Yes Radio Works

September 26, 2022

VOTER INFORMATION
The most important date for those who aren’t registered to vote is the registration deadline of Oct. 11. Anyone who has not registered to vote and plans to cast their ballot this year must be registered by that date. Voter registration can be done in person or through the mail. Either way, that must be done by Oct. 11 or postmarked by that date if registering by mail.

Early voting begins Oct. 24 and will continue through Nov. 7. Early voting is held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. the two weeks before the election and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturdays in the early voting period (Local times could vary). Polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Arkansas voters can verify their registration by visiting www.sos.arkansas.gov.

Arkansas voters are reminded they will need to provide an approved photo ID when they vote. The ID cannot be expired for more than four years. Accepted forms of photo ID include a driver’s license, U.S. Passport, military ID or an ID from an Arkansas college or university.

For more information on registering to vote, or the upcoming election in general, visit www.sos.arkansas.gov or contact your local county clerk’s office. 
 

HUNTER’S FIGHT AGAINST FOOD INSECURITY
DE QUEEN – Deer season begins this Saturday with archery and during this much-anticipated time of year one statewide organization is reminding hunters in Arkansas how they can join the fight against food insecurity.

Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry helps families in need by providing food pantries with fresh protein sourced right here in Arkansas' deer woods. The group's mission, said President Ronnie Ritter, is to transform a renewable resource into food for the hungry.

"Primarly what we do is, we get hunters to donate their deer to participating processors, they field dress it, they grind it into burgers, and then we give it to local food pantries, homeless shelters," said Ritter. "We're trying to infiltrate this area down here and get more hunters and processors involved."

Deer can be dropped off at any participating facility, processed and then picked up by the organization and distributed to local food pantries.

All donated meat is distributed free and is usually donated to food pantries in the same county. It is served at churches, children's shelters, rescue missions and community food banks. Ritter said he works with many feeding agencies across the state and the number one commodity they need is protein.

"If you ask food pantries what they need, it's meat," said Ritter. "It's been harder lately for them to get it, too."

Ritter hopes to encourage more hunters in Arkansas to consider donating one or more of their legally-harvested deer to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry. He particularly addressed those hunters who aren't always interested in filling all their tags.

"Somebody that wants just a deer for their family, go out and shoot another and donate because there's a lot of needly folks out there all across the state," Ritter said.

Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry has provided more than four million servings of meat for food pantries across the state since its founding in 2000. The group, he said, has received tremendous financial support over the years in its mission to transform an abundant white-tailed deer population into a renewable food source for the hungry.

For more information on Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry, and to find out how to join the fight against food insecurity, visit www.arkansashunters.org or call (501) 282-0006.

 

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OF ARKANSAS DISPATCH 64 LINE CREWS TO FLORIDA
Little Rock, Ark. — Sept. 27, 2022 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas have dispatched 64 line workers and utility vehicles, along with construction and right-of-way equipment, to assist Peace River Electric Cooperative of Wauchula, Fla. with anticipated power outages from Hurricane Ian.

The 64 professional line workers are with Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock. Crews from the state’s 17 electric cooperatives are also on stand-by to provide mutual aid to impacted areas if needed.

Peace River Electric Cooperative (PRECO) is an electric distribution cooperative serving more than 50,000 homes and businesses in central Florida.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives along with 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.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

ARKANSAS FIRE TRAINING ACADEMY TO HOST FAMILY & FRIENDS NIGHT
EAST CAMDEN, AR - On behalf of SAU Tech and the Arkansas Fire Training Academy, the press is invited to a special night at the AFTA. On September 28, 2022, at 5:00 pm, the AFTA is hosting a night burn exercise for the family, friends, and employees of the AFTA. The event will include a demonstration of skills, food, and a good time for all. This is an excellent opportunity to tour the new residential facility and meet the people responsible for training all of Arkansas's firefighters. As a member of the press, you are invited to attend.

Andy Woody, Associate Vice Chancellor for the AFTA is your point of contact at 870-574-1521. The AFTA is located at 14668 AR 203 Hwy., Camden, Arkansas 71701.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2022

 

ARKANSAS AGRICULTURE HALL OF FAME SEEKS NOMINATIONS

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame is seeking nominations from the public for its next class. The nomination deadline is Nov. 1.

 

The official nomination form is available here.

 

The Agriculture Hall of Fame recognizes Arkansans who are or have contributed significantly to the state’s largest industry, while spotlighting their contributions to the state’s economic development. Since its first class was selected in 1987, a total of 176 men and women have been inducted.

 

Debbie Moreland, chairman of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, says anyone can nominate a person believed worthy of the honor.

 

“Agriculture is the backbone of our state’s economy, and has shaped the history of our great state,” said Moreland. “Those who have been successful in Arkansas agriculture are fine examples of hard work, dedication, and ingenuity. Some of the world’s best farmers and ranchers have come from Arkansas.

 

"The role of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame is to honor the worthy individuals who made an impact on our state’s largest industry, agriculture.”

 

The Farm Bureau Center in Little Rock houses the Agriculture Hall of Fame display.

 

Additional information and online nomination forms are available at www.arkansasaghalloffame.org. Forms can also be requested by calling Cindra Jones at 501-228-1609.

 

The induction ceremony for the next class will be March 3, 2023 in the Wally Allen Ballroom at the Statehouse Convention Center.
 

CADC ANNOUNCES CLOSING OF 2022 SUMMER LIHEAP UTILITY ASSISTANCE
Benton – Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) announced today the 2022 Summer LIHEAP Utility Assistance Program will end on September 30, 2022. For more information relating to this program visit http://www.cadc.com/utility-assistance.

CADC is a nonprofit Community Action Agency, an equal opportunity employer, and a United Way Agency.
 

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE REMINDS PRODUCERS OF PROTECTIONS UNDER THE ARKANSAS GRAIN GRADING ACT
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is reminding grain producers of protections offered under the Arkansas Grain Grading Act, which sets minimum standards for grain grading and gives producers an opportunity to dispute an issued grade.

The Arkansas Grain Grading Act was enacted in 2019 and applies to all grain warehouses in Arkansas. Under the Act, grain warehouses and dealers that engage in grain grading must have their programs and graders certified by the Grain Warehouse Section of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industries Division.

All grain grading must be conducted according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Official United States Standards for Grain Handbook. A warehouse must grade and sample each delivered load within 24 hours. Warehouses must retain any sample that has received more than a four percent reduction for a minimum of two days.

Producers wishing to dispute an issued grade may have the sample regraded by an official grading agency. If requested, the grain warehouse shall provide the sample to the official grading agency. The resulting grade shall be deemed the official grade of the sample. Those wishing to dispute grades must request a regrade within two days.

More information about the Plant Industries Division’s Grain Grading Program can be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/plant-industries/feed-and-fertilizer-section/grain-grading/.

A copy of the Arkansas Grain Grading Act and Rules can be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Arkansas_Grain_Grading_Act_Act_795_and_regulations_final_rule.pdf.

For questions about the Arkansas Grain Grading Act or the Grain Grading Program, email grainwarehouse@agriculture.arkansas.gov.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2022

2022 RURAL FIRE SHOW TO BE HELD ON OCTOBER 1
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division and the Arkansas Rural and Volunteer Firefighters Association (ARVFA) will host the
2022 Rural Fire Show on October 1 at the Conway Expo and Event Center.

 

The Rural Fire Show is a free event held in appreciation for Arkansas firefighters and their families to honor the service and protection they provide throughout the state. The event will include training opportunities, equipment demonstrations, resources and information, networking opportunities, and a catered lunch with door prizes. The grand door prize for the event will be an auto extraction combination tool.

 

“The Forestry Division and ARVFA enjoy hosting the firefighters and their families annually just to say thank you!” said State Forester Joe Fox. “We have more than 850 rural fire departments that partner with us when we fight wildland fires.”

 

For more information about the Forestry Division’s Rural Fire Protection Program visit the Arkansas Department of Agriculture website at agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/rural-fire-protection-program/.

 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

 

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE REMINDS AGRICULTURAL PARTNERS ABOUT SAFE PRESCRIBED BURNING AND SMOKE MANAGEMENT

LITTLE ROCK, AR – With harvest underway, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture reminds our partners in agriculture and conservation of the importance of safe prescribed burning techniques as a valuable tool in crop management plans. 

 

Row crop farmers use prescribed fire in the fall as part of crop management plans to remove stubble following the harvest of rice, soybeans, corn, and cotton. Prescribed burning is an efficient and economical control method for preparing fields for the next growing season and eliminating pests and diseases. Burning crop residue also allows for no-till or reduced-till planting during the next growing season. Smoke management planning prior to the application of prescribed fires helps to reduce smoke impact on roadways, nearby towns, and sensitive areas like schools, nursing homes, churches, and other facilities.

 

“We want to remind all farmers who are using prescribed burns to make a safe smoke management plan, so we can continue to be good neighbors to all Arkansans,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture, Wes Ward.

 

There is a Safe Burning Checklist which farmers complete before applying prescribed fire:

  • Take extra precautions for smoke sensitive areas (highways, residents, communities, etc.)
  • Report prescribed burns to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Dispatch Center (1-800-830-8015)
  • Check to make sure relative humidity is above 20%
  • Check to make sure wind speed is less than 15 mph
  • Be sure to follow appropriate Smoke Category Day guidelines

 

Reporting the burn to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Dispatch Center provides a full understanding to the farmer of weather conditions, information about other burns in the area, and proximity of nearby smoke sensitive areas like schools, nursing homes, and highways. A smart phone app to help report row crop burns is in final stages of development.

 

“It is important for farmers to practice responsible stewardship and avoid future regulations and red tape. Prescribed fire is a valuable tool and calling the hotline before burning takes only seconds. Taking these proactive measures today will help us ensure a quality air shed for our families and communities for generations to come,” said David Gairhan, Arkansas Rice Federation Chairman.

 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS TO

AGRICULTURE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS 

LITTLE ROCK, AR – On September 9, Governor Hutchinson announced appointments to several boards and commissions within the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the Arkansas agriculture industry. The appointments are as follows:

 

Arkansas State Plant Board:

               Samuel Stuckey, Clarkedale. Term expires March 17, 2024.

 

Arkansas Wine Producers Council:

               Daniel O’Shea, Greenbrier. Term Expires March 1, 2025.

 

Arkansas State Board of Registration for Foresters:

               Jennifer Cook, Greenbrier. Term expires July 18, 2023.

 

Arkansas Beef Council:

               Sharon Casey, Malvern. Term expires March 30, 2025.

               Caleb Plyer, Hope. Term expires March 30, 2025.

               Robert Campbell, Witt Springs. Term expires March 30, 2025.

 

Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board:

               Jacob Appleberry, McGhee. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Kenny Falwell, Newport. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Jason Felton, Marianna. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Matt Gammill, Tyronza. Term expires July 1, 2023.

 

Arkansas Catfish Promotion Board:

               Dick Baxter, Cabot. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Brad Graham, Portland. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Kenny Francis, Corning. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Steve Kueter, Paragould. Term expires June 30, 2024.

 

Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board:

               Shannon Davis, Bono. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               West Higginbothom, Marianna. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Rusty Smith, Des Arc. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               John Freeman, Dumas. Term expires June 30, 2023.

 

Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board:

               Joe Christian, Jonesboro. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Jay Coker, Stuttgart. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               John King, Helena. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Roger Pohlner, Fisher. Term expires June 30, 2024.

 

Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board:

               Herrick Norcross, Tyronza. Term expires June 30, 2023.

               Adam Cloninger, Keo. Term expires June 30, 2023.

               Terrance Scott, Cotton Plant. Term expires June 30, 2023.

               Kenneth Clark, Newport. Term expires June 30, 2023.

               Jack Evans, Carlisle. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Dusty Hoskyn, England. Term expires June 30, 2024.

               Chris Shaefers, Conway. Term expires June 30, 2024.

 

Find the full list of appointments at governor.arkansas.gov/news-media/press-releases/governor-asa-hutchinson-announces-appointments-220909.

 

 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/.

 

 

INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY OF APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE

Two separate shooting incidents in Paris (Logan County) earlier yesterday preliminarily appear to be connected as murder-suicide.  Local law enforcement authorities have asked the Arkansas State Police to investigate the incidents.
About noontime Paris police officers responded to 1305 East Walnut Street and found George A. Poole, 22, an employee at a drive-in restaurant shot.  Poole was pronounced dead at the scene.
A short time later, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a location on Kalamazoo Road, about five miles from the restaurant, where they encountered Joshua D. Malagon, sitting inside a parked vehicle.  Malagon, 20, who had been identified as a suspect in the earlier shooting refused commands from the deputies to exit the vehicle.
When deputies heard a single gunshot from inside the vehicle, they approached and found Malagon wounded and began providing life-saving measures until emergency medical personnel arrived on-scene.  Malagon was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The bodies of Poole and Malagon are being transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the manner and cause of death will be determined.
Special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were called to Paris to begin an investigation of both deaths.  Upon completion of their investigation, a case file will be turned over to the Logan County prosecuting attorney for review.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2022

TO: THE RESIDENTS OF EAST CAMDEN, ARKANSAS.
A precautionary water boil has been issued starting September 18, 2022 until a repair on Busbee is complete and labs have been passed.  The areas affected are below:
Oak Tree Apartments
1 story apartments on Womble
SAU Tech apartments on Womble and Busbee
102-108 Gallivan

 

$280 MILLION IN AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT FUNDING APPROVAL TO ADDRESS STATEWIDE WATER NEEDS
LITTLE ROCK, AR – Funding of $280 million was approved today to help address statewide water needs. The approved funding includes $270 million to address water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure projects and $10 million to assist areas in Eastern Arkansas with the transition from groundwater to surface water and help preserve the Sparta and Alluvial aquifers. 

 

Last year, Governor Hutchinson created a Water and Other Infrastructure Working Group to assist the Arkansas American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Steering Committee in identifying water infrastructure projects. The working group conducted a needs survey that identified more than $5 billion in water, wastewater, and stormwater needs across the state. The working group made a subsequent funding proposal which was approved by the Steering Committee in August and by the Arkansas Legislative Council today. 

 

“In January, I laid out my W.I.N.S. in 2022 initiative. One of those initiatives was infrastructure, and I am delighted the Arkansas Legislative Council has approved $280 million to improve our state’s water infrastructure,” Governor Hutchinson said. “I appreciate the Department of Agriculture, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, ARPA Steering Committee, and members of the General Assembly who have worked diligently to secure this funding for a critical need in our state.”

 

The $270 million in one-time grant funding for water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure projects will be administered by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture through the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission.  Projects will be determined for eligibility consistent with the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) Final Rule. Funding will be limited to a maximum of $5 million per entity for each project type.

 

Eligible entities must apply for the grant funding by Friday, November 4, 2022. Applications and additional information on the grant program can be found at:

agriculture.arkansas.gov/american-rescue-plan-funding-water-and-wastewater-grant-program/.

 

A series of virtual and in-person meetings will be held across the State during the application period to assist entities in completing applications for funding under this program. The date, time, and location of the meetings are as follows:

 

· September 21, 1:00-3:00 p.m., Harvey Jones Conference Center, Springdale

· September 29, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Arkansas Municipal League, North Little Rock

· September 29, 1:00-3:00 p.m., Arkansas Municipal League, North Little Rock

· October 4, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Dumas Community Center, Dumas

· October 19, 1:00-3:00 p.m., Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center, Jonesboro

· October 26, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Hope Community Center, Hope

· November 1, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m., Virtual Meeting

 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/.

September 15, 2022

CITY OF CAMDEN LOOKINIG FOR POLICE OFFICERS
The City of Camden is looking for City Police Officers. The Civil Service Commission will conduct entry-level examinations Saturday, October 15th at 8:00 am at the Ouachita Business and Technology Center - 625 Adams Avenue in Camden. Applications accepted until, Monday, October 10th. Competitive salary plus excellent benefits package. Applications and qualifications available at the Police Department and at camden-police.com. Visit Camden Police Department on Facebook. Call 836-5755, for more information. The City of Camden is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

SAU TECH CFO FINALIST FOR ARKANSAS BUSINESS AWARD
EAST CAMDEN, AR (09/15/2022) Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech) is pleased to announce that Gaye Manning, Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration, is a finalist for the Arkansas Business CFO of the Year Award.

Gaye Manning has been the Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration for SAU Tech for 21 years and has been employed by SAU Tech for 38 years. She earned her business administration degree focusing on management and accounting at Southern Arkansas University and came to work at SAU Tech after graduation. While working for SAU Tech, Manning earned a Master's in Business Administration from Henderson University.

She has been instrumental in ensuring that the College operated in a fiscally sound environment, providing that students and academic programs were at the forefront of all financial decisions. Manning has proven her ability to lead during difficult times over and over again. During a weather disaster that ravaged the campus, she took the lead. She stepped up when the College needed someone to head up emergency response planning, and she has displayed her unique leadership skills during state budget cuts. Above all else, her legacy for the campus will be her dedication to improving the grounds and facilities. Her love of landscaping and plants is on display everywhere. She spends hours volunteering to work in the campus flowerbeds and power washing sidewalks. Her dedication to SAU Tech is indescribable.

When asked about the nomination, she stated, "I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to fill a leadership role in higher education for all these years. I came in at a time when women didn't traditionally fill the role of CFO. My success has been due to the relationships I developed. The way to succeed in any profession is by understanding the importance of building and nurturing relationships. Networking with peers and colleagues is critical. My entire career has been in higher education. I am retiring in December of 2023, and I know the years at SAU Tech have been well spent."

Manning has worked under Dr. Jason Morrison, SAU Tech Chancellor, for the last five years. Morrison stated, "I have been in a very privileged place to work with a CFO who has so much understanding of state and federal financial guidelines. She has been instrumental in planning the resurgence of NJCAA athletics on the campus and managing grant funds from federal and state sources, including CARES funds. When I have a new idea, she is my sounding board, and I can always trust her to give me reliable and honest feedback. Gaye is a valuable member of my team, and we would not have been able to accomplish so much the past five years without her leadership."
 

Arkansas Business announced the 2022 CFO of the Year finalists and Lifetime Achievement Award winners on September 13, 2022, and the final awards will be announced on November 2, 2022. This year, Jeffery Holt of Stallion Transportation Group has earned the CFO Lifetime Achievement Award, and Mike Carroll, now retired from Beall Barclay, formerly Landmark CPAs, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in Accounting.
 

This is the 13th year Arkansas Business has honored outstanding CFOs from around the state. Nomination forms were submitted to an independent panel of judges who met in August to determine finalists and winners.
 

Presented by Hogan Taylor, the 2022 CFO of the Year Awards will be hosted at the DoubleTree Little Rock as Arkansas Business Publisher Mitch Bettis and Editor Lance Turner highlight what sets these finalists apart.
 

Finalists and winners in each category will be honored at a special event on November 2, and profiles of each of them will be published in a special supplement of Arkansas Business on October 31. In-person ticket packages are available for purchase at ArkansasBusiness.com/CFO. The categories for the finalist are listed below.

CFO LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Jeffery Holt, Stallion Transportation Group

CFO LIFETIME IN ACCOUNTING
Mike Carroll retired from Beall Barclay (now Landmark CPAs)

 

LARGE PRIVATE COMPANY CFO FINALISTS:
Jennifer Bridges, OrthoArkansas
Ashley Sims, Rock Dental Brands

Chad Ware, Central States Manufacturing, Inc.

NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION CFO FINALISTS:
Katie Dailey, Arkansas Humanities Council
Sylvia Murchison, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas

Phyllis Rogers, Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care

PUBLIC SECTOR/EDUCATION CFO FINALISTS:
TyRhonda Henderson, City of Texarkana, Arkansas
Adam Motherwell, Beaver Water District

Gaye Manning, Southern Arkansas University Tech

HOSPITAL CFO FINALISTS:
Leslie Huitt, Bradley County Medical Center
Kyle Sanders, NEA Baptist Health Systems
William Gorman, Arkansas Rural Health Partnership
Jeremy Jeffery, Jefferson Regional Medical Center

 

SMALL PRIVATE COMPANY CFO FINALISTS:
Bobby Gabbard, Summerwood Partners, LLC
Joe Hafner, Arkansas Glass Container Corporation
Tom Major, Mayfair Sterling, LLC

 

ASMSA OPENS SEARCH FOR CLASSES OF 2025 AND 2026
HOT SPRINGS — During its first three decades, the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts has provided students from across the state an opportunity to live in a community of learning at a public, residential high school that delivers college-level coursework in multiple disciplines.

As ASMSA prepares to enter its fourth decade, the search for the Classes of 2025 and 2026 has officially begun. While recent searches have focused on two early-entry admissions pathways for sophomores and an expanded arts curriculum focus, this year’s admissions cycle leans into a long-term strength of previous class searches — supporting the next generation of young women in STEM.

Traditionally, ASMSA has had more female applicants than male applicants for the residential program. When the current Student Center opened in the fall of 2012, it included two wings of residential space that provided an equal number of spaces for male and female students — Nichols Hall for females and Faris Hall for males.

 

When campus leaders decided to renovate the former convent and chapel complex, they decided to convert two floors of the convent into residential living space for female students.

Helen Selig Hall opened this August with residential rooms for 26 additional female students allowing ASMSA to grow its enrollment to about 260 students next year. The addition of the new residential hall helps meet an obvious demand while also expanding  enrollment through targeted growth models as outlined in the 2025 Strategic Plan.

“Despite national interest in closing gender equity gaps in STEM careers, there is still a need to ensure that young women bring their talent, interest, and leadership to advanced careers in Arkansas and beyond,” noted ASMSA Director Corey Alderdice.  “ASMSA is excited to continue our leadership in this domain by creating opportunities to support additional young women in the nationally-recognized residential experience.”

Students interested in attending ASMSA as sophomores have two pathways to consider — the Early Entrance program, for a small group of students in need of accelerated learning opportunities, and H.E.L.I.X. Prep Academy, which provides a bridge experience for students who face opportunity gaps that may prevent them from achieving their full potential.

ASMSA provides several opportunities for prospective students and their families to either attend special admissions events such as Preview Days and MASH-ups on campus and online question and answer sessions.

Students apply to ASMSA through a competitive admissions process that evaluates high school coursework, ACT/SAT scores, responses to essay questions, letters of recommendation, and other accomplishments.  Finalist candidates are invited to attend Interview Weekends in April.  The process is similar to application at selective colleges and universities.

The rigorous applications process assists ASMSA in identifying for admission well-rounded young Arkansans who possess a strong sense of character, actively give to their communities and seek out the most challenging coursework available to them while applying themselves to the best of their abilities.

Students must submit their completed online application, test scores, and letters of recommendation no later than March 1, 2023. To learn more about ASMSA’s application process and the requirements for admission, visit asmsa.org/ignite, call or text 501.622.5235 or email admissions@asmsa.org.

 

HUTCHINSON TAPS ADDITIONAL NATIONAL LEADERS TO ADDRESS KEY ISSUES AT BENTONVILLE SUMMIT
Ideas Summit to host Sec. DeVos, Steve Case, alongside Tom and Steuart Walton
Bentonville, Ark., Sept. 13, 2022 – Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson strengthens the already impressive roster of presenters for the upcoming “America Leads: An Ideas Summit,” scheduled for Oct. 19 in Bentonville, Ark. Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos; Revolution, LLC, CEO and AOL Co-founder, Steve Case; and Runway Group co-founders Tom Walton and Steuart Walton will join keynote speaker Dr. Condoleezza Rice at the ticketed event, a gathering centered on ideas that will guide America to the future.

Other speakers include Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) senior fellows John Bailey, Klon Kitchen and Dr. Kori Schake.  

During the day-long event, these newsmakers and thought leaders will encourage a robust discussion of practical, actionable ideas to address major economic, educational and foreign policy issues being faced by the United States.

"I have always believed that you shape the future by talking about principles and ideas and what makes America great. We are fortunate to have a strong group of leaders with experience on both the state and national level as well as both the public and the private sectors,” said Gov. Hutchinson. “Sec. DeVos is a strong proponent of freedom in education and she proved that during her time in Washington. Steve Case, Steuart Walton and Tom Walton have a proven track record of not only how intentional entrepreneurship can lead to public benefits, but more importantly illustrating what it means to be a partner in ideation.”  

Sec. DeVos will join governors Ducey and Haslam on the Education Panel at the summit. She served as the nation’s 11th secretary of education from 2017-2021 and worked to pursue policies aimed at getting government out of the way of allowing students the freedom, flexibility, resources and support they need to choose where and how they learn. DeVos’ efforts helped create new educational choices for K-12 students in 25 states and the District of Columbia. She also expanded post-high school education options for both students and adult learners. DeVos served as chairman of the Windquest Group, a privately held investment and management firm based in Michigan. She is also the former chair of the American Federation for Children, the Philanthropy Roundtable and the Michigan Republican Party.

Case co-founded AOL in 1985, and the company became the largest, most valuable Internet provider in the world under his vision and leadership. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Revolution, LLC, a Washington D.C.-based investment firm that supports entrepreneurs at every stage of growth with Revolution Growth, Revolution Ventures and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. Case was also recently named co-chair of the National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which supports policies that ensure America’s competitiveness globally. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the New American Dream, and the New York Times bestseller, The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future.  

Steuart Walton is co-founder of Runway Group, a Bentonville-based holding company making investments in real estate, outdoor initiatives, hospitality, and businesses committed to moving Northwest Arkansas forward. He is also the founder and chairman of Game Composites, LLC, which designs and builds small composite aircraft. Walton serves on the board of directors at Walmart, Flipkart, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He previously worked in London for Allen and Overy, LLP, and Walmart’s international division, focusing on mergers and acquisitions. Walton holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He also founded the Wartime History Museum and, as an experienced pilot and investor in the preservation and restoration of historic aircraft, organized a statewide flyover of World War II-era planes during the height of the pandemic in support of frontline healthcare workers in Arkansas.

Thomas L. Walton is also a co-founder of Runway Group, and for his efforts in revitalizing northwest Arkansas downtown areas, he was named the Arkansas Tourism Person of the Year in 2016. He has been involved in many notable projects in Bentonville, including: the establishment of the 21c Museum Hotel, responding to the demand for downtown hospitality driven by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and business travel; improving natural spaces such as Lake Atalanta in Rogers, Ark.; and the collaboration with Northwest Arkansas Community College to provide world-class culinary arts training in the area. Walton also discovered a love for mountain biking while in college at Northern Arizona University, and has invested in multiple local projects to facilitate and encourage participation in the sport.

“America Leads: An Ideas Summit” is hosted by America Strong and Free, Inc., which is an education and advocacy organization. Please visit the America Strong and Free website for more information about the summit and ticket information.  

 

BOOZMAN-BACKED DRONE INSPECTION GRANT PROGRAM GAINS MOMENTUM
House Passes Legislation, Federal Highway Administrator Nominee Supports Drone Technology
WASHINGTON––Following House-passage of the Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) advocated for the Senate to pass the bipartisan legislation during an Environment and Public Committee (EPW) hearing Wednesday.

Boozman highlighted the efforts in Arkansas to use drones to enhance infrastructure inspections across the state.

“One of the reasons I’m championing this legislation is because the Arkansas Department of Transportation has really embraced the use of drones to augment human inspectors and spot flaws,” Boozman said.

The nominee to serve as Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, Shailen Bhatt, promoted the use of drone technology to improve infrastructure safety calling it “efficient” and expressing excitement about the possibilities it offers.

The Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act would authorize $100 million in competitive grants to use American-made drones to perform critical infrastructure inspection, maintenance or construction projects. This bipartisan bill would also authorize $100 million in grants for workforce training and education to prepare the next generation of workers in this field. It was introduced by Boozman and Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

 

COTTON WARNS APPLE NOT TO DO BUSINESS WITH DANGEROUS CHINESE CHIPMAKER
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) sent a letter today to Apple CEO Tim Cook warning him of the dangers that using chips from Yangtze Memory Technologies Corporation (YMTC) in Apple products poses to U.S. national security, consumer data security, and to Apple’s reputation and shareholders. The letter requested answers on why Apple made this reckless decision and what steps Apple planned to take to protect the United States and American consumers from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In part, the senator wrote:
“I urge you to rethink Apple’s decision to do business with YMTC. If Apple continues to court untrustworthy Chinese companies like YMTC, it will do grave harm to its shareholders, its customers, and our country. As there is bipartisan support to address the threat posed by YMTC, I must stress for you and your shareholders the risks of this partnership with an entity that may soon be the target of U.S. government action.”

September 13, 2022

OUACHITA COUNTY FLU CLINIC 2022
The Ouachita County Community Flu Clinic will be held  on Tuesday, September 27 from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM. This will be a drive thru flu clinic located at the Ouachita County Health Unit, at 740 California Ave SW. Nurses will be set up at the back of the building to give flu shots. Forms are available now at the health unit if anyone wants to pick one up to have filled out and ready to make the process quicker on the 27th.


CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD ALDERMEN MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order at promptly at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Rev. Michael Harris, Pastor of the New St. James AME Church, located at 241 Center Street in Camden gave the invocation which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk Donna Stewart called the roll. Aldermen L.E. Lindsey, William McCoy, Cecil McDonald, James Bell, Chris Aregood,  and Joe Askew were all in attendance.  Alderman Terry Smith was absent.

The Minutes of Regular Meeting dated August 9, 2022 and the Financial Report for August 2022 were presented to the Council in print. Both were accepted by unanimous vote.

There was no Old Business so the Aldermen turned their attention to New Business. The first four items on the list were Ordinance No. 08-22, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1333 Ronald Drive, Ordinance No. 09-22, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 509 Short Street, Ordinance No. 10-22, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 505 Maple Street and Ordinance No. 11-22, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 406 Myrtle Street. Each of the ordinances passed by unanimous vote.

Next up was Ordinance No. 12-22, an ordinance establishing procedures for changing the name of a street; and for other purposes. Motion made and seconded. There was some discussion regarding the language in the Ordinance. This Ordinance would clean up and bring together the procedures for re-naming a street. Suggestions and ideas were voiced. This was the first reading of the ordinance. The Ordinance will be on the Agenda next month for a second reading.
Finally came Resolution No. 59-22, a resolution confirming the re-appointment of Teresa Lampkin to the Advertising and Promotion Commission. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

The meeting was adjourned

The next regular meeting of the Camden City Board of Aldermen is October 11, 2022.


UAMS HEALTH OFFERS FREE, VIRTUAL MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM FOR  ARKANSANS OF ALL AGES
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Sep. 13, 2022)
— In the face of the growing mental health crisis among teens and young adults, The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) offers UAMS Health AR ConnectNow, a free, virtual mental health program for Arkansans of all ages. Anyone can get help immediately by calling 501-526-3563; insurance and referrals are not required.

UAMS AR ConnectNow is a comprehensive behavioral health treatment program created to provide care to all Arkansans dealing with a variety of mental health issues, including substance abuse disorders and such mental illnesses as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. UAMS AR ConnectNow is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for initial telephone contact with a triage nurse, who can help schedule services with licensed therapists.

“While UAMS AR ConnectNow is available for anyone to use, we’re actively encouraging parents, teachers and school counselors across the state to share this resource with teenagers and young adults to ensure they have access to the help they need, exactly when they need it,” says Laura Dunn, M.D., director of the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute and chair of the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine. “Taking immediate action to support our young people and their mental health has never been more critical.”

“If someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, it is so important they receive immediate assistance,” said Victoria Spradley, UAMS outreach coordinator for UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute.  “UAMS AR ConnectNow allows us to offer that assistance to all Arkansans, especially our youth.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of high school students in the U.S. experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019, a 40 percent increase since 2009. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) revealed that 35,000 Arkansans aged 12 to 17 have experienced depression in the last year. Tools like UAMS AR ConnectNow provide a no-cost, immediately available resource for those seeking help anonymously.

For answers to frequently asked questions, visit faceyourfeelings.org or schedule an appointment by calling 501-526-3563 or 800-482-9921.

Formed in part by a grant from the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, UAMS AR ConnectNow is a partnership between UAMS and the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ Division of Aging, Adult and Behavioral Health Services. The Blue & You Foundation has also contributed staff and equipment to the effort.

 

MORE THAN A MUSEUM... THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS . . .THE ARKANSAS MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS ANNOUNCES GRAND OPENING DATE AND FINAL $155M CAPITAL CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISING GOAL
September 14, 2022 (LITTLE ROCK, AR) – The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts (AMFA), the oldest and largest cultural institution of its kind in the state, today announced their grand reopening on Saturday, April 22, 2023, following an historic renovation project that is dramatically transforming the museum’s main building and its grounds in Little Rock’s MacArthur Park.

“For six years, a dedicated team has been working to create an inclusive cultural space that inspires and builds community. Not only will the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts offer an array of visual arts, performing arts, and educational opportunities, it will provide a beautiful venue for people to connect with each other,” said Dr. Victoria Ramirez, AMFA’s Executive Director.

Designed by world-renowned architect Jeanne Gang and her architecture and urban design practice, Studio Gang, the project includes a new 133,000-square-foot building that will house the Windgate Art School, Harriet and Warren Stephens Galleries, Governor Winthrop Rockefeller Lecture Hall, Terri and Chuck Erwin Collections Research Center, a performing arts theater, a modern restaurant, and more. On the reopening date, AMFA will also unveil eleven acres of landscaping in MacArthur Park by award- winning landscape architect Kate Orff of SCAPE Landscape Architecture.

Harriet Stephens, AMFA Capital Campaign Co-Chair and Building Committee Chair, said: “Over the past few years, we’ve been privileged to collaborate with an extraordinary group of architects, artisans, contractors, and skilled tradespeople to re-envision the museum inside and out as a world-class arts destination – and to keep the project moving forward, even through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. One of our most influential predecessors, Winthrop Rockefeller, always felt this institution was far more than a museum, and it’s been incredibly exciting to see the shared vision for its next chapter come to life.”

AMFA Capital Campaign Co-Chair Warren Stephens commented, “This is an extraordinary project. My family’s roots, like so many others in Arkansas, run deep. So the excitement is thoroughly shared across the state and beyond, as evidenced by the success of the capital campaign, which has now raised $150.4 million, far exceeding our original goal. In fact, today we are announcing a new goal of $155 million.”

There are 30 donors at the 21st Century Founders level who have contributed gifts between $1 million and $35 million, 95 donors at the Leadership level, contributing between $100,000 and $999,999, as well as 96 contributors at the Major Donor level, giving between $25,000 and $99,999. Numerous other individuals, families, businesses, and foundations have also made generous donations at every gift level.

“This is truly a public-private partnership,” Harriet Stephens added, “made possible through the generosity, commitment, passion for arts and culture, and love for our community and state.”

The capital campaign (“Reimagining the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts”) includes a $31,245,000 contribution from the City of Little Rock, generated through a hotel tax revenue bond approved by voters.

“The reimagined Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts will be a beacon not just for downtown, or even for all of Little Rock, but for the region,” said Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. “Not only is the building’s design a welcoming one, but the programming will emphasize the belief shared by the Museum and my administration that equity in access to the arts is important for all. The City is proud of its role in making this dream a reality.”

Overwhelming private support to date has nearly quintupled the impact of the public contribution to the project. Lead donors include Windgate Foundation, Harriet and Warren Stephens, the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust, Terri and Chuck Erwin, and the State of Arkansas. 

“The enthusiasm has been incredible, and the new fundraising goal will allow us to far surpass the initial scope of the project,” said Warren Stephens. “It is the perfect time to support AMFA, and we ask our patrons to consider giving a special donation, or even an additional donation, in support of this campaign.”

Aant clock counting down to opening day, visible through the 32-foot, second-floor Art Perch window overlooking 9th Street.

Dt the announcement, a new marketing campaign, Perfect Timing, was introduced, launching a series of announcements highlighting the exhibitions, programming, and membership opportunities the community can anticipate when AMFA opens in 2023. To build further excitement, AMFA unveiled a LED wall inside the new building with a gir. Ramirez concluded, “The transformation is full speed ahead. It’s T minus 219 days until April 22 – when we will fittingly invite the entire community to be the very first to enjoy our amazing new museum.”

For more information on how to participate in the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts’ capital campaign, email the museum’s development office at development@arkmfa.org.

About the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts:
About the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts: Founded in 1937, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts is the largest cultural institution of its kind in the state, offering a unique blend of visual and performing arts experiences. AMFA is committed to featuring diverse media and artistic perspectives within its 14,000- object permanent collection as well as through rotating temporary exhibitions. AMFA’s international collection spans seven centuries, with strengths in works on paper and contemporary craft, and includes notable holdings by artists from Arkansas, the Mid-South region, and across the United States and Europe. With a vibrant mix of ideas, cultures, people, and places, AMFA extends this commitment to diversity through its dynamic children’s theatre and performing arts program, innovative studio art school, and community-focused educational programs for all ages. Located in Little Rock’s oldest urban green space, MacArthur Park, AMFA’s landmark building and grounds are designed by Studio Gang and SCAPE, in collaboration with Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects.

 

SENATORS INTRODUCE RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE 
WASHINGTON
– U.S. Senate Air Force Caucus Co-chairs Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced a resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Air Force as an independent military branch.
“A
s an air, space and cyberspace leader, the Air Force continues to innovate, accelerate and thrive in order to meet the challenges in defending our nation and its allies. Our airmen deliver the best airpower the world has ever known, bravely serving to protect freedom and liberty in all corners of the globe. As the son of a retired USAF Master Sergeant, I’m proud to honor our Air Force, airmen and their families, both across Arkansas and our country for their continued service and sacrifice to make American air superiority exceptional,” Boozman said.

“Since the earliest days of World War I, our nation’s military aviators have served and sacrificed on all seven continents to defend the United States against enemies of freedom and democracy. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I will continue to work hard to provide the brave members of our Air Force with the resources they need to make sure we maintain our place as the world’s leading military power in the face of threats from adversaries like China and Russia. The members of the Air Force are heroes, and I’m immensely proud of their work at Malmstrom Air Force Base and around the world to promote liberty and ensure our national security,” Tester said.

“For 75 years, the U.S. Air Force has gone above and beyond in defense of our nation,” said Hoeven. “North Dakota is proud to be home to the Minot Air Force Base and the Grand Forks Air Force Base along with our Air National Guard wing in Fargo. The incredible airmen at these bases play a vital role in our nation’s defense. As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, we remain committed to ensuring the Air Force is well positioned to be a strong force for many years to come.” 

“Ohio has a proud legacy of leading the country in aviation, from the Wright Brothers and Eddie Rickenbacker, to the airmen now serving in Toledo, Dayton, Youngstown and beyond,” said Brown. “We come together to honor the contributions of those who have kept us safe for the past 75 years, and those continuing to protect our country today.”

The Air Force was established on September 18, 1947 as part of the National Security Act of 1947.

The Air Force is recognizing this milestone with celebrations across the country including at the U.S. Capitol with members of the U.S. Senate Air Force Caucus Wednesday.

September 13, 2022

PLANNED ROAD CLOSURE IN OUACHITA COUNTY
September 13, 2022
Union Pacific Railroad will conduct track maintenance at a grade crossing on Highway 376 at 7 a.m. on Thursday, September 15 through 7 p.m. on Friday, September 16.

Weather permitting, maintenance crews will close lanes in Camden, Arkansas approximately 0.4 miles west of Cash Road.  

Delays are expected. Drivers will be directed as signed onto Highways 79, 7, and 278. 

Additional travel information can be found at IDriveArkansas.com or ARDOT.gov
 

CITY OF CAMDEN AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, September 16, 2022
at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Termina llocated at 255 Airport Road in Camden, Arkansas.


ARKANSAS SCHOLARSHIP LOTTERY UNVEILS NEW GAME
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is unveiling a new draw game this month in hopes of giving Arkansans another chance to win big while continuing to help fund scholarships for students in the state.

The LOTTO - as the new game is called - debuts September 18th. The starting jackpot is a quarter of a million dollars. That's just to start things off. The jackpot will keep growing until a winning ticket is claimed.
 
That was Ashley McNatt, marketing and advertising director for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. She says the unique thing about the new LOTTO is that it is entirely based within Arkansas. Everyone is likely familiar by now with the big regional lotteries like the Powerball and Mega Millions. LOTTO, on the other hand, is an entirely Arkansas-based lottery game.

Tickets can be purchased in Arkansas at the same participating retailers that supply scratch offs and other games through the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. McNatt said nearly 2,000 retailers across the state will supply tickets for the new LOTTO game. Tickets are $2 per game and can also be purchased through the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery app.
 
LOTTO results will be available after each drawing at www.MyArkansasLottery.com/games/LOTTO. Participants can also verify results at any licensed ASL retailer as well as a select group of news partners across the state.

Like the ASL's other games, proceeds from the new LOTTO game will go towards funding scholarships for Arkansas students. The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery was approved by voters just 14 years ago but has already raised over a billion dollars in scholarships.  

Again, the new LOTTO draw game debuts Sept. 18. For more information on the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, visit www.MyArkansasLottery.com.

 

TREASURER OF STATE DENNIS MILLIGAN DISCUSSES INVESTMENT DIVISION RESTRUCTURING
Reorganization has put Treasury on solid footing; earnings over $500 million
Sept. 13, 2022 (Little Rock, Ark.) – When Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan took office in 2015, one of the first things he did was conduct an in-depth review of the investment policies of the state, to become fully knowledgeable of the types of investments that were allowed under law.

“We’re limited in the types of investments that we can make, and for good reason. We must work within the safest possible investments and provide plenty of liquidity for the state’s financial needs. To that end, we are only able to invest in the fixed income market,” Milligan said.

 

At the time he took office, the Treasury had been averaging about $20 million a year in investment earnings from its then-$3.5 billion portfolio. Milligan exceeded that amount during the first six months of his term and has earned the state more than half a billion dollars during his time as Treasurer.
 

“Historically, the treasury hadn’t been using all of the investment tools state law allowed,” Milligan said. “So I challenged my staff to seek out ways that we could make Arkansans’ tax dollars work smarter.”
 

One of the ways he was able to grow Treasury earnings was by cleaning up legislation surrounding the types of investments the Treasury is allowed to invest in. For example, Milligan worked with the legislature to create new opportunities for investing in additional security types such as bonds from Israel (Act 644 of 2017).
 

“My strategy for the state’s investment portfolio is rooted in statutory priorities of safety first, then liquidity, and finally, return,” Milligan said. “Act 644 of 2017 allowed us to diversify our investment capabilities within the fixed income market while still maintaining the security of the state’s investment portfolio, and that has proven to work well for us.” Because of Act 644’s inception, the state has earned an additional $4.7 million in interest earnings.
 

Milligan also restructured the investment division, creating a system of checks and balances that wasn’t previously in place. He added an internal accountant and an additional investment manager to ensure accountability within the office. In August, Milligan announced the creation of the treasury’s Accounting & Auditing Department.
 

“This department serves many purposes, but most importantly, it provides an independent approach to reporting the Treasury’s investment activities and earnings,” Milligan explained. “I also created a checks-and-balances structure within the investment division that added extra oversight.
 

“Previously, one person had sole control of where the Treasury invested its $9 billion portfolio,” Milligan said. “I felt strongly that was too much responsibility for one person, so with the help of the Legislature I was able to reorganize the investment division to provide for more accountability. Now, each person within our investment division staff has a clearcut set of responsibilities and work in conjunction with one another to manage the portfolio.”

Not only has Milligan established a solid operational structure for the office, he has earned enough money in investment returns to shore up the state’s Catastrophic Reserve Fund, ensure the state receives federal matching funds for highways, and put money into the Budget Stabilization Fund.
 

“We’ve been able to have over $90 million transferred to the state’s Catastrophic Reserve Fund, $100 million-plus transferred to the State Highway Transfer Fund, and more than $80 million sent to the Budget Stabilization Fund during my tenure,” Milligan said. “This is just another example of how our investment earnings are positively affecting the state and how taxpayers are getting the most out of their hard-earned money.”

 

BOOZMAN, COTTON, WOMACK COMMENT ON VA INSPECTOR GENERAL’S REPORT ON COMMUNITY CARE COORDINATION DELAY
WASHINGTON–– Arkansas U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton and Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) commented on the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s report on community care coordination delays for a veteran at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center:

“In this instance, the Fayetteville VA Medical Center failed to live up to its mission. Negligence in ensuring a veteran receives the quality and timely care they deserve is unacceptable. I will be working with my colleagues to ensure those responsible will be held accountable and this never happens again, in Arkansas or elsewhere,” said Boozman, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“The Fayetteville VA Medical Center’s staff failed in their duty to this veteran—completely unacceptable. I will work with my colleagues to investigate this incident, hold to account those responsible, and prevent this negligence in the future,” Cotton said.

“The report details an unacceptable failure on behalf of one of our heroes. Actions, or lack thereof, which jeopardize the health and well-being of any veteran breach the required and deserved standard of care. It’s a situation never to be repeated—and those liable must be held accountable. I will be working alongside my colleagues to ensure those obligations are met,” Womack said.

Boozman has been leading legislation to ensure the VA improves oversight and accountability. In June, the president signed into law the Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act to provide the VA Office of Inspector General with the authority to subpoena testimony from former VA employees who have left federal service, former contractor personnel who performed work for the VA or other potentially relevant individuals during the course of its inspections, reviews and investigations.

September 12, 2022

THE CAMDEN CRAFT FAIR
Saturday, Sept. 24th in Camden Arkansas
Experience the appeal of Southern Living at South Arkansas’ Largest Arts & Crafts Show, the Camden Craft Fair, Saturday, September 24th, from 9am-4:30pm, now in its at the Historic COLEMAN STADIUM in Camden, AR. (302 Center Street, Camden, AR. 71701)

The Camden Craft Fair, formerly 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 75 booths of vendors and artists from all over the US featuring traditional crafts and contemporary styles. The spacious historic Coleman sports stadium provides the perfect venue to support the growth of over 50 years in the Camden Craft Fair’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 Craft Fair with their own unique southern favorites and festival treats. Entertainment takes place throughout the day. It’s fun for the entire family complete with the Kids Zone fun & inflatables, festival traditions and much, much more.


RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA ON THIS YEAR'S BALLOT
This November Arkansans will head to the polls to decide a number of statewide elected offices. But that's not the only decision state voters may make this year given the possibility of recreational marijuana on this year's ballot. 

After approving medical marijuana in 2016, Arkansas voters are now being asked to consider legalizing marijuana in the state as part of a growing shift for recreational legalization across the nation.

Last month, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled a marijuana legalization initiative would be included on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot. The legitimacy of the issue, however, remains in question due to a seesawing battle in the court system. That battle is based upon the ballot initiative's title and concerns over THC content in edible marijuana products.

The campaign to bring recreational marijuana to Arkansas is headed by Responsible Growth Arkansas. The group submitted more than 190,000 signatures over the summer - more than double the required number.

Last week Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced he plans to vote against the legalization of recreational marijuana. He has previously stated his opposition to the initiative in part due to rising marijuana use among teens in states where it has been legalized.

Hutchinson has also questioned the disproportionate influence outside groups have in placing issues on Arkansas ballots. Critics have pointed out the medical marijuana initiative in 2016 as an example of ballot issues that originate from outside the state. These are initiatives, Hutchinson suggests, that would not find sufficient standing in Arkansas without this outside influence.

If the initiative survives the court battle - and is then approved by Arkansas voters - it would allow for the recreational use of marijuana by Arkansans aged 21 and older. It would also incorporate a 10 percent sales tax. Revenue from that tax, say supporters, would help fund law enforcement, drug courts and marijuana research.

Recreational marijuana would be supplied through the state's existing dispensaries. An additional 40 licenses would be issued through the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Division of the Department of Finance and Administration.

The recreational marijuana issue will not just appear on the Arkansas ballot, but also in a number of other states this year. Those include Maryland, Missouri and South Dakota. Other legalization efforts are also underway in Oklahoma and North Dakota.

Currently 19 states as well as the District of Columbia allow for the recreational use of marijuana. 

 

ENTERGY ARKANSAS, BRYANT SCHOOLS PARTNER IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROJECTS
Teachers, staff, students also received products to help at home
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Entergy Arkansas recently awarded Bryant School District $43,328.61 in incentives to support the implementation of energy-efficiency projects and operational changes in 2020 and 2021 through its Entergy Solutions Program, which resulted in an estimated annual savings of more than $38,000 for the district.

The Entergy Solutions Program provides technical and financial support to help Entergy Arkansas customers identify and implement projects that reduce energy usage. Bryant School District has received support through the Continuous Energy Improvement initiative of the CitySmart Program, which offers support specifically to institutional and public entities.

“The knowledge we obtain through the Entergy Solutions energy experts provides tremendous value across the district,” said Bryant School District Deputy Superintendent Todd Sellers. “My experience with this program has been great and I look forward to continuing this partnership, so we can get better at ‘doing our part’. Conserving energy is our first priority, but the savings we are seeing is an added benefit that our taxpayers deserve and should expect. This program is one that I take every chance given to share details with my colleagues. I’m very grateful for this partnership.”

The CitySmart Program helps organizations understand the technical and financial benefits of investing in energy efficiency and develop an improvement plan. The program does not prescribe technologies or end uses but instead provides a framework through which the participants can receive incentives for implementing and installing a wide range of measures at their sites. CEI focuses on behavioral and operational changes to improve energy efficiency.

As a CEI participant, Bryant School District is offered personalized, step-by-step guidance, resources, and yearly incentives to embed energy efficiency into its culture. Through CEI, the CitySmart team helped Bryant School District implement four energy-saving projects between 2020 and 2021, including replacements of two unitary HVAC systems and two energy recovery ventilators. These projects improved the facilities energy efficiency, comfort and air quality.

The Entergy Solutions CEI team also helped Bryant School District recognize and reconcile some simple low- and no-cost operational changes to improve energy efficiency during school breaks. These recommendations led to a daily shutdown checklist that included HVAC setbacks, turning off lights and unplugging unused equipment. The team later recommended that Bryant School District perform some summer maintenance jobs, such as waxing the floors, earlier in the school year. Shifting tasks to the cooler months helped Bryant School District reduce the energy load on their air conditioning systems by around 20%.

The energy efficient improvements Bryant School District has implemented during 2020 and 2021 are saving an estimated 787,000 kWh annually, which is the equivalent to eliminating the carbon dioxide emissions from 62,758 gallons of gasoline, according to Environmental Protection Agency calculations, and more work will be done this school year. 

Additionally, Bryant School District hosted an energy efficiency product giveaway to keep the energy savings flowing at home. More than 4,500 teachers, staff and students received a mix of LED desk lamps, advanced power strips and LED bulbs, resulting in annual savings of 205.87 kWh and about $22.00 per household. 

“Congratulations to Bryant School District for taking advantage of this opportunity to collaborate,” said Barbara Merrick, Entergy Arkansas customer service manager. “Through the CEI alone, Bryant School District has lowered its overall electricity use by more than 9%. We look forward to future projects with the school district for years to come.”

Entergy Arkansas has an award-winning portfolio of energy efficiency programs for both residential and business customers. To learn more about these programs, visit entergy-arkansas.com/energy_efficiency.


MOTHER & CHILD WOUNDED IN MIDDAY LITTLE ROCK INTERSTATE SHOOTING INCIDENT
SEPTEMBER 8, 2022
Kenya Mitchell, 20, of Little Rock and her 2 year-old son were wounded by gunfire from a passing vehicle in the southbound lanes of Interstate 430 near Stagecoach Road about noon today.  Both were transported by ambulance to a local hospital with what were reported to be non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

The gunshot victims were in a car driven by Jayden Bryant, 19, of Little Rock.  Bryant was not injured.

Special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are leading the investigation into the shooting.  At this time, a description of the vehicle that pulled alongside Bryant’s car, or the occupant inside the vehicle who shot into the car is not known.

Agents assigned to the case are continuing their investigative work tonight.  

 

ARKANSAS TOBACCO EDUCATION INITIATIVE OFFERS RESOURCES FOR TEENS AND ADULTS TO QUIT TOBACCO FOR GOOD
 LITTLE ROCK – (September 8, 2022) – Today, the Arkansas Tobacco Education Initiative, which is managed by the American Lung Association in Arkansas, announced several resources available to help teens and adults quit smoking and vaping.

The Arkansas Tobacco Education Initiative was formed to improve the health of all Arkansans by using evidence-based strategies through program initiatives, promotion of cessation services and recommendations of smokefree policies; to reduce the use of all tobacco products, including electronic nicotine delivery systems, within Arkansas.  

The organization offers many resources, training and guidance for residents and healthcare providers, including:

Resources to Help Adults Quit Smoking: The program works with the Arkansas Department of Health to offer free resources and educational programs for people who are ready to quit tobacco for good. Call 833-283-WELL or visit BeWellArkansas.org for help with quitting tobacco or managing diabetes and high blood pressure.

Resources to Help Teens Quit Tobacco: Not On Tobacco (NOT) is a tobacco cessation program designed with teenagers in mind. It takes a holistic approach with each session using different interactive learning strategies based on Social Cognitive Theory of behavior change. This encourages a voluntary change for youth ages 14 to 19.

COPD Conference: Each year, the American Lung Association, in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Health, hosts educational sessions for health professionals on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) management, the Gold Guidelines, vaccinations, and the medications to treat it amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic. The conference is free and CEUs are available for healthcare professionals. 

Vaping Webinars: With youth vaping and nicotine use on the rise, the American Lung Association and the Arkansas Tobacco Education Initiative will host two free virtual youth vaping webinars to address the health risks of youth vaping, how the tobacco industry targets youth, emerging trends, and provide cessation resources for schools.   The webinar in the fall is intended for school administrators, teachers, counselors, and school nurses and the webinar in the summer targets parents and caregivers to attend. Scholarships for NOT (Not On Tobacco) cessation training will be available to attendees.

For more information about the programs and resources offered by the Arkansas Tobacco Education Initiative, visit https://www.artei.org/.  
 

JEN HOSS NAMED VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL FOR AECC/AECI
Little Rock, Ark. — Sept. 9, 2022
Jen Hoss has been named as the vice president and general counsel for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC)/Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI). She joined the cooperatives as assistant general counsel in 2020.

Prior to joining AECC/AECI, Hoss served as the director of rates and demand resources for the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC), having previously served as an APSC general staff attorney. Before moving to Arkansas, the El Paso, Texas native was an energy consultant and in-house attorney for the Houston-based consulting firm, Opportune LLP. She holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in geography, focused on biogeography, from Texas A&M University, and a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law in Houston. She clerked for Transocean Deepwater Drilling Offshore, Inc. and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

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.
 

CITY OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE MUSIC LINEUP, NEW FEATURES FOR SEPTEMBER ARTS FESTIVAL
ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – Named Arkansas Festival and Events Association’s 2021 “Best New Festival or Event,” the Arkadelphia Festival of the Arts is coming back for year two!

The two-day curated art, music and culinary festival will be held in downtown Arkadelphia September 23rd and 24th.

Presented by Southwest Auto Collection, Music Row will feature a variety of artists specializing in country, rock, R&B, indie, pop and more. Musical acts include Kylie Frey, Dazz & Brie, Whistlin’ Dixie, Monsterboy LIVES, Posey Hill, Jon Bailey & The Heathen Revival and Chris DeClerk. The lineup also includes two headliners, with Ethan “Lil’ Skinny” Kuntz headlining Friday’s performances, and Dalton Dover headlining Saturday’s performances.

