as “Made in Israel.” 

July 28, 2021

ARKANSAS BASS TEAM TRAIL COMES TO CAMDEN
Arkansas Bass Team Trail and The City of Camden AR presents the 4th annual Rumble on the River Bass Team Tournament in Camden AR. Saturday, August 7th with over $10,000 in cash and Prizes!

The Rumble on the River Bass Team Tournament is a 1 day only event held on Saturday, August 7th at the Camden River Walk on the Ouachita River in Downtown Camden, AR. Take off is at 6am and boats can launch at either the Riverwalk Park boat ramp (405 Washington St. SE. Camden AR 71701) or right down the road at Sandy Beach boat ramp (Sandy Beach Park, Camden, AR 71701) but will need to motor over to the Riverwalk for the start.

Weigh-in is at 3pm at Camden News parking lot (corner of Washington street & Madison Ave) in Downtown Camden.

1st place $5,000 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 is going on now at www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net, www.explorecamden.com or in person at The Camden Area Chamber of Commerce located at 314 S Adams Avenue in Camden AR.

Final registration will be held Friday, August 6th from 6 to 8 pm at The First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR.

For Rules and Registration, visit www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net

The Camden Downtown Network & The City of Camden present Camden’s Great Outside Fun Day on Saturday, August 7th with a full day of outdoor fun events for the entire family is also planned

Looking for fun, safe outdoor adventure? Whether it's fishing, bike riding or meeting Miss Arkansas, you will be sure to find it at The Great Camden Outside Fun Day, a one-day event that is set for Saturday, Aug. 7, in Camden, Arkansas!

Camden’s Great Outside Fun Day will be chock full of activities for all ages including a 5K run, 2 operson scramble golf tournament, a disc gold tournament, beginner gun safety class, a 10K Bike Fun Ride, horse show, sidewalk chalk contest and more. call Charlotte Young at 870-807-1468 for more information!!!

𝟱𝗞 𝗥𝘂𝗻/𝗪𝗮𝗹𝗸
Sponsored by Ouachita County Fair Board
Walkers will start at 8 am, runners will start at 8:30. The registration is $20 before July 30th, $25 after July 30th. Registration forms can be picked up at the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce or at the Ouachita County Livestock and Fair Association, Inc. Facebook Page.

𝟮 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻 𝗦𝗰𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗳𝗶𝘁 𝗚𝗼𝗹𝗳 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁
Sponsored by Victory Christian School
Join us at Highland Golf Course for the 4th Annual VCS Golf Tournament. The tournament is limited to 18 teams. Entry fee is $50 per person ($100 per team) which includes green fees, cart and door prizes. Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded to the top 3 teams. There will be special prizes for those who enter the closest to the pin and longest drive. For registration or additional information please contact Larry Young 870-818-7501.

𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰 𝗚𝗼𝗹𝗳 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁
Sponsored by Tree Love Disc Golf
Tale of Nines is an Arkansas Disc singles golf tournament, and is set from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. in Carnes Park, Carnes Park Drive. Disc golf is new to Camden, with a new and challenging course has been constructed in Carnes Park. The entry fee is $60 for pro divisions and $40 for amateur divisions. Participants are required to sign up in advance. To register online, visit https://www.discgolfscene.com/.../Tale_of_the_Nines.... Registration closes at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 5. For more information, call Jerry Ray at 870-807-1080.

𝗕𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿 𝗚𝘂𝗻 𝗦𝗮𝗳𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗖𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀
Sponsored by the Camden Police Department
Camden Police Department will host a beginner gun safety class from 9am – 10AM. This class is open to all ages. Private guns will not be permitted. Camden PD is located at 1 Police Drive.

𝟭𝟬𝗞 𝗕𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗙𝘂𝗻 𝗥𝗶𝗱𝗲
Sponsored by Postmasters Grill
Families are encouraged to enjoy the evening with the 10K Fun Ride, hosted by Postmasters Grill. The ride is free and open to children and adults with starting time at 5:30pm. The bike route will begin in Scott Alley next to Postmasters Grill, 133 W. Washington St. A portion of the ride will wind along The Trace, Camden’s beautiful rails-to-trails project. Entry forms and waivers are available at Postmasters Grill and online at https://form.jotform.com/202056912233042. For more information, call Emily Robertson, of Postmasters Grill, at 870- 836-5579.

𝗛𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗲 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘄
The South Arkansas Horse Show Association will present a horse show at 11a.m. at the Circle C Riding Arena, 100 Ouachita County Road 451. The show will start with Western Pleasure Events and later move on to speed events, including barrels, flag and poles. Lots of fun activities are also planned for children! Admission is free and the concession stand will be open. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs to enjoy the show. For more information, call Cheryl Shatley at 870-833-1222.

𝗦𝗶𝗱𝗲𝘄𝗮𝗹𝗸 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗸 𝗔𝗿𝘁 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗲𝘁𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
Sponsored by The Camden Downtown Network
A sidewalk chalk art competition is also on tap for The Great Camden Outside Fun Day. The competition will include categories for children, teens, and adult. There is no fee to enter the competition but pre-registration is required. Entries will be processed in the order in which they are received. Register online at Register at https://form.jotform.com/91597450872165. To create their artwork, participants will be assigned 5-by-5-foot sidewalk squares along Washington Street and Adams Avenue. Artists should be mindful that the exhibit area is family-friendly and that entries should be whimsical, humorous, mischievous, lovable, beautiful and tasteful. Political statements and connotations and offensive, crude, discriminatory and derogatory terms or expressions are prohibited.

Because of sweltering summer temperatures, artists may create their works during the evening of Thursday, Aug. 5; any time on Friday, Aug. 6; or early in the morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 7, before activities begin for the day.
Cash prizes will be awarded to first- and gift cards for second-place winners in each category.
To register or for more information online: Register at https://form.jotform.com/91597450872165 or call Charlotte Young at 870-807-1468.

𝗕𝗮𝗴𝗴𝗼 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁
Sponsored by Native Dog
A baggo tournament will be 125 Madison Ave in Downtown Camden. Registration will be at Native Dog on Saturday, August 7th. Cost to register is $20.00 Start time is 4:00pm

𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗚𝗿𝗲𝗲𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗠𝗶𝘀𝘀 𝗔𝗿𝗸𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗮𝘀
Stop by The Event Center at Fairview Park, 2740 Mt Holly Rd, from 2PM – 4PM to visit with Miss Arkansas, Whitney Williams. You will be able to get an Autographs as well as have photos taken with Miss AR. Light refreshments will be provided. At 2:10pm Mayor Julian Lott will make a proclamation declaring August 7th as Whitney Williams Day in Camden, her home away from home. Free admission, donations accepted for Hearts for the Arts.

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

COTTON, WARNER INTRODUCE BILL TO PROHIBIT FUNDING FOR HUAWEI, CHINESE TECHNOLOGY
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) introduced the American Telecommunications Security Act to prohibit federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act from being used to purchase Chinese telecommunications equipment, including from Huawei and ZTE.

