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JUNE 21, 2018







MAGNOLIA – Dr. Karen Landry of Texarkana, Texas, has been named chair of the Department of Nursing at Southern Arkansas University.

In making the announcement Wednesday, Dr. David Lanoue, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said, “We are delighted that Dr. Landry has chosen to come to SAU. She has a wealth of experience as a successful nursing educator, and a clear passion for training the next generation of nurses in southern Arkansas. She is energetic, positive and very student-centered. She will be a great leader for our nursing department.”

Landry is a native of Louisiana. She received both her BS and MS in Nursing from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and her PhD in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. She presently serves as department chair and director of nursing at Texas A&M University-Texarkana, Texas, where she is accountable for the planning, implementation and evaluation of the professional education program. She also assists the college dean in designated college initiatives.

She has also served as an assistant professor in graduate and undergraduate studies in the College of Nursing at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and as a Registered Nurse at the Louisiana State University Health Science Center in Shreveport, Louisiana.  In addition, Dr. Landry served as associate professor (tenured) at Northwestern State University prior to her retirement in 2009.

“I am honored and excited to be selected to lead Southern Arkansas University’s Department of Nursing,” Landry said.  “The Department has such a rich history of educating exceptional, professional nurses, and I am grateful to continue this nursing legacy.”

She said her primary focus will be “to strengthen the educational framework for preparing professional nurses. This continues the legacy of commitment demonstrated by SAU and the community.”

She expects that the program will flourish and expand in the near future. “My vision is for the department to be an active partner with organizations within this community, region, state, and globally to improve healthcare outcomes. “

Landry said she is excited to bring to SAU more than 35 years’ nursing experience and more than 23 years’ academic experience. “I am so excited to be a part of this wonderful community known as Magnolia, Arkansas.” She is the daughter of Mrs. Ann Ainsworth and the late Bobby L. Ainsworth, longtime members of the Magnolia community.













JUNE 19, 2018

SAAC Announces Theatre Camp/Penguin Project Crossover Opportunity

The South Arkansas Arts Center will offer students a unique opportunity to participate in two musical theatre experiences as the summer comes to a close and registration is now open at the SAAC office. The MTI Broadway Junior production of "Honk, JR." will grace the stage for both a week-long Theatre Camp as well as the 2018 Penguin Project.

Students in grades 2-9 can sign up now for "Honk, JR." Theatre Camp, scheduled for July 23-27. Grades 2-5 will attend from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., and grades 6-9 will attend from 1 to 5 p.m., with both groups invited for a camp orientation July 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 pm., and a performance for families on Friday evening at 6 p.m.

After the curtain closes on the camp production, SAAC will launch our first-ever crossover production, by again staging "Honk, JR.", this time as the 2018 Penguin Project, with Theatre Camp actors and other interested kids ages 12 and up invited to participate as mentors. Penguin will kick off with a week-long Penguin Mini Camp on August 6-10, from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. Rehearsals will begin the following week, culminating in ticketed performances on September 14 and 15.

"We hope that as many theatre campers as possible will consider staying with us as mentors for the Penguin Project production as well," said SAAC Executive Director Laura Allen. "This gives them the opportunity to get to know the project as actors first, which means they will be even better equipped to work with the special needs artists during the Penguin Project, building stronger relationships along the way."

The Penguin Project allows children with special needs to perform in a live stage production, in front of an audience, from its starring roles to its ensemble. Each special-needs artist is paired with a mentor of similar age, who guides them through the production from start to finish, helping them learn lines, dances, songs, and stage blocking. The children operate as a symbiotic pair throughout the entire process and appear on stage together.

Started by Dr. Andy Morgan, a pediatrician who specializes in the care of children with special needs who has also been actively involved in community theatre, The Penguin Project began 11 years ago in Peoria, Illinois. Today, the program has been spread to 7 locations across the country, including the South Arkansas Arts Center.

"We are so excited to be welcoming The Penguin Project back to the SAAC stage in 2018," said Allen. "While we know not every camper will be able to participate as a mentor, and not all our mentors will be available for Penguin camp, we love offering the opportunity."

For more information about Theatre Camp, sponsored by First Financial Bank, or the Penguin Project, sponsored by LANXESS, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the SAAC website at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.



Six junior and senior high-school students from Calhoun, Dallas and Ouachita counties are attending a Medical Applications of Science for Health (M*A*S*H) camp June 11-22 at the Dallas County Medical Center in Fordyce. The students and their instructor are Dana Smith, Director of Pharmacy at DCMC and M*A*S*H coordinator, Kayli Heigelmann of Bearden, Carrington Word of Bearden, Kaylee Humphries of Fordyce, Tymber Hodnett of Hampton, Maurion Waller of Fordyce, and Jasmine Luna of Fordyce.

The two-week summer medical enrichment experience allows these high school students to shadow health professionals and attend workshops that enhance their experiences in the health-care field. They learn about pharmacy, therapy, CPR, anatomy, surgery, emergency medical response and other medical careers. The program hopes to encourage rural youth interested in medical fields to continue their education and then return to rural areas to work.

M*A*S*H students are sponsored by county Farm Bureaus and the M*A*S*H Partnership, which includes the University of Arkansas for Medical Science’s Regional Centers, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Arkansas Farm Bureau and Baptist Health. Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private farm and rural advocacy organization of more than 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.





The South Arkansas Arts Center announces the cast for its summer musical production, the iconic and ever popular "Singin' in the Rain", sponsored by Murphy USA. The musical will run July 12-15 and 18-22.

Congratulations to the talented cast which includes many SAAC stage veterans and familiar faces. Alexander Jeffery can be seen as the suave Hollywood leading man Don Lockwood, originally portrayed by Gene Kelly. Brandon Wallace will play Cosmo Brown, Don's wacky and playful best friend and former dance partner. Laura Purvis portrays the upcoming, strong-willed actress Kathy Seldon, who emerges as Don's saving grace in his talkies. Hali Pinson will be featured as Lina Lamont, a tone-deaf singer who fails to transfer from silent films and causes Don great distress. Successful, magnanimous, film producer R. F. Simson will be played by Corey Sublett, high strung, frustrated director Roscoe Dexter by Mike Means, and young starlet and Lina's best friend Zelda Zanders by Lainey Walthall.

The show also features Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown throughout their lives. Meredith Stone and Rusty Orrell will portray Don and Cosmo in their Vaudeville years, respectively. Maggie Meyer and Jace Waters will play young Don and Cosmo in their childhood years. Rounding out the cast will be Hannah Davis, Abby Cate, Brandy Walthall, Savannah Reynolds and Addie Bosanko.

The ensemble is filled by Brooklyn Alexander, Armani Amos, Lyric Amos, Thomas Brewster, Carmelo Brown, Alex Brummett, Kenny Burns, Emma Daniel, Josie Denson, Tiffanie Duke, Blake Goff, Bill Meyer, Madelyn Poss, Holland Ruff, Steve Shofner, Bob Stephenson and Justin Yates.

Director Lisa Newton is thrilled about her cast and said, "I'm having such a great time directing this production. We have a diverse cast, full of fresh faces to the stage and returning SAAC actors."

"Singin' in the Rain", called the "Greatest Movie Musical of All Time" is faithfully and lovingly adapted by Broadway legends, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, from their original award-winning screenplay.
Each unforgettable scene, song and dance is accounted for, including the show-stopping title number, complete with an onstage rainstorm! Hilarious situations, snappy dialogue and a hit-parade score of Hollywood standards make "Singin' in the Rain" the perfect entertainment for any fan of the golden age of movie musicals.

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














MAGNOLIA – One could say that Jamie Waller’s career in banking began with a crime.

Not a crime on his part, of course. Instead, it was one Jamie was trying to stop.

As a senior in his last semester in college at Southern Arkansas University, Jamie was working at Stage one evening when someone ran out of the store with some merchandise.

Jamie made a split decision – he ran after the shoplifter with the intention of retrieving the merchandise.

As he ran across the parking lot, he bumped into a shopper exiting what was then Kroger’s. That customer just happened to be Todd Smith, then president of People’s Bank.

“He told me if I ever needed a job, to give him a call,” Jamie tells the story now with a laugh.

Jamie took him up on that offer, and the rest, as they say, is history as Jamie Waller was recently named president of Peoples Bank of Magnolia.

The beginning of his career is certainly unique, the type of story the people talk about for years. Yet it was that same admiration for long-time legendary bankers in Magnolia that attracted Jamie to the business from an early age.

“I’ve always had an interest in banking,” explained Jamie. “I’ve always respected bankers as leaders in the community.”

A Magnolia native, Jamie graduated from Magnolia High School in 1999. Growing up, he developed a love for the city and the people who lived in it. Jamie decided to stay close to home and attended SAU. “I felt like I had a better chance to succeed if I remained in the community.”

He began as a marketing major, but then his interests led him to accounting and finance. He graduated from the Rankin College of Business with a degree in general business with an emphasis in finance. Jamie enjoyed his accounting and finance classes, and especially enjoyed the classes taught by Dr. David Ashby, now of Mustard Seed Wealth Management of Magnolia. “I thought Dr. Ashby’s classes helped me understand how the concepts worked.”

He is also a graduate of the Graduate Banking School at Louisiana State University.

Jamie has learned banking through almost every vantage point a bank has to offer. At Peoples Bank, he has worked as a general office assistant, teller, loan clerk, loan assistant and branch manager.

Once an admirer of the bankers in the community, Jamie has been following their examples through his involvement in a number of community groups and activities: he’s the former president of the Arkansas Bankers’ Association Emerging Leaders Board, treasurer of the Magnolia Rotary Club, United Way Board member, Magnolia City Council member, SAU Alumni Association Board member and former president, Magnolia Regional Medical Center treasurer and Board member, and is an official starter for the Magnolia High School track meets.

Jamie and his wife, Caroline, have one daughter, Sloane. Jamie is just as dedicated to being a great husband and father as he is to his career.

“I want to maintain that personal work/life balance so that I can be the dad and husband I want to be and also be the community leader I want to be.”

He learned those values, dedication to family and hard work, from his parents, Sammie and Kay Waller of Magnolia.

“I credit everything I’ve been able to accomplish to them. Without their guidance, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Jamie.

It’s those same values that Jamie encourages students to embrace on their quest for career success.

“I didn’t just do what they asked me to do at my jobs – I did more. That will separate you from other employees,” said Jamie, when asked what advice he would give to current students. “You have to work hard and be dedicated, and don’t always just for every greener pasture early in your career. Sometimes loyalty will pay off in the long run.”

Story by Mark Trout, instructor of Marketing at SAU's Rankin College of Business


JUNE 18, 2018

Arkansas Recycling Coalition to convene 28th Annual Conference and Trade Show October 8-10, 2018 ARC to host annual meeting at The Best Western inn of The Ozarks and Convention Center in Eureka Springs

The Arkansas Recycling Coalition (ARC) will hold its 28th Annual Conference and Trade Show, Monday, October 8, through Wednesday, October 10, at the Best Western Inn of The Ozarks and Convention Center in Eureka Springs.  The theme of this year’s meeting is “Pathways to Sustainability,” and John Bradburn, recently retired from General Motors, will serve as the keynote speaker.  Mr. Bradburn spent 39 years with General Motors before retiring in March of this year.  His last 22 years with GM was as global manager of waste-reduction efforts.   Several other national speakers will be presenting.

Workshops and sessions will present “Addressing Safety Concerns at your Recycling Centers”;  ”A Focus on Sustainability Programs”;  “Working (across) the Generations”; “Advancing Recycling”; “Waste Recovery Innovations”;  “Keeping your Facility Relevant: New vs. Retrofitting”; ” “Sustainable Living”;  “Tools for Sustainable Materials Management”;  “Solid Waste Planning: What can you do in your Community”;  “Knowledge from the Generations Roundtable” and “The National Sword”.  Attendees will also have opportunities to participate in the annual golf tournament, a bus tour and evening receptions.  The conference also showcases a trade show of exhibitors.

An Awards Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, October 9, to honor the outstanding recyclers in Arkansas.

Continuing Education Units (CEU) are available to participants.  To learn more about this conference or to register go to: or contact the Arkansas Recycling Coalition office at 866-290-1429.














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WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton along with U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced misconduct by a former VA pathologist at the Fayetteville Veterans Affairs Medical Center.


“This alleged gross negligence by a physician charged with caring for our veterans is a disturbing revelation and a clear failure to uphold the Department of Veterans Affairs mission to the men and women who served our nation in uniform. The errors and reckless actions of this former VA pathologist put the health of our veterans at risk and will not be tolerated.


“Unfortunately, at this time, we don’t know the extent of this doctor’s misconduct. We call on the VA to notify patients whose cases were evaluated by this pathologist to thoroughly and expeditiously review their results so veterans can get the appropriate care they earned. Those impacted deserve nothing less.


“Congress has provided the VA with the tools to remove bad actors. Failing to dismiss physicians and any other employees whose work is unsatisfactory does a disservice to our veterans. We are committed to rigorous oversight to protect the men and women who sacrificed and served our country and will hold those who break the law and undermine the mission of the VA accountable.”


Veterans who have questions or concerns can call 479-582-7995 or 866-388-5428. This call center is staffed by VA nurses specifically to answer questions and address patient concerns about this review process.






JUNE 15, 2018



After a two year hiatus, the South Arkansas Arts Center announces it will produce a new Penguin Project play, “Honk, Jr.”.  Lynn Gunter, who has directed many times on the SAAC stage, will serve as director for this special project, along with Cassie Hickman, who has worked with SAAC as well, as music director. Sponsored by LANXESS, the production will run September 14 and 15, 2018.
"I love working with children,” Gunter said.  “They are capable of great quality theatre when they are encouraged, instructed, pushed, stretched, and held accountable. Through that process, seeing a child rise up to the potential they know they have and seeing the pride they hold in their eyes from such hard work motivates me to work hard for them.  It is my strong desire to give young people opportunities to perform in safe surroundings, both in content and influence.  Penguin Project fits right in with that goal." 
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.  Her favorite productions that she has directed have been "Alice in Wonderland, JR" (2015) with the local homeschool group, "Fiddler on the Roof" (2017) and "The Crucible" (2016) with the SAAC Teen Drama Club, and "Bible Truths with Dr. Seuss" (2018) at WSCS. Gunter has a BA in Speech Communications, traveled the Tri-State and national collegiate circuit in forensics and debate, and has directed 8 productions on the SAAC stage, 4 productions at Westside Christian School, and countless VBS productions in various churches. 
Hickman has been involved at SAAC for years, also, having been the music director for many of the area home school productions, including “Alice In Wonderland”, “Into The Woods”,  “Godspell”, “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Music Man”.  Hickman had two years’ experience in theatre in high school and some in college, as well, and also led the musical part of worship services for Cross Life Church for 5 years.  She has a 14 year old daughter who is interested in drama, and that is what brought Hickman back to the theatre.  “I love to see the kids ‘get’ the music and be able to give it back to the audience so they ‘get it’, too.”
The Penguin Project is a unique opportunity for children with special needs to perform in a live stage production in front of an audience. Through targeted outreach, special needs children are recruited as artists and cast in the production, from starring roles to ensemble. Each special-needs artist is paired with a mentor of similar age, who guides them through the production from start to finish, helping them learn lines, dances, songs, and blocking. The children operate as a pair throughout the entire process and appear on stage together, resulting in a full theatrical performance, with costumes, sets, and music.
For more information about Penguin Project or this production, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.
Penguin Project Director Lynn Gunter (left) and Music Director Cassie Hickman (right)

JUNE 14, 2018













Griffin Selects Arkansas Chef to Compete in Louisiana's Great American Seafood Cook-off

Says, event 'helps promote Arkansas tourism and showcase Arkansas's
culinary excellence to the rest of the nation'



LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today announced that he has selected chef Maudie Schmitt to represent Arkansas in the 2018 Great American Seafood Cook-off in New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 4, 2018. Schmitt, who was born in New Orleans, is the chef and co-owner of Cafe Rue Orleans in Fayetteville, which opened in January 2001. 


"I am excited for chef Maudie Schmitt to represent Arkansas at the Great American Seafood Cook-off. Arkansans already know we have great food, but this event helps promote Arkansas tourism and showcase Arkansas's culinary excellence to the rest of the nation. In 2016 we had a number of enthusiastic Arkansans travel to New Orleans to show their support for Arkansas's culinary excellence, and I hope even more will join me this year."


In 2016, Lieutenant Governor Griffin nominated head chef John Munday and sous chef Marshall Smith from Samantha's Tap Room and Wood Grill of Little Rock. The competitors from Samantha's took home 2nd place at the competition. 


No Arkansas taxpayer dollars will be spent toward Arkansas's participation in the cook-off. Arkansas's chef will be responsible for all of her own expenses, including travel, accommodations, and the cost of ingredients. 



About Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin


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


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












News Release - Arkansas State Police Public Affairs Office | Contact Information: (501) 618 - 8232|








JUNE 13, 2018

  (LITTLE ROCK) – Trooper Levi Fleming, 26, of Brinkley, was presented the prestigious Arkansas State Trooper of the Year Award today during the annual state police awards ceremony.

  Trooper Fleming was among a group of more than 30 Arkansas State Police personnel recognized today for cumulative work or assignments involving particular incidents during the 2017 calendar year.


Governor Asa Hutchinson (from left), Trooper Levi Fleming, Trooper of the Year, Arkansas State Police Director, Colonel Bill Bryant




  The recipient of the Trooper of the Year Award personifies the highest standards of public service and has demonstrates a record of esteemed law enforcement action.

  Trooper Fleming, a four-year veteran of the department, was specifically recognized for his January 21, 2017 action in response to a disturbance call at a DeValls Bluff residence.  An intoxicated individual had forced his way into the residence, armed himself with a shotgun, and doused a portion of the garage and himself with gasoline.  While Trooper Fleming was present, the individual then ignited a fire which consumed the individual and a portion of the garage.

  Trooper Fleming armed himself with a fire extinguisher, activated the device and entered the garage, successfully extricating the victim who had sustained serious burns across more than forty percent of his body.

  Trooper Fleming was also among eight state troopers today to receive the department’s life saving award.

  Kim McJunkins, 55, of Hempstead County, was presented the Arkansas State Police Civilian Employee of the Year Award.  McJunkins joined the department twenty-eight years ago and serves today as an administrative specialist for the Criminal Investigation Division, Company C, headquartered at Hope.

  McJunkins was recognized for her cumulative record of service, in particular for her work in case research, management of the administrative duties within Company C, and her most recent training assignments related to the implementation of the division’s new records/case management system. 

  Other award recipients recognized today are:

  Distinguished Meritorious Service – (The highest award presented by the department for meritorious service or clearly outstanding achievement.)

  Special Agent (Sergeant) Larry J. Carter, 44, of Atkins, was presented the Distinguished Meritorious Service Award for his efforts on May 11, 2017 in Yell County when he negotiated with a man suspected of killing three individuals, including a sheriff’s deputy.  S/A Carter was able to arrange the release of a hostage during the encounter and the eventual surrender of the suspect to state troopers and local authorities.

  Special Agent (Corporal) Becky Vacco, 43, of Flippin, was presented the Distinguished Meritorious Service Award for her cumulative work across three north Arkansas counties between September 21, 2017 – February 1, 2018 involving the murder of a 23-month old child and the battery of two other infant children.  S/A Vacco successfully closed the cases with the conviction of the individuals responsible for the crimes.

  Trooper’s Cross – (*Presented to a trooper or civilian employee who demonstrates extraordinary courage.)

  Trooper Justin Williams, 37, of Pine Bluff, was presented the Trooper’s Cross for his valiant effort to save a woman whose vehicle had been engulfed by fire following a collision.  Without regard for his own life as flames ignited part of his uniform, Trooper Williams persisted in finding a means to eventually pull the woman from the burning car.

  Lifesaving – (*Presented to a trooper or civilian employee who through direct personal intervention, sustains another person’s life.)

  Sergeant David Williams, 44, of DeValls Bluff, received a lifesaving award for his aid to a fellow trooper who had entered a burning garage to save an armed intruder.

  Sergeant Jeff Plouch, 37, of Benton, received a lifesaving award for his rapid response after noticing the passenger in a vehicle he had stopped was unresponsive and appeared to be in cardiac arrest, possibly from a heroin overdose.  Sergeant Plouch administered a lifesaving drug (Naloxone) and began chest compressions to assist the victim until emergency personnel arrived.

  Corporal Benjamin Harrison, 51, of Pencil Bluff, received a lifesaving award for his response to assist another law enforcement agency and their officers who had encountered an individual who appeared to be unconscious from a drug overdose.  Trooper Harrison administered Naloxone to the individual and was able to revive the victim while awaiting the arrival of emergency medical personnel.

  Corporal Brandon Cook, 53, of Malvern, received a lifesaving award for his response to an attempted suicide in Garland County.  Upon his arrival he entered a lake, swimming nearly sixty yard to rescue the woman who had jumped into the lake.

  Corporal David Outlaw, 41, of Monticello and Trooper Lukas Tankersley, 24, of Lake Village both received life saving awards for saving the life of a Monticello gunshot victim.  Both troopers used their training to stop the loss of blood from the victim and provide medical care until the arrival of emergency medical personnel.

   Trooper First Class Chris Aaron, 35, of Almyra, received a lifesaving award for his assessment of an Arkansas county man who had sustained an accidental gunshot.  Realizing that waiting for emergency medical assistance may further endanger the life of the victim, Trooper Aaron exercised his training to control the loss of blood and stabilize the victim, then transported to individual to a local hospital.

   Official Commendations (*Presented for acts of exemplary service and awarded before the Arkansas State Police Commission during the course of 2017 prior to the today’s ceremony.  Supporting information available upon request.)

Major Forrest Marks 

Highway Patrol Division, Western Region Commander
Special Agent (Corporal) Mark Brice

Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
Corporal Todd Harris

Highway Patrol Division, Troop C (Greene County)
Special Agent (Corporal) Jackie Stinnett

Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
Special Agent (Corporal) David Small

Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
Special Agent (Corporal) Tony Haley

Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
Corporal Michael Bowman

Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Crawford County)
Trooper First Class Kurt Ziegenhorn

Highway Patrol Division, Troop D (Woodruff County)
Trooper First Class Corey Skarda

Highway Patrol Division, Troop D (Prairie County)
Trooper First Class Andy Metcalf

Highway Patrol Division, Troop C (Greene County)
Trooper First Class Derek Nietert

Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Franklin County)
Trooper First Class Matt Price

Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Crawford County)
Special Agent (TFC) Buster Rinks

Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
Trooper First Class Mark Blackerby

Highway Patrol Division, Troop A (Lonoke County)
Trooper Ben Ibarra

Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Franklin County)
Trooper James Taylor

Highway Patrol Division, Troop D (Prairie County)
Trooper Gabe Monroe

Highway Patrol Division, Troop A (Pulaski County)
Trooper Jason Fagan

Highway Patrol Division, Troop C (Poinsett County)
Trooper Matthew Schanzlin

Highway Patrol Division, Troop F (Ouachita County)
Trooper Steven Payton

Highway Patrol Division, Troop D (Crittenden County)
Trooper Matthew West

Highway Patrol Division, Troop D (Saint Francis County)
Trooper Josh Elmore

Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Crawford County)
Trooper Andrew Pannell

Highway Patrol Division, Troop B (White County)


Daniel Baker

(administrative headquarters, auto shop mechanic)


Distinguished Service Award – (*Presented to local citizens at large or law enforcement officers of another agency who have rendered aid to Arkansas State Troopers during the course of their duties.)

   Clifton Cabaness, Sr. and Clifton Cabaness Jr., both of Fort Smith received Distinguished Service Awards for stopping to assist an Arkansas State Trooper and their effort to seize one suspect and render aid to the trooper who had been met with resistance by a second suspect.

  Joe Johnson, of Lonsdale, received the Distinguished Service Award for his roadside stop and assistance to a state trooper being met with resistance by a suspect being taken into custody.

  Terry Davis, of Pine Bluff, received the Distinguished Service Award for coming to the aid of an Arkansas State Trooper who battled fire that had engulfed a damaged car and its driver trapped inside the vehicle.

  Ranotta Moser, of Batesville, received the Distinguished Service Award for her heroic life saving measures following a shooting incident that left a Batesville police officer critically wounded.
















WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after joining his colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee to approve the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which is commonly referred to as the Farm Bill:


“The farm economy is in a much different place than the last time the committee gathered around the table to debate a Farm Bill.


Net farm income is approximately half of what it was then; farm bankruptcies are up by 39 percent since 2014; financing is becoming more expensive; input costs are rising; and the trade outlook is volatile and uncertain.


Farmers, across the country—regardless of which state they reside in and what crops they grow—are hurting. As members of this committee, we must produce a Farm Bill in a timely manner to provide certainty to the folks who feed and clothe our nation and the world.


I commend the leadership of Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow. They had a heavy lift to find common ground amongst the committee. The overwhelming bipartisan support at the mark-up shows they were successful in drafting a Farm Bill that meets the diverse needs of producers across all regions of the country.”

JUNE 13, 2018











MAGNOLIA – A new Field Experiences course at Southern Arkansas University this spring sent 10 students embarking on a six-day adventure through national parks in West Texas and New Mexico.

The students prepared for their expeditions to Guadalupe National Park, Carlsbad Caverns and Big Bend National Park for four months during the lecture portion of the class, which was held for the first time ever this past spring.

“The course was set up to be very democratic,” said Dr. Kate Sheehan, assistant professor of biology. Students made recommendations, voiced their concerns, and voted on the locations and activities for the 2018 trip.

Field Experiences is designed to give students a collegiate experience in which they get to know one another and make new friends while planning for an outdoor trip. “They decided which parks they would like to visit and which hikes we’d do,” Sheehan said. “I gave recommendations, but if they had a preference for something else, then we made modifications.”

The students, along with two chaperones, hiked Guadalupe Peak, a trek of more than 8 miles round-trip, and camped in the national park. They then drove to Carlsbad Caverns – which was physically cooler than being in the desert – and from there journeyed to Big Bend, where they camped. The trip included horseback riding, canoeing and swimming in the Rio Grande. Students drew on the many components they researched during the in-class section of the course.

They were able to plan in advance things they wanted to experience and observe, Sheehan said. “Some wanted to find fossils in the desert, others wanted to find certain organisms or wildlife, others wanted to view certain constellations,” she said. “The possibilities were limitless.”

The expedition rented cars and drove hours to Guadalupe, the site of the first hike.

“The desert was so much bigger than the students had imagined,” Sheehan said. “It was my first time traveling to these parks, too, so we all had a bit of a learning curve,” she laughed. “It was an eye-opening experience.”

Two documentary-style videos were made of the trip, as well as a mixed-media collage, all of which were presented to the public at SAU. “They had a week to put everything together for their presentations when we got back.”

“The course is not open to just science or biology students,” she said. “I want the next course to have students from the different colleges involved. I would love to take students from the College of Liberal and Performing Arts. I want them to be exposed to different approaches, different modes of thought.”

She said the students on this year’s trip forged new friendships. “It was an amazing thing to see.”

The SAU Foundation, the College of Science and Engineering and the SAU Office of the President helped fund the trip, and some fund-raising was also done by the students. “One-hundred percent of the cost was covered,” she said. “Students only paid out of pocket for food.”

She thanked SAU for sponsoring the trip and looks forward to next year’s outing.

Participating students were: Ashley Albrecht, a junior majoring in Marine Biology, of Hot Springs, Arkansas; Kira Gibbs, a senior majoring in Wildlife Biology & Conservation, of Lonoke, Arkansas; Alexandria Hunter, a sophomore majoring in Biological Science, of Arkadelphia, Arkansas; Allysia Hurt, a senior majoring in Marine Biology, of Hope, Arkansas; Luke Lockeby, a junior majoring in Engineering, of Mineral Springs, Arkansas; Megan McClellan, a junior majoring in Wildlife Biology & Conservation, of Cabot, Arkansas; Sarah (Brooke) Morris, a senior majoring in Agricultural Science: Plant Science, of Annona, Texas; Emily Phillips, a senior majoring in Wildlife Biology & Conservation, of Elkins, Arkansas; Catherine Sanchez, a senior majoring in Marine Biology, of Little Rock, Arkansas; and Sara Seay, a senior majoring in Agricultural Science: Animal Science, of Atascadero, California.

Anyone interested in contributing to the 2019 trip would be able to do so via next year’s SAU Giving Day, when Muleriders unite and support SAU. Students interested in applying for the 2019 trip are asked to visit

JUNE 12, 2018






ADE to Host My School Info Training Sessions

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education invites educators, students, parents and the public to participate in one of two upcoming in-depth training sessions for the My School Info website. 

Launched in November 2016, My School Info is an online website that reports school and district data, such as enrollment, testing and financial information. The site allows users to compare schools and districts, analyze trends over multiple years, and view the School Performance Reports and Every Student Succeeds Act School Index report.

Since ADE posted the interactive ESSA School Index reports and school ratings data in April, the number of total website page views has dramatically increased to more than 674,000.

“My School Info continues to evolve to include more data and features that can be used to make informed decisions about education,” Dr. Eric Saunders, ADE’s assistance commissioner for Research and Technology, said. “These upcoming sessions give attendees the opportunity to dig deeper into the system and better understand how to access important data that can guide conversations about education around the state."

To register to attend one of the free sessions, please click the link below.

















Park Service Agrees Butterfield Overland Trail Worthy of

National Recognition, Preservation


WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) announced that the National Park Service (NPS) has determined the trail that carried the longest stagecoach operation in history, which traveled through a significant portion of Arkansas, meets the requirements to become a national historic trail.


NPS concluded the Butterfield Overland Trail meets the requirements after conducting a study to evaluate the significance, feasibility, suitability and desirability of designating the routes associated with it as a national historic trail. The study was required by a provision of Public Law 111-11 that was authored by Boozman during his tenure as Congressman for the Third District of Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives.


“The first overland transcontinental mail by stagecoach was carried on the Butterfield Trail. The trail played an important role in our nation’s westward expansion and certainly made major contributions to the development and settlement of Arkansas during its short time in existence. I am pleased to see the National Park Service agrees those contributions merit preservation for future generations,” Boozman said.


From 1858-1861, the Butterfield Overland Mail Company held a U.S. Mail contract to transport mail and passengers between the eastern termini of St. Louis and Memphis and the western terminus of San Francisco. 


It became known as the “ox-bow route” due to its curved path comprised of approximately 3,553 miles of trail routes in eight states: Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.


The routes from St. Louis and Memphis merged in Fort Smith and the Butterfield Overland Express stagecoaches traveled through much of the state. Stagecoaches made stops between Memphis and Fort Smith in St. Francis, Prairie, Lonoke, Faulkner, Conway, Pope, Yell, Logan and Franklin counties. The northwestern route that came out of Missouri included stops in Benton, Washington and Crawford counties.


Four segments of the roads that the Butterfield Overland Express traveled over in Arkansas have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Potts home, a well-preserved Arkansas way station for the Butterfield Express, is still standing in Pope County and is maintained as the Potts Inn Museum on Highway 247 by the Pope County Historical Foundation.


Congress must approve the designation before it can become a national historic trail.

















Taziki’s Mediterranean Café continues nonprofit campaign

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. –Taziki’s Mediterranean Café continues their Year of Giving by announcing the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas (RMHCA) as  June’s recipient. 

During this yearlong initiative, Taziki’s hopes to inspire the communities they serve to give back. For the month of June, one nonprofit has been selected to receive a percentage of the proceeds from a monthly event.

RMHCA is a locally funded and operated nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and their families by creating and supporting programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children.

“For nearly 40 years, RMHCA has been a pillar in communities from every corner of the state, and Taziki’s is honored to aid in their commitment to children and families in the state of Arkansas,” says Tommy Keet, President of JTJ Restaurants. “At Taziki’s, we strive to promote a healthy lifestyle, and the work that RMHCA does to ensure children are living healthy lives goes hand-in-hand with our core values.”

This year, Taziki’s Year of Giving has also benefitted Women and Children First, ACCESS Schools, Easterseals Arkansas, the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, The CALL and the Humane Society of Faulkner County.

The event benefitting the RMHCA will be held Tuesday, June 19, from 5-9 p.m. at the Taziki’s location at 8200 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, AR 72227. To learn more about this event, visit the Taziki’s-Cantrell events page on Facebook.














SAAC Names Counselors for Theatre Camp

The South Arkansas Arts Center announces the camp counselors for its summer Theatre Camp. Counselors are Gary Hall, Makenzie Lee and Hannah Davis, all of whom have had many hours in theatre work, especially at SAAC. The summer Theatre Camp is set for July 23-27, for grades 2-9, with a registration deadline of July 11. The Theatre Camp attendees will be producing a fun and lively production of "Honk, JR." from the MTI Broadway Junior series, during the week of camp.

Hall, a veteran of the SAAC stage, has been recently seen as Uncle Fester in "The Addams Family, A New Musical" and Cogsworth in "Beauty and the Beast". He also directed "Sunset Boulevard". Hall has worked on The Penguin Project's theatre productions, a performing experience for children with disabilities.

A recent graduate of Louisiana Tech University's theater program, Hannah Davis has worked on many productions through the years, including a few on SAAC's own stage. Most recently, she was onstage in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" , as well as having directed "Disney's Aristocats JR". At Louisiana Tech, she was smitten with hair, makeup and costume design, and worked in that capacity on many LA Tech productions.

Mackenzie Lee, who hails from Malvern, has recently finished his first year of teaching music at Washington Middle School. He also worked with the kids in WMS's production of "Alice in Wonderland JR.", which he said "was everything a director could hope for." When asked about his involvement in "Honk Jr", Lee said, "It has been a joy working with this town's students. I look forward to being the music director for this show and seeing what kind of talent these kids hold."

Hall said about the production, "If you think you know the story of the Ugly Duckling, you'll find with this show, it's not all it was ‘quacked up' to be. We are working hard and getting all our ducks in a row to be ready to bring this exciting piece to SAAC. The musical was actually written for all ages and plays much like a Disney story through the basic story everyone is familiar with as well as some additions that make it more entertaining and endearing. "

For more information about Theatre Camp, sponsored by First Financial Bank, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the SAAC website at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.











NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame (AWHOF) has announced that Mary Steenburgen will be inducted into the 2018 class. This year’s inductees include eight women and one organization who have made significant contributions to the state and their respective fields, and stand as positive examples for women everywhere.

The inductees will be honored at a special ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 30, at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

Academy Award winner Mary Steenburgen has appeared in over 60 films. She is known for her work in the films MELVIN AND HOWARD, WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE, STEP BROTHERS, and television shows “Justified”, in which she played the diabolical character Katherine Hale. She has also recently appeared in “Orange is the New Black” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.

Mary currently stars alongside Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Candice Bergen in Paramount Pictures’ BOOK CLUB, which was released in theaters on May 18, 2018. For 4 years, Mary starred alongside Will Forte in FOX’s critically-acclaimed comedy series, “The Last Man On Earth”.

Additional television credits include “30 Rock”, “Bored to Death”, and “Blunt Talk”. Additional film credits include GOIN' SOUTH, TIME AFTER TIME, RAGTIME, PHILADELPHIA, BACK TO THE FUTURE 3, CROSS CREEK, MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SEX COMEDY, MISS FIRECRACKER, THE PROPOSAL, ELF, DIRTY GIRL (for which she co-wrote the song, RAINBIRD, with Melissa Manchester), FOUR CHRISTMASES, THE HELP, and LAST VEGAS.

Partial theater credits include Holiday (London’s Old Vic, directed by Lindsay Anderson), Candida, Marvin’s Room, The Beginning of August, The Exonerated.  Mary is proud to be a company member of New York’s Atlantic Theater.

Mary is a songwriter for Universal Music Publishing Group. She has collaborated with many acclaimed songwriters including Matraca Berg, Troy Verges, Jeremy Spillman, Luke Laird, Lori McKenna, Caitlyn Smith, Lucie Silvas, John Osborne and many others. She is currently writing the music for the animated film version of the book The Underneath and wrote the end credit song for the upcoming feature film WILD ROSE.

Other inductees previously announced in the 2018 class include:

Dr. Carolyn F. Blakely - a lifelong educator and chancellor emeritus at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She developed the Honors College at the university and served as Dean. At the request of students, it was renamed in her honor. Her contributions to the community, education, and civic organizations have impacted countless individuals in Arkansas and beyond.

Karen Flake - president and CEO of Mount St. Mary Academy; founder of Karen Flake & Associates providing market research and consulting; supported the state’s economic development on the Arkansas Development and Finance Authority board; and honored for years of volunteerism and community service.

Dr. Sue Griffin - a professor and editor-in-chief whose tireless research on Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions has led to significant breakthroughs in the early detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s.

Raye Jean Jordan Montague - an engineer and graphics design trailblazer in the U.S. Navy credited with the first computer-generated rough draft of a U.S. naval ship. She was recognized by NBC’s Good Morning America as a “hidden figure” in science and computing for the U.S. Navy. After her 30-year naval career, Montague is now a mentor, volunteer and motivational speaker in Little Rock.

Annabelle Davis Clinton Imber Tuck - the first woman elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court. As a chancery and probate judge, she made the first ruling in the Lake View school district case, which would eventually reshape the financing of public education in Arkansas. In her retirement, she advocates for fair access to the legal system through the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission.

Historic Inductees
Bessie Grace Boehm Moore - (1902 - 1995) an educator, civic leader, and force of nature, Moore advocated for a robust library system in Arkansas and beyond, piloted a program for economic education in public schools, and created the Ozark Folk Center State Park.

Florence Beatrice Smith Price - (1887 - 1953) the first African-American female composer to have a work played by a major American symphony orchestra. Her composition, Symphony in E Minor, was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. It was also performed at the Chicago World’s Fair as part of the Century of Progress Exhibition.

JUNE 11, 2018




Tyson Foods Inc. - one of the nation's top chicken and beef processors -

is recalling more than 3,000 pounds of frozen breaded chicken products

that may be contaminated, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food

Safety and Inspection Service announced on Friday.


The frozen, uncooked and breaded chicken tenderloins being recalled,

which may be contaminated with blue and clear soft plastics, were

produced on May 17, 2018. The affected products include 12-pound

boxes of 3-pound plastic bags of tenderloins, with the lot

code 1378NLR02.


There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions from eating

the chicken, the USDA said.


Those concerned about an injury or illness are encouraged to contact a

healthcare provider. The affected products should be thrown away.












Twelve junior and senior high-school students from Clark, Hot Spring, Pike, and Ouachita counties are attending a Medical Applications of Science for Health (M*A*S*H) camp June 4-15 at Baptist Health Medical Center in Arkadelphia. The students and their instructor are (left of sign) Maty Burton of Bismarck, Kylie Shackelford of Arkadelphia, Hannah Fenocchi of Arkadelphia, Allison Adkison of Arkadelphia, Jaydon Waters of Camden, Nikki Hutcherson of Delight; (right of sign) Austin Nance of Camden, Rance Turner of Kirby, Grace Burnett of Pearcy, Veronika Sagastume of Camden, Katlyn Kadrmas of Amity, Cassidy Terrell of Murfreesboro, and Stacey Davis, camp coordinator, Baptist Health Medical Center.

The two-week summer medical enrichment experience allows high school students to shadow health professionals and attend workshops that enhance their experiences in the health-care field. They learn about pharmacy, therapy, CPR, anatomy, surgery, emergency medical response and much more. The program hopes to encourage rural youth interested in medical fields to continue their education and then return to rural areas to work.

M*A*S*H students are sponsored by county Farm Bureaus and the M*A*S*H Partnership, which includes the University of Arkansas for Medical Science’s Regional Centers, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Arkansas Farm Bureau and Baptist Health. Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private farm and rural advocacy organization of more than 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life. 














Commitment from First Financial Bank will help SAU realize plans to restore poultry studies


MAGNOLIA – Plans for bringing poultry studies back to Southern Arkansas University are taking shape with the commitment of $100,000 toward the project by First Financial Bank of El Dorado, Arkansas.

Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, thanked First Financial for its commitment, praising the partnership as unique in the state. First Financial has been a longtime supporter of the poultry industry, a passion that now coincides with SAU’s desire to restore the program to its curriculum.

SAU had its beginning as one of four state agricultural high schools and will revive poultry studies “in a larger way than it was before,” Berry said. The University is developing a new poultry complex to improve instruction and to create more candidates for jobs in Arkansas.

“We are excited about this possibility for our agriculture students,” Berry said. “There will be nothing like this in our region.”

Dr. Jeffry Miller, Ralph Boulware Professor of Agriculture and chair of the Department of Agriculture, said the University is interested in creating a complex that will allow students to observe and interact with different aspects of poultry production.

“This will be a first-class facility that will better educate our students and enhance our agriculture program,” Miller said. “It will improve the training we offer our students and better prepare them for the job market.”

“This facility will allow instruction in every step of the process, from breeder to hatchery, from broiler to processing, and will reach a wide range of students,” Miller said. The building will also contain a feed storage room and a classroom/laboratory.

“As one of the nation’s largest poultry lenders, First Financial Bank is proud to partner with SAU in its poultry studies program,” said Chris Hegi, CEO. “For more than 30 years, it has been our privilege to support those who grow and harvest the food that ends up on our dining tables. This new program will be a great asset to SAU and to the agricultural industry nationwide, providing hands-on training and education that is unique in this part of Arkansas.”

Miller said the unit would cost about $1 million. “We are reaching out to poultry companies,” he said. “Our program will benefit employers by expanding the available workforce. Part of our mission as educators is to graduate students who will stay in our state. We need to not only keep the industry stable but also grow it.”

Opportunities are still available for those interested in partnering with SAU on the project. Contact the SAU Division of Advancement at 870-235-4078.










MUNCIE, Indiana -- Arkansas improved from "C" to "C+" in manufacturing and "D-" to "D" in human capital, says the  2018  Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card released today by the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and Conexus Indiana.


Arkansas maintained the grade of "A" in its benefits costs; "C" in logistics, diversification, and liability gap; "D+" in global position; "D-" in tax climate; and "F" in productivity and innovation.


Arkansas experienced an improvement in high school graduation rate between 2015 and 2016, the report said.

“U.S. manufacturing and logistics are in a remarkable period of expansion,” said CBER Director Michael Hicks, George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business Research.


The report, released at the Conexus Indiana breakfast event co-hosted with the Indianapolis Business Journal titled, “Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics: Indiana’s Innovation Economy – Exploring Transportation Megatrends”, features an annual scorecard comparison of advanced manufacturing and logistics health among U.S. states.


The 2018 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card was written by Hicks and Srikant Devaraj, CBER’s research assistant professor. The reports can be downloaded from the CBER website at


JUNE 8, 2018












NORTH LITTLE ROCK—Energy service providers will join representatives of Arkansas state agencies, colleges, universities, cities, counties, and municipal utilities on Tuesday, June 19, for the Arkansas Energy Performance Contracting (AEPC) Summit 2018. The event is hosted by the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Energy Office at Heifer International in the Heifer Village Conference Room from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Program highlights include the following:

  • Welcome remarks by ADEQ Director Becky Keogh
  • Energy service provider and contractor exhibits
  • Step-by-step guidance from program managers
  • Panel discussion with program participants
  • Panel discussion with solar energy experts


The AEPC program is a key cost-saving tool for Arkansas’s public entities. AEPC has seen an explosion in interest since its start in late 2014, with thirteen executed projects guaranteeing over $120 million in savings. Energy performance contracting is a turnkey service with an annual savings guarantee. This method of finance provides taxpayer-funded public entities with the opportunity to complete a comprehensive set of energy efficiency, capital infrastructure, and renewable energy measures at no upfront cost.


AEPC is a significant economic development initiative for the state. A jobs study commissioned by the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation found that nearly 700 companies that employ more than 16,000 Arkansans are in the advanced energy economy. About 60 percent of those jobs are tied to energy-saving equipment and services, and are directly affected by a vibrant AEPC program.


Sponsors of AEPC Summit 2018 include Entegrity, presenting sponsor; Johnson Controls and Performance Services, signature sponsors; and Bernhard Energy and Clear Energy, partner sponsors.


Additional exhibitors include: All Electric Supply, Harrison Energy Partners, LightWave Solar, and Powers of Arkansas.


Media registration is required. Please contact AAEA executive director Katie Niebaum at, or 501.537.0190, to register.

JUNE 7, 2018








Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), and Chuck Schumer (D-New York) today introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to respond to the national-security threat posed by Chinese telecom companies like Huawei and ZTE.


“Huawei and ZTE have extensive ties with the Chinese Community Party, as well as a track record of doing business with rogue regimes like North Korea and Iran. So it’s only prudent that no one in the federal government use their equipment or services and that they receive no taxpayer dollars. Given their repeated violations of U.S. law, we cannot trust them to respect U.S. national security, and so it’s vital we hold them accountable and pass this amendment,” said Senator Cotton.

“ZTE has flagrantly and repeatedly violated U.S. laws, and any deal to let them off the hook should not move forward. This amendment will ensure that, regardless of action the Administration takes right now, Congress will protect American interests and national security,” said Senator Van Hollen.


“In a country full of bad actors when it comes to hurting American jobs and threatening our national security, Huawei and ZTE are two of the absolute worst offenders,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “Both parties in Congress must come together to bring the hammer down on these companies rather than offer them a second chance, and this new bipartisan amendment will do just that.”


The amendment is co-sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Bill Nelson (D-Florida).




  • The amendment would prohibit all U.S. government agencies from purchasing or leasing telecommunications equipment and/or services from Huawei, ZTE, or any subsidiaries or affiliates.
  • It would also ban the U.S. government from using grants and loans to subsidize Huawei, ZTE, or any subsidiaries or affiliates.
  • Finally, it would restore penalties on ZTE for violating export controls. 





















WASHINGTON- The Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation produced by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that supports critical housing, infrastructure and facilities for U.S. military forces and their families and provides increased funding for veterans’ health care and benefits.


Boozman, chairman of the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, crafted legislation that provides critical funding for construction of national defense facilities, family housing, and military hospitals and schools. The bill also provides funding for veterans’ health care, veterans’ benefits, medical and prosthetic research, the National Cemetery Administration, information technology and the VA Inspector General.


“Keeping the promise we made to our veterans is an important responsibility of the federal government.  Just as essential is that we ensure our military has the infrastructure it needs to defend our nation and its allies. This bill reflects these priorities by increasing resources to prevent veteran suicide, increasing rural access to healthcare, supporting critical mental health programs, preventing veterans homelessness and providing robust funding for innovative medical research. Our bill will also give the Department of Defense the resources it needs to project power globally, enhance our warfighting capabilities and train our servicemembers,” Boozman said.


Bill Highlights:


Military Construction – Resources to fund 169 military construction projects. This includes funds for construction and renovation projects on military bases within the United States and around the globe.

  • European Reassurance Initiative – Funding for construction projects in support of U.S. allies through the European Reassurance Initiative.
  • Overseas Contingency Operations – Funding for construction projects in direct support of military operations in the Middle East.
  • Military Family Housing – Funding for construction, operation and maintenance of military family housing. The bill includes construction funding for nine family housing projects.
  • Military Medical Facilities – $366 million for construction or alteration of military medical facilities. This funding will allow for continued support and care for 9.8 million eligible beneficiaries, including wounded U.S. troops abroad.
  • Department of Defense Education Facilities – $388 million for essential safety improvements and infrastructure work at four overseas military schools.
  • Guard and Reserve – $487 million to support the construction needs of National Guard and Reserve forces.
  • NATO Security Investment Program – Funding to provide infrastructure for training, deterrence, and the NATO Alliance’s response to challenges posed by Russia and threats from the Middle East and North Africa.

Veterans Affairs (VA) – The legislation includes a record level of $86.4 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, an increase of $5 billion above the FY2018 level. These resources will provide the healthcare, benefits, and memorial services earned by U.S. service members and veterans.

  • VA Medical Care – $78.3 billion to support medical treatment and healthcare for approximately 9.3 million enrolled patients in FY2019. The bill includes: $8.6 billion for mental health; $860.8 million for the Caregivers Program; $400 million for opioid misuse prevention and treatment; $779 million for medical and prosthetic research; $525 million for health care specifically for women veterans; and $270 million for rural health initiatives.
  • Veterans Homelessness – Funding for VA Homelessness programs including $450 million for the Supportive Services for Veterans Families program. 
  • Claims Processing – Funding to ensure that proper staffing and resources are utilized to reduce the wait time and backlog of disability decisions on appeal, and to meet the demand for other benefit programs. 
  • Construction – $1.8 billion for major and minor construction associated with VA hospital replacement, correction of seismic deficiencies, scores of projects to improve access to VA health care, and the VA’s National Cemeteries. The bill also includes $150 million in construction grants for State Extended Care Facilities.
  • VA Mandatory Funding – The bill fulfills mandatory funding requirements, including veteran disability compensation programs for 4.9 million veterans and 432,000 survivors; education benefits for nearly one million veterans; guaranteed home loans for 519,000 veterans; and vocational rehabilitation and employment training for more than 149,000 veterans.
  • Advance Appropriations – $75.6 billion in FY2020 advance discretionary funding for veterans health care, and $121.3 billion in FY2020 advance mandatory funding for veterans benefits.

Related Agencies – The legislation also includes funding for:

  • American Battle Monuments Commission 
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims 
  • Arlington National Cemetery 
  • Armed Forces Retirement Home 























LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today announced that he has re-appointed Thomas G. Williams to continue serving on the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Griffin issued the following statement:


“I am honored to re-appoint Thomas G. Williams, a Managing Member of Quattlebaum, Grooms, & Tull PLLC, to the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Mr. Williams has been an excellent member of the Commission, and has received praise for his service and performance. I appreciate his willingness to serve another term, and I congratulate him on his re-appointment.”

Williams has been practicing law since 1988 and was among the original lawyers who established Quattlebaum, Grooms, & Tull PLLC, where he continues to work and is a Managing Member. Williams is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Product Liability Litigation (Defendants) and Personal Injury Litigation (Defendants), and recognized by Super Lawyers in the area of Personal Injury Defense. He is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell. Williams graduated with high honors from the University of Arkansas School Of Law in 1988 and previously served in the House of Delegates to the Arkansas Bar Association.


JUNE 6, 2018



SAU graduate accepted into veterinary school


MAGNOLIA – A 2017 graduate of Southern Arkansas University saw her dream of helping animals take one step closer to becoming reality as she was accepted into veterinary school at Louisiana State University.

Riley Loftin, who received her undergraduate degree in Agricultural Science: Pre-Veterinary from SAU in December 2017, was recently notified of her acceptance into the school.

“Animals are so important to me, and I want to be able to advocate for them because they cannot speak for themselves,” Loftin said. “They can’t tell someone where they are hurting, how they’re hurting, or how you can help them. I want to be able to make a difference in this world, and I won’t be satisfied with anything else.”

Loftin, a native of Blossom, Texas, received an academic scholarship to attend SAU. She began her academic career intending to teach, but after her first year as an education major, decided she wanted “to do something for animals.”

“I’d had a couple of dogs that had developed tumors, and when they died, I got so upset,” she said. “I wanted to help them but I didn’t know how.”

In summer 2016, she got the opportunity to work for a veterinary clinic in Reno, Texas. It was there she found her calling. “It was so exciting. I love small animals. I did a lot of kennel work, and got to assist with surgeries.”

Since this past March, Loftin has been working for the Ward Veterinary Clinic in El Dorado, Arkansas.

Switching to Agricultural Science was an amazing experience for Loftin. “I had no background in farming or agriculture per se, and my exposure to animals was limited, but it was the best experience,” she said. “I got to work with large animals and study the internal biology. It was a little overwhelming at first; I had to figure out how to study for it. But my professors were so very supportive.”

She praised Dr. David Sanson, associate professor of agriculture, for making himself available to students “at all times of the day. He was always willing to help me before or after school. He’s always there.” She also credited Dr. Pierre Boumtje, professor of agriculture economics, with aiding her in her studies.

The toughest part of transitioning from the education field to agriculture was “the knowledge that, eventually, you are going to have to deal with death, especially if you continue in the animal science arena,” she said. “But I look at quality of life over quantity, and that helped me make the transition.”

Sanson reflected on her academic experience. “Riley transferred to the department, so she had to take some classes out of sequence,” he said. “She is a dedicated student who put her education as her No. 1 priority. However, she was also active in the department, serving as an Ag Ambassador.”

As a member of the Honors College, Loftin completed two Honors classes with Sanson in which she conducted a small research study. She also served two semesters as a Supplemental Instructor for Introduction to Animal Science.

“Riley was an excellent student and has an excellent work ethic,” Sanson said. “I am excited that she has been accepted into veterinary school.”

Loftin called working with larger animals an exhilarating experience. “It was intimidating, too,” she laughed. “It was a great learning experience. I really enjoyed studying animal reproductive physiology and animal nutrition lab. I got to touch the insides of living animals! It was fun working with them and seeing how they interacted with me.”

Loftin researched a variety of veterinary schools and sent out her applications upon graduating. “I waited for a long, long time,” she said, with a laugh, of the application process. “I found out I’d gotten accepted into LSU’s program on my dad’s and husband’s birthday. I called Dad and said ‘happy birthday,’ and then called him back an hour later and said LSU had sent a letter saying, ‘congratulations.’ It was indescribable; I cried, and my puppy thought I was crazy.”

Loftin called her time at SAU a wonderful experience. “There are so many friendly people here, always willing to help, no matter what you need help with,” she said. “I wouldn’t have chosen anywhere else for my undergrad.”

She and her husband, Seth Loftin, an SAU Engineering graduate who presently works for Aerojet Rocketdyne in Camden, Arkansas, expect to move to Baton Rouge, Louisiana by August.

“My husband is stoked about it,” she said, of her acceptance into veterinary school. “I’ll have a tough class load. I anticipate I will have to change the way I studied before, and I’m kind of nervous, but excited, too.”

She is using her present experience at the Ward clinic to learn the business side of veterinary work. “I’d like to own my own business one day,” she said. “My goal is to be my own boss.”

She is the daughter of Chad and Jeri Brakebill. Her brother, Cobyn, transferred to SAU from Paris Junior College and is a mass communication major.








Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation to add 100 megawatts of wind capacity

29-turbine wind farm to produce capacity by 2020



Little Rock, Ark.June 6, 2018 — Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) of Little Rock has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with Wildhorse Wind Energy, LLC, which is owned by Southern Power, a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider and subsidiary of Southern Company, to purchase up to 100 megawatts of energy that will be produced by the Wildhorse Mountain Wind Facility in Pushmataha County, Okla.


“Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) works on behalf of more than 500,000 electric cooperative members to add resources, like the 100 megawatts of capacity from Wildhorse Mountain Wind Facility, to its generation portfolio,” said Duane Highley, president/CEO of AECC. “This wind facility along with AECC’s diverse, reliable generation portfolio provides energy at the lowest possible cost to our members.”


Located in Pushmataha County, the 100-MW project is expected to consist of 29 wind turbines manufactured by Vestas. Roaring Fork Wind, a co-development partnership between Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES) and Vestas, developed the project, and RES will provide the balance of plant construction of the facility. Wildhorse Mountain is expected to reach commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2019.


Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, a generation and transmission cooperative, provides wholesale power to Arkansas’ 17 electric distribution cooperatives that provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states

JUNE 5, 2018





Meets with Troops, Receives Mission & Security Briefings



(Left: Boozman with Arkansan & Navy Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey Wisdom in Afghanistan;

Right: Boozman and the flight crew of the C-130 that flew the congressional delegation to Ethiopia. The crew, deployed to Djibouti in support of Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, is from Little Rock Air Force Base’s 19th Airlift Wing)


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and several colleagues visited American military posts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East to receive updates on the vital missions of these command units and visit with American troops, including several Arkansans, serving abroad.


Boozman, along with Sens. James Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), took part in a congressional delegation trip during the week of May 28 that made stops at military installations in Poland, Italy, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Spain.


“Meeting with our military leaders at these bases and talking with the service members under their command gives me great confidence in the ability of our Armed Forces to deter, prevent and respond to threats and provocations against the United States and our allies,” Boozman said. “Our national security interests must be protected and supported amid growing concerns about the activities of countries including Russia and Iran, as well as non-state actors like ISIS, Boko Haram and other radical groups. The work being done by our military personnel at these posts is ensuring that our nation is prepared to meet any crisis or challenge to ourselves or our allies head on.”


For more photos from the congressional delegation’s trip, click here.


Boozman also had the opportunity to meet with Arkansans serving at several of the installations as well as Air Force C-130 crews deployed to Djibouti from Little Rock Air Force Base’s 19th Airlift Wing. The C-130 flight crews provided transportation to the delegation during parts of the trip.


“It was my honor to spend some time with Arkansans and other service members who have a connection to the state and get their perspectives and insights on the missions they are being asked to carry out. We want to be certain they feel that they have all the tools and resources needed to see their missions through to completion. I invited them to offer feedback and will take their candid responses and questions back to Washington so that we can address them,” Boozman said. “I also expressed to these brave men and women how proud of and grateful we are for their service and that we look forward to their safe return home.”

















"Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin: 'Government must transform'"

June 4, 2018

Talk Business & Politics

By Aric Mitchell





Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin isn’t a fan of government as usual, and he’s telling Arkansans they shouldn’t be either….


In a 30-minute address, Griffin touched on “killing ‘the TOW Tax,'” operating government more like a business, and embracing new technologies through both operational efficiencies and educational focus so Arkansas is governing “like it’s 2018, not 1918.”


On the mysterious TOW Tax, a term Griffin coined, he said he wanted to “get bumper stickers made that say, ‘Kill the TOW Tax'” — The Old Way Tax — because taxpayers are paying “more taxes than you should so your government can do things the old way. That means services are done inefficiently or not well at all, and as a result, you have fewer services at a higher cost.”…


Griffin said legislators need to be working as the private sector does “to remain competitive,” adding that “24 hours a day you are bettering yourself in the private sector, but government is not that way because there are no market forces.”…


To illustrate, Griffin used the example of a tree removal team using crosscut axes, “sawing back and forth” until a tree comes down instead of using chainsaws. With government, he said, “We’ll get the trees cut, but it could take all week instead of all day, and you will pay more.”


Borrowing from a former politician, Griffin shared a quote he picked up from former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels: “If it’s in the Yellow Pages, why is the government doing it? It’s not legitimate for the government to be blocking out the private sector.”…


“We have a moral obligation in government because we take your money by force. So if you’re an official in government, you have an obligation to be a good steward of that money,” Griffin said. Besides, “We will get better services — as in more services” through finding efficiencies. That means DHS and the Department of Revenue, other departments, will be able to do “more for less.”


Griffin…used his own office as an example, stating he had cut his office staff in half since 2015. “And we’re doing more things with less people.” Doing this government-wide means “we will save money” — a necessity for competing against states like Texas and Tennessee where there is “no income tax.”


“And I’m telling you, legislators, you will never get anywhere until you find the savings. You’ve got to find the savings first, and then reform the tax code. We’ve already got the money. It’s just not being spent right. Don’t ask me for one more penny in taxes until you can look me in the eye and say every single dollar is being spent wisely. It ain’t.”





JUNE 4, 2018

AgHeritage Farm Credit Services Director Election Results Announced

AgHeritage Farm Credit Services (FCS) has announced the results of its 2018 Board of Director and Nominating Committee elections.

Central Region Director Russell Bonner, Northern Region Director Dwain Morris, Northern Region Director Jeff Rutledge and Southern Region Director Jesse Briggs were all re-elected.

AgHeritage FCS shareholders elected to the Nominating Committee were: Ronald Aaron (Batesville office); Matt Hibbard (Pocahontas office); John Hamilton (Searcy office); Doug Medford (Brinkley office); Brandon Parker (Lonoke office); Clay Poole (McGehee office); Frank Prislovsky (Stuttgart office); Harrell Wilson (Star City office); and Tommy Young (Newport office).

For more information about AgHeritage Farm Credit Services’ Board of Directors, please visit

AgHeritage Farm Credit Services is a financial cooperative with owned and managed assets of approximately $1.25 billion as of December 31, 2017, that provides credit and related services to more than 2,900 farmers, ranchers and producers or harvesters of aquatic products in 24 Arkansas counties.  Branch offices are located in Batesville, Brinkley, Lonoke, McGehee, Newport, Pocahontas, Searcy, Star City and Stuttgart.











America’s Drive-In says #ThanksTeach during Teacher Appreciation Month


(OKLAHOMA CITY) – Sonic® Drive-In (NASDAQ: SONC), a longtime supporter of public school teachers through its Limeades for Learning® initiatives, celebrated Teacher Appreciation Month throughout the month of May with the third-annual #ThanksTeach social media campaign to recognize, celebrate and reward teachers. In addition to sharing inspiring stories of real teachers – and encouraging others to do the same with the hashtag #ThanksTeach – SONIC’s $1 million donation was shared among more than 5 thousand public school teachers across the country, with $17400 going to 87 teachers in the Little Rock community, including two teachers specifically in Camden, Ark.

SONIC said #ThanksTeach to each of the two teachers in Camden with a $200 gift card to, SONIC’s non-profit partner for Limeades for Learning that inspires teachers to create innovative learning projects and request the materials or experiences they need most for their classrooms. Teachers can either apply the $200 SONIC donation to their own projects on, or gift the donation to another deserving teacher.

For a full list of public schools where teachers received a $200 #ThanksTeach donation, including those in the Camden community, visit

“At a time when teachers spend an average of $500 of their own money to supply their classrooms, we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Month by supporting more than 5,000 teachers in cities near SONIC Drive-ins. These teachers are our customers, they teach our crew members and they are an integral part of the communities in which we operate,” said Christi Woodworth, vice president of public relations for SONIC. “We’ve asked everyone to share #ThanksTeach on social media, and in turn SONIC is showing our gratitude with a $1 million donation to our partner to impact 5,000 classrooms coast to coast.”

Everyone can get involved in #ThanksTeach by sharing stories on social media using photos, videos or a written message. Facebook fans can Smile to Say #ThanksTeach via a Facebook augmented reality (AR) camera effect that springs to life when the user smiles into the camera on their mobile phone, creating a video or photo that can be easily shared on the platform. Search the hashtag #ThanksTeach to see real teacher stories shared by SONIC and others during Teacher Appreciation Month.

To learn more about Limeades for Learning and #ThanksTeach, visit Limeades for Learning® and explore public school teacher projects in the Camden community in need of support.

About SONIC, America's Drive-In
SONIC, America's Drive-In is the nation's largest drive-in restaurant chain serving approximately 3 million customers every day. Nearly 94 percent of SONIC's 3,500 drive-in locations are owned and operated by local business men and women. For 65 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, 1.3 million drink combinations and friendly service by iconic Carhops. Since the 2009 launch of SONIC's Limeades for Learning philanthropic campaign in partnership with, SONIC has donated $10.7 million to public school teachers nationwide to fund essential learning materials and innovative teaching resources to inspire creativity and learning in their students. To learn more about Sonic Corp.(NASDAQ/NM: SONC), please visit and please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about SONIC's Limeades for Learning initiative, please visit Limeades for Learning®.

Founded in 2000 by a Bronx history teacher, has raised $683,614,142 for America's classrooms. Teachers come to to request the materials and experiences they need most for their classrooms, and donors give to the projects that inspire them. To date, 3,110,293 people and partners have funded 1,153,551 projects on the site, reaching 27,834,415 students and making the leading platform for supporting U.S. public schools. is the only crowdfunding platform that vets each request, delivers materials directly to schools, and captures the impact of every funded project with photos, thank yous, and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent. In 2014, made the top 10 of Fast Company’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, the first time a charity has received such recognition.














State Capitol Week in Review

From Senator Trent Garner

June 4, 2018

LITTLE ROCK –Each year there are more babies born in Arkansas with illegal drugs in their systems.

The state Division of Children and Family Services has been keeping records since the legislature enacted Garrett’s Law in 2005. It is named after a child who was born in 2004 with crystal methamphetamine in his body, and who lived only a few months.

The law expanded the legal definition of child neglect to include causing a newborn child to be born with illegal substances in his or her body, as a result of the mother knowingly using illegal drugs.

Although the presence of drugs is sufficient to substantiate an allegation of neglect, under Garrett’s Law the mother’s name is not automatically placed on the state’s Child Maltreatment Registry, because of concerns that a listing would prevent the mother from getting a job.

In 2006 there were 416 reported instances in Arkansas of babies being born with drugs in their bodies. The number has steadily gone up each year, by an average of seven percent until 2011. From 2012 through 2017 it went up more sharply, at an average growth rate of 14 percent a year. Last year there were 1,241 babies born in Arkansas with illegal drugs in their bodies.

For the past four years, marijuana has been the most commonly reported illegal drug found in newborns. Each year about two thirds of the filings made under Garrett’s Law indicate marijuana use by the mother, either by itself or in combination with other drugs.

The second most widely abused drug among pregnant mothers, at a rate of 25 percent, was methamphetamine or amphetamine. Opiates were abused by 18 percent of the mothers, based on the drugs found in their babies. Opiates include heroin, morphine, codeine and oxycodone. Ten percent had tranquilizers and five percent had cocaine.

The median age of the mother is 26, and over 90 percent of the mothers are under the age of 30. Those percentages have has been consistent over the past several years.

Last year 70 percent of the newborns did not have any reported health problems. That is an improvement over the previous two years, when 60 percent to 65 percent had health problems.

About 14 percent of the newborns needed treatment in a neonatal intensive care unit, and about 13 percent had respiratory distress or other breathing problems. About five percent suffered from withdrawal symptoms related to the presence of addictive drugs in their bodies.

The mortality rate last year was about a third of a percent, or 0.3 percent. That is the same as in 2016 and an improvement over 2015, when one percent of the newborns died.

The babies born with cocaine in their bodies had the highest rate of health problems (47 percent), followed by those born with tranquilizers (41 percent), with opiates (38 percent) and with methamphetamines (37 percent).

The least likely to be born with health problems were those born with marijuana in their bodies (27 percent).

Newborns whose mothers used cocaine were more likely to require treatment in intensive care (31 percent), followed by those born with methamphetamines (15 percent).

After the Division looked into the 1,241 cases reported under Garrett’s Law in 2017, about 18 percent of the babies were removed from their mothers’ homes. If the trend from the previous year holds steady, we can expect that 37 percent of those babies will be returned to their mothers within a year.

More than 38,000 babies were born in Arkansas during 2017, according to the U.S. Census.













1. Call to order.

2. Presentation by Tim Cowan of Athletic Surfaces Plus.

3. Personnel session.


JUNE 1, 2018





Cotton Announces 2018 U.S. Service Academy Appointees


Washington, D.C.—Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today announced that 20 students from across Arkansas received and accepted appointments through his office to the United States Service Academies.

“Each one of these young men and women has made our state proud--not only by what they’ve accomplished, but by what they’ve chosen. They’ve decided to serve our country and put the safety and well-being of their fellow Americans before their own. For that, they deserve our gratitude, and as they begin this new chapter of their lives, we wish them good luck and Godspeed.”


United States Air Force Academy


Andrew Goldtrap (Fort Smith, AR)

Daniel Huntman (Bella Vista, AR)

Hannah Cheatham (Little Rock, AR)

Joseph Wittig (Fort Smith, AR)

Javan Jowers (Farmington, AR)

Parker Davis (Arkadelphia, AR)

Reese Wendfeldt (Mountain Home, AR)

United States Merchant Marine Academy

Andrew Pequignot (Hot Springs, AR)

Cole Eddins (Fort Smith, AR)

United States Military Academy

Christopher Burlison (Conway, AR)

Gavin Shapiro (White Hall, AR)

John Johnson IV (Maumelle, AR)

Robert Bolin (Vilonia, AR)

United States Naval Academy

Adeline Geoghagan (North Little Rock, AR)

Adrianna Munoz (Center Ridge, AR)

Jackie Sherrell (Alexander, AR)

Karrington Evans (Scranton, AR)

Megan LaMendola (Springdale, AR)

Martina Thomas (Fayetteville, AR)
William Brown (Marion, AR)


















MAGNOLIA – Southern Arkansas University's College of Science and Engineering will host two fantastic summer camps in 2018, geared toward exciting student interest in science.

Coding and Cyber Security Camp will be held June 8-10, and the deadline for registration has been extended to June 5.

Engineering Summer Camp will be held July 9-11, with a registration deadline of July 2.

Both are open to students in grades 8-12 and have options for overnight and day-only campers.
To register online, please visit for the Coding and Cybersecurity Camp, or for the Engineering camp.

Cost is $275 per participant, and both camps will 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Campers have the option to stay overnight in SAU residence halls.

Coding and Cyber Security will appeal to students interested in computing. They will learn how to code simple applications in processing, develop Android apps, create simulations, and build their own computers. They will also be introduced to cybersecurity, virtual reality and humanoid robot maneuvering, as well as fun math activities. All participants will receive a camp T-shirt, and an award ceremony will be held on the final day. Food and lodging are included in the price.

Engineering camp participants will do hands-on projects related to engineering and physics, including building and programming Lego Mindstorms robots, designing the path of a robotic arm, and material testing using a force tester. There will be demonstrations in physics, as well as astronomy night observations.

For more information, contact Marisa Grippo at or call 870-235-4290.


MAY 31, 2018





Bachri selected new dean of College of Science & Engineering at Southern Arkansas University


MAGNOLIA - Dr. Abdel Bachri has been selected as the new dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Southern Arkansas University.

The announcement was made recently by Dr. David Lanoue, provost and vice president for academic affairs at SAU. As interim dean, Bachri played an important role in a number of critical initiatives including the creation of a B.S. degree in Public Health (which was approved by the state coordinating board in April) and the effort to initiate ABET accreditation for Engineering.

“Dr. Bachri is an accomplished scholar and teacher who also has a heart for people,” Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, said. “During the past few years, he has gained great respect on campus among his colleagues. He also has many innovative ideas for the College of Science and Engineering.  I look forward to working with him as we move SAU and the college forward.”

“Dr. Bachri has been a visible, transparent leader who has emphasized increasing communication between the College’s diverse array of departments,” Lanoue said. “As our immediate past Honor Professor, Dr. Bachri has consistently shown his commitment to students and his loyalty to SAU.”

Bachri joined SAU in 2007. He completed his B.S degree and his M.S. at the University of Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco, where he majored in Physics. He received a master’s in High Energy Physics from the International Center of Theoretical Physics, in Trieste, Italy, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Particle Physics from Oklahoma State University.

In accepting the deanship, Bachri pledged to earn the trust and support of his colleagues and to enhance the profile of SAU. “My philosophy is one that is student-customer centric. My primary focus will be representing the views of the faculty and helping them accomplish their work. I will work hard to optimize and strengthen our offerings.”

In the fall of 2007, his first upper-level class had an enrollment of three students, and the number of physics and engineering majors fewer than 10. “Within the first 12 months, and through a combination of grants, matching and solicited donations, I attracted in excess of $25,000 in instruments and lab equipment, and worked hard to recruit students and make sure they progressed into successful researchers or engineers," he said.

The College of Science and Engineering now has more than 200 declared majors and six faculty members.

“I look forward to working with Dean Bachri as we continue to build on the growth and success of our programs in Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering and Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Nursing, as well as the Natural Resource Research Center,” Lanoue said.
















ADE Launches Teach Arkansas Lecture Series

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is excited to launch the Teach Arkansas Lecture Series on June 4 in Little Rock. The lecture series will give educators and those who want to become educators the opportunity to network, learn more about educational programs and hear presentations from engaging education experts. Arkansas teachers who attend can earn three hours of professional development credit.

The 2017 National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee will be the keynote speaker at the June 4 event, which will be held at 5 p.m. at the Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave., in Little Rock. Chaffee, a humanities teacher at Codman Academy Charter Public School in Boston, has travelled the country this last year promoting education and serving as an advocate for educators. At the event, she will discuss how to be student-focused with culturally responsive teaching.

“We are so happy to partner with the Arkansas Education Association, the Arkansas State Teachers Association, the Arkansas Educational Television Network and the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators to provide this lecture series,” said Dr. Jeremy Owoh, ADE’s assistant commissioner of Educator Effectiveness and Licensure. “As an educator, the opportunity to network and learn from our peers is a critical component of effective professional development. Ms. Chaffee is one of the best educators in our country, and we are so excited that she is able to kick off the first event in our lecture series."

An “unconference,” or informational networking session for educators, will be held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. During this time, attendees can learn more about licensure assessment support, teacher leadership, family engagement, the Student GPS Dashboard, ACT Aspire and micro-credentials. Chaffee will then present at 6 p.m., with a question and answer session following at 7:30 p.m. 
The event is free; however, registration is required. To register, go to Stay tuned as other events in the lecture series are announced.

National Teacher of the Year Program

The National Teacher of the Year program, run by the Council of Chief State School Officers, identifies exceptional teachers in the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels. To learn more about Chaffee, please visit















MAGNOLIA – For Shea Wilson, returning to Southern Arkansas University for a second degree felt just like “coming back home.”

Wilson, who graduated from SAU with a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism with a minor in broadcast in May 1990, graduated again at SAU on May 4 with a bachelor’s in social work. Her experience in both newspapers and working for the Arkansas Department of Corrections inspired her to transition to a field that impacts people “where they are. I look forward to putting the new tools I learned at SAU to work in a professional environment.”

She has been accepted with advanced standing to the Master of Science in Social Administration online program at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Her concentration will be adult mental health.

Dr. Deborah Wilson, chair of behavioral and social sciences at SAU, said Shea Wilson developed an already impressive set of skills in her return to the University. “We’re so proud of her,” Dr. Wilson said.

While working in journalism, Wilson said she began to recognize the needs of people and the implications of societal attitudes and social policies on marginalized populations.

“During my years as a reporter, I saw firsthand how community service organizations are born from the ground up, how advocacy works and sometimes fails, and how justice is served to those who can afford only court-appointed attorneys,” Wilson said.

She was promoted to managing editor of the El Dorado News-Times, where she began working shortly after receiving her first degree from SAU, and left that position in 2011 to accept a position as public information officer and legislative liaison with the Arkansas Department of Correction. “My husband’s job transfer with Entergy prompted the move from El Dorado to Pine Bluff and my career change.”

While working for the ADC, Wilson was instrumental in the creation of the Paws in Prison program, which pairs shelter animals with inmate trainers who prepare the dogs for adoption. “The program operates in several state prisons and is a win-win for both the inmates and dogs,” she said.

Wilson left the ADC in 2014. Her father’s death a year later prompted her to do some soul-searching. “I have spent 30 years watching the formation of policies that govern. Social work seemed like a good place to land. I have a voice and communication skills that could be of assistance to people who need help and organizations that provide assistance,” she said.

She contacted Dr. Wilson about her interest in social work in February 2015. “She informed me that my previous degree from SAU would be accepted and I could begin the necessary coursework for a bachelor’s in social work,” Shea Wilson said. “I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Wilson in July 2016, and she immediately got me enrolled for the fall semester.”

 Shea Wilson said she chose to return to SAU because of the quality of her first experience here. “I would recommend SAU to anyone. I’ve had a great experience here. In as much as it has changed, with the environment of new growth, it is still very much the same. There are still a lot of familiar faces. It still feels like home.”

She called the help of Dr. Wilson and others a “godsend for a non-traditional student almost 30 years removed from the higher education process.” Wilson said that after obtaining some professional experience in the social work field and completing her graduate degree, she intends to teach on the college level.

MAY 30, 2018



ADE, ArkansasIDEAS Launch Science of Reading Professional Development

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas Educational Television Network’s ArkansasIDEAS are pleased to announce the June 1 rollout of the first Science of Reading online professional development course.

The “Science of Reading: The Right to Read Act” course was developed to assist teachers with meeting the requirements of Act 1063 (the Right to Read Act) that was passed by the Arkansas General Assembly in 2017. Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, all kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers and kindergarten through 12th-grade special education teachers must show proficiency in the knowledge and practice of scientific reading instruction (evidence-based practices that teach a student how to learn to read). All other teachers must demonstrate an awareness. In addition to Act 1063, Act 416 of 2017 requires education preparation programs to teach scientific reading instruction.

“Developing strong readers is a result of excellent instructional practices,” ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. “The development of this online learning pathway gives teachers one of many options of available professional development to help them improve their reading instruction skills. We are excited to partner with AETN’s ArkansasIDEAS and look forward to the positive change that will result through this enhanced focus on reading instruction. Let’s all work together to build a culture of reading in Arkansas.”

“For over a decade, AETN and ADE have worked together to positively impact student success through professional development for Arkansas educators,” AETN Executive Director Courtney Pledger said. “We take great pride in providing strong educational programs, experiences and resources for all citizens as Arkansas’ only statewide public media outlet. Literacy and helping to nourish a culture of reading in our state are top priorities. A course like ‘The Science of Reading’ offers the opportunity for powerful influence on student achievement and benefit to countless Arkansans. Through our learning management system, ‘The Science of Reading’ will be accessed by 47,000 Arkansas educators.”

ADE and Gov. Asa Hutchinson made building a culture of reading a priority in Arkansas with the launch of R.I.S.E. Arkansas, or the Reading Initiative for Student Excellence, in January 2017. With the Science of Reading learning pathway, Arkansas is meeting the initiative’s first goal of improving and strengthening reading instruction. Hutchinson recently recorded a short video that promotes the new learning pathway, as well as R.I.S.E. Arkansas. The video can be viewed at the following link:

This online learning pathway will offer 18 hours of professional development through ArkansasIDEAS. A new course will be released in July and August, with additional courses planned for release every two months until the spring of 2021. Teachers also can receive approved professional development through education service cooperatives around the state.

To access the online professional development, visit ArkansasIDEAS at To learn more about R.I.S.E. Arkansas, go to










SAAC to Host Artist's Reception for Mike Means and Improv Comedy Night at SAAC Thursday

The South Arkansas Arts Center will host an artist's reception to honor El Dorado artist Mike Means on Thursday, May 31, at 6:00pm. This will be a closing reception for Means' exhibit "Back to Basics" followed by a free IMPROV show. "Gimme A Second" Improv group will close out the night with a free performance on stage at 7pm.

Means is primarily a graphic artist these days, but loves to get back to the basics of art where he began, and that is drawing with colored pencils. About the work he said, "I began with a drawing of one thing and added something out of context to it." He added, "Lots of things are FUN for me. I like to draw. I like to experiment with ideas on paper. I like to search for comedy in the work. I like to make people laugh. People are at their best when they laugh."

"My art in this show has some improvisation thrown in," he explained. "Improv is the rawest of comedy performance, easy in some ways and not in others. Listening is the most important part about improv, almost like real life should be."

A founding member of El Dorado's improv group "Gimme a Second", or "GAS", Means said that the group started 6 years ago mostly as an experiment in making each other laugh. Shelton Harden came up with the idea for the group, but has left El Dorado. He can now be seen working with the Argenta Arts in Little Rock, as well as with youth theatre for the Arkansas Art Center. Some of the original members still entertaining are Luke Ramsey from Camden, Charley Hankins, Bill Meyer, and Means. New to the group are Chris Stone and Brooke Burger.

Means is also incorporating his love for improvisation into his artist's reception at SAAC. During the reception, attendees will be treated to a fun improvisation by the comedy group, including Lauren Nichols from SAU Tech. Donations will be accepted and all the proceeds will go to the scholarship fund for SAAC summer camps.

He added, "Improv almost always makes you laugh out loud, which as it so happens is good for both body and soul. Come join us for some laughs. We will have a tip jar if you enjoyed yourself to help with SAAC's mission to help the kids in the community experience the arts through the scholarship program."