In addition to a diverse music lineup, a live art component is being added to Artist Row. A spray paint artist will be creating a mural on the former Save-U-More building throughout the festival.

“We’re always looking for unique elements we can bring the Arkadelphia Festival of the Arts,” Arkadelphia City Manager Gary Brinkley said. “In 2021, we brought in amazing performers from Arkansas Circus Acts, and this year, we have found a fantastic mural artist who will be creating art right before our eyes. As we look to repurpose the building in a couple of years, we will make sure the mural is part of our final designs.”

The Arkadelphia Festival of the Arts is free to attend. A full schedule of events can be found at www.ArkadelphiaFestivaloftheArts.org.

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

The Agenda is as follows:
A. CALL TO ORDER
B. INVOCATION – Rev. Michael Harris, Pastor – New St. James AME Church, 241 Center Street,  Camden, AR
C. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D. ROLL CALL
E. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
     1.  Minutes of Regular Meeting, August 9, 2022
F. ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORT
     1.  Financial Report for August 2022
G. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
H. MAYOR’S REPORT     
I. OLD BUSINESS
J. NEW BUSINESS
     1. Ordinance No. 08-22, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 1333 Ronald Drive.
     2. Ordinance No. 09-22, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 509 Short Street.
     3. Ordinance No. 10-22, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 505 Maple Street.
     4. Ordinance No. 11-22, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 406 Myrtle Street.
     5. Ordinance No. 12-22, an ordinance establishing procedures for changing the name of a street; and for other purposes.
     6. Resolution No. 59-22, a resolution confirming the re-appointment of Teresa Lampkin to the Advertising and Promotion Commission.
K. OTHER BUSINESS
L.    ADJOURNMENT

 

SAU TECH ADULT ED TO HOST OPEN HOUSE
SAU Tech's Adult Education Division is hosting its annual open house events in Camden and Magnolia. The Center offers these events each year for community members to learn more about the variety of services that Adult Ed provides. The open house for Camden is on September 22 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at 237 Jackson Street, and the open house for Magnolia is on September 23 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on 104 Harvey Couch Boulevard. Both events also provide a Lunch & Learn session at Noon for anyone interested in improving their computer skills. To learn more, call 870-837-4001 in Camden and 870-234-6064 in Magnolia.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: YOUTH SAFETY RESOURCES AVAILABLE FOR TEACHERS & PARENTS
LITTLE ROCK –School has started and students are hard at work learning new routines, new skills and making friends along the way. From unsafe practices online to ill-informed choices, young Arkansans are increasingly at risk as they enter this new stage in life. Attorney General Rutledge is urging parents, teachers and guardians to learn more about how to protect their kids in their daily lives and online with free resources and trainings offered by the office.

“Protecting our children’s health and safety has been the single most important issue I have tackled since taking office,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “I encourage parents and educators to take advantage of our free resources and presentations so together we can continue to educate and protect our youth.”

The following free resources are available from the Attorney General’s office:

16 Apps Parents Should Know About
Elementary School Internet Safety Coloring Book
and Middle School Internet Safety Activity Books may be requested free of charge online here
Tips for Parents to identify warning signs of and prevent cyberbullying
Tips for Students to ensure online safety
Child Identification Kit: Document medical, dental and other personal data for your records. Physical kits may be requested free of charge online here
Youth Vaping Resources
Commonsensemedia.org
offers additional resources for parents and educators including reviews of movies, tv shows and video games
Stopbullying.gov provides in depth articles, videos and tips for addressing bullying

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge routinely sends consumer warnings to prevent Arkansans from falling prey to scams, fraud and bad actors. Register to receive Attorney General Alerts here.

To request a presentation on internet safety or youth vaping, complete a speaker request form here

 

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON UNVEILS NEW ‘READY FOR LIFE’ PLATFORM USINGARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO   ARKANSANS WITH PERSONALIZED CAREER GUIDANCE
Arkansas Department of Education
Sep 7, 2022, 10:00 ETThe cross-state agency effort connects the state’s workers, employers, and workforce and education resources in a single online platform called Ready For Life.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the launch of an enhanced version of the state’s online Ready For Life platform. The innovative and dynamic web-based portal uses artificial intelligence to provide every Arkansan with personalized career guidance to explore new career paths, gain in-demand skills, access wraparound supports, and find jobs.

“Ready For Life represents what can be achieved when state government and our partners in the private sector harness the power of technology for the benefit of Arkansas citizens. This platform is an example of how we can use technology to erase barriers to success for our citizens. Ready For Life gives everyone an opportunity to reach their full potential, and lead productive, fulfilling and prosperous lives in Arkansas.”– Governor Hutchinson

Governor Hutchinson first announced the Ready For Life initiative in 2021 as a way to bridgethe gap between job  seekers and employers across Arkansas, and today the initiative launched a new platform in partnership with technology provider FutureFit AI to make it easier to navigate, begin a job training program, locate available work opportunities, and access state services and programs. The new platform incorporates learnings from the first year of the program and aims to provide every user access to economic opportunity through personalized recommendations of career and learning pathways based on their unique background and needs.

While government programs to address education and workforce issues are sometimes siloed across departments, Ready For Life uniquely brings together stakeholders from across state agencies to provide a more unified offering to Arkansans. State agencies involved in the Ready

For Life initiative include the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Department of Commerce, Arkansas Department of Human Services, and Arkansas Department of Corrections, in addition to public-private partnerships with workforce technology leaders such as FutureFit AI, LinkedIn Learning, and ToolingU-SME.

“This relaunch represents an amazing opportunity for Arkansas,” said Gina Windle, Chief Operating Officer for the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). “This platform is more than just a job listing site; it incorporates career pathway guidance powered by artificial intelligence for each and every user. This enables us to give all Arkansans a robust, dynamic, and personalized path to accessing training, learning and exploring job offerings,” explained Ms. Windle.

The Ready For Life platform will strengthen the state’s role as a national leader in workforce innovation while streamlining coordination across state departments, ultimately leading to improved outcomes for citizens, employers, and the overall Arkansas economy.


HOMEGROWN BY HEROES SCHOLARSHIP FOR AGRICULTURE TRAINING DEADLINE EXTENDED
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has extended the deadline to apply for the Homegrown by Heroes scholarship that provides $1,000 to military veterans and active military personnel to attend the Farm School at the Center for Arkansas Farm and Food in Fayetteville.

Applications are due September 30, 2022 and are available at: agriculture.arkansas.gov/arkansas-department-of-agriculture-programs/. Funding for the scholarship is generously provided by Farm Credit.

The scholarships are affiliated with Homegrown By Heroes, an Arkansas Department of Agriculture program that helps farmer veterans market their local agricultural products by labeling them as veteran-produced. Learn more about Homegrown by Heroes and find products grown or made by military veterans at arkansasgrown.org/homegrown-by-heroes/.

“We are proud to partner with Farm Credit to provide a scholarship for the men and women who have served our country in the military,” says Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward. “Military service members have many skills that make them great candidates for successful careers in agriculture. It is an honor to provide this scholarship as a way of thanking them for their service to our country.”

“The Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas appreciate the service Arkansas veterans and current military personnel give our country. We are pleased to help service members pursue careers in the agricultural field by sponsoring these scholarships,” said Brandon Haberer, CEO and president of Farm Credit of Western Arkansas.  

The Center for Arkansas Farms and Food’s Farm School is an 11-month program at the Milo Shult Ag Research and Extension Center on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville. The Farm School combines hands-on specialty crop farming with classes in production, business, and legal issues through classroom instruction and hands-on field activities. This comprehensive approach is specifically designed for beginning farmers of fruit, vegetable, flowers, and herbs who are interested in selling to local and regional markets. The 2023 program starts January 23, with classes and farm work scheduled for Monday through Thursday from 8:30 to 12:30. The total cost of the program is $2,500. More information about the Farm School can be found at LearnToFarm.org.

Selection of scholarship recipients will be based on career goals, goals for farm/ranch, experience, and financial need. Preference will be given to Arkansas Homegrown By Heroes members, but membership is not required.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

With more than $3.7 billion in assets, the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas support rural communities and agriculture across Arkansas with reliable, consistent credit and financial services today and tomorrow. In Arkansas, the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas are owned by the more than 22,000 customer-owners they serve. Through the cooperative structure, customer-owners have a voice and vote in the associations’ governance. Members also share in the cooperatives’ financial success through cooperative returns which total more than $293 million since 1997.
 

FBI LITTLE ROCK WARNS OF INCREASE IN SEXTORTION THREATS TARGETING NORTHWEST ARKANSAS
FBI Little Rock has noted an increase in sextortion schemes targeting children in the northwest Arkansas area. The FBI and local police in northwest Arkansas have received numerous reports of predators attempting to coerce young boys into sending sexual videos of themselves and then extorting money from these victims.

Here’s how this disturbing scheme works:
1. A predator (posing as a young girl on social media) uses deception and manipulation to convince a young male, usually 13 to 17 years old, to engage in explicit sexual activity over video chat.
2. The video is secretly recorded and saved by the predator.
3. The predator then reveals they have saved the recordings and attempts to extort money from the juvenile victim by threatening to post the videos across various social media platforms.
4. To receive money, the predator may ask for bank account login information or request gift cards.

Sextortion is a crime. The coercion of a child by an adult to produce child sexual abuse material (CSAM) carries heavy penalties, including life sentences for offenders. To make the victimization stop, children typically notify someone—normally a parent, teacher, caregiver, or law enforcement. The embarrassment children feel from the activity they were coerced to engage in usually prevents them from asking for help. Sextortion offenders frequently have dozens of victims around the world, so when a victim comes forward to help law enforcement identify a predator, they are likely preventing countless future incidents of sexual exploitation.

Here are some tips to protect adults and children online:
• Parents and children need to be selective about what they share online. If social media accounts are open to everyone, offenders can easily learn about parents and their children, and then use that information for predatory purposes.
• Be wary of anyone you encounter online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
• Predators can pretend to be anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they claim to be.
• Be highly suspicious if someone you meet on a game or app asks you to start communicating with them on a different platform.
• Encourage children to report suspicious behavior to a trusted adult.

If you know someone who may be a victim of sextortion in Arkansas:
1. Contact the FBI’s Arkansas Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force at 501-221-9100.
2. Do not delete anything before law enforcement is able to review it.
3. Tell law enforcement everything about the online encounters. It may be embarrassing, but it is necessary to find the predator.

COTTON STATEMENT ON DEATH OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after the death of Queen Elizabeth II:

“Anna and I join all Arkansans in mourning the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and expressing our deepest condolences to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth and the Royal Family.

The Queen embodied the highest standards of duty, service, and sacrifice for the nation throughout her life.  As a young teenage girl in World War II, she inspired the British people during her nation’s darkest hour and she ultimately joined the British Army.  During her remarkable seventy-year reign, she advised fifteen different prime ministers, beginning with Winston Churchill.  Her reign coincided with fourteen different presidents and ushered in a golden age in the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, an unparalleled alliance for freedom in the annals of history.  At every turn, Her Majesty always put her people and her nation above herself, setting an example for the ages of graceful and selfless service.

May Her Majesty rest in peace and may her legacy always guide the living.”

September 06, 2022

SEPTEMBER MARKS SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH
You are not alone. Help is available.
September marks Suicide Prevention Month. A national poll conducted in 2020 found that while 95% of Americans surveyed would do something if someone close to them was thinking about suicide, almost 70% of respondents identified barriers that keep them from discussing suicide with others. These barriers included not knowing what to say, not knowing where to turn for help, feeling they don't have enough knowledge, or not feeling comfortable with the topic.

As a result of the pandemic, however, the majority of those surveyed say that it is more important than ever to make suicide prevention a national priority. In addition, more than half of Americans are now more open to talking about their own mental health.

We are listening.

As a behavioral healthcare provider right in central Arkansas, the team at The BridgeWay is dedicated to #BeThere in a manner that promotes hope, resiliency, connectedness and recovery. Mental health services, evidence-based treatments and support are available. We are listening – and we can help.

If someone is experiencing an emotional crisis or thoughts of suicide, 24/7 assessments are available by contacting us directly. Further, public helplines include:

· 988, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that provides 24/7 no-cost and confidential support for individuals in distress, including prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. Simply call or text 988, or chat 988lifeline.org.

·The Veterans Crisis Line for U.S. Military Veterans, call 988, press 1.

·Trevor Lifeline, the only national 24/7 lifeline for LGBTQ youth, is reached at 1-866-488-7386.

Research indicates that a sense of belonging and social connectedness improves physical, mental and emotional well-being. In fact, connectedness is a proven protective factor against suicide. Make it a point to call a family member or friend and make an emotional connection each day. Showing sincere interest in another person’s life can build stronger relationships and listening to others’ issues can help shed new light on our own challenges.  

We want our community to know we are in this together, and each of us has a role to play in suicide prevention, not only during the month of September but all year long.
 

OUACHITA ELECTRIC TO HOST ELECTRIC DRIVE EVENT
Ouachita Electric will host an Electric Drive Event on September 29, 2022 from 1:00 until 3:00pm Ouachita Electric Headquarters located at 700 Bradley Ferry Road in Camden AR

Come take a test drive on Ouachita Electric and Today’s Power, Inc There will be several different electric vehicles available for viewing and test driving, including the new Ford Lightning F150 Truck.


EPA HIGHLIGHTS WEST FORK WHITE RIVER WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT SUCCESS
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division is pleased to announce that water quality improvement efforts on the West Fork White River that resulted in the river’s removal from the state’s impaired waterbodies list are featured in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) July 2022 Success Story publication. The success story highlights the efforts of the Watershed Conservation Resources Center, Beaver Watershed Alliance, Beaver Water District, and the Arkansas Water Resources Center, with funding from the Natural Resources Division.  The article and short videos highlighting this accomplishment can be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/natural-resources/divisions/water-management/nonpoint-source-management/

To be eligible as an EPA success story, there must be documentation of a waterbody’s improvement or removal from a state’s impaired waterbodies list. A total of 27.2 miles of the West Fork White River has been impaired since 1998 due to high levels of sediment and turbidity. As of 2018, the uppermost 16.5 miles of the river met the state’s water quality criterion for the first time since 1998.

The West Fork White River along with the Middle and East Fork White Rivers are among the major tributaries to the upper portion of Beaver Lake. Beaver Lake serves nearly 1 in 6 Arkansans with drinking water. With increased loss of vegetated stream buffers comes an increased streambank instability and erosion. This erosion increases suspended sediment downstream which poses a significant risk to surface water intakes. Erosion and sediment are the leading source and cause of water quality pollution in Arkansas and across the nation.

Draft lists of impaired waterbodies within Arkansas are submitted to the EPA by the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment which is currently working to submit the draft 2022 list. Once a new list is approved by the EPA, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture will continue to work with all partners to implement conservation practices and water quality monitoring effort to better inform future water impairment listings and to highlight water quality improvements.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


SAAC HOSTS JUBILEE CELEBRATION FOR ARTIST M DOUGLAS WALTON IN SEPTEMBER
During the month of September, the South Arkansas Arts Center will host a series of jubilee celebration events in honor of Ruston artist M. Douglas Walton. His exhibition “Jubilee: 50 Years of Teaching, 80 Years of Life with M Douglas Walton” will be on display in the Merkle, Price, and Lobby Galleries September 3-30. 

An open house from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on the evening of Saturday, September 10 will kick off the series of celebration events. On the following day, Sunday, September 11, a light lunch will be served between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm in the in the galleries, where guests can dine amidst the artwork. After lunch, Doug will present a retrospective lecture on his life and work, entitled “Journey to Find My Voice.” 

To cap off the week-long celebration, Walton is conducting a "Creative Jubilee Encounter Art Workshop" from 9am to 4pm Monday, September 12 through Friday, September 16 from 9am to 4pm Each day, the workshop will open with a lecture by Walton and close with a discussion and critique of students' work. 

Throughout the month, visitors to the gallery will also have the opportunity to bid on a special piece of artwork, “Fleeting Splendor.” It was donated by the artist to raise funds for SAAC’s “Reaching Higher” Capital Campaign, and the winning bid will receive this once-in-a-lifetime painting, while also making a noteworthy contribution to this important cause.

Walton, raised in Carmen, Oklahoma, developed a sensitivity to nature which is reflected in his art today. As a young and sensitive child, Walton spent his formative years sheltered from normal development of human interaction due to his inability to speak. However, this allowed him to internally explore the world and discover and nurture a keen spiritual realm of existence. By the time he was sixteen, he had overcome his speech problem and began his adventures in life by becoming an architect and an artist as well as embracing his special talent to communicate through the teaching of water-media painting. Receiving his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1965 from Oklahoma State University, Walton worked as an architect at Haas and Massey and Associates in Shreveport, Louisiana in his early career days and then as an Associate Professor of Architecture at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana where he taught architectural and watercolor classes. He has studied with noted watercolorists Edgar Whitney, Robert E. Wood, and Milford Zones. Walton has taught over 350 workshops in 22 states. Additionally, he has conducted a multitude of “Encounter Art Workshops” all over the world, including such places as Italy, Mexico, Bali, India, South Africa, Great Britain, Morocco, China, Indonesia, and The Netherlands.

With this celebration, it is Walton's intention and desire to encourage and inspire others: "Within each of us lies a talent of greatness. One must begin the process of becoming an artist without fear. We must let go of the doubt and truly believe in our ultimate capacity of great achievement. If we embrace discipline, there is no limit to our success.”

Seating for the luncheon on Sunday, September 11th is limited to 88 guests. Please make reservations on our web site at www.saac-arts.org or call 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East 5th Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. 
 

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ASSEMBLES NATIONAL LEADERS FOR UPCOMING SUMMIT
‘America Leads: An Ideas Summit’ aims to develop actionable ideas to strengthen America
Bentonville, Ark., Aug. 30, 2022 – Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is announcing more newsmakers to the lineup for the inaugural “America Leads: An Ideas Summit” with top leaders from across the nation including Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, former Oklahoma congressman J.C. Watts and former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.  

These prominent leaders will join keynote speaker Condoleezza Rice.  Additional speakers include Dr. Kori Schake, Klon Kitchen and John Bailey, all senior fellows at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The summit will take place Oct. 19 in Bentonville at the Momentary and will center on ideas that will guide America into the future.  The goal is to encourage problem-solving and practical solutions.

 “Rep. Watts and Governors Ducey and Haslam – along with Sec. Rice, Dr. Schake, Mr. Kitchen and Mr. Bailey – are excellent additions to the America Leads summit, as they all have careers full of front-line experience in business, government and research. They are leaders who know what is at stake in America and has practical ideas to protect freedom at home and abroad.” said Gov. Hutchinson.  “We are looking forward to the discussions around the challenges facing our nation and coming up with effective and workable solutions.”

Former congressman J.C. Watts is from Oklahoma and a celebrated athlete, businessman, and broadcast and cable news veteran who currently is chairman, president and CEO of JC Watts Holdings, a multi-industry holding company headquartered in Oklahoma City. In 1990, Watts was the first African American elected statewide in Oklahoma when he was elected to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. He became chairman of the commission before being elected to Congress in 1994. In 1998, he was elected by his peers to serve as chairman of the Republican Conference, the 4th ranking leadership position in the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives. Watts served on the Armed Services, Transportation and Banking committees. Watts helped develop the American Community Renewal/New Markets Act targeting underdeveloped communities and was the author of President Bush’s faith-based initiative. He also developed legislation with former congressman John Lewis to establish the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.

Governor Doug Ducey was elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018 with more votes than anyone in state history. Throughout his administration, Gov. Ducey has eliminated overburdensome regulations, fostered the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and reformed taxes every year he’s been in office—including signing the largest income tax cut in state history. With a prioritization in education, Arizona has invested over $11 billion dollars into K-12 education and brought per-pupil funding to a record high. He has also positioned Arizona as a national leader in school choice and civics education. Even with record investments and historic tax cuts, Governor Ducey has found a way to ensure Arizona’s insulated from future downturns, adding $1.4 billion dollars to the state’s Rainy Day Fund. He is a former businessman and CEO of Cold Stone Creamery who today also serves as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Bill Haslam is the former governor of the State of Tennessee. He was first elected in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014 with the largest victory in modern Tennessee history. Under his leadership, Tennessee became recognized as a national leader in education, economic development, efficient and effective government, and fiscal strength. During his two terms as governor, Tennessee students were the fastest improving in the country in academic achievement, and high school graduation rates reached an all-time high. Tennessee became the first state in the nation to offer high school graduates and adults two years of community or technical college free of mandatory tuition and fees as part of the governor’s Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs. Approximately 450,000 private sector jobs were created during his time in office, and Tennessee’s unemployment rate reached the lowest level recorded in state history. Since leaving office, Haslam has returned to the private sector and continues to be engaged on many local and national issues. He is currently the chair of the Wilson Center and serves on the National Board of Directors for Teach for America and Young Life Board.

John Bailey serves as a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a fellow at the George W. Bush Institute, and as an advisor to the Walton Family Foundation. He served as a domestic policy advisor in the White House coordinating the policy process with agencies and White House including ESEA, the Higher Education Act, job training, and the Trade Adjustment Assistance reauthorization. Bailey served as the Deputy Policy Director to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce where he helped to write the first pandemic preparedness plan. He also served as Director of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. He co-founded the strategic advisory firm Whiteboard Advisors, served as a senior program officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and most recently was the VP of Policy for Governor Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education.

The summit is hosted by America Strong and Free, Inc., an education and advocacy organization. More information regarding event details, additional panelists, guest speakers and tickets will be announced soon.


ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OPENS ORGANIC CERTIFICATION COST SHARE PROGRAM
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications from producers for reimbursement under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Certification Cost Share Program. Organic certification fees paid between the dates of October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022, are eligible. Applications for reimbursement are available at cognitoforms.com/ArkansasAgriculture1/NationalOrganicCertificationCostShare Application and are due by November 1, 2022.

Reimbursement for 50% of eligible certification costs up to $500 is available for operators who have been certified by a USDA accredited certifying agent. Certification costs that have already been reimbursed through the USDA-Farm Service Agency or other agencies are not eligible. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture administers the USDA National Organic Certification Cost Share Program through funding provided by the USDA.

“Anything we can do to help offset costs for Arkansas producers is a win for agriculture, which is our state’s largest industry,” says Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the USDA on this program that provides important cost-share assistance to an expanding sector of Arkansas’s agricultural industry.”

According to the latest data available from the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service, organic production in Arkansas has grown significantly since 2012. From 2012 to 2019, the number of farms selling organically produced commodities increased from 32 farms to 67. Sales of organic products increased from $789,000 in 2012 to over $55 million in 2019, an increase of almost 6,900 percent.

For questions about the application or the reimbursement process, contact Karen Reynolds at 501-529- 1630 or karen.reynolds@agriculture.arkansas.gov.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

August 25, 2022

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T GET TACKLED BY A TICKET CON
LITTLE ROCK – As mild temperatures arrive, so do fall sports. When Arkansans decide to take in a live football game at any of our great institutions, it is important they don’t get tackled into buying fake tickets. Oftentimes scammers will try to take advantage of fans by selling tickets that are fake, duplicates or don’t exist at all. They may use high-pressure-sales tactics to scam Arkansans in to buying tickets using deals that seem unbelievable and many times are.

“Enjoying sports is a cherished fall tradition in Arkansas,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Everyone deserves to cheer on a favorite team without worrying about trick plays from scammers trying to steal cash.”

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 before purchasing. Ask for section, row and seat numbers to avoid obstructed views and purchasing tickets that do not exist.

Stick with well-known ticket sellers who offer guarantees and policies that protect buyers and have the ability to investigate and restrict accounts of merchants who violate the policies.

If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Refuse to be rushed. Scam artists often try to hurry prospective buyers into making a decision.

According to AARP, nearly 5 million consumers receive fraudulent concert, sporting event and theme park tickets each year.  We can all do our part by ensuring our neighbors, friends, and families are educated on the deceptive practices of scammers and ways to avoid them.

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

For more information on other tips to avoid being scammed and other consumer-related issues, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982.

 

PROTECTION PROVIDED BY VENDOR TO AFFECTED MEMBERS OF ARKANSAS BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD/BLUEADVANTAGE ADMINISTRATORS AND HEALTH ADVANTAGE FOLLOWING VENDOR RANSOMWARE ATTACK  
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (August 24, 2022) – Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield/Blue Advantage Administrators of Arkansas and Health Advantage, announce today support for current and former members whose information was accessed through a vendor that was the target of a ransomware attack. Steps are being taken by the vendor to protect approximately 12, 328 members whose information may have been affected. 

The ransomware attack occurred at North Highland Company, LLC, which conducted customer satisfaction surveys for Arkansas Blue Cross/Blue Advantage and Health Advantage, including a predictive analytics project to help determine how to improve the quality of programs and services to members. North Highland, which no longer provides predictive analytics services to Arkansas Blue Cross/BlueAdvantage or Health Advantage, had members’ personal information in their computer files which may have been exposed in the ransomware attack.

It is important to note that the North Highland ransomware attack did not involve Arkansas Blue Cross/ BlueAdvantage or Health Advantage computer systems or data. The entire incident was limited to North Highland and its computers and records.

North Highland mailed letters this week to affected members notifying them of the ransomware attack and providing detailed instructions on how to sign up for 12 months of free identity detection, resolution of identity theft and credit monitoring services that North Highland will be providing through Experian’s® IdentityWorks.SM.

“Keeping members’ personal information secure is a top priority,” said Kathy Ryan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Arkansas Blue Cross. “We understand the inconvenience and frustration that this incident creates. We hope to alleviate concerns by informing members of the valuable services being made available to help protect their information.

North Highland is continuing its investigation alongside law enforcement personnel and is enacting technical remedial measures to help prevent future incidents. While North Highland has no indication the information stolen during the attack has been used illegally, the company is exercising an abundance of caution to protect members. 

Information potentially exposed includes names, dates of birth, member IDs, diagnostic codes, procedural codes, genders and certain provider information. According to North Highland, member Social Security and financial information were not affected by this ransomware attack.  

“While this incident did not occur at Arkansas Blue Cross/BlueAdvantage or Health Advantage, we want our affected members to know that we take this data event very seriously,” said Ryan. “We encourage members to be watching for the upcoming letter from North Highland containing more details and contact information should they have any questions regarding the protection services being provided to them by North Highland.”
 

MURDER CHARGE FILED IN FRANKLIN COUNTY BODY CASE
AUGUST 24, 2022
Maurice Anthony Richardson, 60, of Fort Smith, was charged today with first degree murder in connection with the death of Tonia Tram Tran. 

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police served the arrest warrant on Richardson at the Sebastian County Jail.  State police arrested Richardson on Saturday (August 20th) on theft charges related to the homicide.

Copies of the dated news releases related to Tran’s case follow:  

FRANKLIN COUNTY BODY FOUND EARLIER THIS MONTH IDENTIFIED

AUGUST 21, 2022

The body of a woman found August 10th south of Interstate 40 along Arkansas Highway 186 has been identified

Tonia Tram Tran, 53, sustained multiple injuries and her body left on an abandoned driveway north of Altus (Franklin County).  She had moved to Fort Smith earlier this year and previously resided in Garden Grove, California.

The state police investigation remains active as special agents continue to follow leads in the case.

VICTIM OF APPARENT HOMICIDE DISCOVERED
IN FRANKLIN COUNTY, IDENTIFICATION UNKNOWN
AUGUST 10, 2022
Franklin County sheriff’s deputies received a report about 6:30 AM today of body laying near Arkansas Highway 186, south of Interstate 40 near Altus. 

The sheriff’s department has asked the Arkansas State Police to lead the investigation.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the identity of the female victim is unknown and her body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the manner and cause of death.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are treating the case as a homicide.


COTTON STATEMENT ON COURT’S BLOCKING OF ARKANSAS TRANSGENDER YOUTH LAWa
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a hold on Arkansas’s law to ban transgender medical interventions for children:

“Our legislature voted to protect kids from experimental drugs and surgeries that could permanently damage their health and well-being. By blocking this law again, the court has kept the fate of Arkansas’s children in the hands of liberal activists who support ‘sex-changes’ for children.”

August 24, 2022

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS MONTICELLO ANNOUNCE FORESTERS FOR THE FUTURE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT FOR 2022
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division and the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) have named Pryce Jones as the recipient of the 2022 Foresters for the Future Scholarship. The scholarship provides $4,000 per semester, for four years, to an incoming freshman pursuing a forestry degree at UAM’s College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources. 

Pryce Jones, from Arlington, Tennessee, owns and operates a lawn and landscape business in his hometown and hopes to restore his family’s forestland in Fordyce, Arkansas. This restoration project, along with his passion for the outdoors, led Jones to pursue a Forestry degree.
“My grandparents have a little over 900 acres of timberland,” Pryce said. “I believe that coming to UAM will benefit me the most in learning how to manage that land and bring it back to its former glory, while also getting a great education.”

Jones aims to build a career in timber management and looks forward to getting involved in forestry activities on campus.

“I love the forestry program here. It's personable and close and everybody really knows everybody,” he said. “I'm anxious to get involved in as many different clubs and things that will benefit my future.”

“Pryce has demonstrated a great work ethic, as exemplified by his building a substantial lawn and landscaping business while still in high school. He also has a deep commitment to sustainable forest management and family ties to southern Arkansas. I’m pleased that this scholarship provides financial assistance and work experience for an up-and-coming young forester like Pryce,” said Dr. Michael Blazier, dean of the UAM College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources.

Foresters for the Future Scholarship recipients will participate in a paid internship exploring the various sections of the Forestry Division annually through their college career. The internship will allow them to experience the many career paths within forestry and strengthen their skill set before they enter their respective field.

Foresters for the Future Scholarship recipients will participate in a paid internship exploring the various sections of the Forestry Division annually through their college career. The internship will allow them to experience the many career paths within forestry and strengthen their skill set before they enter their respective field.

“Our goal with the Foresters for the Future Scholarship is to attract young leaders to forestry careers,” said State Forester Joe Fox. “Pryce Jones has begun his journey as a future leader, and we are excited to provide him this opportunity with UAM.”

The scholarship program was established by Act 399 of the 2021 Regular Session of the Arkansas General Assembly. The underlying legislation, House Bill 1389, was sponsored by Representative Ken Bragg and Senator Ben Gilmore and was signed into law by Governor Hutchinson on March 17, 2021.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, a University of Arkansas System Center of Excellence, brings together interdisciplinary expertise through a partnership between the University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The College and Center are headquartered at the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus, but their programs range statewide with the mission of developing and delivering teaching, research, and extension programs that enhance and ensure the sustainability and productivity of forest-based natural resources and agricultural systems. Academic programs are delivered by the College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources through the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Through the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, research is administered by the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, and extension and outreach activities are coordinated by the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

The University of Arkansas at Monticello offers all of their programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and are Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employers.

 

SAAC DRAMA CLUB HOSTS AUDITIONS FOR "DISNEY'S FROZEN, JR."
The South Arkansas Arts Center Drama Club's production of “Disney’s Frozen JR.”will be taking the SAAC stage by (snow) storm this fall!The Drama Club production kicks off with auditions for grades 2-6 on August 27 with auditions for grades 7-12 on August 30. The production, sponsored by Southern Airways Express, a is scheduled for Dec 9-11.

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! 

The fabulous, all-female production team of Director Lynn Gunter, Music Director Cassie Hickman, and Assistant Director Kathy Neilson 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 an English teacher at El Dorado High School. Over the last 9 years, she has directed over 20 productions, mostly on the SAAC stage including “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Seussical the Musical.” Gunter is a resident of Huttig, where her husband is pastor of Huttig First Baptist Church. Gunter has a BA in Speech Communications and has traveled the Tri-State and national collegiate circuit in forensics and debate.

“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 Gunter.

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 drama and 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. Cassie has most recently been on stage in SAAC’s Summer Musical production of “Mamma Mia!” in the role of Rosie.

“The excitement is building with the fact that Frozen is finally getting on the stage after a two year wait,” said Cassie. “This play will bring delight to everyone from the young to the old. Be honest, whenever anyones hears, ‘Let It Go!’ play, they automatically start singing along.”

Kathy Nielsen, a California transplant, is a local entrepreneur with a BS in Marketing from Cal State Sacramento. She created and single handedly runs FarmGirl, an artistic, furniture refurbishing business. It includes handmade jewelry, signs, vintage items and antique finds. FarmGirl is located at Main St Antiques, Everybody’s Antiques, and Speckled Rooster. When not covered in paint & perspiration, she scours Arkansas to find all things vintage and to bring the wonderful farmhouse, shabby, mid-century looks to Union County. She also loves working with children and has spent the last 20 years creating programs, directing and serving in Awanas, VBS, The Spot at IBC and Calvary Chapel in California, homeschooling her daughter Ashley (SAAC enthusiast and artist) and was the Assistant Director of Penguin Project Seussical. “I am looking forward with great excitement to being back in the theater creating magic with Lynn & Cassie in Disney’s Frozen, Jr.,” said Kathy.

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 call SAAC at 870-862-5474.

 

WESTERMAN COSPONSORS LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT REGIONAL PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES IN ARKANSAS AND NATIONWIDE
WASHINGTON - Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) joined Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) in introducing H.R. 8688 – Boosting University Investments in Low-Income Districts (BUILD) Act. This bipartisan legislation would establish a designation for regional public universities located in distressed communities, making those universities eligible for federal grants to spur economic and community development projects to build stronger, more resilient communities.

“I am proud to co-sponsor Congressman Costa’s BUILD Act to foster the economic success of low income communities by investing in Regional Public Universities that otherwise would not have access to the grants available to large, land grant universities. Regional universities are instrumental in community wide development and raising the standard of living across the board. By providing specialized grant opportunities with guard rails to ensure responsible utilization, Fourth District institutions such as Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University Main Campus, the University of Arkansas at Monticello, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will be empowered to better serve their communities. I’m also proud to work across the aisle with my friend Jim Costa on an issue that transcends partisanship and does good for hard-working folks in rural America.” said Rep. Westerman. 

“Regional Public Universities like Fresno State spur economic and community development in distressed communities along the Central Valley,” said Rep. Costa. “For far too long, these institutions have been left behind from receiving critical funding. As an alumnus and former Fresno State Bulldog, I am proud to introduce this groundbreaking legislation that could provide significant investments to bolster our regional economy and build new opportunities for Valley residents to thrive.” 

Background
Regional Public Universities (RPU) promote economic and community development for distressed communities by supporting the workforce and leading to faster employment growth, along with a higher per capita income. The United States provides a significant amount of federal funding for large universities, both public and private, such as R1s and land-grant institutions that are in distressed communities. For example, R1 research universities receive robust federal funding through so-called “indirect costs,” which are the portion of federal research funding that goes to cover general university overhead.

This bill would close the federal funding gap between large, public research universities and regional public universities by creating a special designation that sets aside funding for RPUs. The universities that would be eligible for this funding must be four-year colleges, rely on in-state enrollment, and not research universities (R1) or land grant universities.

The BUILD Act would establish a grant program for designated “Regional Public Universities” that would provide federal grants between $25-50 million over five years for the following: 

Address Regional Public Health Challenges: Build and maintain health clinics accessible to the public on or near the campus of the institution of higher education. It would also provide opportunities to educate, recruit, and train members of the community to become healthcare professionals.

Early-Stage Business Seed Money: Support local entrepreneurs with opportunities to apply for federal grants that can help start or grow a business and support small business development.   

Modernize the Broadband Network: Build and maintain municipal broadband networks and related infrastructure for eligible and designated higher education institutions.

Revitalize Critical Infrastructure: Renovate, construct, or maintain buildings that benefit the community, including libraries, laboratories, housing for students, museums, theaters, and art centers.

Strengthen the Workforce: Partner with industries and higher education institutions to create jobs, which would help decrease the unemployment rate in the community.

This legislation would grant up to $1.7 billion per year for five years for this program and could benefit up to 174 public four-year universities including FOUR institutions in Arkansas' Fourth District: Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University Main Campus, University of Arkansas at Monticello, and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Arkansas' Fourth District would be in the top 10 districts for the number of eligible schools.


COTTON WILL OFFER ALTERNATIVE TO STUDENT LOAN BAILOUT PLAN
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after President Biden announced his plan to “forgive” student loan debt.

“There is no such thing as student loan forgiveness—this is a bailout, paid for by the large majority of Americans who never went to college or who responsibly paid off their debts. Even worse, President Biden’s plan ignores the true culprit: bloated, self-serving colleges. I’ll be introducing a bill to hold these colleges accountable for debt, lower tuition, support non-college career paths, and save the taxpayers billions.”

August 23, 2022

FARMERS BANK FOUNDATION TO PRESENT SOUTH ARKANSAS OUTDOOR SOCIAL BENEFITING ARKANSAS GAME & FISH FOUNDATION
Magnolia, AR (August 11, 2022) – The Farmers Bank Foundation is gearing up for its third annual Arkansas Game & Fish Foundation (AGFF) fundraiser, now named the South Arkansas Outdoor Social. Traditionally a trap shooting tournament, the event includes a Fishing Derby and Red Dirt Country Concert. All events will take place the weekend of September 16 and 17, 2022, in Magnolia, Arkansas, on the Southern Arkansas University campus.

The weekend will kick off with a Fishing Derby at the SAU Engineering/Armory Pond from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 16. The Fishing Derby is free to attend, with fishing gear available for use, and no sign-up is required. A fishing license is required, and participants can take their catch per the legal limit. Open to under 16 or over 65, a disabled fishing license holder, or properly licensed persons between 16 and 64 may fish if accompanied by a person under 16 who is actively fishing. Prizes will be presented from the AGFF, and hot dogs, chips, and drinks will be available for $5.

On Saturday, September 17, 2022, the trapshooting tournament will take place at the Farmers Bank & Trust Trapshooting Range located on Southern Arkansas University’s Governor Ben T. Laney Farm. The tournament will begin at 8 a.m. and is accepting 5-person teams. The entry fee is $100 per person for 50 targets, and ammunition is included in the fee. In addition to the tournament, there will be a 50/50 money shoot and a silent auction online. For the money shoot, the entry fee is $20 per person, and the winner splits the pot with the AGFF.

The weekend will conclude with a free Red Dirt Country Concert on Saturday, September 17, starting at 6:00 p.m. at the SAU Alumni Center. The band Saints Eleven will begin at 7:00 p.m., and the Drew Fish Band will start at 8:30 p.m. Concessions will be sold at the event, including wristbands for $30. MK Distributors is a premier sponsor for the Red Dirt County Concert.

All proceeds will benefit the Arkansas Game & Fish Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting hunting, fishing, and conservation education among the youth of Arkansas. The Farmers Bank Foundation is also looking for additional sponsorships ranging from $300 to $1,500. Sponsors and teams can sign up online before September 12 by visiting www.myfarmers.bank/agfftrapshoot. The event will also include a silent auction.
 

FEDERAL COURT RULES ARKANSAS STATUTE ON VOTER ASSISTANCE VIOLATES FEDERAL VRA
(FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.) – A federal court has ruled that a section of Arkansas’ election law that places limits on who may provide assistance to voters, including those who are not proficient in English, violates the federal Voting Rights Act.

In a 39-page ruling issued late Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy L. Brooks concludes that “Arkansas has determined that voters should only get the assistor of their choice up to a point, but there is no evidence Congress contemplated this numerical restriction on the right provided by (VRA’s) § 208.”

“Without any basis, Arkansas has sought to set an arbitrary limit on assistance to duly registered voters,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) president and general counsel.  “Such a limit is fundamentally anti-democratic, and the federal court has now appropriately eliminated the state’s arbitrary limit on American democracy.”

At issue is a section of Arkansas’ election code that prohibits voters from selecting an individual of their choice to help them vote when that individual has already helped six other voters.

In 2020, MALDEF and attorney Lawrence A. Walker sued Arkansas officials, challenging the six-person limit as a violation of Section 208 of the federal VRA, which provides that a voter who requires assistance to vote, including for reasons of inability to read the ballot or language assistance due to limited English proficiency, may bring a person of his or her choice to assist in casting the ballot.

 “This is an important win for our clients, the Latino community and every disenfranchised voter in Arkansas. Under federal law every voter who needs assistance has a protected right to an assistor of their choice and now every Arkansan does too. Arkansas United and other organizations like them can now provide critical assistance, such as translation or finding their polling place, to Arkansas’ voters who need it in order to participate in our fundamental right to vote,” said Griselda Vega Samuel, MALDEF’s Regional Counsel, Midwest.  

The judge rejected Arkansas’ argument that the six-voter limit would only present an obstacle to voting in a ‘far-fetched’ and implausible situation. “That scenario is far from ‘implausible.’ Take, for example, a family where a teenage child is fluent in English, but her parents, older siblings, and grandparents are not. Those family members may all wish to have the English-speaking child translate their voting materials for them. But some of the family members would be thwarted by the six-voter limit,” wrote Judge Brooks.

MALDEF represents Arkansas United, an immigrants’ rights group, and its executive director, L. Mireya Reith. Founded in 2010, Arkansas United advocates for immigrant populations in the state, including working on non-partisan get-out-the-vote efforts among naturalized citizens.

MALDEF recently filed a similar lawsuit challenging a Missouri election provision that disenfranchises voters with limited English proficiency or with disabilities who require assistance in casting a ballot.

In the Arkansas case, the court denied State and County Defendants’ motions for summary judgment, as well as, partially granting and partially denying Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, by allowing Arkansas’ assistor-tracking provision to remain in place so the state can continue to keep track of what individuals provide assistance to which voters.
 

ENTERGY ARKANSAS HELPING CUSTOMERS BEAT THE HEAT
Record temps prompt weatherization help, bill relief for those in need
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – This summer brought one of the earliest and longest stretches of high temperatures at a time when prices have increased for everything from gasoline to groceries. Because of the stress these challenging market conditions have placed on customers, Entergy Arkansas is stepping up to help.

Entergy Arkansas is expanding corporate contributions by $1.8 million and implementing a series of measures to assist our customers and communities, including:

  • Increasing contributions for bill assistance to The Power to Care. The Power to Care is an Entergy Arkansas program that is administered by the Salvation Army to assist qualified elderly and disabled customers in paying their electric bills.
  • Providing funds to the Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association to help with bill assistance.
  • Providing bill assistance to Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed (ALICE) customers across the state through the United Way.
  • Working with local community partners to provide support, including grants for fans through Beat the Heat program, and assisting customers with Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP) applications.
  • Organizing Entergy Arkansas employee volunteers to conduct energy efficiency and weatherization events in select neighborhoods, energy efficiency kits and weatherization to homes.
  • Participating in community events in the coming weeks and providing additional support beyond bill relief, such as donating food and schools supplies.

 

Through September, Entergy Arkansas is crediting late fees for residential customers and also crediting fees for all residential customers who pay with credit cards through September.

“We understand the economic challenges our customers and communities are currently facing,” said Ventrell Thompson, Entergy Arkansas vice president of customer service, “and we are doing more to help our customers, especially the most vulnerable and those who have trouble making ends meet.”

Record temperatures this summer kept air conditioners working overtime, leading to increased energy usage. Customers across Entergy service areas in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas reached an all-time high June 24, consuming nearly 22,000 megawatts and breaking the record set July 2021.

According to the National Weather Service, Arkansas experienced 13 days of 100 degrees or greater in July, while the average high temperature was the warmest since 2012 and the ninth warmest on record. On Monday Aug. 15, the high temperature of 104 in Little Rock tied the record first set Aug. 15, 1943.

Studies show central heat and air units account for more than 50% of a customer’s bill year-round, and with high summer temperatures comes higher usage and increased utility costs. If a customer turns down a thermostat below 78 degrees, the bill could be as much as 3 to 5% higher for each degree colder. If customers keep the thermostat at 68 degrees, their usage can be as much as 30% higher. 

The company currently offers several bill management tools that allow customers to gain a better understanding of their energy use and better manage their payment options.

  • With myEntergy, we offer a number of flexible options for you to choose how your energy bill is calculated, as well as when, where and how you pay it. Customers can log in to their myEntergy account and their myAdvisor dashboard to access a number of useful resources, usage and cost, bill history, bill projection, bill analyzer and more.
  • PaperFree billing allows customers to get their Entergy bill delivered directly to their email as soon as it posts.
  • AutoPay allows customers to avoid late fees, writing checks and paying for postage by having their bill automatically deduct from their bank account.
  • Pick-A-Day allows customers to take full control of their budget by paying their bill on the date that works best for them.
  • Level Billing allows customers to keep their Entergy bill around the same amount each month.

More information on our enhanced programs and services to help residential customers, as well as customer resources and frequently asked questions, can be found at www.entergy.com/answers/ or by calling 1-800-ENTERGY.

About Entergy Arkansas
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 728,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR), an integrated energy company engaged in electric power production, transmission and retail distribution operations. Entergy delivers electricity to 3 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy owns and operates one of the cleanest large-scale U.S. power generating fleets with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including 7,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy has annual revenues of $10 billion and approximately 12,500 employees.

 

USACE VICKSBURG DISTRICT CELEBRATES HISTORY, PERSONNEL SERVICE AT 18TH ANNUAL FOUNDER’S DAY
VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District commemorated 149 years of service to the nation and recognized distinguished personnel service with Founder’s Day at district headquarters on Aug. 18.

This year’s special recognition award ceremony included civil engineer Brian Oliver, who received the USACE Instrumentation and Performance Monitoring Award for his leadership in and commitment to evaluation and assessment of instrumentation data.

Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)/G-6 employees D.W. Long and Mark Gause also received certificates of appreciation for their technological support and exceptional customer service to the district.

Eight employees graduated from the Vicksburg District Leadership Program (VLDP). The VLDP is a year-long undertaking that provides personnel with extracurricular assignments designed to acclimate them to future supervisory positions. The graduates included Rachelle Androwski, Tim Campion, Matthew Clark, Chris Gurner, Caleb McNair, Story Moller, Carrie Ogborn-Smith and Steven Tuggle.

The incoming VLDP class of 2023 was announced and includes Cody Barfield, Laura Barlow, Jamie Lynn Barnes, Jennifer Brown, Mabry Dye, Resa Holmes, Judy Huell, Richard Jones, Lakenya Thomas-Coleman and Jon Munz.

Finally, the incoming Emerging Leader (EL) class of 2024 was announced and includes Cheryl Boyd and Jack Hinton. The two-year program is designed to allow supervisory personnel with hands-on experience and mentoring from leadership members.

The district was founded Aug. 18, 1873, when Capt. William Henry Harrison Benyaurd opened a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Monroe, Louisiana. The first permanent Vicksburg office was established in 1884. Following the Great Flood of 1927 and subsequent Flood Control Act of 1928, the district created a comprehensive flood control program centered around the Mississippi River. The effort’s lasting effects include four Mississippi lakes and three Arkansas lakes created as flood control reservoirs, as well as numerous miles of Mississippi River mainline levees and other flood control structures. The Vicksburg District’s projects and personnel continue to serve the region, the nation, and the world.

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 Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.

 

REACHING HIGHER CONCERT COMING TO SAAC
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to announce the “Reaching Higher Concert” on Friday, August 26th at 7 p.m. in the Callaway Theatre. A cabaret and classical music concert will be provided by lyric coloratura soprano Elizabeth Hunter Ashley and pianist Melinda Morse, playing the SAAC's Steinway grand piano. At the invitation of Michelle and Steve Smart, Ashley and Morse, who is a native of Crossett, will be performing to help raise funds for the capital campaign building project. The concert will be preceded by a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., sponsored by Suzy and Drew Sheppard.

With a Master’s Degree in Music, Elizabeth Hunter Ashley is a lyric coloratura soprano who is classically trained and has worked extensively as a professional soloist throughout the United States and internationally. Additionally, she teaches vocals at her private voice instruction business “The Performance Studio.” Miss Austin 1984, Miss Minnesota 1985, and Austin Music Hall of Fame Recipient, Ashley continues to be blessed with honors: 2022 “Woman of the Year” in the field of Music from Top 100 Registry; 2021 Winner of the Prestige Awards, “Vocal Coach of the Year” by Corporate Live Wire California; 2018-2019-2020 “Best of Danville - Vocal Instructor” Business Hall of Fame, California.

Raised in Crossett in a family of six children, Melinda Morse experienced a childhood full of music making. As a result, she pursued her love of music both scholastically and professionally. Morse acquired a Master's Degree in Music while also teaching in the Memphis, Tennessee public schools. Upon completion of 37 years as a public-school instructor, Morse retired and has continued her piano studies from her home. Recently, she advanced to the finals in the 2021 Washington D.C. International Piano Amateur Competition and in the Silver Stream 2022 Boston International Piano Amateur Competition.

Morse and Ashley, both accomplished professionals in their own right, are joining forces in this concert tour traveling to their hometown states, sharing their collaboration and excellent musicianship. Having known each other for over 24 years working together in orchestra performances, concert settings, philanthropy, they share their gift to others through Morse's original compositions, classical and cabaret music. Bookending the concert with Puccini arias, Elizabeth will be performing classics by Gershwin and Barber before pivoting to lighter cabaret numbers. These include 1940s classics such as "Don't Get Around Much Anymore” and of course, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Melinda accompanies Elizabeth throughout as well taking center stage for solo piano classics including Chopin's romantic "Fantasy Impromptu." Unique to the duo's concert are three compositions by Melinda, arranged for the brilliant vocal range and expressive talents of Elizabeth: "Her Eyes" and "After the Song of Spring."

Donations for this fundraiser will be taken at the door. To reserve a seat for the “Reaching Higher Concert,” please call SAAC at 870-862-5474. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.
 

BOOZMAN, CFTC COMMISSIONERS GET FIRSTHAND LOOK AT BLOCKCHAIN CENTER OF EXCELLENCE
Bipartisan Crypto Legislation Authored by Ag Committee Leaders Continues to Build Momentum
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioners Christy Goldsmith Romero and Summer Mersinger got a firsthand look at the Blockchain Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas today while discussing a path forward to bring more consumer protection to the crypto industry.

Boozman, who recently introduced the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act of 2022 to give the CFTC new tools and authorities to regulate digital commodities, invited the commissioners to Arkansas to further the discussion on how a mandatory framework will safeguard customers and markets. 

“There is simply no substitute for visits like this to ensure we are making informed decisions. The Blockchain Center of Excellence and the CFTC have been important partners to my office as we worked to draft this legislation, sharing crucial insight into the real-world impacts of the bill. The center truly is on the forefront of research of digital assets and more of our leading businesses are embracing the technology, positioning Arkansas as a leader in this emerging field and making it an ideal spot to further this discussion,” Boozman said.

“As a sponsor of the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee, I am thrilled to join Senator Boozman at the University of Arkansas School of Law’s Blockchain Center of Excellence. The Blockchain Center is furthering a critical public discussion about the potential of blockchain technology to benefit American businesses and households,” said Commissioner Goldsmith Romero. “I am thankful to Senator Boozman for introducing me to the Blockchain Center. Senator Boozman has been a leader in working across the aisle with Senator Debbie Stabenow and other colleagues to bring digital assets, like Bitcoin, into a regulatory framework that focuses on the need to protect customers, safeguard customer assets, and address regulatory gaps.”

“It was an honor to join Ranking Member Boozman today for this meeting at the University of Arkansas’ Center for Blockchain Excellence to see firsthand how they are preparing students for critical jobs in this cutting-edge industry. At the CFTC, we have seen firsthand how blockchain technology is being utilized in everything from commodities trading to farming. Ensuring a well-educated, domestic workforce is crucial to ensuring US competitiveness in developing and implementing blockchain technology throughout our economy.  Arkansans should be proud of both the key leadership roles both Ranking Member Boozman and the University of Arkansas are playing in our nation’s approach to the digital asset and blockchain technology space,” said Commissioner Mersinger.

The Blockchain Center of Excellence was established in May of 2018 within the Department of Information Systems in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Its mission is to make the Sam M. Walton College of Business a premier academic leader in research and education of blockchain-enabled technologies and digital ecosystems.

“The Blockchain Center of Excellence and the University of Arkansas School of Law are thrilled to witness Senator Boozman’s work and leadership in the crypto space. It is a daunting task to balance the need for regulation while simultaneously encouraging technological innovation, and the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act of 2022 could help to plug regulatory holes without stifling business development,” said Professor Carol Goforth, a member of the faculty network at the Blockchain Center and the Clayton N. Little Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law.

August 17, 2022

TWO SHOOTING INCIDENTS ON LITTLE ROCK METRO INTERSTATES ADDED TO ASP INVESTIGATIONS
AUGUST 16, 2022
Since Monday (August 15th), two additional cases have been added to the ongoing investigations of shooting incidents that occurred on interstate highways in the Little Rock metro area during the past weekend.  Both cases were brought to the attention of the state police special agents by vehicle drivers following yesterday’s joint news conference involving the Little Rock Police Department, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department and Arkansas State Police.

The new cases are listed below:
12:40 PM, Saturday, August 13th, Interstate 440 at U.S. Highway 70, shots fired at a Chevrolet Malibu (no injuries).
1:55 PM, Saturday, August 13th, Interstate 440 at Bankhead, shots fired at a Cadillac Escalade (no injuries).

The Arkansas State Police is investigating a total of six cases of gunfire directed at individuals traveling along Little Rock interstate highways.  In two of the six cases, a total of two individuals sustained non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are attempting to determine if any evidence recovered from the six cases and statements provided by the victims might indicate whether the cases are related.


CADC BOARD OF DIRECTORS TO MEET
The Board of Directors of Central Arkansas Development Council will have a board meeting Saturday, August 27, 2022 at 10:00 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.


TREASURER OF STATE DENNIS MILLIGAN RELEASES FY 2022 INVESTMENT REPORT
Earnings under Milligan near one-half billion
Aug. 16, 2022 (Little Rock, Ark.) – The state treasury earned $69.9 million during fiscal year 2022, which ran from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan reported to the State Board of Finance today.

“That’s nearly double the $35.4 million we earned in FY 21 and brings the total amount receipted under my administration to $498.9 million,” Milligan said.

Earnings for the 4th quarter, which ran from April through June, were $24.8 million. While the U.S. economy remained volatile and inflation continued to rise during the 4th quarter, the treasury saw positive growth in its portfolio, particularly in short-term investments such as money market funds, demand accounts and commercial paper. These funds rely heavily on the federal interest rate. The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates by 0.5% in May and another 0.75% in June. The rate increases also affected the treasury’s long-term investments such as mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasuries, Milligan said.

“While these rate increases are hitting Americans’ pocketbooks – from car and mortgage loans to credit cards – the Treasury’s investment portfolio is not feeling that impact,” Milligan said, adding that the state treasury operates solely within the fixed-income market. “As interest rates rise, it allows us to reinvest principal from previously-purchased securities at a higher yield. So we’re feeling a more positive impact.”

Milligan also reported that the state’s investment portfolio has more than doubled in size during his administration.

END OF SUMMER PATROLS AIMED AT IMPAIRED DRIVERS
AUGUST 15, 2022
Arkansas motorists will begin to see more Arkansas State Troopers, sheriff’s deputies and local police on patrol later this week.  The increased presence of law enforcement officers on state highways and local roads is part of a joint mission with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) to stop impaired driving.

