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May 22, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This bill has three objectives to stop this problem:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 21, 2019

Arkansas AG logo

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

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

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

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

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

The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

May 20, 2019

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAY 17, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MAY 16, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Arkansas AG logo

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

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

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

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

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

MAY 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAY 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

The bill text can be found
here.

 

May 09, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

May 08, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ID must be present in order to receive commodities.

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

In accordance with the federal law and US Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington DC 20250.

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

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

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

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

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

MAY 7, 2019

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

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

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant pardons to the following people:

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

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

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

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

Stoney B. King (Greenbrier): Controlled Substance Act (C Felony) (CR 87-340), Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR 87-339), Theft by Receiving (C Felony) (CR 87-338), and Theft by Receiving (C Felony) (CR 87-341). This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1988 – Faulkner County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Janice Sparks (Camden): Theft Of Property over $2,500 (C Felony) (CR 2003-067).This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2003 – Ouachita County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Ricky E. Steele, Jr. (Laurel Hill, NC): Domestic Battering 3rd Degree (Misdemeanor) (CR 2006-02310); Domestic Battering 3rd Degree (Misdemeanor) (CR 2006-07057).This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (2006 and 2007 – Benton County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Prosecuting Attorney has raised objections to applicant's request.

Jerry A. Stone (Benton): Aggravated Assault (D Felony) (CR 1997-164-1).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1998 – Saline County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Jeffery Wallace (Mountain View): Manufacture Controlled Substance-Marijuana (C Felony) (CR 98-81). This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2000 – Stone County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

RoyShawn Wilson (Memphis, TN): Possession of Cocaine (C Felony) (CR 90-126).This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1990 – Crittenden County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

BOOZMAN URGES SUPPORT OF OPM NOMINEE
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR)urged members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to support the nomination of Dale Cabaniss to serve as the director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) while introducing her before the committee today.

 
 
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COTTON STATEMENT ON INCREASED

H-2B WORKER VISAS


Washington, D.C. - Just yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the decision to allow an additional 30,000 seasonal workers into the United States through the H-2B visa program:

"Our immigration system should prioritize the needs of U.S. citizens over cheap foreign labor. Allowing an additional 30,000 seasonal workers into the country forces Americans to compete for jobs against non-citizens who drag down wages. We should be setting immigration policies that support wage growth and employment for Americans instead of encouraging a race to the bottom by importing low-cost labor."

 


Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE SUBMITS COMMENTS TO THE FCC ON ILLEGAL SPOOFING 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge submitted comments on Monday on the Truth in Caller ID Act rulemaking process, which will enable the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to combat caller ID spoofing activities originating outside the United States.

“Arkansas has been leading the charge against these incessant and illegal spoofing calls that scam Arkansans out of thousands of dollars and are often directed to our most vulnerable citizens,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This proposed rule would expand the FCC’s authority to hold these bad actors accountable for the harm they cause.”

In March, Rutledge worked with legislators to enact stiffer penalties for illegal robocalls and spoofing, which faced no opposition. Arkansas has joined 49 other states and 4 U.S. territories in sending a letter to the U.S. Senate encouraging the passage of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act.

In February, Rutledge also sent a letter to the FCC demanding they take more aggressive measures to require telecoms to use existing technology to identify and stop illegal robocalls.

Rutledge joined the coalition with 42 other states to submit the comments.

May 06, 2019

UNION COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ARSON AND JURY TAMPERING AFTER ATTEMPT TO BURN WILDLIFE OFFICER’S TRUCK

EL DORADO – A Union County man has pleaded guilty to attempted arson and jury tampering in a case involving an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer’s truck. Harold S. Otwell, 47, of El Dorado, pleaded guilty to two felonies this week after he attempted to burn an AGFC wildlife officer’s truck.Otwell received 10 years for the attempted arson and five years for the jury tampering.

The attempted arson was discovered June 24, 2018, after the Union County wildlife officer noticed an oily substance and indications that someone had attempted to light the liquid on his state-issued vehicle. The officer’s vehicle was parked outside his residence when the incident occurred. Additional evidence showed that Otwell had attempted to contact one of the jurors in his case.

The investigation included the AGFC’s Enforcement Division, Criminal Investigation Division of the Arkansas State Police and Union County Sheriff's Office. Evidence was gathered from the scene and forwarded to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for analysis.

Maj. Brad Young, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Enforcement Division Assistant Chief, said he believes the attempted arson was in retaliation for actions taken previously by a wildlife officer in the performance of his job. “This was a very serious felony,” Young explained. “We’re pleased to see that something of this magnitude results in a substantial sentence,” he added.

CAMDEN NOON LIONS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lions Club will meet on Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Sharla Orren.  She will be speaking about the Selective Service.

 

MAY 3, 2019

 

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
DISORDERLY CONDUCT

On April 29th at 2:22 p.m. Officer Frank Remick was dispatched to 195 Ratcliff in reference to a disturbance. Upon arrival, the Officer heard a woman screaming at 180 Ratcliff, from her front porch to the reporting person. The woman located at 180 Ratcliff was identified as Sirmammus Howard. Howard continued to screamed profanities at the reporting party while on-lookers stood outside their homes.

Officer Remick advised Howard to stop mouthing and attempted to gather information from the reporting party. Howard continued to interrupt and curse while the other woman attempted to give her explanation of the reason for the call. Officer Jacob Vanassche and Sgt. Sharlotte Elliott arrived to hear Howard continuing with her language and was once again warned of her language.

After multiple attempts to speak with the reporting party, Howard became too disruptive and Officer Vanassche and Sgt. Elliott placed Howard in custody. Officer Vanassche transported her to the Camden Police Department where booking procedures were completed. Howard was issued a criminal citation, a District Court date and transported to Ouachita County Detention Center for holding.

LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT
DRIVING WITHOUT A DRIVER'S LICENSE
NO PROOF OF INSURANCE
FAILURE TO YIELD TO ONCOMING TRAFFIC
RECKLESS DRIVING
DISREGARDING A STOP SIGN

On May 1st at 3:03 p.m. Officer Ashley Watts, was dispatched to the area of Warren and Jenkins in reference to an accident. She arrived at the scene and made contact with Zachary Toms. Officer Watts observed Toms sitting on the side of the road on Warren Street. His vehicle, a white 2011 Honda Accord, was on the side of the road in the brush. Toms stated his brakes stopped working at the stop sign located at Jenkins and Warren. Toms also explained this was a secondary accident as he had just struck a pickup truck on Jenkins near Baker. He claimed he had to "throw the vehicle into reverse to stop" and that was how he ended up in the brush on the side of the road. However, after Officer Ben Opelt spoke with the driver of the vehicle he struck while on Jenkins Street, Toms admitted to "freaking out" because he did not have a driver's license or insurance on the vehicle and attempting to leave the scene of the accident. There was functional damage to the front of Toms vehicle, the rear driver side tire was flat and the front and rear bumpers were no longer attached to the vehicle. The front bumper of Toms' vehicle was located on Jenkins Street near Goza. Toms vehicle was removed from the scene by Rothwell's tow service.

Officer Watts observed Knights vehicle, a green 2006 Ford F150 pick-up truck parked on Warren Street with a flat back tire. Knight stated he was driving South on Jenkins and as he approached Baker Street, Toms pulled onto Jenkins from Baker heading North bound. Knight stated Toms made a wide turn onto Jenkins, striking the driver side rear quarter panel and tire with his driver side-front bumper. Knight said Toms backed back up onto Baker and then proceeded North bound on Jenkins toward Warren at a high rate of speed. Knight said he said he also backed onto Baker and then proceeded north bound on Jenkins toward Warren to catch up to the vehicle that had struck him. He said as he approached the intersection, he asked a lady, who was standing outside, which way Toms went and she pointed to the brush on the opposite side of the road on Warren. He said he observed Toms walking away from his vehicle approaching Monticello. He said he drove down Warren to Monticello and convinced Toms to return to the scene. Knight stated he drove onto Monticello and turned around back toward the intersection of Jenkins and Warren. Knight stated that Toms apologized to him numerous times. There appeared to be cosmetic damage to the rear driver side quarter panel of Knight's vehicle and the tire on the rear driver side of the vehicle to be flat. Knight had no injuries to report at the time of the incident and did not wish to be seen by EMS.

Officer Watts with a resident on Jenkins, who stated she was outside her residence walking to her vehicle at the time of the accident. She said she heard him before she saw him, as he was dragging his bumper. The womanstated she observed the white Honda Accord traveling at a high rate of speed down Jenkins, dragging the front bumper of the vehicle. She said he was driving too fast to make the stop at the intersection of Jenkins and Warren and she watched the vehicle leave the roadway. She said she observed Toms exit the vehicle and start walking West on Warren toward Monticello. She said Knight then drove to the intersection and asked where the vehicle went. The woman stated that she pointed to across the street on Warren and told Knight that the driver took off walking and pointed toward Monticello Street. She said Knight turned onto Warren and confronted Toms, telling him to come back to the vehicle until the authorities arrived. She said she observed Toms walk back to the vehicle and Knight turned his vehicle around and drove back to the intersection of Jenkins and Warren.

Toms was found at fault for the collision. He failed to yield to oncoming traffic while turning from Baker onto Jenkins causing him to strike Knight's vehicle. He then drove recklessly to attempt to leave the scene of the accident. He disregarded the stop sign at Jenkins and Warren while traveling at a high rate of speed and left the roadway causing him to end up in the brush. Toms was driving without a valid driver's license and had no proof of insurance in the vehicle at the time of the incident. Toms was taken into custody and transported to the Camden Police Department without incident where booking procedures were completed. Toms was later released with a Criminal Citation for Leaving the Scene of an Accident. He was also issued Traffic Citation for Driving Without a Driver's License, No Proof of Insurance, Failure to Yield to Oncoming Traffic, Reckless Driving, and Disregarding a Stop Sign. Toms was given a court in District Court.

CRIMINAL TRESPASS
On May 1st at 8:36 a.m. Officer Nathan Lane was dispatched to Pine Hills Nursing and Rehab (900 Magnolia Road) in reference to Billy Holmes being on the premise and he was banned. Upon arrival the Officer made contact with the reporting party who said Holmes walked into the building and went to his mother's room. She went on to say said after Holmes walked in she immediately called for police assistance. She said Holmes has been reported to be in the business over the weekend, but Police could not locate him.

Holmes was still on scene. He taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. Booking procedures were completed. Holmes was later released with Criminal a District of Camden court date.

SHOPLIFTING
On May 1st at 12:28 p.m. Officer Ashley Watts, was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to a shoplifter detained. Upon arrival contact was made with the asset protection manager in the office where he had Rynn Johnson detained.

The Officer viewed surveillance footage of Johnson at the self-checkout and was able to see Johnson put several clothing items into a bag without scanning them. Wal-Mart provided Officer Watts with an itemized receipt showing the value of the items she intended on stealing to be $50.02. After Johnson filled out the necessary paperwork for Wal-Mart she was taken into custody and transported to the Camden Police Department without incident. Booking procedures were completed. Johnson had a family member come to the station to pay the $400 bond and she was released with a citation number and given a District Court date.

SAAC TO SHOWCASE EL DORADO HIGH SCHOOL AIE WORKS
The South Arkansas Arts Center will host the El Dorado High School student artist and AIE project entitled "It's Your Journey! How Will You Maintain Momentum in Your life?" May 7-14. An artist's reception will be held on Thursday, May 9, 5:30-7:00 pm to honor all the students who participated. 

The Arts in Education (AIE) program is designed to strengthen the role of the arts in preK-12 educational settings by fostering participation in the arts as an integral part of life and the basic education process. Artists are based in a school or a community organization where they work with a site coordinator and key staff members to develop programs and activities for the students.

The AIE program in El Dorado High School assisted in and developed a project designed by EHS Visual Art 1 teacher Mrs. Katie Harwell. "Funded by the El Dorado Education Foundation, the South Arkansas Arts Center, the Arkansas Arts Council Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the project focused on the struggle of high school students, grades 9-12, to find their way into college and adulthood after they have finished high school," said Maria Villegas, AIE artist. "This was a wonderful opportunity for students to get in contact with the deepest parts of themselves, looking for answers to the questions of where they are going and how they are going to get there."

Teachers who worked on this project included Katie Harwell, AIE artist Maria Villegas, AIE artist Jorge Villegas and English department coordinator Jennifer Murphy .

This project provided Visual Art students with an exciting new way to integrate literacy and focus on their futures. Students identified obstacles they might encounter in life, and they made plans to maintain a positive attitude during times of transition. The art of linoleum block printing was mastered as each student designed a print that illustrated a tangible way they plan to maintain positive momentum in their lives. The students analyzed poetry that focused on challenges, choices, and perseverance. Some students wrote poetry about challenges they have faced. Others designed watercolor collages and paintings that illustrated figurative images of ways they plan to keep moving forward. 

Designing note cards was a fun way for the young artists to practice carving. Students were asked to illustrate an image from El Dorado. This was also an effort to help the students realize the beauty and originality of our town. Their drawings were then turned into linoleum block prints. They used linoleum carvers, a printing press, and block ink to create the prints. The students then attached the final prints to watercolor cards, to produce a unique stationery that is now for sale to the public.

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


GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON, ADE ANNOUNCE FIRST RECIPIENT OF ARKANSAS COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
LITTLE ROCK —
Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Education are excited to announce that Karma Turner, a computer science teacher at Lake Hamilton High School in Pearcy, was selected as the first recipient of the Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year award. The announcement was made at a press conference today at the Capitol.

“The creativity and enthusiasm of these five stellar teachers is evident in classrooms around the state. These teachers, and so many like them, are the reason we are on the national map as a leader in computer-science education,” Governor Hutchinson said. “It is a pleasure to recognize these finalists and honor Ms. Karma Turner as our state’s first Computer Science Educator of the Year. These educators are preparing our students for a good career, and in the process, they are ensuring Arkansas will have a solid workforce that will keep our economy strong."

"Since the launch of the Computer Science Initiative, we have made tremendous progress in building a nationally-recognized program that serves as a model for all states," Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. "We could not have achieved this success without the guidance and hard work from outstanding teachers who are devoted to their students each and every day. The five finalists not only serve as leaders at their schools and across the state, they also serve as models of excellence around the country. I commend each of them for their commitment to education, and I congratulate Ms. Turner for receiving this high honor. Through their commitment to education, we are leading the nation in student-focused education."

Five state finalists, including Turner, were recognized today at the press conference.

  • Carl Frank, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts in Hot Springs
  • Josefina Perez, Springdale High School in the Springdale School District
  • Brenda Qualls, Bryant High School in the Bryant School District
  • Kimberly Raup, Conway High School in the Conway School District
  • Karma Turner, Lake Hamilton High School in the Lake Hamilton School District

Turner was selected through a rigorous review process. The #CSforAR / #ARKidsCanCode specialist team reviewed all 30 applications and selected the five state finalists, which were recognized today. Education and computer science representatives then reviewed the finalists’ applications and selected Turner as the winner. Each review group considered the overall quality of each application; the applicants’ vision for and understanding of the value of computer science education; their understanding of how their implementation of computer science education exemplifies quality teaching; and the current and long-term impact on computer science education locally, statewide, and nationally.

During the press conference, each finalist received $2,500 and a recognition plaque, with Turner receiving an additional $12,500 and a 2019 Computer Science Educator of the Year trophy. The awards were provided through funding from the ADE Office of Computer Science, a special project unit formed to implement Hutchinson’s Computer Science Initiative.

Arkansas is recognized nationally and internationally as leading the computer science education movement through Hutchinson’s #CSforAR / #ARKidsCanCode initiative. To learn more, visit http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/special-projects/arkansas-computer-science-initiative.

BOOZMAN, COTTON SECURE ADDITIONAL PROTECTIONS FOR ARKANSAS CATFISH INDUSTRY
WASHINGTON-
U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton applauded a decision to impose antidumping duties on Vietnamese catfish exporters, a move that will help ensure Arkansas and all U.S. catfish producers can compete on a more level playing field. This action by the International Trade Administration (ITA) follows concerns raised by Boozman, Cotton and six other senators last fall.

The ITA this week issued its final determination on antidumping rates to impose on Vietnamese catfish exporters. The ITA found that Vietnamese firms continue to violate U.S. antidumping laws and the agency imposed higher penalties on offending export companies—some penalties as high as $3.87 per kilogram on imported frozen catfish fillets.

“This decision is good for Arkansas’s catfish producers who supply a safe, high-quality product for American consumers,” Boozman said. “When other countries dump inferior products in the U.S. market at prices below the cost of production, American farmers and consumers are the ones who lose. I will continue working to level the playing field for the domestic catfish industry. Our farmers can compete with anyone in the world, but they cannot compete against foreign governments who do not play by the rules.”

“Arkansas catfish farmers shouldn’t be forced out of business by foreign companies who cheat the system. These steep penalties will make those firms think twice before illegally dumping their inferior fish products into the U.S. market,” Cotton said.

In October 2018, Boozman and Cotton sent a letter to the Department of Commerce that raised concerns regarding questionable ITA actions in assessing antidumping duties on Vietnamese companies exporting frozen catfish fillets to the United States. A preliminary ITA determination issued in September 2018 recommended only nominal penalties on these companies. However, congressional interest in the matter prompted further investigation of the companies’ dumping practices, resulting in higher penalties being assessed for violations.

The ITA determination, combined with ongoing U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) catfish inspection, are providing U.S. catfish producers with a fairer competitive market overall and ensuring that stringent food safety requirements are being met.

BOOZMAN, COTTON APPLAUD ANTIDUMPING DETERMINATION ON IMPORTED VIETNAMESE CATFISH
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton applauded a decision to impose antidumping duties on Vietnamese catfish exporters, a move that will help ensure Arkansas and all U.S. catfish producers can compete on a more level playing field.This action by the International Trade Administration (ITA) follows concerns raised by Boozman, Cotton and six other senators last fall. 

The ITA this week issued its final determination on antidumping rates to impose on Vietnamese catfish exporters. The ITA found that Vietnamese firms continue to violate U.S. antidumping laws and the agency imposed higher penalties on offending export companies—some penalties as high as $3.87 per kilogram on imported frozen catfish fillets.  

“This decision is good for Arkansas’s catfish producers who supply a safe, high-quality product for American consumers,” Boozman said. “When other countries dump inferior products in the U.S. market at prices below the cost of production, American farmers and consumers are the ones who lose. I will continue working to level the playing field for the domestic catfish industry. Our farmers can compete with anyone in the world, but they cannot compete against foreign governments who do not play by the rules.” 

“Arkansas catfish farmers shouldn’t be forced out of business by foreign companies who cheat the system. These steep penalties will make those firms think twice before illegally dumping their inferior fish products into the U.S. market,” Cotton said. 

In October 2018, Boozman and Cotton sent a letter to the Department of Commerce that raised concerns regarding questionable ITA actions in assessing antidumping duties on Vietnamese companies exporting frozen catfish fillets to the United States. A preliminary ITA determination issued in September 2018 recommended only nominal penalties on these companies. However, congressional interest in the matter prompted further investigation of the companies’ dumping practices, resulting in higher penalties being assessed for violations. 

The ITA determination, combined with ongoing U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) catfish inspection, are providing U.S. catfish producers with a fairer competitive market overall and ensuring that stringent food safety requirements are being met.  

 
 
 
 

May 02, 2019

TEEN FATALITY NEAR SMACKOVER
According to the Arkansas State Police, a Smackover teen was killed and another person was injured.

According to the State Police report about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, 18-year-old Jimmy Mitchell was driving a 2008 GMC east on Arkansas 160 at Arkansas 7 near Smackover. The teen was attempting to cross Highway 7. He pulled out in front a truck that hit his vehicle's front-right side.

Mitchell suffered fatal injuries, police said. The truck was driven by a 30-year-old Pine Bluff man who suffered unknown injuries.

The weather was clear and the roads were dry at the time of the accident.

RAYTHEON AWARDED CONTRACT
Raytheon Co. Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a $200,234,192 firm-fixed-price contract for procurement of M982A1 Excalibur Ib containerized projectiles. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona; Healdsburg, California; Karlskoga, Sweden; East Camden, Arkansas; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Southway, Plymouth, United Kingdom; Glenrothes, Scotland, United Kingdom; Cincinnati, Ohio; Farmington, New Mexico; McAlester, Oklahoma; Joplin Missouri; Salt Lake City, Utah; Gilbert, Arizona; Lansdale, Pennsylvania; and Santa Ana, California, with an estimated completion date of April 29, 2024. Fiscal 2017, 2018 and 2019 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $200,234,192 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (W15QKN-19-C-0017).

PROCLAMATION OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH
 LITTLE ROCK—Bearden Mayor Ginger Bailey has declared May as Preservation Month. “At the Department of Arkansas Heritage, we focus on preservation year-round,” said Stacy Hurst, state historic preservation officer and director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “But during the month of May, we highlight the richness of our state’s historic sites and structures, especially those listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We encourage the citizens of our state to join with us in celebrating Preservation Month this May.”

A list of National Register properties can be found at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/Historic-Properties/National-Register/search-national-register-listings    

The proclamation states that historic preservation is an effective tool for managing growth, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering local pride and maintaining community character while enhancing livability; and that historic preservation is relevant for communities across the nation, both urban and rural, and for Americans of all ages, walks of life and ethnic backgrounds.

According to the National Park Service website which oversees the National Register of Historic Places, “During the month of May many events are planned to promote historic places for the purpose of instilling national and community pride, promoting heritage tourism, and showing the social and economic benefits of historic preservation. Thousands of people participate annually in Preservation Month celebrations.” The National Trust for Historic Preservation established the proclamation program in 1973, to encourage awareness of preservation across the country. The event is traditionally co-sponsored by preservation groups, such as Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and the Department of Arkansas Heritage, as well as state historical societies, and business and civic organizations across the country.

Citizens are encouraged to visit historic places near them, include historic places in lesson plans, seek out preservation programs, and more. You can find local events through your county historic societies and state-wide programs at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/event-list.

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


2019 COUNTY FARM FAMILIES OF THE YEAR NAMED
LITTLE ROCK – County farm families for the 72nd annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program have been selected.

The county winners will be visited by a set of judges to determine the eight district winners, who will be announced June 17. They will be visited again by a different set of judges in July to determine a state winner, who will be announced Dec. 12 at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon in North Little Rock.

The county winners are:
East Central District
Lee – Jeff Hickman, Marianna
Lonoke – I.F. Anderson Farms Inc., Lonoke
Monroe – Curtis Kirkpatrick Family, Holly Grove
Prairie – Chris Berg Family, Stuttgart
Pulaski – Jeremy, Emily and Benjamin Bemis, Little Rock
St. Francis – Hobbs Family, Colt
White – Lester and Ouida Cossey Family with Flying C Ranch, Searcy
Woodruff – Johnny W. and Jennifer Taylor, McCrory

North Central District
Baxter – Wes Henderson Family, Mountain Home
Cleburne – Eldon and Anne Fry, Quitman
Fulton – Justin and Rachel Luther
Independence – Kenny and Edwina Hurley, Cushman
Izard – Bo and Whitney Lord Family, Evening Shade
Marion – Mike and Darcy King Family, Yellville
Searcy – Triple T Cattle Company, Marshall
Sharp – The Nathan and Eddie Walling Families, Cave City
Stone – Jerry and Barbara Davis, Marcello
Van Buren – Alan and Angela Mahan with Rabbit Ridge Farms, Bee Branch

Northeast District
Clay – David Hatcher Family, Corning
Craighead – Heath and Mari Ann McGaughey, Lake City
Crittenden – Cooper Morrison, Earle
Cross – Matthews Sweet Potato Farm, Wynne
Greene – Pillow Fish Farm and Family, Paragould
Jackson – Young’s Generation Three Partnership Farms, Tuckermanan
Lawrence – Steve Graham, Alicia
Mississippi – Robinson Melon Farms, Leachville
Poinsett – Jason and Tabithia Mullins, Trumann
Randolph – Weitkamp Farms Partnership, Pocahontas

Northwest District
Benton – Kevin and Jacqueline Smith Family, Decator
Boone – Jeff and Debbie Atkinson, Harrison
Carroll – Josh and Tonya McMahan, Green Forest
Crawford – Richard and Earlene Boone, Natural Dam
Franklin – Michael and Kasey Post, Altus
Johnson – Tanner and Amy Storment, Flat Rock
Madison – Greg Wheeler, Combs
Newton – Gene Davidson Family, Kingston
Washington – Pitts Family, Lincoln

Southeast District
Arkansas, N. – Chris and Heather Simpson, Stuttgart
 Arkansas, S. – Gary and Meagan Padget, Almyra
Ashley – Brad Graham, Portland
Desha – Tony Wells, McGehee
Drew – Eubanks Farms, Wilmar
Jefferson – Dewayne Goldmon Family with Dell-Cam Farm, Inc., Pine Bluff
Lincoln – Johnathan and Sara Bottoms, Gould
Phillips – John and Kaleb Hall, Elaine

Southwest District
 Bradley – Hamilton Farms, Hermitage
Calhoun – Allen Primm, Hampton
Hempstead – Donald and B.J. Hampton, Hope
Lafayette – Jamie and Kalen Knighton, Lewisville
Little River – La Voice Family, Ashdown
Nevada – Mike Cottingham, Prescott
Union – Charles and Debbie Foot, Tinsley

West Central District
Clark – Stockton Family Farm, Okolona
Cleveland – Gary and Melody Spears, Rison
Dallas – Michael and Cecilia Berry with Bluebird Farm, Sparkman
Grant – Chad and Katie Harper, Prattsville
Hot Spring – Chris and Piper Nelson, Malvern
Howard – The Greene Family, Athens
Saline – Renae Breckling, Benton
Sevier –Josh and Twyla Morris and Marilyn Morris, Gillham 

“The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program recognizes great farmers and ranchers each year,” said Randy Veach, president, Arkansas Farm Bureau. “These families are involved in noble and important work to provide food, fiber and shelter to the world.

“Congratulations to these great farm families. We are pleased to honor their success, stewardship and commitment to Arkansas agriculture.”

Since 1947, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program has served as a vehicle to recognized outstanding farm families throughout the state. The objectives of the Farm Family of the Year program is,
To give recognition and encouragement to farm families who are doing an outstanding job on their farm and in their community;
To gain recognition of the importance of agriculture in the community and state;
To disseminate information on improved farm practices and management.

The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with the selection of top farm families in each county and culminates in December with the selection of the state Farm Family of the Year who will then go on to represent Arkansas at the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. Arkansas has had two overall winners, Brian and Nan Kirksey of Clark County in 2008 and Wildy Family Farms of Mississippi County in 2016. All winners are judged on their farm production, efficiency, management, family life and rural/community leadership.

Sponsors of the Farm Family of the Year program are Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, and the three Farm Credit agencies that serve Arkansas: AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas and Midsouth Farm Credit. Additionally, support for the program is provided by the Arkansas Agriculture Department, Arkansas Department of Career Education, Arkansas Press Association, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development.

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T GET HUNG UP BY PHONE SCAMMERS
LITTLE ROCK
– Scammers are continuing to find ways to steal Arkansans’ Social Security numbers. Many of these attempts begin with a robocall requesting a call back and stating that the consumer’s Social Security number has been found, often at the scene of a crime. The person on the other end of the phone threatens the consumer by stating if they do not return the call they will be sent to jail.
 
“Never give out or confirm personal information, such as your Social Security number, to someone you don’t know,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Con artists are very good at convincing consumers to turn over personal information, sometimes even turning forceful or threatening. We must all remain vigilant and not turn over any information, especially through an unsolicited phone call.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission released the following tips to use if someone calls claiming to be from a government agency or have your personal information:

  • Use due diligence to confirm the identity and legitimacy of the person on the other end of the phone by hanging up and finding the phone number from an old bill or the organization’s website before giving or confirming any information.
  • Be cautious of callers using organization names similar to existing agencies. Scammers use internet technology to spoof area codes, so although it may seem the call is from Washington, D.C., for example, it could originate from anywhere in the world.
  • The Social Security Administration and other government agencies have warned about these scams and suggest contacting that agency directly.

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

MAY 1, 2019

10 SCHOOLS, 1 DISTRICT SELECTED FOR THIRD YEAR OF PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES AT WORK® PROJECT 
Camden Fairview Intermediate School Included
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education, in partnership with Solution Tree, a national professional development provider, announces the third cohort selected for the Professional Learning Communities at Work® project.

Ten schools and one district from around the state were selected for the 2019-2020 school year and join the 19 schools and three districts chosen in 2017 and 2018. As with the first two cohorts, each school and district in the third cohort will receive up to 50 days of training, coaching, and support to build and sustain a strong culture of collaboration that will enhance student learning.

Those chosen completed a rigorous application and evaluation process. A panel of education professionals reviewed all applications, and the ADE selected the following schools and district to receive support from Solution Tree. 

  • Buffalo Island Central School District
  • Camden Fairview Intermediate in the Camden Fairview School District
  • Darby Junior High in the Fort Smith School District
  • Eureka Springs Elementary in the Eureka Springs School District
  • Harrisburg Middle School in the Harrisburg School District
  • Lake Hamilton Intermediate in the Lake Hamilton School District
  • Mabelvale Elementary in the Little Rock School District
  • Mills University Studies High School in the Pulaski County Special School District
  • Park Avenue Elementary in the Stuttgart School District
  • Pinewood Elementary in the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District
  • Wonderview Elementary in the Wonderview School District

"I am proud of the schools and district selected to join the PLC at Work project this year," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. "Each year, this project yields fruit by providing educators with more tools to support our students and enhancing student-focused education. I look forward to seeing great things from the third group of schools selected to take part in this initiative."

"We are extremely pleased with the success of this project, now in its third year," ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. "From increased student growth and achievement to improved collaboration and culture, the PLC at Work process is a model for success here in Arkansas. We are confident that those selected for the third cohort will achieve the same results. Through programs like this, we are leading the nation in student-focused education."

"All of us at Solution Tree are delighted to see the accomplishments and progress of the first and second cohorts of schools and welcome the third cohort to our ongoing collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Education," Solution Tree President and COO Ed Ackerman said. "We look forward to continuing our mission of helping Arkansas' educators and students alike benefit from the transformative process of implementing professional learning communities in schools across the state."

The 2019-2020 schools and district will be matched with a certified PLC at Work associate from Solution Tree and receive intensive job-embedded training, observation, and coaching. The schools and district will create action plans that focus on increasing student achievement through aligned curriculum, formative assessments, and proven instructional strategies. During the second year, the schools and district will deepen their understanding and focus on implementing multi-tiered systems of support, followed by strengthening their systems and sustaining the process in year three.

Act 427 of 2017, which amended Arkansas Code Ann. § 6-20-2305(b)(5), provides funding for the project. For more information, please visit the ADE website at https://bit.ly/2ugELNw and follow this project on social media at #PLC4AR.

CABS CLASSES FOR MAY
NEW! Drive Business Results with Google Ads (LIVESTREAM)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Celebrate National Small Business Week with a livestream on the fundamentals of advertising with Google Ads. We'll explore popular campaign types and how each help your business connect with local customers online, promote special offers, and grow brand awareness.
What local businesses can expect from the livestream:

  • Real-time guidance from Google experts
  • Details on different advertising campaign types
  • Instructions on how to increase leads, sales, and brand awareness
  • How-tos for first-time users on choosing goals and measuring success

 

Facebook Business Pages: Beyond the "Likes" (New Hands-On Learning Experience)
Monday, May 20, 2019 | 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Turn your Facebook business page into a strategic advantage. Along with an overview of Facebook basics, get tips for managing your page, setting goals, measuring content reach, and analyzing post effectiveness. Bring your smart phone, tablet, or laptop for hands-on learning! *Please call or email us if you would like a computer provided at the event for you*

SAAC TO PRESENT SPRING STUDENT SHOWCASE MAY 3RD AND 4TH
Please join the South Arkansas Arts Center as they present the Spring Student Showcase, put on by the art and music classes at SAAC, on Friday, May 3 and the ballet classes on Saturday, May 4, 2019.

The festivities begin Friday with an art reception from 5:00-6:00pm in the Price and Merkle Galleries to honor the art students of Maria Villegas, Gay Bechtelhimer, Gaby Juarez and Mike Means, who will have their pieces on exhibit.

Also on Friday night in the Callaway Theatre, Amy Allen's Glee will perform their favorite Disney songs onstage in the Callaway Theater at 6:00pm. Followed by Charlsie Falcon's voice and piano students who will perform their recital pieces beginning at 7:00pm.

On Saturday, May 4, Stephanie Lowrey's ballet students will present "Peter and the Wolf" twice that afternoon, with the first performance at 2:30 and again at 3:30. Instructors Stephanie Lowrey, Cami Lowrey and Bekah Gunter are excited about this year's ballet. Based on the traditional story, each character dances to a unique instrument's melody. Free tickets will be distributed to help spread audience between the two shows. Please call the SAAC office to reserve yours in advance.

Kelly Campbell, SAAC's Arts Academy Administrator said, "Our student showcase is always one of my favorite events at SAAC. From the art students' beautiful, original work to the gleeks, from the voice and piano to the original ballet performances. . .it all adds up to a wonderful weekend!"

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

SAAC TO HOLD “ACTING THE SONG WORKSHOP ON MAY 18TH
Kristen Blossom, visiting director for this summer's production of "Hunchback of Notre Dame" will lead a workshop delving into the art of acting...while singing! Blossom, assistant director of acting and directing at Louisiana Tech University, will give a crash course in how to discover and explore the story at the heart of each song in her "Acting the Song Workshop". Scheduled for Saturday, May 18, the free workshop runs from 1-4pm. Please call the SAAC office to register for this fun and enlightening experience.

Whether you want to delve deeper into a performance piece, hone your craft as an actor, or get prepared for "Hunchback" auditions, Blossom will help you unpack and understand your song you're your character.

"Every song tells a story! Once you start to really understand what your character wants, then you'll organically start to find natural physicality, power and confidence in your performance," Blossom said.

Together with "Hunchback" music director Brent Miller as musical accompanist, Blossom will guide the group through exercises, as well as working one-on-one with individuals. Come prepared with sheet music if possible and have at least 32 bars of your song memorized.

Thanks to support from the Homer and Gladys Rogers Entertainment and Educational Series, the workshop is free to participants.

"The Rogers Series committee was delighted to bring this workshop to SAAC, because it is the perfect lead-in to our summer musical," said Jay Brooks, Rogers committee chair. "We at SAAC are fortunate to have the Rogers Fund, and we thank the family for their generosity in providing us the ability to sponsor this workshop and other worthy programs."

Following the workshop, Blossom and Miller will be in the gallery beginning at 4 pm with the other members of the creative team to visit with the public at the Congregation and Choir Mixer.

Please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 to reserve space or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. for more information. SAAC is located at 110 East Main Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

SAAC's PRICE GALLERY TO FEATURE YOUNG ARTIST LILY PHILLIPS IN MAY The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to host "one of its own", Lily Phillips, in her very first solo art exhibit, which will run from May 1-28, 2019. The show, entitled "A Morsel of My Being", will be on exhibit in the Price Gallery. Paintings, fiber art, design sketches, and costumes will be on display. An artist's reception will be held on May 18 at 2:00pm. Gallery viewing hours are Monday- Friday 9:00-5:00.

Seventeen-year-old Lily Phillips is what some would call a "Jack of All Trades", trying out and mastering a host of artistic pursuits at a young age. Phillips began drawing at age 5. A few years later, she started sewing - just basic things at first, but as she became more proficient, she began making dolls and their clothes, as well as quilts.

Drawing is still her favorite way to express herself, though she has also picked up clothing and costume design, ukulele and banjo, acting, and story-telling. "I think drawing is the center of all my stuff that I do because I've been doing that the longest," she said. She also paints, mostly landscapes, but has recently dabbled in the portrait world.

Lily recently had the opportunity to act as costume designer for SAAC's Teen Drama Club's production of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." She had previously been a part of the costume crew for other productions, including "Fiddler on the Roof," "Music Man," "The Crucible" and "Into the Woods," but this was her first chance to be the primary costume designer for a production.

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

STUDY: ARKANSAS’ WESTERN COUNTIES HAVE HIGHER UNINSURED RATES
by Steve Brawner – Today’s Business and Politics
Counties along the state’s western edge had higher uninsured rates among the population served by Arkansas Works than the rest of the state in 2017. Eight of the state’s nine counties with the highest overall uninsured rates also were in western Arkansas.

That’s according to an analysis of county data released April 9 by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small

The uninsured rate for Arkansans of all income levels under age 65 in 2017 was 9.3%, or 226,179 people.

Meanwhile, 19% of working-age adults ages 18 to 64 who were living at or below 138% of the the poverty line, or 77,535, were uninsured. The number of Arkansans at that lowest income level decreased by more than 53,000, from 461,411 in 2013 to 408,357 in 2017.

That’s the population potentially served by Arkansas Works, the state program that uses mostly federal dollars to purchase private health insurance.

Originally known as the “private option,” Arkansas Works was created by legislators and Gov. Mike Beebe’s administration in 2013. It was created after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled states could choose whether or not to expand their Medicaid populations under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

Uninsured rates in that population ranged from a low of 11.3% in Phillips County, an eastern Arkansas county whose seat is Helena-West Helena, to a high of 36.4% in Sevier County in southwest Arkansas. Its county seat is DeQueen.

Benton County in Northwest Arkansas had the second highest uninsured rate for the population potentially served by Arkansas Works, 29.1%. Its county seat is Bentonville. Sebastian County (Fort Smith) had the third highest uninsured rate at 25.7%. Yell County in west-central Arkansas (Danville) was fourth with a rate of 25.2%.

The uninsured rate for working-age adults ages 18 to 64 who were living at or below 138% of the poverty line ranged from 11.3% to 19.5% in 58 Arkansas counties.

Sixteen of the other 17 counties had uninsured rates of 20.1% to 30% in that population, and all of them were in the western part of the state except Bradley County (Warren), which is in south-central Arkansas.

Along with Sevier, Benton, Sebastian and Yell counties, the others were Carroll, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Johnson, Pope, Scott, Polk, Montgomery, Howard, Pike and Hempstead counties.

Aside from Phillips County, other eastern Arkansas counties also had low uninsured rates among the population served by Arkansas Works. Jefferson County, home of Pine Bluff, had the third lowest rate at 13.4%. The second lowest was Ouachita County (Camden), at 13%. Lee County, (Marianna), was tied for fourth lowest with Clark County (Arkadelphia), with 13.5% uninsured in that population.

Other eastern Arkansas counties with low uninsured rates among the potential Arkansas Works population were Mississippi County (Blytheville), sixth lowest, 13.8%; and St. Francis County (Forrest City), seventh lowest, 13.9%.

So why the low uninsured rates among the Arkansas Works population in eastern Arkansas and higher rates in western Arkansas?

Craig Wilson, health policy director for the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, attributed the discrepancy to two factors.

“The eastern part of the state, including the Delta, has had more developed infrastructure for public program outreach historically including the faith community,” he wrote via email. “It [western Arkansas is also reflective – particularly for the four counties we mentioned – of concentrated pockets of migrants who historically have higher rates of uninsured.”

Those four counties were Sevier, Benton, Sebastian and Yell Counties. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Sevier County has the state’s highest percentage of Hispanic residents, at 33.8%. Yell County is second at 20.4%. Benton County is fourth at 16.7%. Sebastian County is eighth at 14.4%.

Sevier County also had the highest overall uninsured rate with 17.7% of its population under age 65 uninsured. Polk County (Mena) was next highest with 13%, followed by Sebastian County with 12.9%. Carroll County (Berryville) was fourth highest at 12.8%, followed by Washington County (Fayetteville) with 12.4%. Benton County was tied with Izard County (Melbourne) for the 19th highest at 10.4%.

Fifty-five counties had overall uninsured rates at 10% and below for Arkansans under age 65. The lowest was Grant County (Sheridan), with 6.1% uninsured, followed by Ouachita and Greene (Paragould) at 7%. Lonoke (largest city, Cabot) was next at 7.1%, followed by Jefferson and Clark at 7.2% and Phillips at 7.3%.

Rounding out the top 10 counties with the lowest uninsured rates were Saline (Benton-Bryant) at 7.5%, Mississippi at 7.6%, and Hot Spring (Malvern) at 7.6%. Pulaski County, the state’s largest county and home of Little Rock and North Little Rock, had the 11th lowest uninsured rate at 7.7%.

The uninsured rates were helped by high percentages of insured children. The statewide uninsured rate for children under age 19 was 4.3%.

Nationwide, the report found the median county uninsured rate was 10.6% for the population under age 65, with the rate ranging from 2.3% to 33.7%. Moreover, 38.4% of counties, or 1,206, had uninsured rates at or below 10% for residents under age 65. There are 3,142 counties in the United States. From 2013 to 2017, 95.5%, or 2,996, saw a decrease in uninsured adults under age 65.

As of Dec. 31, 2017, 31 states and the District of Columbia had expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. In those states, 9.3% of counties had estimated uninsured rates above 20%. In non-expansion states, 81.9% of counties had rates that high, the report said.

Among other Deep South states, only Louisiana had uninsured rates below 10% in a majority of its parishes. Like Arkansas, it participated in the Medicaid expansion program. In Kentucky, which also participated in Medicaid expansion, every county had a rate below 10%.

But other Southern states had not participated by that point. Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida had no counties with fewer than 10% uninsured, while Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama had only a small number of counties each.

Oklahoma and Texas, which also did not participate in Medicaid expansion, had no counties with rates below 10% according to the SAHIE analysis. Missouri, which did not participate, had 12 counties out of 114 reach that low of a rate.

BOOZMAN CONVENES HEARING ON PRESIDENT'S BUDGET REQUEST FOR VA
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, held a hearing to examine President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 funding request for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

The hearing included testimony from the Honorable Robert Wilkie, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Honorable Dr. Paul Lawrence, the Under Secretary for Benefits of the Veterans Benefits Administration; the Honorable Randy Reeves, the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs; the Honorable Jon Rychalski, the Assistant Secretary for Management and Chief Financial Officer and Dr. Richard Stone, Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration. 

COTTON STATEMENT ON U.S. SUPPORT FOR VENEZUELAN INTERIM PRESIDENT JUAN GUAIDO
Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on Venezuelan leader Juan Guaidó's call for his government to assume its rightful powers:

"True leaders earn the right to govern-they don't shoot and starve their people into submission. Nicolás Maduro has no legitimate claim to power, and his authoritarian backers in Moscow, Havana, and Beijing are only prolonging the suffering of millions. The United States stands with the interim government of Juan Guaidó and the Venezuelan people as they struggle to gain freedom from a corrupt, brutal, and anti-American regime."

BOOZMAN CONVENES HEARING ON PRESIDENT'S BUDGET REQUEST FOR VA

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, held a hearing to examine President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 funding request for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

The hearing included testimony from the Honorable Robert Wilkie, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Honorable Dr. Paul Lawrence, the Under Secretary for Benefits of the Veterans Benefits Administration; the Honorable Randy Reeves, the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs; the Honorable Jon Rychalski, the Assistant Secretary for Management and Chief Financial Officer and Dr. Richard Stone, Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration. 

The following is Chairman Boozman’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:

The budget requests $220 billion in FY 2020 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, including medical care collections.  This includes $93 billion in discretionary funds, a $6.5 billion or 7.5 percent increase over FY 2019. The budget also requests a total of $221 billion in advance appropriations for FY 2021. 

Although the large FY 2020 increase highlights the importance of programs for veterans, it also reflects creation of the Veterans Community Care Program, which consolidated multiple community care programs through the MISSION Act. VA estimates the FY 2020 cost of the MISSION Act-related programs is $8.9 billion – an amount that in past years would have been funded through mandatory appropriations, but now must be covered by discretionary funds.   

Members of this subcommittee remain committed to providing VA with the resources needed to care for our veterans. However, to do that we must have accurate cost and execution estimates from the department. None of us want to repeat the experience of past budget shortfalls. 

In addition, the Budget requests $1.6 billion for Electronic Health Record Modernization. This includes funds for the third year of a ten-year contract with Cerner. As I have previously noted, many of us on this committee have long advocated for a single, joint medical record that will follow a servicemember throughout their career in the military and into their time as a veteran.  We remain hopeful that the collaboration between VA, DOD and Cerner can deliver on this vision.  

Timely and effective implementation of the Veterans Community Care Program and the Electronic Health Record Modernization efforts pose significant challenges for the department in FY 2020. As VA addresses interoperability of both legacy and community health systems and programs, it is essential that its community – including staff, providers and veterans – are educated on the changes in policy and processes. 

In addition to updates on those programs, we look forward to hearing details about the department’s request for mental health services, including efforts to combat opioid use disorder and prevent veteran suicide, initiatives to prevent veteran homelessness and efforts to improve care for our rural veterans, including through telehealth. We also appreciate VA’s efforts to reduce the appeals backlog and address the implementation challenges of the Forever GI Bill, including ensuring veterans receive the benefits required under law. Finally, we are aware the Justice Department requested an extension on the deadline to appeal the Federal Circuit Court decision regarding benefits for Blue Water Navy Veterans. We would like to hear more about the expected costs associated with this case and what, if any, additional resources the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) may need as a result.

We look forward to discussing these and other issues this afternoon.

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APRIL 30, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
CRIMINAL TRESPASS

On April 25, 2019 at 5:35 p.m. Officer Ashley Watts, was dispatched to 1616 Mt. Holly. Upon my arrival Officer Watts made contact with Ryan Haeberle.

Haeberle stated he and Michael Jones spoke with Officer Remick pertaining to an agreement they had where Haeberle was buying a vehicle from Jones. Remick advised Haeberle and Jones that it was a civil matter and they would need to handle the situation in small claims court. They were instructed to leave the vehicle where it was parked until the matter was handled in court. At approximately 5:25 p.m., Jones arrived at the station to advise he had repossessed the vehicle.

Haeberle called to the police station to advise Jones had trespassed onto his property and stolen the vehicle. Haeberle said Jones messaged him and asked to meet him in Fordyce to discuss the vehicle. While in route to Fordyce he passed Jones headed to Camden. Haeberle said he turned around to follow Jones back into town and he ran out of gas. Haeberle believes Jones told him to meet him in Fordyce to ensure he would not be at the residence when he got there to repossess the vehicle. Haeberle advised that his daughter, Anabell Zaayer, was at the residence when Jones arrived. He stated Zaayer got into the truck to ensure Jones was not going to take any of his belongings from his tool box. He said Jones started to drive away in the vehicle while Zaayer was in the bed of the truck. Haeberle advised he had approximately $800 worth of tools, a $200 Yamaha guitar, $75 worth of clothing, a $50 car seat and a $100 Samsung Galaxy J3 cell phone in the vehicle at the time Jones repossessed it.

Officer Watts spoke with Zaayer about the incident and she stated Jones arrived at the residence at approximately 5:00 p.m. in a white Suburban driven by Anthony Jones. She said Jones told her that he was going to get some of his tools from the vehicle and she climbed into the bed of the truck and sat on the tool box to ensure he did not take any of Haeberle's tools. Zaayer said Jones was looking in the cab of the truck and claimed he smelled marijuana and that he was going to go get a K9 to sniff the vehicle. At that point she said Jones started the vehicle and proceeded to drive away while she was in the bed of the truck. She said she had to jump from the bed of the truck into the yard of the residence while the vehicle was in motion. Zaayer did not have any injuries at the time of the report:

Jones stated he got a ride from his brother, Anthony Jones, to Mt. Holly road near highway 7 to retrieve his truck which was parked on the side of the road. Officer Watts asked Jones why his truck was parked on the side of the road and he then stated it was parked in a driveway next to the side of the road. She asked Jones if there was anyone at the residence at the time he retrieved the vehicle and he stated there were children in the yard when he got there. He said he did not make contact with the children and denied that Zaayer was in the vehicle as he drove away. He was issued a citation for Criminal Trespass and given a court date.

OBSTRUCTING GOVERNMENT OPERATION
DRINKING ON THE HIGHWAY

On April 27, 2019 at 9:08 p.m.  Officer Nathan Lane was on a traffic stop where James Leaks was the passenger. When  asked Leaks was his name was he stated it was "Brandon Leaks". The Officer ran "Brandon Leaks" through dispatch for warrants. Dispatch advised "Brandon Leaks" did not have any warrants. "Brandon Leaks" was advised he was free to go. Leaks then left the scene. Lt. Ben Opelt located property that was dropped on the sidewalk with the name "James Leaks" on it. Due to Officers being able to still see Leaks they got out with him. While out with him, he advised his real name is James Leaks. Leaks was then taken into custody.

Leaks was transported to the station without incident. Booking was completed. While at the station Leaks was asked if he threw anything out of the vehicle. Leaks admitted that he had thrown a beer can out of the vehicle. Leaks was advised he will be charged with Obstructing Government Operation and Drinking on the Highway. Leaks was given a District of Camden court date.

DWI
FAILURE TO PAY REGISTRATION OVER SIXTY DAYS
NO PROOF OF LIABILITY INSURANCE
On April 26, 2019 at 9:08 p.m. Officer Nathan Lane was on patrol in the area of Lyons Lane and Hamilton Street, when he observed a silver 2007 Lincoln Town Car bearing AR temporary LPN CY-330-773. Officer Lane ran the temporary plate through dispatch. Dispatch advised the plate had expired May 2018. A traffic stop was initiated. Contact was made contact with the driver of the vehicle, Mark Goshen. Officer Lane could smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his vehicle. When asked if he had been drinking Goshen stated he had a 24 oz can of beer. When the Officer ran Goshen's name through dispatch they advised he had a warrant for his arrest.

Goshen was transported to the station without incident. While at the station I conducted Field Sobriety Test on Goshen. Goshen was unable to pass. After the field sobriety test, Goshen his was read his statement of rights. Goshen agreed to take the breathalyzer test. Goshen was administered a breathalyzer test. First test yielded a .186 blood alcohol content. The second test yielded a .179 blood alcohol content.

Booking was completed. Goshen was charged with Driving While Intoxicated first offense, Failure to Pay Registration Over Sixty Days, and No Proof of Liability Insurance. Goshen was given a Traffic Citation for Driving While Intoxicated and for Failure to Pay Registration Over Sixty Days, and No Proof of Liability Insurance.

THE 48TH ANNUAL SMACKOVER OIL TOWN FESTIVAL RETURNS!
May 10th – 11th, Friday-Saturday, in Downtown Smackover, Arkansas
Smackover Arkansas - Join Smackover for the 48th Annual SMACKOVER OIL TOWN FESTIVAL for FREE family fun. The Smackover Oil Town Festival, recently named in the “top five festivals of Arkansas” by the national website “Only In Your State.com”, will be held Friday-Saturday, May 10th – 11th in beautiful Downtown Smackover, Arkansas. Join thousands from around the region at this unique event for the entire family! This family festival features free concerts every night. Attendees can enjoy horseshoe pitching, arm wrestling, turtle races, bingo, Bunco, rod wrenching, a drill bit toss, pipe tote, rib cook-off, children’s activities, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, the world famous yellow duck race down No Name Creek, a myriad of vendor booths and festival food favorites.

Free Concerts with Live Music & Acts include:
Jason D Williams, Cummins Prison Band, J.T. Stocks Gospel Night with world famous Southern Gospel favorites, Southern Koast, Haley Creek Boys and more.

Schedule of events:
THURSDAY – May 9th
Bunko Tournament

FRIDAY – May 10th
J.T. Stocks Gospel Night Free Concerts with - Southern Koast, Haley Creek Boys
Bingo at the Lions Club

SATURDAY – May 11th
Rib Cook-Off
3 on 3 Basketball Tournament – Norphlet High School Gym
Car Show
KIDS EVENTS
Drill Bit Throwing Contest
Turtle Race
Rod Wrenching
Egg Toss
Tug of War
Pipe Tote
Arm Wrestling
Horseshoe Contest
Duck Race
Free Concerts – Cummins Prison Band and Jason D. Williams

It’s all at the 48th Annual Smackover Oil Town Festival, May 10th and 11th in Beautiful Downtown Smackover (Broadway and 10th Street). For times or questions please contact the Smackover Chamber of Commerce at: 870.725.3521.

CAMDEN CITY BOARD OF ALDERMAN TO MEET IN SPECIAL SESSION
The City Council will have a special called meeting on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 6:00 pm in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building located at 206 Van Buren NE.

Agenda:
1.  Solar Scenic
2.  Roof at Municipal Building
3.  Roof at Public Works Shop

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet at Catherine’s Bistro on Wednesday. This week the Lion’s Club will be hearing an update on the Cardinal Care Clinic.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, May 2nd at 12:00 at  Catherine’s Bistro.  The program will be presented by  Arkansas State Senator Bruce Maloch.

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
The National Day of Prayer Ceremony will be observed Thursday, May 2nd   at 12:00 (Noon)  on the Ouachita County Courthouse Lawn. The Camden Ministerial Alliance & Ouachita County Ministerial Alliance invites You to come take part in this National Observance. Grilled hamburgers will be prepared for those attending the ceremony. Everyone is welcome. In the event of rain – the ceremony will be held in the First Methodist Great Hall.

