News for Thursday, October 20
Berryville Rural Water Service Sign-up Next Week
Some people in rural areas around Berryville have another opportunity to sign up for Berryville city water next week on Tuesday at the Berryville Fire Station. At Tuesday nights Berryville City Council meeting Mayor Tim McKinney had this to say........
Again, the next sign up date is Tuesday, October 25th, from 2-6pm at the Berryville Fire Station.
New water meters will be installed to replace the old ones currently in use as part of the whole project. About 30-40 miles of water lines would be installed and could reach up to 330 families.
In May, the Berryville City Council announced plans to expand the city’s water services beyond the city limits. USDA Rural Development came to that meeting and officials said they would provide $1.68 million in loan money to the city and a grant of more than $3.78 million if there is enough local interest for the rural expansion.
People can sign up for the project and see the preliminary plans for expansion at the Berryville City Hall. The city encourages people living in rural areas to consider signing up for the service because it offers the advantages of safe drinking water and better fire protection if the need ever arises.
Tale of a Teenage Bank Robber
We now know more about the teenage bank robber that allegedly pulled a gun on a teller at a Eureka Springs bank branch of the First National Bank of NA last week and made off with several thousand dollars. The story line could be scripted for a made-for-TV movie.
After robbing a Eureka Springs bank Friday, the robber fled in a taxi and then used the stolen money to buy a motorcycle from a uniformed police officer in Bentonville, 40 miles to the west, authorities said.
Hunter Cody Chafin, 19, of Berryville was riding away on the black Honda motorcycle when Bentonville police Cpl. Steve Vera received a telephone call about the bank robbery, according to a Bentonville police report.
Realizing he had just sold his bike to the suspect, Vera took off in his patrol car with lights flashing and the siren blaring. Vera caught up with the motorcycle, which was headed south on Walton Boulevard. Assisted by Lt. Randy Wood in a second patrol car, the two officers pulled the motorcycle over and arrested Chafin, according to the report.
An hour earlier, Chafin reportedly had robbed the First National Bank branch in Eureka Springs of $3,350, according to an investigation by Eureka Springs police. According to the report, Chafin paid Vera $2,900 in cash for the Honda -- after talking him down $300 from the asking price -- and Chafin gave the cabdriver $150 for the trip to Bentonville.
The teller at the bank, told Eureka Springs police that Chafin arrived about 2 p.m. Friday and asked whether his accounts were still open. Chafin gave the teller his full name, Social Security number and address.
She said Chafin then went outside the bank and waited for a taxi to arrive. The Eureka Springs police report said Chafin then returned and handed the teller a note that read "50's and 100's only! No trouble, I have a gun!"
The teller gave Chafin $3,350 in $50 and $100 bills, and Chafin left in the white taxi, according to the report.
Police contacted Abundant Taxi Service, which used GPS to locate the cab in Bentonville. The cabdriver didn't realize a robbery had taken place. She gave police the address where she had dropped off Chafin, which a dispatcher recognized as Vera's address.
When police arrested Chafin, they found the robbery note in his jacket pocket, according to both reports. They didn't find a gun, said Eureka Springs Police Chief Thomas Achord.
Chafin's day had started out on a bad note, his roommate had told him to move out, according to the Eureka Springs police report. Chafin responded by telling him he was going to get a bank loan, buy the motorcycle and move to Florida. The roommate had dropped Chafin off at the bank, apparently unaware that a robbery was about to take place.
Chafin remained in the Carroll County jail in Berryville late Tuesday. His bail was set at $250,000, said Tony Rogers, the Carroll County prosecutor. Chafin was arrested on a preliminary charge of aggravated robbery, but formal charges have yet to be filed.
Green Forest Beauties Wow Them at State Competition
Green Forest's very own Kassidy Bell, the reigning Jr. Miss Carroll County, and Laraina Cenobio, the reigning Miss Carroll County won the "Crowd Favorite" title at the Arkansas State Fair pageant this week. Carroll County is proud of these talented, ambitious young ladies.
Food for Hungry Kids Had Successful Year
Operation Food for Hungry Kids has just completed its third year of operation, with a total of 4,706 food packs distributed to some 175 hungry children in the Berryville and Green Forest school systems.
Operation Food for Hungry Kids has also been included in Mercy Hospital's Community Health Improvement Plan and has received a commitment from Country Fresh Market in Shell Knob to support the program long-term by helping us find quality food items that we might not otherwise be able to access, at significantly reduced cost. These two factors were significant contributors to the success in applying for and receiving grants over the life of the program.
There is an emphasis on nutrition, as well as easing the hunger of these children. There are designated specific goals for the contents of the packs, delivering about 3500 calories per pack, and focusing on reduced fat, carbohydrates and sugars, and increased fiber and protein while still delivering items that are kid-friendly.
