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September 19th, 2017

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017


  The Arkansas State Police was contacted at 8 AM today (Tuesday, September 19th) by officers of the Rockport Police Department requesting the state police Criminal Investigation Division investigate an overnight homicide.

  Jaraad Hasan, 29, of 399 West Butterfield Cutoff Road, Rockport, was pronounced dead last night following a call to Rockport Police Officers reporting a domestic disturbance inside Hasan’s residence.

  A 28 year-old woman living at the residence was taken into custody by Rockport officers.

  State Police Special Agents have begun to review statements and evidence taken by Rockport officers and will await reports from the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory that are expected to confirm a manner and cause of death.

  Agents will prepare an investigative file to be presented to the Hot Spring County Prosecuting Attorney to determine whether any criminal charges might be filed in connection with the homicide.

Arkansan Tapped to Head Delta Regional Authority
WASHINGTON—Chris Caldwell, a seventh-generation Arkansan and member of U.S. Senator John Boozman’s staff, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as the co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA).
The DRA—a federal-state partnership that works to improve regional economic opportunity in the Mississippi River Delta Region—is led by a board comprised of the Federal Co-Chairman and the governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
“Chris shares the DRA’s commitment and vision for improving economic opportunity in the delta region. He has a passion for helping others, a strong sense of duty to the region and an understanding of what it takes to bring economic growth to our communities. Plus, he is as tenacious as they come. Chris will be a tireless advocate and an asset to the entire delta in this role,” Boozman said.
The appointment requires Senate confirmation. Along with Boozman’s backing, Caldwell has already received support from Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS), who represents a key DRA state.
“I am confident in Chris Caldwell’s commitment to promote economic growth, better health, and educational opportunities throughout the entire Delta region, and I will support his confirmation. The Delta Regional Authority should have a leadership team in place as soon as possible to meet the region’s unique challenges,” Cochran said.
Caldwell grew up on a cattle ranch in Central Arkansas. He currently resides in Little Rock and serves as the Director of Special Projects for Boozman. He has extensive experience in political campaigns, most recently managing Boozman's successful reelection campaign. Caldwell has also served on several other campaigns including Governor Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential bid and Sen. Tim Hutchinson's 2002 campaign.
Beyond his political and government service, Caldwell has held various roles in the private sector and is an active volunteer in his community. He graduated with a B.A. in Communications from the University of Arkansas's J. William Fulbright School.




Arkansas Food Hall of Fame nominations are now open

Department of Arkansas Heritage opens nominations September 13


LITTLE ROCK – Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst announced today that the nomination period for the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame is now open as of September 13, 2017. Nominations will remain open through October 31, 2017. This is the second year for the statewide program to recognize the legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events across the state.


“Food culture in Arkansas is a significant aspect of our state’s heritage, just like architecture or music,” said Hurst. “The Department of Arkansas Heritage is proud to honor Arkansas’s food traditions through the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, highlighting this integral part of who we are.”


Nominations are being accepted at in five categories:

·         Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

o    This award recognizes those long-standing restaurants that have become legendary attractions in Arkansas.

·         Proprietor of the Year

o    This award honors a chef, cook and/or restaurant owner in Arkansas who has made significant achievements in the food industry.

·         Food-Themed Event

o    This award honors one of the many community food-themed events or festivals that make our state a great place to live.

·         People’s Choice

o    This award is truly in the hands of Arkansans. The restaurant or food truck that receives the highest number of votes wins.

·         Gone But Not Forgotten

o    This award honors the collective culinary legacy of a once-and-always influential Arkansas restaurant that has since ceased operations. 


The 13-member Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee will select finalists from the entries, and then select winners in each category. Winners are chosen by a specialized group of committee members. Honorees and finalists will be announced at a special ceremony in Spring 2018.

Nominate your favorites for all five categories on now through October 31, 2017.


About the Department of Arkansas Heritage

The mission of the Department of Arkansas Heritage is to identify Arkansas’s heritage and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors by the discovery, preservation and presentation of the state’s natural, cultural and historic resources. This is accomplished through the work of eight divisions:

Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.  



Don’t Miss South Arkansas’ Largest Arts & Crafts Show.

The 49th annual BPW Barn Sale

Saturday, Sept. 30th in Camden Arkansas

CAMDEN, AR — Experience the appeal of Southern Living at South Arkansas’ Largest Arts & Crafts Show, the 49th Annual BPW Barn Sale, Saturday, September 30th, from 9am-4:30pm in Camden, AR. (Oakland St. & Monticello St. Camden, AR. 71701)

The BPW Barn Sale has grown into one of Arkansas’ major tourist attractions. Join thousands from all around the region to shop handcrafted southern favorites as you browse over 130 booths of vendors and artists from all over the US featuring traditional crafts and contemporary styles. The massive old oak trees provide a breathtaking fall landscape as you stroll beside the historic barn site while browsing the crafts and original handmade works of art. Expect to find handcrafted wooden pieces, ceramics, paintings, floral arrangements, handmade clothing, jewelry, stained glass, one-of-a-kind toys, and much more. Enjoy the historic southern plantation setting and shop till your heart's content.

Enjoy a myriad of authentic foods as vendors from all over the South descend on the Barn Sale with their own unique southern favorites and festival treats. Musical entertainment takes place throughout the day with individual performances by the artists themselves at their vendor booths. It’s fun for the entire family with the Antique & Classic Car Show, Kids Zone with inflatables, and festival traditions including the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, 5k Run, St. Louis Catholic Church Spaghetti Supper and much, much more.

Sponsors include the event’s title sponsor: the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce, Lockheed Martin, Bob & Amanda Wunneneberg, & SAU Tech.

SAU plans response to flooding in Texas, will collect donations
MAGNOLIA - A campus-wide planning meeting for Southern Arkansas University’s response to the flooding in Texas is set for Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 4 p.m. in Grand Hall of the Reynolds Center. The following items are requested: diapers, baby wipes, bottled water, food, bedding, pet food and bowls, hand sanitizer, work gloves, trash bags, tarps, packages of socks and underwear (various sizes) and hygiene products.
These items can be brought to the Family Day celebration on Saturday, Sept. 9. A collection area will be set up in front of the Blanchard Business Building where family bingo will take place under the large blue tent.
There will also be a trailer at each entrance to Wilkins Stadium starting at 5 p.m. before the football game on Family Day.
People can also drop off items for flood cleanup buckets at the Wesley Student Center, 114 E. University, Sept. 5-8, between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Five-gallon plastic buckets with lids are needed, as well as: liquid laundry detergent (one 50-oz. or two 25-oz. bottles only); dish soap (16-28 oz. bottle, any brand); 1 can air freshener (aerosol or pump); 1 insect repellant spray (6-14 oz. aerosol or spray pump with protective cover); 50 clothespins; clothesline (one 100-foot or two 50-foot lines, cotton or plastic); 24-roll heavy-duty trash bags (33 to 45-gallon sizes); 5 dust masks; 2 pairs kitchen dishwashing gloves (for multiple uses); 1 pair work gloves (cotton with leather palm or all leather). The phone number to the Center is 870-234-3767.
            Around 50 park supporters, volunteers, and community leaders gathered at Moro Bay State Park yesterday to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated campground.  The park officially opens tomorrow, August 31st. 

It's time to fire the grill up!


Join us for a day of fun and compete against local legends and pit masters from near and far for your chance to win cash prizes and bragging rights!






Thank you for those who have already registered.


*The cook-off will be held at the same location.  The site of the cook-off will be cleared and the gravel will be regraded for the event.


Rib Cookers Register Now


Don't miss out on your chance to get some of the best ribs 

South Arkansas has to offer!


Order your tasty ribs today!  Buy Rib Tickets


Check out all the finger-lickin' details at

 and like us on Facebook for up to date Expo news.




Drew County Deputy Sheriff Timothy Braden, 29, was killed in the line of duty this morning following a motor vehicle pursuit that ended in a crash just outside Monticello along Barkada Road.

At approximately 1:35 AM (Thursday, August 24th), Deputy Braden initiated a traffic stop involving a vehicle driven by Samuel Vincent, 24, of Monticello. Vincent refused to stop and fled.

Both vehicles were subsequently involved in a crash resulting in the death of Deputy Braden and injuries to Vincent.

An investigation of the crash and pursuit is underway involving both the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division and Criminal Investigation Division. The Arkansas State Police investigation is being conducted at the request of authorities within the Drew County Sheriff’s Department.

Vincent has been taken into custody and is being held at the Ashley County Detention Center on the authority of Thomas Deen, 10th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney.

Our heartfelt prayers are with the Drew County Sheriffs Department and other law enforcement around SE Arkansas as they mourn the loss of one of their own. Deputy Braden's family - blood and blue - are in our thoughts today. #arkansasbluefamily



Friday, August 25, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. join the National Park Service, the Trap Jazz Giants Band from Little Rock, AR and the Arrowhead Jazz Band from New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and celebrate former President William Jefferson Clinton and the National Park Service Birthday with an evening of great Jazz, Blues and Zydeco music! 


The admission is FREE and will take place on the grounds of President Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site located at 117 South Hervey Street in Hope, AR.  For further information call (870) 870-777-4455 or log




Through relationship-based programs, the Boys & Girls Club of El Dorado aims to encourage area youth.

El Dorado, Ark., – The Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout presented by PepsiCo is more than just a stop on the Symetra Tour or an opportunity for rising young, female golfers to earn a shot at their LPGA Tour Card. It’s a significant local fundraising opportunity, with this year’s event benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of El Dorado.

“On behalf of the Boys & Girls Club and staff, we feel very fortunate and thankful to have been chosen as the beneficiary of this golf tournament. We know the kids will be grateful for the expansion of their programs because of the Murphy USA EL Dorado Shootout,” stated David Lee, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of El Dorado. “This is one more event that El Dorado has to help the future of our youth,” he added.

Established as the Boys Club of El Dorado in 1939 by community leaders who saw a need for local boys to have positive activities to do, the Club has provided fun, engaging after-school and summer programs to the children of Union County for decades. In 1990, the Boys Club was re-established as the Boys & Girls Club of El Dorado, welcoming all youth to join. Today they provide two facilities, the Northwest and David A. Wetherington Units, located in different areas of the city where over 2,000 El Dorado youth, ages six to eighteen, participate as members. The Club offers an inviting atmosphere and access to a broad range of programs focusing on character, leadership, educational and career development, as well as the arts, sports, fitness, recreation, health and life skills.

Taking a different approach than other youth programs, the Boys & Girls Club focuses on relationship-based interactions. They utilize their programs and activities as tools to encourage club members to develop strong relationships with adult role models. It is through these relationships that young lives are truly transformed in a positive and long-lasting way.

“Our plans for the funds raised at the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout will be to expand our programs for the kids. For example, educational programs which help bring them to the grade level where they should be. We will expand our gym/sports outreach with better equipment and will continue to update some of the technology in the library to make it a more fun and exciting place for the kids to visit every day. We will also update our computer lab so the kids can utilize it as needed for school work,” said Lee.

The Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout presented by PepsiCo will be held at Mystic Creek Golf Club September 15-17, with special events scheduled throughout the week, including a Junior Golf Clinic and Pro-Am scramble. Tickets are free to the community, thanks to a generous sponsorship by First Financial Bank. For more information about the event, visit the tournament’s website at

For more information on the Boys & Girls Club of El Dorado, call (870) 863-8753 or visit






LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Today Arkansas Auditor of State Andrea Lea announced the Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt has added new cash assets available to claim. Lea reports that there is now over $317,000,000 owed to Arkansans.

The Treasure Hunt, which is refreshed annually, is Arkansas’ unclaimed property program. Cash assets and safe-deposit box contents are turned over to Lea’s office after being deemed abandoned by the entity holding the assets, such as a business or financial institution.

“Reuniting Arkansans with their money is something I take very seriously,” said Lea. “We now estimate that 1 in 3 Arkansans has cash to claim in the Treasure Hunt. If you’ve searched in the past, it’s time to search again!”

Assets turned over to Lea’s office include abandoned bank accounts, uncashed checks, utility refunds, stocks and securities, mineral proceeds, life insurance benefits, and contents of safe-deposit boxes.

The increased amount of cash to claim when compared to years past is due in large part to a deliberate effort to educate and provide resources to businesses and other holder entities regarding what determines abandonment and how to voluntarily turn it over to the state.

Arkansans are encouraged to search their names, relatives names, churches, and businesses at or by calling 1-800-CLAIM-IT (1-800-252-4648). 

SAAC to Host Pastel Class with Virmarie DePoyster
South Arkansas Arts Center announces it will host Arkansas artist Virmarie Depoyster, as she returns for a Pastel Workshop on September 9-10 at SAAC.
 DePoyster, co-president of the Arkansas Pastel Society, will teach the two-day pastel workshop.  Students will explore the pastel medium, drawing techniques, under-painting techniques using alcohol, value studies, color, surface applications, and effective and creative ways of using photo references. Beginning drawing and beginning pastel is STRONGLY recommended.
The emphasis will be on developing effective compositional design, facilitating a dynamic and sensitive approach to color and discussing and creating a painting surface.
DePoyster said about her art, “When I paint with pastel, I am reminded that even though life is fragile, it’s lovely!  It is in the dance, between my hand, paper and pigment, where I find my heart.  Long conversations transpire at the easel, about love, death, life and how they all begin in chaos.  As I create something from nothing, I strive to show the viewer, how nothing plus someone equals something.   
“As an emerging pastel artist, I often struggle with my style and my love for brilliant colors.  Vibrancy is often missing from pieces created with pastel medium.  I often fear that my direction with the pastels is a little unique to the use of the medium.  But the vibrant colors I achieve in my pieces calm my fears and I am encouraged by the outcome, to follow my instincts - even if I break a few ‘rules’.
“Like many 19th Century Impressionists, I attempt to create a mood by the use of color.  Ordinary natural settings draw viewers into a deeper feeling of “having been there”.  But even further, I want my work to evoke emotions.  Color does that most effectively.  Atmosphere.  Mood.  Place.  These three words sum up what I want viewers to experience, not just see.  I translate those things to the paper with color.  The subject matter become more irrelevant against the palette I employ.  When I hear people whisper, ‘That’s a pastel?’  I know I took the right road.”    
Cost for the two day class is $120 for SAAC members with an additional $25 cost for non -members.
 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.                                        



Gov. Hutchinson Announces Fall 2017 Computer Science Tour of Arkansas Schools


LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his fifth computer coding tour of Arkansas high schools since taking office in 2015. The tour will kick off August 22 and run through the end of the month. The focus of the tour is to promote computer science and encourage students to enroll in courses this fall. Schools, dates and times are listed below.