"American tax dollars should not be sent to Chinese spy companies like Huawei that undermine our national security. The U.S government must take strong action to cut the Chinese Communist Party out of our networks. Americans deserve both reliable and secure telecommunications technologies," said Cotton.

“With states across the country mapping out their plans for quality and affordable high-speed internet as a result of historic funding from the American Rescue Plan, we’ve got to make sure no community is sacrificing network security,” said Warner. “That’s why I’m joining Sen. Cotton on a bipartisan bill to ensure states do not purchase equipment or services from companies that pose national security risks – such as Huawei and ZTE.”

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO END U.S. DEPENDENCE ON CHINESE-MANUFACTURED PHARMACEUTICALS
Washington, D.C.—Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) along with Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Rick Scott (R-Florida), will today introduce the Protecting our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain from China Act, which would end U.S. dependence on China for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Specifically, the bill will:
Track active pharmaceutical ingredients through an FDA registry.
Prohibit pharmaceutical purchases from China or products with active pharmaceutical ingredients created in China*.
Create transparency in the supply chain by instituting a country-of-origin label of all imported drugs.
Provide economic incentives for manufacturing drugs and medical equipment in the United States.

"The Chinese Communist Party has threatened to cut off America's access to vital drugs in the midst of a pandemic caused by its own failures. It's time to pull America's supply chains for life-saving medicine out of China and make the CCP pay for contributing to this global emergency," said Cotton.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored America’s heavy dependence on China for critical prescription drugs,” said Blackburn. “We cannot continue to allow Beijing to hold the keys to our pharmaceutical supply chain and risk future drug shortages, contaminated drugs, or ineffective drugs. This legislation helps to ensure Communist China no longer plays a role in creating or providing U.S. prescription drugs and further incentivizes manufacturers to produce necessary medication on American soil.”

“The majority of active ingredients for pharmaceuticals are made in China, and the Chinese Communist Party showed through their lies, coverups, and threats to cut off American access to drugs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that they can’t be trusted. I’m proud to join Senator Cotton’s bill to incentivize making drugs in the U.S. and end our dependence on China for drug manufacturing,” said Braun.

“American dependence on Chinese supply chains is not only a health threat but a national security threat. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party threatening to withhold critical medical materials. I am proud to join Sen. Cotton on this bill to defend American drug manufacturers from China’s economic warfare, and most importantly, protect American lives,” said Cruz.

“We cannot continue to rely on countries like Communist China, who lied about the coronavirus and refuses to be a partner in solving this crisis, for critical supplies and medicine. This outbreak has shown why we need to end our reliance on foreign supply chains. Removing Communist China from our pharmaceutical supply chain is the right move,” said Scott.

* This requirement will be phased in over two years. The FDA may issue waivers if the active pharmaceutical ingredients are only available in China, however, no waivers may be issued after 2026.

July 27, 2021

STATE POLICE ASKED TO INVESTIGATE NORTH LITTLE ROCK POLICE SHOOTING
JULY 27, 2021
An 18 year-old wanted by police for battery (first degree) and aggravated robbery remains hospitalized after he fled from North Little Rock police officers last night, then brandished a gun at officers leading one officer to shoot the suspect.

Anthony Brown, of North Little Rock, is in stable condition at a Little Rock hospital.  No police officers were injured.

The incident occurred about 6:35 PM (*monday, july 26th) when North Little Rock police officers stopped a vehicle near Main Street and Pershing Avenue.  Brown, who was a passenger in the car stopped by police, exited the vehicle and fled on foot.

Officers pursued Brown to the front of Tropical Smoothie Café at 2600 Pershing Avenue where Brown displayed the gun.

At the request of authorities within the North Little Rock Police Department, Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were contacted and asked to conduct an investigation of the shooting incident.

State police special agents are continuing their work today and will compile an investigative case file to be submitted to the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office where a decision will be made based on the findings of the investigation whether the use of deadly force by a police officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identity of the officer who shot Brown or the administrative status of the officer should be directed to the North Little Rock Police Department Public Information Officer.

 

METHODIST FAMILY HEALTH COUNSELING CLINICS IN BATESVILLE, HOT SPRINGS AND JONESBORO NOW OFFER CHILD PARENT PSYCHOTHERAPY
LITTLE ROCK, AR (July 27, 2021) – The Methodist Family Health Counseling Clinics in Batesville, Hot Springs and Jonesboro now offer Child Parent Psychotherapy.

Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is counseling for young children (birth to age 5) and their parents or caregivers, which supports family strengths and relationships by helping families heal and grow after experiencing stressful incidents while respecting their values and culture.

“When children this young experience a troubling or traumatic event, it’s difficult for them to express their feelings or what they need,” said Cyndi Coleman, outpatient administrator for Methodist Family Health’s counseling clinics and school-based therapy. “Through CPP, we can help these young children and their families and caregivers recover and heal after stressful and traumatic events.”

CPP may help when a child has been through a scary or painful event such as the loss of a loved one, separation, a serious medical procedure, abuse, or violence in the home or his or her community. It also can help if your child is showing difficult behaviors, has a change in his or her home placement or caregiver, or has a family member with physical or mental health issues. Regardless of the relationship, CPP can help parenting a child and improving the caregiver-child relationship.

“We have seen improvements in both the child and parents’ mood, behavior, learning ability, stress and trauma symptoms,” said Coleman. “The way CPP works is we get to know you and your child, address your needs and help you plan for your future. It helps the child and his or her family understand each other through talking and playing, and that helps them work together to respond to the difficult feelings and behaviors around a stressful or traumatic incident.”

To schedule a consultation or to learn more about CPP and how it can help your child and family, contact Methodist Family Health at 501-661-0720, e-mail Info@MethodistFamily.org or visit MethodistFamily.org.

About Methodist Family Health
Founded in 1899 as the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage, Methodist Family Health’s mission is to provide the best possible care to those who may need our help. A statewide continuum of care, Methodist Family Health each year serves thousands of Arkansas children and their families who are abandoned, abused, neglected and struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues. Methodist Family Health has locations throughout the state, including the Methodist Behavioral Hospital in Maumelle, psychiatric residential treatment centers, therapeutic group homes, a day treatment program, counseling clinics, school-based counseling clinics, a grief center for children and their families, and the Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES).

July 26, 2021

SAU TECH BLACK HISTORY CELEBRATION COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES JULY 2021 BETTY J. LEWIS UNSUNG HERO
The SAU Tech Black History Celebration Committee is excited to announce Robert J. White as the July 2021 Betty J. Lewis Unsung Hero.

Each year the Black History Celebration Committee, comprised of college staff and community members, hosts an annual fundraiser to raise money for the Betty J. Lewis Minority Scholarship Fund. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 Black History Celebration was canceled. In lieu of this event, the Black History Celebration Committee made the decision to name a Betty J. Lewis Unsung Hero for each month leading up to the 2022 event.