Beginning Friday (August 19th) law enforcement agencies across the country will step-up patrols through the remainder of the summer and during the upcoming Labor Day holiday that ends on September 6th.  Drivers should always remember, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Statistical reports from NHTSA indicate 11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 that involved an alcohol impaired driver.  On average, more than 10,000 people were killed each year from 2016 to 2020, and one person was killed in a drunk driving crash every 45 minutes in 2020.

“We want Arkansans to understand it’s our first priority to keep people safe,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “No one gets a free pass; drunk drivers go to jail.”

 

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW SCHOOL BOARD TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will hold the regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 16th at 6:30 pm at Garrison Auditorium. The Agenda is as follows:
Call to order
Approval of minutes of previous meetings
Unfinished Business
     None
New Business
     Introduction of new employees.
     Presentation of Reading Volunteer program.
     Presentation of Ivory Intermediate house system.
     Presentation and recommendation of the Athletic Program Policies. 
     Presentation and recommendation regarding School Resource Officer Agreement.
     Presentation and recommendation to use Arkansas School Board Association as provider model policy.
     Presentation and Recommendation to move the September board meeting to September 27, 2022.
     Update on facility and renovation projects.
     Facility Rentals

Superintendent’s report to the Board
Financial report
Personnel
     Hiring
     Resignation

 

CAMDEN AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, August 19, 2022 at 11:30 am at the airport.

 

HOMICIDES AND SHOOTING INCIDENTS IN LITTLE ROCK AREA BEING JOINTLY INVESTIGATED
AUGUST 14, 2022
The Arkansas State Police, Little Rock Police Department and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office are jointly investigating as many as 11 shooting incidents that have occurred over the past 26 hours.  As of 9 PM (August 14th) authorities have accounted for three deaths and three individuals wounded, still being treated.

At this time the shooting locations have been identified as:
1:53 PM, (Saturday, August 13th), at 4022 Frazier Pike, one wounded.
1:37 PM, (Saturday, August 13th), at 9401 Mabelvale Cutoff, no injuries.
7:20 PM, (Saturday, August 13th), one deceased at 900 block of South Rodney Parham.
12:58 PM, (Sunday, August 14th), one deceased at Frazier Pike & 3M Road.
2:39 PM, (Sunday, August 14th), one injured at Interstate 30 (eastbound) & 65th Street.
2:44 PM, (Sunday, August 14th), one injured at Interstate 440 (northbound) & near Springer Street.
Shortly before 3 PM, (Sunday, August 14th), at least three shootings, beginning at Interstate 630 (westbound) near the Big Rock interchange, followed by an incident near I-630 & Shackelford, then moving toward the intersection of Markham Street and Bowman, no injuries.
Approximately 4 PM, (Sunday, August 14th), a shooting at 13111 West Markham, no injuries.
5:14 PM, (Sunday, August 14th), a shooting inside a convenience store at 6500 Mabelvale Cutoff, one deceased and one critically wounded.

Presently the investigating law enforcement agencies are working to determine what connection, if any, the shooting incidents might be connected.

At 5:45 PM, Sunday, near Roosevelt Road and State Street, two individuals were taken into custody following a pursuit involving state police troopers.  The individuals are believed to be connected to at least one of the shooting incidents.

Following the incidents today, special agents from the state police, along with detectives from Little Rock Police Department and Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office have unified their efforts to share information and investigate all the shooting incidents.

 

ZOO CELEBRATES BIRTH OF THREE TIGER CUBS
Addition of Three Malayan Tiger Cubs Significant to Tiger Conservation
LITTLE ROCK (August 13, 2022) – The Zoo is proud to announce the birth of three Malayan tiger cubs born early this morning to Asmara, an eight year old tiger born at the Little Rock Zoo. Mom and cubs are doing well according to zoo staff.

Asmara gave birth in an indoor denning area prepared for her by zoo staff and will stay indoors with her cubs for a few months while she tends to them. Guests can still see the cub’s father, Jaya, in the outdoor tiger habitat.

The birth of the cubs comes at the recommendation of the Malayan Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP). Malayan tigers are one of the most critically endangered animals in the world with less than 200 estimated to be living in the wild. There were only 52 Malayan tigers living in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) before the birth of Little Rock Zoo’s three cubs making this birth a significant addition to the conservation of the species. 

 

NFIB THANKS GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON FOR SIGNING HB 1002
LITTLE ROCK (Aug. 12, 2022) -- NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith released the following statement today applauding Gov. Asa Hutchinson's decision to sign House Bill 1002, legislation that would reduce state income tax rates on small business owners and other Arkansans:

"On behalf of our small business members, I want to thank the legislature for passing House Bill 1002 and Governor Hutchinson for signing it into law so quickly.

"HB 1002 is commonsense legislation that's going to make a difference to Arkansas's small businesses. Lowering the corporate income tax from 5.9% to 5.3% will help stimulate growth, but what's really going to help Main Street businesses is reducing the individual tax rate from 5.5% to 4.9%. Most small businesses in the state are organized as pass-through entities, meaning their owners pay taxes at the individual rather than the corporate rate.

"Cutting taxes is going to help everyone who's dealing with high prices. It's going to relieve some of the financial pressure on Arkansas families and give small businesses more of a cushion to help them get through this economic upheaval."

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.
 


OVER $50 MILLION PROVIDED FOR ARKANSAS WATER AND WASTEWATER PROJECTS
LITTLE ROCK, AR – On August 11, 2022, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission approved $54,432,829 for 11 water and wastewater projects serving more than 49,000 Arkansans. The projects are as follows:

The City of Danville, Yell County, received a $360,500 loan from the Water, Sewer, and Solid Waste Fund to install ultraviolet disinfection equipment to meet Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality requirements. The current customer base for this project is 786.

The City of Menifee, Conway County, received a $294,863 loan from the Water Development Fund for waterline replacement. The customer base for this project is 200.

The City of Monticello, Drew County, received a $2,136,616 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to replace and relocate the existing water mains. The water customer base for this project is 4,044.

The City of Piggott, Clay County, received a $456,994 loan from the Water, Sewer, and Solid Waste Fund for wastewater treatment facility improvements. The customer base is 1,821.

The City of Prairie Grove, Washington County, received a $2,060,000 loan from the Water, Sewer, and Solid Waste Fund to expand the wastewater treatment facility. The current customer base for this project is 3,202.

The City of Rogers Water Utilities, Benton County, received a $31,246,250 loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to construct a sludge drying facility capable of producing a Class A biosolids product.  The current customer base for this project is 25,068.

The Southwest White County Public Water Authority received a $14,441,906 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to make water system improvements to nine key areas. The customer base for this project is 4,518.

The following projects received emergency funding:
The City of Eudora, Chicot County, received a $100,000 loan from the Water Development Fund to make emergency repairs to the well pumping station, replace the filter valve actuators, air dryer, and filter valve actuator solenoids. The current customer base for this project is 925.

The City of Sidney, Sharp County, received a $100,000 loan from the Water Development Fund to make emergency repairs to the water system and pump station. The current customer base for this project is 149.

The following projects received additional funding:
The Northwest Arkansas Conservation Authority, Benton County, received $2,500,000 in additional funding to their previously approved $82,500,000 loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for wastewater treatment plant improvements due to higher bids than anticipated. The customer base for this project totals 8,543.

The Greenland Wastewater System, Washington County, received $735,700 in additional funding to their previously approved $2,192,866 loan and $1,617,434 loan with principal forgiveness from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund to replace and expand a lift station and replace a force main. The customer base for this project is 482.

More information about the Natural Resource Division’s water and wastewater programs can be found at anrc.arkansas.gov/divisions/water-resources-development/or by contacting Debby Dickson at debra.dickson@agriculture.arkansas.gov or 501-682-0548. Learn more about the Arkansas Department of Agriculture at agriculture.arkansas.gov/.

 

WESTERMAN REACTS TO PASSAGE OF INFLATION REDUCTION ACT
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act under the budget reconciliation process. House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (AR-04) issued the following statement in response:

 “I am dismayed that Democrats continue to repackage the same poor policies that caused sky-high inflation, stick a buzzword in the name, and expect the American people to thank them while the economy inevitably continues to suffer," said Westerman. "When a party cannot simply admit that we are in a recession, it cannot be trusted to bring us out of one. I wholeheartedly voted no on the misleadingly named ‘Inflation Reduction Act.’ This tax and spend bill is a lie designed to bring down the force of higher taxes, 87,000 additional IRS agents, economy-killing climate programs, and hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit spending onto the backs and into the wallets of every American family. I will never support legislation that will spend us, our children, and our children’s children into the ground.” 


BOOZMAN LAUNCHES TOUR SPOTLIGHTING IMPACT OF INFLATION, HIGH ENERGY PRICES ON ARKANSANS
Participants to Share with Senator how Washington’s Failed Policies are #BustingMyBudget
WASHINGTON––As near record-high inflation and surging gas prices squeeze companies and families’ budgets nationwide, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is embarking on a regional tour to hear directly from community leaders, business owners, industry representatives and local Arkansans about the challenges they’re experiencing in the current economic climate.

The senator, who has opposed policies that are exacerbating the inflation crisis such as the president’s tax-and-spending spree in addition to advocating for a return to increased domestic oil and gas production as well as an all-the-above energy strategy, will make stops around Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley beginning Tuesday.

“Arkansans are constantly sharing how skyrocketing prices at the gas pump, grocery store and elsewhere are hitting their pocketbooks and forcing them to choose between buying necessities, filling up vehicles with gas and paying bills,” Boozman said. “It’s taking a tremendous toll and we’ve got to provide some relief quickly instead of pouring more fuel on the fire by pushing out more massive federal spending and refusing to unleash American energy. I will be championing that message and taking the feedback I receive about what hardworking people are facing back to Washington.”

Earlier this year, Boozman held a series of meetings with Chamber of Commerce officials in several Natural State communities to discuss the effects of inflation, supply chain breakdowns and labor shortages on local economies.

The senator’s agenda on this tour includes stops in Harrison, Alma, Van Buren, Fort Smith, Greenwood, Bethel Heights, Springdale, Bentonville and Rogers.

To follow along as Arkansans tell Senator Boozman about how the Biden administration’s policies are harming them, search the hashtag #BustingMyBudget on social media.
 

August 11, 2022

SUSTAINED FINANCIAL PRESSURE ON HOSPITALS COULD THREATEN ACCESS TO CARE FOR ARKANSANS
Survey of hospitals shows the impact of COVID-19 on the financial health of hospitals in 2021
LITTLE ROCK, AR (August 9, 2022) – A recent financial survey conducted by the Arkansas Hospital Association shows that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create profound financial volatility for the state’s hospitals. On average, hospitals responding to the survey saw a total margin decrease of 3.5 percentage points between the first quarter of 2019, prior to the pandemic, and the first quarter of 2022, leaving a full 52 percent of respondents now in the red. This sustained financial squeeze could result in diminished access to care for Arkansans.

“The survey certainly paints a bleak picture for Arkansas hospitals’ finances,” Arkansas Hospital Association President & CEO Bo Ryall commented. “The fact that about half of the facilities who responded are now operating on negative margins should be a major cause for concern for all of us. In many of our communities, the hospital is the largest employer, and 40 Arkansas counties are served by a single hospital. Without a hospital, the most vulnerable residents – often the elderly and those living in poverty – may find their access to health care severely limited.

“The people who work in our hospitals are remarkably strong,” Ryall continued, “and our hospital leaders are equally motivated by their shared mission to provide care to the people of our state. It is because of their vision and commitment that I’m confident we can navigate our way through this difficult time. But hospitals won’t be able to do it alone; it will require all of us to recognize the crucial role they play as both the heart of the health care system and a major driver of the state’s economy. Unless hospitals receive additional assistance from state and federal government, we will see more reductions in services and possibly even closures.”

It is difficult to overstate the environment of uncertainty within which hospitals have had to make clinical, operational, and financial decisions throughout the pandemic. Unlike other industries, hospitals cannot just raise their prices; they are primarily paid by Medicare, Medicaid, and negotiated contracts with commercial insurers. Before COVID-19, Arkansas hospitals faced downward revenue pressure from payers, and many were operating on slim – and, in some cases, negative – margins. Since the beginning of the pandemic, hospital expenses have increased more rapidly than revenues. As demand spiked and many health care workers were pulled away by lucrative jobs elsewhere, total hospital staffing vacancies skyrocketed, leaving facilities throughout the state reliant on expensive contract labor to maintain a safe and effective environment for patients and employees. Even as COVID-19 cases ebbed during the spring, the survey shows that inflationary pressures increased, further exacerbating the financial situation in hospitals.

Hospitals are cornerstones of Arkansas communities, and the risks they now face highlight the need for policy, legislative, and regulatory approaches to support and strengthen the health care system.

The Arkansas Hospital Association has 106 member hospitals that serve Arkansans living in cities, towns, and communities located throughout the state. For more than 90 years, the association’s leadership has focused on advocacy that promotes initiatives to improve health care access, quality, value, service, and safety. In partnership with our members and stakeholders, the association also provides resources, builds alliances, and develops services that support Arkansas hospitals, as they strive to deliver superior health care to all Arkansans.
 

SAAC WELCOMES DIRECTORS FOR INAGURAL SECOND STAGE PRODUCTION
The South Arkansas Arts Center welcomes the directors for its very first Second Stage Acting Troupe production.  Rhett Davis will direct “Lone Star”, and Elva Melillo will lead the team for “Laundry and Bourbon”. “Lone Star” and “Laundry and Bourbon” are presented by special arrangement with Broadway Licensing, LLC, servicing the Dramatists Play Service collection. (www.dramatists.com)

SAAC's Second Stage Acting Troupe presents two hilariously, inappropriate comedies about 6 people from the small town of Maynard, Texas.  The back to back plays will run Aug 18, 19 and 20.  Thursday and Friday nights will be a 7:30pm curtain. Tickets are $15 for general public, $10 for SAAC members, $5 for college students on Thursday and Friday.  Saturday night tickets include admission to the Lone Star Bar in the gallery for a pre-show reception beginning at 7:00pm, with a 7:30pm curtain. All Saturday tickets are $15.  These two plays are for mature audiences that contain adult language and themes.

Rhett Davis was born and raised in El Dorado and is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University where he received a degree in Accounting. He currently works at ArtAttack! Graphic Design as the company’s office manager. Rhett has worked on many past productions at SAAC including serving as director of “Clue on Stage” and as stage manager for  “110 in the Shade”, “Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and “Love Letters”. He has also performed as Rochefort in “The Three Musketeers”, Smee in “Peter and the Starcatcher”, and Delbert in “An Evening of Culture”.  He loves theatre and every aspect of it from creating the sets, to making things run smoothly from backstage, to stealing the show.

Elva is thrilled to be back on the SAAC stage with this wonderful cast and crew. She previously appeared as Clairee in “Steel Magnolias”.  She and her husband Mike, along with their two dogs, moved to El Dorado from Houston three years ago. While in Houston, she studied theatre under Brandon Smith and the late Chris Wilson. Some of her performances include Inez in "No Exit", Halie in "Buried Child", Candy in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", Li'l Bit in "How I Learned to Drive", Hippolyta in "A Midsummer's Night Dream", Nurse Libby in "Night Must Fall", and Mrs. Holly in "Suddenly Last Summer." Aside from acting, her other passion is spending time at the Little Rock Zoo, where she is a Docent and Animal Handler.

Second Stage Acting Troupe is a new group assembled at SAAC to give actors more opportunities on the stage. The Troupe also allows for its members to perform more adult-oriented content that may not be shown in the main stage productions. It is open to anyone who is interested and anyone curious of any aspect of theatre is welcome to apply.

For more information about these two hilarious plays or to reserve tickets, 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. 
 

STATE POLICE COMMISSION APPROVES CID PROMOTION IN SEBASTIAN COUNTY
AUGUST 11, 2022 
The Arkansas State Police approved a recommendation from Colonel Bill Bryant, director of the state police, a promotion for a Criminal Investigation Division special agent/corporal.  The commissioners met in a regularly scheduled monthly business meeting today at Little Rock.
Agent Corey Mendenhall, 46, of Sebastian County was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Sergeant Mendenhall is a 22-year veteran of the department and will assume supervisory duties as a special agent in CID Company D, headquartered in northwest Arkansas.

August 11, 2022

VICTIM OF APPARENT HOMICIDE DISCOVERED IN FRANKLIN COUNTY; IDENTIFICATION UNKNOWN
AUGUST 10, 2022
Franklin County sheriff’s deputies received a report about 6:30 AM today of body laying near Arkansas Highway 186, south of Interstate 40 near Altus.

The sheriff’s department has asked the Arkansas State Police to lead the investigation.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the identity of the female victim is unknown and her body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the manner and cause of death.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are treating the case as a homicide. 


ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: CONSUMERS AND BUSINESS OWNERS BEWARE, DON’T FALL PREY TO UTILITY SCAMS
LITTLE ROCK — Increasing temperatures lead to increasing utility bills for Arkansas business owners, something scam artists are using to their advantage when targeting individuals and local businesses. While utility companies accept multiple payment methods for the convenience of businesses and consumers, gift cards and crypto-currency, like Bitcoin, are not on the list. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans that scammers are finding ways to prey on Arkansans and directly impacting their budget and hard-earned money.

“Arkansans are suffering from a struggling economy, high prices and even higher temperatures, they do not need the worry about additional costs that come from these scams,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “I urge Arkansans to be vigilant against potential scams so they don’t lose their cool or their money.” 

How to spot a utility payment scam:
The scammer will call and tell you that you have an unpaid balance even if you are current on all utility payments.
The scammer will pressure you to pay through a gift card, bitcoin, prepaid debit card, or wire transfer and not through the official methods offered by the utility.

How to ensure your payment gets to the utility company safely and securely:
Track your utility payment due date on a calendar when you receive the bill.
Drop off the payment at the utility office or an authorized payment location.
Pay online on the utility company’s website with a credit card or call the company directly.
Consider participating in an automated draft system if it is offered.
Mail the payment to the company directly.

If you fall victim to one of these phone calls, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office. The Attorney General’s office also makes presentations on scams to organizations and groups. To call and schedule a scam prevention presentation, call 501-682-2007 or email speaker@arkansasag.gov
 

AEROJET NOTES MILESTONE DELIVERY OF MISSILE SYSTEM PARTIALLY MADE IN ARKANSAS
by Talk Business and Politics Staff
Aerojet Rocketdyne has delivered the 800th solid rocket boost motor and the 800th Divert and Attitude Control System for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system, one of the nation’s primary defenses against short, medium and intermediate-range missiles.

A land-based element of the Missile Defense Agency’s Missile Defense system, built by prime contractor Lockheed Martin, THAAD shields deployed U.S. and allied forces and critical infrastructure from missile attacks. The system has a 100% success rate in intercept tests – 16 intercepts in 16 tests – since production began.

The THAAD solid rocket boost motor is manufactured at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Defense headquarters in Huntsville, Ala., and at the company’s Solid Rocket Motor Center of Excellence in Camden, Ark., which is part of a Lockheed military defense manufacturing plant. The DACS, a responsive thruster system that keeps THAAD’s kinetic kill vehicle on target during the latter stages of an intercept, is manufactured in the company’s Los Angeles facility.

“Aerojet Rocketdyne is committed to meeting the nation’s critical defense needs to protect what we value most,” said Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “The on-time delivery of the 800th THAAD boost motor and DACS guidance system is a testament to our team’s focus on the mission, commitment to high quality and dedication to customer needs.”

Located in the Highland Industrial Park in Camden, Lockheed occupies a combined manufacturing and support function floor space exceeding 1.9 million square feet spread out over more than 1,800 acres. Approximately 650 employees work in the facility’s manufacturing and support buildings.

The Camden facility also produces components for the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), the Tactical Missile System (TACMS) missile, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher, and the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE).
 

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ANNOUNCES ONLINE OPTION FOR PEST CONTROL AND PESTICIDE PROGRAM LICENSING AND CERTIFICATION EXAMS
LITTLE ROCK, AR –The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce that Pest Control Program and Pesticide Program licensing and certification exams are now offered online. 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s (Department) Pest Control Program is responsible for administering 11 different residential and commercial Pest Control Program licenses and certifications which require applicants to successfully pass exams prior to the issuance of the license or certification. The Pesticide Program administers 10 licenses, two of which require exams prior to licensure. These exams have historically been administered only in person. 

The online exams are proctored in partnership with Everblue, a technology company that specializes in digitizing and automating processes. Candidates can register online for state Pest Control Program and Pesticide Program exams and will be immediately enrolled into their on-demand test. Exams proctored through Everblue will have an additional proctoring fee of $30 per exam.

“We’re excited to partner with Everblue and offer these exams online to increase accessibility and efficiency,” said Scott Bray, Director of the Department’s Plant Industry Division. “By offering an online option, those unable to travel to Little Rock can now take the exams at home, expanding the availability of our Pest Control and Pesticide programs.”

In addition to the online exams, the Department will continue to offer in-person certification exams at the main office in Little Rock.

“The Department is responsible for administering a total of 44 different licenses and certifications, 22 of which require exams,” said Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. “We are working to make more exams available online to increase accessibility to all programs within the Department that require a license or certification.”

Learn more about the Pest Control program online examinations at agriculture.arkansas.gov/plant-industries/regulatory-section/pest-control. Learn more about Pesticide Program licenses at agriculture.arkansas.gov/plant-industries/pesticide-section/licensing-permits/.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/.

 

BOOZMAN MEETS WITH ARKANSAS SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, DISCUSSES INFLATION AND ECONOMIC CHALLENGES
WASHINGTON––As inflation remains near a 40-year high forcing Arkansans to continue paying more for basic necessities, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is hearing from small business owners about the economic climate’s impact on their operations.

On Wednesday, Boozman met with the 2022 Arkansas Small Business Person of the Year Jami Krutz at her coffee shop, Big Cuppa, in downtown Morrilton to applaud her success in this challenging economy.

“There is a lot of uncertainty for small business owners as a result of inflation, high energy costs and supply chain disruptions. Despite these hardships, Jami has led Big Cuppa to expand and serve the community. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. I will continue to advocate for policies that encourage investment and support certainty and predictability for Jami and other small business owners,” Boozman said.

Big Cuppa opened in 2017 and has two locations in addition to its own roastery.

August 10, 2022

BURN BAN FOR OUACHITA COUNTY LIFTED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER
I, Robert A. l\1cAdoo, Ouachita County Judge, as Chief Executive Officer of Ouachita County, by the power vested in me under Constitutional Amendment No. 55, do hereby order the county-wide burn ban lifted for Ouachita County on this 10th day of August 2022, until further notice.
I further direct that a copy of this order be filed in the office of the County Clerk.

IT IS SO ORDERED this 10th day of August.

Robert A. McAdoo
Ouachita County Judge


CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen  met in regular session on Tuesday, August 9th   in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order promptly at 7 pm. The Invocation was given by Rev. Bennie Morgan, Pastor of Timothy United Methodist Church. The Invocation was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk, Donna Stewart, called the roll. Aldermen L.E. Lindsay, Marvin Moore, Joe Askew, Chris Aregood, Cecil McDonald, Terry Smith and William McCoy were present. Alderman James Bell was absent.

The Minutes of Special Called Meeting, July 28, 2022 and the Minutes of Regular Meeting, July 13, 2022 as well as the Financial Report for July 2022 were presented in print. There were two small amendments made to the minutes. The Minutes for both sessions and the Financial Report were approved as amended by unanimous vote.

During the Mayor’s Report, Mayor Lott made mention of Honoring Mrs. Gloria Fountain. He asked that citizens send cards, videos and other mementos to Mrs. Fountain. He also reported the Community Service rate  is now $15.00 an hour, a raise from $11.00 an hour. He also stated that August is amnesty month. Anyone with old fines etc. should call the Court for information.

David Richardson gave the Biannual Water and Sewer Report to the City Council. After his report, he introduced Bill Halter and Team who gave an update on Scenic Solar.

 Katie Hardy, Resiliency Coordinator at the SWAPDD made a presentation on the county wide Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The Council then moved on to new business. A motion was made to amend the agenda to include Resolution 58-22. Motion was seconded and passed by unanimous vote.

First up was Ordinance No. 07-22, 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. A motion was made and seconded to suspend the rules and put it up for a final reading. Motion was made and seconded. There was no discussion. The Ordinance passed by unanimous vote

Nex up was Resolution No. 49-22, a resolution amending the Operating Budget for 2022; and for other purposes at the Airport. A motion was made and seconded. There was no discussion. The Ordinance passed by unanimous vote.

 

Resolution No. 54-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 257 Center Street a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same. A motion was made and seconded. There was no discussion. The Ordinance passed by unanimous vote.
 

Resolution No. 55-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Adopted Budget for the purpose of receiving and expending the $5,000 stipend for eligible full-time Law Enforcement Officers. A motion was made and seconded. Police Chief Bo Woody told the Council that a Bill passed in the state Senate  gives all full-time law enforcement officers a $5000.00 bonus. The City will receive A check from the state to cover the stipend. The Ordinance passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 56-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; authorizing the Mayor to enter into an agreement with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA); and for other purposes. A motion was made and seconded. There was no discussion. The Ordinance passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 57-22, a resolution authorizing the Mayor to purchase a tractor through an Interlocal Contract for Cooperative Purchasing; and for other purposes. A motion was made and seconded. There was no discussion. The Ordinance passed by unanimous vote.


 Resolution 58-22, a resolution authorizing the Mayor to  apply for a grant from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for assistance to develop recreational facilities at Sandy Beach Park. The City is hoping to receive a grant in order to repair the Pavilion at Sandy Beach Park.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 pm

The next scheduled regular meeting is September 13, 2022.

 

CARDINAL COMMUNITY READERS
Working Together to Grow a Love of Reading in Camden Fairview K-3 Students.
Cardinal Community Readers will impact Camden Fairview K -3 students by:
• providing students in need of extra support an additional 40 minutes per week of individual or small-group read-alouds and literacy activities
• building stronger relationships between community members and students
• supporting classroom instruction

Contact us to sign up if you're ready to:
Receive literacy training from the Fairview Elementary literacy team:
Commit to volunteering weekly or monthly at Fairview Elementary during students' library time:
Work with 1-3 students, using school provided read-aloud books and literacy activities focused on vocabulary, phonological awareness, and phonics.

For more information contact:
Tara Armstrong
Assistant Superintendent Camden Fairview School District tarmstrong@cfsd.kl2.ar.us
870-836-4193

Melissa King
Executive Director
The Hub of Ouachita County hub@ouachitacounty.org
870-231-1111

Allison Lawson
Executive Director Ouachita Valley Community Foundation ouachitavalley@arcf.org

 

ALZHEIMER’S CARE SUPPORT GROUP TO MEET
Do You Care For Someone With Alzheimer’s Or Dementia? Please join our conversation to discuss your experiences and needs and earn a $25 VISA gift card for your participation.
• When:   Thursday, August 18 at 11AM
• Where:  Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
515 Madison Avenue, Camden, AR 71701

Light refreshments will be served.
Participation is limited to the first 12 people who sign up. To reserve a spot call/text:
Rev. Greg Nettles at (870) 818-2800 or
Christy Standerfer at (501) 772-6173

 

MAGNOLIA MAN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
EL DORADO – A Magnolia man was sentenced today to 120 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for distributing methamphetamine in Columbia County. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in El Dorado.

According to court documents, in June 2019, agents and investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and 13th Judicial Drug Task Force (DTF) initiated an investigation into the distribution of methamphetamine in Colombia County by Eddie Dean McBride Jr., age 50. 

On June 20, 2019, investigators conducted a controlled purchase of methamphetamine form McBride in Columbia County.

The suspected methamphetamine was sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Crime Lab, were it tested positive for methamphetamine.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and 13th Judicial Drug Task Force (DTF) investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham Jones prosecuted the case.

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

AVOID DAMAGING BURIED UTILITY LINES BY CALLING 811
Arkansas state law requires utility lines be marked before digging
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – From installing a new mailbox to planting a tree or putting up a fence, digging without knowing what’s beneath the surface can cause harm and even be deadly. Utility services can be disrupted, and you could be responsible for expensive repairs and steep fines. Worst case scenarios include serious damages to property, injuries to people or even death.

Each year, Aug. 11 serves as a reminder residents and even professional construction crews are required by law to contact Arkansas 811 at least two business days prior to any digging or excavation project so underground utility lines can be identified and marked. Officials said this process is the best way to prevent injuries to the public and contractors on excavation projects, while mitigating potential property damages and unnecessary utility outages due to striking an underground facility.

“Safety is the number one priority, and regardless of what you plan to do, how deep you plan to dig or even if you’ve called before for a similar project, every job requires a call first to Arkansas 811,” said Ventrell Thompson, Entergy Arkansas vice president of customer service. “The depth of underground utility lines can vary, and the risk of striking a line exists even when digging only a few inches.”

Arkansas 811 center operators will connect you with local utility operators who will come out and safely mark the approximate location of buried natural gas, electrical, telecommunications, water and sewer lines that may be around the vicinity where you plan to dig.

In accordance with 811 color codes, electric power lines are identified by the color red, with gas, oil and steam lines by the color yellow; telecommunication, alarm and signal lines are marked orange, and sewer and drain lines are marked in green.

If digging activity comes within 18 inches of a utility line or pipeline, exercise extreme caution. A gas leak could be occurring if you smell the distinctive natural gas odor, hear a hissing or whistling sound near a gas appliance or see dead vegetation or bubbles near a gas line. Leave the area immediately and call 911 immediately in that instance. If you suspect damage to Entergy Arkansas facilities, call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) or dial 811.

For more information, visit www.Arkansas811.com.


NFIB: PROPOSED STATE TAX CUTS WOULD HELP ARKANSAS SMALL BUSINESSES
LITTLE ROCK (Aug. 9, 2022) -- NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith released the following statement today on House Bill 1002, legislation that would reduce state income tax rates on small business owners and other Arkansans:

"This is exactly the kind of commonsense tax reform that Arkansas needs right now.

"If passed and signed into law, it would reduce the corporate tax rate from 5.9% to 5.3% and lower the individual tax rate from 5.5% to 4.9%. That's important because most small businesses are organized as pass-through entities, meaning owners pay taxes at the individual rather than the corporate rate. Cutting taxes on Main Street businesses would help owners get through the current economic slump and enable them to reinvest in their businesses. HB1002 would also raise the cap on income tax deductions on existing property from an unreasonably small $25,000 to a more realistic $1 million.

 "All told, HB1002 would save Arkansas taxpayers half a billion dollars in fiscal 2023 alone That's why NFIB's small business members are urging their legislators to vote 'yes' on this important legislation."

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.
 

BOOZMAN-BACKED TOXIC EXPOSURE LEGISLATION SIGNED INTO LAW
WASHINGTON–– President Joe Biden signed landmark legislation championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to deliver all eras of toxic-exposed veterans their earned Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and benefits into law.

“Providing generations of men and women who served in uniform the benefits they deserve honors the promise our nation made for their service and sacrifice. This is a long overdue day for veterans and their families living with illnesses as a result of toxic exposure who will now be able to get the care they earned,” Boozman said.

The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 includes a Boozman-authored provision to expand benefits to Vietnam War-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange during their service in Thailand after Arkansas veteran Bill Rhodes shared his benefits were denied because the VA didn’t allow him to prove toxic exposure based on his service location.

Rhodes has been a relentless advocate for making this legislative update and helping veterans who face similar circumstances. He attended the signing ceremony at the White House Wednesday.

“This is an important bill for veterans. I did my own research after being denied VA benefits and raised the issue with Senator Boozman who fought to right this wrong. This goes to show that one person can make a difference. I appreciate the senator’s leadership and guidance for getting the PACT Act across the finish line,” Rhodes said.

This is the latest successful push by Boozman to ensure toxic-exposed veterans get the benefits they earned.

In June, President Biden signed into law the Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas SERVICE Act, legislation authored by the senator requiring 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.

August 09, 2022

LAWRENCE COUNTY MAN DEAD FOLLOWING ARMED DISTURBANCE AND STANDOFF WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT
AUGUST 8, 2022
A Portia (Lawrence County) man is dead after he reportedly began firing a gun randomly outside his home this afternoon and was later confronted by law enforcement officers attempting to have the gunman surrender.

Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies and Arkansas State Troopers responded to a call at 3:45 PM of a man firing a gun indiscriminately in the neighborhood around 208 South Free Street.

A sheriff’s deputy and two state trooper observed William Chad Newman, 40, who resided at the address standing inside a shop building with a handgun and rifle.

Law enforcement officers made repeated attempts requesting Newman to drop the guns and surrender.  Newman refused to comply and pointed one of the guns at the officers who then fired on Newman.

The troopers and deputy rushed to the aid of Newman to provide life-saving medical aid.  Newman was later pronounced deceased at the scene.

Special agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division were called to the residence and are conducting an investigation of the incident.

Newman’s body is being transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where an autopsy will be conducted and evidence recovered from the scene will be examined.

The investigative case file will be presented to the Lawrence County prosecuting attorney who will determine whether the use of deadly force by the troopers and deputy was consistent with Arkansas law.

Identity of the state troopers involved in the shooting is being withheld until later this week.  As prescribed by state police policy, both have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Questions relating to the identity of the sheriff’s deputy and his administrative status should be directed to the Lawrence County sheriff’s department.

 

SURVEY: INFLATION REMAINS NO. 1 CHALLENGE FACING SMALL BUSINESS
LITTLE ROCK (Aug. 9, 2022) – NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.4 points in July to 89.9, however, it is the sixth consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98. Thirty-seven percent of small business owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, an increase of three points from June and the highest level since the fourth quarter of 1979. 

“The uncertainty in the small business sector is climbing again as owners continue to manage historic inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions,” said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB Chief Economist. “As we move into the second half of 2022, owners will continue to manage their businesses into a very uncertain future.” 

State-specific data isn’t available, but State Director Sylvester Smith said, “Arkansas’ small businesses are doing the best they can under the circumstances, but owners are being very cautious when it comes to spending. Small business owners need certainty, and these are uncertain times.” 

Key findings of the national survey include: 
Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months increased nine points from June’s record low level to a net-negative 52%. Expectations for better business conditions have deteriorated every month from January to June of this year. 

Forty-nine percent of owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down one point from June but historically very high. 

Seasonally adjusted, a net 37% plan price hikes, down 12 points. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased seven points to a net 56% (seasonally adjusted). The decline is significant but the net percent still raising prices is inflationary. 

The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher decreased one point from June to a net negative 29%. 

The Uncertainty Index increased 12 points from last month to 67. 

As reported in NIFB'S monthly jobs report, a net 48% reported raising compensation and a net 25% plan to raise compensation in the next three months. Nine percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 21% said that labor quality was their top business problem, remaining in second place behind inflation. 

Fifty-one percent of owners reported capital outlays in the last six months. Of those making expenditures, 36% reported spending on new equipment, 21% acquired vehicles, and 14% improved or expanded facilities. Nine percent spent money for new fixtures and furniture and 5% acquired new buildings or land for expansion. Twenty-two percent of owners plan capital outlays in the next few months. 

A net negative 5% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes decreased one point to a net negative 29%, the second weakest quarterly measure ever.  

The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases rose five points to 1%. Not seasonally adjusted, 18% reported increases in stocks and 15% reported reductions as solid sales reduced inventories at many firms. 

Thirty-two percent of owners reported that supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business. Another 36% report a moderate impact and 23% report a mild impact. Only 9% report no impact from recent supply chain disruptions.  

A net 2% of owners viewed current inventory stocks as “too low” in July, down three points from June. By industry, shortages are reported most frequently in manufacturing (20%), wholesale (20%), retail (19%), non-professional services (14%), and transportation (14%). A net 1% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months down three points from June. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased seven points from June to a net 56% (seasonally adjusted). Unadjusted, 8% reported lower average selling prices and 65% reported higher average prices. Price hikes were the most frequent in wholesale (80% higher, 8% lower), manufacturing (73% higher, 7% lower), construction (73% higher, 4% lower), and retail (72% higher, 6% lower). Seasonally adjusted, a net 37% plan price hikes, down 12 points. The seasonal adjustments for price plans and actual prices were revised. The data in this report reflect those changes.  

The frequency of positive profit trends was a net negative 26%, down one point from June. Among owners reporting lower profits, 40% blamed the rise in the cost of materials, 17% blamed weaker sales, 10% cited labor costs, 10% cited lower prices, 4% cited the usual seasonal change, and 2% cited higher taxes or regulatory costs. For owners reporting higher profits, 42% credited sales volumes, 26% cited usual seasonal change, and 16% cited higher prices. 

Three percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied. Twenty-five percent reported all credit needs met and 62% said they were not interested in a loan. A net 5% reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts. One percent reported that financing was their top business problem. A net 19% of owners reported paying a higher rate on their most recent loan. 

The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are randomly drawn from NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in July 2022. 
 

ELECTRIC CO-OPS NAME BILL GOSSAGE VICE PRESIDENT OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
Little Rock, Ark. — Aug. 8, 2022 — Bill Gossage has been named as the vice president of governmental affairs for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. He replaces Kirkley Thomas, who retired on Aug. 1 after more than 24 years of service with the cooperatives.

“After an extensive search involving many great candidates, Bill Gossage has been named vice president of governmental affairs for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas,” said Vernon “Buddy” Hasten, president/CEO for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “Bill’s knowledge of Arkansas and dedication of service to improve the quality of life for Arkansans will be greatly valued as he assumes his role with the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.”

Gossage was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives representing District 82 in 2012. He resigned from his office in August 2016 to become Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's deputy chief of staff of external affairs. Gossage is a retired assistant superintendent for the Ozark School District with 34 years of experience as an educator. He received a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University and earned a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas.

“It is a privilege to represent the interests of the 1.2 million electric cooperative members throughout Arkansas,” Gossage said. “My career in education along with my service as an elected and appointed state official has provided me with opportunities to assist our great citizens. My new role with the cooperatives will enable me to continue this service while advancing the cooperatives’ mission of ensuring a safe, affordable, reliable and balanced power supply for members.”

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.

 

U.S REPRESENTATIVES STEVE WOMACK AND FRENCH HILL APPLAUDED FOR BACKING BIG CAT PUBLIC SAFETY ACT TO KEEP ARKANSANS SAFE 
Legislation would protect citizens from dangerous big cats and help conservation of species in the wild
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS – With the support of the national law enforcement, animal welfare, and conservation and mainstream zoological communities, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R. 263, on Friday July 29 by a vote of 278 to 134. H.R. 263 was introduced by bipartisan Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Steve Womack a Republican who represents the Third District of Arkansas, Mike Quigley, R-Ill., and others, and was actively supported on the floor by both Womack and Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, who co-sponsored and voted for the bill as well.

Despite tremendous support for the Big Cat Public Safety Act from Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, the National Sheriff's Association, and many others, Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, the Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, led efforts to block the bill, denigrating the idea of even bringing the bill up for a vote but then suggesting that the Department of Agriculture should handle the problem. USDA is singularly ill-equipped to handle the trade in endangered lions and tigers.

“Breeders who pump out countless big cats for cub-petting are worse than puppy millers, placing unfunded mandates on animal rescues who have to clean up their mess and care for these majestic creatures once they’ve grown too big to exploit,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “We applaud Reps. Steve Womack and French Hill for backing the Big Cat Public Safety Act that will help keep families and children in suburbia safe from dangerous big cats."

The bill builds on the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, passed unanimously in 2003, that sought to ban the trade in big cats as pets. That original measure had a drafting flaw, and the Big Cat Public Safety Act seeks to correct that problem and to ban breeding big cats for the pet trade or for commercial cub petting.

The bill had been introduced long before the salacious reality television series “Tiger King,” but that series put the issue of private ownership of tigers and lions on the American radar screen. NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock TV, also featured the bill in its series “Joe vs. Carole,” released in March.

Law enforcement swung in force behind the bill.

“I’ve experienced the worst-case scenario first-hand, and it is a gut-wrenching experience to think about tigers, lions, and other big cats on the prowl in such close proximity to our homes and our schools,” said Sheriff Matt Lutz from Zanesville, Ohio, whose office was forced to respond to a mass release of tigers, lions, and other animals in his community more than a decade ago.

“Chaos and cruelty result when people breed big cats for use as pets or for commercial petting operations,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy. “It’s alarming that this problem has persisted for so long, and this is an important first step in establishing a national policy to stop the trade and breeding of endangered lions and tigers as pets in homes and props at roadside zoos.”

“It is an enormous expense to care for these animals, and this reckless behavior foists a massive long-term financial liability on animal sanctuaries,” said Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. “None of these private big cat owners holds onto the animals for very long, and that means they get turned over to groups like Big Cat Rescue that have to take in these traumatized, often very unhealthy animals.”

Down from nearly 60 cub-petting operations just 10 or 15 years ago, there are now maybe two or three commercial cub petting outfits in the United States. Nearly all cub-petters featured in “Tiger King” are incarcerated, have had their animals seized, or are facing prosecution.

-Joe Exotic is serving 21 years in federal prison for 17 wildlife-related charges as well as murder for hire charges
-Jeff Lowe, who took charge of Joe Exotic’s GW Zoo and intended to open a cub-petting operation in far eastern Oklahoma, had his operation raided by federal authorities, who brought civil charges against him. Lowe’s animals have been confiscated and placed at sanctuaries.
-Tim Stark, another prominent Tiger King “star,” had his animals confiscated by the State of Indiana for multiple animal-related and nonprofit-operation violations. He fled the state after a criminal charge was filed and was arrested in New York.
-Bhagavan “Doc” Antle was arrested on charges of money laundering. He’s also facing charges by the State of Virginia with 15 counts of wildlife trafficking and animal cruelty.

The tigers and lions bred for the pet trade or roadside attractions never lead good lives. They typically live in substandard conditions, and in almost every case, their lives end tragically. We reduce these remarkable beasts to shadows of themselves in dilapidated roadside menageries or in backyards or basements. The people who acquire the animals on impulse or for profit almost always give them up because they cannot be safely managed by individuals without sufficient resources or professional staff.

H.R. 263 is backed by the National Sheriffs’ Association, state sheriffs’ associations throughout the nation, the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Animal Care and Control Association, and countless other agencies and organizations. The Senate companion bill, S. 1210, has nearly 50 cosponsors.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies, and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.

The Center for a Humane Economy is a non-profit organization that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both.

August 08, 2022

CHARLOTTE YOUNG COMPLETE FIRST CLASS OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
Charlotte Young, Executive Director of Camden Downtown Network and candidate for Mayor of Camden has recently completed the Year 1 Class of Community Development Institute (CDI) at the University of Center Arkansas in Conway on August 5, 2022.

CDI trains community leaders and economic development professionals on how to strengthen their local economies and build communities.  This is achieved by developing the ability of participants to identify community assets, set goals, encourage collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders, and bring communities, organization and businesses together to respond to a broad range of economic and quality of life issues.
 

BUSINESS AFTER HOURS
Mike Smith, Edward Jones Financial Advisor, will be hosting Business After Hours this Tuesday, August 9th from 5-6:30 pm.

 Join Mike in downtown Camden at 142 W. Washington Street for Business After Hours.  Light refreshments will be served.
 

LESLIE  DARDEN 5K RUN/WALK SCHEDULED IN CONJUNCTIONWITH SOUTHARK OUTDOOR EXPO
Location: Start and Finish are at Corner of E. Cedar St. and S. Jefferson Ave.
Awards: 8:30 a.m. at the Main Stage

Join SouthArk Community College Saturday, September 10th for the Leslie Darden Hero 5K Run & Walk sponsored by SAMA Healthcare Services! This race is in honor of Leslie Darden, hero & inspiration to so many in the racing world. She pushed people to be the best they could be through her steadfast encouragement, uplifting cheers, and empowering guidance! Leslie was an alumna at SouthArk and worked in the healthcare industry for 12 years at SAMA. Her SAMA family is so proud to be able to honor Leslie’s life and the legacy she left behind. Her family, friends, and our community are better for having her in our lives. Please join us to celebrate her courageous spirit and outstanding contributions to our community. The Hero 5k Run/Walk grew some years ago in memory of Major Ronald Wayne Culver, who died in Iraq on May 24th, 2010. He served multiple combat deployments throughout his military career and served on countless programs and organizations in our local community. He was a true American hero who courageously sacrificed his life for our country. We also commemorate all military personnel, first responders, and our healthcare heroes. We wish to raise awareness of the sacrifices made daily by these heroes and unite to honor all those who have stepped up to earn the title of HERO.
 

SHERIFF’S DEPUTY, POLICE OFFICER WOUNDED; SUSPECT SHOT AT HEBER SPRINGS
AUGUST 6, 2022
A Cleburne County sheriff’s deputy and a Heber Springs police officer were wounded by a suspect who was suspected of trespassing on property along the eastern edge of Heber Springs this morning.

About 8 AM local law enforcement authorities were notified of a trespasser at 295 Wilburn Road.  The sheriff’s deputy and local police officer encountered Cody Weidemann, 31, of Bentonville at the address.

During an altercation with Weideman, both law enforcement officers were cut with a razor type instrument.  The sheriff’s deputy and police officer both used gunfire to subdue Weideman.  None of the three are believed to have sustained life-threatening wounds.

The local police officer was treated and released at a local hospital.  The sheriff’s deputy and Weideman were transported to a Little Rock hospital.  Both are reported to be in stable condition.

An investigation into the use of deadly force by the law enforcement officers will be conducted by the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division and submitted to the Cleburne County prosecuting attorney who will determine whether the gunfire by both officers was used consistent with Arkansas laws.

  Questions relating to the identity of the sheriff’s deputy and police officer and their administrative status should be directed to their respective departments.
 

ARKANSAS SENATE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE UPCOMING SPECIAL SESSION TO BE HELD NEXT WEEK
LITTLE ROCK – This afternoon, the Senate Republican Caucus issued the below statement upon the Governor’s issuance of the special session call, which is set to begin next Tuesday, August 9, 2022.

“We’re delighted as a Senate Republican Caucus to be working collectively toward real tax relief for all Arkansans. The legislation being proposed will provide an individual tax credit to hard working Arkansans and will advance the tax cuts we previously passed. This will lower our overall tax rate, while at the same time giving meaningful relief to job creators in Arkansas who are dealing with the repercussions of inflation. The people of Arkansas need relief from burdensome taxes, and we as the Senate Republican caucus are excited to work with our colleagues in the House and our Governor next week to do just that.

“Furthermore, with the start of the Arkansas school year just days away, it is imperative that we ensure the safety and security of our kids. To that end, we are looking forward to passage of $50,000,000 in grants that can be used across our state to secure our schools.”

The call includes two items. The first piece of legislation will 1) accelerate the 2021 incomes tax cuts; 2) create an individual income tax credit of $150 per payer for the 2022 tax year; and 3) bring Arkansas’s Section 179 depreciation election in alignment with the Federal Section 179 election. 

The second piece of legislation will establish a $50 million grant program to secure Arkansas schools. 

 

WESTERMAN JOINS ARKANSAS DELEGATION LETTER TO VA REGARDING ONGOING STAFFING SHORTAGES
WASHINGTON - Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) joined Reps. French Hill (AR-02), Rick Crawford (AR-01), Steve Womack (AR-03), Senator John Boozman and Senator Tom Cotton in sending a letter to Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough regarding the staffing shortages at VA facilities in Arkansas.

The members released the following statement:

“Time and time again, we hear from Veterans across the state concerned about the shortage of doctors, clinicians, and other personnel at our VA facilities," the members said. "We need to ensure that those who served our nation receive the benefits they have earned, including access to reliable health care. We are hopeful that Secretary McDonough can provide us answers allowing us to work towards a solution on behalf of all our Arkansas veterans.”


BOOZMAN: DEMOCRATS PASS FAR-LEFT AGENDA WHILE IGNORING AMERICANS’ PLIGHT
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after voting against Senate Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending bill:

“Americans are suffering under the Biden economy. Their paychecks aren’t going as far while prices for food, fuel and housing surge and retirements and savings dwindle. They need relief, but unfortunately that’s not a priority for this White House and its allies in Congress. Instead, they’re passing their far-Left agenda, including reviving parts of the radical Green New Deal, raising taxes on job creators, turbocharging the IRS to harass taxpayers and expanding the federal government’s reach into our daily lives. This reckless bill represents the last thing we should be doing when our country’s economic future is so uncertain and pocketbooks nationwide are further squeezed by record levels of inflation.”


BOOZMAN INTRODUCES AMENDMENT TO GET MORE AMERICANS BACK TO WORK
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-spending bill that would restore a pre-COVID policy requiring able-bodied adults without dependents to join the workforce in order to continue receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Specifically, Boozman’s amendment would require able-bodied adults without dependents to either work or participate in a work program at least 20 hours per week to receive SNAP benefits beyond three months. This requirement has been paused since the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law in March 2020.

“These work requirements were established on a bipartisan basis. They were waived for the COVID emergency on a bipartisan basis. They should be reinstated with bipartisan support to now that COVID restrictions have largely ended,” Boozman said. “Job openings are still near a historic high, contributing to our ongoing supply chain bottleneck. It is time for these requirements to be enforced so that able-bodied adults return to the workforce.”

There are more than 10.6 million job openings, 5.7 million unemployed individuals, and nearly two job openings per unemployed persons. While unemployment rates are low at 3.5 percent, the number of individuals not in the job market is over 100 million and the labor force participation rate is only 62 percent. Employers added 528 thousand jobs, but to do so wages had to grow sharply, which contributes to higher inflation.

August 05, 2022

CAMDEN WATER UTILITIES TO HOLD A PUBLIC MEETING
Camden Water Utilities will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 6:00 pm in the council Chambers of the Municipal Building located at 206 Van Buren NE.  The purpose is to inform and receive comments from the public concerning sewer rates for customers only on the Airport Sewer System. Camden Water Utilities operates the Airport Sewer and pays Shumaker Public System for treating sewer collected in the system.  The Shumaker Waste Water System has increased the rate being charged to Camden Water Utilities and this increase needs to be passed on to the customers in this area. All interested citizens are encouraged to attend.


CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 0, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

The Agenda is as follows:
A . CALL TO ORDER
B.  INVOCATION – Rev. Bennie Morgan, Pastor – Timothy United Methodist Church, 1800 California Ave., Camden, AR           
C. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D. ROLL CALL
E.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES
     1.  Minutes of Special Called Meeting, July 28, 2022     
     2.  Minutes of Regular Meeting, July 13, 2022
F.    ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORT
     1.  Financial Report for July 2022        
G. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
H. MAYOR’S REPORT     
     1. David Richardson – Biannual Water and Sewer Report to the City Council & Introduction of Bill Halter
     2. Bill Halter and Team – Update on Scenic Solar
I.    SWAPDD

 1.  Katie Hardy, Resiliency Coordinator – Presentation on the county wide Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
J. NEW BUSINESS
     1. Ordinance No. 07-22, 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.
     2. Resolution No. 49-22, a resolution amending the Operating Budget for 2022; and for other purposes at the Airport.
     3. Resolution No. 54-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 257 Center Street a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.
     4. Resolution No. 55-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Adopted Budget for the purpose of receiving and expending the $5,000 stipend for eligible full-time Law Enforcement Officers.
     5. Resolution No. 56-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; authorizing the Mayor to enter into an agreement with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA); and for other purposes.
     6. Resolution No. 57-22, a resolution authorizing the Mayor to purchase a tractor through an Interlocal Contract for Cooperative Purchasing; and for other purposes.
K.  OTHER BUSINESS          
L.  ADJOURNMENT


SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED TO ARKANSAS STUDENTS MAJORING IN AGRICULTURE
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture recently awarded $20,000 in scholarships to eight students attending Arkansas universities with agricultural programs. The universities include Arkansas State University, Southern Arkansas University, the University of Arkansas, and Arkansas Tech University.

The scholarship recipients include the following students:

Arkansas State University
Rachel Davis, Mammoth Springs, AR; Agriculture Business Major
Magon James, DeWitt, AR; Animal Science Major

Arkansas Tech University
 Leon Fields, Russellville, AR; Agriculture Education Major
 Laney Moore, Danville, AR; Agriculture Education Major

Southern Arkansas University
Jonathan Horton, Russellville, AR; Agribusiness Major
Mallory Landreth, Taylor, AR; Poultry Science Major

University of Arkansas
Gracie Hewat, Fayetteville, AR; Agriculture Education Major
Anna Mathis, Harrison, AR; Agricultural Communications and Leadership Major

“The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to provide funding to help these deserving students further their education and prepare for potential careers in agriculture, our state’s largest industry,” said Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. “It is an exciting time to be involved in the agricultural industry and we wish the scholarship recipients all the best as they consider the many career options available in agriculture,” said Ward.

Funding for the scholarships comes from civil penalties collected by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture utilized a committee to determine scholarship recipients.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


4 EDUCATORS NAMED ARKANSAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR STATE SEMI-FINALISTS 
LITTLE ROCK — At a special ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion today, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key recognized the four educators selected as 2023 Arkansas Teacher of the Year State Semi-Finalists. The semi-finalists were chosen among 13 regional finalists who also were honored today.

“Each of these four educators represent the best of the best in the teaching profession this past school year,” Key said. “I am excited to announce them as state semi-finalists, and one of them will ultimately represent Arkansas in the National Teacher of the Year competition. Any one of these four would serve as an excellent ambassador for Arkansas and for all educators around the state."

The state semi-finalists listed below each received a medallion and a $1,000 prize provided by the Walton Family Foundation. As a regional finalist, they also received a certificate and an additional $1,000 prize.

Amber Leaton
Social Studies, Grades 11 & 12

Bryant High School

Bryant Public Schools

Dawson Education Service Cooperative

Stephanie Long
Third Grade
Walter Turnbow Elementary School
Springdale Public Schools
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Capri Salaam
Social Studies, Grades 7 & 8
North Little Rock Middle School 7th/8th Grade Campus
North Little Rock School District
Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative

Elouise Shorter
Math, Grades 9-12
Dollarway High School
Pine Bluff 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 ATOY selection committee will conduct site visits for each of the four state semi-finalists, with the 2023 ATOY named this fall. The ATOY will then be eligible for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year competition.

To learn more about the ATOY program, visit https://bit.ly/3jiLkL2.

August 04, 2022

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.   The deadline for submitting names to Veterans Affairs for recognition at this year’s event is August 12th.  Contact Jim Bob Davis at 870-837-2216 to add names.  

Our veterans and patriots will be honored throughout the month of September culminating with a dinner on September 8th at 6 pm held at Cullendale First Baptist Church.   All veterans are invited and encouraged to attend the event.  Please note - this is an event to honor our veterans and is not political; therefore, no political paraphernalia in any form will be allowed.

Local businessman Josh Steed, who has spearheaded veteran recognition for years, joins additional sponsors of the event this year - Ouachita County Judge Robbie McAdoo, the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce, the Hubert J. Purifoy VFW Post 4554, Josh Steed with Deluxe Barber Shop and Pit Stop Quick Lube, the Shoppers Guide, Cullendale First Baptist Church, Lockheed Martin and various other local area businesses. Local individuals and businesses that would like to donate items or offer coupons and/or discounts for this years event should contact Jim Bob Davis at 870-837-2216.  

According to the Veterans Administration Office of Actuary there are currently 1,800 veterans in Ouachita County.  During this month, local businesses are encouraged to offer discounts to veterans to show their support; if such discounts are available, please notify the Chamber of Commerce of those discounts so that we can disseminate that information to Veterans.

