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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The National Federation of Independent Business is the nation's leading small business advocacy organization. To learn more about NFIB in Arkansas, visit www.NFIB.com/AR.
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

August 11, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about these two hilarious plays or to reserve tickets, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. 
 

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

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

August 11, 2022

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

August 10, 2022

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

IT IS SO ORDERED this 10th day of August.

Robert A. McAdoo
Ouachita County Judge


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First up was Ordinance No. 07-22, an ordinance authorizing Camden Water Utilities to increase sewer rates for customers on the Airport Sewer System; prescribing other matters relating thereto; and declaring an emergency. A motion was made and seconded to suspend the rules and put it up for a final reading. Motion was made and seconded. There was no discussion. The Ordinance passed by unanimous vote

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

 

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

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

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

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


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

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 pm

The next scheduled regular meeting is September 13, 2022.

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit www.Arkansas811.com.


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

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

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

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

The National Federation of Independent Business is the nation's leading small business advocacy organization. To learn more about NFIB in Arkansas, visit www.NFIB.com/AR.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 09, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Law enforcement swung in force behind the bill.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 08, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The members released the following statement:

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


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

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


BOOZMAN INTRODUCES AMENDMENT TO GET MORE AMERICANS BACK TO WORK
WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, introduced an amendment to the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending bill that would restore a pre-COVID policy requiring able-bodied adults without dependents to join the workforce in order to continue receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

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

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

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

August 05, 2022

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


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

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

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


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

The scholarship recipients include the following students:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Amber Leaton
Social Studies, Grades 11 & 12

Bryant High School

Bryant Public Schools

Dawson Education Service Cooperative

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

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

Elouise Shorter
Math, Grades 9-12
Dollarway High School
Pine Bluff School District
Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative

The Arkansas Teacher of the Year program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program, which recognizes teachers for their teaching and leadership skills. The ATOY selection committee will conduct site visits for each of the four state semi-finalists, with the 2023 ATOY named this fall. The ATOY will then be eligible for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year competition.

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

August 04, 2022

OUACHITA COUNTY TO RECOGNIZE VETERANS AND PATRIOTS
Ouachita Judge Robbie McAdoo has designated September as “Veteran’s and Patriot’s Awareness & Appreciation Month” and is seeking names and information of veterans of Ouachita County to celebrate this event.  Information to be obtained includes name, town of residence, branch of service, rank, countries served in, conflict served, years served and medals and awards.   The deadline for submitting names to Veterans Affairs for recognition at this year’s event is August 12th.  Contact Jim Bob Davis at 870-837-2216 to add names.  

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Text of the letter may be found below.

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

Secretary Austin,

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

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

Sincerely,

August 03, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

Food Items May Include:

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

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

Must Meet Income Guidelines
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Text of the letter may be found below.

President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Biden,

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for considering this important matter of national security.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 02, 2022


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

This August join us at the Ouachita County Recreational Center to support the youth of our community who are involved in 4-H and FFA programs. Whatever your interests, the Ouachita County Fair has something that’s sure to excite your imagination, tickle your taste buds, or spark your imagination. We will have all the things you love and expect from our county fair. Cows. Chickens. Goats. Hogs. Cotton Candy and Funnel Cakes. Plus there will be exhibits showcasing all our local talent, everything from preserved fruits and vegetables, baked items, hand crafted quilts, crafts, photography, and much, much more.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 01, 2022

OUACHITA COUNTY REMAINS UNDER BURN BAN

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM COURT TO MEET

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


COTTON ACCEPTING SERVICE ACADEMY NOMINATIONS
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) announced today that he is accepting applications for service academy nominations. In order to be considered for a nomination, materials must be submitted by Monday, November 1, 2022.

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

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

July 29, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 28, 2022

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

The Burn ban is still in effect for Ouachita County. 


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

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

During the investigation, special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division, assisted by Forrest City police detectives, coordinated drug transactions with each of the suspects.  More than 5 pounds of the various narcotics were purchased cumulatively among the 30 suspects.

The execution of the arrest warrants and arrests involved approximately 60 Arkansas State Troopers, assisted by other law enforcement officers from the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 1st Judicial District Drug Task Force, Forrest City Police Department, St. Francis and Cross County sheriff’s deputies and officers of the Palestine Police Department.

 “This investigation and subsequent arrests demonstrate the commitment of the Arkansas State Police to remove drug dealers from our communities and cut-off the supply of the worst and most dangerous narcotics being funneled into Arkansas,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.  “On behalf of Arkansans in communities, large and small, I commend the special agents who tirelessly led the investigation and the united spirit of the troopers and other law enforcement officers who banned together today to make the arrests.”

As of 11:30 AM today, the following individuals are among the 30 charged with the delivery of a controlled substance and currently incarcerated at the Cross County Detention Center in Wynne:

Lonzo Shealy, 44, of Forrest City
Kirk Mosby, 26, of Forrest City
Roy Parker, 37, of Forrest City
Clenton Wofford, 41, of Forrest City
Theo Walker, 32, of Forrest City
Jeremy Buchanan, 31, of Forrest City
Xavier Jones, 32, of Forrest City
Danny Brimley, 33, of Forrest City
Joseph Higgins, 30, of Forrest City
Freddie Gray, Jr., 48, of Forrest City
Ray Thomas, Jr., 22, of Forrest City
Kyiler King, 28, of Forrest City
Emilio Williams, 30, of Forrest City
Toney Walker, 36, of Forrest City
Candice Bradley, 34, of Forrest City
Joey Jones, 33, of Wynne
Ladarius Hartaway, 30, of Little Rock
Tevvion Jones, 26, of Widener
Demitrius Hunter, 33, of Forrest City
Antonio Neal, 53, of Forrest City
Timothy Graham, 29, of Forrest City
Latarsha McMillian, 44, of Forrest City

Currently, not in custody, but charged and being sought by the Arkansas State Police are:
Marco Lee, 31, of Forrest City
Ronald Williams, 30, of Forrest City
Freshawn Dosty, 25, of Forrest City
Diante Russell, 31 of Forrest City|
Romero Barber, 30, of Forrest City
Robert Smith, 31, of Forrest City
Tyrek Anderson, 22, of Forrest City
Ronald Scott, Jr., 31, of Colt

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of the suspects still being sought should contact the Arkansas State Police in Forrest City or the Forrest City Police Department.

Additional criminal charges in the form of federal indictments are expected to be filed against several of the individuals identified in the investigation and facing state charges.
 

WESTERMAN INTRODUCES COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE REFORM
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Representatives Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) introduced the Fair Care Act of 2022, a comprehensive health care reform plan that combines over 75 bipartisan proposals to lower costs, decrease the number of uninsured individuals, protect those with preexisting conditions, and expand coverage options. The members released the following statement:

"Republicans and Democrats alike can agree that our health care system is broken and in  desperate need of reform. Health care doesn't have to be an issue that divides us," said Rep. Westerman. "It is possible to loosen the grip of Big Government on our health care system, while lowering costs, and reducing the number of uninsured Americans. The Fair Care Act is all about putting families' hard earned tax dollars back into their pockets so they can make their own choices about what health care coverage is best for them.  I am confident that through the Fair Care Act, affordable health care is possible for every American."

“Americans deserve a health care system that puts families first and provides them peace of mind when they get sick or injured,” Gonzalez said. “Despite significant efforts to control costs and increase access to care, far too many Americans and businesses are struggling to find health insurance that is both affordable and will meet their needs. The Fair Care Act is a serious effort to finally put market forces to the test to promote efficiency, improve the quality of services, develop more choices for consumers, and ensure patients are receiving valued care for their money. This legislation charts a path forward that will provide certainty to families without breaking the fiscal bank. Perhaps most importantly, I believe it’s a proposal that can draw support across the political spectrum. It’s a step in the right direction, and I’m proud to support it.”

Stakeholder support:

“We applaud Rep. Westerman for introducing the Fair Care Act, a set of policies aimed at giving Americans a personal option in health care," said Dean Clancy, Sr Health Policy Fellow, Americans for Prosperity. "By putting patients – not bureaucrats – in the driver’s seat, these reforms will lead to lower prices, better quality, and no more surprises when it comes to the cost of care. If enacted, the policies in the Fair Care Act will increase access to personalized, affordable health care solutions that every American can rely on. We hope lawmakers will support this and similar proposals.”

Background
The Fair Care Act of 2022 is the third version of the Fair Care Act of 2019, crafted with more than 75 bipartisan provisions.

Some of the Fair Care Act of 2022 improvements include:
Codifying the Affordable Care Act preexisting condition protections in HIPPA.
Offering greater protections for patients with preexisting conditions through an "Invisible Guaranteed Coverage Risk Pool" and guaranteed coverage Medigap plans.
Eliminating the employer health insurance mandate and allowing those with Employer Sponsored Insurance (ESI) offers to receive premium assistance.
Strengthening and increasing enrollment in the commercial marketplace through expanded assistance to 600 percent FPL and state innovation waivers.
Expanding the use of pretax dollars to cover more medical expenses, including insurance premiums and direct primary care arrangements.
Promoting transparency by publishing provider networks and prices for common services.
Requiring medical providers to send timely, transparent bills to patients.
Discouraging hospital consolidation and anti-competitive behavior while protecting rural hospitals from closures.
Modernizing the prescription drug approval process to bring safe, effective medicine to patients faster.
Reforming Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) practices, including eliminating Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR) fees.
Expanding the number of health professionals that can provide telehealth services.
Modernizing Medicare enrollment through a competitive bidding process, which promotes Medicare Advantage plans.
Establishing a flexible Medicaid funding option for states and closing the gap between Medicaid eligibility and premium assistance in the individual market.
Promoting fiscal accountability and solvency for Medicare and Medicaid.

 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES DEMAND ANSWERS ABOUT BIDEN’S PROPOSED TITLE IX “GENDER IDENTITY” RULE IN SCHOOLS
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona demanding answers about the Department of Education’s intention to include “gender identity” as a protected category under Title IX.

In part, the senators wrote, “The Biden administration claims that Title IX, which was written to provide equal opportunities to women, protects men claiming to be women on the basis of their “gender identity.”  Consequently, your department has suggested that schools which prohibit males from using women’s bathrooms or playing women’s sports could be guilty of unlawful “discrimination.”  Your interpretation of Title IX will undermine that law’s very purpose by making schools and sports unsafe and unfair for women and girls.”

“Equally disturbing is the likelihood that your department will weaponize Title IX to force a radical gender ideology in K-12 classrooms. A number of troubling incidents suggest how your interpretation of Title IX could erode women’s rights, free-speech rights, parental rights, and children’s safety and innocence,” the senators continued.

Text of the letter may be below.

The Honorable Miguel Cardona
Attn: Title IX Rulemaking
Secretary of Education
Department of Education Building
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20202

Dear Secretary Cardona,

We write regarding the Department of Education’s intention to unlawfully include “gender identity” as a protected category under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. § 1681).  The Biden administration claims that Title IX, which was written to provide equal opportunities to women, protects men claiming to be women on the basis of their “gender identity.”  Consequently, your department has suggested that schools which prohibit males from using women’s bathrooms or playing women’s sports could be guilty of unlawful “discrimination.”  Your interpretation of Title IX will undermine that law’s very purpose by making schools and sports unsafe and unfair for women and girls.

Equally disturbing is the likelihood that your department will weaponize Title IX to force a radical gender ideology in K-12 classrooms. A number of troubling incidents suggest how your interpretation of Title IX could erode women’s rights, free-speech rights, parental rights, and children’s safety and innocence. Given these concerns, please respond to the following questions by Monday, August 15, 2022.

A middle school in Wisconsin recently filed a complaint under Title IX against three students for choosing not to refer to another student by her preferred pronouns.  Would it be a potential violation of Title IX for a student to refuse to call someone by pronouns that do not correspond to their biological sex?

A school in Virginia suspended a teacher, Tanner Cross, for refusing to use a child’s “preferred” pronouns and cited Title IX as one justification.  Would it be “discriminatory” or a potential violation of Title IX for a school employee to refuse to refer to a student or colleague by their preferred name or pronouns? If yes, would teachers with religious or conscientious objections be given an exemption?

When Florida passed a law to protect K-3 students from inappropriate classroom instruction, you implied it might run afoul of Title IX.  Would it be “discriminatory” or a potential violation of Title IX for a school, district, or state to limit a school employee’s ability to discuss “gender identity” with young children? Would it be a potential violation of Title IX for any school, district, or state to discipline a teacher’s or school employee’s discussion of the aforementioned topic with young children?

Would it be a potential violation of Title IX for any school, district, or state to refuse to provide puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to “affirm” a students’ “gender identity” at a school health clinic?

In order to comply with the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague letter” on Title IX, a Chicago public school chose to treat a girl as a boy and override the parents’ expressed wish to treat their daughter according to her biological sex.  Would it be “discriminatory” or a potential violation of Title IX to treat a child according to their biological sex if the parents requested this, but the child preferred a different “gender identity”?

An alarming number of schools deceive parents about their child’s “gender transition” by withholding information about their child’s “gender identity.” Your proposed rules favorably cite policies from California and Washoe County, Nevada, which forbid school staff from notifying parents about their child’s “gender identity.”  Would it be “discriminatory” or a potential violation of Title IX for a school employee or student to notify or inform parents about their child’s “gender transition” or alleged “gender identity”?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act guarantees parents’ “right to inspect and review the education records their children.”  Under your proposed rule, would a school be allowed to deny parents access to a child’s educational records, including sensitive information about their purported “gender identity,” for any reason? Under what circumstances could a school deny parents their right to inspect and review their children’s records?

In Loudon County, Virginia, a girl was raped in the girl’s bathroom by a boy who “identifies” as “gender fluid.”  Would it be “discriminatory” or a potential violation of Title IX to deny a boy who claimed a different “gender identity” access to the girl’s bathroom?

A male student at the University of Pennsylvania who claims to be a woman, Lia Thomas, has caused discomfort through his presence and behavior in the women’s locker room. Would it be discriminatory or a violation of Title IX to deny a boy who claimed a “gender identity” that did not correspond with his biological sex to use a girl’s locker room?

You have claimed that your proposed rule will not address women’s sports, yet your agency appears to be enforcing Title IX to effectively end women’s sports teams. Last June, your department signed onto a statement of interest, led by the Department of Justice, arguing that West Virginia’s law to prevent biological males from participating in female athletics is a violation of Title IX. Would it be a violation of Title IX to deny a biological male who claimed a “gender identity” that did not correspond with his biological sex to join a women’s sports team?

Thank you for your attention to this important manner.

July 27, 2022

BOIL ORDER AND BURN BAN REMAIN IN EFFECT
The Boil order has been extended to Thursday, for Camden Waterworks, Wire Road Water System, Hwy 4 24 Water Association, and Buena Vista-Ogemaw Water Association customers.  Please continue boiling when drinking or cooking with tap water.  Throw out your ice cubes and use ice trays to make ice from boiled water

The Burn ban is still in effect for Ouachita County.  Union County went under a burn ban late Wednesday evening. Out of 75 Counties in Arkansas, Phillips, St. Francis, and Calhoun Counties are the only Counties not under a burn ban.
 

OUACHITA COUNTY CORNER LICENSE REINSTATED
Ouachita County Coroner Sylvester Smith license were reinstated for embalming, funeral directors license, funeral home license by the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors after finding Smith and Williams Funeral Home  in violation of state law, back on May 17th.       

The board also fined Smith $250 and stated the previous revocations of his licenses would be considered retroactive suspensions.
 

CAMDEN MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF FETANYL
Brian Hanes of Camden man has been charged with possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy to traffic a felony controlled substance after 146 grams of fentanyl were shipped to a post office box in Hampton.

An affidavit from the 13th Judicial Drug Task Force states that on March 2, FBI task officer Austin McCuistion received a call from FBI task officer Houston Bradshaw in regards to a FedEx package that was intercepted by Customs and Border Protection in Memphis, Tenn., earlier this year.

On Feb. 25, a customs officer examined a package addressed to “Steve Williamson” at a post office box in Hampton. According to the affidavit, when the package was X-rayed, customs officers noticed an anomaly, and when opened for further examination, the package was found to contain glow sticks and a plastic bag holding 146.6 grams of white pills.

The quantity of fentanyl and the manner in which it was received led agents to believe that it was not for personal use and would likely be distributed, according to court records.

Hanes is currently out on $10,000 bond.
 

USDA COMMODITIES TO BE DISTRIBUTED AUGUST 17 & 18, 2022 IN CALHOUN COUNTY
Hampton –Central Arkansas Development Council will distribute USDA Commodities in Calhoun County Wednesday, August 17, and Thursday, August 18, 2022, in Hampton.  Distribution will begin at 9 am. 

Food Items May Include:

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

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

ID must be present in order to receive commodities. All customers receiving commodities must present identification. Photo ID Preferred. Must Meet Income Guidelines.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

 

ABSTRACT ARTISTS DAN THORNHILL AND LAURA WELSHANS EXHIBIT OPENING AT SAAC IN EL DORADO
The South Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to welcome Little Rock abstract artists Dan Thornhill and Laura Welshans and their exhibition "Collected Shapes in Color" to the Price and Merkle Galleries August 2-31, 2022. There will be an artist's reception on Tuesday, August 2 from 5:30pm-7:00pm.

Thornhill, whose favorite artist is Picasso, became fascinated with abstract art at an early age. He says, “With abstract art, there has to be creativity; there has to be originality. You really have to have your own voice as an artist and record it as if you’re keeping a journal. Abstract art is my journal.” Thornhill’s artistic inspiration evolves from his love of nature, “Although I am an abstract painter, I still have to begin somewhere and I begin with nature.”

Welshans, once a student of Thornhill’s at the Arkansas Arts Center (now the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts), considers herself a minimalist inspired by silhouettes and simplified shapes. Her paintings focus on the interaction between the organic elements of earth and the human-made world through color, shape, and light. Using a limited palette, she pairs well-defined shapes with large negative spaces to illustrate the simplistic beauty of rock formations, flowers, and water. Welshans says “magic happens” on her canvas when these curvilinear shapes are juxtaposed against the angular lines of a city skyline, for instance. Similar to Thornhill, Welshans says, “Documenting the beauty of the earth by illustrating it in its purest, simplest forms is the inspiration for my abstracted body of work.”

Dan Thornhill, born and raised in Dallas, Texas, graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a degree in biology. After a hiatus of many years from art, he began studying art seriously in 2001. He eventually started taking classes at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and graduated in 2013 with a M.A. in Studio Art (emphasis in painting). Laura Welshans, who was born in the St. Louis Metro Area and grew up in Stuttgart, Arkansas, has always been a creator. Her current concentration is on abstracting landscapes and florals by focusing on the simple silhouette of the objects with a goal of showing how the organic nature of the Earth and the human-made world coexist through color and shape. Both Thornhill and Welshans currently reside in Little Rock with their spouses.

Thornhill’s artworks are included in the permanent collections at UALR; the Fine Arts Institute in Edmonds, Oklahoma; the Grand Prairie Arts Center in Stuttgart, AR; the Cancer Center at UAMS in Little Rock, AR; along with other public and private collections. Welshans has exhibited within numerous juried group shows including the 61st Delta Exhibition of the Arkansas Arts Center, The Other Art Fair Dallas, ACANSA Gallery, Mena Art Gallery, and the Arkansas League of Artists Exhibitions. Her solo shows include ASU-Mountain Home Gallery, Argenta Branch Library, South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado, Arkansas, and the Arts Center of the Grand Prairie in her hometown of Stuttgart, Arkansas. Laura’s paintings are included in a collection at The Haywood Hotel in El Dorado, Arkansas, CARTI Cancer Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Raymond James in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her paintings have won several Abstract awards.

For more information on the Thornhill and Welshans exhibit at the South Arkansas Arts Center, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac- arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

 

COTTON ASKS BLACKROCK TO EXPLAIN ITS INADEQUATE RESPONSE TO ANTITRUST CONCERNS FROM ESG SCAM
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) last night sent a second letter to Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock Inc., reiterating his demand for answers about the firm’s involvement in a scheme to reduce drilling for oil and gas that may violate antitrust law.

In part, Cotton wrote, “BlackRock’s intimation that it set boundaries when joining CA100+ is unconvincing, as the statement mirrors CA100+’s own language on its website.  And if this was a response to my letter, it did not answer my questions.”

“BlackRock’s statement raises additional questions about its commitments to the CA100+ initiative. Many of the commitments investor participants make when joining CA100+ raise potential antitrust issues,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.
Mr. Larry Fink
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
BlackRock Inc.
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055

Dear Mr. Fink,

On July 13, I sent you a letter inquiring about BlackRock’s involvement with Climate Action 100+ (“CA100+”).

Though BlackRock failed to provide my office with a response, it did respond to a request for a statement by “responsible-investor.com.” BlackRock’s statement to the website was:

 

BlackRock joined Climate Action 100+ to participate in dialogue with companies and financial institutions on matters important to our clients. As we made clear to CA100+ when we joined, BlackRock acts independently in its investment decisions. We do not co-ordinate investment decisions with any members of Climate Action 100+, and we do not buy, sell, hold or vote our shares together with any Climate Action 100+ signatory. As fiduciaries to our clients, we consistently prioritise the long-term economic interests of our clients above any commitments or pledges not required by law.

BlackRock’s intimation that it set boundaries when joining CA100+ is unconvincing, as the statement mirrors CA100+’s own language on its website.  And if this was a response to my letter, it did not answer my questions.

BlackRock’s statement raises additional questions about its commitments to the CA100+ initiative. Many of the commitments investor participants make when joining CA100+ raise potential antitrust issues. For example, based on CA100+’s website:

“investors commit to engaging with at least one of 166 focus companies . . . and to seek commitments on the initiative’s key asks”;

investors are required to “work cooperatively with a number of collaborating investors”;

investors are “required to share information with the engagement working group and the coordinating investor network”;

investors are “required to liaise with relevant network staff and/or lead investors to ensure engagement priorities and ambition are aligned with the goals of the initiative, as well as with the overall collaborative approach”;

investors are required to “disclose through a bi-annual survey their engagement plans and priorities over the coming 12 months to ensure strong and concerted action”; and investors are required to warn focus companies that “inaction by companies following engagement may result in investors taking further action.”

In light of these commitments that BlackRock made when becoming a CA100+ “investor participant,” please provide answers to the following questions by August 2, 2022:

Has BlackRock followed through on its intention to “participate in dialogue with companies and financial institutions” as part of the CA100+ initiative? If so, please list each company and financial institution BlackRock engaged in “dialogue” with, and explain what was discussed during such “dialogue.”

In light of BlackRock’s insistence that it “acts independently” and “do[es] not co-ordinate” with other CA100+ members, does BlackRock count itself among the CA100+ “investors [that] recognise that unprecedented cross-sector collaboration is required to achieve net zero across the global economy”?

Has Blackrock fulfilled the CA100+ commitments listed above? If so, please identify:
the companies BlackRock has engaged with;
the investors BlackRock has collaborated with;
the investors BlackRock has shared information with;
the investors and network staff BlackRock has liaised with; and
the companies BlackRock has threatened with “further action.”

In addition, please provide a copy of all bi-annual surveys BlackRock has prepared for CA100+.

July 26, 2022

BOIL ORDER AND BURN BAN REMAINS IN EFFECT
As of this report, Camden waterworks, Wire Road Water System,
Hwy 4 24 water association, and Buena Vista-Ogemaw Water Association have no cleared their boil orders according the Arkansas Department of Health Website.  They are still in effect until further notice.  David Richardson reported to us today that it will be at least Thursday before the Health Department will give the all clear.

Ouachita County is still under a burn ban. 6 Counties out of 75 are still not under a burn ban.
 

CLARIFICATION ON SMOKING AT THE CARNES PARK POOL - WEED SMOKER’S WILL BE ARRESTED
Monday, July 25th, just after 10 AM, Camden Mayor Lott posted on the Mayor page: “There will be no smoking at the City Pool. Violators will be arrested.”  Some people misread, thinking it had to do with tobacco products, but at the time of the report Monday, Radio Works was waiting on comment back from the Mayor’s office if the message was in regards to smoking cannabis. 

The Mayor replied back, “Children are smoking weed in the restrooms.  Parents don’t believe their children are doing it when they get ousted for the day.  Police get involved; we no longer have to argue.”

Smoking tobacco products are ok, provided you smoke in designated smoking areas. 
No running and obey the lifeguard.  Entry fee is $5, and hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday 12 noon to 7 PM. 

 

ARKANSAS BASS TEAM TRAIL AND THE CITY OF CAMDEN AR PRESENTS THE 5TH ANNUAL "RUMBLE ON THE RIVER BASS TEAM TOURNAMENT” IN CAMDEN AR.
Saturday, August 6th with over $10,000 in cash and prizes!
Camden, AR – The Rumble on the River Bass Team Tournament is a 1 day only event held on Saturday, August 6th at the Camden River Walk on the Ouachita River in Downtown Camden, AR. Take off is at 6am and boats can launch at either the Riverwalk Park boat ramp (405 Washington St. SE. Camden AR 71701) or right down the road at Sandy Beach boat ramp (Sandy Beach Park, Camden, AR 71701) but will need to motor over to the Riverwalk for the start. Weigh-in is at 3pm at Camden News parking lot (corner of Washington street & Madison Ave) in Downtown Camden.

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

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

Registration has begun online.

To enter, visit arkansasbassteamtrail.net and click on the Rumble icon!

Mail a check & entry form to ABTT
2810 Pine Street pmb235
Arkadelphia 71923

Or register in person on Friday evening or Saturday morning at Washington Street & Madison Ave in downtown Camden.

“The City of Camden is excited to once again be chosen to host this awesome event. We love showcasing our beautiful river access parks that overlook the magnificent Ouachita River. Camden has long been titled “Queen City of the Ouachita” and we welcome every opportunity to highlight this unique feature of our thriving city.”
- City of Camden Mayor Julian Lott

In addition to the tournament, come early for family fun in Camden, AR where you can stroll the streets downtown, shop a great variety of unique stores and boutiques or eat at one of the many restaurants. There are LOTS of things to see and do while you visit Camden for the tournament.

For Rules and Registration, visit www.arkansasbassteamtrail.net
 

HELP WITH ELECTRIC BILL FOR THOSE IN NEED
Those of you with huge cooling summer electric bills, you may be eligible for some relief. 

The Arkansas Department of Energy & Environment opening the application period for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance.

The program is designed to make operating home air conditioners more affordable and will provide funding for eligible homes through Sept. 30 or until funding is expended, whichever comes first.

Applications are based upon household monthly income. To apply for benefits, an applicant receives and then returns an application to their county office, the specifics of which changes from county to county. Applications are accepted on a first come first-serve basis. The Department of Energy & Environment does not process applications.
 

JOHNNY CASH STATUE TO BE PLACED IN WASHINGTON DC
The man in Black is one step closer to representing Arkansas in our nation's capital.

The towering statue of Natural State native Johnny Cash is being finalized. Once finished, it will take its place in Statuary Hall in Washington D.C.

Johnny Cash will represent the state alongside another larger-than-life sculpture of civil rights icon Daisy Bates.
 

COTTON INTRODUCES AMENDMENT TO PROHIBIT COMPANIES FROM EXPANDING SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING IN CHINA
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced an amendment to the CHIPS+ package to prohibit companies that receive federal grants and tax credits from expanding semiconductor production in China. Text of the amendment may be found here.

“We should be bolstering manufacturing at home—not expanding abroad. My amendment will ensure companies that receive taxpayer funds can’t turn around and build more factories in China,” said Cotton.

This amendment would:
Eliminate loopholes that would allow semiconductor companies to take taxpayer money while expanding production of so-called “legacy semiconductors” in China.

Eliminate a “Mitigation” process that would allow semiconductor companies to expand advanced semiconductor manufacturing in China and keep CHIPS grant money while keeping taxpayer funds.

Provide a more comprehensive definition of “semiconductor manufacturing” so that companies cannot take taxpayer money and move other parts of their manufacturing supply chains like testing, packaging, and R&D to China.

Eliminate other loopholes that companies could use to argue with the Department of Commerce about whether their activities in China disqualify them from receiving taxpayer funds.

July 25, 2022

BURN BAN IS STILL IN EFFECT FOR OUACHITA COUNTY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

BOIL ORDER REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR SOME AREAS IN OUACHITA COUNTY
CAMDEN WATERWORKS customers in the area of Fairview Road south from Mount Holly to Hwy 79, are still under a boil order till further notice.

WIRE ROAD WATER SYSTEM Is still under a boil order till further notice.

HWY 4 24 WATER ASSOCIATION and the area of Hwy 278 and adjoining roads is still under a boil order until further notice. 

BUENA VISTA-OGEMAW WATER ASSOCIATION, the Entire System is under a boil order until further notice. 

DON’T GET CAUGHT SMOKING AT CARNES PARK POOL
If Radio Works News noticed it, you probably noticed it too. Posted on the Camden Mayor Facebook page, there is to be no smoking at the City Pool.  Violators will be arrested. 

You’re probably thinking that’s overkill.  Why not a citation?  This may not be the smoking you’re thinking of be a simple warning and then extinguish. 

This could be patrons smoking something more of the cannabis kind than tobacco that could warrant an arrest for possession.  Radio Works is waiting for confirmation is that’s what is implied by the post.

UPDATE
According to Police Chief Bo Woody, there have been teen agers smoking marijuana in the bathrooms. Those found smoking marijuana at the pool will be arrested! You won't be arrested for smoking a cigarette. 

BACK TO SCHOOL DRIVE
The first annual Back to School Drive is August 13th, from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM at the Carnes Park Building. They are still looking for vendors for indoor and outdoor, and calling all food trucks.  For more information as a vendor, contact Satedra Hall at 501-499-1410


BEARDEN HIGH SCHOOL BAND ANNOUNCE BAND CAMP
Bearden High School Band will be starting up Band Camp for grades 7 through 12, August 1st through 4th and continues August 9th and 10th.

Mickie Null, the Bearden High School Band Director says, they will start 7:30 every morning OUTSIDE, so dress cool. Heat stroke is no joke.  Take the necessary precautions and bring a snack. You’ll be released by 12.

Water bottle donations would greatly be appreciated. 

 

ZOO MOURNS LOSS OF CACTUS JACK, BLACK JAGUAR WITH LONG LIFE AT LITTLE ROCK ZOO
Iconic and Beloved Jaguar Missed at the Little Rock Zoo
LITTLE ROCK (July 25, 2022) – The Zoo is sad to announce the death of Cactus Jack, an almost 22-year-old black jaguar living at the Zoo since 2001.

Cactus was an iconic animal of the Little Rock Zoo known by name by guests and staff for more than two decades. He arrived at the Zoo in April of 2001 with his littermate, Agave, who passed in 2017. He quickly became a favorite for his sweet disposition and beautiful black color variation which is only found in 11 percent of jaguars.

One of his keepers, Kate Neal, shared, “Some lucky keepers get the opportunity to work with an animal with whom they share a special bond. An animal who not only impacts the trajectory of their career, but shapes who they are as a person. Cactus was that animal for me. I am heartbroken to say goodbye, but so thankful for every moment I had with him and every intangible gift he gave." 

Cactus showed signs of decline in the last few weeks and rapidly declined in the last few days. Zoo staff made the decision to humanely euthanize him after assessing it was in his best interest. He would have turned 22 on Saturday, July 23, 2022. At his age, Cactus outlived most of his counterparts in other accredited zoos. 

To learn more about Cactus Jack, please contact jmatlock@littlerock.gov
 

INTERNAL REVIEW UNDERWAY IN PURSUIT & DEATH OF DRIVER
JULY 25, 2022
The Arkansas State Police is conducting an internal review and investigation into the death of a Kentucky man who fled from an Arkansas State Trooper yesterday (Sunday, July 24th) during a pursuit that began in Forrest City.

John Bomar, 19, the driver of the vehicle, died after legal intervention by a state trooper was used to stop the vehicle which was being operated recklessly and endangering other motorists.

At approximately 4:35 PM, a traffic violation led the trooper to initiate a traffic stop when Bomar exited the eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 at Forrest City and turned north onto Arkansas Highway 1, increasing his speed to more than 100 miles per hour.

Near the St. Francis and Cross County line, a state trooper executed a precision intervention technique which led to Bomar’s vehicle to exit the highway in an easterly direction into a farm field.

State troopers and other law enforcement officers administered life saving measures to Bomar who was the only occupant of the vehicle.  He was transported by ambulance to a Wynne hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.

An investigation of the incident will be submitted to a prosecuting attorney of jurisdiction who will decide whether the use of deadly force by the Arkansas State Police was consistent with Arkansas laws.

 

BOOZMAN RECEIVES AMERICAN FARM BUREAU’S HIGHEST HONOR FOR SITTING MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Top Ag Committee Republican Touts Partnership, Ag Policy Successes
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, was presented the Golden Plow award by the American Farm Bureau, the highest honor the organization gives to a sitting member of Congress.

Boozman received the award at the Arkansas Farm Bureau’s annual Officers and Leaders Conference in Rogers.

“This truly is an honor. I’m a guy who believes the best ideas come from the ground up, which is why the voices of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Arkansas Farm Bureau carry so much weight in my book. We have stood side by side on numerous battles over the years and I can tell you those outcomes would have been much different had the Farm Bureau not been there. I will always rely on the Farm Bureau’s input to guide our policy decisions in Washington,” Boozman said.

“For two decades, Senator Boozman has demonstrated his commitment to agriculture and farmers across the country. His unwavering support for hardworking farm families has earned him Friend of Farm Bureau award for 10 consecutive sessions, so presenting him with the Golden Plow award seems only natural,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “Senator Boozman knows the key to good policy is consensus. He’s willing to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers while ensuring America’s families continue to enjoy a stable food supply.”

“Senator John Boozman is a champion for agriculture,” said Rich Hillman, a rice farmer from Carlisle who serves as president of Arkansas Farm Bureau and who nominated Boozman for the Golden Plow. “Our nation’s farmers and ranchers could not be better served than we are with John Boozman leading agriculture policy efforts in the U.S. Senate. He epitomizes the spirit of the Golden Plow award.

Hillman added, “Senator Boozman is a great listener, which is very important when representing others. Listening and understanding the concerns of others is one of his most meaningful attributes. He stands for what he believes, puts aside the small stuff and works for the common good. He has always represented Arkansas’ farmers and ranchers with tenacity and the highest integrity.”

 Boozman, a 10-time Friend of Farm Bureau award recipient, has a long history of advancing U.S. and Arkansas agriculture interests and standing up for family farmers, ranchers and foresters. His efforts that helped earn this honor include:

 Protecting the Future of Family Farming: In his role as lead Republican on the agriculture committee, Boozman was among the most vocal opponents of the Biden administration’s proposed tax code changes that would have had a devastating impact on rural America. Boozman and his colleagues were successful in forcing the White House to abandon the idea of paying for its “Build Back Better” plan on the backs of our family farmers, ranchers and foresters with proposed changes to capital gains, stepped-up basis and like-kind exchanges.

 Ensuring New Programs Put Farmers First: Boozman’s leadership was key to ensuring the Growing Climate Solutions Act secured overwhelming support in the Senate, passing by a 92-8 margin. He worked across the aisle with Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) to make the programs created by the bill more farmer-friendly, farmer-focused and, most importantly, voluntary.

 Securing Vital Emergency Relief for Producers: As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Boozman played a key role in ensuring that the second round of relief from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program would be available to contract growers of livestock and poultry who suffered revenue losses and were originally omitted when the program was created. American Farm Bureau said inclusion of a provision in the bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations bill that Boozman pushed for “resulted in almost $1 billion in federal assistance to support poultry growers who were seeing reduced flock placement because of supply chain challenges that resulted during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 Working Across the Aisle to Put Agriculture First: Boozman was among a select number of members who crafted the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill legislation, forging a compromise between the competing versions passed by the Senate and House of Representatives. The final bill received more votes on the Senate floor than any previous farm bill. It contained several provisions Boozman authored, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reform, regulatory reform and many other priorities for Arkansas agriculture.

 Creating Market Access for Our Producers: Throughout his tenure in Congress, Boozman has made it a priority to expand new market opportunities for Arkansas producers to compete in and ensure existing trade partners, like Iraq, keep their commitments to purchase Arkansas-grown commodities.

 Advocating for Nutrition and Hunger Relief Programs: Boozman is a co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus and has been a leader in the effort to improve USDA’s summer meal programs. The proposed reforms for which he has advocated since his introduction of the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2015 were the basis for successful pandemic hunger relief programs. Just last month, Boozman helped forge an agreement to deliver important funding and flexibility for communities to provide children healthy meals this summer and respond to supply chain challenges and high food costs for the coming school year.

 Looking Out for Rural America: Boozman has always viewed the success of agriculture and rural America as incumbent upon each other and as such has advocated for expanded business development and job training opportunities in these communities. His position on the Senate Committee on Appropriations allowed him to secure $2.8 million for the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Access (ATTRA) program for Fiscal Year 2021. This program connects Arkansas agricultural producers to information that helps them improve their operations. ATTRA also administers the Armed to Farm program that assists veterans in transition to civilian life by training them for a career in farming. The program has a regional headquarters located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

July 21, 2022

BOIL ORDER UPDATE
Camden Water Utilities is currently under a Precautionary Boil Order until further notice. Areas included in this Boil Order are only areas South of Fairview Road from Mt. Holly to Highway 7 at Jay’s Country Store. Affected areas also include the old Wire Road Water Association, and parts of the 4 and 24 Water Association on Highway 278.

On Thursday morning a 10” water main at Old Wire Road and Fairview was damaged which caused system pressure loss in the affected areas. Repairs have been made and Camden Water Utilities is currently waiting on a sample approval from the Health Department. The Boil Order will be in effect until at least Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

WATER MAIN BREAKS - BOIL ORDER FOR PARTS OF CAMDEN AND OLD WIRE ROAD WATER ASSOCIATION
We are waiting on official word from the Arkansas Department Health to issue a boil order for South Camden in the Fairview / Old Wire Road area. 

Earlier Thursday morning just after 5 AM, it was discovered there was a water main break due the low water pressure many Camden water customers were experiencing. 

David Richardson, Director of Camden Water Utilities says a main line broke early Thursday morning and crews are working on the break.  The main line is under a culvert and will take time to access the broken main. 

Richardson says, go ahead and start boiling your water now.  It will take time to notify the Arkansas Department Health, but if you are currently experiencing low water pressure or live in the affected area, boil your water before cooking or drinking it. 

Richardson also added, right now would not be the best time to be washing clothes. 

Richardson’s advice is, when you check the pressure of your water, only use the cold side of the tap.  You don't want to use the hot side and have all that dirt and settlement run through, and possibly damage your water heater.  Let the water run clear on the cold side, and then boil it if you want to use it for drinking or cooking. 

Going into the weekend, and it takes about two days to get test results back, Tuesday could be the latest we could see the boil order dropped. 

The Old Wire Water Association called Radio Works and announced that they have issued a boil order for anyone on that the Old Wire Road Water Association line.

CIVILIAN RESPONSE TO ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENTS (C.R.A.S.E)
So far in 2022 there has been 246 mass shooting incidents in our country. These incidents occur at our schools, churches, workplaces, and entertainment venues. CRASE training is designed to enhance your chance of survival should you become involved in one of these incidents.

This training is open to law enforcement officers, school administrators, plant managers, business owners and church officials.

Training is FREE
August 8th, 2022, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy
6373 Hussey Road
East Camden, AR 71701

Seating is limited to 85. To register for this event contact Teri Haynes @ (870) 574-1810
 

VALENCE SURFACE TECHNOLOGIES ANNOUNCES THE ACQUISITION OF B&M PAINTING
Valence Surface Technologies announces the acquisition of B&M Painting (Camden, Arkansas), a leading provider of surface treatment for highly engineered products in the aerospace and defense market.

 B&M provides surface treatment to many leading U.S. defense platforms by maintaining key approvals with strategic A&D primes such as Lockheed Martin (Bethesda Maryland), General Dynamics (New York, New York) and Aerojet Rocketdyne (Sacramento, California).

 B&M operates out of an approximately 81,000-square-foot manufacturing campus here in Camden, Arkansas that the company has expanded through investments in increased capacity, OEM approvals and the addition of new equipment to maintain state-of-the-art metal finishing capability.

 

OUACHITA COUNTY QUORUM COURT DISCUSS COOPER’S LAW
Ouachita County Quorum Court held the Cooper’s Law Subcommittee meeting Tuesday night to discuss in the further detail how to enforce Cooper’s Law and is it legal for the County to close public access ramps to the river.

When the County spoke with Game and Fish, Game and Fish said the County had the right to restrict public access to boat ramps to the river.  That was with the assumption that the County owned those access points.  The County however does not own any access points except Bragg Lake. 

Ouachita County Sheriff Norwood asked how would the department be able to enforce restricted access on the river if the Deputies aren’t sure where the boat launched from.  Did they launch from a public closed ramp, private property, or from Calhoun County side? 

Another point made was the signs to be used to indicate the current condition of the river from low risk, moderate threat to high level threat.  It was seen there could be a liability issue on the County if someone where to get hurt or worse based on the current sign posted and someone hasn’t made it out yet to change the signs. 

And you know, with metal signs out in the County, well, they’ll eventually be holey signs in the county.

Sherri Steelman explained how the alarm system at Sandy Beach and the River Walk would work and installation provided by private funds. 

Another point made by both Steelman and Coroner Sylvester Smith was the issue with life preservers and those recovered in boating accidents had them on their boat, but not on their persons.  Smith said that everyone of the victims he has taken in were not wearing a flotation device. 

Water safety taught among the youth was agreed upon and encouraging adults to wear life jackets when on the water.

Through the meeting, the group was able to refine a few key points in the ordinance, and still agree on water safety, water safety education, proper signage, life saving throwables, and encourage people using the river to not only have the appropriate amount of flotation devices on their water craft, but to also be wearing those flotation devices.

OUACHITA COUNTY COMMUNITY CONCERT ASSOCIATION HAS FUND RAISER AND SUMMER CONCERT
The Ouachita County Community Concert Association is having a BBQ Fundraise from 11 am to 2 pm on July 30th at the Event Center at Fairview Park. A pork plate will be $12.00 and include 2 sides and a dessert. You can get tickets from any Board Member – Becky Lindsey, Susan Ketchum, Austin Greening, Patty Greening David Reynolds, John Dison Nancy Arnold or Kay Martin. Call 807-6915 for more information.

The evening of July 30th you can enjoy a concert at the Events Center at Fairview Park. Billstown will perform at 6:00 pm. Billstown was formed in 2008 by re-uniting the members of The Campbell Family Band, with a few new additions. For ticket information call 807-6915 or e-mail info@camdenaliveonstage.com. You can also visit www.camdenaliveonstage.com.
 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOLDS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON JULY 28

Call 501-370-3829 to reserve a timeslot to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.
WHAT:   Monthly Virtual VA Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans

WHO:     During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak one-on-one to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist with specific questions regarding their claims for VA benefits.

WHEN:   Thursday, July 28, 2022, 4 - 6 p.m.

HOW:     To reserve a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, July 27.

BACKGROUND: 
“We strive to meet the needs of the Veterans in the state of Arkansas and provide multiple avenues for them to connect with us. It is our duty and honor to assist with their VA benefits,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “Even as we conduct in-person, community outreach events, we will continue to offer these virtual claims clinics as an avenue for Veterans to reach us.” 

The Little Rock VA Regional Office is open Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., while the Veterans Assistance Line, (501) 370-3829, is manned Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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

VA disability compensation (pay) offers a monthly tax-free payment to Veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military and to Veterans whose service made an existing condition worse. 

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

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

Veterans and their family members may also take advantage of VA’s Visitor Reporting Engagement Application (VERA), a new, easy-to-use, online tool, to schedule in-person or virtual appointments with VA benefits counselors.  For more information about VA’s benefits, go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call 800-827-1000.

July 20, 2022

OUACHITA COUNTY FAIR PAGEANT – ENTER NOW
The Ouachita County Fair Pageant will be held on Thursday, August 4th at 6:30 pm at the Events Center at Fairview Park located on Mt. Holly Rd in Camden. There is a cash only $25.00 entry fee and a $5.00 Photogenic entry fee. Entries are due by July 29th. No late entries will be accepted! Absolutely No REFUNDS! Admission to the pageant is $3.00. Applications are available at Radio Works, Camden Drug and on the Ouachita County Fair Facebook page.

 

PUBLIC INVITED TO SEE ARKANSAS ARTIST KEVIN KRESSE AT WORK
Hometown Artist Composing Johnny Cash Sculpture for U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – The public is invited to visit with renowned Arkansas artist and sculptor Kevin Kresse as he works on the sculpture of Johnny Cash that will eventually be placed in Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol.  Visiting hours are 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday, July 25th through Thursday, July 28th at the Windgate Center of Art + Design on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, located at 2801 South University Avenue in Little Rock.  Groups can be scheduled for specific times by emailing Kurt Naumann at kurt.naumann@sos.arkansas.gov


ARKANSAS TECH STARTUP RMT NAMED TOP TECH FOR 2ND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
(Little Rock, Arkansas, July 18, 2022) -- Roadway Management Technologies, headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas is the recipient of the 2022 Top Tech award given by the American Public Works Association. RMT has been awarded this distinction two years in a row. In 2021, RMT was presented with APWA’s Top Tech Award for their innovative Asset Management System. This year the APWA awards this designation to innovation leaders in the following categories: Asset Management Technologies, Fleet Electrification/Infrastructure, Geographic Information Systems, Intelligent Transportation Systems, and SMART Technologies at their annual Public Works Expo in Charlotte, NC from August 28th through 31st.  

Upon receiving the award, CEO and Founder, Candler McCollum stated, “We’re incredibly flattered to be named APWA’s Top Technology for 2022. The award comes as a result of the hard work of an extremely talented and dedicated team. I am honored and humbled by what we have been able to achieve in such a short time. I want to take a moment to thank the cities and counties we have partnered with to develop these innovative technologies and systems. We’re excited to continue to revolutionize the technology available to the public sector and bring communities together with smart infrastructure.”

RMT will have a booth at the PWX event in Charlotte this August to demonstrate its unique,  integrated solutions and technologies that are transforming day-to-day processes for government agencies. For more information, visit www.roadman.tech
 

HOUSE PASSES WESTERMAN, WAGNER BILLS
WASHINGTON - Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed several Republican bills, including H.R. 7693, the National Park Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2022, introduced by House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.).

"I'm so pleased to see these bipartisan efforts passing the House and making their way to the Senate," Westerman said. "By reauthorizing the National Park Foundation, we will reduce deferred maintenance at our national parks, advance public-private partnerships, and address pressing issues like park overcrowding by incentivizing innovative private-sector solutions. We've already seen this work in action at iconic sites like Yellowstone, making everyone's experience at our national parks more enjoyable. This legislation and others that moved forward today will advance our shared goals of scientific conservation and shared stewardship of our resources. I'm honored to stand for these priorities and look forward to seeing them signed into law."

Background
In total, the House passed nine Natural Resources Committee bills, including:

H.R. 7693, the National Park Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2022, introduced by U.S. Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), which reauthorizes appropriations for the National Park Foundation (NPF), up to $15 million annually, through FY 2030. NPF appropriations require a minimum 1:1 match with private donations, which are used to fund vital park projects. NPF cannot use federal funds for overhead, administrative expenses, or land acquisition. 

H.R. 7025, the Advancing Human Rights-Centered International Conservation Act of 2022, introduced by U.S. Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), which makes several changes to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) international conservation grant program to ensure USFWS grant dollars are not used to fund human rights abuses. The bill requires the human rights records of grantees be vetted by USFWS, holds grantees accountable for the actions of their subgrantees and requires USFWS to investigate allegations of human rights violations by their grantees.

H.R. 7002, the Gateway Solidarity Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), which requires the Secretary of the Interior to illuminate Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo., in blue and yellow as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine and its people. 
 

BOOZMAN, HEINRICH INTRODUCE LEGISLATION ELIMINATING PENALTY TO TRAVEL FOR VA CARE
WASHINGTON
–– U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for Department of Veterans Affairs funding, introduced legislation to repeal the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) copayment requirement for veterans traveling to medical appointments.

“Veterans in rural areas with limited access to specialty care and VA facilities are disproportionately impacted by this policy. We must correct this inequity,” Boozman said. “I appreciate the guidance of Arkansas veterans who have shared with me their concerns about this unnecessary cost to receiving the health care they earned. I urge the Senate to remove this penalty for veterans.”

“Veterans who live in rural areas shouldn’t be tasked with paying a travel deductible when heading to their medical appointments,” said Heinrich. “That’s why I’m proud to join Senator Boozman in this bipartisan effort to eliminate this financial hurdle and make it easier for all veterans to access the health care benefits and services that they have earned.

The Boozman-Heinrich bill eliminates the cost veterans pay when seeking VA-approved medical care.

Under the VA’s Travel Beneficiary Program, eligible veterans and caregivers are reimbursed for mileage and other travel expenses incurred while traveling to and from their homes to VA-approved health appointments. Deductibles are automatically withheld from the claim prior to disbursement. In Fiscal Year 2021 veterans paid the VA over $29 million to travel for approved health care.

July 19, 2022

YOUNG MAN DROWNS AT WHITE OAK LAKE
Trajedy struck the community again yesterday when it was reported that n 18 year old man drowned. Around 4 PM, Monday, according to Ouachita County Coroner Sylvester Smith, a drowning took place on the lower part of White Oak Lake, better known as “The Little Grand Canyon”

Ouachita County Sheriff Norwood says two juveniles were walking along the bluffs when the unnamed victim jumped in. The victim resurfaced once, went under again and never resurfaced.

According to Sheriff David Norwood, the victim was recovered about a quarter hour after the incident by the Chidester fire Department, and then transported to Ouachita County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

OCSO, OCCO, CFHS, along with Radio Works sends their condolences, thoughts, prayers, and peace be with family and friends during this tragedy.

Camden Fairview School District posted on their Facebook page:

“Our community is heartbroken again. Yesterday, a 2022 Camden Fairview graduate lost his life in an accident. Please join us as we offer our condolences and prayers to his family, friends, and everyone at CFHS.

We have counselors available and ready to provide support to CFHS students and staff. Families, please reach out to us if your family needs support as you grieve.