Robert J. White was born on August 29, 1950, in Laran, LA, to Tice White, Jr, and Clansie White. He was raised in Hillsboro, AR. He graduated from Washington High School, class of ‘68’ in El Dorado, AR. After high school, he worked approximately two years at J. M. Poultry in El Dorado until he was drafted into the Army, where he served from March 1970 – November 1971 and obtained the rank of Specialist 4. He also received the Soldier of the month, 5th CST BDE in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.

After returning from military service, Robert enrolled at SAU Tech on July 72 and graduated in July 74 with an AAS Degree in Food Management with honors. He was the 1st graduate to be hired at SAU Tech immediately after graduation. He worked as Assistant Cafeteria and Instructor, Asst. Professor and several Administrator positions before retiring after 41 years of service in the position of Director of Special Programs and Educational Services. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from SAU Magnolia. He is a graduate of the Holiday Inn University General Manager Program, where he was the 1st African American to graduate from the program. He is a 1996 graduate of Leadership Camden, and a 2014 graduate of Leadership Arkansas Sponsored by Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

He has been married to the former Ora Lee Spiller for 47 years, who is also retired. They have 3 children, Tice (Tonya) of Madison, MS; Brice of Fayetteville, AR; and BriTicea of Madison, MS; and 2 precious granddaughters, Tia (5) ‘Big Girl’, and Tamia (3) ’Little Sissy’ of Madison, MS.

He is a member of Whitest Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Camden, where Rev. Michael J. Wilson is the Pastor. He serves numerous positions including Chair, Kitchen Committee; Teacher, Men Sunday School class; and Chair, Deacon Ministry. He served as President of the Community Brotherhood. In addition to those, he has served in various positions in the Ouachita District Association as an Instructor in the Congress of Christian Education, member of the Executive Committee, and President of the District Laymen Auxiliary.

Robert has dedicated his entire 47 years in Camden to being involved in Community Service and Politics to try and make individuals’ lives better through social change and education. In doing so he has served on many local boards and commissions: such as Vice President, Camden Jaycees; Chair, People are Concerned; Chair, Christmas Sharing Program; Chair, Camden Fairview Biracial Committee; Chair, Toys for Tots Ouachita County; 1st black President of SAU Tech Faculty Organization; Chair, Ouachita County Democratic Party; Ouachita County Election Commission, Board of Directors of Camden Boys and Girls Club; Chair, SAU Tech Admin Staff; Women Crisis Center Board; and member of NAACP. He has served on several State and National committees including Arkansas Student Loan Authority Board of Directors; State Workforce Board; Chair, Boys State of Arkansas; Arkansas Career Coach Program Advisory Board; Chair, EAST (Education Accelerated by Service Technology Initiative; Arkansas Career and Technical Education Board; 13th Judicial Jail Standard Committee; Board member of UAPB Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office Tobacco Initiatives. He served on the 1st Arkansas Educational Adequacy Committee (to determine what is an adequate education and what amount of money is needed to provide it); and the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP).

Robert ran for State Representative in 1998 and won and was sworn in January 1999. He served 3 two-year terms until he was term-limited. The highlights of his service were the sponsoring and passage of ACT 1332 that created the Better Chance Program, which is a high-quality preschool; and ACT 1396 to provide minimum Firefighter Training Standards, and he was instrumental in directing several hundred thousand dollars to Ouachita County during his tenure. Robert passed several more bills on Voting Rights, Education Issues, Safety, and Welfare Reform. He was the 1st and only black to serve as House Management Chairman in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He was Chair of the two-year Colleges and Technical Institute Study Committee. He was Treasurer of the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus and served on Joint Budget Committee and the House Education Committee.

Robert has been recognized with many awards during his lifetime. Some of the most prestigious are: Arkansas 2001 Outstanding Alumnus for Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges; 2002 NISOD Excellence Award (National Institute for Staff and Organization Development); Meritorious Service Award SAU Tech, May 2003; named 2014 Outstanding State Employee for the State of Arkansas; recognized by UAPB for being identified as the Flagship of the Delta. He also was recognized by JET magazine for his many contributions to education. Robert thanks the Lord and the community for giving him the opportunity to serve in all the above capacities in the community and state.

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION REGULAR MEETING
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in regular session on Tuesday, July 29, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at Garrison Auditorium.
The agenda is as follows:
1. Call to order.
2. Approval of minutes of previous meetings
3. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     a.        None
4. NEW BUSINESS
     a. Student Hearing (Readmitting)
     b. Request for legal transfer to Magnolia School District.
     c. Presentation and recommendation regarding the Student handbook change for Elementary, Middle and High School.
     d. Presentation and recommendation regarding the Band Budget.
     e. Presentation and recommendation regarding the Athletic Budget.
     f. Presentation and recommendation regarding the Student Athletic Insurance
     g. Presentation and recommendation regarding Y95 Broadcasting Football, Basketball, and Baseball for the 2021-2022 School Year.
     h. Presentation and recommendation to pay for FES and Central Office roof replacement out of building fund.
     i. Presentation and recommendation for additional pay for CFSD staff.
     j. Facility Rentals
5. Superintendent's report to the Board.
6. Financial report
7. Personnel
     a.        Hiring
     b.        Resignations

 

DISNEY’S “FROZEN JR” SLATED FOR SAAC STAGE 
South Arkansas Arts Center announces its fall Drama Club production of…drum roll, please… “Disney's Frozen JR.”!  

Disney’s worldwide phenomenon is taking the SAAC stage by (snow)storm! The enchanting modern classic from Disney, “Frozen JR.” is based on the 2018 Broadway musical, and brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life, onstage. The show features all of the memorable songs from the animated film, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, “Frozen JR.” is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!

SAAC’s fall Drama Club production, sponsored by Southern Airways Express, will kick off with "All Things Frozen", an audition information party to be held on August 24 & 26.  Production is scheduled for Dec 10-17.

The fabulous, all-female production team of Director Lynn Gunter, Music Director Cassie Hickman and Assistant Director Hannah Davis return to the South Arkansas Arts Center's stage for “Frozen, JR.”, everyone’s favorite Disney movie, revamped for the stage.

Lynn Gunter is the instructor for SAAC Drama Club classes and a local music and English teacher at West Side Christian School. Over the last 8 years, she has directed over 20 productions, mostly on the SAAC stage. Gunter is a resident of Huttig, where her husband is pastor of Huttig First Baptist Church. She is also the K4-12th Grade music teacher for WSCS. Gunter has a BA in Speech Communications and has traveled the Tri-State and national collegiate circuit in forensics and debate.

Cassie Hickman is a homeschool mom of two, as well as a homemaker. She has been the music director for countless productions on the SAAC stage, as well as teaching a summer music class for preschoolers. Hickman's first show on the SAAC stage was a homeschool production of "Alice in Wonderland" in 2015. Since then, she has been the music director for many additional homeschool shows, as well as for two Penguin Projects, Youth Theatre projects, and Drama Club productions.