Gov. Hutchinson issued the following statement: 


“I am kicking off my fifth computer science tour this week, and the difference between what was happening in the state on the first tour two years ago and now is tremendous. 


Thanks to the amazing response from educators, students and the business community, Arkansas continues to lead the nation in computer-science education. National publications are writing stories about us. Companies are considering Arkansas because they see the strong workforce we are creating. Computer coding classes have become so popular that some schools have a waiting list of students. Teachers have access to training and resources that they did not have before we started our Computer Coding Initiative. 


Arkansas is truly becoming a tech hub, and I can’t wait to hit the road and meet even more of our talented students to spread the word about coding and their future in Arkansas’ economy.” 



Tuesday, August 22


Harrison High School

9:30 a.m.

925 Goblin Dr.

Harrison, AR


Alpena High School

11:00 a.m.

300 S. Denver St.

Alpena, AR


Green Forest High School

1:30 p.m.

800 Tommy Ratzlaff Ave.

Green Forest, AR



Thursday, August 24


Beebe High School 

9:30 a.m.

1201 W. Center St.

Beebe, AR


Forrest City High School

1:15 p.m.

467 Victoria Ave.

Forrest City, AR



Monday, August 28


Lakeside High School

1:00 p.m.

2871 Malvern Ave.

Hot Springs, AR


Hot Springs High School

2:15 p.m.

701 Emory St.

Hot Springs National Park, AR


CONTACT: Press Shop ( or 501.682.3642)



Remember to take extra time in your commute beginning Monday, August 14, 2017 as Ouachita County Schools begin the new school year. All schools will have police presence to monitor traffic and work to protect our community’s most valuable asset, our children.

Traffic fines are doubled in school zones and officers will be conducting traffic enforcement within these school zones with zero tolerance. Special emphasis will be placed on speeding violations as well as careless driving, improper passing, and texting while driving.

These are a few reminders regarding school safety:
• It is illegal to pass a school bus from any direction while the busses’ red lights are flashing.
• Put your cell phone down!!! Texting and social media is a distraction as well as illegal!
• Most school zone speed limits and boundaries are clearly marked and should be strictly followed.
• Remember to watch for kids, because they may not be watching for you.
• Parents should take care when dropping their children off in school driveways.
• Parents should always remind their children to watch for other vehicles that are pulling through driveways and always look both ways before crossing a school driveway.

The Ouachita County Sheriff's Department wishes everyone a happy and safe 2017-2018 school year.


Lockheed Martin Delivers New Production ATACMS Missile


CAMDEN, Ark., Aug. 10, 2017 – Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has delivered the first Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile to the U.S. Army from the company’s new production facility in Camden, Arkansas.


Lockheed Martin is under contract to deliver 124 new ATACMS missiles to the U.S. Army and an international customer. The ATACMS program is in full-rate production at Lockheed Martin’s Precision Fires Production Center of Excellence in Camden.


Concurrent with production efforts, Lockheed Martin is nearing completion of a development contract with the U.S. Army that further enhances existing ATACMS missiles. The modifications include upgrades to the missile electronics, and complete the qualification of a height-of-burst proximity sensor, which provides increased area effects on targets. 


“ATACMS has demonstrated unparalleled system performance and reliability for our customers,” said Scott Greene, vice president of Precision Fires at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “These latest ATACMS rounds will support Army readiness, and provide a critical new precision engagement capability to our international customers.”


ATACMS is the U.S. Army’s only tactical long-range, deep precision-strike surface-to-surface weapon system. ATACMS missiles can be fired from the entire family of Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers, enabling battlefield commanders the capability to operate in contested environments.  


Lockheed Martin has produced more than 3,800 ATACMS missiles, with more than 20 years of on-time deliveries. More than 600 ATACMS missiles have been fired in combat, and the system has demonstrated extremely high rates of accuracy and reliability while in theater. Each ATACMS missile is packaged in a Guided Missile Launch Assembly pod.


For more information visit our website:









AUGUST 7, 2017


  Arkansas State Police Recruiters are looking for candidates who are interested in enrolling in the 2018 academy class.  Thirty-five recruits will be selected to enter the academy early next year. 

  “If you can meet the minimum qualifications and are ready to excel in earning the badge of an Arkansas State Trooper, we want to meet you,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.  “If you are selected, you will find yourself on the path of one of the most rewarding careers imaginable.” 

 Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the Arkansas State Police web site and watch the recruiting video that offers a view into the world of a state trooper.  The recruiting page also provides applicants a means to directly contact a recruiter.

Minimum qualification to be considered are: 

  • Must be a United States citizen and at least 21 years of age.
  • Must possess a medical release to participate in a physical fitness test.
  • Must possess a current and valid driver license.
  • Must be a certified high school graduate or possess a GED equivalency.
  • Must meet visual acuity requirements. (*applicant’s vision must be sufficiently acceptable to ensure the applicant could fulfill the essential job functions of an Arkansas State Trooper.  Applicants must possess binocular vision with normal color vision and depth perception and required peripheral vision of 140 degrees with a minimum visual acuity of 20/100 uncorrected, corrected to 20/20 in each eye.)
  • Never convicted of a felony criminal charge.
  • Never convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
  • Pass a comprehensive background check.
  • No tattoos shall be visible on an applicant’s body that could be seen if wearing the uniform of an Arkansas State Trooper. 

  Recruits begin earning a salary after being offered a position by the Director of the Arkansas State Police and reporting to the academy.  The entry salary for an Arkansas State Trooper Recruit is $40,340.  Following four and ½ years of service, a trooper becomes eligible for promotion to the rank of Trooper First Class, receiving a salary increase of 10% or an increase to the entry pay level of $45,010, whichever is greater.  Upon seven and ½ years of service a trooper is promoted to the rank of corporal, awarded a 10% raise or an increase to the entry pay level of $50,222, or whichever is greater. 

  Benefits include: 

  • Healthcare insurance is paid by the state for a trooper (recruit) and family
  • Certificate pay up to $1,200 annually (*state police director discretion)
  • Retirement contributions are paid by the state.
  • Uniforms and equipment are furnished.
  • Eligible for career service pay following ten years of state service.
  • Opportunities for overtime duty.

  Vacancies to be filled are currently in the following counties: 

  • Arkansas
  • Bradley
  • Calhoun
  • Carroll
  • Crittenden
  • Cross
  • Dallas
  • Desha
  • Drew
  • Izard
  • Jefferson
  • Lafayette
  • Lee
  • Lincoln
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • Pike
  • Pulaski
  • Scott
  • St. Francis
  • Woodruff

Arkansas State Police Public Affairs Office | 501-618-8232 |





   Arkansas State Troopers are routinely the primary first responders across Arkansas involving incidents of substance abuse and addiction.  Now they have a new tool to combat the ever increasing crisis that is Opioid overdose.


   The U.S. Office of the Attorney General in September 2016 issued a memorandum calling the opioid epidemic a “public health crisis.”  The memorandum called for the use of a prescription medicine called Naloxone (also known as Narcan) to prevent overdose deaths.


   Governor Asa Hutchinson has been at the forefront of this campaign, seeking statewide support in fighting the opioid addiction problem. “I applaud the Arkansas State Police in its effort to stem the tide of overdose deaths by expanding access to the life-saving drug Naloxone and ensuring a pathway to treatment and recovery for those struggling with addiction,” said Governor Hutchinson.  

   Narcan can be administered to anyone since there are no negative side effects from the drug. The prescription medication will only have an effect on someone who is suffering an opiate overdose, due to its ability to attach to the opiate receptor in the brain.  

   “It is imperative for the Arkansas State Police to be able to help the citizens of this state. With troopers in every county of Arkansas, we want to make sure that if we are the first responders to an overdose situation, we can appropriately and effectively save someone’s life,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.  

   Each state trooper is being trained and issued two doses of Narcan nasal spray, giving people suffering from an opiate overdose a greater chance of survival. 




                                                   Marion shooting update:
JULY 26, 2017
A teenager wounded outside an emergency shelter for juveniles yesterday (Tuesday, July 25, 2017) died at a Memphis hospital overnight.
The name of the juvenile will be released later today once the Arkansas State Police can confirm all immediate family members have been notified.  
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division will keep the prosecuting attorney of jurisdiction apprised of their work and will later submit a complete investigative file that will be used by the prosecutor to determine whether use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was justified as prescribed in Arkansas law.
The release of any information that may identify the names of officers involved in the shooting and their administrative status will be left up to authorities within the Marion Police Department.
JULY 25, 2017
A sixteen year old male was shot and critically wounded earlier tonight outside a Marion (Crittenden County) emergency shelter for juveniles located at 104 Cypress Avenue.
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have been requested by Marion Police to investigate the shooting.
At approximately 7:08 PM, Marion Police Officers responded to the shelter and moments later reported a teenager had been shot and wounded by police.
No additional information is expected to be released from the investigation tonight.  Additional facts about the case are expected to be provided Wednesday.

Riverfest Announces Decision to Suspend Event

Annual music festival spanned 40 years, contributed more than $1 million to community from proceeds


LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (July 18, 2017) – On Tuesday, the Riverfest, Inc. board of directors announced its decision to suspend its annual music festival, a tradition that celebrated 40 years with its most recent event in June 2017.


“We can no longer deliver the experience that Riverfest fans have come to expect,” said DeAnna Korte, the festival’s executive director. “Rising costs of performers’ fees, coupled with a greater number of competing festivals around the country are the underlying factors leading to this decision.”


“With our bills paid, and our heads held high, we are closing the doors,” said Riverfest board member Cheddy Wigginton, who has served two terms as board chairman and in various other positions throughout the years. “We had a fantastic 40-year run, and we had a great economic impact upon Little Rock and Arkansas. DeAnna and her team – supported by thousands of dedicated volunteers – did a phenomenal job.” 


Riverfest, a 501(c)(3) organization and celebration of visual and performing arts held annually on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock, is the largest single event in the state of Arkansas, with a rich tradition. At its height, Riverfest hosted more than 250,000 attendees, with an estimated annual economic impact of $33 million in the community. 


The announcement follows a national trend of festivals announcing closure, cancellation and bankruptcy. At least nine festivals in seven states and in Washington, D.C. announced that their 2016 events would not take place at all. Examples of festivals that have recently been cancelled include BayFest in Mobile, Ala.; Wakarusa in Ozark, Ark.; Gathering of the Vibes in Connecticut; Pemberton in Canada; and Karoondinha in Pennsylvania.


“For a nonprofit like Riverfest, it’s about income vs. expenses,” Korte stated. “We are a very small market, and there are larger music festivals surrounding us. The festival market is very crowded. It’s hard for a nonprofit to compete in a growing market of for-profit festivals, which are driving up prices and making it difficult to secure artists.”


Over the years, Riverfest adapted to changing market trends and demographics. “We tried to hit different demographics,” Korte said. “We knew we were never going to make everybody happy, but we strived to offer a bit of something in every musical genre.”


After a significant loss in 2015, Riverfest organizers realized the price of tickets going up was excluding the family demographic – they just couldn’t afford to come. “The music was driving the ticket sales, so we decided to focus on music for Riverfest and created Springfest as a free family-focused event, that was also a nice way to give back to the community,” Korte said.


For 2016, Riverfest also made the decision to move away from Memorial Day weekend in hopes of increasing attendance.


“We raised more money in sponsorships in 2017 than we have in our history,” Korte said. “Our sponsors have given us the ability to grow our festival, understanding the changes we were trying to make. But it takes money to make money, and we are a nonprofit organization. The music industry as a whole has changed, and it is very difficult to compete. The whole reason for our existence is to give back to the community.”


Weather also was always a factor in Riverfest’s ability to be successful.  “Our sole income prior to the event each year comes from our sponsor base, and we have had such great support over the years,” Korte said. “But it is an outdoor event, and we are always at the mercy of the weather for most of the revenue. It impacts not only ticket sales, but also commissions from vendors.”


Riverfest, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that has contributed more than $1 million back to the community from proceeds of the event, including the development of Riverfront Park, a new roof on the First Security Amphitheater, and various projects in the riverfront and downtown areas.  The festival also donates $1 of every ticket sold to the City of Little Rock.


“Our entire budget is $2.6 million,” Korte said. “That may sound like a lot, but in the world of music festivals, it is a shoestring budget. It costs $300,000 just to run two stages. Security, which is a high priority for us, is nearly $200,000. Fencing the perimeter is $60,000. Cleaning the grounds is $30,000. We have done everything we could do to cut costs. We trimmed over $300,000 in expenses between 2015 and 2016. But we also want to provide a quality event. The things that we could control, we controlled, to the best of our ability. But there are a lot of uncontrolled variables.”


Korte, who has served 20 years with Riverfest – including the last 13 as director – feels a deep sense of gratitude to the Junior League of Little Rock, the Little Rock Parks & Recreation Department and the event’s volunteers. In addition to her position, the paid staff includes one other full-time employee and one part-time.


“Our volunteers have sustained this event,” Korte said. “In addition to our outstanding volunteer festival planning committee of 250 and a 30-member board of directors, Riverfest is planned and executed with the assistance and support of more than 2,500 volunteers each year. It wouldn’t have been such a quality event without them.”


“For 40 years, DeAnna, her predecessors and all of the civic-minded leaders who were part of the Riverfest family worked selflessly to produce a great event,” said Gary Weinberger of Red Mountain Entertainment. “It was a pleasure to work with all of them.”


Riverfest began in August 1978, when the Junior League of Little Rock had the opportunity to bring the American Wind Symphony to Little Rock. The event was called The Summer Arts Festival and was held in Murray Park, with various activities built around the Wind Symphony’s performance.


The Summer Arts Festival was such a success that a decision was made to have a similar event the next year. The date was changed to Memorial Day Weekend, the name was changed to Riverfest, and the current logo was adopted. It was also at this point that Riverfest, Inc., a 501(c)(3) a non-profit organization with a board of directors, was formed to operate the festival, with the Junior League of Little Rock committing to provide primary volunteer support.


In 1982, after outgrowing Murray Park, Riverfest moved downtown, and the festival was held on the Convention Center Plaza along Markham Street. The following year, in 1983, Riverfest moved to its permanent home in Julius Breckling Riverfront Park, and more than 100,000 people attended the festival that year. As Riverfest grew and developed, a need for permanent staff arose, and in 1987, a full-time executive director was hired.


Riverfest continued to grow and expand along the banks of the Arkansas River in Julius Breckling Riverfront Park, including an expansion to the North Shore Riverwalk in North Little Rock from 2002-2010. In 2009, the festival expanded to include the Clinton Presidential Park and library. The festival played a vital role as an organization helping the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock work together to make Arkansas a better place to live and wor






Additional Information Contact: 

ASP Highway Safety Office – Ann Whitehead

(501) 618-8133 –

 JUNE 27, 2017

   (LITTLE ROCK) – The celebration of our nation’s birthday during the coming week will lead thousands of families onto the state highways and local streets.  Their travels will take them to cookouts, family reunions, picnics and other summer festivities.

