Yes Radio Works

JULY 19, 2019

 
 
 

 

 

 

Boozman Recognizes Service of Fort Smith WWII Veteran

 

 

Click here to watch excerpts of the interview with George Vinson

 

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of WWII Navy veteran George Vinson in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.

 

Vinson, a 95-year-old Fort Smith resident, grew up on a farm in Alabama. He graduated from Eufaula High School in Eufaula, Alabama and spent several months in trade school before enlisting in the Navy.

 

Vinson’s goal was to be a fighter pilot, but the Navy assigned him to a different position. He ended up being quite happy about the role he was selected for despite it not involving flying. “I got an assignment which was better and I enjoyed a lot better,” Vinson says about his duty as a quartermaster.

 

Vinson served on the destroyer USS Edison. He worked on the bridge, the ship’s command center. “I loved that because I was up there where a lot of action was and I could hear a lot of what was going on,” Vinson said. 

 

His crew sailed through the Panama Canal. On its way to join the Pacific Fleet, the ship docked in San Diego where Vinson had an opportunity to meet with his brother, a member of the Air Force.

 

“We met to say goodbye,” Vinson said. “We didn’t know if would we be back or not, but we both made it back, thank God.”

 

Vinson recalled working on the bridge during a mission to rescue a sailor who fell overboard a troop ship. Two additional destroyers were also searching for the sailor. Vinson said his ship made two sweeps of the area and he encouraged the Captain to make one more pass. That’s when they found the sailor who had been in the water for hours. “He could see us, but we couldn’t see him,” Vinson said. He said rescuing the sailor was one of the most rewarding experiences of his military career.

 

Vinson and his fellow crew members had trained for the invasion of Japan, but those orders changed once the atomic bombs were dropped. The crew reached Japan for occupation after the war ended and served in an observation role. After two months, the ship was assigned to the Aleutian Islands as a weather station. Vinson says duty for weather patrol was tough because of the rough waters.

 

Following his military service, Vinson used the GI Bill to attend school.

 

“As a member of the Greatest Generation, George Vinson’s dedication and service to our nation helped change the course of history. I am grateful that his memories of his time in uniform will be preserved for future generations,” Boozman said.

 

Vinson’s entire interview was submitted to the Veterans History Project (VHP) by Zane Watson. Watson was inspired to participate in the VHP for his Eagle Scout Service Project by Boozman’s office. As part of the project, Watson interviewed veterans and trained other scouts and high school students to collect the oral histories of our veterans for the Library of Congress VHP. 

 

To learn more about the VHP and how you can help preserve the memories of veterans click here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

FOLO FROM THURSDAY (JULY 18, 2019):
UPDATING FROM NEWS CONFERENCE OUTSIDE THE STONE COUNTY (MOUNTAIN VIEW) COURTHOUSE

   
JULY 19, 2019
  Samuel Fullerton, 39, of 2021 Flag Road, Leslie, has been identified as the deceased suspect in yesterday’s Stone County officer involved shooting.
  Erika Johnson, 32, a resident at the Flag Road address, has been identified as the female who was wounded in the shooting incident.  Her wound was reported to be non-life threatening.
  Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing their work today investigating the shooting incident.  Upon completion of their investigation the case file will be presented to the Stone County Prosecuting Attorney for consideration with respect to the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer.
  The body of Stone County Deputy Sheriff Mike Stephen was released from the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory this morning following an autopsy.  Forensic evidence recovered at the scene has also been submitted to the crime lab for analysis.
  For purposes of clarification, based on questions that followed yesterday’s news conference, two Stone County Sheriff’s Deputies in addition to Deputy Stephen were present as gunfire erupted at the residence.  Deputy Stephen had been dispatched to the residence for purposes of a welfare check stemming from an alleged disturbance.
   

JULY 18, 2019

 

 

15 Teachers Named Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce the names of the 15 exceptional teachers named 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key will recognize the regional finalists and announce the four state semi-finalists at a special event August 1 at the Governor’s Mansion. 
“I am extremely proud of each of these regional finalists,” Key said. “From their tireless dedication to the teaching profession to their commitment to ensuring their students graduate prepared for college, career, and community engagement, these 15 educators are among the best of the best. With their hard work and dedication, we will achieve our vision of leading the nation in student-focused education.”
2020 ATOY Regional Finalists
Cana Able 
Grades 10-11 English Language Arts
Academies of West Memphis
West Memphis School District
Great Rivers Education Service Cooperative
Catherine Beckham 
Grades 10-12 Orientation to Teaching I and II and Senior Internships
Mountain Home High School Career Academies
Mountain Home School District
Northcentral Education Service Cooperative
Jennifer Brown 
Kindergarten
Walnut Ridge Elementary School
Lawrence County School District
Northeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative
Raelin Duck-Schroeder
Grades 9-12 Pre-AP English, AP English, General English, Drama, and Teacher Cadets
Stuttgart High School
Stuttgart School District
Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative
Lindsey Duncan 
Grade 4 Literacy
Southside Elementary School
Cabot School District
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative
Mary Dunn 
Grade 6 Special Education
College Hill Middle School
Texarkana Arkansas School District
Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative
Marcus Jones 
Grades 10-12 English
The Academies at Jonesboro High School
Jonesboro School District
Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative
Joel Lookadoo
Grade 9 Algebra 1
Lakeside Junior High School
Springdale School District
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative
Clarissa Mays 
Grades 9-12 EAST and Computer Science
Arkadelphia High School
Arkadelphia School District
Dawson Education Cooperative
Brenda Nolan 
Grades K-3 Literacy/Reading
Hermitage Elementary School
Hermitage School District
Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative
Barry Reese 
Grades 5-8 History
Lead Hill Elementary School and Lead Hill High School
Lead Hill School District 
Ozarks Unlimited Resource Educational Service Cooperative
Cassidy Smith
Grades 3-6 Gifted and Talented
Central Elementary School
Magnolia School District
South Central Service Cooperative
Melissa Spence 
Grade 1
Theodore Jones Elementary School
Conway School District
Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative
Dejah Stephens 
Grades 5-6 Language Arts and Social Studies 
Raymond F. Orr Elementary School
Fort Smith School District
Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative
Jeffrey Whitlow 
Grade 5
Don R. Roberts Elementary School
Little Rock School District
Pulaski County
The Arkansas Teacher of the Year program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program, which recognizes teachers for their teaching and leadership skills. The 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, who will be announced this fall, will apply to become the 2020 National Teacher of the Year.
This year’s regional finalists will each receive a $1,000 award made possible by a grant provided by the Walton Family Foundation, a long-time supporter of the program. The four state semi-finalists announced August 1 are selected from the 15 regional finalists. One of the four state semi-finalists will be named the 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. 
Some State Board of Education members plan to attend the August 1 event at the Governor’s Mansion, but no official business will be conducted.
To learn more about the ATOY program, visit http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/communications/teacher-of-the-year
 

 

 

 

Lt. Governor Griffin Mourns Death of Stone County Sheriff's Deputy

 

 

LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin issued the following statement on the death of Stone County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Stephen who died in the line of duty earlier today:

 

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Sheriff's Deputy Mike Stephens during this tragic and difficult time. My heart also goes out to the Stone County Sheriff's Department as they grieve the loss of one of their own. Today's news is a mournful reminder to Arkansans of the risks our law enforcement officers face each and every day as they strive to make our communities safer." 

Governor Hutchinson Offers Condolences in Death of Stone County Deputy; Orders Flags to Fly at Half-Staff

LITTLE ROCK - Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement on the death of Stone County Sheriffs Deputy Mike Stephen, who was killed in the line of duty Thursday morning:

It was heartbreaking to hear that Stone County Sheriffs Deputy Mike Stephen was killed in the line of duty today. Deputy Stephens death is a somber reminder that our law-enforcement officers risk their lives every day to protect ours. I am grateful for the men and women who willingly put their safety on the line every time they put on the uniform. My heart goes out to his wife and son, and to his fellow officers and friends in their grief at the tragic loss of Mike Stephen.

Governor Hutchinson ordered the state flag of Arkansas to fly at half-staff in honor of Deputy Stephen. The flag is to be flown at half-staff immediately through the day of interment.

RUTLEDGE TO HOST RETIREE RESOURCES

EVENT JULY 30 IN HOPE

Retirees will learn how to not lose ‘their hard-earned savings to lazy, low-life con artists’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced registration is open for the free regional Rutledge Retiree Resources event July 30 in Hope. The event is a part of a larger series of educational programs hosted by Rutledge for seniors throughout the state. The agenda includes programs designed to educate retirees about how they can protect themselves from pervasive and vicious scam artists.

“Arkansans should be able to spend retirement enjoying time with family and friends and not losing their hard-earned savings to lazy, low-life con artists,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Face-to-face meetings allow retirees to look us in the eyes and ask questions directly about how they can protect their finances.”

Attendees will hear 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 how to protect finances.

The event will be held in the Washington Suite of Hempstead Hall at the University of Arkansas Community College, 2500 South Main Street, Hope, Arkansas. For those interested in attending this free educational event or future events, register today. Lunch will be provided.

Rutledge Retiree Resources have been held in Fayetteville, Jonesboro and DeWitt. Registration is also available for an additional Rutledge Retiree Resources event scheduled September 5 in Little Rock.

 

News Advisory | Arkansas State Police Public Affairs Office | Contact Information | 501-618-8232 | asp.pio@asp.arkansas.gov
 
 
TWO DEAD IN STONE COUNTY OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING
  JULY 18, 2019
  Two individuals are dead and one wounded in what is believed to be a law enforcement officer involved shooting incident.  One of the deceased is a Stone County Sheriff’s Deputy.
  Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have been requested to investigate the incident which occurred in southwest Stone County near the Van Buren County line.

 

 

COTTON STATEMENT ON THE U.S.

HALTING F-35 SALES TO TURKEY

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the president's announcement for the United States to cease F-35 sales to Turkey:

"Halting F-35 sales to Turkey is a painful but necessary decision by the president. America simply cannot send its most advanced military technology to countries where adversaries like Russia will have access to it."

JULY 17, 2019

THIS FROM THE KIWANIS CLUB IN CAMDEN...

Upcoming Programs (at Camden's own Catherine's Bistro):                                                               

                                             

07-18-19                        Cathy Cash, Executive Director of the Ouachita Enrichment Center    

07-25-19                        Brandy Thomas --  Nick Plastiras -  Scenic Hill Solar

 

08-01-19                       Alissa Garrett  -  Bearden High School Football Coach -  Greg Anthony

 

08-08-19                       Mary Beth Olvey -  Harmony Grove Football coach -  Ernie Horstkamp

 

08-15-19                       Tina Davis -  CFHS Football Coach Jake Monden and team players:  Kaci Leichmon, Austin Stone and Jacoby Williams

 

08-22-19                       Alyssa Nutt

 

08-28-19                       WEDNESDAY -  JOINT CIVIC CLUB MEETING -  SAU TEC STUDENT APPRECIATION

 

09-05-19                       Mike Smith

 

09-12-19                       Sarah Jones

 

09-19-19                       Betsy Thomson

 

09-26-19                       L.E Lindsey                 

 

 

 

JULY 16, 2019

 
 
 

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Cotton, Van Hollen, Colleagues Introduce the Defending America’s 5G Future Act

 

Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Mark Warner (D-Virginia), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) today introduced legislation to reinforce the Trump administration’s efforts to prevent the Chinese-owned telecom company Huawei from threatening America’s national security. The Defending America's 5G Future Act would codify President Trump’s recent Executive Order and would prohibit the removal of Huawei from the Commerce Department Entity List without an act of Congress. It also would empower Congress to disallow waivers that any administration might grant to U.S. companies engaged in commerce with Huawei. Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin), Jimmy Panetta (D-California), Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), and Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

 

“Huawei isn’t a normal business partner for American companies, it’s a front for the Chinese Communist Party. Our bill reinforces the president’s decision to place Huawei on a technology blacklist. American companies shouldn’t be in the business of selling our enemies the tools they’ll use to spy on Americans,” said Cotton.

 

“The best way to address the national security threat we face from China’s telecommunications companies is to draw a clear line in the sand and stop retreating every time Beijing pushes back. By prohibiting American companies from doing business with Huawei, we finally sent an unequivocal message that we take this threat seriously and President Trump shouldn’t be able to trade away those legitimate security concerns,” said Van Hollen. “This legislation will make sure he doesn’t by codifying the President’s original executive order on Huawei and prohibiting the Administration from relieving penalties on Huawei without the approval of Congress.”

 

“This bill codifies Huawei’s addition to the Commerce Department’s banned Entity List, and thus protects one of the Trump Administration’s most important moves in America’s long-term strategic competition with the totalitarian Chinese government and Communist Party,” said Rubio. “Huawei, a malign Chinese state-directed telecommunications company that seeks to dominate the future of 5G networks, is an instrument of national power used by the regime in Beijing to undermine U.S. companies and other international competitors, engage in espionage on foreign countries, and steal intellectual property and trade secrets.”

 

“President Trump’s executive order and the Department of Commerce’s Entity List designation reflect the reality that companies like Huawei represent a threat to the security of U.S. and allied communications networks. It shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip in a larger trade negotiation. This bipartisan bill will make sure that Congress has a chance to weigh in if the President attempts to make concessions on our national security,” said Warner.

 

“Huawei poses an alarming and unacceptable threat to our nation’s critical telecommunications networks. Our bipartisan bill is a no-brainer. Preventing Huawei from doing business in the United States protects our national security. We must act swiftly to make sure this dangerous company does not cause us harm,” said Blumenthal.

 

“We must make a concerted effort to confront the threat China poses to U.S. national security, intellectual property, and technology,” said Romney. “Our bill will prohibit U.S.-based companies from doing business with Huawei until they no longer pose a national security threat.”

 

“Huawei is an appendage of the Chinese Communist Party and should be treated as such,” said Rep. Gallagher. “The President’s actions to protect America’s telecommunications supply chain and restrict the sale of American technology to Huawei were critical steps to protect the future of 5G. It is time we codify these decisions into law and ensure American innovation does not fuel Huawei’s CCP-directed campaign to dominate the global telecommunications market.”

 

“Huawei is a threat to our international communications and, thus, our national security.  This bipartisan legislation prevents compromises of our communications and stops foreign adversaries from benefiting from our ingenuity.  It is time for Congress to come together and reassert its authority to protect American business and consumers and the safety of our constituents,” said Rep. Panetta.

 

“Huawei is a serious threat to American prosperity and security, and the United States must remain vigilant against this Chinese state-directed company and its efforts to gain access to American data, defense supply chain, and other crucial information. The Defending America’s 5G Future Act codifies the President’s wise decision to blacklist Huawei, and sends a clear message that Huawei continues to be a vehicle the Chinese Communist Party is using to gain commercial and security advantages and threaten the United States,” said Rep. Cheney.

 

“The threat from Huawei to U.S. and allied information networks is real. We cannot allow safeguards and restrictions placed on them to backslide without Congress having a say in the matter. I’m proud to work across the aisle to ensure that American and allied communications are protected against this problematic company for the foreseeable future,” said Rep. Gallego.

 

 
 
 
 
 
News Release - Arkansas State Police Public Affairs Office | Contact Information: (501) 618 - 8232| asp.pio@asp.arkansas.gov
 
 
 
  “OBEY THE SIGN OR PAY THE FINE”:
ADDED LAW ENFORCEMENT PRESENCE AND ASSIGNMENTS AIMED AT STOPPING SPEEDERS
       
 
  (LITTLE ROCK) – Arkansas law enforcement officers will be working overtime shifts and regular patrols committed to the assignment of making state highways and streets safer by stopping drivers who don’t obey the speed limit.  The special enforcement operation began Monday and will continue through Sunday, July 21.
  “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine” is a coordinated effort aimed at stopping drivers who exceed the posted speed limit along streets and highways they’re traveling.  The intensified enforcement effort underscores the severity of the problem, both locally and across the nation.
  “Speeding translates into injury and death on our roadways,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “It greatly reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around another vehicle, a hazardous object on the roadway or an unexpected change in the highway, such as a sharp curve.”
  During calendar year 2017, speeding was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S., accounting for more than 9,700 deaths.
  “Speeding drivers put themselves, their passengers and other drivers at tremendous risk,” Colonel Bryant stated, “and the Arkansas State Police is prepared to dedicate whatever resources necessary to stop speeders and make the highways safer.”
  According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a motor vehicle crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 miles per hour or greater, is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 or 50 MPH and nearly five times as likely from a crash on a road with a speed limit of 40 mph or below.  Each year across the nation approximately 15 percent of the speeding-related fatalities occur on interstate highways.
  Driver and passenger safety is also compromised when a vehicle is traveling at the speed limit but too fast for road conditions, such as during inclement weather, along sections of roads that are being repaired or during evening hours when a road may not be adequately illuminated.
  NHTSA officials consider a motor vehicle crash to be speed related when a driver is charged with exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions.
  For more information on the “Obey the Sign, or Pay the Fine” mobilization, please visit 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.
     
 
 
 
 
NEW TEAM MEMBERS JOIN
 
SAAC's PENGUIN PROJECT PRODUCTION
 
 
The South Arkansas Arts Center’s Penguin Project production of “Seussical KIDS” is excited to announce two new members of the production team. Joining the project staff are Karen Langston as Mentor Coordinator and Randa Stevens as Family Coordinator. The project will begin in late August, with public performances of “Seussical KIDS” on October 4 and 5.
 
The Penguin Project, made possible at SAAC by a grant from the Simmons First Foundation, is a unique opportunity for children with special needs to perform in a live stage production, pairing special needs artists with peer mentors, who act as their creative guides through every element of the production. The artist and their mentor appear together on stage in a full theatrical production at the culmination of the project. Because of this unique structure, the staff includes group coordinators for both the mentors and the families of the artists.
 
Taking on the Mentor Coordinator role for the second year, Langston is also a parent of an artist. Her work focuses on working directly with the mentors to ensure that they are fulfilling their role with their artists, both on stage and behind the scenes. She is currently recruiting students between the ages of 12 and 18, with a natural ability to lead and a compassionate heart, to serve as mentors.
 
“As the mother of an artist, I have seen these relationships inspire and encourage in amazing ways,” Langston said. “I love to see the relationship and trust build between an artist and their mentor.”
 
Joining the production staff for the first time this year is Randa Stevens, who will serve as the Family Coordinator. After participating as a parent last year, this year she will be the constant point of contact for the families involved to facilitate communication and answer questions along the way.
 
“I understand how powerful it is to drop your child off at an activity and know that they are loved and looked after,” Stevens said. “As the parent of and advocate for a special needs child who has been given such an opportunity, it is my pleasure to be able to facilitate that for the Penguin Project.”
 
Throughout the summer months, the Penguin Project team has planned a series of fun get-togethers for the artists and mentors. Penguin Summer Fun Fest’s next gathering is Wednesday, July 17, at the MAD Playscape. Prospective artists, mentors, and their families will gather from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. for some fun and games, as well as the chance to get to know each other a little bit better.
 
For more information on participating in the Penguin Project, 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.
 

JULY 15, 2019

AT THIS WEEK'S LIONS CLUB MEETING....

The guest speaker will be Julia Nipper with Kindred Hospice.  She will talk about hospice care and how they can help.

 

JULY 12, 2019

FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE
 

FOR ARKANSAS FLOOD VICTIMS

July 11, 2019 – As a result of the recent flooding in Arkansas, the Arkansas Bar and the Young Lawyers’ Section, in conjunction with FEMA, the Arkansas Emergency Management Agency, the American Bar Association, Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas, Arkansas Access to Justice, Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association and Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel is providing free disaster legal assistance efforts to affected individuals who were affected by the recent floods. The toll-free number is 1-800-950-5817 and flood victims may now call the hotline.

FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of Arkansas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms and flooding beginning on May 21, 2019, and ending June 14, 2019.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, Lincoln, and Yell counties.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Local legal aid providers and pro bono attorneys will be available to help with the following:

·       Assistance securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster victims;

·       Assistance with life, medical, and property insurance claims;

·       Help with home repair contracts and contractors;

·       Replacement of wills and other important legal documents lost or destroyed in the disaster;

·       Consumer protection to guard against price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process;

·       Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and

·       Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

Flood victims may call the toll-free number and a volunteer attorney will respond by telephone to answer their legal questions. The goal is to assist as many individuals affected by the floods as possible.

Beware of Fraud

Both FEMA and the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office urge Arkansans to be aware of the risk of fraud and common scams in the wake of severe weather. Common post-disaster fraud practices include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations, and fake offers of state or federal aid. Arkansans are urged to ask questions and to require identification when someone claims to represent a government agency.

Affected individuals should also keep in mind that state and federal workers never ask for or accept money and always carry identification badges with a photograph. There is no fee required to apply for or to receive disaster assistance from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), or the State. Additionally, no state or federal government disaster assistance agency will call to ask for you financial account information. Unless you place a call to the agency yourself, you should not provide personal information over the phone as it can lead to identity theft.

Those who suspect fraud can call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 (toll-free). Complaints may also be made to local law enforcement.

Partnership Members

The following organizations have joined forces to support a toll-free phone line for Arkansas flood victims to request free legal assistance, and to provide volunteer attorneys to handle cases arising from recent storm damage.

 American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division - The ABA YLD, the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession, and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law. Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and one of the largest voluntary professional membership groups in the world.

Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror

 The Arkansas Bar – (www.arkbar.com) The Arkansas Bar Association is a voluntary, statewide organization with 5,000 members. Among its purposes are the advancement of the administration of justice and the fostering among its members of high ideals of integrity, learning and public service.

 National Disaster Legal Aid Online – (http://www.disasterlegalaid.org/) NDLA is a collaborative effort of Lone Star Legal Aid, the American Bar Association, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and Pro Bono Net.

 The Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas are the only free civil legal aid organizations in the state. Together, they help more than 12,000 clients each year.

 The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission (https://arkansasjustice.org/) works to ensure justice for all. That means that all Arkansans get the protections of the law. We research the unmet legal problems of Arkansans, encourage attorneys to do pro bono work for families who are priced out of the legal market, and recommend evidence-based solutions to policymakers.

 Since its inception in 1963, the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association has served as a statewide voice for Arkansas consumers.  ATLA’s members are attorneys dedicated to protecting the health and safety of Arkansas families.  Whether at the State Capitol or the Courthouse, ATLA is fighting to protect Arkansas consumers and to preserve the right to a trial by jury and access to justice for each and every citizen of this great state as guaranteed in our state and nation’s constitutions.

 The Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel is an organization of lawyers in Arkansas whose work focuses primarily on defense litigation. The AADC strives to bring together Arkansas lawyers who devote a substantial amount of their professional time to the handling of litigated cases and whose representation in such cases is primarily for the defense. 

 

 Free Legal Answers (AR.freelegalanswers.org) is a virtual legal advice clinic. Qualifying users post their civil legal question to their state's website. Users will then be emailed when their question receives a response. Attorney volunteers, who must be authorized to provide pro bono assistance in their state, log in to the website, select questions to answer, and provide legal information and advice. Volunteer attorneys will not answer criminal law questions.

 United Policyholders (www.uphelp.org<http://www.uphelp.org/>) UP is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) consumer advocacy group that specializes in helping disaster survivors with insurance claim issues.’ UP also trains case managers and legal aid lawyers to assist clients with insurance and disaster recovery matters.

JULY 11, 2019

UPDATE: The Hub (part of the Christian Health Center)'s regular monthly meeting

in Camden will not take place the second Tuesday of July and August.

 

 

 
 
TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN APPOINTED TO

 

THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION

 

OF STATE TREASURERS

Will serve as Vice President of Southern Region

 

Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan was chosen by the National Association of State Treasurers’ Executive Committee to serve as the Southern Region Vice President through the remainder of this calendar year. Milligan replaces former Georgia Treasurer Steve McCoy, whose term as Treasurer ended in May.

 

In his role as Vice President, Milligan will facilitate regional meetings, mentor new treasurers, and serve as the liaison between members of the Southern Region and the National Executive Committee.

 

“I am humbled and excited about the opportunity to serve my colleagues around the country in this role, and I look forward to helping bring my team’s innovative mindset to the executive committee,” Milligan said.

 

JULY 10, 2019

 

FARM CREDIT DONATES $50,000

TO ARKANSAS RED CROSS FLOOD RELIEF 

The Farm Credit Cooperatives of Arkansas made a $50,000 donation to the Arkansas Red Cross on July 3.  The funds will assist Arkansans impacted by recent flooding along the Arkansas River. Thirty-one counties along the Arkansas portion of the river system sustained damage from late May and early June flooding. 

 

“Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster,” said Arkansas Red Cross Executive Director Lori Arnold.

 

“Farm Credit’s $50,000 donation will go toward providing essential support so the Red Cross is able to provide clean water, safe shelter and hot meals during people’s darkest moments,” Arnold continued.   

 

The Red Cross responds quickly when disaster strikes. They are often the first to offer meals, shelter, emotional support, health services, relief supplies, initial casework and, eventually, longer-term recovery efforts. 

 

“We live and work in the rural communities we serve and our concern is with our friends, neighbors and customers who have been affected by recent flooding,” said Brandon Haberer, president and CEO of Farm Credit of Western Arkansas. 

 

“With some of the state’s most fertile cropland along the Arkansas River, the flooding has been devastating for farmers, in particular,” Haberer continued. 

 

“We have customers with significant damage to homes, farm buildings and farmland. The Farm Credit Cooperatives of Arkansas are making this donation to help support the work the Arkansas Red Cross does in meeting immediate needs in times of crisis.”   

 

With $3.7 billion in assets, the Farm Credit Cooperatives of Arkansas have more than 11,000 members across the state.  As three separate Farm Credit associations, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit Midsouth and Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, they supply reliable credit to farmers, ranchers and rural homeowners.  More information available at ARFarmCredit.com. 

JULY 9, 2019

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COTTON SEEKING FALL INTERNS

FOR ARKANSAS STATE OFFICES

Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today announced he is seeking fall interns in his state offices in Little Rock and Springdale. Internships will be offered in two sessions: August 26 – October 18 and October 21-December 13. 

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 
state_internships@cotton.senate.gov  and specify their desired office location and session before July 31, 2019.

 

JURIED ART COMPETITION RECEPTION 

SATURDAY, JULY 13

SAAC’s 2019 juror René Paul Barilleaux selected a total of 52 pieces created by 30 artists from around the country to be included in the competition exhibit. Barilleaux is Curator of Art at McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. The exhibition will be open July 8-20 in the Merkle and Price Galleries. The artist reception will be Saturday, July 13, 6:00-7:30p.m., with awards presentation at 6:30.

Artists included in the exhibition are:

Brandin Barón • San Francisco, California
Rhonda Berry • Fordyce, Arkansas
Carly Bodnar • Brooklyn, New York
Aaron Calvert • Russellville, Arkansas
Kelly Campbell • El Dorado, Arkansas
Susan Chambers • Little Rock, Arkansas
Jana Edwards • Texarkana, Arkansas
Robert Fairchild • Memphis, Tennessee
Debilynn Fendley • Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Sarah Haig • Martin, Tennessee
Susie Henley • Little Rock, Arkansas
Whitney Hyde • Provo, Utah
George Lorio • Rockville, Maryland
Cindy Magee • Bossier City, Louisiana
Moises Menendez • Magnolia, Arkansas
Lorena Molina • Cincinnati, Ohio
Mary Murphy • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Joan North • Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Jim Pearson • Lawrenceville, Illinois
Spencer Purinton • El Dorado, Arkansas
David Rackley • Russellville, Arkansas
Rose Anne Raphael • New Iberia, Louisiana
David Rollins • Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Barbara Satterfield • Conway, Arkansas
Naomi Schlinke • Austin, Texas
Sandra Sell • Little Rock, Arkansas
Aj Smith • Little Rock, Arkansas
Bruce West • Springfield, Missouri
Yongzi Ye • Providence, Rhode Island
Jiawei Zhao • Brooklyn, New York

 

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES

APPOINTMENTS TO THE ARKANSAS 

LEVEE TASK FORCE 

Task force to include 25 members from state, local, and legislature

LITTLE ROCK – In June, as a result of catastrophic flooding along a number of rivers in Arkansas in the last few years, Governor Asa Hutchinson issued Executive Order 19-10 to create the Arkansas Levee Task Force to study and analyze the current conditions of the state’s levees. During June’s historic flooding, several levees were impacted including a breach to the Holla Bend Levee in Yell County.

The first meeting of the Arkansas Levee Task Force will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, July 12, 2019. The location of the meeting will be announced later this week.

Today, Governor Hutchinson announced the full list of appointments to the task force. They are as follows:

  • Jami Cook - Chair
    Secretary, Department of Public Safety

     
  • Tommy Land
    Arkansas Land Commissioner

     
  • Wes Ward
    Secretary, Department of Agriculture

     
  • Larry Walther
    Secretary, Department of Finance and Administration

     
  • Bruce Holland
    Director, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission

     
  • A.J. Gary
    Director, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management

     
  • Deidre Smith
    Director, Arkansas Waterways Commission

     
  • Shelby Johnson
    Director, Geographic Information Office

     
  • Senator Jason Rapert
    Senate Appointment

     
  • Senator Gary Stubblefield
    Senate Appointment

     
  • Representative Mary Bentley
    House Appointment

     
  • Representative David Hillman
    House Appointment

     
  • County Judge Mark Thone
    Yell County

     
  • County Judge Jeff Phillips
    Jackson County

     
  • County Judge Mack Ball
    Chicot County

     
  • County Clerk Pam Ennis
    Pope County

     
  • Mayor Jimmy Witt
    Dardanelle – Yell County

     
  • Mayor Shirley Washington
    Pine Bluff – Jefferson County

     
  • Rob Rash
    St. Francis Levee Board

     
  • Mike Lowe
    Representing Miller County

     
  • Tim Ralston
    Representing Pope and Conway Counties

     
  • Marty Shell
    Representing Sebastian and Crawford Counties

     
  • Evan Teague
    Engineer, Farm Bureau

     
  • Tommy Bond
    Engineer, Pulaski County

     
  • Hal Kemp
    Attorney, Pulaski County

Members of the Task Force will also identify sources and requirements for funding the construction, repair, and maintenance of the levees; study prospective monitoring and reporting systems for maintenance of the levees; and review adequacy of current laws and organizational structure of the levee system and levee district boards.

The Task Force shall provide a report of its findings and make recommendations to the Governor for improved monitoring and maintenance of the state’s levee system by December 31, 2019.  The Task Force may provide additional reports and recommendations to the Governor as necessary.

 

 

 

Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE OBTAINS OVER $600,000

JUDGMENT AGAINST THE RESORT PLACE 

Says, ‘being held responsible for its unacceptable business practices’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge obtained a judgment valued at more than $600,000 against The Resort Place LLC and owners Jay Allen Edmonson and Dora Ann Edmonson. The Resort Place operated under the names Resort Place Travel and C4Success. Based on allegations in the complaint, The Resort Place failed to book pre-paid vacations and used consumers’ credit card information to pay for other consumers’ vacations.

“The Resort Place is being held responsible for its unacceptable business practices and causing 47 consumers to lose their hard-earned money,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I’m dedicated to protecting Arkansans from these types of deceptive business practices.”

The judgment, which was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, orders The Resort Place to pay $162,614.00 in restitution to consumers. The Edmonsons must also pay $10,000 in civil penalties for each affected consumer, totaling $470,000. The Resort Place’s business license has been revoked, and the Edmonsons have been barred from owning an online travel agency or working as travel agents in the future.

Rutledge filed a consumer-protection lawsuit against The Resort Place in February 2017 after receiving a number of consumer complaints. The settlement concludes a multi-year investigation into The Resort Place.

JULY 8, 2019

THE WORKSHOPS ARE HERE!

 The following SAU Small Business and Technology Development Center

workshops are sponsored by Team Camden, OPED, Farmers Bank and

Trust, and Generations Bank.

 

July 9 Workshop Schedule:

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Summer Startup Series: Workshop #2 (Session #1) with the Department of Finance and Administration (Register: https://asbtdcecenterdirect.com/events/70370607)

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Summer Startup Series: Workshop #1 (Video Replay) with the Secretary of State video and ASBTDC facilitating (Register: https://asbtdcecenterdirect.com/events/70370614)

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Summer Startup Series: Workshop #2 (Session #2) with the Department of Finance and Administration (Register: https://asbtdcecenterdirect.com/events/70370612)

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Kristen Cribb, business

consultant for the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center

by phone at 870-235-5033, or by e-mail at kbcribb@saumag.edu.

