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OCTOBER 27, 2020

COTTON STATEMENT ON JUDGE BARRETT’S CONFIRMATION

Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the statement below after Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court:

“Judge Barrett has earned the confidence of the United States Senate and the trust of the American people. Her confirmation is a triumph for the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and our nation.”

 

BOOZMAN VOTES TO CONFIRM

JUDGE BARRETT TO SERVE ON

THE SUPREME COURT

WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after voting to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to serve as Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court:

“Judge Barrett has demonstrated that she is eminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. Her resume is impeccable. Her demeanor is calm and unshakeable. Perhaps most importantly, her understanding of the role shows she will be a fair-minded and thoughtful jurist who steers clear of legislating from the bench. 

Judge Barrett has earned the trust and confidence of the Senate and the majority of the American people. I congratulate her on this honor and look forward to her tenure on the Supreme Court.”

 

 

Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE’S STATEMENT ON APPOINTMENT OF

AMY CONEY BARRETT AS U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

“As the mother of a two-year old daughter, I am personally and professionally thrilled about today’s historic confirmation of the first mother of young children to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As a strong and brilliant jurist, Judge Barrett will adhere to the rule of law to protect our Constitution and our country. I look forward to the many opportunities in which Justice Barrett will hear cases from our office which impact the lives of all Arkansans.”

October 26, 2020

EARLY VOTING CONTINUES IN OUACHITA COUNTY
Early voting continues this week at the Ouachita County Courthouse. You can vote at the Courthouse from 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday and 10 to 4 Saturday and 8 to 5 on Monday November 2nd. Friday, October 30th and Saturday October 31st all polling places will be open for early voting the same hours as the Courthouse.


 

The following voting locations will be open on Friday, October 30th from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm and Saturday, October 31st from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm
Bearden Lion’s Club
Calvary Baptist Church
Chidester City Hall
Elliot Baptist Church
Ross Center (Thrive Church)
The Word Family Church

You can vote at any of the voting sites regardless of where you live in the County.

Remember to take your photo ID with you. Arkansas State Law requires that a picture ID is necessary to vote.

As of Saturday, October 24th, 2,887 votes had been cast in the County. The Clerk’s Office has received 1,227 absentee ballots.
 

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: CASTING YOUR VOTE IN 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Election Day 2020 is quickly approaching - a time when Arkansans have the opportunity to have their constitutional rights heard by making important decisions on candidates and issues being considered on the ballot. This year has brought forward challenges that have required additional precautions which will ensure all Arkansans are safe while executing their voting rights. Despite any concerns with the changes, it is important for Arkansans to know that the integrity of the election is preserved and that when a ballot is cast, it will be counted.

“Voting is one of the most important rights we have as Americans,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “We are blessed to live in a country with free and fair elections where our voice truly matters when we exercise our right to vote.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following voter information list:

Confirm your voting registration, location and precinct with your county clerk on your voter registration card or online at VoterView.org.

Check with your County Clerk to view a sample ballot before you vote.

Due to COVID-19, you may request an absentee ballot from the County Clerk’s office by printing an English or Spanish  absentee ballot application and return it by mail or in person to your county clerk by October 27.

The Arkansas Health Department issued a guidance for voters to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.

Review candidate information and ballot issues by visiting the Secretary of State’s Elections website.

Research ballot issues from a non-partisan source beforehand to be a more informed voter.

Early voting for Arkansas began Monday, October 19th and will run through Monday, November 2nd, the day before Election Day. The polls are open on Monday through Friday 8am-6pm and Saturdays 10am-4pm with hours on Monday the 2nd at 8am to 5pm.

Absentee ballots must be returned to your County Clerk by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, November 3. Military ballots must be post marked by Election Day and received by Friday, November 13.

For tips on what to expect at your polling location, you can review the Secretary of State’s Voting 101 Pocket Guide or if you would like to report a voting concern, please contact the State Board of Election Commissioners at (501) 682-1834 or visit arkansas.gov/sbec.

For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at OAG@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
 

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 26, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 374
Confirmed Cases: 354
Probable Cases: 20
Total Active Cases: 50
Active Confirmed Cases: 43
Active Probable Cases: 7
Total Recovered Cases: 314
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 30
Recovered Probable Cases: 13
Total Deaths: 9
Confirmed Deaths: 9
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 1,118
Confirmed Cases: 1,002
Probable Cases: 116
Total Active Cases: 55
Active Confirmed Cases: 34
Active Probable Cases: 21
Total Recovered Cases: 1,014
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 925
Recovered Probable Cases: 89
Total Deaths: 49
Confirmed Deaths: 43
Probable Deaths: 6


COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 690
Confirmed Cases: 598
Probable Cases: 92
Total Active Cases: 44
Active Confirmed Cases: 27
Active Probable Cases: 17
Total Recovered Cases: 627
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 552
Recovered Probable Cases: 75
Total Deaths: 19
Confirmed Deaths: 19
Probable Deaths: 0

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 179
Confirmed Cases: 176
Probable Cases: 3
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 5
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 168
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 166
Recovered Probable Cases: 2
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 48
Confirmed Cases: 46
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 5
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 42
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 41
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 106,115
Confirmed Cases: 98,880
Probable Cases: 7,235
Recovered Cases: 94,528

sFor additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/


 

LT. GOVERNOR GRIFFIN NAMED RECIPIENT OF NLGA IMPROVING LIVES AND COMMUNITIES AWARD
Says, ''A truly healthy and vibrant Arkansas' requires tackling problems like 'homelessness, recidivism, and substance abuse.'
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin announced today that he has been awarded the Anthem Improving Lives and Communities Award by the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA). The Improving Lives and Communities Award honors dedicated public servants who work to enhance the lives of their constituents and impact every aspect of community life by addressing social drivers of health such as nutrition, affordable and accessible housing, economic stability, and transportation in order to promote the wellbeing and quality of life for individuals and families. 

 Lt. Governor Griffin has been selected to receive this award due to his extensive community involvement and leadership. Lt. Governor Griffin serves on the board of Our House shelter for the working homeless, as well as on the board of Pathway to Freedom, a nonprofit, faith-based prison ministry at the ADC unit in Wrightsville that prepares inmates to be reintegrated back into society. He has also served on the boards of the Florence Crittenton Home for unwed mothers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas. 

 Upon receiving the award, Lt. Governor Griffin released the following statement: "I am honored to receive this award, and I thank Anthem and the NLGA for bringing awareness to these critical issues. If we want a truly healthy and vibrant Arkansas, we must continue to tackle the toughest societal problems that impact Arkansans. I remain committed to finding solutions to issues such as homelessness, recidivism, and substance abuse, so that every Arkansan can live a healthy life and fulfill their God-given potential."
 

LYON COLLEGE AND STONE WARD ANNOUNCE DATA SCIENCE PARTNERSHIP
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Oct. 26, 2020) – Lyon College and Stone Ward have created a data science partnership, which provides real-world experience to students by allowing them to collaborate and work alongside Stone Ward’s analytics team. The partnership will focus on analyzing client data and offer analyses and recommendations to Stone Ward and its clients to help move their business forward. In addition to hands-on experience, Lyon students will also have the opportunity to earn academic credit by participating in micro-internships with Stone Ward. 

Stone Ward, a Little Rock based advertising agency, contacted Lyon after the College announced its addition of the data science program this past spring. Lyon College is the first private college to add data science as a major in Arkansas. 

“Stone Ward is committed to building good for our clients and the community. This collaboration will allow us to share our knowledge and resources with the students at Lyon College to help advance the field of data analytics,” said Millie Ward, president of Stone Ward. “With today’s business climate becoming increasingly more digital-driven, we hope that more students will consider data and analytics as a career path for their future.” 

Lyon’s new data science professor, Dr. Torumoy Ghoshal, said finding access to real-world data can be difficult, so the partnership is a great opportunity for students. Working with “real-world data” will prepare students “for real-world challenges,” he said.

Associate Professor of Computer Science David Sonnier agreed, “The use of real data will allow us to bring our students from the ‘toy data’ level to the next level, which reflects the real world.”

"As one of the first agencies to form this type of innovative partnership, Stone Ward will have even greater access to some of the brightest, up-and-coming analytical minds in the state to enhance our already deep business insights into custom algorithms, models, and machine learning,“ said Brett Parker, director of media and digital services at Stone Ward. “Our marketing analytics will be even stronger moving forward, which is a desperately needed business solution amid the exponential growth of data in virtually all aspects of life.”

“The projects they will complete are likely to make their resumes stand out,” said Ghoshal. “The potential internship opportunities will give them first-hand experience with industry level data science projects.”

According to the organizations’ memorandum of understanding, students will use the consumer information in several ways to help clients, such as selecting media channels to promote a particular product, determining company performance, and finding effective price points on particular products or services.

Provost Melissa Taverner added that the partnership “also will require students to practice effective interpersonal communication with Stone Ward professionals.”

“This kind of experience is ultimately our goal for all of our students,” she said

October 23, 2020

WHITE OAK LAKE STATE PARK’S “HALLOWEEN IN THE PARK” CANCELED
Bluff City, AR – Due to the health pandemic, White Oak Lake State Park will not be hosting “Halloween in the Park” this year. The park remains open to camping and day-use visitors.

Unregistered guests are not permitted within the campground. The park closes at 10 p.m. to unregistered guests. For more information please contact the park’s Visitor Information Center at 870-685-2748.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL APPROVES  BUSINESS INTERRUPTION GRANT FOR CERTAIN ARKANSAS BUSINESSES LAST WEEK THE
 Arkansas Legislative Council approved a business interruption grant for certain Arkansas businesses in the personal care, tourism, travel, recreation and hospitality industries. The grant will provide reimbursement for a portion of specific eligible expenses incurred by businesses in these industries between March 1 and Sept. 30, 2020.
 The program will utilize $50 million in CARES Act funds for Arkansas businesses in these industries significantly impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Arkansas small businesses having 250, or fewer, full-time employees located in Arkansas may seek reimbursement for expenses associated with COVID-19 mitigation or certain listed business interruption expenses due directly to local, state or federal government COVID-19 directives. Grants can be for up to $250,000 each.
Applicants will have plenty of time to plan an application with a Facebook Live question and answer session the week of Nov. 2 and an applicant help phone line opening on Nov. 9, one week before the application period opens. All applications will be done online. A link to the application will be posted on www.ArkansasReady.com. An applicant checklist and FAQs regarding the grant can be accessed here: https://arkansasready.com/news/
The grant application period will open Monday, Nov. 16, and close Wednesday, Nov. 25. Grants will be awarded on a prorated basis depending on the total number of applicants and the amount of reimbursement requested. The program anticipates making grant awards in late December.

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 23, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.
COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 351
Confirmed Cases: 335
Probable Cases: 16
Total Active Cases: 38
Active Confirmed Cases: 31
Active Probable Cases: 7
Total Recovered Cases: 304
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 295
Recovered Probable Cases: 9
Total Deaths: 9
Confirmed Deaths: 9
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 1,100
Confirmed Cases: 990
Probable Cases: 110
Total Active Cases: 47
Active Confirmed Cases: 25
Active Probable Cases: 22
Total Recovered Cases: 1,004
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 922
Recovered Probable Cases: 82
Total Deaths: 49
Confirmed Deaths: 43
Probable Deaths: 6


COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 667
Confirmed Cases: 582
Probable Cases: 85
Total Active Cases: 33
Active Confirmed Cases: 19
Active Probable Cases: 14
Total Recovered Cases: 615
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 544
Recovered Probable Cases: 71
Total Deaths: 19
Confirmed Deaths: 19
Probable Deaths: 0

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 178
Confirmed Cases: 176
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 6
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 167
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 165
Recovered Probable Cases: 2
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 47
Confirmed Cases: 46
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 6
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 41
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 40
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

 

Arkansas

Total COVID-19 Cases: 102,798
Confirmed Cases: 96,292
Probable Cases: 6,806
Recovered Cases: 92,288

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

COTTON & GALLAGHER INTRODUCE BILL TO CLOSE LOBBYING LOOPHOLES FOR CHINESE COMPANIESWashington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) today announced they will introduce the Chinese Communist Party Influence Transparency Act, which would close loopholes that allow lobbyists for Chinese companies to avoid registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

The bill comes after Rep. Gallagher and Sen. Cotton wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr last month expressing concerns about these loopholes and whether individuals lobbying on behalf of certain Chinese companies should be required to register under FARA..

“Chinese companies—particularly powerful ones—are all arms of the Chinese Communist Party and remain ultimately under state control. It’s time our laws recognize that reality. Our bill will close legal loopholes and force lobbyists for Chinese companies to register as foreign agents," said Cotton.

"Even nominally private Chinese firms are not like normal companies. All Chinese firms, and especially those significant enough to register lobbyists in Washington, D.C., are subject to the extrajudicial direction of the Chinese Communist Party," said Gallagher. "This bill ensures companies subject to the direction of the CCP face appropriate disclosure standards and Americans better understand how our adversaries seek to use the swamp against us." 

Following calls from Rep. Gallagher and Sen. Cotton, the U.S. Department of Defense released lists of Chinese companies affiliated with the People's Liberation Army. Despite the publication of these lists, individuals lobbying on their behalf can still receive exemptions, including for commercial activity, that allow them to register under the less transparent Lobbying Disclosure Act.

OCTOBER 23, 2020

COTTON & GALLAGHER INTRODUCE BILL
TO CLOSE LOBBYING LOOPHOLES 
FOR CHINESE COMPANIES

 

Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) announced they will introduce the Chinese Communist Party Influence Transparency Act, which would close loopholes that allow lobbyists for Chinese companies to avoid registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

 

The bill comes after Rep. Gallagher and Sen. Cotton wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr last month expressing concerns about these loopholes and whether individuals lobbying on behalf of certain Chinese companies should be required to register under FARA. 

 

“Chinese companies—particularly powerful ones—are all arms of the Chinese Communist Party and remain ultimately under state control. It’s time our laws recognize that reality. Our bill will close legal loopholes and force lobbyists for Chinese companies to register as foreign agents," said Cotton.

 

"Even nominally private Chinese firms are not like normal companies. All Chinese firms, and especially those significant enough to register lobbyists in Washington, D.C., are subject to the extrajudicial direction of the Chinese Communist Party," said Gallagher. "This bill ensures companies subject to the direction of the CCP face appropriate disclosure standards and Americans better understand how our adversaries seek to use the swamp against us." 

 

Following calls from Rep. Gallagher and Sen. Cotton, the U.S. Department of Defense released lists of Chinese companies affiliated with the People's Liberation Army. Despite the publication of these lists, individuals lobbying on their behalf can still receive exemptions, including for commercial activity, that allow them to register under the less transparent Lobbying Disclosure Act.

OCTOBER 22, 2020

EARLY VOTING IN OUACHITA COUNTY
Early Voting started on Monday at the Ouachita County Courthouse. According to County Clerk Britt Williford, as of Tuesday afternoon 1147 voters had been through the Courthouse to cast their vote.

Early voting continues through 5 pm November 2nd. Hours to vote are from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturdays and 8 to 5 on Monday November 2nd.

The following voting locations will be open on Friday, October 23rd from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm and Saturday, October 24th from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. They will be open again Friday, October 30th from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm and Saturday, October 31st from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.

Bearden Lion’s Club
Calvary Baptist Church
Chidester City Hall
Elliot Baptist Church
Ross Center (Thrive Church)
The Word Family Church

You can vote at any of the voting sites regardless of where you live in the County.

Remember to take your photo ID with you. Arkansas State Law requires that a picture ID is necessary to vote.

OPED BOARD OF DIRECTORS BOARD MEETING
The OPED Board of Directors will meet on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 10:00 am in the OPED Training Room located at 570 Ben Lane SE, in Camden.

Please wear a mask. Hand sanitizer will be available. Social distancing will be practiced. Packets will be on the tables. The meeting is open to the public, but an RSVP is required.
The agenda is as follows:
Call to Order                                                                       Jim Golden
Audience Participation                                                   Jim Golden
Approval of Minutes – September 2020                  Chuck Sponer
Financial Reports – September 2020                        James Nixon
Overview of Contacts-Ext. Director                           James Lee Silliman
OPED Budget Committee Update                             Dotty Harris
Nominations Committee-Officers/Executive Committee Reese Broadnax
Workforce Presentation                                                Reese Broadnax
Old Business
Future Fit Update                                                            Karmen House 
AEDC's Competitive Communities                            James Lee Silliman
Open Discussion                                                               Jim Golden                        
Adjournment                                                                    Jim Golden

Next Scheduled Board Meeting – November 11, 2020

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE S.T.O.P. PROGRAM
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division has selected 15 playgrounds as participants in the Shade Trees on Playgrounds program.

Schools selected in South Arkansas include McGehee High School, Gardner Strong Elementary School in Strong, Smackover Pre-school in Norphlet, and William Jefferson Clinton Primary School in Hope.

The Shade Trees on Playgrounds Program was organized to lower adult skin cancer risk by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight where children play, like school playgrounds.

Winning schools receive five shade trees, mulch, watering supplies, and planting guidelines after participating in program training.

"The STOP program combines hands-on, outdoor experiences with classroom curriculum about the importance of trees and how to care for trees," said Kristine Kimbro Thomason, Urban & Community Forestry Program coordinator.

Schools are invited to submit S.T.O.P. applications annually. To qualify, participating schools must lack shade, participate in a virtual S.T.O.P. workshop, agree to use Forestry Division curriculum to emphasize the importance of trees and forestry in Arkansas, hold a tree-planting ceremony with students, and agree to long-term maintenance of the planted.
 

SAU BOARD OF TRUSTEES SET OCTOBER 29TH VIRTUAL MEETING
MAGNOLIA – The Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in the Reynolds Center Grand Hall on the campus of SAU.

Board members and presenters only will meet face-to-face. Guests are invited to attend this public meeting virtually via Zoom on smartphone, laptop or desktop by logging in https://zoom.us/j/94946865567?pwd=OUl4SjBQMW04d3c2WWJoM3QxaWUydz09 and using the meeting ID 949 4686 5567.

To join the meeting via audio only, dial 1-312-626-6799, using meeting ID 949 4686 5567.

Agenda items include comments from Dr. Trey Berry, SAU’s president; Dr. Jason Morrison, SAU Tech’s chancellor; SAU refunding bond pricing presented by Shawana Reed, vice president for Finance; SAU Tech program changes presented by Dr. Valerie Wilson, vice chancellor of SAU Tech; SAU program changes, presented by Dr. David Lanoue, SAU’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; SAU’s 2019-20 Minority Recruitment and Retention Annual Report, presented by Lanoue; SAU Tech’s 2019-20 Minority Recruitment and Retention Annual Report, presented by Jenny Sanders; Memorandum of Understanding, presented by Josh Kee, SAU’s vice president for Advancement; SAU’s 2018-2019 Legislative Audit, presented by Reed; SAU Tech’s 2018-2019 Legislative Audit, presented by Gaye Manning, vice chancellor, and personnel changes, to be discussed in executive session.

HOW COVID-19 HAS CHANGED THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS FOREVER
(StatePoint) The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed how business gets done. And when it comes to midsized and small businesses, the importance of investing in new technology, facilitating remote work and maintaining a tech-savvy workforce has never been so clear, according to a new survey.

Conducted by The Harris Poll for CIT Group Inc., a leading national bank focused on empowering businesses and personal savers, the survey of leaders of U.S. middle-market and small businesses is designed to illuminate the intersection of technology and talent.

Compared to last year’s survey, significantly more leaders today believe continuous technological investment is a business requirement.

“The resiliency and flexibility that technology can deliver businesses has been convincingly proven by COVID-19,” says David Harnisch, president of CIT’s Commercial Finance division. “Business leaders have taken that lesson to heart and are focused on making technology a fundamental part of their ‘tomorrow thinking’.”

Most executives surveyed wish that they’d invested even more in technology over the past 12 months. In fact, more than three in four middle market executives believe investments in technology would have helped their company fare better during the pandemic. For small businesses, roughly half felt similarly.

However, there’s little question how important technology will be going forward, with the majority of respondents saying it’s crucial to future success.

Seemingly determined not to repeat the mistake of under-investing, the majority plan to invest as much or more in their business over the next 12 months as compared to the past year. Only 15% of small businesses say they may invest less this coming year, likely due to financial constraints resulting from the pandemic.

“Small businesses don’t always have the financial resources that larger enterprises often enjoy,” says Ken Martin, managing director of CIT’s Small Business Solutions group. “When investments are imperative, borrowing or leasing may be the right solution to acquiring the technology needed to remain competitive.”

When it comes to these upgrades, investments that make it easier for employees to work remotely are a clear priority. Over the next 12 months, 71% of middle market executives and 31% of small business leaders who plan to invest will spend on technology that facilitates remote work.

“It’s not just a matter of convenience. Businesses that empower employees to work remotely have a clear competitive advantage,” says Denise Menelly, CIT's executive vice president and head of Technology and Operations.

This is a trend that’s likely here to stay. Approximately a quarter of small businesses operating remotely expect -- and want -- these changes to remain permanent after COVID-19 subsides, and about 40% of middle market executives expect the same, with some seeing it as a means to grow the company.

However, this digital transformation puts a premium on a tech-savvy workforce able to support customers and collaborate with colleagues remotely. While many believe their current workforce has the skills to keep up, businesses are also substantially more likely than last year to say companies need to focus on hiring tech-savvy talent.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty for small and midsized businesses, it has in many ways clarified what’s needed to remain successful in an evolving world.

 

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES PROGRAM CREATES NEW OUTDOORS OPPORTUNITIES FOR ARKANSAS SCHOOLS, STUDENTS
LITTLE ROCK — Thanks to a partnership between the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation, Arkansas schools can now add semester-length programs focused on outdoor recreation that qualify for a Physical Education credit.

The Outdoor Adventures curriculum developed by OTF has been taught in more than 600 schools in 37 states, meeting all requirements to be used as a co-ed Physical Education course, a local elective or an Agricultural Science Wildlife Management course. 

The program differs from the many educator resources currently available from the AGFC by including a rounded list of lesson plans and curriculum to support a full semester of outdoor education. 

“We have Hunter Education and Boater Education in many schools, as well as our [Arkansas National Archery in the Schools] and Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports as after-school activities for students to engage with us,” Hollie Sanders, assistant chief of education for the AGFC. “But we just can’t devote the staff time to be available at all of the schools in the state for a full semester at a time. This partnership bridges that gap.”

In addition to conservation concepts, the curriculum offered in Outdoor Adventures includes activities such as angling, archery, camping, wilderness survival, outdoor cooking, fly-tying and paddlesports. More than 34 units are available for teachers to choose from to mold the program to fit their students and community. Many of the AGFC’s other programs are addressed, letting students know about the many ways they can become more involved in the outdoors.

“I wish we had things like this when I was in school,” Sanders said. “Instead of only being exposed to traditional sports like softball and volleyball, we could have also had an opportunity to go outside to shoot a bow or a slingshot, maybe learn how to paddle a canoe or fish. Outdoors skills are healthy forms of exercise people may enjoy for the rest of their life, well beyond their youth, and you don’t have to be the most athletic person in the room to excel at them.”

The AGFC even has a way to offset the cost of implementing the program through its conservation education grants. 

“The program costs $1,000 for the curriculum, but the school will receive a matching amount of $1,000 for the supplies needed for classes,” Sanders said. “In the future that first $1,000 may be eligible for conservation education grants collected from fine money, so it’s possible to start the program with zero cost to the school. Schools that already have equipment from other AGFC programs may be able to work from that end, using that equipment as the match for the curriculum cost. They just need to reach out to OTR and the AGFC to see how we can get this program started at their location.”

Even if educators cannot find a way to fit the Outdoors Adventures program in their schedules this year, Sanders says the AGFC has many other resources available to help them deliver the conservation and outdoor education message, despite challenges brought about by COVID-19.

“We’ve adapted many of our traditional programs to meet the needs of educators while maintaining the current need for social distancing,” Sanders said. “We can deliver many teacher workshops for professional development and classroom programs through online meeting platforms and can work with our educators to make sure our youth have the opportunity to learn about Arkansas’s great outdoors and find their outside.”

Visit www.agfc.com/en/education or call 501-223-6300 to learn more about education programs offiered by the AGFC. For more information on signing up for the Outdoor Adventures program, contact Scot McClure at 972-504-9008 or email scot@GoOTF.com.

RANKIN COLLEGE OF BUSINESS TO HONOR THREE INDUCTEES IN 2020 HALL OF FAME CLASS
MAGNOLIA -- The David F. Rankin College of Business at Southern Arkansas University proudly announces the 2020 Hall of Fame Class honoring three inductees who exhibit outstanding professional achievement, remarkable peer leadership, and exceptional support for the Rankin College of Business.

The second Hall of Fame class includes Dr. David Rankin, president-emeritus of SAU; Mr. Ron LeMay, managing director and co-founder of OpenAir Equity Partners and CEO of Main Street Data; and business honoree Murphy Oil Corporation.

According to Dr. Robin Sronce, dean of the Rankin College of Business, the Hall of Fame “recognizes and memorializes remarkable business leaders and organizations for professional success, community service and dedication to SAU and the College of Business.”

“We are appreciative of the impact this year’s inductees have made on our University and the students in the College of Business,” said Dr. Sronce. “We are excited to be able to honor them through their induction into our Hall of Fame.”

Dr. Rankin earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas, an MBA from Louisiana Tech University, and a PhD in Finance from the University of Mississippi. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

He retired as president of SAU on June 30, 2015, and was named President Emeritus. He served SAU for 46 years, the last 13 as president. He also served as the dean of the College of Business and professor of finance and economics.

His ambitious “Blue and Gold Vision,” SAU’s first capital campaign, raised more than $100 million for numerous campus projects. With the addition of the Governor Ben and Lucile Laney farm and the 400-acre Ted Monroe farm the University more than doubled in size to a total of 1,892 acres.

Rankin facilitated growth for SAU’s quality academic programs, adding many cutting-edge programs to SAU’s comprehensive list of degrees.

He served as the Economic Advisor to Arkansas Governors and as Chairman of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. He is a George Washington Honor Medal recipient from the Freedoms Foundation for Excellence in Economic Education. He served as Chair of then-Governor Mike Huckabee’s Summit on Economic Development in 1998, as Chair of the Golden Triangle Economic Development Council, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Council of Economic Education. Rankin has also served on the NCAA Division II National Presidents’ Council and the NCAA Long-Range Planning Task Force.

He is the author of What Every American Needs to Know About Economics released in 2018.

LeMay is a successful corporate executive, serial entrepreneur and early stage investor with more than 50 years of experience. OpenAir Equity Partners specializes in broadband communications and the “Internet of Things” associated with related data science investments. Its portfolio companies focus on connected car, home, aircraft and agricultural machinery businesses to access and shape data into solutions that revolutionize business processes, companies and industries.

Previously, LeMay served as president-COO of Sprint. As the first employee and CEO of Sprint PCS, LeMay guided the company from start-up to $10 billion in annual revenue and grew the company to 35,000 employees in four years. On retiring from Sprint in 2003, LeMay served as CEO of Japan Telecom, where he orchestrated the company’s turn-around and successful sale to SoftBank, producing the highest internal rate of return of any multi-billion-dollar private equity exit.

In addition, he is a co-founder of GoGo Inflight Internet Services, the leading global broadband in-flight Internet service. LeMay co-founded Hyla Mobile, the company that invented the wireless device trade-in program for carriers, which is now the global leader in that space. He is co-founder of Conexion Connect, an operator of fiber to the home networks in rural America. LeMay has served on eight public company boards and numerous private company boards over the past 20 years.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Murphy Oil Corporation is an independent exploration and production company with a balanced portfolio of global offshore and onshore assets. Murphy produces oil and natural gas in the United States and Canada and conducts exploration activities worldwide. Murphy has deep roots in south Arkansas and had its corporate headquarters in El Dorado until earlier this year when it consolidated all of its worldwide offices to Houston. Murphy has supported SAU for many years through different initiatives including the Murphy Lecture Series. The company has employed many SAU graduates through the years.

The Rankin College of Business will host this year’s inductees in the Leadership Challenge Speaker Series at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22 via Zoom. The induction ceremony for the second Hall of Fame class will be delayed until 2021, due to COVID. These distinguished honorees will join the inaugural inductees from 2019, which includes the late Mr. Louis Blanchard, Dr. Ron J. Ponder, and Peoples Bank.
 

COTTON & LOEFFLER TO AG BARR: INVESTIGATE RACIAL SEGREGATION IN SCHOOLS
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr urging the Department of Justice to investigate apparent racial segregation in schools, particularly on college campuses.

“Sadly, there is evidence that segregation is a growing trend, especially on college campuses. A report released last year by the National Association of Scholars compiled hundreds of instances where college campuses have established or allowed programs or activities that are segregated on the basis of race, color, or national origin. That includes segregated residence halls, commencement ceremonies, cultural centers, student and alumni groups, ‘safe spaces,’ and even classes,” the senators wrote.

The full text of the letter may be found below.
The Honorable William Barr
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Barr,

I write to bring your attention to an alarming trend of apparent racial segregation in schools in the United States. These cases appear to violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in federally funded programs or activities. I urge the Department of Justice to investigate these and similar cases as part of our nation’s commitment to equality before the law.

On September 8, the Center for Social Justice and Inclusion at the University of Michigan-Dearborn hosted two virtual “cafes,” or online discussion groups, that were segregated on the basis of race, with moderators also segregated on the basis of race. The cafes were advertised as opportunities for students “to gather and discuss their experience” on campus and in the world as members of a particular racial group.

This discussion series included separate events for “BIPOC” students—a politically correct neologism that stands for “Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color”—and “non-POC,” or white, students. In plain English, the University of Michigan appears to have created “whites-only” and “non-whites-only” events, in a manner reminiscent of the doctrine of racial segregation overturned by Brown v. Board of Education. The University of Michigan’s chancellor later apologized for the events and reaffirmed the school’s “commitment to an inclusive campus community.” The school now maintains the race-based events “were never intended to be exclusive or exclusionary for individuals of a certain race.”

Similarly, on August 7, the University of Kentucky’s Bias Incident Support Service hosted segregated training sessions for resident assistants, “one for RAs who identify as Black, Indigenous, Person of Color and one for RAs who identify as White.” The training for non-white students was called “Healing Space for Staff of Color,” while the training for white students was called the “White Accountability Space.” While resident assistants received invitations to both trainings, they were “expected to attend only one that corresponds best to your identity,” according to an email from the University. Students who attended the “whites-only” meeting were provided with supplementary materials that listed “common racist behaviors and attitudes of white people.” One of the examples on the list was segregation.

Sadly, there is evidence that segregation is a growing trend, especially on college campuses. A report released last year by the National Association of Scholars compiled hundreds of instances where college campuses have established or allowed programs or activities that are segregated on the basis of race, color, or national origin. That includes segregated residence halls, commencement ceremonies, cultural centers, student and alumni groups, “safe spaces,” and even classes.

College administrators often rationalize these forms of racial segregation, claiming they give members of certain racial groups, especially minority groups, spaces where they can discuss shared concerns and issues. Thus, these defenders attempt to portray racial segregation as a tool to further diversity. Some defenders of these practices further claim that segregated facilities and events protect racial minorities from racism that supposedly is endemic in our nation’s schools.

Whatever the rationale, the effect of racial segregation is to divide the student body on a college campus, creating racial or ethnic enclaves. This practice heightens racial consciousness while discouraging students from thinking of themselves as part of one nation that encompasses members of all races.

Racial segregation is antithetical to our nation’s creed, expressed in the Founding documents, that “all men are 

created equal.” Segregation also is illegal under multiple federal laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act states that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” The practices outlined above appear to violate the plain text and intent of the Civil Rights Act. I thus urge you to investigate these and similar cases of racial segregation in our nation’s schools, enforcing the law as written and bringing offenders into “prompt and full compliance” with the law.

Sincerely,
 

COTTON, ROSEN URGE BULGARIA TO DESIGNATE HEZBOLLAH AS TERRORIST ENTITY 
Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada) sent a letter to the Bulgarian Ambassador to the United States Tihomir Stoytchev expressing appreciation for Bulgaria's recent sentencing in absentia of Hezbollah operatives responsible for the 2012 bombing of a bus of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria and encouraging Bulgaria to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist entity in its entirety.

"The time is right for concrete actions from our European allies to hold Hezbollah accountable. The Burgas attacks convinced the European Union in 2013 to designate the so-called 'military wing' of Hezbollah, but not its 'political wing,' as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah's political leadership does not itself recognize this division. In designating Hezbollah as a terrorist group, Bulgaria would reject this false distinction and set a bold example for the rest of the European Union to follow," the Senators write.
 

COTTON, BOOZMAN EXPRESS CONCERN OVER TRICARE PRESCRIPTION FULFILLMENT
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and John Boozman (R-Arkansas) sent a letter to the Defense Health Agency expressing concern over current policy that requires Tricare beneficiaries to fill certain prescriptions through Express Scripts with no option to use local pharmacies. 

“We applaud Tricare’s use of retal pharmacies by allowing beneficiaries to obtain vaccinations and other services at their local pharmacy. As you know in addition to dispensing medications and vaccines, local community pharmacists provide many valued and cost-saving services. Examples include: medication adherence services, access to health tests, and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Local and community pharmacies are considered healthcare providers to our veterans and service members living in rural areas,” the Senators write.

The letter requests the Defense Health Agency answer the following questions.

How is DHA monitoring the delivery of medication from mail-in pharmacies to beneficiaries to ensure it arrives in a timely manner?  
How is DHA monitoring the availability of prescription medications and alerting beneficiaries that their prescription drug is in short supply?  
One benefit of using local and community pharmacies to fill prescription medications is the support these pharmacies offer by answering questions regarding dosage, side effects, and other concerns of the beneficiary. How is DHA ensuring that beneficiaries receive equivalent support from mail-in pharmacies? 
Is there a course of action beneficiaries can pursue if they are unsatisfied with the delivery or availability of medication or support from the mail-in pharmacies?  

 

BOOZMAN MEETS WITH SUPREME COURT NOMINEE JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT 


U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after meeting with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to serve as Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court: 

“While her legal and academic resume were already well known, the Judiciary Committee’s hearings gave the country an opportunity to see Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s exceptional intellect and calm demeanor on display. The manner in which she handled the intense questioning exceeded my already high expectations and reaffirmed my view that Judge Barrett will respect her Constitutional role, rather than attempt to legislate from the bench. I appreciate that Judge Barrett took the time to discuss her nomination with me and look forward to casting my vote to confirm her to serve on the Supreme Court in the coming days.”


SENATE DEMOCRATS REJECT MUCH-NEEDED COVID-19 RELIEF ONCE AGAIN
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement following Senate Democrats’ filibuster of targeted coronavirus relief legislation that would offer further support to American families, workers, small businesses, schools and front line health care workers:

“Americans have to be tired of watching Senate Democrats block multiple efforts to provide them with relief during this difficult period. 

My colleagues and I put forth yet another responsible, targeted relief bill focused on getting Americans back to work, back to school and back to some sense of normalcy. Instead of working with us to pass this bill, Senate Democrats continue to state Speaker Pelosi’s bill—which comes with a multi-trillion dollar price tag, and funds programs which have nothing to do with COVID-19 needs—is all they will accept.

This is not the issue to play politics with. Our nation is simultaneously facing a public health emergency and an economic crisis at the same time. This chamber has a responsibility to act. I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to stop focusing on their own political wishes. Instead, they ought to start focusing on defeating the virus and helping those who are struggling to get through these unprecedented times.”


 

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES $500,000 JUDGMENT AGAINST OWNER OF 
FRADULENT TIMESHARE EXIT COMPANY

Says, ‘judgment sends a message to dishonest timeshare exit companies'
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a judgment against Bart Bowe, co-owner of Bentonville, Arkansas-based Real Travel, LLC. Real Travel and its owners, Bowe and Brian Scroggs, charged consumers exorbitant fees but did not deliver on their guarantees to help consumers transfer or cancel their timeshare property interests. Rutledge filed a lawsuit against Real Travel, Bowe and Scroggs under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for their deceptive acts and illegal misrepresentations to consumers. The judgment requires that Bowe pay $50,000 in restitution and $450,000 in suspended civil penalties.

“Good, hardworking people were promised a service they did not get. Instead, they were left with unwanted timeshares and additional debt.” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This judgment sends a message to other dishonest timeshare exit companies that seek to take thousands of dollars from unsuspecting timeshare owners.”

The lawsuit, filed in July 2019, alleged that Real Travel sold timeshare exit services to consumers nationwide. In exchange for a fee ranging from approximately $5,000 to $18,000, Real Travel convinced consumers through deception, high-pressure sales tactics, and a so-called “100% Guarantee” that it would liquidate, cancel, or transfer their unwanted timeshares. However, Real Travel failed to honor their agreements with consumers, leaving consumers burdened with the ownership of their unwanted timeshares, all the associated costs and fees and the additional unnecessary costs of Real Travel’s illusory services. During the investigation, the Attorney General’s Office discovered 83 consumers impacted by Real Travel’s illegal acts.

Under the consent judgment in this case, Bowe will no longer be able to conduct any business related to timeshares or timeshare exit businesses in Arkansas. The State is still pursuing a judgment against Real Travel and Scroggs in Benton County Circuit Court.

Consumers can file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office on ArkansasAG.gov or by calling (800) 482-8982.

OCTOBER 21, 2020

ISSUE 3 - CHANGING ARKANSAS' CITIZEN INITIATIVE PROCESS, VOTES REQUIRED FOR LEGISLATIVE BALLOT ISSUE PROPOSALS AND PUBLICATION REQUIREMENTS
This amendment asks voters to approve changes to three parts of the Arkansas Constitution, which would impact how proposed ballot measures make it on the ballot for voter approval as well as publication requirements for legislative proposals.

First, the amendment would change Article 5, Section 1 of the Arkansas Constitution, known as “Initiatives and Referendum.” The proposed changes would:

Change the date when voter signatures are due for statewide ballot measures proposed by the public. Instead of four months ahead of the general election, the due date would be set as January 15 of the election year.

Increase the number of counties where voter signatures must be collected for statewide ballot measures and referendums proposed by the public, from 15 counties to 45 counties.

Establish April 15 of the election year as the deadline for filing lawsuits challenging statewide ballot measures proposed by the public.

Eliminate the ability of statewide ballot issue groups to collect and submit additional signatures from voters to put a proposed constitutional amendment, state law or referendum on the ballot if the first round of signatures submitted to the Secretary of State does not meet the threshold. This is often called a “cure period.”

Eliminate the cure period for local ballot measures on a city or county-wide ballot if the first round of signatures submitted to the city or county clerk does not meet the threshold.

Eliminate a section requiring that a person challenging the validity of a ballot issue petition in court has the burden to prove the petition is invalid. The impact of this change is not clear.

Add a sentence to the constitution that extends a deadline that falls on a weekend or holiday, to the next day that isn’t a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.

Second, the amendment would make changes to Article 19, Section 22 of the Arkansas Constitution, known as “Miscellaneous Provisions.” The proposed changes would:

Increase the number of votes needed by state legislators to refer a constitutional amendment to voters, from a simple majority of legislators in each house of the General Assembly to 3/5 of the members in each house. This is a change from 50% to 60% of legislators in each house.

Delete a requirement that constitutional amendments proposed by the legislature be published in a newspaper in each county for six months ahead of the election. Instead, the proposed amendment would be published “in a manner provided by law.” No additional definition is provided.

Third, the amendment would make changes to Amendment 70, Section 2 of the Arkansas Constitution impacting how legislators propose a constitutional amendment changing salaries of elected state officials. This new section would:

Delete a requirement that proposed constitutional amendments affecting the salary of statewide elected officials and legislators be published in a newspaper in each county for six months ahead of the election. Similar to proposed changes to Article 19 listed above, an amendment proposed under this section would be published “in a matter provided by law.” No additional definition is provided.

Add a sentence to the constitution that would require constitutional amendments proposed under this section to comply with requirements in Article 19, Section 22. This would effectively increase the number of votes needed by state legislators to refer salary-based constitutional amendments to voters from a simple majority of legislators in each house to 3/5 of all members in each house. This is a change from 50% to 60% of legislators in each house.

How did Issue 3 get on the ballot?
Arkansas senators and representatives voted last year to put Issue 3 on the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot for voters to decide.

Who is supporting or opposing this measure?

Supporters and opponents that spend money to campaign are required to register with the Arkansas Ethics Commission as a ballot or legislative question committee. Visit the Commission's website to view these filings, which include names of people behind a group and how much money has been raised or spent. 

Multiple groups have filed with the Arkansas Ethics Commission to financially support or oppose Issue 3.

STATE POLICE CID CONTINUES INVESTIGATIVE WORK IN SHARP COUNTY HOMICIDES & ASSAULT
OCTOBER 20, 2020)
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing their work today assisting Sharp County sheriff’s deputies in developing leads and collecting evidence connected to the apparent murders of two women and the assault on a third.  Officers of the Cherokee Village and Highland Police Departments have also joined the investigations.
Agents were called to 28 Warpath Drive in Cherokee Village before noon yesterday (Monday, October 19th) where the body of Hayleigh Gruger, 23, was discovered by local authorities inside the victim’s home.
During the course of processing the Warpath Street crime scene, state police CID special agents were sent to a second crime scene at 101 FM Road in Highland, southeast of Cherokee Village.
Debra Compton, 41, was transported from the Highland address to an area hospital where she is being treated for a stab wound sustained while she was in a vehicle with two men traveling in the area.  One of the men fled the crime scene and was later taken into custody by state police special agents.  The 24 year-old man is considered a suspect in the attack on Compton and the deaths of Gruger and a third woman.
Late yesterday Sharp County deputies and state police special agents located the body of Linda Janny, 72, in her home at 1 Lakeshore Drive, Cherokee Village.
The bodies of Gruger and Janny have been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where autopsy examinations have begun to determine when the deaths occurred and each victim’s manner and cause of death.
Information related to any criminal charges that may be filed against the lone suspect will be released by the Sharp County Sheriff’s Department.  

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 21, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 342
Confirmed Cases: 328
Probable Cases: 14
Total Active Cases: 40
Active Confirmed Cases: 35
Active Probable Cases: 5
Total Recovered Cases: 294
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 285
Recovered Probable Cases: 9
Total Deaths: 8
Confirmed Deaths: 8
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 1081
Confirmed Cases: 980
Probable Cases: 101
Total Active Cases: 36
Active Confirmed Cases: 19
Active Probable Cases: 17
Total Recovered Cases: 998
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 919
Recovered Probable Cases: 79
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 660
Confirmed Cases: 581
Probable Cases: 79
Total Active Cases: 44
Active Confirmed Cases: 32
Active Probable Cases: 12
Total Recovered Cases: 597
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 530
Recovered Probable Cases: 67
Total Deaths: 19
Confirmed Deaths: 19
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 177
Confirmed Cases: 175
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 5
Active Confirmed Cases: 5
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 167
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 165
Recovered Probable Cases: 2
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 44
Confirmed Cases: 43
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 6
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 38
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 37
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 100,441
Confirmed Cases: 94,418
Probable Cases: 6,023
Recovered Cases: 90,283

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE SUES MONOPOLIST GOOGLE FOR VIOLATING ANTITRUST LAWS
Arkansas joins DOJ and ten other states in filing complaint against Google to restore competition in search and search advertising markets
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced filing a civil antitrust lawsuit jointly with the U.S. Department of Justice and ten state attorneys general in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to prevent Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets.

“Most Americans think it is free to ‘Google’ something, but it comes at a cost and that cost is the freedom to choose the best products from the best companies,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Attorney General, I am charged with the responsibility of protecting the citizens of our state and while I want businesses to thrive, I will do everything in my power to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair practices.”

As alleged in the complaint, Google, being one of the wealthiest and most powerful companies on the planet with a market value of $1 trillion, entered into a series of exclusionary agreements to lock up the primary avenues through which users access search engines, and thus the internet. By requiring that Google be set as the default or exclusive search engine on billions of mobile devices and computers worldwide, Google solidified its lead as the primary search engine in the United States, accounting for almost 90 percent of all search queries. In particular, the complaint alleges that Google has unlawfully maintained monopolies in search and search advertising by:

Entering into exclusivity agreements that forbid pre-installation of any competing search service.
Entering into tying and other arrangements that force pre-installation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices and make them undeletable, regardless of consumer preference.
Entering into long-term agreements with Apple that require Google to be the default – and de facto exclusive – general search engine on Apple’s popular Safari browser and other Apple search tools.
Generally using monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, web browsers, and other search access points, creating a continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization.
These and other anticompetitive practices harm competition and consumers, reducing the ability of innovative new companies to develop, compete and discipline Google’s behavior.

By restricting competition in search, Google’s conduct has harmed consumers by reducing the quality of search (including on dimensions such as privacy, data protection and use of consumer data), lessening choice in search, and impeding innovation. By suppressing competition in advertising, Google has the power to charge advertisers more than it could in a competitive market and to reduce the quality of the services it provides them. Through filing the lawsuit, Arkansas seeks to stop Google’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition for American consumers, advertisers and all companies now reliant on the internet economy.

In addition to Rutledge and the Department of Justice, the other participating state Attorneys General offices represent Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina and Texas.

 

October 20, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID UPDATE – OCTOBER 20, 2020
Arkansas hit a grim milestone on Tuesday with the state topping 100,000 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in the spring.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the new figures during his weekly COVID-19 Taskforce press conference Tuesday afternoon. He reported 840 new cases since Monday, raising Arkansas' overall total to 100,437. During the same period deaths increased by 14 to a total of 1,576. Hospitalizations saw another increase on Tuesday, raising by 24 to 637. Arkansas testing positivity rate remains around 7.6 percent - below the CDC's goal of eight percent or less. 

Hutchinson's press conference marked his 153rd since the pandemic began. But, it was the first to be held entirely through a virtual setting. That was made necessary, Hutchinson said, after he was informed on Monday of his proximity to a confirmed case of COVID-19 during a meeting last week. So far Hutchinson has himself tested negative for the virus. Due to caution however Tuesday's press conference was held virtually with state officials and media. 

Hutchinson provided a bright spot during Tuesday's meeting with Arkansas' latest unemployment data. That data continues to track a downward trend in Arkansas' unemployment rate. The rate dropped slightly from 7.4 percent in August to 7.3 in September. The national unemployment rate remains around 8.4 percent.

Arkansas Secretary of Health Jose Romero spoke briefly to stress the importance of Arkansas' mask mandate. He said no other practice can do more to help curb the increasing growth COVID-19 cases in the state. 

Before concluding Tuesday's press conference, Hutchinson called for a voluntary, statewide day of prayer this Sunday.  He said this would be a way for Arkansans to remember those who've died due to COVID-19 and that strength is still needed for the weeks and months ahead.

In review, Arkansas topped 100,000 cumulative cases on Tuesday with 840 new cases reported over the past 24 hours. Deaths increased by 14 to 1,576 while hospitalizations saw a net increase of 24 to 637. State health officials reported a net decrease in active cases for the second day in a row but exact figures were not immediately available. We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments. 


BALLOT ISSUE #2
Issue Number 2 is a constitutional amendment to amend the term limits applicable to members of the General Assembly, to be known as the “Arkansas Term Limits Amendment.

This amendment asks voters to eliminate life-time term limits for state legislators. Prohibit future legislators from serving more than 12 years in a row. Legislators who serve the full 12 years consecutively would be allowed to hold office again once four years have passed since their last term expired.  It Includes two-year senate terms resulting from apportionment after a census in calculating the years of consecutive service for legislators elected after January 1, 2021. Currently, this two-year partial term does not count toward term limits. It will also allow current legislators and any legislators elected this November to serve under the current term limit amendment, which allows them to serve 16 years consecutively or non-consecutively. They would be eligible to hold office in the future once four years have passed from their last term expiring.

How did Issue 2 get on the ballot? Arkansas senators and representatives voted last year to put Issue 2 on the November 3, 2020 ballot for voters to decide.

Who is supporting or opposing this measure?

Supporters and opponents that spend money to campaign on this issue are required to register with the Arkansas Ethics Committee as a ballot or legislative question committee and file reports disclosing who has donated money and how the money was spent. 

As of August 21, 2020, no group has filed with the Arkansas Ethics Commission to officially support or oppose this measure. This issue is being challenged in court with a lawsuit filed to strike it from the ballot. 
 

HAMPTON SCHOOL DISTRICT BREAKS GROUND ON 5- ACRE SOLAR FARM 
Hampton Schools Collaborate with Today’s Power, Inc. to Construct 770-kW Solar Array on Campus 
LITTLE ROCK & HAMPTON, ARK, October 15, 2020 –Hampton School District (HSD) groundbreaking in partnership with North Little Rock's Today's Power, Inc. (TPI) to announce the school district’s new Solar project. The solar project will encompass 5 acres of land and will be owned and operated by TPI. All energy generated by the array will be sold under a 20-year Solar Power Services Agreement (SPSA) to HSD. 

"The Hampton City School District is proud to be part of a venture like this, according to HSD Superintendent Doug Worley. Seeing our community embrace solar power, our school board sought an innovative way to take be fiscally responsible and respecting our environment. As a cornerstone of the Hampton community, we saw this opportunity as a method to impact the lives of our students and the entire community. “ 

In an area with ample renewable energy use, these projects are just another example of how solar power saves and are a stable long-term investment 

Sited near the Hampton Highschool, the HSD array will be a 770-kW single-axis tracking array, and it is expected to produce over 90% of the districts energy needs by generating approximately 1,240,000 kWh each year. Ouachita Electric Cooperative will provide the remaining energy needs of the District. 

In April 2020, the HSD school board began pursuing solar-powered opportunities by creating and distributing a request for proposal (RFP) from qualified solar vendors with the goal of reducing operating expenses. The contract was awarded to TPI after the complete RFP process was completed. 

“This is yet another project in a region where solar power is widely installed that exemplifies Solar’s ability for economic and environmental savings. TPI is excited to partner with HSD to help reduce costs so more of the school’s funds can go to educational purposes” said Michael Henderson, President of TPI.  

Construction of the 2,052-panel solar system will begin in December 2020 and will be ready to produce clean, affordable energy late in the first quarter of 2021. 

Today’s Power was created in November 2014 by Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) to serve Arkansas’ electric cooperatives but our fellow cooperatives in neighboring states and municipals quickly learned of our program and wanted a “known business partner” to provide their solar system. 

Today's Power is now one of the most qualified renewable energy companies in the nation with more utility scale solar and storage projects than any Arkansas based company. 

As an integral part of helping the electric cooperative and public power sector serve their members who are interested in solar and emerging technologies, Today's Power also designs advanced renewable energy systems for residential and commercial and industrial customers of all sizes. 

Hampton School District is a public-school district based in Hampton, AR. The school district encompasses 479.67 square miles of land. Hampton School District is the only public-school district in Calhoun County. The city of Hampton is conveniently located 30 miles north of El Dorado, AR and 25 miles east of Camden, AR. 

Hampton School District serves over 600 students from the communities of Hampton, Harrell, Tinsman, and Locust Bayou. The district consists of one comprehensive high school, one elementary school, and one pre-k school. Hampton employs approximately 100 faculty and staff members.

 

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 19, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 336
Confirmed Cases: 324
Probable Cases: 12
Total Active Cases: 40
Active Confirmed Cases: 37
Active Probable Cases: 3
Total Recovered Cases: 289
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 280
Recovered Probable Cases: 9
Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 1073
Confirmed Cases: 976
Probable Cases: 97
Total Active Cases: 32
Active Confirmed Cases: 18
Active Probable Cases: 14
Total Recovered Cases: 994
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 916
Recovered Probable Cases: 78
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 658
Confirmed Cases: 580
Probable Cases: 78
Total Active Cases: 55
Active Confirmed Cases: 39
Active Probable Cases: 16
Total Recovered Cases: 584
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 522
Recovered Probable Cases: 62
Total Deaths: 19
Confirmed Deaths: 19
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 177
Confirmed Cases: 175
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 5
Active Confirmed Cases: 6
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 166
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 167
Recovered Probable Cases: 2
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 42
Confirmed Cases: 41
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 4
Active Confirmed Cases: 4
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 38
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 37
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

BOOZMAN CELEBRATES WINSLOW FAMILY AS 2020 ANGELS IN ADOPTION
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized Dawn Curtis and the late Danny Curtis for their commitment to providing a loving home to children in need and making a difference for other families throughout the region. Boozman nominated the couple from Winslow, Arkansas for the 2020 Congressional Angels in Adoption award and talked with Dawn to celebrate this recognition via a Zoom meeting on Tuesday.

The Curtises have 12 children, including 10 they adopted from foster care, and have been advocates for adoption and the needs of children through their careers and personal lives.

“The Curtis family is an amazing example of putting love into action. Their personal commitment changed the lives of the children they brought into their family and serves as an inspiration for others as to the impact of foster care and adoption. I’m proud to recognize Mrs. Curtis and her late husband for their inspiring work on behalf of children and families in Arkansas,” Boozman said.

The couple first became adoptive parents after seeing a photo album of children in foster care at a booth hosted by the Arkansas Department of Human Services at a local Walmart. They fell in love with the picture of a four-year-old girl and learned she had three brothers. The siblings had been in the foster care system for three years and multiple homes when the couple adopted all four of the children.

After their first adoption experience, Dawn decided to follow her passion to work with children in foster care and obtained her master’s degree in social work. She went on to work for the Arkansas Department of Human Services and served in a variety of roles during her career, including as an Adoption Specialist. During these years, the family was approached to consider adopting others in foster care and eventually added six additional children to their home.

Danny worked for many years as a police officer and a bus driver while caring for his growing family. Danny and Dawn also visited Washington, D.C. on several occasions to advocate for adoption and children in foster care. The 12 Curtis children span 20 years of age and are all adults now, but the example and dedication of their parents continues to move everyone around them.

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) coordinates the Angels in Adoption program and raises awareness about the tens of thousands of orphans and foster children in the United States, and the millions of orphans around the world in need of permanent homes.

“The Angels in Adoption program gives a platform to the families, advocates, and experts who so often serve quietly behind the scenes yet make a huge impact on behalf of children and families. Together with the Adoption Caucus, we are thrilled to shine a light on the extraordinary work of our Angels,” said CCAI’s Executive Director, Nancy Kay Blackwell.

Boozman annually nominates an Arkansan or Arkansas organization that has made an extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of safe and loving homes as an Angel in Adoption.
 

c

COTTON STATEMENT ON DOJ ANTITRUST SUIT AGAINST GOOGLE
Washington, D.C. — Following reports that the Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google earlier today, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement:
“Google’s growth has gone unchecked for too long. Its anticompetitive conduct is harming the public and American business. I commend the Department for finally holding Google accountable. When it comes to big tech, this is just the beginning. Winter is coming.”

OCTOBER 19, 2020

 VOTER EDUCATION 101: HOW DOES AN ISSUE GET ON THE BALLOT?
In Arkansas, there are two ways for an issue to appear on the statewide ballot:
Legislators vote to put issue on the ballot.
Citizens collect enough signatures from registered voters across the state.
 Putting a proposed constitutional amendment or act on the ballot is not an easy task. Legislators whittle down dozens of proposals in committee meetings to arrive at the three proposed constitutional amendments they’re allowed to refer to voters. Citizens must collect thousands of signatures from registered voters in at least 15 counties. For an amendment, citizen groups need signatures from 89,151 registered voters. This is equal to 10% of the number of people who voted in the last governor’s election. For referendums, citizen groups must collect 53,491 voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. This represents 6% of the number of people who voted for governor last time. The Arkansas Secretary of State sent the official statewide ballot to counties on August 20th. Several court challenges that were in place when this voter guide went to print may alter what appears on the ballot for you to decide.
Go to www.uaex.edu/ballot for up-to-date information about the

 

BALLOT ISSUE #1
Issue 1 is an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution continuing a one-half percent (0.5%) sales and use tax for state highways and bridges; county roads, bridges and other surface transportation; and city streets, bridges, and other surface transportation after the retirement of the bonds authorized in Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 91. This ballot initiative proposes making permanent a 0.5% state sales tax that currently helps fund Arkansas’s four-lane highway system, county roads, and city streets, by amending the Arkansas Constitution to include the tax. The existing 0.5% sales tax, which is used partially to repay highway, road and street bonds, is set to expire in June 2023.


What do supporters say?  This tax will support around 3,600 jobs each year and provide $8.2 billion of economic activity over 10 years. This measure helps to pay for highway and road infrastructure without adding new taxes. It is just an extension of an existing tax. It’s not a new tax. If the tax extension doesn’t pass, you’re going to have county judges and mayors looking at their budget sheets thinking I’ve just lost 30% of my road money. Do I take that from other things? Or, do I let my roads further deteriorate? And those are tough questions.  There is a significant need for funding for highways and roads in Arkansas to ensure public safety, repair or replace dangerous bridges, and ensure access to reliable roads. The money could improve close to all of the roads that Arkansans use most. Funds could go towards improving almost all (7,300 out of 7,900) miles of roads that carry 90% of Arkansas traffc.  Funding for highways and roads is a growing problem because most of that funding comes from fuel taxes, which is whittled away by increasing construction costs, increasing fuel efficiency and decreased fuel consumption. Alternative funding sources are necessary.