   Inevitably some won’t return home.  The bad choices that lead to drinking and driving will end with injury, death and lasting consequences inflicted on many innocent families.

   During the Fourth of July holiday period, beginning Friday, June 30 and continuing through Tuesday, July 4, Arkansas law enforcement officers will participate in the statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over operation.

   Stepped-up patrols among state, county and city law enforcement agencies will have officers on the lookout for drunk drivers.  Motorists should expect to see more sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols involving a unified police force working to keep the highways and streets safe.

   “If you choose to drink and drive the chances are greater that you will be caught during the upcoming holiday,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “Making the choice to drink and drive can be deadly.  It’s irresponsible behavior, and we will be out in full force to put a stop to it.”

   Statistics show that drunk driving is a deadly epidemic in our nation.  During 2015 there were more than 10,250 people killed in alcohol related crashes.  These deaths accounted for almost a third of nationwide traffic fatalities nationwide.

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

  The consequences of a DWI arrest are staggering.  On average the cumulative costs can range upwards of $10,000 or more.  Drunk drivers who are arrested face jail time, vehicle towing and impoundment fees, attorney fees, court costs and fines, and lost wages from employment.  A conviction routinely leads to the loss of a driver license and higher vehicle insurance costs once driving privileges are restored.

  The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving.  There are plenty of safe ways for you to get to your destination if you plan on drinking alcohol.  The Arkansas Highway Safety Office recommends these alternatives to drinking and driving:

  • It’s never okay to drink and drive.  Even if you’ve had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to your destination safely. Plan a safe way home before you leave.
  • If you’ve have been drinking, call a taxi or someone who is sober to get you home.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.
  • Buckle up, always.  Your seat belt is your best defense against the drunk driver.

   For more information on the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, visit or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  Information about Arkansas' ongoing "Toward Zero Deaths" campaign to eliminate preventable traffic deaths can be found at





FDA Announces Action Plan to Lower Cost of Prescription Drugs that Mirrors Senators Cotton, Collins, McCaskill, and Franken Bipartisan Bill


Washington, D.C. — U. S. Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Al Franken of Minnesota today applauded the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement that it will expedite the review of generic drug applications where competition is limited, a plan that mirrors one that the Senators have proposed in their bipartisan Making Pharmaceutical Markets More Competitive Act.


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


“We know that increasing generic drug competition is key to lowering prescription drug prices and improving access for patients,” said Senator Collins. “I am delighted that the FDA’s new policy implements provisions from our bipartisan legislation to increase generic competition, which is great news for American families, particularly our seniors, and follows our longtime advocacy on this issue.”

“Bringing down the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs is an all hands on deck effort,” McCaskill said. “These are bipartisan, commonsense reforms to make lifesaving drugs more affordable and accessible to Missourians and folks across the country, and it’s great news the Food and Drug Administration plans to implement them.”


“Families and seniors shouldn’t have to break the bank to afford their prescriptions, but sadly, that’s exactly what’s happening right now.” said Senator Franken. “There’s no question that we have to bring down prescription drug prices and make them more affordable for people, and one of the best ways to do that is by increasing access to generic drugs, which are often sold at a fraction of the price of their brand-name competitors and are just as effective. I’m glad to see that the FDA has adopted our bipartisan plan to bring these products to market faster and to improve competition. This is great news for Minnesotans.”


The Senators’ bipartisan legislation takes a number of steps to enhance regulatory certainty for generic drug companies by setting forth a priority review timeline for generic applications, providing enhanced communications with eligible sponsors, improving transparency, and setting clear expectations about facility inspections.


The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions recently approved the Senators’ Making Pharmaceutical Markets More Competitive Act as part of the Food and Drug Reauthorization Act.  This legislation builds on the only bipartisan investigation into the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to the egregious price spikes for certain drugs, which was led by the Aging Committee last Congress. From the beginning, the investigation strived to understand why companies can make these large price increases and to identify which policies should be considered to counter these disturbing practices.


Earlier this month, McCaskill and Collins wrote to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to express their encouragement by his recent remarks in support of solutions to help keep prescription drugs affordable and improve patients’ access to medication, echoing the Senators’ bipartisan efforts.






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

Mr. President, I rise today to pay respect to a law enforcement officer in my home state of Arkansas who lost his life in the line of duty yesterday, Monday, June 12, 2017.

Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford of the Newport Police Department joined other officers in responding to a call of a vehicle break-in when he was shot. Sadly, Lt. Weatherford passed away later that evening.


Weatherford served on the Newport Police force for 15 years and had recently graduated from the FBI Academy. He was also a graduate of ASU-Newport and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.


Lt. Weatherford was recognized as the 2016 Jackson County Officer of the Year by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.


His colleagues had great respect and admiration for him and he was known as an officer who performed his duties with professionalism and skill.


This is the second Arkansas law enforcement officer we’ve lost in 2017.


Any occasion when someone who has sworn to protect and serve their community does not return home to the loved ones waiting for them is incredibly sad and heartbreaking.


Arkansans value the men and women who volunteer to help ensure and enhance public safety knowing the risks involved.


We are devastated by the loss of another law enforcement officer in our state and we thank all those who sacrifice so much to protect us.


I want to encourage my colleagues to pass the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act to allow governors to order the American flag to fly at half-staff in recognition of the sacrifice of first responders like Lt. Weatherford who make the ultimate sacrifice.


My thoughts and prayers go out to Lt. Weatherford’s family and friends, as well as the community he served which will no doubt miss him dearly.


I pray that they will all find comfort during such a difficult time as this.


I also stand with all Arkansans in expressing our gratitude for Lt. Weatherford’s service and commit to honoring the sacrifice that he and others have made to protect us.

Lieutenant Governor Griffin Shares Recommendations with Tax Reform and Relief Task Force
Recommends legislators, 'simplify the tax code, lower the tax burden, and embrace transformation'


LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin has sent a letter to each member of the Tax Reform and Relief Legislative Task Force outlining his perspective on and recommendations for bold comprehensive tax reform and relief. Speaking about the need for tax reform and relief, Griffin said:


"Whether it's an entrepreneur trying to grow a small business, a family trying to make ends meet, or a parent saving for their child's college fund, we owe it to the people of Arkansas to simplify the tax code, lower the tax burden, and embrace transformation as the path to achieve these goals."


Griffin's letter contains three recommendations regarding taxes in Arkansas: 


1. Simplify the Tax Code

2. Lower the Tax Burden

3. Embrace Transformation as the Key to Lower Spending, Tax Reform and Relief


After issuing the letter, Griffin made the following statement: 

"I applaud Governor Hutchinson and our legislators for pushing the issue of taxes to the forefront with this task force. We have made progress in recent years by reducing the tax burden, but there is much more work to be done. Arkansas's tax code must be simplified and the tax burden must continue to be lowered in order to make Arkansas more competitive with surrounding states. Most importantly, we must embrace government transformation as the key to achieving these goals."


The full text of the letter can be viewed below: 


Dear Members of the Tax Reform and Relief Legislative Task Force:


    I applaud Governor Hutchinson and the legislature for making a discussion of tax reform and relief a priority.  Tackling the entire tax code is not an easy task, but it is critical for Arkansas. As lieutenant governor, a former member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and a taxpayer, I am excited about the possibility of bold comprehensive tax reform and relief that result in pro-growth tax policies to help Arkansas compete and grow jobs.


    For years, I have listened to Arkansans from all walks of life talk about how burdensome the tax code is and how it cries out for reform—bold comprehensive reform.  In fact, I support Texarkana’s income tax exemption 100%, but doesn’t it tell us something when our tax code is so uncompetitive we have to exempt an entire town from a key part of it? And to this day, the problem persists.  As you consider input, I would like to share my perspective on this issue: 


Recommendation 1: Simplify the Tax Code


    Our tax code is too complicated. There are multiple ways to simplify the code such as revise the bracket structures, remove unnecessary exemptions in order to lower rates on personal and business income, and eliminate anti-growth provisions like the capital gains tax. According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation’s report, Arkansas: The Road Map to Tax Reform, our individual income tax rate schedule is “incredibly cumbersome,” and “[t]his sort of complexity creates administrative headaches and makes the code difficult for individuals to understand.” Let’s simplify the code.  But simplification should not be our only goal.


Recommendation 2: Lower the Tax Burden


    Simply put, Arkansans are taxed too much. While we have made progress in reducing the tax burden over the past two years, there is still much work to be done. According to the Tax Foundation, Arkansans shoulder a larger state and local tax burden than any of our surrounding states. Nationally, our ranking as the state with the 17th highest state and local tax burden places us well below average. Further, the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index ranks us 38th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. We must improve in these crucial categories.


    While the complexity of our code is a problem, Arkansas’s lack of competitiveness is chiefly due to exceedingly high taxes, not a complicated bracket structure. No potential investor comparing Arkansas’s tax code to other states would say, “The high taxes in Arkansas don’t bother me, but their tax code is so complex I don’t think I’ll set up shop there.” When potential job creators compare Arkansas to other states, the complexity of our tax code can be a factor, but the price of doing business is the primary deterrent. The tax reform and relief task force should not focus only on revenue-neutral reforms and skip the relief part. That would be a mistake.


Recommendation 3: Embrace Transformation as the Key to Lower Spending, Tax Reform and Relief


    Why do Arkansans pay so much in taxes?  It’s because Arkansas state government requires too much revenue to function—it spends too much. What does spending have to do with taxes?  Everything.  By law, our revenue and expenditures must balance, and rightfully so. So where do we find the savings? Transformation is the answer. Transformation is not about trimming a few government agencies and programs. To the contrary, it is about rethinking and modernizing state government over a period of years, allowing for tax dollars to be spent where they are most needed, and making sure our hard-working state employees have the tools they need to do their jobs.  It is the key to tax reform and relief, and I applaud Governor Hutchinson for making transformation a priority. But make no mistake, the legislature is an essential partner in achieving any real change. I understand this task force is not charged with addressing spending, but the tax dollars required to fund state government are directly related to tax policy. 


    It is essential that we find ways to make state government more innovative, efficient, and effective. We need a complete and total, top-to-bottom overhaul—transformation—of state government. First, government officials have a moral obligation to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and, as a result, a moral obligation to reform an outdated, top-down government, much of which was designed during the Cold War.  Second, transformation done right will result in improved services by a more responsive, transparent, and accountable government and provide Arkansans more value for the hard-earned tax dollars they are required by law to pay. Third, transformation could potentially save hundreds of millions of dollars by reducing the cost of government which can then be used for tax reform and relief for hardworking Arkansans and critical needs such as education, public safety, and highways and infrastructure. A formal legislative embrace of transformation would be welcome and powerful.


    Tax reform and relief is ultimately about the individuals and families we serve. Whether it’s an entrepreneur trying to grow a small business, a family trying to make ends meet, or a parent saving for their child’s college fund, we owe it to the people of Arkansas to simplify the tax code, lower the tax burden, and embrace transformation as the path to achieve these goals.  As always, my door is open to you.  You can reach me on my cell at (501) 837-5190.  Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the State of Arkansas. 


Sincerely yours,


Tim Griffin

Lieutenant Governor





On Wednesday, May 31, at 3:00 p.m., Mayor Marie Trisollini had a meeting with City Attorney Michael Frey, Camden Police Chief Bo Woody and Dr. Syard Evans. Dr. Evans is the Deputy CEO of Arkansas Support Network. After being informed that ASN Camden was operating without a business license, she came to discuss with the city officials  issues concerning her clients and local staff members. The meeting went on for over 2 hours, so although. The Mayor shared most of what was said, however, it is not verbatim or even necessarily in order.

Mayor Trisollini stated that Dr. Evans is a very intelligent, well educated, articulate individual. It was immediately obvious that she had a well-prepared presentation that she had recited so many times that she could do it in her sleep. She explained the ASN mission and history exactly as it appears on their website.

City Attorney Frey asked Dr. Evans a lot of questions about where their funding comes from, what the process is to become one of their clients, and how they decide where their clients should live. She said that the client’s legal guardian chooses the location, and that Camden was likely chosen because it is a small quiet country community.

Mayor Trisollini pointed out to her that her employees are not trained to work with mentally challenged clients. She told Dr. Evans that she had uneducated, untrained people who have no idea how to relate to mentally challenged people – especially people who could become aggressive or outright violent with little or even no warning or reason. She admitted this and went on about the importance of caring for mentally challenged people. Everyone present agreed with her despite her obvious side-step.

The Mayor listed off several incidents involving her clients, as well as several incidents involving violent behavior of her personnel in the business parking lot, all of which required police intervention. One of them (and his caretaker) caused a fire in an assisted living apartment building that totaled his apartment and could have killed everyone in the building. Dr. Evans was already aware of all of these incidents and once again side stepped by going back to how important it is to take care of her clients. Once again, Mayor Trisollini reminded her that her caretakers are not qualified to give them that care, and she agreed.

When the Mayor brought up the subject of sex offenders, Dr. Evans explained that these people did the things they did because they were mistreated when they were children, and/or some of them had a distorted version of self discovery because of their condition and it caused them to behave unacceptably, but only with family members. When the Mayor told her that this didn’t make them any less guilty or any less dangerous, she went back to the subject of the importance of helping mentally challenged people. The Mayor again took it back to the offender subject and told Dr. Evans some of what she knows about those particular clients. The mayor repeated that these offenders will re-offend … it’s just a matter of time and at which point Dr. Evans nodded.

Chief Woody explained the complications of having the police called when a caretaker can’t control their client or when the client causes a public episode. Police officers have no desire to arrest or in any way traumatize a mentally challenged person, and they are constantly thrown into positions that they are just not trained for. Luckily, our officers ARE empathetic enough to handle these instances pretty well, but they may not always immediately recognize that the suspect is mentally challenged, which makes the situation dangerous. Chief Woody also pointed out that even though some people might think that small town country life looks appealing to them, they are also choosing a community that likely has less of the services that they require. 

The City of Camden currently has 8 mentally challenged ASN clients who are potentially volatile. There are 3 level 3 & 4 sex offenders, and there are 12 teenagers that were brought here for the summer who will supposedly be returned to their own communities when school starts back up.

Of the 11 permanent residents, 6 of them have constant contact with the police department because of their uncontrollable violent behavior. These clients have had tantrums causing damage to the homes that they rent, injuries to themselves, and injuries to their caretakers. They have had to be removed from a number of neighbor properties and public places for unacceptable aggressive or violent behavior.