<img title="Links to https://arkansasag.gov/" arkansas="" ag="" logo"="" alt="Arkansas AG logo" data-cke-saved-src="https://arkansasag.gov/assets/img/lower-logo.png" src="https://arkansasag.gov/assets/img/lower-logo.png" style="box-sizing:border-box; float:left; height:96px; margin:0px; max-width:710px; padding:0px">RUTLEDGE HOSTS RETIREE RESOURCES EVENT IN JONESBORO
Says, ‘It is important to meet Arkansans in their communities’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Monday hosted a regional Rutledge Retiree Resources event in Jonesboro. The agenda included programs designed to educate retirees from northeast Arkansas about how they can protect themselves from pervasive and vicious scam artists.

“It is important to meet Arkansans in their communities to ensure they have access to services we provide,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These events provide educational tools to stop scammers and protect families.”

Attendees heard from the Attorney General’s public protection experts about protecting themselves from scams and identity theft, proper prescription drug disposal, resources regarding nursing homes and home care, and protecting finances.

The first Rutledge Retiree Resources was held in Fayetteville in March. Registration is available for additional Rutledge Retiree Resources events that are scheduled for June 25 in DeWitt and September 5 in Little Rock.

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES SERVICE OF LITTLE ROCK VIETNAM VETERAN
WASHINGTON-
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized Michael Smith, a Vietnam War veteran, in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series commemorating the military service of Arkansans.

Smith was born and raised in Joplin, Missouri. During high school he spent a summer in California with family and decided that he would move to the Golden State after graduation.

During his second year of college Smith was drafted into the Army. He reported to Fort Ord, California for basic training. Smith’s daily routine of doing 100 push-ups gave him confidence in his ability to handle the physical demands ahead of him. “I was a little bit cocky in basic training,” Smith laughed. “I think the first time someone said ‘give me 20,’ I said which hand.”

While he had the opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School, Smith declined because he wanted to pursue a career in art following military service. He went to advanced individual training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina where he qualified as expert in mortars. “I scored 800 points on the exam. It was a perfect score. No one had ever scored that on that base prior to that,” Smith said.

Despite his proficiency with mortars, Smith was assigned to an infantry platoon upon arrival in Vietnam. He was forced to hone his skills with some quick, on-the-job training.

Smith hadn’t been in Vietnam long before he turned 19-years-old. It’s a birthday that he will never forget. Instead of celebrating his special day with family and friends, he found himself in front of the patrol as point man. While walking through a village he became the target of a water buffalo that charged him. “I emptied my magazine, 20 rounds,” Smith recalled. The water buffalo fell a few feet in front of him. A few hours later in a clearing, Smith was in the same exposed position ahead of the unit when he was blown up in the air. “I laid on the ground stunned. I was pretty certain I’d lost both my legs,” he said. Fortunately he wasn’t injured after stepping on what he later learned was an old anti-tank mine. 

Smith didn’t like serving as a point man, but his next assignment wasn’t much better. “I became a tunnel rat,” he said. Armed with a flashlight, a .45 handgun and C-4 explosives, his job was to explore the Vietcong tunnels that his unit discovered. “That was very scary,” Smith recalled. “The first time I had to do that was the last time because I begged to get out of that.”

One method employed by the Vietcong was to make small changes to the landscape that would allow them to infiltrate American camps. On guard duty one day, Smith heard that some soldiers thought their perimeter terrain had changed. As an artist, Smith found a way to incorporate his skills to help with security of the camp. “I sketched the perimeter in front of me and put that on the wall of the bunker and then whoever came in there could see if anything had changed from the drawing,” Smith said. His commander learned of his work and assigned him to do the same for every bunker as well as draw a 360-degree panorama of the site.

When Smith landed in Oakland, California on his return, he was surprised by what he experienced. “There were protestors all over there screaming and yelling,” Smith said. “We had to walk past all of this. They were spitting on us.” The memory continues to be emotional for Smith.

He continued his education at Cal State Fullerton where he was asked by other students to join in protests against the war, but he did not participate.

During his tour, Smith wrote his cousin letters about his service. Those are saved in a scrapbook that he reviewed in preparation for the Veterans History Project interview conducted at his home in Little Rock. “In reading them it refreshed my memory about some of the things that happened,” Smith said.

“Michael Smith was called on to serve his country in uniform. He accepted this responsibility and courageously performed his duties. Preserving his memories for the Veterans History Project is a great way to show our appreciation for his outstanding military service to our country,” Boozman said.

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

APRIL 29, 2019

SENATOR COTTON APPLAUDS WITHDRAWAL FROM ARMS TRADE TREATY
Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Arms Trade Treaty:

"The Arms Trade Treaty undermines Americans' constitutional right to keep and bear arms. It also impairs the United States' ability to defend our allies and partners around the globe, while doing nothing to constrain the military exports of our greatest competitors, Russia and China. I applaud the president's decision to defend American sovereignty by withdrawing from this treaty."

April 26, 2019

CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
CRIMINAL TRESPASS

On April 24th at 12:15 p.m. Officer Frank Remick was dispatched to 890 Pierce, Apartment 17 in regards to an individual currently on site but on the Ban List for the apartment complex.

Upon arrival, Officer Remick spoke with Tanesha Bush at the apartment stating that he was looking for Albert Weaver. Bush said Weaver was not in the apartment. The Officer asked Bush, "You do know Weaver is banned, correct?" Bush nodded yes. The Officer readvised Bush she should handover Weaver if she was hiding him. Bush agreed and sent Weaver out and he was placed in custody. Weaver was confirmed banned on the ban list provided by the housing complex and confirmed by Officer Kayla Reynolds. Weaver was then transported to the Camden Police Department where booking procedures were completed. a Weaver was released with a Criminal Citation and a District Court date.

SHOPLIFTING
On April 23rd at 10:48 a.m., Officer Erin Manning responded to a shoplifting in progress at the Dollar General located at 461 California. Officer Manning arrived at the store and spoke with a Dollar General employee who advised she'd observed a white female (later identified to be Sherrie Evans) shopping in the store for over an hour. After browsing the merchandise, Evans proceeded to the checkout and purchased merchandise. Evans then reportedly walked towards the exit doors of the store and caused the anti-theft device to activate as she was walking through it. The employee said she stopped Evans and asked to see inside of her purse.

Upon opening the purse, the employee stated she observed two real tree wallet knives still in the packaging and stored inside of Evans' purse. She then held Evans inside of the store and contacted police.

The Officer then spoke with Evans. She admitted to placing the knives in her purse, but she claimed she did not realize that she had not paid for them. Evans was then taken into custody for shoplifting, and later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center without incident.

The stolen knives totaled a combined value of $22.25. Booking procedures were completed. A shoplifting report was completed for the incident.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT
On April 23RD at 8:06 A.M., Officer Jacob VanAssche was stationed at Camden Fairview High School as the School Resource Officer (SRO), when he was advised of a disturbance in the front office.

The Officer arrived at the Office and saw a student, Savannah Arnold, 18, yelling on the phone causing a scene. The Officer advised Arnold to quiet down, and I made contact with Principal Steelman. Steelman advised Arnold was upset because she got into a fight with a student on the bus and used profanity toward a teacher.

Arnold then again proceeded to get loud again, and the Officer had to tell her to step inside another room. Once in the room he advised Arnold to keep her voice down, and to stop disturbing the facility and students in the office. Once Officer VanAssche left Arnold in the room to fill out paperwork for the school, she proceeded to make a phone call and began yelling again. She continued to disrupt the facility and students who were in the front office at the time.  Arnold was then taken into custody and the Officer proceeded to transport her to the his patrol unit. Arnold began yelling and using profanities in front of other students and facility. While taking Arnold to the patrol unit she kept trying to pull away, and squat down trying to force away from me. She continued this and yelling profanities until he placed her in my patrol unit. Arnold was then transported to the station without incident.

At the station Arnold was booked for Disorderly Conduct. Arnold was later released with a criminal citation and a District Court date.

DWI
FICTITIOUS TAGS

On April 23rd at 12:08 a.m., Officer Nathan Lane was on patrol in the area of 900 Magnolia Road when he observed a black 2013 Dodge Durango bearing AR LPN: 316XUU sitting in the roadway. As he was approaching the vehicle the lights were on, and the driver turned them off when as he got closer. The Officer got out and asked if everything was ok. The driver of the vehicle, Maurice Sanders, stated the vehicle won't start and he thinks it is out of gas. Sanders stepped out of the vehicle and was talking the Officer. Officer Lanhe could smell an odor of intoxicants coming from his person. Sanders' speech was thick and slurred and his eyes were extremely bloodshot. While standing, he was swaying back and forth so much that he elected to kneel down and squat in the middle of the roadway.

I had Sanders step into the parking lot of Pine Hills Nursing Home to be in a safer location to conduct the Field Sobriety Tests. Almost half way through the test Sanders stated he could not finish the test and that he was intoxicated. He was taken into custody for DWI.

Dispatch advised the plates returned to a green 1997 Cadillac. When Sanders was asked about the license plate, and he stated they do not belong to the vehicle. The next wrecker on rotation was called and arrived on scene shortly afterwards.

Sanders was transported to the station without incident. Upon arrival at the station I conduct the Field Sobriety Tests again on Sanders.

Sanders was read his statement of rights. Sanders stated he agreed to a breathalyzer test. Sanders was administered a breathalyzer test. First test yielded a .21 blood alcohol content. The second test yielded a .20 blood alcohol content. While booking Sanders in it was determined that this will be Sanders first Driving While Intoxicated charge.

Booking approval was completed and approved by Lt. Ben Opelt. Sanders was charged with Driving While Intoxicated first offense, Driving with no Driver's License, and Fictitious Tabs. Sanders was given a District Court Date.

JUNCTION CITY MAN KILLED IN MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
According to State Police a driver was killed in a vehicle crash along a southern Arkansas road Thursday. It appears the vehicle veered off the road and struck a tree. The single-vehicle accident happened around 11:40 a.m. on East State Line Road in Junction City. The driver was identified as 36-year-old Justin Lynn Pennington of Junction City. Pennington suffered fatal injuries in the wreck according to the State Police Report. Pennington’s 2003 Volkswagen veered off the road, strucke a tree and stopped in a pool of standing water. According to the report, the weather was clear weather and roads were dry

SOUTHERN AIRWAYS EXPRESS DELIVERS EAS RELIABILITY IN THREE TOWNS
From Arkansas Business
bv Mark Friedman
Southern Airways Express LLC has seen its passenger traffic climb since it began offering flights in Arkansas in early 2017.

"We have seen either record-setting passenger traffic or near record-setting passenger traffic," said Keith Sisson, chief marketing officer for Southern, based in Hernando, Mississippi. "The response to the service has been beyond our expectations."

Southern was awarded the federal Essential Air Service contracts to serve El Dorado, Hot Springs and Harrison after Seaport Airlines of Portland, Oregon, landed in bankruptcy in September 2016.

Air Choice One of St. Louis is the EAS provider for the Jonesboro Municipal Airport and has weekly nonstop nights to St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).

The EAS is the federal program that subsidizes smaller carriers so they can profitably offer a minimal level of scheduled air service to smaller

communities. In February. the U.S. Department of Transportation renewed Southcrn's two-year contract to continue providing services in Arkansas. The contract for the Arkansas cities, which went into effect March 1, is worth $15.9 million.

Sisson said one reason for the passenger growth is Southcrn's reliable service. It has had to cancel very few flights.

'Jn the three markets that we serve ... we are 99 .4% of completion on all of our flights for the past 10 months," he said. ·'J don't know if there's an EAS airline in the country that can say that."

Starting May 2, Southern will offer six weekly nonstop round trips between South Arkansas Regional Airport in El Dorado and Memphis International lMEM). While adding Memphis, Southern will cut the number of nonstop round trips between El Dorado and Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) from 18 to 12 a week.

Sisson said Southern offered the Memphis connection as a convenience for passengers traveling cast. ·'We're able to open up the East Coast to El Dorado for the first time in a couple of years,'' he said.

Southern also has service to Memphis through Harrison.  Arrivals from El Dorado and Harrison will be almost simultaneous and about 20 minutes later, Southern has another plane heading for Nashvillc.

"So we're offering two Arkansas cities a one-stop service daily between their cities and Nashville, which we think is going to be very popular," Sisson said. "There's a lot of business and industry boom now in Nashville that we can take advantage of."

Jonathan Estes, manager at South Arkansas Regional, has seen more passengers since Southern began offering flights. In the first quarter of 2019, Estes said, passenger totals arc up about 5% from the same quarter in 2018.

But that trend might not continue. 'I do anticipate the passenger count to drop off whenever we start the Memphis flight simply because you have to rebuild a market,'' he said. Nevertheless, passenger counts on the flights to Dallas should stay steady as business and leisure travelers can get there for $89 one-way, a figure that includes taxes. Parking is also free at the airports Southern serves in Arkansas.

The Boonc County Regional Airport has reported an increase in passengers in 2018 for flights to Memphis and Dallas, to 5,300, up from 4,368 the previous year.

Judy McCutchcon, the airport manager, said the flights to Dallas arc almost always full. while the midday flights to Memphis arc typically 40% of capacity on the planes, which scat nine passengers.

She said Southern 's reliability is the reason more passengers arc flying out of Harrison. "Southern came in here and they've never canceled flights, which is a huge plus,'' she said.

Southern ·s Sisson said the airline plans to rebid for the EAS contract for the three Arkansas cities when it expires at the end of February 2021.

SAAC ANNOUNCES D. BRENT MILLER AS VISITING MUSIC DIRECTOR FOR “HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME”
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to announce that D. Brent Miller will join the creative team for the summer production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" as visiting music director. Miller joins director/choreographer Kristen Blossom at the helm of this musically and culturally rich production, which opens in July.

Miller, who hails from Warren and is currently the director of the Sheridan High School Theater Department, is enthusiastic about taking on the musically challenging production. He will serve as music director for both the traditional cast and "Congregation" ensemble, as well as the "Cathedral Choir" of high-church-inspired singers. The fusion of both theatrical and choral music provides fertile ground for creativity for singers of many backgrounds and many experience levels.

"The score of the Broadway production provides a color palette for the creative team to paint this story with sensitivity, and, on occasion, epic scale," said Miller. "My hope is that the production will masterfully put this story in front of an audience to share these circumstances, which have been a part of life since before the story was published in 1831."

Miller is an experienced actor, singer, and director, and he is no stranger to the SAAC stage. A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello, he previously served as music director for SAAC's productions of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "South Pacific", and he appeared as the Scarecrow in "Wizard of Oz". In the intervening years, he has been active in productions with the Argenta Community Theater, The Weekend Theater, and The Royal Players.

"Brent is going to be a wonderful addition to the team this summer," said executive director Laura Allen. "He brings a wealth of experience in both the theatrical and choral music worlds that will translate beautifully into his musical vision for this project."

Stop by SAAC on Saturday, May 18 to meet Miller and the other members of the creative team beginning at 4 pm at the Congregation and Choir Mixer in the gallery. Audition materials will be available. "The Hunchback of Notre" Dame is sponsored by Murphy USA and will run July 18-28, with auditions beginning June 1 with a call for choir members and June 2-3 for actors, singers and dancers. For more information, please call the SAAC at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

SENATORS URGE ADMINISTRATION TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF IRANIAN TERROR ATTACKS
Washington, D.C. - Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Solicitor General Noel Francisco urging them to support the victims of Iranian terror attacks in the case of Clearstream Banking S.A. v. Peterson. This case presents the administration with an opportunity to assist the Marine families who lost loved ones in the Beirut barracks bombing in 1983. These victims deserve restitution from a leading state sponsor of terror.

The full text of the letter can be found below or by clicking here.

The Honorable William Barr Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530

The Honorable Noel Francisco Solicitor General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Barr and Solicitor General Francisco,

We write to urge you to support the victims of Iranian terror attacks in the case of Clearstream Banking S.A. v. Peterson.

In October 1983, Iranian terrorists bombed the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. President Reagan had stationed U.S. Marines in Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping force. An Iranian national drove a truck bomb into the compound, killing 220 Marines and dozens of other personnel. The attack was perpetrated by Hezbollah, a terror group founded, trained, and financially supported by the Iranian regime. Since the attack, the victims' families have won a number of court judgments authorizing the seizure of Iranian funds as restitution for the attack. Currently, these families are seeking to enforce these judgments against Clearstream S.A., a financial institution that continues to launder money for the Iranian regime.

In October 2018, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the U.S. government's views on whether Iran should be able to protect its assets from these Marine families. Congress unanimously passed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, 22 U.S.C. § 8772, and members of Congress filed two amicus briefs supporting the victims of the Beirut bombing in related litigation, see Bank Markazi v. Peterson, 136 S.Ct. 1310 (2016), making clear that Congress strongly supports the ability of the terror victims and their families to recover on their judgments against Iran. This case presents your Administration with an opportunity to assist these victims, including our constituents, in claiming restitution from the world's leading state sponsor of terror.

We believe that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled correctly that U.S. courts can oblige banks to bring funds they hold for state sponsors of terror outside the United States to New York in compliance with judgments against those foreign governments. Therefore, we urge the Administration to oppose Iran' s request for certiorari before the Supreme Court.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

 

April 25, 2019

 

FIRST FRIDAY MARKET IN DOWNTOWN CAMDEN MAY 3RD
Make plans to join First Friday Market on May 3rd from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in downtown Camden. The theme for May will be, “Magnificent May”.  There will be a vast array of vendors set up on Washington St and Adams Ave for your shopping pleasure.

Several new vendors will be included in the May market.  Live Music will take place at the corner of Washington Street and Adams Ave with Harper & Lee performing.  The highlighted Food Truck this month will be Memphis Street Food Truck plus the Bamboo Café and LaLoma Grill will be welcomed back to the market.

Be sure to sign up for the team tug of war competition with Jenny’s Gym.  Your team can have the “Bragging Rights” for the next year of overtaking all the others.

For Magnificent May we will be having highlights of a vintage circus.  You will see special acts performing through tutThe venue such as a stilt walker, juggler, and a roaming hula hooper.  There will also be free hot air balloon rides taking place on the bluff overlooking the Ouachita River.  These special acts are made possible by sponsorships from Ouachita Electric Co-operative, Holiday Inn Express of Camden, and Highland Resources.

To further enhance the circus theme, you will find face painters, someone making balloon animals, popcorn and snow cones. There will be a special children’s area for the kid’s enjoyment.

Author Ramona Wood will be located at “A Frame of Mind” for a book signing.  Ramona has several published works Including “The Goat Woman of Smackover”.

Downtown merchants will be open late for your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials.

Come enjoy a great evening in Camden AR as you stroll, shop, nibble and chat. For more information, find First Friday Market on Facebook at:   First Friday: Monthly Market in Camden AR.

AEROJET ROCKETDYNE BREAKS GROUND ON LARGE SOLID ROCKET MOTOR DEVELOPMENT FACILITY AS EXPANSION IN ARKANSAS CONTINUES
New facility to develop large solid rocket motors
Will be the newest and most modern rocket development facility in the nation
Latest chapter of ongoing partnership with state and local community

CAMDEN, Ark., April 25, 2019 – Senior Aerojet Rocketdyne officials joined Arkansas state and local leaders to break ground today on the latest facility in a continuing expansion of the company’s Camden, Arkansas, solid rocket motor center of excellence.

The 17,000 square-foot Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) facility, set to open in spring 2020, will expand our decades-long capability of solid rocket motor production in Camden. The facility was specifically designed to serve as the developmental gateway to future Aerojet Rocketdyne large solid rocket motor product opportunities, to include the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, hypersonics and missile defense targets.  

“Once open for business, the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development facility will be the newest and most modern rocket development facility in the nation,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s CEO and president.

The expansion represents the latest chapter of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s ongoing partnership with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Calhoun County and the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development.

“The aerospace and defense industry continue to be one of the top economic drivers in Arkansas,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson, “and that wouldn’t happen without the incredible workforce and their employers. We’re thrilled to see Aerojet Rocketdyne continue to grow in Camden, and we appreciate the investments they make in South Arkansas and in our nation’s security.”

Aerojet Rocketdyne has had a presence in Arkansas since 1979 and its current 800-person workforce manufactures 75,000 solid rocket motors annually for programs, including tactical missiles and missile defense. In August of last year, Aerojet Rocketdyne announced plans to further grow the workforce to 900 over the next three years. 

“Our longstanding partnership with the great state of Arkansas continues to yield impressive results.”  Drake said. “On behalf of the men and women of Aerojet Rocketdyne, I thank Arkansas State and local officials, especially Gov. Asa Hutchinson, for helping us build increasingly advanced and affordable products for our warfighters and the nation.” 

EXILE, RICOCHET, AND THE MIDNIGHT HURRICANES TO PERFORM IN DEQUEEN
Collin Raye Benefit Concert Committee will host the bands EXILE and Ricochet for their 18th benefit concert on Saturday, May 25th.  Local group, the Midnight Hurricanes will be the opening act starting at 6:30 pm, at De Queen’s CCCUA Amphitheater.

With 11 #1 Hits, 3 Gold albums, and 8 million records sold worldwide, EXILE will bring their suitcase full of pop and country hits to the UA Cossatot Amphitheater in De Queen on Saturday, May 25th.

EXILE’S biggest hit, “Kiss You All Over” spent four weeks at the top of Billboard’s pop chart.  During their run on the country charts EXILE has successfully had ten No 1 singles and many more top 20’s. In addition to numerous ACM and CMA nominations for Vocal Group of the Year as well as their individual musicianship, band members J.P. Pennington, Sonny LeMaire, and Les Taylor have been recognized as songwriters of the year by BMI.

Ricochet’s debut single, “What Do I Know”, was the highest charting debut single, rising to #3 in R&R and #5 in Billboard. The follow up release, “Daddy’s Money”, was #1 in R&R, Billboard, Gavin and Country Network. Recognized as one of Country Music’s hardest working groups, Ricochet has performed thousands of shows over the past 15+ years and they continue to perform to sold out venues all over North America.

Ricochet is the only country artists to ever chart with our National Anthem and is in constant demand to perform it live. They have performed the anthem for our men and women in uniform, at NASCAR Sprint Cup Events, at Major League Baseball Events, at National Football League Events, at National Hockey League Events, at PBR and PRCA Professional Rodeo Events and others national events

The Collin Raye Benefit Concert Committee has donated approximately $300,000 from the previous concerts proceeds for scholarships to UA Cossatot for graduating seniors at area high schools and funding various other local projects each year. 

Tickets are on sale now at Radio Station KDQN’s studios at 921 West Collin Raye Drive in De Queen.  Reserved tickets are $26 in advance and General Admission are $16.00.  For more information call 870-642-2446.

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS
South Arkansans included
Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday announced a large number of following appointments. Among those appointed are the following from the South Arkansas area.


Alan Dean, Camden, to the HVACR Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2022. Replaces Joseph Kirby.

George Webb, Camden, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Seven. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Rob Reynolds, El Dorado, to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission. Appointment expires March 29, 2023. Reappointment.

Howard Beaty, Crossett, to the Board of Directors of the Division of Science and Technology of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Appointment expires Jan.14, 2023. Replaces Ed Winant.

Hugh Quimby, Warren, to the Ouachita River Commission. Appointment expires Sept. 1, 2025. Reappointment.

Wornest Lambert, Fordyce, as a justice of the peace for the Dallas County Quorum Court, District 1. Appointment expires Dec. 31, 2020. Replaces Wendell Lee.

Gordon Hornaday, Fordyce, as a justice of the peace for the Dallas County Quorum Court, District 5. Appointment expires Dec. 31, 2020. Replaces Clark Brent.

Will Jacobs, Rison, as a justice of the peace for the Cleveland County Quorum Court, District 8. Appointment expires Dec. 31, 2020. Replaces Paul Jacobs.

Chief Bo Higginbotham, Crossett, to the Arkansas Fire Protection Services Board. Appointment expires Oct. 14, 2021. Replaces Charles Johnson.

Addie Edwards, Camden, to the Arkansas State Rehabilitation Council. Appointment expires Feb. 1, 2020. Reappointment.

Dr. Kaleybra Morehead, Pine Bluff, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Six. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Gary Kirkpatrick, Gurdon, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Seven. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Yulonda Sims, Buckner, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Seven. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Daniel Heflin, Rison, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Eight. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Karen Breashears, Arkadelphia, to the State Apprenticeship Coordination Steering Committee. Appointment expires Dec. 1, 2022. Reappointment.

Dr. Kaleybra Morehead, Pine Bluff, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Six. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Gary Kirkpatrick, Gurdon, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Seven. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Yulonda Sims, Buckner, to the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, District Seven. Appointment will expire on a date to be determined by the drawing of lots at the initial board meeting.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: FLOODING BRINGS HEADACHES FOR ARKANSANS
LITTLE ROCK – After the recent heavy rains and severe storms swept across Arkansas, which caused a section of I-30 to be temporarily shut down and storm damage throughout the State, Arkansans are left picking up the pieces and preparing for storm season. While nature’s fury can be devastating, there are many things that Arkansans can do to protect themselves and their property in the aftermath of a storm.
 
“Severe storms and flood waters can cause terrible damage to property,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Arkansans need to know the steps to take if their property has been impacted by the recent severe weather. We also need to know how to protect our pocketbook from those who want to take advantage of us during this difficult time.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers who are cleaning up water damage on their property:

  • Call your insurance agent. If insurance covers the damage, the agent should have an adjuster contact you.
  • Make a list of the damage and take photographs or video as you clean. This documentation will be needed for insurance claims, applications for disaster assistance, and income tax deductions.
  • Clear away any mud, and clean and disinfect every surface.
  • Check with the Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau before hiring anyone to clean up or make repairs.
  • Get multiple estimates and compare prices.
  • Turn off all electrical and heating and cooling systems to be inspected and repaired or cleaned by a qualified or licensed contractor.
  • Appliances and electronics should be professionally cleaned and serviced to prevent electrocution.
  • Never pay in advance for any repair service, and inspect the completed project before making the final payment.
  • Communicate with the insurance company directly rather than authorizing a contractor to negotiate with the company.

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

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES ARREST OF NEW BEGINNINGS HEALTH SERVICES OWNER FOR MEDICAID FRAUD AND TAX EVASION
Failing to report contracts with Milton “Rusty” Cranford, Robin Raveendran, and her former husband Michael Grimes
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today the arrest of the owner and CEO of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services LLC, Chirie Bazzelle.

Bazzelle, 46, of Benton, is accused of failing to report contracts with Milton “Rusty” Cranford, Robin Raveendran, and her former husband Michael Grimes who is a convicted felon. She is also accused of continuing the employment of individuals who had been convicted of Medicaid fraud and ignoring additional Medicaid fraud claims of other employees. Bazzelle has been listed as the sole owner of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services in Pulaski County since 2010. Bazzelle is also accused of attempting to evade taxes from January 2014 through February 2019.

“Bad actors who have their hands in the taxpayer cookie jar must be held accountable,” says Attorney General Rutledge

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

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

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

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES ARKANSAS SUITS AGAINST OPIOID DISTRIBUTORS
Says, ‘another step in a deliberate approach to address this devastating crisis’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced she has filed a lawsuit against opioid distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation on behalf of the State of Arkansas.

“Today’s action is another step in a deliberate approach to address this devastating crisis,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Drug distributors are required by law to report suspicious shipments of opioids, but many have failed to do so, despite often obvious absurd shipment requests. These distributors have flooded Arkansas with nearly 67 dosage units for every man, woman and child which has ensured the availability of a more-than-adequate supply of opioids to fuel the crisis in our State.”

This lawsuit is the latest step in Rutledge’s multifaceted approach to solving the opioid crisis, which has devastated families across Arkansas and the country.

Opioid distributors have the responsibility of ensuring that medications are only distributed and dispensed to appropriate patients and not diverted to unauthorized users. But these users failed to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse and report suspicious orders of opioids, ultimately contributing to and creating a national and statewide emergency.

Rutledge is suing the opioid distributors who enabled the problem in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act as well as for negligence, creation of a public nuisance and for being unjustly enriched by their business practices.

Rutledge has been a leader in the State and nation combatting the opioid epidemic by using a multifaceted approach through education, litigation, treatment and enforcement. Her first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program is free for high schools and over the last year has reached 67 counties and almost 13,800 students. In November, the Attorney General hosted the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit with record attendance, which provided training and educational opportunities for law enforcement, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Rutledge has taken an aggressive approach to protect Arkansans and combat the epidemic by suing Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Endo for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.

 

APRIL 24, 2019

WELCOME CENTER EMPLOYEES VISIT CAMDEN
Tuesday evening, a group of State Welcome Center employees came to Camden. They are touring towns all aver the state this week. They had left Little Rock Tuesday morning and toured Pine Bluff, Fordyce, Hampton before coming to Camden. The group arrived at the Chamber Office on a Little Rock Tour bus shortly after 4 p.m. The Camden delegation consisted of Mayor Julian Lott, Judge Robbie McAdoo, Charlotte Young and Helen Aregood representing Arkansas South and Alderman Chris Aregood.

The group first went to Downtown Camden and visited Frame of Mind and Artesana Soap. We then returned to the Chamber Office where Travis Daniel was waiting to load everyone on the City Bus. Travis took the group down the Trace and gave a synopsis about how it came to be, the work that has been completed and the City’s vision for projects to be completed on the walking trail in the future. The Trace tour ended at Maul Road and the tour bus was waiting at Victory Christian School.

The bus took the group to the Chidester House parking lot where John Wheeler and Becky Davis joined us to go on a tour of the Historical District. We went through the Historical District in the area of Graham Street, Cleveland Avenue and Clifton Street. John and Becky talked about various homes of note, the history and style of the homes. We then went to the Ouachita County Courthouse and the Historical markers on the Courthouse Lawn were noted. Then it was down Washington Street to view more Historical Homes.

After the tour of Homes, we went to the Oakland Cemetery. The Historical Group put on an abbreviated Cemetery Walk. Sue Silliman, John Littrell, Dr. Dan Martin and others were in costume and played the parts of some that are buried in the historical cemetery. The Cemetery Walk concluded the tour of Camden. We want to thank Charlotte Young for putting a memorable tour for our visitors.

We then went to Catherine’s Bistro where everyone was fed what I call a 5-star dinner. Kristy and Danny Glaze and their staff served everyone with impeccable service. I suspect this dinner will be the best meal the group will have all week. I will put that meal up against any in the state. After dinner, our visitors spent the night at the Holiday Inn Express.

One of the visitors said “Everyone so enjoyed our time in Camden! Ya’ll made a huge impression.”

These tours give the Welcome Center Employees information about cities around the state so that when tourists ask about a particular area of the state, they know what each community has to offer and can give the State’s Visitor’s educated information as they have experienced Arkansas cities first hand.

LOCKHEED MARTIN RECEIVES $362 MILLION CONTRACT FOR MULTIPLE LAUNCH ROCKET SYSTEM LAUNCHER SYSTEM (M270A2) RECAPITALIZATION
DALLAS, April 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $362 million contract to recapitalize 50 of the U.S. Army's Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers.

The U.S. Army's MLRS recapitalization effort will eventually upgrade its existing fleet of 225 MLRS M270A1 launchers, and 160 decommissioned M270A0's slated for de-militarization, to M270A2s.

In partnership with the Red River Army Depot, these launchers will be completely refurbished as "zero time" launchers with new engines, transmissions, Launcher-Loader Modules, Improved Armored Cabs and the new Common Fire Control System.

"This investment to upgrade the MLRS launcher fleet reflects our customers continued confidence in our ability to provide a combat-proven precision strike system from the ground up," said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "These launchers will be returned to an "as-new" condition and serve our Army customer through 2050."

MLRS is a heavy tracked mobile launcher, transportable via C-17 and C-5 aircraft, that fires Guided MLRS rockets and Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles. MLRS will also be able to fire the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) and Extended-Range GMLRS rockets, both currently in development.

Three sites will be used to execute the contract. In addition to the Camden site, Lockheed Martin will be using locations in Grand Prairie and New Boston, Texas.The Camden site, located in the Highland Industrial Park, was esta blished in 1978 as the base for the MLRS production program. The facility serves as a manufacturing, final assembly, testing and storage location for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) program.

For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), ATACMS and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE: STATE RECEIVES $55 MILLION IN TOBACCO SETTLEMENT FUNDS
Bringing more than $1 billion total for public health programs
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has secured the 2019 share of proceeds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with tobacco companies. More than 20 years ago, 46 states and numerous other jurisdictions entered into a historic, multibillion dollar agreement to settle consumer-protection lawsuits for the costs that they had incurred for treating the negative health effects of smoking.

“The funds from the Master Settlement Agreement are important to the overall health and welfare of Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am proud to continue to enforce the tobacco statutes and secure the State’s disbursement from the agreement. This money funds smoking cessation programs, health care research and the Arkansas Medicaid program, which are all vital resources for a number of Arkansas families and children.”

This year’s disbursement of $ 55,375,060.96 brings the total amount received since 2001 to fund various public health programs in Arkansas to $1,059,678,391.78.

The MSA imposed health-related and advertising restrictions on tobacco companies. Additionally, the agreement requires the settling manufacturers to make annual payments to the settling states.

The Attorney General is tasked with enforcing the tobacco statutes that were enacted pursuant to the MSA. This enforcement includes operation of a certification process for tobacco manufacturers, ongoing quarterly and annual reporting, maintaining an Approved-For-Sale Directory, conducting audits, collection of escrow amounts and investigation or even litigation should violations of the tobacco statutes occur.

In 2000, Arkansas voters created the Tobacco Settlement Act, which governs how the funds received under the settlement are used. Payments are placed into the Tobacco Settlement Program Fund for later distribution to the programs supported by the settlement payments, including the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, an agricultural and medical research consortium; the Medicaid Expansion Program, which provides Medicaid coverage for pregnant women and increases hospital benefits for Medicaid beneficiaries; the Prevention and Cessation Program, which aims to reduce tobacco use; and the Targeted State Needs Program, which includes support for public health programs for minorities, older Arkansans and residents of rural areas and the Delta.

APRIL 23, 2019

OUACHITA COUNTY HEALTH UNIT TO OFFER EXTENDED HOURS
​Camden, AR - Starting on April 23, 2019, the Ouachita County Health Unit will have special hours on Tuesdays from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM. These extended hours allow the unit to stay open later to accommodate those who cannot come in during normal business hours.

Clinical services will be available from 9:30 until 6:00 each Tuesday and will include: Women Infants and Children (WIC), nutrition counseling and support, family planning,
​sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and services, and immunization appointments. Staff will be available from 8:00 until 6:00 on Tuesdays to schedule appointments, answer calls, and issue birth and death certificates.

On all other weekdays, the Ouachita County Health Unit will continue with regular business hours from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

For more information, please call (870) 836-5033. Local health unit location and services information can be found at www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

2019 SMALL BUSINESS NEEDS ASSESSMENT - SAU-ASBTDC, MAGNOLIA, AR
The SAU-ASBTDC office developed questions pertaining to the center’s outreach efforts and the small business needs of the communities in the SAU territory. Center staff collected survey responses from local mayors while promoting the SAU-ASBTDC and obtaining proclamations for America’s SBDC Day. Fourteen mayors provided responses to the survey through face-to-face interviews with ASBTDC staff. Responses will be used in planning various center activities.

Mayors from the following counties completed the assessments – Ashdown, Bradley, Camden, El Dorado, Hampton, Hope, Lewisville, Magnolia, McNeil, Norphlet, Prescott, Smackover, Stamps and Stephens.

SURVEY QUESTIONS:
QUESTION 1: How did you first hear about the ASBTDC network and its services?
QUESTION 2: What is the most effective way for the ASBTDC to inform your community about our free small business consulting services?
QUESTION 3 – What organization(s) work with or bring together small businesses in your community?
QUESTION 4 – What is the primary need expressed by the city’s current business owners?
QUESTION 5 – As Mayor, what do you believe your local small businesses need to succeed?

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: 1. Most mayors holding office for multiple terms heard about the SAU-ASBTDC at a local meeting. Mayors new to the office overwhelmingly heard about the center from contact with the current center staff – during proclamation signings.
2. Methods to get the word out about the services of the SAU-ASBTDC differ across the communities.
3. The majority of the communities have a Chamber of Commerce and many have local economic development offices. Churches, city councils and civic organizations are other avenues used in the communities to network and support the local business community.
4. The primary need expressed to the mayors by local businesses is a qualified workforce.
5. Mayors expressed access to capital and more customers to be what they think their small businesses need (in addition to a qualified workforce) in order to succeed.

KAWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, April 25th at Noon at Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be by Toni Greenlee from the Christian Health Center.  She will be talking about the upcoming Luau that is scheduled for April 26th.

GAME AND FISH FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES 2019 ARKANSAS OUTDOOR HAL OF FAME INDUCTEES
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.
, (April 22, 2019) – The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation today announced the 2019 Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees, to be recognized at ceremonies in August in Little Rock.

Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Inductees
MaryAnn King
, London - Considered the most knowledgeable in the state on using native plants in the landscape, King is the founder and longtime owner of Pine Ridge Gardens in London. She is credited with educating generations of amateurs and professionals alike on the subject of native plants and their role in naturalizing and restoring habitat for birds, wildlife and butterflies. Many of the State Parks Visitor Centers and AGFC Nature Centers across the state — as well as public gardens and arboretums nationwide — utilize her plant stock, among countless private gardeners and landowners.

Tommy III & Catherine Murchison, Cabot - The husband and wife team founded the Arkansas Big Buck Classic, an event that recognizes the quality of whitetail hunting available in Arkansas, as well as promoting good sportsmanship, conservation, education and ethical hunting. The event is held at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds and today averages nearly 38,000 visitors each year. Since its inception in 1990, the Arkansas Big Buck Classic has donated over $200,000 to worthy causes including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Shriners Hospital for Children and C.H. Vines 4-H Center. In addition, the event has gathered approximately 50,000 cans of food for Hunters Feeding the Hungry among other charities.

Woody Futrell, Nashville - For Woody Futrell, boats were both vocation and avocation. An avid boat racer in the 1950s, he took over the family business, Futrell Marine, which his father Dan Futrell established in 1948. Under Dan’s guidance, Woody quickly learned the ropes of the business and would become one of the most well-known and respected businessmen in retail boating, to be numbered among the industry elite via national design, sales and service awards multiple times over.

The McCollum Family, Stuttgart - Widely credited with refining the business model of the modern duck club, the McCollum Family occupies a unique place in the history of Arkansas duck hunting. Generations of McCollums have helped advance the business and habitat science of ducks, including perfecting many of the conservation and natural resources management practices so common today. Their vision, ingenuity and skill helped lay the foundation upon which Arkansas duck hunting has grown into a multi-million dollar industry.

“Every year, the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation recognizes individuals whose contributions to the great outdoors transcends mere hobby,” said Deke Whitbeck, president of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. “The individuals we honor have devoted their time, energy and passion for the outdoors in such a way that preserves and enhances our wild spaces for generations to come. We are proud to once again recognize such outstanding Arkansans.”

Honorees will be recognized during the 28th Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet, slated for Saturday, August 24, 2019 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Tickets for the event are $125 and tables of ten are available for $1,250 each. The night will include dinner, live and silent auctions and induction ceremony. The event is set to begin at 6pm.

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

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

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


Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES MAY MOBILE OFFICE SCHEDULE
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced mobile office locations for May.

Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties each year during her first term, assisting 3,300 Arkansans.

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

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

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

The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:

Washington County
Thursday, May 2
10:30 a.m. to noon
Springdale Senior Center
203 Park St.
Springdale, AR 72764

Independence County
Friday, May 3
10:30 a.m. to noon
Independence County Senior Center
1590 E. College Ave.
Batesville, AR 72501

Lee County
Tuesday, May 7
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Lee County Courthouse
15 E. Chestnut St.
Marianna, AR 72360

Yell County
Wednesday. May 8
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Leon Millsap Senior Activity Center
1301 E. 8th St.
Danville, AR 72833

Poinsett County
Thursday, May 9
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
St. Bernarnds Senior Life Center – Harrisburg
300 Fairground St.
Harrisburg, AR 72432

Columbia County
Tuesday, May 14
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Columbia County Nutrition Center
600 Lelia St.
Magnolia, AR 71753

Lafayette County
Monday, May 20
9:45 to 11:15 a.m.
Lafayette County Senior Citizens Center
228 Church St.
Stamps, AR 71860
Montgomery County
Thursday, May 30
10 00 to 11:30 a.m.
Mount Ida Senior Activity Center
158 Senior Drive
Mount Ida, AR 71957

COTTON STATEMENT ON U.S. EFFORTS TO END IRANIAN OIL EXPORTS
Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the State Department's announcement that it will no longer grant sanctions waivers for the purchase of Iranian oil:

"The world pays a steep price for Iranian oil, which funds Iran's military aggression and terrorist proxies. Pressure on the Iranian regime was a necessary decision and I commend the leadership of Secretary Pompeo in the efforts to shift oil reliance from Iran."

 

April 22, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
PUBLIC INTOXICATION
DISORDERLY CONDUCT

On April 16, 2019 at 5:21 P.M., Officer Ashley Watts, responded as back up officer to the area of 1039 Fort Lookout Manor in reference to a disturbance. Upon arrival Officer Watts observed Officer Kayla Reynolds speaking with Darrell Dumas.

Dumas was speaking loudly outside of the apartments at Fort Lookout Manor and causing a scene. Officer Reynolds instructed Dumas to lower his voice, however Dumas did not comply with the request. Officer Watts could smell an odor of intoxicants on Dumas’ breath as he was speaking. She could not understand much of what Dumas was saying, as he was rambling and speaking incoherently. As Dumas was talking loudly, he began to cuss. Officer Reynolds informed him if he did not stop conducting himself in this manner that he would be placed under arrest for Disorderly Conduct. Dumas then turned around and knelt to the ground with his hands behind his back yelling for her to just arrest him. At this point there were multiple residents standing outside observing Dumas. Officer Reynolds instruct Officer Davis, who had also arrived as back-up, to take Dumas into custody. Officer VanAssche had arrived on-scene and went to secure the door to Dumas' apartment and observed an empty whiskey bottle on his stoop. Officer Watts placed Dumas into her patrol unit and transported him to the Camden Police Department without incident. Officer Reynolds later informed Officer Watts that their shift had been dispatched to Fort Lookout multiple times that day concerning Dumas. Booking procedures were completed and Dumas was transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center where he was held for twelve hours and later released with a citation for Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injury
On April 15, 2019 at 10:11 p.m., Officer Jake Perry was dispatched to a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle on Old Magnolia Road. Upon arrival contact was made with a James Sullivan. Sullivan advised the Officer the subject that was struck was in his shop. Officer Perry observed Eric Gulley to be sitting in a chair with a visible head injury. He was upset and stated he did not know who hit him and he doesn't remember being hit. EMS arrived on scene and assessed Gulley's injuries.

Officer Perry began speaking with Sullivan and Sara Bates. Both subjects stated they were at the dumpster when they heard a loud noise like a vehicle accident. Bates stated she walked towards the direction where she heard the noise and saw Gulley and a black female, later identified as Eric Gulley's sister, Erica Gulley. Bates stated she heard Erica ask Gulley if he was ok. Bates then stated Erica got back into her vehicle, a green or dark colored compact vehicle, and drove away from the scene. Bates and Sullivan ran to where Gulley was located and escorted him to their garage to ensure Gulley was ok.

Officer Perry knew Gulley to have had a previous altercation with a female subject and he went to her home to investigate her vehicle. After confirming it was not the vehicle, he proceeded back to the scene of the accident, but stopped as he could hear people screaming and yelling. Officer Perry then made his way to the subject yelling, Orlando Moore, and asked if everything was ok. He stated, " Damn that was his momma". Officer Perry gathered the information from Moore and was also told where Gulley's mother stayed. Sergeant Elliott had arrived on-scene earlier and both Officers went to 701 Crestwood where they located the vehicle the witness described. Officer Perry exited his patrol unit and noticed a subject looking at the front door, and when they noticed it was the police began to cry and scream. Contact was made with Melissa Williams and Erica Gulley inside the residence. He advised them of the reason he was there and asked who was driving the vehicle when it struck Gulley. Erica Gulley came forward and admitted to striking Gulley and driving off.

Erica was taken into custody by Sergeant Elliott and transported to the station without incident. At the station booking procedures were completed. Erica was later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center to await a mandatory first appearance.

CAMDEN NOON LIONS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet on Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Wyletta Johnson. She will be speaking on Autism.

GRIFFIN APPLAUDS SIGNING OF BILLS TO AID SERVICE MEMBERS AND FAMILIES
Says, 'opportunities' for spouses and children of our service members 'should not be limited by government red tape'

 LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin will attend the signing of SB564 to grant reciprocity for occupational licensure of active duty service members and their spouses, and SB638 to expand the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children:

"I applaud the Arkansas General Assembly for passing SB564 and SB638. Our service members and their families are often required to move many times in the course of their military service, but employment and education opportunities for their spouses and children should not be limited by government red tape. Establishing reciprocity of occupational licensing for military spouses is of particular importance because the secretaries of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force have identified it as a major hurdle facing members of our armed forces. I commend Governor Asa Hutchinson and the legislature for their work on these important issues."

AEDC’s MIKE PRESTON TO SPEAK AT GTEDC DINNER ON MAY 7
MAGNOLIA – The Golden Triangle Economic Development Council is hosting its 18th Annual GTEDC Dinner Meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at the El Dorado Conference Center, 311 Southwest Avenue in El Dorado, Ark.

Michael “Mike” Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), will deliver the keynote address. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Dinner tickets are $25 per person and may be purchased at the GTEDC Office at Southern Arkansas University, online at www.gtedc.org, through the local chamber of commerce and economic development offices in El Dorado and Magnolia, and at the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development in Camden.

Preston, who is highly regarded as a leading advocate in economic development, was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to executive director of the AEDC in March 2015.

Since that time, Preston has made successful business recruitment trips to Japan, China, France, Germany, Israel, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, United Kingdom, New York City and Silicon Valley. The trips continue to play an important role in the economic development efforts of Arkansas and have led to more than 300 companies signing agreements with AEDC to locate or expand in the state. These companies are investing $8.06 billion and creating more than 16,000 new jobs.

Before joining AEDC, he served more than six years as the vice president of government relations for Enterprise Florida, the state’s primary economic development organization. While there, he was part of the team that helped generate $10.07 billion in capital investment and create more than 147,000 jobs that paid an average wage of $56,437.

In 2018, Preston was selected to join The Wall Street Journal’s prestigious CEO Council. It is an invitation-only group that connects some of the world’s most ambitious and influential leaders to discuss the issues shaping the future. The members lead companies that collectively employ more than eight million people, generate $2.9 trillion in annual revenue, and represent 20 countries in a wide cross section of industries.

A 2005 graduate of the University of Florida, Preston and his wife, Anne, are proud to call Arkansas home. They both volunteer in the community in a variety of ways, including the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

WILDFIRE SUPPRESSION KITS DISTRIBUTED TO VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS THROUGH RURAL FIRE PROGRAM
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Rural Fire Program, managed by the Arkansas Agriculture Department's Forestry Commission (AFC), received $237,000 from the United States Forest Service to purchase and distribute 79 Wildfire Suppression Kits to statewide volunteer fire departments in 2019. Kits feature equipment and gear necessary for the safe suppression of wildfires and will be delivered to selected volunteer fire departments through May.

Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner to AFC crews in wildfire response and suppression but often need the specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. Since 2014, more than 300 volunteer fire departments have received Wildfire Suppression Kits through the Rural Fire Program. Kits distributed this year include lightweight wildfire-resistant personal protective equipment, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers.

Volunteer fire departments interested in participating in the Wildfire Suppression Kit program submit applications that are scored according to specific criteria including fire district population, the size of the response area, wildfire equipment response needs, and other factors. The application period for the 2020 Wildfire Protection Kit program starts in September. Contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at Kathryn.Mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501) 679-3183 with questions or to be added to the Rural Fire Program email distribution list.

Fire departments receiving kits in 2019 are listed below by fire department and county:

Antioch/White
Appleton/Pope
Ash Flat/Fulton&Sharp
Barton-Lexa/Phillips
Bee Branch/Van Buren
Board Camp /Polk
Bradley/Lafayette
Brinkley/Monroe
Buford/Baxter
Bussey Sharman/Columbia
Butlerville/Lonoke
Butterfield/Crawford
Calico Rock/Izard
Cecil Rural/Franklin
Center Point/Howard
Center Ridge /Conway
Chickalah/Yell
Chidester/Ouachita
Chimes/Van Buren
Collins-Cominto/Drew
Corning/Clay
Cross Roads/Hempstead
Cross Roads/Prairie
Daisy/Pike
Decatur/Benton
Dierks/Howard
Driggs/Logan
Dumas/Desha
East End/Saline
Elaine/Phillips
Elkins/Washington
Emerson/Columbia
Enola/Faulkner
Fisher/Poinsett
Fountain Lake/Garland
Hackett/Sebastian
Hardy/Sharp
Hoxie/Lawrence
Huttig/Union
Hwy 15 S/Jefferson
Johnsville/Bradley
Joy/White
Lacey-Ladell/Drew
Lamar/Johnson
Luxora/Mississippi
Lynn/Lawrence
Mammoth Spring/Fulton
Mandeville/Miller
Marvell Rural/Phillips
Maysville/Benton
McRae/White
Mulberry/Crawford
Murfreesboro/Pike
New Blaine/Logan
Norman/Montgomery
Norphlet/Union
Northside/Prairie
Oak Grove Heights/Greene
Oak Prairie/Prairie
Ouachita/Hot Spring
Oxford/Izard
Pansy/Cleveland
Paron/Saline
Ravenden/Lawrence
Rover/Yell
Selma/Drew
South Phillips/Phillips
Southeast White/White
Southwest/Hot Spring
Sparkman/Dallas
Swifton/Jackson
Turtle Creek/Saline
Valley/Drew
Watalula/Franklin
Watson/Desha
Williford/Sharp
Woodlawn/Cleveland
Y Community-212/Cleveland
Y City/Scott

 
 

April 19, 2019

ARKANSAS PARKS AND TOURISM EMPLOYEES TO VISIT CAMDEN
Twenty-three members of the Arkansas Parks and Tourism employees will be visiting Camden on Tuesday. The visitors work at all the Welcome Centers across the state. The group will arrive in Camden late Tuesday afternoon. They will visit two local businesses in Downtown Camden. The group will then tour “The Trace”. John Wheeler and Becky Davis will give a 30-minute narrated Tour of the Historic District. They will also have a booklet that has been prepared of all the historical markers in the area for each of the visitor. Catherine’s Bistro will serve dinner before the Historic Society puts on a shortened version of the All Hallow’s Eve Walk. The visitor’s will all spend the night in Camden. If you see visitor’s, please put Camden’s best face forward. Make them feel welcome and let them know what a wonderful town Camden is.

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
National Day of Prayer Ceremony will be Thursday, May 2nd at Noon on the Ouachita County Courthouse Lawn. Everyone is invited to come.  Hamburgers, chips & bottled water will be served to those attending. Sponsored by the Camden Ministerial Alliance and Ouachita County Ministerial Alliance.

VICTORY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL SPONSORS 2ND ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
Victory Christian School has announced details for their 2nd Annual Golf Tournament. The tournament will be held on Saturday May 4th at the Highland Golf Course in East Camden. Tee Time is at 8:00 a.m. and at 12 Noon if more than 20 teams register. Entry fee is $55.00 per person and includes Green Fees, Gold Cart and Door Prizes. This tournament will be a 2-person Scramble. Trophies will be awarded for the top 3 teams. There will be $130.00 cash prize for 1st place, $80.00 cash prize for 2nd place and a $50.00 cash prize for 3rd place.  Special prizes include closest to the pin on hole #15 and longest drive on hole #17. There is an additional $10 entry fee for each of the special prizes. Mulligans can be purchased for $5.00 each. Limit is 4 mulligans per golfer. Drinks and concessions will be for sale on the course. Tee times will only be held with payment of the entry fees. No acholic beverages. There is a 40-team limit. Registration must be made by Thursday, May 2nd. For registration or additional information contact Charlotte Young at 870-807-1468 or Larry Young at 870-818-7501.


SAAC ANNOUNCES KRISTEN BLOSSOM AS VISITING DIRECTOR FOR “HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME”
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to announce Kristen Blossom as the visiting director and choreographer for this summer’s production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Blossom, who is currently the Assistant Professor of Acting and Directing at Louisiana Tech University, will be making her directing debut at SAAC’s Callaway Theatre. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring to the stage this classic tale of the power of light and love to defeat darkness and anger in the lives of Quasimodo and Esmeralda, set in the famed cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. This year’s summer musical is sponsored by Murphy USA and scheduled for July 18-28.

“It is so easy to let our beliefs about ourselves be shaped and warped by the people around us. It requires a tremendous amount of courage to redirect those thought patterns, step outside of the abuse and refuse to let other people's opinions of us determine who we are,” Blossom says. “There is so much darkness in Quasimodo's world and a lot of it exists in his own mind. Re-defining how you see yourself is no small feat. It takes all the inner-strength Quasimodo can muster to step into his personal power and allow himself to be immersed in light and experience love.”