Contacts:
Robbie McAdoo                                                                   Jim B. Davis
Ouachita County Judge                                                      County Veterans Service Officer
870-837-2210                                                                      870-837-2216
judge@ouachitacounty.org                                                 jimdavis@ouachitacounty.org

Beth Osteen                                                                          Josh Steed
Camden Area Chamber of Commerce                             Deluxe Barber Shop/Pit Stop Quick Lube
870-836-6426                                                                      870-818-9453
bosteen@camdenareachamberofcommerce.org         joshsteed1980@gmail.com


OCMC’S CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY UNIT TO BE FEATURED ON 'VIEWPOINT WITH DENNIS QUAID' BROADCAST
August 4, 2022 
Camden, Arkansas - Ouachita County Medical Center’s Chemical Dependency Unit, a leader in substance-abuse treatment for over 35 years, has been chosen to be featured on award-winning educational series “Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid”. The program highlights innovations and best new ideas across a variety of spectrums, with this episode shining a light on addiction and the importance of professional treatment of substance abuse disorder. Filming will take place in August with the episode premiering in October of 2022.

Peggy Abbott, President and CEO of Ouachita County Medical Center (OCMC), said she was proud to accept this opportunity of working with the Viewpoint team.  “It is an honor for Ouachita County Medical Center’s substance abuse treatment program to have been selected as a feature on “Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid.”  OCMC ranks high in the nation for patient safety and our substance-abuse treatment program is a part of such rankings. Addiction is a disease that needs to be addressed more openly and we are grateful for the focus that “Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid” is willing to place on the national mental health crisis as it relates to substance-abuse.”

The program will air nationally, and the episode will also be distributed to Public Television affiliates and will be running over the next year. 

Teresa Roark, Program Director: “Addiction is a disease. Just like any other disease, a person shouldn’t be labeled by his or her illness. We take great pride in providing personal and quality care in a safe and confidential environment to those suffering from substance-abuse disorder.”

Viewpoint Project is on the cutting edge of the television documentary industry, producing top quality programming. Viewpoint Project is dedicated to the mission of developing and distributing social and educational programming about our neighbors, our community, and world. Each story has one thing in common – changing our lives for the better.

For more information about "Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid," go to http://www.viewpointproject.com or for more information  contact Mark Givens, Business Development Director, at (870) 836-1286 or via e-mail at mark.givens@ouachitamedcenter.com.

 

COTTON DEMANDS ANSWERS ABOUT DELAYED MISSILE TEST LAUNCH
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin demanding answers about reports that a routine missile test launch was delayed or canceled.

In part, Cotton wrote, “I’ve heard reliable reports that this week’s routine test launch of a Minuteman III missile was delayed or canceled. If accurate, this would be the second termination since February, when Russia invaded Ukraine.”

“Are these reports accurate? If so, how long does the administration intend to allow Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to dictate our missile-test schedule?” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

The Honorable Lloyd. J. Austin
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

Secretary Austin,

I’ve heard reliable reports that this week’s routine test launch of a Minuteman III missile was delayed or canceled. If accurate, this would be the second termination since February, when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Are these reports accurate? If so, how long does the administration intend to allow Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to dictate our missile-test schedule?

Sincerely,

August 03, 2022

BOIL ORDER UPDATES – BURN BAN REMAINS IN EFFECT
The boil order for the Wire Road Water Association has been lifter per Red Code issued Wednesday, August 3rd.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health website, Highway 4 24 Water Association is still under a boil order.

Ouachita County is still under a burn ban until further notice.
 

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM COURT MEET
The Ouachita County Quorum Court held their monthly meeting Tuesday, August 2, 2022.

Sheriff David Norwood asked you keep one of his deputies on your prayer list who got into a bad accident with a log truck that lost control and hit the Deputy. The Deputy was airlifted to Hot Springs for extensive surgery.  The deputy is recovering and will get to keep his leg.

An Amendment was made to legislative Ordinance 2022-015, striking public access closure to all boat ramps on the Ouachita River when flood stage of twenty-six feet is exceeded.  It is still recommended that floatation devices be used while out on the river.

There was a vote to suspend the rules and go to a third and final read, Justice Truelove wanted to keep it as a first read.  The vote passed to keep as first read.  Second read will be next month.

The Arkansas Game and Fish will be at District Court next to the Sheriff’s Office at 6 PM August 15th, for river education and showcase equipment.

An appropriation ordinance was approved appropriating funds in the jail operation fund, jail and sheriff budget.

An Amendment was made to the meeting to add a resolution that passed authorizing the County Judge to apply for a grant on behalf of the Ouachita County Circuit Clerk.

In unfinished business, the courthouse clock completion will be addressed.  The outside will be cleaned and sealed to keep outside water from coming in.
 

CITY OF CAMDEN SEEKS WATER AEROBICS INSTRUCTOR
The City of Camden is looking for someone to teach water aerobics. Contact Director Kevin Franklin at Camden Public Works.

 

FORMER BUENA VISTA FIRE DEPARTMENT CHARGED WITH THEFT
The former Treasurer of Buena Vista Fire Department, Deborah Brown, of Camden, who was arrested and released on a signature bond on May 24, 2022, has been charged with theft of property greater than $25,000 which is a class B felony.


CADC TO DISTRIBUTE USDA COMMODITIES AUGUST 17 & 18, 2022 IN OUACHITA COUNTY
Camden –Central Arkansas Development Council will distribute USDA Commodities in Ouachita County Wednesday, August 17, and Thursday, August 18, 2022, in Camden. Distribution will begin at 9 am.

Food Items May Include:

UHT Milk, Grapefruit Juice, Can Pears, Raisins, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Lentils, Egg Noodles, Farina Cream of Wheat, Beef Stew

In Ouachita County, commodities will be distributed at the following location:
Ouachita County: CARNES PARK, 955 Adams SE, Camden
ID must be present in order to receive commodities.
All customers receiving commodities must present identification.

Must Meet Income Guidelines
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.

 

BOOZMAN-BACKED TOXIC EXPOSURE LEGISLATION CLEARS CONGRESS, AWAITS PRESIDENT’S SIGNATURE
WASHINGTON–– Landmark legislation championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to deliver all eras of toxic-exposed veterans their earned Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and benefits is headed to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“We are one step closer to fulfilling the promise made to the men and women who wore our nation’s uniform. For too long, veterans living with illnesses as a result of their service have been denied the care they deserve. This comprehensive legislation passed by Congress ensures toxic-exposed veterans who need help now can get it. I urge the president to quickly sign it into law,” Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 will:

Expand VA health care eligibility to Post-9/11 combat veterans, which includes more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans;

Create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure;
Add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service presumptions;

Expand presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure;
o   Includes Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure;

Strengthen federal research on toxic exposure;
Improve VA’s resources for toxic-exposed veterans and training for VA health care and benefits professionals; and

Set VA and veterans up for success by investing in:
o   VA claims processing;
o   VA’s workforce; and
o   VA health care facilities.

Boozman has been a relentless advocate for this legislation at every step of the process.

He authored a provision to expand benefits to Vietnam War-era veterans who served on military bases in Thailand after learning from an Arkansas veteran who developed illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure the VA doesn’t recognize the impact of herbicides inside base perimeters.

He delivered remarks on the Senate floor in June urging his colleagues to support this historic legislation.

This is the latest successful push by the senator to ensure toxic-exposed veterans get the benefits they earned.

In June, President Biden signed into law the Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas SERVICE Act, legislation authored by the senator requiring the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burb pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.
 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES DEMAND BIDEN DENY IRANIAN PRESIDENT RAISI VISA TO NEW YORK
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today sent a letter to President Joe Biden demanding that he deny visas for Iranian President Raisi and his delegation to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York City in September.

In part, the senators wrote, “Raisi’s involvement in mass murder and the Iranian regime’s campaign to assassinate U.S. officials on American soil make allowing Raisi and his henchmen to enter our country an inexcusable threat to national security.”

“If recent reports are true that Raisi plans to attend the UN General Assembly, the White House must deny Raisi and other Iranian officials visas to attend.  Allowing Raisi to travel to the United States—while his agents actively work to assassinate senior American officials on U.S. soil—would gravely endanger our national security, given the likely presence of IRGC agents in the Iranian delegation,” the senators 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,

We urge you to deny visas for Iranian President Raisi and his delegation to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York City in September. Raisi’s involvement in mass murder and the Iranian regime’s campaign to assassinate U.S. officials on American soil make allowing Raisi and his henchmen to enter our country an inexcusable threat to national security.

Raisi’s record as a violator of human rights is long-standing and clear. In 1988, while deputy prosecutor of Tehran, Raisi served on a Death Commission which sentenced approximately 5,000 prisoners to death, including women and children, without the right to appeal or a fair trial. Raisi is proud of his record; in 2018, he defended the commission, calling it “divine punishment” and “one of the proud achievements of the system.”  In the decades since, Raisi continued to subject the Iranian people to extrajudicial prosecution, torture, and execution, such as during the 2009 Green Revolution or in his more recent tenure as the head of Iran’s judiciary. Raisi’s role in these gross human rights abuses led the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to sanction him in 2019, pursuant to Executive Order 13876. 

While Raisi continues the regime’s wave of repression at home, agents of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, plot to assassinate current and former senior U.S. officials in the United States. In March, the Washington Examiner reported that the Department of Justice had indictable evidence that IRGC Quds Force operatives were planning to assassinate former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton. The IRGC has reportedly been plotting similar efforts against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie, and other former officials. According to news reports earlier this month, the IRGC is also targeting current U.S. officials as part of its assassination campaign. 

If recent reports are true that Raisi plans to attend the UN General Assembly, the White House must deny Raisi and other Iranian officials visas to attend. Allowing Raisi to travel to the United States—while his agents actively work to assassinate senior American officials on U.S. soil—would gravely endanger our national security, given the likely presence of IRGC agents in the Iranian delegation. Furthermore, granting a mass murderer like Raisi a visa to enter our country would also legitimize his repression. It is a risk we cannot and should not take.

There is strong precedent for denying an entry visa to foreign leaders. In 1988, the United States barred PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat from entering the United States to attend a meeting of the United Nations. In 2014, President Obama denied an entry visa to Iranian UN Ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi, who was involved in taking American diplomats hostage in 1979. In 2020, the United States declined to issue a visa for Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Ebrahim Raisi’s role in the regime’s human rights abuses and Iran’s continuing efforts to murder American officials should more than disqualify him from receiving a visa to the United States.

Thank you for considering this important matter of national security.


SENATOR COTTON, REP. KUSTOFF, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO STOP CONTRABAND CELLPHONE USE IN PRISONS
Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced the Cellphone Jamming Reform Act, legislation to prevent contraband cellphone use in federal and state prison facilities by allowing state and federal prisons to use cell phone jamming systems. Senators James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), and Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee) are original co-sponsors of the bill. Representative David Kustoff (R-Tennessee) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House Of Representatives. Text of the bill may be found here.

The Cell Phone Jamming Reform Act gives state and federal prisons the authority to implement a jamming system to protect inmates, guards, and the public at large.

"Prisoners have used contraband cell phones to direct illegal activities outside prison walls, including hits on rivals, sex trafficking, drug operations, and business deals. Cellphone jamming devices can stop this but the Federal Communications Act doesn't allow facilities to use this technology. My bill would fix this problem so that criminals serve their time without posing a threat to the general public," said Cotton.

“Cell phones are being slipped into jails and prisons, but federal policy prevents local law enforcement from jamming the cell signal. That needs to stop,” said Lankford. “After years of work and conversations with law enforcement, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice, and Oklahoma prison leadership, we finally have a bill to allow states to jam illegal cell phones in their prisons to prevent prisoners from contacting their victims or coordinating even more crime while they are incarcerated. This bill simply allows state and federal prisons to use cell phone jammers to ensure they have the tools they need to combat illegal activity in a prison.” 

"In correctional facilities across our country, inmates are using contraband cell phones to conduct illegal activities, including running drug operations, facilitating sex trafficking, and organizing escapes,” said Kustoff. “These contraband cell phones are a major problem and Congress must take action to protect the public from dangerous criminals who continue their illegal activities behind bars. I am pleased to join Senators Cotton and Graham in reintroducing this important bill that will keep our communities in West Tennessee and the United States safe."

This legislation is supported by the Correctional Leaders Association, the Council of Prison Locals, the American Correctional Association, the National Sheriff’s Association, and the Major County Sheriffs of America.

Background:
The use of contraband cellphones is widespread in both federal and state prison facilities. Inmates have used contraband cellphones to conduct illegal activities, including ordering hits on individuals outside of the prison walls, running illegal drug operations, conducting illegal business deals, facilitating sex trafficking, and organizing escapes which endanger correctional employees, other inmates, and members of the public.

In 2018, a gang fight over territory using cellphones to trade contraband sparked a brawl inside the Lee Correctional Institution near Bishopville, South Carolina, and left seven inmates dead and 20 injured.

Bureau of Prisons Correctional officer Lt. Osvaldo Albarati was murdered in 2013 for interrupting an illicit contraband cellphone business. His actual assassination was initiated by an inmate using a contraband cellphone to contact the gunman as outlined in the indictment.

A 2018 report showed an FCI Fort Dix inmate arranged murder and assault from a smuggled phone in a Jersey prison.

Contraband cell phones aren't only allowing violent criminals to continue their nefarious activities. In 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that Martin Shkreli, the disgraced pharmaceutical executive sentenced to seven years for securities fraud, was still making decisions at Phoenixus AG through the use of a contraband cellphone.

August 02, 2022


OUACHITA COUNTY FAIR RETURNS WITH EARLIER DATES - AUGUST 10TH – 13TH IN CAMDEN, AR.
“Family Fun, the way it should be done”
Camden AR –The 2022 Ouachita County Fair will kick off 4 days of fun, this year with earlier dates, August 10-13 at the Ouachita County Recreational Center (Former Boys & Girls Club Facility) 2708 Mt Holly Rd. Camden, AR  71701.
And this year for 2022, Gate Admission & Parking are FREE!

This August join us at the Ouachita County Recreational Center to support the youth of our community who are involved in 4-H and FFA programs. Whatever your interests, the Ouachita County Fair has something that’s sure to excite your imagination, tickle your taste buds, or spark your imagination. 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.

And don’t forget about the Carnival! Armbands for the Carnival will be sold only at the fair this year. There will be no presales.  Armbands can be purchased at the carnival for $25.00
Gate admission is free this year along with parking!

EVENTS & ACTIVITIES SCHEDULE:
Pre-Events Entries: Sunday, Monday & Tuesday
* Sunday 2-4PM, Monday 5 – 7pm, Tuesday 7:30 – 9AM: Enter creative arts @ Shaddock Gym
* Tuesday 3PM – 8PM:  Enter Livestock, Rabbits & Poultry
• Wednesday-
10:00am Poultry & Rabbits
6:00pm Sheep & Goat Show
6:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. Carnival Rides
• Thursday-
11AM – 1PM  Senior Citizens Day
6:00 p.m Beef & Swine Show
6:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. Carnival Rides
• Friday-
11:30 a.m Premium Sale Lunch
12:00 p.m Premium Sale
6:00 p.m. till 11:00 p.m.  Carnival Rides
7:00 p.m. Bingo
• Saturday-
9:00 a.m.  Livestock Judging
1:00 p.m.  till 4:00 p.m. Carnival Rides
6:00 p.m. till Midnight Carnival Rides                   

CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Ouachita County Fair
Missy Chambers  870-818-4871
Keith Ballard  870.818.7444
or visit www.ouachitacountyfair.com  

 

2022 SOCCER REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!!
Soccer registration begins:
Aug 1, 2022 thru Sept 2, 2022

Registration Address:
1575 Cash Rd SW, Camden AR 71701
(Arkansas Pulpwood Office)
Registration open to ages: 4-15

Team Sponsorship Info available upon request
Have Questions? Call 870-231-6405

***no late registration so ya’ll spread the word and come signup asap***
 

PUBLIC MEETINGS SCHEDULED TO SEEK INPUT ON UPDATING THE STATEWIDE PUBLIC TRANSIT COORDINATION PLAN
LITTLE ROCK | August 1, 2022

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) will conduct several public meetings across the state to seek input on an update to the federally required Statewide Public Transit Coordination Plan.  Public transit coordination provides an opportunity to identify mobility needs in Arkansas and develop a consensus on how to meet those needs. The updated Transit Coordination Plan will allow ARDOT and its transit partners to further strengthen their resource management capabilities.

The public may view plan materials and provide written comments through an online survey until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31, 2022.

Link to Current (2018) Statewide Transit Coordination Plan
Link to Transit Provider Survey (transit agencies and MPOs)
Link to Transit User Survey (general public and transit users)

Members of ArDOT’s Transportation Planning and Policy Division will host the following meetings:

Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Texarkana, 2 p.m.
ATCOG - Ark-Tex Council of Governments, 4808 Elizabeth St, Texarkana, TX

Thursday, August 11, 2022
Batesville, 9:30 a.m.
White River A.A.A., 541 Barnett Dr., Batesville, AR

Jonesboro 2 p.m.
Council Chambers at the Jonesboro Municipal Center, 300 S. Church St., Jonesboro, AR

Friday, August 12, 2022
Hot Springs, 9:30 a.m.
HSIT - The Transportation Depot, 100 Broadway Terr., Hot Springs, AR

 

COTTON, TUBERVILLE INTRODUCE BILL TO PROHIBIT THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY FROM PURCHASING AMERICAN LAND
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) today introduced the Securing America’s Land from Foreign Interference Act to prohibit members of the Chinese Communist Party from purchasing any land in the United States. Text of the bill may be found here.

“Chinese investments in American farmland put our food security at risk and provide opportunities for Chinese espionage against our military bases and critical infrastructure. Instead of allowing these purchases, the U.S. government must bar the Communist Party from purchasing our land,” said Cotton.

“We cannot continue giving our top adversary a foot in the door to purchase land in the United States and undermine our national security,” said Tuberville. “I hope my colleagues will recognize the importance of our bill and join the effort to prohibit Chinese Communist Party involvement in America’s agriculture industry.”

Background:
China’s agricultural investments in countries around the globe grew more than tenfold from 2009 to 2016. China’s Ministry of Agriculture claims the country had over 1,300 agricultural, forestry, and fisheries enterprises with registered overseas investments of $26 billion, at the end of 2016.

Chinese investments in U.S. agricultural may provide the CCP with undue leverage over U.S. supply chains and access to sensitive information critical to U.S. national security.

While Chinese entities held slightly less than one percent of all foreign-held acres in the U.S. in 2020, the volume of their holdings increased dramatically over the last decade. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports, Chinese investors’ holdings of U.S. agricultural land surged from 13,720 acres in 2010 to 352,140 acres in 2020.

The USDA’s most recent report on foreign landholding through December 31, 2020 shows foreign investors now hold an interest in nearly 37.6 million acres of agricultural land in the U.S.—an area larger than the state of Iowa.

Approximately 14 states have some level of foreign ownership restriction yet there are no federal restrictions on the amount of private U.S. agricultural land that can be foreign owned.

Land grabbing by foreign actors will become a greater threat in the coming years. With an aging population of American farmers (one-third over the age of 65), millions of acres in U.S. farmland are expected to change hands in the next decade.

August 01, 2022

OUACHITA COUNTY REMAINS UNDER BURN BAN

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM COURT TO MEET

The Ouachita County Quorum Court will mee in regular session on Tuesday August 2, 2022 at 6:30 P.M.  The meeting will be meet at the District Courtroom, located at 109 Goodgame St., Camden, Arkansas.
Roll Call
Invocation
Pledge Of Allegiance
Approval Of Minutes
Approval Of Treasurer's Report Audience Participation
New Business
    1. Amending Legislative Ordinance 2022-015 Striking Public Access Closure To All Boat Ramps On The Ouachita River When Flood State Of Twenty-Six Feet Is Exceeded.
     2.  An Appropriation Ordinance Appropriating Funds In The Jail Operation Fund, Jail And Sheriff Budget.
8. Unfinished Business.

 

STATE POLICE CID INVESTIGATING OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING INCIDENT
JULY 30, 2022
A Johnson County Sheriff’s Department deputy was wounded shortly after 2 PM today in the Knoxville community while law enforcement officers were involved in an armed stand-off with a woman at 205 Ivy Lane.

Deputy Brent Scott sustained a non-life threatening wound from a gunshot reportedly fired by the stand-off suspect who had barricaded herself inside a residence.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have obtained an arrest warrant for Christiana Beasley, 44, of Knoxville.  She is charged with attempted capital murder and is in custody. 

Questions relating to the incident leading up to the shooting should be directed to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.
 

HOMICIDE INVOLVING STUTTGART TEEN UNDERWAY BY ASP/CID 
JULY 30, 2022
Arkansas State Police Special Agents have been requested by the Stuttgart Police Department to investigate an apparent homicide that has claimed the life of a local teenager. 
Stuttgart police officers found Kyler Stigger,15, dead inside a vehicle parked in the driveway of a vacant lot at 508 S. Henderson Street.

Stigger’s body will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where a manner and cause of death will be determined.  The investigation is continuing tonight.
 

JACKSON COUNTY RESIDENTS FOUND DEAD AT FIRE SCENE; HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY
JULY 30, 2022
The bodies of a Jackson County man and woman were discovered by authorities last night (Friday, July 29th) after a local fire department extinguished a fire inside a Beedeville residence south of Newport.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department has requested the Arkansas State Police to investigate the deaths.  Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are proceeding with a homicide investigation today.

The bodies of Kathy Holloway, 60, and Keith Dewayne Woolbright, 43, were found inside the home at 10214 Arkansas Highway 37 shortly after 8:30 PM.  Both resided at the residence.

The manner and cause of the deaths will be determined by the state medical examiner.  Meanwhile agents are also working to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

 

APPLICATIONS FOR WILDLAND FIRE SUPPRESSION KITS ACCEPTED THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division is now accepting applications for Wildland Fire Suppression Kits through September 30, 2022. The application can be found at cognitoforms.com/ArkansasAgriculture1/ApplicationForWildlandFireSuppressionKit.

The Forestry Division received $293,600 through a U.S. Forest Service grant to provide 89 kits this year to rural volunteer fire departments across the state. Nearly 600 kits have been distributed since 2014.

Volunteer fire departments are the Forestry Division’s primary partner in wildfire response and suppression. The kits will provide these departments with specialized equipment needed for safe suppression, including up to ten wildfire-resistant coveralls, ten pairs of wildland gloves, two backpack leaf blowers, two collapsible backpack water pumps, six leaf rakes, and two McLeod rakes.

Rural volunteer fire departments interested in applying should apply online at cognitoforms.com/ArkansasAgriculture1/ApplicationForWildlandFireSuppressionKit. Paper applications are available upon request. Applications are scored according to specific criteria to include the population of the fire district, the number of square miles covered, the average number of wildfires a department responds to annually, and other factors.

The selected departments will be notified in October, and kits will be delivered in spring of 2023 or as soon as supplies are received.

Fire departments may contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at Kathryn.mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501)679-3183 with questions. More information about the program can be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/rural-fire-protection-program/.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN HIGHLIGHTS AUGUST AS NATIONAL ABLE TO SAVE MONTH PROGRAM HELPS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES STRIVE TOWARD FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
Aug. 1, 2022 (Little Rock, Ark.) – August marks the nationally-celebrated ABLE to Save Month where those involved in ABLE Savings Plans across the country highlight the value and importance these plans bring to people living with disabilities.

“The Arkansas ABLE plan – which stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience – offers individuals with disabilities and their families an affordable way to save for daily disability related expenses on a tax-deferred basis, without affecting their eligibility for income-based benefits,” said Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan, whose office administers the Arkansas ABLE Plan. “Simply put, ABLE assets are disregarded when determining eligibility for most federal programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicaid.”

Congress passed the ABLE Act in 2014 and Arkansas’s legislature followed suit in 2015. Milligan officially launched the Arkansas ABLE Plan in October 2018.

“Living with a disability is a life-altering challenge like no other, and it’s made more complicated when you add in the financial ramifications,” Milligan said. “Many public benefits are cut off once a person’s assets grow over a certain amount. Not being able to save more than $2,000 is an unnecessary hardship.”

ABLE plans help people with disabilities build financial wellness and plan for the future by empowering them to save and invest for expenses that come with having a disability, without losing access to federal means-tested benefits. Anyone can contribute to someone’s ABLE account, and earnings are tax-deferred. Moreover, withdrawals are tax-free as long as they’re used for qualified expenses related to the beneficiary’s disability.


COTTON ACCEPTING SERVICE ACADEMY NOMINATIONS
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) announced today 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, 2022.

"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 Millar (501) 223-9081 for any additional questions.

July 29, 2022

CAMDEN CITY COUNCIL MEETS IN SPECIAL SESSION
The Camden City Council met is special session on Thursday, July 28, 2022 at 6:30 PM in the Council Chamber of the Municipal Building. Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order. Councilman Lawrence offered the invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk Donna Stewart called the Roll. Aldermen L.E. Lindsey, Marvin Moore, Lawrence Askew, Chris Aregood, Cecil McDonald and William McCoy were present. Aldermen James Bell and Terry Smith were absent.

All of the resolutions were resolutions amending the annual operating budget for 2022 and for other purposes.

The first item on the agenda was Resolution #50-22. This resolution had to do with the replacement of pumps at the Carnes Park Pool. The costs included pool pumps and the cost for the repairs was not anticipated or included in the 2022 annual operating budget. There was some discussion. The pumps have been purchased and installed and the pool is up and running but the bill is due. The Council voted by unanimous vote to increase the line item for swimming pool repairs and maintenance for machinery and equipment from $300.00 to $15,000.00.

The next item was resolution #51-22. This resolution had to do with the compactor used at the transfer station. The Council had previously approved resolution number 19-22 to include the cost of the repairs in the 2022 annual operating budget. However, the cost for the repairs was more than anticipated. The annual operating budget for the cost was increased from $67,000 to $75,000 by unanimous vote.

The Council move on to resolution #52-22.The City of Camden had received funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to replace revenues during the COVID-19. Used to reimburse the city for the cost of police and fire salaries and related expenses. This resulted in a surplus in the General Fund that was placed in a separate account number to be dispersed by this Council at a future date. The initial amount available was one million $110,587.41 and the City Council has allocated a sum of $1,075,000 for separate projects. This City Council desired to allocate funds for technology, software for Public Works in order to increase productivity. The Council was assured that the $10,000 per year would more than pay for itself by saving time, paper, ink etc. Employees will be able to log in to the software and report what they have done and it will be available for everyone at all times instead of having to spend time writing and filing paper reports.  The 2022 annual operating budget was amended to authorize the expenditure of about $10,000 for computer software for the Public Works department. This passed by unanimous vote of the Council.

The final item on their agenda was resolution number #53-22. The City Council was asked to allocate funds for repairing a condenser unit for the air conditioning system at the Camden Municipal Building. The condenser had gone out and had to be repaired. The 2022 annual operating budget was amended to authorize an expenditure of up to $15,000 for repairing the condenser unit for the air conditioning system at the Municipal building. This resolution passed by. unanimous vote.
 

ARKANSAS STATE TROOPERS TAKE MEMPHIS MURDER SUSPECT INTO CUSTODY AT HOPE
JULY 28, 2022
A man wanted by Memphis police in connection with two murders that occurred about 3:30 AM today was apprehended by Arkansas State Troopers this afternoon.  The Memphis homicide case involves the deaths of a 36-year-old woman and her 14 year-old son.

About 12:25 PM, a state trooper patrolling Interstate 30 spotted a westbound vehicle matching the description of one that Memphis authorities believed was being driven by the murder suspect.  As the vehicle exited the highway at Hope and turned into the parking lot of a Hazel Street convenience store, troopers converged onto the lot taking into custody Jose Murillo Salgado, 42, of Bartlett, Tennessee.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division were called to the store where evidence possibly connected to the murders was recovered.

Salgado was transported to the Hempstead County Detention Center where he is being held for Memphis police.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: A GOOD HARVEST DEPENDS ON FARM EQUIPMENT THAT WORKS
LITTLE ROCK— With harvest fast approaching, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wants to ensure Arkansas’s farmers and ranchers are aware of their consumer rights regarding certain farm equipment. In 2019, with the guidance of Attorney General Rutledge, Arkansas enacted the Farm Machinery Lemon Law. The law applies only to new farm machinery purchased or leased on or after January 1, 2020, that exhibits at least one defect during the first 12 months or 600 hours of operation. If the manufacturer, distributor or authorized dealer is unable to repair the issue, the consumer is entitled to choose comparable replacement equipment or receive a refund of the full purchase or lease price less the fair value of the equipment at the time of refund.  

“As the wife of a row crop farmer, I know properly working farm equipment is vital to a farmer’s operation, especially in the heat of harvest,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “The costs to purchase farm equipment is a tremendous investment for a farmer, and the Farm Machinery Lemon Law was enacted to provide relief for Arkansans in case they purchased a lemon.”

The Farm Lemon Law covers farm equipment or machinery that is over 25 horsepower, typically used for agricultural purposes, and purchased or leased for the first time from a manufacturer, distributor or an authorized dealer. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs), lawnmowers, off-road vehicles, and machinery under 25 horsepower are not covered by the Farm Machinery Lemon Law. Additionally, the law defines the types of defects available for relief and outlines the process and time frames that consumers must follow in order to make a lemon law claim.

Rutledge publishes a guidebook to help equipment owners understand the law and dispute claims of nonconformity.

For more information or to file a consumer complaint related to the Farm Machinery Lemon Law, contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 via email at Consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or online at ArkansasAG.gov.
 

ICYMI: SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES BOOZMAN-LED INITIATIVES TO STRENGTHEN RECYCLING AND COMPOSTING  
WASHINGTON– Legislation championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus, focused on improving our nation’s recycling and composting systems unanimously passed the Senate Thursday.

“The answers to our problems need to come from the ground up. These bills are the result of the efforts by stakeholders and folks who identified an issue and how they can be solved. Recycling helps reduce waste while also creating jobs and driving innovation. I applaud Senate passage of these initiatives and urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead and pass these bipartisan bills,” Boozman said.

The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act  would require the EPA to collect and make publicly available data on recycling and composting rates across the country. The Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act  would establish a pilot rural recycling program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Boozman joined Senate Recycling Caucus co-chair and chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) Tom Carper (D-DE) and ranking member Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) to introduce and advance the two pieces of legislation.

In February, Boozman participated in a Senate EPW hearing to gain input from recycling industry leaders on the challenges confronting our nation’s recycling infrastructure. Members used that input to improve these legislative initiatives. 

July 28, 2022

BOIL ORDER LIFTED FOR CAMDEN BUT REMAINS FOR RURAL WATER ASSOCIATIONS - BURN BAN REMAINS IN EFFECT
The Boil order has been lifted for Camden Water Utilities. The Wire Road Water System, Hwy 4 24 Water Association, and Buena Vista-Ogemaw Water Association customers remain under a boil order until further notice.  If you are still affected please continue boiling when drinking or cooking with tap water.  Throw out your ice cubes and use ice trays to make ice from boiled water

The Burn ban is still in effect for Ouachita County. 


STATE POLICE SWEEPS ST. FRANCIS COUNTY, 30 ALLEGED DRUG DEALERS TARGETED
JULY 28, 2022
An eleven-month long Arkansas State Police undercover narcotics investigation in St. Francis County culminated with the arrest of 22 alleged drug dealers today.  State troopers are continuing to search for 8 individuals who have evaded apprehension during the arrest operation that has been centered in Forrest City.

All of the arrests were based on felony warrants charging each of the accused with delivery of a controlled substance.  The investigation, which began in August 2021, specifically pursued suspected drug dealers selling heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy.

During the investigation, special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division, assisted by Forrest City police detectives, coordinated drug transactions with each of the suspects.  More than 5 pounds of the various narcotics were purchased cumulatively among the 30 suspects.

The execution of the arrest warrants and arrests involved approximately 60 Arkansas State Troopers, assisted by other law enforcement officers from the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 1st Judicial District Drug Task Force, Forrest City Police Department, St. Francis and Cross County sheriff’s deputies and officers of the Palestine Police Department.

 “This investigation and subsequent arrests demonstrate the commitment of the Arkansas State Police to remove drug dealers from our communities and cut-off the supply of the worst and most dangerous narcotics being funneled into Arkansas,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.  “On behalf of Arkansans in communities, large and small, I commend the special agents who tirelessly led the investigation and the united spirit of the troopers and other law enforcement officers who banned together today to make the arrests.”

As of 11:30 AM today, the following individuals are among the 30 charged with the delivery of a controlled substance and currently incarcerated at the Cross County Detention Center in Wynne:

Lonzo Shealy, 44, of Forrest City
Kirk Mosby, 26, of Forrest City
Roy Parker, 37, of Forrest City
Clenton Wofford, 41, of Forrest City
Theo Walker, 32, of Forrest City
Jeremy Buchanan, 31, of Forrest City
Xavier Jones, 32, of Forrest City
Danny Brimley, 33, of Forrest City
Joseph Higgins, 30, of Forrest City
Freddie Gray, Jr., 48, of Forrest City
Ray Thomas, Jr., 22, of Forrest City
Kyiler King, 28, of Forrest City
Emilio Williams, 30, of Forrest City
Toney Walker, 36, of Forrest City
Candice Bradley, 34, of Forrest City
Joey Jones, 33, of Wynne
Ladarius Hartaway, 30, of Little Rock
Tevvion Jones, 26, of Widener
Demitrius Hunter, 33, of Forrest City
Antonio Neal, 53, of Forrest City
Timothy Graham, 29, of Forrest City
Latarsha McMillian, 44, of Forrest City

Currently, not in custody, but charged and being sought by the Arkansas State Police are:
Marco Lee, 31, of Forrest City
Ronald Williams, 30, of Forrest City
Freshawn Dosty, 25, of Forrest City
Diante Russell, 31 of Forrest City|
Romero Barber, 30, of Forrest City
Robert Smith, 31, of Forrest City
Tyrek Anderson, 22, of Forrest City
Ronald Scott, Jr., 31, of Colt

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of the suspects still being sought should contact the Arkansas State Police in Forrest City or the Forrest City Police Department.

Additional criminal charges in the form of federal indictments are expected to be filed against several of the individuals identified in the investigation and facing state charges.
 

WESTERMAN INTRODUCES COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE REFORM
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Representatives Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) introduced the Fair Care Act of 2022, a comprehensive health care reform plan that combines over 75 bipartisan proposals to lower costs, decrease the number of uninsured individuals, protect those with preexisting conditions, and expand coverage options. The members released the following statement:

"Republicans and Democrats alike can agree that our health care system is broken and in  desperate need of reform. Health care doesn't have to be an issue that divides us," said Rep. Westerman. "It is possible to loosen the grip of Big Government on our health care system, while lowering costs, and reducing the number of uninsured Americans. The Fair Care Act is all about putting families' hard earned tax dollars back into their pockets so they can make their own choices about what health care coverage is best for them.  I am confident that through the Fair Care Act, affordable health care is possible for every American."

“Americans deserve a health care system that puts families first and provides them peace of mind when they get sick or injured,” Gonzalez said. “Despite significant efforts to control costs and increase access to care, far too many Americans and businesses are struggling to find health insurance that is both affordable and will meet their needs. The Fair Care Act is a serious effort to finally put market forces to the test to promote efficiency, improve the quality of services, develop more choices for consumers, and ensure patients are receiving valued care for their money. This legislation charts a path forward that will provide certainty to families without breaking the fiscal bank. Perhaps most importantly, I believe it’s a proposal that can draw support across the political spectrum. It’s a step in the right direction, and I’m proud to support it.”

Stakeholder support:

“We applaud Rep. Westerman for introducing the Fair Care Act, a set of policies aimed at giving Americans a personal option in health care," said Dean Clancy, Sr Health Policy Fellow, Americans for Prosperity. "By putting patients – not bureaucrats – in the driver’s seat, these reforms will lead to lower prices, better quality, and no more surprises when it comes to the cost of care. If enacted, the policies in the Fair Care Act will increase access to personalized, affordable health care solutions that every American can rely on. We hope lawmakers will support this and similar proposals.”

Background
The Fair Care Act of 2022 is the third version of the Fair Care Act of 2019, crafted with more than 75 bipartisan provisions.

Some of the Fair Care Act of 2022 improvements include:
Codifying the Affordable Care Act preexisting condition protections in HIPPA.
Offering greater protections for patients with preexisting conditions through an "Invisible Guaranteed Coverage Risk Pool" and guaranteed coverage Medigap plans.
Eliminating the employer health insurance mandate and allowing those with Employer Sponsored Insurance (ESI) offers to receive premium assistance.
Strengthening and increasing enrollment in the commercial marketplace through expanded assistance to 600 percent FPL and state innovation waivers.
Expanding the use of pretax dollars to cover more medical expenses, including insurance premiums and direct primary care arrangements.
Promoting transparency by publishing provider networks and prices for common services.
Requiring medical providers to send timely, transparent bills to patients.
Discouraging hospital consolidation and anti-competitive behavior while protecting rural hospitals from closures.
Modernizing the prescription drug approval process to bring safe, effective medicine to patients faster.
Reforming Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) practices, including eliminating Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR) fees.
Expanding the number of health professionals that can provide telehealth services.
Modernizing Medicare enrollment through a competitive bidding process, which promotes Medicare Advantage plans.
Establishing a flexible Medicaid funding option for states and closing the gap between Medicaid eligibility and premium assistance in the individual market.
Promoting fiscal accountability and solvency for Medicare and Medicaid.

 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES DEMAND ANSWERS ABOUT BIDEN’S PROPOSED TITLE IX “GENDER IDENTITY” RULE IN SCHOOLS
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona demanding answers about the Department of Education’s intention to include “gender identity” as a protected category under Title IX.

In part, the senators wrote, “The Biden administration claims that Title IX, which was written to provide equal opportunities to women, protects men claiming to be women on the basis of their “gender identity.”  Consequently, your department has suggested that schools which prohibit males from using women’s bathrooms or playing women’s sports could be guilty of unlawful “discrimination.”  Your interpretation of Title IX will undermine that law’s very purpose by making schools and sports unsafe and unfair for women and girls.”

“Equally disturbing is the likelihood that your department will weaponize Title IX to force a radical gender ideology in K-12 classrooms. A number of troubling incidents suggest how your interpretation of Title IX could erode women’s rights, free-speech rights, parental rights, and children’s safety and innocence,” the senators continued.

Text of the letter may be below.

The Honorable Miguel Cardona
Attn: Title IX Rulemaking
Secretary of Education
Department of Education Building
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20202

Dear Secretary Cardona,

We write regarding the Department of Education’s intention to unlawfully include “gender identity” as a protected category under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. § 1681).  The Biden administration claims that Title IX, which was written to provide equal opportunities to women, protects men claiming to be women on the basis of their “gender identity.”  Consequently, your department has suggested that schools which prohibit males from using women’s bathrooms or playing women’s sports could be guilty of unlawful “discrimination.”  Your interpretation of Title IX will undermine that law’s very purpose by making schools and sports unsafe and unfair for women and girls.

Equally disturbing is the likelihood that your department will weaponize Title IX to force a radical gender ideology in K-12 classrooms. A number of troubling incidents suggest how your interpretation of Title IX could erode women’s rights, free-speech rights, parental rights, and children’s safety and innocence. Given these concerns, please respond to the following questions by Monday, August 15, 2022.

A middle school in Wisconsin recently filed a complaint under Title IX against three students for choosing not to refer to another student by her preferred pronouns.  Would it be a potential violation of Title IX for a student to refuse to call someone by pronouns that do not correspond to their biological sex?

A school in Virginia suspended a teacher, Tanner Cross, for refusing to use a child’s “preferred” pronouns and cited Title IX as one justification.  Would it be “discriminatory” or a potential violation of Title IX for a school employee to refuse to refer to a student or colleague by their preferred name or pronouns? If yes, would teachers with religious or conscientious objections be given an exemption?

When Florida passed a law to protect K-3 students from inappropriate classroom instruction, you implied it might run afoul of Title IX.  Would it be “discriminatory” or a potential violation of Title IX for a school, district, or state to limit a school employee’s ability to discuss “gender identity” with young children? Would it be a potential violation of Title IX for any school, district, or state to discipline a teacher’s or school employee’s discussion of the aforementioned topic with young children?

Would it be a potential violation of Title IX for any school, district, or state to refuse to provide puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to “affirm” a students’ “gender identity” at a school health clinic?

In order to comply with the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague letter” on Title IX, a Chicago public school chose to treat a girl as a boy and override the parents’ expressed wish to treat their daughter according to her biological sex.  Would it be “discriminatory” or a potential violation of Title IX to treat a child according to their biological sex if the parents requested this, but the child preferred a different “gender identity”?

An alarming number of schools deceive parents about their child’s “gender transition” by withholding information about their child’s “gender identity.” Your proposed rules favorably cite policies from California and Washoe County, Nevada, which forbid school staff from notifying parents about their child’s “gender identity.”  Would it be “discriminatory” or a potential violation of Title IX for a school employee or student to notify or inform parents about their child’s “gender transition” or alleged “gender identity”?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act guarantees parents’ “right to inspect and review the education records their children.”  Under your proposed rule, would a school be allowed to deny parents access to a child’s educational records, including sensitive information about their purported “gender identity,” for any reason? Under what circumstances could a school deny parents their right to inspect and review their children’s records?

In Loudon County, Virginia, a girl was raped in the girl’s bathroom by a boy who “identifies” as “gender fluid.”  Would it be “discriminatory” or a potential violation of Title IX to deny a boy who claimed a different “gender identity” access to the girl’s bathroom?

A male student at the University of Pennsylvania who claims to be a woman, Lia Thomas, has caused discomfort through his presence and behavior in the women’s locker room. Would it be discriminatory or a violation of Title IX to deny a boy who claimed a “gender identity” that did not correspond with his biological sex to use a girl’s locker room?

You have claimed that your proposed rule will not address women’s sports, yet your agency appears to be enforcing Title IX to effectively end women’s sports teams. Last June, your department signed onto a statement of interest, led by the Department of Justice, arguing that West Virginia’s law to prevent biological males from participating in female athletics is a violation of Title IX. Would it be a violation of Title IX to deny a biological male who claimed a “gender identity” that did not correspond with his biological sex to join a women’s sports team?

Thank you for your attention to this important manner.

July 27, 2022

BOIL ORDER AND BURN BAN REMAIN IN EFFECT
The Boil order has been extended to Thursday, for Camden Waterworks, Wire Road Water System, Hwy 4 24 Water Association, and Buena Vista-Ogemaw Water Association customers.  Please continue boiling when drinking or cooking with tap water.  Throw out your ice cubes and use ice trays to make ice from boiled water

The Burn ban is still in effect for Ouachita County.  Union County went under a burn ban late Wednesday evening. Out of 75 Counties in Arkansas, Phillips, St. Francis, and Calhoun Counties are the only Counties not under a burn ban.
 

OUACHITA COUNTY CORNER LICENSE REINSTATED
Ouachita County Coroner Sylvester Smith license were reinstated for embalming, funeral directors license, funeral home license by the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors after finding Smith and Williams Funeral Home  in violation of state law, back on May 17th.       

The board also fined Smith $250 and stated the previous revocations of his licenses would be considered retroactive suspensions.
 

CAMDEN MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF FETANYL
Brian Hanes of Camden man has been charged with possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy to traffic a felony controlled substance after 146 grams of fentanyl were shipped to a post office box in Hampton.

An affidavit from the 13th Judicial Drug Task Force states that on March 2, FBI task officer Austin McCuistion received a call from FBI task officer Houston Bradshaw in regards to a FedEx package that was intercepted by Customs and Border Protection in Memphis, Tenn., earlier this year.

On Feb. 25, a customs officer examined a package addressed to “Steve Williamson” at a post office box in Hampton. According to the affidavit, when the package was X-rayed, customs officers noticed an anomaly, and when opened for further examination, the package was found to contain glow sticks and a plastic bag holding 146.6 grams of white pills.

The quantity of fentanyl and the manner in which it was received led agents to believe that it was not for personal use and would likely be distributed, according to court records.

Hanes is currently out on $10,000 bond.
 

USDA COMMODITIES TO BE DISTRIBUTED AUGUST 17 & 18, 2022 IN CALHOUN COUNTY
Hampton –Central Arkansas Development Council will distribute USDA Commodities in Calhoun County Wednesday, August 17, and Thursday, August 18, 2022, in Hampton.  Distribution will begin at 9 am. 

Food Items May Include:

UHT Milk, Grapefruit Juice, Can Pears, Raisins, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Lentils, Egg Noodles, Farina Cream of Wheat, Beef Stew 

In Calhoun County, commodities will be distributed at the following location: 
CADC Office, 210 South Lee Street, Hampton, AR (870) 798-2457.

ID must be present in order to receive commodities. All customers receiving commodities must present identification. Photo ID Preferred. Must Meet Income Guidelines.

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.

 

ABSTRACT ARTISTS DAN THORNHILL AND LAURA WELSHANS EXHIBIT OPENING AT SAAC IN EL DORADO
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to welcome Little Rock abstract artists Dan Thornhill and Laura Welshans and their exhibition "Collected Shapes in Color" to the Price and Merkle Galleries August 2-31, 2022. There will be an artist's reception on Tuesday, August 2 from 5:30pm-7:00pm.

Thornhill, whose favorite artist is Picasso, became fascinated with abstract art at an early age. He says, “With abstract art, there has to be creativity; there has to be originality. You really have to have your own voice as an artist and record it as if you’re keeping a journal. Abstract art is my journal.” Thornhill’s artistic inspiration evolves from his love of nature, “Although I am an abstract painter, I still have to begin somewhere and I begin with nature.”

Welshans, once a student of Thornhill’s at the Arkansas Arts Center (now the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts), considers herself a minimalist inspired by silhouettes and simplified shapes. Her paintings focus on the interaction between the organic elements of earth and the human-made world through color, shape, and light. Using a limited palette, she pairs well-defined shapes with large negative spaces to illustrate the simplistic beauty of rock formations, flowers, and water. Welshans says “magic happens” on her canvas when these curvilinear shapes are juxtaposed against the angular lines of a city skyline, for instance. Similar to Thornhill, Welshans says, “Documenting the beauty of the earth by illustrating it in its purest, simplest forms is the inspiration for my abstracted body of work.”

Dan Thornhill, born and raised in Dallas, Texas, graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a degree in biology. After a hiatus of many years from art, he began studying art seriously in 2001. He eventually started taking classes at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and graduated in 2013 with a M.A. in Studio Art (emphasis in painting). Laura Welshans, who was born in the St. Louis Metro Area and grew up in Stuttgart, Arkansas, has always been a creator. Her current concentration is on abstracting landscapes and florals by focusing on the simple silhouette of the objects with a goal of showing how the organic nature of the Earth and the human-made world coexist through color and shape. Both Thornhill and Welshans currently reside in Little Rock with their spouses.

Thornhill’s artworks are included in the permanent collections at UALR; the Fine Arts Institute in Edmonds, Oklahoma; the Grand Prairie Arts Center in Stuttgart, AR; the Cancer Center at UAMS in Little Rock, AR; along with other public and private collections. Welshans has exhibited within numerous juried group shows including the 61st Delta Exhibition of the Arkansas Arts Center, The Other Art Fair Dallas, ACANSA Gallery, Mena Art Gallery, and the Arkansas League of Artists Exhibitions. Her solo shows include ASU-Mountain Home Gallery, Argenta Branch Library, South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado, Arkansas, and the Arts Center of the Grand Prairie in her hometown of Stuttgart, Arkansas. Laura’s paintings are included in a collection at The Haywood Hotel in El Dorado, Arkansas, CARTI Cancer Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Raymond James in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her paintings have won several Abstract awards.

For more information on the Thornhill and Welshans exhibit at the South Arkansas Arts Center, 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 ASKS BLACKROCK TO EXPLAIN ITS INADEQUATE RESPONSE TO ANTITRUST CONCERNS FROM ESG SCAM
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) last night sent a second letter to Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock Inc., reiterating his demand for answers about the firm’s involvement in a scheme to reduce drilling for oil and gas that may violate antitrust law.

In part, Cotton wrote, “BlackRock’s intimation that it set boundaries when joining CA100+ is unconvincing, as the statement mirrors CA100+’s own language on its website.  And if this was a response to my letter, it did not answer my questions.”

“BlackRock’s statement raises additional questions about its commitments to the CA100+ initiative. Many of the commitments investor participants make when joining CA100+ raise potential antitrust issues,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.
Mr. Larry Fink
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
BlackRock Inc.
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055

Dear Mr. Fink,

On July 13, I sent you a letter inquiring about BlackRock’s involvement with Climate Action 100+ (“CA100+”).

Though BlackRock failed to provide my office with a response, it did respond to a request for a statement by “responsible-investor.com.” BlackRock’s statement to the website was:

 

BlackRock joined Climate Action 100+ to participate in dialogue with companies and financial institutions on matters important to our clients. As we made clear to CA100+ when we joined, BlackRock acts independently in its investment decisions. We do not co-ordinate investment decisions with any members of Climate Action 100+, and we do not buy, sell, hold or vote our shares together with any Climate Action 100+ signatory. As fiduciaries to our clients, we consistently prioritise the long-term economic interests of our clients above any commitments or pledges not required by law.

BlackRock’s intimation that it set boundaries when joining CA100+ is unconvincing, as the statement mirrors CA100+’s own language on its website.  And if this was a response to my letter, it did not answer my questions.

BlackRock’s statement raises additional questions about its commitments to the CA100+ initiative. Many of the commitments investor participants make when joining CA100+ raise potential antitrust issues. For example, based on CA100+’s website:

“investors commit to engaging with at least one of 166 focus companies . . . and to seek commitments on the initiative’s key asks”;

investors are required to “work cooperatively with a number of collaborating investors”;

investors are “required to share information with the engagement working group and the coordinating investor network”;

investors are “required to liaise with relevant network staff and/or lead investors to ensure engagement priorities and ambition are aligned with the goals of the initiative, as well as with the overall collaborative approach”;

investors are required to “disclose through a bi-annual survey their engagement plans and priorities over the coming 12 months to ensure strong and concerted action”; and investors are required to warn focus companies that “inaction by companies following engagement may result in investors taking further action.”

In light of these commitments that BlackRock made when becoming a CA100+ “investor participant,” please provide answers to the following questions by August 2, 2022:

Has BlackRock followed through on its intention to “participate in dialogue with companies and financial institutions” as part of the CA100+ initiative? If so, please list each company and financial institution BlackRock engaged in “dialogue” with, and explain what was discussed during such “dialogue.”

In light of BlackRock’s insistence that it “acts independently” and “do[es] not co-ordinate” with other CA100+ members, does BlackRock count itself among the CA100+ “investors [that] recognise that unprecedented cross-sector collaboration is required to achieve net zero across the global economy”?

Has Blackrock fulfilled the CA100+ commitments listed above? If so, please identify:
the companies BlackRock has engaged with;
the investors BlackRock has collaborated with;
the investors BlackRock has shared information with;
the investors and network staff BlackRock has liaised with; and
the companies BlackRock has threatened with “further action.”

In addition, please provide a copy of all bi-annual surveys BlackRock has prepared for CA100+.

July 26, 2022

BOIL ORDER AND BURN BAN REMAINS IN EFFECT
As of this report, Camden waterworks, Wire Road Water System,
Hwy 4 24 water association, and Buena Vista-Ogemaw Water Association have no cleared their boil orders according the Arkansas Department of Health Website.  They are still in effect until further notice.  David Richardson reported to us today that it will be at least Thursday before the Health Department will give the all clear.

Ouachita County is still under a burn ban. 6 Counties out of 75 are still not under a burn ban.
 

CLARIFICATION ON SMOKING AT THE CARNES PARK POOL - WEED SMOKER’S WILL BE ARRESTED
Monday, July 25th, just after 10 AM, Camden Mayor Lott posted on the Mayor page: “There will be no smoking at the City Pool. Violators will be arrested.”  Some people misread, thinking it had to do with tobacco products, but at the time of the report Monday, Radio Works was waiting on comment back from the Mayor’s office if the message was in regards to smoking cannabis. 

The Mayor replied back, “Children are smoking weed in the restrooms.  Parents don’t believe their children are doing it when they get ousted for the day.  Police get involved; we no longer have to argue.”

Smoking tobacco products are ok, provided you smoke in designated smoking areas. 
No running and obey the lifeguard.  Entry fee is $5, and hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday 12 noon to 7 PM. 

 

ARKANSAS BASS TEAM TRAIL AND THE CITY OF CAMDEN AR PRESENTS THE 5TH ANNUAL "RUMBLE ON THE RIVER BASS TEAM TOURNAMENT” IN CAMDEN AR.
Saturday, August 6th with over $10,000 in cash and prizes!
Camden, AR – The Rumble on the River Bass Team Tournament is a 1 day only event held on Saturday, August 6th 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 has begun online.

To enter, visit arkansasbassteamtrail.net and click on the Rumble icon!

Mail a check & entry form to ABTT
2810 Pine Street pmb235
Arkadelphia 71923

Or register in person on Friday evening or Saturday morning at Washington Street & Madison Ave in downtown Camden.

“The City of Camden is excited to once again be chosen to host this awesome event. We love showcasing our beautiful river access parks that overlook the magnificent Ouachita River. Camden has long been titled “Queen City of the Ouachita” and we welcome every opportunity to highlight this unique feature of our thriving city.”
- City of Camden Mayor Julian Lott

In addition to the tournament, come early for family fun in Camden, AR where you can stroll the streets downtown, shop a great variety of unique stores and boutiques or eat at one of the many restaurants. There are LOTS of things to see and do while you visit Camden for the tournament.

For Rules and Registration, visit www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net
 

HELP WITH ELECTRIC BILL FOR THOSE IN NEED
Those of you with huge cooling summer electric bills, you may be eligible for some relief. 

The Arkansas Department of Energy & Environment opening the application period for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance.

The program is designed to make operating home air conditioners more affordable and will provide funding for eligible homes through Sept. 30 or until funding is expended, whichever comes first.

Applications are based upon household monthly income. To apply for benefits, an applicant receives and then returns an application to their county office, the specifics of which changes from county to county. Applications are accepted on a first come first-serve basis. The Department of Energy & Environment does not process applications.
 

JOHNNY CASH STATUE TO BE PLACED IN WASHINGTON DC
The man in Black is one step closer to representing Arkansas in our nation's capital.

The towering statue of Natural State native Johnny Cash is being finalized. Once finished, it will take its place in Statuary Hall in Washington D.C.

Johnny Cash will represent the state alongside another larger-than-life sculpture of civil rights icon Daisy Bates.
 

COTTON INTRODUCES AMENDMENT TO PROHIBIT COMPANIES FROM EXPANDING SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING IN CHINA
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced an amendment to the CHIPS+ package to prohibit companies that receive federal grants and tax credits from expanding semiconductor production in China. Text of the amendment may be found here.

“We should be bolstering manufacturing at home—not expanding abroad. My amendment will ensure companies that receive taxpayer funds can’t turn around and build more factories in China,” said Cotton.

This amendment would:
Eliminate loopholes that would allow semiconductor companies to take taxpayer money while expanding production of so-called “legacy semiconductors” in China.