What do opponents say?  ARDOT cannot take care of its existing roads because it has too many to oversee. If the highway department were to receive $300 million, it would ask for $300 million more. And if it gets that, it would need $300 million more. The amount of funding it receives is never enough.  A huge portion of the tax revenue will go to the 30 Crossing project in Little Rock, an unnecessary “boondoggle” that will benefit only a tiny percentage of Arkansans. ARDOT is currently being sued in state and federal courts for violating environmental and planning regulations on this project as well as using “4 lane highway” tax revenue for expanding these freeways from 6 lanes to 8+ lanes. Expanding I-30 will not perform as well as adding a local street bridge crossing and keeping the freeway 6 lanes.  Many Arkansas lawmakers have pledged not to increase taxes in Arkansas, and this increase would violate that promise.  It is a new tax. If you got a 10-year sentence in jail, and then the judge extended it, that would be an additional sentence.  More and more states have multi-modal transportation programs that fund public transportation. To date, ARDOT has spent virtually no dollars on public transit. 

 

SAU SETS RODEO FOR OCTOBER 22ND THROUGH 24TH
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University’s Intercollegiate Rodeo will be held at Story Arena October 22-24 beginning at 7:00 p.m. nightly. Capacity at this year’s event is limited due to the pandemic, and tickets are available by advance purchase only. Tickets will not be sold at the gate. Paper or electronic tickets (e-tickets) will be accepted.

Tickets may be purchased by visiting muleriderathletics.com/tickets, and pricing remains family friendly: adults $10, youth $5, children under the age of 6 will be admitted free (reserve free ticket online). Admission is free to SAU students, faculty, and staff, but an advance ticket must be reserved online and presented with an SAU ID at the gate.

All current public health guidelines will be enforced. Face coverings will be required to enter and exit the facility, and anytime in transit within the facility. Physical distancing will be monitored and must be maintained among non-family groups/individuals within the arena.

FORT SMITH TEACHER NAMED 2021 ARKANSAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR
LITTLE ROCK — When Susanna Post, a math and business technology teacher at Belle Point Alternative Center in Fort Smith, arrived at school this morning, she had no idea that a huge surprise awaited her. During an 11 a.m. routine, socially-distant, assembly, Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key recognized Post as the 2021 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

Post, a five-year teacher, utilizes her previous business world experience to build relationships with her students, connect them with the outside community, and give them real-world, relatable problems to solve. She strongly believes that positive relationships result in improved student learning and a strong school culture. Because of her multi-dimensional approach to reach each and every student, Post was named the Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

“Susanna Post’s real-life experience in the business world enriches the lessons that she teaches in the classroom,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “The list of programs she leads at Belle Point is evidence that she goes the extra mile. Her students are fortunate that Ms. Post decided to leave the oil and gas industry and return to Arkansas to resume her teaching career. Above and beyond her education and experience, however, she has a heart for her students.”

“Each year I get the privilege of announcing the Arkansas Teacher of the Year,” Key said. “This is an extremely tough decision, considering all the amazing teachers here in Arkansas. This year, however, one teacher, Ms. Susanna Post, stood out as the best of the best. Her exceptional ability to identify and meet the needs of every student exemplifies teaching excellence and empowers students to rise above all barriers to achieve success. I am extremely excited about Ms. Post’s platform to close the “empathy gap,” which is essential for student engagement and academic achievement. I know Ms. Post will make her students, her co-workers, Fort Smith, and Arkansas proud. Congratulations!”

Post began her teaching career at Wake County Public Schools in Raleigh, North Carolina, in July 2002. Because of a family move, Post temporarily left the classroom and entered the business world. She worked as a petroleum analyst and senior engineering technician at multiple oil and gas companies in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, and in Fort Smith, prior to returning to the classroom in 2016. She has taught at Belle Point Alternative Center since August 2016, previously supplemented homeschool curriculum for Grace Academy in Fort Smith, and continues to serve as an expert facilitator for the New Tech Network. 

At Belle Point, Post has co-taught with a senior high school Special Education teacher, initiated the school’s first Coding Club, coordinated with district curriculum leaders to create an ACT prep program, facilitated a Lindamood-Bell literacy intervention group, served on the district’s secondary math curriculum development team, and incorporates community relationships into problem and project-based lessons. She leads the school’s Culture Project Week, which includes project-based activities that improve school culture by strengthening relationships between students, teachers, and the community. 

Post was selected for the Class of 2020 Aspiring Leaders Institute and was named the 2020 Fort Smith Teacher of the Year. She has a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics, with a minor in Computer Science, from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway, and a Master of Education in Rural and Urban School Leadership from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

In addition to being eligible to become the National Teacher of the Year, Post received an additional $14,000 award today sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation. She previously received $1,000 when named a Regional Finalist and an additional $1,000 when selected as a State Semi-Finalist.

Her one-year tenure as Teacher of the Year will begin July 1, 2021. During this time, Post will travel the state as a representative for teachers and will serve as a non-voting member on the State Board of Education.

To learn more about the Arkansas Teacher of the Year program, visit https://bit.ly/2P7mQXR.


COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 19, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 333
Confirmed Cases: 321
Probable Cases: 12
Total Active Cases: 42
Active Confirmed Cases: 39
Active Probable Cases: 3
Total Recovered Cases: 284
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 275
Recovered Probable Cases: 9
Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 0
COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 1072
Confirmed Cases: 976
Probable Cases: 96
Total Active Cases: 38
Active Confirmed Cases: 24
Active Probable Cases: 14
Total Recovered Cases: 987
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 910
Recovered Probable Cases: 77
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 654
Confirmed Cases: 576
Probable Cases: 78
Total Active Cases: 55
Active Confirmed Cases: 38
Active Probable Cases: 17
Total Recovered Cases: 580
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 519
Recovered Probable Cases: 61
Total Deaths: 19
Confirmed Deaths: 19
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 177
Confirmed Cases: 175
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 6
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 166
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 164
Recovered Probable Cases: 2
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 42
Confirmed Cases: 41
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 4
Active Confirmed Cases: 4
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 38
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 37
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas

Total COVID-19 Cases: 99,066
Confirmed Cases: 93,356
Probable Cases: 5,710
Recovered Cases: 88,450

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

FERAL HOG PROBLEM IN ARKANSAS
They’re mean, they’re nasty, and they destroy just about anything anywhere they are. If that description conjures up the image of a feral hog, you’ve certainly been paying attention. So have state officials in Arkansas. It's hard not to notice these widespread and highly destructive creatures. Feral hogs cause over $19,000,000 in damages here in Arkansas alone they pose a threat to native species especially ground nesting birds. They also present a significant risk to human and livestock health through the diseases they carry. Feral hogs are becoming a problem no one can miss. Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward is one of the leaders behind a multi-agency effort to tackle this increasingly widespread problem. The first step in any battle is knowing your enemy that's why in hopes of lending Arkansans a hand in this fight, the Department of Agriculture recently released its newly created Arkansas Feral Hog Handbook the Handbook is described as a guide to assist Arkansans in controlling and hopefully eradicating feral hog populations in their areas. Secretary Ward joined us earlier this week to detail the problems those animals pose and let Arkansans know they're not alone in this fight.

“The big impact that feral hogs have had, not just in Arkansas but across the country, they’re prolific animals, their nuisance animals. We've seen their population grow across the state and across the country and so they they create about 1.5 billion dollars worth of damage in the US, about 19 million worth of damage in Arkansas alone and w19e think that number is probably higher than that, but just what we've got reported so we've been working as the state over the last few years working with a very broad range of partners both from the government level as far as industry partners. Really anybody that's impacted by feral hogs that's all try to work together to to create resources and find solutions and all work together to address this problem and so it's that's part of what we're doing and we've been doing that the last several years. We have a feral hog eradication task force with a broad range of members and just recently published the feral hog Handbook that we're distributing to the public across the state just on what resources are out there and what we can do to help people

The Handbook includes contact information websites and brief explanations of the resources offered by state and federal agencies and other entities The Handbook also details the economic damages caused by feral hogs in Arkansas as well as the danger they pose to humans and livestock. Feral hogs aren't clean animals by any stretch of the imagination and Ward said they can be widespread vectors for disease the disease aspect.
“We know that feral hogs carry at least 45 different diseases and parasites so there's something that you have to be careful with. You know a lot of people will will shoot feral hogs and and process their meat and so people need to be very careful when they do that. Just make sure that they're being as sanitary as possible, but you know damage is widespread. We see it on forestry seedlings. Forestry is an important piece of Arkansas agriculture. You see disease spread to other animals, you see it spread to wildlife and you see it even in more urban areas. You know we've got people here in more urban settings in Little Rock residential housing areas that have sent pictures and like I just was out walking and saw Feral Hogs crossing. I mean we know that there are all 75 counties in Arkansas the damage is widespread. We think the $19,000,000 number is probably quite a bit higher. This is just a number that's been reported. We think it's pretty broad spread throughout the state on the damage they're causing.”

The Handbook is part of an increasing effort to tackle Arkansas's problem alongside multiple agencies and partner is across the state. Ward said part of the path of victory is letting Arkansans know they're not alone in the fight I can't stress enough just how important the partnerships are. It’s not  one entity for one group that's going to solve the feral hog problem, it's just too big so we we have been working very closely with with USDA as part of the 2018 Farm Bill was a pilot program for feral swine control. We work very closely with them and enter resources, conservation service, as well as USDA wildlife services but it was through through a partnership with them that we were able to put out this Handbook and really just trying to highlight the resources that we have at the state level and the USDA has at the federal level that our partners know  that the Farm Bureau, the Cattlemen's Association, Conservation districts, a broad range of resources, just trying to get that information out there as much as we can because we don't want people to have a feral hog problem and feel like  I've just got to  deal with this. I'm just going to have recurring damage. We want to be helpful and there's a broad range of resources that we want to make them aware of.

The handbooks are being distributed to the public at locations throughout the state including Farm Bureau Offices, the Cooperative Extension Service and Arkansas Game and Fish Nature Centers. Copies of the Handbook can also be found online at the Department of agriculture's website agriculture.arkansas.gov.

 

South Arkansas Arts Center Logo

SAAC PLANS VIRTUAL MOVIE WATCH PARTY FOR KIDS
South Arkansas Arts Center instructor and Artist in Education Mike Means is in the mood to watch a Halloween movie! As inspiration for his upcoming monster-themed pumpkin-decorating video, Mr. Mike is inviting all his friends, young and old, to join him for a "Monsters, Inc." virtual watch party on Saturday, October 17 at 1 p.m.
Next week, SAAC will release Mr. Mike's "Monster Pumpkin Painting" DIY video on our website, www.saac-arts.org

 To get everyone's spooky creativity going, we can all gather virtually to watch the movie, no matter where we are. With the My Disney Pal app, we can watch the movie on Disney Plus together, with Mr. Mike will posting lots of Monster trivia about Mike and Sully in the app's chat window.

"After watching the movie with me, get your family together and paint monster pumpkins for your house. You will need pumpkins, a pencil, assorted colors of acrylic paint, a couple of brushes, and a little creativity for monstrously good time," said Mike. Watch the DIY painting video on the SAAC website or Facebook page to see how Mr. Mike makes his version of a Mike Wazkowski and Sully from “Monsters, Inc.” 

To access the Watch Party, you will need a Disney Plus account and a computer with the My Disney Pal extension. The link to join the watch party will be posted on the day of the event. It will be posted on SAAC's website and Facebook page at about 12:30 to give everyone time to login before the movie starts at 1pm.

My Disney Pal is a third-party extension that allows us all to watch movies on Disney Plus and chat at the same time. The extension is available in both the Chrome or MicrosoftEdge browser. You will need to be on a computer or a laptop and have your own Disney Plus account. To join, first download the My Disney Pal extension in Chrome or MicrosoftEdge browser on your computer. Then open Disney Plus and login to your account. Go to SAAC's website or Facebook page to click on Mr. Mike's watch party link, and a new window will open with the movie. Click on the extension to join our room and the chat window will open. Enjoy the movie and Mr. Mike's monster trivia chat!

 

The watch party is free to anyone with a Disney Plus subscription! Call 870-862-5474 or come by SAAC for more information, or check out www.saac-arts.org for some great tips for logging on. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

 

South Arkansas Arts Center Logo

TRICK-OR-TREAT IS HERE!
The South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado will present Trick-or-Treat for 2020, except this year's festivities will be drive-thru for a change. Trick-or-Treat is Friday, October 30, just after school is done for the day and the week, between 3:30 and 5:00 P.M. If you have questions, phone the SAAC at 870-862-5474 or e-mail info@saac-arts.org.

 
 
 

October 16, 2020

JORY WORTHEN FACES JUDGE FOR FIRST APPEARANCE
Jory John Worthen faced Judge Hamilton Singleton for his First Appearance today at 1:30. Worthen entered the Court Room in shackles with his head down. Allyssa and Braydon had family members in attendance.

Worthen’s address of record is 701 N. Cedar in Bearden. He is charged with 2 counts of Capital Murder. Each count can be punished by life in prison or death.

Judge Siingleton read Worthen his rights to which he stated that he understood his rights. He had filled out an affidavit of indigency. The Judge declared him indigent and appointed Public Defender Daren Nelson to the case.

The finding of probable cause was waived as he was not going to get a bond or a release. The Prosecutor in attendance today was Geoff Rogers. The case will be heard in the 4th Division Judicial Court. Judge Robin Carroll will be the Judge.
After the appearance, Allyssa’s mother Angela, said that today was very difficult as it ws the first time she had laid eyes on Worthen since the murders of her daughter and grandson. She said that if she could ask him anything that she would ask him why. Why, if he hated them so much, didn’t he just leave.

LOCKHEED TEAMS WITH AEROJET ON NEXT GENERATION INTERCEPTOR
Aaron Mehta
Fri, October 16, 2020, 7:00 AM CDT
WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin today announced it will partner with Aerojet Rocketdyne to compete for the right to build America’s next missile defense interceptor.

The pairing officially ends any speculation about which company would produce the propulsion system for Lockheed’s offering of the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) program, which is being run by the Missile Defense Agency.

Lockheed’s offering will be “designed from the ground up as an all-up-round to address all elements of environmental survivability from day one,” according to a company press release. Aerojet Rocketdyne will provide the primary propulsion for the interceptor.

The NGI is the replacement for the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) program. The RKV program was paused in May 2019 and then abruptly terminated in August 2019 due to insurmountable technical issues resulting in delayed schedules ad cist increases. The Defense Department announced at the time that it would embark on an entirely new program to field a future interceptor. The RKV would have upgraded the U.S. homeland defense system’s interceptors designed to go after ballistic missile defense threats.

After gathering industry feedback, the Pentagon formally issued its request for proposals for the new interceptor in April. MDA plans to downselect to two companies, with an eventual winner aiming to have a system ready in 2028.

This marks the second NGI team that features Aerojet. Boeing had previously announced it was teamed with the firm, as well as General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, on its NGI bid; Northrop Grumman is partnering with Raytheon Technologies, the producer on the now-cancelled RKV program.

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON TO CAMPAIGN FOR ISSUE 1, TRAVEL THE STATE ON MONDAY
Stops include Jonesboro, Harrison, Rogers, El Dorado and North Little Rock 

LITTLE ROCK—Governor Asa Hutchinson will kick off the start to early voting Monday, October 19, by traveling the state to campaign for “Vote for Roads. Vote for Issue 1.” to continue funding for Arkansas highways, roads, and bridges at no additional cost to taxpayers.

“The Vote for Issue 1 campaign is thrilled to have Governor Hutchinson travel the state to campaign for this important issue,” said Shannon Newton, Issue 1 Campaign Chair. “From the northeast part of our state, to the southwest corner—and everywhere in between—good roads play a vital role in the state’s economic development, the public’s safety, and our agriculture community. No one knows this more than our Governor, and his message will be key as voters head to the polls starting Monday.”

Governor Hutchinson will begin the day in Jonesboro with his last event scheduled for North Little Rock on Monday afternoon. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and members of the Issue 1 committee will join the Governor on the “Get Out the Vote” tour around the state.

Event details are as follows:
MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020
JONESBORO
8:30 a.m.
Jonesboro Municipal Airport
3901 Lindbergh Dr.
Jonesboro, AR 72401

HARRISON
9:45 a.m.
Boone County Regional Airport
2524 Airport Rd.
Harrison, AR 72601

ROGERS
11:30 a.m.
Walmart AMP
5079 West Northgate Rd.
Rogers, AR 72758

EL DORADO
2:30 p.m.
Murphy Arts District Amphitheater
105 E Locust Dr.
El Dorado, AR 71730

NORTH LITTLE ROCK
4:30 p.m.
Argenta Plaza
510 N Main St.
North Little Rock, AR 72201

To learn more about the Issue 1 campaign, visit www.VoteForRoads.com.

STATE CAPITOL WEEK IN REVIEW FROM SENATOR TRENT GARNER
October 16, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – The legislature has begun budget hearings, in preparation for the regular session that begins in January.
Setting spending levels for state agencies is the most time-consuming duty for legislators. It also is one of the most important duties of the legislature, even though it rarely generates a lot of publicity.

The budget work that begins in mid-October will be finalized in late March and early April of 2020, when the regular legislative session is expected to end. The budgets will set spending levels for state agencies for Fiscal Year 2022, which will begin on July 1, 2021.

Legislators have discretion over how to allocate about $5.6 billion in net general revenue. Its main sources are the state sales tax, the state individual income tax and the state corporate income tax.

In addition to state agencies, the legislature distributes aid to public schools and institutions of higher education.

Schools have other sources of revenue apart from state aid, chiefly the local property tax and some federal funds. Colleges and universities have revenue aside from state aid, mainly in the form of tuition, fees and donations.

Many state agencies receive federal funds in addition to the state dollars they receive in net general revenue. In total, Arkansas state agencies received about $9 billion in federal funding last fiscal year. The bulk of that total, more than $6 billion, went to the state Human Services Department for Medicaid, a health program for senior citizens, people with disabilities and low-income families.

Also, state agencies generate special revenues, which come from taxes collected for specific purposes. The largest category is the motor fuels tax, which generates more than $870 million in special revenue for the Transportation Department to maintain and build highways.

The state earns interest from banks and financial institutions and has numerous miscellaneous sources of revenue, such as fees for hunting and fishing licenses, leases from oil and gas producers, and rentals of cabins in state parks.

In all, state government has a total operating budget of $33 billion, according to the most recent data from the Finance and Administration Department.

In order to ensure that appropriations are spent properly, legislators and a team of accountants conduct audits on a year-round basis. They audit state agencies, school districts and institutions of higher education, and the results are reported to the Legislative Joint Audit Committee.

During regular sessions and fiscal sessions, the Joint Budget Committee review agency budgets and spending requests. During the interim between sessions, the Legislative Council and its subcommittees closely monitor state government spending to make sure that tax revenue is spent for the purposes set out in legislative appropriations.

Those subcommittees include the Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Subcommittee, which monitors financial practices, and the Personnel Subcommittee, which oversees staff changes.

Legislative subcommittees have been created to specifically monitor Medicaid, prisons, the Transportation Department, the Game and Fish Commission, the State Police, lottery scholarships, the health insurance marketplace and the regulatory boards that license occupations.

OCTOBER 15, 2020

JORDY WORTHEN BACK IN CAMDEN
A group of Camden City Police Officers drove to Los Angeles, California to bring Jory Worthen back to Camden where he will face charges for allegedly murdering Alyssa Cannon, and 4-year-old son, Braydon Ponder. Officers got to Los Angeles on Tuesday after a non-stop drive from Camden. They rested Tuesday evening to be prepared for the long trip back home with Worthen. The Los Angeles Police released Worthen on Wednesday.

Worthen was released to Camden Police Officers on Wednesday at 11am. Officer who made the trip were Sergeant Kyle McDaniel, Officer Nathan Clayton, Officer Newkirk and Officer Deon Tyson They drove non-stop to arrive back in Camden about 3 this afternoon.

Worthen was taken into the Camden Police Department in shackles to be processed before being taken to the Ouachita County Detention Center. He will have first appearance in front of Judge Ham Singleton tomorrow (Friday, October 16th) at 1:00 pm.

After Worthen was taken into the station, Police Chief Bo Woody said that it had been a long road. Alyssa’s mother, Angela, said it had destroyed her physically and mentally. She expressed gratitude to Chief Woody. Lieutenant LaRhonda Moore and to the US Marshall’s. She also expressed gratitude to everyone who had prayed for her.

After the killings, Worthen fled the scene in Cannon’s vehicle. The car was found abandoned in a parking lot in Seattle, Washington, but there was no sign of Worthen.

Woody said that after authorities issued a warrant for Worthen’s arrest on June 25, 2019, investigators received countless tips of possible sightings across the United States. The case was on “In Pursuit with John Walsh”. Worthen was added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted list in late July. Some information even suggested that Worthen might be dead, but Chief Woody said the police department was determined to keep the case active.

Worthen was found living under the alias “Ronald Kleigler, at a Burbank motel more than sixteen months after the horrific crime. Worthen had been living in the area for about 5 months. US Marshall’s apprehended him on Monday, October 5th.

Marshall’s recovered some personal effects from Worthen’s motel room, including a cell phone, which could provide some clues about Worthen’s activities in the months since he first disappeared. It is suspected that someone was helping him.

Montez Charles-Xavier Woods, 23, was also charged with hindering apprehension in the case after admitting to meeting Worthen four days after the murders and giving him $400. He was given a five-year suspended sentence for his role in January.
 

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 15, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 307
Confirmed Cases: 298
Probable Cases: 9
Total Active Cases: 27
Active Confirmed Cases: 27
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 273
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 264
Recovered Probable Cases: 9
Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 1028
Confirmed Cases: 949
Probable Cases: 79
Total Active Cases: 37
Active Confirmed Cases: 21
Active Probable Cases: 16
Total Recovered Cases: 944
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 886
Recovered Probable Cases: 58
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 622
Confirmed Cases: 559
Probable Cases: 63
Total Active Cases: 45
Active Confirmed Cases: 45
Active Probable Cases: 8
Total Recovered Cases: 550
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 495
Recovered Probable Cases: 55
Total Deaths: 19
Confirmed Deaths: 19
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 178
Confirmed Cases: 176
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 8
Active Confirmed Cases: 8
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 163
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 163
Recovered Probable Cases: 2
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 39
Confirmed Cases: 38
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 3
Active Confirmed Cases: 3
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 36
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 35
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas

Total COVID-19 Cases: 95,246
Confirmed Cases: 90,235
Probable Cases: 5,011
Recovered Cases: 85,597

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS, DIVISION OF AGRICULTURE COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE OFFERS TRAINING
The University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service will be conducting training for Private Applicators needing certification or recertification of their license. The training will be held Monday, November 9, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Ouachita County Cooperative Extension Office, 2760 Mt. Holly Road.  For more information, contact Keri Weatherford at 870-231-1160 or by email at kweatherford@uaex.edu.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your Ouachita County Extension Office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

CENTRAL ARKANSAS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL TO MEET
The Board of Directors of Central Arkansas Development Council will have a board meeting Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.  The meeting will be held by Zoom and/or conference call.  The public is invited to join the meeting and may contact 501-315-1121 for information to join the meeting.

LIGHT FOR THE FIGHT TO HAVE VIRTUAL CEREMONY ON OCT. 1
MAGNOLIA – The Business Student Advisory Council at the Rankin College of Business at Southern Arkansas University is sponsoring its eighth annual Light for the Fight during the month of October. Light for the Fight honors those who have battled, or continue to battle, cancer by placing luminaries in Blanchard Hall on the SAU campus. Because of concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic, the ceremony will be slightly different this year.

Luminaries are available for purchase in honor and in memory of friends and family members affected by cancer. Light pink luminaries will be in memory of our friends and family members who had breast cancer, dark pink luminaries are for breast cancer survivors or current fighters, and purple luminaries are for those affected by other types of cancer.

The luminaries will then be on display throughout the month of October in the Blanchard Hall business building.

A virtual lighting ceremony will be broadcast from Blanchard Hall at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15. Participants can join this ceremony via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83656616270.  The luminaries are $5 each and can be purchased by visiting https://web.saumag.edu/business/light-for-the-fight/. Luminaries purchased by Oct. 15 will be included in the ceremony.

“This ceremony is a way to honor all of those who have battled cancer, as well as for the survivors of those who have been lost to cancer, said Dr. Robin Sronce, dean of the Rankin College of Business. “This is a great community project that our students have taken on.”

This Light for the Fight ceremony began when business students wanted to do something to honor Tammie Green, the wife of current business professor Dr. Ken Green.

Proceeds from the sale of the luminaries will go to the Steel Magnolias’ Breast Cancer Support Group in Magnolia.

BOOZMAN URGES SECRETARY OF HEALTH TO REEVALUATE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR RURAL HOSPITALS
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined a bipartisan group of senators in raising concerns with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar about changes in reporting requirements for health care providers that received support from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), which have the potential to create financial hardships and uncertainty for hospitals across the country, especially those operating in rural areas.  
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our health care providers need more certainty, not less. The CARES Act, enacted in March 2020, established the PRF to reimburse eligible health care providers for health care-related expenses and lost revenues attributable to the coronavirus. Hospitals and other providers received funds and have budgeted accordingly,” the senators wrote. “However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and providers continue to face uncertainty in terms of loss of revenue from delayed procedures and care as well as increased expenses related to COVID-19.” 

 

The letter was led by Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and in addition to Boozman was cosigned by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), David Perdue (R-GA), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Thune (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

Text of the full letter is below.

Dear Secretary Azar:
We write today with concern regarding the Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements published on September 19, 2020. We have grave concerns this change in reporting requirements for funds received from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) will create uncertainty and financial hardship for hospitals in our states, particularly in rural areas. In the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, our health care providers need more certainty, not less. 
The CARES Act, enacted in March 2020, established the PRF to reimburse eligible health care providers for health care-related expenses and lost revenues attributable to the coronavirus. Hospitals and other providers received funds and have budgeted accordingly. However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and providers continue to face uncertainty in terms of loss of revenue from delayed procedures and care as well as increased expenses related to COVID 19. 
Based upon the impact of these changes to access to health care, we urge you to carefully consider any policies that disproportionately affect rural and safety net hospitals. 

 

October 14, 2020

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in Regular Session last night, Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. Social distancing was practiced and face coverings were required.

Mayor Julian Lott call the meeting to order promptly at 7:00 pm. The invocation was given by Rev. Gentry Hill, Pastor of the First Baptist Church located at 348 W. Washington St. in Camden, AR. Following the Invocation was the Pledge of Allegiance. It is worth noting that Alderman Joe Askew did not take part in the pledge. He stood with his head bowed and his back to the flag.

City Clerk, Donna Stewart called the roll. Marvin Moore was not at the meeting.

The Minutes and Financial reports were approved by the Council.

Mayor’s Report included the resignation from Alderman Chip Simmons that was effective September. He said he was relocating. A person will be appointed to finish the term. By the time the November meeting comes around someone will have been elected for the Position. It was suggested that that person be appointed.

The Mayor went on to talk about Parks. There have been improvements at the parks and stated everyone should go look at the parks and see the improvements. There are more plans for improving the Parks. He asked the Community to pitch in and help with the improvements to the city. If you’re willing to help, call City Hall.

After the Mayor’s report it was time for old business. It was noted that all Old Business is up for the Second Reading
Resolution No. 21-20, a resolution requiring certain materials to be posted on the City Website. A motion was made and seconded to approve followed by a discussion. Alderman Askew asked who would do the work. Alderman James Bell explained that he and the Mayor had decided. The person doing the work had already trained.  L.E Lindsey asked if there was anymore software that will be needed.  Alderman Bell said that there would not be. The Resolution was tabled until next month.

Ordinance No. 17-20, an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 19-86 (Camden Code Section 2-97.2) amending Ordinance 19-26 regarding the Airport Commission and for other purposes. Motion was made and seconded to suspend the rules and put it up for a final reading. Five Aldermen voted yes. Alderman Askew abstained. 6 votes were needed to pass the motion so with only 5 yesses the motion failed and the Ordinance will be on next month’s agenda for a third and final reading.

Ordinance No. 18-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 526 Hawkins Street.
Ordinance No. 20-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 485 Hawkins Street.
Ordinance No. 21-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 474 California Avenue.
Ordinance No. 22-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 440 Maple Street SW.
Ordinance No. 23-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 419 Maple Street SW.
Ordinance No. 24-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 407 North Street.
Ordinance No. 26-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 536 Cleveland Ave. NW.
Ordinance No. 27-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 578 Cleveland Ave. NW.
Ordinance No. 29-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1041 Elm Street.
Ordinance No. 30-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1333 Ronald Drive.
Ordinance No. 31-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1440 Ronald Drive.
Ordinance No. 32-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 2157 Avon Avenue.
Ordinance No. 34-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 687 Agee Avenue NW.
Motion was made to suspend the rules put each one up for a third reading, Motion passed in all cases. There was no discussion on any of the Ordinances. Roll call vote was called for each Ordinance. All passed.
 
NEW BUSINESS
Ordinance No. 35-20, an ordinance fixing the rate of taxation for the year 2021; Declaring an emergency; and for other purposes. Motion was made to suspend the rules put the Ordinance up for a third reading. Motion passed.

Ordinance No. 36-20, an ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 01-11 assessing a lien on certain property located at 618 Cleveland Ave. NW. Motion was made to suspend the rules put the Ordinance up for a third reading. Motion passed. Ordinance passed.

Ordinance No. 37-20, an ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 02-11 assessing a lien on certain property located at 622 Cleveland Ave. NW. Motion was made to suspend the rules put the Ordinance up for a third reading. Motion passed. Ordinance passed.

Ordinance No. 40-20, an ordinance to amend the Camden Zoning Ordinance in order to define uses in certain residential zones. Motion was made to suspend the rules put the Ordinance up for a third reading. Motion passed. Ordinance passed.

Resolution No. 26-20, a resolution authorizing the Mayor to pay an end of year bonus to City employees, including the City Clerk, City Attorney, Judge and Mayor.
Motion was made and seconded. There was a discussion. Alderman Linsey questioned how much the bonuses would cost the City. The amount comes to $29,000.00. City Treasurer Jim Green explained how it would be paid and where it would come from. The Resolution passed.

Resolution No. 27-20, a resolution confirming the appointment of Travis Daniel to the Planning Commission/Board of Adjustments. Motion was made to suspend the rules put the Ordinance up for a third reading. Motion passed. Ordinance passed.

Resolution No. 28-20, a resolution confirming the re-appointment of Ben Wooten to the Planning Commission/Board of Adjustments. Motion was made to suspend the rules put the Ordinance up for a third reading. Motion passed. Ordinance passed.

Resolution No. 29-20, a resolution confirming the appointment of Wendell Parr to the Planning Commission/Board of Adjustments. Motion was made to suspend the rules put the Ordinance up for a third reading. Motion passed. Ordinance passed.

Resolution No. 30-20, a resolution confirming the appointment of Katie Drake to the Planning Commission/Board of Adjustments. Motion was made to suspend the rules put the Ordinance up for a third reading. Motion passed. Ordinance passed.

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 14, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 301
Confirmed Cases: 292
Probable Cases: 9
Total Active Cases: 26
Active Confirmed Cases: 25
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 268
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 260
Recovered Probable Cases: 8
Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 1024
Confirmed Cases: 948
Probable Cases: 76
Total Active Cases: 44
Active Confirmed Cases: 30
Active Probable Cases: 14
Total Recovered Cases: 933
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 876
Recovered Probable Cases: 57
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 619
Confirmed Cases: 556
Probable Cases: 63
Total Active Cases: 65
Active Confirmed Cases: 54
Active Probable Cases: 11
Total Recovered Cases: 535
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 483
Recovered Probable Cases: 52
Total Deaths: 19
Confirmed Deaths: 19
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 177
Confirmed Cases: 175
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 8
Active Confirmed Cases: 8
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 164
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 162
Recovered Probable Cases: 2
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 39
Confirmed Cases: 38
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 3
Active Confirmed Cases: 3
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 36
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 35
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 94,167
Confirmed Cases: 89,351
Probable Cases: 4816
Recovered Cases: 84,804

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/


NOT YOUR AVERAGE HOMECOMING’ TO BE HOSTED BY SAU
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University will celebrate its 2020 homecoming October 19-24, but it will look a bit different than years past.  The University has tagged this year’s festivities “Not Your Average Homecoming” because of the need to celebrate within the current COVID boundaries.

“The obvious difference is there won’t be a football game,” said Steve Browning, director of athletics. “We’ve won 12 straight homecoming games and 13 of our past 14. So to not have an opportunity to potentially add to that impressive streak is disappointing, but we are still excited to be able to celebrate homecoming. With all of the virtual events and interactions that the university has planned with students and alumni, it is definitely something to look forward to.”

Most of the events planned for the week are virtual or require specific times for small group participation, but many of the Mulerider homecoming traditions will continue this year, just in a different format.

The homecoming court will be announced later this week with the Homecoming Queen and King being crowned at a coronation event to be live-streamed on Thursday evening, October 22. Students will also be able to participate in street painting, a drive-in movie and the traditional Muleshoe Hunt.

A full week of activities is also planned for SAU Alumni.

“We look forward to homecoming each year because it brings so many alumni to campus,” said Megan McCurdy, director of alumni relations. “This year is not your average homecoming. However, we have planned several fun events this year that our alumni can enjoy from home, since we cannot gather in person.”

McCurdy explained alumni can participate in the shoebox homecoming float competition, join a Facebook Live update with Dr. Berry, compete in a virtual trivia night as well as be a part of the annual Golden Rider Reunion, which honors SAU Alumni on the 50th anniversary of their graduation.

“The Class of 1970 will be celebrated this year during a special Zoom gathering,” McCurdy explained. “I wish we could celebrate with our traditional brunch at the Alumni Center, but connecting this way will give us an opportunity to see fellow Muleriders who may not have been able to join us on campus.”

In conjunction with homecoming week, SAU’s Mulerider Club is hosting an invitational golf tournament, sponsored by Murphy USA. The event will be held Friday, October 23, at Mystic Creek Golf Club in El Dorado. SAU’s rodeo will also take place during the homecoming festivities. It will be held October 22-24 at Story Arena.

“COVID has altered so much of what we have been able to do on campus this semester,” said Dr. Trey Berry, SAU president. “But, we wanted to still be able to have homecoming with our students and alumni, so we have found different ways to celebrate. It is certainly not your average homecoming, but it will be one we all remember!”

For information on all of the events scheduled for SAU’s Homecoming Week, visit https://web.saumag.edu/homecoming/. Please note that participation in most events will be virtual or under specific social-distancing guidelines.

CITY OF CAMDEN AIRPORT COMMISSION MEETING
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, October 16, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. The Commission will meet at the Army Reserve building first. After a walk through the building.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY ANNOUNCES 1.3 PERCENT BENEFIT INCREASE FOR 2021
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 1.3 percent in 2021, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2021.  Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2020.  (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).  The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $142,800 from $137,700. 

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

Information about Medicare changes for 2021, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov.  For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2021 are announced.  Final 2021 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security’s Message Center.

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

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: STATEWIDE DRUG TAKE BACK DAY SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 24
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is encouraging Arkansans to clean out their medicine cabinets and bring any unused or expired medications to one of the State’s more than 250 Prescription Drug Take Back Day drop-off locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 24.

“Overdose abuse statistics are staggering, but cleaning out medicine cabinets and turning the expired, unused medications over to law enforcement during a Drug Take Back event can save lives,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “With overdoses on the rise during the pandemic, now more than ever we must continue to properly dispose of these prescription drugs.”

Prescription Drug Take Back Day is held semi-annually with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, DEA, FBI, Office of the State Drug Director and over 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, community organizations and public health providers.

Event sites are held at various locations across the State but year-round locations are also available and can be found at ARTakeBack.org. The Attorney General’s office also hosts take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since the program began, more than 72 tons of medication have been collected in Arkansas, which is an estimated 201 million individual pills.

 

October 13, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S WEEKLY COVID UPDATE
Gov. Asa Hutchinson held a relatively brief weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday to announce the state's latest figures and guidelines. 

During the press conference Hutchinson reported an additional 680 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours. That raises the state's cumulative total to 94,167 since the start of the pandemic. Deaths increased by 24 to a statewide total of 1,610. The number of Arkansans hospitalized due to COVID-19 saw its first decrease in over a week, dropping by a net of three to 605. This figure is still the highest level of hospitalizations since the outbreak began.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, an infectious disease control specialist with the Arkansas Department of Health, again encouraged all Arkansans to get their flu vaccination this year. Besides limiting the severity of the flu or even one's change of catching it, the vaccine will help minimize the number of Arkansans hospitalized for influenza. This is especially critical, Dr. Dillaha said, given the high number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

Hutchinson then highlighted the efforts of Arkansas businesses to slow the spread of COVID-19 by following state health guidelines. He also encouraged Arkansans to go out of their way to patronize businesses which are following these guidelines. 


COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 13, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 301
Confirmed Cases: 292
Probable Cases: 9
Total Active Cases: 29
Active Confirmed Cases: 28
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 265
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 257
Recovered Probable Cases: 8
Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 0
COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 1010
Confirmed Cases: 936
Probable Cases: 74
Total Active Cases: 45
Active Confirmed Cases: 28
Active Probable Cases: 17
Total Recovered Cases: 918
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 866
Recovered Probable Cases: 52
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 619
Confirmed Cases: 555
Probable Cases: 64
Total Active Cases: 71
Active Confirmed Cases: 59
Active Probable Cases: 12
Total Recovered Cases: 530
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 478
Recovered Probable Cases: 52
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0
COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 175
Confirmed Cases: 173
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 6
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 164
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 162
Recovered Probable Cases: 2
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0
COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 39
Confirmed Cases: 38
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 3
Active Confirmed Cases: 3
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 36
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 35
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

HARMONY GROVE HIGH SCHOOL BLOOD DRIVE
Sponsored by The National Honor Society
The Harmony Grove National Honor Society is sponsoring a Blood Drive this Friday, October 16TH from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Arena Foyer. Donate 6 times for the Honor Cord, Community Service Award and Seniors for the chance to win a $250 Scholarship.

 All donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies to identify potential convalescent plasma donors. Appointment needed to participate. Masks required for all donors.

Donors ages 16 or 17-years old need parental consent to be screened for COVID-19 antibodies and are not eligible to donate convalescent plasma. This test has not been FDA cleared or approved. It has been authorized by the FDA under an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) for use by authorized laboratories. The test has been authorized only for the detection of the IgG antibody against SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens. Blood drives will be

managed according to CDC safety recommendations. Test results will be made available post-donation.

We are accepting parents and community members to come to the Arena Foyer and donate blood! Schedule your appointment with Mrs. Sorrells, Counselor by calling 574-0656.

You can also "vote" for the senior of your choice to receive a $250 scholarship from the AR Blood Institute. Plus, you get a "Natural State of Mind" t-shirt!!

At least 25 donors are needed each blood drive to get THREE $250 scholarships for the Class of 2021 (this includes both HG and Sparkman seniors)
 

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, October 15th at Catherine's Bistro @12:00 PM. The program will be by Barbie Quarles Topic who will be discussing Domestic Violence Awareness Month

 You are required to wear a mask was entering and leaving the building, if you do not have one they will provide you with one. Your temperature will be taken, and you'll sign in and report your temp. All the chairs in the meeting room will be spaced out as required.

2020 ARKANSAS STATE FAIR SCHEDULE RELEASED 
Junior Livestock, pageants, talent slated over 10 days at State Fairgrounds 
 LITTLE ROCK (Oct. 13, 2020) -- The 2020 Arkansas State Fair will soon welcome livestock, talent and pageant competitors from across the state for 10 days of competition. The Arkansas State Fair Board announced earlier this year that aside from these two attractions, the 2020 event was being cancelled out of an abundance of caution over public health issues related to the coronavirus. 

“I think it is safe to say that the 2020 State Fair is the most unique in the event’s long history,” said Doug White, Arkansas State Fair president. “Despite the unconventional nature of this year’s Arkansas State Fair, we are very pleased to host the Junior Livestock Show, State Fair Pageant and Talent competitions and their participants.”

Competitors qualified for the State Fair field at county and/or regional events. In the case of pageants and talent, many also had a virtual component to their 2020 State Fair competition experience.

“Our number one priority is to put public health and safety above all other considerations,” White said. “We have implemented stringent safeguards and protocols for these events, including social distancing, wearing masks, limiting attendees and spacing of events to allow for thorough cleaning of required buildings.” 

State Fair administration has developed an extensive logistics plan to limit the number of people and animals on the grounds at any given time. Attendance by the general public is not allowed and competitors’ family members are limited in number to help maintain social distancing. Masks are required in all areas and strict cleanliness in barns and competition areas will be observed.

The 2020 Arkansas State Fair runs Oct. 14-24 at the State Fairgrounds in Little Rock. 

JUNIOR LIVESTOCK SHOW JUDGING SCHEDULE 
2020 Arkansas State Fair            
Thursday, Oct. 15 
9 am                     Lamb Showmanship (Market & Wether Dam)                     Swine Barn 
1 pm                     Jr. Wether Dam Lambs                                                             Swine Barn 
3:30 pm               Arkansas Bred Lambs                                                                Swine Barn 

Friday, Oct. 16
9 am                     Market Lambs                                                                            Swine Barn 
                             Jr. Boer Goats followed by Showmanship                             Goat Center 
2:30 pm               Jr. Beef Showmanship                                                               Equestrian Center 
5 pm                    Bred & Owned Jr. Breeding Beef                                            Equestrian Center 

Saturday, Oct. 17  
9 am                     Jr. Non-Brahman Influenced Breeding Cattle                         Equestrian Center 

Supreme Drives                                             
10:30am              Jr. Broilers/Commercial Poultry                                                Poultry Barn 
1 pm                    Goat Showmanship (Market & Wether Dam)                      Swine Barn 
3:30 pm               Jr. Wether Dam Goats                                                               Swine Barn 
6 pm                    Arkansas Bred Wethers                                                                           Swine Barn 

Sunday, Oct. 18 
8 am                     Market Goats                                                                             Swine Barn 

Monday, Oct. 19 
8 am                     Jr. Breeding Sheep followed by Showmanship                    Goat Center 
2:30 pm               Market Hog Showmanship                                                      Swine Barn 

Tuesday, Oct. 20 
8 am                     Market Breed Hogs
                            Lightweight Crossbred Market Hogs                                        Swine Barn 
4 pm                    Steer and Commercial Heifer Showmanship (combined)   Equestrian Center 

 Wednesday, Oct. 21 
9 am                     Commercial Heifers                                                                   Equestrian Center 
1:30 pm               Market Steers                                                                             Equestrian Center 
4 pm                    Market Hog Showmanship                                                       Swine Barn 

 2020 Junior Livestock Show 
Thursday, Oct. 22 
8 am                     Crossbred Market Hogs (231-280 lbs)                                   Swine Barn 
2 pm                    Jr. Market Rabbits                                                                      Rabbit Barn 

Friday, Oct. 23 
8:30 am               Jr. Poultry                                                                                   Poultry Barn 
                            Youth Dairy Goats & Showmanship                                       Goat Center 
9 am                     Jr. Exhibition Breed Rabbits                                                      Rabbit Barn 
                            (State Fair Junior Show followed by ARBA Junior Point Show) 
10 am                  Poultry Showmanship                                                                Poultry Barn 
4 pm                    Jr. Beef Showmanship                                                                Equestrian Center 
5:30 pm*             Bred & Owned Jr. Breeding Beef                                               Equestrian Center 
 *Or, 30 minutes after conclusion of Jr. Beef Showmanship    

Saturday, Oct. 24 
8 am                     Breeding Swine Showmanship                                                 Swine Barn 
                             Breeding Gilt Show                                                                                     
                            (Jr. Purebreds/Commercial Gilts/Supreme Champion Drive)  
9 am                     Brahman Influenced Breeding Beef/Supreme Drives           Equestrian Center  
4 pm*                  Dairy Cattle (Ring A and Ring B)                                                 Equestrian Center 
                             Supreme Champion Drive
                            Jr. Dairy Cattle Showmanship 
*Or, immediately following Breeding Beef show                                                        


SURVEY: SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM IMPROVES IN SEPTEMBER; UNCERTAINTY INDEX REMAINS HIGH 
LITTLE ROCK (Oct. 13, 2020) – The NFIB Optimism Index rose 3.8 points to 104.0 in September, a historically high reading. Nine of the 10 Index components improved and one declined. The NFIB Uncertainty Index increased 2 points to 92, up from 75 in April. 

“As parts of the country continue to open, small businesses are seeing some improvements in foot traffic and sales,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “However, some small businesses are still struggling financially to operate at full capacity while navigating state and local regulations and are uncertain about what will happen in the future.” 

State-specific data isn’t available, but NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith said, “This has been a rough year for Arkansas’ small businesses, but, hopefully, the worst is behind us, and things will get back to normal sooner rather than later.”

Other key findings include: 
Earnings trends over the past 3 months improved 13 points to a net negative 12% reporting higher earnings. 
Owners expecting better business conditions over the next 6 months improved 8 points to a net 32%. 
Real sales expectations in the next 3 months increased 5 points to a net 8%. 
Inventory investment plans over the next 3 to 6 months increased by 5 points to a net 11%. 
The percent of owners thinking it’s a good time to expand increased 1 point to 13%. 

Included in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, a net 23% (seasonally adjusted) of owners plan to create new jobs in the next 3 months, up 2 points from the August report and 22 points above April’s report. However, 36% (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings that they could not fill in the current period. 

Fifty-three percent of owners reported capital outlays in the last 6 months, up 6 points from August. Of those making expenditures, 38% reported spending on new equipment (up 4 points), 23% acquired vehicles (up 2 points), and 16% improved or expanded facilities (down 4 points). Four percent acquired a new building or land for expansion (down 2 points) and 8% spent money on new fixtures and furniture (down 1 point). 

A net negative 6% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, an improvement of 9 points from August but still below pre-crisis levels. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes increased 5 points to a net 8% of owners. 

The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases rose 2 points to a net negative 7%, showing that more firms are reporting falling inventories than seeing stocks building. The net percent of owners viewing current inventory stocks as “too low” rose 2 points to 5%. Owners planning to expand inventory holdings increased 5 points from August to a net 11%, the highest reading since November 2004.   

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices rose 12 points to a net 13% (seasonally adjusted). Eleven percent of owners reported lower average selling prices and 23% reported higher average prices. Price hikes were the most frequent in wholesale (27% higher, 10% lower) and retail (27% higher, 7% lower). A net 17% (seasonally adjusted) plan price hikes. 

A net 23% (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, up 5 points from August. A net 16% of owners are planning to do so in the next three months. Nine percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem. 

Twenty-one percent of owners cited “finding qualified labor” as their top business problem. Thirty percent in construction report finding qualified labor as their top issue and slowing new home production.  

The frequency of reports of positive profit trends rose 13 points to a net negative 12% reporting quarter on quarter profit improvement. Among owners reporting weaker profits, 51% blamed weak sales, 9% cited lower prices, 6% cited usual seasonal change, and 5% cited labor costs. For owners reporting higher profits, 73% credited sales volumes and 12% cited usual seasonal change. 

Two percent of employers reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied, down one point. Thirty-three percent reported that all credit needs were met (up 2 points) and 55% said they were not interested in a loan. A net 2% reported their last loan was harder to obtain than in previous attempts. One percent of owners reported that financing was their top business problem. The net percent of owners reporting paying a higher rate on their most recent loan was negative 10%. Twenty-six percent of owners reported borrowing on a regular basis.  

Click here to view the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Survey.   

About the Small Business Economic Trends   

The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from a random sample of NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in September 2020. For more information about NFIB, please visit NFIB.com.   
 

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OF ARKANSAS CREWS ASSIST IN HURRICANE DELTA RECOVERY
The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas have dispatched 93 linemen and equipment to assist with power restoration efforts at Beauregard Electric Cooperative (BECi) of DeRidder, La.

BECi once again sustained substantial damage to its infrastructure as a result of Hurricane Delta that swept through southwest Louisiana on Friday evening. As of 10:00 p.m. Friday night, BECi lost power to all 43,000 meters, an event seen for the third time in its more than 80-year history including Hurricanes Rita in 2005, Hurricane Laura just six weeks ago and now with Delta. The Hurricane Laura power restoration effort involved 1,200 lineworkers working for 36 days.

Line crews from other states, including Arkansas are either at BECi or on their way to assist with the current restoration effort. BECi anticipates that its substations will be energized by Wednesday, Oct. 14. Transmission lines from one substation received damage and will have to be repaired using special off-road equipment and air boats. Linemen have begun to assess and make repairs to service and tap lines – a level of restoration not seen until week two of Hurricane Laura power restoration. Hurricane Delta did not inflict the same level of devastation to BECi’s distribution infrastructure and did not destroy as much of the cooperative’s three-phase lines.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas crews include personnel from Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark, C&L Electric of Star City, Craighead Electric of Jonesboro, First Electric of Jacksonville, Petit Jean Electric of Clinton and Southwest Arkansas Electric of Texarkana.

UAMS TO PROVIDE COVID-19 DRIVE-UP TESTING
October 20th in Prescott
LITTLE ROCK – Drive-up testing for COVID-19 will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., October 20th at the Nevada County Fire Department, 113 E. Walnut St., in Prescott. There will be no out-of-pocket cost for testing. Up to 200 community members will be tested. 

The testing will be conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in cooperation with the Nevada County Rescue, Nevada County Fire Department, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, the Blue and You Foundation and Bank of America Foundation. Flu vaccinations will also be available at the drive-up at no cost to the patient for those receiving a COVID-19 test.

You do not have to be a UAMS patient to be seen. This testing is for everyone who feels they need testing. Patients will get instructions on how to take care of themselves and their family at home. Test results will be returned either through an online patient portal, letter or phone call.

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from other people not in your household, and wear a mask in public. An online screening tool is available at uamshealth.com/healthnow. Phone screening is available through the UAMS Health hotline at 800-632-4502.

 UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — COPD, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
 

October 12, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 12, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 293
Confirmed Cases: 284
Probable Cases: 9
Total Active Cases: 23
Active Confirmed Cases: 22
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 263
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 265
Recovered Probable Cases: 8
Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 1009
Confirmed Cases: 935
Probable Cases: 74
Total Active Cases: 51
Active Confirmed Cases: 30
Active Probable Cases: 21
Total Recovered Cases: 911
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 863
Recovered Probable Cases: 48
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5


COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 612
Confirmed Cases: 549
Probable Cases: 63
Total Active Cases: 68
Active Confirmed Cases: 56
Active Probable Cases: 12
Total Recovered Cases: 526
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 475
Recovered Probable Cases: 54
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 174
Confirmed Cases: 172
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 5
Active Confirmed Cases: 5
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 164
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 162
Recovered Probable Cases: 2
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 39
Confirmed Cases: 38
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 3
Active Confirmed Cases: 3
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 36
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 35
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 92,833
Confirmed Cases: 88,302
Probable Cases: 4531
Recovered Cases: 83,454

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Social distancing will be practiced and a face covering will be required.

The Agenda is as follows:
A.    CALL TO ORDER
B.    INVOCATION –Rev. Gentry Hill, Pastor – First Baptist Church, 348 W. Washington St., Camden, AR

C.    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D.    ROLL CALL
E.    APPROVAL OF MINUTES
       1.  Minutes of Regular Meeting September 8, 2020     
F.    ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORT
       1.  Financial Report for September 2020
G.    AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
H.    MAYOR’S REPORT    
I.    OLD BUSINESS -Note*All Old Business is up for the Second Reading
       1.  Resolution No. 21-20, a resolution requiring certain materials to be posted on the City Website.
       2.   Ordinance No. 17-20, an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 19-86 (Camden Code Section 2-97.2) regarding the Airport Commission; and for other purposes. 
       3.   Ordinance No. 18-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 526 Hawkins Street.
       4.   Ordinance No. 20-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 485 Hawkins Street.
       5.   Ordinance No. 21-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 474 California Avenue.
       6.   Ordinance No. 22-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 440 Maple Street SW.
       7.   Ordinance No. 23-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 419 Maple Street SW.
       8.   Ordinance No. 24-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 407 North Street.
       9.   Ordinance No. 26-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 536 Cleveland Ave. NW.
      10.   Ordinance No. 27-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 578 Cleveland Ave. NW.
      11.   Ordinance No. 29-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1041 Elm Street.
      12.   Ordinance No. 30-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1333 Ronald Drive.
      13.   Ordinance No. 31-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1440 Ronald Drive.
      14.   Ordinance No. 32-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 2157 Avon Avenue.
      15.   Ordinance No. 34-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 687 Agee Avenue NW.

J.   NEW BUSINESS
      1.   Ordinance No. 35-20, an ordinance fixing the rate of taxation for the year 2021; Declaring an emergency; and for other purposes.  
      2.   Ordinance No. 36-20, an ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 01-11 assessing a lien on certain property located at 618 Cleveland Ave. NW.
      3.   Ordinance No. 37-20, an ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 02-11 assessing a lien on certain property located at  622 Cleveland Ave. NW.
      4.   Ordinance No. 40-20, an ordinance to amend the Camden Zoning Ordinance in order to define uses in certain residential zones.
      5.   Resolution No. 26-20, a resolution authorizing the Mayor to pay an end of year bonus to City employees, including the City Clerk, City Attorney, Judge and Mayor.
      6.   Resolution No. 27-20, a resolution confirming the appointment of Travis Daniel to the Planning Commission/Board of Adjustments
      7.   Resolution No. 28-20, a resolution confirming the re-appointment of Ben Wooten to the Planning Commission/Board of Adjustments.
      8.   Resolution No. 29-20, a resolution confirming the appointment of Wendell Parr to the Planning Commission/Board of Adjustments.
      9.   Resolution No. 30-20, a resolution confirming the appointment of Katie Drake to the Planning Commission/Board of Adjustments.

   K.    OTHER BUSINESS

   L.    ADJOURNMENT
 

LEADER OF DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON
Defendant one of 25 individuals sentenced for their role in a drug conspiracy involving fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine
Fayetteville, Arkansas – On Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, Marion Wise of Cave Springs, Arkansas, was sentenced to 25 years in prison conspiracy to distribute heroin. Wise is the final of 25 individuals responsible for a wide-ranging drug conspiracy to be sentenced.

David Clay Fowlkes, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas and Brad L. Byerley, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, announced today that  all 25 individuals have now been sentenced by the United States District Court for their roles in a heroin and methamphetamine trafficking ring that operated in Benton and Washington Counties in Arkansas and also in the additional jurisdictions of California, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona and Mexico.  The investigation and prosecution of this operation began mid-2018 through the October 6, 2020 sentencing. The Honorable Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.

“Heroin and fentanyl drug use has reached epidemic proportions in many communities across the United States.  These drugs are terribly addictive and extremely dangerous.  The overdose deaths investigated in this operation are proof of how deadly these drugs are.  This case is an excellent example of our plan to keep the trafficking of these drugs from causing even more deaths and even more damage to our communities in Northwest Arkansas.  We will continue to focus our Federal Criminal Resources to investigate, convict, and obtain lengthy sentences for all those who would seek to import and distribute these deadly drugs into the Western District of Arkansas,” said First Assistant US Attorney David Clay Fowlkes.       

 “Nothing is more important than keeping our communities safe. DEA, along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, will continue to utilize our combined resources to target individuals trafficking drugs and guns, threatening the safety of our citizens in this region of Arkansas and throughout the country. These convictions send a message of our unending resolve to pursue drug traffickers who wreak havoc in our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley.

Federal grand juries returned multi-count indictments against 25 individuals in the Northwest Arkansas area and beyond for their roles in a large-scale drug trafficking conspiracy.  This drug trafficking ring imported multiple kilograms of heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl into the Northwest Arkansas area from out of state for local distribution.  Once sold to retail distributors, the heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl were distributed in communities throughout Northwest Arkansas. Two heroin/fentanyl related overdose deaths were tied to the investigation.

Defendants in this conspiracy received the following sentences:
Marion Wise, 50, of Cave Springs, Arkansas, was sentenced Oct. 6, 2020, to 25 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin. Wise was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty to an information in Feb. 2020. 

Sherry Finn, 44, of Bella Vista, Arkansas, was sentenced Oct. 6, 2020, to 77 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin. Finn was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty to an information in Feb. 2020

Michael Wells, 49, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was sentenced May 20, 2020, to 68 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin. Wells was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Nov. 6, 2019.

Ari Sorto, 28, of Springdale, Arkansas, was sentenced May 19, 2020, to eight years in federal prison followed by one year of supervised release on two counts of Knowingly Using a Communication Facility in a Drug Trafficking Crime. Sorto was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Jan. 7, 2020.

Cole Coleman, 29, of Bentonville, Arkansas, was sentenced April 17, 2020, to 87 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin. Coleman was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Nov. 22, 2019. 