Sometimes their caretakers are the cause of their outbursts. Dr. Evans stated that the caretakers stay with them to assist but not control them, but their outbursts are often the result of staff members taking away their television and phone privileges and the right to leave the house as punishment for an assortment of “violations” of the rules. According to the police reports, these punishments are often the actual cause of the resulting outbursts, as well as several attempts by clients to do themselves harm.

The Mayor pointed out that their organization is supposed to work with people in the community who need assistance, but that the only people they actually serve are the ones they brought in from other locations. They do not serve anyone from Camden and their clients are not related to anyone in Camden. Dr. Evans said that we could put our people on the waiting list and that they would be happy to help. There are over 2000 people on the list and it would take a new applicant about 10 years to move to the top of the list. She said that they currently have 500 people that are about to be distributed among their 5 or 6 locations, meaning that Camden can look forward to receiving some 100 new citizens in the near future.

The fire, in addition to the police complaints proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Arkansas Support Network presents a hazard to the Health, Safety and welfare of the public. However, as they have never applied for one, they are currently operating without a business license. They have had their building inspected by Code Enforcement and the Fire Department, and have violations that have to be corrected before they can get a business license, however, their landlord has given them 30 days’ notice that their lease is up and they need to leave. This will not make them close down their business in Camden. It will just make them relocate to another building. When they get a new location, it is still the Mayor’s intention to refuse to issue them a Business License based on Ordinance 12-17.18.

The subject of ASN will be on the agenda for the Council Workshop Tuesday June 6th  at City Hall.


May 26th, 2017

Boozman Convenes First Hearing as Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chair
Secretary Kelly comes before subcommittee to answer questions about department’s budget request

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) led an examination of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Fiscal Year 2018 budget request in an effort to ensure Americans are safe from threats during his first hearing as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

The hearing featured testimony from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly about the department’s funding requests for border security, air travel safety and cybersecurity, among other needs.

“The Department of Homeland Security plays a pivotal role in keeping Americans safe by working to combat terrorism; manage our air, land and sea borders; administer our immigration laws; secure critical cyber-assets; and prepare for and respond to disasters. The tragic events in Manchester, England earlier this week remind us why we must focus on the serious challenge of securing our homeland,” Boozman said in his opening remarks.

--Watch Chairman Boozman’s Opening Remarks--

Boozman continued his opening statement noting the “smart choices” made by DHS in its budget request including its increased funding for both manpower and infrastructure to continue to reduce illegal border crossings, support for the United States Coast Guard and its prioritized funding for cybersecurity needs. 

He applauded the Secretary’s focus on the Department’s workforce, calling it DHS’s “most valuable resource” and noted “that taking care of the people that work to keep us safe each day is a top priority.”

“While this budget proposal makes some smart choices, there are also parts of it that are unworkable. Whether we’re talking about a hard-working Arkansas family or one of the largest departments in the federal government, when it comes time to develop a budget, tough choices have to be made. We ask for your cooperation as we consult with you and your staff to make the necessary adjustments to allow this budget to work despite these significant challenges,” Boozman told Secretary Kelly.



SAAC To Host “Colorful World- Art by Suzi Dennis”


The South Arkansas Arts Center will host Hot Springs resident Suzi Dennis’ exhibit, “Colorful World- Art by Suzi Dennis” beginning June 3.  The show will hang in the Lobby Gallery until June 29, with an artist’s reception on June 3, from 5:00-7:00pm.


A self-taught working artist, Suzi Dennis works out of her studio in her hometown of Hot Springs on beautiful Lake Hamilton. When she began drawing and painting around age ten, she never dreamed that she would someday make her living from her art.


“It didn’t come overnight, and it’s nothing I’ve spent my life working toward,” she said. “It was a gradual thing.” She spent twentyfive years working “real” jobs and raising children; it wasn’t until she was over 40 years old that the process began to lead her where she is today. Through the years, she was faithful to continue to sketch, draw, and write, recording thoughts and images in journals and sketchbooks.


“One day I said to myself, ‘I’m ready to paint again’, and with no thought of it being anything other than just that. I had to get it out,” Suzi said. After 15 years of traveling to art fairs, she returned to nursing for three years. She officially retired in April 2012 and is now back in her studio full time.


A mixed media artist who loves layers, her focus at this time is painting paper, making and using paper tape, using these and up-cycled materials to create handmade journals and collages. Suzi also teaches workshops online, and in her studio, as well as teaching with Art & Soul Retreat Workshops in Oregon, Missouri, and Virginia.


The Lobby Gallery is open Monday- Friday from 9:00-5:00 and this exhibit is free and open to the public.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.



Southern Arkansas University Tech Foundation

Press Release



May 23, 2017-Camden, Arkansas -Southern Arkansas University Tech has established the SAU Tech Alumni Association to promote the welfare of the college by cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship between SAU Tech and its growing community of alumni.  The Alumni Association leverages the resources, talents, and initiatives of alumni & friends to advise, guide, advocate for and support the association and the college in achieving their respective missions and goals.


Chancellor Dr. Jason Morrison clarifies, “The SAU Tech Alumni Association aspires to be the primary connection between the college and its family of alumni across the globe, to commit them to the college’s mission of life-long learning, discovery, and engagement, and to attract them to college service. “  


The Alumni Association provides three membership levels.  An individual, Annual Membership is $10.00.  A Lifetime Membership is $125.00 and a Lifetime Legacy Membership is $150.00.  Alumni Association members receive a membership card that allows them to enjoy a wide array of benefits such as community discounts at a variety of locations to discounted tickets to SAU Tech events.  The various discounts are listed on the SAU Tech website at


At this time, SAU Tech asks that all who wish to be part of the new Alumni Association go to the web link provided and submit a request. If you would like to share your story about your time at SAU Tech and your career, go to You may also call the Development & Alumni Relations office at 870-574-4488 for additional information. 




SAU pursuing storefront on Magnolia Square

MAGNOLIA – In partnership with the Magnolia-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Southern Arkansas University is pursuing a storefront on the Magnolia Square that would offer Mulerider apparel, collegiate gifts, and could be home to a small space to be used for continuing education workshops.


SAU President Dr. Trey Berry shared an early rendering of what such a storefront may look like at the SAU Board of Trustees’ quarterly meeting held at SAU Tech on Thursday, May 11, 2017. The rendering of the façade of the store featured SAU’s signature blue and gold with a sign that read “SAU on the Square.”


“Two years ago, SAU and Magnolia came together on the Square at the inaugural Blue and Gold Day to celebrate the more than 100-year bond between the city and the University, and we are very excited to be working together to have a brick and mortar SAU presence on our historic downtown Square,” said Berry.

He said work would not begin on the location until this fall. However, many construction projects are underway and continuing on campus throughout the summer. Work continues on two new residence halls scheduled to open for the fall, West Hall and Eichenberger Hall. Construction of the new Alumni Center is also progressing in preparation for the first home Mulerider football game and Mulegating festivities on September 9, which will also be SAU’s annual Family Day.

SAU’s campus additions have been spurred by four straight years of record enrollments. Berry attributed two student-oriented themes for this unprecedented growth, both of which have been priorities across campus – SAU’s “culture of caring” and cost containment.

“The most important thing is our reputation for having a ‘culture of caring,’” Berry said. “I think that reputation is getting out across the region. SAU’s faculty and staff are at the core of why we are growing and prospering. Everyone working together is the reason behind our success.”

He reported that representatives from across campus met for months to lower expenditures for an efficient and balanced budget to present to the Board. The Board voted to approve both SAU’s and SAU Tech’s budgets for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

With state funding dropping to an all-time low of 25 percent of SAU’s budget, Berry said they were pleased to keep tuition and fee increases nominal. Tuition and fees for an SAU undergraduate student at 15 hours will be $4,173, which is an increase of 1.83 percent more than 2016-17. 

“In 2015, SAU was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard as having the lowest cost and highest return of investment of any Arkansas four-year institution, and we strive daily to balance providing adequate resources for our high quality academic programs and campus life with keeping costs low for our students,” said Berry.

The SAU Board also passed a resolution to opt out of the concealed carry law, as the Board has done in the past, until the new law takes effect on September 1












   (LITTLE ROCK) – As Arkansas families begin to make plans for summertime road trips and vacations, law enforcement officers urge motorists to buckle up.  State, county and city law enforcement officers will begin devoting additional patrols May 22nd through June 4th as part of the “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign.

  “Our state troopers see the personal and tragic results when motorists fail to buckle-up and there are terrible injuries and loss of life,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “It’s such a simple thing, and it should be an automatic next step after sitting down in a vehicle, just buckle-up.”

  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost half of the drivers and passengers killed in vehicle crashes during 2015 were not wearing a seat belt.  The percentage of fatalities in this category increases during the nighttime hours.

  The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office urges everyone to buckle up, every trip, every time, day and night, especially during the upcoming holiday when more motorists will be on the road.

  Arkansas state law requires all front seat passengers, not just drivers, to buckle-up.  The law requires all children, under fifteen years of age, to be properly secured in the vehicle.  A child who is less than six years of age and who weighs less than sixty pounds shall be restrained in a child passenger safety seat. If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must be properly buckled up.

  For more information about "Click it or Ticket" and how seat belts save lives, click on or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  Information about Arkansas' ongoing "Toward Zero Deaths" campaign can be found at






   Lieutenant Kevin C. Mainhart, 46, of the Yell County Sheriff’s Department was killed in the line of duty today during a traffic stop west of Dardanelle, Arkansas along State Highway 27 near the junction of Slo-Fork Road.

   Lieutenant Mainhart had served the citizens of Yell County as a law enforcement officer for five years and previously retired from the West Memphis Police Department following a career of more than twenty years.

   At approximately 7:18 AM today (Thursday, May 11, 2017), Lieutenant Mainhart initiated a traffic stop after identifying a vehicle believed to be associated with a disturbance call at 10024 Gum Springs Road.

   During the course of the traffic stop the deputy was fatally wounded.  A short-time later a motorist passing the site notified local law enforcement Lieutenant Mainhart had been shot.

    As other local officers arrived at the Gum Springs address, the deceased bodies of two other individuals were found outside the residence.  The identity of the victims is not known at this hour.

   Shortly before 10 AM today Yell County Deputies and Arkansas State Police identified a location where a suspect is believed to be located.  State Police negotiators are attempting to make contact with the individual.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., (April 24, 2017) ­– The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation today announced the 2017 Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees and recipient of its Legacy Award:


Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Inductees

David Pryor, former Governor of Arkansas and member of U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate: Considered one of the Big Three in the history of Arkansas politics, Pryor’s years serving at the state and federal levels resulted in landmark achievements in conservation, advancing the outdoors experience enjoyed today throughout Arkansas.


Ross Whipple, The Ross Foundation:  As chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Arkadelphia-based foundation, Whipple has overseen donation of millions of dollars in support of forestry research and conservation management as well as education, historical preservation and other worthwhile causes.


Mark Karnes, The Ross Foundation:  Directing the foundation’s land management program for its 60,000 diverse acres of timber land, Karnes has helped protect unique sections of the forest and, working in partnership with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, developed acres for use as a wildlife management area and other recreational activities.


Legacy Award:

Winthrop Paul Rockefeller:  Businessman, politician, conservationist and avid outdoorsman, the late Winthrop Paul Rockefeller was a man for all seasons. His legacy of public service includes being the driving force behind the creation of The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas, founding the International Billfish Conservation Foundation and serving on the national board for Boy Scouts of America. He also spearheaded The National Rifle Association’s Project ChildSafe in Arkansas, distributing hundreds of free trigger locks to gun owners statewide.


“Something all of this year’s honorees share, besides a passion for Arkansas’ wild spaces, is a lifelong commitment to educating the next generation of outdoorsmen and women,” said Deke Whitbeck, president of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. “Each of these outstanding individuals has worked tirelessly in this regard and we are privileged to honor them in this way.”


Honorees will be recognized during the annual Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet, slated for Friday, August 11, 2017 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 reception doors open and silent auction begins at 6:00 p.m, and the program will begin at 7:00 p.m.


"The proceeds from this event support the year-around work of the Foundation," Whitbeck said.  "A continuing mission of the Foundation is supporting youth education initiatives that focus on getting young Arkansans unplugged and engaged in the outdoors.  We help support Arkansas Game and Fish Commission programs that introduce thousands to the joy of the outdoors, including the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program, Community and Family Fishing Program, and Becoming an Outdoor Woman (BOW).  We also value the Commission's important role keeping the Natural State true to its name and are excited to work with them to ensure Arkansas' wild places are available for everyone to enjoy.  This is the legacy of our state for all generations."


Established in 1982, the foundation is an independently operated non-profit organization supporting the goals of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. 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




Join Us For the 6th Annual Race to Remember 5k and Fun Run, Presented by The Woman’s Clinic 


Little Rock – On Saturday, May 13th, more than 2,000 Arkansans from across the state will gather to remember hundreds of babies and children gone too soon. It’s the 6th annual Race to Remember at War Memorial Stadium, benefitting Mamie’s Poppy Plates. The family fun-filled event kicks off at 4PM with activities for the kids, food, drinks and entertainment. The celebration includes everything from face painting and jump houses to water slides and fairytale characters. New this year is a Family Fun Run, a one mile alternative to the 5k. The 5k is certified and chip timed. The annual event is the biggest fundraiser for Mamie’s, but it also gives families the opportunity to come together and publicly recognize their children during a special balloon release.   

Mamie’s Poppy Plates began seven years ago, when Little Rock photographer Sarah Adams lost her baby daughter 37 ½ weeks into her pregnancy. After Mamie’s death, Sarah and her sister, Britney Spees, founded Mamie’s Poppy Plates which provides remembrance plates to parents who suffer the loss of a child. Mamie’s is now serving patients at 45 hospitals in 7 states. Last year, they provided more than 550 plates.


WHEN: Saturday, May 13 (4:00PM doors open/ 5:30 balloon release/ 6:00 race)

WHERE: War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock




Due to a sink hole, Country Club Road has been closed until further notice.  The sink hole is in front of the Perfects and Southern Roots Salon between 278 and Cash Road.






One Tuition-Free” will provide degree-seeking graduate students with one free course in Educational Administration and Supervision, Curriculum and Instruction or Gifted and Talented.

Connie Wilson, assistant professor of education, said she is excited about the pilot program, which will offer students “a unique opportunity to experience the many wonderful things about SAU. We think that once they try any of these programs, they won’t want to leave.”

She said the offer is only applicable to graduate students seeking master’s degrees in one of those three fields. The tuition-free class is EDUC 6003 Educational Research. (No substitutions.) Wilson said the class is “basic” to all three degree fields. Students are eligible for the offer only after they are admitted to graduate school and meet program requirements.

“We wanted to draw in students with something different,” Wilson said. “We are proud of the rigor of our programs and we want to highlight that for our students.”