A show with wonderful creative opportunities for actors, singers, dancers, and choir members of varying skill levels, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney animated feature. It includes the film’s Academy Award-nominated score, as well as new songs, with a storyline that embraces theatrical storytelling while including verbatim passages from Hugo’s gothic novel.

Blossom has extensive experience directing both children and adults at the community theatre and collegiate levels. She holds an MFA in Acting, from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, which has been rated one of the top 25 Drama Schools in the world. She. As member of the Actors Equity Association, she has extensive experience performing and directing on stages all over the country. She is a trained dancer and registered yoga teacher, allowing her to incorporate her teaching techniques into all elements of the production.  

“Working with me means that together we will constantly be peeling back layers and finding a deeper meaning in every word, movement and moment. I lead with my heart and try to encourage other artists to do the same,” Blossom says. 

“The Hunchback of Notre” Dame is sponsored by Murphy USA and will run July 18-28, with auditions beginning June 1 with a call for choir members and June 2-3 for actors, singers and dancers. Stop by SAAC on Saturday, May 18 to meet Blossom and the other members of the creative team beginning at 4 pm. Audition materials will be available, and you will have a chance to hear more about Blossom’s vision for this classic tale. For more information, please call the SAAC at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

MAGIC SPRINGS OFFERS A SPECIAL “THANK YOU” TO OUR HEROS
Park honors service people during Heroes Appreciation Month
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (April 16, 2019) – Magic Springs Theme and Water Park will offer FREE admission for members of the military, both active duty and retired, as well as police, firefighters and EMTs during its Heroes Appreciation Month, April 27 – May 27, 2019. 

Spouses and dependents of military, police, firefighters and EMTs will receive admission at $35.99 plus tax when accompanied by a member of the qualified group May 11-17.

“This is just another way to express our gratitude to the brave men and women who

serve our communities and our country every day,” said Jack Bateman, general

manager at the park. “We salute them and their families during Heroes Appreciation Month every year at Magic Springs.”

First responders and members of the military need to show their military ID or proof of employment at the park ticket booths to receive free admission. Invited members of the military include active duty, retirees, veterans, reservists and Department of Defense.

Magic Springs Theme and Water Park is now open for weekend operations and will begin daily operation on May 27. The water park area will open for operations on May 11, 2019. For more information about this program and Magic Springs, visit MagicSprings.com.

A Season Pass gate price is $74.99 plus tax. General admission Saturday ticket price is

$59.99 plus tax. Junior (under 48” tall) and senior (ages 55+) Saturday ticket price is $39.99 plus tax. Call 501-318-5370 or visit MagicSprings.com/buy-tickets.php for more information and discounted tickets.

About Magic Springs Theme & Water Park:

Located on the FUN side of Hot Springs, about 50 miles west of Little Rock, AR, Magic Springs is Arkansas's ONLY theme and water park. A single price admission includes entrance to both the theme and water park, including use of the rides, slides, attractions, concerts and special events. The park is open weekends April, May, October and daily Memorial Day through mid-August. Magic Springs is operated by Premier Parks, LLC.

Visit MagicSprings.com for more information or to purchase Season Passes or discount tickets.

 

APRIL 18, 2019

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW ONE OF FOUR SOUTH ARKANSAS SCHOOLS EXEMPT FROM SCHOOL CHOICE ACT
The state Department of Education told four south Arkansas school systems on  Wednesday that they are exempted from participating in the school choice act for the 2019-20 school year because of an ongoing federal appeals court case.

The Department of Education sent letters to Camden Fairview, along with Hope, Junction City and Lafayette County schools granting the requested exemptions. Earlier, the Department of Education had handed down the decision that the schools were obligated to take part in the School Choice Act.

Attorney’s Allen Roberts and Whitney Moore represent all four of the exempted School Districts. The Attorneys have argued that the School’s in question participation in the state's School Choice Act of 2015 would result in racial segregation resulting the districts to be in conflict with their federal court-ordered school desegregation plans.

The Arkansas attorney general's office, representing the Education Department and state Board of Education, has appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis. The appeals court has denied the state's request that student transfers from the four districts be allowed to for the 2019-20 school year while the court appeal is in process. The state's written arguments in the appeal are due to the 8th Circuit on May 3rd. The school district will then submit arguments. A court date should then be set to determine the outcome of the matter.

AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, April 26, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road in Camden.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE BACK SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 27TH
LITTLE ROCK
– The bi-annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for April 27. It is an important opportunity for Arkansans to clean out old and unused prescription medications because more than half of Arkansas teens report it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. Prescription Drug Take Back is one way to ensure these lethal drugs stay out of the hands of addicted Arkansans.
 
“The prescription drug epidemic continues to wreak havoc on our state and country,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs impacts a staggering number of families across Arkansas. It will take all of us working together to make a difference, including properly disposing of medications.”
 
Rutledge released the following list of medications that will be accepted at these events across the State:

  • Opioids, such as OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, etc.
  • Stimulants, such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Dexedrine, etc.
  • Depressants, such as Ativan, Xanax, Valium, etc.
  • Other prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Vitamins
  • Pet medicines
  • Medicated ointments and lotions
  • Inhalers
  • Liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers (up to 12 ounces)
  • Medicine samples

Medications may be returned in the original bottle or in any other container for increased privacy.
 
Prescription drug Take Back locations will be available 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 27. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Days are held twice a year, but to find event sites and year-round drop-off locations near you, visit ARTakeBack.org.
 
Properly destroying these medications also protects the environment. Medicines that are flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting waters, which could contaminate food and water supplies. Wastewater treatment plants or septic systems may not remove many medicine compounds. Turning over these medications at Take Back Day events also reduces the risk of accidental poisonings by children, seniors or pets, as well as reduces the risk of drug abuse.
 
Attorney General Rutledge has been a leader in the State and nation combating the opioid epidemic by using a multifaceted approach through education, prevention and litigation. Her first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program is free for high schools and over the last year has reached almost 14,000 students. In November, the Attorney General hosted the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit with record attendance, which provided training and educational opportunities for law enforcement, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Rutledge has taken an aggressive approach to protect Arkansans and combat the epidemic by suing Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Endo, opioid manufacturers who created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
 
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
Rutledge joined attorneys general from Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah in signing the letter, which was led by the attorney general from West Virginia.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES DUMAS WOMAN SENTENCED FOR MEDICAID FRAUD
Says, ‘Shirley Owens took advantage of a vital resource’
LITTLE ROCK – Just yesterday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a Desha County woman pleaded guilty to theft of property by deception for caring for her husband, the patient, which is conduct that would make her ineligible to be paid by the Medicaid program.

“Shirley Owens took advantage of a vital resource by being illegally paid to care for her husband,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Medicaid is an important safety net for many, and what Owens did was take money and services away from another deserving Arkansan.”

Owens, 63, of Dumas, pleaded guilty to a form of Medicaid fraud involving theft of property by deception, a Class C felony, between December 2016 and July 2017. A Medicaid fraud investigation revealed that Owens and her husband, the Medicaid recipient had married in January 2006. She was ordered to pay $5,364 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund.

This case was referred to the Arkansas Attorney General’s office by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and prosecuted in coordination with Sixth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.

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

COTTON, CRUZ, COLLEAGUES URGE ADDITIONAL ACTION FOLLOWING GOLAN HEIGHTS DECISION
Washington, D.C.
 — U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) sent a letter to President Trump urging his administration to take several steps to implement his decision recognizing the Golan Heights as part of the State of Israel.

“The United States now recognizes the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli soil. Our official documents, maps, regulations, and international agreements ought to reflect that historic fact. We stand ready to help the president implement his decision, which strengthens Israel’s capacity for self-defense against enemies like Iran and the terrorist forces who want to destroy it,” said Senator Cotton.

“Deepening Israel’s sovereignty and control over the Golan Heights is in America’s national security interest. The president should be applauded for his decision to recognize the reality of that sovereignty, which he did over the objections of some in his administration who incorrectly predicted that it would cause unrest in the Middle East. Now it is imperative that all federal agencies implement the president’s decision, including by aligning the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual to reflect that it is United States policy that the Golan Heights is Israeli territory,” said Senator Cruz.

 An excerpt from the letter is below:

“We now urge you to take the following steps to implement your historic decision:

  1. Direct all federal government agencies to update their official documents, publications, and maps to recognize the Golan Heights as the State of Israel’s sovereign territory.
  1. Direct the State Department to treat the Golan Heights as the State of Israel’s sovereign territory for the purpose of: (a) issuing passports to Americans born in the Golan Heights and (b) all treaties and agreements.
  1. Direct the State Department to pursue talks with the Israeli government about updating the 1972 U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation agreement and the related 1977 agreements covering industrial and agricultural research. These agreements bar funding of projects in or relating to “geographic areas which came under the administration of the Government of Israel after June 5, 1967,” which is in conflict with your proclamation.
  1. Direct all federal government agencies responsible for foreign commerce and customs enforcement to allow products from the Golan Heights to be labeled ‘Made in Israel.’”
 

April 17, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
Leaving Scene of Accident with Injury- Felony
Damaged Property- Misdemeanor

On April 14, 2019 at 10:38 p.m., Officer Jake Perry and Officer Brandon Brangaccio were advised by dispatch of a hit and run accident at Soapy Suds (645 California Ave). Dispatch advised that the caller stated a white vehicle was the car that left the scene. While receiving this call the Officers were pulling to the stop light on California by Soapy Suds when they noticed a subject flagging us down.

Upon arrival Office Brangaccio observed significant damage to the vehicle that remained at the scene. The vehicle's entire front bumper was completely tom off the front of the vehicle and sitting on the ground in the parking lot of Soapy Suds. Officer Brangaccio made contact with victim who was in the front driver seat of the vehicle.

The Officer asked the woman "do you need to go to the hospital? At first she responded no when asked what happened the woman stated that she was sitting in her car in front of Soapy Suds waiting for her clothes to dry when a white car pulled up beside her letting a man dressed in all black out. She said the man and the woman began to argue when all of a sudden, the woman in the white car drove into her car attempting to hit the man who was on foot. The white car also ended up colliding with the front of the building as well. The car then backed out hitting the victim’s car again before driving away. The woman said she was not able to get a good look at either the woman driving off or the man who she stated just walked away up Lincoln Drive like nothing had happened, but she was able to get the License Plate Number of the white car. The plates were run and returned to a Sharia Holliman.

Other units began to search the surrounding area for the vehicle. Upon observing the front of the building Officer Brangaccio noticed damage to the bricks on the building. He was also able to see from the inside of Soapy Suds the front wall had been pushed inward and had a slight bend from where the impact happened. Pictures of both the inside and outside damage to the building were taken and the owner of the building was notified. There were also two witnesses who saw the accident and were able to give the same details as the victim’s account of the incident.

Officer Perry advised dispatch to call out Kelly's Wrecker Service to the scene per driver's request. At that time the victim said she was starting to have neck pains and called her husband to come pick her up. He arrived and told Officers that he would take his wife to the hospital for a precaution check out. Lt. Opelt advised he was not able to locate the white car who fled from the scene, but he was able to get in touch with the owner, Sharia Holliman who advised Lt. Opelt her daughter, Sherika Holliman had been driving the car. Sherika Holliman agreed to come to the station and explain her side of the situation.

 Once Sherika arrived to the station she began to tell us that she had dropped off Hayward Lucas at Soapy Suds. Sherika stated that Hayward owed her 30 dollars for doing one of his family member's hair, but once he got out the car he walked off and didn't pay her. Sherika said she started yelling out her window to Hayward asking for the money he owed her. Hayward came up to her car window and threw something inside according to Sherika. Sherika then stated she went to back up and leave when she drove forward almost hitting Hayward and ramming into the front of the building. Sherika said she panicked because she thought her car was in reverse and her intention were not to hit Hayward or even attempt too so she drove off and left the scene. Officer’s advised Sherika not only did she hit the building, but she also rammed into a car parked next to her causing significant damage also causing the driver of the other vehicle to go to the hospital due to neck pain. Sherika said she was not aware she hit another car and if she was she would not have left like she did.

Sherika was taken into custody. Standard booking procedures were completed and Sherika was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with an injury and Criminal Mischief 1st Degree. Sherika was transported to Ouachita County Detention Center with no incident.

DWI 1ST OFFENSE
On April 11, 2019 at 10:46 P.M. Officer Ashley Watts, was driving North bound on Cash Road when I observed a Chevy Silverado driving South on Cash in the turning lane. The Officer turned around to get behind the Silverado. The Officer observed the vehicle proceed straight on Cash through the intersection of Cash and Highway 278 from the turning lane. The Officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle in the parking lot of the Camden Market Place.

Officer Watts made contact with Elbert Miller III. She advised him why she had stopped him. Miller supplied me with all the information the Officer requested.  While speaking with Miller Officer Watts could smell the odor of intoxicants on his breath. When asked if he had been drinking that evening and he replied yes, that he made himself a drink approximately two hours prior. He estimated he drank about four shots of Apple Crown mixed with Sprite. Miller was asked to exit the vehicle so that the Officer could ensure he would be safe to drive from that location. Miller was very polite and compliant with all my requests as I conducted the Field Sobriety Test which indicated he was in fact intoxicated. During the entire process Miller remained very respectful and compliant, stating that he knew he messed up and would do whatever he was asked to do. Officer Watts administered the BAC to measure Miller's blood alcohol content. The BAC results showed Miller's blood alcohol content to be 0.130.

Miller's driver's license was confiscated to send to Driver Control and he was issued a temporary driver's license. He was issued a citation number  and court date before being released into the custody of his wife.

POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE-MISDEMEANOR
POSSESSION INSTRUMENT OF CRIME-X2

On April 11, 2019 at 10:31 p.m. hours, Officer Jacob VanAssche was patrolling the area of Red Bud near Cardinal, when he observed a black 2001 Ford F-150 driving west bound on Cardinal nearing the intersection. The Officer then observed the the vehicle fail to yield at the stop sign and make a right turn onto Red Bud also failing to use a tum signal. Officer VanAssche then attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The vehicle continued to travel north bound on Red Bud disregarding the blue lights. This continued till the vehicle pulled into the driveway of 2751 Red Bud. Once in the driveway the driver exited the vehicle and attempted to go inside the residence. The Officer stopped him and advised him he was detained.

The driver identified himself as Xavier Franklin, and the two passengers identified themselves as Eric Bigby and Ja'Curtis Madison. While gathering all the parties' information Officer VanAssche noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. He then requested another unit to be dispatched to the location for a vehicle search. The Officer also requested a warrant check be completed through dispatch on all three subjects. Dispatch advised all three where negative for warrants.

Sergeant Elliott arrived on scene, and all three subjects were taken out of the vehicle. While taking them out of the vehicle Officer VanAssche observed a new aroma in the vehicle. It appeared the subjects attempted to mask the odor of marijuana with a spray.

While searching the vehicle Officers found a clear bag of marijuana in the center console of the truck, a Bob Marley grinder with residue inside it in the cup holder, and a glass weed pipe with burnt residue in it in the side of the driver's door. The glass pipe was still very hot, which shows it was recently used.

All three passengers stated the contraband didn't belong to them but refused to say who it belonged to. All three were then taken into custody without incident.

A vehicle impound sheet was completed, and Rothwell Wrecker later arrived and took custody of the vehicle.

All three suspects were transported to the station without incident. At the station Franklin was booked for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession Instrument of a Crime X2. Bigby and Madison were booked for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession Instrument of a Crime. All three were later released with a Criminal Citations and a District Court. Franklin also received six Traffic Citations: No Driver's License, No Proof of Insurance, Failure to Yield to Stop Sign, Fail to Signal, Failure to Pay Registration Over 60 days, and Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle. Franklin was issued a District Court date.

CARRYING A WEAPON
On April 11, 2019 at 12:30 a.m. Officer Jacob VanAssche conducted a traffic stop on a 2005 black Mercury SUV for Failure to Signal and No License Plate Lamp.

The Officer made contact with the driver Demetri McCoy, who stated he was giving a friend a ride home and forgot to use his blinker. While speaking with McCoy a strong smell of burnt marijuana was coming from the vehicle. The Officer then requested another unit to be dispatched for a vehicle search. The Officer also requested a warrant check to be completed through dispatch on McCoy and his passenger, Jakeal Sheapard. McCoy seemed to be confused and had a lot of trouble answering questions and keeping his focus.

Officer Lane arrived on scene, and at which point dispatch advised Sheapard had a valid warrant with the county. He was taken into custody and placed into the patrol unit. Sheapard was later transported to the OCSO on his valid warrant. McCoy seemed to be under the influence of some form of substance, so he was then removed from the vehicle.

Once he was removed from the vehicle Officer VanAssche asked McCoy if he would complete the Standard Field Sobriety Test. The test resulted in no cues to support McCoy being under the influence of some substance. McCoy was then advised that the Officer was going to search his vehicle, due to the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. McCoy admitted he does smoke marijuana in his vehicle, and that's probably why I was smelling it. McCoy got visibly upset once the Officer began getting close to the vehicle. He started grabbing his head and saying, “They’re going to find it, oh man I'm in so much trouble, I'm going to go to jail." The Officer then went back to McCoy and asked him what he was talking about, and he refused to say. He continued to be upset, and he began to show a strong trepidation of the vehicle being searched. McCoy was then detained for officer safety, due to the fact that his behavior was continuing to deteriorate. The vehicle was then searched and Officer VanAssche found a loaded 380 Lorcin handgun in McCoy's glove box. The handgun had five rounds in the clip, and one round in the chamber. After unloading the handgun and making it safe, the Officer requested a wanted or stolen check be completed on the handgun. Dispatch later advised the handgun was negative for being wanted or reported stolen.

McCoy stated he was upset about this being in his vehicle, because it wasn't his. When asked whose handgun it was, he said it belonged to some trucker he gave a ride to a few weeks prior. McCoy stated he didn't know the guy, but said the trucker placed the gun in his glove box as soon as he got into McCoy's vehicle.

McCoy was taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. At the station a Criminal History was completed on McCoy, and it showed McCoy was never convicted on a felony charge. McCoy was then booked for Carrying a Weapon. Booking procedures were completed. McCoy was issued a Criminal Citation for Carrying a Weapon  and a Traffic Citation for No Driver's License and Failure to Signal and given a District Court date. McCoy was released.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, April 18th at 12:00 Noon at Catherine’s Bistro. The program will be presented by Terri Smith who serves in the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.

DRIVE HIGH – GET A DWI”: ARKANSAS JOINS REGIONAL ENFORCEMENT PLAN STRIKING AGAINST DRUG IMPAIRED DRIVING
Law enforcement agencies across six states will increase patrol officer presence on roads and highways beginning later this week as part of a regional plan aimed to reduce incidents of drug impaired driving.

Beginning Friday (April 19th) and continuing through Saturday, local police, sheriff’s deputies and highway patrol troopers in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma will concentrate patrols directed toward an effort to stop drivers who are impaired by drugs.  Impaired driving is illegal in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

Regardless of how a driver may come to be in possession of drugs, whether the substance is prescribed or illegal to possess; driving while impaired by drugs creates a safety threat to the driver, vehicle passengers and others traveling on public roadways.

“Drug impaired driving is a serious issue for drivers and law enforcement officers on Arkansas roadways,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “By intensifying enforcement of drug impaired driving laws we hope people will think twice before driving while impaired by any drug whether it is prescribed or not.”

 Almost all illegal drugs and many prescription drugs can slow the reaction time of a driver who must be alert and in control of the vehicle.  Just like alcohol, drugs make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their traffic lane.  It doesn’t matter what term is used to describe the impairment; if a driver is high, stoned, wasted or drunk, the individual is impaired.  Driving while impaired by any substance is illegal and can be deadly.

“Our goal is to save lives and we’re putting all drivers on notice that drug impaired driving is against the law,” said Colonel Bryant.

Remember, “Drive High – Get a DWI.”

Learn more about the dangers of drug impaired driving at Traffic Safety Marketing, https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov

altADE'S MY SHCOOL INFO WEBSITE SURPASSES 100,000 PAGE VIEWS IN 1 DAY

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education celebrates more than 100,000 page views in one day on its My School Info website, marking another milestone since the site’s launch in November 2016. 

On April 15, 2019, the portal received 131,343 page views with the release of the 2018 Arkansas Report Cards. This breaks the previous record of more than 67,000 page views on a single day that occurred on April 12, 2018, when the 2017 Arkansas School Performance Reports and ESSA School Index scores were released. In September 2018, My School Info accomplished another milestone when the site reached more than 1 million page views since its launch.

“Our primary purpose when developing and launching My School Info was to provide stakeholders easy access to reliable, accurate education information,” Arijit Sarkar, ADE director of information systems and chief information officer, said. “The site’s recent milestones show that our stakeholders not only value the site but are using the information on the site to make informed education decisions. We are thrilled with the website’s success and are committed to working with our partners to make further improvements that benefit all stakeholders.”

My School Info is ADE’s free online resource for school and district data. The user-friendly site is interactive and allows visitors to do the following: 

  • access school and district contact information; 
  • search assessment and financial information; 
  • compare schools and districts; 
  • analyze trends over multiple years; and 
  • view school rating and report card information.

ADE continues to seek stakeholder feedback and make improvements to My School Info. Recent updates include the addition of the 2018 Report Cards and long-term goals reports. Stakeholders can access these reports and use the site to compare schools in districts, counties, education service cooperatives, and the state. By hovering a computer mouse over specific data elements, users can access additional explanations and definitions. Users also can export information into an Excel or PDF format, as well as share information with others via email.

To access My School Info, go to https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov. To provide feedback about the site, please email ADE.ITServices@Arkansas.Gov, or click on the feedback button located at the bottom of the My School Info home page. 

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Follow us on Instagram at arkansas_ed


Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE JOINS COALITION SUPPORTING NEW WOTUS RULE
Says, ‘Obama-era rule was never about protecting our water in a responsible way’
LITTLE ROCK – On Tuesday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined 16 other states in submitting a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers in support of the proposed revisions to define the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

“The overreaching Obama-era rule was never about protecting our water in a responsible way, and their action had disastrous implications for Arkansas farmers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The proposed revisions return the EPA to its core mission of environmental enforcement, pollution mitigation and disaster cleanup.”

The comment letter from Rutledge and her colleagues is part of the efforts to repeal the Obama-administration rule which allowed the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to assert federal authority over a vast number of small bodies of water, including roadside ditches, short-lived streams and any other area where water may flow once every 100 years.

In 2017, President Donald J. Trump directed a review of the WOTUS definition. And in February, a new rule was proposed which would not only rescind the unlawful Obama-era rule, but would also promulgate a new definition of WOTUS which would restore an understanding that is faithful to the text of the Clean Water Act.

Rutledge is part of a coalition that helped secure a nationwide injunction blocking enforcement of the rule in August 2015, allowing the new administration to review the rule. She also testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in March 2015 urging the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the Obama-era rule because of the negative impact it would have on Arkansas farmers.

Rutledge joined attorneys general from Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah in signing the letter, which was led by the attorney general from West Virginia.

 

April 16, 2019

alt2018 SCHOOL, DISTRICT AND STATE REPORT CARDS RELEASED
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education released today the 2018 Report Cards for schools, districts, and the state. The reports, which are available at the Report Card tab on the My School Info website (https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov), reflect school performance for the 2017-2018 school year. 

In addition to information about student achievement and growth, graduation rates, college readiness, teacher quality, school expenditures, and long-term goals, the 2018 reports feature several new components. Data about homeless students, students in foster care, gifted and talented students, and students of military families are available, as well as several new modules.

  • The Growth module provides a growth score for each grade level by content and subgroup of students.
  • The English Language Proficiency module provides information about the number and percentage of English learners earning a proficient score on the English Language Proficiency Assessment.
  • The School Quality and Student Success module provides information about school characteristics, such as the number and percentage of students reading on grade level.

  • The Cross Tab modules provide information regarding the achievement and growth of students by subgroups. 

  • The Long-Term Goals module provides information about the progress of schools in relation to the long-term goals set by the state. 


"I encourage students, parents, educators, and community members to spend time reviewing the reports for their school and district," ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. "The reports, combined with other available data and information, should be used to guide conversations regarding continuous school improvement. Together, we will provide a student-focused education to all students in Arkansas."

To assist with understanding and using the report cards, several communication tools have been developed. Available at https://bit.ly/1NdmlWt, resources include a video and several one-page documents that highlight how to access the report card and ways the report card can be used. A letter template also is available to assist schools when communicating with families and communities.

ADE welcomes feedback on the report cards. A survey is available at https://bit.ly/2Z7iPVF, and several feedback events and opportunities will be held around the state in the next couple of months.

To learn more about the report cards, visit https://bit.ly/1NdmlWt

COTTON STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT’S REFUSAL OF RESTASIS PATENT APPEAL
Washington, D.C.
 — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an appeal by Allergan regarding the company’s attempted purchase of sovereign immunity from an Indian tribe for the drug Restasis:

“The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for Arkansas seniors and all Americans who are hurting from the high price of prescription drugs. The drug company’s attempt to buy sovereign immunity from an Indian tribe was a sham, and I am glad that the scheme has failed.”

Background: In 2017, Allergan sold the patents to its dry-eye medication Restasis to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in an attempt to use the tribe’s sovereign immunity to avoid a review of the validity of the patents.

Senator Cotton introduced the Preserving Access to Cost-Effective Drugs Act (PACED) Act in response to Allergan’s attempt to purchase sovereign immunity to protect its patents and keep drug prices high. The PACED Act would prohibit patent-holders from using tribal sovereign immunity as a defense in proceedings before the U.S. Patent Office, the courts, and the International Trade Commission.

 
 

April 15, 2019

OUACHITA COUNTY SHERIFF’S REPORTS
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT
DOMESTIC BATTERY 3RD DEGREE
FALSE IMPRISONMENT 2ND DEGREE
INTRODUCTION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE INTO BODY OF ANOTHER PERSON
TERRORISTIC THREATENING
UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE

On April 9, 2019 at 8:20 P.M. Deputy Andrew Tollefson was dispatched to 2175 U.S Highway 24 (Y-Mart) for a domestic in progress. Upon arrival the deputy made contact with the reporting party and saw that she was covered in bruises and abrasions. Her nose was also swollen, and left eye was turning black. The woman stated that her ex-boyfriend, Christopher Peebles, had been beating her and would not let her leave. The victim explained that she and Peebles were at one time in a relationship that ended in March. She went on to say that her relationship with Peebles ended when he took her vehicle and returned to the Camden area. She stated she was finally able to get Peebles to bring her vehicle back to her in Little Rock on April 6th. She said once Peebles arrived in Little Rock, the plan was for Peebles to drive her back to Camden where she would take possession of the vehicle and return to Little Rock.

According to the woman, once they arrived in Camden, Peebles took her to a camper off or Ouachita road 154 and told her that he was renting the place. He then began to show her around Camden and told her he was taking her to meet his family. She said Peebles began to argue and she told him that their relationship would never work. She stated that once they returned to the camper she tried to get in her vehicle and leave when Peebles grabbed her by her arm and kicked her legs out from under her causing her to fall to the ground. Peebles then told her that she could not leave and if he could not have her no one can. Peebles forced her to stay the night with him and was waiting on her to receive some money from her brother. The next day was filled with the same incidents of Peebles becoming irate and not allowing her to leave. Later on that night, according to the report, Peebles began talking about their relationship and stated she made him fall in love with her and again stated the if he could not have her, no one could.

The woman told the Deputy that Peebles then started to make sexual advances toward her. She declined the advances as she did not not want to be in a relationship with him. She stated Peebles became irate and went outside and grabbed what she described as a "short piece of a metal shower curtain rod" and struck her twice once on her left thigh and once on the left side of her buttock area.

Peebles continued to try and get her to get money off a card that she was wired from her brother. According to the woman, Peebles was going to take her to an ATM to get the money, but she did not want to go with him. She refused to get in to the vehicle with him and Peebles began threatening her and telling her to get into the car. He then forced her into the car against her will. She said that after going to several ATM's to retrieve the money with failed attempts because Peebles had taken her cell phone so she did not have access to the account. She said that Peebles thought that she was hiding the money from her. After the last failed attempt at the ATM Peebles forced her to put her hand on the center console of the vehicle and began punching it and questioning her about the money stating she had him on a while goose chase. She went on to say at that time Peebles pulled out a large sharp knife and told her he was going to start chopping off her fingers if she did not tell the truth and answer his questions about the money.

 Peebles then began to drive down old logging roads and was asking her if she ever though that today would turn out like this. Peebles told her that he was taking her out in the woods to kill her and she it was not going to end well for her. She said Peebles eventually stopped the vehicle on one of the logging roads where he told her to stay in the car while he got out of the vehicle and went the back and began pleasuring himself. She thought this was a good time to try and run so she took her chance. but Peebles was able to run her down and catch her.

Peebles drug her back to the vehicle slamming her face into the side causing her to hit her nose and forced her back into vehicle. They rode around for a short period of time until they finally arrived at Y-Mart. The woman stated that Peebles told her to go inside and pay for some gas, but she didn’t have any money and knew Peebles would be mad. She went on to say once inside the store she ran into the manager’s office and told her she needed help. Peebles tried to get her out of the store, but eventually left in her vehicle.

Deputy Tollefson also stated the woman also said that over the past three days, Peebles had forcefully injected her with Methamphetamine through the veins in both arms.

The Deputy observed several bruises on the woman’s body. He also observed two very large whelps and bruising on her left thigh and buttocks. She also showed me the Deputy where Peebles allegedly injected her with Methamphetamine.

On-Call CID was contacted and Sgt. J. McClane arrived on-scene.

The victim was transported to the Ouachita County Medical Center for treatment and was later discharged with minor injuries. While at the Hospital the woman completed a voluntary statement form, and photographs were taken. She was later transported to the Women's Crisis Center for a safe place to stay. Her vehicle was entered into ACIC as an Unauthorized Use.

The victim was advised that a report would be on file and forwarded to the Criminal. Investigation Division for investigation. Radio Works will follow this story and report on any other actions taken on this crime.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to a number of other calls last week including  theft of a butane tank, a one vehicle accident with no injuries, shoplifting from Family Dollar in Bearden, a report of theft of a package from a home in Bearden, a U-Haul that was not returned, and other minor incidents.

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in regular session Tuesday night, April 16th at 6:30 p.m. at Garrison Auditorium. The agenda includes a presentation by the Camden Fairview High School Choir, student hearings, the Superintendent’s Report, a presentation and recommendation regarding the 2019-2020 Classified and Licensed Salary Schedules and a presentation regarding the legislative joint Auditing Committee report for fiscal year end June 20, 2018.

LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Demetria Rone from Bright Beginnings Child Care.

OUACHITA COUNTY GOOD FRIDAY SCHEDULE
The Ouachita County Courthouse and the Ouachita County Extension Office will be closed Friday, April 19th in observance of Good Friday.

DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICE SCHEDULE EGG HUNT
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. The Department of Children and Family Services will be hosting an Egg Hunt this Friday, April 19th, at Carnes Park in Camden from 12:00 Noon to 3 p.m.

COTTON STATEMENT ON REJECTION OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT INVESTIGATION
Washington, D.C. — Following news reports that the International Criminal Court (ICC) unanimously rejected its prosecutor’s request to proceed with an investigation of American personnel who served in Afghanistan because such an investigation “would not serve the interests of justice,” U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement:

“The United States holds its servicemembers to the highest standard, and the ICC’s decision not to pursue this investigation reflects that fact. Yesterday’s announcement was a victory for the men and women who fought to protect our nation abroad. When and if American personnel deviate from that standard of conduct, they’ll answer to their own democratically elected government.”

SAAC REGISTERING FOR BEGINNERS PASTEL CLASS HOSTED ON APRIL 27
Artist Kelly Campbell will host her popular Beginners Pastel Class on April 27. The one day workshop, designed for artists who are new to pastels, runs from 9am to 2pm on Saturday morning.  In five hours, learn the basics of using soft pastels on sanded paper, as well as how to tone paper for underpainting using a variety of methods, and the basics of using different kinds of soft pastels to create an original painting.  

Campbell said, “This one day class is for real beginners – I go into the different kinds of soft pastels, the different kinds of paper, color choices, composition, and how to work from a photograph once you get the hang of the medium. This is probably my favorite class to teach – I love working in pastels, and sharing that passion is a great way to spend a day.” 

A retired art teacher, Campbell is employed by the South Arkansas Arts Center. She has exhibited her own pastel work with Julia Slaughter in 2015 and in SAAC’s “Legacy and Inspiration” exhibit in 2014. She has had solo exhibits in 2009, 2010, 2012, and most recently with “Roughnecks and Roustabouts” in 2017. Her pastels and photographs were accepted into the SAAC National Juried Art Competition in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017. 

Cost for the class is $50 (includes supplies). Class limit 10. Call 870-862-5474 for more information or to register for the class.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

 
 

April 12, 2019

altGOVERNOR HUTCHINSON PROMOTES EDUCATOR COMMITMENT SIGNING WEEK
LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson continued the early celebration of Educator Commitment Signing Week at a press conference and signing event at the Capitol on Friday.

Similar to athletic signing events, Educator Commitment Signing Week, which is from April 14 to 20, 2019, celebrates those who are committed to the teaching profession and education in Arkansas.

"In my life, I have found few things more rewarding or important than education,” Hutchinson said. “Our students are our future, and our educators are a critical part of shaping that future. I am proud to celebrate a new generation that is committed to a career in the education profession."

In addition to the State Board of Education resolution signed at yesterday’s meeting and Hutchinson’s press conference today, the Arkansas Department of Education, colleges and universities, education service cooperatives, and high schools are coordinating and hosting more than 20 events around the state during this special week. New, veteran, and future teachers, as well as students, parents, and community members, are showing their support of education by signing a commitment to education certificate.

“It's an exciting time for education in Arkansas as educators, pre-service teachers, parents, students, policymakers, and community members come together to sign their commitment to education,” said 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Randi House. “This declaration of having the same vision of student-focused education to support the students of Arkansas is quite powerful."

Educator Commitment Signing Week events represent one of many efforts by ADE’s Teach Arkansas campaign to promote the teaching profession. The campaign’s goals are to increase teacher recruitment and retention and encourage those who have left the profession to return.

To further promote the profession and signing week activities, ADE will host the fourth Teach Arkansas Lecture Series event April 15 in Pine Bluff. Marie Ferdinand-Harris, an Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA basketball player, will provide a motivational speech about the importance of teachers in shaping the futures of their students.

To learn more about Educator Commitment Signing Week and to see a list of scheduled activities, visit https://bit.ly/2D5jq1r. Participants are encouraged to post photos or videos on social media during the week using #TeachArkansas and #ARSigningWeek2019

Signing Week and Lecture Series

Educator Commitment Signing Week events represent one of many efforts by ADE’s Teach Arkansas campaign to promote the teaching profession. The campaign’s goals are to increase teacher recruitment and retention and encourage those who have left the profession to return.

To further promote the profession and signing week activities, ADE will host the fourth Teach Arkansas Lecture Series event April 15 in Pine Bluff. Marie Ferdinand-Harris, an Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA basketball player, will provide a motivational speech about the importance of teachers in shaping the futures of their students.

Prior to Ferdinand-Harris’ presentation, an Educator Commitment Signing Event will be held at 5 p.m. at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center, 1200 N. University Drive, Pine Bluff, AR 71601. The first 200 educators will receive a free gift. Ferdinand-Harris’ presentation will begin at 6:15 p.m. at the same location, followed by a question and answer session at 7:30 p.m. Educators who attend the evening lecture will be eligible to receive 1.5 hours of professional development credit. To sign up to attend, go to http://bit.ly/TALectureFour.

Ferdinand-Harris also will be available from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 15 at the fine arts center to talk with the media.

To learn more about Educator Commitment Signing Week and to see a list of scheduled activities, visit https://bit.ly/2D5jq1r. Participants are encouraged to post photos or videos on social media during the week using #TeachArkansas and #ARSigningWeek2019

GRIFFIN APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON’S TRANSFORMATION PLAN
Says, HB1763 will help ‘create a leaner, smarter state government’ to provide ‘better value for taxpayers and improve government services’
 LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement after the signing of HB1763, the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019, to reorganize and reduce state agencies:

“I applaud the Arkansas General Assembly for passing HB1763 to reorganize and reduce the number of state agencies. As Lieutenant Governor and Vice Chair of the Transformation Advisory Board, it has been an honor to support this commonsense plan to create a leaner, smarter state government. Arkansans expect a government that does more with less, and this plan will lead to better value for taxpayers and improve government services. Embracing transformation and reforming state government are critical to reducing spending, lowering Arkansas’s tax burden, and competing with other states for jobs and economic opportunity. I commend the work of Governor Asa Hutchinson, the Transformation Advisory Board, and the legislature for their hard work on this important bill."

COTTON STATEMENT ON OMB GUIDANCE TO ENHANCE REGULATORY OVERSIGHT
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget to strengthen oversight of new federal regulations:

“The Constitution states that only Congress can make laws, but that doesn’t always stop overzealous bureaucrats from making up regulations that effectively have the force of law, but without oversight from the legislative branch. Congress created the Congressional Review Act in order to rein in regulations created by federal agencies. I commend the administration for drafting new guidelines that will ensure greater compliance with the CRA and enhance Congress’s oversight of federal regulations.”

Background: Today, OMB issued guidance to the heads of federal departments and agencies to ensure consistent compliance with the Congressional Review Act. You can read the full memorandum here. Senator Cotton has fought for years to strengthen congressional oversight of federal regulations and the rule-making process. 

  • Last session, Congress used the Congressional Review Act to repeal more than a dozen heavy-handed regulations imposed during the eleventh hour of the Obama presidency. Repealing these regulations saved Americans billions in compliance costs.
  • Earlier this year, Senator Cotton questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell about bank regulators’ potential abuse of regulatory “guidance” to impose burdensome tests on medium-sized and community banks.

BOOZMAN REVIEWS IMPLEMENTATION OF VETERANS HEALTH
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to share details on its implementation of landmark reforms to veterans’ community care programs.

Boozman, a member of the Senate VA Committee, has spoken with veterans, Veterans Service Organization officials and private sector health care providers around Arkansas who are looking forward to the expanded benefits within the VA MISSION Act, but are concerned about the lack of information provided by the VA on the program that is scheduled to come online June 6, 2019.

The senator pressed the VA on its readiness for launching this program during a hearing Wednesday. “Do veterans know what to expect on June 6? Are we being proactive to the veteran community?” Boozman asked.

Dr. Jennifer MacDonald, the Veterans Health Administration official in charge of the implementation, said a plan has been developed to educate veterans and providers about the new benefits.

For these and other stories visit www.yesradioworks.com/news

 
 
 

APRIL 11, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
DWI- Misdemeanor

On April 10, 2019 at 12:49 a.m. hours, Officer Jake Perry and Officer Brandon Brangaccio were dispatched to the area of 2615 South Adams Street in reference to a car stopped in the middle of the road with its lights on and still running. Upon arrival the Officers saw a silver Ford Fusion stopped in the on-coming lane of South Adams, facing the wrong way. Officer Brangacccio approached the car on the driver side where he noticed a male asleep in the driver's seat. Upon looking through the vehicle it was noted that the vehicle was still in drive and the driver had his foot on both the gas and the brake. The Officer attempted to open the driver side door, but it was locked. Both Officers attempted to wake the driver up by knocking on the driver window multiple times. After multiple attempts of  knocking on the driver window the male finally woke up, but still didn't notice us banging on his window for around another minute. The man was advised to open his front door. Once he unlocked and opened the door he was advised that the Officer was going to reach across him to put the car in park and turn off the engine; removing the keys from the ignition in the process.

Once the car was in park and the keys were removed, Officer Brangaccio advised the male to step out and lean on the side of his vehicle. When the suspect was asked if he had any identification on him, he replied yes. After minutes of the subject struggling to find his ID card Officer Perry advised the subject he would look for it. Once the ID was found in his wallet, the man was identified as Juan Rodriguez-Herrera. When speaking to Juan the Officer detected the smell of intoxicants emitting from his person and from his breathe. When standing there Juan was swaying back and forth and he had slurred speech. Juan's eyes were very bloodshot as well.

While Officer Perry was checking the status of Juan's driver's license, Officer Brangaccio and Juan talked for a moment regarding what he was doing stopped in the middle of the street. Juan was unable to provide a logical explanation for why he was stopped in the on-coming lane of the street. When asked if he had consumed any alcohol recently, Juan initially denied drinking anything but then admitted to drinking alcohol earlier. At one point, Lieutenant Opelt, who had arrived on-scene, asked him again why he was at this specific location and Juan stated he was driving drunk but then quickly corrected himself. Officer Perry advised Juan to walk to our patrol unit and then asked him if he was willing to complete a standard field sobriety test which Juan replied that he would. Officer Brangaccio observed Officer Perry conduct the standardized field sobriety tests on Juan, and based on his performance, took him into custody for DWI.

The vehicle was impounded. Juan was transported to the Police Department with no incident and remained cooperative throughout booking procedures. Juan was issued one citation for driving while intoxicated and given a court date.

OBSTRUCTING GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
On April 9, 2019 at 10:20 p.m., Officer Nathan Lane was on a traffic stop in the area of Morrison's Pharmacy on US Highway 278. The vehicle had a female passenger, later identified as Kawana Hardy. When the Officer asked Hardy for her ID, she stated she did not have it on her. Hardy stated her name was "Kay Hunt". The Officer ran "Kay Hunt" through dispatch for warrants and was advised there is no return for "Kay Hunt". He then asked "Kay Hunt" what is the name on her driver license and she stated "Kawana Hunt". The Officer ran "Kawana Hunt" through dispatch and again was advised there is no return for that name. Officer Perry arrived on scene and helped identify "Kawana Hunt" as Hardy. Hardy was taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. Booking was completed. Hardy was released with a Criminal Citation and given a District of Camden court date. Hardy was later transported to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office to be held for unrelated charges.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
DRIVING ON SUSPENDED
LICENSE
On April 9, 2019 at 10:20 p.m. hours, Officer Nathan Lane was on routine patrol in the area of Country Club Road and US Highway 278, when he observed a grey Hyundai Elantra bearing AR LPN 125UAV. The Officer ran the plates and it returned to a black Mazda. Officer Lane then initiated the lights to signal a traffic stop at the intersection of US Highway 278 in front of Morrison's Pharmacy. Officer Lane made contact with the driver who identified himself as Calvin McBride. McBride’s name was run through dispatch for warrants, and dispatch advised his driver license was suspended. The Officer called for the next wrecker on the list due to his license being suspended. While inventorying McBride's vehicle, two small plastic jars containing marijuana and a cigar holder that is used to slice them, in a Crown Royal bag were found in the back seat of the vehicle. McBride took ownership of the marijuana and cigar holder. Kelly's Wrecking Service was contacted and arrived shortly afterwards. The two small plastic jars containing marijuana, and the holder was bagged and tagged as evidence. McBride was advised of the Officer’s findings. McBride was taken into custody and transported to the police Station without incident. McBride was released with a criminal citation and court date.

DWI ACCIDENT WITH PROPERTY DAMAGE
On April 8, 2019 at 1:02 a.m. hours, Officer Jacob VanAssche was dispatched to State Highway 7 at Camden Pawn (2712 South Adams) in reference to a vehicle accident. Dispatch advised the reporting party stated there was a hole in the building, and a truck was upside down. The reporting party was unaware of any injuries.

Upon my arrival the Officer observed a white Chevrolet Silverado bearing laying on its driver side partially in the Camden Pawn building. Based on the damages to the truck it was determined it had rolled over. While making my way to the truck Officer VanAssche observed the driver, who later was identified as Luis Muniz, to be partially ejected from the front windshield and passenger side of the truck. Muniz was conscious and responsive at the time the Officer made contact. The Officer observed Muniz to have several lacerations all over his body; one of which was on the top of his head close to the crown. Muniz yelled his leg was stuck under the vehicle. Officer VanAssche then observed Muniz's right leg to be pinned underneath the passenger side A-Post. Muniz was struggling to remove his leg from under the vehicle, so the Officer went to stabilize him and get him to stop moving until Fire Rescue and EMS arrived on scene. While stabilizing Muniz, the Officer smelled a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his person. When asked if he had drank any alcohol this evening, and he said yes. The Officer then asked him how much did he have to drink, and he said "A lot. A little too much".

Fire Rescue and EMS later arrived on scene and were able to extract Muniz from the vehicle and transport him to the hospital. The Officer requested dispatch for the next available wrecker to be dispatched to the location.

While waiting for the wrecker, Officer VanAsschewas able to follow the path the vehicle took. It appeared the vehicle was driving Northbound on Highway 7  and was negotiating the curve before the intersection of Highway 7 at Fairview when he left the roadway. Then proceeded to drive up the hill striking the fence surrounding Camden Pawn; rolling over, then striking the building itself. The vehicle damaged a portion of the back wall down and destroyed a support beam along with the merchandise inside the room.

Contact was made with the owner of Camden Pawn who stated he was unable to provide an estimate of the damages due to the amount of damage and the merchandise inside the store being pawned property. The Owner stated he would contact the station once he was able to get an estimate of the damages.

After the vehicle was removed from the scene, Officer VanAssche went to the hospital to follow-up on Muniz. Upon my arrival he made contact with hospital staff, who informed him when they asked Muniz why he had the accident he stated he had been drinking a lot of alcohol before he began driving, and lost control of the vehicle. Muniz was stabilized.

Muniz later was issued Criminal Citation for DWI, and a Traffic Citation for Failure to Maintain Control, and No Seat Belt.

DWI 3rd OFFENSE
DAMAGED PROPERTY

On April 6, 2019 at 7:53 p.m. Officer Ashley Watts, was dispatched to 225 John F Kennedy Road in reference to a damaged property report. The Officer arrived and made contact with the home owner, Cynthia Thomas, and also Ricky Johnson. Thomas stated she got a call while she was at work that someone had driven into her yard and struck her house. She said Johnson came to pick her up from work to bring her home. Johnson stated when he arrived at the residence at approximately 7:00 p. m. hours he observed a black car in the yard at 225 JFK. He said it appeared as though his neighbor had lost control of the vehicle and struck the residence. Johnson said when he got there the rear bumper of the vehicle was against the house and the front of the vehicle was facing the road. Upon Thomas' arrival to the residence the vehicle had been removed from her yard and was parked across the street in the neighbor's driveway. Thomas pointed across the street to 200 JFK and stated the owner of the vehicle was outside in the yard.

Officer Watts then made contact with the owner of the vehicle involved, Samantha 'Duggins. Duggins stated she was not in the car at the time of the incident. She said that her fiance, Ibn Fort, was driving the vehicle when it struck the residence and that she wasn't really sure what happened to cause him to lose control of the vehicle. The Officer asked her to go get him from inside the residence so she could speak to him. Duggins went into the residence and returned shortly after, however it took Fort a while to exit the residence. Once Fort exited the residence, IOfficer Watts asked him what happened and he seemed hesitant to respond. While Detective Faulkner ran Fort's ID, Officre Watts continued to get Fort's statement. While speaking to Fort, the Officer could smell the odor of intoxicants on his breath. Fort stated he was backing out of the driveway as it was raining. He had his children in the car with him, he stated they were both in their car seats, one located in the rear driver side and one on the rear passenger side. He stated while backing out of the drive way he observed a vehicle moving at a high rate of speed heading west on JFK. In an attempt to avoid being struck by the vehicle he "goosed on it". He said he lost control of the vehicle because it was rainingand the roads were wet. He stated he avoided being struck by the vehicle, however his vehicle spun around backing into the neighbor's yard and striking the house with the rear bumper of the vehicle. Dispatch advised Fort's driver's license had been suspended for multiple DWI’s  and that he had multiple warrants for his arrest. At that point Fort was placed into custody. Officer Watts asked Fort if he had been drinking. Detective Faulkner then advised he observed a bottle of liquor in the floor board of the vehicle that was involved. Fort claimed the bottle of liquor belonged to a friend whom he gave a ride to earlier in the day. Duggins stated the children seemed to be fine and she did not wish for EMS to be called.

There was functional damage sustained to the black 2018 Chevrolet Malibu. The rear end of the vehicle was smashed, and the trunk could not be closed. The rear bumper of the vehicle was no longer intact. There was damage sustained to the front passenger side door, making it difficult to open the door. Officer Watts observed a bottle of whiskey in the floor board of the vehicle which was half empty. She also observed a booster seat located in the rear passenger seat.

Officer Watts then observed damage sustained to the residence of 225 JFK. The steps leading to the front door of the residence were busted on the bottom left comer, consistent with the damage sustained to the passenger side door of the vehicle. The exterior wall of the residence where the steps connected to the house was pushed in approximately an inch. There were cracks in the mortar of the residence where the rear of the vehicle made contact with it. She also observed what appeared to be particles of the tail lights embedded into the brick. The yard of the residence had ruts in it where Fort drove into the yard.

After transporting Fort to the police station he admitted that he had his daughter in his lap and was allowing her to drive the vehicle at the time of the incident. He said he would let her back the vehicle to the end of the drive way and then pull the car back to where it belonged. He said they did that about twenty times, then as she was backing the car toward the end of the driveway, her foot slipped off of the brake causing them to enter the road way. He said he observed the vehicle traveling west on JFK and in an attempt to avoid being struck by the vehicle he pressed the accelerator while the vehicle was in reverse. Fort stated he lost control of the vehicle while his daughter was in his lap and drove into the yard of 225 JFK, striking the residence. He said after getting the vehicle back to the house he went inside and drank a half pint of Crown. Standard Field Sobriety Test were administered to Fort at the police station. Fort's Blood Alcohol Content was 0.166. Fort was issued citations for Careless and Prohibited Driving, Driver’s License Suspended for DWI, DWI, No Seatbelt, and No Child Safety Restraint. He was given a District Court date. Fort was transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center to await first appearance.

WOMEN'S CRISIS CENTER SHELTER WISH LIST

  • Bleach
  • Powder/laundry detergent
  • Bathroom & kitchen cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Coffee
  • Creamer
  • Sugar
  • Batteries (double A & triple A)
  • Pine-Sol/Fabuloso
  • Diapers (all sizes)
  • Lysol
  • Furniture polish
  • Solid air fresheners
  • Trash bags (13 gallon)
  • Zip-loc bags
  • Mops
  • Brooms

OVERNIGHT HELENA OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING UNDER ASP INVESTIGATION
APRIL 11, 2019
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were contacted at 1:38 AM today by authorities within the Helena-West Helena Police Department.  A request was made for the agents to investigate an officer involved shooting that had occurred earlier today.

Approximately one hour prior to state police being called, a resident at 112 Caney Creek Road contacted a local ambulance company reporting an individual inside the home appeared to be in medical distress.  The caller indicated the individual was armed with a gun.

As police and ambulance personnel arrived they encountered Markel Barrow, 35, who was brandishing a pistol and pointed the gun at police officers. A Helena-West Helena police officer reportedly ordered Barrow to drop the gun.  Barrow allegedly refused to comply with the order and was shot by police.

Barrow was transported to a Memphis hospital where he is reported to be in stable condition.

The Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division will compile an investigative report limited to the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer and submit the case file to the prosecuting attorney to determine whether the use of force was consistent with Arkansas law.

Questions relating to the administrative status and identity of the officers at the shooting scene should be directed to the Helena-West Helena Police Department.

altARKANSAS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY NAMES NEW MASTER PRINCIPAL
LITTLE ROCK — Karrie Arbuckle, a principal at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Bentonville, achieved the status of Master School Principal and was recognized April 11 at the State Board of Education meeting. To achieve this designation from the Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Master Principal Program, Arbuckle completed three years of rigorous professional development plus an additional year of performance evaluations.

Arbuckle holds both a bachelor's degree and a master’s degree from Harding University at Searcy, where she currently serves as an adjunct professor. At the district level, she serves on the ALE placement committee and is an elementary representative for Bentonville’s personnel policy committee. As principal, she partners with Amazeum to implement Maker Space Education in Bentonville schools.

“The Department of Education and State Board of Education are pleased to recognize outstanding principals each year,” said Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key. “The Master Principal Program provides principals who are seeking to learn and grow professionally the opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills. In order to lead the nation in student-focused education, excellent leaders, such as Ms. Arbuckle, are essential. I congratulate her on this high achievement and look forward to her continued success in education.”

“Developing principals with the talent to lead complex organizations requires giving them a broad range of leadership experiences along the way,” said ALA Director Dr. Clint Jones. “This rigorous, four-year program enables school leaders to enhance and accelerate student and adult learning. I commend Mrs. Arbuckle for being dedicated to her students, teachers, and learning community. I also want to thank the Arkansas Legislature, the Arkansas Department of Education, and the academy’s partners for their support and vision in building the leadership capacity of principals across our great state.”

Successful completion of the program qualifies an individual for Master School Principal status. Master Principals receive a $9,000 bonus each year for five years upon earning the designation and are eligible for an additional $25,000 per year for five years if they are selected to serve at a low-performing school. 