Eliminate a “Mitigation” process that would allow semiconductor companies to expand advanced semiconductor manufacturing in China and keep CHIPS grant money while keeping taxpayer funds.

Provide a more comprehensive definition of “semiconductor manufacturing” so that companies cannot take taxpayer money and move other parts of their manufacturing supply chains like testing, packaging, and R&D to China.

Eliminate other loopholes that companies could use to argue with the Department of Commerce about whether their activities in China disqualify them from receiving taxpayer funds.

July 25, 2022

BURN BAN IS STILL IN EFFECT FOR OUACHITA COUNTY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

BOIL ORDER REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR SOME AREAS IN OUACHITA COUNTY
CAMDEN WATERWORKS customers in the area of Fairview Road south from Mount Holly to Hwy 79, are still under a boil order till further notice.

WIRE ROAD WATER SYSTEM Is still under a boil order till further notice.

HWY 4 24 WATER ASSOCIATION and the area of Hwy 278 and adjoining roads is still under a boil order until further notice. 

BUENA VISTA-OGEMAW WATER ASSOCIATION, the Entire System is under a boil order until further notice. 

DON’T GET CAUGHT SMOKING AT CARNES PARK POOL
If Radio Works News noticed it, you probably noticed it too. Posted on the Camden Mayor Facebook page, there is to be no smoking at the City Pool.  Violators will be arrested. 

You’re probably thinking that’s overkill.  Why not a citation?  This may not be the smoking you’re thinking of be a simple warning and then extinguish. 

This could be patrons smoking something more of the cannabis kind than tobacco that could warrant an arrest for possession.  Radio Works is waiting for confirmation is that’s what is implied by the post.

UPDATE
According to Police Chief Bo Woody, there have been teen agers smoking marijuana in the bathrooms. Those found smoking marijuana at the pool will be arrested! You won't be arrested for smoking a cigarette. 

BACK TO SCHOOL DRIVE
The first annual Back to School Drive is August 13th, from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM at the Carnes Park Building. They are still looking for vendors for indoor and outdoor, and calling all food trucks.  For more information as a vendor, contact Satedra Hall at 501-499-1410


BEARDEN HIGH SCHOOL BAND ANNOUNCE BAND CAMP
Bearden High School Band will be starting up Band Camp for grades 7 through 12, August 1st through 4th and continues August 9th and 10th.

Mickie Null, the Bearden High School Band Director says, they will start 7:30 every morning OUTSIDE, so dress cool. Heat stroke is no joke.  Take the necessary precautions and bring a snack. You’ll be released by 12.

Water bottle donations would greatly be appreciated. 

 

ZOO MOURNS LOSS OF CACTUS JACK, BLACK JAGUAR WITH LONG LIFE AT LITTLE ROCK ZOO
Iconic and Beloved Jaguar Missed at the Little Rock Zoo
LITTLE ROCK (July 25, 2022) – The Zoo is sad to announce the death of Cactus Jack, an almost 22-year-old black jaguar living at the Zoo since 2001.

Cactus was an iconic animal of the Little Rock Zoo known by name by guests and staff for more than two decades. He arrived at the Zoo in April of 2001 with his littermate, Agave, who passed in 2017. He quickly became a favorite for his sweet disposition and beautiful black color variation which is only found in 11 percent of jaguars.

One of his keepers, Kate Neal, shared, “Some lucky keepers get the opportunity to work with an animal with whom they share a special bond. An animal who not only impacts the trajectory of their career, but shapes who they are as a person. Cactus was that animal for me. I am heartbroken to say goodbye, but so thankful for every moment I had with him and every intangible gift he gave." 

Cactus showed signs of decline in the last few weeks and rapidly declined in the last few days. Zoo staff made the decision to humanely euthanize him after assessing it was in his best interest. He would have turned 22 on Saturday, July 23, 2022. At his age, Cactus outlived most of his counterparts in other accredited zoos. 

To learn more about Cactus Jack, please contact jmatlock@littlerock.gov
 

INTERNAL REVIEW UNDERWAY IN PURSUIT & DEATH OF DRIVER
JULY 25, 2022
The Arkansas State Police is conducting an internal review and investigation into the death of a Kentucky man who fled from an Arkansas State Trooper yesterday (Sunday, July 24th) during a pursuit that began in Forrest City.

John Bomar, 19, the driver of the vehicle, died after legal intervention by a state trooper was used to stop the vehicle which was being operated recklessly and endangering other motorists.

At approximately 4:35 PM, a traffic violation led the trooper to initiate a traffic stop when Bomar exited the eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 at Forrest City and turned north onto Arkansas Highway 1, increasing his speed to more than 100 miles per hour.

Near the St. Francis and Cross County line, a state trooper executed a precision intervention technique which led to Bomar’s vehicle to exit the highway in an easterly direction into a farm field.

State troopers and other law enforcement officers administered life saving measures to Bomar who was the only occupant of the vehicle.  He was transported by ambulance to a Wynne hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.

An investigation of the incident will be submitted to a prosecuting attorney of jurisdiction who will decide whether the use of deadly force by the Arkansas State Police was consistent with Arkansas laws.

 

BOOZMAN RECEIVES AMERICAN FARM BUREAU’S HIGHEST HONOR FOR SITTING MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Top Ag Committee Republican Touts Partnership, Ag Policy Successes
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, was presented the Golden Plow award by the American Farm Bureau, the highest honor the organization gives to a sitting member of Congress.

Boozman received the award at the Arkansas Farm Bureau’s annual Officers and Leaders Conference in Rogers.

“This truly is an honor. I’m a guy who believes the best ideas come from the ground up, which is why the voices of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Arkansas Farm Bureau carry so much weight in my book. We have stood side by side on numerous battles over the years and I can tell you those outcomes would have been much different had the Farm Bureau not been there. I will always rely on the Farm Bureau’s input to guide our policy decisions in Washington,” Boozman said.

“For two decades, Senator Boozman has demonstrated his commitment to agriculture and farmers across the country. His unwavering support for hardworking farm families has earned him Friend of Farm Bureau award for 10 consecutive sessions, so presenting him with the Golden Plow award seems only natural,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “Senator Boozman knows the key to good policy is consensus. He’s willing to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers while ensuring America’s families continue to enjoy a stable food supply.”

“Senator John Boozman is a champion for agriculture,” said Rich Hillman, a rice farmer from Carlisle who serves as president of Arkansas Farm Bureau and who nominated Boozman for the Golden Plow. “Our nation’s farmers and ranchers could not be better served than we are with John Boozman leading agriculture policy efforts in the U.S. Senate. He epitomizes the spirit of the Golden Plow award.

Hillman added, “Senator Boozman is a great listener, which is very important when representing others. Listening and understanding the concerns of others is one of his most meaningful attributes. He stands for what he believes, puts aside the small stuff and works for the common good. He has always represented Arkansas’ farmers and ranchers with tenacity and the highest integrity.”

 Boozman, a 10-time Friend of Farm Bureau award recipient, has a long history of advancing U.S. and Arkansas agriculture interests and standing up for family farmers, ranchers and foresters. His efforts that helped earn this honor include:

 Protecting the Future of Family Farming: In his role as lead Republican on the agriculture committee, Boozman was among the most vocal opponents of the Biden administration’s proposed tax code changes that would have had a devastating impact on rural America. Boozman and his colleagues were successful in forcing the White House to abandon the idea of paying for its “Build Back Better” plan on the backs of our family farmers, ranchers and foresters with proposed changes to capital gains, stepped-up basis and like-kind exchanges.

 Ensuring New Programs Put Farmers First: Boozman’s leadership was key to ensuring the Growing Climate Solutions Act secured overwhelming support in the Senate, passing by a 92-8 margin. He worked across the aisle with Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) to make the programs created by the bill more farmer-friendly, farmer-focused and, most importantly, voluntary.

 Securing Vital Emergency Relief for Producers: As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Boozman played a key role in ensuring that the second round of relief from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program would be available to contract growers of livestock and poultry who suffered revenue losses and were originally omitted when the program was created. American Farm Bureau said inclusion of a provision in the bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations bill that Boozman pushed for “resulted in almost $1 billion in federal assistance to support poultry growers who were seeing reduced flock placement because of supply chain challenges that resulted during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 Working Across the Aisle to Put Agriculture First: Boozman was among a select number of members who crafted the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill legislation, forging a compromise between the competing versions passed by the Senate and House of Representatives. The final bill received more votes on the Senate floor than any previous farm bill. It contained several provisions Boozman authored, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reform, regulatory reform and many other priorities for Arkansas agriculture.

 Creating Market Access for Our Producers: Throughout his tenure in Congress, Boozman has made it a priority to expand new market opportunities for Arkansas producers to compete in and ensure existing trade partners, like Iraq, keep their commitments to purchase Arkansas-grown commodities.

 Advocating for Nutrition and Hunger Relief Programs: Boozman is a co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus and has been a leader in the effort to improve USDA’s summer meal programs. The proposed reforms for which he has advocated since his introduction of the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2015 were the basis for successful pandemic hunger relief programs. Just last month, Boozman helped forge an agreement to deliver important funding and flexibility for communities to provide children healthy meals this summer and respond to supply chain challenges and high food costs for the coming school year.

 Looking Out for Rural America: Boozman has always viewed the success of agriculture and rural America as incumbent upon each other and as such has advocated for expanded business development and job training opportunities in these communities. His position on the Senate Committee on Appropriations allowed him to secure $2.8 million for the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Access (ATTRA) program for Fiscal Year 2021. This program connects Arkansas agricultural producers to information that helps them improve their operations. ATTRA also administers the Armed to Farm program that assists veterans in transition to civilian life by training them for a career in farming. The program has a regional headquarters located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

July 21, 2022

BOIL ORDER UPDATE
Camden Water Utilities is currently under a Precautionary Boil Order until further notice. Areas included in this Boil Order are only areas South of Fairview Road from Mt. Holly to Highway 7 at Jay’s Country Store. Affected areas also include the old Wire Road Water Association, and parts of the 4 and 24 Water Association on Highway 278.

On Thursday morning a 10” water main at Old Wire Road and Fairview was damaged which caused system pressure loss in the affected areas. Repairs have been made and Camden Water Utilities is currently waiting on a sample approval from the Health Department. The Boil Order will be in effect until at least Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

WATER MAIN BREAKS - BOIL ORDER FOR PARTS OF CAMDEN AND OLD WIRE ROAD WATER ASSOCIATION
We are waiting on official word from the Arkansas Department Health to issue a boil order for South Camden in the Fairview / Old Wire Road area. 

Earlier Thursday morning just after 5 AM, it was discovered there was a water main break due the low water pressure many Camden water customers were experiencing. 

David Richardson, Director of Camden Water Utilities says a main line broke early Thursday morning and crews are working on the break.  The main line is under a culvert and will take time to access the broken main. 

Richardson says, go ahead and start boiling your water now.  It will take time to notify the Arkansas Department Health, but if you are currently experiencing low water pressure or live in the affected area, boil your water before cooking or drinking it. 

Richardson also added, right now would not be the best time to be washing clothes. 

Richardson’s advice is, when you check the pressure of your water, only use the cold side of the tap.  You don't want to use the hot side and have all that dirt and settlement run through, and possibly damage your water heater.  Let the water run clear on the cold side, and then boil it if you want to use it for drinking or cooking. 

Going into the weekend, and it takes about two days to get test results back, Tuesday could be the latest we could see the boil order dropped. 

The Old Wire Water Association called Radio Works and announced that they have issued a boil order for anyone on that the Old Wire Road Water Association line.

CIVILIAN RESPONSE TO ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENTS (C.R.A.S.E)
So far in 2022 there has been 246 mass shooting incidents in our country. These incidents occur at our schools, churches, workplaces, and entertainment venues. CRASE training is designed to enhance your chance of survival should you become involved in one of these incidents.

This training is open to law enforcement officers, school administrators, plant managers, business owners and church officials.

Training is FREE
August 8th, 2022, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy
6373 Hussey Road
East Camden, AR 71701

Seating is limited to 85. To register for this event contact Teri Haynes @ (870) 574-1810
 

VALENCE SURFACE TECHNOLOGIES ANNOUNCES THE ACQUISITION OF B&M PAINTING
Valence Surface Technologies announces the acquisition of B&M Painting (Camden, Arkansas), a leading provider of surface treatment for highly engineered products in the aerospace and defense market.

 B&M provides surface treatment to many leading U.S. defense platforms by maintaining key approvals with strategic A&D primes such as Lockheed Martin (Bethesda Maryland), General Dynamics (New York, New York) and Aerojet Rocketdyne (Sacramento, California).

 B&M operates out of an approximately 81,000-square-foot manufacturing campus here in Camden, Arkansas that the company has expanded through investments in increased capacity, OEM approvals and the addition of new equipment to maintain state-of-the-art metal finishing capability.

 

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM COURT DISCUSS COOPER’S LAW
Ouachita County Quorum Court held the Cooper’s Law Subcommittee meeting Tuesday night to discuss in the further detail how to enforce Cooper’s Law and is it legal for the County to close public access ramps to the river.

When the County spoke with Game and Fish, Game and Fish said the County had the right to restrict public access to boat ramps to the river.  That was with the assumption that the County owned those access points.  The County however does not own any access points except Bragg Lake. 

Ouachita County Sheriff Norwood asked how would the department be able to enforce restricted access on the river if the Deputies aren’t sure where the boat launched from.  Did they launch from a public closed ramp, private property, or from Calhoun County side? 

Another point made was the signs to be used to indicate the current condition of the river from low risk, moderate threat to high level threat.  It was seen there could be a liability issue on the County if someone where to get hurt or worse based on the current sign posted and someone hasn’t made it out yet to change the signs. 

And you know, with metal signs out in the County, well, they’ll eventually be holey signs in the county.

Sherri Steelman explained how the alarm system at Sandy Beach and the River Walk would work and installation provided by private funds. 

Another point made by both Steelman and Coroner Sylvester Smith was the issue with life preservers and those recovered in boating accidents had them on their boat, but not on their persons.  Smith said that everyone of the victims he has taken in were not wearing a flotation device. 

Water safety taught among the youth was agreed upon and encouraging adults to wear life jackets when on the water.

Through the meeting, the group was able to refine a few key points in the ordinance, and still agree on water safety, water safety education, proper signage, life saving throwables, and encourage people using the river to not only have the appropriate amount of flotation devices on their water craft, but to also be wearing those flotation devices.

OUACHITA COUNTY COMMUNITY CONCERT ASSOCIATION HAS FUND RAISER AND SUMMER CONCERT
The Ouachita County Community Concert Association is having a BBQ Fundraise from 11 am to 2 pm on July 30th at the Event Center at Fairview Park. A pork plate will be $12.00 and include 2 sides and a dessert. You can get tickets from any Board Member – Becky Lindsey, Susan Ketchum, Austin Greening, Patty Greening David Reynolds, John Dison Nancy Arnold or Kay Martin. Call 807-6915 for more information.

The evening of July 30th you can enjoy a concert at the Events Center at Fairview Park. Billstown will perform at 6:00 pm. Billstown was formed in 2008 by re-uniting the members of The Campbell Family Band, with a few new additions. For ticket information call 807-6915 or e-mail info@camdenaliveonstage.com. You can also visit www.camdenaliveonstage.com.
 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOLDS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON JULY 28

Call 501-370-3829 to reserve a timeslot to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.
WHAT:   Monthly Virtual VA Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans

WHO:     During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak one-on-one to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist with specific questions regarding their claims for VA benefits.

WHEN:   Thursday, July 28, 2022, 4 - 6 p.m.

HOW:     To reserve a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, July 27.

BACKGROUND: 
“We strive to meet the needs of the Veterans in the state of Arkansas and provide multiple avenues for them to connect with us. It is our duty and honor to assist with their VA benefits,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “Even as we conduct in-person, community outreach events, we will continue to offer these virtual claims clinics as an avenue for Veterans to reach us.” 

The Little Rock VA Regional Office is open Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., while the Veterans Assistance Line, (501) 370-3829, is manned Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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 disability compensation (pay) offers a monthly tax-free payment to Veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military and to Veterans whose service made an existing condition worse. 

During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office is 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 and 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.  

Veterans and their family members may also take advantage of VA’s Visitor Reporting Engagement Application (VERA), a new, easy-to-use, online tool, to schedule in-person or virtual appointments with VA benefits counselors.  For more information about VA’s benefits, go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call 800-827-1000.

July 20, 2022

OUACHITA COUNTY FAIR PAGEANT – ENTER NOW
The Ouachita County Fair Pageant will be held on Thursday, August 4th at 6:30 pm at the Events Center at Fairview Park located on Mt. Holly Rd in Camden. There is a cash only $25.00 entry fee and a $5.00 Photogenic entry fee. Entries are due by July 29th. No late entries will be accepted! Absolutely No REFUNDS! Admission to the pageant is $3.00. Applications are available at Radio Works, Camden Drug and on the Ouachita County Fair Facebook page.

 

PUBLIC INVITED TO SEE ARKANSAS ARTIST KEVIN KRESSE AT WORK
Hometown Artist Composing Johnny Cash Sculpture for U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – The public is invited to visit with renowned Arkansas artist and sculptor Kevin Kresse as he works on the sculpture of Johnny Cash that will eventually be placed in Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol.  Visiting hours are 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday, July 25th through Thursday, July 28th at the Windgate Center of Art + Design on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, located at 2801 South University Avenue in Little Rock.  Groups can be scheduled for specific times by emailing Kurt Naumann at kurt.naumann@sos.arkansas.gov


ARKANSAS TECH STARTUP RMT NAMED TOP TECH FOR 2ND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
(Little Rock, Arkansas, July 18, 2022) -- Roadway Management Technologies, headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas is the recipient of the 2022 Top Tech award given by the American Public Works Association. RMT has been awarded this distinction two years in a row. In 2021, RMT was presented with APWA’s Top Tech Award for their innovative Asset Management System. This year the APWA awards this designation to innovation leaders in the following categories: Asset Management Technologies, Fleet Electrification/Infrastructure, Geographic Information Systems, Intelligent Transportation Systems, and SMART Technologies at their annual Public Works Expo in Charlotte, NC from August 28th through 31st.  

Upon receiving the award, CEO and Founder, Candler McCollum stated, “We’re incredibly flattered to be named APWA’s Top Technology for 2022. The award comes as a result of the hard work of an extremely talented and dedicated team. I am honored and humbled by what we have been able to achieve in such a short time. I want to take a moment to thank the cities and counties we have partnered with to develop these innovative technologies and systems. We’re excited to continue to revolutionize the technology available to the public sector and bring communities together with smart infrastructure.”

RMT will have a booth at the PWX event in Charlotte this August to demonstrate its unique,  integrated solutions and technologies that are transforming day-to-day processes for government agencies. For more information, visit www.roadman.tech
 

HOUSE PASSES WESTERMAN, WAGNER BILLS
WASHINGTON - Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed several Republican bills, including H.R. 7693, the National Park Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2022, introduced by House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.).

"I'm so pleased to see these bipartisan efforts passing the House and making their way to the Senate," Westerman said. "By reauthorizing the National Park Foundation, we will reduce deferred maintenance at our national parks, advance public-private partnerships, and address pressing issues like park overcrowding by incentivizing innovative private-sector solutions. We've already seen this work in action at iconic sites like Yellowstone, making everyone's experience at our national parks more enjoyable. This legislation and others that moved forward today will advance our shared goals of scientific conservation and shared stewardship of our resources. I'm honored to stand for these priorities and look forward to seeing them signed into law."

Background
In total, the House passed nine Natural Resources Committee bills, including:

H.R. 7693, the National Park Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2022, introduced by U.S. Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), which reauthorizes appropriations for the National Park Foundation (NPF), up to $15 million annually, through FY 2030. NPF appropriations require a minimum 1:1 match with private donations, which are used to fund vital park projects. NPF cannot use federal funds for overhead, administrative expenses, or land acquisition. 

H.R. 7025, the Advancing Human Rights-Centered International Conservation Act of 2022, introduced by U.S. Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), which makes several changes to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) international conservation grant program to ensure USFWS grant dollars are not used to fund human rights abuses. The bill requires the human rights records of grantees be vetted by USFWS, holds grantees accountable for the actions of their subgrantees and requires USFWS to investigate allegations of human rights violations by their grantees.

H.R. 7002, the Gateway Solidarity Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), which requires the Secretary of the Interior to illuminate Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo., in blue and yellow as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine and its people. 
 

BOOZMAN, HEINRICH INTRODUCE LEGISLATION ELIMINATING PENALTY TO TRAVEL FOR VA CARE
WASHINGTON
–– U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for Department of Veterans Affairs funding, introduced legislation to repeal the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) copayment requirement for veterans traveling to medical appointments.

“Veterans in rural areas with limited access to specialty care and VA facilities are disproportionately impacted by this policy. We must correct this inequity,” Boozman said. “I appreciate the guidance of Arkansas veterans who have shared with me their concerns about this unnecessary cost to receiving the health care they earned. I urge the Senate to remove this penalty for veterans.”

“Veterans who live in rural areas shouldn’t be tasked with paying a travel deductible when heading to their medical appointments,” said Heinrich. “That’s why I’m proud to join Senator Boozman in this bipartisan effort to eliminate this financial hurdle and make it easier for all veterans to access the health care benefits and services that they have earned.

The Boozman-Heinrich bill eliminates the cost veterans pay when seeking VA-approved medical care.

Under the VA’s Travel Beneficiary Program, eligible veterans and caregivers are reimbursed for mileage and other travel expenses incurred while traveling to and from their homes to VA-approved health appointments. Deductibles are automatically withheld from the claim prior to disbursement. In Fiscal Year 2021 veterans paid the VA over $29 million to travel for approved health care.

July 19, 2022

YOUNG MAN DROWNS AT WHITE OAK LAKE
Trajedy struck the community again yesterday when it was reported that n 18 year old man drowned. Around 4 PM, Monday, according to Ouachita County Coroner Sylvester Smith, a drowning took place on the lower part of White Oak Lake, better known as “The Little Grand Canyon”

Ouachita County Sheriff Norwood says two juveniles were walking along the bluffs when the unnamed victim jumped in. The victim resurfaced once, went under again and never resurfaced.

According to Sheriff David Norwood, the victim was recovered about a quarter hour after the incident by the Chidester fire Department, and then transported to Ouachita County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

OCSO, OCCO, CFHS, along with Radio Works sends their condolences, thoughts, prayers, and peace be with family and friends during this tragedy.

Camden Fairview School District posted on their Facebook page:

“Our community is heartbroken again. Yesterday, a 2022 Camden Fairview graduate lost his life in an accident. Please join us as we offer our condolences and prayers to his family, friends, and everyone at CFHS.

We have counselors available and ready to provide support to CFHS students and staff. Families, please reach out to us if your family needs support as you grieve.

 

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
FLEEING
POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
On July 15, 2022 at 0445, Officer Jonathan Cooper, was backing up Sergeant Nathan Lane at Comfort Inn in reference to a suspicious person walking around outside in a purple shirt. :

Upon arrival Sergeant Lane was able make contact with the reporting party and Officer Cooper made entrance into the building because the individual had walked to the back when he saw the officer's. Officer Cooper was able to make contact with a white male with purple shirt in the men’s bathroom. The Officer asked him to walk out front so that they could talk with him to see why he's at the business. The double doors opened and the suspect took off running towards Magnolia Road.

Officer Cooper drew his taser and chased after the man, yelling to him to stop running or he would be tased.  Dispatch was advised that he was running and he was tased when the Officer caught up with him. The prongs hit him in the back, and the pants leg successfully incapacitating him. Officer Cooper then went to where he had fallen after being tased and advised him to  place his hands behind his back. The individual complied with the requests.

The individual was then identified as Ricky McClure and was placed under arrest. I removed the probes before moving him to a squad car. No pictures were taken of McClure.

Dispatched advised that McClure had felony warrants with the Ouachita County Sheriff Department. McClure was searched by Sergeant Lane and a half smoked marijuana cigarette was discovered in his right front pocket.

McClure was transported to the Camden Police Department. Where booking procedures were completed and McClure was given criminal citation for Fleeing and Possession of a controlled substance. McClure was later released to Ouachita County Sheriff's Department.

MORE SHOPLIFTING – WILL THEY EVER LEARN?
On July 13, 2022 at 7:37 PM, Sergeant Nathan Lane was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to shoplifting. Dispatch advised the subject had gotten into an older model grey pick up on the passenger side, that the subject was wearing camo pants and a black shirt and that the subject had swapped shoes with Wal-Mart and did not pay for the new ones.

Sergeant Lane arrived and observed an older model grey pick up leaving the parking lot and heading north on California Avenue. Due to being behind multiple vehicles and the vehicle traveling away from the patrol unit,  the sergeant turned on his blue lights signaling for the vehicle to stop. Once the vehicle pulled over, contact was made with the passenger, Brandon Moseley. I advised him the reason for the stop. Moseley had on a black shirt and camo pants. Moseley stated he could not confirm that he had stolen any shoes. When searching Moseley's person, Sergeant Lane located a stick of Old Spice deodorant. The Sergeant opened the cap and observed there to be the cap signaling it was a new stick of deodorant. He also located pens which were in a capsule. Moseley stated he brought them with him to the hospital because he did not know how long he was going to be there for.

Officer Jonathan Cooper arrived on scene and made contact with Wal-Mart to confirm Moseley was the subject. Officer Cooper advised it was and Moseley was taken back to Wal.Mart. When getting out at Wat.Mart, we made contact with the reporting party who stated he observed Moseley to have on worn out green shoes with white soles. He said he then observed Moseley to then have on green shoes which looked new. He stated he then located the shoes Moseley had on, on the shelf in the area of the new shoes he had on.

While in asset protection office, Moseley stated he would admit to it if he could just go with a citation. He was asked what he was admitting to and he again asked if there any way I can just get a citation. He wouldn't state what he was admitting to. While in the asset protection office he kept making statements about how he had never been caught before except one time in Jacksonville.

The reporting party was able to bring up video footage of the incident. It showed Moseley walking into the store with a pair of old looking green shoes with white soles on them and then it revealed Moseley later with newer looking green shoes and a dark colored sole. Moseley was then advised he was under arrest for shoplifting.

The Wal Mart employee completed a Shoplifting Affidavit and advised Moseley was going to be banned from the store due to him not cooperating. The value of the stolen items equaled $35.89.

Booking procedures were completed and approved. Moseley was released with a Criminal Citation for shoplifting and given a District of Camden court. While completing the booking procedures Moseley was complaining about being sick. Moseley asked for EMS to come to the station to check on him. EMS was dispatched and arrived at the station. After checking Moseley out, EMS advised there was nothing wrong with him,

On July 13, 22 at approximately 1:20 pm Officer Frederick Jackson was dispatched to Wai-Mart in reference to an individual shoplifting. Upon arrival Officer Jackson observed Wanda Jackson being detained in the asset protection office with the Asset Protection Employee who stated Wanda Jackson had taken a pair of reading glasses.

Officer Jackson saw video footage of Wanda taking the glasses and taking the tag off and putting them on her face.

Jackson was then placed under arrest and transported to Camden Police Department. Jackson was booked and issued a citation and given a court date.  The value of the stolen glasses was $5.88.

July 18, 2022

CARNES PARK POOL -  OPEN AT LAST!
Camden Public Works Director Kevin Franklin Announced Monday, July 18th, at 12 noon, the Carnes Park Pool is open for business!

Getting the pool open this year in time for the summer swim has definitely been a challenge even over the winter season getting everything lined up and ready to carry out the repairs need to open the pool for the 2022 season.

The original grand reopening of the pool was July 9th, with an all day pool party including

a DJ during the day and DJ for the Adult swim. 

The day before the grand reopening of the pool, Director Franklin consulted with the Ouachita County Medical Officer in regards to COVID Cases the City was experiencing. 

Dr. Jera Smith said in regard to opening the pool back on July 8th:

“With rising COVID numbers I would advise against large gatherings at this time.”

“I would recommend delaying any celebrations until we know more about the current COVID numbers and where they're headed.

As for routine pool use and other outdoor activities these are still reasonably safe for usual use even with the current numbers as long as we're avoiding large Gathering as this progresses.”

Director Franklin said that there would be no way to control the crowd from large gatherings at the pool, so the best thing to do to be safe was to follow the advice of Dr. Smith and delay the opening for a later date. 

Monday, July 18th is that date!  The pool is officially open!  $5 to get you in.
 

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board Of Education will meet in regular session on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 6:30 P.M. At Garrison Auditorium.

The Agenda is as follows:
Call to order

Approval of minutes of previous meetings

Unfinished Business
   None

New Business
Presentation and recommendation regarding Y95 Broadcasting Athletic events for the 2022-2023 school year. Presentation and recommendation regarding Minority Teacher and Administrator Recruitment Plan.
Presentation regarding Thrive and Behavioral RTI.
Presentation and recommendation regarding the Athletic Budget.
Presentation and recommendation regarding the Band Budget.
Presentation and recommendation the Student handbook change for Elementary, Middle and High School.
Update on renovation project.
Facility Rentals

Superintendent’s report to the Board

Financial report

Personnel
   Hiring
   Resignation


13 EDUCATORS NAMED ARKANSAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR REGIONAL FINALISTS 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce the 13 educators who are named 2023 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. The regional finalists will be recognized at an event August 4 at the Governor’s Mansion. At that time, the four state semi-finalists will be announced.

“It is my privilege to announce the Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “These educators represent the best in the teaching profession at their local schools and have demonstrated a commitment to the teaching profession. Congratulations on achieving this honor and recognition!”

The regional finalists listed below will each receive a certificate and a $1,000 prize provided by the Walton Family Foundation.

Jessica Bilbo
Library Media, Grades K-5
Harmony Leadership Academy
Texarkana Arkansas School District
Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative

Angela Brady
Math, Grade 6
Walnut Ridge Middle School
Lawrence County School District
Northeast Arkansas Education Cooperative

Teresa Cantrell
Music, Grades K-2
Wynne Primary School
Wynne School District
Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative

Lisa Jensen
Second Grade
Alma Primary School
Alma School District
Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative

Amber Leaton
Social Studies, Grades 11 & 12
Bryant High School
Bryant Public Schools
Dawson Education Service Cooperative

Stephanie Long
Third Grade
Walter Turnbow Elementary School
Springdale Public Schools
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Kara McGee
Second Grade
Mabelvale Elementary School
Little Rock School District
Pulaski County

Cheryl Ring
Family and Consumer Science, Grades 10-12
Academies of West Memphis
West Memphis School District
Great Rivers Education Service Cooperative

Sarah Sabbatini
Dyslexia Interventionist/Library Media, Grades 1-5
Portland Elementary School
Hamburg School District
Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Capri Salaam
Social Studies, Grades 7 & 8
North Little Rock Middle School 7th/8th Grade Campus
North Little Rock School District
Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative

Elouise Shorter
Math, Grades 9-12
Dollarway High School
Pine Bluff School District
Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative

Sarah Story
Special Education, Grades K-2
East Side Elementary School
Magnolia School District
South Central Service Cooperative

Allan West
Gifted and Talented, Grades K-4
Central Elementary School
Cabot Public Schools
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

The Arkansas Teacher of the Year program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program and recognizes teachers for their outstanding teaching and leadership skills. The four state semi-finalists that will be announced in August will be selected from among the 13 regional finalists. One of the four state semi-finalists will be named the 2023 Arkansas Teacher of the Year this fall and will apply to become the 2023 National Teacher of the Year.

To learn more about the ATOY program, visit https://bit.ly/3hJwC0g.

 

BOOZMAN, FELLOW SENATE DOCTORS RELEASE FENTANYL AWARENESS PSA
WASHINGTON––Today, GOP Doctors Caucus members in the U.S. Senate released a public service announcement (PSA) warning about the dangers of illicit fentanyl that is wreaking havoc in communities throughout the nation and killing Americans at record rates. U.S. Senators John Boozman, O.D. (R-AR), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), John Barrasso, M.D. (R-WY), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Rand Paul M.D. (R-KY) participated in the PSA saying in part,

“I come to you today, not only as a U.S. Senator, but as a medical provider concerned for the health and safety of our nation. Fentanyl is killing over 200 Americans every day. Unfortunately, many Americans who have died from an overdose didn’t even know they were taking the deadliest drug our nation has ever seen…They didn’t know that just one pill can kill…As medical providers in the Senate, we know Fentanyl is everywhere – no community is spared…Never take any drug except those personally prescribed by your physician and filled by your pharmacist. Parents, teachers: please talk to your children before it’s too late…By working together we can make a difference and stop the drug traffickers that are driving addiction and poisoning our neighbors and children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 56,000 deaths involving synthetic opioids (other than methadone), which includes fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, occurred in the United States in 2020 – a 56 percent increase from 2019.

In 2021, fentanyl surpassed methamphetamine as the leading cause of overdose deaths in Arkansas. According to data released by the Arkansas State Crime Lab, in 2020 there were 148 overdose deaths due to fentanyl.

Those in need of assistance can visit www.FindTreatment.gov.

Full Script of PSA:

Hi I’m Dr. Roger Marshall. I’m Dr. John Barrasso. I’m Dr. Bill Cassidy. I’m Dr. John Boozman. I’m Dr. Rand Paul. I come to you today, not only as a U.S. Senator, but as a medical provider concerned for the health and safety of our nation.

Fentanyl is killing over 200 Americans every day. Unfortunately, many Americans who have died from an overdose didn’t even know they were taking the deadliest drug our nation has ever seen. They didn’t know that counterfeit prescription drugs like Percocet, oxycodone, Xanax, and Adderall – are being laced with fentanyl. And illicit drugs like marijuana, heroin, and meth – are being laced with fentanyl too. They didn’t know drug traffickers are selling counterfeit pills that are nearly identical to legitimate prescription medicine. They didn’t know that just one pill can kill. And, they didn’t know that a lethal dose of illicit fentanyl is equivalent to a few grains of salt, which can fit on the tip of a pencil.

As medical providers in the Senate, we know Fentanyl is everywhere – no community is spared. This epidemic is exploding and it’s killing our fellow Americans at record rates.

Never take any drug except those personally prescribed by your physician and filled by your pharmacist.
Parents, teachers: please talk to your children before it’s too late.
Be honest and direct – don’t assume anything.

By working together we can make a difference and stop the drug traffickers that are driving addiction and poisoning our neighbors and children.

July 15, 2022

STATE POLICE COMMISSION APPROVES RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROMOTIONS
JULY 14, 2022
The Arkansas State Police Commission has approved the recommendations of Colonel Bill Bryant, state police director, to promote in rank, two Arkansas State Troopers.

 Captain Michael B. Moyer, 47, of Faulkner County, was promoted to the rank of major and will assume command of the department’s Regulatory Services Division and Building Services headquartered at Little Rock.

Major Moyer is a 19 year veteran of the state police and most recently has served as assistant commander within the Regulatory Division.

Sergeant Phillip A. Pierce, 52, of Sebastian County, was promoted to the rank lieutenant and will assume command of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division, Company D, at Fort Smith.

Lieutenant Pierce is a 28 year veteran of the department and most recently has served as a special agent supervisor and acting commander in Company D.

 

COTTON DEMANDS INVESTIGATION INTO U.S. ATTORNEY’S APPARENT VIOLATION OF HATCH ACT
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today sent a letter to Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz demanding an investigation into an apparent violation of the Hatch Act by Rachael Rollins, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

In part, Cotton wrote, “It has been publicly reported that Ms. Rollins attended a high-dollar political fundraiser at a private home in Andover, Massachusetts yesterday. The fundraiser, which featured First Lady Jill Biden and began during typical business hours, was one that Ms. Rollins attended in her official capacity as United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. She reportedly even used a vehicle with government license plates to travel to and from the event.”

“The Hatch Act expressly prohibits covered federal employees, such as Ms. Rollins, from using their official positions for partisan political purposes, including attending partisan political events in their official capacities. The Hatch Act is intended to prevent the use of official resources for partisan political purposes, but it is also intended to maintain a politically neutral workplace. This is especially true in the context of a United States Attorney, who is supposed to act as a nonpartisan law enforcement official rather than as a partisan politician. Given the apparent blatant violation in this case, I urge you to conduct an investigation into Ms. Rollins’s conduct,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

The Honorable Michael Horowitz, Inspector General
United States Department of Justice
Office of the Inspector General
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Inspector General Horowitz:

I write regarding a potential Hatch Act violation by Rachael Rollins, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

It has been publicly reported that Ms. Rollins attended a high-dollar political fundraiser at a private home in Andover, Massachusetts yesterday. The fundraiser, which featured First Lady Jill Biden and began during typical business hours, was one that Ms. Rollins attended in her official capacity as United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. She reportedly even used a vehicle with government license plates to travel to and from the event.

The Hatch Act expressly prohibits covered federal employees, such as Ms. Rollins, from using their official positions for partisan political purposes, including attending partisan political events in their official capacities. The Hatch Act is intended to prevent the use of official resources for partisan political purposes, but it is also intended to maintain a politically neutral workplace. This is especially true in the context of a United States Attorney, who is supposed to act as a nonpartisan law enforcement official rather than as a partisan politician. Given the apparent blatant violation in this case, I urge you to conduct an investigation into Ms. Rollins’s conduct.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

July 14, 2022

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE INCREASES WILDFIRE DANGER RISK LEVEL DESIGNATIONS FOR ALL 75 COUNTIES
LITTLE ROCK, AR – With hot, dry conditions throughout the state, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division has increased the wildfire danger risk level designations for all 75 counties over the past two weeks. Twelve counties in Northwest Arkansas were raised to the “high” risk level, and the remaining counties were rated as being at a “moderate” risk for wildfire danger. Additionally, 53 counties have been placed under a burn ban by local county judges.

“These 90 to 100 degree days with little or no rain have led to extremely dry conditions across the entire state,” said State Forester Joe Fox. “We are seeing an increase in the number of wildfires and their intensity, and that’s a trend that will continue until we see significant rainfall statewide.”

The Forestry Division maintains a county-by-county Wildfire Danger map with four risk levels: low, moderate, high, and extreme. Risk levels are determined by drought status and long-term weather forecasts and are defined by how easily fires can start and how hard they are to contain. The Wildfire Danger map can be found at bit.ly/ARWildFireRisk. The risk level definitions are:

Low: Fuels do not ignite easily. Weather conditions will lead to slow, easy to control fires.

Moderate: Fire can start from accidental causes. May not become serious, but caution should be taken.

High: Fires ignite easily and spread quickly. Unattended brush fires and campfires are likely to escape. Fires may become serious if not attacked early.

Extreme: Fires start quickly, spread furiously, and burn intensely. Every fire started has the potential to become large. Expect extreme, erratic behavior.

In addition to heightened risk levels, 53 Arkansas counties have been placed under a burn ban by local county judges. Burn bans primarily prohibit activities that involve an open flame. This includes fireworks, campfires, trash burning, open flame grilling, and prescribed or controlled burns.

Robert Murphy, Director of Emergency Services for the Forestry Division, recommends taking additional precautions when driving or operating machinery.

“It’s important to remain cautious when driving through or working in dry grass,” Murphy said. “Trucks, ATVs, hay balers, and other vehicles can easily start fires by causing sparks over dry grass.”

The Forestry Division is asking those who see fires to report them by calling 1-800-468-8834 and to avoid flying drones in the area. When drones are present, those fighting the fires are unable to perform detection flights or fly single engine airtankers (SEATs) to drop water.

Find a county burn ban map at bit.ly/ARBurnBan. To learn more about burn bans in your county, find your local official’s contact information at arcounties.org/counties/.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov.

 

LIHEAP APPLICATION PERIOD BEGINS JULY 25
Eligible residents can receive payment assistance for summer utilities
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Officials with the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) have announced residents can begin submitting applications Monday, July 25 for help with the costs of summer cooling bills, including those from Entergy Arkansas and other utilities.

LIHEAP is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is designed to lower the energy burden for low-income households, who pay a high proportion of household income for home energy costs, by paying benefits for home energy bills.

This assistance will be available until Sept. 30 or funds are completely expended, whichever comes first, officials said. The program will have another application period to assist with winter heating costs beginning in January.

Eligibility is determined by household size and income. For example, a single individual with a maximum monthly countable income of $1,859 and a family of four with $3,574 would both be eligible.

The program is offered in all 75 counties in the state through community-based organizations, which can be found online at https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/energy/assistance/caad.aspx, along with a complete list of eligibility and required documentation to complete the application.

For additional ways to help with managing your Entergy Arkansas bill, such as Level Billing or Pick Your Date, visit https://www.entergy-arkansas.com/residential/, where energy efficiency tips can also be found.
 

AG ALERT: SCAM ARTISTS POSING AS AR HEALTH INSPECTORS IN RESTAURANTS
LITTLE ROCK – Once again, scam artists have targeted restaurants around Arkansas posing as Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) officials claiming to conduct restaurant inspections. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is urging Arkansans not to fall for this scam, especially when the individual is attempting to demand immediate payment for declared violations.

“Scam artists are exploiting the stress and burden faced by Arkansas businesses, as the owners focus on tightening their budgets to manage the skyrocketing inflation, supply issues and staffing shortages,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Call my office immediately if you are contacted by a con artist demanding money from a false business inspection.”

Attorney General Rutledge provides the following advice for anyone contacted about an inspection at their place of business:

Legitimate ADH Environmental Health Service inspectors carry identification with the agency logo and will always be willing to provide it when asked.

ADH inspectors will never ask for money.

ADH also conducts inspections for cosmetology services, plumbing, natural gas and many other areas.

You can also contact your Local Health Unit or ADH Environmental Health Protection program at (501) 661-2171 to confirm the identity of an inspector.

If you believe you have been contacted by a scammer or fallen victim to a scam posing as an ADH official, you can report these calls to the Attorney General’s office online at www.ArkansasAG.gov, by emailing OAG@ArkansasAG.gov or by calling (800) 482-8982. Please note the time of the call and the number it came from when you report it.

10 SCHOOLS RECEIVE R.I.S.E. SCHOOL AWARDS 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education was pleased to present R.I.S.E. (Reading Initiative for Student Excellence) School Awards to 10 outstanding schools at the ADE Summit in Hot Springs this week for their efforts to build and grow strong reading programs.

“A culture of reading promotes learning, academic achievement, and success at school and in life,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “These 10 schools have implemented best practices that build that culture and help students thrive academically and socially. Congratulations to this year’s winners!"

The following schools received the awards this year.
Acorn Elementary School (Ouachita River School District)
Bob Folsom Elementary School (Farmington School District)
Clinton Elementary School (Clinton School District)
Evening Star Elementary School (Bentonville School District)
Lakeside Primary School (Lakeside School District) (Hot Springs)
Perritt Primary School (Arkadelphia School District)
Randall G. Lynch Middle School (Farmington School District)
Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School (Jonesboro School District)
Ward Central Elementary School (Cabot School District)
Watson Primary School (Huntsville School District)

In order to receive the award, more than 75 percent of teachers at a school must have completed the R.I.S.E. Academy Phase 1 training (grades K-2 or 3-6); the principal must have completed the Assessor Academy; and a letter of recommendation is submitted by the school’s R.I.S.E. trainer. Applications this year were due in March, a DESE team scored the applications, and site visits were conducted prior to the schools being selected. 

To learn more about R.I.S.E. Arkansas, visit https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/learning-services/rise-arkansas
 

BOOZMAN CELEBRATES GROUNDBREAKING OF NATIONAL DESERT STORM DESERT SHIELD MEMORIAL
Senator Championed Legislation Establishing Shrine to Gulf War Veterans
WASHINGTON–– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) celebrated the groundbreaking of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial on Thursday.

“One day a memorial will stand in this location as a symbol of reverence to and respect for the veterans and their families, and help teach future generations about this important moment in our nation’s tradition of fighting tyranny. It’s critical we reflect on this episode and those who willingly set out to answer this call. I am honored to join this groundbreaking as we acknowledge the efforts of so many people and the incredible support of the community to recognize these heroes,” Boozman said.

Boozman and former Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) spearheaded the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial Act in 2013 to authorize a memorial in the nation’s capital. A provision to create the national memorial was included in the National Defense Authorization Act in 2014 that was signed into law.

Building on that momentum, the senators advocated for a prominent location near the nation’s other war memorials through legislation that became a law in 2017.

“I’m proud to have played a small role in helping make this memorial a reality, but the hard work was done by those whose service and sacrifice will be memorialized here for generations to come,” Boozman said.

The senator has championed other initiatives to honor those who have fought on behalf of our nation in foreign conflicts, including efforts to authorize a Wall of Remembrance to be added to the Korean War Memorial. The project was approved in 2016 and is expected to be completed late this summer.

July 13, 2022

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building . in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order promptly at 7:00 pm. The Invocation was given by Rev. Connell Muse, Pastor of Price Chapel Church of God In Christ, Taylor, Arkansas. The Pledge of Allegiance followed the Invocation.

City Clerk Donna Stewart was out due to illness. City Attorney Michael Frey called the roll. Aldermen Chris Aregood, Marvin Moore, Joe Askew,  L.E. Lindsey, Whailliam McCoy and Cecil McDonald were present. James Bell was present via phone. Terry Smit was absent.

The Minutes from the  Regular Meeting dated June 14, 2022 and the June Financial Report were presented in print. Both were accepted by unanimous vote.

James Nixon gave an OPED presentation, updating City Council on the activity regarding Economic Development. There are several prospects, most can’t be disclosed at this time due to non-disclosure clauses in the talks. OPED is very optimistic that a pellet plant will become a reality at a site near Stephens. CEO’s from the company have visited the site. The company is currently making sure they can secure contracts for their products once the plant is up and running. There will have to be a power source built and Entergy gives an estimate of a year to 18 months before they can get the work done. There are several other prospects including industrial and retail that are in negotiations to possibly come to Camden. Several Aldermen had questions for Nixon which he answered.

First on the agenda was Resolution No. 41-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 538 Harrison Street a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.  Motion was made and seconded. Passed by unanimous vote.

Next was Resolution No. 42-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 604 Iowa Street SW a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same. Motion was made and seconded. Passed by unanimous vote.

The Counsel moved on to Resolution No. 43-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 311 B Monroe Street a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same. Motion was made and seconded. Passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 44-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; and for other purposes. Motion was made and seconded. Passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 45-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; authorizing the  disbursement of funds to OPED; and for other purposes .Motion was made and seconded. Passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 46-22, a resolution authorizing salary increases; amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; and for other purposes. Motion made and seconded. There was a discussion and in the end the Resolution was amended to make clear raises did not go to department heads and elected officials. The Resolution Passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 47-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; authorizing the disbursement of funds for repairs; and for other purposes. A motion was made and seconded and a discussion ensued. Code Enforcement Officer Ben Wooten presented pictures and estimates needed at various City Buildings. After a long discussion back and forth between Aldermen, Wooten and the Mayor, Wooten was given the go ahead to get estimates and start looking at the repairs needed at City Hall and the City Shop.


“OBEY THE SIGN OR PAY THE FINE”; SPEED ENFORCEMENT OPERATION READIED
JULY 13, 2022
Speeding violations on Arkansas roadways continue to rise and law enforcement officers across the state plan to ban together in a united operation under the banner, “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine”.  The two-week crackdown directed at speeders begins Monday, July 18th.

“It’s an acknowledged fact, as a motor vehicle speed increases, so do the risks of injuries and deaths on roadways,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “A driver exceeding the posted speed limit is less likely to avoid a hazardous object in the road, safely steer away from another vehicle or negotiate an unfamiliar curve or highway exit.”

Speeders put themselves and others at tremendous risk as noted in the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  During 2020, there were 11,258 people killed in speeding-related crashes, accounting for 29% of all fatal crashes in the United States.

Much like impaired driving, speeding is a selfish choice that can have deadly consequences for the driver, vehicle passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.  Speeding not only affects a driver’s ability to steer properly, but also affects stopping distances.  Even the safest cars equipped with the newest safety technology have limitations in the advances made to reduce the odds of a crash.

According to NHTSA, local roads are the most dangerous for speeders.  The 2020 data reports that 87% of all speeding-related traffic fatalities on U.S. roads occurred on non-interstate roadways.

NHTSA considers a crash to be speeding-related if a driver was charged with exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions.

“During the upcoming special speed enforcement operation, state troopers and other law enforcement officers won’t be accepting excuses, the posted speed limit is the law,” Colonel Bryant said.  “Our goal will always be to save lives.”

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.  Additionally, motorists are encouraged to learn more about Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities at www.TZDarkansas.org .

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY SITING GUIDELINES OFFER TOOL FOR LOCAL OFFICIALS 
LYONS, NEBRASKA – As more companies, municipalities, states, and utilities set clean energy goals, the demand for renewable energy will continue to increase. 

Because of the complexity of energy projects, however, the process of drafting ordinances and approving permits can be confusing and challenging for local officials considering requests for the first time. 

A new white paper from the Center for Rural Affairs—“Exploring Siting Guidance: Agriculture Siting Matrices Inform Renewable Energy Siting”—looks at how the creation of a set of guidelines, also known as a siting matrix, could help in that process.

 “While a renewable energy siting matrix is a relatively new tool, the concept has been applied and used in other industries for years,” said Lindsay Mouw, policy associate for the Center and author of the paper. “The agricultural sector has used livestock siting matrices, which provide guidance for responsible siting of livestock animal feeding operations.”  

The paper provides an overview of livestock matrix tools used in Iowa and Nebraska, and how they could serve as a model for evaluating renewable energy standards, such as setback distances, environmental compliance, and decommissioning plans. Additionally, the paper addresses the pros and cons of a siting matrix model and shares examples of programs established in states, such as Indiana, that can assist with decisions. 

Mouw said the development of statewide renewable energy siting matrices can help reduce barriers to renewable energy development by providing guidance to local decision makers while improving transparency, trust, and fairness in the siting process. But, as the name suggests, they should be guidance, rather than a requirement.  

“Every county and community has unique features that should be carefully considered by planning and zoning officials, and these considerations should lead to zoning that addresses the needs of residents,” she said. “While identifying standards that will operate effectively in every county is difficult, recommending broad principles and thoroughly researched guidance that communities and officials can use during the project permitting process is a possibility." 

For more information or to view “Exploring Siting Guidance: Agriculture Siting Matrices Inform Renewable Energy Siting,” visit cfra.org/publications.

July 12, 2022

DALLAS COUNTY SHERIFF RESIGNS
The United States Marshals Service confirmed Friday that the agency opened an investigation after accusations that a federal inmate was removed from the Dallas County jail without authorization.

It's reported that Dallas County sheriff McGahee is the person who allegedly removed the inmate. It is unclear how long the sheriff is accused of having the inmate out of the jail, but authorities believe the federal inmate did not leave Dallas County.

Dallas County Sheriff McGahee said he is resigning effective immediately just days after an investigation uncovered the alleged removal of a federal inmate. Dallas County Sheriff wrote in a letter, I, Stan McGahee, Elected Sheriff of Dallas County Arkansas do hereby announce my intention to retire from this position effective immediately.
 

STATE TAX SURPLUS AT ALL TIME HIGH
There’s much ado about what to do with the $1.62 billion surplus in the Arkansas State revenue. 

Last week, Governor Asa Hutchinson reacted to the record state surplus and announced his intent to call an Extraordinary Session of the Arkansas General Assembly.

“This represents the largest surplus in Arkansas history and demonstrates the state is collecting too much in tax revenue,” said Hutchinson. “Our collections are above last year, despite the tax reductions enacted last year. This growth is attributable to the state’s dynamic job creation coming out of the pandemic and increased consumer buying power.”

Scott Hardin with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration says “There are so many things that could be done with this $1.6 billion, then also you have the state reserve fund, the governor and legislature have discretion over that funding.”

Hardin said several legislators have made a push to see if surplus funds can also be funneled to assist school security improvements and teacher salary.

According to the Arkansas State Senate, teachers in the natural state are currently ranked 47th in average pay, which has declined since 2018.

 

RANDOLPH COUNTY MAN ARRESTED FOLLOWING ATTACK ON SHERIFF’S HOME, PURSUIT AND GUNFIRE
JULY 11, 2022
The Randolph County Sheriff’s Department has requested the Arkansas State Police investigate a series of events that occurred early today that began when a Biggers community resident attempted to firebomb the local sheriff’s residence.

Sheriff Kevin Bell was alerted about 1:30 AM that Bryan Rogers, 40, was outside the sheriff’s home just prior to Rogers reportedly throwing what was described as a crude explosive device toward the house.  Rogers, who was free on bond after being arrested recently on numerous felony charges, fled from the property while Sheriff Bell extinguished the fire.

About 1:40 AM, sheriff’s deputies from the Randolph County and Lawrence County sheriff’s departments encountered Rogers driving west on U.S. Highway 62 toward Pocahontas and attempted to stop the suspect who fled from the deputies, then began firing a gun at deputies who returned fire.

The pursuit covered approximately 15 miles and Rogers was apprehended at 1:57 AM near Blacksferry Lane west of Pocahontas when deputies used a precision intervention technique to stop the vehicle.

No law enforcement officer, nor Rogers was injured. Rogers is being held at the Lawrence County Jail while state police special agents continue their investigation.

 

AG ALERT: JULY RECOGNIZED AS MILITARY CONSUMER PROTECTION MONTH
LITTLE ROCK – This July, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission are highlighting consumer protection issues that impact many American consumers, specifically those members of the United States Armed Forces. While no one is immune from falling prey to scams, there are certain scams that are directed to those who serve the nation in uniform.

“Scam artists prey on the fact that United States service members are the most sacrificial people and exploit their generosity to gain a profit,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important that current and former members of our armed forces, as well as their families, are able to identify these types of scams so that they do not fall victim to them.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips and common scams military service members and veterans should be cautious of moving forward:

Be aware of any scam artists charging money for free records. Scammers will attempt to convince veterans to pay for documents that are already free. If you want copies of VA or military records, you can contact the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Achieves, or the appropriate service branch.

Be skeptical of any exclusive deal only for veterans. In some cases, there are legitimate deals for veterans, but in many cases, the items are not discounted at all, but are non-existent products and services. It is best to check the products before you buy and never send money to anyone you do not know.

Be guarded when anyone demands an up-front payment. It is a common scam for con artists to demand payment or large sums of money up front and some will even go as far as claiming to be military personnel overseas. No legitimate business will ever demand for complete payment up-front and this is a red flag.

Be suspicious of any individual or entity requiring monetary compensation to file disability claims for Veterans. The claim process is free and can be submitted by coordinating with a certified County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO) or any Veteran Administration claims representative.  The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs can help you find your certified CVSO here.

Be leery of email messages claiming to be from a legitimate organization that does not have its own domain name. An official email from a legitimate company or organization should not come from an email address ending in “@gmail.com” or “@yahoo.com” and this should be a red flag.

Be careful with any correspondence containing poor spelling and grammar. Legitimate companies and organizations typically proofread documents and emails thoroughly before sending them. Errors can be a red flag for fraud.

Be cautious with suspicious links and high-pressure requests.  Scammers will say and do anything to steal personal information. By sending a link through email or text message which is clicked on by the consumer, scammers can steal any personal information that is saved on the device. Never click on any link sent from an unknown source.

Be suspicious of unsolicited investment advice. Some scammers have disguised themselves as veterans’ advocates and claim victims are entitled to additional veterans’ benefits. If approached by someone in this manner, confirm the alleged state regulatory office, hang up, and independently call the office directly.