All three programs are online. The tuition-free course may be taken concurrently or consecutively during the term immediately following the paid course. It is not transferable to any other person and may be taken advantage of only one time per student, which includes if the student drops the course.

Wilson praised the support of SAU administration in helping develop the buy one, get one program, and said that she as well as program co-directors Dr. Denise Moseley (Curriculum/Instruction) and Dr. Carla Bryant (Gifted and Talented) are looking forward to it.

She said the buy one, get one program has the potential to expand to other colleges on campus if the pilot is successful. The program is aimed primarily at teachers seeking a master’s degree.

“It is very exciting to see this approach that the College of Education is taking with their graduate courses in Educational Leadership,” Berry said. “We are always asking our faculty and staff to pursue new and innovative initiatives. This is yet another way SAU is trying to provide affordable and quality programs to the people of Arkansas and beyond.”

Questions are directed to Wilson at 870-235-5224 or







       LITTLE ROCK–Stephens Mayor Harry Brown is among 114 officials in 63 counties who have declared May as Historic Preservation Month and Arkansas Heritage Month.

       “As we enjoy these month-long celebrations of our Arkansas heritage, we hope all of the people of Arkansas will take time to reflect on the importance of their local historic sites, especially those listed on the National Register of Historic Places,” Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst said. (A list of Ouachita County’s National Register properties can be found at    

       Mayor Brown’s proclamation reads as follows:

“WHEREAS, historic preservation is an effective tool for managing growth, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering local pride and maintaining community character while enhancing livability; and

“WHEREAS, historic preservation is relevant for communities across the nation, both urban and rural, and for Americans of all ages, all walks of life and all ethnic backgrounds; and

        “WHEREAS, it is important to celebrate the role of history in our lives and the contributions made by dedicated individuals in helping to preserve the tangible aspects of the heritage that has shaped us as a people; and

        “WHEREAS, "This Place Matters! " is the theme for National Preservation Month 2017 and “A State of War: Arkansas  RemembersWorld War I” is the theme for Arkansas Heritage Month, cosponsored by the City of Stephens, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the National Trust for Historic Preservation

         “NOW, THEREFORE, I, Harry Brown, do proclaim May 2017 as National Preservation Month and Arkansas Heritage Month and call upon the people of Stephens to join their fellow citizens across the United States in recognizing and participating in this special observance.”

        For a list of Arkansas Heritage Month events, visit

For information, call the AHPP at (501) 324-9880, write the agency at 1100 North Street, Little Rock, AR 72201, send an e-mail message to, or visit

        The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.



Join Us For the 6th Annual Race to Remember 5k and Fun Run, Presented by The Woman’s Clinic 


Little Rock – On Saturday, May 13th, more than 2,000 Arkansans from across the state will gather to remember hundreds of babies and children gone too soon. It’s the 6th annual Race to Remember at War Memorial Stadium, benefitting Mamie’s Poppy Plates. The family fun-filled event kicks off at 4PM with activities for the kids, food, drinks and entertainment. The celebration includes everything from face painting and jump houses to water slides and fairytale characters. New this year is a Family Fun Run, a one mile alternative to the 5k. The 5k is certified and chip timed. The annual event is the biggest fundraiser for Mamie’s, but it also gives families the opportunity to come together and publicly recognize their children during a special balloon release.   

Mamie’s Poppy Plates began seven years ago, when Little Rock photographer Sarah Adams lost her baby daughter 37 ½ weeks into her pregnancy. After Mamie’s death, Sarah and her sister, Britney Spees, founded Mamie’s Poppy Plates which provides remembrance plates to parents who suffer the loss of a child. Mamie’s is now serving patients at 45 hospitals in 7 states. Last year, they provided more than 550 plates.


WHEN: Saturday, May 13 (4:00PM doors open/ 5:30 balloon release/ 6:00 race)

WHERE: War Memorial Stadium, Little



Baird handing SAU Mulerider reins to Guin


MAGNOLIA - Mulerider Payton Baird has led the charge at Southern Arkansas University since 2014, an era that has seen record-breaking enrollment growth. Now Baird is preparing to hand over the reins to the newest Mulerider, Abbie Guin.

“As most people know, SAU has one of the most unique mascots in the country,” Baird said. “I find it very important because (the mascot) gives the public a chance to see what our University stands for: loyalty and support.”

She will graduate from SAU’s Nursing Department on May 5 with a BS in Nursing.

Guin, an agriculture major from Minden, La., said that as a people person, she’s looking forward to her duties as the new mascot.

“Payton told me to be myself and enjoy my time as the Mulerider because it will all go by so fast,” Guin said. “It takes commitment, but I’m very excited and I think I can do it. I’m looking forward to the next three years.”

Baird, a native of Fouke, Ark., inherited the reins from Megan Maye, who also helped SAU reach record enrollment numbers. The Mulerider represents SAU in marketing initiatives and appearances across the region. A big part of that will involve the Mulerider’s responsibilities at football games. Baird said one of her favorite memories as a Mulerider centers on football.

“It was my final home football game,” she said. “My family, friends and the Berry family were all there to escort me across the field for a special recognition. They presented me with an exceptional photograph for me to keep, along with a dozen gold roses. It was a day that I will forever cherish.”

Baird fondly remembered trying out for the Mulerider mascot in the spring of 2014.

“I had heard of the position becoming available and was encouraged to send in my application,” she said. “I received a call from (Director of Farm Operations) Rusty Hayes and went to the tryouts. My grandpa rode with me to Magnolia from our home in Fouke, and he sat in the stands at Story Arena when they announced me as the new mascot. It was such a memorable day! I knew he could never be more proud.”

She said she loved each of her experiences with Molly Ann, the SAU mascot. “It was something I loved to do and I tried my best to indulge in every activity I participated in.”

Baird said she attended many parades with Molly Ann “and the public always seemed to love that! Though holding the flag as well as the reins never allowed me to throw candy, we always tried to be crowd-pleasers with videos and photographs.”

Baird attended Fouke Public Schools and said she owes her love of the outdoors to her family. “My parents and grandparents played a huge role in my life and supported me in everything,” she said. “I spent most of my free time outdoors, enjoying what I love most, riding mules with my grandpa. Whether we were home or in the mountains of northern Arkansas or Oklahoma, we traveled many miles on the back of a mule.”

“At the start of my junior year in high school, I can remember a recruiter, Whitney Hall, coming to our school and telling the students all about what SAU had to offer. At this point, I knew I had always wanted to be a nurse, but I had not made any official decision on what college I would attend,” Baird said. “I am very family-oriented, so I knew a large college, miles away, was completely out of the question. Once I learned of SAU’s nursing program – that it was one of the most affordable in the state, and only 45 minutes away – I knew SAU was the college for me! I could not be more grateful for the opportunities SAU has offered me. I will be that proud alumni who enjoys coming back to see the University’s advancements in the years to come!”

After graduating, she will go to work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Christus St. Michael in Texarkana. “I am also looking forward to my wedding this September,” she said. “I am truly thankful for my many blessings.”

“It has been a joy to work with Payton Baird as she represented our University,” Hayes said. “Her knowledge and ability to handle and care for Molly Ann was a great asset to the Mulerider heritage and program. As we say goodbye to Payton, we are excited for the next three years as Abbie Guin steps up to continue the unique tradition of serving as the Mulerider.”

“Payton Baird has served SAU so well,” said Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU. “Her sincerity and personality fit perfectly with her role as the Mulerider. She carried on the Mulerider legacy with such dignity.”

Guin said she grew up with a love of the outdoors and credited her mother, Teri, with inspiring her.

“My mom got her animal science degree and was an extension agent for our local 4-H. She introduced me to all the livestock, and I’ve done shows since I was 8 years old,” Guin said. “I grew up around livestock, sold it, judged it, you name it. When I told my mom I wanted to major in Ag, she said, ‘I think you should do it, that’s you.’ I listened to her, and of course, she was right.”

Guin has enjoyed making new friendships at SAU, meeting people she never thought she’d meet, and that she has “never gotten homesick” because SAU “feels like home.”

Her friends encouraged her to apply for the Mulerider position when it opened in February. “They all thought it would be a really good fit. Rusty sent out the email to apply, and it took me two hours to fill out my application. I did, and the next week, he called to say I could interview with a committee. I told them I would be honored to help recruit for SAU. I rode Molly Ann again, with a flag, and the rest is history.”

She said she and Molly Ann will available during Preview Days “to meet the incoming freshmen and to let them get to know me and as much as they can about the University.” She’ll also spend time “getting to know Molly Ann, learning how to drive the truck and trailer. Rusty told me that he will be calling me and letting me know when to get ready for events. I’ll need to have Molly Ann ready. So it will take a lot of dedication but I’m very excited about it all.”

She said she already knows that Molly Ann is smart about her job as a mascot. “She knows how and when she’s supposed to take pictures. She’s mellow, she knows her job.”

Guin said one of the things she will try to impress on recruits to SAU is the feeling of family. “I’ll tell them to have an open mind about SAU. Kids want to go to big colleges, but I have learned that we’re almost a family here, and that’s important. Everyone finds their place. Just be yourself and enjoy it.”

She said she hopes to attend veterinarian school after she graduates from SAU, or obtain a master’s degree in zoology. “I’d like to become a large equine vet,” she said.

The coming years will be a challenge, but she’s prepared. “I’ll have to keep good grades and I’m going to have to study – for the next few years, it’ll be books, boots and a mule!”

Guin said she was excited to be receiving her personalized riding chaps. “My name will be on them,” she said. “It’s gonna be so cool.”

 “We are so excited that Abbie Guin will be continuing the great legacy at SAU,” said Berry. “Abbie will represent the University not only at our athletic events, but also in the community and throughout the region. As a person with true integrity and sincerity, Abbie will be a tremendous symbol for SAU and for the student body.”







Hot Springs, Arkansas - Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Mark A. Hudson, age 43 of  Hot Springs, was sentenced this week to 110 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on each count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Distribution of Methamphetamine. The sentences are to run concurrent with each other.  The Honorable Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court records, in August 2014, law enforcement began investigating Mark Hudson for the distribution of heroin.  Agents used a confidential source to arrange for and conduct at least six controlled purchases of heroin from Hudson in Hot Springs exchanging funds for the purchase of the heroin.  In November 2014, the confidential source exchanged $200 for a quarter of an ounce of methamphetamine from Hudson.  The suspected substance sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration South Central Laboratory and was determined to be 4.2 grams of actual methamphetamine.  Hudson was indicted by a federal jury in July 2015 and pleaded guilty in February 2016.

Hudson’s co-defendant, Titus D. Denton, age 33, of Benton, was sentenced on July 29, 2016 to 60 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin.

“We will continue to attack the scourge of methamphetamine and heroin distribution in Arkansas and beyond,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matthew Barden.  “The sentencing of Mark Hudson should send a message to those who want to sell drugs.  We are going to catch you and put you in federal prison if you distribute this poison in our communities. ”

The Drug Enforcement Administration, 18th Judicial Drug Task Force, and Hot Springs Police Department assisted in the investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Candace Taylor prosecuted the case for the United States.



The fifth annual "Train Day" festival will be held May 6th in downtown Hope.  The festival pays homage to Hope's founding in the 1870's as a stop on the Cario/Fulton Railroad.  The railroad main line still passes through downtown Hope under the auspices of Union Pacific.  Hope is also a stop for AMTRAK passenger service.

     Events get underway at 7am with a 5K and the opening of the Hope Farmer's Market.  Also rib-cooking teams will set up beginning at 7am.  This year's rib cook off has over $2,500 in total prizes with a $1,250 grand prize for the first-place finisher.  Those attending will also be able to purchase rib plates for a nominal fee.  Applications for the rib cook off are available at Tailgaters at Main & Division in downtown Hope.

      Trade Day will be held during this year's Train Day event.  Trade Day is sponsored by the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce and the Hope Downtown Network.  The Trade Day booths will be open from 8am until 2pm at Elm & Division in downtown Hope.  Applications are now available at the Chamber office at 202 South Main and at Bob's Antiques at 113 South Elm downtown. You can also visit Hope/Hempstead County Trade Days on Facebook.

     Entertainment begins at 9:30am with a demonstration of 19th century dances by the Washington Vintage Dancers.  At 10am the Dancetastic Dancers will begin a program of all their age groups.  At 12:30pm  local veterinarian Dr. Damien Strodderd will have a dog demonstration on the small stage at the depot. Hope's "Spare Time" Band will also perform at Train Day featuring their blend of country and Rock-A-Billy favorites. 

    A Baggo Tournament is set for 1pm in the middle of Main Street.  Sponsored by the City of Hope Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Deparment, the tournament will feature cash prizes.  There are two divisions, one for ages 8 to 15 and adult for those 16 and upEntry fees are $5 for the youth division and $10 for each two person adult team.  You can register at the Fair Park Office or at Tailgaters no later than May 5th.  For information call Summer Powell at 870-777-7500.

     Two service buses will be at Train Day.  The State Veterans Service bus will be on hand for veterans to visit for information and help.  Also, the LIfe Share Blood Bus will be on hand for you to donate blood.  Both buses will open at 9:30am.  

      There will be a "kid's corner" at Train Day.  The activities will include the "buble college", vinyl color murals, the graffiti train, bike rides, kid train rides, and the "Works In Wood" display in the arts station.

      Activities wrap up at 4:45pm with the winners announced for the rib cook off and the baggo tournament.  

      Super 1 Foods will also cook and distribute free hot dogs throughout Train Day.

      Don't miss the 5th annual Train Day celebrating Hope's Railroad Heritage!  For information contact Sharon Caldwell at 870-777-4444 or visit Hope Train Day on facebook.





United States Attorney Kenneth Elser

Western District of Arkansas


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   CONTACT: Joyce Snow

April 21, 2017                                              PHONE: (479) 494-4066





Texarkana, Arkansas - Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that two men were sentenced this week on one count each of Failure to Collect or Pay Over Tax. James R. Cheek, age 68, of Waleska, Georgia and Herschel J. Breig, Sr., age 69, of Nixa, Missouri were each sentenced to 36 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.  Restitution of $6,000,000 is ordered jointly and severally between the two defendants.  Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District court in Texarkana. 

According to court records, as principals of Hope Medical Park Hospital, both Cheek and Breig were responsible to collect, truthfully account for, and pay over the hospital’s payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service during the calendar years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.  They failed to pay approximately $6,000,000 in payroll taxes as was required. 

Both men were indicted by a federal grand jury in July, 2015 and both pleaded guilty in September, 2016.

"Corporate executives have a responsibility to withhold federal income taxes for their employees and then remit those taxes to the IRS on their behalf.  Employment tax evasion not only results in the loss of tax revenue to the United States government,  employees also lose future social security or Medicare benefits” stated Tracey D. Montaño, Special Agent in Charge.  "Failure to pay over withheld taxes is a serious offense, and continues to be an investigative priority for IRS Criminal Investigation." 

