Yes Radio Works

September 23, 2021

ARMED BARRICADED STAND-OFF ENDS WITH ARREST AT STAR CITY
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021
A Star City man surrendered to Arkansas State Troopers today following a four hour barricaded armed stand-off that began after the suspect allegedly fired a gun at Star City police officers.

Cristobal Palomerez-Heredia, 43, of 205 Park Street was taken into custody by state troopers assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop E.  Palomerez-Heredia is charged with aggravated assault and is being held at the Lincoln County Detention Center without bond.

About 7 AM Tuesday, officials of the Star City Police Department requested the Arkansas State Police to take charge of the scene outside Palomerez-Heredia’s residence.  The state police SWAT Team was activated and took command of the stand-off which ended at 11:09 AM when the suspect exited the residence.

No injuries were reported during the stand-off or arrest.

Questions relating to the events initially involving local police officers prior to the state police taking command of the stand-off should be directed to the Star City Police Department.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: STEPS TO TAKE IF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IS COMPROMISED
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans about the dangers of personal information being compromised. More and more, Arkansans’ personal information is requested to make an online purchase or sign up for a subscription. This can include “fun” quizzes or surveys on social media inviting participants to share the name of a first pet, the street first lived on or the name of a favorite teacher. However, each time personal information is shared, it may be vulnerable, compromised or stolen. This simple act could be handing over sensitive information that can be used to steal an identity. Arkansans should know what to do if personal information finds itself in the wrong hands. For instance, hackers have been known to infiltrate online businesses leading to data breaches, which can lead to private information being stolen and used for identity theft.

“Con artists will work overtime to steal your information and identity,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important Arkansans take the necessary steps to protect their personal information and privacy in the digital age.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips from the Federal Trade Commission for Arkansans who believe their information has been compromised online:
Review each of your three credit reports at least once a year. It's easy, and it's free.
Read your credit card and bank statements carefully and often. Contact your credit card or bank immediately if you notice errors or have concerns.
Know your payment due dates.
If a bill doesn't show up when you expect it, look into it.
Shred any documents with personal and financial information.
Before making an online purchase, check out the company first. Read the reviews and Google the name of the company along with the word “scam” or “complaint.”
Resist the urge to take social media quizzes or surveys that ask you to share personal information.
Report any lost, stolen, or compromised identification cards to appropriate authorities, such as local law enforcement and the Arkansas Revenue office.

There are many options available to better protect personal information if there is concern that personal information has been compromised. For more information on preventing identity theft, please visit the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection page at ArkansasAG.gov or the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Committing identity theft in Arkansas is a felony and comes with a sentence that could include incarceration, fines up to $25,000, and restitution. For more information on other consumer-related issues, please contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982, by emailing OAG@arkansasag.gov, or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
 

COTTON ACCEPTING SERVICE ACADEMY APPLICATIONS
Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) announced that he is accepting applications for Service Academy nominations. In order to be considered for a nomination, materials must be submitted by Monday, November 1, 2021.

"Students who attend U.S. service academies and go on to serve their country in uniform are the pride of Arkansas, and I encourage each young Arkansan with a sincere interest to apply," Cotton said.

Interested students can find the application, along with information on eligibility and other requirements, here. Please contact Nicole Miller  (501) 223-9081 for any additional questions.
 

BOOZMAN WARNS AGAINST INVASIVE IRS MONITORING, FIGHTS TO PROTECT AMERICANS’ PRIVACY
Senator Sounds Alarm on Banking Transactions Reporting Proposal, Supports Legislation to Reign in IRS Overreach
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is fighting back against the Biden administration’s campaign to expand the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) surveillance of taxpayers’ bank accounts and further erode Americans’ privacy.

The White House has proposed altering banking account reporting requirements as part of its reckless spending and tax bill in order to fund its partisan agenda.

In a column published in The Hill,  Boozman warned of the additional threat to the security of personal information if this policy is enacted.

“Given the IRS’s track record on data security, including a 2015 data breach, tasking the agency to secure additional taxpayer information from nearly every American is a complicated and hazardous gamble, and one the federal government isn’t historically capable of winning,” he wrote.

The president’s plan would require all financial institutions to report to the IRS deposits and withdrawals of $600 or more from business and personal accounts maintained by federally regulated banking services. The current reporting requirement is for transactions of $10,000 or higher.

Imposing this mandate on banks and credit unions would burden small, community financial institutions with additional unnecessary compliance costs that would potentially get passed along to customers.

Boozman also took action to block this overreach by recently joining U.S. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) in introducing the Tax Gap Reform and Internal Revenue Service Enforcement Act, bicameral legislation that safeguards taxpayers against IRS targeting and abuse.

“Big Brother is at it again. The president’s push to drastically expand monitoring of individuals’ finances and enlist more IRS agents to execute it is cause for alarm. Implementing protections that block IRS overreach is a necessary step to ensuring taxpayer privacy and preventing the agency from targeting Americans’ savings and income to fund Democrats’ partisan agenda,” Boozman said.

Arkansans have expressed their opposition to the Biden administration’s proposed changes to IRS reporting requirements. 

State Treasurer Dennis Milligan called the recommendation c a burden on the middle-class and small businesses “in the name of trying to catch tax evaders.”

President and CEO of the Arkansas Bankers Association, Lorrie Trogden, said the plan “will really hit our Arkansas community banks the hardest.”

September 22, ,2021

LOCAL PARAMEDIC KILLED IN AUTO ACCIDENT
The Arkansas State Police reported a fatal accident early this morning. According to the ASP Police Report, Joel David Yarberry, 33, of Whitehall was traveling South on 9 North about 12:20 AM. The vehicle exited the left side of the road and spun 90 degrees before striking a tree. The car then caught on fire. The cause of the accident is unknown. It was cloudy and the road was wet.

According to a Post on Ouachita County Medical Center’s Face Book page, Yarberry was a Paramedic in the EMS Department. He was not on dutey at the time of the accident. The hospital will fly flags at half-mast for the remainder of the week in Joel’s memory and in his honor.

The post, written by Peggy Abbott, CEO and President of OCMC, stated ”This is a very sad day for our organization, but I am grateful that Joel worked among us as part of our medical community and our OCMC family. We will remember him.”

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW SCHOOLS CELEBRATING HOMECOMING 2021
If you or your organization would like to participate in the Homecoming Parade on October 1st, 2021 you must pre-register your entry with Kwaniesha Leak, Tavitha Wooten or Darla Stivers by the end of day on September 27th, 2021. Registration forms will need to be picked up from the Camden Fairview High School. There will also be a fee of $10.00 per entry (per vehicle) this year. All proceeds from the fees will go towards materials for next year student floats. The theme for this year is “Cards, Playing to Win”. The start time for the parade will be at 3:00pm. No one will be allowed to participate in the parade without an entry form on file.

For more information, call Kwaniesha Leak, Tavitha Wooten, or Darla Stivers at Camden Fairview High School 870-837-1300 during school hours. The last day to register will be September 27, 2021.

FALL IS THE TIME FOR THE YEARLY FLU SHOT
Seasonal flu is a disease that causes mild to severe illness and is easily spread. Each year in the United States, 25-50 million infections are reported, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 23,600 die due to seasonal flu.

The seasonal flu virus is spread through coughing or sneezing and by touching a hard surface with the virus on it and then touching your nose or mouth.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot each year. The shot takes one to two weeks to start working. The Flu Shot has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children. The Flu shot will not give you the flu! The shot is a vaccine that helps protect you against the seasonal flu virus.

Children can catch the flu more often than adults but they usually aren’t as sick. Parents should keep their sick children at home so they do not spread the flu to others. For older adults and others who are at risk of complications, the flu shot can reduce hospitalizations by as much as 70 percent and deaths by 85 percent.

There is no out-of-pocket expense for flu shots, but you are encouraged to bring insurance information if you have it. The Ouachita County Health Unit will be having a Flu Shot Clinic on Thursday, September 20th between the hours of 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM. This is a drive through clinic. Drive around to the back of the building.

The Ouachita County Health Unit is located at 740 California Avenue Southwest in Camden. Call 870-836-5033 for more information.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID REPORT – SEPTEMBER 21, 2021
State officials are encouraging all Arkansans who can to get their influenza vaccination in anticipation of the upcoming flu season.

During Gov. Asa Hutchinson's weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero stressed the importance of getting the flu shot to help ease the current high demand on the state's medical facilities due to COVID-19. Romero added last year's flu season was mild likely due to precautions taken against the ongoing pandemic. However, he said getting the vaccine again this year will hopefully ensure another moderate flu season this year. 

Romero also addressed the announcement by Pfizer that its COVID-19 vaccines were safe for children five to 11 years old. That development is still awaiting FDA review.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson introduced Lori Arnold, Executive Director of the Arkansas Red Cross. She spoke on the need for eligible Arkansans to give blood due to current high demand and supply shortages.

In regard to Arkansas' COVID-19 figures, the state reported an additional 1,400 new cases on Tuesday for a cumulative total of nearly 487,000 since the pandemic began. Active cases fell by 779 over the previous 24-hour period for a current total of 14,225 across the state. Deaths increased by 17 over the same period to 7,499 since the spring of 2020. Hospitalizations saw another consecutive day of decline, falling by 34 to leave 994 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus. Finally, as of Tuesday, more than 1.3 million Arkansans are now fully vaccinated against the virus. 

BOOZMAN STATEMENT ON VA’S INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT ON FOLLOW-UP HEALTH CARE INSPECTION AT FAYETTEVILLE VA MEDICAL CENTER
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) health care inspection at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville to assess improvements following pathology oversight failures:

“Changes are clearly needed to prevent misconduct that puts the health of veterans at risk like what occurred at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center. Strengthening the reporting process for clinical disclosures will ensure appropriate measures are in place so we can make certain veterans receive the high-quality care they deserve. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I will continue to advance policies that put the needs of our veterans first and hold accountable those responsible for wrongdoing.”

Boozman has been leading efforts to ensure the VA improves oversight and accountability in order to prevent future health care failures. The senator recently joined Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee leaders in urging VA Secretary Denis McDonough to address oversight failures at medical facilities across the country.  

In August, Boozman helped introduce the bipartisan Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act to provide the VA OIG with the authority to subpoena testimony from former VA employees who have left federal service, former contractor personnel who performed work for the Department, or other potentially relevant individuals during the course of its inspections, reviews and investigations.

As then-Chairman of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, Boozman led the effort to include language in legislation that required the VA Secretary to submit a departmental response plan to Congress. The provision is now being implemented at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks and for all future cases of clinical disclosures to prevent similar incidents.

September 21, 2021

FOUR ARKANSAS SCHOOLS NAMED 2021 NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona today recognized 325 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021, including four schools in Arkansas. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Secretary Cardona made the announcement during his Return to School Road Trip , while visiting an awardee school, Walter R. Sundling Jr. High School, in Palatine, Illinois.

The Arkansas schools named as National Blue Ribbon Schools were:
Conway – Carolyn Lewis Elementary School, Conway Public Schools.
El Dorado – Hugh Goodwin Elementary School, El Dorado School District.
Hot Springs – Park Magnet School, Hot Springs School District.
Portland – Portland Elementary School, Hamburg School District.

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said Secretary Cardona. “I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.

The Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon Schools nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education.

SCOTT COUNTY DEATH: STATE POLICE INVESTIGATING SUSPECTED HOMICIDE
SEPTEMBER 20, 2021
Scott County authorities have requested the Arkansas State Police to lead an investigation into a suspected homicide reported to local authorities earlier today.

Alex Andrew Ingle, 56, was found dead inside his home at 5806 Lookout Gap Road, north of Waldron about 2:45 AM.  Ingle’s body and crime scene evidence will be transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory.  The state medical examiner will determine the manner and cause of death.

No arrests have been made.  Special agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing their investigation.

STATE ARCHIVES RECEIVES GRANT
LITTLE ROCK -- The Arkansas State Archives (ASA) announced it has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue the digitization of historic Arkansas newspapers for a third cycle of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). As a result of this award, 100,000 pages of additional newspaper content will be added to the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America website. 

Grants for the NDNP project are awarded to one “cultural heritage institution” from each state or territory. Arkansas has received sucessive grants since it began participation with NDNP in 2017. The Arkansas Digital Newspaper Project was created to work alongside the Library of Congress to digitize historic Arkansas newspapers, providing free online access to historic newspapers from across the United States and U.S. territories. At the end of the most recent grant cycle, ASA anticipates they will have more than 300,000 pages of newspaper content digitized specifically from this grant funding.  

"Arkansas State Archives is honored to receive continued grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities," said David Ware, ASA director. "In this cycle, we will target newspaper from Arkansas's under-represented communities, including female-owned and operated newspapers such as 'The Women’s Chronicle' and the 'Arkansas Ladies' Journal' of Pulaski County."

Ware said the ASA will also digitize content from minority-owned papers and cited as examples the Arkansas Mansion and Arkansas State Press (Pulaski County) and foreign-language papers including Arkansas Echo (Pulaski County) and Stuttgart Germania (Arkansas County).

The ASA's Chronicling America content can be found at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/arkansas. For information about this project, please contact Ware at david.ware@arkansas.gov or 501-682-6900.  

NEW TO THE NATIONAL REGISTER
El Dorado Overpass included
LITTLE ROCK -- The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program announces the latest additions to the National Register of Historic Places. The sites added include 10 listings from nine counties across the state. 

I-40 Overpass, Blackwell, Conway County
Arkansas Agricultural and Mechanical College Student Union, Monticello, Drew County
Batesville Overpass, Batesville, Independence County
Heathcliff Cabin, Mena, Polk County
Russellville West Overpass, Russellville, Pope County
Des Arc High School Home Economics Building, Des Arc, Prairie County
Alton and Ruby Mae Kerby House, North Little Rock, Pulaski County
Veterans Administration Hospital, Little Rock, Pulaski County
Rock Island Railroad Overpass, El Dorado, Union County
Anderson-Taylor House, Fayetteville, Washington County

The National Register of Historic Places is maintained by the National Parks Service. Listings are honorary and properties with this distinction may be eligible for grant and tax programs on the state and national level. 

For more information about the National Register, please contact Ralph Wilcox at ralph.wilcox@arkansas.gov or 501-324-9880. 

COTTON STATEMENT ON DEMOCRATS’ PLAN TO BLOCK IRON DOME FUNDING
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after Democrats announced a plan to remove funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system from a government funding package:

“On the same day that President Biden pledged to stand with our allies at the United Nations, members of his own party want to deny Israel the equipment to defend its citizens from terrorist missiles. Despite their best efforts, the United States will support Israel’s right to defend itself and fund the Iron Dome.”

COTTON, SASSE INTRODUCE BILL TO BLOCK TALIBAN ACCESS TO CHABAHAR PORT
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) today introduced the No Harbor for Terror Act to revoke the Afghanistan exception to the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012, which currently provides Afghanistan with access to the Chabahar Port for exports. Text of the legislation may be found here.

“Iran’s Chabahar Port provides a lifeline for Afghanistan’s trade exports, but the United States shouldn’t continue to waive sanctions for a nation now run by a terrorist organization. Our legislation would revoke Afghanistan’s exception and limit the Taliban and Iranian regime’s ability to use the Port as a harbor for their illicit trade,” said Cotton.

“President Biden’s shameful surrender has put the Taliban back in charge of Afghanistan,” said Sasse. “Why on earth should these bloodthirsty terrorists now enjoy the economic benefits from access to an Iranian controlled port? It’s time to ditch this sanctions waiver.”

September 20, 2021

JORY WORTHEN PLEADS GUILTY
Jory Worthen has accepted a plea agreement with the state. Worthen has entered pleas of guilty to amended charges of Murder, First Degree, Two Counts. The Prosecuting Attorney will recommend sentences of: Count One - Life in The Arkansas Department Of Corrections and Count Two – Life in the Arkansas Department Of Corrections, each to run Concurrent with the other, court costs and fees.

Worthen was charged with two counts of Capital murder in the June 2019 death of his girlfriend, Alyssa Cannon, and her young son, Braydon Ponder. The young mother and her son were slain in her home. Immediately after the murders, Worthen fled in Alyssa’s vehicle, which was later found abandoned in a parking lot in Seattle, Washington.

The Western Arkansas U.S. Marshals Task Force was brought into the investigation to assist with apprehension since Worthen had crossed state lines and was believed to be armed and dangerous. After searching for the man all over the country for over a year, Worthen was apprehended in October 2020 by US Marshall’s living under an alias at a Burbank motel.  

Had Worthen gone to trial for 2 Counts of Capital Murder and been found guilty, he would have faced either life in prison or the death penalty on each charge.


MURPHY USA EL DORADO SHOOTOUT ANNOUNCES CHARITIES
EL DORADO, AR, — Murphy USA is giving back to the community with the return of the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout and Symetra Tour, which is set for September 18 - 26 at Mystic Creek Golf Club. Presented by PepsiCo, the Shootout is a LPGA qualifying tournament that will help move 108 professional female golfers from around the world closer toward earning their LPGA cards as they vie for the purse of $175,000.

The sixth annual event will also serve as a fundraiser for two charitable foundations with a common goal: to provide a support system in the fight against breast cancer. Organizers have announced that the #teamcorrie Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen® will be the beneficiaries of proceeds that are raised by the 2021 Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout.

The tournament was not held in 2020 to accommodate construction of a new, state-of-the-art clubhouse at Mystic Creek. Tournament organizers said the new clubhouse will not only enhance one of the premiere golf courses in the region, but also the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout and Symetra Tour experience.

"We're very excited to bring the tournament back after not hosting it last year," said tournament director Courtney Crotty.

"It's ironic to us how things have progressed in the past year. We had already planned not to host the tournament in 2020," Crotty continued. "With (the coronavirus, COVID-19), it worked out that we decided to postpone it and just not have the tournament in 2020."

Crotty said the community and tournament volunteers are amped up to welcome Symetra golfers back to Mystic Creek, El Dorado, and Union County. The golfers with whom organizers have spoken are also looking forward to the event.

#teamcorrie Cancer Foundation

After having been on hiatus for a year, Shootout committee members also agreed they needed to raise the bar to celebrate the return of the event.

One of the first orders of business was to select a local charity that Murphy USA, tournament sponsors and the community could get behind.

"#teamcorrie came to mind, based on the work they have done for families in Union County for the last nine years," Crotty said.

The #teamcorrie Cancer Foundation was founded in 2013 in honor of Parkers Chapel resident Corrie Jo Gross Bechtelheimer, who lost a two-year battle with breast cancer on June 6, 2014. She was 35 years old. Gross Bechtelheimer was described as a "cancer warrior".

#teamcorrie offers financial assistance in the form of one-time grants to help offset extreme expenses that can incur for families with a “cancer warrior” who is undergoing medical treatment for the disease.

The Paint Mystic Creek Pink 5K family walk/run kicked off the Shootout at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 18. Crotty said the walk/run will replace the annual Paint the Town Pink that is traditionally held in downtown El Dorado.

The color pink denotes support of breast cancer patients, charities, foundations and research.

Susan G. Komen
The Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout typically selects one local charity to support, but this year, the tournament threw its support behind a second charitable cause that is also meeting a vital need in the community with a mission that is similar to #teamcorrie.

Susan G. Komen, based in Dallas, provides resources for breast cancer patients all over the U.S. The organization also funds research into the causes, treatment of, and finding a cure for breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen serves breast cancer patients in the state of Arkansas.

The national organization was formed in 1982 by Nancy Brinker, the younger sister of namesake Susan G. Komen, 36. Komen died of breast cancer in 1980.

"Breast cancer does not discriminate. It doesn't matter what your race or religion is, how you identify or what socio-economic group you're in, it can affect everybody in some way, shape or form," said Crotty.

The female-centered golf tournament planning committee and partnership with the two charities spawned another hashtag for Shootout 2021: #ChampioningWomen.

"The idea is that when we come together, so much can be accomplished," Crotty explained.

"Whether we get behind golfers and help them take the next step in their career, help organizations conduct further research for breast cancer or help someone who is going through breast cancer, men and women can get behind women and help build them up," she added.

Other activities for the Shootout include a Junior Golf Clinic at 4 p.m., September 20, for children ages 6-18 and a Pro-Am scramble on September 22 and 23, during which Symetra Tour professionals will be paired with local and national sponsors.

Actual tournament play takes place September 24 - 26.

For more information about the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, visit www.eldoradoshootout.com. Follow Facebook.com/road2eldo, Twitter.com/ROAD2ELDO, and Instagram @road2eldo.
 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOSTS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON SEPTEMBER 23
Call 501-370-3829 to make an appointment to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.

 WHAT:   Virtual Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans
WHO:     During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist them with specific questions regarding VA benefits claims.
WHEN:   Thursday, September 23, 4 - 6 p.m.
HOW:     To schedule a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, September 22, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

 BACKGROUND: 
“Even though we have all been affected by the pandemic, we still have a mission to serve the Veterans in the state of Arkansas,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “It is our responsibility to provide these services to our Veterans who answered the call of our nation and protected the freedom of our country.”

VA Regional Offices provide financial and other forms of assistance to veterans and their dependents. This includes disability compensation, survivor’s benefits, pension and fiduciary service, education and training, vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance, life insurance coverage, and home loans guaranties. 

VA recently added three presumptive disability conditions related to toxic exposure: asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. Military service members may have been exposed to a variety of airborne hazards or contaminants resulting in one or more of these presumptive conditions and potentially other related medical conditions while on active duty in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War from September 19, 2001 to present, or the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990 to present. 

During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office are available to answer questions about existing VA benefits claims and how to file a new one. 

“We have such a diverse population outside of the metropolitan areas of the state; we need to work even harder to reach those who are in our rural areas and those unable to reach us by other means,” said Quillin.  

For more information about VA’s benefits, go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call 800-827-1000.
 

GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR ARKANSAS ARTS ORGANIZATIONS AFFECTED BY COVID-19
LITTLE ROCK -- The Division of Arkansas Heritage is pleased to announce the application period is now open for the Arkansas Arts Council American Rescue Plan (ARP) Grant. This grant will aid 501(c)(3) arts groups based in Arkansas that have experienced financial hardships or loss of program capacity due to lost revenue in the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Funding for this grant comes from the $784,000 AAC received from the National Endowment for the Arts in the ARP. Eligible arts organizations may request up to $15,000. This is a one-time-only grant category and may not be extended or renewed.

“Arts organizations play an important role in their local economies and contribute substantially to the quality of life in our state,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “We are very pleased to be able to offer this grant to help offset the economic injury caused by COVID-19.”

Our agency recognizes this moment as an opportunity for the sector not just to reestablish old ways of operating, but to rebuild in a way that works better for all arts organizations. 

To qualify for the ARP grant, organizations will be considered on:
The quality of the arts organizations based on Artistic Excellence and Artistic Merit.
The potential of the proposal to have a significant and immediate impact on the arts workforce.
The proposal's significance to the arts mission and core work of the organizations.
The organization's ability to carry out an arts proposal, including the appropriateness of the budget, resources involved and personnel.
The extent to which the arts organization aids underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.

The Arkansas Arts Council ARP grant can be used for the following administrative costs:
Salary support (full or partial) for one or more staff positions.
Fees/stipends for contractual personnel to support the services they provide for specific activities. Jobs or positions supported through ARP may be existing or new.
Facilities costs such as rent and utilities, e.g., electric, phone and gas bills. Not to include upgrades to HVAC/ventilation systems. Note: costs related to home offices are not allowed.
Costs associated with health and safety supplies for staff and/or visitors/audiences (e.g., personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, etc.).
Costs associated with marketing, promotion and applicant/grantee technical assistance.

To apply for the ARP grant check out our grants portal website: https://bit.ly/2XnbWU4. New users will have to create an account to apply. The deadline to apply is October 15.

For more information or assistance contact Grant Programs Manager Jess Anthony at jess.anthony@arkansas.gov or 501-324-9768.
 

TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN TO HOST SMART WOMEN SMART MONEY CONFERENCE
Free, virtual conference empowers women financially
Little Rock, Ark. – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan is hosting the third annual Smart Women Smart Money Arkansas conference on Friday, Sept. 24. The free conference will be held virtually this year and is designed to empower women to improve their financial well-being.

“Arkansas ranks third worst in the nation for both women’s unemployment and earnings and poverty and opportunity,” Milligan said, citing the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “Our message with this conference is that it’s never too early or too late to help oneself improve their financial well-being.”

This year’s conference will feature general sessions presented by content experts as well as smaller breakout sessions tailored for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of understanding. Attendees can choose topics that best meet their needs and comfort level.

The keynote speaker this year is Rachel Marie Martin, author of the Brave Art of Motherhood and FindingJoy.net. Martin’s honest story of how she achieved financial independence starting from rock bottom with seven children will resonate with women of all ages, Milligan said.

“Rachel has a unique story of resilience amid dealing with bill collectors, being in quite a bit of debt, all while trying to juggle being a mother and cope with a failing marriage,” Milligan said. “Her story is so inspiring and I think attendees will walk away from the conference energized and encouraged.”

Smart Women Smart Money conferences began more than 20 years ago in Idaho. When Milligan brought the conference to Arkansas in 2019, it began the nationwide expansion of the program.

“Treasurer Milligan has been an instrumental leader in helping us expand the Smart Women Smart Money conference around the country,” said Derek Kreifels, President of the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF), the parent organization of Smart Women Smart Money. “His passion for Arkansans is evident in the work he has done as Treasurer, especially in serving as national chairman of SFOF for 2021.

“My wife, Melanie, and I are so excited to be working with our great sponsors in Arkansas – especially our title sponsor, KATV – to help bring financial awareness to Arkansans.”

To register for the Smart Women Smart Money conference, interested persons may visit https://smartwomensmartmoney.com/arkansas/

September 17, 2021

FORMER LONOKE COUNTY DEPUTY SURRENDERS TO STATE POLICE
SEPTEMBER 17, 2021
Former Lonoke County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Michael Davis surrendered to Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division Special Agents about noon today.

Davis, 30, of Lonoke County, was taken into custody based on a manslaughter arrest warrant filed in Lonoke County Circuit Court early today.  He was taken to the Lonoke County Detention Center for the required booking process.

The Arkansas State Police will transport Davis to an undisclosed county jail where he will be held until a first appearance hearing next week.

ARKANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION RELEASES CIVICS EDUCATIONAL VIDEO IN HONOR OF CONSTITUTION DAY
The Arkansas Bar Association (ArkBar) is releasing a video documentary today, “The Grand Experiment—Democracy in Motion,” to help educate Arkansas students and the public about the importance of the Constitution and the rule of law in the United States in honor of Constitution Day. Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Qwy8Hr3nE.

 High school Students Leslie Dixon and Aiden Eslinger begin the video on the front steps of the Arkansas State Capitol by saying: “This may sound strange and you probably don’t know this, but here in America we have been living a grand experiment for approximately 250 years. And what do we call this experiment? We call it democracy. Everyone around the world knows the word now, but back in the 1700s democracy was an experiment. And yes, it still is to this day.”

 The video covers several core principles that guide the judicial system: the rule of law, equal justice, a fair and impartial judiciary and trial by jury. The students help explain each topic with analogies that other students can understand while leading Arkansas judges, educators and law makers explain the principles.

 “The lawyers of Arkansas bring you this gift so that you will understand the rule of law,” said ArkBar Immediate Past President Paul Keith of Monticello. “Men and women have died on American soil and around the world in defense of the rule of law. The rule of law remains under assault every day and it could become simply a memory in only one generation. We’re counting on you to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

 We would like to thank the following participants for volunteering their time to make this video possible: Governor Asa Hutchinson; Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Kemp, Arkansas Supreme Court Justices Justice Robin Wynne, Justice Courtney Hudson, and Justice Barbara Webb; Arkansas Court of Appeals Chief Judge Brandon Harrison, Arkansas Court of Appeals Judges Judge Rita Gruber and Judge Waymond Brown; Circuit Judge Carlton Jones; former United States Senator Mark Pryor; Dean Emeritus Cynthia Nance; Professor Anthony McMullen; ArkBar Past President Paul W. Keith; attorneys Chris Hussein and Edith Chavez de Oseguera; and student moderators Leslie Dixon, Parkview High School, and Aiden Eslinger, Conway High School.

 We would also like to thank: Administrative Office of the Courts Director Marty Sullivan; ArkBar Board of Trustees; ArkBar President Bob Estes; ArkBar President-Elect Joe Kolb; ArkBar Past President Brian Rosenthal; Legal Related Education Committee Chair Beverly Brister; ArkBar Executive Director Karen K. Hutchins; ArkBar Director of Government Relations Jay Robbins; and Arkansas Supreme Court Public Education Coordinator Karen Tricot Steward.

 This video was produced by Steve Narisi, Executive Producer, and Hayot Tuychiev, Director of Photography and Video Editor, The Nastro Group.

 About the Arkansas Bar Association
Founded in 1898, the Arkansas Bar Association is the premier legal association in the state. As a voluntary organization of more than 5,000 members, the Association’s primary mission is to support attorneys; advance the practice of law; advocate for the legal profession; foster professionalism, civility, and integrity; and protect the rule of law.

ARTISTS NEEDED FOR PUBLIC ARTS PROJECTS
Camden Included in List Seeking Proposal
LITTLE ROCK -- The deadline for Arkansas Heritage Public Arts Grants will soon be here. This matching grant is specifically for Main Street Arkansas program communities and is intended to reimburse for the cost of commissioning, designing and installing artwork that can be enjoyed by the general public. Grants typically range from $2,500 to $10,000, although larger projects will be considered if grant funding is available.

Several Main Street Arkansas program communities are seeking requests for proposals (RFP) from qualified artists interested in working on their projects:

Camden – Sculpture
The RFP is posted on the Camden Downtown Network Facebook page at https://bit.ly/39k2TFP.
Contact Charlotte Young at director@camdendowntownnetwork.org or at 870-807-1468

Conway – Sculpture
The RFP is posted at https://bit.ly/3AkRxNP.
Contact Jamie Brice at jamie.brice@conwayarkansas.gov

Dumas – Mural
The RFP is posted at https://bit.ly/3Eq3WCr.
Contact Julianne Ford at mainstreetdumas@centurytel.net

Little Rock – Mural
The RFP is posted on the Downtown Little Rock Partnership Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3hGkXi3.
Contact Caroline Brown at cbrown@downtownlr.com; submit proposals to publicart@downtownlr.com

West Memphis – Mural
The RFP is posted on the Main Street West Memphis Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3Ajj0zA.
Contact Deborah Abernathy at dabernathy@broadwaywestmemphis.com or at 870-735-8814

Wynne – Mural
The RFP is posted on the Wynne Downtown Revitalization Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3EoBroT.
Contact Kimberly McGuire at wynne.drc@gmail.com.


The Main Street Programs will need RFPs from interested artists by Oct. 1 or as stated in the RFP. The final application deadline from participating Main Street Programs is Oct. 15.

The next Public Arts Grants Program cycle begins again in July of 2022. Those with questions or an interest in this program can contact Debra Fithen, grants manager, at 501-324-9158 or debra.fithen@arkansas.gov.  

 

COVID IN SCHOOLS
More than half of all eligible Arkansans ages 12 and up are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, an encouraging milestone reached this week, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Amid the spread of the highly infectious delta variant, a Pfizer spokesperson said this week that the company plans to seek emergency authorization from the FDA in November for the vaccine’s use among children younger than 5. Pfizer previously announced it will seek emergency authorization in October for children aged 5 to 11.

According to data updated by our team today, 161 Arkansas public school districts have COVID-19 infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, down from 189 last week. Also, three school districts have achieved COVID-19 vaccination rates of at least 50% of district residents: Bentonville (51%), Cleveland County (50%), and Magnet Cove (50%).

Among the 161 districts with 14-day infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 residents, 35 have 14-day infection rates of 100 or more new known infections per 10,000 residents, or more than 1% of the total population in each of those districts. This is down from last week’s total of 59, which was a pandemic record.

Read today’s news release for more. For additional data and maps tracking COVID-19 vaccinations and known infections in Arkansas school districts, communities, and ZIP codes, visit our COVID-19 in Arkansas page.
 

STATE TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN DISCUSSES IMPLICATIONS OF BIDEN TAX AGENDA
“Tax Compliance Agenda” Could Hurt Middle-Income Families, Small Businesses
Little Rock, Ark. – The Biden Administration and the US Treasury’s proposed agenda to change reporting requirements of banks and credit unions would have unintended consequences on middle-income Americans and small businesses, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan said today.

The proposed change would require all U.S. banks and credit unions to report transactions to the Internal Revenue Service of any bank account with a balance of $600 or more.

The Biden Administration claims that the change in reporting requirements would generate about $460 billion in tax revenue over the next 10 years. The Tax Compliance Agenda is part of the Biden Administration’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.

“The Democrats are trying their hardest to make up for the massive amount of debt they are putting our country in,” Milligan said. “In doing so, they are burdening middle-class Americans and small businesses in the name of trying to catch tax evaders. People who evade taxes aren’t your hardworking middle-class Arkansans. Instead, this is just another type of government overreach that is typical of a Democrat-controlled Congress.”

Milligan also has major concerns about the security such an overhaul would have on individuals’ personal data.

“As Treasurer, I serve as the state’s banker, so I’m familiar with cyber threats and the types of data breaches that are out there, and I have very strong concerns about this agenda. The IRS itself has a continued track record of data breaches, and I’m very concerned with the amount of security – or lack thereof – that the government has shown in the past,” Milligan said. 

The agenda would also affect the relationship that banks have with potential customers – many of whom, especially in Arkansas, are already leery of banking institutions.

At 9.7%, Arkansas already falls above the 7% national average of households who are unbanked, and this additional reporting requirement could cause an unnecessary breach of trust between Arkansans and banks, and force potential customers out of the industry altogether, Milligan said.

“Forcing banks to implement such rigorous reporting requirements would not only bog down their institutions with unnecessary red tape, but would violate Americans’ constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable search or seizure of their papers and effects,” Milligan said, adding that it could also overwhelm many small Arkansas banks.

“Moreover, it would have a detrimental effect here in Arkansas because of the number of  small banks we have here. Requiring them to implement such measures would overwhelm them with an excessive workload.”
 

KRISTY BRASFIELD NAMED 2021 ARKANSAS HISTORY TEACHER OF THE YEAR 
LITTLE ROCK — Kristy Brasfield, a teacher at Joe T. Robinson High School in the Pulaski County Special School District, has been named the 2021 Arkansas History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 

The institute, which provides educational programs and resources that focus on the knowledge and understanding of American history, recognizes one K-12 teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools, and U.S. territories each year. The 2021 National History Teacher of the Year will be named this fall.

"In addition to reading, history has always been one of my favorite subjects," Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. "I fondly remember the amazing history teachers I had as a student and their ability to make history come alive in the classroom. As the state History Teacher of the Year, Ms. Brasfield has set that example for the students in her classroom. They are fortunate to have her as a teacher, and I congratulate her on this honor."

Brasfield teaches U.S. History and English IV at Joe T. Robinson High School and previously taught AP and Pre-AP History in the Blytheville School District for eight years. She currently serves on the Arkansas Council for the Social Studies Board, the Rho Kappa Advisory Council, and the National Constitution Center's Teacher Advisory Council.

Brasfield previously was named the 2019 Arkansas Council for the Social Studies 9-12 Teacher of the Year and the 2016 Rotary Educator of the Year. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education in Social Science, a Master of Science in Education in Education Theory and Practice, and an Education Specialist in Educational Leadership, Curriculum Director from Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. She is currently writing her dissertation for a Doctorate in Education from ASU.

In addition to Brasfield receiving a $1,000 award, her school will receive a core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials.

Nominations for the 2022 History Teacher of the Year are now open. Students, parents, colleagues, and supervisors may nominate K-12 teachers for the award by visiting https://bit.ly/2XsbEbp. The deadline for nominations is March 30, 2022.
 

ADE RELEASES NEW CONCUSSION MANAGEMENT SUPPORT RESOURCE 
LITTLE ROCK — The effects of a concussion can linger long after a head trauma occurs, and oftentimes, the symptoms go unnoticed. Not only can the effects cause continued medical issues for a student, they can negatively impact a student’s ability to learn.

To help families, schools, and medical professionals develop an integrated, community-based approach of support for students affected by concussions, the Arkansas Department of Education, in conjunction with the Arkansas Brain Injury Support Program (a grant-funded program out of the department’s Office of Special Education), is pleased to release “REAP the Benefits of Good Concussion Management” today in support of National Concussion Awareness Day.

While any student can suffer from a concussion, student athletes are more susceptible to them because of the physical contact associated with sports.

“When I was a coach and a principal, I saw firsthand the long-lasting effects that concussions can have not only on the health of students but also on their ability to be successful in the classroom,” said Matt Sewell, the director of Special Education at ADE’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. “This new resource takes a multi-faceted approach to providing support by identifying roles and responsibilities for each member of a student’s support team. It’s important to remember that a combined approach is essential to helping a student fully recover long after the game is over and the student returns to the classroom.”

The Arkansas manual is based on the REAP (Remove/Reduce, Educate, Adjust/Accommodate, and Pace) concussion management community-based model that was developed in Colorado after a football player died from a head trauma. In developing Arkansas’ manual, partners (which include Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the Arkansas Activities Association, the Schmieding Center, and the Trauma Rehabilitation Resources Program) incorporated Return to Play principles that are outlined by Arkansas concussion legislation. 

The manual also identifies multiple myths about concussions, includes a symptom checklist, offers special considerations, and provides guidance regarding specific actions and timelines for a student’s family team, school physical and academic teams, and medical team. In addition to outlining the steps students can take to return to their sport, the manual also identifies the most common “thinking” problems that occur following a concussion and considerations for adjustments or accommodations needed when a student returns to the classroom. 

“The safety of all student athletes is our top priority, but when an injury does occur, we want to ensure students have the best support network available to help them not only ‘get back in the game’ but also succeed academically and in life,” said Dr. Joey Walters, deputy executive director of the Arkansas Activities Association. “The ‘REAP’ resource is a great tool that encourages a community-wide approach to helping students heal from a concussion. We are happy to be part of its development and know it will greatly benefit students in the future.”

The manual is available for review and download at https://bit.ly/3AdkXNT
 

COTTON DEMANDS ANSWERS ABOUT FAA FLIGHT RESTRICTION OVER SOUTHERN BORDER
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) demanding answers about the FAA’s temporary flight restriction over the southern border in Del Rio, Texas.

In part, Senator Cotton wrote, “Last night, the FAA implemented a two-week Temporary Flight Restriction over the migrant camp. This decision has forced media organizations covering the ongoing border crisis to ground their aircraft. I’m disturbed by the possibility that the FAA closed the airspace over the border for political reasons, perhaps to blackout unfavorable media coverage of the humanitarian disaster. The American people deserve to have access to information about this crisis.”

Text of the letter may be found below.

Dear Administrator Dickson,
I write with deep concerns about a recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision to restrict the airspace over Del Rio, Texas.

As you know, in recent days thousands of illegal aliens have poured over the U.S.-Mexico border into Del Rio, Texas. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol estimates that over 9,000 aliens, including many Haitians, are currently sheltering under the Del Rio International Bridge. Authorities expect thousands more to illegally cross the border in the coming days.

Last night, the FAA implemented a two-week Temporary Flight Restriction over the migrant camp. This decision has forced media organizations covering the ongoing border crisis to ground their aircraft. I’m disturbed by the possibility that the FAA closed the airspace over the border for political reasons, perhaps to blackout unfavorable media coverage of the humanitarian disaster. The American people deserve to have access to information about this crisis.

I ask that you promptly answer the following questions:
Why did the FAA implement a Temporary Flight Restriction over this area of Texas?
Who at the FAA made the decision to restrict this airspace?
In making this decision, did FAA leadership have any direct contact with the White House? If so, did White House officials order or pressure the FAA to make this decision?

I appreciate your consideration of this important matter.

Sincerely,

BOOZMAN URGES CONGRESS TO DESIGNATE BLYTHEVILLE EXHIBITION AS NATIONAL COLD WAR CENTER
Visits Facility on Former Eaker Air Force Base
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) visited the Blytheville Air Force Base Exhibition, home of a comprehensive collection of material and information from the Cold War. Boozman is leading Senate efforts to designate the facility as the National Cold War Center.

“Blytheville played a vital role in America’s national security and helped safeguard the world against the threat of nuclear war. The exhibit tells that story and recognizes the men and women who were called to defend our nation at such an incredibly sensitive and precarious time. Having a dedicated tribute to them and their experiences here in Arkansas would be a tremendous asset that realizes a fitting opportunity to preserve this important part of our history,” Boozman said. “I will continue urging Congress to recognize the significance of Eaker Air Force Base, and the dedicated Americans who served there, by designating it as the National Cold War Center.”

“Preserving the memories of those who served in uniform during the Cold War is a privilege, and it’s something our entire community is dedicated to supporting in a number of ways. This center is dedicated to telling the stories behind an important time in our history while also promoting education and drawing visitors from near and far to explore our exhibits and area. We appreciate Senator Boozman’s leadership to champion Blytheville’s unique role in defending our country and his advocacy for national recognition,” Cold War Center Board of Directors Chair Mary Gay Shipley said.

In May, Boozman and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) reintroduced legislation that would confer this national recognition on the existing facility. The following month, the Senate Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on the bill. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

The former Eaker Air Force Base was home to approximately 300,000 men and women from 1942-1992 and is America’s best-preserved Strategic Air Command Alert Aircrew Facility and Nuclear Weapons Storage Area. 

 

BOOZMAN COMMEMORATES POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY
Calls for Additional Resources for Agency that Helped Bring Missing World War II Arkansan Home in Stars and Stripes Column
WASHINGTON -  U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) called for additional support and resources for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to accomplish its mission to account for America’s missing war heroes.

Boozman’s column was published in Stars and Stripes and is printed below:
Lt. Henry Donald Mitchell developed a passion for aviation long before he piloted P-38 Lighting aircraft in World War II. He was a flight instructor known to show off his daredevil flying skills to his family in Northwest Arkansas. Mitchell applied his talent and love for aviation in response to his country’s call to serve, becoming a member of the 48th Fighter Squadron, 14th Fighter Group of the Army Air Corps. 

On July 8, 1944, while on a mission over Vienna, Austria, his squadron engaged with enemy aircraft. While the flight leader heard Lt. Mitchell radio that he was all right, he never returned and was declared missing in action.

On this National POW/MIA Recognition Day, for the first time in 77 years, Mitchell is not listed as MIA thanks to the relentless pursuit by his brother Bob, members of the Arkansas congressional delegation, international representatives and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to bring him home.

The DPAA is responsible for finding, identifying and accounting for American service members missing in action. Today, more than 80,000 Department of Defense personnel remain unaccounted for, including 72,000 World War II servicemembers.

The work of the DPAA touches every corner of the United States and brings hope to families missing someone they love. Our never-ending commitment to accounting for those who served in our nation’s uniform remains a priority. 

Increased challenges to locating our fallen heroes in remote or deep-water locations demonstrate the need for innovative technologies. However, limited resources hinder the agency’s ability to incorporate new strategies and implement state-of-the-art advancements. That’s why we must do more to help the agency successfully accomplish its mission.

One way we can make a difference is by creating a nonprofit foundation that will enable the agency to assist in recovery operations, support public-private partnerships, conduct research, and develop additional groundbreaking methods to search for and identify our heroes. 

We’ve experienced success with similar congressionally-supported nonprofits on advancing DOD medicine. I look forward to introducing legislation that expands DPAA’s capabilities in the same manner. This will enable us to harness the expertise of world-class researchers and other experts so we can ultimately bring closure to more families.

DPAA personnel will continue looking for those missing in action and providing answers to families waiting, sometimes for decades, to hear their loved one has been found. Bob Mitchell was one such case, but thankfully that very call came last month.

“I’m tickled to death,” the younger Mitchell told an Arkansas news outlet in the days after the DPAA positively identified the remains of his brother who was found at the site of a downed P-38 Lightning in Austria. Bob spent more than two decades working to bring his brother home.

“I never gave up, and that’s the secret to a lot of things,” he told my staff.

Bob has been a relentless advocate for his big brother and I am honored to have played a role in his homecoming.

This week, Lt. Mitchell was finally laid to rest in the Fayetteville National Cemetery with full military honors.

There are many more families waiting and hoping for the same opportunity. This National POW/MIA Recognition Day, let’s remember them and renew our country’s commitment to bring our heroes home.
 

SAAC ANNOUNCES CAST FOR “CLUE: ONSTAGE”
Rhett and Hannah Faith Davis, co-directors for the South Arkansas Arts Center’s production of “Clue: Onstage”, have announced the cast of talented actors selected to play the famous roles in this production, scheduled to run October 22-24, 28, 30-31. The principal cast includes Hayden Nooner as Wadsworth, Bonnie Murray as Miss Scarlet, Steven Vick as Mr. Green, Elva Melillo as Mrs. White, Jacarllus Hill as Colonel Mustard, Traci Stevenson as Mrs. Peacock and Darrin Riley as Professor Plum. Rounding out the supporting cast are Lainey Walthall as Yvette, Kenneth Burns as Mr. Boddy/the motorist/Chief of Police, Jessica Raines as the cook/singing telegram girl/auxiliary Scarlet/backup cop, and Holland Ruff as auxiliary Mustard/the unexpected cop/backup cop.

“We have assembled a very talented and new group of people for this show,” said Rhett. “We have actors with all levels of experience on the South Arkansas Arts Center stage. You will see some familiar faces mixed in with a largely new bunch taking center stage. We had a fantastic group show up to audition and it really has resulted in an incredible cast from top to bottom.” 

“Our lead, Hayden, will be having his first experience on this stage and he’s already leaving us in stitches as Wadsworth,” continued Hannah. “Our other six principal characters are all unique and hilarious, as well. Each brings their own form of comedy to the stage. The supporting cast is also incredible, as they really shape and mold the setting as both foreboding and comical. It’s been an amazing process so far, and I can’t wait for everyone to see how phenomenal our cast is. Come join us in October and see how far these characters will go when they’ve been backed into a corner!”

The classic board game is brought to life in “Clue: On Stage”. Six guests are invited to a dinner party thrown by an anonymous host. They are given aliases--Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet. Though discouraged from revealing personal information, it is soon discovered that all of them have fallen victim to the same blackmailer, their very host of the evening. Each is presented with a weapon and an option: pay their extortionist double, or kill the innocent butler. What follows is a madcap, slapstick evening full of murder, mystery, and laughs as they seek to puzzle out the culprit amongst criminals.

For the chance to meet this wild cast of characters, stop by SAAC between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 18 for Family Game Night. You can play a round or two of your favorite board game in the gallery, or try a custom dog from Kernel Mustard’s Hotdog Cart in the parking lot, all while having lots of laughs with the “Clue” crew.

For more information about this hilarious show, 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.

September 16, 2021

UAMS TO HOST ANNUAL DRIVE-THRU HEALTH FAIR IN EL DORADO
LITTLE ROCK — The South Arkansas Center on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will host its annual ‘Head 2 Toe’ drive-thru health fair on Sept. 23 for senior adults.

The health fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the Champagnolle Landing Senior Center, 910 Champagnolle Road, in El Dorado. Participants will remain in their vehicle as they move through the health fair line and visit with vendors.  CDC guidelines will be followed including social distancing and facemasks.

Flu shots and blood pressure checks will be available, in addition to educational handouts and giveaways. Registration is not required, but participants will need to bring their identification and insurance card to receive a flu shot.

For more information, please call 870-881-8969 or email jaturner2@uams.edu.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOSTS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON SEPTEMBER 23
Call 501-370-3829 to make an appointment to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.

 WHAT:   Virtual Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans
 WHO:     During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist them with specific questions regarding VA benefits claims.
 WHEN:   Thursday, September 23, 4 - 6 p.m.
 HOW:     To schedule a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, September 22, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

 BACKGROUND: 
“Even though we have all been affected by the pandemic, we still have a mission to serve the Veterans in the state of Arkansas,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “It is our responsibility to provide these services to our Veterans who answered the call of our nation and protected the freedom of our country.”

VA Regional Offices provide financial and other forms of assistance to veterans and their dependents. This includes disability compensation, survivor’s benefits, pension and fiduciary service, education and training, vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance, life insurance coverage, and home loans guaranties.

VA recently added three presumptive disability conditions related to toxic exposure: asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. Mitary service members may have been exposed to a variety of airborne hazards or contaminants resulting in one or more of these presumptive conditions and potentially other related medical conditions while on active duty in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War from September 19, 2001 to present, or the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990 to present.

During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office are available to answer questions about existing VA benefits claims and how to file a new one.

“We have such a diverse population outside of the metropolitan areas of the state; we need to work even harder to reach those who are in our rural areas and those unable to reach us by other means,” said Quillin.  

For more information about VA’s benefits, go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call 800-827-1000.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T LET A LEMON LEAVE A SOUR TASTE
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is reminding Arkansans the benefits of the Arkansas Lemon Law and how it provides a safety net for some buyers whose vehicles have recurring problems. A motor vehicle less than two years old, or with less than 24,000 miles, is covered under the Arkansas Lemon Law. Any recurring problem, including defects that impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle, could trigger this protection. Generally, when a new vehicle experiences the same issue or defect after a specified number of repair attempts, Arkansas consumers may have the right to a refund or replacement of the vehicle through the Lemon Law dispute resolution process.

“Buying a new car is one of the biggest purchases a person makes and it is important the vehicle is not a dud,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important to know about our Lemon Law and how to file a claim, even without hiring an attorney. My office publishes ‘A Consumer’s Guide to the Arkansas Lemon Law’ to help Arkansans who believe they may have purchased a lemon.”

Any consumer who buys, leases or licenses a new motor vehicle in the State of Arkansas is covered by the Lemon Law during the term of the manufacturer’s warranty for up to two years after the original delivery date of the vehicle, or for the first 24,000 miles, whichever is longer. If the vehicle is transferred to someone else during this period, that owner or person leasing the vehicle is also covered under the Lemon Law.

The Attorney General offered the following tips to consumers who notice nonconformities after purchasing a new vehicle:
Read “A Consumer’s Guide to the Arkansas Lemon Law” that the car dealer provides at the time of purchase. If you need a second copy, you can obtain one from the Attorney General’s Office or by clicking here.
Follow the steps outlined in the Consumer Guide to report problems to the dealer or manufacturer immediately and take your vehicle to the dealer for evaluation.
Keep repair receipts and a complete record of contacts with the dealer and manufacturer and visits to repair shops.
Use the form letters in the Consumer Guide to send a “demand letter” to the manufacturer, along with a copy to the Independent Dispute Settlement Program.

The Arkansas Lemon Law does not cover mopeds, motorcycles, the living quarters of motor homes or most vehicles weighing more than 14,000 pounds. The law also does not cover vehicles that have been substantially altered after its initial sale from the dealer.

For more information on consumer-related topics, visit ArkansasAG.gov, email Consumer@ArkansasAG.gov, or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.

SIX ARKANSAS TEACHERS SELECTED AS FINALISTS FOR NATIONAL AWARDS IN MATH, SCIENCE TEACHING  
LITTLE ROCK — Six Arkansas teachers were recently selected as 2021 state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

On behalf of The White House, the National Science Foundation oversees the program that recognizes outstanding science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers who have demonstrated a commitment to professional development, innovative teaching techniques, and technology use in their classrooms.

Forty-seven Arkansas teachers were nominated, and the following educators were selected as state finalists.

Math Finalists:
Jay Bly, DeWitt High School, DeWitt School District
Wes Davis, Cabot High School, Cabot School District
Diana Taylor, Rison High School, Cleveland County School District

Science Finalists:
Patrycja Krakowiak, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
Marc Reif, Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville School District
Jeffrey Rice, Southside High School, Fort Smith School District

“I am extremely proud of these six educators for being named state finalists for this national honor,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. “These educators represent the best of the best in their fields, and because of their excellence in the classroom, their students will be prepared for the future. Congratulations!”

A national committee of scientists, mathematicians, and educators will next review the applications and recommend up to 108 teachers to receive PAEMST awards. Winners are chosen from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. territories, and schools operated in the United States and overseas by the Department of Defense Education Activity. Teachers who are selected as national PAEMST awardees each receive a $10,000 award, a presidential citation, and a trip to Washington, DC, for a series of recognition events, professional development activities, and an awards ceremony.

The 2022 application cycle is now open. The deadline to apply is January 7, 2022. To learn more about the awards program, go to https://www.paemst.org
 

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OF ARKANSAS DISPATCH SECOND WAVE OF CREWS TO LOUISIANA
Little Rock, Ark. — Sept. 15, 2021 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are dispatching 181 line workers and utility vehicles, along with construction and right-of-way equipment, to assist South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association (SLECA) of Houma, La. in continued power restoration efforts.

Two weeks ago, the cooperatives sent 209 line crews that have worked 16-hour days for the past 14 days. The Arkansas crews are part of an 1,100 linemen team at SLECA. SLECA estimates that approximately 75-80 percent of its 21,000 members have service due to the efforts of the crews. At the height of the outages, more than 94 percent of its members were without electrical service.

The second phase crews include line workers from Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock, C&L Electric Cooperative of Star City, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro, Farmers Electric Cooperative of Newport, Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton, South Central Arkansas Electric of Arkadelphia, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana and Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City. The crews will provide construction, repair and right-of-way assistance.
 

UAMS TO HOST ANNUAL DRIVE-THRU HEALTH FAIR IN EL DORADO
LITTLE ROCK — The South Arkansas Center on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will host its annual ‘Head 2 Toe’ drive-thru health fair on Sept. 23 for senior adults.

The health fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the Champagnolle Landing Senior Center, 910 Champagnolle Road, in El Dorado. Participants will remain in their vehicle as they move through the health fair line and visit with vendors.  CDC guidelines will be followed including social distancing and facemasks.

Flu shots and blood pressure checks will be available, in addition to educational handouts and giveaways. Registration is not required, but participants will need to bring their identification and insurance card to receive a flu shot.

For more information, please call 870-881-8969 or email jaturner2@uams.edu.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOSTS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON SEPTEMBER 23
Call 501-370-3829 to make an appointment to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.

 WHAT:   Virtual Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans
 WHO:     During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist them with specific questions regarding VA benefits claims.
 WHEN:   Thursday, September 23, 4 - 6 p.m.
 HOW:     To schedule a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, September 22, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

 BACKGROUND: 
“Even though we have all been affected by the pandemic, we still have a mission to serve the Veterans in the state of Arkansas,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “It is our responsibility to provide these services to our Veterans who answered the call of our nation and protected the freedom of our country.”

VA Regional Offices provide financial and other forms of assistance to veterans and their dependents. This includes disability compensation, survivor’s benefits, pension and fiduciary service, education and training, vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance, life insurance coverage, and home loans guaranties.

VA recently added three presumptive disability conditions related to toxic exposure: asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. Military service members may have been exposed to a variety of airborne hazards or contaminants resulting in one or more of these presumptive conditions and potentially other related medical conditions while on active duty in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War from September 19, 2001 to present, or the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990 to present.

During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office are available to answer questions about existing VA benefits claims and how to file a new one.

“We have such a diverse population outside of the metropolitan areas of the state; we need to work even harder to reach those who are in our rural areas and those unable to reach us by other means,” said Quillin.  

 For more information about VA’s benefits, go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call 800-827-1000.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T LET A LEMON LEAVE A SOUR TASTE
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is reminding Arkansans the benefits of the Arkansas Lemon Law and how it provides a safety net for some buyers whose vehicles have recurring problems. A motor vehicle less than two years old, or with less than 24,000 miles, is covered under the Arkansas Lemon Law. Any recurring problem, including defects that impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle, could trigger this protection. Generally, when a new vehicle experiences the same issue or defect after a specified number of repair attempts, Arkansas consumers may have the right to a refund or replacement of the vehicle through the Lemon Law dispute resolution process.

“Buying a new car is one of the biggest purchases a person makes and it is important the vehicle is not a dud,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important to know about our Lemon Law and how to file a claim, even without hiring an attorney. My office publishes ‘A Consumer’s Guide to the Arkansas Lemon Law’ to help Arkansans who believe they may have purchased a lemon.”

Any consumer who buys, leases or licenses a new motor vehicle in the State of Arkansas is covered by the Lemon Law during the term of the manufacturer’s warranty for up to two years after the original delivery date of the vehicle, or for the first 24,000 miles, whichever is longer. If the vehicle is transferred to someone else during this period, that owner or person leasing the vehicle is also covered under the Lemon Law.

The Attorney General offered the following tips to consumers who notice nonconformities after purchasing a new vehicle:

Read “A Consumer’s Guide to the Arkansas Lemon Law” that the car dealer provides at the time of purchase. If you need a second copy, you can obtain one from the Attorney General’s Office or by clicking here.

Follow the steps outlined in the Consumer Guide to report problems to the dealer or manufacturer immediately and take your vehicle to the dealer for evaluation.

Keep repair receipts and a complete record of contacts with the dealer and manufacturer and visits to repair shops.

Use the form letters in the Consumer Guide to send a “demand letter” to the manufacturer, along with a copy to the Independent Dispute Settlement Program.

The Arkansas Lemon Law does not cover mopeds, motorcycles, the living quarters of motor homes or most vehicles weighing more than 14,000 pounds. The law also does not cover vehicles that have been substantially altered after its initial sale from the dealer.

For more information on consumer-related topics, visit ArkansasAG.gov, email Consumer@ArkansasAG.gov, or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.

 

SIX ARKANSAS TEACHERS SELECTED AS FINALISTS FOR NATIONAL AWARDS IN MATH, SCIENCE TEACHING  
LITTLE ROCK — Six Arkansas teachers were recently selected as 2021 state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

On behalf of The White House, the National Science Foundation oversees the program that recognizes outstanding science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers who have demonstrated a commitment to professional development, innovative teaching techniques, and technology use in their classrooms.

Forty-seven Arkansas teachers were nominated, and the following educators were selected as state finalists.

Math Finalists:
Jay Bly, DeWitt High School, DeWitt School District
Wes Davis, Cabot High School, Cabot School District
Diana Taylor, Rison High School, Cleveland County School District

Science Finalists:
Patrycja Krakowiak, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
Marc Reif, Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville School District
Jeffrey Rice, Southside High School, Fort Smith School District

“I am extremely proud of these six educators for being named state finalists for this national honor,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. “These educators represent the best of the best in their fields, and because of their excellence in the classroom, their students will be prepared for the future. Congratulations!”

A national committee of scientists, mathematicians, and educators will next review the applications and recommend up to 108 teachers to receive PAEMST awards. Winners are chosen from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. territories, and schools operated in the United States and overseas by the Department of Defense Education Activity. Teachers who are selected as national PAEMST awardees each receive a $10,000 award, a presidential citation, and a trip to Washington, DC, for a series of recognition events, professional development activities, and an awards ceremony.

The 2022 application cycle is now open. The deadline to apply is January 7, 2022. To learn more about the awards program, go to https://www.paemst.org

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OF ARKANSAS DISPATCH SECOND WAVE OF CREWS TO LOUISIANA
Little Rock, Ark. — Sept. 15, 2021 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are dispatching 181 line workers and utility vehicles, along with construction and right-of-way equipment, to assist South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association (SLECA) of Houma, La. in continued power restoration efforts.

Two weeks ago, the cooperatives sent 209 line crews that have worked 16-hour days for the past 14 days. The Arkansas crews are part of an 1,100 linemen team at SLECA. SLECA estimates that approximately 75-80 percent of its 21,000 members have service due to the efforts of the crews. At the height of the outages, more than 94 percent of its members were without electrical service.

The second phase crews include line workers from Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock, C&L Electric Cooperative of Star City, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro, Farmers Electric Cooperative of Newport, Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton, South Central Arkansas Electric of Arkadelphia, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana and Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City. The crews will provide construction, repair and right-of-way assistance.

In addition to the crews and equipment, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. and ERMCO have shipped more than 7,000 transformers and truckloads of power line infrastructure materials to cooperatives and municipal electric systems that were devastated by Hurricane Ida.

In addition to the crews and equipment, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. and ERMCO have shipped more than 7,000 transformers and truckloads of power line infrastructure materials to cooperatives and municipal electric systems that were devastated by Hurricane Ida.

 

September 15, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session last night, Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order at promptly 7 pm.  The invocation was given by Rev. Mary Jo Taylor, Pastor at the Pleasant Ridge Assembly Of God Church located at 2880 Fairview  Road in Camden. The invocation was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk Donna Stewart call the roll. Aldermen Chris Aregood, Terry Smith, Marvin Moore, Joe Askew, L.E. Lindsey, James Bell, Cecil McDonald and William McCoy were all present.