 

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
FLEEING
POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
On July 15, 2022 at 0445, Officer Jonathan Cooper, was backing up Sergeant Nathan Lane at Comfort Inn in reference to a suspicious person walking around outside in a purple shirt. :

Upon arrival Sergeant Lane was able make contact with the reporting party and Officer Cooper made entrance into the building because the individual had walked to the back when he saw the officer's. Officer Cooper was able to make contact with a white male with purple shirt in the men’s bathroom. The Officer asked him to walk out front so that they could talk with him to see why he's at the business. The double doors opened and the suspect took off running towards Magnolia Road.

Officer Cooper drew his taser and chased after the man, yelling to him to stop running or he would be tased.  Dispatch was advised that he was running and he was tased when the Officer caught up with him. The prongs hit him in the back, and the pants leg successfully incapacitating him. Officer Cooper then went to where he had fallen after being tased and advised him to  place his hands behind his back. The individual complied with the requests.

The individual was then identified as Ricky McClure and was placed under arrest. I removed the probes before moving him to a squad car. No pictures were taken of McClure.

Dispatched advised that McClure had felony warrants with the Ouachita County Sheriff Department. McClure was searched by Sergeant Lane and a half smoked marijuana cigarette was discovered in his right front pocket.

McClure was transported to the Camden Police Department. Where booking procedures were completed and McClure was given criminal citation for Fleeing and Possession of a controlled substance. McClure was later released to Ouachita County Sheriff's Department.

MORE SHOPLIFTING – WILL THEY EVER LEARN?
On July 13, 2022 at 7:37 PM, Sergeant Nathan Lane was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to shoplifting. Dispatch advised the subject had gotten into an older model grey pick up on the passenger side, that the subject was wearing camo pants and a black shirt and that the subject had swapped shoes with Wal-Mart and did not pay for the new ones.

Sergeant Lane arrived and observed an older model grey pick up leaving the parking lot and heading north on California Avenue. Due to being behind multiple vehicles and the vehicle traveling away from the patrol unit,  the sergeant turned on his blue lights signaling for the vehicle to stop. Once the vehicle pulled over, contact was made with the passenger, Brandon Moseley. I advised him the reason for the stop. Moseley had on a black shirt and camo pants. Moseley stated he could not confirm that he had stolen any shoes. When searching Moseley's person, Sergeant Lane located a stick of Old Spice deodorant. The Sergeant opened the cap and observed there to be the cap signaling it was a new stick of deodorant. He also located pens which were in a capsule. Moseley stated he brought them with him to the hospital because he did not know how long he was going to be there for.

Officer Jonathan Cooper arrived on scene and made contact with Wal-Mart to confirm Moseley was the subject. Officer Cooper advised it was and Moseley was taken back to Wal.Mart. When getting out at Wat.Mart, we made contact with the reporting party who stated he observed Moseley to have on worn out green shoes with white soles. He said he then observed Moseley to then have on green shoes which looked new. He stated he then located the shoes Moseley had on, on the shelf in the area of the new shoes he had on.

While in asset protection office, Moseley stated he would admit to it if he could just go with a citation. He was asked what he was admitting to and he again asked if there any way I can just get a citation. He wouldn't state what he was admitting to. While in the asset protection office he kept making statements about how he had never been caught before except one time in Jacksonville.

The reporting party was able to bring up video footage of the incident. It showed Moseley walking into the store with a pair of old looking green shoes with white soles on them and then it revealed Moseley later with newer looking green shoes and a dark colored sole. Moseley was then advised he was under arrest for shoplifting.

The Wal Mart employee completed a Shoplifting Affidavit and advised Moseley was going to be banned from the store due to him not cooperating. The value of the stolen items equaled $35.89.

Booking procedures were completed and approved. Moseley was released with a Criminal Citation for shoplifting and given a District of Camden court. While completing the booking procedures Moseley was complaining about being sick. Moseley asked for EMS to come to the station to check on him. EMS was dispatched and arrived at the station. After checking Moseley out, EMS advised there was nothing wrong with him,

On July 13, 22 at approximately 1:20 pm Officer Frederick Jackson was dispatched to Wai-Mart in reference to an individual shoplifting. Upon arrival Officer Jackson observed Wanda Jackson being detained in the asset protection office with the Asset Protection Employee who stated Wanda Jackson had taken a pair of reading glasses.

Officer Jackson saw video footage of Wanda taking the glasses and taking the tag off and putting them on her face.

Jackson was then placed under arrest and transported to Camden Police Department. Jackson was booked and issued a citation and given a court date.  The value of the stolen glasses was $5.88.

July 18, 2022

CARNES PARK POOL -  OPEN AT LAST!
Camden Public Works Director Kevin Franklin Announced Monday, July 18th, at 12 noon, the Carnes Park Pool is open for business!

Getting the pool open this year in time for the summer swim has definitely been a challenge even over the winter season getting everything lined up and ready to carry out the repairs need to open the pool for the 2022 season.

The original grand reopening of the pool was July 9th, with an all day pool party including

a DJ during the day and DJ for the Adult swim. 

The day before the grand reopening of the pool, Director Franklin consulted with the Ouachita County Medical Officer in regards to COVID Cases the City was experiencing. 

Dr. Jera Smith said in regard to opening the pool back on July 8th:

“With rising COVID numbers I would advise against large gatherings at this time.”

“I would recommend delaying any celebrations until we know more about the current COVID numbers and where they're headed.

As for routine pool use and other outdoor activities these are still reasonably safe for usual use even with the current numbers as long as we're avoiding large Gathering as this progresses.”

Director Franklin said that there would be no way to control the crowd from large gatherings at the pool, so the best thing to do to be safe was to follow the advice of Dr. Smith and delay the opening for a later date. 

Monday, July 18th is that date!  The pool is officially open!  $5 to get you in.
 

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board Of Education will meet in regular session on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 6:30 P.M. At Garrison Auditorium.

The Agenda is as follows:
Call to order

Approval of minutes of previous meetings

Unfinished Business
   None

New Business
Presentation and recommendation regarding Y95 Broadcasting Athletic events for the 2022-2023 school year. Presentation and recommendation regarding Minority Teacher and Administrator Recruitment Plan.
Presentation regarding Thrive and Behavioral RTI.
Presentation and recommendation regarding the Athletic Budget.
Presentation and recommendation regarding the Band Budget.
Presentation and recommendation the Student handbook change for Elementary, Middle and High School.
Update on renovation project.
Facility Rentals

Superintendent’s report to the Board

Financial report

Personnel
   Hiring
   Resignation


13 EDUCATORS NAMED ARKANSAS TEACHER OF THE YEAR REGIONAL FINALISTS 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce the 13 educators who are named 2023 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. The regional finalists will be recognized at an event August 4 at the Governor’s Mansion. At that time, the four state semi-finalists will be announced.

“It is my privilege to announce the Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “These educators represent the best in the teaching profession at their local schools and have demonstrated a commitment to the teaching profession. Congratulations on achieving this honor and recognition!”

The regional finalists listed below will each receive a certificate and a $1,000 prize provided by the Walton Family Foundation.

Jessica Bilbo
Library Media, Grades K-5
Harmony Leadership Academy
Texarkana Arkansas School District
Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative

Angela Brady
Math, Grade 6
Walnut Ridge Middle School
Lawrence County School District
Northeast Arkansas Education Cooperative

Teresa Cantrell
Music, Grades K-2
Wynne Primary School
Wynne School District
Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative

Lisa Jensen
Second Grade
Alma Primary School
Alma School District
Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative

Amber Leaton
Social Studies, Grades 11 & 12
Bryant High School
Bryant Public Schools
Dawson Education Service Cooperative

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

Kara McGee
Second Grade
Mabelvale Elementary School
Little Rock School District
Pulaski County

Cheryl Ring
Family and Consumer Science, Grades 10-12
Academies of West Memphis
West Memphis School District
Great Rivers Education Service Cooperative

Sarah Sabbatini
Dyslexia Interventionist/Library Media, Grades 1-5
Portland Elementary School
Hamburg School District
Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

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

Elouise Shorter
Math, Grades 9-12
Dollarway High School
Pine Bluff School District
Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative

Sarah Story
Special Education, Grades K-2
East Side Elementary School
Magnolia School District
South Central Service Cooperative

Allan West
Gifted and Talented, Grades K-4
Central Elementary School
Cabot Public Schools
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

The Arkansas Teacher of the Year program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program and recognizes teachers for their outstanding teaching and leadership skills. The four state semi-finalists that will be announced in August will be selected from among the 13 regional finalists. One of the four state semi-finalists will be named the 2023 Arkansas Teacher of the Year this fall and will apply to become the 2023 National Teacher of the Year.

To learn more about the ATOY program, visit https://bit.ly/3hJwC0g.

 

BOOZMAN, FELLOW SENATE DOCTORS RELEASE FENTANYL AWARENESS PSA
WASHINGTON––Today, GOP Doctors Caucus members in the U.S. Senate released a public service announcement (PSA) warning about the dangers of illicit fentanyl that is wreaking havoc in communities throughout the nation and killing Americans at record rates. U.S. Senators John Boozman, O.D. (R-AR), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), John Barrasso, M.D. (R-WY), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Rand Paul M.D. (R-KY) participated in the PSA saying in part,

“I come to you today, not only as a U.S. Senator, but as a medical provider concerned for the health and safety of our nation. Fentanyl is killing over 200 Americans every day. Unfortunately, many Americans who have died from an overdose didn’t even know they were taking the deadliest drug our nation has ever seen…They didn’t know that just one pill can kill…As medical providers in the Senate, we know Fentanyl is everywhere – no community is spared…Never take any drug except those personally prescribed by your physician and filled by your pharmacist. Parents, teachers: please talk to your children before it’s too late…By working together we can make a difference and stop the drug traffickers that are driving addiction and poisoning our neighbors and children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 56,000 deaths involving synthetic opioids (other than methadone), which includes fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, occurred in the United States in 2020 – a 56 percent increase from 2019.

In 2021, fentanyl surpassed methamphetamine as the leading cause of overdose deaths in Arkansas. According to data released by the Arkansas State Crime Lab, in 2020 there were 148 overdose deaths due to fentanyl.

Those in need of assistance can visit www.FindTreatment.gov.

Full Script of PSA:

Hi I’m Dr. Roger Marshall. I’m Dr. John Barrasso. I’m Dr. Bill Cassidy. I’m Dr. John Boozman. I’m Dr. Rand Paul. I come to you today, not only as a U.S. Senator, but as a medical provider concerned for the health and safety of our nation.

Fentanyl is killing over 200 Americans every day. Unfortunately, many Americans who have died from an overdose didn’t even know they were taking the deadliest drug our nation has ever seen. They didn’t know that counterfeit prescription drugs like Percocet, oxycodone, Xanax, and Adderall – are being laced with fentanyl. And illicit drugs like marijuana, heroin, and meth – are being laced with fentanyl too. They didn’t know drug traffickers are selling counterfeit pills that are nearly identical to legitimate prescription medicine. They didn’t know that just one pill can kill. And, they didn’t know that a lethal dose of illicit fentanyl is equivalent to a few grains of salt, which can fit on the tip of a pencil.

As medical providers in the Senate, we know Fentanyl is everywhere – no community is spared. This epidemic is exploding and it’s killing our fellow Americans at record rates.

Never take any drug except those personally prescribed by your physician and filled by your pharmacist.
Parents, teachers: please talk to your children before it’s too late.
Be honest and direct – don’t assume anything.

By working together we can make a difference and stop the drug traffickers that are driving addiction and poisoning our neighbors and children.

July 15, 2022

STATE POLICE COMMISSION APPROVES RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROMOTIONS
JULY 14, 2022
The Arkansas State Police Commission has approved the recommendations of Colonel Bill Bryant, state police director, to promote in rank, two Arkansas State Troopers.

 Captain Michael B. Moyer, 47, of Faulkner County, was promoted to the rank of major and will assume command of the department’s Regulatory Services Division and Building Services headquartered at Little Rock.

Major Moyer is a 19 year veteran of the state police and most recently has served as assistant commander within the Regulatory Division.

Sergeant Phillip A. Pierce, 52, of Sebastian County, was promoted to the rank lieutenant and will assume command of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division, Company D, at Fort Smith.

Lieutenant Pierce is a 28 year veteran of the department and most recently has served as a special agent supervisor and acting commander in Company D.

 

COTTON DEMANDS INVESTIGATION INTO U.S. ATTORNEY’S APPARENT VIOLATION OF HATCH ACT
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today sent a letter to Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz demanding an investigation into an apparent violation of the Hatch Act by Rachael Rollins, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

In part, Cotton wrote, “It has been publicly reported that Ms. Rollins attended a high-dollar political fundraiser at a private home in Andover, Massachusetts yesterday. The fundraiser, which featured First Lady Jill Biden and began during typical business hours, was one that Ms. Rollins attended in her official capacity as United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. She reportedly even used a vehicle with government license plates to travel to and from the event.”

“The Hatch Act expressly prohibits covered federal employees, such as Ms. Rollins, from using their official positions for partisan political purposes, including attending partisan political events in their official capacities. The Hatch Act is intended to prevent the use of official resources for partisan political purposes, but it is also intended to maintain a politically neutral workplace. This is especially true in the context of a United States Attorney, who is supposed to act as a nonpartisan law enforcement official rather than as a partisan politician. Given the apparent blatant violation in this case, I urge you to conduct an investigation into Ms. Rollins’s conduct,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

The Honorable Michael Horowitz, Inspector General
United States Department of Justice
Office of the Inspector General
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Inspector General Horowitz:

I write regarding a potential Hatch Act violation by Rachael Rollins, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

It has been publicly reported that Ms. Rollins attended a high-dollar political fundraiser at a private home in Andover, Massachusetts yesterday. The fundraiser, which featured First Lady Jill Biden and began during typical business hours, was one that Ms. Rollins attended in her official capacity as United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. She reportedly even used a vehicle with government license plates to travel to and from the event.

The Hatch Act expressly prohibits covered federal employees, such as Ms. Rollins, from using their official positions for partisan political purposes, including attending partisan political events in their official capacities. The Hatch Act is intended to prevent the use of official resources for partisan political purposes, but it is also intended to maintain a politically neutral workplace. This is especially true in the context of a United States Attorney, who is supposed to act as a nonpartisan law enforcement official rather than as a partisan politician. Given the apparent blatant violation in this case, I urge you to conduct an investigation into Ms. Rollins’s conduct.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

July 14, 2022

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE INCREASES WILDFIRE DANGER RISK LEVEL DESIGNATIONS FOR ALL 75 COUNTIES
LITTLE ROCK, AR – With hot, dry conditions throughout the state, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division has increased the wildfire danger risk level designations for all 75 counties over the past two weeks. Twelve counties in Northwest Arkansas were raised to the “high” risk level, and the remaining counties were rated as being at a “moderate” risk for wildfire danger. Additionally, 53 counties have been placed under a burn ban by local county judges.

“These 90 to 100 degree days with little or no rain have led to extremely dry conditions across the entire state,” said State Forester Joe Fox. “We are seeing an increase in the number of wildfires and their intensity, and that’s a trend that will continue until we see significant rainfall statewide.”

The Forestry Division maintains a county-by-county Wildfire Danger map with four risk levels: low, moderate, high, and extreme. Risk levels are determined by drought status and long-term weather forecasts and are defined by how easily fires can start and how hard they are to contain. The Wildfire Danger map can be found at bit.ly/ARWildFireRisk. The risk level definitions are:

Low: Fuels do not ignite easily. Weather conditions will lead to slow, easy to control fires.

Moderate: Fire can start from accidental causes. May not become serious, but caution should be taken.

High: Fires ignite easily and spread quickly. Unattended brush fires and campfires are likely to escape. Fires may become serious if not attacked early.

Extreme: Fires start quickly, spread furiously, and burn intensely. Every fire started has the potential to become large. Expect extreme, erratic behavior.

In addition to heightened risk levels, 53 Arkansas counties have been placed under a burn ban by local county judges. Burn bans primarily prohibit activities that involve an open flame. This includes fireworks, campfires, trash burning, open flame grilling, and prescribed or controlled burns.

Robert Murphy, Director of Emergency Services for the Forestry Division, recommends taking additional precautions when driving or operating machinery.

“It’s important to remain cautious when driving through or working in dry grass,” Murphy said. “Trucks, ATVs, hay balers, and other vehicles can easily start fires by causing sparks over dry grass.”

The Forestry Division is asking those who see fires to report them by calling 1-800-468-8834 and to avoid flying drones in the area. When drones are present, those fighting the fires are unable to perform detection flights or fly single engine airtankers (SEATs) to drop water.

Find a county burn ban map at bit.ly/ARBurnBan. To learn more about burn bans in your county, find your local official’s contact information at arcounties.org/counties/.

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

 

LIHEAP APPLICATION PERIOD BEGINS JULY 25
Eligible residents can receive payment assistance for summer utilities
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Officials with the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) have announced residents can begin submitting applications Monday, July 25 for help with the costs of summer cooling bills, including those from Entergy Arkansas and other utilities.

LIHEAP is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is designed to lower the energy burden for low-income households, who pay a high proportion of household income for home energy costs, by paying benefits for home energy bills.

This assistance will be available until Sept. 30 or funds are completely expended, whichever comes first, officials said. The program will have another application period to assist with winter heating costs beginning in January.

Eligibility is determined by household size and income. For example, a single individual with a maximum monthly countable income of $1,859 and a family of four with $3,574 would both be eligible.

The program is offered in all 75 counties in the state through community-based organizations, which can be found online at https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/energy/assistance/caad.aspx, along with a complete list of eligibility and required documentation to complete the application.

For additional ways to help with managing your Entergy Arkansas bill, such as Level Billing or Pick Your Date, visit https://www.entergy-arkansas.com/residential/, where energy efficiency tips can also be found.
 

AG ALERT: SCAM ARTISTS POSING AS AR HEALTH INSPECTORS IN RESTAURANTS
LITTLE ROCK – Once again, scam artists have targeted restaurants around Arkansas posing as Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) officials claiming to conduct restaurant inspections. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is urging Arkansans not to fall for this scam, especially when the individual is attempting to demand immediate payment for declared violations.

“Scam artists are exploiting the stress and burden faced by Arkansas businesses, as the owners focus on tightening their budgets to manage the skyrocketing inflation, supply issues and staffing shortages,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Call my office immediately if you are contacted by a con artist demanding money from a false business inspection.”

Attorney General Rutledge provides the following advice for anyone contacted about an inspection at their place of business:

Legitimate ADH Environmental Health Service inspectors carry identification with the agency logo and will always be willing to provide it when asked.

ADH inspectors will never ask for money.

ADH also conducts inspections for cosmetology services, plumbing, natural gas and many other areas.

You can also contact your Local Health Unit or ADH Environmental Health Protection program at (501) 661-2171 to confirm the identity of an inspector.

If you believe you have been contacted by a scammer or fallen victim to a scam posing as an ADH official, you can report these calls to the Attorney General’s office online at www.ArkansasAG.gov, by emailing OAG@ArkansasAG.gov or by calling (800) 482-8982. Please note the time of the call and the number it came from when you report it.

10 SCHOOLS RECEIVE R.I.S.E. SCHOOL AWARDS 
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education was pleased to present R.I.S.E. (Reading Initiative for Student Excellence) School Awards to 10 outstanding schools at the ADE Summit in Hot Springs this week for their efforts to build and grow strong reading programs.

“A culture of reading promotes learning, academic achievement, and success at school and in life,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “These 10 schools have implemented best practices that build that culture and help students thrive academically and socially. Congratulations to this year’s winners!"

The following schools received the awards this year.
Acorn Elementary School (Ouachita River School District)
Bob Folsom Elementary School (Farmington School District)
Clinton Elementary School (Clinton School District)
Evening Star Elementary School (Bentonville School District)
Lakeside Primary School (Lakeside School District) (Hot Springs)
Perritt Primary School (Arkadelphia School District)
Randall G. Lynch Middle School (Farmington School District)
Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School (Jonesboro School District)
Ward Central Elementary School (Cabot School District)
Watson Primary School (Huntsville School District)

In order to receive the award, more than 75 percent of teachers at a school must have completed the R.I.S.E. Academy Phase 1 training (grades K-2 or 3-6); the principal must have completed the Assessor Academy; and a letter of recommendation is submitted by the school’s R.I.S.E. trainer. Applications this year were due in March, a DESE team scored the applications, and site visits were conducted prior to the schools being selected. 

To learn more about R.I.S.E. Arkansas, visit https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/learning-services/rise-arkansas
 

BOOZMAN CELEBRATES GROUNDBREAKING OF NATIONAL DESERT STORM DESERT SHIELD MEMORIAL
Senator Championed Legislation Establishing Shrine to Gulf War Veterans
WASHINGTON–– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) celebrated the groundbreaking of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial on Thursday.

“One day a memorial will stand in this location as a symbol of reverence to and respect for the veterans and their families, and help teach future generations about this important moment in our nation’s tradition of fighting tyranny. It’s critical we reflect on this episode and those who willingly set out to answer this call. I am honored to join this groundbreaking as we acknowledge the efforts of so many people and the incredible support of the community to recognize these heroes,” Boozman said.

Boozman and former Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) spearheaded the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial Act in 2013 to authorize a memorial in the nation’s capital. A provision to create the national memorial was included in the National Defense Authorization Act in 2014 that was signed into law.

Building on that momentum, the senators advocated for a prominent location near the nation’s other war memorials through legislation that became a law in 2017.

“I’m proud to have played a small role in helping make this memorial a reality, but the hard work was done by those whose service and sacrifice will be memorialized here for generations to come,” Boozman said.

The senator has championed other initiatives to honor those who have fought on behalf of our nation in foreign conflicts, including efforts to authorize a Wall of Remembrance to be added to the Korean War Memorial. The project was approved in 2016 and is expected to be completed late this summer.

July 13, 2022

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building . in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order promptly at 7:00 pm. The Invocation was given by Rev. Connell Muse, Pastor of Price Chapel Church of God In Christ, Taylor, Arkansas. The Pledge of Allegiance followed the Invocation.

City Clerk Donna Stewart was out due to illness. City Attorney Michael Frey called the roll. Aldermen Chris Aregood, Marvin Moore, Joe Askew,  L.E. Lindsey, Whailliam McCoy and Cecil McDonald were present. James Bell was present via phone. Terry Smit was absent.

The Minutes from the  Regular Meeting dated June 14, 2022 and the June Financial Report were presented in print. Both were accepted by unanimous vote.

James Nixon gave an OPED presentation, updating City Council on the activity regarding Economic Development. There are several prospects, most can’t be disclosed at this time due to non-disclosure clauses in the talks. OPED is very optimistic that a pellet plant will become a reality at a site near Stephens. CEO’s from the company have visited the site. The company is currently making sure they can secure contracts for their products once the plant is up and running. There will have to be a power source built and Entergy gives an estimate of a year to 18 months before they can get the work done. There are several other prospects including industrial and retail that are in negotiations to possibly come to Camden. Several Aldermen had questions for Nixon which he answered.

First on the agenda was Resolution No. 41-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 538 Harrison Street a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.  Motion was made and seconded. Passed by unanimous vote.

Next was Resolution No. 42-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 604 Iowa Street SW a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same. Motion was made and seconded. Passed by unanimous vote.

The Counsel moved on to Resolution No. 43-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 311 B Monroe Street a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same. Motion was made and seconded. Passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 44-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; and for other purposes. Motion was made and seconded. Passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 45-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; authorizing the  disbursement of funds to OPED; and for other purposes .Motion was made and seconded. Passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 46-22, a resolution authorizing salary increases; amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; and for other purposes. Motion made and seconded. There was a discussion and in the end the Resolution was amended to make clear raises did not go to department heads and elected officials. The Resolution Passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 47-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; authorizing the disbursement of funds for repairs; and for other purposes. A motion was made and seconded and a discussion ensued. Code Enforcement Officer Ben Wooten presented pictures and estimates needed at various City Buildings. After a long discussion back and forth between Aldermen, Wooten and the Mayor, Wooten was given the go ahead to get estimates and start looking at the repairs needed at City Hall and the City Shop.


“OBEY THE SIGN OR PAY THE FINE”; SPEED ENFORCEMENT OPERATION READIED
JULY 13, 2022
Speeding violations on Arkansas roadways continue to rise and law enforcement officers across the state plan to ban together in a united operation under the banner, “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine”.  The two-week crackdown directed at speeders begins Monday, July 18th.

“It’s an acknowledged fact, as a motor vehicle speed increases, so do the risks of injuries and deaths on roadways,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “A driver exceeding the posted speed limit is less likely to avoid a hazardous object in the road, safely steer away from another vehicle or negotiate an unfamiliar curve or highway exit.”

Speeders put themselves and others at tremendous risk as noted in the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  During 2020, there were 11,258 people killed in speeding-related crashes, accounting for 29% of all fatal crashes in the United States.

Much like impaired driving, speeding is a selfish choice that can have deadly consequences for the driver, vehicle passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.  Speeding not only affects a driver’s ability to steer properly, but also affects stopping distances.  Even the safest cars equipped with the newest safety technology have limitations in the advances made to reduce the odds of a crash.

According to NHTSA, local roads are the most dangerous for speeders.  The 2020 data reports that 87% of all speeding-related traffic fatalities on U.S. roads occurred on non-interstate roadways.

NHTSA considers a crash to be speeding-related if a driver was charged with exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions.

“During the upcoming special speed enforcement operation, state troopers and other law enforcement officers won’t be accepting excuses, the posted speed limit is the law,” Colonel Bryant said.  “Our goal will always be to save lives.”

For more information on the “Obey the Sign, or Pay the Fine” mobilization, please visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  Additionally, motorists are encouraged to learn more about Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities at www.TZDarkansas.org .

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY SITING GUIDELINES OFFER TOOL FOR LOCAL OFFICIALS 
LYONS, NEBRASKA – As more companies, municipalities, states, and utilities set clean energy goals, the demand for renewable energy will continue to increase. 

Because of the complexity of energy projects, however, the process of drafting ordinances and approving permits can be confusing and challenging for local officials considering requests for the first time. 

A new white paper from the Center for Rural Affairs—“Exploring Siting Guidance: Agriculture Siting Matrices Inform Renewable Energy Siting”—looks at how the creation of a set of guidelines, also known as a siting matrix, could help in that process.

 “While a renewable energy siting matrix is a relatively new tool, the concept has been applied and used in other industries for years,” said Lindsay Mouw, policy associate for the Center and author of the paper. “The agricultural sector has used livestock siting matrices, which provide guidance for responsible siting of livestock animal feeding operations.”  

The paper provides an overview of livestock matrix tools used in Iowa and Nebraska, and how they could serve as a model for evaluating renewable energy standards, such as setback distances, environmental compliance, and decommissioning plans. Additionally, the paper addresses the pros and cons of a siting matrix model and shares examples of programs established in states, such as Indiana, that can assist with decisions. 

Mouw said the development of statewide renewable energy siting matrices can help reduce barriers to renewable energy development by providing guidance to local decision makers while improving transparency, trust, and fairness in the siting process. But, as the name suggests, they should be guidance, rather than a requirement.  

“Every county and community has unique features that should be carefully considered by planning and zoning officials, and these considerations should lead to zoning that addresses the needs of residents,” she said. “While identifying standards that will operate effectively in every county is difficult, recommending broad principles and thoroughly researched guidance that communities and officials can use during the project permitting process is a possibility." 

For more information or to view “Exploring Siting Guidance: Agriculture Siting Matrices Inform Renewable Energy Siting,” visit cfra.org/publications.

July 12, 2022

DALLAS COUNTY SHERIFF RESIGNS
The United States Marshals Service confirmed Friday that the agency opened an investigation after accusations that a federal inmate was removed from the Dallas County jail without authorization.

It's reported that Dallas County sheriff McGahee is the person who allegedly removed the inmate. It is unclear how long the sheriff is accused of having the inmate out of the jail, but authorities believe the federal inmate did not leave Dallas County.

Dallas County Sheriff McGahee said he is resigning effective immediately just days after an investigation uncovered the alleged removal of a federal inmate. Dallas County Sheriff wrote in a letter, I, Stan McGahee, Elected Sheriff of Dallas County Arkansas do hereby announce my intention to retire from this position effective immediately.
 

STATE TAX SURPLUS AT ALL TIME HIGH
There’s much ado about what to do with the $1.62 billion surplus in the Arkansas State revenue. 

Last week, Governor Asa Hutchinson reacted to the record state surplus and announced his intent to call an Extraordinary Session of the Arkansas General Assembly.

“This represents the largest surplus in Arkansas history and demonstrates the state is collecting too much in tax revenue,” said Hutchinson. “Our collections are above last year, despite the tax reductions enacted last year. This growth is attributable to the state’s dynamic job creation coming out of the pandemic and increased consumer buying power.”

Scott Hardin with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration says “There are so many things that could be done with this $1.6 billion, then also you have the state reserve fund, the governor and legislature have discretion over that funding.”

Hardin said several legislators have made a push to see if surplus funds can also be funneled to assist school security improvements and teacher salary.

According to the Arkansas State Senate, teachers in the natural state are currently ranked 47th in average pay, which has declined since 2018.

 

RANDOLPH COUNTY MAN ARRESTED FOLLOWING ATTACK ON SHERIFF’S HOME, PURSUIT AND GUNFIRE
JULY 11, 2022
The Randolph County Sheriff’s Department has requested the Arkansas State Police investigate a series of events that occurred early today that began when a Biggers community resident attempted to firebomb the local sheriff’s residence.

Sheriff Kevin Bell was alerted about 1:30 AM that Bryan Rogers, 40, was outside the sheriff’s home just prior to Rogers reportedly throwing what was described as a crude explosive device toward the house.  Rogers, who was free on bond after being arrested recently on numerous felony charges, fled from the property while Sheriff Bell extinguished the fire.

About 1:40 AM, sheriff’s deputies from the Randolph County and Lawrence County sheriff’s departments encountered Rogers driving west on U.S. Highway 62 toward Pocahontas and attempted to stop the suspect who fled from the deputies, then began firing a gun at deputies who returned fire.

The pursuit covered approximately 15 miles and Rogers was apprehended at 1:57 AM near Blacksferry Lane west of Pocahontas when deputies used a precision intervention technique to stop the vehicle.

No law enforcement officer, nor Rogers was injured. Rogers is being held at the Lawrence County Jail while state police special agents continue their investigation.

 

AG ALERT: JULY RECOGNIZED AS MILITARY CONSUMER PROTECTION MONTH
LITTLE ROCK – This July, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission are highlighting consumer protection issues that impact many American consumers, specifically those members of the United States Armed Forces. While no one is immune from falling prey to scams, there are certain scams that are directed to those who serve the nation in uniform.

“Scam artists prey on the fact that United States service members are the most sacrificial people and exploit their generosity to gain a profit,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important that current and former members of our armed forces, as well as their families, are able to identify these types of scams so that they do not fall victim to them.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips and common scams military service members and veterans should be cautious of moving forward:

Be aware of any scam artists charging money for free records. Scammers will attempt to convince veterans to pay for documents that are already free. If you want copies of VA or military records, you can contact the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Achieves, or the appropriate service branch.

Be skeptical of any exclusive deal only for veterans. In some cases, there are legitimate deals for veterans, but in many cases, the items are not discounted at all, but are non-existent products and services. It is best to check the products before you buy and never send money to anyone you do not know.

Be guarded when anyone demands an up-front payment. It is a common scam for con artists to demand payment or large sums of money up front and some will even go as far as claiming to be military personnel overseas. No legitimate business will ever demand for complete payment up-front and this is a red flag.

Be suspicious of any individual or entity requiring monetary compensation to file disability claims for Veterans. The claim process is free and can be submitted by coordinating with a certified County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO) or any Veteran Administration claims representative.  The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs can help you find your certified CVSO here.

Be leery of email messages claiming to be from a legitimate organization that does not have its own domain name. An official email from a legitimate company or organization should not come from an email address ending in “@gmail.com” or “@yahoo.com” and this should be a red flag.

Be careful with any correspondence containing poor spelling and grammar. Legitimate companies and organizations typically proofread documents and emails thoroughly before sending them. Errors can be a red flag for fraud.

Be cautious with suspicious links and high-pressure requests.  Scammers will say and do anything to steal personal information. By sending a link through email or text message which is clicked on by the consumer, scammers can steal any personal information that is saved on the device. Never click on any link sent from an unknown source.

Be suspicious of unsolicited investment advice. Some scammers have disguised themselves as veterans’ advocates and claim victims are entitled to additional veterans’ benefits. If approached by someone in this manner, confirm the alleged state regulatory office, hang up, and independently call the office directly.

In 2019, Attorney General Rutledge successfully sued AndrewGamber; Voyager Financial Group, LLC; BAIC, Inc.’; and SoBell Corp. for the brokering of contracts that offer high-interest credit to veterans in exchange for investors illegally acquiring rights to receive future pension payments. The following year, Rutledge sued candy Kern-Fuller and Howard Sutter, lawyers at UpState Law Group in South Carolina for substantially assisting brokers with the illegal sale of veterans’ future pension payments. Kern-Fuller and Sutter are accused of developing the contract approval, payment collection and enforcement processes. The broker companies falsely told veterans that they were selling their future payments for a reduced lump-sum. In reality, the veterans’ pension assignment contracts were high interest loans that were void from the start. These deceptive and unfair acts and practices violate state and federal laws protecting veterans.

Arkansas military service members, veterans and families can file consumer complaints with the Attorney General’s office at ArkansasAG.gov.
 

SURVEY: SMALL BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS FOR FUTURE CONDITIONS HIT ALL-TIME LOW 
LITTLE ROCK (July 12, 2022) – The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index dropped 3.6 points in June to 89.5, marking the sixth consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98. Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased seven points to a net negative 61%, the lowest level recorded in the 48-year survey. Expectations for better conditions have worsened every month this year.

Inflation continues to be a top problem for small businesses with 34% of owners reporting it was their single most important problem in operating their business, an increase of six points from May and the highest level since quarter four in 1980. 

“As inflation continues to dominate business decisions, small business owners’ expectations for better business conditions have reached a new low,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “On top of the immediate challenges facing small business owners including inflation and worker shortages, the outlook for economic policy is not encouraging either as policy talks have shifted to tax increases and more regulations.” 

State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith said, “Small business has segued from the pandemic to a labor shortage and supply chain disruptions and then to a spike in fuel prices and inflation. Owners are frustrated, but they're determined to get through this, to keep the doors open and continue serving their communities.” 

Key findings of the national survey include: 

The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher decreased 13 points from May to a net negative 28%, a severe decline. 

Fifty percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, down one point from May, but historically very high. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased three points to a net 69% seasonally adjusted, following May’s record high reading. 

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 19% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, but down seven points from May. Ninety-four percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. 

Fifty-one percent of owners reported capital outlays in the last six months, down two points from May. Of those making expenditures, 37% reported spending on new equipment, 23% acquired vehicles, and 14% improved or expanded facilities. Five percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 13% spent money for new fixtures and furniture. Twenty-three percent of owners plan capital outlays in the next few months, down two points from May.  

A net negative 2% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down three points from May. The net percent of owners expecting real sales volumes decreased 13 points to a net negative 28%. 

The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases fell three points to a net negative 4%. Thirty-nine percent reported that supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business. Another 30% report a moderate impact and 23% report a mild impact. Only 6% report no impact from recent supply chain disruptions.  

A net 5% of owners viewed current inventory stocks as “too low” in June, down three points from May and still surprisingly high. By industry, shortages are reported most frequently in manufacturing (19%), retail (18%), agriculture (18%), construction (16%), and non-professional services (15%). A net negative 2% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased three points from May to a net 69% (seasonally adjusted). Price raising activity over the past 12 months has escalated, reaching levels not seen since the early 1980s when prices were rising at double-digit rates.  

Unadjusted, 4% of owners reported lower average selling prices and 69% reported higher average prices. Price hikes were the most frequent in retail trades (80% higher, 3% lower), transportation (78% higher, 0% lower), construction (75% higher, 4% lower), and wholesale (69% higher, 7% lower). Seasonally adjusted, a net 44% plan price hikes. 

A net 48% (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, down one point from May. A net 28% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up three points from May and historically very high. Eight percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 23% said that labor quality was their top business problem. 

The frequency of reports of positive profit trends was a net negative 25%, down one point from May. Among the owners reporting lower profits, 30% blamed the rise in the cost of materials, 16% blamed weaker sales, 14% cited labor costs, 14% cited lower prices, 7% cited the usual seasonal change, and 2% cited higher taxes or regulatory costs. For owners reporting higher profits, 51% credited sales volumes, 19% cited higher prices, and 17% cited usual seasonal change. 

One percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied. Twenty-seven percent reported all credit needs met and 61% said they were not interested in a loan. A net of 3% reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts. Only 1% reported that financing was their top business problem.  

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

July 11, 2022

CITY OF CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
CRIMINAL TRESPASS
On 07-10-22 at approximately I 358 am, Officer Jackson was dispatched to Dollar Tree in reference to a subject throwing items and refusing to leave. Upon arrival the officer met with Katrina Wright at the register up front. Officers told Wright to leave the store and advised managers of Dollar Tree how to go about banning and individual from the business. While outside, Wright was refusing to leave to leave the property. Wright was told to leave the property numerous times but she refuse. She was arrested for Criminal Trespass and was transported to Camden Police Department, Wright was booked and issued a citation #16011. Wright was then released from custody.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (misdemeanor)
On Tuesday July 5, 2022 Detective Blair and Captain Sanders went to the area of Belin and Harper Streets to attempt to arrest Alvin James Lewis. He had an outstanding warrant from Camden Police Department for Aggravated Residential Burglary and Interference with Emergency Communications, First Degree. Officers saw Mr. Lewis turn in and as he turned in the drive officers got out with him. He was driving a 2007 Ford bearing Arkansas License registered to Mr. Lewis. Officers arrested Mr. Lewis without incident. Detective Blair could smell the odor of marijuana in the car, as Lewis exited the vehicle. Blair saw a baggie of a green leafy substance in the door of the car. It appeared to be marijuana. It was photographed by Captain Sanders and collected. At the station Blair talked with Mr. Lewis on video and audio about the warrant. He was read his Miranda Rights Form. He said he understood his rights and signed the form. He agreed to speak with Blair. They spoke about the other case and then this case. Mr. Lewis admitted that the marijuana was his and that he smoked it for pain management. At the station Blair weighed the substance and it showed 8.1 grams. Mr. Lewis was taken to the jail based on the warrant. He was given a citation for possession of marijuana and given a court date.

PUBLIC INTOXICATION
On July 5, 2022 at 11:15 pm, Sergeant Nathan Lane was dispatched to Wal,Mart in reference to an unknown subject passed out against the wait. Upon arrival Sergeant Lane observed a black male wearing a red shirt and white shorts laying on the ground leaned against the wall near the Grocery and Pharmacy entrance. The Officer woke the subject up who identified himself as Michael Hall. Hall was instructed to stand up. While he was standing there, the Officer observed him to sway back and forthHis eyes were blood shot and watery. His speech was slurred and heavy, and Sergeant Lane could smell the odor of intoxicants on his person and breath. While talking to Hall the Officer asked him if he had drank any alcohol. He stated he had two drinks. He stated he was trying to get to Pine Bluff. He said he had been walking since Fordyce. He stated he had been drinking since Thanksgiving. He said he had gotten off his medication for depression and bi-polar disorder. Hall was then taken into custody for Public Intoxication. Once Hall was placed in cuffs he became emotional. Hall was transported to the station without incident. During booking procedures, Hall advised he was having suicidal thoughts. EMS was then contacted. EMS arrived on scene shortly afterwards. Hall elected to go with EMS to see a doctor about getting medication. Hall was released with a Criminal Citation and given a court date.

FICTITIOUS TAGS
DRIVING ON SUSPENDED
FAILURE TO REGISTER
On July 6th at 9:23 PM Officer Bailey initiated a traffic stop on a red i Sonata with Arkansas temporary license plate, for inability to read license plate. Upon coming to a stop in front of the Sandbar, the Officer made contact with the driver, Demondtae Sledge. Officer Bailey informed Sledge the reason for the stop. When asked for his license, Sledge informed the Officer that he did not have one. Officer Bailey took his information and ran it through dispatch and they confirmed he did not have a valid license, it was suspended. As the Officer was filling out the citation, the vehicle license plates showed the temp tag had expired in June, but upon further inspection, the tag on the car read that it expired in July. After confirming with dispatch, Sledge was taken into custody for Fictitious Tags. Sledge was transported to the Camden Police Department without incident. Booking procedures were completed and approved. Sledge was released with citations for Fictitious Tags, Failure to Register, and Driver's License Suspended and given a court date.

SHOPLIFTING, SHOPLIFTING AND MORE SHOPLIFTING
On June 29th at 10:07 pm Sergeant Davis was dispatched to Walmart in reference to a shoplifling report. Upon arrival, the Officer made contact with the asset protection officer, along with William Collins. Sergeant Davis was advised that Collins had placed a $29.98 price sticker on a $359.00 Crossbow and attempted to buy ii using the replacement price sticker. Collins did admit to this action and also completed a.statement with asset protection. Collins was taken into custody for Shoplifting and transported to the station for booking procedures. A shoplifting affidavit was completed as well as a Walmart Ban form. Collins was released with a Criminal Citation and given a District Court date.

On July 9, 2022 at 12:46 pm Lieutenant Elliott was dispatched to Walmart in reference to a shoplifter detained. Upon the Officers arrival she observed who she knew to be as Suzanne Kitchens inside the Asset Protection office with Asset Protection. The Officer watched the surveillance camera, provided by the Asset Protection employee. Lieutenant Elliott observed Kitchens scanning some items at self-checkout, but not all of the items, such as a package of boneless pork chops, a bag of Fruity Pebbles, a case of Monster drinks, Eggo Waffles, and a mesh tank, just to name a few. These items were on the left side of the register without being scanned. The Officer observed an employee make contact with Kitchens. The employee left and Kitchens continued scanning smaller items and bagging them; still leaving the larger items on the left side of the register. Lieutenant Elliott was advised Kitchens had been banned from all of Walmart Shopping Center locations as she previously stole items from the Pine Bluff: Arkansas location, which she was previously banned from on July 12, 2019. Due to Kitchens being previously banned and she was caught shoplifting once again, she was taken into custody for Commercial Burglary and Theft of Property. Kitchens was escorted to a patrol vehicle and later transported to the police department without incident. She was booked and later transported to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office. The value of the stolen items  was $95.21. A copy of the Shoplifting Affidavit, sales receipt, ban form, and video were all collected from the store. A photo of the items were placed in CID's folder.

On July 6th at 7:19 pm Officer Bailey was dispatched to 950 California Ave. in reference to a shoplifting report. Upon arrival, the Officer made contact with the reporting party, the Asset Protection Employee who said Kristina Ward had been at a self-checkout lane and had not scanned all of her merchandise. Officer Bailey viewed the video footage of Ward checking out some things, but putting other items into her bags without scanning them. I observed from the video that Ward purposefully did not scan a few shirts, some shorts, a.type of spice bottle, and etc. The total for the unscanned items was $67.98. Ward was taken into custody without incident and she was transported to CPD to undergo booking procedures. Booking procedures were completed and approved Ward was later released on Criminal Citation and given a District of Camden court date.

FULTON COUNTY WOMAN FOUND SLAIN OUTSIDE HOME; ASP/CID INVESTIGATING
The Arkansas State Police is investigating a Fulton County homicide that claimed the life of a 57 year-old local county sheriff’s department employee.

Kristy Marie Taylor was found dead in the driveway of her home at 3012 Farmwood Road southwest of Salem, Saturday just before 6 PM.  Taylor was the victim of a gunshot wound.  Her body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the state medical examiner will determine the cause and manner of death and possibly provide evidence to indicate when Taylor was shot.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division were contacted by Fulton County authorities requesting the investigation.

July 08, 2022

CARNES PARK POOL OPENING DELAYED
If you were looking forward to the Mayor’s Pool Party tomorrow, the Ouachita County Health Officer, Dr. Jera Smith said she recommended delaying the pool party with the rising COVID numbers. Dr. Smith said reopening would be fine, but the city needs to take measures to avoid crowds. 

Camden Public Works Director Kevin Franklin, said under the circumstances, the best option is to delay the opening of the pool. Franklin said “I had a conversation with Dr. Jera Smith yesterday, who is our County Health officer.  I called regarding COVID with my staff.  I have several people out with COVID as we speak.I also inquired about having the Mayor’s pool party with the recent upward spike of COVID.

Franklin went on to say “Dr. Smith advised against having that large of a gathering right now at the pool. There is no way to enforce any kind of social distancing.  Not saying we won't open later for regular swimming, just not right now. We apologize for any and all of the inconveniences that we've caused, but we're looking to open in the near future, just Doctor Smith advised not to do it right now”

Dr. Smith is not only the Ouachita County Health Officer, she also operates First Choice Family Care at 476 Hospital Dr here in Camden. Dr. Smith also answers your medical questions on the Roundtable simulcast on Y95 and 92.7 KBEU every Thursday morning at 7:30 AM. Visit our Radio Works Facebook page for past roundtable podcasts with Dr. Smith. 

While Union and Columbia Counties have seen a decrease in COVID cases, Lafayette and Nevada counties have seen a recent rise, and that also includes Ouachita County, according to the Arkansas Department of health. 
 

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

The Agenda is as follows:
A. Call To Order
B. Invocation – Rev. Connell Muse, Pastor - Price Chapel Church of God in Christ, Taylor, Texas
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. Approval Of Minutes
     1. Minutes Regular Meeting June 14, 2022
F. Acceptance Of Financial Report
     1. Financial Report for June 2022
G. Audience Participation
H. Mayor’s Report
     1. James Nixon - OPED presentation, updating City Council
I.  Old Business
J. New Business
1. Resolution No. 41-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 538 Harrison Street
a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.            
2. Resolution No. 42-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 604 Iowa Street SW a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.
3. Resolution No. 43-22, a resolution declaring the dilapidated structure located at 311 B Monroe Street a public nuisance and to order the removal of the same.
4. Resolution No. 44-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; and for other purposes.
5. Resolution No. 45-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; authorizing the  disbursement of funds to OPED; and for other purposes.
6. Resolution No. 46-22, a resolution authorizing salary increases; amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; and for other purposes.
7. Resolution No. 47-22, a resolution amending the 2022 Annual Operating Budget; authorizing the disbursement of funds for repairs; and for other purposes.
K. Other Business
L. Adjournment

RISING TEMPERATURES INCREASE RISK OF HOT CAR DEATHS
As Arkansas enters the hottest part of the summer, a reminder of the risks of extreme heat to children is in order, particularly the dangers of leaving children unattended in hot vehicles. Unfortunately, multiple child deaths from hot vehicles are reported every summer. One of the most recent tragedies was the death of a toddler  in North Carolina, at least the ninth hot-car fatality in the U.S. so far this year.

Since 1998, there have been at least 916 child hot-car fatalities in the U.S. Arkansas has one of the highest per-capita rates of child vehicular heatstroke deaths in the nation: A ranking of all 50 states and the District Columbia, with No. 1 being the state with the lowest rate, places Arkansas at No. 46 with at least 18 deaths — or 31 deaths per 1 million children age 14 and under — recorded between 1998 and 2021.

According to pediatric vehicular heatstroke data collected by NoHeatStroke.org, most deaths happen because a child is forgotten in a vehicle by a caregiver (53%). In about 20% of instances, a child was knowingly left in a vehicle, often because a caregiver failed to realize how hot the interior would become with the engine shut off.

Vehicles can become extremely hot in a very short period. Dashboards, steering wheels, car seats, and other interior car components absorb the sun’s heat and transfer that heat to the adjacent air in the vehicle. On an 80-degree day , after only 10 minutes the interior of a car rises to 99 degrees. After an hour, the interior temperature can reach 123 degrees.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asks parents and caregivers to remember to stay in the habit of checking for children in the back seat before exiting a vehicle and locking doors by remembering to “Park. Look. Lock.” It’s also important to remember to keep car doors locked when vehicles are not in use, as 26% of heat deaths happen when children enter unattended vehicles.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has also developed a list of safety reminders  to help parents avoid hot car fatalities. A few of the recommendations include:
Always check the back seat and make sure all children are out of the car before locking it and walking away.
Put your cell phone, bag, or purse in the back seat, so you check the back seat when you arrive at your destination.
If someone else is driving your child, always check to make sure he or she has arrived safely.
Remind children that cars, especially car trunks, should not be used for games like hide-and-seek.

July 07, 2022

FIRST CASE OF MONKEYPOX DETECTED IN ARKANSAS
The first case of monkeypox has been detected in Arkansas, state health officials announced this week.

The first case of monkey pox in the U.S. was detected in early May. Arkansans reported its first case on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a total of 559 monkeypox cases have been identified in 32 states. Common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain and a painful rash that can occur as many as seven to 14 days following exposure.

On Wednesday, Arkansas Department of Health Director Dr. Jennifer Dillaha held a news conference to announce the state’s first case as well as describe the virus and how it’s transmitted. She noted that an important distinction is that monkeypox is not as easily spread as, for example, the coronavirus.

State officials have not disclosed where Arkansas’ first case of monkeypox was detected, or whether that person had traveled out of state. However, she said two vaccines are currently available to treat those who contract the virus.

Dillaha added that the Health Department will perform contact tracing similar to what was done during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said more cases of the virus will likely be detected in the state. She and other health experts in Arkansas expect the virus is unlikely to spread like the COVID-19 virus due to the much closer contact needed to transmit the virus.

As of July there have been no deaths attributed to the monkeypox outbreak in the United States. Those most vulnerable to severe symptoms from the virus include immunocompromised people and those with pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema.

 

HOT SPRINGS MAN SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG AND FIREARMS POSSESSION
HOT SPRINGS – A Hot Springs man was sentenced to 216 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the U.S. District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court documents, on February 26, 2019, the Hot Springs Police Department (HSPD) received a complaint concerning a vehicle attempting to ram another vehicle. A HSPD Officer responded to the area and was able to observe the vehicle and the altercation. A traffic stop was initiated on the vehicle at that time.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Ralph Andrew Stevens, age 37. Stevens was questioned and ultimately determined to be on parole through the state of Arkansas.  Stevens was searched and officers located a clear drug pipe with white residue in his jacket pocket. Stevens was placed in custody at this time.