In 2019, Attorney General Rutledge successfully sued AndrewGamber; Voyager Financial Group, LLC; BAIC, Inc.’; and SoBell Corp. for the brokering of contracts that offer high-interest credit to veterans in exchange for investors illegally acquiring rights to receive future pension payments. The following year, Rutledge sued candy Kern-Fuller and Howard Sutter, lawyers at UpState Law Group in South Carolina for substantially assisting brokers with the illegal sale of veterans’ future pension payments. Kern-Fuller and Sutter are accused of developing the contract approval, payment collection and enforcement processes. The broker companies falsely told veterans that they were selling their future payments for a reduced lump-sum. In reality, the veterans’ pension assignment contracts were high interest loans that were void from the start. These deceptive and unfair acts and practices violate state and federal laws protecting veterans.

Arkansas military service members, veterans and families can file consumer complaints with the Attorney General’s office at ArkansasAG.gov.
 

SURVEY: SMALL BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS FOR FUTURE CONDITIONS HIT ALL-TIME LOW 
LITTLE ROCK (July 12, 2022) – The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index dropped 3.6 points in June to 89.5, marking the sixth consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98. Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased seven points to a net negative 61%, the lowest level recorded in the 48-year survey. Expectations for better conditions have worsened every month this year.

Inflation continues to be a top problem for small businesses with 34% of owners reporting it was their single most important problem in operating their business, an increase of six points from May and the highest level since quarter four in 1980. 

“As inflation continues to dominate business decisions, small business owners’ expectations for better business conditions have reached a new low,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “On top of the immediate challenges facing small business owners including inflation and worker shortages, the outlook for economic policy is not encouraging either as policy talks have shifted to tax increases and more regulations.” 

State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith said, “Small business has segued from the pandemic to a labor shortage and supply chain disruptions and then to a spike in fuel prices and inflation. Owners are frustrated, but they're determined to get through this, to keep the doors open and continue serving their communities.” 

Key findings of the national survey include: 

The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher decreased 13 points from May to a net negative 28%, a severe decline. 

Fifty percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, down one point from May, but historically very high. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased three points to a net 69% seasonally adjusted, following May’s record high reading. 

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 19% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, but down seven points from May. Ninety-four percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. 

Fifty-one percent of owners reported capital outlays in the last six months, down two points from May. Of those making expenditures, 37% reported spending on new equipment, 23% acquired vehicles, and 14% improved or expanded facilities. Five percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 13% spent money for new fixtures and furniture. Twenty-three percent of owners plan capital outlays in the next few months, down two points from May.  

A net negative 2% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down three points from May. The net percent of owners expecting real sales volumes decreased 13 points to a net negative 28%. 

The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases fell three points to a net negative 4%. Thirty-nine percent reported that supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business. Another 30% report a moderate impact and 23% report a mild impact. Only 6% report no impact from recent supply chain disruptions.  

A net 5% of owners viewed current inventory stocks as “too low” in June, down three points from May and still surprisingly high. By industry, shortages are reported most frequently in manufacturing (19%), retail (18%), agriculture (18%), construction (16%), and non-professional services (15%). A net negative 2% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased three points from May to a net 69% (seasonally adjusted). Price raising activity over the past 12 months has escalated, reaching levels not seen since the early 1980s when prices were rising at double-digit rates.  

Unadjusted, 4% of owners reported lower average selling prices and 69% reported higher average prices. Price hikes were the most frequent in retail trades (80% higher, 3% lower), transportation (78% higher, 0% lower), construction (75% higher, 4% lower), and wholesale (69% higher, 7% lower). Seasonally adjusted, a net 44% plan price hikes. 

A net 48% (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, down one point from May. A net 28% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up three points from May and historically very high. Eight percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 23% said that labor quality was their top business problem. 

The frequency of reports of positive profit trends was a net negative 25%, down one point from May. Among the owners reporting lower profits, 30% blamed the rise in the cost of materials, 16% blamed weaker sales, 14% cited labor costs, 14% cited lower prices, 7% cited the usual seasonal change, and 2% cited higher taxes or regulatory costs. For owners reporting higher profits, 51% credited sales volumes, 19% cited higher prices, and 17% cited usual seasonal change. 

One percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied. Twenty-seven percent reported all credit needs met and 61% said they were not interested in a loan. A net of 3% reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts. Only 1% reported that financing was their top business problem.  

The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are randomly drawn from NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in June 2022. 

July 11, 2022

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
CRIMINAL TRESPASS
On 07-10-22 at approximately I 358 am, Officer Jackson was dispatched to Dollar Tree in reference to a subject throwing items and refusing to leave. Upon arrival the officer met with Katrina Wright at the register up front. Officers told Wright to leave the store and advised managers of Dollar Tree how to go about banning and individual from the business. While outside, Wright was refusing to leave to leave the property. Wright was told to leave the property numerous times but she refuse. She was arrested for Criminal Trespass and was transported to Camden Police Department, Wright was booked and issued a citation #16011. Wright was then released from custody.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (misdemeanor)
On Tuesday July 5, 2022 Detective Blair and Captain Sanders went to the area of Belin and Harper Streets to attempt to arrest Alvin James Lewis. He had an outstanding warrant from Camden Police Department for Aggravated Residential Burglary and Interference with Emergency Communications, First Degree. Officers saw Mr. Lewis turn in and as he turned in the drive officers got out with him. He was driving a 2007 Ford bearing Arkansas License registered to Mr. Lewis. Officers arrested Mr. Lewis without incident. Detective Blair could smell the odor of marijuana in the car, as Lewis exited the vehicle. Blair saw a baggie of a green leafy substance in the door of the car. It appeared to be marijuana. It was photographed by Captain Sanders and collected. At the station Blair talked with Mr. Lewis on video and audio about the warrant. He was read his Miranda Rights Form. He said he understood his rights and signed the form. He agreed to speak with Blair. They spoke about the other case and then this case. Mr. Lewis admitted that the marijuana was his and that he smoked it for pain management. At the station Blair weighed the substance and it showed 8.1 grams. Mr. Lewis was taken to the jail based on the warrant. He was given a citation for possession of marijuana and given a court date.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION
On July 5, 2022 at 11:15 pm, Sergeant Nathan Lane was dispatched to Wal,Mart in reference to an unknown subject passed out against the wait. Upon arrival Sergeant Lane observed a black male wearing a red shirt and white shorts laying on the ground leaned against the wall near the Grocery and Pharmacy entrance. The Officer woke the subject up who identified himself as Michael Hall. Hall was instructed to stand up. While he was standing there, the Officer observed him to sway back and forthHis eyes were blood shot and watery. His speech was slurred and heavy, and Sergeant Lane could smell the odor of intoxicants on his person and breath. While talking to Hall the Officer asked him if he had drank any alcohol. He stated he had two drinks. He stated he was trying to get to Pine Bluff. He said he had been walking since Fordyce. He stated he had been drinking since Thanksgiving. He said he had gotten off his medication for depression and bi-polar disorder. Hall was then taken into custody for Public Intoxication. Once Hall was placed in cuffs he became emotional. Hall was transported to the station without incident. During booking procedures, Hall advised he was having suicidal thoughts. EMS was then contacted. EMS arrived on scene shortly afterwards. Hall elected to go with EMS to see a doctor about getting medication. Hall was released with a Criminal Citation and given a court date.

FICTITIOUS TAGS
DRIVING ON SUSPENDED
FAILURE TO REGISTER
On July 6th at 9:23 PM Officer Bailey initiated a traffic stop on a red i Sonata with Arkansas temporary license plate, for inability to read license plate. Upon coming to a stop in front of the Sandbar, the Officer made contact with the driver, Demondtae Sledge. Officer Bailey informed Sledge the reason for the stop. When asked for his license, Sledge informed the Officer that he did not have one. Officer Bailey took his information and ran it through dispatch and they confirmed he did not have a valid license, it was suspended. As the Officer was filling out the citation, the vehicle license plates showed the temp tag had expired in June, but upon further inspection, the tag on the car read that it expired in July. After confirming with dispatch, Sledge was taken into custody for Fictitious Tags. Sledge was transported to the Camden Police Department without incident. Booking procedures were completed and approved. Sledge was released with citations for Fictitious Tags, Failure to Register, and Driver's License Suspended and given a court date.

SHOPLIFTING, SHOPLIFTING AND MORE SHOPLIFTING
On June 29th at 10:07 pm Sergeant Davis was dispatched to Walmart in reference to a shoplifling report. Upon arrival, the Officer made contact with the asset protection officer, along with William Collins. Sergeant Davis was advised that Collins had placed a $29.98 price sticker on a $359.00 Crossbow and attempted to buy ii using the replacement price sticker. Collins did admit to this action and also completed a.statement with asset protection. Collins was taken into custody for Shoplifting and transported to the station for booking procedures. A shoplifting affidavit was completed as well as a Walmart Ban form. Collins was released with a Criminal Citation and given a District Court date.

On July 9, 2022 at 12:46 pm Lieutenant Elliott was dispatched to Walmart in reference to a shoplifter detained. Upon the Officers arrival she observed who she knew to be as Suzanne Kitchens inside the Asset Protection office with Asset Protection. The Officer watched the surveillance camera, provided by the Asset Protection employee. Lieutenant Elliott observed Kitchens scanning some items at self-checkout, but not all of the items, such as a package of boneless pork chops, a bag of Fruity Pebbles, a case of Monster drinks, Eggo Waffles, and a mesh tank, just to name a few. These items were on the left side of the register without being scanned. The Officer observed an employee make contact with Kitchens. The employee left and Kitchens continued scanning smaller items and bagging them; still leaving the larger items on the left side of the register. Lieutenant Elliott was advised Kitchens had been banned from all of Walmart Shopping Center locations as she previously stole items from the Pine Bluff: Arkansas location, which she was previously banned from on July 12, 2019. Due to Kitchens being previously banned and she was caught shoplifting once again, she was taken into custody for Commercial Burglary and Theft of Property. Kitchens was escorted to a patrol vehicle and later transported to the police department without incident. She was booked and later transported to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office. The value of the stolen items  was $95.21. A copy of the Shoplifting Affidavit, sales receipt, ban form, and video were all collected from the store. A photo of the items were placed in CID's folder.

On July 6th at 7:19 pm Officer Bailey was dispatched to 950 California Ave. in reference to a shoplifting report. Upon arrival, the Officer made contact with the reporting party, the Asset Protection Employee who said Kristina Ward had been at a self-checkout lane and had not scanned all of her merchandise. Officer Bailey viewed the video footage of Ward checking out some things, but putting other items into her bags without scanning them. I observed from the video that Ward purposefully did not scan a few shirts, some shorts, a.type of spice bottle, and etc. The total for the unscanned items was $67.98. Ward was taken into custody without incident and she was transported to CPD to undergo booking procedures. Booking procedures were completed and approved Ward was later released on Criminal Citation and given a District of Camden court date.

FULTON COUNTY WOMAN FOUND SLAIN OUTSIDE HOME; ASP/CID INVESTIGATING
The Arkansas State Police is investigating a Fulton County homicide that claimed the life of a 57 year-old local county sheriff’s department employee.

Kristy Marie Taylor was found dead in the driveway of her home at 3012 Farmwood Road southwest of Salem, Saturday just before 6 PM.  Taylor was the victim of a gunshot wound.  Her body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the state medical examiner will determine the cause and manner of death and possibly provide evidence to indicate when Taylor was shot.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division were contacted by Fulton County authorities requesting the investigation.

July 08, 2022

CARNES PARK POOL OPENING DELAYED
If you were looking forward to the Mayor’s Pool Party tomorrow, the Ouachita County Health Officer, Dr. Jera Smith said she recommended delaying the pool party with the rising COVID numbers. Dr. Smith said reopening would be fine, but the city needs to take measures to avoid crowds. 

Camden Public Works Director Kevin Franklin, said under the circumstances, the best option is to delay the opening of the pool. Franklin said “I had a conversation with Dr. Jera Smith yesterday, who is our County Health officer.  I called regarding COVID with my staff.  I have several people out with COVID as we speak.I also inquired about having the Mayor’s pool party with the recent upward spike of COVID.

Franklin went on to say “Dr. Smith advised against having that large of a gathering right now at the pool. There is no way to enforce any kind of social distancing.  Not saying we won't open later for regular swimming, just not right now. We apologize for any and all of the inconveniences that we've caused, but we're looking to open in the near future, just Doctor Smith advised not to do it right now”

Dr. Smith is not only the Ouachita County Health Officer, she also operates First Choice Family Care at 476 Hospital Dr here in Camden. Dr. Smith also answers your medical questions on the Roundtable simulcast on Y95 and 92.7 KBEU every Thursday morning at 7:30 AM. Visit our Radio Works Facebook page for past roundtable podcasts with Dr. Smith. 

While Union and Columbia Counties have seen a decrease in COVID cases, Lafayette and Nevada counties have seen a recent rise, and that also includes Ouachita County, according to the Arkansas Department of health. 
 

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

The Agenda is as follows:
A. Call To Order
B. Invocation – Rev. Connell Muse, Pastor - Price Chapel Church of God in Christ, Taylor, Texas
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. Approval Of Minutes
     1. Minutes Regular Meeting June 14, 2022
F. Acceptance Of Financial Report
     1. Financial Report for June 2022
G. Audience Participation
H. Mayor’s Report
     1. James Nixon - OPED presentation, updating City Council
I.  Old Business
J. New Business
1. Resolution No. 41-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 538 Harrison Street
a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.            
2. Resolution No. 42-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 604 Iowa Street SW a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.
3. Resolution No. 43-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 311 B Monroe Street a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.
4. Resolution No. 44-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; and for other purposes.
5. Resolution No. 45-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; authorizing the  disbursement of funds to OPED; and for other purposes.
6. Resolution No. 46-22, a resolution authorizing salary increases; amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; and for other purposes.
7. Resolution No. 47-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; authorizing the disbursement of funds for repairs; and for other purposes.
K. Other Business
L. Adjournment

RISING TEMPERATURES INCREASE RISK OF HOT CAR DEATHS
As Arkansas enters the hottest part of the summer, a reminder of the risks of extreme heat to children is in order, particularly the dangers of leaving children unattended in hot vehicles. Unfortunately, multiple child deaths from hot vehicles are reported every summer. One of the most recent tragedies was the death of a toddler  in North Carolina, at least the ninth hot-car fatality in the U.S. so far this year.

Since 1998, there have been at least 916 child hot-car fatalities in the U.S. Arkansas has one of the highest per-capita rates of child vehicular heatstroke deaths in the nation: A ranking of all 50 states and the District Columbia, with No. 1 being the state with the lowest rate, places Arkansas at No. 46 with at least 18 deaths — or 31 deaths per 1 million children age 14 and under — recorded between 1998 and 2021.

According to pediatric vehicular heatstroke data collected by NoHeatStroke.org, most deaths happen because a child is forgotten in a vehicle by a caregiver (53%). In about 20% of instances, a child was knowingly left in a vehicle, often because a caregiver failed to realize how hot the interior would become with the engine shut off.

Vehicles can become extremely hot in a very short period. Dashboards, steering wheels, car seats, and other interior car components absorb the sun’s heat and transfer that heat to the adjacent air in the vehicle. On an 80-degree day , after only 10 minutes the interior of a car rises to 99 degrees. After an hour, the interior temperature can reach 123 degrees.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asks parents and caregivers to remember to stay in the habit of checking for children in the back seat before exiting a vehicle and locking doors by remembering to “Park. Look. Lock.” It’s also important to remember to keep car doors locked when vehicles are not in use, as 26% of heat deaths happen when children enter unattended vehicles.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has also developed a list of safety reminders  to help parents avoid hot car fatalities. A few of the recommendations include:
Always check the back seat and make sure all children are out of the car before locking it and walking away.
Put your cell phone, bag, or purse in the back seat, so you check the back seat when you arrive at your destination.
If someone else is driving your child, always check to make sure he or she has arrived safely.
Remind children that cars, especially car trunks, should not be used for games like hide-and-seek.

July 07, 2022

FIRST CASE OF MONKEYPOX DETECTED IN ARKANSAS
The first case of monkeypox has been detected in Arkansas, state health officials announced this week.

The first case of monkey pox in the U.S. was detected in early May. Arkansans reported its first case on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a total of 559 monkeypox cases have been identified in 32 states. Common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain and a painful rash that can occur as many as seven to 14 days following exposure.

On Wednesday, Arkansas Department of Health Director Dr. Jennifer Dillaha held a news conference to announce the state’s first case as well as describe the virus and how it’s transmitted. She noted that an important distinction is that monkeypox is not as easily spread as, for example, the coronavirus.

State officials have not disclosed where Arkansas’ first case of monkeypox was detected, or whether that person had traveled out of state. However, she said two vaccines are currently available to treat those who contract the virus.

Dillaha added that the Health Department will perform contact tracing similar to what was done during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said more cases of the virus will likely be detected in the state. She and other health experts in Arkansas expect the virus is unlikely to spread like the COVID-19 virus due to the much closer contact needed to transmit the virus.

As of July there have been no deaths attributed to the monkeypox outbreak in the United States. Those most vulnerable to severe symptoms from the virus include immunocompromised people and those with pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema.

 

HOT SPRINGS MAN SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG AND FIREARMS POSSESSION
HOT SPRINGS – A Hot Springs man was sentenced to 216 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the U.S. District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court documents, on February 26, 2019, the Hot Springs Police Department (HSPD) received a complaint concerning a vehicle attempting to ram another vehicle. A HSPD Officer responded to the area and was able to observe the vehicle and the altercation. A traffic stop was initiated on the vehicle at that time.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Ralph Andrew Stevens, age 37. Stevens was questioned and ultimately determined to be on parole through the state of Arkansas.  Stevens was searched and officers located a clear drug pipe with white residue in his jacket pocket. Stevens was placed in custody at this time.

A search of Stevens vehicle resulted in officers locating two (2) loaded firearms, approximately 163 grams of suspected marijuana, approximately 101.8 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.  Officers also located and seized $3,916.00 in United States currency.

The suspected methamphetamine was tested by the Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory and confirmed to be not less than 93.56 grams of pure methamphetamine.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the  announcement.The Hot Springs Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Achorn prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

This effort is also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY RELEASES DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION, AND ACCESSIBILITY STRATEGIC PLAN
The Social Security Administration issued its 2022-2023 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Strategic Plan. The detailed plan, which outlines goals and priorities in each of the four areas, includes establishing a Chief Equity Officer and a DEIA Implementation Team.

“Social Security’s goal is to weave DEIA principles into the fabric of our workplace,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “In alignment with Social Security’s mission, the DEIA vision is to enhance our current workforce diversity and sustain an inclusive work environment where individual differences are valued, and employees are treated with dignity and respect.”

Social Security’s DEIA Strategic Plan supports President Biden’s June 2021 Executive Order (EO) 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce, as well as other EOs on advancing equity and preventing and combatting discrimination.

To learn more about the actions outlined in the DEIA Strategic Plan, please visit Agency DEIA Strategic Plan 2022-2023 (ssa.gov).

Equity is foundational to the strategic framework of Social Security’s Agency Strategic PlanLearning Agenda, and Evaluation Plan.

For more information visit www.whitehouse.gov/equity.


WESTERMAN, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE HOUSE COMPANION TO SENATOR GRASSLEY’S STOP PILLS THAT KILL ACT
WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-04) joins Representatives Ken Buck (CO-04), David Joyce (OH-14), Greg Stanton (AZ-09), and Lou Correa (CA-46) in cosponsoring the House companion to Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) Stop Pills That Kill Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation seeks to deter narcotics traffickers and strengthen the nationwide fight against fentanyl by implementing new penalties for counterfeit pill production.

"In 2021, fentanyl overdose was the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45," said Congressman Westerman. "This bipartisan legislation is another vital tool in our fight against these counterfeit narcotics that are destroying lives. We have seen too many tragedies in Arkansas and across the nation as a result of this deadly drug. We must protect our communities and ensure those who are peddling this poison are met with the strongest deterrents possible."

“In Eastern Colorado and across the nation, families, businesses, and communities continue to face hardships due to the opioid epidemic,” said Congressman Buck. “As this public health crisis continues to fester, this legislation—supported by Republicans and Democrats in both Houses of Congress— will take an important step in a multifaceted approach to crack down on dangerous counterfeit pills that are killing Americans in droves.”

“Drug traffickers are mass-producing fake pills, often with fentanyl, without any care as to who their poisons kill,” said Congressman Joyce. “I’m proud to join Rep. Buck in leading the effort to ramp up criminal penalties to deter this illegal activity, which has increasingly targeted minors and young adults. We cannot allow these criminals to continue to break apart families and threaten the safety of our communities.”

“Arizona is in the midst of a tragic overdose crisis, and counterfeit pills from China and Mexico are driving so much of it. Drug traffickers are manufacturing counterfeit pills with deadly substances like methamphetamine and fentanyl, often selling the lookalikes over social media to teens and young adults,” said Congressman Stanton. “Our bipartisan bill will crack down on these drug traffickers and help save lives.”

The Stop Pills That Kill Act applies the existing penalties for possessing paraphernalia for manufacturing methamphetamine to the paraphernalia for making counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl, fentanyl analogues and methamphetamine. 

The bill instructs the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to create an in-depth plan for stopping the rapid spread of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl or methamphetamine in communities across America.  It also requires the Attorney General, in conjunction with the DEA and Office of National Drug Control, to submit an annual report to Congress on the risks of pills laced with illicit drugs, along with information on efforts to raise public awareness and actions from law enforcement to combat this scourge. 

It is supported by the National District Attorneys Association, National Rural Health Association, National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Community Anti-Drug Coalition, National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Song for Charlie, and Victims of Illicit Drugs.

 

June 30, 2022

USACE VICKSBURG DISTRICT ANNOUNCES NEW REGULATORY CHIEF
VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District announces the selection of Kristina “Kristi” Hall as the new Regulatory Division chief. 

The mission of the USACE Regulatory Program is to protect the Nation's aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible, and balanced permit decisions. In her new position, Hall will oversee and manage the actions and requests that are submitted regarding the waters or wetlands within the district’s area of responsibility, as well as maintain the mitigation program to offset the losses to the aquatic environment.

“I am honored to be selected as the next Regulatory Division chief for the Vicksburg District,” said Hall. “We have an excellent team of professionals, dedicated to the Regulatory Mission, and I look forward to working with them, our agency partners, and applicants to deliver the program.”

Hall previously served as the district’s strategic planner where she oversaw employee development programs, administered knowledge and quality management activities, and was the lead coordinator for the district’s executive staff, senior USACE leaders, and district partners.  

Serving as an environmental scientist with private engineering firms and the Mississippi Department of Transportation, as well as a contractor with the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Environmental Laboratory, Hall has more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. In addition, she has worked as the Regulatory Division’s lead for compensatory mitigation, National Environmental Policy Act matters, and geographic information systems. Prior to her work with USACE, she owned and operated her own environmental consulting firm.

Hall is a professional Wetland Scientist and holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Virginia

Polytechnic Institute and State University and a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife biology from Colorado State University. She is a Mississippi Valley Division Emerging Leader and manager of the Vicksburg Leader. Development Program.  Hall is a proud resident of Vicksburg, Mississippi, an avid runner, an enthusiastic supporter of her children’s sports, and a member of the St. Alban’s Episcopal Church’s vestry. She and her husband, Andy Hall, the district’s Navigation Section chief in the River Operations Branch, have two teenage children. 

Also recently joining Regulatory Division’s leadership team is Bryan Williamson as chief of the Permit and Evaluation Branch and Jerry Bourne as chief of the Enforcement and Compliance Branch. Over the next year, Hall, Williamson, Bourne and the rest of their team hope to continue the district’s tradition of providing reasonable and compliant permit decisions that best serve the public’s interest.

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

 

ENTERGY ARKANSAS ISSUES RFP FOR 1000 MWS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
Company calls for solar, wind resources to add to existing portfolio
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Entergy Arkansas officials announced Thursday it has issued a request for proposals for 1,000 megawatts of solar and wind generation resources, emissions-free renewables that can provide cost-effective energy supply, capacity, fuel diversity, and other benefits to its customers.

“Entergy Arkansas has a commitment to providing our customers with low-cost, reliable energy as well as more renewable generation,” said Kurt Castleberry, director of resource planning and marketing operations. “We continue to grow green energy within our diverse portfolio of power resources to better serve our existing and growing customer base and look forward to some exciting proposals.”

Resources would be procured through a combination of one or more build-own-transfer agreements, self-build alternatives, and/or one or more power purchase agreements that would be in operation between May 2025 and December 2026.

Solar facilities would be required to be within the Entergy Arkansas service territory, while wind resources could be located anywhere in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) or Southwest Power Pool footprints.

Entergy Arkansas currently has 281 megawatts of solar power providing clean, emission-free renewable energy to customers – enough to power 45,000 homes. In addition to the Stuttgart and Chicot solar facilities, the company’s largest solar farm - Searcy Solar Facility - came online in late 2021, with generation capacity of 100 MWs and batteries that can store 30 MWs.

The company is the largest energy provider in Arkansas and has a diverse mix of energy sources to ensure reliability, safe and cost-effective power to its 728,000 customers that are spread out among 63 of the state’s 75 counties, covering more than 40,880 square miles.

Additional solar and wind resources would complement the diverse and carbon-free generation Entergy Arkansas fleet, which includes hydroelectric facilities at Carpenter and Remmel dams, three solar facilities and Arkansas Nuclear One. Nuclear energy accounts for about 70% of the fuel mix for the company’s customers, followed by hydropower at 16%, with the remaining power sourced from coal, natural gas and solar.

For more information, visit the Entergy Arkansas resource planning page on its website, www.entergy-arkansas.com/integrated_resource_planning/.

 

SAAC TO HOST ARTIST’S RECEPTION AND AWARDS FOR ANNUAL JURIED ART EXHIBIT
The visual arts committee of the South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to an artist's reception for the Annual Juried Art Competition Exhibit on Saturday, July 9, from 6:00pm-7:30pm.  Juror Taylor Jasper from The Momentary in Bentonville, Arkansas, will present the awards at 6:30pm. This exhibit will hang in the Price and Merkle Galleries through July 29 and is free and open to the public Monday- Fridays, 9:00am-5:00pm.

The Juried Art Competition is SAAC's annual competition juried by nationally recognized art professionals and is open to all artists across the nation ages 18 and older who work in two-dimensional and three-dimensional fine arts media. One piece from the competition will be purchased for SAAC's permanent art collection. The Annual Purchase Award is made possible through an endowment from the family of Wilma Riley in memory of her commitment to the arts, her community, and SAAC.

While attending the exhibit please cast your vote for The People's Choice Award, the only award in the competition selected by the viewing public. During the reception, over $2000 in prize money will be presented by juror Taylor Jasper for best of show, first through third place, honorable mention, and the purchase award.

Taylor Jasper is the Curatorial Associate at The Momentary, which is a contemporary art satellite space to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. In her role, she curates artist-driven projects in The Momentary’s galleries and auxiliary spaces, multidisciplinary projects in collaboration with the Performing Arts team, and a process-driven residency program that emphasizes the research and development of creative work. The mission of The Momentary is to champion contemporary art’s role in everyday life and explore the unfolding story of contemporary American arts in an international context by actively commissioning and exhibiting outstanding works that explore new ideas and inspire action.

Jasper has selected 53 artists from around the country. This year’s entries, many of which are very contemporary concept pieces as well as traditional fine art offerings, include paintings, drawings, mixed media, sculpture, wood work, video, and photography.  Many artists are from as far away as New York, Kentucky, Colorado and California, as well as 21 artists from Arkansas, including six south Arkansas artists. The local artists included in this exhibit are Spencer Purinton, Kelly Campbell and Marla Tomlinson of El Dorado; Grace Wright of Crossett; and Rhaelene Lowther, Moises Menendez, and Anna Zusman of Magnolia.

For more information about this competition and exhibit, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 E. 5th St. in El Dorado.
 

WESTERMAN AND BOOZMAN TOUR OZARK POWERHOUSE
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Facility Delivers Power to Six States
WASHINGTON - U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) toured the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) hydroelectric power plant in Ozark on Tuesday.

Summer is the time of peak power usage and Ozark Powerhouse plays a critical role in ensuring the power grid has the capability to support the demand. Renewable energy sources such as coal, solar, wind and water are necessary to decrease the possibility of brownouts and blackouts.

“It was an honor to visit the Ozark Powerhouse with my friend Senator John Boozman. Hydropower is an incredible low-cost supplement to our electric grid to prevent regional brownouts and blackouts as demand fluctuates. I am proud to host such a vital clean energy source in the Fourth District. Plants such as these provide excellent economic benefits to the Ozark area as we look to develop every energy source to its greatest potential,” Westerman said.


“We need to unleash American-made energy. The Ozark Powerhouse is an excellent example of our ability to provide clean, affordable and reliable energy. I’m committed to working with Congressman Westerman and my colleagues to advance policies supporting a strategy that enhances our energy supply to meet the evolving needs of families, businesses and communities,” Boozman said.

Corps officials told Westerman and Boozman the Ozark Powerhouse is running all five of its units for the first time in 20 years and showed them the recent repairs that brought the 50-year-old facility back to full strength.

The Ozark Powerhouse delivers power to a six-state region. 

Boozman, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Westerman, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, have oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

June 28, 2022

STATE & LOCAL POLICE ON GUARD AGAINST DRUNK DRIVERS BEFORE AND DURING LONG JULY 4th HOLIDAY
JUNE 27, 2022
The Independence Day holiday will be a prolonged celebration this year, as the nation’s birthday occurs on a Monday.  Many Arkansas families will start their travel plans Friday with varied destinations over the following three days.  With increased traffic volume anticipated, comes the risk of tragedy often attributed to a drunk driver.

Law enforcement officers across the state are aware of these risks and know firsthand what can happen when a driver mixes alcohol with a holiday celebration.  All too often the end result is injury or death.  This is why Arkansas State Troopers, sheriff’s deputies and local police officers will increase their patrols to be on guard against impaired drivers, getting them off the roadways before anyone can be hurt.

“We want Arkansans to enjoy our nation’s birthday celebration, but not at the expense of making state highways, county roads, and city streets unsafe,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “Unfortunately, far too many drivers make the wrong decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming one or two alcoholic drinks, or using drugs, placing other motorists in harm’s way.  Our state troopers along with other law enforcement officers will be prepared to stop and arrest these dangerous drivers to ensure the safety of all.”

 From 2016 to 2020, there were 1,390 drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July 4th holiday period.  Thirty-nine percent (542) of the drivers killed were alcohol impaired (with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher), and more than half (51%) were between the ages of 21-34.

With many holiday festivities wrapping up late in the evening, nighttime hours are especially dangerous.  Over the 2020 Independence Day holiday period, of the 201 people who died in alcohol impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes, 85% of the crashes were at night (6 PM - 5:59 AM).

This Fourth of July, the Arkansas Highway Safety Office and NHTSA are working together to urge drivers to designate a sober driver before drinking any alcohol.  If you plan on drinking, do not plan to drive.

 The Arkansas Highway Safety Office recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
• Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
• 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.

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.

Learn more about Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign intended to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit highway safety office web site https://www.tzdarkansas.org/


CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET RETURNS JULY 1ST TO DOWNTOWN CAMDEN
Camden, AR - First Friday Monthly Market in Camden, AR invites you to downtown Camden for Dog Dayz of Summer:  BBQ & Blues” on July 1st.

Vendors, vendors and more vendors can be seen this month.  We have a little bit of everything from blacksmith items, crochet, artwork, woodworking, jewelry, clothing, just to name a few.  Information booths and local businesses will keep you informed to all sorts of things from a camper rental to Home Depot home services.

This month we will be highlighting BBQ with 2 great food trucks:  Mortuary BBQ and Smith Treats BBQ or you can find different varieties of food from our small plate vendors located throughout the market.   To cool you off stop by Headbangers Creamery with awesome ice cream treats or Sweet Escape Arkansas for shaved ice, bubble tea or bubble lemonade.  Native Dog Brewery will have Bills & Dimes Food Truck on their lot to give you more choices.

Julys live music will be The Experience”.  This awesome duo will bring the best of Blues as well as other genre of music.  Bring you lawn chairs out to enjoy an evening of listening at the corner of Washington and Adams Ave.  You can also listen to Christine DeMeo from Hot Springs playing on the patio of Native Dog Brewing.

To celebrate the Dog Dayz we will be having a Pet Parade”.  No need to register, just show up at the corner of Washington & Adams for the parade at 7PM.  The parade along the sidewalk to keep their sweet paws off the hot pavement.  Everyone loves to see your beautiful 4-legged children.

Competitive games are a definite must at this market, so find the Corn Hole Tournament on Adams Ave in front of Whats Cookinand GellyBall located on Washington Street just past the Madison Ave intersection.

Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR, July 1, 6PM – 9PM.

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


THE REGION’S LARGEST 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS DISPLAY AND LIVE CONCERT EVENT RETURNS FOR THE 22ND ANNUAL CAMDEN STAR SPANGLED SPECTACULAR
Camden, Ark., – Dont Miss the largest 4th of July Fireworks Display & Live Concert event in the Region…

The 22nd annual CAMDEN STAR SPANGLED SPECTACULAR
Monday, July 4th in Camden, AR. at the Camden Municipal Airport.
Gates open at 6pm for you and your family to enjoy an amazing evening with great live music, a special recognizing of our Veterans, inflatables for the kids and ending your evening with the largest professional fireworks display in South Arkansas.

The evening will include live music with regional favorite… Crutchfield the Band playing from 7PM to 8PM. Cruthchfield the Band has played at BrickFest in Malvern, opened at Magic Springs for Toby Mac and played the Young Christians Weekend at Silver Dollar City.  The Band has a full July planned with bookings at the MAD Battle in El Dorado and opening for King and Country at Magic Springs.   Headliner act Zac Dunlap Band will be taking the stage at 8PM. Zac Dunlap is a Country Music Artist from Little Rock.  He is the 2018 Arkansas Entertainer of the Year as well as a 4-time Arkansas Country Music Award winner.  He has played alongside and opened for many National acts including Brad Paisley, Bobby Bones, Sister Hazel, Granger Smith, MC Hammer and countless others.  Zac and his band have been touring the mid-South since 2014.  Their exciting show is sure to get the crowd involved and singing along to many of his original songs and popular covers.  Following the entertainment will be South Arkansaslargest fireworks show professionally choreographed to patriotic music happening at dark! Be sure to bring your lawn chair or blanket to enjoy this FREE family friendly event. Enjoy the inflatables and childrens events, live music and concessions available for purchase by Sweet Escape Arkansas leading up to the Fireworks show.
 

OUACHITA COUNTY HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
The. Ouachita County Courthouse and the Ouachita County Extension Office will be closed on Monday July 4th, 2022 for the Holiday. Sanitation will run on regular schedule.

 

BOOZMAN BILL ENSURING ARKANSAS KIDS HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTHY MEALS IN SUMMER AND SCHOOL YEAR SIGNED INTO LAW
Extends USDA Flexibilities and Increases Support for Spike in Food Costs
WASHINGTON— Over the weekend, the president signed critical legislation championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to ensure kids have access to healthy, nutritious meals this summer and next school year.

The Keep Kids Fed Act will deliver important funding and flexibility for communities to provide children healthy meals this summer and offer support to schools and daycares to respond to supply chain challenges and high food costs for the coming school year.

“As I visit with Arkansas school nutrition professionals, it is quite clear they need continued flexibilities to manage ongoing supply chain issues. We all want to ensure children in receive healthy and affordable meals to help them focus on their education. This bill will help schools provide those meals as they return to normal operations,” Boozman said.

Last Tuesday, Boozman, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry along with Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-3) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (NC-5), introduced the legislation.

Nationwide, schools currently face a 35-40 percent increase in food costs due to supply chain and inflation issues. The Keep Kids Fed Act provides a temporary increase in reimbursement rates and no-cost flexibilities for the 2022-2023 school year to help return to regular school meal operations.

Arkansas school leaders and nutrition advocates have expressed the need for a continuation of the waivers and applauded Boozman’s efforts.

“Senator Boozman has a sensitive ear, and he has listened to our needs. He is truly an advocate for not only the children of Arkansas but the nation’s children as well. Senator Boozman is to be commended for leading the way to a bipartisan agreement with other ranking lawmakers. The decision he and his fellow colleagues have made will protect the future (our children) of this country. The support they are providing will enable us to continue serving healthy meals despite rising food costs and supply chain issues; this is turn will prevent hunger and ensure that they are ready and will remain ready to learn when they return to school. Senator Boozman - We thank you!” said Barbara Cole, Chair of the Public Policy and Legislative Committee of the Arkansas School Nutrition Association.

“We applaud Senator Boozman’s efforts to achieve a bipartisan agreement on the summer meals waiver. He continues to demonstrate his commitment to child nutrition and has listened to those on the ground in Arkansas advocating for an extension. His efforts will help Arkansas kids get the nutrition they need,” said Kathy Webb, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance CEO.

“In March, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Senator Boozman. It was great to have his full attention, to have him ask specific questions, and then later reach out to me to provide data to follow through with supporting us in feeding school meals to the students in Arkansas. I’m pleased Arkansans have a voice in creating policies providing children access to school meals,” said Stephanie Walker Hynes, Director of Child Nutrition for the Little Rock School District.
 

WESTERMAN JOINS PUSH TO DEMAND DOJ ACTION FOLLOWING EXTREME VIOLENCE ON PRO-LIFE ORGANIZATIONS & CHURCHES
WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-04) joined Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04) and other Republican colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding the Department of Justice take action to protect Americans from the meteoric rise of violent attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and churches.

"The DOJ must do their job and protect the innocent Americans that are continually threatened by far-left extremists," said Rep. Westerman. "Free speech is a core tenant of our democracy, and it must be guarded in all circumstances, no matter one's political affiliation. To refuse to defend pro-life organizations and individuals would be a severe dereliction of AG Garland's duty and a threat to the integrity of the DOJ."

“I’ve seen this pattern before when I was a prosecutor—criminals don’t stop until they’re stopped. Since the Roe v. Wade leak, pro-abortion extremists have been committing acts of terrorism against pro-life organizations and churches across the nation.  They won’t stop until the Justice Department steps up and does its job.” said Congressman Buck.

Cosigners of the letter include Reps. Greg Steube (FL-17), Chris Smith (NJ-04), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Thomas Massie (KY-04), Burgess Owens (UT-04), Brian Babin (TX-36), Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Bill Posey (FL-08), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Mike Johnson (LA-04), Jim Banks (IN-03), Ben Cline (VA-06), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Daniel Webster (FL-11), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), , Randy Weber (TX-14), Mary Miller (IL-15), John Rose (TN-06), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Ann Wagner (MO-02), Tim Walberg (IL-07), John Moolenar (MI-04), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Young Kim (CA-39), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Bob Good (VA-05), Warren Davidson (OH-08), Tracey Mann (KS-01), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Scott Franklin (FL-15), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Peter Meijer (MI-03), Pete Sessions (TX-17), Ted Budd (NC-13), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), David McKinley (WV-01), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), and Matt Rosendale (R-MT).

This letter has received support from March for Life, National Right to Life, SBA Pro-Life America, and Heritage Action.

“Since 2016, over 800,00 lives have been saved through pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and other pro-life organizations, primarily staffed by volunteers, who lovingly provide support and encouragement for mothers and their children across this nation,” said Hon. Marilyn Musgrave, SBA Pro-Life America’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “The recent rash of attacks on these organizations is abhorrent and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We thank Rep. Buck and his colleagues for standing with these pro-life organizations who deserve our support to continue their work of supporting moms and babies.” 

“National Right to Life thanks Congressman Buck for his efforts urging the U.S. Department of Justice to stop the violence against prolife organizations,” said Jennifer Popik, National Right to Life Director of Federal Legislation. “National Right to Life has always believed that violence should never have a role in the cause of protecting unborn children and has consistently condemned such violence.”

Text of the letter may be found below:

The Honorable Merrick B. Garland
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Garland:

Since the leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization on May 2, 2022, there have been at least 40 documented attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers and churches. These attacks include incidences of vandalism, destruction of property, and even firebombing. The radical group Jane’s Revenge, which took credit for the May 2022 firebombing of a pregnancy center in Madison, Wisconsin, has even declared it “open season” on pro-life organizations and vowed to ramp up its offensive.

This tide of violence is likely to continue in the coming months as an official court opinion is released. It is critical that the Department of Justice take steps now to protect pro-life pregnancy centers and places of worship. The Clinton Administration took such steps to protect abortion clinics, signing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act of 1994. The FACE Act makes it a federal crime to use force, threats of force, physical obstruction, intentional injury, or intimidation against clinics providing “reproductive health services” or places of worship, with penalties including both fines and imprisonment. It also makes it a federal crime to intentionally damage or destroy the property of such clinics or places of worship. The clinics covered include those offering “services relating to pregnancy.”

During the 1990s the DOJ went so far as preemptively dispatching U.S. Marshals under the law to guard abortion clinics across the country. In doing so, Attorney General Janet Reno was responding to pro-abortion activists comparing acts of violence against abortion clinics to violence against civil rights workers and students in the 1960s, saying that the federal government was "using all federal tools" to protect abortion clinics. The U.S. Marshals Service continued to protect abortion providers into the 2000s under both the Bush and Obama Administrations.

The Supreme Court has likewise upheld related speech restrictions on First Amendment rights, ruling a 36-foot protest “buffer zone” from abortion clinic entrances and driveways constitutional in Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc. (1993) and a similar 15-foot buffer zone constitutional in Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York (1997). In Hill v. Colorado (2000), the Court upheld a floating 8-foot protest buffer zone for passersby, writing that the legislation did not violate the content-neutrality test established under Ward v. Rock against Racism (1989) because it did not apply to the “content of the demonstrators’ speech” but rather the location of that speech.

The assault on pro-life Americans’ constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion must be stopped. Given efforts from all three branches of government throughout the 1990s to protect abortion, the means to fight back against this lawless behavior are already in place. We urge the Department of Justice to aggressively and immediately take steps to stop the violence and protect the rights of all Americans.

Sincerely,

June 24, 2022

CAPITAL MURDER CHARGE FILED IN PERRY COUNTY JAIL SHOOTING
JUNE 23, 2022
A criminal charge of capital murder was filed late today against Roderick Deshawn Lewis, 37, of North Little Rock.

Lewis was being booked into the Perry County Jail at Perryville last night on drug and paraphernalia charges when he is alleged to have shot detention officer Jeremiah Story.  The gun reportedly used by Lewis was one he possessed when he arrived at the jail in the custody of local sheriff’s deputies.

Story, 21, of Oppelo was shot about 10:20 PM while he stood inside a bathroom inside the jail where Lewis was changing out of civilian clothes into jail issued attire.  Story died later at a Conway hospital.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing their investigation.

Lewis is currently incarcerated at the Faulkner County Jail.


ARKANSAS VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS RECEIVE WILDFIRE SUPPRESSION KITS
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Rural Fire Protection program, managed by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, received $279,562.45 as part of the 2021 Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant from the United States Forest Service to purchase and distribute 87 Wildfire Suppression Kits to rural volunteer fire departments. The kits include equipment and gear necessary for the safe suppression of wildfires and have been delivered to the volunteer fire departments listed below.

Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner to Forestry crews in wildfire response and suppression but often need the specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. Since 2014, 579 volunteer fire departments have received Wildfire Suppression Kits through the Rural Fire Protection program. Kits distributed this year include lightweight wildfire-resistant coveralls and gloves, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers.

Volunteer fire departments interested in participating in the Wildfire Suppression Kit program submit applications that are scored according to specific criteria including fire district population, the size of the response area, wildfire response equipment needs, and other factors. The application period for next year’s Wildfire Protection Kit program is expected to start in August of 2022. Fire Departments can expect to receive notification in the mail, or can find an application online at agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/rural-fire-protection-program/ when the application period opens. Fire Departments may contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at Kathryn.Mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501) 679-3183 with questions regarding the application.

Area Fire departments receiving the Wildfire Suppression Kits through the 2021 grant are listed below by fire department and county:
Buena Vista FD /Ouachita Co.
Chidester FD / Ouachita Co.
Faircrest FD / Union Co.
Frenchport FD / Ouachita Co
Locust Bayou FD/Calhoun Co.
Nevada Co. Fire & Rescue/ Nevada Co.
Ouachita Co. Fire District #1/ Ouachita Co.

 

BOX OFFICE OPEN FOR SAAC’S SUMMER MUSICAL, “MAMMA MIA!”
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces the box office is open for tickets to its summer musical extravaganza, “Mamma Mia!” The show, sponsored by Murphy USA, will run July 14-17 and July 20-24, 7:30pm curtain, except on Sunday at 2:30pm. Over 60 million people worldwide have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that make “Mamma Mia!” the ultimate feel-good show!

SAAC will usher in the summer musical season with an Opening Night Champagne Reception beginning at 7:00pm with a 7:30pm curtain. Laura Allen, SAAC’s Executive Director said, “I can't wait to have all our dancing queens back in the audience at SAAC! 'Mamma Mia!' is the kind of outrageously fun show that we have all been craving over the past few years. What better way to celebrate that than with a champagne reception?”

In this true jukebox musical, the hit songs of ABBA are employed to tell the hilarious story of a young woman's search for her birth father. This sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.

The story-telling magic of ABBA's timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship, creating an unforgettable show. A large cast, non-stop laughs and explosive dance numbers combine to make Mamma Mia! a guaranteed smash hit for any theatre. A mother. A daughter. Three possible dads. And a trip down the aisle you'll never forget!

Music and lyrics for "Mamma Mia!" are by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, also with some songs with Stig Anderson. Book was written by Catherine Johnson with the concept originally conceived by Judy Cramer. “Mamma Mia!” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

Tickets for “Mamma Mia” are $10 students, $20 SAAC members, and $30 general public and opening night. Purchase tickets online, in person at the SAAC office or call to reserve them at 870-862-5474. For more information on the musical, please call the office or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.
 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES DEMAND ACTION FROM BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AGAINST TIKTOK
Washington, D.C.  — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Todd Young (R-Indiana), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen demanding answers about actions the Biden administration is taking to combat the national security risks associated with TikTok, a social media platform developed and owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd.

In part, the senators wrote, “The Biden Administration has seemingly done nothing to enforce the August 14 order nearly two years since its promulgation. The results of the security reviews, likewise, have not been publicly released after one year. Instead, news reports indicate TikTok is nearing a deal with a U.S. company to ‘store its U.S. users’ information without its Chinese parent ByteDance having access to it, hoping to address U.S. regulatory concerns.’”

“The proposed TikTok deal would do little to address the core security concerns that motivated the August 14 order. That order was not simply concerned about data, but about a Chinese company’s ownership of a social media platform in America. If the Biden Administration focuses solely on data storage and integrity to the exclusion of the critical issue of ByteDance’s ownership, control, and influence of TikTok, serious security risks will remain and the August 14 order will go unenforced,” the senators continued.

Text of the letter may be found and below.
The Honorable Janet Yellen
Secretary
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Yellen,

We write to inquire about the Biden Administration’s delayed response to the national security and privacy risks posed by TikTok, the video-sharing social media platform developed and owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd.

On August 6, 2020, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order (E.O. 13942) restricting the use of TikTok in the United States. The order noted that the app “captures vast swaths of information from its users, including… location data and browsing and search histories.” TikTok’s data-collection practices threatened to “allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information—potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.” Shortly afterward, ByteDance sued in federal court and secured a preliminary injunction that halted a pending prohibition against downloading the TikTok app.

President Trump issued an additional Presidential Order on August 14, 2020 (the August 14 order) directing ByteDance to divest its American assets and destroy any data it acquired through TikTok. The order also blocked ByteDance’s acquisition of another video-sharing social media platform, Musical.ly. The August 14 order was based on “credible evidence” that the acquisition threatened to “impair the national security of the United States,” likely including evidence unearthed by a review of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

On June 9, 2021, President Joe Biden revoked E.O. 13942 and ordered security reviews of TikTok and similar apps developed in adversary countries. The next month, the Biden Administration petitioned to dismiss ongoing federal litigation against ByteDance. President Biden did not, however, revoke the August 14 Presidential Order requiring ByteDance to divest its American assets, property, and data.

The Biden Administration has seemingly done nothing to enforce the August 14 order nearly two years since its promulgation. The results of the security reviews, likewise, have not been publicly released after one year. Instead, news reports indicate TikTok is nearing a deal with a U.S. company to “store its U.S. users’ information without its Chinese parent ByteDance having access to it, hoping to address U.S. regulatory concerns.”

The proposed TikTok deal would do little to address the core security concerns that motivated the August 14 order. That order was not simply concerned about data, but about a Chinese company’s ownership of a social media platform in America. If the Biden Administration focuses solely on data storage and integrity to the exclusion of the critical issue of ByteDance’s ownership, control, and influence of TikTok, serious security risks will remain and the August 14 order will go unenforced.

Please answer the following requests in writing:
Identify all CFIUS member agencies that are “lead” agencies for this matter.
Given recent press reporting that TikTok may partner with a U.S. company to store Americans’ data in the United States:
Are these arrangements part of a CFIUS-ordered plan to address national security risk?
Will such arrangements appropriately and adequately effectuate the directives contained in the August 14 order? If so, how?
What assurances does the U.S. government have that TikTok will store U.S. data and adopt privacy policies with adequate protections?
How will the U.S. government enforce any such data protection and storage arrangements vis-à-vis an independent third-party U.S. company?
What steps will be taken with regard to the storage, protection, and integrity of the extensive U.S. data that has already been acquired by TikTok and ByteDance both prior to and since the August 14 order? 
Will the United States impose requirements for destruction of data previously acquired and not stored within U.S. jurisdiction, and how will such a requirement be enforced and verified?

How will the U.S. government ensure the TikTok app contains no malicious code and does not manipulate information and content?  How will this be accomplished and verified on an ongoing basis?  If an independent third party is responsible to the U.S. government for these functions, how will any failure to protect Americans and U.S. national security be remedied and enforced?  Has the U.S. government considered adequate means of accountability?

Will TikTok be locally managed in the United States?
If the control and operation of TikTok’s algorithm remains in the Chinese company’s hands, does that mean that U.S. persons’ data will be transferred to China to inform said algorithm?
Will the U.S. government have the ability to routinely access and inspect the algorithm’s source code?

What safeguards will the United States have to ensure protection of U.S. persons’ data in the event the CCP were to invoke its National Security Law and direct ByteDance to provide U.S. data to the Chinese government?

Will only U.S. persons be the officers and employees responsible for all operations and activities of TikTok in the United States?  How will the decision-making of U.S. officers and employees be isolated from any and all influence of ByteDance’s officers and employees?

If the divestment ordered by the August 14 order will not be effectuated, will the President issue a superseding Presidential or Executive Order?

If divestment ordered by the August 14 order is not effectuated, to what extent will ByteDance or other Chinese persons retain ownership or control over TikTok’s operations in the United States?  Describe in detail both the ownership and control structure contemplated for TikTok in the United States.

Are the actions that CFIUS may be taking to address the threat posed by TikTok being considered and applied by U.S. government agencies to WeChat, Didi, and other Chinese-owned or controlled apps?

Please respond to these questions no later than July 22. Thank you for your prompt response to this important matter.


GRIFFIN APPLAUDS SCOTUS DECISION OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE
Says, The Court 'correct[ed] the grievous errors made in Roe'...and returned this issue to 'the people and their elected representatives' 
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization: 

"I applaud the U.S. Supreme Court for correcting the grievous errors made in the Roe and Casey decisions. The Constitution does not take a side in the abortion debate, and the Court correctly determined that the power to resolve this debate should rest with the people and their elected representatives. Because of this monumental and historic decision, states like Arkansas will now have the ability to protect innocent unborn children, who are created in the image of God, from the violence of abortion."

ATTORNEY GENERAL MERRICK B. GARLAND STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT RULING IN DOBBS V. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today released the following statement following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization et al.:

“Today, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and held that the right to abortion is no longer protected by the Constitution.

“The Supreme Court has eliminated an established right that has been an essential component of women’s liberty for half a century – a right that has safeguarded women’s ability to participate fully and equally in society. And in renouncing this fundamental right, which it had repeatedly recognized and reaffirmed, the Court has upended the doctrine of stare decisis, a key pillar of the rule of law.

“The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the Court’s decision. This decision deals a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States. It will have an immediate and irreversible impact on the lives of people across the country. And it will be greatly disproportionate in its effect – with the greatest burdens felt by people of color and those of limited financial means. 

“But today’s decision does not eliminate the ability of states to keep abortion legal within their borders. And the Constitution continues to restrict states’ authority to ban reproductive services provided outside their borders.

“We recognize that traveling to obtain reproductive care may not be feasible in many circumstances. But under bedrock constitutional principles, women who reside in states that have banned access to comprehensive reproductive care must remain free to seek that care in states where it is legal. Moreover, under fundamental First Amendment principles, individuals must remain free to inform and counsel each other about the reproductive care that is available in other states.

“Advocates with different views on this issue have the right to, and will, voice their opinions. Peacefully expressing a view is protected by the First Amendment. But we must be clear that violence and threats of violence are not. The Justice Department will not tolerate such acts.

“The Justice Department will work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom.

“Under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, the Department will continue to protect healthcare providers and individuals seeking reproductive health services in states where those services remain legal. This law prohibits anyone from obstructing access to reproductive health services through violence, threats of violence, or property damage. 

“The Department strongly supports efforts by Congress to codify Americans’ reproductive rights, which it retains the authority to do. We also support other legislative efforts to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive services.

“And we stand ready to work with other arms of the federal government that seek to use their lawful authorities to protect and preserve access to reproductive care. In particular, the FDA has approved the use of the medication Mifepristone. States may not ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy. 

“Furthermore, federal agencies may continue to provide reproductive health services to the extent authorized by federal law. And federal employees who carry out their duties by providing such services must be allowed to do so free from the threat of liability. It is the Department’s longstanding position that States generally may not impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who perform their duties in a manner authorized by federal law. Additionally, the Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has determined that federal employees engaging in such conduct would not violate the Assimilative Crimes Act and could not be prosecuted by the federal government under that law. The Justice Department is prepared to assist agencies in resolving any questions about the scope of their authority to provide reproductive care.

“The ability to decide one’s own future is a fundamental American value, and few decisions are more significant and personal than the choice of whether and when to have children.

“Few rights are more central to individual freedom than the right to control one’s own body.

“The Justice Department will use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive freedom. And we will not waver from this Department’s founding responsibility to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”
 

BOOZMAN CELEBRATES SUPREME COURT RULING PROTECTING UNBORN
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:

“This is a long-awaited, consequential day for our nation. The Supreme Court’s decision to affirm there is no constitutional right to indiscriminately sacrifice the lives of children in their mothers’ wombs is the culmination of decades of work to correct the tragic, deadly lie that unborn babies are expendable and undeserving of protection. I’m pleased to have helped confirm justices to our nation’s highest court who are committed to interpreting the Constitution in a manner that is consistent and true to its intent and meaning. With this ruling, the American people will finally have the opportunity to enact their will on this issue instead of unelected judges in Washington, D.C. I am proud of Arkansas’s steadfast commitment to defend the sanctity, dignity and value of every human life, including vulnerable children who deserve our compassion and care.”
 