And last, but certainly not least, the community continues to pour out its love and blessings on these children. Many individuals and churches continue to contribute faithfully to this import program, and support the program as well as by giving of their time to help pack the backpacks.
For this school year, Operation Food for Hungry Kids will be delivering over 5,000 backpacks to Berryville and Green Forest children.
Social Security Announces 0.3 Percent Benefit Increase for 2017
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent in 2017, the Social Security Administration announced.
The 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2017. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2016. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $127,200 from $118,500. Of the estimated 173 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2017, about 12 million will pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum.
Information about Medicare changes for 2017, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov. For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.
The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.
High School Graduation Rates Still Climbing
The nation's high school graduation rate has reached a record 83.2 percent, continuing a steady increase that shows improvement across all racial and ethnic groups, according to federal data released Monday.
President Barack Obama welcomed the higher rate as good news, but the gains come against a backdrop of decreasing scores on national math and reading tests.
Education Secretary John B. King Jr. acknowledged worries about sagging achievement. "A higher graduation rate is meaningful progress, but certainly we share the concern that we have more work to do to make sure every student graduates ready for what's next," he said.
Obama visited Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, a magnet school in the District of Columbia, to tout the graduation rate for the 2014-15 school year. "More African-American and Latino students are graduating than ever before," he said.
Gains also were seen for disabled students and those from low-income families.
Rogers Student Gets Perfect ACT Score
A Rogers High School senior got a perfect score on the ACT, according to a post on the Rogers School District's Facebook page.
Tyler Stamps, plays alto saxophone in the Rogers High School band and the jazz band, and is a member of math honors society Mu Alpha Theta. Stamps plans to study engineering, the post stated.
Stamps advised others shooting for the top score of 36 to wear a watch to help with pacing..
Chronic Wasting Disease Samples Sought from Arkansas Deer Hunters
Arkansas hunters are being asked to provide samples of their harvested deer for testing for chronic wasting disease.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will set up stations on the opening weekend of modern gun season at 25 sites in the 10 counties that make up the chronic wasting disease management zone. They are Boone, Carroll, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pope, Searcy and Yell counties.
The stations will be open Nov. 12-13, and hunters are asked to voluntarily provide samples of deer. Deer program coordinator Cory Gray said the goal is to collect 300 samples in each county.
Chronic wasting is a neurological disease that affects animals such as deer, elk and moose and was first confirmed in Arkansas on Feb. 23 in an elk in Newton County.
Solar Power Generation Slow to Take Off
The forecast for private solar power in Arkansas is cloudy, and may be slow to clear up.
Decisions by the Arkansas Public Service Commission could promote solar generation at homes and businesses or even cripple it, advocates say, but the most critical rulings may not come for more than a year.
The PSC is reviewing state rules for net metering, the system that lets customers with solar panels essentially sell excess electricity they create to power companies. The key question for the three-member panel is how much to let power companies charge such customers for putting their energy onto the grid. The state Legislature mandated the process in a law passed last year.
Utility-level solar projects are blooming in Arkansas — Entergy Arkansas and many of the state’s electric cooperatives have solar installations connected to the grid or on the way — but the state recently was ranked last in the nation for incentives by a solar advocacy website, SolarPowerRocks.com, and the number of home and small-business solar units in the state is remarkably small.
The Arkansas Renewable Energy Development Act of 2001 made the state a relatively early adopter of net metering. Yet 15 years later, fewer than 500 Arkansas consumers are net-metering customers. By comparison, the nation has more than a million net-metering facilities, according to Jason B. Keyes, an attorney for Scenic Hill Solar who spoke at a packed public hearing at the PSC’s Little Rock headquarters on Oct. 4.
Missouri Utilizing Prison Inmates on Work Release
Nearly 500 prison inmates on work release are employed by the Missouri Transportation Department – saving MODOT about $20 million annually. Some minimum security offenders who are nearing their release can apply for work release with MODOT for jobs like mowing and litter removal along roadways. Transportation Department director Patrick McKenna says that the program is helpful, especially during the department’s current tight budget times.
McKenna says the program also benefits the Department of Corrections and the inmates. The program is not intended to allow prisoners to compete with work done by other MODOT staff. He says much of the work release staffing is seasonal.
News for Wednesday, October 19
Berryville City Council Report
The Berryville City Council Tuesday passed, on its first reading, Ordinance 997, rezoning a parcel of real property located at 1306 West Trimble Ave. The petition, aleady approved by the Board of Zoning adjustments, was filed by Mark Stone on behalf of Nighthawk Custom Firearms, requesting a partial zone reclassification of 7.3 acres from a combination zoning of R-1 Single-Family Residential and C-2 Highway Commercial, to C-2 Highway Commercial in totality. There will be two more readings before it becomes final. The Council also reviewed and discussed a Conditional Use Permit application submitted by Mark Stone, and also approved it.
The city accepted the low bid for decorative fencing for the downtown square and Community Center Fencing of $38,932. Fencing will be constructed along each side of the square that parallels the highway, and around the new maintenance building near the Community Center.
Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos gave the September Activity report for the BVPD. 105 tickets were written and 87 offenses reported. Police continue to enjoy a high clearance rate of those offenses, for September it was 78%. The Chief said vehicle break-ins were high and most of those were solved. There were 16 accidents worked by Berryville Police in September.
The monthly financial report of operating funds for September showed the 1% sales tax collected $121,839 and the 1/2% dedicated sals tax collected $60,919.
The Council approved a Resolution authorizing Mayor McKinney to execute an inter-local government agreement for the proportionate share of the District Court Judge's salary as part of the state district court program. The $58,000 expense will be equally shared by all Carroll County cities and Carroll and Madison County, amounting to approximately $8,500 each.
Flu Vaccines Offered to Eureka Springs and Green Forest Students
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), in partnership with the Eureka Springs school district, will be offering flu vaccines to students and teachers on Thursday, October 20th at Eureka Springs Schools, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), will also be offering flu vaccines to the Green Forest school district students and teachers on Friday, October 21st at Green Forest Schools, also from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
While the flu vaccine is not required for students to attend school, it is highly recommended. The flu vaccine helps reduce sick days for both students and parents, and reduces the spread of flu. The flu vaccine is safe and does not cause the flu. Some people may have mild soreness and redness near the site of the shot and a low fever or slight headache.
Bobcat Staff With Class - Congratulations Heather Zaloudek!
Bobcat Staff with Class is awarded to a Berryville School staff member that is exceptionally dedicated and knowledgeable, who respects other, possesses good character, and inspires all students to learn. The award is sponsored by Catrina Chester's - Nationwide Insurance office in Berryville and Student Council members vote on one staff member who they believe fits this description. This quarters Staff With Class was awarded to Heather Zaloudek.
Prescription Drug Takeback Initiative
Saturday, October 22nd, from 10 AM till 2 PM, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office will have officers onsite at three locations within Carroll County to assist with the take-back of prescription drugs that are expired or no longer needed. These locations are: Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Holiday Island Fire Station #1, and the Inspiration Point Fire Station #1.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, 205 Hailey Road, Berryville AR, maintains a drop box in front of the main entrance, that can be used to drop off drugs, at any time, night or day. The Eureka Springs Police Department and the Green Forest Police Department also accept unused prescription drugs at their offices.
Flushed medications pollute our water supply. Unused medications pose a hazard to children or those who would abuse the drugs. The Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative is a safe alternative.
Medical waste, liquids, and syringes will not be accepted.
Man Dies Days After Motorcycle Hits Deer
A Texas man died last week from the injuries he sustained when his motorcycle hit a deer earlier this month, police said.
According to an Arkansas State Police crash report, Michael Phillips, 41, of Greenville, Texas, was riding his 2015 Harley-Davidson east on U.S. Highway 412 on Oct. 7. Police said he was west of Marble in Madison County at 7:19 p.m. when he hit the deer, causing his motorcycle to overturn.
Phillips was taken to Washington Regional Medical Center, where he died last Thursday.
The death marked the 422nd of the year on Arkansas roads, according to preliminary data.
Groups Join Forces to Improve School Attendance and Student Achievement
Two advocacy groups for children have joined forces to try to improve school attendance as a way to increase student achievement in the state.
The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families released a report on chronic absenteeism and said they plan to work with schools and the state Department of Education on the issue.
"If a child is missing that much school, they're really missing fundamental building blocks," said Angela Duran, director of the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. "We don't realize how much education is happening in those earliest years."
More than 12 percent of children in kindergarten through third grade in Arkansas missed at least 18 days of school in the 2014-15 school year, according to the Make Every Day Count report. No official state definition exists for chronic absenteeism, but the researchers set the threshold at missing at least 10 percent of the school year, which in Arkansas is 18 days of school, or about two days per month.
Defined as such, the rate of chronic absence was highest in kindergarten, at 16 percent of children, according to the report.
Expanded Medicaid Program Enrollees Exceeds Prediction
The number of people deemed eligible for Arkansas’ expanded Medicaid program has reached 324,318, the state Department of Human Services said Monday.
In a letter dated Friday and released to the news media Monday, DHS Director Cindy Gillespie told Gov. Asa Hutchinson that by the end of September, 270,573 Arkansans had enrolled in the program known as the private option, which provides government-subsidized private health insurance to people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Gillespie said another 23,309 Arkansans who applied for the program were deemed medically frail and enrolled in the traditional Medicaid program, and 30,436 people who applied for the private option have been deemed eligible but have not yet completed enrollment.
DHS initially predicted that the program, which launched in 2013, would serve about 250,000 people.
The monthly per-person cost of the private option was $501.25 in September, which remains lower than the $523.58 budget cap set by the federal government, Gillespie said. Arkansas would be responsible for any costs over the cap.