The Minutes of the regular Meeting dated August 10, 2021 were presented in print. Motion made and seconded. There was no discussion. Passed unanimously.

The Financial Report for August 2021 Was presented in print. Motion made and seconded. There was no discussion. The Financial Report was accepted by unanimous vote.

During Audience participation the it was brought to the Council’s attention the some City Employees pay into an insurance company to cover costs like co-pays and prescriptions. It is a type of medical saving account. Going back to June of 2021, the insurance company has been denying benefits to City Employees who are paying in to the insurance plan. The company has not given satisfactory answers as to why they are denying claims. The City was already aware and a meeting with the Insurance Company was already schedule for Tuesday, September 15, 2021. The Mayor assured the employees that the problem will be resolved and an email will be sent out when the City gets an answer.

During the Mayor’s Report, Mayor Lott offered condolences to Alderman Askew on the loss of his brother. He also asked residents to please support local endeavors such as the County Fair and the Barn sale.


There was no old business.

The Council move on to new business beginning with Ordinance No. 08-21, an ordinance permitting an employee of the Camden Fire Department to be interested in contracts with the City of Camden, Arkansas.  Motion made to suspend the rules and second. Motion to spend was approved. Motion was then made and seconded to approve. Passes unanimously.

Resolution No. 53-21 is a resolution declaring a vehicle obsolete and authorizing it donation to the Two Bayou Fire Department. Motion made a seconded. Vehicle is down. Could be auctioned but would be better used at Two Bayou as they will come help City if needed. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 54-21 is a resolution confirming the appointment of Trent Walker to the Airport Commission; and for other purposes. Motion made and seconded No discussion. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 55-21 is a resolution confirming the appointment of Charles Gaston to the Airport Commission; and for other purposes. Motion made and seconded. No discussion. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 56-21 is a resolution confirming the appointment of Jason Fletcher to the Airport Commission; Motion made and seconded. No discussion. Passed unanimously.
and for other purposes.

Resolution No. 57-21 is a resolution adding Juneteenth as a holiday, amending Resolution 07-17 and the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual. Motion made and seconded. No discussion. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 58-21 is a resolution authorizing the Mayor to submit an application for ACEDP Grant Funds to the state of Arkansas. Motion made and seconded. Alderman Chris Are good asked if Resolution 58-21 tied to Resolution 59-21. Resolution 59-21 must be passed to get the grant in that the City wants to apply for in Resolution 58-21.  Camden already has a higher standard regarding excessive force. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 59-21 is a resolution establishing a policy prohibiting the use of excessive force by law enforcement agencies, within the applicant’s jurisdiction, against individuals engaged in non-violent civil rights demonstrations. Motion made and seconded. Current excessive use policy is much tougher than this particular policy. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 60-21 is a resolution amending the budget for 2021; and for other purposes. Motion made and seconded. Resolution passed unanimously.

In Other Business City it was brought to the Mayor’s attention that the City website is out of date and the Lights at Ivra Clark Park are blinking. The Mayor made note of both issues. The Mayor aske that the Council start working on the 2022 Budget. There will be special Budget Workshops on September 21st, October 5th and October 19th.

Meeting was adjourned. The next scheduled regular meeting is scheduled for October 11, 2021.
 

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON COVID-19 UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 14, 2021
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Tuesday he is against a broad federal mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccines for businesses across the United States.

In what was his 200th press conference since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hutchinson said he does not support the Biden Administration's announcement that it intends to require all employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that those employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Hutchinson said he recognizes the federal government's authority to mandate masks among federal employees and military personnel. However, the White House's recent announcement exceeds federal authority, Hutchinson explained.

Nevertheless, Hutchinson said the state continues to recommend Arkansans voluntary take the vaccine.

Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero then spoke to recommend the use of masks by school age children and the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies becoming increasingly available across the state. Those treatments are now available at approved pharmacies across the state. 

A list of where monoclonal antibodies are available can be found online at www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

In regard to Arkansas' COVID-19 figures, the Arkansas Department of Health reported more than 1,500 new cases on Tuesday for a cumulative total of just over 477,000 since the pandemic began. Active cases saw a sizable net decrease of 737 for a current total of 17,000 across the state. Over the same period deaths climbed by 36 for a total of 7,334 since the spring of 2020.

MusicFest on the Square is back!

MAIN STREET EL DORADO ANNOUNCES DETAILS ABOUT 33RD ANNUAL EVENT
EL DORADO, AR,— Main Street El Dorado (MSE) is putting the "Fest" in MusicFest, which returns Saturday, October 2, to Downtown El Dorado with more music, more attractions, food and more fun!

Following a year's hiatus due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, organizers promise that MusicFest XXXIII will offer something for everyone including new activities and popular favorites!

"We're so excited! It should be the 34th MusicFest but it's the 33rd. We had to cancel several events in 2020 because of COVID," said Beth Brumley, executive director of Main Street El Dorado. "We only did a few events last year. MusicFest is one we did not do so we're excited to bring it back. It's going to be everything that everyone has come to know and love about MusicFest on the Square," Brumley continued. "We have tons of fun stuff on the schedule."

Festival-goers are in for a family-friendly atmosphere with a dizzying array of activities, starting Sunday, September 26 with the Cole’s Jewelers Miss MusicFest Pageant and capping off October 2 with a 5K/10K run and walk, two stages of live music, food and arts-and-crafts vendors, a beer garden, games, KidsWorld and plenty of attractions including a rock-climbing wall, four-man bungee jumping, a zipline, mechanical bull, vertigo ride and laser tag and tons of inflatables.

Admission is free to MusicFest on the Square. Vendors, competitions and some attractions have fees.

New to MusicFest — and to MSE — the Pupp's BBQ Rib Cook-off! The cook-off is a part of the Grill Wars series that has been incorporated into other MSE events that are presented throughout the year. Each installment of Grill Wars features a different food and theme. "We're going to try our hand at ribs. This will be our first rib cook-off," Brumley said. "This will be Grill Wars for MusicFest. We encourage our locals to participate."

MusicFest headliners
MSE ramps up the variety offering an array of amazing local and regional acts to fill the two stages of music on the Square! Attendance to the shows on the Square is FREE! Performers include, Cody Cooke and the Bayou Outlaws, Trey Gauthreaux, Jacob Flores, Militia, Second Hand Jacket (formerly Soulpranos), Tunesmith, Brody McKinney, Erick Meadows, Carmelo Brown and Mason Halstead along with the El Dorado School District performing arts classes. The Murphy Arts District (MAD) takes on hosting the evening “headliners” that include country music star Frank Foster on Friday, October 1, and legendary rapper/actor Ice Cube, who will take the stage October 2. Both of these shows will begin at 7 p.m. in the First Financial Music Hall, 101 E. Locust. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 870-444-3007 or visit www.eldomad.com.

Registration for various festival events:
Cole’s Jewelers Miss MusicFest Pageant
September 26, 2 p.m., First Financial Music Hall.
The pageant is open to contestants, ages 0 - 18, who will compete in eight age divisions. Entry fee are $40 per child or $35 each for multiple contestants from one household. The optional, Outfit of Choice (OOC) portion of the pageant has a registration fee of $15 per contestant. Only music-themed outfits are allowed (genre, era, artist look-alike). Get creative and have fun with this part of the pageant! “Side awards” for Best Hair, Best Fashion and Best Personality will be judged during the OOC portion of the pageant ONLY. If you do not registered for OOC, you will not be eligible for the “side awards.”

Photogenic Award winners will be selected for each division. Registration fee for the photogenic competition is $5 per photo submitted.

A People's Choice award-winner will also be announced. Admission into the pageant is $5 per person over age 6. Each contestant will receive a pass for one person with a paid entry fee. The deadline to enter the Miss MusicFest Pageant is Monday, September 20 at the $40 price. The late registration fee is $60 per entry. Contestants may sign up from 10a.m. until 11 a.m. on the day of the pageant in the First Financial Music Hall.

Medical Center of South Arkansas-MusicFest 5K/10K Run and Walk
October 2, Downtown El Dorado.
Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the race starts at 7:35 a.m. at 214 N. Washington Avenue.

Early-bird registration is $25 until Friday, September 24 and includes a T-shirt! The registration fee increases to $35 from Saturday, September 25 until October 1. Day-of registration is $40 cash only.

T-shirts are not guaranteed for those registering after Thursday, September 16!

Winners will be named for first, second and third place in male and female categories and in each age division along with Male and Female 5/10K Over-all winners!

Pupp's BBQ Rib War
Saturday, October 2, Downtown El Dorado.
Contestants will vie for more than $4,000 in cash and other prizes, including a first-place prize of $1,500 cash and a trophy. Entry fee is $100 per team and $25 will get you in the pot for both “side awards” which is Best Team T-shirt and Best Music-Themed Cooking Area!

Rib samples will be available for a public-tasting. Tickets are $2 per sample (bone) and they will go on sale at noon, October 2, at the Chamber of Commerce Cook-off tent. Patrons will be able to go to any cook team they want with a purchased ticket to get the rib samples.

The deadline to sign up for the rib cook-off is noon, Monday, September 27!
Set-up cooking areas/pits from noon until 7 p.m. Friday, October 1 on Cleveland Avenue between Elm and Cedar streets. Cooking areas will be assigned on a first come, first served basis and grill teams need to check-in at the Cook-off tent located at the Chamber of Commerce, 111 W. Main before setting up. Check-in/final setup is scheduled for 7 a.m., October 2. A cooks' meeting will follow at 8 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce.

El Dorado Metals Cornhole Tournament
October 2, Main and Cleveland streets.
The entry fee is $50 per team. Download the SCOREHOLIO app in your app store to register!
Late registration is from 1-2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 2. Practice starts at 2 p.m. and tourney kicks off at 3 p.m. Prizes are $1,000 for first place, $500 for second and $250 for third.

For more information on the MusicFest on the Square activities, call the Main Street office at 870-862-4747 or visit www.mainstreeteldorado.org/musicfest-2021.

Schedule
The MusicFest schedule for Saturday, October 2 is:
7-8:00am:Check in and final Set-up for Pupp’s BBQ Rib War- 111 W Main/Cleveland-Chamber of Commerce
7:00am: MCSA 5/10K Late Registration 214 N Washington Ave.
7:35am: MCSA 5/10k Begins at 214 N Washington Ave.
9:00am: Information and T-Shirt Booth Opens-Location TBA MCSA 5/10K Awards on the Mac’s Tree Service Stage on Jefferson Craft and Food Vendors Open
10:00am: El Dorado Schools Perform on the Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage Kids World Opens – FREE ATTRACTIONS in the Mahony parking lot beside Merle Norman
11:00am: Attractions open around Elm/Washington Streets (Wristband is $20 for all access) or $5 each
12:00pm: Beer sales begin Public tasting tickets for Rib Cookoff go on sale at Chamber – 111 W. Main
1:00pm: El Dorado Metals Cornhole Tournament Registration by Main St. Antiques Carmelo Brown and Mason Halstead on Mac’s Tree Service Stage – Jefferson St.
1:15 pm: Musicfest Cole’s JewelersPageant Queens Recognition on Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage
1:30 pm: Jacob Flores – Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage
2:00 pm: El Dorado Metals Cornhole Tournament Practice
2:30-4pm:Rib Cookoff Public Tastings begin in Cook-Off area on Cleveland – ENDS AT 4:30 OR WHILE UPPLIES LAST- Must purchase tickets at the Cook-off tent at the Chamber first at 111 W Main $2 each
2:45pm: TuneSmith on Mac’s Tree Service Stage – Jefferson Street
3:00pm: El Dorado Metals Cornhole Tournament begins
3:15pm: Soulpranos on Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage
4:30pm: Rib War Awards on Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage Sponsored by Pupps BBQ Eric Meadows on Mac’s Tree Service Stage – Jefferson St.
5:00pm: Militia on the Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage
6:00pm: All Attractions and Kids World Close
6:15pm: Brody McKinny on Mac’s Tree Service Stage
6:45pm: Trey Gauthreaux on Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage
8:30pm: Cody Cooke and the Bayou Outlaws on Karl Malone Auto Group Main St. Stage

September 14, 2021

FLORIDA DENTIST PLEADS GUILTY IN PUBLIC CORRUPTION SCHEME INVOLVING FORMER ARKANSAS STATE SENATOR
FAYETTEVILLE - A Florida dentist, formerly of Arkansas, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud in a scheme with former Arkansas State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson that occurred between 2014 and 2016. 

U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the change of plea hearing, in which Benjamin Gray Burris, age 49, pleaded guilty to count one of an Indictment issued by a grand jury charging him with conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.  Burris was charged with additional counts of honest services wire fraud, but according to the terms of the plea agreement, those charges will be dismissed at sentencing.  

According to court documents, between February of 2014 through November of 2016, Burris was the owner of several orthodontic clinics and practiced as an orthodontist through Arkansas.  The scheme began when on February 27, 2014, Burris, State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson, and others met for a dinner at a Little Rock restaurant and discussed Burris’s legislative objectives and hiring Hutchinson as Burris’s corporate legal counsel.  Jeremy Hutchinson, who then represented state Senate District 33, comprised of portions of Pulaski and Saline County, Arkansas, stated that as part of any arrangement there needed to be “real legal work.”  In his plea agreement, Burris admitted that part of his intent in hiring Hutchinson was to enable Burris to influence and request official action from Hutchinson on legislative issues and other matters as the need arose.  Throughout the course of their arrangement, Burris’s legal entities paid Hutchinson Law Firm an approximate total of $157,500 at a rate of approximately $5,000 per month as a general retainer and Hutchinson was assigned legal work.

Specifically, Burris sent Hutchinson an email outlining Burris’s “Legislative Objectives” in late February of 2014 in which Burris stated that he wanted specialty restrictions on orthodontists removed.  On January 26, 2015, Hutchinson filed a shell bill in the Arkansas Senate entitled “An Act to Clarify the Laws Governing Dental Practice.”  Later on, April 6, 2015, Hutchinson filed a related Interim Study Proposal with the Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare, and Labor.  On September 22, 2015, Hutchinson filed another Interim Study Proposal (ISP-2015-154) on the subject.  This ISP, among other things, proposed to remove the specialist restriction for orthodontists.  According to text messages cited in Burris’s plea agreement, in 2016 Burris texted Hutchinson complaining about a lack of “ROI” also known as “return on investment” in his arrangement with Hutchinson and he requested specific updates on legislative matters.    ISP-2015-154 was eventually filed as House Bill 1250 on January 23, 2017, after Hutchinson claimed a belated conflict, in the 91st General Assembly of the State of Arkansas, passed, and was later signed into law on or about March 15, 2017. 

Burris sold his businesses and moved to Florida in the spring of 2017 and has not practiced in Arkansas since that time. 

“This conviction for a bribe payor is an important milestone for the people of the State of Arkansas in our lengthy public corruption investigation,” said Acting United States Attorney David Clay Fowlkes.  “While the bribery conduct of several members of the Arkansas Legislature is disgraceful, the only lasting disgrace would be in meeting these schemes with silence and toleration.  The exposure of the truth of this arrangement, from the bribe payor to the bribe recipient, brings honor to our people, our law enforcement, and our Court institutions.  They have all displayed great strength in exposing and opposing official corruption and are a credit to our nation of laws.  We are also indebted to the many witnesses who came forward to tell their stories.  The series of cases in our sprawling corruption investigations has required the coordination of not only this office, but also the Eastern District of Arkansas, the Western District of Missouri, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation.  We are grateful for their continued assistance.”  

“Our nation has a well-established process by which its citizens communicate with their elected officials, and this process can never include bribery or fraud,” said FBI Little Rock Special Agent in Charge James A. Dawson.  “When Mr. Burris attempted to illegally induce the alteration of laws to favor his own purposes, he trod directly upon the democratic institutions of our Republic.”

Burris’s sentencing is expected to take place in approximately four months.  Burris faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the crime for which he pled guilty, however, the plea agreement also states that if the Court wishes to sentence Burris to a sentence that is not a year and a day in federal prison, Burris will have the right to withdraw from the plea agreement.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI and the IRS are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Wulff, Allison Bragg and Stephanie Mazzanti are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website at www.pacer.gov.

 

OUACHITA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE DISPATCHES LINE CREWS TO LOUISIANA
Camden, Ark. — Sept. 14, 2021 — Ouachita Electric Cooperative has dispatched lineman, Al Ferguson, Chris Sims, Eric McGee, and Justin Horstkamp to assist South Louisiana Electric Cooperative (SLECA) of Houma, La., in restoring power outages that were caused by Hurricane Ida.

The Ouachita Electric crew will join more than 1,100 linemen that have restored service to about 70 percent of SLECA’s 22,000 members. The restoration process at SLECA has been ongoing since Sept. 1.

The Ouachita crews will work with crews from Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock, C&L Electric Cooperative of Star City, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Salem, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton, South Central Arkansas Electric of Arkadelphia, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana and Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 600,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.
 

SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS YOU
By Tonya Cater
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Arkansas
We take pride in having provided vital benefits and services to this great nation for 86 years.  America has a diverse population with a variety of needs.  To meet those diverse needs, we’ve created web pages that speak directly to groups of people who may need information about our programs and services.  These pages are easy to share with friends and family on social media.  Here are just a few resources that might help you or someone you love:

We proudly serve wounded warriors and veterans, who made sacrifices to preserve the freedoms Amerans treasure.  Many veterans do not know they might be eligible for disability benefits from Social Security.  Please share this page with them to make sure they get the benefits they deserve:  www.ssa.gov/people/veterans.

Social Security plays an important role in providing economic security for women.  Nearly 55 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women.  A woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live, on average, until about 87.  A 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until about 84.  With longer life expectancies than men, women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater risk of exhausting their sources of income. 

Women often have lower lifetime earnings than men, which usually means lower benefits.  Women need to plan early and wisely for retirement.  We’re here to help with valuable information.  Please share this page with someone who needs this information and may need help planning for their golden years:  www.ssa.gov/people/women.

Do you know someone who is just starting their career?  Now is the best time for them to start preparing for retirement.  Social Security benefit payments provide only a portion of retirement income.  Those starting their careers should begin saving early to have adequate income in retirement.  Please share this page with a young worker you know: www.ssa.gov/people/earlycareer.

These are just a few of the web pages tailored to specific groups’ needs.  You can check out our People Like Me home page at www.ssa.gov/people to see all of them.


DEREK A. DYSON NAMED PRESIDENT/CEO OF TODAY’S POWER, INC.
Little Rock, Ark. — Sept.14, 2021 — Derek A. Dyson has been named as president and chief executive officer of Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI) effective January 1, 2022. Mr. Dyson replaces Michael Henderson, who is retiring after leading the organization since its founding in 2014.

Mr. Dyson has many years’ experience in the energy and renewable resources development industry. As a shareholder in the law firm of Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke, P.C. in Washington, D.C., Mr. Dyson has extensive knowledge and understanding of working with electric cooperatives, as well as municipal and commercial clients with projects that have included solar, wind, ocean thermal energy conversion, biomass, and waste-to-energy generation projects, as well as broadband telephony.   

“We are very excited to welcome Mr. Dyson with his unique and vast range of experience as he leads TPI going forward,” said Rick Love, chairman of the TPI board of directors. “We commend Michael Henderson for the solid foundation established during his leadership here at TPI.” 

In addition to Mr. Dyson’s aforementioned career achievements, he is also a former federal government contracting officer with the Department of Navy’s Office of Special Projects and a law clerk with Office of Administrative Law Judges at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). During his tenure with the Department of Navy, Dyson served as the acting chief of acquisition and resource management for the White House Situation Support Staff and the National Security Council.

He holds a J.D. (with honors) from the Washington College of Law, American University; a Master’s in Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology; and a Bachelor’s in Arts from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech). 

About TPI
TPI, headquartered in North Little Rock, is wholly owned by Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI). AECI is a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by the 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives. Arkansas’ electric cooperatives collectively serve more than 600,000 members, or consumers, in 74 counties.

Today's Power, Inc. currently provides services in the renewable energy space, primarily offering power purchase agreements (PPAs) on utility scale solar photovoltaic and energy storage systems, while entering markets for electric vehicles and charging stations for all sizes and applications.
 

FORMER REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR EDDIE JOE WILLIAMS ANNOUNCES HIS CANDIDACY FOR ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE.
Cabot- Williams has held numerous positions of leadership at the local, state, and federal levels. He was appointed by President Donald J. Trump to serve in his administration to represent the White House on energy issues where he served 16 states, including Arkansas, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

 Williams was first elected to the AR State Senate in 2010 and was the first elected Republican Majority leader since reconstruction. He served as chairman of the Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs where he worked to make state government smaller and more efficient. He also served on the Governor’s Transformation Team to further efforts in working to reduce the size of state agencies. Williams has sponsored legislation that targets cost savings in state agencies and restructuring government departments to increase efficiency.

 On a more personal level, Williams led legislation to construct a monument on the lawn of the State Capitol honoring Gold Star families. Williams is a veteran of the Army and Air National Guard. He also spearheaded a program to bring Arkansas Prison Seminary to the AR prison system where inmates can work toward 4-year accredited degrees. Williams has served on several boards including Lonoke County Safe Haven, a domestic shelter; Cabot Parks and Recreation; Swamp Angels, a board to support retired ministers; Child Advocate Centers of Arkansas and numerous church boards.

Before election to the Senate, Williams was elected to three terms on the Cabot City Council and served as Mayor of Cabot from 2007 through 2010. He also worked for the Union Pacific Railroad for 40 years where he wore many hats, working his way up from laborer to Regional Director of Transportation.  He was born in Sheridan, Arkansas. He and his wife, DeLona, live in Cabot. Together they have 4 daughters: Tiffinie and Josh Taylor of Cabot, Bethany and Justin Hartz of Cabot, Amanda and Michael Glover of Jonesboro and Hannah and David Warren of Jonesboro. When Williams is not working, he enjoys wood working, church activities, hunting and spending time with his 11 grandchildren.

Williams has strong feelings about serving the people of Arkansas: “My commitment to you, the voter, is to make sure our elections are fair, honest and always transparent.  I promise when you walk into the Capitol, you will be greeted with a warm and welcoming smile, because we will be working for you, the owner of the Capitol.”
 

REGISTRATION OPEN FOR ARTS CONFERENCE
LITTLE ROCK -- The Arkansas Arts Council is pleased to present "ArtLinks 2021: Bouncing Forward," an online arts conference taking place on Oct. 6-7. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. Register online at https://bit.ly/2YI6N9x.

Keynote speaker, Ron Finley, on urban gardening using his "gardening is gangsta" philosophy
National Endowment of the Arts sponsored presentation "Our Town" on creative approaches to rebuild communities
The new Arts + Technology boot camps, newly created by Arkansans for the Arts and approved by the Arkansas Legislature
The impact of three of Arkansas's most vibrant festivals
Networking activities including yoga, poetry and visual arts

"October is National Arts and Humanities Month and we certainly applaud the work of our state's artists who enhance the quality of our lives through their art," said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. "The Arkansas Arts Council's ArtLinks conference is a good opportunity for us to reflect on the important economic impact the arts have on Arkansas heritage and Arkansas tourism." 

"As we look toward an uncertain 2022, ArtLinks will host conversations about how the state's arts community can use the lessons of pandemic hardship to strengthen our organizations, our practices, and help our creative economy to bounce forward," said Patrick Ralston, director of the Arkansas Arts Council.

For more information, visit arkansasarts.org or contact Cheri Leffew at cheri.leffew@arkansas.gov or call (501) 324-9767. 

 

PAPER PALOOZA IS SUBJECT FOR SAAC’S CORKS AND CANVAS
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces its time for another Corks and Canvas night!  Local artist Rhonda Hicks will lead the fun that night as she presents “Paper Palooza” on Thursday, September 16, from 6-9pm.

Get your friends together for a fun and memorable night trying something that might be “out of the box” for you.  Share some laughs, re-connect and re-charge.  And at the end of the night you’ll have a memento — a unique piece of art to remind you of a fabulous night out! From the seasoned artist to the newbie, these classes have something for everyone!  Snacks are provided during class and participants are invited to bring their beverage of choice.

Hicks will lead her class in collage making with torn papers and Mod Podge to hold everything together.  "I have been going through a bunch of art papers and working on getting all the pieces ready for this workshop."  She added, " If you'd like to bring a picture or photo of something for the focal point of your collage, please do so, but its not mandatory.  They'll be just as fun with using what i have." 

Class fee is $40.  For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the SAAC website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

September 13, 2021

STATEMENT FROM THE ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.)
Over the past 18 months, amid the COVID pandemic, my office has worked diligently to provide a safe environment for employees, legislators, and citizens who want to visit our State Capitol. Last week we saw, what I would consider being, massive federal overreach by the Biden administration in mandating vaccinations. This comes despite his statement in December that vaccines shouldn’t be mandated.

I am a strong believer in personal freedoms and that each individual has the right to their own health decisions. Therefore, I will not require Secretary of State employees to be vaccinated nor will I require proof of negative COVID tests. Citizens who wish to come to visit our beautiful State Capitol will also not be required to be vaccinated.

UNITED STATES FLAG AND ARKANSAS STATE FLAG HALF-STAFF NOTIFICATION: HENRY DONALD MITCHELL MEMORIAL DAY IN ARKANSAS
United States Air Force Pilot, Lieutenant Henry Donald Mitchell of Harmon, Arkansas, disappeared on July 8, 1944, while on a fighter sweep in Vienna, Austria. Lt. Mitchell was flying in the No. 2 position as the flight was engaged by enemy aircraft. Lt. Donald E. Wimmer, flight leader of Green Flight, observed enemy aircraft attacking from the rear and noticed Lt. Mitchell's P-38 aircraft had disappeared.

Lt. Mitchell's last known words were "Green Two, okay."

Through DNA analysis, Lt. Mitchell was identified and, after 77 years, will be brought home to rest.

In tribute to the memory of Lt. Henry Donald Mitchell, and as an expression of public sorrow, Governor Asa Hutchinson has directed the United States flag and the state flag of Arkansas to fly at half-staff from sunrise September 13, 2021, to sunset on September 14, 2021.

The State of Arkansas is honored to bring home Lt. Mitchell and to remember his life and service to this Nation.

COSL ANNOUNCES OUACHITA COUNTY TAX AUCTION RESULTS
(September 13, 2021) LITTLE ROCK – The recent auction of tax-delinquent properties in Ouachita County raised over $244bct,000, the Commissioner of State Lands announced.

The auction drew 38 bidders, who purchased 41 of the 85 available parcels for a total of $244,835.67 for county and state government.

The Land Commissioner’s office holds one auction in each county each year to return tax-delinquent land to active status. Since all 2020 public auctions were canceled due to the COVID pandemic, this year’s auctions offer properties that were scheduled for sale last year.

“Only a small percentage of property certified to our office goes to auction,” Commissioner Tommy Land said. “The vast majority of owners redeem their property by paying the delinquent taxes. Of course, we always prefer that property be redeemed, but it is vital that the parcels return to the county’s active tax rolls.”

The COSL office forwards taxes and interest to the county, whether that money is collected through redemption or sale.

“Last year, this office sent more than $17 million to school districts and county governments,” Land said. “Of that, $295,852.47 went to Ouachita County, helping fund everything from roads to schools.”

Property owners have 10 business days to redeem parcels that were sold at auction. This can be done online at www.cosl.org, using a credit or debit card, or owners can call 501-324-9422 to request a Petition to Redeem.

If a parcel is not redeemed within 10 business days of being auctioned, the COSL will issue a Limited Warranty Deed to the buyer.

Property that did not sell at the public auction will be available after 30 days and can be purchased through an online auction by viewing the Post-Auction Sales List at www.cosl.org.

SAAC TO HOST "FAMILY GAME AND HOT DOG NIGHT"
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites the community to its "Family Game and Hot Dog Night", in conjunction with the upcoming production of "Clue: On Stage". This fun and competitive family night playing "Clue" will be held on Saturday, September 18, from 4:00-7:00 pm. Get your friends and family together for an easy supper and good, family fun!

All "Clue" lovers will want to assemble for this night of twists and turns on the game board! Murder and blackmail--as well as hot dogs--are on the menu when the six mysterious guests assemble for a dinner party. Was it Mrs. Peacock in the Study with the Knife? Or, perhaps Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Wrench?

The directors for the play, Hannah Faith and Rhett Davis, will be in attendance to give newbies some tips and get in on a game or two. Game tables will be set up and safely spaced in the gallery. Kernel Mustard and his hot dog food cart will be taking orders for supper in the parking lot. Guests are welcome to stop by and purchase a custom dog, even if the board games aren't on your menu for the evening.

"Family Game Night is a chance for the community to come together and let their hair down," said Rhett. "We will be having a variety of games available, and our cast will largely be present to talk about their roles and the upcoming show. Kernel Mustard's Hotdog Cart, appropriately named, will be there providing a tasty dinner. And there will be a fun door prize for one lucky person who comes to play. Come join us for an outrageous fun time of board games, hot dogs and laughs!"

For more information about this family fun night, 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 SHARES SERVICE MEMORIES OF LITTLE ROCK WORLD WAR II VETERAN
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of World War II veteran and entrepreneur Harry Hastings, Jr. in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans. 

He was born in Little Rock on May 24, 1927 and continues to call the city home. Hastings was struck with grief at an early age when he experienced the loss of his older sister Marie, but this tragedy strengthened the lifelong bond he had with his dad.

“I was just a daddy’s boy and I was with him all of the time,” Hastings said. “He taught me everything I know.”

Following his father’s positive example, he achieved great success in his endeavors including military service, business and family.

As typical with young men of his age during the 1940s, Hastings served in the military. While a student at Catholic High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, the predecessor to the U.S. Air Force. “We had no choice. Either be drafted or join,” Hastings recalled. “I turned 18 on May 24, I graduated on June 1 and I went to Camp Chaffee in Fort Smith on June 20 and off to service.”

Hastings underwent basic training at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. While there, Japan surrendered and ended the war. He was sent to New York and shipped to Germany to replace American soldiers headed home.

Hastings was stationed in Munich where he oversaw Army supplies stored at a BMW plant. “I had the only keys other than the CO.” Hastings was able to put to use the skills he learned at the warehouse of his father’s liquor distribution business teaching fellow troops how to drive a forklift. “These guys would run into a post with the forklift,” Hasting said. “A German lady who was working as a secretary and keeping books would dive underneath the desk thinking it was a bomb going off.”

While avoiding seasickness on his return home, Hastings’s employed hijinks to convince others they might be failing ill. “We would go through the chow line and there’d be a guy up there ahead of us and we’d say ‘Hey you look bad right there. Are you getting sick? You know you really look bad. Maybe you need to go?’ So he would leave and we’d get his dessert,” he laughed.

Once he returned to Arkansas, Hastings took over his father’s real estate portfolio. He started building warehouses and recognized the local need for bolts and bearings which led him to launch the Arkansas Bolt Company.

Hastings’ strong entrepreneurial spirit became further evident when he applied for a bank charter for the First State Bank of Sherwood in 1964. The institution became Eagle Bank and Trust Company more than two decades later.

He enjoyed thrill-seeking for much of his life, including by racing boats and piloting airplanes. Hastings has been married to the love of his life, Rosalyn for 69 years. The couple has three children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The younger generations of the Hastings family continue to operate the family businesses.

“When I turned 65 I turned all the businesses over to the children and I said ‘If you can run them fine. I’m going to sell them before they go broke.’ They’re still running,” Hastings said proudly.

“I’m grateful for Harry’s service to our nation. We can be proud of his accomplishments in uniform and for all he has achieved in the business world. His hard work and ingenuity led to fruitful business ventures that continue to be successful and serve as an inspiration to entrepreneurs aiming to develop their own ideas and grow their enterprises. I’m pleased to help capture and preserve his memories,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Hastings’ 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.

September 10, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, City Hall is continuing to social distance and you are asked to wear your masks.

The Agenda is as follows:
A. Call To Order
B. INVOCATION – Rev. Mary Jo Taylor, Pastor – Pleasant Ridge Assembly Of God Church, 2880 Fairview  Road, Camden, Arkansas
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. Approval Of Minutes
     1. Minutes Of Special Called Meeting August 10, 2021
F. Acceptance Of Financial Report
     1. Financial Report For August 2021
G. Audience Participation
H. Mayor’s Report
I. Old Business
J. New Business
     1. Ordinance No. 08-21, an ordinance permitting an employee of the Camden Fire Department to be interested in contracts with the City of Camden, Arkansas. 
     2. Resolution No. 53-21, a resolution declaring a vehicle obsolete and authorizing it donation to the Two Bayou Fire Department.
     3.   Resolution No. 54-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Trent Walker to the Airport Commission; and for other purposes.
    4. Resolution No. 55-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Charles Gaston to the Airport Commission; and for other purposes.
     5. Resolution No. 56-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Jason Fletcher to the Airport Commission;
and for other purposes.
     6. Resolution No. 57-21, a resolution adding Juneteenth as a holiday, amending Resolution 07-17 and the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.
     7. Resolution No. 58-21, a resolution authorizing the Mayor to submit an application for ACEDP Grant Funds  to the state of Arkansas.
     8. Resolution No. 59-21, a resolution establishing a policy prohibiting the use of excessive force by law enforcement agencies, within the applicant’s jurisdiction, against individuals engaged in non-violent civil rights
demonstrations.
     9. Resolution No. 60-21, a resolution amending the budget for 2021; and for other purposes.
K. Other Business
L. Adjournment

SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH
North Little Rock, AR-September 10, 2021- Suicide does not discriminate, and to prevent it, neither can we. #BeThere.

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it provides us with an opportunity to rally around the common goal of preventing suicide in our communities. The issues that divide us have received national headlines, but the issues that lead to death by suicide are ones that we must all face equally. No one is immune from depression, PTSD, substance use disorder, illness, job loss, or any of the myriad risk factors that can lead someone to considering suicide. To help end this epidemic, we must put aside our preconceived assumptions and biases about suicide and the people who may be at risk.  

Help is available.
As a trusted local behavioral healthcare provider, our team at The BridgeWay is dedicated to changing the national narrative about suicide in a manner that promotes hope, resiliency, equality and recovery. Mental health services that utilize proven evidence-based treatments and support are available.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional crisis or thoughts of suicide, no-cost 24/7 confidential support and crisis resources are available from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: 
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or via Chat from www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Crisis Text Line – text HELLO to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor

Additional resources to utilize:
Trevor Lifeline, the only national 24/7 lifeline for LGBTQ youth: call 1-866-488-7386.
Veterans Crisis Line, for U.S. Military Veterans: call 1-800-273-8255, press 1.

Recent events demonstrate that no one is beyond the reach of mental health struggles. Olympic athletes, musicians and fashion designers are not immune, and neither are you, your friends or your family members.

It’s time that we stop assuming who is and is not at risk, as these assumptions can cause us to disregard warning signs. Just because someone seems to be doing well at their new job, we should not ignore the fact that they have stopped communicating with friends and pursuing their hobbies. Just because someone appears happy/content in their social media photos, let’s not ignore their increased substance use and social isolation.

A simple conversation can save a life.
It’s time to stop thinking certain people in our lives are above this epidemic, and time to start seeing everyone around us for what they are – humans. Humans with complex lives, potentially unknown traumas, and an equally important worth and value to the world. Stop assuming, and start asking, “Is everything ok?” A simple question and conversation can save a life. Effective treatments and compassionate and knowledgeable mental health professionals are ready and waiting to help.  

We all need to join together to educate ourselves, #BeThere for our loved ones, and take the suicide prevention fight beyond September and into our everyday lives.

WESTERMAN STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT BIDEN’S VACCINE MANDATE ON PRIVATE BUSINESSES 
WASHINGTON – Reacting to President Biden’s executive order mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for private businesses with over 100 employees, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) released the following statement: 

“This week, the Biden Administration and Democrat leaders in D.C. have illustrated misguided priorities, out-of-touch policies, and incompetency,” said Congressman Westerman. “They ignore the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and on our southern border. They ignore inflation and double-down on it by supporting $3.5 trillion in radical spending that will increase consumer prices and our national debt doing considerably more damage than good.

Instead of solving problems, this Administration pushes another ill-conceived, divisive executive action. Biden's vaccine edict on private businesses is just another example of government overreach in Americans’ lives and does nothing to combat vaccine hesitancy.”

BOOZMAN CALLS ON VA SECRETARY TO IMPROVE OVERSIGHT AT VA MEDICAL FACILITIES
WASHINGTON –– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee,
joined Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT), Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in urging Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough to address oversight failures at medical facilities across the country. 

Earlier this year, the VA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued damning reports detailing failures at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville and the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia that resulted in the deaths of veterans in these facilities. In Fayetteville, the OIG found the Path and Lab Service Chief misdiagnosed more than 3,000 patients over the course of many years, including 589 major diagnostic discrepancies. 

“We write to discuss oversight failures at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. In particular, we are concerned with the failures at the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia (Clarksburg), and the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Arkansas (Fayetteville) that resulted in significant harm and death of veterans in VA’s care. In both instances, facility leadership created cultural conditions that fostered mismanagement and a lack of accountability resulting in tragic outcomes. The Department must work to prevent future similar incidents from occurring, and we request more information about how VA intends to accomplish this objective,” the Senators wrote in a letter to the secretary.

“It is sacrosanct to VA’s mission that veterans trust the medical treatment they receive is high-quality and the people treating them meet all relevant ethical and professional standards required by their field. VA must be proactive in identifying issues with staff as they arise, monitor the quality of care at all levels, and continue to advance a culture of safety at all facilities,” the Senators continued.

Under Boozman’s leadership as then-Chairman of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, he included language in legislation that required the VA Secretary to submit a departmental response plan to Congress. The provision is now being implemented at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks and for all future cases of clinical disclosures to prevent similar incidents.

Last month, Boozman, Tester and Manchin introduced the Srengthening Oversight for Veterans Act to provide the VA OIG with the authority to subpoena testimony from former VA employees who have left federal service, former contractor personnel who performed work for the Department, or other potentially relevant individuals during the course of its inspections, reviews and investigations.

September 09, 2021

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES MILITARY MEDICAL TEAM TO ASSIST IN COVID 19 CASES
A military medical team will soon arrive in Arkansas to help respond to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and the strain it has put on the state's medical facilities, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on Wednesday.

During a press conference held yesterday afternoon, Hutchinson said the 20-member team will include 14 nurses, four physicians and two respiratory therapists. The military team will be based from the UAMS hospital in Little Rock.

Hutchinson then gave an update on the state's effort to streamline rental assistance for Arkansans with mounting back rent. He said part of that effort includes prioritizing applications received from those currently facing eviction. In addition, tenants can now receive assistance even if their landlord has not completed their part of the rental assistance application.

In terms of Arkansas' COVID-19 figures, the state reported nearly 2,200 new cases on Wednesday along with 34 additional deaths. Hospitalizations did see a slight decline, falling by 19 to 1,209 currently. Nearly 500 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care units as of Wednesday, leaving just 23 ICU beds across the state.

ARREST IN OVERNIGHT I-55 SHOOTING INCIDENT
SEPTEMBER 8, 2021
A 63-year-old Byhalia, Mississippi man has been arrested by Arkansas State Police after shooting a gun at a motorist traveling Interstate 55 near the Arkansas – Tennessee border last night (Tuesday, September 7th).

Gerald Koelling is currently jailed at West Memphis and is expected to be charged with committing a terroristic act (Class B felony).

George Harris, 29, of Jonesboro, was not injured, however Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division did find evidence of a bullet that penetrated the rear of Harris’ vehicle.

Both drivers, Harris and Koelling, were northbound on I-55 about 9:30 PM when the shooting occurred.  Koelling was later stopped by an Arkansas State Trooper near the Poinsett and Crittenden County line and taken into custody.

COTTON STATEMENT ON AFGHAN GREEN CARDS, BENEFITS
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement on the Biden administration’s proposed short-term funding resolution that would grant green cards and other benefits to Afghans without regard for the normal screening and approval process.

“Joe Biden left behind thousands in Afghanistan who already have American citizenship, green cards, or pending visas, but now he wants to award unlimited green cards to people who didn’t serve alongside our troops and who may even threaten our safety and health—all while exempting them from the normal refugee screening process. This proposal is just another chapter in Biden’s rolling fiasco of an Afghanistan policy.”

Background
The Biden administration's unprecedented proposal allows any Afghans who come to the United States over at least the next year to obtain green cards, backdated to the day they entered the country, without completing the normal refugee screening or approval process. 

The proposal would give better benefits and less stringent screening to completely unknown Afghans than to our Afghan allies and interpreters. 

The proposal specifies that none of these Afghans will be counted against the normal annual refugee caps, despite that each of them would also be able to access all refugee benefits and services. 

The only screening required under the proposal is whatever screening Secretary Mayorkas deems sufficient. The proposal also gives Secretary Mayorkas explicit authority to waive any grounds of inadmissibility (including criminal records or ties to terrorism) if he feels it is useful for "humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when it is otherwise in the public interest."
 

COTTON STATEMENT ON CHIPMAN NOMINATION WITHDRAWAL
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement regarding President Biden’s decision to withdraw David Chipman’s nomination to serve as the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF):

“David Chipman is an erratic, anti-gun radical who planned to outlaw nearly every single sporting rifle in America. He is wholly unfit to run the ATF, and I’m glad to see President Biden has withdrawn his nomination.”

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this year, Senator Cotton questioned Mr. Chipman about his calls for an assault weapon ban, revealing his intention to outlaw the large majority of modern sporting rifles.

September 08, 2021

DON’T MISS SOUTH ARKANSAS’ LARGEST ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW. THE CAMDEN BARN SALE
Camden, Arkansas - Experience the appeal of Southern Living at South Arkansas’ Largest Arts & Crafts Show, the Camden Barn Sale, Saturday, September 25th, from 9am-4:30pm, now in its NEW LOCATION at the Historic COLEMAN STADIUM in Camden, AR. (302 Center Street, Camden, AR. 71701)

The Camden Barn Sale has grown into one of Arkansas’ major tourist attractions. Join thousands from all around the region to shop handcrafted southern favorites as you browse over 130 booths of vendors and artists from all over the US featuring traditional crafts and contemporary styles. Now moving to it’s new home, the spacious historic Coleman sports stadium provides the perfect venue to support the growth of over 50 years in the Camden Barn Sale’s history. With this larger venue to shop, expect to find even more handcrafted wooden pieces, ceramics, paintings, floral arrangements, handmade clothing, jewelry, stained glass, one-of-a-kind toys, and much more. Shop till your heart's content while browsing the crafts and original handmade works of art.

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

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: FOOTBALL SEASON EXCITEMENT MEANS SCAMMERS SEE OPPORTUNITY TO SCORE
LITTLE ROCK – This fall, Arkansans will once again have the opportunity to enjoy live football games at all of our great in-state institutions. However, Arkansans looking to buy tickets, should be leery of scammers. Unfortunately, scam artists will try to take advantage of fans by selling them tickets that are fake, duplicates or non-existing. They may use high-pressure-sales tactics to rush innocent Arkansans into buying tickets using deals that seem unbeatable and many times are. Sports fans should be spending their time cheering on their favorite teams – not calling penalties on scammers.

“Arkansans couldn’t be more excited to get back into the stadiums to watch live football, a cherished tradition,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Whether you support the Razorbacks, Red Wolves, Bears or Boll Weevils, everyone deserves to cheer for their favorite team without worry of scammers trying to take advantage of their wallets.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following tips to help Arkansans protect themselves when looking to buy game tickets during the upcoming football season.

Research the seller or broker with the Better Business Bureau and ensure it is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.
A legitimate ticket broker will offer a refund policy. Only buy tickets from a reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction.
Always use a credit card to make a ticket purchase because credit card laws provide buyers with some recourse if the tickets are fraudulent.
Check the seats ahead of time. Ask for section, row and seat numbers to avoid obstructed views and purchasing tickets that do not exist.
Stick with well-known ticket sellers who offer guarantees and policies that protect buyers and have the ability to investigate and restrict accounts of merchants who violate the policies.
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Refuse to be rushed. Scam artists often try to hurry prospective buyers into making a decision.

Consumers who think they may have purchased a counterfeit ticket can contact the National Association of Ticket Brokers at 630-510-4594 or the Arkansas Attorney General’s Public Protection Department.

For more information on how to avoid scams and other consumer-related topics, visit ArkansasAG.gov, email Consumer@ArkansasAG.gov, or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.

TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN ANNOUNCES 70% JUMP IN ASSETS OF ARKANSAS ABLE PLAN
In eight months, assets for savings plan for disability expenses grow exponentially
Little Rock, Ark. – Assets for the Arkansas Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Plan have jumped 70% since January, reaching a milestone of $2.5 million, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan announced today.

The Arkansas ABLE Plan, which Milligan’s office administers, offers individuals with disabilities an affordable way to save for disability-related expenses on a tax-deferred basis, without affecting their eligibility for income-based benefits. 

“Shortly after I took office in 2015, I worked with Rep. Julie Mayberry to create the ABLE program as a savings tool for people with disabilities,” Milligan said. “Since we built and launched the plan in October of 2018, we’ve seen tremendous growth, which just affirms the need for this type of plan in Arkansas.”

Individuals can use an Arkansas ABLE account for expenses such as education, housing, transportation, legal fees, assistive technology, employment training and so much more.

Not only has Milligan grown the program substantially, but he has worked with the legislature over the years to provide several benefits for Arkansans in order to make the program more attractive. Those include:
Creating an individual state tax deduction of $5,000 for people who contribute to an Arkansas ABLE Plan
Allowing an individual who is able to put in more than the $5,000 yearly maximum to carry forward the tax deduction over the upcoming four years
Providing protection for beneficiaries of ABLE account holders that prohibits entities from seeking payment from an ABLE account upon the beneficiary’s death
Allowing accounts to be transferred to an estate or another eligible individual upon the beneficiary’s death
Allowing payroll deductions for state employees to contribute to an Arkansas ABLE account

“Living with a disability is a life-altering challenge like no other. It’s made more complicated when you add in the financial ramifications, especially when determining eligibility for means-tested benefits such as Medicaid, SSDI, SNAP or TANF,” Milligan said. “Not being able to save more than $2,000 is a financial burden.” (Milligan is referring to Social Security Disability Insurance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.)

“Our hope with the Arkansas ABLE Plan is that we can empower families of people with disabilities to live more fulfilling and rewarding lives,” Milligan said.

For more information about the Arkansas Achieving a Better Life Experience Plan, people may visit https://savewithable.com/ar/home.html or call (501) 682-1406.

September 07, 2021

OUACHITA COUNTY FAIR GEARING UP FOR 2021 CELEBRATION OF “FARM FRESH, HOMEMADE AND HOME GROWN”, SEPTEMBER 15-18 IN CAMDEN, AR.
Camden AR - The 2021 Ouachita County Fair will kick off 4 days of fun on Sept. 15-18 at the Ouachita County Recreational Center (Former Boys & Girls Club Facility) 2708 Mt Holly Rd. Camden, AR 71701.

This September join us at the Ouachita County Recreational Center to support the youth of our community who are involved in 4-H and FFA programs. We will have all the things you love and expect from our county fair. Cows. Chickens. Goats. Hogs. Cotton Candy and Funnel Cakes. Plus there will be exhibits showcasing all our local talent, everything from preserved fruits and vegetables, baked items, hand crafted quilts, crafts, photography, and much, much more.

Back this year will be our Carnival! Armbands for the Carnival will be on sale at Ken’s Discount Hardware and Farmer’s Bank Main Branch in Downtown Camden. The Ouachita County Fair Board will also be at First Friday Monthly Market on September 3rd selling armbands. Discount pricing on armbands is $15.00. Once the fair opens armbands will only be sold at the fair for $20.00 Armbands do not include gate admission price.

Gate admission is $5.00 for adults and children 4 years of age and up.

Whatever your interests, the Ouachita County Fair has something that’s sure to excite your imagination, tickle your taste buds, or spark your imagination.

COST:
Admission – $5.00
Parking – Free!

EVENTS & ACTIVITIES SCHEDULE:
MONDAY & TUESDAY
5pm – 8pm Enter creative arts @ Shaddock Gym

WEDNESDAY
9:00am Poultry & Rabbits
6:00pm Sheep & Goat Show
Carnival Rides - $5.00 Admission

THURSDAY
6:00p.m Beef & Swine Show
Carnival Rides - $5.00 Admission

FRIDAY
11:30am Premium Sale Lunch (served in to-go trays)
12:00pm Premium Sale
Carnival Rides - $5.00 Admission

SATURDAY,
Free admission: 10:00 am till 12:00 (Noon) with a petting zoo
Carnival Rides - $5.00 Admission

TROOPERS TO UTILIZE NEW LOW-PROFILE PATROLS TARGETING AGGRESSIVE & DISTRACTED DRIVERS
SEPTEMBER 7, 2021
A dangerous and escalating trend in the number of aggressive driving violations on the state’s highways has Arkansas State Troopers turning to an improved tool to curb the deadly threats.

Twenty-five new low-profile highway patrol vehicles have been acquired by the Arkansas State Police to bolster the attack against incidents of aggressive and distracted driving.  The black Chevrolet Tahoes are partially marked with the state police insignia visible only from the passenger side, but fully equipped to conduct traffic stops.

“Putting state troopers in non-conventional patrol vehicles to blend unnoticed in traffic is nothing new; we’ve been doing it more than 20 years,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.  “What’s new today is the use of a taller vehicle platform like the Tahoe that will offer troopers an improved visual perspective to detect drivers violating distracted driving laws or spotting a vehicle being driven in an aggressive manner that threatens other motorist’s safety.”

During calendar year 2020 there were 641 Arkansas deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes, a 27% increase over the previous year.  The number of highway crash deaths has already surpassed 400 this year.

Colonel Bryant testified before a General Assembly sub-committee earlier this summer that Arkansas has not escaped a national epidemic of lawlessness on the nation’s highways.  He told the legislators, “. . . law abiding Arkansas motorists are finding themselves confronted with new threats on the highways and more frequently than ever before.”

Last year Arkansas troopers stopped 2,030 drivers who were traveling at 100 miles per hour, or faster, an increase of more than 100 percent from 2019 among violators exceeding the 100 miles per hour speed.

The three-digit speed violations in 2021 have already surpassed all last year with troopers issuing 2,381 tickets to violators between January – June this year for speeds between 100 – 160 miles per hour.

Cumulatively this year (*January - August) state troopers have issued 52,593 citations for various speeding and dangerous or aggressive driving type violations.

The anomaly of faster speeding violations has been compounded by a brazen spike in incidences of drivers refusing to stop when state troopers attempt to initiate traffic stops.

Over the past five years troopers in Arkansas have documented a 98 percent increase in pursuits involving drivers who choose to flee rather than pull-over for the initial violation.  In the metropolitan Little Rock/Central Arkansas area pursuits are up 170 percent since 2016.

Colonel Bryant told legislators, “When a driver makes the conscious choice to flee from law enforcement they increase their speed, drive erratically, weave in and out of traffic, passing other vehicles on the highway shoulder; they’re putting innocent lives at risk for no reason other than they refuse stop for the initial traffic violation.”

The danger on Arkansas highways is not just limited to speeding violations and aggressive driving but also incidents of gunfire directed at vehicles and occupants.  The state police Criminal Investigation Division has 21 open cases currently under investigation with at least two of the cases involving the deaths of three individuals.

Distracted driving violations continue to pose a danger for motorists on state highways with troopers already issuing more than 800 violator citations this year.

Using a phone or other device to send text messages or post social media comments while driving is one of the leading causes of distracted driving and is a violation of Arkansas law.

Statistically, teenage drivers are the most common violators, but middle age adults aren’t far behind,” commented Major Forrest Marks, commander of the state police Highway Patrol Division, Western Region.

Troopers assigned to the low-profile patrols will additionally be watching for drivers who illegally use the left lane of a multi-lane highway.  Arkansas law was amended this year to prohibit drivers from using the left lane of a multi-lane highway except when passing other traffic.  Presently troopers are issuing warnings to violators while drivers acclimate themselves to the change.  In the coming days troopers will transition to strict enforcement of the new law and begin issuing violator citations.

“Every highway patrol troop will have the low profile marked Tahoes and we hope the use of the special patrol vehicles throughout the state will be a deterrent to the growing threat caused by drivers who choose to ignore the law and safety of others”, said Major Jason Aaron, commander of the Highway Patrol Division, Eastern Region.  “If a trooper can stop just one of these dangerous drivers before killing an innocent motorist, the new tool we have in our patrol fleet will have been worth it."

The recognizable white sedan with blue stripes and state police markings will continue to be the mainstay of the ASP highway patrol fleet with aerial observation from two aircraft flying in support over the highways.

The low-profile vehicles will be assigned to each of the twelve highway patrol troops across the state.  The new low profile patrol vehicles and law enforcement equipment installed in the vehicles were purchased with federal grant money totaling $1.15 million provided by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

 

GREAT ARKANSAS CLEAN UP
Good Clean Fun
Are you signed up? The Great Arkansas Cleanup is "good clean fun" for the whole family, neighborhood, Scout troop, church group, business team, and well, just about anyone with a heart willing to spend an afternoon picking up trash from Arkansas communities. Cleanup crews can be large groups or, if you're concerned about social distancing, small.

Registration is now open for the Great Arkansas Cleanup!

Keep Arkansas Beautiful proudly promotes two annual cleanups – the Great American Cleanup and the Great Arkansas Cleanup. Our goal is to turn the entire state "green", by sponsoring a cleanup in every single county in Arkansas! Take the Go Green Challenge and register a cleanup event in your county!

Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup takes place each spring from March through May and is the nation’s largest community improvement effort. Thousands of Arkansas volunteers clean up and beautify their communities before the tourism and vacation seasons begin.

The Great Arkansas Cleanup takes place each fall from September through October. Thousands of Arkansans remove tons of trash from our state’s roadways, shorelines, parks, and public areas during this statewide community improvement campaign. All are welcome. Sign up today!

Visit https://keeparkansasbeautiful.com/get-involved/cleanups/ to learn more or to sign up.

CHRIS BEQUETTE ANNOUNCES 2022 CAMPAIGN FOR ARKANSAS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
Says, “As a business owner and lifelong Conservative, I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch Arkansas Republicans continue to govern like the Democrats who controlled State Government for 140-years.”
LITTLE ROCK - Chris Bequette, lifelong Republican not a lifelong politician, issued the following statement:

“It is with great honor that I announce my candidacy for Lieutenant Governor and launch a movement to finally put Arkansas on the path to the true Liberty, Safety and Prosperity that all Arkansans deserve. Too many milquetoast Republicans have failed to fulfill the mandate voters gave them 8-10 years ago. A mandate for a Republican Party version of State Government that's smaller and limited, that cuts wasteful spending, abolishes the State income tax and cracks down on crime. Only then will we finally deliver on issues that matter most to Arkansans.”

“For example, since taking control of the legislature after the 2012 elections, Republicans have increased State Government spending by 25% when they should have focused on cutting a bloated and overgrown, kudzu-like State Government by 25% – or more. In 2014, when a Republican supermajority and our current constitutional officers were voted into office, they should have abolished the immoral State income tax Democrats imposed in 1929. Only recently have they finally given lip service to this idea.”

“Today, State Government remains as if Democrats still govern, and the list of examples is long. Republicans have neglected to address the massive violent crime surge, failing to overhaul and strengthen a soft-on-crime criminal justice system. As a former prosecutor and the only candidate in this race with law enforcement experience, I stand ready to protect our State. Like Democrats, Republicans have let Illegal Aliens, too many committing heinous crimes, clog up State services, costing taxpayers over $450 million a year. Arkansas Republicans inherited Arkansas Works from Democrats and have continued funding the program, costing taxpayers nearly a quarter of a billion dollars a year. We need a Republican K-12 education system where parents have the sole right to choose which school receives the money to educate their child. Our public higher education system remains a bloated Democrat version that continues to skyrocket in cost, churn out too many graduates with worthless degees, saddle them with oppressive student loan debt, while ignoring the infestation of Leftist and Marxist administrators and faculty who indoctrinate Arkansas’ sons and daughters.”

“To be sure, putting in place a real Republican version of State Government demands that elected leaders use their political capital rather than hiding behind easy-to-pass or photo-op legislation. It requires politicians to courageously fight and go to the mat for citizens in tough, controversial and contentious fights. The prize will be well worth the effort because when we finally implement winning Republican policies, Liberty, Safety and Prosperity will be unleashed for all Arkansans.”

September 02, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE DEPARTMENT TO GIVE ENTRANCE EXAM FOR CITY POLICE
The City of Camden is looking for City Police Officers. The Civil Service Commission will conduct entry-level examinations Saturday, October 2nd at 8:00 am at the Camden City Police Department, #1 Police Drive in Camden. Applications will be accepted until, Friday September 24th. Competitive salary plus excellent benefits package. Applications and qualifications available at the Police Department online at www.camden-police.com. Visit Camden Police Department on Facebook. Call 836-5755, for more information. The City of Camden is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

SAAC HOSTS OPENING RECEPTION HONORING BETH HUBBERT
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites you to an opening reception honoring Sherman, Texas, acrylics artist Beth Hubbert on Saturday, September 4, 6-7:30pm. Her exhibit entitled "Adventure and Escape: Real and Imagined" will hang in the Lobby Gallery September 4-28.

Hubbert said about her SAAC show, "My mother, Betty Pittman Harper, was born and raised in El Dorado, so returning to SAAC is special to me. My exhibit contains paintings that are cheerful and hopeful with my goal being to provide a moment of escape for the viewer."

Hubbert paints from a place of happiness. This exhibit for SAAC decidedly avoids dark and dreary paintings, after more than a year of living in a pandemic. Instead, her use of vibrant, non-conforming color results in paintings that are cheerful and hopeful, and thus, the tile of the exhibit: "Adventure and Escape: Real and Imagined". Numerous paintings in the exhibit include bold depictions of places she has traveled around the world. Some of the work is simply something she saw along the way, such as chickens in Mexico or flowers spotted while driving country roads. The goal of this exhibit is to cause the viewer to smile and reflect on good times.

Enthused by bright colors, Hubbert responds to the happiness they create. The riotous colors in her paintings are extremely eye catching, and on closer inspection they reveal thick impasto textures. Her creations are inspired by her experiences and vary from expansive landscape vistas to abstracts and sometimes are as intimate as whimsical birds and flowers. Taking art lessons in elementary school led Hubbert to a desire to learn more about art in college, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing from the University of North Texas. She later returned to college to become certified as an all level art educator, enabling her to share the passion for creative learning with young people in public and private art education for 27 years before retiring from teaching. Currently, she focuses her creativity on completing paintings for art shows and exhibitions. Some of her works can be seen at bethhubbertart.com.

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 Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. 

 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES DEMAND ANSWERS ABOUT AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and 25 of his senate colleagues today sent a letter to President Joe Biden demanding information regarding the humanitarian crisis created by his withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan. Specifically, the letter requests information on Americans and allies who were left behind, and on the vetting process for evacuees who are being brought to the United States.

In part, the senators wrote, “The signatories of this letter may have differing opinions about whether the United States should have maintained a military presence in Afghanistan, but we all agree that the arbitrary and poorly-planned method by which you withdrew from Afghanistan caused this crisis.”

“We request thorough, unclassified answers to these questions that can be made available to the general public. Americans need to see that the United States will not abandon them to terrorists abroad forever,” the senators continued.

Senator Cotton was joined on the letter by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), John Thune (R-North Dakota), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).

Text of the letter may be found below.
September 2, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Biden:

We write regarding the humanitarian crisis created by your withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan, and the safety and well-being of our fellow countrymen and allies who you left behind. The signatories of this letter may have differing opinions about whether the United States should have maintained a military presence in Afghanistan, but we all agree that the arbitrary and poorly-planned method by which you withdrew from Afghanistan caused this crisis.

You say that more than 123,000 individuals have been evacuated from Afghanistan in recent weeks (nearly half of whom were evacuated by groups or countries other than the United States), but only an estimated 5,500 “self-identified” American citizens (4.5% of the total evacuees) were evacuated or left on their own. Further, while it does not appear that you have released exact numbers of our Afghan partners who were evacuated, your administration has publicly confirmed that fewer than 50% of evacuated Afghans were Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants or their families.