A search of Stevens vehicle resulted in officers locating two (2) loaded firearms, approximately 163 grams of suspected marijuana, approximately 101.8 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.  Officers also located and seized $3,916.00 in United States currency.

The suspected methamphetamine was tested by the Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory and confirmed to be not less than 93.56 grams of pure methamphetamine.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the  announcement.The Hot Springs Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Achorn prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

This effort is also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY RELEASES DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION, AND ACCESSIBILITY STRATEGIC PLAN
The Social Security Administration issued its 2022-2023 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Strategic Plan. The detailed plan, which outlines goals and priorities in each of the four areas, includes establishing a Chief Equity Officer and a DEIA Implementation Team.

“Social Security’s goal is to weave DEIA principles into the fabric of our workplace,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “In alignment with Social Security’s mission, the DEIA vision is to enhance our current workforce diversity and sustain an inclusive work environment where individual differences are valued, and employees are treated with dignity and respect.”

Social Security’s DEIA Strategic Plan supports President Biden’s June 2021 Executive Order (EO) 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce, as well as other EOs on advancing equity and preventing and combatting discrimination.

To learn more about the actions outlined in the DEIA Strategic Plan, please visit Agency DEIA Strategic Plan 2022-2023 (ssa.gov).

Equity is foundational to the strategic framework of Social Security’s Agency Strategic PlanLearning Agenda, and Evaluation Plan.

For more information visit www.whitehouse.gov/equity.


WESTERMAN, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE HOUSE COMPANION TO SENATOR GRASSLEY’S STOP PILLS THAT KILL ACT
WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-04) joins Representatives Ken Buck (CO-04), David Joyce (OH-14), Greg Stanton (AZ-09), and Lou Correa (CA-46) in cosponsoring the House companion to Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) Stop Pills That Kill Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation seeks to deter narcotics traffickers and strengthen the nationwide fight against fentanyl by implementing new penalties for counterfeit pill production.

"In 2021, fentanyl overdose was the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45," said Congressman Westerman. "This bipartisan legislation is another vital tool in our fight against these counterfeit narcotics that are destroying lives. We have seen too many tragedies in Arkansas and across the nation as a result of this deadly drug. We must protect our communities and ensure those who are peddling this poison are met with the strongest deterrents possible."

“In Eastern Colorado and across the nation, families, businesses, and communities continue to face hardships due to the opioid epidemic,” said Congressman Buck. “As this public health crisis continues to fester, this legislation—supported by Republicans and Democrats in both Houses of Congress— will take an important step in a multifaceted approach to crack down on dangerous counterfeit pills that are killing Americans in droves.”

“Drug traffickers are mass-producing fake pills, often with fentanyl, without any care as to who their poisons kill,” said Congressman Joyce. “I’m proud to join Rep. Buck in leading the effort to ramp up criminal penalties to deter this illegal activity, which has increasingly targeted minors and young adults. We cannot allow these criminals to continue to break apart families and threaten the safety of our communities.”

“Arizona is in the midst of a tragic overdose crisis, and counterfeit pills from China and Mexico are driving so much of it. Drug traffickers are manufacturing counterfeit pills with deadly substances like methamphetamine and fentanyl, often selling the lookalikes over social media to teens and young adults,” said Congressman Stanton. “Our bipartisan bill will crack down on these drug traffickers and help save lives.”

The Stop Pills That Kill Act applies the existing penalties for possessing paraphernalia for manufacturing methamphetamine to the paraphernalia for making counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl, fentanyl analogues and methamphetamine. 

The bill instructs the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to create an in-depth plan for stopping the rapid spread of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl or methamphetamine in communities across America.  It also requires the Attorney General, in conjunction with the DEA and Office of National Drug Control, to submit an annual report to Congress on the risks of pills laced with illicit drugs, along with information on efforts to raise public awareness and actions from law enforcement to combat this scourge. 

It is supported by the National District Attorneys Association, National Rural Health Association, National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Community Anti-Drug Coalition, National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Song for Charlie, and Victims of Illicit Drugs.

 

June 30, 2022

USACE VICKSBURG DISTRICT ANNOUNCES NEW REGULATORY CHIEF
VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District announces the selection of Kristina “Kristi” Hall as the new Regulatory Division chief. 

The mission of the USACE Regulatory Program is to protect the Nation's aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible, and balanced permit decisions. In her new position, Hall will oversee and manage the actions and requests that are submitted regarding the waters or wetlands within the district’s area of responsibility, as well as maintain the mitigation program to offset the losses to the aquatic environment.

“I am honored to be selected as the next Regulatory Division chief for the Vicksburg District,” said Hall. “We have an excellent team of professionals, dedicated to the Regulatory Mission, and I look forward to working with them, our agency partners, and applicants to deliver the program.”

Hall previously served as the district’s strategic planner where she oversaw employee development programs, administered knowledge and quality management activities, and was the lead coordinator for the district’s executive staff, senior USACE leaders, and district partners.  

Serving as an environmental scientist with private engineering firms and the Mississippi Department of Transportation, as well as a contractor with the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Environmental Laboratory, Hall has more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. In addition, she has worked as the Regulatory Division’s lead for compensatory mitigation, National Environmental Policy Act matters, and geographic information systems. Prior to her work with USACE, she owned and operated her own environmental consulting firm.

Hall is a professional Wetland Scientist and holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Virginia

Polytechnic Institute and State University and a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife biology from Colorado State University. She is a Mississippi Valley Division Emerging Leader and manager of the Vicksburg Leader. Development Program.  Hall is a proud resident of Vicksburg, Mississippi, an avid runner, an enthusiastic supporter of her children’s sports, and a member of the St. Alban’s Episcopal Church’s vestry. She and her husband, Andy Hall, the district’s Navigation Section chief in the River Operations Branch, have two teenage children. 

Also recently joining Regulatory Division’s leadership team is Bryan Williamson as chief of the Permit and Evaluation Branch and Jerry Bourne as chief of the Enforcement and Compliance Branch. Over the next year, Hall, Williamson, Bourne and the rest of their team hope to continue the district’s tradition of providing reasonable and compliant permit decisions that best serve the public’s interest.

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

 

ENTERGY ARKANSAS ISSUES RFP FOR 1000 MWS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
Company calls for solar, wind resources to add to existing portfolio
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Entergy Arkansas officials announced Thursday it has issued a request for proposals for 1,000 megawatts of solar and wind generation resources, emissions-free renewables that can provide cost-effective energy supply, capacity, fuel diversity, and other benefits to its customers.

“Entergy Arkansas has a commitment to providing our customers with low-cost, reliable energy as well as more renewable generation,” said Kurt Castleberry, director of resource planning and marketing operations. “We continue to grow green energy within our diverse portfolio of power resources to better serve our existing and growing customer base and look forward to some exciting proposals.”

Resources would be procured through a combination of one or more build-own-transfer agreements, self-build alternatives, and/or one or more power purchase agreements that would be in operation between May 2025 and December 2026.

Solar facilities would be required to be within the Entergy Arkansas service territory, while wind resources could be located anywhere in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) or Southwest Power Pool footprints.

Entergy Arkansas currently has 281 megawatts of solar power providing clean, emission-free renewable energy to customers – enough to power 45,000 homes. In addition to the Stuttgart and Chicot solar facilities, the company’s largest solar farm - Searcy Solar Facility - came online in late 2021, with generation capacity of 100 MWs and batteries that can store 30 MWs.

The company is the largest energy provider in Arkansas and has a diverse mix of energy sources to ensure reliability, safe and cost-effective power to its 728,000 customers that are spread out among 63 of the state’s 75 counties, covering more than 40,880 square miles.

Additional solar and wind resources would complement the diverse and carbon-free generation Entergy Arkansas fleet, which includes hydroelectric facilities at Carpenter and Remmel dams, three solar facilities and Arkansas Nuclear One. Nuclear energy accounts for about 70% of the fuel mix for the company’s customers, followed by hydropower at 16%, with the remaining power sourced from coal, natural gas and solar.

For more information, visit the Entergy Arkansas resource planning page on its website, www.entergy-arkansas.com/integrated_resource_planning/.

 

SAAC TO HOST ARTIST’S RECEPTION AND AWARDS FOR ANNUAL JURIED ART EXHIBIT
The visual arts committee of the South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to an artist's reception for the Annual Juried Art Competition Exhibit on Saturday, July 9, from 6:00pm-7:30pm.  Juror Taylor Jasper from The Momentary in Bentonville, Arkansas, will present the awards at 6:30pm. This exhibit will hang in the Price and Merkle Galleries through July 29 and is free and open to the public Monday- Fridays, 9:00am-5:00pm.

The Juried Art Competition is SAAC's annual competition juried by nationally recognized art professionals and is open to all artists across the nation ages 18 and older who work in two-dimensional and three-dimensional fine arts media. One piece from the competition will be purchased for SAAC's permanent art collection. The Annual Purchase Award is made possible through an endowment from the family of Wilma Riley in memory of her commitment to the arts, her community, and SAAC.

While attending the exhibit please cast your vote for The People's Choice Award, the only award in the competition selected by the viewing public. During the reception, over $2000 in prize money will be presented by juror Taylor Jasper for best of show, first through third place, honorable mention, and the purchase award.

Taylor Jasper is the Curatorial Associate at The Momentary, which is a contemporary art satellite space to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. In her role, she curates artist-driven projects in The Momentary’s galleries and auxiliary spaces, multidisciplinary projects in collaboration with the Performing Arts team, and a process-driven residency program that emphasizes the research and development of creative work. The mission of The Momentary is to champion contemporary art’s role in everyday life and explore the unfolding story of contemporary American arts in an international context by actively commissioning and exhibiting outstanding works that explore new ideas and inspire action.

Jasper has selected 53 artists from around the country. This year’s entries, many of which are very contemporary concept pieces as well as traditional fine art offerings, include paintings, drawings, mixed media, sculpture, wood work, video, and photography.  Many artists are from as far away as New York, Kentucky, Colorado and California, as well as 21 artists from Arkansas, including six south Arkansas artists. The local artists included in this exhibit are Spencer Purinton, Kelly Campbell and Marla Tomlinson of El Dorado; Grace Wright of Crossett; and Rhaelene Lowther, Moises Menendez, and Anna Zusman of Magnolia.

For more information about this competition and exhibit, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.  SAAC is located at 110 E. 5th St. in El Dorado.
 

WESTERMAN AND BOOZMAN TOUR OZARK POWERHOUSE
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Facility Delivers Power to Six States
WASHINGTON - U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) toured the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) hydroelectric power plant in Ozark on Tuesday.

Summer is the time of peak power usage and Ozark Powerhouse plays a critical role in ensuring the power grid has the capability to support the demand. Renewable energy sources such as coal, solar, wind and water are necessary to decrease the possibility of brownouts and blackouts.

“It was an honor to visit the Ozark Powerhouse with my friend Senator John Boozman. Hydropower is an incredible low-cost supplement to our electric grid to prevent regional brownouts and blackouts as demand fluctuates. I am proud to host such a vital clean energy source in the Fourth District. Plants such as these provide excellent economic benefits to the Ozark area as we look to develop every energy source to its greatest potential,” Westerman said.


“We need to unleash American-made energy. The Ozark Powerhouse is an excellent example of our ability to provide clean, affordable and reliable energy. I’m committed to working with Congressman Westerman and my colleagues to advance policies supporting a strategy that enhances our energy supply to meet the evolving needs of families, businesses and communities,” Boozman said.

Corps officials told Westerman and Boozman the Ozark Powerhouse is running all five of its units for the first time in 20 years and showed them the recent repairs that brought the 50-year-old facility back to full strength.

The Ozark Powerhouse delivers power to a six-state region. 

Boozman, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Westerman, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, have oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

June 28, 2022

STATE & LOCAL POLICE ON GUARD AGAINST DRUNK DRIVERS BEFORE AND DURING LONG JULY 4th HOLIDAY
JUNE 27, 2022
The Independence Day holiday will be a prolonged celebration this year, as the nation’s birthday occurs on a Monday.  Many Arkansas families will start their travel plans Friday with varied destinations over the following three days.  With increased traffic volume anticipated, comes the risk of tragedy often attributed to a drunk driver.

Law enforcement officers across the state are aware of these risks and know firsthand what can happen when a driver mixes alcohol with a holiday celebration.  All too often the end result is injury or death.  This is why Arkansas State Troopers, sheriff’s deputies and local police officers will increase their patrols to be on guard against impaired drivers, getting them off the roadways before anyone can be hurt.

“We want Arkansans to enjoy our nation’s birthday celebration, but not at the expense of making state highways, county roads, and city streets unsafe,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “Unfortunately, far too many drivers make the wrong decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming one or two alcoholic drinks, or using drugs, placing other motorists in harm’s way.  Our state troopers along with other law enforcement officers will be prepared to stop and arrest these dangerous drivers to ensure the safety of all.”

 From 2016 to 2020, there were 1,390 drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July 4th holiday period.  Thirty-nine percent (542) of the drivers killed were alcohol impaired (with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher), and more than half (51%) were between the ages of 21-34.

With many holiday festivities wrapping up late in the evening, nighttime hours are especially dangerous.  Over the 2020 Independence Day holiday period, of the 201 people who died in alcohol impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes, 85% of the crashes were at night (6 PM - 5:59 AM).

This Fourth of July, the Arkansas Highway Safety Office and NHTSA are working together to urge drivers to designate a sober driver before drinking any alcohol.  If you plan on drinking, do not plan to drive.

 The Arkansas Highway Safety Office recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
• Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1.
• If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.
• Buckle up, always. Your seat belt is your best defense against the drunk driver.

For more information on impaired driving, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.

Learn more about Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign intended to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit highway safety office web site https://www.tzdarkansas.org/


CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET RETURNS JULY 1ST TO DOWNTOWN CAMDEN
Camden, AR - First Friday Monthly Market in Camden, AR invites you to downtown Camden for Dog Dayz of Summer:  BBQ & Blues” on July 1st.

Vendors, vendors and more vendors can be seen this month.  We have a little bit of everything from blacksmith items, crochet, artwork, woodworking, jewelry, clothing, just to name a few.  Information booths and local businesses will keep you informed to all sorts of things from a camper rental to Home Depot home services.

This month we will be highlighting BBQ with 2 great food trucks:  Mortuary BBQ and Smith Treats BBQ or you can find different varieties of food from our small plate vendors located throughout the market.   To cool you off stop by Headbangers Creamery with awesome ice cream treats or Sweet Escape Arkansas for shaved ice, bubble tea or bubble lemonade.  Native Dog Brewery will have Bills & Dimes Food Truck on their lot to give you more choices.

Julys live music will be The Experience”.  This awesome duo will bring the best of Blues as well as other genre of music.  Bring you lawn chairs out to enjoy an evening of listening at the corner of Washington and Adams Ave.  You can also listen to Christine DeMeo from Hot Springs playing on the patio of Native Dog Brewing.

To celebrate the Dog Dayz we will be having a Pet Parade”.  No need to register, just show up at the corner of Washington & Adams for the parade at 7PM.  The parade along the sidewalk to keep their sweet paws off the hot pavement.  Everyone loves to see your beautiful 4-legged children.

Competitive games are a definite must at this market, so find the Corn Hole Tournament on Adams Ave in front of Whats Cookinand GellyBall located on Washington Street just past the Madison Ave intersection.

Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR, July 1, 6PM – 9PM.

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


THE REGION’S LARGEST 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS DISPLAY AND LIVE CONCERT EVENT RETURNS FOR THE 22ND ANNUAL CAMDEN STAR SPANGLED SPECTACULAR
Camden, Ark., – Dont Miss the largest 4th of July Fireworks Display & Live Concert event in the Region…

The 22nd annual CAMDEN STAR SPANGLED SPECTACULAR
Monday, July 4th in Camden, AR. at the Camden Municipal Airport.
Gates open at 6pm for you and your family to enjoy an amazing evening with great live music, a special recognizing of our Veterans, inflatables for the kids and ending your evening with the largest professional fireworks display in South Arkansas.

The evening will include live music with regional favorite… Crutchfield the Band playing from 7PM to 8PM. Cruthchfield the Band has played at BrickFest in Malvern, opened at Magic Springs for Toby Mac and played the Young Christians Weekend at Silver Dollar City.  The Band has a full July planned with bookings at the MAD Battle in El Dorado and opening for King and Country at Magic Springs.   Headliner act Zac Dunlap Band will be taking the stage at 8PM. Zac Dunlap is a Country Music Artist from Little Rock.  He is the 2018 Arkansas Entertainer of the Year as well as a 4-time Arkansas Country Music Award winner.  He has played alongside and opened for many National acts including Brad Paisley, Bobby Bones, Sister Hazel, Granger Smith, MC Hammer and countless others.  Zac and his band have been touring the mid-South since 2014.  Their exciting show is sure to get the crowd involved and singing along to many of his original songs and popular covers.  Following the entertainment will be South Arkansaslargest fireworks show professionally choreographed to patriotic music happening at dark! Be sure to bring your lawn chair or blanket to enjoy this FREE family friendly event. Enjoy the inflatables and childrens events, live music and concessions available for purchase by Sweet Escape Arkansas leading up to the Fireworks show.
 

OUACHITA COUNTY HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
The. Ouachita County Courthouse and the Ouachita County Extension Office will be closed on Monday July 4th, 2022 for the Holiday. Sanitation will run on regular schedule.

 

BOOZMAN BILL ENSURING ARKANSAS KIDS HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTHY MEALS IN SUMMER AND SCHOOL YEAR SIGNED INTO LAW
Extends USDA Flexibilities and Increases Support for Spike in Food Costs
WASHINGTON— Over the weekend, the president signed critical legislation championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to ensure kids have access to healthy, nutritious meals this summer and next school year.

The Keep Kids Fed Act will deliver important funding and flexibility for communities to provide children healthy meals this summer and offer support to schools and daycares to respond to supply chain challenges and high food costs for the coming school year.

“As I visit with Arkansas school nutrition professionals, it is quite clear they need continued flexibilities to manage ongoing supply chain issues. We all want to ensure children in receive healthy and affordable meals to help them focus on their education. This bill will help schools provide those meals as they return to normal operations,” Boozman said.

Last Tuesday, Boozman, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry along with Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-3) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (NC-5), introduced the legislation.

Nationwide, schools currently face a 35-40 percent increase in food costs due to supply chain and inflation issues. The Keep Kids Fed Act provides a temporary increase in reimbursement rates and no-cost flexibilities for the 2022-2023 school year to help return to regular school meal operations.

Arkansas school leaders and nutrition advocates have expressed the need for a continuation of the waivers and applauded Boozman’s efforts.

“Senator Boozman has a sensitive ear, and he has listened to our needs. He is truly an advocate for not only the children of Arkansas but the nation’s children as well. Senator Boozman is to be commended for leading the way to a bipartisan agreement with other ranking lawmakers. The decision he and his fellow colleagues have made will protect the future (our children) of this country. The support they are providing will enable us to continue serving healthy meals despite rising food costs and supply chain issues; this is turn will prevent hunger and ensure that they are ready and will remain ready to learn when they return to school. Senator Boozman - We thank you!” said Barbara Cole, Chair of the Public Policy and Legislative Committee of the Arkansas School Nutrition Association.

“We applaud Senator Boozman’s efforts to achieve a bipartisan agreement on the summer meals waiver. He continues to demonstrate his commitment to child nutrition and has listened to those on the ground in Arkansas advocating for an extension. His efforts will help Arkansas kids get the nutrition they need,” said Kathy Webb, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance CEO.

“In March, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Senator Boozman. It was great to have his full attention, to have him ask specific questions, and then later reach out to me to provide data to follow through with supporting us in feeding school meals to the students in Arkansas. I’m pleased Arkansans have a voice in creating policies providing children access to school meals,” said Stephanie Walker Hynes, Director of Child Nutrition for the Little Rock School District.
 

WESTERMAN JOINS PUSH TO DEMAND DOJ ACTION FOLLOWING EXTREME VIOLENCE ON PRO-LIFE ORGANIZATIONS & CHURCHES
WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-04) joined Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04) and other Republican colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding the Department of Justice take action to protect Americans from the meteoric rise of violent attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and churches.

"The DOJ must do their job and protect the innocent Americans that are continually threatened by far-left extremists," said Rep. Westerman. "Free speech is a core tenant of our democracy, and it must be guarded in all circumstances, no matter one's political affiliation. To refuse to defend pro-life organizations and individuals would be a severe dereliction of AG Garland's duty and a threat to the integrity of the DOJ."

“I’ve seen this pattern before when I was a prosecutor—criminals don’t stop until they’re stopped. Since the Roe v. Wade leak, pro-abortion extremists have been committing acts of terrorism against pro-life organizations and churches across the nation.  They won’t stop until the Justice Department steps up and does its job.” said Congressman Buck.

Cosigners of the letter include Reps. Greg Steube (FL-17), Chris Smith (NJ-04), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Thomas Massie (KY-04), Burgess Owens (UT-04), Brian Babin (TX-36), Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Bill Posey (FL-08), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Mike Johnson (LA-04), Jim Banks (IN-03), Ben Cline (VA-06), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Daniel Webster (FL-11), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), , Randy Weber (TX-14), Mary Miller (IL-15), John Rose (TN-06), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Ann Wagner (MO-02), Tim Walberg (IL-07), John Moolenar (MI-04), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Young Kim (CA-39), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Bob Good (VA-05), Warren Davidson (OH-08), Tracey Mann (KS-01), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Scott Franklin (FL-15), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Peter Meijer (MI-03), Pete Sessions (TX-17), Ted Budd (NC-13), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), David McKinley (WV-01), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), and Matt Rosendale (R-MT).

This letter has received support from March for Life, National Right to Life, SBA Pro-Life America, and Heritage Action.

“Since 2016, over 800,00 lives have been saved through pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and other pro-life organizations, primarily staffed by volunteers, who lovingly provide support and encouragement for mothers and their children across this nation,” said Hon. Marilyn Musgrave, SBA Pro-Life America’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “The recent rash of attacks on these organizations is abhorrent and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We thank Rep. Buck and his colleagues for standing with these pro-life organizations who deserve our support to continue their work of supporting moms and babies.” 

“National Right to Life thanks Congressman Buck for his efforts urging the U.S. Department of Justice to stop the violence against prolife organizations,” said Jennifer Popik, National Right to Life Director of Federal Legislation. “National Right to Life has always believed that violence should never have a role in the cause of protecting unborn children and has consistently condemned such violence.”

Text of the letter may be found below:

The Honorable Merrick B. Garland
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Garland:

Since the leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization on May 2, 2022, there have been at least 40 documented attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers and churches. These attacks include incidences of vandalism, destruction of property, and even firebombing. The radical group Jane’s Revenge, which took credit for the May 2022 firebombing of a pregnancy center in Madison, Wisconsin, has even declared it “open season” on pro-life organizations and vowed to ramp up its offensive.

This tide of violence is likely to continue in the coming months as an official court opinion is released. It is critical that the Department of Justice take steps now to protect pro-life pregnancy centers and places of worship. The Clinton Administration took such steps to protect abortion clinics, signing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act of 1994. The FACE Act makes it a federal crime to use force, threats of force, physical obstruction, intentional injury, or intimidation against clinics providing “reproductive health services” or places of worship, with penalties including both fines and imprisonment. It also makes it a federal crime to intentionally damage or destroy the property of such clinics or places of worship. The clinics covered include those offering “services relating to pregnancy.”

During the 1990s the DOJ went so far as preemptively dispatching U.S. Marshals under the law to guard abortion clinics across the country. In doing so, Attorney General Janet Reno was responding to pro-abortion activists comparing acts of violence against abortion clinics to violence against civil rights workers and students in the 1960s, saying that the federal government was "using all federal tools" to protect abortion clinics. The U.S. Marshals Service continued to protect abortion providers into the 2000s under both the Bush and Obama Administrations.

The Supreme Court has likewise upheld related speech restrictions on First Amendment rights, ruling a 36-foot protest “buffer zone” from abortion clinic entrances and driveways constitutional in Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc. (1993) and a similar 15-foot buffer zone constitutional in Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York (1997). In Hill v. Colorado (2000), the Court upheld a floating 8-foot protest buffer zone for passersby, writing that the legislation did not violate the content-neutrality test established under Ward v. Rock against Racism (1989) because it did not apply to the “content of the demonstrators’ speech” but rather the location of that speech.

The assault on pro-life Americans’ constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion must be stopped. Given efforts from all three branches of government throughout the 1990s to protect abortion, the means to fight back against this lawless behavior are already in place. We urge the Department of Justice to aggressively and immediately take steps to stop the violence and protect the rights of all Americans.

Sincerely,

June 24, 2022

CAPITAL MURDER CHARGE FILED IN PERRY COUNTY JAIL SHOOTING
JUNE 23, 2022
A criminal charge of capital murder was filed late today against Roderick Deshawn Lewis, 37, of North Little Rock.

Lewis was being booked into the Perry County Jail at Perryville last night on drug and paraphernalia charges when he is alleged to have shot detention officer Jeremiah Story.  The gun reportedly used by Lewis was one he possessed when he arrived at the jail in the custody of local sheriff’s deputies.

Story, 21, of Oppelo was shot about 10:20 PM while he stood inside a bathroom inside the jail where Lewis was changing out of civilian clothes into jail issued attire.  Story died later at a Conway hospital.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing their investigation.

Lewis is currently incarcerated at the Faulkner County Jail.


ARKANSAS VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS RECEIVE WILDFIRE SUPPRESSION KITS
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Rural Fire Protection program, managed by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, received $279,562.45 as part of the 2021 Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant from the United States Forest Service to purchase and distribute 87 Wildfire Suppression Kits to rural volunteer fire departments. The kits include equipment and gear necessary for the safe suppression of wildfires and have been delivered to the volunteer fire departments listed below.

Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner to Forestry crews in wildfire response and suppression but often need the specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. Since 2014, 579 volunteer fire departments have received Wildfire Suppression Kits through the Rural Fire Protection program. Kits distributed this year include lightweight wildfire-resistant coveralls and gloves, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers.

Volunteer fire departments interested in participating in the Wildfire Suppression Kit program submit applications that are scored according to specific criteria including fire district population, the size of the response area, wildfire response equipment needs, and other factors. The application period for next year’s Wildfire Protection Kit program is expected to start in August of 2022. Fire Departments can expect to receive notification in the mail, or can find an application online at agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/rural-fire-protection-program/ when the application period opens. Fire Departments may contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at Kathryn.Mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501) 679-3183 with questions regarding the application.

Area Fire departments receiving the Wildfire Suppression Kits through the 2021 grant are listed below by fire department and county:
Buena Vista FD /Ouachita Co.
Chidester FD / Ouachita Co.
Faircrest FD / Union Co.
Frenchport FD / Ouachita Co
Locust Bayou FD/Calhoun Co.
Nevada Co. Fire & Rescue/ Nevada Co.
Ouachita Co. Fire District #1/ Ouachita Co.

 

BOX OFFICE OPEN FOR SAAC’S SUMMER MUSICAL, “MAMMA MIA!”
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces the box office is open for tickets to its summer musical extravaganza, “Mamma Mia!” The show, sponsored by Murphy USA, will run July 14-17 and July 20-24, 7:30pm curtain, except on Sunday at 2:30pm. Over 60 million people worldwide have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that make “Mamma Mia!” the ultimate feel-good show!

SAAC will usher in the summer musical season with an Opening Night Champagne Reception beginning at 7:00pm with a 7:30pm curtain. Laura Allen, SAAC’s Executive Director said, “I can't wait to have all our dancing queens back in the audience at SAAC! 'Mamma Mia!' is the kind of outrageously fun show that we have all been craving over the past few years. What better way to celebrate that than with a champagne reception?”

In this true jukebox musical, the hit songs of ABBA are employed to tell the hilarious story of a young woman's search for her birth father. This sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.

The story-telling magic of ABBA's timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship, creating an unforgettable show. A large cast, non-stop laughs and explosive dance numbers combine to make Mamma Mia! a guaranteed smash hit for any theatre. A mother. A daughter. Three possible dads. And a trip down the aisle you'll never forget!

Music and lyrics for "Mamma Mia!" are by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, also with some songs with Stig Anderson. Book was written by Catherine Johnson with the concept originally conceived by Judy Cramer. “Mamma Mia!” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

Tickets for “Mamma Mia” are $10 students, $20 SAAC members, and $30 general public and opening night. Purchase tickets online, in person at the SAAC office or call to reserve them at 870-862-5474. For more information on the musical, please call the office or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.
 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES DEMAND ACTION FROM BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AGAINST TIKTOK
Washington, D.C.  — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Todd Young (R-Indiana), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen demanding answers about actions the Biden administration is taking to combat the national security risks associated with TikTok, a social media platform developed and owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd.

In part, the senators wrote, “The Biden Administration has seemingly done nothing to enforce the August 14 order nearly two years since its promulgation. The results of the security reviews, likewise, have not been publicly released after one year. Instead, news reports indicate TikTok is nearing a deal with a U.S. company to ‘store its U.S. users’ information without its Chinese parent ByteDance having access to it, hoping to address U.S. regulatory concerns.’”

“The proposed TikTok deal would do little to address the core security concerns that motivated the August 14 order. That order was not simply concerned about data, but about a Chinese company’s ownership of a social media platform in America. If the Biden Administration focuses solely on data storage and integrity to the exclusion of the critical issue of ByteDance’s ownership, control, and influence of TikTok, serious security risks will remain and the August 14 order will go unenforced,” the senators continued.

Text of the letter may be found and below.
The Honorable Janet Yellen
Secretary
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Yellen,

We write to inquire about the Biden Administration’s delayed response to the national security and privacy risks posed by TikTok, the video-sharing social media platform developed and owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd.

On August 6, 2020, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order (E.O. 13942) restricting the use of TikTok in the United States. The order noted that the app “captures vast swaths of information from its users, including… location data and browsing and search histories.” TikTok’s data-collection practices threatened to “allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information—potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.” Shortly afterward, ByteDance sued in federal court and secured a preliminary injunction that halted a pending prohibition against downloading the TikTok app.

President Trump issued an additional Presidential Order on August 14, 2020 (the August 14 order) directing ByteDance to divest its American assets and destroy any data it acquired through TikTok. The order also blocked ByteDance’s acquisition of another video-sharing social media platform, Musical.ly. The August 14 order was based on “credible evidence” that the acquisition threatened to “impair the national security of the United States,” likely including evidence unearthed by a review of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

On June 9, 2021, President Joe Biden revoked E.O. 13942 and ordered security reviews of TikTok and similar apps developed in adversary countries. The next month, the Biden Administration petitioned to dismiss ongoing federal litigation against ByteDance. President Biden did not, however, revoke the August 14 Presidential Order requiring ByteDance to divest its American assets, property, and data.

The Biden Administration has seemingly done nothing to enforce the August 14 order nearly two years since its promulgation. The results of the security reviews, likewise, have not been publicly released after one year. Instead, news reports indicate TikTok is nearing a deal with a U.S. company to “store its U.S. users’ information without its Chinese parent ByteDance having access to it, hoping to address U.S. regulatory concerns.”

The proposed TikTok deal would do little to address the core security concerns that motivated the August 14 order. That order was not simply concerned about data, but about a Chinese company’s ownership of a social media platform in America. If the Biden Administration focuses solely on data storage and integrity to the exclusion of the critical issue of ByteDance’s ownership, control, and influence of TikTok, serious security risks will remain and the August 14 order will go unenforced.

Please answer the following requests in writing:
Identify all CFIUS member agencies that are “lead” agencies for this matter.
Given recent press reporting that TikTok may partner with a U.S. company to store Americans’ data in the United States:
Are these arrangements part of a CFIUS-ordered plan to address national security risk?
Will such arrangements appropriately and adequately effectuate the directives contained in the August 14 order? If so, how?
What assurances does the U.S. government have that TikTok will store U.S. data and adopt privacy policies with adequate protections?
How will the U.S. government enforce any such data protection and storage arrangements vis-à-vis an independent third-party U.S. company?
What steps will be taken with regard to the storage, protection, and integrity of the extensive U.S. data that has already been acquired by TikTok and ByteDance both prior to and since the August 14 order? 
Will the United States impose requirements for destruction of data previously acquired and not stored within U.S. jurisdiction, and how will such a requirement be enforced and verified?

How will the U.S. government ensure the TikTok app contains no malicious code and does not manipulate information and content?  How will this be accomplished and verified on an ongoing basis?  If an independent third party is responsible to the U.S. government for these functions, how will any failure to protect Americans and U.S. national security be remedied and enforced?  Has the U.S. government considered adequate means of accountability?

Will TikTok be locally managed in the United States?
If the control and operation of TikTok’s algorithm remains in the Chinese company’s hands, does that mean that U.S. persons’ data will be transferred to China to inform said algorithm?
Will the U.S. government have the ability to routinely access and inspect the algorithm’s source code?

What safeguards will the United States have to ensure protection of U.S. persons’ data in the event the CCP were to invoke its National Security Law and direct ByteDance to provide U.S. data to the Chinese government?

Will only U.S. persons be the officers and employees responsible for all operations and activities of TikTok in the United States?  How will the decision-making of U.S. officers and employees be isolated from any and all influence of ByteDance’s officers and employees?

If the divestment ordered by the August 14 order will not be effectuated, will the President issue a superseding Presidential or Executive Order?

If divestment ordered by the August 14 order is not effectuated, to what extent will ByteDance or other Chinese persons retain ownership or control over TikTok’s operations in the United States?  Describe in detail both the ownership and control structure contemplated for TikTok in the United States.

Are the actions that CFIUS may be taking to address the threat posed by TikTok being considered and applied by U.S. government agencies to WeChat, Didi, and other Chinese-owned or controlled apps?

Please respond to these questions no later than July 22. Thank you for your prompt response to this important matter.


GRIFFIN APPLAUDS SCOTUS DECISION OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE
Says, The Court 'correct[ed] the grievous errors made in Roe'...and returned this issue to 'the people and their elected representatives' 
LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization: 

"I applaud the U.S. Supreme Court for correcting the grievous errors made in the Roe and Casey decisions. The Constitution does not take a side in the abortion debate, and the Court correctly determined that the power to resolve this debate should rest with the people and their elected representatives. Because of this monumental and historic decision, states like Arkansas will now have the ability to protect innocent unborn children, who are created in the image of God, from the violence of abortion."

ATTORNEY GENERAL MERRICK B. GARLAND STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT RULING IN DOBBS V. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today released the following statement following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization et al.:

“Today, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and held that the right to abortion is no longer protected by the Constitution.

“The Supreme Court has eliminated an established right that has been an essential component of women’s liberty for half a century – a right that has safeguarded women’s ability to participate fully and equally in society. And in renouncing this fundamental right, which it had repeatedly recognized and reaffirmed, the Court has upended the doctrine of stare decisis, a key pillar of the rule of law.

“The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the Court’s decision. This decision deals a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States. It will have an immediate and irreversible impact on the lives of people across the country. And it will be greatly disproportionate in its effect – with the greatest burdens felt by people of color and those of limited financial means. 

“But today’s decision does not eliminate the ability of states to keep abortion legal within their borders. And the Constitution continues to restrict states’ authority to ban reproductive services provided outside their borders.

“We recognize that traveling to obtain reproductive care may not be feasible in many circumstances. But under bedrock constitutional principles, women who reside in states that have banned access to comprehensive reproductive care must remain free to seek that care in states where it is legal. Moreover, under fundamental First Amendment principles, individuals must remain free to inform and counsel each other about the reproductive care that is available in other states.

“Advocates with different views on this issue have the right to, and will, voice their opinions. Peacefully expressing a view is protected by the First Amendment. But we must be clear that violence and threats of violence are not. The Justice Department will not tolerate such acts.

“The Justice Department will work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom.

“Under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, the Department will continue to protect healthcare providers and individuals seeking reproductive health services in states where those services remain legal. This law prohibits anyone from obstructing access to reproductive health services through violence, threats of violence, or property damage. 

“The Department strongly supports efforts by Congress to codify Americans’ reproductive rights, which it retains the authority to do. We also support other legislative efforts to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive services.

“And we stand ready to work with other arms of the federal government that seek to use their lawful authorities to protect and preserve access to reproductive care. In particular, the FDA has approved the use of the medication Mifepristone. States may not ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy. 

“Furthermore, federal agencies may continue to provide reproductive health services to the extent authorized by federal law. And federal employees who carry out their duties by providing such services must be allowed to do so free from the threat of liability. It is the Department’s longstanding position that States generally may not impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who perform their duties in a manner authorized by federal law. Additionally, the Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has determined that federal employees engaging in such conduct would not violate the Assimilative Crimes Act and could not be prosecuted by the federal government under that law. The Justice Department is prepared to assist agencies in resolving any questions about the scope of their authority to provide reproductive care.

“The ability to decide one’s own future is a fundamental American value, and few decisions are more significant and personal than the choice of whether and when to have children.

“Few rights are more central to individual freedom than the right to control one’s own body.

“The Justice Department will use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive freedom. And we will not waver from this Department’s founding responsibility to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”
 

BOOZMAN CELEBRATES SUPREME COURT RULING PROTECTING UNBORN
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:

“This is a long-awaited, consequential day for our nation. The Supreme Court’s decision to affirm there is no constitutional right to indiscriminately sacrifice the lives of children in their mothers’ wombs is the culmination of decades of work to correct the tragic, deadly lie that unborn babies are expendable and undeserving of protection. I’m pleased to have helped confirm justices to our nation’s highest court who are committed to interpreting the Constitution in a manner that is consistent and true to its intent and meaning. With this ruling, the American people will finally have the opportunity to enact their will on this issue instead of unelected judges in Washington, D.C. I am proud of Arkansas’s steadfast commitment to defend the sanctity, dignity and value of every human life, including vulnerable children who deserve our compassion and care.”
 

COTTON STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT’S DOBBS V. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION DECISION
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) issued the following statement regarding the United States Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:

“Roe was a tragic mistake, taking from the American people and their elected representatives a deeply moral question. The Supreme Court has finally corrected this mistake and I highly commend the millions of Americans who toiled for years to achieve this great victory for unborn life and self-government.”
 

WESTERMAN REACTS TO THE REVERSAL OF ROE V. WADE
WASHINGTON - In reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) released the following statement:

"I am ecstatic to see the U.S. Supreme Court today rectify its 1973 decision by reversing Roe v. Wade and sending the issue of abortion back to the States," said Rep. Westerman. "Life is a right. Abortion is not. Our system of government is not based on unelected judges creating a right that doesn’t exist in the Constitution. A new day has dawned in America, and many innocent lives will be saved in the years to come. Make no mistake, we must help struggling women and ensure they have every resource they need throughout and after pregnancy. Women will always have choices. As many as two million U.S. families are looking to adopt at any given time, while roughly 700,000 abortions are performed each year. Each of these precious lives could have a family ready and willing to provide a loving home. I look forward to a day when all Americans reject the horrors of abortion in their own states to ensure the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for every child."

June 23, 2022

PERRY COUNTY DETENTION OFFICER DIES IN JAIL SHOOTING
JUNE 23, 2022
The Arkansas State Police is investigating a shooting inside the Perry County Jail that has claimed the life of a correctional officer.  The incident occurred late Wednesday night (June 22nd) in Perryville.

State police special agents were called to the jail by local sheriff’s department authorities to begin the investigation which is continuing this morning.  The Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation is leading the probe into the circumstances of the apparent homicide.

A 37 year-old man who was in the process of being booked into the jail after his arrest by Perry County deputies is being held in connection with the shooting.

The name of the correctional officer is being withheld at this hour during the notification of next of kin process.  A follow-up news release will be distributed later Thursday morning.
 

INVESTIGATION OF FATAL SHOOTING AT PERRY COUNTY JAIL CONTINUES; DECEASED JAILER IDENTIFIED
JUNE 23, 2022
Perry County Detention Officer Jeremiah Story, 21, of Oppelo (Conway County) died at a Conway hospital early today after he was shot by an inmate who was in the process of being booked into jail.  The incident occurred inside the county jail at Perryville about 10:20 PM, Wednesday (June 22nd).

Story was shot with a pistol as he stood in a bathroom where the inmate was changing out of civilian clothes into jail issued attire.

Roderick Lewis, 37, of North Little Rock had been arrested by Perry County sheriff’s deputies earlier in the evening and was to be detained on drug and paraphernalia charges.  A witness to the shooting was able to disarm Lewis who was later transferred to the Faulkner County Detention Center at Conway while state police special agents continue their investigation.

The investigative case file being prepared by the criminal investigation division agents will be turned-over to the Perry County prosecuting attorney who will consider the appropriate charges to be filed against Lewis.
 

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RELEASES PROPOSED CHANGES TO TITLE IX REGULATIONS, INVITES PUBLIC COMMENT
Department Commemorates 50 Years of Protecting and Advancing the Rights of All Students 
Today, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX – the landmark civil rights law that has opened doors for generations of women and girls – the U.S. Department of Education released for public comment proposed changes to the regulations that help elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities implement this vital legislation. The proposed amendments will restore crucial protections for students who are victims of sexual harassment, assault, and sex-based discrimination – a critical safety net for survivors that was weakened under previous regulations. The proposed regulations will advance educational equity and opportunity for women and girls across the country to ensure that every student in America, from kindergarten through a doctorate degree, can achieve her dreams.  

“Over the last 50 years, Title IX has paved the way for millions of girls and women to access equal opportunity in our nation’s schools and has been instrumental in combating sexual assault and sexual violence in educational settings,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.  “As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this landmark law, our proposed changes will allow us to continue that progress and ensure all our nation’s students – no matter where they live, who they are, or whom they love – can learn, grow, and thrive in school.  We welcome public comment on these critical regulations so we can further the Biden-Harris Administration’s mission of creating educational environments free from sex discrimination and sexual violence.” 

The proposed regulations will advance Title IX’s goal of ensuring that no person experiences sex discrimination, sex-based harassment, or sexual violence in education. As the Supreme Court wrote in Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), it is “impossible to discriminate against a person” on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity without “discriminating against that individual based on sex.” The regulations will require that all students receive appropriate supports in accessing all aspects of education. They will strengthen protections for LGBTQI+ students who face discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And they will require that school procedures for complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual violence and other sex-based harassment, are fair to all involved.  The proposed regulations also reaffirm the Department’s core commitment to fundamental fairness for all parties, respect for freedom of speech and academic freedom, respect for complainants’ autonomy, and clear legal obligations that enable robust enforcement of Title IX.  

The proposed regulations would:  
Clearly protect students and employees from all forms of sex discrimination. 
Provide full protection from sex-based harassment. 
Protect the right of parents and guardians to support their elementary and secondary school children. 
Require schools to take prompt and effective action to end any sex discrimination in their education programs or activities – and to prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects. 
Protect students and employees who are pregnant or have pregnancy-related conditions. 
Require schools to respond promptly to all complaints of sex discrimination with a fair and reliable process that includes trained, unbiased decisionmakers to evaluate the evidence. 
Require schools to provide supportive measures to students and employees affected by conduct that may constitute sex discrimination, including students who have brought complaints or been accused of sex-based harassment. 
Protect LGBTQI+ students from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.
Clarify and confirm protection from retaliation for students, employees, and others who exercise their Title IX rights. 
Improve the adaptability of the regulations’ grievance procedure requirements so that all recipients can implement Title IX’s promise of nondiscrimination fully and fairly in their educational environments. 
Ensure that schools share their nondiscrimination policies with all students, employees, and other participants in their education programs or activities.  

The Department will engage in a separate rulemaking to address Title IX’s application to athletics. 

The Department’s comprehensive review of its Title IX regulations began in March 2021, as directed by Executive Order 14021 – Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free From Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity. The Department has sought public input throughout that process.  Over the last year, the Department has heard from a wide variety of stakeholders, including students, parents, and educators in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools, state government representatives, advocates, lawyers, researchers, and other stakeholders through the Title IX nationwide virtual public hearing in June 2021 convened by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and in numerous listening sessions and meetings.  This input, together with careful review of federal case law and OCR’s enforcement work under Title IX, highlighted the need to revise the current regulations to protect more fully against sex discrimination in all education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.  

“The proposed regulations reflect the Department’s commitment to give full effect to Title IX, ensuring that no person experiences sex discrimination in education, and that school procedures for addressing complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual violence and other forms of sex-based harassment, are clear, effective, and fair to all involved,” said Catherine E.  Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.   

The Department’s proposed Title IX regulations will be open for public comment for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.   
 

BIPARTISAN COALITION LEADS EFFORT TO SAVE AMERICA'S ICONIC SEQUOIAS
WASHINGTON - Washington - Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) joined House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), U.S. Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and 23 other members in introducing H.R. 8168, the Save Our Sequoias (SOS) Act.

"It's no secret that I'm passionate about conserving trees, particularly when it comes to national treasures like our Giant Sequoias," Westerman said. "The fact that the federal government has sat on its hands and let wildfires burn hotter and stronger every year is a travesty, and now these fires are threatening to turn whole Sequoia groves into ash. I refuse to let ours be the generation that allows these trees to perish forever when they've already survived thousands upon thousands of years. We've traveled to the Sequoia groves and talked to the federal, state, tribal and local land managers who oversee them, and every person on the ground shared just how important it is for Congress to take swift, comprehensive action. The strong bipartisan support we've already received for the Save Our Sequoias Act is just the beginning. We have a responsibility to manage these iconic resources, protecting them from catastrophic wildfires and other natural disasters and allowing them to thrive. It's not every day that you see such powerful support on both sides of the aisle for a bill here in D.C., and I'm proud to be leading this legislation alongside my California colleagues." 

"Nearly 20 percent of all Giant Sequoias have been destroyed due to catastrophic wildfires resulting from policies and regulations that discourage proper forest management," McCarthy said. "Earlier this year, I led a bipartisan group of my colleagues to witness the devastation firsthand – which only reinforced the immediate need for action. The Save Our Sequoias Act will address this problem by providing emergency authorities and resources to better maintain and prioritize these natural wonders in need of urgent care. I thank Congressman Scott Peters and Ranking Member Bruce Westerman for their shared commitment to this matter. Our Giant Sequoias need our help now."

"The giant sequoia is an iconic species that has provided cultural, environmental, and recreational benefits to humans for generations," Peters said. "Poor land management and climate change are driving forces behind severe fires that threaten the survival of giant sequoias and the stability of the climate. In just two years, California wildfires contributed more to climate change than the state’s entire power sector. The bipartisan Save Our Sequoias Act charts a new path forward in federal forest and wildfire policy to combat climate change and ensure the giant sequoias stand safely in their natural habitat for years to come."
 
"The magnificent Giant Sequoia tree has a strong and resilient history in California, they tell a story that goes back thousands of years," Costa said. "They are among the oldest living things on the planet. Sadly, climate change, among other factors, are threatening and diminishing our long-standing redwood groves. Unless we take steps to improve forest management and reduce wildfire risk on federal public lands, we will watch the destruction of these ancient trees. I am proud to help lead this effort to preserve and protect the world’s hardiest trees for future generations to come."

"Our giant sequoias are a national treasure, and here in the Central Valley we’re lucky enough to have them right in our own backyard," Valadao said. "The Save our Sequoias Act includes real reforms to forest management and equips our federal land managers with the tools and resources they need to save these trees from the threat of wildfire. I’m proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort to save our sequoias for future generations."

"I recently visited several groves of sequoias in California and saw just how colossal but also how fragile these magnificent trees are when subject to intense wildfires," Panetta said. "In the past few years, we’ve lost 20 percent of the world’s giant sequoias due to the brutal wildfires in California. Fortunately, there are a few innocuous and simple steps that we can take to save these giants so that our descendants can also experience these miraculous and majestic trees. The bipartisan Save Our Sequoias Act allows the federal government the chance to play its part with necessary funding and administration to support safeguarding these iconic natural wonders."

"I am pleased to join Leader McCarthy and my colleagues in introducing the Save Our Sequoias Act, which will restore active management by empowering land managers with critical tools to expeditiously carry out fuels reduction and reforestation projects," McClintock said.

Background
In the past two years alone, catastrophic wildfires wiped out nearly one-fifth of the world’s Giant Sequoias. Covering only 37,000 acres in California across roughly 70 groves, Giant Sequoias are among the most fire-resilient tree species on the planet and were once considered virtually indestructible. However, more than a century of fire suppression and mismanagement created a massive build-up of hazardous fuels in and around Giant Sequoia groves, leading to unnaturally intense, high-severity wildfires. The emergency now facing Giant Sequoias is unprecedented – the last recorded evidence of large-scale Giant Sequoia mortality due to wildfires occurred in the year 1297 A.D., more than seven centuries ago.

Despite the looming threat to the remaining Giant Sequoias, federal land managers have not been able to increase the pace and scale of treatments necessary to restore Giant Sequoia resiliency to wildfires, insects, and drought. At its current pace, it would take the U.S. Forest Service approximately 52 years to treat just their 19 highest priority Giant Sequoia groves at high-risk of experiencing devastating wildfires. Without urgent action, we are at risk of losing our iconic Giant Sequoias in the next several years. Accelerating scientific forest management practices will not only improve the health and resiliency of these thousand-year-old trees but also enhance air and water quality and protect critical habitat for important species like the Pacific Fisher.

The SOS Act will provide land managers with the emergency tools and resources needed to save these remaining ancient wonders from the unprecedented peril threatening their long-term survival. The bill would:

Enhance coordination between federal, state, tribal and local land managers through shared stewardship agreements and the codification of the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition, a partnership between the current Giant Sequoia managers.

Create a Giant Sequoia Health and Resiliency Assessment to prioritize wildfire risk reduction treatments in the highest-risk groves and track the progress of scientific forest management activities.

Declare an emergency to streamline and expedite environmental reviews and consultations while maintaining robust scientific analysis.

Provide new authority to the National Park Foundation and National Forest Foundation to accept private donations to facilitate Giant Sequoia restoration and resiliency.

Establish a comprehensive reforestation strategy to regenerate Giant Sequoias in areas destroyed by recent catastrophic wildfires.