 

COTTON STATEMENT ON IRAN'S BREACH 

OF NUCLEAR DEAL RESTRICTIONS

July 8, 2019

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on Iran's announcement that it has breached uranium limits set in place to keep it from acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities:

"Iran is playing a dangerous game of nuclear brinksmanship, but the United States and our European allies shouldn't give in to its threats. Nuclear enrichment is the path to ruin for Iran's ayatollahs."

Arkansas AG logo

 

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES ARREST OF

POLK COUNTY MAN FOR CRIMES 

INVOLVING CHILDREN 

 

LITTLE ROCK – On Friday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of a Polk County man for crimes involving children.

James Edward Schroer, 41, of Cove, was arrested by the Attorney General’s Office Cyber Crimes Unit on 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony. He is currently being held at the Polk County jail on $500,000 bond.

Special agents in the Attorney General’s office seized three phones, two computer hard drives, two tablets, three SD cards, and 12 flash drives from the home. This file will be turned over to 18th West Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner.

 

JULY 4, 2019

 
SAAC TO HOST "THE FEAST OF FOOLS"
 
FRENCH DINNER JULY 18
 
Bonjour!  Please accept this invitation from the South Arkansas Arts Center to attend the swankiest event of the summer.  The SAAC board of directors invites you the “The Feast of Fools”,  a night of fine wines from sponsor Presqu'ile Winery, incredible French food and desserts, and a showing of the summer musical, ”The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. This exclusive opening night event for a limited number of guests offers the chance to see the first public performance of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in an intimate setting.  This very festive and ‘tres chic’ evening will take place on Thursday evening, July 18, 2019, beginning at 6 pm.
 
“The Feast of Fools” will be a night to remember, with Chef Lilli Ellen, Chef Director of the Culinary Arts Program at South Arkansas Community College, directing the night’s cuisine.  The tables will be personally decorated by SAAC friends and patrons, with each table displaying a distinct personality and individual flair, inspired by the entertainment of the night…the musical!
 
The dinner menu, planned and executed by Chef Lilli and a host of SAAC friends, will tantalize the taste buds and inspire the revelers for the exciting show they will see after dinner has concluded. Delicious wines from Presqu'ile Winery will be poured during the dinner.  The impressive French menu consists of Baguette au Beurre (toasted baguettes with compound butter), and Salade Frisée avec Amandes, Raisins, Poire, Brie, et Vinaigrette (frisée salad with toasted almonds, grapes, candied pear, toasted brie, and white wine dressing).  The main course will include Coq au Vin, (roasted chicken with vegetables in a wine sauce reduction), Haricots Vert (French style green beans), and the table host’s choice of potato. Coffee and dessert will be served during intermission.
 
Tickets for this special event are $100 per person and are all-inclusive: dinner, wines, dessert, and show ticket ($30).  For more information about this ‘dinner and a show’ evening or to make reservations, 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.
 
###
 
Planning SAAC’s “Feast of Fools” dinner are from left to right, Chef Lilli Ellen, SAAC board members Ann Wilson, Lynn Dwight and Carol Ellen along with SAAC director, Laura Allen.
story.lead_photo.caption
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

JULY 3, 2019

BOOZMAN JOINS COLLEAGUES TO

INTRODUCE BILL MAKING CRISIS

LINE EASIER FOR VETERANS TO

GAIN ACCESS 

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is one of six senators seeking to reduce veteran suicide by making the dedicated crisis hotline easier to access.

Boozman joined Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) as the lead Republican sponsor of the Suicide Prevention by Eliminating Excessive Digits Act of 2019 (SPEED) Act, which requires the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to designate a three-digit dialing code, like 911, for the current Veterans Crisis Line number.

"Despite the significant resources we have allocated toward suicide prevention efforts, the number of veterans who take their own lives everyday remains unchanged. More work must be done to find ways to reach veterans in need. Establishing a three-digit number that is easy for veterans to remember, and quick to access in a crisis, is one simple way we can save more lives. We simply have to do everything in our power to move the needle in the right direction,” said Boozman.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that more than twenty veterans die by suicide every day across the United States and suicide rates are nearly two times higher for veterans than for non-veteran adults. The Veterans Crisis Line, a 24/7 operation created in 2007, has answered over 3.5 million calls.

Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) joined Manchin, Tester and Boozman as original cosponsors of the SPEED Act. The bill has the support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Helping introduce the SPEED Actis the latest in a series of efforts by Boozman to address the veteran suicide epidemic. Last month, Boozman introduced the IMPROVE (Incorporating Measurements and Providing Resources for Outreach to Veterans Everywhere) Wellbeing for Veterans Act, which VA Secretary Robert Wilkie called “key” to unlocking the veterans suicide crisis. The bill creates a new grant program to enable the VA to conduct additional outreach through veteran-serving non-profits in addition to state and local organizations. Additionally, Boozman is leading efforts to ensure the VA corrects its suicide prevention outreach failures identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as the lead Republican cosponsor of the Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act.

JULY 2, 2019

 
THIS FROM THE CHRISTIAN HEALTH CENTER'S THE HUB...
During the month of July, Betsy Thomson State Farm Agency will donate $5 for every person we send them requesting a quote.  You can either call them at 836-7880 or stop by 710 Calif Ave. SW.  There is no obligation to buy anything.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Griffin Praises President Trump's Nomination of Rudofsky for U.S. District Court

Says, Rudofsky is an 'excellent choice' and has 'demonstrated a firm commitment to the rule of law'

 

LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin issued the following statement after President Donald Trump nominated Lee Rudofsky to serve as Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas:

 

"I commend President Donald Trump for nominating Lee Rudofsky to be a U.S. District Judge. Lee is an excellent choice for this position, and throughout his professional career, he has demonstrated a firm commitment to the rule of law, judicial restraint, and originalism. Lee understands that a judge's role is to interpret the law, not legislate from the bench. This nomination is great news for the State of Arkansas, and is the latest in a long line of impressive judicial candidates nominated by President Trump." 

 

 
SAAC ANNOUNCES PRODUCTION STAFF
 
FOR PENGUIN PROJECT'S "SEUSSICAL KIDS"
 
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces the production staff for its upcoming Penguin Project production of “Seussical KIDS”. Sponsored by Simmons First Foundation, the production will run October 4 and 5, 2019.
 
Lynn Gunter, who has directed many shows on the SAAC stage, will serve as director for this special project, along with Cassie Hickman, who has worked with SAAC as well, as music director.
 
"I love working with children,” Gunter said.  “They are capable of great quality theatre when they are encouraged, instructed, pushed, stretched, and held accountable. Through that process, seeing a child rise up to the potential they know they have and seeing the pride they hold in their eyes from such hard work motivates me to work hard for them.  It is my strong desire to give young people opportunities to perform in safe surroundings, both in content and influence.  Penguin Project fits right in with that goal." 
 
Gunter is a resident of Huttig, where her husband is pastor of Huttig First Baptist Church.  She is also the K4-12th Grade music teacher for WSCS.  Her favorite productions that she has directed have been "Alice in Wonderland, JR" (2015) with the local homeschool group, "Fiddler on the Roof" (2017) and "The Crucible" (2016) with the SAAC Teen Drama Club, and "Bible Truths with Dr. Seuss" (2018) at WSCS. She also directed the recent productions of “Honk, JR” and “Midsummer’s Nights Dream”.  Gunter has a BA in Speech Communications, traveled the Tri-State and national collegiate circuit in forensics and debate, and has directed 8 productions on the SAAC stage, 4 productions at Westside Christian School, and countless VBS productions in various churches. 
 
Hickman has been involved at SAAC for years, also, having been the music director for many of the area home school productions, including “Alice In Wonderland”, “Into The Woods”,  “Godspell”, “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Music Man”.  Hickman had two years’ experience in theatre in high school and some in college, as well, and also led the musical part of worship services for Cross Life Church for 5 years.  She has a 15 year old daughter who is interested in drama, and that is what brought Hickman back to the theatre.  “I love to see the kids ‘get’ the music”, she said, “and be able to give it back to the audience so they ‘get it’, too.”
 
“Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss?” said Hickman.  “Add in some great music, some special needs artists and mentors…who wouldn’t want to be involved?  This fall, SAAC is teaming up again with the Penguin Project to put on “Seussical, KIDS”.  We are looking for special needs artists between the ages of 8-18 who would love their chance to shine as well as mentors who would love to bring out the best in others.  We need you! Come join the fun this fall!”
 
The Penguin Project is a unique opportunity for children with special needs to perform in a live stage production in front of an audience. Through targeted outreach, special needs children are recruited as artists and cast in the production, from starring roles to ensemble. Each special-needs artist is paired with a mentor of similar age, who guides them through the production from start to finish, helping them learn lines, dances, songs, and blocking. The children operate as a pair throughout the entire process and appear on stage together, resulting in a full theatrical performance, with costumes, sets, and music.
 
For more information about Penguin Project or this production, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.
 
Cassie Hickman (left) and Lynn Gunter, who are in charge of the Penguin Project for the SAAC.

JULY 1, 2019

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON ISSUES

EXECUTIVE ORDER TO CREATE THE 

ARKANSAS LEVEE TASK FORCE 

$10 million will be available through ADEM for immediate repairs

LITTLE ROCK – In June, the state experienced record flooding that impacted a number of communities along the Arkansas River, causing extensive damage. Several levees were impacted, as a result, including the breach of the Holla Bend Levee in Yell County. For those reasons, last week Governor Asa Hutchinson issued Executive Order 19-10 to create the Arkansas Levee Task Force to study and analyze the current conditions of the state’s levees. 

Members of the Task Force will also identify sources and requirements for funding the construction, repair, and maintenance of the levees; study prospective monitoring and reporting systems for maintenance of the levees; and review adequacy of current laws and organizational structure of the levee system and levee district boards.

In addition, the Governor announced he will be requesting legislative approval for $10 million to be made available through the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, in consultation with the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, for immediate levee repair.

“The Flood of 2019 revealed the many weaknesses in our state’s system of levees and points to the urgent need to formulate a plan to coordinate inspection and maintenance in cooperation with the Corps of Engineers and the local levee boards,” said Governor Hutchinson. “We can’t postpone this planning until another historic flood puts us to a test. The Arkansans who live and work along our waterways depend on our leaders to secure their safety as much as humanly possible by ensuring we incorporate the best practices and technology to fortify our levees.”

The Task Force shall provide a report of its findings and make recommendations to the Governor for improved monitoring and maintenance of the state’s levee system by December 31, 2019.  The Task Force may provide additional reports and recommendations to the Governor as necessary.

Members of the Task Force are as follows:

       •     Jami Cook - Chair
              Secretary, Department of Public Safety 

       •     Tommy Land
              Arkansas Land Commissioner

       •     Wes Ward
              Secretary, Department of Agriculture

       •     Larry Walther
              Secretary, Department of Finance and Administration

       •     Bruce Holland
              Director, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission

       •     A.J. Gary
              Director, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management

       •     Deidre Smith
              Director, Arkansas Waterways Commission

       •     Shelby Johnson
              Director, Geographic Information Office

The Task Force will also include at least one county judge, one county clerk, and one municipal elected official. Additional citizens, including legislators, with knowledge of the engineering, construction, funding, or oversight of levees, as well as citizens representing flood-impacted areas, shall be added, as the Governor deems necessary.

 

Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES JULY 

MOBILE OFFICE SCHEDULE 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced mobile office locations for July.

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 Arkansans 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 161.5 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:

Carroll County

Tuesday, July 9

10:30 a.m. to noon

Carroll County Senior Activity & Wellness Center

202 W. Madison Ave

Berryville, AR 72616

Woodruff County

Thursday, July 11

10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Woodruff County Senior Life Center

303 Cache St.

Patterson, AR 72123

Baxter County

Thursday, July 18

9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Van Matre Senior Activity & Wellness Center

1101 Spring St.

Mountain Home, AR 72653

Clay County

Tuesday, July 23

11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

M.B. Ainley, Jr. Community Center

536 E. Elm St.

Corning, AR 72422

Sebastian County

Friday, July 26

10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Fort Smith Senior Activity Center

2700 Cavanaugh Rd.

Fort Smith, AR 72908

Marion County

Tuesday, July 30

10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Marion County Activity & Wellness Center

5966 Highway 202 E.

Flippin, AR 72634

JUNE 30, 2019

LIONS CLUB MEETING POSTPONED

The Camden Noon Lions Club will not meet this week due to 4th of July holiday.

JUNE 28, 2019

 

JULY 4th HOLIDAY DRIVERS BEWARE: “DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER”
(LITTLE ROCK) –
Celebrating the Fourth of July typically means travel plans for Arkansans and others who will be crisscrossing the state on every highway and many local streets.  The holiday is also one of the deadliest because of drunk drivers who make the choice to get behind the wheel and drive.

  Beginning today (Friday, June 28th) law enforcement officers will devote additional time and resources patrolling to find and arrest drunk drivers.  Their special assignments will continue through Sunday, July 7th.  The added patrol work is one part of a statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over operation designed to spread the lifesaving message that drunk driving is unacceptable, deadly, and illegal behavior.

  “There will be zero tolerance for impaired drivers,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “We want to be very clear about the consequences of drunk driving; it’s illegal and incredibly deadly and it’s a risk we don’t want anyone to take”.

  During the 2017 Fourth of July holiday period, 237 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. These deaths accounted for 39 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic crashes that occurred over the holiday period. The deaths also represent a 23 percent increase from 2016, during which time 192 people were killed during the same holiday period.

  “The consequences are serious.  If we catch you driving under the influence of alcohol, we will arrest you, and you’ll go to jail,” said Colonel Bryant.

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

   For those individuals who may consider the idea of driving after consuming alcohol beverages, the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office recommends these options:

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

  More information about the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign can be
obtained at www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. Information about Arkansas' ongoing "Toward Zero Deaths" campaign to eliminate preventable traffic deaths can be found at www.TZDarkansas.org

RUTLEDGE DISTRIBUTES $150,000 TO CHILD ABDUCTION RESPONSE TEAM TRAINING
Says, ‘difference between life and death for a child’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced yesterday the allocation of an additional $150,000 for the Child Abduction Response Teams (CART) program, a multiagency initiative coordinated by the Criminal Justice Institute. This announcement comes after the collaborative effort completed the first in the nation, statewide certification of all twelve CARTs located in the state, streamlining resources to better protect children in Arkansas if they are abducted, missing or endangered.

“Too many parents live in anguish of a lost or abducted child, and we must do everything in our power to bring missing children home,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “CART teams understand how precious each second is when investigating an abduction which can mean the difference between life and death for a child.”

In 2016, a partnership was formed between the Attorney General’s Office, the Criminal Justice Institute, Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. The agreement formed the foundation for twelve CARTs with the goal of reducing the response time and increasing the likelihood of a successful recovery for missing or abducted children.

In 2015, Rutledge designated $100,000 from the Standard & Poor settlement to facilitate the implementation of CARTs throughout the state.

The multi-agency and multi-discipline response has established and practice channels of response to reduce time and has received full certification from the U.S. Department of Justice, AMBER Alert and Technical Assistance Program.

COTTON, SCHUMER, COLLEAGUES ANNOUNCE SENATE PASSAGE OF FENTANYL SANCTIONS ACT
Washington, D.C. - Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Gary Peters (D-Michigan), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) have announced the passage of the bipartisan Fentanyl Sanctions Act, part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, which passed the Senate this afternoon by a vote of 86-8.

The senators' bill would hold China and other countries accountable for their commitments to crack down on producers and traffickers of fentanyl and other deadly synthetic opioids, pushing China's government to honor their commitment to enforce new laws declaring all fentanyl derivatives illegal. Additionally, the legislation would provide the U.S. government with more tools and resources to sanction illicit traffickers from China, Mexico, and other countries-a critical effort, in light of the steep rise in devastating fentanyl overdose deaths.

"The Chinese government is the world's largest drug dealer," said Cotton. "China has allowed fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to pour into the United States for years, killing tens of thousands of Americans. Our law enforcement and intelligence agencies need additional resources to target the fentanyl producers, traffickers, cartels, and other criminals who are funneling this poison across our borders and into our communities. I'm pleased that this year's NDAA includes our bipartisan amendment to give law enforcement critical tools to stop this scourge and hold China accountable."

"We must hold China, currently the world's largest producer of illicit fentanyl, accountable for its role in the trade of this deadly drug. Our Senate-passed, bipartisan sanctions bill will do just that," said Schumer. "The opioid crisis has claimed tens of thousands of lives and devastated families and communities across the country. In New York state, from November 2017 to 2018, approximately 2,000 people died from an opioid overdose. About 1,500 of those deaths were from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Our legislation is critical in this fight to save American lives, and I hope to announce soon that this bill will be signed into law."

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Require imposition of sanctions on drug manufacturers in China who knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers, transnational criminal organizations like those in Mexico who mix fentanyl with other drugs and traffic them into the U.S. and financial institutions that assist such entities. Waivers would be provided for countries that take sufficient action to implement and enforce regulations on synthetic opioid production.
  • Authorize new funding to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the Departments of Treasury, Department of Defense and Department of State, to combat the foreign trafficking of synthetic opioids.
  • Urge the President to commence diplomatic efforts with U.S. partners to establish multilateral sanctions against foreign synthetic 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 U.S. 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 has struggled to enforce its current drug laws and continues to deny that its illicit fentanyl producers are a major source of the illicit opioids contributing to the U.S. opioid crisis. To ensure accountability, Senators Cotton, Schumer, Brown, Crapo, Menendez, Toomey, Rubio, Shaheen, Cornyn, Markey, Capito, Peters, Feinstein, and Blackburn's sanctions legislation would pressure the Chinese government to move forward with an aggressive plan to enforce its announced new laws and provide the U.S. executive branch with flexible new sanction tools to go after actors, from manufacturers to traffickers, in China and other countries. Read more about the bill here.

SENATE APPROVES DEFENSE BILL WITH BOOZMAN PROVISIONS
WASHINGTON
– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) supported the Senate-passed Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill invests in our military and provides $750 billion in critical funding to ensure servicemembers have the tools and resources they need to protect national security. The Senate bill makes significant investments in research and development for key defense technologies that will help the U.S. maintain its competitive advantage. It invests in people by including a 3.1 percent pay increase, and it continues to build readiness across the services.

“Supporting our defense is a priority as we face evolving threats to our national security. This bill supports our men and women in uniform and strengthens our military forces so we can deter conflict or be well prepared for it if deterrence fails now or in the future. I’m pleased my colleagues understood the importance of incorporating my provisions that accommodate the needs of the Air Force Reserve and our nation’s veterans,” Boozman said

The Senate-passed NDAA includes the following Boozman-authored provisions:

Expands Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery – Transfers nearly 141 acres of land at Camp Robinson to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs. This provision is based on a bill introduced by Boozman and members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation that would secure land for expansion of burial space for veterans.

Grows Arlington National Cemetery – The nation’s most sacred shrine, Arlington National Cemetery, is reaching its burial capacity. Cemetery officials have worked diligently to expand in order to preserve burials into the future. This provision, which authorizes a land exchange between the U.S. Army and the National Park Service, will allow more burial space for veterans at Arlington National Cemetery. The exchange will also enable an improvement to the entrance of the cemetery.

Broadens Wounded Warriors Adaptive Sports Programs – Military Services Adaptive Sports Programs are important rehabilitation tools. This provision will allow veterans who were enrolled in their respective service’s Wounded Warrior Program prior to their date of separation to continue rehabilitative services for one year. This would permit the Department of Defense appropriated funds to cover travel, lodging and per diem for veterans for one year from date of separation to continue or complete the member’s physical, psychological and social rehabilitation. 

Increases Number of Air Force Reservists Serving on Full-Time Reserve – This provision provides an authorization for additional full-time Reservists, one of the top priorities for the Air Force Reserve.

SENATORS LEAD EFFORT FOR CONGRESS TO CONDEMN THE HOUTHI MOVEMENT IN YEMEN
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) introduced a concurrent resolution condemning the Houthi movement in Yemen for human rights violations, violence against civilians and its ties to Iran. U.S. Representatives Will Hurd (R-Texas), and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“The Houthi rebels have plunged Yemen into a brutal civil war at the bidding of Iran’s ayatollahs. The United States ought to formally condemn the Houthis for their terrorist attacks on American sailors and innocent civilians. By their actions, the Houthis condemn themselves as terrorists and outlaws from the civilized world,” said Cotton.

“The Houthis’ armed takeover of Yemen in 2014-2015 ignited that country’s horrific civil war, and, today, Yemen is the scene of the world’s most dire humanitarian crisis.  The Houthis are also responsible for documented human rights violations and attacks on commercial shipping, U.S. warships, and civilians in the region,” said Inhofe. “The Iranian regime backs them for the sole purpose of undermining our partners’ security and ours, and I am proud to join this resolution to strongly condemn the Houthis’ activities.”

“The Houthis regularly commit abhorrent acts of terror,” said Blackburn. “Their actions need to be formally condemned and Iran, the world’s most egregious state-sponsor of terror, should be held accountable for supporting the harm they inflict. I join my colleagues in calling out the Houthis for the terrorists they are – this is necessary for moving toward peace in Yemen.”

“The U.S. must remain clear-eyed about the threat to millions of innocent people and the security of the region posed by the Houthis and their backers in Tehran,” said Hurd. “I am proud to stand with my colleagues to introduce this resolution that condemns the Houthis for their blatant disregard for human rights and innocent life and supports the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to end the Yemeni Civil War.”

The resolution would:

  • Condemn the Houthis for a series of documented violations of human rights and attacks on commercial shipping, U.S. warships, and civilians in both Yemen and Saudi Arabia;
  • Express concern about Iranian influence in Yemen;
  • Urge the Houthis and other parties in the Yemeni Civil War to uphold the terms of the December 2018 Stockholm agreement; and,
  • Urge the U.S. government to support a peace process that ends the civil war and humanitarian crisis while preventing Iran and terrorist groups, like al-Qaida and ISIS, from gaining a permanent foothold on the Arabian Peninsula.
     

The resolution also highlights a series of nefarious actions by the Houthis against the Yemeni people, Saudi civilians, the U.S. military and others, including:

  • The launch of multiple cruise missiles at U.S. Navy warships in international waters in October 2016;
  • The shooting down of a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over Yemen on June 6;
  • Attacks in 2018 on Saudi oil tankers and a wheat ship in the Red Sea and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait;
  • The Houthis’ extensive use of land mines, which has killed and maimed hundreds of civilians and cut off entire communities from their crops, clean water, and humanitarian aid;
  • The continued imprisonment of 16 journalists, including 10 who could be executed following years of torture and starvation; and,
  • Two missile and drone attacks in June 2019 that killed 1 civilian and injured 47 others at Abha International Airport in southern Saudi Arabia.

 

JUNE 27, 2019

BOOZMAN STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF

BORDER SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS

PACKAGE

WASHINGTON-U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement on Senate passage of the chamber’s bill to provide additional resources to address the humanitarian and security crisis at our southwest border.

“House Democrats certainly seem to want to talk at great lengths about the humanitarian crisis at the border, but judging from the bill they passed, seem to have little desire to actually address it.

The Senate bill, while far from perfect, allocates ample resources to provide care for unaccompanied children, basic necessities—such as food, shelter and medical care—for migrants and the capabilities to process immigration cases while detaining dangerous individuals. Unlike the House version, the Senate bill passed in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner, contains no poison pills and has the potential to be signed into law. 

The Senate has shown that Republicans and Democrats working together can find solutions. House Democrats clearly have a choice—play political games or govern. I suggest they follow our lead and do the latter.”

 

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES

ANNE MARIE DORAMUS AS NEW ARKANSAS

GAME AND FISH COMMISSIONER 

First woman appointed to full term in state history

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced the appointment of Anne Marie Doramus of Little Rock to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. She is the first woman appointed to a full term on the commission in the state’s history.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners are appointed to serve 7-year terms. Anne Marie will replace outgoing commissioner Ford Overton and begin her 7-year term in July. 

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“In addition to being a successful businesswoman, Anne Marie has also been a life-long friend and advocate of the outdoors. She is an avid duck hunter and bass angler, but most importantly, she is committed to the conservation of our natural resources. This appointment is significant not only because she is the first woman appointed to a full 7-year term, but she also brings a fresh perspective in terms of what it might take to connect a new generation to the Arkansas outdoors.”

Anne Marie Doramus issued the following statement:

“I have seen firsthand the impact that Game and Fish has on our state, and I am beyond honored to serve as its newest commissioner. Growing up, I was so fortunate to have my father pass on to me a love for the outdoors, and that is what I intend to do in this new role for the next generation. Passing the torch of conservation is essential as we work to uphold the Natural State's reputation of being a sportsmen's paradise – not just for the sports involving hooks and bullets, but also for the hikers, bikers, paddlers, bird watchers, and many more. Together, we can bring along the next generation and bridge the gap between current traditions and new ones. The future is bright, and I cannot wait to get started.”

Anne Marie (Hastings) Doramus, graduate of the University of Arkansas, is Vice President of Special Projects and Sales for Arkansas Bolt Company, a fastener distributor and OEM supplier based in Little Rock. Anne Marie currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show and the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. She is a founding member of the Arkansas Outdoor Society, a group for young adults who are passionate about conservation and outdoors in Arkansas and directly support the mission of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and Commission.

She grew up an avid duck hunter and bass angler on her family's farm in Southeast Arkansas. Her other hobbies include fly fishing, mountain biking, golf, tennis, and working with her retriever, Baron. Anne Marie and her husband, Joe, live in Little Rock.

JUNE 25, 2019

LOCKHEED MARTIN GETS $526M CONTRACT FOR MISSILES MADE IN CAMDEN
by Arkansas Business Staff
Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2019 11:13 am 
Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Maryland, said Tuesday that it received a $561.8 million production contract for Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles for the U.S. Army and Foreign Military Sales customers.

The military contractor said the two-year deal calls for new ATACMS rounds, as well as upgrading several previous-variant ATACMS as part of the Service Life Extension Program. Both will be produced at Lockheed Martin's Precision Fires Production Center of Excellence in Camden.

"The new-build ATACMS rounds under this contract will include sensor technology that provides the recently qualified Height-of-Burst capability," Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires & Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a news release. "This new feature will allow soldiers to address area targets at depth on the battlefield."

Lockheed Martin and Governor Asa Hutchinson announced last week that the company would expand its plant in the Highland Industrial Park in East Camden, to accommodate increased demand for the company's ATACMS missiles and other products.

The company is planning a $142 million investment that will add more than 300 jobs over the next five years. Executives said the workforce will grow from about 650 as of January 2019 to around 976 by 2024. 

The facility expansion is expected to take two and a half years, with construction likely to begin in the third quarter. Lockheed Martin plans to hire across the board, seeking engineers, production workers and workers in finance, logistics, health and safety, facilities and more. State and local governments are helping the expansion with an array of incentives.

OUACHITA ELECTRIC 80TH ANNUAL MEETING AND BUSINESS AFTER HOURS
Ouachita Electric will hold the 80th Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 27th.  Governor Asa Hutchinson will be on hand to make an address. This will also be the time that Ouachita Electric will hold the Official SAU Tech Solar Flip the Switch Ceremony. There will be EV Test Driving, Drone Demos, Energy Expo, Refreshments and more. This will also be the June Business After Hours.Tje event will begin at 4:45 pm with addresses from Jason Morrison, Michael Henderson, Mark Cayce and Governor Asa Hutchinson. The Official SAU Technical College Solar “Flip the Switch will be at 5:00 pm. It can be seen on Facebook Live. There will be a drone Demonstration at 5:30 pm and from 6:00 to 7:00 pm there will be a solar powered panel discussing and answering questions. The topic will be “Natural State Natural Energy”. The panel members will be Ted Thomas, Michael Henderson, Heather Nelson and Bill Halter. The discussion will be moderated by Katie Niebaum. The EV drive and Learn will be ongoing from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. The public is invited to attend.

CITY OF CAMDEN 4TH OF JULY SCHEDULE
The Public Works Department and the City of Camden will be closed on Thursday, July 4th in -observance of Independence Day. The Sanitation will run on Thursday as scheduled. The -Transfer Station will be closed. If you have any questions you can call the Public Works Department at 870-837-5573. The City of Camden wishes you a safe holiday..

 CADC ANNOUNCES SUMMER LIHEAP UTILITY ASSISTANCE START DATE
Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) has announced  the 2019 Summer LIHEAP Utility Assistance program will begin the week of Monday, July 8, 2019, and continue as long as funds are available. CADC operates the LIHEAP program in the following counties in Arkansas; Calhoun, Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Layfette, Little River, Lonoke, Miller, Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Pulaski, Saline, Sevier and Union.

For more information about CADC’s Utility Assistance Program visit: https://www.cadc.com/utility-assistance.

CADC is a non-profit Community Action Agency, an equal opportunity employer and a United Way Agency. The mission of CADC is to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty, to help vulnerable populations achieve their potential and to build strong communities in Arkansas through community action

FIRE CHIEF MEDFORD RETIREMENT PARTY
There will be a Retirement celebration for Camden Fire Chief, Robert Medford on June 28th at  5pm. The Celebration will be held at the Camden Fire Department Central Fire Station located at 140 Van Buren NW in Camden.

8th ANNUAL CAMDEN DAFFODIL FESTIVAL SHOW & SHINE
COLLECTOR/SPECIAL INTEREST VEHICLES & MOTORCYCLES

The 8th Annual Camden Daffodil Festival Show and Shine Collector/Special interest vehicles and motorcycle has been Rescheduled for Saturday, July 20, 2019. Registration is from 9:00 am -until 11:00 a.m. The Show will be held on the corner of Haynes and Washington Streets. Trophies will be awarded at 2:30 pm. Show entry $15.00 per owner, additional vehicles $5.00 each. Vehicles entered eligible for “Best of Show”,“1st place awards for Best Pre-80 Model and “Best Motorcycle”. Rescheduled Event from March 9, 2019. Sponsored by the Camden Daffodil Festival. For Additional Information contact John Coons @ 870-833-0508 or k.coons@att.net.

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet at Catherine’s Bistro on Wednesday, June 26th The speaker this week will be Wesley Stewart with The Call.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE LAUDS PRISON SENTENCE OF HELENA- WEST HELENA HOSPICE OWNER
  Says, ‘Residents in Helena-West Helena should feel vindicated with the justice served  today’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has released the following statement on the decision sentencing Charline Brandon to five years in prison. Brandon, owner of Bridge of Faith Hospice & Palliative Care of Helena-West Helena, pleaded guilty to two counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of willful failure to pay or file taxes.

“Residents in Helena-West Helena should feel vindicated with the justice served today,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Holding facilities and owners to the highest standards is the best way to ensure all Arkansans have access to healthcare facilities near their homes.”

In March, Brandon 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.

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. The case was investigated with assistance from the Arkansas Medicaid Inspector General and prosecuted in cooperation with Sixth Judicial District Prosecutor Larry Jegley. The Corporation Income Tax Section in the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Tax Auditor also participated in the investigation.

JUNE 24, 2019

Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES FAKE CANCER CHARITIES TO PAY $2.5 MILLION
Says, ‘scam artists are being held responsible for preying on Arkansans with big hearts’
LITTLE ROCK
– Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced the final step in a multistate enforcement action against four sham cancer charities, a lawsuit which was filed in May 2015. The $2.5 million will be distributed among cancer centers across the country as the result of the recovery of settlement dollars from the Cancer Fund of America Inc., Children’s Cancer Fund of America Inc., Cancer Support Services Inc., The Breast Cancer Society Inc., James Reynolds Sr., Kyle Effler, Rose Perkins and James Reynolds Jr. The complaint alleged that the leaders of these sham charities used donated funds to pay themselves exorbitant salaries, luxurious trips, purchase houses and cars as well as day-to-day expenses.

“These scam artists are being held responsible for preying on Arkansans with big hearts,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “People who wanted to honor loved ones were
misled into sending money which only lined the pockets of these cons and their families.”

The complaint alleged that the so-called charities, led by James Reynolds and his family members, bilked the public out of more than $187 million between 2008 and 2012. Of the money collected, only 3% was directed to cancer patients in the United States in the form of “care packages” containing religious DVDs, Moon Pies, random items of clothing and various sundries. Cancer Fund of America also claimed to supply patients with pain medications and transportation to chemotherapy treatments, when it provided no such services. The charities also participated in a “gift-in-kind” program in which they sent drugs that had nothing to do with cancer to other countries.