Our immediate priority is the safety and well-being of American citizens, permanent residents, and allies who were left behind in Afghanistan. We are also concerned by reports that ineligible individuals, including Afghans with ties to terrorist organizations or serious, violent criminals, were evacuated alongside innocent refugee families. We request that you provide answers to the following questions no later than 5:00PM on Tuesday, September 7:

How many American citizens does the administration believe to remain in Afghanistan?

Of the American citizens still in Afghanistan, how many are currently in contact with the State Department?

Of the American citizens still in Afghanistan, how many have expressed a desire to be repatriated to the United States?

How did the administration reach this estimate, and what steps is the administration taking to find and connect with Americans who may still be in Afghanistan but who are not in contact with the State Department?

How many green-card holders does the administration believe to remain in Afghanistan?

Of the green-card holders still in Afghanistan, how many are currently in contact with the State Department?

Of the green card holders still in Afghanistan, how many have expressed a desire to be repatriated to the United States?

How did the administration reach this estimate, and what efforts is the administration taking to find and connect with green-card holders who may still be in Afghanistan but who are not in contact with the State Department?

How many Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants remain in Afghanistan?

Of the SIVs remaining in Afghanistan, how many have already received final SIV approval from the U.S. Center for Immigration Services?

Of the SIVs remaining in Afghanistan, how many are currently in contact with the State Department?

Of the approved SIVs and the SIV applicants who were evacuated, how many served for a year or more as interpreters or translators for American or allied armed forces in Afghanistan?

Are the State Department and USCIS still processing pending SIV applications? What steps are being taken to ensure that pending applicants are safe from Taliban reprisals as their applications are adjudicated?

According to your administration, more than 50% of evacuated Afghans were not SIV applicants or their families, including vulnerable Afghans such as women and girls at high risk for Taliban reprisals. Of the more than 57,000 Afghans who are not American citizens, green-card holders, or SIV applicants or their families, how many had no pending immigration application or status with the United States prior to being airlifted?

By what criteria did your administration select these individuals for the airlift while leaving American citizens, green-card holders, and SIV applicants and their families behind?

How many evacuees, in total, are Afghans who are not American citizens, green-card holders, or SIV applicants or their families? Please also provide a breakdown of how many of these individuals are adult men, adult women, girls, or boys.

What steps did your administration take to verify the identities of these individuals before evacuation?

What steps are your administration taking to ensure that individuals are thoroughly vetted and their identities verified before entering the United States?

Who is responsible for vetting these evacuated individuals before they reach the United States?

Is the administration checking for potential criminal records and national-security concerns before admitting individuals to the United States?

There are reports that a convicted rapist—who had previously served a prison sentence in the United States before being deported—was flown to the national capital region as part of this airlift operation.  Was that individual vetted before being flown to the United States? If so, was his criminal record found and ignored, or was it not found in the first place?

How many other individuals have been allowed to enter the United States as part of this evacuation before undergoing vetting and background checks?

We request thorough, unclassified answers to these questions that can be made available to the general public. Americans need to see that the United States will not abandon them to terrorists abroad forever. If your answers implicate classified material, you may also submit a classified appendix to your answers and coordinate with us to provide a classified briefing.

We look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

September 01, 2021

OUACHITA COUNTY TO RECOGNIZE VETERANS AND PATRIOTS
Ouachita Judge Robbie McAdoo has designated September as “Veteran’s and Patriot’s Awareness & Appreciation Month” and is seeking names and information of veterans of Ouachita County to celebrate this event.  Information to be obtained includes name, town of residence, branch of service, rank, countries served in, conflict served, years served and medals and awards.   Submit names to Veterans Affairs Officer Jim Bob Davis at 870-837-2216 or to the County Judge’s Office at 870-837-2210, ext. 1.  

As a result of the pandemic but assuring that our veterans continue to be recognized, this year’s program will consist of drawings for gift certificates to local restaurants.  Four $25 gift certificates will be randomly drawn and given to veterans every day for the month of September.  Announcement of winners will be given to the Camden News, Radio Works and will be posted on the Ouachita County Veteran Services Facebook page.  Those who are selected can pick up the gift certificates at the Ouachita County Courthouse Monday-Friday from 8:30 am until 4 pm at the west elevator entrance of the building. 

The Veteran’s Appreciation Committee consists of County Judge Robbie McAdoo, Veterans Affairs Officer Jim Bob Davis, Amy Hughes (Administrative Assistant Ouachita County) Josh Steed (Pit Stop Quick Lube/Deluxe Barber Shop), Beth Osteen (Camden Area Chamber of Commerce), Tony Anthony (Shoppers Guide), Hurley McMoran (Cullendale First Baptist Church), Dotty Harris (Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development) and Huck Plyler (Huck’s Military Care Packages).

According to the Veterans Administration Office of Actuary there are currently 1,820 veterans in Ouachita County.  During this month, local businesses are encouraged to offer discounts to veterans to show their support.

Contacts:
Robbie McAdoo
Ouachita County Judge
870-837-2210, ext. 1
judge@ouachitacounty.org                                                                              

Jim B. Davis
County Veterans Service Officer
870-837-2210, ext. 1
jimdavis@ouachitacounty.org

Beth OsteenCamden Area Chamber of Commerce                                                     
870-818-9453
bosteen@camdenareachamberofcommerce.org

Josh Steed
870-818-0279                                                     
joshsteed1980@gmail.com              

SOUTHERN ARKANSAS UNIVERSITY TECH ANNOUNCES RIBBON CUTTING
Camden, AR (08/30/2021) — Southern Arkansas University is proud to announce the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Arkansas Fire Training Academy's new residential hall. The event is on September 10, 2021, at 10:00 am on the Arkansas Fire Training Academy grounds in Camden, Arkansas. The guest speaker for the event is Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. The press is welcome to attend.

Arkansas Fire Training Academy,
14668 AR 203 Hwy, Camden, AR 71701

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON WEEKLY COVID UPDATE – AUGUST 31, 2021
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he is challenging state officials to do more to help Arkansas residents struggling to meet their rent because of financial struggles due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Hutchinson said the state has so far provided around $7 million in rental assistance to Arkansas residents. In all the program has assisted less than 3,000 people out of the 13,700 applicants received by the Department of Human Services. The program has a total of $173 million in rental assistance. Hutchinson said he is challenging DHS to streamline the process to ensure more applicants are approved and funds are disbursed in a quicker manner.

Hutchison also took a moment to recognize Marine SSGT Taylor Hoover of Arkansas. Hoover was one of the 13 U.S. servicemembers killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan last Thursday. Hutchinson also announced the Arkansas National Guard was deploying members to assist in hurricane-ravaged parts of the Gulf Coast.

As far as the vaccination effort in Arkansas, an additional 8,000 Arkansans were fully immunized over the past 24 hours. In total more than 1.2 million Arkansans are now fully vaccinated against the virus. Hutchinson again stressed the vaccine's benefits, including the reduced chance for severe COVID-19 complications and hospitalization. 

The Arkansas Department of Health reported over 2,600 new cases of COVID-19 across the state on Tuesday. That raises the state's cumulative total of COVID-19 transmissions to more than 453,000 since the pandemic began. Deaths increased by 22 over the previous 24-hour period for a total of 6,934. The active caseload saw a slight decline but, at a current total of more than 22,000, remains at one of the highest levels recorded since COVID-19 first entered Arkansas.

The one bright spot in Tuesday's report was hospitalizations, which declined by 45 to leave 1,212 Arkansans still hospitalized due to the virus. 

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: CHARITIES SEEKING TO HELP THEMSELVES INSTEAD OF THOSE IN NEED
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansans have some of the most generous hearts when they see a neighbor or a fellow American struggling. From the devastating loss of our U.S. Troops in Kabul, to the hurricanes and wildfires devastating other states and the never-ending pandemic, Americans have always willingly faced and overcome these challenges. As Arkansans look for charities to support others near and far, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wants to remind everyone it is important to be vigilant and do their homework when donating to a charity for the first time.

“Arkansas is just one big small town and the fantastic people of our state have a giving spirit, especially when it comes to our men and women in uniform,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “It is my job to ensure generous Arkansans are not taken advantage of by con artists looking to make a quick buck on tragedies.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help consumers ensure an organization’s legitimacy before giving money:

Ask questions before giving. Only give when comfortable that the donation will support a trustworthy organization or activity. Refuse high-pressure appeals. Legitimate charities will not rush a donation.

Ask for written information or research the organization online. A legitimate charity will send information that provides the organization’s mission and how the donation will be used, along with proof that the contribution is tax deductible.

Call the charity directly before giving a donation to ensure it is not a scam.

Do not send cash. For security and tax records, make donations by check or credit card.

Search the Arkansas Charities Database for more information on charities in Arkansas, including those benefiting service members and their families.

The FTC has released a video to highlight tips on how to research charities on giving wisely to veterans organizations as well as information to avoid charity scams.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer related issues, please visit ArkansasAG.gov, email consumer@arkansasag.gov or call the Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982.

ADE LAUNCHES SOCIAL MEDIA AWARENESS CAMPAIGN (SMACTALK)
LITTLE ROCK — From networking with students across the country and the world to connecting with teachers and fellow students to discuss assignments and projects, education today involves more than just using books, paper, and pencils. With the growth of technology over recent years, students now regularly connect with others using computers, the internet, and social media.

While these tools bring a wealth of opportunities for learning, they also bring hazards and pitfalls if not used properly and professionally. To help students, educators, and parents navigate the world of social media in a safe and productive manner, the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education is launching its Social Media Awareness Campaign (SMACtalk) for the 2021-2022 school year.

“When we first launched SMACtalk last year, our goal was to share helpful tips and resources for safely using social media and the internet,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “The campaign, however, grew beyond what we expected, largely due to the overwhelming positive reception from educators, parents, and students. We are excited to expand the campaign this school year and will provide new resources, opportunities for involvement, and a heightened awareness to this issue.”

The campaign will focus on online etiquette and developing healthy virtual relationships, how to properly vet information received online, privacy protection tips and suggestions, avoiding online dangers, and knowing when to “unplug” from social media. Resources will provide awareness and encourage ongoing communication between teachers, students, and parents.

To kick off the campaign, DESE is releasing a new music video from Mr. Steve, The Music Man this afternoon. Every school that shares the Facebook post featuring the video by September 17 will be entered into a drawing to win a free concert by Mr. Steve at their school.

Additional resources this year will include a parent blog that features a first-person perspective about internet safety; posters, videos, articles, activities, and links to websites for schools and districts to share; new teacher podcasts; new videos featuring students’ perspectives; and links to games and other resources.

New campaign content will be released at the beginning of October and will continue throughout the school year. Be sure to visit the campaign at SMACtalk.info or follow ADE on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for notifications as new content becomes available.

CHICOT COUNTY REMAINS IDENTIFIED; ASP WORKING WITH LOUISIANA AUTHORITIES
AUGUST 31, 2021
A decomposed body recovered in Chicot County by Arkansas State Police last week (*Saturday, August 28th) has been identified.

The body of Shenita Hicks, 32, of Lake Providence, Louisiana was found south of Lake Village alongside U.S. Highway 65.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have been in contact today with deputies of the East Carroll Parish Sheriff’s Department as the investigation continues to determine where Hicks’ death occurred as well as the manner and cause of death.

August 31, 2021

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OF ARKANSAS DISPATCH 188 LINE CREWS TO LOUISIANA
Little Rock, Ark. — Aug. 31, 2021 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are dispatching 188 line workers and utility vehicles, along with construction and right-of-way equipment, to assist South Louisiana Electric Cooperative of Houma, La., as they work to restore power outages that were caused by Hurricane Ida.

The Louisiana cooperative reports that 94 percent of its 19,000 members are currently without electrical service.

Crews from Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock, C&L Electric Cooperative of Star City, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Salem, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton, South Central Arkansas Electric of Arkadelphia, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana and Woodruff Electric Cooperative of Forrest City will provide construction, repair and right-of-way assistance.

In addition to the crews and equipment, AECI will ship a substantial amount of power line infrastructure materials to cooperatives and municipal electric systems that were devastated by Hurricane Ida.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative

OUACHITA COUNTY OFFICES LABOR DAY SCHEDULE
Monday September 6, 2021, the Ouachita County Courthouse and the Extension office will be closed on that day for Labor Day.
The Sanitation Department will run on regular schedule. They will not observe the Holiday.

CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET RETURNS SEPTEMBER 3RD TO DOWNTOWN CAMDEN
“Off to the Fair” will be the theme for the First Friday Market on September 3rd in downtown Camden from 6 PM to 9 PM.

As everyone is preparing to move into fall and looking forward to the local fair we wanted to bring those elements into the market for everyone to experience. The Ouachita County Fair Board will be on hand selling armbands for the carnival rides which will be back at this year’s fair. They will also have a petting zoo for the children to enjoy. This will be located on the Farmer’s Bank Parking Lot along with a mechanical cow for the children to “milk”. The local Boys Scouts will be at the market with their inflatable BB Gun range for everyone to take their target practice.

Stop by Hollis Evans Floral to visit with this month’s featured author, Nyla Clemons. Nyla is a 9th grade student at Bearden. Her book “Cloaked in Flames” is currently selling on Amazon.

Regional favorite, Brody McKinney, will be the featured musician at this month’s market. Come out and bring your lawn chairs to sit a while and enjoy the music. Also during the musical breaks you can see a dancing demonstration from Trinity Grace Dance Studio dancers.

Everyone can get your shopping in with a vast array of vendors set up along Washington St and Adams Ave selling everything from wood workings, clothing, jewelry and more. Special nonprofit groups and local organizations will be throughout the market where you can learn bicycle safety, shoot some basketball and grab some bottled water and more! You will find jellies, jams, baked goods and even homemade pasta at this month’s market! Enjoy the special food vendors set up throughout the market with everything from BBQ, street tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes and iced coffee drinks.

You will especially want to see a very special vendor at the September market, Miss Arkansas Whitney Williams. Stop by chat and see what she has for sale.

For everyone loving competitions What’s Cookin’ will be hosting a corn hole tournament outside their restaurant, registration will be inside Hollis Evans. Native Dog Brewing will also have The Kilt with ax throwing happening on Madison Ave.

Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR this Friday, September 3rd from 6PM – 9PM.

Come stroll, shop, nibble, browse and chat through downtown Camden… See you there!

AT THE CARNIVAL WITH THE HUB
The Hub will host “At the Carnival”, September 25, 2021 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. The Family Fun event will be held at 125 Madison Avenue SE in Camden. There will be games prizes, hot dogs, sno cones, cotton candy, nachos, caramel apples and more. This is a Fundraiser for The Hub’s Back Pack Program.

SEE YOURSELF A WINNER AT THE VIRTUAL 2021 SOUTHERN SILKS STAKES
Methodist Family Health’s Signature Fundraiser is FREE to Attend, Available Online at Facebook and YouTube
LITTLE ROCK, AR (Sept. 1, 2021) – COVID-19 can’t keep us hitched. This year, Methodist Family Health is taking our 8th annual signature fundraiser online – again! – so you can stay safe, healthy, and still help the Arkansas children and families in our care. Tune in at 6 p.m. at Methodist Family Health’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/methodistfamilyhealth) and YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHfqX9gQHx2ZLts6_46mm4w), on Saturday, September 18. The 2021 Southern Silks Stakes is available for any Arkansan to tune in, bid on and have fun - for FREE - in comfort from anywhere they have a desktop, laptop, tablet, smart tv or smart phone.

This year’s short video will include a welcome from event co-chairs, Becka and Brian Webb, gratitude to sponsors, highlights of auction items and a special appeal for Methodist Family Health’s Compassion Fund. The online auction opens at 8 a.m. on Thursday, September 16 and closes at 8 p.m. Saturday, September 18. For details on how to bid, a list of event sponsors, our special appeal and more, visit https://www.methodistfamily.org/southern-silks.html.

The 2021 Southern Silks Stakes, benefiting Methodist Family Health, is presented by Gill Ragon Owen Attorneys. For more information, contact Jamie Griffith, Methodist Family Health Foundation’s project manager, at JGriffith@MethodistFamily.org or 501-906-4209.

About Methodist Family Health
Founded in 1899 as the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage, Methodist Family Health’s mission is to provide the best possible care to those who may need our help. A statewide continuum of care, Methodist Family Health each year serves thousands of Arkansas children and their families who are abandoned, abused, neglected and struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues. Methodist Family Health has locations throughout the state, including the Methodist Behavioral Hospital in Maumelle, psychiatric residential treatment centers, therapeutic group homes, a day treatment program, counseling clinics, school-based counseling clinics, a grief center for children and their families, and the Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES).

SAAC HOSTS "AN HOUR FOR THE ARTS" FALL LECTURE SERIES WITH GAY BECHTELHEIMER 
Artist and educator Gay Bechtelheimer will return to the SAAC stage with a fall series of "An Hour for the Arts" lectures, planned to focus on "people's choice" topics, all suggested by guests at the spring lectures. Lectures will be held on September 9, October 14, and November 11, all at 6:00 p.m.

September's talk, sponsored by Melinda and Michael Verdesca, will focus on the work and impact of artist Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secessionists.

"When we asked attendees at the previous lectures about artists whose work they were interested in learning more about, Klimt was the name that came up most often," says Bechtelheimer. "I was very familiar with his paintings, but when I began deeper research, I was surprised to discover how controversial and provocative much of his other work-and his life-really was."

Klimt's work, including his "golden phase" paintings "The Kiss" and "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I," is some of the most recognizable art in the world. However, he was often the subject of controversy, beginning with commissioned public art in his native Vienna. Klimt was a founding member of the Vienna Secession, which aimed to provide exposure for unconventional young artists and to bring the work of foreign artists to Vienna, without declaring support for any particular artistic style. Until his death in 1918 as a result of the worldwide influenza epidemic, Klimt continued to push boundaries and work prolifically.

After his death, Klimt's paintings have brought some of the highest prices recorded at auction, including "Adele Bloch-Bauer II," which sold for $150 million in 2016. In addition, they are some of the most recognizable works associated with the recovery and restitution of artwork stolen from Jewish families by the Nazis.
October's "An Hour for the Arts" is sponsored by Cherie and Rudy Bright, and will cover the work of John Singer Sargent. In November, Bechtelheimer will explore the world of Pop Art, sponsored by Mary Pat and Aubra Anthony. Each event will begin with a reception at 6:00 p.m. in the galleries, followed by a multimedia presentation in the theater, and reservations are required to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.

For more information or to RSVP, visit www.saac-arts.com or call 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

HUMAN REMAINS FOUND ON CHICOT COUNTY ROADSIDE
AUGUST 28, 2021
Arkansas State Police Special Agents are investigating the discovery of a person’s body found earlier today (Saturday) alongside U.S. Highway 65 near the Arkansas and Louisiana border.

Agents were unable to determine whether the remains were those of a man or woman.  The body was in an extended state of decomposition and is being transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for purposes of identification and to determine the manner and cause of death.

Meanwhile agents have begun contacting state and local law enforcement agencies in the area to inquire about missing person reports.  The investigation is continuing.

ICYMI: BOOZMAN TOUTS DUCK STAMP’S BENEFITS FOR DUCKS UNLIMITED
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC), celebrated the Natural State’s rich outdoor recreation legacy and praised the effectiveness of the Federal Duck Stamp in preserving waterfowl populations in a piece for Ducks Unlimited (DU).

Boozman, who this week embarked on his annual Ag Tour across Arkansas, highlighted the state’s reputation as a world-class duck hunting destination and the MBCC’s work to conserve duck and other waterfowl habitat on millions of acres nationwide.

“As a member of the MBCC, I’m proud to be a voice for the preservation of wetlands and play a leading role to enhance federal efforts to maintain and strengthen waterfowl habitat,” Boozman wrote. “In Arkansas, sales from the Duck Stamp have resulted in expanded access to hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

The full piece, which ran on DU’s blog, can be viewed here and below.

Sen. Boozman: The Duck Stamp Delivers Improved Wildlife Habitat
The Natural State is well-known for its beautiful rivers, majestic mountains and incredible wildlife. Arkansans have long celebrated and utilized these resources in a variety of ways. The abundance of natural treasures is one of the many reasons people are drawn to the state for recreation opportunities. We are particularly proud of the world-class duck hunting that attracts sportsmen and women from around the globe.

As a destination for duck hunters, Arkansas has a vested interest in ensuring it maintains the critical habitat that ducks and other waterfowl flock to including the flooded fields that abound in the nation’s top rice-producing state and the iconic bottomland hardwoods where hunters can enjoy ample opportunities to hit their limit. As the nation’s top producer of rice, when these fields are flooded at the end of the season, they make a great habitat for migrating ducks and an ideal location for hunters to bag some ducks.

This pastime is a major economic driver for the state, so farmers and citizens from across Arkansas are committed to maintaining an environment that supports waterfowl and draws hunters back each season. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission estimates that hunting contributes nearly $1 million to the state’s economy daily during duck season. According to a U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis study, the economic impact of hunting nationwide is more than $110 billion.

In addition to the investments outdoor recreation enthusiasts make in our communities, they also prove exceedingly willing to help expand conservation efforts on public lands. Sportsmen have consistently been responsible leaders in the stewardship of our resources and understand the importance of protecting wildlife habitat so they can continue to enjoy the hobby that brings them much satisfaction and instills in them an intense pride. One valuable tool to support the recreation activities of duck hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts, is, of course, the Duck Stamp.

Since 1934, sportsmen have been required to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp to hunt migratory birds. This initiative has been wildly successful – generating approximately $25 million annually. That money is deposited into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund and supports enhanced conservation efforts. The good news is that 98 cents of every dollar raised by the sale of the Duck Stamp is used to preserve waterfowl populations.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC) has used these funds to support conservation of duck and other waterfowl habitat on millions of acres nationwide. As a member of the MBCC, I’m proud to be a voice for the preservation of wetlands and play a leading role to enhance federal efforts to maintain and strengthen waterfowl habitat. In Arkansas, sales from the Duck Stamp have resulted in expanded access to hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

In the duck hunting capital of the world, outdoor recreation enthusiasts are looking to leaders at all levels of government to join in this effort to preserve waterfowl habitat so our state can continue to be a destination for hunters. The Duck Stamp has increased and improved these opportunities, which is why I will continue to advocate for this initiative at the federal level to strengthen migratory bird habitat.

As we’ve seen in the past year, COVID-19 has compelled countless Americans to reconnect with the outdoors. A recent study from the Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports found that hunting license sales were up in all regions of the country last year making it even more necessary for us to ensure the great outdoors are protected today and for future generations of Americans to enjoy. The Duck Stamp is one way outdoor recreation enthusiasts are leaving their mark on strengthening wildlife habitat and making sure we can pass down this time-honored tradition to our kids and grandkids.

August 27, 2021

SAAC MAKES OPEN AUDITION CALL FOR "CLUE: ON STAGE"
Calling all Sleuths! The South Arkansas Arts Center announces an open audition call for "Clue: On Stage" held promptly at 7pm on both on Monday, August 30 and Tuesday, August 31. The SAAC lobby will open at 6:30pm prior to the beginning of auditions, so arrive in time to fill out an audition form and to get a head shot. Everyone MUST be age 18 or older. The production, sponsored by Sarah and Jeff Teague and Southern Bancorp, is scheduled for October 22-31.

Please bring your calendar and provide a complete list of rehearsal conflicts. The director will provide scene readings that will be used at auditions. No advance preparation is necessary, but it is recommended to review the readings before auditions. Script copies are available at the SAAC office and may be checked out for a period of 48 hours for reading. Auditioners are encouraged to read the script before auditions. Expect cold reading from the script at callbacks. This is a very active show with lots of physical action and quick scene changes, as would be expected with a murder mystery. At callbacks on Wednesday, September 1 everyone should expect exercises in stage movement and, for the most physically active characters, some stage combat training. These will be closed auditions. Everyone will be asked to wait in the lobby or gallery until needed in the theater. Please bring your mask with you to auditions.

Roles available in this production are for 6 men & 5 women. This show also requires an ensemble cast that works as a team, so expect to be in close physical contact with fellow cast members. Characters included in the cast are Wadsworth, a traditional British butler, witty and sarcastic; Yvette, a sexy, French Maid; Miss Scarlett, a sultry, savvy, and "been around the block" type; Mrs. Peacock, a neurotic, motor mouth; Mrs. White, aloof, mysterious and secretive and Colonel Mustard, a dense, dumb man who is easily angered. Also in the cast are Professor Plum, an arrogant academic; Mr. Green, who is awkward and clumsy; the cook/singing telegram girl/auxiliary Scarlet/backup cop (must be willing to sing); Mr. Boddy /the motorist/Chief of Police and the unexpected cop/backup cop/auxiliary Mustard.

Don't forget to join the production staff at PJ's Coffee downtown in The Spot on Saturday, August 28 from 12:00-5:30 pm for "Coffee and Clue" Board Game Day. The production staff will have "Clue" game boards set up for a fun afternoon of board game play. Directors Hannah Faith and Rhett Davis are experienced board game players and will be on hand to get you started. Bring your family or friends as well as your competitive streak! Also be sure to enter your name in the drawing for a family movie and game night gift basket give away. Anyone interested in auditioning for the production is welcome to drop in for a chat with the directors or the production team. Audition material will also be on hand for anyone interested in auditioning. The "Clue" fun continues at 6:00 pm on Jefferson Street for a Live Clue Game before the Showdown performance.

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

LETTERS OF INTENT FOR GRANTS BEING ACCEPTED
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) is opening their Letter of Intent (LOI) phase for Courthouse Restoration Grants and Historic Preservation Restoration Grants (HPRG). LOIs should be delivered between Sept. 13 and Nov. 16 using the online grant portal at arkansasheritage.com.

Courthouse Restoration Grants are open to historic county courthouses for maintenance and repairs in return for façade easements. The grants come from the Real Estate Transfer Tax administered by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. Annually the AHPP distributes between $150,000 and $1 million in grants in the Courthouse Restoration category.
There are three options available to those seeking HPRG and all three are explained at https://www.arkansasheritage.com/arkansas-preservation/about/available-grants. It is important to note that all properties considered for the HPRG grant should be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the Arkansas Register and some options require a cash match percentage.

Applicants submitting a LOI may receive project development, on-site visit and technical services regarding preservation practices and material to prepare the final application. 
 
The grant application deadlines are Jan. 28 for Courthouse Restoration and March 3 for HPRG. A workshop for first-time applicants will be available via Zoom 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 28. To receive the meeting ID please contact AHPP Director Scott Kaufman at 501-324-9785 or scott.kaufman@arkansas.gov

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

 

COTTON STATEMENT ON KABUL AIRPORT BOMBING
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after the bombing outside the Kabul airport:

“Twelve U.S. troops sacrificed their lives today (August 26) to rescue their fellow Americans fleeing Afghanistan. We mourn their deaths and grieve with their families. To honor their lives, we should finish their mission: the United States must use all its might to rescue our remaining countrymen in Afghanistan and bring justice to the terrorists responsible for today’s savagery. We must send the clear and unmistakable message that we leave no man behind, and if you kill our service members, your days are numbered.”

August 26, 2021

CAMDEN CITY POLICE REPORTS
Shoplifting – Dollar General
On 08/26/2021, at approximately 0921 hours Sgt. Newkirk with the Camden City Police, was dispatched to Dollar General, 461 California Avenue SW, in reference to a shoplifting which had just occurred. While enroute, the Officer was advised by dispatch that the subject was still on scene. The subject was described as a black female, wearing red shorts, a black shirt, glasses, and sitting inside of a teal-colored vehicle.

Upon arrival, Sgt. Newkirk observed a teal-colored vehicle parked near the front of Dollar General. He approached the vehicle and observed the female sitting in the driver seat matched the description he was given. He made contact with the subject who was later identified as Tawanda Ford. The Officer informed Ford she matched the description of a reported shoplifter and requested she follow me back into the store.

When Ford and Sgt. Newkirk entered the store, contact wads made with the manager, who Ford as the individual she saw conceal merchandise on her person and pass the last point of sale without paying for the merchandise. She stated Ford had placed multiple pairs of socks into the pockets of her shorts, then left the store without paying for the merchandise. She stated surveillance footage of the incident was available and the store wished to pursue charges. At that time, Ford was taken into custody without incident.

The manager showed the Officer the surveillance footage and he observed the incident as she had described it. While securing Ford's car, as she requested, I observed three packages of youth socks lying on the passenger side front seat. The manager was able to positively identify the packages as the items which were stolen from the store.

Ford was transported to the station without incident where booking procedures were completed. During a check of records, it was determined Ford had previously used the name of Tawanda Williams and had a warrant for her arrest through the Arkansas Board of Parole under that name. Parole Agent Porcia was contacted regarding that warrant and Agent Porcia met with Ford at the station. Ford was issued criminal citation 13014, given a District Court date of 10/06/2021 at 0900 hours, and released from custody.

Shoplifting - WalMart

On August 24, 2021 at 1609 hours, Officer Dakota Davis was dispatched to Walmart in reference to a shoplifter being detained.

The Officer arrived and made contact with asset the protection manager who had Vivian Smead detained in the asset protection office.

Officer Davis was shown surveillance footage of Smead not scanning multiple items, which consisted of four plastic flowers worth $3.47, ice cream worth $7.24, pioneer woman bowl worth $19.92, and coffee creamer worth $3.48. Also, while in the asset protection office, it was discovered that Smead had $95.98 worth of spray paint in her purse.

A shoplifting affidavit as well as a Walmart ban form was completed. Smead was taken into custody and transported to the station where booking procedures were completed and later approved by Sergeant Elliott.

Smead was later released on Criminal Citation (13010) for Shoplifting. She was given a District Court date of October 6, 2021 at 0900 hours. Smead was banned from Walmart. today.

Dwi 1st
Driving With No Driver's License
On August 21, 2021 at 2020 hours Officer Nathan Lane was dispatched to U.S. Highway 278 at Cash Road in reference to a vehicle going off the roadway.

While in route dispatch advised the reporting party stated the driver was wearing a blue shirt and was hiding between two bushes in the Victory Church parking lot. Upon arrival Officer Lane observed a silver 2012 Hyundai Accent, bearing Arkansas license plate number 312UEC, in the grass median on U.S. Highway 278. He located the driver, Faustino Perez, in the parking lot of La Loma Grill.

When Officer Lane got out to speak with Perez, he stated that he did not understand English well. Officer Lane used Google Translator to communicate with Perez. While talking to him the Officer smelled the odor of intoxicants emitting from his person and breath. Perez was taken into custody. On Perez's person were the keys for the vehicle. Perez was transported to the station without incident.

At the Station with the help of Google Translator, Officer Lane was able to complete a sobriety test which Perez failed.

Due to the language barrier Perez was given the Spanish statement of rights to read. Again, Officer Lane turned to Google Translator to instruct Perez on what he was to do. Perez stated he understood his rights, initialed each line and signed stating he understood his rights.

Perez agreed to take a breath test. which yielded a 0.19 blood alcohol content. Perez was issued a Traffic Citation for Driving While Intoxicated and Driving With No Driver's License. Perez was given a District of Camden court date of October 6, 2021 at 0900 hours.

STERMAN REACTS TO TERRORIST ATTACKS IN KABUL
WASHINGTON – 
Reacting to reports of coordinated terrorist attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan on American troops and civilians, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) released the following statement: 

“My heart breaks for the American servicemen and Afghan nationals harmed or killed by the cowardly attacks outside of the Kabul airport,” said Congressman Westerman. “As the situation continues to develop, join me in praying for the safety of every American and Afghan civilian. I call on President Biden to do whatever necessary to find and extract every single American citizen before fully withdrawing from the country.

Anyone with knowledge of American citizens in Afghanistan in need of assistance should contact my office as soon as possible. We will help however possible to ensure their safe passage home.” 

August 24, 2021

MISSING OUACHITA COUNTY MAN FOUND
On Tuesday August 24, 2021, Ouachita County Sheriff's Department was dispatched to the Troy Community, on Arkansas Hwy 57, to the report of a missing elderly man and his dog. Once on scene, deputies gathered information and it was determined that the situation was serious in nature. Arkansas Games and Fish Officers and Arkansas Highway Patrol were called in for assistance in the efforts to find the missing person.

Due to the size of the area that was to be searched, even with the assistance of an unknown agency's ariel spraying helicopter, it took more personnel than could be immediately provided. This is where the community of Troy, Arkansas came together and began to help with the search. Citizens of the community searched all day, pushing through the heat and conditions, without being asked to do so.

The community of Troy Arkansas saved a life on this date, by finding the missing person and his dog just minutes before dark. Without their help, this search could have ended differently.

The Ouachita County Sheriff's Department appreciates each and every one who came out to help in the search. It's great to see a community come together like this!

 

STATE POLICE CID INVESTIGATING SUSPECTED MURDER IN YELLVILLE
AUGUST 24, 2021
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department has requested the Arkansas State Police lead a suspected homicide investigation after a man was found dead in his Yellville home this afternoon.

Christopher Smith, 86, was the apparent victim of a gunshot.  A family member discovered the crime scene at 617 Broadway about noon today.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are still in Marion County collecting evidence and following leads in the case.

UPDATE MARION COUNTY DEATH INVESTIGATION:
Editors please see amended information to be considered in supplementing the original news release distributed at 6:01 PM today. 2021

 During the course of a death investigation in Yellville tonight, additional evidence and information has been revealed that may change the course of the on-going investigation.  Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police will now await a formal ruling by the state medical examiner who will determine the manner of death.
 

BOOZMAN’S ANNUAL AGRICULTURE TOUR KICKS-OFF ON MONDAY
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, is launching his annual Ag Tour next week. The senator will kick off the week-long highlight of Arkansas agriculture operations on Monday in Charleston and continue with stops at farms and facilities across the state.  

 The Ag Tour is a cornerstone of the senator’s August in-state work period, but this is the first time Boozman will be holding it as the lead Republican on the Senate agriculture committee.

 “My leadership role on the Senate agriculture committee puts me in a strong position to shape the debates over how to address challenges facing farmers and ranchers in Arkansas and throughout the country. I’m committed to working toward a better future for them by pushing back on executive branch actions that are harmful to producers and pursuing policies that help rural America thrive. I look forward to visiting with Arkansas producers on this tour and taking their input back to Washington where it can be used to ensure Congress helps strengthen and support food and fiber production in the Natural State,” said Boozman.

Boozman has used his role as ranking member of the committee to continue to champion the cause of Arkansas’s family farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners. He has helped lead the charge against tax code changes proposed by the White House that put the future of family-run agriculture operations at risk. As a result of his leadership, the Senate overwhelming passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act after Boozman pushed for changes to make the bill more farmer friendly. Additionally, Boozman worked closely with Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to advance legislation that provides more than $7 billion in disaster assistance to help farmers and ranchers with losses due to natural disasters, including the recent flooding in Arkansas.
Boozman’s Ag Tour will include meetings with ranchers, farmers and other agricultural stakeholders as he visits farms, production facilities and research operations. The tour includes stops in Franklin, Logan, Pope, Faulkner, Garland, Hot Spring, Clark, Lonoke, Jackson, Craighead, Cross, Lee and Arkansas counties. Follow the Ag Tour on social media at #ARisAg.

August 23, 2021

THE CITY OF CAMDEN PORT AUTHORITY COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Port Authority Commission will meet Thursday, September 29, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber of the Municipal Building located at 206 Van Buren NE in Camden. Please wear a mask and social distance
The agenda is as follows:
Port Building Bids
Business Incubator Air Conditioner System

ENTERGY ARKANSAS EXTREME HEAT SAFETY PROTOCOLS CAN HELP YOU TO RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF HEAT ILLNESS
Knowing the signs can help you save lives
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Many Entergy Arkansas teammates spend hours outside each day and working in extreme heat can pose special health and safety hazards.

“You may see our crews taking breaks in the shade and rehydrating as part of the required safety protocols,” said Michael Considine, Entergy Arkansas acting vice president of distribution operations. “That doesn’t mean work has stopped. It means our employees are striving to maintain the highest level of efficiency.”

For people working outdoors in hot weather, both air temperature and humidity affect how hot they feel, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Heat Illness Prevention campaign. The “heat index” is a single value that takes both temperature and humidity into account. The higher the heat index, the hotter the weather feels since sweat does not readily evaporate and cool the skin.

By following safety guidelines to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses and taking steps to prevent them, Entergy Arkansas aims to keep employees safe, comfortable, and productive.

These same precautions can be used to keep other businesses’ employees safe, as well as individuals who are outside mowing yards, gardening, performing home maintenance or other outdoor chores.

Types of heat-related illnesses and warning signs
Heat exposure can affect worker health in several ways. Those include:

Heat stroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature. Symptoms include confusion, loss of consciousness, convulsions, and hot, dry skin. Heat stroke can be fatal unless treated immediately. If you suspect someone is the victim of heat stroke, call for medical assistance, move them to a shady or cool area and provide drinking water as soon as possible.

Heat exhaustion happens when fluids or sodium chloride lost through sweating aren’t adequately replenished. The victim continues to sweat while experiencing extreme weakness, fatigue, nausea, or headache. If an individual shows signs of heat exhaustion, have them rest in a cool place and drink fluids. If vomiting or loss of consciousness occurs, seek medical assistance immediately.

Heat cramps or muscle spasms can occur when sodium chloride is lost through sweating and isn’t replaced. Tired muscles are susceptible to cramps, which can be relieved by increasing fluid intake. If the cramps or spasms are severe, medical attention may be required.

Heat rash occurs in hot, humid environments when sweat doesn’t evaporate effectively. In severe cases, heat rash can become so uncomfortable that it inhibits sleep and impedes worker performance. To prevent heat rash, rest in a cool place.

The extent of stress each individual feels from heat exposure will depend on age, fitness, and other factors.

Preventing heat-related illnesses
People need time to adapt to a hot work environment. Begin heat exposure for short periods and gradually increase. Give new employees or workers returning from an absence time to adjust to the heat. Follow these tips to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses:

Provide plenty of drinking water in convenient, visible locations.

Use power tools to reduce manual labor.

Alternate work and rest periods in a cool area.

Schedule intense work during the coolest part of the day whenever possible.

Permit workers to stop and rest if they feel uncomfortable.

Consider an individual’s physical condition when determining their ability to work in hot weather conditions. People taking certain medications or with certain health conditions may be at greater risk.

For more information, see the Occupational Heat Exposure guide from the U.S. Department of Labor at https://www.osha.gov/heat/heat-index.

ABOUT ENTERGY ARKANSAS
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 722,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy delivers electricity to three million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $10 billion and approximately 12,500 employees.


JOBS FOR ARKANSAS GRADUATES PROGRAM RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR 15 CONSECUTIVE YEARS 25 SCHOOL PROGRAMS ALSO RECEIVE RECOGNITION FOR 2020 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce that the Jobs for Arkansas Graduates program received the national 5-of-5 Award for 2020, marking 15 consecutive years the program has received the honor. Twenty-five JAG programs at schools around the state also received 5-of-5 recognition for 2020.

The Arkansas program is an affiliate of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program and is designed to assist students who are at risk of dropping out of high school. Students enrolled in the program receive supports and services to help them not only graduate high school but also become successful whether pursuing post-secondary education, employment, or military service.

“I am extremely proud of the Division of Career and Technical Education for leading and supporting this outstanding program, as well as the 25 programs that also received national recognition,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “Because of the division’s efforts and the dedication from educators around the state, Arkansas has one of the most exemplary JAG programs in the country, as evidenced by this award over the last 15 years. Thank you to everyone who contributes to this programs’ success and provides critical supports to help students achieve success in life.”

In order to achieve the 5-of-5 Award, states must meet set criteria and goals for students enrolled in the program.

National Goals 

Arkansas’ Results

Graduation Rate: 90%

Arkansas: 97%

Job Placement Rate: 60%

Arkansas: 69%

Total Full-Time Employment: 60%

Arkansas: 80% 

Total Full-Time Positive Outcomes: 75%

Arkansas: 77%

Further Education Rate: 35% 

Arkansas: 39%

During the 2020-2021 school year, 116 JAG programs in 81 Arkansas school districts assisted more than 3,600 students. In addition to receiving academic support, students in the program participate in project-based and work-based learning projects, which lead to post-secondary education and workforce opportunities. 

The 25 programs that received 5-of-5 recognition are listed below.
Arch Ford HUB / Dover High School /Hector High School
Arch Ford HUB / Jessieville ALE
Arch Ford HUB / Shirley High School
Arch Ford HUB / Vilonia High School
Bald Knob High School
Cedar Ridge High School
Crossett High School
DeWitt High School
Fayetteville High School
Genoa Central High School
Har-Ber High School
Harmony Grove High School (There are two Schools in Arkansas named Harmony Grove. This article did not specify which school got the award.)
Heber Springs High School
Jacksonville High School
Malvern High School
Marshall High School
Mena High School
Midland High School ALE
Mount Ida High School
Paragould High School
Paris High School
Parkview High School
Springdale High School
Star City High School
Sylvan Hills High School

Arkansas’ program receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funding from the Division of Workforce Services, as well as funding from Entergy Arkansas, AT&T, and the Walton Family Foundation.

To learn more about the program, visit https://bit.ly/3sfgmHQ.

August 23, 2021

CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MARKET SEPTEMBER 3RD
“Off to the Fair” will be the theme for the First Friday Market on September 3rd in downtown Camden from 6PM – 9PM.
As everyone is preparing to move into fall and looking forward to the local fair we wanted to bring those elements into the market for everyone to experience.  The Ouachita County Fair Board will be on hand selling armbands for the carnival rides which will be back at this year’s fair.  They will also have a petting zoo for the children to enjoy.  This will be located on the Farmer’s Bank Parking Lot along with a mechanical cow for the children to “milk”.  The local Boys Scouts will be at the market with their inflatable BB Gun range for everyone to take their target practice.

Stop by Hollis Evans Floral to visit with this month’s featured author, Nyla Clemons.   Nyla is a 9th grade student at Bearden.  Her book “Cloaked in Flames” is currently selling on Amazon.

Regional favorite, Brody McKinney, will be the featured musician at this month’s market.  Come out and bring your lawn chairs to sit a while and enjoy the music.  Also during the musical breaks you can see a dancing demonstration from Trinity Grace Dance Studio dancers.

Everyone can get your shopping in with a vast array of vendors set up along Washington St and Adams Ave selling everything from wood workings, clothing, jewelry and more.  Special nonprofit groups and local organizations will be throughout the market where you can learn bicycle safety, shoot some basketball and grab some bottled water and more!  You will find jellies, jams, baked goods and even homemade pasta at this month’s market! Enjoy the special food vendors set up throughout the market with everything from BBQ, street tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes and iced coffee drinks. 

You will especially want to see a very special vendor at the September market, Miss Arkansas Whitney Williams.  Stop by chat and see what she has for sale.   

For everyone loving competitions What’s Cookin’ will be hosting a corn hole tournament outside their restaurant, registration will be inside Hollis Evans.  Native Dog Brewing will also have The Kilt with ax throwing happening on Madison Ave.

Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR,  September 3rd , 6PM – 9PM.  Come stroll, shop, nibble, browse and chat through downtown Camden… See you there!

COSL ANNOUNCES OUACHITA COUNTY TAX AUCTION
(August 23, 2021) LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Commissioner of State Lands Tommy Land announced that his office will auction tax-delinquent land in Ouachita County on Tuesday, September 7, at 1:00 p.m. The auction will be held at the County Courthouse – Courtroom A in Camden, with registration beginning at 12:30 p.m.

“Since we were unable to hold public auctions in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, we are auctioning properties that were scheduled for sale last year,” Land said. “These are properties whose taxes have been delinquent since 2015.”

Next year, during the 2022 auction season, the COSL office will auction two years’ worth of properties. “That will catch us up so that we’re current on all sales,” Land said.

Prospective bidders can find an online Public Auction Catalog, including a buyer’s guide; statutes governing sales; auction date, time and location; and a complete listing of parcels offered. This resource is on the Commissioner’s website, www.cosl.org, and is regularly updated.

The website also includes an instructional video demonstrating how to research information about each parcel available for sale.

“We open the bidding at the amount of taxes, penalties and interest due,” Land said. “Anyone who has delinquent property going up for auction should be aware they only have 10 business days after the auction to redeem property sold there.”

Bidders must register for the auction, but the registration is free. The first $100 of any parcel’s purchase price must be paid in cash, while the remainder may be paid by cash, check or credit card.

“Property taxes help fund schools, roads, libraries and public services including ambulances,” Land said. “Everyone benefits from paying those taxes — and the property owner benefits from paying on time, by avoiding interest and penalties on delinquent taxes.”

Properties that do not sell at auction will appear on the COSL’s post-auction sales list 30 days after the auction date. From there, they can be purchased through an online auction system. Another instructional video on the COSL website demonstrates that process to bidders.

Owners of delinquent parcels may redeem those delinquent taxes online at www.cosl.org using a credit or debit card. Those who prefer to pay by check or money order can print a Petition to Redeem from the website or call the office at 501-324-9422 to request the petition, which must accompany their payment.
 

UAMS SCHMIEDING PROGRAM TO PROVIDE FREE RESPITE TRAINING FOR VOLUNTEER CAREGIVERS IN EL DORADO
LITTLE ROCK — The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program, a program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), is offering free Respite Volunteer Training on Aug. 30 in El Dorado.

The all-day training session will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the UAMS South Arkansas Center on Aging, 106 West Main St., in El Dorado. The training is in-person and pre-registration is required. Participants can pre-register online at go.uams.edu/respite. For more information, please call 870-881-8969.

All CDC guidelines will be followed including health screenings, face masks and social distancing. Space is limited.

The training is held in cooperation with the Arkansas Lifespan Respite Coalition. The coalition’s research has shown 90% of Arkansas caregivers do not receive respite services, which can be provided in-home or out-of-home in health care facilities, day centers or camps. Across the nation, there are 53 million American caregivers, 85% of whom do not receive any respite services. Even the best of the best caregivers need a temporary break to care for themselves.

Using the evidence-based Respite Education & Support Tools (REST) curriculum, the session will provide unique, interactive training to help participants be confident and successful when providing assistance to those in need. The training is geared toward community and faith-based groups, family caregivers and volunteer groups.

In addition, seven hours of continuing education units are available to nursing home administrators who attend. This course is supported in part by a grant to the Arkansas Department of Human Services from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Aging.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
 

I-40 SHOOTING AT MORGAN LEAVES ONE DEAD, ANOTHER WOUNDED
AUGUST 21, 2021
A Crittenden County man was wounded by gunfire while he was a passenger inside an eastbound vehicle traveling east on Interstate 40 about 2:30 AM today.  Kindylen Roberts, 21, of Marion later died at a Little Rock hospital.

The shooting incident occurred near the Morgan/Maumelle exit as a front-seat passenger in a second eastbound car leaned out the window and began shooting at the car carrying Roberts and another passenger, Freangelo Dosty, 23, who was also wounded.  Dosty was treated at the scene and later released.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are leading the on-going investigation.  Meanwhile agents have arrested Justin Cantrell Mays, 24, who is being held at the Pulaski.
 

LAWRENCE COUNTY WOMAN FOUND DEAD AFTER GUNFIRE AIMED AT DEPUTIES AND POLICE
AUGUST 21, 2021
The Arkansas State Police has been requested to investigate the death of a Lawrence County woman who earlier today directed gunfire at a local law enforcement officer sent to confirm the woman’s wellbeing.

About 3:15 this morning when Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies and local police officers entered the home of Jennifer Shirley, 44, of 244 CR 429 near Walnut Ridge, Shirley was found inside holding a gun.

Shirley had agreed to set the gun aside when one law enforcement fired a less than lethal device at the woman who then grabbed the gun and began shooting.

Law enforcement officers who report they did not return fire at Shirley escaped the house uninjured.

A law enforcement perimeter was set-up around the residence and in the hours that followed an Arkansas State Trooper established a line of communication with Shirley.  The communications continued until shortly after 7:00 AM when smoke was seen coming from inside the house.

Emergency responders with deputies and police officers who entered the residence to extinguish the fire found Shirley dead.  Her body is being transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where a manner and cause of death will be determined.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are leading the investigation that is continuing.
 

POWERBALL TO LAUNCH THIRD WEEKLY DRAWING ON MONDAY NIGHTS
Aug. 20, 2021
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery (ASL) wants players to “Get Psyched for Mondays” because starting in three days they will have the chance to start the week playing Powerball®. The lottery game is expanding to drawings three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Saturday – on Aug. 23 at 9:59 p.m. CST.

“America’s jackpot game is picking up the pace to deliver bigger jackpots to our players,” said Eric Hagler, executive director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. “Players have let us know they want to play for bigger jackpots, and we want Powerball to deliver on their expectations.”

Hagler said the Powerball Product Group anticipates adding the Monday drawing will result in larger, faster-growing jackpots. The group also expects to see an increase in the number of cash prizes and jackpots awarded on an annual basis. Adding a third drawing will not change the Powerball game odds or set cash prizes. Powerball tickets will still cost $2 per play.

Players will continue to choose five numbers from 1 to 69 and one Powerball number from 1 to 26. The Power Play® add-on feature will also still be available for an additional $1 per play to multiply non-jackpot prizes.

All 48 U.S. lotteries will sell tickets for the Powerball drawing on Monday nights.

“Life-changing jackpots produce more than just lottery winners,” Hagler said. “Proceeds from draw game sales drive more money for scholarships, plus our retail partners receive a commission when a player cashes in a winning ticket that was sold at their store.”

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has raised more than $1 billion in proceeds for scholarships and awarded more than 650,000 scholarships since 2009.

Following each drawing, winning numbers can be viewed at MyArkansasLottery.com or at Powerball.com.

About the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery
More than 92 cents of every dollar of ASL revenue goes to prizes, scholarships, retailer commissions, and other expenses in Arkansas. Since 2009, the lottery has raised more than $1 billion in proceeds for scholarships. More than 650,000 college scholarships have been awarded to Arkansans. The lottery has awarded more than $3.7 billion in prizes to players, about $321 million in retailer commissions and provided more than $147 million in state and federal tax revenue.

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

STUDENT ART CONTEST IN COMMEMORATION OF OUR HEROES
In Memory of the 20th Anniversary Attack on the 9.11 World Trade Center. Real heroes, ordinary people,
extraordinary courage. All gave some…some gave all.

As part of the 22nd SouthArk Outdoor Expo, SouthArk is hosting  a Student Art Contest sponsored by The Systems Group.

The contest is open to K-12 students from Union County Schools. All entries will be displayed at the Outdoor Expo on Saturday, September 11, 2021, in the El Dorado Conference Center.

Theme: Students are encouraged to use critical thinking skills in their works of art to address the question “Who is My Hero?” Each student’s work must somehow incorporate a creative acknowledgment of their “hero” whom they view as being courageous. This could be military personnel, first responders, health professionals, or their own family member or personal friend whom they view as a “hero.”
 

SAAC TO HOST "CLUE AND COFFEE" BOARD GAME DAY
Join the production staff of SAAC's upcoming production of "Clue: On Stage" at PJs downtown in The Spot on Saturday, August 28 from 12:00-5:30 pm for Board Game Day. The production staff will have "Clue" game boards setup for a fun afternoon of board game play. Directors Hannah Faith and Rhett Davis are experienced board game players and will be on hand to get you started. Bring your family or friends and your competitive streak!

This event is a new-fangled way to meet the directors and have a fun afternoon playing games, as well as an informative afternoon about upcoming auditions which will be held on August 30-31. Anyone interested in auditioning for the production is welcome to drop in for a chat with the directors or the production team. Audition material will be on hand for anyone interested in auditioning. The production team will play their own spirited game at 4pm. Even if you're not interested in auditioning, stop by to enter your name in our drawing to win a family game night gift basket or stay to play a game for fun.

The "Clue" fun continues at 6:00 pm on the main stage (east side of the courthouse) for the SAAC Spotlight and Live Clue Game with some of the Showdown cast hosted by "Clue: On Stage" directors Hannah Faith and Rhett Davis. Rhett has made a Showdown/El Dorado version of the Clue game for the day and Hannah will work the mic, inviting the crowd to answer the question "Who done it?"

Rhett said, "Come to The Spot and join the production crew of "Clue: On Stage" as we dive into the board game that spawned the play and the movie. Join us as we have 'Clue and Coffee' and discuss the upcoming auditions for the play at SAAC."

For more information about this fun game day or the upcoming production of "Clue: On Stage", 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.
 

DRAMA CLUB SELECTS NEW PLAY FOR FALL 2021
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces that Director Lynn Gunter has selected "Sherlock Holmes and the First Baker Street Irregulars", by Brian Guehring as its Fall 2021 production for students grades 7-12. The previously scheduled Drama Club production of "Disney's Frozen JR" is "on ice" until 2022.

An Information Party will be held on Thursday August 26, 4-5 pm at SAAC. Audition forms and scene readings for this straight play will be available at the party. Gunter will also be in attendance to answer questions about auditions and characters. Auditions will be held Tuesday, August 31 or Thursday, September 2 at 4pm and you may attend either day. Be prepared to read scenes from the script. It is recommended to review the scenes before auditions, but they do not need to be memorized.

Gunter is excited to begin work on this production. Sherlock Holmes is an iconic character and his adventures are always fun and mind boggling, as well as thought provoking, always making the audience ask the question, "How did he figure that out?"

"Sherlock Holmes and First Baker Street Irregulars" is based on the characters and mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. On a dare from her fellow street urchins, 14-year-old Wiggins tries to pickpocket a strange old man. Not only is Wiggins unsuccessful, but the old man, who is actually Sherlock Holmes in disguise, manages to take the gold ring that was in Wiggins' pocket and leave behind a note directing her where to go to get it back. When Wiggins goes to 221B Baker Street to retrieve the ring, she is shocked to find out how much Holmes knows about her based on a quick observation. After Wiggins sees Holmes use the ring to solve a case, Wiggins proposes to work as his assistant. Intrigued by her potential, Holmes agrees to begin training Wiggins on a trial basis, so long as she helps Mrs. Hudson with the chores. Wiggins and Holmes must learn to trust each other as Wiggins and her group of street urchins help him solve two dangerous mysteries: The Red Headed League and The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.

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.

AUGUST 20, 2021

CAMDEN AIRPORT MEETING
The Camden Airport Commission will meet today at 11:30 at the Camden Municipal Airport.

AUGUST 18, 2021

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TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN ANNOUNCES FISCAL YEAR EARNINGS FOR 2021

 

Receipts exceeded internal projections during pandemic economy

 

Little Rock, Ark. – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan earned the state $11.16 million during the fourth quarter of 2021, bringing the total earned for the fiscal year that ended June 30 to $35.4 million.

 

“Compared to FY 2015, when interest rates were similar and we weren’t going through a global pandemic, that’s a substantial increase,” he said. “My investment team has been relentless in pursuing opportunities to provide our portfolio with as much cost-saving and interest-producing opportunities as possible – exceeding even our own expectations for FY 21.”

 

The state’s short-term portfolio, which is made up of demand and money market accounts and is heavily dependent on the federal interest rate, earned $659,000, while the state’s long-term portfolio, made up mostly of agency and Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, earned $10.5 million during the fourth quarter.

 

Since the covid pandemic began, the Fed has been purchasing US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities weekly in order to help keep financial markets stable, Milligan told the State Board of Finance today. This has kept rates low and inflated asset prices across all sectors of the market, he added.

 

“For investors like the State of Arkansas, who only trade in fixed-income securities such as these, we’re in a unique situation. The market is flush with cash as investors wait on rates to rise, and anytime there is an upward fluctuation, bonds are scooped up quickly,” Milligan said. “Simply put, there just aren’t enough bonds for the amount of cash investors have.”

 

However, under Milligan’s administration the state’s investment portfolio has grown from roughly $3.5 billion to nearly $5 billion, meaning the state has more money to invest and thus more opportunities to increase its earnings.

“Through our continual monitoring of the bond market and taking advantage of opportunities where we can despite historically low interest rates, we’ve been able to substantially increase earnings since I took office in 2015,” Milligan said.

 

“We’re setting up a solid foundation on which future treasurers can build upon, and by which taxpayers can rest assured they’re getting the most out of their hard-earned money.”

 

To watch a video summary of the fiscal year investment report, click here.

August 17, 2021

CADC BOARD TO MEET
The Board of Directors of Central Arkansas Development Council will have a board meeting Saturday, August 28, 2021 at 9:00 am.  The meeting will be held by at the Benton Senior Activity Center, 1800 Citizens Drive, Benton, AR.  The public is invited to join the meeting.

SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS AVAILABLE TO ARKANSAS SMALL BUSINESSES
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Small nonfarm businesses in the following counties are now eligible to apply for low‑interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by adverse weather conditions that occurred in the following primary counties in Arkansas, announced Director Tanya N. Garfield of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West.

Declaration

Number

Primary

Counties

Neighboring

Counties/Parishes

Incident Type

Incident Date

Deadline

17089

Lawrence

Craighead, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Randolph and Sharp in Arkansas

Hail

May 6, 2021

4/12/22

17090

Arkansas, Benton, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lonoke, Monroe, Phillips, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, White and Yell

Ashley, Carroll, Cleburne, Cleveland, Conway, Craighead, Dallas, Faulkner, Garland, Grant, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Johnson, Lee, Logan, Madison, Montgomery, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Randolph, St. Francis, Saline, Scott, Searcy, Sharp, Union, Van Buren, Washington and Woodruff in Arkansas;

East Carroll, Morehouse and West Carroll in Louisiana;

Bolivar, Coahoma, Issaquena, Tunica and Washington in Mississippi;

Barry and McDonald in Missouri;

Adair and Delaware in Oklahoma.

Excessive rain, flash flooding, flooding, high winds and lightning

April 1 - June 11, 2021

4/12/22


“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disasters and businesses directly impacted by the disasters,” Garfield said.

Small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disasters not occurred.

“Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disasters only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate as low as 2.88 percent for businesses and 2 percent for private nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Garfield said.

By law, SBA makes economic injury available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. The Secretary declared these declarations on Aug. 12, 2021.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY EXPANDS COMPASSIONATE ALLOWANCES PROGRAM FOR PEOPLE WITH SEVERE DISABILITIES
Program Expedites Decisions for Disability Benefits
Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today announced 12 new Compassionate Allowances conditions:  Charlevoix Saguenay Spastic Ataxia (ARSACS), Choroid Plexus Carcinoma, CIC-rearranged Sarcoma, Congenital Zika Syndrome, Desmoplastic Mesothelioma, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – Adult, Pericardial Mesothelioma, Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma, Renpenning Syndrome, SCN8A Related Epilepsy with Encephalopathy, SYNGAP1-related NSID, and Taybi-Linder Syndrome.  Compassionate Allowances is an initiative that quickly identifies severe medical conditions and diseases that meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits.

“Everyone who is eligible for benefits under the programs we administer should receive them,” said Acting Commissioner Kijakazi.  “Our Compassionate Allowances program helps us address barriers by helping accelerate the disability application process for people who are likely to get approved for benefits due to the severity of their medical condition.”

The Compassionate Allowances program quickly identifies claims where the applicant’s condition or disease clearly meets Social Security’s statutory standard for disability.  Due to the severe nature of many of these conditions, these claims are often allowed based on medical confirmation of the diagnosis alone; for example, certain cancers, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and a number of rare disorders that affect children.  To date, more than 700,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this accelerated, policy-compliant disability process, which has grown to a total of 254 conditions.

When a person applies for disability benefits, Social Security must obtain medical records in order to make an accurate determination.  The agency incorporates leading technology to identify potential Compassionate Allowances cases and make quick decisions.  Social Security’s Health IT brings the speed and efficiency of electronic medical records to the disability determination process.  With electronic records transmission, Social Security is able to quickly obtain a claimant’s medical information, review it, and make a fast determination.

For more information about the program, including a list of all Compassionate Allowances conditions, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

To learn more about Social Security’s Health IT program, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/hit

People may apply online for disability benefits by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov.

To create a my Social Security account, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

WCCSA FUNDRAISER POSTPONED
Due to safety concerns this fundraiser event "Dining to Demolish Domestic Violence" for the Women’s Crises Center of South Arkansas has been postponed until further notice.  if you should have any question please call (870) 836-0375.

SOUTHARK OUTDOOR EXPO SCHEDULED THIS SEPTEMBER
The SouthArk Outdoor Expo is in its 22nd year! Hosted by the SouthArk Foundation, come out Saturday, September 7th from 9:00-4:00 p.m., at the El Dorado Conference Center and enjoy a full day of hands-on activities, live entertainment, contests, activities, and exhibits for outdoor enthusiasts, families, and children.  Admission is one canned or packaged food item for a local food bank.  This year's event is set to be the best one yet and you won't want to miss it! You can now register online at www.southarkexpo.com<http://www.southarkexpo.com>. Contests include the Delek US Hero 5K run/walk, Withrow rib cook-off, Systems Group student art contest, and car show.