COTTON STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT’S DOBBS V. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION DECISION
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) issued the following statement regarding the United States Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:

“Roe was a tragic mistake, taking from the American people and their elected representatives a deeply moral question. The Supreme Court has finally corrected this mistake and I highly commend the millions of Americans who toiled for years to achieve this great victory for unborn life and self-government.”
 

WESTERMAN REACTS TO THE REVERSAL OF ROE V. WADE
WASHINGTON - In reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) released the following statement:

"I am ecstatic to see the U.S. Supreme Court today rectify its 1973 decision by reversing Roe v. Wade and sending the issue of abortion back to the States," said Rep. Westerman. "Life is a right. Abortion is not. Our system of government is not based on unelected judges creating a right that doesn’t exist in the Constitution. A new day has dawned in America, and many innocent lives will be saved in the years to come. Make no mistake, we must help struggling women and ensure they have every resource they need throughout and after pregnancy. Women will always have choices. As many as two million U.S. families are looking to adopt at any given time, while roughly 700,000 abortions are performed each year. Each of these precious lives could have a family ready and willing to provide a loving home. I look forward to a day when all Americans reject the horrors of abortion in their own states to ensure the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for every child."

June 23, 2022

PERRY COUNTY DETENTION OFFICER DIES IN JAIL SHOOTING
JUNE 23, 2022
The Arkansas State Police is investigating a shooting inside the Perry County Jail that has claimed the life of a correctional officer.  The incident occurred late Wednesday night (June 22nd) in Perryville.

State police special agents were called to the jail by local sheriff’s department authorities to begin the investigation which is continuing this morning.  The Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation is leading the probe into the circumstances of the apparent homicide.

A 37 year-old man who was in the process of being booked into the jail after his arrest by Perry County deputies is being held in connection with the shooting.

The name of the correctional officer is being withheld at this hour during the notification of next of kin process.  A follow-up news release will be distributed later Thursday morning.
 

INVESTIGATION OF FATAL SHOOTING AT PERRY COUNTY JAIL CONTINUES; DECEASED JAILER IDENTIFIED
JUNE 23, 2022
Perry County Detention Officer Jeremiah Story, 21, of Oppelo (Conway County) died at a Conway hospital early today after he was shot by an inmate who was in the process of being booked into jail.  The incident occurred inside the county jail at Perryville about 10:20 PM, Wednesday (June 22nd).

Story was shot with a pistol as he stood in a bathroom where the inmate was changing out of civilian clothes into jail issued attire.

Roderick Lewis, 37, of North Little Rock had been arrested by Perry County sheriff’s deputies earlier in the evening and was to be detained on drug and paraphernalia charges.  A witness to the shooting was able to disarm Lewis who was later transferred to the Faulkner County Detention Center at Conway while state police special agents continue their investigation.

The investigative case file being prepared by the criminal investigation division agents will be turned-over to the Perry County prosecuting attorney who will consider the appropriate charges to be filed against Lewis.
 

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RELEASES PROPOSED CHANGES TO TITLE IX REGULATIONS, INVITES PUBLIC COMMENT
Department Commemorates 50 Years of Protecting and Advancing the Rights of All Students 
Today, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX – the landmark civil rights law that has opened doors for generations of women and girls – the U.S. Department of Education released for public comment proposed changes to the regulations that help elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities implement this vital legislation. The proposed amendments will restore crucial protections for students who are victims of sexual harassment, assault, and sex-based discrimination – a critical safety net for survivors that was weakened under previous regulations. The proposed regulations will advance educational equity and opportunity for women and girls across the country to ensure that every student in America, from kindergarten through a doctorate degree, can achieve her dreams.  

“Over the last 50 years, Title IX has paved the way for millions of girls and women to access equal opportunity in our nation’s schools and has been instrumental in combating sexual assault and sexual violence in educational settings,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.  “As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this landmark law, our proposed changes will allow us to continue that progress and ensure all our nation’s students – no matter where they live, who they are, or whom they love – can learn, grow, and thrive in school.  We welcome public comment on these critical regulations so we can further the Biden-Harris Administration’s mission of creating educational environments free from sex discrimination and sexual violence.” 

The proposed regulations will advance Title IX’s goal of ensuring that no person experiences sex discrimination, sex-based harassment, or sexual violence in education. As the Supreme Court wrote in Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), it is “impossible to discriminate against a person” on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity without “discriminating against that individual based on sex.” The regulations will require that all students receive appropriate supports in accessing all aspects of education. They will strengthen protections for LGBTQI+ students who face discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And they will require that school procedures for complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual violence and other sex-based harassment, are fair to all involved.  The proposed regulations also reaffirm the Department’s core commitment to fundamental fairness for all parties, respect for freedom of speech and academic freedom, respect for complainants’ autonomy, and clear legal obligations that enable robust enforcement of Title IX.  

The proposed regulations would:  
Clearly protect students and employees from all forms of sex discrimination. 
Provide full protection from sex-based harassment. 
Protect the right of parents and guardians to support their elementary and secondary school children. 
Require schools to take prompt and effective action to end any sex discrimination in their education programs or activities – and to prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects. 
Protect students and employees who are pregnant or have pregnancy-related conditions. 
Require schools to respond promptly to all complaints of sex discrimination with a fair and reliable process that includes trained, unbiased decisionmakers to evaluate the evidence. 
Require schools to provide supportive measures to students and employees affected by conduct that may constitute sex discrimination, including students who have brought complaints or been accused of sex-based harassment. 
Protect LGBTQI+ students from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.
Clarify and confirm protection from retaliation for students, employees, and others who exercise their Title IX rights. 
Improve the adaptability of the regulations’ grievance procedure requirements so that all recipients can implement Title IX’s promise of nondiscrimination fully and fairly in their educational environments. 
Ensure that schools share their nondiscrimination policies with all students, employees, and other participants in their education programs or activities.  

The Department will engage in a separate rulemaking to address Title IX’s application to athletics. 

The Department’s comprehensive review of its Title IX regulations began in March 2021, as directed by Executive Order 14021 – Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free From Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity. The Department has sought public input throughout that process.  Over the last year, the Department has heard from a wide variety of stakeholders, including students, parents, and educators in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools, state government representatives, advocates, lawyers, researchers, and other stakeholders through the Title IX nationwide virtual public hearing in June 2021 convened by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and in numerous listening sessions and meetings.  This input, together with careful review of federal case law and OCR’s enforcement work under Title IX, highlighted the need to revise the current regulations to protect more fully against sex discrimination in all education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.  

“The proposed regulations reflect the Department’s commitment to give full effect to Title IX, ensuring that no person experiences sex discrimination in education, and that school procedures for addressing complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual violence and other forms of sex-based harassment, are clear, effective, and fair to all involved,” said Catherine E.  Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.   

The Department’s proposed Title IX regulations will be open for public comment for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.   
 

BIPARTISAN COALITION LEADS EFFORT TO SAVE AMERICA'S ICONIC SEQUOIAS
WASHINGTON - Washington - Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) joined House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), U.S. Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and 23 other members in introducing H.R. 8168, the Save Our Sequoias (SOS) Act.

"It's no secret that I'm passionate about conserving trees, particularly when it comes to national treasures like our Giant Sequoias," Westerman said. "The fact that the federal government has sat on its hands and let wildfires burn hotter and stronger every year is a travesty, and now these fires are threatening to turn whole Sequoia groves into ash. I refuse to let ours be the generation that allows these trees to perish forever when they've already survived thousands upon thousands of years. We've traveled to the Sequoia groves and talked to the federal, state, tribal and local land managers who oversee them, and every person on the ground shared just how important it is for Congress to take swift, comprehensive action. The strong bipartisan support we've already received for the Save Our Sequoias Act is just the beginning. We have a responsibility to manage these iconic resources, protecting them from catastrophic wildfires and other natural disasters and allowing them to thrive. It's not every day that you see such powerful support on both sides of the aisle for a bill here in D.C., and I'm proud to be leading this legislation alongside my California colleagues." 

"Nearly 20 percent of all Giant Sequoias have been destroyed due to catastrophic wildfires resulting from policies and regulations that discourage proper forest management," McCarthy said. "Earlier this year, I led a bipartisan group of my colleagues to witness the devastation firsthand – which only reinforced the immediate need for action. The Save Our Sequoias Act will address this problem by providing emergency authorities and resources to better maintain and prioritize these natural wonders in need of urgent care. I thank Congressman Scott Peters and Ranking Member Bruce Westerman for their shared commitment to this matter. Our Giant Sequoias need our help now."

"The giant sequoia is an iconic species that has provided cultural, environmental, and recreational benefits to humans for generations," Peters said. "Poor land management and climate change are driving forces behind severe fires that threaten the survival of giant sequoias and the stability of the climate. In just two years, California wildfires contributed more to climate change than the state’s entire power sector. The bipartisan Save Our Sequoias Act charts a new path forward in federal forest and wildfire policy to combat climate change and ensure the giant sequoias stand safely in their natural habitat for years to come."
 
"The magnificent Giant Sequoia tree has a strong and resilient history in California, they tell a story that goes back thousands of years," Costa said. "They are among the oldest living things on the planet. Sadly, climate change, among other factors, are threatening and diminishing our long-standing redwood groves. Unless we take steps to improve forest management and reduce wildfire risk on federal public lands, we will watch the destruction of these ancient trees. I am proud to help lead this effort to preserve and protect the world’s hardiest trees for future generations to come."

"Our giant sequoias are a national treasure, and here in the Central Valley we’re lucky enough to have them right in our own backyard," Valadao said. "The Save our Sequoias Act includes real reforms to forest management and equips our federal land managers with the tools and resources they need to save these trees from the threat of wildfire. I’m proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort to save our sequoias for future generations."

"I recently visited several groves of sequoias in California and saw just how colossal but also how fragile these magnificent trees are when subject to intense wildfires," Panetta said. "In the past few years, we’ve lost 20 percent of the world’s giant sequoias due to the brutal wildfires in California. Fortunately, there are a few innocuous and simple steps that we can take to save these giants so that our descendants can also experience these miraculous and majestic trees. The bipartisan Save Our Sequoias Act allows the federal government the chance to play its part with necessary funding and administration to support safeguarding these iconic natural wonders."

"I am pleased to join Leader McCarthy and my colleagues in introducing the Save Our Sequoias Act, which will restore active management by empowering land managers with critical tools to expeditiously carry out fuels reduction and reforestation projects," McClintock said.

Background
In the past two years alone, catastrophic wildfires wiped out nearly one-fifth of the world’s Giant Sequoias. Covering only 37,000 acres in California across roughly 70 groves, Giant Sequoias are among the most fire-resilient tree species on the planet and were once considered virtually indestructible. However, more than a century of fire suppression and mismanagement created a massive build-up of hazardous fuels in and around Giant Sequoia groves, leading to unnaturally intense, high-severity wildfires. The emergency now facing Giant Sequoias is unprecedented – the last recorded evidence of large-scale Giant Sequoia mortality due to wildfires occurred in the year 1297 A.D., more than seven centuries ago.

Despite the looming threat to the remaining Giant Sequoias, federal land managers have not been able to increase the pace and scale of treatments necessary to restore Giant Sequoia resiliency to wildfires, insects, and drought. At its current pace, it would take the U.S. Forest Service approximately 52 years to treat just their 19 highest priority Giant Sequoia groves at high-risk of experiencing devastating wildfires. Without urgent action, we are at risk of losing our iconic Giant Sequoias in the next several years. Accelerating scientific forest management practices will not only improve the health and resiliency of these thousand-year-old trees but also enhance air and water quality and protect critical habitat for important species like the Pacific Fisher.

The SOS Act will provide land managers with the emergency tools and resources needed to save these remaining ancient wonders from the unprecedented peril threatening their long-term survival. The bill would:

Enhance coordination between federal, state, tribal and local land managers through shared stewardship agreements and the codification of the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition, a partnership between the current Giant Sequoia managers.

Create a Giant Sequoia Health and Resiliency Assessment to prioritize wildfire risk reduction treatments in the highest-risk groves and track the progress of scientific forest management activities.

Declare an emergency to streamline and expedite environmental reviews and consultations while maintaining robust scientific analysis.

Provide new authority to the National Park Foundation and National Forest Foundation to accept private donations to facilitate Giant Sequoia restoration and resiliency.

Establish a comprehensive reforestation strategy to regenerate Giant Sequoias in areas destroyed by recent catastrophic wildfires.

 SOS Act original cosponsors: U.S. Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), G.T. Thompson (R-Penn.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Mike Garcia (R-Calif.), Lou Correa (D-Calif.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Jay Obernolte (R-Calif.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Young Kim (R-Calif.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), John Curtis (R-Utah), Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), Kaiali'i Kahele (D-Hawaii), Michelle Steel (R-Calif.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.).

More than 90 organizations support the SOS Act, including: ACRE Investment Management, American Conservation Coalition, American Forest & Paper Association, American Forest Foundation, American Forest Resource Council, American Loggers Council, American Sportfishing Association, American Wood Council, Aramark Parks & Destinations, Archery Trade Association, Associated California Loggers, Association of American Railroads, Association of California Water Agencies, Bipartisan Policy Center Action, Boone & Crockett Club, Calaveras Big Trees Association, Calaveras County Water District, Calaveras County, California Assemblyman Vince Fong, California Cattlemen’s Association, California Farm Bureau, California Forestry Association, California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, California Senator Shannon Grove, Carbon180, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Charm Industrial, CHM Government Services, Citizens Climate Lobby, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, ConservAmerica, Dallas Safari Club, Delek US Holdings, Drax, Edison International, Enviva, Evangelical Environmental Network, Federal Forest Resource Coalition, Forest Landowners Association, Forest Resources Association, Fresno County, Giant Sequoia National Monument Association, Grassroots Wildland Firefighters, Great Basin Institute, Hardwood Federation, Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities, Houston Safari Club, International Inbound Travel Association, International Paper, Inter-Tribal Timber Council, Kern County, Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce, Kernville Chamber of Commerce, Mariposa County, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of Counties, National Association of Forest Service Retirees, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Forest Recreation Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Niskanen Center, Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, PG&E, Placer County Water Agency, Placer County, Public Lands Council, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Rural County Representatives of California, Salesforce, Salt River Project, San Diego Gas & Electric, Save the Redwoods League, Sequoia Parks Conservancy, Sierra Forest Products, Sierra Pacific Industries, Springville Chamber of Commerce, The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Tulare County Farm Bureau, Tulare County Fire Department, Tulare County, Tule River Tribe, Tuolumne County, Vista Outdoor, Weyerhaeuser Company, Wildlife Management Institute, Yosemite Clean Energy, and Yosemite Conservancy.

June 22, 2022

66TH SECRETARY OF STATE CONDOLEEZZA RICE HEADLINES IDEAS SUMMIT WITH GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON
Leaders from across the nation will come together to develop actionable ideas to strengthen America
Bentonville, AR (June 22, 2022) – The 66th Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is headed to the state of Arkansas to give a keynote speech at the inaugural ‘America Leads: An Ideas Summit’ hosted by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. The summit will take place Oct. 19 in Bentonville and will bring together thought leaders and policy makers from across the nation to discuss real, actionable ideas and policies that are impacting America with the goal to encourage problem-solving and practical solutions.

In making the announcement, Governor Asa Hutchinson said, “I worked with Secretary Rice in the Bush administration and her views on national security issues are essential with the current threats across the globe. In addition to the foreign policy discussions, the summit will hear from leading experts on the economy, education and many other challenges facing our country.” 

Condoleezza Rice is the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution and the Thomas Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy. In addition, she is a founding partner of Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel LLC, an international strategic consulting firm. In addition, Rice is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and has been awarded fifteen honorary doctorates.

The Ideas Summit is hosted by America Strong and Free, Inc., which is an education and advocacy organization. More information to come regarding event details, panelists, guest speakers and how to get tickets.
 


COTTON STATEMENT ON SENATE GUN-CONTROL LEGISLATION
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) issued the following statement on the Senate gun-control bill:

“This bill won’t stop the violent shootings by deranged criminals. But it will restrict the freedoms of law-abiding Americans and put too much power in the hands of politicians and political officials. Stopping gun violence starts with more funding for police


COTTON, BANKS INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM “GENDER-TRANSITION” SURGERY
Washington, D.C.  — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), and Steve Daines (R-Montana) introduced the Protecting Minors from Medical Malpractice Act, legislation to help individuals who suffer from potentially sterilizing gender-transition procedures as minors and to allow them to seek justice in court. Representative Jim Banks (R-Indiana) is leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Gender-transition procedures aren’t safe or appropriate for children. Unfortunately, radical doctors in the United States perform dangerous, experimental, and even sterilizing gender-transition procedures on young kids, who cannot even provide informed consent. Our bill allows children who grow up to regret these procedures to sue for damages. Any doctor who performs these irresponsible procedures on kids should pay,” said Cotton.

“The Biden administration released official guidance recommending irreversible and life-altering surgery for minors too young to apply for a learner’s permit. These procedures lack any solid evidence and have been rejected by public health agencies around the world. Ten years from now, there will be hundreds of thousands of Americans who were permanently scarred by the radical left’s agenda before they reached adulthood. If Democrats truly supported gender-confused children, they’d support our effort to give them legal recourse,” said Banks.

The Protecting Minors from Medical Malpractice Act would:
Create a private right of action allowing people who have gender-transition procedures performed on them as minors to sue the medical practitioner who performed the procedure.

Allows victims or their legal guardian to sue for declaratory or injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees

Provides a 30-year statute of limitation after the age of majority

Gender-transition procedures include puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgical procedures that change an individual’s body in order to align with an identity at odds with an individual’s biological sex

Applicable to procedures performed after the date of passage of this legislation

Clarify that federal law cannot be construed to force medical practitioners to offer such procedures.

Prohibit federal health funds from going to states that force medical practitioners to perform gender-transition procedures.

The legislation is supported by the American Principles Project, Heritage Action, Family Policy Alliance, Family Research Council, Independent Women’s Forum, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Alliance Defending Freedom, ForAmerica, Eagle Forum, CHANGED Movement.

June 21, 2022

UPCOMING CAMDEN BUSINESS AFTER HOURS SCHEDULED
Mike Smith, Edward Jones Financial Advisor, will be hosting Business After Hours next Tuesday, June 28th from 5-6:30 pm. Join Mike in downtown Camden at 142 W. Washington Street for our first post-COVID Business After Hours.  Light refreshments will be served.

 

SUMMER HEAT CAN INCREASE POWER USAGE, UTILITY BILLS
Several options available to manage cost of staying cool, assistance with bills
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – There are many factors that can impact your utility bills, including the summer heat, which often sends us lowering the temperature on our thermostat and pushing the air conditioner into overdrive. Remember, taking steps like this to stay cool on the hottest days of the year can significantly increase your electricity usage and, subsequently, your bill.

But there are ways to stay comfortable and keep your bills affordable! Entergy recently provided energy efficiency tips like closing blinds and curtains and keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees or the highest comfortable temperature. These free or low-cost steps can go a long way in conserving energy; however, if you have already received a high bill, here are six helpful options to consider in managing costs or receiving assistance:

Level Billing – Entergy averages your bill over a rolling 12-month period, so you have a consistent bill each month of the year. Pay about the same every month, with no surprises.

Pick-A-Date – Choose what day of the month you get billed to line up with your budget and manage your cash flow.

Deferred Payment – Talk with us about your situation and we may be able to make deferred payment arrangements. Call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749).

Payment Extension – Qualifying customers who need additional time to pay their bill can call our automated answering system at 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) or request an extension through myEntergy.

Power to Care – Through Entergy's The Power to Care program, local nonprofit agencies can provide emergency bill payment assistance to seniors and disabled individuals in crisis. Find out more at Help for Paying Your Electric Bills.  

LIHEAP – LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is a program that provides money to help people with energy bills and other energy-related expenses. LIHEAP is funded through the federal government and works with the community action agencies to help customers pay for and keep electric service in their homes. Find out more at Help for Paying Your Electric Bills.

Entergy encourages customers download the company’s mobile phone app  to monitor usage (if you have a smart meter), among other steps, to be more energy efficient before the next bill arrives.

And aside from the do-it-yourself tips we offer, the company’s energy efficiency can help. They offer free in-home energy assessments and rebates to help reduce the up-front cost of installing energy-efficient equipment, such as high-efficiency HVAC tune-ups, insulation, air sealing and duct sealing.

Customers who are behind on bill payments or have a concern about their bill should reach out to the company either online or by phone at 1-800 ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749). Our representatives can investigate your account or describe available bill help options that may work best for you and your family’s specific case.

About Entergy Arkansas
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 728,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR), an integrated energy company engaged in electric power production, transmission and retail distribution operations. Entergy delivers electricity to 3 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy owns and operates one of the cleanest large-scale U.S. power generating fleets with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including 7,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy has annual revenues of $10 billion and approximately 12,500 employees.

June 17, 2022

CLEVELAND COUNTY MAN CHARGED IN JANUARY VEHICLE CRASH DEATH
JUNE 17, 2022
Stephen Clark, 60, of the Woodlawn community (Cleveland County), was arrested Thursday (June 16th) by a Special Agent of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.  Clark is charged with negligent homicide in connection with a January 2, 2022 single vehicle crash.

Clark was the driver of a late model Jeep traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 63 near his home when he lost control of the vehicle which left the roadway striking a fence, then impacted with a tree.  The crash occurred about 9:45 AM.

Mary Clark, 60, Stephen Clark’s wife, was a passenger in the vehicle and died at the crash scene.  Stephen Clark sustained injuries in the crash and was transported by ambulance to a Pine Bluff hospital.

An Arkansas State Trooper who investigated the crash determined Clark was traveling to fast for conditions and was believed to be intoxicated.  The crash investigation was submitted to a prosecuting attorney on February 1st this year.  The prosecuting attorney subsequently requested additional investigative work to be completed by the state police Criminal Investigation Division.

Clark surrendered to state police at the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office where he was processed and later taken before a circuit judge who set bond at $15,000.

 

HOT SPRINGS MAN SENTENCED TO OVER 17 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING AND FIREARMS POSSESSION
HOT SPRINGS – A Hot Springs man was sentenced today to a total of 211 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

In June of 2019, agents with the Arkansas State Police and detectives from the 18th East Judicial Drug Task Force began an investigation into Antone Nicklaus Costa, age 42, for the distribution of methamphetamine in the Garland County area. Between the dates of June 20, 2019, and July 23, 2019, law enforcement officers conducted several controlled purchases of methamphetamine from Costa.

On September 16, 2019, an Arkansas State Police Trooper made a traffic stop on Costa and took him into custody.  A search of his person revealed approximately 4 grams of methamphetamine, 29 suspected Clonazapam tablets and $823.00 dollars in U.S. currency.  In the passenger's seat of the vehicle being operated by Costa, the officers observed in plain view, a loaded 9mm handgun.

Costa was transported back to his residence and a search was conducted. The search resulted in officers locating a stolen .45 caliber handgun, an additional handgun, ammunition, and multiple empty baggies.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes made the announcement.

The 18th East Judicial Drug Task Force and the Arkansas State Police investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Harris and Kim Harris prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOLDS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON JUNE 23
Call 501-370-3829 to reserve a timeslot to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.
WHAT:   Monthly Virtual VA Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans
WHO:     During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak one-on-one to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist with specific questions regarding their claims for VA benefits.
WHEN:   Thursday, June 23, 2022, 4 - 6 p.m.
HOW:     To reserve a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, June 22.

BACKGROUND: 
“We strive to meet the needs of the Veterans in the state of Arkansas and provide multiple avenues for them to connect with us. It is our duty and honor to assist with their VA benefits,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “Even as we prepare to return to our pre-pandemic community outreach events, we will continue to offer these virtual claims clinics as an avenue for Veterans to reach us. We as an agency are ready and able to provide the benefits and services the Veteran community needs and has earned so heroically.” 

The Little Rock VA Regional Office is open Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

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 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.

VA disability compensation (pay) offers a monthly tax-free payment to Veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military and to Veterans whose service made an existing condition worse. 

During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office is 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 and 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.  

Veterans and their family members may also take advantage of VA’s Visitor Reportingn Engagement Application (VERA)  , a new, easy-to-use, online tool, to schedule in-person or virtual appointments with VA benefits counselors. 

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


21 RECRUITS EARN COMMISSIONS, JOIN STATE POLICE RANKS AS TROOPERS
JUNE 16, 2022
Twenty-one Arkansas State Police Recruits received their trooper commissions tonight during a graduation ceremony in the rotunda of the state capitol.  The graduates were among an initial field of 227 applicants who were tested and interviewed during 2021.  On January 23rd this year, 38 recruits assembled at the state police training academy in Little Rock to form Recruit Class 2022-A and began a rigorous 21 week-long training stint.

The graduates received 1,160 hours of specialized instruction in the academy classrooms and through practical training exercises outside the classroom.  The graduates were sworn under oath as Arkansas State Troopers by North Little Rock District Judge Randy Morley.

Lieutenant Colonel Shawn Garner, Deputy Director of Enforcement for the Arkansas State Police and Jami Cook, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Public Safety addressed the class.  State police senior command staff, troop and company commanders, the training section cadre and Arkansas State Police commissioners were among those attending the graduation.

The recruit graduates and their first post assignments are listed as follows:

Brandon Neal, 29, 2022-A Class Leader, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Vilonia High School and Drury University in Chicago.

Zoey Baldwin, 22, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, Johnson County.  She is a graduate of Russellville High School and Arkansas Tech University.

John Bucher, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, Woodruff County.  He is a graduate of Russellville High School.

Ana Elisa Escamilla, 28, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  She is a graduate of Warren High School.

Aaron Killian, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Lakeside High School (Garland County).

Peter Kootz, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, White County.  He is a homeschool graduate from Sharp County and a graduate of Lyon College.

Jessica McCord, 28, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  She is a graduate of Lake Hamilton High School, Marion Military Institute and Southern New Hampshire University.

Zachary Means, 24, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop E, Desha County.  He is a graduate of Carlisle High School.

Caleb Miller, 23, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop L, Benton County.  He is a graduate of Siloam Springs High School.

Shabby Moore, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop F, Union County.  He is a graduate of Ville Platte (Louisiana) High School. Cade Padgett, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, Perry County.  He is a graduate of Danville High School.

Solomon Phifer, 30, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop G, Miller County.  He is a graduate of Crossett High School, University of Arkansas (Little Rock) and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, Tennessee.

Candice Pike, 38, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop I, Searcy County.  She is a graduate of Clinton High School.

Grant Pruitt, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop C, Mississippi County.  He is a graduate of Elkins High School.

Landan Reather, 23, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop H, Sebastian County.  He is a graduate of Mansfield High School.

Tyree Sampson, 29, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop K, Garland County.  He is a graduate of Hot Springs High School and National Park College in Hot Springs.

Jackson Shumate, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Sherman (Texas) High School.

Gavin Chance Taylor, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, Monroe County.  He is a graduate of Hazen High School.

Connor Vrooman, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, White County.  He is a graduate of Searcy High School and Arkansas State University (Beebe).

Daniel Walcott, 22, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, Van Buren County.  He is a graduate of Penn Foster High School (Scranton, Pennsylvania).

Christopher Weatherly, 22, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Cabot High School and the University of Arkansas (Little Rock).    

Special recognition and awards were presented to the recruits who attained the highest overall academy scores within the respective curriculum and training categories:

ACADEMICS
1st place – Jessica McCord
2nd place – Peter Kootz
3rd place – Brandon Neal

PHYSICAL FITNESS
1st place – Brandon Neal
2nd place – John Bucher  
3rd place – Cade Padgett 

FIREARMS
1st place – Peter Kootz
2nd place – Chaice Weatherly
3rd place – Zoey Baldwin

Over the next month the new troopers will begin reporting to their respective assignments across the state.  They will receive an additional 5 – 9 weeks of instruction working alongside a Field Training Officer before being released from their training regimen.

LEGISLATION CHAMPIONED BY BOOZMAN, CRAWFORD AND WOMACK TO EASE EXPORT SHIPPING BACKLOGS, BOOST U.S. EXPORTS SIGNED INTO LAW
WASHINGTON– President Joe Biden signed bipartisan, bicameral legislation into law today championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) along with Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1) and Steve Womack (AR-3) to level the playing field for American exporters and help fix supply chains by easing shipping backlogs.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will update federal regulations for the global shipping industry and give the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) greater rulemaking authority to regulate harmful practices by carriers. The House of Representatives approved the legislation on Monday following Senate passage in March.

“Arkansas exporters must have dependable and reliable transportation to move their goods to markets all across the world. Regular export capability is particularly vital to the state’s agriculture industry. As we continue to face skyrocketing inflation, signing this legislation into law is a critical step to helping relieve the supply chain crisis that is exacerbating high prices,” Boozman said.

“Recent supply chain issues have shown major weaknesses in our federal regulations for the global shipping industry. This legislation is a step forward in ensuring that the Federal Maritime Commission has the proper tools and resources to prevent delays, lower costs to consumers, and increase competitiveness with nations like China. I have repeatedly supported these much-needed measures, and it’s a relief to see Ocean Shipping Reform finally reach the finish line,” said Crawford.

“Too many families and small businesses are experiencing the strain of empty shelves and wallets. I’m proud to help deliver real action to combat inflation and supply chain disruptions. With today’s signing, we are supporting a fast flow of goods and Arkansas producers, especially our hardworking farmers and ranchers. Increasing market access and economic opportunity for Natural State and American-made products is essential to easing backlogs and alleviating price burdens on consumers,” Womack said.

“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is a positive step forward for American agriculture.  We export a large amount of our crops and products and depend heavily on ocean shipping to deliver these goods to market.  We applaud the Arkansas Congressional Delegation for getting this done for Arkansas farm families who produce the best food and fiber in the world,” said Rich Hillman, President of Arkansas Farm Bureau.

“We are glad ocean cargo services will be held accountable under the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, allowing for fairer treatment of trucks and shippers and, subsequently, increasing overall efficiency in the supply chain. We applaud Senator Boozman and Representatives Crawford and Womack for their support of the bill and look forward to improved freight flow at the ports so we can continue to deliver goods where they are needed most,” said Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon Newton.  

“We thank Senator Boozman and Representatives Crawford and Womack for supporting the Ocean Shopping Reform Act,” said Kevin McGilton, Vice President of Government Affairs for Riceland Foods. “The Act will give the FMC more tools to ensure our exports flow efficiently to our customers at fair rates.”

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will:
Require ocean carriers to certify that late fees—known in maritime parlance as “detention and demurrage” charges—comply with federal regulations or face penalties;
Shift burden of proof regarding the reasonableness of “detention or demurrage” charges from the invoiced party to the ocean carrier;
Prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining shipping opportunities for U.S. exports, as determined by the FMC in new required rulemaking;
Require ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and 20-foot equivalent units (loaded/empty) per vessel that makes port in the United States;
Authorize the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate; and
Establish new authority for the FMC to register shipping exchanges.

The legislation was introduced by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

The bill is supported by a number of organizations including the American Association of Port Authorities, the National Industrial Transportation League, the National Retail Federation, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition and the American Trucking Associations.
 

COTTON DEMANDS ACTION FROM DOJ FOLLOWING VIOLENT ATTACKS ON CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS BY PRO-ABORTION GROUP ‘JANE’S REVENGE’
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding that the Department of Justice take action to protect Americans from ongoing violent attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers.

In part, Cotton wrote, “Houses of worship and pro-life pregnancy centers are under attack.”  

“What is the Department of Justice doing to protect Americans from these violent attacks? At a minimum, you should bring federal charges against the perpetrators, where appropriate, and investigate ‘Jane’s Revenge’ as a domestic terrorist organization. If you are unwilling to protect Americans from these attacks, you should resign—although, in my opinion, you should resign in any case,” Cotton continued.
 

SENATE PASSES BOOZMAN-BACKED TOXIC EXPOSURE LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON–– The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022. This landmark legislation backed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) will deliver toxic-exposed veterans their earned Department of Veterans Affairs health care and benefits.

“No veteran should be denied VA benefits for the illnesses they experience as a result of burn pits and other toxic exposures. Senate passage of the Sergeant Heath Robinson PACT Act demonstrates our commitment to ensuring these veterans get the care and services they deserve and, just as important, that the VA has the capability to meet their needs,” Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 will:
Expand VA health care eligibility to Post-9/11 combat veterans, which includes more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans;
Create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure;
Add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service presumptions;
Expand presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure;
Includes Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure;
Strengthen federal research on toxic exposure;
Improve VA’s resources for toxic-exposed veterans and training for VA health care and benefits professionals; and

Set VA and veterans up for success by investing in:
VA claims processing;
VA’s workforce; and
VA health care facilities.

Boozman delivered remarks on the Senate floor Thursday urging his colleagues to support this historic legislation.

It follows his prior efforts to ensure toxic-exposed veterans get the benefits they earned.

Last week, President Biden signed into law the Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas SERVICE Act, legislation authored by the senator requiring 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.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives.


WESTERMAN, COLLEAGUES DEMAND JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATE DOMESTIC TERRORIST ATTACKS AGAINST PRO-LIFE ORGANIZATIONS
WASHINGTON — Representatives Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Scott Franklin (FL-15), Claudia Tenney (NY-22), and Mike Johnson (LA-04) sent a letter with more than 120 colleagues demanding the Department of Justice investigate recent attacks against several Pro-Life organizations as instances of domestic terrorism.

In the last two months, there have been at least 15 documented terrorist attacks against Pro-Life organizations. These attacks included incidences of vandalism, destruction of property, and even firebombing. In addition to these attacks, police recently arrested a California man for attempting to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his home. Each of these crimes followed the egregious leak of the draft Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court opinion and were clearly politically motivated. In response, the cosigners demand the attacks be investigated as instances of domestic terrorism as defined in federal law.

"The politically motivated threatening and attempted intimidation of pro-life organizations must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Rep. Westerman. "I challenge my friends on the other side of the aisle to not only condemn violence when it suites their political agenda. Join us in demanding the DOJ do their duty in rooting out and prosecuting this blatant criminal activity. The people who work in these organizations and the women who come to them for help are innocent and deserve the protection of law enforcement."

“Free speech is a critically important constitutional right,” said Rep. Franklin. “However, threats, destruction of property, and acts of violence are against the law. When they are done as a means of intimidation against lawful organizations, or as an attempt to influence the highest Court in our land, they must be identified and investigated for what they truly are—domestic terrorism. In doing so, the Department must make it clear to both the perpetrators and the Democrats who have incited them that this behavior will not be tolerated in our society.”

“The Biden Administration has labeled concerned K-12 parents as ‘domestic terrorists,’ while ignoring pro-abortion protestors breaking federal law at SCOTUS justices’ homes, and radical left-wing activists terrorizing pro-life pregnancy centers,” said Rep. Johnson. “Politically motivated violence nationwide against pro-life organizations falls clearly within the jurisdiction of federal law enforcement. If the Biden Administration is actually serious about protecting communities, they will stop ignoring violence that doesn’t suit their agenda and start investigating.”

“Pro-life organizations and religious groups across the country, including in New York, have come under unprecedented attack by far-left activists following the unauthorized leak of a draft Supreme Court decision last month,” said Rep. Tenney. “The Department of Justice needs to step in and make clear that political violence has no place in American society and the law will be enforced. Sitting on the sidelines as Americans come under attack for their deeply held religious beliefs and Supreme Court Justices are targeted and intimidated is an indefensible position for the DOJ to take. I am honored to lead my colleagues in the House of Representatives to call on the Attorney General Garland to put an end to this anarchy now.”

“The surge in violent attacks, firebombing and vandalism of pregnancy care centers, churches and pro-life organizations by pro-abortion activists following the leak of the draft Dobbs opinion is unconscionable and resembles a kind of war on advocates for life,” said Rep. Chris Smith, Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “The inaction by President Biden and Attorney General Garland to seriously address this concerning increase in acts of terror is greatly disturbing and constitutes a total abrogation of their duty to protect people and property.”

“It is the job of the government to protect all citizens, even the ones who disagree with prevailing government ideology,” said Jim Harden, President of CompassCare Pregnancy Services, whose office was firebombed in Buffalo. “Pro-life pregnancy centers are being targeted by pro-abortion terrorists because we believe that all people are made in the image of God, deserving of protection, including boys and girls in the womb. Continued silence serves only to embolden further acts of pro-abortion terrorism.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security, further violence and unrest is likely upon the final release of the Dobbs opinion. Swift and fair prosecution of the terrorists who have committed these crimes is crucial to maintaining public safety. While federal law does not include criminal penalties for domestic terrorism, it is defined in U.S. code and the Department has a duty to prosecute these crimes. Many of the victimized facilities were spray painted with slogans clearly indicating the attacks were politically motivated, a key aspect of the definition of terrorism. In one slogan, the pro-abortion terrorist group Jane’s Revenge threatened the lives of pro-life workers at a facility in Madison, Wisconsin, claiming “if abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.”

In addition to their demands, the cosigners have given the Department of Justice 30 days to respond to the following questions:

1. Is the Department currently investigating the attacks against the aforementioned groups as instances of domestic terrorism? If not, please provide the rationale behind this decision.

2. What is the Department’s plan to prevent similar attacks from occurring against other pro-life organizations and is the Department currently collaborating with state and local law enforcement to ensure further incidents do not occur?

Additional cosigners of the letter include:
Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Rep. Tom Emmer (MN-06), Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08), Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06), Rep. Drew Ferguson (GA-03), Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03), Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01), Rep. Nancy Mace (SC-01), Rep. Byron Donalds (FL-19), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Rep. Jake LaTurner (KS-02), Rep. Mary Miller (IL-15), Rep. Michael Cloud (TX-27), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Bob Good (VA-05), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA-09), Rep. Matthew Rosendale (MT At-Large), Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07), Rep. Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Rep. Brian Babin, D.D.S. (TX-36), Rep. Yvette Herrell (NM-02), Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14), Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-05), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Rep. Michael Guest (MS-03), Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08), Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02), Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Rep. Bob Gibbs (OH-07), Rep. W. Gregory Steube (FL-17), Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Rep. Kat Cammack (FL-03), Rep. David McKinley (WV-01),  Rep. Steven Palazzo (MS-04), Rep. Diana Harshbarger (TN-01), Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Rep. John Moolenaar (MI-04), Rep. Brian J. Mast (FL-18), Rep. Thomas Tiffany (WI-07), Rep. Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04), Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Rep. Paul Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Rep. Dan Meuser (PA-09), Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Rep. Lisa McClain (MI-10), Rep. Alex Mooney (WV-02), Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05), Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12), Rep. Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-50), Rep. Trent Kelly (MS-01), Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01), Rep. Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Rep. John Rose (TN-06), Rep. Eric “Rick” Crawford (AR-01), Rep. Barry Moore (AL-02), Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03), Rep. Robert Latta (OH-05), Rep. Tracey Mann (KS-01), Rep. William Timmons (SC-04), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Rep. John Rutherford (FL-04), Rep. Jody Hice (GA-10), Rep. Jake Ellzey (TX-06), Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13), Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08), Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), Rep. Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Rep. Pat Fallon (TX-04), Rep. Ben Cline (VA-06), Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15), Rep. Charles J. “Chuck” Fleischmann (TN-03), Rep. Troy Nehls (TX-22), Rep. Michael Waltz (FL-06),  Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01), Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-16), Rep. Kevin Hern (OK-01), Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05), Rep. Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), Rep. Carol Miller (WV-03), Rep. Billy Long (MO-07), Rep. David Valadao (CA-21), Rep. Julia Letlow (LA-05), Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05), Rep. Clay Higgins (LA-03), Rep. Guy  Reschenthaler (PA-14), Rep. Gregory Murphy, M.D. (NC-03), Rep. Victoria Spartz (IN-05), Rep. David Kustoff (TN-08), Rep. Ron Estes (KS-04), Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), Rep. Bill Posey (R-08), Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04), Rep. Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Rep. Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02), Rep. David Joyce (OH-14), Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-11), Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02), Rep. Blake Moore (UT-01), Rep. Tim Burchett (TN-02), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), Rep. David Rouzer (NC-07), Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08), Rep. Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Rep. French Hill (AR-02), Rep. Darin LaHood (IL-18), and Rep. Steve Womack (AR-03).

The letter has also received support from Family Research Council, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, and National Right to Life.

June 15, 2022

THE COURTHOUSE WILL BE CLOSED JUNE 20TH FOR JUNETEENTH.

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING - JUNE 14, 2022
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order at promptly 7:00 pm. The invocation was given by Rev. Conner Davis, Pastor of the First Assembly of God Church, located at 1275 Maul Road in Camden, The invocation was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk Donna Stewart called the roll. Aldermen Chris Aregood, L.E. Lindsey, Marvin Moore,  William McCoy Terry Smith, Joe Askew and  were in attendance. Aldermen James Bell and Cevil McDonald were absent

The minutes of the regular meeting dated May 10, 2022 and the Financial Report for May 2022 were presented in print. The minutes and Financial report were accepted by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 31-22, a resolution amending the annual operating budget for 2022; and for other purposes was the first item of new business. A motion and seconded. This was to adjust the budget for personnel insurance. There was some discussion for clarification. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 32-22, a resolution amending the annual operating budget for 2022; and for other purposes. A motion and seconded. This was to approve money for equipment on the Trace. Lockheed Martin is to partner with the city financially and help install items and repair existing equipment. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 33-22, a resolution amending the annual operating budget for 2022; and for other purposes.Motion was made and seconded. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 34-22, a resolution declaring Firefighting Apparatus obsolete and authorizing its donation to the Buena Vista and Two Bayou Fire Department A motion and seconed. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 35-22, a resolution authorizing the Mayor to settle a claim; amending the annual operating  budget for 2022; and for other purposes. A motion was made and seconded. There was a long discussion regarding this issue. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 36-22, a resolution amending the City and Rescue Grant Budgets for the purpose of claiming revenue replacements funds for Police and Fire Salaries and employer payroll contributions. A motion was made and seconded The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution 37-22, a resolution approving the appointment of Willie Cooper to the Water and sewer commission. Motion was made and seconded. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution 38-22, a resolution awarding the bid for the first purchase of oils and lubricants for the remainder of 2022. Motion was made and seconded. Resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution 39-22, a resolution commending and thanking Judge Phillip Foster for his service, passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution 40-22, a resolution authorizing the submittal of an application for ACEDP Grant Funds to the State of Arkansas passed by unanimous vote. The next scheduled meeting of the Camden City Council is July 12, 2022

 

CITY OF CAMDEN INVITES CITIZENS TO PUBLIC MEETING
The City of Camden invites its citizens and other interested persons to a public meeting held at the Camden City Hall, 206 Van Buren, Camden, AR on Tuesday June 21, 2022 @6:30 p.m.

The purpose of these meetings is to identify potential outdoor park and recreation needs and priorities. Following the identification process, City officials will select those priorities to be submitted to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for a Matching Grant Application. Ethnic minorities, persons with special needs, elderly persons over 55, and special interest groups are encouraged to attend and participate. For those unable to attend the meeting, you may phone 870-837-5500 to submit oral comments. Written Comments may be submitted to Mayor Lott, City of Camden, 206 Van Buren, Camden, AR 71701. Written and oral comments will be received until June 21, 2022.

 

VIRTUAL PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT MEETING JUNE 21 FOR THE ARKANSAS ELECTRIC VEHICLE INFRASTRUCTURE DEPLOYMENT PLAN
The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) in collaboration with the Department of Energy and Environment (E&E) will conduct a virtual public involvement meeting Tuesday, June 21, at 4 p.m. regarding the Arkansas Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan.

Link to Virtual Meeting (click here)

Meeting URL: https://tinyurl.com/3r45y7m8

This virtual meeting will provide the same project information and handouts normally presented at an in-person meeting. The virtual meeting will be recorded and published at ardot.gov/evplan after the event.

If you do not have internet access, please contact Aarón Pinedo at (501) 569-2064 or ardot_nevi@ardot.gov to ask questions or provide comments about the plan.

Anyone needing project information or special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is encouraged to write to Aarón Pinedo, P.O. Box 2261, Little Rock, AR 72203- 2261, call (501)569-2064 or email ardot_nevi@ardot.gov. Hearing or speech impaired, please contact the Arkansas Relay System at (Voice/TTY 711). Free language assistance for Limited English Proficient individuals is available upon request. This notice is available from the ADA/504/Title VI Coordinator in large print, on audiotape, and in Braille. Requests should be made at least four days prior to the public meeting.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) complies with all civil rights provisions of federal statutes and related authorities that prohibit discrimination in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Therefore, the Department does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, age, national origin, religion (not applicable as a protected group under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Title VI Program), disability, Limited English Proficiency (LEP), or low-income status in the admission, access to and treatment in the Department's programs and activities, as well as the Department's hiring or employment practices. Complaints of alleged discrimination and inquiries regarding the Department's nondiscrimination policies may be directed to Joanna P. McFadden EEO/DBE Officer (ADA/504/Title VI Coordinator), P. 0. Box 2261, Little Rock, AR 72203, (501) 569-2298, (Voice/TTY 711), or the following email address: joanna.mcfadden@ardot.gov.

 

BOOZMAN ADVOCATES FOR LANDMARK TOXIC EXPOSURE LEGISLATION
Commends Arkansas Veteran for Relentless Advocacy
WASHINGTON–– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, urged Senate passage of comprehensive legislation to deliver earned benefits for all generations of veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service in our nation’s uniform.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 would deliver immediate access to health care for toxic-exposed veterans, direct the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to evaluate diseases for presumption of service connection and streamline the process for toxic-exposed veterans seeking disability compensation for their illnesses.

“This legislation is long overdue. We’ve heard the struggles of veterans and their families living with toxic exposure-related illnesses. We can end the hurdles they experience and save lives by passing this landmark legislation,” Boozman said in a speech on the Senate floor.

The legislation also includes a provision authored by Boozman to expand benefits to Vietnam War-era veterans who served on military bases in Thailand.

The VA accepts that herbicides were used along the perimeters of military bases in Thailand, but does not recognize the impact of the herbicides inside the perimeter. The current policy is unfair and has prevented veterans like Bill Rhodes of Mena, Arkansas from accessing benefits as a result of toxic exposure.

Boozman called Rhodes a “relentless advocate of toxic exposure benefits.”

Boozman also teamed up with Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) to better prepare the VA to respond to the anticipated increase in claims following passage of this legislation with the introduction of the VA Workforce Improvement, Support, and Expansion (WISE) Act of 2022 last month.

This continues Boozman’s commitment to improving benefits and services for toxic-exposed veterans. Last week, President Biden signed into law the Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas SERVICE Act, legislation authored by the senator requiring 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.

June 13, 2022

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT’S SUMMER MEAL PROGRAM
The Camden Fairview School District’s summer meal program is underway. Meals are served at CFMS cafeteria, 647 Dooley Womack Drive in Camden. Breakfast is served 7:30 am to 8:15 am and Lunch is served  11:00 am to  12:00 pm.

 There are no income requirements or registration. Anyone age 18 or younger may receive meals. Children must be present to receive a meal, and to-go meals will not be available.

 Summer programs and church/local youth groups are encouraged to bring their groups for free meals. Please provide advance notice to the Food Services Director of groups larger than five.

 For more information, contact Leslie Sutton, CFSD Food Services Director, at lsutton@cfsd.k12.ar.us

 

CITY OF CAMDEN JUNETEENTH HOLIDAY
The City Of Camden Offices will Be closed on June 20, 2022 in observance of the Juneteenth Holiday

 

HOT SPRING COUNTY MAN WOUNDED IN OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING
JUNE 12, 2022 
The Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Department has requested the Arkansas State Police investigate two shooting incidents involving sheriff’s deputies dispatched to investigate reports of an armed domestic disturbance.  The separate incidents occurred yesterday (Saturday, June 11th) in the Perla community and in a south Malvern neighborhood.

Deputies were dispatched about 6:13 PM to 990 Perla Road, the home of a man reported to have been involved in an earlier fight with Stephen Silvas, 48, of Malvern.

Arriving in Perla, deputies witnessed a vehicle being driven by Silvas and initiated a traffic stop.  The deputies had been told Silvas was armed with a “silver handgun”.  During the traffic stop, Silvas reportedly refused to comply with orders from the deputies to exit the car leading one deputy to deploy a TASER striking the driver.  As Silvas began to remove the electric charged prongs embedded in his body, deputies observed a handgun slip from his lap.  Silvas then picked-up the pistol causing the deputies to back away and Silva fleeing the traffic stop.  One deputy then fired his gun at Silvas’ vehicle.  Silvas managed to escape from the deputies who had re-engaged and were attempting to overtake the suspect vehicle.

A short time later the sheriff’s deputies discovered Silvas near 317 Cloud Road.  With one hand behind his back, Silvas was walking toward the deputies who ordered him to show his hands.  As Silvas continued to move closer he was ordered a second time to show his hands and not take another step toward the deputies.  Again, ignoring the orders, Silvas moved closer leading one of the deputies to fire his service weapon and wounding Silvas.

Both sheriff’s deputies began to render emergency medical care to Silvas who was then transported to a local hospital and later transferred to a Hot Springs hospital to undergo surgery where he remains hospitalized.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing their investigation today

The state police investigation will be submitted to the Hot Spring County prosecuting attorney who will determine whether the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identity of the deputies involved in the investigation and their current administrative status should be directed to the Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Department.
 

TREASURER OF STATE DENNIS MILLIGAN DISCUSSES LEGACY IN FINANCIAL EDUCATION
Led effort to create statewide Financial Education Commission
June 13, 2022 (Little Rock, Ark.) – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan has always had a passion for financial education. Growing up in southwest Little Rock, Milligan learned from a very early age the importance of hard work and persistence.

“We weren’t poor, but there wasn’t any room, financially, for any extras,” Milligan explained. “I learned the habit of saving money from my uncle. He didn’t have much, but he was always the one people went to when they needed financial help. He’s the one who taught me that saving little by little adds up over time.”

Milligan began his small business at age 28 and over the years expanded it into 17 different states.

“I wouldn’t have been able to have that kind of success had it not been for practicing conservative financial habits in both my personal and professional lives,” he said.

As he considered a run for Treasurer of State, he learned that many treasurers around the country played a substantial role in their states’ financial education efforts.

“The role of Treasurer began to take on an even deeper meaning to me,” he said. “When I was elected in 2014, I was excited to hit the ground running on working toward helping every Arkansan have access to financial education if they need or want it.”

The first effort Milligan made toward financial education was creating the AR Finance AR Future program. This program partnered with schools throughout the state to teach basic financial instruction to 4th-6th graders across Arkansas.

“We utilized an online platform with the help of teachers statewide and were able to reach more than 28,000 students and offer roughly 48,000 hours of learning.”

Another of Milligan’s efforts to promote financial education was bringing a national conference to Arkansas. Through his involvement with the State Financial Officers Foundation – of which he served as National Chair in 2020 – he helped expand the Smart Women Smart Money conference (SWSM) nationwide. This free conference provides attendees financial tools they need to empower themselves to take charge of their financial future.

Milligan continued his financial awareness efforts in 2020 by developing a book-reading initiative. “Educate Your Financial Future” featured several books each month that focused on financial topics and were geared toward students from pre-K through high school.

In 2021, Milligan teamed up with the Central Arkansas Library System and local financial experts to provide a series of free public webinars addressing common financial topics such as budgeting, saving, and balancing a checkbook. That program has expanded and is continuing this year. (More information may be found on the Treasury’s website at www.artreasury.gov.)

“As the years went by, I started to notice a common theme among leaders in the state and that was the fact that we must have a financially-knowledgeable population to: 1) help people get out of poverty and 2) help market our state and its workforce to potential employers looking to relocate here,” Milligan said.

In response, Milligan worked with Sen. Missy Irvin and Rep. Bruce Cozart on Act 1025 of 2021 creating the Arkansas Financial Education Commission. Its mission is to provide a unified effort to improve financial awareness throughout the state.

“This Commission, which I chair, has already provided valuable insight upon which we can build a stronger foundation for our state,” Milligan said. “I can’t wait to get started on making financial education more attainable for all Arkansans and watch how we’re able to positively impact lives for generations to come.”
 

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES SERVICE OF RETIRED ARKANSAS NATIONAL GUARD ADJUTANT GENERAL
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of Major General (retired) Ron Chastain in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans. 

Chastain was born in Paris, Arkansas on October 18, 1950. He enjoyed his childhood in Branch along with his 11 brothers and sisters, two of whom also served in the military. His father was a contract painter and his mother raised Ron and all his siblings while tending to the home. Growing up, the children all helped out with chores around the house and on the family farm.

Chastain attended Arkansas Tech University after high school where he met his future wife, Pam Berry, from Dover. At ATU he was required to join ROTC. During his sophomore year, he received a low draft number and continued participating in the ROTC so he could serve as an officer. Because the Vietnam War was winding down by the time he graduated college, fewer lieutenants were needed so he was given the choice of serving for three months or two years. He opted for the shorter service because he had a job lined up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Unfortunately, while he was training at Fort Benning, Georgia, President Richard Nixon issued a federal hiring freeze, so his position with the USDA was no longer an option.

Chastain changed his plans and started working toward his master’s degree at the University of Arkansas while also being encouraged by a retired major to join the National Guard, so he became a member of the 142nd Field Artillery Group in Fayetteville.

When the federal hiring freeze was lifted, he discontinued pursuing his master’s and took a job with the USDA. It wasn’t long before he joined the 39th Infantry Brigade as a lieutenant in the company in nearby De Queen.

After serving as a platoon leader, he was eventually named company commander.

“It was kind of interesting that my civilian office was just diagonal across the intersection from the National Guard Armory in Mena and so I’d go over and visit with them during break,” he said. 

Over the next few years, Chastain served in a number of leadership positions including as company commander in Prescott, a logistics officer and an intelligence officer, and with units in Malvern, Ozark, Clarksville, Little Rock, North Little Rock and Camp Robinson. After moving to Conway, he was most appreciative of being able to come home after drill and spend the night with his family. “I can tell you living in Central Arkansas makes all the difference for officers in the National Guard.”

Chastain assumed leadership of the 25th Rear Area Operations Center and before they had even been through an exercise, he was alerted of their deployment in support of Operation Desert Shield and mobilized at Fort Hood, Texas.

It was supposed to be a quick turnaround. “We only had time for weapons qualification, drawing equipment and getting our protective masks tested,” Chastain said. But he and his troops were “stuck” at Fort Hood while planes were flying other troops to the Middle East.

Chastain flew on a C-5 military transport, and while in the air to Saudi Arabia, the next phase of the Gulf War - Operation Desert Storm - had started.

He and his troops deployed with the 18th Airborne Corps. They were given the mission of setting up a logistics base in Iraq. He remembers the harsh elements like sandstorms, traveling in total blackout, and a close encounter with an Army cobra attack helicopter.

After the land war ended and his troops returned to the base in Saudi Arabia, he said there were a lot of challenges. “That’s when my problems really started as the unit commander, because everybody was in a hurry to get home, and everybody was tense.” Chastain’s teams oversaw finding locations for vehicles to be cleaned and stored before being shipped out, taking care of the air bases for personnel, and clearing the Desert Shield area to the expectations of Saudi Arabia. After his team had done everything to the standard of the 18th Airborne Corps, he and his unit were sent home and demobilized at Fort Hood.