“SAAC Drama Club will bring snow and ice to the SAAC stage with Disney’s ‘Frozen, JR.” This is a fan favorite fairytale of a Snow Queen who cannot control her powers and the sister she tried to keep safe from them. On this journey we learn about true love, the power of letting go of fear, and the simplicity of a hug,” said Hickman.

Hannah Davis is no stranger to theatre and the SAAC stage happens to be her favorite, as she teaches the kids' drama classes there. Some of her favorite past credits include: director of SAAC's "Annie KIDS"; the character Rhonda and the hair, wig and makeup designer for SAAC's "Singin' In The Rain"; Grempkin in SAAC's "Peter and the Starcatcher"; Madame Spanella in SAAC's "Breakfast at Tiffany's"; and director of SAAC's "Disney's Aristocats KIDS".  She has a bachelor's degree in theatre from Louisiana Tech University. When not at SAAC she can be found teaching eighth grade English at Barton Junior High.

Disney's “Frozen JR.” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).  For more information on this exciting and “fun for your kid” production, please call the SAAC office at 870-866-0707 or visit the website at saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, AR 71730.

 

BOOZMAN SHARES SERVICE MEMORIES OF 99-YEAR-OLD WWII MOUNTAIN HOME VETERAN
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of World War II veteran Edith Mitchell in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans. 

Mitchell was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina on December 24, 1921. As a child she became interested in music, a passion she has pursued for her entire life. She started piano lessons at the age of nine and later taught herself how to play the organ. She volunteered to play for her church’s services in high school and when she was leaving for college, the pastor gave her money for her years of dedicated organ-playing. “It was exactly the amount that I needed to pay for the first quarter tuition,” Mitchell said.

She graduated from Flora MacDonald College, majoring in voice and public school music with a minor in piano, and used her education to share her love of music.

At her first job teaching in Richlands, North Carolina, many of her students had fathers who were stationed at Camp Lejeune. “The war had already started and I was feeling very patriotic and so I decided to join after I taught there one year.”

She enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) on September 1, 1943 and was sent to boot camp in what she called “the swamps” outside of Daytona Beach, Florida. “It was a lot of rain,” Mitchell remembers. 

Mitchell tested high in mechanics, but she had never worked in this field, so when she described her background in music, she was assigned to the Chaplain Corps.

Following boot camp Mitchell traveled by train to her assignment at Camp Stoneman, California, a major staging area for troops bound for the Pacific Theater. She served as a chaplain’s assistant and had a number of responsibilities including writing letters for the chaplains and playing music at the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish services.

At one pre-embarkation service Mitchell played the organ and sang the hymn “Ninety and Nine” before a chapel full of servicemembers leaving for World War II operations. Her voice inspired some soldiers to make public professions of faith. She remembers the men walking up the gang plank with the water from their baptism dripping off their backpacks. “It was just one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Mitchell said.

As a member of the Chaplain Corps, Mitchell went to some places most people never went like the prison hospital. “I remember it was scary to go through the locked door, and there I was with all the prisoners. I didn’t know what they had done.”

Shortly after Mitchell’s arrival at Camp Stoneman, she says her mother wanted to do her duty and volunteered as a nurse’s aide at the hospital where some of her patients included survivors of the Bataan Death March. “I’ll never forget the site,” Mitchell said. “They were nothing but skeletons with skin stretched over them. They could hardly walk. In fact, many of them just had to be carried on a stretcher from the ship to the hospital.”

After completing her military service, Mitchell used her GI Bill benefits to attend Columbia University where she earned master’s degree in voice and public music. She continued to teach music and met the man who became her husband when he joined her choir.

When the couple retired, they relocated to Mountain Home to be near their granddaughter. Today, Mitchell continues to give voice lessons and be involved in her church.

“Edith Mitchell proudly served her country. As a member of the Greatest Generation, there is a lot we can learn from Americans like Edith Mitchell whose selfless service helped support Allied efforts. I am honored to recognize her service and dedication to our nation. Her memories of her service are an important part of our history,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Mitchell’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.

July 23, 2021

CADC ANNOUNCES 2021 SUMMER LIHEAP UTILITY ASSISTANCE START DATES
Benton, AR - JULY 2021 - Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) announced today the 2021 Extended Winter CARES LIHEAP Utility Assistance program will begin the week of Monday, July 12, 2021, and continue as long as funds are available.  This program will assist with 

Gas/Propane utility bills only. The extended gas program will assist for past due or shut off only. Crisis assistance only will be available.

In addition, the 2021 Summer LIHEAP Utility Assistance program will begin the week of Monday, July 26, 2021. This program will assist with Electric bills only. Both Regular and Crisis assistance will be available.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. We provide federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with home energy bills and energy crises.

LIHEAP can help you stay cool in the summer through programs that reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe cooling practices.

 CADC operates the LIHEAP program in the following counties in Arkansas;

Calhoun, Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Lonoke, Miller,  Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Pulaski, Saline, Sevier and Union.  

In effort to minimize the spread of Covid-19, each facility will enforce guidelines pertaining to application submission; please check with your local office for these guidelines.

Only the applicant will be allowed to enter the facility. Additional family members and or friends must remain in the vehicle or outside of the facility. All applicants must agree to submit to screening before being allowed to enter.  Due to restrictions on the number of people allowed in the facility at a time, applicants should prepare for longer than usual wait times.

For more information about CADC’s Utility Assistance Program visit:

https://www.cadc.com/utility-assistance. 

ENERGY USAGE DATA, MORE AVAILABLE IN ENTERGY’S ‘MYADVISOR’ DASHBOARD
App provides real-time use, history, current bill and projected usage
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Entergy Arkansas customers with advanced meters have a handy way to acces detailed energy usage data and more in MyAdvisor, found within th Entergy app for smart phones or online a www.EntergyArkansas.com. 

“The MyAdvisor dashboard lets you take control of your energy usage, so there are no surprises,” said Michael Considine, Entergy Arkansas vice president of customer service. “You now have the ability to get detailed data that you couldn’t before, and we hope our customers will use the information that’s available to be more energy-efficient every day.”

Company officials said about 85% of Entergy Arkansas customers have advanced meters currently, and all remaining advanced meters installations will be completed by the end of the year.

Detailed information can be accessed by logging into the customer account at www.Entergy.com/MyAdvisor, which also has helpful “how-to” videos for using the dashboard. From there, the “My Usage and Cost” link allows a customer to compare usage and cost by month, day, and hour in 15-minute increments.

In addition to the customer’s energy usage available on the site, the bill projection tab provides an estimate of what the bill will be by the end of the billing cycle. The bill analyzer tool lets a customer compare previous bills by month and year to better understand the effects of variables like the number of days in the billing cycle, energy usage, fuel costs, and weather.

The app also provides tips for reducing the amount of electricity a household consumes, such as installing a programmable thermostat, using ceiling fans as needed, and placing a dehumidifier where appropriate.

By completing the home assessment, savings and goals sections, customers can use energy-saving tools to predict savings and create a personalized savings plan, set customized goals, and get tips on how to meet those goals. Optional alerts can notify customers by email or text when they have surpassed the desired energy usage or budget.