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorneys Candace Taylor and Jonathan D. Ross prosecuted the case for the United States.

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Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website


SAU inducts four into Educational Leadership Hall of Fame


MAGNOLIA - Four area educators were inducted into the Educational Leadership Hall of Fame at Southern Arkansas University on Thursday, April 13, 2017. Honored at the event were Jason Sanders, superintendent of Ashdown schools; John Ward, superintendent of Magnolia schools; DeMarcus Green, principal, Kilpatrick Elementary School in Texarkana, Ark.;  and Jody Vines, principal, Washington Middle School in El Dorado.

Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, welcomed the audience, and Beth Anne Rankin, associate director of development, introduced the guests. Dr. Bob Burns, chairman of Farmers Bank & Trust, delivered the keynote address. Kelsie Madison, 2017 Miss SAU, helped induct the educators along with Berry and Rankin.

“We are happy to be partners with you,” Berry told the inductees. “We are here to honor you and the work you have done.”

Rankin said the Hall of Fame intends to “acknowledge the incredible achievements” of the inductees, who have “left golden footprints” in making it possible for students at their respective campuses to learn.

In his remarks, Burns said that “personality, courage and character” are necessary for good leaders, “plus a little bit of vision down the road,” noting that each of the night’s inductees exhibited those qualities. In talking about cultural issues education has faced over the past 40 years, Burns said it was important for leaders to remember that the field is all about change. “If you don’t like change, this is not the industry to be in.” He said attitudes of respect and tolerance will make it possible for “everyone to live in an incredible country.”

Sanders was first to be inducted. He received his BSE as well as his ME from SAU. His background includes serving as principal at Foreman High School and superintendent at Foreman. He has served as superintendent at Ashdown since 2014.

“I would not be where I am, or who I am, without SAU,” Sanders told the audience. He thanked numerous professors and administrators in propelling him forward in his career. “I’ll put my education up against anybody’s. I am very humbled and honored to receive this honor.”

Ashdown High School was recognized in 2014 and 2015 by U.S. News and World Report as one of the “Most Challenging High Schools in the United States” in reference to Ashdown’s success with Advanced Placement test participation and achievement. The district has 1,400 students.

Ward was recognized for his leadership of Magnolia schools. From 2003-2007, Ward served as principal of Winthrop Elementary School and from 2007-2014 as superintendent of Horatio schools. He has served as Magnolia’s superintendent since 2014. He received his BS in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M in Texarkana and in Educational Leadership from Henderson State University. He received his ME in Educational Administration and Supervision from Southern Arkansas University. The Magnolia School District has 2,913 students.

“From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate this,” Ward said on his induction. “I am humbled and honored to work with people who make me look better and smarter than I am.”

Green received his BSE in Early Childhood Education and his ME from SAU. Kilpatrick Elementary is a STEM magnet school with a medical science focus of biomedical engineering in the Texarkana Arkansas School District. It was designated as Pearson’s National Model School for America’s Choice and was named a 2017 School of Distinction for Magnet School of America. It has 420 students.

He thanked SAU for “guiding me in the right direction,” and said that “with accountability and love, anything is possible.”

Vines taught in El Dorado for 20 years and has served as principal of Washington Middle School since 2006. She served for two years on the board for the Arkansas Association of Middle Level Educators and on the Arkansas Professional Licensure Standards Board. She received her BSE and Master’s in Educational Leadership degree from SAU.

Washington Middle School was recently recognized as a School of Excellence by the International STEM Educators Association. The school has 700 students.

She said that her career has been about “what’s best for the kids,” and that she “could not have been better prepared” to work in education.

John Ward, superintendent of Magnolia schools, is inducted into the 2017 Educational Leadership Hall of Fame by Dr. Trey Berry, president of Southern Arkansas University, and Kelsie Madison, 2017 Miss SAU.

Jody Vines, principal, Washington Middle School, El Dorado, Ark., is inducted into the 2017 Educational Leadership Hall of Fame by Dr. Trey Berry, president of Southern Arkansas University, and Kelsie Madison, 2017 Miss SAU.

Jason Sanders, superintendent, Ashdown schools, is inducted into the 2017 Educational Leadership Hall of Fame by Dr. Trey Berry, president of Southern Arkansas University, and Kelsie Madison, 2017 Miss SAU.

 DeMarcus Green, principal, Kilpatrick Elementary School, Texarkana, Ark., is inducted into the 2017 Educational Leadership Hall of Fame by Dr. Trey Berry, president of Southern Arkansas University, and Kelsie Madison, 2017 Miss SAU.

 Inductees John Ward, Jody Vines, Jason Sanders and DeMarcus Green are honored by SAU President Dr. Trey Berry; Connie Wilson, coordinator, Educational Leadership Program, SAU; and Dr. Roger Guevara, assistant professor and Education Renewal Zone director, SAU.

APRIL 15, 2017

 Authorities in the West Memphis Police Department have asked for the assistance of the Arkansas State Police in the investigation of an officer involved shooting that occurred earlier today.

  Shortly after 7 AM police were alerted to an armed robbery at a West Memphis motel when they encountered an individual matching the description of the robbery suspect.

  According to initial statements given to state police special agents, when local police approached the suspect at 2408 Talonwood the individual brandished a gun, leading police to fire on the suspect.  The individual was pronounced dead at the scene.  No police officers were wounded.

  The body of the suspect will be turned-over to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for examination.

  The name of the deceased has not at this time been confirmed.

  Questions relating to the identity of any officers involved in the shooting or their administrative status should be directed to the West Memphis Police Department.

  Upon completion of the investigation, Arkansas State Police Special Agents assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division, will present an investigative file to the prosecuting attorney for determination of whether use of deadly force was consistent with Arkansas laws. 

SAU announces Hallman Scholars

MAGNOLIA - The Southern Arkansas University Hallman Scholarship has been awarded to four inspiring young women who are incoming science freshmen.

The Hallman Scholarship is funded through the SAU Foundation and provides scholarships for incoming freshmen women in the SAU College of Science and Engineering. The scholarships are based on ACT scores and other aid. The 2017 inductees are Keely Stofer of Hot Springs Village; Madison Byrd of Taylor; Abigail Pieratt of Magnolia, and Leslie “Makenna” Madden of Emerson.

Makenna Madden’s goal is to receive a biology degree from SAU and continue to medical school to become an anesthesiologist. Her accomplishments at Emerson High School include cheerleading captain, FFA president, FBLA president, student council, Beta Club, Science Club, honor roll, principal’s award (two consecutive years), 2013-2014 Emerson Junior High Homecoming Queen, 2015-2016 Emerson Senior High Homecoming Queen, National FFA delegate for Arkansas, and running this summer for FFA state office.

Her service includes: Today’s Youth Tomorrow’s Leaders, Youth Advisory Council, Brister Baptist Church member and AWANA worker. Her parents are Mike and Mary Madden and the late Camela Hill and she is the sister of Farran Hanson and Spencer Madden.

Keely Stofer is a 2017 graduate of Lake Hamilton High School in Pearcy. Her accomplishments there included vice-president of Student Council, drum major for the Lake Hamilton Power Band, president of Spanish and Beta clubs, vice-president of National Honor Society, and Gifted and Talented. She attended Arkansas Governor’s School for Natural Sciences, Arkansas Girls’ State, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, Arkansas All-State Symphony and Concert band, and Four States’ Honor Band. She was the Arkansas Optimist State Oratorical winner; the VFW State Runner-Up Audio-Essay recipient; the Ralph Vines Rockefeller Foundation Public Speaking state runner-up; the Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Lake Hamilton nominee; the Hot Springs Leadership Class 22 representative and the Hot Springs Community Band Foundation scholarship recipient. She has been named Lake Hamilton’s Musician of the Year, was a member of the pole-vaulting team and a golf medalist for the Eldo-Texarkana Match. She is ranked second out of 309 in her high school class with a 4.23 GPA. She plans on receiving a degree in biology with a minor in Spanish in working toward a possible career in dentistry. She is the daughter of Michael and Deedra Stofer.

Madison Byrd will seek a four-year pre-health degree at SAU. A 2017 graduate of Taylor High School, Byrd wishes to become a physical therapist. The daughter of Brian and Christy Hosley and Jason Byrd, she is involved in Student Council, National Honor Society, FFA, Yearbook, and golf team. She is the vice-president of both the Student Council and National Honor Society. She participated on a national level in a Career Development Event, is a graduate of Medical Applicants of Science and Health, and serves on the Youth Advisory Council and Today’s Youth Tomorrow’s Leaders. She has been accepted into SAU’s Honors College.

Abigail Pieratt is a 2017 graduate of Magnolia High School and is the daughter of Joe and Angela Pieratt. She has excelled in athletics and arts at Magnolia High, lettering in volleyball, cheerleading and track and field; awarded All Conference Honorable Mention twice in volleyball; All American and 5A All-Star cheer nominee and co-captain of the varsity squad; All District Conference Champion and State Champion track runner; Student Council (vice-president); National Honor Society (secretary/treasurer) and Mu Alpha Theta. She has her own animal welfare charity platform called Adopt- Don’t Shop that she promoted at the Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen pageant after winning Miss Magnolia’s Outstanding Teen in 2016. She has raised more than $500 for Children’s Miracle Network and helped organize and raise more than $8,000 to grant a wish to a child in the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She plans to graduate SAU with a degree in pre-medicine and become an orthopedic surgeon, a dermatologist or an ER physician.







Bill Allowing Debit Card and Non-Cash Purchases Will Soon Become Law


April 5, 2017

LITTLE ROCK – This summer, Arkansans who don’t carry cash could still be able to purchase lottery tickets.


This legislative session, lawmakers passed and the Governor signed Act 876, allowing businesses the option to accept debit cards and non-cash payments for the purchase of lottery tickets. The bill will become law in late July or early August, 90 days after the legislature officially adjourns. State law previously limited lottery retailers to accept only cash payments.


“This new law will allow the lottery to stay relevant given today’s cashless lifestyle,” said Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley. “More and more people just don’t carry cash. This allows more convenience for our customers and our retailers.”


The law is not mandatory. It allows retailers discretion on whether they will accept debit cards or non-cash payments for lottery tickets. The bill does not allow for buying lottery tickets with any form of credit or deferred payment.


About the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery

Since its inception in 2009, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has provided nearly $700 million for in-state college scholarships to Arkansas students, more than $2 billion in prizes to players, and more than $189 million in commissions to Lottery retailers. More than 92 cents of every dollar of Lottery revenue goes to prizes, scholarships, retailer commissions and other expenses in Arkansas.


To date, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has helped provide funding for more than 235,000 scholarships to Arkansas students. To apply for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, visit before the June 1 deadline.


Follow the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Visit for more information on scholarships, winners, games, odds, promotions -- and to join the free Play It Again™ Rewards Club. To hear winning numbers, call the Winning Numbers Hotline at 501-682-IWON (4966). To get help with problem gambling, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.



Kirt Webster,, 615-777-6995 x226


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 3, 2017) – Dolly Parton continues to enjoy a successful music career on many levels. Her Pure & Simple album and tour were both resounding successes, as have been her two NBC-TV movies from the holiday seasons, 2015’s Coat of Many Colors, and 2016’s Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle of Love. Both films were resounding successes for the network, and have resulted in a series of awards for the singer.

Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love was cited as one of the TV and Cable winners of the 68th Annual Christopher Awards, along with This Is Us, the runaway hit of the season, Academy Award Nominees Hidden Figures and Hacksaw Ridge, and Gold Star Parents, an episode of the long-running CBS news magazine staple 60 Minutes. The award will be presented in a May ceremony.

The Christopher Awards win is the latest for the film, which also includes the Movieguide® Epiphany Prize for Television. It marks the second straight win for a Parton-related project, following Coat of Many Colors.

In April of 2016 Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors received the Academy of Country Music's Tex Ritter Award, which honors a movie "released and / or receiving major exposure during the preceding calendar year, featuring or utilizing country music." The award shares its name with Tex Ritter, a film and music star from the 1930s through the 1970s.

The films are both based upon Parton’s experiences growing up in the mountains of East Tennessee, and her memories of celebrating the holidays with her family. Circle of Love also detailed the beginning of Parton’s desire to make it in the music business. Both projects starred Rick Schroder and Jennifer Nettles as her parents, Robert and Avie, and Gerald McCraney as her grandfather, Jake Owens. Winning rave reviews for her portrayal of Parton in the movies was young actress Alyvia Alyn Lind.

Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love on Digital HD

DVD & Blu-Ray

Or you can use this link that takes you directly to the proper place at each retailer:

About Dolly Parton:
An internationally renowned superstar, the iconic and irrepressible Dolly Parton has contributed countless treasures to the world of entertainment. All-inclusive sales of singles, albums, hits collections, paid digital downloads and compilation usage during her illustrious career have topped a staggering 100 million records worldwide. Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, Dolly has had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. Dolly has garnered 8 Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 5 Academy of Country Music Awards, 3 American Music Awards and is one of only five female artists to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award. Making her film debut in the 1980 hit comedy “9 to 5,” Dolly earned rave reviews for her performance and an Oscar nomination for writing the title tune, along with her second and third Grammy Awards. Roles in “Steel Magnolias,” “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Rhinestone,” and “Straight Talk” followed. Dolly saw a cherished dream become a reality in 1986 with the opening of her own theme park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. In 1988, Dolly began the Dollywood Foundation which funds Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library across America and in Canada by giving every preschool child a book each month from the time he or she is born until the child reaches kindergarten. Currently 100,000,000 books are mailed to children in the US, Canada and throughout the UK. In 1999, Dolly was inducted as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. She has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 2004, the U.S. Library of Congress presented her with their Living Legend Award for her contribution to the cultural heritage of the United States. To learn more about this American icon, visit



Student finds value in higher education via program

MAGNOLIA – Pam Ward has learned the importance of receiving a higher education courtesy of one of many 2+2 agreements between South Arkansas Community College and Southern Arkansas University.

Ward, a non-traditional student from El Dorado, Ark., earned her Associate of Arts degree and Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice at SouthArk in El Dorado and transferred to SAU in January 2016. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. She did not begin her college career until she was in her mid-40s, after an academic start that seemed less than promising.

“I graduated in 1987 from El Dorado High School,” she said recently. “My family didn’t have a lot. I was a low-scoring student, and I suffered from low self-esteem. I grew up in the projects, so people already looked down on you. What I went through as a child is the reason I want to do this today.”

Ward said she never felt she got enough support at home to be a good student. “People say, ‘it starts in the home,’ but you don’t know what kind of home a child comes from. I hate to hear that phrase. I just didn’t feel like I mattered.”