Live bands will be performing throughout the day including Jason D. Williams. A full day of hands-on activities and exhibits for outdoor enthusiasts, families and children will take place.  Plus a chainsaw wood carving demonstration, target shooting, archery, Timberlane Meat/T-Model’s KidsWorld, food trucks. Proceeds benefit SouthArk students.

August 16, 2021

THE CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education Agenda for the Camden Fairview Board Of Education regular meeting to be held on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at 6:30 P.M. At Garrison Auditorium.
1. Call to order.
2. Student Hearing (Readmitting)
3. Approval of minutes of previous meetings
3. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
    a. None
4. NEW BUSINESS
    a. Presentation and Recommendation regarding School Resource Officer Agreement.
    b. Presentation and Recommendation regarding transferring funds from operating funds to building funds
    c. Facility Rentals
5. Superintendent's report to the Board.
6. Financial report
7. Personnel
    a. Hiring
    b. Resignations
    c. Retirement
    d. Transfer
MASK MUST BE WORN BY ALL THAT ATTEND.

PLANNING A LABOR DAY GETAWAY? START WITH DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER
Arkansans Prepare For Final Summer Holiday, Law Enforcement Plans Aimed At Drunk Drivers
AUGUST 16, 2021
As Arkansans begin looking forward to plans of a final summer getaway, law enforcement officers are preparing to saturate the highways with additional patrols during the Labor Day holiday.  The mission is to keep streets and highways safe by identifying and arresting drunk drivers.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over impaired driving awareness campaign begins Friday, August 20th and will remain active through September 6th.  Arkansas State Troopers, sheriff’s deputies and city police officers will be unified during the operation designed to arrest drunk drivers who threaten the safety of others traveling on Arkansas road.

Lives lost in highway crashes across the nation involving alcohol impaired drivers during 2019 totaled 10,142, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  That’s one person killed every 52 minutes in a drunk driving crash.  On average, more than 10,000 people were killed in drunk driving crash each year from 2015 to 2019.

 “The statistics left behind from these deaths each year represent thousands of sad and troubling stories from the families of each victim,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “That’s why law enforcement agencies in Arkansas are working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, but also a matter of life and death for those who count on us to keep the highways safe by arresting drunk drivers.”

The Arkansas Highway Safety Office and NHTSA are reminding everyone of the many resources available to get them home safely and offer these tips:

If you plan on drinking, plan not to drive.
Plan a safe way home before you leave.  It’s never okay to drink and drive, even if the driver has consumed only one alcoholic 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 drive you home.  
If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1.
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.  

  “The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is more than just a partnership among law enforcement to remove drunk drivers from the highway during the Labor Day holiday,” Colonel Bryant said.  “We need the commitment from communities and citizens to work with law enforcement every day and help keep the streets and highways safe for everyone.”

 For more information on impaired driving, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving or call 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
 

USACE VICKSBURG DISTRICT ANNOUNCES NEW CHIEF OF PROJECT RESOURCES MANAGEMENT BRANCH
VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District has selected Jason Mooney as Chief of Project Resources Management Branch (PRMB).

In this role, Mooney will lead the way of carrying out PRMB’s mission, which is to provide quality engineering and other professional services for flood damage reduction, hydropower production, recreation management, water supply, natural resource stewardship, and environmental compliance activities. They also manage all programs to ensure consistent and thorough implementation of policy, guidance, procedures, and programs as directed by higher headquarters in such a manner that meets or exceeds our customer’s expectations.

Mooney began his USACE career in the Design Branch in 2003 after graduating from the University of Mississippi.  He worked as a design engineer in Levee & Drainage Section until 2013.  During that time, he worked on a multitude of Mississippi River Levee enlargement designs as well as several channel improvement projects.  He also served as technical manager for the Viper Program, which included the designs of numerous levees, flood walls, and flood gates in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, which was developed for the New Orleans District after Hurricane Katrina. 

In July 2013, Mooney was selected as Chief, Inspection & Dam Safety Section in the Geotechnical Branch.  In this position, he was responsible for executing the Vicksburg District’s Dam Safety Program, which included performing formal inspections and assessments and carrying out dam safety maintenance for all dams, locks and dams, pumping plants, and numerous large flood control drainage structures in order to ensure that structural integrity was intact for each project.  He was also responsible for executing the Relief Well Maintenance Program for the District to ensure that the relief wells located along the levee toes operated at peak performance during high water and flood events.

Mooney replaces outgoing PRMB Chief Johnny Kiser, who will retire December of this year. Kiser and Mooney will work together over the next four months to ensure a smooth transition.

Project Resources Management Branch has O&M authority for 10 lakes in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana and nearly 2,000 miles of levees.  Overall project missions include flood control, hydropower, recreation, environmental stewardship, and water supply.  Other missions include carrying out the 208 and 408 permit programs for alteration requests to federally constructed projects and coordination with local, state, and federal partners/stakeholders regarding use of public lands.

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.

Arkansas Delegation Applauds USDA Disaster Declaration for Counties Impacted by Storms  

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—applauded U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s decision to issue a Secretarial Disaster Designation covering 18 Arkansas counties impacted by flooding, high winds, hail, tornadoes and other storm damage: Arkansas, Benton, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lonoke, Monroe, Phillips, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, White and Yell.

“This disaster designation is a critical step to helping Arkansas agricultural producers recover from devastating losses as a result of natural disasters. We are pleased Secretary Vilsack recognizes the need to provide this assistance to our farmers,” members said.

Last month, the congressional delegation wrote a letter to Secretary Vilsack in support of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation.  

LT. GOVERNOR GRIFFIN RESPONDS TO DISASTROUS WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN
Says ‘This catastrophe is damaging to our national interest and to our reputation around the world'
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin issued the following statement as Afghanistan falls to the Taliban regime amidst U.S. withdrawal:  

"Although my current role as Lt. Governor is not directly related to international relations, I have several thoughts as a veteran, former member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, and an American on the current situation in Afghanistan: 

 "It is both tragic and heartbreaking to watch Afghanistan fall back into the hands of the Taliban and radical Islamic terrorists. President Biden was dangerously wrong last month when he stubbornly boasted that Afghanistan would not be overrun by the Taliban, and his failure to plan for an orderly, conditions-based withdrawal makes America less safe as a result. This catastrophe is damaging to our national interest and to our reputation around the world.

"Unfortunately, this mistake was long in the planning. Instead of telling Americans the hard truths, politicians – Democrats and Republicans – have tried for years to govern using populist slogans like “endless war,” creating a false choice between nation-building with tens of thousands of American troops on the one hand and isolationism on the other. The truth is there are other options, and those options should be pursued. The American people have long understood the folly of nation-building in a country whose citizens are unable to build for themselves. They are now seeing the folly of complete withdrawal from a country where we have a strategic interest – not altogether different from our initial abandonment of Iraq. The proper role of U.S. forces in Afghanistan should not be one of governing or nation-building. It should be one employing minimal forces with access to the country for the purpose of killing those who would do us harm. While it is not always popular to argue for troops to be overseas in harm’s way, foreign policy shouldn’t be based on opinion polls. The sometimes-unpopular truth is that as the preeminent world leader, America has been able to maintain relative peace across the globe by maintaining a small security presence in hot spots such as the Sinai Peninsula, the Korean Peninsula, and especially Europe. Our national interest in Afghanistan is having the capacity to destroy and kill our enemies -- radical Islamic terrorists and the Taliban – on foreign soil so that our fights are in Bagram or Kabul, not in Boston or Kansas City.

"As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I pray for the American servicemembers and civilians who served and shed their blood for our country in Afghanistan. I also pray for the people of Afghanistan, particularly the Afghan women and children as well as the Afghan interpreters, scouts, and allies who will suffer at the hands of the evil Taliban regime.  Winston Churchill famously said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” May our nation learn from the real-time history lesson unfolding before our eyes."

COTTON STATEMENT ON SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement regarding the situation in Afghanistan:

“The fiasco in Afghanistan wasn’t just predictable, it was predicted. Joe Biden’s ill-planned retreat has now humiliated America and put at risk thousands of Americans left in Kabul. At a minimum, President Biden must unleash American air power to destroy every Taliban fighter in the vicinity of Kabul until we can save our fellow Americans. Anything less will further confirm Joe Biden’s impotence to the world.”

August 12, 2021

STINNETT NAMED GENERAL MANAGER OF OUACHITA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE CORPORATION
Ouachita Electric Cooperative and the Board of Directors are pleased to announce Robby Stinnett as the new General Manager.  Stinnett will assume the role of General Manger on August 30, 2021.   

Stinnett is a lifelong resident of Ouachita County, raised in the Elliott Community with family origins in the Chidester area. Stinnett is presently employed as System Planning Manager and has been a Cooperative employee since 1993.

“I am flattered to have been chosen by your board of directors to be the next general manager of Ouachita Electric Cooperative. As only the fifth general manager to serve the members of OECC in the 80 plus years of incorporation I am pleased to join a small group of dedicated individuals sacrificing their time and efforts to make OECC and south Arkansas a better place for everyone.”. Stinnett commented.

Ouachita Electric Cooperative currently has 38 full-time employees with a combined 614 years of experience.  OECC is a non-profit rural electric utility cooperative headquartered in Camden, Arkansas, with a district office in Hampton, Arkansas. The Cooperative was organized in 1938 and serves approximately 7,000 members in the counties of Ouachita, Dallas, Calhoun, Bradley and Nevada. 

SAAC HOSTS RECEPTION FOR ARTIST MIKE MEANS AND MICHAELA WISE SHOWING IN THE LOBBY GALLERY
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to an artist's reception honoring two SAAC instructors with an exhibit in the Lobby Gallery this month. The reception will be held this Friday, August 13, from 5:30-7:00pm. Their exhibit, entitled "Digital and Fine Art Works by Mike Means and Michaela Wise" will hang through August 30.

These two talented art instructors have a few things in common. Both spend much of their days teaching and helping children in El Dorado. Michaela works part time at the Boy's and Girl's Club as a grant assistant, takes care of the food bank there, and teaches visual arts to young kids at SAAC, while Mike is an Arts In Education instructor in the El Dorado schools and teaches graphic arts classes at SAAC.

Michaela is a local artist. She grew up in Louisiana, but moved to El Dorado before starting junior high. Moving to south Arkansas helped her make connections that would one day lead her to her current career as an artist. In junior high, she began taking classes with Maria Villegas and soon blossomed into a prodigious young artist. After graduating high school at Parkers Chapel, she pursued a degree in Studio Art from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. Now a mother to a 6-year-old little boy and a resident artist of El Dorado, Michaela continues to be devoted to art and teaching and conveys her enthusiasm through her classes. She hopes to inspire children to let their creativity and talent shine just as her teachers at SAAC inspired her when she was a young artist. 

"The pieces in this show are made of pencil and gouache paint - a medium that I recently discovered and now love," said Michaela. "I am inspired by people and personalities (also by impending deadlines), and am currently focused on creating work showcasing the people I love and memories surrounding them."

Mike said about his show, "My half of the work displayed shows you some of the art I have done using both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Art and computer go together. A digital palette can be just as fun as the real thing.

"I grew up in Fayetteville, where I did my first rendering of Snoopy on my bedroom wall. Since then I have worked in many other media, including graphite, colored pencil, and pastel, as well as on the computer. Drawing will always be my first love. I love working with the computer to create art and sharing the knowledge that I have gathered over the years. There is a ‘wow factor' when you show students what computer programs can do. Most people just need help getting started, and that is where I hope to help children and adults alike. I wanted to break from the traditional graphics classes and show just what you can do on the computer from an artist's point of view. Making the computer work for you as an artist is my goal."

Artist Ann Trimble, whose exhibit "A Collection of Portraits and Kaleidoscopes" is hanging in the Price and Merkle Galleries, will also be honored at Friday's reception. 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 Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. 

 

WESTERMAN CALLS FOR END OF UNCONSTITUTIONAL EVICTION MORATORIUM
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) joined Congressman Chris Jacobs (R-NY) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) in sending a bicameral letter with 27 members of Congress to President Biden calling on the Administration to change course and end its unconstitutional eviction moratorium. 

“We strongly oppose the Biden administration’s latest eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This latest action is plainly unconstitutional and will only serve to further distort the market and create a housing affordability crisis,” the lawmakers said. “Additionally, any further restrictions on evictions at this point are counterproductive. The economy is open, jobs and vaccines are abundant, and federal rental assistance is a reality.”

In a recent Supreme Court case, Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, five members of the Supreme Court effectively acknowledged that CDC exceeded its authority in issuing the moratorium. Justice Kavanaugh stated that “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”
 

“Instead of pursuing an unconstitutional moratorium, the Biden administration should be focused on distributing the nearly $50 billion in rental assistance that was appropriated through three separate stimulus packages.” the lawmakers said. “As long this moratorium remains in place, property owners will continue to struggle financially. These property owners must still pay mortgages, taxes, and maintenance for the dwelling. If this continues much longer, we will see a wave of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and blighted properties.”

Most states require the tenant to take the initiative when applying for rental assistance. A recent Treasury report found very little of the federal rental assistance money has been disbursed so far, and the new moratorium will act as an additional disincentive for tenants to apply for this aid, leaving property owners on the hook.

“We demand the Biden administration end this moratorium and allow the rental assistance funds to do what they were intended to do. This government overreach must end,” the lawmakers said. 

WESTERMAN DELIVERS REMARKS AT THE NATIONAL CENTER OF TOXICOLOGICAL RESEARCH 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) spoke to the 50th anniversary celebration of the National Center of Toxicological Research (NCTR) in Jefferson, Arkansas. Westerman released the following statement.

“NCTR has undoubtably improved the lives of every American by developing needed research to ensure safe medicine, food, and cosmetics,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman. “Without facilities such as this, the United States would not be home to the world’s safest and most abundant food supply. Consumers in the United States and around the world may never truly know the impact of NCTR’s work on their daily lives, but every time a patient is successfully treated, or a family safely uses countless familiar products, NCTR’s hard work deserves the credit.”

Background:
NCTR is the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research facility located outside of Washington, D.C. employs 670 people across 17 counties, contributing nearly $70 million to the state, local, and national economies. 

 NCTR was established on August 11, 1971 by President Richard Nixon. This research facility promotes and protects public health and provided critical support to Arkansas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The Arkansas Delegation recently introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to commemorate this 50th anniversary and recognize NCTR’s achievements. 

August 11, 2021

CADC TO DISTRIBUTE USDA COMMODITIES AUGUST 18 & 19, 2021 IN OUACHITA AND CALHOUN COUNTIES
The Central Arkansas Development Council will distribute USDA Commodities in Ouachita and Calhoun Counties on Wednesday, August 18 and Thursday, August 19, 2021 in Camden and Carnes Park located at 955 Adams SE in Camden 

In Calhoun County, commodities will be distributed at the CADC Office located at 210 South Lee Street in Hampton, AR.

ID must be present in order to receive commodities. All customers receiving commodities must present identification.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
 

SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM DIPS IN JULY AS LABOR SHORTAGE REMAINS BIGGEST CHALLENGE
Unfilled job openings hit a 48-year record high 
LITTLE ROCK (Aug. 10, 2021) – The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased in July to 99.7, a decrease of 2.8 points, reversing June’s 2.9-point gain. Six of the 10 components declined, three improved, and one was unchanged. The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased seven points to 76, indicating owners’ views are held with more certainty than in earlier months. 

“Small business owners are losing confidence in the strength of the economy and expect a slowdown in job creation,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “As owners look for qualified workers, they are also reporting that supply chain disruptions are having an impact on their businesses. Ultimately, owners could sell more if they could acquire more supplies and inventories from their supply chains.” 

State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith said, “The labor shortage and inconsistent supply chain are making things difficult for Arkansas’ small businesses, but owners determined to get through this.”

Other key findings include: 
Sales expectations over the next three months decreased 11 points to a net negative 4% of owners. 
Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased eight points to a net negative 20%. 
Earnings trends over the past three months decreased eight points to a net negative 13%. 

As reported in NIFB’s monthly jobs report, 49% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a 48-year record high. Owners’ plans to fill open positions remain at record high levels, with a seasonally adjusted net 27% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down one point from June’s record high reading.  

Fifty-five percent of owners reported capital outlays in the last six months, up two points from June but historically a below average reading. Of those making expenditures, 39% reported spending on new equipment, 23% acquired vehicles, and 14% improved or expanded facilities. Six percent of owners acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 11% spent money for new fixtures and furniture. Twenty-six percent of owners are planning capital outlays in the next few months. At some point, owners will have to step up capital spending to acquire and improve the quality of capital available to support new hires. 

A net 5% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down four points from June. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes declined 11 points to a net negative 4%, a stubbornly negative view but based on their realities. 

The percent of owners reporting inventory increases declined seven points to a net negative 6%. A net 12% of owners view current inventory stocks as “too low” in July, up one point from June and a 48-year record high reading. A net 6% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months, down five points from June and also a historically high reading.   

A net 46% of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising average selling prices. Unadjusted, 5% reported lower average selling prices and 52% reported higher average prices. Price hikes were the most frequent in wholesale (73% higher, 0% lower), manufacturing (61% higher, 6% lower), and retail (57% higher, 7% lower). Seasonally adjusted, a net 44% plan price hikes. This is inflation, the question is for how long? 

In July, 52% of owners reported raising average selling prices, two points higher than June. Price increases in wholesale and retail trades posted significant declines. The largest increases in price-raising activity were in the non-professional services and transportation.  

A net 38% of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, down one point from June’s record high of 39%. A net 27% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up one point from June and a 48-year record high reading.  

The frequency of reports of positive profit trends declined eight points to a net negative 13%. Among those small employers reporting lower profits, 32% blamed weaker sales, 31% cited a rise in the cost of materials, 10% cited labor costs, 7% cited lower prices, 6% cited the usual seasonal change, and 3% cited higher taxes or regulatory costs. For owners reporting higher profits, 62% credited sales volumes, 20% cited usual seasonal change, and 7% cited higher prices.  

Down from June, only 2% of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied. Twenty-three percent reported all credit needs were met and 61% said they were not interested in a loan. A net 2% reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts. One percent of owners reported that financing was their top business problem. Many small firms are still operating with PPP funds. 

 

BOOZMAN VOTES AGAINST BIDEN’S OUT-OF-CONTROL SPENDING SPREE
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after voting against President Joe Biden’s $4.2 massive spending bill:

“This reckless “budget” is a massive government overreach that will put Washington in charge of our everyday lives all while forcing hardworking Arkansans to foot the bill. On the heels of so-called COVID-19 relief, the Biden administration continues its out-of-control spending spree that will further fuel inflation and make it more difficult for Arkansans to make ends meet.

Ultimately, this bill advances a left-wing agenda that includes amnesty, the Green New Deal and enormous tax hikes that threaten the livelihoods of families, small business and agricultural producers. Arkansans rightfully reject this partisan takeover.”
 

SENATE AGREES TO BOOZMAN AMENDMENT PROTECTING RURAL AMERICANS’ ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE ENERGY  
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate adopted an amendment authored by Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, that prevents a ban on fossil fuels and supports access to affordable, reliable energy to power their farms, businesses and broadband networks in rural America. 

“I appreciate my colleagues taking a stand for rural America by supporting my amendment rejecting this harmful mandate. The push to ban fossil fuels is yet another Biden administration policy directive that punishes rural Americans. The inclusion of my amendment to the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending bill will force the administration to pursue an ‘all-of-the-above' strategy to meet the energy needs of our rural communities now and in the future,” Boozman said.  

Background 
Last year, a number of former Obama-era U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials authored the Climate 21 transition memo to guide the Biden administration’s policy objectives. This memo provided a roadmap for federal agencies to achieve the administration’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The recommendations in this memo included developing plans for retiring fossil fuel-burning power plants. 

 Boozman’s amendment prohibits the USDA from starving our rural electric providers of financing in an attempt to shutter fossil fuel-burning power plants. 

Boozman Introduces Amendment to Ensure Rural Americans Continue to Have Access to Affordable, Reliable Energy 

PROVISION BLOCKS DEMOCRAT EFFORT TO BAN FOSSIL FUELS, DAMAGE RURAL COMMUNITIES 
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, introduced an amendment to the Democrats’ reckless tax and spend bill to block attempts to ban fossil fuels which threaten rural communities’ access to affordable, reliable energy to power their farms, businesses and broadband networks. 

“While we pursue smart, responsible approaches to create new forms of sustainable energy, we must avoid mandates that jeopardize the supply of reliable, affordable energy in rural communities across the country. My amendment reinforces the need to embrace an all-of-the-above approach that encourages the responsible use of our nation’s unmatched energy resources. This is especially true for rural America, as the economic future of our rural communities continue to be endangered by this administration’s proposals,” Boozman said. 

Last year, a number of former Obama-era U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials authored the Climate 21 transition memo to guide the Biden administration’s policy objectives. This memo provided a roadmap for federal agencies to achieve the administration’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The recommendations in this memo included developing plans for retiring fossil fuel-burning power plants.  

Boozman’s amendment would prohibit the USDA from starving our rural electric providers of financing in an attempt to shutter fossil fuel-burning power plants. 
 

“The Senate agriculture committee is among those given reconciliation instructions by this bill. It is imperative that we prevent Washington from imposing mandates that put the future of rural America at risk. My amendment offers a common sense approach that will ensure the electricity needs of rural America continue to be met now and in the future,” Boozman said. 

August 10, 2021

MID-SOUTH SHIPPING COMPANY ANNOUNCES COMPANY NAME CHANGE AND NEW LOCATION
Camden, AR – GSP Pack & Ship, an industry-leading independent retail shipping company has announced today that the company will begin operating under a new name and will be known as The PACKAGE HUB™, effective immediately.  Along with this change, a newly redesigned company logo has been revealed and all of the company’s operations have moved their retail location to 117 Jefferson ST SW, Camden, AR 71701. 

“This rebranding strategy and relocation reflect both the evolution of the company as well as its vision for the future” stated a company spokesperson. 

The company had been serving the Camden community since 2000 and announced earlier this year the launch of their third-party (3PL) logistics division which added new capabilities for local, regional, and nationwide truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal, ocean, parcel, and integrated transportation management services. The improved resources, such as industry-leading transportation technology platforms, full-load planning and booking, real-time shipment visibility, and more, allows them to deliver a first-rate freight shipping  experience for their customers. Additionally, their partnership with AES Worldwide Logistics, a freight brokerage with 20 plus years of experience, allows them to leverage relationships with over 40 national, super-regional, regional, and local freight carriers to get the best possible service for their customers.

As a licensed and bonded FMCSA compliant brokerage, a member of the Camden Downtown Network, and a Premium Member of the Retail Shipping Associates, The Package Hub team is continually looking for new and innovative ways to serve their customers. For more information about The PACKAGE Hub™ and the broad array of services the company provides, give them a call at (870) 836-5273 or visit their website at www.gspship.com.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON COVID 19 UPDATE – AUGUST 10, 2021
State officials announced two new initiatives Tuesday afternoon in hopes of seeing COVID-19 vaccination rates improve among younger Arkansans.

The first will increase reimbursement rates for physicians when they administer a vaccine to a Medicaid recipient. The rate will be increased from the current rate of $40 to $100 for a two-dose complete vaccination or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the goal behind the rate increase is to increase vaccination rates by encouraging physicians to counsel Medicaid recipients towards getting the vaccine. In total, Hutchinson said only four percent of Arkansas' Medicaid population has received the vaccine.

Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key then spoke about a new campaign to be launched in Arkansas schools called "Stop the Hesitation, Get the Vaccination." The campaign will seek to encourage parents to speak with their children's healthcare providers to learn more about the vaccine and the benefits of taking it.

In all more than 1.1 million Arkansans are now fully immunized. Data from the Arkansas Department of Health shows 92 percent of the new cases detected over the past two weeks are among non-vaccinated people.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported another sizable increase in new cases Tuesday, with an additional 2,620 reported over the previous 24-hour period. In total, there have been nearly 408,000 transmissions in the state since the pandemic began. The delta variant of the virus continues to target younger Arkansans, with 19 percent of new cases among those 18 and under. That's an increase from 12 percent one year ago.

Active cases saw a net increase of 562 on Tuesday for a current total of 23,377 - one of the highest active caseloads seen so far. Over the same period deaths increased by 24 for a total of 6,346. Hospitalizations saw another rise into record territory with 1,435 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus.

SUNSTAR INSURANCE PARTNERS WITH CAMPBELL & COMPANY TO SHINE OVER ALL OF ARKANSAS
Little Rock, AR, 8/9/21 – Sunstar Insurance Group, LLC announced a new partnership with Campbell & Company Insurance that effectively blankets the entire state of Arkansas with an unrivaled, comprehensive insurance network comprised of industry veterans.

“I‘ve always heard about Campbell & Company my entire career. I am thrilled to now be associated with such a fine group of professionals,” said Andrew “A.B.” Meadors, CEO of Sunstar in Arkansas. “Jim Black and his team have built a great operation. The Sunstar model is working in Arkansas, as evidenced by our now 87 people in 12 locations across this great state.”

“I feel privileged to get to join forces with Andrew. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, especially our customers,” said Jim Black who will join the executive team of Sunstar Arkansas and work out of his office in Camden. “This allows Campbell & Company to offer our customers enhanced resources, better service and more competitive rates.”

Headquartered in Little Rock, Sunstar Arkansas now practically doubles its roster with 87 employees working from offices in Little Rock, Springdale, Jonesboro, Paragould, Camden, El Dorado, Magnolia, Hot Springs, Morrilton, Russellville, White Hall and Sheridan.

This is the seventh time Sunstar has expanded in Arkansas since Meadors joined the company in 2017.

Sunstar Insurance Group, based in Memphis, was founded in 2012 by Chairman and CEO David “Casey” Bowlin and has swiftly grown to become the 32nd largest property and casualty insurance agency in the U.S. as ranked by the industry trade magazine, Insurance Journal.

For more information, Andrew “A.B.” Meadors may be reached in the following ways. His office number is 501-225-3454. His cell number is 501-690-1818. And his e-mail address is abmeadors@sunstarins.com.

About Sunstar Insurance Group LLC
Sunstar Insurance Group was founded in 2012, in Memphis, Tennessee, by David L. "Casey" Bowlin, who serves as its Chairman and CEO. With offices in Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia and Kansas, the firm is owned by key employees and a group of outside private investors. It is managed by an Executive Committee composed of senior executives from our acquired agencies and governed by a Board of Directors. Our vision is to be recognized as the premier regional insurance agency in our market area by providing exceptional service, professional expertise, trusted advice, and competitively priced insurance products to our clients. Sunstar is the 32nd largest property and casualty insurance agency in the U.S. as ranked by the industry trade magazine, Insurance Journal. For more information, visit http://www.sunstarinsurancegroup.com.

 

SHERIFF OF FRANKLIN COUNTY, ARKANSAS FOUND GUILTY OF ASSAULTING TWO INDIVIDUALS IN CUSTODY
FORT SMITH
– A federal jury convicted the Sheriff of Franklin County, Arkansas today on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Anthony Boen, 51, of Ozark, used unreasonable force to punish pretrial detainees on two separate occasions.  On Dec. 3, 2018, Boen struck a detainee multiple times in the head with a closed fist while the detainee was sitting on the floor and shackled to a bench inside the Franklin County Jail.  On Nov. 21, 2018, Boen slammed a detainee onto the floor and ripped his hair during an interrogation.  Both detainees suffered bodily injury as a result of Boen’s actions.

“Anthony Boen swore an oath to support the United States Constitution and the State of Arkansas Constitution,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas.  “His actions clearly violated not only the civil rights of these individuals but also the trust of the people of Franklin County. Cases like this are very important to our office because they involve the most personal and basic of civil rights: the rights to be protected and unharmed while in the custody of law enforcement officers. Today’s guilty verdict shows that justice will prevail in cases where a person’s civil rights are violated. We will continue to vigorously pursue cases involving the violation of basic civil rights that should be afforded to everyone.”

“The defendant abused his power as the top law enforcement officer in Franklin County, Arkansas, by assaulting people in his custody,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute officers who abuse their authority to make clear that no one is above the law.” 

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers in the United States steadfastly protect and serve their communities,” said FBI Little Rock Special Agent in Charge James Dawson. “When officers charged with enforcing the law break their oaths and violate the rights of others, they gravely injure the public’s trust in law enforcement. Our FBI office remains committed to upholding the public’s trust by investigating all allegations of civil rights violations throughout Arkansas.”

The FBI investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon T. Carter and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer prosecuted the case.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website at www.pacer.gov.

August 09

ONE DEAD, ANOTHER WOUNDED IN WYNNE; THREE ARRESTED AS STATE POLICE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
AUGUST 6, 2021
A St. Francis County man is dead and another wounded, following a gunfight that played out along West Mulberry Street in Wynne (Cross County) late yesterday afternoon (*August 5th).

Wynne police officers found Daniel Smith, 31, of Forrest City about 5:45 PM lying next to a sport utility truck outside 321 Mulberry Street where he had died.  Officers found Douglas Miller, 32, also of Forrest City, inside the truck.  Miller was transported to a nearby hospital, treated, and later released.

Authorities within the Wynne Police Department have requested the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division to investigate the homicide.

As state police CID special agents began their investigation last night, they learned Christopher Scott, 29, of Wynne had also been in the same truck with Smith and Miller.  Agents believe the three men had driven to 529 West Mulberry Street a short time earlier where Denzel Mason, 29, of Wynne was targeted by gunfire.  Mason, who was uninjured, then pursued the truck a short distance to 321 West Mulberry where an exchange of gunfire occurred involving Mason and those in the truck.

Miller, Scott and Mason were taken into custody by state police last night on orders from the Cross County prosecuting attorney.  Earlier today Mason was charged with murder (1st degree).  Miller and Scott have been charged with charged with committing a terroristic act and criminal attempt to commit murder (1st degree).
 

ARKANSAS HUMANITIES COUNCIL OPENS MAJOR GRANT APPLICATIONS
The Arkansas Humanities Council is now accepting Major Grant applications from statewide humanities-based non-profits through September 15, 2021. Two free Zoom workshops highlighting the Major Grant application, guidelines, requirements, and process will be held on Thursday, August 19, from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Learn more and register at www.arkansashumanitiescouncil.org.

 

ARKANSAS BLUE CROSS REMINDS ARKANSANS WHO NEED HEALTH INSURANCE OF AUGUST 15 DEADLINE
American Rescue Plan special enrollment period for individuals & families ending
Little Rock, Ark. (August 9, 2021) — The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, allows for many Arkansans who are not on Medicare or who don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance to qualify for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Those who do not have a marketplace policy will have until August 15 to take advantage of this special enrollment period.

The purpose of the American Rescue Plan is to speed up the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill, which was passed by the federal government in March, lowers or eliminates health insurance premiums for many lower- and middle-income families enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace. “Enrollees may save up to 20% or more each month on premiums, for an average of savings of $50 per person per month,” said Samantha Skyrme, manager of agent marketing for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “Financial assistance may be available to people with higher incomes who did not qualify for it before.”

The percentage of income a person pays toward their Affordable Care Act plan premium will be reduced for everyone with income below 400% of the federal poverty limit. People with income equal to or higher than 400% of the federal poverty limit will be eligible for advance premium tax credits (APTC). The maximum anyone will pay for a benchmark plan will be 8.5% of their income. The federal marketplace will automatically increase advanced premium assistance September 1 for Arkansas Blue Cross marketplace policyholders who have not updated their policy since April 1.

“Since the American Rescue Plan was implemented, Arkansas Blue Cross has helped more than 20,000 Arkansans take advantage of these enhanced premium tax credits,” said Skyrme. “But you must enroll or make changes to your Health insurance Marketplace plan by August 15. Talk to an independent insurance agent or call Arkansas Blue Cross at 855-625-0376, visit an ArkansasBlue welcome center near you, or go online to arkbluecross.com/ARP.”

 

SAAC TO OFFER CORKS AND CANVAS ON AUGUST 19
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites you to uncork your creativity at the August Corks and Canvas art class!  This month’s Corks and Canvas class is being led by local artist Marla Tomlinson and will be held on Thursday, August 19 from 6-9pm. This will be a fun-filled night of painting and collaging that is designed for people who have always wanted to try their hand at art and also have some fun along the way.  

 Corks and Canvas classes have something for everyone from the newbie to the seasoned artist. Enjoy a time of relaxation with your friends re-creating the featured painting of the night. Paints, brushes, and all the supplies are provided, and an experienced local artist will lead you step-by-step through the process of completing a work of art in three hours.

 This month, our artist Marla has chosen a multi-media project where you will use watercolors, acrylics, and pencils to create fun and festive 2-dimensional cactuses!  This is one project that certainly won’t leave you feeling prickly. In fact, each participant will go home after the class with their own cactus creation. Now, that’s pretty fly for a cacti! 

No experience is needed. Just come and have a fun night with friends!  SAAC will be providing individually wrapped snacks and all supplies needed to create your masterpieces.  Participants are welcome to bring their own drink of choice.

Get ready to have a fun night with friends. You can register for the hands on workshop on SAAC’s website, www.saac-arts.org or call the office at 870-862-5474.  Limit of 10 participants. The workshop fee is $40.

 SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.
 

LOCAL ARTIST ANN TRIMBLE HAS NEW EXHIBIT AT SAAC
The South Arkansas Arts Center is proud to once again host local artist Ann Trimble and her newest exhibit entitled "A Collection of Portraits and Kaleidoscopes", which will hang in the Merkle and Price Galleries through August 30, with an artist's reception to be held on August 13, 5:30-7:00pm.

Born and raised in El Dorado, Ann developed a love of painting at an early age. She started art lessons at five years old, and while she used to describe herself as strictly an "abstract artist," she still discovers her style evolving today. Whether it's a portrait commission, a funky piece of clothing, an exciting wallpaper pattern, a landscape photograph or some incredible interior design full of color, Ann creates her own interpretation onto a canvas. Life always throws a new adventure, opportunity, or idea, so she feels an obligation to explore and create everything she finds meaningful.

After earning her BA in Film & Media Arts from Southern Methodist University she worked in Los Angeles in both film and television casting and talent management, all while continuing to paint on the side. Ann returned to Arkansas in 2017, and shifted her focus to painting full time.

‘I think it's safe to say there's just "a lot" going on in this show - both to the eye and the varying subject matter," said Trimble. "After showing in the SAAC lobby twice before, this is my first show in the Price and Merkle Galleries, so I think I felt some self-induced pressure to create a show based around one concept and have some grand story about how I came up with these ideas to tie them all together. While there are varying concepts in this show - kaleidoscope pattern paintings and funky, bright portraits all with varying subject matter- I guess the show can be summed up as a showcase of the new direction my work, focus, and abilities have both changed and evolved into over the last few years.

"Probably my favorite piece in this show is one of my personal pieces and that's of Marie Antoinette. It was the largest portrait I'd completed up to that point and I remember thinking to myself ‘wow, I'm super proud that I could do that.' I think many artists would agree that we go through varying degrees of self-doubt about our work at one point or another, so that portrait was a real turning point for me and my self-confidence. On another note, after finishing her piece of cake in the painting I realized that treats are just downright fun to create, so the cake kaleidoscope painting comes in a close second to my favorite piece."

Gallery viewing hours are Monday- Friday, 9-5pm. For more information on this stunning exhibit, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the SAAC website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

August 06, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET IN REGULAR SESSION
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, City Hall is continuing to social distance and you are asked to wear your masks.

The Agenda is as follows:
A. Call To Order
B. Invocation – Rev. Greg Nettles, Pastor - Bethel AME Church, 515 Madison Are. NE Camden, Arkansas 
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. Approval Of Minutes
     1. Minutes Of Special Called Meeting July 20, 2021
     2. Minutes Of Regular Meeting July 13, 2021
F. Acceptance of Financial Report
    1. Financial Report for July 2021
G. Audience Participation
H. Mayor’s Report
    1. David Richardson, Camden Water Utilities Manager – Biannual Water And Sewer
 I. Old Business
    1. Ordinance No. 06-21, An Ordinance Amending Camden Code Section 2-51 (Ordinance Numbers 576, 3-89 And 8-96) Regarding Purchases Up To One Thousand Dollars, And For Other Purposes.
J. New Business
     1. Resolution No. 47-21, A Resolution Approving The Repair Of The Transfer Station Compactor In The Sanitation
Division Of The Public Works Department.
K. Other Business
L.  Adjournment

THREE ARKANSAS STUDENTS WIN $15,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES SPONSOR YOUTH TOUR COMMUNITY SERVICE CONTEST
Little Rock, Ark. — Aug. 6, 2021 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas recently awarded Evan Cates of Perryville, Chloe Miller of Cabot and Elliott Ruegsegger of Norfork with $5,000 scholarships for their community service projects as part of the 2021 Washington, D.C. Youth Tour.

Cates, who represented First Electric Cooperative, dedicated 45 hours to restore and clean 20 headstones at the Ada Valley Cemetery. His project inspired others to clean grave markers in accordance with Cemetery Conservators Standards and make the project a long-term effort in the Ada Valley community.

First Electric Youth Tour Delegate Miller organized a Cabot Public Schools tennis fundraiser that benefited Lonoke County Safe Haven which provides shelter for those affected by domestic violence. Her 30-hour project involved 20 team members, food vendors, entertainment and videography which was a success despite many challenges.

Norfork Student Elliott Ruegsegger, a North Arkansas Electric Cooperative representative, spent more than 22 hours to establish a local high school track team practice facility. The school does not have track facilities and must travel to another school to practice on Sundays. He plans to continue his fundraising efforts in the future to acquire hurdles that will be used on the practice track.

 Other Youth Tour students, their respective electric cooperative sponsor and community projects were:
Brodi Kremer – Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative; Holy Redeemer Church Family Life Center – Landscape Restoration;
Ashton Jernigan – Craighead Electric Cooperative; Options on Main Pregnancy Resource Center Fundraiser;
Carly Shiver – Ashley-Chicot Electric Cooperative; Project Rice, Hamburg Food Pantry;
Elizabeth Ennis – Clay County Electric Cooperative; Corning Outreach Ministries Fundraiser;
Heath Williams – Ozarks Electric Cooperative; Farmington Middle School Library Construction;
Sophia Townsend – Clay County Electric Cooperative; City of Reyno Park Cleanup;
William Carter – Southwest Electric Cooperative; Haven Homes Fellowship Room Renovation;
Samera Orrantia – Craighead Electric Cooperative; Lawrence County Cemetery Cleanup;
Andretti Shears, Jr. – Woodruff Electric Cooperative; Teach for America Temporary Housing Project;
Allison Brown – Clay County Electric Cooperative; Thomas O’Marr Park Clean-up in Pocahontas;
Kenzie Blanchard – Clay County Electric Cooperative; Corning Community Garden

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides various services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 600,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.

ARKANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION AND CLINTON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCE 2ND PUBLIC SERVICE ACADEMY
The Arkansas Bar Association and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, in association with UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law and the University of Arkansas School of Law, announce the 2nd Public Service Academy for member lawyers and law students who are interested in public service in any capacity.

The Public Service Academy will be limited to approximately 25 diverse, statewide participants including law students. Applications for the Public Service Academy are due September 3rd and can be found at www.arkbar.com/cle--events/public-service-academy. There will be a $100 fee for those selected. Scholarships are available upon request.

The selected applicants will participate in two sessions; one in Little Rock (November 12-13, 2021) and one in Fayetteville (February 18-19, 2022).

The Public Service Academy is chaired by Nate Looney, co-chair of the inaugural Public Service Academy, and Michael Goswami; with assistance from vice-chairs Skye Martin and Madhav Shroff, graduates of the inaugural class of Public Service Academy.

The steering committee includes former Chief Justice Howard Brill, Vincent Foster Professor of Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility at the U of A School of Law; Circuit Judge Earnest Brown; House Speaker Matthew Shepherd; and Maggie Benson, co-chair of the inaugural Public Service Academy.

The Public Service Academy is sponsored by the University of Arkansas Law School, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School Law, Rose Law Firm, Brian Rosenthal, as well as the Civil Litigation and the Government Practice Sections of the Arkansas Bar Association.

Founded in 1898, the Arkansas Bar Association is the premier legal association in the state. As a voluntary organization of more than 5,000 members, the Association’s primary mission is to support attorneys; advance the practice of law; advocate for the legal profession; foster professionalism, civility, and integrity; and protect the rule of law.

TWO ARKANSAS MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO DAMAGING HISTORIC MINES IN BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER ILLEGALLY DUG CRYSTALS TO SELL AT ALPENA ROCK SHOP
FORT SMITH, Ark.—Two men pleaded guilty last week to felony violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, in connection with their illegal excavations of archaeological sites in the Historic Rush Mining District of Buffalo National River, and the sale of stolen geological and mineral specimens at a store in Alpena. U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III presided over the July 27 change-of-plea hearings, in which Nathan Bradford LeMay, 35, of Hot Springs Village, and Justin Charles Baird, 32, of Hot Springs, each pleaded guilty to the first count of the three-count indictment in which both were named.

According to court documents, on multiple occasions in 2015 and 2016, LeMay and Baird traveled to the Historic Rush Mining District, in Marion County, Arkansas, to dig for mineral and geological specimens to sell at LeMay’s business, Alpena Crystals. The pair’s plans went awry on Feb. 14, 2016, when a U.S. Park Ranger observed them camped in Buffalo National River, which is a United States National Park.

Noticing evidence of their excavations, the Ranger obtained consent to search their campsite and vehicles, recovering digging tools and containers of geological specimens. Two days later, officers were sent to several mines in the area to assess whether or not they had been entered. The Monte Cristo Mine, a gated, locked and controlled mine along Clabber Creek, was observed to have been broken into. Trash, water bottles and other items were located both just inside and outside this mine. On the Rush Creek side of the same mountain, drag marks in high grass, from the Morning Star/Ben Carney Mine, down to Rush Creek and the parking lot, indicated large heavy objects had been dragged down the mountain to the parking area.

A subsequent investigation by the National Park Service, assisted by local law enforcement and the Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, established the full extent of the pair’s illegal excavations. LeMay and Baird had excavated and damaged 22 areas within those mines, removing mineral and geological materials, and damaging the historic sites—which add to the knowledge of the mining community in the Ozarks as the industry transitioned from crude mining techniques to modern methods.  Dr. Caven Clark, an archaeologist with the National Park Service, now retired, conducted a resource damage assessment, determining that the cost of restoration and repair to the site was approximately $22,241.

Both men were indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2020. In addition to violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, which prohibits excavating, damaging, altering and defacing archaeological sites and resources, both men were also charged with theft of U.S. property and damage to government property. On February 10, 2021, LeMay was arrested at his residence, in Hot Springs Village, and was later released on a cash bond pending trial. Baird self-surrendered to authorities and was arraigned on April 16, 2021. Before they announced their intentions to plead guilty, the case had been scheduled to be tried beginning on July 26.

As a result of their guilty pleas both LeMay and Baird face up to two years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Additionally, both men have agreed to pay $22,241 in restitution as a shared obligation. The court will determine their sentences at a later date, after reviewing pre-sentence investigation reports prepared by the U.S. Probation Office, and considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The case was investigated by special agents of National Park Service, Investigative Services Branch, and U.S. Park Rangers at Buffalo National River, with the assistance of the Boone County, Ark. Sheriff’s Office, Eureka Springs Police Department, and the Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY STEVEN MOHLHENRICH PROSECUTED THE CASE FOR THE UNITED STATES.THE HISTORIC RUSH MINING DISTRICT
Located within the Buffalo National River is a designated historical district known as the Historic Rush Mining District, a 1316-acre former zinc mining district located on the lower Buffalo River and two of its tributaries, Rush Creek and Clabber Creek. It is a remnant industrial landscape with the remains of both open-pit and underground zinc mines, processing facilities, and worker housing. Waste rock piles form a dominant feature of the landscape. Within this district, are dozens of historic and archaeological sites and mines, including the Monte Cristo, Ben Carney, and Morning Star mines. The Rush Historic District buildings and structures, through isolation, have retained their historic design features and use and convey the sense of a turn-of-the century mining operation and Ozarks community. The ruins and archaeological sites fill in the community layout and add to the knowledge of historic mining techniques and mining community construction; they retain and contribute to the feeling of the widespread activity of this once bustling Ozarks mining community. The Rush Historic District portrays the story of the zinc mining industry in the Ozarks as the industry moved from crude mining techniques to modern methods.

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act
The National Park Service wishes to remind the public that all public lands are protected by federal law and regulation. In 1979, the Congress found that archaeological resources on public and Indian lands are an irreplaceable part of the Nation’s heritage. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 makes it a violation of federal law to excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface any archaeological resource located on public (federal) or Indian (Native American) lands, or attempt to do so. If convicted of a felony, penalties include up to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. Subsequent violations are punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

SECURITIES COMMISSIONER ORDERS STOP TO FRAUDULENT, UNREGISTERED ACTIVITY
Little Rock, Ark. (August 5, 2021) - The Arkansas Securities Commissioner Eric P. Munson entered a Cease-and-Desist Order against MyCapitaltradeFX.com (“MyCapital”) for promoting fraudulent investment plans and using fraudulent means to target Arkansas investors. In addition to MyCapital, Commissioner Munson found that several other online platforms were operating a similar scheme. The platforms are: Blinkotrade.com (“Blinko”), FidelityFXtrade.com (“FidelityFX”), Climaxcapitalfx.com (“Climax”), BitFX24.net (“BitFX”), Digitaltrademine.net (“Digital”), CentralFXmarkets.com (“CentralFX”) TraderFXpro247.com (“TraderFX”), and Funditmarkets.com (“Fundit”).

The Order found that all nine of the above-mentioned platforms were operating illegal schemes to advertise, hype and sell fraudulent cryptocurrency and forex investments. To accomplish the scheme, the platforms disguised their intentions by offering investors the option to choose between different types of investment plans. The platforms promised that investors would receive high returns without them having to do anything. Additionally, MyCapital utilized a fake online persona to defraud an Arkansas investor into investing money.

The Order also found that the nine platforms were claiming to be registered with certain licensing companies when in fact they were not. This tactic is used by bad actors to give the illusion that the activities and products they are promoting are legitimate and properly regulated.

“We are seeing a rise in cases where these bad actors are using online platforms to encourage people to start trading in cryptocurrencies,” said Commissioner Eric Munson. “Investors need to be cautious of the common ‘red flags’ we are seeing associated with these types of scams. Investors should look out for items such as promises of high returns, different level investment plans, and promises by firms to do trading on their behalf.” Commissioner Munson also advises investors to contact any licensing companies that appear on platforms to verify the legitimacy of the platform.

Investors are encouraged to investigate before they invest. Investors should contact the Arkansas Securities Department with questions about any investment opportunity or the persons offering it for sale before investing in the product. Contact 1-800-981-4429 to report suspected fraud, inappropriate securities business practices or to obtain consumer information.

A copy of the Cease-and-Desist Order is available on the Arkansas Securities Department’s website at www.securities.arkansas.gov.

August 05, 2021

2021 CENTRAL ARKANSAS SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
Theme:  Participating in the Progress II:  Helping Small Businesses Get in the Game.
Providing small and emerging business owners with the skills, tools and contacts needed to create and grow their enterprises and better engage in job creation activities are the goals of an upcoming business conference to be held via Zoom, with a small on-site audience in Little Rock, Arkansas. Funded primarily by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) and Arkansas Human Development Corporation (AHDC), the 2021 Central Arkansas Small Business Development Conference, with a theme of “Participating in the Progress II:  Helping Small Businesses Get in the Game” will bring together approximately 20 private, quasi-state, state, federal, non-profit, and international organizations with a singular focus of equipping existing and aspiring entrepreneurs with the resources to start and grow their businesses.

Hosted by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, AHDC, ASBTDC, Arkansas Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (APTAC), Center for Healing Hearts and Spirits, Greater Second Baptist Church, Mexican Consul, Saint Mark Baptist Church, U.S. Small Business Administration, Urban League of Arkansas and USDA, Rural Development, the conference will be held Friday, August 13, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. via Zoom.  Up to 35 participants, including some presenters, and preferably those who’ve received one of the Covid-19 vaccines, will be able to participate from a physical location in the State Office of the Cooperative Extension Service, located at 2301 S. University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72204. Social distancing, temperature checks, masks, and release forms will be required. Topics will include building strategic relationships, exploring and securing the right kind of capital, how to sell goods and services to the government, the basics of personal finance, and how to use the many services of the ASBTDC to begin and enhance your business.

Join us at 8:30 a.m. for a “Breakfast with the Lenders Roundtable,” where conference participants will network with local, regional and statewide lenders. Lenders currently confirmed to participate include: Arkansas Capital Corporation Group; Communities Unlimited; First Security Bank; FORGE; RMI, Inc.; Simmons Bank; Stone Bank; and, USDA, RD B&I. The Lenders Roundtable will be facilitated by Mr. Herb Lawrence, Lender Relations Specialist, Arkansas District Office, U.S. Small Business Administration.

A diverse panel of small business owners including, but not limited to: Mr. Dedrick Davis, owner of Mr. Davis Pickles, LLC; Mr. Enrique Fuentevilla, CEO, Cinco Media & Communications Group LLC; and, Mrs. Carmen Portillo, owner of Cocoa Belle Chocolates will make luncheon presentations. This panel will be facilitated by Ms. Joyce Raynor, CEO, Center for Healing Hearts & Spirits.

Don’t miss this opportunity to help your community create needed JOBS by acquiring the resources to help your small business GROW! AND, INNOVATE!

AN INVESTMENT OF TIME IS THE COST TO ATTEND BUT REGISTRATION IS ENCOURAGED. 

You may register by calling Arkansas Human Development Corporation toll free at (800) 482-7641 or (501) 374-1103, ext. 10 or online at bit.ly/3ijOqPO (case sensitive).

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES INTENT TO GRANT EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY
Rosston Man Included
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to grant 9 pardons. An additional 55 clemency requests were denied and zero had no action taken upon them. 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:

Keilon J. Bunn (North Little Rock): Theft of Property (A Misdemeanor) (CWC-15-4181).
This notice is issued based on the dates of conviction (2015 – 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.

John D. Glover (North Little Rock): Theft of Property (Felony) (CR 92-156).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1992 – 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.

Damian B. Henderson (Collierville, TN): Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell or Deliver: Marijuana (C Felony) (CR 2002-53).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2002 – 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.

David R. Hoover (Mansfield): Violation of Act 590 of 1971 (Possession of Marijuana, Class IV Controlled Substance, with Intent to Deliver) (Felony) (CR-77-143).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1977 – 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.

Thomas W. Massey. Jr. (Rosston): Breaking or Entering (D Felony) and Theft of Property (C Felony) (CR 96-22) and Breaking or Entering (Revocation) (D Felony) and Theft of Property (Revocation) (C Felony) (CR 96-22).
This notice is issued based on the date of convictions (1996 – Hempstead County and 2000 – Hempstead 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.

Levi Roy, III (Little Rock): Possess/Intent to Deliver Controlled Substance, to-wit: Cocaine (Y Felony) (CR 2004-943).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2004 – Faulkner County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

Barbara A. Small-Dorn (Pine Bluff): Forgery 2nd Degree, 2 counts (C Felony) (CR-97-003837) and Residential Burglary (B Felony) and Theft of Property (B Felony) (CR-98-718).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1997 – Pulaski County and 1998 – Jefferson 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.

Cinda Thomas (Paragould): Possessing Instrument of Crime (A Misdemeanor) (CR-2001-74) and Furnishing Prohibited Article (C Felony) (CR-2007-645).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (2001 – Mississippi County and 2007 – Craighead 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.

Felix Wilcots, Jr. (Grand Prairie, TX): Delivery of Marijuana, 2 counts (C Felony) (CR-98-177-1) and Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver (C Felony) (CR-98-197-1).
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1998 – Jefferson County), the fact that all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further felony criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application

CAMDEN A&P COMMISSION TO MEET IN SPECIAL SESSION
The Camden Advertising and Promotion Committee will meet in Special Session on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 At 3:00 P.M. In the Council Chambers of The Municipal Building.

The Agenda is as follows”
Welcome
Old business
None

New business
1.  Additional funds for Christmas Decorations
2.   Research conclusions

RUTLEDGE FILES LAWSUIT SEEKING ARKANSAS BUSINESS’S MONEY FROM WIRE FRAUD HACK
ITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed a lawsuit to recover a Jonesboro company’s money following an online hack. A scam artist fraudulently hacked into email correspondence between Nitrogen Solutions LLC, a Jonesboro company, and Copper Tip Entergy Services USA LLC, a North Dakota company. The hackers infiltrated Nitrogen Solutions’s email system and sent fraudulent payment instructions to Copper Tip. Copper Tip’s employee believed they were wiring $55,072.58 to Nitrogen Solutions, however the money was sent to a JP Morgan Chase Bank account set up by the scam artist.

”These scammers are savvy and are constantly looking for new cons to steal money from hard-working Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “My office works diligently with financial institutions and state and federal law enforcement agencies to stay informed about new and changing tactics scammers are using to take people’s money. Please contact my office if you, or someone you know, may have been a victim of a scam such as this, and let my office do the fighting for you.”

When Nitrogen Solutions discovered it had not yet received the funds, it contacted Copper Tip and discovered the fraud. Nitrogen Solutions filed a complaint with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office where it was then discovered the scam artist had opened an account in a California resident’s name, who was completely unaware of the scam. Since neither Nitrogen Solutions nor Copper Tip were Chase customers, Chase refused to discuss the transaction with them. The lawsuit seeks an order allowing Chase Bank to immediately release the money to Nitrogen Solutions, the rightful owner

For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

FOUR ARKANSAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR STATE SEMI-FINALISTS NAMED 
LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key recognized four Arkansas teachers today who were named 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year State Semi-Finalists. During the ceremony held at the Governor’s Mansion, 12 regional finalists also were honored. 

“Congratulations to the four teachers recognized today,” Key said. “In light of the most recent unprecedented school year, I want to thank all educators for their commitment to their students. These four teachers recognized today are among some of the best educators around this state and represent the hard work and professionalism exhibited whether students learned in person or virtually. Thank you for serving as role models for your students, your fellow educators, and your communities.”

The state semi-finalists listed below each received a medallion and an additional $1,000 prize provided by the Walton Family Foundation. As a regional finalist, they also received a certificate and a $1,000 prize. 

Allison Dolan
Social Studies, Grades 9-12
Don Tyson School of Innovation
Springdale School District
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Jil’Lana Heard
Library Media Specialist, Grades 10-12
Lake Hamilton High School
Lake Hamilton School District
Dawson Education Service Cooperative

Vickie Lewis
English, Math, Reading, Science, & Social Studies, Grades 6-8
NewStart Academy ALE
Wynne School District
Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative

Jessica Saum
Special Education, Grades K-4
Stagecoach Elementary School
Cabot School District
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

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 ATOY selection committee will conduct site visits for each of the four state semi-finalists, with the 2022 ATOY named this fall. The ATOY will be eligible to become the 2022 National Teacher of the Year.

To learn more about the ATOY program, visit https://bit.ly/3jiLkL2.

August 04, 2021

NFIB: BACK-TO-SCHOOL TAX HOLIDAY A TIME TO SUPPORT SMALL, LOCAL BUSINESSES
LITTLE ROCK (Aug. 4, 2021) -- NFIB State Executive Director Sylvester Smith says the upcoming back-to-school sales tax holiday is a good opportunity for people to support local businesses still recovering from the COVID-19 economic downturn. Arkansas’ sales tac holiday on clothes and school supplies in August 7th and 8th.  

“Arkansas’ economy is doing a lot better than it was a year ago, but a lot of employers are still recovering from the drop in sales caused by the pandemic,” Smith said. “Shopping small this weekend can make a big difference to small businesses and help them keep the doors open and keep people employed.” 

Small businesses account for 99.3% of all employers in the state and employ 47.6% of the state’s workforce, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. A study by American Express found that 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stays in the community and creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity as employees and owners purchase local goods and services. 

The National Federation of Independent Business is the nation's leading small business advocacy organization. To learn more about NFIB in Arkansas, visit www.NFIB.com/AR.

About NFIB
For more than 75 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit NFIB.com.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON COVID PRESS CONFERENCE – August 03, 2021
State officials are hopeful vaccination rates are increasing with an additional 30,000 Arkansans receiving their first COVID-19 vaccine dose over just a 24-hour period.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said demand for the vaccine saw a large increase between Monday and Tuesday, in line with a dramatic rise in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths across Arkansas. 

During a press conference on Tuesday, Hutchinson added state legislators approved the public health emergency declaration announced by the governor last week.

Hutchinson stressed the state is not considering any vaccine requirements or renewed mask mandates. However, Hutchinson said he is asking the state legislature to amend Act 1002 to provide school districts with local control over how they implement COVID-related guidelines and requirements. Passed in April, Act 1002 prohibits any public entity in Arkansas, including local governments and school districts, from issuing such requirements. The legislature is meeting Wednesday to vote on the amendment. 

Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero also spoke at Tuesday's press conference on how the virus is increasingly targeting children in Arkansas. 

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 2,343 new cases of COVID-19 across the state on Tuesday for a cumulative total of over 391,000 cases since the pandemic began. Active cases rose by 577 to total 19,499 currently. Deaths increased by 16 for a total of over 6,200. Hospitalizations rose by 30 to leave 1,250 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus.


HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE BUSINESSMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO NOT PAYING EMPLOYMENT TAXES AND FAILURE TO FILE A TAX RETURN
HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—A Hot Springs Village business owner pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of willfully failing to pay over employment taxes and one count of failing to file a tax return.

Chief U.S. District Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the plea hearing, in which Donald Lee Owen, 61, waived indictment by a grand jury and pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with violating two different federal statutes.

According to court documents, Owen owned and operated National Golf Classics, Inc. also known as All American Classics, located in Hot Springs Village. The company produced sports memorabilia for use in charity auctions and conducted charity auctions. From 2010 through 2018, Owen’s company paid wages to employees and withheld employment taxes from those wages. These taxes included federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare, also known as the "trust fund" taxes. Owen hired an accounting firm to calculate the taxes due and to prepare the IRS Forms 941, Employers Quarterly Federal Tax Return, for reporting those taxes to the IRS. However, Owens did not actually file those forms with the IRS, as he was required to do, nor did he pay over the employment taxes due to the IRS.

From 2010 through 2018, Owen willfully failed to file Forms 941 with the IRS, and to pay the at least $818,158 in employment taxes to the IRS, despite having ample funds to do so.

Court documents also reveal that during the period when the employment taxes were due to be paid to the IRS, Owen chose to pay millions of dollars to his company’s creditors, $800 per month for a tract of real estate having nothing to do with the company and transferred $1,000 per month to a family member to pay his share on a cabin they were buying on the Buffalo River.

In addition, Owen failed to pay $430,000 of the employer portions of the employment taxes and Federal Unemployment Tax Act taxes. Owen also failed to pay $169,883 to the state of Arkansas that were withheld from his employees' wages. This negatively impacted multiple employees who did not receive credit with the Social Security Administration for wages earned and taxes withheld. At the same time, Owen used the additional funds to support a lavish lifestyle, including purchasing and improving a luxury home in Hot Springs Village, buying 32.6 acres in Newton County, a cabin on the Buffalo River, a 2017 GMC Yukon SUV for which he paid $64,206, and a 2016 39-foot Tiffin Allegro recreational vehicle with a list price of $188,099.

When audited by the Arkansas Department of Finance on two occasions—on September 19, 2013 and on July 19, 2018—Owen falsely told the auditors he did not have regular employees, but instead used family and friends to help him during busy season. However, when approached by employees who had not received credit with the Social Security Administration for wages earned and employment taxes withheld, Owen admitted he had not reported or paid over the employment taxes to the IRS.

Owen’s second charge relates to his willful failure to file a personal federal income tax return for the year 2018. Owen acknowledged he knew he was required to file a tax return and that he willfully failed to do so. Additionally, Owen failed to file and pay $301,544 of his federal and $69,405 of his Arkansas state personal income taxes for the years 2008 through 2018. Finally, Owen also failed to file and his company’s federal corporate income taxes for the years 2014 through 2018.