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
















NORTH LITTLE ROCK—The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is seeking feedback on a pre-proposal draft regulation, prior to initiation with the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APC&EC), which would streamline Arkansas air quality regulations. This pre-proposal draft regulation is a product of ADEQ’s multi-year Air Integrated Regulation (AIR) Streamlining Project effort.


The pre-proposal draft regulation seeks to consolidate Regulation No. 18, Arkansas Air Pollution Control Code; Regulation No. 19, Regulations of the Arkansas Plan of Implementation for Air Pollution Control; Regulation No. 26, Regulations of the Arkansas Operating Air Permit Program; and Regulation No. 31, Nonattainment New Source Review Requirements, into a single regulation: Regulation No. 35, Arkansas Air Quality Regulation. The purpose of this regulatory streamlining project is to clarify Arkansas air pollution control requirements by simplifying the regulatory provisions, consolidating overlapping provisions, and revising or removing confusing language. The consolidation is expected to facilitate continued trends in achieving clean air by providing additional regulatory clarity to our stakeholders and facilities in order to foster compliance with air quality regulations. ADEQ anticipates the streamlined regulation to ultimately result in reduced costs both for the State and for the facilities covered under the consolidated regulation.


ADEQ will hold a public meeting at 1:00 p.m. (CDT) at the ADEQ headquarters in North Little Rock to provide an overview and receive feedback on the pre-proposal draft regulation. Meeting logistics, the pre-proposal draft regulation, an index of changes, and a draft technical support document for the proposed repeal of Volatile Organic Compound regulations for Pulaski County can be found on ADEQ’s AIR Streamlining Project:


Feedback on the pre-proposal draft regulation and associated documents can be submitted electronically by emailing Feedback can also be submitted by mail addressed to Tricia Treece, Office of Air Quality, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118. Feedback on the pre-proposal draft is due by no later than August 20, 2018. The public and regulated community will also have the opportunity to comment on the record once APC&EC initiates rulemaking. ADEQ anticipates filing for initiation with APC&EC after the conclusion of the stakeholder process.

MAY 29, 2018


        Griffin Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Refusal to Hear Abortion Drug Challenge          Says 'Court's refusal is a win for women's health' and 'protecting the life of the unborn child'


LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear a challenge to an Arkansas law on abortion-inducing drugs: 


“I applaud the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear a challenge to Arkansas’s law on abortion-inducing drugs. Use of abortion drugs are some of the most common types of abortion and may negatively impact the health of the mother. The Court's refusal is a win for women’s health, continuity of care for the mother, and protecting the life of the unborn child.”


About Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin

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

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













MAGNOLIA - Jeremy Brown, a 2018 graduate of Southern Arkansas University with a degree in Biology: Pre-health, created the best poster presentation at this year’s Arkansas Academy of Science meeting.

The work represented his original research project involving CRISPR/Cas9, described as a unique method of genetic manipulation. Brown presented his research in poster format at three scientific conferences, winning top honors at the AAS meeting at Arkansas State University this past April.

Brown, a native of Paris, Texas, worked on the project for two years under the mentorship of Dr. Mikolaj Sulkowski, assistant professor of biology, at SAU. He had earlier collaborated with Dr. Abraham Tucker, assistant professor of biology, on a proof-of-concept project for the use of CRISPR/Cas9. Sulkowski said Brown approached him one day after class with the idea of research involving CRISPR/Cas9. “Coincidentally, I had thought of a project using CRISPR/Cas9 to perform a precise manipulation of a genome,” Sulkowski said. “Jeremy followed me to my office, and we had the first of what would be many fascinating scientific discussions.”

Brown said that without Tucker and Sulkowski, “there would have been no research project.” He described CRISPR/Cas9 as a “revolutionary tool,” and that said Sulkowski envisioned research that would have an impact on the scientific community. “When he told me about the idea of the project, I felt I had found the opportunity to use CRISPR/Cas9 that I had been searching for. It was an invigorating moment that has resonated throughout my experience working with Dr. Sulkowski.”

Sulkowski said Brown created his posters independently, creating original figures and diagrams, and presented his research with enthusiasm and confidence. “His natural curiosity (allows) him to contribute to scientific discussions with both faculty and students,” Sulkowski said.

Brown is applying to medical schools. He wants to obtain his MD-PhD and specialize in academic medicine. “My goal is to teach medicine. I want to be part of the endless cycle of learning and teaching at the highest level possible,” he said.

Sulkowski said Brown has the drive to not only earn his MD-PhD, but to “translate basic biomedical research to help patients. He has the natural ability to become a leader in both research and medicine.”

MAY 25, 2018



The South Arkansas Arts Center announces the addition of four new artists to lead Corks & Canvas Workshops. Each month, a different instructor hosts a mini art project for a fun evening of art, creativity and community. New instructors Pam Vernon, Gary Hall, Laura Barrow, and Amy Machen will join seasoned teachers Rhonda Hicks, Sarah Beth Howard, Kelly Campbell, Chrystal Osborn, Cindy Snelson, and Christy Stone.

"Each of these ten artists provides a different artistic experience in Corks & Canvas. Some instructors will feature landscapes, abstracts, subjects from nature or whatever inspires them," said Kelly Campbell, SAAC visual arts coordinator.

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

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

Class meets the third Thursday of each month, 6-9pm. The $40 fee covers all supplies and snacks, is due at registration, and is non-refundable. Participants are encouraged to bring the libation of their choice. Class size is limited.

For more information, please call the SAAC office - Susan Harper or Colleen Means - at 870-862-5474, or visit the website at









SAAC to Host Summer Workshop for Fine Arts Education Methods and Awareness

The South Arkansas Arts Center has been chosen as one of seven locations to host three fine arts workshops from the program "Taking it to the Schools III: Community Experiences in Fine Arts". Workshops will take place on June 14, 15, and 29 from 9-4. This program is presented by the Arkansas Department of Education and in partnership with the Arkansas Arts Council (AAC) and Arkansans for the Arts.

Teachers, teaching artists, and community arts participants are invited to attend the one-day training sessions which focus on the potential collaborations between school arts programs and community arts organizations. Participants will take away a series of instructional modules developed by the team of trainers. These modules will provide arts educators with rich resources that are specific to the artistic discipline they teach and aligned to the Arkansas Fine Arts Academic Standards.

While the program provides teaching techniques for current arts educators, the workshop is open to community arts participants in order to gain a deeper understanding of arts education. By attending the workshop, non-arts educators can have a hands-on experience of what students in local schools learn in their arts classrooms. Community members can register at <>   

The three workshops take place over three days, each with different instructors and disciplines.
Each workshop is led by a classroom teacher and a teaching artist. On June 14, Wyatt Hamilton of Bauxite Public Schools and Stephanie Thibeault of AAC ARTS in Education and UALR will lead instruction on theatre and dance. Participants will examine the difference between character and caricature, experiment with related movement and dance, and tie the study of character into important discussions about diversity.

On June 15, former El Dorado arts instructor Shelton Harden, currently of AAC Arts in Education, and Patty Oeste of Conway Public Schools will tailor their workshop towards music in education. The team will create and utilize an ‘escape room' as a formative or summative assessment related to the study of the elements of music.

On June 29, visual arts instructors Joy Schultz of Episcopal Collegiate and Jeri Hillis of AAC Arts in Education will focus on the art of collage. The team will combine a look at collage artists and making collage art with a discussion of choice-based art.

Teachers can receive professional development hours for attending these workshops. Registration for teachers can be found in accounts through escWorks. . For more detailed information concerning the workshops, their instructors, or registration, contact contact Lana Hallmark, Fine Arts Program Advisor, Arkansas Department of Education, 501-682-7590 or <> .

The workshops will be held at South Arkansas Arts Center, 110 E. 5th St. in El Dorado, AR. The SAAC office can be reached at 870-862-5474













NORTH LITTLE ROCK— The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will co-sponsor a two-day training on pollution prevention and Lean business practices. The training is set for July 31–August 1, 2018, at the Cox Center, 120 River Market Avenue, in Little Rock. Sessions will be from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.

ADEQ is partnering with the University of Texas at Arlington’s Environmental Training Institute (ETI) to hold the workshop. Thomas Vinson, a nationally known trainer with ETI and the founder of the Zero Waste Network, will be the primary speaker.

Topics at the event will include practices for pollution prevention, efficient business operations, and environmental management systems, including updates on the new ISO 14001 standards. More information about the workshop can be found on ADEQ’s homepage

The cost for the workshop is $125 per person. Online registration is available at:

Additional information can be obtained from Audree Miller at 501.682.0015 or



CONTACT:  Jacob Harper ( or 501.683.6977)

MAY 24, 2018

Kevin Haynie Announced as Juror for SAAC's Annual Juried Art Competition


The South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado is pleased to announce the selection of Kevin Haynie, preparator at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, as juror for this year’s Annual Juried Art Competition. This national competition is open to 2-D and 3-D artists from around the country with an entry deadline of June 13. The exhibit, sponsored by Smackover State Bank, will be on display July 17- August 10 in the SAAC Galleries.


At Crystal Bridges, Haynie leads gallery installations, cares for and maintains the permanent collection, and works to broaden the engagement of art within the community. He recently implemented Crystal Bridges’ first-ever Community Installation using artist Nari Ward’s “We, The People,” a fabric installation. Kevin planned the installation to include everyone, including museum visitors, students of all ages, and staff.


Founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation, Crystal Bridges' permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks, ranging from the Colonial era to the current day. The permanent collection, which continues to grow through a strategic acquisition plan, is on view year-round, along with an array of temporary exhibitions.


Kevin was born in El Dorado, and studied art at both Henderson State University and the University of Arkansas, earning a BFA in Studio Art. His art background includes working extensively with both traditional media and non-traditional formats, including digital, auditory, animation, and interactive works. Kevin has used his knowledge and experience in art installation to enhance his own work and others in the art community. Whether it’s installing his own inverted 40-foot-tall polystyrene site-specific installation in the entranceway to the Fayetteville Community Center, being awarded Best Film in the Little Rock 48 Hour Film Project, or collaborating with artists both locally and nationally, Kevin is always looking for more inspiration and cross-collaboration.


When not working as a preparator, Kevin often travels to many of the nation’s art museums and galleries, anxious to see what is new in art communities, often looking for newly discovered or unknown artists. He believes that one of the most exciting aspects to viewing art is discovering work by artists who don’t yet have a large audience. Kevin is excited to look for a unique perspective, be that in concept, medium, or style, in the upcoming SAAC 2018 Annual Juried Art Competition.


Haynie has previously worked as an art educator, and handled art for 21c Museum Hotel and the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum. He was a member of the Fayetteville Underground art collective and has shown his work all over Arkansas. For his work as a filmmaker, Haynie recently won an international award for short film at ‘Filmapalooza’ in Paris, France. His films have been shown in the Fayetteville Film Fest and in the Little Rock 48 Hour Film Project.


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









Camp Fire El Dorado emphasizes community service and trains youth to be the leaders of today.


El Dorado, Ark., For Immediate Release –Since its launch in 2015, the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, presented by PepsiCo, has become a highly anticipated stop on the Symetra Tour and has introduced South Arkansas to some of the top up-and-coming female golfers from around the world. The event is also a flagship fundraiserthat extends Murphy USA’s ongoing corporate support of the United Way of Union County and its family of community programs.


In recent years, the Tournament has focused on local charities that support area youth. Continuing that trend this year, Camp Fire El Dorado has been selected as the beneficiary of the fourth annual Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, which is set for September 14 - 16 at Mystic Creek Golf Club in El Dorado.


"On behalf of the board of directors and staff, we are very excited and grateful to have been chosen as the beneficiary for this year’s Murphy USA Shootout," said Leanne Harrell, executive director of Camp Fire El Dorado. "We appreciate the generous and continued support that Murphy USA gives to this community, the United Way and Camp Fire El Dorado. We are proud to partner with Murphy USA in serving today’s youth."


Camp Fire began in El Dorado in 1961, following the dissolution of the local Girl Scout Council and in response to local parents' requests for a program that combined education and recreational activities with constructive, character-building activities based on leadership.


The program emphasizes community service. Instead of a mission statement, Camp Fire operates from a promise and belief that youth are the leaders of the future — and of the present."Most youth organizations talk about preparing kids for the future or future leadership positions. This is great, but we believe kids and teens are leaders now. They don’t need to wait for the future to shape the world," Harrell said. "Young people want to shape the world. In Camp Fire, it begins now."


Camp Fire serves children in grades K through 12, offering them a wide variety of activities that guide and direct their path. Camp Fire also helps boost confidence and self-esteem while developing leadership, decision-making and life skills.


An outreach effort extends into the El Dorado School District with all-girl, in-school programming and an after-school program for boys and girls at three local elementary schools."Outreach programs provide children the opportunity to participate in Camp Fire," Harrell explained.


Other Camp Fire programs include a summer day camp and outdoor educational workshops, such as Dutch oven cooking and archery.The group's largest program is the traditional club model, which has 625 members in Union County.


Camp Fire El Dorado operates two facilities in South Arkansas: the Camp Fire Office and Camp Wotapi. The Camp Fire Office at 915 Arkansas Ave. in El Dorado houses office space, meeting rooms, a fully equipped cooking area, and a large multi-purpose room. Camp Wotapi in Parkers Chapel is a 42-acre recreational facility boasting creeks, campsites, a cabin, amphitheater, lodge, and hiking trail. Money raised by the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout will be used to make improvements and additions to those facilities and to expand and enhance Camp Fire programming, Harrell said.


Camp Fire is intimately familiar with the Shootout, Harrell continued, having previously assisted in various capacities, including housing players, scoring, and caddying. The event also exposes Camp Fire members to the world of professional golf.


The Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout is a 54-hole, stroke-play format eventthat was named the 2017 Sporting Event of the Year by the Arkansas Festivals and Events Association. For the fourth annual shootout, golfers will vie for a $150,000 total purse. The winner will earn $22,500 and take a significant step toward obtaining her LPGA Tour Card for the 2019 season. The top 10 players on money list for the year-end, Volvik Race for the Card also qualify for their full-time LPGA Tour Cards for the following season. Symetra Tour players have gone on to win 428 LPGA Tour events, including 46 major championships.


For more information about Camp Fire El Dorado, call 870-862-3463 or visit www.campfireeldorado.orgor the Camp Fire Facebook page.


To learn more about the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout visit the Tournament’s website at





About the Symetra Tour

The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 38th competitive season in 2018. With the support of its umbrella 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 $1.7M in prize money to $3M in prize money awarded over the course of 22 tournaments. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 427 LPGA titles. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at,,, and


About Murphy USA

Murphy USA Inc. is a leading retailer of gasoline and convenience merchandise with more than 1,400 stations located primarily in the Southwest, Southeast and Midwest United States under the Murphy USA and Murphy Express brands. The company and its team of over 9,000 employees serve an estimated 1.6 million customers each day through its network of retail gasoline stations in 26 states. The majority of Murphy USA's sites are located in close proximity to Walmart SuperCenter locations. Murphy USA Inc. ranks 291 among Fortune 500 companies.


Media Contact

Susan Ables
El Dorado Shootout Media



















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WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, applauded passage of the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act, known as the VA MISSION Act for short. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 92 to 5.


The VA MISSION Act improves the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) current healthcare delivery system and helps provide veterans with more choices and fewer barriers to care.


As Boozman noted in a floor speech in advance of the vote, for veterans in largely rural states like Arkansas, it allows easier access to healthcare. “The service options provided in this bill will give veterans who live far from a VA facility and need frequent follow-up care easier access to local providers and walk-in clinics,” Boozman said.

Watch Boozman’s Remarks on the VA MISSION Act


The VA MISSION Act also improves the VA’s ability to hire high-quality healthcare professionals, expands VA caregiver benefits to veterans of all generations and creates a process to evaluate and reform VA facilities so they can best serve veterans. It also includes funding for the Choice Program so veterans will have access to care while we transition to an easier-to-use community care program.


The legislation is headed to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.











May 23, 2018

The 2018 Primary Election was held in the State of Arkansas on Tuesday. Only 2800 voters got out and voted on Ouachita County. This was an extremely low turnout.

 In races of local interest unofficial results showed Incumbent Sylvester Smith Jr. beat opponent Todd McAteer.  Smith received 1072 votes to McAteer’s 807 votes.

In the Constable race for Bragg Township John Dodson and Powell Cotton Greening both received 5 votes.  Radio Works was unable to reach Ouachita County Britt Williford this morning regarding the status of a possible runoff election in this race.  

Jason Purifoy beat Roland Ross for Constable of the Red Hill Township. Purifoy received receive 68 votes compared to Ross’s 7 votes.

Eddie Pickett beat incumbent Doris Grissom in the race for Justice of the Peace – District 3. Pickett received 105 votes. Grissom received 56 votes.

In School Board races for Camden Fairview Zone 2 Macon Patton won with 108 votes to Keith Johnson’s 88 votes. In Camden Fairview Zone 3 Eddie R. Moore, Jr. won with 203 votes to Juanita Mitchell’s 156 votes.

The 2018 General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 13th.



New online tool helps Arkansans use data to improve communities.

Little Rock, Ark. (May 23, 2018) – Arkansas Community Foundation has launched, an expanded online version of the Aspire Arkansas report with accessible, county-by-county data on education, healthcare, families and communities to help individuals, organizations and communities make better decisions through better data access.

“Individuals and groups throughout the state can use the data on to target key issues that mean the most for their communities,” said Heather Larkin, Arkansas Community Foundation President and CEO. “The knowledge they gain can be a catalyst for choosing the most important local priorities to support with time, funding and advocacy."

Aspire Arkansas grew from a need that Arkansas Community Foundation identified for more accessible, localized data that can drive community improvement. Back in 2011, the first Aspire Arkansas report was published with county-by-county data on issues important to Arkansans. The data was updated in 2013 and an Aspire Actions report was added to help Arkansans bridge the gap between data and actions that could accomplish specific community goals.

Since the inception of Aspire Arkansas in 2011, Community Foundation affiliates throughout our state have been able to make grants and build partnerships to address the areas identified through the Aspire Arkansas data and analysis. Statewide organizations and government entities have used the combined statistics to better understand issues and provide smarter answers to those they serve.

“Key findings aggregated on all come from previously published sources. But seeing the data together can provide a snapshot of the quality of life in our state or in a particular county,” said Sarah Kinser, Community Foundation Chief Program Officer.

On the site, community indicators help determine strengths and weaknesses and focus efforts to improve Arkansas.  Aspire Arkansas also provides commentary that interprets the indicator information through maps, graphs, summaries and charts. For most indicators, data by county is available. Details of county-by-county data can be downloaded free from the site.

Some data bright spots are:

1. High school graduation rates in Arkansas are increasing.
2. College remediation rates are decreasing somewhat, although our rate is still relatively high compared to other states.
3. Insurance coverage rates now match the national average, 90 percent.
4. Unemployment is below the national average and decreasing.
5. Child abuse and neglect dropped 14 percent between 2012 and 2017.
6. Arkansas leads the way on charitable giving, ranking third in the nation 7. The share of Arkansans taking part in service organizations, neighborhood organizations and other groups rose 4 percentage points to 30 percent between 2008 and 2013.

Some data hurdles Arkansans must overcome include:

1. There are large disparities by race and ethnicity on almost every education indicator.
2. Only 37 percent of third graders meet the reading readiness benchmark ACT Aspire standardized test.
3. Arkansas leads the nation in physical inactivity, and life expectancy is three years less than the national average.
4. Arkansas is first in the nation for the number of births to teens.
5. Arkansas households earn roughly one-fourth less than the national average.
6. 32 percent of Arkansans lack access to affordable financial services.
7. Local political involvement is decreasing, and volunteerism rates trail the nation.

“The Community Foundation funded the website and data aggregation,” said Larkin. “We want to provide easily accessible data so that better giving decisions can be made – to let more people know how our state is doing on crucial issues.”

Arkansas Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that fosters smart giving to improve communities. The Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct their charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Community Foundation supports charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create new initiatives that address the gaps.  Since 1976, the Community Foundation has provided more than $179 million in grants and partnered with thousands of Arkansans to help them improve our neighborhoods, our towns and our entire state. Contributions to the Community Foundation, its funds and any of its 28 affiliates are fully tax deductible



MAY 22, 2018



Senator John Boozman and Congressman Bruce Westerman recently recognized Arkansas small businesses and the role they play in our economy on their ‘Talk Small Ya’ll’ Small Business Tour. They listened to business owners, managers, employees and other key figures about what they are seeing and experiencing in today’s economy and we asked for their input on how to make it easier for small businesses to grow and thrive.

This is Senator John Boozman with an update from Washington.

I recently joined Arkansas Fourth District Congressman Bruce Westerman on a tour that we called “Talk Small Y’all” to highlight the importance of small businesses to our state’s economy and the local communities where they make such a significant impact.

We know small business owners embody the values and ideals that helped build our country—hard work, willingness to take risks and vision. More than 90 percent of Natural State businesses are small businesses. They employ nearly half of Arkansas workers

As we visited with business owners, managers, employees and other industry and civic leaders, Congressman Westerman and I heard a few common messages repeated.

One of their biggest needs involves hiring a workforce that is educated, ready and able to work. We also heard about how regulatory burdens, and especially uncertainty, are detrimental to their ability to grow and invest in their own companies and employees. Another plea we encountered frequently, particularly from Main Street retailers, was the urgent need to level the playing field by requiring internet retailers to collect sales taxes just as their brick-and-mortar counterparts must

But one thing is abundantly clear: the small businesses we visited on this tour, and the thousands of others across Arkansas just like them, /are optimistic about the current climate and the direction we are headed.

Congress, under Republican leadership, has eliminated onerous regulations that went beyond commonsense approaches to protect public safety and health. We also passed meaningful, historic tax reform that makes our nation’s businesses more globally competitive.

On our small business tour, we visited manufacturing companies, an oilfield and industrial products supplier, a foodservice distributor, dining establishments and retail stores. We also sat down with community bankers because they are instrumental in providing small businesses with the capital and resources needed to get off the ground or invest in their operations.

This array of businesses and interests are representative of those found in towns and cities across Arkansas.

I appreciated the opportunity to visit with Arkansans about small business issues and to hear their real-life experiences in regards to what it’s like to run, manage or work at a small business today. Congressman Westerman and I are taking these firsthand accounts back to Washington, D.C. to help craft policy and legislation that incentivizes and encourages people across Arkansas and throughout the country to pursue their dreams and create or expand businesses like those we visited.

It is an easy thing to say, but we truly cannot forget the role that small, local businesses play in our communities. When our small businesses reach new heights of success, our entire country benefits.

Diverse youth in public service announcement symbolize Dr. King’s Dream of diversity and inclusivity
Little Rock, Arkansas, May 16, 2018:  The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission today unveiled a public service announcement to teach Arkansans about the Commission and its programs. “The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission Makes a Difference” public service announcement will air on television, social media networks and radio stations across the state beginning today. “It is important for Arkansans, especially youth to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s principles beyond the King Holiday and Black History Month.  Dr. King’s principles of nonviolence, service, education and appreciation of diversity are universal, very much relevant and needed year round,” says DuShun Scarbrough, Executive Director.  “Through the public service announcements, programming and direct outreach, the Commission will continue to focus on teaching youth across the state about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This was also a chance to provide opportunities to children with special needs and English Language Learners. Dr. King stood for “everyone,” therefore we wanted to make sure that we were inclusive.” The PSAs are in video and audio format.

The video may be viewed at this link:

Included in Committee-Passed Water Infrastructure Bill
WASHINGTON—The Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee approved the inclusion of legislation introduced by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that will modernize investment in water infrastructure in its comprehensive water infrastructure bill.

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which was unanimously reported out of committee on Tuesday, includes Boozman’s Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act as a provision in the bill.

“The SRF WIN Act is an innovative solution to updating our water and wastewater infrastructure in a way that communities of all sizes can afford. I’m pleased that Chairman Barrasso and Ranking member Carper recognize that fixing our crumbling infrastructure is a national priority. By including this legislation in the committee’s comprehensive water infrastructure bill, state and local governments will be able to more effectively meet underserved or unmet infrastructure needs,” Boozman said

Boozman’s work was praised by both EPW Chairman Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “Thanks to Senator Boozman, [America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018] enhances the effectiveness of federal investments in our nation’s failing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure,” McConnell said on the Senate floor

The provision in the committee-passed legislation would:

  • Authorize $100 million annually over two years to support state revolving fund projects exclusively.
  • Encourage states to bundle their projects by waiving the $100,000 application fee and streamlining the application process to a maximum 180-day turnaround
  • Promote transparency by requiring EPA to post the list of project applications received and those selected to receive funds.
  • Help communities, both big and small, receive funding for their vetted drinking water and wastewater projects.
  • Preserve the successful state revolving funds (SRFs) and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program.

Earlier this month, EPW Committee leaders received a letter from the nation’s leading construction, engineering, municipal, conservation, public works, infrastructure finance, labor and manufacturing organizations urging members to include the SRF WIN Act as a provision in the committee’s Water Resources Development Act legislation.

The SRF WIN Act was introduced in February by Boozman and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Cosponsors include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

The legislation empowers states to invest in multiple water infrastructure projects. The bill combines the best aspects of state revolving funds (SRFs) with the leveraging power of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) to make the process easier and more affordable for states to meet their underserved or unmet water infrastructure needs.

News Release - Arkansas State Police Public Affairs Office | Contact Information: (501) 618 - 8232|
UPDATE: 10:03 PM

   Ronald Clinton, 47, of Memphis, Tennessee has been identified as the deceased in the officer involved shooting incident.
 Clinton’s body is being transferred to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to confirm the manner and cause of death

Authorities of the West Memphis Police Department have requested the assistance of the Arkansas State Police in the investigation of an officer involved shooting that occurred late this afternoon (Monday, May 21st) along Interstate 40 west of Memphis.
At approximately 5 PM, officers of the West Memphis Police Department attempted to stop of a vehicle being driven east toward Memphis.  As local police officers pursued the vehicle, the driver reportedly struck police patrol cars with his vehicle.  The suspect driver then reversed direction and began driving westbound toward officers in the eastbound traffic lanes.
     At least one local officer fired on the approaching driver.  The vehicle struck an eastbound
commercial carrier truck and trailer.
The suspect injured in the crash was extracted from the collision scene and transported to an area hospital where he later died.
Traffic in the eastbound lanes of traffic was blocked while local police and Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division began their investigation.
The investigation by the state police will be turned-over to the prosecuting attorney for review to determine if the use of deadly force by the West Memphis officer was justified as prescribed by Arkansas law.
Questions relating to the administrative status of any West Memphis officers involved in the pursuit and shooting should be directed to the West Memphis Police Department.

MAY 21, 2018



Team Camden Arkansas - FREE Small Business Training

2018 Schedule

Now Offered at the

Camden Accelerated Business Services (CABS) Center

625 Adams SW, Camden, AR 71701 (OPED Building)

Call 870-836-2210 or to Pre-Register



NEW! Create Your Business Website

Jumpstart your online presence with these easy step by step instructions on building and designing a free website using Weebly. In this workshop, we will help you create a free account and an attractive, functional, five-page website for your business.

Tuesday, May 15 | 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Is Starting a Business Right for You?

Come explore what business ownership is all about. We’ll acquaint you with the startup process and the entrepreneurial lifestyle. The free, hour-long conversation will give you a sense of what starting a business requires and tips to help you decide if you are ready to move forward with your idea. Bring your questions!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.



NEW! HR - Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) Pitfalls

There are certain areas of wage and hour law that cause more confusion for employers than most other areas. In this seminar, we will cover common pitfalls and some suggestions for avoiding or dealing with them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 | 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


Google - Get Found on Google Search and Maps

Explore Google My Business, a free tool for local businesses, who want to connect with customers on Google Search and Maps. Get hands-on help creating or updating your listing, and take advantage of a free website.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 | 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.



Boosting Your Sales

Watch your sales and revenues grow with proven techniques. Develop a sales strategy, learn how to recognize buyer’s needs, strengthen your sales team's communication with customers, and get tips for hiring, training, and evaluating salespeople.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 | 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


Procurement - Doing Business with the Government

Doing business with the federal government can be extremely lucrative for small businesses. During this seminar we will provide an overview of doing business with the federal government including 8(a), HUBZone, Women and Veteran owned certifications. We will also go over what resources are available to assist the small business owner who is interested in doing business with the government.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 | 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.




The public auction for the sale of tax delinquent land in Ouachita County will be held at the Ouachita County Courthouse Tuesday, June 5, at 1:00 P.M. according to John Thurston, Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands. Registration will begin at 12:30 P.M.



Ouachita County Election Commission

May 22, 2018 Preferential Primary, Non-Partisan judicial, and Annual School Elections.   Notice of Emergency Closure and Consolidation of Polling Place for Election Day.

As required by Arkansas code Ann.7-5-101(d)(1)(3)(B); an emergency is hereby declared to exist., Cleveland Township Community Center, Cleveland Township voting precinct and Holly Grove Baptist Church, Freeo Township voting precinct are hereby closed. Both precincts have been consolidated with Bearden Lions Club, 3rd Street, Bearden, Arkansas, poll site for this and all subsequent elections. Those voters will now vote at the Bearden Lions Club.

St. James AME Church poll site vor Valley 2 voting precinct will be closed and those voters will vote at Harmony Grove Methodist Church, 244 Ouachita Road Camden Arkansas on Election Day.


This from the Lions Club of Camden: This week, Camden's Lions Club  will be presenting our winners of the 4 bookcases filled with books. This will be 2 boys and 2 girls from Camden Fairview and Victory Christian School.





 President Donald J. Trump has directed the United States flag to be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of the tragedy in Santa Fe, Texas. Flags are to remain at half-staff until sunset, May 22, 2018.

The President's Proclamation as follows:


Office of the Press Secretary


May 18, 2018


- - - - - - -



Our Nation grieves with those affected by the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas. May God heal the injured and may God comfort the wounded, and may God be with the victims and with the victims' families. As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated on May 18, 2018, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, May 22, 2018. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.


MAY 18, 2018



SAU Board adopts 2018-2019 budget



MAGNOLIA – Adhering to the request from Governor Asa Hutchinson, Southern Arkansas University did not increase tuition for the upcoming academic year for full time in-state undergraduate students.

At the regular meeting of the SAU Board of Trustees on Thursday, May 17, the SAU Board approved the in-state undergraduate tuition freeze and the overall budget, in which only three select mandatory fees were targeted for increases in 2018-2019.

Tuition in 2018-2019 will be $3,420 per semester for full-time undergraduate students, unchanged from last year’s tuition rate.  Total mandatory fees will be $918.  Total tuition and fees for an undergraduate in state student taking fifteen hours will be $4,338.  Comparable tuition and fees for 2017-2018 were 4,173.  Students will have to pay $165 difference in fees.

Those include academic excellence, computer technology, and public safety fees.

The public safety fee increase reflects the University’s commitment to student safety. Additional equipment and training for campus police officers, extra security lighting and cameras, and training for the campus are included.

Academic excellence fees were increased to reflect a commitment to

the state’s new performance-funding formula and the University’s emphasis on student success, retention, and graduation rates. 

An increase in computer technology fees will keep the University on the cutting edge of technology for students, faculty and staff.

Other agenda items included approval of a bond sale resolution for facility improvements for the College of Education, the SAU Band and the Agriculture Shop.  SAU presented the updated strategic plan for the Magnolia campus.  Other resolutions included a resolution for student housing in cooperation with the SAU Alumni Association to complete the three residence hall projects of which the first two are complete and fully occupied.  The Board also authorized Dr. Berry to explore adjacent property.  In an innovative program to implement savings for electric power, SAU Tech presented a solar power agreement that will construct a solar farm that will generate a significant portion of the SAU Tech electricity needs.  Academic program changes were also considered from SAU Tech.







Election Protection Hotline (866-OUR-VOTE)

available to support voters in Arkansas May 22


Hotline is a resource for voters who have questions

or have problems voting during Tuesday's

primary election


WASHINGTON, D.C.,  – The nationwide non-partisan Election Protection Coalition, led by The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in partnership with ACLU Arkansas, is working to protect the rights of all Arkansas voters. Election Protection urges voters to call 866-OUR-VOTE if they need assistance voting in Tuesday’s primary, or to report instances of election misadministration, intimidation, or discrimination.
Trained volunteers will answer the Election Protection hotline live on Tuesday, May 22 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. CST to assist any voter with questions or any voter who encounters problems at the polls. Areas of assistance include confirming voter registration status and polling place locations, and support in response to any voter suppression activities or problems voting. 
“Election Protection stands ready to help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to exercise the fundamental right to vote,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Voters can report complaints or any suspicious activity to the Election Protection hotline.”
“We want to ensure that all Arkansas voters have the information and support they need to vote. We are happy to partner with the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition and encourage voters to use 866-OUR-VOTE for help and to report problems or issues to the hotline,“ said Holly Dickson of ACLU Arkansas.
In 2016, Election Protection helped Arkansas voters who required assistance in voting and who reported problems, including improper voter ID implementation, long wait times, and equipment malfunction. 
Polls are open in Arkansas from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. CST.

MAY 17, 2018


City of Camden Police Department

The city of Camden police Department will have it's Special Olympics Running of The Torch on Tuesday May 22, 2018. The Torch will be ran from The El Dorado Police Department to the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's office will then run the torch to the Camden Police Department. The Camden Police Department will then bear the torch around the downtown area, through the River Walk and on to the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, from ALETA the torch will be ran on to East Camden, on to Central Arkansas. The torch is physically ran to these locations by Law Enforcement Officers from each department throughout the State of Arkansas cheered on by Special Olympians and citizens. The Running of the Torch is to raise awareness, encourage, and celebrate the efforts of all the Special Olympians throughout the State of Arkansas. So please take a minute from your busy day to support the Police Officers, and the Special Olympians in the 2018 Special Olympics Running of The Torch on Tuesday May 22, 2018. For more information Dana Wetherbee  the Public Relations Officer at the Camden Police Department. 




Survey Reports Increase in Illegal Passes of Stopped

School Buses

LITTLE ROCK — In a recent one-day survey, Arkansas school bus drivers reported more than 850 instances where motorists illegally passed stopped school buses. This increasing trend continues to cause concern across the state. 

A total of 3,258 school bus drivers representing 194 school districts participated in the one-day survey, which was held April 24. Drivers reported each instance that occurred where a motorist passed a stopped school bus that had its red lights flashing and its stop sign extended. The number of occurrences increased more than 100 from 2017, when drivers reported 726 incidents.

“The results from this year’s survey are alarming,” said Jerry Owens, the senior transportation manager for the Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation. “One incident is one too many. I want to strongly remind all motorists that it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing and stop sign extended. In most cases, this also applies to motorists who are traveling on the opposite side of the road. Remember: Flashing Red. Kids Ahead."


Number of Participating Districts

Number of Participating Bus Drivers 

Number of Reported Illegal Passes





















At the request of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, the Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation conducts the survey each year. Both the NASDPTS and the state use the results to determine the prevalence of illegal passing of school buses in an effort to improve safety measures. One such effort is ADE’s Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. campaign that is launched each August. 

“Whether it is the beginning of the school year or the end, school bus safety remains a priority year-round,” Owens said. “Each one of us has a responsibility to ensure that all students arrive to and from school safely.”

The fines, penalties and punishment for anyone found guilty of illegally passing a stopped school bus were dramatically increased by Act 2128 of 2005. To learn more about the law and the Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. campaign, visit



MAY 16, 2018

The City of Stephens

The city of Stephens will host a Block Party this Saturday May 19th from 11am to 2pm. The Block Party will be held on West Ruby Street in front of the Bank. The even is presented in cooperation with Arkansas Baptist and the churches of Stephens. The event will feature a bike give away, bouncy house, burgers, hot dogs, drinks, cotton candy, games, music snocones, face painting, and fingernail painting. A little something for the whole family. Bring your friends, family, lawn chairs and comfortable shoes. Remember everything is free at the Block Party.


             Boozman’s Water Infrastructure Bill Gains Support from

 29 Organizations Including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,

American Society of Civil Engineers, Ducks Unlimited and

the National Rural Water Association


WASHINGTON—The nation’s leading construction, engineering, municipal, conservation, public works, infrastructure finance, labor and manufacturing organizations shared their support for legislation introduced by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that will modernize investment in water infrastructure. In a letter sent to leaders of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, the groups urged members to include Boozman’s Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act as a provision in the committee’s Water Resources Development Act legislation.


“We believe the inclusion of the SRF WIN Act in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act will make a really good bill even better,” the letter states noting that Boozman’s bill “is a fiscally responsible approach to providing States over $10 B (billion) annually for critical improvements to our nation’s rural and urban water infrastructure.”


The letter was signed by 27 organizations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Ducks Unlimited, the National Rural Water Association and Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. For a complete list of signees click to read the letter here.


Additionally, the Associated General Contractors of America and California Association of State Agencies also sent letters to the EPW Committee advocating for the SRF WIN Act’s inclusion in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act.


The Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act—introduced by Sens. Boozman, Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)—rejects the fix-as-fail approach currently used to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and instead empowers states to invest in multiple water infrastructure projects.


The bill combines the best aspects of state revolving funds (SRFs) with the leveraging power of the Water Infrastructure and Innovation Act (WIFIA) to make the process easier and more affordable for states to meet their underserved or unmet water infrastructure needs.


The SRF WIN Act would:

  • Authorize $200 million annually over five years to support state revolving fund projects exclusively, creating over $50 billion in project money.
  • Encourage states to bundle their projects by waiving the $100,000 application fee and streamlining the application process to a maximum 180-day turnaround.
  • Simplify the federal approval process by allowing thousands of vetted drinking water and wastewater projects to receive funding, eliminating the need for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to process thousands of additional loan applications.
  • Preserve the successful state revolving funds (SRFs) and the Water Infrastructure and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program.


MAY 15, 2018


                        El Dorado Student to be honored 

Emmaline Landes of El Dorado, a sophomore at El Dorado High School, will be presented with an engraved bronze medallion to recognize her selection as a Distinguished Finalist for Arkansas in the 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The presentation of Award will be Tuesday, May 15, at 6pm. at the School Board Meeting, El Dorado School District Office 200 West Oak Street. Emmaline has raised more than $5,000 for local charities since 2013 through a  line of paintings she calls "Heartworks," and since February 2017 alone she has sold or donated more than 80 of her paintings to support causes from abandoned animals to healthcare for people with ALS. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, conducted byPrudential Financial in partnership with th National Association of SecondarySchool Principals, represent the United States' largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer comunity service. All middle and high schools in the U.S., along with all girl scouts councils, 4-H organizations, Red Cross chapters, YMCA's and affiliates of points of light's Hands on Network. A select number of Distinguished Finalists from each and the District of Columbia were selected based on criteria such as personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth. For more information on the rest of this year's Prudential Spirit of Community Awards State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists, visit 


SAAC to Host Artist's Reception Tuesday 5:30-7:00

for WMS Studio Art Classes

The South Arkansas Arts Center will host an artists' reception to honor the Washington Middle School students and teachers from the 5th and 6th grade studio art classes as they present "A Lifetime of Wonder" in the SAAC Lobby Gallery on May 15 from 5:30-7:30pm. The exhibit will be available for viewing May 14-18. This exhibition highlights a selection of their work that was created in conjunction with WMS's production of "Disney's Alice in Wonderland Jr.", which will run May 11-12 at EHS Auditorium. Select pieces from the production will be included in a silent auction at SAAC, with all proceeds going to Washington Middle School.

Artists in Education Maria and Jorge Villegas collaborated with Katie Harwell, Washington Middle School art teacher, and her 5th-6th grade studio art class to create nine backdrops, all of the costumes and the props for the WMS production. Over the course of the 9 month residency, Mr. Jorge and Mrs. Maria taught perspective and how to draw woods, animals, and people, as well as pen and ink techniques including crosshatching and painting with colored ink.