The federal government is paying all of the private option’s costs now, but in 2017 the state will be responsible for 5 percent of the cost. The state’s share of the cost will increase gradually to a maximum of 10 percent in 2020.
Hutchinson and the Legislature have approved the governor’s plan to make changes to the program and rename it Arkansas Works next year, pending federal approval.
Road Safety Goals Hit A Bump in Arkansas
In 2013, Arkansas released its Strategic Highway Safety Plan, which explained how the state wanted to lower road fatalities to 400 or fewer by the year 2017.
While Arkansas has shown improvement, it appears unlikely such an ambitious goal will be realized. The state, traditionally one of the worst nationally in deaths per 1 million vehicle miles, has seen a recent increase in fatalities — they are also up nationally — as lower gas prices have encouraged more drivers to hit the road.
Until 2015, Arkansas had been making progress. Arkansas had 551 road fatalities in 2011 and 560 in 2012, both statistically the same 1.67 deaths per 1 million vehicle miles.
The number dropped to 498 (1.49) in 2013 and further to 470 (1.38) in 2014. The national average those same years varied between 1.08 and 1.14 deaths per 1 million vehicle miles.
In 2015, Arkansas jumped to 531 deaths, while deaths nationally rose from 32,744 to 35,072, the largest single year increase since 1966.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that deaths in the first half of 2016 were up 10.4 percent from the same period of 2015.
Chuck Berry Releasing New Album in More Than 35 Years
Ninety-year-old rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry is set to release his first new studio album in more than 35 years. Berry's album, titled Chuck, will be available in 2017.
The album was recorded in St. Louis-area studios and will feature mostly original work by Berry, who turned 90 on Tuesday. He is the sole producer on the album.
Jimmy Marsala, a bassist in Berry's longtime band, suggests the new album took so long to come together because Berry wanted to make sure it lived up to everyone's expectations. His last studio album was Rock It in 1979.
Marsala said Berry — whose writing credits include "Roll Over Beethoven," and "Johnny B. Goode" — started working on the new album as soon as Rock It was completed.
Spokesman Joe Edwards said the new album is a gift to his fans. Berry's son, Charles Berry Jr., says the songs "cover the spectrum from hard-driving rockers to soulful, thought-provoking time capsules of a life's work."
According to Edwards, Berry is likely retired from touring, but anything can happen.
Berry played his 200th concert at a St. Louis restaurant and music club called The Duck Room in 2014 before pulling back from touring.
Artifacts from Berry's career are on display at the National Blues Museum in downtown St. Louis, the city where he was born, and the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
News for Tuesday, October 18
Former Carroll County Judge Seeks Transparency from Mercy Hospital
The Carroll County Quorum Court met Monday evening in the Eastern District Courthouse for their November meeting. All J.P.'s were present except for Don McNeely and John Howerton.
Public Comments are allowed before the business agenda. The only person seeking to speak to J.P.'s was former Carroll County Judge Richard Williams. Williams came armed with the current lease agreement with Mercy Hospital, formerly St. John's, and the County from 2007. Williams said he is against the proposed Eastern District Ambulance Service ballot issue, and the proposed millage increase to taxpayers that would be required to fund it, because Mercy's lease with the county, in his opinion, includes an ambulance service, which they are currently not providing, except for some transfers............
Several J.P.'s seemed surprised at some of the terms of the lease agreement. Leon Cheatham, owner of Ozark EMS, said after Williams' presentation, he was neither for, nor against, the proposed Eastern District Ambulance Service. He told the Court he is able to pay his employees a decent salary and the bills are being paid, without a tax to fund it.
Tinkering in Local Libraries
The Carroll and Madison Public Library System is excited to be one of the first public library partners of the Arkansas Discovery Network. The Arkansas Discovery Network traditionally partners with museums throughout the state to bring hands-on, interactive museum experiences to schoolchildren and families who might not have the experience otherwise. The network is now partnering with public libraries to bring the experience to even more citizens in rural areas.
Through the partnership libraries in Berryville, Eureka Springs, Green Forest, Huntsville, Kingston, and St. Paul will be offering programs to children focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). During the programs kids will be able to tinker with circuits, 3D printing, MakeyMakey kits and robots.
In May 2017 the library system will host a mobile museum called “The Race for Planet ‘X.’” On Planet X kids will be transported to the future where humankind is living and working in space. They will work with nine interactive exhibits to explore the new plant with the help of computers, aerodynamic testing, and laser beams.
The partnership has been funded partially by The Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation. Your tax deductible donation can be given at www.cmlibraryfoundation.com. The Arkansas Discovery Network has been funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation since 2006.
Driver Flees Accident Scene, Leaves Wounded Passenger
A Washburn woman was injured Saturday in a wreck at 12:10 a.m. on Highway 86, three miles north of Wheaton.