As a result of his guilty plea, Owen may be sentenced to a maximum of six years in prison. The court will determine his sentence at a later date, after reviewing a pre-sentence investigation report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office and considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mohlhenrich is prosecuting the case for the United States.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website at www.pacer.gov.

 

COTTON INTRODUCES AMENDMENT TO INFRASTRUCTURE BILL TO ALLOW FISH FARMERS TO PROTECT PONDS FROM PREDATORY BIRD
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) introduced the Cormorant Relief Act as an amendment to the infrastructure package being considered on the Senate floor. This amendment would fully restore the ability of catfish farmers and other aquaculture producers to cull predatory double-crested cormorant populations. It would also restore U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations to allow producers to fight the cormorants, which threaten the livelihoods of aquaculture operations in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and other states.

"Double-crested cormorants pose a significant threat to Arkansas's fish farmers, but unnecessary regulation currently prevents them from taking additional steps to protect their ponds. This amendment would once again give fish farmers the ability to adequately defend their fish populations from the birds that are eating into their bottom line," said Cotton.

Background:
Cormorant populations have increased dramatically in recent decades to an estimated 1,031,757 birds. These large water birds that feast primarily on fish cause substantial damage and disruption to aquaculture and fishery operations. Ironically, efficient production practices by fish farmers make the ponds highly susceptible to bird predation, particularly by cormorants.

A two-year study published in 2012 of double-crested cormorant feeding on farm-raised catfish in Mississippi during the winter months found that cormorant depredation represents an annual estimated economic loss of $34.3 million to $73.4 million. A Government Accountability Office report noted: “Fish-eating birds (e.g., cormorants, herons, egrets, and pelicans) can cause severe damage at aquaculture farms, eating catfish, crawfish, salmon, bass, trout, and ornamental fish. According to a USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) survey of catfish producers from 15 states, 69 percent reported some wildlife-caused losses, with a financial loss of $12.5 million to wildlife predation in 1996.” Absent a proper aquaculture depredation order many fish farms will continue to face significant economic losses.

BOOZMAN: BIDEN’S RECKLESS SPENDING THREATENS ARKANSAS FARMERS AND RANCHERS
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, continues to call on President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats to abandon their reckless tax and spending spree that leaves hardworking Arkansas agriculture producers to foot the bill.

“These payfors would be devastating to American agriculture,” Boozman said about the plans that would burden farmers and ranchers.

Boozman has been leading the fight against tax code changes proposed by the White House to pay for a wish list of partisan priorities. The senator highlighted an analysis by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University that shows the president’s proposed inheritance tax changes would impact family farms and ranches. Researchers found that nearly 98 percent of family farms surveyed would be hit with an additional tax liability of more than $720,000.

Boozman has called Biden’s proposals a “massive burden on farmers and ranchers” and an “unfair hit to family farmers.” He has also joined Republican Senators in a letter urging the administration to withdraw its effort to impose a capital gains tax increase on family-owned businesses, farms and ranches. 

August 03, 2021

EDUCATION PAYS PROGRAM CONTINUES AT SAU TECH
Camden, AR-Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech) is pleased to announce the continuation of Education Pays, a pilot program through the Arkansas Division of Higher Education via the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative. SAU Tech started participation in the Education Pays Program in January 2021 and is approved to continue for the fall semester.

The Education Pays program augments the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative by adding incentives along the educational journey for adult students. Education Pays includes cash for enrollment and progression towards a degree or certification and completion of a credential. The program is for students who already meet the requirements for the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative and meet the following additional requirements:
Household income less than 150% of the federal poverty level
$32,940 for a family of 3
Have a child under the age of 21 who resides with you
Must be enrolled in at least six course credit hours or an approved non-credit program
Must maintain satisfactory progress:
For Credit: 2.0 GPA (minimum) for coursework taken during the semester
Non-credit: satisfactory progress certified by the student’s instructor

Dr. Edward Rice, SAU Tech’s Vice Chancellor for Student Services, supervises the program’s operation and had this to say. “Education Pays is an additional component to the Career Pathways program that will assist in removing barriers and helping students reach their educational goals. These programs are great for adults with children who are looking to go to college for the first time or to return to college to complete a degree or certification. It is a program that empowers the student by providing funds for expenses not traditionally covered by scholarships such as childcare, transportation, textbooks, and now, incentives to get started and work hard to complete.” Dr. Jason Morrison, SAU Tech’s Chancellor, says that he is excited about what the program brings to the table for students who typically struggle to earn a degree. The Education Pays and Career Pathways Initiative helps level the playing field for deserving adults to change their lives and the lives of their families by earning a degree.

For more information on Arkansas Career Pathways and the Education Pays initiatives, call 870-574-4704 or email SAU Tech’s CPI Director, LaTonya Reed, at lreed@sautech.edu. SAU Tech’s fall semester starts on August 18, and students can enroll until August 20.

The Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) is an education and training initiative administered by the Arkansas Division of Higher Education (ADHE) at Arkansas two-year colleges, which is designed to enable low-income parents to acquire the degrees and credentials required to obtain and hold jobs in selected high-demand, high wage industries. The CPI model was first initiated in Arkansas in 2003, when the Arkansas Community College association, the Southern Good Faith Fund (SGFF), and the Governor’s Office, with a grant from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, piloted the first career pathways effort to develop a strategy for improving educational attainment for low-income and low-skilled adults in partnership with Southeast Arkansas College in Pine Bluff. The model was unique in that it focused on non-traditional students by combining extensive student support, developmental education offerings, and a focus on high-wage and/or high-demand occupations. Following the pilot, the state TANF agency, the Arkansas Transitional Employment Assistance Program (TEA), in partnership with ADHE, replicated the program at ten additional two-year colleges throughout the state. The initiative became codified by state mandate in 2005 under the state’s Department of Workforce Services (DWS), and by 2007 had expanded to an additional 11 two-year college sites and three technical college campuses affiliated with four-year universities, for a total of 25 campuses statewide.

 

BOOZMAN CHAMPIONS LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE VETERAN ACCESS TO BREAST CANCER SCREENING & CARE CONTINUES SUPPORT FOR STRENGTHENING VA SERVICES FOR WOMEN VETERANS
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) continues leading legislative efforts to improve Department of Veterans (VA) Affairs health care for women veterans. The senator is spearheading a bipartisan effort to expand access to high-quality breast cancer screening and life-saving care for veterans with the recent introduction of the Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act.

“The VA is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the fight against breast cancer. By harnessing the research and technology available nationwide, the Department can be better-suited to address the needs of breast cancer patients across the country. Upgrading the VA’s breast cancer imaging capability and expanding its services is key to prevention and treatment,” Boozman said. “I’m pleased to continue our commitment to ensuring veterans have access to the best cancer care available and build on the momentum of the landmark Deborah Sampson Act so we can provide women veterans with the VA resources and specialty care they need.”

The MAMMO for Veterans Act would require the VA to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services, create a telemammography pilot program for veterans in areas where VA does not offer in-house mammography and expand veterans’ access to clinical trials through partnerships with the National Cancer Institute. 

The legislation would also require the VA to upgrade all in-house breast imaging to 3D mammography, which is considered the gold standard imaging technology. It would also direct the VA to expand partnerships for clinical trials and research on breast cancer care and emphasize improving access to care for women veterans, rural veterans and disabled and paralyzed veterans.

Boozman joined Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) as well as Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in introducing this legislation. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee members Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) and Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) are leading a companion bill in the House of Representatives.  

Numerous Veterans Service Organizations praised congressional efforts to improve and expand veterans’ access to critical breast cancer screening and treatment. The legislation has the support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Military Officers Association of America and the National Rural Health Association.

Boozman’s leadership on this legislation continues his commitment to expanding VA services to women veterans. This follows unanimous passage of Boozman’s Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee last week. His legislation would require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

These legislative efforts build on the Deborah Sampson Act, a bipartisan initiative to eliminate barriers to care and services that many women face when accessing VA benefits championed, by Boozman and signed into law by President Trump in January 2021.


HOEVEN, BOOZMAN STATEMENT AFTER SENATE AG APPROPRIATIONS ADVANCES BILL WITH $7 BILLION IN DISASTER ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS AND RANCHERS
Ranking Members Continue Working Together to Provide Producers with Support to Overcome Natural Disasters
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, and Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, released the following statements after working to include more than $7 billion in disaster assistance to help farmers and ranchers with losses due to drought and other natural disasters as part of the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which was approved by the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee today.

As the ranking member of Senate Agriculture Appropriations, Hoeven was responsible for crafting the legislation and worked with Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Boozman on the disaster assistance provisions. Specifically, the more than $7 billion includes:

$6.28 billion for disaster assistance to aid producers who suffered losses due to droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other qualifying natural disasters in calendar year 2020 and 2021.

$750 million for livestock producers for losses incurred during 2021 due to drought or wildfire. This disaster assistance will build on top of existing farm bill programs for livestock producers.

The legislation will now go to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

“With many of our farmers and ranchers facing a severe drought and other natural disasters, we worked to include more than $7 billion in this year’s agriculture appropriations bill, including $750 million for livestock producers. This will help to cover losses and keep our producers in the game as they overcome these challenges,” said Hoeven. “Ranking Member Boozman and I have been working together to provide our producers with the necessary support to overcome disasters, including severe drought, wildfire and flooding, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to do all we can to support our farmers, ranchers and rural America.” 

“Extreme weather and natural disasters have made for challenging conditions for farmers and ranchers that don’t appear to be subsiding soon. Well over half of the country is experiencing drought like conditions, wildfires are raging in the West and flooding has caused extensive damage to crops along the Mississippi Delta, including in Arkansas, where I have seen firsthand the destruction this flooding has left in its wake,” said Boozman. “I appreciate Ranking Member Hoeven’s leadership to ensure that disaster assistance was included in this bill. We are committed to working in a bipartisan manner with our Senate colleagues and our counterparts in the House to ensure we get much-needed disaster relief to producers impacted by these natural disasters.” 

August 02, 2021

CHIDESTER MAN LOSES LIFE IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
A Chidester man died in a crash Saturday morning in Ouachita County, according to the Arkansas State Police. At 9:40 Saturday morning, 35-year-old Christopher Heath was driving east on Arkansas Highway 24 in Chidester when his 2011 Ford Fusion ran off the road on the left, according to State Police. The vehicle struck a tree and burst into flames, trapping Heath inside, according to the report. The weather was clear, and the highway was dry at the time of the crash, the accident summary stated. 

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM COURT TO MEET
Ouachita County Quorum Court  will meet in regular session on Tuesday August 3, 2021  atv6:30 P.M.  The meeting will be held in the District Courtroom located at 109 Goodgame in Camden.The Agenda is as follows:
1. Rollcall
2. Invocation
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Approval of Minutes
5. Approval of Treasurer's report
6. Audience Participation
7. New Business
     1. An appropriation ordinance to appropriate funds in the general fund, courthouse maintenance and special projects budgets.
      2. An appropriation ordinance to appropriate funds in the general fund, grants and aid budget   for the county fair.
8. Unfinished business
9. Adjournment

ARKANSAS RENT RELIEF PROGRAM
On May 17, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) launched the Arkansas Rent Relief Program to provide rent and utility assistance to eligible Arkansans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the support of the Governor and State Legislature, DHS will distribute funding to help eligible renters who are unable to pay upcoming rent and utilities or have overdue rent and utility bills. You can find more information at DHS’s website: ar.gov/rentrelief.

FLEEING DRIVER CHARGED IN SHOOTING INCIDENT DURING ATTEMPTED TRAFFIC STOP
JULY 30, 2021
Edward Lee House, Jr., 25, of Little Rock is facing the following criminal charges in connection with an attempted traffic stop that escalated into an exchange of gunfire with an Arkansas State Trooper last Thursday.

Aggravated Assault upon a law enforcement officer, class Y felony
Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, class Y felony
Possession of a schedule I or schedule II controlled substance, class A felony
Fleeing, class D felony
Theft by Receiving, class C felony
False Imprisonment, class C felony
Speeding, misdemeanor
Possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor

Bond has been set at $2 million.  House continues to be held at the Faulkner County Detention Center.

The Arkansas State Police investigation of the incident is continuing. Consistent with Arkansas State Police policy and procedure, Trooper Tyler Langley remains on paid administrative leave during the course of the investigation.

SAAC ANNOUNCES DIRECTORS FOR THE FALL 2021 PRODUCTION OF "CLUE: ON STAGE"
Faith and Rhett Davis have been chosen as the directors of "Clue: On Stage," the SAAC Fall 2021 production. "Clue: On Stage" is proudly sponsored by Sarah & Jeff Teague and Southern Bancorp. Auditions for this spooky, silly, wild ride of a play are August 30 and 31, with the production slated for October 22-24, & 29-31. "Clue: On Stage" is based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, and the Hasbro board game you know and love! It is a slapstick, silly whodunnit mystery that is sure to intrigue...and cause some laughs. 

Hannah Faith Davis (formerly Johnson) has been around the SAAC as long as she remembers. She was in summer camps as a child, and moved to backstage work in high school. She visited the SAAC often while earning a Bachelor's degree in Theatre at Louisiana Tech University. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 2017, and got married to her husband, Rhett Davis, that same summer.

Born and raised in El Dorado, Rhett fell in love with theatre in high school under the tutelage of Delaine Gates at El Dorado High School. It was there that he grew to adore her role as director and the way it shaped the actions and story told on stage. He performed in many shows at the high school level before going off to college, where he also performed on stage.

Since being back in El Dorado, Hannah has done many things with the SAAC. She took over the role of theatre class instructor and has been heavily involved in the Drama Club. She has directed three children's productions: "Disney's Aristocats," "Annie KIDS," and "James and the Giant Peach Jr.," which is currently in production. 

Rhett and Hannah have also been heavily involved in the adult community theatre at SAAC. They have acted and worked backstage on many shows, including "110 in the Shade," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Peter and the Starcatcher," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Three Musketeers," and "Steel Magnolias." 

It was while working on "Steel Magnolias" and learning many things from director Tripp Phillips that Rhett decided to finally try his own hand at directing. He is a huge fan of board games, mysteries, and comedies and knew that "Clue: On Stage" was the perfect opportunity. He is excited to put on the directing hat alongside his beautiful wife as they ask you the question of... Who did it? Where? And with what weapon? 

Signing on as assistant director, Jacob George is enthusiastic about all the fun that "Clue: On Stage" has to offer. He has known Hannah Faith and Rhett since high school, where they all met in the theatre department. Jacob is a professional theatre artist, with many professional sound design credits under his belt, and a degree in theatre from Arkansas State University. He is no stranger to the SAAC stage, and is excited to be behind it once again, working with childhood friends. 

For more information about "Clue: On Stage", or auditions, 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.

WESTERMAN, ARKANSAS HOUSE DELEGATION HONOR 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF FULBRIGHT PROGRAM
WASHINGTON –  Congressmen Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Steve Womack (AR-3), French Hill (AR-2), and Rick Crawford (AR-1), introduced a resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, America’s flagship educational exchange program established by former Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. The milestone will officially be marked this Sunday, August 1st.

“The Fulbright Program has become a model for study-abroad education by providing students across the nation the opportunity to broaden their horizons and participate in foreign diplomacy by interacting with different cultures, ideas, and traditions,” said Congressman Westerman. “On the 75th anniversary of the program, I am proud of its significant impact in the lives of so many students, all due to the passion of one Arkansan.”

“The Fulbright Program has been a tool of diplomacy and force for good. It has advanced global cooperation and connected people and ideas, driving change and a brighter future,” said Congressman Womack. “As we mark 75 years of this prestigious program, we are proud to honor the scholars and legacy of service demonstrated. What was once a concept developed in Arkansas has become a pillar of international education.”

“Since 1946, the Fulbright Program, named for former Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright, has been the flagship international exchange program fostering a mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries through education,” said Congressman Hill. “I’ve seen the Fulbright Program’s success firsthand when I traveled to Afghanistan and met an extraordinary woman, Naheed Esar, who graduated from the University of Arkansas as a Fulbright Scholar with a master’s degree in cultural anthropology. I thank Congressman Womack for introducing this resolution honoring the 75th anniversary of the program, and I look forward to following the program’s success in the future.”

“The Fulbright Program has played an essential role in American diplomacy, ambassadorship, and education over the years,” said Congressman Crawford. “I am happy to represent a state that founded such a prestigious program. On the 75th anniversary of the program, it is my pleasure to emphasize its legacy represented by its alumni, who contribute to a more peaceful, equitable, prosperous, and just world through higher learning, service, and global relations.”

“For 75 years, Fulbright scholars, alumni, and global partners have exchanged ideas, built mutual understanding, and promoted American culture and values” said DeDe Long, Chair of the Fulbright Association Board of Directors. “As an Arkansan, I am especially proud of this program’s extraordinary contribution to the global community, and I look forward to its future.”

Background: 
The late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas introduced the program in the House in 1945 to promote peace and understanding in the aftermath of World War II. His goal was “to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs.” Since President Truman signed the Program into law on August 1, 1946, over 400,000 participants from the United States and 160 countries have studied, taught, and conducted research while immersed in a foreign culture.

Alumni include 60 Nobel Laureates, 39 Heads of State, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and leaders of industry, government, and education. The Fulbright Program serves as a critical tool in strengthening the United States’ diplomatic partnerships and goodwill across the globe.

The House resolution was introduced with 15 cosponsors and also has a companion bill in the Senate, which is supported by fellow Arkansans and U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton.

ARKANSAS DELEGATION URGES SUPPORT FOR USDA SECRETARIAL DISASTER DECLARATION FOR COUNTIES IMPACTED BY STORMS
WASHINGTON—Arkansas’s congressional delegation is voicing its support for the request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 18 counties impacted by flooding, high winds, hail, tornadoes and other storm damage.

U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—wrote Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to join Governor Asa Hutchinson’s support of the Arkansas USDA Farm Service Agency’s request for Secretarial Disaster Designation. 

“Agriculture is vital to the state, and losses our producers have endured will cause significant economic impacts. Since April 1, 2021, the flooding and other storms have either damaged or prevented the planting of row crops such as rice, soybeans, cotton, corn, and wheat; as well as certain fruit and vegetable crops,” members wrote in the letter. “We join Governor Asa Hutchinson in supporting the Arkansas USDA Farm Service Agency’s request for Secretarial Disaster Designation, submitted on June 25, 2021; and we ask that you declare the following counties as agriculture-related disaster areas.”

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

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As you are well aware, farmers and agricultural businesses across this nation have been hurt by recent natural disasters. In Arkansas, our farmers have experienced flooding, high winds, hail, tornadoes, and other storm damage resulting in thousands of acres of lost crops, necessitating replanting, which will likely result in smaller harvests and more expenses—a hit to revenue that Arkansas agriculture cannot afford.

Agriculture is vital to the state, and losses our producers have endured will cause significant economic impacts. Since April 1, 2021, the flooding and other storms have either damaged or prevented the planting of row crops such as rice, soybeans, cotton, corn, and wheat; as well as certain fruit and vegetable crops.

We join Governor Asa Hutchinson in supporting the Arkansas USDA Farm Service Agency’s request for Secretarial Disaster Designation, submitted on June 25, 2021; and we ask that you declare the following counties as agriculture-related disaster areas: Arkansas, Benton, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lonoke, Monroe, Phillips, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, White and Yell.


Due to the time sensitivity of this matter, we thank you for your consideration of this request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation, and we hope that you will support Arkansas farmers and agricultural businesses during this difficult time. Thank you.

BOOZMAN, COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO UPHOLD NAVIGABLE WATERS PROTECTION RULE
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined their colleagues to introduce legislation to protect Arkansas’s farmers, small businesses and property owners by codifying the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR).

With the Biden Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) promising to replace the NWPR with a new rule that goes even further than the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, this legislation is needed now more than ever. If the NWPR is replaced, the EPA could go as far as to regulate ditches on private lands and converted croplands, which could ultimately inflict severe harm upon the agriculture, construction, home building, forestry, mining and energy sectors of our economy.

“As we repeatedly reminded the Obama administration, giving the federal government the authority to control virtually every ditch, pond and puddle on private land in Arkansas and nationwide is unlawful and will have terrible consequences. Now the Biden administration is determined to follow the same playbook,” Boozman said. “The current Navigable Waters Protection Rule provides a clear, commonsense framework that allows state and local governments to protect waters within their jurisdiction rather than empowering federal bureaucrats to issue arbitrary decisions that breed uncertainty and upend livelihoods. Our bill will safeguard Arkansans against this power grab by maintaining the existing reasonable rule.”

“The Navigable Water Protection rule preserves our waterways while respecting the livelihoods of farmers and the rights of private landowners. They can’t afford a return to the heavy-handed WOTUS rule of the Obama-era—and we won’t allow it. Our bill will protect clean water and America’s agriculture producers by letting the Navigable Water Protection Rule stand,” Cotton said.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Barrasso (R-WY), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tim Scott (R-SC), James Lankford (R-OK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) joined Boozman and Cotton in cosponsoring the measure.

 BACKGROUND:
In 2015, the Obama administration finalized a rule that expanded the definition of the Waters of the United States, creating confusion and burdensome red tape for farmers and ranchers, developers and property owners.

The Trump administration released a proposed rule to replace the Obama administration’s 2015 WOTUS rule that provided much-needed predictability and certainty for farmers by establishing a clear and reasonable definition of what qualifies as a “Water of the United States.” The NWPR was finalized last year. Specifically, it established a definition that unambiguously identifies four simple categories of jurisdictional waters, provides clear exclusions for many water features —water features that traditionally have not been regulated at the federal level — and defines terms in the regulatory text that have never been defined before. The NWPR also protects the environment while respecting the cooperative federalism framework of the Clean Water Act by clearly delineating where federal regulations apply and giving states and local authorities more flexibility to determine how to best manage waters within their borders. 

On day one of his administration, President Biden signed an executive order rolling back the Trump administration’s action to rescind Obama’s WOTUS rule and finalize the NWPR. In January, Boozman, Cotton and Ranking Member Capito, along with 23 of their Senate colleagues, introduced a resolution that expresses the need for the U.S. Senate to uphold the NWPR. In June, Boozman and the other GOP members of the EPW Committee wrote a letter to the EPA questioning the basis for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to repeal and replace the 2020 Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

July 30, 2021

PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT APPEAL
The Ouachita County Equalization Board will begin its regular annual session August 2, 2021. An organizational meeting will be held at 2:00 p.m. Monday August 2 at the Ouachita County Courthouse.

Any property owner or an agent of a property owner may apply in person, by petition, or by letter to the secretary of the county equalization board on or before the third Monday in August of every year for the adjustment of the County Assessor's assessment on the property owner's property or the property of another person.

A property owner or an agent of the property owner may personally appear before the county equalization board or pursue the appeal by supplying written documentation as to the adjustment desired.

The property owner or an agent of the property owner shall notify the Secretary of the County Equalization Board, who shall schedule a hearing, and, if practicable, the hearing shall be held at the convenience of the property owner.

Please call the Ouachita County Clerk's Office, 837-2220, no later than Monday August 16, 2021 to schedule a hearing.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON REIMPLEMENTS ARKANSAS’ EMERGENCY HEALTH DECLARATION
A surge in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations has prompted state officials to reimplement Arkansas' emergency health declaration immediately, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced yesterday. 

The Arkansas Department of Health reported more than 2,800 new cases of the virus on Thursday - one of the highest single-day increases since the pandemic began. This one-day total follows several days with more than 1,000 daily new cases. Hospitalizations are also on the rise and hit the four-digit mark for the first time since the start of the year with 1,056 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus. 

These dramatic increases, part of what health officials call a third wave of COVID-19 infections in Arkansas, prompted renewal of the emergency declaration which expired back on May 31. Gov. Hutchinson announced the renewal during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

As part of the declaration, Hutchinson said the state is reimplementing a number of measures to ease the current shortage in hospital staff. Those include renewing the treatment compact between Arkansas and neighboring states as well as easing licensure requirements for retired healthcare workers who want to reenter the field. In addition, Hutchinson said he is seeking federal help to bring more emergency medical services to Arkansas. 

Hutchison added the state has no intentions of reimplementing mask mandates or restrictions in businesses. Hutchinson also said he is calling a special session of the Arkansas Legislature next week to amend Act 1002, which prohibits school districts from implementing their own measures against COVID-19. 

As of Thursday, more than 382,000 Arkansans have contracted COVID-19 since the spring of 2020. Of those, 6,110 have passed away due to the virus. Active cases continue to increase into some of the highest levels ever seen, with more than 14,000 currently confirmed or probable active COVID-19 cases in the state.

TROOPERS FIRED ON DURING HIGHWAY TRAFFIC STOPS; SUSPECTS ARRESTED
JULY 29, 2021
An Arkansas State Trooper on patrol along Interstate 40 near Conway was fired on by a gunman during an attempted traffic stop and foot pursuit involving a motorist exceeding the speed limit today.  The incident is the second this week involving Arkansas troopers who've been fired-on by speeding drivers.  Neither of the troopers were injured.

Trooper Tyler Langley initiated a traffic stop in Faulkner County along I-40 (westbound) at 1:43 this afternoon as a speeding violator neared Conway.  The driver of the vehicle refused to stop and began to accelerate and flee the area by exiting the interstate, westbound, along Dave Ward Drive.

During a short vehicle pursuit that ended near the Donaghey Avenue and South Mitchell Street area where the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot, there was an exchange of gunfire when the suspect fired a rifle at Trooper Langley who returned fire.

The suspect was quickly apprehended by state troopers and transported to a local hospital to be examined, however he was not wounded.

The suspect is being held at the Faulkner County Detention Center for questioning by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.  The identity of the suspect will be released once he is formally charged.

On Tuesday (July 27th), about 10:30 AM, Arkansas State Police Corporal Steve Roberts initiated a traffic stop along Interstate 40 (eastbound), west of Forrest City.

The driver of the speeding vehicle, Stevie Maxwell, 37, of Greenville, Mississippi refused to comply and stop the vehicle.  As Corporal Roberts pursued the suspect, Maxwell allegedly fired a gun from inside the car.

Maxwell later exited the interstate onto the median east of Forrest City and surrendered to Corporal Roberts.  Maxwell is charged with aggravated assault, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and speeding. 

July 29, 2021

RUTLEDGE FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST KRISTY AND ERIK SCHNEIDER FOR FALSIFYING THEIR CHILD’S HEALTH CONDITION TO RECEIVE CHARITABLE DONATIONS
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit today against Kristy and Erik Schneider, from Saline County, who wrongfully misrepresented that their minor child was deathly ill resulting in the Schneiders receiving over $31,000 in charitable contributions and assistance from Arkansas consumers, organizations, and law enforcement agencies. The Schneiders falsified their child’s health condition to medical providers and lied to the general public in order to provoke an outpouring of well wishes, which often resulted in donations. The complaint alleges the Schneiders’ actions violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA).

“It is inconceivable that parents would endanger their innocent child’s health for their own profit and no child should ever be treated in this manner,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The Schneiders conned so many who gave thousands of dollars in honor of their ill child. There is nothing more reprehensible than taking advantage of the goodwill and generosity of your neighbors.” 

In February 2019, Kristy started posting updates to CaringBridge.org about the health of her ill child. She claimed the child had a rare chromosomal disorder and was dependent on feeding tubes and about 15 different medications to keep the minor alive. She told her followers the child began to see a number of specialists including neurosurgeons, neurologists, geneticists, complex care physicians, and more. She wrote, “After seeing multiple specialists, trying everything possible, and consulting with doctors in multiple other states/facilities, it was determined that the recommended course of action was to come home on hospice care.”

The Schneiders decided the child’s feeding tubes would be withdrawn to cause the minor to die a “natural death.” By this time, their story had a following in the public eye from law enforcement, concerned citizens, local news reports and others. When the child returned to Arkansas Children’s for end-of-life care, the minor was accompanied by hundreds of law enforcement officers and first responders to fulfill his final wish to see as many first responders as possible before his death. This event was widely publicized and involved resources paid for by taxpayers in the form of hundreds of law enforcement officers from central Arkansas.

After the child arrived at Arkansas Children’s for end-of-life care, the minor made an unexpected recovery. Doctors removed the feeding tube and gave the child nutrition, including liquids and popsicles, for a week and a half. Doctors reported the patient appeared to look better than the minor had in months. Despite the positive development, the Schneiders forced doctors to put the child back on a feeding tube.

Even the Mayo Clinic later refused to grant Kristy’s request to return the child to hospice care. There, and at Arkansas Children’s, Kristy continued to exaggerate the child’s symptoms. Soon thereafter, doctors reported the child was a victim of Munchausen by Proxy.

As the child seemed to be battling for his life and doctors around the country struggled to understand the nature of his medical condition, the kindness of people and law enforcement across Arkansas and the world was on full display; thousands of dollars in donations and resources poured in from throughout the United States and even foreign countries. Between gifts, meals, cash contributions, and medical transportation, the Schneiders received $31,895 in donations from consumers motivated by nothing more than goodwill and kindness. In Arkansas, each violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act could result in injunctions and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

For more tips to help avoid falling victim to bad actors, or to file a consumer-related claim with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, call (800) 482-8982, email consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov. 
 

FAIRVIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ANNOUNCES REGISTRATION
Registration is going on now for the Fairview Elementary School 2021-2022 school year. The Elementary School includes Pre-k, Kindergarten and 1st Grade. Packets maybe picked up in front of the school in the newspaper stands for each grade. Fill out the forms for your child and return in the white box with the slot.
Incoming Kindergarteners nee dot include copies of your child’s Birth Certificate from the state, Shot records, Social Security Card, Proof of a Physical, and proof of residency.

Call 870-231-5434 for more information, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
 

SWEET REPEAT RESALE SHOP ANNOUNCES REGULAR HOURS
HELP!!!!! The Hub's Sweet Repeats Resale Shop is now open the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month from 7:00 am until Noon. Visit the shop on the corner of Mt. Holly Road and Tate Street for great deals on everything from furniture, household items, kitchen supplies to toys and holiday decorations. New items are recieved all the times.

 

REAL NEW YORK HOT DOGS AT AUGUST’S FIRST FRIDAY
Be on the lookout at 1st Friday on August 6th S.t. Louis Catholic Church will have a booth selling real NY Sabrett hotdogs that are sold by street vendors in midtown Manhattan around Broadway and the theater district. All proceeds from this will go to support our community including the Christian Heath Center HUB, the Women's Crisis Center and local food pantries. Come on out and enjoy a taste of NYC and help our community.

 

TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN ANNOUNCES APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR NEW STATEWIDE FINANCIAL EDUCATION COMMISSION
Little Rock, Ark. – Applications for the newly-formed Arkansas Financial Education Commission open today, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan announced. The Commission, which will be chaired by Milligan, was created during the 93rd General Assembly and sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin and Rep. Bruce Cozart.

“We’re so excited to have a unified organization to focus on financial awareness and knowledge for all Arkansans,” Milligan said. “By offering Arkansans resources to increase their financial knowledge, we hope to create a brighter future for generations to come.”

The Commission’s purpose is to provide financial education programs to Arkansans in all geographic areas and socioeconomic backgrounds, and to promote the importance of achieving financial well-being.

The nine-person Commission will operate under the authority of the State Treasurer. Six members will be represented by state financial or education agencies and three additional members will come from the public, private or nonprofit sector.

To apply for one of the three, two-year positions which are open to the public, persons may visit the Treasurer of State’s website at www.artreasury.gov. Applications are listed under the Programs tab on the homepage. The deadline for submission is August 31, 2021.

 

BREAKING: BOOZMAN BILL BROADENING ACCESS TO MAMMOGRAMS FOR WOMEN VETERANS ADVANCES IN SENATE
WASHINGTON– The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously passed legislation authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that would expand Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mammogram screening eligibility.

Boozman’s Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act would require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

“Given the additional risk factors associated with toxic exposure, which we know has occurred in recent combat settings, the VA must update its policies for administering mammograms,” Boozman said. “Committee passage of this bill is a positive step to providing women veterans with the health care they deserve and implementing improved procedures to better treat breast cancer patients.”

The SERVICE Act has the support of the Disabled American Veterans, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and Burn Pits 360.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) helped introduce the bill, which also has the support of Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

This legislation is the latest example of Boozman’s continuing commitment to improving VA care and services for women. Last Congress, he championed the Deborah Sampson Act, a bipartisan initiative to eliminate barriers to care and services that many women face when accessing VA benefits. The landmark bill was signed into law by President Trump in January 2021. Boozman’s SERVICE Act builds on this foundation.
 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES, CALL ON PRESIDENT BIDEN TO DENY ENTRY TO IRANIAN PRESIDENT, SENIOR IRANIAN OFFICIALS
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to deny entry visas to Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi and other senior Iranian officials to attend the UN General Assembly in September.

In part, the senators wrote, “Raisi’s record as a violator of human rights is long-standing and clear. In 1988, during his tenure as the deputy prosecutor of Tehran, Raisi served on a four-member Death Commission which oversaw the killing of over 5,000 prisoners, including women and children. The Death Commission conducted interviews that lasted only minutes to determine a prisoner’s loyalty to the Islamic Republic of Iran, then sentenced them to death without a lawyer, right to appeal, or fair trial. The executions, conducted by hanging or firing squad, often occurred on the same day as the Death Commission’s interrogations. After burying the dead in unmarked mass graves, Iranian officials refused to notify families for months and never shared with them the locations of their graves. Raisi’s Death Commission executed children as young as 15.”

“Ebrahim Raisi should remain sanctioned under U.S. law. If the United Nations General Assembly maintains its current plans to allow some in-person attendance, the White House should deny Raisi and other Iranian leaders visas to attend. Allowing Raisi to travel to the United States—to the same city where the Iranian regime just tried to kidnap a U.S. citizen—would legitimize his repression, undermine America’s moral leadership, and potentially endanger our national security, given the likely presence of intelligence agents in the Iranian traveling party,” the senators continued.
 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO BAN ANTI-SEMITIC COUNTRY-OF-ORIGIN LABELS
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) introduced the Anti-BDS Labeling Act to prohibit the Biden administration from reversing current guidelines that require Israeli goods produced in areas where Israel exercises the relevant authorities to be labeled as “Made in Israel.” Such a change would help the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement to target particular Israeli companies and goods. Text of the bill may be found here.

“Left-wing activists abuse county-of-origin labels in order to stigmatize products made in Israel. Our bill will defend the integrity of the Jewish State by ensuring that Israeli products may proudly bear the label ‘Made in Israel,’” said Cotton.

“As our most strategic and important ally in the Middle East, Israel should be assured that the U.S. government will not reverse course and take part in the campaign to delegitimize its authority and punish its economy,” said Boozman. “This legislation would ensure our support for the Jewish state, which reached new heights under the Trump administration, remains steadfast and rejects anti-Semitic movements attempting to undermine it.”

“We cannot allow the disgusting rise of anti-Semitism to continue to permeate our country and the halls of Congress. I’m proud to join this effort and continue my strong support of our great ally Israel. I will always stand with our Jewish community and fight the BDS movement and anti-Semitism wherever it is found,” said Scott.

“As the co-author of the bipartisan Combating BDS Act of 2021, I’m proud to join this legislative effort that would prohibit President Biden and his administration from reversing a common-sense Trump-era policy,” said Rubio. “As the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement continues with its destructive anti-Israel campaign, we must ensure products made in Israel aren’t the prime targets of economic warfare.”

“The antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is engaged in discriminatory economic warfare targeting the Jewish state of Israel.  Last year, President Trump dealt a serious blow to the BDS movement when he ended the U.S. government’s discriminatory treatment of Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria, and required these imported goods to be labeled as ‘Made in Israel.’  I’m proud to support Senator Cotton’s important legislation to counter efforts by the BDS movement and its anti-Israel supporters to pressure the Biden Administration into reversing President Trump’s pro-Israel policy change,” said Hagerty.

“Tennesseans are proud to stand with Israel. We must not allow the Biden Administration to roll back existing policy and allow the singling out and discrimination against products made in Israel,” said Blackburn. “It is a double standard that is not applied to other sovereign nations involved in territorial disputes.”

“Campaigns to boycott or discriminate against Israel and Israeli Jews are driven by antisemitic hate. I am proud to join Sen. Cotton on this bill blocking the Biden administration from reversing current guidelines that allow the State of Israel to exercise their sovereignty when marking goods made in their own country,” said Cruz.

“Israel is a pluralistic democracy in a repressive region, and one of America’s closest allies. Amid rising hate crimes and increasing anti-Israel rhetoric, we should not be supporting policies that promote anti-Semitism,” said Tillis. “I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation to allow Israel to maintain appropriate country-of-origins labeling for goods produced in areas they exercise relevant authority.”

Background:
In 1995, the Clinton administration changed longstanding U.S. policy and required “Made in West Bank” country-of-origin (COO) labels for Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria, even though the U.S. government treats these products as “articles of Israel” for trade purposes.

In 2016, the Obama administration republished these labeling guidelines as part of a broader effort to oppose the Israeli government.

In November 2020, Senator Cotton led a letter to President Trump urging the administration to change U.S. customs policy and guidelines to allow Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria to be labeled "Made in Israel."

Following Senator Cotton’s letter, the Trump administration created new guidelines that required Israeli goods produced in areas where Israel exercised the relevant authorities to be labeled as “Made in Israel.” 

July 28, 2021

ARKANSAS BASS TEAM TRAIL COMES TO CAMDEN
Arkansas Bass Team Trail and The City of Camden AR presents the 4th annual Rumble on the River Bass Team Tournament in Camden AR. Saturday, August 7th with over $10,000 in cash and Prizes!

The Rumble on the River Bass Team Tournament is a 1 day only event held on Saturday, August 7th at the Camden River Walk on the Ouachita River in Downtown Camden, AR. Take off is at 6am and boats can launch at either the Riverwalk Park boat ramp (405 Washington St. SE. Camden AR 71701) or right down the road at Sandy Beach boat ramp (Sandy Beach Park, Camden, AR 71701) but will need to motor over to the Riverwalk for the start.

Weigh-in is at 3pm at Camden News parking lot (corner of Washington street & Madison Ave) in Downtown Camden.

1st place $5,000 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 is going on now at www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net, www.explorecamden.com or in person at The Camden Area Chamber of Commerce located at 314 S Adams Avenue in Camden AR.

Final registration will be held Friday, August 6th from 6 to 8 pm at The First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR.

For Rules and Registration, visit www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net

The Camden Downtown Network & The City of Camden present Camden’s Great Outside Fun Day on Saturday, August 7th with a full day of outdoor fun events for the entire family is also planned

Looking for fun, safe outdoor adventure? Whether it's fishing, bike riding or meeting Miss Arkansas, you will be sure to find it at The Great Camden Outside Fun Day, a one-day event that is set for Saturday, Aug. 7, in Camden, Arkansas!

Camden’s Great Outside Fun Day will be chock full of activities for all ages including a 5K run, 2 operson scramble golf tournament, a disc gold tournament, beginner gun safety class, a 10K Bike Fun Ride, horse show, sidewalk chalk contest and more. call Charlotte Young at 870-807-1468 for more information!!!

𝟱𝗞 𝗥𝘂𝗻/𝗪𝗮𝗹𝗸
Sponsored by Ouachita County Fair Board
Walkers will start at 8 am, runners will start at 8:30. The registration is $20 before July 30th, $25 after July 30th. Registration forms can be picked up at the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce or at the Ouachita County Livestock and Fair Association, Inc. Facebook Page.

𝟮 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻 𝗦𝗰𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗳𝗶𝘁 𝗚𝗼𝗹𝗳 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁
Sponsored by Victory Christian School
Join us at Highland Golf Course for the 4th Annual VCS Golf Tournament. The tournament is limited to 18 teams. Entry fee is $50 per person ($100 per team) which includes green fees, cart and door prizes. Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded to the top 3 teams. There will be special prizes for those who enter the closest to the pin and longest drive. For registration or additional information please contact Larry Young 870-818-7501.

𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰 𝗚𝗼𝗹𝗳 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁
Sponsored by Tree Love Disc Golf
Tale of Nines is an Arkansas Disc singles golf tournament, and is set from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. in Carnes Park, Carnes Park Drive. Disc golf is new to Camden, with a new and challenging course has been constructed in Carnes Park. The entry fee is $60 for pro divisions and $40 for amateur divisions. Participants are required to sign up in advance. To register online, visit https://www.discgolfscene.com/.../Tale_of_the_Nines.... Registration closes at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 5. For more information, call Jerry Ray at 870-807-1080.

𝗕𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿 𝗚𝘂𝗻 𝗦𝗮𝗳𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗖𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀
Sponsored by the Camden Police Department
Camden Police Department will host a beginner gun safety class from 9am – 10AM. This class is open to all ages. Private guns will not be permitted. Camden PD is located at 1 Police Drive.

𝟭𝟬𝗞 𝗕𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗙𝘂𝗻 𝗥𝗶𝗱𝗲
Sponsored by Postmasters Grill
Families are encouraged to enjoy the evening with the 10K Fun Ride, hosted by Postmasters Grill. The ride is free and open to children and adults with starting time at 5:30pm. The bike route will begin in Scott Alley next to Postmasters Grill, 133 W. Washington St. A portion of the ride will wind along The Trace, Camden’s beautiful rails-to-trails project. Entry forms and waivers are available at Postmasters Grill and online at https://form.jotform.com/202056912233042. For more information, call Emily Robertson, of Postmasters Grill, at 870- 836-5579.

𝗛𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗲 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘄
The South Arkansas Horse Show Association will present a horse show at 11a.m. at the Circle C Riding Arena, 100 Ouachita County Road 451. The show will start with Western Pleasure Events and later move on to speed events, including barrels, flag and poles. Lots of fun activities are also planned for children! Admission is free and the concession stand will be open. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs to enjoy the show. For more information, call Cheryl Shatley at 870-833-1222.

𝗦𝗶𝗱𝗲𝘄𝗮𝗹𝗸 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗸 𝗔𝗿𝘁 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗲𝘁𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
Sponsored by The Camden Downtown Network
A sidewalk chalk art competition is also on tap for The Great Camden Outside Fun Day. The competition will include categories for children, teens, and adult. There is no fee to enter the competition but pre-registration is required. Entries will be processed in the order in which they are received. Register online at Register at https://form.jotform.com/91597450872165. To create their artwork, participants will be assigned 5-by-5-foot sidewalk squares along Washington Street and Adams Avenue. Artists should be mindful that the exhibit area is family-friendly and that entries should be whimsical, humorous, mischievous, lovable, beautiful and tasteful. Political statements and connotations and offensive, crude, discriminatory and derogatory terms or expressions are prohibited.

Because of sweltering summer temperatures, artists may create their works during the evening of Thursday, Aug. 5; any time on Friday, Aug. 6; or early in the morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 7, before activities begin for the day.
Cash prizes will be awarded to first- and gift cards for second-place winners in each category.
To register or for more information online: Register at https://form.jotform.com/91597450872165 or call Charlotte Young at 870-807-1468.

𝗕𝗮𝗴𝗴𝗼 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁
Sponsored by Native Dog
A baggo tournament will be 125 Madison Ave in Downtown Camden. Registration will be at Native Dog on Saturday, August 7th. Cost to register is $20.00 Start time is 4:00pm

𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗚𝗿𝗲𝗲𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗠𝗶𝘀𝘀 𝗔𝗿𝗸𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗮𝘀
Stop by The Event Center at Fairview Park, 2740 Mt Holly Rd, from 2PM – 4PM to visit with Miss Arkansas, Whitney Williams. You will be able to get an Autographs as well as have photos taken with Miss AR. Light refreshments will be provided. At 2:10pm Mayor Julian Lott will make a proclamation declaring August 7th as Whitney Williams Day in Camden, her home away from home. Free admission, donations accepted for Hearts for the Arts.

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

COTTON, WARNER INTRODUCE BILL TO PROHIBIT FUNDING FOR HUAWEI, CHINESE TECHNOLOGY
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) introduced the American Telecommunications Security Act to prohibit federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act from being used to purchase Chinese telecommunications equipment, including from Huawei and ZTE.

"American tax dollars should not be sent to Chinese spy companies like Huawei that undermine our national security. The U.S government must take strong action to cut the Chinese Communist Party out of our networks. Americans deserve both reliable and secure telecommunications technologies," said Cotton.

“With states across the country mapping out their plans for quality and affordable high-speed internet as a result of historic funding from the American Rescue Plan, we’ve got to make sure no community is sacrificing network security,” said Warner. “That’s why I’m joining Sen. Cotton on a bipartisan bill to ensure states do not purchase equipment or services from companies that pose national security risks – such as Huawei and ZTE.”

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO END U.S. DEPENDENCE ON CHINESE-MANUFACTURED PHARMACEUTICALS
Washington, D.C.—Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) along with Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Rick Scott (R-Florida), will today introduce the Protecting our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain from China Act, which would end U.S. dependence on China for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Specifically, the bill will:
Track active pharmaceutical ingredients through an FDA registry.
Prohibit pharmaceutical purchases from China or products with active pharmaceutical ingredients created in China*.
Create transparency in the supply chain by instituting a country-of-origin label of all imported drugs.
Provide economic incentives for manufacturing drugs and medical equipment in the United States.

"The Chinese Communist Party has threatened to cut off America's access to vital drugs in the midst of a pandemic caused by its own failures. It's time to pull America's supply chains for life-saving medicine out of China and make the CCP pay for contributing to this global emergency," said Cotton.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored America’s heavy dependence on China for critical prescription drugs,” said Blackburn. “We cannot continue to allow Beijing to hold the keys to our pharmaceutical supply chain and risk future drug shortages, contaminated drugs, or ineffective drugs. This legislation helps to ensure Communist China no longer plays a role in creating or providing U.S. prescription drugs and further incentivizes manufacturers to produce necessary medication on American soil.”

“The majority of active ingredients for pharmaceuticals are made in China, and the Chinese Communist Party showed through their lies, coverups, and threats to cut off American access to drugs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that they can’t be trusted. I’m proud to join Senator Cotton’s bill to incentivize making drugs in the U.S. and end our dependence on China for drug manufacturing,” said Braun.

“American dependence on Chinese supply chains is not only a health threat but a national security threat. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party threatening to withhold critical medical materials. I am proud to join Sen. Cotton on this bill to defend American drug manufacturers from China’s economic warfare, and most importantly, protect American lives,” said Cruz.

“We cannot continue to rely on countries like Communist China, who lied about the coronavirus and refuses to be a partner in solving this crisis, for critical supplies and medicine. This outbreak has shown why we need to end our reliance on foreign supply chains. Removing Communist China from our pharmaceutical supply chain is the right move,” said Scott.

* This requirement will be phased in over two years. The FDA may issue waivers if the active pharmaceutical ingredients are only available in China, however, no waivers may be issued after 2026.

July 27, 2021

STATE POLICE ASKED TO INVESTIGATE NORTH LITTLE ROCK POLICE SHOOTING
JULY 27, 2021
An 18 year-old wanted by police for battery (first degree) and aggravated robbery remains hospitalized after he fled from North Little Rock police officers last night, then brandished a gun at officers leading one officer to shoot the suspect.

Anthony Brown, of North Little Rock, is in stable condition at a Little Rock hospital.  No police officers were injured.

The incident occurred about 6:35 PM (*monday, july 26th) when North Little Rock police officers stopped a vehicle near Main Street and Pershing Avenue.  Brown, who was a passenger in the car stopped by police, exited the vehicle and fled on foot.

Officers pursued Brown to the front of Tropical Smoothie Café at 2600 Pershing Avenue where Brown displayed the gun.

At the request of authorities within the North Little Rock Police Department, Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were contacted and asked to conduct an investigation of the shooting incident.

State police special agents are continuing their work today and will compile an investigative case file to be submitted to the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office where a decision will be made based on the findings of the investigation whether the use of deadly force by a police officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identity of the officer who shot Brown or the administrative status of the officer should be directed to the North Little Rock Police Department Public Information Officer.

 

METHODIST FAMILY HEALTH COUNSELING CLINICS IN BATESVILLE, HOT SPRINGS AND JONESBORO NOW OFFER CHILD PARENT PSYCHOTHERAPY
LITTLE ROCK, AR (July 27, 2021) – The Methodist Family Health Counseling Clinics in Batesville, Hot Springs and Jonesboro now offer Child Parent Psychotherapy.

Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is counseling for young children (birth to age 5) and their parents or caregivers, which supports family strengths and relationships by helping families heal and grow after experiencing stressful incidents while respecting their values and culture.

“When children this young experience a troubling or traumatic event, it’s difficult for them to express their feelings or what they need,” said Cyndi Coleman, outpatient administrator for Methodist Family Health’s counseling clinics and school-based therapy. “Through CPP, we can help these young children and their families and caregivers recover and heal after stressful and traumatic events.”

CPP may help when a child has been through a scary or painful event such as the loss of a loved one, separation, a serious medical procedure, abuse, or violence in the home or his or her community. It also can help if your child is showing difficult behaviors, has a change in his or her home placement or caregiver, or has a family member with physical or mental health issues. Regardless of the relationship, CPP can help parenting a child and improving the caregiver-child relationship.

“We have seen improvements in both the child and parents’ mood, behavior, learning ability, stress and trauma symptoms,” said Coleman. “The way CPP works is we get to know you and your child, address your needs and help you plan for your future. It helps the child and his or her family understand each other through talking and playing, and that helps them work together to respond to the difficult feelings and behaviors around a stressful or traumatic incident.”

To schedule a consultation or to learn more about CPP and how it can help your child and family, contact Methodist Family Health at 501-661-0720, e-mail Info@MethodistFamily.org or visit MethodistFamily.org.

About Methodist Family Health
Founded in 1899 as the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage, Methodist Family Health’s mission is to provide the best possible care to those who may need our help. A statewide continuum of care, Methodist Family Health each year serves thousands of Arkansas children and their families who are abandoned, abused, neglected and struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues. Methodist Family Health has locations throughout the state, including the Methodist Behavioral Hospital in Maumelle, psychiatric residential treatment centers, therapeutic group homes, a day treatment program, counseling clinics, school-based counseling clinics, a grief center for children and their families, and the Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES).

July 26, 2021

SAU TECH BLACK HISTORY CELEBRATION COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES JULY 2021 BETTY J. LEWIS UNSUNG HERO
The SAU Tech Black History Celebration Committee is excited to announce Robert J. White as the July 2021 Betty J. Lewis Unsung Hero.

Each year the Black History Celebration Committee, comprised of college staff and community members, hosts an annual fundraiser to raise money for the Betty J. Lewis Minority Scholarship Fund. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 Black History Celebration was canceled. In lieu of this event, the Black History Celebration Committee made the decision to name a Betty J. Lewis Unsung Hero for each month leading up to the 2022 event.

Robert J. White was born on August 29, 1950, in Laran, LA, to Tice White, Jr, and Clansie White. He was raised in Hillsboro, AR. He graduated from Washington High School, class of ‘68’ in El Dorado, AR. After high school, he worked approximately two years at J. M. Poultry in El Dorado until he was drafted into the Army, where he served from March 1970 – November 1971 and obtained the rank of Specialist 4. He also received the Soldier of the month, 5th CST BDE in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.

After returning from military service, Robert enrolled at SAU Tech on July 72 and graduated in July 74 with an AAS Degree in Food Management with honors. He was the 1st graduate to be hired at SAU Tech immediately after graduation. He worked as Assistant Cafeteria and Instructor, Asst. Professor and several Administrator positions before retiring after 41 years of service in the position of Director of Special Programs and Educational Services. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from SAU Magnolia. He is a graduate of the Holiday Inn University General Manager Program, where he was the 1st African American to graduate from the program. He is a 1996 graduate of Leadership Camden, and a 2014 graduate of Leadership Arkansas Sponsored by Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

He has been married to the former Ora Lee Spiller for 47 years, who is also retired. They have 3 children, Tice (Tonya) of Madison, MS; Brice of Fayetteville, AR; and BriTicea of Madison, MS; and 2 precious granddaughters, Tia (5) ‘Big Girl’, and Tamia (3) ’Little Sissy’ of Madison, MS.

He is a member of Whitest Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Camden, where Rev. Michael J. Wilson is the Pastor. He serves numerous positions including Chair, Kitchen Committee; Teacher, Men Sunday School class; and Chair, Deacon Ministry. He served as President of the Community Brotherhood. In addition to those, he has served in various positions in the Ouachita District Association as an Instructor in the Congress of Christian Education, member of the Executive Committee, and President of the District Laymen Auxiliary.

Robert has dedicated his entire 47 years in Camden to being involved in Community Service and Politics to try and make individuals’ lives better through social change and education. In doing so he has served on many local boards and commissions: such as Vice President, Camden Jaycees; Chair, People are Concerned; Chair, Christmas Sharing Program; Chair, Camden Fairview Biracial Committee; Chair, Toys for Tots Ouachita County; 1st black President of SAU Tech Faculty Organization; Chair, Ouachita County Democratic Party; Ouachita County Election Commission, Board of Directors of Camden Boys and Girls Club; Chair, SAU Tech Admin Staff; Women Crisis Center Board; and member of NAACP. He has served on several State and National committees including Arkansas Student Loan Authority Board of Directors; State Workforce Board; Chair, Boys State of Arkansas; Arkansas Career Coach Program Advisory Board; Chair, EAST (Education Accelerated by Service Technology Initiative; Arkansas Career and Technical Education Board; 13th Judicial Jail Standard Committee; Board member of UAPB Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office Tobacco Initiatives. He served on the 1st Arkansas Educational Adequacy Committee (to determine what is an adequate education and what amount of money is needed to provide it); and the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP).

Robert ran for State Representative in 1998 and won and was sworn in January 1999. He served 3 two-year terms until he was term-limited. The highlights of his service were the sponsoring and passage of ACT 1332 that created the Better Chance Program, which is a high-quality preschool; and ACT 1396 to provide minimum Firefighter Training Standards, and he was instrumental in directing several hundred thousand dollars to Ouachita County during his tenure. Robert passed several more bills on Voting Rights, Education Issues, Safety, and Welfare Reform. He was the 1st and only black to serve as House Management Chairman in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He was Chair of the two-year Colleges and Technical Institute Study Committee. He was Treasurer of the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus and served on Joint Budget Committee and the House Education Committee.

Robert has been recognized with many awards during his lifetime. Some of the most prestigious are: Arkansas 2001 Outstanding Alumnus for Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges; 2002 NISOD Excellence Award (National Institute for Staff and Organization Development); Meritorious Service Award SAU Tech, May 2003; named 2014 Outstanding State Employee for the State of Arkansas; recognized by UAPB for being identified as the Flagship of the Delta. He also was recognized by JET magazine for his many contributions to education. Robert thanks the Lord and the community for giving him the opportunity to serve in all the above capacities in the community and state.

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION REGULAR MEETING
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in regular session on Tuesday, July 29, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at Garrison Auditorium.
The agenda is as follows:
1. Call to order.
2. Approval of minutes of previous meetings
3. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     a.        None
4. NEW BUSINESS
     a. Student Hearing (Readmitting)
     b. Request for legal transfer to Magnolia School District.
     c. Presentation and recommendation regarding the Student handbook change for Elementary, Middle and High School.
     d. Presentation and recommendation regarding the Band Budget.
     e. Presentation and recommendation regarding the Athletic Budget.
     f. Presentation and recommendation regarding the Student Athletic Insurance
     g. Presentation and recommendation regarding Y95 Broadcasting Football, Basketball, and Baseball for the 2021-2022 School Year.
     h. Presentation and recommendation to pay for FES and Central Office roof replacement out of building fund.
     i. Presentation and recommendation for additional pay for CFSD staff.
     j. Facility Rentals
5. Superintendent's report to the Board.
6. Financial report
7. Personnel
     a.        Hiring
     b.        Resignations

 

DISNEY’S “FROZEN JR” SLATED FOR SAAC STAGE 
South Arkansas Arts Center announces its fall Drama Club production of…drum roll, please… “Disney's Frozen JR.”!  

Disney’s worldwide phenomenon is taking the SAAC stage by (snow)storm! The enchanting modern classic from Disney, “Frozen JR.” is based on the 2018 Broadway musical, and brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life, onstage. The show features all of the memorable songs from the animated film, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, “Frozen JR.” is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!

SAAC’s fall Drama Club production, sponsored by Southern Airways Express, will kick off with "All Things Frozen", an audition information party to be held on August 24 & 26.  Production is scheduled for Dec 10-17.

The fabulous, all-female production team of Director Lynn Gunter, Music Director Cassie Hickman and Assistant Director Hannah Davis return to the South Arkansas Arts Center's stage for “Frozen, JR.”, everyone’s favorite Disney movie, revamped for the stage.

Lynn Gunter is the instructor for SAAC Drama Club classes and a local music and English teacher at West Side Christian School. Over the last 8 years, she has directed over 20 productions, mostly on the SAAC stage. 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. Gunter has a BA in Speech Communications and has traveled the Tri-State and national collegiate circuit in forensics and debate.

Cassie Hickman is a homeschool mom of two, as well as a homemaker. She has been the music director for countless productions on the SAAC stage, as well as teaching a summer music class for preschoolers. Hickman's first show on the SAAC stage was a homeschool production of "Alice in Wonderland" in 2015. Since then, she has been the music director for many additional homeschool shows, as well as for two Penguin Projects, Youth Theatre projects, and Drama Club productions.

“SAAC Drama Club will bring snow and ice to the SAAC stage with Disney’s ‘Frozen, JR.” This is a fan favorite fairytale of a Snow Queen who cannot control her powers and the sister she tried to keep safe from them. On this journey we learn about true love, the power of letting go of fear, and the simplicity of a hug,” said Hickman.

Hannah Davis is no stranger to theatre and the SAAC stage happens to be her favorite, as she teaches the kids' drama classes there. Some of her favorite past credits include: director of SAAC's "Annie KIDS"; the character Rhonda and the hair, wig and makeup designer for SAAC's "Singin' In The Rain"; Grempkin in SAAC's "Peter and the Starcatcher"; Madame Spanella in SAAC's "Breakfast at Tiffany's"; and director of SAAC's "Disney's Aristocats KIDS".  She has a bachelor's degree in theatre from Louisiana Tech University. When not at SAAC she can be found teaching eighth grade English at Barton Junior High.

Disney's “Frozen JR.” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).  For more information on this exciting and “fun for your kid” production, please call the SAAC office at 870-866-0707 or visit the website at saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, AR 71730.

 

BOOZMAN SHARES SERVICE MEMORIES OF 99-YEAR-OLD WWII MOUNTAIN HOME VETERAN
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of World War II veteran Edith Mitchell in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans. 

Mitchell was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina on December 24, 1921. As a child she became interested in music, a passion she has pursued for her entire life. She started piano lessons at the age of nine and later taught herself how to play the organ. She volunteered to play for her church’s services in high school and when she was leaving for college, the pastor gave her money for her years of dedicated organ-playing. “It was exactly the amount that I needed to pay for the first quarter tuition,” Mitchell said.

She graduated from Flora MacDonald College, majoring in voice and public school music with a minor in piano, and used her education to share her love of music.

At her first job teaching in Richlands, North Carolina, many of her students had fathers who were stationed at Camp Lejeune. “The war had already started and I was feeling very patriotic and so I decided to join after I taught there one year.”

She enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) on September 1, 1943 and was sent to boot camp in what she called “the swamps” outside of Daytona Beach, Florida. “It was a lot of rain,” Mitchell remembers. 

Mitchell tested high in mechanics, but she had never worked in this field, so when she described her background in music, she was assigned to the Chaplain Corps.

Following boot camp Mitchell traveled by train to her assignment at Camp Stoneman, California, a major staging area for troops bound for the Pacific Theater. She served as a chaplain’s assistant and had a number of responsibilities including writing letters for the chaplains and playing music at the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish services.

At one pre-embarkation service Mitchell played the organ and sang the hymn “Ninety and Nine” before a chapel full of servicemembers leaving for World War II operations. Her voice inspired some soldiers to make public professions of faith. She remembers the men walking up the gang plank with the water from their baptism dripping off their backpacks. “It was just one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Mitchell said.

As a member of the Chaplain Corps, Mitchell went to some places most people never went like the prison hospital. “I remember it was scary to go through the locked door, and there I was with all the prisoners. I didn’t know what they had done.”

Shortly after Mitchell’s arrival at Camp Stoneman, she says her mother wanted to do her duty and volunteered as a nurse’s aide at the hospital where some of her patients included survivors of the Bataan Death March. “I’ll never forget the site,” Mitchell said. “They were nothing but skeletons with skin stretched over them. They could hardly walk. In fact, many of them just had to be carried on a stretcher from the ship to the hospital.”