Harwell said "The ‘A Lifetime of Wonder' project has provided our art, music, and drama departments with an exciting new way to integrate literacy. Washington's fine art classes worked together this year to discover and present the musical ‘Disney's Alice in Wonderland JR'. They also practiced various literacy skills while discovering the original stories of ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' and ‘Through the Looking Glass'."

The original Cheshire cat pen and ink illustration of "Alice in Wonderland" and images from Disney's original release were used as inspiration.

This team has collaborated on past WMS musicals, "Disney's The Lion King Jr" in 2017, and "Disney's Beauty and the Beast Jr" in 2018. Both productions were followed by exhibits at SAAC showing a sampling of the studio art students' work that was used in each play.

The Artists in Education residency is funded through the Arkansas Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the South Arkansas Arts Center. Additional funding was provided by the El Dorado Education Foundation.

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






LITTLE ROCK, Ark., (May 8, 2018)  – The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation today announced the 2018 Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees and recipients of its Legacy Award.

Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Inductees
Jim Hinkle, Mountain View - A former Arkansas Game and Fish commissioner, Hinkle served 14 years on the board of the National Wild Turkey Federation, ultimately serving as president of the national chapter of the organization. During that time, he worked for the expansion and improvement of habitat throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada through various NWTF initiatives.

Ellen Moorhead Fennell, Little Rock - In various roles with Audubon Arkansas, including vice president and executive director, Fennell was an outspoken advocate for native bird species, flyways and nesting habitat throughout Arkansas. During her tenure with the organization, she was instrumental in securing funding for several state initiatives including environmental programs in the state’s schools, water quality education, energy policy and habitat restoration.

Randy Young, Dover - Young joined the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission as an entry-level water resource engineer in 1971; just four years later he was deputy director/chief engineer and was appointed executive director in 1985, a post he would hold under five governors over the next 31 years. Among his many accomplishments was working hand-in-hand with conservation groups to fight erosion, floodwater and sediment damage that threatened fragile ecosystems.

Legacy Award:
J.B. and Johnelle Hunt:  Legends of Arkansas’ business and philanthropic communities, J.B. and Johnelle Hunt built J.B. Hunt Transport Services from a five-truck operation into one of the largest transportation companies in the nation. The success of the company is rivaled only by the couple’s generosity, supporting innumerable worthwhile causes throughout Arkansas. Among the most recent examples, a $5 million pledge toward building the forthcoming Northwest Arkansas Nature and Education Center in Springdale, yet another legacy for future generations that bears the Hunt stamp.

“For more than 100 years, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has worked to conserve the state’s wildlife resources, thanks to the selfless contributions of people such as our 2018 slate of inductees and award winners,” said Deke Whitbeck, president of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. “We are delighted to be able to celebrate these success stories and the five outstanding Arkansans behind them.”

Honorees will be recognized during the 27th Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet, slated for Friday, August 24, 2018 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Tickets for the event are $125 and tables of ten are available for $1,250 each. The night will include dinner, live and silent auctions, and induction ceremony. Reception and silent auction will begin at 6 p.m. and dinner will begin at 7 p.m.  

Proceeds from the event support the year-around work of the Foundation, which helps introduce hundreds to the joy of the outdoors every year. AGFF’s mission supports Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) initiatives, particularly those aimed at getting young people unplugged and engaged in Arkansas’s outdoors.  

Established in 1982, the Foundation is an independently operated 501c3 non-profit organization that serves as the fundraising adjunct to the AGFC. Its membership includes men and women who are passionate about promoting hunting, fishing and conservation education among the youth of Arkansas.

To purchase tickets to the event or for more information, contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation office at 501-223-6468 or email






Black Pilots of America return to Pine Bluff for 22nd Annual

Operation Skyhook

PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The Black Pilots of America will return to Pine Bluff, Arkansas with their Memorial Day Fly-In, “Operation Skyhook.” Back for the 22nd consecutive year, member chapters will fly in from across the United States into Pine Bluff’s Grider Field Municipal Airport for a weekend of fun, aviation comradery and serious flying competition.

The activities begin on Friday, May 25 at 9:30 a.m. with the official Welcome to Pine Bluff, followed by the Flour Bomb Drop Competition at 11:00 a.m. On Saturday, May 26 the Pilot Proficiency Competition begins at 10:00 a.m. and on Sunday, May 27 at 10:00 a.m. the pilots will compete in the Balloon Burst and Spot Landing. The real fun begins each day at the conclusion of daily competitions as generous BPA, Inc. members from across the country volunteer to give airplane rides – “Young Eagle” flights – to hundreds of enthusiastic kids.

The weekend culminates Sunday evening with an awards banquet where trophies are awarded to the members who have demonstrated their superior flying skills, as well as the chapter with the highest accumulated points. There is also an individual “Top Gun Award” for the supreme pilot accumulating the highest number of points.

“We are thrilled the Black Pilots of America have called Pine Bluff home for the past 22 years,” said Ken Johnson, member of the local Black Pilots Association and chairman of the Pine Bluff Aviation Commission. “Operation Skyhook has a significant impact on Pine Bluff’s local economy with all the hotels, restaurants and commerce this event generates. This is definitely Pine Bluff’s time to shine.”

The event draws a tremendous number of spectators from the surrounding area, and all events taking place at Grider field have free admission. Grider Field Restaurant will be open Friday, May 25 between 11:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M., plus Saturday and Sunday - May 26 and 27 - from 11:00 A.M. through 3:00 P.M. 

MAY 14, 2018




Electric Cooperatives 
of Arkansas







Little Rock, Ark.May 14, 2018 — Maria Smedley, vice president of human resources and strategy for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC) and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), was recently awarded the 2018 CHRO (chief human resources officers) Leader of Distinction Award at the North American HRO Today Forum.


Smedley was one of 17 finalists who were recognized for their achievements in the human resources field during the past year.


According to her nomination form, she obtained the award for her efforts to drive a major push to improve labor and leadership by embracing a “quality work, competitively priced” strategy. Additionally, she and her division improved the employee selection and screening process while enhancing the competitiveness of compensation and benefit offerings. As the cooperatives’ human resources leader, she strongly advocated for the adoption of additional safety resources and equipment resulting in significant improvements in safety metrics and profitability.


Prior to joining AECC/AECI, Smedley was employed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) as the director of employee relations and benefits. She has more than 20 years of human resources experience in a variety of sectors. Smedley is a graduate of George Mason University, School of Law, holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and earned a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Smedley currently serves on the boards of directors of the Arkansas Foodbank, the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) and the Arkansas Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy. She also serves on the School of Business Advisory Board of Philander Smith College. Smedley is currently the vice president of the Chi Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.


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




Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on the opening of the new American embassy in Jerusalem:


“America’s embassy always belonged in the capital of Israel, which both history and common sense tell us is Jerusalem. I hope the opening of this new embassy will open a new chapter in Israeli-Palestinian relations, one based on truth, which is the only sure foundation for a lasting peace. I’d also note today’s news is a fitting way to mark the 70 years of friendship between Israel and the United States. America has stood by Israel since the day it declared independence, and now our friendship is stronger than ever.”

MAY 11, 2018

The statewide annual convention of DAV (Disabled American Veterans) of

Arkansas will be held May 24 to May 26 at the Holiday Inn Springdale located at 1500 S

48th Street, Springdale, AR 72762. There are over 11,500 members of DAV in Arkansas and 1.3

million nationwide. DAV assists veterans free of any charge and provides free transportation to

VA hospitals.

            Many injured and ill veterans from around the state are expected to attend. The convention includes veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, there will be guest speakers and an election of officers for the coming year.

            According to Richard Egan, DAV Department of Arkansas commander, convention business sessions will include adoption of resolutions to be submitted to DAV’s national convention, to be held in Reno, Nevada, July 14-17, 2018.

            Several of these mandates are expected to concentrate on improvements in the rights and benefits earned by more than 3 million veterans disabled in wartime service to their country. DAV leaders are deeply concerned about this issue because many federal cost-cutting proposals would harm our injured heroes. They are particularly concerned, among several issues, with two important initiatives currently waiting for action. One would help our nation’s wounded women veterans get the best care. The other supports the families of wounded veterans to allow them to provide better care for their loved ones.

Election of new DAV state-level officers for the coming year will be held May 26 followed by the convention banquet held May 26 at 6:30 pm.                       

Nearing 100 years of service, DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; assisting them with employment; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a nonprofit organization with more than 1 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at






Arkansas Electric 
Cooperative Corporation





Voluntary mitigation project with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Little Rock, Ark.May 11, 2018 — Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) recently installed 12 artificial bat habitats in four different sites in north Arkansas.


According to Stephen Cain, manager of environmental compliance for AECC, the artificial habitat consists of 12, 20-ft. wooden poles fitted with Branden Bark and bat guano catchers. 


The areas include Kings River Preserve near Berryville, Slippery Hollow Natural Area near Dodd City, Dave Donaldson Black River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Pocahontas and private property near Blackwell. AECC worked with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, The Nature Conservancy, and the United States Wildlife and Fish Service on the projects.


AECC funded the Branden Bark sets for nine structures, pole delivery to the four sites and pole installation at the four sites. The poles were donated by McFarland Cascade and the remaining three Branden Bark sets were supplied by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. The project was managed by Copperhead Environmental Consulting.


Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) delivered the poles to the four project sites and installed poles at the Kings River Preserve. The other three site installations were handled by a general contractor.


“A graduate student from UCA placed acoustic monitors at the project sites to determine if bats are in those areas,” Cain said. “So, far the monitors have detected positive results indicating bat population. The student will monitor these sites for the next two years.”


Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative, provides wholesale electricity to Arkansas’ 17 distribution cooperatives that provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.


For additional information, contact:

Rob Roedel, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, 501.570.2296 or


MAY 10, 2018


News Release - Arkansas State Police Public Affairs Office | Contact Information: (501) 618 - 8232|





MAY 10, 2018


  The Arkansas State Police Commission has approved the recommendations of Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police to promote four state troopers.  The promotions were announced during a regular meeting of the commissioners today.

  Lieutenant Roby Rhoads, 48, of Perry County, was promoted to the rank of captain, assigned to the Administrative Services Division.

  Captain Rhoads, a twenty year veteran of the state police, most recently served in the Administrative Services Division, Training Section.

  Sergeant Scott Russell, 51, of Phillips County, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, assigned to the department’s Criminal Investigation Division, Company B.

  Lieutenant Russell, a thirteen year veteran of the state police, most recently served as a special agent supervisor assigned to Criminal Investigation Division, Company A.

  Sergeant Alex Krneta, 33, of Ouachita County, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, assigned to the department’s Highway Patrol Division, Troop E.

  Lieutenant Krneta, a twelve year veteran of the state police, most recently served as a post supervisor assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop F.

  Corporal Craig Teague, 33, of Saline County, was promoted to the rank of sergeant, assigned to the department’s Administrative Services Division, Recruiting Section.

  Sergeant Teague, an eight year veteran of the state police, most recently served in the Administrative Services Division, Training Section.








The Rapid Response Team comprised of Judge Audrey Evans, Hal Bass, Elizabeth Andreoli, Danyelle Walker, and Roy Ockert Jr. is charged by the Arkansas Judicial Campaign Conduct & Education Committee, Inc. to investigate advertising claims in judicial races in Arkansas.  This team has found the Judicial Crisis Network to be guilty of false or misleading advertising against the Justice Courtney Goodson campaign.

“Today I have been vindicated by the Rapid Response Team for what I’ve said all along are defamatory statements about me made by faceless cowards.  Why do they want to spend 1.5 million dollars to buy a seat on the Arkansas Supreme Court?  Many people in our state would like to ask them, but we don’t know who they are or where they are hiding.”

The Rapid Response Team reviewed the information submitted and determined that the Justice Courtney Goodson Campaign met its initial burden to support its complaint that Judicial Crisis Network’s advertisements are false or misleading.

The Rapid Response Team concluded, “Justice Courtney Goodson did not request a pay raise.  The Supreme Court speaks with one voice and that voice is the voice of its Chief.  It would be a violation of Justice Goodson’s duty of confidentiality to reveal how she voted for a pay raise.  In addition, Justice Courtney Goodson did not hear cases that were filed by or on behalf of a Donor.  Because Justice Goodson recused from hearing those cases, donors did not receive benefits from Justice Goodson.”

With validation from the Rapid Response Team, the Justice Courtney Goodson Campaign demands that all advertising venues remove these false or misleading ads immediately from circulation.

More information about the Rapid Response Team, as well as their published findings on this issue, can be found on their website:

MAY 9, 2018

City of Camden Board of Aldermen Meet
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday May 8th 2018 at 7pm in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. The Meeting was called to order and Rev. Henry A. "Buddy" Ratliff, Pastor- First United Methodist 121 Harrison St. NW. Camden gave the invocation before the pledge of Allegiance, Roll Call, Approval of Minutes and the Acceptance of Financial reports.

Audience participation was next on the agenda. Mr. Ed Winters proposed a memorial of some kind for the late Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hight who was a Veteran and a Hero from right here in Camden, who still has family members that still live here. Mr. Winters suggests that a street or  a school building could be named after the Hero. We were also informed in the Mayors Report that the Trace and the Splash are both open for the public to enjoy

No unauthorized vehicles will be allowed on the trace and no pets in the Splash Pad. The mayor also added that the pool now has clear water and that several upgrades have been made to Carnes Park. It was also noted by many aldermen that trees have now
sprung up near stop signs making street entry hazardous.
RAIN ON MAY 18 & 19
The South Arkansas Arts Center will hold auditions for “Singin’ in the Rain”, sponsored by Murphy USA, on May 18-19. Early registration for auditions will be held on Thursday, May 17 from 6:00-8:00pm, or you may arrive early the day of auditions to register.  Audition times are Friday, May 18 at 6:30pm and Saturday, May 19 at 10:00am. Call backs will be Saturday, May 19 at 2:00pm.  Actors should be ready to sing, read and dance.  If you would only like to be a dancer, that is welcome, also.

The “Greatest Movie Musical of All Time” is faithfully and lovingly adapted by Broadway legends, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, from their original award-winning screenplay for “Singin’ in the Rain”. Each unforgettable scene, song and dance is accounted for, including the show-stopping title number, complete with an onstage rainstorm! Hilarious situations, snappy dialogue and a hit-parade score of Hollywood standards make “Singin’ in the Rain” the perfect show for actors of all physical types and performance levels.

Director Lisa Newton said she is “looking forward to directing ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and working with the amazing arts community in El Dorado. This musical has something for everyone. For the performer, there are great parts with iconic songs, dynamic dance numbers, and fun characters. Whether it is your first time on the stage or you have years of experience, I encourage everyone in the community to audition. For the audience, this will be a show for the whole family. It will touch your heart and have you singing along as the characters in the show tap their way towards happily ever after."

Tap your toes and sing along in this splashy adaptation of the celebrated and beloved film!  This is a large show, and a large cast is needed.   The songs are iconic classics from the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals that are fun and easy to sing.  Expect a tap style show with pops of musical theatre jazz dancing.  There are roles for 7 women, 8 men, 2 boys and a large ensemble of singers and dancers.

The three main characters in “Singin’ in the Rain” are Don, Kathy and Cosmo. Those looking to audition for a main character must be comfortable singing and dancing. In addition to the leads, supporting roles also have substantial singing parts. However, there are a few roles for actors without singing or dancing. There are a number of fun character parts, as well as cameos that will be pulled from the ensemble. While it is preferred that auditioners have an understanding of acting, singing, dancing, and comedic timing, these skills can be taught during the rehearsal process and a lack of skills should not keep you from auditioning.

The lobby opens a half hour before auditions. Arrive early to fill out an audition form and get a head shot if you did not attend Early Registration on Thursday night.

Everyone will be asked to sing, read, and dance at auditions. The only exceptions are those looking to be solely in the dance ensemble or a straight acting role. Classifications of skills needed for each character can be found on

Prepare a song selection, 16-24 bars, from any Broadway Musical other than “Singin’ in the Rain” in a similar musical style, and a 30-60 second monologue, memorization not required.  Suggestions for songs and monologues can also be found on the SAAC website. Come prepared to perform a short tap and musical theatre jazz combination. Preview the dance combination video on the SAAC website and also on SAAC’s Facebook page to be familiar with the basic steps. Wear comfortable clothes and appropriate footwear.

For dancers that are only interested in dancing in the big musical numbers, attend the Friday night audition or contact the SAAC office to schedule an appointment time to audition for the choreographer.

Please visit the SAAC website at for more information about the audition process, as well as help on where to find songs to use at auditions, along with downloadable audition forms. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

The Courtney for Arkansas Campaign learned earlier today that the Judicial Crisis Network, located in Washington DC, recently purchased over $700,000.00 of television advertising in the Little Rock market and over $500,000 in northwest Arkansas.  JCN purchased over $180,000 last week, in both markets, for false ads about Justice Goodson.  This brings the grand total to over $1.5 million.
“This is an unprecedented amount of dark money to be spent in a judicial race, “ Justice Courtney Goodson stated.  “This brings the total of false advertising, that this shadow organization is spending, to over $1.5 million to buy a Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court.”

“I am shocked that this amount of money would be spent.  I do not know who they are trying to buy, but it is obvious that I am not for sale.  My campaign does not have the money to refute this overwhelming false advertising push so my only hope is to depend on the people of Arkansas to see through this manipulative tactic and not be fooled. I encourage people to go the Arkansas Ethics Commission website and search for reprimands or fines against me or my campaign.  I assure you there are none. “

Goodson has spent 10 years on the appellate court, serving two years on the Arkansas Court of Appeals and 8 years on the Supreme Court.


MAY 8, 2018







MAGNOLIA - Eboni Edwards, a junior Performing Arts and Musical Theatre major at Southern Arkansas University, will be attending Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), a weeklong workshop program held annually at the Julliard School in New York City.

Edwards, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, will attend the program June 3-9. It will be her first time in New York.

ASTEP uses art to transform lives by connecting underserved youth with visual and performing artists. According to the Web site, ASTEP awakens imagination and fosters critical thinking among young people.

“We will have workshops with actors, cinematographers, and other artists, and we will be going to see a Broadway show,” Edwards said.

She looks forward to the experience of being in New York. “That would almost be enough in itself, but this is also a chance for me to grow my artistry,” she said.

Edwards, a graduate of Watson Chapel High School, said this is her year to go to New York after Alycya Thomas, a senior theatre major, received a travel scholarship in her sophomore year to attend the program’s Artist as Citizens Conference. Thomas was awarded the scholarship through Southern Arkansas University Foundation.

“I’ll be thinking of what I can learn and bring back to my fellow students at SAU,” Edwards said.

“I came to SAU because of the theatre department,” she said. “I love the small-town atmosphere, and the hands-on approach to musical theatre.”

She has had roles in SAU productions of “Madagascar” and “Hairspray,” and has also participated in local Magnolia Arts performances.

Edwards has a passion for all aspects of acting, and her interests are expanding at SAU, as she has learned such behind-the-scenes skills as lighting and scenic design.

“My degree will be a foundation for me to build on,” she said. “I see myself getting into television and film, but I want to be kind of a jack-of-all-trades.”

Her theatre major is not only giving her the performance tools she needs but teaching her how to apply them in the real world. “I think it is preparing us for Broadway,” she said.

Edwards said the arts are a vital part of people’s lives, helping communities to bond and unite emotionally. “I want to be part of that,” she said. “SAU is helping me get where I want to be.”


MAGNOLIA - The Office of Community Education and Outreach at Southern Arkansas University provides a variety of affordable non-credit courses that educate, entertain, and enrich the diverse interests and needs of the community. Classes are offered in the fall, spring, and throughout the summer each year. Summer classes have a well-established program of educational, creative, and athletic courses specifically designed for young people. Class sections are available by age and skill level, so students will always feel comfortable and confident.

You can register by contacting Caroline Waller at 870-235-4006,, or visiting our website at

Children’s Programs:

Youth Swimming

All classes are certified through the American Red Cross. This is a comprehensive course that places a child according to the child’s ability and strives to advance the child as far as possible. Basic water safety will be taught. Class sizes are limited to 10.

Dates: Session 1: June 4-14 Session 2: June 18-28

Days: Mon – Thurs         Mon – Thurs

Times: 2 – 2:30 p.m.       2 – 2:30 p.m.

            2:30 – 3 p.m.        2:45 – 3:15 p.m.

             3 – 3:30 p.m.      3:30 – 4 p.m.

             3:30 – 4 p.m.       4:15 – 4:45 p.m.

             4 – 4:30 p.m.       5 – 5:30 p.m.

             4:30 – 5 p.m.

             5 – 5:30 p.m.

Ages: 4 - 12

Location: SAU Aquatic Center

Instructor: Pam Mayo, Cassidy Smith, and Stacy Heard

Fee: $65

Yoga Camp for Kids

Practice yoga while having fun and challenging yourself. Focus will be on the classic poses, building on the basics, and an emphasis on alignment of the standing, sitting, and twisting poses.

Dates:  June 11 - 14

Days: Monday - Thursday

Time: 4:30 – 5:15 p.m.

Ages: 7-12

Location: MBITC 200

Instructor: Krystle Crumpler

Fee: $30

Infant Swim

This beginner level swim program puts parents in the pool with their baby as early as two months old. Our teachers work with parents to help develop the natural instincts that a child has for the water, as well as the primary skills of breath control and buoyancy. These classes are just as much fun for the parents as the babies! Class size is limited to 10 students per session. Must bring a swim diaper and wear a swimsuit.

Dates: July 9 -12

Days: Monday - Thursday

Time: 5:00 – 5:30 p.m. or 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. 

Ages: 2 Months – 3 Years

Location: SAU Aquatic Center

Instructors: Kathleen Dingman

Fee: $60

Children’s Art Workshop 

Children will be involved in a hands-on 1-1/2 hour art experience involving painting, drawing, and 3-D art using various media. All materials are supplied. The workshop will end with an “Artists’ Reception.” Class size is limited to 12 students in each age group.

Dates: July 16 - 19

Days: Monday – Thursday

Times: Morning Session: 10 – 11:30 a.m. Afternoon Session: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Ages: 4-13

Location: Brinson 107

Instructors: Laurie Hicks and Patricia Leslie

Fee: $60

Cookie Decorating with Kids

Join our instructor Amanda Blanchard and learn how to decorate fun sugar cookies. This is a basic class where your kid will learn the process of icing and turn sugar cookies into edible works of art. Fee includes 1 dozen cookies. Class size is limited to 12.

Date: Tuesday, July 17

Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Ages: 8 and Up

Location: Science Building, Room 103

Instructor: Amanda Blanchard – Cookie Doughmain

Fee: $50 

Adult Programs:

Digital Photography Basics

Understanding your camera beyond “AUTO”, taking control of shutter speeds, ISO, exposures, lighting, lenses, and depth of field. Class will also include basic photo-editing and instruction in Photoshop. You will need a digital camera (DSLR or fixed lenses), tri-pod, and a jump drive. Class size is limited to 15 students.

Dates: May 30 – June 27

Days: Tuesday and Wednesday

Time: 9:45 – 11:45 a.m.

Location: Brinson 101

Instructor: Steven Ochs

Fee:  $150

Scuba Diving for Beginners

Obtain the knowledge and skills required to become a P.A.D.I. certified instructor. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors is the largest and most recognized training program in the world. The course consists of classroom, pool sessions, and open water checkouts (Lake DeGray). Minimum age is 10. Class is limited to 6.

Dates: June 4 – July 16

Day: Monday

Time: 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Location: SAU Aquatic Center

Instructor: Clay Raborn

Fee: $300 (includes equipment)

Get Fit with Aquacize!

Enjoy the benefits of a low-impact workout while socializing with friends. Using water resistance, you will enhance your flexibility, muscle balance, and cardiovascular fitness to develop a healthier you. Ideal for all fitness levels.

Dates: June 5 – August 1

Days: Tuesday and Wednesday

Time: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. 

Location: SAU Aquatic Center

Instructor: Elizabeth Ray

Fee: $60

Real Estate Workshop for Sales Agents

These workshops have been approved by the State Real Estate Commission for seven hours of continuing education credit. Danny Been, Principal Broker with Danali Real Estate and Arkansas Real Estate School will host two workshops.  This workshop is for sales agents and will touch on the following topics: 2018 forms and contracts for salespersons, best ethic practices, and safety procedures.

Date:  Tuesday, June 5

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (1 Hour Lunch Break)

Location:  Business Building, Room 205

Instructor: Danny Been, Principal Broker – Danali Real Estate

Fee: $70

Introduction to Bees and Beekeeping

This class will focus on the principles of beekeeping. Those principles include: the history of beekeeping, honeybee biology, plant and pollinator relationships, and essential equipment and requirements. By the end of the first course, individuals will be able to start a hive and help experienced beekeepers with their colonies.  Class will be taught by an experienced instructor with the Midwest Master Beekeeper Program.

Dates:  June 5 and 7

Days: Tuesday and Thursday

Time:  6 – 8:30 p.m.

Location: Science Building, Room 103 

Instructor: Midwest Master Beekeeper Instructor

Fee: $75 (includes book / study guide)

Cookies with Amanda – Summer Theme

Amanda Blanchard, owner of Cookie Doughmain, will explain basic cookie decorating tools, bags, and give her expert tips. She will demonstrate how to properly outline, flood, and decorate cookies and you will put those tips to practice on summer themed cookies in this hands-on class! Fee includes 1 dozen cookies. Class size is limited to 12.

Date: Tuesday, June 5

Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Location: Science Building, 104

Instructor: Amanda Blanchard – Cookie Doughmain

Fee: $50 

Real Estate Workshop for Brokers

These workshops have been approved by the State Real Estate Commission for seven hours of continuing education credit. Danny Been, Principal Broker with Danali Real Estate and Arkansas Real Estate School will host this workshop for Brokers only and will include the following topics: 2018 forms and contracts for brokers, best ethic practices, and safety procedures.

Date:  Wednesday, June 6

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (1 Hour Lunch Break)

Location:  Business Building, Room 205

Instructor: Danny Been, Principal Broker – Danali Real Estate

Fee: $70

Tai Chi: Medicine in Motion

This Tai Chi is based on Sun style Tai Chi. This style was chosen because of its healing component, its unique Qigong. Qigong is an exercise that improves relaxation and vital energy. Tai Chi has the ability to improve mobility and balance. The program contains a carefully constructed set of warming-up and cooling-down exercises, Qigong breathing exercises, a Basic Core six movements, an Advanced Extension six movements, and adaptations of the movements for older adults. This is an AoA approved Tier III evidence based health promotion program.

Dates: June 6 – June 27 

Day: Wednesday

Time: 10 – 11 a.m.

Location: MBITC Building, Room 200

Instructor: Nancy Bailey

Fee: FREE for adults 60 and older

Arkansas Boater Education

This course is required for all people born on or after January 1, 1986, to legally operate a motorboat / personal watercraft on Arkansas waters. No minimum age, but rated for 5th – 6th grade reading and comprehension level.

Dates:  June 11 and 12

Days: Monday and Tuesday

Time: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Location: Science Building, Room 103

Instructor: Laura Rogers, Regional Educator, AGFC

Fee: FREE!

Apprentice Beekeeper Course

This class will focus on hive health and management. Those principles include: how to check the health of your hive, monitoring for pests and diseases, honeybee biology, swarm management, queen replacement, and other IPM recommendations. Class will be taught by an experienced instructor with the Midwest Master Beekeeper Program.

Dates:  Session 1: July 10 and 12 Session 2: August 14 and 16

Days: Tuesday and Thursday

Time:  6 – 8:30 p.m.

Location: Science Building, Room 103 

Instructor: Midwest Master Beekeeper Instructor

Fee: $75 (includes book / study guide)

MAY 5, 2018






Verizon Committed to Funding for Third Year

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the winners of the Second Annual Governor's All-State Coding Competition, which was held today at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
Hunter Fleming, Jonathan Hopkins and Archer Murry from Conway High School placed first and each received a $2,000 scholarship. Benjamin Allen, John Ostermuller and Noah Sherry from Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts placed second and each received a $1,000 scholarship. The third place team of Matthew Anderson, William Babb and Jonathan Brinkley from Gentry High School each received scholarships of $500. The schools that sponsored the first-place, second-place and third-place teams received $10,000, $6,000 and $4,000, respectively, to support their computer science programs.
“After meeting this year’s coding competitors, I am confident that this is not the last time I’ll be hearing about their accomplishments," Hutchinson said. "I am grateful for Verizon’s ongoing significant investment in this competition. The confidence you place in our students today is a down payment on their careers and the very future of Arkansas. And congratulations to this year’s winners. This is just one of many amazing challenges you’ll conquer.”
More than 85 teams from across the state participated in 16 regional competitions, an increase from 75 teams that competed in last year’s event. The top 16 teams from the regional events along with a team from last year’s first-place school received invitations to compete in the 2018 All-State Competition.
Gov. Hutchinson announced the inaugural year of this first-of-its-kind competition and Verizon’s $40,000 commitment at Hall High School in Little Rock during his Computer Science Coding Tour in September 2016. In 2017, Verizon expanded its financial support for the current year’s competition to $50,000. Verizon contributed $50,000 to ARCodeKids to sponsor the competition, which awarded a 529 college savings scholarship to each member of the top three teams. 
At today's event, due to the success of the first two years, Verizon announced it would contribute $50,000 to sponsor the third year of the competition, with a portion of those funds to be used to train and certify computer science teachers across the state. 
“We believe that investing in our students and preparing them to thrive in a tech-dependent economy is one of the most important responsibilities of our time," said Darlene Brugnoli, director of State Government Affairs at Verizon. "Governor Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Education and ARCodeKids share in this belief, and we are honored to support their endeavors to bring computer science curriculum to the students of Arkansas. It is our pleasure to recognize the accomplishments of the 85 student teams that participated in the All-State Coding Competition and applaud the schools and faculty for dedicating their time and resources to see them through. We are happy to join in today’s celebration and participate in the effort to inspire these students for brighter futures.” 

MAY 4, 2018











Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today commended Attorney General Sessions’s decision to send judges and prosecutors to the border to deal with the immigrant caravan:

“No one has the right to break our laws and enter our country illegally. To allow such crimes to go unprosecuted would create chaos along the border and undermine the very rule of law that allows our country to flourish. Sending more judges and prosecutors to the border will allow them to ensure a fair and full enforcement of our laws, and the attorney general is right to give this issue the attention it deserves.”


MAY 3, 2018


News Release - Arkansas State Police Public Affairs Office | Contact Information: (501) 618 - 8232|






MAY 3, 2018

  Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division in cooperation with Arkansas Department of Correction have arrested two individuals in connection with illegal drugs and prohibited items being brought into two prisons.

  Kyle E. Noel, 23, of Lee County, a Correctional Officer assigned to the East Arkansas Regional Unit at Brickeys was arrested at the prison yesterday (Wednesday, May 2nd).  Noel faces multiple criminal charges stemming from allegations he possessed and introduced into the prison items such as drugs and cell phones.

  Questions relating to the administrative status of Noel should be directed to the Arkansas Department of Correction, Public Information Officer.

  Noel was booked into the Lee County Sheriff’s Office where local authorities released him under his own recognizance.

  Tasha Hill, 24, of Little Rock, was also arrested Wednesday at the Varner Super Max Prison (Lincoln County) and charged with four counts of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine, hashish, K2, and marijuana).  Hill was also charged with one count of possessing prohibited articles (tobacco).

 Hill entered the prison as a visitor.  State Police booked Hill into the Jefferson County Detention Center.

  There are other ongoing investigations underway by the Arkansas State Police related to illegal contraband being brought into Arkansas prisons.






Arkansas Congressional Delegation Urges U.S. Trade

Representative to Defend Catfish Inspection


WASHINGTON – Arkansas Congressional members U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton and U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to defend food safety inspections of catfish by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS). The program has most recently come under attack by Vietnam, which is legally challenging the catfish inspection program at the World Trade Organization (WTO).


In a letter to Ambassador Lighthizer, the members urged him to safeguard the program that has kept hundreds of tons of tainted catfish out the U.S. food supply since 2016.


“USDA-FSIS is currently determining equivalency of foreign importers of catfish and catfish-like products, including Vietnam. Throughout this process, safe catfish imports have continued to come into the U.S. from Vietnam and other countries. The catfish and catfish-like products that have not been approved to enter our food supply contain unapproved animal drugs, carcinogens and other harmful contaminants,” members wrote in the letter.


Due to public health concerns, Congress included provisions in the 2008 and 2014 farm bills to transfer catfish inspection authority to the USDA-FSIS from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which inspected less than two percent of imported catfish and relied solely on point-of-entry inspection.

In 2016 the American Cancer Society announced its support for the USDA authorized catfish inspection program.


In addition to members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation the letter was also signed by Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Doug Jones (D-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representatives Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-LA) Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Gregg Harper (R-MS), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Martha Roby (R-AL), Steve Palazzo (R-MS), Mike Rogers (R-AL), Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS).





COSL Announces Exhibit Featuring Sesquicentennial


This year the Commissioner of State Lands Office observes its 150th anniversary, and the current historical exhibit explores some of that history.


Commissioner John Thurston said the display, titled Yesterday & Today: 150 years of the Commissioner of State Lands Office, is the final historical exhibit of his administration. “The office was established in 1868, so we’re concluding my term as land commissioner with a display of documents, photographs and a timeline of the office, honoring the sesquicentennial,” he said.


On July 15, 1868 Governor Powell Clayton signed “An Act to Provide for the Appointment of a Commissioner of Immigration and State Lands, and Defining the Duties of that Officer.” The office was to provide agricultural, manufacturing and mineral statistics and produce publications promoting those statistics to encourage people to move to Arkansas.


Visitors to the exhibit will see photos and biographical information of many of the state’s lands commissioners, including newly-discovered photos of Dr. John Lewis, the original commissioner. They’ll learn about a past land commissioner who began working in the office when he was only 12 years old. Other commissioners were colonels in the military, prisoners of war, county elected officials and one minor league baseball player. And it was a land commissioner who was the first female elected to a statewide office in Arkansas.


“Yesterday & Today” will remain in place through the end of 2018. Visitors may view the exhibit from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday in the COSL office, Suite 109 of the Arkansas State Capitol.





U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-04) are focusing on the challenges and successes of small businesses in Arkansas, in conjunction with National Small Business Week.

Yesterday and today Boozman and Westerman are touring Arkansas companies and meeting with business owners to explore how recent tax reforms are impacting them and what regulatory burdens they face in the current business climate. More than 90 percent of Natural State businesses are small businesses and they employ nearly half of Arkansas’ workers.

Yesterday Senator Boozman and Congressman Westerman toured Bayou Pumps in Eldorado they visited this small manufacturing facility that provides products to the oil and gas industry around the world.

The Senator and Congressman then traveled to Magnolia for a Small Business Roundtable at People’s Bank Expansion. Local business owners discussed their concerns. That was made possible by the passage of the recent tax reform legislation.

When asked about the biggest concerns small business owners are faced with Congressman Westerman stated “labor, people just can’t get enough laborers. They say business is good, we just can’t find enough people”.

When asked about the drug problems affecting small business owners Senator Boozman had this to say “gradually we are legalizing marijuana more and more it is legal in the states. That’s a problem”.

After the Roundtable discussion they Senator and Congressman visited Liberty Supply Company which is located in Magnolia. This small company provides equipment for the oil and gas industry throughout the region

After leaving Magnolia, the Senator and Congressman finished the day with a tour of Eagle Distributing a beverage distribution company in Texarkana.

On Today the Senator and Congressman will begin their day at Bankers Roundtable at the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce in Texarkana to listen to local concerns of bankers regarding recent and upcoming legislation impacting small banks and community lenders.

Followed by a tour of Timber Automation in Hot Springs. This company provides custom engineered equipment and control systems for the timber industry. In January the company announced an investment of more than $3.5 million in its 145,000 square foot facility in Hot Springs.

Followed by a visit to Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce for a brief visit with local chamber officials before attend events.

100th New business Ribbon Cutting Celebration of The Vault. Boozman and Westerman will join local leaders to celebrate the 100th business to open since the Majestic Fire.

Followed by a Walking tour of  Downtown Business to finish up the day.



South Arkansas Arts Center welcomes Hannah Marsh to the production staff for the summer musical, “Singin’ in the Rain”.  Hannah will be serving as choreographer for the production.  “Singin’ in the Rain” will run July 12-22, 2018.

Hannah Marsh hails from Junction City, Arkansas, and is the owner of Lucy’s Ladies Dance Studio in El Dorado. She has been training in various dance styles for over 20 years. She studied under Cydni Hutson in Homer, Louisiana, for 15 years and was also a soloist in the Twin City Ballet Company.  After graduating from high school, she traveled to Los Angeles on a year -long scholarship to the Edge Performing Arts Center. She then signed a contract with Go2Talent agency and started working as a professional dancer. She is now back home in Arkansas, sharing her knowledge and love for dance with El Dorado.

Marsh is very excited about joining the production and can’t wait to get started on this new project.  “The dances in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ are so fun and very lighthearted.  They have such a happy energy, and it’s a really fun musical. We will dance in the style of the movie that everyone loves.”   If you would like to “get a leg up” on auditions, please go to the SAAC website or SAAC’s Facebook page, South Arkansas Arts Center, to see a video put together by Hannah to familiarize everyone with the extremely easy dance moves that will be required at auditions.  If you don’t have time to work on the dance before auditions, the moves will be taught in the lobby the night of auditions.

Kara Burson will take care of the Dance Captain responsibilities, which include assisting the choreographer in teaching steps and other dance business.  Kara is a student at SAU and works with Marsh at her dance studio.  They understand each other’s work ethic and work well together.

Auditions for "Singing in the Rain" will be held May 18-19.  More information on auditions will be forthcoming.

For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at The SAAC is located at 110 E. 5th St. in El Dorado.

MAY 2, 2018

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Camden, Ar.- Southern Arkansas University Tech is proud to announce
that Career Academy High School Student, Grace Basinger, earned a gold medal
at the SkillsUSA competition in April in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Basinger
won the gold for Basic Health Care Skills in the competition. She is a
senior at Magnolia High School and a student in SAU Tech's High School
Career Academy Health Science program and plans to attend nursing school
after graduation.







SAU graduate student reaches out to senior citizens in local community


MAGNOLIA – Mariam Bachri, a graduate student about to complete the Master of Public Administration program at Southern Arkansas University, has used her knowledge about the non-profit sector as an opportunity to look for ways to help senior citizens in Columbia County.

Bachri has volunteered this semester at the Columbia County Senior Meals Service (CCSMS), where she has gotten to know the men and women who enjoy meals and fellowship there. She has also gotten a sense of some of their greater needs, and wrote a grant proposal to try to meet them.

The later years in life can be a period of isolation and loneliness for many people, especially those who have lost a spouse or who rarely see their family. Bachri wants to bring fulfillment to those who might not have anywhere else to turn.

“Food does not make one healthy,” Bachri said. “It does not mean you are taking care of yourself properly. People need to be able to get out and enjoy life.”

CCSMS provides thousands of meals per month to senior citizens living in Columbia County, whether they come into the center at 600 Leila Street in Magnolia, or receive food through the Meals on Wheels program. Bachri said the center fulfills a significant role in providing the seniors with nutritious food to enable them a healthy lifestyle. However, Bachri believes that with a little more funding, the seniors’ quality of life could be dramatically improved.  

As part of her professional project in the MPA program, Bachri has written a grant proposal seeking financing for a transportation van. The van would enable the organization to introduce outdoor activities, such as taking the seniors on visits to historical places, museums, parks, church, schools, shopping malls, favorite restaurants, a movie theater, etc.

Bachri is also proposing facility upgrades, expansion of food services, computers and Wi-Fi, and a big-screen TV for use in the center to bring more indoor activities and social gatherings aimed at enhancing the seniors’ experience.