According to a Missouri State Highway Patrol report, Kyle Musick, 24, of Bentonville, Ark., was driving a 2002 Subaru Forester northbound when his vehicle ran off the roadway and struck a tree.
Musick allegedly fled the scene on foot, so his injuries, if any, are unknown. A passenger in the vehicle, Amber Morgan, 29, of Washburn, suffered moderate injuries and was transported to Cox Monett Hospital.
Morgan was wearing a safety device, and it is unknown if Musick was wearing one. The vehicle was totaled.
Benton, AR Teen Shot by Police
A 17-year-old boy was shot dead by Benton, Arkansas police Monday morning after reportedly pointing a gun at an officer.
Around 11:45 a.m. Monday, officers were called to the 1200 block of River Oaks Drive in Benton on a report of a family disturbance with a 17 year old armed with a handgun, according to a press release.
Family members and neighbors identified the teenager as Keegan Schweikle, a student at Harmony Grove.
Upon arrival, officers were told Schweikle ran into a wooded area near the home. Police said multiple officers searched the area, concerned about the welfare of the suspect.
After failing to comply with officer commands to drop the weapon, the press release states Schweikle pointed the handgun at an officer, which resulted in shots being fired by the officer. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. A handgun that was in the suspect’s possession during the incident was located at the scene.
According to family members, Schweikle was suicidal and did not want to hurt anyone.
Billions Spent on Halloween
This year, Americans will spend more than a ghoulish $8.4 billion celebrating Halloween.
The National Retail Federation says this year marks a record citing an upward trend that began with $5.1 billion in 2007.
Candy will account for an estimated $2.5 billion. According to a survey, up to 94 percent of partakers will purchase some type of sweet treat during the frighteningly expensive celebration.
The survey continues to state that the old tradition of handing out treats at the door has taken a slight hit, but 71 percent of consumers plan to dole out some goodies.
The Federation predicts 171 million Americans will join in on the tricks and, especially, the treats.
Gov. Hutchinson Makes Board Appointments
Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday announced the re-appointment of Taylor Wynn, Berryville, to the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Board. On the GIS Facebook, Wynn is listed as an employee of Carroll Electric Coop. Appointment expires Aug. 1, 2020.
Reducing Patient Injuries Saves Hospitals Millions
Reducing patient injuries at 48 Arkansas hospitals has saved $27 million in one year, according to a report released last month.
The report said that nearly 3,000 patient injuries were prevented between September 2015 and September 2016 at the Arkansas hospitals participating in a quality improvement program that has been implemented in 33 states. The hospitals in the network “share and collaborate on how to improve systems for the best patient outcomes,” said Pam Brown, vice president of quality and patient safety at the Arkansas Hospital Association.
The hospital engagement network focuses on 11 areas for improvement, including preventing infections acquired at the hospital, falls and readmissions.
Two Veterans to be Inducted in Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame
Two decorated Army helicopter pilots who flew combat missions in Vietnam and the designer of an engine for World War I aircraft will be inducted in the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame.
Pilots Lynn C. Hooper, a Jonesboro native who rose to the rank of brigadier general; David Wallace of Leachville, who now is a state representative; and the late Jesse Vincent, a Charleston native who was a self-taught engineer who rose to be the top engineer at Packard Motor Co. in Detroit, are members of the hall's 33rd class.
Hooper, 76, a 1962 graduate of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro who now is semiretired in Langley, Va., is considered one of the nation's most decorated soldiers of the Vietnam War.
He received two Silver Stars, the nation's third-highest decoration for valor; four Distinguished Flying Crosses; two Bronze Stars and numerous Air Medals.
Arkansas State Fair Off and Running
Arkansas State Fair General Manager Ralph Shoptaw says attendance on the first day of the fair was up 16 percent over last year.
Shoptaw says 24,742 people came to the fair Friday after rain early in the day cleared, compared to 20,619 on opening day 2015, when rains fell during the day.
The all-time opening day attendance record of 57,074 was set in 2008.
The 77th Arkansas State Fair runs through Oct. 23 and Shoptaw said the forecast is for rain-free weather for at least the next five days.
News for Monday, October 17
Teenage Bank Robber Captured Quickly
A 19 year old Berryville man, Hunter Cory Chafin, remains incarcerated in the Carroll County Detention Center on charges of aggravated robbery and outstanding warrants.
On Friday, October 14, just before 2pm, the Eureka Springs Police Department responded to a call of an armed robbery in progress at the First National Bank of NA, the Eureka Springs Branch, on Hwy. 23 South. Officers/investigators immediately identified the male suspect from information gained from bank employees and disseminated this to surrounding Law Enforcement agencies.
The suspect exited the bank with cash taken from a teller. Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident. The suspect reportedly was dropped off at the bank in a black vehicle, but left the area in a white taxi, last seen heading south on Hwy. 23.