“Entergy Arkansas is dedicated to providing safe, reliable and cost-effective electricity to our customers,” said Considine, “and one way to do that is to help our customers save energy when possible. If you take advantage of the MyAdvisor tools and features, this technology can actually change the way you use electricity and manage your energy dollars.”

For more information, visit www.entergy.com/MyAdvisor or call 1-800-ENTERGY.

ABOUT ENTERGY ARKANSAS
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 722,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy delivers electricity to three million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $10 billion and approximately 12,5000 employees.

BOOZMAN, HASSAN INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION REQUIRING MANDATORY WHISTLEBLOWER TRAINING FOR VA EMPLOYEES
Senators Push to Strengthen Veterans Care Through Enhanced Cooperation Between VA Staff and Inspector General’s Office
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), both members of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced the bipartisan VA OIG Training Act of 2021 to require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide training to employees on reporting waste, fraud and abuse. This training would be in coordination with the VA Office of the Inspector General (VA OIG), which serves veterans and the public by conducting meaningful independent oversight of the VA.

 “Our veterans deserve nothing short of high-quality care, and the Inspector General’s Office plays an important role in helping ensure the VA is meeting its lawful obligations,” Boozman said. “Our bill will help foster cooperation between VA employees and the Inspector General so that reporting wrongdoing is a process all employees are trained in. Protecting our former servicemembers from negligence or willful misconduct must be a top priority.”

“VA employees must know to speak up if they see concerns with veterans’ care or other waste, fraud, and abuse,” said Senator Hassan. “This bipartisan bill will help ensure that VA employees are vigilant in order to protect the benefits and care that veterans have earned and deserve. Any wasted VA resource is one taken from a veteran, so I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this important bill.”

 “Effective oversight depends on VA employees reporting wrongdoing and cooperating fully with VA Office of Inspector General investigations, inspections, audits, and evaluations. Early and accurate reporting by VA staff can save patients’ lives, protect VA employees, ensure veterans timely receive needed benefits and services, and recoup billions of dollars in monetary recoveries and avoided costs,” said VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal. “This training will also advance the Secretary’s commitment to holding employees accountable, protecting whistleblowers and other complainants, and ensuring all information is obtained that contributes to fair and balanced oversight.”

 Currently, the VA offers an optional, 45-minute whistleblower training to employees. However, many VA employees opt out of the training and often lack the skills to spot the early indicators of fraud and other potential crimes. This bill would make the one-time training mandatory in order to reduce fraud and protect taxpayer dollars. The legislation also allows the VA OIG to contact VA employees via email at least twice per year without having to seek permission from the VA Secretary, as currently is the case.

The bill comes on the heels of the VA OIG’s report about its investigation of former Fayetteville VA pathologist Dr. Robert M. Levy who regularly performed his duties while impaired leading to the misdiagnosis of thousands of veterans. The report identified fear of retaliation among VA staff as one cause for the failure of employees who had observed Levy’s impaired behavior to come forward.

“The tragedy that resulted from the inexcusable negligence and lack of accountability at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center must not be forgotten or allowed to occur again. Requiring whistleblower training and facilitating increased contact between Department employees and the OIG’s office will help foster more awareness about when and how to report wrongdoing or suspicious behavior. This must happen in order to protect our veterans and assure them, and their loved ones, that their care is coming at the hands of qualified and trusted providers,” Boozman said.

July 21, 2021

SPECIAL CITY OF CAMDEN COUNCIL MEETING
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in Special Session on Tuesday night in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting order. Alderman Marvin Moore gave the invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk Donna Stewart called the roll. Cecil McDonald was present via Zoom. L.E. Lindsey, Chris Aregood, Marvin Moore, Lawrence Askew and William McCoy were in attendance. Terry Smith and James Bell were absent.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and vote on  Ordinance No. 06-21, an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an Interlocal Contract for Cooperative Purchasing; declaring that an exceptional situation exists; waving the requirements for competitive bidding; authorizing the Mayor to purchase a new Pumper Truck for the City of Camden Fire Department; amending the 2021 Annual Operating Budget; declaring an emergency; and for other purposes. Fire Chief Ron Nash gave a presentation regarding the pumper truck.

It was already in the plans to buy the new truck next year however, there will be a price increase on August 01st of this year and another price hike of 2 to 5% in February of 2022.  By approving the purchase now, the city will save on the $538,000 truck. There is a 2% discount for money paid in advance of delivery of the truck so the council voted to put $500,000 down and pay $38,000 upon delivery of the new truck The Council agreed on including a clause in the the contract charging a penalty if the truck is not delivered by January of 2023. The Council passed the ordinance unanimously

There was mention made of streetlights that are out about the city. If you notice a light out in your neighborhood, please get the number off of the light pole and Call City Hall and let them know.

CAMDEN SIDEWALK REPLACEMENT PUBLIC MEETING
There will be a public meeting held on July 28th at 6 pm to take comments on the final plans for sidewalk replacement. There will be a guided walk of the project area after the meeting. The drawings are also available for review by contacting the Building Inspector’s office at 836-5508.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T FALL FOR THE FAMILY EMERGENCY SCAM
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans about scam callers who will pull at your heartstrings and attempt to steal your money. Potential targets will receive a panicked phone call from a person claiming to be a relative, oftentimes a grandchild who is in jail or the hospital, who needs money right away. The con artists will ask for money to be wired to them immediately and even pose as an attorney to threaten callers. With wire transfers being similar to cash, the money cannot be retrieved.

“You should never wire money to someone claiming to be a family member in jail unless you have verified that information with another close family member,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This ‘family emergency’ scam is a recycled, common scam that is used to scare Arkansans into turning over their hard-earned money.”

Attorney General Rutledge recommends the following strategies to avoid falling victim to the “family emergency” scheme:
Resist pressure to act quickly.
Never give or wire money based on any unsolicited phone call.
Verify the family member’s location by directly calling another family member, the grandchild or the hospital or jail.
Do not send money to an unknown account or entity.
Ask the caller for his or her name, and if they cannot provide it, hang up immediately.
Have a plan in place when family members are traveling to easily identify whether a need is genuine.

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

 

USACE VICKSBURG DISTRICT ANNOUNCES POSTED RESTRICTIONS CONCERNING THE COMMERCIAL USE OF CORPS CAMPSITES
VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District is announcing the posting of additional restrictions regarding the commercial rental of campsites in Corps operated campgrounds through the Reservation One Stop (R1S) reservation system.

The following restrictions are posted under the authority of 36 CFR Section 327.12a:
Campsites at Corps operated facilities may not be reserved by individuals or businesses for the purpose of renting a Recreational Vehicle (RV) or any camping unit to other parties. This has been determined to be a commercial activity and thus only allowed in a leased commercial concession.

Rental RVs and other camping units may be used at Corps operated campgrounds, but the reservation must be made by the party who will be utilizing the campsite.