After high school, Ward worked a variety of jobs, “day care, security, pizza, any job,” she said. “I’ve worked since I was 16 years old. I did think about college, but it just wasn’t a reality for me, money-wise, support-wise, any of that kind of stuff. I’d had a child by the age of 14. My main thing was to work and pay my bills.”

After a divorce and an economic setback, she started thinking about college, especially after a friend who was a police dispatcher encouraged her to enroll at SouthArk. “I always said that my mind was too old, but I knew I had to do something. I had experienced a big drop in pay which devastated me, but my friend encouraged me to get my degree. I enrolled the following semester, in 2012.”

She didn’t have a degree plan or career path at first. Tests suggested she might pursue a career in law enforcement, “but I thought, ‘no, that wouldn’t be me.’ As I went on with my psychology classes, I began to think, ‘OK, this is kind of where I want to go.’”

Experience in her local community nudged her toward psychology and criminal justice.

“I wasn’t a juvenile delinquent, but I could have been,” she said. “Once you get labeled a ‘bad child,’ it follows you. I saw a lot of children with that label, and people look at that instead of what the child might be going through. It takes the right kind of person to talk to and work with these kids. I wanted to make a difference in that way.”

She said it is important to help people – teens and adults – going “round and round in the criminal justice system. Once I decided on my major at SouthArk, I knew I was gonna help teens. But I realized that not only teens but adults need help because of the lack of jobs and education.”

Without those, she said, “offenders are going to come right back into the system. It’s hard to get a job, but if you are a non-violent felon, it’s 20 times harder to get one. We’re missing out on some good workers.”

She said she wants to encourage non-violent offenders to get job training and an education. “If you give them encouragement, there is a good chance they won’t do it again. Sometimes people are just trying to feed their families. Everybody can change. I changed. People just need the tools.”

Ward said she “fell in love” with her psychology courses at SouthArk. “My professors were awesome, I loved my Criminal Justice classes, and I felt like it was my calling. I like helping people. I thought, ‘maybe this is what I want to do.’”

Her first semester, though, was something of a personal struggle.

“The anxiety level when I started was off the chart,” she said. “I had no idea the workload or the time you had to put in to pass just one class. I took four classes, thinking, ‘that’s nothing.’ Once I got over that first semester, I was good.”

As a non-traditional student, Ward said she immediately understood that she “had to want” to succeed in college. “You have to make that choice,” she said. “You have to say to yourself, ‘this is what I need to know.’ That’s why some students only stay in it one or two semesters and then drop out – they don’t get it yet.”

She said a community college such as SouthArk is the right place for many students because “they’re not hundreds of miles from home and can get the feel of the workload. My oldest daughter was glad I encouraged her to go local, and she started at SouthArk before transferring to Conway. You don’t have all the clubs and partying, your main focus is on school work.”

She understands the difficulties many students experience, trying to balance life with college. “Traditional students have jobs, they have children, and my hat is off to them. My youngest daughter is graduating from high school in May, and I don’t have to tend to any non-self-sufficient children. I can do all the studying I want; half my bed is dedicated to books for class. I know my mindset is right.”

Encouragement and support are necessary to success, she said. “When I started getting good grades, I got a lot of support from family and friends, and I even had a whole new set of friends by then, so that made me feel good about myself. It boosted my self-esteem, which had been terribly low forever. When you feel you’re supported, it gives you the motivation to do something.”

She enjoyed a smooth transition from SouthArk to SAU. “It was an adjustment to the larger student population,” she said, “but I have great professors and great support, and I’m enjoying my classes.”

Ward said she likes to “raise my hand and ask questions because I know the younger students all have the same questions I do. You can see the relief on their faces.”

The importance of higher education has impressed itself on Ward.

“Anything is possible with a college education,” she said. “You have to find positive people to encourage you. I can see both sides because of where I grew up. If you keep hearing that you’re never going to amount to anything, you start taking it seriously. You start living it. You have to get around positive people. You can no longer make it on a high school diploma, you have to get a college education to make it in this world, or learn some kind of trade.”

She is interning with the Arkansas Department of Corrections in El Dorado and will graduate from SAU in May. While she hasn’t yet decided on a career, she’s thinking about getting her master’s and perhaps working in the non-profit sector.

The 2+2 program allows students to start with a high school diploma and add two years for an associate’s degree from SouthArk, then transfer to SAU for two more years toward a bachelor’s degree. Courses  that are currently offered between SouthArk and SAU include social work; criminal justice; industrial technology; accounting; finance; marketing; psychology, and education.

“We’re always looking for ways to provide opportunities for students to achieve their goals and dreams,” said Dr. David Lanoue, provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs for SAU. “Our partnerships with community colleges are a big part of that. We have a number of 2+2 programs with SouthArk, Sau Tech, and beyond. These programs provide a chance for students who might not otherwise be able to seek a college degree. We’re proud of these programs and of the students who graduate from them.”

For more information, visit




The Ouachita county Sheriff's Department needs your assistance in locating a missing person. If you have any information, please contact the Ouachita County Sheriff's Department at 870-231-5300.


March 28th, 2017


SAU Enactus workshop set for March 30

MAGNOLIA – SAU Enactus is hosting a free Lunch and Learn Success Empowerment Workshop from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, March 30, at the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, 104 Harvey Couch Blvd., in Magnolia. Seating is limited and the deadline to reserve a space is 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 29. To RSVP, call Lisa Antoon at 870-904-5873.

The event will include local Walmart management team members describing the skills needed to gain employment and promotion within Walmart. Dr. Gerald Plumlee will present Successful Resume Writing and Sheryl Edwards will talk on Personal Finance Information. Joshua Taylor, manager, ADWS, will train attendees on use of the job seekers’ Web site and give interview and cover letter tips. Stephanie Shepherd, coordinator of the SAU Tech Adult Education Center-Columbia County, will share information on how to earn WAGE, CRC and GED certifications. Lunch will be catered.



Two SAU students land MLB internships

MAGNOLIA – Two students at Southern Arkansas University have been awarded internships with Major League Baseball.

The HKR Department has announced that Yuichi Takizawa, a senior in Athletic Training Education, recently completed a three-week internship with the Kansas City Royals. At the conclusion of his internship, Takizawa interviewed with the team’s medical coordinator for minor league teams and received a five-month internship with Royals AA baseball.


John Bransford, a junior and also a student in athletic training, was awarded an internship with the Seattle Mariners. He will spend several weeks this summer working with injured players at the Mariners’ rehabilitation facility in Arizona.

These are the first internships with Major League Baseball that any athletic training students have received since the program was accredited. 




Senate Air Force Caucus Co-Chairs Lead Delegation to Base Visit


WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, OH—U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), co-chairs of the Senate Air Force Caucus, along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) today visited Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and toured the key installation’s facilities.


Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is one of the nation’s most important military installations, hosting approximately 27,000 uniformed personnel, civilian and government contractor employees. It is the headquarters of several organizations representing a broad spectrum of Air Force and Department of Defense activities. Together, Boozman and Brown highlighted for their colleagues the critical research and development work done at the base in support of the Air Force and national security.


“The Senate Air Force Caucus is committed to ensuring our Air Force personnel have the resources needed to accomplish their missions safely and successfully. Our visit gives us a first-hand look at the vital research and innovation that is undertaken at Wright-Patterson on a daily basis and will guide our work as we seek to ensure our Air Force remains the strongest in the world,” Boozman said.


“The work done at Wright-Patt is critical to our national security, and it’s important that members of Congress and other decision-makers in Washington understand that,” said Brown. “Investments here support local jobs while directly benefitting our men and women in uniform, and the innovative research happening at our great local universities. I’m glad we were able to showcase that cutting-edge research for my colleagues today, and I look forward to working with them to make sure that Dayton maintains its role as the preeminent center for research and development on air and space threats.”


The congressional delegation visited and met with officials from:


·         The Air Force Research Lab 

·         The Air Force Institute of Technology 

·         The National Air and Space Intelligence Center 

·         The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center


The visit provided the Members of Congress with the opportunity to tour the facilities and interact with the commanders and staff of the various programs and missions at Wright-Patterson that are vital to ensuring that U.S. national security interests are protected and that the Department of Defense is maintaining readiness standards and developing new and innovative solutions to meet the changing foreign air and space threats facing our country.


March 24, 2017
  The Ward Police Department received a call yesterday afternoon (Thursday, March 23rd) reporting a homicide at 121 Pinter Lane.
   Local police officers arrived to the residence to find Lori Hannah, 36, of Ward, dead inside the home. The body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to confirm a manner and cause of death.
  Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were contacted to assist the Ward Police Department, as the case continues to be investigated today.
  The Arkansas State Police is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Brian Keith Freeman, 41, in connection with the homicide. Arrest warrants have been issued, charging Freeman with Capitol Murder.
  Freeman is described as 5 feet, 5 inch tall weighing approximately 165 pounds. Freeman is known to have ties in Texas and Oklahoma. He has brown eyes and brown hair, and should be considered armed and dangerous. Please do not approach him.
   If you have any information about this case, please contact the Arkansas State Police at 501-618-8100.

A two vehicle accident occurred at Charley's Loop and Mt Holly Rd in Camden, yesterday afternoon.  Three people were taken to the Ouachita County Medical Center for treatment, and one has since been released.  The vehicle ran a stop sign and struck a Van on the passenger side, causing the van to flip twice and over turn. 


SAAC Makes Audition Call for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast


Auditions for South Arkansas Arts Center’s  2017 summer musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast , have been moved to  April 7 and 8.  Join SAAC as they bring the fantastic and much beloved story of Belle and her princely Beast to life on stage.  Originally, the audition dates were set for May, but this fantastic spectacle of a show will require more time than usual for costuming and behind the stage work than any other production that SAAC has taken on in the past.


SAAC stage veteran Monroe Moore is returning to El Dorado to direct the musical, having recently wrapped The Addams Family to rave reviews.  El Dorado’s own Chris McCroskey returns to his hometown to serve as musical director.  Both have worked on this show in the past and are extremely excited about bringing this Disney classic to El Dorado’s SAAC stage.   They invite the community to audition and get involved in the fun.  McCroskey said about the show, Come be a part of something you will never forget- a beautiful show with the important lesson of how love conquers all.  Belle and the Beast teach us how seeing a past a person’s exterior into their heart can give you the surprise of your life!”


Moore said, “Our production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will be a spectacle of a show, the likes of which has never been produced here at SAAC.  We are seeking a large cast of all ages, heights, physical types, and performance levels. Beginners are strongly encouraged to audition! There will be 50-60 parts available for this incredible show.  We really want this to be a ‘community show’!  Even if you’ve never been in a production before, come on out and we will teach you what you need to know!  There are character roles for 4 women, 7 men and one boy or girl, a large ensemble cast of 24-30 adults and teens, as well as a kids ensemble for 12-20 kids, ages 7-12.”


Moore continued, “This ‘tale as old as time’ is filled with spectacular costumes and sets, and the SAAC needs help from anyone who has experience in costuming, set design and building, as well as special skills in acrobatics, juggling, stage combat, make-up, hair and wigs, and roller skating. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast offers a great opportunity to bring the entire community together for family theatre at its best.”


A classic Disney fairytale, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a wandering enchantress who transforms a cruel and vain prince into a hideous Beast, leaving him only one way to reverse the curse - fall in love with another and earn her love in return.  Belle, a beautiful book-lover, encounters the Beast when she arrives at his castle to plead for her father’s freedom, ultimately trading her own for his. As tension over her imprisonment rises in the town, spurred by Gaston, the selfish lover who seeks Belle’s hand in marriage, the relationship between Belle and the Beast grows, leading to an emotional, and transformative, conflict.


Anyone interested in auditioning may take part in early registration at SAAC on April 6, from 6:00-8:00pm. You may choose to audition on Friday, April 7 at 6:00pm or on Saturday, April 8 at 10am. Please arrive early if you have not pre-registered.  Be prepared to sing from any Broadway show for your audition. If you are unable to attend auditions on the scheduled days, you may submit a video audition.  For information, please see the SAAC website.  There will be a Cast Kick-off Camp on May 20-21 at SAAC with rehearsals beginning on May 30. Production dates are scheduled for July 6-16.


Disney’s Beauty and the Beast  is sponsored by Murphy USA.  For more information, please call the SAAC office or visit the website at  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.







WASHINGTON – Late Tuesday (March 21), The Hill published an op-ed authored by Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04), which detailed his initial reluctance on the American Health Care Act before coming to support the legislation.

“When leaders in the Republican Party introduced the American Health Care Act (AHCA), I was not sold on the legislation,” Westerman wrote. “While it took important steps to repeal and replace ObamaCare, it did not do enough to give individuals and the states in which they live the freedom to do healthcare in a way that works locally instead of depending on mandates from Washington, D.C.”

He noted how he has been quietly working behind the scenes with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Budget Committee Chair Diane Black to “ensure conservative policies and principles were included in the AHCA.”

“When the bill came before the House Budget Committee, I was able to work with others to secure agreements from leadership and President Donald Trump that Medicaid block grants would be included in the final version of the bill scheduled for a vote this week.”

Why are Medicaid block grants an important piece of the Obamacare repeal and replace package making its way through Congress? Westerman says it is due to Medicaid’s inflexibility for states, as well as the fact that Medicaid expansion for working age, able-bodied adults has grown at a rapid rate under Obamacare (a population of nearly 368,000 people in Arkansas) while the disabled and elderly have been placed on waiting lists to receive traditional Medicaid coverage and care.

“That is why I fought for the introduction of Medicaid block grants in the AHCA,” he explained. “States that accept the block grants would be able to build integrity into their Medicaid programs and would have the regulatory flexibility to design innovative plans that work best for their citizens instead of a one-size-fits-all plan from D.C. Nonsense features like state provider fees designed to simply milk more federal money by charging a state tax on Medicaid services in order to get the federal match dollars should go away under true block granting. By prioritizing state spending, individuals who are in true need would finally be able to get off the waiting list and receive necessary, life-saving care.”

The American Red Cross has issued a call for platelet and type O negative and AB donations after severe weather in some parts of the country forced the cancellation of thousands of donations this month. Eligible donors are encouraged to give to help meet the constant need of patients. 
The attached news release provides additional details about the current need. By informing the community about this, you can help ensure patients continue to receive lifesaving treatments.
Thank you in advance for your support. Please let me know if you have any questions, would like to schedule an interview or need any additional information.

Joe Zydlo│External Communications Manager

Biomedical Field Marketing and Communications

American Red Cross
(314) 658-2036 (office)
(314) 422-8613 (cell)


Boozman Invites Arkansans to Participate in

Tele-Town Hall Thursday



WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) will host a telephone town hall on Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. CT to connect with Arkansans and discuss topics under debate in Washington.