The complaint alleged that the purpose of this program was to make the organizations appear larger than they were while also hiding their high fundraising costs. The complaint also alleged that the leaders of these sham charities used donated funds to pay themselves exorbitant salaries and to go on trips to destinations like Thailand, Las Vegas and Disneyworld. The Reynolds also bought themselves cars, boats, jet skis and houses, and used the charities’ credit cards to buy designer handbags, jewelry and clothing, and to pay for day-to-day expenses such as gas, groceries and utility bills.

The money will be transferred to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) who, under a services agreement with the plaintiffs, will distribute the funds to select health and medical programs targeting breast and pediatric cancer. Eligibility will be determined through an invitation-only application process, and is limited to NCI-designated Cancer Care Centers, a designation bestowed by the National Cancer Institute on institutions and programs recognized for their scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of their research. RPA CEO Melissa Berman noted, “We are pleased to be part of this landmark process of ensuring that the philanthropic intent of donors is coming to fruition, despite the conduct of bad actors.” RPA will ensure that the funding will serve patients in all 50 states, and will monitor, ensure compliance and provide detailed reporting for all grants awarded.

JUNE 21, 2019

ARKANSAS DELEGATION ANNOUNCES FEMA DISASTER RECOVERY CENTERS 

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman -along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman-announced that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Recovery Centers will open in Arkansas.

The following locations will be able to help Arkansans impacted by flooding:

Perry County
Opening at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 20
First Assembly of God
2151 Arkansas Highway 60
Houston, AR 72070
Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

Crawford County
Opening at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 21
Mulberry Community Center
29 Kirksey Parkway
Mulberry, AR 72947
Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

Yell County
Opening at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 22
Dardanelle Community Center
2011 Highway 22 West
Dardanelle, AR 72834
Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

BOOZMAN INTRODUCES BILL TO MAKE FEDERAL SUMMER MEALS PROGRAM MORE EFFECTIVE IN ARKANSAS 
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is leading a bipartisan charge to make federal child nutrition programs more efficient, flexible and better equipped to reach Arkansas children in need during the summer months.

Boozman and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 to add flexibility to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which offers children from low-income families free lunch and snacks in the summer. The bill gives states additional options to reach hungry children in communities without a centralized feeding site during the summer.

Currently, children must travel to a central location and eat their meals together. This works well in some communities. However, in rural areas, it can be difficult for children to reach a site, if a site even exists. In suburban and urban areas, inclement weather or violence can keep children from these sites and cause them to miss a meal.

The Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 proposes two alternative options states can utilize through the program. The first would allow for meals to be consumed off-site through innovative means like mobile feeding programs and backpack meal programs. The other option would authorize the summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program, which would provide eligible families $30 per summer month per child, with a maximum of $100 per child per year, to purchase eligible food items from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) approved retailers. In USDA pilot programs, summer EBT was shown to reduce child hunger by over 30 percent. 

“Summer meals currently reach less than 20 percent of children who participate in similar programs during the school year. The one-size-fits-all approach is not meeting the needs of Arkansas children. We need a summer meals program that works for all areas–urban, suburban and rural. Our bill aims to achieve this by giving states the flexibility to choose what makes the most sense in their communities to alleviate summertime hunger for children,” Boozman said. 

“Too many children who rely on school meals during the school year go hungry during the summer. The Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act would help alleviate summer hunger by expanding access to summer EBT cards through SNAP, and by providing flexibility to allow children to take meals home where a summer program is not an option. Our children are the future.  In the richest nation in the world, we can and must ensure that children have the food they need to learn and thrive. This bill is an important step in that direction,” Leahy said.

The Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 has the support of leading national advocacy groups including Feeding America, Share Our Strength, Alliance to End Hunger, Bread for the World, United Way Worldwide, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, First Focus Campaign for Children and the Congressional Hunger Center.

Advocacy organizations that work with food insecure families in Arkansas are also weighing in with their support for Boozman’s bill, including the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, the Arkansas Food Bank, the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas and the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank.

Kathy Webb, Executive Director of Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, said the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 will make a “significant difference” in the effort to reduce child hunger during the summertime.

“The Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act will make a significant difference to Arkansas children and their families, and we thank Sen. Boozman for his leadership. This legislation provides the options families need to overcome barriers and to access nutritious food their kids need in the summer. This will make a difference in rural Arkansas and in our towns and cities. When our children get the nutrition they need, they feel better, learn more, and grow up stronger. And that means more people reaching their full potential and a stronger Arkansas,” Webb said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and John Hoeven (R-ND) all joined Boozman and Leahy as original cosponsors of the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019

“The summer months should be an opportunity for children to play and learn outside of the classroom. It shouldn’t be a time where they struggle to find their next meal,” said McConnell. “The Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act would give food banks and other organizations the flexibility they need to reach more kids when they’re not in school. Sadly, one in five Kentucky children experience food insecurity, which can lead to lifelong health and developmental issues. Our Commonwealth’s diverse regions and communities require a workable program that helps reach more children, not a one-size-fits-all federal standard. I applaud Senators Boozman and Leahy for their leadership on this important issue, and I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation to help ensure that all kids, especially those in rural communities, have year-round access to nutritious meals.”

Boozman noted that the regional and ideologically diverse group of senators—all members of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Community—behind this bill is significant and specifically highlighted the importance of having the support of the Majority Leader as “crucial to helping us achieve the goals laid out in the bill.” 

“My colleagues joining me to introduce this bill come from different regions and hold views from across the political spectrum. What brings us together is that we have seen the need for more options to end hunger in our communities and share a belief that the best solutions to this problem come from the ground up. I am particularly grateful for the support of Majority Leader McConnell, as his backing will be crucial to helping us achieve the goals laid out in the bill,” Boozman said.  

Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE APPLAUDS SCOTUS AMERICAN LEGION CROSS DECISION
Decision demonstrates our State’s Ten Commandments monument is constitutional

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauds this week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of a nearly 100 year old World War I memorial cross. The decision, American Legion v. American Humanist Association, further underscores the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.

“The Supreme Court’s decision supports the defense of our State’s Ten Commandments monument and demonstrates that our monument is constitutional,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “With today’s decision in play, I am confident Arkansas will ultimately be victorious and that the Ten Commandments will remain where it belongs, on the State Capitol grounds.”

Last July, Rutledge joined a 28-state coalition of attorneys general and the Governor of Kentucky filing a brief in support of Maryland’s litigation to protect their long-standing monument that commemorates those who valiantly died while serving in World War I.

JUNE 20, 2019

STORMS HIT CAMDEN AND OUACHITA COUNTY
A band of severe storms came through Camden and Ouachita County last night beginning about 8:45. Many residents are still without power today. There are snapped power poles and downed lines all over the area. Ouachita Electric and Entergy have not given us an approximate time of power restoration due to the number of poles that are broken. Entergy reported that 8100 residents in Ouachita County were without power. Ouachita Electric reported a total of 5300 outages in Ouachita,  Calhoun, Dallas, Bradley and Nevada Counties.

The storm brought winds in excess of 60 moles and hour. Trees and limbs are down all over the city and the county. Judge Robbie McAdoo and Sheriff David Norwood said they had deputies and crews out in the night and continue today clearing trees from County Roadways as many of the rural roads are blocked at this time with fallen trees and debris.

Chief Bo Woody said that he was out with other key personnel from the Camden Police Department until the early morning hours assessing damage, clearing city streets and checking on the city as a whole. He asked that residents please drive slowly and pay attention should they come up on a blocked street. Officials ask that you stay home if possible as they are working to clear roadways and vehicles can hinder the operation.

Several homes have been severely damaged by tress falling on top of them. Some have reported damage to vehicles and campers. We are thankful to report that there were no injuries due to the storm according to Officials.


BOWIE AND MILLER COUNTIES AWARDED EMERGENCY FOOD AND SHELTER PROGRAMS FUNDS
Texarkana- Miller County, Arkansas and Bowie County, Texas has been notified of grants in the amount of $21,787 and $45,163 respectively under Phase 36 of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). Not-for-profit social service agency food and shelter services in Miller and Bowie County are invited to apply for these funds.

Applications must be submitted no later than noon, Monday, July 10, 2019. Applications received after that date will not be considered. EFSP Phase 35 applications can be requested from United Way of Greater Texarkana at 214 Spruce Street, Texarkana, TX or call (903) 794-3105 and an application may be faxed or sent electronically.  A board compromised of local representatives will review each of the applications.   

Congress has appropriated $120,000,000 to supplement and expand emergency food and shelter programs. Bowie and Miller Counties award is based upon the total number of unemployed as compared to the total number of unemployed in all qualifying jurisdictions.

“BON BAGUETTE “, AUTHENTIC FRENCH BAKING CLASS AT SAAC
Do you love to bake? Want to become more proficient and wow your family and friends? Don your apron and join Chef Lilli Ellen and SAAC as we present "Bon Baguette", a French baking class and special event in conjunction with the SAAC's summer musical, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". The classes will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm each day.

During these hands-on classes, Chef Lilli will teach the basics of baguettes, along with all of her professional baking tips to ensure your savory success and transform you into a confident bread maker. Saturday's class will focus on baguettes and making pastry cream for Sunday's class, which will feature pate a choux, a cooked dough used for eclairs and many other gorgeous French pastries. Class participants will make and fill eclairs and take home everything they make to appreciative family and friends when the classes conclude. Much tasting and snacking will also be part of the experience!

"I've made thousands of baguettes over the years," said Chef Lilli, "and sometimes even I still get nervous about baking them. There are so many variables with bread making...different types of flour, different techniques. Even the weather can affect the outcome! We will talk about all of it and debunk the bread baking myths and scary things! Being able to bake a good loaf of bread is very liberating. It is one of the oldest foods in history and there are thousands of styles and techniques to make it any way you'd like. Whether its naan or ciabatta, it completes any meal. Baking and breaking bread brings people together."

Chef Lilli added, "I'm really getting excited about these classes. We will all learn some classic techniques to incorporate into our baking regimes. I want everyone to go home a more skilled and confident baker!"

Registration is now open for these fun classes. Cost for the two days is $55. For more information or to sign up, 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.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: BAD ACTORS TARGET FLOOD VICTIMS
LITTLE ROCK
– Following the historic floods of the past few weeks, there is a lot of work to be done as Arkansans return home, but scam artists may be posing as contractors to steal quick cash from victims.

“Unscrupulous contractors may try to take advantage of hard-working Arkansans, especially during or after a disaster when people may seem vulnerable and in need,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Arkansans facing home repairs should research contractors and do their homework before making a payment and scheduling work to be done.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge issued the following tips for flood victims who are ready to begin repairs to their property:

  • Beware of door-to-door solicitors selling home-repair work. To find someone reputable, ask friends or family who have recently used a home-repair contractor or professional.
  • Avoid any home-repair solicitor who asks for an upfront payment or who will not provide you with a detailed written contract with name and address of the contractor as well as the grade, quality, name brand and quantity of any materials to be used.
  • Get at least three written estimates. A reputable contractor or professional will never try to pressure potential customers.
  • Check with the Attorney General’s Office, the Better Business Bureau or the Arkansas Contractors’ Licensing Board to find out if the company has a complaint history.
  • Never make the final payment until you have had an opportunity to inspect and approve the work.
  • Remember that all contracts resulting from a home-solicitation sale generally must include a buyer’s right to cancel within three (3) business days after the contract is signed.
  • Make sure all warranties and guarantees are in writing.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program, and provides answers to specific questions regarding that program at FloodSmart.gov/faqs.

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 APPLAUDS FINAL RULE REPEALING AND REPLACING THE CLEAN POWER PLAN
Says, ‘Big win for job creators across America’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauds yesterday's announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the final ruling of President Donald J. Trump’s proposed replacement of the Clean Power Plan. The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Final Rule comes after Rutledge joined a bipartisan letter urging the EPA to approve the Administration’s proposal.

“The Affordable Clean Energy rule is a big win for job creators across America by returning power back to states rather than a one-size-fits-all mandate from the federal government,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The repealed Obama-era Clean Power Plan was illegal and ignored concerns from the states about anticipated skyrocketing utility rates and impacts on Arkansas businesses and jobs.”

In December, a 21-state coalition of attorneys general filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing support of President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule because it respects the vital role of states in regulating energy and air quality. The rule fully embraces the intent of Congress for cooperation between the State and federal governments, correcting the Obama-era, model would have had a devastating impact on Arkansas ratepayers.

The Affordable Clean Energy rule restores each state’s authority to consider factors specific to the energy needs of the state, including costs, practical achievability and the useful life of any particular power plant. It also adopts a more individualized approach to rulemaking, allowing for achievable targets for individual plants, which is a stark contrast to the Obama EPA’s effort to wholly shutter coal-fired power plants.

BOOZMAN-WARNER LEGISLATION AIMS TO EXPAND OUTREACH, CREATE MEASUREMENT TOOL TO IMPROVE EFFECTIVENESS IIN FIGHT AGAINST VETERAN SUICIDE
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced legislation to improve coordination of veteran mental health and suicide prevention services and to better measure the effectiveness of these programs in order to reduce the alarming number of veteran suicides.

The IMPROVE (Incorporating Measurements and Providing Resources for Outreach to Veterans Everywhere) Wellbeing for Veterans Act creates a new grant program to enable the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct additional outreach through veteran-serving non-profits in addition to state and local organizations.

“Congress has provided significant resources to the VA to decrease veteran suicides, yet the number of veterans who take their own lives everyday remains unchanged,” Boozman said. “We all share the goal of saving the lives of veterans. We must have better coordination of existing programs; a common tool to measure the effectiveness of our programs; and better information sharing, data collection and continual feedback in order to identify what services are having the most impact. Creating a framework for these necessary pieces is essential to empowering organizations to work together in the fight against veteran suicide.”  

“Of the 20 veterans who commit suicide every day in this country, roughly 14 of them don’t receive treatment from the VA,” said Warner. “This legislation will target that group by providing grant funding to private organizations with a proven track record of strong mental health and suicide prevention efforts among veterans. It’s my hope that broad coordination between the VA, state veterans affairs departments, first responders, and local leaders, will allow us to support more at-risk veterans and make a meaningful impact on reducing veteran suicide rates in this country.”

In Fiscal Year 2010, the VA requested $62 million for suicide prevention outreach. In Fiscal Year 2020, that number nearly quadrupled to $222 million. Despite the sharp increase in funding, the rate of veterans suicides has remained roughly unchanged at 20 per day. Only six of those 20 veterans are receiving healthcare services at the VA. This points to a significant need to empower the VA to work through community partners to expand outreach. At the same time, national data indicates there are more than 50,000 organizations that provide suicide prevention services for veterans, yet they are hard for veterans to find, access, apply for and use. 

To date, policy makers have assessed capacity and access to services as a measurement for effectiveness. Despite significant capacity increases, the rate of veterans suicides remains the same. There are no shared tools to measure the effectiveness of programming at improving mental resiliency and outlook, which would be indicators of reduced suicide risk.

To address these programmatic gaps, the IMPROVE Wellbeing for Veterans Act will accomplish three broad objectives:

  • Enable the VA to directly or indirectly reach more veterans than it currently does.
  • Increase coordination among currently disparate community resources that serve a wide variety of veteran needs – all of which play a part in reducing the purposelessness that ends in suicide.
  • Create and inspire broad adoption of a measurement tool that will indicate effectiveness of services provided for veterans suicide prevention.

Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are original cosponsors of the legislation.

VA SECRETARY CALLS BOOZMAN BILL “KEY” TO UNLOCKING VETERAN SUICIDE
WASHINGTON– Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie expressed his support for legislation authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that would create a VA grant program to leverage veteran-serving non-profits and other community networks in order to reduce veteran suicides.

“What you have is the key, I think, to unlock part of this crisis,” Wilkie said on Wednesday during the Senate VA Committee’s hearing on veteran suicide prevention.

Boozman’s IMPROVE Wellbeing for Veterans Act would allow the VA to tap into current community programs and provide a framework for better coordinating those community efforts and measuring the results. The legislation creates a new grant program at the VA to expand the reach of services aimed at preventing veteran suicides.

“I welcome Secretary Wilkie’s support of this legislation. The VA has a real opportunity to work with its partners to develop a tool that can be used to measure not just what services were made available to a veteran, but the effectiveness of the programs. I’m hopeful this approach will reduce veteran suicide rates,” Boozman said..

BOOZMAN-WARNER LEGISLATION AIMS TO EXPAND OUTREACH, CREATE MEASUREMENT TOOL TO IMPROVE EFFECTIVENESS IIN FIGHT AGAINST VETERAN SUICIDE
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced legislation to improve coordination of veteran mental health and suicide prevention services and to better measure the effectiveness of these programs in order to reduce the alarming number of veteran suicides.

The IMPROVE (Incorporating Measurements and Providing Resources for Outreach to Veterans Everywhere) Wellbeing for Veterans Act creates a new grant program to enable the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct additional outreach through veteran-serving non-profits in addition to state and local organizations.

“Congress has provided significant resources to the VA to decrease veteran suicides, yet the number of veterans who take their own lives everyday remains unchanged,” Boozman said. “We all share the goal of saving the lives of veterans. We must have better coordination of existing programs; a common tool to measure the effectiveness of our programs; and better information sharing, data collection and continual feedback in order to identify what services are having the most impact. Creating a framework for these necessary pieces is essential to empowering organizations to work together in the fight against veteran suicide.”  

“Of the 20 veterans who commit suicide every day in this country, roughly 14 of them don’t receive treatment from the VA,” said Warner. “This legislation will target that group by providing grant funding to private organizations with a proven track record of strong mental health and suicide prevention efforts among veterans. It’s my hope that broad coordination between the VA, state veterans affairs departments, first responders, and local leaders, will allow us to support more at-risk veterans and make a meaningful impact on reducing veteran suicide rates in this country.”

In Fiscal Year 2010, the VA requested $62 million for suicide prevention outreach. In Fiscal Year 2020, that number nearly quadrupled to $222 million. Despite the sharp increase in funding, the rate of veterans suicides has remained roughly unchanged at 20 per day. Only six of those 20 veterans are receiving healthcare services at the VA. This points to a significant need to empower the VA to work through community partners to expand outreach. At the same time, national data indicates there are more than 50,000 organizations that provide suicide prevention services for veterans, yet they are hard for veterans to find, access, apply for and use. 

To date, policy makers have assessed capacity and access to services as a measurement for effectiveness. Despite significant capacity increases, the rate of veterans suicides remains the same. There are no shared tools to measure the effectiveness of programming at improving mental resiliency and outlook, which would be indicators of reduced suicide risk.

To address these programmatic gaps, the IMPROVE Wellbeing for Veterans Act will accomplish three broad objectives:

  • Enable the VA to directly or indirectly reach more veterans than it currently does.
  • Increase coordination among currently disparate community resources that serve a wide variety of veteran needs – all of which play a part in reducing the purposelessness that ends in suicide.
  • Create and inspire broad adoption of a measurement tool that will indicate effectiveness of services provided for veterans suicide prevention.

Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are original cosponsors of the legislation.

LAWMAKERS SEEK FARA EVALUATION OF QATARI-OWNED AL JAZEERA
Washington, D.C. 
— Senator Tom Cotton, along with seven of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives sought information on any steps taken by the Justice Department (DOJ) to determine whether Qatari-owned media company Al Jazeera should be registered as a foreign agent. In a letter to DOJ, the lawmakers note examples of Al Jazeera’s activities that align closely with the priorities of the Qatari government. The letter also notes that other foreign state-owned media organizations with similar profiles and reach into the United States have recently been required to register as foreign agents. The letter is cosigned by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Todd Young (R-Indiana), Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Representatives Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) and Lee Zeldin (R-New York).

“Qatar’s officials have said that government-controlled media is a form of ‘soft power.’ As such, one can reasonably infer that Al Jazeera is a messaging tool for the Qatari government, and, on its behalf, has engaged in inherently political activities and sought to influence public opinion in the United States,” the lawmakers wrote.

“When the available evidence is taken as a whole, it appears that Al Jazeera’s broadcasts, including AJ+, mirror the policies and preferences of the Qatari government, which, together with the state funding and other indicia of agency, demonstrate that Al Jazeera and its media subsidiaries act as alter egos of the Qatari government in ensuring dissemination of the government’s viewpoints,” they continued.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires individuals and organizations to register with DOJ if they are acting on behalf of a foreign government or enterprise to influence U.S. policy or public opinion. The law is designed to promote transparency rather than explicitly prohibit forms of speech. However, over the years, the law has not been adequately and consistently enforced. DOJ recently required international broadcasters of Russian-owned RTTV America to register under the law as well as Chinese government-owned media outlets Xinhua News Agency and China Global Television Network.

The senators recently introduced legislation to strengthen FARA enforcement and compliance.  The full text of the letter can be found below or by clicking here:

The Honorable William Barr
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Attorney General Barr:

For several years, in both the Obama and Trump administrations, Congress has conducted oversight of the Justice Department’s lax and selective enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). FARA is an important statute that was designed not to prohibit activity but rather to require individuals to register with the DOJ if they are acting as an agent of a foreign government or enterprise to influence U.S. policy or public opinion.  This helps ensure transparency and accountability in the public policy arena.  In that sense, FARA is a content-neutral regulatory scheme that would not require any entity or individual to refrain from certain types of speech.   

FARA continues to be very relevant.  For example, news articles have reported activities in which Al Jazeera Media Network (Al Jazeera) is engaged that raise legitimate questions about whether it should register as a foreign agent.  Al Jazeera is a global organization spanning dozens of countries, including the United States, and reaches hundreds of millions of people worldwide.  In 2016, its off-shoot, Al Jazeera America, closed.  However, Al Jazeera expanded its digital presence via Al Jazeera Plus (AJ+), its online news channel which is headquartered in the United States.  As of May 2019, AJ+ had 11.1 million cumulative followers and subscribers on Facebook. In that same month, AJ+ was the fortieth ranked “overall creator” of content cross-platform. By comparison, in May 2019 the Washington Post had 6.3 million cumulative followers and subscribers on Facebook and was the one-hundredth ranked “overall creator” of content cross-platform. Clearly, Al Jazeera has established and is building a significant reach within the United States.

Al Jazeera was founded by Qatari charter in 1996. It is a state-owned enterprise, and the Qatari government has provided the majority of its funding. Al Jazeera’s videos on YouTube are stamped with the disclaimer, “Al Jazeera is funded in whole or in part by the Qatari government.”  Thus, Al Jazeera is not only a foreign principal but it is also owned by a foreign principal – the government of Qatar.  Several members of the ruling family of Qatar have held senior positions at Al Jazeera: Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al-Thani, a member of the ruling family of Qatar, is the Chairman of Al Jazeera; Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad bin Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani is the CEO of Qatar Media Corporation and a Board Member of Al Jazeera; Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani served as the Director General of Al Jazeera from 2011 until June 2013. Given that members of the ruling family are in charge of managing the media network, it is more likely than not that the government can and will assert editorial control over media content. 

There is evidence that this is the case.  The network frequently features content promoting the apparent policy priorities of its owner.  For example, the Qatari government reportedly supports the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Jazeera has reportedly featured that organization in a moderate light and described it as one that can “foster regional stability.” In addition, Qatar has not only allowed U.S. State Department-designated terrorist organizations such as Hamas to operate within the country but also has regularly hosted Hamas supporters and its leaders on Al Jazeera. News articles have reported that Al Jazeera “conducted a months-long spy operation on a slew of American pro-Israel officials” for a documentary on alleged Jewish influence on the U.S. Government. Multiple videos on AJ+ appear to support anti-Israeli and anti-American positions.  Qatar’s officials have said that government-controlled media is a form of “soft power.” As such, one can reasonably infer that Al Jazeera is a messaging tool for the Qatari government, and, on its behalf, has engaged in inherently political activities and sought to influence public opinion in the United States.

Mohamed Fahmy, a former Al Jazeera English Egypt bureau chief who was jailed due to his affiliation with the network and ultimately pardoned by Egyptian authorities, has spoken out about the close relationship between Al Jazeera and the Qatari regime.  According to Fahmy, “The more the network coordinated and takes directions from the [Qatar] government, the more it becomes a mouthpiece for Qatari intelligence.” Regarding Al Jazeera English, Fahmy has noted that contrary to his expectations before he was hired, the network “coordinated and took directives from Qatar’s government.  This reflected on even us the English reporters and we had some of the best… ”  

When the available evidence is taken as a whole, it appears that Al Jazeera’s broadcasts, including AJ+, mirror the policies and preferences of the Qatari government, which, together with the state funding and other indicia of agency, demonstrate that Al Jazeera and its media subsidiaries act as alter egos of the Qatari government in ensuring dissemination of the government’s viewpoints.        

In addition to Al Jazeera seemingly operating as an agent of the Qatari government, its potential obligation to register under FARA may be triggered by two other provisions in the statute.  First, because it produces and distributes content and secures access within the United States, it has arguably “engage[d] directly or indirectly in the … dissemination of … broadcasts,” and therefore may have served as a “publicity agent.” Second, because its programming concerned “conditions” of a foreign government or “foreign country,” including but not limited to Qatar, Al Jazeera may have served as an “information-service employee” by “furnishing, disseminating, or publishing” its programs.  

Similarly, on November 13, 2017, DOJ’s National Security Division announced that it required T&R Productions, LLC to register under FARA as an agent for ANO TV-Novosti, the “Russian government entity responsible for the worldwide broadcasts of the RT Network” and on December 11, 2017, RTTV America registered as well. Reportedly, DOJ has required the same of Xinhua News Agency and China Global Television Network. In a press release regarding RT, DOJ said the following: 

Americans have a right to know who is acting in the United States to influence the U.S. government or public on behalf of foreign principals.  The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing FARA and expects compliance with the law by all entities engaged in specified activities on behalf of any foreign principal, regardless of its nationality.

Further, that same press release said:

Congress passed FARA in 1938, intending to ensure that the American public and our lawmakers know the source of information that is provided at the behest of a foreign principal, where that information may be intended to influence U.S. public opinion, policy and laws.  

Those statements apply equally to Al Jazeera, which is controlled by a foreign government, receives financial support therefrom, and engages in activity to influence the U.S. Government and public on behalf of foreign principals. 

In sum, Al Jazeera, to include AJ+, may be obligated to register under FARA because: (1) through its production and distribution of programming in the United States it seeks to “influence…any section of the public within the United States with reference to formulating, adopting, or changing the domestic or foreign policies of the United States, or with reference to the political or public interests, policies, or relations” of Qatar, for or in the interests of Qatar, and is therefore most likely engaged in “political activities”;  and (2) it has acted as an agent for the Qatari government and Al Jazeera Media Network in producing and distributing the content constituting those political activities.

The American public deserves to know when foreign entities are operating in and attempting to influence U.S. public policy and public opinion.  DOJ must explain to Congress and the American people why Al Jazeera and its employees have not been required to register. 

Accordingly, please answer the following no later than July 2, 2019:  

What actions has the DOJ taken to assess whether Al Jazeera or its employees should register under FARA for work on behalf of the Qatari government?

Has the DOJ sent a letter of inquiry or letter of determination to Al Jazeera, any of its affiliated entities, or any of its employees?  If so, please provide a copy.  If not, why not 

Under 28 C.F.R. § 5.2, any present or prospective agent of a foreign entity may request an advisory opinion from the Justice Department regarding the need to register.  Has Al Jazeera or any of its entities or employees ever requested an opinion in relation to work done on behalf of Qatar?  If so, please provide a copy of the request and opinion.

Please explain why the DOJ has not required Al Jazeera or its employees to register under FARA.

Please provide all prosecutorial memoranda, correspondence between DOJ and Al Jazeera, and all reports and summaries of interviews relating to Al Jazeera and its obligations to register under FARA.

Please send all unclassified material directly to the signers of this letter.  In keeping with the requirements of Executive Order 13526, if any of the responsive documents do contain classified information, please segregate all unclassified material within the classified documents, provide all unclassified information directly to the signers, and provide a classified addendum to the Office of Senate Security and Office of House Security.  The signers comply with all laws and regulations governing the handling of classified information.  The signers are not bound, absent their prior agreement, by any handling restrictions or instructions on unclassified information unilaterally asserted by the Executive Branch. 

Sincerely,
Charles E. Grassley -Chairman - Senate Finance Committee
Tom Cotton - U.S. Senator  
John Cornyn - U.S. Senator
Todd Young - U.S. Senator
Marco Rubio  - U.S. Senator
Ted Cruz - U.S. Senator 
Mike Johnson - U.S. Representative
Lee Zeldin - U.S. Representative

 

June 19, 2019

19TH ANNUAL STAR SPANGLED SPECTACULAR
The Camden & Ouachita County Ministerial Alliances invite you to the 19th Annual Star Spangled Spectacular, July 4th at the Camden Municipal Airport. Come have a great time at South Arkansas largest 4th of July fireworks show! Gates open at 6PM, Event starts at 7PM. Bring your lawn chair or blanket for this free family event. Enjoy the inflatables and children’s events, live music and food vendors leading up to the Fireworks show. Special musical entertainment by ‘Telematic’ and ‘L B Crew’. The fireworks show will begin at dark and will be choreographed with patriotic music. Admission is free with concessions available for purchase from local non-profit groups.

FIRST FRIDAY MARKET IN DOWNTOWN CAMDEN
Make plans to attend the First Friday Monthly in Camden on July 5th. T he open-air evening market will happen from 6 pm till 9 pm in downtown Camden.  Washington St. and Adams Ave will be closed to traffic and the streets lined with a vast array of vendors for all your shopping pleasure.  There will be several favorites returning to the market such as vintage goods, homemade fried pies, children’s clothing and jewelry while new vendors will be joining in for you to enjoy.  Coming back this month will be the very popular “Sock Hop Soda Shoppe” along with Kernel Mustard’s Hot Dog Stand.  If you prefer there will be a BBQ food truck and a small plate vendor offering egg rolls. Don’t forget to stop by the Farmers Bank Parking lot for the “Evening Farmer’s Market” to pick up all your fresh local produce, honey, eggs, meats and more! Live music will be provided by saxophonist Witt Johnson playing some great Blues tunes at the corner of Washington  and Adams.  c  The Camden Police Department will be offering a free train ride for kids which will start at Washington and Madison and travel down Washington St. and back. Several contests will be happening at the July market, so come be a part, either by participating or by voting.  There will be a sidewalk chalk art competition.  As you stroll through the market you will be able to vote for your favorite on the Facebook page:  First Friday: Monthly Market in Camden AR or by stopping by the First Friday Merchandise tent.

ARKANSAS BASS TEAM TRAIL AND THE CITY OF CAMDEN PRESENT “THE RUMBLE ON THE RIVER” BASS TEAM TOURNAMENT” IN CAMDEN
Saturday, July 6th -  over $10,000 in Cash and Prizes
Camden, AR - The Rumble on the River Bass Team Tournament is a one day only event held on Saturday, July 6th at the Camden River Walk on the OUachita River in Downtown Camden. Take off is at 6 am and weigh-in is at 3 pm at the River Walk park and Boat launch located at 405 Washington Street SE in Downtown Camden. Free lunch provided for all participants at weigh-in.

Prizes Include:

  • 1st place $5,000 guaranteed
  • Payout through 10 place in Cash & Prizes!

Entry fee is only $125 per boat with a 2 person per boat limit.

Registration will begin online June 1st, early registration June 1st - July. 2nd will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Academy Sports Gift Card.

Register online at www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net, or in Person at The Camden Area Chamber of Commerce (314 S Adams Ave) in Camden AR.

Final registration will be held Friday, July 5th from 6-8pm at The First Friday Market in Downtown Camden, AR. You may also want to take part in our special casting competition that we will be holding during the First Friday Market. There will be an Adult as Well as a Child division for an opportunity to win prizes.

So come early on Friday evening for family fun in Camden, AR with the First Friday Market and a wide variety of restaurants and shops open late Friday evening the day before the event. First Friday is an open-air evening market which takes place from 6PM till 9PM in downtown Camden. In addition, you can stroll the streets downtown and enjoy live music, shop a great variety of vendors and artists, while enjoying a relaxed fun evening. There are LOTS of things to see and do while you visit Camden for the tournament.

For Rules and Registration, visit www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, June 20th at 12:00 pm at Catherine’s Bistro. The program will be presemted by James Silliman, Executive Director for Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development He will inform the Kiwanians about the upcoming job opportunities in the defense industry in the area

2019 DISTRICT FARM FAMILIES OF THE YEAR NAMED 
LITTLE ROCK – The eight district winners in the 72nd annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program have been selected, representing the diversity of Arkansas agriculture, the state’s largest industry. The district winners will now be judged to determine a state winner to be announced Dec. 6 at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock.