After completing her military service, Mitchell used her GI Bill benefits to attend Columbia University where she earned master’s degree in voice and public music. She continued to teach music and met the man who became her husband when he joined her choir.

When the couple retired, they relocated to Mountain Home to be near their granddaughter. Today, Mitchell continues to give voice lessons and be involved in her church.

“Edith Mitchell proudly served her country. As a member of the Greatest Generation, there is a lot we can learn from Americans like Edith Mitchell whose selfless service helped support Allied efforts. I am honored to recognize her service and dedication to our nation. Her memories of her service are an important part of our history,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Mitchell’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.

July 23, 2021

CADC ANNOUNCES 2021 SUMMER LIHEAP UTILITY ASSISTANCE START DATES
Benton, AR - JULY 2021 - Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) announced today the 2021 Extended Winter CARES LIHEAP Utility Assistance program will begin the week of Monday, July 12, 2021, and continue as long as funds are available.  This program will assist with 

Gas/Propane utility bills only. The extended gas program will assist for past due or shut off only. Crisis assistance only will be available.

In addition, the 2021 Summer LIHEAP Utility Assistance program will begin the week of Monday, July 26, 2021. This program will assist with Electric bills only. Both Regular and Crisis assistance will be available.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. We provide federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with home energy bills and energy crises.

LIHEAP can help you stay cool in the summer through programs that reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe cooling practices.

 CADC operates the LIHEAP program in the following counties in Arkansas;

Calhoun, Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Lonoke, Miller,  Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Pulaski, Saline, Sevier and Union.  

In effort to minimize the spread of Covid-19, each facility will enforce guidelines pertaining to application submission; please check with your local office for these guidelines.

Only the applicant will be allowed to enter the facility. Additional family members and or friends must remain in the vehicle or outside of the facility. All applicants must agree to submit to screening before being allowed to enter.  Due to restrictions on the number of people allowed in the facility at a time, applicants should prepare for longer than usual wait times.

For more information about CADC’s Utility Assistance Program visit:

https://www.cadc.com/utility-assistance. 

ENERGY USAGE DATA, MORE AVAILABLE IN ENTERGY’S ‘MYADVISOR’ DASHBOARD
App provides real-time use, history, current bill and projected usage
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Entergy Arkansas customers with advanced meters have a handy way to acces detailed energy usage data and more in MyAdvisor, found within th Entergy app for smart phones or online a www.EntergyArkansas.com. 

“The MyAdvisor dashboard lets you take control of your energy usage, so there are no surprises,” said Michael Considine, Entergy Arkansas vice president of customer service. “You now have the ability to get detailed data that you couldn’t before, and we hope our customers will use the information that’s available to be more energy-efficient every day.”

Company officials said about 85% of Entergy Arkansas customers have advanced meters currently, and all remaining advanced meters installations will be completed by the end of the year.

Detailed information can be accessed by logging into the customer account at www.Entergy.com/MyAdvisor, which also has helpful “how-to” videos for using the dashboard. From there, the “My Usage and Cost” link allows a customer to compare usage and cost by month, day, and hour in 15-minute increments.

In addition to the customer’s energy usage available on the site, the bill projection tab provides an estimate of what the bill will be by the end of the billing cycle. The bill analyzer tool lets a customer compare previous bills by month and year to better understand the effects of variables like the number of days in the billing cycle, energy usage, fuel costs, and weather.

The app also provides tips for reducing the amount of electricity a household consumes, such as installing a programmable thermostat, using ceiling fans as needed, and placing a dehumidifier where appropriate.

By completing the home assessment, savings and goals sections, customers can use energy-saving tools to predict savings and create a personalized savings plan, set customized goals, and get tips on how to meet those goals. Optional alerts can notify customers by email or text when they have surpassed the desired energy usage or budget.

“Entergy Arkansas is dedicated to providing safe, reliable and cost-effective electricity to our customers,” said Considine, “and one way to do that is to help our customers save energy when possible. If you take advantage of the MyAdvisor tools and features, this technology can actually change the way you use electricity and manage your energy dollars.”

For more information, visit www.entergy.com/MyAdvisor or call 1-800-ENTERGY.

ABOUT ENTERGY ARKANSAS
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 722,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy delivers electricity to three million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $10 billion and approximately 12,5000 employees.

BOOZMAN, HASSAN INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION REQUIRING MANDATORY WHISTLEBLOWER TRAINING FOR VA EMPLOYEES
Senators Push to Strengthen Veterans Care Through Enhanced Cooperation Between VA Staff and Inspector General’s Office
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), both members of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced the bipartisan VA OIG Training Act of 2021 to require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide training to employees on reporting waste, fraud and abuse. This training would be in coordination with the VA Office of the Inspector General (VA OIG), which serves veterans and the public by conducting meaningful independent oversight of the VA.

 “Our veterans deserve nothing short of high-quality care, and the Inspector General’s Office plays an important role in helping ensure the VA is meeting its lawful obligations,” Boozman said. “Our bill will help foster cooperation between VA employees and the Inspector General so that reporting wrongdoing is a process all employees are trained in. Protecting our former servicemembers from negligence or willful misconduct must be a top priority.”

“VA employees must know to speak up if they see concerns with veterans’ care or other waste, fraud, and abuse,” said Senator Hassan. “This bipartisan bill will help ensure that VA employees are vigilant in order to protect the benefits and care that veterans have earned and deserve. Any wasted VA resource is one taken from a veteran, so I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this important bill.”

 “Effective oversight depends on VA employees reporting wrongdoing and cooperating fully with VA Office of Inspector General investigations, inspections, audits, and evaluations. Early and accurate reporting by VA staff can save patients’ lives, protect VA employees, ensure veterans timely receive needed benefits and services, and recoup billions of dollars in monetary recoveries and avoided costs,” said VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal. “This training will also advance the Secretary’s commitment to holding employees accountable, protecting whistleblowers and other complainants, and ensuring all information is obtained that contributes to fair and balanced oversight.”

 Currently, the VA offers an optional, 45-minute whistleblower training to employees. However, many VA employees opt out of the training and often lack the skills to spot the early indicators of fraud and other potential crimes. This bill would make the one-time training mandatory in order to reduce fraud and protect taxpayer dollars. The legislation also allows the VA OIG to contact VA employees via email at least twice per year without having to seek permission from the VA Secretary, as currently is the case.

The bill comes on the heels of the VA OIG’s report about its investigation of former Fayetteville VA pathologist Dr. Robert M. Levy who regularly performed his duties while impaired leading to the misdiagnosis of thousands of veterans. The report identified fear of retaliation among VA staff as one cause for the failure of employees who had observed Levy’s impaired behavior to come forward.

“The tragedy that resulted from the inexcusable negligence and lack of accountability at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center must not be forgotten or allowed to occur again. Requiring whistleblower training and facilitating increased contact between Department employees and the OIG’s office will help foster more awareness about when and how to report wrongdoing or suspicious behavior. This must happen in order to protect our veterans and assure them, and their loved ones, that their care is coming at the hands of qualified and trusted providers,” Boozman said.

July 21, 2021

SPECIAL CITY OF CAMDEN COUNCIL MEETING
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in Special Session on Tuesday night in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting order. Alderman Marvin Moore gave the invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk Donna Stewart called the roll. Cecil McDonald was present via Zoom. L.E. Lindsey, Chris Aregood, Marvin Moore, Lawrence Askew and William McCoy were in attendance. Terry Smith and James Bell were absent.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and vote on  Ordinance No. 06-21, an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an Interlocal Contract for Cooperative Purchasing; declaring that an exceptional situation exists; waving the requirements for competitive bidding; authorizing the Mayor to purchase a new Pumper Truck for the City of Camden Fire Department; amending the 2021 Annual Operating Budget; declaring an emergency; and for other purposes. Fire Chief Ron Nash gave a presentation regarding the pumper truck.

It was already in the plans to buy the new truck next year however, there will be a price increase on August 01st of this year and another price hike of 2 to 5% in February of 2022.  By approving the purchase now, the city will save on the $538,000 truck. There is a 2% discount for money paid in advance of delivery of the truck so the council voted to put $500,000 down and pay $38,000 upon delivery of the new truck The Council agreed on including a clause in the the contract charging a penalty if the truck is not delivered by January of 2023. The Council passed the ordinance unanimously

There was mention made of streetlights that are out about the city. If you notice a light out in your neighborhood, please get the number off of the light pole and Call City Hall and let them know.

CAMDEN SIDEWALK REPLACEMENT PUBLIC MEETING
There will be a public meeting held on July 28th at 6 pm to take comments on the final plans for sidewalk replacement. There will be a guided walk of the project area after the meeting. The drawings are also available for review by contacting the Building Inspector’s office at 836-5508.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T FALL FOR THE FAMILY EMERGENCY SCAM
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans about scam callers who will pull at your heartstrings and attempt to steal your money. Potential targets will receive a panicked phone call from a person claiming to be a relative, oftentimes a grandchild who is in jail or the hospital, who needs money right away. The con artists will ask for money to be wired to them immediately and even pose as an attorney to threaten callers. With wire transfers being similar to cash, the money cannot be retrieved.

“You should never wire money to someone claiming to be a family member in jail unless you have verified that information with another close family member,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This ‘family emergency’ scam is a recycled, common scam that is used to scare Arkansans into turning over their hard-earned money.”

Attorney General Rutledge recommends the following strategies to avoid falling victim to the “family emergency” scheme:
Resist pressure to act quickly.
Never give or wire money based on any unsolicited phone call.
Verify the family member’s location by directly calling another family member, the grandchild or the hospital or jail.
Do not send money to an unknown account or entity.
Ask the caller for his or her name, and if they cannot provide it, hang up immediately.
Have a plan in place when family members are traveling to easily identify whether a need is genuine.

For more information and tips on how to avoid a scam, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

 

USACE VICKSBURG DISTRICT ANNOUNCES POSTED RESTRICTIONS CONCERNING THE COMMERCIAL USE OF CORPS CAMPSITES
VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District is announcing the posting of additional restrictions regarding the commercial rental of campsites in Corps operated campgrounds through the Reservation One Stop (R1S) reservation system.

The following restrictions are posted under the authority of 36 CFR Section 327.12a:
Campsites at Corps operated facilities may not be reserved by individuals or businesses for the purpose of renting a Recreational Vehicle (RV) or any camping unit to other parties. This has been determined to be a commercial activity and thus only allowed in a leased commercial concession.

Rental RVs and other camping units may be used at Corps operated campgrounds, but the reservation must be made by the party who will be utilizing the campsite.

Reservations found to be made for the commercial purpose of attachment to an RV or other camping unit rental will be cancelled, and a citation may be issued to the violator under the authority of 36 CFR 327.12a.

There are no changes for campsites reserved for personal, non-commercial use.

USACE is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, managing more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas they provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages.

 

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday July 1st at Catherine's Bistro at 12:00 PM. The program will be presented by by Judge McAdoo.

 

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM THE DELTA VARIANT
(StatePoint) Despite significant gains in vaccinations and fighting COVID-19, the rise of the more transmissible Delta variant poses a significant risk for unvaccinated people.

“We are at a critical moment in the COVID-19 pandemic. We have the vaccines and public health measures necessary to protect people and stop the spread of the virus, but the onus is on all of us to get vaccinated in order to protect ourselves and our communities. Despite the gains we have made, the dangers -- particularly of the Delta variant -- are real and concerning,” says Gerald E. Harmon, M.D., American Medical Association (AMA) president.

According to the AMA, here is what you can do now to decrease the risk to you and your family.
1. Talk to your doctor. Speak to your own physician about vaccines. Physicians remain one of the most important sources for information about vaccines. And with 96 percent of physicians vaccinated, according to a recent AMA poll, they are prepared to answer your questions and speak about their own experience with vaccines.
2. Get vaccinated ASAP. If you’re not already vaccinated, get the first vaccine available to you. Three vaccines are now available in the United States: those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals. All are safe and highly effective at preventing severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalizations and death.
3. Immunize your child. Now is the time to immunize your child, if they are eligible, so they are fully vaccinated by the start of school. It takes five weeks for the two-dose Pfizer vaccine to be fully effective. With schools reopening in person in August in many places, and with just one in five children between 12-15 years old vaccinated, you should start the vaccination process as soon as possible.

Additionally, childhood and adolescent vaccination rates against diseases such as measles, pertussis and human papilloma virus dropped precipitously during the first few months of the pandemic stay-at-home orders. Although rates have picked up, they have not picked up enough to achieve catch-up coverage, so make sure your child’s immunizations are on track during well-child visits with their doctor.

“In order for communities to fully move on from COVID-era restrictions and ensure we don’t fall back due to spread of COVID variants, everyone must do their part now and get vaccinated. Too much is at stake,” says Dr. Harmon

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines by visiting getvaccineanswers.org or find a location to get vaccinated near you at vaccines.gov.

SAAC TO HOST RECEPTION FOR ARTIST JAY SHINN
The South Arkansas Arts Center will host a reception for visual artist Jay Shinn on Saturday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m. in the Merkle and Price Galleries. Shinn is an internationally known artist who originally hails from Magnolia, and now divides his time between Dallas, New York, and Berlin. His exhibition entitled "Step Forward/Stand Back," includes large-scale graphic abstract paintings, as well as several works incorporating elements of neon light.

The exhibition can be viewed at SAAC Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through the closing reception on July 24. Many of the pieces were specifically created for the exhibition, to maximize the drama between the paintings and the dark background of SAAC's gallery spaces.

"When I first considered exhibiting at SAAC, I only remembered the small gallery that was here when I was young," Shinn said. "I was so excited to see the full scope of the space, and very inspired by the dark walls."

Shinn, who was born in Magnolia and took some of his earliest art classes at SAAC, received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and is an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Known for his large-scale public art light installations of projection paintings and neon, Shinn has spent his career exploring minimal geometric abstraction through color and light. His works are in many private and public collections worldwide including Houston's Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport; Dallas Fort Worth International Airport; Texas A&M University's Zachary School of Engineering Education Complex; and the Kansas City Chief's Arrowhead Stadium.

The exhibition may be viewed between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the South Arkansas Arts Center, 110 E. 5th St., El Dorado. For more information, call 870-862-5474, or visit our website at www.saac-arts.org.

COTTON INTRODUCES FUND THE POLICE ACT
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced the Fund the Police Act to reallocate $50 billion in unspent funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to establish a Law Enforcement Support Trust Fund at the United States Department of Justice and to support two federal grant programs to hire, train, and equip more state and local police officers.

“Some Democrats seem eager to rewrite history and hide their advocacy for ‘defunding the police,’ but that’s exactly what they’ve tried to do. My bill will immediately fund two federal grant programs to support police officers and establish a trust to maintain these grants for decades to come,” said Cotton.

The Fund the Police Act will reallocate $50 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act to:

Immediately provide $1 billion each to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne JAG Grants) and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office Grants.

Create a Law Enforcement Support Trust Fund at the U.S. Department of Justice, which can be used to supply an additional $500 million per year for each of the Byrne JAG and COPS Office grant programs in future years.
 

COTTON STATEMENT ON U.S.-GERMAN DEAL ON RUSSIAN NORD STREAM 2 PIPELINE
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement regarding the news that the United States and Germany have reached a deal allowing completion of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline:

“This deal is a grave mistake. It gives Vladimir Putin enormous leverage over the European Union and NATO, with no promise of enforcement when Putin inevitably turns the gas off in the winter. President Biden should impose sanctions on the pipeline to ensure it’s never completed.”

 

COTTON STATEMENT ON ARKANSAS YOUTH TRANSGENDER LAW
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement regarding a court decision in Arkansas to place a hold on Arkansas’ law to ban transgender medical interventions for children:

“Our legislature made the reasonable decision to protect minors from dangerous and life-altering drugs, hormones, and surgeries. Against the will of Arkansans, liberal activists have now put those children back in harm’s way.”

July 19, 2021

CONGRESSMAN BRUCE WESTERMAN GIVES TIPS ON RENEWING YOUR PASSPORT
Congressman Bruce Westerman says that one of the most important parts of his job is helping Arkansans navigate federal agencies. Over the past few months he has heard from many constituents looking to apply for or renew passports now that international travel restrictions have loosened thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine. This influx of passport applications coupled with labor shortages and COVID-19 protocols at the U.S. State Department has created a backlog of applications and slower processing time. To ensure your international travel plans are not disturbed, please follow these best practices:

If traveling within the next three months, start the process of applying for a passport or passport renewal as soon as possible, and select the expedited and overnight mail options.

If traveling within two weeks and you have not started the process of applying for a passport, request an in-oerson appointment at any available passport facility. The appointment must be booked for a day and time within three days of your travel date. New appointment times are released daily, so refresh the page until an appointment time displays on the website.

If you are within two weeks of your travel date and have not received your passport, request the in-person appointment at any available passport facility.

Generally, you should not rely on an appointment to receive a passport. Plan around the processing times outlined on travel.state.gov/passports.

To check on the status of your passport application, visit the State Department’s website . If the information is not available, or you need help checking on the status, please contact Congressman Westerman’s office with your passport locator number, date of travel, reason for travel, and application date.

Keep in mind that many destinations and airlines require six months remaining passport validity for international travel.

Visit westerman.house.gov for a complete list of areas in Congressman Westerman;s Office can help. If you need assistance with any federal agency, contact his Hot Springs office at (501) 609-9796 or Pine Bluff office at (870) 536-8178.
 

BOOZMAN LEADS EFFORT RECOGNIZING 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF FULBRIGHT PROGRAM
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) introduced a resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, the United States’ flagship educational exchange established by former Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright.

“The Fulbright Program has been instrumental in promoting international cooperation and understanding for 75 years. Participants of this prestigious professional and cultural exchange help advance our nation’s foreign policy goals by developing meaningful global connections that also further their own higher education experiences. We can be proud of the Fulbright Program and the positive force it represents through its impact on U.S. diplomacy and our desire to help build a better future for people around the world,” Boozman said.

“It is a privilege to live in the state where the idea for this extraordinary international exchange program germinated. Alumni across the country and around the world honor this 75th anniversary by continuing the Fulbright tradition of education, advocacy and service throughout their lives,” said DeDe Long, Chairwoman of the Fulbright Association Board of Directors.

On August 1, 1946, President Harry Truman signed Fulbright’s legislation into law creating the international exchange program designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries. The Fulbright Program counts more than 400,000 students from 160 countries as alumni, including 60 Nobel Laureates and 39 heads of state.

The Senate resolution is cosponsored by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

July 16, 2021

SPECIAL CITY OF CAMDEN COUNCIL MEETING:
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have Special Meeting on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.
The Agenda is as follows:
A. Call To Order
B. Invocation
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. New Business
            I.  Ordinance No. 06-21, an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an Interlocal Contract for Cooperative Purchasing; declaring that an exceptional situation exists; waving the requirements for competitive bidding; authorizing the Mayor to purchase a new Pumper Truck for the City of Camden Fire Department; amending the 2021 Annual Operating Budget; declaring an emergency; and for other purposes.
F. OTHER BUSINESS/COUNCIL REMARKS
G. ADJOURNMENT

12 ARKANSAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR REGIONAL FINALISTS NAMED 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. The 12 regional finalists will be recognized at an event August 5 at the Governor’s Mansion. During the event, the four state semi-finalists will be announced.

“After such a challenging school year, it is my honor to recognize some of the best teachers around the state,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “The 2020-2021 school year was unprecedented; however, Arkansas’ teachers rose to the occasion. Unlike many other states, schools in Arkansas were open throughout the entire school year. It is because of dedicated teachers, like those recognized today, that our students didn’t miss a day of learning. Congratulations to the regional finalists, and thank you for leading by example both in and out of the classroom.”

The regional finalists listed below each will receive a certificate and a $1,000 prize provided by the Walton Family Foundation. 

Brigette Biley-Olatunji
Math, Grades 9-12
Arkansas High School
Texarkana Arkansas School District
Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative

Rozanna Brown
English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Grade 4Ballman Elementary School
Fort Smith School District
Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative

Allison Dolan
Social Studies, Grades 9-12
Don Tyson School of Innovation
Springdale School District
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Amy Farmer
Math, Grades 9-10
Academies of West Memphis
West Memphis School District
Great Rivers Education Service Cooperative

Jil’Lana Heard
Library Media Specialist, Grades 10-12
Lake Hamilton High School
Lake Hamilton School District
Dawson Education Service Cooperative

Shanon Hum
AVID College and Career Readiness Coordinator, Grades 6-8
Sylvan Hills Middle School
Pulaski County Special School District
Pulaski County

Vickie Lewis
English, Math, Reading, Science, & Social Studies, Grades 6-8
NewStart Academy ALE
Wynne School District
Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative

Amy Privett
Special Education, Grades 5-6
Walnut Ridge Middle School
Lawrence County School District
Northeast Arkansas Education Cooperative

Kaitlyn Ryals
Math, Grade 6
Bob and Betty Courtway Middle School
Conway School District
Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative

Jessica Saum
Special Education, Grades K-4
Stagecoach Elementary School
Cabot School District
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

Jessica Talley
Technology, Grades K-2
East Side Elementary School
Magnolia School District
South Central Service Cooperative

Angela Walters
Gifted Education, Grades K-5
East End Intermediate School
Sheridan School District
Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative

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 four state semi-finalists that will be announced on August 5 will be selected from among the 12 regional finalists. One of the four state semi-finalists will be named the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year this fall and will apply to become the 2022 National Teacher of the Year. Some State Board of Education members may attend the August 5 event at the Governor’s Mansion, but no official business will be conducted.

To learn more about the ATOY program, visit https://bit.ly/3hJwC0g
 

ARKANSAS BLUE CROSS SUPPORTS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PROGRAMS IN ARKANSAS
Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas provides $5.29 million in grants to Arkansas programs to increase access and eliminate barriers
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 16, 2021) – The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas announced today $5.29 million in grants for behavioral health programs in Arkansas. This investment is focused on eight Arkansas programs led by six established organizations that will address the growing behavioral health crisis in the state. To meet the unique needs of Arkansans, the grants support programs that address behavioral health needs at all stages of life – from early childhood through adolescence, and into adulthood – along with helping to increase the number of behavioral health professionals serving our communities.

The Blue & You Foundation is a charitable foundation established and funded by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to promote better health in Arkansas.

Across the United States, behavioral health conditions, including mental and substance use disorders, have been on the rise since 2014 and have risen even more sharply since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Arkansas, the issue is particularly serious. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that incidents of suicide, along with symptoms of anxiety and depression, are prevalent in Arkansas at rates higher than the national average. There is also an unmet need for behavioral healthcare in the state with 65.7 percent of adolescents reported having not received treatment for a major depressive episode, also significantly higher than the national average.

“We believe that addressing the behavioral healthcare needs of our state requires collaboration with local organizations that have demonstrated success in increasing access, improving outcomes and reducing stigma,” said Curtis Barnett, president and CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross. “We recognize the impact behavioral health can have on the health of individuals, families, and communities as a whole. With these investments, we can help create healthier communities and give hope to those in need, while normalizing the conversation around behavioral health."

Addressing the behavioral health crisis requires a collaborative and coordinated approach. That is why the Blue & You Foundation selected eight innovative programs to receive this investment.

The programs selected for the Blue & You Foundation grants are:
Arkansas Children’s – will receive $1.5 million to integrate the nationally recognized HealthySteps program in pediatric primary care facilities in Arkansas.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – will receive $1.95 million to expand The Trauma Resource Initiative for Schools and AR-Connect programs. 

$1.2 million will go toward the expansion of the Trauma Resource Initiative for Schools, which provides K-12 school personnel in Arkansas resources to support children who experience trauma and provide trauma-related care navigation services as well as onsite resources in times of a crisis on a school campus.

$750,000 will support the growth and increased awareness of AR-Connect, which provides evidence-based care to individuals experiencing behavioral health symptoms and a crisis line that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Endowments – will be provided to expand the behavioral health workforce and train these specialists to practice in primary care settings.

A total of $1.735 million will be provided to three universities to support their Master of Social Work programs to train LCSWs in primary care settings. Each of the following schools will receive an endowment of $500,000 to directly support students in their Master of Social Work programs.

Arkansas State University
University of Arkansas – Fayetteville
University of Arkansas – Little Rock

Additionally, the Blue & You Foundation is providing funding to support start-up and administrative costs: Arkansas State University will receive an additional $30,000; the University of Arkansas/Fayetteville will receive an additional $100,000; and the University of Arkansas/Little Rock will receive an additional $105,000.

The Arkansas Chapter of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Arkansas) – will receive $105,000 to support the growth and maintenance of programs that provide resources to support individuals with mental health conditions and reduce stigma around the use of behavioral health services.

$78,000 will support NAMI High School Clubs and NAMI On Campus which provides peer support on high school and college campuses for students experiencing behavioral health symptoms, and combats stigma associated with behavioral health.

$27,000 will go toward the growth and awareness of NAMI Educational Support Groups that provide resources and training to build community networks that can offer support to individuals who may be struggling with mental illness or substance misuse.

“From the onset of our research and discovery process, we knew that we’d be more successful in achieving our goal to improve behavioral healthcare in Arkansas by finding established and proven programs within the Natural State,” said Rebecca Pittillo, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation. “As we engaged with organizations across the state, I was amazed at the innovative approaches to challenging issues and the tremendous results already achieved. The programs led by the grant recipients announced today will go a long way in helping provide immediate and long-term support for Arkansans in need.”

The programs awarded the Blue & You Foundation grants are designed to:
Build life-long health, resiliency, and well-being for children and families by standardizing early intervention practices and addressing the drivers of behavioral health conditions.
Expand the behavioral healthcare workforce and better integrate behavioral health into primary care, and
Remove barriers to care such as long-standing stigma around receiving behavioral health treatment.

Funding is awarded and available immediately and all grant recipients/program directors will oversee the allocation of their funding to activate these solutions as quickly as possible.

July 15, 2021

EL DORADO NATIVE STANDS TRANSIT WATCH ON FLIGHT DECK ABOARD U.S. NAVY WARSHIP
Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Jacob Daniels, from El Dorado, Arkansas, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) security underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting Full Ship Shock Trials. The U.S. Navy conducts shock trials of new ship designs using live explosives to confirm that our warships can continue to meet demanding mission requirements under the harsh conditions they might encounter in battle.

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: IMMEDIATELY DELETE VULGAR TEXT MESSAGES
LITTLE ROCK – Scammers have resorted to new lows in an age-old scheme to steal consumers’ personal information. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is once again warning Arkansans of phishing schemes where scam artists will send a link through text or email hoping the cell phone users will allow access to information on the phone. The updated scam adds additional shock value because scammers have added vulgar and sexual messages in anticipation that users will click that link. This scam is an attempt to surprise users while gaining access to personal information stored on their device.

“Scam artists are disgusting and have reinvented an old scam in a vulgar way to steal from Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If you receive a fake text message that you did not sign up for, do not click on anything in the message and delete the message immediately.”

Attorney General Rutledge recommends the following tips if you receive this group text scam:

Do NOT answer or engage with the text message. These scams are attempting to get a response from group members to steal personal information off the phone.

Block the calling or texting number on your phone and delete the texts.

If the calling number is the spoofed contact of someone you know unblock the number after a few hours or days; otherwise, the person with that number will not be able to reach you.

Cell phone users may have an option to filter and block messages from their phones directly. Users can filter and block messages on an iPhone and block a phone number on an Android phone.

iPhone and Android users also have the ability to report spam and junk messages that are sent to their phones. iPhone users can find additional information here while Android users can find information here.

Any cell phone user can also report text messages by copying the message and forwarding it to 7726 (SPAM) and reporting the message to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

For more information and tips on how to avoid a scam, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
 

THE SYMETRA TOUR'S MURPHY USA EL DORADO SHOOTOUT PRESENTED BY PEPSICO ANNOUNCES SEPTEMBER TOURNAMENT DATES
Murphy USA and the Symetra Tour announce 2021 El Dorado Shootout dates for the end of September.
EL DORADO, AR, (July 14, 2021) – Murphy USA is excited to announce the 2021 Murphy USA
El Dorado Shootout dates. After taking a pause in 2020 to construct a beautiful clubhouse at the course, the El Dorado Shootout is back and better than ever this fall. Since hosting the first El Dorado Shootout Tournament in 2015, this event has become a favorite among both the female athletes on the Symetra Tour and those living in the South Arkansas community.

The 2021 Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, presented by PepsiCo, will be held September 18th through the 26th at Mystic Creek Golf Club in El Dorado. Numerous activities for all ages will occur throughout the week leading up to the Tournament, including the popular Junior Clinic (children ages six to eighteen) and a Pro-Am scramble that pairs Symetra Tour professionals with various local and national vendor partners. 

This will mark the sixth year that Murphy USA and the El Dorado community will host this 54-hole stroke play format event that welcomes a player field comprised of the top-aspiring female professional golfers from around the world. Competitors will vie for a $175,000 total purse, an increase of $25,000 from 2019. The winning player of the 2021 tournament will receive $26,250 and take a significant step toward obtaining her LPGA Tour Card for the 2022 season.

The top-10 players on the Symetra year-end Race for the Card money list receive their full-time LPGA Tour Cards for the following season. Symetra Tour players have gone on to win a total of 450 LPGA Tour events. Since 2013, eleven players from the Symetra Tour/Road to the LPGA have gone on to win majors, including recent winners Sophia Popov (2020 AIG Women's Open) and Patty Tavatanakit (2021 ANA Inspiration).

The El Dorado Shootout, recognized as the Sporting Event of the Year by the Arkansas Festivals & Events Association multiple times, provides El Dorado a valuable platform to showcase its spectacular downtown, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues. It also provides the opportunity to give back to the community. Each year a local non-profit organization is chosen to benefit from the annual Tournament. This year, the Tournament has the honor of giving back to both a local charity and a national one. The two charities that have been selected are #TeamCorrie Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen. With both charities benefiting women with breast cancer, and the tournament providing such an amazing opportunity for these female athletes, we have chosen the tagline #ChampioningWomen to capture the spirit of this year's event.

For more information about the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, visit the Tournament's website at www.eldoradoshootout.com, and don't forget to follow us at Facebook.com/road2eldo, Twitter.com/ROAD2ELDO, and Instagram @road2eldo.

About the Symetra Tour
The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 41st competitive season in 2021. With the support of entitlement partner Symetra, the Tour's mission is to prepare the world's best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Symetra's inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to $4.0 million in prize money awarded in 2019 and 2021. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 445 LPGA titles. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, as well as Facebook.com/Road2LPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA, and Instagram @road2lpga.

 

BOOZMAN CALLS ON BIDEN TO UPHOLD TITLE 42 BORDER EXPULSIONS
Amid Border Crisis and COVID-19 Spike, Policy Must Continue to Safeguard Americans
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is pressing the Biden administration to preserve Title 42, the public health order that allows U.S. border officials to quickly remove illegal immigrants at the southern border to prevent the spread of COVID-19 rather than detain them in congregate settings within the U.S.

“I call on the administration to use some common sense to keep this tool in the toolbox as we face a truly unprecedented surge on our border,” Boozman said during a press conference with Republican senators.

Boozman also joined a group of GOP colleagues in sending a letter to the president highlighting the overcrowding at immigration facilities and how ending Title 42 would further intensify the crisis at the southern border.

“Revoking the authority of officials to rapidly expel illegal migrants under Title 42 without a clear plan in place to handle the stress this population will place on the system and on border communities will further exacerbate the crisis at the southwestern border,” the senators wrote.

July 14, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building located at 206 Van Buren ST in Camden.

Mayor Julian Lot called the meeting to order at promptly 7 pm. The Invocation was given by Reverend Steven Word of Believers Church. The Invocation was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk Donna Stewart called the roll. Aldermen Chris Aregood, Cecil McDonald, Joe Askew, Terry Smith, L.E. Lindsey,  and William McCoy were present. Aldermen James Bell and Marvin Moore were absent.  

The minutes of the Regular Meeting of June 8, 2021 passed unanimously.

There were some questions regarding The Financial Report for June 2021. After questions were answered the Financial report was approved unanimously.

During the Mayor’s Report, the Board heard a presentation by Ralph S. Wilcox, National Register & Survey Coordinator and Tom Marr, Federal Programs & Tax Credits Manager with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program spoke regarding the National Register. The National Register can include buildings or sites. One benefit is that properties on the National Register are eligible for state and federal tax credits. For more information visit www.arkansaspreseration.com

There was no old business.

There were several ordinances and resolutions listed under new business.
Ordinance No. 03-21, an ordinance authorizing Camden Water Utilities to increase Sewer Rates for customers on the Airport Sewer System; prescribing other matters relating thereto; and declaring an emergency. There was no feedback from any of the customers who will be affected. A motion was made to suspend the rules and put the Ordinance up for a final reading. Seconded and passed. The Ordinance was approved unanimously.
Ordinance No. 04-21, an ordinance permitting an official of the Camden Airport Commission to be interested in contracts with the City of Camden, Arkansas. After discussion, rules were suspended and the Ordinance passed unanimously.
Ordinance No. 05-21, an ordinance permitting an official of the Camden Airport Commission to be interested in contracts with the City of Camden, Arkansas. Rules were suspended and a vote was taken The Ordinance passed unanimously.
Ordinance No. 06-21, an ordinance amending Camden Code Section 2-51 (Ordinance Numbers 576, 3-89 and 8-96) regarding purchases up to one thousand dollars, and for other purposes. This ordinance was Tabled.
Resolution No. 40-21, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structures located a 420 Cleveland SW a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same. Passed unanimously.
Resolution No. 41-21, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 817 Viser St. SE a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same. Passed unanimously.
Resolution No. 42-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Charles Gaston to the Airport Commission; and for other purposes. Passed unanimously.
Resolution No. 43-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Trenton Walker to the Airport Commission as an ex-officio member. Passed unanimously.
Resolution No. 44-21, a resolution amending the Budget for 2021; and for other purposes. Request made by the Airport Commission. $50,000.00 requested. The Airport Commission want to provide a place for food trucks to set up. The Food Truck Court would provide electricity but not water or sewage. Each truck would pay a day fee. W-Fi would be available. The Board passed the Resolution unanimously.
Resolution No. 45-21, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 631 Cleveland Ave. a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same. Passed unanimously.
Resolution No. 46-21, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 520 Chestnut St. a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same. Passed unanimously.

The Fire Chief presented numbers for a new truck. There will be a price increase on August 1st and another in February of 2022. If ordered now, it would be probably 18 months before it would be delivered. To get the savings will require a special meeting to approve the purchase before the rate increase August 1st. There will be a special called meeting before the end of July to vote on the purchase.

The meeting adjourned at 8:47 pm. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be on August 10, 2021.

DESE RELEASES ACT ASPIRE TEST RESULTS
97 percent of students complete assessment; results provide one indicator of pandemic's effect on student learning 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education released today preliminary test results from the spring 2021 statewide administration of the ACT Aspire for grades 3 through 10. This was the first statewide summative assessment administered in two years, as COVID-19 disrupted the administration of the test in the spring of 2020. Despite a challenging school year, 97 percent of students statewide completed the assessment, with results providing a valuable snapshot of student learning throughout the pandemic. While all subject areas showed expected decreases, educators can use the results to accelerate learning in specific subject areas this summer and fall. 

“The results are not surprising and reflect a learning loss that was expected not only here in Arkansas but around the country,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “Because Arkansas schools were open since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, we are confident that additional learning loss was mitigated. We now have reliable, accurate data, along with other measures, to help us identify where the biggest impacts occurred. We clearly have a lot of work to do to accelerate learning this school year; however, we are committed to providing additional supports to assist districts in their efforts this school year.”

The largest decrease in test results occurred in math, with 34.60 percent of students in grade 5 meeting math readiness benchmarks compared to 49.17 percent in 2019. The declines in readiness in all subject areas could be attributed to multiple factors, such as the chosen instructional method (on-site, remote, hybrid), the number of days required to quarantine, and student engagement. Because an assessment was not administered in 2020, the 2021 administration of the ACT Aspire also marks the first time third-grade and fourth-grade students took the online assessment. To help provide a better understanding and explanation, DESE is partnering with ACT to conduct a study to determine the impact of various factors on test scores; a report is expected this fall.

It is important to note that ACT Aspire results reflect a single, point-in-time measure of student learning. Districts collect multiple data points throughout the school year that measure student learning progress. While the 2021 ACT Aspire results show shifts across performance levels, districts should note where specific skill gaps occur within reporting categories. Students in any level may be performing on grade level in some skills and below grade level in others. Targeting and providing needed support on essential grade-level knowledge and skills will help accelerate learning for students. 

Districts are able to access their test results beginning today and are encouraged to thoroughly review their data to guide them in addressing learning loss at their schools. Recent legislation waived the A-F state rating scale for the 2020-2021 school year, so schools will not receive a letter grade for that time period. 

Parents are encouraged to take advantage of school and community resources, such as the “Rise and Shine” programming on Arkansas PBS, summer learning opportunities, and after school programs, to help their child.

Scores can be accessed on the 2021 Assessment: Test Scores webpage at https://bit.ly/3AZALod.

AMENDED NEWS RELEASE: UAMS OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING
JULY 13, 2021
The Arkansas State Medical Examiner has preliminarily classified the death of Bobby Hollingshead as a suicide caused by a single self-inflicted gunshot wound.  A second gunshot wound sustained by Hollingshead, according to the preliminary medical examiner ruling, would not have hastened or contributed to his death.*(See below July 12, 2021 news release which stands.)
**(The Arkansas State Police investigation of the incident is continuing.) 

GRANT COUNTY MAN DEAD FOLLOWING OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING AT UAMS
JULY 12, 2021
A Grant County man died today following a law enforcement officer involved shooting incident that occurred about 12:40 PM outside the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Hospital Emergency Department.

UAMS police officers had approached Bobby Hollingshead, 59, of Sheridan, as he exited a truck near the hospital emergency entrance.  Hollingshead was reportedly brandishing a gun and directed police officers to stay away.  As Hollingshead raised the gun, one officer fired his weapon wounding Hollingshead who was then taken inside the hospital for medical treatment, but later died.

Hospital staff stated they had received reports prior to the shooting that Hollingshead may have had intentions to harm himself or others at the hospital.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were requested by UAMS police to investigate the officer involved shooting.

Hollingshead’s body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the manner and cause of death will be determined.

Once the investigation is completed, the case file will be delivered to the Pulaski County prosecuting attorney who will decide whether the use of deadly force by a police officer was consistent with Arkansas laws

 Inquiries about the officer’s identity or administrative status should be directed to the UAMS Police Department.

FY 2021 A RECORD PROCEEDS YEAR FOR ARKANSAS SCHOLARSHIP LOTTERY
July 13, 2021
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery (ASL) announced today that it raised a record $106.6 million in proceeds for Fiscal Year 2021, which ended June 30. In total since its inception in 2009, ASL has raised more than $1 billion in scholarship proceeds.

ASL Executive Director Eric Hagler calls the achievement “extraordinary,” especially in light of the socioeconomic challenges of the past year.

“Despite the chaos and disruption over the past 16 months, Arkansans continued to support the scholarship program by buying lottery tickets in record numbers,” Hagler said. “Our dedicated team of professionals at the office of the Arkansas Lottery and our strong retailer network helped us to out-perform every metric in FY 2021. We are grateful because it allows us to fulfill our mission of helping to educate Arkansas students, which will have a long-term positive economic impact on our state.” 

Hagler said the record numbers posted for FY 2021 stand as proof that the Lottery is trending upward and on a proper course for prudent growth. But he says expectations for FY 2022 should be tempered because of potential limits on consumer discretionary spending.

“The re-opening of additional entertainment venues coupled with rising inflation and fuel costs represent a challenge to reproduce the same sales and net proceeds numbers achieved this past year,” Hagler commented.

Lottery proceeds support three scholarship programs. 
The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship provides tuition assistance for Arkansans at two- and four-year public and private colleges.

The Arkansas Workforce Challenge Scholarship is available for students applying for certificate programs in high demand occupations.

The Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Scholarship provides financial assistance to eligible students in the state who want to take college courses while still in high school.

Corrigan Revels, a UA-Little Rock graduate and current employee of the school, says he was the first person in his immediate family to graduate from college, thanks in part to the lottery. 

“When I chose to attend UA-Little Rock, the lottery scholarship was a huge blessing,” said Revels. “Now, I’m in a position to help other students at my alma mater reach their fullest potential. I want to thank Arkansans for supporting students and graduates like myself.”

Hagler calls the lottery a win-win-win situation for everyone at every stage of the lottery process. 

“Obviously, students in Arkansas win by receiving tuition assistance,” Hagler said. “Our retail partners also win when a player cashes in a winning ticket and when foot traffic increases in their stores. And, of course, players win when they redeem potentially life-changing prizes.”

Since 2009, the lottery has awarded more than $3.6 billion in prizes to players, resulting in approximately $318 million in retailer commissions.

ONLINE SCHEDULING & LEARNING TOOLS AVAILABLE TO DRIVER LICENSE WRITTEN TEST APPLICANTS
JULY 13, 2021
Arkansans who are about to begin the process of obtaining their driver’s license will soon be able to reserve a specific date and time to take the written test.  The scheduling tool is currently limited to written test applicants who intend to use the Arkansas State Police Troop A or Troop L testing locations at Little Rock and Lowell.

While both testing sites will remain open to walk-in test applicants during the regular weekday schedule, test applicants are encouraged to access the online service and pick a day and time that accommodates their personal schedule.

The service is expected to help parents and guardians who are typically left to rearrange their work schedules while accompanying a son or daughter to begin the testing process.  The objective is to reduce the long lines and delays while test applicants wait their turn to register for the written test.

The first phase of the online scheduling tool that includes the primary testing site in Benton and Pulaski Counties was activated today at www.asp.arkansas.gov  The additional 10 testing sites at other Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division Troop Headquarters will be added in phases during the coming months.

A listing of all driver license testing sites is available at: www.ar.gov/aspdriverexaminfo

The Arkansas State Police has also produced a video that’s available at the same web site to help written test applicants better prepare themselves for the test.  Parents are encouraged to watch the video with their teenagers who may be considering the opportunity to take the Arkansas Driver License Written Test.  The video was produced to curb an increasing failure rate among first time written test applicants.  During calendar year 2019 more than 63,000 of the 111,123 written test applicants failed the test.

All driver license testing information and learning resources are available at: www.ar.gov/aspdriverexaminfo


ARKANSAS CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION TO HOST 63RD ANNUAL CONVENTION AND TRADE SHOW
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 9, 2021) –  The 63rd Annual Arkansas Cattlemen's Association (ACA) convention and trade show will be held July 30-31 in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the Hot Springs Convention Center. The Convention is sponsored by Greenway Equipment and the Trade Show is sponsored by Venture Equipment. 

Cattle producers from across Arkansas are invited to attend the convention for educational cattlemen’s college presentations, industry updates, networking, and over an acre worth of trade show. Registration begins and the trade show opens at 9:00 am on July 20. ACA Members and the public are welcome to attend for $35. 

The trade show will include vendors such as pharmaceutical companies, nutrition and genetics specialists, and live cattle exhibits. The first Cattlemen’s College session will begin at 9:30. The general session will be held at noon sponsored by the Arkansas Beef Council and the Arkansas Cattlewomen’s Association lunch. Two additional Cattlemen’s College sessions will follow in the afternoon. Friday will conclude with a hospitality hour starting at 5:30 and an awards banquet and steak dinner at 6:30 where ACA awards will be presented.

4H and FFA Day will be Saturday, July 31. Doors open at 8:00 am and members of the 4H and FFA wearing their gear will receive free admission. Cowboy Capers, a farm-themed children's Olympics, will occur at 9:00 am. The last two Cattlemen's College sessions will begin at 10:00 and 11:00 am. Lunch, sponsored by Farm Credit, will be at noon. The Trade Show will close at 2:00 pm  and ACA Business Meeting following. This business meeting allows all ACA members to have a voice in the policy that affects our industry. 

Cattlemen’s College topics will include managing calf scours without catching calves, the effectiveness of minerals, hay and forage quality’s effect on the bottom line, marketing tactics for your cattle, the interactions of production, management, and nutrition in growing beef cattle, a round table discussion focusing on the beef cattle industry, and more.

The ACA would like to welcome all to attend the 63rd Annual Convention and Trade Show in Hot Springs. For more information or to pre-register call the ACA office at 501-224-2114 or visit https://www.arbeef.org/event-details/2021-aca-convention-trade-show.

CAMDEN AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, July 16, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road, Camden, Arkansas

SENATORS BOOZMAN & COTTON PAY TRIBUTE TO FALLEN PEA RIDGE OFFICER
WASHINGTON–Arkansas Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton paid tribute to the service and sacrifice of Pea Ridge Police Officer Kevin Apple who was killed in the line of duty on June 26, 2021.

“Officer Apple was the embodiment of what it means to wear a police badge and uniform. His exemplary service and dedication to serving his community are inspirational, and he leaves behind a worthy example for other officers to imitate,” Boozman said. “He did much more than serve and protect. The Pea Ridge Police Chief said Officer Apple put humanity in the job. For a police officer, there’s no higher compliment than that.”

“Police Officer Kevin Dale Apple protected the community he loved for 23 years, but his long and honorable career in law enforcement was cut tragically short a little more than two weeks ago. We must never forget the lawmen who lay down their lives to keep us safe. We will respect Officer Apple’s memory, just as we respect every law-enforcement officer who wears the badge with honor,” Cotton said.
 

COTTON INTRODUCES BILL TO DEFUND CRITICAL RACE THEORY
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced the Stop CRT Act, legislation to bar federal funds from being sent to K-12 schools that promote Critical Race Theory, as well as colleges and universities that compel students or faculty to affirm tenets of Critical Race Theory. The Stop CRT Act would also codify former President Trump’s Executive Order on Race and Sex Discrimination, which would prohibit the federal government and federal contractors from using trainings inspired by Critical Race Theory.

Representative Dan Bishop (R-North Carolina) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Critical Race Theory teaches people to obsess over race and to believe that America is an evil, oppressive place. Federal funds should not be used to support activists in schools who want to teach our kids to hate each other and their country,” said Cotton.

“Critical Race Theory (CRT) is nothing more than state-sanctioned racism. Why should this poisonous, neo-Marxist ideology be funded by the federal government? CRT simply has no place in America’s schools, institutions, or the military. I applaud Senator Tom Cotton for taking up the Stop CRT Act in the Senate as it will fully defund efforts to put CRT into practice at the federal level, setting the right tone for the rest of the nation,” said Bishop.

The Stop CRT Act of 2021 would:
Bar federal funds to K-12 schools that promote Critical Race Theory, hire consultants to promote Critical Race Theory, or compel faculty members, students, or any other individual to affirm the tenets of Critical Race Theory
Bar federal funds to colleges and universities that compel faculty, students, or any other individual to profess or affirm the tenets of Critical Race Theory
Codify President Trump’s Executive Order on Preventing Race and Sex Stereotyping to prohibit the federal government and federal contractors from indoctrinating employees or any other individual using trainings that advocate Critical Race Theory

The Stop CRT Act of 2021 would not:
Prevent any individual from accessing materials about Critical Race Theory for the purposes of research or independent study
Prevent individuals from exercising lawful, protected speech

The Stop CRT Act is supported by Citizens for Renewing America, Heritage Action, The Center for the American Way of Life, and the Texas Public Policy foundation.

Senator Cotton has been a leader in the fight against Critical Race Theory for more than a year:
In July 2020, Senator Cotton introduced the Saving American History Act to prohibit federal funds from being used to teach The New York Times’s 1619 Project curriculum. Cotton re-introduced the bill in June 2021 along with six of his Republican colleagues, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell

Cotton sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice in October 2020 noting the alarming reappearance of racial segregation in education in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Cotton introduced the Combatting Racist Training in the Military Act in March of 2021 to prohibit the U.S. Armed Forces from promoting racist theories, such as Critical Race Theory.

In May 2021, Cotton and Congressman Dan Crenshaw launched a whistleblower webpage where members of the military can share accounts of Critical Race Theory-inspired training and other forms of discrimination to which they have been subjected.

On June 2nd, 2021, Cotton sent a letter to Lockheed Martin demanding answers regarding the company’s race and gender diversity training.

On July 13th, 2021, Cotton sent a similar letter Raytheon questioning the company’s diversity training, which appears to violate federal non-discrimination law.

BOOZMAN APPLAUDS PRESERVATION OF EXISTING DEFINITION FOR URBAN AREAS BY OMB
Senator’s Push to Protect Four Arkansas Cities’ Status as Metropolitan Statistical Areas Reaches Successful Conclusion
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman’s (R-AR) efforts to protect the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) designation of four Arkansas cities – Jonesboro, Texarkana, Hot Springs and Pine Bluff – and over a hundred others across 45 states have resulted in a successful outcome. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has announced it will maintain the MSA designation at 50,000 in population rather than raise the threshold to 100,000 in population.

“The consequences of this change in MSA designation would have been devastating, with several Arkansas cities possibly losing out on millions in funding for basic needs including transportation, housing and health care,” Boozman said. “I’m pleased OMB took seriously the concerns we expressed and changed course. This decision will mean increased economic certainty and opportunity for communities that were put in jeopardy by this proposal.”

Boozman pressed OMB to preserve the current definition, citing its harmful potential impact on Arkansas. In March, the senator led a bipartisan letter to OMB Acting Director Rob Fairweather urging the agency to abandon plans to change the current definition. He was joined by two dozen of his colleagues in urging the agency to keep the existing designation in place and warning that the change would “cause major disruptions to grant and entitlement programs, medical reimbursements, economic development, housing initiatives and more.”

The effort had support from local officials and business organizations in each of the Arkansas cities that would have been affected.

The senator also backed the Metropolitan Statistical Area Preservation Act, legislation that would maintain the MSA classification of the four Arkansas communities and prevent OMB from increasing the minimum population required for an MSA designation.

July 13, 2021

GRANT COUNTY MAN DEAD FOLLOWING OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING AT UAMS
JULY 12, 2021
A Grant County man died yesterday following a law enforcement officer involved shooting incident that occurred about 12:40 PM outside the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Hospital Emergency Department.

UAMS police officers had approached Bobby Hollingshead, 59, of Sheridan, as he exited a truck near the hospital emergency entrance.  Hollingshead was reportedly brandishing a gun and directed police officers to stay away.  As Hollingshead raised the gun, one officer fired his weapon wounding Hollingshead who was then taken inside the hospital for medical treatment, but later died.

Hospital staff stated they had received reports prior to the shooting that Hollingshead may have had intentions to harm himself or others at the hospital.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were requested by UAMS police to investigate the officer involved shooting.

Hollingshead’s body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the manner and cause of death will be determined.

Once the investigation is completed, the case file will be delivered to the Pulaski County prosecuting attorney who will decide whether the use of deadly force by a police officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Inquiries about the officer’s identity or administrative status should be directed to the UAMS Police Department.
 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOSTS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON JULY 29
Call 501-370-3829 to make an appointment to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.

WHAT:   Virtual Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans
WHO:     During the Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist with specific questions regarding VA benefits claims.
WHEN:   Thursday, July 29, 4 - 6 p.m.
HOW:     To schedule a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 between July 14 and July 28, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

 BACKGROUND: 
“Even though we have all been affected by the pandemic, we still have a mission to serve the Veterans in the state of Arkansas,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “I’m proud to provide these services to the Veterans who so proudly served our country.”

VA Regional Offices provide financial and other forms of assistance to veterans and their dependents. This includes disability compensation, survivor’s benefits, pension and fiduciary service, education and training, life insurance coverage, and home loans guaranties.

Another VA benefit of particular interest to active duty and recently discharged Veterans is Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) assistance. Active duty service members who expect to receive an honorable discharge, and former service members who obtain a VA memorandum rating of 20% or more are eligible. There is a 12-year basic period of eligibility for VR&E services, beginning date of separation and the date first notified of a service-connected disability rating.

 “Our Virtual Claims Clinics are a great opportunity for us to reach out and extend services to recently discharged Veterans and also Veterans living in the rural areas of Arkansas,” said Quillin.  

 For more information about VA service-connection benefits and claims for VA disability increases, call 501-370-3829 to arrange an appointment. For more information about VA’s benefits, go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call 800-827-1000.

 

COTTON DEMANDS ANSWERS REGARDING RAYTHEON DIVERSITY TRAINING
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) wrote a letter to Gregory Hayes, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Raytheon Company, demanding information about the company’s use of training materials that rely heavily on racial stereotypes and appear to violate federal non-discrimination law. Cotton requested a response from Raytheon by July 23rd.

In part, Cotton wrote, “The training materials in question, such as Raytheon’s ‘Stronger Together Employee Guide,’ encourage employees to become ‘anti-racists,’ a term popularized by Ibram X. Kendi, who the guide approvingly quotes. This material is rooted in a radical ideology called Critical Race Theory that denounces the United States as systemically racist and rejects important aspects of the American civil-rights tradition, including equality before the law.”

“Setting aside the business sense of your company’s advocacy, Raytheon’s employee trainings appear to violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which forbids employers from discriminating on the basis of race or engaging in any activities that ‘limit, segregate, or classify’ employees,’” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

July 13, 2021
Mr. Gregory J. Hayes
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Raytheon Company
870 Winter Street
Waltham, MA 02451-1449

Mr. Hayes,

I’m writing in response to a troubling news story that alleges your company is using training materials that rely heavily on racial stereotypes and appear to violate federal non-discrimination law.

The training materials in question, such as Raytheon’s “Stronger Together Employee Guide,” encourage employees to become “anti-racists,” a term popularized by Ibram X. Kendi, who the guide approvingly quotes. This material is rooted in a radical ideology called Critical Race Theory that denounces the United States as systemically racist and rejects important aspects of the American civil-rights tradition, including equality before the law. Kendi, for example, openly advocates for discrimination on the basis of race to correct perceived injustices. Your company’s trainings repeat aspects of Critical Race Theory, urging employees not to treat each other equally, without regard to race, but “equitably,” a term that is often used to justify unequal treatment on the basis of race.

Your company’s trainings also contain gross stereotypes about various groups, including the racial stereotype that black people as a group are “exhausted, frustrated, stressed, barely sleeping, scared, and overwhelmed.” The guide also stereotypes white people, Christians, ablebodied individuals, straight people, and English speakers, as members of “privileged” groups who have “the luxury to ignore ... injustices.”

Finally, your company’s trainings direct Raytheon employees to a variety of radical reading materials, including an article that advocates the “Defund the Police” movement. Given Raytheon’s extensive business with law-enforcement groups, I find it hard to believe that the “Defund the Police” movement is in the interests of Raytheon’s shareholders, let alone its employees and customers—all of whom are normal citizens who would suffer the consequences of rising crime.

Setting aside the business sense of your company’s advocacy, Raytheon’s employee trainings appear to violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which forbids employers from discriminating on the basis of race or engaging in any activities that “limit, segregate, or classify” employees.”

The previous administration observed that the kind of stereotyping and scapegoating commonly found in these trainings “may contribute to a hostile work environment and give rise to potential liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Government contractors, as stewards of federal taxpayer dollars, have a special obligation to treat their employees equally, without regard for race. In fact, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act ensures that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin...be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 4 If Raytheon or any other contractor is not fulfilling its legal obligations, Congress will respond, which could affect that company’s contracts and ability to do business with the U.S. government in the future.

With these concerns in mind, please disclose to my office by July 23 any training materials on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that Raytheon uses to teach its employees. Please also disclose any vendors, companies, or individuals that Raytheon pays to administer such trainings.

July 12, 2021

SPEEDING DRIVERS BE WARNED: “OBEY THE SIGN OR PAY THE FINE”
ARKANSAS LAW ENFORCEMENT CLAMPDOWN UNDERWAY

JULY 12, 2021
Arkansas law enforcement officers have launched a speed enforcement blitz with additional patrols to stop speeding drivers.  Operating under the tagline, “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine”, state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and local police officers have committed to confront the safety threat caused by drivers who choose to ignore the posted speed limit on Arkansas highways and local streets.

Starting today and continuing through Sunday, July 18th, the intensified enforcement operation will involve law enforcement officers from state and local departments, big and small.

 “Speeding violations across Arkansas have been trending upward over the past 18 months, correlating with an increase we’ve witnessed in total fatalities from motor vehicle crashes,” commented Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.

 “When a driver increases the speed of a vehicle, it reduces the reaction time the driver has to safely react to unexpected hazards and too often the end result is serious injury or death to drivers and passengers,” Colonel Bryant said.

During calendar year 2019 the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) documented 26 percent of all traffic fatalities, or 132 lives lost, in speeding related crashes.

Nationally, about 15 percent of the speeding related fatalities occur on interstate highways annually.

Speed also affects safety even when a vehicle is being driven at the speed limit but too fast for road conditions, such as during bad weather, when a road is under repair or in an area at night that is not well lit.

NHTSA considers a crash to be speed related if a driver was charged with exceeding the posted speed limit or if the driver was 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
 

ARMY VETERAN AND FORMER RAZORBACK FOOTBALL PLAYER JAKE BEQUETTE ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN FOR U.S. SENATE
Bequette Announces on the Fox and Friends program on Fox News
Little Rock, AR – Former All-SEC Arkansas Razorback, New England Patriot, and Army veteran Jake Bequette officially announced his campaign for the United States Senate in Arkansas on Fox and Friends this morning. 

 Bequette is a conservative outsider who’s running to fight back against the career politicians who have forgotten about the people they’re supposed to serve.  

“Now more than ever we have to stand up and fight for what we believe,” Bequette said in his announcement video. “I’m a God-fearing Christian conservative who is 100% pro-life, and pro-police, and I will never apologize for being against illegal immigration. Like you, I’m sick and tired of the media lying, China getting away with murder, and politicians who only stand up for President Trump when they stand to benefit.”

Bequette continued, “I’m a Razorback, a patriot, and a veteran, and I’m running for U.S. Senate because it’s time to win our country back.” 

“Arkansas deserves a difference-maker in the U.S. Senate who will stand up for Arkansas families and push the conservative change we need,” said Bequette.

Born and raised in Little Rock, Jake Bequette is a third-generation Razorback football player. During his time at the University of Arkansas, Jake was an All-SEC defensive end and an Academic All-American. He was then drafted by the New England Patriots and was a part of the Super Bowl XLIX championship team. After his NFL career ended, Jake answered the call to serve our country and joined the United States Army. Upon graduating from U.S. Army Ranger School, Jake deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division. Since returning home, Jake has launched The Arkansas Fund, a nonprofit organization that raised over $125,000 to help 37 small businesses affected by the pandemic. 

 

SAAC TO OFFER CORKS AND CANVAS 
Uncork your creativity at the South Arkansas Arts Center’s Corks and Canvas art classes! Once again, SAAC invites you to a fun and memorable night at Corks and Canvas, this month being led by veteran class teacher Amy Machen. This class will be held on Thursday, July 22 from 6-9pm. Corks and Canvas is a fun filled night of painting designed for people who have always wanted to try their hand at it and have some fun along the way.  

These painting classes have something for everyone, from the newbie to the seasoned painter. Enjoy a time of relaxation with your friends re-creating the featured painting of the night. Paint, brushes, and all the supplies are provided, and an experienced, award-winning local artist leads you step-by-step through the process complete a work of art in three hours.

Amy has chosen a bright and summery theme for her class…Love That Lemon!  So, each participant will go home after the class with a beautifully painted lemon still life.  "Everyone loves fruit and especially citrus in the summer so I thought lemons would be so fun to paint now for Corks and Canvas," said Machen. 

No experience is needed. Just come and have a fun night with friends!  SAAC will be providing LEMONADE and individually wrapped snacks for the evening, and participants are welcome to bring their own drink of choice.

Get ready to have a fun night with friends. You can register for the hands on workshop on SAAC’s website, www.saac-arts.org or call the office at 870-862-5474.  Limit of 10 participants. The workshop fee is $40.