Shelia Nash, director of CCSMS, said there is always a need for volunteers like Bachri, and that SAU has been a great resource for the seniors.

She said the service relies on people like Deana Taylor, SAU community involvement coordinator, to find student volunteers and fill many other needs of CCSMS.

Many volunteers already provide, cook and serve food, and contribute lawn care and maintenance work. But many times, seniors only need someone to talk to. “They have so many funny stories, so much to say. They just need someone to listen,” Nash said.

“One of my goals since I started working at SAU has been to find places for students to volunteer and to help nonprofits meet their needs so they could continue to provide services to the community,” Taylor said. “It’s important for all of us to support our nonprofit organizations either by donating money or needed items, or by giving of our time. The Columbia County Senior Meals Service provides a place for senior citizens to socialize and get a great, home-cooked meal Monday through Thursday, and they appreciate any volunteers or donations we send their way.”

She said Nash and Cathy McMahen, kitchen director, are running their meal program with very few paid employees, yet they are serving meals to nearly 70 people a day in their center and delivering meals to homebound seniors, as well. SAU students have helped unload the trailer from the food bank when it arrives, helped prepare meals, helped serve meals and ridden on the Meals on Wheels van to deliver meals.

SAU believes that helping in the community is a great way for students to become engaged citizens. The skills that they learn here can be used in the places where they make their homes after graduation.

Dr. Amber Overholser, assistant professor and MPA program director, said students in the program are afforded the opportunity to reach out to the community and do vital work that teaches them application as well as theory.

Bachri expressed thanks to Overholser, who has been “a great adviser,” Taylor, who introduced her to CCSMS, and Nash and McMahan for giving her the opportunity to volunteer and interact with seniors.




The South Arkansas Arts Center will host a reception on Thursday, May 3, at 6:30pm to honor El Dorado artist Gay Bechtelheimer, as she opens her new exhibit, "Recent Works", in the Price and Merkle Galleries.

This show is an exhibit of work completed from 2016 through 2018. The Merkle Gallery will display works in pastel, watercolor, mixed media, acrylic and neon. "Forty Days in the Delta", a series of forty watercolors also completed from 2016 through 2018, will hang in the Price Gallery. This series expresses the seasons, atmosphere and mood of the Mississippi River delta found in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

According to Bechtelheimer, "As an artist, you take on what's going on around you. There's an alchemy between you, your medium and what's going on... and there's an outpouring. You just can't help it!"

For more information about "Recent Works", please call Susan Harper or Colleen Means at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.


Photo from exhibit "Recent Works" by Gay Bechtelheimer, "Madison Parish" pastel

MAY 1, 2018



Boozman Recognizes Navy Veteran on 101st Birthday

Click here to watch excerpts of the interview with Mabel Thomsen

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is celebrating the 101st birthday of Navy veteran Mabel Thomsen in this edition of ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.


Thomsen was born in Des Arc, Arkansas on May 1, 1917. She grew up on a family farm with her five siblings, helping tend to the cotton and other crops.


In 1944, Thomsen’s husband was serving in the Navy and stationed in Hawaii. He urged her to join the military. “I went to the Navy so they’d send me to Hawaii,” Thomsen said. Instead of the Aloha state, she went to boot camp in New York.


She remembers what she did at the end of the day to cope with the conditions of boot camp. “I sat with my feet in hot water every night. I had to walk everywhere in those GI shoes they gave us. It was awful.”


Thomsen was in the hospital corps and assisted doctors with female patients. She remembers nearly having to deliver a baby, but the doctor arrived just in time. 


During her 20-year Navy career she was stationed all around the country, but never Hawaii. She was assigned to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Memphis when she met Elvis Presley - the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ during a USO show. “He said anybody that had a string of beads could sit in his lap. I happened to be wearing a string of beads so I got to sit in his lap,” she fondly recalled. 


Thomsen retired as Chief Hospital Corpsman. She said says would recommend a military career to young Americans.

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

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




LITTLE ROCK – County winners for the 71st annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year

Program have been selected. The county winners will be visited by a set of judges to

determine the eight district winners, to be announced June 20. They will be visited again by

a different set of judges in July to determine a state winner, which will be announced Dec. 6

at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon in North Little Rock.

The county winners are:

East Central District

 Lee – Mark Hurt, Marianna

 Lonoke – Isbell Family Farms, England

 Monroe – Phllip Ferebee, Brinkley

 Prairie – Casey and Leah Beth Skarda, Des Arc

 Pulaski – Mike and Kelly Daniels, North Little Rock

 St. Francis – Bart Haven, Forrest City

 White – Shannon Feather, Higginson

 Woodruff – Billy and Nancy Kyle, Augusta

North Central District

 Baxter – Vernon and Julie Fowler, Clarkridge

 Cleburne – Chris and Lisa Davis, Pailey Defoor Farm, Drasco

 Fulton – Lendal and Tammy Erby, Viola

 Independence – Aaron Turner, Cord

 Izard –Tim Finley, Sidney

 Marion – William Blasdel, Flippin

 Searcy – Brandon and Katrina McCallister, Marshall

 Stone – Olen Wilson, Timbo

 Van Buren – Jared and Lacey Standridge

Northeast District

 Clay – Mark and Michael Ahrent, Corning

 Craighead – Terry and Paula Grimes, Grimes Farm Partnership, Bookland

 Crittenden – Michael and Kelly Pouncey, Hughes

 Cross – Derek Wood, Cherry Valley

 Greene – Newberry Farm, Paragould

 Jackson – WKW Partnership, Swifton

      Lawrence – Mitch and Geta Bell, Saffell

 Mississippi – Russ and Katie Thomason, Sandy Bayou Planting Company, Osceola

 Poinsett – Brad and Jason Malone, Bono

 Randolph – Redwine Angus Farm, Maynard

Northwest District

 Benton – Jeremy Jackson, Gentry

 Boone – Carl Campbell, Harrison

 Carroll – Kevan and Lynn Flowers, Oak Grove

 Crawford – Tim and Beth Owen, Alma

 Franklin – David and Sandra Morris, Cecil

 Johnson – Michael Barr, Clarksville

 Madison – Shannon and Melissa Fancher, Huntsville

 Newton – Jake Moenning, Vendor

 Sebastian – Lynn Strang, Lavaca

 Washington – Jerry and Dyanna Moyer, Lincoln

Southeast District

 Arkansas, N. – Jordan and Ashley Maier, Stuttgart

 Arkansas, S. – Dean and Tawana Watson, St. Charles

 Ashley – Robert B. (Tate) Watt, Crossett

 Chicot – Berkemeyer and Sons, Lake Village

 Desha – James Dunnahoe, Tillar

 Jefferson – Joshua J. Euseppi, Altheimer

 Lincoln – Steve Scott, Star City

 Phillips – Darrin Davis, Lexa

Southwest District

 Bradley – Wilson and Spurlock Farms, Hermitage

 Calhoun – Josh and Shana Morris, Hampton

 Hempstead – Jeff and Jane Collumns, Hope

 Lafayette – Mike and Polly Lee, Lewisville

 Little River – Cowling Family Farms, Foreman

 Miller – Jimmy and Crystal Hewitt, Cherokee Cattle Co., Fouke

 Nevada – Todd Brown, Rosston

 Union – Gary and Kristi Sewell, El Dorado

Western District

 Faulkner – Michael Lee, Conway

 Logan – Mark Snow, Subiaco

 Montgomery – Wednell Adams, Mount Ida

 Perry – Jason and Christy Trantina, Bigelow

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 Polk – Matt and Jessica Debnar, Mena

 Pope – Shawn and Gayla Boxnick, London

 Yell – Lewayne and Mary Hold, Danville

West Central District

 Clark – Wyndal Minton, Gurdon

 Dallas – Lathan and Sandra Erwin, Fordyce

 Garland – James Parker, Hot Springs

 Grant – Shelby and JoAnn Taylor, Sheridan

 Hot Spring – Mike and Jenny Lanier, Malvern

 Howard – Randall and Kelly Pugh, Dierks

 Saline – Damon Helton, Benton

 Sevier – Walter John Marshall, Horatio

“The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program recognizes great farmers and ranchers

each year,” said Randy Veach, president, Arkansas Farm Bureau. “These families are

involved in noble and important work to provide food, fiber and shelter to the world.

“Congratulations to these great farm families. We are pleased to honor their success,

stewardship, and commitment to Arkansas agriculture.”

Since 1947, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program has served as a vehicle to

recognized outstanding farm families throughout the state. The objectives of the Farm

Family of the Year program is,

 To give recognition and encouragement to farm families who are doing an

outstanding job on their farm and in their community;

 To gain recognition of the importance of agriculture in the community and state;

 To disseminate information on improved farm practices and management.

The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with the selection of top farm

families in each county and culminates in December with the selection of the state Farm

Family of the Year who will then go on to represent Arkansas at the Swisher

Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. Arkansas has had two overall

winners, Brian and Nan Kirksey of Clark County in 2008 and Wildy Family Farms of

Mississippi County in 2016. All winners are judged on their farm production, efficiency,

management, family life and rural/community leadership.

Sponsors of the Farm Family of the Year program are Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Electric

Cooperatives of Arkansas, and the three Farm Credit agencies that serve Arkansas:

AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas and Midsouth Farm

Credit. Additionally, support for the program is provided by the Arkansas Agriculture

- MORE -

Department, Arkansas Department of Career Education, Arkansas Press Association,

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency,

Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development.

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 190,000

families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

MAY 1, 2018










Marianna grower and restaurateur shows Arkansans

direct impact of soybean industry onstate



LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (May 1, 2018) – J Town’s Grill, a rising local favorite in Jonesboro owned by a Lee County soybean producer, kicks off their fourth year as a Kitchen | Fields Table Tour featured restaurant. Created by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, the Kitchen | Fields Table Tour is an educational food program feeding Arkansas’s hunger to know where their food originates.


  Since the creation of the Kitchen | Fields Table Tour, Marianna soybean grower Jeffrey Higgins and his restaurant, J Town’s Grill, have been a partner, educating Arkansans about the soybean industry’s strong presence in Northeast Arkansas and its impact on the food industry.


  A creation of executive chef Lisa Godsey, May’s featured dish is a Greek-marinated chicken with a chipotle feta spread: Kalamata olives, marinated artichokes, tomato, lettuce, drizzled with Tzatziki sauce and served on toasted Lavash bread.


  Overlooking Centennial Bank Stadium on Arkansas State University’s campus, J Town’s Grill brings Higgins’ vision and Godsey’s culinary experience together to offer Jonesboro and Northeast Arkansas a restaurant all their own.


  Educating Arkansans through food, the Kitchen | Fields Table Tour partners exclusively with Arkansas-owned restaurants, using the power of food to feed Arkansas’s hunger for knowledge and teaching about the impact consumers have on the state’s $2 billion soybean industry. Since launching in 2015, the Kitchen | Fields Table Tour kicks off in January and runs through June, featuring a partner restaurant’s uniquely mouth-watering take on soybeans from cheesecake to beef noodle soup.  


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

·     The Butcher Shop, Little Rock | January 

·     The Hive, Bentonville | February  

·     Postmasters Grill, Camden | March 

·     Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co., Little Rock | April

·     J Town’s Grill, Jonesboro | May  


  As the Kitchen | Fields Table Tour travels the state, the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board encourages all who walk through partner restaurants’ doors to eat more soy foods and soy-fed protein, such as pork, beef, turkey and chicken. Foodies of all backgrounds can find more information on the program, including facts about our soybean industry, by visiting 




APRIL 30, 2018





NORTH LITTLE ROCK—The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality’s (ADEQ) Office of Air Quality will spotlight topics of interest on ADEQ’s website and social media from April 30, 2018, through May 4, 2018, to commemorate national Air Quality Awareness Week.


Each day of Air Quality Awareness Week a new topic will be posted on ADEQ’s website to raise public awareness of ongoing programs to better inform and educate the citizens of Arkansas to air quality issues. Topics will include: the 20th anniversary of EPA’s Airnow website, National Asthma Day, Prescribed Burns and Wildfires, Citizen Science, and the International Transport of Air Pollution.


For additional information on Air Quality Awareness week, contact William Montgomery at or 501.682.0885.

CONTACT:  Kelly Robinson ( or 501.682.0916)






Image result for saac south arkansas arts center







The South Arkansas Arts Center will hold a Musical Theatre Audition Workshop Saturday, May 12 from 2:00 through 5:00 P.M. Learn tips and tricks to wow at your next audition! Find out all you need to know to write a great resume, put together your lucky outfit, find the perfect audition piece, and gain all the confidence you'll need. The cost of the workshop is $30.00, and you do not need to have previous acting experience to sign up.

This workshop will be taught be Hali Pinson, who has performed in many musicals at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and SAAC. A native of Nashville, Arkansas, she has been working in theatre for 6 years. She graduated from SAU with a Bachelor's of Arts in Vocal Music and a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Music Theatre. Currently, she works as a sound engineer for the Murphy Arts District, using the skills she learned from live theatre to expand her technical knowledge. Her true passion, however, is performing. Pinson has been in numerous shows at SAAC including "110 in the Shade", "The Addams Family Musical", and most recently, "Sunset Boulevard".

"My idea for the workshop will be to have the participants do a mock audition and use their actions as a starting point for what to do and what not to do. I also plan to touch on how to select a song, some good resources to use to find musical pieces, and additional information. I'll have a list of websites that day. Also, I will speak about wardrobe selection and video submissions for auditions.

"This workshop will be really great for people who are interested in being cast in a role instead of always in the ensemble. Many actors want to make that move, but need to know what to do to ‘up their game' for auditions. This will be some very good information on how to go about that." Come and get a leg up on SAAC's summer musical, "Singin' in the Rain", auditions! 

Workshop participants should bring sheet music of pieces they already know or would like to learn, a copy of their current resume and a notebook and pen for notes. Registration is open for actors 16 and up.

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











Little Rock, Ark. — April 30, 2018 — Arkansas’ electric cooperatives recently announced the results of a study examining the economic contributions that the state’s electric cooperatives have made within communities across the state from 2012 through 2016.


The study quantified the economic impact that electric cooperatives have on Arkansas and more specifically, on towns and communities where the cooperatives serve, according to J.D. Lowery, manager of economic development for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.


“The study clearly illustrates that the electric cooperatives in Arkansas are committed to work for the growth and continued development of their communities,” Lowery said. “This commitment guides cooperatives in helping communities create and sustain jobs, as well as work to improve life for the communities’ residents. It’s simply what cooperatives are all about.”


Lowery said that the cooperatives have been economic drivers in rural Arkansas since their inception 70 years ago. However, this study provides a more exact understanding of the quantitative and qualitative contributions made by the cooperatives.


Results of the study showed that from 2012 to 2016, state’s electric cooperatives:

  • Had a $23 billion impact on employment and infrastructure spending;
  • Contributed more than $8.8 billion to the gross state product;
  • Supported about 28,000 jobs through infrastructure investment;
  • Paid $1.9 billion in state and local taxes;
  • Directly employed approximately 2,000 Arkansans;
  • Served more than 1.2 million Arkansans;
  • Contributed more than $5.3 million to philanthropies;
  • Returned $131 million in direct payments to members through capital patronage dividends; and
  • Maintained more than 75,000 miles of power lines. 


The study, conducted by Boyette Strategic Advisors of Little Rock, can be viewed at:


Arkansas’ 17 local electric cooperative distribution systems, statewide association and generation and transmission cooperative serve approximately 500,000 members in 74 of the state’s 75 counties. The cooperatives are member-owned utilities established to provide reliable, affordable electric service to farms, homes, schools, churches, businesses and other establishments across the state in a responsible manner.


The distribution cooperatives own and govern Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a service association for the electric cooperatives, as well as Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, a generation and transmission cooperative, which provides wholesale power to the distribution cooperatives.


APRIL 28, 2018

Boozman Applauds Congressional Youth Cabinet Participants








LITTLE ROCK – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) wrapped up the first year of his Congressional Youth Cabinet on Friday listening to presentations from 32 high school juniors at the Arkansas State Capitol. The students met with Boozman to share their ideas for legislation regarding rural broadband and internet sales taxes.


“I am proud of these young leaders for their hard work and dedication to the Congressional Youth Cabinet,” Boozman said. “I have enjoyed visiting with them throughout the school year and was impressed with their policy presentations. I am confident these students will continue to be leaders and doers who give back to their communities. I hope their participation in the Congressional Youth Cabinet is something they can point to as having made a distinct and significant contribution to their development as students and informed, engaged citizens.”


The Congressional Youth Cabinet is designed to give students first-hand experience in the democratic process and a chance to understand how public policy impacts them, their families and their communities. The students selected issues to address at their first meeting and worked in teams divided by congressional district throughout the year. In addition to policy suggestions, the students had to describe how their proposal would be funded and implemented.


APRIL 27, 2018






NORTH LITTLE ROCK— The report includes trends in observed air quality data for common outdoor pollutants—ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and lead—and their precursors. Additionally, the report includes general information about each pollutant, including its primary sources, physical characteristics, and health effects. The report also contains information about trends in emissions of pollutants in Arkansas, their effect on ambient air concentrations of pollutants, and the effects of various state and federal air quality programs on emissions and ambient pollutant concentrations over time.


Office of Air Quality Associate Director Stuart Spencer stated:

“The state of the air in Arkansas is excellent. Arkansas is one of only twelve states meeting all major air quality standards. I’m excited to be able to share this report with the citizens of Arkansas in order to highlight our positive air quality trends and the accomplishments of ADEQ’s Office of Air Quality program.”


Available data indicates that ambient concentrations of most pollutants have decreased during the time period evaluated in the report and that all monitoring locations in Arkansas are currently exhibiting design values well below national ambient air quality health-based standards for all pollutants. The full report, State of the Air in Arkansas: 2017, a dashboard summarizing select trends, and a PowerPoint summarizing the findings of the report can all be found on ADEQ’s website.


A link to the State of the Air report can be found here:


For additional information on Air Quality Awareness week, contact William Montgomery at or 501.682.0885.


CONTACT:  Kelly Robinson ( or 501.682.0916)



For two days in May, the public will have the opportunity to witness an exciting contest as dozens of competitors from across the United States swing through tree branches to compete in the inaugural event of the Natural State Tree Climbing Championship (NSTCC). There is no fee for spectators, who are invited to bring a lawn chair and stay a while at this family-friendly event. With its towering trees for the competitors to demonstrate their skills, the site for NSTCC, which was generously donated by Crystal Bridges, is 1107 NE J Street, Bentonville.  The event on Saturday, May 5, starts at 8:00am and will finish when all competitors have completed their events sometime in late afternoon. The Master’s challenge on Sunday, May 6, will begin at 9:00am and finish around mid-day.

The first tree climbing competitions were held in California as a way to train for the classic skills that would prepare a climber equipped with nothing more than a rope to perform life-saving aerial rescues.

Wearing hard hats and climbing harnesses, competitors will take part in four events that simulate working conditions that arborists encounter in the field, Throwline, Open Ascent, Work Climb and Aerial Rescue. These serve to qualify the competitors for the Masters’ Challenge Championship, where the top men and women finishers from the preliminary round on Saturday, May 5, advance to the Masters’ Challenge on Sunday, May 6.

Sponsors, along with Arkansas Urban Forestry Council, are Adventure Subaru, Archer’s Tree Care, Bold Spring Nursery, Carroll Electric Cooperative Corporation, Cultivated Threads, LLC, Davey Resource Group, UA-Monticello School of Forestry and Natural Resources, Tree Climbers, LLC, Vermeer MidSouth, Arkansas Forestry Commission, Arkansas Agriculture Department and USDA Forest Service.

Partners are Airship Coffee, At-Height, Buckingham Manufacturing Company, Inc., DMM, Nabholz, Pinnacle Arborist Supplies, Raines Tree Care, Teufelberger, Tree Stuff, Truewerk, Wes Spur and West Tree Service.






Boozman Encourages Arkansans to Participate in Drug

Take-Back Day, Calls on DOJ to Release Critical Funding

to Fight Opioid Crisis


WASHINGTON—In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) encouraged Arkansans to safely dispose of expired, unused and unnecessary medications by participating in the Arkansas Take Back Day on April 28 and called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release critical funds that help local law enforcement agencies fight the opioid epidemic.


Click here to watch Boozman’s full speech

On April 28, law enforcement agencies across the state will host events to collect prescription drugs as part of the nationwide initiative, National Drug Take Back Day, to return and dispose of prescription drugs and curb their abuse. Arkansans can find the nearest collection site to them by visiting:


“Despite our state’s modest population, Arkansas ranks thirteenth in the nation in total weight collected over the course of 14 statewide take-back events. These events have produced the return of almost 132 tons of unneeded medications, which amounts to over 400 million pills. This campaign is clearly succeeding at getting unnecessary prescription drugs out of circulation and helping break the cycle of addiction in our communities. I encourage Arkansans to once again participate in this worthwhile event in full force this year,” Boozman said.


Boozman highlighted federal efforts to help address the opioid crisis—including the additional resources in the latest funding bill—but noted a way that Washington is hurting those fighting the epidemic at the local level.


DOJ is withholding funds from the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, the largest source of federal justice funding to help provide law enforcement officers with the tools and training to protect our communities. The program was created more than a decade ago to help states and local law enforcement agencies purchase essential equipment and support drug treatment and enforcement activities.


“Currently, DOJ is denying every state access to those funds because some communities and states are violating federal immigration law. This leaves states, like Arkansas, scrambling to continue funding crucial safety programs. Arkansas is eligible for more than $2 million in funding from Fiscal Year 2017 to help fund multi-jurisdictional programs like Drug Task Forces. I urge DOJ to rectify this situation quickly. With each passing day that local law enforcement is being denied these resources, lives—that could be saved—are lost,” Boozman said.









AgHeritage Farm Credit Services presents scholarships annually to Arkansas seniors furthering their education. This year, 11 scholarships are being presented – nine $500 Customer Scholarships, one $1,000 University Scholarship and one $500 Ken Shea Memorial Scholarship. The 2018 recipients of the scholarships are as follows:

Customer Scholarship Program: The nine students receiving $500 scholarships from AgHeritage Farm Credit Services are: Oakley Smith of Mountain View High School, Megan Wilkison of Marvell Academy, Ezra Dalton of Hamburg High School, Brooklynn Daniels of Carlisle High School, Caroline Brinkley of Marion High School, Colin Phillips of Walnut Ridge High School, Phillip Freppon of Bald Knob High School, Hannah Bond of Rison High School and Harlie Heien of Stuttgart High School.

The Customer Scholarship Program, which was established in 2001, is open to dependent children and grandchildren of AgHeritage Farm Credit Services stockholder customers.  Recipients were chosen for their outstanding academic performance and school-related extracurricular activities.

University Scholarship Program: Samuel King is being awarded the $1000 University Scholarship.

The University Scholarship Program is open to any current college student studying agriculture at an Arkansas university or college.  Applicants do not need to be a customer.

Ken Shea Memorial Scholarship: Brittney Miller of Star City High School is the recipient of the $500 Ken Shea Memorial Scholarship.The Ken Shea Memorial Scholarship is open to dependent children and grandchildren of AgHeritage Farm Credit Services Southern Region stockholder customers.  This year’s recipient was chosen for her outstanding academic performance and school-related extracurricular activities.  

AgHeritage Farm Credit Services is a financial cooperative with owned and managed assets of approximately $1.25 billion as of December 31, 2017, that provides credit and related services to more than 2,900 farmers, ranchers and producers or harvesters of aquatic products in 24 Arkansas counties.  Branch offices are located in Batesville, Brinkley, Dermott, Lonoke, Newport, Pocahontas, Searcy, Star City and Stuttgart.


APRIL 26, 2018




Hill, Cramer Join Cotton in Crackdown on Opioid




Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today announced that Congressmen French Hill (R-Arkansas) and Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) have joined his effort to crack down on opioid trafficking. In the House of Representatives, Representative Hill introduced the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act, legislation that will strengthen penalties for fentanyl distribution and trafficking and provide additional screening resources for the United States Postal Service.


On March 22, Senators Tom Cotton, Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-Louisiana), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), and Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) introduced the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act in the Senate. 


“Given fentanyl’s incredible capability for destruction of human life, I am thankful for Congressman Hill’s leadership in the House and his dedication to ending the fentanyl scourge,” Senator Cotton said. “Last year alone, fentanyl killed more than 20,000 Americans, and it has been a driving force behind the opioid crisis in the United States.”


After the bill’s introduction, Representative Hill released the following statement:


“Across Arkansas, tearful families have told me their stories about how the opioid crisis has personally affected them, which is why I introduced this bill to step up penalties for fentanyl traffickers and provide necessary resources to track illegal shipments,” Rep. Hill said. “Last year alone the opioid epidemic caused over 45,000 deaths and killed more than 100 people a day – with a third of these deaths attributable to fentanyl and similar compounds. We can’t let another Arkansas family be devastated by this crisis, and this bill, coupled with a community-wide effort, will help fight this epidemic. I appreciate Senator Cotton’s support in the Senate on this important issue, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this legislation passed in the House.”


Representative Kevin Cramer, cosponsor of Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act, released the following statement:


“The first priority in addressing this crisis is prevention and deterrence. The best way to combat a problem is to stop it before it starts. This legislation updates and strengthens fentanyl trafficking penalties to ensure the punishment properly matches the crime while providing resources to the Postal Service to stop the illegal smuggling of these deadly drugs throughout the United States.”  


List of individuals and groups now supporting the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act:


Sheriff David Taylor, Union County; Sheriff Barry Faile, Lancaster County; Sheriff Kevin Tolson, York County; Chief Steve Parker, Tega Cay Police Department; Chief Ken Miller, Greenville Police Department; Sheriff Tim Helder, Washington County Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Keith Slape, Newton County; Sheriff Bob Dunn, Calhoun County; Sheriff John Staley, Lonoke County; Chief Devin Bramlett, Ozark Police Department; Chief John O’Brian, Paris Police Department; Chief Joseph Beavers, Prescott Police Department; Kirk Lane, Arkansas Drug Director.


National Sheriffs’ Association; National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys; Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police; Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association; Association of Arkansas Counties. 




  • The last year reported data was available (2016), confirmed drug-overdose deaths rose in Arkansas by 17% (from 287 to 335), although law enforcement believes the real number to be much higher.
  • Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine and has played an outsized role in the opioid epidemic.
  • This bill will reduce the amount of fentanyl and its analogues required for mandatory sentencing minimums to apply in distribution cases.
  • It will also provide resources to the Post Office to stop shipments of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids arriving from overseas.









Pictured Above: Lacie Nolen, Stephanie Morrison (SAU Tech Cheer Coach) and Haliegh Wiley

The SAU Tech Rocket Cheer Squad to pleased to announce the signing of two additional members to the squad on April 26. Prescott High School students, Lacie Nolen and Haliegh Wiley, signed during a ceremony held at the Prescott High School. 

Lacie is the daughter of Lakisha Stuckey and Ronnie Nolen and Haliegh Wiley is the daugther of Stacey and Felix Wiley. Stacey Wiley is an Alumni of SAU Tech. 

Stay up to date on all the SAU Tech Rocket news at






The South Arkansas Arts Center will host its annual 5x5 Art Dash on Saturday, May 5, in the Price and Merkle Galleries. The doors will open at 5:00pm for cocktails and light hors d'oeuvres and early viewing of the 55 paintings. There are just a few tickets left, so hurry and get in on the wild fun! Tickets are $55 and are available at the SAAC office.

If you have enjoyed artwork by local member artists over the last decade, the 5×5 Art Dash is your opportunity to get a piece of work by your favorite artist! Most of these 55 artists have shown in featured exhibitions in our galleries. You've seen others in the Membership Show. Some are nationally recognized, award winning artists. All are passionate about their work and dedicated to their art. They have all graciously agreed to donate their artwork for the 5×5 Art Dash Fundraiser.

The dash will begin at approximately 5:20 and each ticket holder will walk away with a prized 5x5 piece of art from a local artist. Artists who have donated their work for this fun event are: Amy Allen, Tracy Alderson, Susan Barnes, Sharon Beckett, Rebecca Berzas-Reed, Sandy Bennett, Jessica Brown, Scott Brown, Stephanie Brown, Pam Callaway, Melinda Cameron-Godsey, Christy Edmonds, Zoe Edmonds, Carol Ellen, Maribeth Frazier, Gary Hall, Annaleigh Harper, Rhonda Hicks, Sara Beth Howard, Beth Hubbert, Janice Hughes, Michelle Jones, Brenda Keech, John Keech, Nancy Rae Kinard, Helene Lambert, Patricia Lowery, Amy Machen, Mike Means, Sarah Merkle, Chrystal Osborn, Ann Palculict, Aleta Murph Reed, Darrin Riley, Lee Scroggins, Liz Slater, Julia Slaughter, Jerri Beth Smith, Cindy Snelson, Christy Stone, Rina Thomas, Marla Tomlinson, Ann Trimble, Pam Vernon, Jorge Villegas, Maria Villegas, Paul Waschka, Virginia Williamson, Betty Wilson and Emily Wood.

For more information on the 5x5 Art Dash, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.


APRIL 25, 2018







The South Arkansas Arts Center will welcome a new name on the marquee this summer with the addition of Melissa (Lisa) Newton of Texarkana as the visiting director for the 2018 summer musical, “Singin’ in the Rain.” An award-winning director with 17 years’ experience in community and high-school theatre, Newton brings a practiced eye and Hollywood-inspired aesthetic to the stage production of this Tinseltown tale, which is sponsored by Murphy USA and scheduled for July 12-22.


To stage “Singin’ in the Rain,” Newton will turn to her own childhood memories of staying up late with a big bowl of popcorn watching midnight movie classics to inspire the show’s sense of magic and glamour. “With its glamour and glitz, and its iconic dance numbers and songs, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is easily my favorite old Hollywood musical,” she said. “On stage, I want to capture the essence of that genre and that time period with a bold, bright paintbrush and bring it to life.”


Newton’s vision for the production is a true return to old-Hollywood, from the Technicolor costumes to the energetic ensemble dance numbers. The music is splashy, the dances are flashy, and everything is larger than life. “I can’t wait to bring the magic that this boy-meets-girl film evokes to life on stage!” she said.


A seasoned director, Newton currently serves as the theatre director for the Tiger Theatre Company at Texas High School in Texarkana. Previously, she directed for 14 years in Alabama, where she served as theatre director for Thomasville High School and the Chapter Director of the Alabama Educational Theatre Association. There, she organized and oversaw the Alabama Thespian Festival, while also working in community theatre and honing her skills in lighting design and stage management. A results-driven leader, Newton is thrilled to bring her experienced combination of creative moxie and chaos management to the SAAC program, where she will have a wealth of new talent to work with.


Stop by SAAC on Saturday, April 28 for a meet and greet with Newton and the other members of the creative team beginning at 6 pm. Audition materials will be available, and you’ll have a chance to hear more about Newton’s vision for this iconic musical. “Singin’ in the Rain,” sponsored by Murphy USA, will take the stage July 12-22. For more information, please call the SAAC at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.









NORTH LITTLE ROCK—This morning, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) announced the winners of the 2018 Environmental Awards at the State Capitol. Director Becky Keogh announced the winners who were presented their award by Governor Asa Hutchinson. Finalists for each of the awards as well as state and local officials were in attendance.

ADEQ Director Becky Keogh:

“Today we celebrate the successes and accomplishments of our partners advancing STEM education, environmental and energy technologies, and sustainable economic development for the State of Arkansas. These projects represent Arkansas’s commitment to forward-thinking initiatives to preserve and protect our natural resources.”


Delta Plastics was chosen as the winner of the fourteenth annual Arkansas Environmental Stewardship (ENVY) Award. Delta Plastics has grown over the past twenty years from a one-facility operation in Stuttgart to become the largest manufacturer of polytube in the world—a multinational organization with eight locations across the United States and South America. To date, the company has diverted more than one-billion pounds of waste plastic from landfills and is the largest recycler of heavily soiled plastic in Arkansas, and one of the largest in the world. In 2014 Delta Plastics established the Delta Plastics H2O Initiative to reduce irrigation water usage across the Mississippi Delta by twenty percent before 2020. To accomplish this, Delta Plastics developed software technology, provided to farmers free of charge, which helps farmers maximize the efficiency of their polytube irrigation systems and reduce water consumption. 


The third annual Arkansas Environmental Technology (TECHe) Award was presented to the City of Fayetteville. The HyDOZ (hyper-concentrated dissolved ozone) Disinfection System is a proprietary technology for ozonating water and wastewater that was developed by BlueInGreen, an Arkansas company in Northwest Arkansas. Looking for a replacement for the aged ultraviolet disinfection system at the Paul R. Noland Water Resource Recovery Facility, the City of Fayetteville allowed a large-scale pilot of the HyDOZ system. The pilot study was a success, and in June 2017 the City of Fayetteville celebrated the successful installation and operation of a full-scale HyDOZ Disinfection System. The HyDOZ Disinfection System is the first of its kind to be installed in a wastewater treatment facility.


Arkansas Rural Internet Service (ARIS) was named the recipient of the second Energy Excellence (E2) Award. ARIS is the first partnership in the United States between an electric company, Ouachita Electric Cooperative (OECC), and a local telephone and internet provider, South Arkansas Telephone Company (SATCO). Through the collaboration, SATCO built a three-acre, 120 kilowatt solar farm, and OECC is providing its existing electric poles to run the fiber optic cable. By 2021, ARIS expects to provide high-speed internet service to 4000 plus residents in a rural, five-county area of South Arkansas that has been largely unserved. Due to the low cost of the solar power and the avoidance of the need to trench and bury the fiber optic cable, costs to the customers are kept to a minimum.


Meghana Bollimpalli and Little Rock Central High School were the recipients of the inaugural ADEQuest Science Award. Bollimpalli’s project addressed the growing global energy demand through the development of supercapacitators. In her experiment, she was able to make the design of supercapacitors more environmentally friendly through the use of waste byproducts and the use of a commercial microwave. Central High School received an award of $500.00 to the school science program and Bollimpalli received $500.00 to use for educational purposes.



APRIL 24, 2018


ADE Announces Second Cohort of Schools

for Professional Learning Communities at Work Project™

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education, in partnership with Solution Tree, an educational publisher and professional development provider, announces the second cohort of schools for the Professional Learning Communities at Work™ project.

In addition to the first cohort of 11 schools and one district designated in 2017, eight schools and two districts have been selected to serve as working models for the Professional Learning Communities at Work project for the 2018-2019 school year. As part of the project, these schools will receive up to 50 days of training, coaching, and support to build and sustain a strong culture of collaboration that will enhance student learning.

Schools were selected through a rigorous application and evaluation process. A panel of education professionals reviewed applications, and the ADE selected the following schools to receive support from Solution Tree:

  • Blytheville Primary School in the Blytheville School District
  • East Pointe Elementary School in the Greenwood School District
  • Greer Lingle Middle School in the Rogers School District
  • Gurdon School District
  • Hamburg High School in the Hamburg School District
  • Howard Perrin Elementary School in the Benton School District
  • Murrell Taylor Elementary School in the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District
  • Oaklawn Visual and Performing Arts Magnet in the Hot Springs School District
  • Quitman School District
  • Rivercrest Elementary School in the Rivercrest School District

“It has been exciting to see how the PLC at Work process is benefiting not only our teachers but our students here in Arkansas,” ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. “I have seen first-hand how schools are collaborating and effectively implementing the process so that each student is showing growth. Our statewide PLC project supports the growth we expect to see with the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act this fall.”

“As we enter year two of our ongoing collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Education, all of us at Solution Tree are delighted to see the progress and accomplishments of the first cohort of schools,” Solution Tree CEO Jeff Jones said. “We look forward to welcoming the second cohort, as they implement and develop truly transformative professional learning communities for their educators and students.”

Selected schools will be matched with a certified PLC at Work associate from Solution Tree and receive intensive job-embedded training, observation and coaching. The schools will create action plans that focus on increasing student achievement through aligned curriculum, formative assessments and proven instructional strategies. During the second year, schools will deepen their understanding and focus on implementing multitiered systems of support, followed by strengthening their systems and sustaining the process in year three. 

Act 427 of 2017, which amended Arkansas Code Ann. § 6-20-2305(b)(5), provides funding for the project. For more information, please visit the ADE website at and follow this project on social media using #PLC4AR.
















Enjoy refreshments and a fun evening with new friends and old as the South Arkansas Arts Center launches a new summer musical season with “Singin’ in the Rain”. SAAC’s Theatre Committee invites you to a “Singin’ in The Rain” Meet and Greet with the production staff on Saturday, April 28, at 6:00pm on stage in the Callaway Theater. SAAC is thrilled to bring the musical production of this Hollywood classic to the stage. Are you ready for a toe-tapping good time?  Have you always wanted to get your feet wet on stage?  Now is your chance!


Come meet the three dynamic women who will lead the production staff for this summer’s upcoming musical Director Lisa Newton is a new presence on the SAAC stage from Texarkana, and she will be at the event with local choreographer Hannah Marsh. Music director Charlsie Falcon, most recently seen on the SAAC stage playing Norma Desmond, will also be on hand to talk with anyone interested in auditioning.


The production team will help with any audition questions, music choices, and even a quick tap dancing lesson.  The songs are iconic classics from the golden age of Hollywood musicals that are fun and easy to sing along with. Auditioners should expect a tap-style show with pops of musical theatre jazz dancing.  Choreographer Hannah Marsh, owner and director of Lucy’s Ladies Dance Studio in El Dorado, will lead a “Tap Tune-up” in the ballet studio at 7pm. Learn the basic tap techniques that can turn anyone into a tap dancer in no time. About the dance Marsh said, “Don't be scared to audition, because everyone brings something special.”


About the production, Newton said, “I am really loving prepping for this musical because there is something for everyone. The cameo and supporting roles are really good. There is everything from some great acting parts to starring roles for singers and dancers.”


Audition packets will be available, and show staff will answer any questions about the audition process and opportunities backstage and beyond at the Meet and Greet on April 28. Audition Call will be May 18-19, with the production of “Singin’ in the Rain”, sponsored by Murphy USA, on July 12-22.


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




APRIL 23, 2018



CAMDEN - Southern Arkansas University Tech Athletics is proud to announce a gift of $1,000 to the Rockets from Richard and Vickie Robertson.

Rich Robertson (left) presents a gift of $1,000 to Dr. Jason Morrison, chancellor of SAU Tech.






Electric Cooperatives 
of Arkansas





Little Rock, Ark. — April 23, 2018 — On Friday, April 20, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) were awarded the 2018 KARK Corporate Humanitarian Award for outstanding community service to the Central Arkansas community.


“We at KARK are pleased to honor Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. for their continued philanthropic efforts to programs to sustain and grow the areas where they provide service, which is the very definition of cooperation,” Kyle King, station manager for KARK.


The Arkansas Community Service Awards recognize individuals and businesses for their dedication and commitment to supporting volunteerism throughout Arkansas. Since 1978, the Arkansas Department of Human Services' Office of Communications and Community Engagement, the Office of the Governor, and KARK have recognized individuals and companies that serve others in extraordinary ways.


“AECC and AECI follow a set of guiding principles that include concern for community,” said Duane Highley, president/CEO of AECC/AECI. “This involves focusing on the needs of electric cooperative members by working for the sustainable development of communities to improve the quality of life for Arkansans.”


AECC and AECI employees annually donate hundreds of hours to communities throughout Arkansas. Recent community service projects include assisting with the reclamation of Little Oaks Ball Park in Little Rock, donating to the KTHV Summer Cereal Drive, assisting with the formation of the Southwest Little Rock Neighborhood Business Alliance, donations to the US Marine Corp Toys for Tots program, participating in the River Cities Dragon Boat Festival benefiting the Children's Protection Center, volunteering for AR Kids Read, assisting with Junior Achievement fundraising events, volunteering at the Arkansas Foodbank, donating to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, providing hundreds of electric safety programs in schools and others efforts.