The District Farm Families of the Year are:

I.F. Anderson Farms Inc. of Lonoke (Lonoke County) in the East Central District. James Neal Anderson and his wife Kaye own and operate I.F. Anderson Fish Farms with their son James Neal Anderson Jr. They operate 3,300 water acres and raise baitfish such as Golden Shiners, Fathead Minnows and Goldfish. James and Kaye also have a daughter, Katie.

Rabbit Ridge Farms of Bee Branch (Van Buren County) in the North Central District. Alan and Angela Mahan own and operate Rabbit Ridge Farms where they raise cattle, hogs, chickens and sheep. At Rabbit Ridge Farms, they self-market all their products through wholesale distributors, retail, e-commerce, social media and through their agritourism business. They have four children, Zach Mahan, Maggie Mahan, Jacob Blankenship and Crafton Blakenship.

Young’s Generation Three Partnership Farms of Tuckerman (Jackson County) in the Northeast District. Tommy and Amy Young, Blake and Holly Young, and James Norman III and Brandy Young are partners in the farm. They grown soybeans, corn, wheat and rice on more than 7,000 acres. This year is the 10th anniversary of the family’s partnership in the farm.

Gene and Ruby Davidson of Kingston (Newton County) in the Northwest District. For the past 39 years, the Davidsons have raised turkeys, run a cow/calf operation and own a logging company that cuts select hardwoods. They have two adult children Dustin and Sam.

Dewayne and Debra Goldmon of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) in the Southeast District. The Goldmons grow corn, rice and soybeans on 1,400 acres. Dewayne works full-time for Bayer Crop Sciences in technology development and research while also farming “part-time” for 22 years. The couple have two adult children, Camille and Dewayne Jr.

Allen and Barbara Primm of Hampton (Calhoun County) in the Southwest District. The Primms have operated a cattle farm for nearly 50 years as well as a timber operation. Their latest venture is Blackstock Feed, Fertilize and Herbicide, a non-profit established with the intent to offer farm supplies at a wholesale to ensure farmers and ranchers are not overpaying for needed supplies. The Primms have three adult children, Scott, Allison and Jessica.

Jerry and Kathy DuVall of Hattieville (Conway County) in the Western District. The DuValls operate 1,400 acres that consists of several commodities. They grow hay, timber, corn and soybeans while also raising cattle and poultry. They have three adult children and five grandchildren.

The Greene Family of Umpire (Howard County) in the West Central District. Gregg and Shelly, along with their sons and daughters-in-law, Mason and Lindsay, and Marcus and Krystal raise poultry for Pilgrims with a total of 23 broiler houses. They also raise calves that are marketed at livestock auctions. Separately, Gregg and Shelly operate a hog production business where they have 700 sows. “The contributions made by our state's farm families are beyond measure," said Randy Veach, president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau. "It is almost impossible to fully understand the impact our family farms have on the economy, our rural communities and to the character of our great state.”

The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with selection of top the farm families in each county and culminates 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 competition in Georgia.

Arkansas has had two Southeastern Farmers of the Year, Brian 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. “No other business sector has a larger economic impact in Arkansas thanagriculture,” Veach said. “The men and women of agriculture, and their families work diligently every day to maintain a business and a lifestyle that represents the very best our state has to offer.”

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.

Lieutenant Governor Tim GriffinU.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR ALEXANDER ACOSTA JOINS LT. GOVERNOR TIM GRIFFIN FOR EVENTS ON JOBS, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, AND TRADE
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin and U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta issued the following statements after Secretary Acosta's visit to central Arkansas this week. Lt. Governor Griffin led a moderated discussion with Secretary Acosta on the opportunities and challenges facing the American workforce hosted by the Arkansas State Chamber, they toured the North Little Rock High School Center of Excellence where they met with students and faculty, and toured Caterpillar's manufacturing facility in North Little Rock. Secretary Acosta's visit focused on the importance of demand-driven education and apprenticeships, and the benefits of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):

Lt. Governor Tim Griffin said: "I appreciate Secretary Acosta taking time to visit Arkansas, and it is encouraging to see that he is laser-focused on training a workforce through demand-driven education and industry-driven apprenticeship programs. The Secretary recognizes the importance of President Trump’s USMCA trade agreement and its significance in promoting free and fair trade, protecting hardworking Arkansas workers and farmers, and allowing for robust economic growth. Secretary Acosta’s visit highlighted the outstanding work that the North Little Rock High School Center of Excellence is doing by partnering with industry to prepare our young people to meet the demands of business and industry."

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said: "It was great talking to Arkansas job creators about how the USMCA will open markets and create good, family sustaining career opportunities for workers in Arkansas and across the country" said Secretary Acosta. "I appreciate the opportunity to see firsthand how Arkansas' workforce development programs are helping workers learn in-demand skills to fill these jobs." 

JUNE 19, 2019

Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin

U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR ALEXANDER ACOSTA JOINS LT. GOVERNOR TIM GRIFFIN FOR EVENTS ON JOBS, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, AND TRADE

LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin and U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta issued the following statements after Secretary Acosta's visit to central Arkansas this week. Lt. Governor Griffin led a moderated discussion with Secretary Acosta on the opportunities and challenges facing the American workforce hosted by the Arkansas State Chamber, they toured the North Little Rock High School Center of Excellence where they met with students and faculty, and toured Caterpillar's manufacturing facility in North Little Rock. Secretary Acosta's visit focused on the importance of demand-driven education and apprenticeships, and the benefits of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):

Lt. Governor Tim Griffin said: "I appreciate Secretary Acosta taking time to visit Arkansas, and it is encouraging to see that he is laser-focused on training a workforce through demand-driven education and industry-driven apprenticeship programs. The Secretary recognizes the importance of President Trump’s USMCA trade agreement and its significance in promoting free and fair trade, protecting hardworking Arkansas workers and farmers, and allowing for robust economic growth. Secretary Acosta’s visit highlighted the outstanding work that the North Little Rock High School Center of Excellence is doing by partnering with industry to prepare our young people to meet the demands of business and industry."

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said: "It was great talking to Arkansas job creators about how the USMCA will open markets and create good, family sustaining career opportunities for workers in Arkansas and across the country" said Secretary Acosta. "I appreciate the opportunity to see firsthand how Arkansas' workforce development programs are helping workers learn in-demand skills to fill these jobs." 

JUNE 18, 2019

ATTENTION VENDORS

Vendors are being accepted to provide concessions at the Star Spangled Spectacular Fireworks Show on July 4. Vendors must be local non-profit groups. This is on a first come first serve basis, and duplications are not allowed. To sign up, please call 870-807-1468.

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
Resident hit by vehicle on the Trace
Yesterday at 8:41 am Officer Nathan Lane was dispatched to the area of West Washing Street and Dooley Womack Drive in reference to a crash involving a pedestrian. The Officer arrived and saw a black female, later identifies as Mary McElroy laying on her back in the middle of the east bound lane of Washington Street. She was being taken care of by EMS. Officer Lane observed McElroy to be approximately 40 to 50 feet east of the Trace crossing. He also observed Ford Ranger with significant damage to the front end. The vehicle's front grill was cracked and pushed in on the driver side, the hood on the driver side was pushed in and dented where McElroy was struck.

Officer Lane made contact with Julie Smith, the driver of the vehicle. Smith stated she was traveling East on West Washington Street and said she was driving twenty-five to thirty-five miles per hour. Smith said she looked both ways as she approached the Trace. Smith went on to say that she did not see anyone on the Trace a proceeded East across the Trace. Smith said when she was going across the Trace, she finally saw McElroy walking south on the Trace. She said she tried to slow down, but it was too late. She said she struck the pedestrian with the front of her vehicle. Smith said she couldn’t remember what happened after the accident.  

When asking Smith about insurance information she stated several time on scene she had insurance through GEICO. She could not provide any proof of insurance but stated she has a picture of her Proof of Insurance on her phone. When Smith turned her phone screen on, Officer Lane observed a text message sent at 8:38 am. He also saw a reply being typed that had not been sent. Smith was asked multiple time about testing while driving but she denied texting ans said she never texted while driving.

McElroy was transported to the Ouachita County Medical Center by EMS.  The extent of McElroy's injures on scene were unknown. Once at the hospital it was determined that McElroy had multiple injuries including two broken legs and a broken pelvis. She was later air lifted to Wadley Regional medical Center in Texarkana.

A witness to the collision stated that she was in her vehicle driving West on Washington Street and was close to the Trace at the time of the crash. She said she had a clear view of the collision. The woman said she had stopped at the Trace to let McElroy cross the street. The witness saw Smith enter the crossing without slowing down or yielding. She went on to say she saw Smith’s head looking down as though she were texting when she entered the crossing. She witnessed McElroy being struck by Smith’s truck. The impact sent the victim airborne.  

Another walker on the Trace, stated he saw McElroy walking south on the Trace. He said he saw a silver truck not slowing down as it approached the trace. He stated the truck proceeded to cross the Trace without yielding to McElroy. He said he heard the impact and he saw her go airborne .

Smith was arrested at t eh scene and transported to the Police Station without incident. Her vehicle was towed from the scene. While at the station Smith was advised to call her insurance agency to prove she had insurance on her vehicle. Before calling GEICO, Smith advised she had not paid her premium in a “couple of months.” A representative at GEICO stated that Smith’s vehicle insurance had lapsed due to non-payment and said the last time she was insured with the company was April of 2019.

Smith was read her statement of rights and agreed to take a breathalyze tes. She provided two good brath samples. The test showed her to have no alcohol in her system. Smith was charged with Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian, No Proof of Insurance, Reckless Driving and Texting While Driving. Smith was later released.  

Public Intoxication
Criminal Trespass

On June 12th at 12:07 am Officer Kayla Reynolds was parked in the Hardwick Furniture parking lot when she observed a male, later identified as Craig Stevens, walking from behind Good Home Center.  The Officer watched as he walked from the Good Home Center to the Post Office. Stevens walked under the garage of the Post Office and began looking into the windows of the parked vehicles under the garage. Officer Reynolds observed Stevens walk to three different trucks looking into the windows and then he walked to a parked four-wheeler, which was on a trailer under the Post Office garage. Stevens then walked back to the second truck he had looked inside and put his hand on the rear driver side door as if he was trying open it.

 Officer Reynolds relocated to Stevens's location and made contact with him for the suspicious activity. She observed Stevens to have slurred speech and watery eyes. Stevens appeared unsteady on his feet and at times would lean backwards as if he might fall. At times Stevens's would begin talking about his water bottle nervously rambling.

When asked what he was doing under the Post Office garage Stevens stated he stopped at the Post Office to rest and drink a bottle of water. As Stevens spoke Officer Reynolds could smell the strong odor of intoxicants emitting from his breath and person. She asked Stevens how much alcohol he had to drink tonight. Stevens stated he had a few beers and a "Jamaican me Happy" alcoholic drink.

At one point, Stevens believed the Officer was on her cell phone and kept making comments about it. At no point was any officer on their cell phone which Officer Reynolds had to explain to him more than one time. Stevens was asked again why he was under the garage looking in the vehicle windows. Stevens attempted to deny looking in the windows but the Officer advised him she had watched the action take place. Stevens at one point stated he was just "looking around". Stevens's story for why he was under the garage was very inconsistent every time he was asked why he was there. Officer Reynolds noted signs posted at the entrance of the Post Office garage which stated "NO ADMITTANCE AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY". Stevens admitted he did not work at the Post Office but stops there to rest often on his way home. ·

Due to the Stevens's mannerisms and admittance of ingesting alcohol it was deemed Stevens would not be safe to continue walking home, as well as Stevens having no purpose for being on the Post Office property, he was taken into custody for public intoxication and criminal trespass.

Stevens was transported to the Camden Police Department where booking procedures were completed.

Stevens was later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center to be held for a sobriety period. Upon release Stevens will be issued criminal citations for public intoxication and criminal trespass with a District Court date.

During the past week the Camden City Police have also served a number of outstanding warrants and answered calls regarding shoplifting.

AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road in Camden, Arkansas.

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES SERVICE OF ARKANSAS ARMY NATIONAL GUARD VETERAN
WASHINGTON-
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of Colonel (retired) Mark McMullen in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.

McMullen was raised on a farm in Hazen. He was driving a tractor by the age of 10, but he didn’t keep his feet on the ground for long. He developed an interest in aviation after flying in a crop duster. “I would either ride on the wing or in the hopper of the crop duster, until my mom found out,” McMullen laughed. McMullen’s dad hired an instructor to teach him to fly. A week after his 16th birthday he flew his first solo flight.

McMullen’s best friend talked him into enlisting in the Army Reserve while in school at the University of Central Arkansas. Commissioned in the ROTC, he credits his Captain for turning his life around and encouraging him to take his education seriously.

He planned to go to flight school, but had to settle for the infantry because of his grades earlier in his college career. After completing an officer basic course at Fort Benning, Georgia, he returned to the UCA ROTC department where he learned that Arkansas was standing up the 437th Attack Helicopter Battalion and they were looking for pilots. Four months later McMullen was in flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama where he graduated as a UH-1 (Huey) helicopter pilot.

At the time, the 437th had 107 pilots, 72 of whom were Vietnam War veterans. McMullen was assigned as a flight instructor, and he recognized he could learn a lot from his students. “I only had 100 hours of flight time and I’m teaching guys with a thousand hours in combat time. And guys who’d been shot down and captured,” he said. “I cut my teeth with some of the finest men that the military has ever built.”

 

Among his other assignments was serving as an officer recruiter for Arkansas. “I held myself to the same standard we asked our enlisted recruiters to do.” He met the goal of enlisting 50 recruits, two years in a row.

McMullen says he was looking forward to retirement in 2007 when he would achieve 20 years of service, but in 2003 he was selected as 2nd Battalion commander of the Arkansas Army National Guard. In September of that year, the battalion received deployment orders for Operation Iraqi Freedom. One month later, he was at Fort Hood, Texas for pre-deployment training.

In January 2004, McMullen relied on fellow Arkansans to get his advance team to Iraq. “We found an Air Guard unit from Arkansas that had a Razorback painted on a C-130 in Kuwait,” McMullen said. He landed in Balad, Iraq much to the surprise of the movement officer. The rest of the soldiers arrived via convoy in the following days.

McMullen served as Battalion Commander for an Air Traffic Services operation, transforming from tactical operations to fixed base operations at four airfields.

“In Balad we were taking mortars, heavy, and rockets,” McMullen said. “We were surrounded. You could go any direction that you wanted and engage with the enemy.”

McMullen deployed for one year and is especially proud of his team for receiving the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

One of the biggest challenges of McMullen’s career was January 2007 when he was notified that crew members of Easy 40, three of whom were Arkansas National Guardsmen, were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq.

McMullen acknowledges his successful military career was due in part to the support of his wife. “I could have never done it without her,” he said. While his call to serve kept him away from his family, it didn’t stop his son from following in his footsteps. “I’m proud of the fact that my son and I served in Iraq together. He went on for two more tours.” 

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

Boozman will submit McMullen’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. 

JUNE 17, 2019

LOCKHEED MARTIN ANNOUNCES $142M INVESTMENT, 326 NEW JOBS WITH EXPANSION AT CAMDEN, ARK PLANT
Governor Asa Hutchinson and officials with Lockheed Martin announced today at the Paris Air Show that the company is expanding its center of excellence in Camden, Arkansas, that produces the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System {Ml MARS) and performs final assembly for Integrated Air and Missile Defense

{IAMD) and Precision Fires products for U.S. and allied military services.

"Lockheed Martin is a leading technology firm with facilities and clients around the world," said Hutchinson. "Lockheed's investment illustrates the fact that Arkansas continues to be a global player in the aero-defense industry."

The expansion will support new construction and improve existing facilities for products like Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS), Patriot Advanced Capability-3 {PAC-3) and others, plus new machinery and equipment. Previously the facility was dedicated to High Mobility Artillery Rocket System {HIMARS) production only.

The company plans to invest $142 million and hire 326 new employees over the next few years. There are approximately 700 employees currently in Camden.

"Our facility in Camden is a highly efficient, high quality center of excellence that contributes components and performs final assembly for products that are important to the defense of the United States and a growing number of allied nations," said Frank St. John, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "The facility has a long record of precision manufacturing and·on-time deliveries, which is the reason we continue to invest in and expand our Camden Operations. This expansion will help ensure the availability, affordability and quality of systems we build for our customers around the world."

The private aerospace and defense industry employ about 10,000 Arkansans and was the state's largest export in 2018, totaling $1.8 billion. The state is home to nearly 180 companies in the. industry, 'Which is· part of why the governor, industry partners and Arkansas Economic Development Commission participate in the annual trade shows in Paris and London, said Mike Preston, currently AEDC executive director and Secretary of Commerce effective July 1.

"The high-paying jobs Lockheed Martin provides in the Camden area improve the quality of life for our communities and the state as a whole," said James Lee Silliman, Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development executive director, "and we're thankful for their partnership in the Golden Triangle."

Calhoun County Judge Floyd Nutt said, "I can't say enough good things about the contributions Lockheed Martin makes in aerospace and missile defense around the world along with our local economy. We're proud to continue our longstanding relationship."

About Arkansas Economic Development Commission {AEDC)
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) seeks to create economic opportunity by attracting higher-paying jobs, expanding and diversifying local economies in the state, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout The Natural State. Arkansas is a pro-business environment operating leaner, faster and more focused through a streamlined state government designed to act on corporate interests quickly and decisively. For more information, visit www.ArkansasEDC.com.

About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. For more information, visit www.LockheedMartin.com.

VENDORS BEING ACCEPTED FOR STAR SPANGLED SPECTACULAR
Vendors are being accepted to provide concessions at the Star-Spangled Spectacular Fireworks Show on July 4th.Vendors MUST BE local non-profit groups.  This is on a first come first serve basis, duplications are not allowed. To sign up, please call 870-807-1468. 

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon lion;s Club will meet Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistre. This week the Lion’s will have Officer Installation.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE SETTLES WITH ITT TECH AND CUSO FOR HIGH PRESSURE TACTICS
Affected Arkansans to receive $1,073,688 in student debt relief
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a settlement with Student CU Connect LLC (CUSO) for former ITT Tech students resolving a multistate investigation which alleged that ITT and CUSO used high pressure tactics to accept CUSO loans. These student loans carried higher interest rates than federal loans, ultimately resulting in a high number of loan defaults.

“ITT and CUSO deceived Arkansans by using illegal and high pressure tactics and they must be held responsible for their actions,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This settlement provides relief to Arkansans who attended ITT Tech and incurred debts for a questionable education that they could neither repay nor discharge.”

Attorney General Rutledge and other states’ attorneys general alleged that ITT, with CUSO’s knowledge, offered students temporary credit upon enrollment to cover the gap in tuition between federal student aid and the full cost of the education. The temporary credit was due to be repaid before the student’s next academic year, although ITT and CUSO knew or should have known that most students would not be able to repay the temporary credit when it became due. Many students complained that they thought the temporary credit was like a federal loan and would not be due until six months after they graduated.

When it became due, however, ITT pressured and coerced students into accepting loans from CUSO, which for many students carried high interest rates, far above rates for federal loans. Pressure tactics used by ITT included pulling students out of class and threatening to expel them if they did not accept the loan terms. Because students were left with the choice of dropping out and losing any benefit of the credits they had earned – ITT’s credits would not transfer to most other schools – most students enrolled in the CUSO loans. Neither ITT nor CUSO made students aware of the true cost of repayment for the temporary credit until after the credit was converted to a loan.

Not surprisingly, the default rate on the CUSO loans was extremely high (projected to exceed 90%) due to both the high cost of the loans as well as the lack of success ITT graduates had getting jobs that paid enough to make repayment feasible. The defaulted loans continue to affect students’ credit ratings and are usually not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Under the settlement, the CUSO, under threat of litigation, has agreed that it will forego collection of the outstanding loans. The CUSO, which was organized for the sole purpose of providing the ITT loans, will also cease doing business. Under the Redress Plan, CUSO’s loan servicer will send notices to borrowers about the cancelled debt and ensure that automatic payments are cancelled. The settlement also requires the CUSO to supply Credit Reporting Agencies with information to update credit information for affected borrowers.

ITT filed bankruptcy in 2016 amid investigations by state attorneys general and following action by the U.S. Department of Education to restrict ITT’s access to federal student aid. The CUSO Loan program originated approximately $189 million in student loans to ITT students between 2009 and 2011.

The settlement includes $1,073,688.40 in debt relief for 128 Arkansans.

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES 5TH FORMER PFH EMPLOYEE ARRESTED
Says, ‘This culture of corruption is unacceptable’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Friday announced the arrest of former Preferred Family Healthcare (PFH) employee Michelle Davis for Medicaid fraud related charges. This action comes after four previous PFH employees were arrested and charged with unrelated crimes.

“Davis is the fifth employee my office has investigated and arrested at Preferred Family Healthcare,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This culture of corruption is unacceptable and I will root out those who take advantage of taxpayers and hurt our healthcare system.”

Michelle Davis, 59 of Texarkana has been charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, Class C felonies, for making false statements and receiving funding for services not provided from November 20, 2015, to March 21, 2018, totaling $4,258.80. Davis was a licensed professional counselor at PFH.

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.

BOOZMAN JOINS COLLEAGUES TO BUILD ON EFFORTS TO REDUCE MILITARY SPOUSE UNEMPLOYMENT
WASHINGTON –
 U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Jon Tester (D-MT) to introduce legislation to build on efforts to reduce military spouse unemployment and improve access to affordable childcare.

The Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act of 2019 would change the tax code to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses and make it easier for military families to afford childcare.

“Military spouses are vital to our all-volunteer force. They make sacrifices, like taking on family duties during long deployments and supporting frequent moves, and they do it mostly without recognition. As a result, they face a unique set of challenges that make career advancement more difficult. This is a thoughtful approach to help ease the burden on our military families by improving employment opportunities for spouses,” Boozman said.

“The men and women who support our troops deserve our support too. This bill is an effort to improve job opportunities and access to affordable childcare for military spouses as they face frequent moves and unexpected transfers. The families who sacrifice so much to serve our country should never have to choose between staying in the military and supporting their own families,” Kaine said.

“Our nation’s military spouses and families make great professional and personal sacrifices every day. We’ve got to improve access to employment opportunities for military families, and help ensure they can afford quality childcare without breaking the bank,” Tester said.

Military families frequently face financial insecurity due to spousal unemployment—which is an often overlooked military readiness issue—and obstacles to accessing quality, affordable childcare exacerbate these challenges. Unlocking the full talent of the nearly one million active duty, reserve and National Guard spouses would improve these families’ financial security while boosting their local economies.

The Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act includes two main provisions:

  • Expands the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses. The tax credit is already offered to businesses that hire veterans and other populations that face employment obstacles.
  • Makes flexible spending accounts available to military families so they can opt in to reserve pre-tax dollars from their paychecks to pay for out-of-pocket childcare expenses.

In addition to Kaine, Boozman and Tester, the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act is cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The bill is endorsed by Blue Star Families, Military Officers Association of America, National Military Families Association and Servicewomen’s Action Network.

 

June 14, 2019

OECC 80TH ANNUAL MEETING
A SOLAR POWERED EVENT
Ouachita Electric will have their 80th Annual Meeting on June 27th beginning at 4 pm. The event will feature an address from Governor Asa Hutchinson. Jason Morrison, Michael Henderson and Mark Cayce will also address attendees.
5 pm will see the Official SAU Technical College Solar "Flip the Switch". This will be done on Facebook live. There will be a Drone Demonstration from 5:30 to 6:00 pm.

Natural State Natural Energy: A solar powered panel composed of Ted Thomas, Michael Henderson, Heather Nelson and Bill Halter will be answering questions about Solar Power from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. The discussion will be moderated by Katie Niebaum.

EV Drive-N-Learn will take place from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.

OPED BOARD OF DIRECTORS SPECIAL CALLED BOARD MEETING
The OPED Board of Director’s will meet in special session on Monday, June 17th at 8:30 am. The meeting will be held in the CDIC Training Room at the OPED Building located at 625 Adams Avenue SE in Camden.

 OUACHITA COUNTY CAREGIVER’S SUPPORT GROUP TO MEET.
The Ouachita County Caregiver’s Support Group including Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson and Cancer Caregivers will Meet on Wednesday, June 19th from 12:00 to 1:00 pm at Kindred at Home located at 222 Washington Street in Camden. Lunch will be served

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR PRICE GOUGING
Says, ‘will hold any business accountable that takes advantage of flood victims’
LITTLE ROCK – As Arkansans continue to recover from the recent historic flooding, some businesses may try to take advantage of consumers by raising prices beyond legal limits. Arkansas’s price-gouging law prohibits businesses from charging more than 10 percent above the pre-disaster price of goods or services.
 
“I will hold any business accountable that takes advantage of flood victims by illegally overcharging for needed supplies,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Businesses must follow the law and find a balance between supply and demand when pricing goods and services following a declared state of emergency.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to avoid price gouging:

  • Shop around before purchasing goods or services, especially for post-disaster home repairs.
  • Avoid “drive-by” quotes from door-to-door solicitors.
  • When possible, deal with established, reputable businesses in the community.
  • Always get estimates and price quotes in writing.

The price-gouging law is triggered whenever a state of emergency is declared by federal, State or local governments. The ban on price gouging remains in effect for at least 30 days on goods or services related to the emergency (e.g., medical supplies, storage services, motor fuel, etc.) and can be extended another 30 days by the local governing body, if needed. For home repair and cleanup services, the law remains in effect for 180 days. The scope of the law is broad and is intended to cover anything that may be needed in the event of a state of emergency.
 
While the law sets a general 10 percent cap on price increases during an emergency, businesses may lawfully charge a higher price if they can establish that the higher price is directly attributable to additional costs incurred by the retailer, by its supplier, or as the result of additional costs for labor or materials used to provide the goods or service. In such a limited situation, the business may charge no more than 10 percent above the total of the cost to the business, in addition to the markup which would customarily be applied by the business for the goods or service.

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.
 

YEAR-FOUR PARTICIPANTS OF ARKANSAS DECLARATION OF LEARNING PROGRAM TO RECEIVER RECOGNITION
LITTLE ROCK —
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Education, and state and national partners are pleased to recognize 28 teachers, six mentors, and two super mentors this afternoon for their participation in year four of the Arkansas Declaration of Learning program.

Arkansas is the first state in the nation to participate in the program that gives educators the opportunity to create innovative units and lesson plans using historical objects and art from state and national museums. Through access to these artifacts, sixth-through-twelfth-grade art, English language arts, and social studies teachers and school librarians bring history to life. Unique to this program is the addition of a civic engagement project that extends the learning for students beyond classroom walls.

Program partners include the Arkansas Department of Education, Clinton Foundation, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Central Arkansas Library System, William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms.

“I continue to be amazed at the exceptional ability our teachers have to impart not only academic knowledge to their students but the importance of serving others,” Hutchinson said. “There is no better way to instill the importance of civic engagement than by using history to lay the foundation for our future. Not only are you shaping the future of your students, you are making Arkansas a better place to live.”

“The Arkansas Declaration of Learning program is one of many that put Arkansas at the forefront of education in the nation,” ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said. “The hard work and commitment from these outstanding educators are to be commended. They have worked for an entire year to create, review, and revise dynamic lesson plans that incorporate multiple subject areas and promote community engagement. I congratulate each of you for your contribution and know that your students have benefited greatly from your efforts.”

The celebration will be held at 4 p.m. today in the Choctaw Building on the Clinton Presidential Center Campus, 1200 President Clinton Ave., in Little Rock, followed by a reception and dinner at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. During the events, the following four Arkansas educators will receive Best of the Best awards for their outstanding lesson plans: Anne Canada, School Librarian, Paris Middle School; Taylor Gilbreth, Social Studies, Future School of Fort Smith; Susan Jobe, English Language Arts and Theatre, Vilonia High School; and Arin Parks, School Librarian, Westside High School in Jonesboro.

In four years, approximately 110 Arkansas educators have participated in the program, reaching more than 8,000 students with their lesson plans. The program was expanded for year-five participants. Approximately 40 additional educators from grades four through 12 have been selected to participate in year five of the program, which began this week with an in-depth training about the program and object-based learning. These new participants will spend the next year developing, revising, and implementing lesson plans in the classroom and school libraries and working with their students to create civic engagement projects that address issues in their school or community.

To learn more about the program and to hear testimonials from past participants, visit https://bit.ly/2WqBJcC. Applications for the sixth year of the program will open in January 2020. 

GRIFFIN APPLAUDS GOVERNOR’S COMMITMENT TO FULLY FUND SUCCEED SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Says, Succeed Scholarships are 'helping some of our most vulnerable children' and expanding school choice will ensure children receive the 'best education for their individual learning needs'

 LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement in response to Governor Asa Hutchinson's commitment to fully fund the Succeed Scholarship Program:

"I applaud Governor Asa Hutchinson's commitment to fully fund the Succeed Scholarship Program (SSP). Succeed Scholarships are already helping some of our most vulnerable children, and we must expand school choice, so that all children can obtain the best education for their individual learning needs regardless of income or ZIP code."

Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE WELCOME SUMMER SESSION ILAW CLERKS
Says ‘The clerks perform essential research and writing projects’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks during the first summer session to the Attorney General’s office. These law students work in various departments assisting with legal research, drafting memos and legal documents and accompanying lawyers at trials, client meetings and hearings.

“The Attorney General’s office law clerk program gives law students the opportunity to work with some of the state’s top attorneys,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The clerks perform essential research and writing projects which provides invaluable experience in a service-driven learning environment.”

Lauren Ford, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. She graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a major in political science in 2018. Ford is from Cabot and graduated from Vilonia High School in 2014.

Grace Lee, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from Hendrix College in 2017 with a degree in politics. Lee is from Gosnell and graduated from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in 2013.

Jessica Lowery, a third-year student at the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Lowery is from Turrell and graduated from Marion High School in 2013.

Clayton Rowe, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. He graduated from John Brown University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in construction management. Rowe is from Hope and graduated from Siloam Springs High School in 2011.

Cheston Wright, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas a School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. He graduated from Henderson State University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 2014 and a Masters of Business Administration in 2015. Wright is from Arkadelphia and graduated from Arkadelphia High School in 2010.


BOOZMAN PROVISION INCLUDED IN LEGISLATION TO AID BLUE WATER NAVY VETERANS
WASHINGTON–
A bill that expands U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during the Vietnam War includes a provision authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that extends benefits to the children of Vietnam veterans who served in Thailand who were born with spina bifida.

H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, passed the Senate unanimously after passing the House of Representatives last month. The bill, backed by many veterans service organizations, now heads to the president’s desk.

“Providing VA benefits to the children of Vietnam veterans stationed in Thailand born with spina bifida is the fair and right thing to do. They will now be eligible for the same health care, monetary allowance and vocational training as children of Vietnam veterans who served in Vietnam born with the same condition,” Boozman said. “I’m pleased this provision was included in the Blue Water Navy bill and am hopeful that access to these benefits will help improve the lives of former service members exposed to toxic chemicals during their time in uniform, as well as the lives of their families.”

Background
Veterans who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam but did not dock or approach close to the shore were previously ineligible for certain VA disability benefits covering certain medical conditions associated with the chemical herbicide Agent Orange commonly used in Vietnam. In a recent court decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit determined the VA must grant these benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently declined to challenge the decision at the Supreme Court. However, the passage of this legislation will codify the benefits into law and ensure that future judicial action will not reverse the outcome.

H.R.299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, will:

  • Expand the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam.
  • Extend presumption of Agent Orange exposure to veterans who served in or near the Korean demilitarized zone.
  • Provide benefits to children of Vietnam veterans who served in Thailand and were born with spina bifida.=

JUNE 13, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO ARREST
FLEEING ON FOOT

On June 10th at 7:14 pm Sergeant Jamario Bush of the Camden Police Department noticed Brittany McDaniels walking near the Tobacco Superstore on Cash Road. The Officer had knowledge that McDaniels had a valid warrant for her arrest McDaniels appeared to be walking toward her residence located at 615 Lincoln Center.

Sergeant Bush exited his vehicle and verified her name to be Brittany McDaniels. He then told her she had a warrant and reached for her wrist. Just as he grabbed her wrist, McDaniels broke free and began fleeing on foot east toward Cash Road. Sergeant Bush chased her and deployed his Taser as they were running but the probes did not make contact. He yelled to McDaniels to stop running but she continued as they entered the roadway crossing Cash Road and onto the sidewalk leading into Lincoln Center. Shortly after entering the sidewalk, McDaniels stopped running and followed the Officers commands to get on the ground. McDaniels then stated she was just trying to get home.