 

‘DANCING WITH OUR STARS’ GALA RETURNS TO THE BALLROOM
Arkansas Celebrities Perform in Dance Competition to Raise Money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation
LITTLE ROCK, AR – On September 9, 2021, local celebrities will return to the ballroom for the 14th annual ‘Dancing with our Stars’ Gala, a yearly ballroom dance competition. Months of rehearsals with local dance instructors will culminate in a one-time performance that raises money to fund critical neurofibromatosis (NF) research and supports local NF clinics. This year’s Little Rock, AR stars vying for a chance to take home the coveted mirror ball trophy are:

Dr. DJ Dailey, DDS, Owner of Smile Dailey: General and Cosmetic Dentistry
Julie Gorman, Pharmacist, Mom, Endurance Athlete, and recipient of the 2019 NF Community Service Award
Susie Morgan, Community leader and volunteer 
Ted Mullinex, CEO, Mullenix & Associates
Donnie Van Patter, Owner, Donnie’s Foreign Cars and Donnie’s Off Road
Helaine Williams, Columnist and Sunday Style Editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Hosted by the Arkansas Chapter of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, this year’s fundraiser features a reception, silent auction, seated dinner, and dancing, and will take place at the Robinson Center Ball Room in Little Rock, Arkansas. There will also be a virtual livestream, making for a unique and festive experience for the broader community who cannot attend, yet wish to see the Stars’ performances and support them through voting online.

“The Gala committee is looking forward to seeing everyone in person, while also having a virtual aspect for those unable to attend in person,” said Daniel Robinson, a CTF Arkansas Board member and this year’s Emcee (who has also won one of the coveted mirror ball trophies). “This is an extremely fun event that makes a real difference for research and awareness, in Arkansas and beyond.”

“I think this particular event helps bring so much awareness to the Children’s Tumor Foundation,” said Rachel Parker Harding, former competing star and current Arkansas Advisory Board member and Dancing with Our Stars Northwest Arkansas co-chair. “It makes me happy to know awareness and attention is being brought to something that affects so many.”

On October 9, 2021, CTF Arkansas will host the first-ever Northwest Arkansas ‘Dancing with Our Stars’ Gala in Bentonville, creating an additional evening of dancing, awareness, and inspiring stories. Since its inception, the Arkansas Chapter has raised over $2 million for NF research through its Dancing with Our Stars Gala and other local events.

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and may lead to blindness, deafness, bone abnormalities, disfigurement, learning disabilities, disabling pain, and cancer. It affects millions of people worldwide and may arise in any family regardless of gender, race, or ethnic origin. While the FDA recently approved the first-ever treatment, Koselugo (selumetinib), for inoperable plexiform neurofibromas, there is no cure at this time for NF.

For more information or to purchase your virtual ticket or sponsorship, please visit ctf.org/arkansas.

July 09, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will meet in regular session Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building located at 206 Van Buren ST in Camden. Social distancing will be practiced and a you are asked to wear a face covering.

The Agenda is as follows:
A.    CALL TO ORDER
B.    INVOCATION – Rev. Steven Word, Pastor – Believer’s Church, 1600 Cash Road, Camden, Arkansas     
C.    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D.    ROLL CALL
E.    APPROVAL OF MINUTES
       1.   Minutes of Regular Meeting June 8, 2021
F.    ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORT
       1.  Financial Report for June 2021
G.    AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
H.    MAYOR’S REPORT
1.  
Ralph S. Wilcox, National Register & Survey Coordinator and Tom Marr, Federal Programs & Tax Credits Manager with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
I.    OLD BUSINESS
J.    NEW BUSINESS
1.   Ordinance No. 03-21, an ordinance authorizing Camden Water Utilities to increase Sewer Rates for
customers on the Airport Sewer System; prescribing other matters relating thereto; and declaring anemergency.
2.   Ordinance No. 04-21, an ordinance permitting an official of the Camden Airport Commission to be
interested in contracts with the City of Camden, Arkansas.
3.   Ordinance No. 05-21, an ordinance permitting an official of the Camden Airport Commission to be interested in contracts with the City of Camden, Arkansas.    
4.   Ordinance No. 06-21, an ordinance amending Camden Code Section 2-51 (Ordinance Numbers 576, 3-89 and 8-96) regarding purchases up to one thousand dollars, and for other purposes.
5.   Resolution No. 40-21, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structures located a 420 Cleveland SW a public     nuisance and to order the removal of the same.
6.   Resolution No. 41-21, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 817 Viser St. SE a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.
7.   Resolution No. 42-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Charles Gaston to the Airport Commission; and for other purposes.
8.   Resolution No. 43-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Trenton Walker to the Airport                          Commission as an ex-officio member.
9.   Resolution No. 44-21, a resolution amending the Budget for 2021; and for other purposes.
10.   Resolution No. 45-21, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 631 Cleveland Ave. a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.
11.   Resolution No. 46-21, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 520 Chestnut St. a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.
K.    OTHER BUSINESS
L.    ADJOURNMENT

 

CENTRAL ARKANSAS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL TO BEGIN PROVIDING EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR RENT/MORTGAGE PAYMENTS AND WATER PAYMENTS EFFECTIVE JULY 19, 2021
Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) whose mission 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 will begin providing emergency financial assistance to customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic effective July 19, 2021.  These funds are specifically for rent/mortgage payments and water utility assistance due to financial restraints as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will closely follow the requirements for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  The maximum benefit for Rental Assistance is $1500, maximum benefit for Mortgage Assistance is $2000 and the maximum benefit for the Water Utility Assistance is $300.  Applications are being taken by appointment only at the local CADC office in each of the 19 counties CADC serves. Locations are listed in the following table:

County

County

Address

Telephone

Calhoun

Hampton

210 South Lee Street

870-798-2457

Clark

Arkadelphia

1305 North 10th Street

870-246-8089

Columbia

Magnolia

1503 North Vine

870-234-6444

Dallas

Fordyce

410 East 4th Street

870-352-8894

Hempstead

Hope

200 South Elm Street, Suite 2

870-724-5080

Hot Spring

Malvern

1735 East Sullenberger

501-337-8401

Howard

Nashville

103 West Shepherd Street

870-455-0203

Lafayette

Lewisville

403 North King Street, Building 3

501-672-5581

Little River

Ashdown

180 E Commerce

870-667-7071

Lonoke

Lonoke

616 North Center Street

501-676-0019
 

PROMOTIONS APPROVED BY STATE POLICE COMMISSION
JULY 8, 2021
The Arkansas State Police Commission approved the promotions of two Arkansas State Troopers today during a regularly scheduled monthly meeting at Little Rock administrative headquarters.  The recommendations for promotions to be considered by the commissioners were presented by Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.

Sergeant Jimmie O. Thomas, 53, of Montgomery County, will assume the rank of lieutenant and reassigned as commander of Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division, Company A, headquartered at Little Rock.

Lieutenant Thomas is a 25 year veteran of the department and most recently has served as a field supervisor within CID, Company C, headquartered at Hope.

Corporal Corey Ray, 35, of Garland County, will assume the rank of sergeant as a section supervisor at his current duty station within Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division, Air Support operations.

Sergeant Ray is an 11 year veteran of the department

July 08, 2021

CAM-TEL COMPANY INVESTING $1 MILLION TO MAKE ENTIRE SERVICE AREA A "GIG CITY"
Cam-Tel Company is upgrading its network and distribution systems with a goal of launching true Gig speeds to all of the homes and businesses in its service area. In the first step of the system upgrade, service speeds and data allowances were increased in each of the Cablelynx

Broadband residential and business service packages. Now, speeds up to 250 Megs are available throughout the system.

Additional plant construction will begin in early 2022 and Gig-a-bit service will become available by the end of the year in all areas that Cam-Tel Company provides service today. The Gig-a-bit service will be available to every resident and business in Camden when the project is completed.

The total cost of this effort will be over $1 million dollars and is just the latest investment by Cam-Tel Company, which has been the premier provider for the City of Camden and surrounding communities.

"These are exciting times for the Camden area. There are not many cities or towns in America that offer a Gig service to all their residents, and we are working to provide it throughout all of our 185+ miles of plant," said Stacy Eads, Area Manager of Cam-Tel Company. "We are proud to continue to invest in all our communities where we have served for over 58 years as the leading provider for internet, television, voice and cloud services."

"We have continuously invested in and upgraded our cable system and now this new million dollar project adds to the company's existing fiber­optic infrastructure and expands Cablelynx Broadband service to provide major growth opportunities for area businesses and gives them the competitive advantage that they want and need," said Walter E. Hussman, Jr., Chairman of WEHCO Media, the parent company of Cam-Tel

Company. "The residential subscribers will also be given more options for their internet service to meet the growing demands of the work­from-home and the home-school requirements that are being placed on them."

Cam-Tel Company has operated since 1963 as a family-owned company with core values of service, and community support, including immediate and quick response times to satisfy the needs of our neighbors.

The company's support of the community is multi-faceted in that it provides prompt same-day service and also supports immediate local needs such as facilitating the Emergency Broadband Benefit program and offering a new Unlimited Data package for customers whose needs exceed the standard package usage allowances. Cam-Tel Company is, and always will be, the heart of the community. These are exciting times, things are changing fast and Cam-Tel Company is ready to meet the needs of the community and proud to bring Cablelynx Broadband Gig-a0bit service to its customers.

Watch for future announcements and updates on www.camdencabletv.com.


CITY OF CAMDEN, ARKANSAS CODE ENFORCEMENT/BUILDING INSPECTOR’S OFFICE
The City of Camden’s Planning Commission/Board of Adjustments will have their monthly meeting Thursday, July 15, 2021 at 6:00 PM in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 206 Van Buren, NE, Camden, Arkansas.  All members of the public who wish to participate are encouraged to contact the Code Enforcement/Building Inspections Office at 870-837-5508.

For more information:
Ben Wooten                                                                       Jeanette Sewell
Code Enforcement                                                          Code Enforcement
City of Camden                                                                 City of Camden
206 Van Buren, NE                                                           206 Van Buren, NE
Camden, AR 71701                                                           Camden, AR 71701
(870) 837-5508 office                                                     (870) 837-5508 office
(870) 833-0723 cell                                                          (870) 818-0897 cell

codeenforcecamden@cablelynx.com     codeenforce.camden@cablelynx.com

 

ARKANSAS INSURANCE DEPARTMENT LAUDS NEW INSURANCE BUSINESS TRANSFER LAW
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 8, 2021)– Earlier this spring, Arkansas joined a handful of U.S. states in adopting the new insurance business transfer model called the Insurance Business Transfer (IBT) Act. The law provides insurance companies an organized and efficient process to transfer blocks of insurance business from any jurisdiction to another insurance company in Arkansas, benefiting insurers seeking to restructure and improve operational efficiency, and ultimately creating a unique opportunity for Arkansas to attract new business to the state.

Modeled after the highly successful Part VII transfer process in the United Kingdom and EU, Arkansas’ new IBT Act provides a unique mechanism for insurers to absolutely transfer blocks of insurance business to another insurance company. The IBT provides an efficient and straightforward process to transferring and assuming companies, while also providing legal finality.

The Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) was not a passive observer as the Arkansas Legislature considered and ultimately passed the IBT Act during the 2021 Legislative Session.  AID was committed to working closely with bill sponsor, Senator Jason Rapert of Conway, as well as stakeholders, and will bring the same level of commitment to the implementation process. The Insurance Department promises to provide the dedicated staff and resources necessary for each IBT application to be thoroughly and expeditiously reviewed.

The finalized legislation requires that the Arkansas Insurance Commissioner promulgate rules necessary for proper implementation of the IBT Act.  AID is currently working with stakeholders on a rule to support the legislation and expects it to be formally promulgated and effective later this year.

There are several safeguards throughout the IBT application review process to ensure that the interests of policyholders are protected.  An application must be reviewed and approved by both the Arkansas Insurance Commissioner and a court of general jurisdiction. Once approved, an IBT will result in a novation of the transferred contracts of insurance or reinsurance resulting in the assuming insurer becoming directly liable to the policyholders or reinsureds of the transferring insurer and extinguishing the transferring insurer’s insurance obligations or risks under the contracts.

“This is an exciting accomplishment for our state,” Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Alan McClain said. “We expect the IBT to bring tremendous opportunities to Arkansas—more jobs to the state, more options for consumers, and a more competitive environment for insurers.”

Arkansas’ IBT law will become effective on July 28, 2021.  The process closely mirrors Part VII of the Financial Services & Markets Act of 2000 in the United Kingdom, which has resulted in more than 300 successful transfers in the last 20 years. This cutting-edge mechanism focuses on the protection of consumers while allowing insurance companies to strategically deploy assets to their areas of focus.

If you have questions about the IBT Act or other insurance issues, contact the Arkansas Insurance Department at 800-852-5494 or visit our website at insurance.arkansas.gov.

July 07, 2021

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOSTS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON JULY 29
Call 501-370-3829 to make an appointment to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.

WHAT:   Virtual Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans
WHO:     During the Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist with specific questions regarding VA benefits claims.
WHEN:   Thursday, July 29, 4 - 6 p.m.
HOW:  To schedule a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 between July 14 and July 28, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

BACKGROUND: 
“Even though we have all been affected by the pandemic, we still have a mission to serve the Veterans in the state of Arkansas,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “I’m proud to provide these services to the Veterans who so proudly served our country.”

VA Regional Offices provide financial and other forms of assistance to veterans and their dependents. This includes disability compensation, survivor’s benefits, pension and fiduciary service, education and training, life insurance coverage, and home loans guaranties.

Another VA benefit of particular interest to active duty and recently discharged Veterans is Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) assistance. Active duty service members who expect to receive an honorable discharge, and former service members who obtain a VA memorandum rating of 20% or more are eligible. There is a 12-year basic period of eligibility for VR&E services, beginning date of separation and the date first notified of a service-connected disability rating.

“Our Virtual Claims Clinics are a great opportunity for us to reach out and extend services to recently discharged Veterans and also Veterans living in the rural areas of Arkansas,” said Quillin.  

 For more information about VA service-connection benefits and claims for VA disability increases, call 501-370-3829 to arrange an appointment. For more information about VA’s benefits, go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call 800-827-1000.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: SWEEPSTAKES SCAMMERS STEAL FROM ARKANSANS
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansans who receive a notification that they have won a large sum of money or a luxury prize from a sweepstakes they do not remember entering should immediately realize that this is a scam. Scammers will claim consumers have to respond quickly or risk missing out on the prize. Then, the scam artists will continue to urge consumers to keep their winnings confidential to ‘maintain security’ or stop other people from getting the prize by mistake. Scammers, of course, do this to prevent consumers from seeking further information or advice from family, friends and law enforcement.  

“My best friend’s mother lost her life savings when she shared her personal information with someone online,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I do not want anyone else to go through this horrible situation.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help consumers spot one of these scams:
Consumers should not try to collect winnings from a sweepstakes they do not remember entering.
Never give out personal financial information.
Do not pay money upfront in an attempt to claim a prize.
Always remember that if it looks or seems too good to be true, it most likely is.

Scammers often use the name of legitimate businesses, like Publishers Clearinghouse, or a similar name to trick consumers into turning over their information.

Consumers should ignore all unsolicited sweepstakes prizes and immediately contact the Attorney General’s Office to report the call or email. When money is wired, especially to a foreign country, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get it returned.

For more information and tips on how to avoid a scam, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov

LAKE VILLAGE SHOOTING INCIDENT LEAVES ONE MAN DEAD; SUSPECT SURRENDERS
JULY 6, 2021
Derrick Wilson, 43, of Lake Village surrendered to local police officers today following a day long search for the suspect following a shooting incident that left one man dead yesterday (Monday, July 5th).

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were asked by Lake Village Police to investigate the homicide.  Agents obtained warrants charging Wilson with murder (1st degree) and possession of a firearm by certain persons.  He is being held at the Chicot County Detention Center pending a first appearance hearing.

James Harden, 53, of Lake Village was shot Monday afternoon, about 1:30, while outside a residence at 423 Lee Street.  Witness say Harden fled from Wilson who arrived at the residence shortly before the shooting occurred.  Harden died while being transported to a nearby hospital.

The state police investigation of circumstances leading up to the shooting and the subsequent homicide is continuing.

July 06, 2021

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S WEEKLY UPDATE – JULY 06, 2021
State officials are making another push to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations as Arkansas continues to see higher increases in new cases and hospitalizations.

During Gov. Asa Hutchinson's weekly press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Jose Romero of the Arkansas Department of Health reported 55 additional hospitalizations from the day before. That, he explained, is the largest one day increase in hospitalizations since January. 

Most of those new hospitalizations are among younger Arkansans - a trend explained by the reluctance of younger residents to get their vaccine and by the spread of the virus' Delta variant, which tends to target younger people.

Gov. Hutchinson stressed the vaccine remains the safest and most effective way to not just curb new cases and hospitalizations.

Incentives remain in place to encourage Arkansans to receive the vaccine - the choice of either a $20 Arkansas Lottery Scholarship scratch-off ticket or a $20 gift certificate from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Hutchinson said he and state officials are working with employers across the state to encourage paid time off for employees who need to receive the vaccine. In addition, he said the Department of Health is willing to host on-the-job clinics to make the vaccination process as quick and simple as possible.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 270 new cases of the virus on Tuesday for a cumulative total of just over 352,000 since the spring of 2020. Active cases fell by 107 to number 4,645. Deaths rose by six on Tuesday for a total of 5,926 since the pandemic began.


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 Stephen Tyson, Jr.  Stephen has recently started a fishing guide service and will be talking about that.

July 02, 2021

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM MONTHLY MEETING, JULY, 6TH
The Ouachita County Quorum Court will meet in regular session on Tuesday July 6, 2021 at 6:30 P.M. in the District Courtroom located at 109 Goodgame Street in Camden. The agenda is as follows:
1. Roll call
2. Invocation
3. Pledge of allegiance
4. Approval of minutes
5. Approval of treasurer's report
6. Audience participation
7. New business
      a. An appropriation ordinance to appropriate funds in the general, road, jail operating, and animal rescue funds.
      b. A resolution authorizing the county judge to pay a 36-month balloon note for the road fund.
      c. A resolution authorizing the county judge to pay a 48-month balloon note for the road fund.
      d. An appropriation ordinance to appropriate funds in the library fund.
8. Unfinished business
9. Adjournment

 

INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN ARTIST JAY SHINN TO PRESENT AT SAAC
During the month of July, the South Arkansas Arts Center will present a visual art exhibition entitled “Step Forward/Stand Back,” by internationally known artist and Magnolia native Jay Shinn. Shinn’s work, which will fill the Merkle and Price Galleries, includes large-scale graphic abstract paintings, as well as several works incorporating elements of neon light. The exhibition opens to the public on July 1, and closes on Saturday, July 24, with a closing reception at 6:00 p.m.

Shinn, who was born in Magnolia and took some of his earliest art classes at SAAC, now lives and works between Dallas, New York, and Berlin. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and is an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Some of his first art education experiences, however, took place at the South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado. 

Known for his large-scale public art light installations of projection paintings and neon, Shinn has spent his career exploring minimal geometric abstraction through color and light. His works are in many private and public collections worldwide including Houston’s Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport; Dallas Fort Worth International Airport; Texas A&M University’s Zachary School of Engineering Education Complex; and the Kansas City Chief’s Arrowhead Stadium.

“Step Forward/Stand Back” was created by a distinct moment in time. When the COVID-19 pandemic brought an abrupt halt to all our lives, Shinn’s busy travel and exhibition schedule was instantly interrupted. That great pause, however, created space for reflection, and directed his thoughts back to the South Arkansas Arts Center. The works included in this exhibition represent the strength of his unique voice in color, light, and movement. They also draw a direct connection between his earliest efforts as a student artist at SAAC, an example of which can be seen just inside the gallery door, to his mature work in neon, acrylic, and projection. 

The exhibition may be viewed between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the South Arkansas Arts Center, 110 E. 5th St., El Dorado. For more information, call 870-862-5474, or visit our website at www.saac-arts.org.

July 01, 2021

OUACHITA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE INDEPENDENCE DAY REMINDERS
The Independence Day Holiday weekend is a big holiday for travel, water activities and celebrations. Many of us will have a long week-end to enjoy. We spoke with the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office who said that they are expecting the river to be a popular spot this weekend. All boaters are reminded that if you are drinking, there should always be a designated captain in the boat. The same penalties apply to drunk drivers on the water as they do to motorists. Always have a life preserver for everyone in the boat. If you are traveling, be sure someone knows your estimated time of arrival at your destination as well as the route you will be taking. Always carry a cell phone whether on the water or the road in case you find yourself in need of assistance. The Sheriff’s Office will be out on patrol all week on the river and on the county roadways. Check points will be set up throughout the county. Always be sure to follow all traffic laws and if alcohol is involved in your celebration – have a designated driver. If you need assistance call 231-5300 or dial 911 for any emergency that might arise. The entire Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office wish you all a safe and happy Independence Day Holiday.

 

USACE REMINDS EVERYONE TO BE WATER SAFE THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY WEEKEND
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reminding everyone to practice good water safety habits over the upcoming Independence Day weekend.

 Water levels are high at many of the Little Rock District lakes and there is a small craft advisory in effect on the Arkansas River. High water can pose safety hazards such as underwater obstacles or floating debris, exercise caution if on the water this weekend.

Please remember to wear your life jacket, don’t drink alcoholic beverages and operate a boat, never swim alone and stick to designated swim areas. Following these safety tips can help make your family’s holiday a safe and enjoyable one.

 Recreation information can be found on the Internet at www.swl.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/littlerockusace and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usacelittlerock.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION WILL NOT CALL YOU
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans of the increased number of scam artists calling and claiming their Social Security numbers have been stolen or compromised. These scams normally start with the scammers calling and stating they work for the Social Security Administration. They will then claim a Social Security number has been canceled due to fraud or misuse. In response, Arkansans will often verify their information over the phone, but once the number is shared, the scam artist steals the victim’s identity and uses it for their own monetary gain.

“I have heard from Arkansans across the state who tell me the same heart-breaking story of losing their life savings after sharing their personal information,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Con artists will do anything to steal someone else’s hard-earned money.”

Attorney General Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission released the following tips for Arkansans who may be dealing with a government impostor:

Never give out or confirm sensitive information, such as bank account, credit card or social security numbers, to an unsolicited caller.

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., it could originate from anywhere in the world.

The Social Security Administration and other government agencies have warned about these scams and suggest contacting the agency directly.

The Social Security Administration can be contacted at (800) 772-1213 to verify the reason for the contact and the person’s identity prior to providing any information to the caller.

To report this scam to the Social Security Administration, contact its Fraud Hotline at (800) 269-0271, or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

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

June 30, 2021

FREE COVID-19 VACCINES AVAILABLE AT FIRST FRIDAY CAMDEN
Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC) and Arkansas Department of Health are partnering to provide the J & J vaccine at First Friday Camden.  Those who are 18 years and older are eligible. This is in an effort to meet the Governor’s May 4th directive of 50% of Arkansans vaccinated in 90 days.

WHAT: Free, Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines
WHEN: Friday, July 2, 2021 -  6:00pm – 9:00pm
WHERE: Downtown Camden, 103 Washington, Camden, AR
 

CORPORAL WHITE NAMED 2020 TROOPER OF THE YEAR; ASP PERSONNEL HONORED AT ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONIES
JUNE 29, 2021
Corporal Chet White, 44, of Saline County, was presented the prestigious Arkansas State Trooper of the Year Award for 2020 today during the annual state police awards ceremony.

White is a 22-year veteran of the state police assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A and was among 11 state troopers who received other predominate awards today.  Additionally, 27 other troopers and civilians were recognized for their service as recipients of Official Commendations.  Each award was based on documented facts as prescribed by Arkansas State Police policy.    The awards were presented based on acts of service during calendar year 2020 or as criminal investigations of incidents were formally closed.

The awards were presented by Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas Attorney General.

Corporal White was among a group of seven troopers considered for the Trooper of the Year honor.  Receiving the department’s Lifesaving Award qualified White for nomination among the group.  The other troopers considered for the top award were Troopers Donnie Cheers, James Ray, Destin Linkous, Steven Maness, Mason Marrone and Brady Nuckels.

A July 18, 2020 utility vehicle accident in Saline County led to Corporal White responding to a call for help while off-duty.  At the scene of the accident, he found an unconscious 12-year girl pinned beneath an overturned off-road utility vehicle.  The victim was not breathing, leading Corporal White to lift the 1,800-pound vehicle enough that two children who had been with the victim were able to pull her from underneath the UTV.

Corporal White began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the child and called for a medical helicopter to respond.  The CPR assistance revived the victim, but twice, she stopped breathing while awaiting the helicopter as Corporal White continued the resuscitations.

The victim survived her injuries following 10 days of hospital treatment and care.

Other award recipients recognized today were:

Medal of Valor – *(Presented to a commissioned or civilian employee of the Arkansas State Police for extraordinary acts of valor and gallantry that clearly set the individual apart from other employees.)

Trooper James Ray, 24, of Franklin County, a three-year veteran of the department, was awarded the Medal of Valor for his enforcement actions on December 4, 2020.  He is assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith.

As Trooper Ray approached a vehicle parked alongside Interstate 40 near Ozark, the driver accelerated the vehicle onto the interstate and sped away.

With Trooper Ray in pursuit, the suspect refused to stop, fleeing at speeds often exceeding 100 miles per hour, moving onto the right shoulder of the highway passing other motorists and driving erratically.

As the opportunity approached to end the pursuit, Trooper Ray performed a Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT) on the fleeing suspect vehicle which was forced into a clockwise rotation into the westbound lanes.  The suspect driver was able to regain control of his vehicle and began driving eastbound in the westbound lanes, posing an extreme danger to other motorists who were now meeting the fleeing suspect head-on.

The suspect traveled a short distance before he crossed the median and began traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes.

Trooper Ray, realizing he was running out of options to stop an extremely dangerous driver, then drove west in the westbound lanes attempting to get ahead of the fleeing driver.

Once he was ahead of the suspect driver, Trooper Ray crossed the median into the eastbound lanes, facing the direction he knew the suspect vehicle would be traveling toward him.   Using quick judgment, Trooper Ray stopped eastbound traffic, and began driving eastbound as the suspect vehicle approached him traveling westbound.  He aimed his patrol car at the oncoming suspect vehicle and crashed the patrol car into the front left corner of the car ending the pursuit and eminent danger to the public.

The heroic actions by Trooper Ray while pursuing a fleeing driver prevented a catastrophic collision between the suspect and innocent motorists traveling along Interstate 40.

Corporal Steven Maness, 46, of Pope County and Trooper First Class Destin Linkous, 29, of Conway County, were awarded the Medal of Valor for their heroic actions on January 21, 2020.

The two troopers were the first law enforcement officers to encounter an armed suspect who had fled into a wooded area in Pope County near Atkins.  The suspect had earlier directed gunfire at Atkins Police Chief Stephen Pack.

Both Corporal Maness and TFC Linkous were immediately the targets of gunfire from the suspect as they approached a shed where they initially believed the suspect might be hiding.

Despite often being at a tactical disadvantage because of their location in proximity to the suspect, Maness and Linkous, along with other law enforcement personnel endured nearly an hour-long running gun battle with the suspect, who had hidden himself in dense woods and underbrush.

At one point as the exchange in gunfire subsided, Corporal Maness established a dialogue with the suspect, hoping the gunman would surrender.  Instead, the suspect used Corporal Maness’ voice to hone in on the trooper’s cover and moved to within 40 yards of Maness before other law enforcement officers distracted the suspect, leading him to move in another direction.

The suspect later died from injuries sustained in the gun battle.

Corporal Maness and TFC Linkous are credited with extraordinary bravery by placing themselves in harm’s way and preventing the suspect from gaining a path into a nearby residential neighborhood.

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

Trooper Brady Nuckels, 25, of Van Buren County, was presented a lifesaving award for saving the life of a man who had overdosed by ingesting multiple Oxycontin tablets before entering a Bee Branch (Van Buren County) variety store.

On the afternoon of April 13, 2020, as Trooper Nuckels was preparing to end his duty shift, he monitored the local sheriff’s department dispatch a deputy to the store where the victim of the overdoes was laying on the parking lot.

Trooper Nuckels was considerably closer to the store than the deputy and began moving toward Bee Branch.  Upon driving onto the parking lot, he located the victim, who was gasping and in obvious distress.  After assessing the symptoms, Trooper Nuckels returned to his patrol car to obtained Narcan, a prescription medicine used for the treatment of opioid overdose.

Within seconds the victim began to regain consciousness and was transported by ambulance to receive medical treatment.

Trooper Nuckels’ readiness to respond to the call and his quick assessment of the symptoms exhibited by the victim have been credited with saving the victim’s life.

Trooper Donnie Cheers, 39, and Trooper Mason Marrone, 30, both of Crittenden County were presented lifesaving awards for saving the life of a truck driver involved in a motor vehicle crash along Interstate 55 on October 1, 2020, near West Memphis.

Upon their arrival at the crash scene the troopers found the driver trapped inside the cab of the truck which was burning and flames about to engulf entire cab.

Both troopers exhausted the chemical in their state issued fire extinguishers while trying to stop the flames that continued to spread through the cab.  The two troopers then began stopping other truck drivers asking for their fire extinguishers in hopes of keeping the flames off the driver until a nearby fire truck arrived.  Eventually at least 10 fire extinguishers were used to protect the trapped driver from the growing flames before a fire truck arrived at the crash scene.

West Memphis Fire Department personnel were able to extinguish the fire long enough to allow paramedics to enter the wreckage and extract the driver.

Paramedics who transported the injured driver to a Memphis hospital later said had it not been for the heroic fight the troopers demonstrated, the driver would have certainly perished inside the truck.

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

Corporal Andrew Ault, 34, of Garland County and Corporal Eric Wold, 40, of Sebastian County were awarded the Trooper’s Cross for their roles in a 12-hour long stand-off at a St. Francis County residence where an armed man wanted on a felony charge of terroristic threatening had vowed to kill anyone who attempted to arrest him.

On May 18, 2020, the St. Francis County Sheriff’s Department relinquished command in the stand-off to the Arkansas State Police SWAT team.  Team members took-up positions and within 90 minutes fired on by the wanted suspect.

Corporal Wold ordered the suspect to drop his gun leading the suspect to again fire at Wold, who returned fire prompting the suspect to retreat into the residence.

As the SWAT team began preparing to deploy a chemical irritant into the house, the suspect was repeatedly asked to exit the residence through the garage, unarmed, and with his hands raised above his head.

The suspect moved to the rear of the residence and exited through a back door and still believe to be armed.  As the suspect began to make a move as to raise a gun he was shot by Corporal Ault.

Sergeant Marcus Daniels, 39, of Pulaski County, was awarded the Trooper’s Cross for his actions on June 27, 2020 as he attempted to apprehend a man who had stabbed an Arkansas Highway Police Officer.  The incident occurred in Little Rock at the intersection of Interstate 30 and Roosevelt Road.

As Sergeant Daniels moved toward the armed suspect, he fired his less than lethal TASER which had no effect on the suspect, who then began to advance on Sergeant Daniels who then transitioned and prepared to use deadly force with his handgun.

A warning from Sergeant Daniel to the suspect to stop and drop the weapon was ignored.  The suspect continued to advance with the weapon toward Sergeant Daniels who then fired his weapon wounding the suspect.

Sergeant Daniels then began to render aid to the wounded highway police officer.

Both wounded men were transported from the scene by ambulance.  The highway police officer was later released from the hospital.  The armed suspect was pronounced dead at the hospital.

It was later determined that the suspect had earlier committed an armed carjacking of a taxi driver and was also a suspect in a homicide that occurred the day before.

American Association of State Troopers –

Trooper James O. Ray, 24, of Franklin County, was recognized as National Trooper of the Year for his selfless act of bravery that saved the lives of motorists traveling through western Arkansas along Interstate 40 last year. *(See Medal of Valor narrative above)

Memorial Medal – *(Presented to a former Arkansas State Police Trooper or civilian employee)
Charles Ed Dukes, of Swifton, accepted the Arkansas State Police Memorial Medal on behalf of his father, Charles Allison Dukes, a former state police telecommunications operator.

The elder Dukes died December 28, 1954 from injuries sustained when he was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic and assisting a state trooper investigating an earlier vehicle crash in Newport near the intersection of U.S. Highway 67 and Arkansas Highway 18.

Charles Allison Dukes was a 12-year veteran of the Arkansas State Police, employed as a telecommunications operator, assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop B.  His son, Charles Ed, had never been told the circumstances of his father’s death until recently.

The facts involving the death were discovered during a research project undertaken by Jason Tubbs, the current chief telecommunications operator at Newport, Troop B.

Official Commendations – *(Presented for acts of exemplary service and awarded during meetings of the Arkansas State Police Commission prior to today’s awards program.  Supporting information is available upon request.)
Lieutenant Brant Tosh, of Craighead County, Commander, Criminal Investigation Division, Company F
Special Agent (Sergeant) Ramey Lovan, of Greene County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company F
Special Agent (Sergeant) Ted Jones, of Van Buren County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
Sergeant Michael Bain, of Pulaski County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A
Sergeant Matt Williams, of Perry County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop J
Sergeant Brenda Stephenson, of Pope County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop J
Special Agent Jason Martin, of Monroe County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company A
Special Agent (Sergeant) Randall Murphy, of Woodruff County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company A
Special Agent Buster Rinks, of Searcy County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
Corporal David Smothers, of Johnson County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop J
Corporal George Enke, of Benton County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop L
Corporal Dakotah Bailey, of Columbia County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop G
Corporal Ryan Leuer, of Washington County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop L
Trooper First Class Paul Meeks, of Pope County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop J
Trooper First Class Randall Schwab, of Washington County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop L
Trooper Kristen Dumont, of Conway County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop J
Special Agent Ryan Jacks, of Grant County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company A
Special Agent Billy Calderon, of Craighead County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company F
Special Agent Mike Grimes, of Craighead County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company F
Special Agent Tony Hill, of Greene County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company F
Special Agent Creston Hutton, of Lawrence County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company F
Special Agent Wendall Jines, of Sharp County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company F
Special Agent Mike McNeill, of White County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company F
Special Agent Mark Vavak, of Clay County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company F
Trooper Tyler Williams, of Franklin County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop H
Telecommunications Operator Jason Tubbs, of Jackson County, Highway Patrol Division, Troop B
Administrative Specialist Carla Wilson, of Craighead County, Criminal Investigation Division, Company F

Distinguished Service Award – *(Presented to local citizens at large or law enforcement officers of another agency who have rendered aid to Arkansas State Troopers.)
Joseph C. Davenport, Arkansas State Park Ranger, of Roland, Charles Madden, of Roland, Jacob Burgess, of Little Rock and James Holmquist, of Roland were awarded the department’s Distinguished Service Award for their March 17, 2020 service while attempting to save the life of a motor vehicle crash victim.

The victim of the crash had lost control of her vehicle along Arkansas Highway 300 and went off the roadway into the Maumelle River.  All four men entered the near freezing temperature water to rescue the driver.

As state troopers arrived on the scene the four had recovered the unconscious woman and had begun cardiopulmonary resuscitation attempting to revive the driver and continued the procedure until an ambulance arrived.

The victim died later at a Little Rock hospital.

According to state troopers, the four men braved the freezing conditions and swift moving water, placing themselves in grave danger attempting to save another person’s life.

Harry Rhoades, of Bluffton (Yell County) and Noel Vincent, of Parks (Scott County), were awarded the department’s Distinguished Service Award for their heroic efforts on July 31, 2020 when they discovered a single vehicle motor vehicle crash along Arkansas Highway 28 south of Waldron.

Upon the arrival of a state trooper at the crash scene, the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash was laying in the roadway.

The trooper soon learned the two men had stopped when they saw fire about to engulf the wrecked truck and its driver trapped inside.

In a statement to the investigating trooper, he stated, “. . . the fire was creeping into the cab and I could feel the heat from the fire . . . the gentlemen came to my rescue and pulled me from the burning wreck.”

Both Rhoades and Vincent have been credited with saving the victim’s life.

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON’S WEEKLY UPDATE – JUNE 29, 2021
State officials are asking Arkansans to be as mindful as ever of COVID-19 as they prepare to celebrate the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend.

During his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, Hutchinson said the state has seen a consistent increase in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths over the past month. Given the gatherings many Arkansans will host and participate in this weekend, Hutchinson cautioned everyone to get the vaccine if they haven't yet or follow mask and social distancing recommendations.
Hutchinson said the virus' delta variant has caused particular concern as it spreads rapidly across the United States. Originating in India, health experts warn this variant is more contagious and carries more debilitating health effects.

Dr. Cam Patterson, Chancellor of UAMS, said new cases of the virus, and the delta variant in particular, are trending higher among younger Arkansans and with more serious health complications.

At this time nearly one million Arkansans, or around a third of the state's population, have been fully immunized against the virus. 

And finally, an update to the statewide COVID-19 figures on Tuesday as reported by the Arkansas Department of Health. Officials reported 479 new cases of COVID-19 across the Arkansas on Tuesday for a statewide cumulative total nearing 349,000. Active cases rose by a net total of 196 to 3,385 currently. Deaths increased by eight to 5,905 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations fell by eight, leaving 306 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus.

We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest developments, both locally and from across the state and nation.

 

ADE LAUNCHES R.I.S.E. COMMUNITY AWARDS PROGRAM 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education is pleased to partner with the Arkansas State Library, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, and Arkansas Imagination Library to launch the R.I.S.E. Community Awards program to celebrate community and education partnerships that support literacy for all ages.

Since the launch of R.I.S.E. Arkansas (Arkansas’ Reading Initiative for Student Excellence) in January 2017, schools, parents, and communities have embraced efforts to strengthen reading instruction, create community collaboration, and build a culture of reading. The R.I.S.E. Community Awards will recognize local education, government, business, non-profit, and civic organization partners who are leading this effort.

“I am excited about this opportunity to recognize communities that are committed to reading excellence,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “Learning to read is not just a responsibility of teachers in the classroom; it takes everyone – parents, teachers, and communities – to help a child learn to read. Reading not only builds self-esteem and leads to a higher quality of life for the individual, it also builds a robust workforce, which leads to improved economic development opportunities for communities. I look forward to seeing enhanced community collaboration through this program and recognizing the winners next summer.”

“We are making great strides in all three focus areas of the R.I.S.E. Arkansas initiative,” Johnny Key, ADE secretary, said. “Since the launch of the initiative, we have recognized schools for outstanding reading programs, and it seems appropriate to extend that acknowledgement to communities for their role and support in enhancing reading initiatives both inside and outside the classroom. I encourage every school in the state to work with local community partners to grow reading programs in the community to include readers of all ages.”

To participate, communities (which can include a combination of schools and various community organizations) should submit a letter of commitment to DESE by August announcing plans to participate in the program. Participants will then spend the next year developing their initiative, implementing their program, and reviewing and making revisions.

DESE team members will provide technical support, resources, and collaboration opportunities and will conduct site and event visits. Artifacts and evidence will be submitted for review in the spring of 2022, with the award winners announced in the summer of 2022. Participants are encouraged to showcase strong communication practices, resource utilization, and creativity in outreach programs.

To learn more, please visit https://bit.ly/3xTt6pc.  

June 29, 2021

IMPROVEMENTS TO HIGHWAY 57 NEED TEMPORARY CLOSURE NEAR CHIDESTER
OUACHITA COUNTY (6-28) – Construction work to improve drainage along Highway 57 near Chidester will mean a temporary lane closure, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials.

Weather permitting, crews will close Highway 57 between Highways 278 and 76 beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 29. The closure will allow crews to replace two cross drains and will conclude once the work is complete later that day, if the weather allows. Local traffic will be permitted, but through traffic must detour. 

Motorists traveling north on Highway 57 will take Highway 278 to Highway 24 and southbound traffic will use the same detour in reverse.  

Traffic cones and signage will control traffic. Additional travel information can be found at IDriveArkansas.com or ARDOT.gov. You can also follow us on Twitter @IDriveArkansas for traffic and @myARDOT for everything else.
 

OUACHITA COUNTY HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
The Ouachita County Courthouse and the Ouachita County Extension Office will be closed on Monday July 5th, 2021 for the July 4th Holiday. Sanitation will run on regular schedule.

 

DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER:STATE TROOPERS JOINING IN STATEWIDE JULY 4tHOLIDAY IMPAIRED DRIVING ENFORCEMENT PLANJUNE 28, 2021
Arkansas State Troopers will intensify their patrols across 16-thousand miles of Arkansas highway during the upcoming July 4th holiday.  The stepped-up patrol presence by state troopers and local law enforcement authorities is part of a statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled-Over enforcement operation supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Beginning as early as Friday (July 2nd), thousands of Arkansans will begin traveling to join friends and families celebrating the nation’s birthday.  The unified presence of law enforcement officers across the state is intended to protect travelers from the deadly threat of drunk drivers.

“Our state troopers want everyone to celebrate and enjoy the Fourth of July holiday, but they want safe and sober drivers on the roads,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “We’re constantly repeating the message, drunk driving is dangerous and deadly, yet, some drivers choose to ignore the warning,” Colonel Bryant said.  “The troopers won’t accept excuses, and if you’re caught drinking and driving, you’ll be arrested.”

NHTSA documented 10,142 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2019 that involved alcohol-impaired drivers.  With Fourth of July festivities wrapping up later than usual this year, more vehicles will be on the roads at night.  Nighttime July 4th holiday crashes in 2019 claimed 515 lives between 6 PM – 5:59 AM.  Thirty-eight percent (198) of those fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.

Drivers should remember if they’re caught by state troopers drinking and driving, they’ll be arrested.  Driving under the influence of any substance is illegal and will likely result in a DWI conviction.

The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office advocates the idea of celebrating, but with good planning.
Have a designated sober driver if you plan to consume alcohol.
If you don’t have a designated driver and you’ve been drinking, call a taxi or someone who is sober to drive you home.
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.
Always call 9-1-1 if you see a drunk driver on the road.

This Fourth of July commit to driving 100-percent sober.  Don’t lose your independence on Independence Day, and don’t be a deadly risk to yourself and other innocent people. Remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

For more information on impaired driving, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving or call 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

 

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday July 1st at Catherine's Bistro at 12:00 PM. The program will be presented by Kierra Tyson, from one of our newest businesses in town, Need to Know Testing.

 

2021 SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS RURAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
“Using Existing Resources and Creating Innovative Approaches to Rebuild Rural Arkansas."
Providing rural residents with the skills and tools needed to create and expand small businesses and engage in job creation activities are the goals of an upcoming regional business conference to be held virtually via Zoom, with a remote location in Prescott, Arkansas. Funded by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (ADWS), Arkansas Human Development Corporation (AHDC), Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development (USDA, RD), the 2021 Southwest Arkansas Rural Business Development Conference, with a theme of “Using Existing Resources and Creating Innovative Approaches to Rebuild Rural Arkansas" will bring together approximately 20 private, state, federal and nonprofit organizations with a singular mission of equipping small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and resources to start and expand their businesses.

Hosted by the AHDC, Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center (APTAC), Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC), and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the conference will be held Friday, July 9, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. via Zoom. For participants without computer access, the conference will also be held remotely at Nevada County Library, 121 W. Main Street, Prescott, AR 71857. Space is VERY limited! Social distancing, temperature checks, masks, and release forms will be required. Topics will include but are not limited to, building effective business relationships, securing the right kind of capital, how to sell goods and services to the government, how to use the many services of the ASBTDC to develop and/or expand your business, and a new afternoon session on personal finance will be conducted.

Join us at 8:30 am for a “Breakfast with the Lenders Roundtable,” where participants will network with local, regional and statewide lenders. Lenders invited to participate include Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, Bank of Delight, Communities Unlimited, Farmers Bank and Trust, FORGE, along with Rural Missouri, Inc. (RMI), and USDA, Rural Development. The panel discussion will be moderated by Herb Lawrence, Lender Relations Specialist, Arkansas District Office, U.S. Small Business Administration.

Current business owners and those just getting started, youth entrepreneurs, business and technical school students, apprentices, veterans, faith-based leaders and community and economic development professionals, are invited to attend. You will engage with other business owners, receive help with research and business planning, learn how to increase your networking results and learn to do more business with government and private industry. Dr. Karama Neal, Administrator for Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA Rural Development, will deliver the luncheon address.

Don’t miss the opportunity to help your community create needed JOBS by learning valuable tools to help your small business GROW! And, INNOVATE!

AN INVESTMENT OF TIME IS THE COST TO ATTEND BUT REGISTRATION IS ENCOURAGED.

You may register by calling Arkansas Human Development Corporation toll free at (800) 482-7641 or (501) 374-1103, ext. 10, or online at https://bit.ly/2tuT7Qh

June 25, 2021

HUMAN REMAINS IDENTIFIED AS MISSING LOUISIANA MAN
The remains discovered earlier this week at a Eudora residence have been positively identified by the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory Medical Examiner. *(see June 21st news release below)

The decomposed body of Michael Calloway, 29, of Oak Grove, Louisiana was found inside a house at 2230 North Main Street.

Calloway had been reported as a missing person on June 17, 2021 by the Oak Grove Police Department.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are leading an investigation into the death along with officers of the Oak Grove and Eudora Police Departments

STATE POLICE CID AGENTS CALLED TO CHICOT COUNTY; BODY DISCOVERED
JUNE 21, 2021
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have been requested by Eudora police officers to investigate the death of an unknown individual found inside a local home.

Agents were able to enter the home at 2230 North Main Street earlier this afternoon after local police officers responded to a call of human remains found inside the house.

The remains will be transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the state medical examiner will attempt to determine the identity of the individual, the manner and cause of death and when the death occurred.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas State Police will continue its investigation through witness interviews and evidence collected at the home

 

CENTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS APPLAUDS SENATE FOR PASSING GROWING CLIMATE SOLUTIONS ACT  
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Center for Rural Affairs applauds the U.S. Senate for passing the Growing Climate Solutions Act. The legislation was passed today on a 92-8 vote. 

“Carbon payment programs offer a financial opportunity for farmers voluntarily implementing important conservation on their farms,” said Kayla Bergman, senior policy associate for the Center. “While there has been growing excitement for these programs, we are now at a point where setting standard protocols is necessary.”

Bergman commends the bipartisan leadership on this bill, including Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for joining Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Braun (R-IN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-RI), and 47 of their colleagues in cosponsorship of this legislation.

“The large group of bipartisan legislators sponsoring this bill, including senators from our heartland states, demonstrates broad support for giving America’s farmers a role in ongoing efforts to address climate change,” Bergman said. 

The Growing Climate Solutions Act will establish a certification program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for private parties who work with producers to receive payments for carbon sequestration.

By developing baseline standards for carbon markets, Bergman said the legislation would help this tool become more effective. 

“Carbon markets have tremendous potential, but current versions vary widely in design and structure,” Bergman said. “We all want carbon markets to work. Developing a framework that includes basic standards and requirements is a critical step toward making this happen.” 

The companion bill was referred to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee in April. It will need to pass through that committee and then go to the floor for a vote for the legislation to move forward.  

 

BOOZMAN SHARES SERVICE MEMORIES OF 99-YEAR-OLD WWII VETERAN
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of World War II veteran Ray Randall in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans. 

Randall was born in Glendale, California on February 18, 1922 and was named after his paternal grandfather. His dad was a World War I veteran who wasn’t involved in his life. He was raised in Chicago in the same neighborhoods where his mother grew up and he even attended the same elementary school where she was once a student.

As an athlete, Randall played several sports and found success in track and field as well as cross country. “I was undefeated in my races in Chicago,” he said. His accomplishments earned him a scholarship to the University of Chicago where he was a member of the track team.

During his senior year of college, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet, but deferred so he could finish his degree, but the military had other plans for him. “They called me up,” he recounted, around his birthday. Randall wore the present he received throughout his time in uniform – a Movado watch that he still owns.
Randall served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps. He trained in many locations stateside including the Newport Army Air Field and Blytheville Army Air Field which served as a flight training school.

“When I went to basic flight school in Newport, Arkansas, my instructor, he had two students, we were his first students after he got his wings. We flew a PT-19,” Randall recalled. His previous instructors had taught him some maneuvers that he showed his new teacher. “I thought, I’m going to have fun with this guy. He’s a real nice kid, not much older than me, but a big guy. I put it in a spin and held it in there until 3,500 feet and pulled it out. I thought he was going to die. I was just having fun.”

On May 23, 1944, Randall received his wings and days later he was on his way to New York to be processed for overseas deployment. He flew from the Big Apple on July 3, 1944 and stopped in several locations for refueling including Algiers where he was able to meet with his brother-in-law.

Randall was assigned to the South-East Asian Theater. He served as a pilot of C-47 and C-46 transport aircraft over “The Hump.” These dangerous transport missions over the Himalayas provided supplies to American and Chinese forces fighting Japan and were typically parachute dropped in. He flew 220 missions.

“This is jungle, but you had bare spots every once in a while. It might be a very small area a couple hundred feet wide and you’re supposed to drop these things above treetop level,” Randall said. “The pilot had to signal when the guys would drop them.” He said sometimes it was a “guessing game.”

Early in his military service, Randall was responsible for reporting intelligence information such as foreign interference or traitors. He suspects this is why he had the opportunity to fly missions for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the wartime intelligence agency and precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. He was also selected to participate in an OSS-sponsored jungle survival school.

One of Randall’s most frightening experiences as a pilot occurred while taking off with a plane full of injured troops along a river. “You had to use all kinds of ingenuity.” He remembers getting as far back in the field as possible, revving up the engine and the half flaps on the wings.

“I was judging what we had to do but I was getting closer to that river and a lot of rocks. We just got flying speed enough to stay out of the water,” he said. “That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done.”

When the war ended and Randall was able to return home, he made the journey on a troop ship to New York. “We dropped anchor in the harbor. We could see the lights and the cars and everything. It was because we were the first ship back and they wanted to have a big parade the next morning,” he said. After he disembarked, he placed a call to his wife Shirley and his mother.

“I was glad to do what I did and I was glad to get back,” Randall said.

Following the war, Randall had a successful career working for Libby’s and Allen Canning Company, which brought him to Rogers. “It’s the greatest place in the world to live.”

“As a member of the Greatest Generation, Ray honorably served his country and has remained humble about his time in uniform. I’m grateful for his service and sacrifice to our nation and his willingness to share his memories for future generations of Americans,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Randall’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 24, 2021

FISHIING DERBY THIS SATURDAY
Reminder!!! Bring the kid’s out for a great time! The Camden Police Department and Ouachita County 4H is hosting a Fish Derby on June 26th from 7:30am to noon, at the Camden Fairview High School pond. Derby is open to everyone 15 years old and younger. This event is FREE!!!

 

THE CALL IN OUACHITA COUNTY ANNOUNCES NEW COORDINATOR
The CALL would like to formally announce Mackenzie Pigott Hayes as the new County Coordinator for Ouachita County. Makenzie grew up in Sparkman, Arkansas, and graduated from Harmony Grove High school. After high school, she attended the University of Arkansas, where she met her husband, Kyle. Makenzie has taught kindergarten at Harmony Grove Elementary for the last four years. In May 2021, she and her husband became foster parents. They have been blessed to share their home with several precious children.

Makenzie says, "I decided to join The CALL family because I have seen the Lord's goodness through The CALL. The CALL has had such a huge impact on our lives. Seeing the Lord work through this organization is so wonderful and something I am SO excited to be a part of here in Ouachita County."

The CALL is THRILLED to have Makenzie join our team, and we cannot wait to see the wonderful works of our Lord and Savior through this ministry in Ouachita County.


STATE POLICE LEADING INVESTIGATION OF LONOKE COUNTY TRAFFIC STOP SHOOTING INCIDENT
JUNE 23, 2021

An overnight traffic stop by a Lonoke County sheriff’s deputy ended in a shooting incident that left a teenager dead.  The incident occurred outside a local auto repair shop about 3 AM today south of Cabot along Arkansas Highway 89.

Hunter Britain, 17, of McRae, the driver of a truck stopped by the deputy, sustained a gunshot wound and was transported to a North Little Rock hospital where he later died.

Special Agents assigned to the state police Criminal Investigation Division are leading the investigation at the request of the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Department.

The circumstances of the traffic stop and what may have led up to the deputy firing his gun at Britain will be documented in the investigation.  The investigative file upon completion will be turned-over to the Lonoke County prosecuting attorney to decide whether facts and evidence in the case are consistent or not with Arkansas laws related to the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer.

Questions related to the identity of the deputy or his current administrative status should be directed to the Lonoke County sheriff.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: ONLINE PREDATORS DON’T TAKE OFF IN THE SUMMERTIME
LITTLE ROCK – Oftentimes when Arkansans hear of sexual abuse of an individual viewing explicit images of a child, they are surprised that such behavior could happen in their own neighborhoods or homes. Many parents think something like this could never happen to their child because they monitor their child’s internet usage. Unfortunately, parents and family members could unknowingly be the ones giving pictures to cybercriminals.

“Even what seems to be the most innocent social media post celebrating a day with the family at the pool can unintentionally give pedophiles access to your children,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As parents, we will do everything in our power to protect our kids, but sometimes we just don’t know how. I want to make sure every parent in the State knows how they can keep Arkansas children safe.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to all Arkansans to protect children from these online predators:

Think twice about posting pictures of children or young family members online, especially photos of children that show a lot of skin. The Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit is warning parents and loved ones that predators will sometimes harvest from social media sites and other online sources to find seemingly innocent photos taken by well-meaning parents of children in swimsuits, dance costumes, or even sports uniforms that are form-fitting or show skin for their own ill-intentioned plans, to trade, or sell for more explicit photographs.

Remember that status updates, photos and videos posted on social networks are permanent and once the user posts, it is out of their control, and you do not know where it will end up. Consider purchasing cell phone monitoring services from a phone provider to monitor children’s mobile devices.

Just as children are taught to use strong privacy settings, adults should use the strictest settings that are available to prevent unwanted individuals from seeing images of their children. For example, on Facebook, one of the available privacy settings requires explicit permission from the account holder before he or she can be tagged in a post or picture.

Monitor social media posts from friends to ensure photos are not posted of your loved ones that could be stolen by people with sinister motives and end up in the hands of a child predator. Many social media platforms allow users to submit complaints regarding problematic posts and to request deletion of posts.

Encourage children to tell an adult if there is ever a problem online. Photos, along with social media posts and texts are often used to break down young children’s inhibitions to make them more comfortable with the inappropriate behavior. Adults must remember, that if a child comes into contact with an online predator, it is not the child’s fault – the child is a victim.

Arkansans can report child exploitation by calling the National CyberTipline, (800) 843-5678, or visit CyberTipline.com, or in the event of an emergency, dial 911, or a local law enforcement agency. For more information to stay safe online and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

 

ARKANSAS HUMANITIES COUNCIL SETS JULY 1 FOR AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN GRANT APPLICATION OPENING
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Humanities Council has received $759,297 from the National Endowment of the Humanities to implement the America Rescue Plan Grant program that will help ensure the survival of Arkansas’s critical cultural institutions and assist in their recovery from the continuing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maximum awards of up to $25,000 will be offered.

The funds are designated for operational expenses, strategic planning and capacity building and are available to nonprofit humanities-based cultural organizations in Arkansas. The American Rescue Plan Grant provides immediate funds to museums, historical societies, college and universities, and other humanities-based cultural organizations to help stabilize and provide funding for them to maintain essential functions and retain core personnel. Information about eligibility, grant applications and guidelines can be found here. Applications must be submitted on or before 11:59 p.m. August 15, 2021.

The American Rescue Plan Act 2021 provides supplemental funding to NEH for emergency relief to institutions and organizations working in the humanities that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. NEH awarded funding directly to the 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils to support these subawards.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

For more information about the Arkansas Humanities Council, visit https://arkansashumanitiescouncil.org/. The Arkansas Humanities Council is a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


ARKANSAS DELEGATION ASKS EPA TO KEEP NAVIGABLE WATERS PROTECTION RULE
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and John Boozman (R-Arkansas), with Representatives Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas), French Hill (R-Arkansas), Steve Womack (R-Arkansas), and Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas) sent a letter condemning the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to repeal and replace the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR).

In part, the members wrote, “The NWPR preserves our waterways while giving producers and landowners the clarity they need to farm and build without burdensome regulations and government overreach.”

“Arkansans are good stewards of the land and should make their own decisions about their own property—as they have for generations—without the EPA looking over their shoulders,” the members continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

Dear Administrator Regan and Acting Assistant Secretary Pinkham:

On June 9, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced plans to repeal and replace the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR). The members of the Arkansas congressional delegation adamantly oppose this decision, which will harm businesses, foresters, and farmers across the State of Arkansas. The NWPR preserves our waterways while giving producers and landowners the clarity they need to farm and build without burdensome regulations and government overreach. It is our position that states and localities should regulate waters within their borders—not the federal government. 

The Trump administration championed cooperative federalism with regard to the environment, and the current administration should continue this practice going forward. The Obama administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule was a vast and vague expansion of federal regulation that placed significant hardships on Arkansans and took authority away from states and localities. Arkansans are good stewards of the land and should make their own decisions about their own property—as they have for generations—without the EPA looking over their shoulders.

Instead of returning to the mistaken policies of the past, we respectfully ask that the EPA and the Corps reconsider their proposal to repeal and replace the current rule, which will have a dire impact on our state.

June 23, 2021

STATE POLICE CID AGENTS CALLED TO CHICOT COUNTY; BODY DISCOVERED
JUNE 21, 2021
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have been requested by Eudora police officers to investigate the death of an unknown individual found inside a local home.

Agents were able to enter the home at 2230 North Main Street earlier this afternoon after local police officers responded to a call of human remains found inside the house.

The remains will be transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the state medical examiner will attempt to determine the identity of the individual, the manner and cause of death and when the death occurred.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas State Police will continue its investigation through witness interviews and evidence collected at the home.
 

ARKANSAS MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. COMMISSION HONORS JUNETEENTH TRAILBLAZER POPULAR BROADCASTER HOSTED JUNETEENTH CELEBRATIONS IN THE NINETIES
Little Rock, Arkansas - The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, a division of the Arkansas Department of Education, honored Broadway Joe Booker with the 2021 Juneteenth Inspiration Award.  Booker, a broadcaster for Power 92, was recognized for his contributions to Arkansas by hosting inaugural Juneteenth Celebrations in Central Arkansas.  Mr. Booker hosted Juneteenth events in the nineties which drew thousands from across the state to several concert venues in Little Rock, Arkansas. Joe Booker, a native of South Carolina, began his broadcasting career in the military in 1976. He began as an announcer in the Armed Forces Korean Network. After relocating to Arkansas, he attended Arkansas State University and earned an associate degree and later concluded his studies at Arkansas Baptist College with a Bachelor of Arts in African- American Community Leadership.

“Mr. Booker spearheaded the original central Arkansas Juneteenth celebration, which inspired other organizations across the state to host similar events,” says DuShun Scarbrough. Now that we are celebrating the first official Juneteenth as a federal holiday, we felt it was appropriate to acknowledge Mr. Booker’s contributions to the celebration. Not to mention, he participates in several outreach projects across the state and assists the Commission in promoting the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

President Joe Biden, on Thursday, June 17, signed a bill commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, as a federal holiday.
 

SIX SCHOOLS RECEIVE R.I.S.E. SCHOOL AWARDS FOR EFFORTS TO BUILD ROBUST READING PROGRAM
LITTLE ROCK — The ability to read on grade level amidst a culture that promotes the importance of reading is undoubtedly a foundation for success in life. To celebrate schools that are accomplishing that mission, the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education presented R.I.S.E. School Awards to six outstanding schools at the ADE Summit today in Hot Springs.

“Each of these schools demonstrates commitment and dedication to ensuring students read on grade level,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “Not only does that involve incorporating Science of Reading best practices in the classroom, it also includes developing strong community partnerships that build and support a culture of reading outside the classroom. Congratulations to this year’s recipients.”

The following schools received the awards this year:
Brookland Elementary School (Brookland School District)
Eastside Elementary School (Rogers School District)
Greenland Elementary School (Greenland School District)
Jerry “Pop” Williams Elementary School (Farmington)
Northside Elementary School (Siloam Springs School District)
Southside Elementary School (Cabot School District)

Schools applied for the R.I.S.E. School Award in the spring of 2020, but the process was delayed because of COVID-19. In the spring of 2021, a DESE team used a rubric to score the applications for the award. The rubric was based on the three R.I.S.E. goals: Sharpen the focus and strengthen reading instruction, create community collaboration, and build a culture of reading. Site visits then followed, during which the committee looked for evidence of school-wide implementation of strategies and practices aligned with the Science of Reading. The six schools selected met all the objectives.

To learn more about R.I.S.E. Arkansas, visit https://bit.ly/3v654pb
 

CENTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS PLEASED WITH USDA’S INVESTMENT IN SMALL MEAT PROCESSORS 
LYONS, NEBRASKA – The Center for Rural Affairs applauds the launch of a new grant program aimed at building capacity and increasing economic opportunity for small and mid-sized meat and poultry processors. 

