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December 02, 2021

CWD-POSITIVE DEER FOUND IN SOUTH ARKANSAS
STRONG – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today confirmed that a hunter-harvested white-tailed deer taken in Union County tested positive for chronic wasting disease.  

The deer was harvested in Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge during the permit-based annual modern gun deer hunt. A CWD sample was collected at the check station for that hunt. That sample tested positive for CWD and was confirmed by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison.

This is the first case of CWD in Union County. It is unknown where the source of this infection occurred, as it is more than 120 miles from the nearest previous positive case (Issaquena County, Mississippi) and more than 200 miles from the nearest known positive case of CWD in Arkansas. 

According to AJ Riggs, wildlife health biologist for the AGFC, 307 CWD samples were submitted in Union County before this first positive case, with 107 of those being submitted since July 2021.

“While we didn’t want to find CWD outside of the current CWD Zone, this positive case confirms that we need to remain vigilant on a statewide level to look for the disease,” Riggs said. 

According to Cory Gray, chief of the AGFC’s Research Division, the hunter who harvested the deer has been notified and arrangements are being made to dispose of the meat from the deer. 

“With this positive case being so far from any previously known source, we’ve already begun working on ways to gather more samples from the surrounding area to determine the extent of the infection in this part of the state,” Gray said. “We have already begun making plans to place more CWD drop-off containers near the refuge for voluntary testing and are talking with local deer clubs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to get help in gathering additional samples while deer season is still open. We’re also reaching out to our counterparts at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to coordinate with them and share data to get a better understanding of how far this may have spread.”

Felsenthal NWR Manager Michael Stroeh said, “We are working very closely with AGFC to provide any assistance needed.”

In keeping with the AGFC’s CWD Management and Response Plan, there will be no changes to deer-hunting regulations for the remainder of the 2021-22 deer hunting season.

AGFC Director Austin Booth says the agency will evaluate the need for any expansion of the CWD Management Zone and regulations concerning deer hunting during the hunting regulations-setting process once the season is over. 

“We intend to hold public meetings about our findings at the conclusion of deer season, but the best way local hunters can help us is to take advantage of the free testing facilities and get their deer tested for CWD,” Booth said. “More samples means more chances to find any new concentrations of the disease and gives our staff a better picture of the landscape so they can make better-informed decisions moving forward.”

Hunters who wish to have their deer tested for CWD can voluntarily take the head of the deer, with 6 inches of neck still attached, to one of the AGFC’s network of participating taxidermists to have a sample tested for free. They also may drop off the head at one of dozens of CWD-testing collection stations positioned throughout the state. A list of CWD-testing facilities is available at www.agfc.com/cwd. Local landowners near Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge also may contact the AGFC to participate in surveillance efforts in the area. For more information, call 501-412-5434.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk, caribou and moose. It was first detected in Arkansas Feb. 23, 2016. Since the first detection, AGFC has tested more than 37,877 deer and elk from across the state. To date, 1,182 deer and 35 elk have tested positive for the disease in Arkansas.

Research indicates that CWD is caused by a misfolded protein called a prion transmitted through feces, urine and saliva. Prions can survive for years in soil and plants. CWD can have an incubation period of at least 16 months, which means infected animals may not show immediate signs of disease. CWD prions accumulate throughout the body and affect an animal’s nervous system. The diseased prions cause normal cellular proteins to misfold into abnormal shapes, which accumulate until neural cells cease to function. Infected animals begin to lose weight, lose their appetite and develop an insatiable thirst. They may separate from their herds, walk in repetitive patterns, carry their head low, salivate, urinate frequently and grind their teeth. 

Visit www.agfc.com/cwd for more information.

 

SAAC ANNOUNCES 2021 MEMBERSHIP SHOWCASE
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to announce this year's Membership Showcase on exhibit in the Merkle Gallery through December 17. No matter what style of art appeals to you, chances are there is something to please the eye during SAAC's highly anticipated annual exhibition. SAAC will host an artist's reception on Thursday, December 2, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. in the Merkle Gallery. This exhibit is sponsored by William P. Cook & Associates, PLLC, with the exhibit and reception free and open to the public.

"SAAC is all about our wonderful members, who are creating original work every day inside our walls and in their own studios," says executive director Laura Allen. "Bringing so many different talented artists' work together in our galleries is a beautiful way to celebrate these individuals, and their diverse points of view."

The members of SAAC have once again filled the galleries with a myriad of works created in assemblage, acrylics, charcoal, glasswork, graphite, oils, pastel, photography, sculpture, and watercolor. Every year the exhibition brings the talent of SAAC's members to the forefront and allows them to display and sell their work in a non-competitive environment. This year's show boasts 55 pieces from 35 artists.

Local member artists participating in the show are Sandy Bennett, Dale Box, Cherie Bright, Jenn Elmore, Jennie Lee Harris, Sylvia Henley, Beth Hubbert, Missy Inman, Helene Lambert, Patricia A. Lowery, Glenn Mason, Mike Means, Moises Menendez, Maria Oliver, Chrystal Osborn, Lee Scroggins and Doug Stanton. Also, Mitzi Thompson, Paul Trichel, Maria Botti Villegas, Wesley Beard, Sandy Bennett, Clayton Bolding, Dale Box, Cherie Bright, Elizabeth Callaway, Kelly Campbell, Margaret Combs, Jenn Elmore, Jennie Lee Harris, Katy Hayes, Sylvia Henley, Rhonda Hicks, Beth Hubbert, Missy Inman, Helene Lambert and Patricia A. Lowery. Glenn Mason, Mike Means, Moises Menendez, Maria Oliver, Chrystal Osborn, Ann Palculict, Spencer Purinton, Donald Putman, Lee Scroggins, Doug Stanton, Chris Stone, Lisa Tarver, Mitzi Thompson, Marla Tomlinson, Paul Trichel, Dinah Van Hook, Maria Villegas and Ramona Wood fill out the roster.

Also being honored at the reception are Gulf Coast artists Bill Myer and Diane Stevenson, whose works titled " One Foot In Reality" are being shown in the Price Gallery through December and in the Lobby Gallery until the end of January. In addition, Maria Villegas' student exhibit "In Sync" hangs in the Lobby Gallery through the weekend.

For more information about the exhibition or artist's reception, please contact the SAAC office at 862-5474 or visit www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

EEOC ISSUES NEW ‘DIGEST OF EEO LAW’
Includes Key Federal Sector Decisions
WASHINGTON --  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the availability of the newest edition of the federal sector Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO Digest).

The EEO Digest, a quarterly publication prepared by the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations, features a wide variety of recent EEOC decisions and federal court cases of interest. This edition contains summaries of noteworthy decisions issued by the EEOC, including cases involving attorney’s fees, class certification, compen­satory damages and dismissals.  It also includes cases discussing findings on the merits, remedies, sanctions, settlement agreements, stating a claim, summary judgment, and timeliness.

The summaries are neither intended to be exhaustive or definitive as to the selected subject matter, nor are they to be given the legal weight of case law in citations. In addition to the quarterly Digest, EEOC federal sector decisions are available on www.eeoc.gov. The public may also receive federal sector information updates and news items via GovDelivery and Twitter.

The EEOC advances opportunities in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available online at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

 

BOOZMAN: DOUBTS ABOUT CHRISTMAS CARDS ARRIVING ON TIME SHOULD RAISE RED FLAGS ON TRUSTING POSTAL SERVICE WITH FINANCES
Senator Presses Postal Service to Abandon Banking Services & Focus on Mail Delivery
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman is warning a new United States Postal Service pilot program opens the door to federalizing financial services and has called on the agency to discontinue the misguided venture and focus instead on its mission of mail delivery.

USPS launched its postal banking pilot program in September. The following month, the agency announced it will further slow service and increase prices in an attempt to reverse its revenue shortfall of more than $75 billion from 2007-2019.

In a column published in The Hill, Boozman questioned the need for expanding USPS responsibilities given delays to mail delivery and its inexperience in financial services.

“If we have Boozman wrote of the Postal Service’s newfound interest in banking.

In 2018, a task force review of postal reforms recommended avoiding expansion into new sectors like banking. This service is best suited for community banks. Local lenders understand needs in the areas they serve and offer opportunities for small businesses and families to secure vital funding – an area in which USPS has no experience.

“Arkansas banks have the expertise to reliably and safely serve customers’ needs. Acting as a bank would prove very difficult for the postal service, which has little to no knowledge about the banking requirements of consumers and small businesses,” Arkansas Bankers Association Chairman Jim Cargill said. “With over 1300 branches and offices in Arkansas, our community banks are best situated to know and serve the customers in their community.”

In a letter sent to U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy last month, Boozman led his colleagues in questioning the agency about the launch of the pilot program and its authority to implement the initiative without congressional approval. Members requested answers to their questions by December 3.
 

December 01, 2021

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – NOVEMBER 30, 2021
The newly-detected Omicron variant of COVID-19 was the center of discussion during Gov. Asa Hutchinson's weekly press conference on Tuesday.

Reports of the discovery of the new and potentially more transmissible variant first surfaced last week in South Africa. Health experts in the U.S. are largely uncertain at this time what characteristics the new mutation possesses.
Hutchinson reiterated that information is scant on the Omni variant, including questions on its transmissibility, its effect on health and whether currently available vaccines are effective.

Health experts stress viruses, including the one that causes Covid-19, mutate regularly and most new mutations do not have significant impact on the virus's behavior and the illness they cause.

However, Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero said the lack of information on the Omni variant at this time has raised some alarm. The Arkansas Department of Health is surveilling for the new variant and no case has yet been reported in the state. He added evidence suggests currently available vaccines are effective against the new strain.

 Romero also shared data suggesting an increasing proportion of the new cases of COVID-19 detected in Arkansas are among five to 18-year-olds. Vaccines, he stressed, are available for everyone aged five and up. In addition, he addressed the issue of vaccinations for women considering pregnancy and for those who already are.

Regarding the state's updated COVID-19 figures, the Arkansas Department of Health reported 1,044 new cases on Tuesday - the highest single-day increase since September. That raises the state's cumulative total of COVID-19 transmissions to nearly 529,000 since the pandemic began. Active cases increased by 335 on Tuesday for a current total of just under 5,700. Over the same period deaths increased by 12 to number 8,667 since spring of 2020. Finally, hospitalizations rose by 19 to leave 409 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus. 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOLDS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON DECEMBER 16
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 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, December 16, 4 - 6 p.m.
HOW: To reserve a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, December 15.

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

The Little Rock VA Regional Office is open 7 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

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

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

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.  

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


HISTORIC WASHINGTON 35TH  ANNUAL CHRISTMAS AND CANDLELIGHT  - DECEMBER 10TH & 11TH
Join the staff of Historic Washington State Park for its 35th Annual Christmas and Candlelight which will be held December 10 & 11, 2021. You and your family will be in awe of the natural beauty that candlelit streets provide as you stroll through our historic village. Decorations, music, and more set the mood for your historic holiday experience. The homes of yesterday are adorned with historic period decorations and thousands of luminaries will light the streets throughout the town. Tour venues will open at 1 p.m. and will continue until 8 p.m. Luminary lighting and music programs will begin at 5 p.m. Plan to enjoy an evening meal at Williams' Tavern Restaurant from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $6.00 for children (6 -12) plus tax.  Begin your own Christmas tradition by joining Arkansas’s Premier Historic State Park only eight miles off I30 from Hope Arkansas.  For more information contact Historic Washington at 870-983-2684, or HistoricWashington@Arkansas.com
 

ENTERGY ARKANSAS OFFERS HOLIDAY LIGHTING FACTS AND SAFETY TIPS
Save money and conserve energy with inflatables, timers, and LED bulbs
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – One of the biggest demands on the power grid begins each year on Thanksgiving Day and the following weekend, when people power up their ovens and begin putting up holiday decorations and turning on scores of additional lights. The good news is, it’s a manageable demand and one Entergy Arkansas is prepared to meet throughout the holiday season.

For those who want to celebrate and decorate while conserving energy, there are several ways to do that. In recent years, outside inflatables have become more popular, because they’re cute day or night, don’t require scaling the roof or using a hammer and nails, and are relatively easy to set up or take down. And, decorating with inflatables requires less energy than you might expect.

One large inflatable consumes about 150 watts of energy per hour and would cost approximately $6 for one month if running 12 hours per day. Using it round the clock for one month would total twice that, or just over $12 for one month. An inflatable measuring four feet would use approximately 52 watts per hour, so three smaller inflatables would cost about the same as one larger inflatable for one month.

Traditional string lights use about 10 watts per bulb, and most strings have a minimum of 25 bulbs per string. One 25-bulb string light used 12 hours per day would consume 90 kilowatts over the course of one month and cost just over $10 – slightly less than one large inflatable decoration used 24 hours per day as compared to one small string of lights used half as much. Multiply that by the number of strings of lights both inside and outside the house, and it starts to quickly add up to more energy and more costs.

If you do opt for traditional lighting, however, you can save both energy and money with LED bulbs which are about 75% more energy efficient than traditional bulbs.

Should you choose to put up lights outside your home, be sure they are intended for outdoor use. Entergy Arkansas always makes safety the number one priority and has created some additional tips to keep in mind:

· Never replace a bulb when a string is electrified, as the current used for one incandescent Christmas light can stop a beating heart.
· For outside use, work only with three-wire grounded extension cords.
· Use a nonconducting fiberglass or wooden ladder when working with strings of lights and stay clear of all overhead wires.
· Keep connections and lights off the ground by hanging them over wooden stakes.
· Use rubber gaskets in light sockets or hang sockets downward to keep water out.
· Never let light bulbs touch flammable materials such as plastic, dry grass and leaves.
· Turn outside holiday lights off when away from home or asleep in case of fire.

No matter how you choose to illuminate the season, use a timer to set the hours of usage and deflate your energy costs this holiday season.

Entergy Arkansas offers energy efficiency programs designed to help customers conserve both energy and money year-round. For more information or to enroll, visit https://www.entergy-arkansas.com/energy_efficiency/main/.
 

GRIFFIN NAMES MASON SMITHER PRESS SECRETARY
Says Smither "has a passion for serving the people of Arkansas...'
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin today announced the hiring of Press Secretary Mason Smither:
 
"I am excited to welcome Mason Smither to my team. He has a passion for serving the people of Arkansas and will be a great asset in the office of Lt. Governor."

Smither is a former intern for Congressman Steve Womack who worked on constituent service and outreach projects in the congressional office. He is a graduate of Harding University in Searcy where he earned a Bachelor's degree with honors in social science in the spring of 2020. He was active in college and community organizations including the Eta Phi Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, a national history honor society. He most recently worked in the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
 
"I am thankful and excited for the opportunity to serve Arkansans by working alongside Lt. Governor Griffin who is making a difference in our state as he boldly works to lower taxes, ensure a fiscally responsible state government and Back the Blue," said Smither.

November 29, 2021

BODY DISCOVERED IN WYNNE DRAINAGE DITCH, ASP INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY
NOVEMBER 29, 2021
The remains of what are believed to be those of an adult male were recovered in Wynne yesterday [Sunday, November 28th] by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.  A local resident walking near 503 Front Street about 3 PM reported to Wynne police officers seeing a body in a shallow drainage ditch between Front and Ash Streets.

Authorities in the Wynne Police Department have requested the state police to lead the investigation associated with the death.

The remains were transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the identity of the deceased will be determined, as well as the manner, cause, and time of death.

Special Agents began developing leads in the case yesterday and will submit an investigative file to the Cross County Prosecuting Attorney.


CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO HOLD SPECIAL
The Camden Fairview Board Of Education will meet in Special Session on Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 5:30 P.M. at Garrison Auditorium

The agenda is as follows.
1. Call to order.
2. Student Hearing
3. Personnel

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

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

SAAC TO HOST GULF COAST ARTISTS MYERS AND STEVENSON
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to announce "One Foot in Reality" by Gulf Coast artists Bill Myers and Diane Stevenson. The exhibition will be on display in the Price Gallery December 1-17 and in the Lobby Gallery January 4 - February 3, with an artist's reception on Thursday, December 2, from 5:00-6:30 pm.

Myers' large graphite and ink drawings on board will be shown, along with sculpture in wire, wood and bone. His work has been shown in New York, New Orleans, and Chicago in both galleries and museum shows. Last year he had a one-man show at Lois Lambert Gallery in Los Angeles. Myers has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Mississippi Arts Commission and Artist Fellowships, Inc., and he was named Alumnus of the year at Delta State in 2009.

"I was born and raised in Moss Point, Mississippi into a family where the 'art' was oversized head shots of us kids from Olan Mills Studio hovering over the dining room table," said Myers. "There was a bit of craft from vacation bible school projects; but no other art. A lady in our neighborhood did paint and I would circle my bicycle around when she would be painting outdoors. I was too shy to go up to her; but many years later I did become friends with her. She was in her seventies and me in college, but she encouraged me to pursue my art. My first visit to a gallery and a museum came when I was in junior college and we came on a field trip to New Orleans. I felt that my eyes had been opened. Having not had any art in school, I had my first look at a community where I might find a place for myself.

"I am looking forward to a return trip to El Dorado for an exhibit with my friend Diane Stevenson," Myers continues. "The exhibit will include collage and drawings by Diane, and I will be showing lighted drawings and mixed media sculpture and drawings. I hope to see old friends there. I have missed the folks of El Dorado!"

Diane Stevenson will be joining Myers in her first exhibition at SAAC. Stevenson has an M.F.A. in poetry and a Ph.D. in American literature from Columbia University and has spent many years teaching. A native of the Gulf Coast, she says her earliest memory of art is looking at a reproduction of Millet's "The Gleaners," calling to mind a church hymn, "Bringing in the Sheaves." Stevenson grew up near the Shearwater Pottery in Ocean Springs, before venturing to New York City.

"I'm mostly a poet, and while living in New York City, I hung out with a younger generation of New York School poets," she said. "They made poems, and they made collages. These little objects of art were often postcards they mailed one another, a habit, I believe, they lifted from painters. The simple, too simple, answer may be this: poems, like collages, are small. Yet, this is not true of my recent work. They're big compared to the usual modest scale. When collages do get big, they're likely to get bumped up into a different category, 'assemblage' or 'construction,' especially if they're 3-D and sculptural, but my work, though outsize, and occasionally a bit 3-D, remains, I insist, 'collage.'

"I'm honored to be showing work with the wonderful Bill Myers, who tells me, as all artists here do, what a terrific place El Dorado is," Stevenson continued. "Meanwhile, as instructed by Bill, I practice pronouncing El Dorado as natives speak it and not the way it's spoken in the Howard Hawks Western. Hope I get it right."

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

November 18, 2021

ENTERGY ARKANSAS OFFERS SIMPLE WAYS TO MANAGE YOUR ENERGY USAGE AS TEMPS FALL
There are ways to better prepare your home – and budget – for cooler months
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Cooler temperatures are beginning to settle in the state, and some Entergy Arkansas customers may have already turned on their heaters to take the chill out of the air. While choosing what temperature to set the thermostat, keep in mind that heating your home uses more energy than cooling it.

In the summer, the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures on a typical 90-degree day might be 18 degrees. But in the winter, the difference between the indoor temperature of 68, for example, and an outdoor temperature of 30 is 38 degrees. It takes more energy to make up a difference of 38 degrees than it does 20 degrees. While you can’t change the outside temperature, most homes have room for improvement in how well they are insulated. Better insulation and fewer air leaks help keep the cold out and the heat in in the winter, and vice versa in the summer.

Heating and cooling costs can account for as much as 55% of a customer’s monthly energy usage, so remember that setting the thermostat at a lower temperature in the winter will reduce the amount of energy consumed, resulting in savings on energy bills.

Entergy Arkansas customers with advanced meters have a handy way to access detailed energy usage data online through the MyAdvisor dashboard by logging into www.entergy.com/MyAdvisor to help manage their bills and conserve energy.

Once logged in, customers can visit the “My Usage and Cost” section to compare energy usage and cost by monthly, daily, and hourly increments. The MyAdvisor tool also is available through the Entergy app for smart phones.

The bill projection tab provides an estimate of what a bill will be by the end of the billing cycle. The bill analyzer tool lets a customer compare previous bills by month and year to better understand the effects of variables like the number of days in the billing cycle, energy usage, fuel costs and weather.

In addition to increased energy usage during the winter months, worldwide conditions have resulted in increases in the cost of natural gas. While Entergy Arkansas provides electricity and not gas, the company relies on gas-powered turbines to generate power. Although Entergy Arkansas incurs the real-time fuel costs, customers pay those costs after the fact averaged across a 12-month period. Due to these conditions, customers may experience bill increases related to the fuel component of their bill related to 2021 once the fuel factor is reset in April 2022.  However, to help lessen the bill impacts in 2022 from the severe weather in February 2021, the company filed a fuel rate in April 2021 with the Arkansas Public Service Commission that would spread the costs over 24 months rather than 12, to prevent a larger increase in 2022.

Some simple steps can improve a home’s energy efficiency, thereby reducing energy usage and creating savings on the electric bill when the temperature drops outside:

Install a programable thermostat.
Lower your thermostat setting to 68 degrees.
Make sure vent returns aren’t covered with furniture or curtains.
Check all the vents in your home and make sure they are fully opened. Close vents in rooms not being used.
Close your fireplace damper when it is not in use.
Use a fan to circulate warm air through the room rather than relying completely on your heating unit.
Add insulation and seal air leaks to keep the warm air in and cold air out.
If it’s sunny out, open your curtains to allow the heat from the sun to warm the house.

Energy costs can be greater in the cooler months, and Entergy Arkansas has created a customer assistance plan for those who are struggling to pay that could include deferred payment arrangements, level billing and “Pick-A-Date” for billing. Those seeking to make payment arrangements should call 1-800-ENTERGY, visit www.EntergyArkansas.com, or download the Entergy mobile app.

To learn more about tools available to you to manage your bill and usage, visit these pages:
How and Where to Pay My Bill - https://www.myentergy.com/s/makepayment
Helpful Tools to Manage My Bill - https://www.entergy-arkansas.com/bill-tools/
I Need Help Paying My Bill - https://www.entergy-arkansas.com/bill-help/
Home Energy Solutions Efficiency Programs - https://www.entergy-arkansas.com/your_home/save_money/ee/home-energy-solutions/

Entergy Arkansas has been serving the state for more than 100 years, and how consumers use and manage energy is now more critical than ever. The company is committed to providing customers with solutions to save money and work towards a more sustainable future.

COTTON, HINSON INTRODUCE BILL TO PROVIDE PARENTAL LEAVE AND COMPENSATION FOR MISCARRIAGES AND STILLBIRTHS
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Representative Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) today introduced the Helping with Equal Access to Leave and Investing in Needs for Grieving for Mothers and Fathers Act, or HEALING Mothers and Fathers Act, to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include the spontaneous loss of an unborn child as a qualifying medical condition for FMLA leave. The bill would also establish a tax credit for a woman that suffers the loss of a child in the womb.

“No amount of money can heal the unexpected loss of a child, but parents must be given time to mourn. Our bill will ensure families are given the resources and support they need to recover,” said Cotton.

“Expecting parents who endure a stillbirth, the loss of a baby after 20 weeks or more through a pregnancy, should be able to mourn their baby without the added stress of expensive medical bills. Our legislation will give families the time and resources to help them through this unimaginable loss,” said Hinson.

The HEALING Mothers and Fathers Act mirrors a similar bill in Arkansas introduced by State Representative Les Eaves called Paisley’s Law, named in honor of his late granddaughter, Paisley, which was signed into law earlier this year.

The Susan B. Anthony List and National Right to Life Committee support this bill.

The HEALING Mothers and Fathers Act would:
Amend the FMLA to include spontaneous loss of an unborn child as a qualified medical condition for FMLA leave and civil service employee leave.

Women and their spouses would be entitled to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for loss of an unborn child.

Spontaneous loss of an unborn child is defined in the bill as ‘the loss of a child in the womb that is unplanned and not resulting from a purposeful act.’

All requirements related to certification, notice, flexibility and leave substitution are consistent with current standards for claiming FMLA leave.

Establish a $3,600 refundable tax credit for any mother, or couple, who suffers a stillbirth.

Stillbirth is defined as “the delivery of a child where there was a spontaneous death, not induced by any purposeful act, before the complete delivery from the child’s mother.”

A family would be eligible for the tax credit if a stillbirth certificate, under applicable state law, has been issued for the child.
These funds could not be used for any abortion procedure
Prohibit Title X funds from going to abortion providers.

November 17, 2021

PUBLIC NOTICE SPSC FLUSHING LINES
Shumaker Public Service Corporation will begin flushing water lines on December 6th through January 1st. Flushing will begin in Highland Industrial Park on December 6th and will move into the East Camden residential area that same day.

This process will take approximately 20 workdays to complete. The Shumaker Public Service Corporation ask that you take precautions while doing laundry due to sediments stirred up in the lines and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN ANNOUNCES FIRST QUARTER INVESTMENT EARNINGS
Receipts nearly double those from one year ago
Little Rock, Ark. – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan earned the state $13.18 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2022, which ran from July 1 through Sept. 30. The gains were nearly double what they were during the same quarter in FY 2021, while interest rates and 10-year Treasury rates remained stagnant.

“We’ve been able to produce small, steady gains over the course of the last fiscal year,” Milligan told the State Board of Finance today. The Board, made up of elected and appointed members of the banking and finance industry, is chaired by the governor. “My team’s diligent work in analyzing the fixed-income market daily – making strategic calls to better the portfolio – contributed significantly to our total returns in the first quarter.”

The State Treasury operates solely in the fixed-income, or bond, market. The 10-year Treasury yield curve is the main indicator for how that market will perform financially.

The state’s long-term portfolio, which is made up mostly of mortgage-backed securities, agency bonds and collateralized mortgage obligations, earned $12.5 million dollars during the first quarter of FY 22, compared to $5.75 million for the same quarter a year ago.

“We’ve continued to see slight improvements each quarter. That is due to our persistence in finding small yet significant pockets in the market that make sense for us to invest in, while still maintaining a conservative investment structure,” Milligan told the Board.

The state’s short-term portfolio, made up of commercial paper, demand and money market accounts, earned $615,000 for the first quarter of FY 22, compared to about $1 million during the same quarter a year ago.

“This portion of our portfolio continues to be affected by low interest rates, which has made it a struggle to produce strong yields,” Milligan said.

When Covid first hit the United States, the Federal Reserve began buying billions of dollars’ worth of bonds in an effort to keep the nation’s economy moving. Earlier this month, the Fed announced it will begin tapering its weekly bond purchasing, which has been welcome news for investors. However, rising inflation is another variable that could affect how the State Treasury positions its $5 billion portfolio in the future, Milligan told the Board.

“While the Fed maintains that the inflation rates we’re seeing are transitory, that remains to be seen,” Milligan said. “In the meantime, we’ll continue to monitor the market closely and respond with calculated, carefully-planned decisions in order to protect the integrity of the portfolio while earning the state as much as we are able.”

COTTON DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM GARLAND AFTER DOJ RAIDS JOURNALIST’S HOME
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers about the Department of Justice’s investigation into the disappearance of Ashley Biden’s diary.

In part, Senator Cotton wrote, “The Department of Justice follows rules and regulations when investigating members of the news media. The regulations state the Department of Justice ‘views the use of certain law enforcement tools, including . . . search warrants to seek information from, or records of, non-consenting members of the news media as extraordinary measures, not standard investigatory practices.’” 

“Given the execution of these search warrants were not ‘standard investigatory practices,’ I have concerns about the origins of this investigation, the motivations of the investigations, and tactics used by your Department,” he continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

The Honorable Merrick Garland
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Garland,

I am writing regarding recent reports of search warrants executed by the FBI on members of the news media in the course of investigating the alleged theft of Ashley Biden’s diary. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that the FBI had executed search warrants on the homes of several individuals connected to media outlet Project Veritas, including its founder, journalist James O’Keefe.

The Department of Justice follows rules and regulations when investigating members of the news media. The regulations state the Department of Justice “views the use of certain law enforcement tools, including . . . search warrants to seek information from, or records of, non-consenting members of the news media as extraordinary measures, not standard investigatory practices.” 

Given the execution of these search warrants were not “standard investigatory practices,” I have concerns about the origins of this investigation, the motivations of the investigations, and tactics used by your Department.

Please respond to the following questions and requests by November 19, 2021:

According to court filings, the crimes predicating the search warrants fall primarily under the National Stolen Property Act (NSPA), which, inter alia, criminalizes the transport of stolen property across state lines.

Please provide any case where federal prosecutors charged conspiracy to transport stolen goods and/or receipt of stolen goods with respect to a journalist receiving information from a source and describe how that comports with the First Amendment protections articulated in Bartnicki v. Vopper.

Please provide all cases where federal prosecutors charged NSPA where a personal effect such as a diary had been stolen in an isolated incident.

Please provide the search warrants for any cellphones collected from O’Keefe and his associates as well as the supporting applications.

Please provide all federal prosecutions where prosecutors charged transportation of stolen property where a good had been abandoned by the complaining owner.

The NSPA has a jurisdictional requirement that the property stolen have a value of $5,000 or more. Please provide the process in which you assessed Ashley Biden’s diary as having a fair market value of $5,000 or more.

Please provide a detailed description of the steps you took to comply with the Department of Justice regulations governing obtaining information from journalists, including steps taken to comply with your July memo broadly prohibiting acquiring journalists’ records through compulsory process. If such regulations were not followed, please provide a detailed description about why you failed to follow these procedures.

 

Court records show that reporters from the New York Times contacted James O’Keefe for comments very shortly after federal agents searched the home of an associate and O’Keefe’s home. Please provide all communications between employees of the Department of Justice and the New York Time concerning the investigation into the disappearance of Ashley Biden’s diary. Please describe any actions the Department has taken to investigate the leaks from the Department of Justice to the New York Times.

Please provide all communications between officials from the Department of Justice and the White House concerning the investigation into the disappearance of Ashley Biden’s diary. Did anyone at the White House have advance notice of the search warrants for the cellphones of journalists affiliated with Project Veritas?

I look forward to your prompt response regarding this important matter.

DELTA HERITAGE TRAIL AWARDED $20 MILLION DOT GRANT - ARKANSAS LEADERS APPLAUD AWARD
WASHINGTON – Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1) and Bruce Westerman (AR-4) applauded federal investment to complete the Delta Heritage Trail.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $20,482,208 to the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism to construct the final 13.4-mile section of the southeast Arkansas trail through its Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Discretionary Grant Program.

“This grant will achieve a goal 30-years in the making. The completion of the Delta Heritage Trail will provide bikers and hikers yet another beautiful view of the Natural State and will highlight the beauty of The Delta. I appreciate the advocacy of our federal delegation in winning this grant. This is another great project to enhance tourism in southeast Arkansas,” said Hutchinson

“This investment in southeast Arkansas will connect communities, provide recreational opportunities, spark tourism and build economic momentum in the area. Thanks to the decades of dedication by local and state leaders, we were able to demonstrate the importance of this project that will greatly benefit communities in southeast Arkansas,” Boozman said.

“Completing the Delta Heritage Trail will both help preserve the important history of the Natural State and bring new jobs and opportunities to the Delta. I’m glad to see Arkansas receive such a meaningful investment in rural America,” said Cotton.

“Our rich heritage and scenic landscapes make Arkansas the “Natural State” and draw lovers of the outdoors from across the nation. The Delta Heritage Trail provides a safe pathway for folks to enjoy the unique wildlife that can only be experienced in southeast Arkansas. This grant is critical to completing this long-awaited project and will further stimulate the local economy,” Crawford said.

“I am elated to help deliver this vital grant to the Arkansas Delta. These funds will complete the final stretch of the Delta Heritage Trail, encouraging economic growth by creating tourism opportunities for our delta communities. I am grateful to the Department of Transportation for awarding this significant grant to our state,” Westerman said.

“At a time when outdoor recreational opportunities are more vital than ever, this grant will enable Arkansas State Parks to complete the construction of the entire 87-mile length of Delta Heritage Trail State Park by 2025. This grant will enable State Parks to leverage the previous commitment from the Walton Family Foundation to generate new recreational and tourism opportunities from Lexa to Arkansas City, making a significant impact on the economy, quality of life and well-being of the Arkansas Delta,” said Secretary of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Stacy Hurst.

In July, members of the congressional delegation advocated for RAISE grant funding for the project in a letter to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

November 15, 2021

GOVERNOR RECOMMENDS ALL OVER 18 RECEIVE BOOSTERS FOR COVID
State officials are opening up the requirements for Arkansans to receive their COVID-19 booster shot.
Previously, booster shots were only recommended for older Arkansans and younger folks living or working in high-risk settings. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on Monday the state is now recommending everyone 18 and older receive a booster shot if they have been previously vaccinated against COVID-19.

Arkansans are eligible for the COVID-19 booster shot if they are 18 or older and received either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago. For those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, that minimum is two months.

During the press conference, Dr. Jose Romero reiterated his appeal to Arkansas parents to vaccinate their eligible children. The FDA and CDC approved Pfizer's pediatric COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month for children aged five to 11.
In state COVID-19 figures, the Arkansas Department of Health reported an additional 151 cases across the state on Monday. Active cases fell by 351 to 4,785 currently. Deaths increased by 12 on Monday for a total of 8,579 since the pandemic began. 

 

OUACHITA COUNTY OFFICE HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
The Ouachita County Courthouse and the Ouachita County Extension Office will be closed Wednesday 24, Thursday 25 and Friday 26th of November for the Thanksgiving Holiday. The Ouachita County Sanitation Department will run on regular schedule excluding Thursday Thanksgiving Day, that day will be picked up on Friday November 26th, 2021.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T BE THE REASON FOR AN EARLY END TO YOUR DEER SEASON
LITTLE ROCK – As Arkansans make their way to deer stands across the State, it is important to take time and reflect on the role that safe and legal hunting plays in the conservation of Arkansas’s natural resources. According to Arkansas law, all hunters are required to carry a valid Arkansas hunting license while hunting and must check all harvested deer within 12 hours.

“With modern rifle sportsmen joining their bow hunting brethren in the woods this weekend, it is important to remind Arkansans to safely and legally enjoy our family traditions of hunting,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “I am deeply grateful for the members of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who are committed to preserving The Natural State and ensuring our safety while we enjoy the great outdoors.”

Attorney General Rutledge urges hunters to follow all regulations and to use the guidebooks and other resources provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC).

Arkansas hunters 16 years or older are required to purchase a hunting license. A license can be purchased online through the AGFC smartphone app, agfc.com, or over the phone at (501) 223-6300, at participating sporting goods stores, nature centers and at AGFC offices.

Arkansas hunters can carry a digital copy of their hunting license using the AGFC smartphone app. The digital copy also may be carried on their phone as a screenshot of the license image or as an image saved in their phones’ files. They may also carry their license as a paper copy or even a reloadable plastic card to show proof of purchase.

Arkansas hunters are required to check harvested deer within 12 hours, either by the AGFC app, agfc.com, or by phone at (877) 731-5627.

Anyone born after 1968 must complete a hunter education course to hunt in Arkansas, which can be completed via instructor or online. Children under 16 may hunt without hunter education as long as they are under the direct supervision of someone who is 21 years or older.

Every year 500 hunters die in tree stand related accidents, and 6,000 are injured according to the International Hunter Education Association. Inspect stands each year for defects and always wear a harness when able.

When required by law, Arkansas hunters must wear hunter orange. Please consider wearing it, even when not required.

Remember firearm safety: (1) Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, (2) treat every gun as if it were loaded, (3) know the target and what is beyond it before firing a shot, and (4) keep fingers outside of the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

Consider having harvested deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease at a free drop-off site in the county. This will enable AGFC to ensure the health and safety of Arkansas’s deer population for generations to come.

For more information on hunting safely and legally, visit www.agfc.com.
 

MAIN STREET EL DORADO ANNOUNCES LINE-UP OF HOLIDAY "MERRY & BRIGHT" THEMED ACTIVITIES IN DOWNTOWN EL DORADO AR.
El Dorado, AR - for immediate release: As the holiday season approaches, Main Street El Dorado is gearing-up for one of the year’s most entertaining times. According to Executive Director, Beth Brumley, “We’ve had a great series of events and promotions this year and we are staying with what we are known for; food, fun and festivals. The Christmas holiday shopping season is our bright and shining star.” Brumley stated, “We’re working with other groups to make ElDorado... Merry & Bright!” Downtown has long been the place where visitors come to admire the Christmas lights and Main Street is adding the holiday cheer with a calendar full of Christmas events; many of which are designed to stimulate shopping downtown. There are over 30 retail outlets in our downtown district; all independently-owned and operated. Hours of operation vary and some of the shops and eateries are open on Sundays.