McDaniels was taken into custody without further dispute. She was transported to the station and served her warrant and later transported to the County Jail to await a court appearance.

DWI
Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing
Obstruction

On June 8th at approximately 12:51 am Sergeant Brian Finney was traveling south on California Avenue when he observed a gold Buick. The vehicle turned on its left tum signal and began turning halfway between Olive drive and Walmart Drive.

The vehicle almost drove completely off the roadway before swerving back. The vehicle then went left of center and drove down the double yellow line until entering the tum lane for Wal-Mart Drive. The vehicle failed to tum on a tum signal when making the left tum onto Wal Mart Drive. While traveling on Wal Mart drive the vehicle swerved right and went onto the curb.

Sergeant Finney activated his emergency lights and initiated a traffic stop with the vehicle. The vehicle continued to drive until reaching a parking space near the front of the store. The driver exited the vehicle and began walking towards to the store. The driver, Terry Jones, was informed that he was not free to go and to remain with the vehicle.

Jones was asked multiple times to provide his ID or name and date of birth. He ignored the Officers’ requests and continued talking on his cell phone. I informed Jones he would be arrested for obstruction if he did not provide the information being requested. Jones continued to ignore my requests and was arrested for obstruction.

While speaking with Jones I observed his eyes to be bloodshot and watery. His speech was slurred and his balance was unsteady. He had a strong odor of intoxicants on his person. Officer Finney told Jones that he suspected him to be impaired and that the investigation regarding his impairment would be continued at the at the station.

Jones was transported to the Camden Police Department. His driver’s license was located in his pocket. He was read his statement of righs and a 20-minute observation period was conducted. Jones refused to sign his statement of rights and refused to take the breathalyzer test.

Jones was issued traffic citations for DWI, Driving on a Suspended License, Refusal to Submit to a to chemical testing, no turn signal, no proof of insurance, driving left of center, careless and prohibited driving and obstruction.

CALIFORNIA MAN SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING AND WITNESS TAMPERING
Hot Springs, Arkansas -
Duane (DAK) Kees, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Rasheen Murdock, age 37, of Modesto, California, was sentenced today to 240 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and Witness Tampering. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court records, during the course of an investigation into methamphetamine trafficking in the Western District of Arkansas in March 2016, the Eighteenth East Drug Task Force received information that Murdock and other individuals were engaged in a methamphetamine drug trafficking operation in the Hot Springs area. Based on this information, investigators were able to identify, and confirm the location of eight baggies of methamphetamine containing 231 grams of actual methamphetamine. Investigators were able to set up surveillance at this location and await the arrival of Murdock, and his co-conspirators. Once they arrived, Murdock and his co-conspirators discussed the current and future drug transactions, including the sale of methamphetamine, heroin, and other drugs. Murdock left the Hot Springs area and returned to California, where he was ultimately arrested.  In November of 2017, while awaiting trial, Murdock was housed in the same cell as one of his co-conspirators. Murdock forced the co-conspirator to write a letter to the Court and the AUSA prosecuting his case stating that Murdock was innocent of all charges.  The co-conspirator advised the Court and Jury that he felt that if he did not do what Murdock asked, there would be conflict, and that the letter Murdock had him write contained all lies.

Murdock was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2016. Murdock was found guilty, after a jury trial on April 25, 2018.

This case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Eighteenth East Drug Task Force, and Arkansas State Police. Assistant United States Attorney David Harris and Kim Harris prosecuted the case for the United States.

BOOZMAN ADVOCATES FOR FARMERS HARMED BY OVERREACHING WATER RULE WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), encouraged support for the Trump administration’s definition of water rules that will provide certainty for Arkansas agriculture producers.

During an EPW hearing to review the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulations, Boozman shared the challenges farmers face under the previous administration’s WOTUS rule and the need to redefine the policy.

“The permitting exemption for ordinary farming and ranching activities from the Obama administration’s stated WOTUS rule was meaningless,” Boozman said. “Imagine the frustration that farmers feel as they go through the permitting process.”

Boozman highlighted the experience of a landowner who was changing the use of a field from growing alfalfa to instead plant orchards in 2015. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that action would constitute a land use change which would allow Corps regulators to pursue enforcement action if plowing the field to plant trees involved a discharge to wetlands.

The Corps regulator informed the landowner that despite an extensive farming history, orchards were never planted on the ranch so they are not the same kind of farming and might not be considered a normal farming activity.

Doug Goehring, commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, testified before the committee and told Boozman that he had conversations with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials about what defined normal agricultural practices.

“Everybody said ‘we’re going to deal with this case-by-case.’ The problem is you never had a consistent answer depending on who you’re talking to,” Goehring said. “All of a sudden it could be detrimental or perceived detrimental that a normal common practice would have constituted a permit or permission to actually farm and ranch in a responsible manner.”

This was the first committee hearing on WOTUS since the Trump administration published its definition of the rule. Boozman has been strongly opposed to the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule and worked to overturn it.

2019 FLOOD RESOURCES AND INFORMATION FOR ARKANSANS
Following requests from Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas federal delegation, President Donald Trump has issued a major disaster declaration for Arkansas, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide various forms of federal assistance for 16 counties: Arkansas, Chicot, Conway, Crawford, Desha, Faulkner, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell.

Arkansans living in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties may be eligible for individual assistance. If they are not sufficiently covered for flood damage, Arkansans in these eight counties should register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The resources below can help Arkansans in those counties when recovery efforts start.

“I appreciate President Trump’s swift response to the Governor’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration. Arkansans are tough, and challenging times only make us tougher—we are going to help each other recover from these historic floods. My office stands ready to help. Please contact us by phone at 202-224-2353 (DC Office), 501-223-9081 (Little Rock Office), 479-751-0879 (Springdale Office), or visit my website at cotton.senate.gov,” said Cotton.

FEMA AND SBA
Individuals who have lost property to the flooding in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties should first contact their insurance agencies. If they are not sufficiently covered for their flood losses, they should register with FEMA at either 1-800-621-3362 (open 6am to 10pm CT, seven days a week) or at disasterassistance.gov (open at all times.)

For qualified individuals, FEMA can provide housing assistance and help with other needs generated by the flooding, including certain medical, dental, funeral, and child care expenses. FEMA can also refer individuals to the Small Business Administration (SBA). For qualified individuals in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties, the SBA can provide loans for up to $200,000 to replace or repair damaged or destroyed real estate, and up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property. Interest rates on these loans for individual homeowners and renters can be as low as 1.938%. To be considered for such loans, applicants must first register with FEMA.

For qualified businesses and private nonprofits that have suffered losses due to the flooding in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties, SBA disaster loans of up to $2 million are available to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Economic injury loans from the SBA may also be available, regardless of property damage, to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Interest rates can be as low as 4% for businesses and 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations.

FEMA Helpline – For help by phone 6am-10pm CT, seven days a week: 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362); TTY 1-800-462-7585

FEMA Website https://disasterassistance.gov

Regional FEMA Contacts – 940-898-5399 | Twitter: @FEMARegion6 | FEMA Region VI website: https://www.fema.gov/region-vi-arkansas-louisiana-new-mexico-oklahoma-texas

 Basic FEMA Information – Basics for disaster assistance: https://www.fema.gov/media-library

SBA Disaster Loan Informationhttps://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/Index

SBA Customer Service Center – 1-800-659-2955

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The USDA offers a variety of programs and services to help communities, farmers, ranchers, and businesses that have been affected by the flooding. In general, these resources are available to those who have suffered damages statewide—not just within the eight counties currently covered by the federal Major Disaster Declaration. Producers who incurred a loss as a result of the flooding should visit their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to file a loss claim and discuss eligibility. In addition, producers with crop insurance who experience a loss should consult their policy and speak with their insurance agent.

USDA Disaster Assistance Websitehttps://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/

FSA Disaster Assistance Programs at a Glancehttps://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/2017/fsa_disaster_assistance_programs_at_a_glance_oct2017.pdf

FSA Arkansas State Office – 501-301-3000 | https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Arkansas/index

ADDITIONAL DISASTER AID LINKS
Beware of Scams – For post-flood tips to avoid ‘flood insurance’ or ‘home improvement’ scams click here.

IRS Relief Options – For information on the most recent IRS-issued tax relief provisions for taxpayers affected by disaster situations click here.

Emergency Food – For assistance paying for food in emergency situations through the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) click here.

Paying Utility Bills – For emergency assistance with utility bills through the Arkansas Department of Human Services click here. You can also call the Arkansas Department of Human Services for utility assistance at 501-682-8714.

  

FLOOD TIPS FROM THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL RUTLEDGE
Avoid Additional Risks
– Check for warping, loosened, or cracked foundation elements, cracks, and holes. Turn off all water and electrical sources to the home. Beware of rodents, snakes, and other reptiles.

Document the Damage – Take photos or video of the damage before removing the water or any flood-damaged items for any future insurance claims.

Protect Your Health – Standing water and affected areas of your home may be contaminated with sewage or household chemicals. Wear protective gear while cleaning up. Throw out any food that came into contact with flood waters.

Mitigate Mold Damage – Remove carpeting and bedding. Keep affected areas as dry as possible and use a strong cleaner such as bleach.

Removal and Repair – Beware of door-to-door solicitors or anyone asking for payment for the entire job upfront. Verify that the contractor is licensed and insist upon a written contract.

MAPS AND LOCAL EMERGENCY INFORMATION FROM THE OFFIC OF SENATOR BOOZMAN
Army Corps of Engineers flooding map
– https://bit.ly/30Lo0eG

  • Click on “2019 Event Inundation Forecast” tab (top right)
  • Accept Disclaimer and click ‘OK’
  • Click on icon with four squares under address search and select streets
       

Road closures – https://www.idrivearkansas.com/
Twitter: @myARDOT

Arkansas.gov website – https://portal.arkansas.gov/pages/flood/

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management – https://adem.arkansas.gov/
Twitter: @AR_Emergencies | Facebook: @ARemergencies

Arkansas State Police – https://asp.arkansas.gov/
Twitter: @ARStatePolice | Facebook: @ARStatePolice

 

Little Rock District, Army Corps of Engineers – https://www.swl.usace.army.mil/
 Twitter: @usacelittlerock | Facebook: @littlerockusace
(covers AR River from Little Rock to Western Arkansas)

Vicksburg District, Army Corps of Engineers – https://www.mvk.usace.army.mil/
 Twitter: @VicksburgUSACE | Facebook: @VicksburgUSACE
(covers Pine Bluff and Southeast Arkansas)
Permalink: https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/dr-boozman-s-check-up?id=E0E75FE8-7E00-4340-92E7-A94A9F6F1D67

 BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS SUPPORT HONG KONG PROTESTORS
Washington, D.C. - Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Angus King (I-Maine), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) released the following statement of support for the millions of citizens protesting the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong:

"The extradition law proposed by Beijing loyalists in Hong Kong would allow political dissidents, minorities, and foreign travelers in Hong Kong to be spirited away to China's secret police on the mainland. The people of Hong Kong are assembling in the streets to resist this threat to their freedom and send a message to the Chinese Communist Party.

Hong Kong demonstrators know what happened in Tiananmen Square in 1989, unlike so many Chinese on the mainland. They know the risk they run by defying the Chinese Communist Party. The demonstrators' courage in the face of threats, police batons, and tear gas is an example for the world to follow. We support these demonstrators as they fight for freedom and call on Hong Kong and Chinese authorities to respect their right to peacefully protest," said the Senators.

BOOZMAN STATEMENT ON U.S.-POLAND JOINT DEFENSE DECLARATION
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement on the joint declaration on U.S. force posture signed today by President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda: 

“Increasing U.S. forces in Poland is a strong deterrent against Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. I am pleased that President Trump is strengthening our presence in Eastern Europe and ensuring that our military presence in Europe supports our operational plans and reinforces our commitment to our allies,” Boozman said. 

In 2018, Boozman visited Poland and saw first-hand the work being done by U.S. forces to sustain operations in Europe to ensure we have a credible force to deter Russian aggression.   

Boozman also introduced an amendment that was included in the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act to require the Pentagon to conduct an assessment of the need for combat enablers as it examines the feasibility and advisability of permanently stationing a U.S. Army brigade combat team in Poland.

June 12, 2019

 

CITY OF CAMDEN COUNCIL MEETING
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday night in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm. Scott Bodenhamer, Pastor or the Freedom Church gave the invocation. The minutes and Financial reports from the month of May were approved. During the Audience Participation the Women’s Crises Center requested to regain ownership of the property as they can’t receive any grants for repairs of the property unless they own the property. The Crises Center Board had sent a letter to the Mayor prior to the Council meeting. They asked that the City donate the property back to them or sell it at a reasonable monthly payment. The Mayor stated that he had received their letter and was looking into the matter. The City cannot give the property to them, but he is looking at options.  Before continuing with the regular agenda, the Council went into executive session. After they returned, an ordinance abandoning Gallop Street located in the W. L. Ellis Subdivision was passed. A resolution setting the salary of the current City Clerk was tabled. A resolution setting a date for a public hearing on a petition to abandon Santa Fe Street located in W. L. Ellis Subdivision was passed. A resolution awarding the bid for the purchase of a 2020 Residential Automated Side Loader and Truck for the Sanitation Division of the Public Works Department was passed.  A resolution awarding the bid for the purchase of a 4 New Digital Portable Radios for the Camden Public Works Department was passed and a resolution increasing the compensation for certain employees was tabled. In other business, the condition of the buildings at Ivra Clark and Carnes Parks was discussed.

FLAG RETIREMENT CEREMONY TO BE HELD IN CAMDEN
There will be a flag retirement ceremony held at the WoodmenLife Office on Tuesday, June 25th at 6 PM. The American Creed states “We retire flags with dignity and respect when they become worn, torn, faded, or badly soiled.” The community is invited to attend. A meal will be served following the ceremony WoodmenLife Office is located at 1250 Cash Road in Camden.

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE TO HOST MOBILE OFFICE AND COMMUNITY EVENTS IN OUACHITA COUNTY
CAMDEN
– Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office will hold the county’s annual mobile office, a prescription drug take back and a presentation on common scams in Ouachita County on Tuesday, June 18.

“In 2015, I began holding mobile offices to reach Arkansans where they live,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans deserve to have access to the Attorney General’s Office without having to drive to downtown Little Rock. In addition to the mobile office, my staff provides additional outreach programs and educational opportunities while visiting communities around the State all year.”

During the Attorney General Mobile Office, staff members will assist constituents with consumer-related issues by filing consumer complaints and providing information about scams, identity theft, fraud and other threats from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Camden Senior Center. During that time, authorities from Ouachita County Sheriff David Norwood’s office will also collect prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, pet medicines, medicated ointments and lotions, inhalers, liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers and medicine samples as part of a prescription drug take back event.

Community educators will also present a senior scams and identity theft prevention presentation to senior citizens. From 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Camden Senior Center, seniors and older adults can learn about common scams that target them, along with ways to spot and prevent identity theft.

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.

FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR ARKANSAS FLOOD VICTIMS
June 10, 2019 –
As a result of the recent flooding in Arkansas, the Arkansas Bar and the Young Lawyers’ Section, in conjunction with FEMA, the Arkansas Emergency Management Agency, the American Bar Association, Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas, and Arkansas Access to Justice, is providing free disaster legal assistance efforts to affected individuals who were affected by the recent floods.

FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of Arkansas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms and flooding beginning on May 21, 2019 and continuing.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding is also available to the state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B), including direct federal assistance under the Public Assistance program, in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties.

Federal funding is also available to the state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures (Category B), including limited federal assistance under the Public Assistance program, in Arkansas, Chicot, Desha, Franklin, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, and Pope counties.

The toll-free number is 1-800-950-5817 and flood victims may now call the hotline. Local legal aid providers and pro bono attorneys will be available to help with the following:

 Assistance securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster victims;

 Assistance with life, medical, and property insurance claims;

 Help with home repair contracts and contractors;

 Replacement of wills and other important legal documents lost or destroyed in the disaster;

Consumer protection to guard against price-gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process;

Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and

Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

Flood victims may call the toll-free number and a volunteer attorney will respond by telephone to answer their legal questions. The goal is to assist as many individuals affected by the floods as possible.

Beware of Fraud

Both FEMA and the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office urge Arkansans to be aware of the risk of fraud and common scams in the wake of severe weather. Common post-disaster fraud practices include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations, and fake offers of state or federal aid. Arkansans are urged to ask questions and to require identification when someone claims to represent a government agency.

Affected individuals should also keep in mind that state and federal workers never ask for or accept money and always carry identification badges with a photograph. There is no fee required to apply for or to receive disaster assistance from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), or the State. Additionally, no state or federal government disaster assistance agency will call to ask for you financial account information. Unless you place a call to the agency yourself, you should not provide personal information over the phone as it can lead to identity theft.

Those who suspect fraud can call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 (toll free). Complaints may also be made to local law enforcement.

 Partnership Members

The following organizations have joined forces to support a toll-free phone line for Arkansas flood victims to request free legal assistance, and to provide volunteer attorneys to handle cases arising from recent storm damage.

American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division - The ABA YLD, the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession, and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law. Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and one of the largest voluntary professional membership groups in the world.

 Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror

 The Arkansas Bar – (www.arkbar.com) The Arkansas Bar Association is a voluntary, statewide organization with 5,000 members. Among its purposes are the advancement of the administration of justice and the fostering among its members of high ideals of integrity, learning and public service.

 National Disaster Legal Aid Online – (http://www.disasterlegalaid.org/) NDLA is a collaborative effort of Lone Star Legal Aid, the American Bar Association, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and Pro Bono Net.

 The Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas are the only free civil legal aid organizations in the state. Together, they help more than 12,000 clients each year.

The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission (https://arkansasjustice.org/) works to ensure justice for all. That means that all Arkansans get the protections of the law. We research the unmet legal problems of Arkansans, encourage attorneys to do pro bono work for families who are priced out of the legal market, and recommend evidence-based solutions to policymakers.

Free Legal Answers (AR.freelegalanswers.org) is a virtual legal advice clinic. Qualifying users post their civil legal question to their state's website. Users will then be emailed when their question receives a response. Attorney volunteers, who must be authorized to provide pro bono assistance in their state, log in to the website, select questions to answer, and provide legal information and advice. Volunteer attorneys will not answer criminal law questions.    

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, June 13 at 12:00 at Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be presented  by Terri Walker who will talk about  CASA.

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES LEON JONES AS NEW DIRECTOR OF ARKANSAS FAIR HOUSING COMMISSION 
Carol Johnson resigns for a new opportunity after 14 years as director
LITTLE ROCK – This week Governor Asa Hutchinson, in conjunction with Elizabeth Smith, Secretary-Designate of the Department of Inspector General, announced Leon Jones as the new executive director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission. Jones, the former director of the Arkansas Department of Labor, will replace Carol Johnson, who has served as executive director of the commission for the past 14 years.

Director Johnson will step down as executive director of the commission on June 30. Jones will assume the role on July 1.

Governor Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“Leon has been an integral part of my administration from day one, and he has served the state well for the past four years as the director of the Arkansas Department of Labor. Today, I’m delighted to announce that he will be the new executive director for the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission. Leon’s background in the housing sector, in addition to his experience as an attorney and small-business owner, will serve him and the people of Arkansas well in this new role.

“I also want to thank Carol Johnson for her nearly two decades of service to our state, including the last 14 years she’s served as the executive director of the Fair Housing Commission. I want to congratulate her on her new opportunity, and I wish her the best in all future endeavors.” 

Jones issued the following statement:

“It is with pleasure that I am accepting the assignment as executive director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission. I have been working in the housing arena since 2007, where I served as a Commissioner of the Fayetteville Housing Authority until 2014. I look forward to the opportunity to get back into a space where I have a passion, and I look forward to working with Secretary-Designate Smith. 

“I thank the Governor for the opportunity to have served for four-and-a-half years as Director of the Arkansas Department of Labor. It has been a great learning experience, and I have established many great relationships.” 

June 11, 2019

SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES INVOLVED IN SHOOTING; STATE POLICE CID ASKED TO INVESTIGATE
William James Beck, 41, of Shirley (Van Buren County) died Sunday evening (June 9, 2019) during a reported exchange of gunfire with Van Buren County Sheriff’s Deputies.

Authorities within the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department have requested Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division to conduct a use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer investigation.

The deputies were dispatched about 10:40 PM to a disturbance at 205 Hazel Avenue.  They entered the home and were allegedly met with gunfire and returned fire both inside and outside the home.

Beck’s body was later discovered inside the house.  A gun found near the body was also recovered.  The body and other evidence have been turned over to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory.  A manner and cause of death will be determined by the state medical examiner.

Once the investigation is completed, the Arkansas State Police will submit the case file to Van Buren County Prosecuting Attorney to consider whether the shooting was consistent with Arkansas laws relating to use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer.

Questions relating to the identity of the deputies and their current administrative status should be directed to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.


SAAC ANNOUNCES NEW PENGUIN PROJECT PRODUCTION OF “SEUSSICAL KIDS”
"Today you are you. That is truer than true. And there's no one alive who is you-er than you," a quote from Dr. Seuss's Horton, the Who.

The South Arkansas Arts Center announces its upcoming Penguin Project production of "Seussical KIDS", a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza. Sponsored by Simmons First Foundation, the play has a projected production date of October 4 and 5.

The Penguin Project is a unique opportunity for children with special needs to perform in a live stage production in front of an audience. Through targeted outreach, special needs children are recruited as Artists and cast in the production, from starring roles to ensemble. Each special-needs Artist is paired with a Mentor of similar age, who guides them through the production from start to finish, helping them learn lines, dances, songs, and blocking. The children operate as a pair throughout the entire process and appear on stage together, resulting in a full theatrical performance, with costumes, sets, and music.

Even though the dates seem far away at this point, now is the time to sign up your Artists and Mentors for this fun and challenging, yet heartwarming experience. SAAC is accepting applications for performers now. The directors are looking for Mentors, age 12-18 and Artists age 8-18.

By providing access to community theater, The Penguin Project demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability should not handicap a child's ability to participate in life's experiences

Now one of the most performed shows in America, "Seussical KIDS" is fun for everyone! The directors have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, and a little boy with a big imagination - Jojo. The colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos. Performers of all ages will be excited to portray the characters from the familiar Dr. Seuss fables!

Some fun summer get-togethers are in the works for the Artists and Mentors so they can hang out and get to know each other better. The Penguin Project Summer Fun Fest will consist of some time together at SAAC, as well as some family based outings around town. Movies and Splash Pad visits are part of the fun. Actual rehearsals for the project begin August 15 and 17 for Mentors and August 20 for Artists. Rehearsals will meet twice a week from 3:45-5:30 at SAAC on Tuesday and Thursday and concludes seven weeks later with the production.

For more information about Penguin Project, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East Main Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

COTTON, COLLEAGUES UNVEIL LEGISLATION TO COMBAT TERROR FINANCE, MONEY LAUNDERING
Washington, D.C. —U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Mark R. Warner (D-Virginia), Doug Jones (D-Alabama), and Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) today unveiled draft bipartisan legislation to improve corporate transparency, strengthen national security, and help law enforcement combat illicit financial activity being carried out by terrorists, drug and human traffickers, and other criminals. 

The Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act would, for the first time, require shell companies – often used as fronts for criminal activity – to disclose their true owners to the Treasury Department. It also would update decades-old policies to combat money laundering and terror finance by giving Treasury and law enforcement the tools they need to fight criminal networks. This includes improving communication between law enforcement, financial institutions, and regulators, and facilitating the adoption of critical 21st century technologies. 

“The United States ought to make it as difficult as possible for criminals and terrorists to finance their evil deeds. Our draft bill makes it easier for law enforcement to track ill-gotten gains without burdening legitimate businesses,” said Cotton.

“We must be vigilant and ensure that our financial system is not being misused to fund individuals and groups who intend harm to the United States and our allies,” said Warner. “This legislation will empower the Treasury Department and other appropriate agencies to better protect our financial system from such abuse and will ensure that we are using all the tools at our disposal to protect our national security.”

“As a former U.S. Attorney, I am all too familiar with criminals hiding behind shell corporations to enable their illegal behavior. At the same time, our anti-money laundering laws have not kept pace with the increasingly sophisticated means by which criminals and terrorist organizations use our financial system to move their money around the world. This bipartisan legislation addresses both challenges and gives law enforcement the tools they need to protect Americans and prosecute criminals,” said Jones.

"Fighting crime and depriving terrorists of the tools they use to engage in illicit activity within our financial system is vital to protecting Americans,” said Rounds. “Our legislation seeks to protect our financial system from bad actors by streamlining our government's anti-money laundering system and simultaneously protecting small businesses from undue compliance burdens. I'm proud to partner with my colleagues on this important legislation and look forward to advancing it in the Senate.”

Background: According to research from the University of Texas and Brigham Young University, the United States remains one of the easiest places in the world to set up an anonymous shell company. A recent report by Global Financial Integrity demonstrated that in every state more information is required to obtain a library card than to register a company. Human traffickers, terrorist groups, arms dealers, transnational criminal organizations, kleptocrats, drug cartels, and rogue regimes have all used U.S.-registered shell companies to hide their identities and facilitate illicit activities. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies find it difficult to investigate these illicit financial networks without access to information about corporate ownership.

U.S. AML-CFT laws have not kept pace with criminals’ exploitation of the global financial system.  According to a United Nations report, money laundering and illicit cross-border financial flows generate upwards of $300 billion annually in criminal proceeds. While tracking these vast sums is increasingly difficult, U.S. laws also have failed to adequately address the small-dollar financing of global terrorist groups. 

The ILLICIT CASH Act would create a more transparent corporate ownership system and an updated, effective, and efficient AML-CFT regime designed for the 21st century. Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Establish federal reporting requirements mandating that all beneficial ownership information be maintained in a comprehensive federal database, accessible by federal and local law enforcement.
  • Help recruit and retain top talent at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) by putting employees on a pay scale comparable to that of federal financial regulators.
  • Create a hub of financial expert investigators at FinCEN to investigate potential AML-CFT activity in collaboration with federal government agencies.
  • Create a team of FinCEN technology experts to further the development of new and essential technologies to combat money laundering.
  • Facilitate communications between Treasury and financial institutions by establishing a Treasury financial institution liaison to seek and receive comments regarding AML-CFT rules, regulations, and examinations.
  • Require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide the Treasury Department with metrics on the usefulness of AML-CFT data from financial institutions for law enforcement purposes, as well as data on trends identified by DOJ in the AML-CFT landscape.
  • Require law enforcement to coordinate with financial regulators to provide periodic feedback to financial institutions on their suspicious activity reports.
  • Prioritize the protection of personally identifying information while establishing a clear path for financial institutions to share AML-CFT information for the purposes of identifying suspicious activity.
  • Prevent foreign banks from obstructing money laundering or terrorist financing investigations by requiring these banks to produce records in a manner that establishes their authenticity and reliability for evidentiary purposes, and compelling them to comply with subpoenas. This legislation would also authorize contempt sanctions for banks that fail to comply.
  • Ensure the inclusion of current and future payment systems in the AML-CFT regime by updating the definition of “coins and currency” to include digital currency.
     

Senators Cotton, Warner, Jones and Rounds are now seeking input from stakeholders regarding their draft legislation. Submissions can be made to Sen. Warner’s office at AML-BSAReform@warner.senate.gov by July 19, 2019.

For an in-depth look at this bill, click here. The full text of the bill is available here.  

 

 

JUNE 10, 2019

ARKANSAS BASS TEAM TRAIL AND THE CITY OF CAMDEN AR PRESENTS “THE RUMBLE ON THE RIVER BASS TEAM TOURNAMENT”
Camden, AR – The Rumble on the River Bass Team Tournament is a 1 day only event held on Saturday, July 6th at the Camden River Walk on the Ouachita River in Downtown Camden, AR. Take off is at 6am and weigh-in is at 3pm at River Walk park and boat launch (405 Washington St. SE. Camden AR 71701) in Downtown Camden. Free lunch provided for all participants at weigh-in.

1st place $5,000 Cash Guaranteed plus pay out through 10th place in cash and prizes!

Entry fee is only $125 per boat with a 2 person per boat limit.

Registration will begin online June 1st, early registration June 1st - July. 2nd will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Academy Sports Gift Card.

Register online at www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net, www.explorecamden.com or in Person at The Camden Area Chamber of Commerce (314 S Adams Ave) in Camden AR.

Final registration will be held Friday, July 5th from 6-8pm at The First Friday Market in Downtown Camden, AR. You may also want to take part in our special casting competition that we will be holding during the First Friday Market. There will be an Adult as well as a Child division for an opportunity to win prizes.

So come early on Friday evening for family fun in Camden, AR with the First Friday Market and a wide variety of restaurants and shops open late Friday evening the day before the event. First Friday is an open-air evening market which takes place from 6PM till 9PM in downtown Camden. In addition you can stroll the streets downtown and enjoy live music, shop a great variety of vendors and artists, while enjoying a relaxed fun evening. There are LOTS of things to see and do while you visit Camden for the tournament.

For Rules and Registration, visit www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net

For more Information on Camden, lodging and travel, visit www.explorecamden.com

SBA CLASSES OFFERED THIS SUMMER
NEW! Summer Startup Series Workshop #1
*Complete the 3-part series and earn a certificate*

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
The Arkansas Secretary of State's Office Business & Commercial Services (BCS) provides a wide range of services to individuals and companies who conduct business within Arkansas, whether they’re based inside the state or elsewhere. BCS is Arkansas’s starting point for entrepreneurs wishing to transact business in the state. Consumers can search for a unique name for their company as well as file the appropriate document types for their business. In this workshop, you will learn how to navigate the Secretary of State's Office website and how to appropriately register your business.

JULY
NEW! Summer Startup Series Workshop #2
*Complete the 3-part series and earn a certificate*

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration's mission is to provide Arkansas businesses convenient, effective, and courteous service which will encourage voluntary compliance with tax, license, and child support laws. In this workshop, you will learn how to navigate through the business tax registration form and learn about various forms of taxes required for different businesses.

Top-Notch Customer Service
Monday, July 29, 2019 | 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Excellent customer service is a cost-free marketing technique, as well as a way to set your business apart from your competitors. Learn how to exceed customer expectations, handle unhappy customers, and create a culture of top-notch customer service.


AUGUST
NEW! Summer Startup Series Workshop #3
*Complete the 3-part series and earn a certificate*

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
The City of Camden and Ouachita County officials will band together in this informative workshop to share information about properly registering your business with the city and/or county, code enforcement rules and regulations, and general information about starting a business in Camden and Ouachita County.

NEW! Summer Startup Series Bonus Workshop: Food Code
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
This workshop offers an overview of what it takes to open and run a successful restaurant or other food establishment. The Arkansas Department of Health will join us to answer questions regarding the startup process, rules, regulations, and more to operating a successful food-based business.

ARKANSAS FLOOD INSURANCE AVAILABILITY
Little Rock, Arkansas
–– Current flooding in Arkansas brings to light common misconceptions and misinformation about flood insurance.  See below for myths and facts.  

Myth: I was told I can’t purchase flood insurance.
Fact: National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies are being sold, policies are being renewed and claims are being paid in participating communities. If you are told that you can’t purchase flood insurance, call the NFIP Referral Call Center at 1-800-427-4661 to find out if your community participates in the NFIP and to request an agent referral. Policies take 30 days to go into effect. For more information, view: How Do I Buy Flood Insurance.

AR Fact for Private Flood Insurance: Flood damage is not typically covered by a homeowner’s policy.  Arkansans can purchase private flood insurance at any time, even if they do no not live in a floodplain or high-flood-risk area.  You can also purchase private flood insurance even if your mortgage broker doesn’t require it.  Keep in mind that any policy bought today will not cover the current flood event, but you will be prepared for a future flood.  If you have any questions, please contact the Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) Consumer Services Division at 800-852-5494.

Myth: My current policy recently expired, or my carrier is going to cancel my policy, leaving me without coverage.  
NFIP Fact: All policies expire at 12:01 a.m. on the last day of the policy term. However, coverage remains in force for 30 days after the expiration of the policy and claims for losses that occur during the period will be honored provided that the full renewal premium is received within 30 days of the policy expiration date. For NFIP policyholders, contact your insurance company immediately if your policy recently expired or canceled to determine renewal. If you don’t know your insurance company, call the NFIP Referral Call Center at 1-800-427-4661. For more information, view: Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program.