To learn more about the program, visit https://bit.ly/2Ggmk4G or contact Brenda Tash at bgtash@uark.edu or 479-575-3030. 

SENATORS INTRODUCE THE PROTECT ACT TO ENSURE PROTECTIONS AND AFFORDABLE COVERAGE FOR AMERICANS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
Washington, D.C. – Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and others introduced the Protect Act, legislation that protects Americans with pre-existing conditions. The Protect Act amends the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to:

  • Guarantee the availability of health insurance coverage in the individual or group market, regardless of pre-existing conditions;
  • Prohibit discrimination against patients based on health statusincluding prohibiting higher premiums for patients due to pre-existing conditions; and
  • Prohibit insurance companies from excluding coverage of treatments for a beneficiary’s pre-existing condition.

Joining Senator Cotton and Senator Tillis as co-sponsors of the Protect Act are Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-Louisiana), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), David Perdue (R-Georgia), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia).

“Arkansans with pre-existing conditions should know that we’re committed to protecting their coverage, despite all the flaws of Obamacare,” said Cotton. “Our bill would guarantee that insurance companies can’t discriminate against Arkansas citizens living with pre-existing conditions.”

“I strongly believe that no hardworking American should ever have to go to bed worried about being denied coverage or treatment if they or their children have a pre-existing condition, which is why I’m introducing the Protect Act,” said Tillis. “The American people have two distinct choices when it comes to the future of their health care. The one-size-fits-all approach being pushed by Democrats is a government takeover of our health care system and would eliminate choices for families. The American people deserve better. The Protect Act is an important first step towards protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions and pursuing patient-centered reform that will provide all Americans with the affordable and quality choices that work best for their needs and their budget.” 

“This legislation reaffirms that Americans with pre-existing conditions are protected against being denied a health plan, denied treatment for a pre-existing condition, or charged more for their condition,” said Alexander. “It will make sure that regardless of what happens to Obamacare, protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions will not change.”

“Protecting patients with pre-existing conditions is something we can all agree on. I’ve long worked to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, even before the passage of Obamacare on a party line vote,” said Grassley. “The Protect Act would provide peace of mind to millions of Americans who have been frightened by scare tactics being pushed in the media by self-interested politicians trying to convince Americans that this is a partisan issue. It’s not. Passing this bill is a chance for Democrats to prove they care about the issue beyond its use as a partisan talking point. Health care decisions made in Washington impact every single American. It’s the responsibility of Congress to put politics aside and work in the best interest of the people. That’s exactly what this legislation would do.” 

“The greatest barrier to coverage for preexisting conditions under Obamacare is unaffordable health insurance and too high deductibles,” said Dr. Cassidy. “As Republicans work to lower the cost of health insurance and expand coverage, this legislation preserves protections for preexisting conditions for those who have this insurance.”

“No American family should ever have to worry that they will be denied health care coverage because of a pre-existing condition,” said Portman. “This is a promise to the American people and I will continue to support this principle and fight to ensure it remains the law of the land.”

“Obamacare is running off the rails, and we have to do something to make sure people with pre-existing conditions are protected no matter what,” said Perdue. “Right now, the insurance packages being offered to most Americans are so expensive that they can't afford them. Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed and priced people out of the market. In Georgia, 96 counties of 159 have just one carrier. Democrats claim they are covering pre-existing conditions with the so-called ‘Affordable Care Act,’ but if you can't actually afford insurance, you're not protected from anything. President Trump is ready to work with Congress and get this done for the American people, and this bill is a good first step in that process.”

“Texans shouldn’t have to fear being denied access to affordable health insurance because of a pre-existing condition,” said Cornyn. “This legislation will give them peace of mind they can choose an insurance plan for their families that offers quality, patient-centered coverage.”

“No American should lose their health care because they have a pre-existing condition,” said Cramer. “This bill ensures coverage is available and affordable no matter one’s current health status, and it prevents insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums due to pre-existing conditions. I urge my Senate colleagues to reject radical Democratic proposals that strip millions of Americans of their insurance plans and to support legislation that preserves and expands access to health care.”

“We are working to improve health care for all Americans, and as part of that effort, I’m proud to again cosponsor this legislation to protect Americans’ access to health care, regardless of whether or not they have a pre-existing condition,” said Isakson. “While there are many differences of opinion over the Affordable Care Act, we can all agree that we cannot allow insurance companies to deny coverage for someone who has a pre-existing condition or cancel coverage to someone who develops a condition. This legislation ensures that Americans will have the guarantee that, no matter what happens to Obamacare, these important protections for pre-existing medical conditions will be the law of the land.”

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Protect Act,” said Capito. “Protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions is simply the right thing to do.”

“As a doctor and the husband of a breast cancer survivor, I know firsthand how important it is to make sure that patients with pre-existing conditions have the ability to get the care they need,” said Barrasso. “The Protect Act clearly specifies in law protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The bottom line is protecting people – like my wife –with pre-existing conditions is not up for discussion.”

“It is absolutely necessary that we protect people with pre-existing conditions,” said Scott. “This is personal for me. I remember my mom, who didn’t have insurance, struggling to find care for my brother who had a serious disease. She eventually found a charity hospital four hours away where he could get treatment. I’m proud to co-sponsor Senator Tillis’s bill that guarantees protections for pre-existing conditions. No matter what happens in the courts, it’s imperative that we guarantee these protections and continue working to recuse health care costs for American families.”

“I don’t know a single person, Republican or Democrat, who thinks we shouldn’t cover pre-existing conditions,” said Kennedy. “It would behoove all of us to have a replacement health care plan ready, and we need to get started now. In the meantime, we can assure American families that they won't be denied health care coverage if they have a pre-existing condition.”

“When it comes to healthcare, Hoosiers want freedom, choice, and flexibility. We also want to protect people with pre-existing conditions,” said Young. “I’m joining Senator Tillis to introduce legislation that will help ensure patients with pre-existing conditions aren’t denied coverage.” 

“Americans should not be denied access to the health care coverage they need because of a pre-existing condition,” said Burr. “While the Affordable Care Act is systemically flawed and our health care system is facing 21st century challenges, standing up for those with pre-existing conditions is something we can all agree on. The Protect Act will help provide security and peace of mind for millions of Americans.”

BOOZMAN, HOEVEN INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) to introduce the Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act to enable members of the Guard and Reserve to concurrently use GI Bill benefits and Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) programs to fund their education.

“I am pleased to join with my colleague Senator Hoeven to offer this simple fix to a problem that should not exist. Our men and women in uniform deserve the benefits they have earned without strings attached. The Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act will remove this unnecessary barrier to education benefits for Guard and Reserve members,” Boozman said

“Our legislation is all about supporting our Guard and Reserve members and ensuring they receive the benefits that they have earned,” Hoeven said. “The Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act improves access to education benefits for Guard members and ensures that they are able to utilize their benefits in the same way as active duty servicemembers.”

Currently, individuals who qualify for Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) or the “Post 9/11 GI Bill” are, by statute, able to simultaneously use Tuition Assistance (TA) and GI Bill benefits. In late 2014, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a policy that prohibits similar concurrent usage of TA with the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). The legislation directs DoD to update its policy and allow Guard and Reserve members to utilize both their GI Bill benefits and the Tuition Assistance concurrently, providing parity with active duty servicemembers.

The legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

“For so many Vermonters and other Americans, the National Guard is a way to serve the nation and their communities, and to open up opportunities in their lives,” Leahy said. “With this bill we ensure women and men who sign up for the National Guard get all the educational benefits the nation intended they receive. It will allow access to all the opportunities their service provides, and allow a grateful nation the benefit of their full service.”

“Both Federal Tuition Assistance and the Montgomery GI Bill not only benefit service members, but also make our military and our economy stronger,” Cramer said. “Current restrictions prevent service members from using GI Bill benefits if they are already using tuition assistance, making it more difficult to cover education-related costs. This legislation closes this loophole and allows service members to use the educational benefits they have earned through years of dedicated service.”         
 

SAAC TO HOSE FOURTH ANNUAL 5X5 ART DASH ON MAY 5 The South Arkansas Arts Center will host its fourth annual 5x5 Art Dash on Sunday, May 5, in the Merkle Gallery. This is your chance to attend a fundraiser and leave with a "door prize" that is worth more than the ticket price! Tickets are $55 per person and are available at the SAAC office. The Art Dash is sponsored once again by East Camden and Highland Railroad.

The doors will open at 2pm for cocktails, light hors d'oeuvres, and advance viewing of the 55 paintings. The dash will begin at approximately 2:30, and each ticket holder will "dash" to grab a prized 5x5 piece of art donated by a local or regional artist who has exhibited at SAAC. While only the fastest will go home with first choice, you're guaranteed to have the chance to choose one of the original pieces on display.

Artwork has been donated for this fast and furious event by: Tracy Alderson, Amy Allen, Susan Barnes, Sandy Bennett, Angela Blann, Scott Brown, Stephanie Brown, Liz Butler, Kelly Campbell, Michele Clark, Margaret Combs, Melinda Dodson, Christy Edmonds, Treasa Evans, Gary Hall, Annaleigh Harper, Rhonda Hicks, Danny Hobbs, April Hoover, Beth Hubbert, Missy Inman, Brenda Keech, John Keech, Nancy Rae Kinard, Helene Lambert, Emmaline Landes, Shelley Landes, Pat Lowery, Becki Lusk, Mike Means, Selene Mondragon, Chrystal Osborn, Melania Osborn, Ann Palculict, Spencer Purinton, Lee Scroggins, Renee Skinner, Liz Slater, Julia Slaughter, Jerri Beth Smith, Cindy Snelson, Douglas Stanton, Christy Stone, Marla Tomlinson, Ann Trimble, Susan Turbeville, Pam Vernon, Jorge Villegas, Maria Villegas, Paul Washcka, Hayden White, Betty Wilson, and Emily Wood.

With only 55 tickets available, this is the most exclusive event hosted by SAAC each year, and tickets go quickly, but everyone is invited to view the work while it is on exhibit in the Lobby Gallery for a 3 day pre-view April 29 - May 2. For more information on the 5x5 Art Dash, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

 
 
 
 
 

APRIL 10, 2019

CAMDEN CITY COUNCIL MONTHLY MEETING
The City of Camden City Council met in regular session Tuesday night, April 9, 2019. The invocation was given by Reverend Gwen Edwards of the Set Free Christian Ministries. After the invocation was the Pledge of Allegiance and the Roll Call. Joe Askew was absent with all other Aldermen in attendance. The Minutes and Financial Reports were approved.

The Mayor’s Report thanked the Fire Department for aiding in the blast on Highway 278 earlier in the month. He stated that there was some damage to some of the Fire Trucks.

He spoke to the clean-up of Downtown Camden. New flowers are in the planters. He said if someone has a business out of the Downtown area that is adjacent to city property that needs attention to call and let the City know and it will be addressed.

The Mayor has met with all Department Heads in order to learn more about the individual department’s as well as to build relationships between City Hall and the Departments.

The Mayor reported that security cameras have been put in City Hall. More.

Grants have been written to continue work on the Trace. The Mayor has attended Training and continuing Education Sessions. He is looking for ways to improve the Quality of life In the City. He has Focus Groups to come up with ideas for improvement and learn what the City can do to better server the Community.

The Court Offices reported on the March Amnesty addressed. Total collected almost $98,000. Monthly average over the past two years is $62000.00. 250 warrants were served as part of this program. This is 6 times the number warrants normally served in any given month over the past two years. As a result of this over 2000 cases either are scheduled for court or paid in full. Many had Driver’s License reinstated because they were able to pay their fines off. Due to the over whelming response and success of the program the powers that be are contemplating doing this again in the fall of this year.

There was no old business.

New business included Resolution 17-19, a resolution expressing the willingness of the City Council to utilize the Federal Transportation Alternative Program Funds for Adams Avenue sidewalks. The question was posed as to how much money should the city invest in an area where there is an unsightly pile of bricks. The resolution passed with a 5 to 2 vote. Aldermen Lindsey and Aregood voted against the measure.

The meeting then went into other business. The Jaycee’s had reached out to Chris Aregood to see if the City was going to asked about helping the Jaycees in obtaining property for the Jaycee’s Haunted House. It was learned that the City offered a building last year but the Jaycee’ rejected the offer.

There is now an issue with the Municipal Building. It is now raining in the building near a light. There is also a smell of mold and mildew. Something has to be done to fix the building. The Mayor is very concerned about water coming in on electrical. There had been three quotes last year, but most quotes are only good for 90 days. The Mayor would have liked to have acted on the issue at the meeting, but the Council refused to give him a “blank check”. After much discussion it was decided that the Mayor would get three or four good bids on the job that needs to be done. When he has gotten the bids for the job, the Council will be called back for a Special Session to decide how best to make the repairs.

The next scheduled Regular Council Meeting is slated for May 14, 2019.

EL DORADO MAN PERISHES IN HOUSE FIRE
Sunday morning an El Dorado man perished at his home after as a result of a fire that originated in his kitchen. The fire was in the 100 Block fo Broadway Boulvard. The man has been identified as Josh Koon, 35, of El Dorado. It is reported that he died from smoke and soot inhalation from the fire

The fire was reported at 9:42 a.m. Sunday and El Dorado fire crews arrived by 9:45 a.m. according from a report from the El Dorado Fire Department. It was reported that the fire was visible from the street. Flames were coming out of the roof. The fire could be seen from the street, Evans said, with flames exiting through the roof. Neighbors told the Firemen that Koon was inside. As soon as the Firefighters gained access to the house, they found Koon and provided immediate medical attention but despite their best efforts, Koon was later pronounced dead.

The fire appeared to originate at Koon’s stove. According to the fire report, the fire was above the gas cook stove and range when firefighters entered the home to continue extinguishing it. Evans said the fire was isolated to the kitchen. “It started near the stove, in the kitchen,” Evans said. “We’re still trying to put all the pieces together, but we don’t believe it was weather-related.”

Koon was the only person found in the home. The fire department left at 11:35 a.m., after all remaining hot spots had been extinguished.

Despite the bad weather this weekend, the El Dorado Fire Department only responded to two structure fires, Evans said. He said he was not aware of any water rescues or other calls related to the storms.

LET’S CLEANUP THE NEIGHBORHOOD - CAMDEN IS CELEBRATING EARTH DAY THE WHOLE WEEK
Earth Day is April 22nd and the Keep Camden Beautiful Committee 2019, the City of Camden Public Works Department and the City of Camden are celebrating Earth Day is celebrating the whole week. April 22nd through April 17th Camden wants everyone to clean-up!

Clean-up your yards and ditches and dump you trash and debris absolutely free ant the Camden-City Landfill located at 2463 Country Club Road. Let’s get Camden FREE of Trash

The week of April 22nd thru April 27th you can clean your yard or even clean your neighbors’ yard. There will be no charge to bring your yard waste materials such as limbs, leaves, grass clippings and pine straw. Dump as much of this type stuff as you want absolutely free.

Help the City Celebrate Earth Day 2019!!!!

“YOU BLOOM” LADIES SUPPORT GROUP
A new group is being formed in the Ouachita County area. The “You Bloom” Ladies Support Group is a group of ladies supporting each other from the trauma of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. The group will meet every other Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the OPED Building located at 625 Adams Avenue in Camden. There will be be speakers to help motivate women who have been victims of abuse to find themselves again. There will be information on resources for women to help them break the cycle of abuse in their lives. The group is open to any woman who believes she can benefit from the meetings and resources. This includes anyone who has been in an abusive relationship as well as those who might currently be in a bad situation. The first meeting will be held Thursday, April 25th beginning at 11:00 a.m. Call Terica at 870-360-8476 for more information.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE RECOGNIZES CRIME VICTIMS' RIGHT WEEK
LITTLE ROCK – April 7-13 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to raise awareness for victims and the effect that the victimization has on victims. Victims of crime may receive financial assistance to cover the medical and funeral expenses incurred by the victim or the victim’s family. Communities across the country, including here in Arkansas, are hosting events this week to honor crime victims and recognize those who advocate on their behalf. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has also declared this week as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Arkansas.

“As a former prosecutor, I have worked with victims of violence,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “And as Attorney General it is important for me to promote safer communities and honor the advocates who empower victims and survivors of violence. I offer my sincere prayers for protection and healing. I will continue to support and thank the countless members of law enforcement and victim advocates in communities across Arkansas.”

This year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.”

The Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program, administered by the Office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on behalf of the Crime Victims Reparations Board, provides financial compensation to victims and family members who have suffered personal injury or death as the result of violent crime.

Additionally, the Sexual Assault Reimbursement Program allows evidence to be collected after a sexual assault has been committed without the victim bearing the burden of the expense, and it pays for ambulance services and medical or legal examinations.

Victims may apply for compensation by submitting an application to the Attorney General’s office. Applications are available at ArkansasAG.gov or from Arkansas’s 28 elected prosecuting attorneys.

In 2016, Rutledge unveiled Laura’s Card and has since distributed over 75,000 cards across Arkansas. Laura’s Card is a resource to assist and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to provide resources to people in abusive situations. The card can also be downloaded in English and Spanish at LaurasCard.ar.gov.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: SCAMMERS SELLING FAKE “FIDO” PETS FOR FAMILIES
LITTLE ROCK – Scam artists are hiding online pretending to sell domestic pets, but instead are taking the consumer’s money without turning over a new fluffy friend. Often, these ads are found on free buy-and-sell websites and use especially endearing photos of the animal they have no intention of sending, or may not even own.
 
“Con artists are scouring the internet looking for new ways to get into our wallets,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Families considering adding a new pet have a lot to think about, especially whether having this new pet is the right decision for them. They should not have to also worry if the seller is trying to scam them.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission released the following tips to avoid falling victim to a scammer selling a pet that does not exist.

  • Visit in person the breeder or rescue group offering the pet. Responsible individuals and organizations will allow potential customers to tour their facility.
  • Search the user’s profile for warning signs that it may be a scam. Fake breeder websites can often look real because they steal content from legitimate rescue sites. Look for duplicate sites by copying a line from the website into a search engine and looking for identical wording elsewhere on the Internet.
  • Arrange to pick up the animal from a kennel instead of meeting the breeder at a potentially unsafe location. Do not rely on the breeder to ship the animal, and never pay for shipping.
  • Check the organization’s references. Talk to others who have purchased pets from this breeder and the breeder’s veterinarian.
  • Pay for the puppy with a check or credit card. If a breeder pressures for a wire transfer or prepaid debit card payment, it is probably a scam.

Attorney General Rutledge encourages Arkansans to do their research regarding adopting and purchasing pets. If you have questions about a potential pet shipper, the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association provides a list of trusted shippers across the world.

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

 

SENATORS COTTON, PERDUE AND HAWLEY RE-INTRODUCE THE REFORMING AMERICAN IMMIGRATION FOR A STRONG ECONOMY ACT (RAISE Act)
Washington, D.C.
— Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), David Perdue (R-Georgia), and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) re-introduced the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, a bill that would spur continued economic growth and raise working Americans' wages by giving priority to the best-skilled immigrants from around the world and reducing overall immigration levels. Representative Francis Rooney (R-Florida) will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives. 

The RAISE Act is supported by President Trump and has been described by the White House as a bill that “will create a merit-based immigration system that protects our workers, our taxpayers, and our economy.” 

“I’m proud to reintroduce the RAISE Act supported by the White House. For decades, our immigration system has been completely divorced from the needs of our country and has harmed the livelihoods of working-class Americans. The RAISE Act would build an immigration system that increases working-class wages, creates jobs, and gives every citizen a fair shot at achieving the American Dream, no matter whether their family came over on the Mayflower or just took the Oath of Allegiance,” said Cotton.

“Our current immigration system is broken and is not meeting the needs of our growing economy. If we want to continue to be the global economic leader, we have to welcome the best and brightest from around the world who wish to come to the United States legally to work and make a better life for themselves. This will require a skills-based immigration system that is pro-growth and pro-worker. The RAISE Act is proven to work and is still the only plan that responds to the needs of our economy, while preserving quality jobs and wages for American workers,” said Purdue.

"We need an immigration system that puts American workers first. Our broken immigration policies hurt hardworking Americans and the talented individuals who are stuck in line, waiting to contribute to our country. With the RAISE Act, the United States can finally end chain migration and move to a merit-based system. All Americans deserve rising wages, a growing economy, and an equal shot at the American Dream,” said Hawley.

“The United States immigration system is broken. Only one in every 15 immigrants to our country are granted visas because of their skills, and we do not prioritize the ultra high-skilled immigrants who spur innovation, create jobs, and make America more competitive. The system we have now supports programs like the Diversity Visa Lottery, which does not add skills or competitive workers to our workplace, and “chain migration,” whereby once a person enters, their family relations can automatically come to the U.S. regardless of their employability. Together with Senator Tom Cotton, I introduced the RAISE Act to end these failed programs and replace them with a merit-based system that considers education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative. Passing this legislation, along with legislation that I have cosponsored to fix the asylum-seeking process and mandate e-verify, will provide significantly better immigration policy and greater control of our borders,” said Congressman Rooney.

Specifically, the RAISE Act would:

  • Establish a Skills-Based Points System. The RAISE Act would replace the current permanent employment-visa system with a skills-based points system, akin to the systems used by Canada and Australia. The system would prioritize those immigrants who are best positioned to succeed in the United States and expand the economy. Applicants earn points based on education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative.
  • Prioritize Immediate Family Households. The RAISE Act would retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents while eliminating preferences for certain categories of extended and adult family members.
  • Eliminate the Outdated Diversity Visa Lottery. The Diversity Lottery is plagued with fraud, advances no economic or humanitarian interest, and does not even promote diversity. The RAISE Act would eliminate the 50,000 visas arbitrarily allocated to this lottery.
  • Place a Responsible Limit on Permanent Residency for Refugees. The RAISE Act would limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year.
 

APRIL 9, 2019

ABRAM CONSTRUCTION & ASSOCIATES NOW BUILDING DREAM HOMES IN CAMDEN, AR
Camden, AR - Abram Construction & Associates, LLC is honored to build dream homes for families in Camden, Arkansas.  Abram Construction is a family-owned company founded on the principals of quality, craftsmanship, and integrity.  It has helped families and individuals in Tennessee and Mississippi realize the dream of owning a home for more than a decade.  Abram Construction is excited to do the same for citizens in Arkansas.

Abram Construction is pleased to announce it will build 19 single-family homes in Westridge Estates.  The superior crafted homes will enhance the beautiful well-established subdivision which features mature trees, generous-sized lots, and family-friendly neighbors.

 “When I build homes, they are more than just lots and plan numbers. Employees at Abram Construction not only know your name, but also understand your dreams, and what it will take to make your new house, your new home,” says Antonio Abram, President, Abram Construction & Associates.

As an experienced custom home builder, Abram Construction has the ability to ensure the workmanship to the highest standards. Abram Construction was created to meet a very real need in today's home building market.  It builds quality homes, at affordable prices, with honesty and integrity.   “There is a great need for affordable homes in Camden,” said Mayor Julian Lott.  “I reached to Abram Construction because of their dedication to not only building homes, but to also building up communities.”

Abram Construction has extensive experience in helping home buyers secure federal, state, and local grants and financing.  “It’s important to me to make sure families can not only move into their dream home, but can also afford to live in it for many years after,” says Abram. 

Abram Construction believes homes are more than just four walls and a roof.  “They say home is where the heart is for a reason. It’s where love, affection, and memories are made,” says Abram. “And we are honored that families choose an Abram Construction home to create those life-long bonds.”

For more information about Abram Construction & Associates go to www.AbramConstruction.us.

GROW CAMDEN GARDENING WORKSHOPS OFFERED
Grow Camden in conjunction with the U of A Division of Agriculture, the Master Gardeners, the USDA and First Friday are pleased to present Gardening Workshops throughout the spring. All Workshops will be held at the Events Center at Fairview Park.

The first Workshop entitled Gardening 101 will be this Thursday, April 11th at 6 p.m. and Saturday, April 13th at 10 a.m. This is the same workshop at two different times, for anyone busy at one time, just catch the other one. Learn about “Backyard Basics” presented by the Ouachita County Extension Office.

The Ouachita County Extension Service will present “Container Gardening” on April 15th at 6 p.m.

The Calhoun County Extension Office will present “Healthy Eating” on April 29th at 6 p.m.

Learn about “High Tunnels” as the USDA Soil and Conservation District present the program on May 6th at 6 p.m.

The final Workshop will be held on May 13th at 6 p.m. The Ouachita County Extension Office will present “Maintaining your Garden”.

These are FREE workshops to help you learn new techniques, ask questions, find a way to garden. Don't have a space you can garden....there's a solution for that too! Join with Keri Weatherford with Ouachita County Extension Service for these great workshops. You do NOT have to register to attend, just show up.

TEXTING DRIVERS BEWARE: U DRIVE – U TEXT – YOU PAY
APRIL 8, 2019
(LITTLE ROCK) – Distracted driving continues to be one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes across the nation’s roadways.  The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office is working with state and local law enforcement agencies to encourage drivers to put down their phones while driving.

Beginning April 11th and continuing through April 15th, law enforcement agencies in Arkansas will participate in the “U Drive, You Text, You Pay” campaign, which includes both educational as well as enforcement operations designed to make streets and roads safe.  The goal is to reduce traffic crashes caused by distracted driving associated with cell phone use while driving.

A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that examined motor vehicle crashes that occurred during 2012 - 2017 indicates nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers. During calendar year 2017 there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

In recent years a younger generation of millennial drivers has become the biggest texting-while-driving offenders, using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.  Since 2007, according to NHTSA, young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers.  During 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when teenage drivers were distracted at the time of each crash.  The statistical analysis indicates female drivers are the most at risk for being involved in a fatal crash when distracted.

“While on the road anyone can look out of their vehicle window and see drivers using their cell phones,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. “People know texting and driving is dangerous and illegal, but they do it anyway, and it puts others at risk.”

Colonel Bryant has committed to increasing state police patrols in the coming days.  Troopers will be stopping violators and ticketing them if caught texting and driving.

Violating Arkansas’ distracted driving laws can be costly.  Arkansas law prohibits the use of a hand-held cell phone for texting, typing, email or accessing the internet while driving, regardless of the driver's age.  It is also a "primary offense" law, which means a state trooper, police officer or sheriff's deputy can initiate a traffic stop without observing any other violation.  Fines can range from up to $250 for a first offense and up to $500 for any subsequent offense.

Arkansas law enforcement officers urge you to put your phone down when you get behind the wheel. If you need to text, then pull over and stop the vehicle.

If you’re driving, follow these steps for a safe driving experience:

  •If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location before you attempt to text.
 
  •Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
 
  •Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.  Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal. Break the cycle. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.  For more information on distracted driving issues, visit www.Distraction.gov, www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDarkansas.org.

OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING BEING INVESTIGATED BY ASP-CID
APRIL 8, 2019
The Arkansas State Police is investigating an overnight officer involved shooting incident that resulted in the death of Marzues Scott, 35, of Blytheville.

Authorities within the Blytheville Police Department requested the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division to investigate the use of deadly force by one of its officers.

A Blytheville police officer was dispatched at approximately 11:30 PM Sunday (April 7th) to a disturbance call at the Dodge’s convenience store located at 3605 South Division Street.

Once at the scene of the disturbance the officer encountered the suspect, identified as Scott, across the street at the Deerfield Inn located at 1100 Kari Lane.  Scott allegedly attacked the officer and during a scuffle, the officer shot Scott who died later at a local hospital.  The officer sustained minor injuries during the attack.

Questions relating to the identity of the officer and administrative status should be directed to the Blytheville Police Department.

Scott’s body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the manner and cause of death as well as collecting forensic evidence.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are preparing an investigative report to be submitted to the prosecuting attorney to determine whether use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer in this incident was consistent with Arkansas law.

ARKANSAS FOODBANK ANNOUNCES A DAY OF GIVING
Arkansas Foodbank has announced a Day of Giving taking place on Thursday, April 11. This event is a 24-hour opportunity for our community to come together and help change the lives of hungry Arkansans.

On Day of Giving, each donor gets to decide how they would like their funds to help. Donors will have 40 different giving opportunities to choose from on April 11th. They can direct their gift towards programs specifically in one of the 33 counties the Foodbank serves OR make a gift to help fund one of the Foodbank’s programs across our service area such as our Food For Kids, Food For Seniors or Food For Families programs. Donors can also help fund specific initiatives that the Foodbank is currently working towards such as our produce initiative to increase access to fresh produce for those we serve, mobile distributions to communities in need, or towards the “Bridging Hope” Capital Campaign to help fund a new volunteer center set to open next year. There will also be matching opportunities throughout the day to stretch donations even further.

“We’re so excited to launch this Day of Giving and share this opportunity for donors to support us in the area they are most passionate about,” said Rhonda Sanders, CEO of the Arkansas Foodbank. “The need is so great this time of year as we prepare for the warmer months when children are out of school and not receiving breakfast and lunch daily. Every gift can make such a large impact.”

Every $1 donated to the Foodbank provides food for 5 meals for those in need. For more information on how you can donate to Day of Giving, visit www.arkansasfoodbank.org <http://www.arkansasfoodbank.org.

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON APPOINTS JUDGE MEREDITH SWITZER TO COURT OF APPEALS, DISTRICT 4
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the appointment of Judge Meredith Switzer, Hot Springs, to the Court of Appeals, District 4. Judge Switzer will replace the late Judge David M. “Mac” Glover. Her term expires on December 31, 2020. 

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:
“I am pleased to appoint Judge Switzer, a native of Hot Springs, to the Court of Appeals for District 4. Her experience in the courtroom as both a practicing attorney and a former District Judge in Garland County have provided her with the knowledge and wisdom necessary to serve the people of Arkansas on the Court of Appeals.”

Meredith Blaise Switzer is a Hot Springs native who graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2001. In 2004, she graduated with honors from UALR Law School, where she served as Executive Editor of the UALR Law Review.  

Judge Switzer practiced as an Associate Attorney at Rose Law Firm but left private practice to pursue a career in public service in 2009.  She went to work for the Arkansas Attorney General and was promoted through the years to Deputy Attorney General of the State Agencies Department. In December 2016, Judge Switzer was appointed by Governor Hutchinson as District Judge in Garland County after the passing of her father and predecessor, Judge David Switzer. She served for two years on the District Court bench but, due to her appointment, was unable to run to succeed herself. 

In January 2019, she joined Quapaw House, Inc. as Chief Legal Counsel. Judge Switzer is a member of the Board of Trustees of Mid-America Science Museum and the First United Methodist Church Child Development Center. She was a member of Leadership Greater Little Rock, Class XXI and a former member of the William H. Overton Inn of Court. She is a current member of the American, Arkansas, and Garland County Bar Associations, as well as the newest member of the Hot Springs National Park Rotary.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday,  April 11th  at 12:00 at  Catherine’s Bistro. The program will be presented by Rajveer Kaur Kang, Executive Director at the Ouachita Valley Community Foundation.

April 08, 2019


Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE AND COTTON HOLD ROUNDTABLE TO TACKLE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUES 
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton held a roundtable discussion on Friday with state law enforcement and criminal justice leaders, followed by a question and answer session with the media, to address issues at the state and federal level. Topics included the continued effort to combat the opioid epidemic and stopping the sale of lethal unwashed poppy seeds. Also discussed were Senator Cotton’s legislation to allow cell phone jamming in prisons and Attorney General Rutledge’s efforts to curb illegal robocalls and spoofing, which was signed into law Wednesday.

“It is always a pleasure to join my friend Senator Cotton, and work with him on issues that require leadership at both the state and federal level,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s discussion gave us the opportunity to hear from state leaders on ideas to protect and serve all Arkansans. I look forward to continuing the partnership between our offices to make Arkansas a safer and better place to live.”

“There’s important work being done at the state and federal levels to curb serious problems like the opioid epidemic and prison contraband,” said Senator Cotton. “Arkansas is blessed to have dedicated law enforcement officials and public servants working hard to fix these problems and keep us safe.”

Today’s roundtable was attended by Arkansas Crime Lab Director Kermit Channell, Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute Director Dr. Cheryl May, Arkansas Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelley, Arkansas Department of Health Director Dr. Nate Smith, Arkansas Prosecutor Coordinator Bob McMahan, Arkansas State Police Col. Bill Bryant, Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Bryan Rorex, FBI Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch, Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham, Perry County Sheriff Scott Montgomery, Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue, and State Drug Director Kirk Lane.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: SCAMMERS POSING AS TRUSTED COMPANIES TO STEAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION
LITTLE ROCK – Scammers are posing as employees of legitimate and trusted businesses such as pest control, lawn care or alarm companies in an attempt to steal personal information from Arkansans. The caller tries to set up an in-home appointment or confirm personal information in hopes of gaining access to credit card numbers, social security numbers or bank account information. This is a scam, and Arkansans should hang up immediately.

“Arkansans should be cautious of unsolicited callers trying to confirm personal information and set up appointments,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “If you have any doubt, hang up and find the company’s phone number from an independent source and call them to confirm the information you have been told. Do not use the number on your caller ID from the original call.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for recognizing and responding to these types of scam calls:

  • These callers may request to be contacted only at the number provided instead of the company’s general number.
  • These scammers know your name but try to gather other personal information.
  • Be mindful that scammers can spoof the caller ID to suggest they are calling from the trusted company when they are not.
  • Do not trust the caller simply because they have personal information.
  • Do not verify information or give out personal banking or similar information because it could lead to identity theft.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, close accounts that have been tampered with or fraudulently opened, and file a complaintwith the FTC. The Attorney General’s office also offers an ID Theft Passport to help victims reestablish their good name, which requires that consumers first file a police report for financial identity theft.

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

altARKANSAS’ FOUR-YEAR GRADUATION RATES INCREASE FOR THIRD YEAR
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ four-year graduation rates for all students and multiple student subgroups increased in 2018, continuing a three-year trend of positive improvement.

Graduation rate data for 2018, which will be released April 15 on the school, district, and state Report Cards, show that rates for all students, as well as African-American, Caucasian, and economically-disadvantaged students, increased for the third year in a row. The four-year graduation rate for Hispanic students held steady or increased every year since 2015, with 2018 increases noted for students with disabilities (84.6 percent) and English learners (82.7 percent). (See table below.)

Graduation rates reflect the 13-year journey students take from kindergarten through the twelfth grade. From learning to read in elementary school and exploring career options in middle school to honing skills and pursuing advanced, rigorous academic courses in high school, the effort and dedication from students and teachers each year are reflected in the rates.

“This is one of the most satisfying educational statistics that we’ve received in recent years,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “The fact that our graduation rate continues to improve in Arkansas shows that we are on the right path in terms of education in all categories, from minority students to economically-disadvantaged students. I applaud our educators in Arkansas for their dedication as we continue on this path to even greater achievement.” 

“The continued increase in Arkansas’ graduation rate is encouraging and worthy of celebration,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. “As we seek to lead the nation in student-focused education, it is essential that we provide the tools, resources, and opportunities for every student to graduate high school prepared for college, career, and community engagement. ADE is committed to providing the supports every school needs to ensure we accomplish this mission."

School, District, and State Efforts
Over the last several years, schools have focused on improving educational experiences for students. From increased course options to more flexibility to attend college classes, internships, and work activities during the school day, students now have more learning opportunities that exist beyond high school buildings. 

The expansion of family and community engagement also is having a positive impact on educational goals. Schools are encouraged to seek and utilize parent and community input when making decisions that impact student learning. The utilization of Student Success Plans, which are personalized education plans, this school year for all eighth-grade students is one example of this engagement. Combined with increased time school counselors will have with students this next school year, these efforts will lead to future success.

Several ADE supports include earlier access to information and data, multiple trainings regarding how to use ADE data tools and resources, and ongoing improvements to the My School Info data information website. As a result, data accuracy and data literacy have increased statewide, with schools and districts using student and school data to make informed educational decisions.

For the first time ever, graduation rates for additional student subgroups will be reported on the 2018 Report Card. The Report Card, which will be available on the My School Info website (https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov) on April 15, will include graduation rates for homeless students, children in foster care, children with parents on active military duty, gifted and talented students, females, males, and migrant students. 

Get Involved
It is important for parents and community members to review their districts’ graduation rates and school performance data and engage with their districts in addressing how students can be better supported during their learning journey. While each high school is focused on graduating every student on time, learning at each grade level builds the foundation for meeting the expectations for college, career, and community readiness.

Schools and districts also are currently developing their school improvement plans for the 2019-2020 school year. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s school to learn more about how they can contribute to the plans and the future of education for all students. 

Four-Year Graduation Rates

Graduation Rates 

2015

2016 

2017 

2018 

All Students 

84.9% 

87.0% 

88.0% 

89.2% 

African American 

77.5% 

81.5% 

83.4% 

85.6% 

Hispanic 

84.5% 

85.7% 

85.7% 

85.8% 

Caucasian 

87.4% 

89.2% 

90.0% 

91.2% 

Economically-Disadvantaged 

81.7% 

83.8% 

84.9% 

86.8% 

Students with Disabilities 

81.9% 

84.3% 

83.8% 

84.6% 

English Learners 

85.9% 

85.7% 

82.1% 

82.7% 


SAAC TO HOST CHRYSTAL OSBORN FOR CORKS AND CANVAS NIGHT
Ready to try a dirty pour? Want to learn to use a flip cup? Then Corks & Canvas at SAAC on April 18 is where you need to be! Join Chrystal Osborn from 6-9pm to learn the fun and fabulous techniques of acrylic paint pouring/fluid art.

"We had 2 very popular paint pouring classes at SAAC last year! This go around, I will be demonstrating different techniques; puddle pour, dirty pour, hairdryer manipulation. Each attendee will choose which one they want to use for their pour," said Osborn. "I am planning to use smaller canvases and focus on using 3-4 colors in addition to the base color of white or black; this seems to work best for those with little to no experience.

"My art experience is just from what I consider to be fun. I have no formal training other than past art teachers, a friend's grandmother, my grandmother, and friends that are artists. We will have a fun, light-hearted time painting with ‘fluid art' during the workshop and of course great snacks."

Corks & Canvas is an art class for non-artists who have always wanted to paint. Each class is conducted by a different art instructor, who takes the class through the step by step process to complete a work of art in three hours. The $40.00 prepaid non-refundable fee covers all supplies and snacks. This class is limited to 12. Those taking the class should bring their favorite beverage and get ready to have a good time.

For more information or to register for this class, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

SENATOR COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCT SUITE OF BIPARTISAN BILLS TO HELP AMERICANS SAVE FOR RETIREMENT
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Todd Young (R-Indiana), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), and Doug Jones (D-Alabama) announced they have introduced several bills to help boost retirement security for individuals and families during a time when many Americans are unprepared for retirement.

According to the Department of Labor, more than 40 million people do not have access to any workplace retirement plan. Additionally, nearly half of households nearing retirement do not have a retirement savings plan.

Senator Cotton introduced S. 1011, which would eliminate the regulatory barriers that prevent small business owners from joining professionally managed pooled employer plans, lowering the administrative cost of offering a plan.

"This legislation will help lighten the burden Arkansas small businesses face in offering retirement plans to their employees," said Cotton. "Making these few simple changes could make a big difference for Arkansas workers and help them retire with financial security and peace of mind."

Senator Young introduced S. 1020, which would expand access to workplace retirement plans by giving small employers more flexibility when setting up 401Ks for their employees. The bill would also make it easier for savers to auto enroll into long-term savings plans and more quickly escalate their savings.

“In order to improve retirement security, we must start by reforming and improving access to retirement plans,” said Young. “This legislation will help ensure families have the necessary tools to save for the days ahead.”

Senator Booker introduced S. 1018, which would enable individuals to build emergency savings during tax time by allowing filers to save a portion of their tax refund for “rainy day” or long-term savings. 

“Every American deserves to retire with dignity and financial security. However, this is not the reality for millions of Americans,” said Booker. “The rising cost of living makes it nearly impossible for hard-working Americans to withstand even small emergency expenses—let alone save for their retirement. These bipartisan bills address pressing economic challenges and provide tangible solutions for working families.”

Senator Jones introduced S. 1019, which would help workers set up short-term savings accounts to help with financial emergencies.

“Today, for far too many American families, a lifetime of hard work does not translate into a comfortable retirement. It’s past time that Congress address the retirement system to make it easier for workers to plan for their futures, while understanding that families today face rising costs for things like health care and education. These bipartisan bills show a commitment to making the system work better for hard-working families, ensuring they are able to adjust to today’s challenges without sacrificing economy security in their later years,” said Jones.  

Last Congress, Senators Young, Booker and Cotton introduced similar legislation.

CAMDEN NOON LIONS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden noon Lion’s Club will meet on Wednesday, April 10th at Catherine’s Bistro. This week’s speaker will be Dr. Carl Drexler who is an Archeologist at SAU.  He will speak about Archeological work done around Prescott relating to the Civil War.

 
 

April 05, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN ALDERMEN MEETING
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

The agenda includes the Mayor’s Report and Resolution No. 17-19, a resolution expressing the willingness of the City Council to utilize Federal-Aid Transportation Alternative Program Funds for Adams Avenue sidewalks.

CAMDEN WATER UTILITIES SCHEDULE CLEANING AND INSPECTION
Camden Water Utilities is scheduling divers to clean and inspect a 1,500,000 gallon clear well at the water treatment plant on Monday, April 8, 2019. Per guidelines and policies of the Arkansas Department of Health on Underwater Storage Tank Inspection, the public must be notified before entry. If anyone has any questions concerning this cleaning and inspection, please call Camden Water Utilities at 870-836-7331 and ask to speak with the manager.

U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY BOOSTS ORDER FOR CAMDEN-MADE THAAD BY $2.4 BILLION
The Department of Defense has more than doubled an order for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors and associated one-shot devices to almost $3.9 billion.

Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control of Dallas, which builds THAAD launchers and fire control systems at its Camden Launcher Complex, is being awarded a $2,457,390,566 modification to a previously-awarded contract from the Missile Defense Agency.

The additional production will support U.S. government and authorized foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia.

The DOD said the THAAD interceptors and associated one-shot devices will be procured under fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract line items. The value of the contract was increased from $1,431,251,585 to $3,888,642,151. One offer was solicited with one offer received.

SAAC TO HOST ARTIST’S RECEPTION FOR HOLLY TILLEY AND MELINDA ANTOON
The South Arkansas Arts Center will host an artist's reception to honor Holly Tilley and Melinda Antoon, on Saturday, April 6, from 6:00-7:30pm followed by a viewing of the "State of the Art" documentary from AETN and the curatorial team at Crystal Bridges in the theater at 7:30pm. Tilley's exhibit, entitiled "Rooted", will hang in the Price and Merkle Galleries while Antoon's show, "Shores and Gardens-Works by M. Antoon" will hang in the Lobby Gallery through April 29.

Little Rock artist Tilley's watercolor "Rooted" is the painting that started the idea for the show. According to Tilley, "To be rooted means you know where you came from." The works in pastel, watercolor, and oil feature her love of being outside, her travels abroad and her love of subjects from her childhood.

Former El Dorado resident Antoon enjoys working in many media in a wide variety of styles which keeps her fresh and interested. "The act of looking, the process of understanding, and the satisfaction of making--these are the elements that always draw me into expressing life by art," she explained, "Among the first images I can remember are those of light and shadow, and glorious color." She currently lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Join us in the Callaway Theater at 7:30pm for a free screening of "State of the Art" before the documentary premieres on AETN. From award-winning filmmakers Craig and Brent Renaud and Arkansas Educational Television Network, "State of the Art" tells a story of diverse artists driven to create -- with work that is intensely personal, firmly rooted in community, and inseparable from the lives they live. The film explores a few of the artists featured in the "State of the Art" exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, which was created when the museum's curatorial team crisscrossed the nation to find extraordinary contemporary art happening in unexpected places.

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

ARORA CELEBRATES NATIONAL DONATE LIFE MONTH IN APRIL TO FOCUS ATTENEION ON THE 115,000 AMERICANS WAITING FOR A TRANSPLANT
[April 4, 2019-Little Rock, AR]— April is National Donate Life Month. Every year, Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Association, (ARORA) partners with Arkansas hospitals, transplant centers and other donation partners in the state in celebration of National Donate Life Month(NDLM). The observance focuses attention on organ, eye and tissue donation. The month-long celebration also shares the importance of registering your decision to become a donor and honors donors and their families by celebrating the lifesaving and healing gift of donation.

“This April, we want to remind everyone that they have the potential to save up to 8 lives and improve the health of up to 200 people. Registering your decision to become an organ, eye and tissue donor takes less than a minute and gives hope to those waiting. The decision to register as a donor is the beginning of a story that may bring life and healing to individuals, their families and their communities,” says ARORA Director of Communications, Audrey Coleman.

During April, ARORA celebrates that 64 percent of Arkansans have registered their decision to help restore lives as organ, eye and tissue donors at the time of their death. Currently, there are more than 300 Arkansans awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. Nationally, thousands more people are waiting for lifesaving and healing eye and tissue transplants.

Arkansans can register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor at donatelifearkansas.org, at their local Department of Motor Vehicles, or by “swiping” their driver’s license or state ID card through special software used by ARORA. Registering to become a donor through swipe technology will become more widely available in the state throughout this year. For more information about registering to become a donor, contact ARORA at 501.907.9150, or send a message to ARORA on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

ABOUT ARORA
The Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA) was established in 1987 as a non-profit, independent organ procurement agency. Serving 64 counties across the state, ARORA is headquartered in Little Rock and has a satellite office in northwest Arkansas. ARORA’s mission is to restore lives through the recovery of organs and tissues for transplant.

HOUSE VOTES TO “BAN THE BOX: GOVERNMENT AGENCIES CAN NO LONGER INQUIRE ABOUT CRIMINAL HISTORY ON JOB APPLICATIONS Human resources expert explains the impact of the Fair Chance Act on employers outside the gov. realm 
Last week the House Oversight and Reform Committee passed a bill which would effectively “ban the box” that would keep federal agencies and contractors from asking potential employees’ about their past criminal history until after these applicants had been offered a conditional employment offer.

Known as the “Fair Chance Act,” the measure is meant to help previously incarcerated individuals increase their ability to rebuild their life post-conviction. But what does this mean for employers?

“Currently, this legislation only prohibits federal agencies from including a criminal history box on their application and from asking these questions in interviews before a conditional job offer is made,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and human recourses expert. “However, ten states (and the District of Columbia) have ban-the-box laws that apply to private employers—including California, Illinois, Hawaii, and New Jersey, and other companies such as Target have banned the box across state lines at all their locations.”

Wilson says this number will likely continue to grow, but he explains that banning the box doesn’t mean that employers have no rights when it comes to establishing a person’s character and mental health.

“In most states, you can do a criminal background check on your applicant after a tentative offer has been made,” says Wilson. “But instead of banning people outright, you will have time to interview them and find out who they really are, rather than be dissuaded by a checked box that won't tell you the whole story."

However, Wilson believes banning the box could potentially give rise to a host of issues. 

"Possible safety concerns are only the beginning. Not only do criminal background laws vary from state to state, but they even vary from city to city. Employers will have much more legwork when it comes to staying on top of changing legislation, and they will also have to grapple with potential litigation and penalties. This is why many employers will likely opt to outsource their hiring to employment firms, as it will be more cost-effective and it will remove the legal headaches."

SENATORS COTTON, SCHUMER, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE TARGETED FENTANYL SANCTIONS BILL
Washington, D.C. – Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) today introduced the Fentanyl Sanctions Act—the first-ever fentanyl sanctions bill that would apply pressure on the Chinese government to honor its commitment to make all forms of synthetic opioids illegal and provide U.S. law enforcement with more tools and resources to go after illicit traffickers in China, Mexico, and other countries. 

“China is the world’s largest drug dealer. For years, the Chinese government has allowed fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to pour into the United States, killing tens of thousands of Americans. Although China has fulfilled a promise to the president by formally banning all forms of fentanyl, we have to make sure they keep their word. Our bipartisan bill will give law enforcement and intelligence agencies the tools they need to apply maximum pressure to fentanyl producers, traffickers, cartels, and other criminals who are funneling this poison across our borders and into our communities,” said Cotton.

“Combating the flow of illicit fentanyl into our country is imperative in the fight to save American lives from the opioid crisis.  We must hold China accountable for their role in the fentanyl trade. China’s new regulation to make all fentanyl categories illegal is an important step and the administration deserves praise for their efforts to secure this change. However, we have to demonstrate that we will demand China enforce these laws and take strong action against opioid traffickers,” said Schumer. “Our legislation would apply pressure on China to actually follow through and would equip the administration with tools to systematically go after the major manufacturers and traffickers of fentanyl before the killer drug gets to the U.S.” 

“On average, 11 Ohioans will die every day in my state due to an opioid overdose,” said Brown. “The addiction epidemic has taken too many lives and caused too much devastation in Ohio. This new bill will add effective new sanctions tools to help combat the flood of illicit fentanyl coming in primarily from China and from Mexico and help provide intelligence and funding to keep these dangerous drugs out of Ohio communities.”

“The flow of illicit fentanyl largely from China into the U.S. poses serious threats to our families, public health, economic vitality, and national security,” said Rubio. “With Florida suffering thousands of opioid-related deaths per year, we must do all we can to stop the opioid crisis sweeping across America and devastating our communities. This bipartisan effort to impose targeted sanctions on foreign illicit fentanyl manufacturers and traffickers makes clear that the U.S. will hold the Communist Chinese Government and other nations fully accountable when they turn a blind eye to international fentanyl trafficking.”

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Require sanctions on drug manufacturers in China who knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers, transnational criminal organizations in Mexico that mix fentanyl with other drugs and traffic them into the United States, and financial institutions that assist such entities. 
  • Authorize new funding to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the Department of Treasury, Department of Defense, and Department of State, to combat foreign trafficking of opioids.
  • Urges the president to commence diplomatic efforts with U.S. partners to impose multilateral sanctions against foreign opioid traffickers.
  • Establish a Commission on Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to monitor U.S. efforts and report on how to more effectively combat the flow of synthetic opioids from China, Mexico, and elsewhere. 

Following a commitment to the United States at the G-20 in December 2018, Chinese regulators announced on April 1, 2019 that a wider range of fentanyl derivatives would be declared controlled substances in China on May 1, 2019. China already has problems enforcing its current drug laws and continues to deny that its illicit fentanyl producers are major contributors to the U.S. opioid crisis. To increase accountability, the Fentanyl Sanctions Act would pressure the Chinese government to aggressively enforce its new laws and provide the U.S. government with flexible sanctions tools to go after drug traffickers in China and other countries. 

APRIL 4, 2019

CAREER CLOSET
If you are planning to attend the Job Fair on April 16th but need proper attire to look your best for a job interview, The Hub and Greater St. Paul have you covered. If you are job ready and need an outfit for a job interview, visit the Career Closet for free attire. The Career Closet is located at the Greater St. Paul Baptist Church. It is open on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.

NEW SECURITY AT FAIRVIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
As of Tuesday, April 2nd, all door of the Fairview Elementary School will be locked from 8:00 a.m. until 2:50 p.m.. Camden Fairview Elementary is the tirst school in the district to get this upgraded security system.

Administrators are asking for your help in making sure this system works to the best of its ability You will be required to be buzzed into the building after 8:00 a.m. It is suggested that you take your driver’s licenses to be scanned in order to go into the Halls of FES. Once your ID is scanned you will receive a name badge to wear. If you are just hneeding to come to the front office, no name badge is necessary, but you will still have to be buzzed in.

If you have any questions, contact the Fairview Elementary School at 870-231-5434.

HARMONY GROVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION
Harmony Grove Elementary School Kindergarten Registration is scheduled for April 22 through 26t,h Monday through Friday, from 8:00 - 3:00. If your child is 5 years old ON or BEFORE Aug. 1, 2019 your child is eligible for kindergarten. Parents must bring the following items to registration: social security card, state-issued birth certificate, immunization record, TWO proofs of physical residence in the Harmony Grove School District (e.g. utility receipts) and Medicaid number of ARKids number if applicable.

Please call 574-0960 or 574-0338 to schedule an appointment to register your child for kindergarten. It is very important for parents to register their children at this time. The number of students registered at this time will determine class sizes for next fall.

alt

FIVE TEACHES NAMED 2019 ARKANSAS COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce the five educators selected as finalists for the first annual Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year Award.

"We had many well-deserving applicants; however, when the #CSforAR team carefully considered every application, the team unanimously agreed that these five educators demonstrate both a long-term and ongoing commitment to, passion for, and impact on computer science education in Arkansas and the nation," said Anthony Owen, state director of Computer Science Education and chief state STEM officer. "These educators have earned and deserve this recognition."

The five finalists are listed below. 