The events begin with the annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony on November 18 at 5:30 pm on the east side of the Union County Courthouse. This is the official kick-off of the holiday season throughout the city as a large gathering of residents, public officials and entertainers assemble to countdown the lighting in the downtown district. This year, NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone will serve as the honorary switch-thrower illuminating the downtown square. Malone, whogrew up in northern Louisiana and nicknamed “the Mailman,” spent 18 seasons with the UtahJazz and is considered one of the best power forwards to ever play the game. Free Train rides will be available from 5pm-8pm, loading and unloading at PJ’s Coffee. This event also launches the annual Red Kettle Campaign of the Salvation Army.

On November 21, downtown merchants open their stores, restaurants and venues to the public with a Christmas Open House. This festive celebration is one of the busiest events of the holidays as shop owner’s offer special savings, snacks and seasonal treats. The event is scheduled on Sunday from 1pm-4pm; various businesses may have different hours of operations. Santa and his sleigh will be available for photographs from 1pm-4pm on Washington Street. Cinderella horse and carriage rides will also be available one day only, from 1pm to 5pm for $7 per person, loading and unloading in front of Pupp’s BBQ. Free Holiday train rides will be from 1pm to 4pm and there will also be a BAGGO tournament at 2pm on Washington St., sponsored by Epps Land Services, with over $250 in cash and prizes to be awarded.

Black Friday promotions will begin on Thanksgiving evening as a select group of downtown merchants will open late on November 25. The pajama party themed event has met with great

success the past several years and shoppers have enjoyed tremendous savings and a jump-start on Black Friday specials from 8pm to midnight. The savings continue the following day as Black Friday spreads throughout the downtown square.

Retailers unite again on Saturday, November 27 following Thanksgiving, for Shop Small Saturday®. This American holiday was established to encourage people to shop small and bring more holiday shopping to small business. Brumley noted, “Our downtown square is the heart ofour community, but small businesses are the backbone. Without these independent retailers, restaurant owners and businesses our downtown would be a collection of empty buildings. This is a great way for local residents to show their support for our small businesses and help to keep our city prosperous.” Special guest to Shop Small Saturday will be the jolly ol’ gift giver,Santa Clause. Santa will be available for pictures from 12pm-4pm on the north east corner of the Union County Courthouse (Jefferson Street) for $5. Santa’s friends at SRG Realty Group will be giving out cookie kits for all the good little girls and boys to decorate at home and Barton Library will be offering story time on the south east corner of the Courthouse from 12pm-4pm. The holiday train will be back for this exciting event from 12pm-4pm as well. Holiday train rides will be $8 per adult and $5 per child ages 12 and under.

The Merry & Bright celebration continues for FIRST THURSDAY December 2, as Downtown merchants stay open late, until 7pm. The El Dorado Christmas Parade concluding in Downtown El Dorado, Arkansas’ largest holiday parade is set to begin around 7:00 pm on the north end of North West Avenue. However, many local residents have made a tradition of watching the display of floats, bands and holiday entries from the picturesque setting of The Square.

This year MSE introduces MERRY MARKET. True to the name, Merry Market will offer a wide variety of jewelry, clothing, seasonal items, children’s books, holiday treats, handmade crafts, and much more. With the addition of temporary vendors, pop-up shops and downtown merchants, one is sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on their list. Merry Market is set for Saturday, December 4 from 10am - 5pm on Washington Street; admission is $5 and includes a “passport” to be stamped by downtown businesses and Merry Market vendors. Passports will be turned in for a Grand Prize drawing. Shoppers will receive a ticket for door prize drawings throughout the day; which you must be present to win.

Several of the businesses in the downtown area will be hosting additional activities and promotions throughout the holiday season; including the return of MAD on ICE in the Murphy Arts District. Kids of all ages have relished the excitement of skating on real ice the past three years and the fun continues. The ice rink opens on November 20th and continues through January 2nd. The Christmas train will return the week of December 17– Dec. 23 from 6pm to 9pm, but closed on Sunday. Cost will be $8 per adult and $5 per child 12 and under. Santa willbe at PJ’s Coffee on December 12 from 2pm-4pm; Dec 18 from 1pm- 3pm and on Dec. 19 from 2pm-4pm.

For more details, visit the Main Street El Dorado website at www.mainstreeteldorado.org, check out the organizations Facebook page at facebook.com/mainstreeteldorado or call (870) 862-4747.
 

BOOZMAN LEADS COLLEAGUES DENOUNCING U.S. POSTAL SERVICE’S ‘MISGUIDED’ BANKING EXPANSION
Move Undermines Timely Mail Delivery
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is calling a new U.S. Postal Service (USPS) pilot program a threat to mail delivery and a misguided attempt to federalize financial services.

Boozman led 18 of his colleagues in a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy questioning USPS’ authority to implement a banking pilot program that includes check-cashing services.

“We are concerned that the pilot program exceeds the Postal Service’s legal authority and fails to comply with relevant regulations and procedural requirements,” members wrote in the letter.

The Postal Service launched its postal banking pilot program in September without notifying Congress. It comes on the heels of losses of more than $75 billion from 2007-2019. Last month the USPS announced it will further slow service and increase prices in attempt to fix its own notoriously poor financial footing.

“Given that these losses occurred during a period of time in which the Postal Service was exclusively focused on mail delivery, it would be imprudent to shift attention and resources toward an area in which the agency lacks expertise. It is essential that the Postal Service address this revenue shortfall by focusing on fixing inefficiencies with its mail delivery system, not pivoting to financial products and offerings with which the agency has no expertise,” members continued.

Cosigners of the letter include Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-OH), Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee Ranking Member Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), John Kennedy (R-LA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Jim Risch (R-ID), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Thune (R-SD) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

November 12, 2021

THE CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in regular session on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 6:30 pm at Garrison Auditorium. The Agenda is as follows:
1. Call to order.
2. Student Hearings
3. Approval of minutes of previous meetings
4. Unfinished Business
            a. None
5. New Business
            a. Presentation and recommendation regarding school board rezoning resolution.
            b. Presentation and recommendation regarding JRowe Photography, LLC resolution.
            c. Presentation and recommendation regarding Dean's Heating and Air Conditioning resolution.
            d. Presentation and recommendation regarding Turner WSD, LLC resolution.
            e. Presentation and recommendation regarding Jim Golden Ford-Lincoln resolution.
             f. Presentation and recommendation regarding moving the December board meeting date.
            g. Presentation and recommendation to transfer funds from operating to building funds in the amount of $551,370.82.
            h. Presentation from FES staff.
             i. Facility Rentals
4. Superintendent's report to the Board.
5. Financial report
6. Personnel
            a. Hiring
            b. Resignations
            c. Retirement

 

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ENDORSES SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS
“She has my full support”
Little Rock – Governor Asa Hutchinson today released his endorsement of Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Governor.

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement:
“I’ve known Sarah Huckabee Sanders most of her life and know firsthand her love for our state and her heart for public service. Sarah has earned the Republican nomination and I’m delighted today to endorse her for Governor. The state of Arkansas will be in good hands with Sarah as Governor, and she has my full support.”

 

GRIFFIN ENDORSES SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS FOR GOVERNOR
Says Sanders is a 'tough, principled leader with a big heart and bold vision for the future of Arkansas'
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin announced his endorsement of Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Governor today and released the following statement:

"Sarah Huckabee Sanders has distinguished herself as a tough, principled leader with a big heart and bold vision for the future of Arkansas," said Griffin. "I have known Sarah for many years, and I look forward to working with her as the next Governor of Arkansas. I am excited to endorse her: she has my complete and total support."

November 11, 2021

CADC TO DISTRIBUTE USDA COMMODITIES NOVEMBER 17 & 18, 2021 IN OUACHITA AND CALHOUN COUNTIES
Camden –Central Arkansas Development Council will distribute USDA Commodities in Ouachita and Calhoun County Wednesday, November 17 and Thursday, November 18, 2021.  Distribution will begin at 9 am.  

Food Items May Include:
Applesauce, Kidney Beans-can, Beef-can, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Farina Cream of Wheat, Dried Figs, Peanut Butter, Instant Milk, Orange Juice, Peaches, Potato Flakes, Salmon-can, Tomato soup

In Ouachita County commodities will be distributed at Carnes Park located at 955 Adams SE in Camden.

In Calhoun County commodities will be distributed at the CADC Office located at 210 South Lee Street in Hampton, AR (870) 798-2457  

ID must be present in order to receive commodities.

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.

MAIN STREET EL DORADO ANNOUNCES LINE-UP OF HOLIDAY "MERRY & BRIGHT" THEMED ACTIVITIES IN DOWNTOWN EL DORADO AR.
The Merry & Bright celebration continues for FIRST THURSDAY December 2, as Downtown merchants stay open late, until 7pm. The El Dorado Christmas Parade concluding in Downtown El Dorado, Arkansas’ largest holiday parade is set to begin around 7:00 pm on the north end of North West Avenue. However, many local residents have made a tradition of watching the display of floats, bands and holiday entries from the picturesque setting of The Square.

This year MSE introduces MERRY MARKET. True to the name, Merry Market will offer a wide variety of jewelry, clothing, seasonal items, children’s books, holiday treats, handmade crafts, and much more. With the addition of temporary vendors, pop-up shops and downtown merchants, one is sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on their list. Merry Market is set for Saturday, December 4 from 10am - 5pm on Washington Street; admission is $5 and includes a “passport” to be stamped by downtown businesses and Merry Market vendors. Passports will be turned in for a Grand Prize drawing. Shoppers will receive a ticket for door prize drawings throughout the day; hich you must be present to win.

For more details, visit the Main Street El Dorado website at www.mainstreeteldorado.org, check out the organizations Facebook page at facebook.com/mainstreeteldorado or call (870) 862-4747.

Several of the businesses in the downtown area will be hosting additional activities and promotions throughout the holiday season; including the return of MAD on ICE in the Murphy Arts District. Kids of all ages have relished the excitement of skating on real ice the past three years and the fun continues. The ice rink opens on November 20th and continues through January 2nd. The Christmas train will return the week of December 17– Dec. 23 from 6pm to 9pm, but closed on Sunday. Cost will be $8 per adult and $5 per child 12 and under. Santa willbe at PJ’s Coffee on December 12 from 2pm-4pm; Dec 18 from 1pm- 3pm and on Dec. 19 from 2pm-4pm.

FORT SMITH MAN DIES FOLLOWING SCOTT COUNTY ARMED DISTURBANCE
Scott County authorities have requested special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division to take the lead in investigating a Scott County shooting incident that claimed the life of a Fort Smith man last night [Thursday, November 10th].

James Simmons Jr., 34, was pronounced dead at a Waldron hospital.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to an armed disturbance call at 3220 Yearling Ridge Road south of Boles shortly after 11 PM.  Simmons had been shot inside the residence and transported to Waldron.

Simmons’ body will be examined by the Arkansas State Medical Examiner to determine the manner and cause of death.

Meanwhile, state police special agents have questioned the homeowner about the shooting incident.  No arrest in connection with the shooting incident has occurred.

An investigative case file will be submitted by the state police to the Scott County prosecuting attorney who will determine whether criminal charges related to the incident should be filed.

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the following appointments:

Adam Waddell, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas Public Transportation Coordination Council. Appointment expires September 20, 2025. Reappointment.

Ron Pitts, Hensley, to the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy. Appointment expires August 17, 2026. Replaces David Vaden.

Paul Bruce, Little Rock, to the Medical Ionizing Radiation Licensure Committee. Appointment expires July 14, 2024. Replaces Scott Yakoubian.

Dr. Allan Kirkland, Dardanelle, to the Medical Ionizing Radiation Licensure Committee. Appointment expires July 14, 2024. Reappointment.

Dr. Richard Nelson, Fort Smith, to the Medical Ionizing Radiation Licensure Committee. Appointment expires July 14, 2024. Reappointment.

Eugenia Brown, Mountain View, to the Advisory Council of the Arkansas Arts Council. Appointment expires June 30, 2025. Reappointment.

Dr. Charles Daniels, El Dorado, to the Advisory Council of the Arkansas Arts Council. Appointment expires June 30, 2025. Reappointment.

Anntonia Magruder, West Memphis, to the Advisory Council of the Arkansas Arts Council. Appointment expires June 30, 2025. Reappointment.

Lorie Whitby, Lafe, to the Arkansas Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission. Appointment expires June 30, 2027. Reappointment.

Terry Cleaver, Morrilton, to the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Board. Appointment expires August 1, 2025. Reappointment.

Dr. William Decker, Roland, to the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Board. Appointment expires August 1, 2025. Reappointment.

Dr. John Nowlin, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Board. Appointment expires August 1, 2025. Replaces Amy Whitehead.

Dr. Dillon Erwin, Hot Springs, to the Arkansas Home Inspector Registration Board. Appointment expires January 26, 2023. Replaces Robert Neal.

Chris Perry, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Home Inspector Registration Board. Appointment expires January 26, 2023. Replaces Tom Allen.

Allie Barker, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Independent Living Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2022. Replaces Candy Wray.

Addie Edwards, Camden, to the Arkansas State Rehabilitation Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2024. New Position.

Benjamin Scallion, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Rehabilitation Council. Appointment expires February 1, 2024. Replaces Murray Maples.

Bennett Downs, Bryant, to the Arkansas State Respiratory Care Examining Committee. Appointment expires August 7, 2024. Reappointment.

Dr. Mark Reiner, Jonesboro, to the Arkansas Board of Podiatric Medicine. Appointment expires August 31, 2024. Reappointment.

Dr. Darlene Byrd, Cabot, to the Full Independent Practice Credentialing Committee. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. New Board.

Dr. Leonie DeClerk, Jacksonville, to the Full Independent Practice Credentialing Committee. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. New Board.

Dr. Mark Foster, Paragould, to the Full Independent Practice Credentialing Committee. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. New Board.

Julia Ponder, Little Rock, to the Full Independent Practice Credentialing Committee. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. New Board.

Dr. Mitzi Scotten, Jonesboro, to the Full Independent Practice Credentialing Committee. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. New Board.

Professor Donna Shipley, Fort Smith, to the Full Independent Practice Credentialing Committee. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. New Board.

Dr. Purushottam Thapa, Little Rock, to the Full Independent Practice Credentialing Committee. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. New Board.

Dr. William Hawkins, Little Rock, to the Full Independent Practice Credentialing Committee. Appointment expires September 1, 2024. New Board.

Judge Tonya Alexander, Marion, to the Arkansas Public Defender Commission. Appointment expires July 1, 2023. Reappointment.

John Mikesch, Fayetteville, to the Arkansas Public Defender Commission. Appointment expires July 1, 2024. Replaces Warner Taylor.

Judge David Talley, Magnolia, to the Arkansas Public Defender Commission. Appointment expires July 1, 2026. Reappointment.

Dr. Raymond Molden, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2024. Reappointment.

Shani Patterson, Fort Smith, to the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2024. Replaces Debra Hurd.

Betty Guhman, North Little Rock, to the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2024. Reappointment.

Norman Kemper, Austin, to the Arkansas Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coordinating Council. Appointment expires July 1, 2022. Replaces Suzanne Tipton.

Mandy McFall, Leachville, to the Arkansas Geological Survey. Appointment expires January 14, 2025. Replaces Maryln Looney.

Jeffrey Marcussen, Little Rock, to the Academic Facilities Review Board. Appointment expires August 6, 2024. Reappointment.

Daniel Barnes, Fayetteville, to the Academic Facilities Review Board. Appointment expires August 6, 2024. Reappointment.

Kelli Gemmell, Rogers, to the Arkansas State Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, and Interior Designers. Appointment expires April 26, 2024. Replaces Suzanne Laffoon.

William Hurley, Farmington, to the Arkansas State Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, and Interior Designers. Appointment expires April 26, 2024. Replaces George Krennerich.

Wesley Walls, Little Rock, to the Arkansas State Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, and Interior Designers. Appointment expires April 26, 2025. Reappointment.

Boyce Barnett, Cave City, to the Board of Electrical Examiners of the State of Arkansas. Appointment expires June 15, 2023. Replaces George Taylor.

Charlotte Bradley, Hope, to the Board of Electrical Examiners of the State of Arkansas. Appointment expires June 15, 2025. Reappointment.

Michael Hocutt, Little Rock, to the Board of Electrical Examiners of the State of Arkansas. Appointment expires June 15, 2024. Reappointment.

Michael Rappold, Conway, to the Board of Electrical Examiners of the State of Arkansas. Appointment expires June 15, 2024. Replaces Benjamin Mullen.

Heath Shearon, Maumelle, to the Elevator Safety Board. Appointment expires July 1, 2022. Replaces Colin Caldwell.

Richard Riley, Sherwood, to the Elevator Safety Board. Appointment expires July 1, 2023. Replaces Raymond Styers.

David Nixon, Springdale, to the Commission on Uniform State Laws. Appointment expires April 30, 2025. Reappointment.

Cliff McKinney, Benton, to the Commission on Uniform State Laws. Appointment expires April 30, 2025. Reappointment.

John Shepherd, El Dorado, to the Commission on Uniform State Laws. Appointment expires April 30, 2025. Reappointment.

Tammy Hamilton, Jacksonville, to the Arkansas Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Telecommunications Services Corporation Board of Directors. Appointment expires June 1, 2024. Replaces Lynn Franquemont.

Alan Cansler, Arkadelphia, as a Justice of the Peace for the Hot Spring County Quorum Court, District 9. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Replaces Ray Cook.

Samuel Bryant, Jr., Malvern, as a Justice of the Peace for the Hot Spring County Quorum Court, District 1. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Replaces Pete Willis.

Randy Scott, Blytheville, to the State Banking Board. Appointment expires December 31, 2025. Reappointment.

Tommy Brown, North Little Rock, to the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board. Appointment expires June 22, 2024. Reappointment.

Matthew Ross, Conway, to the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board. Appointment expires June 22, 2024. Reappointment.

Joe Spadoni, White Hall, to the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board. Appointment expires June 22, 2024. Reappointment.

Jerry Vint, Alexander, to the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board. Appointment expires June 22, 2024. Reappointment.

Cary Gray, Centerton, to the Arkansas State Board of Sanitarians. Appointment expires June 30, 2026. Reappointment.

William Heaston, Little Rock, to the Board of the Division of State Services for the Blind. Appointment expires June 30, 2025. Replaces James Julian.

David Henry, Bentonville, to the Board of the Division of State Services for the Blind. Appointment expires June 30, 2025. Replaces Teresea Sheeler.

Tiffany Moore, Sherwood, to the Board of the Division of State Services for the Blind. Appointment expires June 30, 2025. Replaces William Johnson.

Theresea Petrey, Little Rock, to the Board of the Division of State Services for the Blind. Appointment expires June 30, 2025. Reappointment.

Mark Constant, Marked Tree, to the HCAVR Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2025. Reappointment.

Ronnie Dorsey, De Queen, to the HCAVR Licensing Board. Appointment expires June 30, 2025. Reappointment.

Ralph Hudson, Little Rock, to the HCAVR Licensing Board. Serves at the pleasure of the Governor.

Darrell Loveless, Crossett, to the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2031. Replaces Ronnie Wheeler.

Joe Farrer, Austin, to the Arkansas State Board of Physical Therapy. Appointment expires July 1, 2024. Reappointment.

Donald Pierce, Hot Springs Village, to the Arkansas State Board of Physical Therapy. Appointment expires July 1, 2024. Replaces Samuel Denton.

Dr. Patricia Knott, Conway, to the Arkansas Tobacco Control Board. Appointment expires July 1, 2026. Reappointment.

Carlos Chicas Zepeda, Rogers, to the Board of Directors of Northwest Technical Institute. Appointment expires June 30, 2026. Reappointment.

Davesh Sitaram, Little Rock, to the Elevator Safety. Appointment expires July 1, 2025. Reappointment.

Rex Bailey, Springdale, to the State Board of Barber Examiners. Appointment expires June 30, 2027. Reappointment.

Michael Commet, Centerton, to the State Board of Barber Examiners. Appointment expires June 30, 2026. Replaces Mary Fisher.

Murry Cline, Springdale, to the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors. Appointment expires July 1, 2025. Replaces Jim Engstrom.

Kyle Salyer, Van Buren, to the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors. Appointment expires July 1, 2025. Reappointment.

Howard Heffington, Sr., Ozark, to the Supervisory Board for the Arkansas Crime information Center. Appointment expires June 30, 2025. Reappointment.

Brice Hicks, Blytheville, as Constable for Chickasawba Township, Mississippi County. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Replaces Randy Moody.

Bill Tripp, Paragould, as a Justice of the Peace for the Greene County Quorum Court, District 11. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. Replaces Ronnie Wood.

Ateca Foreman, Conway, to the Criminal Justice Task Force on Offender Court Costs and Collections. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. New Board.

Lorie Mason Jordan, Conway, to the Criminal Justice Task Force on Offender Court Costs and Collections. Appointment expires December 31, 2022. New Board.

Sharon Brooks, Fort Smith, to the State Board of Election Commissioners. Appointment expires May 28, 2025. Reappointment.

Jamie Clemmer, Benton, to the State Board of Election Commissioners. Appointment expires May 28, 2025. Replaces Bill Ackerman.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AWARDS FARM AND RANCH STRESS ASSISTANCE NETWORK GRANTS
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is awarding Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network grants to three Arkansas entities to expand or sustain stress assistance programs for individuals engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations.

The three selected entities are:
Arkansas PBS Foundation - $126,140
Agri Health Network - $100,000
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture - $99,840

“Agriculture is an inherently stressful occupation that often requires individuals to work long hours and navigate through numerous factors that are beyond their control. Recipients of this grant funding are providing critically important services to the individuals that provide the food, fiber, fuel, and shelter that we all depend on every single day and that will help keep our state’s largest industry successful into the future,” said Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward.

Arkansas PBS will use the funding to develop programs on mental health challenges faced by agricultural producers for on-air broadcast and on-demand, website, social media, and app viewing. A monthly podcast will be made available at no cost to more than 120 radio stations across the state. More information about the programs can be found at myarkansaspbs.org.

The grant funding provided to the Agri Health Network will expand the reach of its That Farm Life podcast launched in March 2021 to provide a platform for those in the agricultural industry to share stories, resources, and create a safe zone where mental health issues specific to agriculture are addressed. Funding will also be used to host informational and educational events for agricultural industry participants. More information can be found at AgriHealth.net and info@agrihealth.net. That Farm Life podcast is available on all podcast apps or through their website.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will use the grant funding to train 16 Mental Health First Aid trainers and create a website and virtual offerings for producers to engage with mental health experts and other producers remotely to learn and support healthy stress management. Contact Dr. Brittney Schrick, bschrick@uada.edu for more information.

The grants are administered by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network – State Departments of Agriculture Program (FRSAN-SDA). Funding may be used to initiate, expand, or sustain programs that provide professional agricultural behavioral health counseling and referral for other forms of assistance. More information about the FRSAN program can be found at https://bit.ly/3n5qhil.

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

November 09, 2021

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Mary Bethune Chapter# 11 Order of Eastern Star would like to thank the mayor, police department, fire department and all the participants in the recent parade for breast cancer awareness, for helping to make it a success.

The group also expressed appreciation to this station  for the spot on the radio to push the parade for breast cancer awareness.

Money received from entry fees and donations will be donated to Susan G. Komen Foundation.

SURVEY: SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM DECREASES, OWNERS UNCERTAIN ABOUT FUTURE BUSINESS CONDITIONS  
LITTLE ROCK (Nov. 9, 2021) – The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased slightly in October by 0.9 points to 98.2. One of the 10 Index components improved, seven declined, and two were unchanged. 

“Small business owners are attempting to take advantage of current economic growth but remain pessimistic about business conditions in the near future,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “One of the biggest problems for small businesses is the lack of workers for unfilled positions and inventory shortages, which will continue to be a problem during the holiday season.”

State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith said the supply chain and labor shortage are impacting Arkansas’ small business community. “Owners are paying more and trying to stay flexible, but these issues are making it hard for them to recover economically from the pandemic,” he said.

Key findings include: 

The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased seven points to 67. 

Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months fell four points to a net negative 37%. This indicator has declined 17 points over the past three months to its lowest level since November 2012.  

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, 49% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a decrease of two points from September. A net 44% of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, a 48-year record high reading. A net 32% plan to raise compensation in the next three months. 

Fifty-six percent of owners reported capital outlays in the last six months, up three points from September. Of those making expenditures, 40% reported spending on new equipment, 24% acquired vehicles, and 14% improved or expanded facilities. Seven percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 12% spent money for new fixtures and furniture. Thirty-one percent of owners plan capital outlays in the next few months, up three points and two points above the 48-year average. 

A net negative 4% of all owners reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down seven points from September. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes decreased by two points to a net 0%. 

The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases decreased three points to a net 0%. Thirty-nine percent of owners report that supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business. Another 29% report a moderate impact and 21% report a mild impact. Only 10% of owners reported no impact from recent supply chain disruptions. 

A net 9% of owners viewed current inventory stocks as “too low” in October, down one point from last month and near a record high level. A net 8% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices increased seven points to a net 53% (seasonally adjusted). Six percent of owners reported lower average selling prices and 57% reported higher average prices. Price hikes were the most frequent in wholesale (78% higher, 4% lower), retail (72% higher, 4% lower) and construction (66% higher, 0% lower). A net 51% of owners (seasonally adjusted) plan price hikes. 

The frequency of reports of positive profit trends decreased three points to a net negative 17%. Among owners reporting lower profits, 31% blamed the rise in the cost of materials, 25% blamed weaker sales, 9% cited labor costs, 9% cited the usual seasonal change, 6% cited lower prices, and 3% cited higher taxes or regulatory costs. For owners reporting higher profits, 56% credited sales volumes, 17% cited usual seasonal change, and 11% cited higher prices. 

Two percent of small employers reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied. Twenty-three percent reported all credit needs met and 63% said they were not interested in a loan. A net 2% reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts. 

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 October 2021. 

OUACHITA COUNTY EXTENSION OFFICE OFFERS SERVSAFE MANAGER COURSE
ServSafe has been the industry standard since 1919 in training millions of people how to receive, store, prepare, and serve food safely, Through the Cooperative Extension Service, we offer training and certifications for the ServSafe Food Mandler, ServSafe Manager, and ServSafe Instructor & Proctor programs. The Arkansas Department of Health is now requiring each food service facility to have at least one supervisory employee who has Certified Food Manager training.

A ServSafe Certified Food Manager Course will be offered on December 6-7, 2021 at the South Central Education Cooperative located at 2235 California Ave, Camden, AR 71701. The training will take place beginning at 8:30 a.m. on December 6, 2021. The course will cost $140 for New Managers and $60 for re-certifications and the course cost pays for the book and the exam. Participants who pass the exam will receive a ServSafe Food Manager Certification good for five years. All participants must pre-register and pay by November 17, 2021. Class size will be limited and once the Servsafe books are distributed, they are non-refundable,

If you have any questions or would like to register, please contact the Ouachita County Extension Office at 870-231-1160 or stop by our office at 2760 Mt, Holly Rd, Camden, AR, You can also email Tonya McKenzie at tmckenzie@uada.edu.

This workshop is open to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status. Persons who require ADA accommodation, language and/or interpretation services for your Servsafe course instruction, and/or examination should notify the county Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible prior to the activity.

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

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: RUTLEDGE WARNS OF RENTAL SCAMS
Says, ‘I will always fight back against scammers and con-artists who try to take advantage of hard working Arkansans’
LITTLE ROCK- Arkansans searching for a new home online should be on the lookout for rental scams. As the rental market demand continues to increase throughout Arkansas, rental scams are growing in popularity as a way for bad actors to easily collect money and personal information from consumers. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is urging Arkansans to be vigilant and do their research when seeking housing.

“I encourage everyone to be wary of a rental transaction that seems too good to be true because scammers and con-artists will stop at nothing to rip off hard-working Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will always fight back against scammers and con-artists who try to take advantage of Arkansans."

Often, these scammers utilize existing online real estate listings and repost the photos on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace with promises of a dream home available for rent at an unbelievable price. Most of the communication between the scammer and would-be renter takes place via text message or email. The scammer asks consumers to complete rental applications and provide personal information including date of birth and social security number. Typically, the scammer gives the renter a quick approval and immediately asks for the security deposit to be paid via a money transfer app before the renter has even seen the property.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge recommends that consumers report rental scam listings to local law enforcement, the website on which the advertisement was posted, and the Attorney General’s office.

Do an online search of the rental company to identify any reviews or complaints.
Rental home listings are often on several online listing services like Zillow, Trulia or Craigslist. If you see a rental company’s listing on one of those online listing services, do a search of the home’s address to make sure it appears on the rental company’s website. If it does not, it may be a scam.
It could be a red flag if the advertised rent is considerably less than comparable rentals in the area.
Rental agents should have photo ID badges issued by the company that owns or manages the property.
Apply through the rental company, licensed real estate professional or listing website.
Before you sign a lease, look for signs at the property with the name of the property owner or manager.
Ask to tour the property in person.
Never pay with cash, wire transfers, gift cards or other cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. If anyone tells you to pay this way, it is a sure sign of a scam.

If you think you have been a victim of a rental scam, please call (800) 482-8982. For more information on consumer-related topics and tips on how to avoid scams, visit ArkansasAG.gov.

ARKANSAS CENTURY FARM PROGRAM HONORS 32 FARM FAMILIES FROM 29 COUNTIES
LITTLE ROCK, AR – Governor Asa Hutchinson was joined by Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture in inducting 32 additional Arkansas farms into the Arkansas Century Farm Program.

The Arkansas Century Farm program recognizes Arkansas farms of 10 acres or more owned by the same family for at least 100 years.  The Arkansas Department of Agriculture began the Century Farm program in 2012 to highlight the contributions of these families to the agriculture industry as well as their overall contributions to our state.

Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, contributing more than $21 billion to the state’s economy annually and providing one of every six jobs in the state. Arkansas consistently ranks in the top 25 nationally in the production of more than 15 agricultural commodities.

“Year after year, decade after decade, in the face of many challenges, Century Farm families put everything on the line to earn a living and produce our food, our fabrics, our forests. Farm families are great for our economy, but they are much more than that. The work ethic, common sense, and family values that are the bedrock of a family farm are a model for all Arkansans,” said Governor Hutchinson. “For the good of Arkansas, I hope their children and grandchildren choose to continue on the family farm, and that someday, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture will create an Arkansas Two-Century Farm program.”

526 farms are currently recognized as Arkansas Century Farms throughout the state. The 32 newly inducted Century Farms are located in the following 29 counties: Arkansas, Benton, Boone, Bradley, Carroll, Clay, Cleburne, Craighead, Dallas, Desha, Faulkner, Fulton, Garland, Hot Spring, Howard, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lonoke, Monroe, Nevada, Ouachita, Perry, Prairie, Pulaski, Scott, St. Francis, White, and Yell.

A list of Arkansas Century Farms can be found here. Find the photo gallery of inductees with Governor Hutchinson here.

For more information about the Arkansas Century Farm program, contact Beth Moore at beth.moore@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

BOOZMAN LEADS PUSH TO ASSESS VA RESOURCES IN UNDERSERVED AREAS ADDING VET CENTERS IN ARKANSAS COULD ENHANCE VETERANS’ CARE
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tina Smith (D-MN) are leading bipartisan legislation to examine the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) resources in underserved areas and study the need to expand Vet Centers, the community-based counseling branch of the VA.

The senators introduced the Vet Center Support Act, legislation that directs the VA to assess its ability to furnish the full spectrum of mental health and counseling services, to identify barriers to building new Vet Centers in underserved areas and analyze staffing shortages. Additionally, the legislation assesses the effectiveness of Vet Centers in reaching veterans and directs the VA to identify gaps in outreach resources by examining states with a ratio of only one Vet Center per 100,000 veterans such as in Arkansas and Minnesota.

Arkansas’s two Vet Centers are responsible for serving a veteran population of more than 200,000. The Vet Center Support Act would correct these inequities and identify solutions to help improve the delivery of mental health care and counseling services to our veterans, servicemembers and their families who are most in need.

“Vet Centers have proven to be a critical component in providing mental health services to our veterans. Arkansas veterans should have reasonable access to these services and I’m concerned the two Centers in our state are overwhelmed with the number of veterans they support. The Vet Center Support Act will review and ensure the Vet Centers have the resources to deliver care and benefits so we can continue our commitment to those who serve in our nation’s uniform,” said Boozman, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“We know that so many Americans, including many veterans, often struggle with mental health issues,” said Smith. “Our Vet Center Support Act will ensure veterans, servicemembers, and their families can get the vital mental healthcare and counseling services they need.”

 

The legislation is supported by the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers (NACVSO) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

“Vet Centers are a vital resource for service members, veterans and their families. For 42 years, they have been offering an array of services, including individual and family counseling, benefits explanation, substance abuse assessment and referral, and many others. These centers operate without a proper staffing model to provide service for an increasingly eligible group of service members, veterans and their families. The VFW strongly supports the Vet Center Support Act, which would require VA to assess the mental health care services provided by Vet Centers. Understanding who uses these facilities and why helps coordinate adequate staffing, resources, and funding to continue or create beneficial programs and services for those who are eligible,” said Tammy Barlet, VFW Deputy Legislative Director.

The bipartisan legislation is also supported by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tim Kaine (D-VA). Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives and is cosponsored by Arkansas Congressmen Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman.

WESTERMAN STATEMENT ON INFRASTRUCTURE BILL VOTE
WASHINGTON – Last night, the House passed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Congressman Bruce Westerman issued the following statement:

"House Republicans have been ready to work across the aisle on much needed infrastructure development, but we were stonewalled at every turn," said Congressman Westerman. "The $1.2 trillion so-called Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, the largest such bill in history— even dwarfing an inflation adjusted FDR New Deal price tag— never had a hearing or a mark-up in a House committee. If it had, Americans might have found out that only about half of the bill has anything to do with infrastructure.  The rest is wasteful spending on the Green New Deal and leftist priorities. Speaker Pelosi prohibited all 435 members of the House from making a single change to the bill. That's ridiculous. 435 members of Congress were elected to serve their constituents, not rubber stamp the $1.2 trillion whim of the Senate. Moreover, the passage of this bill is directly tied to the massive socialist spending bill that will be voted on in the upcoming days. These spending bills do not 'build back better' as Democrats have promoted. They will tear down our country and devastate our economy. I proudly voted no."

BOOZMAN, WICKER, COLLEAGUES CALL FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES TO RETURN TO WORKPLACE
Senators concerned by widespread lack of responsiveness and accessibility across the federal government
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), along with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and 40 of their Senate colleagues, on Thursday wrote a letter to the heads of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to request immediate action to transition federal workers back to in-person operations.

In the letter, the senators cite the “widespread lack of responsiveness and accessibility across the federal government on account of current agency work plans,” which have kept workers out of the office and have contributed to huge delays for government services.

“Businesses have now reopened, children and teachers have returned to in-person learning, and health care and public safety workers continue to show up for work. Yet we continue to hear from constituents in our states about a lack of responsiveness from federal agencies,” the senators wrote.

The letter follows months of delays from the Biden Administration on implementing plans for agencies to return their workforce to the office and address the mounting backlog of cases that arose while workers were working from home.

The senators cite several examples of the impact this extended absence has had on government services:
Department of Veterans Affairs - As of August 30, 2021, there were almost 182,000 claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs that were backlogged because of a pause of in-person Compensation and Pension examinations last year.
Internal Revenue Service - As of October 2, 2021, the IRS had 6.8 million unprocessed individual 2020 tax year returns.
State Department - The wait time to get a new passport is now 12 to 18 weeks.
Social Security Administration - Social Security offices throughout the country have been closed except for those beneficiaries who make an appointment and are deemed to be in “dire need.” Social Security recipients have been forced to use unreliable mail services to send personal identifying information or paperwork to local field offices as most offices will not accept these documents in person.

On June 10, 2021, GSA, OMB, and OPM issued a memo regarding the return of federal employees and contractors to physical workplaces. The deadline to submit their plans was July 19, 2021. However, given President Biden’s new vaccine mandate and the spread of the Delta variant, many agencies have had to produce new plans, which are currently still unavailable to the general public and to Congress despite ongoing requests.

As the senators write, only one agency out of 20 that were recently contacted was able to provide a plan for its employees.

“We understand the unique challenges that COVID-19 has presented, but Americans continue to face unprecedented delays in accessing their federal government. This is unacceptable,” the senators explained.

The senators also expressed their view that the federal government should consider the costs to taxpayers of paying for office space that is not used, saying it is a “drain on taxpayers who are ultimately paying the price for empty offices.”

“It is now time to bring back our federal workers and deliver the service that the American people have been promised and expect of their government,” the senators concluded.

In addition to Wicker and Boozman, the letter was signed by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mike Braun (R-IN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Bill Cassidy, (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), James Risch (R-ID), Mitt Romney, (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Thune (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Patrick Toomey (R-PA), Todd Young (R-IN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Rick Scott (R-FL) and Richard Burr (R-NC).