AECC and AECI sponsor the Arkansas Rural Teacher of the Year program with the Arkansas Rural Education Association, the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year, the Arkansas FFA State Farmer Degree program, the Arkansas 4-H State O-Rama, the Annual Arkansas Youth Tour to Washington, D.C. and many others.


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


APRIL 20, 2018



The South Arkansas Arts Center is hosting Photoshop Workshop with local award-winning visual artist Mike Means, to be held on Monday, April 23 and Tuesday, April 24 from 6:00-8:00 pm. This class will be held in the computer lab at SAAC, 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.  The workshop sost is $40 and there is space still available.

Means is a graphic arts whiz and has taught many classes at SAAC, this being one of his most popular and well attended. The class will focus on the basics of Photoshop, a program for the editing of photos on your computer. Basic Photoshop for beginners covers navigation through the Tools and Palettes and basic color correction. Take a fun tour of some neat aspects and filters available to create art or just improve simple pics. This is a two -night workshop and is geared toward teens or adults wanting to learn Photoshop from the beginning level or further their knowledge of computer photo editing and design.

"Basic Intro to Photoshop is a class for the beginner or refresher for newbies. It's a cozy, one-on-one class limited to 8 people and designed for adults who feel they can't learn technology," Means said. "Photoshop is a great tool for Photographers and Artists. I want you to have fun with Photoshop, it's easier than you think, so come spend two nights of fun and learning."

Means teaches computer graphic classes at the SAAC and is an Arkansas Arts Council's Arts in Education artist. He is a founding member of the local improvisational group "Gimme' A Second." Means is the owner of Creative Means, a framing shop located in downtown El Dorado.

To register for the Photoshop Workshop, call the SAAC office at 870-862-5472 or visit the website at for more information.










MAGNOLIA – Micah Larey, a junior finance and accounting major at Southern Arkansas University, was recently elected state president of the Arkansas Phi Beta Lambda organization. PBL is the college division of Future Business Leaders of America.

            Larey, from Fouke, Arkansas, was elected vice president of membership of PBL last year, and thinks what he learned will help him in his new office.

            “It was a great experience,” said Larey. “And we made a lot of progress and added a lot of new members."

            Larey was one of several SAU students earning recognition at the state competition. The SAU PBL team earned 28 state awards this year, bringing the Rankin College of Business’s all time total to 1,296 state awards.

            In addition, 10 SAU business students qualified to compete at the national competition in Baltimore later this spring.

            Larey hopes to work as an accountant and financial advisor in southwest Arkansas. He said he was initially drawn to the chapter at the Rankin College of Business by friends and faculty members.

            “I enjoy the camaraderie, the networking, and the competitive opportunities of the organization.”

            The FBLA/PBL  is the largest career student business organization in the world. Each year, it helps over 230,000 members prepare for careers in business while inspiring students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences.

            The junior said he plans to work the established tradition of the state chapter of the organization.

            “I’m hoping to increase our membership, increase communication among the chapters in the state, and let the members’ voices be heard.”

            Larey is the son of Lee and Cori Larey of Fouke.










MAGNOLIA – The Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees met Wednesday, April 18, 2018, to discuss a short agenda that included a sidewalk resolution presented by Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, and a bond resolution and auxiliary refunding, presented by Shawana Reed, Vice-President of Finance.

Trustee David Nelson attended the meeting on the SAU campus. Edgar O. Lee, board chair; Lawrence Bearden and Therral Story participated via conference call.

Berry said the University has received an 80/20 matching grant from the Arkansas Highway Department for improving and expanding sidewalks on campus. Bids submitted for the project were lower than expected, and the University does have the matching funds.

Sidewalks would be added at Childs Hall and Fincher Hall, with a possible new sidewalk to connect Fincher Hall to the University Village Apartments. Safety crosswalks would be implemented along East Lane, and one would connect Eichenberger Hall to the Engineering Building.

Bearden and Story moved to adopt the resolution, and trustees unanimously affirmed.

Reed asked the board to consider refinancing two bond issues to generate cash flow and avoid taking out additional external funds for annual residence hall repairs. The two bonds considered were series 2012 and 2013-C. The payment level for the refund would be sustainable, Reed said.

Story and Bearden moved to approve, and the Trustees voted unanimously to refund the bonds.

Finally, Berry asked the Trustees to consider a resolution giving the SAU president authority to explore potential new private housing to be built on campus, with the board making any final decisions. The resolution was unanimously adopted.

The meeting was then adjourned.

APRIL 19, 2018

Tickets Available for Youth Community Theatre Production of "Disney's The Aristocats Kids" this weekend at SAAC

The box office at the South Arkansas Arts Center has tickets available for the Youth Theatre production of "Disney's AristoCats KIDS", which will run April 20-21 in the Callaway Theater. Tickets are $5.00 for everyone. Curtain will go up at 7:00pm on Friday and 11:00am and 2:00pm on Saturday. SAAC's Youth Theater program is for kids grades 2-8.

In "Disney's AristoCats Kids", a pampered, pedigreed cat and her three adorable kittens are cat-napped by a mean and greedy butler who hopes to gain the inheritance left to them by their millionaress owner. Things look hopeless until they are befriended by Thomas O'Malley, an easy-going alley cat, who shows them the way home and helps them get their inheritance back.

The Youth Community Theatre Production is sponsored by Kiwanis International. "Disney's The Aristocats KIDS" is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at



Statewide community cleanup campaign continues; 54 counties signed on Part of

national Great American Cleanup, Arkansas effort challenges communities to


LITTLE ROCK (April 19, 2018) – More than 100 events in 54 counties statewide have been scheduled so far this spring as part of the local Great American Cleanup® in Arkansas. The cleanup campaign will continue through May, giving volunteers plenty of opportunities to get out there and spruce up their communities.

“Saturdays in March and April have been quite busy around Arkansas with so many cleanup events scheduled,” said Liz Philpott, KAB’s volunteer program manager and statewide cleanup coordinator. “For those intrepid Arkansans who want to get out there to pick up and spruce up, there are still 56 events scheduled in April and into May – and more getting registered. As Arkansans, we all have a part to play in keeping our beautiful Natural State clean and litter-free. Come one, come all!”

As part of the annual Great American Cleanup, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) is helping volunteers in every county organize and promote local cleanup and beautification events that will #MakeArkansasGreen.

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

“I hope counties that haven’t signed on yet will come on board,” said Philpott. “There’s plenty of time to organize a litter-pickup event – big or small – and KAB is here to help with advice and supplies.”

Twenty-one counties do not yet have a registered cleanup with KAB:

*       Ashley

*       Baxter

*       Boone

*       Clark

*       Clay

*       Cleburne

*       Desha

*       Grant

*       Hempstead

*       Howard

*       Lawrence

*       Madison

*       Monroe

*       Perry

*       Pike

*       Polk

*       Ouachita

*       Randolph

*       Searcy

*       Stone

*       Van Buren

During the 2017 Great American Cleanup in Arkansas, events were registered from 52 counties.

KAB began posting to its social media platforms earlier this month a #MakeArkansasGreen map of the counties where a cleanup is registered. Arkansans can follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to track the #MakeArkansasGreen campaign’s success.









U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and secretary of the

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) nominee Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, M.D.


WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies released the following statement after meeting with Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, M.D., President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).


“I appreciate Dr. Jackson’s willingness to serve our country as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. To lead the VA is an incredible responsibility. I look forward to learning more about Dr. Jackson’s plans to ensure veterans have access to care they earned during his confirmation hearing.”







MAGNOLIA - Four regional educators were inducted into the Educational Leadership Hall of Fame at Southern Arkansas University on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

The 2018 Educational Leadership Hall of Fame inductees included:

Heath Miller, principal, Lake Hamilton Primary School in Lake Hamilton, Arkansas

Barbara Garner, assistant superintendent, Crossett School District in Crossett, Arkansas

Kim Cody, principal, Redwater Junior High School in Redwater, Texas

Johnny Embry, assistant superintendent, Camden Fairview School District in Camden, Arkansas.

Also at the event, the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Pat Ward of McNeil, Arkansas. Jamie Boyd, director of admissions, Field experience and Licensure and assistant professor of education, also received the Educational Leadership Excellence Award. This award is given to an SAU faculty, staff or community member who has contributed to and supported educational leadership.

Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, welcomed the audience, and Ouida Newton, state board member of the Arkansas Department of Education, delivered the keynote address. Connie Wilson, assistant professor and director of Educational Leadership at SAU, introduced the guests. Regan Grubbs, 2018 Miss SAU, helped induct the educators along with Berry and Taylor McNeel, president’s ambassador and 2015-2016 National FFA President.

Berry said that this past year, SAU has seen an increase in the number of students interested in majoring in education. “Teaching is an influential and noble profession,” Berry said, praising the inspirational work of teachers.

In her remarks, Newton asked those present to think about what kind of superpowers they would most like to have, and told the audience that educational leaders possess “awesome power” that can change the lives of students.

She said great leaders can inform, direct and inspire students, describing those abilities as superpowers.

“You superheroes work together to lead and to provide your students with a quality education,” Newton said, thanking the educators for providing passionate and consistent leadership on a daily basis.

Cody praised her experience at SAU, saying that it “reaches out to the small school environment.” She said the support and quality instruction she received from caring professors helped her grow in her career and become a campus leader. Cody received her bachelor’s degree at East Texas State University in Texarkana and her master’s degree in Educational Leadership at SAU.

On being inducted, Embry said he considered SAU “a natural place to go” as his career evolved toward the administrative level. He called SAU a great resource for helping local school districts hire quality teachers. “Education is a wide-open field,” he said, “with needs across southwest Arkansas.” SAU can meet those needs by helping to bring new teachers into the profession. Embry received his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education from SAU and his master’s degree from the University of Arkansas. He also received his building and district-level licensure for educational administration from SAU.

Miller, in his induction remarks, said SAU prepared him to become an educator, a coach and an administrator, teaching him not only the theory but application of teaching. “SAU helped me grow professionally,” he said. He received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and building and district-level licensure all at SAU and is currently working on his doctorate at Arkansas Tech University.

Garner praised the opportunities given her by SAU, saying she knows she is making a positive difference in lives. She said students leave her district knowing they have the skills necessary for jobs of the future, or to pursue a higher education. She received her bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Central Arkansas; her master’s degree in Teacher Leadership and Educational Leadership from the University of Arkansas-Monticello, and her District-Level Administrator licensure from SAU.

Ward said SAU is a good starting point for a career, calling the University a home to her. She received her bachelor’s degree from SAU and her master’s degree in business from the University of Mississippi.

This event marked the second annual Educational Leadership Hall of Fame induction for SAU’s College of Education.

APRIL 18, 2018


Statement from Senator Trent Garner on Governor Hutchinson’s proposal to increase the homestead tax credit from $350 to $375:


“I appreciate Governor Hutchinson’s proposal to increase the homestead tax credit for hard-working Arkansans. Not only will this put money back in their wallets, it also will reduce the size of government by $18 million a year, which will be put back into our economy.


“We should build on the Governor’s idea. For example, right now we are required by our constitution to collect a sales tax for the homestead tax credit. However, the General Assembly can set the rate of the sale tax. We should reduce the sale tax rate from half a cent to the lowest rate possible, in order to reduce the tax burden on Arkansas business and citizens.”


Senator Trent Garner is a state Senator for District 27, which covers Union, Ouachita, Calhoun, Cleveland, Jefferson and Grant Counties.









WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) has been appointed to serve on the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, the organization responsible for directing funds raised by the sale of the Duck Stamp to waterfowl habitat and hunting conservation.


“I am honored to serve on the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission and be a voice for Arkansas wetlands, which are extremely important to the Natural State’s wildlife, tourism industry and economy. As a duck hunting destination, it’s critically important that we protect waterfowl habitat in order to continue attracting sportsmen to our state. I look forward to working with commission members to preserve our lands for outdoor enthusiasts,” Boozman said.


Established in 1929, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission was created and authorized to consider and approve the purchase of wetlands and other areas recommended by the Secretary of the Interior for purchase or easement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), as well as establish new waterfowl refuges.


The Duck Stamp is a major source of revenue that helps fund the purchase of migratory bird habitat. Since the commission's establishment, more than 5.6 million acres have been acquired by FWS for addition to the National Wildlife Refuge System. 


The commission typically meets three times a year.


In addition to Boozman, members of the commission are:

  • Chair – Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior
  • Martin Heinrich, Senator from New Mexico
  • Robert J. Wittman, Representative from Virginia
  • Mike Thompson, Representative from California
  • Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture
  • Scott Pruitt, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency











NORTH LITTLE ROCK— Finalists have been selected for the 2018 Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Environmental Awards. This year marks the 14th annual Arkansas Environmental Stewardship (ENVY) Award, the 3rd annual Arkansas Environmental Technology (TECHe) Award, and the 2nd annual Energy Efficiency (E2) Award. This is the first year that the ADEQuest Science Award will be presented.


The winners of these awards will be announced by Governor Asa Hutchinson and ADEQ Director Becky Keogh at a ceremony on April 24, 2018, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Governor’s Conference Room at the State Capitol Building in Little Rock.


The 2018 ENVY Award finalists are: Arkansas Discovery Farms, Delta Plastics, and Union County Water Conservation Board. The ENVY Award recognizes a major effort by an individual or organization to enhance and protect Arkansas’s natural resources through sustainability programs and commitments to stewardship of the environment.


The 2018 TECHe Award finalists are: City of Fayetteville, EAST Initiative, and Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority. The TECHe Award recognizes the advances or innovative use of technology that breaks new ground in protecting resources or improving the environment by going beyond traditional environmental control measures, approaches, or outcomes.


The 2018 E2 Award finalists are: Arkansas Rural Internet Service (ARIS), Arkansas State University–Newport, and Clarksville Light and Water Company. The E2 Award recognizes organizations that demonstrate outstanding leadership by implementing forward-thinking initiatives in areas of energy efficiency and resilience.


The inaugural ADEQuest Science Award will be presented to Meghana Bollimpalli and Little Rock Central High School. The ADEQuest Science Award showcases the next generation’s quest for advancements in environmental protection and sustainable energy.


Last year, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas was awarded the 13th annual ENVY Award, L’Oréal USA of North Little Rock took home the 2nd annual TECHe Award, and Arkansas State University–Jonesboro was the recipient of the E2 Award.


CONTACT: Kelly Robinson ( or 501.682.0916)


Here is additional information about the ENVY, TECHe, and E2 Award finalists, as well as the ADEQuest Science Award recipient.

ENVY Award Finalists:

Arkansas Discovery Farms

Arkansas Discovery Farms (ADF) is a program that provides an opportunity for privately owned farms to test conservation practices and evaluate their impact on soil and water resources. The overall goal of ADF is to conduct on-farm research and monitoring to assess the effectiveness of conservation practices, and document nutrient and sediment loss reductions in runoff water and water conservation. The program also delivers educational programs and assists farmers in achieving production and environmental stewardship goals. There are currently twelve Discovery Farms in Arkansas.


Delta Plastics

Since Dhu and Mary Ellen Thompson purchased Delta Plastics over twenty years ago, the company has grown from a one-facility operation in Stuttgart to become the largest manufacturer of polytube in the world—a multinational organization with eight locations across the United States and South America.


Farmers use polytube to deliver irrigation water to their crops. Until the late 1990s, there was no collection and recycling system for the used plastic at the end of the growing season. Delta Plastics established a collection and recycling service to growers at no cost. To date, the company has diverted more than one billion pounds of waste plastic from landfills and become the largest recycler of heavily soiled plastic in Arkansas, and one of the largest in the world.


In 2014 Delta Plastics partnered with agricultural and conservation leaders to establish a water conservation coalition known as the Delta Plastics H2O Initiative. The goal of the coalition is to reduce irrigation water usage across the Mississippi Delta by twenty percent before 2020. To accomplish this goal, Delta Plastics developed software technology called the Pipe Planner that farmers can use to maximize the efficiency of their polytube irrigation systems and reduce water consumption by an average of twenty-five percent. Delta Plastics has donated the Pipe Planner and technical assistance and training to farmers free of charge.


Union County Water Conservation Board

In the mid-1990s, Union County was pumping an unsustainable twenty-one million gallons per day (mgd) from the Sparta aquifer. By 1997, the Sparta was declining as much as seven feet per year. One of the state’s five critical groundwater areas, Union County’s groundwater situation was identified as the state’s most critical by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and the U.S. Geological Survey.


In order to preserve the Sparta, the US Geological Survey recommended decreasing water consumption from twenty-one mgd to seven mgd, a seventy-two percent reduction. Stakeholders throughout Union County and the state worked together to find a solution. Through legislation, the Union County Water Conservation Board (UCWCB) was born and given unprecedented authority over the groundwater in Union County. Today, through the work of the UCWCB and the collaboration of the local community, Union County is pumping a sustainable rate from the Sparta and delivering an average of fourteen mgd from the Ouachita River.



TECHe Award Finalists:

City of Fayetteville

The HyDOZ (hyper-concentrated dissolved ozone) Disinfection System is a proprietary technology for ozonating water and wastewater that was developed by BlueInGreen, an Arkansas company in Northwest Arkansas. Looking for a replacement for the aged ultraviolet disinfection system at the Paul R. Noland Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF), the City of Fayetteville allowed a large-scale pilot of the HyDOZ system at the Noland WWRF. The pilot study was a success and in June 2017 the City of Fayetteville celebrated the successful installation and operation of a full-scale HyDOZ Disinfection System. The HyDOZ Disinfection System is the first of its kind to be installed in a wastewater treatment facility.


The HyDOZ supersaturated ozonation system produces excess dissolved oxygen to help the treated water meet disinfection requirements, increase dissolved oxygen in the receiving stream, and eliminate the need and cost of post aeration. It also reduces emerging contaminants of concern, such as compounds from pharmaceuticals and personal care products. With the HyDOZ system, the footprint of an ozone contactor basin and associated equipment can be minimized, decreasing the project’s overall cost. The controlled delivery and efficient transfer of the ozone into the water stream lowers operating costs. In addition, generating ozone on site eliminates the costs and safety issues associated with trucking chemicals on city roads and highways.


EAST Initiative

Environmental and Spatial Technology, Inc., known as the EAST Initiative, is a Little Rock-based nonprofit organization devoted to project-based service learning that encourages students in elementary through high school to apply sophisticated technology in solving problems. EAST was born as an idea more than twenty years ago. Today it includes more than 250 schools in four states.


Some examples of EAST projects include: building better transportation models for school districts and municipal bus routes; Schoolhouse Farms in which fresh produce is grown locally to supply hunger relief organizations; the Freight Farm in which lettuce is grown year-round in a refurbished shipping container that employs a hydroponic growing system; A River Runs Through It: Preserving Water Quality and Protecting the Land Along the Muddy Fork River; and the EAST Global Classroom, a partnership with a school in Romania in which the Romanian students have been taught to use 3D modeling and printing programs to design hydroponic growing bays for gardening.


Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority

In January 2017, Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority (LRWRA) fully incorporated the Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool for its preventative maintenance program for pipes with a twelve inch diameter and smaller. The technology, known as Acoustic Inspection, provides a fast, low cost assessment of blockage conditions in a collection system.


Acoustic inspection technology has provided LRWRA a method of assessing blockage conditions on 1100 miles or 100 percent of the small diameter collection system every twelve months. The ability to rapidly assess which pipes require cleaning versus which pipes do not conserves valuable resources. It also reduces the need for closed-circuit televising methods, which is a time-intensive and more expensive inspection. In addition, LRWRA implemented the Acoustic Inspection program without adding any staff to the Collection System Maintenance Department. As a result of this new technology, in 2017 LRWRA reduced non-capacity sanitary sewer overflows by thirty percent from the previous year.



E2 Award Finalists

Arkansas Rural Internet Service

Arkansas Rural Internet Service (ARIS) is the first partnership in the United States between an electric company, Ouachita Electric Cooperative (OECC), and a local telephone and internet provider, South Arkansas Telephone Company (SATCO). Together, the utilities are bringing high-speed internet to a rural, five-county area of South Arkansas that has been largely unserved. Having access to high-speed broadband will allow residents in these rural counties to improve their lives and compete for better jobs. ARIS expects to provide high-speed internet service to 4000 plus area residents by 2021.


Through the collaboration, SATCO built a three-acre, 120 kilowatt solar farm, and OECC is providing its existing electric poles to run the fiber optic cable. Due to the low cost of the solar power and the avoidance of the need to trench and bury the fiber optic cable, costs to the customers are kept to a minimum. In fact, prices for ARIS’s high-speed internet service is half of what providers are charging in Arkansas cities where one-Gigabyte per second service is available.


Arkansas State University–Newport

On January 21, 2018, Arkansas State University–Newport (ASUN) “flipped the switch” on a 739 kilowatt photovoltaic system—an array consisting of 2112 solar panels. The array is the largest publicly owned solar array in Arkansas that is not owned by a utility. It is expected to generate over one million kilowatt hours annually. The total energy cost avoidance over a 20 year period is expected to total more than $2.64 million. ASUN is now using solar power to support fifty percent of the electric consumption of its campus.


In addition, ASUN made $2.2 million in energy-efficient upgrades and improvements across its three campuses. Every interior and exterior light has been upgraded to LED technology—6591 fixtures. Older HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units were replaced with high-efficiency units. Every building on the campus is now connected by an integrated control system that can be monitored and adjusted from any location. The energy management and control system incorporates automatic daily and weekend temperature setbacks.


Clarksville Light and Water Company

Clarksville Light and Water Company (CLW) partnered with Scenic Hill Solar to build a 6.5 megawatt solar array. Completed in December 2017, the array has 20,000 solar panels that track the sun throughout the day. It produces approximately eleven million kilowatt hours annually, and supplies twenty-five percent of CLW’s residential electricity load.


The project uses technology that helps CLW reduce its peak electricity demand, and because the array is generating electricity within CLW’s service territory, the company avoids transmission charges. The power plant will save Clarksville about $500,000 a year on electricity costs. The array is also displacing power from a provider that is using primarily coal and natural gas fired power plants. The solar plant will reduce the generation of 7607 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.


ADEQuest Science Award Recipient


Meghana Bollimpalli and Little Rock Central High School are the first recipients of this prestigious award and scholarship. Bollimpalli’s project addressed the growing global energy demand through the development of supercapacitators. In her experiment, she was able to make the design of supercapacitors more environmentally friendly through the use of waste byproducts and the use of a commercial microwave. Central High School will receive an award of $500.00 to the school science program and Bollimpalli will receive $500.00 to use for educational purposes.










 Winners Austin Noack (left), a student at Bearden High School, and Jacob Thompson (right), also from Bearden High.



The SAU Tech Career Academy’s High School Welding program participated in the recent SkillsUSA competitions held in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Austin Noack placed first winning a gold and his fellow student, Jake Thompson, placed third, winning a bronze medal. 

Renee Noack, mother of Austin Noack, stated that, “I am thankful and grateful for SAU Tech’s Career Academy and Mr. Freeland for instilling a love of welding in my son. Since the competition, Austin now has a desire and direction to pursue this trade and further his education.” 

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student excel. We provide educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education (CTE) in the nation’s classrooms. For more information go to

APRIL 17, 2018




MAGNOLIA - The Mulerider L.E.A.D.  (Lead, Excel, Advance, and Develop) class of 2017-18 has had a great first year at Southern Arkansas University. Mulerider L.E.A.D. is professional development promoting leadership through a cohort model. The one-year process includes leadership modules as well as an overview of various SAU departments.


One of the goals of L.E.A.D. “grow” leaders at SAU. Not only do participants experience a variety of leadership modules, they learn more about various areas at SAU. The SAU departmental involvement this inaugural year included Student Affairs, the academic deans, Physical Plant, Development, Foundation and Alumni, Human Resources, and Financial Affairs.


In addition to face-to-face sessions, the L.E.A.D. class had virtual learning/discussion sessions on such topics as recruitment, retention, and communication. The class also had an action project year which aligned with AQUIP.  Class members worked together to create a recycling proposal and work closely with our institutional effectiveness and strategic planning department.  To bring attention to their project, they sponsored a booth at the AQUIP Day, handing out “earth stress balls” and will have a Recycling Awareness Day at SAU on April 25. On Monday, April 9, the class had a banquet and recognition ceremony where Dr. Trey Berry, SAU president, spoke about the significance of being a leader. He gave examples from history with stories of how the courageous choices of others changed the world. He inspired the future leaders at SAU to make a difference.









Pictured Above: Andre’ Williams, Rocket Women’s Basketball Coach; Martin Levinson, Rocket Men’s Basketball Coach; James Woods, owner of Wood’ Place; Dr. Jason Morrison, SAU Tech Chancellor; Patty Woods, 0wner of Wood’s Place; Jana & Weston Woods, owners of Wood’s Tech Diner and Bryce Woods. 

James and Patty Woods along with son, Weston, and wife, Jana and son, Bryce joined in support of the SAU Tech Rockets and the Ouachita County Recreational Center with a donation of $14,000 to refinish and repair the Shaddock Field House gym floor. The Woods Family stated that “our family is proud to have the opportunity to support the new SAU Tech basketball program. We feel the addition of the basketball to SAU Tech will be a positive one for the College and for our area. We stand behind this program 100 percent and we encourage all of Ouachita County and Camden to do the same. This is a part Dr. Morrison’s plan to grow both SAU Tech and our community and we are excited to support the program in any way possible.”

The SAU Tech Rockets are using the gym for the upcoming season as the gym provides seating and a regulation size court. The Woods donation includes the painting of collegiate court lines and refinishing the floor. The Ouachita County Recreational Center, formerly the Camden Boys & Girls Club, is working with SAU Tech to provide the gym for Rocket games starting in fall of this year. The partnership is mutually beneficial as SAU Tech is spearheading repairs to the facility that will benefit both the College’s athletic teams and the OCRC as well. 

John Dawson, III, Board President of the Ouachita County Recreational Center Program, stated that “it is a task sometimes keeping a non-profit running, especially with the large size of our complex at the Ouachita County Recreational Center.  Partnering with SAU Tech on the Shaddock Field House is a tremendous enhancement to our ability to keep the gym a functioning and vibrant asset for our community.  We are excited to see men’s and women’s basketball returning at SAU Tech and are very proud to be able to offer our gym as their home court.  The James Woods family is adding tremendous improvement by redoing the court to get it up to college specs.  Together, OCRC, SAU Tech, and the Woods Family are showing what partnerships can add to our community.” 

 The SAU Tech Rockets will start the fall 2018 season as a member of the NJCAA. For more information on how you can support the SAU Tech Rockets, call 870-574-4533 or email  









Statewide community cleanup campaign continues; 53

counties signed


Part of national Great American Cleanup, 

Arkansas effort challenges communities to #MakeArkansasGreen

LITTLE ROCK (April 16, 2018) – More than 100 events in 53 counties

statewide have been scheduled so far this spring as part of the local Great

American Cleanup® in Arkansas. The cleanup campaign will continue

through May, giving volunteers plenty of opportunities to get out there and

spruce up their communities.

“Saturdays in March and April have been quite busy around Arkansas with

so many cleanup events scheduled,” said Liz Philpott, KAB’s volunteer

program manager and statewide cleanup coordinator. “For those intrepid

Arkansans who want to get out there to pick up and spruce up, there are still

56 events scheduled in April and into May – and more getting registered. As

Arkansans, we all have a part to play in keeping our beautiful Natural State

clean and litter-free. Come one, come all!”

As part of the annual Great American Cleanup, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful

Commission (KAB) is helping volunteers in every county organize and

promote local cleanup and beautification events that will


The Great American Cleanup in Arkansas – and the #MakeArkansasGreen

challenge – is a call-to-action to volunteers to register at least one cleanup

event in each of the state’s 75 counties this spring. Cleanup events should

focus on enhancing a community’s public spaces – such as roadsides,

waterways, parks and neighborhoods – by picking up litter and debris,

planting flowers, removing bulky waste, recycling materials and improving

overall appearance.

“I hope counties that haven’t signed on yet will come on board,” said

Philpott. “There’s plenty of time to organize a litter-pickup event – big or

small – and KAB is here to help with advice and supplies.”

Twenty-two counties do not yet have a registered cleanup with KAB:

  • Ashley
  • Baxter
  • Boone
  • Calhoun
  • Clark
  • Clay
  • Cleburne
  • Desha
  • Grant
  • Hempstead
  • Howard
  • Lawrence
  • Madison
  • Monroe
  • Perry
  • Pike
  • Polk
  • Ouachita
  • Randolph
  • Searcy
  • Stone
  • Van Buren

During the 2017 Great American Cleanup in Arkansas, events were

registered from 52 counties.

KAB began posting to its social media platforms earlier this month a

#MakeArkansasGreen map of the counties where a cleanup is registered.

Arkansans can follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to track the

#MakeArkansasGreen campaign’s success.

Communities and groups are invited to sign up to organize a local cleanup

at KAB will provide local events with trash bags, T-

shirts and other supplies, as long as those supplies last. Volunteers can find

local cleanups on the calendar of events at The

Great American Cleanup in Arkansas runs through May.

2018 marks the 20th year of Keep America Beautiful’s Great American

Cleanup; last year alone, volunteers picked up nearly 186 million pounds of

litter and debris in communities across the country. In Arkansas, 6,153

volunteers picked up nearly 135,000 pounds of litter and collected 6.9

million pounds of bulky waste from 725 miles of roadside and 156 miles of

waterway. Volunteers also cleaned up 10,000+ acres of parks and public

areas and recycled nearly 300,000 pounds of electronics.

About Keep Arkansas Beautiful

The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a

professional staff of three and a nine-member advisory board appointed by

the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and

Tourism. As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful

Inc., KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and

keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded through its 1-percent portion of the

eighth-cent Conservation Tax. For more information,

visit or stay connected

on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and Pinterest.

 About Keep America Beautiful Inc.

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement

nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day

to improve and beautify their community environment. Celebrating its 65th

Anniversary in 2018, Keep America Beautiful strives to end littering,

improve recycling and beautify America’s communities, so that everyone

can live in a community that is clean, green and beautiful.

Behavior change – steeped in education, research and behavioral science – is

the cornerstone of Keep America Beautiful. The organization empowers

generations of community and environmental stewards through volunteer

programs, hands-on experiences, educational curricula, practical advice and

other resources. It is driven by the work and passion of more than 600

certified affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of

corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia,

municipalities, elected officials and individuals. Join Keep America

Beautiful on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube. Take action


APRIL 16, 2018



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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) and U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford (AR-01), French Hill (AR-02), Steve Womack (AR-03) and Bruce Westerman (AR-04) announced more than $48 million in federal funding was approved for Arkansas to rebuild and repair roads and critical infrastructure damaged from heavy rains and floods.


“These funds are critical to assist in the rebuilding and construction of roadways damaged by abnormally high amounts of rainfall and other effects of severe weather. Restoring our transportation infrastructure and other related facilities comes at a tremendous cost to our communities. These grants will assist in decreasing the burden placed on local, county and state governments,” Boozman said. 


Last year's flooding caused millions of dollars in damage to our state's roads and bridges, and nearly a year later much repair work remains to be done. These grants will be vital to the recovery effort, and it's good to see the people of Arkansas get the federal assistance they need,” Cotton said.


“As Arkansans recover from unprecedented flooding, this grant will ensure their communities can be restored. Grants like these not only help communities become functional again but help remove financial stress put on local government,” Crawford said.


“The last few years of abnormally severe weather conditions have had a substantial impact on communities throughout Arkansans. These grants are critical to assisting our local recovery efforts and will help facilitate the repair of our most vital infrastructure,” Hill said.


“In recent years, Arkansas has been hit by a wave of severe weather and flooding events, and the northwest corner of the state I represent in Congress is no exception. These storms caused severe damage to federal-aid highways, roads on Federal lands and Federal Lands Management Agencies transportation facilities that still require repair. The funding from the Department of Transportation will be put to good use in the Natural State,” Womack said.


“The floods of 2017 were devastating to the Fourth Congressional District, leaving millions of dollars in damage and scars that will not easily heal. As the recovery effort continues, these grants will help local governments replace necessary infrastructure,” Westerman said.


The following organizations were awarded Department of Transportation grants to repair, reconstruct and rebuild roads and facilities in Arkansas:


Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department: $40 million


National Park Service: $41,490


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: $5 million


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: $715, 226


U.S. Forest Service: $3.165 million


The following counties were approved for disaster assistance last year; Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Cleburne, Conway, Craighead, Cross, Faulkner, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Montgomery, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Poinsett, Prairie, Randolph, Saline, Washington, White and Woodruff Counties.


Over the last several years, Arkansas has experienced several rounds of adverse weather that dramatically affected many communities across the state. Governor Asa Hutchinson issued disaster declarations for 36 counties and two cities in May 2017 after severe weather conditions resulted in widespread damage to many areas. He had previously designated 17 counties as disaster areas in 2015 following severe storms, flooding and tornadoes.

APRIL 13, 2018





LITTLE ROCK — Lisa Miller, Sharla Osbourn and Ashley Williams, having achieved the status of Master School Principal, were recognized Thursday at the State Board of Education meeting.

Miller, Osbourn and Williams completed three years of rigorous professional development plus an additional year of performance evaluations to achieve the designation this spring from the Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Master Principal Program. 

Miller, a principal at Van Buren Freshman Academy in the Van Buren School District, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and a master’s degree from Arkansas Tech University at Russellville. Miller expects to complete course work for an Educational Specialist degree from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro next month. She currently serves as an at-large board member for the Arkansas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Miller has volunteered her leadership and service by serving on the advisory board for Education Renewal Zones and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programs at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. She is frequently invited to share strategies and processes for implementing a Response to Intervention system in secondary schools across Arkansas. Van Buren Freshman Academy has been recognized by schools across Arkansas for its implementation of an effective RTI system in a secondary school.

Osbourn, a principal at Janie Darr Elementary School in the Rogers School District, received a bachelor’s degree from College of the Ozarks and a master’s from the University of Arkansas. Her elementary school received recognition from ADE as one of the top 5 percent of schools for high student performance on the state required assessments in grades three through 10, as well as one of the top 10 percent of schools that achieved high student academic growth based on data from the 2016-2017 school year. Through Osbourn’s leadership, the school focuses on developing strong reciprocal partnerships with the community, emphasizing high expectations for student achievement and community engagement.

Williams is a principal at Mary Mae Jones Elementary School in the Bentonville School District. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and a master’s degree from Harding University in Searcy. Williams has volunteered her leadership and service to educators and students, as well as in her community. Schools from across the state visit Mary Mae Jones to gain insight and inspiration when implementing the Leader in Me program and a skills-based RTI system.

The Arkansas Leadership Academy is based in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. The academy’s Master Principal Program was authorized by Act 44 of the Second Extraordinary Session of the 2003 Arkansas General Assembly.

“Developing principals with the talent to lead complex organizations requires giving them a broad range of leadership experiences along the way,” ALA Director David Cook said. “This rigorous four-year program enables school leaders to enhance and accelerate student and adult learning. I commend these principals for being dedicated to their students, teachers and learning communities. I also want to thank the Arkansas Legislature, the Arkansas Department of Education and the academy’s partners for their support and vision in building the leadership capacity of principals across our great state."

Phase I of the Master Principal Program is open to all school principals who have at least one year of experience and the support and permission of their superintendents to participate. Principals from across the state meet during the year in four multi-day sessions for intense study while applying the learning from those sessions in their schools throughout the year.

Admission to the second phase of the program requires submission of a portfolio documenting the application of the lessons learned from the first phase and the results of that work to improve student and adult learning in the school. To be admitted to the third phase, principals must complete a rigorous application process that includes evidence of their impact on education at the district, state and regional levels. These portfolios are evaluated by stakeholders in education from Arkansas, as well as from out of state. Scorers receive training through the Arkansas Leadership Academy.

After successful completion of all three phases, principals may choose to participate in a rigorous assessment by a team of trained examiners with at least one member on each team from another state. The rigorous assessment process examines evidence from three primary sources: 
• Student Performance: An analysis of student academic achievement data 
• Principal Performance: An analysis of a portfolio created by the principal 
• School Performance: A site visit to gather evidence 

Successful performance in these three areas qualifies an individual for Master School Principal status. Master Principals receive a $9,000 per year bonus for five years upon earning the designation. They are eligible for an additional $25,000 per year for five years if they are selected to serve at a low-performing school. 

Established in 1991, the Arkansas Leadership Academy is a nationally-recognized statewide partnership of 15 universities; nine professional associations; 15 education service cooperatives; the Arkansas Departments of Education, Higher Education, and Career Education; the Arkansas Educational Television Network; the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Tyson Foods Inc; Walmart Stores, Inc.; superintendent representatives; the Office of the Governor; and the State Board of Education, a total of 51 partners.

For more information, visit or contact Brenda Tash at the Arkansas Leadership Academy at or 479-575-3030.

(Picture 1: Lisa Miller; Picture 2: Sharla Osbourn; Picture 3: Ashley Williams)


APRIL 12, 2018







Camden, Arkansas- Southern Arkansas University Tech Athletics is proud to announce the signing of the first two women basketball players in the history of the College. JaKhiyah Boston of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Christina Gibbs of Bearden, Arkansas, were present with their family members for the signing. 2018 marks SAU Tech’s 50th anniversary and the beginning of women’s basketball and the reinstatement of men’s basketball for the College. The SAU Tech Rockets are part of the National Junior College Athletic Association and will start during the fall 2018 season. More information can be found at

Photo: Rocket Mascot, Mickey Peace; Head Men’s Rocket Basketball Coach, Martin Levinson; Head Women’s Rocket Basketball Coach, Andre Williams; David McLeane, Rocket Athletic Director

Front Row: Christiana Gibbs, JaKhiyah Boston













Washington, D.C. – On March 22, Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-Louisiana), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), and Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) introduced the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act, legislation designed to fight the opioid epidemic by strengthening penalties for fentanyl distribution and trafficking.


Weeks after the bill’s introduction, the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime & Terrorism held a hearing on the bill Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. (EDT). A link to the live video of the hearing may be found here.


In addition to the hearing, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has signed onto the bill as a sponsor. Finally, the bill has also received strong support from the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. Their letters of support are attached. 


“I welcome the support of Senator Hatch as well as the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys,” Senator Cotton said. “Last year alone, fentanyl killed more than 20,000 Americans, and it has been a driving force behind the opioid crisis in the United States. I met with Arkansans who lost loved ones to fentanyl, and given fentanyl’s incredible capability for destruction of human life, I applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision to move quickly.”


List of individuals and groups now supporting Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act:


Sheriff David Taylor, Union County; Sheriff Barry Faile, Lancaster County; Sheriff Kevin Tolson, York County; Chief Steve Parker, Tega Cay Police Department; Chief Ken Miller, Greenville Police Department; Sheriff Tim Helder, Washington County Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Keith Slape, Newton County; Sheriff Bob Dunn, Calhoun County; Sheriff John Staley, Lonoke County; Chief Devin Bramlett, Ozark Police Department; Chief John O’Brian, Paris Police Department; Chief Joseph Beavers, Prescott Police Department; Kirk Lane, Arkansas Drug Director.


National Sheriffs’ Association; National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys; Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police; Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Arkansas; Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association; Association of Arkansas Counties. 




•    Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine and has played an outsized role in the opioid epidemic.

•    This bill will reduce the amount of fentanyl and its analogues required for mandatory sentencing minimums to apply in distribution cases.

•    20 grams substance containing fentanyl = 10+ years (changes current amount of 400 grams) 

•    5 grams substance containing fentanyl analogue = 10+ years (changes current amount of 100 grams)

•    2 grams substance containing fentanyl = 5+ years (changes current amount of 40 grams)

•    .5 grams substance containing fentanyl analogue = 5+ years (changes current amount of 10 grams) 

•    It will also provide resources to the Post Office to stop shipments of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids arriving from overseas.