Carl Frank
Computer Science Teacher
Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
Hot Springs, AR

Josefina Perez
Business/Computer Science Teacher
Springdale High School
Springdale, AR

Brenda Qualls
Computer Science Teacher
Bryant High School
Bryant, AR

Kimberly Raup
Computer Science Teacher
Conway High School 
Conway, AR

Karma Turner
Computer Science Teacher
Lake Hamilton High School
Pearcy, AR

Each of the finalists will receive a $2,500 award from the Arkansas Department of Education Office of Computer Science. A panel comprised of representatives from the ADE Computer Science Initiative Unit and external computer science and education leaders will review the five finalists' applications and select the 2019 Computer Science Educator of the Year based on a rubric scoring system. The winner, who will be announced at a later date, will receive an additional $12,500 award, paid registration and travel expenses to the ADE 2019 Summit, and a $1,000 sponsorship to attend the Computer Science Teachers Association's Annual Conference.

SENATORS COTTON, BOOZMAN, REPRESENTATIVE WOMACK INTRODUCE THE STEPHEN HACALA POPPY SEED SAFETY ACT
Washington, D.C.— Today Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and John Boozman (R-Arkansas), along with Congressman Steve Womack (R-Arkansas), introduced companion bills to stop the sale of deadly morphine-laced poppy seeds. The bill would classify poppy seeds that contain a harmful level of opiates as an adulterated food and prohibit their sale directly to consumers.  

While most poppy seeds are harmless, some manufacturers sell seeds laced with morphine at a cost far higher than normal seeds. These seeds can contain more than 20 times the therapeutic dosage of morphine. To date, there have been more than a dozen confirmed deaths from morphine-laced seeds. 

“Stephen Hacala Jr. died from an opioid overdose because of a dangerous gap in our nation’s drug laws. Despite government warnings, unwashed poppy seeds, which can contain lethal doses of morphine, are still available for sale online.  As our country continues to fight the opioid crisis, it’s time to end sales of unwashed seeds so that no other families experience the pain the Hacala family has endured,” said Cotton. 

“The sale of unwashed poppy seeds is a threat to the safety of Arkansans and all Americans. Approving this bill would honor Stephen Hacala Jr.’s memory by preventing other consumers from falling victim to dangerous, toxin-laced poppy seeds sold online,” said Boozman.

“Our drug laws haven’t kept pace with the many challenges we face as a nation. While unwashed poppy seeds don’t immediately sound dangerous, they can be laced with lethal substances like morphine. Stephen Hacala Jr.’s life was cut tragically short because of it—and his family used their grief to advocate for change. By prohibiting the sale of this harmful product, we will help ensure the safety of American consumers and prevent another family from losing a loved one,” said Womack. 

Background:

On April 3, 2016, Stephen Hacala of Fayetteville, Arkansas, died from morphine intoxication caused by morphine-laced poppy seeds purchased from Amazon. As many as 20 other Americans reportedly have died from overdoses caused by morphine-laced poppy seeds sold directly to consumers.

A research team led by Dr. Madeleine Swortwood, assistant professor of forensic science at Sam Houston State University, studied the morphine content in different bags of poppy seeds. The researchers found that some bags of poppy seeds contained morphine levels many times higher than a fatal dose. 

RUTLEDGE JOINS HUTCHINSON IN BILL SIGNING CEREMONY FOR LAWS ON ROBOCALLS AND FARM EQUIPMENT
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson for his bill-signing ceremony for two important pieces of legislation yesterday. The robocall legislation creates a process for state oversight of telecommunication providers and increases the penalty for robo-callers and spoofing. Meanwhile, the Farm Machinery Quality Assurance Act, a bill which Rutledge helped to guide and support, establishes a “lemon law” type protection for consumers purchasing new self-popelled farm machinery and equipment.

“Arkansans are eager to stop the incessant robocalls and scams,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The unopposed, bi-partisan support of this new law creates a path for enforcement to hold the bad actors accountable.

“The new legislation protecting farmers is important to ensure they are no longer vulnerable to potentially devastating financial losses due to faulty equipment. Arkansas’s economy relies heavily on our farmers and this bill will help them grow and expand their livelihood.”

Both pieces of legislation were passed by the General Assembly last week.

 

 
 

APRIL 3, 2019

 

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Meeting will be this Thursday, April 4th at Noon at Catherine's Bistro. The program will be presented by George Betts. He will be talking about a trip to Egypt.

R
 links=Arkansas AG logoUTLEDGE SUES BOURBON & BOOTS
Says, ‘consumers unwittingly wasted their hard-earned money on these products’
LITTLE ROCK – Yesterday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a consumer-protection lawsuit against Little Rock-based Bourbon & Boots Acquisition Company LLC, and its owner Rodney Ford, for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

“Bourbon & Boots advertised itself as a southern lifestyle brand which offered artisan inspired and quality craftsmanship,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Instead, consumers unwittingly wasted their hard-earned money on these products, only to never receive them or receive the wrong item. I will not tolerate deceptive business practices and will do everything in my power to ensure that the company and its owner are held responsible for their damaging actions.”

To date, 55 complaints have been identified where Bourbon & Boots failed to deliver items ordered by consumers, failed to fulfill orders of advertised products and failed to refund monies for unfulfilled orders or substandard products. The Attorney General’s office has reviewed an additional 293 complaints made to the Better Business Bureau.

Rutledge is asking the Pulaski County Circuit Court to impose civil penalties, restitution for affected consumers totaling $19,991.03, attorneys’ fees, costs and other relief against Bourbon & Boots.

If you are a consumer who has been impacted by the actions of Bourbon & Boots, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON, ADE ANNOUNCE RESULTS OF THIRD ANNUAL ALL-REGION CODING COMPETITION
17 Teams Invited to Participate in All-State Competition in May 
LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Education today announce the 17 winning teams from the All-Region Coding Competition that took place on March 14, 2019, at 15 regional contests around the state. 

The 17 selected teams will receive an invitation to participate in the Third Annual All-State Coding Competition, which will take place at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville on May 18, 2019. Each member of the first-place team will receive a $2,000 award that will be deposited into a 529 College Savings Plan. Each member of the second-place team will receive a $1,000 award deposited into a 529 College Savings Plan, with each member of the third-place team receiving a $500 award deposited into a 529 College Savings Plan. In addition, the schools that register/sponsor the first-place, second-place and third-place teams will receive $10,000, $6,000, and $4,000, respectively, to support their computer science programs. The prizes and competition expenses are provided by a Verizon grant to ARCodeKids. 

“Congratulations to the 17 teams heading to Fayetteville in May to compete in the Third Annual Governor’s All-State Coding Competition!” Hutchinson said. “Each year since I partnered with the Arkansas Department of Education to announce the first All-Region and All-State Coding Competitions, Arkansas students have risen to meet the challenge. I am proud of the creativity and innovation that our students showcase year after year in this competition, and I am confident that the teams this year will be no exception.

The following teams have been selected to advance to the All-State Coding Competition.

  • Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts - William Shaver, Karsen Beck, and Noah Raby
  • Cabot High School - Cody Billingsley, Ethan Peck, and Stanley Van
  • Conway High School - Archer Murray, Hunter Fleming, and Jonathon Hopkins
  • Don Tyson School of Innovation - James Cassady, Benjamin Easterling, and Abigail Herrera
  • Fayetteville High School - Jan Bobda Tagne, Andrew Ritter, and Lucas Faupel
  • Gentry High School Conversion Charter - Matthew Anderson, Jonathan Brinkley, and Carson Stell
  • Greenwood High School - Ryan Stracener, William Hutchinson, and Shea Brown
  • Haas Hall Academy - Rogers - Lucas Jaggernauth, Bradley Baltz, and Austin Parker
  • Haas Hall Academy - Fayetteville - Daniel Whitmire, Julian Sanker, and Owen Bell
  • Horatio High School - Hannah Norman, Duncan Connor, and Jacob Brecheisn
  • Little Rock Central High School - Zhaoying Li, Hetvi Shah, and Anne Li
  • Rogers Heritage High School - Allyson Hayes, Luis Guerra, and Adam Siwiec
  • Rogers High School - Garrett Chrisman, Brady Self, and Jack Norris
  • Rogers New Technology High School - David Daniel and Westley Taylor
  • Russellville High School - Michael O'Connor, Michael Draughon, and Xin Zhang
  • Spring Hill High School - Muhammad Athallah, Nick Yates, and Shay Stout
  • Valley View High School - Luke Wilson, Isaac La Ferney, and Alex Hoffman

"ADE extends congratulations to the advancing team members, sponsors, and schools," said Anthony Owen, state director of Computer Science Education. "In addition, all 15 hosting locations are to be commended for the work of their staff in making the regional events successful and fun for students." 

ARKANSAS LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO EXPAND STATE VETERANS CEMETERY
WASHINGTON-
U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman introduced legislation to transfer nearly 140 acres of land at Camp Robinson to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA). The land conveyance will facilitate expansion of the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.

“This is a commonsense solution that helps the Army Guard and the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs. The land is costly to maintain and not useful to the guard for training. It will provide a valuable expansion of burial space for veterans – an important step to securing a place of honor for future generations of veterans. This land conveyance will help the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs provide the men and women who served in uniform an appropriate final resting place that acknowledges of their service and sacrifice,” Boozman said.

“Our veterans deserve burials that reflect their service to our nation and the state of Arkansas. This expansion will ensure that we keep our promises to Arkansas veterans who choose to be buried alongside their brothers and sisters in arms,” Cotton said.

“Our men and women in uniform make substantial sacrifices so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we hold dear. We must continue to honor their commitment to our country. This land transfer to will ensure that our veterans are not turned away from having an appropriate burial ground that acknowledges their service,” Crawford said.

“Expanding the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery ensures that we can continue to honor veterans and their families with fitting tributes that memorialize their service to our country,” said Hill. “Transferring this land from the Arkansas National Guard to ADVA is an efficient and effective solution that benefits all Arkansans.”

“The grounds where America’s heroes lie are some of the most sacred among us. By allowing for the expansion of Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery, this bill ensures that our brave veterans can be laid to rest among their comrades in uniform for generations to come. It’s an honor they earned through service, and I call on Congress to swiftly approve this proposal,” Womack said. 

“Without this land transfer, the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery will run out of room and be forced to turn families of veterans away. The land conveyance is a practical solution to an imminent need, and I’m honored to sponsor legislation giving space for veterans to be laid to rest alongside their fellow patriots,” Westerman said.

The land that will be transferred from Camp Robinson to the ADVA has not been used for Army Guard training in over 25 years. The land lies in the flight path of the North Little Rock airport runway, which limits the use of training devices such as artillery simulators, flares and smoke. It is also separated from the main areas of Camp Robinson and has limited access.

The land transfer to the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery at North Little Rock will enable continuation of first burials beyond 2045, when the current cemetery is predicted to reach capacity. Rather than developing an additional cemetery in central Arkansas, the land conveyance provides an expansion opportunity which will be a more cost-efficient alternative for the ADVA.

SENATOR COTTON URGES IRS INVESTIGATION OF THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) sent a letter today to Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service Charles Rettig urging an investigation into whether the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) should retain its classification as a 501(c)(3). A copy of the letter may be found here.

An excerpt from the letter is below:

“Recent news reports have confirmed the long-established fact that the SPLC regularly engages in defamation of its political opponents. In fact, the SPLC’s defining characteristic is to fundraise off of defamation. 

This business model has paid well. The SPLC has accrued more than $500 million in assets. According to the group’s most recent financial statement, it holds $121 million offshore in non-U.S. equity funds. The SPLC uses these assets to pay its executives lavish salaries far higher than the comparable household average.

Further, CNN reported that the organization ‘suffers from a pervasive racist culture,’ and the SPLC’s leader has ‘been disciplined after a prior investigation into inappropriate conduct.’ The New York Times has charitably described the organization as ‘in turmoil’ and cited employees’ claims that SPLC leadership is ‘complicit in decades of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment and/or assault.’

Based on these reports, and in the interest of protecting taxpayer dollars from a racist and sexist slush fund devoted to defamation, I believe that the SPLC’s conduct warrants a serious and thorough investigation.”

BOOZMAN, COONS SEEK TO COMMEMORATE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF D-DAY
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senate French Caucus co-chairs Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced a resolution to mark the upcoming 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion and honor the members of the U.S. Armed Forces who helped bring an end to World War II.

“Seventy-five years ago, the brave men and women of the Allied Forces embarked on the opening phase of Operation Overlord in an effort to break the Nazi stranglehold on Western Europe. The courageous effort to storm the beaches of Normandy changed the trajectory of history,” said Boozman. “As co-chairs of the Senate French Caucus, Senator Coons and I have introduced this resolution to recognize the upcoming 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings and to express our gratitude and appreciation to the members of the U.S. Armed Forces—including those from Arkansas—who participated in these operations. The courage and sacrifice of the Allied troops who came to the aid of those oppressed by the Nazi and Fascist regimes will always serve to inspire future generations.”

“As co-chair of the Senate French Caucus, I am proud to introduce this resolution with Senator Boozman to recognize the brave members of the U.S. and Allied Forces who fought and died on the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago in the name of freedom,” said Coons. “Operation Overlord, commonly known as D-Day, lifted millions from the grasp of tyranny and helped forge lasting partnerships among nations that value freedom around the world. We owe a debt of gratitude to these heroes whose service and sacrifice changed the course of history.”

In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, 57,000 members of the United States Armed Forces, and 153,000 of their counterparts in the Allied Expeditionary Force, launched Operation Overlord by storming ashore five landing areas on the beaches of Normandy, France. The first day of the operation, which became known as D-Day, approximately 10,000 Allied soldiers were wounded or killed, including 6,000 Americans. Operation Overlord led to Allied liberation of Western Europe from the control of Nazi Germany and an end to World War II.

April 02, 2019


CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET RETURNS FRIDAY APRIL 5TH
Camden’s Evening Market
CAMDEN, ARKANSAS – The First Friday Monthly Market will kick off it’s much anticipated 2019 season on April 5th from 6PM till 9PM on Washington St. in Downtown Camden. The public is invited to come enjoy a relaxed evening with a large array of street vendors, live music, food, special children’s activities and more! Downtown shops stay open late for your shopping convenience while you enjoy the market.

The 2019 Season dates and themes will include:

  • April 5th • “Grow Camden”
    A look at special lawn & garden displays, competitions, etc.
  • May 3rd • “Magnificent May"
    A look at vintage circus
  • June 7th • “Dog Days"
    Enjoy a lazy summer evening with a pet parade
  • July 5th • “Rhythm & Blues”
    Celebrating great music
  • August 2nd • “Last Vacation”
    Getting your last fun in before the start of school
  • Sept. 6th • “A Taste of Camden”
    Come enjoy great food from area restaurant & dessert makers
  • Oct. 4th • “Celebrate Fall”
    Everything special about fall from hayrides to pumpkin carving
  • Nov. 1st • “Holiday Market”
    Getting everyone geared up for your holiday shopping

Less than a year from its inception in May 2018, First Friday: Monthly Market has grown immensely into one of the area’s most anticipated events. As a nonprofit organization aimed at encouraging and revitalizing the vibrancy of downtown Camden, event-goers always enjoy an intimate, hometown, family-friendly variety of local talent and entertainment. Whether it’s to try new cuisine or desserts, relax and listen to live music, peruse the local shops, discover new art, learn a new craft, gather information from other area businesses and organizations, let the kids play, or to just enjoy the fresh open air on a pleasant southern evening with friends and family, First Friday: Monthly Market truly has something for everyone.

Recently, in January 2019, the First Friday team proudly brought home the Bronze ALFIE Award for The Year’s Best New Event or Festival, provided by the Arkansas Festivals and Events Association.  First Friday was also named as a Finalist for the Bootstrap Award presented by Arkansas Parks and Tourism at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism in February 2019.

PLUG IN AND POWER UP FOR CAMDEN JOB SUCCESS AT THE CAMDEN JOB FAIR
Camden Arkansas serves as host to one of South Arkansas' largest Job Fairs, The Camden Job Fair, one day only! April 16th, 9am-3pm, at the SAU Tech Student Center Grand Hall, E. Camden Arkansas.
The 2019 Camden Job Fair offers an amazing opportunity for Camden and South Arkansas attendees to meet face to face with some of today’s largest companies about current and future openings in the area! Participating companies that will be at the Camden Job Fair and many ready to perform ON-SITE interviews, include: Aerojet-Rocketdyne, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas State Police, Community Compassion Center of Magnolia, First Step, Floor Pro of Arkansas LLC, General Dynamics, HNO Blending Solutions, Guardian Security &Merritt Phone, NTS, Ken’s Discount Camden/El Dorado, Hugg & Hall Equipment Company, Kindred at Home, Kindred at Home -Home Health, Lockheed Martin, Manpower, Cam-Tel, Ouachita Enrichment Centers, SAU Tech, Silver Oaks Health & Rehabilitation, SubTeach USA, Tim JordanCompany, Inc., Twin City Transportation, Woodland Hills Home Care, B & M Painting, ESA, Potlatch   Deltic – Magnolia, and many more

Prior to the event you can take advantage of free special training workshops to get you ready to go the next level in your career, with workshops on:
Job Search / Preparation – April 8th
Dress for Success – April 15th
These workshops will be held from 6PM – 8PM on the dates listed. Workshops will be held at Greater St. Paul Baptist Church, 896 S. Adams Ave, Camden. Transportation may be provided, if needed. All workshops are free and open to the public. Each workshop is taught by highly qualified trainers who specialize in the different areas surrounding career pursuit and career coaching for better job placement.

In addition: The Arkansas Department of Workforce Bus Unit will be in Camden to help job seekers to prepare for the upcoming CAMDEN JOB FAIR. The bus unit will help with resume writing, mock interviews, creating online profiles and other services. EVENTS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

EAST CAMDEN CITY WIDE GARAGE SALE TO BE HELD ON MAY 4TH
The City of East Camden will hold its annual City-Wide Garage Sale on Saturday, May 4th beginning at 8:00 a.m. A listing of all sales can be picked up at the East Camden Fire Station next door to city hall at 7:45 a.m. that morning. Fried Fish plates, bake sale and cold drinks will be sold at the fire station with all proceeds benefiting the East Camden Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary.

All East Camden residents having a sale are urged to contact City Hall at 574-2900 to register their sale. Outdoor spaces are available for nonresidents and organizations who wish to have a sale by calling City Hall and reserving a space for $10. Last year’s event included more than 70 garage sales and attracted a large number of shoppers. For more information please contact:

Mayor Angie McAdoo at (870) 833-2196.

BOOZMAN APPLAUDS CONGRESSIONAL YOUTH CABINET PARTICIPANTS
LITTLE ROCK – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) wrapped up the second year of his Congressional Youth Cabinet on Friday listening to presentations from 30 high school juniors at the Arkansas State Capitol. The students met with Boozman to share their ideas for legislation regarding workforce development, the opioid epidemic and trade tariffs.

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

Sean Cunningham attends DeWitt High School. He said, “Being on Senator Boozman's Youth Cabinet has given me the experience and courage that I will need to make major presentations in my future. I am so thankful for this opportunity, as well as the wonderful people that I got to meet.”

Lily Ryall is a junior at Central High School in Little Rock. She commented on her group’s final assignment saying, “This project has been unlike any other project I’ve ever had to do. But, it’s been challenging in all the best ways! I’ve learned a lot about how to work best in a group, managing my time, and thinking in a bipartisan way.” 

Rachel St. Onge attends Northside High School in Fort Smith. “Given the opportunity to participate in Senator Boozman's Congressional Youth Cabinet has been an honor,” St. Onge said. “Within the cabinet you learn how to step up and become a leader as well as getting to know students across Arkansas. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn how the government works and understanding the issues that the states face.”

Camden Jones attends El Dorado High School. He said, “My experience on this council has taught me the importance of being politically informed, and gotten me more involved in my community.”

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

 

APRIL 1, 2019

CAMDEN CITY POLICE REPORTS
POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCCE
On March 28, 2019 at 10:51 A.M., Sergeant Jamario Bush and Officer Brandon Brangaccio were dispatched to 509 Fort Lookout in reference to an abandoned 911 call. Upon arrival the Officers made contact with Tevuance Harris. Harris and his girlfriend were having a verbal confrontation. Harris explained that he just wanted to go inside to grab his head wrap. While Harris was leaving the apartment a bag of marijuana fell out of his pocket. Harris was immediately searched and placed into custody.

Harris was transported to the Police Department without any incident. Booking procedures were completed. Harris was given a citation for possession of a controlled substance and a court date.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA- FELONY
On March 27, 2019 at 10:51 P.M. hours, Officer Jacob VanAssche, Officer Watts and Officer Dakota Davis were in the 500 block of Carver Courts on an unrelated call.

While in the area we began conducting a security check in the area. The Officers made contact with a man sitting with his head slumped over his lap on the sidewalk. The subject later identified himself as Frankie Joe Todd.

Upon making contact with Todd his speech was very slurred. It was observed Todd droppped an open bottle of Gin, which was close to being empty underneath his feet. Todd’s eyes were bloodshot red. While standing near Todd, Officer Davis was able to smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his person. Officer VanAssche asked Todd if he had been drinking, Todd stated "you know I have". When asked to stand up, Todd could barely stand and almost fell over multiple times. He had to be held up by the Officers.

While placing Todd into custody, Todd's hands were balled up in a fist-like position to prevent us from seeing what was in his hands. Officer Watts asked Todd to open his hands, which he refused at first, so Officer Watts pried open his hands. Upon opening Todd's hand, Officer Watts found a homemade crack pipe made out of a spool of string, a glass pipe, and some balled up brillo pad. After finding the pipe Todd complied to commands given.

Todd was then taken into custody. While walking Todd to the patrol unit, he could barely walk on his own; he stumbled a few times and had to have assistance to stand up. After getting Todd to the back of the unit, he refused to get in the patrol vehicle. Officer VanAssche advised Todd to get in the vehicle multiple times, to which Todd just kept refusing to comply and began yelling his refusal louder and louder. Officer VanAssche then placed Todd in the patrol unit, and Todd was transported to the station without incident.

At the station Todd was booked for Public Intoxication and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Booking procedures were completed. Todd was issued a Criminal Citation for Public Intoxication and was given a District Court date. Todd was later transported to the Ouachita County Detention center C to await his pretrial hearing.

CRIMINAL TRESPASS
On March 26, 2019 at 6:19 p.m., Officer Jake Perry and Officer Jacob VanAssche responded to a call for a security check to be completed at an unoccupied residence at the comer of Carver and Grinstead. Dispatch advised the reporting party calling said there was a lot of traffic around the house, and there shouldn't be anyone there.

Upon arrival it was discovered the address for the residence was 498 Carver. Officer Perry observed the front door to be secured and stated there was a side door which lead to the enclosed porch. Both Officers relocated to the side of the residence where Officer VanAssche observed the side screen to be open. He proceeded up the stairs, and heard a noise coming from inside the residence. Officer VanAssche observed a window to be open with a curtain up, and the curtain was moving. He went to pull the curtain back and observed two suspects inside the residence. One of the suspects grabbed the curtain out of the Officers hand and ran to the back door and shut it. The Officers set a perimeter around the residence and commanded the suspects out of the residence. They both complied and came out of the residence willingly. When asked if they knew the owner of the residence, both stated no they did not. Both suspects were then identified as David Stevens and Nadine Tinnin.

Both Stevens and Tinnin were then taken into custody and transported to the Police Station without incident. At the station both Stevens and Tinnin stated the reason they were inside the residence was to have sexual relations. When asked why they couldn’t go to their own residences and have coitus there both stated it was because they both are married, and were trying to avoid being caught by their spouses. Both Stevens and Tinnin were booked for Criminal Trespass. Booking procedures were completed. Both Stevens and Tinnin were issued Criminal Citations for Criminal Trespass and given a court date. Tinnin was later released, and Stevens was later transported to the OCSO on unrelated charges.

OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING IN OSCEOLA: ASP/CID INVESTIGATING INCIDENT
APRIL 1, 2019

Pete Denzel Edwards, 24, of Osceola, was critically wounded this morning stemming from a law enforcement officer involved shooting.  The incident occurred about 12:40 AM near the 400 block of Sims Street in Osceola (Mississippi County).

An Osceola police officer had stopped a vehicle driven by Edwards for a traffic violation.  According to the officer, during the course of the traffic stop, Edwards was “non-compliant”.

At some point during the encounter between the Osceola police officer and Edwards, shooting began.  Edwards was wounded and taken to a Memphis hospital.  At least one round from gunfire at the traffic stop entered a nearby home and reportedly wounded a resident who was transported from the scene and later released by a physician.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division will conduct an investigation and submit their findings to the prosecuting attorney of jurisdiction to determine whether the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identification of the local police officer or the administrative status of the officer should be directed to the Osceola Police Department.

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet on Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. This week’s speaker will be Rajveer Kang.  She will be speaking about First Friday Monthly Market which happens this Friday. She will also be informing the Club about the Ouachita Valley Community Foundation.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE PRAISES UNOPPOSED APPROVAL ROBOCAL AND SPOOFING LEGISLATION
Rutledge Praises Unopposed Approval of Robocall and Spoofing Legislation
LITTLE ROCK – On Thursday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement praising the passage of Senate Bill 514 to combat robocalls and “spoofing” calls. “Spoofing” allows scammers to disguise their identities, which makes it difficult for law enforcement to bring them to justice.

“Arkansans are fed up with incessant robocalls and scams,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This legislation, passed unopposed in both houses, reinforces how determined Arkansans are to stop these illegal calls and creates a path for enforcement to hold the bad actors accountable.”

The Attorney General, working with Senator Jonathan Dismang and Representative Clint Penzo, proposed stiffer criminal penalties for robocalls and spoofing and a process for state oversight of telecommunication providers.

 
 

March 29, 2019

ANNOUNCEMENT OF TOWN HALL MEETING
Duane “Dak” Kees, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, will be holding a town hall meeting on April 22, 2019 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Camden Fairview High School Auditorium located at 1750 Case Road SW, Camden Arkansas 71701.

The topics for discussion will be cellular apps that are directed towards children, cyber bulling, and recent internet and phone scams directed toward senior adults. This town hall is part of a series of town hall meetings the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District will be conducting throughout the state. The purpose of which is to educate the public on the various types of dangers facing our children and senior adults.

There will be a question and answer session to follow.

As the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, Mr. Kees is the chief federal law enforcement officer for the district. He oversees an office of 51 attorneys and support staff and has offices in Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Texarkana and Hot Springs. Mr. Kees was appointed by President Trump in September of 2017 and took office in January of 2018.

SENATORS COTTON, GRAHAM, REPRESENTATIVE KUSTOFF INTRODUCE BILL TO STOP CONTRABAND CELLPHONE USE IN PRISONS
Washington, D.C.—Today, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), along with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), introduced legislation to prevent contraband cellphone use in federal and state prison facilities by allowing state and federal prisons to use cell phone jamming systems. Representative David Kustoff (R-Tennessee) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House Of Representatives.

The Cell Phone Jamming Reform Act gives state and federal prisons the authority to implement a jamming system to protect inmates, guards, and the public at large. 

“Prisoners have used contraband cell phones to direct illegal activities outside prison walls, including hits on rivals, sex trafficking, drug operations, and business deals. Cellphone jamming devices can stop this but the Federal Communications Act doesn’t allow facilities to use this technology. My bill would fix this problem so that criminals serve their time without posing a threat to the general public,” said Senator Cotton.

“Contraband cell phones have been a problem in our nation’s prison system for years. It is time for Congress to take action and protect the public from criminals who continue their illegal activities from behind bars. I am happy to join my colleagues in the Senate in introducing this bipartisan, bicameral legislation on behalf of the people of West Tennessee,” said Representative Kustoff.

“For more than a decade, contraband cellphones have infiltrated correctional facilities across our nation and around the globe. Kidnapping, extortion, bribery, witness intimidation, robbery, identity theft, malware attacks, security breaches and other serious crimes are being orchestrated on these smuggled devices. From carrier pigeons to drones, to body cavity to compromised vendors and staff, cellphones are making their way behind prison walls in large numbers. The phones themselves have allowed inmates to coordinate the introduction of more illegal phones and other contraband,” said John Wetzel, President of the Association of State Correctional Administrators.

“Despite the concerted efforts being made by correctional staff and leaders, cell phones continue to find their way inside of facilities. Every year thousands and thousands of phones are confiscated from inmates by state departments of corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It is thus more and more critical for us to deploy as many strategies and tools as are available to us and for us to find new tools and technologies to help us in the fight to maintain safe and secure facilities,” wrote Gary Mohr, President of the American Correctional Association, in a letter of support.

"This commonsense legislation will allow law enforcement personnel to not only keep their jails safer, but would thwart illegal activity from prisoners as well as criminals on the outside. Jail administrators should be able to use any tactic needed to control device activity especially from something that is contraband," said Jonathan Thompson, Executive Director of the National Sheriff’s Association.

"I appreciate the understanding shown by Senator Cotton of the dangers posed by cell phones inside of Arkansas’s prisons. I urge swift action by our Congress to pass this bill, which provides the option to implement jamming or other technology in the housing areas of our correctional facility to stop the use of contraband cell phones. These phones are illegal under Arkansas state law, but the number of them inside our facilities continues to increase each year. This bill will increase the safety of correctional facilities for staff and inmates,” said Wendy Kelly, Director of Arkansas Department of Corrections.  

Background:
The use of contraband cellphones is widespread in both federal and state prison facilities. Inmates have used contraband cellphones to conduct illegal activities, including ordering hits on individuals outside of the prison walls, running illegal drug operations, conducting illegal business deals, facilitating sex trafficking, and organizing escapes which endanger correctional employees, other inmates, and members of the public.

By the numbers. The number of contraband cellphones confiscated from various locations:

  • Federal Bureau of Prisons: 5,116 in 2016
  • Arkansas prisons: 1,550 in 2017
  • South Carolina prisons: ~ 4,500 in 2017
  • Georgia prisons: ~13,000 in 2014
  • California prisons: ~14,000 in 2017

Cell Phones and Contraband Sparked South Carolina Prison Incident that Killed 7, a gang fight over territory using cellphones to trade contraband sparked a brawl inside the Lee Correctional Institution near Bishopville, South Carolina, that left seven inmates dead and 20 injured.

Bureau of Prisons Correctional officer Lt. Osvaldo Albarati was murdered in 2013 for interrupting an illicit contraband cellphone business. His actual assassination was initiated by an inmate using a contraband cellphone to contact the gunman as outlined in the indictment

A 2018 report showed an FCI Fort Dix inmate arranged murder and assault from a smuggled phone in a Jersey prison. Another inmate of same Jersey prison was reportedly charged with possessing and distributing child pornography on a contraband phone within the prison. Six other inmates also pled guilty.

Contraband cell phones aren’t only allowing violent criminals to continue their nefarious activities. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Martin Shkreli, the disgraced pharmaceutical executive sentenced to seven years for securities fraud, has still been making decisions at Phoenixus AG through the use of a contraband cellphone.

Endorsements:
American Correctional Association (letter of support)
Association of State Correctional (letter of support)
National Sheriffs Association
Council of Prison Locals
Major County Sheriffs of America


BOOZMAN, TESTER INTRODUCE BILL TO ADDRESS PHYSICIAN STAFFING SHORTAGES AT VA
Aim to attract best & brightest doctors to VA system
WASHINGTONRecruiting and retaining highly-qualified physicians has long been a challenge for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate seeks to turn the tide by allowing the department to compete for the best and brightest doctors coming out of medical school.

The VA Hiring Enhancement Act—introduced by Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jon Tester (D-MT)—aims to overcome the competitive disadvantage the VA faces in recruiting medical students by aligning the department’s hiring processes with private sector providers. The hiring process begins much earlier for the private sector than it does for the VA.

“Under its current hiring processes, the VA loses too many great medical school graduates to private sector employers. The VA Hiring Enhancement Act will fix that by leveling the playing field for the VA and allowing the department to attract the best and brightest doctors. In terms of closing the VA’s recruiting gap with the private sector, this bill is a gamechanger,” said Boozman.   

“The VA must have a qualified medical workforce ready to serve veterans,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “The VA Hiring Enhancement Act makes the VA more competitive with the private sector when it recruits talented doctors, clinicians, and medical students.”

The VA Hiring Enhancement Act has the support of key Veterans Service Organizations including the American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Veterans & Military Families for Progress.

Specifically, the VA Hiring Enhancement Act seeks to:

  • Allow the VA to release physicians from non-compete agreements, provided they commit to VA services for at least one year. This makes it easier to hire local doctors, since non-compete contracts are often designed to prevent doctors from competing with their previous employer in the same local area;
  • Grant the VA authority to make binding job offers up to two years prior to completion of residency, which would help the VA become more proactive in its healthcare provider hiring practices and is particularly important to attracting specialists; and
  • Set the minimum education requirement for VA doctors as completion of residency.
 
 

MARCH 28, 2019

BOIL ORDER ISSUED FOR HIGHWAY 278 AREA
The Highway 4 and 24 Water Association has issued a boil order for customers on Highway 278 and adjoining roads. An accident on Highway 278 caused a small crack in a main line on Wednesday. Repair has been completed.

Water used for drinking or cooking should be boiled at a rapid boil for at least one minute before use. All ice cubes should be discarded.

The order will be lifted as soon as the Arkansas Department of Health gives the OK.

Any questions can be directed to the Water Association Office at 870-685-2902 or call Operator Roger Brewer at 870-310-0849. The Water Association apologizes for any inconvenience and will lift the order as soon as possible.

ARKANSAS ENERGY WORKFORCE CONSORTIUM BREAKS GROUND ON LINE WORKER TRAINING POLE YARD
Arkansas Energy Workforce Consortium Breaks Ground on Line Worker Training Pole Yard
Training Program to Prepare Line Workers for Careers in Energy
LITTLE ROCK, Ark - An empty field next to UA – Pulaski Tech Business and Industry Center will soon be home to rows of utility poles for training line workers. Leaders from utility companies in the state, workforce development groups and community colleges were on hand Monday while workers set the first pole for the new certified line worker training program.

The first cohort of students in the program is scheduled to begin in late summer and will last approximately six months. Students who complete the program will be certified in several areas, including Certified Line Worker, National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core, Power Line and Power Line Worker Level 1 with modules from 2 and 3; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10; cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPA) First Aid Basic Plus; and 600 hours of curriculum and exercises. Some students will receive Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL) Training as well.

 “Entergy Arkansas is like every other electric utility in the state and across the country,” said Michael Considine, vice president of customer service for Entergy Arkansas. “We don’t have to look very far into the future to see that we will need more line workers, and we will need a more diverse skill set and experience level from those workers. We are excited to partner with all the other electric utilities in the state as well as our contractors, state workforce groups and the community colleges to help identify and train the line workers for the future. Sometimes people forget that line workers are first responders in storms and natural disasters. These men and women are critical to keeping all of our lives and businesses running smoothly.”

To qualify for the program, students must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, have a valid driver’s license, be able to pass a drug and background check and be comfortable working at heights of up to 40 feet.

“One of our goals is to work with industry in the state to train a workforce that will be in demand and prepared for the jobs of the future,” said Chancellor Margaret Ellibee. “We are pleased about the enthusiasm we’ve seen from both potential employers and students about this program and what it can mean for the future of energy workers in Arkansas.”

A similar program is underway at Arkansas State University – Newport. Plans are underway for another certificate program to begin later in 2019 at Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Students interested in being part of the first cohort for UA – Pulaski Tech should call 501.907.6670.

The Arkansas Energy Workforce Consortium is a coalition of electric utilities and contractors, community colleges and workforce development groups which projects energy worker needs and finds creative solutions to locate, educate and train workers for careers in energy in Arkansas.

METHODIST BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SYSTEM, INC. PUBLISHES COMMUNITY HEALTH NEEDS ASSESSMENT
LITTLE ROCK, AR (Mar. 27, 2019) – The state’s only nonprofit behavioral hospital exclusively for children released its Community

Health Needs Assessment this week.
This report is Methodist Behavioral Health System, Inc.’s initial Community Health Needs Assessment. We anticipate the programs and processes set forth in this assessment will continue to change as we identify and prioritize needs for improving the psychiatric, behavioral and emotional health of the Arkansas children and their families we serve.

The report can be accessed at https://www.methodistfamily.org/behavioral-hospital.html, on our blog at https://www.methodistfamily.org/our-blog/, and at https://www.methodistfamily.org/our-blog/community-health-needs-assessment.html.

Methodist Behavioral Hospital in Maumelle, a program of Methodist Family Health, provides acute (short-term) care to boys and girls ages 3-17 and sub-acute (longer-term) care to boys ages 5-11. If a child is assessed to be a danger to him/herself, someone else or both, Methodist Behavioral Health System, Inc. can provide care to stabilize his/her behavior, so he/she can return to a less restrictive environment. This can mean he or she can return to the family home, a psychiatric residential treatment center or group home. 

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the ACA), enacted March 23, 2010, added new requirements codified under Section 501(r) for organizations that operate one or more hospital facilities (hospital organizations) to be described in Section 501(c)(3), as well as new reporting requirements and a new excise tax.

A hospital facility is a facility that is required by a state (including only the 50 states and the District of Columbia) to be licensed, registered, or similarly recognized as a hospital. Multiple buildings operated under a single state license are considered to be a single hospital facility. In addition to the general requirements for tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) and Revenue Ruling 69-545, hospital organizations must meet the requirements imposed by Section 501(r) on a facility-by-facility basis in order to be treated as an organization described in Section 501(c)(3). These additional requirements are:

1. Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) - Section 501(r)(3),
2. Financial Assistance Policy and Emergency Medical Care Policy - Section 501(r)(4),
3. Limitation on Charges - Section 501(r)(5), and
4. Billing and Collections - Section 501(r)(6).

These provisions apply to taxable years beginning after the date of enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), except for the CHNA requirement, which applied to tax years beginning after March 23, 2012.

ABOUT METHODIST FAMILY HEALTH
Founded in 1899 as the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage, Methodist Family Health is celebrating 120 years of rebuilding the lives of Arkansas children and families. Our mission is to give the best possible care to those who may need our help. Our continuum of care serves thousands of Arkansas children with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues and their families each year. Methodist Family Health has locations throughout the state, including the Methodist Behavioral Hospital, two residential treatment centers, seven therapeutic group homes, an emergency shelter, a day treatment program, eight counseling clinics, nine school-based counseling clinics, a grief center for children and their families, and the Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES).

COTTON SPEAKS ABOUT THE GREEN NEW DEAL ON THE SENATE FLOOR
On Wednesday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) addressed the rejection of the Green New Deal resolution on the Senate Floor. Click here to watch his remarks in full. In addition, a full transcript of his remarks can be found below.

So, the Senate has unanimously rejected the so-called Green New Deal, and in a display of political courage for the ages, 43 Democrats voted present including many of the bills own sponsors. Now many of those are running for president and in fact it seems like all the democratic senators are running for president and perhaps they realize what a disaster the Green New Deal is for them.

The Green New Deal would force a transition in just 10 years, one decade, to 100% green energy. Whatever that is. But it is an impossible goal that would require trillions of dollars of taxes and the effective nationalization of private industry in America.

But that's not all, no, not all. The Green New Deal would also overhaul or rebuild, "all existing buildings in the United States . . . to achieve maximum energy efficiency." All. Every single home and building in America. I guess you can call it the Extreme Home Makeover mandate.

The Green New Deal also calls for taxpayer-funded college and jobs for every person in the country, even for illegal aliens, and even if you're unable or "unwilling to work". That's according to a press release the Democrats sent out and then tried to send down the memory hole when it was justly mocked and understandably so. Jobs for everyone who is unable to work and unwilling to work. There's a big difference between those two groups of people.

The radical nature of the Green New Deal cannot be overstated. The amount of control it would give to politicians and planners in Washington would be the envy of Soviet Russia. Actually, it would make Stalin blush and it would take Stalin's tactics to achieve a Green New Deal. To borrow from Churchill, "socialism may begin with the best of intentions but it always ends with a Gestapo". Who else is going to come into your home and make sure that it's energy compliant. Who else will confiscate your gas using pick-up truck? Who else is going to ensure that you don't commit the terrible crime of eating a hamburger?

So perhaps we can come up with a better name for the Green New Deal, one that reflects its true lineage. Might I suggest the "Red New Deal," the color of communist regimes the world over. Or perhaps the "Green Leap Forward," in honor of Mao. I gather some House freshman might actually feel pretty comfortable with those labels.

They claim these radical ideas are necessary to stop the threat of climate change. A threat so dire, the Democrats insist, so dire, that we will all be dead in 12 years, 12 years if we don't surrender totalitarian levels of power over our lives to central planners in Washington. Yet we gave them a chance to vote on this existential, apocalyptic threat and they all said, "eh, maybe later".

So, this isn't really about climate change or not even the environment I mean come on: what do free college for rich kids and guaranteed jobs for lazy bums have to do with climate change? The answer is nothing. And that tells you all you need to know about what the Democrats are up to.

The Green New Deal isn't a real policy proposal it's just the Democrats' most fanciful and frightful dreams wrapped into one shiny package. I'd call it a policy platform, but that would probably give it too much credit for substance. The president put it very well, he said the Green New Deal is more like an undergraduate term paper and one written late at night after too many bong hits, judging from its botched rollout.

Because if you really feared a climate catastrophe, you'd do a simple couple things.

First, you'd build as many new beautiful carbon-free nuclear power plants as you could. But the Green New Deal omits nuclear energy entirely, no doubt to please the Democrats crony renewable-energy lobbyists and the anti-nuclear no-nothings in the Democrats' base.

And second, you'd get tough on the world's biggest polluters, especially on China. Foreign nations after all have driven almost all the growth in global carbon emissions since the turn of the century. But the Green New Dealers seem to believe America is the root of all the world's problems even though our admissions have been declining. It's just another case of the Democrats guiding principle: blame America first.

Now of course if we did something as stupid as pass the Green New Deal, those foreign nations would just laugh at us and keep building their economies and keep polluting. While we tanked our own economy and immiserated our citizens and lost millions of jobs in pursuit of a fantasy. The Green New Deal would amount to America's "unilateral disarmament" on the world stage. Which for some Democrats is probably a feature and not a bug.

But sometimes even terrible ideas deserve a vote. So, we gave them a vote on the Green New Deal and the bill's own sponsors complained. In any event, the Senate flunked the Democrat's term paper unanimously. And the only reason the Green New Deal got an F, is that there is not a lower grade.

So common sense prevailed this time, although I have a feeling this is not the last time we've heard of the New Green Deal. Remember, this is not the hobby horse of some eccentric socialist fringe of the Democratic Party. Oh no, not at all. The Green New Deal has 90 Democratic co-sponsors in the House. That's nearly 2 out of every 5 House Democrats. And the Democrats' presidential candidates have rushed to endorse the Green New Deal. So, remember that when you step into the voting booth in 2020.

But let me wrap up on a more serious note, I made a lot of jokes about the Green New Deal and believe me, the Green New Deal is laughable. But for many Americans the Green New Deal is no laughing matter.

Imagine if you will, a mom and dad with a couple young kids outside Little Rock, let's say. Every day they drive the kids to school. They commute into the city where they work and back out to the suburbs just so they can afford a home. When they are home on the weekends, maybe try to fire up the grill on the patio and have a little cookout for the kids.

This working-class family is doing its best to live the American Dream and pass it on to their kids.

The Green New Deal is not for that family. It would outlaw their entire way of life-from the minivan in their garage, to the hamburgers on their grill, to the house they call home.

The Green New Deal would be a death sentence for America's families, yet the Democrats have the nerve to sell it as a rescue mission.

I reject that fraud on America and now so does the United States Senate

 

March 27, 2019

 

EXPLOSION CLAIMS LIFE OF TRUCK DRIVER
MARCH 27, 2019
Remains of an individual suspected to be those of Randall McDougal, 63, of El Dorado, have been recovered from the site of an explosion that occurred earlier today along U.S. Highway 278 west of Camden east of the Nevada – Ouachita county line near Arkansas Highway 57.  The Arkansas State Police has requested the human remains to be examined for positive identification by the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory.

State troopers have learned that McDougal was employed by Blann Trucking Company of Hampton, the owner of the vehicle that was carrying ammonium nitrate from El Dorado to Texarkana.

Area fire department personnel were notified about 6:40 AM today that the truck brakes of the commercial carrier truck believed to be driven by McDougal were on fire and the driver was attempting to extinguish the blaze.

The first fire department personnel on the scene had begun to evacuate residents who live in the area and reportedly witnessed McDougal return to the truck when it exploded.

The roadway remains closed as the result of a large hole caused by the explosion that stretches across the highway.

TANKER TRUCK LOADED WITH AMMONIA NITRATE EXPLODES
About 6:40 this morning a tanker truck filled with ammonia nitrate exploded in the area of Highway 278 and County Road 57. According to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office, the driver of the truck had called to report that he had an accident and the truck was on fire. The fire caused the load to explode. At this time, the Sheriff’s Office said they had no known injuries to report. The explosion caused damage to County Patrol Cars knocking out the glass and setting off air bags. The vehicles are having to be towed from the scene and other units are being sent out for Officers. Residents within one mile of the crash site have been evacuated so if you can’t reach your loved ones at this time this is the reason. The Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office have notified the Office of Emergency Management, the Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Forestry and local Fire Stations. The Sheriff asks that you avoid the area of Highway 278 and Highway 57 at this time. Radio Works will keep you updated as official statement become available.


ARKANSAS ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES JOIN ARKANSAS ENERGY WORKFORCE CONSORTIUM
Training Program to Prepare Line Workers for Careers in Energy
Little Rock, Ark. — March 26, 2019 — Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. has partnered with other utility companies, construction contractors, state agencies and community colleges to form the Arkansas Energy Workforce Consortium. The consortium has launched a new certified line worker training program.

The program, which has a six-month curriculum, will commence prior to September. The curriculum will provide training for students and allow them to gain certifications in many areas including: Certified Line Worker; National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core, Power Line and Power Line Worker Level 1 with modules from 2 and 3; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10; cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) First Aid Basic Plus; and 600 hours of curriculum and exercises. Students may also obtain a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL).

“We look forward to this program increasing the number of certificated line workers across Arkansas,” said Jonathan Oliver, vice president of utility sales and services for AECI. “Arkansas’ electric cooperatives have had great success with a similar program at Arkansas State University – Newport for many years. Line workers play a crucial role in the delivery of safe and reliable electric service.”

To qualify for the program, students must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, hold a valid driver’s license, pass a drug and background check and be comfortable working at heights of up to 40 ft.

Students interested in the program should contact the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Tech at 501.907.6670 or visit www.facebook.com/arkenergyworkforce

The Arkansas Energy Workforce Consortium is a coalition of electric utilities and contractors, community colleges and workforce development groups which projects energy worker needs and finds creative solutions to locate, educate and train workers for careers in energy in Arkansas.

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

RUTLEDGE ISSUES STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF FARM EQUIPMENT LEMON LAW 
Says, ‘farmers are no longer vulnerable to potentially devastating financial losses due to faulty equipment’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the below statement following the Arkansas Legislature’s passage of the Farm Machinery Quality Assurance Act that will provide “lemon law” type protection to consumers in the purchase of new self-propelled farm machinery and equipment which do not conform to the manufacturer’s warranty and attempts to repair the problem fail.

“Farm equipment is a major and necessary expense for farmers, often costing thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But when that equipment doesn’t work and can’t be repaired, it can be disastrous. With the passage of the Farm Machinery Quality Assurance Act, farmers are no longer vulnerable to potentially devastating financial losses due to faulty equipment.”

The Farm Machinery Quality Assurance Act applies to new self-propelled equipment over 25 horsepower that is typically used for agricultural purposes. It requires the consumer to notify the manufacturer of nonconforming issues within 1 year of purchase or 600 hours of operation of the equipment. Similar to the motor vehicle lemon law, the manufacturer then has three opportunities to repair the problem. If the repair attempts are unsuccessful, the consumer has the right to a refund or replacement of the equipment.

The bill has passed both chambers of the legislature and will now go to the governor for his signature to become law.

COTTON, MENENDEZ, AND COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE TAIWAN ASSURANCE ACT
Washington, D.C. –
 Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), along with Senators Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada), and Chris Coons (D-Delaware), introduced the Taiwan Assurance Act, legislation that would enhance the U.S.-Taiwan relationship and bolster Taiwan's participation in the international community.

"Taiwan is a vital democratic partner of the United States. 40 years after the Taiwan Relations Act was signed into law, our bilateral ties should reflect this reality. This legislation would deepen bilateral security, economic, and cultural relations, while also sending a message that China’s aggressive cross-Strait behavior will not be tolerated," said Cotton.

“Bearing witness to Taiwan’s flourishing democracy has been one of my proudest moments as a Member of Congress,” said Menendez. “As we mark the fortieth anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, it is critical that Congress speak with one voice about the importance of maintaining Taiwan’s diplomatic space, deepening our ties with Taipei, and assuring the people of Taiwan have a voice in determining their own future.”

“The United States must continue to enhance our strategic relationship with Taiwan against an increasingly aggressive China,” said Rubio. “Taiwan is an important democratic partner whose security is critical to advancing America’s national security interests in the Indo-Pacific.” 

“Taiwan’s vibrant democracy and thriving economy are an example for the entire Indo-Pacific,” said Coons. “As we near the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, this bill is an important signal of the enduring friendship between the United States and the people of Taiwan.”

Congressman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) plans to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

The Taiwan Assurance Act will enhance the U.S.-Taiwan relationship in the following ways:

  • Mandates that the president conduct a review of the State Department’s guidelines on U.S. relations with Taiwan.
  • Directs the Secretary of Defense to make efforts to include Taiwan in bilateral and multilateral military training exercises.
  • Requires that a flag or general officer serve as the U.S. defense attaché in Taipei.
  • States that the United States will continue to advocate for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations.
  • Expresses Congressional support for Taiwan's asymmetric defense strategy, regular U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and the resumption of bilateral trade talks between the United States and Taiwan.

BOOZMAN, ENZI INTRODUCE RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EGYPT-ISRAEL PEACE TREATY
WASHINGTON—
U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced a resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.

The Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty was signed on March 26, 1979, ending 31 years of war between the two nations. It was the culmination of months of negotiations that began when Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel, met with President Jimmy Carter at Camp David, Maryland from September 5 to September 17, 1978. The “Camp David Accords”—which were signed at the conclusion of that twelve-day meeting—served as the framework for the treaty. Forty years later, Egypt and Israel continue to enjoy a strong and peaceful bilateral relationship.

“The Camp David Accords and resulting peace treaty are an enduring achievement that serve as a reminder that lasting peace in the region can be achieved. It should also remind us the positive impact the U.S. can have when it remains fully engaged in settling conflicts. Our relationship with both nations is stronger now than ever, as a result of the extensive efforts on the part of American diplomats to bring the parties to the table. They set an example for the world in seeking peaceful and long-lasting resolutions to conflicts,” Boozman said.

“Forty years ago, Israel and Egypt showed that lasting peace between adversaries should never be seen as an impossibility,” Enzi said. “The Camp David Accords and peace treaty stand not only as a reminder of the power of diplomacy, but also the benefit that the United States can provide when it leads the way forward on the world stage. Their legacy should be a beacon of hope for all those who understand that focusing on the common good can provide prosperity for all those involved.”

Specifically, the resolution:

  • Congratulates the governments and people of Egypt and Israel for 40 years of peace based on the Camp David Accords;
  • Encourages the governments of Egypt and Israel to serve as examples of honest statesmanship and peace building;
  • Commends the example set for the world in seeking peaceful and long-lasting resolutions to conflict; and
  • Requests the President to issue a proclamation to observe the anniversary with appropriate ceremonies and programs.

BOOZMAN: THE GREEN NEW DEAL IS NOT A SERIOUS SOLUTION
WASHINGTON—
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after the Senate rejected the Green New Deal in an overwhelming manner:

“We have an obligation to cut emissions and move our energy consumption toward renewable sources. The U.S. can be proud of the efforts we have made to move in this direction, but more work remains to fully achieve these goals. The Green New Deal is not going to get us there.

Instead, the Green New Deal is an all-encompassing, far-left wish list masquerading as a clean energy plan. The authors of this massive—and extremely expensive—plan suggest the Green New Deal can cure all of society’s ills within a 10-year time frame. What they won’t tell the American people is how exactly it will work or where they intend to find the trillions of dollars it will cost. They don’t have answers for either question.

Real solutions to our energy and environmental challenges should be driven by positive incentives, research and development—not heavy-handed regulation. Furthermore, our strategy should focus on addressing those specific issues and not be used as a pretense for the government to involve itself inalmost every aspect of its citizens’ lives.

We need to embrace an all-of-the-above approach to energy security that includes wind, renewable biomass, hydroelectric and solar power. The solution absolutely needs to also include an expansion of nuclear power, which the Green New Deal mysteriously leaves out.

Policies that incentivize production and usage of renewable forms of energy are the way forward to responsibly balance our energy needs with our concerns for the environment. The Green New Deal, and its laundry list of undeliverable promises, is not a serious solution to any of the supposed injustices it proposes to fix.”