November 05, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, November 09, 2021, 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 – Camden First Assembly Of God Church, 1275 Maul Road,  Camden, AR
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. Approval Of Minutes
     1. Minutes Regular Meeting October 12, 2021
F. Acceptance of Financial Report
     1. Financial Report for October 2021
G. Audience Participation
H. Mayor’s Report
I. Old Business
J.  New Business
     1. Ordinance No. 11-21, An Ordinance Creating a Historic District; And Establishing Procedures for The Protection and Preservation of The Character of And Properties Within The Historic District.
     2. Ordinance No. 12-21, An Ordinance Changing the Name of The Street Original Designated As Cherry Street Southwest To Las Bell Street Southwest.
     3. Ordinance No. 13-21, An Ordinance Establishing a Temporary Entertainment District; And for Other Purposes.
     4. Resolution No. 65-21, A Resolution Approving the Appointment of David Chilcote to The Water and Sewer Commission.
     5. Resolution No. 66-21, A Resolution Authorizing the Mayor to pay an End-Of-Year Bonus to City Employees including the City Clerk, Aldermen, Judge and Mayor.
     6. Resolution No. 67-21, A Resolution Authorizing the Mayor to Enter into An Amendment of The Interlocal Agreement with Ouachita County for Housing City Prisoners.

 

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL AID NIGHT
Camden Fairview High School will be hosting Fall Financial Aid Night on Tuesday November 09, 2021 at the Little Theatre at the High School. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend, especially Seniors and parents!!

 

LITTLE ROCK ZOO ACQUIRES TWO NEW CHEETAH BOYS; TRANSFERS TWO OTHERS
LITTLE ROCK (November 4, 2021) – The Little Rock Zoo has acquired two new male cheetahs and transferred two others as part of a Species Survival Plan® recommendation. The two newly acquired cheetahs join cheetah Maggie giving the Zoo a total of three resident cheetahs.

The Zoo’s new resident cheetahs, Padfoot and Prongs, arrived this past Tuesday night from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and have settled into their new digs at the Zoo. The pair are littermates that were bred as part of a breeding recommendation of the SSP. Padfoot and Prongs get their name from popular Harry Potter characters. 

One of the new cheetahs’ keepers, Maggie Quinn stated, “Padfoot and Prongs are settling right in at the Little Rock Zoo’s cheetah outpost! They were able to explore their exhibit for the first time today [November 3, 2021].” She further added, “Prongs, the bigger brother, seemed very excited to watch the zebra from the veldt, [while] Padfoot was more interested in the female Maggie in the exhibit next door. We can’t wait to get to know these boys even better!”

Oscar and Boomer, two brothers who came from Cincinnati and who had been living at the Zoo since July 2018, were transferred recently to Oklahoma City Zoo. They will become a part of a new African section of the OKC Zoo that will feature a new cheetah habitat and an expansion that includes an African savannah with giraffes, okapi and gazelle.  

About the Zoo:
The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit www.aza.org.

For more information on Little Rock Zoo, visit www.littlerockzoo.com or call 501-661-7208.

 

STATE TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN RECEIVES NATIONAL FINANCIAL LEADERSHIP AWARD
Commitment to public service recognized
Little Rock, Ark. – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan received the 2021 Servant Leadership Award Wednesday evening from the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) during its fall conference.

“We give this award annually to a member of our SFOF team who exhibits leadership in service, and we’re proud to honor Treasurer Milligan for his dedication to the people of Arkansas,” said Derek Kreifels, CEO of SFOF, a national nonprofit organization that promotes fiscal responsibility. “Milligan’s leadership in chairing our national board in 2021 exhibited his commitment to service and we are pleased to recognize him with this award.”

Milligan served as chairman of the State Financial Officers Foundation for the 2020-2021 year and now serves on the board for the foundation.

“My passion for public service and my beloved state guides my actions in the treasurer’s office daily,” Milligan said. “I’m humbled and honored by this award from my peers at SFOF.”
 

RANKING MEMBER BOOZMAN, REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE LEADERS CALL FOR TRANSPARENT PROCESS TO VET RECKLESS TAX-AND-SPEND LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, joined with Republican leaders of committees that have received reconciliation instructions to call on the Democrats to hold legislative hearings and markups with votes on Democrats’ reckless taxing and spending legislation.  

Led by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance, the senators wrote Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to highlight the need for the legislative text to be made public and official scores from the nonpartisan budget experts—the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation—along with full committee consideration and debate.

“Hiding the details of the real cost of the trillions of dollars in new government spending and tax increases by using budgetary gimmicks is an attempt to disguise the true cost and impact the reckless tax and spending spree will have on the nearly $29 trillion national debt, rising prices, jobs and inflation,” the senators wrote. “There is currently no score from the Congressional Budget Office on a fully-specified legislative proposal, but there needs to be full transparency on the proposal and sunshine on any possible budget gimmicks to understand the true cost. 

In the letter, the senators explicitly describe how this broken process has produced bad legislation.

“Failure to secure details on the true cost of these spending proposals and offsets, and to hold full, open committee markups, only serves to erode the American people’s trust in the Senate as an open and effective institution.  We cannot substitute a secretive process behind closed doors for a public dialogue, nor rhetorical scores in lieu of true economic impact,” the senators wrote.

Boozman has previously called for hearings in the ag committee and every Republican member of the committee signed a letter to Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) asking for public hearings with  stakeholder input and a business meeting to consider improvements to the bill. 

Along with Boozman and Crapo, ranking members from the following committees signed the letter: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY);  Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC); Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV); Senate Committee on the Budget Ranking Member Lindsay Graham (R-SC); Senate Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA); Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS; Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK); Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Rand Paul (R-KY); Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-OH); Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Patrick Toomey (R-PA); and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS).
 

COTTON, KLOBUCHAR INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO PROTECT COMPETITION AND CONSUMER CHOICE ONLINE
The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act will help stop anticompetitive mergers and acquisitions by dominant online platforms
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent monopolistic big tech firms from making killer acquisitions that harm competition and eliminate consumer choice. Bill text may be found here. A one-pager about the bill may be found here.

“Big tech firms have bought up rivals to crush their competition, expand their monopolistic market share, and to harm working Americans. That’s bad for America. Under this bill, the largest tech monopolies will have the burden of proving that further acquisitions are lawful and good for the American people,” said Cotton. 

“Competition is critical to protecting workers and consumers and spurring innovation. But today, we’re increasingly seeing companies choose to buy their rivals rather than compete,” said Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation will put an end to those anticompetitive acquisitions by making it more difficult for dominant digital platforms to eliminate their competitors and enhance the platform’s market power. It’s past time to address our nation’s monopoly problem and modernize our antitrust laws for the digital economy.”

“For years, American Principles Project has been urging Congress to do everything in its power to rein in the power of Big Tech. We are thrilled that Senator Cotton has taken the lead on this important issue. This bill will make it more difficult for these Big Tech companies to engage in predatory mergers and acquisitions, which will help promote a free and fair market where consumers benefit because innovation and competition are finally allowed to flourish. We encourage Republicans in both the House and Senate to take a serious look at this bill and consider providing support,” said Jon Schweppe, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, American Principles Project.

“Free markets only work if there’s competition. Trillion-dollar Big Tech monopolists like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple use their staggering market power to buy start-ups that could threaten their dominance. This unfair and abusive practice prevents competition, crushes small businesses, harms consumers and leads to a decline in innovation. The Internet Accountability Project applauds the leadership of Senators Cotton and Klobuchar for their bipartisan legislation to put the burden on Big Tech to prove their acquisitions won't strengthen their monopolistic market share while still allowing for due process and a day in court,” said Mike Davis, President and Founder, Internet Accountability Project.

“If Facebook hadn’t been able to acquire WhatsApp, consumers would still be able to choose between WhatsApp’s privacy-first, 99-cents-a-year subscription service and Facebook’s personal data collection and exploitation-based service.  This bill would make it more likely that consumers have access to diverse innovative services that challenge Big Tech’s way of doing business. The bill would require corporations running the largest online platforms to justify big acquisitions, making it harder for them to simply buy and neuter competitors, and further raise entry barriers,” said Sumit Sharma, Senior Researcher, Tech Competition at Consumer Reports. 

“Right on the heels of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act of 2021 is another strong, bipartisan solution for addressing a piece of the Big Tech puzzle. Senators Klobuchar and Cotton should be applauded for this targeted bill to combat one of the major strategies Big Tech uses to entrench its dominance: mergers and acquisitions. With a bill like this in place, truly innovative ideas that are disruptive to the Big Tech status quo will have a chance to flourish. This bill is an important step towards a better internet for users and small businesses alike, free from Big Tech’s control,” said Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director at Public Knowledge. 

“For too long, the tech giants have been allowed to use predatory mergers to eliminate their competitors, seize control of pivotal new technologies, and expand their dominance. Big Tech’s track record of unimpeded acquisitions offers one of the most glaring examples of how current antitrust policy has failed America’s entrepreneurs and small businesses. We applaud this bi-partisan effort, led by Senators Klobuchar and Cotton, to stand up to Big Tech by introducing legislation that would end these anti-competitive acquisitions and help usher in a more dynamic and innovative economy. Together with other measures, including structural separation and the nondiscrimination legislation, the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act of 2021 will rein in the tech giants’ monopoly power and safeguard the well-being of independent businesses, workers, and local communities,” said Stacy Mitchell, Co-Director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. 

“We applaud Sens. Klobuchar and Cotton for developing bi-partisan legislation that aims to prevent platform monopolists from cementing and augmenting their already dangerous levels of power. This bill is an important step toward ensuring that Big Tech platforms cannot continue to fortify and expand their dominance through acquisition, or to eliminate competitive threats simply by buying them. Absent congressional action, platform monopolists will continue to manipulate commerce and communications in ways that threaten our democracy and wreak havoc on the free press, workers, communities, and small businesses across the country.  We look forward to working closely with Sen. Klobuchar and other partners to further strengthen this bill, and other legislative efforts to loosen Big Tech’s concentrated control of America’s critical infrastructure of speech and commerce,” said Barry Lynn, Executive Director of the Open Markets Institute. 

“Big Tech monopolies have shamelessly gobbled up hundreds of potential competitors over the last decade. Even when faced with historic antitrust enforcement, they have continued to pursue anticompetitive acquisitions. The answer is to make clear that predatory behavior – like Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp – will no longer be tolerated. This legislation will do just that and is an important step towards reining in the power of these companies that believe they should be above the law. We are encouraged by the bipartisan interest in this important issue and appreciate the leadership of Sen. Klobuchar to take on the Big Tech monopolies,” said Alex Harman, Competition Policy Advocate at Public Citizen. 

A bipartisan group led by Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), and Ranking Member Ken Buck (R-Colorado) introduced a similar version of the bill in the House, which was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee. 

At a moment when the digital economy has become highly concentrated and prone to monopolization, the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act will halt further harmful consolidation by:

Giving antitrust enforcers stronger authority to stop acquisitions by dominant platforms that primarily serve to kill competitive threats or enhance the platform’s monopoly power, including acquisitions:

Of direct competitors;
That reinforce or expand a platform’s market position;

Of potential competitors; and
Of data that strengthen or expand a platform’s dominance.

Shifting the burden in merger enforcement to dominant platforms to demonstrate the merger is not anticompetitive.

Striking the appropriate balance for merger enforcement in digital markets by permitting dominant platforms to make acquisitions that do not threaten competition or enhance monopoly power.
 

COTTON, KHANNA, COLLEAGUES LEAD BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO SUPPORT TAIWAN’S STANDING IN GLOBAL HEALTH COMMUNITY
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-California) introduced the U.S.-Taiwan Public Health Protection Act to establish a U.S.-Taiwan Infectious Disease Monitoring Center within the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to partner with Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Representative Michael Waltz (R-Florida) are co-sponsors of the bill. Bill text may be found here.

“Beijing’s efforts to exclude Taiwan from the global health community have had deadly consequences. Our bill will ensure the United States has the resources it needs to monitor health threats emerging in the Indo-Pacific and will allow Taiwan to share its knowledge with the world,” said Cotton.

“For too long, the United States has been myopically focused on traditional national security issues and it has hurt our ability to promptly respond to new threats like the COVID-19 pandemic. We must learn from countries like Taiwan that grasped the dangers of this pandemic early on and had success in suppressing it,” said Khanna. “By establishing a U.S.-Taiwan Infectious Disease Monitoring Center, Congress can help prevent future pandemics and ensure important knowledge sharing can take place between the U.S. and Taiwan.”

“Taiwan’s response to the pandemic has been incredibly successful, and it is unacceptable that the Chinese government is excluding them from global efforts to combat infectious diseases,” said Cortez Masto. “This legislation will allow the U.S. to partner with Taiwan to safely monitor health threats and help prevent future pandemics.”

“We should not be surprised that the Chinese Communist Party’s genocidal regime has willingly withheld information on the COVID-19 pandemic, causing devastating effects around the world,” said Rubio. “We need a reliable and transparent partner in the Indo-Pacific that will provide us with accurate information in order to prevent and mitigate future health crises. Taipei has a comparative advantage in global health and is a trustworthy democratic ally and a valued friend.  I am glad to support this effort, which will strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations and benefit global health.”

“Taiwan has been a global leader in monitoring infectious diseases and developed one of the most successful responses in fighting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Waltz. “By establishing a joint disease monitoring center with Taiwan, we can safely monitor the impacts of infectious diseases, share best practices, and develop responses so we can effectively combat the next global pandemic.” 

The bill is supported by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) and Taiwan’s CDC.

The U.S.-Taiwan Public Health Protection Act would:
Establish a U.S.-Taiwan Infectious Disease Monitoring Center within the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to partner with Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control.

The center would monitor infectious diseases originating in the region, engage in people-to-people contacts with medical and health officials in the region, and provide expertise on health threats to the U.S. and Taiwanese governments.

The center will be staffed by U.S. government detailees, including at least three Health and Human Services (HHS) infectious disease experts and at least one staffer from other federal departments, and may employ local Taiwanese staff and employees of Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Require a one-year study and report to Congress to determine the Center’s funding and staffing needs and its level of cooperation with Taiwanese health authorities.ember 05, 2021

November 03, 2021

CAMDEN MAN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED RAPE AND INCEST
Billy Allred, 42, of Camden was arrested on warrant for alleged two counts of rape and incest.

Sergeant Reynolds responded to report what was believed to be a civil dispute at the time dispatched.  Contact was made with the Mother of a Minor. The Mother is also Allred’s wife. The mother believed her daughter had been sexually assaulted for an extended period of time.  The mother had suspicions, but no physical proof until her daughter came forward about being assaulted. 

The mother explained to Sergeant Reynolds that her and her daughter sleep in one room and Allred sleeps in a different room.  Recently, in 2021 the Mother came home early from work, her daughter was not in her room, so she walked into Allred’s room.  She discovered Allred in a “natural state of being” at the end of the bed and her daughter was in her nightgown with her hands covering her eyes.  When the mother asked what was going on, Allred claimed that he was getting out of bed and getting some clothes on and her daughter walked in.  The daughter didn’t explain why they were both in Allred’s bedroom together. 

Sergeant Reynolds interviewed the daughter separately and the daughter revealed Allred forced her to “perform”.  The daughter divulged that this has been happening since she was younger. She had brought up an incident that occurred four weeks prior to talking with Sergeant Reynolds that Allred came to her room, to come to her room, where he proceeded to “perform” on her.  She also stated that Allred had done this many times before while she was sleeping.  She tried to resist and fight against his advances, but he did let up. 
She reflected back at other times when Allred requested “favors” from her while she was riding with him on his paper route for the local paper.  They were parked waiting for the paper route to start.  She was falling asleep and he forced her to “perform” on him. 

During the investigation the daughter was forensically interviewed and physically examined. The outcome of the examination, in the section for laboratory, findings of sexual contact of abuse and assault.  That was determined to be present. It was also added the findings of suspicious suggestive of injury contact from sexual abuse assault.  It was also revealed in the forensic interview the last time was two weeks prior to being interviewed and prior to when her mother walked in. During the incident where the mother walked in, the daughter said that was where Allred had her come to his bedroom and took advantage of her saying he was getting what he wanted. She went into great detail of what was demanded of her. 

A warrant was obtained for Mr. Allred on November 1, 2021, signed by Judge Singleton with a mandatory appearance bond.  He was escorted to his initial appearance on November 2nd, before Judge Keaton.  During the hearing, Allred shut down the hearing.  Allred decided not to go along with the probable cause hearing, therefore a bond was not issued and Allred was returned to his cell at the Ouachita County Detention Center.  His next hearing will be arraignment after he meets with his appointed a Public Defender. 

ENTERGY ARKANSAS: BE WARY OF DROWSY DRIVING AS DST ENDS
Daylight Saving Time changes can affect drivers’ visibility, wakefulness, focus
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Imagine on the drive home from work, your eyelids droop and your head starts to nod. Yawning becomes almost constant, and your vision seems blurry. You blink hard, focus your eyes, and suddenly realize that you’ve veered onto the shoulder or into oncoming traffic for a moment and quickly straighten the wheel.

This time you were lucky; next time you could become the latest victim of a drowsy driving tragedy along with anyone else in harm’s way.

Daylight Saving Time comes to an end this weekend, and National Road Safety Foundation studies prove auto accidents increase after the clocks fall back an hour. Darkness will fall earlier in the evening when traffic peaks, as many are making their way home from work. Besides the lack of visibility, the NRSF notes that commuting in the dark can also make drivers drowsier than usual.

Drowsy driving is a factor in more than 300,000 crashes every year, causing more than 5,000 deaths, 109,000 injuries and more than $30 billion in losses, according to the

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A study by the AAA puts those numbers even higher, claiming drowsy driving crashes have been under-reported by eight times.

Studies also show nearly two-thirds of motorists have driven while fatigued, and more than one third admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel. The Governors Highway Safety

Association last year estimated more than 83 million sleep-deprived Americans were driving on a typical day.

Although drowsy driving is a common problem that may arise situationally in any driver who is sleep deprived, certain groups are recognized to be at higher risk that others for habitual drowsy driving:

Young people, especially males under age 26

Shift workers and people with long work hours-working the night shift increases your risk by nearly six times; rotating-shift workers and people working more than 60 hours a week need to be particularly careful

Commercial drivers, especially long-haul drivers – at least 15% of all heavy truck crashes involve fatigue

People with undiagnosed or untreated disorders - people with untreated obstructive sleep apnea have been shown to have up to a seven times increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel

Business travelers who spend many hours driving or may be jet lagged

Entergy Arkansas makes safety its number one priority both on and off the job, in work or personal vehicles. These signs for employees to stop and rest can be helpful for any driver:

Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts

Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs

Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes

Trouble keeping your head up

Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip

Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids

Feeling restless and irritable

Experts with the NSRF say rolling down the windows and blasting the air conditioner are much less effective than simply finding a safe spot to pull over and take a break. Take a 20-minute nap or drink cup or two of coffee or a caffeinated snack and allow 30 minutes for the caffeine to enter the bloodstream. For more driving safety information, visit https://www.nrsf.org/resources/drowsy-driving.

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

 

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM COURT TO MEET
The Ouachita County Quorurn Court will meet in regular Session on Thursday, November 04, 2021 at 6:30 PM. The meeting will be at the District Courtroom, 109 Goodgame St., Camden, Arkansas. The Law Enforcement committee will meet at 6:00 p.m.

The agenda is as follows:
Roll Call
Invocation
Pledge Of Allegiance
Approval Of Minutes
Approval Of Treasurer's Report Audience Participation

New Business
     I. An Appropriation Ordinance To Appropriate Funds In The Variousfunds To Establish Premium Pay.
     2. An Appropriation Ordinance To Appropriate Funds In The General Fund, Assessor Budge
     3. An Appropriation Ordinance To Appropriate Funds In The Road Fund, Highway Budget
     4. An Approprjation Ordinance To Appropriate Funds Ln The Jail Operating Fund, Sheriff And Jail Budgets.
     5. An Ordinance Levying The Tax Millage On All Taxable Property, Real And Personal In Ouachita County Arkansas.
Unfinished Business
Adjournment

 

GLASS ARTIST JAMES HAYES EXHIBIT OPENING AT SAAC
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to welcome Pine Bluff glass artist James Hayes and his new exhibit "Pâte de Verre" to the Price and Merkle Galleries November 2-29, 2021. There will be an artist's reception on Saturday, November 6 from 6:00pm-7:30pm.

Hayes' beautifully colorful exhibit was dreamed up by a recent trip abroad. "I recently had the chance to go to Paris during the pandemic, spend five weeks and travel around Europe. My time and experiences there have inspired this show through color and shape," he said.

"I discovered glass blowing in 1988 at the Arkansas Arts Center after receiving an art degree from Hendrix College, said Hayes. "Since then, I have been blessed to be able to study glass art all over the world. Glass blowing is my calling in life, my creative avenue for expression. I use nature, chance, fashion, and my emotions as inspiration for my art glass. My art is playful, adventurous, colorful and distinctive. When I make something I always begin with the end in mind. However, during the glassmaking process the design can change."

James Hayes was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas where he owns and operates the James Hayes Art Glass Company. After receiving an art degree from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas in 1988, he searched for a new medium to express his artistic talent. Three months later, he discovered glassblowing. He has studied glassblowing in Murano, Italy; Columbus, Ohio; and the Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle Washington. In 1993, he bought his own equipment and formed the James Hayes Art Glass Company. In 1996, he purchased a dairy farm and converted the milking parlor into a hot shop and showroom.

James has had numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States as well as one in Hong Kong. One of his most memorable displays was outside at Garvin Gardens in Hot Springs entitled "A Splash of Glass" in 2013. Some of his honors include an invitation from the White House to design a Christmas tree ornament; designing the tree topper for the Arkansas State Capital Christmas tree 2016-2019, and being featured on High Profile in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in addition to KHTV Channel 11's "Everyone Has a Story" along with many other news stories. He has been featured in many publications including being on the cover of "At Home in Arkansas" magazine and featured in "Southern Living Magazine". 

He has won the Best of Media award at the Shreveport, Louisiana, Red River Revel Arts Festival and Best of Show at Riverfest in Little Rock, Arkansas.

James was given the responsibility for designing gifts for the 2003 Lt. Governors Conference and the design of the 2001 Governor's Arts Awards in addition to designing ornaments for the James Hayes Christmas Tree in the Governor's Mansion in 2007. He was awarded the Hendrix College Odyssey Medal in Artistic Creativity for the 2006-2007 year. His most recent award was first place in the Annual Delta Visual Art Show in 2019. The work of James Hayes is available in numerous shops in the Southern region. For more information, check out his website at www.hayesartglass.com.


For more information on the James Hayes 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.
 

ARKANSAS MAN CHARGED IN $100 MILLION COVID-19 HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME
A federal grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas returned an indictment yesterday charging an Arkansas man who owned or managed numerous diagnostic testing laboratories with health care fraud in connection with over $100 million dollars in false billings for urine drug testing, COVID-19 testing, and other clinical laboratory services.

According to court documents, Billy Joe Taylor, 42, of Lavaca, engaged in a scheme between February 2017 and May 2021 in connection with diagnostic laboratory testing, including urine drug testing and tests for respiratory illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, that were medically unnecessary, not ordered by medical providers, and/or not provided as represented. According to the indictment, Taylor controlled and directed multiple diagnostic laboratories, and used those labs to submit more than $100 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. The indictment alleges that Taylor obtained medical information and private personal information for Medicare beneficiaries, and then misused that confidential information to repeatedly submit claims to Medicare for diagnostic tests that were not ordered by medical providers and were not actually performed by the laboratories. Taylor allegedly then used the proceeds of the fraud to live a lavish lifestyle, including purchasing numerous luxury automobiles, including a Rolls Royce Wraith, as well as real estate, jewelry, guitars, and other luxury clothing and items.

Taylor is charged with 16 counts of health care fraud, and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally-derived property. Taylor was previously charged by criminal complaint in May 2021. The defendant is scheduled for his arraignment on Nov. 23 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark E. Ford of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Each of the counts is punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes for the Western District of Arkansas; Special Agent in Charge James A. Dawson, of the FBI’s Little Rock division; Special Agent in Charge Miranda Bennett of the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Dallas Regional Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Altemus of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Dallas Field Office, made the announcement.

The FBI, HHS-OIG, and IRS-Criminal Investigation are investigating the case.

Senior Litigation Counsel Jim Hayes and Trial Attorney D. Keith Clouser of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section’s National Rapid Response Strike Force and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Elser of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
 

BOOZMAN, COTTON SEEK TO BLOCK TAXPAYER FUNDED SETTLEMENT PAYMENTS TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) to introduce a bill to block President Biden’s reported plan to spend upwards of a billion dollars to provide $450,000 per person in taxpayer money for settlements for illegal immigrants. 

“Illegal immigration does not deserve a reward, and this proposal sends exactly the wrong message to hardworking families across the country as well as to those who obeyed our laws and followed proper procedure to come to the United States. This plan is the latest example of the Biden administration’s disastrous immigration policies continuing to undermine secure borders and the rule of law, and my colleagues and I will fight every step of the way to defeat it,” Boozman said.

“It would be unthinkable to pay damages to a burglar who broke into your home for the ‘psychological trauma’ they endured during the crime. And yet the Biden administration wants to reward migrants who illegally entered our country with up to $450,000 each for just that reason. President Biden’s promises of citizenship and entitlement programs have already caused the worst border crisis in history—a huge cash reward will make it even worse. This is the height of insanity,” Cotton said.

“Biden’s open border policies have reached a new crazy level. Montana families are struggling with inflation and skyrocketing costs on everything from gas to groceries because of Biden’s wasteful spending policies, and now the President wants to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to illegal immigrants. Because of Biden, our southern border has been taken over by Mexican cartels and this effort will only continue to incentivize illegal immigration making it worse. This is a gut punch to the American taxpayer,” Daines said.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Todd Young (R-IN), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Richard Burr (R-NC), James Lankford (R-OK), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Jim Risch (R-ID) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) joined Daines, Boozman and Cotton in introducing the legislation.

November 02, 2021

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID 19 UPDATE – NOVEMBER 02, 2021
State officials are laying down the process for Arkansas children to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations once the federal approval process is finalized.

During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11-years-old could come as early as this week. He added that Arkansas parents will have several options available to schedule a vaccine for their children immediately after approval is finalized. Those options include through any Arkansas county health unit or a registered Vaccine for Children (VFC) provider.

The state expects to receive over 100,000 pediatric doses through an initial distribution. However, health officials are asking parents to call ahead and schedule a vaccine for their child to ensure the vaccine is available.  

Hutchinson said state health officials are noting an increase in COVID-19 transmissions among five to 11-year-old children. For that reason, he and other state officials are strongly recommending all eligible children receive the vaccine. However, Hutchinson stressed the state has no vaccine mandate in place and no intentions to establish one.
Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero spoke briefly to explain that clinical trials showed Pfizer's pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and effective.
 
Regarding the state's COVID-19 figures, the Arkansas Department of Health reported an additional 641 cases of COVID-19 across the state on Tuesday. That raises the state's cumulative total to nearly 514,000 transmissions since the pandemic began. Active cases saw a slight increase, rising by 70 to 4,490 currently. Deaths rose by 28 over the same period to 8,412 since the spring of 2020. Hospitalizations fell by six to leave 325 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus. 

 

SMART FLU PREVENTION TIPS FOR WORKPLACES
(StatePoint) It’s estimated that influenza sent up to 400,000 people to the hospital with flu complications and caused an estimated 22,000 deaths in the United States in the 2019-2020 flu season. As more Americans return to their workplaces, employers can play an important role in flu prevention.

While experts aren’t exactly sure what the upcoming flu season will look like, relaxed COVID-19 preventative measures such as physical distancing, reduced travel, staying home and strict mask-wearing policies, will likely result in the return of seasonal flu. And because of a mild 2020-2021 influenza season, the 2021-2022 flu season may begin early and could be severe.

“All employers should actively promote healthy habits to help prevent the spread of flu, address barriers, and make it easier for employees to get vaccinated at their earliest opportunity,” says Albert Rizzo, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. “Keeping staff healthy benefits not only individual workers, but employers too, making flu prevention not only an obligation, but a smart business strategy.”

As part of its Fend Off Flu campaign, the American Lung Association in partnership with Anthem Foundation is offering these tips to help businesses and organizations prevent the spread of flu and other illnesses in the workplace:

• Offer flexible paid sick leave policies to encourage employees who fall ill to recover without fear of lost wages.

• Offer telework policies that allow employees to stay home and care for sick family members.

• Advise employees to stay home if they feel ill. Individuals with the flu should stay home for at least four to five days after symptoms begin.

• Ask unwell employees to go home. Employees who appear to have flu symptoms at the workplace should be promptly separated from others and asked to recover at home.

• Provide facial tissue, no-touch trash cans, hand-washing stations, as well as alcohol-based hand sanitizer to promote preventive actions.

• Provide signage, such as posters and flyers, that explains healthy habits and employee policies.

• Help promote flu vaccination among your staff. Vaccination is the best way to help protect against the flu and over the course of over 50 years, hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received routine flu shots. Build vaccine confidence by addressing employees’ questions and concerns and by sharing accurate scientific information and facts. Offer vaccination opportunities in the workplace or nearby in the community, as well as paid time off for vaccine appointments and recovery from illness. For more workplace flu prevention tips and insights, visit lung.org/fend-off-flu.

Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization, severe complications and death. Because people spend so much of their time in the workplace, employers have a special obligation and opportunity to help reduce employees’ risk for contracting flu.

November 01, 2021

PUBLIC HEARING REGARDING ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT IN THE CITY OF CAMDEN TO BE HELD
The City of Camden will hold a Public Hearing regarding the establishment of a temporary entertainment in the Downtown area of the City of Camden. The Hearing will be held at 6:30 pm in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building Tuesday, November 02, 2021.

The ordinance is printed below:

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF
CAMDEN, ARKANSAS ESTABLISHING A TEMPORARY ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSE

WHEREAS, the State of Arkansas has passed into law Act 812 of 2019, hereinafter referred to as "the Act" to promote hospitality and tourism; to establish areas of a city or town that highlight restaurant, entertainment, and hospitality options; to establish temporary or permanent designated entertainment districts; and for other purposes; and

                WHEREAS, the Act allows the Council to establish an entertainment district within the corporate limits of the City of Camden, Arkansas; and

                WHEREAS, the Council has considered the merits of establishing such a district and believes that it will benefit the downtown area; and

                WHEREAS, the Council believes that the creation of an entertainment district will help promote an atmosphere aimed at facilitating business and promoting tourism; and.

                WHEREAS, the Council finds that other cities, have had success with such districts, and believes that it is in the best interest of the City of Camden, Arkansas, to provide for the creation of such a district as provided in this ordinance; and

                WHEREAS, nothing herein is intended to confer any rights or entitlement. Selling alcohol within an area designated as an entertainment district is a privilege, not a right, and is subject at all times to reasonable regulation by local, state, and federal authorities; and

                WHEREAS, subject to the terms and limitations of the Act and this Ordinance, the City of Camden, Arkansas, wishes to establish an entertainment district in the downtown area; and

                WHEREAS, the City Council desires to establish a temporary entertainment district in which to evaluate its operation and efficacy.    

                NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CAMDEN, ARKANSAS, AS FOLLOWS:

                Section 1. Creation and Establishment of a Temporary Entertainment District.  Under the authority granted in Act 812 of 2019, the City Council does hereby create and establish a temporary entertainment district in downtown Camden, Arkansas, with the areas and boundaries as set forth and designated on the Map which is attached hereto as Exhibit 1 and incorporated herein, subject to the automatic expiration set forth in Section 7 herein.

                Section 2. Outside Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages Permitted; Conditions. Any on-premises retail alcohol beverage licensee shall comply with all laws, rules, and regulations which govern its license type, except that a patron, guest or member of that licensee may exit the licensed premises between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays (except Sundays), with no more than one open container of alcoholic beverage and consume said alcoholic beverage anywhere within the confines of the entertainment district in which the alcoholic beverage was obtained, subject to the following regulations:

                1) A person may enter an establishment with an open or closed container of alcoholic beverage acquired elsewhere only if allowed by that establishment.

                2) A licensee shall allow alcoholic beverages to be removed from the licensed premises only in a paper or plastic cup, that bears the commercially printed name and/or logo of the designated licensee, and no such alcoholic beverages shall be removed from the licensed premises in a can, bottle, or glass container. 

3) No licensee shall allow a patron, guest or member to exit its licensed premises with more than one open container of alcoholic beverage, and it shall be unlawful for any person to exit such licensed premises with more than one such open container.

4) It shall be unlawful for any person to drink or attempt to drink any alcoholic beverage from a can, bottle, or glass container, or to possess any open can, bottle, or glass container of alcoholic beverages on the streets, sidewalks, rights-of-way, and parking lots located within an entertainment district.

5) No container in which an alcoholic beverage is dispensed and removed from the licensed premises shall exceed 16 fluid ounces in size.

6) No person shall possess on the streets, sidewalks, rights-of-way, parking lots, or outdoor public areas located within the entertainment district any open alcoholic beverage container which exceeds 16 fluid ounces in size.

7) All licensees within the entertainment district shall place a trash receptacle at all exits of the premises and post the rules of the entertainment district and a map of the entertainment district boundaries

Section 3. Consumption or Possession of Alcoholic Beverages in a Motor Vehicle Prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to consume alcoholic beverages or possess an open container of any alcoholic beverages while in the confines of a motor vehicle while the motor vehicle is located upon any public street, parking lot or other place to which the public has or is permitted to have access within an entertainment district.

Section 4. Alcoholic Beverages Purchased Outside the Entertainment District Not Allowed in Open Containers in District. Except for special events as permitted by the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and in compliance with all laws, rules, and regulations, no alcoholic beverages purchased outside of the entertainment district shall be allowed in open containers in the entertainment district.

Section 5. ABC Requirements not Diminished. Nothing contained in this ordinance shall diminish the requirements of the Alcohol Beverage Control Division concerning permits issued within the designated entertainment district.

Section 6. Effective Date.  This Ordinance shall take effect on the first day of the month following its passage and approval by the City Council, but in no event prior to January 1, 2022.

Section 7. Expiration Date.  This Ordinance shall automatically expire of its own accord on 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2022.

CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET
Finishes 2021 Season On November 5th In Downtown Camden
CAMDEN, AR - First Friday Monthly Market in Camden, AR will be ending their 2021 season with a holiday market theme “Flannel & Frost” on Friday, November 5th from 6PM – 9PM in downtown Camden.

“The 2021 season has been a wonderful welcome back after taking 2020 off,” said event organizers. “As we end the 2021 season we welcome everyone to come out and shop as we prepare to move into the holiday season.“ This month will see a large number of vendors set up along Washington St and Adams Ave selling everything from farm house décor and art to clothing, jewelry and more.

Special nonprofit groups and local organizations will be throughout the market to provide all kinds of entertainment for the young and old alike. You will find farmers located all throughout the market with jellies, jams, baked goods, etc.! Enjoy the special food vendors set up throughout the market with everything from authentic Mexican with a unique twist to Monte Cristo, burgers, funnel cakes, kettle korn and more.

A cornhole tournament will take place on Adams Ave hosted by What’s Cookin’ Restaurant. There will be a cash payout, with a limited number of teams so be sure to sign up early. Live music will be back in the park at the corner of Washington & Adams. This month’s live music will be local choirs and dance troupe. Everyone is welcome to bring lawn chairs to sit and listen to a wonderful evening of entertainment.

Stop by Hollis Evans Floral to visit with this month’s featured authors Lavana Kindle and Charles Strickland. Strickland is a seasoned story teller and will entertain shoppers with his funny tales of country living.

Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR, November 5th, 6PM – 9PM.

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

SAAC PRESENTS VILLEGAS’ NEW VIRTUAL CLASS EXHIBIT "IN SYNC"
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to see a new exhibit curated by local artist and educator, Maria Botti Villegas. "In Sync" is a watercolor and mixed media exhibit with works created by participants of Villegas' virtual workshops. These pieces will hang in the Lobby Gallery November 2-December 5, 2021. An artist's reception featuring these artists as well as glass artist James Hayes, whose exhibit will be showing in the Price and Merkle Galleries, will be held Nov 6, 6:00-7:30pm. 

"I am very happy to curate "In Sync", a watercolor and mixed media exhibit at SAAC," said Maria. "The show is eclectic and rich, and includes art from some of the participants in my virtual workshops during the period from October 2020 to May 2021. I'm very thankful to SAAC for giving me the opportunity to touch the creative process of these participants and to the participants for challenging themselves to a new adventure!"

"There were three different workshops based in water media experiences. From Arkansas landscapes to personal abstract designs, participants had the time to practice or acquire new techniques and also develop more familiar methods of painting on paper. Workshops were intense and the participants responded very well to the tasks ahead. The common ground was experimentation and creativity. I enjoyed seeing different kinds of artists, beginners and experienced, including three generations of the same family in one workshop!"

"Thanks to our virtual meetings, artists from as far away as Little Rock and Fayetteville worked during the workshops in the privacy of their homes". 