Blaine Dehosse, 33, of Rogers, Arkansas, was sentenced April 17, 2020, to 106 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin and one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking Offense. Dehosse was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Jan. 23, 2020.

Jonathan Hannah, 35, of Rogers, Arkansas, was sentenced Feb. 13, 2020, to 54 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Maintaining Drug-Involved Premises. Hannah was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas in and plead guilty on Sept. 26, 2019.  

Stephanie Coleman, 47, of Bentonville, Arkansas, was sentenced Jan. 29, 2020, to 18 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin. Coleman was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Nov. 22, 2019. 

Kourtney Wilson, 31, of Joplin, Missouri, was sentenced Jan. 29, 2020, to one year in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Distribution of Heroin. Wilson was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Oct. 22, 2019.

Robert Johnston, 54, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was sentenced Jan. 29, 2020, to 46 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin. Johnston was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Oct. 25, 2019. 

Jennie Nutt, 59, of Rogers, Arkansas, was sentenced Jan. 28, 2020, to three years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin. Nutt was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Oct. 23, 2019.          

Adrian Oviedo, 36, of Springdale, Arkansas, was sentenced Sept. 18, 2019, to 330 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count each of Aiding and Abetting in the Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Felon in Possession of a firearm.  Oviedo was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on July 9, 2019.  

Brenda Martinez-Blevins, 48, of Springdale, Arkansas, was sentenced Aug. 22, 2019, to one year in federal prison on one count of Failure to Depart. Martinez-Blevins was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on May 3, 2019.                   

 Vernon Williams, 53, of Watts, Oklahoma, was sentenced Aug. 14, 2019, to 248 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Distribution of More Than 50 Grams of Actual Methamphetamine. Williams was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Mar. 12, 2019. 

Gabriel Whitener, 36, of Watts, Oklahoma, was sentenced Aug. 14, 2019, to 210 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances. Whitener was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Mar. 12, 2019. 

Aaron Bevill, 38, of Gravette, Arkansas, was sentenced Aug. 13, 2019, to 142 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances. Bevill was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Mar. 12, 2019.

 Gregory Jobe, 32, of Sulphur Springs, Arkansas, was sentenced July 31, 2019, to 15 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Distribution of Heroin. Jobe was previously indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Mar. 4, 2019. 

Connie Sherrell, 56, of Watts, Oklahoma, was sentenced June 10, 2019, to 62 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances. Sherrell was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Feb. 19, 2019.             

Harold Campbell, 36, of Rogers, Arkansas, was sentenced June 10, 2019, to 37 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin. Campbell was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Nov. 8, 2018.                               

Tyler Dellinger, 29, of Bella Vista, Arkansas, was sentenced May 11, 2020, to 13 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance and one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime. Dellinger was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Feb. 4, 2020.

Matthew Woodrome, 38, of Rogers, Arkansas, was sentenced May 8, 2019, to seven years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin. Woodrome was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Nov. 8, 2018.

Robert Peeler, 31, of Rogers, Arkansas, was sentenced April 19, 2019, to 27 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin. Peeler was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Dec. 7, 2018.

David Moore, 32, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was sentenced April 4, 2019, to 46 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin. Moore was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Nov. 15, 2018.

David Garduno, 35, of Rogers, Arkansas, was sentenced April 2, 2019, to 51 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Distribution of Heroin. Garduno was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Nov. 7, 2018.

John Botson, 27, of Garfield, Arkansas, was sentenced March 5, 2019, to 157 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin. Botson was indicted in the Western District of Arkansas and plead guilty on Nov. 7, 2018.  

This prosecution was part of the Western District of Arkansas’ Operation Sticking Points, which is part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. The OCDETF program is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illicit drug supply.

This OCDETF case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Fayetteville, Arkansas and Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Benton County/Rogers PD Narcotic Unit, the 4th JDDTF, Arkansas State Probation and Parole and the Arkansas National Guard Counter-Drug Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Kimberly Harris, Dustin Roberts and David Harris prosecuted the cases for the Western District of Arkansas.
 

SAU TO OFFER BFA IN ART THERAPY IN SPRING 2021
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University will begin offering a bachelor of fine arts degree in art therapy with a concentration in pre-art therapy in spring 2021.  The 120-credit hour undergraduate program was recently approved by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

The program represents a collaboration between the Department of Art and Design and the Department of Behavioral Sciences, uniting mental health with the creative process. The curriculum prepares those seeking admittance to a master’s program in art therapy or a master’s in counseling or related fields emphasizing art therapy.

Dr. Deborah Wilson, chair of behavioral and social sciences, said that students have often inquired about an art therapy program at SAU. “Under Steven Ochs’ leadership, a plan was developed and approved so we are now able to offer another program that students wanted – one that can significantly impact human services,” Wilson explained.

“The coursework balances art and psychology,” said Ochs, chair of the art department. “The specific art therapy courses offer an overview into the history and growth of the discipline and the theoretical approaches that have evolved from the founding practitioners. Students develop a specific definition of art therapy that conveys a personal approach.”

Ashley Lawrence, who served as a curriculum advisor in the development of the program, will teach Introduction to Art Therapy. Lawrence graduated from SAU in 2015 with a BFA, Studio Emphasis, and a BA in English with a writing minor. Her discovery of art therapy as a student inspired her to explore it as a career.

“I am excited that my passion for the field has allowed me to return to my roots and teach Introduction to Art Therapy this spring,” Lawrence enthused. “I aim to introduce students to the concepts more thoroughly explored in a master’s degree program.”

According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is an integrative profession that enriches lives through active art-making, applied psychological theory, and human experience. Students will acquire a broad understanding of the applications, theories, and career paths when preparing to apply to accredited art therapy or other related counseling graduate programs.

“As art therapists, our role is to help clients understand feelings that arise throughout the creative process,” said Lawrence. “This artwork isn’t meant for display. It serves as a confidential testimony to healing.”

Art therapy offers a means of communication for those unable to express themselves with words alone. People experiencing such difficulties as divorce or the loss of a loved one may benefit from participating in art therapy.

“Art therapists can fulfill workplace roles in hospitals, residential treatment facilities, prisons, shelters, schools, and private practice,” Lawrence explained. “Art therapy might be new to Arkansas, but the field is well-established and proven across numerous populations.”

To learn more about the art therapy program at SAU contact Steven Ochs at 870.235.5053.

SAAC TO OFFER ZOOM WATERCOLOR WORKSHOP
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites you to sign up for a four-part Zoom Watercolor Workshop taught by well-known local artist Maria Botti Villegas . The Zoom classes will be held on Tuesday nights, with the first class experience beginning on October 20 from 6:00-7:30 and following up on the next three Tuesday nights. This will be a fun and interesting way to hone your skills or start a new hobby... virtually!
In this workshop, Ms. Maria, as she is affectionately called by her students, will teach how to paint a landscape from Arkansas, The Natural State, and will demonstrate how to choose an appropriate landscape from a photo, a magazine, or by viewing a setting. From drawing and sketching to painting with watercolors, Ms. Maria will give her students the confidence to create a colorful landscape. This is a workshop intended for beginners as well as more experienced watercolor painters. It is a painting workshop, but basic notions of perspective, composition, and landscape drawing will be taught. Class cost is $125.
"I like to stimulate students to take sometimes a first step in creating a landscape," said Ms. Maria. "In Arkansas we are surrounded by wonderful hills, native prairies, strong tree trunks, and powerful sun light. Let us take advantage of this incredible environment to create our own particular way of envisioning the world around us."
Villegas, a muralist, illustrator, and multidisciplinary artist, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She holds a 5 -year degree from Pueyrredón School of Fine Arts in her native country, Argentina. In 1992, she moved to El Dorado and became an Arkansas Arts Council Artist-in-Education (AIE artist). As a working artist, she has participated in numerous exhibits and competitions in Arkansas, Louisiana and other states winning many awards including the 2001 scholarship from the Committee of The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. She has also painted 30 public murals in Arkansas and Louisiana.
Maria has been a teaching artist at The South Arkansas Arts Center Arts Academy and an AIE artist in the school system in levels K-12 for more than 25 years. Maria also teaches art forms and art therapy at her studio as a way to channel a myriad of emotions and the most personal deepest questions. She shares her art with her husband, artist Jorge Villegas, her students, and with Lulu and Krishna, her cats.
For more information on this fun art experience, please call the SAAC office to register at 870-866-0707 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

FOUR SCHOOLS TO RECEIVE FUNDING TO OPERATE SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CENTERS 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education's Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health, selected four Arkansas schools to each receive $542,000 over a five-year period to implement School-Based Health Centers. 

The centers listed below will be fully operational during the 2021-2022 school year and will provide health and wellness services to students, staff, and families.
Darby Junior High School in the Fort Smith School District
Fountain Lake Elementary School in the Fountain Lake School District
Jessieville Elementary School in the Jessieville School District
Sheridan High School in the Sheridan School District

"Awarding these grants could not have come at a better time,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “With our schools facing unprecedented health challenges this school year, these grants will give these four schools the opportunity to expand their partnerships, complete renovations, and be prepared to offer health services at the beginning of the next school year. The services provided will not only help schools better assist students, they also will provide essential care to teachers and families.”

These four schools join 36 others around the state that have received state grant funding over the years to operate School-Based Health Centers. The centers remove physical and mental health barriers by offering these services on campus. As a result, academic achievement approves and the number of absences is reduced due to health issues.

Grant applicants undergo a comprehensive, competitive application process that includes internal and external reviews and an onsite visit. Grant awardees partner with local health providers to implement three main components of School-Based Health Centers: physical health services, mental and behavioral health services, and school health outreach programs. Many centers also offer additional services, such as oral health and optometry services.

To learn more about the School-Based Health Center program, visit https://bit.ly/2Rw2oit

OCTOBER 8, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 08, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.


 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 283
Confirmed Cases: 275
Probable Cases: 8
Total Active Cases: 21
Active Confirmed Cases: 19
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 255
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 249
Recovered Probable Cases: 6
Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 960
Confirmed Cases: 911
Probable Cases: 49
Total Active Cases: 36
Active Confirmed Cases: 23
Active Probable Cases: 13
Total Recovered Cases: 877
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 846
Recovered Probable Cases: 31
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5


COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 584
Confirmed Cases: 529
Probable Cases: 55
Total Active Cases: 84
Active Confirmed Cases: 68
Active Probable Cases: 16
Total Recovered Cases: 482
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 443
Recovered Probable Cases: 39
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 173
Confirmed Cases: 171
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 4
Active Confirmed Cases: 4
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 164
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 162
Recovered Probable Cases: 2
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 37
Confirmed Cases: 36
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 1
Active Confirmed Cases: 1
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 36
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 35
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0
Arkansas

Total COVID-19 Cases: 88,880
Confirmed Cases: 84,914
Probable Cases: 3,966
Recovered Cases: 80,703

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

STATE POLICE COMMISSION ACCEPTS RECOMMENDATION FOR PROMOTION; SOUTH ARKANSAS CID COMMANDER NAMED
OCTOBER 7, 2020
Arkansas State Police Sergeant Robert Wilson, 51, of Jefferson County, has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant and will assume command of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division, Company B, headquartered at Pine Bluff.
The promotion was approved today by the Arkansas State Police Commission.  The recommendation for promotion was presented to the commissioners by Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.
Lieutenant Wilson is a 22-year veteran of the department and has been assigned as a Company B supervisor since 2018.

 

STARBUCKS AND GRUBHUB COMING TO SAU CAMPUS
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University is adding new food options and conveniences for food delivery on campus. We Proudly Serve Starbucks (WPS Starbucks), one of the Starbucks Coffee solution platforms, will open a site on the campus of Southern Arkansas University in January 2021. The Seattle-based coffee house will be located in the Reynolds Center at the current site of Java City.

The WPS Starbucks will offer a very similar drink menu to the full store locations and a modified food menu, which will include a variety of hot and cold breakfast, snack and “meal on the go” items. A Provisions on Demand (POD) will be attached to the Starbucks facility and will offer snacks and convenience items.

“We are excited to add this popular brand to our campus to serve both on- and off-campus customers,” said Dr. Trey Berry, SAU president. “We expect to add four full-time and three part-time jobs with the transition to the new brand, which is also exciting for our community.”

The hours of operation for the WPS Starbucks will be Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., closed Saturday and Sunday, but may change based on campus needs and location traffic.

 “This project has been in the works for over a year ago,” said Alain Verbeiren, Food Services Director, “Aramark is proud to work with many leading brand partners. After evaluating campus needs and meeting with campus partners, the decision was made to refresh the Java City location to a WPS Starbucks.”

Java City will remain in operation until the end of the current semester when work begins to transition the current site to WPS Starbucks.

Grubhub Mobile Ordering will be available for mobile order/pickup use at Panda Express, Grille Works and Java City, until it is converted, and WPS Starbucks once it opens. Grubhub will be available beginning later this month and accessed through the Grubhub app.

BOOZMAN, CRAWFORD & WOMACK APPLAUD USDA BROADBAND INVESTMENT IN ARKANSAS
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Steve Womack (AR-03), applauded the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $11.8 million broadband investment in rural Arkansas. The members participated in a virtual event with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue where he announced funding will support three high-speed broadband infrastructure projects to improve rural broadband in Pope, Van Buren, Stone and Marion counties.

“I’m proud to support the ReConnect Program and advocate for Arkansas applicants who want to help strengthen rural infrastructure and close the digital divide. USDA’s investment in our state will provide more homes, businesses and essential community services with reliable access to high-speed internet,” said Boozman co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus.

“Reliable connectivity is now almost essential for work, education, and even healthcare access. I appreciate Secretary Perdue’s continued support for rural America and his investment in these Arkansas communities. The future of North Central Arkansas – and the rest of rural America – is brighter because of this Administration,” Crawford said.

“Connecting our rural communities to reliable, high-speed broadband has never been more important. These investments will provide internet services to Third District Arkansans, supporting economic development, education, and telehealth services. I thank Secretary Perdue and USDA for being a strong partner to the Natural State,” Womack said.

“The need for rural broadband has never been more apparent than it is now – as our nation manages the coronavirus national emergency. Access to telehealth services, remote learning for school children, and remote business operations all require access to broadband,” said Secretary Perdue. “I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on. We need them more than ever during these trying times, and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”

The Arkansas Telephone Company was awarded $4.1 million to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 491 people, 92 farms and four businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Pope and Van Buren counties.

The Northern Arkansas Telephone Company will receive $4.7 million in ReConnect funds to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,202 people, 68 farms and six businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Marion County.

Mountain View Telephone Company will use $2.9 million to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,331 people, 39 farms, six businesses, two fire stations and one post office to high-speed broadband internet in Stone County.

USDA launched the ReConnect Program in December 2018 to facilitate broadband deployment.

OCTOBER 7, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 07, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.
 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 281
Confirmed Cases: 273
Probable Cases: 8
Total Active Cases: 22
Active Confirmed Cases: 20
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 252
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 246
Recovered Probable Cases: 6
Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 948
Confirmed Cases: 908
Probable Cases: 40
Total Active Cases: 36
Active Confirmed Cases: 30
Active Probable Cases: 6
Total Recovered Cases: 865
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 836
Recovered Probable Cases: 29
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 579
Confirmed Cases: 523
Probable Cases: 56
Total Active Cases: 93
Active Confirmed Cases: 71
Active Probable Cases: 22
Total Recovered Cases: 468
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 434
Recovered Probable Cases: 34
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 171
Confirmed Cases: 169
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 9
Active Confirmed Cases: 8
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 157
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 156
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 37
Confirmed Cases: 36
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 1
Active Confirmed Cases: 1
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 36
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 35
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 88,071
Confirmed Cases: 84,230
Probable Cases: 3,841
Recovered Cases: 79,885

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

AEROJET ROCKETDYNE’S NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART LARGE SOLID ROCKET MOTOR FACILITY OPEN FOR OPERATIONS
CAMDEN, AR

Oct. 6, 2020 – Aerojet Rocketdyne’s new large solid rocket motor manufacturing facility is officially open for operations, highlighting the company’s significant investments in the modernization and innovation of its solid rocket motor production capabilities, and continuing the company’s expansion in southern Arkansas.

“The Engineering, Manufacturing and Development facility is the newest, state-of-the-art large solid rocket motor manufacturing facility in the nation, and we look forward to expanding our decades-long solid rocket motor production capability in Camden,” said Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “Thanks in large part to Governor Asa Hutchinson and our partners in the great state of Arkansas, Camden is poised to become a major center of large solid rocket motor production.”

The ability to produce large solid rocket motors at the Engineering, Manufacturing Development (EMD) facility positions the company to deliver on some of the nation’s most important next generation national security programs, including strategic deterrence, hypersonics and missile defense. Aerojet Rocketdyne was recently selected by Northrop Grumman to provide a large solid rocket motor system and a post-boost propulsion system as part of its nationwide GBSD team.

“The aerospace and defense industry has a significant impact on Arkansas’ economy, and Aerojet Rocketdyne has been a vital part of that success for many years,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “The company has demonstrated unwavering dedication to both the workforce and community in Calhoun County, and I am delighted to see our partnership continue as the company expands operations in Camden. It is my pleasure to welcome Eileen Drake back to Arkansas to officially open the company’s new large solid rocket motor manufacturing facility.”

"Arkansas is playing an increasingly important role in the production of advanced national defense technologies and tools,” Senator John Boozman said. “This facility represents the next step in that evolution, and our state is proud to partner with Aerojet Rocketdyne so that its operations in Camden are equipped to meet the company’s needs for a business-friendly environment and skilled workforce capable of helping ensure the readiness, effectiveness and safety of our troops. Arkansas’ rich military history and tradition is only further enhanced with this expansion, and we’re excited for what’s to come.”

Representative Bruce Westerman said, “Aerojet Rocketdyne’s investment in Camden is solidifying the area as a major player in the defense industry, not to mention bringing dozens more jobs to the community. I’m glad to support their work in the Fourth District and look forward to seeing this new rocket motor facility begin operating.”

Construction of the 17,000 square-foot EMD facility began last spring as part of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s ongoing expansion in Camden, where the company has long had a presence and currently produces more than 75,000 solid rocket motors per year. It was made possible with support from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Calhoun County and the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development (OPED).

“We are proud to partner with Aerojet Rocketdyne as the company continues to grow in Camden and invest in technology that plays an integral role in our nation’s security efforts,” Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said. “Not only does Aerojet Rocketdyne serve as an international leader in the aerospace and defense industry, but it also serves as a leader in the South Arkansas community. This announcement is great news for the state.”

Executive Director for OPED James Lee Silliman said, “Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development is proud to have been a partner in Aerojet Rocketdyne’s EMD facility project by providing both job creation and workforce training incentives for this milestone expansion for the Camden operations. It required coordination and teamwork with Aerojet Rocketdyne, Governor Hutchinson's office, AEDC and Calhoun County to make this project possible. South Arkansas will reap dividends for years to come due to this investment.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s growth in Camden was driven by a company-wide consolidation and modernization initiative that began in 2015. Aimed at reducing costs and increasing operational efficiency, the company has demonstrated the ability to successfully transfer programs and proficiencies to other sites. Now substantially complete, Aerojet Rocketdyne surpassed its goal of reducing costs across the enterprise by $230 million annually. The company is now well-positioned to deliver innovative, affordable solutions for some of the nation’s most challenging national security requirements.

About Aerojet Rocketdyne:
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion systems and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, and tactical systems areas, in support of domestic and international customers. For more information, visit www.Rocket.com and www.AerojetRocketdyne.com. Follow Aerojet Rocketdyne and CEO Eileen Drake on Twitter at @AerojetRdyne and @DrakeEileen.


CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB ANNOUNCE 2020 DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDS BANQUET
The Camden Noon Lions Club announces the Distinguished Service Awards Banquet will take place on Tuesday, October 20th 6:30PM at Thrive Church (former Charles O Ross Center).

The doors will open at 6PM.  The meal will be catered by Catherine’s Bistro.  Tickets are $25.00 each and can be purchased at Catherine’s Bistro or from Camden Noon Lions Club members.

There will be 4 local citizens recognized for their community service during the banquet.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Scotty Thurman.  As current Head Basketball Coach at Little Rock Parkview, Coach Thurman is best known as the Arkansas Razorbacksshooting guard who hit the high-arcing go-ahead three-pointer with 50.7 seconds left in the 1994 NCAA Basketball Championship game, helping to secure Arkansas' only national title to date in a 76–72 victory over the Duke Blue Devils. That shot is referred to as the "Shot heard 'round Arkansas".
 

SAU OFFERS FALL INTERSESSION SEMESTER
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University is offering a five-week fall intersession in December with a wide variety of courses to allow students to earn credits during the winter break.

“We adjusted our fall schedule for COVID,” said Dr. Trey Berry, SAU president. “The fall semester will end in November, which presents a fabulous opportunity to have an additional intersession during December.”

Intersessions provide shortened schedules for classes and are often held between traditional semesters. Many of the classes offer three credit hours of instruction, but are accelerated due to the shortened time period, similar to summer school.

“We have had a small fall intersession in the past with only a few courses available, but with the longer winter break, we are able to provide a more robust offering this year,” said Dr. David Lanoue, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This can be a great opportunity for students to get classes they need to stay on track.”

Students can benefit from intersession courses to increase their total number of credit hours, which is often a requirement of maintaining a scholarship. Intersession is also an opportunity to take a class which may not have fit into the student’s schedule previously, or to complete a necessary prerequisite before the next semester begins.

Approximately 25 classes will be offered during this intersession, which will run from December 1-31, 2020.

“All of the classes will be online,” Lanoue said, “so students can complete the classes from wherever they are during the semester break.” 

A full listing of the classes offered during SAU’s fall intersession can be found at: https://mysau.saumag.edu/ICS/Course_Search/

The fall intersession schedule can be found at: https://web.saumag.edu/academics/academic-calendar/

 

Arkansas AG logoU.S. SUPREME COURT HEARS ORAL ARGUMENTS FOR RUTLEDGE V. PCMA
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). In this case, Rutledge seeks to protect family pharmacies in Arkansas and to ensure Arkansans’ access to affordable healthcare by defending the State’s power to regulate the abusive payment practices of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

“Arkansans deserve affordable healthcare. By requiring these drug middlemen to be held accountable to pay pharmacies a fair price, we are protecting Arkansans from skyrocketing prescription drug prices and preserving their access to frontline healthcare providers like family pharmacies,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Our case was one of two landmark healthcare cases before the Supreme Court this term, and it’s time states like Arkansas had the power to protect themselves.”

In the U.S. Supreme Court, Attorney General Rutledge is supported by the U.S. Solicitor General and a bipartisan coalition led by California that includes 44 other states and the District of Columbia.

In 2015, PCMA filed a lawsuit to block enforcement of Act 900, which regulates PBMs, who act as prescription drug middlemen, reimbursing pharmacists for prescription drugs dispensed to insurance beneficiaries. Before Act 900, PBMs often reimbursed pharmacies at less than the pharmacies’ cost to acquire a drug. This practice and other factors caused more than 16% of rural pharmacies to close in recent years. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas ruled in 2017 that Act 900 was preempted by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and, in 2018, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.

The case is Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, No.18-540.

 
 

Playlist

October 06, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID UPDATE – OCTOBER 06, 2020
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 hit their highest level on Tuesday since the pandemic reached Arkansas. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced during his weekly COVID-19 Taskforce press conference that 529 Arkansans are now hospitalized for complications caused by the virus. That's an increase of five from Monday.

Another 523 cases were confirmed as well, raising the cumulative statewide total to 84,203. Deaths increased by 22 over the previous 24 hours to 1,469. State officials shared some good news in regards to the state's testing positivity rate. That rate continues to decline and currently sits at 7.7 percent. Testing also remains rigorous with more than 45,000 tests performed since Oct. 1. 

Hutchinson said he believes Arkansans have given COVID-19 a renewed seriousness after the President and First Lady recently contracted the virus. He added that the upcoming flu season provides another incentive to follow state and federal health guidelines.

Hutchinson also shared updated directives from the health department regarding visitation at nursing homes. Those new guidelines slightly relax the rules covering visits by family members. They allow a minimum amount of family visitation at all long-term care facilities in Arkansas if a resident is undergoing medical treatment or in need of compassionate care. 

Expanded visitation is now allowed at nursing homes if they meet certain parameters. Those include no new positive cases of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days. The facility must also screen every visitor, employee, contractor and vendor entering the building and restricting access to anyone who does not pass the screening process. 

The full guidelines are available online at healthy.arkansas.gov

Dr. Ivy Pfeffer of the Arkansas Department of Education announced a new statewide partnership titled Engage Arkansas. The effort aims to help school districts assist and reengage virtual leaners who are falling behind in their instruction. Around 25 percent of students in Arkansas have chosen their school's virtual learning option. Some, education officials say, are struggling to succeed through online instruction.  

In review, cases of COVID-19 grew by 532 on Tuesday to 84,203. Deaths increased by 22 to 1,469. Hospitalizations increased by five to a new record of 529. We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments. 
 

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 06, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 278
Confirmed Cases: 270
Probable Cases: 8
Total Active Cases: 22
Active Confirmed Cases: 20
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 249
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 243
Recovered Probable Cases: 6
Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 945
Confirmed Cases: 905
Probable Cases: 40
Total Active Cases: 38
Active Confirmed Cases: 31
Active Probable Cases: 7
Total Recovered Cases: 860
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 832
Recovered Probable Cases: 28
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5


COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 565
Confirmed Cases: 512
Probable Cases: 53
Total Active Cases: 98
Active Confirmed Cases: 74
Active Probable Cases: 24
Total Recovered Cases: 449
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 420
Recovered Probable Cases: 29
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 171
Confirmed Cases: 169
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 12
Active Confirmed Cases: 11
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 154
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 153
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 37
Confirmed Cases: 36
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 1
Active Confirmed Cases: 1
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 36
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 35
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON ORDERS FLAGS TO FLY AT HALF-STAFF IN MEMORY OF OFFICER KEVIN COLLINS
LITTLE ROCK - Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered the United States flag and the flag of the State of Arkansas to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the memory of Officer Kevin Collins of the Pine Bluff Police Department, who was killed in the line of duty on Monday, October 5, 2020. The flag shall be lowered immediately and remain at half-staff to the day of interment.

The full proclamation can be found HERE.

Governor Hutchinson released a statement on the passing of Officer Collins:
I was deeply saddened to learn that Officer Kevin Collins was shot and killed in the line of duty yesterday. Officer Collins spent his 5-year career at the Pine Bluff Police Department protecting and serving his community. He selflessly put his life on the line each day in the violent crimes unit and paid the ultimate price for the safety of others. We are forever grateful for his service and the dedication of our entire law enforcement community. Our prayers remain with Officer Collins? family, the Pine Bluff Police Department, and for the full recovery of Lt. Ralph Isaac.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, September 8th at Catherine's Bistro at 12:00 PM. The program will be by Britt Williford who will be discussing the upcoming Election.

 You are required to wear a mask was entering and leaving the building, if you do not have one they will provide you with one. Your temperature will be taken, and you'll sign in and report your temp. All the chairs in the meeting room will be spaced out as required.

JORY WORTHEN IN CUSTODY
On June 23, 2019, Jory Worthen of Bearden, allegedly murdered Alyssa Cannon, 20, and
her 4-year-old son, Braydon Ponder in their home located at 1338 Ronald Drive, Camden, Arkansas.

Their bodies were discovered June 25th. Authorities found Worthen’s pick-up truck at the residence, but the victim’s white 2007 Honda Accord was missing. The vehicle was later found July 22, 2019, in Seattle, Washington, in a Burger King parking lot. Authorities cannot confirm if it was Jory that drove the vehicle there or someone else.

A note was left behind at the scene allegedly laying claim, a confession if you will, about the act, and Worthen leaving to end his life via suicide. It was heavily rumored that Jory may have committed suicide since he was on the run, but US Marshal Services believe that may have been a ruse to throw off Authorities. 

The Camden Police Department charged Worthen with two counts of capital murder. 

Authorities arrested 22-year-old Montez Charles-Xavier Woods on July 24, 2019 in connection to the homicide. Police determined that Woods had knowledge of the murder and knew of Worthen's whereabouts.  Camden Police Department Chief Bo Woody confirmed that Woods assisted Worthen after the double homicide.  Woods reportedly admitted his involvement in helping Worthen. It was revealed Woods met with Worthen on June 27, 2019 outside of Chidester. Woods later led investigators on several different versions of his meetings with Worthen. Evidence was obtained Woods had knowledge of the murder and knew Worthen’s whereabouts. Lt. LaRhonda Moore stated that Woods knew the murders had taken place when he aided Worthen so he wasn’t brought into the situation not knowing Worthen was a suspect. When Moore’ was asked in what capacity Wood’s helped Worthen - financially or providing a place to hide - Moore answered that at this time she can only say Woods “assisted.” Moore also shared that Woods had closer ties to the victims’ family than to Worthen.

There was a story that broke later that Alyssa cell phone had been turned on and pinged a cell tower in Wichita, Kansas. Authorities tried to triangulate the phone, but the phone had disappeared from the network shortly after. It was believed that Jory had her phone and had been using it.

Reports poured in that he may have been in Alaska. Marshal services followed all reasonable leads, but those went cold. A video appeared on social media, Paul Michael of Bikers Against Abuse and Tracy Gonzalez a bail worker in Georgia tagged Angela Cannon, Alyssa’s mom to a Facebook post of a possible spotting of Worthen, at a Georgia gas station getting into a Camero as the passenger, but that went nowhere. 

Authorities have received over 500 tips across multiple states, including Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Alaska, and Washington with nothing confirmed. In the begging, there was no monetary incentive being offered in Worthen’s apprehension.  Police Chief Bo Woody put up $1,000 of his own money, just to bring Worthen in. Over time the reward grew to $5,000.
US Marshalls obtained a Federal Warrant for Worthen in February. US Marshals placed Worthen on their top 15 most wanted list.  The 15 Most Wanted list is reserved for fugitives we consider the worst of the worst,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald Washington. The US Marshalls upped the reward to $25,000 for information leading directly to Worthen’s arrest. 

CPD Chief Bo Woody assigned Lt. LaRhonda Moore to pursue Worthen adding additional assistance with U.S. Marshalls after Worthen was believed to have crossed state lines. 

Worthen was picked up by local authorities at a local hotel, in Burbank, California.. After being picked identified by authorities, and taken into custody after a short foot pursuit. Worthen is being held on the state warrant for Murder awaiting extradition back to Arkansas.

We will update this story this afternoon as we get more information.

PINE BLUFF POLICE DETECTIVE SHOT AND KILLED, ANOTHER WOUNDED, STATE POLICE INVESTIGATING
OCTOBER 5, 2020
A Pine Bluff Police Detective is dead and another wounded following an exchange of gunfire that occurred today in Pine Bluff at 210 North Blake Street.

Detective Kevin Collins, 35, a five year veteran of the department, was pronounced deceased at Jefferson Regional Medical Center shortly after 2 PM.
Lieutenant (Detective) Ralph Isaac, 42, a twenty-year veteran of the department, sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound.

The police officers were met with gunfire as they arrived at the Econo Lodge Motel about 12:05 PM.  The officers were at the location in connection with an on-going local criminal investigation.  A third detective, Kelsey Collins, 28, a two-year department veteran, did not sustain any injury.
Two individuals believed to be involved in the shooting were wounded.  Both were treated for non-life threatening wounds at a local hospital and later released for questioning by state police.

The homicide investigation will be led by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.  The FBI has been requested to assist in the investigation.  An investigative file will be submitted to the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney for the consideration of criminal charges.

 

SAU WAIVING ADMISSION EXAM REQUIREMENT FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL FOR SPRING 2021
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University will waive admission exam requirements for graduate school for the spring 2021 semester.

“Testing sites are trying to reopen but continue to have issues accommodating students,” said Dr. Kim Bloss, dean of SAU’s School of Graduate Studies. “We didn’t want this, which is out of their control, to prevent them from applying to graduate school. This waiver is for all graduate admissions exams including the GRE, MAT and GMAT.”

With the waiver, students can be considered for admission if they have completed a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.2 or higher from a regionally accredited institution.

“Our graduate programs continue to grow,” said SAU President Dr. Trey Berry, “and we want students to be able to take advantage of the fabulous programs we are offering. We didn’t want the availability of testing sites due to COVID to be a limiting factor for someone wanting to continue their education.”

The graduate school application can be completed online at www.saumag.edu/graduate.
 

LT. GOVERNOR GRIFFIN MOURNS DEATH OF PINE BLUFF POLICE OFFICER
Says, 'Horrifically tragic' news comes just four days after Peace Officer Memorial Day ceremony
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin released the following statement on the death of a Pine Bluff Police Officer who was killed today in the line of duty:

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the Pine Bluff police officer who was shot and killed today in the line of duty as well as the officer who is wounded and currently in the hospital. This news is horrifically tragic and comes just four days after we commemorated Peace Officer Memorial Day by adding the names of three fallen officers to the monument at our State Capitol. My heart goes out to the Pine Bluff Police Department as they grieve the loss of one of their own. Our police officers take extraordinary risks in order to protect our communities, and they deserve our eternal gratitude."
 

COTTON STATEMENT ON PASSING OF PINE BLUFF POLICE OFFICER
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after it was reported that one of the two Pine Bluff police officers shot earlier today had succumbed to his wounds:

“Officers Kevin Collins and Ralph Isaac dedicated themselves to defending the rule of law and the safety of their fellow citizens, and for that Arkansans will be forever grateful.  As we mourn the loss of Officer Collins and pray for Officer Isaac’s recovery, may God bring comfort to their families and to the brave policemen and women of the Pine Bluff Police Department.”

ARKANSAS STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES ADVOCACY FELLOWS FOR 2020 
Little Rock, AR – The Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA), a nonprofit and nonunion  professional association serving thousands of Arkansas educators and school employees announces its 2020 cohort of Advocacy Fellows. The ASTA Advocacy Fellowship Program was developed with the goal of elevating and empowering our state’s educators to influence policy through advocacy and education. The 2020 class of twenty advocacy fellows was selected from a statewide pool of distinguished applicants encompassing classroom educators, professors, and administrators serving students in traditional public schools, public charter schools, private schools, and universities. 

The following educators will participate in a yearlong fellowship engaging in activities and actions throughout the 2020-2021 school year to advocate for policies and issues that directly impact their students and educational communities. 
John Allison, Vilonia High School, Math Teacher
Leslie Battles, Cooper Elementary – Bentonville, Classroom Teacher, Team Lead
Jeff Davidson, Forrest City Junior High, Classroom Teacher
Melannie Duclan, Batesville Junior High School, Classroom Teacher
Felicia Goings, Forest Heights STEM Academy, 5th Grade Teacher
Olivia Hansen, Cabot Middle School North, 6th Grade Math and Science Teacher  
Kimberly Harlan, eStem Public Charter Schools, District Testing/Federal Programs Coordinator
Teri Harrah, Forest Heights STEM Academy,  Social Studies Teacher
Sam Kelley, Westside High School – Jonesboro, Social Studies Teacher and Department Chair
Nancy Lively, Rogers High School, Classroom Teacher
Rebecca McGee, Reed Elementary School – Dumas, 5th Grade Math/Science Teacher
Kathleen Moe, Willowbrook Elementary – Bentonville, Art Educator
Tanner Oglesby, Bryant High School, Choral Director
Karon Parrish, Crossroads Learning Center – Rogers, School Counselor
La Warn Rodgers, North Little Rock High School, Dean of Students
Jessica Saum, Stagecoach Elementary School – Cabot, K-4 Special Education Teacher
Cody Strahan, Ramay Junior High School – Fayetteville, Engineering/Robotics Teacher
Melissa Ward, Fox Meadow School of Creative Media – Nettleton, Literacy Resource Teacher
Brycial Williams, Wynne Primary School, First-Grade Teacher

“This incredible group of professionals represents a diverse cross-section of today’s education professionals,” noted ASTA Executive Director, Dr. Michele Linch. “In the wake of the pandemic, one of the primary concerns we heard from ASTA members was that their input and voice was not sufficiently sought or valued as decisions that directly impacted their schools and students were made.  We knew then that we had to formalize our member advocacy efforts. They have already begun the important work of researching, writing opinion pieces, and preparing for the upcoming 2021 legislative session.”  

Modeled after ASTA’s national affiliate’s Association of American Educator’s (AAE) fellowship program,  AAE Fellowship alumna and Little Rock School District teacher Lydia Dillon noted, “This fellowship is the most important and valuable program that AAE offers.” Our goal is for the ASTA fellowship program to become a vital asset to educators and policy makers as it elevates the educator’s voice in Arkansas.

 The ASTA Advocacy Fellowship is available to ASTA professional members statewide. Application consideration for the next cohort will open in 2021.  

The Arkansas  State Teachers Association is the state chapter of the Association of American Educators (AAE), the largest national, nonunion, professional educator organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to educator empowerment and advocacy—promoting professionalism, collaboration, and excellence without a partisan agenda. ASTA-AAE is committed to a teaching profession that is student oriented, well respected, and personally fulfilling. AAE serves members in all fifty states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Membership is $16.50 per month which includes $2 million professional liability insurance, employment rights coverage, professional resources, and many other benefits. Classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, student teachers, university professors, support staff, and supporters can learn more at astapro.org.

 
 
 

October 05, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 05, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.


 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 275
Confirmed Cases: 268
Probable Cases: 7
Total Active Cases: 23
Active Confirmed Cases: 22
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 245
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 239
Recovered Probable Cases: 6
Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 943
Confirmed Cases: 903
Probable Cases: 40
Total Active Cases: 40
Active Confirmed Cases: 33
Active Probable Cases: 7
Total Recovered Cases: 856
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 828
Recovered Probable Cases: 28
Total Deaths: 47
Confirmed Deaths: 42
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 555
Confirmed Cases: 504
Probable Cases: 41
Total Active Cases: 105
Active Confirmed Cases: 76
Active Probable Cases: 29
Total Recovered Cases: 432
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 410
Recovered Probable Cases: 22
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 171
Confirmed Cases: 169
Probable Cases: 2
Total Active Cases: 12
Active Confirmed Cases: 11
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 154
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 153
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 36
Confirmed Cases: 35
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 0
Active Confirmed Cases: 0
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 36
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 36
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 87,013
Confirmed Cases: 83,306
Probable Cases: 3,707
Recovered Cases: 78,358

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY: STATEWIDE FORCES SET TO CURB DISTRACTED DRIVING VIOLATORS
Beginning today and continuing through October 12th, Arkansas law enforcement officers will join forces with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to participate in a high visibility enforcement effort directed at drivers violating distracted driving laws.

Arkansas has joined the national “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” operation formed to stop distracted driving.  Police and sheriff’s departments have pledged the support of their officers and deputies to spread a unified message that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but everyone operating a motor vehicle on Arkansas roadways.
Between 2012 and 2018, nearly 23,000 people died as the result of motor vehicle crashes attributed to distracted driving, according to NHTSA records.  While there were 2,841 deaths from crashes caused by distracted driving during 2018, a 12 percent decrease from the previous year, law enforcement agency leaders say additional emphasis devoted to stopping violators is still needed.

Millennials and older Generation Z drivers have become the most egregious offenders of texting while driving.  A comparison of NHTSA statistics indicate that since 2007, drivers 16 – 24 years of age have been using handheld electronic devices while operating a vehicle in greater numbers of instances than older drivers have.  During 2018, eight percent of the people killed among teenage drivers (15 – 19 years old) were distracted at the time of the crashes.

“It’s inexcusable how common it has become to see people driving while looking at their phone,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “That’s why Arkansas motorists can expect to see an increase in law enforcement presence on streets and highways looking for distracted driving violators who will be stopped and issued a ticket.”

Many drivers are guilty of practicing a double standard when it comes to distracted driving.  A 2018 American Automobile Association Traffic Safety Culture Index reported that nearly 96 percent of drivers believe it is very or extremely dangerous to read a text message or email while driving, yet, 4 out of 10 drivers admitted to doing it within the previous 30 days.

Commenting on the report, Colonel Bryant said, “People know that texting while driving is dangerous and illegal, yet without considering the consequences that could end in someone being injured or losing their life, they do it anyway.”

Arkansas law enforcement and NHTSA urge Arkansas motorists to lay their phones aside while driving and practice the following suggestions, ensuring everyone remains safe:
While driving, if you’re expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park the vehicle in a safe location.  Once the vehicle is safely off the road and parked, it’s safe to text.
Ask your passenger to be a “designated texter”.  Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls and messages.
Do not engage in social media scrolling, reading or messaging while driving.
Cell phone use is habit forming.  Activate your phones’ “Do Not Disturb” feature or place the phone in the trunk or an out of reach location until you reach your destination.   
Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal.  Break the cycle.

Remember: U Drive. U Text. You Pay.  For more information on distracted driving, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.


CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO HAVE A BUDGET WORKSHOP
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have a workshop on Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. The purpose of the Workshop is to discuss the proposed 2021 budget for the City of Camden.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY COLUMN - NEW BENEFIT VERIFICATION LETTERS
By Tonya Cater
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Arkansas

We are excited to announce the release of a new, standardized Benefit Verification letter.    

People receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can obtain their letter by using their personal my Social Security account.  You can use the letter as proof of income for loans, housing assistance, mortgage, and other verification purposes. 

Please create your personal my Social Security account to access your new Benefit Verification letter online in a safe, quick, and convenient way without needing to contact us.  People not receiving benefits can use their account to get proof that they do not receive benefits, or proof that benefits are pending, in the same standardized letter.  Individual representative payees can also use the new my Social Security Representative Payee Portal to access the new Benefit Verification letter online for themselves or their beneficiaries. 

You can access your Benefit Verification letters at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.  If you don’t want to use your personal my Social Security account, you can call our National 800 Number to speak with a representative or to use the Interactive Voice Response system. You can also contact your local office.
 

AR INSURANCE DEPARTMENT RISK MANAGEMENT DIVISION RECOGNIZED
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 5, 2020)– The State Risk and Insurance Management Association (STRIMA) recently named the Arkansas Insurance Department’s (AID) Risk Management Division as the recipient of the 2020 Award for Innovative Risk Management (AFIRM) for its Loss Prevention Evaluation Report (LPER) system, an adaptable tool that assists state agencies in prioritizing and budgeting loss prevention inspection findings.

Created by Dr. Ken Dolan of the AID Risk Management Division, the LPER system utilizes certain terminology to characterize a state agency’s risk profile. With a focus on property and life safety exposures for the Arkansas Multi-Agency Insurance Trust (AMAIT), identified risks are rated according to occurrence probabilities and expected operational impacts. This is intended to assist an agency in determining its priorities for remediation of identified hazards and to support its budgeting efforts.

"I am extremely proud of the work of AID's Risk Management Division, and the work that went into being recognized with the award from STRIMA," said Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Alan McClain. "I am confident our state agency customers will be very well served by this new tool which will allow relevant data to be used to drive key insurance coverage decisions, resulting in more efficient use of state resources.  Congratulations to Director Mark Guinee, Dr. Dolan, and the rest of the Risk Management Team at AID."

The Risk Management Division has been implementing the LPER system for nearly two years and state agencies have already benefited from its results and recommendations. Agency stakeholders use the system's loss prevention analysis to decide which areas to initially focus capital expenditures in order to lower the agency's financial exposures to risk hazards. Prior to the LPER system, no formal analytics system existed.

The Risk Management Division is the second division of the AID to receive the innovation award from STRIMA in the last two years. In 2019, the Public Employee Claims Division (PECD) received the AFIRM for its state employee workers’ compensation pharmacy benefit management program in partnership with the UAMS College of Pharmacy and Optum.

 

OCTOBER 2, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 02, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 270
Confirmed Cases: 263
Probable Cases: 7
Total Active Cases: 23
Active Confirmed Cases: 22
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 241
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 235
Recovered Probable Cases: 6
Total Deaths: 6
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 924
Confirmed Cases: 889
Probable Cases: 35
Total Active Cases: 40
Active Confirmed Cases: 27
Active Probable Cases: 13
Total Recovered Cases: 838
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 821
Recovered Probable Cases: 17
Total Deaths: 46
Confirmed Deaths: 41
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 520
Confirmed Cases: 480
Probable Cases: 40
Total Active Cases: 102
Active Confirmed Cases: 77
Active Probable Cases: 25
Total Recovered Cases: 400
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 385
Recovered Probable Cases: 15
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 166
Confirmed Cases: 165
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 8
Active Confirmed Cases: 8
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 153
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 152
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 36
Confirmed Cases: 35
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 2
Active Confirmed Cases: 2
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 34
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 33
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 84,821
Confirmed Cases: 81,531
Probable Cases: 3290
Recovered Cases: 76,186

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

LOCKHEED AWARDED ANOTHER CONTRACT
Lockheed Martin, Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded a $26,960,639 modification (PZ0058) to contract W31P4Q-16-C-0036 for the procurement of last time buy production components for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems launchers. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas; Camden, Arkansas; and Palm Bay, Florida, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2023. Fiscal 2019 missile procurement, Army funds; and fiscal 2019 and 2020 U.S. Marine Corps funds in the amount of $26,960,639 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. 

 

EDUCATORS RAISE SCHOOL SAFETY, STUDENT LEARNING CONCERNS
AEA offers new tool for educators to speak up on school conditions
Educators are now on the frontlines of the coronavirus public health crisis and AEA is receiving troubling reports of unsafe practices and policies that undermine educators’ ability to provide effective learning for our students. 

AEA is a member driven organization. The educators who make up our local associations have the closest and best knowledge of their students' needs and safety in school buildings. Over the past several weeks, we have heard from educators across the state about health and safety concerns. We must take these concerns seriously and district officials must address them to slow the spread of this deadly virus.

“When educators speak up about health and safety issues, they do so to protect their students, colleagues and community,” said AEA President Carol Fleming.  “It’s disheartening to see educators being punished for trying to bring community awareness to safety issues in our school buildings.”
Last week Education Secretary Key said, in the first few weeks alone, more than one hundred schools had to pivot to offsite learning in some manner after health officials determined it was unsafe to proceed with in person learning.

“Parents don’t know if schools will remain open week to week, or even day to day, as new positives force shut-downs at a moment’s notice,” Fleming said. “These abrupt closures are disruptive for both students and educators.” 

To make the situation even more frightening, policies aiming to protect privacy mean educators don’t know if a missing student or colleague is infected, on quarantine, or just out for some unrelated reason.  

In addition to health and safety issues, many educators are now working two jobs as they struggle to teach both in person and virtually. We are also hearing reports of school districts assigning individual teachers hundreds of students which is well in excess of state standards.

These situations are normally prevented by state laws established to ensure students receive a quality education. Earlier this year the board of education approved a set of statewide waivers to some of these rules. AEA argued against those waivers because we saw the potential for a negative impact on student learning. 

"Unfortunately, now our fears are being realized,” Fleming said. “Our elected leaders vet and approve rules and regulations based on what we know about student learning. These waivers allow that process to be upended, creating an impossible situation for the school employees on the front lines.” 

AEA has developed a survey tool to find out what’s happening in our school buildings. We want educators to share the challenges, successes, or any other information we need to communicate to our public officials. The anonymous survey, available at www.aeaonline.org, aims to identify complications that need to be fixed as well as positive examples that can be expanded upon “We are also hearing reports of administrators creating a culture of suppression Fleming said. “This does a great disservice to our children, educators and communities.In order to fight this virus, we must be able openly communicate without fear of retribution.”


SAAC TO HOST ANN DOWNS EXHIBIT IN OCTOBER
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces its current art exhibition, "A Lifetime with My Easel", by well-known South Arkansas artist Ann Downs.  Her exhibit will hang in the Lobby Gallery beginning October 2 through October 28, 2020, with an artist’s reception on October 8 from 5:30-6:30pm. 

 Ann Downs, a native of Magnolia, is a versatile artist who works with various mediums.  She also creates original designs for painted furniture accent pieces, and her murals can be seen in downtown Magnolia and in principal buildings at Southern Arkansas University.  "A Lifetime with My Easel" is a compilation of works through the years showcasing Downs’ various styles of painting. 

 As a teacher and active artist, aware of the positive impact of visual arts, Downs wanted to share her knowledge with the community. She opened Blue Moon Studio, where she held classes for all ages.  She has been active in local and regional art groups, including the first Magnolia Sidewalk Art Show in 1950, founded by Marjorie Chamberlain, teacher and friend.  This show remains a special feature of the annual Magnolia Blossom Festival, sponsored by Magnolia Arts each year in May.  Downs has artwork in numerous public and private collections throughout the United States.

 “As I observe the world around me, I seek new ways to express the essence of it.  The challenge for me, the artist, is to speak to the viewer in a way that is unique, that is mine.  My goals are to grow in my own creative ability and promote the arts wherever life takes me.”

 A reception for the artist will be hosted for small groups on Thursday, October 8 with scheduled times for viewing at 5:30pm or 6:00pm. Place your reservation for a time slot by calling SAAC at 870-862-5474 or visiting https://saac-arts.org/ann-downs/. As per Governor Hutchinson's statewide order, face coverings are required for entry. 

For more information on this exhibit, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474.  Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00-5:00.  Sign in as you enter the lobby and face masks are required. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street,
El Dorado, Arkansas.

 

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE FILES SUIT AGAINST OWNER OF THE IRON SHOP OF ARKANSAS
Says, ‘Arkansans should be cautious of any business demanding upfront payments for projects or repairs’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed suit yesterday against Robert Walley of Center Ridge and owner of The Iron Shop of Arkansas, for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Walley failed to complete the work that was agreed upon after requesting upfront payments for material to build ornamental iron fence projects for Arkansans.

“Arkansans should be cautious of any business demanding upfront payments for projects or repairs,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Let us do the fighting for you when dealing with businesses that fail to follow through on promises, correct mistakes or complete projects.”

Walley, doing business as The Iron Shop of Arkansas, sells and installs ornamental iron fences and other iron fixtures to consumers. Rutledge received seven unresolved consumer complaints since 2019 regarding Walley’s deceptive business practices. Consumers report Walley failed to complete work, provided inferior products differing from those ordered by customers, and failed to follow through on his promises to return to consumers’ homes to complete or correct projects. Other consumers have reported that Walley requested partial, upfront payments for materials and failed to purchase the materials or even begin the work.

Walley is not licensed to conduct residential home improvement work as required by the Arkansas Residential Contractors Board. He was fined and ordered to cease and desist conducting business by the Board on January 22, 2020, and June 24, 2020. Walley failed to attend either hearing.

Attorney General Rutledge filed the case in Pulaski County and is requesting restitution, civil penalties, injunctive relief and demands a jury trial.

Consumers who have been affected by the Iron Shop of Arkansas or experienced similar deceptive practices should contact the office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
 

COTTON STATEMENT AFTER MEETING WITH JUDGE BARRETT
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement today after meeting with President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett:

"My meeting with Judge Barrett confirmed she is a brilliant legal mind and highly qualified nominee for the Supreme Court. I urge my Democratic colleagues to set politics aside and approach this nomination with an open mind so Judge Barrett receives the overwhelming confirmation vote she deserves."

 

OCTOBER 1, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 01, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 269
Confirmed Cases: 261
Probable Cases: 8
Total Active Cases: 24
Active Confirmed Cases: 22
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 239
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 239
Recovered Probable Cases: 233
Total Deaths: 6
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 911
Confirmed Cases: 879
Probable Cases: 32
Total Active Cases: 38
Active Confirmed Cases: 26
Active Probable Cases: 12
Total Recovered Cases: 833
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 818
Recovered Probable Cases: 15
Total Deaths: 40
Confirmed Deaths: 35
Probable Deaths: 5


COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 500
Confirmed Cases: 465
Probable Cases: 35
Total Active Cases: 95
Active Confirmed Cases: 73
Active Probable Cases: 22
Total Recovered Cases: 387
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 374
Recovered Probable Cases: 13
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 166
Confirmed Cases: 165
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 9
Active Confirmed Cases: 9
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 152
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 151
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 5
Confirmed Deaths: 5
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 36
Confirmed Cases: 35
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 2
Active Confirmed Cases: 2
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 34
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 33
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0


Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 83,697
Confirmed Cases: 80,610
Probable Cases: 3087
Recovered Cases: 75,312

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

STATE TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN ELECTED 2021 NATIONAL CHAIR OF FINANCIAL GROUP
State Financial Officers Foundation promotes fiscal responsibility
Little Rock, Ark. – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan was elected last night as the 2021 National Chair of the State Financial Officers Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes fiscally responsible public policies nationwide.

“It’s a great honor and a privilege to have been elected by my peers to this national position,” Milligan said. “I’ve always been very passionate about fiscal responsibility, so this is a natural fit for me. I look forward to serving Arkansans by helping to promote sound fiscal policy throughout the state and country.”

“The State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) is proud to have Treasurer Milligan as chair of our board,” said SFOF President Derek Kreifels. “He has transformed the Arkansas Treasury into a world-class office with his vision. He is constantly challenging his team to discover the best ways to do their job, and I have no doubt those leadership skills will enhance SFOF as well.

Grant Wallace, Milligan’s Chief Deputy Treasurer, received the State Government Staff Outstanding Leadership Award from the organization as well.

“His deputy treasurer, Grant Wallace, has been a key member of our board as a staff representative during the last year, always stepping in to serve when asked and doing so enthusiastically,” Kreifels continued. “We appreciate Grant’s willingness to serve and felt this leadership award was well-deserved.”

The State Financial Officers Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is focused on promoting fiscally responsible public policies nationwide.
 

MALVERN MAN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR FIREARMS POSSESSION
Fort Smith, Arkansas – David Clay Fowlkes, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that James Rhodes, age 35, was sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm.  The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.

According to court records, on or about December 9, 2019, Rhodes, having previously been convicted of a felony offense, was arrested for shoplifting and found to possess methamphetamine. During the investigation, Investigators learned that Rhodes had been staying at a hotel and that additional methamphetamine and a firearm were located in the hotel room.  Investigators were able to verify that Rhodes had rented a room at a hotel in Bentonville, Arkansas. A search of the room resulted in Investigators locating a loaded handgun.

A federal grand jury indicted Rhodes in January 2020, and he entered a guilty plea in May 2020.

This case was prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative, which is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of firearms and improving the safety of residents in the Western District of Arkansas.  Participants in the initiative include federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

This case was investigated by the Rogers Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Fire, Tobacco, and Explosives (ATF). Assistant United States Attorney Amy Driver prosecuted the case for the United States.

 

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: OPERATION CORRUPT COLLECTION: NATIONWIDE CRACKDOWN ON PHANTOM AND ABUSIVE DEBT COLLECTION
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and more than 50 federal and state law enforcement partners announced today a nationwide law enforcement and outreach initiative called Operation Corrupt Collector. The goal of this initiative is to protect consumers in Arkansas and nationwide from phantom debt collection and abusive, threatening debt collection practices.

“Scammers are creative and conniving when trying to steal from Arkansans and I won’t stand for it,” said General Leslie Rutledge. “Operation Corrupt Collector is a nationwide effort to help Arkansans resist the high-pressure, deceptive tactics that lure them into repaying debts they don’t owe.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers who receive abusive or misleading debt collection inquiries:

Debt collection phone calls are only allowed to a consumer’s home during the hours of 8 AM to 9 PM.  Legitimate debt collectors cannot harass, intimidate, threaten, or embarrass consumers and cannot make false or misleading statements, including false threats of imprisonment or criminal charges.

If a caller requests payment of a suspicious debt, then request a written verification of the debt.  A legitimate collection agency is governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  When asked by a consumer, it must provide written verification of the debt, including the name of the original creditor. 

Keep detailed records, and report the debt collector to the Arkansas Attorney General's Office, the Federal Trade Commission or the Arkansas State Board of Collection Agencies if wrongdoing is suspected.

The Operation Corrupt Collector initiative includes 54 total enforcement actions brought by the FTC, other federal agencies, and various state agencies against debt collectors engaged in these illegal practices. In coordination with 46 states, Arkansas joins with the FTC in rolling out new information to help consumers know their rights when it comes to debt collection and what steps to take if they receive a call trying to collect on a debt that they do not recognize. The FTC has also created a new online dashboard with information about reports received from consumers on debts not owed and abusive and threatening collection practices. So far in 2020, the FTC has received more than 85,000 reports from consumers related to debt collection, and nearly 45 percent of those were related to debts the consumer did not owe or abusive and threatening practices.
 

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE SAYS FAYETTEVILLE
HEALTH CENTER OVER COVID-19 IMMUNITY BOOST SCAMS 

Medical center fraudulently targets Latino community with expensive treatments
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has  announced a lawsuit against Arkansas Regenerative Medical Center LTD (ARMC), the firm’s medical director Sarah Knife Chief, M.D., and chiropractor Serge Francois, D.C. for fraudulently promoting to Northwest Arkansas’s Latino community expensive stem cell and ozone therapies, costing upwards of $3,000, to combat COVID-19.