AR Fact for Private Flood Insurance: On May 21, 2019, AID set a 60-day window where flood victims are protected from having any type of insurance policy cancelled for non-payment of premiums. This is not a waiver of payment. Policyholders must still pay premiums. Arkansans must contact their insurance companies to set up a payment plan to continue coverage once the 60-day window expires. If you have any questions, please contact AID’s Consumer Services Division at 800-852-5494 or view our 60-Day Bulletin for Flood Victims.

Myth: I was told I don’t need flood insurance.
Fact: People need flood insurance to protect their most important investment: their homes or businesses. Even if flood insurance is not mandated for your property, you are still at risk—even if you live in a moderate- to low-risk area. Where it can rain, it can flood. Living in a low- to moderate-risk flood zone (Zone X shaded/unshaded), does not mean no risk. In fact, more than 20 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program claims come from outside the areas of highest risk. Protect the life you’ve built and get a quote for the amount of flood insurance you can afford. For more information, view: Why Do I Need Flood Insurance

Myth: My homeowners or renters insurance policy covers flood damage.
Fact: Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, affecting every region and state. Floods cause physical and emotional anguish, as well as financial devastation. In fact, just one inch of water in an average sized home can cause more than $25,000 in damage. Whether you rent or own, make sure to ask your insurance agent about contents coverage. For most standard policies, contents coverage is not automatically included with the building coverage.. 

Purchasing flood insurance is one of the most important steps residents can take to protect the lives they’ve built. Just one inch of water in a home can cause more than $25,000 in damage. Most homeowners and renters policies do not cover flood damage. Call your insurance agent to get a quote today. Call 1-800-427-4661 or visit www.floodsmart.gov. Don’t delay. Policies typically take up to 30 days to go into effect.

CHEF LILLE ELLEN TO HOST BAKING WORKSHOP AT SAAC
The South Arkansas Arts Center is thrilled to announce an exciting culinary opportunity for aspiring bakers in conjunction with its summer musical production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.  El Dorado native Chef Lilli Ellen will be teaching two afternoons of French bread and pastry techniques in her “Bon Baguette” class. The “hands on” classes will be held on June 29 and 30, from 1:00-4:00pm each day in the professional kitchens at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Chef Ellen will demonstrate a rustic baguette during the class on Saturday and a delicate French pastry dough, pate a choux, and pastry cream for eclairs during the Sunday afternoon class. Participants will take home their fresh baked creations each day to lucky family and friends!

“Le petit boulangerie d’amusement is French for ‘fun little bakery’ and that’s what we will be those two afternoons,” Chef Ellen said about the class.  “I love bread making.  It can be as hard or as simple as you want it to be.”

Chef Ellen attended the Culinary Institute of America, the country’s oldest and most prestigious culinary school, which she added, was a fun but challenging experience. Her extensive culinary resume includes pre and post education experience as a cook, chef and baker.  She has at least 4000 baguettes to her credit so she is the perfect instructor to lead this dough adventure.

After some traveling around and working in different kitchens to give her some experience, Chef Ellen now resides in El Dorado and is the upcoming Chef Director of the Culinary Arts Program at South Arkansas Community College, which will begin in August.

Tickets for the French bread and pastry classes are $55 for the two days of classes.  For more information or to register, 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.

CADC BOARD TO MEET
The Board of Directors of Central Arkansas Development Council will have a board meeting Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held at Central Arkansas Development Council’s Administrative Office, 321 Edison Avenue, Benton, Arkansas. The public is invited.

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet on Wednesday at Catherine’s Bistro. The speaker this week will be Craig Lawson  with ALETA.  He will be give the group an update on what’s happening at ALETA.

ARKANSAS DELEGATION URGES PRESIDENT TO APPROVE DISASTER ASSISTANCE 
WASHINGTON -U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—sent a letter to President Donald Trump and administration officials urging them to support Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a major disaster declaration because of extensive damage caused by continued flooding and recent severe storms in the state.  

“Simply put, this is a historic flood that demands the immediate attention of the federal government. This unprecedented flooding is something unseen on the Arkansas River before,” members wrote in the letter. “Our citizens will be in dire need of assistance in order to regain suitable living conditions.”

The following is the full text of the delegation’s letter of support:  

On behalf of the State of Arkansas, we are writing to support Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request to declare a major disaster, pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act, as a result of the devastating flooding and severe storms that began on May 21, 2019, and continue across the state.   

Currently, 16 counties are reporting damage from extremely heavy rainfall, both locally and upriver in the Arkansas River system, with multiple levee breaches across the state leaving hundreds of structures still at risk. Governor Hutchinson declared a state of emergency on May 24, 2019, and the counties of Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell has subsequently declared states of emergency. Local, state and federal officials have assisted with evacuations and emergency protective measures in Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell counties, and shelters operating in 6 counties are currently housing Arkansans displaced by dangerously high waters.

Simply put, this is a historic flood that demands the immediate attention of the federal government. This unprecedented flooding is something unseen on the Arkansas River before. Preliminary Damage Assessments indicate that over 857 homes have sustained major damage or were destroyed across eight counties, with many not yet experiencing the full impact of the floodwaters. Out of the 1,147 homes assessed thus far, an estimated 97% are uninsured.  It is also estimated that over 20% of those individuals are low income. Our citizens will be in dire need of assistance in order to regain suitable living conditions.  

While Preliminary Damage Assessments have occurred, the Arkansas River has not yet crested. It is anticipated that the number of homes damaged will increase as communities experience further flooding and state and federal teams are able to fully assess the damage across the state. 

The resourcefulness and resilience of Arkansans in recent weeks has been impressive, however, as losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts. Federal government resources are critical in the immediate aftermath of this devastating flooding, and coordination between the federal government and state and local officials is crucial to begin the process of recovery and rebuilding. 

We strongly support Governor Hutchinson’s request for immediate federal assistance through both Individual and Public Assistance. We are eager to assist in any way possible to ensure expedited evaluation of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices with any questions.

We thank you for the support you have already offered, and respectfully ask for your continued attention and assistance in providing the resources necessary to ensure the safety of Arkansans.

 

Arkansas AG logo

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL CHARGES FOR NEW BEGINNINGS HEALTH SERVICES OWNER
Bazzelle lied during investigation
LITTLE ROCK – Last Thursday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced an additional and related charge against the owner and CEO of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services LLC, Chirie Bazzelle.

Bazzelle, 46, of Benton, is accused of giving a false statement to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit during the course of an investigation. During a June 2018 interview, Bazzelle stated that she had no prior knowledge of a letter sent by then-Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson on behalf of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services to the Department of Human Services Division of Behavioral Health requesting she be allowed to operate in Cleveland County. Email documentation proves that Bazzelle reviewed the letter and sent edits to the letter prior to its submission.

In April, Bazzelle was arrested for failing to report contracts with Milton “Rusty” Cranford, Robin Raveendran, and her former husband Michael Grimes who is a convicted felon. She was 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 was also accused of attempting to evade taxes from January 2014 through February 2019.

“Criminals who steal from Arkansans and lie during investigations must be held accountable,” said Attorney General Rutledge.

In June 2018, Rutledge announced the arrest of Raveendran, former Preferred Family Healthcare Director of Program Integrity and Director of Operations 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 Office of the Medicaid Inspector General assisted the Attorney General’s office in this investigation, which 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.

 

June 07, 2019

CAMDEN TO CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH
Schedule of events
Friday, June 14
6 p.m. - Juneteenth Jam On talent show (Camden Fairview Middle School)
The classic Jam On talent show from the old school is making its triumphant return during the 2019 Camden Juneteenth Celebration. All singer, rappers, poets, dancers, actors, steppers and comedians are invited!! There are cash prizes for the winners which will be decided by a panel of judges! All music must be edited and all outfits must be appropriate for a family audience. Failure to comply will result in disqualification. Admittance is $5 with all proceeds going towards the Juneteenth Scholarship program.

Sunday June 16 (Carnes Park)
4 p.m. - Juneteenth Car, Bike and Truck Show and Concert (Carnes Park)

Friday June 21
7 p.m. - Juneteenth Parade (Starting at post office, heading east on Washington before turning south on Adams and then turning west on Jackson and ending near the CFIS.)
7:45 p.m. - Kids Block Party (Famers Bank and Trust)
Come out for the annual Camden Juneteenth Parade!! The parade will start at the Post Office on Washington, head east before turning on Adams Street and then turning again on Jackson Street and ending near Divine Antidote. This year will feature several local motorcycle clubs, custom cars, horse, dance teams, church groups, sports teams, greek and social club and organizations. Also tabbed to appear is the Camden Fairview High School State Championship Gymnastics team and the legendary L.C. Buckshot Smith. We want this to be the LOUDEST and most ENTERTAINING parade of the year!!! A children's block party will follow immediately afterwards at the Farmers Bank and Trust parking lot with free food and refreshments, fun activities and a special guest DJ!!!

Saturday June 22 
12 p.m - Juneteenth Health Fair (Camden Fairview Middle School)
12 p.m. and 3 p.m. - African American Landmark Tour and 1st Kansas Colored Regiment Historical Presentation (Starting at Carnes Park and going throughout Camden before ending with presentation at Zion Hill)

CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. The Agenda includes an ordinance abandoning Gallop Street located in the W. L. Ellis Subdivision, a resolution setting the salary of the current City Clerk, a resolution setting a date for a public hearing on a petition to abandon Santa Fe Street located in W. L. Ellis Subdivision, a resolution awarding the bid for the purchase of a 2020 Residential Automated Side Loader and Truck for the Sanitation Division of the Public Works Department, a resolution awarding the bid for the purchase of a 4 New Digital Portable Radios for the Camden Public Works Department and a resolution increasing the compensation for certain employees.

SENATOR COTTON SECURES ARKANSAS MILITARY FAMILY PRIORITIES IN DEFENSE BILL
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chairman of the Airland Subcommittee in the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement on committee passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. Senator Cotton secured dozens of provisions in the annual defense bill, which now awaits consideration by the full United States Senate. Several directly impact Arkansas military families. Click here for an executive summary of the NDAA.

“Military families in Arkansas shoulder much of the responsibility in defending our nation, and we must ensure they’re treated with full respect. I’m pleased that so many of my bills to help Arkansas military families were included in the Senate version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, and I’ll continue fighting for these priorities as we move toward final passage,” said Cotton

Senator Cotton’s provisions address a range of issues, including expanding Arkansas’s State Veterans Cemetery, easing the process of military spouse licensing transfers, supporting U.S. partners in the Indo-Pacific region, improving homeschool inclusion within JROTC programs, and updating burial honors for certain veterans.

  • Allows Military Spouses to Transfer Occupational Licenses: Many Arkansas military spouses struggle with recertifying their occupational licenses as they move from state to state. The Portable Certification of Spouses amendment will improve the portability of occupational licenses. 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 changes station.
  • Expanded Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery: Ensures we keep our promises to Arkansas veterans who choose to be buried alongside their brothers and sisters in arms by transferring approximately 141 acres from the Army National Guard to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Includes Homeschool Students in Local JROTC Units: Mandates inclusion of homeschooled students residing in the geographic area served by a JROTC unit. The bill ensures that homeschool students who want to participate in JROTC can.
  • Grants Full Military Honors Burial Rites: Allows Medal of Honor and Prisoner of War Medal recipients to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors, regardless of rank.
  • Increases Security in Indo-Pacific Region: Encourages the Department of Defense to establish open-source intelligence fusion centers between the U.S. and the Pacific Island countries. These centers will strengthen our valuable partnership with Pacific Island nations. Arkansas is proud to be home to the largest Marshallese population in the country.

BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION TO HONOR THE NATION’S FIRST RESPONDERS UNANIMOUSLY PASSES U.S. SENATE
Washington, D.C. — United States Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Gary Peters (D-Michigan), Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), and James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), celebrated the unanimous Senate passage of a resolution to designate October 28, 2019, as "Honoring the Nation's First Responders Day."

According to the Department of Homeland Security, an estimated 4.6 million career and volunteer firefighters, police, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics serve communities all across the United States. The resolution encourages Americans to honor our country's first responders with ceremonies and activities to recognize their contributions.

"Historic floods have ravaged my home state of Arkansas, but the rising waters are no match for the brave Arkansas first responders who stepped up to protect their friends and neighbors," said Cotton. "First responders across the nation work tirelessly during times of crisis, often putting their own lives at risk to save others. Although these dedicated professionals deserve appreciation every day, our bill will now officially and properly celebrate their service on October 28th."

"First responders put their lives on the line to keep us safe. That's why it's up to every single one of us to honor their service and their sacrifices," said Warren. "I'm glad the Senate passed our bipartisan resolution to recognize first responders, and I hope Americans view every day as an opportunity to celebrate the courage and strength of these exceptional public servants in our communities."

"Our first responders save countless lives every day, and many tragically pay the ultimate price in the line of duty -- a sacrifice we should never forget. Designating a day to honor their service and sacrifice is the least we can do to express our gratitude," said Johnson.

"First responders are dedicated to protecting our communities, and deserve to be recognized for the sacrifices they have made to keep each and every one of us safe," said Peters. "I'm pleased the Senate passed this bipartisan resolution to honor the heroes in Michigan and across the country who stand ready to help in an emergency."

In 2017, Cotton and Warren worked to pass a similar resolution honoring first responders.

 

JUNE 6, 2019

4-H MEMBERS INFORMATION REGARDING COUNTY AND STATE FAIRS
Any youth between the ages of 5-19 that wish to exhibit livestock as a Ouachita County 4-H member must declare their intention to show with the Ouachita County Extension Office by June13th, 2019. Also, any exhibitor planning to show at state fair must have tags paid for by 4:00 p.m. on June 13th, 2019. Contact Keri Weatherford, 231-1160 or kweatherford@uaex.edu, for more information. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/ equal access/affirmative action institution.

 

Arkansas AG logo

 ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT:
 Use Caution When Giving to Those Affected By the Flood  
 LITTLE ROCK – The record-setting and devastating   flooding in Arkansas means many people are looking for   charities and organizations to assist those who are directly   impacted by the widespread disaster. While there are many organizations collecting money and resources to help fellow Arkansans, there are also some bad actors who are lining their own pockets by posing as legitimate organizations or setting up crowdfunding sites claiming to be giving to those in need.
 
“It is despicable that some are preying on Arkansans in need and taking advantage of our kind-hearted,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “My office will investigate and go after those who choose to lie, cheat and steal.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tip for those considering helping their fellow Arkansans:

  • Do not fall prey to high-pressure sales tactics as they are often the first sign of an unscrupulous and fraudulent charity.
  • Before getting out a checkbook or credit card in response to a phone solicitation, make attempts to determine the validity of the organization by conducting research.
  • Watch out for similar but different organization names as some con artists will use names like those of existing, reputable nonprofits in order to trick consumers.
  • On crowdfunding sites, determine any relation the organizer has to the recipient and who is in control of the withdrawals.
  • Never send cash. Make check or credit card payments for increased security and for tax purposes.
  • If donating via text message, verify the organization’s number prior to sending information.

Also be wary of charities that pop up quickly in response to the recent flooding and other emergencies. Even if they are legitimate, they oftentimes do not have a system in place to get donations to those in need. Consider giving to an established organization which helps disaster victims in the area.

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, KENNEDY INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO CRACK DOWN ON FENTANYL TRAFFICKERS
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) filed the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act of 2019 today to ensure that sentencing penalties for trafficking fentanyl reflect the deadliness of the drug. This legislation marks a major step toward addressing the nation’s opioid epidemic.

The bill reduces the threshold amount of fentanyl to trigger mandatory minimum sentences for drug traffickers under federal law. Under current sentencing guidelines, a trafficker with two grams of fentanyl is treated the same as a trafficker with five grams of heroin, even though fentanyl is 50 times deadlier.

“Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs there is. It killed nearly 30,000 Americans last year and has been a driving force behind the opioid crisis in the United States. But while the epidemic has spiraled, our drug laws have been stuck in the past. This bill will make sure, when it comes to opioid distribution and trafficking, the punishment fits the crime,” said Cotton.

“The opioid crisis kills more than 175 Americans every single day. Fentanyl and fentanyl analogues play a huge role in our drug epidemic. All it takes is an amount of fentanyl weighing less than a sprinkle of sugar to kill someone,” said Kennedy. “Our sentencing laws have to reflect the potency of this drug in order for us to get it off the streets.”

“Fentanyl is fueling mass suicide,” said Sasse. “Too many of our friends, family, and neighbors are dying deaths of despair. While families, schools, and churches are on the frontlines, there’s an important role for lawmakers: we need to give law enforcement the tools they need to put fentanyl traffickers behind bars.” 

“Fentanyl is deadly, and it is killing Americans every single day,” said Blackburn. “It’s time the punishment fit the crime for these drug traffickers.”

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO BAN RULE-BREAKING CHINESE FIRMS FROM U.S. STOCK EXCHANGES
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced the Ensuring Quality Information and Transparency for Abroad-Based Listings on our Exchanges (EQUITABLE) Act, which would increase oversight of Chinese and other foreign companies listed on American exchanges and delist firms that are out of compliance with U.S. regulators for a period of three years. Rubio previewed the legislation in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. A one pager outlining the legislation is available here.

The legislation will force the Chinese government, which currently blocks U.S. regulators from viewing the full audit reports of publicly traded companies headquartered in Hong Kong and mainland China, to change its behavior. The EQUITABLE Act will ensure investors are better informed about their exposure to financial risks, delist non-compliant issuers of securities, and ban Chinese and other foreign firms that flaunt investor protections and regulatory norms from entering U.S. capital markets. U.S. Representatives Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) introduced companion legislation in the House.

“The Chinese Communist Party shields its prized companies from financial audits and accountability, yet we still allow those companies to be traded on U.S. stock exchanges. If foreign companies want to stay on American exchanges, they need to abide by the same rules everyone else does. Our bill would ensure that foreign companies traded on U.S. stock exchanges provide regulators with information already required by law,” said Cotton. 

“Beijing should no longer be allowed to shield U.S.-listed Chinese companies from complying with American laws and regulations for financial transparency and accountability,” said Rubio. “If China-based companies want to list on stock exchanges or access capital markets in the U.S., we should make them comply with American laws. The EQUITABLE Act makes it clear that there is a price for the Chinese government and Communist Party’s disregard for the rules of responsible economic and financial engagement in international capital markets.”

“It’s time for China’s government and companies to play by the same rules as American companies in our financial markets,” said Menendez. “Our legislation would ensure that foreign companies comply with U.S. accounting regulations. This will stop Chinese firms from hiding behind the Communist Party’s efforts to take advantage of our capital markets by withholding accounting information. U.S. investors trust that both foreign and domestic publicly-listed firms are held to the same standard – and the EQUITABLE Act will make it so.”

“Chinese firms should not be allowed to play by a different set of rules than American companies, yet they are currently allowed to operate on our stock exchanges without the same oversight that American companies have to comply with,” said Gillibrand. “Americans deserve full transparency about the companies listed on our stock exchanges, and I am proud to join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce legislation that would allow U.S. regulators to verify that any foreign company that enters into our market is properly audited. If China refuses to comply with international norms of transparency, then its companies should not have access to the U.S. market.”  

“The Chinese Communist government consistently manipulates the law and our regulations to protect their companies from being held to basic global accounting standards, creating unfair advantages and further encouraging corrupt behavior,” said Conaway. “The EQUITABLE Act is simple: any Chinese company who wishes to be listed on U.S. stock exchanges, or access U.S. capital, should be required to comply with U.S. laws on financial transparency. Beijing shows no apprehension while obstructing attempts to audit Chinese companies or breaking U.S. law. Without the EQUITABLE Act, the Chinese government will only escalate this malicious pattern of conduct.”

“If Chinese companies, or any other foreign firm, want to list on the U.S. stock exchange, they need to follow U.S. financial laws. The Chinese government’s continued attempts to undermine our laws is appalling and displays a pattern of disrespect to the United States. Congress needs to put an end to this,” said Ryan. “I’m proud to join Congressman Conaway and Senators Rubio and Cotton in introducing the EQUITABLE Act. This bipartisan, bicameral bill will rein in China’s deceptive practices and increase financial transparency and accountability.”

“Companies that list on U.S. stock exchanges should have to play by our rules,” said Gallagher. “American investors deserve transparency and accountability when it comes to their hard-earned dollars, and this bipartisan legislation takes important steps to reduce the risks of fraud while also making clear that the United States will not continue to tolerate Chinese financial misbehavior.”

Background:

  • In December 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) issued a joint warning to investors about the challenges American regulators face when attempting to conduct oversight of U.S.-listed companies whose operations are based in China and Hong Kong.
  • While the PCAOB regularly inspects audits of U.S.-listed firms at home and abroad, Beijing consistently and systemically challenges those efforts. For example, Chinese law requires that records remain in China, and the Communist Party routinely restricts access to typical accounting information on the grounds of national security and state secrecy.
  • The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission identified 156 Chinese companies, including 11 state-owned-enterprises, that are listed on America’s three largest exchanges with a combined market capitalization of $1.2 trillion.
  • In March 2018, the influential global index provider MSCI announced that it would quadruple its weighting of Chinese company shares in one of its key index products.
 

JUNE 5, 2019

ARKANSAS TOURISM OPEN FOR BUSINESS AND READY TO HELP MAKE MEMORIES
LITTLE ROCK, AR (June 5, 2019) – Summertime is fun time in Arkansas, and our state is open for business and waiting to welcome you to The Natural State. From our majestic mountains to our sparkling blue recreational waters, Arkansas is ready to help families make new vacation memories.

“The flooding in our state has been challenging for those impacted,” said Jim Shamburger, chairman of the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission. “However, it is isolated and confined to areas along the Arkansas River. The rest of the state is in great shape and our interstate system, including Interstates 30 and 40, are clear for travel.”  

Only Pinnacle Mountain State Park in central Arkansas is currently closed. Arkansas public and private lodging accommodations, federal recreation areas, and outdoor sporting venues are open and ready for your business.  

“No matter the activity – water sports, fishing, biking or road trips – our tourism industry is ready to make this a summer to remember with the outstanding hospitality for which Arkansas is known,” Shamburger said.

Tourism is the second largest industry in Arkansas with an annual economic impact of approximately $7.5 billion and employing more than 116,000 Arkansans.

For more information, go to Arkansas.com and ArkansasStateParks.com.

CABS FREE SEMINAR TO BE HELD IN JUNE
 NEW! Summer Startup Series Workshop #1
*Complete the 3-part series and earn a certificate*
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
The Arkansas Secretary of State's Office Business & Commercial Services (BCS) provides a wide range of services to individuals and companies who conduct business within Arkansas, whether they’re based inside the state or elsewhere. BCS is Arkansas’s starting point for entrepreneurs wishing to transact business in the state. Consumers can search for a unique name for their company as well as file the appropriate document types for their business. In this workshop, you will learn how to navigate the Secretary of State's Office website and how to appropriately register your business.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday,  June 6 at 12:00 at  Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be presented  by Wesley Stewart. She will be talking about “The Call”.

COTTON STATEMENT ON THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF TIANANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE
Washington, D.C. -
 Yesterday,  Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the 30th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre:

"Thirty years ago today, the Chinese Communist Party's tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square, killing thousands of peaceful protestors seeking freedom. We'll never forget the bravery and sacrifice of those Chinese students. The Communist Party hasn't changed in the intervening decades. It has only updated its tactics. In addition to brute force, it now uses digital surveillance, mass detention, brainwashing, and other Orwellian methods to crush the Chinese people. The United States will continue to oppose the evils of the Communist Party."

   Arkansas AG logoRUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES NEARLY $72,000                 RESTITUTION FOR SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD
   Says, ‘punish  who receive Social Security benefits based         on  deception and deceit’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced a Sebastian County man has been sentenced for social security fraud.

Carl Smith, 43, from Fort Smith, pleaded guilty in February to one count of making a false statement. He has been sentenced to 13 months in prison, three years on probation and ordered to pay $71,946 in restitution to the Social Security Administration.

“I will not tolerate individuals who commit fraudulent activities to steal from taxpayers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Investigators in my office work closely with federal authorities to crack down and punish criminals who receive Social Security benefits based on deception and deceit.”

Law enforcement officers from the Arkansas Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) Unit conducted the investigation. The CDI Unit is a cooperative effort supported by the Social Security Administration, Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), the Arkansas Attorney General and Arkansas's Disability Determination for Social Security Administration (DDSSA). The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carly Marshall from the Office of United States Attorney Duane Kees.

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 the Social Security Administration. 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.

 

June 04, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
Residential Burglary, Robbery, Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Theft of Property Under $1000.00, and Battery 3rd.
On June 2, 2019 around 12 noon, Camden Police Department was dispatched to 310 Johnson in reference to a residential burglary report. Dispatch advised the reporting party stated Dhasia Wade had kicked their door in and kidnapped Desaray Clarke. CPD made contact with Desaray Clarke and Wilson Rogers 3rd, Desaray’s boyfriend. Clarke stated she was inside the residence when she heard a loud bang to the front door, and two black females later identified as Wade and Takira Burnell came inside and begin to attack her. Clarke stated she was punched in the face/head multiple times and also hit in the head multiple times with the hilt of a fixed blade knife Wade was carrying. Wade reportedly then drug her outside the residence by her hair. She went on to say the two girls drug her down the street toward Carver Street and began dragging her down Carver toward Stewart Street towards their parked car. Clarke was placed in the car and the girls put her on Facebook Live saying they had kidnapped her, and where going to kill her and take her back to where she was from. Clarke said they stopped at a gas station, and that's when she noticed her boyfriend, Rogers, pull up to the same gas station.

Clarke said Wade ran out of the store and began trying to leave with her still in the car, but Rogers was able to stop her by ramming Wade's car with his own and disabling it. Clarke said she ran an got into Rogers' car. Wade then got out and jumped on the hood of the car with a knife. Clarke said they drove off and the woman fell of the hood, and they went back to 310 Johnson and called the police.

Rogers stated Wade had called him telling him she needed to meet her at the park, and made it seem like it was an emergency, so he went to go meet her at the park to see what was wrong. He stated after he got to the park, he got a call from Wade saying that she had Clarke. Rogers said he just so happened to have driven by the gas station and was able to see Wade's car. He then blocked her off to try and prevent her from leaving and began telling Clarke to get into his car. He said Wade ran from out of the store and began backing up trying to get away, so he hit the front tire of the car trying to prevent it from leaving. Rogers went on to say Clarke got into his car, and Wade got out and jumped on his hood with a knife yelling and screaming. Rogers said he drove away trying to get away from Wade, and while doing so Wade fell off the car. He said he then brought Clarke to 310 Johnson where he called the police.

The Officer asked Rogers how long Wade had not been living with him, and he said they broke up a couple months ago and she had been living in Arkadelphia for the past two months he thought.  Clarke said Wade had a kitchen knife and had threatened to use it on her while she was being dragged to the car and inside it. She went on to say Wade had put the knife to her throat, and that was why she didn't fight back or try to run away at first. She also mentioned Wade and Burnell had stolen her blue Motorola cell phone from her, and still had possession of it.

Both Rogers and Wade completed a voluntary written statement sheet. Another witness named Roberta Samuels, who also observed the incident and possibly had a video of what happened.

Contact was made with Samuels who did in fact record the incident on Snapchat. Samuels agreed to let Police record the video she took. In the video it’s observed Wade and Burnell get out of their car which was parked on Carver near Stewart walking toward Johnson. Once on Johnson it’s observed both Wade and Burnell go inside 310 Johnson. They both are inside for a short period of time, and both later came out with Wade dragging Clarke by her hair out the front door. Wade stopped and hands some items to Burnell then proceeded to punch Clarke several times in the face yelling at her "Let's go Bitch" several times, and "Move your ass or I'm going to hit you again." Both Wade and Burnell then drug Clarke down to Carver Street toward their parked car near Stewart and forced Clarke into the car. Samuels then videoed the front of the house where she saw that the door had been kicked in. She then talked to Rogers and tells him of what just happened. Samuels stated Wade and Burnell had a small kitchen knife with them also.

Samuels also completed a voluntary written statement, and the recorded Snapchat video was also turned over to Camden Police Department.

Photos of the front door and the residence where also taken and later uploaded to CID.

Both Wade and Burnell were taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. They were both booked in for Residential Burglary, Robbery, Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Theft of Property Under $1000.00, and Battery 3rd.


Public Intoxication
On June 1, 2019 at 5:45 am Officer Daniel Hughes along with Officer Kayla Reynolds and Sergeant Bush were dispatched to 1500 Vickie St. in reference to someone banging on the side of the residence. Friday Mat

Upon arrival, Officer Hughes observed Officer Reynolds talking to two male subjects, identified as Donald and Richard Stover, outside of the house.

The subjects stated they came here from Monroe, LA to check on their friend who lives at 1500 Vickie. Officer Hughes could smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from both subjects as they spoke. The subjects also kept repeating themselves over and over and slurring some of their words. The subjects were becoming very agitated the longer we were there with them. I t was apparent both subjects were intoxicated. Donald Stover stated they could not go anywhere because they had been drinking.

The Reporting Party came outside and stated she did not know they were coming and she didn’t  want them at her house.

The two subjects stated they just wanted to see their friend and make sure he was okay.

Their friend came outside and stated the two subjects were his friends but he did not know they were going to come to his house. The man stated he has been sick but told the two subjects they needed to go.

The two subjects made it apparent they were not going anywhere, so they were both taken into custody for public intoxication and transported to the Camden Police Department where booking procedures were completed.

The two were later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Center for a 12-hour hold. Later, Richard and Donald Stover were both released with a criminal citation for Public Intoxication and given the District Court.

Possession of a controlled substance, Schedule VI, with purpose of deliver (Less than 14grams) 
On May 30, 2019 at approximately of 10:54 pm Sergeant Brian Finney was traveling south on Cash Road when noticed a white Ford F-150 that matched the description of a recent call concerning suspicious activity in the neighborhood. The Officer conducted a registration check on the vehicle and the tags displayed did not return to the vehicle.

Sergeant Finney initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Dejzwan Thrower. Thrower was informed as to why he had been stopped. When asked for his license, Thrower stated the he did not have a license. While speaking with Thrower,  the Officer noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

A search of the vehicle was conducted, and Sergeant Finney located a set of digital scales, plastic baggies, and approximately 11 grams of marijuana in individual baggies.

Thrower was taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. Booking procedures were completed and he was charged with driving on a suspended license, failure to register, and Possession of a controlled substance, Schedule VI, with purpose of deliver (Less than 14grams ). Thrower was released with a citation and court date before being released.

OUACHITA COUNTY SHERIFF’S REPORTS
On June 1st at at about 9:23 am Deputy Zach Craig was dispatched to the Red Hill United Methodist Church located at 781 Ouachita 22 in Chidester in reference to criminal mischief. The reporting party said that she was visiting a cemetery behind the church. When she was leaving, she noticed glass broken form the side window on the church. The broken glass, window screen and a wooden cross was sitting under the window The woman said the wooden cross was in the back of the church he last time she was there on Sunday, May 25th. Deputy Craig looked around the church but didn’t notice any other damage. The reporting party said she didn’t notice anything missing from the church. The front side door wasn’t locked, and the reporting party said that that door was rarely used and she didn’t know if the door was locked or unlocked on Sunday, May 15th when the church was last occupied. A report will be on file at the Sheriff’s Office.

On June 2nd at about 6:12 am Deputy Zach Craig was dispatched to Spoon bin landing in reference to a Vehicle mishap. The Deputy arrived and made contact with Johnathan Schofer who said he was backing his boat into the river with his pickup. He said he engaged the parking brake once the boat was in the water. He went on to say that when he got out of the vehicle, it began to roll back into the river. Schofer stated that he got back in the truck to stop it, but the truck was already taking in water. He stated once the truck was pulled out of the water, it wouldn’t start. Schoffer had a valid insurance police at the time of the incident. Schofer was advised a report would be on file at the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office.

On June 2nd at 12:27 am Deputy Jared Brownlee received information that Tabetha Crouse, who was known to have a felony warrant, was seen at EZ Mart in Chidester. The Officer got a description of the car along with a tag number. By the time the Officer got to the store, Crouse was gone. Officer Brownlee parked near EZMart. Within just a few minutes the Silver Buick returned to the store. Crouse was identified by the Officer. The vehicle left the lot of EZ Mart and began to travel on Ouachita Road 23. The Officer could see there was a driver and 3 passengers in the car. He decided to follow them until back-up arrived. After a few minutes the suspect vehicle tuned int o the driveway of 3087 Ouachita 25. Crouse immediately exited the vehicle and began to run. The Officer found Crouse hiding under a truck. She was placed in custody for felony warrants out of Ouachita County. Deputy Vaughan had arrived on scene and was checking the others that were in the car for warrants. One suspect gave a false name and birthdate several times. Officer Vaughan knew the suspect looked familiar and then remembered arresting the subject shoes name was Anthony Antonio Jones. Jones had felony warrant with the ADC. ADC advised that they would extradite Jones. Crouse and Jones were taken to the Ouachita county Sheriff’s Office. Crouse was charged with fleeing on foot. Jones was charged with Obstruction.