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will provide $55.2 million in competitive grant funding through the new Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program. The program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

“Demand for local foods has grown steadily over the past 16 months, and producers have risen to meet the challenge,” said Johnathan Hladik, policy director for the Center for Rural Affairs. “Our processors are our partners, and they have done all they can to keep up. This program will help them make the efficiency and capacity improvements needed to keep this important piece of our rural economy growing.” 

Under the MPIRG program, small and mid sized meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities can cover the costs for necessary improvements to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection or to operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.

Activities eligible for funding include modernizing or expanding an existing facility; new construction of buildings at an existing facility; modernizing processing, packaging, and labeling equipment; meeting occupational and food safety standards; and any costs associated with becoming a federally inspected facility.

However, some restrictions may make it difficult for otherwise eligible businesses to fully utilize the program, Hladik said. 

“Unfortunately this program is entirely unavailable to businesses that are already USDA inspected, which leaves out many processors that are otherwise prime candidates for expansion,” he said. “For those interested in becoming inspected, costs associated with purchasing land and building a new facility are also ineligible, which will limit processors that are unable to expand at their current location.”

Grant applications will be accepted electronically through grants.gov until Aug. 2. Commercial businesses, cooperatives, and tribal enterprises are eligible to apply. The USDA encourages applications aimed at increasing access to slaughter or processing facilities for smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, and veteran producers.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is offering webinars for applicants to help walk them through the Request for Application. Additionally, grants management specialists are available to answer questions during regular business hours. For more information about grant eligibility and program requirements, visit the ams.usda.gov/services/grants/mpirg, or email mpirg@usda.gov.

June 21, 2021

IMPROVEMENTS TO HIGHWAY 57 MEANS TEMPORARY CLOSURE NEAR CHIDESTER
OUACHITA COUNTY (6-21) – Construction work to improve drainage along Highway 57 near Chidester will mean a temporary lane closure, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials.

Weather permitting, crews will close Highway 57 between Highways 278 and 76 from 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 22 and continuing through 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 24. Local traffic will be permitted, but through traffic must detour.

Motorists traveling north on Highway 57 will take Highway 278 to Highway 24 and southbound traffic will use the same detour in reverse.

Traffic will be controlled by traffic cones and signage. Drivers should exercise caution when approaching and traveling through all highway work zones. Additional travel information can be found at IDriveArkansas.com or ARDOT.gov. You can also follow us on Twitter @IDriveArkansas for traffic and @myARDOT for everything else.

SIGN UP: 2021 ELDER ABUSE CONFERENCE
Register today for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s second statewide Elder Abuse Conference. The training will be held Thursday, September 2nd at Arkansas State University’s First National Bank Arena. This all-day event is free and open to the public. Law enforcement, medical professionals, providers, attorneys and home caregivers are welcome to learn how to better protect older and developmentally disabled adults. An agenda will be posted in the coming weeks.

DATE:       Thursday, September 2
WHEN:      8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
WHERE:   Arkansas State University – First National Bank Arena
REGISTER:  https://arkansasag.eventsmart.com/events/2021-elder-abuse-conference/ 

Lack of Health Insurance Continues to Increase Among Arkansas’s Children


DATA ACROSS 50 STATES SHOW STRUGGLES WITH POVERTY, HEALTH INDICATORS, BUT HOPES FOR RECOVERY REMAIN, ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION FINDS
LITTLE ROCK — The number of Arkansas’s children going without health insurance surged dramatically between 2018 and 2019, continuing a troubling decline in children’s health care coverage. Arkansas has also seen an increase in the percentage of low-birth-weight babies and in the child and teen death rate over the past decade. That’s according to the 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, a 50-state report of recent household data developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation analyzing how families have fared between the Great Recession and the COVID-19 crisis.

Every child needs food, health care, safe and stable housing, and access to education. But this year’s Data Book shows nearly a decade of progress could be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic unless policymakers act boldly to sustain the beginnings of a recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Many states in the South and West that rank toward the bottom in the Data Book are also states that have seen the worst outcomes during the pandemic. Arkansas is included in this assessment, with bottom 10 rankings in six of the 16 well-being indicators. Arkansas’s overall ranking did rise to 39 though, compared to last year’s ranking of 40.

Racist policies, like a criminal justice system that over polices and prosecutes Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as health care policies and practices that fail to address the needs of BIPOC, perpetuate inequity and barriers to economic progress. Without passing anti-racist policies and solutions, we will continue to see disparities across most indicators, at both the national and state levels. In Arkansas, for example, 39% of our Black children and 27% of our Hispanic children live in poverty. By comparison, 16% of Arkansas’s non-Hispanic white children live in poverty.

“The data paint a precarious picture for Arkansas’s children, even before the pandemic,” said Rich Huddleston, executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Arkansas’s member of the KIDS COUNT network. “It is critical we make bold policy changes to improve outcomes for kids as we come out of the current crisis.”

The Data Book shows simply returning to a pre-pandemic level of support for children and families would shortchange millions of kids and fail to address persistent racial and ethnic disparities.

Sixteen indicators measuring four domains — economic well-being, education, health, and family and community context — are used by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in each year’s Data Book to assess child well-being. The annual KIDS COUNT data and rankings represent the most recent information available but do not capture the impact of the past year:

ECONOMIC WELL-BEING (Arkansas ranked 34th): In 2019, 151,000 (22%) of Arkansas’s children lived in households with an income below the poverty line. While the state has improved on this measure since 2010, more than one in five children in Arkansas continue to live in poverty, ranking us near the bottom of the states at 46th.

EDUCATION (Arkansas ranked 35th): In 2017–19, 41,000 children ages 3-4 were not in school. Though there were several years where this indicator showed improvement, Arkansas has lost ground over the last decade. In 2009-11, 49% of young kids were in school, and Arkansas was ranked 16th in the nation; in 2019, only 47% of young children were in school, and Arkansas dropped to 20th in the national ranking.

HEALTH (Arkansas ranked 41st): The number of children in Arkansas without health insurance rose from 34,000 in 2018 to 43,000 in 2019, marking the third straight year of an increase in this figure. This mirrors a national increase in children without health insurance, though it has been especially noteworthy in Arkansas where our national ranking dropped from 23rd in 2010 to 29th in 2019.

FAMILY AND COMMUNITY CONTEXT (Arkansas ranked 42nd): In 2019, 67,000 children (10%) lived in high poverty areas, an improvement from 17% in 2010. Arkansas has also seen a decrease in the percentage of kids in families with a head-of-household who lacks a high school diploma (11% in 2019, down from 16% in 2010).

Survey data from the last year add to the story of Arkansas’s children and families in this moment:

During the pandemic, in 2020, 23% of households with children in Arkansas weren’t sure they would be able to pay their rent or mortgage. By March 2021, this figure had fallen, but only marginally, to 21%. Alarmingly, the percentage of adults living in households with children and who felt down, depressed or hopeless increased from 26% in 2020 to 33% in March 2021. This suggests that families are continuing to struggle with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is the most extraordinary crisis to hit families in decades,” said Lisa Hamilton, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Deliberate policy decisions can help them recover, and we’re already seeing the beginnings of that. Policymakers should use this moment to repair the damage the pandemic has caused — and to address long-standing inequities it has exacerbated.”

Investing in children, families and communities is a priority to ensure an equitable and expansive recovery. Several of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s suggestions have already been enacted in the American Rescue Plan, and additional recommendations include:

Congress should make the expansion of the child tax credit permanent. The child tax credit has long had bipartisan support, so lawmakers should find common cause and ensure the largest one-year drop ever in child poverty is not followed by a surge.

State and local governments should prioritize the recovery of hard-hit communities of color. BIPOC communities have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic due in part to systemic barriers to health care and economic security. Recovery efforts must help address the needs of those most impacted today and help respond to longstanding structural inequities.

States should expand income support that helps families care for their children. Permanently extending unemployment insurance eligibility to contract, gig and other workers and expanding state tax credits would benefit parents and children.

States that have not done so should expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The American Rescue Plan offers incentives to do so. As Arkansas already has expanded Medicaid under the ACA, AACF recommends the following to reverse the recent declines in health care coverage for children:

Adopt continuous eligibility for ARKids A. One-year continuous eligibility would ensure that a child’s coverage is not terminated within a single year because of fluctuations in family income that are common for low-income families. Arkansas already has this policy in place for children with slightly higher family incomes enrolled in Arkansas Medicaid ARKids-B.

Adopt presumptive eligibility for Medicaid for children and pregnant women. Presumptive eligibility would allow Arkansas to temporarily enroll persons in Medicaid while waiting for their full applications to be processed. Presumptive eligibility on a provisional applicational allows the children and pregnant women to begin receiving services immediately without having to wait for the full Medicaid application to be processed. 

Conduct ARKids First outreach and enrollment, especially targeting immigrant families.

Provide one-year postpartum Medicaid coverage for mothers instead of the current 60 days.

In the proposed ARHOME waiver the state will soon submit to the federal government, do not repeat the mistakes of the past by imposing any requirements that would make it more burdensome for families to maintain health care coverage under Arkansas’s Medicaid expansion.

States should strengthen public schools and pathways to post-secondary education and training. AACF further recommends the state reassess its approach to education in light of the pandemic and focus on research-proven strategies that will help children who lost ground during the pandemic while closing longstanding opportunity gaps for the state’s BIPOC students.

Release Information
The 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book will be available June 21 at 12:01 a.m. EDT at www.aecf.org. Additional information is available at www.aecf.org/databook. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about the Data Book can use the KIDS COUNT Data Center at datacenter.kidscount.org.

About Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is a statewide, nonprofit child advocacy organization established in 1977. Our mission is to ensure that all children and their families have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives and to realize their full potential. For more information, visit aradvocates.org.

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

 

BOB ESTES OF FAYETTEVILLE IS THE NEW PRESIDENT OF THE ARKANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION
Bob Estes of Fayetteville was sworn in as the President of the Arkansas Bar Association on June 18. The swearing-in ceremony by Chief Justice Dan Kemp took place virtually during the association’s Annual Meeting Virtual Conference.

 “I will walk in the steps of great men and women who have served before me,” Estes said. “As I begin to serve each of you as President of your Arkansas Bar Association, I strive to serve you well, by advancing and accomplishing the purposes of our Association. It is the members of this Association who advance the administration of justice and foster and maintain these high ideals. Lawyers play an integral part in maintaining the rule of law.”

 A United States Army Veteran, Estes earned a BSBA, MBA and JD from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville.  Mr. Estes is a solo practitioner in Fayetteville who has long served the association in its efforts to advance the administration of justice. His service has included YLS Executive Council, House of Delegates (Tenure), Executive Council and Board of Governors. He has chaired the Re-Districting Task Force, the Practice Closure Task Force, the PAC Executive Committee and the Legislation Committee, for which he was awarded a Golden Gavel.  He is Fellow of the Arkansas Bar Foundation which has honored him with the Arkansas Bar Foundation writing award.

 Mr. Estes has served in three cases as a Special Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of Arkansas. He currently serves on the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Civil Practice. He has been a member of several Fayetteville city and community boards and commissions.
 

ARKANSAS BAR ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES AWARD RECIPIENTS
2020-2021 Arkansas Bar Association President Paul W. Keith selected the following association members as award recipients for their outstanding work and service to the Association. The awards were presented virtually during the association’s annual meeting on June 17.

 Presidential Awards of Excellence:
·   Joseph F. Kolb, ArkBar President-Elect and principal member of the law firm, j. k o l b, Little Rock, for several years of service as treasurer
·  Aaron L. Squyres, Wilson & Associates, PLLC, Little Rock, for several years of service as parliamentarian   

·  Pulaski County Bar Association for years of service to the legal profession

Golden Gavel Awards:

· Kandice A. Bell, Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson, White Hall, for her work as ABCDI Chair
· Beverly I. Brister, The Brister Firm, Benton, for her work on the Constitution Day Video
· Lillian Dee Davenport, Simmons Wealth Management, Little Rock, for her work as Mid-Year Coordinator
· Brent J. Eubanks, Humphries, Odum & Eubanks, Little Rock, for his work as PAC Chair       
· Prof. Lynn  Foster, UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, for her work as chair of the Legislation Committee
· Adrienne Morris Griffis, Dover Dixon Horne PLLC, Little Rock, for her work on the Virtual Mock Trial Competition
· Christopher M. Hussein, Legal Aid of Arkansas, Springdale, for his work as Young Lawyers Section Chair for the past two years
· Anton Leo Janik, Jr., Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., Little Rock, for his work as the chair of the Editorial Advisory Board
· Sarah C. Jewell, McMath Woods, P.A., Fayetteville, for her work as Annual Meeting Co-Chair
· Jamie Huffman Jones, Friday, Eldredge & Clark LLP, Little Rock, for her work as Annual Meeting Co-Chair

·  Joseph F. Kolb, ArkBar President-Elect and principal member of the law firm, j.kolb , Little Rock, for his work on the ABCDI Survey
· Deepali Lal, UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Little Rock, for her work on the ABCDI Survey
· Jessica Virden Mallett, Law Offices of Peter Miller P. A., Little Rock, for her work as Chair of Sponsorship Committee
· Anthony L. McMullen, University of Central Arkansas - Director of Forensics, Conway, for his work on the Virtual Mock Trial Competition
· G. S. Brant Perkins, The Perkins Law Firm, P.A., Jonesboro, for his work as chair of the By-Laws Drafting Sub-Committee
· Brian M. Rosenthal, Rose Law Firm, Little Rock, for his work on the ABCDI Survey and a second Golden Gavel for his work on the Sponsorship Committee
· George M. Rozzell, Miller, Butler, Schneider, Pawlik & Rozzell, PLLC, Fayetteville, for his work on the Sponsorship Committee

Continuing Legal Education Awards:
· Vanessa Cash Adams, ARlaw Partners, PLLC, Little Rock, for planning the 2021 Debtor/Creditor Conference
· Jennifer L. Zwiegers, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., Little Rock, for Co-Planning 24th Environmental Law Conference
· Sarah Murphy McDaniel, Mackie, Wolf, Zientz & Mann, P.C., Little Rock, for planning the 2021 Debtor/Creditor Conference
· Lindsey Emerson Raines, Friday, Eldredge & Clark LLP, Little Rock, for planning the 2021 Debtor/Creditor Conference
· Stuart Larson Spencer, Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., Little Rock, for Co-Planning 24th Environmental Law Conference

Maurice Cathey Award
· Bill Waddell, Friday, Eldredge & Clark LLP, Little Rock, for contributions to The Arkansas Lawyer Magazine               

 Frank C. Elcan Award
· Christopher M. Hussein, Legal Aid of Arkansas, Springdale, for his commitment and dedication to the Young Lawyers Section

Judith Ryan Gray Young Lawyer Service Award
· Payton C. Bentley, Clark Law Firm, PLLC, Fayetteville, for exemplary service and outstanding contributions directed toward improving the administration of justice and promoting the public welfare on behalf of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association  

YLS Award of Excellence
· Alexandra C. Benton, Blair & Stroud, Batesville, for her work taking the lead on the Domestic Violence Handbook update and YLS trivia night    
· Ray Slaton, Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC, Little Rock, for his work on the Wills for Heroes project

 Legislative Awards
The following individuals are being honored for their efforts during the legislative session:
Matthew C. Boch, Dover Dixon Horne, Little Rock
Carol Goforth, University of Arkansas School of Law, Fayetteville
David Allen Grace, Hardin & Grace, P.A., North Little Rock
Anthony A. Hilliard, Ramsay, Bridgforth, Robinson & Raley LLP, Pine Bluff
Glen Hoggard, Attorney at Law, Little Rock
Robert M. Honea, Hardin, Jesson & Terry, PLC, Little Rock
Lauren White Hoover, Lacerra, Dickson, Hoover, & Rogers, PLLC, Little Rock
Angela M. Mann, Mann & Kemp, Little Rock
J. Don Overton, The Overton Firm, LLC, Little Rock
Judge Herb T. Wright, Circuit Judge, 6th Judicial District, Fourth Division

The 2020-2021 Arkansas Bar Foundation/ Arkansas Bar Association Joint Award Recipients:

Association President Paul W. Keith and Arkansas Bar Foundation President Judge Cindy G. Thyer presented the following joint awards:
· Outstanding Lawyer Award:  Paul D. McNeill, RMP LLP, Jonesboro, in recognition of excellence in the practice of law and outstanding contributions to the profession
· C. E. Ransick Award of Excellence: Sherry P. Bartley, Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., Little Rock, in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession
· Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award:  Judge Amy Dunn Johnson, Circuit Judge, 6th Judicial District, 15th Division, in recognition of commitment to and participation in equal justice programs, including pro bono efforts through legal services programs
· Outstanding Jurist Award:  Judge Joyce Williams Warren, Little Rock, in recognition of exceptional competency, efficiency and integrity on the Bench and exemplary service to the administration of justice
· Outstanding Local Bar Association: Sebastian County Bar Association

 

COTTON BILL TO EQUALIZE MINIMUM PENALTIES FOR POWDER AND CRACK COCAINE TRAFFICKING
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced legislation that would strengthen the minimum penalties for powder cocaine trafficking to match penalties for crack cocaine trafficking. 

 “Crack and powder cocaine both kill thousands of Americans every year, but the penalties for selling each substance aren’t the same. My bill would increase penalties for criminals trafficking powder cocaine to ensure fairness in sentencing without granting early release to violent drug traffickers.”

Background:
Nationwide, cocaine overdose deaths have tripled since 2015, and are now the most common cause of overdose death after opioids. 

June 17, 2021

BOOZMAN, WYDEN LEAD LEGISLATION TO BROADEN ACCESS TO MAMMOGRAPHY SERVICES FOR WOMEN VETERANS
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are leading efforts to improve the health of women veterans by expanding Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mammogram screening eligibility.

The Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act would require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

Additionally, the legislation directs the VA to submit a report to Congress within two years of enactment that compares the rates of breast cancer among members of the Armed Forces and the civilian population.

“Improving the VA’s procedures for mammography screenings will help ensure our women veterans are able to live long and healthy lives. Early detection and treatment for those individuals who may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer because of where they served is key to fighting this disease and upholding our promise to America’s past and present servicemembers,” Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee said.

“I’m glad to join Senator Boozman to expand access to life-saving VA care and services.” Wyden said. “Women who have served may be at much higher risk of developing breast cancer and deserve access to early detection and treatment. Updating the VA’s guidelines for mammogram procedures will provide our nation’s veterans with the quality and preventative care they need to live healthy lives.”

The VA’s current guidance for administering mammograms is outdated given the unique environments in which military members serve and the additional risk factors associated with these locations. The incidence of breast cancer in women veterans and military populations is estimated to be up to 40 percent higher than the general population according to a report from the National Institutes of Health.

The legislation has the support of leading Veteran Service Organizations including the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion.

“Nearly half of the growing population of women veterans enrolled at VA is under age 45, which means many will have had exposure to burn pits during their military service, increasing their risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime. The common-sense provisions within the SERVICE Act will give more women veterans access to potentially lifesaving screenings that are better aligned with their history of exposure. We thank Senator Boozman for his attention to this issue and for working to bolster VA’s mammography screening efforts, which can ultimately help to save veterans’ lives,” said Joy Ilem, DAV National Legislative Director.

“One of Wounded Warrior Project’s top priorities is ensuring that all veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during service have access to VA health care, and this certainly must include basic preventative care like mammography. Exposure to carcinogens and other toxic substances is a known risk factor to cancer and all women veterans who were exposed should have access to routine screening and early detection, regardless of age. The SERVICE Act would provide this potentially lifesaving care, and we thank Senator Boozman for his continued commitment to veterans of all eras who suffered toxic exposures,” said Jose Ramos, WWP Vice President for Government and Community Relations.

“Women veterans who were exposed to toxins found in burn pits and other exposures have an increased rate of breast cancer. The Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act of 2021 would direct VA to provide mammograms for women veterans who served in locations where burn pits and other toxins were used. The VFW supports this bill which would ensure life-saving preventative screening for toxic exposed women veterans,” said VFW National Legislative Service Associate Director Kristina Keenan.

 

BOOZMAN, COTTON, COLLEAGUES LEAD EFFORT TO ENHANCE ACCESS TO HEARING PROTECTION EQUIPMENT FOR ARKANSAS’S SPORTSMEN
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have joined Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) in reintroducing the Hearing Protection Act (HPA), legislation that would regulate suppressors like a regular firearm and provide better access to them in order to protect the hearing of hunters and recreational shooting sports enthusiasts.

“Making it easier to protect hunters’ and shooting sportsmen’s hearing is a commonsense course of action,” Boozman said. “These law-abiding citizens want to use their firearms in as safe and enjoyable a way as possible, and I’m proud to join my colleagues to help cut red tape and increase their access to suppressors.”

“Burdensome regulations on firearm suppressors are doing more harm than good to sportsmen and women. Our legislation will ensure law-abiding gun owners can easily access hearing protection without having to navigate bureaucratic red tape or exorbitant taxes,” Cotton said.

“Law abiding Americans enjoying the recreational freedoms provided under the Second Amendment should not have to wade through overly-burdensome regulations in order to protect their hearing,” Crapo said. “The common Hollywood-portrayed misconceptions about suppressors are not grounded in factual science, and create unnecessary burdens on responsible gun owners. The Hearing Protection Act will benefit Idaho’s sportswomen and men by ensuring they have adequate hearing protection needed while hunting and participating in other recreational shooting sports.”

The measure is also supported by the American Suppressor Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association.

“The scientific consensus is in: suppressors help protect hearing. That’s why the CDC, NIOSH, and the National Hearing Conservation Association all recommend suppressors as a tool to help mitigate preventable hearing damage. If enacted, the Hearing Protection Act would have a more profound impact on hearing safety than any other legislation in decades. It’s time for the Senate to follow Senator Crapo’s leadership, listen to the experts at the CDC, and pass this common sense legislation,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association.

“The Hearing Protection Act would reduce unnecessary barriers to what is essentially a muffler for a firearm that enables more accurate marksmanship and allows shooting ranges to be better neighbors. Suppressors were originally listed under the National Firearms Act over poaching concerns during the Great Depression, but that never bore out. They reduce the report of a firearm from a level equal to a jet taking off to one similar to that of a jackhammer. Firearm suppressors are a safety device designed to make recreational shooting safer,” said Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Lawrence Keane.

Other original co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Cornyn (R-TX), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

Background:
On average, suppressors diminish the noise of a gunshot by 20-35 decibels, roughly the same sound reduction provided by earplugs or earmuffs. By further comparison, the most effective suppressors on the market can only reduce the peak sound level of a gunshot to around 110-120 decibels. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, that is as loud as a jackhammer (110 dB) or an ambulance siren (120 dB). Currently regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA), suppressors are subject to additional regulatory burdens. 

 The HPA would:
• Reclassify suppressors to regulate them like traditional firearms;
• Remove suppressors from regulation under the NFA;
• Replace the overly-burdensome federal transfer process with an instantaneous National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check, making the purchasing and transfer process for suppressors equal to the process for a rifle or shotgun; and
• Tax suppressors under the Pittman-Robertson Act instead of the NFA, putting more funding into state wildlife conservation agencies.

The HPA would not change any laws in states that already prevent suppressors, nor does it get rid of the requirement for a background check. 
 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES, INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO RESTRICT CHINESE ACCESS TO AMERICAN VISAS
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Mike Braun (R-Indiana) introduced the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Visa Security Act, legislation to prohibit individuals currently or previously employed or sponsored by Chinese military institutions from receiving student or research visas to the United States. This bill would also establish a list of research institutions affiliated with the PLA and mandate that the State Department conduct background checks on Chinese nationals applying for research visas in the United States. Bill text may be found here.

“Allowing members of the People’s Liberation Army unfettered access to research visas is an open invitation to steal American research, ingenuity, and intellectual property. The United States shouldn’t be arming our greatest adversary—our bill will block Chinese military affiliated people from receiving student and research visas to the United States,” said Cotton.

“The Chinese Communist Party exploits our visa system to infiltrate American institutions at every level. The People’s Liberation Army systematically sends Chinese engineers and scientists abroad to exploit research projects to access sensitive data and technology. The PLA Visa Security Act provides an additional screening layer to ensure applicants are not affiliated with the Chinese military. I am proud to again join Sen. Cotton on this important bill,” said Cruz.

“COVID-19 has made it clear just how vulnerable we are to the global threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” said Rubio. “We must ensure that individuals linked to the CCP’s People’s Liberation Army are not able to obtain research and student visas, which enable the theft of American technology. It is in our national security interest to ensure the CCP isn’t taking advantage of our open system to steal American intellectual property.”

“American innovation and ingenuity are our nation’s greatest assets and the envy of adversaries around the globe including China,” said Tuberville. “Without a hardline approach to safeguard our research, Chinese military institutions will continue to steal our intellectual property for their own benefit. Restricting Chinese military institution’s access to American visas ensures our innovation and research cannot be used against us.”

“The Chinese Communist Party exploits the student visa system to build its military on the backs of American research and ingenuity. Our universities and tech companies have become targets of Chinese espionage and intellectual property theft. We must secure American research and development against the Chinese Communist Party and their military,” said Hawley.

“We’ve seen time and again how the communist Chinese government has sought to infiltrate and exploit U.S. research and academic institutions. This bill ensures that visa applicants are thoroughly vetted and Chinese nationals affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army aren’t granted access to our most sensitive research and intellectual property,” said Grassley.

“The Chinese Communist Party doesn’t play by the rules, and there is a serious risk to American national security and our intellectual property by allowing those who are currently or have previously been involved with Chinse military institutions to study in the United States. I’m proud to join Senator Cotton to stop the U.S. from arming China’s People’s Liberation Army with American innovation,” said Braun.

In a recent think tank report, the PLA Visa Security Act was endorsed by President Biden’s current NSC Senior Director for International Economics and Competitiveness Peter Harrell, NSC Senior Director for China Rush Doshi, nominee to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Indo-Pacific Ely Ratner, and nominee to serve as DoD Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Susanna Blume, and nominee to serve as Assistance Secretary for Terrorist Financing Elizabeth Rosenberg.

Background:
Senator Cotton advocated for a similar provision in his recently released report, “Beat China: Target Decoupling and the Economic Long War.”


COTTON, HAGERTY, BLACKBURN, SCOTT INTRODUCE BILL TO PROTECT AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES FROM FOREIGN INFLUENCE
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) introduced the Foreign Funding Accountability Act, legislation to combat malign foreign influence in American colleges and universities by strengthening Section 117 of the Higher Education Act. 

Specifically, the bill would:
Require the disclosure of full names of foreign donating entities—individual, institutional, or otherwise
Require the disclosure of the specific purposes of foreign gift-transactions
Close the loophole allowing gifting by registered foreign agents
Close the loophole exempting in-kind gifts from counting towards the disclosure minimum
Clarify that foreign gifts to university foundations are not exempt from disclosure
Lower the minimum reporting threshold for disclosure in terms of dollar amount—from $250,000 to $25,000
Levy a graduated civil penalty structure against institutions willfully, and repeatedly violating Section 117

“The Chinese Communist Party has made consistent attempts to infiltrate American colleges and universities. Our bill will close donation loopholes, barring the CCP and other foreign agents from donating millions, or even billions, to levy influence and steal American intellectual property,” said Cotton.

“As a strategic adversary seeking to overtake the United States, the Chinese Communist Party is going to extraordinary lengths to exert malign influence over America’s free and open society, including our higher education system. By increasing transparency, closing loopholes, and imposing new civil penalties in U.S. law, this important legislation seeks to prevent the CCP and its intermediaries from hiding in the shadows to buy control and influence within our higher education, to manipulate what American students are taught about China, and to steal intellectual property from our nation’s researchers,” said Hagerty.

“Communist China has infiltrated American colleges and universities. It is imperative we cut off Beijing’s access to funnel money in exchange for influence in higher education. Our children’s education should not be available for purchase by the CCP,” said Blackburn.

“Attempts by the Chinese Communist Party and other bad actors to infiltrate the American education system is a blatant example of foreign competitors trying to maintain and expand their global power to our detriment,” said Scott. “By holding institutions of higher education accountable for foreign donations we are taking necessary steps to promote transparency, protect our intellectual property, and ensure our country’s future leaders get a quality education.”

Background:
Section 117 of the Higher Education Act requires universities to report foreign gifts and contract transactions twice per year. Compliance with and enforcement of this statute has historically been underwhelming and many institutions do not properly abide by it, allowing malign foreign influence to creep into American higher education. 

In October 2020, the Department of Education issued a report detailing the lack of Section 117 compliance by many colleges and universities. The report describes how the Department of Education created an online reporting portal last June, that has since recorded $3.8 billion in foreign gifts and contracts.

Separate department investigations since June 2019 uncovered an additional $6.5 billion in unreported foreign gifts. Of the approximately 7,000 transactions recorded in the online portal, 60 institutions were classified as “new filers,” implying they hadn’t submitted any reporting data, as mandated, from 1986 until June 2020. 

In February 2021, Senator Cotton published a report, “Beat China: Targeted Decoupling and the Economic Long War” which explored the threat China poses to the U.S. economy and detailed how the U.S. should respond.

June 17, 2021

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T GET OVER YOUR HEAD IN FLOOD DAMAGE
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas was covered with over a foot of water in parts of the state as dangerous levels of water poured into the Natural State. Governor Hutchinson declared a state of emergency and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans to protect themselves from con artists looking to make a quick buck after the storms.

“Arkansas is just one big small town and it is heartbreaking to see flood damage devastate our communities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Scammers will take advantage of any tough situation to steal from hard-working Arkansans so I urge everyone to remain vigilant during the clean-up process and watch out for criminals.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to ensure Arkansans hire a reputable contractor to complete home repairs:

Beware of door-to-door solicitors selling home-repair work. To find someone reputable, ask friends or family who have recently used a home-repair contractor or professional. Consider contacting the Arkansas Contractor's Licensing Board  to verify that the contractor is licensed and has not had any complaints filed against it.
Avoid any home-repair solicitor who asks for an upfront payment or who will not provide you with a written contract.
Get at least three written estimates. A reputable contractor or professional will never try to pressure you to obtain your business.
Obtain and check at least three references from your contractor or professional.
Check with the Attorney General’s office or the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company has a complaint history.
Obtain a written and detailed contract that includes the grade, quality, name brand and quantity of any materials to be used. The name and address of the contractor must be on the contract.
Avoid paying for the entire job up front. One-third paid in advance, one-third paid halfway through the job and one-third paid upon completion is a better plan, helping assure that your project will be completed. Never make the final payment until you have had an opportunity to inspect the work.
Remember that all contracts resulting from a home-solicitation sale generally must include a buyer’s right to cancel within three business days after the contract is signed.
Make sure all warranties and guarantees are in writing.
A contractor cannot promise that your insurance company will cover the work done.  Verify your insurance coverage and authorized contractors before you agree to pay for repairs.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

ONLINE AUCTIONS OF UNSOLD TAX-DELINQUENT PROPERTIES BEGIN JULY 1
(Little Rock) – Arkansas property investors will be excited about a change coming to the Commissioner of State Lands Office.

Commissioner Tommy Land announced that his office will begin offering certain parcels for online auction next month.

“These are properties that were offered at auction but did not sell,” Land said. “The post-auction sales list has always been posted on our website, but those properties could only be purchased by mail. We’re moving that process online.”

The COSL office will still hold live, in-person auctions for newly-available properties. The online sales are only for the properties listed on the post-auction sales list. https://auction.cosl.org and properties will be available to view on July 1.
Bidding on any parcel begins when the first offer is made, and the bidding period for that parcel remains open for 30 days from that date.  At the end of the 30 days, the winning bidder will be notified.

Only U.S. residents are eligible to purchase property. “Buyers must have a valid U.S. address and identification to purchase property through these online auctions,” Land said.
“The owner still has 10 business days to redeem the property after bidding ends,” he said. “After the expiration of that time, if the owner has not paid the delinquent amount, we will issue the limited warranty deed to the new buyer.”

He said his office is posting informational videos on its social media and website to demonstrate researching a property and how to bid in the online auctions.
“It’s a simple process, but it’s important that people do some research and understand what they’re bidding on,” Land said. “We’re offering free tutorial videos to help them learn more about this process.”
Post-auction sales are a big part of the COSL’s business. In 2020, when the office couldn’t hold public auctions due to the COVID pandemic, “we sold more than 5,400 parcels that had failed to sell at previous years’ auctions,” he said. In 2019, the last year of auctions, post-auction sales outnumbered auction sales by almost 3-to-1.
“By far, most parcels that are certified to us for delinquent taxes are redeemed by their owners,” he said. “But for those that are not redeemed, the auction and post-auction sales process gets them back into active tax status, which benefits everyone. We’re excited about the new online auctions, and I’m looking forward to more people getting involved.”

 

MAIN STREET PROGRAMS URGED TO THINK BIG 

LITTLE ROCK – Members of the Main Street Arkansas community gathered to receive ceremonial checks in Argenta Plaza, North Little Rock, on June 11. Grants are awarded annually to designated Main Street and Downtown Network programs by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP), which oversees Main Street Arkansas.  
 
Grants range from $3,000 to $25,000. The grants are classified as Downtown Revitalization Grants and last year were used to help communities purchase and distribute needed PPE and other items during the COVID-19 crisis. This year, the program is encouraging Main Street communities to “think big.”  
 
Some of the larger projects the AHPP is challenging Main Street programs to take on include streetscape improvements, facade rehabilitation, support for local businesses in establishing online order and pick-up services, outdoor dining spaces and interior renovations.  

 

Program Name 

Amount 

City/County 

Conway Downtown Partnership 

$25,000 

Conway/ Faulkner 

Downtown Jonesboro Alliance 

$25,000 

Jonesboro/ Craighead 

Downtown Little Rock Partnership 

$22,500 

Little Rock/ Pulaski 

Main Street Batesville 

$22,500 

Batesville/ Independence 

Main Street Dumas 

$20,000 

Dumas/ Desha 

Main Street El Dorado 

$25,000 

El Dorado/Union 

Main Street Eureka Springs 

$25,000 

Eureka Springs/ Carroll 

Main Street Osceola 

$22,500 

Osceola/ Mississippi 

Main Street Ozark 

$22,500 

Ozark/Franklin 

Main Street Paragould 

$25,000 

Paragould/Greene 

Main Street Paris 

$20,000 

Paris/Logan 

Main Street Russellville 

$22,500 

Russellville/Pope 

Main Street Searcy 

$25,000 

Searcy/White 

Main Street Siloam Springs 

$22,500 

Siloam Springs/ Benton 

Main Street Texarkana 

$22,500 

Texarkana/Miller 

Main Street West Memphis 

$22,500 

West Memphis/ Crittenden 

Pine Bluff Downtown Development Inc. 

$22,500 

Pine Bluff/ Jefferson 

Argenta Downtown Council 

$25,000 

Argenta/Pulaski 

64.6 Downtown 

$25,000 

Ft. Smith/ Sebastian 

Arkadelphia Downtown Network 

$3,000 

Arkadelphia/Clark 

Main Street Calico Rock 

$3,000 

Calico Rock/Izard 

Camden Downtown Network 

$3,000 

Camden/Ouachita 

Clarksville Downtown Network 

$3,000 

Clarksville/ Johnson 

Forrest City Downtown Revitalization Project Inc. 

$3,000 

Forrest City/ Francis  

Lonoke Downtown Network 

$3,000 

Lonoke/Lonoke 

Main Street Hardy 

$3,000 

Hardy/Fulton 

Malvern Downtown Development Corporation 

$3,000 

Malvern/ Hot Spring 

Monticello Downtown Network 

$3,000 

Monticello/Drew 

Main Street Morrilton Inc. 

$3,000 

Morrilton/Conway 

Newport Downtown Revitalization and Improvement Volunteer Effort 

$3,000 

Newport/Jackson 

Pocahontas Downtown Network 

$3,000 

Pocahontas/Randolph 

Rector Downtown Central Inc. 

$3,000 

Rector/Clay 

Warren Downtown Network 

$3,000 

Warren/Bradley 

Wynne Downtown Revitalization Committee 

$3,000 

Wynne/Cross 

Hope Downtown Network 

$3,000 

Hope/Hempstead 

Mena Downtown Partners 

$3,000 

Mena/Polk 

Main Street Prairie Grove 

$3,000 

Prairie Grove/ Washington 

Main Street Helena 

$3,000 

Helena - West Helena/ Phillips 

Main Street Blytheville 

$3,000 

Blytheville/ Mississippi 

Southside Main Street Project Inc. 

$3,000 

Little Rock/ Pulaski 

Main Street Arkansas works to strengthen and preserve historic downtowns and Main Street districts across the state. It provides technical assistance, resources, and ongoing education to local programs to help them implement and excel in the Main Street Four-Point Approach™ , creating a vivid and vital sense of place. 

For more information about the Main Street program, please contact Main Street Arkansas at info@arkansaspreservation.com, or visit the website at www.mainstreetarkansas.com.   
 
The AHPP is an agency of Arkansas Heritage responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives. Arkansas Heritage is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.    

PHILLIPS COUNTY FUGITIVE ARRESTED; AWAITING ARRAIGNMENT IN HELENA MURDER CASE
JUNE 16, 2021

A Phillips County fugitive wanted on a murder charge is in custody following an overnight operation involving Arkansas State Police Troopers and Special Agents, U.S. Marshals and Lee County Sheriff’s Deputies.

David Coley, Jr., 30, of Helena-West Helena, was arrested without incident about 10:45 PM (June 15th).  He was located inside an abandoned bus at 3323 Lee Road, southeast of Marianna, and transported to the Phillips County Detention Center at Helena-West Helena.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division began developing leads earlier this week that led them into Lee County yesterday.

Coley is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the May 19, 2021 homicide of Paul Eric Amos.

 

CADC BOARD OF DIRECTORS TO MEET
 The Board of Directors of Central Arkansas Development Council will have a board meeting Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 9:00 a.m.  The meeting will be held by at the Benton Senior Activity Center, 1800 Citizens Drive, Benton, AR.  The public is invited to join the meeting.

 

CITY OF CAMDEN AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, June 18, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road, Camden, Arkansas.

 

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS, NOWDIAGNOSTICS PARTNER FOR COVID-19 ANTIBODY TEST AND PREVALENCE STUDY
SPRINGDALE, Ark., June 16, 2021 – The University of Arkansas and NOWDiagnostics, Inc., a Springdale-based leader in innovative diagnostics testing, announced today an active partnership to study the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 virus antibodies among University of Arkansas (U of A) students, staff and faculty.

Donald G. Catanzaro, a research assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences is the study’s Principal Investigator. Chemical engineering associate professor Shannon Servoss, a former member of the ADEXUSDx® COVID-19 antibody test development team at NOWDiagnostics, is the co-principal investigator, along with Shengfan Zhang, associate professor of industrial engineering.

Using NOWDiagnostics’ Arkansas-developed and manufactured ADEXUSDx® COVID-19 antibody test, a rapid-results self-contained fingerstick test that accurately detects the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in 15 minutes, the study has been enrolling students, faculty and staff from the U of A to test for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The objective is to test each enrollee three times over a period of four months. Recruitment began on March 17, 2021.

The study is designed to estimate the seropositive prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in U of A’s students, faculty, and staff and evaluate whether the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the U of A population significantly changes over time. This information can ultimately inform policy-makers’ decisions affecting the health and welfare of all Arkansans and assist state leaders responsible for reopening Arkansas’ businesses and schools.

Speaking about this study, Dr. Catanzaro said, “This study simultaneously accomplishes an in-depth study of how prevalent COVID-19 is among our campus community of students, staff and faculty which gives us information on the effectiveness of our pandemic public health policy. Secondly, it assists NOWDiagnostics in understanding the performance of their innovative antibody test and, very importantly, this study gives our talented team of undergraduate researchers experience in clinical research – it really is a triple win.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, reliable antibody testing has played a pivotal role in the identification of convalescent plasma donors to provide life-saving therapy for those most affected by COVID-19. In addition to this role, antibody testing offers important utility to understand immunity following infection, and potentially therapy and vaccination—for individuals, healthcare providers, businesses, community, and governments.

In May 2021, NOWDiagnostics announced receipt of Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the ADEXUSDx® COVID-19 Test’s use in moderate complex settings and at the point of care. In August 2020, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provided funding and technical support under contract number 75A50120C00156 to NOWDiagnostics for the development of the ADEXUSDx® COVID-19 Test. Trials for over-the-counter use are ongoing.

“The efforts of University of Arkansas researchers and the team at NOWDiagnostics serve as an excellent example of a public-private collaboration that is built on a longstanding relationship,” said Dr. Bob Beitle, professor of chemical engineering and associate vice chancellor for research and innovation. “U of A faculty are encouraged to seek out these connections—especially with Arkansas-based companies—to elevate the entire community.”


COTTON, COLLEAGUES CALL ON DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE TO IMPLEMENT EXPORT CONTROL LAWS OR RISK LOSING EXPORT CONTROL AUTHORITY
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Todd Young (R-Indiana), Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama), and Mike Braun (R-Indiana) today sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo demanding that the Department of Commerce immediately identify “emerging and foundational technologies” as mandated nearly three years ago by the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA).

In part, the senators wrote, “So long as these lists remain incomplete and underutilized, the federal government will lack a properly functioning export control system and foreign investment screening process. American companies will continue to export advanced technologies to companies subject to CCP control, despite the U.S. government wanting to restrict the export of these items. CFIUS may also be constrained in its ability to screen predatory Chinese investment in emerging and foundational technologies. This leaves the United States unacceptably vulnerable to China’s economic predation.”

“We therefore urge the Department of Commerce to release these lists as soon as possible and abide by its duty to faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress. The Department of Commerce’s unwillingness to implement these clear, essential mandates after nearly three years calls into question the department’s central role in the U.S. export control system. If Commerce continues to delay its implementation of key national security priorities like the emerging and foundational technologies lists, Congress may be forced to consider entrusting these tasks and other export control authorities to a department that can approach trade and investment controls with the urgency required to safeguard our national security,” the senators continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

June 15, 2021

The Honorable Gina Raimondo
Secretary
Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Secretary Raimondo, 

We write to urge the Department of Commerce to expeditiously identify “emerging and foundational technologies,” as mandated nearly three years ago by the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA).

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is executing a strategy of “Military-Civil Fusion” (MCF), in which notionally “private” Chinese companies acquire cutting-edge technology overseas in part to help the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) develop and field advanced military capabilities. In practice, MCF transforms the technology sector of the Chinese economy into a military-driven ecosystem, centrally coordinated by the CCP. We remain concerned that U.S. businesses export sensitive technologies to ostensibly civilian Chinese firms or accept investment from them only for these Chinese firms to promptly hand over this technology to the Chinese military or intelligence services.

In response to the CCP’s economic predation against the United States, Congress passed the bipartisan ECRA and the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) in August 2018. These laws reflected Congress’ belief that U.S. export control and foreign investment screening efforts must be more agile and should protect our most advanced and sought-after technologies. At the heart of both pieces of legislation was a requirement for the Department of Commerce to develop lists of “emerging and foundational technologies.” Such a mechanism allows the U.S. government to identify national security risks not covered by existing export controls, develop new corresponding controls under ECRA, and better equip the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to protect these technologies from malign inbound investment.

For these reasons, we find the Department of Commerce’s slow pace of fulfilling its obligations under ECRA deeply troubling. While Commerce has taken steps to solicit expert advice and public comment on these lists, these efforts have only resulted in a limited set of controlled emerging technologies and omit many of the 45 potential emerging technologies that Commerce listed in an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in November 2018. Commerce has yet to release a proposed list of foundational technologies.

So long as these lists remain incomplete and underutilized, the federal government will lack a properly functioning export control system and foreign investment screening process. American companies will continue to export advanced technologies to companies subject to CCP control, despite the U.S. government wanting to restrict the export of these items. CFIUS may also be constrained in its ability to screen predatory Chinese investment in emerging and foundational technologies. This leaves the United States unacceptably vulnerable to China’s economic predation.

We therefore urge the Department of Commerce to release these lists as soon as possible and abide by its duty to faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress. The Department of Commerce’s unwillingness to implement these clear, essential mandates after nearly three years calls into question the department’s central role in the U.S. export control system. If Commerce continues to delay its implementation of key national security priorities like the emerging and foundational technologies lists, Congress may be forced to consider entrusting these tasks and other export control authorities to a department that can approach trade and investment controls with the urgency required to safeguard our national security.

Thank you for considering this important matter of national security. We look forward to hearing from you.June 16, 2021

June 15, 2021

CAMDEN DOWNTOWN FARMER’S MARKET PROVIDES FRESH AND TASTY FOOD
The downtown farmer’s market will be held on Friday, June 18th from 5PM till 7PM. The market throughout the season will feature vendors selling produce, fruits, jams, jelly, eggs, meat, honey, fresh flowers, baked goods, and more! This year’s market will be a walk-through market in front of First Methodist Church on Harrison Ave. The farmer’s market will take place on the 3rd Friday of each month through the summer.

If you are interested in being a vendor, please fill out our application: https://form.jotform.com/201528043328146
 

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON UPDATE – 06-15-2021
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson outlined the makeover of Arkansas' Medicaid expansion program during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

The proposal, introduced by the Arkansas Legislature earlier this year, seeks to replace the current Medicaid expansion program, known as Arkansas Works. The new program, if approved, would be called Arkansas Health and Opportunity for Me, or ARHOME (pronounced "our home.") ARHOME would extend subsidized health insurance to the more than 310,000 low-income Arkansans currently enrolled in health plans through Arkansas Works. 
Like many states, Arkansas chose to develop its own private option to provide health insurance to low income residents after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The private option developed into Arkansas Works and now, with approval of President Joe Biden, would next year transform into ARHOME.

Hutchinson said ARHOME's biggest change would be the focus it puts on improving Arkansas' health outcomes, as opposed to solely treating them. As part of that effort ARHOME would put pressure on health insurance companies to offer preventative healthcare and incentives for wellness plans while also offering goals towards improving health in rural areas.

Contrary to Arkansas Works, ARHOME does not include the work requirements which proved extremely contentious. Instead, the new proposal seeks to replace those requirements with work and educational training. 

In other statewide news, Hutchinson announced the formation of a cybersecurity advisory council made up of various state officials. He said the council is a response to the Colonial pipeline cyberattack as well as a more recent attack targeting JBS Foods. That particular attack shut down most of the companies operations across the state, including the poultry processing facility in De Queen.

Finally, state officials provided an update on Arkansas' COVID-19 figures. Just over 300 new cases were reported on Tuesday for a statewide total of over 344,000 transmissions since the COVID-19 pandemic began in spring, 2020. Active cases saw a net increase of 109 to 2,144 currently reported. Deaths increased by six over the same period to total 5,869. Currently 204 Arkansans are hospitalized due to the virus.
At this time over two million COVID-19 vaccines have been given in the state with nearly one million Arkansans now fully vaccinated

 

THREE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS INJURED IN ASSAULT BY LAWRENCE COUNTY MAN
JUNE 14, 2021

Hoxie Police Department authorities and the Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney have requested the Arkansas State Police to conduct a criminal investigation of an incident that resulted in injuries to three local law enforcement officers earlier today.

Shortly before 9 AM a Hoxie police officer encountered a man walking along the overpass at the Arkansas Highway 367 and U.S. Highway 63 intersection.  The man, identified as Matthew Dale Hatley, 26, Black Rock (Lawrence County), was carrying what was described as an iron pipe.

According to Hoxie police officers, Hatley was able to enter the officer’s patrol car and began hitting the officer with the pipe.  During the assault, Hatley was able to get control of the police officer’s handgun and fired the weapon.  The officer was not hit by the gunfire.

Local and state law enforcement back-up assistance quickly arrived, and officers were able disarm Hatley despite his continued resistance.

Two officers were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries and a third was treated and released with minor injuries.

Hatley has been incarcerated at the Lawrence County Detention Center and presently faces multiple charges, including three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

Questions relating to the identity of the Hoxie police officer who initially encountered Hatley should be directed to the Hoxie Police Department.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigation Division is assisting state police special agents in the continuing investigation.
 

WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA CELEBRATES JUNETEENTH BY REMEMBERING COAST GUARDSMAN CHARLES WALTER DAVID JR.
Wreaths Across America Remembers the Hero of the U.S.A.T. Dorchester Rescue
COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine – Monday, June 14, 2021 – On Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021, Wreaths Across America honored the American heroes known as “The Four Chaplains” with a special Facebook live event.

 https://www.facebook.com/events/170854841480684 
However, The Four Chaplains were not the only heroes that day.

On January 23, 1943, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester left New York harbor bound for Greenland carrying over 900 officers, servicemen and civilian workers. The ship was a coastal passenger steamship requisitioned and operated by the War Shipping Administration (WSA) for wartime use as a troop ship. The ship was transiting the Labrador Sea when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat (U-233) on February 3, 1943. The ship sank and 675 people on board lost their lives. Amidst the chaos to save 230 lives four chaplains guided soldiers trapped below deck to escape hatches and gave away their life jackets to save others on that fateful day. When the chaplains had done all they could, they linked arms to pray and sing hymns as the Dorchester slipped beneath the waves.

As part of the rescue response to the sinking of the Dorchester, African American Coast Guardsman Charles Walter David Jr. jumped into icy Greenland waters, from his rescue ship, to save two men from drowning and continued to help rescue a total of 93 survivors from life-boats. After his heroic acts, 54 days later Charles Walter David Jr. succumbed to pneumonia stemming from those icy waters.

Replica Dog tags of Guardsman Charles Walter David Jr. hang in remembrance on the Four Chaplains section of the Wreaths Across America tip land. Replica dog tags hang on the live balsam trees used to make memorial wreaths to honor the lives, duty and commitment of fallen soldiers and create a living memorial to inspire a new generation to make a positive impact.

Wreaths Across America is the non-profit organization best known for placing veterans’ wreaths on the headstones of our nation’s fallen at Arlington National Cemetery. However, the organization, in total, places more than 1.7 million sponsored wreaths at 2557 participating locations nationwide and offers other programs throughout the calendar year. These programs include The Mobile Education Exhibit, a national flag waving effort. Wreaths Across America Radio and a Virtual Concert now streaming on Showcase NOW, just to mention a few.

You can sponsor a wreath for $15 at https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/. Each sponsorship goes toward a fresh balsam veteran’s wreath that will be placed on the headstone of an American hero as we endeavor to honor all veterans laid to rest on Saturday, December 19, 2020, as part of National Wreaths Across America Day. 

Cotton Warns of Risks to American Athletes if U.S. Participates in Beijing Olympic Games.
 

SENATOR TOM COTTON (R-ARKANSAS) SENDS A LETTER TO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN CALLING FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ALL THE NECESSARY STEPS TO PROTECT AMERICAN ATHLETES IF THE 2022 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling for the government to take all the necessary steps to protect American athletes if the 2022 Winter Olympic Games are held in Beijing.

In part, Cotton wrote, “I continue to advocate for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to rebid the 2022 Games to a free country. But if the IOC refuses and the United States chooses to compete in the Games, our government must take all necessary steps to protect American athletes who travel to China.”

“Under ordinary conditions, the U.S. government must prepare for years in advance of each Olympics to protect American athletes and guarantee U.S. media access. But these Games won’t occur under ordinary conditions. Unlike Olympics held in friendly, free nations, the 2022 Beijing Games will pose unique challenges for the safety, security, and privacy of Americans who attend,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Biden,

I write seeking more information about the U.S. government’s preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. I continue to advocate for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to rebid the 2022 Games to a free country. But if the IOC refuses and the United States chooses to compete in the Games, our government must take all necessary steps to protect American athletes who travel to China.

Under ordinary conditions, the U.S. government must prepare for years in advance of each Olympics to protect American athletes and guarantee U.S. media access.[1] But these Games won’t occur under ordinary conditions. Unlike Olympics held in friendly, free nations, the 2022 Beijing Games will pose unique challenges for the safety, security, and privacy of Americans who attend.

First, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operates the world’s most invasive domestic surveillance system. Chinese authorities closely monitor internet traffic within the country and block or censor online information that the Party views as adverse to its grip on power. The CCP also continuously tracks persons in Chinese cities through a network of facial-recognition cameras and other advanced sensors. Further, members of the American delegation should expect their rooms in the Chinese Olympic Village to be bugged with audio or visual surveillance equipment and all their onshore electronic devices to be hacked by Chinese authorities.

Second, the CCP also considers DNA collection a vital intelligence-gathering objective. As the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center recently noted, “The PRC views bulk personal data, including health-care and genomic data, as a strategic commodity to be collected and used for its economic and national-security priorities.”[2] The CCP has reportedly conducted tests to develop biologically-enhanced soldiers and intends to use DNA data to catapult Chinese biotechnology companies to global market dominance.[3]

In 2022, thousands of world-class athletes will gather to compete in China. Their DNA will present an irresistible target for the CCP. Thus, we should expect that the Chinese government will attempt to collect genetic samples of Olympians at the Games, perhaps disguised as testing for illegal drugs or COVID-19.

Third, the CCP arbitrarily detains Americans and other Western visitors to China.[4] It also has placed exit bans on foreign nationals, prohibiting them from leaving the country in order to extort them for economic or political gains. In 2018, for instance, the CCP took an American family hostage and seized two Canadians.[5] In 2020, Beijing threatened to take further hostages unless the U.S. government halted its prosecutions of Chinese spies on American college campuses.[6] The State Department has now issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory for China (“Reconsider Travel”) because of the Chinese government’s use of arbitrary detention and exit bans. Yet thousands of Americans will soon travel to China if the Beijing Games proceed and the U.S. participates.

Members of the U.S. Olympic delegation could be subject to arbitrary detention in China, particularly those who have spoken out against the Communist Party’s genocide of the Uyghurs, repression in Tibet, and takeover of Hong Kong. Former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell apparently shares my concerns, stating that “[s]pectators have good reason to beware Xi Jinping’s Beijing Winter Olympics. … Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey would be wise not to attend the Beijing Olympics, along with anyone else who Tweeted ‘Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.’”[7]

Given these risks to the American delegation, the U.S. government and U.S. Olympic Committee must thoroughly prepare to ensure the safety and security of all Americans traveling to the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games. With these grave concerns in mind, please provide answers to the following questions:

How is the U.S. government preparing to support the U.S. delegation at the 2022 Olympic Games? Please describe any security assessments or logistical support being provided by the U.S. government.

Is the Chinese government fully cooperating with U.S. government efforts to mitigate security risks and provide logistical support in advance of the U.S. delegation’s arrival? How does their level of cooperation contrast with South Korea’s before the 2018 Games? If the Chinese government isn’t cooperating fully, please describe any Chinese government efforts to delay or obstruct this important advance work by the U.S. government.

Is the Chinese government fully cooperating with requests from American media outlets for access to the 2022 Olympic Games? If not, please describe any Chinese government efforts to delay or obstruct U.S. media access.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I look forward to hearing from you.
 

REPUBLICAN AG COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF STUDY CONFIRMING DEVASTATING IMPACT OF INHERITANCE TAX CODE CHANGES ON FAMILY FARMERS AND RANCHERS 
WASHINGTON—The Republican leaders of the agriculture committees in Congress are highlighting a new study that confirms Democrats' proposed changes to taxes on inherited property will have a devastating impact on the next generation of family farmers and ranchers.
Senator John Boozman, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, Ranking Member, House Committee on Agriculture, requested the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M University analyze two pieces of legislation introduced in the Senate that would change the tax liabilities of family members when farm and ranch estates are passed from generation to generation.
AFPC’s study confirms that if enacted, the two bills analyzed—the Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion (STEP) Act, which proposes to eliminate stepped-up basis upon death of the owner and the For the 99.5 Percent Act, which would decrease the estate tax exemption—would have a devastating impact on the hardworking families that own and operate farms and ranches.
The STEP Act’s proposed changes to stepped-up basis mirror proposals discussed by the Biden administration. If it were to be implemented, 92 of AFPC’s 94 representative farms would be impacted with an average additional tax liability of more than $720,000 per farm. Together, the two bills would raise taxes an average of $1.4 million on 98 percent of AFPC’s representative farms.
“The data speaks for itself and should give pause to anyone considering this approach as an option to pay for new additional federal spending. If changes of these magnitude are pursued, as some have discussed, the economic harm it will cause will have a lasting impact on rural America,” Boozman said.
“The livelihoods of American farmers are on the chopping block with proposed changes to stepped-up basis and the estate tax. Many Democrats love to talk about taxing the richest of the rich, but in reality, their proposals would hurt Main Street far more than Wall Street. The economic harm that will inevitably fall onto on our farmers, ranchers, and producers is too great a burden to gamble with, even with proposed carve-outs and exemptions. The report released today from the Agricultural and Food Policy Center underscores what the industry has known for years—new taxes on farmers are more than just an annoyance, they’re a generational threat to farm families,” Thompson said.
AFPC maintains a database of 94 representative farms in 30 different states. That data, in conjunction with a farm-level policy simulation model, allows AFPC to analyze policy changes on farms and ranches across the country.

June 14, 2021

ROSSTON WOMAN KILLED IN ACCIDENT AT HOPE     
A head-on collision Friday afternoon on U.S. 278 in Hope killed an 84-year-old Rosston woman, according to another state police report.

Syble McAteer was a passenger in a 2019 Jeep that was eastbound on the highway about 2:46 p.m. when the vehicle was struck by a 2008 GMC Sierra traveling westbound, the report said.

Faith McAteer, 35, of Rosston, the driver of the Jeep, and Jesse Ryan, 23, of North Little Rock, the driver of the GMC, were both injured in the crash, according to the report.

Conditions at the time of the crash were clear and dry, the report said.       

DEMOCRAT NATALIE JAMES ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE WITH THE ENDORSEMENT OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTED OFFICIALS
June 14, 2021    
Little Rock, AR --- Arkansas native, small business owner, and community advocate Natalie James will be announcing her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for United States Senate.

Natalie James announces her candidacy with a three-day, nine-city tour across Arkansas, making stops in Little Rock, Conway, Fayetteville, Texarkana, El Dorado, Camden, Forrest City, West Memphis, and Pine Bluff.
 

COTTON, MCCONNELL, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO DEFUND 1619 PROJECT CURRICULUM
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama), and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) reintroduced the Saving American History Act, legislation to prohibit the use of federal funds to teach the 1619 Project by K-12 schools or school districts. Schools that teach the 1619 Project would also be ineligible for federal professional-development grants. Bill text may be found here.

Representatives Ken Buck (R-Colorado) and Rick Allen (R-Georgia) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Activists in schools want to teach our kids to hate America and hate each other using discredited, Critical Race Theory curricula like the 1619 Project. Federal funds should not pay for activists to masquerade as teachers and indoctrinate our youth,” said Cotton.

“High-quality civics education is vital to the health of our democracy,” said McConnell. “Debunked activist propaganda that seeks to divide has no place in American classrooms and no right to taxpayer funding. I’m proud to join in sponsoring this legislation on behalf of our youngest citizens and generations yet to come.”

“The heart of the 1619 Project’s central claim and key parts of its framework have been disputed by respected scholars and historians, and rightfully so. It has no business in our classrooms in Arkansas and across the country. This misguided and academically suspect curriculum represents the exact opposite of what we should be encouraging educators to instruct and promote – accurate and contextual understanding of our past along with the importance of civic engagement, cooperation and the significance of the shared values that set our country apart and above,” said Boozman.

“American schools should be a place for education—not indoctrination,” said Blackburn. “The 1619 Project is based on false narrative and stack of lies about our country. This state sponsored anti-American propaganda must be kept out of the classroom. The Saving American History Act ensures that taxpayer funding will not subsidize the brainwashing of our nation’s future.”

“The 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory are efforts to rewrite the history of our country, ignoring the many things that have made America great. I’m proud to work with my colleague Tom Cotton to keep taxpayer dollars from funding this,” said Lummis.

“I have significant concerns with the Department of Education’s recent effort to reorient the bipartisan American History and Civics Education programs away from their intended purposes towards a politicized and divisive agenda,” said Tillis. “Americans do not want their tax dollars going towards promoting radical ideologies meant to divide us instead of being used to promote the principles that unite our nation. Our students deserve a rigorous understanding of civics and American history, to understand both our successes and failures as a nation. I do not support diverting tax-payer resources towards promoting ideological and mis