Some of the artists who participated in the virtual classes and whose art is included in the show are Susan Barnes, Katy Callaway, Barbara Hogg, Ann Palculict, Lee Scroggins, Doug Stanton, Amélie Wise and Robin Wise.

Maria, a professional muralist, illustrator, and multidisciplinary artist, was born in Buenos Aires Argentina. She holds a 5- year degree from Pueyrredón School of Fine Arts in her native country, Argentina. Maria has been an art educator at SAAC for over 25 years. She became a citizen of the United States in 2004.

For more information about this show, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

 

BOOZMAN ASSEMBLES 2021-2022 CONGRESSIONAL YOUTH CABINET, WELCOMES PARTICIPANTS FROM ACROSS ARKANSAS
ANNUAL INITIATIVE AIMS TO FOSTER CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

LITTLE ROCK - U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) welcomed 62 Arkansas high school students selected for his Congressional Youth Cabinet. Boozman met with the participants in Little Rock on Friday as he launched the fifth year of this initiative.

“It is exciting to again convene young leaders from across the state who want to be more engaged and active civically,” Boozman said. “These students and their peers have experienced a unique time in history and I am interested to hear their perspectives on current issues facing our nation. I am grateful for their interest in public service and hope this program will help them learn how to advocate for their communities and help shape the future of Arkansas.”

The Congressional Youth Cabinet is a non-partisan program that gives students insight and experience in the legislative process. The high school juniors will attend meetings throughout the year and work in teams to research national issues they select. In April, the groups will present their policy recommendations to the senator.

Information about this year’s program was distributed to all Arkansas public school districts. Students submitted applications to participate and were chosen with an emphasis on community involvement and leadership. 

The following students were selected for the 2021-2022 school year:

 1st Congressional District
Abby Strange – Jonesboro
Allen Nguyen – Batesville
Allyson Edmonds – Floral
Braden Carr – Paragould
Clara Baker – Jonesboro
Hannah Pierce - Bay  
Isaac Cook - Paragould          
Jaiken Setzler - Jonesboro     
John Storer - Jonesboro         
Jordan Young - Batesville     
Julia Gross - Batesville          
Kaylee Halfacre - Trumann   
Nathan Sammons – Jonesboro
Raegan Long - Trumann        
Rory McDaniel - Jonesboro

2nd Congressional District
Ashley Mohr - Judsonia         
Brooklynn Prince - Bryant     
Emily Whittaker – Alexander
James Mullhollan - Little Rock
Jasmine Kearney - Benton     
Jenna Wall – Bryant
Kate Jones - Benton   
Madison Bae – Benton
Natalie Knox – Benton
Neil Sash – Conway
Sabian Murry - Bryant           
Zade Ellingsburg - Alexander

3rd Congressional District
Abby Shoemaker - Bentonville         
Anna Davis - Centerton         
Bridget McGuire - Bentonville          
Briggs Becker – Gravette
Bryce Culver - Greenwood    
Cooper Gardenshire - Farmington     
Elisabeth Macy - Centerton   
Emilia Hansen - Bentonville  
Emily Byrd - Bentonville      
Emily Simon - Bentonville    
Isabella Jenkins – Bentonville
John Verkamp - Rogers         
Kaylee Hodge - Fayetteville  
Kennedy Marrs - Bentonville            
Luke Flanagan – Fayetteville
Maahi Sethi - Bentonville      
Madeleine Bashara - Rogers  
Rohan Collins - Bentonville  
Ryann Rohlwing - Rogers     
Rylie Holland  - Fort Smith    
Santosh Vangoor - Bentonville         
Sonja Burnett - Mountainburg           
Taggart McClure - Rogers High        
Ty Latta - Gravette    
Tyler Wirthlin - Centerton     
Wyatt Rice - Bentonville       
Jake Van Sweringen - Bentonville     
Jasmine Powell - Yellville   
Joa Murray - Eureka Springs 

4th Congressional District
Brianna Burnell - Hot Springs
Jubilee Forbess - Hot Springs Village
Kendrally Fox – Paris
Serenity Cupples - Hot Springs
Trinity Foster - Crossett

October 29, 2021

SOUTHARK ANNOUNCES “AN EVENING WITH THE STARS”
The SouthArk Foundation Board of Directors are pleased to announce  the 2021 AN EVENING WITH THE STARS, an event to celebrate Distinguished Honorees, a special friend of the college, and two distinguished alumni with a special tribute to Charlie Thomas.

Please mark your calendar and join SouthArk to celebrate  "Stars": Kerri Brown, SouthArk's distinguished alumna; Kenny Hickman, SouthArk's distinguished alumnus; and The Systems Group & Hays Family, SouthArk's Friend of the College. We are honored to celebrate the support and accomplishments of our "Stars", important figures who have helped make this educational institution vibrant and solid and who bring pride and prestige to the college through their accomplishments.

The virtual gala video will premiere on Thursday, November 4th at 6 p.m. on the  SouthArk Foundation Facebook page or the SouthArk YouTube page.

www.facebook.com/southarkfoundation  www.youtube.com/SouthArkCC

NO SHAVE NOVEMBER
No Shave November is nearly upon us and aims once again to help raise awareness of prostate cancer in Arkansas.

Through the annual "No Shave November" campaign, the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation (APCF) challenges men across the state to ditch the shaving cream and razor for a month to help raise awareness about prostate cancer. One in every nine men in Arkansas will face a diagnosis of prostate cancer in their lives, but the disease is nearly 100% survivable if detected early. That’s why the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation is asking the men of Arkansas to go 30 days without shaving for a good cause.

No Shave November is a fun way to raise awareness for a very serious threat to men’s health in our state. Chris Collier, executive director of the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation, says prostate cancer will touch the lives of many Arkansas men over their lifetime – either themselves or a friend or loved one. Collier says that’s part of why it’s so critical to raise awareness of prostate cancer and provide free services to those diagnosed with it. 

Men of all ages across Arkansas are encouraged to take part in No Shave November either individually or as part of a competition in their workplaces, churches, teams or other social groups. They can then make a donation to APCF as a group or find creative ways to encourage others to donate on behalf of them and their beard.

All money raised remains in Arkansas to support the foundation’s free awareness and educational programs, free prostate cancer screenings and free patient assistance programs. The Foundation also provides support to survivors and men undergoing treatment through a network of peer group meetings and patient navigation programs.

To learn more, visit arprostatecancer.org/no-shave-november/
 

COTTON ANNOUNCES INTERNSHIPS FOR STATE OFFICES
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today announced he is seeking interns for his state offices in Little Rock and Springdale. Internships will be offered in two sessions: January 18 – March 8 and March 14 – May 2. 

Interns will have the opportunity to help with the daily operations of Senator Cotton's office. Depending on their college requirements, students may be able to receive academic credit for their service. Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter to state_internships@cotton.senate.gov and specify their desired office location and session before November 19, 2021.

 

BOOZMAN, COTTON SUPPORT CONCERNED PARENTS’ RIGHTS, CONDEMN BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S INTIMIDATION
WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have joined over two dozen Republican senators to introduce a resolution supporting parents’ right to be fully and actively involved in the education of their children, and calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to rescind the Department of Justice (DOJ) memorandum that inappropriately directs federal law enforcement resources to be used against parents advocating on behalf of their children.

“As a former school board member, I know parents care deeply about their child’s education and want to be involved in the decisions educators and administrators make about what students learn,” Boozman said. “Because of the Biden administration’s dismissive and intimidating actions, many Arkansans and parents across the country feel prohibited from having those vital conversations. Our resolution reasserts and affirms their right to offer input and demand accountability.”

“Directing federal law enforcement to investigate concerned parents is an abuse of power. Merrick Garland should rescind this initiative and resign,” said Cotton.

The resolution was introduced by Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and is also cosponsored by Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), James Risch (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
 

BOOZMAN SHARES SERVICE MEMORIES OF 101-YEAR-OLD ARKANSAS VETERAN
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veteran George Mobbs in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans. 

Mobbs was born on March 25, 1920 in Wooster. He was one his parent’s George and Viola’s four children. His father owned and operated a cotton gin which later expanded to include a saw mill and a grist mill. George described growing up in Wooster during the Depression as both “work and fun.”

Mobbs joined the Civilian Conservation Corps during high school. He worked in several communities around the state including Oark, Centerville and Monticello where his jobs included building roads and conservation work. While in Centerville, he completed high school. He continued his education at Arkansas A&M (now University of Arkansas at Monticello) and when his dad passed away, he returned home to be with his mom.

He was committed to pursuing higher education and the following fall began taking courses at Arkansas State Teachers College in Conway.

 

“One afternoon a couple of folks came by and asked me if I’d like to fly an airplane for the civil pilot training program. I said ‘yes,’” Mobbs recounted.

He learned to fly while continuing with his classes at the college. He remembers being off course during one flight. “I got lost in the Forrest City area and ended up landing in a farmer’s field to find out where I was,” Mobbs laughed.

He joined the Army Air Corps in February 1941. His first assignment was at Mitchel Field on Long Island. “I was fortunate enough to get quite a bit of flying time and went on maneuvers in North Carolina,” Mobbs said. During his training he flew a variety of aircraft including the P-39, P-40, P-36, P-38 and P-47.

On July 1, 1942 Mobbs left the U.S. on an aircraft carrier bound for North Africa. It’s a day he recalls vividly. “We took off from Mitchel Field at sunrise and flew up the Long Island Sound to Quonset Point, Rhode Island, taxied down beside the aircraft carrier. They put a sling on the airplane and put it onboard.”

Mobbs was a member of the 57th Fighter Group and was assigned to support the British Eighth Army. He flew P-40s under the operational control of the Royal Air Force “chasing Germany and Rommel’s forces” across the desert.

His first mission was flying with South African airplanes escorting bombers. It was supposed to be easy. A “milk run” as Mobbs described it, but he came under attack. “I was flying at the speed of these slow bombers and when I turned into the 109s I stalled out and spun out. I made one resolution that I would never fly that slow anymore,” Mobbs said.

The most memorable of Mobbs’s missions was over Libya. He had engaged the enemy and shot a plane down. When looking to see if the pilot landed, he realized he was in the crosshairs. “All of a sudden holes starting appearing in the wing of my airplane,” he said. “And then my guns wouldn’t work.” He crash landed on his home airfield. “My guardian angel took care of me.”

Mobbs flew missions before returning stateside. For his service he received the British Distinguished Flying Cross.

Mobbs married when he returned to the U.S. and continued his military service in Florida training replacement pilots. It wasn’t long before he experienced his first of many hurricanes and spent time moving the aircraft out of the storm’s path. He earned a letter a commendation for the evacuation mission.

Mobbs continued his military career serving in various positions around the world including commanding a squadron during the Korean War on Okinawa, working at the Pentagon and a deployment to Vietnam.

Mobbs retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1966 as a colonel. “It was a good career for me,” he said.

After military service he put the skills he gained when earning his accounting degree from the University of Arkansas to use, becoming a certified public accountant. He retired in 1988 and today lives in Little Rock.

“George Mobbs honorably served in our nation’s uniform and experienced unimaginable circumstances while defending our citizens and interests abroad. He served with honor and distinction during his military service. I’m honored to share his memories of his sacrifice for future generations,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Mobbs’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.

October 28, 2021

FLAGS FLYING AT HALF STAFF
Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered the United States flag and the state flag of Arkansas to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the memory of Mandeville Assistant Fire Chief Lucas Stephenson.

Lucas Stephenson, assistant chief of the Mandeville Volunteer Fire Department, died in the line of duty on the evening of Tuesday, October 26, 2021. Stephenson, 25, was employed with Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. and was a graduate of Arkansas High School in Texarkana. He served the citizens of Mandeville and Miller County since 2013 and was promoted to assistant chief in 2019.

Flags have already been lowered to half-staff in tribute to memory of Representative Carolyn Pollan and Senator Bobby Glover. Flags are to remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of interment.
 

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW SCHOOL BOARD TO MEET IN SPECIAL SESSION
The Camden Fairview School Board will hold a Special Board meeting on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 5:30 pm.

The agenda is as follows:
1. Call to order.
2. Student Hearing
3. Personnel
     A. Hiring
    B. Resignations 

 

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR FARM TO SCHOOL PROGRAM GRANTS
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the second-annual Arkansas School Garden Grant Program and the new Taste Test Grant Program to help schools start or expand farm to school activities. Applications will be accepted through November 30, 2021.

The Arkansas School Garden Grant Program is available to help schools start or expand gardens on school grounds. The Department will award $500 grants to 60 schools to purchase soil, specialty crop seeds and plants, and gardening equipment.

Additionally, the Department is launching the new Arkansas Taste Test Grant Program to help schools lead cafeteria taste tests of locally grown specialty crops. The Department will award $250 grants to 30 schools to purchase kitchen equipment and utensils, serving materials, and specialty crop seeds and plants.

“School gardens and taste tests have proven to be valuable tools in teaching children about agriculture, nutrition, and a variety of skills. The Department is pleased to add the new taste test grant program this year as another way to help schools start or expand farm to school activities. The lessons learned through these programs can have a lasting impact on children, their families, and entire communities,” said Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward.

The grant programs are available to public and private K-12 schools, early childhood education facilities, and alternative learning environments. All eligible schools are encouraged to apply, whether they already have existing farm to school activities or they are just getting started with school gardens and local procurement. Technical assistance is available to all grantees. 

The application for both programs can be found at https://bit.ly/3bkrYSd. Applicants are welcome to apply for one or both grant opportunities.   

 The grant programs were developed using funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to increase the production and consumption of specialty crops in schools. Specialty crops as defined by the USDA are fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, floriculture, and nursery crops. 

More information about the Arkansas School Garden Grant Program and Arkansas Taste Test Grant Program can be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/arkansas-department-of-agriculture/farm-to-school/ or by contacting Erica Benoit at erica.benoit@agriculture.arkansas.gov and Shannon Newerth-Henson at shannon.henson@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.

FORMER LOUISIANA POLICE OFFICER INDICTED FOR ASSAULTING AN ARRESTEE AND ATTEMPTING TO COVER IT UP
A federal grand jury in Shreveport, Louisiana, returned an indictment charging Jared Desadier, 43, with assaulting an arrestee in Ouachita Parish. The two-count indictment charges Desadier with willfully depriving an individual of his right to be free from unreasonable seizure and with witness tampering.

The indictment alleges that, on April 21, 2020, Desadier, while acting in his official capacity as an officer of the Monroe Police Department, used unjustified force against an arrestee by kicking him in the area of his face and head, and that the assault caused bodily injury and involved the use of a dangerous weapon (a shod foot). The indictment further alleges that Desadier attempted to cover up his misconduct by engaging in misleading conduct towards his supervisors. Specifically, the indictment alleges that after the arrestee complained in the presence of supervising officers that he had been assaulted, Desadier claimed that he had not touched or harmed the arrestee and blamed the arrestee’s injuries on a fall. 

If convicted, Desadier faces a maximum sentence of 10 years of imprisonment for the deprivation-of-rights offense and 20 years of imprisonment for the witness tampering offense.

Wednesday’s indictment was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook for the Western District of Louisiana, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and  Special Agent in Charge Douglas Williams FBI New Orleans. 

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Flanagan of the Western District of Louisiana and Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson of the Civil Rights Division.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

COTTON STATEMENT ON BIDEN PLAN TO GIVE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN CASH
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after reports that the Biden administration intends to give illegal immigrants nearly $450,000 each, for a total of at least $1 billion overall.

“It would be unthinkable to pay damages to a burglar who broke into your home for the ‘psychological trauma’ they endured during the crime. And yet the Biden administration wants to reward migrants who illegally entered our country with up to $450,000 each for just that reason. The Biden administration’s promises of citizenship and entitlement programs have already caused the worst border crisis in history—a huge cash reward will make it even worse. This is the height of insanity.”

BOOZMAN: PRESIDENT’S TAX AND SPEND PROPOSAL A ‘GUT PUNCH’ TO RURAL AMERICA
Calls for Ag Committee Hearings on Administration’s Radical Plan
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is warning Americans about the negative consequences of President Biden’s reckless tax and spending agenda.

“The president’s plan would be an absolute gut punch to our family farmers and rural America as a whole, especially as inflation continues to skyrocket under this administration’s watch,” Boozman said in a speech on the senate floor.

Boozman has repeatedly pushed back on the president’s $3.5 trillion partisan plan. In August, the senator rejected the Biden-backed budget resolution and has since been highlighting its outrageous cost and left-wing, fundamentally flawed framework. 

As ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Boozman has called for public hearings, with witnesses, so agriculture producers and stakeholders in rural America have an opportunity to offer input on the proposal.

“There is a feeling among many of the people who do not live in our nation’s cities that their political leaders do not value their expertise, or their opinions, and do not understand their lives,” Boozman said during an ag hearing on Wednesday. “When the Senate agriculture committee decides to forgo the expertise and opinion of those we are entrusted to represent, we are not living up to what should be our commitment to our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.”

This is the second time this year Democratic leaders have bypassed the committee process as the Biden administration aims to advance radical policies despite an evenly divided Senate and Democrats’ slim majority in the House of Representatives.

October 26, 2021

STATE COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 26, 2021
Public health officials in Arkansas are encouraging everyone in the state to receive their influenza vaccine in anticipation of this year's flu season.

During Gov. Asa Hutchinson's weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero stressed the importance of getting the flu shot this year to help avoid worsening the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the flu shot is available at each county health unit in Arkansas. All Arkansans - from children aged six months to the elderly - are eligible.

Regarding the state's COVID-19 figures, the Arkansas Department of Health recorded an additional 502 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday for a total of nearly 511,000 since the pandemic began. Active cases fell to 4,826 while deaths increased by 14 to 8,306 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations declined by 15 to leave 380 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus.

Over three million COVID-19 vaccinations have been given in Arkansas. As of Tuesday, nearly 1.4 million Arkansans are now fully vaccinated against the virus. 

HALLOWEEN FUN IN CAMDEN!
October 29th from 3:30pm - 5:30pm
Bring the kids out for two great Trick or Treat Events happening soon!
Downtown Trick or Treating
Camden Downtown Network will be sponsoring Downtown Trick or Treating for kids from 3:30 until 5:30PM on Friday, October 29th. With over 20 different locations to trick or treat and play games you sure don’t want to miss out. Ouachita County Courthouse will start their special candy shoot at 3:00PM in front of the Courthouse on
Adams Ave.

Boo Bash Trick or Treating on the Trace
Once finished make your way down to The Trace. The Annual Boo Bash will start at The Trace right behind The Camden Area Chamber of Commerce and have many booths set up Leading down to the Jackson Street crossing of The Trace. The Boo Bash is sponsored by the Camden Police Department and Radio Works.

There are going to be great prizes for those who wish to participate in a costume contest to be held at 5 pm. There will be prizes for a boy and a girl in 3 age groups - newborn to 3, 4 to 7 and 8 to 12.

If your business or organization would like to join us on the Trace, please call Dana at 870-836-5755.
Be sure to take advantage of these safe, fun events provided for your family!

 

DRIVER TEST ONLINE SCHEDULING TOOL EXPANDING STATEWIDE; CDL TESTING ADDED TO SERVICE
OCTOBER 26, 2021
An online scheduling tool will soon be available to anyone preparing to be tested for the written knowledge portion of the Arkansas driver’s license exam.  Beginning next Monday (November 1st) the online scheduler can be accessed statewide at https://telegov.egov.com/aspdlskills/

The scheduling tool for written examinations has been in an initial testing phase and was limited for use at northwest and central Arkansas driver testing sites.  The skills portion of the test has been available as part of the scheduling tool for more than a year.

Test applicants, along with parents or guardians of teenagers preparing to take the test, can learn more about the process of using the scheduling tool at ar.gov/dlprep

“The Arkansas State Police is constantly working to streamline the driver testing process and assist parents to prepare their teenage children to become Arkansas drivers,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.  “The online scheduling tool is intended to help parents and guardians avoid rearranging their work or personal schedules while accompanying a child to take the written or skills drivers tests.”

The scheduling tool is expected to eventually eliminate the long lines of test applicants and the complications parents frequently experience when the test sites are open to one and all, but, operating with limited examiner personnel or insufficient time to accommodate everyone on a particular day.  The online scheduling tool will send a text or email message to a parent or guardian should an unexpected change occur during the daily testing schedules.

Additionally, the online scheduling tool is being made available to commercial driver license applicants ready to take either the written or skills tests.

Test applicants who do not have a pre-arranged appointment will be accommodated by examiners at state police testing sites as the schedule and personnel availability may permit.

Anyone planning to take either the written or skills portion of the Arkansas driver’s test, including parents or guardians of teenagers studying for the test, are strongly encouraged to be familiar with updated information about the requirements and testing process.  The latest driving test information can always be found at https://www.dps.arkansas.gov/law-enforcement/arkansas-state-police/services-programs/driver-examination/
 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOLDS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON OCTOBER 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 to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist them with specific questions regarding VA benefits claims.
WHEN:  Thursday, October 28, 4 - 6 p.m.
HOW: To schedule a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, October 27, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

WINROCK INTERNATIONAL RELOCATING HEADQUARTERS TO ITS ARKANSAS REGIONAL INNOVATION HUB
October 26, 2021 – Winrock International, the Arkansas-based national and international economic development organization, today announced it will relocate its headquarters in 2022 within its Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, located in North Little Rock’s Argenta Arts District. The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub has been part of Winrock International since 2016.

Winrock will upgrade the Hub property to include new office space to accommodate both Winrock headquarters and Hub staff while enhancing program offerings and member services. With more than 22,000 square feet, the Hub has ample room for multi-use spaces, expanded programming and new resources, including development of a dedicated space for the new Best Buy Teen Tech Center. Renovation is expected to be complete in late 2022. During renovation, some Winrock headquarters staff will work from a temporary office at Argenta Place in downtown North Little Rock.  

Like many organizations in the U.S. and around the world, Winrock adapted to extended remote work beginning in early 2020. Winrock reassessed its real-estate needs after staff surveys found that only 20% of employees want an office space. Winrock’s new remote work policy allows employees flexibility to work from an office or work remotely, either part- or full-time. Due to the significant decrease in demand for office space, Winrock sold its Little Rock headquarters building earlier this year and determined that its Hub building could be upgraded to accommodate Winrock and Hub office needs, enhance programs and member services, create new opportunities for growth and collaboration across teams, reduce costs across the organization through shared services and space, and shrink Winrock’s carbon footprint.

“Winrock’s commitment to Arkansas will never change. We were founded in Arkansas and our headquarters remains here,” said Winrock President and CEO Rodney Ferguson. “COVID-19 created an unexpected opportunity to optimize our real estate based on staff feedback while increasing our investment in the Hub.  This greater integration of our Arkansas teams strengthens our competitiveness by positioning Winrock and Hub teams for new opportunities to innovate, collaborate and continue expanding our work in Arkansas and across the U.S.”  

"The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub is a valuable asset to our community, and the City of North Little Rock has been a proud partner of the Hub since its founding," said North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick. "I'm excited to welcome Winrock International as they increase their investment in our community. I look forward to our continued partnership to create opportunities through education, entrepreneurship and innovation."

ABOUT WINROCK INTERNATIONAL
Winrock International is a recognized leader in U.S. and international development with a focus on social, agricultural and environmental issues. Inspired by its namesake, Winthrop Rockefeller, Winrock combines scientific and technical expertise with entrepreneurial innovation to deliver market-based solutions that improve lives around the world. Winrock's mission is to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources across the globe. 

 ABOUT THE ARKANSAS REGIONAL INNOVATION HUB
The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub at Winrock International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Arkansans by inspiring innovation and expanding opportunities. We see an Arkansas where, regardless of demographic identifiers or geographic location, Arkansans are generating and inspiring innovation in cutting-edge technology, business, and creative fields. The Innovation Hub uses tools, skills, and expertise to inspire innovators and entrepreneurs who expand the range of educational and economic opportunities for themselves, for their communities, in our state, and throughout the world.

October 25, 2021

EEOC ISSUES UPDATED COVID-19 TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
Provides Additional Information on Equal Employment Opportunity Laws and Religious Objections to Workplace Vaccine Requirements
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today posted updated and expanded technical assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing questions about religious objections to employer COVID-19 vaccine requirements and how they interact with federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws.

The expanded technical assistance provides new information about how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies when an applicant or employee requests an exception from an employer’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement that conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

“This update provides employers, employees, and applicants with important assistance when navigating vaccine-related religious accommodation requests,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “Title VII requires employers to accommodate employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, and observances absent undue hardship. This update will help safeguard that fundamental right as employers seek to protect workers and the public from the unique threat of COVID-19.”

The key updates to the technical assistance are summarized below:
Employees and applicants must inform their employers if they seek an exception to an employer’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement due to a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.
Title VII requires employers to consider requests for religious accommodations but does not protect social, political, or economic views, or personal preferences of employees who seek exceptions to a COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
Employers that demonstrate “undue hardship” are not required to accommodate an employee’s request for a religious accommodation.

The EEOC is providing this information to the public as many employers are requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of their employment. 

This technical assistance answers COVID-19 questions only from the perspective of the EEO laws. Other federal, state, and local laws come into play regarding the COVID-19 pandemic for employers, employees, and applicants. As new developments occur, the EEOC will consider any impact they may have on EEOC’s COVID-19 technical assistance and will provide additional updates and assistance to the public as needed.

More information about the civil rights implications of the COVID-19 pandemic is available in the record of the EEOC’s April 28, 2021 hearing on that topic. 

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about the EEOC’s work generally can be found at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates. 

NOTICE OF ANNUAL SCHOOL ELECTION NOVEMBER 2. 2021
Early Voting begins Tuesday October 26, at the Ouachita County Courthouse and ends Monday November 1. Regular offi.ce hours, 8:00 am until 4:30 pm daily.

Bearden School district does not have any contested issues. Early voting only for the school millage rate which is the same as last year.

Hannony Grove School, in. addition to Early Voting will have the following poll sites open on Election day, Tuesday November 2nd. Hours will be 7:30 am until 7:30 pm:
New Life Church in Sparkman
Calvary Baptist Church in East Camden

HARMONY GROVE FALL FESTIVAL
The Harmony Grove School’s annual Fall Festival will be Tuesday, October 26th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The Festival will be filled with games, food provided by the Flaming Pig, and activities for the kids from bouncy houses to face painting, cake walks, and a costume contest.

It’ll be a great night of entertaining fun for the family.  Bring the family, bring a lawn chair.  $5 armbands are available to access the games and activities.

OPED MONTHLY MEETING
The Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development will have its Board Meeting Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 10:00 AM, at 570 Ben Lane, Camden, AR. These meetings are open to the public if you would like to attend. Some of the items on the agenda will be overview of Contracts, SBA updates and introductions with Janell Morton.

If you miss this meeting, put on your calendar that OPED will meet again, November 10th, of 2021.

ATTORNEY GENERAL WARNS ARKANSANS – DON’T BUY FAKE CONCERT TICKETS
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says don’t buy fake concert tickets.

AG Rutledge says to be leery of websites who are listing speculative tickets who are nothing more than online scalpers charging exorbitant fees to consumers.                                                    
Make sure you buy tickets from the official source. 
Only purchase tickets during the official on sale time
Always use a credit card to make a ticket purchase
And of course, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For more information on how to protect yourself with online ticket purchase, visit Arkansas AG dot gov.

DOD OFFICE OF LOCAL DEFENSE COMMUNITY COOPERATION RELEASE SPENDING REPORT
The Department of Defense’s Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation released its Fiscal Year 2020 Defense Spending by State report to help states and communities better understand the components of defense spending on procurement and personnel.

Most of the spending has gone to South Arkansas out of all the Counties in Arkansas for the 2020 fiscal year.

The military spent $400.9 million on contracts in Calhoun County which is home to the massive Highland Industrial Park Complex of Defense contractors being ranked as number 1 of all Arkansas Counties.  Pulaski County ranked 2nd with $338 million in military contracts.

CONWAY POLICE OFFICER WOUNDED DURING TRAFFIC STOP; GUNMAN DEAD
OCTOBER 24, 2021
Authorities within the Conway Police Department have requested the Arkansas State Police to investigate a shooting incident involving two of their officers.  Earlier today, both Conway officers returned gunfire on a driver who had pointed a gun at one of the policemen and fired, wounding the officer.

Nicholas Smith, 35, of Conway, the driver of the car stopped by police, died at the scene.  The wounded officer was transported to a nearby hospital where he was initially expected to recover.

The traffic stop occurred at College Avenue and Fairway Drive about 12:49 AM.  The reason for stopping the car driven by Smith was based on information related to an earlier residential disturbance in the area.  Smith exited the vehicle and pulled the gun from his pants pocket, pointed it at one of the police officers and fired.  The gunshot struck one leg of the officer.  Smith then retreated to the front of the car where he was shot by police.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have been assigned to the case.

Smith’s body and evidence collected by the agents will be transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for examination and analysis.

An investigative case file to be prepared by the agents will be submitted to the Faulkner County prosecuting attorney who will use the file to assist in the determination whether the use of deadly force by the police officers was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identity of the police officers, or their administrative status, should be directed to the Conway Police Department.

October 22, 2021

LOCAL PROTEST REGARDING VACCINE MANDATE
At the crack of dawn, Thursday morning, Employees of multiple Government contractors in East Camden gathered to speak out against the executive order of a vaccine mandate signed by President Biden.

The group started small with about 5 people holding signs, with messages like:

“My body, my choice”, “No Jab = No Job = Coercion” and “Forced to Choose between my family and my rights.”

What started at D & J Country Cooking and Smoked Meats, moved to Chance’s Fireworks by 11:30 AM and grew into 34 people holding signs with their messages. 

The first deadline for the first shot is November 4th, but some facilities have moved that up to October 27th.  The first protest against the mandate was scheduled for October 28th, and Thursday was an impromptu.  The October 28th gathering is still on as planned at the same locations. 

The second deadline is November 24th to have the second dose.  The final deadline is December 8, 2021 to be fully vaccinated. 

Even with the help of Arkansas Legislators passing SB739 and HB 1977, the law will not go into affect till 2022.

 One protester said the reason for standing out by the road is in hopes the executives and supervisors will be able to see the amount of workers they will lose after December 8th that could hurt production and production deadlines.

WHATABURGER BREAKS GROUND IN MAGNOLIA
Whataburger held a ground breaking ceremony in Magnolia Thursday morning to commemorate the construction of the new store location. 

Franchisee Jason Hablinski from North East Texas, an alumni of SAU Mule Riders knows Magnolia, love the town, and says its’ still a fun town, and that’s why he chose Magnolia as his newest store 12 of 12 locations. 

Hablinski says Whataburger does really well in small communities and very big on hiring local from store managers to employees.

Hablinksi says they are closing on a property site next week in El Dorado and plan to break ground next year.  The City of Camden is also on the map.  Hablinski says the research supports the numbers that Camden is also a prime location to pursue in the near future.   

ARKANSAS FAMILY NOMINATED BY BOOZMAN SELECTED AS NATIONAL ANGELS IN ADOPTION HONOREE
Dave and Jenny Marrs Recognized for Adoption Advocacy
WASHINGTON––Dave and Jenny Marrs have been named National Angels in Adoption honorees by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). The Bentonville couple were nominated by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) for their advocacy of adoption and other critical services for children in Arkansas and around the world.

“The Marrs family is an amazing example of Arkansans putting love into action. Inspired by their faith, Dave and Jenny have a strong commitment and passion for orphan care, family preservation and adoption. They opened their hearts to adoption and have been powerful advocates for children and families around the world. Their devotion to uplifting kids in need and championing of such a worth-while cause is something all Arkansans can be proud of,” Boozman said.

Jenny and Dave are featured on the fan-favorite HGTV show, “Fixer to Fabulous,” where they help bring old houses back to life.

“The main reason that we said ‘yes’ to this HGTV journey of ours is for us to have a platform to share about adoption and orphan care, family preservation, the things that we’re really passionate about and so honestly receiving this award is truly such a huge honor,” Jenny Marrs said during the virtual event. “This is really amazing because this is our heart and what is really important to us.”

Boozman recognized the family in the Congressional Record and introduced the Bentonville residents at a the CCAI virtual gala on Thursday.

CCAI coordinates the Angels in Adoption program and raises awareness about the tens of thousands of orphans and foster children in the United States, and the millions of orphans around the world in need of permanent homes.

Boozman annually nominates an Arkansan or Arkansas organization making extraordinary contributions on behalf of children in need of safe and loving homes as an Angel in Adoption.

October 29, 2021

OLD WASHINGTON STATE PARK PRESENTS “TOWN IN CONFLICT DAY” – A LOOK AT CIVIL WAR LIFE
Town In Conflict School Day
November 5, 2021)
9:30 to 3:00

Town in Conflict Day
November 6, 2021)
9:00 – 5:00

The Civil War was one of the most trying times in our nation’s history.  During November 5th and 6th, Historic Washington will be hosting “Town in Conflict”, a look at the many aspects of life during the bloody, costly years of the Civil War.  Programs will be conducted throughout the park on such topics as civilian refugees, religion during the war, military camps and drill, Civil War medicine, and the political issues of the day.  Tours will be available in addition to the free outdoor Civil War interpretive activities.

Admission:  $7 adults, $3 children 6-12 (plus tax)

For more information, contact the park at 870-983-2684

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T BUY FAKE CONCERT TICKETS TO HARRY STYLES
Says, ‘These websites are nothing more than online scalpers’
LITTLE ROCK- Many Arkansans are excited to get back to pre-COVID activities, including going to concerts. As musicians resume their tours, so do scam artists. Simmons Bank Arena has contacted the Attorney General’s Office concerning websites attempting to sell speculative tickets, which are not real tickets, to events like the upcoming Harry Styles concert. Speculative listing is when unofficial sellers list tickets for sale even though they do not actually have those tickets. This practice is fraudulent, unethical and takes advantage of fans and performers. Most venues, including Simmons Bank Arena, utilize legitimate services, such as Ticket Master Verified Fan, as their official source to purchase tickets to ensure that fans are able to purchase tickets and to prevent con artists and scalpers from ripping off consumers.

“These websites are nothing more than online scalpers who charge exorbitant fees selling fake tickets to consumers“ said Rutledge. “I will always fight back against scammers and con artists who try to take advantage of hard-working Arkansans.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issues the following tips to help Arkansans protect themselves when looking to buy concert tickets.
Buying tickets from the official source verified by the venue website is the safest way to purchase a real ticket to an event. 
Only purchase from official sources during the official on sale time.
Research the seller or broker with the Better Business Bureau and ensure they are a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.

A legitimate ticket broker will offer a refund policy. Only buy tickets from a reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction.

Always use a credit card to make a ticket purchase because credit card laws provide buyers with some recourse if the tickets are fraudulent.

Check the seats ahead of time. Ask for section, row and seat numbers to avoid obstructed views and purchasing tickets that do not exist.

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

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

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

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

For more information and tips on how to avoid a scam, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800)-482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

ARREST IN BRADLEY COUNTY MURDER
OCTOBER 20, 2021
Tony McCoy, 44, of Warren was arrested late yesterday (October 19th) by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police, assisted by Bradley County Sheriff’s Deputies.  McCoy is charged with capital murder in connection with the discovery of a man’s body along U.S. Highway 63 earlier this week

McCoy is alleged to have shot and killed Terry Adams, 38, of Warren. (*See October 18th Arkansas State Police news release).

McCoy is currently jailed at the Dallas County Detention Center awaiting a first appearance hearing.

Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing their investigation of Adams’ murder.

 

BIRDERS ATTEND CONVENTION FROM SAFETY OF THEIR NESTS
Arkansas Audubon Society to convene virtually November 12–13
Safely engage with fellow birders across the state at the 2021 Arkansas Audubon Society (AAS) Fall convention, which will meet virtually Friday, November 12–Saturday, November 13 via the Zoom video conferencing application. The convention will feature field trips and special presentations. Additionally, participants may win small prizes for notable bird observations and will enjoy opportunities to engage with other wildlife enthusiasts. Attendees will need to register ahead of time to receive a link to the Zoom meetings; registration information will be available on our website (www.arbirds.org).  

Prior to the meeting, we have arranged for various field trips to take place throughout the state. These field trips will occur starting October 30th and continuing through November 11th. You can find details regarding these trips on our website; please register by contacting our vice president, Megan Foll.

Additionally, from November 1st–7th, we encourage you to participate in our Counties of Arkansas (CAW) Event by bird watching in the under-birded counties of Arkansas. These counties have fewer than 200 species reported in them according to eBird data; we’d like to change that. The sign-up link for this event can also be found on our website.

The conference begins the evening of Friday, November 12th with a summary of the previous weeks birding results. We have also set aside time for birders to socialize and discuss birding destinations across the state. Attend this event if you’d like to learn more about where to find bird hotspots near you!