On Friday, May 31st at about 5:06 pm, Deputy Justin Creech s poke wih a man via a telephone call in reference to a theft. The man told Deputy Creech that he had some property stolen from his hunting lease on Ouachita Road 3. He said he had last seen the property in question in late February or early March. The man went on to say he went to the property on Monday, May 27th and noticed the missing property.  He told the Deputy that a camouflage hunting blind, a game camera, two folding chairs, a camouflage cooler and a set of Binoculars was missing. The victim stated that he did not have any idea of a possible suspect. Deputy Creech advised that a report would be on file at the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office.

DRAFT CEDS (COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY) DRAFT AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: JUNE 30TH!
The Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District, Inc. has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration to prepare a 5 year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the 12 county region of southwest Arkansas which includes Calhoun, Columbia, Dallas, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Sevier, and Union counties. A CEDS is a strategy-driven plan for economic development resulting from a regionally owned planning process designed to build capacity and guide the economic prosperity and resiliency of a region. 

 The DRAFT CEDS will be available to the public for review and comment beginning June 1, 2019 through noon on June 30, 2019. The DRAFT CEDS can be viewed at southwestarshines.org.

All comments should be emailed to info@southwestarshines.org. A hard copy will be made available upon request.   

Any questions should be directed to Renee Dycus, Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District, P.O. Box 767, 101 Harvey Couch Boulevard, Magnolia, AR 71754. Send email inquiries to renee.dycus@arkansas.gov or call (870) 235-7517.


BON BAGUETTE WORKSHOP JUNE 29-30

SAAC is offering an exciting culinary opportunity for aspiring bakers in conjunction with its summer musical production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. El Dorado native Chef Lilli Ellen will be teaching two afternoons of French bread and pastry techniques in her “Bon Baguette” class.

The “hands on” classes will be held on June 29 and 30, from 1:00-4:00pm each day. Chef Ellen will demonstrate a rustic baguette during the class on Saturday and a delicate French pastry dough, pate a choux, and pastry cream for eclairs during the Sunday afternoon class. Participants will take home their fresh baked creations each day to lucky family and friends!piring bakers in conjunction with its summer musical production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. El Dorado native Chef Lilli Ellen will be teaching two afternoons of French bread and pastry techniques in her “Bon Baguette” class.

“Le petit boulangerie d’amusement is French for ‘fun little bakery’ and that’s what we will be those two afternoons,” Chef Ellen said about the class. “I love bread making. It can be as hard or as simple as you want it to be.”

Chef Ellen attended the Culinary Institute of America, the country’s oldest and most prestigious culinary school, which she added, was a fun but challenging experience. Her extensive culinary resume includes pre and post education experience as a cook, chef and baker. She has at least 4000 baguettes to her credit so she is the perfect instructor to lead this dough adventure.

After some traveling around and working in different kitchens to give her some experience, Chef Ellen now resides in El Dorado and is the new Chef Director of the Culinary Arts Program at South Arkansas Community College, which will begin in August.

The Bon Baguette French bread and pastry workshop is $55 for the two days of classes. For more information or to register, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474.

SAAC TO OFFER BROADWAY CAMP AND THEATER CAMP
The South Arkansas Arts Center wants to enrich your children's summer with two camps designed for stage and theatre loving kids! Register now in the SAAC office for Broadway Camp and Theatre Camp so they will be assured of a spot for these incredible experiences, taught by professional actors, dancers and singers. SAAC's summer camps are sponsored by First Financial Bank.

D. Brent Miller, visiting musical director for "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", and assistant director Hannah Davis will lead Broadway Camp, "A Week on Fifth Avenue", June 17-22 for grades 7-12. The camp will be held from 8:00-12:00pm each day with a performance on Saturday, August 22 at 2:00pm in the Callaway Theater.

Travel to the world within a world that is theatre this summer. Join them as they embark upon this adventure into musical theater. Explore how Broadway themes of light and dark impact the theatre experience as we sing our way through the shows.

"I'm really excited about this whole camp experience this year," said Miller. "We're going to explore several different shows, looking at how the creators of the pieces told a story within a song to paint one cohesive work. We will be looking at ‘Hamilton', ‘Sweeney Todd', 'A Chours Line', 'Aida', 'Finding Neverland', 'Come From Away', and ‘Company', among others. This is going to be an amazing experience, and I just cannot wait to dive in!"

Theatre Camp will be offered July 29-August 2 for grades 2-9. Grades 2-5 will meet from 8:00- 12:00 and grades 6-9 will meet from 1:00-5:00pm each day. The kids will say "au revoir" to the boredom of summer as they are transported to Paris and the music and story of Quasimodo, Esmerelda, and all the great characters from this summer's main stage production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" with visiting director Kristen Blossom and SAAC kids' drama instructor Hannah Davis. Your camper will have unforgettable experiences singing, dancing, acting and more, with a performance of "The Topsy Turvy Review" on Friday evening at 5:30pm.

All camp fees are $110 for SAAC members and the out of town guests of current members. New and renewing students will require an additional $25 student membership, which is good for discounts on classes and programming for one full year at SAAC. Fees are non-refundable. Class sizes are limited and will be filled on a first come basis.

For more information about these camps, 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.

 

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON APPROVES $100,000 IN EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR FLOOD RESPONSE
LITTLE ROCK –  Governor Asa Hutchinson was briefed on Sunday morning on the flooding along the Arkansas River that has begun in western Arkansas and is expected to reach record levels throughout the state in the coming week. Governor Hutchinson has approved $100,000 in emergency funding to assist with support efforts.

“This morning, the Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, and Arkansas State Police provided me with a detailed briefing about the state's ongoing support efforts in communities experiencing record flood levels along the Arkansas River," Governor Hutchinson said. "I have received a number of requests for aid from communities, and I immediately approved the release of $100,000 of emergency funds to support sandbagging work. 

"I appreciate all the neighbors and volunteers filling sandbags and assisting with evacuations. The state team is continuing to respond to assistance requests, and more funds will be allocated as the situation demands.”

June 03, 2019

SPRINGDALE MAN IDENTIFIED IN PURSUIT & I-49 SHOOTING INCIDENTS – CHARGES FILED
Jaime Leonel Reinosa-Salguero, 43, of Springdale, has been identified as the individual who fled from Arkansas State Troopers on May 29th along Interstate 49.

Reinosa-Salguero, who was wounded in the exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers, has been charged with attempted capital murder and felony fleeing.  He remains hospitalized in Washington County and his medical condition is reported to be stable.

While the Arkansas State Police continues to conduct an internal administrative review of the officer involved shooting, both federal and local law enforcement agencies are investigating at least two other incidents in which Reinosa-Salguero is a suspect.  The investigations involve an Alma bank robbery and an attempted carjacking.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are also preparing a use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer investigative file that will be turned-over to the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney, who will determine whether the use of force by state troopers was consistent with Arkansas law.

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM COURT TO MEET
The Ouachita County Quorum Court will meet in regular session Tuesday, June 4th at 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held in Courtroom A at the Ouachita County Courthouse located at 145 Jefferson street SW in Camden. The agenda includes an Appropriation Ordinance to appropriate funds in the jail operating fund, jail and sheriff budgets, an appropriation Ordinance to appropriate funds in the road fund, highway budget and a Resolution appointing members to the Ouachita County Historic Commission.

CASA HOSTS FUNDRAISER LUNCHEON
The 13th Judicial District CASA North Program is having a spaghetti luncheon on Thursday, June 6th from 11:00 to 1:00 at the Camden First Presbyterian Church located at 313 Greening St. in Camden. Dine in, carry out, and delivery will be available.

Meal includes Chicken Spaghetti or Spaghetti with Marinara, Green Beans, Roll, dessert, and Water. All for only $10.00. You can preorder today by calling 870-818-8284 or 870-574-4433.

All proceeds benefit the 13th Judicial District CASA North Program and the abused and neglected children served!

CARNES PARK POOL HOURS
The City of Camden Public Works Department has announced the hours of operation for the Carnes Park Swimming Pool for Summer 2019. The pool will be open Tuesday through Saturday from Noon to 6:00 pm and on Sunday from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm if weather permits. Call 870-836-6436 for more information.

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 Teresa Roark from the Chemical Dependency Unit at OCMC.  She will talk about the services they offer.

May 31, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORT
On May 28, 2019 at 6:15 am Detective Alec Faulkner was dispatched to John Street for a hang up 911 call. Prior to his arrival Sgt. Elliott and Officer VanAssche arrived in the area and observed the front door of 720 John Street standing open. Officer VanAssche made contact with Tyrel Johnson. When Detective Faulkner arrived, he made contact with Jennifer McKinney who was standing in the doorway of the residence. McKinney was asked to provide identification which she could not provide. McKinney was asked to provide her name and date of birth. McKinney initially provided a name of Jennifer Johnson, a date of birth of September 1, 1982, and advised her identification was from Ohio. Dispatch was unable to get a return on the information provided. Eventually McKinney gave the Officer two separate last names of Gulley and McKinney with a date of birth of September 1, 1983. Using this information dispatch was able to locate McKinney in ACIC which showed she had a valid warrant for her arrest with the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office for Violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law.

While at the residence Officer Faulkner smelled a strong chemical odor emitting from inside of the residence. He saw a mattress laying on the floor in the living room of the residence. The residence appeared to be in disorder. The Office then saw a 5 years old boy walk into the living room wearing nothing but a shirt. The child walked around the living room without any underwear on while Officers attempted to identify McKinney through ACIC. The backyard was strewn with debris. Officer VanAssche arrested Tyrel Johnson in front of the residence for a valid warrant for his arrest. Johnson was searched and methamphetamine was found on his person.

McKinney was placed into custody pursuant to the warrant and was transported to the station. Booking procedures were completed and McKinney was later transported to the Ouachita County Detention Complex where she was transferred to the custody of the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office.

The report did not list the charges given to the two.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: BEWARE OF FLOOD INSURANCE SCAMS
LITTLE ROCK – As Arkansas experiences historic flooding and damage, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge warns Arkansans to beware of flood insurance scam artists who will look to steal your money in the midst of the chaos. As the most common natural disaster, flooding can strike at any time, and flood insurance is available to defray the costs of repair and property loss. Flood insurance, however, requires advance preparation and despite what scam artists may say, it cannot be purchased as a quick fix to ongoing flood disasters.
 
“My heart aches for the many who have and will suffer losses as the Arkansas River continues to rise to record levels this week,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Scam artists see disaster as an opportunity to steal from those in need. Remember, there are insurance options to help Arkansans navigate future threats of flooding disasters, but consumers should be mindful of the limitations and requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program.” 
 
Rutledge released the following tips to help consumers considering flood insurance as an option to protect their property:

  • Flood insurance policies are not instantly effective and generally require 30 days before they become effective;
  • Consult with an insurance agent to purchase a flood insurance policy, and beware of insurance agents that accept the filing of a claim before purchasing a policy;
  • Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not include flood insurance, and flood insurance must be purchased as a separate policy;
  • Properties that have been flooded in the past may obtain flood insurance policies;
  • The price of flood insurance may vary based upon the risk of flooding at the property location.

Consumers who have additional questions about flood insurance should contact the Arkansas Attorney General's office at (800) 482-8982 or (501) 682-2007 or the Arkansas Insurance Department at (800) 282-9134 or (501) 371-2600.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program, and provides answers to specific questions at https://www.floodsmart.gov/faqs.

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.

STATE AGENCIES HELPING WITH ARKANSAS RIVER FLOODING NORTH LITTLE ROCK— The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) continues to be activated at Level I today in response to rising water levels and expected flooding along the Arkansas River. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) has operated at full activation daily since Saturday, May 25.

ADEM provides the physical location for the SEOC. Staff coordinate requests from county governments with state agencies who provide the resources and support to the community. Here are a few examples of state agencies in action making sure that citizens remain safe:

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is closely monitoring the status of roads as the river waters rise. Rising water that covers roadways makes roads impassable. Barriers are set up and signs are posted. State highways that are closed are marked on the department’s website, idrivearkansas.com. Citizens are encouraged to look at this website to determine the best routes to drive until the flood waters recede and repairs are made if needed. A call center has been established that operates daily between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to assist travelers navigate around detours. Remember - turn around, don’t drown.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission is conducting drone flights along the levees of the Arkansas River. Their staff provides reports of waters progress towards covering up a levee or if a levee is leaking. This provides valuable information to other state agencies and county officials as they determine how to address water issues.

The Department of Human Services is working with county officials, Red Cross and churches in communities to establish shelters for those who need to leave their homes because of the flood waters. They are also working with communities to set up locations for those who want to donate to the citizens that have been affected by the floods.

The Arkansas National Guard is providing high water rescue teams to help with residents who need to leave their property because of flood waters. They are also helping transport sand bagging machines to counties to fill sand bags to protect property and roads. Sandbag operations are currently being conducted in three counties.

RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES JUDGMENT FOR FIRST-EVER HIPAA RELATED DATA BREACH
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge yesterday announced that the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Indiana signed the consent judgment negotiated by 16 state attorneys general and Medical Informatics Engineering Inc. The lawsuit, led by Indiana and Arkansas, was first filed in December of 2018 against a web-based electronic health records company based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The company allegedly sustained a data breach compromising the data of more than 3.9 million people. Arkansas will receive a $112,950 payment due to the defendants’ conduct.

Arkansans have enough to worry about in their daily lives, but protecting their deeply personal health insurance information should never be a concern,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Technology is rapidly changing and protecting users from data breaches must always be a top priority for companies as they expand their reach and platform. Today’s historic multistate action reaffirms our dedication to consumer protection.”

The lawsuit resolved allegations that Medical Informatics Engineering and NoMoreClipboard LLC violated provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as state claims including unfair and deceptive practice laws, notice of data breach statutes, and state personal information protection acts.

Between May 7, 2015, and May 26, 2015, hackers infiltrated WebChart, a web application run by Medical Informatics Engineering. The hackers stole the electronic protected health information of more than 3.9 million individuals – including individual names, telephone numbers, mailing addresses, usernames, hashed passwords, security questions and answers, spousal information (name and potentially dates of birth), email addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, lab results, health insurance policy information, diagnoses, disability codes, doctors’ names, medical conditions, and children’s names and birth statistics. This case was the nation’s first-ever multistate lawsuit involving a HIPAA-related data breach.

ARKANSAS DELEGATION APPLAUDS EMERGENCY DECLARATION FOR STATE FROM FLOODING AND SEVERE STORMS WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—announced that President Donald Trump has issued an emergency declaration for Arkansas, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide assistance for emergency protective measures for 16 counties: Arkansas, Chicot, Conway, Crawford, Desha, Faulkner, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell.

“We are pleased with President Trump’s quick response for federal assistance to Arkansas. This declaration is critical to protecting Arkansans, preventing further damage and improving public safety,” members said.

On Wednesday, the Arkansas Congressional Delegation wrote a letter to President Trump and other administration officials urging them to support Governor Asa Hutchinson’s call for an emergency declaration.

COTTON, HYDE-SMITH INTRODUCE BILL TO HELP PRIVATE FOREST RECOVER FROM DISASTERS
Washington, D.C.
– With one-third of forest land in the United States held by family owners who currently have little recourse for relief following floods, wildfires, and other disasters, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi) introduced legislation to amend the tax code to support recovery work.  The measure is cosponsored by Senators Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida).

The Forest Recovery Act (S.1687) would amend the U.S. tax code to establish a special rule for losses of uncut timber following natural disasters.  Providing a tax deduction for casualty losses would not only help landowners recover, but also encourage investment in reforesting damaged acres.

“More than half of Arkansas is forestland that supports thousands of jobs and contributes to the state’s natural beauty.  This bill will benefit Arkansas’s many family forest landowners and encourage the rehabilitation of our forests after natural disasters,” said Cotton.

“Not allowing these timber interests, many of whom are family-owned small business operations, to recover their losses doesn’t help anyone—not them, the local economy, or the environment,” said Hyde-Smith.  “My bill would create an opportunity to make this right.”

“Mississippi’s millions of acres of forests are our state’s second largest agricultural product by value but are not eligible for tax relief in case of disaster,” said Wicker. “This proposal would provide landowners much-needed relief in the event of a catastrophe and encourage the return of this land to active production.

“Hurricane Michael devastated Northwest Florida’s timber industry,” said Rubio.  “I am glad to join my colleagues in proposing legislation to ensure that future timber losses due to natural disasters, like Hurricane Michael, will receive needed tax relief.” 

"The nation's family forest owners are grateful for the support of Senator Hyde-Smith in introducing legislation that can help them better care for their forests today and in the future,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation.

“There are more than 20 million families and individuals who own and care for the largest portion of U.S. forests, providing all Americans with important resources such as wildlife habitat, clean air and water, and wood for homes and products we use every day.  When disasters like hurricanes and wildfires strike, family forest owners do not have access to affordable insurance like most farmers, yet face similar significant economic losses.  We applaud Senator Hyde-Smith for addressing these important issues for family forest owners with the introduction of the Forest Recovery Act,” said Martin.

BACKGROUND:
The legislation would adjust current tax law, which restricts casualty loss deductions to losses incurred in federally-declared disaster areas.  Even when wildfires or floods do not result in a formal disaster designation, federal crop insurance coverage is unavailable for forest lands, and there are no affordable private insurance products. 

Specifically, the Forest Recovery Act would:

  • Modify the tax deduction for casualty losses to establish special rules for losses of uncut timber;
  • Establish that basis used for determining the amount of the deduction in cases of uncut timber losses from fire, storm, other casualty, or theft may not be less than the excess of the fair market value of the uncut timber determined immediately before the loss was sustained over the salvage value of the timber;
  • Apply the special rule only if (1) the timber was held for the purpose of being cut and sold and (2) the uncut timber subject to the loss is reforested within five years of the loss; and 
  • Exempt casualty losses from uncut timber from the rule restricting the deduction for personal casualty losses to losses attributable to a federally declared disaster.

BOOZMAN JOINS GOVERNOR & MEMBERS OF THE ARKANSAS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION FOR AERIAL TOUR OF FLOODING
LITTLE ROCK
– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined Governor Asa Hutchinson and members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation for an aerial tour of Arkansas River flooding.

“Historic flooding has left many communities along the Arkansas River unrecognizable. This is one of the worst natural disasters in our state’s history, but we can be proud of the resolve that Arkansans have demonstrated to face this challenge. This continues to be a dangerous situation and we are fortunate to have the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, law enforcement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Arkansas National Guard and many other organizations and individuals who are closely monitoring the water levels, levees and dams and are ready to respond to potential emergencies,” Boozman said.

The tour allowed Boozman and other elected leaders to see the record flooding at Toad Suck, Dardanelle, Ozark, Trimble Lock and Dam, Van Buren and Fort Smith.

Boozman plans to continue surveying flood damage on the ground Friday.

On Wednesday, the Arkansas Congressional Delegation sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to support the governor’s request for a federal disaster declaration.

MAY 30, 2019

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
Commercial Burglary

Theft of Property
On May 27, 2019 at 8:20 am Detective Alec Faulkner was dispatched to Wal-Mart for a shoplifter. Elizabeth Huff with Asset Protection advised the shoplifter was a black male wearing a brown shirt and camouflage hat. The Officer arrived and observed a subject, who matched the description provided, walking toward California A venue from the Wal-Mart parking lot. As Officer Faulkner approached the subject, he recognized him as Billy Holmes. The Officer knew that Holmes was on the ban list as there had been numerous dealings with Holmes at Wal-Mart. Holmes was stopped and Dispatch advised that Holmes was on the ban list. The Officer placed Holmes into custody for Criminal Trespass.

Officer Jacob VanAssche had arrived on scene and met with Huff inside Wal Mart where he gathered information while Officer Faulkner dealt with Holmes. Officer VanAssche told Officer Faulkner that he had learned that Holmes had tried to walk out with a beer and was stopped by Wal-Mart employees as he did not have a receipt. a receipt. Officer Faulkner was also advised after being stopped, Holmes drank the beer inside of the store. With the new information Officer Faulkner changed Holmes's charge to Commercial Burglary. Holmes was transported to the station without incident.

Officer Faulkner conducted a follow up  with Huff after transporting Holmes to the station. Huff stated Holmes came into the store and got a motorized cart and then drove to the isle where the beer was located. Holmes placed a 32oz Corona Familiar, priced at $3.72,  in his basket along with a six pack of Coors Light 16oz cans valued at $7.98. He drove the cart to the frozen isle where he parked the cart and left the store for a moment. He came back into the store and grabbed a bag which he took back to the cart and  placed the bottles in the.bag. He then attempted to ride the cart out of the store without paying. Holmes was stopped by a worker and was asked 'to produce a receipt. Huff said Holmes stated "let me go get it" and turned around driving the cart away. While driving the cart away from the door Holmes opened one of the 16oz Coors Light cans and began to chug it. Holmes drank half of the can before he left the store.

Booking procedures were completed and Holmes was later taken to the Ouachita County Detention Complex awaiting first appearance.

There have been four other cases of shoplifting reported in Camden the past week.

ELDORADO MAN KILLED IN ACCIDENT
The Arkansas State Police responded to a two-vehicle accident near Smackover.

According to preliminary reports the accident happened about 9:20 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28th.  53-year-old Tony Sims was driving a 2007 Ford Fusion at Arkansas 7 and Arkansas 172 near Smackover when he pulled in front of a pick-up truck while attempting to cross the intersection. Sims suffered fatal injuries.

The truck was driven by an unidentified 24-year-old driver. The driver of the pick-up was taken to the Medical Center of South Arkansas. The report did not note the extent of his injuries.

According to the report, both men reside in El Dorado. The weather clear and roads were dry at the time of the accident.

JUNTEENTH EVENT WILL CELEBRATE HISTORY THROUGH EDUCATION AND FAMILY EVENTS

Little Rock- The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission in partnership with the McGehee MLK Committee will host the 2019 Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 15, 2019, 11:00 AM 6:00 PM, Burgess and Gregory Park 103 Park, McGehee, Arkansas, 71654 The event which is free and open to the public will feature live entertainment, historical re-enactments, kids’ zone, free food and giveaways. Juneteenth commemorates the 1865 announcement of the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America. 

“Every time we come to Southeast Arkansas, I am inspired by the enthusiasm and pride that these Arkansans have for their community. We hosted a “Back to School Bash” and the community service was so overwhelming that we decided to sponsor the MLK Committee’s Juneteenth Celebration. Southeast Arkansas has so much culture and history and I am proud to assist these fine individuals in bringing light to the jewels right here in McGehee,” says DuShun Scarbrough, Executive Director. 

“As a new Commissioner, I am looking forward to this event. This is an opportunity to give our youth something to do, something educational and positive. We need these types of events here in Southeast Arkansas. Many of our youth lack positive influence and we have to set the example for them that we want them to model, says Reverend Charles Killion, Commissioner, Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. “It all starts with us, we have to lead the way in sharing our history and expectations for youth.” 

“We are looking forward to this event which is important for the McGehee community, says Reverend Leroy Hood,” McGehee MLK Committee, one of the event organizers. Beyond King Holiday, Dr. King would want communities to continue efforts to build relationships and promote service.” 

The family friendly event is free and open to the public. For more information contact Reverend Leroy Hood, McGehee MLK Committee or DuShun Scarbrough at 888-290-KING. 

WESTROCK COFFEE COMPANY ANNOUNCES ARKANSAS PLANT EXPANSION DUE TO CUSTOMER GROWTH
Little Rock, Ark. (May 29, 2019) – WESTROCK COFFEE COMPANY, a vertically-integrated coffee supply and service provider, is expanding its North Little Rock, Arkansas-based roasting and packaging plant.

Westrock Coffee is pleased to announce it is expanding its manufacturing facility in North Little Rock as part of a $50 million financing to meet growing customer demand and address emerging customer needs. This includes product manufacturing for Arkansas-based Walmart, Inc. for coffee items under Walmart’s Great Value brand and Sam’s Club Member’s Mark brand. 

“This is an exciting time for Westrock Coffee and marks a huge milestone for the company, our employees, community, and customers who will all benefit from the opportunities this expansion presents,” said Scott Ford, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “We are experiencing unprecedented customer growth that requires our physical plant expansion and increased production capacity. This expansion will add more than 60 full-time employees, bringing our total Arkansas-based employees to more than 130 and our global employees to approximately 400.”

Out of our North Little Rock facility, Westrock Coffee roasts, grinds, packages, and delivers branded and private-label coffee in bags, fractional packs, and single serve cups to customers in retail, hospitality, and other distribution channels in the USA, Europe, and Asia. 

Westrock Coffee’s physical facilities expansion was aided by the strong support received from the Governor’s office, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Pulaski County, Mayor Joe Smith of the city of North Little Rock, and First Security Bank.

“The success of Westrock Coffee shows that a great idea can become a game changer in any industry,” said Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Executive Director Mike Preston. “We are proud to support a homegrown company that has found its niche and is on the rise thanks to a proven business model and delicious product.”

About the company:

Westrock Coffee Company is a farmer-focused, fully-integrated, global coffee company providing coffee sourcing, supply chain management, roasting, and distribution services to customers around the world. Westrock Coffee builds ethical and sustainable coffee supply chains from the farmer to the end consumer. 

Through our green coffee trading team based in the United Kingdom, we source, finance, and manage the logistics of green coffee through sustainable supply chains from more than 21 producing countries. We also have teams at origin – working hand-in-hand with smallholder coffee farmers - in Rwanda, Peru, Uganda, and Ethiopia. This combination makes Westrock Coffee Company one of the largest, fully integrated coffee supply chains in the world today.

COTTON ANNOUNCES FLOOD ASSISTANCE FOR AFFECTED ARKANSANS AND SUPPORT FOR EMERGENCY DECLARATION
Washington, D.C.— As Arkansas faces historic flooding, Senator Cotton and his office are ready to assist affected Arkansans. Arkansans who need assistance dealing with federal agencies can contact Senator Cotton’s office at (501) 223-9081.

“We’re facing historic, devastating floods along the Arkansas River, and the biggest danger may be yet to come. In the next day, I’ll meet with affected Arkansans and tour the worst-hit areas along with Governor Hutchinson and other officials. My office stands ready to assist any Arkansan threatened by these historic floods. Arkansans are strong and resilient. We’ll rebuild together,” said Cotton.

Senator Cotton and the Arkansas delegation have asked President Trump to support Governor Hutchinson’s request declare a Federal Emergency in Arkansas.

ARKANSAS DELEGATION SUPPORTS GOVERNOR'S REQUEST FOR  DISASTER DECLARATION
WASHINGTON -U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Representatives Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—sent a letter to President Donald Trump and  administration officials urging them to support Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a federal disaster declaration due to extensive damage as a result of continued flooding and recent severe storms in the state.  

“The resourcefulness and resilience of Arkansans in recent days has been impressive; however, as losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts,” members wrote in the letter.

The following is the full text of the delegation’s letter of support:

Dear Mr. President: 

On behalf of the State of Arkansas, we are writing to support Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request to declare a major disaster, pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act, as a result of the recent devastating flooding and severe storms across the state.   

Currently, 15 counties are reporting damage from extremely heavy rainfall, both locally and upriver in the Arkansas River system, with multiple levee breaches across the state. Voluntary evacuations are currently underway across at least four counties, with shelters opening in the cities of Fort Smith, Conway, Altheimer and Wright. These facilities can only take in 755 Arkansans displaced by dangerously high waters.

Simply put this is a historic flood that demands the immediate attention of the federal government. Since May 21, 2019, the Arkansas River has seen levels rise at a historic rate, surpassing the record floods of 2015, 1990, 1941 and 1927. This unprecedented flooding is something unseen on the Arkansas River before. Long-term saturation will provide prolonged stress on the levee system, yielding devasting impacts to infrastructure and personal property if failure occurs. 

As Governor Hutchinson noted in his request, there has been extensive damage across the state. Presently, the state is conducting extensive flood fighting operations with multiple counties impacted, and considerable property and infrastructure damage either occurring or anticipated to occur. There are approximately 3,124 total structures with potential impacts, and this number will continue to rise as the flooding continues. 

Due to the unknowns associated with this event, and the amount of rain and changing conditions, it is difficult to estimate the level of Direct Federal Assistance required. The activities listed below are our current estimates based on past experiences:

  • United States Army Corps of Engineers - sandbags, self-contained pumps, damage assessment teams, power generation, technical assistance, mapping, GIS support, and inundation mapping
  • United States Coast Guard - air transportation assets, technical assistance
  • Civil Air Patrol - air assets 
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service - wildlife management assistance and technical assistance
  • United States Department of Agriculture - crop damage assessment, technical assistance water management and inundation mapping
  • Federal Highway Administration - Emergency Relief Program
  • Environmental Protection Agency – damage assessments, technical assistance
  • National Guard – heavy lift helicopters, aerial imagery 

The resourcefulness and resilience of Arkansans in recent days has been impressive; however, as losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts.

Federal government resources are critical in the immediate aftermath of this devastating storm, and coordination between the federal government and state and local officials is crucial to begin the process of recovery and rebuilding. 

We are eager to assist in any way possible to ensure expedited evaluation of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices with any questions. 

We thank you for the support you have already offered, and respectfully ask for your continued attention and assistance in providing the resources necessary to ensure the safety of Arkansans.

May 29, 2019

UPDATE
ROBBERY SUSPECT FLEES, WOUNDED IN EXCHANGE OF GUNFIRE WITH STATE POLICE

MAY 29, 2019
A man believed to reside in Springdale was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with Arkansas State Troopers today during a pursuit and brief armed standoff along the northbound lanes of Interstate 49.  The suspect was taken to a Washington County hospital where he underwent surgery and is reported to be in stable condition.

Federal and state authorities are working together to confirm the identity of the individual.

At 10:58 AM a state trooper patrolling I-49 spotted a vehicle traveling northbound that matched the description of one driven by suspect involved in an earlier robbery of an Alma bank.

The driver of the vehicle, later confirmed to be the robbery suspect, refused to comply with a traffic stop and fled from the trooper.  A pursuit continued into Washington County when the suspect reportedly began firing a gun at law enforcement officers who returned fire.

A precision immobilization technique was used by state troopers involved in the pursuit, causing the suspect to drive the vehicle off the highway at the 56 mile marker and travel into a wooded area where the driver again began shooting at officers who returned fire.

The suspect was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital.  No law enforcement officers were injured in the pursuit or shooting incidents.

Consistent with Arkansas State Police policy, two state troopers have been placed on administrative leave while the use of deadly force review is underway.

STATE TROOPERS ARREST SUSPECT FOLLOWING PURSUIT AND GUNFIRE
MAY 29, 2019

Arkansas State Troopers have arrested one suspect who fled from law enforcement officers along I-49 in Washington County.  The individual is believed to be a suspect in the robbery that occurred earlier today at an Alma bank.

During the pursuit the suspect reportedly used a gun to fire on state troopers.  The pursuit ended south of Fayetteville near West Fork.  I-49 was briefly blocked during a stand-off between law enforcement officers and the suspect.

A news release will be distributed later today once additional facts of the case are documented.

THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND COUNTIES PREPARE FOR RECORD FLOODS – MAY 28TH RELEASE
 Camp Joseph T. Robinson | North Little Rock, Arkansas 72199 | (501) 683-6700
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 28, 2019 6:05 pm
State and Local Emergency Management Continue Response to Flooding
NORTH LITTLE ROCK— The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) activated to Level I (full activation) at 8 a.m. today in response to rising water levels and flooding along the Arkansas River. Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) staff have been joined by representatives from other state and federal agencies to support Arkansas’s response efforts. Participating State agencies include: Department of Transportation, Department of Information Services, Forestry Commission, Department of Human Services, Department of Finance and Administration, Department of Health, Game and Fish Commission, Department of Environmental Quality, the Arkansas National Guard, and GIS Office. Federal agencies include: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service.

ADEM has received disaster declarations from Arkansas, Chicot, Conway, Crawford, Desha, Faulkner, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell counties and the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock. Disaster declarations are an administrative tool that allows the jurisdiction to request disaster resources and assistance from other jurisdictions, including the State of Arkansas. Governor Asa Hutchinson declared a State of Emergency in Arkansas ahead of the anticipated flooding as an additional tool to provide disaster resources.