“I will not allow Arkansans to fall prey to fraudulent COVID cures, especially when the scams take advantage of a language and cultural barrier,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This business preyed on public fear and targeted a minority community for personal gain. I will continue to work to hold accountable those who exploit consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In early 2020, ARMC, Chief, and Francois used a popular Hispanic radio station and even employed the station’s DJ in an effort to reach Latino consumers, who were being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. ARMC advertised on its website and Facebook page stem cell treatments and ozone therapy, claiming that they were “very effective” against COVID-19 and would allow employees to return to work more quickly. Consumers were charged upwards of $3,000 for the useless treatments. The CDC states there are no known drugs or other therapeutics presently approved by the FDA to prevent or treat COVID-19.

The lawsuit was filed in Washington County Circuit Court under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Rutledge seeks restitution for affected consumers, civil penalties, injunctive relief and other costs and fees incurred by the State of Arkansas in resolving this issue for consumers.

If you are a consumer who has been impacted by similar actions, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

 

ARKANSAS SMALL BUSINESS COMMUNITY ENDORSES FRENCH HILL FOR RE-ELECTION
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Sept. 30, 2020) — The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, today endorsed Congressman French Hill for re-election to the United States House of Representatives.

 “Congressman French Hill truly understands the issues our members are facing,” said Sylvester Smith, NFIB’s Arkansas State Director. “He has been a champion on small business tax priorities and has protected small business owners’ privacy throughout his time in Congress. Congressman Hill has always made himself available for our members, and even participated in an NFIB Small Business Challenge where he worked at one of our small businesses for a day. Small businesses need strong representatives in office, and Congressman Hill is just that. On behalf of our members in Arkansas, we are proud to endorse him today for re-election.”

 “Congressman Hill has demonstrated his support for our members both in Arkansas and across the country,” said NFIB National Political Director Sharon Sussin. “We are confident that he will continue to be a leader on the issues our members care about, and we are pleased to endorse him today.”

 French Hill’s endorsement today comes from NFIB FedPAC, the organization’s political action committee. NFIB FedPAC is funded by NFIB member donations above membership dues. Decisions made by NFIB FedPAC are managed by a member-driven grassroots evaluation process. Small business owners are influential in their communities and NFIB members in Arkansas will work hard to re-elect French Hill. 
 

BOOZMAN STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF BILL TO AVOID SHUTDOWN
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after
voting to pass a short-term extension to keep the federal government funded through December 11, 2020:

“Governing by short-term extensions is a less than desirable option. Congress should pass individual funding bills each year to avoid the chronic budget uncertainty that makes it difficult to plan for the future. Regular order is the best way to reduce government spending, balance our budget and prioritize the needs of federal agencies.

However, a government shutdown is the last thing we need in the midst of a public health emergency and an economic crisis. Important pandemic response and economic relief programs that the American people are counting on would be stopped or disrupted if not for this bill.

I am pleased that we reached an agreement that included full reimbursement to the Commodity Credit Corporation in this legislation. Our farmers and ranchers have faced more than enough challenges this year – extreme weather events, low commodity prices, market volatility, a global pandemic and the list just goes on and on and on. They don’t need Washington to make things even more difficult.”
 

COTTON AND CRAWFORD INTRODUCE BILL TO PROTECT AMERICAN AGRICULTURE FROM CHINESE ESPIONAGE
Washington, D.C.  — Today, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) introduced the Agricultural Intelligence Measures (AIM) Act, a bill that would establish an Office of Intelligence within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This office would leverage the assets of the intelligence community to better protect U.S. agriculture from foreign threats posed by countries like China. The bill text may be found here.

Representative Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month. 

“The Chinese Communist Party wants to undermine vital American industries through sabotage and intellectual property theft—U.S. agriculture is no exception. Our bill will help safeguard the food and technology that our country depends on for its prosperity and freedom,” said Cotton.

 “The powerhouse that is American agriculture is a product of years of research and serves as an example of our nation’s ingenuity. It is a national security imperative that we safeguard our agriculture sector from foreign threats such as espionage, intellectual theft, and biological attacks. The AIM Act and its companion bill in the Senate both play a critical role in taking a proactive approach to foreign attacks on our nation’s agriculture,” said Crawford.

Background:
In 2014, Chinese researchers were accused of stealing patented corn and later sentenced to prison.
In 2018, a Chinese national was sentenced to 121 months in federal prison for attempting to steal rice research for China.
In 2019, a Chinese national who worked at Monsanto was indicted on economic espionage charges.
The USDA is currently investigating suspicious, unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to have been sent from China to the United States. 

September 29, 2020

CASES OF COVID-19 IN ARKANSAS TOPPED 80,000 ON TUESDAY. 
During his COVID-19 Taskforce press conference Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced 482 cases confirmed over the past 24 hours, raising the statewide total to 80,003. Recoveries followed suit with over 72,000 Arkansans catching the virus and beating it since the pandemic began. Deaths, however, saw another day of moderately high growth with an additional 21 since Monday. That raises the total to 1,204. Hospitalizations saw a net decrease to 490. While lower than the 520-peak hit over the summer, current hospitalizations remain higher than those recorded for most of the first half of the month. 

Hutchinson provided updated information on cases of the virus within Arkansas schools and colleges. Among public schools the state has confirmed 748 active cases as of Monday. In colleges and universities that total is 490. Both figures are less than those recorded a week ago, especially at the college level.

State officials also announced they had hit and surpassed their goal of performing one million tests since the start of the outbreak. The ramped up testing effort is part of the state's winter strategy against COVID-19. Hutchinson said his goal is to test at least six percent of Arkansans each month through the rest of the year. 

Other figures provided Tuesday showed Northwest Arkansas continues to lead the state in new cases while Southwest Arkansas is seeing the fewest. 

New cases over the past days and weeks have been moderately high. The seven-day rolling average has risen to approximately 750 new cases a day. Hutchinson attempted to explain why cases are growing after seeing a downward trend earlier this month. Increased testing is one of the big factors, he said.

State health experts say Arkansas' positivity rate is continuing to drop. That's a sign, they say, of an improving COVID-19 situation in the state. With a reduced positivity rate, new cases, deaths and hospitalizations should drop. 

Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key spoke to clarify the cancellation of football games and other events on the high school level. These cancellations aren't coming from the state level, but from local decisions. That's the kind of flexibility and local decision making the state wants its school districts to maintain, said Key.

In review, 482 new cases were reported on Tuesday for a statewide cumulative total of 80,003. Hospitalizations experienced a net decrease of six to 490. Deaths increased by 21 to 1,204. There are slightly more than 6,000 active cases in the state. More than 72,000 Arkansans have recovered since the pandemic began. We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments.


COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 29, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 263
Confirmed Cases: 256
Probable Cases: 7
Total Active Cases: 29
Active Confirmed Cases: 27
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 228
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 223
Recovered Probable Cases: 5
Total Deaths: 6
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 894
Confirmed Cases: 871
Probable Cases: 23
Total Active Cases: 33
Active Confirmed Cases: 27
Active Probable Cases: 6
Total Recovered Cases: 823
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 811
Recovered Probable Cases: 12
Total Deaths: 37
Confirmed Deaths: 32
Probable Deaths: 5


COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 469
Confirmed Cases: 443
Probable Cases: 26
Total Active Cases: 75
Active Confirmed Cases: 61
Active Probable Cases: 14
Total Recovered Cases: 376
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 364
Recovered Probable Cases: 12
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 163
Confirmed Cases: 162
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 9
Active Confirmed Cases: 9
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 150
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 149
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 4
Confirmed Deaths: 4
Probable Deaths: 0


COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 36
Confirmed Cases: 35
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 2
Active Confirmed Cases: 2
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 34
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 33
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 82,049
Confirmed Cases: 79,521
Probable Cases: 2,528
Recovered Cases: 73,573

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

HARMONY GROVE NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY SPONSORS BLOOD DRIVE
The Harmony Grove National Honor Society is sponsoring a Blood Drive Friday, October 16th from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the Arena Foyer for Class of 2021 scholarships!  Every blood donation “earns” the opportunity to VOTE for the senior you wish to receive a $250 Scholarship! The group needs over 75 donors total for all the blood drives they sponsor during the 2020-2021 school year. There is a t-shirt for every donor and a chance to have free COVID antibody test for donors! High school students who donate 6 times before graduation earn a blood donation honor cord! 

Donors are asked to wear a mask and come free of COVID symptoms. 

16-year olds may donate with signed permission forms available in the counselor’s office.

18-year olds and younger need a permission form to be screened for COVID antibodies.

 All adult donors may be screened for COVID antibodies to identify potential convalescent plasma donors.

Anyone in the community who wishes to donate may call 574-0656 to sign up. Students sign up in counselor’s office and pick up permission forms.

FREE ONLINE SEMINAR – IDENTIFYING WEAKNESSES IN YOUR STRATEGY
This Seminar will look at your Digital Market Scorecard and help identify weaknesses in your Strategy. This Seminar will be held on October 6th beginning at 8:30 AM. Brought to you by the Camden Downtown Network and Think Institute. T sign up text your name, contact number and email to 870-807-1468.
For these and other stories, visit www.yesradioworks.com

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 28, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 263
Confirmed Cases: 256
Probable Cases: 7
Total Active Cases: 34
Active Confirmed Cases: 32
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 215
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 223
Recovered Probable Cases: 5
Total Deaths: 6
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 892
Confirmed Cases: 870
Probable Cases: 22
Total Active Cases: 34
Active Confirmed Cases: 29
Active Probable Cases: 5
Total Recovered Cases: 821
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 809
Recovered Probable Cases: 12
Total Deaths: 36
Confirmed Deaths: 31
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 451
Confirmed Cases: 425
Probable Cases: 26
Total Active Cases: 78
Active Confirmed Cases: 64
Active Probable Cases: 14
Total Recovered Cases: 355
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 343
Recovered Probable Cases: 14
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 162
Confirmed Cases: 161
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 10
Active Confirmed Cases: 10
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 148
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 147
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 4
Confirmed Deaths: 4
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 36
Confirmed Cases: 35
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 2
Active Confirmed Cases: 2
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 34
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 33
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 81,242
Confirmed Cases: 78,735
Probable Cases: 2,507
Recovered Cases: 72,602

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

RAYTHEON AWARDED NEW CONTRACT
Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Tucson, Arizona, is awarded a $45,260,184 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract N00024-18-C-5407 for procurement of fiscal 2020 Navy Standard Missile-2 and Standard Missile-6 depot and intermediate level provisioned items ordered spares.  Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona (41%); Camden, Arkansas (40%); Joplin, Missouri (5%); Anaheim, California (3%); Andover, Massachusetts (3%); Minneapolis, Minnesota (3%); and miscellaneous locations - each less than 1% (5%), and is expected to be completed by March 2023.  Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Navy; 67%); fiscal 2018 weapons procurement (Navy; 15%); fiscal 2020 weapons procurement (Navy; 13%); fiscal 2014 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy; 4%); and fiscal 2019 weapons procurement (Navy; 1%) funding in the amount of $45,260,184 will be obligated at time of award, of which, funds in the amount of $36,899,712 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

 

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT TRUMP'S NOMINATION OF JUDGE BARRETT FOR U.S. SUPREME COURT
Says, ‘resume, experience and deeply held faith make her the perfect selection for our country’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Donald J. Trump.
“President Trump has once again nominated an exceptional legal scholar to serve on the nation’s highest court and protect our Constitution,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Judge Barrett has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since 2017. Before that, she distinguished herself as a constitutional scholar during nearly two decades as a respected member of the faculty at her alma mater Notre Dame Law School after clerking for Justice Antonin Scalia. Judge Barrett has published many articles in leading law reviews throughout the country. She has done all this while raising seven children. Judge Barrett’s resume, experience and deeply held faith make her the perfect selection for our country. I look forward to working with President Trump and the U.S. Senate to assist with getting Judge Barrett confirmed.”

 

BOOZMAN STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT NOMINEE JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to serve as Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court:
“I congratulate Amy Coney Barrett on her nomination to serve as a member of the Supreme Court. With her extensive legal and academic experience, she is well qualified for the job. As with previous justices nominated by President Trump, Judge Barrett has shown that she understands her Constitutional role and refrains from legislating from the bench. I have every reason to believe she will continue that same approach on the nation’s highest court. I look forward to meeting her and evaluating her nomination on the merits as the Senate proceeds with the confirmation process.”

COTTON STATEMENT ON THE NOMINATION OF AMY CONEY BARRETT TO THE SUPREME COURT
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court:
 “Judge Amy Coney Barrett is one of the finest legal minds of her generation and has now proven to be a wise judge as well. I congratulate Judge Barrett on her nomination and I commend President Trump for another outstanding choice. The Senate voted to confirm Judge Barrett to the Court of Appeals not even three years ago; since then, she has exceeded our high expectations for faithfully applying the law and upholding our Constitution. I therefore look forward to voting promptly for Judge Barrett next month and confirming her to the highest court in the land.”

September 25, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 25, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.


 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 254
Confirmed Cases: 248
Probable Cases: 6
Total Active Cases: 33
Active Confirmed Cases: 31
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 215
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 211
Recovered Probable Cases: 4
Total Deaths: 6
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 874
Confirmed Cases: 854
Probable Cases: 20
Total Active Cases: 33
Active Confirmed Cases: 28
Active Probable Cases: 5
Total Recovered Cases: 808
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 798
Recovered Probable Cases: 10
Total Deaths: 32
Confirmed Deaths: 27
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 412
Confirmed Cases: 388
Probable Cases: 24
Total Active Cases: 53
Active Confirmed Cases: 40
Active Probable Cases: 13
Total Recovered Cases: 341
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 330
Recovered Probable Cases: 11
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 161
Confirmed Cases: 160
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 13
Active Confirmed Cases: 13
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 145
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 144
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 3
Confirmed Deaths: 3
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 34
Confirmed Cases: 33
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 4
Active Confirmed Cases: 4
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 30
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 29
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 79,049
Confirmed Cases: 76,6766
Probable Cases: 2,373
Recovered Cases: 70,737
For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

SAAC ANNOUNCES DATES FOR EL DORADO FILM FESTIVAL • NOVEMBER 13-14
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to announce scheduled dates and social distancing protocols for the El Dorado Film Festival. In response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the event, originally planned for October 8-10, will instead be held November 13-14 at the Murphy Arts District's First Financial Music Hall. Presented by SAAC and sponsored by Suddenlink, the festival is pleased to have the opportunity to work within MAD's larger space in order to present an in-person event.
"El Dorado Film Festival has always been a home-grown event with an emphasis on relationships and hospitality. We've always had a pretty small footprint, for better or for worse, so we can remain adaptable in these uncertain times," said Alexander Jeffery, executive director of the El Dorado Film Festival. "Being able to utilize this massive event space allows us to really spread people out and keep our audience safe, while still putting on in-person screenings for our filmmakers."
At full capacity, the music hall is capable of seating up to 1,800 people. Festival organizers have worked to develop an adaptable seating plan that can accommodate 200 festival goers in socially distanced, reserved seating "pods" of up to 6, allowing groups to enjoy films together. Masks will be required (unless eating or drinking concessions), sanitization stations will be readily available throughout the venue, and surfaces will be sanitized every two hours.
"SAAC is thrilled to be able to present this event again this year, and we are so excited that Alex and his team have been able to work on such creative solutions to social distancing," said Laura Allen, executive director of SAAC. "The El Dorado Film Festival will be a wonderful way to enjoy the connection and engagement that the arts provide, in a safe and accessible environment."
Throughout the two-day event, 30 films from 10 countries will be screened in competition for the festival's prizes, along with the winning films from this year's virtual Louisiana Film Prize.
Weekend passes to the festival will be available for $30 and include access to all films. Attendees can purchase all seats in a pod of 6 for $150, a $30 discount. Pods must be purchased in a single transaction, and all seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets will be available through the South Arkansas Arts Center Box Office soon. Visit www.saac-arts.org or call 870-862-5474 for details.

 

LT. GOVERNOR GRIFFIN COMMENDS PRESIDENT TRUMP ON DECISION TO FILL SUPREME COURT VACANCY
Says, Presidential and Senate powers 'don't change simply because it's an election year'
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin released the following statement on President Donald Trump's decision to nominate a justice to fill the seat left vacant by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 
 "President Donald Trump has the constitutional authority to nominate a justice for the Supreme Court, and the Senate has the same authority to advise and consent. Those powers don’t change simply because it’s an election year. It’s that simple. The rest is politics. President Trump is right to fill the vacant seat with a qualified nominee. It is true that the Supreme Court nomination process has become quite political. But that is in large part because of how Senate Democrats smeared the character of good men like Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. In fact, the Democrats' assault on Bork was so out of the ordinary that the term 'Borking' a judicial nominee came to represent the character assasination of an otherwise qualified nominee. Harry Reid's elimination of the filibuster made court politics even more toxic. These abuses of power and partisan games contributed significantly to the partisan nomination process we have today."


BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES MILITARY SERVICE OF WWII VETERAN FROM PINE BLUFF
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service of World War II veteran Fulton William Walker in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.

Walker was born in Emerson, Arkansas in 1923. He was raised on the family farm with his 10 brothers and sisters. After graduating high school, Walker was drafted into the Army when he was 19-years-old and began his military service on July 29, 1943.

Walker’s father was visibly shaken by his son’s departure. “I already had three brothers in service, and when I was called it was almost more than my father could bear,” Walker said.

During his training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Walker learned how to drive a truck, a skill that would be key to his success overseas.
“I didn’t know how to drive anything. I hadn’t even learned to drive a car,” Walker remarked. After arriving in England, Walker and other African American soldiers didn’t receive a warm welcome. They were treated poorly simply because the color of their skin. When his mission took him to France and Germany, he recalls being treated well.

Walker was part of the famous Red Ball Express, an operation primarily manned by African American soldiers that convoyed much-needed supplies to Allied forces for 82 days. The Red Ball Express played a vital role in helping bring an end to the war in Europe.

“We just traveled, sometimes [for] days, sometimes under dark, it just depends where we were,” Walked said.

During his assignment with the Red Ball Express, Walker developed a friendship with James Williams, a fellow Arkansan. “We called him ‘royal jester’…because he liked to have a lot of fun,” Walker fondly recalled.

Following the end of the war, he remained in Germany to help rebuild and restore the country. Some of his missions included transporting German POWs back to their hometowns. 

“It looked like a tornado had come through it.” He became friends with the locals and was eventually sent off with a memorable farewell filled with gifts and gestures to remember his stay.

When he returned stateside, Walker used the GI Bill to continue his education and enrolled at AM&N College, now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where he studied English and social studies. While in school, Walker married his high school sweetheart. The couple had one daughter, Phyllis Keele Walker.

After college, Walker became an educator, coach and principal in rural Arkansas. In 1965, he was hired by the Pine Bluff School District where he served as a principal for several schools and eventually oversaw all federal programs in the district.

While he had much success in education, he is most proud of being a role model for his family.

“Fulton Walker’s dedication to serving others, whether it be in the military or in his community, is inspiring and a reminder that a single person can make a difference. I am extremely grateful for his service and I am pleased to be able to collect and preserve his stories,” Boozman said.

In February, Boozman presented Walker with the service medals he earned including the Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medals and the World War II Victory Medal.

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

STATE CAPITOL WEEK IN REVIEW
From Senator Trent Garner
September 25, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas cities and counties that have been hit hard by the economic impact of the coronavirus can apply for help, after legislators approved the use of $150 million for relief grants.

Cities and counties can apply online for expense reimbursements, with a total limit for the 499 municipalities in Arkansas set at $75 million. The total limit for the state’s 75 counties will be the same amount.

Cities and counties must provide documentation, to prove that the expenses are allowed to be reimbursed with federal CARES Act funds.

CARES is an acronym that stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. It was approved by Congress and signed by the president in March to offset the financial impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Arkansas is to receive about $1.25 billion in total from the act.

Legislators and state officials intend for the grant process to move quickly. The first deadline for applying is October 30, with another deadline on November 16 for applications that may be incomplete.

The Legislative Council approved the use of $150 million in CARES Act funds for relief for cities and counties. The Council is the legislative body that monitors state government operations in the interim between sessions.

During discussion, legislators confirmed from the officials who will administer the grants that cities can be reimbursed for the cost of helping residents with utility bills. The state Department of Finance and Administration will disburse the grants to cities and counties.

Many utilities have not cut off service for non-payment of bills, because of policies enacted to help people who lost their jobs or businesses due to the coronavirus.

An official of DFA said that grants would reimburse local governments for rental assistance, mortgage assistance and food banks.

A related effort is in the works to help the Arkansas tourism industry. The state Parks, Heritage and Tourism Department is writing a list of allowable reimbursements that will provide financial help for the hospitality and service industries.

Senators on the Legislative Council said tourism has been especially hard hit by the pandemic. They are working to see that some CARES Act relief is disbursed to local convention and visitors bureaus, because those local agencies promote business in local hotels, restaurants, gift shops and tourist destinations.

Higher Education Enrollment Declines

An indicator of how the coronavirus is affecting Arkansas is that only three public institutions of higher education reported an increase in enrollment in undergraduates for the fall semester. They are the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (10.5 percent), the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (29 percent) and Southern Arkansas University Tech at Camden (2.1 percent).

The enrollment figures don’t account for students in nearby high schools taking concurrent classes.

Another factor in the enrollment decline is that colleges and universities have changed their focus to retaining and graduating students, rather than boosting enrollment numbers. Over the past five years, the number of students in higher education in Arkansas has dropped 13.2 percent, from 115,468 to 100,241

SEPTEMBER 24, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.





COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 252
Confirmed Cases: 246
Probable Cases: 6
Total Active Cases: 36
Active Confirmed Cases: 34
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 210
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 206
Recovered Probable Cases: 4
Total Deaths: 6
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0
COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 858
Confirmed Cases: 838
Probable Cases: 20
Total Active Cases: 27
Active Confirmed Cases: 21
Active Probable Cases: 6
Total Recovered Cases: 798
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 789
Recovered Probable Cases: 9
Total Deaths: 32
Confirmed Deaths: 27
Probable Deaths: 5
COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 399
Confirmed Cases: 380
Probable Cases: 19
Total Active Cases: 45
Active Confirmed Cases: 37
Active Probable Cases: 8
Total Recovered Cases: 336
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 325
Recovered Probable Cases: 11
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0
COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 158
Confirmed Cases: 157
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 12
Active Confirmed Cases: 12
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 143
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 142
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 3
Confirmed Deaths: 3
Probable Deaths: 0
COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 34
Confirmed Cases: 33
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 4
Active Confirmed Cases: 4
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 30
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 29
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 77,963
Confirmed Cases: 75,646
Probable Cases: 2,317
Recovered Cases: 69,952

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

HOT SPRINGS WOMAN SENTENCED TO 14 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG POSSESSION
Fayetteville, Arkansas – David Clay Fowlkes, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Michelle Friedman, age 38, was sentenced yesterday to 168 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release for Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.  The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.

According to court records, on or about January 3, 2020, agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) learned that Friedman was purported to be selling methamphetamine from a hotel room in Fayetteville, Arkansas. These agents contacted Friedman's supervising parole officer and learned that Friedman had an active arrest warrant for absconding supervision, and had an active search waiver on file.

DEA agents and her Parole officer located Friedman in her hotel room and made contact with her. Friedman immediately advised officers that everything in the room belonged to her. During a search of the room, Officers located a box and a flashlight that contained methamphetamine, as well as a digital scale.

The DEA crime lab tested the seized methamphetamine and determined that it contained 627grams of methamphetamine.

A federal grand jury indicted Friedman in March 2020, and she entered a guilty plea in June 2020.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Arkansas Probation and Parole.  Assistant United States Attorney Hunter Bridges prosecuted the case for the United States.
 

FIVE ARKANSAS SCHOOLS NAMED 2020 NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS 
LITTLE ROCK — The U.S. Department of Education today named five Arkansas schools as 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools. The schools are recognized for their overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Exemplary High Performing Schools
Bernice Young Elementary School in the Springdale School District
Jefferson Elementary School in the Little Rock School District
Saint Joseph Catholic School (Fayetteville) in the Diocese of Little Rock
Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools
Crawford Elementary School in the Russellville School District
Eudora Elementary School in the Lakeside School District (Chicot County)

“Congratulations to these five schools on achieving this prestigious national honor,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. “These schools serve as role models to all schools in the state and demonstrate the importance of providing an excellent education to all students.”

The 317 public and 50 non-public National Blue Ribbon Schools from across the country will be recognized November 12 and 13 during a virtual awards ceremony. To learn more about the program, visit https://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/index.html

 

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: TAKE A PASS ON FAKE ONLINE SELLERS
LITTLE ROCK – Over the last several years and as COVID-19 has changed Arkansans’ daily routines, shopping online has become the new normal when purchasing necessities, gifts and even school supplies. While many sites may look honest and trustworthy, they sometimes have no intention of delivering the product that has been advertised. 

“Scam websites can take advantage of Arkansans through fake advertising on social media at unrealistic rock-bottom prices,” said Attorney General Rutledge.  “Consumers should be careful and avoid purchases from suspicious websites until they research the seller and determine whether the seller can be trusted.”

Attorney General Rutledge offers several tips for Arkansans shopping online.

Don’t fall for lower-than-expected prices.  If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Do your research.  Use an internet search engine and the Better Business Bureau website to look for reviews of the company and check any buyer feedback, and determine what the seller’s return policy is.

Find out where the seller is located and do a search to verify the address.  Sometimes sellers will give a false address to make it appear as if they’re located in the United States. If the seller is overseas, returns and refunds can be complicated by the existence of international laws that lack consumer protections.

Pay with a secure payment method such as a credit card or PayPal.  Avoid wire transfers and gift card payments.  Before entering personal information, confirm that any payment information provided online is through a secure website with a “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar and the letters “https” in the URL address.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

 

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE JOINS PRESIDENT TRUMP ANDATTORNEY GENERAL BARR FOR DISCUSSION ON SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP
Says, ‘it has become clear that these sites have actually been censoring speech based on political ideology’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge participated in a roundtable discussion yesterday with President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr on censorship experienced by Americans using various social media platforms.
“Arkansans have been misled to believe that social media platforms are neutral sites. But it has become clear that these sites have actually been censoring speech based on political ideology,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “During today’s meeting with President Trump and General Barr we discussed how we can partner to investigate any deceptive trade practices under Arkansas law.”

The meeting follows Executive Order 13925, signed by President Trump in May that combats censorship of users by online platforms.
 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO ALLOW AWARDING MEDAL OF HONOR TO SFC CASHE
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today introduced a bill that would give the president authority to award posthumously the Medal of Honor to Sergeant First Class (SFC) Alwyn Cashe. 

SFC Cashe exemplified the finest traditions of military heroism when he disregarded his own safety and saved the lives of six fellow soldiers despite his serious injuries during Operation Iraqi Freedom in October of 2005. Cashe later died from his wounds, which included severe burns over 70% of his body.

The bill text may be found here. Representatives Brian Crenshaw (R-Texas), Stephanie Murphy (D-Florida), and Michael Waltz (R-Florida) passed companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Mr. Cashe’s incredible bravery on the battlefield in the service of his fellow Americans is worthy of the Medal of Honor. Unfortunately, current law prevents us from appropriately recognizing his service. Our bill will waive the current statutory limitations so that the president can ensure Mr. Cashe’s memory is honored by our grateful nation,” said Cotton.

“The actions of Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe exemplified the best of our military and nation. He made the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. SFC Cashe without a doubt deserves to posthumously receive the Medal of Honor for his bravery and selflessness. This legislation also shows that while we may be in divisive times, Congress and the American people can come together to recognize heroic efforts of our military. I am proud of our bicameral bipartisanship and I look forward to witnessing SFC Cashe finally receive the recognition he rightfully deserves,” said Manchin.

“Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe, a native of Florida, served our country with remarkable courage, and he deserves to be awarded the Medal of Honor,” Rubio said. “I am proud to introduce this legislation that will allow his legacy of service to be given the honor and recognition he deserves,” said Rubio.

“Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe displayed incredible heroism and bravery while serving our nation, risking his own life to save six others. He truly represents what it means to be an American hero and is undoubtedly a worthy recipient of the Medal of Honor. I’m proud to join my colleagues in this legislation, which would allow the President to posthumously award Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe with this great honor,” said Scott.

“Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe showed truly extraordinary heroism, selflessly sacrificing his own life to save his fellow soldiers. He is undeniably deserving of our nation’s highest recognition of valor, the Medal of Honor. This legislation will ensure that our country can appropriately honor SFC Cashe’s remarkable courage and pay our deepest respects to his family,” said Blumenthal.

“Mr. Cashe demonstrated incredible bravery and selflessly saving the lives of six of his fellow soldiers in the face of danger,” Cruz said. “Mr. Cashe should be remembered for his heroic service to our country. I’m proud to cosponsor this important legislation to ensure the Medal of Honor can be awarded to those most deserving.”


U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY ELAINE L. CHAO ANNOUNCES $335 MILLION IN INFRASTRUCTURE GRANTS TO AMERICA’S AIRPORTS
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced today that the Trump Administration will award $335 million in airport safety and infrastructure grants through the Fedeeral Aviation Administration  (FAA) to 80 airports in 25 states.

 “Airport infrastructure projects funded by this $335 million in federal funding will advance safety, improve travel, generate jobs and provide other economic benefits for local communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

A complete listing of grants  (PDF) and an interactive map of airports  receiving funding is available on the FAA website.

 The total includes $300 million from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and $35 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grants to equal a 100 percent federal share.
 

BOOZMAN APPLAUDS INCLUSION OF FUNDS TO ENSURE CERTAINTY, PREDICTABILITY FOR FARMERS AND RANCHERS IN BILL TO AVOID SHUTDOWN
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry Committee, spoke on the Senate floor in support of the agreement that was reached to ensure a full reimbursement of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) in the continuing resolution that passed the House of Representatives.

The House’s initial version of the bill—which Congress needs to pass to avert a government shutdown—did not include the CCC reimbursement. This was a break from previous funding bills, which always included provisions to ensure critical Farm Bill programs are implemented.

Boozman and his colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee worked with House Republicans to successfully push for inclusion of the CCC reimbursement in a revised version of the bill.

“We are here today to commend our Republican leadership for forging a bipartisan compromise on a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. And in particular, I’m so pleased that we reached an agreement that included full reimbursement to the Commodity Credit Corporation. For decades, the CCC has been routinely reimbursed without fanfare, but unfortunately, not so this year,” Boozman said. “Our farmers and ranchers have faced more than enough challenges this year – extreme weather events, low commodity prices, market volatility, a global pandemic and the list just goes on and on and on. They don’t need Washington to make things even more difficult.”

“These 61 AIP grants will allow airports around the country to begin and complete projects that are vital to the safe and efficient operation of our nation’s airports,” said FAA Administrator Stephen M. Dickson.

The grants will be used for a variety of critical infrastructure and safety projects. The projects include purchasing aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment, constructing runways and taxiways, repairing runways and taxiways, installing aircraft lighting and signage, conducting airport master plan studies, and installing airport perimeter fencing.

Since January 2017, the Trump Administration has delivered $14.5 billion to America’s airports to improve infrastructure and safety. Additionally, this year the Administration has delivered $10 billion in economic assistance to America’s airports under the CARES Act to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
 

SEPTEMBER 23, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 23, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.
 

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 252
Confirmed Cases: 246
Probable Cases: 6
Total Active Cases: 36
Active Confirmed Cases: 34
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 210
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 206
Recovered Probable Cases: 4
Total Deaths: 6
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 858
Confirmed Cases: 838
Probable Cases: 20
Total Active Cases: 27
Active Confirmed Cases: 21
Active Probable Cases: 6
Total Recovered Cases: 798
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 789
Recovered Probable Cases: 9
Total Deaths: 32
Confirmed Deaths: 27
Probable Deaths: 5

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 399
Confirmed Cases: 380
Probable Cases: 19
Total Active Cases: 45
Active Confirmed Cases: 37
Active Probable Cases: 8
Total Recovered Cases: 336
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 325
Recovered Probable Cases: 11
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 158
Confirmed Cases: 157
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 12
Active Confirmed Cases: 12
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 143
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 142
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 3
Confirmed Deaths: 3
Probable Deaths: 0

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 34
Confirmed Cases: 33
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 4
Active Confirmed Cases: 4
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 30
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 29
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 77,963
Confirmed Cases: 75,646
Probable Cases: 2,317
Recovered Cases: 69,952

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

“STEP UP” TO PREVENT FLU
This information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is for Veterans and their families. This fact sheet explains steps you can take to help stop the spread of flu!  Each year in the U.S., thousands die and many more are hospitalized because of flu.

 

 


Step 1 Get your flu shot
Everyone age 6 months and older is recommended to get a flu shot each year by VA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Getting a flu shot is the best way to slow the spread of flu from person to person.
Get a flu shot every year as flu viruses can change from year to year.
Anyone can get flu, but some people are at high risk for complications from flu:
people age 65 and older
people with health problems like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and other chronic illnesses or conditions
pregnant women or people caring for an infant or a family member with health problems.

Step 2 Know how flu is spread
When a person with flu sneezes, coughs, talks, or laughs, flu virus can spread into the air as droplets.
The droplets can spread to people and surfaces up to 6 feet away.
Flu virus can spread to your hands if you touch anything that has the virus on it. If you then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you might get flu.
A person can spread flu to others about 1 day before they feel sick and up to 5 days after getting sick.

Step 3 Know the symptoms of flu
Fever (100o F or higher)
Body and muscle aches
Headache
Feeling tired or weak (can be extreme)
Cough
Sore throat
Runny or stuffy nose
Nausea and vomiting
Stomach symptoms (mostly in children)

Step 4 Clean your hands AND surfaces around you
Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
Use paper towels to dry hands or don’t share cloth towels.
Clean your hands:
before eating or preparing food
before and after caring for someone who is sick
after coughing or sneezing
after using the bathroom
Flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours.
Clean surfaces that are touched often such as: phones, faucets, light switches, countertops, door and cabinet handles,
keyboard and mouse, and TV remotes.

Step 5 Cover your coughs and sneezes
Use clean tissues and discard after each use.
Coughing or sneezing into your sleeve is OK when you don’t have a tissue.
Always clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.

Step 6 Stay home when sick
Because flu spreads easily from person to person, stay home when you are sick.
Studies show you are most contagious and likely to spread flu virus to others for at least 5 days after your first symptoms start AND at least 48 hours after your last fever.

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?

www.publichealth.va.gov/flu
www.cdc.gov/flu
www.flu.gov

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, September 24th at Catherine's Bistro. The program will be presented by Nick May from Elite Fitness.

 You are required to wear a mask was entering and leaving the building, if you do not have one they will provide you with one. Your temperature will be taken, and you'll sign in and report your temp. All the chairs in the meeting room will be spaced out as required.

 

BOOZMAN-WARNER INITIATIVE TO BOOST VA SUICIDE PREVENTION HEADED TO PRESIDENT’S DESK
WASHINGTON– Congress is sending President Donald Trump legislation to expand veterans’ access to mental health services, which includes an initiative led by U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mark Warner (D-VA) to create a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) grant program that leverages and supports veteran-serving non-profits and other community networks in order to reduce and prevent veteran suicides. The White House has expressed support for this approach and is expected to sign the bill into law.

House passage of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act comes after the Senate unanimously approved the legislation in August to connect more veterans to local mental health treatment options and increase access to VA mental health care in rural areas and for hard-to-reach veterans. The Boozman-Warner provision will enhance coordination and planning of veteran mental health and suicide prevention services and better measure the effectiveness of these programs in order to reduce the alarming number of veteran suicides.

“This new approach will allow us to reach more veterans and support organizations that have a track record of success in suicide prevention. Delivering additional resources to community-based groups providing support and services to at-risk veterans will allow them to expand their outreach, identify more veterans in need and provide great access to mental health care. I’ve been proud to join Senator Warner in leading Senate efforts to devise a strategy that empowers veteran community organizations to work with the VA in the fight against veteran suicide. I’m glad this will soon become law,” Boozman said.

“Too many veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war are left struggling when their tours of duty conclude. Though we can never repay the enormous physical and mental sacrifices that our servicemembers make for our freedom and national security, we can give them the resources and tools they need to begin the lengthy process of healing,” said Warner. “That’s why I was proud to help write this legislation to tackle the alarming rate of veteran suicide, including through providing greater support to veteran-serving non-profits and community networks in order to reach more veterans. I can think of no better way to conclude National Suicide Prevention Month than by seeing this legislation head to the President’s desk. I urge President Trump to swiftly sign this important legislation into law.”

The senators’ initiative is based on the IMPROVE Well-Being for Veterans Act, legislation they introduced in June 2019. Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Jack Bergman (R-MI) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“As a veteran and Chair of the Servicewomen and Women Veterans Congressional Caucus, I am passionate about protecting those who have served our country,” said Houlahan. “There is a crisis amongst our veteran population – thousands are dying by suicide every year. Within this vulnerable population, it’s important to note that our women veterans are twice as likely to die by suicide as non-veteran women. In these partisan times, I’m grateful to work alongside fellow veteran, Representative Jack Bergman, and my colleagues in the Senate – Senators Tester and Boozman – to tackle this crisis head-on in our bipartisan Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act. I’m also grateful to Chairman Takano for his leadership on this issue and bringing this critical legislation to the House Floor. As a Congress and as a country, we have a duty to stand up for those who’ve put their lives on the line for this country. I look forward to the president signing S.785 into law, which includes our legislation, and the support it will provide our veterans.

"Even one suicide is too many. Despite billions of dollars spent within the VA, the statistics on veterans suicide haven't budged. For this reason, we need to implement new approaches that focus on individual veterans and reach even more of them than before. I'm grateful for the persistent effort of my colleagues who have helped make passing this legislation a possibility. Ranking Member Dr. Phil Roe, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, Senators Boozman, Tester and Moran, Secretary Robert Wilkie, and so many others have worked tirelessly with me to ensure our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country have access to the care and services they need and deserve," said Bergman. 
The VA estimates that around 20 veterans commit suicide each day. That number has unfortunately remained roughly unchanged despite drastic increases in VA funding. Over the last ten years, Congress more than tripled the VA’s funding for suicide prevention efforts to $222 million.

Only six of those 20 veterans are receiving health care services at the VA. The Boozman-Warner provision empowers the VA to share information with veteran-serving non-profits and requires it to develop a tool to monitor progress so that resources can be concentrated on successful programs.

In January 2020, provisions of the IMPROVE Well-Being for Veterans Act were included in the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. President Donald Trump included this approach to veteran suicide prevention in the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) which was rolled out in June.
 

SENATE COMMITTEE ADVANCES BOOZMAN-LED MEASURES TO EXPAND VETERANS BENEFITS
Approves Legislation Aimed at Reducing VA Backlog & Expansion of Benefits for Vietnam Vets
WASHINGTON— The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved a veterans benefits package that includes provisions authored and championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) including plans to cut down the increasing backlog of disability compensation and pension (C&P) exams and the expansion of wartime benefits for certain Vietnam veterans.

The Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020 would improve benefits for education, pensions, burial, compensation and other vital services veterans have earned.

“Committee passage of this legislation is a good step to fulfilling the commitment we made to the men and women who serve in uniform. I’m proud to work on behalf of veterans to advance policies that will improve their lives and will continue to ensure they receive the services and benefits they have earned,” Boozman said.

The legislation includes Boozman’s measure aimed at reducing the backlog of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation and disability exams and claims by allowing additional medical professionals to perform C&P exams.

Many veterans are required to complete a C&P exam to verify their medical condition and eligibility when applying for VA benefits. The backlog has drastically grown to 600,000 as a result of the VA’s temporary suspension of exams during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The bill also incorporates the Forgotten Vietnam Veterans Act, legislation introduced by Boozman and the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) to expand wartime benefits to veterans who served in the Vietnam War and have been ineligible for assistance because of differences between the war era dates at the Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA.

Currently, DoD recognizes the Vietnam War era as November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 while the VA recognizes the Vietnam War era as February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975. This discrepancy has prevented members of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) from qualifying for wartime veterans benefits like the veterans pension. MAAG is a designation for U.S. military advisors sent to other countries to assist in the training of conventional armed forces and facilitate military aid. More than 3,200 MAAGs served during the Vietnam War.

Additional Boozman-led provisions in the Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020 include:
Authorizing the VA to put the names of veterans’ family members on headstones in private cemeteries. Currently, the
VA is only allowed to put veterans’ family members’ names on headstones in national, state veterans’ and tribal veterans’ cemeteries.
Updating VA funeral benefits to treat all non-service connected deaths equally, regardless of where the veteran passes away.
Modernizing the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to permit servicemembers to deliver notice of termination of residential and car leases electronically, including by email.
Expanding the list of work-study activities that that qualify for payment of work-study allowances under VA’s rehabilitation, training and education programs.

 

Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE RECEIVES JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT LEGACY AWARD
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge received the Legacy Award from Junior Achievement of Arkansas (JA), honoring her visionary leadership in supporting the academic success of Arkansas’ youth. The purpose of Junior Achievement is to inspire and prepare young people for success in the global economy. The program is also dedicated to providing a positive and enriching learning experience while investing in more than 8,400 students in Central Arkansas. The Legacy Award recognizes individuals who display exceptional leadership in Arkansas.

“It is such an honor to be recognized by Junior Achievement, a fantastic organization on a mission to educate and make sure young people have the tools to

 take care of their communities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “We want students to learn how to manage a budget early. Financial literacy is an important lesson Junior Achievement teaches kids from the classroom before they enter the workforce.”

Due to COVID-19, Rutledge accepted the award at JA’s Legacy Award Business Luncheon that was hosted virtually yesterday. It can be viewed on Talk

 Business and Politics’ website.

The Legacy Award was established in 2008 to honor visionary leaders who founded Junior Achievement of Arkansas in 1987. Along with Rutledge, AT&T Arkansas president Ronnie Dedman was also honored with the Legacy Award.

 

SEPTEMBER 22, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S WEEKLY COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 22, 2020
Gov. Asa Hutchinson held his weekly COVID-19 Taskforce press conference Tuesday to update Arkansans on the latest developments regarding the ongoing pandemic.

Concerning daily COVID-19 figures, Hutchinson reported an additional 486 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. That raises the state's cumulative total to 74,772. Deaths increased by 12 to 1,060. Hospitalizations continued a slight upward trend, raising by 12 to 459. That's still less than the peak hit earlier this summer. Hutchinson said over 6,800 COVID-19 tests were performed between Monday and Tuesday.

State health officials discussed several trends concerning the pandemic. At the moment, Northwest Arkansas is leading the state in the number of new COVID-19 cases. Southwest Arkansas is experiencing the lowest growth. The 18-to-24 age group is seeing the majority of new cases. That's likely due to the reopening of college campuses across the state. 

Hutchinson said the state hopes to reach a milestone on Oct. 20 of one million tests performed since testing began this past spring. Health experts across the nation have stressed the importance of quick and widespread testing to combat the pandemic.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, an infectious disease control specialist for the Arkansas Department of Health, stressed the importance of getting an influenza vaccination this year. She said the vaccine doesn't just lessen the effects of the flu or outright prevent it. Critically the vaccine will also reduce new hospitalizations - an important goal in the middle of a pandemic. 

Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston reminded recipients of regular unemployment insurance that they must certify online to receive the additional $300 in weekly benefits. The certification process includes confirming that an individual's unemployment status is due to COVID-19. The deadline to certify is this Friday, Sept. 25. Anyone already approved for the special pandemic unemployment assistance is already certified and will not need to take any additional steps. 

Claims can be filed at www.dws.arkansas.gov

In review, 486 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday for a statewide total of 74,772 since the pandemic began. Deaths increased by 12 to 1,060. Hospitalizations also grew by 12 to 459. 

We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments.

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 22, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.




COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 247
Confirmed Cases: 241
Probable Cases: 6
Total Active Cases: 43
Active Confirmed Cases: 41
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 198
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 194
Recovered Probable Cases: 4
Total Deaths: 6
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Positive Tests: 252
Total Negative Tests: 4,959
Total Tests: 5,211

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 841
Confirmed Cases: 826
Probable Cases: 15
Total Active Cases: 23
Active Confirmed Cases: 20
Active Probable Cases: 3
Total Recovered Cases: 786
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 779
Recovered Probable Cases: 7
Total Deaths: 31
Confirmed Deaths: 26
Probable Deaths: 5
Total Positive Tests: 840
Total Negative Tests: 7,901
Total Tests: 8,741

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Positive Tests: 840
PCR Positives: 826
Antigen Positives: 14
Total Negative Tests: 7,901
PCR Negatives: 7,871
Antigen Negatives: 30
Total Tests: 8,741
Total Positive Tests: 840
Total Negative Tests: 7,901
Total Tests: 8,741

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 156
Confirmed Cases: 155
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 13
Active Confirmed Cases: 13
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 141
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 140
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 2
Confirmed Deaths: 2
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Positive Tests: 156
Total Negative Tests: 1,846
Total Tests: 2,002

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 34
Confirmed Cases: 33
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 6
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 28
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 27
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 1,408
Total Positive Tests: 156
Total Negative Tests: 1,829
Total Tests: 1,985

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 76,364
Confirmed Cases: 74,286
Probable Cases: 2078
Recovered Cases: 68,456
Tests: 901,625
Negative Tests: 825,097
Positive Tests: 76,528
Recovered: 67,853
Deaths: 1,197

USA
Cases: 6,858,212
Recoveries: 2,615,949
Deaths: 199,890
Global
Cases: 31,358,115
Recoveries: 21,525,897
Deaths: 965,575
*All USA and Global data provided by Johns Hopkins University

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

CAMDEN DOWNTOWN NETWORK BRINGS WEBINARS TO SOUTH ARKANSAS
The Camden Downtown Network is excited to join together with The Conductor from Conway and Think Institute from Searcy to bring the following free online webinars:

The Conductor online webinars:

Startup Stories: YGFBF Kitchen
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
2:30 PM  to  3:30 PM
Link to sign up:   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/startup-stories-ygfbf-kitchen-tickets-118640917177

Developing a Relationship with your Banker
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
12:00 PM  to 1:00 PM
Link to sign up:    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/developing-a-relationship-with-your-banker-tickets-117669024219

Policy Roundtable
Friday, October 2, 2020
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Link to sign up:    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/policy-roundtable-tickets-120046280657

Think Institute Online Webinar
Oct.  6th  8:30 AM
Digital Marketing Scorecard - Identify Weaknesses in Your Strategy

To participate, call or text Charlotte Young at (870-807-1468) or email:  charlotte@jcproductions.tv with the following information:
Business Name
First Name, Last Name
Email
Phone Number
Job Title 

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Ouachita County Clerk Britt Williford.  He will be discussing the upcoming election.  He will go over dates for early voting, voting places, absentee voting, safety protocols, etc.

SAU OFFERING NEW INSTRUCTIONAL FACILITATOR / LEAD TEACHER MASTER’S PROGRAM
MAGNOLIA – Southern Arkansas University’s College of Education is now offering an exciting new graduate program for P-12 educators. Unlike other advanced degrees offered for educators, this program will provide teachers the opportunity to enhance teaching skills and become leaders within their school districts and remain in the classroom upon completion.

The Instructional Facilitator/LEAD Teacher M.Ed. – one of a number of advanced programs offered to educators through SAU – is offered fully online. A revision of the previous Curriculum & Instruction master’s degree, it provides teacher leaders the opportunity to hone their craft while learning to apply the acquired skills in assisting other educators.

The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education approved the proposal in July, permitting the curriculum to be offered for the first time this fall. It is the first approved program of its type to be offered in Arkansas. Dr. Denise Moseley, assistant professor of education, is the program director.

 “While the previous program offered strong content and support for classroom educators, it was a non-licensure program,” said Dr. Moseley. “The addition of Instructional Facilitator, with the added LEAD Teacher designation, will provide classroom teachers the opportunity to grow and invest in their school districts.”

The LEAD Teacher degree offers a path to a licensure designation for educators seeking leadership roles while continuing to teach in content-area classrooms. Teachers who desire to be leaders within their school districts are typically only offered a degree in Educational Administration, rather than a lead-teacher role.

“I am proud that, through this new degree, SAU will develop teacher leaders to support teachers at every stage of their careers,” said Dr. Kim Bloss, Dean of the College of Education. “We know that learning never stops for teachers and that Instructional Facilitators are critical for supporting great teachers. Graduates will provide the support teachers need to become more effective in the classroom.”

Dr. Connie Wilson, assistant professor of education in Education Leadership stated, "This M.Ed. program is excellent for teachers interested in improving instruction and student learning as well as developing as leaders.”

“SAU is the first in the state to offer this degree, which allows our teacher candidates a unique opportunity to complete a program of study and gain distinction on their teaching license as a LEAD teacher,” added Dr. Jessica Samples, assistant professor of education and an instructor in the new program.

Additional information about the Instructional Facilitator/LEAD Teacher M.Ed. program is available at https://web.saumag.edu/lead-teacher-med/.
 

MISSISSIPPI RIVER MAINLINE LEVEES DRAFT SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETINGS SCHEDULED
VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) scheduled two virtual public meetings for its Draft Supplement II (Draft SEIS II) to the 1976 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) Project, Mississippi River Mainline Levees (MRL).

The meetings will be streamed on the following dates on the USACE New Orleans District’s Facebook page at:
https://www.facebook.com/usacenola/
Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 at 9 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 at 6 p.m.

The general public, interested parties and stakeholders are invited to comment on the Draft SEIS II. The draft report contains a description of the project, an evaluation of the alternatives under consideration and an analysis of potential environmental impacts. All public comments received will be addressed and considered as part of USACE’s decision-making process. Comments will be accepted through Oct. 13, 2020, when the comment period ends.

The Draft SEIS II and additional meeting details are available online at the project website: http://www.mvk.usace.army.mil/MRLSEIS/.

During the virtual meeting, USACE will accept comments through Facebook or by calling or texting (601) 392-2237. Written comments on the Draft SEIS II should be sent by e-mail to MRL-SEIS-2@usace.army.mil or by mail to the following address:

District Engineer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Vicksburg District
4155 Clay Street
Vicksburg, Mississippi 39138-3435

The Draft SEIS was developed in collaboration between the USACE Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans districts.
 

COTTON INTRODUCES BILL TO PRIORITIZE HONG KONG REFUGEES
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced The Hong Kong Refugee Protection Act, a bill that designates Hong Kong as a priority refugee area with up to 25,000 additional visas per year for the next five years above the regular refugee cap.

The bill also establishes an additional 30,000 visas per year for five years to be awarded through a points-based system to attract especially qualified Hong Kongers to the United States. The additional visas for both programs would be borrowed from the “Diversity Visa” lottery.

The bill text may be found here.

“The residents of Hong Kong are no longer safe as Beijing increasingly asserts its authoritarian rule over the region. The United States' refugee admissions program was designed to assist in exactly this type of situation, where a foreign government is subjecting innocent people to persecution on account of their religion, political beliefs, or ethnicity. My bill would prioritize Hong Kong’s residents in our refugee program and help them secure freedom from the oppressive Chinese Communist Party.”

Background

Earlier this year, Senator Cotton called on the administration to work with the United Kingdom and Australia to welcome Hong Kongers seeking refuge from Beijing’s authoritarian rule.
 

SENATORS CALL FOR REMOVAL OF TRADE PROGRAM’S RICE TARIFF BARRIERS
WASHINGTON—Members of the U.S. Senate are urging the Trump Administration to reform our largest and oldest trade preference program to level the playing field for American rice producers.

The program in question—the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)—provides duty-free treatment to goods from developing countries to promote economic growth in those nations. In recent years, highly-subsidized rice growing competitors have taken advantage of this program to increase rice exports to the U.S. at the expense of American producers.

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer—authored by Senator John Boozman (R-AR)—the members shared their support for the USA Rice Federation’s petition to remove all rice tariff lines from the list of commodities eligible for duty-free import under GSP.

“We understand GSP is meant to be a win-win for both the U.S. and our trading partners, but unfortunately in the case of rice, our biggest competitors on the world stage have taken advantage of the program for far too long. Over the past several years, we have seen an annual uptick in rice imports from countries that have GSP eligibility. Coupled with our competitors’ high and rising domestic subsidies, these unfair advantages are having negative implications for our rice farmers, millers, merchants and allied businesses, who are losing domestic market share. As you continue your efforts to promote fair and free trade, we encourage you to remove rice from the GSP eligibility list,” members wrote in the letter.

Along with Boozman, the letter is signed by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and John Cornyn (R-TX).

Full text of the letter below: 

The Honorable Robert Lighthizer
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20508

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

Thank you for your work on behalf of American farmers and ranchers to promote a fair and level playing field for them in the global marketplace.

During a June 2020 Senate Finance Committee hearing, you mentioned the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) “has benefits, but needs changes.” We would like to express our support for the USA Rice Federation’s petition to remove all rice tariff lines from the list of eligible commodities for duty-free access to the U.S. under GSP.

We understand GSP is meant to be a win-win for both the U.S. and our trading partners, but unfortunately in the case of rice, our biggest competitors on the world stage have taken advantage of the program for far too long. Over the past several years, we have seen an annual uptick in rice imports from countries that have GSP eligibility. Coupled with our competitors’ high and rising domestic subsidies, these unfair advantages are having negative implications for our rice farmers, millers, merchants and allied businesses, who are losing domestic market share.

As you continue your efforts to promote fair and free trade, we encourage you to remove rice from the GSP eligibility list.

Thank you for considering our request, and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
 

BOOZMAN STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT VACANCY
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court vacancy:
"There is no room to dispute the constitutional authority President Trump has to nominate an individual to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Likewise, the Senate can also choose to exercise its role in confirming a nominee to the nation’s highest court. Historically, in a presidential election year, when a U.S. President and the Senate majority represent the same political party, a new justice has been nominated and confirmed. I have confidence that my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee will give the president’s nominee a thorough hearing so the full Senate can have a fair and thoughtful debate and vote on the merits of President Trump’s nominee."

 

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 21, 2020






COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County

Total Cumulative Cases: 244
Confirmed Cases: 238
Probable Cases: 6
Total Active Cases: 45
Active Confirmed Cases: 43
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 193
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 189
Recovered Probable Cases: 4
Total Deaths: 6
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 249
Total Positive Tests: 249
PCR Positives: 238
Antigen Positives: 11
Total Negative Tests: 4,810
PCR Negatives: 4,793
Antigen Negatives: 17
Total Tests: 5,059
COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 840
Confirmed Cases: 825
Probable Cases: 15
Total Active Cases: 25
Active Confirmed Cases: 21
Active Probable Cases: 4
Total Recovered Cases: 783
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 777
Recovered Probable Cases: 6
Total Deaths: 31
Confirmed Deaths: 26
Probable Deaths: 5
Total Positive Tests: 839
PCR Positives: 825
Antigen Positives: 14
Total Negative Tests: 7,837
PCR Negatives: 7,812
Antigen Negatives: 25
Total Tests: 8,676
Private Lab Tests: 6,428
Public Lab Tests: 2,249
COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 376
Confirmed Cases: 363
Probable Cases: 13
Total Active Cases: 35
Active Confirmed Cases: 30
Active Probable Cases: 5
Total Recovered Cases: 323
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 315
Recovered Probable Cases: 8
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Positive Tests: 839
PCR Positives: 825
Antigen Positives: 14
Total Negative Tests: 7,837
PCR Negatives: 7,812
Antigen Negatives: 25
Total Tests: 8,676
Private Lab Tests: 6,428
Public Lab Tests: 2,249
COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 156
Confirmed Cases: 155
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 14
Active Confirmed Cases: 14
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 140
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 139
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 2
Confirmed Deaths: 2
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Positive Tests: 156
PCR Positives: 155
Antigen Positives: 1
Total Negative Tests: 1,829
PCR Negatives: 1,820
Antigen Negatives: 9
Total Tests: 1,985
Private Lab Tests: 1,435
Public Lab Tests: 550
COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 34
Confirmed Cases: 33
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 7
Active Confirmed Cases: 7
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 27
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 26
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 1,408
Total Positive Tests: 156
PCR Positives: 155
Antigen Positives: 1
Total Negative Tests: 1,829
PCR Negatives: 1,820
Antigen Negatives: 9
Total Tests: 1,985
Private Lab Tests: 1,435
Public Lab Tests: 550
Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 75,723
Confirmed Cases: 73,960
Probable Cases: 2033
Recovered Cases: 67,853
Tests: 889,200
Negative Tests: 813,315
Positive Tests: 75,885
Recovered: 67,853
Deaths: 1,181
USA
Cases: 6,814,696
Recoveries: 2,590,671
Deaths: 199,552
Global
Cases: 31,104,646
Recoveries: 21,285,899
Deaths: 961,544
*All USA and Global data provided by Johns Hopkins University

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

FLAGS TO FLY HALF STAFF
The United States flag and the state flag of Arkansas should be lowered to half-staff immediately for the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The flags will be at half-staff until the day of internment.

U.S. Flag Code
§7. Position and manner of display (m)
“The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. […] The flag shall be flown at half-staff 30 days from the death of the President or a former President; 10 days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress.”

U.S. Flag Code Source
 

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE RELEASES STATEMENT ON PASSING OF JUSTICE GINSBURG
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement after the announcement of the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg served our great nation for many years,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “She leaves behind a legacy that will know no boundaries. My prayers go out to her family and friends during this difficult time.”