 SOS Act original cosponsors: U.S. Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), G.T. Thompson (R-Penn.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Mike Garcia (R-Calif.), Lou Correa (D-Calif.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Jay Obernolte (R-Calif.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Young Kim (R-Calif.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), John Curtis (R-Utah), Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), Kaiali'i Kahele (D-Hawaii), Michelle Steel (R-Calif.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.).

More than 90 organizations support the SOS Act, including: ACRE Investment Management, American Conservation Coalition, American Forest & Paper Association, American Forest Foundation, American Forest Resource Council, American Loggers Council, American Sportfishing Association, American Wood Council, Aramark Parks & Destinations, Archery Trade Association, Associated California Loggers, Association of American Railroads, Association of California Water Agencies, Bipartisan Policy Center Action, Boone & Crockett Club, Calaveras Big Trees Association, Calaveras County Water District, Calaveras County, California Assemblyman Vince Fong, California Cattlemen’s Association, California Farm Bureau, California Forestry Association, California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, California Senator Shannon Grove, Carbon180, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Charm Industrial, CHM Government Services, Citizens Climate Lobby, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, ConservAmerica, Dallas Safari Club, Delek US Holdings, Drax, Edison International, Enviva, Evangelical Environmental Network, Federal Forest Resource Coalition, Forest Landowners Association, Forest Resources Association, Fresno County, Giant Sequoia National Monument Association, Grassroots Wildland Firefighters, Great Basin Institute, Hardwood Federation, Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities, Houston Safari Club, International Inbound Travel Association, International Paper, Inter-Tribal Timber Council, Kern County, Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce, Kernville Chamber of Commerce, Mariposa County, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of Counties, National Association of Forest Service Retirees, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Forest Recreation Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Niskanen Center, Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, PG&E, Placer County Water Agency, Placer County, Public Lands Council, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Rural County Representatives of California, Salesforce, Salt River Project, San Diego Gas & Electric, Save the Redwoods League, Sequoia Parks Conservancy, Sierra Forest Products, Sierra Pacific Industries, Springville Chamber of Commerce, The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Tulare County Farm Bureau, Tulare County Fire Department, Tulare County, Tule River Tribe, Tuolumne County, Vista Outdoor, Weyerhaeuser Company, Wildlife Management Institute, Yosemite Clean Energy, and Yosemite Conservancy.

June 22, 2022

66TH SECRETARY OF STATE CONDOLEEZZA RICE HEADLINES IDEAS SUMMIT WITH GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON
Leaders from across the nation will come together to develop actionable ideas to strengthen America
Bentonville, AR (June 22, 2022) – The 66th Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is headed to the state of Arkansas to give a keynote speech at the inaugural ‘America Leads: An Ideas Summit’ hosted by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. The summit will take place Oct. 19 in Bentonville and will bring together thought leaders and policy makers from across the nation to discuss real, actionable ideas and policies that are impacting America with the goal to encourage problem-solving and practical solutions.

In making the announcement, Governor Asa Hutchinson said, “I worked with Secretary Rice in the Bush administration and her views on national security issues are essential with the current threats across the globe. In addition to the foreign policy discussions, the summit will hear from leading experts on the economy, education and many other challenges facing our country.” 

Condoleezza Rice is the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution and the Thomas Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy. In addition, she is a founding partner of Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel LLC, an international strategic consulting firm. In addition, Rice is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and has been awarded fifteen honorary doctorates.

The Ideas Summit is hosted by America Strong and Free, Inc., which is an education and advocacy organization. More information to come regarding event details, panelists, guest speakers and how to get tickets.
 


COTTON STATEMENT ON SENATE GUN-CONTROL LEGISLATION
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) issued the following statement on the Senate gun-control bill:

“This bill won’t stop the violent shootings by deranged criminals. But it will restrict the freedoms of law-abiding Americans and put too much power in the hands of politicians and political officials. Stopping gun violence starts with more funding for police


COTTON, BANKS INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM “GENDER-TRANSITION” SURGERY
Washington, D.C.  — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), and Steve Daines (R-Montana) introduced the Protecting Minors from Medical Malpractice Act, legislation to help individuals who suffer from potentially sterilizing gender-transition procedures as minors and to allow them to seek justice in court. Representative Jim Banks (R-Indiana) is leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Gender-transition procedures aren’t safe or appropriate for children. Unfortunately, radical doctors in the United States perform dangerous, experimental, and even sterilizing gender-transition procedures on young kids, who cannot even provide informed consent. Our bill allows children who grow up to regret these procedures to sue for damages. Any doctor who performs these irresponsible procedures on kids should pay,” said Cotton.

“The Biden administration released official guidance recommending irreversible and life-altering surgery for minors too young to apply for a learner’s permit. These procedures lack any solid evidence and have been rejected by public health agencies around the world. Ten years from now, there will be hundreds of thousands of Americans who were permanently scarred by the radical left’s agenda before they reached adulthood. If Democrats truly supported gender-confused children, they’d support our effort to give them legal recourse,” said Banks.

The Protecting Minors from Medical Malpractice Act would:
Create a private right of action allowing people who have gender-transition procedures performed on them as minors to sue the medical practitioner who performed the procedure.

Allows victims or their legal guardian to sue for declaratory or injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees

Provides a 30-year statute of limitation after the age of majority

Gender-transition procedures include puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgical procedures that change an individual’s body in order to align with an identity at odds with an individual’s biological sex

Applicable to procedures performed after the date of passage of this legislation

Clarify that federal law cannot be construed to force medical practitioners to offer such procedures.

Prohibit federal health funds from going to states that force medical practitioners to perform gender-transition procedures.

The legislation is supported by the American Principles Project, Heritage Action, Family Policy Alliance, Family Research Council, Independent Women’s Forum, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Alliance Defending Freedom, ForAmerica, Eagle Forum, CHANGED Movement.

June 21, 2022

UPCOMING CAMDEN BUSINESS AFTER HOURS SCHEDULED
Mike Smith, Edward Jones Financial Advisor, will be hosting Business After Hours next Tuesday, June 28th from 5-6:30 pm. Join Mike in downtown Camden at 142 W. Washington Street for our first post-COVID Business After Hours.  Light refreshments will be served.

 

SUMMER HEAT CAN INCREASE POWER USAGE, UTILITY BILLS
Several options available to manage cost of staying cool, assistance with bills
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – There are many factors that can impact your utility bills, including the summer heat, which often sends us lowering the temperature on our thermostat and pushing the air conditioner into overdrive. Remember, taking steps like this to stay cool on the hottest days of the year can significantly increase your electricity usage and, subsequently, your bill.

But there are ways to stay comfortable and keep your bills affordable! Entergy recently provided energy efficiency tips like closing blinds and curtains and keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees or the highest comfortable temperature. These free or low-cost steps can go a long way in conserving energy; however, if you have already received a high bill, here are six helpful options to consider in managing costs or receiving assistance:

Level Billing – Entergy averages your bill over a rolling 12-month period, so you have a consistent bill each month of the year. Pay about the same every month, with no surprises.

Pick-A-Date – Choose what day of the month you get billed to line up with your budget and manage your cash flow.

Deferred Payment – Talk with us about your situation and we may be able to make deferred payment arrangements. Call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749).

Payment Extension – Qualifying customers who need additional time to pay their bill can call our automated answering system at 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) or request an extension through myEntergy.

Power to Care – Through Entergy's The Power to Care program, local nonprofit agencies can provide emergency bill payment assistance to seniors and disabled individuals in crisis. Find out more at Help for Paying Your Electric Bills.  

LIHEAP – LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is a program that provides money to help people with energy bills and other energy-related expenses. LIHEAP is funded through the federal government and works with the community action agencies to help customers pay for and keep electric service in their homes. Find out more at Help for Paying Your Electric Bills.

Entergy encourages customers download the company’s mobile phone app  to monitor usage (if you have a smart meter), among other steps, to be more energy efficient before the next bill arrives.

And aside from the do-it-yourself tips we offer, the company’s energy efficiency can help. They offer free in-home energy assessments and rebates to help reduce the up-front cost of installing energy-efficient equipment, such as high-efficiency HVAC tune-ups, insulation, air sealing and duct sealing.

Customers who are behind on bill payments or have a concern about their bill should reach out to the company either online or by phone at 1-800 ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749). Our representatives can investigate your account or describe available bill help options that may work best for you and your family’s specific case.

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

June 17, 2022

CLEVELAND COUNTY MAN CHARGED IN JANUARY VEHICLE CRASH DEATH
JUNE 17, 2022
Stephen Clark, 60, of the Woodlawn community (Cleveland County), was arrested Thursday (June 16th) by a Special Agent of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division.  Clark is charged with negligent homicide in connection with a January 2, 2022 single vehicle crash.

Clark was the driver of a late model Jeep traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 63 near his home when he lost control of the vehicle which left the roadway striking a fence, then impacted with a tree.  The crash occurred about 9:45 AM.

Mary Clark, 60, Stephen Clark’s wife, was a passenger in the vehicle and died at the crash scene.  Stephen Clark sustained injuries in the crash and was transported by ambulance to a Pine Bluff hospital.

An Arkansas State Trooper who investigated the crash determined Clark was traveling to fast for conditions and was believed to be intoxicated.  The crash investigation was submitted to a prosecuting attorney on February 1st this year.  The prosecuting attorney subsequently requested additional investigative work to be completed by the state police Criminal Investigation Division.

Clark surrendered to state police at the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office where he was processed and later taken before a circuit judge who set bond at $15,000.

 

HOT SPRINGS MAN SENTENCED TO OVER 17 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING AND FIREARMS POSSESSION
HOT SPRINGS – A Hot Springs man was sentenced today to a total of 211 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense. The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.

In June of 2019, agents with the Arkansas State Police and detectives from the 18th East Judicial Drug Task Force began an investigation into Antone Nicklaus Costa, age 42, for the distribution of methamphetamine in the Garland County area. Between the dates of June 20, 2019, and July 23, 2019, law enforcement officers conducted several controlled purchases of methamphetamine from Costa.

On September 16, 2019, an Arkansas State Police Trooper made a traffic stop on Costa and took him into custody.  A search of his person revealed approximately 4 grams of methamphetamine, 29 suspected Clonazapam tablets and $823.00 dollars in U.S. currency.  In the passenger's seat of the vehicle being operated by Costa, the officers observed in plain view, a loaded 9mm handgun.

Costa was transported back to his residence and a search was conducted. The search resulted in officers locating a stolen .45 caliber handgun, an additional handgun, ammunition, and multiple empty baggies.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes made the announcement.

The 18th East Judicial Drug Task Force and the Arkansas State Police investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Harris and Kim Harris prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

 

LITTLE ROCK VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOLDS NEXT VIRTUAL CLAIMS CLINIC FOR ARKANSAS VETERANS ON JUNE 23
Call 501-370-3829 to reserve a timeslot to speak one-on-one with a VA benefits representative.
WHAT:   Monthly Virtual VA Claims Clinic for Arkansas Veterans
WHO:     During the upcoming Virtual Claims Clinic, Veterans may speak one-on-one to staff of the Little Rock VA Regional Office who are ready to assist with specific questions regarding their claims for VA benefits.
WHEN:   Thursday, June 23, 2022, 4 - 6 p.m.
HOW:     To reserve a timeslot, Veterans are asked to call 501-370-3829 by COB, June 22.

BACKGROUND: 
“We strive to meet the needs of the Veterans in the state of Arkansas and provide multiple avenues for them to connect with us. It is our duty and honor to assist with their VA benefits,” said Little Rock VA Regional Office Executive Director Sammie Quillin. “Even as we prepare to return to our pre-pandemic community outreach events, we will continue to offer these virtual claims clinics as an avenue for Veterans to reach us. We as an agency are ready and able to provide the benefits and services the Veteran community needs and has earned so heroically.” 

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

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

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

VA disability compensation (pay) offers a monthly tax-free payment to Veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military and to Veterans whose service made an existing condition worse. 

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

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

Veterans and their family members may also take advantage of VA’s Visitor Reportingn Engagement Application (VERA)  , a new, easy-to-use, online tool, to schedule in-person or virtual appointments with VA benefits counselors. 

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


21 RECRUITS EARN COMMISSIONS, JOIN STATE POLICE RANKS AS TROOPERS
JUNE 16, 2022
Twenty-one Arkansas State Police Recruits received their trooper commissions tonight during a graduation ceremony in the rotunda of the state capitol.  The graduates were among an initial field of 227 applicants who were tested and interviewed during 2021.  On January 23rd this year, 38 recruits assembled at the state police training academy in Little Rock to form Recruit Class 2022-A and began a rigorous 21 week-long training stint.

The graduates received 1,160 hours of specialized instruction in the academy classrooms and through practical training exercises outside the classroom.  The graduates were sworn under oath as Arkansas State Troopers by North Little Rock District Judge Randy Morley.

Lieutenant Colonel Shawn Garner, Deputy Director of Enforcement for the Arkansas State Police and Jami Cook, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Public Safety addressed the class.  State police senior command staff, troop and company commanders, the training section cadre and Arkansas State Police commissioners were among those attending the graduation.

The recruit graduates and their first post assignments are listed as follows:

Brandon Neal, 29, 2022-A Class Leader, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Vilonia High School and Drury University in Chicago.

Zoey Baldwin, 22, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, Johnson County.  She is a graduate of Russellville High School and Arkansas Tech University.

John Bucher, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, Woodruff County.  He is a graduate of Russellville High School.

Ana Elisa Escamilla, 28, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  She is a graduate of Warren High School.

Aaron Killian, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Lakeside High School (Garland County).

Peter Kootz, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, White County.  He is a homeschool graduate from Sharp County and a graduate of Lyon College.

Jessica McCord, 28, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  She is a graduate of Lake Hamilton High School, Marion Military Institute and Southern New Hampshire University.

Zachary Means, 24, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop E, Desha County.  He is a graduate of Carlisle High School.

Caleb Miller, 23, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop L, Benton County.  He is a graduate of Siloam Springs High School.

Shabby Moore, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop F, Union County.  He is a graduate of Ville Platte (Louisiana) High School. Cade Padgett, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, Perry County.  He is a graduate of Danville High School.

Solomon Phifer, 30, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop G, Miller County.  He is a graduate of Crossett High School, University of Arkansas (Little Rock) and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, Tennessee.

Candice Pike, 38, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop I, Searcy County.  She is a graduate of Clinton High School.

Grant Pruitt, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop C, Mississippi County.  He is a graduate of Elkins High School.

Landan Reather, 23, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop H, Sebastian County.  He is a graduate of Mansfield High School.

Tyree Sampson, 29, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop K, Garland County.  He is a graduate of Hot Springs High School and National Park College in Hot Springs.

Jackson Shumate, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Sherman (Texas) High School.

Gavin Chance Taylor, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, Monroe County.  He is a graduate of Hazen High School.

Connor Vrooman, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, White County.  He is a graduate of Searcy High School and Arkansas State University (Beebe).

Daniel Walcott, 22, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, Van Buren County.  He is a graduate of Penn Foster High School (Scranton, Pennsylvania).

Christopher Weatherly, 22, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Cabot High School and the University of Arkansas (Little Rock).    

Special recognition and awards were presented to the recruits who attained the highest overall academy scores within the respective curriculum and training categories:

ACADEMICS
1st place – Jessica McCord
2nd place – Peter Kootz
3rd place – Brandon Neal

PHYSICAL FITNESS
1st place – Brandon Neal
2nd place – John Bucher  
3rd place – Cade Padgett 

FIREARMS
1st place – Peter Kootz
2nd place – Chaice Weatherly
3rd place – Zoey Baldwin

Over the next month the new troopers will begin reporting to their respective assignments across the state.  They will receive an additional 5 – 9 weeks of instruction working alongside a Field Training Officer before being released from their training regimen.

LEGISLATION CHAMPIONED BY BOOZMAN, CRAWFORD AND WOMACK TO EASE EXPORT SHIPPING BACKLOGS, BOOST U.S. EXPORTS SIGNED INTO LAW
WASHINGTON– President Joe Biden signed bipartisan, bicameral legislation into law today championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) along with Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1) and Steve Womack (AR-3) to level the playing field for American exporters and help fix supply chains by easing shipping backlogs.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will update federal regulations for the global shipping industry and give the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) greater rulemaking authority to regulate harmful practices by carriers. The House of Representatives approved the legislation on Monday following Senate passage in March.

“Arkansas exporters must have dependable and reliable transportation to move their goods to markets all across the world. Regular export capability is particularly vital to the state’s agriculture industry. As we continue to face skyrocketing inflation, signing this legislation into law is a critical step to helping relieve the supply chain crisis that is exacerbating high prices,” Boozman said.

“Recent supply chain issues have shown major weaknesses in our federal regulations for the global shipping industry. This legislation is a step forward in ensuring that the Federal Maritime Commission has the proper tools and resources to prevent delays, lower costs to consumers, and increase competitiveness with nations like China. I have repeatedly supported these much-needed measures, and it’s a relief to see Ocean Shipping Reform finally reach the finish line,” said Crawford.

“Too many families and small businesses are experiencing the strain of empty shelves and wallets. I’m proud to help deliver real action to combat inflation and supply chain disruptions. With today’s signing, we are supporting a fast flow of goods and Arkansas producers, especially our hardworking farmers and ranchers. Increasing market access and economic opportunity for Natural State and American-made products is essential to easing backlogs and alleviating price burdens on consumers,” Womack said.

“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is a positive step forward for American agriculture.  We export a large amount of our crops and products and depend heavily on ocean shipping to deliver these goods to market.  We applaud the Arkansas Congressional Delegation for getting this done for Arkansas farm families who produce the best food and fiber in the world,” said Rich Hillman, President of Arkansas Farm Bureau.

“We are glad ocean cargo services will be held accountable under the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, allowing for fairer treatment of trucks and shippers and, subsequently, increasing overall efficiency in the supply chain. We applaud Senator Boozman and Representatives Crawford and Womack for their support of the bill and look forward to improved freight flow at the ports so we can continue to deliver goods where they are needed most,” said Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon Newton.  

“We thank Senator Boozman and Representatives Crawford and Womack for supporting the Ocean Shopping Reform Act,” said Kevin McGilton, Vice President of Government Affairs for Riceland Foods. “The Act will give the FMC more tools to ensure our exports flow efficiently to our customers at fair rates.”

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will:
Require ocean carriers to certify that late fees—known in maritime parlance as “detention and demurrage” charges—comply with federal regulations or face penalties;
Shift burden of proof regarding the reasonableness of “detention or demurrage” charges from the invoiced party to the ocean carrier;
Prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining shipping opportunities for U.S. exports, as determined by the FMC in new required rulemaking;
Require ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and 20-foot equivalent units (loaded/empty) per vessel that makes port in the United States;
Authorize the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate; and
Establish new authority for the FMC to register shipping exchanges.

The legislation was introduced by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

The bill is supported by a number of organizations including the American Association of Port Authorities, the National Industrial Transportation League, the National Retail Federation, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition and the American Trucking Associations.
 

COTTON DEMANDS ACTION FROM DOJ FOLLOWING VIOLENT ATTACKS ON CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS BY PRO-ABORTION GROUP ‘JANE’S REVENGE’
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding that the Department of Justice take action to protect Americans from ongoing violent attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers.

In part, Cotton wrote, “Houses of worship and pro-life pregnancy centers are under attack.”  

“What is the Department of Justice doing to protect Americans from these violent attacks? At a minimum, you should bring federal charges against the perpetrators, where appropriate, and investigate ‘Jane’s Revenge’ as a domestic terrorist organization. If you are unwilling to protect Americans from these attacks, you should resign—although, in my opinion, you should resign in any case,” Cotton continued.
 

SENATE PASSES BOOZMAN-BACKED TOXIC EXPOSURE LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON–– The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022. This landmark legislation backed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) will deliver toxic-exposed veterans their earned Department of Veterans Affairs health care and benefits.

“No veteran should be denied VA benefits for the illnesses they experience as a result of burn pits and other toxic exposures. Senate passage of the Sergeant Heath Robinson PACT Act demonstrates our commitment to ensuring these veterans get the care and services they deserve and, just as important, that the VA has the capability to meet their needs,” Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 will:
Expand VA health care eligibility to Post-9/11 combat veterans, which includes more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans;
Create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure;
Add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service presumptions;
Expand presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure;
Includes Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure;
Strengthen federal research on toxic exposure;
Improve VA’s resources for toxic-exposed veterans and training for VA health care and benefits professionals; and

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

Boozman delivered remarks on the Senate floor Thursday urging his colleagues to support this historic legislation.

It follows his prior efforts to ensure toxic-exposed veterans get the benefits they earned.

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

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives.


WESTERMAN, COLLEAGUES DEMAND JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATE DOMESTIC TERRORIST ATTACKS AGAINST PRO-LIFE ORGANIZATIONS
WASHINGTON — Representatives Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Scott Franklin (FL-15), Claudia Tenney (NY-22), and Mike Johnson (LA-04) sent a letter with more than 120 colleagues demanding the Department of Justice investigate recent attacks against several Pro-Life organizations as instances of domestic terrorism.

In the last two months, there have been at least 15 documented terrorist attacks against Pro-Life organizations. These attacks included incidences of vandalism, destruction of property, and even firebombing. In addition to these attacks, police recently arrested a California man for attempting to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his home. Each of these crimes followed the egregious leak of the draft Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court opinion and were clearly politically motivated. In response, the cosigners demand the attacks be investigated as instances of domestic terrorism as defined in federal law.

"The politically motivated threatening and attempted intimidation of pro-life organizations must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Rep. Westerman. "I challenge my friends on the other side of the aisle to not only condemn violence when it suites their political agenda. Join us in demanding the DOJ do their duty in rooting out and prosecuting this blatant criminal activity. The people who work in these organizations and the women who come to them for help are innocent and deserve the protection of law enforcement."

“Free speech is a critically important constitutional right,” said Rep. Franklin. “However, threats, destruction of property, and acts of violence are against the law. When they are done as a means of intimidation against lawful organizations, or as an attempt to influence the highest Court in our land, they must be identified and investigated for what they truly are—domestic terrorism. In doing so, the Department must make it clear to both the perpetrators and the Democrats who have incited them that this behavior will not be tolerated in our society.”

“The Biden Administration has labeled concerned K-12 parents as ‘domestic terrorists,’ while ignoring pro-abortion protestors breaking federal law at SCOTUS justices’ homes, and radical left-wing activists terrorizing pro-life pregnancy centers,” said Rep. Johnson. “Politically motivated violence nationwide against pro-life organizations falls clearly within the jurisdiction of federal law enforcement. If the Biden Administration is actually serious about protecting communities, they will stop ignoring violence that doesn’t suit their agenda and start investigating.”

“Pro-life organizations and religious groups across the country, including in New York, have come under unprecedented attack by far-left activists following the unauthorized leak of a draft Supreme Court decision last month,” said Rep. Tenney. “The Department of Justice needs to step in and make clear that political violence has no place in American society and the law will be enforced. Sitting on the sidelines as Americans come under attack for their deeply held religious beliefs and Supreme Court Justices are targeted and intimidated is an indefensible position for the DOJ to take. I am honored to lead my colleagues in the House of Representatives to call on the Attorney General Garland to put an end to this anarchy now.”

“The surge in violent attacks, firebombing and vandalism of pregnancy care centers, churches and pro-life organizations by pro-abortion activists following the leak of the draft Dobbs opinion is unconscionable and resembles a kind of war on advocates for life,” said Rep. Chris Smith, Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “The inaction by President Biden and Attorney General Garland to seriously address this concerning increase in acts of terror is greatly disturbing and constitutes a total abrogation of their duty to protect people and property.”

“It is the job of the government to protect all citizens, even the ones who disagree with prevailing government ideology,” said Jim Harden, President of CompassCare Pregnancy Services, whose office was firebombed in Buffalo. “Pro-life pregnancy centers are being targeted by pro-abortion terrorists because we believe that all people are made in the image of God, deserving of protection, including boys and girls in the womb. Continued silence serves only to embolden further acts of pro-abortion terrorism.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security, further violence and unrest is likely upon the final release of the Dobbs opinion. Swift and fair prosecution of the terrorists who have committed these crimes is crucial to maintaining public safety. While federal law does not include criminal penalties for domestic terrorism, it is defined in U.S. code and the Department has a duty to prosecute these crimes. Many of the victimized facilities were spray painted with slogans clearly indicating the attacks were politically motivated, a key aspect of the definition of terrorism. In one slogan, the pro-abortion terrorist group Jane’s Revenge threatened the lives of pro-life workers at a facility in Madison, Wisconsin, claiming “if abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.”

In addition to their demands, the cosigners have given the Department of Justice 30 days to respond to the following questions:

1. Is the Department currently investigating the attacks against the aforementioned groups as instances of domestic terrorism? If not, please provide the rationale behind this decision.

2. What is the Department’s plan to prevent similar attacks from occurring against other pro-life organizations and is the Department currently collaborating with state and local law enforcement to ensure further incidents do not occur?

Additional cosigners of the letter include:
Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Rep. Tom Emmer (MN-06), Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08), Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06), Rep. Drew Ferguson (GA-03), Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03), Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01), Rep. Nancy Mace (SC-01), Rep. Byron Donalds (FL-19), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Rep. Jake LaTurner (KS-02), Rep. Mary Miller (IL-15), Rep. Michael Cloud (TX-27), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Bob Good (VA-05), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA-09), Rep. Matthew Rosendale (MT At-Large), Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07), Rep. Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Rep. Brian Babin, D.D.S. (TX-36), Rep. Yvette Herrell (NM-02), Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14), Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-05), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Rep. Michael Guest (MS-03), Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08), Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02), Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Rep. Bob Gibbs (OH-07), Rep. W. Gregory Steube (FL-17), Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Rep. Kat Cammack (FL-03), Rep. David McKinley (WV-01),  Rep. Steven Palazzo (MS-04), Rep. Diana Harshbarger (TN-01), Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Rep. John Moolenaar (MI-04), Rep. Brian J. Mast (FL-18), Rep. Thomas Tiffany (WI-07), Rep. Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04), Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Rep. Paul Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Rep. Dan Meuser (PA-09), Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Rep. Lisa McClain (MI-10), Rep. Alex Mooney (WV-02), Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05), Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12), Rep. Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-50), Rep. Trent Kelly (MS-01), Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01), Rep. Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Rep. John Rose (TN-06), Rep. Eric “Rick” Crawford (AR-01), Rep. Barry Moore (AL-02), Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03), Rep. Robert Latta (OH-05), Rep. Tracey Mann (KS-01), Rep. William Timmons (SC-04), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Rep. John Rutherford (FL-04), Rep. Jody Hice (GA-10), Rep. Jake Ellzey (TX-06), Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13), Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08), Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), Rep. Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Rep. Pat Fallon (TX-04), Rep. Ben Cline (VA-06), Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15), Rep. Charles J. “Chuck” Fleischmann (TN-03), Rep. Troy Nehls (TX-22), Rep. Michael Waltz (FL-06),  Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01), Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-16), Rep. Kevin Hern (OK-01), Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05), Rep. Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), Rep. Carol Miller (WV-03), Rep. Billy Long (MO-07), Rep. David Valadao (CA-21), Rep. Julia Letlow (LA-05), Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05), Rep. Clay Higgins (LA-03), Rep. Guy  Reschenthaler (PA-14), Rep. Gregory Murphy, M.D. (NC-03), Rep. Victoria Spartz (IN-05), Rep. David Kustoff (TN-08), Rep. Ron Estes (KS-04), Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), Rep. Bill Posey (R-08), Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04), Rep. Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Rep. Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02), Rep. David Joyce (OH-14), Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-11), Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02), Rep. Blake Moore (UT-01), Rep. Tim Burchett (TN-02), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), Rep. David Rouzer (NC-07), Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08), Rep. Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Rep. French Hill (AR-02), Rep. Darin LaHood (IL-18), and Rep. Steve Womack (AR-03).

The letter has also received support from Family Research Council, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, and National Right to Life.

June 15, 2022

THE COURTHOUSE WILL BE CLOSED JUNE 20TH FOR JUNETEENTH.

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING - JUNE 14, 2022
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order at promptly 7:00 pm. The invocation was given by Rev. Conner Davis, Pastor of the First Assembly of God Church, located at 1275 Maul Road in Camden, The invocation was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

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

The minutes of the regular meeting dated May 10, 2022 and the Financial Report for May 2022 were presented in print. The minutes and Financial report were accepted by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 31-22, a resolution amending the annual operating budget for 2022; and for other purposes was the first item of new business. A motion and seconded. This was to adjust the budget for personnel insurance. There was some discussion for clarification. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 32-22, a resolution amending the annual operating budget for 2022; and for other purposes. A motion and seconded. This was to approve money for equipment on the Trace. Lockheed Martin is to partner with the city financially and help install items and repair existing equipment. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 33-22, a resolution amending the annual operating budget for 2022; and for other purposes.Motion was made and seconded. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 34-22, a resolution declaring Firefighting Apparatus obsolete and authorizing its donation to the Buena Vista and Two Bayou Fire Department A motion and seconed. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 35-22, a resolution authorizing the Mayor to settle a claim; amending the annual operating  budget for 2022; and for other purposes. A motion was made and seconded. There was a long discussion regarding this issue. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 36-22, a resolution amending the City and Rescue Grant Budgets for the purpose of claiming revenue replacements funds for Police and Fire Salaries and employer payroll contributions. A motion was made and seconded The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution 37-22, a resolution approving the appointment of Willie Cooper to the Water and sewer commission. Motion was made and seconded. The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution 38-22, a resolution awarding the bid for the first purchase of oils and lubricants for the remainder of 2022. Motion was made and seconded. Resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution 39-22, a resolution commending and thanking Judge Phillip Foster for his service, passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution 40-22, a resolution authorizing the submittal of an application for ACEDP Grant Funds to the State of Arkansas passed by unanimous vote. The next scheduled meeting of the Camden City Council is July 12, 2022

 

CITY OF CAMDEN INVITES CITIZENS TO PUBLIC MEETING
The City of Camden invites its citizens and other interested persons to a public meeting held at the Camden City Hall, 206 Van Buren, Camden, AR on Tuesday June 21, 2022 @6:30 p.m.

The purpose of these meetings is to identify potential outdoor park and recreation needs and priorities. Following the identification process, City officials will select those priorities to be submitted to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for a Matching Grant Application. Ethnic minorities, persons with special needs, elderly persons over 55, and special interest groups are encouraged to attend and participate. For those unable to attend the meeting, you may phone 870-837-5500 to submit oral comments. Written Comments may be submitted to Mayor Lott, City of Camden, 206 Van Buren, Camden, AR 71701. Written and oral comments will be received until June 21, 2022.

 

VIRTUAL PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT MEETING JUNE 21 FOR THE ARKANSAS ELECTRIC VEHICLE INFRASTRUCTURE DEPLOYMENT PLAN
The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) in collaboration with the Department of Energy and Environment (E&E) will conduct a virtual public involvement meeting Tuesday, June 21, at 4 p.m. regarding the Arkansas Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan.

Link to Virtual Meeting (click here)

Meeting URL: https://tinyurl.com/3r45y7m8

This virtual meeting will provide the same project information and handouts normally presented at an in-person meeting. The virtual meeting will be recorded and published at ardot.gov/evplan after the event.

If you do not have internet access, please contact Aarón Pinedo at (501) 569-2064 or ardot_nevi@ardot.gov to ask questions or provide comments about the plan.

Anyone needing project information or special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is encouraged to write to Aarón Pinedo, P.O. Box 2261, Little Rock, AR 72203- 2261, call (501)569-2064 or email ardot_nevi@ardot.gov. Hearing or speech impaired, please contact the Arkansas Relay System at (Voice/TTY 711). Free language assistance for Limited English Proficient individuals is available upon request. This notice is available from the ADA/504/Title VI Coordinator in large print, on audiotape, and in Braille. Requests should be made at least four days prior to the public meeting.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) complies with all civil rights provisions of federal statutes and related authorities that prohibit discrimination in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Therefore, the Department does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, age, national origin, religion (not applicable as a protected group under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Title VI Program), disability, Limited English Proficiency (LEP), or low-income status in the admission, access to and treatment in the Department's programs and activities, as well as the Department's hiring or employment practices. Complaints of alleged discrimination and inquiries regarding the Department's nondiscrimination policies may be directed to Joanna P. McFadden EEO/DBE Officer (ADA/504/Title VI Coordinator), P. 0. Box 2261, Little Rock, AR 72203, (501) 569-2298, (Voice/TTY 711), or the following email address: joanna.mcfadden@ardot.gov.

 

BOOZMAN ADVOCATES FOR LANDMARK TOXIC EXPOSURE LEGISLATION
Commends Arkansas Veteran for Relentless Advocacy
WASHINGTON–– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, urged Senate passage of comprehensive legislation to deliver earned benefits for all generations of veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service in our nation’s uniform.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 would deliver immediate access to health care for toxic-exposed veterans, direct the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to evaluate diseases for presumption of service connection and streamline the process for toxic-exposed veterans seeking disability compensation for their illnesses.

“This legislation is long overdue. We’ve heard the struggles of veterans and their families living with toxic exposure-related illnesses. We can end the hurdles they experience and save lives by passing this landmark legislation,” Boozman said in a speech on the Senate floor.

The legislation also includes a provision authored by Boozman to expand benefits to Vietnam War-era veterans who served on military bases in Thailand.

The VA accepts that herbicides were used along the perimeters of military bases in Thailand, but does not recognize the impact of the herbicides inside the perimeter. The current policy is unfair and has prevented veterans like Bill Rhodes of Mena, Arkansas from accessing benefits as a result of toxic exposure.

Boozman called Rhodes a “relentless advocate of toxic exposure benefits.”

Boozman also teamed up with Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) to better prepare the VA to respond to the anticipated increase in claims following passage of this legislation with the introduction of the VA Workforce Improvement, Support, and Expansion (WISE) Act of 2022 last month.

This continues Boozman’s commitment to improving benefits and services for toxic-exposed veterans. Last week, President Biden signed into law the Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas SERVICE Act, legislation authored by the senator requiring the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

June 13, 2022

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT’S SUMMER MEAL PROGRAM
The Camden Fairview School District’s summer meal program is underway. Meals are served at CFMS cafeteria, 647 Dooley Womack Drive in Camden. Breakfast is served 7:30 am to 8:15 am and Lunch is served  11:00 am to  12:00 pm.

 There are no income requirements or registration. Anyone age 18 or younger may receive meals. Children must be present to receive a meal, and to-go meals will not be available.

 Summer programs and church/local youth groups are encouraged to bring their groups for free meals. Please provide advance notice to the Food Services Director of groups larger than five.

 For more information, contact Leslie Sutton, CFSD Food Services Director, at lsutton@cfsd.k12.ar.us

 

CITY OF CAMDEN JUNETEENTH HOLIDAY
The City Of Camden Offices will Be closed on June 20, 2022 in observance of the Juneteenth Holiday

 

HOT SPRING COUNTY MAN WOUNDED IN OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING
JUNE 12, 2022 
The Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Department has requested the Arkansas State Police investigate two shooting incidents involving sheriff’s deputies dispatched to investigate reports of an armed domestic disturbance.  The separate incidents occurred yesterday (Saturday, June 11th) in the Perla community and in a south Malvern neighborhood.

Deputies were dispatched about 6:13 PM to 990 Perla Road, the home of a man reported to have been involved in an earlier fight with Stephen Silvas, 48, of Malvern.

Arriving in Perla, deputies witnessed a vehicle being driven by Silvas and initiated a traffic stop.  The deputies had been told Silvas was armed with a “silver handgun”.  During the traffic stop, Silvas reportedly refused to comply with orders from the deputies to exit the car leading one deputy to deploy a TASER striking the driver.  As Silvas began to remove the electric charged prongs embedded in his body, deputies observed a handgun slip from his lap.  Silvas then picked-up the pistol causing the deputies to back away and Silva fleeing the traffic stop.  One deputy then fired his gun at Silvas’ vehicle.  Silvas managed to escape from the deputies who had re-engaged and were attempting to overtake the suspect vehicle.

A short time later the sheriff’s deputies discovered Silvas near 317 Cloud Road.  With one hand behind his back, Silvas was walking toward the deputies who ordered him to show his hands.  As Silvas continued to move closer he was ordered a second time to show his hands and not take another step toward the deputies.  Again, ignoring the orders, Silvas moved closer leading one of the deputies to fire his service weapon and wounding Silvas.

Both sheriff’s deputies began to render emergency medical care to Silvas who was then transported to a local hospital and later transferred to a Hot Springs hospital to undergo surgery where he remains hospitalized.

Special Agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing their investigation today

The state police investigation will be submitted to the Hot Spring County prosecuting attorney who will determine whether the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Questions relating to the identity of the deputies involved in the investigation and their current administrative status should be directed to the Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Department.
 

TREASURER OF STATE DENNIS MILLIGAN DISCUSSES LEGACY IN FINANCIAL EDUCATION
Led effort to create statewide Financial Education Commission
June 13, 2022 (Little Rock, Ark.) – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan has always had a passion for financial education. Growing up in southwest Little Rock, Milligan learned from a very early age the importance of hard work and persistence.

“We weren’t poor, but there wasn’t any room, financially, for any extras,” Milligan explained. “I learned the habit of saving money from my uncle. He didn’t have much, but he was always the one people went to when they needed financial help. He’s the one who taught me that saving little by little adds up over time.”

Milligan began his small business at age 28 and over the years expanded it into 17 different states.

“I wouldn’t have been able to have that kind of success had it not been for practicing conservative financial habits in both my personal and professional lives,” he said.

As he considered a run for Treasurer of State, he learned that many treasurers around the country played a substantial role in their states’ financial education efforts.

“The role of Treasurer began to take on an even deeper meaning to me,” he said. “When I was elected in 2014, I was excited to hit the ground running on working toward helping every Arkansan have access to financial education if they need or want it.”

The first effort Milligan made toward financial education was creating the AR Finance AR Future program. This program partnered with schools throughout the state to teach basic financial instruction to 4th-6th graders across Arkansas.

“We utilized an online platform with the help of teachers statewide and were able to reach more than 28,000 students and offer roughly 48,000 hours of learning.”

Another of Milligan’s efforts to promote financial education was bringing a national conference to Arkansas. Through his involvement with the State Financial Officers Foundation – of which he served as National Chair in 2020 – he helped expand the Smart Women Smart Money conference (SWSM) nationwide. This free conference provides attendees financial tools they need to empower themselves to take charge of their financial future.

Milligan continued his financial awareness efforts in 2020 by developing a book-reading initiative. “Educate Your Financial Future” featured several books each month that focused on financial topics and were geared toward students from pre-K through high school.

In 2021, Milligan teamed up with the Central Arkansas Library System and local financial experts to provide a series of free public webinars addressing common financial topics such as budgeting, saving, and balancing a checkbook. That program has expanded and is continuing this year. (More information may be found on the Treasury’s website at www.artreasury.gov.)

“As the years went by, I started to notice a common theme among leaders in the state and that was the fact that we must have a financially-knowledgeable population to: 1) help people get out of poverty and 2) help market our state and its workforce to potential employers looking to relocate here,” Milligan said.

In response, Milligan worked with Sen. Missy Irvin and Rep. Bruce Cozart on Act 1025 of 2021 creating the Arkansas Financial Education Commission. Its mission is to provide a unified effort to improve financial awareness throughout the state.

“This Commission, which I chair, has already provided valuable insight upon which we can build a stronger foundation for our state,” Milligan said. “I can’t wait to get started on making financial education more attainable for all Arkansans and watch how we’re able to positively impact lives for generations to come.”
 

BOOZMAN RECOGNIZES SERVICE OF RETIRED ARKANSAS NATIONAL GUARD ADJUTANT GENERAL
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of Major General (retired) Ron Chastain in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans. 

Chastain was born in Paris, Arkansas on October 18, 1950. He enjoyed his childhood in Branch along with his 11 brothers and sisters, two of whom also served in the military. His father was a contract painter and his mother raised Ron and all his siblings while tending to the home. Growing up, the children all helped out with chores around the house and on the family farm.

Chastain attended Arkansas Tech University after high school where he met his future wife, Pam Berry, from Dover. At ATU he was required to join ROTC. During his sophomore year, he received a low draft number and continued participating in the ROTC so he could serve as an officer. Because the Vietnam War was winding down by the time he graduated college, fewer lieutenants were needed so he was given the choice of serving for three months or two years. He opted for the shorter service because he had a job lined up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Unfortunately, while he was training at Fort Benning, Georgia, President Richard Nixon issued a federal hiring freeze, so his position with the USDA was no longer an option.

Chastain changed his plans and started working toward his master’s degree at the University of Arkansas while also being encouraged by a retired major to join the National Guard, so he became a member of the 142nd Field Artillery Group in Fayetteville.

When the federal hiring freeze was lifted, he discontinued pursuing his master’s and took a job with the USDA. It wasn’t long before he joined the 39th Infantry Brigade as a lieutenant in the company in nearby De Queen.

After serving as a platoon leader, he was eventually named company commander.

“It was kind of interesting that my civilian office was just diagonal across the intersection from the National Guard Armory in Mena and so I’d go over and visit with them during break,” he said. 

Over the next few years, Chastain served in a number of leadership positions including as company commander in Prescott, a logistics officer and an intelligence officer, and with units in Malvern, Ozark, Clarksville, Little Rock, North Little Rock and Camp Robinson. After moving to Conway, he was most appreciative of being able to come home after drill and spend the night with his family. “I can tell you living in Central Arkansas makes all the difference for officers in the National Guard.”

Chastain assumed leadership of the 25th Rear Area Operations Center and before they had even been through an exercise, he was alerted of their deployment in support of Operation Desert Shield and mobilized at Fort Hood, Texas.

It was supposed to be a quick turnaround. “We only had time for weapons qualification, drawing equipment and getting our protective masks tested,” Chastain said. But he and his troops were “stuck” at Fort Hood while planes were flying other troops to the Middle East.

Chastain flew on a C-5 military transport, and while in the air to Saudi Arabia, the next phase of the Gulf War - Operation Desert Storm - had started.

He and his troops deployed with the 18th Airborne Corps. They were given the mission of setting up a logistics base in Iraq. He remembers the harsh elements like sandstorms, traveling in total blackout, and a close encounter with an Army cobra attack helicopter.

After the land war ended and his troops returned to the base in Saudi Arabia, he said there were a lot of challenges. “That’s when my problems really started as the unit commander, because everybody was in a hurry to get home, and everybody was tense.” Chastain’s teams oversaw finding locations for vehicles to be cleaned and stored before being shipped out, taking care of the air bases for personnel, and clearing the Desert Shield area to the expectations of Saudi Arabia. After his team had done everything to the standard of the 18th Airborne Corps, he and his unit were sent home and demobilized at Fort Hood.

Chastain continued to demonstrate his incredible leadership as he moved up the ranks. In 1995 he became executive officer at the 39th Infantry Brigade. In this role he was selected for the Army War College, which he says was “the hardest two years I think I’ve ever had in my life.”   

Chastain later served as the brigade deputy commander before commanding the brigade. While Chastain was preparing for a Joint Readiness Training rotation, he learned he and the rest of the 39th Infantry Brigade would be deploying to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In Iraq, Chastain’s team suffered several casualties early on. “We knew it was going to be a long year.”

He had the largest area of operations of any of the 1st Cavalry Division at Taji Air Base, which came with increased responsibility. “It was dangerous. You could do everything right and still get hurt.” He recalled one incident when a grenade hit directly behind his vehicle and exploded, narrowly missing him.

One of the key tasks was to train the Iraqi Army. “If we were going to use them on a mission, we’d typically not tell them what we were going to do until right before the mission, because they were liable to call the folks we were after,” Chastain said.

For this deployment, Chastain was away from his civilian job at the USDA for 22 months. “I was fortunate working for the Department of Agriculture,” but it was “pretty traumatic for a lot of other folks,” he said.

Chastain remained the 39th Infantry Brigade commander for more than five years as a result of the war. At the end of that extension, he was promoted to Major General and assigned to Wartime Chief of Staff for U.S. Forces – Korea.

Former Governor Mike Huckabee appointed him Adjutant General of the Arkansas National Guard in 2006.

He later served as Deputy Commander, Reserve Component at Forces Command in Atlanta. During this time, he traveled across the country visiting mobilized guard units.

After 38 years of military service commanding units in two different wars, Chastain retired from the Arkansas National Guard. He was recognized for his distinguished service with awards including the Army Distinguished Service Medal, two Legions of Merit and two Bronze Star medals. He was also inducted into the Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame in 2014.

“It’s not always the highest rank that you make that is the most fulfilling. The most fulfilling assignment I’ve ever had was as commander of the 39th Brigade,” Chastain said of his time in the military.

Following his distinguished military career and successful career at USDA, he continued his public service as a member of Senator Boozman’s staff where he served as an agriculture liaison. He also taught elementary students across the state about the history and proper care of the American and Arkansas flags.

“Major General Chastain has led a life devoted to his country, state and community. I am thankful for his military service to our nation, and his civil service to Arkansas and his steady guidance during his time on my team. He is an excellent example for all Arkansans and Americans to follow. I am proud of this servant leader and all he has accomplished and am honored to call him a friend,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Chastain’s entire interview to the Veteran’s History Project, an initiative of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center to collect and retain the oral histories of our nation’s veterans.

June 10, 2022

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

The agenda is as follows:   
A. Call To Order
B.  Invocation – Rev. Conner Davis, Pastor – First Assembly Of God Church, 1275 Maul Road,                           Camden, Arkansas  71701
C. Pledge Of Allegiance
D. Roll Call
E. Approval Of Minutes
    1. Minutes Regular Meeting May 10, 2022
F. Acceptance Of Financial Report
     1. Financial Report For May 2022
G. Audience Participation
H. Mayor’s Report
I.  Old Business
J.  New Business
     1.   Resolution No. 31-22, A Resolution Amending The Annual Operating Budget For 2022; And For Other Purposes.
     2.   Resolution No. 32-22, A Resolution Amending The Annual Operating Budget For 2022; And For Other Purposes.
     3. Resolution No. 33-22, A Resolution Amending The Annual Operating Budget For 2022; And For Other Purposes.
     4. Resolution No. 34-22, A Resolution Declaring Firefighting Apparatus Obsolete And Authorizing Its Donation To The Buena Vista And Two Bayou Fire Department
     5. Resolution No. 35-22, A Resolution Authorizing The Mayor To Settle A Claim; Amending The Annual Operating  Budget For 2022; And For Other Purposes.
     6. Resolution No. 36-22, A Resolution Amending The City And Rescue Grant Budgets For The Purpose Of Claiming Revenue Replacements Funds For Police And Fire Salaries And Employer Payroll Contributions.   
K.  Other Business
L.  Adjournment

 

ARKANSAS “FREE FISHING WEEKEND” BEGINS TODAY
A proclamation made by Governor Asa Hutchinson has permitted anyone in Arkansas to fish without a license or trout stamp beginning Friday.’Free Fishing Weekend’ will last until midnight Sunday night.

An annual tradition sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and approved by the governor, ‘Free Fishing Weekend’ is said to provide an opportunity to enjoy the angling The Natural State has to offer.

At $10.50 a year, Arkansas has one of the least expensive fishing licenses in the country, not having seen an increase since 1984.

The fee for the fishing license will be waived for the weekend as a way to remove as many barriers as possible for enjoying the outdoors.

A few family-friendly catfish derbies will be held on Saturday.
In Marion County, the Fred Berry Conservation Education Center will host a kids-only derby at the Fred Berry Pond;
In Boone County, the Kiwanis of Harrison will host a kids-only derby at Crooked Creek; and
In Stone County, the U.S. Forest Service of Stone County will host a kids-only derby at Mirror Lake.

For a complete list of catfish derbies taking place throughout the season visit agfc.com

 

STATE CAPITOL EXHIBIT TO CELEBRATE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – The Buffalo National River celebrates its 50th anniversary as part of the National Park Service this year. This summer, the Arkansas State Capitol’s first and fourth-floor galleries will feature “The River Remains: 50 Years on the Buffalo National River,” a celebration of the Buffalo River and its distinction of being a “national river”—the first of its kind in the national park system.  The exhibit will be opened to the public beginning June 13th.

In the 1960s, the government made plans to utilize the river’s natural resources to grow the infrastructure of the state by adding dams.  In this exhibit, you will learn about a fearless group of Arkansans who worked together to prevent their beloved Buffalo River from being forever changed.

The story of the Buffalo National River begins centuries ago and is still being written today. Along with prehistoric artifacts from early Ozark inhabitants to contemporary art inspired by the natural environment, “The River Remains” highlights the Buffalo River’s history, biodiversity, struggles, and culture.

“The River Remains: 50 Years on the Buffalo National River” will remain on display in the Arkansas Capitol’s first and fourth-floor exhibit galleries through August 29th.  To learn more about the Buffalo National River, visit www.nps.gov/buff/getinvolved/50th-anniversary.htm.

June 09, 2022

CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS INCLUDING 
Shoplifting, DUI, High Speed Chase
On 6/8/2022 at 11:27 am, Officer Chanel Bailey and Sergeant Dakota Davis were dispatched to Walmart Supercenter for a Shoplifting report.

Upon arrival, Officer met with the reporting party who stated that a former employee, Danny Mosley, was caught on camera stuffing a package of Gorilla Glue, valued at $5.64, into one of his shopping bags with medicine he had purchased. He also stated that Mosley was a former employee that had been terminated from the store for shoplifting. And went on to say that Mosley will also be banned from the store after this incident

A shoplifting affidavit was filled out on scene, A ban form was also completed. ·

Mosley was arrested on scene and transported to the Camden Police Department to undergo booking procedures. Mosely was issued a citation for Shop lilting and was advised of his court date for 7/6/2022 at 0900 hours Jud was informed that if he were to enter Walmart again, he would be arrested.

On June 6, 2022 at 3:45 pm, Sergeant Nathan Lane was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to possible shoplifting. Upon arrival the Officer made contact with the reporting party who stated he was in the garden center working on the fire doors. He said he observed a black male, later identified as Billy Curtis Jr. and a female exiting the store through the garden center. He stated the male was acting suspicious and observed he had a bag with an item in it. He said he asked him for his receipt and Curtis told him, "Well I haven't bought those yet," Curtis was then brought to the Asset Protection Office.