Counties continue to request sand bags, sand, and sand bag fillers. ADEM anticipates that this will be an ongoing request from affected counties as flooding waters move down the Arkansas River to the Mississippi River.

This morning the Arkansas National Guard assisted Conway County in dropping large sandbags by helicopter on to Levee #16 which had heavy seepage. This evening, the Arkansas National Guard is assisting Crawford County in dropping large sandbags by helicopter on the Crawford County Levee, Board 1.

The SEOC will continue daily activation during the duration of the Arkansas River floods.

Citizens affected by this flood event should take all safety precautions and follow the advice of local officials. If property damage occurs, and if it is safe to do so, take pictures of the damage. Citizens can contact their local Office of Emergency Management to determine what preparedness measures they should take.

May 28, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 27, 2019 
THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND COUNTIES PREPARE FOR RECORD FLOODS

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) activated to Level I at 8 a.m. today in response to rising water levels and expected flooding along the Arkansas River. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) anticipates that the SEOC will remain at Level I beginning at 8 a.m. each day for the duration of the expected flooding.

ADEM has received requests from the majority of the impacted counties for sand, sand bags and sand bagging machines. The U.S. Corps of Engineers has provided two sand bagging machines and Arkansas Department of Corrections has provided inmates to fill sand bags.  

In order to meet the demand for sand bags, ADEM reached out to the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) to borrow additional sand bagging machines.  The Missouri and Tennessee National Guard are lending three sand bagging machines to Arkansas for counties to use.  The five sand bagging machines are being sent to counties as they prepare for the flood waters.

EMAC offers assistance during governor-declared states of emergency through a system that allows states to send personnel, equipment and commodities to assist with response and recovery efforts in other states.

The following is a list of current conditions in affected counties as of 6:00 p.m. May 27, 2019:

Chicot County - The County has verbally declared.

Conway County – The County has verbally declared. Residents of homes in low lying areas have been encouraged to evacuate. Levees are being inspected for seepage and repairs as needed.  All levees are being patrolled with drones.

Crawford County – The County has verbally declared. Sheriff's Office is notifying residents in the area to evacuate low lying areas including several RV parks in the area. Livestock have been evacuated from the impacted areas. The Field of Dreams Sports Complex has moved all of their equipment in anticipation of the flooding. 

Desha County – The County has verbally declared. Sandbags are being filled in anticipation of flooding.

Faulkner County – The County has verbally declared. One shelter is open at this time. It is located at 10 Lower Ridge Road, Conway 72032. Pets will be housed in a separate facility close to the shelter. Residents in low lying areas are being encouraged to evacuate. Officials are currently checking Lollie Levee for weak points. Sand bagging operations are ongoing. Roads are being closed due to flood waters.

Franklin County – The County has verbally declared. An evacuation zone was established by local officials and persons within that zone have been evacuated. A number of parks and roads have been closed due to flooding. Sand bagging operations are taking place in south Ozark.

Jefferson County – The County has verbally declared. Pine Bluff Regional Park, Tar Camp Park, Island Harbor Marina and Rising Star public use area have been evacuated. Others living in low lying areas have been advised to evacuate. Due to a predicted increase in flood levels, county officials are estimating that more residents will be impacted by higher waters. Two shelters have been opened. Swan Lake VFD is located at 11997 Highway 88 in Altheimer. Wright-Pastoria Shelter is located at 8550 Surrat Road in Wright.

Johnson County – The County has submitted a Written Declaration. The County’s Emergency Operations Center is currently activated at a limited level. Levees are being inspected. Flooding is expected in forested and agricultural areas.

Logan County – The County has verbally declared. The county is encouraging voluntary evacuations in areas where flooded roads might cut off travel to and from residences. There are residences that are flooding, and occupants have voluntarily evacuated. Displaced residents are being directed to a shelter open in Ft. Smith.

City of North Little Rock - The City has verbally declared.

Perry County - The County has submitted a written declaration. The Toad Suck Park area has been evacuated. Officials are going to residents’ houses in the area and advising them to evacuate. No mandatory evacuations have been made.  Sandbags are being filled to use for anticipated flooding. 

Pope County - The County has verbally declared. Visitors to RV parks in low lying areas are being encouraged to leave. State Highway 105 has been closed due to flooding. Drones are being used to patrol levees.

Pulaski County – The County has verbally declared. 

Sebastian County – The County has verbally declared. The Red Cross has opened one shelter at Evangel Temple. The shelter is located at 1110 South 12th Street, Ft. Smith 72903. Sand bagging operations continue. Due to water inundation, county officials have transitioned from a proactive to reactive stance.

Yell County – The County has verbally declared. County officials continue to review plans and adjust as more information becomes available.

Local disaster declarations are an administrative tool that allows the jurisdiction to request disaster resources and assistance from other jurisdictions, including the State of Arkansas. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson has declared a State of Emergency in Arkansas ahead of the anticipated flooding as an additional tool to provide disaster resources. 

Citizens affected by this flood event should take all safety precautions and follow the advice of local officials. If property damage occurs, and if it is safe to do so, take pictures of the damage. Citizens can contact their local Office of Emergency Management to determine what preparedness measures they should take. 

More information will follow as it becomes available.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is the state's homeland security and preparedness agency. The agency works to identify and lessen the effects of emergencies, disasters and threats to Arkansas by developing effective prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery actions for all disasters and emergencies. For additional information, contact ADEM at (501) 683-6700 or visit the website at www.adem.arkansas.gov.

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES LATE SHERWOOD WWII VETERAN IN “SALUTE TO VETERANS”
WASHINGTON-
As we recognize Military Appreciation Month, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) honored the service and sacrifice of the late Thurlow Fernandez, a WWII veteran who served in the European and Pacific Theaters, in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series commemorating the military service of Arkansans.

Fernandez passed away shortly after being interviewed by a member of Boozman’s staff for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. This initiative provides all of us the opportunity to continue to honor and remember those who have served our nation.

Fernandez was a first-generation American. His Spanish family lived in an Italian neighborhood in Chicago, so Fernandez said he had to learn how to defend himself. “The type of neighborhood I grew up in, you had to learn how to fight,” Fernandez said. He took that energy to the boxing ring. When he joined the Navy he continued with the sport, becoming the service’s welter weight champion at 147 pounds. “Nobody wanted to mess around with me.”

Fernandez enlisted in the Navy when he was 18-years-old and completed basic training at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois. He still had a lot to learn when he boarded his first ship. “I had to go to the bathroom. Some sailor said ‘We don’t have bathrooms on this ship, you have to ask for the head.’ I found out where the head was at. That was the toilet,” Fernandez said.

He recalled his eight-day trip across the Atlantic Ocean during an interview in late 2016. Fernandez was serving on a ship that was part of a convoy that came under attack. “I have no idea how many ships were lost,” he said.

Fernandez was stationed at US Naval Operating Base, Londonderry in Northern Ireland. While he and his fellow sailors were getting ships ready for the invasion of Normandy, Fernandez also fell in love. “I needed permission from the Navy to get married,” he said. He received permission and wed. He and his wife Joyce received two days leave for their honeymoon.

Fernandez didn’t participate in the D-Day invasion because he was hospitalized at the time, and said it’s unlikely that he would have survived. “All of my shipmates were killed.” He returned to the United States on a ship carrying soldiers wounded from the Normandy invasion in addition to German prisoners of war. 

He also served in the Pacific Theater where he was in charge of the diesel room on the ship he was serving on. It was during this assignment that he befriended a new member to his team, Bob Drexel, a sailor who was pulled from the water after his ship had been torpedoed by the Japanese.

“He took a liking to me and gave me his address and phone number,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez witnessed the Japanese surrender at Tokyo Bay. He also helped decommission the USS Delta. During the interview at his Sherwood home, he proudly pointed out the clock sitting on his mantle that he saved from the ship as a memento.

Fernandez was honorably discharged in 1947 and used the GI bill to go to school. He also reconnected with his friend Drexel. “When I got out of the Navy I looked him up. He worked at General Motors. That’s how I got to work at General Motors.” Fernandez held a variety of jobs in his 32 years at the company.

He was married to Joyce for 38 years before she passed away. He found love again with an Arkansan, Margie, to whom he was married for more than 30 years.

“As a member of the Greatest Generation, there is a lot we can learn from people like Thurlow Fernandez, whose service and sacrifice helped defeat tyranny. Honoring Thurlow and our veterans by sharing their experiences of serving our nation in uniform is important to understanding our history. I’m pleased he shared his story with us so his family and future generations of Americans can learn about his remarkable memories,” Boozman said.

Fernandez’s entire interview is part of the Veterans History Project collection. This initiative of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center aims to collect and retain the oral histories of our nation’s veterans.

BOOZMAN, COTTON RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING MARSHALL ISLANDS CLEARS SENATE
Senators stress unique relationship, partnership in meetings with Republic of the Marshall Islands president ahead of measure’s passage
WASHINGTON— The U.S. Senate passed a resolution introduced by Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) recognizing the strategic importance of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Marshallese who live in the United States. 

Since the 1980s, thousands of Marshallese have legally migrated to the United States and Springdale, Arkansas is home to the largest population of Marshallese in the continental U.S.

“Arkansas and the Republic of the Marshall Islands have a special relationship given the number of Marshallese living in Northwest Arkansas. Recognizing and celebrating this community is important because it shows that our state, and the country, understands their unique role and expresses our commitment to work alongside them to improve their lives and serve their needs,” Boozman said.

“Just as the people of Arkansas and our Marshallese neighbors continue to strengthen their friendships, so the United States ought to continue bolstering our own relations with their home republic. Our resolution celebrates the bond our countries share and the need for our two nations to keep working together, and I’m pleased that the U.S. Senate agrees,” Cotton said.

The resolution, which commends the history and heritage of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and encourages a continued commitment to improve census data to better serve Marshallese living in the U.S., passed the Senate unanimously on May 23.

Prior to the measure’s passage, Boozman and Cotton both met with the Republic of the Marshall Islands President Dr. Hilda C. Heine in Washington where President Heine thanked them for their leadership on introducing the resolution. They also discussed the senators’ support and efforts to pass the REAL ID Act Modification for Freely Associated States Act – which became law in December 2018 and allows citizens of the Marshall Islands and other Pacific Freely Associated States who legally live in the U.S. to obtain a driver’s license or personal identification card – and other issues related to security and cooperation between the Marshall Islands, Arkansas and the federal government.

“We were honored to host President Heine for an opportunity to discuss how we can continue to strengthen the ties between Arkansas, the United States and the Marshall Islands,” the senators said. “Supporting the Marshallese living in Arkansas means working to ensure their quality of life here is suitable, but it also means making sure we are developing and maintaining a close relationship with the government in their home country. Our meetings were a timely occasion to build on that support and demonstrate our shared commitment to work cooperatively on issues of mutual interest and concern.” 

The U.S. has a unique relationship with the Marshall Islands. In the aftermath of World War II, the Marshall Islands was a U.S.-administered United Nations Trust Territory. In 1986, the Marshall Islands entered into a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the U.S. and became a sovereign, “freely associated” state. Under the COFA, the U.S. is obligated to defend the Republic of the Marshall Islands against attack or threat of attack. The U.S. also maintains unique military basing rights in the Marshall Islands that extend through at least 2066. The security and sovereignty of the Marshall Islands is important to our country and to the thousands of Marshallese who have planted roots in Arkansas. The COFA agreement is up for renewal in 2023.

CAMDEN NOON LION’S CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Noon Lion’s Club will meet at Catherine’s Bistro. This week the Lion’s Club will be presenting the four winners from the Reading In Action Program with their bookcases and books.

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday,  May 30th  at 12:00 at  Catherine’s Bistro.   The program will be by Charles Moore and Kimberly Moore who will inform the Club about the Plant a Seed Foundation.

SAAC MAKES AUDITION CALL FOR SUMMER MUSICAL, “HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME”
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to audition for this year’s magical summer musical, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Director Kristen Blossom will hold auditions in the Callaway Theater at SAAC June 1-3, 2019.  The show, sponsored by Murphy USA, will run from July 18 to July 28, 2019.  

The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is based on the Victor Hugo novel, as well as songs from the Disney animated feature. The musical showcases the film’s Academy Award-nominated score, as well as new songs by Menken and Schwartz. A sweeping score and powerful story make “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”an instant classic. Audiences will be dazzled by the magic of this truly unforgettable musical.

Call for community singers who want to sing in the cathedral choir is Saturday, June 1. It’s easy…just show-up and sing! This is a show for every voice type, range, and level of training. Vocal sectionals will be held in the morning - 9:00 am men, 10:00 am altos and 11:00 am sopranos - with everyone singing again together starting at 1 pm. People interested in auditioning for character roles are encouraged to join this rehearsal to get more familiar with the music. This is the first music rehearsal - everyone welcome! Check the SAAC website for more details about the choir call.

General auditions will be held the following day, Sunday, June 2 at 2:30 pm.  Everyone will be asked to sing and dance for the general auditions with readings at call backs on Sunday, June 3. To prepare for auditions, be ready to sing 24-36 bars of a song selection in the style of “Hunchback” (in the vein of Les Misérables or a Disney ballad). For the dance section, expect to learn a short movement combination. If you are a dancer or actor that doesn't sing, you can come audition to be a dancer only or for one of the three spoken roles. Be sure to let them know at the check-in desk!

On Monday, June 3, the directors will start at 6:00 pm by seeing new faces wanting to audition; followed by call backs for the character roles at 6:30 pm. Registration will be open in the Lobby 30 minutes prior to each event.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is a beautiful story with captivating music throughout.  The musical begins as the bells of Notre Dame sound through the famed cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer who longs to be "Out There," observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools. Held captive by his devious caretaker, the archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, he escapes for the day and joins the boisterous crowd, only to be treated cruelly by all but the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda. Quasimodo isn’t the only one captivated by her free spirit, though – the handsome Captain Phoebus and Frollo are equally enthralled. As the three vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the gypsies – and it’s up to Quasimodo to save them all.

When asked about the vision for the production, director Kristen Blossom said, “In the novel, Victor Hugo writes, ‘Spira, Spera,’ translated from Latin this means, ‘While I breathe, I hope.’  Despite this musical's heavy content, my concept from the beginning has been centered around hope.  Especially after the tragic fire in Paris, I believe now is a time to focus on resilience and restoration.”

Please visit the SAAC website at www.saac-arts.org  for more information about the audition process or to download an audition form. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

MAY 28, 2019

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON APPROVES $100,000 IN EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR FLOOD RESPONSE
LITTLE ROCK 
–  Governor Asa Hutchinson was briefed on Sunday morning on the flooding along the Arkansas River that has begun in western Arkansas and is expected to reach record levels throughout the state in the coming week. Governor Hutchinson has approved $100,000 in emergency funding to assist with support efforts.

“This morning, the Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, and Arkansas State Police provided me with a detailed briefing about the state's ongoing support efforts in communities experiencing record flood levels along the Arkansas River," Governor Hutchinson said. "I have received a number of requests for aid from communities, and I immediately approved the release of $100,000 of emergency funds to support sandbagging work. 

"I appreciate all the neighbors and volunteers filling sandbags and assisting with evacuations. The state team is continuing to respond to assistance requests, and more funds will be allocated as the situation demands.”

May 24, 2019

BOOZMAN INTRODUCES BILL TO IMPROVE HEALTH CARE SERVICES
Addresses rising demand for radiology services by enhancing role of radiology assistants performing non-diagnostic services
WASHINGTON–
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is working to address the rising demand and clinical need for timely medical imaging services by introducing legislation that enhances the role of radiology assistants (RAs).

The increased complexity of radiologic studies, coupled with high demand for radiology services, has placed an added burden on our already strained Medicare program. One value-based, efficient solution to address this need and improve patient outcome is to enhance the role of RAs.

Boozman’s legislation—the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act—would enable radiologists to submit claims to Medicare for non-diagnostic services performed by RAs they directly supervise in both the hospital and office setting. It will ensure patients—particularly those in rural areas where health care options are fewer—have timely and quality access to services.

“Hospitals in Arkansas and around the country are always searching for better ways to deliver medical services to patients in more cost-effective ways. Many health policy experts have identified the use of physician extenders as one way to help achieve that goal,” Boozman said.

While RAs are newly recognized under Medicare to perform services under direct supervision, the radiology practices that employ them are unable to submit claims to Medicare for RA performed services in hospitals, where they normally work.

“These healthcare professionals are well qualified to address the increased demand in medical imaging services and fill the gap in the shortage of radiologists, particularly in rural areas. Ensuring the procedures performed by RAs are covered by Medicare is a commonsense way to provide seniors with the specialized services they deserve,” Boozman said.

The Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act is cosponsored by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jon Tester (D-MT).

PORTABLE CERTIFICATION OF SPOUSES (PCS) ACT INCLUDED IN NDAA
Washington, D.C. — The Portable Certification of Spouses (PCS) Act, introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), and Martha McSally (R-Arizona), was included in the Chairman’s mark of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020.

The PCS Act will 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 changes station. The legislation would allow the Department of Defense to use defense dollars to help states come up with universal standards for professional licenses, allowing military spouses to start work soon after they arrive at a new assignment. By making it easier for military spouses to continue their professional careers, the PCS Act is expected to help the Armed Forces retain skilled soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.

“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. The PCS Act will ensure those spouses can pursue their careers uninterrupted, even while they're moving their family from state to state and base to base. Today, we learned the PCS act is one step closer to becoming law. Relief is coming for our military families,” said Cotton.  
“Whenever we can find ways to support military spouses, we should act,” said Shaheen. “Military spouse unemployment and underemployment is a significant problem, which is why we need to do all that we can to support those who are entrepreneurs and have professional licenses. By adding this legislation to the defense bill, we’re taking an important step forward in helping military spouses cut through needless red tape as they practice their licensed professions and move their businesses from state to state. I will continue my efforts to support military spouses and will work to grow the bipartisan consensus for this measure as the NDAA is considered by the full Senate.”
“Family readiness is military readiness," said McSally, "Our legislation removes critical barriers to military spouses fully contributing in the workforce simply because their loved one serves in uniform. We must unleash their full potential, and that's what our legislation will do. This is a critical step to moving it forward.”

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.

COTTON, SHELBY, REPRESENTATIVE BYRNE INTRODUCE NO LENIENCY FOR TERRORISTS ACT OF 1019
Washington, D.C. — Earlier today, Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) introduced legislation making anyone convicted of a terrorist offense ineligible for early release from federal prison for “good behavior.” Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Our safety depends on keeping dangerous terrorists where they can’t harm Americans, but right now even unrepentant terrorists are eligible for early release from prison, sometimes for so-called ‘good behavior.’ Supporting radical Islamist groups like ISIS is savage behavior, not good behavior. Our bill would make convicted terrorists ineligible for early release,” said Cotton.

“The early release of convicted terrorists sends the wrong message to those who have fought against terrorism and those who want to cause us harm,” said Shelby.  “This legislation will help us prioritize the safety and security of our nation above all else. Today’s early release of John Walker Lindh is disheartening and unacceptable, and I am proud we are taking this step to make terrorists ineligible for early release.”

“A convicted terrorist walking free before his sentence is completed should never happen again,” said Byrne.  “The Spann family asked me to address this injustice, and I want to make sure no other family has to go through what the they have been through.  The No Leniency for Terrorists Act will prevent terrorists from taking advantage of our laws to avoid paying their debt to society.  We must ensure that terrorist will remain behind bars where they belong.”

BACKGROUND:
The first person convicted of terrorism charges in the War on Terror was released early from prison this morning. John Walker Lindh, an American citizen who left to join the Taliban, was caught on the battlefield by U.S. military forces. Lindh had been convicted of providing material support to the Taliban and sentenced to 20 years in prison.  

He only served 17 of those years, getting three years off for “good behavior.” In prison, Lindh continued supporting the actions and missions of ISIS and the Taliban. In a letter from prison, Lindh wrote as recently as 2015 that ISIS was, “doing a spectacular job.” Supporters of ISIS and other radical terrorists should never qualify for “good behavior.”

A & P COMMISSION CANCELS MAY MEETING
The Camden Advertising and Promotion Committee will NOT meet on Tuesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:00 P.M. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building due to the fact that there is no old business or any new business.

May 23, 2019

ARKANSAS STATE POLICE PRESENT AWARDS: NORTHEAST ARKANSAS STATE TROOPERS SHARE TOP HONOR,
OTHERS RECOGNIZED AT ARKANSAS STATE POLICE AWARDS CEREMONY
GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES PLANS TO FUND PORTION OF COST FOR DRIVING TRACK
(LITTLE ROCK) –
Corporals Rockey Rapert of Harrisburg and Brandon Bennett of Blytheville were presented the prestigious Arkansas State Trooper of the Year Award today during the annual state police awards ceremony.  The recipient of the Trooper of the Year Award personifies the highest standards of public service and has demonstrates a record of esteemed law enforcement action.

The two troopers were among a group of more than 33 Arkansas State Police personnel recognized for their personal sacrifice during the course of a particular assignment, or cumulative work results, associated with incidents during the 2018 calendar year.

During his keynote address to state troopers attending today’s award ceremony, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced his intentions to release $4-millon dollars in state funds that will be used in the construction of the Arkansas law enforcement driver training track.  The track, to be located at Camp Robinson will be available to all Arkansas law enforcement agencies.  Arkansas is one of only a small number of states without a track facility to train law enforcement officers in emergency driving techniques.

“Equipping our police officers with the skills to drive safely in all situations is as important as teaching self-defense or training them in the use of firearms,” said Governor Hutchinson. “This driving track will allow the state to train officers in everything from driving in bad weather to the often risky, but sometimes necessary, high-speed pursuits. I am pleased to release this money so that we reduce the risks for these public servants who risk their lives for the rest of us every time they put on the uniform.”

Corporals Rapert and Bennett were also awarded the department’s Troopers Cross.  The nominations, Trooper of the Year and Troopers Cross, were both based on a July 30, 2018 deadly shootout in Mississippi County along I-55.

A suspect who had refused to comply with a traffic stop abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot into a farm field where he shot and killed “Hemi”, an Arkansas State Police K9, assigned to Corporal Rapert, who along with the K9 and Corporal Bennett had trailed the suspect.

The suspect then refused repeated orders from the troopers to drop his gun and turned toward them pointing the gun.  The troopers fired and wounded the suspect.  As law enforcement officers approached the wounded suspect, he rose again, pointing the gun at them and was shot.  He later died at an area hospital.

All departmental awards, other than Official Commendations, were presented today by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson & Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.

Georgia Whatley, 54, of Benton, was awarded the Arkansas State Police Civilian Employee of the Year Award.  She has served the State of Arkansas as an employee for 21 years.

Ms. Whatley was recognized specifically for her extraordinary work on an assignment, beginning in 2018, devoted to the implementation of new administration and human resources software (EASE) now used in all divisions and offices of the Arkansas State Police.

Michael Patterson, assigned to the Highway Patrol Division administrative offices, Caitlin Teague, assigned to the Administrative Services Division, Training Section, and Karen Calaway, assigned to the department’s Fiscal Section, Asset Management and Inventory Unit were the other employees nominated for the civilian award.

Other award recipients recognized today are:

Lifesaving:
Trooper Christopher Barnett, of Batesville, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, who on August 4, 2018, responded to a motor vehicle crash along U.S. Highway 67 near Searcy where he discovered a victim who was in critical condition and in a shock from a significant blood loss.  Trooper Barnett used a state police trauma kit to begin life saving measures using tourniquets to stop the bleeding.  The trooper’s action, according to physicians, saved the crash victim’s life.

Trooper Corey Earls, of Clarksville, assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, who on April 30, 2018, recognized the deteriorating medical condition of a crash victim and quickly determined the driver was exhibiting symptoms of a drug overdose.  Trooper Earls used a supply of Narcan, provided to troopers by the Arkansas State Police, to save the woman’s life and on August 13, 2018 after discovering a shooting victim in the backyard of a Morrilton residence began applying tourniquets to the arm and leg of the victim, saving the man’s life.

Corporal Todd Harris, of Paragould, assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop C, who on August 24, 2018, responded to a motor vehicle crash and coordinated the rescue of an injured victim, then used a state police trauma kit to begin life saving measures which continued until emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene.

Corporal Ronald Laslo, of Newark, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, who on May 22, 2018, began providing life saving measures to a suicide victim found in a rural part of Jackson County.  Using a state police trauma kit, Corporal Laslo was able to keep the victim alive until emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene.

Trooper First Class Terry Sawyer, of Malvern, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop K, who on October 11, 2018, responded to a shooting incident along U.S. Highway 270 and discovered a wounded victim.  TFC Sawyer used his state police trauma kit to apply a tourniquet to the wounded limb of the victim and stabilize the man until emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene.

Corporal Brian Syfert, of Clarksville, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, who on December 15, 2018, saved the life of a motor vehicle crash victim by using a state police trauma kit to stop the bleeding of the victim whose leg had been severed during the crash.

 

Corporal Flarcell Tate, of Marion, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, who on February 9, 2018, who came to the aid of a female passenger traveling along I-40 when she entered labor and discovered the newborn child was not breathing.  Corporal Tate used his training to repeatedly apply lifesaving measures eventually leading to the child to breathe and survive.

Distinguished Meritorious Service Awards:
Lieutenant Chris Goodman, of Clarksville, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, who was recognized for work in highway narcotics interdiction during 2016 – 2018.  Lieutenant Goodman, during 2018, is credited with seizing more than 2,500 pounds of marijuana and 20 pounds of cocaine.  His work prior to 2018 includes 165 felony arrests associated with the seizure of thousands of pounds of illegal drugs being transported along Arkansas highways.  

Medal of Valor:
Sergeant Philip Hydron, of Marion, assigned to Highway Patrol Troop D, Corporal Chad Staley of Little Rock, assigned to Administrative Services Division, Training Section and Trooper First Class Clayton McDonald, of Little Rock, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, were each presented the Arkansas State Police Medal of Valor.  The three were recognized for the assignments as members of the Arkansas State Police SWAT team which responded to Russellville on June 28, 2018.

The three state troopers were among the SWAT team members who entered a barricaded apartment after an individual inside had earlier threaten local police office.  As troopers entered they were met with gunfire from the suspect who died as the result of gunfire returned by the troopers.

Troopers Cross:
Trooper First Class Jason Baethke, of Mount Judea (Newton County) who on October 9, 2018 used lethal force to protect members of the Arkansas State Police SWAT team as they approached a suspect who was about to exit a residence in Arkansas County where a prolonged armed stand-off with a suspect had continued late into the night and the following morning.  The suspect opened the door of a camper trailer, raised his gun at the approaching state troopers and was shot by TFC Baethke who was positioned along the stand-off perimeter. 

Memorial Medal Award:
Sergeant K9 Hemi was honored with the Arkansas State Police Memorial Medal for his in line of duty death.  The medal was presented to Hemi’s partner, Corporal Rockey Rapert. (*See narrative comments from the Trooper of the Year Award.)  

Official Commendations: (Presented for acts of exemplary service and awarded during the course of 2018 during regular monthly meetings of the Arkansas State Police Commission.  *Supporting information is available upon request.)

Special Agent Jake Bartlett, of Russellville, Criminal Investigation Division, Company E

Troop John Bass, of Waldron, Highway Patrol Division, Troop H Special Agent Stephen Briggs, of Little Rock, Criminal Investigation Division, Special Investigations Unit

Special Agent Scott Ellis, of Paron, Director’s Office, Executive Protection Unit

Trooper Josh Elmore, of Van Buren, Highway Patrol Division, Troop H

Special Agent Josh Heckel, of Hot Springs, Criminal Investigation Division, Company D

Trooper First Class Ryan Leuer, of Farmington, Highway Patrol Division, Troop L

Sergeant Elvis Mull, of Little Rock, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A

Corporal Brandon Love, of Little Rock, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A

Special Agent Randall Murphy, of McCrory, Criminal Investigation Division, Company A

Keri Permenter, of Malvern, Criminal Investigation Division, Arkansas State Fusion Center

Chris Carter, of North Little Rock, Criminal Investigation Division, Arkansas State Fusion Center

Special Agent Kevin Webb, of Benton, Criminal Investigation Division, Company A

 Distinguished Service Awards: (Presented to ten law enforcement officers from departments other than the Arkansas State Police, and non-department civilians who collectively or individually came to the assistance of Arkansas State Troopers. *Supporting information is available upon request.)
Jason Bourg, Mountain Home

Deputy Jimmy Huffstetler, of Paragould, Greene County Sheriff’s Department

Chris Davis, of Everton (Boone County).

Sergeant Keith Prince, of Malvern, Malvern Police Department

Corporal Jack Seely, of Malvern, Malvern Police Department

Deputy Jeremy Bray, of Malvern, Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Department

Patrolman Brian Douglas, of Rockport (Hot Spring County), Rockport Police Department

Deputy Harrison Hughes, of Blytheville, Mississippi County Sheriff’s Department

Beverly Thornton, of Maumelle

Randall Woodall, of Maumelle

Harold W. Cantwell, of Jacksonville

Arkansas AG logoATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: THE VICIOUS TREND OF VAPING  
LITTLE ROCK – The use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, has become a dangerous trend in which too many Arkansas teens are participating. Eight years ago, just two percent of Arkansas teens vaped. Today, more than 20 percent of Arkansas teens vape. Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling a vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. The term “vaping” is used because e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol that actually consists of fine particles containing varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as seizures, respiratory and heart diseases.
 
“As adults, we need to be watchful of the young people around us and educate them about the dangers of vaping,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Manufacturers make these products to look flashy and appealing to teens. This is an extremely dangerous trend that is hitting Arkansas’s middle and high school students at alarming numbers.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to warn parents, teachers and children of the dangers of vaping e-cigarettes:

  • Review the ingredients carefully because many of them contain substances known to be carcinogenic, such as nicotine, vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol.
  • Consult your physician about the risks associated with vaping. One pod used in an e-cigarette can have the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of traditional cigarettes. Exposure to nicotine can alter the structure and function of developing children’s brains.
  • Remember that studies have shown that nicotine products are highly addictive and are associated with later onset of cigarette smoking habits.
  • Investigate the incidence of product failure as some e-cigarette device batteries have exploded or caught on fire, causing burns or even death.
  • Remember to keep e-cigarette supplies out of the reach of small children as some have become sick or died from swallowing the pleasant-smelling e-juice.
  • Be mindful that e-cigarette pods can be used for illegal purposes such as for odorless marijuana oils based upon online tutorials.

There are many different types of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices, most of which contain pods of nicotine-filled e-liquid, sweet-smelling flavorings, and other potentially harmful chemicals. With sweet-smelling aromas and catchy flavor names like Strawberry Watermelon POP, Sunrise Pressed eJuice, Pink Lemonade Risky and Ice Cream, teens are experimenting with, and ultimately becoming addicted, to e-cigarettes. Once they get hooked, teens are often able to hide their addictions from parents, teachers and other adults by purchasing widely available vaping devices disguised as everyday items like pens or USB flash drives.

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
.

BOOZMAN PRESSES FOR PASSAGE OF LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE BENEFITS AND SERVICES FOR WOMEN VETERANS
WASHINGTON
–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, urged committee members to approve the Deborah Sampson Act, legislation that would eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face. 

There are more than two million women veterans in the United States. More than 20,000 women veterans call Arkansas home. The number of women veterans accessing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care services has steadily increased, but the VA’s policies are in need of reform to better serve this population.

“This is something that we can solve. It’s going to take some work. It’s going to take a little bit of change in attitude in some cases,” Boozman said during the Wednesday hearing. “We can do a better job of providing the resources that women veterans need.”

Boozman and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Ranking Member of the Senate VA Committee, reintroduced the Deborah Sampson Act in February. The legislation has widespread support of Veterans Service Organizations.

The pair have aggressively pursed reforms to policies that impact women veterans. Most recently, they sent a letter in December 2018 to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie urging him to implement provisions in the Deborah Sampson Act that are within his authority.

The VA Committee considered additional legislation cosponsored by Boozman including:

  • S. 123 - Ensuring Quality Care for our Veterans Act – Introduced by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), this would ensure that every VA health care provider with a revoked license undergoes a third party clinical review of their patient care. If the review determines that a standard of care was not met, the veteran will be notified.
  • S. 805Veteran Debt Fairness Act of 2019 – Introduced by Tester, this would prevent the VA from charging veterans for its own accounting mistakes.
  • S. 857 – Legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) that would increase the amount of special pension for Medal of Honor recipients.

 

 

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 NO