 

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T FUMBLE WHEN BUYING TICKETS THIS YEAR
LITTLE ROCK - If Arkansans want to take in a live football game at any of our great in-state institutions this fall, it is going to be a much different experience than it has been in years past. Due to the novel coronavirus, many precautions have been implemented in an effort to keep students, student athletes, and fans safe when taking in the game. In addition to COVID-19, every year scammers often try to sell fake tickets to unsuspecting fans and Arkansans should be cautious when purchasing tickets from an unverified ticket broker. The stadium should be a safe haven for fans rather than for scammers.

“Football in Arkansas is a cherished tradition and it is worth protecting,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Whether you support the Razorbacks, Red Wolves, Bears or Boll Weevils, all Arkansans deserve to cheer for their favorite team while feeling safe and without worry of being taken advantage of by scammers.”

The Arkansas Department of Health issued the following directives for large outdoor sports venues during the upcoming football season.
A venue may increase the number of attendees at events to up to 66 percent capacity for the facility with a plan approved by the Secretary of Health.
Lines or cues for entrance, exit, making purchases, or for other reasons must be marked or monitored for maintaining a distance of six-feet between people.
Family groups may sit together but six-feet should be maintained between groups. Every-other-row seating should be unoccupied to provide for six-feet of physical distancing.
Face coverings are required for all persons present, except for children under 10-years-old, who are exempt.  For outdoor venues, once attendees are seated and maintaining six-feet physical distance from others, face coverings may be removed.  However, if moving around where social distancing is not achievable, such as in food and beverage areas, or any area where there is confinement such that six-feet distancing cannot be maintained, the face covering must be put back in place.

More information can be found at the Arkansas Department of Health’s Directive found here.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following tips to help Arkansans protect themselves when looking to buy game tickets during the upcoming football season.
Research the seller or broker with the Better Business Bureau and ensure it is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.
A legitimate ticket broker will offer a refund policy. Only buy tickets from a reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction.
Always use a credit card to make a ticket purchase because credit card laws provide buyers with some recourse if the tickets are fraudulent.
Check the seats ahead of time. Ask for section, row and seat numbers to avoid obstructed views and purchasing tickets that do not exist.
Stick with well-known ticket sellers who offer guarantees and policies that protect buyers and have the ability to investigate and restrict accounts of merchants who violate the policies.
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Refuse to be rushed. Scam artists often try to hurry prospective buyers into making a decision.

According to AARP, nearly 5 million consumers receive fraudulent concert, sporting event or theme park tickets each year.  We can all do our part by ensuring our neighbors, friends, and families are educated on the deceptive practices of scammers and ways to avoid them.

Consumers who think they may have purchased a counterfeit ticket can contact the National Association of Ticket Brokers at 630-510-4594 or the Arkansas Attorney General’s Public Protection Department.

For more information on other tips to avoid being scammed and other consumer-related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

DOL PROVIDES GRANT TO TRAIN AND EMPLOY LOW INCOME SEASONAL AND MIGRANT FARMWORKERS IN ARKANSAS
Arkansas agriculture workers, particularly those identified as low income seasonal or migrant farmworkers, will continue to receive counseling, training and support, under a recently awarded grant to the Arkansas Human Development Corporation (AHDC).  The grant, in the amount of $1,144,067.00, was provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (DOL/ETA) through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and will cover the cost of assessment, counseling, training, and support for unemployment or underemployed farm workers.

 AHDC is a nearly 50-year old private non-profit organizations with offices across Arkansas.  It has extensive experience coordinating services with both public and private training institutions, such as community colleges, truck driving, nursing and welding schools.   Its staff, most of which are co-located in Arkansas Workforce Centers, has broad experience identifying and placing clients in public and private sector employment.  Services will be available for the period July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021.

Services are available state-wide.  To begin the process, call 1-800-842-7641, extension 0 or email Ms. Linda Scott at lscott@arhdc.org to locate the office closest to you.  AHDC is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Veterans also receive priority of service.

MORE THAN $735,000 AVAILABLE FOR WILDLIFE CONSERVATION EDUCATION GRANTS
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (September 21, 2020) – The Arkansas Economic Development Commission Division of Rural Services announced the Wildlife Conservation Education Grants Program application period is open now through Oct. 8. More than $735,000 is available for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. Funds for these grants come from fines collected by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC).

“Education is foundational for economic development,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “It leads to stronger communities, greater incomes, and more opportunities. These funds not only support enhanced educational opportunities, but they also help us to preserve our state’s wildlife for future generations to enjoy. I encourage all of our school districts to apply.”

According to AGFC Chief of Education Tabbi Kinion, these grants go a long way in strengthening learning opportunities for youth, especially in rural areas of Arkansas where education dollars are at a premium.

“Many schools participating in our shooting sports, archery, and conservation education programs are able to keep the programs going thanks to this partnership,” Kinion said. “We also hear from many teachers who are able to make conservation-oriented field trips possible thanks to the money we collect from wildlife fines.”

Programs eligible for funding include but are not limited to: the study of general fish and wildlife conservation issues, Project WILD Workshops, Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program, Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program, Fishing in the Natural State, Arkansas Stream Team, School Yard Habitat Site Development, and specialized AGFC conservation education/educator training workshops focused on the programs above. Funds may also be used for field trips to AGFC Nature Centers, Conservation Education Centers, and Wildlife Management Areas.

For a county-by-county listing of available funds and an application, visit www.arkansasedc.com/Rural-Services/division/grants/wildlife-education-grant.
 

BOOZMAN APPLAUDS ADDITIONAL COVID-19 RELIEF FOR FARMERS AND RANCHERS
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry Committee, praised the Trump administration’s announcement of a second round of assistance to farmers and ranchers negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Donald Trump and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced up to $14 billion of additional assistance will be made available to agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.

“Our farmers and ranchers make vital contributions to our state and our nation, and they have been struggling with low commodity prices, volatile weather and unfair trade practices long before the coronavirus hit. Unfortunately, the additional stress and challenges brought on by COVID-19 have amplified an already tough situation for those who grow our food and fiber. I applaud President Trump and Secretary Perdue for acting to make a second round of assistance available, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of our farmers and ranchers to ensure they are able to withstand adverse impacts resulting from the pandemic,” Boozman said.

Producers were awarded close to $10 billion in assistance through the first round of payments made through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which was funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The second round, CFAP 2, will support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities. USDA will use the program’s remaining money and funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation to administer CFAP 2.

Producers can apply for CFAP 2 at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices, beginning September 21, 2020 and ending December 11, 2020.

 
 

September 18, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 18, 2020
 




COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 225 227
Confirmed Cases: 227
Probable Cases: 5
Total Active Cases: 43
Active Confirmed Cases: 41
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 183
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 180
Recovered Probable Cases: 3
Total Deaths: 6
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 4928
Total Positive Tests: 236
PCR Positives: 227
Antigen Positives: 9
Total Negative Tests: 4,692
PCR Negatives: 4,671
Antigen Negatives: 21

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 833
Confirmed Cases: 819
Probable Cases: 14
Total Active Cases: 38
Active Confirmed Cases: 34
Active Probable Cases: 4
Total Recovered Cases: 763
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 758
Recovered Probable Cases: 5
Total Deaths: 31
Confirmed Deaths: 26
Probable Deaths: 5 Total Tests: 8,542
Total Positive Tests: 832
PCR Positives: 819
Antigen Positives: 13
Total Tests: 8,542
Total Negative Tests: 7,710
PCR Negatives: 7,680
Antigen Negatives: 30

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 359
Confirmed Cases: 349
Probable Cases: 10
Total Active Cases: 32
Active Confirmed Cases: 28
Active Probable Cases: 4
Total Recovered Cases: 309
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 303
Recovered Probable Cases: 6
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 4,304
Total Positive Tests: 366
PCR Positives: 349
Antigen Positives: 17
Total Negative Tests: 3,938
PCR Negatives: 3,913
Antigen Negatives: 25

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 152
Confirmed Cases: 151
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 14
Active Confirmed Cases: 14
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 136
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 135
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 2
Confirmed Deaths: 2
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 1932
Total Positive Tests: 152
PCR Positives: 151
Antigen Positives: 1
Total Negative Tests: 1,780
PCR Negatives: 1,771
Antigen Negatives: 9

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 31
Confirmed Cases: 30
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 6
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 25
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 24
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 1,408
Total Positive Tests: 32
PCR Positives: 31
Antigen Positives: 1
Total Negative Tests: 1,376
PCR Negatives: 1,372
Antigen Negatives: 4

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 73,211
Confirmed Cases: 71,614
Probable Cases: 1,597
Recovered Cases: 65,941
Tests: 853,549
Negative Tests: 781,096 791,094
Positive Tests: 72,453 73,455
Recovered: 65,941
Deaths: 1,166

USA
Cases: 66,88,236
Recoveries: 2,540,334
Deaths: 197,246

Global
Cases: 30,255,091
Recoveries: 20,576,269
Deaths: 947,500
*All USA and Global data provided by Johns Hopkins University

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

OPED BOARD OF DIRECTORS BOARD MEETING
The OPED Board of Directors will meet on Wednesday, September 23rd at 10:00 A.M. in the OPED Training Room located at 570 Ben Lane SE in Camden.  Meetings are open to the Public.

Please wear a mask. Hand sanitizer will be available. Social distancing will be practiced in seating. The doors to the meeting area will be open. Packets will be on the tables.
The agenda is as follows:
Call to Order - Jim Golden
Audience Participation – Jim Golden
Approval of Minutes – July 2020 - Chuck Sponer
Financial Reports – July, August 2020 - James Nixon
Overview of Contacts-Executive Director - Lee Silliman
Request for Audit - James Nixon
OPED Budget Committee - Dotty Harris
Nominations Committee-Officers/Executive Committee - Dotty Harris
Old Business
Workforce Project Update - James Lee Silliman
Future Fit - Karmen House          
AEDC's Competitive Communities - Lee Silliman
Open Discussion – Jim Golden     
Adjournment - Jim Golden

The next Scheduled Board Meeting will be on October 28, 2020.
 

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON PROCLAIMS ACES AWARENESS WEEK
Coinciding with AFMCs ACEs and Resilience Summit
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. ‒ September 16, 2020 ‒ By proclamation of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, September 20 – 26 is Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Awareness Week. ACEs, such as abuse, neglect, an incarcerated parent, or a parent who suffers from substance abuse or mental illness, are harmful events that can occur during childhood. Studies in the fields of neurobiology, psychology, epigenetics, child development and medicine, among others, show that ACEs create toxic stress in children that has lasting consequences for their physical, mental and emotional health well into adulthood, and can be passed on to the next generation.

 Arkansas ranks second in the nation for the percentage of children who have experienced two or more ACEs and nearly 62% of Arkansas adults have a least one ACE. By working together, the negative effects of ACEs can be reduced by preventing ACEs and helping individuals build resilience through safe, stable and nurturing relationships in the home and community.

The Arkansas ACEs and Resilience Coalition, in connection with the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, are hosting the fourth annual AR ACEs and Resilience Summit, September 22 – 23. This Summit will feature subject matter experts in the fields of trauma, racial equity, education, mental health and self-care. If you would like to learn more about ACEs or register for the Summit please visit www.afmc.org/aces.

About AFMC
For 48 years, AFMC  has worked to improve the health of Arkansans through utilization review, quality improvement projects and public education. AFMC’s mission is: To promote excellence in health and health care through education and evaluation.

THIRD IN BECHTELHEIMER LECTURE SERIES UPCOMING AT SAAC
The South Arkansas Arts Center continues its six-part lecture series, "The New York School", presented by local artist Gay Bechtelheimer, on Thursday, September 24, at 6:00pm. There will be a brief reception, followed by an entertaining dive into the context, characters, and culture of the Abstract Expressionist movement. Reservations are required for socially distant and safe reserved seating.
This lecture series, sponsored by Linda and Louis Hall, is being held on Thursday evenings throughout the fall. "Color Field" is the third topic to be addressed by Bechtelheimer in this series. "Color Field painting is the subdued side of Abstract Expressionism. Broad expanses of sublime color become the subject of the painting, inviting the viewer to participate in a contemplative and inward experience." 
Lynn Dwight, SAAC board member, has been attending the series and bringing her mom along. They have both thoroughly enjoyed their experience at the lectures. "From the minute we walked into SAAC, we felt a sense of calm...the screening was effortless," said Dwight. "And with all the artwork around us which we were encouraged to wander about and see, we felt a sense of ‘normalcy'. Safely seated with only family or friends, we were given an insight into the art world that we might otherwise have never known about!" 
In order to keep SAAC employees and members as safe as possible, SAAC will follow all directives from the Arkansas Department of Health. Reservations are required to determine assigned seating in the theatre where guests will be seated with plenty of required distancing. Patrons will be temperature checked at the door, and masks are required. Beer and wine will be served in the gallery, where guests can pick up an individually packaged "SAAC Snack in a Sack" to enjoy during the presentation.
"We've been looking for a safe, creative way to say thank you to our membership. By offering the lecture series free of charge, and observing social distancing requirements, we hope to remind our members just what a wonderful community SAAC is, and how much their support means," Laura Allen.
Seating is limited at this time. For more information on this lecture series, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org to reserve a seat. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street.  

 

COTTON INTRODUCES BILL TO END CHINA’S PERMANENT MOST-FAVORED-NATION STATUS
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced a bill that would strip China of its permanent most-favored-nation status—also known as Permanent Normal Trade Relations—a designation it has held for the last twenty years. If passed, the legislation would make extending most-favored-nation status to China an annual decision for Congress and the president.

"Twenty years ago this week, the Senate gave a gift to the Chinese Communist Party by granting it permanent most-favored-nation status. That disastrous decision made the Party richer, but cost millions of American jobs. It’s time to protect American workers and take back our leverage over Beijing by withdrawing China’s permanent trade status,” said Cotton.

Background
 The Senate voted to give China permanent most-favored-nation status on September 19, 2000. This vote paved the way for China’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

Granting China this trade status contributed to the “China Trade Shock” that destroyed 2 million American jobs after 2001. It also led to a surge of business investmentin China that made the CCP stronger and more dangerous.

The China Trade Relations Act
The China Trade Relations Act would revoke China’s permanent most-favored-nation status and return to the pre-2001 status quo, whereby China’s MFN status must be renewed each year by presidential decision. Congress could override the president’s extension of MFN by passing a joint resolution of disapproval.

The bill also would expand the list of human-rights and trade abuses under the Jackson-Vanik Amendment that would disqualify China for MFN status, absent a presidential waiver. The abuses that would make China ineligible for MFN status, absent a presidential waiver, are as follows:

Uses or provides for the use of slave labor;

Operates ‘vocational training and education centers’ or other concentration camps where people are held against their will;
Performs or otherwise orders forced abortion or sterilization procedures;
Harvests the organs of prisoners without their consent;
Hinders the free exercise of religion;
Intimidates or harasses nationals of the People’s Republic of China living outside the People’s Republic of China; or
Engages in systematic economic espionage against the United States, including theft of the intellectual property of United States persons.

 

BOOZMAN URGES HHS TO PROTECT 340B PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICING PROGRAM
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prevent pharmaceutical companies from undermining the 340B Drug Pricing Program and for the agency to provide certainty to hospital participants.

The 340B drug pricing program is providing flexibility to more than 40 Arkansas medical facilities to help lower drug prices. The program requires prescription drugs be sold at a discounted price to safety net hospitals, rural health facilities and other entities that provide care in underserved communities. Savings from the 340B program ensure these “covered entities” are able to continue serving their patients.

Recent announcements by drug manufacturers have put new, burdensome requirements on “covered entities” beyond the scope of the 340B program and have eliminated discounts for medications shipped to pharmacies that dispense drugs to patients on behalf of covered entities.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Alx Azar, Boozman and a bipartisan group of senators urged the administration to take enforcement action to end these policies and protect the ability of health care facilities to continue providing medications to their patients.

“In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where providers have seen drops in revenue and available resources, it is critically important that 340B covered entities, including federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), FQHC Look-Alikes, children’s hospitals, Ryan White HIV/AIDS clinics, and other safety-net hospitals and providers are able to continue to serve the individuals who seek out their care. As these threats to the Program progress, we fear the potential exacerbation of these shortfalls in resources for providers at a time when they are needed most,” the senators wrote in the letter.

The letter was sent one day after Boozman urged HHS to provide certainty for the 340B participants.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Boozman shared the concerns of rural Arkansas hospital administrators about eligibility for continued participation in the program. As a result of COVID-19, hospitals paused elective procedures and admissions decreased for Medicare and Medicaid patients. These are among the key metrics used to determine acceptance into the program. 

Boozman encouraged his colleagues to extend eligibility so they can care for low-income patients and pass legislation introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) that would provide certainty to current 340B program participants.

STATE CAPITOL WEEK IN REVIEW
From Senator Trent Garner
September 18, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Census workers across Arkansas will be knocking on doors until the end of September in a last-ditch effort to make sure that as many people as possible get counted in the 2020 U.S. Census.

Undercounting the population of a state or community has long-term negative consequences, because the benefits of so many government programs are allocated according to census data. For example, an undercount of as little as one percent would mean the loss of a billion dollars in federal funding in Arkansas over the next ten years.

The potential loss of federal dollars would have a negative effect on Medicaid, food stamp programs, highway maintenance and construction, education and the availability of childcare subsidies.

Census workers are visiting homes in communities that traditionally have been hard to reach. Sometimes they leave packets on doorsteps if they are unable to contact anyone in the home.

However, it’s not necessary to wait for a census worker to visit your house. You can fill out the census over the phone in about 10 minutes. Call 844-330-2020. After you have completed the census, encourage everyone you know to complete it.

The census is conducted every 10 years, and this is the first time that a majority of people will complete it online. You can fill out the form online by going to https://my2020census.gov

Your personal information will be kept confidential. Also, you will not be asked financial questions, such as bank account numbers or credit card numbers. You will not be asked for your Social Security number either. You will not be asked for money and you will not be questioned about your political opinions.

If you suspect that you have been contacted by a deceptive outfit that is trying to defraud you, check out the address of their website. The address of a valid census web page will always have “gov” at the end.

Nationwide, 65.9 percent of the population have already responded to the census on their own volition. In Arkansas, 60 percent have responded by telephone, Internet or traditional mail.

Helping Our Neighbors
Twenty firefighters from Arkansas, including five employees of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, are fighting wildfires in Oregon.

Crews in California, Oregon and Washington have been pushed to the breaking point battling wildfires on more than 2 million acres this year.

In addition to the five employees of the state Forestry Division, the so-called “Razorback Crew” has eight Arkansas employees from the U.S Forest Service, two from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, two from the National Parks Service, and three from of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Two other employees of the state Forestry Division recently returned from California, where they helped battle wildfires.

The legislature created the Forestry Division in 1931 to protect state woodlands from fire and other natural hazards. State forestry officials estimate that since 1935 they have helped put out more than 225,000 forest fires.

After tornadoes and ice storms, Forestry Division employees help clear roadways for emergency vehicles, and set up command centers for first responders.

It also has a nursery in North Little Rock, from which it provides low-costs seedlings to Arkansas residents for reforestation projects.

 
 
 

September 17, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 17, 2020
This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.

 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 225
Total Active Confirmed Cases: 36
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 182
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 179
Recovered Probable Cases: 3
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 4909
Total Negative Tests: 4,681
Total PositiveTests: 228

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 804
Total Active Cases: 51
Active Confirmed Cases: 48
Active Probable Cases: 3
Total Recovered Cases: 733
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 729
Recovered Probable Cases: 4
Total Deaths: 31
Confirmed Deaths: 26
Probable Deaths: 5
Total Tests: 8522
Total Negative Tests: 7,138
Total Positive Tests: 826

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 354
Confirmed Cases: 346
Probable Cases: 8
Total Active Cases: 30
Active Confirmed Cases: 27
Active Probable Cases: 3
Total Recovered Cases: 306
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 301
Recovered Probable Cases: 5
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 4287
Total Negative Tests: 3295
Total Positive Tests: 346

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 152
Confirmed Cases: 151
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 15
Active Confirmed Cases: 15
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 135
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 134
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 2
Confirmed Deaths: 2
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 1913
Total Negative Tests: 1,761
Total Positive Tests: 152

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 31
Confirmed Cases: 30
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 6
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 25
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 24
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 1401
Total Negative Tests: 1,370
Total Positive Tests: 31

Arkansas
Total COVID-19 Cases: 72,219
Confirmed Cases: 70,731
Probable Cases: 1,488
Recovered Cases: 65,147
Tests: 853,549
Negative Tests: 781,096
Positive Tests: 72,453
Recovered: 65,147
Deaths: 1010

USA
Cases: 6,649,458
Recoveries: 2,525,573
Deaths: 197,223

Global
Cases: 29,960,718
Recoveries: 20,362,794
Deaths: 942,631
*All USA and Global data provided by Johns Hopkins University

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

SOUTH ARKANSAS TRAFFIC FATALITIES
A Hampton man was killed in a rollover crash in Warren Tuesday. 56-year-old Benjamin Travis was driving a Dodge Dakota east on U.S. Highway 278 in Warren when the vehicle crossed the centerline and went off the road, according to police reports. The Dakota went down a ditch embankment and flipped onto its roof. Travis died, and the state police did not list any other injuries.
On Tuesday morning, another rollover crash in Calhoun County left a Fordyce man dead. 40-year-old William Deboard was driving a Ford F-150 east on Chambersville Road in Thornton around 11 A.M., when it veered off the road, struck a tree, and flipped several times, according to police reports. Deboard died, and no others were listed in the report as injured.
Weather was clear, and the roads were dry at the time of both crashes.

CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET IN SPECIAL SESSION
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will meet in special session on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Social distancing will be practiced. Please wear your masks.

CAMDEN PORT AUTHORITY TO MEET
The Port Authority will meet on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.
Cassandra Caldwell, Director of the Arkansas Waterways Commission and Deidra Smith will make a presentation.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call 837-5500.

NEW CENSUS DATA ON POVERTY, INCOME, HOUSING AND HEALTH CAN HELP GAUGE HOW MUCH ARKANSANS HAVE LOST IN THE PANDEMIC 
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – People across Arkansas continue to face dire economic hardship – particularly Arkansans of color and those with low incomes - as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, making the need for bold action at the state and federal levels clearer than ever. That’s the picture painted by new data released today from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey and an analysis of data from its ongoing Household Pulse Survey and other sources.

Between 2018 and 2019, Arkansas’s poverty rate fell by 1 percentage point to 16.2 percent, and median household income rose by 2.4 percent to $48,952. Health care coverage declined and housing costs remained flat – trends that accelerated this year’s severe health and housing needs.

More up-to-date data from this summer show a worsening of some trends and a sharper rise in hardship across Arkansas:
14 percent of adults reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the last seven days
21 percent of adults with children reported that their kids sometimes or often didn’t eat enough in the last seven days because they couldn’t afford it
18 percent of adults who live in rental housing reported that they were behind on rent, and 29 percent are behind on their mortgage payments
29 percent of all children in Arkansas live in a family that is either not getting enough to eat or behind on housing payments

This hardship is being felt more acutely by Arkansans of color and people with very low incomes, who were already struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic. As a result of current and historic policies contributing to deep inequities, low-income Arkansans and Arkansans of color often lack access to the resources they need to be resilient, like healthy food options, transportation, quality schools, etc.

“As we see every day, people across Arkansas are struggling with paying their bills, putting food on the table, and getting back to work. And many of these same Arkansans are the one that are on the frontlines of this pandemic, working at child care centers, grocery stores, and in other low-paid jobs,” explained AACF Senior Policy Analyst Bruno Showers. “Our federal and state policymakers must act decisively to help families and individuals facing today’s extreme levels of hardship, especially those in Black, Latino, Indigenous, and immigrant households.”

Here’s what they can do:
Federal: Congress must act swiftly to provide more federal relief that matches the extraordinary need that households and our economy face. That includes boosting vital assistance programs such as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and housing assistance, extending enhanced federal unemployment benefits, and allocating additional aid to states and local governments that can help prevent further layoffs and cuts to core public services.

State: Lawmakers must meet the demands of the moment by advancing bold policies to build antiracist, equitable, and inclusive communities and an economic recovery that extends to all people. You can read AACF’s full federal recommendations on our website.

About Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is a statewide, nonprofit child advocacy organization established in 1977. Our mission is to ensure that all children and their families have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives and to realize their full potential. For more information, visit aradvocates.org.

SAFE SURGERY ARKANSAS RELEASES STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT RULING TO INVALIDATE ISSUE 6 FROM NOVEMBER BALLOT
“We are not at all finished fighting for patient safety”
LITTLE ROCK – The vast majority of Arkansans believe surgery should be performed by surgeons. Unfortunately, voters will not get the chance to voice that opposition based on this morning’s Arkansas Supreme Court ruling to invalidate Issue 6 from the November ballot.

Safe Surgery Arkansas released the following statement in response to the ruling:

“An overwhelming majority of Arkansans agree that surgery should be performed by surgeons, and it’s a shame that voters will not have the opportunity to express themselves at the ballot on this critically important health issue,” said Laurie Barber, MD, chair of Safe Surgery Arkansas. “Despite today’s ruling, we are not at all finished fighting for patient safety. It’s too important, and it matters to too many Arkansans.”

About Safe Surgery Arkansas:

Safe Surgery Arkansas was formed in 2019 to repeal Act 579 of 2019, a new law that would allow non-medical doctors to perform certain eye surgeries. These non-medical doctors did not attend medical school, nor do they have the surgical residency training necessary to perform these delicate and complex surgeries. Learn more at www.SafeSurgery2020.com
 

TEXAMERICAS CENTER UPGRADES WEBSITE; INTEGRATES SITE WITH NATIONAL SITE SELECTION DATABASE
New website provides detailed economic and community information to site selectors
TEXARKANA, USA (Sept. 17, 2020) – TexAmericas Center (TAC) today shared its upgraded website which, in addition to a more user-friendly and intuitive interface, integrates with RealMassive, a real estate database provider, and ZoomProspector, a leading commercial real estate data portal, to provide a depth of information at the individual site level valuable to business owners, site selectors, and commercial listing agents evaluating locations.

Site selectors are used to culling multiple sources to identify, vet, and eventually select the ideal location for
business establishment or expansion. Businesses have different goals for projects which can require weighing variables like cost per square foot, utilities, labor markets, tax rates, incentives, transportation, and cost of living. The new TexAmericas Center website is designed to offer a single resource for more of these critical data points.

The new website provides visitors with an overview of Texarkana – a 75-mile, four-state (Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma) region, as well as a robust database of TAC’s commercial property listings. The Property Search Database integrates listing information with economic and community data via RealMassive and ZoomProspector including regional demographics, laborshed, and industry concentrations. The aggregation of this information allows site selectors to view a variety of data points in one resource. This streamlines the initial process, after which the TAC real estate development professionals can offer more customized information, reports, and solutions for businesses.

“Site selection is a complicated process that considers an interconnected web of location features against organizational goals,” said Scott Norton, TexAmericas Center Executive Director/CEO. “Our new website now serves as a resource that streamlines the process for our different audiences which include businesses looking to locate or expand, site selectors conducting a business analysis, and commercial listing agents interested in referring a prospect.”

The website launch is another in a series of successes for TexAmericas Center. In July, TexAmericas Center announced that Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company employing more than 110,000 people worldwide, will expand operations at TexAmericas Center in support of a Public/Private Partnership contract with the Red River Army Depot (RRAD). In August, TexAmericas Center it was ranked the #8 industrial park in the country by Business Facilities in its 2020 Metro and Global Rankings Report .

“We’re designing systems and tools that make doing business with and in Texarkana easy,” said Eric Voyles, Executive Vice President and Chief Economic Development Officer with TexAmericas Center. “Whether that’s providing data resources like the website or creatively crafting lease agreements, our goal is to find ways to make projects work for businesses interested in locating here and contributing to our regional economic development.”

TexAmericas Center is a growing catalyst of economic investment in the Texarkana region. Since May 2014, TexAmericas Center has increased its total leased square footage by more than 85 percent to more than 1 million square feet. Its 12,000 acres and 3 million square feet of space is fully entitled, providing potential tenants of specialized industries options that would be difficult or cost-prohibitive to secure in other regions. Its location in the Texarkana metropolitan area offers an attractive pipeline of talent and a logistics network to rival many larger – and therefore more expensive – urban hubs. Additionally, TexAmericas Center also offers a complement of unique assets like utilities, rail, fiber, and a transload provider.

For more information about TexAmericas Center, visit texamericascenter.com.

About TexAmericas Center
Located in the Texarkana metropolitan area, TexAmericas Center (TAC) owns and operates one of the largest mixed-use industrial parks in the United States. With roughly 12,000 development-ready acres of land and about 3 million square feet of commercial and industrial product, TAC services four states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas). In 2020, TAC was ranked as the #8 industrial park in the country by Business Facilities magazine. It is a designated US Opportunity Zone, HUBZone, New Market Tax Credit Census Tract, Foreign Trade Zone #258 and a Texas Enterprise Zone. TAC has the operating capabilities of a municipality but functions like a traditional real estate development company, offering customized real estate solutions.

 

BOOZMAN SUPPORTS STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS FOR SERVICEMEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is pushing for improvements to the Servicmembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Boozman joined his colleagues to introduce two pieces of legislation to amend the law and better serve the needs of the men and women of the military and their families.

On average, military families move every two to three years. For military spouses, frequent relocations disrupt careers and require them to spend thousands of hours and dollars to continue practicing their vocation, despite already being licensed in another state.

Boozman helped introduce the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act to require states to recognize the occupational licenses of military spouses who move across state lines as a result of a permanent change of station (PCS) order.

“Military spouses make tremendous sacrifices and we have an obligation to support them and their families. This is a meaningful way to help cut the red tape that exists and make it easier for them to continue to their career after relocating as they support their loved one’s service,” Boozman said.

According to a recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative, 67 percent of military spouses had to quit a job because of a move to a different duty station. Additionally, 50 percent of military spouses work in a field that requires licensing. 

Boozman also helped introduced the Modernizing Notice of Lease Terminations for Servicemembers Act to allow servicemembers to deliver notice of termination of residential and car leases electronically, including by email.

“We need to focus on ways to make life easier for the men and women of our nation’s Armed Forces. This update to the SCRA will provide greater flexibility and convenience for servicemembers and their families navigating changes to housing and vehicle leases, protecting them from penalties and ensuring they have the ability to comply with orders to deploy or relocate while serving in uniform,” Boozman said.

The ability to electronically deliver notice of termination of a residential or car lease is especially important for service members who may already be serving in another location by the time they are able to seek termination due to a deployment or a PCS. Electronic means of communication are also critical in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which physical contact should be limited and traditional mail and delivery services may heighten the risk of exposure.

 
 
 

September 16, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 16, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson gave this unexpected and unannounced update from Batesville, explaining in his opening remarks that he had committed earlier to make this visit and also that he enjoyed getting out among the people.

The Governor reported that there were 606 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the previous 24-hour period. The cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state is now 70,731. Active Positives currently stand at 5,572 cases. The death toll due to COVID-19 in Arkansas increased by seven to 1,010.
UAMS released new modeling figures Wednesday that show a predicted increase of COVID-19 cases and deaths as the fall and winter months approach, with schools in session and more people being indoors with the cooler weather. Governor Hutchinson says the schools are doing a good job and predicts that the state can beat the modeling numbers if the rules of safety continue to be followed.

The Governor also mentioned the latest White House Task Force report showing Arkansas still in the "red" as far as new per capita cases category, but "yellow" in the positive rate of testing category.

UAMS released new modeling figures Wednesday that show a predicted increase of COVID-19 cases and deaths as the fall and winter months approach, with schools in session and more people being indoors with the cooler weather. Governor Hutchinson says the schools are doing a good job and predicts that the state can beat the modeling numbers if the rules of safety continue to be followed.

Governor Hutchinson was asked about an ease of restrictions for events and festivals. The Governor says that events and festivals can submit plans to the Health Department for approval but maintains that now is not the time to lift more restrictions.
Secretary of Health,Dr. Jose Romero, updated the Statewide number as follows.
70,731 cumulative cases
387 hospitalized (down 2 from yesterday)
65 on ventilators (down 3 from yesterday)
7 new deaths
1,010 total deaths
5,572 active cases
730 new recoveries
64,145 total recoveries
6,360 PCR tests yesterday (606 positive)
529 antigen tests yesterday (95 positive).

Counties with 20 or more new cases today were Washington with 65, Pulaski with 58, Benton with 37, Faulkner with 31, Jefferson with 29, Miller with 21, and Craighead with 20.

This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. Numbers will be updated later today.
COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 220
Total Active Confirmed Cases: 35
Active Probable Cases: 1
Total Recovered Cases: 178
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 175
Recovered Probable Cases: 3
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Negative Tests: 4,646
Total Tests: 4868

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 804
Total Active Cases: 51
Active Confirmed Cases: 48
Active Probable Cases: 3
Total Recovered Cases: 733
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 729
Recovered Probable Cases: 4
Total Deaths: 31
Confirmed Deaths: 26
Probable Deaths: 5
Total Negative Tests: 7,683
Total Tests: 8498

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 348
Confirmed Cases: 341
Probable Cases: 7
Total Active Cases: 26
Active Confirmed Cases: 24
Active Probable Cases: 2
Total Recovered Cases: 304
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 299
Recovered Probable Cases: 5
Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths:
Total Negative Tests: 3,899
Total Tests: 4255

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 154
Confirmed Cases: 153
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 19
Active Confirmed Cases: 19
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 133
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 132
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 2
Confirmed Deaths: 2
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Negative Tests: 1,747
Total Tests: 1901

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 31
Confirmed Cases: 30
Probable Cases: 1
Total Active Cases: 6
Active Confirmed Cases: 6
Active Probable Cases: 0
Total Recovered Cases: 25
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 24
Recovered Probable Cases: 1
Total Deaths: 0
Confirmed Deaths: 0
Probable Deaths: 0
Total Negative Tests: 1,355
Total Tests: 1386

Arkansas Tests: 845,788
Confirmed Cases: 70,125
Probable Cases: 1,372
Recovered Cases: 64,342
Arkansas Negative Tests: 774,069
Arkansas Positive Tests: 71,719
Arkansas Recovered: 64,342
Arkansas Deaths: 1003

USA Cases: 6,603,033
USA Recoveries: 2,495,427
USA Deaths: 196,147

Global Cases: 29,628,650
Global Recoveries: 20,129,159
Global Deaths: 936,377
*All USA and Global data provided by Johns Hopkins University

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/
For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/
We'll continue to keep you updated, so stay tuned."

To view the 9-16-20 briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtube/7iyFww-xj-8

 

INVESTIGATIONS UNDERWAY BY STATE POLICE CID IN THREE CHILD DEATHS ON STATE ROADS
SEPTEMBER 15, 2020
Two apparently unrelated incidents over a five hour period today claimed the lives of three children along two U.S. highways in Jackson and Saline Counties.  Both are being investigated by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.
At 4:07 AM state troopers of the Highway Patrol Division were dispatched to the 98 mile marker of U.S. Highway 67 south of the Jackson and Craighead County line where two children were found dead.  The victims have been identified as Michael Rogers, III, 10, and his sister, Princess Josh-Lyn Logan, 3.
The children were apparently struck by a southbound tractor-trailer commercial carrier driven by Gerald Sanders, 77.  Sanders was not injured.
Latoya Taylor, 26, the mother of the children was found at the fatality scene when state troopers arrived, but she was not physically injured.
In an unrelated incident, at 8:53 AM state troopers responded to a call from a motorist reporting a young child had been dropped from a moving vehicle along the westbound lanes of Interstate 30 near the 117 mile marker in Saline County.
The child, believed to be approximately 2 years-old, died after troopers were on the scene and awaiting emergency medical care to arrive.
The child, believed to be approximately 2 years-old, died after troopers were on the scene and awaiting emergency medical care to arrive.
CID special agents are questioning witnesses in each case.   Agents have been in contact with prosecuting attorneys in both local jurisdictions and will submit criminal case files for consideration whether to file formal charges in the deaths. 
No arrests have been made in either case at this time.



COVID-19 DRIVE-UP TESTING SEPTEMBER 17TH IN CAMDEN TO BE PROVIDED BY UAMS
WHAT: A community drive-up testing clinic for COVID-19 will be conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). There will be no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.
WHO: UAMS nurses and volunteers.
WHEN: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. - Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020

WHERE:  Cullendale First Baptist Church, 1850 Cash Road SW. 

 

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, September 17th at Noon at Catherine's Bistro. The program will be presented by Jenny Sanders from SAU Tech’s Scholars Program.

You are required to wear a mask was entering and leaving the building, if you do not have one they will provide you with one. Your temperature will be taken, and you'll sign in and report your temp. All the chairs in the meeting room will be spaced out as required.

ARKANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION RELEASES EDUCATIONAL VIDEO OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION IN HONOR OF CONSTITUTION DAY
The Arkansas Bar Association (ArkBar) is releasing a video today to help educate Arkansas students and the public about the importance of the Constitution and the rule of law in the United States in honor of Constitution Day. Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. The video can be found at ArkBar’s youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbUlw0GDHb0.

The Legal Related Education Committee of ArkBar presents this Constitution Day video, explaining the legal system, how it works, and the rule of law. This video describes the basic framework of the legal system today, details the basic rights guaranteed by our Constitution and provides an overview of the three branches of government.

The Constitution Day video is moderated by UCA Professor Anthony McMullen. McMullen said he hopes the video “will help students better understand their role as citizens, future voters, and the future leaders of this great country.”

ArkBar President Paul Keith of Monticello said that ArkBar believes that educating students and the public about our Constitution is important work. “Just over 230 years ago a very grand experiment began. For the first time in modern history, a government was founded on a unique proposition that the power of the government came from the people and not from a king. For the first time in modern history the people stood up and told its government ‘your power comes from us. We are in charge.’ For you to understand and access the power that you have, you need to know more. So, we pause today to understand the voice of your power–the United States Constitution.”

Presenters include the Honorable Dan Kemp, Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, the Honorable Courtney Hudson, Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court; the Honorable Mary McGowan, Circuit Judge for the 6th Judicial Circuit Court; Senator Kim Hammer; Theresa Beiner, Dean of the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law; Tamera Deaver, Assistant Public Defender for the Eastern District of Arkansas; Chad Cumming, attorney at Gill, Ragon, Owen, P.A.; Chris Hussein, chair of the Young Lawyers Division & attorney at Legal Aid of Arkansas; and Beverly Brister, chair of the Legal Related Education Super Committee.

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

 
 

SEPTEMBER 15, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 15, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson reported that the state now has the needed supplies for 12,000 antigen tests that will be available at some schools, rural hospitals, and county health units, including Mena.


The Governor reported that 139 "probable" deaths would be added to the total deaths in Arkansas.

Governor Hutchinson announced 17 additional deaths during a COVID-19 Taskforce press conference held Tuesday afternoon. That raises the total since the start of the outbreak to 1,003. 

Hutchinson and state health experts announced the state was creating a new category of deaths in which COVID-19 is listed as a probable - but not confirmed - cause. The new figure includes an additional 139 Arkansans who are believed to have died from the virus. Dr. Mike Cima, chief epidemiologist for the Arkansas Department of Health, explained the new category.

Hutchinson updated the state on the level of antigen testing supplies available. After hitting a shortfall in those supplies, the state now has enough tests to cover two months of expected need. Those point-of-care tests are rapid and available at all county health units across Arkansas. These testing kits are primarily directed for use in educational facilities to allow the quick identification and isolation of COVID-19 cases.

In review, the state confirmed an additional 676 cases over the previous 24 hours for a new total of 70,125.

The governor's COVID-19 updates are no longer being held daily but now on a weekly basis. We'll continue to keep you updated on future addresses and any other developments that occur.

This morning the Arkansas Department of Health reported the following numbers. They will be updated later today.
COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 214
Total Active Cases: 33
Total Recovered Cases: 171
Total Deaths: 5
Total Tests: 4822

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 801
Total Active Cases: 58
Total Recovered Cases: 717
Total Deaths: 25
Total Tests: 8448

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 345
Total Active Cases: 30
Total Recovered Cases: 299
Total Deaths: 18
Total Tests: 4218

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 154
Total Active Cases: 21
Total Recovered Cases: 131
Total Deaths: 2

Total Tests: 1894

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 29
Total Active Cases: 5
Total Recovered Cases: 24
Total Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 1,368

Arkansas Tests: 835,335
Arkansas Negative Tests: 764,352
Arkansas Positive Tests: 70,983
Arkansas Recovered: 63,601
Arkansas Deaths: 992

USA Cases: 6,557,802
USA Recoveries: 2,474,570
USA Deaths: 194,674

Global Cases: 29,323,347
Global Recoveries: 19,898,806
Global Deaths: 929,444
*All USA and Global data provided by Johns Hopkins University

To view the weekly briefing for September 15, 2020, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/bqd4Bx1NbLI

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

DRIVE THROUGH FLU SHOT CLINIC TO BE HELD AT THE OUACHITA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
There will be a Drive through Flu Shot Clinic on September 21st from 8 am to 4:30 at the Ouachita County Health Department located at 740 California in Camden. Drive around to back of the Clinic. You will not have to exit your vehicle. Please bring your insurance, Medicare or Medicaid card with you. There is no cost for the vaccine even if you do not have insurance.   Call 836-5033 for more information. There will be a flu form on a table in front of the Health Department if you wish to pick one up ahead of time and have it filled out. You can also find one at www.yesradioworks.com to download and print.

CAMDEN AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, September 18, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road, Camden, Arkansas.

BOOZMAN, CARDIN CALL FOR IDENTIFYING GLOBAL CRISIS IN EDUCATION DUE TO COVID-19
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have introduced legislation that would help identify the scope of one of the most significant secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: education loss. School closures stemming from this global health crisis have affected over 1 billion students around the world and, according to a recent study by Save the Children, about 10 million students are in danger of permanently dropping out of school due to rising poverty related to the pandemic.

“Understanding the impact COVID-19 has on the education of children around the world is important to our long-term investment in international education programs. Having detailed information about these current challenges will help us innovate the delivery of academic opportunities so students can continue to receive a quality education when faced with unexpected circumstances. I appreciate Senator Cardin’s leadership to ensure no student is left behind,” Boozman said. 

“Education loss due to the pandemic is going to reverberate throughout the globe long after COVID-19 is contained, and its impact will be more than empty classrooms. It has the potential to fuel hunger, poverty, and violence while undermining equality, especially for girls and young women, as well as stability all over the world. We have a responsibility to mitigate this crisis before an entire generation is left behind,” said Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee that oversees human rights and global women’s issues.    

Serious educational gaps that existed before COVID-19 are being exacerbated as schools have been forced by the pandemic to transition to remote learning or close completely. Children and youth who were already vulnerable including girls and young women, refugees and those with disabilities are likely to be the worst impacted by this loss of access to education. The Global Learning Loss Assessment Act notes the major economic and humanitarian implications of this learning loss, as well as the significant shortage of global financing for international education programs that is predicted. It highlights the need for the United States to promote inclusive learning opportunities, help strengthen education systems and support the return of children to school across the globe.

The bill would require the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to submit a report within 90 days to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the impact of COVID-19 on global learning and basic education programs. It requires the report to be made publicly available and to include: 

an assessment of the magnitude of global learning loss,
an analysis of how school closures affect marginalized children,
descriptions of forms of distance learning in low resource contexts,
data on Agency programs being carried out to continue learning during the pandemic, and 
a description of the resources USAID needs to support education programs during and after the pandemic.
Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.  

“We cannot overstate the profound impact COVID-19 is having on education across the world,” said Houlahan. “This education gap has the potential to hinder global efforts on economic justice, lasting peace, poverty eradication, ending world hunger, gender equity and more. As a steadfast advocate for women and girls around the world, I’m particularly concerned about the harrowing consequences school-aged girls face in light of school closures – including an increased likelihood of gender-based violence. I am glad to be leading a bicameral effort with colleagues from across the aisle to ensure we in the United States are doing everything we can to mitigate the effects of such an education gap and stand up for the world’s youth.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has affected every corner of US government, including foreign aid and development. USAID’s mission is vital to America’s international relationship building. Congress needs a thorough understanding of how the pandemic has impacted that mission if we hope to continue our global basic education  programs successfully in the future,” said Quigley and Fitzpatrick. “USAID providing Congress with a report is the first step to developing that understanding and supporting USAID effectively moving forward.”

SEPTEMBER 14, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
The following numbers were reported by the Arkansas Department of Health this morning.


 

COVID-19 Metrics for Ouachita County
Total Cumulative Cases: 212
Total Active Cases: 39
Total Recovered Cases: 168
Total Deaths: 5
Total Tests: 4757

COVID-19 Metrics for Union County
Total Cumulative Cases: 796
Total Active Cases: 60
Total Recovered Cases: 710
Total Deaths: 25
Total Tests: 8148

COVID-19 Metrics for Columbia County
Total Cumulative Cases: 339
Total Active Cases: 27
Total Recovered Cases: 295
Total Deaths: 17
4185 total tests

COVID-19 Metrics for Dallas County
Total Cumulative Cases: 154
Total Active Cases: 21
Total Recovered Cases: 131
Total Deaths: 2

Total Tests: 1880

COVID-19 Metrics for Calhoun County
Total Cumulative Cases: 28
Total Active Cases: 4
Total Recovered Cases: 24
Total Deaths: 0
Total Tests: 1,356

Arkansas Tests: 829,087
Arkansas Negative Tests: 758,511

Arkansas Positive Tests: 70,576
USA Cases: 6,521,887
USA Recoveries: 2,451,406
USA Deaths: 194,107
Global Cases: 29,053,724
Global Recoveries: 19,652,377
Global Deaths: 924,953
*All USA and Global data provided by Johns Hopkins University

For additional information, click on one of the links below. 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

CAMDEN MAN KILLED IN SATURDAY MORNING CRASH
Saturday morning, September 12th at approximately 7:41 am Billy Ray Porchia, Jr., 39 of Camden was killed in a single vehicle accident according to the Arkansas State Police. Porchia was traveling East on Highway 24 in a 2005 Honda when he failed to maintain control of the vehicle, He crossed the center line and over-steered to the right causing the vehicle to skid and enter the eastbound roadside. The vehicle struck a tree and rotated counterclockwise causing the driver to be ejected before coming to rest. The weather was clear and the road was dry. 425 people have died on Arkansas Highways this year.

UAMS TO PROVIDE COVID-19 DRIVE-UP TESTING SEPTEMBER 17TH IN CAMDEN
LITTLE ROCK – Drive-up testing for COVID-19 will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sept. 17 at Cullendale First Baptist Church, 1850 Cash Road SW in Camden. There will be no out-of-pocket cost for testing. Up to 200 community members will be tested. 

The testing will be conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in cooperation with the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, Cullendale First Baptist Church, the Blue and You Foundation and Bank of America Foundation.

You do not have to be a UAMS patient to be seen. This testing is for everyone who feels they need testing. Patients will get instructions on how to take care of themselves and their family at home. Test results will be returned either through an online patient portal, letter or phone call.

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from other people not in your household, and wear a mask in public. An online screening tool is available at uamshealth.com/healthnow. Phone screening is available through the UAMS Health hotline at 800-632-4502.

 UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
 

STATE POLICE INVESTIGATING AFTER BODY FOUND IN LEWISVILLE HOME
SEPTEMBER 12, 2020
Authorities within the Lewisville (Lafayette County) Police Department have requested the Arkansas State Police to investigate an apparent homicide following the discovery of a woman’s  body inside a home at 915 West 3rd Street.

The body has been identified as that of Kira Bradley, 45, of Lewisville.  Local police officers found the body inside a bedroom of the residence shortly before noon yesterday (Friday, September 11th) and contacted state police a short time later.

Two suspects, an El Dorado man and a Lewisville woman, have been taken into custody by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police.

Bradley’s body will be transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the cause and manner of death will be determined following an autopsy.

Agents are preparing an investigative file to be turned-over to the Lafayette County prosecuting attorney who will determine whether criminal charges will be filed against the suspects.

 

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Lisa Pickett from the Camden Library. She will give an update on what the library is doing during the pandemic.

 
 

September 11, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 11, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson was introduced at the last of the daily COVID-19 briefings, held in Mena but closed to the public, by Mena Mayor Seth Smith.

 opened the daily briefing today with remarks about the 19th anniversary of the 9-11-01 attacks on the USA. He also commented about the beautiful UARM campus.

The last meeting did not start on a high note, however, with Hutchinson reporting the highest number of confirmed new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. Cases over the past 24 hours grew by 1,107, raising the state's total to 67,911. It was disappointing news considering the relatively low and encouraging case growth this week. The record was previously set on Sept. 4 when state officials confirmed 1,094 additional cases. Hutchinson did add some nuance to the numbers announced on Friday.
Arkansas' seven-day rolling average shows the median daily growth rate is around 500 cases. Other figures updated on Friday showed no net increase of hospitalizations. Currently 392 Arkansans are hospitalized by illness caused by COVID-19, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Deaths increased by 13 to 953. The state performed over 7,100 tests over the previous 24 hours. Confirmed active cases of the virus currently number approximately 5,700. Recoveries total more than 61,000. 

Hutchinson addressed national reporting in relation to a recent study from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. This study linked dining out to the spread of COVID-19. Hutchinson said he and state health officials did not see that correlation in Arkansas' data. That data, as well as statewide contact tracing efforts, suggested Arkansans carrying COVID-19 were several times more likely to visit a retail environment than a restaurant.

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:
1,185 new cases (1,107 PCR and 78 antigen)
67,911 cumulative cases (12.9% from colleges and universities)
5,713 active cases
13 new deaths
953 total deaths
577 new recoveries
61,245 total recoveries
0 new hospitalizations
392 currently hospitalized
76 on ventilators (down 3 from yesterday)
7,801 tests yesterday
459 antigen tests yesterday with 78 positive or 20.5%.

Of the new cases, counties with 20 or more new cases were Pulaski with 105, Washington with 91, Craighead with 61, Benton with 52, Sebastian with 51, Jefferson with 47, Crawford with 35, Faulkner with 25, Garland with 24, and Carroll with an unspecified number but 20 or more.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 189 positive cases with 32 active positive cases, 152 recovered, 5 deaths, and 4438 negative tests. Union County shows 755 positive cases with 40 active positive cases, 690 recovered, 25 deaths and 7524 negative tests. Columbia County shows 323 positive cases with 21 active positive cases, 286 recovered, 16 deaths and 3781 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 141 positive cases with 23 active positives, 116 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1584 negative tests. Calhoun County had 26 positive cases with 3 active cases, 23 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1295 negative tests. These numbers will be updated later today.

In the US there has been 6,417,186 cumulative cases, 2,403,511 recoveries, and 192,381 deaths.
Globally there has been 28,268,970 cumulative cases, 19,048,042 recoveries, and 911,282 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/-hDdiFr2BMA

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

Hutchinson will provide another statewide update on Tuesday. We'll provide you with information from that press conference as well as any other developments. 

OUACHITA COUNTY FAIR GEARING UP FOR 2020 CELEBRATION OF “WE’VE GOT A GOOD THING GROWING”, SEPTEMBER 23-26 IN CAMDEN, AR.
Camden AR - The 2020 Ouachita County Fair will kick off 4 days of fun on Sept. 23-26 once again held at the Ouachita County Recreational Center (Former Boys & Girls Club Facility) at 2708 Mt Holly Rd. Camden, AR 71701.

Join us at the Ouachita County Recreational Center to support the youth of our community who are involved in 4-H and FFA programs. We will have all the things you love and expect from our county fair. Cows. Chickens. Goats. Hogs. Cotton Candy and Funnel Cakes. Plus there will be exhibits showcasing all our local talent, everything from preserved fruits and vegetables, baked items, hand crafted quilts, crafts, photography, and much, much more.

New addition to the fair this year will be a Gospel Concert by the Jordan Family Band on Saturday, Sept 19th, 7:00p.m.$5.00 admission. Please bring your lawn chairs.

Due to Covid-19 and regulations from Department of Health, there will be no carnival this year. However, we will serve fair food on Friday night. The fairboard will prepare your favorite caramel apples, funnel cakes, cotton candy and other fair favorites. There is no admission fee to purchase food.

Whatever your interests, the Ouachita County Fair has something that’s sure to excite your imagination, tickle your taste buds, or spark your imagination.

COST:
Admission – $5.00
Parking – Free!

EVENTS & ACTIVITIES SCHEDULE:
SATURDAY, SEPT. 19
Concert: The Jordan Family Band
Satruday Night Sept. 19th at 7pm
$5.00 admission
Bring your lawn chair, and enjoy the music!

MONDAY & TUESDAY
5pm – 8pm Enter creative arts @ Shaddock Gym

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 23
Sheep & Goat Show
6:00pm
$5.00 admission
Merge Youth Rally
7:00pm All churches are invited.
Speaker is Ryan Huffty from Cullendale First Baptist
Hot Dog & Drink $1.00
$3.00 gate admission

THURSDAY, SEPT. 24
Beef & Swine Show
6:00pm
$5.00 admission

FRIDAY, SEPT. 25
Premium Sale Lunch, served in to-go trays
11:30am
Premium Sale
12:00pm
Beginning at 5:00 the fair board will sell fair food (Caramel Apples, Funnel Cakes, Cotton Candy, Sno-Cones) Along with other items. No admission to purchase food. All food will be served in to-go trays.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 26
Cornhole Tournament
Competition will begin at 9:00am
$40.00 per team
Craft Vendors
10:00am-3:00pm
Kid’s Hands on Activities
12:00pm-2:00pm
Talent Contest “Next Big Thing”
Winner in every age division will win a plaque
Sign-ups will begin at 6:00p.m.
Entry fee $25.00
Admission is $5.00
The audience will be the judge.

 

STATE POLICE COMMISSION APPROVES SERGEANT PROMOTION
Arkansas State Trooper First Class Ryne Shelton, 30, of Pike County, was promoted to the rank of sergeant today during a meeting of the Arkansas State Police Commission.  The recommendation for promotion was made by Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and approved by the commissioners.
Sergeant Shelton is a six year veteran of the department and has accepted a new assignment as a post supervisor in the Highway Patrol Division, Troop G, headquartered at Hope.
Prior to the promotion, Sergeant Shelton was assigned to patrol duties in Pike County where served in the Highway Patrol Division, Troop K, headquartered at Hot Springs.

ARKANSAS DELEGATION ANNOUNCES MAJOR DOT AWARDS FOR US 67 & RAILROAD OVERPASS IN MONTICELLO
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—announced the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $10 million for improvements to U.S. Highway 67 northeast of Little Rock and $4 million for the construction of a railroad overpass in Monticello.

DOT awarded a $10 million grant from the Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) program which will be used to widen U.S. Highway 67 from four to six lanes, construct an overpass, convert frontage roads to one-way operation and reconstruct two interchanges. This grant follows a $40 million award the project received from DOT’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program in June.

“This is great news for Arkansas, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to make U.S. Highway 67 an interstate-quality road. This funding will bring us closer to completing ‘Future I-57,” which is key for making the communities around it even more attractive places to live, work or start a business,” delegation members said.

An additional $4 million BUILD grant was awarded by DOT for the construction of a railroad overpass on the north-south connector from U.S. Highway 278 to the Arkansas Highway 83 Spur in Monticello. The project will create better access to emergency health care and improve the overall safety of the route by allowing a safe bypass of the rail tracks for vehicular traffic. 

“Growth in Monticello has led to congestion and safety challenges, specifically on the north-south connector which is used to access critical medical care. Fortunately, officials from the city and Drew County have a plan to alleviate these concerns. This BUILD grant will help supplement local investment to add an overpass to the north-south connector so vehicular traffic can move in a safe and timely manner,” delegation members said.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao noted that these grants were part of a larger announcement to fund critical surface transportation projects across the nation.

“This Administration is making significant investments in infrastructure, and this $1 billion in BUILD grants will repair, rebuild and revitalize transportation systems across America,” said Secretary Chao.

“We are grateful for President Trump and Secretary Chao’s continued commitment to the infrastructure needs of our state,” delegation members said.
 

BOOZMAN STATEMENT ON DEMOCRATS’ FILIBUSTER OF TARGETED COVID-19 RELIEF PACKAGE
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement following Senate Democrats’ filibuster of targeted coronavirus relief legislation that would offer further support to American families, workers, small businesses, schools and front line health care workers:

“Today’s vote is a disappointing development that leaves behind too many Americans in need in the name of partisanship. This targeted relief bill would have offered critical assistance to our communities, families, schools, small businesses and individuals in ways that most Republicans and Democrats actually agree. Instead of delivering a result, our Democratic colleagues chose to block progress on this package while also refusing to negotiate on any realistic solutions that stand a chance of becoming law.

“I’m certain the frustration I feel about this lack of cooperation is shared by Arkansans and others across the country still feeling the coronavirus’ impact and desperately looking for Congress to unite, like we did at the beginning of the pandemic, to provide relief.”
 