This statewide event gives Arkansans the opportunity to ask Boozman questions over the phone or listen to the conversation about the issues impacting our state and nation.


Arkansans interested in participating in the phone conversation should call toll free 888-400-1986 to connect to the discussion and ask questions.



Sen. John Boozman Telephone Town Hall

Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. CT

Call 888-400-1986


Get Ready to Give on April 6!

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (March 20, 2017) – Arkansans can begin to make smart giving decisions by visiting and making a list of causes they want to support on April 6. More than 900 nonprofits have registered to participate in ArkansasGives, a one-day only online givingevent presented by Arkansas Community Foundation.
“The website makes it easy for generous people to research and give to
nonprofits that improve our state’s communities,” said Heather Larkin, Community Foundation President and CEO. “We’ve made it simple for Arkansans to help us reach our $5 million goal online in just one day.”
Though gifts cannot be made until 8 a.m. April 6, there are three steps the public can take to
prepare. They can text ARGIVES to 24587 to get a text reminder to give on April 6 and sign up
for email updates at Since information about each nonprofit is currently
listed on the site, they can go to to search nonprofits by location, service area
and service category.
Below is a step-by-step guide to making gifts easily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 6:
1. Go to to locate favorite nonprofits.
2. Add all the nonprofits to an online giving cart and click checkout.
3. Input payment information using a Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express card.
4. “Grow the Love!” for Arkansas nonprofits.
Arkansas Community Foundation provides a $400,000 bonus pool to help Arkansas nonprofits
raise funds for their organizations through ArkansasGives. The more money supporters donate
through, the more bonus dollars the nonprofits receive. For example, if a
nonprofit receives one percent of the total amount given online April 6, it will receive one percent
of the $400,000 bonus pool or $4,000 extra, with a chance for additional prizes linked to most
dollars and most donors by size and most dollars by service category.


 Southern Arkansas University Tech is pleased to announce the formation of the SAU Tech Choir for fall  2017.  The choir will be open to community and students with auditions starting on March 16 in the Tech Engineering Building on the SAU Tech campus. The choir was formed to showcase the singing talent that in the Camden area. Chancellor Jason Morrison says that, “ including a choir in SAU Tech’s future is a way to bring the community to the college and to take the college to the community. During our recent Tech Idol event it was evident to me that we have enormous talent here in south Arkansas and a choir is a natural way to showcase that talent for the enrichment of our students and our community”.


The SAU Tech Choir will be led by Carissa Lewis who is currently the Choir Director and Psalmist for Greater New Calvary Church of God in Christ.  A limited number of scholarships are available and a scholarship is not required to join the choir. Community members who wish to participate must audition and pay a one-time $50 fee to join. To schedule your audition, contact Carissa Lewis at 870-807-1861 or by email at  For more general information contact, the SAU Tech Student Services office at 870-574-4529 or by email


Dates and location for auditions:

March 16, April 4, April 17, and May 2 from  4:30 pm until 7:00 pm  in TE 113


House Approves Boozman-Donnelly Resolution

Designating Location of National Desert Storm

War Memorial


 WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives unanimously approved a joint resolution introduced by U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) designating the location of the future National Desert Storm War Memorial on a prominent area near the National Mall.


“I appreciate the commitment of my colleagues in the House of Representatives to swiftly approve this resolution so our Gulf War veterans are appropriately honored for their service and sacrifice in our nation’s capital,” Boozman said. “I am proud to work with Senator Donnelly in support of this memorial.”


“This resolution would designate a memorial that loved ones and future generations can visit to honor the men and women who fought and died for our country in the First Gulf War. I’ve been proud to work with Senator Boozman on this bipartisan effort, and I’m pleased that my colleagues in the House of Representatives have passed our resolution, so that it can be signed into law,” Donnelly said.


Now that both chambers of Congress approved the Area I recommended location made by the Secretary of the Interior, the National Capital Planning Commission will select the exact site for the memorial.


No federal funds will be spent to build this memorial. All funds will be raised privately by the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.


Boozman and Donnelly introduced the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial Act to authorize establishment of a National Desert Shield and Desert Storm War Memorial on federal lands within the District of Columbia in 2013. The bill was included in the National Defense Authorization Act and signed into law in December 2014.


Southern Arkansas University Tech is pleased to announce the formation of the SAU Tech Choir for fall 2017.  The choir will be open to community and students with auditions starting on March 16 in the Tech Engineering Building on the SAU Tech campus. The choir was formed to showcase the singing talent that in the Camden area. Chancellor Jason Morrison says that, “ including a choir in SAU Tech’s future is a way to bring the community to the college and to take the college to the community. During our recent Tech Idol event it was evident to me that we have enormous talent here in south Arkansas and a choir is a natural way to showcase that talent for the enrichment of our students and our community”.


The SAU Tech Choir will be led by Carissa Lewis who is currently the Choir Director and Psalmist for Greater New Calvary Church of God in Christ.  A limited number of scholarships are available and a scholarship is not required to join the choir. Community members who wish to participate must audition and pay a one-time $50 fee to join. To schedule your audition, contact Carissa Lewis at 870-807-1861 or by email at  For more general information contact, the SAU Tech Student Services office at 870-574-4529 or by email


Dates and location for auditions:

March 16, April 4, April 17, and May 2 from  4:30 pm until 7:00 pm  in TE 113




FREE Small Business Training

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



March 28th – Know Your Numbers - 12:00 -1:00

    Financial Statements and Credit Reports

Maximize your profits by tracking and understanding your financials. Learn what financial information is vital to operating a business, the difference in profit and cash flow, and how to use financial statements to know exactly where you stand at all times. We will also cover what lenders look for in financial statements and credit reports.



Dotty Harris


Office Manager

625 Adams Ave.

Camden, AR 71701

870-836-2210 ext 101


ArkansasGives online giving event. Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on April 6 your gift to the SAU Tech Foundation via will increase the amount of money the Foundation receives from the event. Your donation goes to support the students of SAU Tech! Change lives with your donation!The Southern Arkansas University Tech Foundation is participating again this year in the ArkansasGives online giving event. Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on April 6 your gift to the SAU Tech Foundation via will increase the amount of money the Foundation receives from the event. Your donation goes to support the students of SAU Tech! Change lives with your donation!

Camden Police Department To Offer Criminal Justice Scholarship
Are you a senior in high school thinking about a future in Criminal Justice? Well the Camden Police Department may have a scholarship for you! The Camden Police department has a $1,000 scholarship for those inside the city limits of Camden who are planning on majoring in criminal justice! Scholarship applications must be postmarked by April 25, 2017 in order to be considered. If you have any further questions email at

SAU Names New Living/Learning Center Eichenberger Hall

MAGNOLIA – The Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Thursday to adopt a resolution naming a new residence hall for science and engineering majors after Dr. Rudolph and Mrs. Sharon Eichenberger.

Rudy and Sharon Eichenberger Hall will house about 78 students as the Science and Engineering Living and Learning Center. Work has already begun to transform this facility, which was the former skating rink on campus near the Engineering Building, into one of two new residence halls slated to open for this upcoming fall semester.

Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, read the resolution prior to the board’s vote.

“Each of the Eichenbergers worked here many years and made a tremendous impact,” Berry said.

Dr. Rudy Eichenberger joined SAU in 1981. He was named professor of physics and chair of the department in April 1988 and retired in June 2007. He received a grant for $11,690 from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education to support the Integrated Science, Math & Technology project in November 1999. He was named professor emeritus on May 1, 2008.

The late Sharon Eichenberger started at SAU in 1983 and retired in 2002. She served as coordinator of annual giving and became director of development and executive director of the SAU Foundation, Inc., in 1984. She was certified as a fund-raising executive professional in 1989.

The Eichenbergers have been on the list of Top Five annual donors three times: 2010, 2012 and 2016. They have been generous supporters of Magale Library. They were among the top two donors to the Science Center, and Dr. Eichenberger made a leadership-level pledge to the Engineering Building.

In other business, the board, after discussion in executive session, voted unanimously to seek a resolution for $1.2 million to build the SAU president’s new home on campus.

Dr. David Lanoue, provost and vice president of academic affairs, presented the board with a slate of academic program changes, which were approved unanimously.

Lanoue recommended a new, five-year BS/MS Computer Science program that will allow students to complete their bachelors and master’s degrees on an accelerated basis and “start making a living.”

He also recommended a new emphasis to the BFA in Art and Design in Interactive Media and Marketing.

“Parents say, ‘Our child wants to major in art, but can they get a job?’ This new emphasis is the solution to that problem. Students can pursue their passion for art but gain the skills they need in business so they can manage their own career or perhaps someone else’s,” Lanoue said. “This will get them out in the job market and help them be successful.”

Lanoue said similar emphases will be added to musical theatre and creative writing, “marrying skills to passion. You don’t want to extinguish anyone’s enthusiasm but you do want them successful and employed.”

He and Berry also informed the board that a doctoral program in educational leadership is being considered for SAU. Such a program would make SAU the only university in the southern half of the state to offer such a program.

“There are few doctoral programs in education in the state,” Lanoue said. “That has consequences. None are below Little Rock. We need homegrown leaders who will serve our communities in southern Arkansas. We need to grow and deploy those leaders successfully.”

Lanoue said education is in “a bit of a crisis” and a program at SAU would answer that problem. “There is a gap between the teachers we have and the teachers we need.”

Such a program would have to be “consistent with our fundamental purpose and offer something unique to this area, that no one else offers,” Lanoue said.

It would likely emphasize rural education. “We think this would be attractive to students across the country and even around the world,” he said.

Courses recommended for modification were Marketing (to include retailing and sales), and Sports Management. Lanoue said the modifications would better “connect students with their career choices.”

Courses recommended for deletion were: BA in Behavioral and Social Sciences; BA in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Digital Cinema Media Production, and Criminal Justice Certificate of Proficiency.

“All three were simply not attracting enough students to remain viable,” Lanoue said.

In his report to trustees, Berry said spring enrollment has surpassed 2016’s enrollment. “We’re very happy about that; that’s not happening everywhere in the state,” he said of SAU’s growth.

SAU has a total enrollment of 4,343 students, an increase of 150 students over last spring. Graduate enrollment was down slightly, but Berry said he looks for that number to rise this fall.

“We have a goal to reach 5,000 students by 2025, and we are going to get there,” Berry said. “We might get there before then.”

He said he is optimistic about fall enrollment. “Applications are up, acceptance is up, campus tours are up, and our prospective graduate enrollment is up,” Berry reported. “The numbers are looking positive for the fall.”

However, “it’s not just about the numbers,” Berry said. He pointed to the recent accomplishment of Alycya Thomas, a junior theatre major from Jonesboro, Ark., who has been hired to work on the Broadway production of The Lion King: The Musical, this summer. “She is over-the-moon excited, and we are excited for her,” Berry said.

He also praised Morgan Morris, a student who will attend the Disney Leadership Academy in Orlando, Fla., next fall. “Almost never does Disney select a freshman for the Academy,” Berry said. “She is the exception.”

Berry looks forward to seeing this past year’s new course offerings continue to expand, such as cybersecurity (a growing field in which he said students will “be able to go right to work”),  and welding engineering technology.

Another new initiative that is expanding is SAU and Cuba’s Artemisia University collaborations.

“We are going forward with our relationship with Cuba,” Berry said, citing several faculty and student trips to the island nation. He said the president of Artemisia University will come to SAU in August to sign a formal agreement and SAU will reciprocate in February, establishing the first academic exchange between universities in Arkansas and Cuba.

Berry turned to athletic improvements on the campus, particularly the ongoing fund-raising campaign for a new football scoreboard. “The scoreboard was put up in 1967, it is 50 years old. We’re looking at one that will have a Jumbotron and we are halfway there in fund-raising. We hope to have this up by our first football game.”

He also said there are plans to build an Ag shop attached the Agriculture Center, and that the program plans to bring back swine production and poultry “for hands-on application.” Farm operations will also be relocated, he said, to near Story Arena.

Dr. Jason Morrison addressed the Board of Trustees for the first time as the new chancellor of Southern Arkansas University Tech. He began work on Jan. 3, 2017.

“It’s been a very quick two months,” he said. “We are putting ourselves in position to see growth for the fall. We have a plan for what we want the future to be.”

“Back in January, we held an executive retreat and we put together a plan for the coming year,” he said. “We wanted to put together a checklist of things we want to accomplish by the fall.”

Morrison said there will be a “complete review of all academic programs, to make sure they are in line with our local industrial needs and the requests from the students. We are in the process of moving to an RN program, which will be a tremendous boost to Tech’s enrollment and meet the needs of our area in nursing.”

He said Tech now has a goal of 350 new students “who were not here last fall – that’s up 111 over last year. We will be steadfast in growing our enrollment.”

SAU Tech is also seeking to expand “by 48 beds” by the fall, and will install solar panels to make residence halls more energy efficient and sustainable.

A new graphic arts instructor will be hired to meet student demand. “We are bringing that program back; it was highly desired by students,” he said.

Tech will also introduce a series of evening programs in downtown Camden geared toward non-traditional students. Courses on religion will be among those offered. They will be taught in eight-week blocks, which Morrison said will become more of the norm at SAU Tech.

“We will be re-doing our schedule to fit more with non-traditional students. We’ll offer eight-week blocks so that students can see more accomplishments in shorter segments.”

Tech has also launched a virtual campus, Morrison said. “It is a true standalone virtual campus for online classes. We will see those classes in shorter segments, shorter blocks, that will appeal to any student who wants to receive an education.”

SAU Tech has also “completely revised its schedule,” he said. Classes were “recreated into a true block-scheduling format” to accommodate students’ needs. “Everything fits into a block. Classes are not competing against each other. It’s a work of art that we’ve done in a short amount of time.”

SAU Tech will also start a choir, he said. “We have a director in place and next week we have our first audition. The singing in Camden is fabulous, it’s amazing. It’s going to be tough to beat the choir we put out there.”

Small scholarships will help support the choir, he said.

SAU Tech will also start a scholars program to recruit “the best of the best. We want to be peoples’ first choice. We’re going to raise money to help them go to school to cover their residential expense, $500 per semester for their residential housing.” Leadership training would be included in the program.

Morrison said SAU Tech will also “bring back basketball” for the community to rally around. “Basketball is a good starting point for us and the community will connect with our institution.” The sport will also provide the opportunity for recruitment, he said.

SAU Tech Vice Chancellor David McLeane spoke about housing needs. He said Tech wants to increase its total capacity by constructing two new 24-person apartment units by fall of 2018. “We will have no problem filling those apartments,” he said.

He said he was seeking approval to enter a lease agreement with the SAU Tech Foundation for the construction of the two units, at an estimated cost of $1.7 million. The board approved his request.