APRIL 11, 2018





LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education released today the 2017 Arkansas School Performance Reports. The reports, which reflect information from the 2016-2017 school year, highlight student academic achievement and growth, graduation rate, and school quality and student success for public schools in the state. 

As a result of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Arkansas is able to include additional information that will give educators, parents and communities a better picture of overall school success. For example, for the first time ever, the ESSA School Index score (a calculation that includes students’ weighted achievement and growth on state required assessments for grades three through 10, graduation rates, and school quality and student success) provides parents an in-depth report of schools’ progress toward the approved indicators.

The Accountability At-a-Glance provides the letter grades for schools, which are based on ESSA School Index scores, and visuals that provide information about the overall ESSA School Index score and the overall score for six subgroups. Each school is assigned to a grade span based on the grades the school serves or the grade range of the school.

Grade Span 

 Number of Schools




83 (15.51%)

146 (27.29%)

196 (36.64%) 

88 (16.45%) 

22 (4.11%) 

Middle Level 


46 (22.55%) 

58 (28.43%) 

 66 (32.35%) 

32 (15.69%) 

 2 (0.98%) 

High School 


34 (11.30%) 

86 (28.57%) 

122 (40.53%) 

50 (16.61%) 

 9 (2.99%) 








ADE spent numerous hours obtaining stakeholder feedback throughout the process of developing Arkansas’ accountability plan under ESSA. In addition, a total of seven meetings with educators, parents, students and education associations were held to obtain feedback on the letter grade score ranges. School districts have had the opportunity to review their ESSA School Index scores on multiple occasions, and ADE team members held numerous regional meetings with district personnel to provide information about the scores and obtain feedback prior to the release of the report cards.

While comprehensive, the performance reports are just one tool parents, schools and communities can use to determine student and school success. The tool should be used to encourage ongoing communication between all stakeholders as they work together to improve education for all students. Letters to parents and educators explaining the range of indicator scores for each letter grade or school rating are available at

The Accountability At-a-Glance, School Report Card and ESSA School Index Report are available on ADE’s My School Info website at For assistance regarding how to access the information available in My School Info, please see the following videos:

Additional informational documents are available at

APRIL 10, 2018



MAGNOLIA - Southern Arkansas University Theatre is set to perform “Hairspray” at Harton Theatre from April 19-22.

On April 19-20, the show will begin at 7 p.m. The Saturday night show will start at 7:30 p.m. The final showing on April 22 will be a matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the door, online at, or by calling (870) 235-4263. General admission tickets are $15; $10 for SAU faculty and staff; $8 for students and $5 for children 12 and under.

The performance on Saturday, April 21, will be followed by an actor talk-back.

The musical, written by Thomas Meehan and Mark O’Donnell, is based on the film directed by John Waters. Set in 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland, the story follows quirky, plus-sized teenager Tracy Turnblad, whose dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show. When she gets put in detention with the African-American students in the school, they teach her some of their dance moves and she achieves overnight fame by finally appearing on Corny’s show. She uses her star status to help lift up those who got her there by campaigning for the show’s integration.

The play features SAU Theatre students Darby Taylor (Tracy Turnblad), Joey Kaar (Edna Turnblad), Bodee Starr (Wilbur Turnblad), Brandon Wallace (Corny Collins), Zaneta Kitchens (Motormouth Maybelle Stubbs) and Willie Johnson (Seaweed J. Stubbs). It is directed by Cason Murphy, theatre director, under the musical direction of David De Seguirant, associate professor of music. The assistant director is Joann Shaver, and the choreographer is Brandon Smith.




Boozman Named Chairman of Senate Appropriations

Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs

and Related Agencies

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) has been chosen to serve as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies.


“I’m pleased to continue my commitment to our nation’s veterans in this new role. I look forward to advancing policies that fulfill the promises made to our veterans and their families and prioritizing Department of Defense infrastructure investments to strengthen our national security,” Boozman said.


The Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies has jurisdiction over the Department of Veterans Affairs budget and certain spending by the Department of Defense. Boozman will be responsible for prioritizing investments for veterans’ programs and ensuring the military has the infrastructure needed to house, train and equip military personnel. 


This new role complements Boozman’s leadership on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Senate Air Force Caucus.


Boozman previously served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security.













LITTLE ROCK — Sasha Ariel Alston, author of Sasha Savvy Loves to Code, a children’s book aimed at getting girls excited about the field of computer coding, will be in Little Rock on Thursday and Friday, April 12-13, 2018. Her visit, which will include reading to students at area elementary schools, addressing an all-girls conference and presenting to the State Board of Education, is being sponsored by the Computer Science Education office at the Arkansas Department of Education.

At 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 12, Alston is scheduled to read her book to approximately 140 second-grade students at Don R. Roberts Elementary School, 16601 Lamarche Drive, Little Rock. At 10 a.m., she will be the guest speaker at the 2018 Girls of Promise Conference, sponsored by the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, at the Arkansas 4-H Center, 1 Four H Way

"We are thrilled to have Ms. Alston kick off our 2018 Girls of Promise Conference as our first keynote speaker," said Anna Beth Gorman, executive director of the Women's Foundation of Arkansas. "Ms. Alston will serve as an incredible source of inspiration to our 200 eighth-grade girl participants. We believe that girls are encouraged when they meet and learn from other women who are challenging stereotypes. Ms. Alston has written a wonderful book that helps girls see their own potential." 

Thursday’s schedule will conclude with Alston giving brief remarks to the State Board of Education at1 p.m. at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, 5301 North Shore Drive, in North Little Rock. 

In Sasha Savvy Loves to Code, the main character, Sasha Savvy, is a 10-year old, African-American girl who must choose which class to take for summer camp. Her mom discovers that the camp is offering a new class for girls on how to code. Sasha thinks this will be boring and does not think she is good at computer stuff. Despite this, she decides to give it a chance and convinces her best friends, Gabby Reyes and Ashley Webster, to attend the coding camp with her. Sasha’s mom, a software developer, gives her a unique formula to help her remember how to code.

“Sasha Ariel Alston’s visit to Little Rock is going to change the future for some of our students," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. "This is a great opportunity for them to meet a young author whose enthusiasm for coding is contagious, and whose leadership and personal example will open up the world of computer science for many who may not have thought of it as a career. I am pleased that Sasha included Little Rock on her book tour.” 

On Friday, April 13, Alston will read her book to students at the following schools: Hill Farm Elementary School, Hill Farm Road in Bryant, at 8:20 a.m.; Martin Luther King Elementary School,905 State Capitol in Little Rock, at 10:30 a.m.; and College Station Elementary School, 4701 Frazier Pike in Little Rock, at 1 p.m. 

Alston, known as the STEM Queen, is from Washington, D.C. She is a college student majoring in information systems, with a minor in marketing at Pace University, Lubin School of Business in New York. With eight successful information technology and business internships at Infor, Microsoft and Everfi, she is a sought-after speaker encouraging youth, especially girls of color, to pursue educational and career opportunities in STEM. She has appeared on Good Morning America, been featured in the Huffington Post and Black Enterprise, and inspired girls to dream big in Disney, Google, Snapchat and Yahoo initiatives.










The Arkansas State Police has been requested to assist Monticello Police Department authorities in the investigation of a man who died outside a local apartment complex earlier today.

 Monticello Police Officers responded to Turtle Creek Apartments at 727 N. Slemmons St. about 12:55 AM this morning (Tuesday, April 10th).  The body of Ja’Marius Raymon Lewis, 21, of Monticello was found along a walkway at the apartment complex.  He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division suspect Lewis was shot outside one of the apartments.  The body is being transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for purposes of an autopsy to determine the exact manner and cause of death.

The investigation into the death is continuing today and state police special agents will continue to work closely with Monticello authorities and the Drew County Prosecuting Attorney.





WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement on China’s threatened tariffs and their potential impact on American agricultural producers:

“China refuses to play by the rules of international trade. As legislators, we have a duty to create policies that achieve a level playing field for American businesses. However, that can be accomplished without descending into a trade war. The escalation in trade rhetoric alone is negatively affecting markets and creating uncertainty, especially for Arkansas’s number one industry – agriculture. For the past five years, Arkansas farmers and rural families have been struggling with low commodity prices, high input costs and non-tariff barriers to trade. Now, retaliatory tariffs are part of that list. This amounts to kicking farmers when they’re already down. We can appropriately hold China accountable for its unfair trade practices without holding our agricultural industry hostage. I will continue to express to the administration how important it is to help ensure that our nation’s farmers, ranchers and producers do not suffer while we work to establish responsible, reciprocal trade with China and our other trading partners across the globe.”









Enjoy a summer of fun at SAAC, make some new friends and learn something new while you're at it! The South Arkansas Arts Center is now registering students for all summer camps. Summer camps are sponsored by First Financial Bank.

Take a spin on the SAAC stage with "Adventures in Wonderland" ballet camp, June 4-8, with instructors Stephanie Lowrey and Melissa Spears. Grades 1-4 meet from 12:30-5:30pm., and grades 5-12 from 11:00-5:30pm. There will be an end of camp performance on Friday, June 8 at 6:00pm. 

Art Camp is next on SAAC's summer schedule June 11-15. "Extra Small, Extra Large, Extra Fun" for grades 1-8 with Mike Means, Maria Villegas and Jorge Villegas will meet from 8:00am-noon or from 1:00-5:00pm. Jorge Villegas said about art camp, "Students will explore the world around us from little things too huge things, from the earth to the universe. Youngsters will draw and build imaginative 3-D objects and structures." Maria added," How do things look under the microscope? Have you ever seen nanoparticle? Kids will do it with paint, brushes and collage." And Mike Means quipped, "We will be exploring inner space and outer space, using Photoshop to create fantastic landscapes, BIG or small." Kids will be rotating classes through the three instructors each day.

Movie Camp 1, "Adventure is Out There" with instructor Mike Means will run June 18-22. It is offered for grades 4-6 and will meet from 1:00-5:00pm. Means said "Adventure IS out there everywhere if you use your imagination! We will use our imaginations and have a great time at Movie Camp."

Movie Camp 2, "Short Films Start to Finish", will be held June 25-29 for grades 7-12, 1:00-5:00pm. New instructor David Fort is a sophomore at Drexel University with a major in film and international politics. Fort explained, "Short Film Camp is an opportunity for students to learn the basics of the filmmaking process: script writing and formulating stories, how to operate a camera and the skills of production, and the basics of editing and special effects."

Go "All the Way OFF Broadway" this summer with Glee Camp, June 25-29, with Amy Allen and Josie Denson. Glee Camp is offered for grades 1-6 from 8:00am-noon and grades 7-12 from 1:00-5:00pm. "At glee camp the kids will learn many Broadway show tunes and about the musicals they are from", said Denson. "They will also learn some techniques that will further their vocal abilities and we will challenge them to try more Broadway style dancing and acting while singing. On Friday at 6:00pm, we will have an exciting performance showcasing all they have learned!"

All camp fees are $110 for SAAC members and the out of town guests of current members, except for ballet camps, which are $130 for grades 1-4 and $140 for grades 5-12.  New and renewing students will require an additional $20 student membership, which is good for discounts on classes and programming for one full year at SAAC. Fees are non-refundable. Class sizes are limited & will be filled on a first come basis. 

For more information about these camps or the Theatre Camp on July 23-27, contact the SAAC office for information, located at 110 5th Street, El Dorado, Arkansas, or call 870-862-5474. You may also visit the website at













 MAGNOLIA - Making Magnolia Blossom has scheduled the Spring Big Splash Saturday for April 21, and volunteers can register online and choose from a number of community improvement projects.

Interested volunteers and groups should pre-register at Volunteers will begin working at 9 a.m., and will check in at the project location chosen on the registration form. If transportation is needed to project locations, a shuttle will be running from SAU’s Reynolds Center parking lot starting at 8:45 a.m. The Big Splash runs through 11:30 a.m.

For more information or to register by phone, call Deana Taylor at 870-235-4922.

Volunteers are asked to wear pants and closed-toe shoes. MMB will be providing supplies and equipment.

Projects slated for this MMB event include the following:

  • Interior and exterior cleanup at the Columbia County Senior Meal Service on Lelia Street.
  • Landscaping at the crepe myrtle plots on Main Street.
  • Painting and cleanup at the Boys & Girls Club of Magnolia.
  • Small projects at the CCAPS Animal Shelter.
  • Cleanup projects around the Magnolia Square.
  • Painting, landscaping and cleanup at Southern Arkansas University.

This MMB event has also been registered with Keep Arkansas Beautiful and their Great American Spring Cleanup initiative, and MMB volunteers will disperse across the community to pick up litter and complete other small cleanup projects.   

Previous Making Magnolia Blossom “Big Splash” events have organized hundreds to make improvements along primary city streets, local business facades, and public areas around the downtown square. MMB is a community-involvement organization at SAU. A group of staff, faculty, and students started MMB in 2014, and more than 500 volunteers from SAU and the community contributed time and effort at the initial Big Splash Saturday event. Since then, MMB has hosted several Big Splash events, as well as several Second Saturday events which partner with area organizations to complete needed projects. MMB has completed dozens of city improvement projects in its first year, and was awarded by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission the Volunteer of the Year Award in August of 2015.

To find out more or to get involved in MMB, visit or “like” MMB on Facebook.


APRIL 9, 2018






  Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are investigating an officer involved shooting resulting in the death of Daniel Allen Yielding, 23, of Paragould.

  Searcy County Sheriff’s Department Deputies and Correctional Officers of the Arkansas Department of Correction had been involved in a manhunt about two miles north of Marshall (Searcy County) off Arkansas Highway 27 when the shooting occurred at approximately 12:30 Friday, April 6.

  Local law enforcement officers began the search for Yielding yesterday based on an outstanding warrant for parole violation and reports of Yielding being seen fleeing a local residence.

  Deputies and state correction officers were continuing the search today when Yielding was spotted in a wooded area armed with a knife.  ADC personnel ordered the parolee to drop the knife.  Yielding reportedly refused to comply with the order and at that time moved toward an ADC officer who fired his gun as Yielding advanced.

  Yielding’s body is being transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for purposes of an autopsy.

  Questions relating to the identity of the prison employee and the administrative status of the officer should be directed to the Arkansas Department of Correction.

  The Arkansas State Police investigation of the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer will be submitted to the Searcy County Prosecuting Attorney for consideration whether the use of force was used consistent with Arkansas laws.

APRIL 6, 2018


CAMDEN - James Garcia, 42, was arrested yesterday  by a special agent of the Arkansas State Criminal Investigation Division. Garcia was charged with sexual assault, 2nd degree, in connection with a state police investigation into allegations of a sexual relationship with a student enrolled in the Harmony Grove School District.

Garcia was incarcerated at the Ouachita County Jail and bond was set at $25,000.



A Multi-County Cemetery Preservation Workshop is Saturday, May 5 at the Chambersville Cemetery located in the Chambersville Community in north Calhoun County (14575 Calhoun 85, Fordyce, AR  71742).  The workshop is sponsored by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and the U of A Cooperative Extension Service.  Rusty Brenner with Texas Cemetery Restoration Inc. will be teaching  gravestone cleaning(using D2 Product), headstone repairs and headstone leveling.

The workshop will run from 9:00 A.M. through 4:00 P.M. with lunch provided. (Attendees must call the office at 870-352-3505 to RSVP for our lunch count and materials)

Program Topics Include:

9:00 a.m. Noon   Introductions & Overview, Cleaning, Leveling & Basic Repairs, Part I  (Holly Hope, AHPP -  Rusty Brenner, Texas Cemetery Restoration INC.)

Noon 1:00 p.m.   Lunch on the Grounds Provided by AHPP (Holly Hope)

1:00 1:40 p.m.   Brief Demonstration on Fire Ant Abatement & Fence Row Herbicide Demonstration (Keith Gresham- UAEX- Dallas County)

1:40 3:30 p.m.   Cleaning, Leveling & Basic Repairs, Part II (Rusty Brenner – Texas Cemetery Restoration Inc.)

3:30 4:00 p.m.   Question & Answer session, program evaluation


The South Arkansas Arts Center announces that the box office is now open for tickets for the upcoming Youth Community Theatre production of "Disney's The Aristocats Kids", sponsored by Kiwanis Club of El Dorado, which will run April 20-21, 2018. Tickets are $5 for everyone for open seating in the Callaway Theater. The curtain will go up at 7:00pm on Friday night, with additional performances at 11:00 am and 2:00pm on Saturday.

Everybody wants to be a cat in Disney's stage adaptation of the animated classic motion picture! Students in grades 2-8 from El Dorado, Parkers Chapel, Norphlet, and Camden come together to create this year's SAAC Youth Theatre production. Sophia Meyer, music director for the show, says, "The jazzy songs have the young performers singing in styles they don't hear on the radio, sticking true to the music from the original 1970s ‘Aristocats' Disney film."

In "Disney's The Aristocats Kids", a pampered, pedigreed cat and her three adorable kittens are cat-napped by a mean and greedy butler who hopes to gain the inheritance left to them by their millionaress owner. Things look hopeless until they are befriended by Thomas O'Malley, an easy-going alley cat, who shows them the way home and helps them get their inheritance back.

The stage adaptation features music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman, Al Rinker and Floyd Huddleston. The original music was adapted and arranged by Brian Louiselle, who also provided additional music and lyrics. The book was adapted by Michael Bernard, who also provided additional lyrics.







MAGNOLIA - The Heritage Singers and Chamber Singers will perform their annual Spring Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, at Central Baptist Church in Magnolia. Admission is free and open to the public.

The concert is titled “All Creatures Great and Small” and features an evening of choral music featuring crickets, kangaroos, seals, birds, cats, and other members of the animal kingdom. These animals have been the subject of poets and composers in a variety of novel, moving and humorous ways, explains Dr. David DeSeguirant, director of choral activities. He adds that he hopes everyone from the community will “plan on enjoying an evening at the zoo!”





WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of WWII veteran Gordon Bentley in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.



Bentley was born in Russellville June 22, 1919. When he was young, his family moved to Morrilton. He called that community home for nearly his entire life.

He was building aircraft at a defense plant in Memphis before he joined the military.

“I enlisted the weekend before I had to report for the draft,” Bentley laughed. “I had a good friend who was enthused about flying and he thought I should get something connected with flying and I was accepted as a naval cadet. All my training led up to flying for the Navy.”

As an aviation cadet, Bentley went through rigorous flight training. He credits his instructors for his success in the cockpit. “Two of the most impressive guys who taught me about flying, one was a crop duster and one was an acrobatic pilot. I actually used their training all during my flying experience. I was a well-trained pilot. I never had any trouble flying,” Bentley said.

Bentley piloted the FM-2 Wildcat assigned to the USS Natoma Bay. He fondly recalled the excitement aboard the ship and watching the pilots take off and land, but said there were “quite a few accidents.”

He was fortunate that he never experienced an accident, but he came close. “I knew I was in trouble because I was over the enemy target,” Bentley said as he recalled how his plane sustained a broken oil line and began smoking. He considered bailing out over the water, but headed for the ship, slowing the plane down because the engine was overheating.

“When I got back it was dark. I couldn’t see the ship. I thought I would have to make a water landing, or parachute. I was trying to decide which I’d rather do,” he said. It wasn’t until the ship radioed to him to tell him they would signal to him with a light that he knew he was close. “The only light I had was a red light to show me where the ship was. When you got around in a landing position they had the deck lit up with covered lights. It was the only night landing I ever made. I hadn’t been trained for night flight.”

Bentley was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, but he humbly says he doesn’t know what he did to earn it. 

He flew 20 combat missions including providing air cover for the pre-invasion of Okinawa.

“It was a beautiful island from up above approaching. I could see ships galore lined up to blast the island,” he recalled.

Following the war, Bentley continued to serve in the Naval Reserve.

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

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



APRIL 5, 2018


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. ̶ April 4, 2018 ̶ April is Child Abuse Prevention month and leading health care nonprofit Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC) is spreading the message that everyone can help make great childhoods happen in their community. To support prevention of child abuse in Arkansas, AFMC will participate in several events that any business, organization or individual can take part in:

  • • April 6 is Wear Blue Day 2018. AFMC employees at its Little Rock and Fort Smith campus will wear blue on this day to highlight child abuse prevention efforts in Arkansas and around the country. AFMC encourages all Arkansans to wear blue.
  • • Wednesday, April 11, is the Child Abuse Prevention Rally at the Arkansas State Capitol from 10 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. The Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services, and the Arkansas Children’s Trust Fund are holding the event to promote how prevention starts with you, your family and your community. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, DHS Director Cindy Gillespie and DCFS Director Mischa Martin will lead the ceremony on the Capitol steps.
  • • AFMC is displaying Pinwheels for Prevention gardens on 3rd Street and 4th Street between Chester and Ringo Streets in Little Rock and at the Central Mall on Rogers Ave. in Fort Smith.

"At AFMC, we know that we can make a positive impact on the future by preventing child abuse and neglect today," said Dr. Chad Rodgers, chief medical officer at AFMC. "We’re encouraging Arkansans to participate in events around Arkansas and to do a few simple things to show support of children such as volunteering your time to help a child or donating to a charity that is dedicated to helping prevent child abuse."

AFMC’s work to prevent child abuse in Arkansas includes the formation of the Arkansas ACEs/Resilience Workgroup. The ACEs/Resilience Workgroup is a cross-sector collaboration of

200 individuals representing about 90 organizations and government agencies in health care, public health, education, law enforcement, human services, mental health, churches and businesses. The Workgroup’s goal is to prevent ACEs and to encourage communities to build safe, stable and nurturing environments for children. Arkansas has the highest percentage of children (55.9 percent) in the nation who have at least one ACE, and is in the top five for percentage of children with two or more ACEs.


MAGNOLIA - The Southern Arkansas University Hallman Scholarship has been awarded to two inspiring young women who will be incoming freshmen this fall in the SAU College of Science and Engineering.

The Hallman Scholarship is funded through the SAU Foundation and provides scholarships for incoming freshmen women in the sciences. The scholarships are based on ACT scores and other aid. The 2018 inductees are Rebekah Leamons of Gurdon, Arkansas, and Alyssa Brown of Fordyce, Arkansas.

Leamons is a 2018 graduate of Gurdon High School. She plans to obtain a degree in Computer Science (Game & Animation Design) from SAU and was inspired by a love of books, movies, videogames, comics and cartoons to pursue coding and 3D modeling. She has a GPA of 4.15 and wants to use her degree from SAU to show that women can enter the STEM field and to continue to tell her own stories.

Brown’s goal is to receive a biology degree from SAU and continue to a graduate degree in medicine specializing in oncology. At Fordyce High School, she is class valedictorian with a GPA of 4.12. She was raised by her grandparents and is thankful that this scholarship will relieve any financial burden and allow her to focus on and continue to excel in her academics.

Leamons and Brown join esteemed previous Hallman Scholarship recipients – Elizabeth Jacobs, pre-veterinarian major from Texarkana; Alexandria Oliver, biology major from Atlanta, Texas; Karissa Shackelford,  pre-nursing major from Waldo; Jada Fricks, chemistry major from Saratoga; Calla Bassett, engineering major from Phoenix, Arizona; Bailey Romero, nursing student from Little Rock; Taylor McNeel, National FFA President and SAU agriculture science student from Vilonia, Ark.; and Emily Snyder, a pre-pharmacy student from Cabot High School.

Dedicated to providing opportunities for women, 1966 graduate of SAU Cinda Hallman provided funds for the scholarship through her estate. Hallman was one of four women heading Fortune 500 companies at the time of her appointment as CEO of Spherion Corporation. Before joining Spherion, Hallman had a distinguished 20-year career with DuPont. As senior vice president of DuPont global systems and processes, she had full responsibility for global information technology, processes and strategy, and corporate core managing processes. She was named Chief Information Officer of the Year by Information Week Magazine for “reshaping DuPont’s information systems organization to meet the changing competitive needs of its business units.”







1. Call to order.

2. Recognition of CFHS Gymnastic Team State Champs.

3. Student hearing.

4. Approval of minutes of previous meeting.

5. Communication


a. None


a. Presentation and recommendation regarding K-12 Culinary Connection.

b. Facility rentals.

8. Superintendent's report to the Board.

9. Financial report.

10. Personnel session.

(Dinner is provided at 6:00 P.M. for board members who are present)





NORTH LITTLE ROCK—The United States Department of Transportation recently designated two segments of Arkansas roadways as signage-ready for alternative fuels. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) nominated segments of Arkansas highways for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Alternative Fuel Corridors Program. This program seeks to establish a national network of alternative fueling and charging infrastructure along national highway system corridors.

There are two designations in the program: signage-ready and signage-pending. Signage-ready segments have all necessary infrastructure to be considered an alternative fuel corridor. Signage-pending segments are segments that do not yet have sufficient infrastructure to meet signage-ready criteria. ADEQ is working with stakeholders to achieve alternative fuel corridor status for electric vehicles (EV), compressed natural gas (CNG), and propane (LPG).

Pursuant to ADEQ’s nominations, FHWA designated the following corridors in Arkansas:

  • CNG Ready :
  • EV Pending:
    • I-40: From Arkansas/Tennessee border to Arkansas/Oklahoma border
    • I-30: From North Little Rock to Arkansas/Texas border
  • CNG Pending:
    • I-40: From Conway to Arkansas/Oklahoma border
    • US 67/167: From Searcy to Arkansas/Missouri border
    • I-55 From West Memphis to Arkansas/Missouri border
    • I-30: From North Little Rock to Arkansas/Texas border


ADEQ is working with the Arkansas Department of Transportation on deployment of signage for signage-ready designated corridors.

CONTACT: Kelly Robinson ( or 501.682.0916)

APRIL 2, 2018







MAGNOLIA - Su Lynn Tan, a junior English major at Southern Arkansas University, attended the Sigma Tau Delta 2018 International Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio March 21-24.

Last year, she was appointed as student representative to the International Board of Sigma Tau Delta for the Southwestern Region, one of six non-voting student members. As “no stranger to leadership positions,” Tan said she looked forward to fulfilling her duties in 2017-2018.

Sigma Tau Delta is the international English Honors Society. Its goal is to promote interest in literature, foster all aspects of English, and confer distinction for high achievement in English literature in undergraduate, graduate and professional studies.

As a student representative, Tan worked closely with the Regent of the Southwestern Region, contributing to publications, participating in activities and visiting other chapters. She also sought input on policies and activities. On a national level, she attended board and committee meetings, served on committees (as appointed by the Society President) and represented concerns of students within the region before the Board.

She said the SAU chapter, Epsilon Theta, has focused the past few years on rebuilding the Camden library’s collection. The library burned in 2011, and the chapter has worked to replace the children’s literature, with a new focus on classic literature this past year.

In Cincinnati, Tan helped put together student workshops and was also involved in creating the Student Leadership Escape Room.

“I got to see up close how an organization like ours works,” she said of the experience.

Tan was admitted into SAU as an international student in 2015 and was also admitted into the Honors College. She has been most involved with the International Students Association, where she served as secretary and then vice-president for two years. She was initiated into Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, in 2017. Her career goal is teaching English.

She as well as her sister, Su-Ann Tan, came to Magnolia from Malaysia. Su-Ann earned her bachelor’s degree at SAU and graduated in August of 2017 with her MBA.

At the convention, another SAU student, Cameron King, was appointed to the Board in Su Lynn’s former position. King is a junior from Magnolia, Arkansas, majoring in human performance/recreation and community service. Tan was appointed King’s assistant.

Also at the convention, Talia Burton, an SAU alumnus and now an administrative specialist in graduate studies at SAU, received honorable mention for a short story, “The Scorpion,” in the Alumni Epsilon category.








MAGNOLIA – Southern Arkansas University’s Spring Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, May 4, 2018. A total of 497 candidates for graduation will be recognized in four ceremonies at the W.T. Watson Athletic Center.

For those who cannot attend the ceremonies in person, they will be streamed live online at and at

The Department of Nursing will honor 42 nursing candidates at 8:30 a.m. Set to deliver the nursing graduation commencement speech is Adriane Delaney, women’s health advanced practice registered nurse at UAMS Family Medical Clinic.

Following will be the first undergraduate ceremony at 10:30 a.m., which will consist of candidates from the Rankin College of Business and the College of Science and Engineering. The second undergraduate ceremony will be at 2 p.m., and will be for candidates from the College of Education and the College of Liberal and Performing Arts.

The commencement speaker for the two undergraduate ceremonies will be Jonathan Baird, partner and wealth manager at Mustard Seed Wealth Management in Magnolia, Arkansas. He is also chief financial officer at Peoples Bank. Baird attended SAU from 1998-2001, obtaining a degree in business with an emphasis in marketing. He attended Southern Seminary from 2002-2005, receiving his master’s degree. While in seminary, he passed the CFP exam and became a CFP Professional in 2006. He returned to SAU in 2010 to finish his degree in business with an emphasis in finance. He was named the 2013 CFO of the Year for small banks by Arkansas Business, Outstanding Young Alumni for SAU in 2016 and “40 Under 40” by Arkansas Business in 2016.

The graduate ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. The graduate commencement speaker will be Patrice Phillips, who holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching degree in drama and speech from SAU. A total of 170 graduate candidates will be earning their master’s degrees.

Below is the schedule of events for Friday, May 4, 2018:

8:30 a.m.             Nursing

10:30 a.m.           Rankin College of Business and College of Science & Engineering (Associates and Bachelors)

2:00 p.m.             College of Education and College of Liberal & Performing Arts (Associates and Bachelors)

5:00 p.m.             School of Graduate Studies (Masters)

All candidates should assemble in the Auxiliary Gym of the W. T. Watson Athletic Center no later than one hour before the start of their respective ceremony.  This arrival time will ensure that each candidate is positioned in the line.









(LITTLE ROCK) – Law enforcement officers across Arkansas have pledged their united support by participating in the national awareness campaign to stop Distracted Driving.  "U Drive – U Text – U Pay" is both an educational initiative and enforcement effort to keep distracted drivers off the road.
   Distracted drivers aren't just a threat to themselves; they're a danger to everyone else on the road.  Safe driving means driving without distractions.  Any activity that takes your attention from driving is a hazard.  Such distractions as talking or texting on a phone, eating, drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, adjusting the navigation or audio systems are among the most common distractions.
    “We can’t say it enough, distracted driving is a life or death issue,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. “What people need to understand is how dangerous it is to take your eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel.”
    Distracted driving research confirms it only takes a few seconds for a child to run into the street or for a driver to miss a red light or stop sign leading to a crash that may leave someone dead.  During April drivers will see an increased law enforcement presence on the roadways.  Anyone who is caught texting and driving will be stopped and a citation will be issued.
    Arkansas law prohibits the use of a hand-held cell phone for texting, typing, email or accessing the internet while driving, regardless of the driver's age.  It is also a "primary offense" law, which means a state trooper, police officer or sheriff's deputy can initiate a traffic stop without observing any other violation.
    The national distracted driving effort focuses on ways to change the behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education.  Arkansans can expect to see messages on television, radio, online ads and social media that have been created to remind drivers of the dangers associated with distracted driving.
    “Too many drivers are ignoring their responsibilities behind the wheel,” Colonel Bryant said. “Do the right thing.  Put your phone away when you pull away onto a street or highway.”
    Distracted driving continues to gain recognition across the nation as a deadly problem. In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
    Drivers should be aware of all state laws related to distracted driving, particularly related to the prohibition of using a hand-held cell phone while traveling through school or highway work zones. All drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers 18 to 20 years using a cell phone are required to use a hands-free device.
    For more information on distracted driving issues, visit, or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit

MARCH 30, 2018


MAGNOLIA – Members of Southern Arkansas University’s non-teaching professional and support staff were recently recognized for excellence and years of service at SAU’s annual Staff Breakfast.

Receiving the Mary Anna King Whitehead Support Staff Excellence Awards were Victor Duke (professional) and Angela McLaughlin (support). Duke is director of the Reynolds Center and McLaughlin is an administrative specialist III in the College of Liberal and Performing Arts. The Mary Anna King Whitehead Awards are the highest honors given to SAU staff each year and recognize those who have achieved an outstanding level of professionalism and performance.

Kandice Herron received the Alvin and Irene Brannon Staff Diversity Excellence Award. Herron is assistant dean of campus activities. This award was established by the SAU Diversity Initiative Task Force and recognizes a staff member each year who has contributed to promoting, supporting, and improving diversity and inclusion as a core component of valuing people at SAU.

Those receiving Staff Service awards for 10 years of service were: Phyllis Austin, James Avery, Boyd Good, Emily Jester, Matthew McDonald, Mary Whatley, Marianne Woodard and Jake Dunham. Recognized for 20 years of service was Joseph Haney. Honored for 30 years of service were Kelly Merrell and Nancy Stone.

Receiving the Spirit of SAU Awards were Gary Hickson, Megan McCurdy, Carey Baker and Brooke Williams. This award revives the tradition of honoring staff that exhibit exemplary Mulerider Spirit, such as those presented in Dr. James Willis’ writings of SAU’s history. Visit to find out more.

Annual faculty awards will be presented at the Faculty Awards Dinner on April 13.

MARCH 29, 2018

The Camden Police Department arrested Tonya Swain of Camden Saturday for alleged theft of property over $25000.00. After investigating the complaint by a local resident, Officers were able to find enough evidence to make the arrest.

First appearance was held this past Monday and bond was set at $75,000 cash or corporate bond.

Theft of property over $25,000.00 is a Class B felony. If convicted, Swain could face shall be not less than 5 years to nor more than 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $15000.00 A court date has not been set as of this time.


MAGNOLIA - Su Lynn Tan, a junior English major at Southern Arkansas University, attended the Sigma Tau Delta 2018 International Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio March 21-24.

Last year, she was appointed student representative to the International Board of Sigma Tau Delta for the Southwestern Region, one of six non-voting student members. As “no stranger to leadership positions,” Tan said she looked forward to fulfilling her duties in 2017-2018.

Sigma Tau Delta is the international English Honors Society. Its goal is to promote interest in literature, foster all aspects of English, and confer distinction for high achievement in English literature in undergraduate, graduate and professional studies.

As student representative, Tan worked closely with the Regent of the Southwestern Region, contributing to publications, participating in activities and visiting other chapters. She also sought input on policies and activities. On a national level, she attended board and committee meetings, served on committees (as appointed by the Society President) and represented concerns of students within the region before the Board.

She said the SAU chapter, Epsilon Theta, has focused the past few years on rebuilding the Camden library’s collection. The library burned in 2011, and the chapter has worked to replace the children’s literature, with a new focus on classic literature this past year.

In Cincinnati, Tan helped put together student workshops and was also involved in creating the Student Leadership Escape Room.

“I got to see up close how an organization like ours works,” she said of the experience.

Tan was admitted into SAU as an international student in 2015 and was also admitted into the Honors College. She has been most involved with the International Students Association, where she served as secretary and then vice-president for two years. She was initiated into Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, in 2017. Her career goal is teaching English.
She as well as her sister, Su-Ann Tan, came to Magnolia from Malaysia. Su-Ann earned her bachelor's degree at SAU and graduated in August of 2017 with her MBA.


(StatePoint) Suffering from itchy, watery eyes? You may have ocular allergies or you could have another issue entirely, such as chronic dry eyes. Experts say that getting the correct diagnosis is the only way to treat symptoms properly.

“Chronic dry eye often mimics the symptoms of seasonal allergies and must be approached entirely differently,” says Arian Fartash, VSP network optometrist. “Many over-the-counter allergy treatments can actually make dry eyes worse, so make an appointment with your eye doctor to determine the exact cause of your discomfort.”

If your itchy and watery eyes are diagnosed as ocular allergies, Dr. Fartash recommends taking the following steps.

• Limit your exposure to pollen on high pollen count days.

• Wash your face after being outside to reduce the amount of pollen on the skin.

• Use cold compresses for some added relief.

• Don’t rub your eyes, as this will increase your body’s overreaction to the irritants.

• Remove contact lenses, which can attract allergens that accumulate throughout the day. Consider wearing your glasses or switching to daily disposable contacts during allergy season.

• Try over-the counter eye drops. There are a number of allergy drops that are formulated to relieve itchiness, redness, and watery eyes. But consult your optometrist to find out which are the best recommended.

• Consider prescription medications. If the symptoms won’t go away, you might need something stronger. Go see your eye doctor to discuss if a prescription medication is right for you. You can find a doctor local to you by consulting the VSP-network at

Don’t suffer this season. See your best and feel your best by getting your eye symptoms properly diagnosed and treated.


March 28, 2018

No Written or Road Testing in Camden Thursday, March 29th located at 2730 Mt. Holly Rd. They will be having Written and Road Testing in Camden, Good Friday, March 30th at 2730 Mt. Holly Rd.

The Ouachita County Courthose and County Extension Office will be close Friday March 30,

2018 for Good Friday.

– U.S. Senator John Boozman’s senior military and veterans liaison, Col. (ret) Anita Deason, will lead a training session on Thursday, April 5th for Arkansans interested in learning how to help collect the oral histories of veterans for the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project (VHP). The event will take place on Thursday, April 5th at the Benton County Veterans Services Office in Bentonville.

Space is limited and RSVPs are required. Anyone interested should contact Mr. Pete Rathmell no later than Monday, April 2nd at:

Over the last three years, Col. Deason has trained more than 400 Arkansans to conduct and submit interviews with local veterans to the Library of Congress’ collection. The VHP is an initiative that aims to preserve and make accessible the personal stories of American war veterans.

Since 2000, the VHP has recorded 100,000 veterans’ stories nationally. However, only 1,200 of those veterans from Arkansas. Senator Boozman and his staff are commited to training others to participate so the stories of Arkansas veterans will be preserved for future generations.

For more information or to reserve a spot at this event, contact Pete Rathmell at:

Veterans History Project Training Session
Thursday, April 5, 2018
2:30 – 4 p.m.
Benton County Veterans Services Office
1204 SW 14th Street
Bentonville, Arkansas


**This is a staff-led constituent service event. Senator Boozman will NOT be attending**

FORT SMITH - The Darby Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) awarded U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) with its Distinguished Patriotic Achievement Award for 2017 in Fort Smith on Tuesday.

“MOAA’s advocacy on behalf of those who serve our country is such important and necessary work,” Boozman said. “It’s my privilege to partner with them to support the men and women of our armed forces who sacrifice so much in defense of our nation. I’m honored to be recognized by such an outstanding organization and will continue working with them to promote the interests of military members, veterans and their families.”

While presenting the award, MOAA officials cited Boozman’s work to expand opportunities for veterans, defend the U.S. Constitution and support first responders and teachers.

“He has never forgotten the warriors like his own father who served and fought for this country,” said Chapter Treasurer Larry Todd. “He is a patriot through and through and is the reason that the Darby MOAA Chapter exists as a Veteran Service Organization today, as we stood up and chartered this Chapter at his urging 10 years ago. He embodies what true leadership is.”

Past honorees include WWII veteran Bronze Star recipient Mr. Harry Shipley and Lt. Col. (retired) Billy Dooly in 2016 and Lt. Col. (retired) R. Winston Fulmer in 2015.

Boozman was also honored by Alma Mayor Keith Greene who presented a proclamation declaring March 27, 2018, as John Boozman Day in Alma.

March 27, 2018

The Department of Health has confirmed a BOIL WATER NOTICE issued by Mike Kidd, operator for HGWA, for approximately 75 customers on the HGWA system.  Starting at the Intersection of Ouachita 43 and Ouachita 88, exted north on Ouachita 43 to Ouachita 31.  This will also include Ouachita roads 406, 405, 484, 525 and 526.  This order was issued as a precautionary measure because the possibility that contaminated water may have entered the distribution system as a result of complete loss in normal system pressure.  Under the boil order, all affected customers must be advised that the water may be unsafe for human consumption.  Water used for drinking or food preparation must be boiled briskly for one minute prior to use.  All ice cubes should be discarded an only boiled water should be used for making ice.  This precautionary boil order will remain in effect until adequate disinfection level is established and Bacteriological Survey shows that the water is safe to drink.