Saturday morning, we will begin with independent birding field trips. We encourage you to bird your favorite local spots wherever you live in the state! Birding can begin as early as sunrise, but we ask that birders complete their outings by 2 PM to return home for the afternoon symposium in time. A few small prizes will be awarded to birders who observed the most species, most individuals, and the “best” bird.

 

The afternoon presentations will occur from 4–5:30 PM. These will include a seminar on “Birds and Plastics” by Dr. Terry Root, “Wyoming Bioblitz” by Amber Cobb, and book reviews by Pam Stewart.

After dinner on your own, Saturday evening’s highlight at 7 PM is “The Natural State with Wild Man Wilson” by guest speaker Steve “Wild Man” Wilson. Be sure to attend if you’d like to learn more about the history and outdoor spaces of our beautiful state! Steve is an Arkansas native who worked with the AR Game and Fish Commission for 37 years. Since he retirement, he was inducted into the AR Tourism Hall of Fame and AR Game and Fish Foundation’s Outdoor Hall of Fame. He currently produces and hosts his “Call of the Wild” radio program.

Registration is now open online through the end of the day Friday, November 11. Participation in the meeting is free of charge and open to members and non-members alike, but registration is required. Further information and a complete meeting agenda are available at www.arbirds.org.  If you have questions about the convention, please contact AAS vice-president Megan Foll at auntm13@gmail.com.

Find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ArkansasAudubonSociety), Twitter (@ArAudubon), and Instagram (@araudubonsociety).

The Arkansas Audubon Society, a nonprofit all-volunteer organization founded in 1955, aims to foster a greater knowledge of Arkansas’s natural history through observation, investigation, education, and publication; and to be a potent force in the conservation of all of the state’s natural resources.


COTTON, BLACKBURN, COLLEAGUES FIGHT FOR FREE SPEECH ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES
Washington, D.C. – Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) launched the Senate Campus Free Speech Caucus to defend the rights of students on college campuses. This caucus is part of a larger bicameral effort alongside the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to protect free speech. Cotton and Blackburn were joined by Senators Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), and John Boozman (R-Arkansas).

In addition to the Senate Campus Free Speech Caucus, Senators Cotton and Blackburn introduced the Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2021 and Campus Free Speech Restoration Act.

The Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2021 urges greater First Amendment protection at public universities. Senators Cotton and Blackburn introduced this legislation alongside Senators Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

The Campus Free Speech Restoration Act would protect the First Amendment rights of students at public universities from improperly restrictive speech-codes. Senators Cotton and Blackburn introduced this legislation along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senators Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Mike Braun (R-Indiana).

“Universities should encourage a variety of viewpoints—but today, colleges and students often silence classmates and faculty who disagree with ideas like Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project. Senator Blackburn and I started The Campus Free Speech Caucus to return free speech to higher education across the country,” said Cotton.

“Free speech is under attack on college campuses,” said Blackburn. “We must fight to ensure that our students are not silenced because of their political views. That is why I am spearheading multiple efforts alongside Senator Cotton and our colleagues to champion essential freedoms for students in Tennessee and across the nation.” 

“The right to freedom of speech is our most fundamental right as Americans, and I’m proud to join the Campus Free Speech Caucus to fight back against suppression of free speech on college campuses and ensure our students’ First Amendment rights are not being trampled upon,” said Braun.

“College campuses should be encouraging debate and for students to exchange political views—not silencing and punishing those they disagree with. We must fight for this foundational right to free speech for our next generation, not give into the wokeness on college campuses,” said Daines.

“Free speech is guaranteed in our Constitution. It should be revered on our college campuses. Sadly, this is where it’s most at risk,” Young America’s Foundation President Governor Scott Walker said. “The Campus Free Speech Caucus will help us fight back and ensure all voices can be heard on campus!” 

Background:
A 2020 Gallup-Knight Foundation study revealed that eighty-one percent of students support a campus environment where students are exposed to all types of speech, even if they may find it offensive. 
A 2019 poll conducted by Young America’s Foundation revealed that of students stopped themselves from sharing their ideas in the classroom.

 

BOOZMAN CHAMPIONS SOLUTION TO PHYSICIAN SHORTAGE IN ARKANSAS
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is spearheading legislation to address the growing shortage of primary and specialty care physicians in Arkansas. In a column published by Modern Healthcare,  Boozman urged Congress to adopt the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act which aims to expand the physician workforce in the Natural State and rural communities across the country.

The following column was published by Modern Healthcare:

Outdated policy contributing to a worsening physician shortage
Doctors and health care professionals have long made tireless sacrifices to treat patients and provide quality care. These sacrifices became even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic with medical personnel experiencing unrelenting stress, extended hours on the job and fatigue on the frontlines. This challenge has left some in the community burned out and even considering leaving the health care industry.

Their expertise is vital to the health and wellbeing of our citizens. As our population continues to age, in addition to the need to treat potential long-term effects of COVID-19, the demand for quality, accessible medical care is increasing.

One way to help meet this need is to ensure that we’re teaching and launching an adequate number of future physicians and other health care providers.

To ensure we are prepared for future public health emergencies and are able to respond to evolving challenges, we must have a well-trained physician workforce. However, just the opposite is occurring – we face an increasingly growing shortfall. A recent analysis of physician supply and demand by the Association of American Medical Colleges shows the U.S. is expected to face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034.

In rural states like my home state of Arkansas, the lack of specialty doctors is especially concerning. Without a doctor close by to provide treatment, patients with complex medical conditions are oftentimes forced to travel hundreds of miles from home to receive care. Our communities and their economies depend on access to life-saving and preventative care, which underscores the need for an ample pipeline of medical students.

The warnings of an impending physician deficit were raised well before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the public health emergency’s consequences have led to an increased urgency to address it. Investing in training and implementing strategies that support educating the next generation of doctors is critical. One solution to reduce the physician shortage: boost the number of Medicare-supported residency positions.

For more than 20 years, the arbitrary cap on the number of residency slots funded by Medicare – the primary source of payment for doctors-in-training – has remained unchanged. This has contributed to the provider shortage and also prevented medical school graduates from continuing their training where they want to live and work.

As medical school enrollment and graduation rates continue to grow, the Medicare-funded Graduate Medical Education position cap has been a hindrance. Smaller, more rural states like Arkansas face an acute need for medical providers, but up to half of medical school graduates in the state are forced to seek residency training elsewhere due to a lack of available positions. That often results in a loss of future physicians given the tendency for residents to practice close to the communities where they complete their training.

Last year, Congress increased the number of Medicare-supported GME positions by 1,000. While this represents modest progress, it is not sufficient to replace the rate of physicians retiring or leaving practice for other reasons.

For the last several years, my colleague Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) and I have been leading legislative efforts for change. We recently introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act to lift the arbitrary cap on the number of Medicare-funded GME positions and increase the number nationwide by an additional 14,000 over seven years. Our bill will enable us to better provide access to quality health care in urban and rural communities.

Access to well-trained primary and specialty doctors results in longer lives and better health care outcomes. By lifting this antiquated cap on training slots for medical school graduates we would be making progress toward ensuring access to quality care for all.

BOOZMAN ENCOURAGES IMPROVEMENTS TO VA BREAST CANCER SCREENING AND CARE
Senate VA Committee Considers Boozman-Backed Legislation During Breast Cancer Awareness Month
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is championing policies to enhance the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care for women veterans by strengthening breast cancer screenings and care.

The incidence of breast cancer in women veterans and military populations is estimated to be up to 40 percent higher than the general population according to a study on cancer occurrence at Walter Reed Medical Center. Given the dangerous environments in which military members serve and additional risk factors associated with these locations, Boozman is pushing for updated VA policies for administering mammograms and expanding access to high-quality breast cancer screenings.

“Early detection is crucial to preventing and treating breast cancer. Female veterans are almost twice as likely as their civilian peers to be diagnosed with this disease so we must raise awareness about the increased risk, direct resources toward encouraging vulnerable women to receive earlier screenings and ensure the VA has the ability to support them. I’m proud to advocate for policies focused on developing advanced procedures to help save lives,” Boozman said.

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee met on Wednesday to discuss the Boozman-backed Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act. This legislation would 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. 

In July, the Senate VA Committee unanimously approved Boozman-authored legislation that would expand mammogram screening eligibility.

That bill, the Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act, would require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

Boozman’s SERVICE Act builds on the momentum created by the passage of the Deborah Sampson Act, landmark legislation to eliminate barriers to care and service many women veterans face when accessing VA benefits. The historic bill was signed into law in January 2021.

 

COTTON INTRODUCES BILL TO PREVENT SCHOOLS FROM CONCEALING GENDER TRANSITIONS FROM PARENTS
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced the Empower Parents to Protect Their Kids Act, legislation that would prevent K-12 schools from performing a “gender transition” on children behind their parents’ backs. This bill would also empower parents to sue schools that violate this Act by hiding or withholding information about their child’s “transition.” Bill text may be found here.

“Schools should never be allowed to impose radical, harmful ideologies on children—especially without parents’ knowledge and consent. My bill will protect students and ensure that parents are in control of their children’s education. Schools must remain institutions of education, not indoctrination camps where minors are manipulated and brainwashed,” said Cotton.

This bill would ensure that all federally funded elementary school and secondary school employees abide by the following requirements regarding minor students:

Receive parental consent before facilitating a student’s gender transition in any way.

Do not withhold information from parents or coerce students to withhold information from their parents about their purported gender identity.

Do not pressure parents or students to proceed with a gender transition.

The American Principles Project, Heritage Action, The Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Parents Defending Education Action support this bill.

Background:
Public schools have adopted radical policies to allow students of any age to change their name, pronouns, gender identity, and even sex-based accommodations (e.g. locker rooms) without telling parents. Schools are deliberately hiding these changes from parents. The following are examples of these egregious policies:

New Jersey’s statewide policy: “A school district shall accept a student’s asserted gender identity; parental consent is not required.”

Madison, Wisconsin’s district policy: “School staff shall not disclose any information that may reveal a student’s gender identity to others, including parents or guardians.” 

October 19, 2021

THE OUCHITA COUNTY COMMUNITY CONCERTS PRESENTS BILLSTOWN
The Ouachita County Community Concerts presents Billstown on October 23rd at 7PM at the Events Center at Fairview Park. Tickets will be $20 at the door or FREE for Community Concert Members.

Billstown was formed in 2008 by reuniting the members of The Campbell Family Band, with a few new additions. Billstown includes three generations of band members and music variety. Billstown's set list is quite diverse. It ranges from Classic Rock & Roll (Elvis, Red Foley, ETC.), Traditional Country (Johnny Cash, Ronnie Milsap, Hank Williams, George Strait, ETC.), 70's Rock (Eagles, Doobie Brothers, ETC.), Southern Rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Georgia Satellites, ETC.), to Modern Country (Gary Allen, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Keith Urban, ETC.). Learn more at www.ExploreCamden.com.

 

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID UPDATE – 10-19-2021
Public health officials in Arkansas are loosening quarantine procedures for students in K-12 in hopes of keeping more kids in class.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the changes during his weekly COVID-19 Taskforce press conference on Tuesday. Those changes include reducing the close contact definition from six feet to three feet over a 15-minute period. In addition, the state's test-to-stay guidelines have been expanded to include not just the school day but all school-related extracurricular activities. 

Other guidelines already in place include removing the requirement to quarantine if the contact is vaccinated, or if both the case and contact were wearing a mask at the time of exposure. These guidelines, as well as the changes announced Tuesday, only affect students in grades K-12. 

Dr. Tony Thurman, superintendent of the Cabot School District, said these changes will have a beneficial impact on school attendance rates and education in general. 

Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero said his department will continue to perform contact tracing within schools. In addition, he said the three-feet rule could return to six-feet if the COVID-19 situation worsens in Arkansas schools.

Regarding the state's COVID-19 figures, the Arkansas Department of Health reported an additional 661 new cases on Tuesday - signifying a continued drop in new cases across the state. Active cases fell to 5,853 currently. Deaths rose over the same period by 19 to 8,221 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations fell by one to leave 461 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus.

 

NTS AWARDED CONTRACT
National Technical Systems (NTS), Camden, Arkansas, has been awarded a $9,961,646 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for rapid energetic systems response testing support. Work will be performed in Camden, Arkansas, and is expected to complete October 2026. Fiscal 2022 Navy working capital funding of $500 will be obligated on the first task order at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the beta.sam.gov website with two offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00174-22-D-0001). 

 

GUNMAN SHOT BY PINE BLUFF OFFICER IN CRITICAL CONDITION; STATE POLICE DISCOVER IDENTITY MIX-UP
OCTOBER 18, 2021
The ongoing investigation of a shooting incident involving a Pine Bluff police officer who wounded a gunman outside 820 South Main Street early Sunday morning (October 17th) was not the person identified in a news release distributed yesterday.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division learned today that Keyyontae Vignaude, a University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff student from Hanover Park, Illinois, was the person holding a gun and backing away from an exit when struck by gunfire from the local police officer.

Duane A. Everett of Eudora, identified in the news release as the gunman seen by the officer, was wounded.  However, it remains uncertain whether Everett was struck by gunfire outside the Sahara Shriner’s Temple which was the site of the party, or if the wound was sustained inside the building where gunfire had erupted moments earlier, leaving multiple individuals wounded and at least one dead.

Everett assisted the police officer in rendering aid to Vignaude and both were transported by ambulance to a Pine Bluff hospital.  Everett was treated and released, but Vignaude was later transferred by air ambulance to a Little Rock hospital where he is listed in critical condition.

The role of the Arkansas State Police investigation is limited in scope only to the officer involved shooting.  Upon completion of the investigation, the case file will be used by the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney to determine whether the use of deadly force by the police officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions related to the identify of the Pine Bluff police officer, the administrative status of the officer or the investigation relating to the shooting incident inside the party site, should be directed to the Pine Bluff Police Department.
 

BRADLEY COUNTY MAN VICTIM IN APPARENT HOMICIDE CASE; STATE POLICE INVESTIGATING
OCTOBER 18, 2021
The body of a Warren man was discovered about 7:20 AM today alongside U.S. Highway 63, approximately four miles south Warren.  Terry Adams, 38, was the victim of an apparent homicide.

  Special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division found evidence to indicate Adams had been shot.  Agents have begun questioning individuals who may have information about Adams’ death.

Adams’ body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the exact manner and cause of death.

October 18, 2021

THE CRAWLING DEAD AT LOGOLY STATE PARK
On October 29 at 7 p.m., Logoly State Park will present “The Crawling Dead,” a program about the bugs that are dead, but their bodies haven’t realized it yet. You may have heard about the zombie ants of the rainforest, but many people don’t know about the creepier parts of the creepy, crawly world of bugs found here in Arkansas.

Join the park interpreter to discover the “zombie” bugs that can be found in our own backyard. Free popcorn will be available at the program courtesy of Car-Mart of Magnolia and general manager Shaun Haynie.

This program may not be suitable for the park’s youngest guests. For more information, contact the park at (870) 695-3561. Logoly State Park is in McNeil, six miles north of Magnolia.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

About Logoly State Park
Established as a state park in 1974, Logoly State Park was created as Arkansas’ first environmental education park. Logoly State Park is located in McNeil, Arkansas and covers 368 acres. It serves as both a State Park and a Natural Area. As such, park staff work with the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission to conserve and protect the natural resources found in the park. 

The Logoly State Park visitor center is filled with interactive exhibits. Here guests can learn about this unique place through sight, sound, touch, and smell. The visitor center is LEED certified and uses a variety of environmentally friendly technologies, such as geothermal heating and rainwater collection. In addition to the visitor center there is a playground, pavilion, picnic area, and multiple trails for guests to enjoy. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.

About Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities, and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and War Memorial Stadium.

The state parks have 1,800 campsites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities, and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.

 

INCIDENT INVOLVING OFFICER’S USE OF FORCE INVESTIGATED BY STATE POLICE
OCTOBER 17, 2021
The Arkansas State Police has been asked to investigate an incident involving a Pine Bluff police officer who shot a gunman encountered by the officer outside a downtown party site where gunfire had erupted minutes earlier.

Pine Bluff authorities contacted the state police Criminal Investigation Division shortly after 1 AM today requesting the investigation.

A local police officer responding to the sound of gunshots coming from 820 South Main Street encountered a man holding a gun exiting the Sahara Shriner’s Temple.  Inside the location eight people had already sustained gunshot wounds.

The officer directed gunfire at the unknown man who was later identified as Duane A. Everett, 24, of Eudora (Chicot County).  Everett was wounded and transported to a hospital for medical attention, then later released.

State police special agents are attempting to determine why Everett was armed and what he may know about the shootings that occurred prior to the arrival of Pine Bluff police.

The Arkansas State Police is not involved in the investigation of the shooting inside the Shriner’s temple.

Agents are preparing an investigative file related specifically to the officer involved shooting.  It will be used by the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney to determine whether the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identity of the Pine Bluff police officer or the officer’s administrative status, should be directed to the Pine Bluff Police Department.


SUSPECT QUESTIONED IN GOULD SHOOTING INCIDENT AND DEATH
OCTOBER 16, 2021
City police officers in Gould (Lincoln County) have asked Arkansas State Police special agents to investigate what is preliminarily believed to be a homicide that occurred at 206 Jocelyn Street.  Agents were contacted about 8 PM Friday [October 15] by the Lincoln County sheriff.

The body of Vintrael Allen McKinzie, 36, of Gould, was found inside the residence where state police Criminal Investigation Division special agents found evidence of a shooting incident that may have occurred late in the afternoon or early evening yesterday.  McKinzie’s body is being transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where a state medical examiner will determine the exact manner and cause of death.

Late Friday night, agents questioned a suspect in the death investigation.  No arrest has been made in the case.  As the investigation continues, the Lincoln County prosecuting attorney will meet with agents to review the case file and determine whether an arrest warrant should be issued.
 

TWELVE ARKANSAS PLAYGROUNDS SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL SHADE TREES ON PLAYGROUNDS PROGRAM
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division has selected twelve playgrounds at the following schools to participate in the Shade Trees on Playgrounds program:
DeWitt Elementary School – DeWitt
Meekins Middle School – Stuttgart
Western Yell County Elementary – Belleville
Nevada Elementary – Rosston
Hot Springs Child Care Center – Hot Springs
Pea Ridge Middle School – Pea Ridge
Atkins Elementary School & Middle School – Atkins
Nemo Vista Middle School – Center Ridge
Don Roberts Elementary School – Little Rock
Highland Pre-K – Highland
Nettleton STEAM – Jonesboro

The Shade Trees on Playgrounds program (STOP) was organized to lower adult skin cancer risk by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight where children play, like school playgrounds. Winning schools receive up to five shade trees, mulch, watering supplies, and planting guidelines after participating in program training.

“The STOP program combines hands-on, outdoor experiences with classroom curriculum about the importance of trees and how to care for trees,” says Urban & Community Forestry Program Coordinator, Kristine Kimbro. “We hope this program not only improves the health of Arkansas students, but also leaves a lasting impression about the value of forests and how to be good stewards of our natural resources.”

Schools are invited to submit STOP applications annually. To qualify, participating schools must lack shade, participate in a virtual STOP workshop, agree to use Forestry Division curriculum to emphasize the importance of trees and forestry in Arkansas, hold a tree-planting ceremony with students, and agree to long-term maintenance of the planted shade trees. Forestry Division personnel assist with the transport and planting of the trees. Trees for each campus are chosen by local Forestry Division staff to fit the unique region and conditions of each playground and are purchased from local nurseries and suppliers.

Learn more about the STOP program and other Urban & Community Forestry services and programs at agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/urban-community-forestry. With program questions, contact Kristine Kimbro at 479-228-7929 or kristine.kimbro@agriculture.arkansas.gov, or Harold Fisher at 501-580-4054 or harold.fisher@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.

October 15, 2021

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WARN DRIVERS, “EYES ON THE ROAD, NOT THE PHONE”
U Drive.  U Text.  U Pay.
OCTOBER 14, 2021
Arkansas law enforcement agencies will unite in the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” initiative aimed at stopping the dangerous practice of distracted driving.  Starting Sunday, Arkansas State Troopers, joined by local police officers and sheriff’s deputies across the state, will begin a week-long (October 17-23) intensified patrol effort to stop drivers who are distracted and fail to keep their eyes on the road.

One of the leading factors contributing to the epidemic of distracted driving is the simultaneous use of cell phones and other electronic devices to communicate while drivers travel across state highways and local streets.  In recent years, young drivers have become the largest segment among distracted driving offenders, using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while they’re supposed to be in control of their vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, since 2007 the number of drivers 16 to 24 years old observed using handheld electronic devices while driving has continually increased compared to older drivers.  During 2018, 8 percent of the people killed in teen driving crashes (ages 15-19) died when teen drivers were distracted at the time of the crash, and the following year (2019) 10 percent of the teenage drivers were distracted at the time of the crashes.  

National Teen Driver Safety Week coincides with the planned distracted driving operation.  Parents are encouraged to have conversations with their teenage children who are drivers about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe while operating a motor vehicle.

Texting while driving is illegal in 47 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Teenage drivers need to be reminded of the dangers when using a phone while driving and that any use of a cell phone to text, talk or use social media applications raises the chances of someone being injured or killed.  Even when stopped at a traffic light, distracted driving laws can and will be enforced by law enforcement officers.  Additionally, young drivers should be told it’s not advisable to use headphones or earbuds while driving.  All drivers need to be able to hear another vehicle’s horn or the siren from an emergency vehicle.

 “The growing disregard of distracted driving laws isn’t limited just to teenagers,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “It’s frightening to realize many adults are now mimicking the dangerous distracted driving practices of their children and grandchildren which is taking a toll in the form of injuries and deaths on Arkansas roadways.”

Cell phones aren’t the only cause of distracted driving.  A driver who takes their eyes off the road to speak to a passenger, adjust entertainment programming or temperature controls, even eating while driving are all examples of distracted driving.

 “People know texting and driving is dangerous and illegal, but they selfishly do it anyway while putting others at risk,” said Colonel Bryant.  “We have to get the message out and beginning this weekend state troopers will be sending that message in the form of violator citations to anyone caught texting and driving.”Arkansas law enforcement officers and the Highway Safety Office urge drivers of any age to put their phones away while behind the wheel and operating a vehicle. If a text message is necessary, safely exit the street or highway and find a location to stop and use the phone.  Never try to read or send a text message while a vehicle is moving.  Drivers are also asked to consider other safety precautions:
•  Designate a passenger as a “designated texter.” Allow the passenger to access the driver’s phone.
•  Never engage in social media scrolling or posting messages while driving.
•  Cell phone use is habit-forming.  If a driver is struggling with safe practices, activate the cell phone “Do Not Disturb” feature, or put the phone out of reach from the driver such as in the trunk, glove box, or back seat.

 Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal.  Remember, U Drive. U Text. U Pay.  For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.
 

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW SCHOOL BOARD TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in regular session on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 6:30 pm at garrison Auditorium.

The agenda is as follows:
Call to order.
Student Hearings
Approval of minutes of previous meetings

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
None

NEW BUSINESS
Presentation and recommendation regarding mask policy.
Presentation and adoption of Board re-zoning Resolution
Presentation regarding the CFSD Annual Report to the Public.
Presentation and recommendation regarding CFMS camera systems paid out of ARP ESSR Ill for contact tracing.
Presentation and recommendation of additional pay for licensed employees from ARP ESSR Ill Funds.
Presentation and recommendation of additional pay for classified employees from ARP ESSR Ill Funds
Presentation and recommendation of additional pay for part-time employees from ARP ESSR Ill Funds.
Presentation and recommendation of purchase service contract for communication/PR
Presentation and recommendation regarding Juvenile Probation Officer Contract
Presentation and recommendation regarding a solution required by AC.A §6-13- 635 salary increase for CFSD employees 5% or more for fiscal year 2021-2022.
Presentation and recommendation of ADE Annual Equity Compliance Report
Presentation and recommendation regarding selection of delegate to ASBA 2021
Conference.
Facility Rentals

Superintendent's report to the Board.
Financial report
Personnel
Hiring
Resignations
Retirement

Adjournment

ARKANSAS STUDENTS, SCHOOLS RECEIVE MONETARY REWARDS
for Qualifying Scores on Advanced Placement Computer Science Exams

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce the awarding of $136,350 to students and schools under its Arkansas Advanced Placement Computer Science A Incentive Program. 

The purpose of the incentive program is to increase the number of qualifying scores (3, 4, or 5) on AP Computer Science A exams. For the 2020-21 school year, the fourth year of this incentive program, 193 students and 42 Arkansas schools earned $136,350 for exams taken.

“Arkansas is leading the way in preparing students to successfully join the future workforce with Arkansas’ Computer Science Education Initiative,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said, “It is important to make sure our students can receive the best level of education we can provide. The money awarded by the AP Computer Science program will help push these schools to put students in a position to succeed."

The schools representing the top ten amounts awarded under this program are as follows:
Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock - $18,450
Haas Hall Academy in Fayetteville - $13,850
Rogers High School in Rogers - $13,100
Bentonville High School in Bentonville - $10,950
Har-Ber High School in Springdale - $7,400
Southside High School in Fort Smith - $7,350
Northside High School in Fort Smith - $5,200
Haas Hall Academy in Rogers - $4,300
White Hall High School in White Hall - $3,900
Benton High School in Benton - $3,400

Under this program, Arkansas public school students and schools were eligible to receive a monetary incentive when the student earned one computer science flex credit for successfully completing an AP Computer Science A course and received a qualifying score on the AP exam taken between August 1, 2020, and May 30, 2021.

The tiered rewards are as follows:
For a qualifying score of 5 on the AP Computer Science A exam, an Arkansas public school student received $1,000, with the school receiving $250.
For a qualifying score of 4 on the AP Computer Science A exam, an Arkansas public school student received $750, with the school receiving $150.
For a qualifying score of 3 on the AP Computer Science A exam, an Arkansas public school student received $250, with the school receiving $50.

Approved student and school reward payments will be sent to the schools by November 2021 for distribution to students.

Continuation of this program for the 2021-2022 school year was announced at https://bit.ly/2Ys5Xh8
 

2021 STATE, FEDERAL ACCOUNTABILITY REPORTS FOR SCHOOLS RELEASED
97 Percent of Students Tested Statewide, 12 Percent of Schools Improved
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education released today the 2021 accountability reports for public schools. The reports include data from the 2020-2021 school year, including 2021 ACT Aspire results. 

“There is no doubt that it has been a challenging year-and-a-half in education,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “Arkansas students and educators have faced unprecedented circumstances, but they have risen above them all and continued learning. The results released today reflect some highlights and positive movement among some school districts, and because of that, we know student learning can and will persist despite the circumstances. While we know there is still work to do, today, as always, I am proud of our educators and students who faced the pandemic head-on and rose above its challenges.”

This year’s reports reflect three years of trend data (2018, 2019, 2021) for all students and student subgroups (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, White, Economically Disadvantaged, English Learners, and Students with Disabilities). The user may select the year to hide or show the data. Trend data give schools a sense of how students perform academically over time and whether schools are improving access and opportunity for success within all ESSA School Index indicators and components.

ESSA School Index
Available on the division’s My School Info website, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) School Index report includes students’ weighted achievement and growth on state-required assessments for third through tenth grade, graduation rates, and school quality and student success indicators. Act 89 of 2021 suspended school letter grades for the 2020-2021 school year. 

School Rating
The Accountability-at-a-Glance (School Rating) report, also available on the My School Info website, provides a quick one-page overview of the accountability scores for the school. This year, DESE included an adjusted and unadjusted ESSA School Index Score for the school and student subgroups. Schools that tested at least 95 percent of students will have the same adjusted and unadjusted score; however, if a school tested less than 95 percent of its students, the adjusted and unadjusted scores may differ. Only the adjusted ESSA School Index Score is used for accountability purposes. Both scores are available this year to highlight the importance of testing 95 percent and the impact of COVID-19. 

ESSA School Index Improvements 
The results below show the total number of schools that increased in overall ESSA School Index Score, Weighted Achievement, and Value-Added Growth for 2020-2021 compared to 2018-2019. Some of the highlights listed below also are reflected on DESE’s Schools on the Move Towards Excellence webpage at https://bit.ly/2SYnhFZ.

A total of 125 schools improved their overall ESSA School Index Score (all students).
A total of 40 schools improved their Weighted Achievement Score.
A total of 531 schools scored 80 or more points on Value Added Growth Score. 


Communication
Each school’s ESSA School Index data can be found on the My School Info website (https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov/). After searching for a particular school, click on the school's name and then the Reports tab. The ESSA School Index tab will then be available. To learn more about how to access the reports for each school, visit the 2021 ESSA School Index Public Release video at https://bit.ly/3lJkjCT.

All stakeholders, including students, caregivers, educators, and community members, are encouraged to review their schools’ data and discuss how to meet the educational needs of all students. Schools are encouraged to utilize these reports to revisit their school-level improvement plan. Districts may also review their district support plan and reallocate resources as needed to ensure successful implementation of school plans. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the 2020-2021 academic year. Results may reflect the unusual circumstances for instruction and assessment. Please use caution when comparing the results.

Additional information about Arkansas’ ESSA plan and informational documents are available on the DESE website at https://bit.ly/3oH1yC4.

October 14, 2021

CAMDEN RESIDENT DIES IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
A Camden resident died in a wreck Wednesday, according to Arkansas State Police reports. At around 4:00 Wednesday morning, 31-year-old Derek Kendra Brown of Camden was driving south on U.S. Highway 79, according to police reports. His 1993 GMC ran off the right side of the road into a ditch, driving about 290 feet before striking a driveway culvert, and flipping onto its top, the police report states. The accident report lists conditions at the time of the crash as clear and dry.

 

CITY COUNCIL SCHEDULES BUDGET WORKSHOP
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen are having a series of Budget Workshops to address the needs of the City for 2022. Each meeting addresses the needs of a different Department within the City.

The Council will meet for a workshop on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 6:30 pm in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building located at 206 Van Buren NE. This Workshop is for the purpose of addressing the 2022 udget needs of the Public Works Department.
 

ACT RELEASES TEST SCORES FOR 2021 GRADUATING CLASS
LITTLE ROCK — ACT scores released today for Arkansas’ 2021 graduating class held steady compared to results from 2020.

A total of 31,152 public school students who graduated in 2021 took the ACT at least once. While this is a decrease of 1,360 from the previous year, this number represents approximately 97 percent of the graduating class. The average ACT scores and percent of students who met readiness benchmarks were stable as well. 

Arkansas provides all 11th-grade students the opportunity to take the ACT during the spring of their junior year at no charge to the student. Students are encouraged to take the test multiple times, as scores typically increase the more times a student takes the test. The results for the 2021 graduating class, however, largely reflect testing that occurred in the spring of 2020, prior to COVID-19’s disruption to student learning and testing.

“While the effects of COVID-19 may not be fully reflected in these scores, the pandemic definitely limited the number of opportunities typically available for graduating seniors who choose to take the ACT multiple times,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. “These additional opportunities would have been included in the data and provided a better reflection of student achievement for the 2021 graduating class. Even without a clear picture, we know that we still have work to do. Through local and statewide efforts that are currently under way, we hope to accelerate student learning and prepare students for a very successful future despite the pandemic.”

Summary of Arkansas’ Results (data compared to 2020):
The percent of students who met all four readiness benchmarks (Reading, English, Math, and Science) remained the same (14 percent).

The average composite score also remained the same (18.8).

Average composite scores for each of the four subject areas changed little, with slight decreases in English, Math, and Reading and a small increase in Science.

The average composite score for Arkansas students who retested in 2021 was 21.3 compared to 16.8 for students who only took the test once.


Qualifying students used 8,943 testing fee waivers (an increase of 289), giving them the opportunity to take the ACT multiple times at no cost. 


To see the complete results, go to https://bit.ly/2Yyr41r
 

CABOT EDUCATOR NAMED 2022 ARKANSAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR
LITTLE ROCK — When Jessica Saum, a special education teacher at Stagecoach Elementary School in Cabot, woke up this morning, she knew she was one of four Arkansas Teacher of the Year state semi-finalists. What she didn’t know until a surprise ceremony this afternoon, however, was that she was in fact selected as the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

Saum, who has been a self-contained special education teacher for grades K-4 in Cabot since 2018, is known not only for her excellence in the classroom but for her advocacy work on behalf of her students, her efforts to connect her students with learning opportunities in the community, and her support for military families.

“For successful students, there are numerous exceptional teachers who help them on their journey of life,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “Based on her track record both in and out of the classroom, Ms. Saum definitely falls in that category and represents the best of the best in Arkansas. Not only do her students and fellow teachers know that, but as the 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, now the rest of the state does too. I am honored to recognize Ms. Saum for her excellence in the classroom and congratulate her on this high honor.”

“As secretary of education, I am humbled and honored each year to be part of an amazing event that recognizes an outstanding teacher such as Ms. Saum,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said. “It always brings me joy to see a teacher receive the much-deserved recognition that is long overdue. I commend Ms. Saum not only on her dedication to her students and community but also for her sacrifice and service as the spouse of a military serviceman. She understands firsthand the commitment it takes to balance work and life and whole-heartedly support your family, students, and country at the same time. Thank you, Ms. Saum, for all you do. This honor is well-deserved, and we at the department look forward to working alongside you when you begin your tenure as the next Teacher of the Year.”

Saum was not only named the 2021 Cabot Public Schools Teacher of the Year, she also was recognized as the 2020 314th Airlift Wing Key Spouse of the Year for her volunteer work at the Little Rock Air Force Base. As Teacher of the Year, Saum will use her platform to focus on increasing awareness and improving resources for districts who assist students of military families when they transition to a new school and state.

Inside the classroom, Saum regularly partners with other teachers and community members to bring hands-on lessons that cross multiple content areas to her students, as well as provide opportunities for her students to learn in general education classrooms. For example, in addition to partnering with a gifted and talented teacher on a lesson about earthworms, Saum also collaborated with the 314th Airlift Wing at the Little Rock Air Force Base to take her students on a virtual C-130 field trip. She has partnered with Ballet Arkansas to have a sugar plum fairy in full costume read The Nutcracker to her school via Zoom and has organized a class outdoor camping day event for her students. She also planned a school-level Special Olympics event for students in May.

Saum’s passion for her students’ learning is evident. “Special education students should not be treated as ‘guests at the table’ but included as meaningful members of a larger learning community,” Saum said in her Teacher of the Year application. “Ensuring exposure to grade-level peers and curriculum should be the standard, not the exception."

Prior to teaching at Cabot, Saum was a preschool teacher at the former Arnold Drive Elementary School in Jacksonville, as well as a long-term substitute in early childhood special education in the Pulaski County Special School District.

Saum obtained a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Special Education P-4, a Master of Science in Special Education Educational Specialist 4-12, and a graduate certificate as a Special Education Director from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. She has received numerous awards, such as being named an Association of American Educators Advocacy Fellow in 2021 and an Arkansas State Teacher Association Fellow in 2020, and is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

In addition to receiving a $1,000 prize when named a regional finalist and an additional $1,000 for being a state semi-finalist, Saum received an additional $14,000 award today sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation. She is now eligible to apply for the National Teacher of the Year honor.

Saum’s one-year tenure as Arkansas Teacher of the Year will begin July 1, 2022, when she will travel the state as a representative for teachers and will serve as a non-voting member on the State Board of Education.

To learn more about the Arkansas Teacher of the Year program, visit https://bit.ly/3Dmhf5S.
 

CADC BOARD TO MEET
The Board of Directors of Central Arkansas Development Council will have a board meeting Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.  The meeting will be held at the Benton Senior Activity Center, 1800 Citizens Drive, Benton, AR.  The public is invited to join the meeting.

October 13, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order promptly at 7:00. Rev. Mark Smith, Pastor of Thrive Church, gave the invocation. The Invocation was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

City Clerk Donna Stewart called the roll. All alderman were in attendance.

The minutes from the September meeting a were presented in print. Motion was made and seconded. There was  no discussion.Approval of the minutes passed unanimously.

The Financial Report was presented. Motion was made to approve and seconded. There was no discussion.  The Financial Report passed unanimously.

The Mayor recognized that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. He also gave details regarding the upcoming Budget workshops. He stated that the Workshops are open to the public. Jason Holsclaw with Stephens Inc. addressed the Counsel regarding the Camden Water & Sewer Bond Issue.

Ordinance No. 09-21, an ordinance rezoning property located at 1315 W. Washington from RS-2 (Single
Family District) to C-1 (Professional Office District). Motion was made to suspend the rules. Rules were suspended. There was a motion made to approve and seconded. There was no discussion and the Ordinance passed unanimously.