Reservations found to be made for the commercial purpose of attachment to an RV or other camping unit rental will be cancelled, and a citation may be issued to the violator under the authority of 36 CFR 327.12a.

There are no changes for campsites reserved for personal, non-commercial use.

USACE is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, managing more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas they provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages.

 

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday July 1st at Catherine's Bistro at 12:00 PM. The program will be presented by by Judge McAdoo.

 

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM THE DELTA VARIANT
(StatePoint) Despite significant gains in vaccinations and fighting COVID-19, the rise of the more transmissible Delta variant poses a significant risk for unvaccinated people.

“We are at a critical moment in the COVID-19 pandemic. We have the vaccines and public health measures necessary to protect people and stop the spread of the virus, but the onus is on all of us to get vaccinated in order to protect ourselves and our communities. Despite the gains we have made, the dangers -- particularly of the Delta variant -- are real and concerning,” says Gerald E. Harmon, M.D., American Medical Association (AMA) president.

According to the AMA, here is what you can do now to decrease the risk to you and your family.
1. Talk to your doctor. Speak to your own physician about vaccines. Physicians remain one of the most important sources for information about vaccines. And with 96 percent of physicians vaccinated, according to a recent AMA poll, they are prepared to answer your questions and speak about their own experience with vaccines.
2. Get vaccinated ASAP. If you’re not already vaccinated, get the first vaccine available to you. Three vaccines are now available in the United States: those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals. All are safe and highly effective at preventing severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalizations and death.
3. Immunize your child. Now is the time to immunize your child, if they are eligible, so they are fully vaccinated by the start of school. It takes five weeks for the two-dose Pfizer vaccine to be fully effective. With schools reopening in person in August in many places, and with just one in five children between 12-15 years old vaccinated, you should start the vaccination process as soon as possible.

Additionally, childhood and adolescent vaccination rates against diseases such as measles, pertussis and human papilloma virus dropped precipitously during the first few months of the pandemic stay-at-home orders. Although rates have picked up, they have not picked up enough to achieve catch-up coverage, so make sure your child’s immunizations are on track during well-child visits with their doctor.

“In order for communities to fully move on from COVID-era restrictions and ensure we don’t fall back due to spread of COVID variants, everyone must do their part now and get vaccinated. Too much is at stake,” says Dr. Harmon

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines by visiting getvaccineanswers.org or find a location to get vaccinated near you at vaccines.gov.

SAAC TO HOST RECEPTION FOR ARTIST JAY SHINN
The South Arkansas Arts Center will host a reception for visual artist Jay Shinn on Saturday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m. in the Merkle and Price Galleries. Shinn is an internationally known artist who originally hails from Magnolia, and now divides his time between Dallas, New York, and Berlin. His exhibition entitled "Step Forward/Stand Back," includes large-scale graphic abstract paintings, as well as several works incorporating elements of neon light.

The exhibition can be viewed at SAAC Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through the closing reception on July 24. Many of the pieces were specifically created for the exhibition, to maximize the drama between the paintings and the dark background of SAAC's gallery spaces.

"When I first considered exhibiting at SAAC, I only remembered the small gallery that was here when I was young," Shinn said. "I was so excited to see the full scope of the space, and very inspired by the dark walls."

Shinn, who was born in Magnolia and took some of his earliest art classes at SAAC, received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and is an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Known for his large-scale public art light installations of projection paintings and neon, Shinn has spent his career exploring minimal geometric abstraction through color and light. His works are in many private and public collections worldwide including Houston's Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport; Dallas Fort Worth International Airport; Texas A&M University's Zachary School of Engineering Education Complex; and the Kansas City Chief's Arrowhead Stadium.

The exhibition may be viewed between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the South Arkansas Arts Center, 110 E. 5th St., El Dorado. For more information, call 870-862-5474, or visit our website at www.saac-arts.org.

COTTON INTRODUCES FUND THE POLICE ACT
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced the Fund the Police Act to reallocate $50 billion in unspent funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to establish a Law Enforcement Support Trust Fund at the United States Department of Justice and to support two federal grant programs to hire, train, and equip more state and local police officers.

“Some Democrats seem eager to rewrite history and hide their advocacy for ‘defunding the police,’ but that’s exactly what they’ve tried to do. My bill will immediately fund two federal grant programs to support police officers and establish a trust to maintain these grants for decades to come,” said Cotton.

The Fund the Police Act will reallocate $50 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act to:

Immediately provide $1 billion each to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne JAG Grants) and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office Grants.

Create a Law Enforcement Support Trust Fund at the U.S. Department of Justice, which can be used to supply an additional $500 million per year for each of the Byrne JAG and COPS Office grant programs in future years.
 

COTTON STATEMENT ON U.S.-GERMAN DEAL ON RUSSIAN NORD STREAM 2 PIPELINE
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement regarding the news that the United States and Germany have reached a deal allowing completion of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline:

“This deal is a grave mistake. It gives Vladimir Putin enormous leverage over the European Union and NATO, with no promise of enforcement when Putin inevitably turns the gas off in the winter. President Biden should impose sanctions on the pipeline to ensure it’s never completed.”

 

COTTON STATEMENT ON ARKANSAS YOUTH TRANSGENDER LAW
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement regarding a court decision in Arkansas to place a hold on Arkansas’ law to ban transgender medical interventions for children:

“Our legislature made the reasonable decision to protect minors from dangerous and life-altering drugs, hormones, and surgeries. Against the will of Arkansans, liberal activists have now put those children back in harm’s way.”

July 19, 2021

CONGRESSMAN BRUCE WESTERMAN GIVES TIPS ON RENEWING YOUR PASSPORT
Congressman Bruce Westerman says that one of the most important parts of his job is helping Arkansans navigate federal agencies. Over the past few months he has heard from many constituents looking to apply for or renew passports now that international travel restrictions have loosened thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine. This influx of passport applications coupled with labor shortages and COVID-19 protocols at the U.S. State Department has created a backlog of applications and slower processing time. To ensure your international travel plans are not disturbed, please follow these best practices:

If traveling within the next three months, start the process of applying for a passport or passport renewal as soon as possible, and select the expedited and overnight mail options.

If traveling within two weeks and you have not started the process of applying for a passport, request an in-oerson appointment at any available passport facility. The appointment must be booked for a day and time within three days of your travel date. New appointment times are released daily, so refresh the page until an appointment time displays on the website.

If you are within two weeks of your travel date and have not received your passport, request the in-person appointment at any available passport facility.

Generally, you should not rely on an appointment to receive a passport. Plan around the processing times outlined on travel.state.gov/passports.

To check on the status of your passport application, visit the State Department’s website . If the information is not available, or you need help checking on the status, please contact Congressman Westerman’s office with your passport locator number, date of travel, reason for travel, and application date.

Keep in mind that many destinations and airlines require six months remaining passport validity for international travel.

Visit westerman.house.gov for a complete list of areas in Congressman Westerman;s Office can help. If you need assistance with any federal agency, contact his Hot Springs office at (501) 609-9796 or Pine Bluff office at (870) 536-8178.
 