COTTON STATEMENT ON SEPTEMBER 11TH
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001:
“Nineteen years ago, Al Qaeda terrorists attacked our country because they thought we were cowardly and weak. They learned that day how wrong they were, as Americans responded to the horror of September 11 with remarkable bravery and resolve. Office workers carried their colleagues to safety through choking smoke and ash. First responders raced into harm’s way to save others—many never to return, like the heroic firefighters of Ladder 118. And just weeks later, America’s finest troops touched down in Afghanistan to take the fight to the enemy. America will never forget these heroes, just as we’ll never forget the many Americans who perished in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field on September 11.”

 

COTTON APPOINTED TO OPIOID COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) has been appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking. Created by Senators Cotton and Schumer in their Fentanyl Sanctions Act—which was passed as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act—the Commission is tasked with developing a strategy to stop the flow of synthetic opioids into the United States.

"Synthetic opioids are produced in countries like China and then shipped to the United States, where the drugs kill tens of thousands of Americans each year. We need a comprehensive strategy to shut down this deadly trade, and I’m honored to be chosen by Leader McConnell for this assignment,” said Cotton.

Background:
The Commission comprises the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; Administrator of the DEA; Secretary of Homeland Security; Secretary of Defense; Secretary of the Treasury; Secretary of State; Director of National Intelligence; and two members each (one who is a member of their respective chamber of Congress and one who is not) appointed by the Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, Speaker of the House, and House Minority Leader.

Senators Cotton and Markey were appointed to fill the member slots.

STATE CAPITOL WEEK IN REVIEW
From Senator Trent Garner

September 11, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Before this year, the legislature had already laid the groundwork for expansions of broadband capability in education and health care.

In response to the changing needs of schools and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, legislators have accelerated the pace of projects that expand broadband access in rural Arkansas and in small towns.

Thanks in large part to funding in the federal CARES Act, state officials have been able to beef up wireless capacity throughout Arkansas.

CARES is an acronym that stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. It was approved by Congress and signed by the president in March to offset the financial impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Arkansas is to receive about $1.25 billion in total from the act, which made possible funding of $25 million for broadband. That amount was increased in August by $100 million.

As a result of legislative action last week, more businesses, such as electric cooperatives, now are eligible to participate in the Arkansas Rural Connect program. Already, internet service providers, such as telephone companies, could join the program.

The legislative action made the rules of the program more flexible in another important category – the population threshold needed for eligibility. Previously, a community had to have at least 500 people in order to qualify for a grant, but many isolated communities had difficulty reaching that threshold. After the legislative rules change, they can now apply for a grant.

The rules change was approved by the Legislative Council’s Executive Subcommittee and implemented by the state Commerce Department. The benefits of the change are numerous. All companies with the capability can now work with local governments to expand Internet access within their boundaries. Municipalities that own their own utility service are also included. More rural communities qualify for the grants. Expanding access to broadband allows telemedicine, distance learning and working from home.

The goal of the Arkansas Rural Connect program is to help areas that lack Internet, and areas where Internet service is unreliably slow and inconsistent.

The legislature had already laid the foundation for expansion of Internet services across Arkansas with the passage of Act 198 of 2019. It revised the complex regulatory process governing telecommunications, to allow more entities to become Internet providers.

The Arkansas Rural Connect program is just one of several state efforts to expand Internet access. The state Education Department is spending $10 million to buy 20,000 devices that create “hot spots.”

In addition, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is administering a $2 million grant program for rural communities to expand Internet. It helps them pay for the costs of applying for grants, which can be considerable.

Government aid is available for areas that lack Internet service, but in order to demonstrate a lack of service the community has to conduct an accurate survey. Very few small towns have budgeted money for conducting surveys.

A goal of the UAMS grants, known as Rural Broadband I.D. Expenses Trust Fund Grants, is to fill that need and help small communities pay for the documentation and preparation needed to successfully gain grants. The program was created by Act 139 of 2020.

September 10, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 10, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson opened the daily briefing today by announcing that Friday, September 11th would be the last of the daily COVID-19 Briefings. The final daily briefing will be held in Mena. Arkansas' COVID-19 Taskforce will continue to host updates on a weekly basis or when needed. Hutchinson has held the update daily each weekday for the past 143 days, with just one day in which the press conference was not held. He said the press conference has been a useful method of getting the latest COVID-related information to Arkansans.

The Governor also noted that today was Suicide Prevention Day. For help, dial 800-273-TALK (8255) or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.. Special services are available for veterans.  Dr. Jose Romero stressed Arkansans to use the state's hotline if they're suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. 
Arkansas health officials aren't yet calling it a trend, but the state's COVID-19 case load saw another consecutive day of relatively low growth on Thursday. Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported 398 new cases during his daily COVID-19 Taskforce press conference Thursday afternoon. That raises the state's cumulative total to 66,804 since the start of the pandemic. 

Other figures were encouraging as well, with 19 less Arkansans hospitalized due to COVID-19 over the past 24 hours. That leaves less than 400 in medical facilities in the state - the lowest figure in months. Over 4,900 tests were performed with a positivity rate of 8.3 percent. Deaths from the virus raised moderately by 12 to a total of 940.

Hutchinson said a number of factors may be playing into the lower number of new cases reported this week. He said Arkansans have been taking the virus seriously and largely following health guidelines, especially as the new school year approached. A much higher testing level has also helped the state health officials detect and isolate cases, Hutchinson added.

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:
398 new cases plus 70 antigen cases (468 total)
66,804 cumulative cases
12 new deaths (no clustering, 3 delayed reporting, 3 nursing homes, 1 prison)
940 total deaths
392 currently hospitalized (down 19 from yesterday)
79 on ventilators (down 3 from yesterday)
4,900 PCR tests the past 24 hours (8.3% +)
430 antigen tests the past 24 hours with (70 + or 15.4% +)
5,196 active cases
60,668 recoveries (up 748 from yesterday).

Of the new cases, counties with 20 or more cases were Pulaski with 72, Washington with 37, Jefferson with 33, and Craighead with an unspecified number.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 186 positive cases with 31 active positive cases, 150 recovered, 5 deaths, and 4424 negative tests. Union County shows 748 positive cases with 42 active positive cases, 681 recovered, 25 deaths and 7515 negative tests. Columbia County shows 321 positive cases with 21 active positive cases, 284 recovered, 16 deaths and 3766 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 139 positive cases with 22 active positives, 115 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1559 negative tests. Calhoun County had 25 positive cases with 2 active cases, 23 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1292 negative tests.
These numbers will be updated later today.

In the US there has been 6,377,540 cumulative cases, 2,387,479 recoveries, and 191,360 deaths.
Globally there has been 27,962,101 cumulative cases, 18,820,738 recoveries, and 905,470 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/2rdH2bARGFM

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

In review, new cases saw a relatively lower increase on Thursday by 398 to 66,804. Hospitalizations decreased by 19 to 392 while deaths increased by 12 to 940. Arkansans who have recovered from COVID-19 number around 60,000. Active cases saw another decrease, dropping to less than 5,200. 

LT. GOVERNOR GRIFFIN SIGNS POLICE PLEDGE: REITERATES OPPOSITION TO 'DEFUND THE POLICE' MOVEMENT
Says, Defund the Police 'is a dangerous ideology,' and Arkansas law enforcement officers 'do incredible work'
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin announced today he has signed the Police Pledge organized by Heritage Action for America. The pledge states that Griffin stands with America's police and will oppose any bill, resolution, or movement to "Defund the Police." After signing the pledge, Griffin relesed the following statement:  

"Whether it's in Minneapolis, Portland, or anywhere else, the 'Defund the Police' movement is a dangerous ideology that threatens the safety of our communities across America. As long as I'm in a position of leadership, I will oppose any effort to 'Defund the Police'. Arkansas's law enforcement officers do incredible work and risk their own safety in order to keep our communities safe, and I am grateful for their commitment to serve and protect."
 

VICKSBURG DISTRICT TO HOST MEET THE DISTRICT VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE
VICKSBURG, Miss. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District will host its inaugural Meet the District Virtual Open House Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon.

The event will provide large and small business representatives; university, community college and vocational school administrators; political and community leaders; and members of the public with the opportunity to learn about the district's mission as well as its career and business opportunities. Virtual attendees will be able to connect and network with key district staff members and subject matter experts as well as potential partners in the public and private sectors.

Attendees can learn more about the event and register at the following link: https://eur05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mvk.usace.army.mil%2FAbout%2FOpen-House&data=02%7C01%7C%7C18a92a8c2a33411a927408d854fe2d28%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637352798007853886&sdata=HzjO5nF%2FJMAXR5Kwm644FuUSo2IKMLGRf5VZd5SrcF8%3D&reserved=0. The deadline to register is Oct. 5.

District offices that will be represented at the event include Engineering and Construction, Programs and Project Management, Operations, Regulatory, Channel Improvement, Architect and Engineer (A&E) Services, Natural Resources Management, Small Business, Contracting, Logistics, Resource Management and Accounting, Equal Employment Opportunity, Real Estate, Human Resources, Office of the Chief Information Officer and Office of Counsel.

The event is part of the USACE Mississippi Valley Division's Business Opportunities Open House initiative, which aims to increase industrial and community awareness of USACE's missions as well as opportunities and requirements to become involved in those missions. Each of the division's six districts - St. Paul, Rock Island, St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans - are slated to host their respective inaugural open houses this year. The Vicksburg District's original open house was scheduled for March but canceled due to the pandemic.

USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard will provide opening remarks and welcome all virtual attendees.

"We are excited to host this virtual open house and provide attendees from a diverse range of industries, disciplines and backgrounds with a better understanding of the Vicksburg District's mission," said Hilliard. "Developing strong relationships with industry, academia and the community is critical to efficiently and effectively serve the people within our area of responsibility. My team and I look forward to meeting attendees and discussing how we can collaborate to better serve the needs of the public."

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation's toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.
 

DR. SCOTT WHITE NAMED HONOR PROFESSOR AT SOUTHERN ARKANSAS UNIVERSITY; OTHER FACULTY AWARDS PRESENTED
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University honored the outstanding achievements of its faculty during a virtual assembly held last month.

Dr. Scott White, associate professor of chemistry and director of the SAU STEM Center for K-12 Education, was named the 2020 Honor Professor. White accepted the ceremonial University Mace from Dr. Kenneth Green, outgoing Honor Professor.

White received his B.S. and Secondary Education Certification from Harding University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue University. He started his career at SAU in August 2000. 

Honor Professor, the highest accolade bestowed upon faculty at SAU, recognizes faculty members who are excellent in the areas of teaching, research and service.

White commented, “To be nominated and vetted by my peers for this award is incredibly humbling. This is a very special moment for me and my family.”

White has taught thousands of students in physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and freshman level chemistry courses and labs. He is a past recipient of the Calvin Wetzig Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching and a Spirit of SAU Award. He previously served as chair for the Department of Chemistry and Physics and helped facilitate the growth of the separate departments of Biochemistry & Chemistry and Engineering & Physics. White has also served on numerous academic and University committees including two terms each as secretary, vice president and president of the SAU Faculty Senate. He is a board member of the Mulerider Club and enjoys helping serve as a scoreboard operator and announcer for Mulerider Athletics and Magnolia Panther Athletics.

White has directed the annual Southwest Regional Science Fair at SAU for many years as Director of the STEM Center for K-12 Education. He is a strong advocate for outreach to local schools in SAU’s service area and has assisted and conducted hundreds of hours of professional development workshops for K-12 teachers in collaboration with many specialists, colleagues and friends.   

Other faculty receiving awards at the event included:
Whitney Gass, assistant professor of criminal justice, received the Calvin U. Wetzig Teaching Award.
Dr. Md Islam, assistant professor of engineering, received the Research Excellence Award.
Dr. Connie Wilson, assistant professor of education, received the Auburn P. Smith Service Award.
Dr. Hong Cheng, associate professor of mathematics and computer science, received the Robert B. Walz Teaching Excellence Award.

Faculty members receiving Service Awards for five years were: Stacy Allen, Rami Alroobi, Kjarsten Carlson-Drexler, Theresa Dugger, Dr. Alice Fanning, Kimberly Graham, Dr. Lionel Hewavitharana, Md Karim, Vanda Terrell, Suzy Toms; 10 years: Jamie Boyd, Dr. Lynn DiPier, Dr. Neelie Dobbins, Justin Pettigrew, Dr. Alec Testa, George White, Megan Whitehead, Tim Servis; 15 years: Dr. Charles Young, Dr. Roger Guevara, Dr. Bernadette Fincher; 20 years: Dr. Hong Cheng, Dr. Tim Schroeder, Laura Shirey, Scot Stout, J.P. Wilson, Dr. Scott White; 30 years: Steve Dingman, Japhet Makia; 40 years: Dr. Ed Kardas.


MEMBERS OF SOUTHERN ARKANSAS UNIVERSITY’S PROFESSIONAL AND SUPPORT STAFF RECEIVE AWARDS IN VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONMAGNOLIA -- Members of Southern Arkansas University’s non-teaching professional and support staff were recognized for excellence and years of service during a virtual meeting hosted by Dr. Trey Berry, president, on August 6, 2020.

Receiving the Mary Anna King Whitehead Support Staff Excellence Awards were Eunice Walker (professional) and Phyllis Austin (support). Walker is director of Student Support Services and Austin is a fiscal support technician. The Mary Anna King Whitehead Awards are the highest honors given to SAU staff each year and recognize those who have achieved an outstanding level of professionalism and performance.

Marcela McRae-Brunson, director of financial aid, received the Alvin and Irene Brannon Staff Diversity Excellence Award. This award was established by the SAU Diversity Initiative Task Force and recognizes a staff member each year who has contributed to promoting, supporting, and improving diversity and inclusion as a core component of valuing people at SAU.

Those receiving the SAU Spirit Awards this year included: Drew Glover, director of online learning; Amanda Hanson, director of Health Services; Shelly Pletcher, University Health Services; Cami Riggins, University Health Services; Jonni Carter, University Health Services; Brian Logan, assistant professor of economics; Dr. Abraham Tucker, biology department chair; Dr. Daniel McDermott, assistant professor of biology; Rhaelene Lowther, assistant professor of art and design; and Dr. Jingyang Huang, assistant professor of HKR. The Spirit of SAU Award revives the tradition of honoring staff who exhibit exemplary Mulerider spirit.

Staff receiving Service Awards for 10 years were: Sheryl Edwards, Victor Duke, Amy Plummer; 30 years: Gary O’Dell, Dr. Donna Allen; 40 years: Sam Biley, Pam Riggins.
 

SAAC TO HOST AN "ARKANSAS" CORKS AND CANVAS WORKHOP
It's not too late to register for the September virtual Zoom Corks & Canvas hosted by well-known local artist Gary Hall! Entitled "Come Home to Arkansas," this fun and different kind of class will be held on September 17 at 6:00pm. Designed to be completed by each artist at home, the class's only requirements are that you clear a spot on your kitchen table, open your computer to Zoom, and get ready to have some fun with friends. The workshop fee is only $30. Participants are limited to 10.
Corks and Canvas classes are a fun way for beginning artists-even those who have never painted before-to learn to paint without any pressure. The classes are a great way to have fun and dabble in something new. The results may surprise you!
Hall will be leading students through the creation of an Arkansas-themed painting during the class. Each painter can customize their piece to suit their taste. "It's good for us all to keep a positive outlook, and art keeps us in touch with our creative side," said Hall. "Creating something can be just as big a boost as physical working out. It's all about expressing yourself. It's also a way to support SAAC and keep things fun and fresh during the pandemic."
Hall, who has led many Corks and Canvas classes, has exhibited his work in many SAAC shows, as well as his solo exhibition in 2017. He relishes the challenge of teaching a Zoom class. "My life has been one big ZOOM meeting since COVID started," said Hall. "I use ZOOM or other teleconferencing programs on an almost-daily basis. It's changing how we teach and disseminate information."
All of the art supplies you need to create the watercolor project will be available at SAAC the week before. Curbside pickup is available on request. You get to keep the watercolor set, the brushes, extra paper, and any other surprises that you find in your supply bag.
For more information on this Corks and Canvas class or to sign up, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website, saac-arts.org, where you will find a link to the registration portal. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.



SENATOR COTTON HONORED TO BE ON SUPREME COURT LIST
Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) was named as a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee by President Trump. After the announcement, Senator Cotton released the following statement:

“I’m honored that President Trump asked me to consider serving on the Supreme Court and I’m grateful for his confidence. I will always heed the call of service to our nation. The Supreme Court could use some more justices who understand the difference between applying the law and making the law, which the Court does when it invents a right to an abortion, infringes on religious freedom, and erodes the Second Amendment.”
 

COTTON, LOEFFLER INTRODUCE BILL PACKAGE CRACKING DOWN ON RIOTERS
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia) have introduced a series of bills intended to crack down on the rioters ransacking America’s cities.

(1) The No Catch-and-Release for Rioters Act: creates a rebuttable presumption that a person charged with rioting should be held pending trial;

(2) The Rioting Restitution Act: creates a federal, private, civil cause of action against rioters who meet the federal definition of rioting, with treble damages allowed;

(3) The Support Peaceful Protest Act: makes federally-convicted rioters ineligible for virus-related supplemental unemployment benefits.

“Under lenient leftist policies, insurrectionists around the country continue to pillage America’s communities. It’s past time we cracked down on their destructive actions. My legislation will incapacitate these rioters to prevent further destruction and increase their penalties, making the punishment fit their crimes,” said Cotton.

“American cities, businesses and livelihoods are being destroyed as a result of violent rioters and looters,” said Loeffler. “Enough is enough. The violence must stop, and it’s time to hold these criminals and vandals accountable. This is a strong package of bills that puts us one step closer to ensuring our communities are safe and secure.”  

September 09, 2020 Delayed Due to internet Outage

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEET TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Social distancing was practiced and face coverings were required.

Mayor Julian Lott was absent so Assistant to the Mayor, Amy Perrin led the meeting. Perrin called the meeting to order promptly at 7:00 pm. The Invocation was given by Pastor Gwen Edwards from Set Free Ministries followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk, Donna Stewart, called the roll. Aldermen Chris Aregood, Joe Askew, L.E. Lindsey, Marvin Moore and Alderwoman Irene Galbert were in attendance. Aldermen Chip Simmons, Terry Smith and James Bell were absent. This meant that Ordinances could not be voted on as they require a super majority or 2/3rd of the Board voting. Resolutions were heard and passes as they only require a simple majority.

Ordinance No. 16-20, an ordinance authorizing the issuance of Water & Sewer Refunding Revenue Bonds; providing for the payment of the principal of and interest on the bonds; prescribing other matters relating thereto; and declaring an emergency was the first item on the agenda. A 2.07% rate had been gotten for the city but that was only good for 24 hours. By reissuing the two bonds at the lower interest rate the City will save over $300,000.00 dollars over the course of the bonds. Since a super majority was not present, the board could not vote on it.

The Ordinance was put at the bottom of the agenda in hopes one of the absent aldermen could get to City Hall so it could be voted on. That was not to happen so a Special Meeting was set for Wednesday evening at 4:30 pm. Later that time was moved to 5:30 pm. Wednesday evening the Council met. The Ordinance was voted on and passed unanimously.

All of the ordinances below had the first reading. They will be back on next month’s agenda for a second reading.
Ordinance No. 17-20, an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 19-86 (Camden Code Section 2-97.2) regarding the Airport Commission; and for other purposes 
Ordinance No. 18-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 526 Hawkins Street.
Ordinance No. 19-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 513 Chestnut Street NW
Ordinance No. 20-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 485 Hawkins Street.
Ordinance No. 21-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 474 California Avenue.
Ordinance No. 22-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 440 Maple Street SW.
Ordinance No. 23-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 419 Maple Street SW.
Ordinance No. 24-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 407 North Street.
Ordinance No. 25-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 320 North Street.
Ordinance No. 26-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 536 Cleveland Ave. NW.
Ordinance No. 27-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 578 Cleveland Ave. NW.
Ordinance No. 28-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 698 Crestwood Ave. NW.
Ordinance No. 29-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1041 Elm Street.
Ordinance No. 30-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1333 Ronald Drive.
Ordinance No. 31-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1440 Ronald Drive.
Ordinance No. 32-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 2157 Avon Avenue.
Ordinance No. 33-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 810 Lucas Lane.
Ordinance No. 34-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 687 Agee Avenue NW.

Resolution No. 22-20, a resolution confirming the re-appointments of Clara Freeland and Lori DeWoody to the Advertising and Promotion Commission. Motion was made and seconded. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 23-20, a resolution amending the 2020 Budget of the City of Camden, Arkansas to fund street improvements. Motion was made and seconded. The Resolution passed unanimously.

 

AEROJET ROCKETDYNE SELECTED TO POWER NATION’S NEXT GENERATION STRATEGIC DETERRENT
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Sept. 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne will develop a large solid rocket motor and the post-boost propulsion system for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program as a key member of Northrop Grumman’s nationwide GBSD team. Northrop Grumman was selected by the Air Force as the prime contractor for GBSD’s Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase.

Aerojet Rocketdyne will leverage its decades of experience and broad range of capabilities to provide propulsion for the nation’s modernized nuclear deterrent.

“Aerojet Rocketdyne has a proud legacy of powering our nation’s strategic deterrent, and we look forward to building upon that legacy as part of Northrop Grumman’s nationwide GBSD team,” said Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “Our investments in state-of-the-art facilities and innovative technologies enable us to deliver advanced propulsion systems with improved performance at lower costs.”

The company’s propulsion has powered every U.S. Air Force Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) fielded. Aerojet Rocketdyne has invested significantly in advanced manufacturing capability and new facilities to provide cutting-edge and affordable propulsion solutions for critical next generation national security programs like GBSD.

One example of how Aerojet Rocketdyne has improved on decades of solid rocket motor propulsion is the company’s recent announcement of a successful demonstration of an advanced large solid rocket motor, whose design incorporates numerous advanced technologies and materials.

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s new Advanced Manufacturing Facility (AMF) in Huntsville, Alabama, and new Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) facility in Camden, Arkansas, were designed to provide more affordable large solid rocket motors for GBSD using modern and efficient manufacturing methods. The company has also made important investments in precision liquid rocket propulsion technology, including for GBSD’s post-boost propulsion system at its facility in Canoga Park, California. Additionally, Aerojet Rocketdyne is responsible for testing of post-boost system components for GBSD.

The 136,000-square-foot AMF will produce advanced propulsion products such as solid rocket motor cases for GBSD, as well as other hardware for key U.S. defense and space programs. The 17,000 square-foot large solid rocket motor EMD facility is the latest in Aerojet Rocketdyne’s ongoing expansion in Arkansas, where the company has long had a presence and currently produces more than 75,000 solid rocket motors per year.

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s role on Northrop Grumman’s nationwide GBSD team builds on prior work supporting Northrop Grumman on strategic programs. In particular, Aerojet Rocketdyne has supported Northrop Grumman as the prime contractor responsible for sustaining Minuteman III. As the Original Equipment Manufacturer for the post-boost propulsion system, Aerojet Rocketdyne completed a service life extension in 2014 and continues to provide sustaining engineering support for that system to the U.S. Air Force today.

SAU’S CALLIE NEWSOM CLAIMS MULTIPLE AWARDS AT TRAP SHOOTING COMPETITION
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University trapshooting team member Callie Newsom hit it big at the 2020 AIM Grand National Championship August 2-4, in Linn Creek, Missouri. Newsom earned the titles of Junior Gold Handicap Champion, Junior Gold Lady Handicap Champion, Junior Gold Class B Singles Champion and High Lady Junior Gold Champion at the competition, which she attended and competed individually.

SAU’s trap shooting program began in the fall of 2019, long after Newsom had joined the SAU family. Newsom, from, Paragould, Arkansas, is a junior Animal Science major. “When I chose SAU, I knew that there was not a trap team, but during my freshman year, I heard that they were trying to start one,” said Newsom, who began the sport when she was 12 years old. “I started out trapshooting through the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program (AYSSP), which was hosted by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. My senior year of high school, I got more involved in trap shooting and joined the Amateur Trap Association.”

Newsom was a member of Greene County 4-H and was competitive in air pistol, air rifle, .22 pistol, .22 rifle, muzzleloader, and archery. She has qualified four times for the Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in air pistol.

“Callie is the epitome of hard work and determination,” said Steve Crowell, coach for the 31-member trap team. “She didn’t let the challenges of the season stop her drive. She stepped up and, in head-to-head competition, beat out every other national shooter in her class and age divisions.”

The championship competition offered three events including 100 handicap targets, 50 doubles targets and 200 singles targets. Newsom was among 1,160 classified shooters, many of whom competed in more than one event. In the Handicap Championship, she shot a 99 out of 100 from the 20.5 yard line, landing her in a three-way tiebreaker competition. She won her age division. In the Doubles Championship, she shot an 81 out of 100. The third and final event was the 200 Singles Championship which was held over two days.

“We shot the first 100 and I was sitting in a pretty good spot with a 98 out of 100,” Newsom explained. “Then the next 100 was on the following day, and I shot another 98 out of 100 for a total of 196 out of 200.”

Though the score did not put her in the running for champion, she was still able to place in her age division and class, winning Junior Gold Class B Singles Champion. “I was placed in Class B because of my average going into the competition. I also won High Lady Junior Gold Champion, which was determined based on my scores from all three events,” Newsom said. “It felt amazing to receive these honors at this level of competition,” she shared. "For me, it's as much about having fun as it is about winning."

Crowell said that with these wins now under her belt, Newsom ranks among the best shooters in the nation. “We are proud to have her as a part of the SAU Trap Shooting Team,” he said, “and look forward to more competitions.”

In addition to the Trap Team, Newsom is a member of Sigma Alpha. She chose SAU because she loved the thought of being on a small campus that enjoys the support of the community.

“After visiting the campus, I knew this was where I wanted to go,” she said. “If someone is considering making SAU their university home, I would tell them they should visit the campus and be ready to gain the biggest support system because they will have support from the people on campus as well as in the community,” she said.

SAU’s Trap Team competed in February and each member qualified for the national competition which was to be held in March, but was cancelled due to COVID. The team continues to grow, with nine incoming freshman joining the team. Membership in the trap program is open to any interested SAU student. The team competes in the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Collegiate Clay Targeting Program and is preparing for the ACUI Virtual Shotgun Bowl Series which will consist of two month-long virtual events in September and October. For more information and to register interest in the program, visit www.saumag.edu/trapshooting.
 

PSC CRIMINAL JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PRESENTS THE COLOR OF LAW IN CAMDEN
FBI Color Of Law Presentation And Criminal Justice Career Pipeline Program
Tuesday – October 6, 2020                                          

Camden Business Incubator
625 S. Adams Avenue
Camden, AR 71701
To sign up please Call 870-837-5500 or 870-836-8811
Deadline to sign up is September 30, 2020

Date: October 6, 2020
Time: 10 am – 12 pm / Community Training

1 pm – 3 pm / LEO’s Training
Attendance: 25 - 50 attendees (maximum of 50)  everyone must social distance and wear mask.

Join the conversation as we dispel misconceptions, facilitate constructive conversation and increase partnerships between law enforcement and the community.

 


Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: CDC TEMPORARILY HALTS EVICTIONS
LITTLE ROCK – To prevent the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a national moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent from September 4 until December 31, 2020. This moratorium places a temporary halt to residential evictions in an effort by the CDC to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The moratorium does not prevent evictions for other reasons and does not relieve tenants of any obligations to pay rent, late fees, or penalties. 

“The CDC has laid out strict guidelines tenants must follow in order for the moratorium to apply,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Arkansans continue to recover from the economic hardship created from the pandemic, many states are working with our federal partners to prevent further spread of the virus during uncertain times.”

Tenants seeking protection under the moratorium are required to submit a declaration, under the penalty of perjury, stating their inability to pay rent with specific supporting facts. The declaration, for example, must include statements reflecting: the tenant’s efforts to obtain government assistance; the tenant’s income; the tenant’s inability to pay rent due to loss of income, work, or significant medical expenses; the tenant’s efforts to try to make full or partial rent payments; and whether the eviction would likely cause the tenant to live in a homeless shelter or in close quarters with others where COVID might proliferate. 

The Attorney General released the following tips to help consumers understand the CDC’s Order:

The CDC’s Order does not forgive rent payments and does not relieve tenants of the obligation to pay rent.

Tenants are encouraged to continue paying rent in an agreed amount with their landlord in order to avoid any large amounts of rent due following the expiration of the moratorium.

Tenants protected by the moratorium will still have to pay all rent due under the lease when the moratorium ends.

To utilize the CDC Order’s protections, tenants must submit a copy of a declaration to their landlord.  A sample declaration is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-eviction-declaration.html.

Consumers who are in need of legal advice should contact a private attorney or Arkansas Legal Services.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

September 08, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 08, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson opened the daily briefing by announcing that Arkansas has purchased 120,000 antigen tests at a cost of $4 million dollars. CARES money was used for the purchase and no state money was involved the antigen tests will be available at county health units and 10 colleges to allow rapid testing. Hutchinson made a brief announcement Arkansas joined in a purchase agreement with several other states to purchase additional antigen tests. The tests will be distributed to county health units and testing facilities to help track and isolate cases of the virus.

Governor Hutchinson announced that another $5 million would be provided to for profit businesses in White, Hempstead and Jackson county and the city of Humnoke for rural broadband expansion.
Tuesday was an encouraging day for Arkansas' COVID-19 environment after state officials reported a significantly lower growth in new cases. During his daily COVID-19 Taskforce Press Conference Tuesday afternoon Gov. Hutchinson said the state recorded only 294 new cases of the virus on Monday. That's much lower than the one-day record in case increases announced on Friday, which numbered nearly 1,100. 

In contrast to previous days of low case growth, Tuesday's totals were matched by robust testing over the previous 24 hours. Hutchinson said over 5,000 tests were performed Monday with 66,000 since the beginning of the month. State officials hope this means the virus is lessening in severity as testing efforts increase.

Other figures announced Tuesday were encouraging, with nine deaths reported for a total of 917 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations increased by a net 10 cases to slightly over 400. Around 59,000 Arkansans have recovered from the virus. There are approximately 5,900 active cases in the state.

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston reported that a new program to provide $300 weekly in pandemic assistance would be funded with FEMA money. Persons who are eligible will receive a letter and are those already receiving at least $100 weekly in benefits. This amount is designed to replace the $600 provided through federal funding earlier this year as part of the nation's response to the virus. That additional benefit came to an end in July. Preston said qualified recipients must already receive at least $100 a week in unemployment benefits and self-certify that their unemployment is due to COVID-19. Arkansans who already qualified for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are automatically qualified for the new $300 benefit. For more information or to apply for the benefits, Arkansans are asked to call 501-907-2590.  Secretary Preston also noted that unemployment in Arkansas was down to 7.1%.

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:
294 new cases
66,021 cumulative cases
10 new hospitalizations
409 currently hospitalized
84 on ventilators (up 10 from yesterday)
9 new deaths
917 total deaths
5,154 tests the past 24 hours plus 139 antigen tests
503 new recoveries
59,260 total recoveries.

Of the new cases, counties with 20 or more cases were Cross with 30 (nursing home outbreak), Washington with 29, and Pulaski with 28.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 118 positive cases with 36 active positive cases, 143 recovered, 5 deaths, and 4335 negative tests. Union County show 731 positive cases with 39 active positive cases, 670 recovered, 22 deaths and 7442 negative tests. Columbia County shows 319 positive cases with 23 active positive cases, 280 recovered, 16 deaths and 3707 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 136 positive cases with 28 active positives, 106 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1535 negative tests. Calhoun County had 25 positive cases with 2 active cases, 23 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1269 negative tests.  These numbers will be updated later today.

In the US there have been 6,312,341 cumulative cases, 2,333,583 recoveries, and 189,366 deaths.

Globally there have been 27,401,024 cumulative cases, 18,380,632 recoveries, and 893,871 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/lS0ZmmKARXE

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments. 
 

POP-UP COVID-19 TESTING THIS FRIDAY
There will be a pop-up Covid 19 testing this Friday, September 11th from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at the Ouachita County Local Health Unit located at 740 California Avenue, SW in Camden. Testing for anyone with or without symptoms. No out-of-pocket expense. ID and insurance may be requested, but are not required. Learn more at healthy.arkansas.gov.


 

MEMBER OF SAU BOARD OF TRUSTEES PASSES AWAY
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University is saddened to announce the death of Gary L. Golden, a member of its Board of Trustees. Golden passed away this morning at his home in DeQueen. He was the vice chair and chief executive officer of First State Bank of De Queen.

 Golden joined the Board of Trustees in January of this year, but he has been an active part of the SAU family for decades.  He was a student from 1968 to 1970 and he later served on SAU Foundation Board of Governors prior to his appointment to the Board of Trustees.

 “Gary was a faithful and engaged leader on our Board of Trustees and he had a deep abiding love for SAU and for the influence that former agriculture professor Orval Childs had on his life direction. Through his experience and wisdom, he had already brought so much to the Board in this short time,” said Dr. Trey Berry, SAU President, “I am personally shocked by his passing.  Today, I have lost a dear friend, and indeed, our campus has lost one of its greatest defenders and supporters.  The entire SAU family holds his wife Gaywyn and his entire family in our thoughts and prayers.”

 The family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Saturday, September 5 at Chandler Funeral Home in De Queen.  Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 6 at De Queen First Assembly of God.  You can send online sympathy messages at www.chandlerfuneral.com.
 

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Wesley Stewart who will be giving information about The Call.


 

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, September 10th at Noon at Catherine's Bistro. The program will be presented by Dana Wetherbee from The Camden Police Department.

You are required to wear a mask was entering and leaving the building, if you do not have one they will provide you with one. Your temperature will be taken, and you'll sign in and report your temp. All the chairs in the meeting room will be spaced out as required.
 

 

PINE BLUFF ARTIST JOHN GOOD TO EXHIBIT AT SAAC
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to feature the paintings of Pine Bluff artist John Good in the Lobby and Price Galleries during the month of September. The exhibition, titled “A Retrospective”, includes work in pastel, acrylic, and oil and will be on display through September 29, with a reception on Friday, September 11 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Reservations are required. 

Good, who is known as “Duke” to his friends and associates, has felt the pull toward creative expression throughout his life. After 20 years as a working musician, he enrolled in college to study history at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and took his first formal drawing class. Under the tutelage of the legendary Henri Linton, Good grew as an artist by leaps and bounds, until he finally left his history major behind and dedicated himself to visual art. 

"I didn't think I could do it", said Good. "I thought art was something that was there or not, I had no idea that the ability to draw and paint could be learned."

Good earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education in 1994 from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, his Master of Arts degree from Arkansas State University in 1995, and his Master of Fine Arts degree from Memphis State University in 1997. Throughout those years, he stored up places and landscapes to revisit in his work. From Delta waterways, to Arkansas forests, to New Orleans streetscapes, each location is reimagined through the lens of his artist’s eye. 

"My work is a reflection of my love and appreciation of places on the earth which, by simply being there, have made me feel better about myself and the world in general,” Good said. “Just as songwriters write songs which tell about feelings or tell stories about their lives, my artwork is a chronicle of all those aspects of my life which I deem worthy of holding on to." 

A reception for the artist will be hosted for small groups on Friday, September 11 with scheduled times for viewing at 5:30pm or 6:00pm. Place your reservation for a time slot by calling SAAC at 870-862-5474 or visiting saac-arts.org. As per Governor Hutchinson's statewide order, face coverings are required for entry. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. 

 

September 04, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 04, 2020
Arkansas witnessed another sizeable increase in new COVID-19 cases on Friday with a new one-day record of 1,094. Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the additional cases during his daily COVID-19 Taskforce press conference Friday afternoon. That raises the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic to 64,175.

The record one-day growth in new cases is partly due to the number of tests performed on Thursday, said Hutchinson. Over 11,000 tests were performed that day, or several thousand more than the previous one-day record. 

Deaths increased by 12 over the past 24 hours to 873 since the outbreak began. Two encouraging items included the positivity rate of new tests, which continues to decrease. Hospitalizations also saw a sizeable decrease on Thursday, dropping by net of 24 to 401. That's a continued drop of a record of more than 500 earlier this summer. Recoveries grew to over 57,000 on Thursday.  Active cases also grew slightly overall to 5,755.

Hutchinson said around a quarter of the new COVID-19 cases detected on Thursday are among college-aged adults in the 18-24 range. According to data released by the Arkansas Department of Health on Thursday, 327 active cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in colleges and universities in Arkansas, mostly among students. Most of those cases have been traced to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Hutchinson said he's spoke with UofA officials who are enforcing a number of old and new guidelines to combat the virus. That includes a new directive banning all gatherings of 10 or more people, both on- and off-campus. Governor Asa

The Governor announced that the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has banned all gatherings, on and off campus, of 10 or more.

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:
1,076 new cases
64,174 cumulative cases
401 hospitalized (down 24 from yesterday)
86 on ventilators (down 5 from yesterday(
12 new deaths (2 delayed reporting from July)
973 total deaths
57,546 recoveries (up 658 from yesterday)
11,254 tests the past 24 hours plus 600 antigen tests.

Of the new cases, counties with 20 or more cases were Washington with 215, Pulaski with 87, Benton with 56, Craighead with 47, Jefferson with 24, and Sebastian with 21.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 173 positive cases with 38 active positive cases, 131 recovered, 4 deaths, and 4281 negative tests. Union County show 707 positive cases with 63 active positive cases, 623 recovered, 21 deaths and 7084 negative tests. Columbia County shows 311 positive cases with 27 active positive cases, 269 recovered, 15 deaths and 3642 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 132 positive cases with 41 active positives, 89 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1501 negative tests. Calhoun County had 23 positive cases with 0 active cases, 23 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1259 negative tests.
*These numbers will be updated later today.

In the US there has been 6,183,405 cumulative cases, 2,266,957 recoveries, and 187,347 deaths.
Globally there has been 26,427,137 cumulative cases, 17,570,085 recoveries, and 870,948 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/dbJ818RO6MQ

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

In review, an additional 1,094 cases of coronavirus were reported on Friday. This marks a new one-day growth record and raises the state's cumulative total to 64,175. Deaths grew by 12 to 873. Hospitalizations decreased by a net 24 for a new total of 401. Over 11,000 tests were performed over the previous 24 hours. Recoveries grew to more than 57,000. Active cases increased slightly to 5,755. We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments.
 

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambersof the Municipal Building.

Social distancing will be practiced and a face covering will be required.

 

The Agenda is as follows:
A. Call to Order

B. Invocation - Pastor Gwen Edwards, Set Free Ministries, 221 Monroe Street NW, Camden, AR

D. Roll Call
E. Approval of Minutes
1. Minutes of Regular Meeting August 11, 2020     

F. Acceptance of Financial Report
1. Financial Report for August 2020

G. Audience Participation
H. Mayor’s Report    
 I.  Old Business

 1. Resolution No. 12-20, a resolution requiring certain materials to be posted on the City Website.   

J.    New Business
1.   Ordinance No. 16-20, an ordinance authorizing the issuance of Water & Sewer Refunding Revenue Bonds; providing for the payment of the principal of and interest on the bonds; prescribing other matters relating                thereto; and declaring an emergency.
2. Ordinance No. 17-20, an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 19-86 (Camden Code Section 2-97.2) regarding the Airport Commission; and for other purposes. 
3. Ordinance No. 18-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 526 Hawkins Street.
4. Ordinance No. 19-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 513 Chestnut Street NW.
5. Ordinance No. 20-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 485 Hawkins Street.
6. Ordinance No. 21-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 474 California Avenue.
7. Ordinance No. 22-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 440 Maple Street SW.
8. Ordinance No. 23-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 419 Maple Street SW.
9. Ordinance No. 24-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 407 North Street.
10. Ordinance No. 25-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 320 North Street.
11. Ordinance No. 26-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 536 Cleveland Ave. NW.
12. Ordinance No. 27-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 578 Cleveland Ave. NW.
13. Ordinance No. 28-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 698 Crestwood Ave. NW.
14. Ordinance No. 29-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1041 Elm Street.
15. Ordinance No. 30-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1333 Ronald Drive.
16. Ordinance No. 31-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1440 Ronald Drive.
17. Ordinance No. 32-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 2157 Avon Avenue.
18. Ordinance No. 33-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 810 Lucas Lane.
19. Ordinance No. 34-20, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 687 Agee Avenue NW.
20. Resolution No. 22-20, a resolution confirming the re-appointments of Clara Freeland and Lori DeWoody to the Advertising and Promotion Commission.
21. Resolution No. 23-20, a resolution amending the 2020 Budget of the City of Camden, Arkansas to fund street improvements.

K. Other Business

L. Adjournment
 

ENTERGY ARKANSAS CHOSEN ‘BEST COMPANY IN THE STATE’ BY EMPLOYEES IN FORBES.COM
Third-party survey includes workplace safety, opportunities, compensation
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Forbes.com recently named Entergy Arkansas as “Best Company in the State,” based on responses from a third-party survey of employees at businesses across the state. Entergy Arkansas employs approximately 2,800 people statewide, in addition to hundreds of contractors.

“It’s gratifying to know our employees enjoy working for Entergy Arkansas as much as I do,” said President and CEO Laura Landreaux. “The leadership team, along with management at all levels, works hard to ensure our employees feel valued and part of the vision we have to provide safe, reliable energy to our customers.” 

Landreaux went on to say, “I also believe that part of this recognition is attributable to the tremendous responsibility and pride each and every Entergy Arkansas employee pours into their respective job each and every day to deliver a service that is essential to powering the lives of Arkansas’ residents and its future.”

To determine the listings and rank, Statista surveyed 80,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 500 employees across the country – some with operations in multiple states – from October 2019 through May 2020. All the surveys were anonymous, allowing participants to openly share their opinions, per Forbes.com, and responses regarding the same employers were compared throughout the process to account for any statistically significant variations in the results collected before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Respondents were asked to rate their employers on a variety of criteria, including

safety of work environment.

competitiveness of compensation.

opportunities for advancement.

options for telecommuting.

While serving Arkansans for more than a century, Entergy Arkansas employees have taken pride in their work, providing comfort to more than 700,000 customers across the state.

“I’m always proud to tell people I work for Entergy,” said Jim Garland, regional customer service manager and 36-year employee, “not only because it is rewarding to work for a company that so many people rely on for necessary, safe electricity, but also because it’s frankly a great place to work. My team is always working toward a common goal in ways that make us better professionals that, in turn, can better serve our community.”

Tyrone Stayton, a journeyman serviceman in Helena, said, “We work under conditions that are often stressful and dangerous, but I know our customers are counting on me.  I also know my manager and coworkers are always looking out for me and others with a focus on safety and community-mindedness.”

The list totaled 30 employers in Arkansas, ranging from school districts and universities to banks and hospitals. The number of businesses ranked in each state was dependent on two factors – the number of qualifying employers and the size of the state’s workforce – and those with operations in more than one state had the opportunity to be listed multiple times.

ABOUT ENTERGY ARKANSAS

Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including 8,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $11 billion and approximately 13,600 employees.

STATE CAPITOL WEEK IN REVIEW FROM SENATOR TRENT GARNER
September 4, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – County clerks are preparing for a sharp increase in the number of absentee ballots that they expect to be turned in for the November 3 general election.

The governor issued an executive order in early August that cleared up questions about voting absentee if you have concerns about appearing in person at your polling place, because of the coronavirus.

You may vote absentee whether you are concerned for your own safety, or whether your concern is that your presence at the polling place may affect the health of other people.

Both the secretary of state and the governor agree that fear of exposure to COVID-19, or fear of exposing others, is sufficient reason for requesting an absentee ballot.

Another provision in the executive order is important for county clerks and election officials. It allows them to start processing absentee ballots up to 15 days before election day, in order to get a head start on the anticipated increase.

The extra days for processing will coincide with the early voting period. They can open outer envelopes and begin processing voter registration information, but they will not be allowed to open the inner envelope and count the absentee ballots. They may not open and begin counting absentee ballots until 8:30 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, November 3, which is election day.

Already they have experienced a significant increase in request for absentee ballots. Four years ago, about 40,000 Arkansas residents voted absentee. This year the Secretary of State’s office anticipates more than 125,000 mail-in ballots to be requested and submitted, according to an office spokesman.

Pulaski County has received 10,000 requests for absentee ballots, compared to 1,500 at the same date in 2016, the county clerk told the statewide newspaper.

The deadlines for requesting and returning absentee ballots, as well as other information about voting absentee, can be found on the website of the Secretary of State, under the tab labeled “Elections.” This page has good information for members of the Armed Services stationed abroad. For example, family members stationed overseas follow the same procedures as military personnel when requesting and submitting absentee ballots.

The deadline for registering to vote is October 5. You must be registered in order to request an absentee ballot.

The state is helping counties with personal equipment and other supplies needed to help protect the safety of poll workers on election day.

Revenue Report

During the first two months of the state’s fiscal year, net general revenue collections are 8.9 percent above forecast. That amounts to $93.7 million.

Collection of sales taxes were strong, indicating that people are spending and have a certain level of confidence. Sales and use tax revenue is 12.7 percent above forecast.

Individual income taxes are 6.4 percent above forecast, an indicator that people are getting back to work. State income tax rates have gone down because the legislature enacted a tax cut last year, so the increase in income tax collections is a definite signal of increased employment.

The state fiscal year began July 1. The Arkansas legislature has consistently adopted very conservative budgets for state agencies.

SEPTEMBER 3, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 03, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson opened the daily briefing by commenting on a lawsuit that has been filed by a group of legislators that questions his executive authority to take certain actions during the health emergency that the state is in. The group is led by Rep. Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Jonesboro. The Governor said that today's case report that an emergency still exists.  Hutchinson says the lawsuit is more about questioning the actions of the executive position of Governor:"

"Governor Hutchinson also acknowledged that he had received a letter from the Centers of Disease Control regarding the state's preparations for storing a possible vaccine for COVID-19 that could be available as early as the first on November.

 It was also announced at Thursday's press conference that in-person visitations would be allowed to resume in October at prison facilities. Several upcoming restrictions will be announced in regard to the prison visitations that have been suspended since June. 

Governor Hutchinson and Secretary of Health both expressed concern about the rising numbers on college campuses and urged students to wear masks, socially distance, and act responsibly.  While College campuses have been a hot spot for COVID-19, public schools in grades K through 12 have had a very good first two weeks of school. Governor Hutchinson complimented the school districts saying that only one new positive case has turned up among students.
 Secretary of Education, Johnny Key, also complimented the school districts by pointing out that the preparations for virtual instruction have come in handy more so for flooding, rather than for the pandemic:" Secretary Key  announced that two more school districts have modified their instruction. Jacksonville Middle School will be virtual September 4, 2020 then re-evaluate after the holiday. Earle Elementary will be virtual from September 3 through September 17 due to 50% of the teachers being in quarantine.

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:
969 new cases (211 were in Washington County and 81% of them were 18-24 years of age)
63,081 cumulative cases
425 hospitalized (down 10 from yesterday)
20 new deaths (9 were in Mississippi County and 8 of those 9 were in a nursing home, 1 today was delayed reporting)
861 deaths total
7,827 tests the past 24 hours.

Of the new cases, counties with 20 or more cases were Washington with 211, Pulaski with 90, Benton with 47, Jefferson with 38 (50% of the new cases in Jefferson County were age 18-24), Sebastian with 36, Saline with 33, Faulkner with 27, and Craighead with 25.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 159 positive cases with 30 active positive cases, 125 recovered, 4 deaths, and 4209 negative tests. Union County show 698 positive cases with 68 active positive cases, 610 recovered, 20 deaths and 6981 negative tests. Columbia County shows 303 positive cases with 25 active positive cases, 263 recovered, 15 deaths and 3612 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 128 positive cases with 50 active positives, 76 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1472 negative tests. Calhoun County had 23 positive cases with 0 active cases, 23 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1248 negative tests. *These numbers will be updated later today.

In the US there has been 6,125,916 cumulative cases, 2,231,757 recoveries, and 186,185 deaths.
Globally there has been 26,112,402 cumulative cases, 17,344,709 recoveries, and 864,691 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/WyGxJyebx0Q

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

Again, 969 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours runs the cumulative statewide total to 63,081. The hot spots are on college campuses, particularly in Fayetteville. The death toll has increased by 20 to 861. We'll continue to keep you updated, so stay tuned."

CAMDEN BARN SALE 2020 CANCELED DUE TO COVID-19 CONCERNS
It is with heavy heart that the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce is announcing the cancellation of this year’s Camden Barn Sale. This year’s event was planned to take place on September 26th. This is the first time since 1968 the Camden Barn Sale will not be held according to Beth Osteen, Chamber Director, due to the unforeseen future due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we feel this decision must be made in order to protect our volunteers, vendors and attendees. Like most events of this nature, there is much preparation months in advance.  We waited until the last possible moment to come to the best decision possible, and it was with much council from the Camden Barn Sale Board and community partners that decision was made.  We want to say thank you for the continued years of support from our sponsors, advertisers and of course volunteers who have made the Barn Sale the longest running annual event in Camden. The Chamber Board didn’t make this decision lightly, but believe it is important to the future of our Organization, our army of volunteers, our vendors, and our visitors that we stay healthy and come back stronger next year.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone back, September 25, 2021.
For more information contact:
The Camden Barn Sale, 870-836-6426.

2020 OUACHITA COUNTY FAIR
The 2020 Ouachita County Fair will be held September 23rd through September 26th at the Ouachita Co Recreational Center.
Monday and Tuesday September 21st and 22nd you may enter creative arts in Shaddock Gym from 5:00 until 8:00 PM.
The Sheep and Goat Show will be held on Wednesday,  September 23rd at 6:00 PM. Admission is $5.00.
All youth are invited to Merge at the Fair Wednesday, September 23rd  at 7:00 PM. Admission is $3.00. A Hot Dog and Drink will be available for $1.00. The Speaker will be Ryan Huffy form Cullendale First Baptist Church.
The Beef and Swine Show will be held on Thursday, September 24th at 6:00 PM. Admission is $5.00.

The Premium Sale Lunch served in to-go trays will be Friday, September 25th at 11:30 AM. The Premium Sale will follow at Noon.

Friday, beginning at 5:00 the Fair Board will sell fair food (Caramel Apples, Funnel Cakes, Cotton Candy, Sno-Cones) along with other items. No admission to purchase food. All food will be served in to-go trays

There will be a Cornhole Tournament Saturday, September 26th beginning at starts at 9:00 AM. Entry Fee is $40.00 per team.

Saturday, September 26th will offer Craft Vendors from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM and there will be Kid’s Hands on Activities from 12:00 until 2:00 PM.

Saturday, September 26th will see the “Next Big Thing” Talent Contest at 7:00 PM.  There will be a winner in every age division ad each winner will win a plaque. Sign-ups will begin at 6:00 PM.  Entry fee is $25.00. Admission is $5.00.  The audience will be the judge.
ADH guidelines will be followed throughout the Fair. Wear a mask when moving around the event venue and practice social distancing.

More info on Facebook and website www.ouachitacountyfair.com.

SEN. TRENT GARNER REQUESTS $50 MILLION FOR VETERANS’ SERVICES
LITTLE ROCK – Senator Trent Garner of El Dorado and five Senate colleagues have request $50 million in CARES Act funding for services to help veterans cope with health issues worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The funds would go to the state Veterans Affairs Department, which would distribute grants to non-profit groups that work directly with veterans. Garner said that support for peer-to-peer groups and clinics would be emphasized.

“The pandemic worsened an already difficult situation for veterans. Suicide rates among veterans have been going up and now we know that female veterans are being disproportionately affected,” Garner said.

“Our request is for a very cost-efficient way to use CARES Act funds, because the veterans clinics and non-profits that serve them are already up and running,” Garner said. “They already have health records on file. They already know the case histories of their clients. Even if they are able to add to their list of clients, none of the CARES funding would be used for startup costs.”

Joining Garner in the request are Senators Gary Stubblefield of Branch, Dave Wallace of Leachville, Breanne Davis of Russellville, Ricky Hill of Cabot and Bob Ballinger of Ozark.

Garner is co-chair of the Legislative Veterans Caucus and has made veterans’ issues a priority since his election to the Senate in 2016.

CARES Act is an acronym that stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. It is a stimulus package approved by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March to offset the financial impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
 

ARKANSAS CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION LAUNCHES DIRECTORY OF LOCAL BEEF FOR SALE
Just in time for Labor Day, the ACA has compiled a list of members that are selling beef directly to consumers
LITTLE ROCK, AR, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - The Arkansas Cattlemen's Association (ACA) is pleased to release a compiled list of ACA members who are selling beef directly to consumers. With Labor Day just around the corner, this resource could be beneficial in purchasing local beef.

The sellers are listed by area (region) with contact information, along with relevant information about the cuts of beef available.

Arkansas farmers and ranchers work hard each and every day to produce a safe and healthy product, either in the grocery store, farmers market or directly from the farm.

The AR Beef Directory is available at the following link, https://www.arbeef.org/aca-beef-directory.

To read more about Arkansas beef, including a recipe, grilling tips and profile of a farmer, visit, https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/united-we-steak/arkansas.

SOUTHERN ARKANSAS UNIVERSITY FORTUNATE TO HAVE ON-CAMPUS RAPID TESTING MACHINES 
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University is bringing healthcare home when it comes to fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The University made the
decision early on to purchase two Rapid Testing machines over the summer which has provided a very important advantage in the battle against COVID-19.

University Health Services (UHS) has two Sofia 2 SARS antigen testing machines that provide fast, accurate results to help in the effort to control the spread of COVID-19 on campus. The machines are part of SAU’s overall endeavor to limit the spread of the virus, perform contact tracing, and increase safety. This has allowed UHS to offer many testing clinics for various campus populations as needed with quick results.  “Purchasing the machines was an important move for us,” said Dr. Donna Allen, vice president for student affairs, “but we knew it would be critical in keeping students, faculty and staff safe, which is our highest priority.”

The University purchased the machines in early July, putting SAU ahead of the curve in terms of on-campus testing. Amanda Hanson, UHS director, said all nurses in the clinic are trained on the machines, which are easy to use and provide reliable results.  The machines are used to directly test for viral components, detecting active infection, as opposed to antibodies that look for past infections. Antigen testing, such as this, can be done quicker than many other PCR tests, with similar accuracy and at a better cost to the University and its students.

UHS tests as many as 30 students per day through the regular services for COVID-19, and testing was expanded to include weekends. Clinics for all staff, students, athletes, cheerleaders and nurses, for example, were able to be held for large groups with results sent via text or phone call within minutes.  A new drive-up service is available for all the campus community, making it unnecessary for those being tested to have to enter the clinic to receive a test.  The procedure involves a quick and easy nasal swab. Specimens are then tested on-site using the machines. “We can have the results to the student in 15 minutes or less,” Hanson said. “It is a great advantage for our University and our students.”

Dr. Daniel McDermott, assistant professor of biology, was involved in selecting the machines for the University. He said the purpose of on-campus testing is to identify positive COVID cases rapidly and accurately, allowing quick implementation of the University’s contact tracing procedures.  “Together with wearing masks and good hand hygiene this will hopefully allow us to avoid having to move everything virtually as you are seeing other campuses across the country beginning to do,” McDermott said.

SAU’s administration acted early on to cope with the pandemic. The Risk Management Task Force implemented protocols that include the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all buildings and replenishing those daily as needed. Hanson and McDermott commended Dr. Trey Berry, president; Dr. David Lanoue, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Donna Allen, vice president for student affairs, as well as the Task Force, for acting quickly to keep the campus safe.  “We want to give the University the best chance to remain open,” said McDermott. “We want to get as far ahead of this virus as we can.”

Though SAU has a huge advantage in terms of testing, it is still vitally important for everyone to heed safety protocols by washing their hands, social distancing and wearing masks.  To contact University Health Services for more information, please call 870-235-5237.
 

VICKSBURG DISTRICT URGES BOATER SAFETY MEASURES DURING HIGH WATER CONDITIONS AT LAKE OUACHITA
VICKSBURG, Miss. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District urges boaters on Lake Ouachita to take extra precautions as water continues to rise after heavy rainfall in the area.

As a result of recent storms and rainfall, Lake Ouachita's water levels continue to rise, and debris is prevalent. Lake levels are currently several feet into the flood control pool with an elevation of 581.13 feet above sea level, and the lake is expected to rise an additional 1.5-2 feet. Although widespread flooding is not anticipated, hazardous conditions may exist on the lake. Boaters should navigate with caution as recent storms have washed debris into the lake, and rising lake levels have dislodged downed trees. These hazards are carried with the lake's current and may be difficult to see, and boaters should slow their speeds and avoid debris fields as much as possible.

The USACE Vicksburg District encourages boaters to remain vigilant and take extra safety precautions, including wearing a life jacket at all times and scanning for hazards in the water. Boat operators should wear their engine safety cut-out switches, also called kill switches, to mitigate accidents or injury while in motion.