While trying to watch footage of the incident, Curtis stated he was going to return the chainsaw blade he had, then pay for the shoes. The shoes were already inside a WalMart bag. While searching Curtis, Officer Lane observed that Curtis had on a pair of shoes exactly like the ones he had in the bag. Total cost for the items stolen was $11.08. Curtis will be banned from Wal-Mart.

Curtis was taken into custody and transported to the station without incident. Booking was completed. Curtis was later released with a Criminal Citation for Shoplifting and a court date.

On 6/4/2022 at 2117 hours, Officer Chanel Bailey and Sergeant Dakota Davis initiated a traffic stop on a blue Chevrolet Cavalier on the comer of Clifton and Adams for running a stop sign on Adams and Jefferson.

Upon making contact with the driver, Michael Gulley, Gulley attempted to get out of the vehicle. Officer Bailey instructed him to keep his hands visible and stay in the vehicle.

Gulley willingly provided his ID and proof of insurance but was unable to provide registration for the vehicle. Upon running his information through dispatch, the Officer was informed that Gulley's drivers’ license was suspended. Upon filling out the ticket, Sergeant Davis noticed an open can of Bud light and when Gulley was questioned about it, he stated he had been drinking shortly before he got on the road.

Sergeant Davis performed a field sobriety test on Gulley at the scene. Gulley was deemed unfit to drive and he contacted his. Aunt to come and get the car. Gulley was arrested without further incident and taken to the Sheriff’s Department to undergo a breathalyzer test. Upon undergoing the breathalyzer test, Gulley blew a .124. Gulley was then escorted to CPD to undergo booking.

Gulley was charged with DWI 2nd offense issued a citation. Gulley was also issued a citation for Failure to yield to stop sign, Drinking on Highway, and Driving on a Suspended License. Gulley was released after being advised of his court date.

On June 5, 2022 at 4:17 am, Sergeant Dakota Davis along with Officer Jackson were in the 500 block of Carver Courts, when a red Nissan Altima made a U-Turn and struck a tan Chevrolet Malibu (

Sergeant Davis attempted to stop the vehicle beginning on Day Street at Frazier Street. The vehicle rolled through the stop sign making a left tum onto Frazier Street towards Johnson Street. Once it reached Johnson Street, it rolled through the stop sign making a right turn towards Lincoln Drive. The car then rolled through the stop sign making a left turn onto Lincoln Drive and then a right turn onto Cross Street which merged into Skyline Drive. The car then rolled through another stop sign making a right tum onto Highway 278 towards Cash Road. During the pursuit between Skyline Drive and Cash Road Sergeant Davis reported reaching speeds of 100 MPH. The car ran through the red light at the intersection of Highway 278 and Cash Road, and continued through the green light at Highway 278 at Generations bank and then through the red light at Highway 278 at Country Club Road. Once through that intersection, the chase reached speeds of l 115 MPH.

Sergeant Davis saw the car begin to fishtail and lose control as it was going around the curve almost to Washington. The vehicle left the roadway, rolling 5 consecutive times. The vehicle was approximately 200 yards away from where it originally left the roadway.

Sergeant Davis then exited his patrol unit and ran towards the suspect vehicle with his duty weapon drawn. While doing so, he observed a black male who he knew to be Keno Bowens crawling out of the back window of the vehicle. Bowens began to walk away from the vehicle.

Bowens was taken into custody. While we were walking back to the patrol car, the Sergeant observed a strong odor of intoxicants coming from Bowens breath and person.

Due to the circumstances, EMS was dispatched to in regard to Bowens. He was uncooperative with them and refused medical treatment. He was placed into the patrol unit.

I then conducted an inventory of the vehicle, in which a half drank bottle of Bacardi Gold was located at the driver front door. A local Wrecker Service arrived and took possession of the vehicle.

Bowens was transported to the station where booking procedures were completed and later approved. He is charged with Fleeing and will await First Appearance. He was given Traffic Citations for Speeding, Driving on Suspended License, DWI 1st, No Seatbelt, Left Scene of Accident, Ran Stop Sign X4, Ran Red Light X2, Reckless Driving, and Drinking on the Highway, as well as a Citation for Refusal of BAC. He was given court date.

While at the station, Bowens was read his Arkansas Statement of Rights, He refused a breath test. A 20-minute observation was completed. Bowens was later transported to OCSO to await his First Appearance. An accident report was also completed for the incident, as well as a Pursuit Form.


SUSPECT IN CUSTODY; MARION COUNTY HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION CONTINUING
JUNE 8, 2022
A 15 year-old has been taken into custody by Arkansas State Police Special Agents and is being held in connection with the death of a Marion County man.

The male youth is being detained at Conway under laws applicable to an accused juvenile offender until a decision is made whether to criminally charge the youth as an adult or proceed with a juvenile adjudication process.

Sheriff’s deputies in Marion County discovered the body of Daniel W. Stine, 80, at his home southwest of Yellville Monday night (June 6th) about 11:30.  Deputies had responded to the residence at 2723 Arkansas Highway 235 after receiving a report of an intruder inside the home and gunshots.

The sheriff’s department contacted the Arkansas State Police requesting the department’s Criminal Investigation Division investigate Stine’s death.  The investigation is continuing.

June 08, 2022

THE CAMDEN JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION WILL MAKE ITS TRIUMPHANT RETURN FROM JUNE 17-19!
Camden, AR - Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

JUNETEENTH PARADE AND KIDS BLOCK PARTY
Friday, June 17 – 6-9 p.m. (Line up at 5 p.m.)

Homecoming Parade Route: Line up near the Post Office on Washington Street. The Route will go down to Adams, take a right, and then another right on Jackson Street. The parade will end at the corner of Jackson and Pope Street. The Kids Block Party will start at Ira Clark Park on Progress Street immediately after the parade.

JUNETEENTH Peace in the Park
Saturday June 18 – 1 p.m. at Carnes Park
Calling all Greek Organizations, Civic Clubs, Churches and kids to bring out their tents for a peaceful summer event. Music and a plethora of vendors and food trucks will be in attendance.

JUNETEENTH CAR SHOW
Sunday, June 19 – 5 p.m. at Carnes Park
This year's Car Show and concert will be hosted by Camden's own Demarcus “Creekwater” Fletcher. 1st place and runner up trophies given out in over 20 categories. There is a $20 fee for Cars, Trucks, Jeeps and SUVs and $10 for Motorcycles and Slingshots

While things are better in terms of the pandemic, we ask that if you are feeling sick you be mindful of others and stay at home. Also, social distancing is still encouraged.

This is a peaceful and free event!
For more information, visit facebook.com/camdenjuneteenth or email camdenjuneteenth870@yahoo.com

 

HOMICIDE IN MARION COUNTY BEING INVESTIGATED BY ASP/CID
JUNE 7, 2022
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police have been requested to investigate a reported homicide involving an 80 year-old Marion County man.  Daniel W. Stine was reportedly shot in his home Monday night (June 6th).

The Marion County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call of an intruder in the home about 11:15 PM.  The residence is located at 2723 Arkansas Highway 235, southwest of Yellville.  Deputies found Stine dead, the victim of an apparent gunshot wound.  The body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the cause and manner of death and time of death.

State police special agents entered the home today to begin their crime scene investigation.

A family member was reportedly inside the house at the time of the shooting and has been questioned.

The investigation is continuing.
 

AG ALERT: ENSURE YOUR CHILD IS SAFE ONLINE
Says ‘While technology can be an invaluable resource for learning, it can expose your child to criminal or inappropriate activity’
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is sending an important warning for parents to take time to monitor their child’s internet usage and social media accounts. Social media sites are a valuable resource for learning and connecting with others, but these platforms also enable bullying, anonymous messaging and exploitation of children by criminals.

“While technology can be an invaluable resource for learning, it can also expose your child to criminal or inappropriate activity,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important we all take the necessary steps to protect our most precious Arkansans from those who want to do them harm.”

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge urges parents to familiarize themselves with these phone apps that may make children vulnerable to dangers online:

Bumble – Bumble is a popular dating app that requires women to make the first contact. It is common for minors to use this app and falsify their age.

Chatous – Chatous is a messaging app that allows users to chat and share images. This app makes it easy for predators to engage in age-inappropriate conversations with potential victims.

Discord – Discord is a voice and text chat tool that allows gamers to communicate in real time. Users can chat, add friends one-on-one or in larger groups. This app discusses content geared towards adults, but allows users as young as 13.

Grindr – Grindr is a dating app for LGBTQ adults, not children. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet with people based on a smartphone’s GPS location.

Houseparty – Houseparty is a group video chat app that allows users to communicate via live video chats and texts. There is no screening, and the video is live. Users can also communicate with people they do not know.

Live.Me – Live.Me allows users to livestream videos using geo-location to share the videos so other users can find the broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn “coins” to “pay” minors for photos.

Monkey – Monkey is an app that allows users as young as 12 to chat with people all over the world during a brief introductory call, then users are given the chance to add each other on Snapchat.

Phony Calculator App– Most phones have a calculator. However there are many third party calculator apps that actually serve as a “vault” where the user can hide photos, videos, files and even browser history data.

Snapchat – Snapchat is a photo & video sharing app that promises users their photo or video will disappear even though it does not. Snapchat stories allow users to view content for up to 24 hours and share their location.

TikTok – TikTok is a popular app among kids that is used to create and share short videos with limited privacy controls. Users are vulnerable to explicit content and cyberbullying.
Tinder – Tinder is a dating app that allows users to “swipe right” to like someone and “swipe left” to pass. Users can falsify their age, share photos, message, and meet.

Tumblr – Tumblr is a blogging app and website that allows users as young as 13 to create an account. There are very few privacy settings and pornography is easy to find. Most posts are public and cannot be made private.

WhatsApp – WhatsApp is a popular messaging app allowing users to text, send photos, make calls and leave voicemails worldwide.

Whisper – Whisper is a social network that allows users to share secrets anonymously and it reveals the users’ location so strangers can meet.

Yik Yak – Yik Yak is a social media app that allows an individual to anonymously chat with other app users within a 5-mile radius. Due to its anonymous nature, bullying, sexually explicit or other graphic content is often encountered on the platform.

YouTube – YouTube is a video sharing app that may not be age appropriate for kids. Inappropriate content can be found using innocent search terms, but with parental controls this can be avoided.

Yubo – Yubo is a social media app that allows users as young as 13 to create a profile, share their location, view other users’ profiles in their area and view livestreams. Substance abuse, profanity, racial slurs and scantily clad people are common.

Parents should follow the following tips to monitor their child’s online activity:
Talk to children about sexual victimization and the potential of online danger.
Keep the computer or laptop in a common room of the house, not in a child’s bedroom.
Utilize parental controls available from internet service providers or use blocking software.
Always maintain access to a child’s online account and monitor text, email and other message inboxes.
Teach children the responsible use of online resources.
Familiarize yourself with computer safeguards being utilized at school, the library and at friends’ homes.
Never automatically assume that what a child is told online is true.
Control which apps your child downloads by following these steps.

Arkansans can report child exploitation by calling the National CyberTipline at (800) 843-5678, or visit CyberTipline.com. In the event of an emergency, dial 911, or call local law enforcement.

 

FIVE FOURTH DISTRICT STUDENTS APPOINTED TO SERVICE ACADEMIES
WASHINGTON - Five Fourth District students received appoints to the U.S. Service Academies for the class of 2026. This weekend, Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04) hosted a sendoff for three students and their families at the Hot Springs District Office. Rep. Westerman released the following statement:

"I am immensely proud of these students and their drive to serve their country," said Rep. Westerman. "It was an honor to be a part of their acceptance to these academies and I look forward to watching their careers. I am confident these young men and women will represent Arkansas well!" 

Full list of academy appointments:
United States Military Academy - Johnathan Walker, Watson Chapel High School
United States Naval Academy - Abigail Nance, Acorn High School
United States Naval Academy - Sean Carnal, Cumberland Valley High School, Mechanicsburg, PA*
United States Air Force Academy - Carson Williams, Fordyce High School
United States Air Force Academy - Adrian Post, Ozark High School

Background
*Students with parents on active duty in the military with permanent residence on record in Arkansas' Fourth District may apply for nomination.

For more information on the Congressional nomination process please visit here.

 

WESTERMAN COSPONSORS SCHOOL SAFETY AND MENTAL HEALTH LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) joined Richard Hudson (R-NC) to introduce the STOP II, Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act. This legislation builds on the STOP School Violence Act, signed into law in 2018, to authorize $1 billion for school resource officers, $1 billion for mental health guidance counselors, and $5 billion for hardening schools, providing active shooter training, and ensuring that law enforcement, school officials, and students know how to intervene before a student reaches a breaking point. The $7 billion legislation is fully paid for with already approved, but unused COVID-19 funds.

“I joined Rep. Hudson to introduce STOP II, the Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act, to provide states the resources they need to address mental health concerns and strengthen school security," said Rep. Westerman. "The legislation put forward this week by my friends across the aisle is an emotionally charged band-aid that will do little to protect Americans or make schools safer. Preventing gun violence is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Through this bill, we will empower communities to devote resources to the areas where they see need, instead of imposing the weight of the federal government on law abiding citizens who would never engage in violence.”

"As a dad of a child in elementary school, I want to do everything possible to protect children in schools. Instead of gun control that threatens the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, this legislation is targeted to make schools safer, improve mental health, and save lives," said Rep. Hudson. "Many are saying 'do something.' I say let's do something that matters. The STOP II Act will actually prevent school shootings and is one of numerous solutions by House Republicans to address the problems we face."

In addition to $7 billion to fund school resources officers and mental health guidance counselors, STOP II, Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act closes loopholes in school security by allowing schools to apply under the STOP School Violence Act for grants to complete risk assessments and identify gaps in mental health services for students. It also codifies a clearinghouse at the Department of Homeland Security to assess, identify, and share best practices related to school safety.

To improve emergency preparedness, STOP II requires federal agencies to continuously update, develop, and provide training materials on bullying and cyberbullying, emergency planning, mental health, and targeted violence to help schools prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from a range of school safety threats, hazards, and emergency situations.
 
Original cosponsors to the STOP II Act include Reps. Austin Scott (GA-08), Greg Murphy (NC-03), Steve Womack (AR-03), Don Bacon (NE-02), Jack Bergman (MI-01), Brad Wenstrup (OH-02), Mike Johnson (LA-04), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), David Joyce (OH-14), John Joyce (PA-13), Rodney Davis (IL-13), and John Curtis (UT-03).

 

BOOZMAN BILLS TO ENHANCE VETERAN BREAST CANCER CARE, IMPROVE VA OVERSIGHT SIGNED INTO LAW
WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden signed a suite of veterans legislation into law today including several bills led by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“This is a tremendous day for the men and women who served our country and now rely on the VA for quality health care and benefits,” Boozman said. “I’ve been pleased to work in a bipartisan way to get these measures across the finish line so we can save lives through modern approaches to breast cancer screening and treatment as well as increased accountability within the department. Our veterans deserve this progress and now we must ensure these laws are implemented in a timely and effective way.”

Boozman watches alongside VA Sec. McDonough, lawmakers and the family of Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas as President Biden signs veterans legislation into law

The Boozman-led bills signed into law include:

The Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act that will require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

The Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act, which will require the VA to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services, create a telemammography pilot program for veterans in areas where the VA does not offer in-house mammography and expand veterans’ access to clinical trials through partnerships with the National Cancer Institute. The legislation would also require the VA to upgrade all in-house breast imaging to 3D mammography, which is considered the gold standard of imaging technology.

The Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act of 2021, a measure to provide the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the authority to subpoena Stestimony from former VA employees who have left federal service, former contractor personnel who performed work for the department, or other potentially relevant individuals during its inspections, reviews and investigations.

 

COTTON: UNETHICAL FOR WHITE HOUSE STAFF TO “FORGIVE” THEIR OWN STUDENT DEBT
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today called on President Joe Biden to require aides with federal student loan debt to be recused from any discussions about a student loan debt transfer plan.

In part, Cotton wrote, “President Biden promised to ‘Restore Ethics in Government,’ to prevent ‘self-enrichment,’ and to ‘[ensure] that everyone in a position of public trust eliminates even the appearance that their financial holdings could influence decision-making.’” 

“It’s hard to imagine a more blatant example of ‘self-enrichment’ than White House aides with federal student loan debt working to transfer their debts to taxpayers who never attended college,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

To: WH EOP, Office of Government Ethics, Department of Education
Cc: House Ethics Committee, Senate Ethics Committee, OMB

Despite claiming that we are in a strong economy, President Biden has repeatedly delayed repayment of federal student loans. Public reports state that the President is also planning to “forgive” at least $10,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower by transferring these debts to taxpayers. The failure to require repayment has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and transferring the debt would cost billions more.

Bloomberg reported that dozens of White House aides have substantial federal student loan debt[1]. This is a clear conflict of interest, as these aides stand to profit by transferring their debts to taxpayers.

President Biden promised to “Restore Ethics in Government,” to prevent “self-enrichment,” and to “[ensure] that everyone in a position of public trust eliminates even the appearance that their financial holdings could influence decision-making[2].” 

It’s hard to imagine a more blatant example of “self-enrichment” than White House aides with federal student loan debt working to transfer their debts to taxpayers who never attended college.

Does the White House require aides with federal student loan debt to be recused from working on a student loan debt transfer plan? If not, why not?

June 06, 2022

JONESBORO SHOOTING SUSPECT FIRES ON TROOPERS AND LOCAL POLICE
JUNE 4, 2022
The Arkansas State Police is investigating a shooting incident involving multiple law enforcement officers of the Jonesboro Police Department, Craighead County Sheriff’s Office and state troopers.  The officers were the targets of gunfire from a suspect who had shot a man earlier today at a Jonesboro rice mill.

In the exchange of gunfire, Walter Antreall Joyce, 45, of Memphis, was shot and killed.

Local police officers, a sheriff’s deputy and troopers had pursued the shooting suspect before his vehicle was stopped by a trooper using a precision intervention technique along Interstate 555 near Nettleton Avenue.

Joyce ignored repeated commands from officers to exit the vehicle and surrender.  Moments before 11 AM, the suspect opened fire on the officers who then returned fire.  Joyce was pronounced dead the at the scene.  No law enforcement officers were injured.

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are conducting an investigation into the use of deadly force by the officers involved in the return of gunfire.  The investigative case file will be submitted to the Craighead County prosecuting attorney who will determine whether the law enforcement officers used deadly force as prescribed under state laws.

The Jonesboro Police Department and Craighead County Sheriff’s Office will determine whether to release the identity of their officers who used deadly force and their administrative status.

Consistent with Arkansas State Police policy, two state troopers have been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues.  The identity of the troopers will be released next week.

OKLAHOMA MAN SURRENDERS; FACES CHARGES IN ARKANSAS I-40 DEATHS
JUNE 3, 2022
Ivan Santos surrendered to Oklahoma authorities today based on an Arkansas criminal arrest warrant filed in connection with a deadly highway crash in Arkansas last month.

Santos, 29, of Norman, is charged with three counts of negligent vehicular homicide while intoxicated, four counts of attempted negligent vehicular homicide while intoxicated, battery (second degree) and driving while intoxicated.

The charges stem from an Arkansas State Police investigation of an Interstate 40 vehicle crash in Crawford County on May 12th this year.  Santos was the driver of a pick-up truck traveling east in the westbound lanes of traffic when he hit six motorcycles, leaving three people dead and six injured.

Santos is being held by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department pending his return to Arkansas for an initial court appearance.

 

ARKANSAS ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE CORPORATION TO ADD 122-MW WOODRUFF COUNTY SOLAR FACILITY
Project under construction near former Carl Bailey Generation Station in Augusta
Little Rock, Ark. — June 3, 2022 — Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) recently began construction of a 122-megawatt solar facility adjacent to the site of the former Carl Bailey Generation Station in Augusta.

According to AECC officials, construction of the Woodruff County Solar facility began in May and is scheduled to begin commercial operation in July 2023.

“AECC and our member cooperatives support all types of wholesale power generation resources, such as affordable, non-fossil resources like solar,” said Buddy Hasten, president/CEO of AECC. “As part of our long-range planning, the Woodruff County Solar project fits into our need for additional capacity for our member cooperatives. The intermittent energy produced by this facility will supplement our mission-critical baseload generation resources.”

Hasten said that AECC is one of the lowest-cost generation and transmission cooperatives in the United States. He praised the dedication of electric cooperative leaders and employees that provide affordable and reliable electricity to the 600,000 electric cooperative members and noted that this commitment has led to the cooperative’s success in providing reliable, affordable electricity in a responsible manner.

DEPCOM Power, a leading solar engineering and construction company, will engineer and construct the plant. “We are proud to have been selected to construct the facility for the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation. As we build the plant over the next year we look forward to supporting the local community, providing jobs, and hiring local services. Social stewardship and delivering reliable solar energy remain at the forefront of our commitment to Arkansas,” said Tony Perrino, DEPCOM Power - Chief Operating Officer.

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

DEPCOM Power, a Koch Engineered Solutions company, is a leading energy solutions partner for the utility solar and energy industries providing Project Development Support, Engineering, Procurement & Construction, Energy Storage, Repowering and Operations and Maintenance services. DEPCOM Power leverages a highly experienced power team, technology-agnostic top-tier equipment, and cost-effective solution delivery methods to provide optimum levels of agility, price, and quality. For more information about DEPCOM Power, please visit depcompower.com.

 

SAAC ANNOUNCES CAST FOR MAMMA MIA!
Director Cherrie Sciro and Music Director D.H. Clark have announced the cast of the South Arkansas Arts Center summer musical, Mamma Mia! The show is scheduled to open in July, running from July 14-16 and July 20-24; performances will start at 7:30 pm, with 2:30 pm Sunday matinees.

The cast includes: Courtney Taylor as Sophie Sheridan, Hannah Elizabeth as Ali, Avery Hall as Lisa, Andria Gleghorn as Donna Sheridan, Melinda Garrison as Tanya, Cassie Hickman as Rosie, Clemente Saenz as Sky, Matthew Power as Pepper, Austin Groves as Eddie, Thomas Brewster as Harry Bright, Chris Curry as Bill Austin, Brooks Walthall as Sam Carmichael, and Keith Owens as Father Alexandrios.

Ensemble includes: Renee Bearden, Morgan Butler, Madeline Couture, Tracye Couture, Rhett Davis, Benton Garrison, Ruth Griffin, Boomer Hill, Hannah Hopson, Damadja Kimble, Charlsie Langley, Kennedy Langston, Deanna Hopson, Jada Neeley, Hayden Nooner, Khalyin Sanders, Summer Shipp, and Traci Stevenson.

Sciro remarked that all of the individuals who auditioned were so talented that it made the directors’ job to name the final cast very difficult, but she is thrilled to be working with these individuals this summer.

“It is incredibly exciting to be around people who want to do theatre,” said Sciro. “We have a lot of really new faces, and a lot of people who have never ever done theatre before, and that’s scary, but it’s so darn exciting!”

Sciro continued that Clark and Choreographer Hannah Marsh would be joining rehearsals this week, “I’m excited to get our creative team in here and get started. Everything is exciting right now!”

Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical, based on the songs of ABBA composed by members of the band. The show takes place on the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi, where 20-year-old Sophie is preparing to marry her fiancé, Sky. She wants her father to walk her down the aisle, but doesn't know who he is.

Sophie discovers her mother Donna’s old diary and finds entries which describe three men: Sam Carmichael, Bill Austin, and Harry Bright. Sophie believes one of these men is her father, and three months before her nuptials, sends each an invitation to her wedding, writing in her mother's name without letting her know. All three men accept, and chaos ensues on the island as Donna reconnects with these men and old relationships are revisited.

Mamma Mia! is sponsored by Murphy USA. The SAAC box office opens June 23. Tickets are $30 for the general public, $20 for SAAC members, and $10 for students. Opening night tickets are $30 for everyone and $10 for students. There will be a reception on opening night. For more information, visit www.saac-arts.org, or call the box office at 870-862-5474.
 

MIKE MEANS TO HOST PINTS AND PASTELS AT SAAC JUNE 16
Cheers, Matey! Come enjoy a twist to Corks and Canvas on June 16th at 6pm and "Paint a Pint" during Pints and Pastels with local artist Mike Means. Using pastels, Mike will help you "tap" into your creative side.

You will be guided through the drawing process as you bring your own pint to life on 9x12 pastel paper. "I like to draw, and using pastels is more of a drawing medium. Using pastels can be fun and messy but always enjoyable. We are just going to have fun - no judgements. So, come paint with me and maybe have a pint or two!"

Enjoy a time of relaxation with your friends while re-creating the featured painting of the night. Soft pastels and pastel paper are "on us." So meet at the "watering hole" and join an experienced, award-winning local artist while he leads you step-by-step through the process of creating your own frothy masterpiece.

Corks and Canvas painting classes have something for everyone, from the newbie to the seasoned painter. Because it is really geared toward artists of all skill levels-even those who have never held a paintbrush before-Corks & Canvas truly is an accessible way to have some fun and learn a new skill at the same time. Making art together is a great icebreaker for friends new and old.

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

To register for the Pints and Pastels hosted by Mike Means, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

June 03, 2022

CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
FLEEING
OBSTRUCTING GOVERNMENT AL OPERATION
REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO ARREST
On May 29, 2022 at 1941 hours, Officer Jonathan Cooper was dispatched to 124 Hildreth Street in reference to a dog at large. Upon arrival the Officer made contact with the complaintant who resides at 108 Hildreth Street. The woman stated that she was outside cutting grass when a black German Sheppard charged at her like he was going to bite her. She stated that she has a concealed carry license and she fired 1 shot at the dog causing it to run back next door. She went on to say that this is an ongoing problem with her neighbor's dog trying to attack her. She had notified the Animal Control Officer, but the problem was never addressed so she called the Mayor.

The Officer then made contact with an Adrian Valdez who resides at 124 Hildreth Street. Valdez was standing at the fence of 124 Hildreth. Valdez stated all of his dogs were on the leash and that the dog that his neighbor is referring to is a dog that just came. to his residence and he started to care for it. Valdez was advised that since he's taking care of the animal, it has to be placed on a leash.

Valdez was asked to provide his I.D. and he stated he has not committed a crime so he refused to provide that infomation for the investigation. Valdez ran from the gate to his porch. He was asked several times to provide his information, but he refused. Officers attempted to place Valdez under arrest for obstruction of governmental operation and he ran into his residence. Valdez was commanded numerous of times to come back outside. Valdez later open the door and officer again attempted to take Valdez into custody but he refused to submit to officers.

Lieutenant Sharlotte Elliott had arrived on scene and she observed several females drive up to the location; one being his daughter. Valdez began speaking in Spanish to his daughter advising he had done nothing wrong and he would not give Lieutenant Elliott his information. Lieutenant Elliott asked the daughter who the dog belonged to and she stated the dog was on their property, they got a collar for it and has been taking care of it ever since.

Lieutenant Elliot advised Officer Cooper to take Valdez into custody. As the Officers advanced towards the front porch, Valdez ran into the residence and slammed the door in the Officers face. Valdez finally opened the front door. Once the door was opened, Officer Cooper and Lieutenant Elliott made entry and attempted to take Valdez into custody for Obstructing Governmental Operations. He was very combative and refused to submit to arrest. Family members rushed into the residence and began hindering apprehension. They were commanded to move. Officer Cooper and I the Lieutenant were able handcuff Valdez and take him into custody. He was escorted to the back of Officer Cooper's patrol vehicle and transported to the station without incident.

Booking procedures were completed and later approved by Lieutenant Elliott, Valdez. was given criminal citation for Fleeing, Obstruction of Governmental Operation, and refusal to submit. Valdez also received a citation for Dog at Large with a District Court date.
 

MUSICFEST EL DORADO TAKING IT “BACK TO THE STREETS!”
October 7th & 8th in Downtown El Dorado, AR.
El Dorado, Arkansas –MusicFest 34 returns for another amazing weekend of music, VINTAGE STYLE, back in the middle of the streets in Downtown El Dorado. Two days, four stages and over twenty five musical acts featuring Shenandoah, Chayce Beckham, Mitch Rossell, Mae Estes, former members of Lynyrd Skynyrd with The Artimus Pyle Band, and many more performing at South Arkansas' largest outdoor music event.

MusicFest El Dorado returns to the streets featuring live music from top touring acts, tribute party bands and regional favorites. MusicFest 34 has something for everyone with family events, festival food & shopping, cook-off contests and much much more. Festival times are 5pm until midnight on Friday, October 7th and 9am until midnight on Saturday, October 8th. For festival information, artist info, music and press info, visit www.mainstreeteldorado.org

Announcing MusicFest El Dorado’s VINTAGE BACK TO THE STREETS LINE-UP!
Legendary Country Music Icons
SHENANDOAH
Always at the forefront when talking about Country Music Icons, Shenandoah became legends for delivering such top charting hits as “Two Dozen Roses”, “Church on Cumberland Road” and “Next to You, Next to Me” as well as the classics “I Want to be Loved Like That” and the Grammy winning “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart”.

After winning the Academy of Country Music’s Vocal Group of the Year, a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group & countless other awards; the legacy continues as original members reunite to launch a new chapter in Shenandoah’s storied career. After 17 years apart, Shenandoah is back on the stage like they never stopped.

Today Shenandoah is in the top five recurrents on all the XM radio shows which includes Alabama and George Strait. They have recorded nine studio albums and placed 26 singles on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and have left a potent legacy on country music radio.

American Idol Winner & Country Superstar
CHAYCE BECKHAM
Chayce Beckham is one of the most talked about newcomers in Country music today, having won over a millions fans while competing on ABC’s American Idol. Nicknamed by superstar Katy Perry as “the heart of America” Beckham became the first show winner to claim the title with an original song. Singer, songwriter, and entertainer 25-year-old Beckham’s music has quickly shot to the top of both the iTunes Country and All Genre charts, racking up more than 85 million on-demand streams. Now record label signed, Chayce’s debut album is is getting rave revues on USA Today, E! News! & Billboard, and is blowing up the Country radio charts.

 Straight off the Garth Brooks Tour
MITCH ROSSELL
Mitch Rossell's all-American country music has earned him an audience across the globe — both as a solo artist and as the songwriter behind hits like Garth Brooks' number one smash hits including "Ask Me How I Know”, All Day Long”, "Dive Bar" and “That’s What Cowboys Do”. Rossell's honky-tonk performances have became a hit night after night as he tours and his music has racked up 15 million views on Youtube, millions of streams on Spotify, millions of fans on TikTok and a #1 spot on iTunes.

Rising Country Music Star
MAE ESTES
Arkansas native Mae Estes has been performing country music live on stage since she was 7 years old. Mae merges the timelessness of classic country music with modern melodies to create her artistry, both as a songwriter and a performer. Her first single received over 100,000 streams on Spotify, making both the Fresh Finds Country and New Music Nashville playlists. Later that year, Mae was asked to tour internationally with Armed Forces Entertainment, which lead to more, valuable live performance experience at U.S. Air Force Bases in Guam, Diego Garcia and Singapore. Within just three weeks, her latest release, “Roses,” surpassed 100K streams on both Apple Music and Spotify, and now has well over 1million streams. Fresh off a win as Female Vocalist of the Year and a nomination for Song of the Year at the 2021 Arkansas Country Music Awards, momentum is definitely in her favor. CMT exclusively premiered the first music video of Mae’s career, describing her as “a country newcomer playing a vital role in reshaping the genre with her truthful and non-surface-level storytelling.”

Former band member of Lynyrd Skynyrd
THE ARTIMUS PYLE BAND
More than just a "tribute" to Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Artimus Pyle Band is headed up by legendary Artimus Pyle, the 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, drummer and legendarily dubbed the "wild man" of the megastar rock and roll band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Artimus Pyle Band is a high energy, true to the music, and true to the era rock group. This is a band of the most seasoned musicians in the south and they deliver hit after hit, night after night including Freebird, Sweet Home Alabama and all of the best of Skynyrd with one of men who made them!

Other acts scheduled to perform on the main stage include: The Queen of the stage, Selana Tribute Artist, CRISTINA AMARO; the live experience of the Eagles with Southern Rock favorites JOSH WALKER AND THE TANNEHILL BAND; the music of Stevie Nicks with regional favorite party band THE KARLA CASE BAND.

Other regional acts scheduled to perform include: HiSyde, Beaux Atkins, Blackstrap, Coupe Deville, Jacob Flores, Crutchfield, Trey Gauthreaux, Eric Meadows, Mason Halstead, JT Lee, Brody McKinney, The Bennett Hall Band, Josh Stewart, Shaw Revolver, The Side Street Steppers, Wyatt Putman, Huckleberry Jam & MORE!!!

EVENTS:
In addition to dozens of exciting musical acts, MusicFest features a host of attractions and events to create an incredible weekend for the entire family. There is something for everyone at MusicFest 34 including; The Murphy USA Kids’ World with magician attractions, sidewalk vendors with food and shopping, Cole’s Jewelers Miss Musicfest Pageant, the Medical Center of South Arkansas 5K/10k, Beer Gardens, the Lockheed Martin Championship Rib Cook Off… and more.

TICKETS:
Entrance in the MusicFest Gates is FREE before 3PM on Saturday!

CHILDREN 10 and Under-Free Gate Admission All Weekend with paid adult ticket!

Concert/Gate Admission
WEEKEND PASS (Fri. and Sat. Gate Admission): $40
(WEEKEND PASSES NOT AVAILABLE AFTER FRIDAY, SEPT. 30)

FRIDAY ONLY: $25
SATURDAY ONLY: $35

PIT PASS $10 PER DAY
(Pit passes get you in the barricaded area directly in front of the Main Stage)

ALL DAY ACCESS ATTRACTION WRISTBANDS:
FRIDAY ONLY $10
SATURDAY ONLY $20

WEEKEND ATTRACTION BUNDLE $25
(BUNDLE NOT AVAILABLE AFTER FRIDAY, SEPT. 30)

Tickets available starting Thursday, June 2nd at www.mainstreeteldorado.org and at the Musicfest gate the days of the events.

 

TROOPERS TURNING TO PUBLIC FOR HELP LOCATING VEHICLE CONNECTED IN HIT & RUN FATAL
JUNE 2, 2022
State troopers continue to investigate a hit and run crash that left a 32 year-old Conway County man dead.  With hope of identifying a suspect, the troopers are sending an appeal to the public for help in locating the vehicle that hit the bicyclist.

Travis Frank Sponer was riding a bicycle along the northbound lane of Arkansas Highway 9, north of Oppelo, late into the night last month on Monday, May 16th.  About midnight, or moments later (*Tuesday, May 17th), Sponer was struck from the rear by a northbound vehicle.  The impact of the crash sent Sponer’s body into a ditch alongside the highway.

The state police Highway Patrol Division and Criminal Investigation Division have assigned personnel to the case who believe the vehicle that hit Sponer was a dark red, maroon, or burgundy, Dodge Ram pick-up truck (2012 – 2022 model) that possibly has considerable damage to the truck’s front passenger side, particularly around the headlight.

Anyone who has information about the deadly crash, knows of a vehicle matching the description of the Dodge pick-up truck or has seen a truck with damage as described, is asked to contact the Arkansas State Police, Troop J Headquarters in Clarksville by calling (479) 754-3096.   

 

ASP CORPORALS GET COMMISSION VOTE FOR PROMOTION TO SERGEANT
JUNE 2, 2022
Two Arkansas State Police corporals have been promoted to the rank of sergeant.  The recommendations for promotion from Colonel Bill Bryant, state police director, were approved today during a regular monthly meeting of the Arkansas State Police Commission.

Corporal Phillip Roark, 47, of Lawrence County was promoted to the rank of sergeant and will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, post supervisor duties.

Sergeant Roark, a 21-year veteran of the department, had previously been assigned to highway patrol duties in Jackson County.

Corporal Shawn Mason, 42, of Lonoke County was promoted to the rank of sergeant and will be assigned to duties within the Administrative Services Division, Training Section as supervisor of the state police driving track.

Sergeant Mason, a 12-year veteran of the department, had previously been assigned to the state police training and recruiting sections.

June 02, 2022

CAMDEN DOWNTOWN NETWORK BRINGS INFORMATIVE WORKSHOP TO CAMDEN
The Camden Downtown Network is excited to bring and informative workshop to Camden! If you have a dream to have a small business, or you might already be doing one from home and want to expand. No matter where you are on your dream, this is for you....and better still it's free!! Call to get registered today.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: VACATION SCAMS
LITTLE ROCK - The school year is winding down, and many Arkansans are making summer vacation plans. Whether it is a trip to the beach, somewhere abroad, or one of Arkansas’s many lakes or state parks, Arkansans should keep a watchful eye to avoid falling victim to a vacation scam. Scam artists are using the internet, including online advertising and social media, to pitch free or deeply discounted travel deals.

Many scammers will attempt to convince you that your friends and family members are taking advantage of this offer and you should too. Meanwhile, other scammers include being offered vacation rentals that look too good to be true. Travelers make the reservation and show up at the home or condo, only to find it was never up for rent and a scam artist stole photos and listing information to trick you out of hard earned cash. While it is possible to find a good travel deal or even win a vacation, you must stay mindful of the fact that there are bad actors seeking to ruin your fun by taking your money.   

“Scam artists will stop at nothing to take advantage of hard working Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Fraudsters are constantly coming up with new ways to steal your money, but one thing never changes; if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following list of common scams vacationers could encounter:

Third-party Booking Scam: If you book your airfare, hotel, rental car, or other travel through a third party website, use caution. After booking, scammers call consumers directly to verify personal financial information—something a legitimate company would never do.

Ticket Sale Scam: Summertime is full of festivals and concerts that often sell out. Scammers take advantage of this and list tickets for sale at a discounted price. Consumers don’t find out until trying to attend the event that the tickets are fake.

Gasoline Scam: Scammers approach with a convincing story that they ran out of gas and money. They claim to only need $40 to fill up the tank and may even offer to mail a check to repay you. The likelihood that the repayment will be received is slim. Either refuse to give the scammers money or pay for their fuel at the nearest service station to ensure the money is spent as intended.

Rideshare Service Scam: Uber or Lyft drivers approach, and mention that a passenger just canceled a trip, leaving them available for a trip, but they must be paid in cash. Often, these drivers do not even work for a legitimate rideshare company. Similarly, any drivers who claim an “outage” is preventing them from accepting payment via the Uber or Lyft system is a red flag. Cashless travel is one of the main perks of using a rideshare company.

Fake Front Desk Phone Call Scam: Scam artists call hotel rooms directly, often in the middle of the night.. They say there has been a computer glitch and they need to verify your credit card information. Hang up immediately and contact the front desk to verify the call.

Some helpful travel tips include:
Put a travel alert on your debit or credit card to prevent issues or scams while out of town.
Use a credit card instead of a debit card because there are more protections available and it may be easier to dispute versus losing access to the cash in your bank account.
Use social media with care—don’t post while you’re out of town. You might be inviting a criminal into your empty house.
Withdraw cash from an ATM at a financial institution versus a standalone ATM to prevent your card information from being stolen.

For more information on safe summer travel and other consumer-related issues or to file a consumer complaint, visit ArkansasAG.gov or contact the Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov.

  

 34.5 MILLION PROVIDED FOR ARKANSAS WATER AND WASTWATER PROJECTS
LITTLE ROCK, AR - On June 1, 2022, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Arkansas Natural Resources Commission approved $35,410,210 for nine water and wastewater projects and four technical assistance programs servicing more than 211,372 Arkansans. The projects are as follows:

The Benton County Water Authority (WA)#4, Benton County, received a $4,530,260 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to replace a water main. The current customer base for this project is 250.

Central Arkansas Water (CAW), Pulaski County, received a $4,000,000 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund for upgrades to the Jack H. Wilson Water Treatment Plant. the customer base for this project is 156,000.

The City of Melbourne, Izard County, received a $139,050 loan from the Water, Sewer and Solid Waste Fund for water meter installation. The water customer base for this project is 1,769.

The City of Mountainburg, Crawford County, received a $50,000 grant from the Water Development Fund for a Cultural Resources Survey for the proposed North Central Crawford County Water System. The customer base is 767 with 342 potential new customers with the proposed water system expansion.

The Rock-Moore Public Water Authority (PWA), Independence County, received a $4,262,000 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to for a new water tank and water system improvements. The current customer base for this project is 1,390.

East End Improvement District No. 1, Saline County, received a $500.000 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund in additional funding for construction of a water storage tank and rehabilitation of existing water storage tanks. The customer base for this project is 2,297.

The McLean Bottoms Levee and Drainage District #3, Logan County, received a $360,500 loan from the Water Development Fund in additional funding for levee repairs. The McLean Bottoms Levee protects 60 residents. 

The Northwest Arkansas Conservation Authority (NACA), Benton County, receied a $20,000,000 loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund in additional funding for wastewater treatment plant improvements. The customer base for the project totals 8,543 in Bentonville, Tontitown, Elm Springs, and Bethel Heights. 

The Searcy Board of public Utilities, White County, received a $950,000 loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund in additional funding for wastewater system rehabilitation. The customer base for project totals 7,892.

The Natural Resources Commission also approved funding for the following technical assistance programs:

The Arkansas Environmental Training Academy (AETA) received a $150,000 grant from the Water Development Fund to provide training for members of Retail Water Provider boards pursuant to Act 605 of 2021.

The Arkansas Rural Water Association (ARWA) received a $125,000 grant from the Water Development  Fund. This grant is for the Association's continued funding assistance for a Circuit Rider to provide onsite assistance to water systems with operation, maintenance, management and financial problems.

The Arkansas Rural Water Association (ARWA) received a $65,000 grant from the Water Development  Fund to provide continued training and technical assistance to water and wastewater systems throughout the state. 

H2Ozarks received a $278,400 grant from the Water Development Fund to administer the Septic Tank Remediation Pilot Program within the Buffalo River Watershed in Newton, Searcy, Marion, Baxter, Boone, Madison, Pope, Stone and Van Buren Counties.

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

  
SOUTH ARKANSAS NATIVE EMILY MOLL WOOD RETURNS TO THE SOUTH ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER
The South Arkansas Arts Center welcomes to their galleries returning artist as well as SAAC member and south Arkansas native Emily Moll Wood. Wood, who was born in El Dorado and grew up in Camden, resides in Little Rock and is bringing her exhibition “Home Work” to the Price and Lobby galleries on June 6. Wood’s artwork will hang at SAAC through July 7th. An artist’s reception will occur on Tuesday, June 7 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm honoring Wood as well as V….Vaughan, whose exhibition “Glances: Fresh Views of Lands and Life,” is hanging in the Merkle Gallery through June 28.

Wood, who holds a Master of Arts in painting from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, paints a lot of portraits and, more recently, has created an “obsessive amount of flowers,” most of which are done in watercolor and on a variety of surfaces. When the pandemic began and while home bound, Wood found solace in observing and painting flowers as they took turns blooming. She has obsessively painted flowers each Spring since, realizing that part of that obsession is the connection she feels to the women in her family and those who came before her. She works from the many flower studies, combined with sketches from old photos of herself, her mother, her grandmothers, and her great grandmothers to create large paintings on inherited old tablecloths in order to draw attention to undervalued daily domestic work. The work in this exhibition examines those connections and differences between the life she has led versus the lives that her female fore-bearers led, ultimately reflecting broader social changes. Wood is drawn to the flow and transparency of watery paint on various absorbent surfaces and finds the process of observing and translating faces, figures, and flowers into paintings to be therapeutic and meditative.

"I am excited to share this new work at the South Arkansas Arts Center, with the wonderful people who gave me my first solo show 11 years ago. I'm especially excited about the 28 ft. flower study installation I am installing together for the first time. I am from South Arkansas, as are many of the ideas and themes woven throughout this work, so it feels very right to show it here."

Wood has taught painting classes for over 12 years, most being at the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock. Her work has been accepted and won awards in numerous juried exhibitions. Wood’s work can be found in many private and public collections such as the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Springfield (MO) Art Museum.

For more information on this exhibit and the reception, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org.

June 01, 2022

CAMDEN’S FIRST FRIDAY MONTHLY MARKET RETURNS JUNE 3RD TO DOWNTOWN CAMDEN
Camden, AR - First Friday Monthly Market in Camden, AR invites you to downtown Camden for “A Slice of Summer” on June 3rd.

With a record number of 70 plus vendors and other activities we guarantee you can find something for everyone! Vendors will be selling everything from fresh produce, jellies and jams to resin art, clothing, jewelry, woodwork and so much more.

We have a great variety of food with Taco Shellz serving street tacos and Navajo Fried Bread tacos and One Stop Eatery serving traditional Americana food of burgers and funnel cakes. Flaming Pig will be located at the Native Dog Parking Lot. Small plate vendors will be offering egg rolls, hot dogs with cheese & chili and sausage dogs with peppers & onions. Plenty of varieties to cool off too with Headbangers creamery, Kingdom Treats Italian Ice and Sock Hop Soda Shoppe 50’s ice cream shop.

June’s live music will see Glenn Parker performing Country music. Glenn is a graduate of Fairview High School and has toured with country greats such as Gene Watson. Most recently he has been playing throughout the Golden Triangle at MuleKick Magnolia and MuleKick MAD in El Dorado.

Competitive games are a definite must at this market, so find the Corn Hole Tournament on Adams Ave in front of What’s Cookin’ and this year GellyBall will be located on Washington Street just past the Madison Ave intersection.

So many other things to choose from, be sure to look for new vendors at the market including Bailey Botanicals with succulents and other tropical plants and Heavenly Touch By Whitley LLC with an onsite massage chair. There will also be 2 authors doing book signings. Della Lane Publishing and author Pamela Morgan Hughey with her book “Gone But Not Forgotten” a children’s book on dealing with grief and Chrystal Gilkey with her book “A Wisp of Faith” a contemporary Christian novel welcomes everyone to stop by and visit with them.

June 3rd will also see the Ribbon cutting and Grand Opening of “A Cup of Joe” Camden’s newest Coffee Shop. Downtown merchants will be open late for all your shopping convenience offering great First Friday specials. First Friday Monthly Market in Downtown Camden, AR, May 6, 6PM – 9PM.

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


THE ARKANSAS MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. COMMISSION KICKS OFF JUNETEENTH FEDERAL HOLIDAY WITH A COMMEMORATION AT ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL
LITTLE ROCK -The mission of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, a division of the Arkansas Department of Education, is to promote and preserve the life and legacy of Dr. King in our state; and to promote the principles of nonviolence and equality among all citizens.  Our community outreach projects are designed to promote education, an appreciation for history, and to encourage youth to engage in positive leadership development and roles within their communities.

Known as America’s second Independence Day, Juneteenth is a special celebration for communities around the United States.  A combination of “June” and “nineteenth,” Juneteenth is a holiday that recognizes when slaves were informed that they were free two years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.  On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger, rode into Galveston, Texas with news the war had ended and the slaves in Texas were now free.  Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  In 2021, President Joseph Biden recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission invites you to attend our commemorative program, “Juneteenth the Experience: A Moment in History,” Saturday, June 18, 2022, 10:00 AM, Arkansas State Capitol Steps, 500 Woodlane, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201.  The Keynote speaker will be Broadway Joe Booker, a broadcaster for Power 92, who has been recognized for his contributions to hosting inaugural Juneteenth Celebrations in Central Arkansas.  The event is free and open to the public.  Highlights will include commemorative reflections, artistic presentations by youth performing arts groups, and a theatrical presentation of the events leading up to Juneteenth.  

“Juneteenth is a celebratory event however, we want to educate audiences, focus on the historical aspect, the significance of Juneteenth, why is Juneteenth a federal holiday, says DuShun Scarbrough, Executive Director.  This is our opportunity to educate the youth who will be in attendance and connect them to the history, legacy, and heritage of Juneteenth.  We want attendees to walk away with an understanding of the Juneteenth holiday and why we are celebrating it.”

For more information and to schedule interviews, contact the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission at 888-290-KING

May 27, 2022

SUSPECT IN MARION COUNTY DOUBLE HOMICIDE WAIVES EXTRADITION, CHARGED IN MURDERS
MAY 27, 2022
Dale Mark Stikeleather, 64, is being held without bond and charged in connection with the murders of a Marion County couple earlier this month.  Stikeleather had resided at a home near the murder scene, but later located in Sugarland, Texas and questioned on May 16th by Arkansas State Police Special Agents.  He was subsequently charged in Marion County with theft of property and held in Texas.

Earlier this week Stikeleather waived extradition and was transported to Yellville (Marion County) by a prisoner transport service arranged by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.  Once back in Arkansas, the charges were amended to include two counts of capital murder, aggravated residential burglary and felon in possession of a firearm.

Marion County sheriff’s deputies were contacted on May 11th and requested to check the welfare of Jeffrey and Kimberly Watson at 2386 Mallard Terrace south of Flippin.  Once inside the home, deputies discovered the bodies of the Watson’s.  Both had been shot and their truck was missing.

The sheriff’s department requested the Arkansas State Police to join in their investigation which is continuing.
 

POLICE OFFICER HELD ON PROBABLE CAUSE INVOLVING RAPE OF A CHILD; ASP/CID INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
MAY 25, 2022
Aaron Cochrane, 41, of Jackson County, who most recently has been employed as a Bradford police officer, was arrested by Arkansas State Police this afternoon and transported to the Jackson County jail in Newport.

Cochrane is being held on probable cause pending the filing of formal charges which include two counts of rape, one count of sexual grooming of a child and one count of sexual assault.

The Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division began an investigation involving Cochrane in March this year based on allegations unrelated to the incidents of rape that reportedly first occurred at least three years ago.  The separate allegations that initially prompted state police to open a case file continue to be investigated by special agents.

In recent years, Cochrane had been employed as a sheriff’s deputy in Jackson County and was also employed as a school resource officer in White County. 

 

HOT SPRINGS MAN SENTENCED TO 27 MONTHS FOR PANDEMIC FUNDS FRAUD
Hot Springs, Arkansas – David Clay Fowlkes, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that on May 26, 2022, James Heritage, 39 of Hot Springs, Arkansas, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $469,082.73 in restitution after pleading guilty to two counts relating to fraud committed against the United States Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and numerous state unemployment benefits administrators.

According to plea documents in the case, Heritage applied for and received a PPP loan for $183,937.32, using falsified employee and payroll data.  In addition, Heritage applied for and received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a supplemental form of unemployment benefits, from thirty different states, by falsely representing to those states’ benefits administrators that he was eligible for the benefits.