COTTON, CRUZ AND INHOFE APPLAUD ADDITION OF CITZENSHIP QUESTION TO CENSUS WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, the Commerce Department announced that it would add a new question to the 2020 census asking respondents whether they were citizens of the United States. The news comes after Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas)Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) sent a letter to the Department asking it to add such a question and gather more accurate data on the number of U.S. citizens living in the country.

“Counting the number of U.S. citizens in the country should be a high priority of the census, and the only way to get an accurate count is to add a question about citizenship to the census itself,” said Senator Cotton. 

“I applaud Secretary Ross for honoring this request by my colleagues and me," Sen. Cruz said. “It is imperative that the data gathered in the census is reliable, given the wide ranging impacts it will have on U.S. policy. A question on citizenship is a reasonable, commonsense addition to the census.”

“Accurate census data that reflects the total number of U.S. citizens is a vital part of our democracy.” Inhofe said. “Without it, we can’t responsibly ensure equal representation for states in the House of Representatives or assess voter participation. I applaud the Census Bureau for adding this common-sense question.”

March 26, 2018

Live On Stage, Inc. and the Ouachita County Community Concert Association announce Gospel family quartet as part of their 2017 - 2018 Concert Season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (March 26, 2018) – 3x Grammy Award-nominated family gospel quartet, The Nelons, will be coming to Camden Fairview High School, 1750 Cash Road, Camden, Arkansas on Monday, April 16, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.  Children and students are admitted to all OCCCA performances at no charge if accompanied by an OCCCA ticket holder.  For more information please call 870-807-6915 or 870-818-2131, or visit

The southern gospel legacy that is The Nelons spans 3 decades, and members Kelly, Jason, Amber and Autumn are adding to the success and legacy built by founder and patriarch, Rex Nelon. The group has achieved enormous success, including three Grammy Award-nominations, six Dove Awards, fourteen Singing News Fan Awards, a People’s Choice Silver Telly Award, and an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The group strives to bind the generational gap of music loves with tight harmonies, innovative music, and great songs that reach beyond the various musical boundaries. Their performances consist of hit songs from multiple musical genres, including Southern Gospel, Country, Bluegrass and Americana.  Click Here To View A Video Of The Nelons.

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

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

(StatePoint) Deadlines, responsibilities, bills -- there are so many causes of stress in our lives. Unfortunately, stress can take a negative toll on one’s health and wellness, particularly if it goes unaddressed for too long. Indeed, common effects of stress include headaches, stomach upset, anxiety, sleep problems and more, according to the Mayo Clinic.

This April, which is Stress Awareness Month, consider these strategies for relieving stress.

• Aromatherapy: Scent your home and workspace with stress-relieving scents like lavender, rosemary and peppermint. Whether you use candles, oils or fresh herbs, this is an easy way to immediately reduce feelings of stress.

• Get outdoors: Both exercise and nature can have stress-relieving properties. Combine the two with hiking, biking, and water-based sports. Support your adventures with water-resistant wearable tech, like the WSD-F20 ProTrek Smart Outdoor Watch, which features functions like full color maps and GPS, app functionality to track progress, as well as sensor technology, allowing you to comfortably get off the beaten path and better appreciate your surroundings.

• Meditate: Many experts agree on the benefits of meditation, from increased positive emotions to the relief of stress and anxiety. And these days, meditation is more accessible than ever, as employers offer mindfulness programs in the workplace, mobile apps in guided meditation abound, and communities and fitness clubs add practices like tai chi and yoga to their rosters.

• Enjoy music: Music can be an extremely powerful outlet for stress relief, particularly when you’re getting creative and making it yourself. Have the means at home to play a variety of beautiful music so that you can de-stress any time you need. To faithfully reproduce the sounds of acoustic instruments like guitars, drums, basses, brass, wind instruments, string ensembles and more, you don’t need an entire music studio full of separate instruments. The upgraded technology and sound quality found in digital pianos like Casio’s CT-X700, which includes the new AiX SoundSource, reproduces subtle nuances and gestures specific to each sound.

• Keep a journal: Keeping a journal can be a good way of putting things in perspective and thinking through the short- and long-term problems and challenges that are causing you stress. Plus, the ritual aspect of what could be made into a daily habit, may have a calming effect on the body and mind.

This Stress Awareness Month and beyond, considering adopting stress-reducing hobbies and habits for a healthier body and mind.

Washington, D.C. 
— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on the President’s decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and close the Russian consulate in Seattle:

 “Russia simply cannot be allowed to violate our allies’ sovereignty, use chemical weapons, or spy on our country with impunity. Today’s decision by the president is a prudent step that will put more boundaries on the Putin regime’s behavior. I also applaud our many NATO allies for standing with Great Britain and the U.S. against Russian aggression.”

 Today, the Federal Communications Commission proposed a rule prohibiting certain telecom carriers from buying products from Huawei, a company with close ties to the Chinese government. Under the rule, any carrier that accesses the Universal Service Fund, which subsidizes small and rural carriers, would be prohibited from purchasing products from companies that pose a national security threat to the United States. The FCC’s decision comes on the heels of a letter that Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Congressman Mike Turner (R-Ohio), and several other elected representatives sent to the FCC in December, raising concerns about Huawei’s ability to capture Americans’ private information and asking the FCC to take action.

“To allow the FCC Universal Service Fund to be spent purchasing equipment from companies with strong ties to the Chinese government would have jeopardized not only the privacy of American citizens but our national security as well,” said Senator Cotton. “I’m glad to see the FCC act on the concerns we raised in December and prevent Americans’ private information from falling into the hands of the Chinese government. Now Congress should do its part by passing the bill I’ve introduced that would prohibit the U.S. government from using any of Huawei’s products."

“As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, it was made clear to me that Huawei cannot be trusted and would pose a security threat if given access to U.S. government networks,” said Congressman Turner. “I am pleased FCC Chairman Pai has received a briefing from the Intelligence Community and understands the risk Huawei poses. The FCC’s decision to not use Huawei products is an important step in protecting it from possible security breaches, and I fully support them in this.”


  • In December 2017, Senator Cotton, Congressman Turner, and several other elected representatives sent a letter raising concerns about news that a major U.S. telecom provider would start selling Huawei products in the U.S. in 2018.
  • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai replied to the letter last week, thanking the elected representatives for raising their concerns.
  • Under the proposed rule,  any carrier that accesses the Universal Service Fund, which subsidizes small and rural carriers, would be prohibited from purchasing products from companies that pose a national security threat to the United States, such as Huawei.
  • The FCC will vote on the proposed rule at its April 17 meeting.
  • Senator Cotton has also introduced a bill that would prohibit the federal government from purchasing any of Huawei’s products.

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Senator John Boozman (R-Arkansas), and Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas) sent a letter to R. D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, urging him and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help state and local agencies strengthen the Pocahontas Levee on the Black River in Arkansas.

In May 2017, the Black River flooded, and water levels rose well above the Pocahontas Levee’s structural capacity. It sustained nine overtop breaches, resulting in an estimated $100 million in property damages. 

To strengthen the levee, state and local agencies need to enter into a Section 205 agreement with the Corps under the Continuing Authorities Program (CAP 205), which would allow for a cost-sharing agreement between the parties for a study of the levee’s deficiencies. Although these agencies and Governor Hutchinson have offered to act as the necessary “non-federal” sponsor for the study, they’re still waiting for the Corps to sign on.

As a result, in their letter, the senators and congressman ask the Corps to take action.

“The Pocahontas Levee is critical infrastructure that the county of Randolph relies on,” they write. “We are concerned that the surrounding areas remain vulnerable to flooding while the levee is incapable of protecting these communities. We strongly urge the Corps to make resources available to enter into an appropriate CAP 205 agreement for the study of the Pocahontas Levee.”

March 23, 2018

– U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) and U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford (AR-01), French Hill (AR-02), Steve Womack (AR-03) and Bruce Westerman (AR-04) released the following joint statement on the termination of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) partnership with Clean Line Energy Partners for development of the Plains and Eastern Clean Line Project:

“This is a victory for states’ rights and a victory for Arkansas. We are pleased that the Department of Energy responded favorably to our request to terminate this agreement. We support policies that put our nation on the path to energy independence, but they should not cost Arkansas landowners a voice in the approval process.”

Earlier this year, members sent a letter DOE Secretary Rick Perry urging him to pause or terminate the Project. This follows additional efforts pressing the Secretary to preserve states’ rights.

The Arkansas Congressional Delegation has fought against this federal overreach by introducing the Assuring Private Property Rights Over Vast Access to Lands (APPROVAL) Actfor the past two Congresses. This legislation would restore states’ rights. It would require the DOE to obtain the approval of both the governor and the state’s public service commission before exercising the federal power of eminent domain to acquire property for Section 1222 transmission projects.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) introduced legislation to provide regulatory relief to aquaculture shippers across our nation. Today, the Department of Transportation requires all shippers who need commercial driver’s licenses to use electronic logging devices to keep track of their drivers’ hours on the road. But though the DOT grants livestock haulers certain exemptions to account for the difficulty of transporting live animals, it denies those same exemptions to truckers hauling fish used as bait, pets, or decoration. The Aquaculture Transportation Technical Corrections Act would correct this discrepancy by extending the exemptions to these shippers as well.

“The transportation of live fish is hard enough as it is,” said Senator Cotton. “There’s no reason the federal government should differentiate between fish used for food and fish used for bait, ponds, or aquariums. This legislation will make sure fish transporters are on the same playing field as the transporters of other live animals.”

“Florida is home to a robust aquaculture industry with huge growth potential,” said Senator Rubio. “This bill ensures fairness for all fish and livestock transporters and will keep this industry growing in Florida.”


•    The Department of Transportation requires all shippers who need commercial driver’s licenses to use electronic logging devices to keep track of their drivers’ hours of service.

•    It also grants certain exemptions to shippers of livestock to account for the difficulty of transporting live animals.

•    When writing the regulation, the department referenced an outdated USDA definition of livestock that makes a dubious distinction between fish used for food and those used as bait, pets, or decoration.

•    The Aquaculture Transportation Technical Corrections Act would correct for this discrepancy by extending these exemptions to all aquaculture shippers equally.

Historic defense spending increase while advancing important AR projects including SEFOR clean-up, Future I-57 and more
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement regarding passage of legislation that will fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018:

“Despite the breakdown of the process that led us here, this bill deserved our support. It will strengthen our national defense, help secure our borders and address critical needs here at home.

The bill makes important investments in military readiness, procurement and recruitment and retention efforts. It includes the biggest year-over-year increase in defense spending in 15 years and the largest pay raise for our troops in almost a decade.

As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Homeland Security, I am proud of the work we put into this bill to ensure that our country is able to address security risks here at home.

Additionally, provisions included in the bill will help move important Arkansas projects forward. It includes funding to complete efforts to decommission and dismantle the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor (SEFOR), a provision that will allow I-57 to connect between Arkansas and Missouri and support for critical national defense programs based in Arkansas.

It is my hope that, moving forward, we can close the door on the flawed practice of continuing resolutions and omnibus bills and make it a priority to pass all twelve appropriations bills on an annual basis.”  

Highlights of the Omnibus Bill

Historic levels of defense spending

  • Allocates over $700 billion in defense spending to support national security needs.
  • Grants a 2.4 percent pay raise to the men and women of our Armed Forces.
  • Includes the Taylor Force Act, which ends American taxpayer dollars going to the Palestinian Authority if they do not stop paying monetary rewards to terrorists and their surviving family members.  

Funds efforts to keep us safe at home

  • Includes the full funding level requested in the President’s budget for border security.
  • Supports the construction of 95 miles of border wall on the southern border.
  • Provides significant funding increases to enhance law enforcement, pursue prosecutions and improve public safety by giving law enforcement agencies additional resources to tackle the constantly-changing landscape of criminal activity at home and abroad.

Moves Arkansas projects forward

  • Provides $10 million to complete cleanup work at the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor (SEFOR).
  • Allows Future I-57 to connect between Arkansas and Missouri.
  • Includes $26 million in military construction funding for the construction of a dormitory at Little Rock Air Force Base and $150,000 to maintain the Pine Bluff Reserve Center.
  • Provisions supporting the Joint Chemical-Biological Defense Logistics Hub at the Pine Bluff Arsenal and the Air National Guard Cyber Skills Validation Training at Little Rock Air Force Base are included in this bill.

Funds important domestic priorities

  • Fighting the Opioid Crisis: Provides $4.6 billion to combat the opioid crisis, which President Trump declared as a national emergency last fall. This is a $3 billion increase over FY2017. Under Republican Congresses, anti-opioid funding has increased by $4.1 billion.
  • Keeping our Promise to our Veterans: Provides a record level of funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs while increasing oversight and modernization.
  • Modernizing our Infrastructure: Includes more than $21.2 billion in new infrastructure funding to ensure public safety and promote economic growth, including new funding for highways, waterways, airways and railways with a focus on rural infrastructure, including a new initiative for areas without broadband access.
  • Safeguarding our Students: The bill includes more than $2 billion in mental health, training and school safety efforts to keep our kids safe at school. It also contains the STOP School Violence Act to help ensure lifesaving resources are available to states and schools to stop violence before it happens.
  • Help for America’s Agriculture Producers: Includes language to address the unintended consequence related to sec. 199 in the tax reform law. The bill also includes the Improving Access to Farm Conservation Act, which Boozman introduced with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), to improve access to voluntary farm conservation programs administered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 
Washington, D.C.
— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on H.R. McMaster and John Bolton:

"H.R. McMaster is a warrior and a scholar, one of the best generals of his generation. I join all Arkansans in thanking him for decades of service to our nation, most recently as President Trump's National Security Advisor. I also congratulate Ambassador John Bolton for his appointment as the next National Security Advisor. He's an excellent choice to take the baton from General McMaster."

LITTLE ROCK  (March 20, 2018)– The Arkansas Urban Forestry Council (AUFC) is sponsoring a workshop in Little Rock to benefit arborists, architects, community planners, engineers, and landscape design professionals, as well as interested citizens and homeowners. Attendees will learn about bioswale design, installation, and maintenance challenges and opportunities. They will learn to list native trees and plants that can enhance pollutant removal from stormwater runoff.

To be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies on April 17 in room 124, 401 President Clinton Avenue, the venue provides a convenient meeting site for attendees. The Main Library parking lot and parking garage are located on Rock Street between 2nd Street and President Clinton Avenue. Cost is $2 per hour. Take parking ticket to 1st floor gallery desk for ½ off validation.

Cost for the workshop is $30 for AUFC members and $55 for non-members. Registration deadline is April 6. Lunch will be provided. During lunch, AUFC’s 2018 awards will be presented for Outstanding Community, Organization and Professional to those who promoted urban forestry in 2017.

Online registration and a brochure are available at  For questions about registration or to learn more about AUFC, visit or contact Cathy Slater at 501-625-3710 or

Continuing education units (4.5) from International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) will be available to professionals who attend.  Continuing education units for landscape architects (LA CES) have been applied for.

This workshop is sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the Arkansas Agriculture Department and the Arkansas Urban Forestry Council. It is held in partnership with Crafton Tull, GreenBlue Urban, U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, Tree Streets and The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies.

About the Arkansas Urban Forestry Council
AUFC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of urban and community trees. The Council’s role is to educate and promote good urban forest policies and management principles to Arkansas’ communities. AUFC works at local, regional and state levels with citizens and public officials alike on important natural resource and tree care issues.


March 22, 2018

B Street Rib Off Benefits American Cancer Society of Central Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, ARK.; March 22, 2018 – The 10th annual B Street Rib Off will take place on Saturday, April 21st at Riverfront Park in North Little Rock. The annual event features a BBQ cooking competition focused on amateur cooking teams from across the mid-south and event organizers donate all proceeds from the event to the American Cancer Society of Central Arkansas.

“The B Street Rib Off is a wonderful partner for us here at the American Cancer Society of Central Arkansas. We are grateful for the cooking teams who continue to support our mission to finish the fight against cancer. I would like to encourage everyone to come out and enjoy delicious barbecue while supporting the B Street Rib Off and American Cancer Society’s mission of helping people stay well, get well, finding cures and fighting back.” said Matthew Bancroft, Director, Community Engagement

In addition to the BBQ competition, the event will feature live music, popular Central Arkansas food trucks, beverages from local breweries and a raffle that includes merchandise from several Arkansas retailers. Teams interested in cooking for the competition can register at There, teams will also find a list of rules and more information about participation.

BBQ cooks aren’t the only folks encouraged to participate. Anyone can attend the event and judge the People’s Choice category for a small donation. The event is family friendly and will kick off at 8 a.m. with results announced at 4 p.m. on April 21st.

Jason Brown, Justin Hinton and Matthew Ross, as a friendly competition, founded the B Street Rib Off in 2008. After increased interest, the three friends turned the annual event into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The organization now boasts a board of directors with nine members from across the state.

For more information, visit or search B Street Rib Off on Facebook and Twitter.

Washington, D.C
. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-Louisiana), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), and Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) today introduced legislation to fight the opioid epidemic by strengthening penalties for fentanyl distribution and trafficking to ensure they better reflect the serious nature of the crime.

Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine and has played an outsized role in the opioid epidemic.

“Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs there is. It killed more than 20,000 Americans last year and has been a driving force behind the opioid crisis in the United States. But while the epidemic has spiraled, our drug laws have been stuck in the past.  This bill will make sure, when it comes to opioid distribution and trafficking, the punishment fits the crime,” said Senator Cotton.

“Fentanyl is one of the most deadly drugs on the market and I look forward to working with Senators Cotton, Kennedy, Cassidy, Heller, and Sasse to substantially increase penalties for those who traffic this horrific drug,” said Senator Graham. “I’ll also be working with Senator Cotton and others to explore the possibility of even stronger penalties—that could include the death penalty if the fentanyl results in someone’s death—for those who choose to push this deadly drug into our communities. Increasing these mandatory minimums is well-justified.”

“Fentanyl is an incredibly powerful drug.  If you are trafficking this deadly drug, you ought to be punished to the full extent of the law.  You aren’t going to motivate dealers and traffickers by pleading to their conscience.  They know how deadly it is, and they just don’t care.  Too many men and women have died as a result of fentanyl; it needs to stop,” said Senator Kennedy.  “I am proud to be a part of this important effort.” 

“Drug traffickers take lives and get away with a slap on the wrist,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill ensures those who traffic and deal fentanyl pay a higher price.” 

“The opioid crisis is a symptom of America’s loneliness crisis,” said Senator Sasse. “On the demand side, addiction is something that’s tackled best by our families, neighbors, and communities. But, on the supply side, Congress has an important opportunity to crack down on the low-life traffickers who are ripping our communities apart. Modernizing our fentanyl sentencing laws just makes sense.”


  • This bill will reduce the amount of fentanyl and its analogues required for mandatory sentencing minimums to apply in distribution cases.
    • 20 grams substance containing fentanyl = 10+ years (changes current amount of 400 grams)
    • 5 grams substance containing fentanyl analogue = 10+ years (changes current amount of 100 grams)
    • 2 grams substance containing fentanyl = 5+ years (changes current amount of 40 grams)
    • .5 grams substance containing fentanyl analogue = 5+ years (changes current amount of 10 grams)
  • It will also provide resources to the Post Office to stop shipments of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids arriving from overseas.

Washington, D.C
. - On Tuesday of this week Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the Supreme Court's hearing of arguments for National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra:

"Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra on whether crisis pregnancy centers should be forced to advertise for abortions. Requiring a pro-life organization to promote the very thing it opposes is a gross violation of the Constitution, and I'm proud to have signed a brief in support of the petitioners' First Amendment rights. In Arkansas, we have 40 centers that provide critical services to women in need, and I stand with them. I hope that the Court will uphold their freedoms."

(StatePoint) Having clean, uncontaminated water to drink at home and on-the-go is one of the most essential components to keeping your family safe and healthy.

Unfortunately, safe water is not necessarily a given. A recent study, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that in 2015, nearly 21 million people relied on community water systems that violated health-based quality standards. What’s more, the risks to your tap water are heightened during special circumstances like natural disasters and other emergencies.

To help ensure you are hydrating healthfully all the time -- at home, in your community, on trips or in emergencies – consider investing in an easy-to-maintain water filtration device that can be used anywhere in order to improve water quality.

One example is LifeStraw, first introduced for people in developing countries without access to safe water and for victims following natural disasters. The company now makes a range of water filters and purifiers designed for uses like emergency preparedness, outdoor recreation, travel and everyday hydration. The refillable LifeStraw Go 2-Stage water bottle features a built-in filter, and removes 99.9999 percent of waterborne bacteria (including E. coli and salmonella), 99.999 percent of protozoa while also reducing chlorine organic chemical matter and bad taste. Suitable for kids, the LifeStraw Play model, a 10-oz water bottle designed for everyday use, incorporates the same technology with a sturdy kid-friendly leak-proof design. LifeStraw is available online and at your local Walmart, Target and Sam’s Club.

What’s great is this is also a company that gives back -- for every LifeStraw product purchased, a school child in a community in need receives safe water for an entire school year. So far, the program has supported more than one million school children.

Keep in mind that access to clean water is a persistent and global issue. By 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water, according to the United Nations. This highlights the growing need to take precautions both at home and when you travel, and to invest in products that give back.

To do everything you can to keep your family healthy and safe, start by taking steps to improve the water you drink


March 21, 2018

Washington, D.C.
— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act:

“Human trafficking is a heinous crime that calls for strict enforcement. Any website that facilitates it in any way should feel the full force of the law. This legislation closes a loophole that has protected bad actors for far too long, and allows state attorneys general to bring more of them to justice. There’s been an alarming spike in trafficking in recent years, and this bill will help keep women and children out of the hands of criminals.”


U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) praised Senate passage of legislation to enhance efforts to combat human trafficking.

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) reforms a misused provision in a 1996 telecommunications act that allows companies to evade prosecution for online business practices that facilitate human trafficking. 

Boozman delivered remarks from the floor during the debate of SESTA where he said the bill will “help by giving law enforcement and prosecutors additional tools to crack down on crimes involving exploitation of the vulnerable.”

As an example of companies using legal loopholes to avoid prosecution for trafficking crimes, Boozman pointed to Backpage, a company who helped customers modify their ads to hide references to underage prostitutes. He said SESTA would prevent these types of nefarious practices.

“It’s time to rip the cover away from these bad actors by making narrowly-crafted changes to the law to ensure websites that knowingly facilitate criminal sex trafficking online are held accountable. These bad actors won’t be able to fade quietly into the dark as we are giving state attorneys general the authority to prosecute websites that violate federal sex trafficking laws,” Boozman said.

(StatePoint) One of the best parts of backyard living in the warmer months is all the potential for bird watching that comes with it. You may have even installed a birdfeeder in your garden in an attempt to attract more birds to your property.

But did you know, your home poses dangerous risks to the birds that visit your yard and garden? Window strikes are common among many species of migrating birds, and millions of wild birds are killed annually flying into windows.

Whether you are an avid amateur ornithologist or just a casual observer of feathered friends in flight, by taking precautions your home need not be part of the problem.

Take advantage of the fact that birds can see certain light frequencies that humans cannot to make windows visible to birds in a way that won’t obstruct your own view. Doing so can be a simple home project completed in just an afternoon.

Try applying UV decals and UV liquid to your home’s windows and sliding glass doors. Those from WindowAlert, for example, have been proven to effectively alter the flight path of birds to prevent window strikes. While the coating will look like etched glass to the human eye, it will look very visible to a bird. As UV reflectivity may fade over time, it’s important to replace the decals and liquid every four months. Application techniques can be found by visiting

“Turning your home into a refuge for birds is a simple way to save lives and protect the creatures that beautify your yard and, in the case of hummingbirds, pollinate your garden,” says Spencer Schock, founder of WindowAlert.

Schock also recommends planting trees, shrubs and flowers that provide birds with nourishment and shelter, as well as paying attention to pet cats when they are outdoors, to ensure they don’t hunt the birds that visit.

This season, be a better friend to birds by taking a few simple measures in your home and garden

March 20, 2018

Constant Contact is proud to be joining us in celebrating the impact of America's Small Business Development Centers on the success of our nation's dreamer, innovators, and doers. Don't miss out on this free webinar for small businesses!
Digital Marketing Trends for Small Businesses in 2018
March 21, 2018 at 2 PM ET
Entrepreneurs start with a dream. Through hard work, innovation, and determination, they turn that dream into a small business.

What's next? Time to market your business.

But customer expectations are ever changing - so it's important to stay one step ahead. Join us as we explore top trends for small businesses, including:

  • How to use data to make smarter marketing decisions
  • How to create more personalized messages
  • How to do more business and save time with simple automation

    Register Today

800-acre solar farm near Crossett to come online in 2021
Little Rock, Ark. — March 20, 2018 — Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) of Little Rock has entered into a power purchase agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES) of Broomfield, Colo. to purchase up to 100 megawattsac of energy that will be produced by an 800-acre solar farm near Crossett in 2021.

“The addition of the 100 megawatts of solar capacity produced by the Crossett Solar Energy Farm will provide AECC with additional reasonably priced power that is ultimately delivered to the more than 1.2 million electric cooperative members in Arkansas,” said Duane Highley, president/CEO of AECC. “AECC's generation fuel portfolio now includes more than 17 percent of hydropower, solar, wind and biomass generation which supplements our traditional generation facilities.”

RES, a leading global renewable energy development and construction company, developed Crossett Solar and will construct the project. The project will provide the benefits of both energy diversity and job creation to the state of Arkansas. The 100-MWac project, consisting of more than 362,000 solar panels, will create as many as 175 jobs during the peak of construction, with up to three permanent jobs once construction is completed. 

Located in Ashley County, Arkansas, the construction of Crossett Solar is expected to begin in early 2021. 

“We’re excited to work with Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation again, and we are pleased to help AECC bring solar energy to the cooperative members,” said Graham Reid, RES CEO, Americas. “We look forward to bringing economic benefits and jobs to the state of Arkansas and to a community that has supported us throughout the project development cycle.”

Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, a generation and transmission cooperative, provides wholesale power to Arkansas’ 17 electric distribution cooperatives that provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.

Since 1997, RES has been providing development, engineering, construction, and operations services to the utility-scale wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage markets across the Americas. The company employs more than 1,500 full-time professionals; has over 10,000 MW of utility-scale renewable energy and energy storage projects; and has constructed more than 1,000 miles of transmissions lines throughout North America. RES’ corporate office in the U.S. is located in Broomfield, Colo. with regional offices located in Austin, Texas, Minneapolis, Minn., Old Saybrook, Conn. and Sacramento, Calif.

Program Helps Connect Ag Producers with Technology to Improve Methods, Teaches Vets to Start or Expand Farming Operations
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, introduced the Veteran and Beginning Farmers Technical Assistance Act. This bipartisan legislation would reauthorize the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) program to continue educating farmers and ranchers on farming practices and assist veterans in becoming successful producers.

“Arkansas farmers and ranchers feed the world. Providing access and connecting producers to information helps them make smart business decisions, which is important to our economy and our food supply,” Boozman said. “Developing veterans’ agriculture skills equips them to become the next generation of producers. I’m pleased to work with Sen. Leahy to advance this legislation and preserve this critical program.”

Leahy said, “Farmers are constantly learning and searching for ways to improve their operations and strengthen their profitability.  The valuable information and resources that ATTRA provides to Vermont farmers and to farmers across the country -- for free, on a wide range of farm topics -- is vital for American farmers’ survival, particularly as they work to diversify and thrive in competitive markets.”

RA’s Armed to Farm program assists veterans in the transition to civilian life by training them for a career in farming. More than 20 participants in Arkansas have been trained through the program.

"ATTRA has served our nation's farmers for thirty years through training and technical assistance. In addition, we have been honored to assist military veterans as they enter farming careers through our ATTRA-supported Armed to Farm. We have seen veterans start and expand farming operations, enter new markets, and contribute to their local economies. We look forward to continuing this work for Arkansas farmers, and all the farmers and veterans across the country," said Margo Hale, Southeast Regional Director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology.

ATTRA was reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. The program is set to expire this year.

This is Senator John Boozman with an update from Washington.

March is recognized as National Nutrition Month. This is a time to focus attention on the importance of a balanced diet and healthy eating choices. As a co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus,  I am committed to supporting and raising awareness of efforts that provide healthy meals, creating policies that fight hunger and advocating for programs that have proven to be successful.

I’ve seen how community involvement in Arkansas is fighting food insecurity. Efforts like the “Cooking Matters at the Store” initiative launched by the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance teaches families to compare prices, read food labels and buy fruits and vegetables on a budget.

These skills seem basic, but they go a long way in helping families maximize precious resources. Grocery stores are also allowing SNAP beneficiaries to purchase locally grown produce at a discount, which promotes health and affordability at the same time.

State educators know how essential breakfast is to students’ progress, so they’re implementing programs to promote this meal. They are also helping grow gardens where the food produced is used in school lunches.

Proper nutrition is crucial to our wellbeing. Creating opportunities to access healthy, nutritious food is also important to our state’s and the nation’s economic development.

The Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program is a unique effort that uses public-private partnerships to meet the nutritional needs of vulnerable children and adults. It has become a critical tool in the fight against hunger. I was pleased to support this program and recognize the important role it plays in the health and wellness of those in Arkansas and throughout the country with a Senate resolution acknowledging its contribution.

Studies show that access to the Child and Adult Care Food Program can measurably and positively impact the cognitive, social, emotional and physical health and development of children, leading to more favorable outcomes such as decreased likelihood of being hospitalized, an increased likelihood of healthy weight gain and an increased likelihood of a more varied diet.

As a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, I will continue to press for flexibility in the Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, so children who rely on school meals when class is in session can access healthy, nutritious meals during the summer.

In Arkansas, more than fifty thousand children receive nutritious meals through this program. For many rural areas of the country, including communities in the Natural State, this one-size-fits-all approach fails the children most in need. More than 60 percent of Arkansas children rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year. We need to modernize the program so that summer meal sites are available to children, no matter where they live.

It’s time that federal policy provides the flexibility necessary to reach students in their communities.

In order to break the cycle of food insecurity we must work together. Hunger knows no boundaries, but it is preventable and we have the tools to help fight it. We’ve made significant gains in Arkansas, across the country and throughout the world to improve nutrition for the most vulnerable in our society and I will continue to be a champion of efforts to improve access to healthy, nutritious foods.

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, released the following statement after the Senate confirmed Kevin McAleenan to serve as Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

“Kevin McAleenan is an outstanding public servant and has served our country in several capacities at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He is well-qualified to lead one of the world’s largest law enforcement agencies and oversee securing our nation’s borders and ports of entry. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Mr. McAleenan to help ensure that Congress is providing the resources and tools necessary for CBP to improve enforcement and successfully accomplish its missions.”


(March 15, 2018) – The Arkansas Urban Forestry Council (AUFC) will host Arkansas ReLeaf project and Arbor Day celebration Saturday, March 24, at the public park, 306 Main Street, Higginson, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Mayor Randell Homsley will read the Arbor Day Proclamation, and a tree will be planted in the park to celebrate Arbor Day. Additional state, regional, and local representatives will be on hand to participate in the Arbor Day ceremony and Arkansas ReLeaf tree giveaway. Free hot dogs will be served, and shade trees will be given out to residents of Higginson, Kensett and Morning Sun to replace trees that were lost due to damage caused by an EF-1 tornado in February 2017.

The tree giveaway will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 1 p.m. or all trees have been distributed. 

AUFC holds an Arkansas ReLeaf project to assist a community in Arkansas each year by helping restore the tree canopy that was lost due to environmental impact. These projects are planned and coordinated with individual communities and may be used for tree plantings on public lands, environmental stewardship and tree education programs in the public schools, as well as to render assistance to communities for participating in the Tree City USA Program. The project is made possible by donations from local, state, regional, private and public entities. Additional support is provided by fundraising events conducted by the AUFC. Other communities which have benefited from Arkansas ReLeaf project include Vilonia, Arkadelphia, Clinton, Cherry Hill, Dumas, Mena, Scotland, Marmaduke, Redfield, Vilonia, Mayflower and Nashville.

This event is sponsored by the Arkansas Urban Forestry Council, Arkansas Forestry Commission and the community of Higginson.

About The Arkansas Urban Forestry Council
The Arkansas Urban Forestry Council is a non-profit organization established in 1993.  The Council’s purpose is to assist Arkansans regarding the conservation of the state’s urban and community forests.


Washington, D.C.
— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments for National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra:

“Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra on whether crisis pregnancy centers should be forced to advertise for abortions. Requiring a pro-life organization to promote the very thing it opposes is a gross violation of the Constitution, and I’m proud to have signed a brief in support of the petitioners’ First Amendment rights. In Arkansas, we have 40 centers that provide critical services to women in need, and I stand with them. I hope that the Court will uphold their freedoms.”


March 16, 2018

The Arkansas State Police Commission has approved the recommendations of Colonel Bill Bryant, state police director, to promote six veteran state troopers.  The promotions occurred today during a regular monthly commission meeting.

Lieutenant Barry Saffold, 54, of Jefferson County, was promoted to the rank of captain.  He is a twenty-eight year veteran of the department.

Captain Saffold, assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Tactical and Aircraft Section, will assume command authority of the section.

Lieutenant William Dias, 51, of Jefferson County, was promoted to the rank of captain.  He is a twenty-four year veteran of the department.

Captain Dias, assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop E, will assume duties as commander of Troop E.

Lieutenant David Cooper, 47, of Hot Spring County, was promoted to the rank of captain.  He is a twenty-three year veteran of the department.

Captain Cooper will leave his current assignment as assistant troop commander within Highway Patrol Division, Troop K, and assume new duties as commander of Troop L.

Corporal Ben Hoyt, 36, of Faulkner County, was promoted to the rank of sergeant.  He is an eighteen year veteran of the department.

    Sergeant Hoyt will be assigned to the department’s Administrative Services Division, Training Section.

    Corporal Tiffany Dycus, 46, of Faulkner County, was promoted to the rank of sergeant.  She is a thirteen year veteran of the department.

Sergeant Dycus is assigned to the department’s Office of Professional Standards.

Corporal Kyle Peek, 38, of Hempstead County, was promoted to the rank of sergeant.  He is a thirteen year veteran of the department.

Sergeant Peek will assume new duties as a post supervisor within the Highway Patrol Division, Troop G.

“AgHeritage Farm Credit Services paid $3.7 million in profits from 2017 to customer-owners this spring through the Patronage Program,” said Greg Cole, AgHeritage FCS, President and CEO.  “We are owned by the very customers we serve.  Ownership entitles our customers to special benefits such as sharing in our profits.  Over the past 12 years, we have distributed $36.05 million through the Patronage Program.”

“Farmers are running complex businesses.  And as businesses, it is important to have good financial resources and expertise.  Not only has Farm Credit supported rural America with reliable, dependable credit and financial services for over 100 years, we do so operating as a cooperative. Our cooperative structure allows customers local control through the Board election process as well as the opportunity to share in the profits through our Patronage Program,” stated Dwain Morris, AgHeritage FCS Board Chairman.  The Patronage Program returns a portion of the association’s net earnings to our eligible customer-owners. Patronage refunds are based on the proportion of interest paid on an individual’s loan to total interest earned.

For more information on the Patronage Program, call 1-800-444-3276 to reach your local AgHeritage FCS branch office.

AgHeritage Farm Credit Services is a financial cooperative with owned and managed assets of approximately $1.15 billion as of December 31, 2017, that provides credit and related services to more than 2,900 farmers, ranchers and producers or harvesters of aquatic products in 24 Arkansas counties.  Branch offices are located in Batesville, Brinkley, Dermott, Lonoke, Newport, Pocahontas, Searcy, Star City and Stuttgart.      


Washington, D.C.
 – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) will next week unveil legislation to help fight the opioid epidemic that will ensure penalties for fentanyl distribution and trafficking better reflect the nature of the crime. Fentanyl, a fully synthetic opioid, is 100 times more powerful than morphine. It has been a driving force behind the opioid epidemic in the United States and is being dumped here predominantly from China.

Specifically, this bill will reduce the amount of fentanyl required for mandatory sentencing minimums to apply in distribution cases. It will also provide resources to the Post Office to stop shipments of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids arriving from overseas. 

“Fentanyl has had a devastating impact on our country. More than 20,000 Americans were killed by fentanyl last year, and overall drug deaths have nearly doubled in the past decade. It’s past time the punishment matched the crime when it comes to opioid distribution and trafficking,” said Cotton.

“Fentanyl is one of the most deadly drugs on the market and I look forward to working with Senator Cotton to substantially increase penalties for those who traffic this horrific drug,” said Graham. “I’ll also be working with Senator Cotton and others to explore the possibility of even stronger penalties—that could include the death penalty if the fentanyl results in someone’s death—for those who choose to push this deadly drug into our communities. Increasing these mandatory minimums is well-justified.”

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the groundbreaking path Command Sergeant Major (retired) Deborah Collins paved in her 39 years of service with the Arkansas Army National Guard in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.

Collins, born in Booneville and raised in Russellville, graduated from Russellville High School. She is from a family with a history of military service and it was her aunt, who served in the Arkansas National Guard, who encouraged Collins to join.

“I’d been out of high school about one year. I was working because college wasn’t in my future. I just kind of needed some direction and wanted to do something different,” Collins said.

She joined the Arkansas National Guard on July 30, 1975. Collins recalled how women who enlisted in the Arkansas National Guard at that time were required to join for three years and have a high school education, but men didn’t have the same education mandate.

After serving for nearly four decades in the Arkansas National Guard, Collins laughed thinking back to how three years seemed like a long time when she was 18-years-old. She remembered how her first annual training put her on a path to a successful career.

“They put me driving a vehicle, first out, in a convoy. They didn’t tell me they were going to stop at a rest area,” she laughed as she talked about how the convoy stopped and she continued on to Fort Chaffee. The battalion commander and the sergeant major knew she was on her way and were at the gate when she pulled in. “The sergeant major didn’t just chew me out. He was decent to me and it did two things. It made me figure out real quick that I wasn’t going to be put in the position that I didn’t know what was going on again and number two, I might want to be a sergeant major someday.”

Collins was on the way to making that a reality and along the way changed the status quo.

The first award she received was for her work to get a WWII-era RATT RIG (tactical radio teletype station) to operate, which other soldiers had given up on long before. The challenge of pinning the medal to women’s fatigues was evident. “The field jacket didn’t have chest pockets like the male field jackets did. It just had flaps” Collins said recalling how the commander took the edge of the flap and gingerly raised it up to pin on the medal.

When the Arkansas National Guard was in the process of establishing a noncommissioned officer academy at the Arkansas Military Academy, Collins was selected as an instructor, making her one of two women on the NCO Academy staff.

While she worked alongside a few women in uniform, she was charting a new course for future generations of women and holding positions previously held only by men, including serving as the first female State Command Sergeant Major for the Arkansas National Guard.

Despite breaking the glass ceiling, she remains humble. “I know there are soldiers out there who have opportunities because of what I did,” Collins said.

Collins calls herself a “by the book soldier” which earned her the nickname ‘Iron Britches.’ “If something is said about Iron Britches, they know exactly who you’re referring to,” Collins joked.

Her list of accomplishments is long, but there is one that stands out for Collins - the development of the Arkansas Military Funeral Honors program.

“I did it because there was truly a need,” Collins said. “The soldiers who volunteered for that program were awesome. They just gave so much to do that service,” Collins said.

“I am grateful for Deborah Collins’ dedication and sacrifice to our nation. Her leadership made a tremendous difference in the Arkansas National Guard and throughout the National Guard. Her perseverance shows us all that you can be anything that you want to be. Preserving her memories is a fitting tribute to her successful career,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Collins’ 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.