A quick and cooperative effort by Eureka Springs Police, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, Arkansas State Police, Madison County Sheriff's, Arkansas Game and Fish, and the Bentonville Police Police Department located and arrested the suspct at 3:41pm in Bentonville.
Eureka Springs Police took custody of the suspect from Bentonville and transported him to the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.
Eueka Springs Police Department is conducting a full investigation with the assistance of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, the Arkansas State Police and the FBI.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Purchases Colorado Zoo
An Arkansas wildlife refuge is rescuing more than 100 big cats and other animals from a Colorado zoo that's closing.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge near Eureka Springs announced the refuge has purchased Serenity Springs Wildlife Center in Calhan, Colorado.
Miranda Smith says Turpentine Creek was already home to 84 big cats and 11 bears at its 459-acre site. She says Serenity Springs has 103 big cats and 11 bears.
She said Turpentine Creek plans to keep about 32 cats and is working to find homes for the others. Turpentine Creek doesn't plan to keep any of the bears.
Smith said the owner of Serenity Springs had been ill and unable to care for the animals and spent about two years searching for a place to take care of the animals.
ADH Hosting Free Clinics for Vaccinations
The Arkansas Department of Health urges people to keep up to date with their flu shots and Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccinations, as ADH continues to deal with mumps cases in Northwest Arkansas.
About 520 cases of mumps and suspected cases of mumps are under investigating by ADH, said Dr. Gary Wheeler, chief medical officer. Original estimates and predictions have been adjusted since the first cases were discovered on August 31. Wheeler said he thinks the peak of the outbreak is close.
The Arkansas Department of Health has continued to host free clinics to get people up to date on their vaccinations.
Wheeler said more clinics will be held this fall as needed, including areas that are most at risk for the spread of mumps.
Meetings This Week
Carroll County Quorum Court meet tonight at 5pm in the Eastern District Courthouse. Only two agenda items. 1.) A Resolution approving the appointment of a Board Member to the C.C. Library Department Board of Trustees, and, 2.) An appropriation ordinance amending the 2016 Budget Ordinance and appropriating additional funds to the C.C. Sheriff's Office.
The Berryville City Council meets Tuesday, October 18, at 6:30pm in the Berryville City Hall.
Benton County Deputies Arrest 12 Men for Soliciting Prostitution
Deputies with the Benton County Sheriff's Department said they posted an online ad for an escort service one evening last week, and paying customers showed up within minutes.
"In three minutes we had five calls. Next thing we know, we're getting calls and text messages probably every five minutes throughout the entire night," Sgt. Corey Coggin said. "Some guys would show up as quick as five minutes, and it took some guys a couple hours to get there."
Coggin is part of the Special Operations Division of the sheriff's department, and he said the sting targeted men who thought they were meeting a prostitute.
12 men were arrested on charges of sexual solicitation, which is a misdemeanor in Arkansas.
According to Coggin, most of the men arrested are not from our area. He said there were some other charges in addition to sexual solicitation because one of the men resisted arrest and another brought narcotics with him, which is a felony. All told, the sheriff's department seized more than $2,700 in cash and one vehicle.
The sheriff's department said three of the men arrested work for Wal-Mart, and one is a JB Hunt sales representative.
Lampe, Missouri Man Wins $95,000 on a One Dollar Lottery Ticket
According to a news release from Missouri Lottery, Dwight Kays matched all five numbers of his Show Me Cash Draw Game ticket from the September 26th drawing:
Kays realized he had won a small fortune while watching a local TV station. Kays and his wife, who had no idea how much their ticket was worth, claimed their cash on September 29th. The website, MOLottery.com, revealed they were the sole winners of the $95,000 prize.
The couple plans to trade in their 2004 Ford Taurus for a new vehicle and will complete renovations to their home.
The lottery generates more than $283 million a year for vital educational programs in Missouri.
Wal-Mart Raises Entry-Level Managers Salaries
Wal-Mart Stores has raised salaries for entry-level managers before a rule change that extends mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million U.S. workers, in an attempt to shield itself from unpredictable additional costs for salaried employees.
Wal-Mart raised salaries from $47,476 to $48,500 annually for employees including store management, spokesman Randy Hargrove said on Tuesday. The retailer did not break out the number of employees who received the raise.
The new Obama administration rule, set to take effect Dec. 1, will require employers to pay overtime to salaried workers earning less than $47,500 a year, double the current threshold of $23,660.
Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the United States and employs 1.5 million workers, which includes store staff, store management and truck drivers.
Garland County JPs Authorize County Employees to Bring Guns to Work
Justices of the peace defeated repeated motions Monday night to give the Garland County Employee Concealed Carry Plan more consideration.
The Garland County Quorum Court's 9-3 vote will allow county employees with concealed carry permits to bring firearms to work. District 3 JP Denise Marion presented motions to stop the ordinance from being read for a second and third time by title only.