GRIFFIN DISCUSSES BENEFITS OF PRESIDENT TRUMPS TRADE POLICIES AT WHITE HOUSE, NEED TO PASS USMCA
Says, the USMCA will keep us 'globally competitive' and will 'allow for robust economic growth'

LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement after joining fellow Lt. Governors at The White House with Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow to discuss the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):

"I commend President Trump for his continued commitment to improving trade, growing jobs, and keeping our nation globally competitive. The proposed USMCA agreement will modernize our trade relationships, expand

market access for our agricultural products, and incentivize American manufacturing. This agreement will promote free and fair trade, protect hardworking Arkansans, and allow for robust economic growth. Passing this agreement with Mexico and Canada is also critical to reaching historic trade agreements with countries like Japan and the United Kingdom. Congress should pass the USMCA now.”

 

March 26, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE-:MISDEMEANOR
OBSTRUCTION OF GOVERNMENT AL OPERATIONS

On March 24th at 102 hours, Sergeant Bush, Officer Watts, Officer VanAssche, and Officer Davis were dispatched to 457 Adams to conduct a security check at The Corner Pocket. Upon our arrival the Officers observed a large gathering. Sergeant Bush advised, one of the subjects, Tavia Robinson, that she had a valid warrant for her arrest. Robinson was taken into custody and was later transported to the station without incident. While transporting Robinson, Officer VanAssche and Officer Davis asked her multiple times to identify herself, and she refused.

At the station dispatch confirmed the warrant was with Ouachita County. Officer VanAssche then asked if Robinson's name was Tavia Robinson, and she stated no that could be her sister not her. Officer VanAssche advised Robinson she was being charged with Obstruction of Governmental Operations, to which Robinson later admitted that she was Tavia Robinson.

A search of Robinson property was conducted, and during the search Officers VanAssche and Davis found half of a pill identified as being a Xanax pill. The Officers used the pill identifier, and proved the pill was in fact Xanax.

Robinson was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Misdemeanor) and, Obstruction of a Governmental Operation. Booking procedures where completed. Robinson was later transported to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office to be served her valid Bench Warrant.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION
POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

On March 24th at 12:50 p.m., Officer Kayla Reynolds was dispatched to Pine Meadows Apartments for a welfare concern. Dispatch advised the reporting party said a male on location was near the office screaming for help and exposing himself.

Officer Reynolds arrived and observed an unlicensed 2004 white Lincoln Town Car parked in the roadway of Pine Meadow apartments. She also noticed that Lieutenant LaRhonda Moore had already arrived.  Lieutenant Moore was speaking with a male in the breezeway of Apartment 36. The man, later identified as Albert Weaver, stated he was at his friend's apartment to see

"Brandy". Officer Reynolds observed Weaver to be very paranoid not wanting anyone to get close to him. Weaver at times spoke with his eyes shut and randomly laughing. Weaver swayed on his feet as he spoke.

Lieutenant Moore requested Weaver let EMS check on his well-being. Weaver eventually complied to do so. Lieutenant Moore advised she located his vehicle in the roadway in Pine Meadows with the door open and keys still in the ignition. Lt. Moore advised a half smoked marijuana cigarette was in the ash tray of the vehicle.

Residents near 36 Pine Meadows stated Weaver had been on the ground screaming for someone to call 911 and not acting in his right mind. A witness stated he observed Weaver "flopping" near his vehicle screaming for help and not acting in his right mind. I made contact with the resident of Apartment 36 who stated Weaver was beating on her door but did not know him. She stated she knows of Weaver through Facebook but that she does not associate with him and does not know why he would be knocking at her door.

Weaver seemed spaced out while speaking and kept saying “I’m good I just need some water" many times. Weaver had to lean against a vehicle to keep his balance while speaking with the Officers. Weavers paranoia became worse as the Officers spoke with him. Officer Reynolds told Weaver he appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic and he was not driving from the location. When told he needed to call someone he refused to do so. Weaver kept walking around a vehicle as if he was planning to run. At this point it was deemed unsafe to allow Weaver to be left alone. Weaver was taken into custody for public intoxication.

Officer Manning transported Weaver to the Camden Police Department. Weaver's vehicle was later towed to Kelly's Wrecker Yard. While booking Weaver, he spontaneously uttered he believed the marijuana he smoked was laced because it "has never affected me like that before". Weaver admitted to smoking the marijuana and stated he was not in his right mind while he was in Pine Meadows. Weaver stated he felt like he was dying after smoking the marijuana.

Dispatch advised Officer Reynolds that Pine Meadows Management requested Weaver be banned from the property. Weavers was told not to go on the property anymore or he would be arrested. Booking procedures were completed. Weaver was later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center. Weaver was held for a sobriety period and was later released on citation for public intoxication and possession of a controlled substance (misdemeanor).

PUBLIC INTOXICATION
On March 21st at 7:38 p.m., Officer Jake Perry was dispatched to Hospital Drive in reference to Michael Hall causing a disturbance and walking off the premises of the hospital intoxicated. Upon my arrival the Officer witnessed Hall stagger across California Avenue. Hall then flagged down a vehicle and turned in a circle with his shirt raised above his shoulders. Hall then proceeded into Soapy Suds where he asked a customer for money to buy more beer. Hall was taken into custody without incident and was adamant he not been drinking. Hall's speech was very slurred and the odor of intoxicants was emitting form his breath as he spoke. Hall agreed to take a (PBT) and blew a 0.114 in the Portable Breath test. Hall was transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center where he was held for 12 hours. Hall was given a Criminal Citation for Public Intoxication.

SOUTH ARKANSAS MINOR KILLED IN AUTOMOBILE CRASH
One South Arkansas minor was killed and three other minors were injured Saturday evening in a single car crash according to an Arkansas State Police Preliminary report.

26-year-old Salvado Romero of Warren was driving the vehicle on Bradley County Road 25. The four minors were passengers in the 1998 Honda that was traveling north near Warren.

According to the Arkansas State Police report the vehicle crossed the centerline shortly before 6 p.m., Romero overcorrected, and the Honda flipped. All four passengers and the drivers were ejected from the vehicle.

One of the minors was killed and the three other minors, as well as Romero, were taken to Bradley County Medical Center for treatment. The report didn't list the extent of their injuries.

U.S CENSUS IS LOOKING FOR WORKERS
Census Hiring!!

Application Drive Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development
625 Adams from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The event will consent of filling out online applications for upcoming early phase census work.  “Address canvassing” starting pay is $14.00 per hour and .58 cents per mile for incurred travel.  Early applicants will have the opportunity to work all phases of the census with job lasting until September 2020.

SAAC TO HOST LITTLE ROCK ARTIST HOLLY TILLEY
The South Arkansas Arts Center will host Little Rock artist Holly Tilley and her exhibit entitled "Rooted". The show will hang in the Price and Merkle Galleries April 1-29, 2019, with an artist's reception planned on Saturday, April 6, from 6:00-7:30pm. Gallery viewing hours are Monday- Friday 9:00-5:00pm.

Tilley's work explores where an artist comes from. She said that her watercolor "Rooted" is the painting that started the idea for the show. "Where an artist comes from, who influences them, why the do what they do, etc. This piece contains the names of my family, friends, instructors, students, work groups, collectors, places, music, and other people who have influenced my life. To be rooted means you know where you came from and for me, I am so grateful for it all," she explained. Tilley's work features her love of being outside, her travels abroad and her love of subjects from her childhood. The exhibit will include pastel, watercolor and oil.

"Passion and energy mixed with strong color are at the heart of my work. I have always loved drawing and doodling, and most of all as a child - I loved to color. My artistic creativity was unleashed with a box of 64 crayons! Now working in oils, the rich creamy colors far surpass my childhood crayons, but my love of color remains the same. Currently I am also exploring works in mixed media and watercolor.

"If you ask why I paint, my response is simple; it takes me back to places that I love, to my roots. Through these memories preserved on canvas or paper, I have the opportunity to take you with me - show you what I have seen, share with you what I have loved, and spark your own color- filled memories."

Tilley was born and grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, but she has lived and worked in Arkansas most of her life. After graduating from the University of Arkansas and establishing a successful career in marketing and advertising, Tilley made the decision to change her career path to one that would more fully embody her artistic passion. Tilley is a full time visual artist and manages the Art Group Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is also a member of the Arkansas Art Center, the Arkansas League of Artists and the Arkansas Arts Council. She has taught children's lessons for Arkansas Baptist School and is now instructing adults at her gallery/studio. In recent years, Holly has studied abroad at Civita Castellana, Italy (2017), and has led an American group of artists to Provence, France, to paint plein-air (2018).

For more information about this show, please call the SAAC office at 870-962-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday  March 28th 12:00 p.m. at Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be by  SAU Tech Men’s Basketball coach  Marty Levinson and Women’s Basketball Coach Andre William.

RUTLEDGE HOSTS RETIREE RESOURCES EVENT IN FAYETTEVILLE
Says, ‘In-person educational events will save Arkansans money’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted the first regional Rutledge Retiree Resources event in Fayetteville. The agenda included programs designed to educate senior citizens from northwest Arkansas about how they can protect themselves from pervasive and vicious scam artists.

“Engaging Arkansas’s senior citizens in their hometowns is important to effectively communicate the multitude of ongoing scams,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “In-person educational events will save Arkansans money and help us put a stop to the scammers who are looking for a quick buck.”

Attendees heard from Attorney General’s office staff about protecting themselves from scams and identity theft, proper prescription drug disposal, resources regarding nursing homes and home care, and protecting finances.

Registration is available for additional Rutledge Retiree Resources events that are scheduled for April 29 in Jonesboro and June 25 in DeWitt.

 

March 25, 2019

RUTLEDGE STATEMENT ON PASSING OF JUDGE MAC GLOVER 
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has issued a statement on the death of Judge David “Mac” Glover, a judge on the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

“I was saddened to learn of Judge Glover’s passing this weekend,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas lost a talented jurist, incredible father and man beloved by everyone who knew him. I am sending prayers of healing and peace to his family during this difficult time.”

OPED BOARD OF DIRECTORS MONTHLY MEETING
The Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development Board of Directors will meet at the OPED Building located on Adams Avenue, Wednesday, March 27th at 10:00 a.m. The agenda includes the Call to Order , Audience Participation, Approval of Minutes – February 2019, Financial Reports – February 2019, Overview of Contacts and Ext. Directors, Overview of OPED Building, the Managers Report          

Old Business to be address will up an Update on the Workforce Project, a discussion of Future Funding and Public Relations of the OPED-Committee, information on the AEDC's Competitive Communities Program, and and open discussion. OPED Baord Meetings are open to the Public. The next scheduled Board Meeting will be on April 24, 2019.                              

SHARP COUNTY OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING TO BE INVESTIGATED BY ARKANSAS STATE POLICE
MARCH 22, 2019
The Sharp County Sheriff’s Department has requested the Arkansas State Police to investigate an officer involved shooting that occurred earlier today.

Jesse Hope, 19, of Ash Flat, was wounded by a Hardy Police Officer after the vehicle Hope was driving collided with police cars from Hardy and Highland.  The crash and shooting incident occurred about 3:50 AM at the intersection of Hospital Drive and Allegheny Drive in Cherokee Village.

Hope had been pursued into Cherokee Village after the vehicle Hope was driving struck a nearby convenience store.

Hope was transported to an area hospital.  His medical condition is unknown.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are investigating the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer and will submit their findings to the Sharp Count prosecuting attorney who will determine if the use of force was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Consistent with Arkansas State Police protocol, questions relating to the identity of any officers involved in the incidents (pursuit and/or officer involved shooting), or the administrative status of any officers, should be directed to the law enforcement agency employing the officers.  

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet on Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. This week the speaker will be Gary Hall from South Arkansas Community College & South Arkansas Art Center in El Dorado. He will be talking about two upcoming events in El Dorado - Arts in April and Renaissance Faire.

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES NORTH LITTLE ROCK VETERAN OF KOREAN AND VIETNAM WARS
WASHINGTON-
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized Col. (retired) Thomas Williams, a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars who dedicated his life to serving his country in uniform, in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series commemorating the military service of Arkansans.

Thomas calls North Little Rock home today, a community he grew to love while stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base for the final assignment of his more than 30-year Air Force career.

“I did things here that I never had the opportunity to do before,” Williams said. He supervised the transportation, supply, comptroller, contracting and logistics plans and learned “more from the people with whom I worked than they learned from me.”

Williams’ assignments took him all over the world, but his job at Little Rock Air Force Base is a highlight because of his different role. “All I had to do until that time was fly and manage things,” he said.

Williams’ decorated career began in 1951 when he enlisted in the Air Force. He was following in the footsteps of his older brother, Ray, who was a fighter pilot. While the younger Williams had aspirations to fly fighter planes, the Air Force had other plans for him.

Williams was assigned to Perrin Air Force Base where he learned to fly the B-26. This was followed by time at Langley Air Force Base for combat crew training to get him ready to deploy in support of the Korean War.

“I completed 19 missions over North Korea doing the same thing that I did at Langley Air Force Base,” Williams said.  As a Second Lieutenant, Williams said he would typically take off at 2 a.m. and return about dawn after completing his bombing missions. His year-long tour also included an assignment in Japan as a B-26 test pilot for aircraft that had undergone maintenance.

Following his deployment, Williams was assigned stateside as an instructor pilot and served as an aide to the Commander of Bolling Air Force Base, Brigadier General Stoyte Ross. Williams recalled the role that had given him his first opportunity to fly to Europe fondly.

He continued learning to fly different aircraft and was selected as the Air Force advisor to the Turkish Air Force where he helped train their pilots to fly the C-130 E. “I had a crash course in Turkish. I got there and lo and behold they didn’t want to speak Turkish. They wanted to speak English,” Williams said.

His next assignment was Vietnam where he flew C-130s, picking up cargo in Japan and the Philippines to take to Cam Ranh Bay Air Base. “We would stay there and fly around the clock for about two and half weeks,” Williams said. Then he would return to Taiwan typically in an airplane in need of repairs.

Williams served several other assignments before being stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base where he retired from a life of military service on October 30, 1982. Since retirement from the military, Williams continues to serve his community and in veteran service organizations.

“Col. Thomas Williams honorably served our country in uniform for more than 30 years. He was a skilled aviator whose dedication to his country is something we can all be proud of. Preserving his memories for the Veterans History Project is a great way to show our appreciation for his outstanding service to our country,” Boozman said.

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

 
 

MARCH 22, 2019

STATE POLICE ASKED TO INVESTIGATE AUGUSTA USE OF FORCE DEATH
Local authorities in Augusta have requested the Arkansas State Police to investigate the death of Quinton Laird, 38, who died this morning at a Searcy hospital.

Augusta police officers were called to 601 Hough Street sometime after 3 AM when a resident inside the house reported a prowler outside the location and accused Laird later of kicking a door open and going to bed.

As Laird was removed from the house by police he reportedly began to resist as he was being handcuffed, leading to an officer to apply a chemical agent (pepper spray) to Laird who eventually became unresponsive.

Officers began life saving measures and called for an ambulance to transport Laird to Searcy where a physician pronounced Laird dead at 4:47 AM.

The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory has been requested to determine manner and cause of death.Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have been assigned to the case and will present their findings to the Woodruff County Prosecuting Attorney.

CAMP HEALING HEARTS EXPANDS TO TWO-NIGHT EVENT TO HELP GRIEVING ARKANSAS CHILDREN, FAMILIES REFLECT, RECONNECT AND REDISCOVER
FREE Grief Camp Set for May 17, 18 and 19, 2019
LITTLE ROCK, AR (Mar. 20, 2019) – Because of overwhelming feedback from campers, Camp Healing Hearts is expanding from an overnight camp to a weekend event for Arkansas children and families struggling with grief. Coordinated by Kaleidoscope Grief Center, which is a program of Methodist Family Health, Camp Healing Hearts is FREE to families attending and will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 17 and end at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 19 at Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock. This camp is open to any family in Arkansas who is grieving a loss.

Losing a loved one is difficult for everyone, and grieving that loss is essential to accepting painful feelings and creating an opportunity for growth and a new sense of normal. Camp Healing Hearts is for Arkansas children ages 5 to 18 and their families who have lost a loved one and are coping with grief and bereavement. Utilizing both therapy and recreation, Camp Healing Hearts offers children and families an opportunity to discover their own inner strength.

The camp includes heart-to-heart time, swimming, fishing, crafts, games, campfires and s'mores, a challenge course and much more. An adult caregiver is required to accompany the grieving child or children attending camp. Only 100 spaces are available to those interested in attending are encouraged to complete and return an application prior to the deadline, which is Monday, May 6, 2019.

Camp Healing Hearts is made possible by community partners in the Alliance for Grief and Loss, including Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock School District, Pulaski County Special School District, Griffin-Leggett Funeral Homes, Delta Society and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

For an application, visit MethodistFamily.org. For more information about Camp Healing Hearts or Kaleidoscope Grief Center, contact Dao Ward at dward@methodistfamily.org or call 501-537-3991 or 800-756-3709 toll-free.

ABOUT KALEIDOSCOPE GRIEF CENTER
Kaleidoscope Grief Center serves grieving children, teens and their families throughout Arkansas. Grief can be an isolating experience for children. We help those dealing with loss and bereavement through education, therapeutic and recreational services, grief support programs, counseling and Camp Healing Hearts.

ABOUT METHODIST FAMILY HEALTH
Founded in 1899 as the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage, Methodist Family Health is celebrating 120 years of rebuilding the lives of Arkansas children and families. Our mission is to give the best possible care to those who may need our help. Our continuum of care serves thousands of Arkansas children with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues and their families each year. Methodist Family Health has locations throughout the state, including the Methodist Behavioral Hospital, two residential treatment centers, seven therapeutic group homes, an emergency shelter, a day treatment program, eight counseling clinics, nine school-based counseling clinics, a grief center for children and their families, and the Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES).

SAAC’s YOUTH COMMUNITY THEATER ANNOUNCES THE CAST OF “ANNIE, KIDS”
The South Arkansas Arts Center’s Youth Community Theatre is pleased to announce the cast for their spring 2019 production of “Annie KIDS”. The cast is made up of students in grades 2 through 8, who auditioned in January and tackled twice weekly rehearsals. “Rehearsal days for ‘Annie’ are my favorite days of the week!” said director Hannah Davis.

Cast members for “Annie KIDS” include Maryana Woolen, Annie; Tiffanie Duke, Miss Hannigan; Cayson Martin, Warbucks; Hannah Hickman, Grace Farrell; Clay Evers, Rooster; Emily Henderson, Lily St. Regis; and David Valero, Sandy.

Also included in the cast are Gideon Moncrief, Drake; Maddy Couture, Bert Healy; and Elllis Lyles, FDR; Gabriel Moncrief, Louis Howe; Ari Urbina, Lt. Ward; Ellery Palculict, Apple Seller; Analee Sanchez, Bundles; Abbey Williams and Mason Halstead, Stars to Be; and Mary Claire Parker, Usherette. 

Annie’s friends in the orphanage include Braelyn Allen, Molly; Georgia Blackmon, Duffy; Gemini Parker, Kate; Maggie Phillips, Pepper; Henlea Stevens, Tessie; Zoe Zahn, July and in the orphan ensemble Maya Blanton, Aubrey Daniels, Audrey Henderson, Lily Langston, Hadley Margis, Abbie McGee, Emma Nolan, Annalise Seabolt, and Annie Walker.

The New Yorkers are played Rebekah Cooley, Kalla Fudge, Luke Lain, Natalie Martin, Emma McGee, and Emily Tran. The Servants working the Warbucks household include Jaylynn Crawford, Gracie James, Bryce Martin, Sebastian Marquez, and Riya Nelson.

Producer Lynn Gunter said, “This is the most committed group of young actors. The combination of returning veterans from the program and a few new to the SAAC stage has made for a dynamic combination. It has been a delight to see what they bring new to the stage week.” 

Just the name “Annie” sparks excitement in children and adults alike, thanks to a story and music that weave a promise of hope that “the sun will come out tomorrow.” Based on the popular comic strip and adapted from the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, with a beloved book and score by Tony Award-winners, Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, “Annie KIDS” features everyone’s favorite little redhead in her very first adventure.

Set in New York City in the 1930’s, Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Annie eventually foils Miss Hannigan’s evil plans, finding a new home and family in billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

Sponsored by the El Dorado chapter of Kiwanis International, the show will run April 12 and 13, with the curtain going up at 7pm on Friday and 11am and 2pm on Saturday.  Ticket prices are $5 for general admission seating. For more information about “Annie KIDS”, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

COTTON, CRUZ, GALLAGHER STATEMENT ON RECOGNIZING ISRAEL’S SOVEREIGNTY OVER GOLAN HEIGHTS
Washington, D.C.
 — Following a presidential announcement that the United States should fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin), released the following statement:

“We applaud the president for formally recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, an acknowledgement that enhances the national security of both Israel and the United States. At a time when Israel's northern border is threatened by Iranian forces and their proxies in Lebanon and Syria, including by Hezbollah's rockets, armed drones, and newly discovered terror tunnels, this recognition will be great news for our ally and its right to self-defense. More work remains to be done to align American policy with today’s recognition. We look forward to advancing our bicameral legislation on the Golan Heights which acknowledges Israel’s sovereignty over its territory, streamlines Congressional language, and expands the basis for joint projects on the issue.”

Background
In February, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) introduced companion bills establishing that it shall be the policy of the United States to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

MARCH 21, 2019

 

BOOZMAN WORKS TO STOP VETERANS FROM BEING PUNISHED FOR VA'S MISCALCULATIONS
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced legislation to prevent the VA from charging veterans for its own accounting mistakes. The VA annually sends as many as 200,000 overpayment notices totaling thousands of dollars to veterans and their families, sending them into crippling debt and withholding future benefits payments until the debt is paid. These overpayments are often a result of the VA’s own accounting errors, but the VA puts veterans and their families on the hook for repaying the debt.
 

Boozman, Tester and Brown introduced the Veterans Debt Fairness Act to reduce these overpayment errors and require the VA to hold itself, and not veterans, accountable for its mistakes. Their bill requires the VA to shoulder the debt burden of overpayments if the VA was responsible for the debt.  

“Veterans rely on their VA benefits to make ends meet and shouldn’t be penalized for the department’s accounting mistakes,” Boozman, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee said. “Supporting veterans and their families by eliminating the potential for hardships caused by the VA’s errors is important to honoring our commitment to their service and sacrifice.” 

“It’s wrong to put the debt from the VA’s accounting mistakes on the shoulders of men and women who have served their country,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “For some veterans, these benefits make the difference between paying monthly rent or missing payments, and we’ve got to stop the VA from pulling the rug out from under veterans and their families.”   

“Our veterans sacrifice so much already to serve our country. They shouldn’t be paying for the mistakes of the agency that’s supposed to serve them,” said Brown. 

VA benefit overpayment notices have been steadily increasing, sometimes for a payment period dating back as far as five years. Many of these debt overpayments are at no fault of the veteran or their dependents, but rather VA accounting errors and record mismanagement. Currently, the VA can send out debt repayment notices to veterans requesting the full amount due within 30 days while freezing all benefit payments until the debt is repaid. 

The Veterans Debt Fairness Act requires the VA to update its computer systems so veterans can update their own information regarding their beneficiaries, eliminating a key cause of overpayments. Under their bill, the VA would be required to offer electronic notification of debt notices, including information on how to file appeals and hardship waivers. Debt collection would have to adhere to a 5-year backlog time limit and no more than 25 percent withholding of benefit payments. 

Boozman cosponsored similar legislation last year. Provisions of that bill were signed into law as part of the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018forcing the VA to allow veterans to make changes to their personal information themselves. The backlog of these information requests were a main contributor to VA overpayments. 

Cosponsors of the Veterans Debt Fairness Act include Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

March 20, 2019

PLUG IN AND POWER UP FOR CAMDEN JOB SUCCESS AT THE CAMDEN JOB FAIR
Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 from 9am-3pm,
At the SAU Tech Student Center Grand Hall
(6523 Hussey Road, E. Camden Arkansas)
Camden Arkansas - Camden Arkansas serves as host to one of South Arkansas' largest Job Fairs, The Camden Job Fair, one day only! April 16th, 9am-3pm, at the SAU Tech Student Center Grand Hall, E. Camden Arkansas.

The 2019 Camden Job Fair offers an amazing opportunity for Camden and South Arkansas attendees to meet face to face with some of today’s largest companies about current and future openings in the area! Participating companies that will be at the Camden Job Fair and many ready to perform ON-SITE interviews, include:

  • Aerojet-Rocketdyne
  • Arkansas Department of Human Services
  • Arkansas State Police
  • Community Compassion Center of Magnolia
  • First Step
  • Floor Pro of Arkansas LLC
  • General Dynamics
  • HNO Blending Solutions
  • Guardian Security & Merritt Phone
  • NTS
  • Ken’s Discount Camden/El Dorado
  • Hugg & Hall Equipment Company
  • Kindred at Home
  • Kindred at Home - Home Health
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Manpower
  • Cam-Tel
  • Ouachita Enrichment Centers
  • SAU Tech
  • Silver Oaks Health & Rehabilitation
  • SubTeach USA
  • Tim Jordan Company, Inc.
  • Twin City Transportation
  • Woodland Hills Home Care
  • B & M Painting
  • ESA
  • Potlatch Deltic – Magnolia
  • and many more!

Job Prep Workshops

Prior to the event you can take advantage of free special training workshops to get you ready to go the next level in your career, with workshops on:

  • Resume Writing - March 26th
  • Interview Preparation – April 2nd
  • Job Search / Preparation – April 8th
  • Dress for Success – April 15th

These workshops will be held from 6PM – 8PM on the dates listed. Workshops will be held at Greater St. Paul Baptist Church, 896 S. Adams Ave, Camden. Transportation may be provided, if needed. All workshops are free and open to the public. Each workshop is taught by highly qualified trainers who specialize in the different areas surrounding career pursuit and career coaching for better job placement.

In addition: The Arkansas Department of Workforce Bus Unit will be in Camden to help job seekers to prepare for the upcoming CAMDEN JOB FAIR. The bus unit will help with resume writing, mock interviews, creating online profiles and other services. EVENTS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Department of Workforce Bus Unit Schedule

Tuesday, April 9th, 8:30 am – 4 pm, DWS bus unit at Arkansas Workforce Center 237 Jackson Street in Camden

AND On-Site at the Job Fair in the parking lot of the SAU Tech Grand Hall Monday, April 15th 9 am – 6 pm at SAU Tech’s campus Grand Hall parking lot 6523 Hussey Road, East Camden. DWS bus unit will be offering resume writing assistance, assistance to those creating online profiles for companies that are scheduled to actually be present and/or interviewing on site, and mock interviews as time permits at the actual site of the Job Fair.

Tuesday, April 16th at the Job Fair event 8 am – 2 pm at SAU Tech’s campus Grand Hall parking lot 6523 Hussey Road, East Camden. DWS bus unit actual site of the Job Fair for on-line applications and other services as needed.

Come to the Camden Job Fair dressed for success. Employers will have the option of conducting private interviews on site. Resume preparation and internet access to fill out on-line applications will be available on site.

Don’t miss this event to Plug In and Power Up for Camden Job Success! The Camden Job Fair on Tuesday, April 16th. Doors open at 9am and event closes at 3pm. At SAU Tech Student Center Grand Hall in Camden Arkansas!

Camden Job Fair Sponsored By: Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development, SAU Tech, The Department of Workforce Services and Camden Area Chamber of Commerce.

ARREST IN HIT & RUN CASE
Katley Amanda Johnson, 24, of Star City, has been arrested by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.  She is charged in connection with a motor vehicle hit and run incident at Monticello Saturday night (March 16, 2019) that left a Southeast Oklahoma University baseball player critically injured.

Johnson has been formally charged with leaving the scene of an accident with injury or death (Class D felony), tampering with physical evidence (Class D felony) and obstructing governmental operations (Class C misdemeanor).  Johnson was booked into the Drew County Detention Center about 4:30 PM today and bond has been set at $20,000.

Joseph D. Cerda, Jr., 21 (initially reported to ASP as age 20), was seriously injured at approximately 8:10 PM last Saturday when he was allegedly struck by a vehicle driven by Johnson that was traveling north along U.S. Highway 425.  Cerda was among a group of baseball teammates from Southeast Oklahoma University who were crossing the highway on foot to get to a local restaurant.  The Oklahoma baseball team had been participating in a game at the University of Arkansas – Monticello.

Teammates told Arkansas State Troopers they saw Cerda attempt to jump away from the path of the car, but was struck.  The driver of the car did not stop.

Cerda was transported to a Monticello hospital and later airlifted to be treated at a Little Rock hospital.

The Arkansas State Police investigation is continuing.

COTTON STATEMENT ON DEATH OF AIRMAN SHAWN MCKEOUGH
Washington, D.C.
 – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on the death of Senior Airman Shawn McKeough Jr., who was assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base.

“Called by duty, Shawn McKeough Jr. lost his life doing exactly what he volunteered and trained to do: protecting his fellow citizens from danger. We mourn his death and grieve with his family, yet we also celebrate his life, his courage, and his service. May God welcome Shawn into His loving embrace and comfort his family.”

KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, March 21 at 12:00 at Catherine’s Bistro. The program will be presented by Eva Jorgensen, Event Chairperson for Relay for Life.

 
 

March 19, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (MARIJUANA)
On March 17th at about midnight 00:01 hours Officer Jake Perry was patrolling the south zone and ran an Arkansas License Plate Number on a blue Cadillac. The The license plate returned to a tan Cadillac. A traffic stop was initiated. Contact was made with Van Edmondson who was in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Upon walking up to the vehicle Officer Perry could smell the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. When asked about the strong smell of Marijuana Van stated, “I'm not going to lie I have two joints in my front right jacket pocket.” Officer Perry retrieved the marijuana cigarettes from Vans pocket. Van was taken into custody and transported to the Camden Police Station for booking. Booking procedures were completed. Edmondson was issued a Criminal Citation and given a District Court date.

CRIMlNAL TRESPASS
On March 17th at 10:54 P.M. Officer Nathan Lane was dispatched to 699 Lincoln Drive in reference to a church van parked there. Dispatch advised the driver of the van was selling drugs out of the vehicle and was asked to leave.

Upon arrival the Officer observed a white Dodge van that had “church van” on the hood parked beside the house. Contact was made with the driver of the vehicle who was identified as Delvecchio Bradford. When asked what he was doing at the house Bradford he just shrugged his shoulders. Bradford was advised as to why the Officer was there. Officer Lane then asked for permission to search the vehicle and Bradford gave consent.

While searching his vehicle, Wilson Rogers showed up on scene and told Bradford he was not allowed to be there. Before Police arrival Rogers had told Bradford he had to leave. Rogers stated that it is private property and that no one is allowed at the residence.

While searching the van, digital scales were located on the front passenger seat, along with a bottle of gin. In the back seat of the van was-water bottles belonging to a football team and some other football equipment.

Bradford was taken into police custody for Criminal Trespass due to the fact that Rogers explained he had told Bradford multiple times prior that he did not have permission to be there. When Officer Lane got into his vehicle Officer Lane notice a strong smell of smoked marijuana coming from Bradford’s person. Bradford was transported to the Police Station without incident. While getting Bradford’s information he stated he had smoked some marijuana at the property before the Police arrived. He also admitted to drinking some gin. He stated the vehicle belonged to Greater Grace church and that the Lion’s football team uses the vehicle. Bradford went on to say he drives for the team. Bradford was released with a Criminal Citation for Criminal Trespass. He was picked up at the station by his father.

FREE FAMILY CAREGIVER WORKSHOP TO BE MARCH 30TH IN EL DORADO
LITTLE ROCK – The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) will hold a free family caregiver workshop March 30 for those who would like to learn about caring for an adult with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The workshop, which is open to the public, will be held 10 a.m. - noon at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 1018 Wilson Street in El Dorado. For more information or to register, please call. Refreshments provided. Space is limited.

The program is sponsored by UAMS’ Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative and AARP Arkansas.

The workshop will be taught by Bethany Moore, R.N., program director at the UAMS South Arkansas Center on Aging Education Center. She will present an overview of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and provide caregiving tips that maintain respect, dignity and quality of life for the person living with dementia. Information will also be presented on nutrition, behavior, communication techniques and activities.

About 452,000 family caregivers in Arkansas provide an estimated $4.7 billion in unpaid care each year, helping their loved ones with bathing and dressing, cooking meals, transportation, finances and complex medical tasks like wound care and injections.

AARP Arkansas State Director Herb Sanderson said support for family caregivers, including making available free training opportunities, is a top priority for AARP, which has more than 310,000 members in Arkansas age 50 or older.

“Family caregivers are the backbone of our care system, serving a crucial role in helping older Arkansans and other loved ones remain in their own homes and communities,” Sanderson said. “Because of their tireless efforts, older parents, spouses and other loved ones are able to live independently at home and in the community — where they want to be. It’s a labor of love, and often more than a full-time job.”

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin.  To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @ARAARP on social media.

The Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative is funded by a federal Health Resources and Services Administration grant of $2.4 million for a Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program. The program improves the quality of care for older adults through education by offering programs for health professionals, first responders, family caregivers and direct care workers.

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. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. 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.

SENATOR COTTON SEEKING SUMMER INTERNS FOR ARKANSAS STATE OFFICES
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today announced he is seeking summer interns in his state offices in Little Rock and Springdale. Internships will be offered in two sessions: May 13th through June 28th and July 8th through August 23. 

Interns will have the opportunity to help with the daily operations of Senator Cotton's office. Depending on their college requirements, students may be able to receive academic credit for their service. Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter to Nicole_Millar@cotton.senate.gov and specify their desired office location and session.

MARCH 18, 2019

CAMDEN WATER UTILITIES RELEASES STATEMENT REGARDING SYSTEM FLUSH
This statement was released by David Richardson, General Manager, Camden Water Utilities
Dear Camden Water Utilities Customers:

Camden Water Utilities has completed our 2019 Annual System Flush and water service should be back to normal. I just want to take the time to apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused our customers and to explain why we have to do System Flushes. We hate having to do these System Flushes just about as bad as our customers do. But if we didn’t do system flushes, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs correctly.  After all, our employees are customers of Camden Water Utilities, so we know what you’re going through when we do these flushes in the spring of the year.  We are friends and neighbors of yours and our goal is to provide the best drinking water possible for you and our own personal use.     

This year’s flush was extremely dirty, and we are currently researching why this year was worse than previous years. We feel the main reason is that we have replaced this past year several hundred feet of 80-year-old water mains in the down town area. As the results of these mains being replaced the volume of water is much greater, causing sediments to break lose more easily in areas that have not been replaced. Which is the whole purpose of a System Flush.

We are required by the Arkansas Department of Health to conduct these flushes and the reason being is to assure our customers that the water remains safe to drink and to prevent the mains from being restricted with buildup which affects the volume and flow in the mains.     

Please call our office if and when you experience any dirty water or loss of pressure so that we can correct the problem as quick as possible.  Thanks again for your patience and understanding as we continue to improve your water utility.

Sincerely,

David Richardson                                                                                                                                               Camden Water Utilities, General Manager

STATE POLICE INVESTIGATING HIT & RUN INCIDENT INVOLVING OKLAHOMA BASEBALL PLAYER
MARCH 17,2019

Joseph D. Cerda, Jr., 20, of San Antonio, Texas was seriously injured in Monticello last night (Saturday, March 16, 2019) when he was struck by what has been described as a “dark color car” traveling north along U.S. Highway 425.  Cerda was among a group of baseball teammates from Southeast Oklahoma University who at approximately 8:10 PM were crossing the highway on foot to get to a local restaurant.

Teammates told Arkansas State Troopers they saw Cerda attempt to jump away from the path of the car but was struck.  The driver of the car did not stop.

The Oklahoma baseball team had been participating in a game at the University of Arkansas – Monticello.

Cerda was transported to a Monticello hospital and later airlifted to be treated at a Little Rock hospital.

Anyone with information about a better description of the car or any information that may help law enforcement identify the driver is asked to call the Arkansas State Police at (870) 226-3713, or the Monticello Police Department at (870) 367-3411.

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 Dana Wetherbee  with the  Camden Police Department.  She will update us on what is upcoming for the PD.

REGIONAL RUTLEDGE RETIREE RESOURCE EVENTS SCHEDULED
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a new initiative to educate Arkansas’s seniors about how they can protect themselves from vicious scam artists. The first Rutledge Retiree Resources event will be held March 26 at the Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center for seniors from across the region.

“Senior Arkansans are a consistent target of scammers from across the world,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These educational events are aimed to teach Arkansans how to spot a scam and protect their personal information. I am pleased to offer these types of programs across the state to reach Arkansans where they are.”

Rutledge Retiree Resources events will be held regionally and are currently scheduled for April 29 for Jonesboro and June 25 for DeWitt. Registration is now open. Attendees will learn about protecting themselves from scams and identity theft, proper prescription drug disposal, resources regarding nursing homes and home care and protecting finances.

 
 

MARCH 15, 2019

BEARDEN MAN INVOLVED IN FATAL MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Early this morning a 20-year-old man from Bearden was killed in a traffic accident. The Arkansas State Police preliminary report stated they responded to the wreck around 3:20 a.m. on U.S. 79 near Buena Vista. The deceased with identified as Keyshawn Ware of Bearden who was the driving a Chevrolet Silverado. The report stated that Ware was northbound on Highway 79 when he crossed the center line, into the Southbound Lane before leaving the road and striking two trees. He suffered fatal injuries. The weather was clear, and the road was dry at the time of the accident.  According to preliminary records 74 people have died on Arkansas roads so far this year. 14 of those fatalities occurred in March.


CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED DRIVER'S LICENSE  - 
On March 13th at 7:23 a.m., Officer Erin Manning conducted a traffic stop on a white GMC pickup truck at 2826 Mt Holly due to the vehicle having a head light and brake light out on the passenger's side. Upon approaching the vehicle, the Officer made contact with the driver, Tevin Williams. During the traffic stop, it was confirmed that Williams had a suspended driver's license for drug related charges. Williams was then taken into custody for driving on a suspended driver's license and transported to the station. After booking procedures were completed, Williams was released with citations and a court date. Williams received one citation for driving on a suspended driver's license as well as a warning for having a head light and brake light out. Williams' vehicle was released into the custody of his mother.

CRIMINAL TRESPASS  - On March 13th at 12:22 p.m., I Officer Manning was dispatched to 313 Jefferson in reference to a subject refusing to leave the property. The Officer arrived and made contact with subject, Crystal Johnston. Officer Manning observed Johnston to be standing in the middle of the room and arguing with one of the desk workers. Johnston also had several items of luggage sprawled in a disorderly fashion across the floor of the building. When the Officer made contact with Johnston, she advised me that she had a warrant for her arrest. Due to Johnston creating a scene in a public space and her refusing to leave when previously asked to do so by management, Johnston was taken into custody for criminal trespass and removed from the property. Johnston was found to have several valid warrants for her arrest, however, the counties would not extradite. Prior to being transported to the County Jail, Johnston was evaluated at Ouachita County Medical Center and received paperwork advising she was fit for incarceration. Johnston was then transported to the County Jail without incident.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION  - On March 12 at 7:10 p.m. Officer. Nathan Lane was dispatched to Express Liquor in reference to a subject being drunk inside the store. While in route dispatch advised the subject left and was heading west on Grinstead Avenue. Dispatch advised the subject was a black male with a purple colored hoodie on. When Officer Lane got to the Union Street and Grinstead Avenue intersection he located the male subject, later identified as Michael Hall, walking to the house located at 139 Grinstead Avenue. The Office then got out  of the patrol unit and met with Hall who made it to the porch of the house. The Officer could smell the odor of intoxicants on his person before he started talking. When speaking to Hall asking him about his visit to Express Liquor Officer Lane could smell the odor of intoxicants even more. Hall's speech was thick and very slurred, so much so that he was unable to recite his ABC's. Contact was made with Hall's sister, the owner of the house who stated he was actually homeless but uses 139 Grinstead for his mail purposes. She also stated he is not welcome on the property at all when he is intoxicated. Hall was advised he was under arrest for Public Intoxication. Hall was transported to the station without incident. Booking approval was completed. Hall was later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center to be released pending sobriety. Hall will be released on Criminal Citation and a District court date.

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED -
On March 11th at 3:29 p.m. Officer Brandon Brangaccio  and Sergeant Brian Finney were dispatched to Washington at Dooley Womack for a two vehicle collision. Officer Brangaccio was notified on the way to the scene that the vehicles were moved off to Jackson St SW. Officer observed the two vehicles on the side of Jackson St. The first vehicle (V1), driven by Kevin White, was a blue 2000 Grand Marquis Mercury had minor damage to the front grill and bumper. The damage consisted of a small dent in the front bumper and a cracked grill. The second vehicle (V2) driven by Anna Thompson was a black 2014 Ford Escape. V2 had minor functioning damage to the rear of the vehicle. The damage consisted of a small dent in the rear bumper and minor damage to the exhaust. The Officer spoke with the driver of V2, Anna Thompson, who stated that she was stopped on Highway 278 business waiting for a vehicle in front of her to tum left onto Dooley Womack, when the driver of VI (Kevin White) rear ended her. White was given a field sobriety test which he failed. He was transported to the Police Station. At the station White was read his Arkansas Statement of Rights which he signed and agreed to take the breathalyzer which came back with a result of .13 BAC. White was issued traffic citation for DWI and a traffic citation number for Driving without a license and following too closely.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION – LITTERING  - On March 12th at 1:32 a.m. Officer Jake Perry was patrolling on Monroe Street at the entrance to Fort Look Out Manor. He observed a black male later identified as Cecil Singleton take a drink of something then throw it in ditch. The Officer stopped the patrol unit and spoke with Singleton. As Singleton spoke the Officer could smell the odor of intoxicants coming from his breath and person. Officer Perry then asked Singleton what he threw in the ditch. He replied "My Beer". Officer Perry then walked to the ditch and located a 24 oz frao beer that was still cold and liquid was coming from the mouth of the can. Singleton was the arrested and transported to the station where booking procedures were completed. Singleton was given a Criminal Citation and a District Court. Singleton was held for 5-hour detox and later transported home.

U OF A AT MONTICELLO POLICE OFFICER KILLED IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
A University of Arkansas at Monticello police officer involved in a traffic accident early Wednesday on State Highway 530 on Bayou Bartholomew Bridge near Pine Bluff. Another vehicle crossed the center line.

According to the Arkansas State Police, Iciephine Green, 45, of Pine Bluff was driving a 2002 Hyundai north on Arkansas 530 shortly after midnight. A southbound 2012 Buick Lacrosse crossed into the northbound lanes and struck her vehicle on a bridge.

Green suffered fatal injuries from the wreck. The other driver, who wasn’t identified, wasn't listed in the report as being injured. According to the preliminary State Police report the weather was clear and the road was dry at the time of the crash.


SAAC’S BOX OFFICE OPEN FOR HEART HOMESCHOOL’S “MARY POPPINS JR”
The South Arkansas Arts Center’s box office is now open for tickets to the HEART HomeSchool’s production of “Mary Poppins JR”, which will run March 29-30, with the curtain going up at 7pm on Friday and 11am and 2pm on Saturday.  Open seating tickets for the play are $5 for all.

Everyone's favorite “practically perfect” nanny takes the stage in this “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” musical adventure.  “Mary Poppins JR” is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story and unforgettable song and dance numbers.  A fun show for the whole family and a great way to introduce your children to stage shows, the iconic Mary Poppins comes to life on the SAAC stage, portrayed by homeschoolers all under the age of eighteen.

The jack-of-all trades, Bert, introduces us to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family members how to value each other again. Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael aren't the only ones upon whom she has a profound effect. Even grown-ups can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that ‘Anything can happen if you let it.’”

Thanks to the generosity of HEART HomeSchool, all proceeds from ticket sales will go to benefit SAAC programs. Lynn Gunter, director, said, “Our HEART HomeSchool group has been very blessed since 2013 of how giving SAAC has been, in training us up in theater- the time, the sets and costumes we’ve used, as well as the electricity!  I’ve tried to find ways to say thank you.  One of our homeschool moms came to me and suggested we sell tickets to this production, which we’ve never done before, and give the proceeds back to SAAC.  I was thrilled with that idea.  My kids have grown up at SAAC, and being there has impacted their lives in such a positive way.  A big part of their growing up and development has happened within those walls.  My heart just wants to give back to SAAC to say thanks.  And I’m so happy my group feels this same way.”

 For more information about “Mary Poppins JR”, please call the SAAC office or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

BENEFIT PLANNED FOR BEARDEN FIRE CHIEF A. W. EVANS
Ouachita Fire District 1 & East Camden Fire Departments will be hosting a Benefit Fish Fry for Bearden Fire Chief A.W. Evans that was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The dinner will be on April 6 from 2 til 5 at the Ouachita Fire District 1 Harmony Grove Station. The dinners are dine in or carry out and they are $10.00. For more information call 870-833-2080 or 870-818-6022. All proceeds will go to A.W. Evans to help with medical expenses.

BOOZMAN, CARDIN INTRODUCE RESOLUTION TO ELEVATE U.S. EFFORTS TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN
WASHINGTON—
U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a bipartisan resolution that calls for a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to end violence against children globally.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one billion children worldwide are exposed to physical, sexual and mental violence in their communities, which includes being subjected to abuse, maltreatment, exploitation and more.

Research shows exposure to violence negatively impacts a young person’s cognitive and emotional development. Additionally, the global economic impact of physical, psychological and sexual violence against children can be as high as $7 trillion, or eight percent of the world’s gross domestic product.    

“The outcomes the United States hopes to achieve with our global economic development initiatives will struggle to fully take hold in countries where violence against children goes unaddressed. Horrific acts like human trafficking and child labor have tragic lifelong consequences for individual children and devastate entire communities. This bipartisan resolution sends a strong message that a plan to end violence against children must be a priority in our global development strategy. We can maximize the results from initiatives like the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act—which Senator Cardin and I worked hard to pass into law—if we promote the need for an effective strategy to create a safe environment for children in violence-prone areas of the world,” Boozman said.

“Millions of children around the world have lost their childhoods to physical, sexual and mental violence and abuse. As adults, it is our responsibility to keep them safe and prevent the types of inhumane treatment and developmental roadblocks found in far too many corners of the world,” Cardin said. “This is a local issue and a global one. I am proud to stand with Senator Boozman to lead the call for the U.S. government to develop and implement a strategy to address the widespread dangers being faced by children and youth that is in line with international standards and sustainable development goals.”

Specifically, the resolution would resolve that the Senate:

  • Condemns all forms of violence against children and youth globally, including physical, mental and sexual violence as well as neglect, abuse, maltreatment and exploitation;
  • Recognizes the harmful impact violence against children and youth has on the healthy development of children;
  • Should develop and implement a comprehensive and coordinated strategy built upon evidence-based practices, including the INSPIRE package of interventions, and adopt common metrics and indicators to monitor progress across U.S. government agencies to prevent, address and end violence against children and youth globally.   
     

The resolution is cosponsored by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

BOOZMAN VOTES TO SECURE THE BORDER
WASHINGTON—
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after voting against the resolution to reject President Donald Trump’s border security emergency declaration.

“A humanitarian and security crisis exists along our southern border that requires immediate action. It is in our national interest to secure the border. I support President Trump’s decision to provide resources necessary to overcome the challenges our Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on the frontlines face in protecting our border. The president’s use of an authority in existing law will fund the construction of a strong border security system that will be a deterrent to those who seek to illegally enter our country.”

COTTON, WYDEN URGE SENATE: TAKE CYBER THREATS SERIOUSLY
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) urged the Senate to take the cyber threats to congressional computers and cell phones seriously by providing an annual report on the number of successful hacks of Senate devices.

In a letter addressed to the Senate Sargent of Arms (SAA), Michael Stenger, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee members wrote:

"During the last decade, hackers have successfully infiltrated U.S. government agencies including the Office of Personnel Management, health care firms such as Anthem, and technology giants like Google. Hackers continue to target all manner of government entities, and there is little doubt that Congress is squarely in their sights. Indeed, as your predecessor testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations in June 2017, ‘the Senate is considered a prime target for cybersecurity breaches.' The Sergeant at Arms must be transparent in providing members of the Senate all information about the possible existence and scale of successful hacks against the Senate."

In the letter, Cotton and Wyden requested that SAA provide annual reports to each senator revealing aggregate data on when Senate computers and smartphones have been compromised and when hackers have otherwise gained access to sensitive Senate data. The senators also pressed SAA to notify Senate leadership and all members of the Senate Committees on Rules and Intelligence of any breaches on Senate computers within 5 days of discovery.

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES OVER $300,000 RESTITUTION FOR SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD
LITTLE ROCK – Yesterday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a Conway County man has been sentenced to probation and to pay more than $300,000 in restitution for social security fraud.

Joseph Sensabaugh, 47, from Hattieville, pleaded guilty in October to one count of theft of government funds. He has been sentenced to 18 months probation and ordered to pay $311,813 in restitution to the Social Security Administration, as well as a $100 special assessment fee.

“Social Security fraud on the backs of hardworking taxpayers is unacceptable,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This case was the result of outstanding coordination between multiple state and federal agencies.”

In addition to the Attorney General’s office, law enforcement officers from the SSA-OIG, Conway County Sheriff's Department and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism contributed to the investigation initiated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and led by the Social Security Administration’s – Office of the Inspector General (SSA-OIG) through Arkansas Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) Unit.

Two special agents and an analyst from the Attorney General’s Office are assigned to Arkansas’s CDI Unit which began operation in October 2015 as a state and local cooperative effort funded by SSA-OIG. The mission of the CDI Unit is to combat fraud by investigating questionable statements and activities of claimants, medical providers, interpreters or other service providers who facilitate or promote disability fraud. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison Bragg from the Office of United States Attorney Cody Hiland.

 

March 14, 2019

HAMPTON PEDESTRIAN HIT AND KILLED
Tuesday night at about 7:50 p.m. a pedestrian was struck and killed after walking into the path of a vehicle in Calhoun County. A truck traveling south on highway 167 in the Hampton City Limits. Willie May Momon, 53, was walking west across U.S. 167 when the 2001 GMC in the south lane struck him. According to authorities, Momon, who lived in Hampton, died at the scene. There were no other injuries reported. The weather was clear, and the road was dry at the time of the accident according to preliminary State Police reports.

BEARDEN SCHOOL DISTRICT SCHOOL CHOICE ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE 2019-2020 YEAR
The Bearden School District participates in the Arkansas Public School Choice Act 560 of 2015. This School Choice Act allows students, under certain conditions, to transfer to another school district other than the district in which they live. The Bearden District is accepting applications from outside its boundaries. Bearden Schools provide a quality education that helps prepare its students for future employment / continuing education in the workforce, vocational careers, college, or military occupations.  For a student to transfer to Bearden School District from another district, parents must submit a School Choice Act of 2015 form by May 1st. For applications or further information, please call 833-423-2733 ext 5200 or come by the central administration office at 100 Oak Avenue in Bearden.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF TOWN HALL MEETING
Duane “Dak” Kees, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, will be holding a town hall meeting on March 25, 2019 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Reynolds Center Grand Hall at Southern Arkansas University (SAU) located at 100 E University Magnolia Arkansas 71753. 

The topics for discussion will be cellular apps that are directed towards children, cyber bulling, and recent internet and phone scams directed toward senior adults.  This town hall is part of a series of town hall meetings the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District will be conducting throughout the state.  The purpose of which is to educate the public on the various types of dangers facing our children and senior adults.  The next meeting will be on April 22, 2019 in Camden Arkansas at Camden Fairview Auditorium from 6pm to 8pm. 

There will be a question and answer session to follow. 

As the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, Mr. Kees is the chief federal law enforcement officer for the district.  He oversees an office of 51 attorneys and support staff and has offices in Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Texarkana and Hot Springs.  Mr. Kees was appointed by President Trump in September of 2017 and took office in January of 2018. 

COTTON, JOHNSON, ERNST INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO COMBAT CHILD MARRIAGE IMMIGRATION LOOPHOLE Washington, D.C.— Following the release earlier this year of a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee majority staff report on how current U.S. immigration laws encourage child marriages, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced legislation to close a loophole in our immigration laws that can be exploited to enable child marriages. The bill prohibits spousal and fiancé immigration benefits if one of the applying parties is under the age of 18.

“Child marriage, almost always between a male adult and a female minor, can rob young girls of their education, personal development, and physical and mental health,” said Senator Cotton. “Unfortunately, U.S. law currently grants immigration benefits to individuals seeking adult-minor unions. Our immigration laws shouldn’t be used to encourage child marriage, and or bill would put an end to this exploitative practice.”

"A visa to enter the United States is a privilege, and this straightforward reform will help close a loophole that can lead to the abuse and exploitation of children,” said Senator Johnson. “I hope my colleagues will join me to advance this commonsense legislation.”

“Child marriage is a serious problem which puts young girls, in particular, at risk,” said Senator Ernst. “With more than 8,600 such marriages granted over a ten-year period, we must address this massive loophole in our immigration system with common sense solutions, and that’s exactly what our legislation does: require both parties be 18 years-old in order to obtain spousal immigration benefits.”