Chastain continued to demonstrate his incredible leadership as he moved up the ranks. In 1995 he became executive officer at the 39th Infantry Brigade. In this role he was selected for the Army War College, which he says was “the hardest two years I think I’ve ever had in my life.”   

Chastain later served as the brigade deputy commander before commanding the brigade. While Chastain was preparing for a Joint Readiness Training rotation, he learned he and the rest of the 39th Infantry Brigade would be deploying to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In Iraq, Chastain’s team suffered several casualties early on. “We knew it was going to be a long year.”

He had the largest area of operations of any of the 1st Cavalry Division at Taji Air Base, which came with increased responsibility. “It was dangerous. You could do everything right and still get hurt.” He recalled one incident when a grenade hit directly behind his vehicle and exploded, narrowly missing him.

One of the key tasks was to train the Iraqi Army. “If we were going to use them on a mission, we’d typically not tell them what we were going to do until right before the mission, because they were liable to call the folks we were after,” Chastain said.

For this deployment, Chastain was away from his civilian job at the USDA for 22 months. “I was fortunate working for the Department of Agriculture,” but it was “pretty traumatic for a lot of other folks,” he said.

Chastain remained the 39th Infantry Brigade commander for more than five years as a result of the war. At the end of that extension, he was promoted to Major General and assigned to Wartime Chief of Staff for U.S. Forces – Korea.

Former Governor Mike Huckabee appointed him Adjutant General of the Arkansas National Guard in 2006.

He later served as Deputy Commander, Reserve Component at Forces Command in Atlanta. During this time, he traveled across the country visiting mobilized guard units.

After 38 years of military service commanding units in two different wars, Chastain retired from the Arkansas National Guard. He was recognized for his distinguished service with awards including the Army Distinguished Service Medal, two Legions of Merit and two Bronze Star medals. He was also inducted into the Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame in 2014.

“It’s not always the highest rank that you make that is the most fulfilling. The most fulfilling assignment I’ve ever had was as commander of the 39th Brigade,” Chastain said of his time in the military.

Following his distinguished military career and successful career at USDA, he continued his public service as a member of Senator Boozman’s staff where he served as an agriculture liaison. He also taught elementary students across the state about the history and proper care of the American and Arkansas flags.

“Major General Chastain has led a life devoted to his country, state and community. I am thankful for his military service to our nation, and his civil service to Arkansas and his steady guidance during his time on my team. He is an excellent example for all Arkansans and Americans to follow. I am proud of this servant leader and all he has accomplished and am honored to call him a friend,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Chastain’s entire interview to the Veteran’s 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 10, 2022

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

The agenda is as follows:   
A. Call To Order
B.  Invocation – Rev. Conner Davis, Pastor – First Assembly Of God Church, 1275 Maul Road,                           Camden, Arkansas  71701
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. Approval Of Minutes
    1. Minutes Regular Meeting May 10, 2022
F. Acceptance Of Financial Report
     1. Financial Report For May 2022
G. Audience Participation
H. Mayor’s Report
I.  Old Business
J.  New Business
     1.   Resolution No. 31-22, A Resolution Amending The Annual Operating Budget For 2022; And For Other Purposes.
     2.   Resolution No. 32-22, A Resolution Amending The Annual Operating Budget For 2022; And For Other Purposes.
     3. Resolution No. 33-22, A Resolution Amending The Annual Operating Budget For 2022; And For Other Purposes.
     4. Resolution No. 34-22, A Resolution Declaring Firefighting Apparatus Obsolete And Authorizing Its Donation To The Buena Vista And Two Bayou Fire Department
     5. Resolution No. 35-22, A Resolution Authorizing The Mayor To Settle A Claim; Amending The Annual Operating  Budget For 2022; And For Other Purposes.
     6. Resolution No. 36-22, A Resolution Amending The City And Rescue Grant Budgets For The Purpose Of Claiming Revenue Replacements Funds For Police And Fire Salaries And Employer Payroll Contributions.   
K.  Other Business
L.  Adjournment

 

ARKANSAS “FREE FISHING WEEKEND” BEGINS TODAY
A proclamation made by Governor Asa Hutchinson has permitted anyone in Arkansas to fish without a license or trout stamp beginning Friday.’Free Fishing Weekend’ will last until midnight Sunday night.

An annual tradition sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and approved by the governor, ‘Free Fishing Weekend’ is said to provide an opportunity to enjoy the angling The Natural State has to offer.

At $10.50 a year, Arkansas has one of the least expensive fishing licenses in the country, not having seen an increase since 1984.

The fee for the fishing license will be waived for the weekend as a way to remove as many barriers as possible for enjoying the outdoors.

A few family-friendly catfish derbies will be held on Saturday.
In Marion County, the Fred Berry Conservation Education Center will host a kids-only derby at the Fred Berry Pond;
In Boone County, the Kiwanis of Harrison will host a kids-only derby at Crooked Creek; and
In Stone County, the U.S. Forest Service of Stone County will host a kids-only derby at Mirror Lake.

For a complete list of catfish derbies taking place throughout the season visit agfc.com

 

STATE CAPITOL EXHIBIT TO CELEBRATE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – The Buffalo National River celebrates its 50th anniversary as part of the National Park Service this year. This summer, the Arkansas State Capitol’s first and fourth-floor galleries will feature “The River Remains: 50 Years on the Buffalo National River,” a celebration of the Buffalo River and its distinction of being a “national river”—the first of its kind in the national park system.  The exhibit will be opened to the public beginning June 13th.

In the 1960s, the government made plans to utilize the river’s natural resources to grow the infrastructure of the state by adding dams.  In this exhibit, you will learn about a fearless group of Arkansans who worked together to prevent their beloved Buffalo River from being forever changed.

The story of the Buffalo National River begins centuries ago and is still being written today. Along with prehistoric artifacts from early Ozark inhabitants to contemporary art inspired by the natural environment, “The River Remains” highlights the Buffalo River’s history, biodiversity, struggles, and culture.

“The River Remains: 50 Years on the Buffalo National River” will remain on display in the Arkansas Capitol’s first and fourth-floor exhibit galleries through August 29th.  To learn more about the Buffalo National River, visit www.nps.gov/buff/getinvolved/50th-anniversary.htm.

June 09, 2022

CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS INCLUDING 
Shoplifting, DUI, High Speed Chase
On 6/8/2022 at 11:27 am, Officer Chanel Bailey and Sergeant Dakota Davis were dispatched to Walmart Supercenter for a Shoplifting report.

Upon arrival, Officer met with the reporting party who stated that a former employee, Danny Mosley, was caught on camera stuffing a package of Gorilla Glue, valued at $5.64, into one of his shopping bags with medicine he had purchased. He also stated that Mosley was a former employee that had been terminated from the store for shoplifting. And went on to say that Mosley will also be banned from the store after this incident

A shoplifting affidavit was filled out on scene, A ban form was also completed. ·

Mosley was arrested on scene and transported to the Camden Police Department to undergo booking procedures. Mosely was issued a citation for Shop lilting and was advised of his court date for 7/6/2022 at 0900 hours Jud was informed that if he were to enter Walmart again, he would be arrested.

On June 6, 2022 at 3:45 pm, Sergeant Nathan Lane was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to possible shoplifting. Upon arrival the Officer made contact with the reporting party who stated he was in the garden center working on the fire doors. He said he observed a black male, later identified as Billy Curtis Jr. and a female exiting the store through the garden center. He stated the male was acting suspicious and observed he had a bag with an item in it. He said he asked him for his receipt and Curtis told him, "Well I haven't bought those yet," Curtis was then brought to the Asset Protection Office.

While trying to watch footage of the incident, Curtis stated he was going to return the chainsaw blade he had, then pay for the shoes. The shoes were already inside a WalMart bag. While searching Curtis, Officer Lane observed that Curtis had on a pair of shoes exactly like the ones he had in the bag. Total cost for the items stolen was $11.08. Curtis will be banned from Wal-Mart.

Curtis was taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. Booking was completed. Curtis was later released with a Criminal Citation for Shoplifting and a court date.

On 6/4/2022 at 2117 hours, Officer Chanel Bailey and Sergeant Dakota Davis initiated a traffic stop on a blue Chevrolet Cavalier on the comer of Clifton and Adams for running a stop sign on Adams and Jefferson.

Upon making contact with the driver, Michael Gulley, Gulley attempted to get out of the vehicle. Officer Bailey instructed him to keep his hands visible and stay in the vehicle.

Gulley willingly provided his ID and proof of insurance but was unable to provide registration for the vehicle. Upon running his information through dispatch, the Officer was informed that Gulley's drivers’ license was suspended. Upon filling out the ticket, Sergeant Davis noticed an open can of Bud light and when Gulley was questioned about it, he stated he had been drinking shortly before he got on the road.

Sergeant Davis performed a field sobriety test on Gulley at the scene. Gulley was deemed unfit to drive and he contacted his. Aunt to come and get the car. Gulley was arrested without further incident and taken to the Sheriff’s Department to undergo a breathalyzer test. Upon undergoing the breathalyzer test, Gulley blew a .124. Gulley was then escorted to CPD to undergo booking.

Gulley was charged with DWI 2nd offense issued a citation. Gulley was also issued a citation for Failure to yield to stop sign, Drinking on Highway, and Driving on a Suspended License. Gulley was released after being advised of his court date.

On June 5, 2022 at 4:17 am, Sergeant Dakota Davis along with Officer Jackson were in the 500 block of Carver Courts, when a red Nissan Altima made a U-Turn and struck a tan Chevrolet Malibu (

Sergeant Davis attempted to stop the vehicle beginning on Day Street at Frazier Street. The vehicle rolled through the stop sign making a left tum onto Frazier Street towards Johnson Street. Once it reached Johnson Street, it rolled through the stop sign making a right turn towards Lincoln Drive. The car then rolled through the stop sign making a left turn onto Lincoln Drive and then a right turn onto Cross Street which merged into Skyline Drive. The car then rolled through another stop sign making a right tum onto Highway 278 towards Cash Road. During the pursuit between Skyline Drive and Cash Road Sergeant Davis reported reaching speeds of 100 MPH. The car ran through the red light at the intersection of Highway 278 and Cash Road, and continued through the green light at Highway 278 at Generations bank and then through the red light at Highway 278 at Country Club Road. Once through that intersection, the chase reached speeds of l 115 MPH.

Sergeant Davis saw the car begin to fishtail and lose control as it was going around the curve almost to Washington. The vehicle left the roadway, rolling 5 consecutive times. The vehicle was approximately 200 yards away from where it originally left the roadway.

Sergeant Davis then exited his patrol unit and ran towards the suspect vehicle with his duty weapon drawn. While doing so, he observed a black male who he knew to be Keno Bowens crawling out of the back window of the vehicle. Bowens began to walk away from the vehicle.

Bowens was taken into custody. While we were walking back to the patrol car, the Sergeant observed a strong odor of intoxicants coming from Bowens breath and person.

Due to the circumstances, EMS was dispatched to in regard to Bowens. He was uncooperative with them and refused medical treatment. He was placed into the patrol unit.

I then conducted an inventory of the vehicle, in which a half drank bottle of Bacardi Gold was located at the driver front door. A local Wrecker Service arrived and took possession of the vehicle.

Bowens was transported to the station where booking procedures were completed and later approved. He is charged with Fleeing and will await First Appearance. He was given Traffic Citations for Speeding, Driving on Suspended License, DWI 1st, No Seatbelt, Left Scene of Accident, Ran Stop Sign X4, Ran Red Light X2, Reckless Driving, and Drinking on the Highway, as well as a Citation for Refusal of BAC. He was given court date.

While at the station, Bowens was read his Arkansas Statement of Rights, He refused a breath test. A 20-minute observation was completed. Bowens was later transported to OCSO to await his First Appearance. An accident report was also completed for the incident, as well as a Pursuit Form.


SUSPECT IN CUSTODY; MARION COUNTY HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION CONTINUING
JUNE 8, 2022
A 15 year-old has been taken into custody by Arkansas State Police Special Agents and is being held in connection with the death of a Marion County man.

The male youth is being detained at Conway under laws applicable to an accused juvenile offender until a decision is made whether to criminally charge the youth as an adult or proceed with a juvenile adjudication process.

Sheriff’s deputies in Marion County discovered the body of Daniel W. Stine, 80, at his home southwest of Yellville Monday night (June 6th) about 11:30.  Deputies had responded to the residence at 2723 Arkansas Highway 235 after receiving a report of an intruder inside the home and gunshots.

The sheriff’s department contacted the Arkansas State Police requesting the department’s Criminal Investigation Division investigate Stine’s death.  The investigation is continuing.

June 08, 2022

THE CAMDEN JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION WILL MAKE ITS TRIUMPHANT RETURN FROM JUNE 17-19!
Camden, AR - Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

JUNETEENTH PARADE AND KIDS BLOCK PARTY
Friday, June 17 – 6-9 p.m. (Line up at 5 p.m.)

Homecoming Parade Route: Line up near the Post Office on Washington Street. The Route will go down to Adams, take a right, and then another right on Jackson Street. The parade will end at the corner of Jackson and Pope Street. The Kids Block Party will start at Ira Clark Park on Progress Street immediately after the parade.

JUNETEENTH Peace in the Park
Saturday June 18 – 1 p.m. at Carnes Park
Calling all Greek Organizations, Civic Clubs, Churches and kids to bring out their tents for a peaceful summer event. Music and a plethora of vendors and food trucks will be in attendance.

JUNETEENTH CAR SHOW
Sunday, June 19 – 5 p.m. at Carnes Park
This year's Car Show and concert will be hosted by Camden's own Demarcus “Creekwater” Fletcher. 1st place and runner up trophies given out in over 20 categories. There is a $20 fee for Cars, Trucks, Jeeps and SUVs and $10 for Motorcycles and Slingshots

While things are better in terms of the pandemic, we ask that if you are feeling sick you be mindful of others and stay at home. Also, social distancing is still encouraged.

This is a peaceful and free event!
For more information, visit facebook.com/camdenjuneteenth or email camdenjuneteenth870@yahoo.com

 

HOMICIDE IN MARION COUNTY BEING INVESTIGATED BY ASP/CID
JUNE 7, 2022
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police have been requested to investigate a reported homicide involving an 80 year-old Marion County man.  Daniel W. Stine was reportedly shot in his home Monday night (June 6th).

The Marion County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call of an intruder in the home about 11:15 PM.  The residence is located at 2723 Arkansas Highway 235, southwest of Yellville.  Deputies found Stine dead, the victim of an apparent gunshot wound.  The body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the cause and manner of death and time of death.

State police special agents entered the home today to begin their crime scene investigation.

A family member was reportedly inside the house at the time of the shooting and has been questioned.

The investigation is continuing.
 

AG ALERT: ENSURE YOUR CHILD IS SAFE ONLINE
Says ‘While technology can be an invaluable resource for learning, it can expose your child to criminal or inappropriate activity’
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is sending an important warning for parents to take time to monitor their child’s internet usage and social media accounts. Social media sites are a valuable resource for learning and connecting with others, but these platforms also enable bullying, anonymous messaging and exploitation of children by criminals.

“While technology can be an invaluable resource for learning, it can also expose your child to criminal or inappropriate activity,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important we all take the necessary steps to protect our most precious Arkansans from those who want to do them harm.”

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge urges parents to familiarize themselves with these phone apps that may make children vulnerable to dangers online:

Bumble – Bumble is a popular dating app that requires women to make the first contact. It is common for minors to use this app and falsify their age.

Chatous – Chatous is a messaging app that allows users to chat and share images. This app makes it easy for predators to engage in age-inappropriate conversations with potential victims.

Discord – Discord is a voice and text chat tool that allows gamers to communicate in real time. Users can chat, add friends one-on-one or in larger groups. This app discusses content geared towards adults, but allows users as young as 13.

Grindr – Grindr is a dating app for LGBTQ adults, not children. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet with people based on a smartphone’s GPS location.

Houseparty – Houseparty is a group video chat app that allows users to communicate via live video chats and texts. There is no screening, and the video is live. Users can also communicate with people they do not know.

Live.Me – Live.Me allows users to livestream videos using geo-location to share the videos so other users can find the broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn “coins” to “pay” minors for photos.

Monkey – Monkey is an app that allows users as young as 12 to chat with people all over the world during a brief introductory call, then users are given the chance to add each other on Snapchat.

Phony Calculator App– Most phones have a calculator. However there are many third party calculator apps that actually serve as a “vault” where the user can hide photos, videos, files and even browser history data.

Snapchat – Snapchat is a photo & video sharing app that promises users their photo or video will disappear even though it does not. Snapchat stories allow users to view content for up to 24 hours and share their location.

TikTok – TikTok is a popular app among kids that is used to create and share short videos with limited privacy controls. Users are vulnerable to explicit content and cyberbullying.
Tinder – Tinder is a dating app that allows users to “swipe right” to like someone and “swipe left” to pass. Users can falsify their age, share photos, message, and meet.

Tumblr – Tumblr is a blogging app and website that allows users as young as 13 to create an account. There are very few privacy settings and pornography is easy to find. Most posts are public and cannot be made private.

WhatsApp – WhatsApp is a popular messaging app allowing users to text, send photos, make calls and leave voicemails worldwide.

Whisper – Whisper is a social network that allows users to share secrets anonymously and it reveals the users’ location so strangers can meet.

Yik Yak – Yik Yak is a social media app that allows an individual to anonymously chat with other app users within a 5-mile radius. Due to its anonymous nature, bullying, sexually explicit or other graphic content is often encountered on the platform.

YouTube – YouTube is a video sharing app that may not be age appropriate for kids. Inappropriate content can be found using innocent search terms, but with parental controls this can be avoided.

Yubo – Yubo is a social media app that allows users as young as 13 to create a profile, share their location, view other users’ profiles in their area and view livestreams. Substance abuse, profanity, racial slurs and scantily clad people are common.

Parents should follow the following tips to monitor their child’s online activity:
Talk to children about sexual victimization and the potential of online danger.
Keep the computer or laptop in a common room of the house, not in a child’s bedroom.
Utilize parental controls available from internet service providers or use blocking software.
Always maintain access to a child’s online account and monitor text, email and other message inboxes.
Teach children the responsible use of online resources.
Familiarize yourself with computer safeguards being utilized at school, the library and at friends’ homes.
Never automatically assume that what a child is told online is true.
Control which apps your child downloads by following these steps.

Arkansans can report child exploitation by calling the National CyberTipline at (800) 843-5678, or visit CyberTipline.com. In the event of an emergency, dial 911, or call local law enforcement.

 

FIVE FOURTH DISTRICT STUDENTS APPOINTED TO SERVICE ACADEMIES
WASHINGTON - Five Fourth District students received appoints to the U.S. Service Academies for the class of 2026. This weekend, Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04) hosted a sendoff for three students and their families at the Hot Springs District Office. Rep. Westerman released the following statement:

"I am immensely proud of these students and their drive to serve their country," said Rep. Westerman. "It was an honor to be a part of their acceptance to these academies and I look forward to watching their careers. I am confident these young men and women will represent Arkansas well!" 

Full list of academy appointments:
United States Military Academy - Johnathan Walker, Watson Chapel High School
United States Naval Academy - Abigail Nance, Acorn High School
United States Naval Academy - Sean Carnal, Cumberland Valley High School, Mechanicsburg, PA*
United States Air Force Academy - Carson Williams, Fordyce High School
United States Air Force Academy - Adrian Post, Ozark High School

Background
*Students with parents on active duty in the military with permanent residence on record in Arkansas' Fourth District may apply for nomination.

For more information on the Congressional nomination process please visit here.

 

WESTERMAN COSPONSORS SCHOOL SAFETY AND MENTAL HEALTH LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) joined Richard Hudson (R-NC) to introduce the STOP II, Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act. This legislation builds on the STOP School Violence Act, signed into law in 2018, to authorize $1 billion for school resource officers, $1 billion for mental health guidance counselors, and $5 billion for hardening schools, providing active shooter training, and ensuring that law enforcement, school officials, and students know how to intervene before a student reaches a breaking point. The $7 billion legislation is fully paid for with already approved, but unused COVID-19 funds.

“I joined Rep. Hudson to introduce STOP II, the Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act, to provide states the resources they need to address mental health concerns and strengthen school security," said Rep. Westerman. "The legislation put forward this week by my friends across the aisle is an emotionally charged band-aid that will do little to protect Americans or make schools safer. Preventing gun violence is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Through this bill, we will empower communities to devote resources to the areas where they see need, instead of imposing the weight of the federal government on law abiding citizens who would never engage in violence.”

"As a dad of a child in elementary school, I want to do everything possible to protect children in schools. Instead of gun control that threatens the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, this legislation is targeted to make schools safer, improve mental health, and save lives," said Rep. Hudson. "Many are saying 'do something.' I say let's do something that matters. The STOP II Act will actually prevent school shootings and is one of numerous solutions by House Republicans to address the problems we face."

In addition to $7 billion to fund school resources officers and mental health guidance counselors, STOP II, Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act closes loopholes in school security by allowing schools to apply under the STOP School Violence Act for grants to complete risk assessments and identify gaps in mental health services for students. It also codifies a clearinghouse at the Department of Homeland Security to assess, identify, and share best practices related to school safety.

To improve emergency preparedness, STOP II requires federal agencies to continuously update, develop, and provide training materials on bullying and cyberbullying, emergency planning, mental health, and targeted violence to help schools prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from a range of school safety threats, hazards, and emergency situations.
 
Original cosponsors to the STOP II Act include Reps. Austin Scott (GA-08), Greg Murphy (NC-03), Steve Womack (AR-03), Don Bacon (NE-02), Jack Bergman (MI-01), Brad Wenstrup (OH-02), Mike Johnson (LA-04), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), David Joyce (OH-14), John Joyce (PA-13), Rodney Davis (IL-13), and John Curtis (UT-03).

 

BOOZMAN BILLS TO ENHANCE VETERAN BREAST CANCER CARE, IMPROVE VA OVERSIGHT SIGNED INTO LAW
WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden signed a suite of veterans legislation into law today including several bills led by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“This is a tremendous day for the men and women who served our country and now rely on the VA for quality health care and benefits,” Boozman said. “I’ve been pleased to work in a bipartisan way to get these measures across the finish line so we can save lives through modern approaches to breast cancer screening and treatment as well as increased accountability within the department. Our veterans deserve this progress and now we must ensure these laws are implemented in a timely and effective way.”

Boozman watches alongside VA Sec. McDonough, lawmakers and the family of Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas as President Biden signs veterans legislation into law

The Boozman-led bills signed into law include:

The Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act that will require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

The Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act, which will require the VA to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services, create a telemammography pilot program for veterans in areas where the 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 of imaging technology.

The Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act of 2021, a measure to provide the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the authority to subpoena Stestimony from former VA employees who have left federal service, former contractor personnel who performed work for the department, or other potentially relevant individuals during its inspections, reviews and investigations.

 

COTTON: UNETHICAL FOR WHITE HOUSE STAFF TO “FORGIVE” THEIR OWN STUDENT DEBT
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today called on President Joe Biden to require aides with federal student loan debt to be recused from any discussions about a student loan debt transfer plan.

In part, Cotton wrote, “President Biden promised to ‘Restore Ethics in Government,’ to prevent ‘self-enrichment,’ and to ‘[ensure] that everyone in a position of public trust eliminates even the appearance that their financial holdings could influence decision-making.’” 

“It’s hard to imagine a more blatant example of ‘self-enrichment’ than White House aides with federal student loan debt working to transfer their debts to taxpayers who never attended college,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

To: WH EOP, Office of Government Ethics, Department of Education
Cc: House Ethics Committee, Senate Ethics Committee, OMB

Despite claiming that we are in a strong economy, President Biden has repeatedly delayed repayment of federal student loans. Public reports state that the President is also planning to “forgive” at least $10,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower by transferring these debts to taxpayers. The failure to require repayment has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and transferring the debt would cost billions more.

Bloomberg reported that dozens of White House aides have substantial federal student loan debt[1]. This is a clear conflict of interest, as these aides stand to profit by transferring their debts to taxpayers.

President Biden promised to “Restore Ethics in Government,” to prevent “self-enrichment,” and to “[ensure] that everyone in a position of public trust eliminates even the appearance that their financial holdings could influence decision-making[2].” 

It’s hard to imagine a more blatant example of “self-enrichment” than White House aides with federal student loan debt working to transfer their debts to taxpayers who never attended college.

Does the White House require aides with federal student loan debt to be recused from working on a student loan debt transfer plan? If not, why not?

June 06, 2022

JONESBORO SHOOTING SUSPECT FIRES ON TROOPERS AND LOCAL POLICE
JUNE 4, 2022
The Arkansas State Police is investigating a shooting incident involving multiple law enforcement officers of the Jonesboro Police Department, Craighead County Sheriff’s Office and state troopers.  The officers were the targets of gunfire from a suspect who had shot a man earlier today at a Jonesboro rice mill.

In the exchange of gunfire, Walter Antreall Joyce, 45, of Memphis, was shot and killed.

Local police officers, a sheriff’s deputy and troopers had pursued the shooting suspect before his vehicle was stopped by a trooper using a precision intervention technique along Interstate 555 near Nettleton Avenue.

Joyce ignored repeated commands from officers to exit the vehicle and surrender.  Moments before 11 AM, the suspect opened fire on the officers who then returned fire.  Joyce was pronounced dead the at the scene.  No law enforcement officers were injured.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are conducting an investigation into the use of deadly force by the officers involved in the return of gunfire.  The investigative case file will be submitted to the Craighead County prosecuting attorney who will determine whether the law enforcement officers used deadly force as prescribed under state laws.

The Jonesboro Police Department and Craighead County Sheriff’s Office will determine whether to release the identity of their officers who used deadly force and their administrative status.

Consistent with Arkansas State Police policy, two state troopers have been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues.  The identity of the troopers will be released next week.

OKLAHOMA MAN SURRENDERS; FACES CHARGES IN ARKANSAS I-40 DEATHS
JUNE 3, 2022
Ivan Santos surrendered to Oklahoma authorities today based on an Arkansas criminal arrest warrant filed in connection with a deadly highway crash in Arkansas last month.

Santos, 29, of Norman, is charged with three counts of negligent vehicular homicide while intoxicated, four counts of attempted negligent vehicular homicide while intoxicated, battery (second degree) and driving while intoxicated.

The charges stem from an Arkansas State Police investigation of an Interstate 40 vehicle crash in Crawford County on May 12th this year.  Santos was the driver of a pick-up truck traveling east in the westbound lanes of traffic when he hit six motorcycles, leaving three people dead and six injured.

Santos is being held by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department pending his return to Arkansas for an initial court appearance.

 

ARKANSAS ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE CORPORATION TO ADD 122-MW WOODRUFF COUNTY SOLAR FACILITY
Project under construction near former Carl Bailey Generation Station in Augusta
Little Rock, Ark. — June 3, 2022 — Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) recently began construction of a 122-megawatt solar facility adjacent to the site of the former Carl Bailey Generation Station in Augusta.

According to AECC officials, construction of the Woodruff County Solar facility began in May and is scheduled to begin commercial operation in July 2023.

“AECC and our member cooperatives support all types of wholesale power generation resources, such as affordable, non-fossil resources like solar,” said Buddy Hasten, president/CEO of AECC. “As part of our long-range planning, the Woodruff County Solar project fits into our need for additional capacity for our member cooperatives. The intermittent energy produced by this facility will supplement our mission-critical baseload generation resources.”

Hasten said that AECC is one of the lowest-cost generation and transmission cooperatives in the United States. He praised the dedication of electric cooperative leaders and employees that provide affordable and reliable electricity to the 600,000 electric cooperative members and noted that this commitment has led to the cooperative’s success in providing reliable, affordable electricity in a responsible manner.

DEPCOM Power, a leading solar engineering and construction company, will engineer and construct the plant. “We are proud to have been selected to construct the facility for the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation. As we build the plant over the next year we look forward to supporting the local community, providing jobs, and hiring local services. Social stewardship and delivering reliable solar energy remain at the forefront of our commitment to Arkansas,” said Tony Perrino, DEPCOM Power - Chief Operating Officer.

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 more than 600,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states

DEPCOM Power, a Koch Engineered Solutions company, is a leading energy solutions partner for the utility solar and energy industries providing Project Development Support, Engineering, Procurement & Construction, Energy Storage, Repowering and Operations and Maintenance services. DEPCOM Power leverages a highly experienced power team, technology-agnostic top-tier equipment, and cost-effective solution delivery methods to provide optimum levels of agility, price, and quality. For more information about DEPCOM Power, please visit depcompower.com.

 

SAAC ANNOUNCES CAST FOR MAMMA MIA!
Director Cherrie Sciro and Music Director D.H. Clark have announced the cast of the South Arkansas Arts Center summer musical, Mamma Mia! The show is scheduled to open in July, running from July 14-16 and July 20-24; performances will start at 7:30 pm, with 2:30 pm Sunday matinees.

The cast includes: Courtney Taylor as Sophie Sheridan, Hannah Elizabeth as Ali, Avery Hall as Lisa, Andria Gleghorn as Donna Sheridan, Melinda Garrison as Tanya, Cassie Hickman as Rosie, Clemente Saenz as Sky, Matthew Power as Pepper, Austin Groves as Eddie, Thomas Brewster as Harry Bright, Chris Curry as Bill Austin, Brooks Walthall as Sam Carmichael, and Keith Owens as Father Alexandrios.

Ensemble includes: Renee Bearden, Morgan Butler, Madeline Couture, Tracye Couture, Rhett Davis, Benton Garrison, Ruth Griffin, Boomer Hill, Hannah Hopson, Damadja Kimble, Charlsie Langley, Kennedy Langston, Deanna Hopson, Jada Neeley, Hayden Nooner, Khalyin Sanders, Summer Shipp, and Traci Stevenson.

Sciro remarked that all of the individuals who auditioned were so talented that it made the directors’ job to name the final cast very difficult, but she is thrilled to be working with these individuals this summer.

“It is incredibly exciting to be around people who want to do theatre,” said Sciro. “We have a lot of really new faces, and a lot of people who have never ever done theatre before, and that’s scary, but it’s so darn exciting!”

Sciro continued that Clark and Choreographer Hannah Marsh would be joining rehearsals this week, “I’m excited to get our creative team in here and get started. Everything is exciting right now!”

Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical, based on the songs of ABBA composed by members of the band. The show takes place on the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi, where 20-year-old Sophie is preparing to marry her fiancé, Sky. She wants her father to walk her down the aisle, but doesn't know who he is.

Sophie discovers her mother Donna’s old diary and finds entries which describe three men: Sam Carmichael, Bill Austin, and Harry Bright. Sophie believes one of these men is her father, and three months before her nuptials, sends each an invitation to her wedding, writing in her mother's name without letting her know. All three men accept, and chaos ensues on the island as Donna reconnects with these men and old relationships are revisited.

Mamma Mia! is sponsored by Murphy USA. The SAAC box office opens June 23. Tickets are $30 for the general public, $20 for SAAC members, and $10 for students. Opening night tickets are $30 for everyone and $10 for students. There will be a reception on opening night. For more information, visit www.saac-arts.org, or call the box office at 870-862-5474.
 

MIKE MEANS TO HOST PINTS AND PASTELS AT SAAC JUNE 16
Cheers, Matey! Come enjoy a twist to Corks and Canvas on June 16th at 6pm and "Paint a Pint" during Pints and Pastels with local artist Mike Means. Using pastels, Mike will help you "tap" into your creative side.

You will be guided through the drawing process as you bring your own pint to life on 9x12 pastel paper. "I like to draw, and using pastels is more of a drawing medium. Using pastels can be fun and messy but always enjoyable. We are just going to have fun - no judgements. So, come paint with me and maybe have a pint or two!"

Enjoy a time of relaxation with your friends while re-creating the featured painting of the night. Soft pastels and pastel paper are "on us." So meet at the "watering hole" and join an experienced, award-winning local artist while he leads you step-by-step through the process of creating your own frothy masterpiece.

Corks and Canvas painting classes have something for everyone, from the newbie to the seasoned painter. Because it is really geared toward artists of all skill levels-even those who have never held a paintbrush before-Corks & Canvas truly is an accessible way to have some fun and learn a new skill at the same time. Making art together is a great icebreaker for friends new and old.

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

To register for the Pints and Pastels hosted by Mike Means, please call 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, Arkansas.

June 03, 2022

CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
FLEEING
OBSTRUCTING GOVERNMENT AL OPERATION
REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO ARREST
On May 29, 2022 at 1941 hours, Officer Jonathan Cooper was dispatched to 124 Hildreth Street in reference to a dog at large. Upon arrival the Officer made contact with the complaintant who resides at 108 Hildreth Street. The woman stated that she was outside cutting grass when a black German Sheppard charged at her like he was going to bite her. She stated that she has a concealed carry license and she fired 1 shot at the dog causing it to run back next door. She went on to say that this is an ongoing problem with her neighbor's dog trying to attack her. She had notified the Animal Control Officer, but the problem was never addressed so she called the Mayor.

The Officer then made contact with an Adrian Valdez who resides at 124 Hildreth Street. Valdez was standing at the fence of 124 Hildreth. Valdez stated all of his dogs were on the leash and that the dog that his neighbor is referring to is a dog that just came. to his residence and he started to care for it. Valdez was advised that since he's taking care of the animal, it has to be placed on a leash.

Valdez was asked to provide his I.D. and he stated he has not committed a crime so he refused to provide that infomation for the investigation. Valdez ran from the gate to his porch. He was asked several times to provide his information, but he refused. Officers attempted to place Valdez under arrest for obstruction of governmental operation and he ran into his residence. Valdez was commanded numerous of times to come back outside. Valdez later open the door and officer again attempted to take Valdez into custody but he refused to submit to officers.

Lieutenant Sharlotte Elliott had arrived on scene and she observed several females drive up to the location; one being his daughter. Valdez began speaking in Spanish to his daughter advising he had done nothing wrong and he would not give Lieutenant Elliott his information. Lieutenant Elliott asked the daughter who the dog belonged to and she stated the dog was on their property, they got a collar for it and has been taking care of it ever since.

Lieutenant Elliot advised Officer Cooper to take Valdez into custody. As the Officers advanced towards the front porch, Valdez ran into the residence and slammed the door in the Officers face. Valdez finally opened the front door. Once the door was opened, Officer Cooper and Lieutenant Elliott made entry and attempted to take Valdez into custody for Obstructing Governmental Operations. He was very combative and refused to submit to arrest. Family members rushed into the residence and began hindering apprehension. They were commanded to move. Officer Cooper and I the Lieutenant were able handcuff Valdez and take him into custody. He was escorted to the back of Officer Cooper's patrol vehicle and transported to the station without incident.

Booking procedures were completed and later approved by Lieutenant Elliott, Valdez. was given criminal citation for Fleeing, Obstruction of Governmental Operation, and refusal to submit. Valdez also received a citation for Dog at Large with a District Court date.
 

MUSICFEST EL DORADO TAKING IT “BACK TO THE STREETS!”
October 7th & 8th in Downtown El Dorado, AR.
El Dorado, Arkansas –MusicFest 34 returns for another amazing weekend of music, VINTAGE STYLE, back in the middle of the streets in Downtown El Dorado. Two days, four stages and over twenty five musical acts featuring Shenandoah, Chayce Beckham, Mitch Rossell, Mae Estes, former members of Lynyrd Skynyrd with The Artimus Pyle Band, and many more performing at South Arkansas' largest outdoor music event.

MusicFest El Dorado returns to the streets featuring live music from top touring acts, tribute party bands and regional favorites. MusicFest 34 has something for everyone with family events, festival food & shopping, cook-off contests and much much more. Festival times are 5pm until midnight on Friday, October 7th and 9am until midnight on Saturday, October 8th. For festival information, artist info, music and press info, visit www.mainstreeteldorado.org

Announcing MusicFest El Dorado’s VINTAGE BACK TO THE STREETS LINE-UP!
Legendary Country Music Icons
SHENANDOAH
Always at the forefront when talking about Country Music Icons, Shenandoah became legends for delivering such top charting hits as “Two Dozen Roses”, “Church on Cumberland Road” and “Next to You, Next to Me” as well as the classics “I Want to be Loved Like That” and the Grammy winning “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart”.

After winning the Academy of Country Music’s Vocal Group of the Year, a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group & countless other awards; the legacy continues as original members reunite to launch a new chapter in Shenandoah’s storied career. After 17 years apart, Shenandoah is back on the stage like they never stopped.

Today Shenandoah is in the top five recurrents on all the XM radio shows which includes Alabama and George Strait. They have recorded nine studio albums and placed 26 singles on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and have left a potent legacy on country music radio.

American Idol Winner & Country Superstar
CHAYCE BECKHAM
Chayce Beckham is one of the most talked about newcomers in Country music today, having won over a millions fans while competing on ABC’s American Idol. Nicknamed by superstar Katy Perry as “the heart of America” Beckham became the first show winner to claim the title with an original song. Singer, songwriter, and entertainer 25-year-old Beckham’s music has quickly shot to the top of both the iTunes Country and All Genre charts, racking up more than 85 million on-demand streams. Now record label signed, Chayce’s debut album is is getting rave revues on USA Today, E! News! & Billboard, and is blowing up the Country radio charts.

 Straight off the Garth Brooks Tour
MITCH ROSSELL
Mitch Rossell's all-American country music has earned him an audience across the globe — both as a solo artist and as the songwriter behind hits like Garth Brooks' number one smash hits including "Ask Me How I Know”, All Day Long”, "Dive Bar" and “That’s What Cowboys Do”. Rossell's honky-tonk performances have became a hit night after night as he tours and his music has racked up 15 million views on Youtube, millions of streams on Spotify, millions of fans on TikTok and a #1 spot on iTunes.

Rising Country Music Star
MAE ESTES
Arkansas native Mae Estes has been performing country music live on stage since she was 7 years old. Mae merges the timelessness of classic country music with modern melodies to create her artistry, both as a songwriter and a performer. Her first single received over 100,000 streams on Spotify, making both the Fresh Finds Country and New Music Nashville playlists. Later that year, Mae was asked to tour internationally with Armed Forces Entertainment, which lead to more, valuable live performance experience at U.S. Air Force Bases in Guam, Diego Garcia and Singapore. Within just three weeks, her latest release, “Roses,” surpassed 100K streams on both Apple Music and Spotify, and now has well over 1million streams. Fresh off a win as Female Vocalist of the Year and a nomination for Song of the Year at the 2021 Arkansas Country Music Awards, momentum is definitely in her favor. CMT exclusively premiered the first music video of Mae’s career, describing her as “a country newcomer playing a vital role in reshaping the genre with her truthful and non-surface-level storytelling.”

Former band member of Lynyrd Skynyrd
THE ARTIMUS PYLE BAND
More than just a "tribute" to Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Artimus Pyle Band is headed up by legendary Artimus Pyle, the 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, drummer and legendarily dubbed the "wild man" of the megastar rock and roll band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Artimus Pyle Band is a high energy, true to the music, and true to the era rock group. This is a band of the most seasoned musicians in the south and they deliver hit after hit, night after night including Freebird, Sweet Home Alabama and all of the best of Skynyrd with one of men who made them!

Other acts scheduled to perform on the main stage include: The Queen of the stage, Selana Tribute Artist, CRISTINA AMARO; the live experience of the Eagles with Southern Rock favorites JOSH WALKER AND THE TANNEHILL BAND; the music of Stevie Nicks with regional favorite party band THE KARLA CASE BAND.

Other regional acts scheduled to perform include: HiSyde, Beaux Atkins, Blackstrap, Coupe Deville, Jacob Flores, Crutchfield, Trey Gauthreaux, Eric Meadows, Mason Halstead, JT Lee, Brody McKinney, The Bennett Hall Band, Josh Stewart, Shaw Revolver, The Side Street Steppers, Wyatt Putman, Huckleberry Jam & MORE!!!

EVENTS:
In addition to dozens of exciting musical acts, MusicFest features a host of attractions and events to create an incredible weekend for the entire family. There is something for everyone at MusicFest 34 including; The Murphy USA Kids’ World with magician attractions, sidewalk vendors with food and shopping, Cole’s Jewelers Miss Musicfest Pageant, the Medical Center of South Arkansas 5K/10k, Beer Gardens, the Lockheed Martin Championship Rib Cook Off… and more.

TICKETS:
Entrance in the MusicFest Gates is FREE before 3PM on Saturday!

CHILDREN 10 and Under-Free Gate Admission All Weekend with paid adult ticket!

Concert/Gate Admission
WEEKEND PASS (Fri. and Sat. Gate Admission): $40
(WEEKEND PASSES NOT AVAILABLE AFTER FRIDAY, SEPT. 30)

FRIDAY ONLY: $25
SATURDAY ONLY: $35

PIT PASS $10 PER DAY
(Pit passes get you in the barricaded area directly in front of the Main Stage)

ALL DAY ACCESS ATTRACTION WRISTBANDS:
FRIDAY ONLY $10
SATURDAY ONLY $20

WEEKEND ATTRACTION BUNDLE $25
(BUNDLE NOT AVAILABLE AFTER FRIDAY, SEPT. 30)

Tickets available starting Thursday, June 2nd at www.mainstreeteldorado.org and at the Musicfest gate the days of the events.

 

TROOPERS TURNING TO PUBLIC FOR HELP LOCATING VEHICLE CONNECTED IN HIT & RUN FATAL
JUNE 2, 2022
State troopers continue to investigate a hit and run crash that left a 32 year-old Conway County man dead.  With hope of identifying a suspect, the troopers are sending an appeal to the public for help in locating the vehicle that hit the bicyclist.

Travis Frank Sponer was riding a bicycle along the northbound lane of Arkansas Highway 9, north of Oppelo, late into the night last month on Monday, May 16th.  About midnight, or moments later (*Tuesday, May 17th), Sponer was struck from the rear by a northbound vehicle.  The impact of the crash sent Sponer’s body into a ditch alongside the highway.

The state police Highway Patrol Division and Criminal Investigation Division have assigned personnel to the case who believe the vehicle that hit Sponer was a dark red, maroon, or burgundy, Dodge Ram pick-up truck (2012 – 2022 model) that possibly has considerable damage to the truck’s front passenger side, particularly around the headlight.

Anyone who has information about the deadly crash, knows of a vehicle matching the description of the Dodge pick-up truck or has seen a truck with damage as described, is asked to contact the Arkansas State Police, Troop J Headquarters in Clarksville by calling (479) 754-3096.   

 

ASP CORPORALS GET COMMISSION VOTE FOR PROMOTION TO SERGEANT
JUNE 2, 2022
Two Arkansas State Police corporals have been promoted to the rank of sergeant.  The recommendations for promotion from Colonel Bill Bryant, state police director, were approved today during a regular monthly meeting of the Arkansas State Police Commission.

Corporal Phillip Roark, 47, of Lawrence County was promoted to the rank of sergeant and will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, post supervisor duties.

Sergeant Roark, a 21-year veteran of the department, had previously been assigned to highway patrol duties in Jackson County.

Corporal Shawn Mason, 42, of Lonoke County was promoted to the rank of sergeant and will be assigned to duties within the Administrative Services Division, Training Section as supervisor of the state police driving track.

Sergeant Mason, a 12-year veteran of the department, had previously been assigned to the state police training and recruiting sections.

June 02, 2022

CAMDEN DOWNTOWN NETWORK BRINGS INFORMATIVE WORKSHOP TO CAMDEN
The Camden Downtown Network is excited to bring and informative workshop to Camden! If you have a dream to have a small business, or you might already be doing one from home and want to expand. No matter where you are on your dream, this is for you....and better still it's free!! Call to get registered today.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: VACATION SCAMS
LITTLE ROCK - The school year is winding down, and many Arkansans are making summer vacation plans. Whether it is a trip to the beach, somewhere abroad, or one of Arkansas’s many lakes or state parks, Arkansans should keep a watchful eye to avoid falling victim to a vacation scam. Scam artists are using the internet, including online advertising and social media, to pitch free or deeply discounted travel deals.

Many scammers will attempt to convince you that your friends and family members are taking advantage of this offer and you should too. Meanwhile, other scammers include being offered vacation rentals that look too good to be true. Travelers make the reservation and show up at the home or condo, only to find it was never up for rent and a scam artist stole photos and listing information to trick you out of hard earned cash. While it is possible to find a good travel deal or even win a vacation, you must stay mindful of the fact that there are bad actors seeking to ruin your fun by taking your money.   

“Scam artists will stop at nothing to take advantage of hard working Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Fraudsters are constantly coming up with new ways to steal your money, but one thing never changes; if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following list of common scams vacationers could encounter:

Third-party Booking Scam: If you book your airfare, hotel, rental car, or other travel through a third party website, use caution. After booking, scammers call consumers directly to verify personal financial information—something a legitimate company would never do.

Ticket Sale Scam: Summertime is full of festivals and concerts that often sell out. Scammers take advantage of this and list tickets for sale at a discounted price. Consumers don’t find out until trying to attend the event that the tickets are fake.

Gasoline Scam: Scammers approach with a convincing story that they ran out of gas and money. They claim to only need $40 to fill up the tank and may even offer to mail a check to repay you. The likelihood that the repayment will be received is slim. Either refuse to give the scammers money or pay for their fuel at the nearest service station to ensure the money is spent as intended.

Rideshare Service Scam: Uber or Lyft drivers approach, and mention that a passenger just canceled a trip, leaving them available for a trip, but they must be paid in cash. Often, these drivers do not even work for a legitimate rideshare company. Similarly, any drivers who claim an “outage” is preventing them from accepting payment via the Uber or Lyft system is a red flag. Cashless travel is one of the main perks of using a rideshare company.

Fake Front Desk Phone Call Scam: Scam artists call hotel rooms directly, often in the middle of the night.. They say there has been a computer glitch and they need to verify your credit card information. Hang up immediately and contact the front desk to verify the call.

Some helpful travel tips include:
Put a travel alert on your debit or credit card to prevent issues or scams while out of town.
Use a credit card instead of a debit card because there are more protections available and it may be easier to dispute versus losing access to the cash in your bank account.
Use social media with care—don’t post while you’re out of town. You might be inviting a criminal into your empty house.
Withdraw cash from an ATM at a financial institution versus a standalone ATM to prevent your card information from being stolen.

For more information on safe summer travel and other consumer-related issues or to file a consumer complaint, visit ArkansasAG.gov or contact the Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov.

  

 34.5 MILLION PROVIDED FOR ARKANSAS WATER AND WASTWATER PROJECTS
LITTLE ROCK, AR - On June 1, 2022, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Arkansas Natural Resources Commission approved $35,410,210 for nine water and wastewater projects and four technical assistance programs servicing more than 211,372 Arkansans. The projects are as follows:

The Benton County Water Authority (WA)#4, Benton County, received a $4,530,260 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to replace a water main. The current customer base for this project is 250.

Central Arkansas Water (CAW), Pulaski County, received a $4,000,000 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund for upgrades to the Jack H. Wilson Water Treatment Plant. the customer base for this project is 156,000.

The City of Melbourne, Izard County, received a $139,050 loan from the Water, Sewer and Solid Waste Fund for water meter installation. The water customer base for this project is 1,769.

The City of Mountainburg, Crawford County, received a $50,000 grant from the Water Development Fund for a Cultural Resources Survey for the proposed North Central Crawford County Water System. The customer base is 767 with 342 potential new customers with the proposed water system expansion.

The Rock-Moore Public Water Authority (PWA), Independence County, received a $4,262,000 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to for a new water tank and water system improvements. The current customer base for this project is 1,390.

East End Improvement District No. 1, Saline County, received a $500.000 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund in additional funding for construction of a water storage tank and rehabilitation of existing water storage tanks. The customer base for this project is 2,297.

The McLean Bottoms Levee and Drainage District #3, Logan County, received a $360,500 loan from the Water Development Fund in additional funding for levee repairs. The McLean Bottoms Levee protects 60 residents. 

The Northwest Arkansas Conservation Authority (NACA), Benton County, receied a $20,000,000 loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund in additional funding for wastewater treatment plant improvements. The customer base for the project totals 8,543 in Bentonville, Tontitown, Elm Springs, and Bethel Heights. 

The Searcy Board of public Utilities, White County, received a $950,000 loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund in additional funding for wastewater system rehabilitation. The customer base for project totals 7,892.

The Natural Resources Commission also approved funding for the following technical assistance programs:

The Arkansas Environmental Training Academy (AETA) received a $150,000 grant from the Water Development Fund to provide training for members of Retail Water Provider boards pursuant to Act 605 of 2021.

The Arkansas Rural Water Association (ARWA) received a $125,000 grant from the Water Development  Fund. This grant is for the Association's continued funding assistance for a Circuit Rider to provide onsite assistance to water systems with operation, maintenance, management and financial problems.

The Arkansas Rural Water Association (ARWA) received a $65,000 grant from the Water Development  Fund to provide continued training and technical assistance to water and wastewater systems throughout the state. 

H2Ozarks received a $278,400 grant from the Water Development Fund to administer the Septic Tank Remediation Pilot Program within the Buffalo River Watershed in Newton, Searcy, Marion, Baxter, Boone, Madison, Pope, Stone and Van Buren Counties.

More information about the Natural Resource Division's water and wastewater programs can be found at anrc.arkansas.gov/divisions/water-resources-development/ or by contacting Debby Dickson at debra.dickson@agriculture.arkansas.gov or 501-682-0548. Learn more about the Arkansas Department of Agriculture at agriculture.arkansas.gov.

  
SOUTH ARKANSAS NATIVE EMILY MOLL WOOD RETURNS TO THE SOUTH ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER
The South Arkansas Arts Center welcomes to their galleries returning artist as well as SAAC member and south Arkansas native Emily Moll Wood. Wood, who was born in El Dorado and grew up in Camden, resides in Little Rock and is bringing her exhibition “Home Work” to the Price and Lobby galleries on June 6. Wood’s artwork will hang at SAAC through July 7th. An artist’s reception will occur on Tuesday, June 7 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm honoring Wood as well as V….Vaughan, whose exhibition “Glances: Fresh Views of Lands and Life,” is hanging in the Merkle Gallery through June 28.

Wood, who holds a Master of Arts in painting from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, paints a lot of portraits and, more recently, has created an “obsessive amount of flowers,” most of which are done in watercolor and on a variety of surfaces. When the pandemic began and while home bound, Wood found solace in observing and painting flowers as they took turns blooming. She has obsessively painted flowers each Spring since, realizing that part of that obsession is the connection she feels to the women in her family and those who came before her. She works from the many flower studies, combined with sketches from old photos of herself, her mother, her grandmothers, and her great grandmothers to create large paintings on inherited old tablecloths in order to draw attention to undervalued daily domestic work. The work in this exhibition examines those connections and differences between the life she has led versus the lives that her female fore-bearers led, ultimately reflecting broader social changes. Wood is drawn to the flow and transparency of watery paint on various absorbent surfaces and finds the process of observing and translating faces, figures, and flowers into paintings to be therapeutic and meditative.

"I am excited to share this new work at the South Arkansas Arts Center, with the wonderful people who gave me my first solo show 11 years ago. I'm especially excited about the 28 ft. flower study installation I am installing together for the first time. I am from South Arkansas, as are many of the ideas and themes woven throughout this work, so it feels very right to show it here."

Wood has taught painting classes for over 12 years, most being at the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock. Her work has been accepted and won awards in numerous juried exhibitions. Wood’s work can be found in many private and public collections such as the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Springfield (MO) Art Museum.

For more information on this exhibit and the reception, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.

June 01, 2022

CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET RETURNS JUNE 3RD TO DOWNTOWN CAMDEN
Camden, AR - First Friday Monthly Market in Camden, AR invites you to downtown Camden for “A Slice of Summer” on June 3rd.

With a record number of 70 plus vendors and other activities we guarantee you can find something for everyone! Vendors will be selling everything from fresh produce, jellies and jams to resin art, clothing, jewelry, woodwork and so much more.

We have a great variety of food with Taco Shellz serving street tacos and Navajo Fried Bread tacos and One Stop Eatery serving traditional Americana food of burgers and funnel cakes. Flaming Pig will be located at the Native Dog Parking Lot. Small plate vendors will be offering egg rolls, hot dogs with cheese & chili and sausage dogs with peppers & onions. Plenty of varieties to cool off too with Headbangers creamery, Kingdom Treats Italian Ice and Sock Hop Soda Shoppe 50’s ice cream shop.

June’s live music will see Glenn Parker performing Country music. Glenn is a graduate of Fairview High School and has toured with country greats such as Gene Watson. Most recently he has been playing throughout the Golden Triangle at MuleKick Magnolia and MuleKick MAD in El Dorado.

Competitive games are a definite must at this market, so find the Corn Hole Tournament on Adams Ave in front of What’s Cookin’ and this year GellyBall will be located on Washington Street just past the Madison Ave intersection.

So many other things to choose from, be sure to look for new vendors at the market including Bailey Botanicals with succulents and other tropical plants and Heavenly Touch By Whitley LLC with an onsite massage chair. There will also be 2 authors doing book signings. Della Lane Publishing and author Pamela Morgan Hughey with her book “Gone But Not Forgotten” a children’s book on dealing with grief and Chrystal Gilkey with her book “A Wisp of Faith” a contemporary Christian novel welcomes everyone to stop by and visit with them.

June 3rd will also see the Ribbon cutting and Grand Opening of “A Cup of Joe” Camden’s newest Coffee Shop. Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR, May 6, 6PM – 9PM.

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


THE ARKANSAS MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. COMMISSION KICKS OFF JUNETEENTH FEDERAL HOLIDAY WITH A COMMEMORATION AT ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL
LITTLE ROCK -The mission of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, a division of the Arkansas Department of Education, is to promote and preserve the life and legacy of Dr. King in our state; and to promote the principles of nonviolence and equality among all citizens.  Our community outreach projects are designed to promote education, an appreciation for history, and to encourage youth to engage in positive leadership development and roles within their communities.

Known as America’s second Independence Day, Juneteenth is a special celebration for communities around the United States.  A combination of “June” and “nineteenth,” Juneteenth is a holiday that recognizes when slaves were informed that they were free two years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.  On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger, rode into Galveston, Texas with news the war had ended and the slaves in Texas were now free.  Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  In 2021, President Joseph Biden recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission invites you to attend our commemorative program, “Juneteenth the Experience: A Moment in History,” Saturday, June 18, 2022, 10:00 AM, Arkansas State Capitol Steps, 500 Woodlane, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201.  The Keynote speaker will be Broadway Joe Booker, a broadcaster for Power 92, who has been recognized for his contributions to hosting inaugural Juneteenth Celebrations in Central Arkansas.  The event is free and open to the public.  Highlights will include commemorative reflections, artistic presentations by youth performing arts groups, and a theatrical presentation of the events leading up to Juneteenth.  

“Juneteenth is a celebratory event however, we want to educate audiences, focus on the historical aspect, the significance of Juneteenth, why is Juneteenth a federal holiday, says DuShun Scarbrough, Executive Director.  This is our opportunity to educate the youth who will be in attendance and connect them to the history, legacy, and heritage of Juneteenth.  We want attendees to walk away with an understanding of the Juneteenth holiday and why we are celebrating it.”

For more information and to schedule interviews, contact the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission at 888-290-KING