The state's county government code requires an ordinance to be read on three different days before it's adopted, unless two-thirds of the quorum court agrees to suspend the rule. Marion's first motion failed 10-2, with her and District 1 JP Dave Reagan voting in the minority. The second motion failed 9-3, with District 8 JP Ellen Varhalla joining Marion and Reagan in the minority. Varhalla also voted with them in the 9-3 minority that opposed the ordinance's adoption.
AG&F Commission Considers Postponing Restriction on Killing Feral Hogs
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Director Jeff Crow proposed a temporary reversal of regulations prohibiting the take of feral hogs on Commission-owned property at today’s meeting of the AGFC. If the regulation change passes, hunters will be allowed to take feral hogs during open bear, deer or elk firearms seasons with weapons legal for those seasons.
The proposal stems from public comments after the regulation was passed in May. Confusion over the reasoning behind the regulation was a primary concern.
“The idea that we want to eliminate hogs on a WMA but won’t allow the public to shoot one if they see it does seem counterintuitive,” Crow said during committee meetings. “The idea was to eliminate the incentive for future illegal releases of hogs and to cut down on disturbance that can spook the hogs and make them much harder to trap.”
The AGFC has begun an aggressive hog trapping campaign in the last few years, catching whole sounders in one swoop instead of taking single hogs here and there.
“This new method eliminates many more hogs without scattering the rest of the sounder,” Crow said. “I still firmly believe that the restriction on taking hogs on WMAs is a good one, and that recreational pursuit of hogs is not the answer to the problem, but we need to give the public and our sister conservation agencies more time to review and understand this effort.”
Crow says the restriction to eliminate killing hogs on all AGFC-owned WMAs will be presented again in 2019.
News for Friday, October 14
Few Tickets Still Available for the 2016 Berryville Annual Chamber Awards Banquet
The 2016 Annual Berryville Awards Banquet will be held Thursday, October 27 starting at 6 p.m. at the Berryville Community Center Auditorium. Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Director Mike Preston is the featured speaker.
Only 200 tickets to the Banquet will be sold, and tables of eight can be reserved (purchased) for a company, organization or group by calling the Chamber office. Tickets are $35 per person or $240 for a reserved table of eight.
Silent Auction Being Planned
In addition to recognizing and honoring those individuals and businesses that have made an impact on our community this past year, the Berryville Chamber is planning a Silent Auction to add to the fun at the October 27 celebration.
Businesses and individuals who would like to donate an item for the Silent Auction may contact the Chamber office at 423-3704 or by email at email@example.com, or can come by and pick up your item. You may also order tickets at the same time, and we will deliver them when we pick up your item.
Items that can be donated for the Silent Auction can range from “Dinner for Two” to a “Backyard BBQ for Six” or a “Free Tire Rotation” to a “Free Oil Change” and anything in between. Get in on the fun and let your imagination be your only limitation in coming up with a Silent Auction item. Remember, only 200 tickets will be sold.
3A North Senior High Volleyball Tournament Coming to Green Forest
The Green Forest school district is gearing up for some big 3A north senior high volleyball action as they will have the honor of hosting the 3A North District volleyball tournament beginning Monday October 17th.
Green Forest volleyball Coach Trista Killingsworth has released the tournament bracket which includes three of our Carroll County teams. Games will be played in the Fred Grim Gym in Green Forest and play will begin when the host team Lady Tigers play Decatur at 5PM on Monday October 17th. That game will be followed by Alpena against Elkins at 6:30PM and the night cap game will include Eureka Springs against Valley Springs at 8PM.
Green Forest Athletic Director Bobby Bishop encourages everyone to come support these young ladies as the public is assured to see some of the area’s best volleyball action all in one location for one low price. The competition should be fierce as teams will be playing their best in order to qualify for the 3A state tournament. A complete bracket can be seen on the KTHS facebook page as well as the KTHS sports page website at www.kthsradio.com.
Every Smoke Alarm has an Expiration Date- "Don't Wait, Check the Date"
The Eureka Springs Fire Department urges all Carroll County residents to know how old their smoke alarms are, and to replace them every 10 years.
A recent survey conducted by NFPA revealed that only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced. That lack of awareness is a concern for Eureka Springs Fire Department and NFPA, along with fire departments throughout the country, because smoke alarms don't last forever.
Jim Kelley, Fire Marshall of the Eureka Springs Fire Cepartment says "Time and again, I've seen the life-saving impact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but I've also seen the tragedy that can result when smoke alarms aren't working properly. "That's why we're making a concerted effort to educate all Carroll County residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit."
The ESFD have been teaching fire safety to the kids all week at E.S. Elementary School October 10-14 in support of Fire Prevention Week and this year's campaign. The event will include a demonstration using fake smoke and teaching kids how to crawl low to get out safe.
Revised FSA Acreage Reporting Deadline
First off, the Carroll County Farm Service Agency apologizes to all of those who called in recently to ask if they needed to do anything after receiving 2016 NAP summary of coverage notices in the mail. We told you nothing had changed and to just remember the March 15 deadline we’ve always had for reporting your 2017 perennial hay and grazing acres.