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) is the author of the companion version of the bill in the House of Representatives:

“The committee’s eye-opening report shows the gruesome reality that people manipulate our immigration system to enter into child marriages,” said Representative Sensenbrenner. “I’m proud to lead the effort in the House to stop the exploitation of children through our immigration laws and am grateful to Senator Johnson for his work uncovering this disturbing information.”

Key findings from the staff report that spurred this legislation include:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved immigration petitions for 8,686 spouses and fiancés in marriages involving minors from FY2007 to FY2017. In 95 percent of the cases, the younger person was a girl.
  • USCIS awarded petitions to people with significant age differences, including a 71-year-old U.S. citizen’s petition for a 17-year-old spouse from Guatemala and a 14-year-old’s petition for a 48-year-old spouse from Jamaica. 
  • USCIS approved 149 petitions involving a minor with an adult spouse or fiancé who was more than 40 years old.
  • USCIS awarded green cards to 4,749 minors in the United States on spousal or fiancé visas, allowing them to adjust status to become lawful permanent residents from FY2007 to FY2017.

Presently, under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), a U.S. child may petition for a visa for a spouse or fiancé living in another country, and a U.S. adult may petition for a visa for a minor spouse or fiancé living abroad. The committee’s recent report found that from 2007 to 2017 there were more than 5,500 cases of adults petitioning for a spouse or fiancé visa for a minor, and nearly 3,000 cases of a minor petitioning for a spouse or fiancé visa for an adult.

COTTON, CRUZ, GALLAGHER URGE BILL PASSAGE AFTER REPORTS OF HABOLLAH IN GOLAN
Washington, D.C.
 — Following news reports that Hezbollah has established military positions in the Golan Heights, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin), released the following statement:

 “Iran and Hezbollah have deployed fighters and terrorists, including those with American blood on their hands, to deepen their hold over the region. This aggression highlights the need for the United States to affirm Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Hezbollah’s missile arsenal and terror tunnels pose severe threats to the State of Israel. To support Israel's right to self-defense, both houses of Congress should take up our legislation establishing that it shall be the policy of the United States to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan.”

 Background
In February, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) introduced companion bills establishing that it shall be the policy of the United States to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

PORT AUTHORITY TO MEET
The Camden Port Authority will meet on Monday, March 18, 2019 at 1:30pm in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES HELENA-WEST HELENA BUSINESS OWNER GUILTY OF MEDICAID FRAUD AND FAILURE TO PAY TAXES
Says, ‘Charline Brandon has swindled money from Arkansas for long enough’
LITTLE ROCK – On Tuesday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced that the owner of Bridge of Faith Hospice & Palliative Care in Helena-West Helena has pleaded guilty two counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of willful failure to pay or file taxes.

“Charline Brandon has swindled money from Arkansas for long enough and she is finally being held accountable,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Her actions hurt law-abiding Arkansans who work hard and follow our laws.”

Brandon, 63, of Cleveland, Mississippi, pleaded guilty to two counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of willful failure to pay or file taxes. The Medicaid fraud investigation revealed that from September 2013 through December 2016, Bridge of Faith Hospice & Palliative Care was paid gross income of $1,567,432.82 by Medicaid and Medicare and never filed an income tax return in Arkansas. The Medicaid fraud charges resulted from Brandon billing the Arkansas Medicaid Program $289,986.46 for hospice care services provided to two Medicaid recipients who were never terminally ill. She will be sentenced on April 9.

Brandon has pleaded guilty in federal court in Mississippi to similar allegations involving Medicaid and Medicare in Mississippi.

This case was referred to the Arkansas Attorney General’s office by the Mississippi Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General.

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

 
 
 

MARCH 13, 2019

CAMDEN CITY COUNCIL MEETS
The Camden City Council MET Tuesday night, March 12, in regular session in the Council Chambers at the Municipal Building. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Julian Lott. The invocation was given by Pastor Wade Toddy of Cullendale First Baptist Church.

The Minutes and Financial Reports for the month of February were approved.

During the audience participation Mr. Willicur invited Counsel members to the Parents Advisory Board for Camden Fairview Schools. The Advisory Board will hear concerns of residents regarding the School.

Danny Glaze addressed the Counsel regarding the Daffodil Festival. There was an accident during the Festival. Mr. Glaze stated that he had brought the fact that at some point there would be an accident while he was on the Council. There is a big pole sticking out of ground and a Festival attendee got pushed up against it. Thankfully there was no serious injuries. Mr. Glaze thinks we all as citizens should walk the city and see what needs to be fixed. He stated we all should do our part and have more pride in our city.

The mayor’s report included reports from the following. David Richardson presented the Camden Water Utilities Biannual Water & Sewer Report. A letter of intent has been signed with the Scenic Solar Company. The City will continue negotiations and work on a contract. The department will continue the meter replacement project. When the project is complete all water customers will have Radio Meter Readers. Currently it takes 5 guys about 6 days to read all the meters. Once all customers have the new meters, it will take 2 guys 1 day to read the meters. The Water Department will also have access to a three-month history of usage if a customer wants to see what their usage has been. This can help identify possible leaks and aid the customer in identifying the issue. Other older equipment will be updated. The byways in the sewer system will continue to be flushed. The Water Department has been issued a new permit from the ADEQ. The Water Department remains compliant. The new permit is good for 5 years.

James Lee Silliman presented the Annual Report for the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development. The following is a complete transcript of the OPED Report. Thank you for your continued support of a professional economic development office that serves Camden, Ouachita County, and Highland Industrial Park. Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development (OPED) works to promote, assist, and enhance economic development for our area. We are the lead economic development point of contact with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, (AEDC) for industry expansions and new job prospects for our area. We are a partnership and our partners include representation from: The City of Camden, Ouachita County, Camden Area Chamber of Commerce, Camden Area Industrial Development Corporation, Camden Fairview Public Schools, Harmony Grove Public Schools, area industry, and SAU Tech. The OPED Board establishes policy and the staff implements the policy. The Executive Director of OPED reports to the President of the board and ultimately the full board of directors.

Highland Industrial Park has been a partner with OPED since its inception. The park has had strong ties to Camden since it's construction as Shumaker Naval Ammunition Depot in the mid 1940's. Highland Industrial Park is, recognized as the defense industry HUB of Arkansas and has a major impact on our state and local economy. Camden has no business or industrial park in the city limits and thus Highland Park is Camden's Industrial Park. The current employment in the park include many of Camden's residents who live here and pay both property taxes and sales taxes into the City's coffers. These taxes are made possible by the paychecks provided by the business and industries in Highland Park. I shudder to think what Camden would be today without Highland Industrial Park. I assure you that many communities across the nation are envious of what we have in Highland Park. Current estimated employment numbers of Camden residents employed in Highland Park are estimated to be 40% of the workforce in the park. According to the Arkansas Department of Transportation (AR DOT) there are 5,900 vehicles per day traveling into Highland Industrial Park.

We must continue to support our existing business and industry as they retain and add to their employment base because statistics prove that most of your job creation comes from existing business's expanding their workforce rather than a new company locating in your community. This is what we are currently seeing in Highland Industrial Park. Aerojet Rocketdyne, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and others continue to gain new contracts that will be increasing the size of their workforce.

Here is a compilation of our activities and recent successes for this past year:
• Artesana Soaps opened a storefront in downtown Camden. This business received business counseling from the Camden Accelerated)Business Services, (CABS) office located in the OPED building.

• The CABS office is staffed by a business consultant from the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center in partnership with OPED. The CABS office hosted nineteen events with seventy-two attendees in the OPED building in 2018. They served forty-one small business clients and provided 212 hours of counseling to these clients. This is a free service provided by OPED.

• The OPED training room hosted 64 training events for business and industry in 2018. We had 24 nonprofit meetings, 34 committee meetings, 2 hiring events, 5 prospect presentations, 8 tours, and 9 3D printing related events.

• The OPED building currently houses three tenants that have created approximately 21 jobs. These businesses include Woodland Hills Home Care, Ouachita Supply/Floor Pro, and Merritt's Phone Service.

• OPED provides 3 D printing services for industry, education and the general public. We are currently producing parts under a contract for an industrial client.

• OPED successfully "teamed up" with Ouachita County Medical Center (OCMC)1 and others to recruit and successfully locate the South Arkansas Cardiovascular and Vein Center in OCMC.  The center is currently performing Cath and heart procedures in a mobile Cath Lab in front of OCMC. Plans are for OCMC to build out a permanent Cath lab in the surgical operating suites area of the hospital. The doctors in this group plan to eventually locate and "build out' their clinic operations in the empty Family Dollar store located in front of the hospital on California Avenue. This could be the beginning of a "hub” of specialized medical services for our area and allow OCMC to become more financially stable and viable in the years to come. By providing more specialized medical services locally this will keep our patients here at home rather than transferring them to Little Rock for these needed medical procedures.

• Aerojet Rocketdyne announced a major expansion on August 15, 2018 at the Governor’s office at the State Capital. OPED worked with the Governor, AEDC and Aerojet on this expansion for over one year before it was announced. This expansion will create 141 jobs over three years at an average wage of $55,000.00 per year, and the company will invest over $50 million dollars in buildings and equipment. We continue to see investment in the Airport building leased by Aerojet Rocketdyne. Aerojet Rocketdyne is investing significant capital into the building for its expanded operations. This lease resulted in an increase of rent revenues to the Camden Airport Commission and put an underutilized building back into productive use.

• The former Molex building is now leased to General Dynamics. This put an unused building back into use.

• The South Arkansas lntermodal Park (former IP mill property) is beingmarketed on a   level in trade publications. To date we have seen investment of $1.3 million dollars in private investment and the creation of approximately 20 new jobs in the park. We anticipate further job growth in the upcoming year. The Camden & Southern Railroad, Strobel Energy Logistics and POL Systems have contributed to these employment numbers. The park is a work in progress and is continuing to evolve into a regional transportation hub for South Arkansas.

• Located a new light manufacturing facility, POL Systems in the park.

• Hosted our annual Industry Appreciation Golf Tournament with the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce at the Camden Country Club on October 5.

• OPED successfully requested from AEDC and the Governor's office designation of two census tracts in the City of Camden as Opportunity Zones. The Camden area now has two of the eighty-five designated zones in the state of Arkansas. This designation will hopefully attract new investment into our community through tax credits. We are marketing our opportunity zones in national trade publications to stimulate interest and investment in our designated zones.

• OPED continues to address workforce development through our workforce committee and working with the regional workforce development board.

• We prepared several packages and presentations with new prospects as well as maintained ongoing dialog with AEDC project managers working on different projects. OPED also prepared incentives offers in conjunction with AEDC on different projects.

• OPED hosted prospect visits in coordination with AEDC project managers.

• Participated in monthly conference calls with AEDC Director Mike Preston.

• On February 20, 2019 OPED hosted the AEDC Business Development Team on a tour of available buildings and sites.

Here is a list of various events and training I have participated in this past year:

• Attended the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance annual conference in Hot Springs on March 27 & 28, 2018.

• Hosted the AEDC commissioners for their monthly meeting on June 13 & 14 here in Camden.

• Attended a public relations and reputation management workshop at the Arkansas State Chamber office in Little Rock on June 20.

Listed below are the various boards and commissions that I currently serve on representing OPED:

• Chairman of the Southwest Arkansas Workforce Development Board of Directors.

• Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District Board of Directors serving as the Ouachita County at-large representative.

• Golden Triangle Economic Development Council board member.

• Interstate 69 coalition board, Ouachita County representative.

• Camden Area Chamber of Commerce Board, ex-officio member.

• City of Camden Airport Commission, ex-officio member.

• Calhoun Ouachita Business and Industry Training Consortium, (COBITC).

LOOKING FORWARD IN 2019
• OPED and our partner/sponsors, SAU Tech, Camden Area Chamber of Commerce, and Arkansas Department of Workforce Services will be hosting a Job Fair at the SAU Tech Grand Hall on April 16 from 9a.m. until 3p.m. This is an effort to link up employers needing a workforce with potential employees.

• OPED is a member of the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance and I will be attending their annual meeting next month in Fort Smith.

• OPED plans to participate in the Competitive Communities Initiative (CCI) coordinated by AEDC. This will be an intense study of our overall preparedness for economic development as a community and is designed to assist Arkansas communities in identifying their strengths and weaknesses. It will address issues such as our economic development organization, board training, workforce and financial stability as an organization.

• The need for new housing for the anticipated influx of potential new residents moving to our area with new job opportunities with our defense industry should be addressed. The focus should be on patio type housing for workers beginning a new career path and seniors or "empty nesters" that don't have a need any longer for a larger family style home. This is a critical need for Camden, and we need to capitalize on these potential new residents.

• Workforce development and analysis of the working age unemployed to improve their skill sets for the modern workforce. We need to evaluate the skill sets with the jobs available. Ouachita County has a current unemployment rate of 4.6%, a workforce of 9,753, and a total of 446 unemployed, but we may have a higher rate due to a low labor participation rate-those who are not looking for a job.

Let me explain: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stated in an interview on Sunday that the United States has the lowest labor participation rate of any modern economy. This is not a good thing and not what our country was founded upon. Estimates say that maybe as many as 500,000 people nationwide are no longer looking for a job. He cited a variety of reasons including a lack of workforce skill sets due to inadequate training and technology advancing rapidly beyond the education level of these potential workers. He also mentioned the drug problem (opioids), and felony convictions. We have too many capable working aged citizens not contributing to the economy during their most productive years. This is a problem that needs to be addressed to get these people back into the workforce and contributing as taxpayers to our economy.

In summation, I believe we are doing more with less resources than we have had at our disposal in the past. The time is now that we must decide how we will continue to fund a professional economic development office for our area. We enjoy a good working relationship with AEDC and the Governor's office. I am optimistic that we are on the cusp of some new project announcements soon that involve both expansion of our defense manufacturing base and new investment in the timber industry. I believe the future is bright for Camden and Ouachita County and there is nothing we can't accomplish if we continue to work together as a TEAM. Our OPED meetings are open to the public and we welcome the publics input. Thank you again for your continued support.

After the OPED report Mayor Lott recognized Robby McAdoo and Quorum Court members in attendance. He talked about the March Amnesty Program. He encouraged those not working to attend the job fair. Mayor Lott mentioned the 5th Annual Kidz Runnin’ the Show Corvette Show and the Pub Crawl slated for March 16th. He reminded everyone that Business Licenses due by April 1st. First Friday Market will resume on April 6th. He encouraged everyone to get out and support the local events.

The Council heard the second reading of an ordinance amending the City of Camden Zoning Ordinance to allow residential uses in certain zones. A motion was made and passed to amend the rules and vote on the issue. Alderman Lindsey was for the ordinance but is concerned about parking. This ordinance would allow for apartments to be built in the downstairs of buildings in Downtown Camden. Currently apartments are allowed in the upstairs of existing buildings that are zoned C3. The Ordinance passed unanimously.

They also heard the second reading of an ordinance separating and establishing the elected office of City Clerk and appointed office of City Treasurer, and for other purposes. Motion was made and passed to suspend the rules and discuss and vote on the ordinance. There was a discussion and some concerns were voiced. The vote was a tie with 4 against and 4 for. The Mayor voted yes to break the tie and the ordinance passed.

The Resolution to fund OPED was not on the agenda but was supposed to be addressed again. Aldermen Aregood and Lindsey insisted that the resolution be put back on the agenda. Alderman Aregood contended that he insisted when it was tabled in February that it be re-addressed in the March Meeting. The resolution was brought back to the table. Alderman Askew asked if the City and the OPED Board had found any common ground. He addressed the issue of the Mayor not being at the “Secret Meetings”. This had been addressed in an earlier meeting. The Mayor has an automatic seat on the Executive Committee. Alderman James Bell made this point. When it comes to showing prospects site, the Counsel and OPED should stay out of the way until negotiations get to a certain point. Then is the time for the Executive Board to meet. Non-disclosure agreements prevent those that know who prospects are from revealing any information regarding the prospect. When a company is ready to commit the Executive Board meets and contracts are drawn up. When the prospect is ready to announce that they are locating to an area is the time everyone is informed. L.E. Lindsey spoke up for OPED and suggested that the Council approve funding OPED. He gave a bit of a history of economic development in Ouachita County. The Mayor spoke. He had developed a plan for the city for 2019. The need for housing and a workforce was addressed. Judge McAdoo spoke. He said that the Mayor came in and felt like he wasn’t getting the cooperation he needs. What the Mayor wants, the Judge will address. Judge McAdoo stated that he is with the Mayor and OPED. The discussion went on to address the fact that the city does need retail and restaurants. L.E. Lindsey stated that there should be an  evaluation of the City’s workforce to know what those unemployed that can’t work in the area can do. Then the city could target businesses that match the local unemployed with places they can work. Jim Golden wants to show support for the Mayor. Mayor and Jim Golden have been in contact and talking over the past couple of weeks. He asked that we all just work together.  After a very long discussion the resolution passed unanimously.

New business included an ordinance declaring concrete slabs to be a nuisance to include the removal of concrete slabs; and for other purposes. Alderman Bell stated that this had come before the council a couple of years ago and it failed. He cited a couple of articles. He feels that concrete slabs hurt the appearance of Down Town. Again, there was a discussion about the pros and cons of such an ordinance. In the end it passed with a 5 to 3 vote.

The Council also discussed an ordinance awarding the bid for the purchase of 45 Refuse Containers. These are the commercial containers. Ordinance passed.

There was a resolution authorizing a Budget amendment for salary increases to the departments excluded under Resolution No. 04-19. Motion was amended and passed. Motion was made to approve amended amendment. Motion passed.

There was also a resolution awarding the bid for the purchase of a 2019 4-Wheel Drive, Cab, Tractor with Front Loader Standard Bucket and Finish Mower for the Public Works’ Parks and Recreation Department. No real discussion. Motion passed.

In Other Business Aldermen Moore and Askew mentioned a couple of concerns they had. One addressed the need to improve the community buildings at the City Parks. There are plans underway to move forward updating the buildings. The other had to do with a problem with dogs running free in West Camden Heights. Police Chief Bo Woody assured the Counsel that the problem was being addressed.

At 9:47 p.m. Alderman Irene Galbert made the motion to adjourn and the Council was done with the March meeting.

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON SIGNS BILL, APPLAUDS LEGISLATORS FOR BIGGEST HIGHWAY-FUNDING PLAN IN STATE HISTORY LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson signed the largest and most comprehensive highway-funding plan in Arkansas’s history today, which fulfills his goal of implementing a long-range strategy to bring the state’s roads and bridges up to date and to pay for their upkeep into the future.

This bill will provide $95 million annually through user fees and dedicated funds from casino revenue.

Governor Hutchinson also praised legislators for passing his plan to allow voters to vote on an amendment that will extend a 1/2-cent sales tax indefinitely. That amendment, which will be on the ballot in 2020, will produce $205 million a year to pay for the state’s highway infrastructure.

The bill and the 1/2-sales tax would bring in a combined $300 million a year.

“This is a great day for Arkansas,” Governor Hutchinson said. “A lot of people worked hard to make this happen, from the experts who crunched the numbers and crafted the bills to the legislators who took the bills to a successful vote with solid bipartisan support.

“Our roads are vital to so many areas of everyday life. We need good streets to get to work, school, stores, and doctor appointments. Our farmers need good roads to deliver their crops to the market. We need great highways if we are going to compete for the industry and business that are crucial to continuing to improve our quality of life. We have done this for ourselves and for our future.”

KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, March 14 at 12:00 at Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be by Eric Gunter - “Kids Running the Show – Corvette Car Show”

AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road, Camden, Arkansas.

MARCH 12, 2019

E.B. WILLIAMS CORVETTE CAR SHOW
 The E. B. Williams Youth Center presents the 5th Annual “KIDZ RUNNIN’ the SHOW”Corvette Car Show March 22 & 23, in Camden Arkansas

The E. B. Williams Corvette Car Show will be bringing in Corvette enthusiasts from all over the United States.

Friday night we will host a light show contest in the Comfort Inn parking lot (#1 Ridgecrest Dr. , Camden, AR 71701) and Saturday the car show will be held from 8am to 5pm at the large multi venue parking lot on Hwy 278 (previous Walmart at 1450 US-278, Camden, AR 71701). Local DJs will offer music to keep the crowd pleased, as well as refreshments, raffles, trophies, door prizes, dash plaques and goodie bags for all participants.

Participation is open to all Corvette owners near and far, clubs and groups. The show will include all classes of Corvettes, from C-1 to C-7, stock and custom with, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies offered for each class along with a host of specialty awards as well.

To register for this event, go to our www.facebook.com/EBWYC to pre-register, or call Eric Gunter at 870-818-2628. 

Registration will continue till day of the show. Cost to Pre-Register is $45.00, To register day of the show is $50.00. Cost to Register for the Friday Night Light Show is $10.00

The E. B. Williams Youth Center is a 501c(3) organization and was founding 2012. The center’s focus is to mentor and tutor area youth, empowering them with the tools to become an active and productive citizen of the community. The center also provides annual book scholarships to four (4) local high school seniors, annual distribution of back pack and school supplies, summer field trips, visiting local nursing homes, participating in the city’s Keep Camden Beautiful event, Adopt-A-Street Program and participating in and hosting various other community programs.

FIRST FRIDAY MARKET RETURNS TO DOWNTOWN CAMDEN APRIL 5TH
First Friday Market will be back on April 5th in downtown Camden! Don't wait, 3 categories are full already! Applications to participate in the April market must be submitted by March 19th. Also the app has tons of important information for any interested food vendors! Slots for direct sales, desserts, and info booths are already full for April. Forms are available at https://form.jotform.com/81584010187151

Less than a year from it’s inception in May 2018, First Friday: Monthly Market has grown immensely into one of the area’s most anticipated events. As a nonprofit organization aimed at encouraging and revitalizing the vibrancy of downtown Camden, event-goers always enjoy an intimate, hometown, family-friendly variety of local talent and entertainment. Whether it’s to try new cuisine or desserts, relax and listen to live music, peruse the local shops, discover new art, learn a new craft, gather information from other area businesses and organizations, let the kids play, or to just enjoy the fresh open air on a pleasant southern evening with friends and family, First Friday: Monthly Market truly has something for everyone.

Recently, in January 2019, the First Friday team proudly brought home the Bronze ALFIE Award for The Year’s Best New Event or Festival, provided by the Arkansas Festivals and Events Association. The Market will begin again on the first Friday in April 2019 and continue each month through November. Funds from the events are used to further develop downtown Camden, supporting it in a positive, lively, and growing image, and promoting it as an exciting place to live, shop, play, and invest."

CAREER CLOSET
Are you job ready? Need an outfit for a job interview? Visit the Career Closet for free attire. Greater St. Paul Baptist Church on Monday, Tuesday  or Thursday from 10:00 am till 12:00 pm. Call 836-5272 for more information. Please be respectful. This is for those seeking employment.

COLOR ME HAPPY FUN RUN/ WALK
The Color Me Happy Fun Run Walk will be held on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 beginning at 8:00 a.m. in East Camden. Early Registration will be held on Thursday March 21st from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the East Camden Shopping Center. Day of Race Registration will be 7:00 a.m. Fee to register $20 T-Shirt packets guaranteed to all participants registered by March 14th)

Extra shirts were ordered and will handed out until they are gone for those who register laterInformation: Jana Garcia (870) 833-1791 or janalgarcia@yahoo.com.

RUTLEDGE BEGINS FIFTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR HOSTING MEETINGS IN EACH COUNTY 
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced that, for the fifth consecutive year she will hold Rutledge Roundtables in all 75 counties to hear directly from Arkansans about their concerns and the issues impacting their community. This week, Rutledge met with community leaders in Van Buren and Searcy counties.

“Meeting Arkansans face-to-face allows me to listen to their concerns and ideas so that we can work together on solutions,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “After all, Arkansas is just one big small town.”

Rutledge has hosted 306 round tables since taking office with more than 3,200 attendees since taking office in 2015.

 

March 11, 2019

WORKFORCE BUS TO BE IN CAMDEN AGAIN TUESDAY, MARCH 12TH
Job Seekers need help in preparing for the upcoming Camden Job Fair? We have you covered!

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Bus Unit will be in Camden Tuesday, March 12th, 9 am – 7 pm.@ OPED 625 Adams Ave. to help job seekers to prepare for the upcoming CAMDEN JOB FAIR Tuesday, April 16th 9am to 3pm at SAU Tech Grand Hall, 6523 Hussey Road, East Camden. The bus unit will help with resume writing, mock interviews, creating online profiles and other services. EVENTS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Department of Workforce Bus Unit Schedule

Tuesday, March 12th, 9 am – 7 pm, DWS bus unit at OPED 625 Adams Ave. Camden.

Tuesday, April 9th, 8:30 am – 4 pm, DWS bus unit at Arkansas Workforce Center 237 Jackson Street in Camden

Job Fair at SAU Tech in parking lot of Grand Hall

Monday, April 15th 9 am – 6 pm at SAU Tech’s campus Grand Hall parking lot 6523 Hussey Road, East Camden. DWS bus unit will be offering resume writing assistance, assistance to those creating online profiles for companies that are scheduled to actually be present and/or interviewing on site, and mock interviews as time permits at the actual site of the Job Fair.

Tuesday, April 16th at the Job Fair event 8 am – 2 pm at SAU Tech’s campus Grand Hall parking lot 6523 Hussey Road, East Camden. DWS bus unit actual site of the Job Fair for on-line applications and other services as needed.

For more information contact your local Arkansas Department of Workforce Services in Camden at 870-836-5024 or 237 Jackson Street, Camden, AR.
Sponsored by The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
OBSTRUCTION OF GOVERNMENTAL OBSERVATIONS

On March 6, 2019 at 2:14 a.m., Officer Jacob VanAssche was patrolling the area of Tate Street when he observed two subjects walking Eastbound down Tate toward Baker Street. While pulling behind the two subjects, the Officer observed one look back and the quickly look back again. After doing this, the subject began to walk toward a house on the comer of Tate and Baker. Officer VanAssche was able to initiate his blue lights, and quickly exit my patrol unit before he lost visual of the subject. The subject was advised to approach the Officer and he complied. He identified himself as Michael Smith. The Officer requested a NCIC check be completed through dispatch and was later advised by dispatch there was no return on a Michael Smith. Smith was asked if he had an ID in any other states to which he replied either Michigan or Minnesota. Another NCIC check through dispatch with these parameters in place and was again advised there was no return on Michael Smith. While awaiting the return Officer VanAssche could overhear Smith whispering to the other subject to not give his name if we asked her for it. Smith was taken into custody and transported him to the station without incident. At the station Smith was identified as Thomas Kelly, and dispatch advised Kelly had a valid Bench Warrant with the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office. Kelly was booked for Obstruction of Governmental Operations.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION
On March 8, 2019 at 1:48 a.m., Officer Jacob VanAssche was dispatched to 948 Brooks for a subject refusing to leave the residence. Dispatch advised the reporting party stated Alicia Douglas was refusing to leave his residence. The Officer arrived and observed Douglas standing on Brooks Street in front of the reporting party’s residence. The Officer observed Douglas swaying back and forth, and it appeared she was having trouble standing. Upon making contact with Douglas he could immediately smell an odder of intoxicants coming from her person. While talking to Douglas it was very difficult to understand her, due to her speech being so slurred. Officer VanAssche also observed Douglas' eyes to be glassed over and bloodshot. While talking to Douglas she stumbled several times and was unable to maintain her balance. He asked Douglas how much she had to drink this evening, and she stated she had a few drinks. He then asked Douglas if she could contact someone to pick her up, to which she yelled "he (indicating the reporting party) can call somebody to come get me since he's being an ass." Douglas was then taken into custody for Public Intoxication and was transported to the station without incident. At the station booking procedures where completed. Douglas later was released into the custody of her sister.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION
On March 9, 2019 8:14 p.m. Officer Ashley Watts was dispatched to the Ouachita County Medical Center in reference to an intoxicated subject trying to leave the hospital. Upon arrival the Officer made contact with Stephen Holmes in room 3 of the emergency room. A nurse informed Officer Watts that Holmes' blood work showed he had an alcohol blood concentration of 0.14. Holmes stated he had not been drinking; however, his eyes were blood shot and watery. The Officer could smell an odor of intoxicants on his breath as he spoke. Holmes stated that he wanted to leave the hospital, and the Officer explained to him that in order to leave he would have to call himself a ride. Holmes refused to call for a ride. He said he would just get up and walk out, it explained that if he did that then he would be arrested for Public Intoxication. Holmes refused any further attention from the medical staff at the OCMC and refused to call himself a ride, so he was taken into custody and transported to the Camden Police Department. Dr. Ross Brown cleared Holmes for incarceration. Holmes was transported to the Camden Police Department without incident where booking procedures were completed. Just as Officer Watts was going to transport him to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office, Holmes began to complain that he was not feeling well all of a sudden. He was holding his head and saying he felt very dizzy. He said he felt like he needed to go back to the hospital. Holmes was issued a citation for Public Intoxication and given a court date. Officer Watts  then transported Holmes back to the OCMC to be admitted, at Holmes request.


OUACHITA COUNTY SHERIFF REPORTS
POSSESSION CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
POSSESSION CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE MISDEMEANOR

On March 03, 2019 Deputy Ryan Coleman was patrolling in Bearden when he observed a Chevy Impala making a right hand turn twice without using a turn signal. The Deputy stopped the on East Jordan. Street. While at the window the Deputy noticed pills in the driver’s side floor board as well as two blunts (marijuana wrapped in cigar paper). The driver of the vehicle was Meloni Bozararth. She was asked to step out of her vehicle and was asked if there was anything inside of her vehicle. Bozarath stated no. After talking to Bozarath the Officer asked Bozarath to retrieve her ID from the vehicle. Once arriving back to the driver’s side seat of her vehicle she was ask once again if she had anything at all inside of her vehicle. Bozarath answered no. It was then she was detained for the further investigation of drugs inside of her car. The two blunt's containing marijuana where removed from the side of her door. The pills in her floor where non-narcotic. In a search of Bozaraths purse a glass pipe was found with residue of meth, a dollar bill with meth residue, a straw with meth residue, a white torn plastic bag containing marijuana as well as one plastic bag containing meth with another plastic containing device containing meth inside of it and a plastic container was found containing meth. When she was asked about the items in side of her purse she stated she found them at the carwash and was taking them to destroy the items. Bozarath was transported to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office for processing. She was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug paraphernalia and Possession of Controlled Substance Misdemeanor.

THEFT REPORT
On March 05, 2019 at approximately 5:23 p.m. Deputy Justin Creech responded to 4270 Ouachita 2 in reference to a theft. The Deputy arrived and spoke with Thomas Riddell who stated he had a red 3.5 gallon boat fuel tank valued at $100.00 stolen out of his boat. Riddell showed the Officer that the tank was located under a plastic lid in the boat that was stored behind the residence. Riddell stated he last remembered seeing the tank there either February 22 or 23, 2019. Riddell went on to say he noticed the item missing on Sunday March 03, 2019. Riddell named two suspects that may have taken the  item. Riddell was advised a report would be on file.

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. This week the Speaker will be Mark Cayce from Ouachita Electric Cooperative. He will give updates regarding their solar expansions and will be bringing their Tesla vehicle.

MARCH 8, 2019

CAMDEN CITY COUNSEL TO MEET
The Camden City Council will meet Tuesday night, March 12, in regular session in the Council Chambers at the Municipal Building. David Richardson, will present the Camden Water Utilities Biannual Water & Sewer Report. James Lee Silliman will present the Annual Report for the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development.

The Council will hear the second reading of an ordinance amending the City of Camden Zoning Ordinance to allow residential uses in certain zones. They will also hear the second reading of an ordinance separating and establishing the elected office of City Clerk and appointed office of City Treasurer, and for other purposes.        

 New business will include an ordinance declaring concrete slabs to be a nuisance to include the removal of concrete slabs; and for other purposes, an ordinance awarding the bid for the purchase of 45 Refuse Containers, a resolution authorizing a Budget amendment for salary increases to the departments excluded under Resolution No. 04-19, a resolution awarding the bid for the purchase of a 2019 4-Wheel Drive, Cab, Tractor with Front Loader Standard Bucket and Finish Mower for the Public Works’ Parks and Recreation Department.

ARKANSAS BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION CELEBRATES 70TH ANNIVERSARY
Little Rock - The Arkansas Broadcasters Association (ABA) is set to celebrate its 70th anniversary as the leading trade association for Arkansas Broadcasters. 

ABA began in 1949 as the trade association for broadcasters in Arkansas focused on providing broadcasters with a lobbying voice, while also providing them with technical and regulatory support and continuous professional enrichment opportunities. 

Over the years, ABA has been successful at helping Natural State broadcasters stay ahead of the ever evolving and changing landscape of broadcast media. 

“ABA has experienced exceptional growth and successes over the years. Moving forward, our focus will remain on offering the broadcasters of Arkansas the resources and education they need to stay at the forefront of the industry. We are excited to celebrate 70 years of Broadcasting Naturally at our convention, ARKCON this July” says Luke Story, Executive Director of the ABA. 

The association’s celebration will culminate July 18-19 at its annual ARKCON convention to be held at the DoubleTree Hotel and historic Robinson Center in downtown Little Rock. Governor Asa Hutchinson will be in attendance to recognize the broadcasters for their years of service and commitment to the communities of Arkansas.

For more information on the ABA and its 70th Anniversary celebration at ARKCON this summer please call the office at: 501-227-7564 or email at:  mail@arkbroadcasters.org

BENEFIT POKER RUN FOR OAKLEY NIMMO
There will be a benefit Poker Run for Oakley Nimmo on April 20th beginning at 10:00 a.m. Riders will meet at the Ross Center. There will be activities for everyone. BBQ Plates, Silent Auction, Bike Show, Car Show, 50/50 Raffle and a Baggo Tournament. All donations are appreciated. For more information call Chris Walker at 870-675-0118 or Bryan Jones at 870-675-6816. All proceeds to benefit the Oakley Nimmo Family.

RUTLEDGE URGES U.S. SENATE PASSAGE OF TRACED ACT
Says, ‘The TRACED Act will further protect Arkansans’
LITTLE ROCK – Just yesterday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge urged the United States Senate to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, which will curb illegal robocalls and spoofing. Arkansas has joined the 49 other states and four U.S. territories in sending a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation expressing support of the TRACED Act.

“Arkansans are fed up with being annoyed and ripped off by robocalls,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The TRACED Act will further protect Arkansans from falling victim to the high-pressure, relentless and often-convincing robocalls. This is just one step in my multifaceted approach to putting a stop to these unwanted calls.”

In the letter, the attorneys general state that the TRACED Act enables states, federal regulators and telecommunication providers to take steps to combat these illegal calls. The legislation will require voice service providers to participate in a call authentication framework to help block unwanted calls and creates an interagency working group to take additional actions to reduce robocalls and hold telemarketers and robocallers accountable.

More than 48 billion robocalls were made in 2018, resulting in millions of dollars in consumer losses. The state attorneys general work to protect consumers in their states from being harassed and scammed by robocalls.

The letter was led by Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and North Carolina attorneys general, and was signed by all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in regular session Tuesday night, March 12th at 6:30 p.m. at Garrison Auditorium. The agenda includes Student Hearings, . The Board will also hear presentation a recommendations regarding a resolution for a polling place fo School Board Elections, standard precaution policy and changes to the Spirit Team Handbook. There will also be a personnel session,

ARKANSAS VFW MEMBERS URGE PASSAGE OF BOOZMAN-LED BILL TO IMPROVE SERVICES FOR WOMEN VETERANS
WASHINGTON—
Arkansas members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) advocated for improvements to women veterans’ health programs and called for passage of the Deborah Sampson Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that would ensure the VA better supports women veterans’ needs.

VFW members were in the nation’s capital this week to promote the organization’s 2019 priorities which include improving women veterans’ health care and combatting the epidemic of veteran suicides.

In addition to Boozman’s support of the Deborah Sampson Act, last week he helped introduce the Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act, legislation to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) suicide prevention programs. Boozman previously included language in the FY19 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that requires the VA to develop metrics to evaluate the efficacy of all of its mental health and suicide prevention programs.

“The VFW is instrumental in helping Congress identify improvements that need to be made at the VA to ensure we live up to the promise we made to veterans. There is no substitute for coming to Washington to share these priorities. I look forward to advancing these policies so we can deliver results for veterans,” Boozman said.

During the VFW’s advocacy days, the organization’s leaders also testify before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Boozman asked VFW Commander-in-Chief Vincent “B.J.” Lawrence about what Congress should focus on to improve the VA’s health care for women veterans during that hearing.

SENATORS COTTON, WARREN, THUNE AND SENEMA REINTRODUCE NATIONAL POW/MIA FLAG ACT
Washington, D.C.— United States Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), John Thune (R-South Dakota), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) today reintroduced the National POW/MIA Flag Act, which would require the POW/MIA Flag to be displayed whenever the American flag is displayed on prominent federal properties, including the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, every national cemetery, the buildings containing the official offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, the office of the Director of the Selective Service System, each major military installation (as designated by the Secretary of Defense), each Department of Veterans Affairs medical center, and each United States Postal Service post office. The senators introduced this bill to honor the more than 82,000 Americans who are listed as Prisoners of War (POW), Missing in Action (MIA), or otherwise unaccounted for from our nation's past wars and conflicts.

Under current law, the POW/MIA Flag is required to be displayed by the federal government on certain prominent federal properties only six days per year: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and Veterans Day. The National POW/MIA Flag Act will ensure that the POW/MIA Flag is displayed whenever the U.S. flag is displayed, effectively ensuring that both flags are displayed concurrently and every day at federal locations already designated under existing law.

"Over 82,000 Americans, including hundreds of Arkansans, remain missing from past wars," said Cotton. "They are not forgotten. It is my hope that this small gesture reminds Americans to honor those who left our shores, and never returned."

"Honoring our service members who have fought courageously and honorably for our country's freedom is so important," said Warren. "I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill alongside Senators Cotton, Thune, and Sinema to honor all service members, including those who have not made it home."

"May we never forget the cost of freedom or the sacrifice of those who are yet to return home," said Thune. "I display this flag outside of my office each day, and I hope the government will soon expand its recognition of these veterans and their families, a symbol of our commitment to bring them home."

"I come from a military family- honoring our veterans is personal for me," said Sinema. "We cannot forget those who sacrificed for our country and never returned home."

The House version will be introduced by Representatives Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) and Jack Bergman (R-MI-01). The bill is also endorsed by Rolling Thunder, Inc. National; Rolling Thunder Inc. Massachusetts Chapters 1 and 2; the National League of POW/MIA Families; Veterans of Foreign Wars; The American Legion; and the National Alliance of Families for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen.

This bill was first introduced in the Senate during the 115th Congress by Senators Cotton and Warren.

BOOZMAN HONORED WITH DISABLED AMERIAN VETERAN’S 2019 OUTSTANDING LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
WASHINGTON—
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) honored U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) by presenting him with the organization’s 2019 Outstanding Senate Legislator of the Year award in recognition of his legislative efforts to help veterans and his commitment to ensure the programs, benefits and services they have earned, and rely upon, remain a priority for Congress.

“My father was a veteran so this is personal for me. Thank you to the more than one million DAV members and Auxiliary members doing great work to ensure we keep the promise our nation made to the men and women who have served. I remain committed to helping our service members, veterans and their families. I am honored to receive this recognition and thank DAV for its efforts to serve the veteran population,” Boozman said.

“With DAV’s Outstanding Senate Legislator of the Year award, we want to recognize Sen. Boozman for his stellar leadership and commitment to provide sufficient funding for veterans programs, benefits and services. Sen. Boozman has worked diligently in a bipartisan manner to ensure adequate funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs remains a national priority. As the sponsor of the Deborah Sampson Act, he has also been a leader in improving benefits and services for women veterans. We look forward to our continued partnership on future legislative efforts that will enable veterans to lead high quality lives with respect and dignity,” DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Randy Reese said.

As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, Boozman is uniquely positioned to secure funding to improve veterans’ benefits and services.

The Fiscal Year 2019 veterans program funding bill authored by Boozman included a record level of discretionary funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs increasing its budget by of $5 billion above the FY2018 level. These additional resources will help provide the healthcare, benefits and memorial services earned by U.S. service members and veterans.

Boozman, along with Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), reintroduced the Deborah Sampson Act last month. The legislation would eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face and would help ensure the VA can address the needs of women who are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment and go without needed health care.

 

March 07, 2019

SAAC TO HOST ARTIST’S RECEPTION HONORING LISA BURTON TARVER AND HELENE LAMBERT
The South Arkansas Arts Center will host an artist’s reception on Saturday, March 9, 2019 from 6:00- 7:30pm, to honor two South Arkansas artists with works currently on exhibit. Photographer Lisa Burton Tarver’s show will hang in the Merkle and Price Galleries, and Helene Lambert, well-known artist and art instructor, will show her works in the Lobby Gallery. Both shows will hang through the 27th.  Gallery viewing hours are Monday- Friday, 9:00-5:00pm.

Tarver has been taking photographs for years and loves seeing things through the camera’s lens. She has shown her work in five previous shows at SAAC, but this will be her first show shot solely with her iPhone. The exhibit, titled “Southern Elegance,” features the artist’s collection of vintage sterling-silver pieces photographed in black and white. “I am very proud and excited to bring ‘Southern Elegance’ to the South Arkansas Arts Center galleries,” she said.

Lambert, who recently retired from her career as a public-school art educator, has been immersed in art her whole life. Her works for this show, entitled “Cleverness Juggling,” include mixed-media abstracts with lots of texture in varied sizes.

“Currently, I have a studio in Hampton where I experiment. I am on a mission to find myself and paint what I feel. I love what I do, whatever it is, because all of my works are sketches in pursuit of happiness.”

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


LISA BURTON TARVER'S "SOUTHERN ELEGANCE"
IN THE MERKLE AND PRICE GALLERIES MARCH 1-28

The South Arkansas Arts Center is proud to announce it will host El Dorado photographer Lisa Burton Tarver’s show, ”Southern Elegance,” which will hang in the Merkle and Price Galleries during the month of March. Tarver’s show will open on March 1, 2019 and hang through the 27th. An artist’s reception will be held to honor Tarver on Saturday, March 9, from 6:00-7:30pm. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm.

Lisa Burton Tarver has been taking photographs for years and loves seeing things through the camera’s lens. She has shown her work in five previous shows at SAAC, but this will be her first show shot solely with her iPhone. The exhibit, titled “Southern Elegance,” features the artist’s collection of vintage sterling-silver pieces photographed in black and white. “I am very proud and excited to bring ‘Southern Elegance’ to the South Arkansas Arts Center galleries.

“The subjects of my latest photography show are just that for me. They are old friends who have been present for every important event of not just my family, but three generations of our family. As early as the 1920’s, they have been there for Easter and Christmas festivals, baptisms, wedding and baby showers and, yes, for daily celebrations of lives well lived. While worn in places, their beauty serves to remind us of who we are and where we have been. They are like old friends whose mere presence warms us with the possibilities for the future and the people who will gather around a family table then.

“These items in my show played a part in all the important occasions of our family life. They became like the familiar faces of aging relatives, lined, then softened by the events of a life well lived. They were silent actors in the dramas and comedies of our lives, old friends sharing common experiences.

“I have long wanted to share that story and, finally, with an old shutter, my iPhone and the light of my sunporch, I have captured a treasured heirloom and the sweet memories of family and friends…with a tad of “Southern Elegance’.”

Tarver is an Arkansas Artist in Education artist and teaches her specialty, photography, in Arkansas schools. She and her husband, Jon, have a daughter, Claire, married to Wesley Beard, and a granddaughter, Layla.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES INTENT TO GRANT EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY 
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant 12 pardons and 1 restoration of firearm rights only. An additional 53 clemency requests were denied and 8 had no action taken upon it. These include requests from both inmates and non-inmates. 

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

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant pardons to the following people:

Andrew J. Appler (Conway): Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (C Felony), Failure to Keep Records/Maintaining Drug Premises (D Felony) (CR 2004-489).
This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2004 – Faulkner County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Prosecuting Attorney has raised objections to the applicant’s request. 

Deborah Ford Brandon (Mount Pleasant): Delivery of a Controlled Substance To Wit: Marijuana, 9 Counts (C Felony) (CR 98-73); Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance To Wit: Marijuana (C Felony) (CR 98-74).
This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1999 and 1999 – Sharp County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Andrew C. Breshears (Hot Springs): Commercial Burglary, 3 counts (C Felony) (CR 2006-1-IV); Underage Driving under Influence 1st offense (Misdemeanor) (HTS-06-1731).
This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (2006 and 2006 – Garland County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Prosecuting Attorney has raised objections to the applicant’s request.

Morgana Morrison Carter (Searcy): Residential Burglary (B Felony) and Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR 2011-357).
This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (2012 – White County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Prosecuting Attorney has raised objections to the applicant’s request. 

Joseph J. Comer (Kensett): Burglary (B Felony) and Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR 82-130). 
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1983 – White County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Shawn Cruz (Pensacola, FL): Threatening to Cause a Catastrophe (D Felony) (CR 2000-029).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2000 – Baxter County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Prosecuting Attorney has raised objections to the applicant’s request. 

Paul Edds (Bonnerdale): Criminal Trespass (docket 1985-2506); Theft by Receiving over $200 (C Felony) (CR-87-175).
This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1985 and 1987 – Garland County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Richard B. Gossett (McCrory): Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (C Felony) (CR 2002-07). 
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2003 – Woodruff County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Roy L. Hughes (Downsville, LA): Delivery of a Controlled Substance, 3 counts (D Felony) (CR-85-224).
This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1985 – Union County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Raymond Lovett (Magnolia, DE): Terroristic Threatening (Felony) and DWI 1st (U Misdemeanor) (CR 96-362). 
This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1996 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application. 

Donny Pointer (Little Rock): Possession of Controlled Substance (B Felony) (CR 96-002649); Domestic Battery 3rd Degree (C Misdemeanor) (C-99-2969).
This notice is issued based on the dates of convictions (1997 – Pulaski County; 1999 – Saline County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Danny L. Reaves (Dermott): Theft of Property (B Felony) (CR 2001-60-1D).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2001 – Ashley County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Governor Hutchinson intends to grant the restoration of firearms right only to the following person:

Jackie Y. Robinson (Little Rock): Maintaining a Drug Premises (D Felony) (CR 93-2224A).This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1994 – Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. The Sheriff of Pulaski County has signed the Recommendation of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer as required by law. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

LOCKHEED MARTIN’S CAMDEN MANUFACTURING SITE PART OF $1 BILLION SAUDI MISSILE DEAL
Talk Business & Politics

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s industrial site in Camden is likely to be apportioned a significant amount of work from the Pentagon’s nearly $1 billion contract to provide so-called THAAD missiles to Saudi Arabia, part of the Trump administration’s controversial multi-billion dollar arms deal with the Middle Eastern ally.

According to details of the U.S. Department of Defense’s bid specifications released on Monday (March 4), Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) division in Dallas was awarded a non-competitive hybrid contract under the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The total estimated value of this undefined contract is $945.9 million, under which the nation’s largest defense contractor will provide Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) for Saudi Arabia’s fledgling Phase I missile defense program.

Besides manufacturing THAAD systems, Lockheed will also provide “tooling and test equipment, key personnel, line re-qualification activities, initial training development, system Integration Lab and testbeds, three-level maintenance concept, exportability, and early engineering development,” the DOD bid specifications states.

According to video and marketing materials on Lockheed Martin’s website, THAAD can defend countries and entire regions against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles by basically knocking them out of the sky and rendering them useless. THAAD interceptors employ Lockheed Martin’s proven “hit-to-kill” technology to destroy missile threats inside and outside the atmosphere, the company said.

“When enemies attack, governments must be ready to defend their soldiers, citizens and infrastructure. That’s where THAAD comes in – one of the most advanced missile defense systems in the world,” Lockheed Martin boasts on its website. In the Trump administration’s recent talks with North Korea, the U.S. military’s THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea has been highlighted as their main defense against a possible nuclear strike from the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.

Final details of the contract award also show that work for the project will be performed at Lockheed MFC locations in Camden, Dallas and Lufkin, Texas; Huntsville, Troy and Anniston, Ala.; and Sunnyvale, Calif., over a seven and a half-year period from Feb. 28 to Oct. 31, 2026.

Lockheed officials declined to comment for this story.

The THAAD missile sales to Saudi Arabia are the first phase of a larger $15 billion THAAD deal that is part of the $110 billion joint arms deal signed by President Donald Trump and King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on May 20, 2017 during a state visit to Saudi Arabia.

BOOZMAN PURSUES IMPROVEMENTS TO REDUCE VETERAN SUICIDES
WASHINGTON—
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is helping lead efforts to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) operation, oversight and evaluation of its suicide prevention media outreach campaigns.

Boozman is the lead Republican cosponsor of the Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act. The bill, authored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), seeks to correct failures in VA’s suicide prevention outreach activities identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“The VA has indicated that suicide prevention is its highest clinical priority and, with the alarming number of suicides in the veteran community, it absolutely must be. Congress is appropriating resources and the VA is turning that into action, but the numbers continue to trend in the wrong direction. This is why it is vital that we have metrics to measure the effectiveness of the VA’s mental health and suicide prevention programs. This bill will help Congress and the VA isolate meaningful suicide prevention programs so we can ensure resources are focused on efforts that save lives,” said Boozman.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs has a moral obligation to fight the scourge of veteran suicide with all the resources Congress has authorized, an obligation it is failing to meet with fatal consequences,” said Blumenthal. “VA must replace rhetoric with meaningful action and address the significant shortfalls in their suicide prevention media outreach campaigns. This bill provides an action plan to hold VA accountable for ensuring all veterans and their families are aware of the support services available during their time of need.”

In a 2018 report entitled Improvements Needed in Suicide Prevention Media Outreach Campaign Oversight and Evaluation, the GAO found that the VA had failed to establish targets to evaluate the efficacy of its campaigns, that leadership turnover led to a dramatic decline in media outreach activities and that the VA spent a fraction of its budget for suicide prevention media outreach during the last fiscal year.

The Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act requires that the VA:

  • Establish targets—based on industry-standard metrics such as impressions and engagement rate—to evaluate the efficacy of its mental health and suicide prevention outreach campaigns;
  • Create a process to oversee VA’s suicide prevention media outreach campaigns;
  • Report to Congress on the expenditures and obligations of funds of the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention; and
  • Ensure all future contracts regarding mental health and suicide prevention outreach include a clause that the contractor must track metrics established by the secretary and report these metrics to the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

Boozman previously included language in the FY19 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that requires VA to develop metrics to evaluate the efficacy of all of its mental health and suicide prevention programs.

GRIFFEN PRAISES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S BOLD NEW SCHOOL CHOICE PLAN
Says, plan is a ‘game changer’ that 'gives parents the freedom to choose’ how to ‘meet the individual learning needs of their children without impacting federal education funding’
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement in support of the Trump Administration’s proposed Education Freedom Scholarships:

"I applaud President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for their bold, transformational plan to improve education through choice. The proposed Education Freedom Scholarships will give parents the freedom to choose the best educational options to meet the individual learning needs of their children without impacting existing federal education funding.  Every child, regardless of their ZIP code, deserves a world-class education, and this plan moves us one step closer to that goal. This plan is a game changer for our kids, and Arkansas should take full advantage of this opportunity and implement a similar program now."

About Educational Freedom Scholarships
The Educational Freedom Scholarships would allow for up to $5 billion in locally controlled scholarship programs at the state level to empower students and parents to choose the educational options that best fit their individual learning needs. The scholarships will be funded through voluntary taxpayer contributions to state-identified Scholarship Granting Organizations, and taxpayers who contribute to the scholarships will receive a non-refundable, dollar-for-dollar federal tax credit. Participation in the program will be optional for states, and each state will determine how to select eligible students, education providers, and allowable education expenses. For more information, visit www.ed.gov/freedom.​

About Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin
He was elected lieutenant governor of Arkansas on November 4, 2014, and was re-elected for his second four-year term on November 6, 2018. From 2011-2015, Griffin served as the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District. For the 113th Congress, he was a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means while also serving as a Deputy Whip for the Majority. In the 112th Congress, he served as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Griffin is a graduate of Magnolia High School, Hendrix College in Conway and Tulane Law School in New Orleans, and attended graduate school at Oxford University. Griffin has served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, for over 22 years and currently holds the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was recently selected for promotion to colonel. In 2005, Griffin was mobilized to active duty as an Army prosecutor at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and served with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq. He is currently serving as a senior legislative advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Pentagon. Lieutenant Colonel Griffin holds a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush. Griffin lives in Little Rock with his wife Elizabeth, a Camden native, and their three children.

 

MARCH 6, 2019

BOOZMAN WELCOMES ADEQ DIRECTOR TO SENATE EPW SUBCOMMITEE HEARING
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) welcomed Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Becky Keogh to a hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety. Keogh was testifying before senators on cooperative federalism and Arkansas’s past experience with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Keogh testified before the subcommittee that the Trump Administration’s EPA has taken a cooperative federalism approach to better partner with Arkansas and other states to solve challenges they face and highlighted the positive impact that approach has on environmental protection efforts.

Boozman introduced Keogh to the committee prior to her delivering opening remarks.