Boating at night on Lake Ouachita is discouraged during this time due to water hazards and low visibility. Individuals who decide to boat at night should leave a detailed float plan with family or friends, ensure the functionality of their vessel's navigation lights and carry a fully charged cell phone or marine band radio in case they must call for assistance.

For more information about Lake Ouachita, contact the Lake Ouachita Field Office at 501-767-2108 or visit https://apc01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mvk.usace.army.mil%2FMissions%2FRecreation%2FLake-Ouachita%2F&data=02%7C01%7C%7C70e9938cd3574454e2b208d850197a17%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637347418498695502&sdata=ONyC%2FVcbQ64qXrbKoAi0zIN7JX1bPW8%2BBZDwCuHLFoE%3D&reserved=0

The USACE Vicksburg District owns and operates more than 100 recreation areas across Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana where millions of visitors enjoy fishing, camping, hunting, boating, hiking, swimming, geocaching and more every year. The district's 10 flood control reservoirs across Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana provide numerous benefits to the region, including flood risk management, hydropower, water supply, wildlife management and recreation.

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation's toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.

CYNERGY CARGO 2 HOLDS RIBBON CUTTING, ROLLS OUT FIRST TRAILER IN CROSSETT
CROSSETT, Arkansas (September 3, 2020) – Cynergy Cargo 2, a manufacturer of enclosed cargo trailers, held a ribbon cutting ceremony today for its new facility in the Crossett Industrial Park.
“We appreciate the way that the state and the Crossett community have welcomed us and shown us outstanding support throughout this process,” Cynergy Cargo owner Vigler Mazariegos said. “Today marks the beginning of our operations in Crossett, and we are excited to celebrate the occasion with the final assembly of the first trailer manufactured here.”

During the event, Gov. Asa Hutchinson secured the final screw for the facility’s first trailer.

“Cynergy Cargo 2 was the first company to announce a presence in Arkansas after the pandemic hit,” Gov. Hutchinson said. “We are grateful for the company’s commitment and pleased that it is now ready to begin this new phase in its history. I’m honored to take part in getting the first trailer off the assembly line.”

In April, the company announced plans to build the facility and hire 70 new, fulltime employees within 24 months. Among the newly created jobs are positions for carpenters, welders, and electricians.

“The Crossett workforce has always been known for its hard work and dedication.” said Mike Preston, secretary of commerce and executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC). “We are thrilled to welcome Cynergy to the Crossett business community and look forward to a long partnership.”

The company also cited support from local leaders among the reasons for selecting Crossett as the location for its new facility.

“It has been a great pleasure working with the owners and principals in Cynergy Cargo 2, LLC,” Executive Director of the Crossett Economic Development Foundation Mike Smith said. “Luis, Vigler, and the Cynergy team have already been involved in community activities; the entire community will benefit from this company’s decision to invest in Crossett. I have to thank the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Katherine Andrews in particular, for the assistance with recruiting Cynergy Cargo 2 to Crossett.”

The company is headquartered in Douglas, Ga., where it runs two lines and employs 60 people. The company chose to expand in Crossett to be closer to its customers.

“In the middle of a global pandemic, Cynergy Cargo 2 lifted the spirits in our community by announcing the location of a new manufacturing facility and 70 new jobs for Crossett and South Arkansas,” Howard Beaty, Jr., president of the Crossett Economic Development Foundation Board said. “The grand opening of Cynergy Cargo 2’s Crossett facility is just the beginning of South Arkansas’ rise to the top of trailer manufacturing in the South.”

Cynergy Cargo began manufacturing enclosed cargo trailers in 2012. Since then, the company has sold more than 30,000 trailers throughout the United States and Canada.

"Cynergy Cargo 2 is a family-focused business whose values are a great fit for Crossett and Southeast Arkansas,” Crossett Mayor Crystal Marshall said. “This established company has a history of success that we are thrilled to welcome here in our community. We are excited about the job growth, economic impact, and community focus this company brings to not only Crossett, but Ashley County and Southeast Arkansas. This is a tremendous win for our community!"

COTTON STATEMENT ON VANDALISM OF LITTLE ROCK FALLEN OFFICERS MEMORIAL
Washington, D.C. — After the Little Rock Police Memorial for Fallen Officers was defaced by the words “defund the police,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement:

“The vandalism of the Little Rock Police Memorial for Fallen Officers is egregious, and those responsible for this act will be caught held accountable. To the families of the police officers whose names are enshrined on this memorial: your loved ones gave their lives in the service of their fellow man and have forever earned the love and appreciation of Arkansans. No pathetic act of vandalism will ever change that fact. The criminals who defaced their memory—and their politically-motivated supporters—will be lost to history, but the names of our fallen officers will always be honored and remembered.”


COTTON STATEMENT ON SANCTIONS AGAINST ICC PROSECUTOR 
Washington, D.C. — Following reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions against International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement:

“The United States will not tolerate political attacks against its servicemembers by the ICC, a court which has no jurisdiction over Americans. By sanctioning prosecutor Bensouda, the administration is defending American sovereignty and ensuring the safety and security of our citizens.”
 

BOOZMAN, COLLEAGUES URGE DOD TO REINSTATE STARS AND STRIPES FUNDING
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and a bipartisan group of their colleagues in calling on the Department of Defense (DoD) to reinstate funding for the Stars and Stripes newspaper, an independent military publication. DoD currently plans to stop publishing the newspaper at the end of the month and dissolve the organization by January 31, 2021.

“Stars and Stripes is an essential part of our nation’s freedom of the press that serves the very population charged with defending that freedom,” the senators wrote. “Therefore, we respectfully request that you rescind your decision to discontinue support for Stars and Stripes and that you reinstate the funding necessary for it to continue operations.”

Boozman has been an advocate for continued funding for the newspaper. In July, he wrote this column about the valuable role Stars and Stripes provides. 

The full text of the letter is available here.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 31, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson announced during today’s Press Conference that the CDC will place a moratorium in place September 4, 2020 prohibiting evictions when the problem is COVID-19 related for Arkansans who are falling behind on rent payments due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued the order earlier this week declaring that landlords could not evict qualifying tenants. 

To qualify, renters must meet four criteria. They must have an income of $198,000 or less for couples filing jointly, or up to $99,000 for single filers. Qualifying renters must also demonstrate they have sought government assistance to make their rental payments. They must also affirmatively declare they are unable to pay rent because of COVID-19 hardships. Finally, they must affirm they are likely to become homeless if they are evicted. Officials with the CDC said local courts would still resolve disputes between renters and landowners about whether the moratorium applies in a particular case. The moratorium does not prohibit landlords from charging back rent, however. 

In another piece of good news, Hutchinson said local and state tax collections for July and August surpassed expectations. That's a sign, he added, that Arkansans are continuing to support their economy and maintain confidence through the pandemic. The Governor announced that state revenue is $41 million above the projected amount for August and $93 million above the projected amount year-to-date.
The Governor reported that new active cases more than doubled from yesterday with 615 additional confirmed. Still, that's lower than many days in August and July when cases increased daily by 700 to 900. Total cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas now totals 62,112 since the outbreak began in the spring. Hospitalizations increased by a net 12 patients for a total of 435 Arkansans hospitalized by the virus. Nearly 4,500 tests were performed over the previous 24 hours. Some good news, said Hutchinson, is that the positivity rate of new tests remains below 10 percent. Active cases also saw a continued decrease.

Secretary of Education Johnny Key announced that through a USDA waiver all student meals will be free of cost through the end of the year. (It was not made clear if this meant the calendar year or school year.) Parents will also be able to pick up free meals for their children who are virtual students.

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:
615 new cases
62,112 cumulative cases
12 new hospitalizations
435 total hospitalized
27 new deaths
841 deaths total.
4,773 tests the past 24 hours.

Of the 27 new deaths, 13 were delayed reporting (1 from May, 4 from June, 4 from July, and 4 from August). Five of the deaths were in nursing homes. There was no clustering.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 158 positive cases with 29 active positive cases, 125 recovered, 4 deaths, and 4203 negative tests. Union County show 692 positive cases with 73 active positive cases, 599 recovered, 20 deaths and 6973 negative tests. Columbia County shows 297 positive cases with 26 active positive cases, 256 recovered, 15 deaths and 3603 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 127 positive cases with 49 active positives, 76 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1457 negative tests. Calhoun County had 24 positive cases with 2 active cases, 22 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1247 negative tests.
*These numbers will be updated later today.

In the US there has been 6,088,187 cumulative cases, 2,202,682 recoveries, and 184,803 deaths.
Globally there has been 25,836,032 cumulative cases, 16,870,614 recoveries, and 858,436 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtube/EiE1cBiB-FY

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level and school district data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

In review, an additional 615 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Arkansas on Wednesday for a cumulative total of 62,112. An additional 27 deaths were recorded for a total of 841 since the pandemic began. Active cases continued their downward trend on Wednesday, state officials said, but did not provide exact numbers during the press conference. We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments.

CADC ANNOUNCES SUSPENSION OF 2020 SUMMER LIHEAP UTILITY ASSISTANCE
Benton – Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) announced today the agency’s SUMMER LIHEAP Utility and CARES Assistance Programs are being suspended immediately due to depletion of funds. No further applications will be accepted at this time.
Should more funds become available, information will be announced on the agency website and social media.
For more information relating to CADC’s utility assistance program visit: https://www.cadc.com/utility-assistance.



Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T LET SCAM ARTISTS CLEAN OUT WALLET AFTER STORM DAMAGE
LITTLE ROCK – Tropical Storm Laura brought devastating weather to Arkansas and  wreck havoc on our communities and neighboring states. As countless storm victims assess the damages, con artists see opportunities to take advantage of Arkansans who suffered property damage or losses. Vulnerable Arkansans should use caution when seeking a contractor or professional to complete repairs.

“Arkansans always come together after a natural disaster, but it is also common in bad situations to see bad actors,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “These bad actors prey on victims of severe weather to take advantage of the potentially urgent nature of storm damage repairs. I urge anyone who is seeking home and auto repairs to be cautious of potential scams that are common after storms.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to ensure consumers hire reputable contractors to complete the repairs:
Beware of door-to-door solicitors selling home-repair work. To find someone reputable, ask friends or family who have recently used a home-repair contractor or professional. Consider contacting the Arkansas Contractor’s Licensing Board to verify that the contractor is licensed and has not had any complaints filed against it.
Avoid any home-repair solicitor who asks for an upfront payment or who will not provide a written contract.
Get at least three written estimates. A reputable contractor or professional will never try to pressure to obtain business.
Obtain and check at least three references from the contractor or professional.
Check with the Attorney General’s office or the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company has a complaint history.
Obtain a written and detailed contract that includes the grade, quality, name brand and quantity of any materials to be used. The name and address of the contractor must be on the contract.
Avoid paying for the entire job up front. One-third paid in advance, one-third paid halfway through the job and one-third paid upon completion is a better plan, helping assure that the project will be completed. Never make the final payment until there has been an opportunity to inspect the work.
Remember that all contracts resulting from a home-solicitation sale generally must include a buyer’s right to cancel within three business days after the contract is signed. 

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

CARELINK’S INAUGURAL CUPCAKES ON THE RUN HITS THE STREETS OCT. 15
Cupcakes for Goodness Sake Converted to Virtual Walk/Run During COVID-19 Pandemic
North Little Rock, Ark. (Aug. 10, 2020) – CareLink, Central Arkansas’s Area Agency on Aging is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that is becoming all too familiar with nonprofits – they’ve converted their largest fundraiser, Cupcakes for Goodness Sake into a virtual event. Putting a hold on the annual cupcake competition and street festival, CareLink is launching their own take on the virtual run/walk with Cupcakes on the Run.

Registration opens Monday, Aug. 10 and will offer participants four categories: 1 mile, 5k, 10k, and cumulative. Participants can complete the distance of their choice starting Thursday, Oct. 15, with the deadline to submit route information on Monday, Nov. 30. To submit, they will send a screenshot of their route to Development@CareLink.org or tag CareLink’s social channels and use the official hashtag CupcakesOnTheRun2020.

“With COVID-19, we knew it would be irresponsible to move forward with Cupcakes in the way the community has grown to love. We also knew it would be difficult to turn it virtual without losing a key part, the cupcake competition,” said Meredith Hale, Director of Development. “So, we created Cupcakes on the Run, a family-friendly competition for people of all ages that raises awareness for CareLink services in a safe way until we can eat cupcakes together again.”

Registration is $25 through Eventbrite.com and includes a t-shirt. Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female participants in each category. Proceeds from Cupcakes on the Run benefits CareLink’s services like Meals on Wheels, in-home care, urgent needs, family caregiver assistance, and more. Last year, CareLink raised $45,000 through Cupcakes for Goodness Sake. Participants will have the chance to purchase extra shirts and make donations. CareLink, a local nonprofit, has been providing care to older Arkansans and their families in Central Arkansas since 1979. If you are interested in sponsoring this year’s event, call CareLink’s Development Department at 501-688-7446. For more information about supporting CareLink, visit www.CareLink.org.
 

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS INITIATES BLUE ROOF PROGRAM
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviving its free Operation Blue Roof program to get as many houses into livable condition as possible during Hurricane Laura recovery.

Operation Blue Roof is a priority mission managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for FEMA. Operation Blue Roof aims to provide homeowners in disaster areas with fiber-reinforced sheeting to cover their damaged roofs until permanent repairs are made.

The program is currently active in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, and Vernon parishes.

This program is a free service to homeowners. Operation Blue Roof protects property, reduces temporary housing costs, and allows residents to remain in their homes while recovering from the storm.

This program is for primary residences or a permanently occupied rental property with less than 50 percent structural damage. Vacation rental properties are not eligible for this program. After the blue roof is installed, the structure is declared habitable. Not all roof types qualify for the program. Roofs that are flat or made of metal or clay, slate, or asbestos tile do not qualify. All storm debris must be removed for the roof to qualify.

Residents can sign up for the program at https://blue-roof-online-signup-usace.hub.arcgis.com/. Here, you can sign up for Blue Roof assistance using a Right of Entry (ROE) form, which gathers information about your residence. The ROE is a legal document that allows Corps workers to access your property and assess your home's damage. The ROE also allows contracted crews to work on your roof.

Residents can call toll free 1-888-ROOF-BLU (1-888-766-3258) for more information regarding this program. For more information regarding the recovery effort, please visit the following website: http://hurricanelaura.la.gov.
 

BOOZMAN URGES EXPANSION OF AVIATION WORKFORCE TRAINING
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), co-chair of the Senate General Aviation Caucus, joined a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urging them to fully implement two aviation workforce grant programs authorized in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization bill that invest in, and expand the development of, the next generation of aircraft pilots and maintenance technicians. 

As the Senators note in their letter, these innovative programs will help develop badly needed workforce training in the aviation industry, helping the industry to partner with local governments, schools, and labor groups to provide training. In turn, this training will help close the current skills-gap preventing Americans from accessing these good-paying jobs and spur future economic activity. 

“Given the broad, bipartisan support for the grant programs on Capitol Hill, and among schools, industry, and labor, we are disappointed that they are not yet operating. Understanding that establishing a workforce grant program is new to the Federal Aviation Administration, we urge you to initiate them before the end of the current fiscal year,” the Senators wrote.

They go on to highlight the importance of these two programs, noting, “The grant program for pilot education will support the creation and delivery of curriculum designed to provide high school students with meaningful science, technology, engineering, math and aviation education.  This program has the potential to grow our nation’s pilot workforce by encouraging our nation’s youth to become the next generation of commercial, general aviation, drone or military pilots. The grant program for aviation technicians will address the well-documented maintenance industry skills gap by encouraging and facilitating collaboration between schools, government, labor and industry to recruit and train the technical talent America’s aerospace sector will require to keep the nation’s aircraft operating safely and efficiently.”  

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) led the letter. In addition to Boozman, it was cosigned by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH),  Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Hoeven (R-NC), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Angus King (I-ME), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), John Thune (R-SD), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
 

COTTON APPLAUDS DOJ FISA REFORMS
Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after Attorney General William Barr announced reforms to the FISA program:
"Attorney General Barr continues to make necessary reforms to the Department of Justice's FISA procedures. An FBI Office of Internal Auditing and new directives guarding against FISA abuses-common under James Comey and the Obama administration-will improve accountability and provide tools necessary to pursue justice and keep the American people safe."

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020


GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 01, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson opened the daily briefing by encouraging Arkansans to be counted in the 2020 Census in the last 30 days of it. Be counted by mail if you have the paperwork, by phone by calling 844-330-2020, or online at 2020Census.gov.
Active cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas have dipped to one of their lowest levels in months. Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported during his daily COVID-19 Taskforce press conference Tuesday afternoon that active cases fell by more than 400 from yesterday to a current total of 5,036. The state hit a peak in active cases of the virus of 7,200 in early June.
Additional data provided during Tuesday's press conference sheds more light on COVID-related deaths in Arkansas. According to state health experts, 94.5 percent of Arkansans who died from the virus were suffering from other, pre-existing ailments at the time of their infection and death. Just 5.5 percent of those who died are not tied to other contributing factors. 

The Governor also reported that only 5.5% of the deaths in Arkansas were strictly caused by COVID-19, all the rest had underlying causes.
Dr. Jose Romero, head of the Arkansas Department of Health, warned against too much confidence among those in good health. Arkansas has high rates of many diseases and conditions which could increase the chance of dying from COVID-19. These include heart disease, diabetes and obesity. He reminded listeners that healthy people can easily spread the virus to others who aren't as able to fight it off. The 5.5 percent of those who died from coronavirus with no other contributing factors equates to 44 people - a figure that shows completely healthy people can still die from the virus. 

Secretary Romero gave the following report of numbers:
273 new cases
61,497 cumulative cases
3 new hospitalizations
85 on ventilators (down 2 from yesterday)
423 currently hospitalized
17 new deaths (1 delayed reporting from June, 5 from July, 5 in nursing homes, 1 in prison, no clustering)
814 total deaths
3,530 tests in the past 24 hours
180,000 goal for tests in September + 10,000 antigen tests
5,036 active cases.

Of the new cases, counties with 20 or more cases were Pulaski with 44, Benton with 29, Sebastian with 24, and Washington with 21.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 158 positive cases with 32 active positive cases, 122 recovered, 4 deaths, and 4190 negative tests. Union County show 691 positive cases with 83 active positive cases, 588 recovered, 20 deaths and 6962 negative tests. Columbia County shows 295 positive cases with 32 active positive cases, 248 recovered, 15 deaths and 3592 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 127 positive cases with 52 active positives, 73 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1451 negative tests. Calhoun County had 24 positive cases with 3 active cases, 21 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1245 negative tests.

In the US there has been 6,055,569 cumulative cases, 2,184,825 recoveries, and 184,114 deaths.

Globally there has been 25,572,216 cumulative cases, 16,870,614 recoveries, and 852,405 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/Mn5F8U7VZpg

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

Again, 273 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday for a cumulative total of 61,497. Hospitalizations saw a net increase of three to 423. Deaths increased by 17 to a total of 814. Active cases decreased by more than 400 to a total of 5,036. That means 55,646 Arkansans have recovered from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. We'll continue to keep you updated on the latest figures and developments. 

COVID-19 DRIVE-UP TESTING SEPTEMBER 2ND IN EL DORADO TO BE PROVIDED BY UAMS
WHAT: A community drive-up testing clinic for COVID-19 will be conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). There will be no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.
WHO: UAMS nurses and volunteers
WHEN: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020
WHERE: Medical Center of South Arkansas, 700 West Grove St.

OUACHITA COUNTY LABOR DAY SCHEDULE
Ouachita County Courthouse and the Extension office will be closed on that day for Labor Day. The Sanitation Department will run on regular schedule. They will not observe the Holiday.



NEW CONTRACT FOR LOCKHEED MARTIN
Lockheed Martin Missile Fire Controls, Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded an $183,182,541 modification (P00016) to contract W31P4Q1-9-C-0101 for M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers.  Work will be performed in Camden, Arizona; and Grand Prairie, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 20, 2023.  Fiscal 2020 U.S. Marine Corps and Foreign Military Sales (Romania) funds in the amount of $183,182,541 were obligated at the time of the award.  U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

 

SOUTHERN ARKANSAS UNIVERSITY SETS ENROLLMENT RECORDS EVEN DURING PANDEMIC
MAGNOLIA -- Even in the midst of the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis, Southern Arkansas University surpassed Fall 2019 college enrollment (excluding high school enrollment) by 55 with 4,107 students compared to 4,052.  Graduate enrollment increased by 11 percent with totals of 985 compared to 888.  The total enrollment for Fall 2020 is 4,432.

SAU recorded the highest freshman retention rate in the University’s history at 72 percent after two years of the Retention and Completion Task Force’s work and implementation of many of their recommendations. 

“We are especially excited about the enrollment in our graduate programs and the news of our freshman retention rate record,” said SAU President Trey Berry.  “SAU is proud to offer a wide array of graduate options which work for students in many different stages of their lives,” he continued. “And we credit the relationships we are able to form with our students early in their career at SAU, the hard work of our faculty and staff for the many retention initiatives that have been implemented and the care shown that are reflected in these freshman retention rates.”

SAU offers more than 80-degree programs in undergraduate and graduate studies and will add a doctoral program next fall. The University continues to grow its offerings for students and refine its existing courses into best-of-class programs.

Last fall, the University recorded high enrollment numbers and had record overall retention rates, as well. Having established this strong base of students has helped SAU maintain enrollment even with the struggles presented by COVID-19. “We are prepared to face the challenges this semester is bringing with the obvious COVID-19 concerns,” Berry said. “We have developed online, face-to-face and hybrid class schedules and are equipped for students to be able to transition livestreaming as needed.”  

“We commend our faculty and staff for all of their extra effort in maintaining a nurturing environment for our students,” Berry continued, “and we also commend our students for continuing with their studies and staying the course. This year is presenting challenges, no doubt, but together, we are #Muleriderstrong and can make it our most successful year yet!”
 

OVER $1.2 BILLION AWARDED TO AIRPORTS
Arkansas Airports included
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced today that the Trump Administration will award more than $1.2 billion in airport safety and infrastructure grants through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to 405 airports in 50 states and six U.S. territories.

“This $1.2 billion federal investment will improve our nation’s airport infrastructure, enhance safety, and strengthen growth in local communities, which is especially important as the economy recovers from COVID-19,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The Department is awarding federal grants to the following airports in the State of Arkansas:
$5,452,836 for Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field to reconstruct a taxiway.
$1,468,324 for Jonesboro Municipal Airport for visual and navigational aids, reconstruction of taxiway lighting, and runway strengthening.
$166,666 for Monticello Municipal Airport/Ellis Field for airport drainage improvement and erosion control.

“The 434 AIP grants will fund critical airport infrastructure projects around the country,” said FAA Administrator Stephen M. Dickson.

 Since January 2017, the Trump Administration delivered $13.5 billion to America’s airports to improve infrastructure and safety. In 2020, the Administration delivered $10 billion in economic assistance to America’s airports during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

 A complete listing of grants  (PDF) and an interactive map of airports receiving funding is available on the FAA website.

 

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE TO HOST 2020 VIRTUAL LAW ENFORCEMENT SUMMIT
‘Our men and women in blue have experienced unprecedented challenges, risk, and trauma’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced the agenda for the 18th Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit, which will be held on October 6 on an entirely virtual platform. The annual event is hosted by Rutledge as a free training and educational opportunity for Arkansas’s law enforcement community, including officers, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel.

“This year, our men and women in blue have experienced unprecedented challenges, risk, and trauma, so we have adapted our training to address their needs and better prepare them as they continue to serve and protect all Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I encourage all officers to register so they can learn from these insightful presenters.”

Former police officer, licensed psychologist and author Dr. Stephanie Conn will present on how first responders can take proactive and responsive steps to adaptively respond to chronic stress and trauma. A discussion of the risk and protective factors that influence wellbeing will be offered to assist first responders to understand their own experiences with trauma and stress and how to mitigate their impact. This will include a plain-language discussion of the neurobiology of trauma. Resilience research is applied to the unique issues of first responder work, generating practical strategies to promote resilience.

Little Rock Police Officers Michelle Hill and Henry Moore will present on officer mental health and wellness. According to a study by Blue H.E.L.P., the number of police officers who died in 2019 by suicide was 228, which almost doubled the 132 killed in the line of duty. They will go over ways to provide support for everyone who is a part of the law enforcement family, from peer-to-peer counseling to finance help to relationships.

This training has been approved for 6 hours of Continuing Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST) and Continuing Legal Education (CLE).

Registration is open and available at ArkansasAG.gov under the trainings tab.

 
 

AUGUST 31, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 31, 2020
The second week of school begins with a relatively low count of new COVID-19 cases across the state. Three-hundred and sixty-eight new active cases of the virus were reported on Monday during Gov. Asa Hutchinson's daily press conference that afternoon.

 

Over 4,500 tests were performed between Sunday and Monday. So far this month, 180,000 Arkansans have been tested for COVID-19, or about six percent of the state's population.

Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that today was International Opioid Awareness Day and that Arkansas has received a $21 million dollar grant to be used for opioid and stimulant abuse programs over the next two years.

Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key said two schools have had to revise instruction under their Ready for Learning plans since the start of school due to staffing shortages related to COVID-19 quarantine. The schools include Marshall High School in Searcy and the Cross County High School.

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:
368 new cases
61,224 cumulative cases
29 new hospitalizations
420 currently hospitalized
87 on ventilators (up 3 from yesterday)
13 new deaths (1 delayed reporting from June, 5 delayed reporting from July, 2 in nursing homes)
797 total deaths
4,542 tests the past 24 hours
5,466 active cases in Arkansas.

Of the new cases, counties with 20 or more cases were Pulaski with 50, Pope with 41, Benton with 30, and Garland with 21.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 157 positive cases with 35 active positive cases, 118 recovered, 4 deaths, and 4112 negative tests. Union County show 690 positive cases with 87 active positive cases, 584 recovered, 19 deaths and 6918 negative tests. Columbia County shows 293 positive cases with 31 active positive cases, 247 recovered, 15 deaths and 3547 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 127 positive cases with 55 active positives, 70 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1433 negative tests. Calhoun County had 23 positive cases with 2 active cases, 21 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1227 negative tests.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/DX5swsDGPno

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas and the second is CDC, 
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments. 

LEGISLATORS, CITIZENS PURSUE LEGAL ACTION TO END STATE OF EMERGENCY
Rally planned at State Capitol
LITTLE ROCK, August 28, 2020 – Arkansas state legislators, concerned business owners and private citizens of Arkansas will pursue legal action against the Director of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) in the effort to restore the principles of our representative government. The suit will seek an end to the perpetual state of emergency that for the last five months has restricted the rights of citizens of Arkansas to operate and restore their businesses, assemble in their churches, visit the eating establishments of their choice and associate with family and friends without undue government restrictions.

ADH has violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) for many months by issuing directives without oversight by the duly elected and representative legislature.

Therefore, Legislators, business owners and private citizens have joined together to protect and preserve their freedoms with the intent to file a Petition for Declaratory Judgment that will be filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court the morning of Thursday, September 3rd, followed by a noon rally on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock.

If successful, the Covid-19 related directives issued by ADH will be deemed invalid, forcing the ADH to follow Arkansas law and present any future rules to legislative committees for their review and approval.

The legal action is funded exclusively by contribution from private citizens.

CITY OF CAMDEN PORT AUTHORITY TO MEET
The City of Camden Port Authority Commission will meet Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. at City Hall, located at 206 Van Buren NE

Masks and social distancing are Mandatory.

The Agenda is as follows:
3:00 – 3:10 PM
Welcome and Introductions – Mayor Julian Lott
3:10 – 3:20 PM
Brief Overview and History – Port of Camden - Cassandra Caldwell, Director, Arkansas Waterways Commission
3:20 – 3:30 PM
Arkansas Waterways Commission Port, Intermodal and Waterway Grant Program - Arkansas Waterways Commission Port, Intermodal and Waterway Grant Program
3:30 – 3:45 PM
Inland Rivers Ports & Terminals (IRPT) Presentation - Deidre Smith, Deputy Director, IRPT
3:45 – 4:00 PM
Next Steps – Strategic Plan – Grant Application Preparation – Questions? - Cassandra Caldwell, Director, Arkansas Waterways Commission

 

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Dr. Larry Braden.  He will be giving an update on the Covid-19 pandemic.

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS REAFFIRMS POLICY: ONLY MEDICAL DOCTORS & SURGEONS AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM LASER EYE SURGERY
LITTLE ROCK – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently affirmed its long-standing policy prohibiting non-medical doctors (optometrists who have not completed the necessary medical and surgical training) to perform laser eye surgery on veterans in Veteran Health Administration (VHA) medical facilities.

 “This action by the VHA to reaffirm its policy that non-medical doctors are prohibited from performing laser eye surgery in VHA facilities ensures our veterans have continued access to the highest quality of surgical eye care,” said Dr. Laurie Barber, chairman of Safe Surgery Arkansas.

In 2004, the VA first established its stand-alone laser surgery directive prohibiting non-medical doctors (optometrists) from performing laser eye surgery in VA facilities. In each of the VA’s five-year medical practice facility reviews for health care practitioners (2009 and 2015), the VA has reaffirmed the optometric laser eye surgery prohibition. 

“This November, Arkansas voters have an opportunity to ensure that all of our citizens, not just veterans, receive the same, continued access to the safest and highest quality surgical eye care by voting ‘NO’ on Issue 6,” said Dr. Barber.

Issue 6 would allow non-medical doctors in Arkansas to perform laser and scalpel eye surgery on and around the eye.
“Non-medical doctors are prohibited in the VHA from performing laser eye surgery on our veterans, and that policy should be the same for all Arkansans—especially when access and cost is not an issue,” added Dr. Barber.

Earlier this year, optometrists tried and failed to expand their laser surgery authority in VA facilities. The VA instead reaffirmed its opposition to non-medical doctors performing laser eye surgery on Veterans.  In August of this year, to ensure this policy was carried out uniformly throughout the VA, the independent laser prohibition directive was incorporated into the comprehensive VHA Eye and Vision Care Directive 1121.

About Safe Surgery Arkansas:
Safe Surgery Arkansas was formed in 2019 to repeal Act 579 of 2019, a new law that would allow non-medical doctors to perform certain eye surgeries. These non-medical doctors did not attend medical school, nor do they have the surgical residency training necessary to perform these delicate and complex surgeries. Learn more at www.SafeSurgery2020.com. 

 

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE APPLAUDS COURT'S DISMISSAL OF FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT OF JIM BAKKER
Says, ‘will not be deterred from the important job of protecting Arkansas consumers from fraudulent and deceptive claims’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauds the decision dismissing a lawsuit against the State of Arkansas, filed by Jim Bakker and his production company, Morningside Church Productions, Inc., which conducts business as The Jim Bakker Show. The decision issued in a U.S. District Court underscores Rutledge’s determination to investigate fraud regardless of its form or its guise. More importantly, the decision shows that Rutledge cannot be bullied in her investigations of fraud by a party simply rushing to the courthouse to sue her or the State of Arkansas. Rutledge has a separate lawsuit against Jim Bakker and his production company in the Arkansas Circuit Court under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for falsely telling Arkansas consumers that colloidal silver products would cure, eliminate, kill or deactivate COVID-19.

“Jim Bakker’s attempts to distract my office by filing a federal lawsuit failed. We will not be deterred from the important job of protecting Arkansas consumers from fraudulent and deceptive claims,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will not tolerate illegal schemes used by Mr. Bakker that directly harm Arkansas consumers financially or physically. Bakker has historically cloaked his illegal action in the name of religion, yet he continues to deceive Arkansans for his own glory and wealth by peddling unsafe and ineffective potions as a cure for COVID-19.”

Approximately 385 Arkansans made purchases from Bakker’s company totaling approximately $60,524 for colloidal silver products between January 1 and March 9, 2020.

In February 2020, The Jim Bakker Show hosted Sherrill Sellman who falsely claimed the colloidal silver products hawked by Jim Bakker were “proven by the government to have the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on, including SARS and HIV… .” Both Bakker and Sellman have separately received warning letters from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for selling unapproved drugs to cure or prevent COVID-19. The FDA had previously stated that silver products are not scientifically recognized to be safe and effective.

Rutledge is urging all consumers who have purchased products from Bakker or Sellman to contact the office immediately at (800) 482- 8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.


COTTON BILL TO BLOCK UNEMPLOYMENT FUNDS FOR RIOTERS
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) will introduce the Support Peaceful Protest Act, a bill that would make people convicted of federal offenses as part of riots ineligible for virus-related federal unemployment funds. It would also mandate that those convicted of such riot offenses face fines to help cover the cost of federal policing of these riots.

Representative Jim Banks (R-Indiana) originally introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Currently, thugs and insurrectionists savaging communities around the country are eligible for unemployment benefits, paid for by the very taxpayers whose property they’ve destroyed. The federal government should not be subsidizing looting and arson. Our bill will not only halt unemployment benefits for rioters but also fine them to help cover additional policing cost,” said Cotton.

BOOZMAN PRAISES USDA FOR EXTENDING FREE SCHOOL MEALS THROUGH END OF 2020
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR)—a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry—praised U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s decision to allow summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals to all children through the remainder of the year.

Secretary Perdue’s announcement paves the way for an extension of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) waivers for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through the end of 2020, or until available funding runs out.

“I applaud Secretary Perdue for taking action to ensure students have access to healthy, nutritious meals through USDA’s child nutrition programs this school year. The coronavirus has created many challenges and anxieties for Arkansas families that have not subsided. This action will provide welcome relief for parents as their children return to school,” Boozman said.

Specifically, USDA’s actions will allow:
SFSP and SSO meals to be served in all areas and at no cost;
Meals to be served outside of the typically-required group settings and meal times;
Meal pattern requirements to be waived as necessary; and
Parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children.

Boozman and his colleagues urged USDA to continue providing these flexibilities to schools and sponsoring organizations for school meals and child nutrition in a recent letter to Secretary Perdue, led by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS).

Boozman is currently continuing his August tradition of traveling the state on his annual agriculture tour in an effort to highlight the industry’s importance in Arkansas.

On Thursday, he will make a hunger relief-focused stop at the Arkansas Food Bank in Little Rock to learn about its efforts to combat hunger during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

August 28, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 28, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson thanks ADEM Director A.J. Gary and ADEM for their response to the tropical storm. The Governor said that at one point over 50,000 were without electricity but that number was now around 32,000.

Several reporters questioned the Governor and Secretary of Health Romero about Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's appearance at the RNC not social distancing and not wearing a mask. The questions were not clearly answered.
Arkansas finished the first week of school with 838 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. The figure was announced during Gov. Asa Hutchinson's daily COVID-19 Taskforce press conference that afternoon.

The figure was the highest reported this week, and raises the cumulative statewide total to 59,583. Deaths increased by 17 to 756 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations continue to decline, however, with 26 fewer in medical centers across the state. That leaves 407 Arkansans in the hospital for COVID-19 related treatment. 
Active cases increased slightly but remain about the same since Monday at a total of 5,496. Of those, 225 are in nursing homes, 668 in correctional facilities and 4,600 in the broader community.
Hutchinson and Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key said, despite the COVID-19 situation, the state reported a good first week of school. According to data released Thursday, the virus was detected among 411 students in public schools, colleges and universities. Hutchinson praised students, teachers and staff for helping keep that figure from being higher. 

Key also reminded parents and students on the importance of quarantining if they display symptoms related to COVID-19. He said some cases detected within schools this week were a result of improper quarantine procedures by individuals carrying the virus.

Secretary of Health Romero acknowledged that there were outbreaks of "significant numbers" at colleges in Arkansas.

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:

838 new cases (181 were in prisons and 123 of the 181 were in the Varner Unit)

59,583 cumulative cases ((225 in nursing homes, 668 in prisons, 4,603 in the community)

17 new deaths (3 were delayed reporting, 4 were in nursing homes, no clustering)

756 deaths total

407 hospitalized currently (down 26 from yesterday)

95 on ventilators (down 4 from yesterday)

6,360 tests in the past 24 hours.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 143 positive cases with 14 active positive cases, 114 recovered, 4 deaths, and 3988 negative tests. Union County show 670 positive cases with 77 active positive cases, 573 recovered, 20 deaths and 6728 negative tests. Columbia County shows 288 positive cases with 40 active positive cases, 244 recovered, 14 deaths and 3433 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 109 positive cases with 36 active positives, 67 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1396 negative tests. Calhoun County had 23 positive cases with 5 active cases, 18 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1218 negative tests.

Dr. Romero urged college students to practice social distancing and to wear masks, and noted that case numbers were increasing at some colleges.

Of the new cases, counties with 20 or more cases were Pulaski with 65, Benton with 49, Washington 41, Pope with 39, Faulkner with 29, Jefferson with 27, Sebastian with 27, Craighead with 25, Mississippi with 21, Garlands with 21, and Independence with 20.

In the US there has been 5,889,652 cumulative cases, 2,101,326 recoveries, and 181,186 deaths.

Globally there has been 24,551,207 cumulative cases, 16,051,262 recoveries, and 883,239 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/m_A7eJKJZkY

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

In review, 838 additional cases were reported Friday for a cumulative total of 59,583 since the start of the outbreak. Hospitalizations decreased by 26 to 407. Deaths increased by 17 to 756. Active cases of COVID-19 currently total 5,496, with 668 of those within state correctional facilities. We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments.

 

TROPICAL STORM LAURA DAMAGE REPORTS 8.28.20
NORTH LITTLE ROCK— The Arkansas Division of Emergency Management activated to Level I (Full Activation) yesterday, August 27, 2020,  in response to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Laura.  The following is a list of damages that has been reported to ADEM.  New additions to yesterday’s report are highlighted in yellow:

Bradley County – Three homes and 70 utilities were damaged.
Calhoun County – One home and one utility sustained damage.  At least one road was closed due to downed trees and power lines.
Clark County – Multiple trees and power lines down across the county resulting in significant power outages.
Cleveland County – At least five homes were damaged.
Craighead County – Refuge Baptist Church in Lake City had three buildings sustain damage.  At least four homes in Egypt and two homes in Goobertown sustained various amounts of damage.
Drew County – Downed trees forced at least one road closure.
Hempstead County – Multiple trees and power lines down across the county.
Hot Spring County – Multiple roads closed due to downed trees.
Lafayette County – Downed power lines forced at least one road closure.
Lee County – At least one road was washed out due to rain.
Nevada County – Multiple trees and power lines down across the county.
Ouachita County – County sustained widespread damage primarily from fallen trees.  One home was damaged.  Multiple power lines down across the county.  A city building in Camden sustained roof damage.  Approximately 30-35 roads were closed at some point in time during the storm due to fallen trees.
Randolph County – At least one home sustained damage.
Saline County – High water levels forced at least one road closure.  At least one business sustained damage to a building.  Several units flooded at the Chapel Ridge Apartment Complex in Benton resulting in several residents being displaced.

Residents are encouraged to report all damage to their local office of emergency management.  A list of emergency management coordinators can be found here: https://www.dps.arkansas.gov/emergency-management/adem/response/emergency-management-coordinators/

More information will be made available as it is received.
 

ENTERGY ARKANSAS CREWS ASSESSING, REPAIRING DAMAGE IN AREAS HIT BY HURRICANE LAURA COMPANY ESTIMATES 98% CUSTOMERS WILL BE RESTORED OVER THE WEEKEND
LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – The Entergy Arkansas storm team is busy restoring electricity to customers who lost power as Hurricane Laura moved across the state Thursday and this morning. Nearly 48,000 customers lost power, as trees toppled onto power lines and heavy winds caused damage to power poles and electrical equipment.

More than half were restored by Friday afternoon, and the company expects 98% of customers who can take power will be restored by Sunday evening with only the most challenging and hard to access cases remaining. Current restoration estimates can be found on the Entergy outage map.

 “We understand how frustrating the loss of power can be, and our crews are working around the clock to get the electrical system back up and running today and throughout the weekend,” said Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux. “We have more than 1,200 workers restoring service, and we know customers want information on our progress. We will be updating our outage map as more specific information becomes available.”

The greatest damage was in southern Arkansas, but the state was affected by tropical storm-force winds, tornadoes, thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding. Coupled with anticipated weekend thunderstorms and additional safety precautions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the time it takes to complete damage assessment and power restoration could be longer than normal for the hardest hit areas.

Entergy Arkansas employees are navigating through the pandemic by taking precautions including traveling separately when possible, wearing masks when necessary and generally following CDC guidelines, all of which can add to the time required to complete work. The Company requests that customers keep their distance from workers in the field, for both safety and health reasons.

“We also want to remind customers to not only keep their distance from our crews,” Landreaux said, “but also equipment and downed power lines. With the amount of debris and limbs on the ground, there may be hidden power lines on the ground and potential for injury or greater damages. Always behave as if they are live wires; keep your distance and report downed lines and broken power poles to 1-800-9OUTAGE.”

Customers can stay informed throughout the Entergy storm response in several ways:

Download the Entergy App at entergy.com/app to easily report outages or check on the status of power at a home or business.

Entergy’s View Outages website includes maps that show where outages are located and give information about restoration progress.

Sign up for text alerts by texting REG to 36778 and have your account number and ZIP code handy. The registration pattern is as follows including spaces: REG (account number) (ZIP code). Once registered, text OUT to 36778 to report an outage. You can also report an outage online as a guest.

The Entergy Storm Center website has storm safety, preparation and restoration information that is updated throughout the day.          

Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including 8,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $11 billion and approximately 13,600 employees.
 

USACE RELEASES MISSISSIPPI RIVER MAINLINE LEVEES DRAFT SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
VICKSBURG, Miss. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released its Draft Supplement II (Draft SEIS II) to the 1976 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) Project, Mississippi River Mainline Levees (MRL), today, Aug. 28.

Through evaluation of information and data obtained from levee inspections, seepage analyses, research, studies and engineering assessments, the USACE Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans districts have collectively identified a total of 143 additional Work Items along various reaches of the Mississippi River mainline levees (MRL) feature of the MR&T project. These Work Items are remedial measures to control seepage and/or raise and stabilize deficient sections of the existing levees and floodwalls to maintain the structural integrity and stability of the MRL system. The 143 Work Items constitute the proposed action for this Draft SEIS II and are located across portions of seven states: Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. This document is intended to supplement and, as necessary, augment the 1976 FEIS and 1998 Supplemental EIS (SEIS I) to achieve USACE's primary goals for the MR&T: (1) providing flood risk reduction from the Project Design Flood; and (2) being an environmentally sustainable project.

The general public, interested parties and stakeholders are invited to comment on the Draft SEIS II. The draft report contains a description of the project, an evaluation of the alternatives under consideration and an analysis of potential environmental impacts. All public comments received will be addressed and considered as part of USACE's decision-making process.

The Draft SEIS II is available online at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District website at: https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mvk.usace.army.mil%2FMRLSEIS%2F&data=02%7C01%7C%7Cdb0e68a1cf954e3a132b08d84b6a72be%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637342268463250983&sdata=ru8gri44LFThw%2BJ1KN7UWoG%2BZuV51WbYLgu069uZvL0%3D&reserved=0.

Due to COVID-19, USACE will host virtual public meetings to provide information on the project and to receive verbal public comments; times and meeting details will be provided in subsequent media release and advertisements. USACE will accept written comments through Oct. 13. Comments on the Draft SEIS II should be sent by e-mail to MRL-SEIS-2@usace.army.mil or by mail to the following address:
District Engineer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District
4155 Clay Street
Vicksburg, Mississippi 39138-3435

 

August 27, 2020

GOVERNOR AS HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 27, 2020
Gov. Asa Hutchinson updated Arkansans on two ongoing emergencies across the state during his daily COVID-19 Taskforce press conference Thursday afternoon. The first, of course, was COVID-19. The second dealt with Hurricane Laura and its effect on Arkansas.

Before discussing the state's latest COVID-19 developments, Hutchinson provided updates on the impacts of the hurricane and the result high winds and flash flooding after it made landfall Thursday morning. Hutchinson said, as of Thursday afternoon, over 22,000 Arkansans were without power. He said the state had deployed three high water rescue teams in the southern half of Arkansas to respond to victims of flooding. 

Moving to the state's daily COVID-19 figures, an additional 722 cases were reported between Wednesday and Thursday. These new cases raise the state's cumulative total to 58,745 since the beginning of the outbreak. Hospitalizations decreased by a further three Arkansans. That leaves 433 state residents receiving treatment in medical facilities for COVID-19 related complications. Deaths increased by three to a total of 739. Active cases of the virus across Arkansas number 5,341.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 135 positive cases with 18 active positive cases, 113 recovered, 4 deaths, and 3968 negative tests. Union County show 653 positive cases with 69 active positive cases, 559 recovered, 20 deaths and 6710 negative tests. Columbia County shows 286 positive cases with 30 active positive cases, 242 recovered, 14 deaths and 3419 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 104 positive cases with 36 active positives, 66 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1363 negative tests. Calhoun County had 23 positive cases with 5 active cases, 18 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1209 negative tests.
USA Cases 5,846,591
USA Recoveries 2,084,465
USA Deaths 180,249

Global Cases 24,271,466
Global Recoveries 15,848,667
Global Deaths 827,801

Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key said new, school-level data will be available soon through the Arkansas Center for Health Improvements, also known as ACHI. Key explained this new data will detail how many students and staff have contracted COVID-19 within each Arkansas school district, college and university. Previously, this data was only available for the total infection rate throughout the physical boundaries of an entire school district. The data now details those figures within the schools themselves, but only if they've reported at least five confirmed cases. 

The data is expected to be released later on Thursday on ACHI's website, achi.net. Hutchinson said the data will also be available on the websites of both the Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas Department of Health. 

Again, the state reported an additional 722 cases of COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours. Hospitalizations decreased by two to 433 while deaths increased by seven to 739. Active cases currently number 5,341 people across the state. Over 6,000 tests were performed between Wednesday and Thursday. 

We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments. 


STATE POLICE OPEN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AFTER DRIVER LICENSE TESTING IRREGULARITIES DISCOVERED
AUGUST 27, 2020
Three Arkansas State Police driver license examiners were terminated yesterday from state employment for failure to follow procedures and statutory practices in administering driver license examinations.  The employees who were dismissed from their jobs were classified as civilian employees and had been assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Driver License Testing Office at Jonesboro.  The former employees are not commissioned state troopers.
The facts which formed the basis for terminating the employees are now part of an on-going investigation being led by the department’s Criminal Investigation Division.
Additionally the Arkansas State Police and Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration are working together to identify driver license test applicants who were issued permits between May 4th – August 17th this year.  As early as next week, individuals who received driving permits from the Jonesboro state police office during the three month period should expect to receive letters from DF&A’s Office of Driver Services.  The letter will direct recipients to contact the Arkansas State Police as soon as possible at a specific telephone number or email address provided below:

Telephone number & Email address reserved for questions about driver license test permits issued at Jonesboro Highway Patrol Troop C
(501) 618-8810
driverslicense@asp.arkansas.gov

A driver test permit certifies a driver license applicant has successfully passed the written and skills portion of the test and clears the way for an applicant to obtain an Arkansas Driver License from DF&A’s Driver Services. 
The Troop C Driver License Testing Office hours have been temporarily expanded to accommodate additional road skills testing that may be required if a permit holder was not properly tested as prescribed by Arkansas Code Annotated §27-16-704(b)(2).  The office will be open Monday – Friday, 7 AM – 7 PM and Saturday, 8 AM – 5 PM.  The 7 AM weekday hour and all day Saturday are reserved specifically for individuals with permits or licenses who were not administered a road skills test.  Anyone who received a driver permit at the Jonesboro office between the May and August dates should immediately contact the state police during regular business hours at the dedicated phone number and email address that has been provided.
Any driver license issued by DF&A Driver Services based on a state police testing permit issued at the Jonesboro testing site during the identified three month time period could become invalid by the end of September unless the licensee contacts the state police to certify whether a skills test was administered.
The Craighead County Prosecuting Attorney will be provided the findings of the state police investigation to determine whether criminal charges will be filed against the former employees who allegedly tampered with an official state record. 

 

USACE VICKSBURG DISTRICT ENGAGES EMERGENCY OPERATIONS, MAPPING CENTERS IN PREPARATION FOR HURRICANE LAURA
VICKSBURG, Miss. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District is providing material and technical assistance to communities across the Southeast in preparation for Hurricane Laura by mobilizing its Emergency Operations Center as well as the Mapping, Modeling and Consequences Center.

The USACE Vicksburg District's Emergency Operations Center has activated its emergency watch for hurricane response operations. The center is collaborating with local, state and federal officials in Mississippi and Louisiana to monitor conditions across the region and prepare support teams to deploy if necessary. The center deployed its sand bag machine to south Mississippi communities last weekend. The machine, which filled approximately 5,000 sandbags during its deployment, returned to Vicksburg Wednesday.

The USACE Mapping, Modeling and Consequences Center is helping to develop products for areas across Louisiana and Texas, including mapping for the Neches, Trinity and Sabine rivers and modeling for downstream of the Addick and Barker reservoirs. The data from these maps and models, which are coordinated with the National Hurricane Center and the USACE New Orleans and Galveston districts, helps local and state emergency management officials to determine evacuation routes and staging areas.

Additionally, the USACE Vicksburg District's Water Management Section ran models for the Red and Ouachita rivers and produced inundation mapping for the Pearl River to allow senior leadership to make informed decisions regarding the monitoring and operation of structures in the area.

"Hurricane Laura poses an extreme threat to regions across the Southeast, particularly in light of the ongoing pandemic," said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. "The Vicksburg District is committed to supporting our local, state and federal partners and the communities we serve through this unprecedented challenge."

According to the National Weather Service as of 1 p.m. Central, Hurricane Laura is a Category 4 storm projected to make landfall Wednesday night near the border between Louisiana and Texas and produce catastrophic impacts, including extreme storm surge, winds, flooding and tornados.

The Mapping, Modeling and Consequences Center is a national center of expertise based at the district headquarters building in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The center is responsible for developing hydraulic modeling, consequence assessments, inundation mapping and study reports for USACE dam and levee projects and flood events. The center's products are intended to support a risk-based assessment, prioritization, and management framework for dam and levee safety programs.

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation's toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.
 

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION SPECIAL MEETING TO BE HELD
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in Special Session Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. at Garrison Auditorium. The Agenda is as follows:

1.Call to order.

2. New Business
a. Presentation and recommendation regarding transferring funds from operating into building fund.
b. Presentation by Kristi Dean (POC) on COVID 19.
c. Presentation by Andre Toney on Athletic Stadium.
d. Presentation and recommendation regarding CFMS student handbook revision.
e. Presentation and recommendation regarding Licensed and Classified Personnel Policy Changes.

3. Personnel
a. Hiring
b.Transfer

August 26, 2020

GOVERNOR AS HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 26, 2020
Gov. Asa Hutchinson's daily COVID-19 Taskforce press conference started off much differently Wednesday afternoon. In fact, the conference began not with COVID-19 but on approaching Hurricane Laura. 

Hutchinson announced he had signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Arkansas due to the category four hurricane and its potential impact on the Natural State. The declaration releases $250,000 for additional emergency response resources. State emergency response teams have also been mobilized, particularly for deployment in the southern half of Arkansas.

Hutchinson said he is coordinating with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to track damage caused by the hurricane. That information, he added, will help the state coordinate its own targeted response.

Hutchinson then turned back to updating the state's COVID-19 figures. Since Tuesday, an additional 649 cases of the virus were reported. The state's cumulative total since the start of the outbreak is now 58,023. Deaths saw another relatively high increase over the previous 24 hours, with 21 additional Arkansans dying from illness caused by COVID-19. That raises the total to 732. Hospitalizations saw a third day of continuous decline, with seven fewer people in Arkansas hospitals. That figure numbers 435. Recoveries increased to 51,901 Arkansans. There are currently 5,390 active positive cases of the virus in the state. Slightly more than 3,000 tests were performed between Tuesday and Wednesday. 
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 133 positive cases with 16 active positive cases, 113 recovered, 4 deaths, and 3953 negative tests. Union County show 650 positive cases with 70 active positive cases, 559 recovered, 21 deaths and 6578 negative tests. Columbia County shows 284 positive cases with 34 active positive cases, 237 recovered, 13 deaths and 3403 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 103 positive cases with 37 active positives, 64 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1290 negative tests. Calhoun County had 23 positive cases with 6 active cases, 17 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1205 negative tests.

USA Cases 5,779,707
USA Recoveries 2,053,699
USA Deaths 178,535
Global Cases 23,930,649
Global Recoveries 15,606,094
Global Deaths 820,646

Turning to education, Hutchinson introduced Dr. Ivy Pfeffer, deputy commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education.  from the Pfeffer informed Arkansans on local and state resources available for both parents and educators in regard to the return of school within the current COVID-19 environment. 

The number to that hotline is 1-833-504-0155.

Following a question from a reporter in attendance at Wednesday's press conference, Hutchinson said prison visitations will not be reinstated for the foreseeable future. Arkansas correctional facilities have seen significant COVID-19 outbreaks. Hutchinson said, despite an improving situation in the state's prison system, visitations will continue to be prohibited in order to protect inmates and correctional staff. 

In review, 649 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Wednesday for a total of 58,023 since the pandemic first hit. Deaths saw a sizeable increase of 21 to 732. Recoveries grew to 51,901. Active cases currently number 5,390. We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments. 
 

SAU TO ACTIVATE INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY ON AUG 27 AND 28
Classes will be cancelled Thursday and Friday
MAGNOLIA -- Due to the current weather warnings for our area and the potential threat of hazardous conditions, Southern Arkansas University will be operating under its Inclement Weather Policy Thursday and Friday, August 27 and 28, 2020.

All classes, on-line and face-to-face, will be cancelled for these two days.

University housing will remain open during this time. Meals will continue to be served for students who remain on campus. University Police will continue to patrol the campus throughout this closure.

Use great caution if you plan to travel during this time and be aware of potential power disruptions and flooding.

If you remain on campus, and need assistance during this time, please contact the following:
University Police 870.235.4100
University Health Services 870.235.5237
University Housing 870.235.4047

 

ENTERGY ARKANSAS STORM TEAM PREPS FOR HURRICANE LAURA
About 1,200 workers on standby to assist with storm restoration
LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – The Entergy Arkansas storm team is finalizing its storm preparations to respond to any impacts across Arkansas from Hurricane Laura, predicted to strike near the Texas/Louisiana border late tonight or early tomorrow as a destructive Category 4 hurricane. Forecasts indicate Laura will impact southern Arkansas Thursday beginning as early as noon and pushing further north and east into the state throughout the day, possibly causing power outages from tropical storm-force winds, tornadoes, thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding, which could lead to days-long outages.

“We are using these final hours ahead of the storm to patrol our system for service risks and ensure we have the necessary resources, equipment, and workforce to restore power as safely and quickly as possible. We understand the hardships an extended power outage can cause for our customers, especially during the heat of an Arkansas summer with so many working from home and remote learning for children,” said Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux. “We understand, and we are making sure we are well prepared to respond. Our team will be hard at work to repair storm damage and bring customers the best information we have as quickly as possible.”

The company is working to amass a workforce of nearly 1,200 restoration workers to respond to possible impacts. Entergy Arkansas has reciprocal agreements with other utilities through which they help one another out after major weather events. Workers will be staged in strategic locations to respond to outages after the storm has passed. Crews will focus on restoring emergency services first, then will prioritize work according to which repairs will restore power to the greatest number of customers.

“While the hardest-hit locations are likely to be in the southern part of Arkansas, crews will be ready to respond across the state as necessary as soon as it is safe to do so,” Landreaux said.

Staging sites will likely be set up in El Dorado, Magnolia and Warren to provide materials and supplies to restoration workers. In addition, workers are planning logistics such as food and lodging for traveling workers. Vegetation crews will be scouting key circuits for threats from wind-blown trees.

Additional safety precautions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 could affect the time it takes to assess damage and restore power.

Entergy Arkansas employees are navigating through the pandemic by taking precautions including traveling separately when possible, wearing masks when necessary and generally following CDC guidelines, all of which can add to the time required to complete work. The Company requests that customers keep their distance from workers in the field, for both safety and health reasons.

Customers can stay informed throughout the Entergy response through these resources:

Download the Entergy App at entergyapp.com. Customers can use the app to report outages or check on the status of power at their home or business.

Entergy’s View Outages website includes maps that show where outages are located and give information about restoration progress.

Sign up for text alerts by texting REG to 36778 and have your account number and ZIP code handy. The registration pattern is as follows including spaces: REG (account number) (ZIP code). Once registered, text OUT to 36778 to report an outage. You can also report an outage online as a guest.

The Entergy Storm Center website has storm safety, preparation and restoration information that is updated throughout the day.

Operation: Storm Ready Guide is a free downloadable guide that helps customers plan.

Social media also plays an important role in keeping customers informed, and the company places a high priority on updating its social media channels throughout an event. Customers can follow Entergy Arkansas on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $11 billion and approximately 13,600 employees.
 