Both the Paycheck Protection Program and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program are parts of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a federal law passed in March 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The case was investigated by the Department of Labor Office of the Investigator General, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Hunter Bridges prosecuted the case for the United States.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.  The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.  For more information on the Department's response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice's National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

SAAC ANNOUNCES NEW EXHIBIT IN THE MERKLE GALLERY
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces a new exhibit, “Glances:  Fresh Views of Lands and Life”, oil paintings by Texas artist V…. Vaughan, will hang in the Merkle Gallery now through June 28, 2022.  SAAC will also host an artist’s reception honoring V…. Vaughan on Tuesday, June 7, from 5:30- 7:00pm.

V....Vaughan is an impressionist oil painter who paints on location all across America. “My favorite subjects are in wild places and around the countryside near America's lands, coastlines, and small farms."  She is sharing her very personal journey with SAAC  through her exhibition. For 30 years, V…. lived on her family farm just outside of Austin, Texas in Manor, Texas.  The multi-generational farm eventually gave way to the urban sprawl of Austin, giving them no other choice but to sell it. During the final year on the farm and for 365 days, V…. painted daily small works depicting her family's own story of change. "Last Year on the Farm" was her story of the passing of America’s small farms and way of life.  “I remember every moment of creating each painting: the time of day, the temperature, and the direction of the wind!  Each was a little ‘goodbye’ to the place I loved best.  Now I release each painting as one blow on a dandelion to scatter the seeds.”

For over 25 years, Vaughn has been a part-time high school art instructor in Austin. She also teaches painting workshops all across America, and will teach at a castle in France in 2022.

Vaughan will also teach a workshop while her works are on exhibit at SAAC. Spend a few hours with V…. and learn her unique sketching technique.  The artist shares her favorite sketching technique and promises you will leave a better sketcher and with the ability to grasp a glance. The first hour will be a refresher of perspective and proportion issues, then she will explore new (old) media for “Grasping a Glance”. Her teaching style is friendly and fun, and you will enjoy seeing your own success!  This workshop will be held on Tuesday, June 7, 9:30am – 1:30pm.

For more information about this exhibit or the workshop, 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.


FORMER REALITY TELEVISION PERSONALITY SENTENCED TO 151 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DOWNLOADING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE MATERIAL
FAYETTEVILLE – A Springdale man was sentenced today to 151 months in prison without the possibility of parole on one count of Receiving Material Depicting Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct. The Honorable Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing in the U.S. District Court in Fayetteville.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Joshua James Duggar, 34, of Springdale, repeatedly downloaded and viewed images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children, including images of prepubescent children and depictions of sadistic abuse. Duggar, a former reality television personality who appeared with his family on the TLC series 19 Kids and Counting, installed a password-protected partition on the hard drive of his desktop computer at his used car lot in Springdale to avoid pornography-detecting software on the device.  He then accessed the partition to download child sexual abuse material from the internet multiple times over the course of three days in May 2019. The password for the partition was the same one he used for other personal and family accounts.  Duggar downloaded the material using the dark web and online file-sharing software, viewed it, and then removed it from his computer.

Law enforcement in Arkansas detected Duggar’s activity during an undercover investigation involving the online file-sharing program, subsequently searched his car lot in November 2019, and seized Duggar’s desktop computer as well as other evidence. Significant evidence was found that pointed to Duggar’s presence at the times of the offenses, including pictures that Duggar took on his phone that geolocated at or near the car lot. Duggar also sent multiple timestamped text messages to various individuals that indicated he was at the car lot at the relevant times; the messages were sent, and the iPhone pictures were created, at times within minutes of when the child sexual abuse material was downloaded or displayed on the desktop computer. Additionally, he was the only paid employee on the lot at those times.

On December 9th, 2021, a federal jury in the Western District of Arkansas convicted Duggar of receiving and possessing material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

Homeland Security Investigations Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, the Little Rock Police Department, and the High Technology Investigative Unit of the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carly Marshall and Dustin Roberts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas and Trial Attorney William G. Clayman of CEOS prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the 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.

ARKANSAS CONTINUES TO SUCCESSFULLY REDUCE NUTRIENTS THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS AND STRATEGIC PLANNING
Public Comments Accepted on the Arkansas Nutrient Reduction Strategy
May 30, 2022 - June 30, 2022
Little Rock, AR − The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division will be accepting public comments on the recently updated Arkansas Nutrient Reduction Strategy (ANRS), a non-regulatory, voluntary guidance document that prioritizes watersheds with the highest need for reduction of nutrients that can affect health of streams, rivers, and aquatic life. Comments will be accepted from May 30, 2022 through June 30, 2022.

The ANRS establishes short and long-term goals and strategies for conservation partners, community leaders and agriculture producers to work together to implement conservation measures to reduce excessive nutrients from entering our streams and rivers. While nutrients come from many different sources, the ANRS primarily works to address inputs that originate during storm events from urban and rural settings. The ANRS watershed prioritization will guide implementation of non-regulatory and voluntary nutrient reduction conservation practices (e.g. septic tank remediation, urban stormwater management, pasture management, cover crops, etc.) and increase the ability to leverage existing state and federal funding sources to help offset implementation costs.

Arkansas established its first Nutrient Reduction Strategy in 2014 as part of the 2014 Arkansas Water Plan and participation in the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force. Arkansas is one of 12 member states of the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force which is a combination of state and federal agencies that work together to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the Mississippi River/Atchafalaya River Basin and the Gulf of Mexico.

Implementation of voluntary nutrient reduction best management practices in Arkansas can generate cost savings for producers in addition to improving water quality. From 2017 through present, landowners in portions of Crooked Creek, Spring River, and Bull Shoals Lake watersheds retained over 2,000 pounds of sediment, 7,000 pounds of phosphorus, and 10,000 pounds of nitrogen on the land by installing over 30,000 linear feet of heavy use protection areas for cattle watering, 20 alternative watering sources, and 400 acres of grazing management practices. The development of septic tank remediation programs in the Illinois River and Beaver Reservoir watersheds assists homeowners while also providing nutrient reduction benefits.

Through the recent bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force states are eligible to receive $60 million in grant funds over the next five years to implement nutrient reduction related projects. Each of the 12 states can request up to $1 million annually over the next five years. The ANRS will help guide how and where these funds are spent to maximize nutrient reduction projects within Arkansas.

The ANRS and more information about nutrient reduction successes to date can be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/natural-resources/divisions/water-management/arkansas-nutrient-reduction-strategy/.  Comments may be with submitted through the submission portal available through the link above or can be mailed to: Arkansas Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Division, Tate Wentz, 10421 West Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72205. 

For additional information contact, Tate Wentz, Natural Resources Division Water Quality Section Manager, (501) 682-3914, tate.wentz@agriculture.arkansas.gov or Katie Mann, Natural Resources Division Ecologist Coordinator, (501) 682-3979, katie.mann@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.

May 25, 2022

CAMDEN KIWANIS CLUB TO MEET
The Camden Kiwanis Club will meet this Thursday, May 26th at Catherine's Bistro at 12:00 PM. The program will be presented by by Judge by Charlotte Young. She will be discussing all things Camden.

 

HONORS AWARDED TO TOP ARKANSAS TROOPERS & STAFF; MORRIS SELECTED 2021 STATE TROOPER OF THE YEAR
MAY 25, 2022
Trooper Spencer Morris, 34, of Crittenden County, was awarded the Arkansas State Police Trooper of the Year Award for 2021 today during the department’s annual honors and awards ceremony.

Assigned to the state police Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, headquartered at Forrest City, Spencer, with four years of service to the department, was recognized for his courageous efforts after being wounded by gunfire while attempting to apprehend a South Carolina fugitive wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Additionally, during today’s ceremony, Trooper Morris was awarded the Arkansas State Police Medal of Valor, making him eligible under department policies and procedures to be considered among candidates for Trooper of the Year candidate.  The Medal of Valor is earned for extraordinary acts of valor and gallantry.

On December 16, 2021, while working his assigned interstate patrol duties, Morris answered a radio call from the United States Marshals Service requesting assistance in stopping the South Carolina fugitive who had been observed traveling through West Memphis along Interstate 55 headed toward Memphis.  Trooper Morris was the closest law enforcement officer in the area who would have been able to intercept the vehicle.

About 2:30 PM, Trooper Morris observed the suspect’s vehicle and began to position his patrol car for the traffic stop.  As he closed in on the car, multiple gun shots from the suspect vehicle were directed at Trooper Morris with one round striking him in the upper chest.  Trooper Morris’ body armor slowed the round, causing a minor wound.

Despite the injury and the imminent deadly threat to himself and other motorists traveling into Memphis, Trooper Morris began to return gunfire directed at the fleeing suspect.

As the pursuit approached the I-55 McLemore interchange, the suspect vehicle slowed and came to a stop, the wounded trooper radioed his location and requested assistance.  Trooper Morris moved his patrol car to the roadside and at a safe distance exited his vehicle to take-up a defensive position.

Within minutes, local police officers joined Trooper Morris, along with paramedics who extracted the wounded trooper from the scene, moving him to a nearby hospital where doctors determined the wound was non-life threatening.

With traffic diverted from the interstate interchange, a SWAT team moved toward the suspect vehicle to find the wanted fugitive and another occupant still in the car and deceased.

Later, the same day, Morris was released from hospital care and taken to his home where family members surrounded the trooper; all thankful to be reunited.

 Earlier this year Trooper Morris was named National Trooper of the Year by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, State and Provincial Division.  Last month, similar national recognition was awarded to Morris by the American Association of State Troopers.

Trooper Morris was among a field of four candidates considered for the Arkansas State Trooper of the Year honor.  The other nominees were:

Criminal Investigation Division, Company B, Special Agent Billy McCradic for his role in April 2021 assisting Stuttgart police officers locate a missing Stuttgart woman.  

Criminal Investigation Division, Company B, Special Agent Larry McMahen for his investigation of a July 2020 Bradley County homicide which concluded with the arrest of a Drew County man as a suspect one year to the day of the murder occurrence.  

Highway Patrol Division, Troop L, Trooper Zenda Staab for her selfless act of courage during the course of a September 2021 pursuit and apprehension of a suspected car thief. *(See additional information under Medal of Valor recipient). 

 Alisa Blackerby, 50, of Saline County, was awarded the Arkansas State Police Civilian Employee of the Year.  Blackerby is a 20 year veteran of the department and serves as the state’s driver license testing coordinator under the command of the department’s Highway Patrol Division.

 Blackerby is credited with envisioning and implementing improvements to streamline the driver license testing procedures, among them, the pre-scheduling of tests and an online video to assist parents in the pre-requisites necessary for teenagers to prepare for the testing process.

The Driver License Testing Section employs 39 testing examiners across the state.  It’s Blackerby’s responsibility to coordinate the examiners duties and training.  Annually, the state police administers approximately 140,000 written tests and 54,000 skills tests annually *(combined commercial and non-commercial testing).

Twenty-six other Arkansas State Troopers and civilian staff members were also recognized during the ceremony and were presented the following awards.

Medal of Valor
The Medal of Valor is the highest award presented to a commissioned or civilian employee of the Arkansas State Police.  The Medal of Valor is earned for extraordinary acts of valor and gallantry that clearly set the individual apart from other employees.  

Trooper Brady Nuckels, Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, was recognized for his brave actions on January 19, 2021 in Perry County when he responded to a local residence where a barricaded suspect had fired a rifle at approaching law enforcement officers.  Upon his arrival, Trooper Nuckels began to assess the situation, directing other arriving law enforcement officers to secure a perimeter and moving his patrol vehicle into a position providing additional cover for sheriff’s deputies who had already been fired-on by the suspect.  Approximately one hour after his arrival, Trooper Nuckels witnessed the suspect exit the front of the residence holding a rifle and ordered him to drop the gun.  As the suspect complied with Trooper Nuckels order, deputies left their cover and began to approach the house.  The suspect then picked-up the rifle and shouldered the gun, pointing it toward the approaching law enforcement officers.  Trooper Nuckels fired his rifle at the suspect and rushed toward the gunman, continuing to fire, incapacitating him and preventing harm to the approaching sheriff’s deputies.  

Trooper Spencer Morris *(see previous narrative, Trooper of the Year).  

Trooper Zenda Staab, Highway Patrol Division, Troop L, was recognized for her selfless act of courage on September 21, 2021 in the apprehension of a fleeing suspect who had stolen a vehicle in Georgia earlier the same day.  While on patrol assignment along Interstate 49 in Benton County, Trooper Staab initiated a traffic stop involving a speeder who she would later learn was the driver of the stolen car.  Initially the speeder slowed and stopped, but while Trooper Staab approached the vehicle on-foot, the suspect driver re-engaged the car, fleeing the traffic stop.  With Trooper Staab in pursuit, the chase continued through the Bentonville area, then turned north into oncoming traffic along U.S. Highway 71 near Bella Vista.  As the pursuit continued, the recklessness of the fleeing driver heightened.  Trooper Staab’s concern for the safety of other motorists led to her decision to pass the suspect vehicle then initiate a U-turn, positioning her patrol car in a direct path of the fleeing suspect.  With little regard for her own safety, Trooper Staab, struck the front of the suspect vehicle forcing it off the highway.  Still undeterred and attempting to flee, the driver abandoned the vehicle with Trooper Staab in foot pursuit, capturing the suspect moments later.   

Troopers Cross
The Trooper’s Cross is awarded to a person employed as a law enforcement officer for the Division of Arkansas State Police who demonstrates courage at a level not justifying the Medal of Valor but that sets the individual apart from other employees.

Trooper Tyler Langley, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A was awarded the Trooper’s Cross for his courageous effort to stop the driver of a speeding stolen car along Interstate 40 in Faulkner County.  The suspect driver refused to stop after Trooper Langley activated his patrol car’s emergency lights and siren.  Exiting the interstate highway and headed into Conway, the driver steered the westbound vehicle into the eastbound lane of traffic, endangering the lives of other motorists.  As the pursuit drew closer to a university campus, the driver of the car began firing a rifle at Trooper Langley.  With relentless bravery under continued gunfire, Trooper Langley returned fire from his moving patrol car and continued to pursue the vehicle which attempted an abrupt turn onto another street, the driver losing control and crashing in a residential yard.  The driver abandoned the car and fled on foot, still firing the rifle at Trooper Langley who had left his patrol car following the suspect.  A short distance later, Trooper Langley engaged the suspect in a struggle, apprehending him, without either being injured.  

Gold Shield
The Gold Shield is an award designed to honor Commissioned Officers who, under honorable conditions, suffers permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment of health, or extremely serious physical injury in the line of duty.

Sergeant Nicholas Brown, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, while in foot pursuit of a fleeing suspect, sustained life threatening injuries in Little Rock on the evening of January 16, 2021.  The suspect had abandoned a vehicle and attempted to scale a wrought-iron fence and became entangled.  While Sergeant Brown was taking custody of the suspect, the trooper climbed to the top of the fence, but quickly lost his footing and was impaled by a sharp decorative spike.  The wound penetrated his groin, causing a rapid and significant loss of blood.  He was later freed with the assistance of other troopers and local law enforcement officers who transported him to a hospital where he underwent surgery.  Days later, Sergeant Brown was released from medical care and was eventually cleared by physicians to return to his duties as an Arkansas State Trooper.

Lifesaving
The Lifesaving Award is presented to department employees who, through direct personal intervention, including the application of CPR, the Heimlich maneuver or any other lifesaving measures performed on a victim, prevents immediate death.

Troopers Brandon Love, Dakota Davis, Jeb Little and Korbyn Freeman, all assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A were each presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for their efforts in rendering emergency medical aid to Sergeant Nicholas Brown who sustained a life threatening wound while attempting to apprehend a fleeing suspect *(see previous narrative, Gold Shield Award).  

Trooper Zenda Stabb was presented a state police Life Saving Award for her actions during the early morning hours of Christmas Day (2021) when she was directed to an unconscious man lying on the ground behind a Rogers restaurant.  Unable to detect a pulse or breathing by the victim, Trooper Staab began chest compressions on the Missouri man, simultaneously directing a by-stander to the trooper’s state police patrol car where an automated external defibrillator (AED) was stored.  While continuing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Trooper Staab asked other bystanders to call an ambulance and remove the victim’s young child from the scene.   Upon the return of a woman with the AED, Trooper Staab set the device ready to deliver a charge to the victim.  Once paramedics arrived Trooper Staab assisted them and followed-up at a nearby hospital to learn her life saving measures had succeeded in ensuring the victim would recover.  

Troopers (Lt.) Philip Hydron, (Sgt.) Levi Flemming, Garrett Byrd, Heath Gurley and Tyler Nelson, all assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, were each awarded a state police Life Saving Award for their combined effort during the pre-dawn hours of March 15, 2021 in preventing a Missouri fugitive from harming himself and others.  The incident began with a pursuit by state troopers as the suspect drove his truck into on-coming traffic along Interstate 40.  Troopers were able to force the vehicle off the highway at which time the driver placed a knife to his throat.  The troopers were able to establish cell phone communication with the suspect and began conversations that might de-escalate the threat and lead to the man’s surrender to state police.  After more than an hour of negotiations, troopers fired less than lethal rounds of gas and projectiles into the truck as the suspect began to stab himself with the knife.  Following a brief struggle with the suspect, troopers were able to subdue the suspect, eventually having him transported to a nearby hospital where he was treated for the stab wounds and later released to Missouri authorities.

Special Agent Justin Nowlin, Criminal Investigation Division, Company E, for his investigative work assisting the Baxter County Sheriff’s Department in identifying and locating suspects in the disappearance of a local man later found to be murdered.  

Corporal Jerry Oglesby, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A for his selfless act of courage in April 2021 by driving his patrol car into the path of a vehicle traveling the wrong way along Interstate 430 and preventing injury to other motorists.  

Corporal Mark Blackerby, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, for his response in February 2021 to the scene where a Lonoke police officer had been shot by a North Carolina gunman who had earlier abducted a 14 year-old girl.  Corporal Blackerby is credited with pursuing the gunman and safely recovering the teenager.  

Trooper Charles Ross Allen, Highway Patrol Division, Troop F, was recognized for his intervention in a pursuit on April 20, 2021 which ended with Trooper Allen successfully apprehending a Union County kidnapping and murder suspect who had fled from Ashley County authorities.  

Special Agent Jackie Stinnett, Criminal Investigation Division, Company E, was recognized for his three-month long undercover investigation that began in January 2021 and ended with the arrest of a Baxter County man who was propositioning teenage boys for sex through online conversations.  

Corporal Michael Reed, Highway Patrol Division, Troop K, was recognized for going above and beyond duties during the course of an October 2021 motor vehicle crash.  Corporal Reed’s extended investigation ultimately led to the identification and arrest of a suspect operating a multi-state theft and forgery operation.  Additionally, the investigation resulted in the recovery of equipment and vehicles valued at approximately $350,000.  

Trooper First Class Sor Lee, Highway Patrol Division, Troop L, was recognized for his role on October 17, 2021 in apprehending an armed suspect involved in multiple drive-by shootings in Bentonville and Rogers.  TFC Lee recognized a vehicle being driven by the suspect and pursued the vehicle after the driver refused to comply with a traffic stop.  Ultimately TFC Lee executed a precision intervention technique in getting the vehicle stopped, taking the suspect into custody, recovering two rifles used in the shootings and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition for the guns.  

Investigator Deleah Racancoj, Crimes Against Children Division, Area 8, for her prolonged work beginning in January 2020 attempting to locate two teenage females who were reported victims of sex trafficking.  Months later, Investigator Racancoj’s persistence in the investigation led her to a Pulaski County residence where state troopers and Little Rock police officers were able to assist her in extracting the teenagers and placing them in a safe environment.  

Debra Meachum, Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, administrative assistant was presented an Arkansas State Police Official Commendation and nominated for Civilian Employee of the Year for her role in assisting Troop D telecommunications operators and others as a suspect in a Southaven police officer shooting began traveling toward Arkansas.  It was Meachum who received a telephone report from a witness that led Arkansas State Troopers to begin a manhunt for the suspect in St. Francis County and the eventual apprehension of the gunman.  Meachum was credited by her supervisors as willing to step-out the comfort of her regular duties and assist others within Troop D headquarters at Forrest City.

Distinguished Service Awards
The Distinguished Service Award honors citizens or law enforcement officers from other agencies who assist the Arkansas State Police in the apprehension of a criminal or who lends assistance in a situation where a citizen or officer is clearly in jeopardy or physical harm.

Officers Joshua Myers, Terrance Ellington and Bailee Toro of the Little Rock Police Department were each presented the Arkansas State Police Distinguished Service Award for their role in rendering emergency medical aid to Sergeant Nicholas Brown who sustained a life threatening wound while attempting to apprehend a fleeing suspect and taking custody of the suspect *(see previous narrative, Gold Shield Award).  

Stewart Carlton, Arkansas State Parks Superintendent, was presented a Distinguished Service Award for alerting state troopers to a fiery vehicle collision along U.S. Highway 165 in Pulaski County.  Superintendent Carlton is credited with extricating the driver of the vehicle consumed in fire and providing medical attention to a second victim before state troopers arrived at the crash scene.  

 

ARKANSAS BLACK HALL OF FAME FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES $50,000 IN GRANTS TO SUPPORT ARKANSAS COMMUNITIES
Little Rock, Ark. (May 25, 2022) – Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation (ABHOF) awarded $50,000 in grants to support projects focused on education, health and wellness, youth development, strengthening families and economic development for minority and under-served communities in Arkansas. The grants, administered by Arkansas Community Foundation, were presented online on May 24.  "We are pleased to support the efforts of grassroots and other nonprofit organizations in Arkansas through our grant program,” said Charles Stewart, Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Chairman.  “These organizations serve a myriad of causes and programs that support community development and strengthen families. We are proud of our partnership with these great Arkansas institutions.”

Over the past 18 years, ABHOF has made $667,288 in grants to Arkansas nonprofits. This year’s grant recipients:
Arkansas Broadcasting Foundation (Statewide) – will help fund a one-hour show that runs weekly called Black Consumer News.
Bohemia Cares (Pulaski County) – provides programs for those struggling with mental illness.
Brayboy Safety Against Domestic Violence Crisis Center (Lee, Phillips, St. Francis counties) – provides emergency housing assistance for women with children.
Carters Crew (Pulaski County) – will host monthly family nights as part of a program called UN-Repeating the Cycle.
Centers for Youth and Families Foundation (Pulaski County) – will engage youth in its Day Treatment and Outpatient Counseling programs in a unique gardening curriculum.
Community Service Youth Foundation (Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Perry, Pope, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Stone, Van Buren, Washington, Yell counties) – will enhance a mentoring program for youth adjudicated for committing a crime.  
Creative Institute of Central Arkansas (Faulkner, Pulaski counties) – provides career coaching and job placement support to low-income students starting careers in the creative workforce.
Harmony Health (Pulaski County) – provides medical and dental care for those currently uninsured or underinsured.
Historic St. James Missionary Baptist Church (Washington County) – the food pantry program serves those facing food insecurity in South Fayetteville.
Junior Achievement of Arkansas (Benton, Faulkner, Jefferson, Lonoke, Madison, Pulaski, Saline, Washington counties) – will launch the first 'Virtual Pitch Competition'" where African American middle and high school students will "virtually pitch" creative entrepreneurial new ideas on products, services or solutions.
Mr. Macs Learning and Arts Center (Pulaski County) – provides a safe environment for youth to perform music (Drum Academy) and choir vocalization (Singer Academy).  
Pulaski County Friends of CASA (Perry, Pulaski counties) – will recruit African American volunteers to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates for children of color in foster care.

Southeast Arkansas College (Arkansas, Jefferson counties) – offers a Kids Virtual Learning Summer Camp
St. Luke – Pine Bluff United Methodist Church (Ashley, Jefferson, Pulaski counties)
– funds will provide gear for children attending camp that will develop survival skills, wildlife appreciation and agricultural science knowledge.   
UCA Center for Community and Economic Development (Statewide) – will partially fund the Arkansas Racial Equity Summit.
Women & Children First (Faulkner, Jefferson Lonoke, Pulaski, Saline counties) –provides funds to support Camp HOPE for children of domestic violence.  

Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation aims to provide an environment in which future generations of African American achievers with Arkansas roots will thrive and succeed. Arkansas Black Hall of Fame honors the contributions of African Americans through its annual Black Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and awards grants to support charitable endeavors in underserved communities. Learn more at www.arblackhalloffame.org.

Arkansas Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization with over a half billion dollars in assets, fosters smart giving to improve communities. The Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct their charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Foundation supports existing charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create initiatives that address unmet needs. Since 1976, the Community Foundation has provided more than $314 million in grants and partnered with thousands of Arkansans to help them improve our neighborhoods, our towns and our entire state. Contributions to Arkansas Community Foundation, its funds and any of its 29 affiliates are fully tax deductible.

May 24, 2022

FREE PPE FOR CAMDEN RESIDENTS
The City of Camden has obtained free PPE for the public. You can pick up your free PPE Boxat 625 S. Adams on Thursdays or Fridays, between the hours of 9am-Noon or 1pm -3pm While supplies last.  For more information call Public Works at 837-5570.

 

SAU TECH AWARDED 1.1 MILLION FROM ANCRC
EAST CAMDEN, AR (05/24/2022) Southern Arkansas University Tech was awarded a $1.1 million grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) at its annual meeting on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The grant will be used for the continued restoration of one set of the 500-Man Barracks owned by SAU Tech. The project includes restoring over 300 original windows, external drainage improvements, new HVAC systems, new plumbing systems, and the renovation of all the bathrooms. Also included in the work are new electrical systems, flooring, and interior finishes. Phase I and Phase II awards, total $2,096,275.

SAU Tech's restoration project responds to the need for student housing. As the College has grown, the need for expanded student housing has become a primary concern. Lack of adequate housing options for students in the community is the driving force behind the project, stated Dr. Jason Morrison in his presentation to the ANCRC Council. When asked about the grant award, Morrison noted that "We are grateful for the award to keep the renovation of this historical building moving forward. Despite some stalls with securing contractors and materials, I am confident that we will finish on time, and it will showcase the great building that once housed so many people during the second world war. Our students will benefit from this project by having a secure and safe place to live while earning a college degree. We may need to return for another round to complete the renovation, and time will tell."

Currently referred to as C & D Dorms, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the original buildings that made up the Shumaker Naval Ammunition Depot. The building was used to house personnel and civilians who worked on the base. ANCRC has funded the restoration and preservation of such iconic properties as the Arkansas State Capitol, Old Main on the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville campus, Lakeport Plantation in Chicot County, and the Johnny Cash Home in Dyess.
 

The Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) was established by Arkansas Act 729 of 1987. Its grants and trust fund are managed for the acquisition, management, and stewardship of state-owned lands or the preservation of state-owned historic sites, buildings, structures, or objects that the ANCRC determines to be of value for recreation or conservation purposes. The properties are to be used, preserved, and conserved for the benefit of present and future generations.

View Online: http://sautech.meritpages.com/news/SAU-Tech-Awarded-1-1-Million-from-ANCRC/27513
 

ARKANSAS BRIGHTER FUTURE PLAN CELEBRATES ‘529 DAY’
Encourages saving for education
May 23, 2022 (Little Rock, Ark.) – The Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan, along with other 529 plans across the country, is celebrating 529 Day during May by encouraging families to open and contribute to a plan to begin saving for their loved one’s education.

“May 29th is a day dedicated to showcasing the importance of saving for a child’s education,” said Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan, whose office administers the Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan. “The Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan offers Arkansans up to $10,000 in state tax deductions for contributions they make to their loved one’s Arkansas 529 account.” 

A 529 account is an investment account that has the potential to grow over time. 529 funds can be used for tuition at college or trade school, as well as textbooks, computers and other supplies such as tools for a trade. Additionally, funds can be used for tuition at private K-12 schools, apprenticeship programs and student loan repayment. 

“The Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan is designed to help your loved one have a brighter future – whatever that may look like,” Milligan said. “The money can be used at schools nationwide. Plus, the plan is flexible in that the funds can be transferred to another family member if the initial beneficiary doesn’t use them.” 

As of December 2021, more than $480.3 billion had been invested for education around the country in 15.7 million 529 accounts, according to the College Savings Plan Network. 

“We’ve had a great history with the Arkansas 529 program,” Milligan said. “We’ve grown the plan’s assets under management by 120% since I came into office in 2015. We’ve promoted the plan heavily and have been diligent about keeping the plan up-to-date with federal law concerning the expenses that can be covered with a 529 plan.”

An account can be opened in as little as 10 minutes with a minimum of $25, he added. To open an Arkansas Brighter Future 529 account, visit BrighterFutureDirect529.com or call 501-682-1406.

“The gift of an education is an investment that can have generational impact,” Milligan said. “The earlier you start saving for a child’s education, even if it’s just a little at a time, the better. No amount is too small.”

 

TREASURER OF STATE DENNIS MILLIGAN LEAVES LEGACY OF TRANSPARENCY
Following predecessor’s history of receiving kickbacks
May 24, 2022 (Little Rock, Ark.) –Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan was the first treasurer to have been elected following former Treasurer Martha Shoffner’s conviction of bribery and taking kickbacks from brokers.

“I looked at this as an opportunity to clean up her mess and restore public trust,” Milligan said. “Such a vital function of state government should be taken very seriously.”

The State Treasury receives about $70 million each day in deposits from local, state and federal agencies and is responsible for balancing the state’s ledger daily. It is also responsible for an investment portfolio of roughly $6 billion.

“Early on in my tenure, I was approached by a company offering me an all-expenses-paid Hawaiian vacation and I turned them down. I said, ‘That’s not the way we’re going to conduct the state’s business,’” Milligan explained.

One of the first systems Milligan created was an online public auction for Treasury CDs, or certificates of deposit. Historically, Treasury investment staff would manually call banks to try and negotiate the highest possible rate of return for the Treasury. That consisted of several hours’ worth of time spent on the phone and had the potential for favoritism.

“Not only was it inefficient, but there was no possible way to be fair to smaller banks who would like to have competed for our CDs,” Milligan said.

To promote both fairness and efficiency, he developed the Arkansas Transparent Treasury Auction program (ATTA). The program is an online auction by which banks bid anonymously on Treasury CDs. The auctions can also be watched by the public.

“The intention of the program was to provide transparency and fairness to all Arkansas banks, but an added benefit to the taxpayers is that we were able to increase our rate of return significantly,” Milligan said.

Another effort toward total transparency was a complete overhaul of the Treasury’s website. Every financial report that is available may be found on the website at www.artreasury.gov.

Those reports include daily cash flows; brokers the Treasury does business with; securities purchased and their rate of return; the tax and aid amounts distributed to municipalities; and assets for programs the Treasury administers, such as the Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan and the Arkansas ABLE Plan for people with disabilities.

“I ran for this office to restore public trust and improve transparency within the State Treasury,” Milligan said. “I pledged to do what was best for the state of Arkansas and the Treasury.”

 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES CALL FOR INCREASED OVERSIGHT OF CHINESE ECONOMIC AGGRESSION AFTER PROPOSED FORBES ACQUISITION
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen raising concerns about the proposed acquisition of Forbes by an entity linked to the Chinese Communist Party.

In part, the senators wrote, “Forbes is a recognizable American brand with immense propaganda value to the CCP. Additionally, the CCP’s direction of Forbes’ editorial content and business operations, or its access to Forbes’ financial and personal research, could present a serious national security threat to the United States. As members of the Intelligence, Judiciary, Banking, and Finance Committees, we view proposed transactions like this one as a compelling reason for increased oversight of the CCP’s predatory economic behavior in American markets. We urge you to take the necessary steps to thoroughly review the circumstances and potential consequences of this deal.”

May 23, 2022

OUACHITA COUNTY MEMORIAL DAY SCHEDULE
The Ouachita County Courthouse and the Ouachita County Extension Office will be closed Monday May 30, 2022 inobservance of Memorial Day. The Trash will be picked up on regular schedule.


8 SCHOOLS SELECTED FOR INCLUSIVE PRACTICES PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES PROJECT
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education is pleased to announce the eight schools selected for the 2022-2023 Inclusive Practices Professional Learning Communities Project. This marks the third cohort of schools selected for the project, which uses the PLC process to strengthen special education services.

Schools Selected for 2022-2023:
Cutter Morning Star Elementary School (Cutter Morning Star School District)
East Pointe Elementary School (Greenwood School District)
Magnet Cove Elementary School (Magnet Cove School District)
Main Street Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School (Hot Springs School District)
Northside Elementary School (Rogers School District)
Ridge Road Elementary School (North Little Rock School District)
Warren Middle School (Warren School District)
West Side Elementary School (West Side School District)

“Congratulations to the next cohort selected for this PLC project,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “As part of this program, special education teachers will work alongside core academic teachers to ensure all students have access to high-quality instruction using grade-level academic standards. The schools also will focus on promoting a culture of inclusion, where special education students are included in general education classrooms, while receiving the needed services and supports to help them thrive. A school that has a strong culture that promotes learning for all students will result in all students achieving success in school and life.”

Selected schools, in partnership with an education service cooperative, will be matched with a certified PLC at Work associate from Solution Tree during the next school year. Schools will receive 12 days of onsite support as they deepen and sustain the PLC process with a focus on inclusive practices and culture. Each school will create action plans that focus on increasing student achievement through aligned curriculum, formative assessment practices, and proven instructional strategies. 

Schools were selected following a rigorous application and evaluation process, determined by a committee of educational professionals knowledgeable of the PLC process. Selected schools will serve as learning sites for other schools, with the goal of increasing the capacity of this process statewide. 

To learn more, visit https://bit.ly/3GcrMTJ.

 

ICYMI: BOOZMAN DELIVERS LEGISLATIVE VICTORIES TO IMPROVE VETERANS BENEFITS AND SERVICES
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is a longtime champion of our nation’s veterans. His continued advocacy on behalf of the men and women who served in uniform has most recently resulted in a trio of legislative achievements heading to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished to modernize Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) services and expand the benefits brave individuals called to serve our nation have earned,” Boozman said. “By improving the standard of care they receive and supporting better accountability measures at the VA, we’re taking important steps to live up to the commitment our country made to them. I’m honored to serve as a voice for veterans and will continue to craft and advance measures in support of their needs.”

Last week, Congress advanced Boozman-led bills that are expected to be signed into law including:

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

The Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act, which will require the VA to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services,  create a telemammography pilot program for veterans in areas where the VA does not offer in-house mammography and expand veterans’ access to clinical trials through partnerships with the National Cancer Institute. The legislation would also require the VA to upgrade all in-house breast imaging to 3D mammography, which is considered the gold standard of imaging technology.

The Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act of 2021, a measure to provide the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the authority to subpoena 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 its inspections, reviews and investigations.

These recent accomplishments come on the heels of Boozman’s fight to block veterans resources from being taken away to respond to the crisis at the southern border. Following pressure from the senator, the Biden administration backed off discussions of deploying VA personnel to the border to address the surge of immigrants should Title 42 be lifted.

 

COTTON STATEMENT ON BIDEN’S SHIFT IN TAIWAN POLICY
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) issued the following statement regarding President Biden’s recent comments about Taiwan:

“I’ve long said that we should change our Taiwan policy from ‘strategic ambiguity’ to ‘strategic clarity’: the United States will come to the defense of Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack. As usual, strategic clarity and military strength is the best way to deter China. Given President Biden’s apparent policy shift in off-the-cuff remarks at a press conference in Japan, followed by anonymous White House aides trying to ‘walk back’ his statement, it’s now essential that President Biden restate our new policy of strategic clarity in clear, deliberate remarks from a prepared text. Otherwise, the continued ambiguity and uncertainty will likely provoke the Chinese communists without deterring them—the worst of both worlds.”

May 20, 2022

ADDITIONAL FUNDS AID EFFORTS TO REMOVE FERAL HOGS FROM ARKANSAS
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce that additional funding has been made available to assist with feral hog eradication efforts in Arkansas. Senator John Boozman was instrumental in securing $650,000 in federal funding through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture to implement additional eradication efforts across the state. Additionally, the Buffalo River Conservation Committee (BRCC) allocated $74,960 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services (USDA Wildlife Services) to expand eradication efforts within the Buffalo River watershed.

“We appreciate the efforts of Senator Boozman and the BRCC to provide additional resources that will enable the Department and our partners on the Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force to expand efforts to remove more feral hogs from Arkansas’s croplands, pastures, forests, and wetlands,” said Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. “

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture will use the federal funds to work with USDA Wildlife Services to implement a statewide feral hog management plan. These efforts will supplement ongoing removal activities, including eradication efforts in 12 Arkansas counties funded through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program. 

USDA Wildlife Services will use the funding from the BRCC to purchase additional traps and other equipment to expand trapping efforts within the Buffalo River watershed.

Approximately 30,000 feral hogs have been removed from the state by members of the Feral Hog Eradication Task Force (Task Force) since January 2020. The Task Force was created by the Arkansas legislature in 2017 to create a plan for the eradication of feral hogs in Arkansas and is made up of 21 federal and state agencies and non-government organizations. More information on the Task Force can be found at bit.ly/FeralHogETF. 

Feral hogs are an invasive species that are especially destructive to agricultural crops, native wildlife, and young domestic livestock. In Arkansas, the latest survey by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that feral swine cause at least $41 million in agricultural damages every year, including $34 million in damages to soybeans, corn, cotton, wheat, hay, pecans, and rice, and $7.3 million in damages to livestock. Landowners experiencing feral hog damage are encouraged to call USDA Wildlife Services at (501) 835-2318 for assistance.

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 to learn more.

 

CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ARREST; ASP INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
MAY 20, 2022
Eric Renard, 40, of Sherwood has been arrested by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division, Internet Crimes Against Children Section.

Renard is charged with possession and distribution of child pornography and was placed in the Faulkner County Jail last night (May 19th).

Earlier yesterday, agents assigned to the case executed a search warrant at Renard’s home located at 128 Cato Road.  Multiple computer type devices and wireless telephones were seized and are being forensically examined.

The investigation related to this case and others assigned to the state police ICAC section are continuing.
 

DISTURBANCE CALL LEADS TO OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING IN POLK COUNTY; SUSPECT DEAD
MAY 20, 2022
Polk County authorities have requested the Arkansas State Police to investigate a shooting incident that occurred in Mena as sheriff’s deputies were about to enter a residence where a domestic disturbance had been reported just before 10 PM, Thursday (May 19th).

Rickey Looney, 40, of 108 Majesty Lane was shot by a law enforcement officer after Looney reportedly ordered authorities to leave, then pointed a gun at one of the three sheriff’s department personnel who was about to enter the home.  Looney was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where he later died.

Sherriff’s department personnel initially responded to Looney’s home after a woman reported she had accidentally shot Looney with a pistol as he attempted to stop her from leaving following an argument between the two.

Special agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are conducting an investigation into the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer.  The investigative case file will be used by the Polk County prosecuting attorney in making a decision whether the use of deadly force was consistent with Arkansas law.

The identity of the law enforcement officer who shot Looney is not being released at this time.  The sheriff’s department and prosecuting attorney will decide when to move forward in making the identity public.

State police special agents are continuing their investigative work today and will obtain an autopsy report from the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the medical examiner will determine the cause and manner of death.


MOCK DISASTER EVENT PREPARES SOUTHERN FORESTRY PERSONNEL FOR COMMUNITY RECOVERY OPERATIONS
Jonesboro, AR – Urban and community forestry professionals from across the Southeast converged in Jonesboro this week for a unique mock-disaster training event. The training, hosted by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division and the Southern Group of State Foresters, qualified participants to deploy in Urban Forest Strike Teams (UFSTs) following natural disasters nationwide.

UFSTs are comprised of International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists who respond to areas where community trees have been impacted by a natural disaster. Strike team crews provide tree damage and risk evaluations, as well as resources for obtaining federal assistance. During a real-world training exercise on Thursday, trainees assessed damaged and downed trees in Trumann, where residents continue to recover from tornadoes which devastated the area last winter.

 

“Community trees often sustain critical damage from straight line and tornadic winds, storm surge, and torrential flooding,” said Joe Fox, Arkansas State Forester. “Urban Forest Strike Teams are a vital resource, especially in areas prone to natural disaster, because they help safeguard residents against hazards while supporting the overall wellbeing and beauty of our communities.”

Following severe weather events, in coordination with a community, UFST crews assess trees on public property for structure and root damage, lost foliage, and broken branches. Once completed, the assessment will indicate how many trees on public property were damaged in the storm, how many of those will require care or need to be removed, and which trees are safe to remain with managed care.

To learn more about UFSTs and view photos from this year’s course, visit the Southern Group of State Foresters’ photo blog and visit the UFST webpage at southernforesters.org/urban/ufst.

About the Arkansas Department of Agriculture
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. Learn more at agriculture.arkansas.gov/

About the Southern Group of State Foresters
The Southern Group of State Foresters (SGSF) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation representing state forestry agencies within the 13 southeastern United States, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. SGSF members collectively provide leadership, coordination, expertise and resources to sustain the economic, environmental, health and societal benefits of southern forests. This includes the delivery of regional support needed to address existing and emerging issues related to sustainable forest management, forest health, water resources, urban and community forestry, forest product markets, wildfire protection, conservation education and disaster response.


BIPARTISAN PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICING BILL REINTRODUCED IN HOUSE
WASHINGTON - This week, Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee reintroduced the Price Relief, Innovation, and Competition for Essential Drugs (PRICED) Act to make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible for Americans across the nation.

The bicameral PRICED Act, the first version of which was introduced in the Senate in 2016 by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and the late John McCain (R-AZ), addresses increasing drug prices by reducing drug manufactures’ exclusivity periods for biologics from twelve years to five years.

“Low cost and widely available medications and treatments are vital to the continued wellbeing of millions of Americans,” said Congressman Westerman. "The PRICED Act is critical in making prescription drugs more affordable by breaking up manufactures’ monopoly on certain drugs and allowing other companies to create generic versions at a lower cost to the patient. I'm grateful to join Rep. Schakowsky's work on this issue – we’re proof that health care solutions can and should be bipartisan.”

“Drug pricing isn’t a partisan issue and taking on the Big Pharma monopoly shouldn’t be either. I am proud to be joined by Congressman Westerman to reintroduce the PRICED Act, which will make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible for Americans across the nation,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “During the health care debate in 2010, we fought hard to reduce the number of years that manufacturers of the newer, more expensive biologic drugs can maintain patent exclusivity, which keeps competitors from putting lower cost drugs on the market. Unfortunately, it still granted twelve years of exclusivity that has allowed biologics manufacturers to enjoy billions of dollars in profits and no competition. That is unacceptable for American taxpayers who fund the majority of research that develops these drugs and who need these drugs to survive. I will fight to finally pass the PRICED Act in the 117th Congress.”

In 2017, all of the top 10 highest-expenditure drugs in Medicare Part B were biologic products, accounting for over $10 billion in costs. That same year, the Office of Management and Budget estimated that reducing the exclusivity from 12 to 7 years could save almost $7 billion over 10 years. 

Many recent peer-reviewed studies suggest that biologics are not as time-consuming to develop as initially believed. In 2019, authors from the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL), Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School published a study in Nature that concluded “although biologics are often thought to be more time-consuming to develop than small-molecule drugs, development times for biologics are similar to, or possibly somewhat shorter than, for small-molecule drugs.” Additional reports show that there is no difference in the median premarket development time between biologics and small molecule drugs that would justify the 12 years of data exclusivity that biologics currently retain.

The Representatives were joined by Representatives Ro Khanna (CA-17), Lloyd Doggett (TX-25), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), and Jesús G. "Chuy" García (IL-04).

May 19, 2022

FOURTH DISTRICT VETERAN RECEIVES CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) attended the Congressional Gold Medal award ceremony for Mr. Bobby Gene “Bob” Ross, a World War II United States Merchant Marine Veteran, in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. Rep. Westerman issued the following statement:

"Mr. Ross is a shining example of the American Spirit," said Rep. Westerman. "His decision to serve our country in one of its greatest times of need, at the tender age of 14, is inspirational and extraordinary. Mr. Ross is a true patriot and I am proud to see him honored today for his courageous service."

Mr. Bob Ross joined the Merchant Marines in 1942, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served in the South Pacific and Atlantic, where he earned the South Pacific Victory Medal, the Pacific War Zone Bar, and the Atlantic War Zone Bar. Mr. Ross will celebrate his 94th birthday in June.

Background

The U.S. Merchant Marines serve in times of peace and war to serve America's maritime transportation and defense needs. The Merchant Marines suffered the highest rate of casualties of any service branch in WWII, with one in twenty-six mariners dying in the line of duty. About 12,000 members were injured or taken prisoner.

Merchant Mariners did not receive Veteran status until 1988 and until today, never received national recognition through a Congressional Gold Medal.


EEOC REPORT ANALYZES SITUATION OF WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES IN THE FEDERAL WORKFORCE
WASHINGTON – In a newly issued report, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shows that opportunities for persons with disabilities in the federal workforce are improving, but that further progress is needed on retention and representation in leadership positions.

The study examined federal workers with disabilities’ demographics, their hiring, advancement, and separation from employment at federal agencies, discrimination complaints based on disability, and ways that federal agencies are improving accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Representing 9.4% of federal employees, the participation by people with disabilities in the federal workforce is increasing.  In FY 2014, persons with disabilities represented 8.68% of federal workers. This increased by more than 8% to 9.42% in 2018. Accordingly, federal agencies are raising awareness of accessibility for persons with disabilities and are improving their technological resources to make their workplaces more accessible to people with disabilities.

The study also found that persons with disabilities are promoted at a rate similar to what would be expected based on their governmentwide participation rate.

 “The EEOC is delighted to see that our support of people with disabilities has borne fruit in so many ways,” said Carlton Hadden, director of the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations. “Clearly, though, more progress is needed. The EEOC will continue to work to advance the opportunities and well-being for this still too underutilized and underappreciated segment of our population.”

The report other findings include the fact that persons with disabilities are still underrepresented in federal sector leadership. Among persons with targeted disabilities, 10.7% are in leadership positions and 89.3% are in non-leadership positions. Among persons without disabilities, 16.4% are in leadership positions, and 85.6% are in non-leadership positions.

Targeted disabilities are the most severe ones, including blindness, deafness, partial and full paralysis, missing extremities, dwarfism, epilepsy, intellectual disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. Individuals with these disabilities typically have the greatest difficulty finding employment. As a matter of policy, the federal government has a special emphasis on recruiting, hiring, and retaining people with targeted disabilities.

Further, the report illustrates that people with targeted disabilities involuntarily left federal employers at more than twice the rate of people without disabilities, and people with any disability were 53% more likely to involuntarily leave than persons without disabilities. Similarly, persons with disabilities and targeted disabilities were more likely to voluntarily leave federal employers than persons without disabilities. 

“There’s something wrong with this picture when so many more people with disabilities leave the government than those without,” Hadden said. “Our government needs to be the best workplace it can be for everyone. Federal managers and policymakers need to take a good look at this situation and figure out ways to improve this picture.”

The report also reveals that over a five-year period, federal sector physical disability-based complaints increased by 22% and mental disability-based complaints increased by 72%, outpacing the overall increase in federal sector EEO complaints. This may be due to increased discrimination against persons with disabilities or increased comfort with filing an EEO complaint among persons with disabilities, the report said.

By using 2018 data, this report provides a baseline to measure the impact of EEOC’s final rule, “Affirmative Action for Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal Government,” which clarified that federal employers must take proactive steps to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities.

For more information on disability discrimination, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/disability-discrimination.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov

 

BOOZMAN LEGISLATION HEADING TO PRESIDENT’S DESK TO BE SIGNED INTO LAW
Senator’s Bills Improve and Expand VA Mammography Services, Cancer Care
WASHINGTON - A pair of legislative initiatives championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to modernize Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) breast cancer screening policies and the delivery of lifesaving care for women veterans unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives late Wednesday and are headed to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“We are now one signature away from ensuring veterans have access to lifesaving breast cancer screenings. I urge the president to quickly approve these bills and make them law so we can expand VA tools and resources to deliver the preventative care and treatments these valiant, dedicated former servicemembers have earned,” said Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

The Boozman-authored Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act will 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.

The legislation is named in honor of Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas, a Marine veteran and public health professional who was unaware of her increased risk for breast cancer as a result of her deployment to Iraq. During a routine medical exam in 2018 she was advised to undergo a mammogram and was subsequently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer at the age of 38. Dr. Thomas fought for passage of this bill until she sadly passed away last month. 

The bipartisan bill was introduced by Boozman and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act, which Boozman led, will require the VA to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services, create a telemammography pilot program for veterans in areas where the VA does not offer in-house mammography and expand veterans’ access to clinical trials through partnerships with the National Cancer Institute. The legislation would also require the VA to upgrade all in-house breast imaging to 3D mammography, which is considered the gold standard of imaging technology.

Boozman worked with Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) to introduce the legislation along with Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

The senator delivered remarks applauding Senate passage of both proposals in March. 

These legislative accomplishments come on the heels of House passage of the Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act of 2021. The Boozman-led bill expanding oversight authority of the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) was approved on Tuesday and is expected to be signed into law.

 

BOOZMAN CONTINUES LEADERSHIP IN ADDRESSING ARKANSAS PHYSICIAN SHORTAGE
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) introduced bipartisan legislation to help address the nationwide physician shortage. The Physicians for Underserved Areas Act would update the Graduate Medical Education (GME) slot process following a hospital closure by directing federally-funded medical residency slots to areas where doctors are most needed. 

“In rural states like Arkansas, the shortage of primary care physicians and specialty doctors creates a health care delivery challenge. The Physicians for Underserved Areas Act is part of the solution to bridge this gap and encourage more medical school graduates to practice in rural areas. I’m pleased to continue advancing proposals to ensure all Americans, no matter where they live, get the care they need,” Boozman said.

“Nevada currently ranks 48th in the nation when it comes to primary care physicians per capita, and this shortage has had a dire impact on Nevadans’ ability to seek health care,” Rosen said. “This bipartisan legislation will help add to the number of medical residency slots available for Nevada hospitals and encourage more doctors to come practice in our state, including in communities which previously have been underserved.”