Turns out we told you wrong. We have just received notice that the acreage reporting deadline for your 2017 perennial hay and pasture acres in Arkansas has been revised to November 15, 2016. Please don’t ignore this change. Current procedure requires that we charge a late-filed fee of $46.00 per farm if you report after November 15.
For our NAP grazing policyholders, we understand your frustration at having to report acres a full four months before the sales closing date. Unfortunately, this office is required to follow the revised procedure despite the short notice. Our hope is that we can get everyone in and certified timely so that no one risks being penalized later.
Toward that end, please call and schedule an appointment to report your 2017 perennial forage acres at your earliest convenience. Calling ahead of time lets us get your records together beforehand and will save both you and us a lot of time.
Again – we are sorry for the short notice but you must report your 2017 permanent hay and pasture acres to us by November 15, 2016 to avoid possible penalty. And please call us at (870) 423-2638 Ext. 2 to schedule an appointment.
Authorizing Official: Scott Fancher
County Executive Director
Carroll County Farm Service Agency
909 A Freeman Switch Road
Tel: (870) 423-2767
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
Over $1M in Scholarhips from Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Awarded to Carroll County Students
There have been over 200,000 Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships awarded to date since 2011. Bishop Woosley head of the A.S.L. told KTHS over $600M has been awarded total in scholarships and over $1 million of that to Carroll County students.......
Issue 4 Kicked Off Ballot
Arkansas' Supreme Court said Thursday that voters won't be able to consider award limits in medical liability cases because the language outlining the plan on the November ballot doesn't fully describe what the proposal would do.
Ballots have already been printed, so the court directed that no votes be counted on the proposal. Under the plan's provisions, legislators would have been allowed to cap non-economic damages against health care providers for medical injuries at a minimum of $250,000.
Proposal supporters argued that the limits were needed to control health care costs. But in a unanimous decision, the court said the proposal's supporters never said what "non-economic damages" meant and ruled that it would be wrong to ask voters to take a stab at a definition.
Arkansas Court Says Voters Can Decide Medical Marijuana Plan
Voters will have their say on at least one medical marijuana proposals this November, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Justices sided with supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow patients with certain medical conditions to purchase marijuana from dispensaries. A coalition of groups, including the state Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Farm Bureau, had asked the court to prevent officials from counting any votes for the measure.
There are two such proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot. The one allowed to stand Thursday lets patients with certain conditions to buy the drug, but differs from the second proposal in their restrictions and regulations. For example, the competing proposal allows patients to grow their own marijuana if they don't live near a dispensary.
There still was a pending challenge to the second competing proposal as of Thursday.
The court said in its opinion that the challenge largely asked the justices to interpret the content of the amendment, which is not within its purview. Associate Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson wrote that the language of the measure does not have to cover every detail of the amendment.
Also Thursday, the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected the Casino Ballot, Issue 5.
Arkansas Panel Looking at Potential Sites for Monuments to Ten Commandments, Satan
A subcommittee is looking at two potential sites for monuments to the Ten Commandments and Satan that have been proposed near the Arkansas Capitol but is asking supporters of the statues to provide more information about the projects and their installation.
The subcommittee of the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission on Wednesday set meetings to review details about the proposed monuments. The panel set a Nov. 16 meeting to review more details of the proposed Ten Commandments monument and Jan. 25 on the monument proposed by the Satanic Temple.
The panel must review the plans before holding a public hearing and issuing a recommendation to the full commission. Legislation approved and signed into law last year requires the state to approve a privately funded Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds.
Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize in Literature
Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award on a musician for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."
Reporters and others who gathered at the Swedish Academy's headquarters in Stockholm's Old Town reacted with a loud cheer as his name was read out.
Dylan, 75, is arguably the most iconic poet-musician of his generation. Songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'" became anthems for the U.S. anti-war and civil rights movements of the 1960s.
Dylan is the first American winner of the Nobel literature prize since Toni Morrison won in 1993.
Lyrics from scores of Dylan songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind," ''Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again," ''My Back Pages" and "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," have worked their way into the public lexicon over the years, becoming repeated over and over, much in the manner of lines from Shakespearean plays.
Taylor Swift Donates to Convoy of Hope
Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter, Taylor Swift, made a generous donation to help families affected by major flooding in Louisiana.
“Her donation will help us provide building materials to residents affected by the flooding," said Hal Donaldson, president of Convoy of Hope, who declined to reveal the amount of the donation.
Convoy of Hope has distributed nearly 1.5 million pounds of emergency relief supplies and assisted families with debris removal and cleanup.
Swift recently told The Associated Press that, during her recent tour that started in Louisiana, fans made her feel at home and news of the flooding was heartbreaking.
News provided by News Director Linda Boyer
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