Ordinance No. 10-21, an ordinance fixing the rate of taxation for the year 2022; declaring an emergency; and for other purposes. Motion was made and seconded to suspend the rules. The rules were suspended. Motion was made and seconded. There was no discussion. The Ordinance passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 61-21, a resolution authorizing the offering of Bonds to refund the City’s Water and Sewer Revenue Bond, Series 2016; and prescribing other matters pertaining thereto. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 62-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Travis Daniel to the Advertising and         Promotion Commission. Motion made and seconded to approve. There was no discussion. Passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 63-21, a resolution amending the budget for 2021; and for other purposes. Motion was made and seconded to approve. There was no discussion. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 64-21, a resolution authorizing obsolete or no longer used personal property to be sold at  Public Auction; and for other purposes. Camden was referred to as “East Camden” in one part of the Resolution. Motion was made and seconded to amend the Resolution to strike the word "East". There was a motion made and seconded to approve as amended. LE Lindsey asked if properties would be listed somewhere. The Mayor said there would be a list on explorecamden.com by Monday. He said the auction will be November 6th. Passed unanimously.

James Bell requested that a workshop and public meeting be scheduled to re visit and discuss an entertainment district. There was no other discussion. The meeting was adjourned.

The next scheduled meeting of the City Council will be November 09, 2021.

CITY OF CAMDEN TO HOLD PUBLIC AUCTION
The City of Camden will hold a Public Auction on November 06, 2021. The items listed below are on the Auction List.
SWINTECH TYPEWRITER  - MODEl#7040
SWINTECH TYPEWRITER - MODEl# 8014S
PRINCETON MONITOR  - TVUH2601566
ASUS MONITOR - FClMQS052621
ASUS MONITOR - FClMQS052635
ACER MONITOR - ETl480B18265108174392F
CANNON PRINTER - RWH07436
BROTHER PRINTER - 163080H4N797914
DLLl PRINTER - CN-OW5519-72211-214-0049
BROTHER PRINTER - U63881E1N144896
CANNON PRINTER - WHD23537
DELL PRINTER - CN-OW5519-72211-214-0264
BROTHER PRINTER - U63885G1N351205
KEYBOARD WIRED - 18Q-02H9-AOJ
KEYBOARD WIRED - 73N-0560-A02
LOGITECH KEYBOARD WIRELESS - 0473-11-3229
DELL KEYBOARD - CN-03WPNC-75134-46Q-0178-A02
KEYBOARD - 818294013804
KEYBOARD - 41106103185
LOGITECH KEYBOARD - 0413-11-3229
DELL KEYBOARD - CN-05P02F-11581-18R-03KZ-A01
WIRED KEYBOARD - 818294032034
DELL MOUSE -N889
ALUMINUM 35 FT. EXTENSION LADDER (2 SECTIONS)
ALUMINUM 35 FT. EXTENSION LADDER (3 SECTIONS)
ALUMINUM 50 FT. EXTENSION LADDER WITH STABILIZER POLES
KOHLER 17KW GENERATOR WITH TRANSFER SWITCH (NEED WATER PUMP)
HEAVY SHELVES
POSITIVE PRESSURE FAN WITH HONDA MOTOR (NEEDS REPAIR)
ASSORTED AIR PACKS AND BOTTLES (SCBA)
SMALL DESK
ASSORTED ITEMS (SHELVING, EPOXY, PUMP UP SPRAYER, PARTS TO GROUND MONITOR)
2008 CHEVY IMPALA
2006 FORD CROWN VICTORIA – NO KEY
(2) 2010 FORD CROWN VIC – MISSING RADIATOR
2006 FORD CROWN VIC -
2007 MERCURY MARQUIS – NO KEY
(2) 2006 DODGE CHARGER
2004 FORD CROWN VIC
2008 FORD CROWN VIC
2000 FORD EXPLORER
1991 CHEVROLET C70 KNUCKLE BOOM
2005 VERMEER S600TX MINI LOADER
1974 FORD 4110 TRACTOR
1998 FORD F-150
1996 FORD F-150
1986 JOHN DEERE LOADER
1996 INTERNATIONAL DT466

 

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON’S COVID-19 UPDATE – OCTOBER 13, 2021
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he will not sign two legislative bills seeking to counter a White House mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or rigorous testing for federal employees and contractors. 

Hutchinson announced during his weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday that he would not veto either bill nor would he sign them. The two bills include SB739 and HB1977. The two identical bills were passed last week by the Arkansas legislature and would force employers requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees to provide specific exemptions. These exemptions include a negative antigen detection test or proof of immunity for the virus.

Hutchinson said these bills are contrary to the state and nation's efforts to encourage vaccination against COVID-19. In addition, he stated his opposition to further and more complicated mandates on employers.

Hutchinson said he is also against legislation recently passed in Texas that prohibits the establishment of any vaccination requirement in the state.

Arkansas Health Secretary Jose Romero then spoke on the expected upcoming approval by the FDA of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11. He said approval could come as early as next month.

Regarding the state's COVID-19 figures, the Arkansas Department of Health reported 694 new cases on Wednesday - signifying a continued drop in the state's new caseload. With Wednesday's new cases, the state is now reporting more than 504,000 transmissions of COVID-19 in Arkansas since the pandemic began. Active cases fell on Wednesday by 104 to 6,702 currently. Deaths rose over the same period by 19 for a total of 8,166 since spring of 2020. Hospitalizations declined by six to leave 531 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus.

The number of fully vaccinated Arkansans increased but remains below 1.4 million.

FREE MEDICARE COUNSELING AND INFORMATION AVAILABLE FOR ARKANSANS
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – With the Medicare Open Enrollment Period fast approaching, the Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) Senior Health Insurance Information Program (AR SHIIP) offers free counseling to assist Arkansans who are eligible for Medicare.  AR SHIIP connects Medicare beneficiaries as well as their families and caregivers with certified counselors statewide. The counselors provide guidance in person or over the telephone regarding Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Supplements, and Medicare Part D (drug plans) at no cost to Arkansans.

AR SHIIP partners conduct informational screenings to determine whether Medicare recipients are eligible for low-income subsidies and/or help with medication costs. The partners review ways to lower out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare recipients and review other ways to save money.

“The Senior Health Insurance Information Program is an important and valuable service we provide Arkansans," said Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Alan McClain. "We hope that consumers will take advantage of these free services meant to assist them in making the best possible Medicare decisions for their individual needs."

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15 through December 7. During this time, beneficiaries can review coverage options as well as make changes to their current health insurance coverage.

“Our mission is to educate and empower Arkansans about their options for Medicare,” said AR SHIIP Director, Carroll Astin. “We hope to make the Medicare Open Enrollment process as straightforward as possible so that navigating and selecting coverage options is seamless for Arkansans.”

AR SHIIP provides one-on-one counseling and information for Arkansans eligible for Medicare. All services are free, unbiased, and confidential. For more information, call 1-800-224-6330 toll-free or visit https://www.shiipar.com/.

SOCIAL SECURITY ANNOUNCES 5.9 PERCENT BENEFIT INCREASE FOR 2022
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9 percent in 2022, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022.  Increased payments to approximately 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021.  (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).  The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $147,000 from $142,800. 

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

Information about Medicare changes for 2022, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov.  For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2022 are announced.  Final 2022 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security’s Message Center.

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

SURVEY: SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM SLIPS IN SEPTEMBER AS LABOR SHORTAGES, INFLATION IMPACT OPERATIONS
LITTLE ROCK (Oct. 12, 2021) — The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased one point in September to 99.1. Three of the 10 Index components improved, five declined, and two were unchanged.  

“Small business owners are doing their best to meet the needs of customers, but are unable to hire workers or receive the needed supplies and inventories,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The outlook for economic policy is not encouraging to owners, as lawmakers shift to talks about tax increases and additional regulations.” 

State-specific data isn’t available, but NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith said, “Our small business members throughout the state are having a tough time maintaining supply chains and finding people to work, and that’s affecting their ability to provide the goods and services their customers need.” 

Key findings include: 

The NFIB Uncertainty Index increased five points to 74. 

Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased five points to a net negative 33%. 

Fifty-one percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a 48-year record high for the third consecutive month.  

A net 42% of owners reported raising compensation, a 48-year record high. 

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, a record 51% of small business owners (seasonally adjusted) reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up one point from August. A net 42% of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, up one point from August and a 48-year record high reading.  

A net 30% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up four points from August’s record high reading. Twelve percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 28% said that labor quality was their top business problem – both record-high readings.   

Fifty-three percent of owners reported capital outlays in the next six months, down two points from August and historically a weak reading. Of those making expenditures, 37% reported spending on new equipment, 21% acquired vehicles, and 12% improved or expanded facilities. Six percent of owners acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 10% of owners spent money for new fixtures and furniture. Twenty-eight percent plan capital outlays in the next few months, down two points from August and one point below the 48-year average.  

Seasonally adjusted, 3% of owners reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, up three points from August. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes improved by four points to a net 2%. 

The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases rose five points to a net 3%, back into positive territory after two months of owners reporting more declines than gains. This is the highest reading since the pandemic started. 

Over 35% of owners report supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business. Another 32% report a moderate impact and 21% report a mild impact. Only 10% of owners report no impact from recent supply chain disruptions. A net 10% of owners viewed current inventory stocks as “too low” in September, down one point from August. A net 9% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months, down two points from August but historically a very elevated reading. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased three points to a net 46% (seasonally adjusted). Unadjusted, 8% of owners reported lower average selling prices and 53% reported higher average prices. Price hikes were the most frequent in wholesale (75% higher, 0% lower), manufacturing (67% higher, 4% lower), and retail (71% higher, 2% lower). Seasonally adjusted, a net 46% of owners plan price hikes. 

The frequency of positive profit trends increased one point to a net negative 14%. Among the owners reporting lower profits, 26% blamed the rise in the cost of materials, 23% blamed weaker sales, 19% cited labor costs, 10% cited the usual season change, 6% cited lower prices, and 6% cited higher taxes or regulatory costs. For those owners reporting higher profits, 57% credited sales volumes, 19% cited usual seasonal change, and 5% cited higher prices.  

Two percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied. Twenty percent reported all credit needs were met and 62% said they were not interested in a loan. A net 4% of owners reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts. Zero percent reported that financing was their top business problem. A net 0% 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 drawn from NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in September 2021.

About NFIB
For more than 75 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the voice of small business, advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit www.NFIB.com

 

AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will meet in regular session on Friday, October 15, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road, in Camden.

OKLAHOMA PHYSICIAN CHARGED IN DEATH OF WOMAN FOUND NEAR LAKE VILLAGE
OCTOBER 12, 2021
An Oklahoma physician was arrested last night (*Monday, October 11th) by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.  Dr. Tyler Tait, 34, of Tahlequah, was taken into custody at Lake Village and is being held at the Chicot County Jail charged with first degree murder.

Chicot County sheriff’s deputies requested the Arkansas State Police to investigate the death of Moria Kinsey, 37, of Tahlequah.  Deputies responded to a report of a woman in need of medical assistance about 12:15 PM, Monday.  Kinsey was located lying outside a vehicle parked alongside U.S. Highway 65, approximately two miles north of Lake Village, near the McMillan Corner community.  Tait was found near the vehicle.  Kinsey was transported to an area hospital and pronounced deceased by a local doctor at 2:18 PM yesterday.

Kinsey’s body was transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the manner and cause of death is being determined.

State police special agents examined the vehicle Tait and Kinsey had been traveling in from Mississippi and found evidence of a physical altercation inside.

Monday evening, after interviewing Tait and later consulting with Thomas Deen, 10th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, agents arrested Tait.

WESTERMAN CONCLUDES ANNUAL AGRICULTURE TOUR 
WASHINGTON – U.S Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) concluded his annual tour of Arkansas agriculture, where he visited farmers and other agriculture producers across the Fourth District. Westerman issued the following statement:

“It was an honor to spend time with folks who have dedicated their lives to feeding and clothing America, hear their concerns, and learn how I can help from the federal level,” said Congressman Westerman. “Agriculture is a demanding career made all the more difficult by nationwide labor shortages and rising inflation. Far too often, Washington bureaucrats legislate without understanding how regulations and taxation affects rural Americans, the producers of the food and clothing so often taken for granted. Those in agriculture are some of our nation’s most essential workers and I understand that our farmers’ success is our nation’s succuss. I am committed to continuing to be a voice for rural America in Congress, taking back their insights to Washington, D.C., and ensuring they are heard.” 

Background
The annual agriculture tour is an opportunity for Westerman to meet one-on-one with constituents and learn more about the issues they’re facing and how he can assist.

Full 2021 Agriculture Tour Itinerary:
Pilgrim’s Pride processing facility | De Queen, Ark.
JACO Meats | Hope, Ark.
Seinpro Farms | Portland, Ark.
Row Crop Roundtable | Hamburg, Ark.
Triple M Farms | Hamburg, Ark.
Ray White Lumbar Company | Sparkman, Ark.
University of Arkansas Fruit Research Station | Clarksville, Ark.
Livestock Roundtable | Ozark, Ark.
Feral Hot Removal Demonstration | Danville, Ark.
Lew Thompson and Sons Trucking | Huntsville, Ark.

October 11, 2021

PERRIN NO LONGER EMPLOYED BY THE CITY OF CAMDEN
It is official.  As of the ending of September, also ended Assistant to the Mayor, Amy Perrin’s employment with the City of Camden as the Assistant to Camden City Mayor Lott.

City Attorney Michael Fry spoke confirming Perrin’s employment was no longer valid with the City of Camden last Friday.  The claim is the employment was terminated without the presence of a resignation letter.  It appears to be a personnel matter. 

This reporter is reaching out with attorneys from both sides to sure up what’s fact and what‘s rumor.  Radio Works has possession of copied documentation and have more detail on this story as it develops when representatives involved have their statements ready.


PROJECT SEARCH NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
Project SEARCH Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative is an innovative job-training program providing a nine-month internship program for young adults, with developmental disabilities. Interns in the program complete (3) ten-week rotations at a partnering business with the goal of gaining the necessary skills to obtain competitive employment. Upon completion of the program, staff provides assistance with finding employment within the community and continued support during employment. Internships are currently available at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs (CHI St. Vincent), Ouachita County Medical Center (OCMC) in Camden, St. Bernards Medical Center (St. Bernards) in Jonesboro, Mercy Fort Smith Hospital (Mercy Fort Smith), and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB).

Applications are available now online at www.projectsearcharkansas.org. Application deadline is January 31, 2022. To learn more or request a paper application call Rebekah at 501-515-2691.

 

GOVERNOR TO REVIEW NEW CONGRESSIONAL MAP
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans to review a new congressional map for the state this week. Lawmakers gave final approval to the map Thursday. Arkansas' current map has five counties split into different districts.

Arkansas lawmakers have rejected legislation that would have prevented businesses from requiring employees to say whether they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The majority-Republican House on Friday voted 41-46 to defeat Senate Bill 731 , which would have created a “right of privacy” for employees and contractors regarding their vaccination status.


CENTRAL ARKANSAS GROUP SENTENCED TO OVER 20 YEARS COMBINED IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The final member of a central Arkansas group has been sentenced to federal prison for the Distribution of Methamphetamine. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

In January 2019, Detectives with the 18th Judicial Drug Task Force launched an investigation into drug trafficking in the Western District of Arkansas. Between the months of January and June of 2019, detectives conducted several controlled purchases of methamphetamine from John Rickey Stinger and members of his drug trafficking organization.

The sentencings are as follows:

Kenneth Traylor, age 60, of Malvern, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 72 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Aiding and Abetting in the Distribution of Methamphetamine.

Krista Graves, age 27, of Malvern, Arkansas, was sentenced June 25, 2020 to 30 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.

John Rickey Stinger, age 36, of Malvern, Arkansas, was sentenced on June 23, 2020 to 121 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and one count of Aiding and Abetting in the Distribution of Methamphetamine.

Joshua Tollett, age 40, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, was sentenced on June 23, 2020 to 18 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release on one count of Aiding and Abetting in the Distribution of Methamphetamine.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The 18th East Judicial District Drug Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations Little Rock, and the 18th East Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Achorn and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Daniels prosecuted the case.

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


SAAC BOX OFFICE OPEN FOR "CLUE: ON STAGE"
The South Arkansas Arts Center box office is now open for its upcoming production of "Clue: On Stage". Dates for the production are October 22-24, 28 and 30-31. Shows will begin at 7:30 on the 22, 23, 28 and 30th, with the curtain going up at 2:30 on the 23, 24 and 31. There will also be a 2:30 and 7:30 show on Saturday, October 23. Ticket cost is $5 for students, $10 for SAAC members and $20 for general public. Call the SAAC office to reserve your seats for all showings.

SAAC will also host a champagne reception on opening night before the show beginning at 7pm in the gallery. All seats are $20. Call the SAAC office to reserve your seats for all showings.

Based on the iconic 1985 Paramount movie which was inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, Clue is a hilarious farce-meets-murder mystery. The tale begins at a remote mansion, where six mysterious guests assemble for an unusual dinner party where murder and blackmail are on the menu. When their host turns up dead, they all become suspects. Led by Wadsworth - the butler, Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Colonel Mustard race to find the killer as the body count stacks up. Clue is the comedy whodunit that will leave both cult-fans and newcomers in stitches as they try to figure out...WHO did it, WHERE, and with WHAT!

Kenneth Burns, who plays Mr. Boddy, the mysterious host in the production, said, when asked about his favorite part of the play, "I'd have to say I really like the scene where Colonel Mustard and Wadsworth go through the bit about whether or not 'there is someone else in this house'. I think the comedic element of the miscommunication is extremely universal to the human condition, in that it highlights just how easily people can miscommunicate even when they are trying to get on the same page. You just can't help but laugh. If you like comedy mixed in with a bit of mystery, then you'll want to see this show. This cast is talented, the chemistry is on point and if you've never seen this before, you will not regret it!"

SAAC is also hosting a "Colors and Costume Night" on Saturday, October 30 to add a little fun to the show on Halloween Eve. Rhett Davis, director for the production, said, "If you'd like, we'd love for you to come dressed as your favorite character from the game or the movie or come dressed in a solid color showing your support for that character."

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

October 08, 2021

BRIDGE NEAR SMACKOVER SHUT DOWN
The bridge over Camp Creek Relief southwest of Smackover will be closed beginning Monday, October 11th through October 22nd. The Bridge is located on Arkansas 160 near Smackover. According to the Arkansas Department of Transportation detours will be required during the next two weeks while repairs are being made.

The detour will take traffic around the area of the bridge by way of Arkansas 57 to U.S. 82, Arkansas 172, back to Arkansas 7.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SEE BUSY WEEK
CONVICTED FELON SENTENCED TO OVER 7 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR FIREARMS POSSESSION
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A Hot Springs man was sentenced on October 5, 2021 to 92 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court documents, on May 25, 2019, an Arkansas State Police Trooper conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle operated by Redmon DeShawn Logan, 33, for a traffic violation. As the Trooper approached the vehicle the Trooper observed a bullet in the driver’s door handle. The Trooper asked Logan if he had any weapons in the vehicle. As Logan began to reach down toward the weapon the Trooper pulled Logan from the vehicle and placed him under arrest. A vehicle search was conducted and resulted in the Trooper locating and seizing two stolen handguns, an assault rifle, and over 200 rounds of ammunition.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The Arkansas State Police investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David 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.

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

 

HOT SPRINGS MAN SENTENCED TO OVER 17 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A Hot Springs man was sentenced today to 210 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Distribution of a Controlled Substance Methamphetamine. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court documents, in the summer of 2019, Detectives with the 18th East Judicial District Drug Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration launched an investigation into Paul Scaife, 41, for drug trafficking in the Western District of Arkansas.  In July of 2019, detectives conducted a controlled purchase of methamphetamine from Scaife.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The 18th East Judicial District Drug Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations Little Rock, and the 18th East Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Achorn and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Daniels prosecuted the case.

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

INDIANA MAN SENTENCED TO 9 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR ROBBING A HOT SPRINGS PHARMACY
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – An Anderson, Indiana man was sentenced yesterday to 108 months on each count (to run concurrently) in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Robberies Involving Controlled Substances (Aiding and Abetting) and one count of Conspiracy and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule II Controlled Substances. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court documents, on or about June 7, 2018, Jerome Scott King, 22, along with two (2) other unidentified males, entered the CVS Pharmacy in Hot Springs, Arkansas, brandished a weapon, and forced employees to give them several Schedule II controlled substances.  The amount of controlled substance taken were valued at $22,421.87. In September of 2019, King was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison, out of the Western District of Missouri, Central Division, for a similar pharmacy robbery.  Yesterday’s sentencing was ordered to run consecutive to that 168-month sentence.

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The Hot Springs Police Department and the FBI Little Rock investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Achorn and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Daniels  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.

October 07, 2021

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.

at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, City Hall is continuing to social distance and you are asked to wear your masks.

The Agenda is as follows:
A.    CALL TO ORDER
B.    INVOCATION – Rev. Mark Smith, Pastor – Thrive Church, 746 California Avenue SW, Camden,                 Arkansas
C.    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D.    ROLL CALL
E.    APPROVAL OF MINUTES
1.   Minutes Regular Meeting September 14, 2021
F.    ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORT
1.  Financial Report for September 2021
G.    AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
H.    MAYOR’S REPORT
1.   Jason Holsclaw with Stephens Inc., - Camden Water & Sewer Bond Issue (Present to answer any questions.)
I.    OLD BUSINESS
J.    NEW BUSINESS
1.   Ordinance No. 09-21, an ordinance rezoning property located at 1315 W. Washington from RS-2 (Single
Family District) to C-1 (Professional Office District).
2.   Ordinance No. 10-21, an ordinance fixing the rate of taxation for the year 2022; declaring an emergency; and for other purposes.
3.   Resolution No. 61-21, a resolution authorizing the offering of Bonds to refund the City’s Water and Sewer            Revenue Bond, Series 2016; and prescribing other matters pertaining thereto.
4.   Resolution No. 62-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Travis Daniel to the Advertising and   Promotion Commission.
5.   Resolution No. 63-21, a resolution amending the budget for 2021; and for other purposes.
6.   Resolution No. 64-21, a resolution authorizing obsolete or no longer used personal property to be sold at             Public Auction; and for other purposes.
K.    OTHER BUSINESS
L.    ADJOURNMENT

UAMS RESTRUCTURING GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM IN MAGNOLIA
LITTLE ROCK -- In an effort to ensure long-term growth and the highest quality residency training, UAMS is planning to restructure its Graduate Medical Education (GME) training program in Magnolia.

As part of the plan, the GME program will be closed in its current format on June 30, 2022, restructured and reopened in the future. This will not affect the UAMS Family Medical Center currently in operation on the UAMS South Regional Campus in Magnolia. The clinic will continue to provide primary care medical services to patients of all ages.

The GME program, which is currently operating as a standard three-year family medicine regional training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), will be restructured as an ACGME Rural Training Track (RTT), allowing for increased training opportunities for physician residents. The UAMS South campus opened in Magnolia in 2013. There are currently six physician residents in the program.

“UAMS is committed to the community of Magnolia and has been discussing this change for some time,” said Amy Wenger, MHSA, vice chancellor for regional programs. “Moving to an RTT program will allow us to strengthen our physician training opportunities and ensure that these future Arkansas doctors have the best possible experience,” Wenger said. “We value our longtime relationship with our hospital partner, Magnolia Regional Medical Center, and look forward to continuing to work together. We appreciate their support of our programs, and we will be working with them to ensure a smooth transition to this new program. We are both committed to the same goal of training high quality physicians and improving the health and health care of the people who live in south Arkansas.”

“While we are disappointed in the change to the residency program here in Magnolia, we are encouraged that UAMS is pursuing a Rural Training Track program,” said Rex Jones, MBA, CEO of Magnolia Regional Medical Center. “There is a critical shortage of family physicians across the nation but especially so in rural Arkansas. Providing a continued pipeline to develop physicians with an interest in rural medicine is extremely important across the state and not just here in Magnolia. Magnolia Regional Medical Center supports rural medicine and wants to help UAMS make the new program a success.”

“Restructuring the program as a Rural Training Track will allow our resident physicians at UAMS South Regional Campus in Magnolia to essentially enjoy the best of both worlds,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA. “They will continue to enjoy serving the community of Magnolia and south Arkansas for the last two years of their training, but will also have the added learning experience of rotating through a training program at one of our seven other regional campuses and being mentored by faculty there for their first year of residency.

“This change in no way diminishes our commitment to Magnolia or south Arkansas,” he stressed. “On the contrary, it underscores our commitment to this area of the state and to the very highest quality residency training at all eight of our regional campuses.”

Three of the six residents currently in Magnolia will graduate at the end of this academic year.  After they graduate, three residents will remain for their third and final year in the GME program. They will be offered additional training opportunities to allow them to continue in the program.

UAMS operates eight regional campuses throughout the state. They serve as an educational outreach network for UAMS and the principal means to decentralize medical education and locate training programs throughout the state. The mission of the regional campuses is to improve the health of Arkansans by training skilled and caring health professionals and delivering high quality patient-centered primary care.

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

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE REMINDS AGRICULTURE 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.

Farmers can report a prescribed fire here. 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.

“It is crucial for farmers to practice the responsible stewardship of our resources and avoid future regulations and red tape for our producers. 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.

SAAC ANNOUNCES NEXT CORKS AND CANVAS NIGHT
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces its time for another Corks and Canvas night! Local artist Kelly Campbell will lead the fun as she presents “Pick Your Pumpkin” on Thursday, October 21, from 6-9pm.

Corks & Canvas is an art class for non-artists who have always wanted to paint. Each class is conducted by a different art instructor, who takes the class through the step-by-step process to complete a work of art in three hours. No art experience needed!  The $40.00 prepaid non-refundable fee covers all supplies.  SAAC will be providing individually wrapped snacks and all supplies needed to create your masterpieces.  Participants are welcome to bring their own drink of choice.

Pumpkin season is here, and Campbell will lead participants through choosing background colors and pumpkin colors for each individual. She said, "I want everyone to choose a background color and colors for pumpkins that suits them and their own taste. And once the canvases are dry, we're going to paint glass bead medium over the pumpkins. That will give them a little subtle sparkle that's not too little, and not too much." She added, "I'm so happy to be hosting Corks & Canvas in person again!" 

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

Participants may register for Corks and Canvas online at www.saac-arts.org or call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

BOOZMAN, COTTON PRESS DHS FOR ANSWERS ON RELEASE OF HAITIAN MIGRANTS INTO U.S.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in calling on Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to address reports that thousands of migrants sheltering in Del Rio, Texas were released into the interior of the U.S. instead of facing deportation as the Biden administration had previously pledged.

They wrote: “While we applaud the Administration’s original stated intent to expel the majority of migrants under the CDC’s Title 42 order or to expeditiously remove them, we are concerned that DHS did not actually carry out this plan, deployed resources in a manner that weakened border security, and undermined the deterrent effect of any future statements that the Biden administration will enforce our immigration laws at the border.”

“DHS has openly admitted that the rapid influx of Haitian migrants into the interior was orchestrated by smuggling organizations, which only makes some aspects of the agency’s response more puzzling.”

“The administration’s response to the ongoing border crisis only makes it more likely that we will continue to experience surges like the one in Del Rio.”

The letter was signed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Todd Young (R-IN), Jim Risch (R-ID), John Hoeven (R-ND), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Braun (R-IN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

Full text of the letter is  below.

October 6, 2021
Hon. Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
2707 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20528-0525 

Dear Secretary Mayorkas:

We are writing to inquire about DHS’s response to the recent surge of migrants into Del Rio, Texas. While we applaud the Administration’s original stated intent to expel the majority of migrants under the CDC’s Title 42 order or to expeditiously remove them, we are concerned that DHS did not actually carry out this plan, deployed resources in a manner that weakened border security, and undermined the deterrent effect of any future statements that the Biden Administration will enforce our immigration laws at the border.

The recent influx of migrants into Del Rio is exactly the kind of situation the CDC’s Title 42 order is meant to address. The New York Times described the conditions under the Del Rio International Bridge as “squalid,” and there is a significant risk of COVID-19 transmission in a migrant population of this size and concentration. You have described 42 U.S.C. 265 as “a public health authority to protect the American public, to protect the communities along the border, and to protect the migrants themselves.”  We were thus pleased that the Administration secured a stay pending appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan’s recent preliminary injunction on the use of the CDC’s Title 42 order with respect to family units. It is vital that DHS preserve this important authority as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the extent to which migrants in Del Rio were expelled under Title 42 remains unclear. On Friday September 24, when you announced that the area under the Del Rio International Bridge had been cleared, you stated that only 2,000 migrants had been placed on expulsion flights to Haiti. Reports indicate that single adults—which formed only a minority of the population under the Del Rio International Bridge—were prioritized, and that many migrant families were released into the interior. 

According to the strategy you released on September 18, 2021, those migrants “who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain will be placed in expedited removal proceedings.” Expedited removal is a very effective tool, as DHS demonstrated in June 2005 when it was used to respond to a massive influx of Brazilian nationals in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector. Following implementation in 2005 in RGV, the number of apprehensions per day dropped precipitously, and it created a strong deterrent effect. Significantly, however, then-U.S. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar noted that “aliens processed in expedited removal are required to be detained by law.” Media reports suggest that DHS has not followed through on its stated strategy of using expedited removal to address the surge of migrants into Del Rio. According to these reports, senior Executive Branch officials have stated that Haitian migrants have been released into the United States and freed on a “very, very large scale” in recent days, and that many have been released with a Notice to Report, or with parole and a requirement to enroll in Alternatives to Detention. Releasing large numbers of migrants into the interior with the request that they later report to ICE to commence their removal proceedings will only further incentivize illegal migration. And failing to follow through on a promise to expel or expeditiously remove migrants will only further convince them and the smuggling organizations that exploit them that the Biden Administration is not serious about enforcing our immigration laws at the southwest border.

DHS has openly admitted that the rapid influx of Haitian migrants into the interior was orchestrated by smuggling organizations, which only makes some aspects of the agency’s response more puzzling. On September 20, 2021, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz stated that “smugglers are significant drivers of the misinformation that gets people to undertake these dangerous journeys.” And Administration officials have communicated to congressional staff that smuggling organizations strategically bused migrants into Ciudad Acuña in order to concentrate migrants at a single location and overwhelm the Border Patrol. Despite knowing this, however, DHS shut down Border Patrol checkpoints in the Del Rio Sector and reassigned those agents to process migrants under the Del Rio International Bridge. DHS also reassigned agents from neighboring sectors in order to handle processing. This approach seems to play directly into the smuggling organizations’ hands, reducing operational control in the area and making it easier to move narcotics and other contraband into the interior.

Finally, the Administration’s response to the ongoing border crisis only makes it more likely that we will continue to experience surges like the one in Del Rio. In August, despite the summer heat, encounters along the southwest border stood above 200,000 for the second month in a row. Until DHS consistently enforces our immigration laws to swiftly remove migrants with weak or nonexistent asylum claims, smuggling organizations will continue to prey on these individuals and convince them to undertake the treacherous journey to our southwest border.

In order to better understand DHS’s response to the recent influx of migrants in Del Rio, we ask that you respond to the following questions by October 19, 2021:

Exactly how many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were expelled pursuant to the CDC’s Title 42 order? Of those migrants, how many were expelled between September 1 and September 24, and how many were expelled after that time? Does DHS anticipate expelling additional migrants encountered at the Del Rio International Bridge using Title 42? Please break down the totals by single adults, family units, and unaccompanied minors.

Exactly how many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were processed under one of the exceptions to Title 42? Of those who were processed under an exception to Title 42, how many migrants placed claims under the Convention Against Torture, how many were processed under the capacity exception to Title 42, and how many were processed under the humanitarian/medical exception to Title 42? Please break down the totals for each exception by single adults, family units, and unaccompanied minors.

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were placed into expedited removal proceedings? Of these, how many claimed credible fear or another form of protection? Were any of these migrants subsequently released within the United States, and if so, at what stage in their proceedings were they released? How many migrants placed into expedited removal proceedings have been removed, and how many are currently being detained? Please break down the totals by single adults and family units.

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were processed through the Electronic Nationality Verification Pilot?

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge whose removal proceedings have commenced have been placed onto the dedicated docket for families who arrive between ports of entry at the Southwest Border? 

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were apprehended and transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services as unaccompanied minors?

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were issued a Notice to Report and released (as opposed to the Notice to Report Plus process described below)? Of these, how many have reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in order to commence removal proceedings? Please break down the totals by single adults and family units.

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were processed through the so-called Notice to Report Plus process, where they are released with parole, enrolled in Alternatives to Detention and asked to report to an ICE field office in order to commence removal proceedings? Of these, how many have reported to ICE? Please break down the totals by single adults and family units.

How many migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge were issued a Notice to Appear? Please break down the totals by single adults and family units.

How many Border Patrol agents were transferred to process migrants or otherwise respond to the situation at the Del Rio International Bridge, and what locations were they transferred from? What was the average length of time such agents were away from their primary duty stations?

Why did DHS decide to shut down checkpoints in the Del Rio Sector? Were any actions taken to maintain operational control in areas from which Border Patrol agents were transferred?

Of the migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge, how many were Haitian nationals who resided in another country immediately prior to migrating to the United States? If these migrants make asylum claims, does DHS intend to assert evidence of an offer of firm resettlement in their immigration court proceedings?

Of the migrants encountered between September 1 and September 24, 2021 at the Del Rio International Bridge, how many were transported to other sectors for processing? Please break down the totals by sector, and within that, by the authorities under which they were processed (i.e., Title 8, Title 42). 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

October 06, 2021

GUNMAN FOUND DEAD FOLLOWING STAND-OFF
OCTOBER 6, 2021
Nicholas Barker, 41, was found dead inside a residence south of Conway shortly before 3 AM today.  The Arkansas State Police is investigating the death.

Faulkner County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of gunfire inside a home at 139 Crestview Road about 2:45 PM yesterday (October 5th).  When deputies arrived, they heard gunfire emanating from within the house.  A woman later left the home and approached deputies to report Barker had fired a gun at her.  The woman was uninjured.

As a stand-off between law enforcement officers and Barker continued into the evening hours, deputies and state troopers of the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division witnessed Barker walk from the house and fire a gun into the air, then re-enter the residence.

The Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department later relinquished command and control of the stand-off, handing-off operations to the Arkansas State Police SWAT team.

State police obtained an arrest warrant from a Faulkner County judge charging Barker with terroristic threatening and aggravated assault.  When the state police SWAT team entered the home, troopers found Barker dead of what is suspected to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  The Arkansas State Medical Examiner will make a final determination as to the manner and cause of death.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are leading the investigation related to the incident and Barker’s death.  Their findings will be presented to the Faulkner Count prosecuting attorney.
 

HUB MONTHLY MEETING
The Hub will have its regular Monthly Meeting on Tuesday, October 12th. The meeting will be held at noon in the Great Hall at First Methodist Church.

 

METHODIST FAMILY HEALTH BREAKS GROUND ON NEW SPIRITUAL LIFE CENTER
$5.2 Million Multi-Use Center Named in Honor of Mike Millar, Prominent Attorney, Philanthropist and United Methodist
LITTLE ROCK, AR (Oct. 12, 2021) – Methodist Family Health is breaking ground on its newest, multi-use building at its oldest campus in Little Rock at 10:30 a.m. on its YouTube channel (YouTube.com/MethodistFamilyHealth) on Tues., Oct. 12. 

The state’s only complete continuum of care for Arkansas children and families who are abandoned, abused, neglected and struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues, Methodist Family Health raised $5.2 million to construct the Mike Millar Spiritual Life Center on the campus of the Methodist Children’s Home at 2002 S. Fillmore St. in Little Rock. The new center is named in memory of Mike Millar, a lifelong United Methodist from Searcy, Arkansas who served on both Methodist Family Health’s operations and foundation boards of directors. Millar was a prominent attorney, philanthropist and volunteer who died in 2020. The chapel of the center is named in memory of Elaine and Bishop Kenneth Hicks, longtime supporters 

Construction of this facility will begin in October and should be completed in summer 2022. It will replace the original chapel on Methodist Family Health’s oldest campus, Methodist Children’s Home. 

In October 2020, the Mabee Foundation awarded a challenge grant of $950,000 to Methodist Family Health for the construction of the Mike Millar Spiritual Life Center. This challenge grant stipulated Methodist Family Health Foundation raise the total project cost of $4,256,175 by October 13, 2021. The challenge was met in July 2021, and a total $4,259,671.72 has been raised.

“In addition to the Elaine and Bishop Kenneth Hicks Chapel, this center will include a multipurpose space, a welcome center for the campus, and administrative space for our Methodist Children’s Home administrators,” said Carolyn McCone, CFRE, executive director of Methodist Family Health Foundation. “We also will include an outdoor labyrinth, new landscaping, and enhanced parking to complement the center. The facility will also provide space for community partners to meet for neighborhood association meetings and community education.”

For more information about the Mike Millar Spiritual Life Center or Methodist Family Health, visit MethodistFamily.org
 

COTTON DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM BIDEN DOJ ABOUT INVESTIGATIONS OF ANTI-CRT PARENTS AS DOMESTIC TERRORISTS
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers about a memo he drafted addressing protests against local school board officials. This memo came after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to President Biden requesting federal law enforcement be tasked with investigating a “growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation” against local school board officials.