“I would like to give a special thanks to Becky Keogh of Little Rock, Arkansas for coming up here today to testify. Mrs. Keogh has an impressive job history which has made her uniquely qualified to testify,” Boozman said.

“Becky Keogh has served as the Director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality or ADEQ since 2015. Prior to her role as director, Mrs. Keogh served as Deputy Director of ADEQ from 1996–2006. She was subsequently appointed to serve on the Arkansas Geological Commission from 2006–2009.  

“Director Keogh is currently the President of the Environmental Council of the United States. 

“An Arkansas native, Director Keogh has a degree in chemical engineering from my alma mater, the University of Arkansas. 

“Director Keogh, we appreciate you coming up here for this important hearing, and look forward to your testimony,” Boozman said.

 
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RUTLEDGE APPLAUDS LEGISLATION APPROVINGBALLOT TITLE AMENDMENT
Says, ‘The law will give Arkansans a clear, concise and fair process’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the below statement following the Arkansas Legislature’s approval of the ballot title process proposal that will head to Governor Asa Hutchison’s desk for his signature.

“Today’s final vote is a victory for all Arkansans,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “The law will give Arkansans a clear, concise and fair process to amend the State Constitution. This streamlined process will increase transparency by ensuring a public and bipartisan debate for all ballot measures proposed by Arkansans.”

 

March 05, 2019

 

RUTLEDGE CELEBRATES NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement to kick off National Consumer Protection Week.

“My office is dedicated to protecting Arkansans from con artists and criminals. I am sick of bad actors constantly adapting to find new ways to scam hard-working consumers. National Consumer Protection Week is an opportunity to educate Arkansans about common scams.”

Rutledge will be highlighting common scams and complaints received by the Attorney General’s office this week on social media.

Consumers who believe they have been scammed or would like to file a complaint can reach the Attorney General’s office at (501) 682-2007 or online at ArkansasAG.gov.

In her written testimony, Keogh discussed how “Arkansas is a model for how states efficiently and effectively take the lead in improving and maintaining air quality across the country. That is why a ‘state’s first’ approach to regulation makes sense.” 

Keogh previously testified before the subcommittee in 2015 on this same issue.

 

SAU TECH FOUNDATION TO HOST FIRST ROCKET ROCKET NIGHT FUNDRAISER
Southern Arkansas University Tech Foundation is holding its first fundraiser and benefactor dinner on April 13, 2019. The speaker is 30-year NFL Referee, Walter Coleman, III. Coleman is an executive for Hiland Dairy and spends much of his free time speaking and serving on various non-profit and service organization boards.

The SAU Tech Foundation Rocket Night is the first event of its kind for the College in recent history. Foundation Executive Director, Kimberly Coker, stated that " I have been an employee of SAU Tech almost 17 years and I have no memory of an event where donors, potential donors, supporters of SAU Tech, athletes and students were all invited to an event to celebrate the success of the past academic year. Coker recently stated during a KCAC interview with Rocket Launcher Live's, Joel Gray, that the event is an opportunity for local businesses to act as underwriters to support the celebration. The SAU Tech Foundation Board Members are local volunteers who oversee the financial responsibilities of the Foundation.

Tickets are on sale now and can be ordered online or requested from the Communications & Development Office at SAU Tech. The event is open to the public and dinner will be provided. Additional event and ticket information can be found at https://www.sautech.edu/rocket/

JOIN Y95 AT THE DAFFODIL FESTIVAL
Daffodils are in full bloom and Radio Works is on the move. Join the Road Crew in beautiful Downtown Camden for the Daffodil Festival as we broadcast live. We’ll look forward to seeing you Friday afternoon from 2 until 4 and Saturday from 11 until 2. There is going to be constant activity. Don’t miss a single minute. More vendors than ever before. Kids activities. Festival food. We will be set up in the little park right by Stinson’s. Thanks to our sponsors Ouachita Abstract, Dripper's Vape Shop, Bank of Bearden, Dickson Chevrolet, bounds Tire, Southwest Saw, Hodnett Realty, Ken's Discount, Blackmon's Furniture, The Vapor Shop, Smackover State Bank, St. John's Place, Holt Builders, Southern pipe and Supply, Wells Fargo Investment/Raquel Sparkman, Mitch Lowe's Body Shop, Cardinal Care Clinic, Country Village Sporting Goods, Car Mart of Camden and Hogskin Festival and Rodeo Committees. We look forward to seeing YOU at the Daffodil Festival.


COTTON APPLAUDS PROPOSED RESTRICTIONS ON PREDATORY GREEN ENERGY LOANS
Washington, D.C.—
Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. Following that announcement, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the statement below:

“Predatory lenders have tricked seniors and other vulnerable citizens into taking out high-interest loans for green-energy appliances using their homes as collateral. In some cases, these loans have squeezed Americans to the point of foreclosure, robbing them of the very homes they sought to improve. Soon this predatory lending scam will come to an end thanks to my Protecting Americans from Credit Exploitation provision, which passed last year. Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took steps to implement this provision to protect consumers from predatory green-energy loans. I look forward to working with the administration to ensure all homeowners are protected from these predatory lending practices.”

Background:
PACE loans are a financing program that provides homeowners with solar panels or other housing improvements in exchange for a lien on the home and increased property tax payments for up to 20 years. There are no federal underwriting or disclosure requirements, the loans have high fees, and they are far more expensive than mortgages or home equity loans.

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE LEGISLATION HONORING CENTENNIAL OF THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), along with fellow Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Doug Jones (D-Alabama), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi) introduced the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, which would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier's upcoming centennial in 2021.

After the bill’s introduction, Senator Cotton released the following statement:

"A few months after the World War I Unknown was laid to rest, the commander of the Military District of Washington declined a request to post a sentry at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, saying that visitors to Washington ‘can reach the distantly located tomb only with great difficulty' and predicting that the Tomb ‘is not and never will be visited by the thousands of visitors as is done in England, France, and Italy.' Yet one hundred years later, more than four million people pass through the gates of Arlington National Cemetery each year, and most visit the Tomb to observe the Changing of the Guard. Americans venerate the Tomb and its Sentinels as a shrine to all the brave men and women who have served in our Armed Forces, and especially those who laid down their lives so we could live in freedom. This commemorative coin will be a fitting tribute to those heroes and to the Sentinels who have guarded our Tomb for so many years.”

Endorsements: 
The National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, the VFW, the Society of the Honor Guard Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Gold Star Peak Inc, the World War I Museum, and the Independence Seaport Museum.

Background:
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a memorial site at Arlington National Cemetery approved by Congress on March 4, 1921 to honor the unknown soldiers who died in World War I. Inscribed on the back of the Tomb are the words "Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God." Today, the site also honors unknown soldiers from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and in any weather by Tomb Guard Sentinels. The Sentinels, all volunteers, are considered to be the best of the elite 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), headquartered at Fort Meyer, Virginia.

Proceeds from the sale of the commemorative coins would benefit the National World War I Museum and Memorial for the purposes of assisting in commemorating the centennial. The minting of such coins will not result in any net cost to the United States government.

 

March 04, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
DRINKING ON THE HIGHWAY

On March 02, 2019 at  2:52 a.m. Officer Nathan Lane was on patrol in the area of Grinstead Street and Adams Street, when he observed a vehicle making a left tum from the non-turning lane. Officer Lane followed the vehicle down Grinstead Street where it crossed left of center three times. The Officer initiated his lights when they got to Warner Street to pull the vehicle over. When contact was made with the driver, Tiondra Lewis, the Officer observed an open wine bottle in the center console. When asked whose bottle it was, Lewis stated it was hers. Lewis was advised she was under arrest for Public Intoxication. Lewis was then transported to the station without incident. Lewis was later released with a Criminal Citation  and given a District of Camden court date.

CRIMINAL TRESPASS
On March 01, 2019 at 5:03 p.m. Officer Frank Remick was dispatched to a subject on the ban list at Walmart. Upon my arrival the Officer spoke with Morgan Pope of Asset Protection. She advised that Bryshelle Henderson was inside the store. Pope provided a confirmed copy of Walmart ban list confirming Henderson was banned. Officers observed Henderson leaving the store and made contact with her. Henderson was taken into custody and transported to the Camden Police Department. Booking procedures were performed. Henderson paid the bond of $250 and was released and given a criminal citation and a District Court date.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION
On March 1, 2019 at 10:02 p.m. Officer Nathan Lane was dispatched to 201 Fort Lookout in reference to a theft report. Upon arrival contact was made with the reporting party Marvin Maxey. While talking to Maxey the Officer could smell an odor of intoxicants coming from his person whenever he spoke. Maxey was swaying back and forth and had to take steps in order to avoid falling over. Maxey did not want a report and I advised him to stay inside. Later on at 10:25 hours Officer Lane was on patrol in the area of Fort Lookout, when he saw a male subject on the sidewalk. The male subject kept walking in a zig zag motion down the sidewalk. The Officer then got out with the male and realized it was Maxey from earlier. Maxey was advised that he was under arrest for Public Intoxication. When walking Maxey to the patrol vehicle he had to lean on on the Officer to keep from falling. Also, while walking Maxey to the vehicle, Officer Lane could smell the odor of intoxicants coming from his person. Maxey was transported to the station without incident. Booking procedures were completed and Maxey was transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center and later released pending sobriety. He was given a citation and court date.

CAMDEN NOON LIONS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lions Club will meet on Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. This week the speakers will be Dr. Steve Keller speaking about chiropractic practices and Barbara Russell speaking about recovering from leukemia through major diet changes.

BOOZMAN PURSUES IMPROVEMENTS TO REDUCE VETERAN SUICIDES
WASHINGTON—
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is helping lead efforts to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) operation, oversight and evaluation of its suicide prevention media outreach campaigns.

Boozman is the lead Republican cosponsor of the Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act. The bill, authored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), seeks to correct failures in VA’s suicide prevention outreach activities identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“The VA has indicated that suicide prevention is its highest clinical priority and, with the alarming number of suicides in the veteran community, it absolutely must be. Congress is appropriating resources and the VA is turning that into action, but the numbers continue to trend in the wrong direction. This is why it is vital that we have metrics to measure the effectiveness of the VA’s mental health and suicide prevention programs. This bill will help Congress and the VA isolate meaningful suicide prevention programs so we can ensure resources are focused on efforts that save lives,” said Boozman.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs has a moral obligation to fight the scourge of veteran suicide with all the resources Congress has authorized, an obligation it is failing to meet with fatal consequences,” said Blumenthal. “VA must replace rhetoric with meaningful action and address the significant shortfalls in their suicide prevention media outreach campaigns. This bill provides an action plan to hold VA accountable for ensuring all veterans and their families are aware of the support services available during their time of need.”

In a 2018 report entitled Improvements Needed in Suicide Prevention Media Outreach Campaign Oversight and Evaluation, the GAO found that the VA had failed to establish targets to evaluate the efficacy of its campaigns, that leadership turnover led to a dramatic decline in media outreach activities and that the VA spent a fraction of its budget for suicide prevention media outreach during the last fiscal year.

The Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act requires that the VA:

  • Establish targets—based on industry-standard metrics such as impressions and engagement rate—to evaluate the efficacy of its mental health and suicide prevention outreach campaigns;
  • Create a process to oversee VA’s suicide prevention media outreach campaigns;
  • Report to Congress on the expenditures and obligations of funds of the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention; and
  • Ensure all future contracts regarding mental health and suicide prevention outreach include a clause that the contractor must track metrics established by the secretary and report these metrics to the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

Boozman previously included language in the FY19 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that requires VA to develop metrics to evaluate the efficacy of all of its mental health and suicide prevention programs.

MARCH 1, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
FLEEING

This past Monday, February 25th at 2:25 p.m Officer Frank Remick arrived at 1485 Country Club Road Apartment 23 for Warrant Service. Officer Remick and Officer Jake Perry placed themselves at the backdoor of apartment 23 in order to apprehend possible fleeing subjects. An individual wearing white shoes stumbled to the backdoor, opened the door, then turned around once the Officers were noticed. Officer Perry entered the backdoor and made the statement, "He's fleeing out the window". Officer Remick ran around to the front of the building through a walking trail and noticed two individuals climb out of the window. One suspect ran towards the Officer in the trail, halting once he noticed Police presence, then fled the opposite direction. Officer Remick pursued the subject, later identified and Brandon Jenkins. Jenkins attempted to hurdle debris and was tripped up. The Office was in close proximity when Jenkins fell to the ground.  The then pulled taser and continued tasing Jenkins. He then tackled Jenkins to gain a defensive position on him. After a brief struggle Jenkins was taken into custody by Officer Perry and Officer Remick. Jenkins was then escorted to a patrol unit where it was found he had a. small laceration to his upper right eye, possibly from the struggle on the ground. EMS was called to the scene. Jenkins was transported to the Ouachita County Medical Center where he was provided First aid by ER staff. Once cleared for incarceration, Jenkins was transported to the Camden Police Department. Booking procedures were completed After being given criminal citation and a court date, Jenkins was taken to the Ouachita County Detention Center for holding.

CRIMINAL TRESPASS
TERRORISTIC THREATENING 2ND
PUBLIC INTOXICATION
DISORDERLY CONDUCT

On Wednesday,February 27, 2019 at 7:56 a.m. Officer Ashley Watts, responded to Soapy Suds in reference to a subject refusing to leave. She arrived and made contact with Fredrick Gilmore. Office VanAssche arrive to back Officer Watts up. Sergeant Elliott was also at the scene.  Gilmore was sitting in a chair with his arms in his shirt. The manager, Vivian Ridley, advised that she asked Gilmore to leave the premises and he refused so she called the Police Department to have him removed. She also advised that Gilmore has recently been asked not to return onto the property of Soapy Suds. Officer VanAssche asked Gilmore why he was there to which he responded he was asleep.  Gilmore continued talking and it was difficult to understand due to Gilmore's speech being slurred. Gilmore was then asked how much alcohol he had to drink, and he stated last night he had a few drinks while he was at home before he left to go for a walk. The Officer then asked Gilmore why he was at Soapy Suds if he wasn't there to wash clothes, and he stated he stopped there to rest after his walk. Officer Watts advised Officer VanAssche that Gilmore was banned from the establishment, due to him damaging the washing machines. Officer VanAssche then took Gilmore into custody and began to escort him to his patrol unit. While taking Gilmore into custody the Office could smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his person. Once the two had exited the establishment Gilmore began yelling profanities. He was advised to stop yelling profanities, at which point Gilmore yelled at threats at the Officer.  He continued to yell threats and began pushing against Sergeant Elliott and Officer VanAssche. Gilmore then had to be assisted into the patrol unit, where he continued to yell threats. Gilmore was later transported to the station without incident, while enroute to the station Gilmore continued to threaten the Officer. This continued at the station while taking Gilmore into the booking Gilmore is being charged with Criminal Trespass, Terroristic Threatening 2nd, Public Intoxication, and Disorderly Conduct. Gilmore was transported to the Ouachita County Sheriffs Office where he was held awaiting first appearance.

LAW ENFORCEMENT AND IMMIGRATION GROUPS SUPPORT SINGH’S LAW
Washington, D.C.
– Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today announced support for Singh’s Law from the National Sheriff’s Association, FAIR, and Numbers USA.

“The nation’s sheriffs strongly support Senator Cotton for this legislation that will equip local law enforcement with the additional resources they need to keep their communities safe from criminal gangs. We also applaud his honoring of the fallen officer. Families of law enforcement know too well the sacrifice officers and deputies make every day and we must never forget that sacrifice they and their families make,” said Jonathan Thompson, Executive Director of the National Sheriffs Association.

“Corporal Ronil Singh, a police officer with the City of Newman (Calif.) Police Department, was a shining example of the American dream. A lawful immigrant from Fiji, Singh dreamed of becoming a police officer. He worked tirelessly to obtain his badge, even taking English lessons to overcome his accent in an effort to be better understood on the job. Cpl. Singh’s dream ended one tragic night last December, when he was brutally murdered in the line of duty by an illegal alien with multiple DUI arrests and an active gang affiliation. In recent years, criminal gangs from Latin America have developed a strong foothold in the United States, perpetuating criminal activities such as drug dealing, human trafficking, and murder. FAIR applauds Senator Cotton for recognizing the growing gang issue and honoring a true American hero with the introduction of Singh’s Law. This FAIR-supported bill would provide law enforcement with additional tools to combat criminal alien gangs operating in American communities, while ensuring that illegal aliens with gang affiliations are promptly removed from the country. Congress must act quickly to protect other families from suffering the same unimaginable loss as Cpl. Singh’s family,” said Dan Stein, President of FAIR.

“Officer Singh's brutal murder by a criminal illegal alien last December was entirely preventable. Perez Arriaga was in the country illegally, had known gang affiliations and two previous DUI convictions. And yet California's sanctuary policies protected him from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, enabling him to commit this heinous crime. Singh's Law would block aliens with criminal convictions and known gang affiliations from entering the country and allow for the removal those already here. NumbersUSA and its 9 million grassroots activists applaud Sen. Tom Cotton for introducing this legislation and for prioritizing the safety and security of U.S. citizens,” said Chris Chmielenski, Deputy Director of NumbersUSA.

BOOZMAN, ARKANSAS DAV MEMBERS PRESS FOR IMPROVEMENTS FOR WOMEN VETERANS
Urge Passage of Deborah Sampson Act
WASHINGTON— Arkansas members of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) applauded U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) for his introduction of the Deborah Sampson Act, legislation to help ensure the VA supports the unique needs of women veterans.

DAV members were in the nation’s capital earlier this week pressing for congressional support of the organization’s 2019 legislative priorities which include improvements to women veterans’ health programs. DAV has endorsed the Deborah Sampson Act. The legislation would eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face and would help ensure the VA can address the needs of women who are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment and go without needed health care. 

“DAV has been influential in identifying ways the Department of Veterans Affairs can strengthen its services. I look forward to continue working with DAV members as Congress crafts policies to ensure women veterans have equitable access to VA healthcare,” Boozman said.

Arkansas members met with Boozman in advance of the joint Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs hearing to highlight DAV priorities for 2019 on February 26.


BOOZMAN QUESTIONS AG SECRETARY ON RURAL BROADBAND IMPLEMENTATION
WASHINGTON—
Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry received an update from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill. U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a strong supporter of the bill, urged its expeditious implementation and questioned the secretary about the progress of USDA programs to improve rural broadband.

“One of the biggest challenges facing Arkansas – and much of rural America – is access to reliable broadband,” Boozman said.

The 2018 Farm Bill allows USDA to leverage grants and loans with loan guarantees to fund projects that deploy high-speed broadband in rural America. Coupled with the December 2018 launch of USDA’s ReConnect Program to facilitate broadband deployment, the farm bill made positive policy changes to increase opportunities for rural areas to get resources to bridge the digital divide.

Boozman recognized the enthusiasm toward the ReConnect Program and has supported the department’s efforts to improve connectivity in rural communities.

“There has been immense interest in [the ReConnect Program]. My goal in doing that was to administer that and deploy those resources in a way that you all trusted us to do more because we need a moonshot about broadband connectivity across this country in order to do the things that we think will bring our nation back together from a rural-urban perspective,” Perdue said.
According to FCC’s 2018 Broadband Deployment Report, about a quarter of Arkansas’s population doesn’t have access to broadband.

Boozman is a co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus. He is actively leading efforts to strengthen broadband deployment in Arkansas and across the country.

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES START OF WELLS FARGO CONSUMER REDRESS REVIEW PROGRAM
Says, ‘This program is a significant step for Wells Fargo toward fixing the harm it caused to Arkansans’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that Wells Fargo has begun a consumer redress review program to allow consumers, who have not yet been made whole through other remediation programs already in place, to have their inquiry or complaint reviewed by a Wells Fargo escalation team for possible relief.

“The redress review program was a key component of my settlement with Wells Fargo due to betrayal of consumer trust,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This program is a significant step for Wells Fargo toward fixing the harm it caused to Arkansans by ensuring that eligible consumers receive the restitution due to them under the settlement. Requiring Wells Fargo to implement this program is another example of how I will hold any business accountable that unlawfully takes advantage of Arkansans.”

The December settlement between Wells Fargo and attorneys general of all 50 states and the District of Columbia resolves claims the bank violated state consumer protection laws by opening millions of unauthorized accounts and enrolling customers into online banking services without their knowledge or consent, improperly referring customers for enrollment in third-party renters and life insurance policies, improperly charging auto loan customers for force-placed and unnecessary collateral protection insurance, failing to ensure that customers received refunds of unearned premiums on certain optional auto finance products, and incorrectly charging customers for mortgage rate lock extension fees.

As part of the program, Wells Fargo will maintain a website for at least one year that contains information regarding consumers' eligibility for redress and to help answer consumer questions. Wells Fargo's website describes the issues covered by the settlement agreement and provides phone numbers consumers may use to request review. In addition, Wells Fargo will provide periodic reports to the states about ongoing remediation efforts.

Wells Fargo's consumer redress review website may be accessed at Wellsfargo.com/commitment/Redress

Consumers with questions or concerns may call the following Wells Fargo phone numbers for assistance:

  • Unauthorized Accounts/Improper Retail Sales Practices: 1-844-931-2273
  • Improper Renters and Life Insurance Referrals: 1-855-853-9638
  • Force-Placed Collateral Protection Auto Insurance: 1-888-228-9735
  • Guaranteed Asset/Auto Protection Refunds: 1-844-860-6962
  • Mortgage Interest Rate Lock Extension Fees: 1-866-385-5008

Participating in the program with Arkansas include Attorneys General from: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

 

February 28, 2019

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES FAULKNER COUNTY MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS FOR VIDEOS SHOWING RAPE OF CHILDREN
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced that a Faulkner County man has been sentenced to 15 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction on child pornography charges.

Jason Coppock, 28, of Mayflower, pleaded guilty to five counts of distributing, possessing, viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child. He was found in possession of videos and images of sexual intercourse and penetration with girls as young as 5 years old to 12 years old.

“I am committed to removing disturbing criminals like Coppock from our neighborhoods,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “His actions prolong the vicious victimization of innocent children.”

Coppock was arrested in April 2017 by the Attorney General’s Office Cyber Crimes Unit when special agents seized laptops and external storage devices from his residence. An attorney from the Attorney General’s Office was appointed Special Deputy Prosecutor in the case by the 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews.

SMALL BUSINESS SEMINAR “FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGES “BEYOND THE LIKES”
Have you created a Facebook page for your business and want to turn it into a strategic advantage? The SAU Small Business and Technology Development Center is here to help! Along with an overview of Facebook basics, get tips for managing your page, setting goals, measuring content reach, and analyzing post effectiveness. Please bring your computer, tablet, or mobile phone for hands-on training! iPads available if requested by Monday, March 4, 2019.

If you would like assistance setting up a Facebook business page, please contact us to make a one-on-one appointment. You will need a personal Facebook page setup in order to create a business page.

When - Tuesday, March 5, 2019 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM 
Where - OPED Building  - 625 S Adams  - Camden, AR 71701
Co- Sponsors -Team Camden, Partnership Ouachita for Economic Development
Cost - FREE!

COTTON, COLLEAGUES REINTRODUCE BIPARTISAN DRIVE-SAFE ACT
Washington D.C.
– U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Todd Young (R-Indiana) and Jon Tester (D-Montana) today reintroduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act to address the driver shortage in the trucking and logistics industry, and enhance safety training and job opportunities for young truckers. U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) joined as cosponsors of the bill.

Though many states allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license at the age 18, federal law currently prohibits those operators from moving goods from state to state until they are 21. The DRIVE-Safe Act establishes an apprenticeship program that would allow for the legal operation of a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce by CDL holders under the age of 21. The apprenticeship training program would help ensure these drivers are trained beyond current standards while instituting rigorous safety standards and performance benchmarks.

“Tens of thousands of commercial trucking jobs go unfilled each year across the United States. To make that problem worse, current regulations prevent younger drivers from participating in interstate trucking at all, denying them the opportunity for good-paying jobs. The DRIVE-Safe Act tackles both problems by allowing drivers under the age of 21 to pursue this career, as long as their employer adopts an apprenticeship program that includes rigorous training and safety standards,” said Senator Cotton.

SENATORS COTTON, CRUZ, REPRESENTATIVE GALLAGHER INTRODUCE RESOLUTIONS RECOGNIZING ISRAEL’S SOVEREIGNTY OVER GOLAN HEIGHTS
WASHINGTON, D.C.
– U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) yesterday introduced companion bills establishing that it shall be the policy of the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The United States has been committed for over 40 years to ensuring Israel’s security from attacks emanating from across the Golan Heights. The threat Iran poses to America and Israel requires acknowledging the reality of Israel’s control over the territory as a matter of national security. 

The bill is also sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), and Representatives Brian Mast (R-Florida), Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado), Jim Banks (R-Indiana), Elise Stefanik (R-New York), Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Mark Green (R-Tennessee), Lee Zeldin (R-New York), Ted Budd (R-North Carolina), and Jody Hice (R-Georgia.).

The bill states in part that “it is in the United States national security interest to ensure that Israel retains control of the Golan Heights [and that] the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad faces diplomatic and geopolitical consequences for its killing of civilians, the ethnic cleansing of Arab Sunnis, and the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

ADEQ SEEKS ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS FOR 2019 ENVIRONMENTAL AWARDS
NORTH LITTLE ROCK
—The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is seeking the State’s top environmental leaders to apply for this year’s ADEQ Environmental Awards. Businesses, nonprofits, and government entities who are working to help achieve a vision of a healthy environment and prosperous economy across the state are encouraged to apply.

For the past 15 years, ADEQ has recognized environmental leaders from around the Natural State. The ADEQ Environmental Awards is one of Arkansas’s most prestigious environmental recognition programs. The awards highlight what Arkansas companies are doing in areas of sustainability, innovative technology, and environmental stewardship. This year’s award program will include three prestigious awards—the Arkansas Environmental Stewardship (ENVY) Award, the Arkansas Environmental Technology (TECHe) Award, and the E² Energy Award.

ADEQ honors exceptional environmental projects and programs in Arkansas with the ENVY award. The award showcases the work of citizens, businesses, industries, farms, and government agencies that are protecting and enhancing the environment in extraordinary ways, demonstrating that they deserve to be the ENVY of Arkansas. The TECHe Award recognizes the use of new developments in technology or the use of technology to protect our resources or improve the environment. The E² Award honors organizations that demonstrate outstanding leadership by implementing forward-thinking initiatives in areas of energy efficiency, advance energy, and renewable energy. Additionally, the ADEQuest Science Award is given to a student who has made strides in science and protection of the environment.

If you would like to apply for an award or nominate an environmental leader in your community, then please contact Ometra Okuwoash, ADEQ Program and Outreach Manger, at 501.682.0977 or okuwoash@adeq.state.ar.us. Additional information about the awards and application forms can be found online at www.adeq.state.ar.us/poa/enterprise-services/awards/.

COTTON, WHITEHOUSE, MOULTON, KING REINTRODUCE ALS DISABILITY INSURANCE ACCESS ACT
Washington D.C.
- Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Congressmen Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts) and Peter King (R-New York) have reintroduced the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act, bipartisan legislation to eliminate the five-month waiting period before ALS patients can receive the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits they earned by contributing into Social Security.  This legislation would build on previous steps by Congress and the Social Security Administration to accommodate the difficult prognosis for those diagnosed with ALS. 

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease affecting the ability of the brain to control muscle movements.  Individuals with ALS progressively lose the ability to speak, walk, and breathe.  The intended purpose of a five-month waiting period is to allow temporary conditions to reverse.  However, there is currently no cure or treatment to halt or undo the effects of ALS, and some ALS patients lose their fight with the disease before ever receiving benefits.  The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act would help alleviate some of the financial hardship that accompanies an ALS diagnosis, and support those living with ALS and their families.

“ALS is a progressive and disabling disease for which there is no cure.  Those who suffer from this terrible disease endure enough pain, and they shouldn’t be subject to the usual waiting period for disability benefits—especially given their tragically short life expectancy,” said Cotton.

“I am proud to co-sponsor this bill to eliminate the waiting period for those battling ALS,” said Whitehouse.  “It takes tremendous courage from patients, family members, and friends to cope with an ALS diagnosis.  I hope that as a simple act of humanity we can set aside bureaucratic considerations and allow Americans who face the extraordinary blow of this diagnosis to immediately receive the benefits they have earned.”

“Nobody bravely fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease should have to wait months for benefits that will help them confront the disease because of government red tape,” said Moulton. “Every American pays into Social Security with the idea that we have each other’s backs and that those benefits will become available to us when we need them—whether it is because of an ALS diagnosis, a disability or simply to help make ends meet in retirement.  This bill will help our country keep that promise.”

“When battling an unforgiving and aggressive disease such as ALS, time is of the essence.  That is why Congress must ensure that those diagnosed with this disease can immediately receive the SSDI benefits they have earned and try to mitigate the certain and devastating financial costs of their fight,” said King.

“Over the course of a five-month waiting period, people living with ALS will have only experienced progressive loss of function and will have incurred significant expenses for care and treatment,” said Calaneet Balas, President and CEO of The ALS Association.  “We urge Congress to pass this legislation and remove the arbitrary five-month waiting period that creates an unfair financial burden on people whose life expectancy is so tragically abbreviated.  People with ALS have earned and should receive both Medicare and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits immediately.  They simply don’t have months to wait.”

 
 
 
 

February 27, 2019

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES MARCH MOBILE OFFICE SCHEDULE
LITTLE ROCK
 – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for March.

Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties each year during her first term, assisting 3,300 Arkansans.

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

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

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

The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:

Calhoun County
Tuesday, March 5
9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Calhoun County Nutrition Center
1120 Prestress Drive Hampton, AR 71744

 

Howard County
Thursday, March 7
 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Howard County Senior Citizens Center
206 E. Howard St. Nashville, AR 71852


Pulaski County
Friday, March 8
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
West Central Community Center
4521 John Barrow Road
Little Rock, AR 72204

10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Donaghey Student Center (200A)
3259 S. University Ave. Little Rock, AR 72204


Cross County
Tuesday, March 12
10:30 a.m. to noon
Cross County Courthouse
705 E. Union St. Wynne, AR 72396


Pope County
Wednesday, March 13
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Arkansas Tech University Chamber Cafeteria
204 W. O St. Russellville, AR 72801


Jefferson County
Thursday, March 14
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service
500 Idaho St. Pine Bluff, AR 71601

Dallas County
Tuesday, March 19
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Dallas County Cooperative Extension Service
203 N. Clifton St. Fordyce, AR 71742


Cleveland County
Thursday, March 21
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Rison Senior Citizens Center
#50 I.E. Moore Drive Rison, AR 71665


Madison County
Tuesday, March 26
10:30 a.m. to noon
Madison County Senior Activity and Wellness Center
903 N. College St. Huntsville, AR 72740


Van Buren County
Thursday, March 28
10:30 a.m. to noon
Van Buren County Aging Program
311 Yellowjacket Lane Clinton, AR 72031

 

 

 

THE CALL IN OUACHITA COUNTY
The CALL in Ouachita County is a faith-based nonprofit that is working to unite the local church with orphans right here in our county.  The CALL is working to recruit foster/adoptive families from the Christian community, train those families along beside DHS, and provide a support system when they begin caring for their children. In Ouachita county, The CALL is serving families with support groups, The CALL mall, and mentoring.

The CALL works to mobilize local churches to provide a future and a hope to children in foster care. The group is seeing that happen but has a long way to go.  They are looking for leadership and volunteers in Ouachita County. They are also looking for congregations that will partner with us as we work to complete this mission.

The CALL will hold an informational meeting on March 7th at Grace Baptist Church at 6 PM.  If you are interested in volunteering with The CALL in some way or want to learn more about how to become a foster parent, then this meeting is for you! For more information, contact Wesley Stewart at 675-0138. The CALL has offices at 107 Garden Oaks Court in Camden, AR. Visit ouachitacounty@thecallinarkansas.org.

COUNTY FAIR COVER ARTWORK CONTEST
The Ouachita County Fair would like to announce their first Cover Artwork Contest. We are inviting young people between the ages of four (4) and eighteen (18) who enjoy drawing to submit an original picture that they think goes with our 2019 Fair Theme of: Yesterday’s Memories, Tomorrow’s Dreams

Eligibility: The contest is open to legal residents of Ouachita county who are four (4) to eighteen (18) years of age at the time of entry. The Ouachita County Fair Board reserves the right to verify the eligibility of any winner. Only one (1) entry per individual allowed.  All entries must be the student’s original and previously unpublished work.

Contest Period: Admissions will be accepted beginning February 8, 2019 through March 4, 2019.  Winners will be announced March 15, 2019.

How to Enter: Begin by drawing your original artwork using an 8 1/2” x 11” piece of white paper and using no more than 2 colors. Be sure the image reflects the 2019 Fair Theme of Yesterday’s Memories, Tomorrow’s Dreams. Place the artwork unfolded into a large 8 ½” x 11” manila envelope, include a 3” x 5” card with the Student’s Name, Age, Address, and Phone Number. Do not put your name on your artwork. Mail to: Megan Yerkes, 141 Gatling St., Camden AR 71701  Put ATTN: Cover Artwork Contest in the lower left-hand corner.

Judging: Pieces will be judged on originality, artistry, and adherence to the theme.  A panel of independent judges will be selected.  The decision of the judges is final. A Grand Prize will be awarded to one student and five honorable mentions.

Prizes: the Grand Prize winner will have their artwork featured as the cover of the annual Ouachita County Fair Book, a modified version will be used for the annual Clothesline coloring contest, as well as in advertising. The Grand Prize winner will also receive a $50 Hobby Lobby gift card and a County Fair Family Pack [$100 value includes 4 Free Gate admissions ($20.00 value) and 4 Free Ride Armbands ($80.00)]. Each Honorable Mention will be featured in the Fair book and will receive a $10 Sonic Card.
Other Information:  By submitting your artwork you are giving permission to the Ouachita County Fair to reproduce or modify your image. Full credit will be given to the artist. Artwork becomes the property of Ouachita County Fair.

BOOZMAN SAYS ALLIES CONTINUE TO EXPRESS NEED FOR “STRONG RELATIONSHIP” AS RUSSIAN, CHINESE AND IRANIAN INFLUENCE GROWS
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) said allies voiced concerns about the increasing influence of Russia, China and Iran at high-level meetings in nine countries last week.  

Boozman traveled with a delegation led by the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). After representing the U.S. Senate at the Munich Security Conference—where the delegation conducted discussions with officials regarding political, economic and security issues—the delegation traveled to Kosovo, Israel, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Algeria and Spain to discuss bilateral relations between these countries and the U.S. and participated in classified briefings about U.S. military cooperation and regional security efforts.

“The message we received at each stop was that a strong relationship with our allies is important as Russian, Chinese and Iranian regional influence continue to grow at alarming rates. As we face evolving security challenges, it is critical that we reinforce our commitment to strong, capable partnerships. I remain dedicated to protecting and advancing our goals while working with our allies around the globe,” Boozman said.

While at the Munich Security Conference, the delegation met with Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan; Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General; Mariusz Blaszcak, Polish Defense Minister; and Ursula von der Leyen, German Defense Minister with a delegation from the German Bundestag.

The post-Munich leg of the trip included a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu where discussions focused on the possible U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria as well as the influence of Iran and Russia in the region. The delegation also visited the Iron Dome Missile Defense Site while in Israel. In Djibouti, the delegation got a firsthand look at China’s growing influence in Africa when it flew over the first Chinese military base outside of its territory. The members of Congress also met with political and security leadership in each nation as well as U.S. military leadership and service members, including Arkansans, stationed at U.S. military installations.  

“With tensions on the rise around the globe, it is important to ensure that our troops serving abroad have everything they need to complete their mission and return home safely. It is always extra special to see Arkansans who are deployed far from the Natural State, working hard to ensure that the U.S. and our allies are safe,” Boozman said.


COTTON, BOOZMAN INTRODUCE NATIONAL, MANDATORY E-VERIFY LEGISLATION
Washington D.C.
- Arkansas Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman have reintroduced legislation that prevents illegal aliens from taking jobs meant for American workers and legal immigrants while ensuring employers have the tools they need to certify a legal workforce. The Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act would permanently authorize the E-Verify program, an internet–based system that assists employers in determining whether current or prospective employees are authorized to work in the United States. The bill requires employers to use E-Verify to determine eligibility of every employee.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), David Perdue (R-Georgia) and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi). Representative Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Most illegal immigrants come here in search of jobs, where they ultimately compete against working Americans in the job market, bidding down wages. Because illegal aliens are willing to work under the table for little pay and few benefits, crooked employers have a strong incentive to hire them, regardless of the law. Permanent, nationwide E-Verify will help us build an economy that works for American citizens, while eliminating a serious incentive for illegal aliens to come here in violation of our laws.” Cotton said.

“E-Verify is a commonsense, cost-effective tool that provides employers with confidence during the hiring process while holding bad actors accountable when they try to cheat the system. It has a proven track record of success and should be permanently reauthorized and made mandatory for employers,” Boozman said.

 

Currently, employers voluntarily submit information from an employee’s Form I-9 to the Department of Homeland Security through the E-Verify system, which works in partnership with the Social Security Administration to determine worker eligibility.  There is no cost for employers to use E-Verify.  More than 750,000 businesses use the program today.

E-Verify was established in 1996 as a pilot program with employers in five states allowed to participate.  The pilot program was reauthorized in 2001, expanded to employers in every state in 2003 under Grassley-authored legislation and reauthorized several times since 2008. 

The Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act does the following:

  • Permanently reauthorizes the E-Verify program that was created in 1996. 
  • Makes the program mandatory for all employers within one year of enactment, requires federal contractors and agencies to use the program immediately, and directs “critical employers,” as identified by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to use the system within 30 days of designation. 
  • Increases penalties for employers who break the law by hiring illegal aliens.
  • Reduces the liability that employers face if they participate in E-Verify when it involves the wrongful termination of an individual. 
  • Allows employers to use E-Verify before a person is hired if consent is provided by the employee.
  • Requires employers to check the status of all current employees within 1 year. 
  • Requires employers to terminate the employment of those found unauthorized to work due to a check through E-Verify. 
  • Helps ensure that the Social Security Administration catches multiple uses of Social Security numbers by requiring them to develop algorithms to detect anomalies.
  • Establishes a demonstration project in a rural area or area without internet capabilities to assist small businesses in complying with the participation requirement. 
  • Amends the criminal code to make clear that defendants who possess or otherwise use identity information not their own without lawful authority and in the commission of another felony is still punishable for aggravated identity fraud, regardless of the defendant’s “knowledge” of the victim. 
  • Requires employers to re-verify an employee’s immigration status if the employment authorization is due to expire. 
  • Establishes an Employer Compliance Inspection Center (ECIC) within ICE to streamline program audits and review compliance with worker eligibility laws.

COTTON, BOOZMAN, WOMACK ASK EPA FOR FEDERAL ASSISTANCE FOR TRAFALGAR ROAD FIRE
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, along with Congressman Steve Womack (AR-03), are inquiring with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the potential for federal assistance for extinguishing the Trafalgar Road fire in Bella Vista.

Boozman, Cotton and Womack sent a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to obtain additional information on how the federal government can be of assistance as the state continues to address the issue.

“As we continue to learn more about the situation, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the state of Arkansas will require federal assistance to address the issue. We understand the law provides for a particular threshold of scientific data to trigger the EPA’s assistance on these types of environmental projects. It is the delegation’s intention to learn specifically what can be done at the federal level when the threshold is met so we can readily partner with the EPA to ensure funds and resources are swiftly dispatched to the state,” the letter reads.

Specifically, the letter asks the EPA to provide a precise threshold of scientific data that would trigger the EPA’s emergency response, provide any and all options from which the state may receive financial assistance and an air monitoring system that receives continuous information over an extended period of time for reliable and up-to-date data.

Boozman, Cotton and Womack thanked the EPA for the assistance provided so far and said they look forward to continuing a positive dialog with the agency on the issue.

“Arkansas’s congressional delegation along with the local and state officials acknowledge and appreciate this assistance as well as the technical assistance provided by the EPA Region 6 Office in Dallas, Texas. We look forward to continuing to work with EPA to help the state of Arkansas best address the Trafalgar Road fire,” they wrote. 

February 26, 2019

CAMDEN CITY COUNCIL HOLD WORKSHOP
The Camden City Council met for a workshop on Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Municipal Building,

The first item that was presented to the Council was a Presentation by Bryan Wyndam of Computer Troubleshooter’s regarding changes to Windows 7 next year. In January of 2020 Windows 7 will no longer have any support services leaving the city open to viruses and attacks.. There were some other issues regarding the City’s practices regarding the network and email servers. Wyndam gave the Council estimates on approximately how much it would cost the city to upgrade computers, put in a secure router, put a firewall in place and e-mail options. The Mayor wants to consider budgeting for upgrades. This issue will be discussed further in future meetings.

Next on the agenda was a discussion regarding giving the City Treasurer retirement. When the Office of City Clerk/ Treasurer was divided several years ago, retirement for the City Treasurer was not addressed. The City Clerk is an elected position which receives retirement after 10 years. The City Clerk is now an appointed position and there isn’t verbiage addressing retirement for that position. Job descriptions need to be updated for the separated offices. At the last City Council meeting there was an ordinance presented to the Council regarding the Treasurer dilemma. Past Clerk/Treasurers have received retirement benefits.  The Council seemed to be in agreement to change the Ordinance to go back to 2010 and Jim Green would be entitled to draw retirement benefits. Retirement pay would equal half of the Treasurer’s current salary. The Ordinance will be on the March agenda.

The last item on the Agenda addressed future funding of Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development (OPED) The discussion regarding OPED became quite heated in the February Council Meeting. Mayor Lott questioned James Lee Silliman about sending incentive money to Corporations in the Highland Industrial which is located in Calhoun County. The Mayor feels that incentive money from OPED should be spent in Ouachita County and should include retail incentives. At one time. There were incentive monies spent on retail ventures but there were many problems with that practice. OPED does give incentives monies to Corporations in Calhoun County to help create jobs in the area. OPED is asking the City for $50,000 for operations to come from the City Budget and $100,000.00 from the Economic Development tax money for incentives. The Mayor asked for a breakdown of what the $150,000 would be used for. Note that the Council had approved the Operations money in this year’s budget. Ouachita County has put a line item in their budget in the amount of $150,000 to help fund OPED. The Mayor contends that Camden needs to benefit from the work OPED does. He says there are many residents that can not work in the Industrial Park and there need to be jobs those people can work. Silliman stated that he and the OPED Board are currently working with a prospect to bring jobs to Camden proper.  During the heated debate the Mayor stated that he had asked OPED to bring him a plan and stated that they didn’t do that. Later in the meeting James Nixon said  “We were not informed to bring a plan, but we will present a plan now that we know” The Mayor questioned the purpose and the very existence of OPED. He reiterated that he wants Camden proper to benefit from the work at OPED. Mayor Lott does not feel that he is being taken seriously. He asked How OPED works and why is the City spending the money. Mayor Lott has been on the OPED Board for 4 years himself. As Mayor, Lott has a seat on the Executive Board however, there hasn’t been any activity to warrant an Executive Board meeting since the Mayor took office.  Alderman Aregood then spoke up. He stated that he is sympathetic to those who can’t work in the area but he asked the Mayor what he plans to do to make the city a more attractive place to live in order to aid OPED in being able to more successfully market Camden. The mayor turned it back to OPED and that they need to bring jobs that are non-defense jobs that those that are unemployable in East Camden. The mayor contends that if the jobs are here, the people will work. Aregood cited the high poverty rate and the number of units of public housing in Camden. It is believed the housing authority advertises all over the country to keep those units filled so many low-income people are being moved into the City. Aregood said that there is 20 to 23% government housing in the City of Camden. The national average is 5 to 7 percent. Aregood went on to say that people are leaving, and our tax base is dropping as a result. He stated that there are a whole lot of residents of Camden that pay no taxes. There was a short discussion but at this time the Mayor does not have a plan to address public housing. He did say he would visit with the Housing Authority people.

Mayor Lott was in the studio this morning sharng his thoughts on the matters at hand. Morning Mayhem with Doc Bryce is on KBEU-FM, 92.7 on your dial. We hope to have James Lee Silliman, Alderman Chris Aregood and possibility others in later this week to give their take on the meeting.

KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday  February 28 at 12:00 at  Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be by Judy Brooks who will talk about  “An invitation to the White House.” Mrs. Brook’s went to Washington, D.C this past November to decorate the White House for Christmas.

COTTON STATEMENT ON THE BORN-ALIVE ABORTION SURVIVORS PROTECTION ACT VOTE
Washington, D.C.—
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on the Senate vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act:

“In rare but horrific cases, babies survive attempts on their life by abortion providers. When this occurs, morality and humanity demand the baby be treated like any other patient fighting for his or her life. Tonight’s defeat of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is a setback for a just cause, but the pro-life movement will keep fighting until every human being is recognized and protected under the law.”


RUTLEDGE DEMANDS FCC REQUIRE TELECOMMUNICATION COMPANIES STOP ROBOCALLS
Says, ‘I am determined to end these incessant robocalls’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today sent a letter to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) demanding that the FCC take more aggressive measures to require all telecommunication companies (telecoms) to use existing technology to identify and stop illegal robocalls.

“The telecoms have the technology to identify phone numbers and block calls that are likely scams, and it is time they take responsibility for continuing to connect scam calls,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These calls are frustrating and extremely costly for Arkansans. I am determined to end these incessant robocalls and protect Arkansans from these con artists.”

Telecom carriers have long claimed that FCC rules restricted them from blocking calls. But in November 2017, the FCC released the 2017 Call Blocking Order granting telecoms the authority to block certain numbers known to be illegitimate. Rutledge is urging the FCC to take further measures to grant telecoms more authority to block illegal robocalls. Rutledge is also pressing the FCC to reconsider its decision to not hold third-party caller ID services, e.g., spoofing services, legally responsible for verifying that users have ownership of the number being spoofed such as the number displayed from a pharmacy or doctor’s office call.

In October 2018, Rutledge joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general that called on the FCC to urge telephone services providers to protect consumers from illegal robocalls. Rutledge also sits on the executive committee of the Robocall Technology Working Group which consists of 37 state attorneys general who have taken on the task to find ways to stop the epidemic of illegal robocalls. The executive committee has also met with senior executives from leading telecoms to discuss efforts and obstacles to combatting illegal robocalls, and how the telecoms and the attorneys general can work together in this effort. The group is currently working with experts in the field to develop best practices for the telecom industry, which, if adopted, will enable telecoms to better identify and prevent illegal robocalls and aid law enforcement agencies in identifying and prosecuting the originator of these calls. The group is also supporting congressional actions to address these issues and are urging telecoms to make call-blocking available to consumers for free.

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
OBSTRUCTING GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

On February 22, 2019 at 8:10 a.m. hours Officer Ashley Watts made contact with Michael McKenzie at 2240 South Adams Ave. McKenzie stated his name was Michael Jackson. After getting no return on Michael Jackson the Officer asked him if he had a driver's license and he said no. After she verified the spelling of the name he advised his name was actually Michael McKenzie.

McKenzie had a valid warrant for his arrest and was taken in to custody and transported to the Camden Police Department without incident. A search of his person revealed McKenzie to have a valid driver's license in his wallet.

Booking procedures were completed and McKenzie was served two warrants for. He was issued a city court date for Failure to Appear and Obstructing Government Operations. and county court date for failure to appear.

McKenzie was transported to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office and later released.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION
DISORDERLY CONDUCT
OBSTRUCTION OF GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

On February 22, 2019 at 12:52 a.m. Officer Nathan Lane stopped at the stop sign at the intersection of Ratcliff Street and Visor Avenue. While stopped he could hear two people yelling coming from the direction of Ratcliff Street and Scales A venue. The Officer proceeded through the intersection and could see two figures walking toward him on the roadway. A female on the left side of the road, and a male on the right side of the road walking in a swaying motion, zig-zagging down the road toward him.

The Officer exited his patrol unit. When getting out the male subject kept getting really close to Officer Lane and he was able to smell the odor of intoxicants on the subjects breath. The female subject kept talking in a loud voice and using profanity. When the male was asked what his name was, he said it was "Jimmy Davis." The Officer then asked "Jimmy" how much he had to drink to which he replied “a lot”. The Officer then asked the female for her name to which she stated was "Tamshea Renee."

Officer Manning then arrived on scene as back up. Both subjects names were ran through dispatch for warrants. Dispatch could not locate a "'Tamshea Renee" in ACIC and advised the Officer of this multiple times. "Renee" then started to yell at Ofc. Manning and continued to use profanity. Officer Lane then advised Officer Manning to place "Renee" in custody while he took "Jimmy" into custody.

“Jimmy” was advised that he was under arrest for Public Intoxication and "Renee" was advised that she was under arrest for Obstruction and Disorderly Conduct.

Office Lane transported "Jimmy" to the station, while Officer Manning transported "Renee" to the station. Both parties were transported without incident.

Upon arrival at the station Lt. Parker was asked to help identify the female subject. She was identified as Jessica Hampton. Booking approval was completed. Both subjects were then transported to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office. Hampton is being held for unrelated charges and "Jimmy" was to be released pending sobriety.

While at the Sheriff’s Office, Officer Lane was looking through "Jimmy's" belongings and noticed his wallet had an identification card and Social Security Card belonging to Timmy Davis. When asked about this and “Jimmy” stated it was his twin brother's wallet. The jailers began to bring up pictures of Jimmy Davis and "Jimmy" did not look like the pictures. They then brought up pictures of Timmy Davis and the pictures did match. Timmy was then advised that he would also be charged with Obstruction as well.

BASEBALL, SOFTBALL SIGN-UPS UNDERWAY
Baseball Softball and T-Ball sign-ups are in progress through March 4th!!! Sign up at the Ouachita County Recreational Center, formerly the Boys and Girls Club. Boys 4 to 15 and girls 4 to 14 are eligible. March 4th is the deadline. $65-dollar fee per child. No registrations after March 4th. Ouachita County Recreational Center - 2708 Fairview Road - Sponsors, Umpires and Coaches are needed. Call 231-2611 or email camdenareansasyouth@gmail.com for information.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES IN STEPHENS
The Stephens Chamber of Commerce Banquet will be held on March 2nd  at 6:00 p.m. at the Stephens Community Center located on Highway 79 across from the old Stephens Elementary School. Tickets are on sale now for $25.00. Dine in and carry-out is available.

Stephens 1st Annual Spring Festival is slated for April 27th. There will be a Miss Stephens pageant on April 20th.  The pageant will be held in Stephens Auditorium at 3:00 p.m. For more information on the Pageant call Amy at 870-299-1308 or Tameka at 870-904-4977

The Festival will see live entertainment, a 5K race, a pie eating contest as well as chicken and rib cookoffs. A 10 x 10 booth with electricity will cost $30.00 with electricity or $20.00 without electricity. A 10 x 20 with electricity will be $60.00 and without electricity will be $50.00.  

If you wish to have a booth or to sign up to perform or more information on the festival call Amy at 870-299-1308 or La at 870-947-2577.


DEPARTMENT OF ARKANSAS HERITAGE ANNOUNCES 2019 ARKANSAS FOOD HALL OF FAME WINNERS
LITTLE ROCK – Winners have been announced for the 2019 class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, including food-themed events, restaurants, and proprietors from across the state.

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame was launched by the Department of Arkansas Heritage in 2016 to recognize Arkansas’s iconic restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events. Nominations were accepted from the public in five categories: Food Hall of Fame, Proprietor of the Year, Food-Themed Event, Gone But Not Forgotten and People’s Choice.

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee chose the finalists in each category and the winners were announced at a reception and induction ceremony at Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock on February 25.

Winners are as follows:

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
The Craig Brothers Cafe of DeValls Bluff (Prairie County)
Burge’s Hickory Smoked Turkeys and Hams of Little Rock and Lewisville (Pulaski County and Lafayette County)
Keeney’s Food Market of Malvern (Hot Spring County)

Proprietor of the Year
Loretta Tacker of Marion (Crittenden County)


Food-Themed Events
Hope Watermelon Festival (Hempstead County)

Gone But Not Forgotten
Klappenbach Bakery of Fordyce (Dallas County)

People’s Choice
Honey Pies Gourmet Bakery and Cafe of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Nearly 650 nominations were received for the third class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.

“People are passionate about their food! We are so pleased to see the increasing response from the public in this conversation on Arkansas food and food culture,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “From classics to new flavors, Arkansas’s food landscape continues to develop and we are pleased to be telling that story.”

The 13-member selection committee includes Paul S. Austin, Swannee Bennett, Evette Brady, C.C. (Chip) Culpepper, Cindy Grisham, Stacy Hurst, Montine McNulty, Tim Morton, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Dr. Wendy Richter, Kat Robinson and Christina Shutt.

About the Department of Arkansas Heritage
The mission of the Department of Arkansas Heritage is to identify Arkansas’s heritage and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors by the discovery, preservation and presentation of the state’s natural, cultural and historic resources. This is accomplished through the work of its eight divisions: Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.