SUSPECT APPREHENDED FOLLOWING UNION COUNTY OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING
AUGUST 25, 2020
The Arkansas State Police has been requested to conduct an investigation of a Union County officer involved shooting.  Local sheriff’s department authorities requested the investigation while a search was underway earlier today for an El Dorado man who commandeered a deputy’s patrol car.
Kyle Schroder, 20, of El Dorado was subsequently apprehended and is being held at the Union County Detention Center.

Schroder had been the driver of a stolen vehicle being pursued by a sheriff’s deputy about 11:30 AM Tuesday.  As Schroder drove the stolen vehicle along Lynn Fite Road onto U.S. Highway 82, west of El Dorado, he lost control of the car and crashed the vehicle into a tree.

As a deputy attempted to take Schroder into custody, Schroder resisted and the two became involved in a physical altercation that moved from the highway to a nearby residence.

Schroder was able to overpower the deputy and fled back to the highway where he took control of the sheriff’s department patrol car.  Inside the car was a rifle readily accessible.  As the patrol car began to move with Schroder as the driver, the deputy fired his pistol and at least one round is believed to have penetrated the vehicle exterior.
The deputy involved in the fight sustained minor injuries.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division will prepare an investigative file to submit to the Union County prosecuting attorney to use in determining whether use of deadly force by the sheriff's deputy was consistent with Arkansas laws. The agents are also preparing affidavits seeking formal charges of aggravated assault to be filed against Schroder.

 

ASP/CID SPECIAL AGENTS CALLED TO INVESTIGATE PLUMERVILLE OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING
AUGUST 25, 2020
The Arkansas State Police has been requested to investigate an incident that occurred yesterday (Monday, August 24th) in Plumerville.  Authorities within the Plumerville Police Department made the request for assistance to Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.

Michael Gentry, 30, was hospitalized after being shot by a Plumerville police officer as Gentry allegedly approached the officer with a meat cleaver.  Gentry’s wound is not believed to be life threatening.
Local police had earlier encountered Gentry at a city park regarding a domestic dispute.  Gentry began to fight officers and fled to a nearby residence where he was shot.

Gentry is presently facing criminal charges of criminal mischief, fleeing, and two counts of aggravated assault.
Questions relating to the identity of the officer who fired his gun and the administrative status of the officer should be directed to the Plumerville Police Department.
The Arkansas State Police will prepare an investigative case file and submit it to the prosecuting attorney to determine whether the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer is consistent with Arkansas laws.

 

SCOTT COUNTY COUPLE FOUND DEAD; SUSPECT IN CUSTODY
AUGUST 25, 2020
The Arkansas State Police is investigating the murders of two Scott County residents whose bodies were discovered early Monday morning (August 24th) inside the couple’s home at 4642 Highway 270 near Boles, south of Waldron.  Special Agents of the state police criminal investigation division were requested by the Scott County Sheriff to conduct the homicide investigation.

The bodies of Bobby Slagle, 81, and his wife, Martha, 69, were discovered in a bedroom at the residence.

The Scott County Sheriff’s Department received a phone call about 1 AM Monday from an individual at the Slagle’s home reporting he had cut his foot and needed assistance.  A sheriff’s deputy dispatched to the home later arrested Dustin Wayne Shores, 35, who was found inside the residence.  Shores is being held at the Scott County Detention Center awaiting the filing of formal criminal charges.
 

ARKANSAS 529 EDUCATION SAVINGS PLAN REACHES $1 BILLION IN ASSETS INCREASE OF 77% IS MILESTONE FOR MILLIGAN ADMINISTRATION
Little Rock, AR – The Arkansas 529 Education Savings Plan has reached $1 billion in assets, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan told the 529 Board today.

“When I took office in 2015, I made promoting the Arkansas 529 plan a priority,” Milligan said. “We had $568 million in assets and today, just five-and-a-half years later, we’re at $1 billion. For a plan that began in Arkansas in 1999, this type of growth is just phenomenal.”

Since Milligan has taken office and been in charge of administering the plan, it has seen a 77 percent increase in growth. Since January alone, the plan has seen a net inflow of contributions of $2 million more than the same period in 2019.

The Arkansas 529 plan began in 1999, but wasn’t moved under the purview of the Treasurer’s Office until 2003. It initially started with a direct-sold plan sponsored by the state. However, in 2007, the plan’s advisory board added an advisor-sold option as well, which saw an 8 percent growth in the past seven months, Milligan said.

“We have taken a plan that few people knew existed and have turned it into a household name in just five years,” Milligan said. “We began heavily promoting the Arkansas 529 plan during my first year in office, and because of that, we’ve seen consistent growth each year.”

The Arkansas 529 plan is an education-savings account that offers parents up to $10,000 in state tax deductions for their contributions. They’re then able to use the money for a variety of expenses to further their child’s education, whether that be at a traditional four-year university or a technical or trade school.

Not only has Milligan grown the program exponentially, but he has worked with the Legislature over his tenure to provide several tax benefits for Arkansans in order to make the program more attractive. Those include:

Creating a tax deduction for businesses that wish to match their employees’ contributions

Allowing those who are able to contribute up to $50,000 in a single year and carry the $10,000 tax deduction toward the forthcoming four years

Expanding the plan to include K-12 tuition and widening the list of qualifying expenses for which the money can be used

Introducing a $7,500 tax incentive for people with out-of-state plans when they roll them over into the Arkansas plan

Milligan also plans to work with the Legislature in the upcoming 2021 general session to incorporate recent federal changes to 529 plans that allow account owners to use 529 funds to pay student loan debt. Federal legislation adding student loans and the cost of apprenticeship programs as eligible expenses for 529 plans was enacted in 2019 via the SECURE Act.

In addition to the legislative changes, Milligan also created the first mobile app in the country for a state-run 529 plan.

“We have worked hard to make the Arkansas 529 plan a successful education savings tool for all Arkansans,” Milligan said. “For as little as $25, you can open an account for your child or grandchild and start saving for their future.”

For more information about the Arkansas 529 Education Savings Plan, visit www.arkansas529.org or call (501) 682-1406.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR AEDC’S SEPTEMBER 17 SMALL, MINORITY AND WOMEN-OWNED VIRTUAL MATCHMAKING EVENT
Little Rock, Ark. (August 25, 2020) – The Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) will host its annual matchmaker event on Thursday, Sept. 17, and encourages small, and minority- and women-owned business owners to participate. Due to effects of COVID-19, this year’s event will be virtual.

Participants in this free event have the opportunity to connect with other local business owners; listen to a variety of guest speakers; and meet with county, state, and federal government buyers from across Arkansas for contract opportunities related to their goods and services.

The Arkansas 2020 Small, Minority and Women-Owned Virtual Matchmaking Event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at www.arkansasedc.com/matchmaking2020.

The event will kick off with a keynote speech from James Frederic (Jim) Thrower, a former defense back for the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles who now is a community builder and president and CEO of Jamjomar Inc., a family of 11 McDonald’s restaurants in Michigan and Louisiana. He is a recipient of the Ronald Award, the most prestigious award for McDonald’s franchisees. Outside of corporate success, he serves as the vice-chair of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) Board of Water Commissioners. The Board of Water Commissioners is made up of seven members who oversee DWSD operations, management, and major contracts, as well as set rates for water and sewer services.

“Now, more than ever, we need to connect qualified small business owners with contracting opportunities,” said Secretary of Commerce and AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston. “Small minority and women-owned businesses make a significant contribution to the state, and it is in our best interest to provide them with tools and opportunities that will enable them to increase their revenue and employ more Arkansans.”

Beginning at 10 a.m., registrants have the option to attend 15-minute matchmaking meetings. While the Matchmaker Event does not guarantee contracts, it does create ample networking opportunities and pre-arranged one-on-one “speed-dating style” appointments.

“We have seen steady growth of our Matchmaking Event over the past three years, and we wanted to do everything possible to make sure our small and minority business owners could continue the tradition,” said Pat Brown, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWOBE) director. “This year’s event will look a lot different, but one huge advantage is that participants can reach out directly to buyers through the matchmaking platform to set up their own meetings.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and AEDC officials announced in August 2017 the state’s Small and Minority Business Program mission would be expanded to include women-owned businesses and be renamed the Division of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise by Act 1080 of 2017. New annual spending targets for State of Arkansas were also set at that time at eight percent for minority businesses, five percent for women-owned and two percent for service-disabled veterans in construction, goods and services, totaling 15 percent for vendors in those categories.

AEDC’s Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Division promotes the growth and sustainability of such businesses by providing real-world technical and professional assistance, state vendor certification, and opportunities for networking and contracting with AEDC partners in state and federal government, higher education, lending institutions and the private sector.

For more information about the event, how to prepare in advance, and to register, visit www.arkansasedc.com/matchmaking2020.

August 25, 2020

GOVERNOR AS HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 24, 2020
Deaths in Arkansas due to coronavirus surpassed 700 on Tuesday. During his daily COVID-19 Taskforce press conference Tuesday afternoon, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state reported an additional 15 deaths from Monday. That raises the total number of death due to illness caused by COVID-19 to 711.  Almost half of the new deaths reported Tuesday occurred in nursing homes across the state.

There was a bit of good news in terms of hospitalizations, which saw another sizeable net decrease on Tuesday by 24 to 442. Yesterday, the state announced 34 fewer people were hospitalized due to COVID-19. New cases increased over the previous 24 hours by 480 to a cumulative total of 57,374. New tests declined however, with 3,300 additional tests performed between Monday and Tuesday. Over 143,000 tests have been performed since the beginning of August. Active cases total 5,312.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 132 positive cases with 17 active positive cases, 111 recovered, 4 deaths, and 3941 negative tests. Union County show 634 positive cases with 57 active positive cases, 556 recovered, 21 deaths and 6553 negative tests. Columbia County shows 281 positive cases with 39 active positive cases, 230 recovered, 12 deaths and 3401 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 90 positive cases with 24 active positives, 64 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1285 negative tests. Calhoun County had 23 positive cases with 6 active cases, 17 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1203 negative tests.

USA Cases 5,741,189

USA Recoveries 2,020,774

USA Deaths 177,284
Global Cases 23,679,320
Global Recoveries 15,359,999

Global Deaths 813,820

Hutchinson highlighted a new classification for Arkansas by federal health experts. He said the better rating reflects a decreasing positivity rate among COVID-19 tests performed in the state. 

Dr. Jose Romero, head of the Arkansas Department of Health, again stressed the need for more testing in Arkansas. He urged anyone who's in doubt to go ahead and get tested. He said health insurance information is collected from those who have the test performed at a county health unit. Those who don't have insurance will not be charged to receive a COVID-19 test. 

Tests are available at most doctor offices and at local county health units. 

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/progra…/…/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/


Again, new cases increased by a relatively moderate amount on Tuesday, raising by 480 to 57,374. Deaths increased by 15 to 711, while hospitalizations fell by a net 24 people to now total 442. Active cases grew slightly to 5,312. Recoveries now number 51,351 Arkansans since the start of the outbreak. 

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, August 27th at Catherine's Bistro. The program will be presented by   Wesley Stewart who will talking about The Call.

You are required to wear a mask was entering and leaving the building, if you do not have one they will provide you with one. Your temperature will be taken, and you'll sign in and report your temp. All the chairs in the meeting room will be spaced out as required.
 

UAMS COVID-19 TESTING RESCHEDULED
September 2nd Drive-Up Testing in El Dorado Postponed from August 27th
LITTLE ROCK – Drive-up testing for COVID-19 will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., September 2nd at Medical Center of South Arkansas, 700 West Grove St. in El Dorado. Because of weather forecasts predicting that rainstorms will likely affect the area on Aug. 27, the testing drive-up has been rescheduled to September 2nd. There will be no out-of-pocket cost for testing.  Up to 200 community members will be tested. 

The testing will be conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in cooperation with Medical Center of South Arkansas, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Blue and You Foundation.

You do not have to be a UAMS patient to be seen. This testing is for everyone who feels they need testing. Patients will get instructions on how to take care of themselves and their family at home. Test results will be returned either through an online patient portal, letter or phone call.

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from other people not in your household, and wear a mask in public. An online screening tool is available at uamshealth.com/healthnow. Phone screening is available through the UAMS Health hotline at 800-632-4502.

 UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
 

ASP CALLED TO INVESTIGATE SCOTT COUNTY MURDERS
AUGUST 24, 2020
The Arkansas State Police is investigating the murders of two Scott County residents whose bodies were discovered earlier today inside a residence south of Waldron.  Special Agents of the state police criminal investigation division were requested by the Scott County Sheriff to conduct the investigation.
The sheriff’s department received a phone call about 1 AM today from an individual stating he had cut his foot and needed assistance.  A sheriff’s deputy dispatched to the home found the murder victims in a bedroom.
An investigation is continuing and more information is expected to be released as early as tomorrow.  Meanwhile, authorities are attempting to notify next of kin related to the victims.

 
 

August 24, 2020

GOVERNOR AS HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 24, 2020
The start of school across Arkansas was joined by a relatively good day in regard to the statewide COVID-19 outbreak. 

During his daily COVID-19 Taskforce press conference on Monday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported a much smaller number of new COVID-19 cases from Friday's one-day total of nearly 900 cases. He said 320 new cases of the virus were detected between Sunday and Monday for a cumulative statewide total of 56,894. Additional deaths also saw a decrease from Friday's record of 22, with nine new cases reported Monday. Arkansans who have died from COVID-19 now number 696. Hospitalizations saw a healthy decrease. Thirty-four fewer people were hospitalized due to the virus on Monday. That leaves 466 Arkansans still receiving treatment through a medical center in the state. 

Active cases of COVID-19 across Arkansas saw a small increase from Sunday, raising to 5,509. Tests performed between Sunday and Monday numbered 4,629. Around 6,000 tests were performed on both Saturday and Sunday. 

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 130 positive cases with 16 active positive cases, 110 recovered, 4 deaths, and 3894 negative tests. Union County show 527 positive cases with 54 active positive cases, 552 recovered, 21 deaths and 6526 negative tests. Columbia County shows 274 positive cases with 34 active positive cases, 228 recovered, 12 deaths and 3373 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 90 positive cases with 25 active positives, 63 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1279 negative tests. Calhoun County had 23 positive cases with 7 active cases, 16 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1193 negative tests.
Arkansas Total COVID-19 Cases

Arkansas
56.894
Active Cases
5,636
Recoveries
50.251
Deaths
687

Johnny Key, Commissioner for the Arkansas Department of Education, said Monday's return to in-class instruction was going well across the state. He urged Arkansans to assist in the safe return to school by continuing to follow state health guidelines. 

Hutchinson also stated the Arkansas' health guidelines, ranging from the face mask mandate to restaurants limiting their capacity to two-thirds, will continue into the foreseeable future. He added that the state currently has no goal posts in place which, if reached, would allow these guidelines to be relaxed. Only time will tell, he said, if Arkansas' COVID-19 environment diminishes or even ever ends. 

Again, new cases of COVID-19 increased by 320 on Monday to a cumulative total of 56,984. Deaths increased by nine to 696. Hospitalizations saw a net decrease of 34 to 466. Active cases grew slightly to 5,509. Recoveries now number over 50,000.

We'll cntinue to keep you updated on all the latest developments. 

CAMDEN ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION COMMITTEE to MEET
The Camden Advertising and Promotion Committee will meet on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 3:00 P.M. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

*Masks and social distancing a must!

The agenda is as follows.
Welcome
Approval of November minutes
Financial Report
Old business
None
New business
1.  Appointments.  Expired terms of Clara Freeland and Lori DeWoody.
2.  Form Budget Committee
3.  Bass Tournament update
4.  JC Productions report

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Jennifer Pinson with H & P Alliance.  H & P Animal Alliance is a 501c3 non-profit that seeks to better the lives of animals through education and action.  Ms. Pinson will be talking about what their program does as well as upcoming fundraisers.


MARKETING WORKSHOP #3: BEING INTENTIONAL WITH MESSAGE AND MEDIUM
Effective marketing is a matter of getting the right message to the right audience at the right time in the right way. Join
us as we talk about how to refine your unique point of difference as a business and map out how best to leverage it to achieve your marketing objectives.
What is the ASBTDC?
We are your go-to resource for help starting or growing a business in Arkansas. Our centers assist all types of for-profit businesses, from home-based to high-tech. Receive one-to-one confidential consulting and cutting-edge market research at no charge, or expand your expertise through our affordable educational events.

Cost – Free
Speakers
Kristen Cribb, Business Consultant
Janell Morton, Center Director
Co-Sponsors
Team Camden
Ouachita Partnership For Economic Development
When - August 25, 2020 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Where Online : https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/507421013
Contact Kristen Cribb at (870) 235-5033.

The Southern Arkansas University SBTDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration through a partnership with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the SAU Rankin College of Business. All ASBTDC programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.
 

VICKSBURG DISTRICT ANNOUNCES FALL, WINTER RECREATION SCHEDULES FOR ARKANSAS LAKES
VICKSBURG, Miss. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District has announced fall and winter schedules for campgrounds and recreation areas across its Arkansas lakes, Lake Ouachita, DeGray Lake and Lake Greeson.

The following campgrounds at Lake Ouachita will be partially closed beginning 4 p.m. on October 31 until March 1, 2021: Brady Mountain, Crystal Springs, Tompkins Bend, and Denby Point. Joplin Campground will close at 4 p.m. Sept. 30 and reopen March 1, 2021. Little Fir Campground will close at 4 p.m. October 31 and reopen March 1, 2021.

Campgrounds at Stephens Park and Twin Creek will remain open during this time.

The Spillway, Crystal Springs and Twin Creek day use areas will close October 30 and reopen March 1, 2021. Hours upon reopening will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and change to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 12, 2021. Blakely Mountain Dam day use area will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning September 27, and will change to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 11, 2021.

Stephens Park and Avery day use areas will remain open and unaffected.

All recreation areas on the north side of Lake Ouachita, including Irons Fork, Avant, Buckville, Rabbit Tail and Cedar Fourche, will remain open. Janitorial services for these areas, including permanent and portable restrooms and trash services, will cease September 30 and resume March 1, 2021. Free pack-in/pack-out camping will be available during this time.

The following campgrounds at Lake Greeson will be closed November 1 and reopen March 1, 2021: Arrowhead, Buckhorn, Pikeville, Laurel Creek, Old Cowhide Cove, New Cowhide Cove (sites 1-9), Self Creek, Dam Area, West Kirby Landing (sites 35-79) and Jim Wylie.

Parker Creek and the remainder of New Cowhide Cove will close December 15 and reopen March 1, 2021.

The following electrical sites are open all winter for a fee of $20 per night: East Kirby Landing, Weston Point and Dam Area. Star of the West will be open with no charge.

The following recreation areas at DeGray Lake will partially or completely close October 31 and reopen March 1, 2021: Alpine Ridge, Arlie Moore, Point Cedar, Edgewood, Iron Mountain, Lakeview, Shouse Ford and Highway 7. Partially closed areas, other than Arlie Moore, as well as Lenox Marcus and Ozan Point recreation areas, will close completely on December 1.

Off-season campground reservations at Lake Ouachita, Lake Greeson and DeGray Lake opened August 15 for October 1 to April 30, 2021 via https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.recreation.gov%2F&data=02%7C01%7C%7C40daf3b254e34837afa808d846126403%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637336393159307715&sdata=gYttRVGj0kvKK0iiskfLOJfMNzhTr1ikmD%2BZo4b28Og%3D&reserved=0
or by calling 877-444-6777. Reservation extension requests will be accepted and reviewed during this period.

For more information about operational changes or questions about recreation facilities in Arkansas, contact the Lake Ouachita Field Office at 501-767-2101, DeGray Lake Field Office at 870-246-5501, or Lake Greeson Field Office at 870-285-2151.

For COVID-19 related closures and updates at USACE Vicksburg District campgrounds, visit https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fgo.usa.gov%2FxwfVT&data=02%7C01%7C%7C40daf3b254e34837afa808d846126403%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637336393159307715&sdata=BphhuBHkFYtGNs3lh43otIj%2BlWxX%2F5he7CJy%2B1jM2dg%3D&reserved=0.
The USACE Vicksburg District owns and operates more than 100 recreation areas across Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana where millions of visitors enjoy fishing, camping, hunting, boating, hiking, swimming, geocaching and more every year. The district's 10 flood control reservoirs across Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana provide numerous benefits to the region, including flood risk management, hydropower, water supply, wildlife management and recreation.

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation's toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.

SAU TO REOPEN ITS DRIVING RANGE ON TODAY, AUGUST 24TH
MAGNOLIA -- Southern Arkansas University will reopen its driving range at 9 a.m. Monday, August 24, 2020. The driving range, which initially opened in February, but was closed in the spring due to COVID-19, is available to SAU students and the Magnolia community. Located on the southeast side of the campus, adjacent to University Village, it is open daily from daylight until dark.

A golf ball dispensing machine is located in the range building on site and accepts debit or credit cards only. Two rental options are offered: a medium bucket (50) of balls for $5.00, or a large bucket (70) of balls for $6.00. SAU students may use the range free of charge by obtaining a range card at the Mulerider Activity Center front desk.

SAAC ARTS ACADEMY ENROLLING STUDENTS
Registration is now open for the South Arkansas Arts Center Arts Academy's fall 2020 semester. In response to the global pandemic, the center is offering a blend of both virtual and in-person classes, providing a variety of choices for students.
Classes begin the week of August 31-September 4, and registration can be completed online at saac-arts.org. SAAC's full roster of classes includes instruction in visual art, graphic design, animation, dance, theatre, and music. SAAC will follow a strict set of COVID-19 guidelines, following guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health for each discipline of study.
"The South Arkansas Arts Center remains committed to working within the guidelines from the state of Arkansas to create safe, accessible classes in the arts for our community," says executive director Laura Allen. "We hope that by creating a menu of varied options for our students, we can continue to meet their needs, even under these unusual circumstances."
For the fall 2020 semester, class sizes will be limited to ensure social distancing, and times will be staggered to limit the number of students entering and exiting the building simultaneously. Most classrooms will be used for only one group of students each day, and they will be cleaned before and after each class. Teachers, staff, and students will be screened daily for symptoms and temperature, and masks are required.
For families who prefer a virtual option, Maria Villegas will offer instruction via Zoom for grades 2 and up. Mike Means will also offer Zoom instruction for art projects that can be completed on the iPad for all ages.
In-person art instruction will be available in visual art with Katie Harwell for pre-K through first grade, in graphic art with Mike Means for second grade and up, and in digital storytelling/animation with Katy Callaway Hayes for grades 5-8. Classes in ballet and lyrical dance with Stephanie Lowrey and Elizabeth Wood will be available for all ages. Hannah Faith Davis will offer theatre instruction for pre-K through 7th grade, and Lynn Gunter will lead the Teen Drama Club. Private piano instruction is available on a one-on-one basis with Kordelia Leggett.
Registration for all classes can currently be completed online at saac-arts.org. Class sizes are limited, and spots are available on a first come, first serve basis. Scholarships are available. For questions about registration, COVID-19 adaptations, or virtual options, please call 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

 
 

AUGUST 21, 2020

GOVERNOR AS HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 21, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson opened the briefing by announcing that the July unemployment rate numbers have been released and show a 1% drop to 7.1%. (The rate was 8.1% in June and 9.6% in May.) The 7.1% is a full 3% lower than the national average.

The Governor also announced that the testing of all prison inmates in the state has been completed. A total of 14,650 inmates were tested with 5,120 or 35% positive. Also, 4,728 staff were tested with 378 positive. All total there were 19,378 tests administered.

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:
887 new cases
55,652 cumulative cases
22 new deaths (4 were delayed reporting from July)(11 were in nursing homes, 7 of which were in the same facility)
663 deaths total
10 new hospitalizations
509 currently hospitalized
120 on ventilators (up 12 from yesterday)
5,854 active cases
49,135 recoveries (up 677 from yesterday)
6,396 tests yesterday.

Dr. Romero pointed out that the number of deaths yesterday was the highest for any single day during the health emergency even though 4 of the deaths were delayed reporting from July. (To actual total yesterday was 18.)

Of the new cases, 15 counties had 20 or more new cases. Pulaski with 80, Washington with 57, Benton with 47, Sebastian with 28, Pope with 33, Stone with 30, Faulkner with 29, Lonoke with 25, Craighead with 24, Crawford with 23, Crittenden with 22, Sevier with 21, Garland with 20, Independence with 20 and Poinsett with 20.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 124 positive cases with 17 active positive cases, 104 recovered, 3 deaths, and 3838 negative tests. Union County show 597 positive cases with 58 active positive cases, 518 recovered, 21 deaths and 6322 negative tests. Columbia County shows 255 positive cases with 21 active positive cases, 222 recovered, 12 deaths and 3288 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 70 positive cases with 8 active positives, 60 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1249 negative tests. Calhoun County had 22 positive cases with 6 active cases, 16 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1151 negative tests.
*These numbers will be updated later today.

In the US there has been 5,595,361 cumulative cases, 1,947,035 recoveries, and 174,647 deaths.

Globally there has been 22,773,308 cumulative cases, 14,589,903 recoveries, and 795,196 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/JyQN9iKk1B4

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/progra…/…/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

 

SUSPECT DEAD IN OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING; CABOT POLICE REQUEST STATE POLICE TO INVESTIGATE
AUGUST 21, 2020
The Arkansas State Police has assumed the lead role in investigating an officer involved shooting that occurred yesterday (August 20th).  The Lonoke County incident left one person dead.

Jeffrey Wratten, 37, was pronounced dead by doctors at a Little Rock hospital.  The police officer who shot Wratten was not injured.
Wratten had been the subject of a “be on the lookout” law enforcement broadcast precipitated out of concern about his wellbeing based on a family member’s report to local authorities.

At 12:38 PM a Cabot police officer initiated a traffic stop in the vicinity of Old Mountain Springs Road and Arkansas Highway 5.  Wratten was the driver of the vehicle stopped by the officer and exited holding a shotgun.  The Cabot police officer issued repeated commands for Wratten to drop the gun.  The Cabot officer then fired his weapon wounding Wratten.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division assigned to the case will prepare an investigative file to be submitted to the Lonoke County prosecuting attorney who will decide whether the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.
Wratten’s body was transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for purposes of an autopsy to determine the manner and cause of death.

Inquiries related to the identity of the police officer who shot Wratten and the officer’s current administrative status should be directed to the Cabot Police Department

VETERAN’S DRIVE-THRU MEAL BEING PLANNED
This year veterans will be honored with a drive-thru meal instead of the usual banquet style event we have had in the past.  As a result of this change, each veteran will be given an “appreciation bag” at the event.  If you have veteran coupons or promotional items that you would like placed in the bags, please let the organizers know.  The deadline for the items is Tuesday, September 1st and you can contact Beth Osteen at the Chamber office (870-836-6426) or Jim Bob Davis, Ouachita County Veterans Affairs Officer (870-837-2216) and and arrangements will be made for the items to be picked up from your place of business.

HOT SPRINGS AGENCY DEVELOPS MATERIALS PROMOTING COVID SAFETY FOR CHILDREN
(HOT SPRINGS, ARK.) SixtyOne Celsius, a Hot Springs marketing, advertising, and communications agency, has developed a website and free resources to help schoolchildren understand some of the precautions needed to safely deal with the pandemic.

The “Help Slow the Spread” materials are designed for PreK-4 education and offer a series of activities and talking points for teachers, parents, and students. HelpSlowTheSpread.com and it’s “spokes-critter” Owen the Sloth offer a variety of resources to help talk to kids about what's going on and why we’ve all been doing things differently since school was interrupted last spring.

“As the parent of a fourth-grader and spouse of a school administrator, I see firsthand the challenges and extraordinary efforts underway as Arkansans prepare of the start of the school year later this month,” said Stephanie Alderdice, president of the agency. “We all talk about doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, and this campaign was my own way of helping my community prepare to return to school.”

Whether utilized in a classroom, daycare, public library or doctor’s office, the supplemental activities can assist adults in facilitating conversations with kids about healthy habits and why everything may seem a bit different. The goal is to provide teachers and families with expert-verified recommendations in a fun and accessible manner through items ranging from coloring pages and letter tracing to posters and sticker.

 Alderdice drew inspiration from the familiar faces of her own childhood that encouraged kids in the 1980s and 90s to make safe choices for the benefit of themselves and others.

“About a month ago, I started thinking about COVID and all the old-school PSAs we grew up with like Smokey the Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog,” “Then I thought, you know who a great spokes-critter would be to promote slowing down the spread of COVID with kids? A sloth. That’s when Owen the Sloth was born. “

As health recommendations evolve at both the federal and state levels, HelpSlowTheSpread.com’s digital components will add new and revised resources.  Alderdice looks forward to additional educators and groups who work with children sharing thoughts on activities and topics that have relevancy for children. 

“These preliminary materials have been reviewed by a group of individuals with elementary education classroom experience and parents of young children. An online survey will be available to gather additional feedback and continue to refine the materials,” said Alderdice.

School districts, afterschool programs, and out-of-school enrichment partners are welcome to contact Alderdice and SixtyOne Celsius at stephanie@61celsius.com or by calling 501-502-2013.
 

NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITY FOR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDERS TO CLOSE COVID-19-RELATED GAPS IN CHILDHOOD VACCINATIONS
In August, the Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Steering Committee approved $8.77 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to support primary care physicians (PCPs) in efforts to ensure children are fully vaccinated. During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arkansas children and youth have missed almost 60,000 immunizations compared to 2019 levels, with almost two-thirds of missed immunizations being in lower-income or uninsured children.

The Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ARAAP) collaborated with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) to develop a proposal for CARES Act-funded reimbursements to help PCPs who provide vaccines invest in vaccine-related outreach and infrastructure to close these COVID-19-related gaps in childhood vaccinations.

“The last thing Arkansas pediatricians want to see during the coronavirus pandemic is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease like measles or chicken pox. Vaccines are safe and effective, and serious disease can occur if children are not immunized. We applaud the Arkansas CARES Act Steering Committee for making this investment in children’s health prior to the start of the school year,” said Dr. Gary Wheeler, President of ARAAP. 

Reimbursements are available for enhanced immunization efforts including, but not limited to:

Vaccine outreach initiatives to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated

School- or childcare-linked childhood immunization delivery to ensure schools and childcare centers meet the October deadline for students to be fully immunized

Patient and visitor safety procedures to ensure families who want to make an office visit feel safe doing so

Enhanced vaccine program infrastructure, such as additional staff for vaccine program management to oversee increased vaccine delivery

Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems optimization to improve and automate outreach

Mass flu vaccination or parking lot immunization events to prevent multiple simultaneous disease outbreaks.

To qualify for reimbursements, practices must be an Arkansas Medicaid Primary Care Case Management (PCCM) provider who serves Arkansas Medicaid pediatric beneficiaries, not be owned or operated by the State of Arkansas, and participate in the Vaccines for Children program. Reimbursements are for eligible costs incurred between March 1 and October 1, 2020. Practices must submit required documentation to DHS detailing expenditures by October 15, 2020. Practices may receive reimbursements for enhanced vaccine-related expenditures that are not reimbursable through other sources, and the maximum reimbursement for each practice is $30 per Medicaid-attributed child as determined by DHS using the PCCM attribution reports from March 2020.

Please visit the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ website for FAQs and to access the application at https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/resources/response-covid-19/response-covid-19-providers-1.

The full CARES Act Proposal for “Preventing COVID-19-Related Outbreaks of Vaccine-Preventable Childhood Diseases in Children” can be accessed here.
 

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: SHUT DOWN SCAMMERS THREATENING TO SHUT OFF UTILITIES
LITTLE ROCK – As the hustle and bustle of school returns and families begin in their own unique routines, scam artists are using an old playbooks to identify ways to trick Arkansans by claiming they have not paid their utility bill. The scam involves Caller ID spoofing to make the name or phone number of the utility company display on the phone’s screen. The scam artists will then claim the consumer must pay immediately over the phone because a representative is on their way to disconnect their services. Be cautious of unsolicited calls and consider hanging up and finding the company’s phone number from an independent source and calling them to confirm any outstanding balance.

“Remember, you should never be forced to make an immediate payment for utilities over the phone and or give away your personal information,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. 

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to ensure payment is sent to the utility company safely, securely and timely:

Add the utility payment due date on a calendar when the bill is received.
Drop off the payment at the utility office or an authorized payment location.
Pay online on the utility company’s website with a credit card or call the company directly.
Consider participating in an automated bank account draft system, if it is offered.
Mail the payment to the company directly.

The scammer may also request that the recipient purchase gift cards or prepaid debit cards to pay off the amount owed. The scammer will ask for the code on the purchased card, which gives them complete access to money on the card. In most cases, once the prepaid card money is depleted, it cannot be recovered. Remember, utilities will not require you to pay by gift card or prepaid debit card – scammers will. 

Arkansans should notify the company if they have been contacted by one of these scammers. If Arkansans have turned over money to the scammer, file a complaint with the Attorney General.

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

 

SENATOR TRENT GARNER WEEKLY COLUMN
State Capitol Week in Review
August 21, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas teachers and students are beginning the most challenging school year in living memory.

Last March schools were forced to close because of the spread of the coronavirus, a decision that affected more than 470,000 students and 33,000 teachers.

Arkansas has been trying to close the achievement gap between children in underprivileged homes and those in more prosperous families.

Elected officials and educators are concerned that the changes made necessary by the virus could make that gap wider. When so many students must study from home and take their classes online, it’s critical that they all have access to the same technology.

That’s why state officials have beefed up the Arkansas Rural Connect program, which has distributed more than $10 million in grants to expand broadband access in isolated areas. More grants will be announced over the coming weeks.

Other grants of up to $75,000 help rural communities apply for federal dollars to expand broadband access, through the Rural Broadband I.D. Expenses Trust Fund Grant. It is managed by the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Also important will be the presence of a parent or family member who is computer literate, who can help students connect with their teachers every day.

According to surveys, when schools had to convert to distance learning last spring, the amount of time that students spent in virtual classrooms was significantly less than when those students physically attended school.

Virtual classrooms last spring focused on reviewing subjects already introduced earlier in the year. This year the challenge will be introducing new material electronically.

The disruption of standardized testing in the spring will have an effect because teachers won’t begin the school year with a clear picture of each student’s individual academic level. This is particularly important this year, when students will experience the so-called “summer slide” to a greater degree because they have spent more time away from school.

In many communities, going to virtual learning will bring attention to how many social services, apart from academics, are provided in schools. Those services include after school programs, meals, mental health counseling and health care.

Educators and elected officials expect an outbreak before the school year is over, either among students or staff. When that happens, they will have to make quick decisions about how to respond. For example, they may have to decide whether or not to close a school temporarily, and if so for how long. State health officials will provide input.

The state Board of Education has waived numerous standards so that local schools have the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.

The legislature has always prioritized public education, which accounts for almost half of the money spent from the general revenue fund. Legislators are updating the formula to make sure that state aid to local schools is adequate, in preparation for the regular session that begins in January.

Safety precautions necessitated by the coronavirus will greatly affect the meetings of the Senate and House Education Committees during the 2021 legislation session. The committee’s meetings are almost always filled to capacity, with people in attendance overflowing into the hallways.
 

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES MILITARY SERVICE OF LATE LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE COMMANDER
WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) honored the service and sacrifice of the late Colonel James (Jim) Elmer in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans. Elmer was a Vietnam veteran who also served as commander of the Little Rock Air Force Base during his 30-year career in the U.S. Air Force.

On March 12, 2020, Elmer shared stories of his military experience for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. Elmer passed away four months after this interview. This is a highlight of the conversation to celebrate and honor a life well-lived.

Elmer was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, in 1934. He learned the value of hard work at a young age, earning money as a laborer on local farms to help his family.

When describing his early years, Elmer humbly shared, “I got all the breaks there were.” Because he didn’t have money to pay for college, he anticipated going to work after graduating high school. Luckily, his principal knew he was destined for bigger and better things and encouraged Elmer to pursue a degree at the University of Illinois.

“I passed the test and went to school,” Elmer said. “They said you have to take ROTC.”

Elmer kept a busy schedule at the university, particularly with ROTC and FarmHouse fraternity. However, these obligations were put on hold when his mom passed away. “I stayed out of school for half a semester,” Elmer recalled. He considered quitting, but returned to campus and convinced his professors to let him take the final exams, even earning the top score in one of his classes.

Elmer graduated from the University of Illinois with a vocational agriculture bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

He had several assignments during his military career, one of which was serving as a navigator on C-130s during the Vietnam War. “Our job was to fly and take off when the sun went down and land when the sun came up,” Elmer said.
“We were making this place light up like daylight.” These operations became known as “Blind Bat.” The C-130 crews would drop flares to detect the enemy’s movements so bombers would know where to strike.

“We were shot at, many times, we came back with bullet holes,” Elmer recalled.

The dangers also existed within the plane. “I remember going to the back of the aircraft looking at all these drums, and the liquid was sloshing around,” Elmer said. That liquid was napalm.

After returning stateside, Elmer was assigned to teach ROTC at St. Louis University. “I got ROTC because I volunteered,” he said. “I had so many chances to do things. I ended up volunteering and having a good time, but I put my whole heart into it and I guess that was what made the difference.”

He served another tour overseas in southeast Asia. He continued his career in the Air Force and earned a master’s degree in secondary education from St. Louis University. In 1975, he was assigned to the Little Rock Air Force Base. He served with the 32nd Tactical Airlift Squadron, the 16th Tactical Airlift Squadron, and assumed the role of Deputy Commander of the 314th Combat Support Group before serving as Base Commander from October 1978 until May 1979.

His final Air Force assignment was at Norton Air Force Base in California. During his eight years there, which culminated as Commander of the Aerospace Audiovisual Service, he received his most treasured award, the Order of the Sword. This distinction is given by the enlisted troops to an officer.

Following his military service, he worked at Lockheed Martin and continued his commitment to the community. He was a member of the Military Order of the World Wars and helped establish the Central Arkansas Chapter. He went on to serve one term as National Commander. He also shared his patriotism with Arkansas fifth graders as a teacher of flag education and etiquette. “I’ve taught thousands of kids flag education and I’d do it all over again,” Elmer said.

Elmer was inducted into the Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame in 2018.

His wife of 63 years, Ruth, was beside him during every step of his military career. The couple had four children who blessed them with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

“Colonel Elmer spent his life serving others. He was a dedicated member of the Air Force and continued his commitment to his country even after he retired. His memories of his time in uniform are an important part of our history as much as his own story. I’m pleased we were able to capture his experiences so they can live on for future generations,” Boozman said.

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

COTTON STATEMENT ON SNAPBACK SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified the United Nations that the United States will seek the reinstatement of all U.N. sanctions on Iran:

“The Iranian regime was never serious about giving up its nuclear-weapons program, just as it was never serious about giving up terrorist bombings and rocket attacks across the Middle East. Iran used Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s disastrous nuclear deal as a ploy to enrich itself and stall for time. I commend President Trump for seeing through this charade and moving to end the last remnants of the deal.”

AUGUST 20, 2020

GOVERNOR AS HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 20, 2020
Statewide, 549 new cases of COVID-19 were reported during Gov. Asa Hutchinson's daily COVID-19 press conference on Thursday for a cumulative total of 54,765. Deaths increased by 10 to 641, but hospitalizations did not increase over the past 24 hours and remain at 499. A total of 6,898 tests were performed between Wednesday and Thursday with a positivity rate below 10 percent. So far this month, the state has performed over 115,000 COVID-19 tests and more than 10,000 antigen tests. The state has set a goal of 200,000 total tests this month. 

State officials announced the Arkansas Center for Health Improvements, also known as ACHI, will release additional statistics detailing the impact of COVID-19 within Arkansas school districts. This data rates the risk of COVID-19 to each school district based on the rate of infection per 10,000 people within the physical boundaries of that district. Dr. Joseph Thompson said districts with the biggest risk include those with 50 or more cases per 10,000 residents. Dr. Thompson detailed the new data during Thursday's press conference.
Secretary of Education Johnny Key spoke and exhibited a "screening kit" that would be made available to school districts to screen employees or students before entering facilities. Key emphasized that screening was not a requirement and would be left up to the school districts.
Arkansas Education Commissioner Key said the new data includes additional guidelines districts can follow if their risk level decreases or increases. He said the guidelines, however, will not be forced upon districts. Each district will have its own flexibility in deciding how to deal with their COVID-19 realities. 

State officials reported that an additional 792 people recovered from the virus since Wednesday. Recoveries now total 48,559 people since the start of the outbreak.
Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:
549 new cases
54,765 cumulative cases
10 new deaths (3 in nursing homes, 3 delayed reporting from July)
641 total deaths
499 currently hospitalized
108 on ventilators (down 6 from yesterday)
48,558 recoveries (up 792 from yesterday)
6,898 tests yesterday
10,358 antigen tests to date in August.

Counties with 20 or more new cases today were Pulaski with 51, Sebastian with 35, Jefferson with 29, Garland with 26, Crawford with 22, Craighead with 21, Mississippi with 20, and Pope with 20.
*These numbers will be updated later today.
In the US there has been 5,549,826 cumulative cases, 1,925,049 recoveries, and 173,626 deaths.
Globally there has been 22,497,390 cumulative cases, 14,378,514 recoveries, and 789,455 deaths.
To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/_cqwYiMx7EY

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/progra…/…/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/
In review, an additional 549 new cases of COVID-19 were detected between Wednesday and Thursday for a total of 54,765 since the outbreak first hit. Deaths increased by 10 to 641. Hospitalizations did not see a net change and remain at 499. Recoveries now total 48,558 Arkansans. Active cases continued to decline, dropping to 5,566. We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments.

 OUACHITA COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION TO MEET
The Ouachita County Election Commission will meet Monday August 24, at 2:00 PM, at the Courthouse, 145 Jefferson St SW. The purpose of the meeting is to draw for ballot position for contested races in the upcoming November General Election. Any interested persons may attend.

 

SAU STUDENT FOUND DEAD FROM APPARENT NATURAL CAUSES
MAGNOLIA -- Carrington Jackson, a 22-year-old Southern Arkansas University student from Winchester, AR passed away today in his residence hall from apparent natural causes.

“We are completely devastated by this horrible news,” said SAU President Trey Berry. “We are heartbroken for his family, friends and our entire SAU family.”

Per protocol, Carrington’s body will be sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.
 

UAMS TO PROVIDE COVID-19 DRIVE-UP TESTING AUG. 27 IN EL DORADO
LITTLE ROCK – Drive-up testing for COVID-19 will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Aug. 27 at Medical Center of South Arkansas, 700 West Grove St. in El Dorado. There will be no out-of-pocket cost for testing.  Up to 200 community members will be tested. 

The testing will be conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in cooperation with Medical Center of South Arkansas and the Blue and You Foundation.

You do not have to be a UAMS patient to be seen. This testing is for everyone who feels they need testing. Patients will get instructions on how to take care of themselves and their family at home. Test results will be returned either through an online patient portal, letter or phone call.

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from other people not in your household, and wear a mask in public. An online screening tool is available at uamshealth.com/healthnow. Phone screening is available through the UAMS Health hotline at 800-632-4502.

 UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

LOCAL ARTIST GARY HALL TO LEAD SAAC'S CORKS AND CANVAS THIS MONTH 
The South Arkansas Arts Center will host a virtual Zoom Corks and Canvas night with local artist Gary Hall on Thursday, August 27, 2020, from 6:00-8:00pm. Corks & Canvas is an art class for non-artists who are interested in experimenting with a new skill. Each class is conducted by a different art instructor, who takes the class through the step-by-step process to complete a work of art in three hours.
Hall is Director of Entertainment and Media Arts at South Arkansas Community College. He holds a BA in Radio, TV & Film from UALR and an MA in Theatre from Louisiana Tech. He began taking art classes at SAAC at age 8 and continued his training in two- and three-dimensional art at UALR. Hall's first art solo exhibit was entitled "The Song of the Oil and the Brush" and was held at SAAC in 2017. He works generally in pastels, acrylics and multimedia, along with found objects. His style is best described as eclectic with a flair for the dramatic, always with an eye toward "finding the beauty in decay."
All of the art supplies you need to create your watercolor will be available for pickup from. Curbside pickup on request. The fee for this special Corks & Canvas is $30, and you get to keep the watercolor set and extra paper.
If you want to be a part of this very different Corks & Canvas, just go online at saac-arts.org to make a reservation. Each of the three sessions is limited to 10 participants.
For more information, please call the South Arkansas Arts Center at 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.


Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE APPLAUDS OVERDUE ARKANSAS HATE CRIME LEGISLATION
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following statement following the announcement of a legislative proposal to make hate crime illegal during the 2021 legislative session.

“It is past time that Arkansas joins the rest of the country and takes an unequivocal stance against hate crimes,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I applaud the members of the General Assembly for taking action on this issue and I will work with any legislator to pass a law that ensures we will not tolerate hate in The Natural State.”

Rutledge has long been a supporter of hate crime legislation in Arkansas, one of only three states which has not adopted such a law. At the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association Summer Conference in August 2019, Rutledge again called on the legislature to act and applauded Governor Hutchinson’s efforts asking Arkansas lawmakers to do the same.

 
 

August 19, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S PRESS COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 19, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the the state is applying for $300 weekly enhanced unemployment compensation from FEMA. Hutchinson said the state was choosing to accept assistance from the federal government which will provide an additional $300 per week to Arkansans on unemployment. The $300 benefit was authorized through an executive order issued by President Donald Trump. The executive order said states could match that benefit with an additional $100 per week through state funding. Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said the state would not provide that additional $100 per week benefit. He said doing so would cost the state a minimum of $255 million. That's more than the state is willing to pay at this time.
 Arkansas' downward trend in new COVID-19 cases might have come to an end on Wednesday, although the state's seven-day rolling average of new cases remains relatively flat.Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported an additional 729 new cases of COVID-19 during his statewide COVID-19 Taskforce press conference Wednesday afternoon. That raises Arkansas' cumulative total of COVID-19 infections to 54,216 since the start of the pandemic. Deaths increased by 12 over the previous 24 hours to 631. Hospitalizations increased by seven to 499. Active positives increased slightly from the previous day to 5,919. New tests numbered 6,025. 

Despite a more than 300-case increase in new cases over the previous day, data shows Arkansas' seven-day rolling average of new cases remains relatively the same. As of Tuesday the rolling average was 440 new cases a day.

State officials reported on the status of investigations into Arkansas businesses and their compliance to COVID-19 health guidance and regulations. Hutchinson said of 1,200 business inspections performed over the previous six weeks, 90 percent were found in compliance. Of those found out of compliance, 17 percent were cited. The remainder were able to resolve the issues on the spot. That's according to Mike Moore, director of the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which is overseeing the inspections. As a result of the inspections, 113 violations were noticed with 17% being cited.
Replying to reporter's questions, the Governor did not clearly explain quarantine guidelines should a teacher or student be tested positive or how social distancing would be possible with 25 students in a classroom.

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero gave the following report of numbers:
729 new cases
54,216 cumulative cases
12 new deaths (3 were in nursing homes)
631 total deaths
5,919 active cases (38 in nursing homes, 961 in prisons, 4,920 in the community)
7 new hospitalizations
499 currently hospitalized
114 on ventilators (up 8 from yesterday)
696 new recoveries
47,666 total recoveries
6,025 tests yesterday.

Counties with 20 or more new cases today were Pulaski with 65, Jefferson with 56, Sebastian with 52, Craighead with 33, Washington with 32, Pope with 30, Benton with 29, Mississippi with 25, Garland with 25 and Johnson with 22.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 120 positive cases with 19 active positive cases, 98 recovered, 3 deaths, and 3803 negative tests. Union County show 589 positive cases with 62 active positive cases, 506 recovered, 21 deaths and 6247 negative tests. Columbia County shows 252 positive cases with 20 active positive cases, 220 recovered, 12 deaths and 3271 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 70 positive cases with 7 active positives, 61 recoveries, 2 deaths and 1233 negative tests. Calhoun County had 22 positive cases with 7 active cases, 15 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1147 negative tests.

In the US there has been 5,505,074 cumulative cases, 1,898,159 recoveries, and 172,418 deaths.
Globally there has been 22,218,441 cumulative cases, 14,156,538 recoveries, and 782,883 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/hiubkR-bz8U

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/progra…/…/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/

Again, Arkansas saw an additional 729 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday for a state total of 54,216. Of those, 5,919 are currently active. Deaths grew by 12 to 631 and hospitalizations by seven to 499. Recoveries increased to 47,666. 
We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments.
 

COVID-19 DRIVE-UP TESTING AUG. 20 IN MAGNOLIA TO BE PROVIDED BY UAMS
There will be a community drive-up testing clinic for COVID-19 be conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). There will be no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.  The Drive -up testing will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020 at the Magnolia Regional Medical Center located at 100 Hospital Drive in Magnolia.

 

NO SECOND CHANCES FOR IMPAIRED DRIVERS; ARKANSAS LAW ENFORCEMENT ON PATROL LOOKING FOR LABOR DAY HOLIDAY VIOLATORS
AUGUST 19, 2020
As Arkansans prepare to celebrate the final warm weather holiday of the year, law enforcement officers across the state are also making plans to be vigilant and on the lookout for drivers who choose to drink and drive.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is joining with law enforcement agencies nationwide to remind everyone about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Leading up to the coming Labor Day weekend holiday, NHTSA and Arkansas law enforcement agencies will be spreading the word about impaired driving dangers.  However, beginning August 21st and continuing through September 7th local and state law enforcement officers on patrol will hold the line with zero tolerance for drunk driving.

The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, will include increased state and national educational messaging about the consequences for drivers who choose to ignore drunk driving laws coupled with an increased presence of local officers, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers prepared to arrest drunk drivers.

“We want to see Labor Day celebrated, but celebrated safely,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “We must work together to keep our streets and highways clear of the dangers caused by drunk drivers.”

During the 2018 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. August 31 – 5:59 a.m. September 4), there were 439 traffic fatalities nationwide.  Forty-three percent of the fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC (blood alcohol concentration).  More than one-third (38%) of the fatalities involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC), and nearly one-fourth (24%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC).  Additionally, data indicates age is a particularly risky factor.  Among drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2018, 47% of those drivers were drunk, with BAC's of .08 or higher.

The goal of the operation Colonel Bryant said, “Is to work together and put an end to drunk driving, with zero tolerance, thereby saving lives.  Simply stated, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office recommends the following:
Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
Promptly contact law enforcement to report drunk drivers you see on the roadways
Always wear your seat belt
If you’re on a motorcycle, use protective safety equipment.

For more information on the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, visit TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on the ongoing “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign, visit TZDarkansas.org.

 

SAU’S BSN PROGRAM RANKED NO. 1 AMONG STATE-SUPPORTED 4-YEAR UNIVERSITIES IN ARKANSAS FOR NCLEX PASS RATE
MAGNOLIA – Southern Arkansas University is pleased to announce that the 2020 graduates of its Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program ranked first among state-supported four-year universities in Arkansas for first-time NCLEX pass rate, as reported by the State Board of Nursing.

To obtain licensure in Arkansas, graduates of the program are required to take the National Council for Licensure Exam-RN (NCLEX-RN) which ensures candidates are well prepared for entry-level practice. For the 2020 year, which runs from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, SAU nursing graduates achieved a 97.3 percent pass rate on their first attempt, according to Dr. Karen Landry, department chair.

Landry attributes the success of SAU’s nursing students to their dedication and hard work. She also praised nursing faculty and staff as well as the SAU Administration and Magnolia community for consistently supporting the program.

“We are so proud of our students,” Landry said. “They have the commitment necessary to successfully complete this program. Nursing curriculums are not easy. We are preparing these students for one of the most challenging and versatile careers available today. Family members entrust their loved ones to our care and patient safety is our highest priority. We are an essential member of any healthcare team and we take our responsibilities very seriously at SAU.”

The department has made great strides over the past year due to a grant awarded by the Blue & You Foundation. The grant, totaling $149,000, enhanced the SAU Nursing Science and Simulation Center by adding an automated medication dispensing system, iPads for every student and faculty/staff member, and faculty training on mental health issues. It has put the program on the front lines in responding to medication safety issues, prescription drug abuse and other medical addiction issues. For more information, please visit https://web.saumag.edu/nursing.
 

GRIFFIN ADVOCATES FOR APPROVAL OF NORTH LITTLE ROCK CHARTER SCHOOL
Says, he is 'proud to fight for parents and students to have a variety of educational choices and opportunities'
LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin testified today to the Charter School Authorizing Panel in support of Westwind School of Performing Arts. After speaking in favor of the proposed North Little Rock charter school, Griffin released the following statement: 

 "I am proud to fight for parents and students to have a variety of educational choices and opportunities. Research has shown the benefits of an arts-focused education, which stimulates children to learn creatively. Schools like Westwind School of Performing Arts are important because children have unique learning differences, and we need an educational system that is innovative and customizable to meet those needs."

August 18, 2020

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S PRESS COVID-19 UPDATE – AUGUST 18, 2020
The downward trend in new COVID-19 cases in Arkansas continued for another day, with state officials reporting another 410 cases on Tuesday during Gov. Asa Hutchinson's daily COVID-19 Taskforce press conference. 

That's two less than Monday and raises the cumulative total of coronavirus transmissions in Arkansas to 53,487. Sadly, the state also reported a relatively high number of new virus-related deaths on Tuesday. 16 additional Arkansans passed away due to illness caused by COVID-19. That raises the total since the start of the pandemic to 619. Hospitalizations also increased by 16 people to 492, with 122 of those currently on ventilators. A total of 4,675 new tests were performed over the previous 24 hours. The positivity rate of those tests continues to hover around 10 percent. Recoveries increased to 46,970. Active cases of COVID-19 continued another day of decline to 5,898.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, at this time Ouachita County is showing 118 positive cases with 24 active positive cases, 91 recovered, 3 deaths, and 3779 negative tests. Union County show 561 positive cases with 56 active positive cases, 485 recovered, 20 deaths and 6166 negative tests. Columbia County shows 244 positive cases with 22 active positive cases, 210 recovered, 12 deaths and 3253 negative tests.  Dallas County is showing 68 positive cases with 5 active positives, 61 recoveries, 2 death and 1214 negative tests. Calhoun County had 16 positive cases with 2 active cases, 14 recoveries, 0 deaths and 1110 negative tests.
Hutchinson announced the state was adding $100 million to the original $24 million grant fund to increase internet access across rural Arkansas. He said this is an action the state is focusing heavily on to ensure students will have a viable virtual learning option this fall.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, an infectious disease and control specialist with the Arkansas Department of Health, updated Arkansans on the nature of COVID-19. She provided a reminder that COVID-19 typically becomes contagious days before symptoms kick in.

Again, total COVID-19 cases increased by 410 to a cumulative total of 53,487. Deaths increased by 16 to 619. Hospitalizations also grew by 16 to a new total of 492. An additional 4,675 tests were performed on Monday. As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 46,970 Arkansans who have recovered from COVID-19 and 5,898 active cases. 
In the US there has been 5,457,877 cumulative cases, 1,865,580 recoveries, and 171,013 deaths.
Globally there has been 21,956,417 cumulative cases, 13,931,184 recoveries, and 775,706 deaths.

To view today's briefing, click on the link below.
https://youtu.be/9AWdVnCspp4

For additional information, click on one of the links below. The first is for Arkansas, the second for Oklahoma, the third is CDC, and the fourth is for community level data in Arkansas.
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/progra…/…/novel-coronavirus
https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/
https://www.cdc.gov/

For community level data in Arkansas:
https://achi.net/covid19/
We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments.

 

CADC TO DISTRIBUTE USDA COMMODITIES AUGUST 18 & 19 2020 IN OUACHITA COUNTY
Camden –Central Arkansas Development Council will distribute USDA Commodities in Ouachita County Tuesday, August 18, 2020 and Wednesday, August 19, 2020 in Camden. Distribution will begin at 9 am.

Food Items May Include: Dry Split Peas, Oat Circle Cereal, Orange Juice, Fruit Nut Mix, Can Pork, Raisins, Tomato Soup

In Ouachita County, commodities will be distributed at the following location:
Ouachita County: FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH Cullendale 1850 Cash Road SW, Camden
ID must be present in order to receive commodities.
All customers receiving commodities must present identification.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
 

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, August 20th at  Catherine's Bistro. The program will be presented by Andy Yung who will talk about Arkansas Game & Fish District 6.

 

TASK FORCE TO ADVANCE LAW ENFORCEMENT IN ARKANSAS SCHEDULES THURSDAY MEETING
The Task Force to Advance the State of Law Enforcement in Arkansas will convene at 10 AM, Thursday, August 20th at Arkansas State Police Administrative Headquarters, located at One State Police Plaza Drive, Little Rock.
The task force appointees, government personnel and representatives of the public who may attend are reminded the meeting will be conducted in a manner consistent with the directives issued by the Arkansas Department of Health, specifically health screening prior to entering the meeting, the use of respiratory masks and exercising social distancing.

NABLF LAUNCHES RESOURCE CENTER TO ADVANCE DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND EQUITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Washington, D.C. -- The National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation (NABLF) today announced the launch of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Resource Center, a website dedicated to helping media companies and industry professionals create and sustain a diverse and inclusive workplace.

The resource center connects organizations with associations and consultants with expert knowledge of d