In part, Cotton wrote, “The NSBA letter requested that the Biden administration examine whether these purported acts violated several statutes, including the PATRIOT Act and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The letter further asserted that these acts may amount to a form of ‘domestic terrorism.’”

“Your memo, issued just five days after the NSBA letter and copying some of its recommendations, certainly appears to be a response to and tacit approval of that letter. The Department of Justice’s endorsement of such outlandish allegations threatens to intimidate parents, chill free speech, and discourage lawful assemblies,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

The Honorable Merrick Garland
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Garland,

I write regarding your October 4th memo addressing protests against local school board policies.

Your memo was issued shortly after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to President Biden urging him to task federal law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with investigating a “growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation” against local school board officials. The NSBA letter requested that the Biden administration examine whether these purported acts violated several statutes, including the PATRIOT Act and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The letter further asserted that these acts may amount to a form of “domestic terrorism.”

It is never appropriate to use violence or threats of violence to achieve political goals. However, NSBA went much further by suggesting that concerned parents, who are merely exercising their constitutionally protected rights to speak freely and protect their children, should be treated as domestic terrorists. Your memo, issued just five days after the NSBA letter and copying some of its recommendations, certainly appears to be a response to and tacit approval of that letter. The Department of Justice’s endorsement of such outlandish allegations threatens to intimidate parents, chill free speech, and discourage lawful assemblies.

Given these concerns, please respond to the following questions by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 13, 2021:

Did the NSBA letter prompt you to issue the aforementioned memorandum? If not, what considerations prompted you to issue the memorandum?

Have any state or local authorities or other organizations besides the NSBA requested or encouraged the Biden administration to take action against this alleged rise in violence and intimidation against school officials? If so, which organizations?

Please provide all sources to support your claim in the memorandum that “there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

Please document any cases of physical violence committed against school district officials in recent protests against school policies and curriculum.

When, according to your analysis, did this purported spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence occur? Do you agree with the NSBA’s claim that the alleged spike is being fomented by mask mandates and curricula teaching critical race theory?

Do you agree with the NSBA’s assessment that protests against school district policies and curricular instruction may amount to domestic terrorism?

The NSBA requested that you invoke specific authorities to prosecute as “domestic extremists” parents who disagree with the positions of their school boards. Please explain whether you believe any of the following federal laws could be used to prosecute those who protest against local school board policies and their members:

Gun-Free School Zones Act
PATRIOT Act
Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights statute
Conspiracy Against Rights statute

I look forward to your prompt response regarding this important matter.

COTTON CALLS ON U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE TO STOP CHINA’S ADMISSION TO 11-NATION TRADING PACT
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai calling on her to use tools available under the USMCA to stop China’s admission to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an 11-nation free trade agreement (FTA).

In part, Cotton wrote, “As you know, the CPTPP is an 11-nation trading pact between market economies from around the Pacific Rim. China comes nowhere close to complying with CPTPP’s standards on state-owned enterprises, intellectual property, labor, the environment, and many other areas. Its policy of economic warfare against market economies stands in stark contrast to the general practices of the participating nations. China’s entry into the CPTPP would reward the state-sponsored theft and economic coercion that has been a hallmark of the Chinese Communist Party.”

“Fortunately, you are in a position to take action. As you know, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMA) includes a provision that requires any member of the USMCA to notify the other members if they intend to enter into free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with “non-market” economies. Further, the pact allows USMCA parties to terminate the agreement within six months if any member enters into an FTA with a non-market economy…I urge you to remind Canada and Mexico of their obligations under the USMCA. I further request that you to notify them that the United States will use all mechanisms available to us in the USMCA to ensure China not be allowed to join the CPTPP,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

The Honorable Katherine Tai
U.S. Trade Representative
600 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20508

Dear Ambassador Tai,
I write to express my concerns about China’s interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). China reportedly sent a formal notice on September 16th to New Zealand requesting to join the pact.

As you know, the CPTPP is an 11-nation trading pact between market economies from around the Pacific Rim. China comes nowhere close to complying with CPTPP’s standards on state-owned enterprises, intellectual property, labor, the environment, and many other areas. Its policy of economic warfare against market economies stands in stark contrast to the general practices of the participating nations. China’s entry into the CPTPP would reward the state-sponsored theft and economic coercion that has been a hallmark of the Chinese Communist Party. For example, the 2004 theft of Canadian company Nortel’s intellectual property by Chinese hackers ended with the bankruptcy of Nortel, a company that was one of the world’s preeminent fiber optic data transmission systems producers. Market economies should decouple themselves from communist China, not encourage Beijing’s malign behavior with more market access.

For these reasons, one would expect that the CPTPP nations—which include several strong U.S. allies and partners—will swiftly reject China’s cynical bid for membership. But we know China is not above using economic coercion, kidnapping, and bribery to achieve its objectives. Moreover, China’s membership in CPTPP would have major consequences for the United States, as China effectively would be able to free-ride off of the duty-free access that CPTPP members have to the U.S. market through our own free trade agreements. 

Fortunately, you are in a position to take action. As you know, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMA) includes a provision that requires any member of the USMCA to notify the other members if they intend to enter into free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with “non-market” economies. Further, the pact allows USMCA parties to terminate the agreement within six months if any member enters into an FTA with a non-market economy.  As CPTPP members, Canada and Mexico have the power to veto China’s accession to the agreement. And under Article 32.10 of the USMCA, each would be required to formally notify the United States three months before negotiations on China’s accession begin and provide us with information about the negotiating objectives. The United States should use the leverage we negotiated in USMCA to encourage our trading partners to reject China’s application and to support them in resisting any pressure tactics China may employ against them.   

I urge you to remind Canada and Mexico of their obligations under the USMCA. I further request that you to notify them that the United States will use all mechanisms available to us in the USMCA to ensure China not be allowed to join the CPTPP.

I would also note that on October 4th, during a question-and-answer session at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, you were asked, “are you going to block China joining the CPTPP?” While you refrained from directly answering the question at that time, I request that you clearly state your position in your response to this letter.

Sincerely,

ARYAN CIRCLE GANG LEADER SENTENCED TO 87 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR VIOLENT CRIME IN AID OF RACKETEERING
A Texas man was sentenced today to 87 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in directing subordinate Aryan Circle (AC) gang members to assault and inflict serious bodily injury on a victim.

Michael Martin, aka Aryan Prodigy and AP, 38, of Santa Fe, Texas, pleaded guilty to committing assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering on March 4, 2021. According to court documents, the AC is a violent, race-based, prison-based gang with hundreds of members operating inside and outside of state and federal prisons in states throughout the country. The AC enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects and associates through threats, intimidation and acts of violence including, but not limited to, acts involving assault and murder. Members are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members without question.

Martin joined the AC in the early 2000s and held the rank of upper board member at the time of the offense, meaning that he was one of the five highest-ranking AC members in the country. In this role, Martin made decisions and directed the actions of other gang members regarding a range of issues including who to recruit and admit as members of the gang; who should be disciplined or removed for violating the AC rules; and which rival gangs the AC would fight with or against. 

According to court documents, Martin learned that another AC member wanted to switch his gang affiliation, or “patch over,” from the AC to a different gang. Martin ordered AC members to attack the member to “X” him, or remove him from the gang, because it violated the AC’s rules to join a different organization. On Martin’s orders, several AC members then violently beat the victim, including by kicking the victim in the head while he was on the ground. The attack resulted in the victim obtaining medical care and suffering long-term injury.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei for the Eastern District of Texas made the announcement.

The case was investigated by the following agencies: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Prisons; Texas Department of Public Safety; Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Montgomery County (TX) Precinct One Constable’s Office; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Texas Department of Criminal Justice; New Jersey Department of Corrections-Special Investigations Division; Indiana State Police; Fort Smith (AR) Police Department; Arkansas Department of Corrections; Arnold (MO) Police Department; Jefferson County (MO) Sheriff’s Department; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; St. Louis County (MO) Police Department; Indiana Department of Corrections; Carrollton (TX) Police Department; Montgomery County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Travis County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Tarrant County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Evangeline Parish (LA) Sheriff’s Office; Smith County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; McCurtain County (OK) Sheriff’s Office; Montgomery County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Liberty County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Harris County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Mercer County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office; Evangeline Parish (LA) District Attorney’s Office; and the Sebastian County (AR) District Attorney’s Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.

Trial Attorneys Beth Lipman and Rebecca Dunnan of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Rapp of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas prosecuted the case.October 06, 2021

October 04, 2021

ARKANSAS LAWMAKERS EXTENDED SESSION
Arkansas lawmakers got together October 1st for an extended session to redraw the district map and voted on three COVID-19 related bills. 

The Senate committee on public health, welfare, and labor board heard testimony from both sides of the Senate on Senate Bill 730, Senate Bill 732, and Senate Bill 739. 

Senate Bill 730 — allows individuals to avail unemployment benefits if they get terminated for refusing to obtain the vaccine.

State Senator Trent Garner, a sponsor for Senate Bill 730, stated, “If you were fired for COVID reasons, specifically for not taken the vaccine, that’s a termination, and you can get those benefits.”

Senate Bill 732 — prohibits the coercion of individuals from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Senator Blake Johnson, a sponsor for Senate Bill 732, stated that the said bill seeks to protect individual freedoms, liberties, and the people in Arkansas.

Senate Bill 739 — provides employees with exemptions from federal and employer-mandated vaccines. Among these exclusions is the provision of a weekly negative test, which may be reimbursed using COVID-19 relief funds.

All three bills were submitted to the committee and now head to the Senate floor.

The Legislature will reassemble to redraw a new congressional district map during the extended session. So far, a map has not yet been introduced on the House or Senate floor.  This occurs every ten years when the United States census data is released.

MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR CAPITAL MURDER AND RAPE
Quake Lewellyn, 29, of Jonesboro, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty Friday to capital murder and rape charges as part of a plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty. Prosecutors also agreed to dismiss kidnapping and abuse of a corpse charges.

Lewellyn was charged in the August 2020 death of Sydney Sutherland, 25. Defense attorneys have called Sutherland’s death a “horrible accident.”

Sutherland’s body was found near Newport, about 80 miles northeast of Little Rock, several days after she disappeared.

Lewellyn later told investigators in an affidavit that he struck Sutherland with his pickup truck, then drove to another location where he said he violated her and buried her body.

FREE PROGRAM ON PIONEER ARKANSAN
Washington, Ark – The Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives, a branch of the Arkansas State Archives, presents “Nicholas Trammell: His life, his legend, his road” at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Historic Washington State Park and via Zoom.

Gary Pinkerton, author of the book Trammel’s Trace: The First Road to Texas from the North, will tell the story of Nicholas Trammell, replacing myth and legend with an incredibly interesting biography of a frontier opportunist and troublemaker.  

Trammell’s road is considered one of the earliest routes for migration toward Texas in the early 1800s and was named for Trammell, a Tennessean who made his home in Arkansas and Texas on the fringes of territorial expansion.

Those attending the event in person should follow COVID-19 protocols while inside the WPA Gymnasium, 100 SW Morrison St, Washington, AR.

Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sara-in-person-and-virtual-event-on-nicholas-trammell-tickets-183758836627 or to obtain the Zoom link or for more information on this free program, please contact Melissa Nesbitt at 870.983.2633 or melissa.nesbitt@arkansas.gov.

SMALL WORKS ON PAPER IS NOW OPEN IN RUSSELLVILLE
Russellville -- The 2021 Small Works on Paper, an annual touring visual arts exhibition that showcases the work of Arkansas artists, will open at 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 4 in the Norman Hall Gallery at Arkansas Tech University at 203 West Q St. in Russellville. 

“We are excited to be able to recognize the wonderful and diverse talent of visual artists throughout Arkansas,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary for the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “Small Works on Paper showcases artists from every corner of our state and gives art lovers the opportunity to discover emerging artists and experience one-of-a-kind artworks they may otherwise never see.”   

The visual arts exhibition will be on display through Oct. 22. The gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The gallery is closed on weekends and university holidays. 

There will be a reception on Wednesday, Oct. 6th at 2:30 p.m. Masks are required and no food or drinks will be served.  

The Arkansas Arts Council coordinates the exhibition and makes it available for loan to qualifying galleries around the state. The 2021 exhibition kicked off in January at East Arkansas Community College in Forrest City.  

The 2021 Small Works on Paper exhibition will feature 26 artists from across Arkansas and will tour up to 10 venues statewide. 38 artworks will be on display during the yearlong tour. Most works will be available for sale.   

Small Works on Paper is a juried visual art exhibition that showcases artwork no larger than 18-by-24 inches. Now in its 34th year, the exhibition spotlights Arkansas artists who are members of the Arkansas Artist Registry, an online gallery.  

The 2021 Small Works on Paper entries were juried by Judy Ledgerwood, a professional artist and recently retired Professor in the Arts in the Department of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. 

Ledgerwood reviewed about 200 submitted artworks to pick out the 38 pieces that are part of the Small Works on Paper exhibition. She also selected works to receive purchase awards, which are cash prizes equivalent to the value of the artworks. Purchase award pieces become part of the Small Works on Paper permanent collection.  

“The 2021 Small Works on Paper will be an experience no Arkansan will want to miss. In 2020, Arkansas artists submitted an array of works that capture the emotions, hopes and fears of 2020,” said Patrick Ralston, Arkansas Arts Council director. “Artists are a vital resource for Arkansas, and they are an important component of our state’s vision, heritage, culture and economy.”  

The following artists were selected to participate in the exhibit:   
Tony Baker, Little Rock  
Win Bruhl, Little Rock  
Ian Scott Campbell, Batesville  
Gary Cawood,Little Rock  
Susan Baker Chambers, Little Rock  
Kinya Christian, Springdale  
Taylor Dolan, Fayetteville  
Laura Fanning, Little Rock  
Terra Fondriest, St. Joe  
Ike Garlington, Little Rock  
Neal Harrington, Russellville  
Tammy Harrington, Russellville  
Diana Michelle Hausam, West Fork  
Crystal Jennings, Rison  
Kimiara L. Johnson, Pine Bluff  
Stephen Koch, Little Rock  
Pat Langewis, Hot Springs Village  
Sandra Marson, Jacksonville  
Dennis McCann, Maumelle  
Moises Menendez, Magnolia  
Cindy Momchilov, Little Rock  
Eloa Jane Pereira, Fayetteville
David Rackley, Russellville  
Lynn Reinbolt, Searcy  
Kendall Schulz, Bentonville  
Gary Simmons, Hot Springs  
For more information about Small Works on Paper, contact Cheri Leffew, special events-projects manager, at 501-324-9767 or at cheri.leffew@arkansas.gov.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY ANNOUNCES REDESIGNED STATEMENT -- NOW AVAILABLE WITH A MY SOCIAL SECURITY ACCOUNT
Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today introduced a new look and feel to the Social Security Statement, available online through the my Social Security portal at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and by mail. The Statement is one of the most effective tools people can use to learn about their earnings and future Social Security benefits. This fresh look will allow millions of people to see their earnings information and estimates of future benefits quickly and securely.

“One of my top priorities is to provide information to people in clear and plain terms about Social Security’s programs and services,” said Acting Commissioner Kijakazi. “The streamlined Social Security Statement contains clear messaging and makes it easier to find information at a glance, helping to simplify our complex programs for the public.”

The agency conducted extensive research, review, and testing to make the updated Statement easy to understand. The new Statement is shorter, uses visuals and plain language, and includes fact sheets tailored to a person’s age and earnings history. It also includes important information people have come to expect from the Statement, such as how much a worker and family members could expect to receive in Social Security benefits and a personalized earnings history, in a clear, concise manner. Examples of the new Statement and fact sheets are available at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/statement.html.

More than 61 million people have already created my Social Security accounts. U.S. citizens age 18 or older can easily view their redesigned Social Security Statement online by creating a my Social Security account. People age 60 or older who do not receive benefits and do not have a my Social Security account will receive their Statement by mail three months before their birthday. Workers should check their Statement at least once a year for accuracy.

People can check information and conduct most Social Security business through their personal my Social Security account. If they already receive Social Security benefits, they can start or change direct deposit online, request a replacement SSA-1099, and if they need proof of their benefits, they can print or download a current Benefit Verification Letter from their account.

In addition to obtaining their personalized Social Security Statement, people not yet receiving benefits can use their account to request a replacement Social Security card online if they meet certain requirements. The portal also includes a retirement calculator and links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits.

Many Social Security services are also conveniently available by dialing toll-free, 1-800-772-1213. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call Social Security’s TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

 

TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN CELEBRATES COMPLETION OF OFFICE’S HISTORIC RESTORATION
State Treasury officially reopens to public
Little Rock, Ark. – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan officially reopened the Treasury suite in the State Capitol on Monday, following a historical restoration effort to return the office to its original 1912 appearance.

“What a great day in Arkansas history,” Milligan said. “This restoration effort – made possible by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council – has been a labor of love for the thousands of visitors who come through our office each year, and I think you’re going to like what you see.”

The Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) granted the Treasurer’s Office two grants in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 that totaled $1.65 million. The grants were awarded to restore the public spaces of the Treasury to their original look. That included raising ceilings that had been lowered during previous administrations, fixing cracked marble, updating the 108-year-old vault and restoring the paint scheme to its original colors.

“Aside from public hallways and the House and Senate chambers, the Treasury is the only other space within the Capitol that has marble used extensively,” Milligan said. “Prior to this effort, the marble hadn’t been touched since its original installation in the 1900s.”

“Additionally, the teller stations had been altered over the years to narrow the amount of space that could be used for housing large tour groups. Since we’re one of the most toured offices in the Capitol – with around 23,000 visitors annually – we wanted to be able to offer the public a larger space to be able to enjoy as they wait to tour the historic vault,” Milligan said.

The State Capitol is on the National Register of Historic Places, so restoring it and keeping its rich history alive is important, said Stacy Hurst, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

“The Arkansas State Capitol is such an architectural treasure,” said Hurst, who is also state historic preservation officer and secretary of the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. “The Treasurer and his staff have done a wonderful job restoring the offices to reflect the importance of this National Register-listed building.”

Milligan held a grand reopening ceremony and ribbon cutting in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday, then led the first official tour of the newly-restored office.

“I always want to leave things better than I found them,” Milligan said, “so my hope is that by restoring this office, we’ve preserved a piece of history that will be able to be enjoyed for many generations to come.”

COTTON DEMANDS ANSWERS ABOUT AFGHAN EVACUEE ‘INDEPENDENT DEPARTURES’
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding answers about how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to respond to reports of “independent departures” by Afghan evacuees from military bases in the United States.

In part, Cotton wrote, “According to public reports, hundreds of Afghan evacuees housed at U.S. military bases have simply walked off of the bases at which they were being housed. Individuals with lawful immigration status prior to the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan—such as United States citizens, lawful permanent residents, and approved special immigrant visa holders—justly expected a speedy departure from U.S. custody once they arrived safely in the United States.”

“However, a more extensive review and vetting process is absolutely essential for the tens of thousands of unknown Afghans who were airlifted during the evacuation. The Biden administration’s obfuscation and steadfast refusal to answer oversight inquiries from Congress exacerbates these concerns,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.
The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Secretary Mayorkas:

According to public reports, hundreds of Afghan evacuees housed at U.S. military bases have simply walked off of the bases at which they were being housed.  Individuals with lawful immigration status prior to the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan—such as United States citizens, lawful permanent residents, and approved special immigrant visa holders—justly expected a speedy departure from U.S. custody once they arrived safely in the United States. However, a more extensive review and vetting process is absolutely essential for the tens of thousands of unknown Afghans who were airlifted during the evacuation. The Biden administration’s obfuscation and steadfast refusal to answer oversight inquiries from Congress exacerbates these concerns.        

The U.S. government is currently investigating multiple crimes committed in evacuee facilities. The American people have seen reports of a group of male Afghan evacuees assaulting a female servicemember at a Fort Bliss facility in New Mexico.  An Afghan evacuee allegedly sexually assaulted young boys at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.  Another Afghan evacuee reportedly choked his wife at Fort McCoy.  The State Department has raised concerns about child trafficking by older Afghan men.  Even previously-deported criminals—including an Afghan who had previously been convicted of rape in the United States,  and another who had previously been convicted of aggravated robbery —were airlifted back to the United States. In light of these reports, it is alarming that hundreds of Afghan evacuees have reportedly left U.S. military bases directly into our communities, possibly before completing our vetting and immigration processes. Accordingly, please provide answers to the following questions:

How many Afghan evacuees have made “independent departures,” in which they simply left U.S. military bases on their own accord?

What requirements, if any, must Afghan evacuees meet before being allowed to leave military bases in the United States? What conditions are placed on such Afghan evacuees when they leave?

What vetting, if any, have Afghan evacuees completed before arriving at military bases in the United States? Is the Department of Homeland Security undertaking any additional vetting after Afghan evacuees have arrived at military bases in the United States? If so, how many of the evacuees who have made “independent departures” completed all additional vetting prior to their leaving the military base?

Of the number of evacuees who have made “independent departures,” how many received affirmative approval from Department of Homeland Security officials to leave the base?

What are the immigration statuses, if any, held by evacuees who have made “independent departures?” Please provide a breakdown of the number of evacuees who had American citizenship, lawful permanent residency (“green cards”), approved special immigrant visas (SIVs), or other status, as well as the number of evacuees who have only been paroled into the United States but who do not have any other immigration status.

What measures is the Department of Homeland Security taking to track the whereabouts and activities of evacuees who have made “independent departures” in the United States?

Of the evacuees who have made “independent departures,” for how many does the Department of Homeland Security have a confirmed current location?

Please provide complete, written responses to these questions as soon as possible, but no later than 5:00PM on Friday, October 8, 2021. Please also arrange for a staff briefing on this matter by contacting my office’s counsel at (202) 224-2353. Thank you for your attention to this concerning matter.

Sincerely,

October 01, 2021

THE CALL IN ARKANSAS WINS A $25,000 STATE FARM NEIGHBORHOOD ASSIST® GRANT
Little Rock, AR.  (September 29, 2021) - In just 10 days in August, 125,000 people cast more than 3 million votes in support of their favorite causes. As a result, 40 communities, in 18 states, including The CALL in Arkansas will be getting an assist from State Farm®. State Farm is proud to announce the Top 40 vote-getting causes that have won $25,000 grants to improve their communities.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. Non-profits affiliated with each of the top 40 causes receive grants to address them.

 The CALL started in 2007 after a group of concerned individuals came together to look for a way to provide for children in foster care. What started in one county, quickly spread to other counties. In 2010, The CALL became a statewide organization and is now active in 57 counties around Arkansas. The goal is to serve all 75 counties in the state, so that whenever and wherever a child comes into foster care, that child will find a welcoming foster home in their own community. The CALL just celebrated its 14th year of operation, helping meet the needs of children and youth in foster care throughout Arkansas. More than 23,000 children have been cared for by over 2,600 families recruited by The CALL. Over 1,800 children have been adopted into their forever family as a result. The CALL works closely with the Arkansas DCFS. Today, 60% of foster families statewide were recruited/trained by The CALL. Our services are provided at no cost to the state of Arkansas or families.

We need "more than enough" foster homes to provide the most appropriate home to meet the needs of children and youth in foster care who have experienced trauma. Currently, there are 4,899 children and youth in foster care in Arkansas, with only 1,560 homes available. When children enter care, over 55% cannot stay in their hometown. Many are already behind in school because of the circumstances resulting in their removal. Without enough homes in their local communities, they are forced to leave all that they know. More than enough homes would allow these children to stay in their local communities. Funds provided through this grant will provide training and support to foster and adoptive families, as well as the recruitment of additional families.

Jill Bobo, Development Director of The CALL, said, “The CALL is thrilled to be the only organization in Arkansas selected for the neighborhood assist grant program.  We appreciate our supporters and community members across the state voting for The CALL.”

Two thousand cause submissions were accepted in June at www.neighborhoodassist.com. The State Farm Review Committee selected the Top 200 finalists and public voting determined the Top 40. In the ten years of the program, more than 380 causes have received a total of $10 million to enact change in their communities.

For a complete list of this year’s top 40 causes, please visit: www.neighborhoodassist.com. 

CENSUS DATA
Every 10 years, the census is taken, and that information is used to determine where your dollars are spent, as well as who is deciding things for you on a local level like your Quorum Court, your City Council, and your school boards. 

On the State level, the General Assembly makes the decisions about the congressional districts, for which there are four. The legislature is meeting this week to discuss different proposed maps by lawmakers from different sides of the aisle. 

More than 3 million people live in Arkansas according to the 2020 census. As populations shift in the state, some areas like Northwest Arkansas could see more representation while other areas may now see less.

ARKANSAS LAWMAKERS ADVANCE LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALLOW WORKERS TO OPT OUT OF EMPLOYER’S COVID-19 VACCINE REQUIREMENT
Arkansas lawmakers on Wednesday advanced legislation that would allow workers to opt out of their employer’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement if they’re tested weekly or can prove they have natural antibodies.

The House and Senate Public Health committees endorsed identical versions of the bill, which also would require the state to pay unemployment benefits to workers who are fired for not getting vaccinated.

Republican lawmakers have filed numerous bills targeting vaccine mandates as the Legislature reconvened this week to take up congressional redistricting. The proposals are primarily in response to President Joe Biden’s order requiring workers at businesses with at least 100 employees to get vaccinated or tested regularly.

Legislative leaders have said the anti-vaccine mandate bills should not be considered since lawmakers are meeting primarily to take up congressional redistricting.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he hadn’t read the proposal advanced by both panels, but repeated concerns he’s raised about lawmakers taking up something outside of redistricting.

Arkansas law prohibits COVID-19 vaccine requirements by state and local government entities, including schools.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SETTLES SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT AGAINST ARKANSAS HOUSING AUTHORITY
The Justice Department announced Thursday that the White River Regional Housing Authority in Melbourne, Arkansas, has agreed to pay $70,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging that it and its former employee, Duane Johnson, violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) when Johnson sexually harassed an applicant who sought a Housing Choice Voucher from the Housing Authority. 

The settlement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, will resolve the United States’ lawsuit, also filed Thursday, under the Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit alleges that in 2020, a woman who was living with her two minor children at a shelter for survivors of domestic violence and abuse applied to the Housing Authority for a Housing Choice Voucher in Cleburne County, Arkansas. The Housing Authority assigned the application to Duane Johnson, a Housing Authority employee who, among other duties, served as the Housing Choice Voucher coordinator for Cleburne County. 

“All people deserve equal access to critical housing benefits, including vouchers, without being subjected to sexual harassment,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Housing assistance programs are designed to help people when they need it the most. The Justice Department will not tolerate officials who abuse their power by sexually harassing housing voucher applicants and will continue to use the law to hold perpetrators accountable.”

“Thursday’s announcement demonstrates that officials who use their control over the grant of public assistance programs in order to exploit sexual acts from those in need of assistance will be held accountable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan D. Ross for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “Our office will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate and hold accountable all who similarly abuse their positions of public trust.”

“Renters whose names rise to the top of coveted Housing Choice Voucher waiting lists should not have to submit to unwelcomed sexual harassment before obtaining housing assistance,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Demetria McCain of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD applauds Thursday’s settlement and remains committed to working with the Justice Department to ensure that everyone in a position to control access to housing meets their responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.”  

The lawsuit alleges that Johnson sexually harassed the applicant. Specifically, the suit alleges, Johnson touched the applicant without her consent, requested that she provide him with full-frontal nude photographs in exchange for his assistance in finding housing, made graphic descriptions of the poses he wanted for the photographs, made other unwelcome sexual advances and threatened to post nude photographs of the applicant on Facebook if she reported him. Although the Housing Authority later notified the applicant that she could receive a Housing Choice Voucher, the lawsuit alleges that she chose not accept a voucher because she was afraid of Johnson and did not want him to know where she lived. The lawsuit also alleges that the Housing Authority is vicariously liable for Johnson’s unlawful conduct.

The applicant filed a complaint against the Housing Authority and Johnson with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After an investigation, HUD determined that the Housing Authority and Johnson had discriminated against the applicant in violation of the Fair Housing Act and it issued a charge of discrimination. After the applicant chose to have the matter decided in federal court, the HUD referred the matter to the Department of Justice. 

Under the settlement, the Housing Authority will pay a total of $70,000 in monetary damages to the applicant, adopt and maintain an anti-discrimination policy with a complaint procedure, and provide training on the Fair Housing Act to its employees. The settlement also permanently bars Johnson from participating in the management of residential rental property and from participating in any public housing program.

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorneys' Offices across the country. The goal of the initiative is to address and raise awareness about sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers or other people who have control over housing. Since launching the Initiative in October 2017, the Department of Justice has filed 23 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment in housing and recovered over $4.1 million for victims of such harassment. HUD also has developed a Sexual Harassment training initiative with training sessions and educational resources about preventing and addressing sexual harassment, and launched a public awareness campaign – Call HUD: Because Sexual Harassment in Housing is Illegal.

If you think you are a victim of sexual harassment by a landlord or other forms of housing discrimination, you may contact the Justice Department by calling the Justice Department’s Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-833-591-0291, e-mailing the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or submitting a report online. Individuals may also report such discrimination by contacting HUD at 1-800-669-9777 or by filing a complaint online.

September 30, 2021

STATE SENATOR PROPOSES THOSE WITH NATURAL IMMUNITY BE TREATED LIKE VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS
Arkansas Republican State Senator Trent Garner of El Dorado is proposing new legislation that would look to have natural immunity to COVID-19 be treated the same as someone being vaccinated from the virus.

Sen. Garner posted on his Re-Elect Senator Trent Garner Facebook page Tuesday, an image of a draft of the bill, saying he wanted to see the state “recognize natural immunity with the same degree as vaccination rates.”

Garner claimed that “We know natural immunity is as strong a protection from COVID-19 as vaccination.” on his Facebook post attached with the image.  Garner added “It is time for Arkansas to recognize natural immunity with the same degree as vaccination rates.”

SAU TECH AWARDED 3 ROUND WORC GRANT
Southern Arkansas University Tech is pleased to announce a $1,495,154 grant award from the United States Department of Labor and the Delta Regional Authority through the Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities Initiative. 

The new award is the second WORC grant SAU Tech has received in the last few years. In Round 2, the College was awarded a grant to expand the healthcare training opportunities for the Delta counties in SAU Tech’s service area. The project includes developing partnerships, new healthcare programs, and serving healthcare students with added supports. 

The WORC grant awarded on September 28, 2021, provides funds to create an Aerospace Defense Manufacturing Center of Excellence that will provide the following activities: 

Deliver training to 600 participants (entrants into the workforce, dislocated workers, and incumbent workers) in the DRA counties of Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Dallas, Ouachita, and Union Counties in South Arkansas.

Develop and grow new and current partnerships with Highland Park Industries-Aerojet Rocketdyne, Lockheed Martin, Armtec Defense Technologies, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Spectra Technologies and Arkansas Workforce Services, the Arkansas Office of Skills Development, The Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development, SAU Tech Adult Education, and SAU Tech Career Academy Program. 

 Update and renovation of dedicated training space on SAU Tech’s main campus inside the Highland Industrial Park, creating a unique Center for customized training, pre-employment training, and industry-delivered training for years to come. 

The grant project is located under the College’s Division of Workforce Training under the supervision of Director Randy Harper and Assistant Director, Karmen House. The project will start October 1, 2021, with notification of all partner industries involved in the delivery of the project. 

The College’s success with this project will change the landscape of the economy in the area by utilizing partnerships with WIOA programs and Adult Education to provide a support system for new and dislocated workers who participate in the project. The DOL/DRA WORC grant initiative aims to grow and prosper Delta communities so the people who live there can work and thrive right where they live.

BISMARCK MAN SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF A MINOR
HOT SPRINGS, ARK. – Aaron Edward Briggs, 28, formerly of Morgan City, Louisiana, was sentenced yesterday to thirty (30) years in prison without the possibility of parole on one count of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor via the Production of Child Pornography. 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, in 2019, Briggs met and began a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female. During the course of the sexual relationship, Briggs sent a picture of his genitals to the minor via Facebook Messenger. During a subsequent online conversation, Briggs requested that the minor take and send him sexually explicit images of herself. The evidence recovered during the investigation revealed numerous sexually explicit images of the minor that were sent to Briggs. 

Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigations, Little Rock Division investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner prosecuted the case for the United States.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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

ADE AND ERZS PARTNER TO OFFER ARKANSAS TUTORING CORPS PROGRAM
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is partnering with the Education Renewal Zones to build and grow the Arkansas Tutoring Corps program, which is a system of trained tutors around the state who will provide tutoring assistance to students who need additional academic support.

The program, which is funded by state set-aside American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds, seeks to recruit at least 500 tutors who will be connected to organizations in their geographic areas that provide academic support to students. These organizations include schools, community organizations, faith-based organizations, and other entities that provide academic assistance to students.

“The availability of federal funds makes this much-needed program possible,” said Dr. Missy Walley, the director of special projects for ADE’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. “We know that COVID-19 has impacted students’ academic achievement, but with these resources and this network of tutors, students can obtain additional assistance to help them recoup some of the learning loss that occurred as a result of the pandemic. I look forward to the program’s growth and the positive impact it will have on student learning.”

The program’s initial focus is on providing tutors for students in grades K-8, with goals of expanding the program to include tutors for students in higher grades. 

In order to become a tutor, a candidate must complete an application and an initial training (see the link below for more information) in addition to successfully completing a background check. Those who complete the initial process receive a $500 stipend. Upon completing the first learning module in addition to 20 completed hours of tutoring at an approved site, the tutor will receive an additional $300. Additional $300 stipends are available for completing subsequent learning modules and tutoring hours. 

Upon completing all training and learning modules, as well as logging a total of 175 tutoring hours, tutors receive the Arkansas Tutoring Corp Certified Member designation along with an additional $1,000 stipend. The total amount a tutor can receive the first year is $3,000. Members can earn an additional $2,500 if they maintain their status by completing the renewal process and additional training, as well as additional tutoring hours. 

To learn more, visit https://bit.ly/3kDZJ6F
 

COTTON, GALLAGHER CALL FOR CHINESE BIOTECHNOLOGY COMPANIES TO BE BLACKLISTED
Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin calling for Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) and other Chinese biotechnology companies to be added to the Department of the Treasury’s Non-SDN Chinese Military Industrial Complex Companies List, the Department of Commerce’s Entity List, and the Department of Defense’s list of Chinese military companies.

In part, the members wrote, “The Party’s focus on biotech also extends to biotech’s potential military applications. The former head of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University identified biology as one of seven ‘new domains of warfare’ including the possibility of ‘specific ethnic genetic attacks,’ in a 2017 publication.”

“Given BGI’s and other Chinese biotechnology companies’ support for and collaboration with the PLA, I urge you to include BGI and other Chinese biotech companies on the NS-CMIC List, the Entity List, and the Section 1260H Chinese military companies list. The United States must not turn a blind eye to the threat posed by Chinese biotechnology companies operating at the CCP’s behest. Blacklisting BGI and its fellow biotech companies will help the United States counter the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to capture Americans’ most private information—their DNA,” the members continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

Dear Secretaries Yellen, Raimondo, and Austin,
I write to you today regarding China’s use of biotechnology companies including the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) strategy of “Military-Civil Fusion” (MCF). I urge you to add BGI and other Chinese biotechnology companies to the Department of the Treasury’s Non-SDN Chinese Military Industrial Complex Companies List (NS-CMIC List), the Department of Commerce’s Entity List, and the Department of Defense’s list of Chinese military companies required by Section 1260H of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

BGI and other Chinese biotech companies meet the grounds for inclusion on the NS-CMIC List, the Entity List, and the Section 1260H list. BGI operates in the defense and related materiel sector of the Chinese economy, it is involved in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, and it is a clear military-civil fusion contributor to China’s defense industrial base.

The CCP’s ambition to dominate biotechnology is well known. The Chinese government designated biotech as a “strategic emerging industry” and has prioritized state support for the industry through Made in China 2025 and other state-directed MCF plans.  BGI plays a key role in these biotech aspirations. Thanks to at least $1.5 billion in Chinese state subsidies, BGI has grown to become China’s biotech “national champion” and now manages China’s national gene database.  BGI has also purchased American firms and used state subsidies to undercut the global DNA sequencing market.

BGI has used its dominant position to further the CCP’s strategic goals by acquiring sensitive health data from the rest of the world. BGI and at least 14 other Chinese companies perform genomic sequencing for U.S. healthcare patients.  As mandated by Chinese law, these companies have almost certainly shared this data with the Chinese government.

BGI also attempted to take advantage of the pandemic to acquire U.S. data, reaching out to the governors of six states with offers to build advanced COVID-19 testing labs before top U.S. intelligence officials convinced states to reject BGI’s offers.  Most recently, reports revealed that BGI was selling prenatal tests to pregnant women around the world and using the tests to collect vast swathes of genetic data on different populations.