“The physician shortage continues to be a significant problem across the nation but it’s especially alarming in rural states like Arkansas,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and CEO of UAMS Health. “More than two-thirds of the 75 counties in our state include federally designated Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas. Primary care physician shortages are expected to increase substantially as our state’s population continues to age and require more medical care, and as more seek primary care services. We are extremely grateful to Sen. Boozman and Sen. Rosen for their introduction of the Physicians for Underserved Areas Act. Sen. Boozman has been a longtime champion of Graduate Medical Education, working closely with UAMS toward our common goal of ensuring that all Arkansans, no matter where they live, have access to health care. The addition of residency positions where they are needed most will improve the chances for physicians to stay in Arkansas after completing residency because data show that physicians are more likely to practice within 50 miles of their final residency training.”

The Physicians for Underserved Areas Act would:
Revise the GME process to give medical residency programs in areas with physician shortages a greater chance of gaining available residency slots after hospital closures elsewhere in the country;
Prioritize keeping medical residency slots local and within the same state when hospitals close; and
Update the requirement for quickly filling GME slots.

This legislation continues Boozman’s commitment to addressing the growing shortage of primary and specialty care physicians in Arkansas. In February, Boozman and Rosen teamed up to introduce the Resident Education Deferred Interest Act to help ease the financial burden on medical and dental students. Last year, the senator introduced the Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021 legislation to significantly increase Medicare-supported doctor training slots. That followed efforts during the 116th Congress to gradually lift the caps on Medicare-supported doctor training slots.

May 18, 2022

ENTERGY ARKANSAS NAMES CONSIDINE, THOMPSON TO VP POSITIONS
Internal hires will lead reliability, customer service
Little Rock, ARK. – Entergy Arkansas officials recently announced the promotion of Michael Considine and Ventrell Thompson to vice president positions.

Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux said, “Michael and Ventrell are proven leaders within Entergy Arkansas, and their newest positions will allow them to continue steering the company and their teams toward improved reliability and customer service, while fostering community relationships and environmental sustainability. I’m proud to call them colleagues and look forward to seeing their professional growth, development and commitment to our customers.”

Considine has been named vice president of reliability, a new role within the organization that combines both transmission and distribution operations, with responsibilities for safety, operations, engineering and regulatory within the service territory and oversight of 800 employees. He served as interim vice president of distribution operations since August 2021. He began his utility career with Entergy Services in 2001 at the system operations center in Pine Bluff as a transmission business analyst and held numerous positions within regulatory services prior to being the Finance Director from 2014-2017, Director of Customer Service – Central Region from 2017-2019, and Vice President of Customer Service 2019-2021.

Considine holds a bachelor's degree in professional accountancy from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., and has completed an executive program through the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business and the Entergy Senior Leadership Program.

He and his wife, Abby, live in Little Rock with their two daughters. He volunteers with Arkansas Food Bank, Our House and serves on the board for the Museum of Discovery and the University of Arkansas Little Rock Advisory Board. He is a graduate of Leadership Arkansas, member of Rotary Club ’99 and was recognized by Arkansas Business’ 40 Under 40.

Thompson has been named vice president of Customer Service, a role he served as interim since August 2021. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of customer service in the Entergy Arkansas service territory, leading a team of customer service professionals who are responsible for meeting the needs of all residential, commercial, governmental, and industrial customers across the state. 

He began his utility career with Entergy Services in 2002 as an analyst. In 2012, Thompson joined the Regulatory Affairs team where he held various positions responsible for managing regulatory proceedings, such as rate cases and Formula Rate Plan filings with the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Beginning in 2019, he served as Region Customer Service Manager for the company’s largest commercial and industrial customers, as well as city and county public officials.  

Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a Master of Business Administration from John Brown University.

He and his wife, Joy, a longtime educator in the Little Rock School District, have two sons, Caleb, 22, and Chase, 8. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and serves on the boards of the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship, American Association of Blacks in Energy, Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, and 100 Black Men of Greater Little Rock. He’s also an alumnus of Leadership Greater Little Rock and Leadership Arkansas.
 

SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES COTTON RESOLUTION TO DESIGNATE MAY AS ALS AWARENESS MONTH
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), and Chris Coons (D-Delaware) to designate May 2022 as ALS Awareness Month. Text of the resolution may be found here.

“Each year, thousands of Americans are diagnosed with ALS—a progressive and disabling disease for which there is no cure. I’m proud to work with my colleagues to raise awareness about ALS and help bring relief to Americans living with the disease,” said Cotton.

“It takes tremendous courage from patients, families, and friends to cope with an ALS diagnosis – a relentless and debilitating disease,” said Whitehouse.  “It’s my hope that by passing this ALS Awareness Month resolution, we will draw attention to those affected by ALS and the researchers working on new treatments on the path to a cure.”

“There is no ALS survivor community, so it’s a top priority for me to advocate in Congress for those that are diagnosed with this devastating disease. As a co-founder of the first Senate ALS Caucus with Senator Coons, I am proud to join my Senate colleagues in designating May as ALS Awareness Month,” said Braun.

“ALS is a cruel disease that takes the lives of thousands of Americans every year, and we must work together by sustaining research and expanding treatment and therapy options. That’s why I worked so hard to secure passage of my bipartisan ACT for ALS bill, which President Biden signed into law last year, and continue to work with my colleagues to secure full funding for that law today,” said Coons. “I hope that with more awareness around ALS, we will be able to better support patients and their loved ones, and move closer to a cure.”

Cotton has been a leading advocate for Americans living with ALS during his time in Congress. His ALS Disabiliy Insurance Act, which eliminates the five-month waiting period before ALS patients can receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, was first introduced in 2016 and finally signed into law in 2020.

Background:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease affecting the ability of the brain to control muscle movements. Individuals with ALS progressively lose the ability to speak, walk, and breathe. The intended purpose of a five-month waiting period is to allow temporary conditions to reverse. However, there is currently no cure or treatment to halt or undo the effects of ALS, and some ALS patients lose their fight with the disease before ever receiving benefits. The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act would help alleviate some of the financial hardship that accompanies an ALS diagnosis, and support those living with ALS and their families.

 

BOOZMAN-BACKED LEGISLATION STRENGTHENING VA OVERSIGHT HEADS TO PRESIDENT’S DESK TO BE SIGNED INTO LAW
Bill Expands VA Watchdog Authority
WASHINGTON–– The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed bipartisan legislation championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to strengthen oversight at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The legislation now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

The Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act of 2021 will provide the VA Office of Inspector General (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 its inspections, reviews and investigations.

“Expanding the VA OIG’s authority to conduct more thorough investigations will help ensure accountability,” Boozman said. “Support by Congress for this proposal demonstrates the consensus of providing additional oversight tools to improve transparency. I urge the president to quickly sign this bill into law so we can deliver the high-quality care veterans deserve.”

The legislation passed the Senate last month. The bipartisan bill was introduced by Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Under current law, the VA OIG does not have testimonial subpoena authority to compel individuals relevant to investigations to answer questions in person and under oath. This can limit both the VA OIG and Congress’ ability to conduct complete and thorough reviews, including of VA health care and benefits programs, management actions and contracts. The legislation will expand the VA OIG’s authority to provide stronger oversight over the department.

Last year, the VA OIG issued damning reports tied to the failures at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville and the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia that resulted in the deaths of veterans in these facilities. The VA OIG has also identified additional investigations since 2017 where expanded subpoena authority would have assisted the independent watchdog in investigating patient safety, procurement and ethical conflicts of interest.

May 17, 2022

CITY OF CAMDEN AIRPORT COMMISSION TO MEET
The City of Camden Airport Commission will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, May 20, 2022 at 11:30 a.m. at the Airport Terminal located at 255 Airport Road, Camden, Arkansas.

ADE ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF STATE'S MIDDLE SCHOOL CODING COMPETITION
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education’s Office of Computer Science is pleased to announce the winners of the third annual Great Arkansas History Video Game Coding Competition. The competition was open to middle school students, with competitors creating a game around a theme: “My Favorite Arkansas Town.” 

The winners are listed below, with each member of the first-place team receiving $1,000, each, placed in an Arkansas Brighter Futures 529 Plan. 
First Place: Arkansas Arts Academy in Rogers
Students: Corissa Arnold, Frankie Barber, and Grant Lovatt-Sutton
Sponsor: Mai Le

Second Place: Lonoke Middle School in Lonoke
Students: Graham Biles, Kylee Bell, Mason Hambrick, Estrella Lopez, Blake Rudder, and Eli Quintanilla
Sponsor: Cathy Flenor

Third Place: Holt Middle School in Fayetteville
Student: Josephine Doss
Sponsors: Luke Schafer and Tayla Terral

“The CSforAR team was highly impressed by the quantity and quality of the submissions,” John Hart, a statewide computer science specialist, said. “More students from around the state competed this year, with multiple schools holding local competitions to determine their entries for the state competition. We are excited to start the fourth year of the competition this fall.”

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order) are listed below.
Conway Junior High School in Conway 
Students: Brody Mercer, Bowen Cathcart, and Ethan Brock
Sponsor: Jennifer Abels

Holt Middle School in Fayetteville
Students: Cedar Bowling and Anders Mooney 
Sponsors: Luke Schafer and Tayla Terral

Lake Hamilton Junior High School in Pearcy
Students: Alayna Kincannon and Emily Goodman 
Sponsor: Ashley Kincannon

The Anthony School in Little Rock
Students: Haley Ragland, Keira Blanchet, Reese Henry, Campbell Beazley, Claire Steliga, and Edie Ward
Sponsor: Jeremy Teeter

Arkansas Arts Academy in Rogers
Students: Wyatt Bowerman, Colton Watson, Waylon Frank, Maddox Kimball, and Trevyr Woods
Sponsor: Jeremy Teeter

Additional information about the contest can be found at http://bit.ly/ARCSHistComp. Submitted games will be linked on that webpage within the next few weeks.
 

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION RESUMES IN-PERSON SERVICES AT LOCAL SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICES
By Tonya Cater
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Arkansas
We are pleased to announce that local Social Security offices are offering more in-person appointments and have resumed in-person services for people without an appointment.

To avoid waiting in line, we strongly encourage people, who can, to use our online services at www.ssa.gov/onlineservices, call us, and schedule appointments in advance rather than walking in without an appointment.  Phone appointments can save you a trip to a busy office. We thank the public for your patience as we work to increase service.

Customers who walk in without appointments may encounter delays and longer waits at our offices. Before coming to an office, we encourage you to visit our emergency page at www.ssa.gov/emergency to check the office status. Be aware that our offices tend to be the busiest first thing in the morning, early in the week, and during the early part of the month, so people may want to plan to visit at other times.

Given that many of the people we serve have health vulnerabilities, and consistent with our union agreements, we are continuing to require certain safety measures. These include masking regardless of local guidance, physical distancing, and self-health checks for COVID-19 symptoms. We will provide masks to the public and employees if they need them.

Most of our services are available to the public online and with a personal my Social Security account, or by telephone. And most of our services do not require the public to take time to visit an office. People may create their personal my Social Security account, a personalized online service, on our website at www.ssa.gov/myaccount. Many of our services are also conveniently available by dialing toll-free, 1-800-772-1213. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

As we transition to a modern phone system, some people may experience a busy signal or be unintentionally disconnected from their call. We sincerely regret these disruptions and recommend people call when our National 800 Number may be less busy. Less busy times include before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. local time or later in the week. Like our offices, our waits are generally shorter later in the month.

To learn more, please visit our How to Get Help from Social Security page at www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/gethelp and our Online Services page at www.ssa.gov/onlineservices.

 

BOOZMAN TOUTS SUCCESS OF DRUG AND VETERANS TREATMENT COURTS IN BENTON COUNTY
WASHINGTON––Amid National Drug Court Month and on the heels of news a record number of Americans died of drug overdoses last year, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is highlighting the efficacy of drug courts to successfully treat substance use disorders, leading participants into recovery and out of the justice system.

Boozman honored over 130 Benton County Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court graduates from over the last two years during a ceremony on Friday.

“An investment in drug courts is an investment in jobs, lives saved, and our financial future,” Boozman said. “It’s a privilege to get to partner with you on getting our family, friends and neighbors the support and care they need in a very deliberate and effective way.”

Drug and veterans treatment courts across Arkansas and throughout the country offer an alternative to jail through strenuous and thorough rehabilitation programs.

According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, about 60 percent of drug court participants complete at least 12 months of treatment, compared to only 10 percent of probationers and parolees, proving drug courts are reducing crime and substance use, breaking the cycle of recidivism and keeping families together.

Boozman praised Benton County Circuit Judge Thomas Smith and his staff for their efforts in making the program an exemplary success that changes lives and generates significant cost-savings.

“The data shows you all have much higher success rates than the traditional justice system: a 90 percent graduation rate and only a 15 percent re-offense rate,” Boozman said of Benton County’s programs. “Not only is that a great story to tell in the lives of the over 1,100 individuals and 70 veterans who have been impacted here, but it’s also a good thing in the sense that it saves our state vast amounts of resources – tens of millions of dollars every year, in fact.”

May 16, 2022

CAMDEN POLICE REPORTS
PUBLIC INTOXICATlON
On May 13, 2022 at 1836 hours Officer Waldron Sheppard was dispatched to 865 S Adams Ave to the west parking lot of the metal building bearing, a "USED TIRES" sign.

Upon arrival Officer Sheppard observed two Ouachita County Sheriff vehicles and two Ouachita County Sheriff Deputies with Synicia Madison, Deputy Davis handed over a small bottle of liquor that Madison was carrying. Officer Sheppard approached Madison who was positioned between the vehicles and began asking her questions, but it became quickly obvious that Madison was intoxicated due to her slurred speech, inability to respond to simple questions, and incoherent speech patterns. :

Due to Madison's disposition and clear intoxication she was arrested and transported lo the station without incident.

Booking producers were completed und approved by Madison was later released with a citation 13224 court date.

SHOPLIFTING
On May 12, 2022 at 142 hours Officer Paul Caldwell, was dispatched to Walmart in reference to shoplifting.

Officer Caldwell arrived on scene and made contact with the Walmart Asset Protection employee in the Asset Protection Office and observed a female identified as Ajia Bocage.

The employee stated be observed Bocage on camera putting items in a bag and then shopping cart that were not scanned and paid for. He stated that he approached Bocage and questioned her about the items and then took Bocage in the Asset Protection Office and detained her until CPD arrived on scene.

Officer Caldwell observed video surveillance of Bocage unscanned items in a bag. He obtained Bocage's driver’s license and had dispatch check ACIC which returned no active criminal history.

The amount of unscanned items equaled $97.11.

A Shoplifting Affidavit was completed and Bocage was taken into custody and transported to the station where booking procedures were completed and later approved. Bocage was release with a Criminal Citation and a court date.

 

UNBUCKLED BE WARNED: TWO WEEKLONG CLICK IT OR TICKET ENFORCEMENT PLAN SCHEDULED
MAY 16, 2022
Now is the time to change an unsafe practice.  Beginning Monday (May 23rd) law enforcement will have patrols across Arkansas watching closely for motorists not using their seat belts.  The stepped-up enforcement operation will continue through June 5th as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Click It or Ticket defined enforcement action plan which spans the Memorial Day holiday period.

 The Arkansas Highway Safety Office reminds drivers and their passengers that the regular practice of using seat belts is a proven lifesaver.

 “The objective is to change the ways of so many drivers and passengers who never use their seat belts,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “We want the act of buckling up to become instinctive for everyone anytime they get in a car or truck to travel.”

 As a part of the Click It or Ticket plan for 2022, NHTSA has asked authorities in every state to participate in the kickoff event, Border to Border (B2B), a 4 hour national seat belt awareness event coordinated by participating state highway safety offices and their respective law enforcement liaisons scheduled for May 23rd.  The B2B program is intended to increase law enforcement participation by coordinating highly visible seat belt enforcement involving drivers at heavily traveled, highly visible, state border locations.

“During the Click It or Ticket campaign, we’ll be working with our fellow law enforcement officers across local and state lines to ensure the message is getting out to drivers and passengers,” Colonel Bryant said.  “Buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life in a crash, and it’s the law.”

According to NHTSA statistics from 2020, there were 10,893 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States.  More than twice the number of males died in crashes as compared to females.  Additionally, the use of seat belts was lower among males.  More than half the males who died in motor vehicle crashes (55%) were not wearing a seat belt.  Among females who died in crashes during the same reporting period, 43% weren’t buckled up.

The 2020 statistical analysis indicates 58% of passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes at night (6 PM - 5:59 AM) were not wearing seat belts which has led to additional attention to be directed by troopers and other law enforcement officers to seat belt enforcement seat belt enforcement during the evening hours during the upcoming campaign.

Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.

More information about the Click It or Ticket mobilization can be found at https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/click-it-or-ticket or by calling the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  News and facts about Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities can be found at https://www.tzdarkansas.org/

 

COMMON GROUND ARKANSAS DEVELOPS SITE TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR ARKANSANS TO FIND POLLING LOCATIONS
The nonpartisan organization Common Ground Arkansas has developed an online Early Voting Locator tool to help voters quickly find their nearest polling locations and hours of operation.

The tool is an interactive map based on the voter’s location or an address the user inputs. It provides locations, hours, and driving directions to polling locations within a selected radius.

Voting in the Democratic, Republican and Nonpartisan primaries is underway with early voting continuing through May 23. A voter can cast a ballot at any of the voting centers in their county. The organization has also developed a similar tool that displays election day (May 24) voting locations. Early voting locations can be different from election day locations, and the 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 voting hours on election day differ from hours at early voting locations.

Both tools are available on Common Ground Arkansas’ website.
Early Voting Locator:  https://commongroundar.org/votehere/
Election Day Locator: https://commongroundar.org/voteday/

Common Ground Arkansas is a nonpartisan organization working toward good governance and increased accountability to the people of Arkansas.

“Early voting is key to ensuring that all Arkansans have a chance to exercise their right to vote,” said Jim Hendren, founder of Common Ground Arkansas. “We are focused on empowering Arkansans, and that starts with providing them with tools so they can learn more about their leaders and have accessible ways to hold them accountable. We hope all Arkansans take the time to vote this May, and our voting locators are one way we can help them do that.”


BOOZMAN APPLAUDS CONGRESSIONAL YOUTH CABINET PARTICIPANTS
LITTLE ROCK – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) applauded his 2021-2022 Congressional Youth Cabinet on Friday as participants presented their legislative proposals regarding student loan debt, minimum wage requirements and laws governing alcohol and tobacco.

The 54 high school juniors shared their ideas with the senator during presentations at the Arkansas State Capitol. The students selected issues to address at their first meeting in the fall and collaborated throughout the year to create their recommendations. In addition to policy suggestions, the students had to describe how their proposal would be funded and implemented.

“I am proud of these young leaders for their hard work, dedication and interest in learning about and developing public policy solutions,” Boozman said. “These students balance a lot of priorities and I am pleased they put such great effort into their presentations. I am confident they will continue to be leaders who give back to their communities and hope their participation in the Congressional Youth Cabinet has given them a valuable window into public policy and public service. This is something they can point to in the future as having helped them become better students and more informed, engaged citizens.”

Sabian Murry, Bryant High School student who served as the 2nd and 4th Congressional Districts group leader, said, “I am very fortunate to have been selected to become a member of the Congressional Youth Cabinet. It has truly widened my perspective on what it means to not only be a part of a team that has to make difficult decisions for complex issues, but also how to communicate with people who view issues differently from me. I've learned that it's effective to have a diverse selection of individuals when confronting issues, so that as many groups as possible receive representation in life-altering law changes.”

“Being on the Senator’s youth cabinet has made my childhood dream of being active in politics a reality (I wrote several stories about being president in the 6th grade),” The Academies at Jonesboro High School student and group leader for the 1st Congressional District Webb Storer said. “It has also given me the opportunity to present ideas in a meaningful and impactful way which is unique to such a forum. Meeting new people has allowed me to see multiple perspectives on the issues at hand much easier and make friends along the way.”

“I have learned so much from being on Senator Boozman’s Youth Congressional Cabinet these last few months, most notably, that all topics and issues are vastly more complicated than one would originally think. All the amazing people I have met and worked with have really shown me how to be part of a team, and how to tackle complicated issues that apply to the world. Although it has been hard, the values and knowledge I have learned through this will help me for the rest of my life,” said Tyler Wirthlin, Bentonville West High School student and 3rd Congressional District group leader.

The Congressional Youth Cabinet is designed to give students first-hand experience with the democratic process and an opportunity to learn how public policy impacts them, their families and their communities.

May 13, 2022

CAMDEN FAIRVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET
The Camden Fairview Board Of Education will meet in regular session on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at 6:30 P.M. at Garrison Auditorium

The Agenda is as follows
Call to order
Recognition of Softball team and members of CFHS Boys Track team
Student Hearing (Readmit)
Approval of minutes of previous meetings
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
None
NEW BUSINESS
     Presentation of building Teachers of the Year by Tara Armstrong.
     Presentation and recommendation regarding the purchase of a school bus.
     Presentation and recommendation regarding provider of milk for 2022-2023 school year.
     Presentation and recommendation regarding provider of bread for 2022-2023 school year.
     Presentation and recommendation regarding the 1240 waiver request for class size.
Facility Rentals
Superintendent’s report to the Board
Financial report
Personnel
     Hiring
     Resignation
     Retiring


COTTON INTRODUCES BILL DEMANDING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR FORMULA SHORTAGE
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced legislation requiring President Joe Biden to submit a report to Congress within 30 days detailing the steps the administration is taking to end the infant formula shortage. Bill text may be found here.

“Four months ago, the FDA closed a formula manufacturing site without taking steps to ensure infant formula supply levels would remain sufficient, leaving millions of babies without the food they need,” said Cotton. “This shortage is a direct result of the Biden administration’s actions, and the President needs to take start taking this seriously." 
 

May 12, 2022

CAMDEN CITY POLICE REPORTS 04-28-2022 TO 05-12-2022
On 5/11/2022 at 17:27 hours, Officer Carneal was dispatched to the corner of Hawthorne Street and Fairview Road in response to a report of a vehicle off the road that was reported by Arkansas State Police Trooper Harper. The driver was reported to be slumped over. Trooper Harper also notified dispatch to send EMS to the scene.

Upon arriving Officer Carneal made contact with Trooper Harper. He was standing beside a blue Hyundai bearing Louisiana tag 796 BQN. The driver's door was open. An examination of the vehicle through the door showed Hines, the victim, sitting in the passengers seat with his feet on the dash. Trooper Harper stated he had opened the door and checked the victim for a pulse and had found none. Harper stated the car was extremely hot when he opened the door.

Officer Carneal notified dispatch that the comer should be contacted and put on standby. He then contacted Lt. Bush and informed him of the situation. EMS arrived and determined the victim was deceased. At this point a Chad Dupree arrived and stated the victim was Chris Hine,s his best friend. Dupree was upset that EMS hadn't done more for Hines. The Officers informed him that Hines has been deceased to long. Dupree then went back to his residence at 805 Fairview Road. When Lt. Bush and Bailey arrived Bailey and Officer Carneal went to Dupree's residence to determine if he knew the victims next of kin. Dupree stated he was trying to call the victims daughter. He stated the daughters name was Stephany Hines. Dupree refused when the Officers offered to make the notification. When asked for his phone number for the report Dupree placed the phone down and stated he didn't have one and ordered us off the property.

Approximately 10 minutes later a female that identified herself as Stephany Balding the victims daughter, arrived on scene. Officer Carneal explained the situation as it stood and got her a seat in the back of Lt. Bush's vehicle with the door open. Balding stated she and the victim had been working on the vehicle before she left for work at approximately 3:30. Balding stated the victim was going to continue working on the car. When asked if her father had used drugs she stated "Benzos, Heroin and Meth". Ouachita County Comer Smith arrived along with Captain Sanders who then removed the body from the vehicle. The body was to be transported to Arkansas State Crime lab.

On May 11, 2022 at 1229 hours Officer Davis along with other officers went to 343 Harrison Street in reference to a warrant service on Nahumyusef Vinson.

Officer Davis made contact with Vinson in the back bedroom of the residence, at this time he was upset but compliant. He asked if he could use the restroom before he went to jail which he was allowed to do. After using the restroom, he stated "I aint going", and slammed the door shut.

Office Davis then kicked the restroom door, forcing entry. The door struck Vinson on the right side of his forehead causing him to fall to the ground. Officers attempted to place Vinson into handcuffs, however he refused to place his hands behind his back. Vinson was told several times to put his hands behind his back and would not comply. Officers had to wrestle Vinson on the ground and stunn him in the mid-section of his back to make him comply. He was taken into custody and transported to the station without further incident.

On 05-06-2022 Officer Jackson was dispatched to the 200 block Agee Street in reference to an intoxicated female walking in the road. Upon arrival to Agee and Clifton intersection Ofc. Jackson observed Synicia Madison walking down the road stumbling, talking loudly and punching the air.

Ofc. Jackson exited his vehicle to make contact with Madison when she began attempting to speed walk away from Ofc. Jackson. Ofc. Jackson caught up and made contact with Madison while she was stumbling down the road. Ofc. Jackson asked Madison who she was and she stated "I Don't know". Madison was stumbling while walking, her speech was slurred, and smelled of the odor of alcohol on her breath. Ofc. Jackson then asked Madison her name and she replied "I don't have a ***** name". Ofc. Jackson took Madison to Camden Police Department where she was identified by Sgt. Reynolds and at that time Madison responded to her name.

Due to all the present factors Ofc. Jackson placed Madison under arrest for public intoxication. Madison was transported to Camden Police Department where she was booked for Public Intoxication and Obstructing Govemmental Operations.

On April 28, 2022 at 0705 hours, Officer Davis was dispatched to 186 Walnut Street in reference to a subject by the name of Anthony Anderson refusing to leave. Upon my arrival, the Officer made contact with Anderson in the front entrance of the residence. He stated he was next door and noticed the door to 186 was opened. He said he went over and entered the residence. He said the homeowner told him to leave. He said he used to live there however doesn't anymore. The Officer advised Anderson that he should have left when the victim told him to leave,

The homeowner advised that Anderson entered her residence without permission. She said after asking him to leave multiple times, she told him that she was going to call the police, She said after that, he told her that he would slit her throat if she called the police.

Officer Davis placed Anderson into custody for Criminal Trespass.

On April 28, 2022 at 2013 hours Sergeant Elliott was on patrol with Officer Caldwell in the area of Country Club Road and Branyan-Hunnicutt Bypass (U.S. Highway 278).

While in the area, the Officers observed a silver Honda passenger car and a black passenger car blocking the roadway on Country Club Road facing east. Officer Caldwell advised dispatch he would be out with the vehicle for a motorist assist. After exiting the vehicle, Sgt. Elliott tended to the traffic approaching the intersection while Officer Caldwell assisted the drivers.

Due to the vehicle blocking the roadway and the constant flow of traffic, Sgt. Elliott advised Officer Caldwell to advise the driver the vehicle needed to be moved and to get the driver's information.

Officer Caldwell attempted to get the female driver's information, which she gave the name of Octavia Richards. Sgt. Elliott knew "Octavia Richards" to be Stephanie Watts, whom he has had several encounters with.

Watts began moving around and grabbing items from the vehicle prior to closing the door on the driver side. She began walking away. Officer Caldwell walked behind her. Officer Caldwell told Watts to stop, but she continued to walk away, eventually running westbound.

Due to the vehicles being unsecured and blocking the roadway, Sgt. Elliott stayed behind and advised additional units to come to our location.

Units responded and Officer Caldwell advised he lost sight of Watts behind Fox Creek apartments.


ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: DON’T LET SCAM ARTISTS INVADE YOUR DEVICES
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans of a prevalent tech support scam infecting common electronic devices, such as smart phones, laptops and tablets. This antivirus software scam usually begins with a phone call or pop-up message on the consumer’s electronic device. The communication is actually from a fake tech support representative claiming to be from a well-known technology company.

“I urge all Arkansans to be cautious when anyone asks for access to their devices or private information,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Scam artists scour the internet and phonebooks to find unsuspecting victims who are willing to share their sensitive information.”

How the scam works is that a representative or message will claim to the consumer that there is a virus infecting a device or that the consumer’s virus protection has expired. The consumer is instructed to install software immediately in order to protect the device and private information. Often times, the scammer claims to need sensitive information such as account numbers, date of birth or Social Security number in order to remedy the issue. Even more terrifying, the scammer will con a victim into giving access to the device. When the device is accessed in this way, the scammers install applications that allow remote access to the device any time without the victim’s knowledge or permission. The scam artists use this information for illegal activities, such as gaining access to consumer's bank accounts. Scammers will quickly drain the accounts and move on to another unsuspecting victim.

Remember these tips when safely navigating online:
No legitimate company will ever send you an unsolicited email asking for your personal information.
If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply.
Contact the business identified in the original message directly by using the customer service number provided to you on a reliable statement to verify the legitimacy of the message.
Do not give sensitive information in response to an unsolicited request.
Immediately delete all suspicious emails, and never open email attachments or click on links from unknown sources.

The Attorney General’s Office provides a tip card  for consumers on how to spot phishing scams, information for parents to spot cyberbullying and tips on internet safety.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Attorney General’s office by calling (800) 482-8982, emailing consumer@arkansasag.gov, or visiting ArkansasAG.gov.

 

UAMS RESEARCHERS FIND STUDENT BEHAVIOR IMPROVES WHEN SCHOOLS SERVE BREAKFAST AFTER CLASS BEGINS
LITTLE ROCK — A research team, which included Andres Cuadros-Menaca, Ph.D., and Michael Thomsen, Ph.D., from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ (UAMS) Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, discovered that schools providing breakfast after the school day begins (Breakfast After the Bell) experienced a decrease in student behavior issues.                  

The study, published by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, revealed that because of Breakfast after the Bell, more than 1.3 million additional breakfasts were served to Arkansas students in grades 3-7 during the 2018-2019 school year. That was the final year of the study and the last school year before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools across the state.      

Currently, there are over 400 schools in Arkansas that provide Breakfast After the Bell, which helps students get breakfast once class begins. Traditionally, schools serve breakfast in the cafeteria or a designated area on campus before school starts for the day.    

“Breakfast After the Bell creates a better learning environment,” said Thomsen, director of the UAMS Center for the Study of Obesity in the College of Public Health. “If you haven’t eaten anything, it’s easier to become irritated at someone or just not care about school. Breakfast After the Bell ultimately leads to students having a better educational experience because they’re not hungry.”

The data used in the study dates back to the 2008-2009 school year and continued through 2018-2019. Breakfast After the Bell resulted in almost 18,000 fewer documented behavioral disturbances in Arkansas during the 2018-2019 school year.

Breakfast After the Bell, which was first used in Arkansas in 2013, also helps to address adolescent health. All meals provided by the schools must meet nutrition standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Schools where a high percentage of students reside in food deserts are most likely to provide Breakfast After the Bell.

Additionally, the impact of Breakfast After the Bell is even more pronounced among minority children and those eligible for free and reduced-price meals.

“Our findings are consistent with previous studies indicating that children from economically or socially disadvantaged families are more likely to be food insecure, which may contribute to psychosocial dysfunction,” said Cuadros-Menaca, a postdoctoral fellow in the obesity center.

The increased access to a healthy meal for all students, especially ones from low-income households, enhances the value of the program.

“If a student lives in an environment where breakfast isn’t offered at home, then eating breakfast at school gives them food, and it’s a healthy meal option, too,” Thomsen said.  “If children are at risk of a poor diet because their family does not have access to nutritious foods, the school can make a difference. Having Breakfast After the Bell means even more children will enjoy nutritious meals during the day.”

There are several initiatives, ministries, and nonprofits that address child hunger in Arkansas. One of those groups is the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. Vivian Nicholson is the breakfast program director for the organization.

“Another benefit of Breakfast After the Bell is that teachers have less distractions from students saying they don’t feel well and want to go to the nurse’s office because their stomach hurts when they’re actually just hungry,” Nicholson said.

“Several principals have shared with us that when a child has a discipline issue in the morning, it’s often because they have not eaten breakfast,” Nicholson said. “Teachers have told us that they have fewer discipline issues in the morning when all their students eat breakfast.”       

Economic difficulties or the loss of sleep in order to get to school early enough for breakfast are a few of the common occurrences that result in a student not eating in the morning.

“Some children may miss breakfast because the school bus arrives late,” Cuadros-Menaca said. “Some kids choose not to get breakfast before the bell because of the negative stigma of school meals being only for students from low-income families.”

School administrations constantly seek ways to help their students. That’s a reason why more Arkansas schools are converting to Breakfast After the Bell and distributing breakfast in ways that will benefit their students.

“Some schools are doing breakfast in the classroom,” Nicholson said. “Some are doing a grab and go in the hallway. At the high school level, some places are doing a second chance breakfast after first period class is over.”

Researchers suggest that potential issues such as kids making a mess in the classrooms or staff finding efficient ways to distribute meals keeps some administrators from implementing the program.

“There are schools where the child nutrition department does not have the manpower to deliver breakfast to the classroom or in the hallways,” Nicholson said. “Some child nutrition staffs don’t have the equipment to offer Breakfast After the Bell.”   

Overall, Breakfast After the Bell helps to create a situation that’s ideal for Arkansas’ kids to get a good education. 

“With Breakfast After the Bell, the obvious main benefit is that teachers have fewer behavioral issues to address,” Thomsen said. “Fewer behavioral issues result in a better learning environment for all children.”      

 

U.S. ATTORNEY DAVID CLAY FOWLKES RECOGNIZES POLICE WEEK
FORT SMITH- In honor of National Police Week, U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes recognizes the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement. This year, the week is observed Wednesday, May 11 through Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

“This week, we gather to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives in service to our country,” said Attorney General Garland. “We remember the courage with which they worked and lived. And we recommit ourselves to the mission to which they dedicated their lives. On behalf of a grateful Justice Department and a grateful nation, I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the entire law enforcement community.”

“The profession of serving as a police officer has faced unprecedented challenges over the last year,” said U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes.  “These challenges include a rising tide of drug trafficking, directly accompanied by a dramatic increase in violent crime.  Our police officers have also faced numerous challenges associated with a global pandemic.  We are extremely fortunate in the Western District of Arkansas to have some of the most dedicated, trustworthy, and competent law enforcement officers in the United States.  The law enforcement officers in Western Arkansas have met each one of these unprecedented challenges with the dedication and sacrifice that we too often take for granted.  It is with great respect and deep admiration for their service that we take this opportunity to express our thanks and deepest gratitude for all that they do on our behalf.”

In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices.  Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. Based on data submitted to and analyzed by the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 472 law enforcement officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2021.  Of that number, 319 succumbed to COVID-19.   

Additionally, according to 2021 statistics reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through the Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 73 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2021 were killed as a result of felonious acts, whereas 56 died in accidents.  Deaths resulting from felonious acts increased in 2021, rising more than 58 percent from the previous year.  In 2021, unprovoked attacksAnchor were the cause of 24 deaths significantly outpacing all other line of duty deaths resulting from felony acts and reaching the highest annual total in over 30 years of reporting.  Additional LEOKA statistics can be found on FBI’s Crime Data Explorer website for the LEOKA program. 

The names of the 619 fallen officers added this year to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial will be read on Friday, May 13, 2022, during a Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C., starting at 8:00 PM EDT. Those who wish to view the vigil live online, can watch on the NLEOMF YouTube channel found at https://www.youtube.com/TheNLEOMF. The schedule of National Police Week events is available on NLEOMF’s website.

Sample Ballot for Primary Election

May 11, 2022

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen met in regular session on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

Mayor Julian Lott called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm. Brother Richard Foster, Pastor of Grace Baptist Church located at 1505 California Avenue in Camden, gave the invocation which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
City Clerk Donna Stewart called the roll. Aldermen William McCoy, Chris Aregood, Terry Smith, Cecil McDonald, James Bell and Joe Askew were all in attendance. L.E. Lindsey and Marvin Moore were absent.
The minutes from the Regular Meeting, dated April 12, 2022, and the Financial Report from April 2022 were presented in print. Both the minutes and financials were passed by unanimous vote. 
Ordinance No. 05-22, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 777 Bradley Ferry Rd.. Motion made and seconded. A discussion ensued. A woman bought the property and doesn't feel she should be responsible for Lien. Council usually drop lien amounts to 20%. The new property owner offered a far smaller amount. 20.% would be about $450.00. Motion made to amend ordinance from the $150 offered to $450.00 (approximately 20% of the lein). Motion to amend passed by unanimous vote. Motion made to suspend a put up for final reading. Motion to amend passed by unanimous vote. Motion to approve as amended passed by unanimous vote.

Ordinance No. 06-22, an ordinance setting forth certain regulations for the sale of alcohol for on¬ premises consumption; and for other purposes. Motion was made to to suspend the rules and put up for a final reading. The motion to suspend the rules assed by unanimous vote. Motion made to approve the Ordinance and seconded. The ordinance passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 28-22, a resolution authorizing the Port Authority to apply for a grant for crane removal and warehouse renovation from the Arkansas Port and Waterways Development Grant Program. Motion to approve made and seconded. Funds to submit for is $200,000. City will be responsible for 20%. Resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 29-22, a resolution authorizing the mayor to purchase a tractor and boom mower through an interlocal contract for cooperative purchasing; and for other purposes. Motion made and seconded. Resolution passed by unanimous vote.

James Bell the made a motion made to amend the agenda to discuss Camden Downtown Network funding. Motion to amend passed. This money has already been budgeted and Attorney Michael Frey had gotten the Resolution just prior to the meeting. The Resolution passed by unanimous vote. 
 

COTTON CALLS ON DOJ TO PROSECUTE PROTESTORS OUTSIDE JUSTICES’ HOMES
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding action from the Department of Justice in response to ongoing protests at the homes of Supreme Court Justices with the intent to sway the outcome of a pending case—a violation of federal law.
In part, Cotton wrote, “Please explain why you have refused to enforce the federal law against picketing and protesting at the homes of Supreme Court Justices. Left-wing mobs have recently targeted the homes of Justices Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Barrett, and Kavanaugh, a blatant and obvious violation of 18 USC § 1507. These unlawful protestors widely publicized their plans, yet it appears that no federal law-enforcement officers were present to arrest the lawbreakers and no investigation is ongoing.”
“This is in stark contrast to when you sicced federal agents on parents who attended public meetings of school boards in public buildings. Without an adequate explanation, one can only assume that you have weaponized federal law-enforcement against your party’s political opponents,” Cotton continued.
Cotton concluded by warning Garland that a continued refusal to enforce federal law might prompt impeachment proceedings against him in the next Congress.

May 10 2022

MELINDA “MISSY” CHAMBERS SEEKS RE-ELECTION
Melinda “Missy” Chambers has announced her intentions to seek re-election for Ouachita County Treasurer.

“I am the Ouachita County Treasurer and would like to continue for another 4 years. It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Ouachita County for the past 7 1/2 years as Treasurer.  Prior to being the treasurer, I was the deputy treasurer for 6 years.  By the end of this term, I will have 15 years’ experience in the treasurer’s office, and I have 6 years of county government experience from the County Clerk’s office.”

The treasurer’s office receives and accounts for all county monies and distributes tax collections to the taxing units each month.  As the disbursement officer for the county, I will continue to work with the officials, cities, and schools.

I am a life-long resident of Ouachita County. I graduated from Camden High School in 1983. I’ve been married to Wayland Chambers for 39 years, we raised two children Jonathan and Breanne in Ouachita County.  We have a daughter-in-law Jennifer and three grandchildren, Carson, Jon Russell and Jorgia.  I am the daughter of Betty Vaughan and the late Russell Vaughan.

I attend Camden Cumberland Presbyterian Church; I am a 4-H leader for the Camden Clovers 4-H club and the Ouachita County Fairboard President. 

I come from a long line of public servants, and I would like to continue to serve the citizens of Ouachita County as your County Treasurer.  I would appreciate your support and vote on November 8, 2022.
 

STATE TREASURY MARKS MILESTONE WITH NEW DIGITAL RECEIVING PORTAL - NEW PROGRAM PART OF TREASURER’S DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY
May 10, 2022 (Little Rock, Ark.) – The state treasury implemented a new digital receiving portal as part of Treasurer Dennis Milligan’s plans to digitalize the office’s operations, and the office recently processed its 100,000th receipt – a milestone for the treasury and a major transformation from the previous method of hand-delivery.

Historically, agency representatives had to hand-deliver their receipts – which notify the Treasury which account to deposit the funds into – to the treasurer’s office in Little Rock. That was until Milligan implemented the “TRIP” program, which stands for Treasury Receiving Interactive Program.

“We built this digital program internally and it has provided not only my staff but representatives with state agencies we serve a much more efficient way to direct their funds,” Milligan said. “More than 85% of receipts worth roughly $11 billion are now submitted via the new TRIP digital portal.”

The treasury receives about $70 million each day in funds from local, state and federal agencies and receives anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 checks daily.

“The TRIP portal provides agencies a secure procedure for delivering receipts to us in real time,” Milligan said, adding that it offered additional benefits to agencies during the Covid-19 pandemic. “It added an extra layer of security during that time when social distancing was strongly encouraged.”

Furthering ease and efficiency for agencies the treasury serves, it also provides an online record of transactions. The TRIP platform was implemented in the Treasury in July 2019.

 

SURVEY: SMALL BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS FOR BETTER CONDITIONS AT 48-YEAR LOW
LITTLE ROCK (May 10, 2022) – The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index was unchanged in April, remaining at 93.2 and the fourth consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98. Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased one point to a net negative 50%, the lowest level recorded in the 48-year-old survey. 

Inflation continues to be a problem for small businesses with 32% of small business owners reporting it’s their single most important problem in operating their business, the highest reading since the fourth quarter of 1980.

NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith said, “The latest national survey tells us that Arkansas isn’t alone in dealing with things like inflation and higher fuel prices.”

Key findings in the national survey include:

Forty-seven percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, unchanged from March. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased two points to a net 70% (seasonally adjusted), two points below last month’s highest reading.

The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher increased six points from March to a net negative 12%.

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, small businesses continue to struggle to find workers to fill open positions with 47% (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 93% of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.

Fifty-four percent of owners reported capital outlays in the last six months, down two points from March. Of those owners making expenditures, 40% reported spending on new equipment, 24% acquired vehicles, and 14% improved or expanded facilities. Eight percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 11% spent money for new fixtures and furniture. Twenty-seven percent of owners plan capital outlays in the next few months, up one point from March.

Seasonally adjusted, 3% of all owners reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down one point from March and a poor reading. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes increased by six points to a net negative 12%.

The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases went up four points to a net 4%. Nineteen percent of owners reported increases in stocks while 15% reported reductions as solid sales reduced inventories at many firms. 

Thirty-six percent of owners reported that supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business. Another 34% report a moderate impact and 20% report a mild impact. Only 8% of owners reported no impact from recent supply chain disruptions.

Up three points from March, a net 6% of owners viewed current inventory stocks as “too low” in April. A net 1% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months, down one point from March. 

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased two points from March’s record high reading to a net 70% (seasonally adjusted). Four percent reported lower average selling prices and 70% reported higher average prices. Price hikes were the most frequent in wholesale (85% higher, 0% lower), construction (81% higher, 3% lower), retail trades (76% higher, 4% lower), and manufacturing (70% higher, 3% lower). A net 46% of owners plan price hikes (seasonally adjusted). 

A net 46% (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, down three points from March. A net 27% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months. Eight percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 23% said labor quality was their top business problem. 

The frequency of reports of positive profit trends was a net negative 17%. Among the owners reporting lower profits, 34% blamed the rise in the cost of materials, 22% blamed weaker sales, 14% cited the usual seasonal change, 11% cited labor costs, 9% cited lower prices, and 2% cited higher taxes or regulatory costs. For the owners reporting higher profits, 51% credited sales volumes, 13% cited usual seasonal change, and 19% cited higher prices. 

Two percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied. Twenty-six percent of owners reported all credit needs met and 61% said they were not interested in a loan. 

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

About NFIB
For nearly 80 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses, and remains so today. For more information, please visit nfib.com.

 

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO PROTECT PUBLIC SERVANTS AND THEIR FAMILIES FROM THREATS AT HOME
Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) today introduced the Public Servant Protection Act, legislation to protect all government employees and their families from having their home addresses listed publicly online.

“Judges and other government officials should not be subjected to angry protests and violent threats at home simply because they serve the public at work. Our bill will protect public servants and their families by allowing them to remove their home addresses from any public website,” said Cotton.

 

BOOZMAN URGES BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO PRIORITIZE U.S. TRADE AND AGRICULTURE AGENDA
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; joined Senators John Thune (R-SD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; and Mike Crapo (R-ID), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, in leading a group of Republican members of the Finance and Agriculture Committees on a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging them to prioritize market access initiatives as part of America’s trade agenda.  

“Advancing U.S. economic interests – particularly in the Indo-Pacific region – requires meaningful and enforceable market access commitments,” the senators wrote. “We are concerned that the Biden administration is foregoing America’s trade and strategic leadership by failing to pursue such commitments, whether through its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) or through its decision not to pursue comprehensive free trade agreements, which was reflected in the President’s 2022 Trade Policy Agenda. The lack of ambitious market-opening initiatives not only disadvantages U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses today, it jeopardizes America’s competitiveness, resilience, and security in the long-term.”

The letter was also signed by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Todd Young (R-IN).

Read the letter below:

The Honorable Katherine Tai                                                The Honorable Thomas Vilsack
United States Trade Representative                                    Secretary of Agriculture
600 17th Street NW                                                                1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20508                                                        Washington, D.C. 20250 

Dear Ambassador Tai and Secretary Vilsack:

Advancing U.S. economic interests – particularly in the Indo-Pacific region – requires meaningful and enforceable market access commitments. We are concerned that the Biden administration is foregoing America’s trade and strategic leadership by failing to pursue such commitments, whether through its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) or through its decision not to pursue comprehensive free trade agreements, which was reflected in the President’s 2022 Trade Policy Agenda. The lack of ambitious market-opening initiatives not only disadvantages U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses today, it jeopardizes America’s competitiveness, resilience, and security in the long-term.

Unlike traditional trade agreements, the IPEF is not expected to include critical market access commitments. The failure to include such commitments puts American exporters, including agricultural producers, at a competitive disadvantage in the global market. It also signals to the world that the United States is not committed to fully engaging commercially or strategically in the region. Thus, while some aspects of the IPEF may have potential, it is not a credible counterweight to the market-opening agreements that other countries, including China, are actively advancing.

America cannot afford to sit on the sidelines in trade. For generations, a large part of our nation’s economic success has been based on the United States advocating for more, not less, open markets. For example, U.S. farm and food product exports grew from $46.1 billion in 1994 to more than $177 billion in 2021, which was largely due to greater market access opportunities for American exporters. These U.S. exports lead to good-paying jobs at home and help spread the reach of American influence abroad. Free trade agreements are also far from relics of the past, as Ambassador Tai recently implied at a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. In fact, 13 of the 16 enacted U.S. free trade agreements were passed by Congress since the turn of this century. Opening new markets for customers, reducing barriers for business, and enforcing robust trade agreements are cornerstones of our national prosperity.

Regrettably, U.S. trade leadership has thus far taken a backseat to other priorities under this administration. But, as you know, global trade does not simply pause until the administration deems it worthy of pursuing. Opening new markets means more high-paying jobs for workers and lower-cost goods for consumers at home. The administration’s failure to engage on Trade Promotion Authority or find other avenues to open markets means our workers and producers will continue to lose ground to competitors. In contrast, China continues to advance its Belt and Road Initiative; it recently concluded the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest free trade agreement; and it now aspires to join the higher quality Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

We respectfully urge you to include market access and enforceable commitments as part of the IPEF, and any other U.S. trade agreements, and we stand ready to work with you to strengthen American trade leadership.

Sincerely,


SENATE PASSES BOOZMAN, SCOTT RESOLUTION CELEBRATING NATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOLS WEEK 
WASHINGTON––This week, the Senate passed a measure led by U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tim Scott (R-SC) celebrating National Charter Schools Week and commending charter schools on their contribution to education.

“Parents deserve the ability to make the best choice that fits their child’s educational needs,” Boozman said. “Giving them that opportunity has helped countless families, empowering them to pursue pathways to excellence in learning while promoting innovation and accountability. I’m proud to support charter schools in Arkansas and nationwide this week and all year long.”

“Giving children an opportunity to reach their God-given potential is a priority for all parents, regardless of race, income, or zip code,” said Scott. “That’s why millions of families — including thousands in South Carolina — choose charter schools for the high-quality education they provide. We must do everything within our power to protect and expand families’ options by continuing to support our nation’s charter schools.”

National Charter Schools Week continues through May 14.

May 09, 2022

MEMORIAL CEREMONY SLATED FOR ARKANSAS TROOPERS KILLED IN SERVICE
ASP MEMORIAL FOR 19 TROOPERS SCHEDULED TUESDAY
Survivor families and friends of 19 Arkansas State Troopers killed in the line of duty spanning the departments 87 year history will gather at state police administrative headquarters at 10 AM Tuesday morning (May 10th) for a memorial service honoring the personal sacrifice of each trooper.

The service is being held in advance of National Police Week, which begins Sunday, to allow the Arkansas survivor families to attend services in Washington D.C. next week.

Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police, will lead the tribute as state troopers from across the state and other law enforcement officers gather around the families of the fallen troopers.  The service will take place in front of the Hall of Honor located off the main lobby of headquarters located at One State Police Plaza Drive, in southwest Little Rock.

The Hall of Honor will be opened to families of the troopers killed in service following the memorial service.

During the service Colonel Bryant will announce the recent placement of memorial plaques located in the exit vestibule of the Hall of Honor memorializing the service of two Arkansas State Police K9’s, Charlie and Hemi, who were killed assisting troopers in 2000 and 2018 respectively.

 

CARELINK TO CELEBRATE 2ND ANNUAL BIRTHDAY OF GIVING
43 years ago this June, CareLink  opened its doors for the first time and began serving Central Arkansas’s seniors and their families. Join us in celebrating 43 years by making a donation that will support our various programs like Meals on Wheels, Bone Appetit (pet assistance), Urgent needs, Transportation and more.  

As a nonprofit, we rely on your support to provide services that help older loved ones age gracefully and independently in their homes as long as safely possible. When you support CareLink with your giving, you support the aging community today and tomorrow.