BOOZMAN LEADS EFFORT RECOGNIZING 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF FULBRIGHT PROGRAM
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) introduced a resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, the United States’ flagship educational exchange established by former Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright.

“The Fulbright Program has been instrumental in promoting international cooperation and understanding for 75 years. Participants of this prestigious professional and cultural exchange help advance our nation’s foreign policy goals by developing meaningful global connections that also further their own higher education experiences. We can be proud of the Fulbright Program and the positive force it represents through its impact on U.S. diplomacy and our desire to help build a better future for people around the world,” Boozman said.

“It is a privilege to live in the state where the idea for this extraordinary international exchange program germinated. Alumni across the country and around the world honor this 75th anniversary by continuing the Fulbright tradition of education, advocacy and service throughout their lives,” said DeDe Long, Chairwoman of the Fulbright Association Board of Directors.

On August 1, 1946, President Harry Truman signed Fulbright’s legislation into law creating the international exchange program designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries. The Fulbright Program counts more than 400,000 students from 160 countries as alumni, including 60 Nobel Laureates and 39 heads of state.

The Senate resolution is cosponsored by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

July 16, 2021

SPECIAL CITY OF CAMDEN COUNCIL MEETING:
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have Special Meeting on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.
The Agenda is as follows:
A. Call To Order
B. Invocation
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. New Business
            I.  Ordinance No. 06-21, an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an Interlocal Contract for Cooperative Purchasing; declaring that an exceptional situation exists; waving the requirements for competitive bidding; authorizing the Mayor to purchase a new Pumper Truck for the City of Camden Fire Department; amending the 2021 Annual Operating Budget; declaring an emergency; and for other purposes.
F. OTHER BUSINESS/COUNCIL REMARKS
G. ADJOURNMENT

12 ARKANSAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR REGIONAL FINALISTS NAMED 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. The 12 regional finalists will be recognized at an event August 5 at the Governor’s Mansion. During the event, the four state semi-finalists will be announced.

“After such a challenging school year, it is my honor to recognize some of the best teachers around the state,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “The 2020-2021 school year was unprecedented; however, Arkansas’ teachers rose to the occasion. Unlike many other states, schools in Arkansas were open throughout the entire school year. It is because of dedicated teachers, like those recognized today, that our students didn’t miss a day of learning. Congratulations to the regional finalists, and thank you for leading by example both in and out of the classroom.”

The regional finalists listed below each will receive a certificate and a $1,000 prize provided by the Walton Family Foundation. 

Brigette Biley-Olatunji
Math, Grades 9-12
Arkansas High School
Texarkana Arkansas School District
Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative

Rozanna Brown
English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Grade 4Ballman Elementary School
Fort Smith School District
Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative

Allison Dolan
Social Studies, Grades 9-12
Don Tyson School of Innovation
Springdale School District
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Amy Farmer
Math, Grades 9-10
Academies of West Memphis
West Memphis School District
Great Rivers Education Service Cooperative

Jil’Lana Heard
Library Media Specialist, Grades 10-12
Lake Hamilton High School
Lake Hamilton School District
Dawson Education Service Cooperative

Shanon Hum
AVID College and Career Readiness Coordinator, Grades 6-8
Sylvan Hills Middle School
Pulaski County Special School District
Pulaski County

Vickie Lewis
English, Math, Reading, Science, & Social Studies, Grades 6-8
NewStart Academy ALE
Wynne School District
Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative

Amy Privett
Special Education, Grades 5-6
Walnut Ridge Middle School
Lawrence County School District
Northeast Arkansas Education Cooperative

Kaitlyn Ryals
Math, Grade 6
Bob and Betty Courtway Middle School
Conway School District
Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative

Jessica Saum
Special Education, Grades K-4
Stagecoach Elementary School
Cabot School District
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

Jessica Talley
Technology, Grades K-2
East Side Elementary School
Magnolia School District
South Central Service Cooperative

Angela Walters
Gifted Education, Grades K-5
East End Intermediate School
Sheridan School District
Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative

The Arkansas Teacher of the Year program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program, which recognizes teachers for their teaching and leadership skills. The four state semi-finalists that will be announced on August 5 will be selected from among the 12 regional finalists. One of the four state semi-finalists will be named the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year this fall and will apply to become the 2022 National Teacher of the Year. Some State Board of Education members may attend the August 5 event at the Governor’s Mansion, but no official business will be conducted.

To learn more about the ATOY program, visit https://bit.ly/3hJwC0g
 

ARKANSAS BLUE CROSS SUPPORTS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PROGRAMS IN ARKANSAS
Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas provides $5.29 million in grants to Arkansas programs to increase access and eliminate barriers
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 16, 2021) – The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas announced today $5.29 million in grants for behavioral health programs in Arkansas. This investment is focused on eight Arkansas programs led by six established organizations that will address the growing behavioral health crisis in the state. To meet the unique needs of Arkansans, the grants support programs that address behavioral health needs at all stages of life – from early childhood through adolescence, and into adulthood – along with helping to increase the number of behavioral health professionals serving our communities.

The Blue & You Foundation is a charitable foundation established and funded by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to promote better health in Arkansas.

Across the United States, behavioral health conditions, including mental and substance use disorders, have been on the rise since 2014 and have risen even more sharply since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Arkansas, the issue is particularly serious. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that incidents of suicide, along with symptoms of anxiety and depression, are prevalent in Arkansas at rates higher than the national average. There is also an unmet need for behavioral healthcare in the state with 65.7 percent of adolescents reported having not received treatment for a major depressive episode, also significantly higher than the national average.

“We believe that addressing the behavioral healthcare needs of our state requires collaboration with local organizations that have demonstrated success in increasing access, improving outcomes and reducing stigma,” said Curtis Barnett, president and CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross. “We recognize the impact behavioral health can have on the health of individuals, families, and communities as a whole. With these investments, we can help create healthier communities and give hope to those in need, while normalizing the conversation around behavioral health."

Addressing the behavioral health crisis requires a collaborative and coordinated approach. That is why the Blue & You Foundation selected eight innovative programs to receive this investment.

The programs selected for the Blue & You Foundation grants are:
Arkansas Children’s – will receive $1.5 million to integrate the nationally recognized HealthySteps program in pediatric primary care facilities in Arkansas.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – will receive $1.95 million to expand The Trauma Resource Initiative for Schools and AR-Connect programs. 

$1.2 million will go toward the expansion of the Trauma Resource Initiative for Schools, which provides K-12 school personnel in Arkansas resources to support children who experience trauma and provide trauma-related care navigation services as well as onsite resources in times of a crisis on a school campus.

$750,000 will support the growth and increased awareness of AR-Connect, which provides evidence-based care to individuals experiencing behavioral health symptoms and a crisis line that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Endowments – will be provided to expand the behavioral health workforce and train these specialists to practice in primary care settings.