The Party’s focus on biotech also extends to biotech’s potential military applications. The former head of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University identified biology as one of seven “new domains of warfare,” including the possibility of “specific ethnic genetic attacks,” in a 2017 publication.

BGI has a history of collaboration with the PLA and serving the PLA’s interests. A review of 40 publicly-available research papers demonstrates BGI’s work on PLA priorities, such as improved high-altitude soldier performance, neuroscience, and pathogens.  BGI’s worldwide prenatal test was itself developed in collaboration with the PLA.  BGI has also partnered with the PLA’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) to advance bioinformatics research and leverage supercomputers for biological research. Joint BGI-PLA research could have an application in future bioweapons—which is especially concerning because BGI’s national gene bank is presumably made available for military research.

Given BGI’s and other Chinese biotechnology companies’ support for and collaboration with the PLA, I urge you to include BGI and other Chinese biotech companies on the NS-CMIC List, the Entity List, and the Section 1260H Chinese military companies list. The United States must not turn a blind eye to the threat posed by Chinese biotechnology companies operating at the CCP’s behest. Blacklisting BGI and its fellow biotech companies will help the United States counter the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to capture Americans’ most private information—their DNA. 

Thank you for considering this important national security.

Sincerely,

September 29, 2021

OUACHITA COUNTY SCHOOL FLU CLINICS
Flu shots will be offered by the Ouachita County Health Unit at area schools. Dates are as follows:

October 4 -   Victory Christian School
October 5 –  Camden Fairview Middle School
October 12 - Bearden Schools
October 13 – Ivory Primary School
October 14 – Camden Fairview Intermediate 
October 15 – Harmony Grove Schools
October 19 – Camden Fairview High School
October 20 – SAU Tech Health Fair
October 21-   Camden Fairview Elementary

Call (870) 836-5033 for more information.

ADE LAUNCHES COLLEGE APPLICATION MONTH CAMPAIGN IN OCTOBER
LITTLE ROCK — Whether planning to attend a two-year or four-year university, technical program, apprenticeship program, or certificate program, every Arkansas student is encouraged to pursue educational opportunities beyond high school. In order to be successful, students need additional support to navigate the college and financial aid application processes. To assist students with these very important tasks and to shed a light on their importance, the Arkansas Department of Education has named October Arkansas College Application Month.

Approximately 60 high schools around the state have signed up to participate in helping students apply for college and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Activities include hosting financial aid nights to encourage and assist parents with the FAFSA process, assisting students with tracking college applications and financial aid data and following up with students who need to complete these tasks, and hosting school-wide events and celebrations to build excitement about going to college. These events are made even more valuable with the passage of Act 331 of 2021, which requires students to complete the FAFSA in order to be eligible for state scholarships so they can maximize their federal and state aid. Many students do not realize the amount of aid they are eligible to receive until they complete the FAFSA.

“A big misconception is that college only includes two-year and four-year institutions of higher education with a focus on obtaining an associate degree or higher,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “While that is one definition, other forms of post-secondary learning after high school, such as apprenticeship programs, technical programs, and certificate programs, can be vital to the educational and economic success of Arkansans. While completing college applications and the FAFSA can be time consuming and overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be with the right support. I want to thank the school counselors and career coaches for participating in this event and providing the assistance students need to not only succeed in completing their applications but also helping them be prepared for success in life.”

To kick off the month, some participating schools are holding assemblies focused on building excitement for the month’s activities. A few of the events are listed below.

October 1: 
El Dorado High School (El Dorado School District)
10:30 a.m. 
El Dorado High School Auditorium, 2000 Wildcat Drive, El Dorado, AR

October 4:
Little Rock Southwest High School (Little Rock School District) 
9:15 a.m. 
Arena Gym, 9715 Mabelvale Pike, Mabelvale, AR 
The Academies at Jonesboro High School (Jonesboro School District) 
9:30 a.m. 
Performing Arts Center, 300 Hurricane Drive, Jonesboro, AR

To learn more and to see the list of other participating schools, visit https://bit.ly/3m6XmZj. 

RADIO WORKS AND CAMDEN POLICE DEPARTMENT PRESENT “BOO BASH” 2021
Radio Works and Camden Police Department once again will be hosting Boo Bash 2021 with Trick or Treat on the Trace. The event will be held on Friday, October 29th beginning on the Trace at the Camden Area Chamber of Commerce Building. From 3:30 to 5:30 PM. Enjoy trick or treating fun along with lots of games and prizes. If your business or organization would like to join us on the trace please call Dana at  870-836-5755. All area businesses are invited to take part. If you would like to donate candy for the event you can take it by the Radio Station at 612 Fairview Road. Plan now to bring the kids out for loads of fun!

AG ALERT: PARENTS MUST SCHOOL THEMSELVES ON DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA APPS
LITTLE ROCK – As Arkansans fill their calendars with school activities this fall, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is sending an important warning for parents to make sure to take the time to monitor their child’s internet usage and social media accounts. The internet and social media sites are a valuable resource for learning and connecting with friends, but social networking sites are also prime targets for criminals.

“It is crucial that parents are aware of these apps and websites. While they can be invaluable resources for learning and connecting, they also can connect your child to a criminal if not watched closely,” 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.”

There are 16 smartphone apps the Attorney General’s Office urges parents to know about 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.

Calculator% – Calculator% is one of several "vault" style apps that appears to be a harmless app, but is used to hide photos, videos, files and even browser history.

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.

House Party – House Party 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.

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.

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, messages, 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.

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.

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for parents to stay connected to 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 email.
Teach children the responsible use of online resources.
Find out the computer safeguards being utilized at school, the library and at friends’ homes.
Never automatically assume that what a child is told online is the truth.

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. For more information on smartphone apps and internet safety, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at OAG@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

September 28, 2021

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON'S COVID UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 28, 2021
Arkansas officials are adding COVID-19 booster shots to their campaign to increase vaccinations against the virus across the state. 

During his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Pfizer's COVID-19 booster shot is now available to eligible people in the state. Those include people who received their Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago and meet the following criteria:

-If a person is 65 years of age or older
-If a person is 18 years of age or older and residing in a long-term care setting
-Anyone 18 to 64 years old with an underlying medical condition
-Anyone 18 to 64 who is at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure or transmission because of their occupation

Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero addressed Pfizer's announcement on Tuesday that trials have been submitted to the FDA on the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine among children aged five to 11. Romero said those trials suggest the vaccine is both safe and available, and could be available to the public before the year's end.

In terms of Arkansas' COVID-19 figures, the Department of Health reported an additional 800 cases on Tuesday for a cumulative total of nearly 494,000 since the pandemic began. Active cases fell by 647 to nearly 11,000 currently. Deaths increased by 21 over the same period for a total of 7,651. Hospitalizations fell by 26 to leave 809 Arkansans currently hospitalized due to the virus. 

CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET RETURNS OCTOBER 1ST TO DOWNTOWN CAMDEN
CAMDEN, AR - First Friday Monthly Market in Camden, AR is ready for “Downtown Get Down” for the market on October 1st.   Think all things block party and especially dancing in the streets.

Former American Idol contestant, Jacob Flores will be on hand to get everyone in the dancing mood.  Flores is an award-winning, one-made band. He has an extremely diverse repertoire of both American and Latin-American styles.  Being voted the Hot Springs “Sentinel-Record Reader’s Choice Best Local Performer” three years in a row (2019-2021) Flores is solidifying his position as a stunning icon in the genres of Pop, R&B and Soul. He will be performing in the park at Washington and Adams and everyone is welcome to dance in the streets.  If you need a bit f help getting in the mood, watch out for our line dancing demonstration, sure to get everyone involved.

Stop by Hollis Evans Floral to visit with this month’s featured author, Niki Benton Smith. Starting with her novel “Nightingale,” El Dorado author Niki Benton Smith explores the world of Samantha, a young nurse who’s been haunted all her life by horrifying prophetic dreams. Her story continues in two more books, “Last Dance” and “Secrets”.  

Everyone can get your shopping in with a vast array of vendors set up along Washington St and Adams Avenue selling everything from wood workings, clothing, jewelry, original artworks and more.   Special nonprofit groups and local organizations will be throughout the market to provide all kinds of entertainment for the young and old alike.  You will find farmers located all throughout the market with jellies, jams, baked goods, homemade pasta and more! Enjoy the special food vendors set up throughout the market. We are very happy this month to have Bills & Dimes food truck as well as Mr. Wendell’s Mobile Kitchen to take care of your hunger pains.  But remember, we have 4 great restaurants right in the market area with wonderful food that never fails to meet all expectations.

Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR, October 1st, 6PM – 9PM.

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

CITY OF BEARDEN’S AUTUMN VERSION OF THE SEMI-ANNUAL CITY CLEANUP
The City of Bearden’s autumn version of the semi-annual City Cleanup is coming this week starting Wednesday, September 29th, 2021 through Saturday, October 2nd 2021. If you have something that needs to be hauled away, Bearden Mayor Ginger Bailey says to call Bearden City Hall at 687-2205.

 

DALLAS COUNTY TO HAVE TWO 911 DISPATCHER’S ON DUTY
In the near future, Citizens of Dallas County will have two 911 Dispatchers on duty 24 hours a day to make calls for assistance and the safety of first responders more timely and efficient  with the proposed 911 Emergency call Center. 

An agreement has been reached between Dallas County Quorum Court and the City of Fordyce in regard to better staffing of the center according to the Dallas County Office of Emergency Management Office.
 

DEMOCRAT JESSE GIBSON TO RUN FOR ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL
Democrat Jesse Gibson is running for the Arkansas AG spot, and says that if he’s elected, he’s going to take social media companies to court for spreading misinformation on COVID1-19.

Gibson says he has ads running that started over the weekend as he made public his proposal to hold social media platforms accountable. 

Gibson says that he thinks social media platforms could be pursued through the courts by using the State’s deceptive trade practices and false advertising laws.

ARKANSAS STATE FAIR TO BEGIN
Arkansas will kick off its 81st annual State Fair October 15th through October 24 since being canceled by COVID-19 in 2020

FORWARD ARKANSAS LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE PROGRAM TO TRANSFORM TEACHER PREPARATION
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Sept. 27, 2021) – Forward Arkansas is launching a grant program focused on building a collaborative of Arkansas Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) that will develop transformative plans to more effectively recruit, train and retain qualified, diverse classroom teachers across the state.

The nonprofit will award grants of $100,000 to six Arkansas EPPs to support a year of planning. A subset of participating EPPs will then have the opportunity to receive additional resources and support to implement the plans over the following three years.

“Arkansas schools already face a significant shortage of teachers, and COVID-19 has made it worse,” said Ben Kutylo, executive director of Forward. “Addressing this challenge is foundational to improving education in Arkansas. We need to act quickly and effectively or we will see lasting negative impacts across all districts, particularly in Arkansas’s most marginalized schools.”

Following the statewide grant competition, Forward will work with the national partners US PREP, TPI-US and 2Revolutions to help the selected universities design and plan for the growth and improvement of their teacher preparation programs. The collaborative of EPPs will focus on increasing the quantity, diversity and quality of prospective teacher candidates. In addition, it will make the state’s teaching program experience more practice-based. “Our teachers need to be prepared and supported to address the changing realities in schools and the needs of today’s students,” said Kutylo. “We believe this program will support university-based EPPs to provide a rigorous, modern and job-based experience to produce more high-quality and diverse educators across the state.” Research shows attracting and retaining quality teachers is essential to students’ learning and overall academic performance. The New Teacher Project, a national education nonprofit, found teachers who rank in the top 20 percent generate more than five-months’ worth of student learning annually compared to their peers. 

Throughout the process, Forward will collaborate closely with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) to ensure the new initiatives are aligned with the state’s education priorities. According to state data, Arkansas saw a more than 50% drop in teacher candidate enrollment from 2013 to 2018. Many schools now have teachers with less than three years of classroom experience. Nearly 10% of first-year educators are not retained, and just over 30% leave after five years. 

“Clearly, a good teacher can make a tremendous difference,” Kutylo said. “Our goals are that within five years, Arkansas will be producing more high-quality and diverse teachers, especially in high need areas of the state, and that performance levels and retention rates will have increased. That will have a positive impact on K-12 student outcomes, as students graduate and move on to college or careers.”

About Forward Arkansas
Forward Arkansas was established by the Walton Family Foundation and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to help ensure every student has access to, and is prepared for, opportunities in career and life. Forward works with districts, schools, educational partners and state leaders to transform student learning, build educator capacity and ensure equitable resources. To learn more, visit forwardarkansas.org.

BOOZMAN CONTINUES PUSH AGAINST BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S IRS POWER GRAB
Calls on Democrats to Abandon Proposal that Jeopardizes Security of Americans’ Financial Information
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) continues sounding the alarm over the Biden administration’s plan to expand the reporting of the private, confidential financial data of law-abiding Americans from financial institutions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Boozman and GOP senators urged Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to abandon the White House proposal that would alter banking account reporting requirements.

“This proposal represents a radical departure from existing reporting requirements associated with national security and actual taxable events,” the senators wrote in a letter. “Placing more requirements on financial institutions would not only adversely affect these institutions and their customers – who ultimately pay the price for compliance costs – but it would also inundate the IRS with layers of new paperwork and taxpayer data that is either redundant or irrelevant to improving federal tax compliance, as account inflows and outflows are not taxable events. Simply flooding the IRS with more data and burdening taxpayers, financial institutions, and already overwhelmed IRS service centers with more paperwork is of questionable value, especially when the IRS does not effectively use data already in its possession.”

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

The letter was led by U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. In addition to Boozman, it was signed by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Steve Daines (R-MT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Todd Young (R-IN).

Last week, Boozman wrote a column warning of the additional threat to the security of personal information if this proposal is enacted.

Additionally, he joined legislation that would to block this overreach as a cosponsor of the Tax Gap Reform and Internal Revenue Service Enforcement Act a bicameral bill that safeguards taxpayers against IRS targeting and abuse.

BOOZMAN REJECTS PROPOSAL TO RAISE DEBT CEILING
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after opposing the Senate bill to raise the debt ceiling:

“The president and Congressional Democrats continue pursuing a reckless tax and spending spree to advance their partisan agenda. At a time when inflation is already rampant and Arkansans are paying higher prices for more and more essential goods and services, it is the height of irresponsibility to ask for a blank check in order to facilitate even more borrowing and debt, and threatening Americans with a government shutdown to get it is even worse. I will continue to oppose this out-of-control spending and protect hardworking Arkansans from misguided policies that burden future generations.”

September 27, 2021

UPDATE - OUACHITA COUNTY OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING UNDER STATE POLICE INVESTIGATION
SEPTEMBER 27, 2021
A Ouachita County man was shot and wounded by a local sheriff’s deputy yesterday after the suspect in a domestic disturbance reportedly raised a shotgun he was holding and aimed it at the deputy.  The Arkansas State Police has been requested to investigate the incident.

About 1:45 AM (Sunday, September 26th) two Ouachita County deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance at 3540 Arkansas Highway 376 south of Camden.  The deputies began searching a wooded area near the residence for John Wesley Williams, 47, who had fled the home where he resided with two females.

During the search Williams allegedly fired the shotgun twice as the deputies moved closer.  When Williams was located in thick underbrush, he was ordered by the deputies to drop the gun.  Williams reportedly ignored the command and pointed the gun at one of the deputies who fired his service weapon striking Williams.

Williams was transported by ambulance to a local hospital with a non-life threatening wound.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are preparing an investigative case file which will be submitted to the Ouachita County prosecuting attorney who will decide whether the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identity of the deputies and their current administrative should be directed to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Department.

OUACHITA COUNTY SHERIFF DEPUTY-INVOLVED SHOOTING OVER THE WEEKEND
According to Sheriff David Norwood, the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office received a domestic disturbance call early Sunday morning. Deputies responded to the call around 2 AM. When Deputies arrived at the residence, a male suspect ran into the woods and began firing shots from a sawed off shotgun.

The responding Deputy requested back-up. They located the man in the woods who still had his shot gun. Deputies ordered him to drop the gun, but he allegedly raised his gun and pointed it at the deputies. At this time, Deputies fired on the man. He was hit once in the arm.

The man was taken to the Ouachita County Medical Center where he was treated and released to the custody of the Sheriff’s Department who transported him to eh Ouachita County Detention Facility.

The Deputy has been placed on administrative leave. The Arkansas State Police are investigating the incident.

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board of Education will meet in regular session on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 6:30 pm at Garrison Auditorium.

The Agenda is as follows:
1. Call to order.
2. Student Hearing
3. Approval of minutes of previous meetings
4. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
a. None
5. NEW BUSINESS
a. Presentation by Jonathan Wolfe.
b. Presentation and recommendation regarding the 2021-2022 Camden Fairview School District budget.
c. Presentation and recommendation by Whitney Moore regarding the 8th Circuit Court Ruling.
d. Presentation and recommendation regarding Minority Teacher and Administrator Recruitment Plan.
e. Presentation and recommendation regarding mowing bid.
f. Presentation and recommendation regarding Statement of Assurance for Programs Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act.
g. Presentation and recommendation regarding food service policies.
h. Presentation and recommendation regarding central office roof change order.
i. Presentation and recommendation regarding selection of WOO firm architect for facilities projects.
j. Presentation and recommendation regarding Covid-19 vaccination additional pay.
k. Presentation and recommendation for purchase and funding of softball and HS gym scoreboards and funding for football scoreboard.
4. Superintendent's report to the Board.
5. Financial report
6. Personnel
a. Hiring
b. Resignations
c. Retirement

MASK MUST BE WORN BY ALL THAT ATTEND.
 

PURSUIT AND GUNFIRE ENDS WITH ARREST IN LITTLE ROCK
SEPTEMBER 26, 2021
A man charged in connection with a Little Rock murder last year fled from an Arkansas State Trooper early today.  An attempted traffic stop by the trooper escalated to a vehicle pursuit when Marlo Akins refused to stop and reportedly shoved a female passenger from the car he was driving.  Akins then opened fire with a gun aimed at the pursuing trooper.
The pursuit began at 12:23 AM near Interstate 30 and Geyer Springs Road.  A short time later, Akins abandoned the car at 35 Eaton Street in southwest Little Rock and fled on foot as Akins and the pursuing trooper exchanged gunfire.

State police converged on the area and four hours later Akins was taken into custody.  A 9 millimeter handgun with a 50 round ammunition drum believed to have been used by Akins was recovered.

Jerika Presley, 31, told state police Criminal Investigation Division Special Agents she was shoved from Akins’ car and was not seriously injured.  Neither Akins nor the trooper involved in the pursuit were injured by gunfire.

Akins, 33, of Little Rock, is charged with Aggravated Assault, Fleeing, Possession of Firearms by Certain Persons, and executing a Terroristic Act, all felonies.

At the time of today’s incident, Akins was free on bond after he was charged last year with first-degree murder following a shooting in June 2020 at a southwest Little Rock nightclub.

ENJOY ARKANSAS A CUP AT A TIME
Little Rock – Ever have an idea “percolate” until you “brewed” up something so satisfying you just knew it was going to be a hit? That’s exactly what happened when the Main Street Arkansas team realized they were frequently dropping in on downtown coffee shops in their program communities. Not only are these shops hand-crafting java with care, but they are often thought of as the gathering place, or living rooms, of downtown communities.

“Traveling the state, it’s hard to beat the welcome in our 40 Main Street communities,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “Stopping into a local coffee shop while visiting a downtown you are struck by the hospitality and the sense of pride from these businesses.”

“The Main Street team was always sharing tips with their Arkansas Heritage colleagues about the best places to stop for coffee when out on the road,” said Scott Kaufman, director of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. “And so, it was during one of these conversations, probably over a cup of coffee, ironically, that the coffee trail idea was born.”

Starting September 29, or National Coffee Day, the map for the Coffee Trail can be viewed here https://bit.ly/2ZAVuR5. Follow-up stories about stops along the trail will appear on Main Street Arkansas social media throughout the fall.

Teaming up with Arkansas Tourism, more than 40 shops were earmarked for the inaugural coffee trail. Site visits were conducted and photos and videos were usually taken. The data was compiled into a map and now Arkansans and visitors can download this map and utilize it as they travel the Natural State.

“We know that coffee shops have played a significant role in downtown communities since Main Street Arkansas began in 1984,” said Greg Phillips, director of Main Street Arkansas. “These spaces, in many ways, have become a symbol for downtown vitality, culture, hospitality and sense of place.”

While there are many places that serve coffee in downtowns across the state, Main Street Arkansas wanted to focus on authentic Arkansas coffee shops. They exercised the following criteria in determining eligibility for the trail:

Physically located in a Main Street district
Locally owned and/or locally operated
Coffee is one of the business’s primary product

People visiting the Coffee Trail businesses are encouraged to post to social media using the hashtag #ARcoffeetrail. For more information about this project, please contact Exterior Design Consultant Hannah Ratzlaff at 501.324.9665 or  hannah.ratzlaff@arkansas.gov.

Main Street Arkansas is a program of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. AHPP is the agency of Arkansas Heritage responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Arkansas Heritage is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. For more on Arkansas Heritage and the agencies visit arkansasheritage.com.
 

SAAC TO HOST CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE ARTIST MARY LOUISE PORTER IN PRICE AND MERKLE GALLERIES
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to view a new exhibit by contemporary landscape artist Mary Louise Porter, entitled "Rhythms and Reflections". This beautiful and colorful exhibition will hang in the Price and Merkle Galleries October 1-27, with an artist's reception on October 2, from 6:00-7:30pm.

Now living and working in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Porter has deep roots in Arkansas and Louisiana. She received a BFA and MFA in painting from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. Her work represents a journey of memories and images drawn from landscapes seen in her travels, as well as experienced in the American South where she was born and raised. Each work of art captures the emotion and beauty of the location.

"Some people are born to sing, play an instrument, or write. I was born to be a painter. I have always known what I wanted to do in life: create," said Porter. "As a contemporary landscape painter I experiment with colors, lines, and shapes abstracting from reality to create my own contemporary landscape style. Inspiration is drawn from common areas such as patterns of the clouds, vibrant colors of the sky, reflections on water, barren trees, textures, and vivid color patterns. I work with acrylic, paper, plaster and other mediums to engage the viewer emotionally as well as visually in my paintings. Creativity and inspiration is the basis of my paintings."

Porter's artwork has been selected to represent Northwest Louisiana in John R. Kemp's book "Expression of Place, The Contemporary Louisiana Landscapes". Porter was also featured in the November 2014 "Louisiana Life" magazine, with emphasis on her life and artwork in Louisiana. She has participated innumerous artist residencies across the US and Costa Rica. Her work is also included in a number of galleries, and other public and private collections nationwide. Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport has one of her largest paintings "Louisiana Vibrations Red River Valley" in their permanent collection. The Alexandria Museum of Art in Alexandria, Louisiana, has a painting from one of her storm series, "Storms Coming", in its permanent collection, and The University of Arkansas in Monticello, Arkansas, has recently added her installation of paintings entitled "Venus" to its permanent collection. More information is also available on Porter's website at www.mlporterfineart.com.

For Porter, the creation of a new piece of artwork is a journey, rather than a destination. "The beginning of a painting is always mysterious to me," she said. "A painting develops for me, unraveling the composition, as the colors, line, shapes, and texture seems to emerge on the canvas."

Gallery viewing hours are Monday - Friday, 9-5pm. For more information on this exhibit, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.  

SAAC CONTINUES LECTURE SERIES WITH JOHN SINGER SARGENT ON OCTOBER 14
SAAC continues its "An Hour for the Arts" Fall Lecture Series on October 14 at 6:00pm. Artist and educator, Gay Bechtelheimer, will return to the SAAC stage with her new topic for this month. Bechtelheimer plans to focus on "people's choice" topics, all suggested by guests at the spring lectures.

"The October 14 lecture will delve into the work and life of John Singer Sargent, the leading portraitist of the Edwardian era," said Bechtelheimer. "The expatriate American was a prolific creator of watercolors, sketches and drawings. His most well-known work, 'Portrait of Madame X', created scandal in his contemporary world, but has received lasting acclaim long after."

This event will begin at 6:00pm in the galleries, followed by a multimedia presentation in the theater. Reservations are required to ensure physical distancing can be maintained. Beer and wine along with individual snacks will be served. October's "An Hour for the Arts" is sponsored by Cherie and Rudy Bright.

The remaining lecture in this series will be held on November 11, at 6:00pm where Bechtelheimer will explore the world of Pop Art.

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

September 23, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 22, ,2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 21, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 20, 2021

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

#teamcorrie Cancer Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actual tournament play takes place September 24 - 26.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 17, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Text of the letter may be found below.

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

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

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

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

I appreciate your consideration of this important matter.

Sincerely,

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 16, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

September 15, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


There was no old business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MusicFest on the Square is back!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 14, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The FBI and the IRS are investigating the case.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

September 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 10, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 09, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 08, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 07, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

COST:
Admission – $5.00
Parking – Free!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Registration is now open for the Great Arkansas Cleanup!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 02, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Dear President Biden:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

September 01, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 31, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 27, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

August 26, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Shoplifting - WalMart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 24, 2021

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 23, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Provide plenty of drinking water in convenient, visible locations.

Use power tools to reduce manual labor.

Alternate work and rest periods in a cool area.

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

Permit workers to stop and rest if they feel uncomfortable.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

National Goals 

Arkansas’ Results

Graduation Rate: 90%

Arkansas: 97%

Job Placement Rate: 60%

Arkansas: 69%

Total Full-Time Employment: 60%

Arkansas: 80% 

Total Full-Time Positive Outcomes: 75%

Arkansas: 77%

Further Education Rate: 35% 

Arkansas: 39%

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

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

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

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

August 23, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about this fun game day or the upcoming production of "Clue: On Stage", please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.
 

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

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

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

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

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

AUGUST 20, 2021

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

AUGUST 18, 2021

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TREASURER DENNIS MILLIGAN ANNOUNCES FISCAL YEAR EARNINGS FOR 2021

 

Receipts exceeded internal projections during pandemic economy

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

August 17, 2021

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

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

Declaration

Number

Primary

Counties

Neighboring

Counties/Parishes

Incident Type

Incident Date

Deadline

17089

Lawrence

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

Hail

May 6, 2021

4/12/22

17090

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

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

East Carroll, Morehouse and West Carroll in Louisiana;

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

Barry and McDonald in Missouri;

Adair and Delaware in Oklahoma.

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

April 1 - June 11, 2021

4/12/22


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 16, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you plan on drinking, plan not to drive.
Plan a safe way home before you leave.  It’s never okay to drink and drive, even if the driver has consumed only one alcoholic beverage.  
Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to your destination safely.  
If you’ve been drinking, call a taxi or someone who is sober to drive you home.  
If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1.
If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.  

Buckle up, always. Your seat belt is your best defense against the drunk driver.  

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

 For more information on impaired driving, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDArkansas.org
 

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

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

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

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

Mooney replaces outgoing PRMB Chief Johnny Kiser, who will retire December of this year. Kiser and Mooney will work together over the next four months to ensure a smooth transition.

Project Resources Management Branch has O&M authority for 10 lakes in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana and nearly 2,000 miles of levees.  Overall project missions include flood control, hydropower, recreation, environmental stewardship, and water supply.  Other missions include carrying out the 208 and 408 permit programs for alteration requests to federally constructed projects and coordination with local, state, and federal partners/stakeholders regarding use of public lands.

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.

Arkansas Delegation Applauds USDA Disaster Declaration for Counties Impacted by Storms  

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—applauded U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s decision to issue a Secretarial Disaster Designation covering 18 Arkansas counties impacted by flooding, high winds, hail, tornadoes and other storm damage: Arkansas, Benton, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lonoke, Monroe, Phillips, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, White and Yell.

“This disaster designation is a critical step to helping Arkansas agricultural producers recover from devastating losses as a result of natural disasters. We are pleased Secretary Vilsack recognizes the need to provide this assistance to our farmers,” members said.

Last month, the congressional delegation wrote a letter to Secretary Vilsack in support of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation.  

LT. GOVERNOR GRIFFIN RESPONDS TO DISASTROUS WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN
Says ‘This catastrophe is damaging to our national interest and to our reputation around the world'
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin issued the following statement as Afghanistan falls to the Taliban regime amidst U.S. withdrawal:  

"Although my current role as Lt. Governor is not directly related to international relations, I have several thoughts as a veteran, former member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, and an American on the current situation in Afghanistan: 

 "It is both tragic and heartbreaking to watch Afghanistan fall back into the hands of the Taliban and radical Islamic terrorists. President Biden was dangerously wrong last month when he stubbornly boasted that Afghanistan would not be overrun by the Taliban, and his failure to plan for an orderly, conditions-based withdrawal makes America less safe as a result. This catastrophe is damaging to our national interest and to our reputation around the world.

"Unfortunately, this mistake was long in the planning. Instead of telling Americans the hard truths, politicians – Democrats and Republicans – have tried for years to govern using populist slogans like “endless war,” creating a false choice between nation-building with tens of thousands of American troops on the one hand and isolationism on the other. The truth is there are other options, and those options should be pursued. The American people have long understood the folly of nation-building in a country whose citizens are unable to build for themselves. They are now seeing the folly of complete withdrawal from a country where we have a strategic interest – not altogether different from our initial abandonment of Iraq. The proper role of U.S. forces in Afghanistan should not be one of governing or nation-building. It should be one employing minimal forces with access to the country for the purpose of killing those who would do us harm. While it is not always popular to argue for troops to be overseas in harm’s way, foreign policy shouldn’t be based on opinion polls. The sometimes-unpopular truth is that as the preeminent world leader, America has been able to maintain relative peace across the globe by maintaining a small security presence in hot spots such as the Sinai Peninsula, the Korean Peninsula, and especially Europe. Our national interest in Afghanistan is having the capacity to destroy and kill our enemies -- radical Islamic terrorists and the Taliban – on foreign soil so that our fights are in Bagram or Kabul, not in Boston or Kansas City.

"As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I pray for the American servicemembers and civilians who served and shed their blood for our country in Afghanistan. I also pray for the people of Afghanistan, particularly the Afghan women and children as well as the Afghan interpreters, scouts, and allies who will suffer at the hands of the evil Taliban regime.  Winston Churchill famously said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” May our nation learn from the real-time history lesson unfolding before our eyes."

COTTON STATEMENT ON SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement regarding the situation in Afghanistan:

“The fiasco in Afghanistan wasn’t just predictable, it was predicted. Joe Biden’s ill-planned retreat has now humiliated America and put at risk thousands of Americans left in Kabul. At a minimum, President Biden must unleash American air power to destroy every Taliban fighter in the vicinity of Kabul until we can save our fellow Americans. Anything less will further confirm Joe Biden’s impotence to the world.”

August 12, 2021

STINNETT NAMED GENERAL MANAGER OF OUACHITA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE CORPORATION
Ouachita Electric Cooperative and the Board of Directors are pleased to announce Robby Stinnett as the new General Manager.  Stinnett will assume the role of General Manger on August 30, 2021.   

Stinnett is a lifelong resident of Ouachita County, raised in the Elliott Community with family origins in the Chidester area. Stinnett is presently employed as System Planning Manager and has been a Cooperative employee since 1993.

“I am flattered to have been chosen by your board of directors to be the next general manager of Ouachita Electric Cooperative. As only the fifth general manager to serve the members of OECC in the 80 plus years of incorporation I am pleased to join a small group of dedicated individuals sacrificing their time and efforts to make OECC and south Arkansas a better place for everyone.”. Stinnett commented.

Ouachita Electric Cooperative currently has 38 full-time employees with a combined 614 years of experience.  OECC is a non-profit rural electric utility cooperative headquartered in Camden, Arkansas, with a district office in Hampton, Arkansas. The Cooperative was organized in 1938 and serves approximately 7,000 members in the counties of Ouachita, Dallas, Calhoun, Bradley and Nevada. 

SAAC HOSTS RECEPTION FOR ARTIST MIKE MEANS AND MICHAELA WISE SHOWING IN THE LOBBY GALLERY
The South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to an artist's reception honoring two SAAC instructors with an exhibit in the Lobby Gallery this month. The reception will be held this Friday, August 13, from 5:30-7:00pm. Their exhibit, entitled "Digital and Fine Art Works by Mike Means and Michaela Wise" will hang through August 30.

These two talented art instructors have a few things in common. Both spend much of their days teaching and helping children in El Dorado. Michaela works part time at the Boy's and Girl's Club as a grant assistant, takes care of the food bank there, and teaches visual arts to young kids at SAAC, while Mike is an Arts In Education instructor in the El Dorado schools and teaches graphic arts classes at SAAC.

Michaela is a local artist. She grew up in Louisiana, but moved to El Dorado before starting junior high. Moving to south Arkansas helped her make connections that would one day lead her to her current career as an artist. In junior high, she began taking classes with Maria Villegas and soon blossomed into a prodigious young artist. After graduating high school at Parkers Chapel, she pursued a degree in Studio Art from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. Now a mother to a 6-year-old little boy and a resident artist of El Dorado, Michaela continues to be devoted to art and teaching and conveys her enthusiasm through her classes. She hopes to inspire children to let their creativity and talent shine just as her teachers at SAAC inspired her when she was a young artist. 

"The pieces in this show are made of pencil and gouache paint - a medium that I recently discovered and now love," said Michaela. "I am inspired by people and personalities (also by impending deadlines), and am currently focused on creating work showcasing the people I love and memories surrounding them."

Mike said about his show, "My half of the work displayed shows you some of the art I have done using both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Art and computer go together. A digital palette can be just as fun as the real thing.

"I grew up in Fayetteville, where I did my first rendering of Snoopy on my bedroom wall. Since then I have worked in many other media, including graphite, colored pencil, and pastel, as well as on the computer. Drawing will always be my first love. I love working with the computer to create art and sharing the knowledge that I have gathered over the years. There is a ‘wow factor' when you show students what computer programs can do. Most people just need help getting started, and that is where I hope to help children and adults alike. I wanted to break from the traditional graphics classes and show just what you can do on the computer from an artist's point of view. Making the computer work for you as an artist is my goal."

Artist Ann Trimble, whose exhibit "A Collection of Portraits and Kaleidoscopes" is hanging in the Price and Merkle Galleries, will also be honored at Friday's reception. For more information about this exhibit, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. 

 

WESTERMAN CALLS FOR END OF UNCONSTITUTIONAL EVICTION MORATORIUM
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) joined Congressman Chris Jacobs (R-NY) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) in sending a bicameral letter with 27 members of Congress to President Biden calling on the Administration to change course and end its unconstitutional eviction moratorium. 

“We strongly oppose the Biden administration’s latest eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This latest action is plainly unconstitutional and will only serve to further distort the market and create a housing affordability crisis,” the lawmakers said. “Additionally, any further restrictions on evictions at this point are counterproductive. The economy is open, jobs and vaccines are abundant, and federal rental assistance is a reality.”

In a recent Supreme Court case, Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, five members of the Supreme Court effectively acknowledged that CDC exceeded its authority in issuing the moratorium. Justice Kavanaugh stated that “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”
 

“Instead of pursuing an unconstitutional moratorium, the Biden administration should be focused on distributing the nearly $50 billion in rental assistance that was appropriated through three separate stimulus packages.” the lawmakers said. “As long this moratorium remains in place, property owners will continue to struggle financially. These property owners must still pay mortgages, taxes, and maintenance for the dwelling. If this continues much longer, we will see a wave of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and blighted properties.”

Most states require the tenant to take the initiative when applying for rental assistance. A recent Treasury report found very little of the federal rental assistance money has been disbursed so far, and the new moratorium will act as an additional disincentive for tenants to apply for this aid, leaving property owners on the hook.

“We demand the Biden administration end this moratorium and allow the rental assistance funds to do what they were intended to do. This government overreach must end,” the lawmakers said. 

WESTERMAN DELIVERS REMARKS AT THE NATIONAL CENTER OF TOXICOLOGICAL RESEARCH 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) spoke to the 50th anniversary celebration of the National Center of Toxicological Research (NCTR) in Jefferson, Arkansas. Westerman released the following statement.

“NCTR has undoubtably improved the lives of every American by developing needed research to ensure safe medicine, food, and cosmetics,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman. “Without facilities such as this, the United States would not be home to the world’s safest and most abundant food supply. Consumers in the United States and around the world may never truly know the impact of NCTR’s work on their daily lives, but every time a patient is successfully treated, or a family safely uses countless familiar products, NCTR’s hard work deserves the credit.”

Background:
NCTR is the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research facility located outside of Washington, D.C. employs 670 people across 17 counties, contributing nearly $70 million to the state, local, and national economies. 

 NCTR was established on August 11, 1971 by President Richard Nixon. This research facility promotes and protects public health and provided critical support to Arkansas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The Arkansas Delegation recently introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to commemorate this 50th anniversary and recognize NCTR’s achievements.