So, mark your calendars for June 10, 2022, for the 2nd Annual BirthDay of Giving and CareLink’s 43rd Birthday, and help us reach our goal of $35,000! 

Last year on our Inaugural Day of Giving, you joined us in ringing in year 42 by raising $29,554.12 for Central Arkansas's seniors and their families!

Want to know how your gifts impact the community and help us further our mission of connecting older people and their families with the resources they need to meet the opportunities and challenges of aging? 

 

SUSPECT IN MONROE COUNTY MURDER SURRENDERS TO ARKANSAS STATE POLICE
MAY 9, 2022
Christian Franks, 20, of Clarendon surrendered to an Arkansas State Police special agent early this morning and has been charged with capital murder in connection with the death of Lilee Smith *(see news release dated May 8th copied below).

CLARENDON WOMAN MURDERED IN HOME; ASP/CID INVESTIGATING
MAY 8, 2022
Clarendon police were called to a local residence at 416 Guydon Street about 12:45 PM yesterday (Saturday, May 7th) where the body of Lilee Smith, 26, had been discovered by a family member.  Local officers contacted the Arkansas State Police requesting special agents to investigate the apparent homicide.

Agents assigned to the case believe Smith was shot sometime Friday night.

Smith’s body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the state medical examiner will determine an approximate time of death and provide case agents with more information about the manner and cause of death.

The investigation and search for a suspect is continuing today.
 

BOOZMAN, TESTER SPEARHEAD LEGISLATION TO BOLSTER VA WORKFORCE
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee teamed up with Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) to introduce bipartisian legislation to bolster the recruitment and retention of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) workforce.

The VA Workforce Improvement, Support, and Expansion (WISE) Act of 2022 would provide increased pay and benefits for VA’s workforce, expand opportunities in rural VA facilities, support training for current and future VA clinicians, and provide additional oversight of VA Human Resource operations and their use of hiring authorities. This legislation will also better prepare VA to respond to current and future toxic exposure claims.

“The VA’s persistent staffing shortages and retention challenges have the potential to impact the care of our veterans,” Boozman said. “We must ensure there is always an adequate level of dedicated medical professionals capable of meeting the needs of our former servicemembers, no matter where they live. Our legislation creates a pipeline for the VA health workforce by incentivizing physicians and nurses to pursue and continue careers helping veterans. This is a reasonable solution to ensure we have the proper resources to fulfill the promise we made to the men and women who answered the call to serve in our nation’s uniform.” 

“VA employees are the backbone of the Department, so it’s critically important that we’re doing everything we can to get more qualified folks to fill these positions,” said Tester. “Ensuring competitive pay and benefits for these hard-working men and women should be a no-brainer, which is why we’re introducing this commonsense bill that’ll open more doors to employment in rural areas like Montana—doing right by those committed to serving those who’ve served us.” 

Among its many provisions, the VA WISE Act of 2022 will:
Allow increased pay for VA employees;
Extend the Department's hiring, recruitment and retention authorities, including extending temporary appointments and waiving pay limitations for employees performing mission critical work during the national health emergency;
Direct VA to develop and implement a national VA Rural Recruitment and Hiring Plan, including best practices for recruiting health care professionals to rural VA facilities; and
Create a Rural Health Quality and Access Fellowship program for graduate or post-graduate health care professionals to serve at a rural or highly rural VA facilities.

Veterans Service Organizations have applauded this legislative effort to increase support for VA’s workforce and fill critical VA positions nationwide.

“We applaud the provisions that will strengthen HR, increase pay, improve hiring authorities and offer flexibility which will provide VA with the tools to recruit and retain its valuable workforce,” said Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs’ (NOVA) President TJ Wilcox-Olson. “The pandemic has shown us all that a strong healthcare workforce must be a priority—as nurses who take care of veterans, we believe an investment in VA's workforce is critical to continue to meet its mission of offering timely access to world class care for all veterans.”

“Filling its available positions with the right people has been an ongoing challenge for the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Associate Executive Director for Government Relations Heather Ansley. “The VA Workforce Improvement, Support, and Expansion (WISE) Act of 2022 gives VA the ability to ensure that it has the staff to meet veterans' health care needs.”

Last week, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on ways VA can better recruit and retain key personnel amid a tightening labor market. Boozman questioned VA officials about the persistent staffing shortage and retention challenges.  He called on the department to prioritize veterans care and prevent its resources from being deployed to fix the southern border crisis.

May 06, 2022

CITY OF CAMDEN BOARD OF ALDERMEN TO MEET
The City of Camden Board of Aldermen will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

The agenda is as follows:
A. CALL TO ORDER
B. INVOCATION - Rev. Richard Foster, Pastor - Grace Baptist Church, 1505 California Ave., Camden, Arkansas 71701
C. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D. ROLL CALL
E. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
     1. Minutes Regular Meeting April 12, 2022
F. ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORT
     1. Financial Report for April 2022
G. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION
H. MAYOR'S REPORT
I. OLD BUSINESS
J. NEW BUSINESS
     1. Ordinance No. 05-22, an ordinance assessing a lien on certain property located at 777 Bradley Ferry Rd.
     2. Ordinance No. 06-22, an ordinance setting forth certain regulations for the sale of alcohol for on­premises consumption; and for other purposes.
     3. Resolution No. 28-22, a resolution authorizing the Port Authority to apply for a grant for crane removal and warehouse renovation from the Arkansas Port and Waterways Development Grant Program.
     4. Resolution No. 29-22, a resolution authorizing the mayor to purchase a tractor and boom mower through an interlocal contract for cooperative purchasing; and for other purposes.
K. OTHER BUSINESS
L. ADJOURNMENT

 

SAU TECH ADULT EDUCATION DIVISION EARNS PERFORMANCE AWARD
EAST CAMDEN, AR (05/05/2022) Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech) is pleased to announce that its Adult Education Division was recognized at Arkansas's Adult Education Administrators Meeting on April 27-29 in Little Rock for having the highest number (74) of credentials earned by students for 2020-2021. This is a new award category established by the state's adult education section to recognize programs helping students earn credentials to enter the workforce.

Barbara Hamilton directs SAU Tech's Adult Education program. Barbara has held the position since 2008 and has seen the program grow and become more focused on workforce skills. Barbara stated that "SAU Tech's Adult Education Center provides students with access to free training to help them earn credentials and increase their chances of entering employment. These credentials help our students to be more marketable and demonstrate to employers their skills and abilities to perform specific job duties. SAU Tech Adult Education Centers currently offers Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), OSHA 10 (Manufacturing and General Healthcare), ServSafe Food Handler, Workforce Preparation Certificate, and Level II WAGE Certificates. These programs and certificates are FREE to Arkansas residents in our service area. Our main goal is to help prepare residents in our community for the workforce."

SAU Tech's Adult Education serves Calhoun, Ouachita, Dallas, and Columbia Counties. For more information on SAU Tech's Adult Education services go to https://www.sautech.edu/adult-education.

View Online: http://sautech.meritpages.com/news/SAU-Tech-Adult-Education-Division-Earns-Performance-Award/27125



MONTHLY HUB MEETING
The monthly Hub meeting will be Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at noon in The Great Hall of First United Methodist Church, 121 Harrison Ave, Camden, AR. Mrs. Tara Armstrong, Fairview School Asst. Superintendent, is sending 2 school representatives to talk about  “The Science of Reading” and the reading volunteer program.

 

OLIVIA AND LIAM TOP SOCIAL SECURITY’S CHARTS AMERICA’S MOST POPULAR BABY NAMES FOR 2021
Olivia and Liam are America’s most popular baby names in 2021.  Liam has been the top choice for new parents for five years in a row, and Olivia has topped the list for three years. Once again, during this unprecedented time, parents chose to stick with familiar names.  Out of both Top 10 lists combined, only one name changed, with Theodore replacing Alexander in popularity.  The name Theodore joins the Top 10 list for the first time--welcome to the club “Teddy!”

Here are the top 10 boys and girls names for 2021:

                Boys:      1) Liam                                   Girls:       1) Olivia

                                2) Noah                                                  2) Emma

                                3) Oliver                                                3) Charlotte

                                4) Elijah                                                  4) Amelia

                                5) James                                                 5) Ava

                                6) William                                              6) Sophia

                                7) Benjamin                                           7) Isabella

                                8) Lucas                                                 8) Mia

                                9) Henry                                                9) Evelyn

                                10) Theodore                                       10) Harper

For all of the top baby names of 2021, and to see where your name ranks, go to Social Security’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov.

Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi encourages everyone to enjoy the baby names list and, while online, create a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.  my Social Security, born ten years ago this month, is a personalized online account that people can use beginning in their working years and continuing while receiving Social Security benefits.

Over the decade, more than 69 million people have signed up and benefited from the many secure and convenient self-service options.  People who set up their my Social Security account have access to additional personalized services.  They can request a replacement Social Security card online if they meet certain requirements.  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.

People not yet receiving benefits can use their online account to get a personalized Social Security Statement, which provides their earnings information as well as estimates of their future benefits.  The portal also includes a retirement estimator and links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits.

Please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/babynames to view the entire list.

 

17,800 TREES GIVEN AWAY DURING ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE “FREE TREE FRIDAYS” CAMPAIGN
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s second annual “Free Tree Fridays” campaign resulted in the distribution of 17,800 trees during 36 events held across the state each Friday from March 18 through April 29. The events were hosted by the Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division in honor of National Arbor Day, which is celebrated annually on the last Friday of April. 

The Arbor Day act of planting a tree gives hope that the tree will grow to provide clean air and water, cooling shade, habitat for wildlife, healthier communities, and natural beauty. The idea for the annual Free Tree Fridays campaign started in 2021 when Grant County Ranger Troy Wood requested an Arbor Day celebration giveaway in his county.

“We’re always getting calls from the public asking for trees or information about where to buy trees, so I thought a giveaway would be a great way to get trees to them and help them learn more about the work of the Forestry Division,” Wood said. “This way we can talk to landowners about our programs, and what better time to give away trees than Arbor Day?”

More than 4,400 people attended the Free Tree Fridays events this year. The success of the events prompted 14 other tree giveaway events outside of the Department’s campaign where an additional 4,500 seedlings were distributed.  

“One of our goals in Urban and Community Forestry is to give all Arkansans the opportunity to benefit from trees. Several attendees mentioned how grateful they were for the opportunity to access trees they couldn’t otherwise afford,” said Kristine Kimbro, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator.  

Photos from this year’s events can be found at flic.kr/s/aHBqjzNc7K.

For more information about community development opportunities regarding trees, visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/urban-community-forestry/ or contact Kristine Kimbro, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator, at Kristine.kimbro@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/

HOT SPRINGS MAN SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF A MINOR
HOT SPRINGS – Bradley Fields, age 40, was sentenced today to a total of 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole on one count of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor via the Production of Child Pornography and one count of Distribution of Child Pornography. Fields was also ordered to be placed on Supervised Release for the remainder of his life upon his release from federal prison.  The Honorable Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the U.S. District Court in Hot Springs.

According to court records, in July of 2019 the Hot Springs Police Department received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in reference to suspected child pornography being uploaded to the internet.  Further investigation revealed that the internet account associated with the suspected child porn was registered to Fields.  The subsequent investigation determined that not only had Fields been distributing child pornography, but Fields had also been involved in the filming of at least one (1) video that constituted child pornography.

Fields was indicted by a Grand Jury in the Western District of Arkansas in November of 2019 and entered a plea of guilty in June of 2020.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement. The Hot Springs Police Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Achorn 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.


CONVICTED FELON SENTENCED TO OVER 7 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR FIREARMS POSSESSION
HOT SPRINGS – A Hot Springs man was sentenced yesterday 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 September 4, 2020, a Hot Springs Police Officer observed a sports bike traveling at a high rate of speed and weaving in and out of traffic in Hot Springs, Arkansas. When Officer’s attempted to stop the sports bike, the driver, who was later identified as, Derek Christopher Lowrey, age 35, fled via the sports bike and then on foot. Lowrey was eventually arrested and, in a search incident to his arrest, law enforcement officers located a .380 caliber pistol in his front right pants pocket.

At the time that Lowrey possessed the firearm, he was an absconder from parole and had several prior felony convictions and was prohibited from possessing any firearms.  

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement. The Hot Springs Police Department and the ATF investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Elser 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.


AID ENCOURAGES ARKANSANS TO CONSIDER FLOOD INSURANCE
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (May 6, 2022) – Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Alan McClain today released the following statement urging Arkansans to use this week of rain in the Natural State as a reminder to consider purchasing flood insurance to protect themselves and their property:

“Arkansas is again seeing heavy rains in the forecast this week.  With several inches of rain falling across the state, spring weather serves as a reminder of why it is important to consider purchasing flood insurance. I strongly encourage Arkansans to take the time today to protect themselves for the next severe weather event.”

Although flooding is America’s number one natural disaster, many Americans don’t have or even know about flood insurance. Many property owners often have misconceptions about flood insurance, such as whether they can get it, when they can buy it, and how much it costs, etc.

McClain offers these reminders for Arkansans as they start looking to protect their property with flood insurance:
Flood damage is not typically covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy.
There is typically a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your flood insurance policy goes into effect.
You can get flood insurance if you live in a floodplain or high-flood-risk area.
You can get flood insurance if you live outside a floodplain or a lower-risk area—and at a lower cost.
You can get flood insurance if your property has been flooded before.
You can get flood insurance from insurance agents in your area.
You can buy flood insurance even if your mortgage broker doesn’t require it.

Floods are the most common and costly natural disasters in the United States. The Arkansas Insurance Department encorages Arkansans to visit floodsmart.gov to learn more about their flood risk and about how a flood could cost them without the protection of flood insurance, as well as to speak with their insurance agents regarding their flood insurance options.
 

SAAC TO HOST MICHAELA GROSS FOR CORKS AND CANVAS NIGHT
Have you ever wanted to paint your pup or color your cat? Now you can with this month’s Corks and Canvas class at South Arkansas Arts Center!  We ARE referring to portraits, of course.  “Paint your Pet Portrait" Corks and Canvas class will be held on Thursday, May 19 at 6:00pm at SAAC.  This special workshop will be hosted by local artist Michaela Gross who specializes in pet portraiture. 

Corks and Canvas is a fun-filled night of painting with friends for people who have always wanted to try their hand at it while having some fun along the way.  Snacks are provided and participants should bring their beverage of choice. Class fee is $40.  Reservations can be made via our website at www.saac-arts.org.

In order to participate in this session, Michaela will need a picture of your pet at least a week in advance of the class. Michaela will prep the canvas, draw the pet, then guests will paint it in the workshop.  Participants will be contacted by email as to where to send their pet’s photo after they have registered for the class. 

“I’m Michaela Gross, a local artist in El Dorado, and I paint portraits of people’s beloved pets. I would love to see all of your sweet fur babies and paint a portrait of them with you! Paint your pet is always such a fun class and I can’t wait to see what you create!”

Michaela 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. As she grew into herself, her talent, creativity, and passion grew as well. After graduating high school at Parkers Chapel, she pursued a degree in Studio Art from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. Now a mother 2 children 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.

For more information on this fun class, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website.
 

ENTERGY ARKANSAS POINT OF PURCHASE SOLUTIONS PROGRAM EARNS ENERGY STAR® PARTNER OF THE YEAR – SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE AWARD
Fourth consecutive year for the program to be honored by EPA
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Entergy Arkansas Entergy Solutions Point of Purchase Solutions (POPS) Program recently received the 2022 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. This is the fourth year in a row that the program has been awarded for its exemplary work and ongoing commitment to energy efficiency in Arkansas.

The Entergy Solutions portfolio of programs are energy-efficiency programs administered by Entergy Arkansas that help both residential and business customers save energy and money by reducing the upfront cost of a variety of power-saving upgrades. The programs work with participating partners, local trade allies and retailers to help customers find ways to save energy through the implementation of energy efficiency measures.

Cumulatively, the Entergy Solutions residential and commercial programs have achieved evaluated energy savings of 2,532,965,591 kilowatt hours through 2021. This is the equivalent of saving the carbon dioxide emissions from 349,275 homes' electricity use for one year, or saving the greenhouse gas emmissions of 386,782 gasoline-powered vehicles driven for one year.

“Entergy Arkansas is always working towards our commitment to offer our customers affordable, safe and reliable energy,” said President and CEO Laura Landreaux, “and Entergy Solutions is an integral part in helping us do that. These programs help us provide leading technologies to help customers manage their energy usage efficiently and save money on their bills, and we are pleased to be recognized by the EPA for that work.”

The Entergy Solutions Programs for residential customers include comprehensive home assessments, air conditioner tune-ups, smart thermostats, and discounts on lighting and appliances. Deeper energy efficiency measures, like insulation, air sealing and duct sealing, are also available through Entergy Solutions.  For businesses, Entergy Solutions provides solutions for businesses of all sizes to increase their efficiency. From customized programs that set a schedule for energy used to incentives for improving the facility’s energy efficiency, the Entergy Solutions Programs identify ways to save energy and increase the bottom line for small and large businesses, agricultural businesses, and public institutions.

The Point of Purchase Solutions Program provides ways for Entergy Arkansas customers to save money on energy-efficient products for their homes. Whether customers buy a product that is eligible for a rebate or purchase directly from the Entergy Arkansas Marketplace, they can save on products that use less energy and save money. From smart thermostats to dehumidifiers and pool pumps, there are discounts and rebates that allow Entergy customers to make their homes brighter and more comfortable, for less.

Cumulatively, the Entergy Solutions POPS Program has achieved evaluated energy savings of 400,802,217 kilowatt hours through 2021. These hours equate to saving the carbon dioxide emissions from 55,267 homes’ electricity use for one year, or from 31,961,461 gallons of gasoline used.

In 2021, the Entergy Solutions Point of Purchase Solutions program helped increase the sale of ENERGY STAR certified LED lighting at participating retailers, discounting 16% more LED lightbulbs than in the previous year. Entergy Arkansas launched their online marketplace in 2020 - https://entergysolutionsar-marketplace.com/entergyarkansas/ -  which sells discounted products such as LED bulbs, smart thermostats, advanced power strips, dehumidifiers and air purifiers. 1,160 customers made a purchase on the marketplace in 2021.

In total, over 92,000 Arkansans were served by the Point of Purchase Solutions program and offerings in 2021.The program also provided 13,697 free energy efficiency kits to customers through partnerships with schools, food banks and other nonprofits.

“ENERGY STAR provides valuable tools and resources that the Point of Purchase Solutions program needs to support customers and projects throughout our market,” said Denice Jeter, Energy Efficiency manager for Entergy Arkansas. “ENERGY STAR’s testing processes and warranties also give us the complete confidence that all of the products we support with incentives will serve our customers well.”

Each year, the ENERGY STAR program honors businesses and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy achievements. Winners are selected from a network of thousands of ENERGY STAR partners. For a complete list of 2022 winners and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit energystar.gov/awardwinners. For more information about Energy Star products and programs, visit https://www.energystar.gov/about. For more information about residential and customer Entergy Solutions programs, visit https://www.entergy-arkansas.com/energy_efficiency/main/.

 

WESTERMAN JOINS LETTER DEMANDING ANSWERS ON DHS ‘DISINFORMATION GOVERNANCE BOARD’
WASHINGTON - Yesterday, Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-04) and more than 170 Republican colleagues sent a letter led by Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-15) to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding answers from the Department of Homeland Security regarding the establishment of its Disinformation Governance Board.

In their letter, the signatories outlined three primary concerns with creation of the Board. First, they expressed ethical concerns about an organization charged with securing the homeland engaging in activities that could impact speech. Second, the members pointed out Department is overstepping its authority as a domestically focused organization by creating a board that would distract from its existing missions—especially during the ongoing border crisis. Third, the members highlighted their alarm with the appointment of Nina Jankowicz, a self-proclaimed “internationally-recognized expert on disinformation” to head up the board. [1] They expressed concern with Ms. Jankowicz’s questionable judgment on matters of disinformation and freedom of speech. [2] For these reasons, the signatories requested DHS to respond to the following questions thirty days from the date of receipt of this letter.

Under what legal authority is DHS creating this Disinformation Governance Board?

What is the Board’s specific directive and mission? What authorities will it have under the Department?

How does this Board help DHS protect the homeland from threats? Why is DHS putting valuable resources toward a mission that it appears to have no equity in when there is an ongoing crisis at our southern border?
 
Why was Ms. Jankowicz chosen to head this Board? Who were the other candidates considered for this position? What qualifications and vetting procedures did the Department utilize when determining who would head up the Disinformation Governance Board?

"Secretary Mayorkas should be ashamed of his blatant attempt to undermine our Constitution while ignoring his responsibility to keep Americans safe by securing our Southern Border," said Rep. Westerman. "Mayorkas' truth 'experts' have no right to police the speech of our citizens and Americans will not tolerate such an obvious infringement of their rights."

“The creation of this Disinformation Governance Board is an alarming attempt by the Biden administration to use the Department as a political tool,” said Rep. Franklin. “DHS has no business determining what is and is not disinformation. This ‘Ministry of Truth’ will undermine the public’s confidence in the Department’s mission to protect the homeland and will tarnish its reputation. This is especially concerning as Americans continue to suffer a drug epidemic and have safety concerns with DHS’s failure to properly secure our border.”

“The Biden administration should have no role in policing Americans’ free speech,” said Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. “It is even more outlandish that the agency he has chosen to spearhead this ‘disinformation’ board has not only failed at their primary responsibility of securing the border, but they regularly mislead the public by alleging the border has been ‘effectively managed’ by the administration. Censorship runs counter to our country’s values, and I am proud to stand alongside my Republican colleagues in demanding accountability and answers on President Biden’s Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’ It is un-American and should be immediately disbanded.”

“The Biden Administration’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ is about expanding government control and censoring speech that challenges Democrats’ far-left agenda,” said House Republican Whip Steve Scalise. “This Soviet-style ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ would fall under the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who demonstrated a total disregard for the truth when he told Members of Congress that the Biden administration had ‘effectively managed’ the crisis at the southern border. Creating a misinformation board to police speech and silence opposing views is un-American. I am proud to partner with Congressman Scott Franklin and strike back against President Biden’s radical assault on the First Amendment and free speech.”

“DHS is more concerned with cracking down on free speech than securing our southern border,” said Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik. “As the Biden administration takes one more step towards Communism by creating a Disinformation Governance Board, I am proud to stand up to Secretary Mayorkas’ attack on Americans’ constitutional right to free speech.”

“Our freedom of speech is the right which defends all others, and government distortion places that freedom in jeopardy,” said Rep. Tom Emmer. “We cannot allow the Biden administration to be the arbiter of the First Amendment.”

“Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas claimed the Biden administration has ‘effectively managed’ the crisis on our southern border, but nothing is further from the truth,” said Republican Conference Secretary Richard Hudson. “Rather than creating a Disinformation Governance Board and promoting a partisan bureaucrat as its director, DHS should be focused on securing our border and protecting our citizens.”

“The Biden administration identified concerned school parents as domestic terrorists,” said Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks. “There’s no doubt that their new ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ is part of the White House’s ongoing effort to criminalize President Trump, his supporters and anyone who disagrees with the left. Joe Biden is the most anti-First Amendment president in American history. Rather than targeting American citizens for their political beliefs and censoring their speech, Secretary Mayorkas should focus on protecting our nation from the increasing flow of drugs and crime pouring across our southern border.”

May 05, 2022

SAU TECH CAREER ACADEMY RECEIVES FUNDS FROM OSD
EAST CAMDEN, AR (05/05/2022) Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech) is pleased to announce that the Arkansas Office Skills Development has awarded the SAU Tech Career Academy $118,817 for its secondary welding program of study. The funds were awarded to top-tier secondary programs with strong workforce partnerships.

Rachel Gaston, Director of the Career Academy, stated that "We are excited about this opportunity to upgrade the equipment our students use to learn valuable skills that transition them into the Welding Academy of South Arkansas or the workforce."

The Academy's welding program instructor is Justin Freeland, an SAU Tech alumni who graduated from the Welding Academy of South Arkansas. To learn more about SAU Tech's Rocket High programs, go to https://www.sautech.edu/concurrent-enrollment.

View Online: http://sautech.meritpages.com/news/SAU-Tech-Career-Academy-Receives-Funds-from-OSD/26824

 

MAKE IT HOME TO MOM SAFELY: ASP REMINDS DRIVERS TO SLOW DOWN AND MOVE OVER
MAY 5, 2022
The Arkansas State Police is joining with four other state highway patrol agencies that comprise Region 7 of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to make highway travel safer for the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend (May 6th – 8th).

State troopers in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Arkansas will intensify their patrols as part of a regional Slow Down, Move Over combined enforcement campaign.  The mission is intended to encourage drivers to obey the speed limits and remind them of the danger that occurs when driving too fast.  Additionally, the troopers will be strictly enforcing laws requiring drivers to move over for emergency vehicles.

Across the nation during 2020, 30% of all crash fatalities were related to speeding.  According to NHTSA, a crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 miles per hour or greater is more than twice as likely to be fatal than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 or 50 MPH and nearly five times as likely on a road with a speed limit of 40 MPH or below. 

“It’s the responsibility of law enforcement officers everywhere to keep motorists safe on the highways and one way of doing this is to encourage drivers to obey the speed limit and move over laws,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.  “There were 787 lives lost during 2020 in our five state region due to speeding.  We want to make sure everyone can celebrate together for Mother’s Day this year and many more to come.

 In 2020, more than 11,200 lives were lost across the United States in speeding-related traffic crashes – a 17% increase from 2019. Any time drivers speed, they put themselves, their passengers, and other drivers and pedestrians at risk.

Move Over laws help primary first responders and tow trucks by requiring all drivers to safely move to a parallel traffic lane when approaching a vehicle with activated emergency lighting equipment.

A recent study of highway traffic in the Kansas City metropolitan area found that sixty-six percent (66%) of motorist move over for emergency responders and tow providers.

“Making traffic stops, investigating crashes, and assisting motorists on the side of the road is dangerous.  In fact, since 2017, 149 law enforcement officers alone have been killed in traffic related incidents,” said Colonel Bryant.

This Mother’s Day, every driver on the highway is asked to remember, Slow Down, Move Over.  For more information on speeding prevention, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/speeding.

 

BOOZMAN ENSURING ARKANSAS’S VITAL ROLE IN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTINUES
Gen. Milley Confirms F-35s for Allies an Asset to Deterring Russian Aggression
WASHINGTON—Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley confirmed F-35 capabilities would help America’s allies deter Russian aggression during questioning by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) at a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.

As a result of Boozman’s advocacy, the U.S. Air Force selected Fort Smith’s Ebbing Air National Guard Base as its preferred location for the Foreign Military Sales F-35 Squadron and its accompanying mission to train pilots of allied nations that purchase the fighter jet.

Germany, Poland and Finland recently agreed to purchase F-35s to strengthen their air power capabilities.

The F-35 is the only fifth-generation fighter jet in the world. The Air Force is in the process of completing its Environment Impact Study (EIS) at Ebbing Air Field in Fort Smith.

May 04, 2022

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE RELEASES A POCKET GUIDE TO ARKANSAS FOREST HEALTH
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the release of the Pocket Guide to Arkansas Forest Health, a guide to insects, diseases, and other tree-injuring factors in the Natural State. The handbook is designed to serve as an identification tool and includes example images of injury, potential causes, and management strategies.  

The guidebook was co-written by Chandler Barton, Forest Health Specialist for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, with assistance from Southern Regional Extension Forestry and Clemson Cooperative Extension.

“The Pocket Guide to Arkansas Forest Health is an excellent source of information for landowners, forestry consultants, forest enthusiasts, and more,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “We appreciate the co-authors for their contributions to this helpful and practical resource.”

The guidebook describes many of the common causes for tree injury in Arkansas, what resulting damage may look like, and what management tools are available. Although some management recommendations are offered in the guide, Barton recommends contacting a specialist to determine how to mitigate an issue.

Barton also said, “This guide can be used to enjoy observing trees and the organisms that interact with them. I hope readers will cultivate an appreciation of living things and be good stewards for our environment.” 

The Pocket Guides are available free of charge at all Forestry Division District Offices, as well as the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Little Rock Headquarters. Find your local District Office at agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/district-headquarters/.

More than 55 percent of Arkansas’s land mass, or 19 million acres, is forested with more than 12 billion trees. Arkansas produces timber valued at more than $400 million annually and ranks sixth in the nation in forestry products valued at over $6.4 billion. More information about Arkansas’s forests and how the Arkansas Department of Agriculture serves the forest industry can be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/.

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/.
 

BOOZMAN SECURES IMPROVEMENTS TO STRENGTHEN ARKANSAS WATER RESOURCES 
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, secured priorities to improve and strengthen Arkansas water resources in legislation unanimously passed by the committee.

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) authorizes water and wastewater projects, invests in ports, inland waterways and improves U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) programs.

“The Water Resources Development Act strengthens our state’s waterways and ensures we have safe and reliable sources of drinking water while promoting transportation, job creation and commerce. I’m proud to create and advance policies to ensure water infrastructure meets the evolving needs of Arkansans,” Boozman said.

Boozman-authored provisions that make critical investments in Arkansas water infrastructure include:

Providing the Corps authority to be more proactive in working with its local partners to address rainfall in the St. Francis watershed as a result of population growth in Jonesboro and Paragould.

Creating a pilot program to allow a locality or a private entity to apply for structural/nonstructural project funding assistance to help with conservation efforts.

Establishing an inland waterways dredging pilot program that would allow the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System to receive funding to dredge the river. This would allow interested parties to use funds to deepen the channel to 12 feet so barges and boats can carry larger loads on the Arkansas River.

Permitting the Corps to reinvest recreation fees to improve facilities where the funds were collected. The provision will create an incentive for the Corps to maintain good facilities and provide quality recreational opportunities on our public lands. More than $8 million was collected at Arkansas Corps recreation facilities in Fiscal Year 2021.

 

BOOZMAN RAISES ALARM OVER VA STAFFING SHORTAGE IMPACT ON VETERANS’ CARE
Senator Calls Plan to Divert Department’s Resources to Southern Border ‘Very Concerning’
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the lead Republican appropriator for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funding, questioned VA officials about the effect the department’s persistent staffing shortage and retention challenges have on the care and services it provides to America’s veterans and raised his concerns about efforts by the Biden administration to send VA resources to the southern border.

At a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday focused on assessing the department’s workforce, Boozman told VA leaders he views the proposal to divert VA personnel and assets to the southern border to help manage the expected surge that would ensue following the Biden administration’s decision to rescind the Title 42 public health directive as problematic. He voiced his opposition to VA officials testifying before the committee.

“It’s clear we’re experiencing significant challenges regarding staffing. I was very concerned about the possibility of deploying personnel to the border and introduced legislation to prevent that from happening,” Boozman said. “I think, talking to my colleagues, there’s a number who would also be in that camp. So it’s imperative that we hire and retain the best and brightest talent that this country has because our veterans and their family deserve the highest levels of care and support for the sacrifices they have made in protecting our country.”

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas last week confirmed the Biden administration is considering diverting VA manpower or funding as part of the increased federal response that will be required if Title 42 is lifted. The policy, enacted during the Trump administration, allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to prohibit entry into our country to those who pose health risks such as COVID-19.

The senator has been leading efforts to block the plan and keep VA’s staff and resources focused on delivering timely, quality care to veterans.

Boozman introduced legislation to block the administration from such a move and previously led a group of his colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden laying out the current staffing shortfalls in the VA health system and demanding he commit to preventing VA personnel from being utilized to confront the expected surge at the southern border as a result of ending Title 42.

He has spoken out publicly calling on President Biden to rule out the move and wrote about its implications Ain a piece for the Washington Examiner.

May 03, 2022

COSL ANNOUNCES OUACHITA COUNTY TAX AUCTION RESULTS
May 2, 2022) LITTLE ROCK – The recent auction of tax-delinquent properties in Ouachita County raised over $450,000, the Commissioner of State Lands announced.

The auction drew 64 bidders, who purchased 84 of the 200 available parcels for a total of $450,692.80 for county and state government.

The Land Commissioner’s office holds one auction in each county each year to return tax-delinquent property to active status. Since Covid-19 forced the cancellation of 2020 auctions and delayed 2021 auctions, this year’s auctions offer two years’ worth of properties.

“Just a small portion 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 $16 million to school districts and county governments,” Land said. “Of that, $233,369.96 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.

MAY IS FOSTER CARE AWARENESS MONTH
Sounding The CALL for National Foster Care Awareness Month
Little Rock, AR— May 1, 2022 — Each May, since 1988, National Foster Care Month has raised awareness for millions of Americans across the country. Today, National Foster Care Month continues to broaden awareness, uniting individuals and organizations through strong support and recruitment programs nationwide. This month, The CALL will focus on ways YOU can get involved, whether as a foster or adoptive parent or by utilizing your gifts and talents to benefit families and children.

For a child or youth in foster care, life is uncertain. While their parents work to address the needs of the home and restore the family unit, children and youth need a safe, loving place where they can heal from the trauma they have experienced. The CALL mobilizes local churches to raise up and support families to serve local children and families by providing children and youth in foster care what they need most – a family.

"Fostering can be isolating, but it's not meant to be done alone. The CALL helps to fill in all the gaps that make taking care of these kids what it's supposed to be!" The Fouraker Family

The need for more families to open their homes to fostering is great. Currently, there are approximately 4,628 children in foster care statewide and 1,690 foster families open to care for them. On average, 20 children across Arkansas are removed from their homes and placed in the foster care system every day. More than 7,000 children spend time in foster care in Arkansas each year. Arkansas needs 2,500 more foster homes to have more than enough families waiting to care for these children and youth during their time in foster care. When parents cannot keep their children due to crisis, neglect, or abuse, these children enter the foster care system needing safe homes with loving arms to take them in and care for them. In 2021, The CALL had over 774 foster homes serving through their ministry that cared for 3,275 children and youth.  

"We began fostering in 2009 before we had The CALL in our county. We have fostered with the support of The CALL and without. The difference is night and day. The CALL gives my family the extra support we need to continue fostering. Whether its clothes for the kids, essential baby and child gear, or a meal for our family, The CALL is there to meet our ever-changing needs and is such a blessing to our family." The Foster Family

This month, The CALL is launching a campaign to highlight “Why Foster Care?” focusing on the need for additional foster families and how everyone can get involved to serve these children and families. 

For more information on how you can become a hero to a child in foster care, contact The CALL.
Jill Bobo
501-580-1214
jbobo@thecallinarkansas.org

To learn more about The CALL, visit TheCALLinArkansas.org or Facebook.com/TheCALLinAR.

 

TREASURER OF STATE DENNIS MILLIGAN DISCUSSES INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY
Bringing the State Treasury into the 21st century
May 3, 2022 (Little Rock, Ark.) – When Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan took office in 2015, he made it quickly known to his staff that he would challenge them to look for new, innovative ways to improve the Treasury.

In addition to overseeing a nearly $5 billion investment portfolio, the Treasury also processes more than $70 million in deposits each day from local, state and federal sources. Moreover, it has the responsibility of returning more than $2.3 billion in sales and use taxes as well as county and municipal aid funds each year.

“When I came into office, we were still using paper letters to communicate with cities and counties. Agency representatives were still hand-delivering checks to the Treasury to be deposited into their accounts. In our investment division, we were still spending several hours a day on the phone with banks trying to secure the best rates we could for certificates of deposit,” Milligan said. “I found it baffling that we are living in the 21st century and yet still operating so inefficiently. So one of the first things I did was challenge my staff to come up with ways that we could work more efficiently and more transparently.”

One of the ideas Milligan had to promote technology was to ask the Legislature for approval to allow the Treasury to transfer funds to cities and counties through direct deposit.

After getting help from the Legislature with updating state statutes, Milligan hired a Chief Technology Officer to create and update a number of new web-based systems that have made it much simpler and safer for agencies, cities and counties to communicate with the Treasury.

One of those portals is a special software system for the Treasury’s Local Government Services division that electronically notifies cities and counties of the amounts of their monthly distributions. Previously, the Treasury would send out letters to the roughly 500 municipalities each month, which cost the state upwards of $20,000 annually in postage alone.

“By creating this portal, we’re communicating with cities and counties in real-time rather than on a monthly basis, streamlining our notification process while also trimming costs,” Milligan said. “And we’ve had great feedback from the municipalities that we serve.”

Milligan also implemented a web-based platform for his Receiving Department, which allows state agencies to deposit checks and electronic funds transfers to the Treasury digitally rather than in person, saving valuable time for agency representatives.

“Our Treasury Receiving Interactive Program actually places check scanners at the agencies and offers training on how to use them, so that when a state agency has a check they need deposited into their account, they can do that remotely from their office without having to physically carry the checks to the Treasury,” Milligan explained. “Once the checks are scanned in, they immediately come to our Receiving Department. Not only am I proud of this program for its efficiency, but it also provides an added layer of security now that agency representatives don’t have to leave their offices to deposit checks.

“This process will make it much easier for us to keep the state’s business going during times of inclement weather or, heaven forbid, another health crisis like the pandemic.”

 

2022 COUNTY FARM FAMILIES OF THE YEAR NAMED
May 3, 2022
LITTLE ROCK – The 75th annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program has named the 2022 County Farm Families of the Year. The families will be visited by a set of judges to determine eight District Farm Families of the Year, which will be announced June 14. The state Farm Family of the Year will be announced in December at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon.

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

Selection as Arkansas Farm Family of the Year include efficiency of production, conservation of energy and resources, leadership in agricultural and community affairs, home and farm improvement, and home and farm management.

The County Farm Families of the Year are
Arkansas, North – Jackie & Duffie Banks, Jackie & Duffie Banks Joint Venture
Arkansas, South – Daniel & Haley Smith, LOWDOH Farm Partnership
Ashley – Brian Young
Baxter – Terry & Cindy Johnson, Wing’s Creek Farm
Benton – Jim & Michele Pigeon
Boone – Josh & Amber Thomason
Bradley – Jason & Laura West
Calhoun – Caleb & Jessica Bell
Carroll – Kevin & Teresa Hostetler and Kenyon & Josie Hostetler, K&K Farms
Chicot – Mark Welty
Clark – Ted & Cindy Huneycutt and Steve & LeAnne Huneycutt
Clay – Larry K. Huckabay
Cleburne – Jared Welch, Two JJ Cattle Company
Cleveland – Brian Ashcraft, Ashcraft Farms/Cowford Farms
Conway – Barry, Robert & Bart Stobaugh, Stobaugh Bros. Farms
Craighead – Brian Kelly, Quality Gladiolus Gardens
Crawford – Eddie & Brenda Tweedy
Crittenden – Matt Rogers & family
Cross – Steve & Corbin Hess, Steve Hess Farm Partnership/Corbin Hess
Dallas – Edward & Mary Parham, Parham Family Tree Farm
Desha – Chris Dunnahoe
Drew – Alice, Rocky & Alicia Lindsey, Peyton Place Farms
Faulkner – Mike & Karen Reynolds, Pin Oak Club Lambs
Franklin – Aaron Mantooth, 4M Farm
Fulton – Justin & Lacey Lingenfelter, 4L Farm
Garland – Braziel family
Grant – Marks, Hanna & Cole Mitchell, Mitchell's Hot Hen Farms, Inc
Greene – Terry & Clay Smith families
Hempstead – Tim & Jana Robertson
Hot Spring – Riggin family, Grazin' R Farm
Howard – Brandon & Samantha Manasco family     
Independence – Ben & Mandy Hays, B & M Hays Farm
Izard – Cecil Morehead family
Jackson – Jeff Rowlett
Jefferson – Brett & Juli Stewart
Johnson – Sisk family, Rockin' S Farms
Lafayette – Justin Spence family
Lawrence – Joe Wallis/Wallis family, Bilbrey Century Farm
Lee – Barry Jones family, Borderline Farms
Little River – Terry & Parker Smith families, Boudreaux Farms
Lonoke – Bob & Carlotta Barnhill and family, Barnhill Orchards
Madison – Brent Hargis Family, Ozark Mountain Produce
Marion – Cody & Misty Burrow family
Mississippi – Cissell family
Monroe – Chase Swindle
Montgomery – Jacob Hill
Nevada – Chance Cummings
Newton – Shawn, Chrystal, Ashlyn & Ellison Willis, Shop Creek Farm Mules & More
Ouachita – Tyler Farms & Ranch
Perry – Farnam family
Phillips – Clay Young, Young and Company
Poinsett – Dustin Faulkner, 26 Ditch Farms
Polk – Monte & Kystal Hostetler, MK Ranch
Pope – Doug & Carla Spence family
Prairie – Tyler & Meagan Gore, T & M Cattle Company
Pulaski – Charlotte & Aaron Highfill
Randolph – Toney family
St. Francis – Lindsey Brothers
Searcy – Shane, Michelle, Rylee & Tate Kelly, 4K Farms
Sebastian – Caleb, Hannah, Thadd & Halle Crelia
Sevier – Josh Walker, Red Bud Farms
Sharp – Chance & Kate Battles, Battles Cattle Company
Stone – Owen Brickell family
Union – Buddy Henley family: Buddy, Pat & Ray Henley, Henley Feed Store
Van Buren – Steve & Pat Bone, Bone Land & Cattle
Washington – Tim/Tyler Whorton
White – Sandra & Rickey Wright and Frances Byrd, Byrd Ranch
Woodruff – Shawn & Kelly Peebles family, Shawn Peebles Organic Farms
Yell – Vernon "Cotton" & Elise Morrison

The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with the selection of top farm families in each county and culminates in December with the selection of the state Farm Family of the Year, who then go on to represent Arkansas at the Swisher Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. Arkansas has had two Southeast Farm of the Year winners, Brian and Nan Kirksey of Clark County in 2008 and Wildy Family Farms of Mississippi County in 2016.

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

COTTON, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO DEFUND HOMELAND SECURITY’S “DISINFORMATION BOARD”
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) introduced legislation to bar federal funds from being used to establish a Disinformation Governance Board at the Department of Homeland Security.

“The Biden administration wants a government agency dedicated to cracking down on what its subjects can say, an idea popular with Orwellian governments everywhere. This board is unconstitutional and un-American—my bill puts a stop to it,” said Cotton.

Senators John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Todd Young (R-Indiana), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), and Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) joined the bill as cosponsors.

WESTERMAN STATEMENT ON BIDEN'S TRUTH MINISTRY
WASHINGTON - In response to President Joe Biden's creation of the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) within the Department of Homeland Security, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) released the following statement:

"President Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board should gravely concern every free speech loving American," said Rep. Westerman. "Such a board has every possibility of corruption and exploitation, and I fear it’s only a matter of time before it’s weaponized against any Administration’s political opponents. Biden’s misinformation 'experts' are humans, fully capable of bias and dishonesty, as seen in the Board’s Executive Director Nina Jankowicz, who has already been exposed for extreme political bias. I expect further investigation would find similar problems with every member of such a board, not because they are inherently unethical, but because they are human. 

I call for the immediate disbandment of this “Truth Ministry.” Americans will not stand for the erosion of their Constitutional rights in the name of fighting misinformation. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas should focus more on securing our southern border than undermining our Constitution."
 

COTTON DEMANDS TRANSPARENCY ABOUT BIDEN PLAN TO TRANSFER STUDENT LOAN DEBT TO TAXPAYERS
Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona demanding transparency regarding the Biden administration’s deliberations on transferring over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt to taxpayers.

In part, Cotton wrote, “I’m firmly opposed to student debt cancellation. It is an insult to the majority of Americans who chose not to attend college, a hand-out to the wealthy and well connected, and a get out of jail free card for universities that charge unjustifiably high tuition and fees.”

“Student debt cancellation would also exacerbate the rising inflation that is crushing working-class Americans—the very people who would be responsible for bailing out college-educated Americans under this policy,” Cotton continued.

Text of the letter may be found below.

The Honorable Miguel Cardona
Secretary of Education
Department of Education Building
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202

Dear Secretary Cardona,

I write to demand transparency regarding the Biden administration’s deliberations on cancelling over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.

Last April, the Department of Education’s Office of General Counsel wrote an analysis of the legality of canceling debt via executive action entitled “The Secretary's Legal Authority for Broad-Based Debt Cancellation.” Over a year later, the unredacted memorandum still has not been released to the public. I ask that you please send me a fully-unredacted copy of this legal memorandum by May 20, 2022.

I’m firmly opposed to student debt cancellation. It is an insult to the majority of Americans who chose not to attend college, a hand-out to the wealthy and well connected, and a get out of jail free card for universities that charge unjustifiably high tuition and fees. Student debt cancellation would also exacerbate the rising inflation that is crushing working-class Americans—the very people who would be responsible for bailing out college-educated Americans under this policy. With such basic questions of justice and more than $1 trillion dollars at stake, Americans are entitled, at a minimum, to understand the legal justification for such an action.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

May 02, 2022

ARKANSAS AWARDED $96 MILLION FOR 19 FLOOD CONTROL PROJECTS
Camden- The Arkansas Black Mayors Association, in partnership with NCRS, submitted  infrastructure projects to be funded. This includes a $95.9 million investment for 19 projects in Arkansas. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Terry Cosby announced on April 21, 2002at the Forrest City Civic Center. “These investments will help protect communities and their residents in Arkansas impacted by floods, natural disasters, and other watershed-scale resource concerns,” Cosby said.

Camden Mayor Julian Lott, the Arkansas Black Mayors Association president, said, “We are so grateful for the collaboration of this magnitude and local leaders responding in record time. This effort will impact our state’s health, safety, and economy. We look forward to what lies ahead.”

El Dorado Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer stated, “It is often said, but we must realize that it truly requires teamwork to make things happen! I am both proud and grateful for the collaboration established to ensure the assistance of so many cities! The work that has been done is a fraction of what is to come! We are better together!”

Arkansas Black Mayor’s Association worked with each community providing technical assistance to the communities that will be funded. The following communities will receive funding: City of Altheimer, Blytheville, Camden, Cotton Plant, Dumas, El Dorado, Eudora, Forrest City, Haynes, Marianna, Fountain Hill, Fulton, Hughes, Jennette, Madison, Menifee, Pine Bluff, Stamps, Lewisville, Turrell, and Wilmot.

First, we are grateful for the strategic collaborative efforts of our federal, state, and local leaders. Wilmot Mayor Harris stated, “This award is an enormous win for the State of Arkansas and, more specifically, our rural communities.”  Cities and towns can now address critical infrastructure issues that have impacted the lives of families in our communities for decades. 

The Arkansas Black Mayors Association (ABMA), established in 1972, is a non-profit, charitable, and educational organization whose primary purpose is to 1) promote and develop programs to improve educational, economic, health, and social levels of citizens residing within the respective jurisdictions served by the members; 2) enhance the quality of life for the residents of the municipalities served by the membership; and 3) provide a mechanism for cooperation and the exchange of ideas among the members in areas of common concern and interest. Currently, there are 58 black Mayors’ serving over 460,000 citizens throughout the state of Arkansas.

 

MID-AMERICA SCIENCE MUSEUM PRESENTS AN EXHIBIT 75 MILLION YEARS IN THE MAKING!
Expedition Dinosaur: Rise of the Mammals to open May 28-August 20
Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs announced plans to present a new fully interactive exhibition called Expedition Dinosaur: Rise of the Mammals starting on May 28 and running through August 20 of this year.

“This new exhibit celebrates and explores the fascinating world of Dinosaurs at their prime and the catastrophic event that may have caused their extinction, while giving rise to our own species,” said Diane LaFollette, Museum executive director. “Think of it as a cross between the excitement of Jurassic Park and the adventure of Indiana Jones. We know that visitors of all ages are going to love it,” she added.

The exhibit features large scale animatronic dinosaurs and interactive cases and displays. The exhibit company, Stage Nine Exhibits, engaged renowned paleontologist, Thomas Williamson to consult and inform the exhibit.

Expedition Dinosaur:  Rise of the Mammals will feature several special exhibits:
Dinosaur fossil hunters’ Jeep truck and tools
Interactive Dinosaur draw and animation station
10  Animatronic Dinosaurs and Mammals
Full size T-Rex skull replica
Geology interactive with augmented reality sand play
Large Dinosaur mouth photo op
Day of the Event Comet Puzzle
Video fossil scanning station with interactive display.
A Dinosaur fossil dig.

The exhibit is included with the Museum general admission. Adults are $12, children ages 3-12:  $10, and seniors aged 65 and older, teachers and military: $11. The museum hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. 

For more information, visit www.midamericamuseum.org or call (501) 767-3461. The Museum follows the CDC guidelines for masks and social distancing. The museum is located at 500 Mid America Blvd. in Hot Springs.

 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON EXHIBIT FEATURES
FULL-MOTION ROBOTIC DINOSAURS WITH REALISTIC MOVEMENT AND SOUND EFFECTS
Albertasaurus
Young Amargasaurus
Carnotaurus
Dilophosaurus
Iguanodon
Pachycephalosaurus (2)
Velociraptor (x2)
Stegasaurus
Triceratops

PANGEA PUZZLE
Study of tectonic plate movement and the shape of continents before modern history.

5 FINGER ROBOT EGG INCUBATOR
Robotic arm used to rotate and turn simulated dinosaur eggs.

DINOSAUR EGG SCANNER
Insert a dinosaur egg into the scanner to learn about this fascinating piece of history.

INTERACTIVE FOSSIL VIEWING BOXES
Presentation of simulated dinosaur fossils and digging tools accompanied by interactive sound and visual demonstrations.

DINOSAUR TRACING AND RUBBING ART STATIONS
Use embossed steel plates to rub and trace your own very own dinosaur.

INTERACTIVE 3D TOPOGRAPHY SANDBOX
Simulated topographic lines are projection-mapped into an actual sandbox. Control the contours yourself.

DINO HEAD PHOTO OP
Find yourself in the jaws of an unfriendly dinosaur.

TOOLS FROM THE FIELD
Explore all the instruments needed to find and recover dinosaur fossils.

DINO OPERATION GAME
See if you can excavate the T-Rex fossil before you make him roar!

FIELD CAMPAIGN TENT
Explore the inside of what a true dino explorer’s field tent would have looked like. And hear from a present-day paleontologist.

MIX N MATCH DINOSAUR ART SPINNER
Create your own dinosaur by mixing and matching various pieces of other dinosaurs.

DINOSAUR DIG
Use your budding archeology skills to extract dinosaur bones from the earth. Be careful not to disturb the areas around the bones.