A total of $1.735 million will be provided to three universities to support their Master of Social Work programs to train LCSWs in primary care settings. Each of the following schools will receive an endowment of $500,000 to directly support students in their Master of Social Work programs.

Arkansas State University
University of Arkansas – Fayetteville
University of Arkansas – Little Rock

Additionally, the Blue & You Foundation is providing funding to support start-up and administrative costs: Arkansas State University will receive an additional $30,000; the University of Arkansas/Fayetteville will receive an additional $100,000; and the University of Arkansas/Little Rock will receive an additional $105,000.

The Arkansas Chapter of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Arkansas) – will receive $105,000 to support the growth and maintenance of programs that provide resources to support individuals with mental health conditions and reduce stigma around the use of behavioral health services.

$78,000 will support NAMI High School Clubs and NAMI On Campus which provides peer support on high school and college campuses for students experiencing behavioral health symptoms, and combats stigma associated with behavioral health.

$27,000 will go toward the growth and awareness of NAMI Educational Support Groups that provide resources and training to build community networks that can offer support to individuals who may be struggling with mental illness or substance misuse.

“From the onset of our research and discovery process, we knew that we’d be more successful in achieving our goal to improve behavioral healthcare in Arkansas by finding established and proven programs within the Natural State,” said Rebecca Pittillo, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation. “As we engaged with organizations across the state, I was amazed at the innovative approaches to challenging issues and the tremendous results already achieved. The programs led by the grant recipients announced today will go a long way in helping provide immediate and long-term support for Arkansans in need.”

The programs awarded the Blue & You Foundation grants are designed to:
Build life-long health, resiliency, and well-being for children and families by standardizing early intervention practices and addressing the drivers of behavioral health conditions.
Expand the behavioral healthcare workforce and better integrate behavioral health into primary care, and
Remove barriers to care such as long-standing stigma around receiving behavioral health treatment.

Funding is awarded and available immediately and all grant recipients/program directors will oversee the allocation of their funding to activate these solutions as quickly as possible.

July 15, 2021

EL DORADO NATIVE STANDS TRANSIT WATCH ON FLIGHT DECK ABOARD U.S. NAVY WARSHIP
Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Jacob Daniels, from El Dorado, Arkansas, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) security underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting Full Ship Shock Trials. The U.S. Navy conducts shock trials of new ship designs using live explosives to confirm that our warships can continue to meet demanding mission requirements under the harsh conditions they might encounter in battle.

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

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

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

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

Do NOT answer or engage with the text message. These scams are attempting to get a response from group members to steal personal information off the phone.

Block the calling or texting number on your phone and delete the texts.

If the calling number is the spoofed contact of someone you know unblock the number after a few hours or days; otherwise, the person with that number will not be able to reach you.

Cell phone users may have an option to filter and block messages from their phones directly. Users can filter and block messages on an iPhone and block a phone number on an Android phone.

iPhone and Android users also have the ability to report spam and junk messages that are sent to their phones. iPhone users can find additional information here while Android users can find information here.

Any cell phone user can also report text messages by copying the message and forwarding it to 7726 (SPAM) and reporting the message to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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

THE SYMETRA TOUR'S MURPHY USA EL DORADO SHOOTOUT PRESENTED BY PEPSICO ANNOUNCES SEPTEMBER TOURNAMENT DATES
Murphy USA and the Symetra Tour announce 2021 El Dorado Shootout dates for the end of September.
EL DORADO, AR, (July 14, 2021) – Murphy USA is excited to announce the 2021 Murphy USA
El Dorado Shootout dates. After taking a pause in 2020 to construct a beautiful clubhouse at the course, the El Dorado Shootout is back and better than ever this fall. Since hosting the first El Dorado Shootout Tournament in 2015, this event has become a favorite among both the female athletes on the Symetra Tour and those living in the South Arkansas community.

The 2021 Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, presented by PepsiCo, will be held September 18th through the 26th at Mystic Creek Golf Club in El Dorado. Numerous activities for all ages will occur throughout the week leading up to the Tournament, including the popular Junior Clinic (children ages six to eighteen) and a Pro-Am scramble that pairs Symetra Tour professionals with various local and national vendor partners. 

This will mark the sixth year that Murphy USA and the El Dorado community will host this 54-hole stroke play format event that welcomes a player field comprised of the top-aspiring female professional golfers from around the world. Competitors will vie for a $175,000 total purse, an increase of $25,000 from 2019. The winning player of the 2021 tournament will receive $26,250 and take a significant step toward obtaining her LPGA Tour Card for the 2022 season.

The top-10 players on the Symetra year-end Race for the Card money list receive their full-time LPGA Tour Cards for the following season. Symetra Tour players have gone on to win a total of 450 LPGA Tour events. Since 2013, eleven players from the Symetra Tour/Road to the LPGA have gone on to win majors, including recent winners Sophia Popov (2020 AIG Women's Open) and Patty Tavatanakit (2021 ANA Inspiration).

The El Dorado Shootout, recognized as the Sporting Event of the Year by the Arkansas Festivals & Events Association multiple times, provides El Dorado a valuable platform to showcase its spectacular downtown, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues. It also provides the opportunity to give back to the community. Each year a local non-profit organization is chosen to benefit from the annual Tournament. This year, the Tournament has the honor of giving back to both a local charity and a national one. The two charities that have been selected are #TeamCorrie Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen. With both charities benefiting women with breast cancer, and the tournament providing such an amazing opportunity for these female athletes, we have chosen the tagline #ChampioningWomen to capture the spirit of this year's event.

For more information about the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, visit the Tournament's website at www.eldoradoshootout.com, and don't forget to follow us at Facebook.com/road2eldo, Twitter.com/ROAD2ELDO, and Instagram @road2eldo.

About the Symetra Tour
The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 41st competitive season in 2021. With the support of entitlement partner Symetra, the Tour's mission is to prepare the world's best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Symetra's inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to $4.0 million in prize money awarded in 2019 and 2021. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 445 LPGA titles. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, as well as Facebook.com/Road2LPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA, and Instagram @road2lpga.

 

BOOZMAN CALLS ON BIDEN TO UPHOLD TITLE 42 BORDER EXPULSIONS
Amid Border Crisis and COVID-19 Spike, Policy Must Continue to Safeguard Americans
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is pressing the Biden administration to preserve Title 42, the public health order that allows U.S. border officials to quickly remove illegal immigrants at the southern border to prevent the spread of COVID-19 rather than detain them in congregate settings within the U.S.

“I call on the administration to use some common sense to keep this tool in the toolbox as we face a truly unprecedented surge on our border,” Boozman said during a press conference with Republican senators.

Boozman also joined a group of GOP colleagues in sending a letter to the president highlighting the overcrowding at immigration facilities and how ending Title 42 would further intensify the crisis at the southern border.

“Revoking the authority of officials to rapidly expel illegal migrants under Title 42 without a clear plan in place to handle the stress this population will place on the system and on border communities will further exacerbate the crisis at the southwestern border,” the senators wrote.