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News for Thursday, July 21
Local Representative's House Under Foreclosure for Fifth Time
According to documents filed in the Madison County Circuit Clerk's Office recently, local State Rep. Bob Ballinger's Hindsville home is again facing foreclosure.
According to a Notice of Default and Intention to sell filed by JPMorgan Chase Bank, the house, located at 1757 Madison 7150, is scheduled for auction at noon on Sept. 21 at the Madison County Courthouse. The filing, which was made last Wednesday, is the fifth foreclosure Ballinger has been faced with on the property since July 2011, according to circuit court records.
The home last faced foreclosure in March, but was removed from auction prior to the sale date.
Superintendent's Report Berryville Board of Education - July 18, 2016
The Berryville Board of Education met for its regular monthly meeting at 6:00 p.m. in the Elementary Cafeteria.
Members Present: LeeAnn Ashford, Tyler Ashworth, Chad Hipps, Kristi Howerton, Sherri Plumlee, & David Waller
Members Absent: Jeff Miles
The Board approved the following requests:
City of Berryville – The Board approved granting an easement to the City of Berryville to extend Freeman Street past the Bobcat Arena to allow access to the planned city soccer fields. The street will be three lanes to allow for a turn lane.
Athletic Department – Sell Pulled Pork Sandwich Meals
Special Olympics – Several Fundraisers
FFA – Host a Fishing Tournament
Other Highlights of the meeting:
The Board approved a request from Mindy Hicks to accept donations for Bright Futures and for Bright Futures to sell t-shirts throughout the year.
The Board approved the student transfer requests as submitted.
The Board approved adding additional employees to Phonics First training at a cost of $8,965.
The Board agreed to move the August Board meeting from August 15th to August 25th due to the 15th being the first day of school.
Runway Resurfacing Complete at CC Airport
People flying into the Carroll County Airport will be seeing a fresh new look at the 3,500 feet runway. Contractors completed the major resurfacing of the runway on the last day of June, a project airport manager Michael Pfeifer has been working on since he was appointed in the fall of 2015.
The resurfacing project was funded through a Federal Aviation Administration grant in the amount of $549,000 and $66,000.00 from the Arkansas State Aeronautics Board.
The Carroll County Airport is a full service airport boasting the cheapest fuel prices in the area. The airport provides courtesy cars and quick access to “airmotive” services and aviation pilot supplies. A flight instructor is also located at the airport.
Dangerous Heat Hits Arkansas
Dangerous weather is forecast for a big chunk of the nation for the next few days. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has some tips to stay safe, saying heat is one of the top weather-related killers in the nation................
Northark College Receives One-Million Dollars from ADHE
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education donates almost one-million dollars to North Arkansas College.
Micki Somers, media relations for Northark, says this money will be used to add more programs that can facilitate manufacturing and healthcare careers. She says these are the types jobs the community has expressed it is in need of to continue growth.
Part of adding programs means the college plans on possibly adding staff both teachers and support and purchasing new equipment, according to Somers. She says pending the approval of the Department of Higher Education the college would like to offer Workforce Technology Certificate of Proficiency, Medical Assistant Technical Certificate, Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate of Proficiency and Administrative Medical Assistant Certificate of Proficiency.
The grant given by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education is called the Regional Workforce Implementation Grant and is worth approximately 988- thousand 570 dollars.
U of A Students Want Polling Site
Students at the University of Arkansas are pushing to make sure they have a place to vote come election time.
Wednesday, the U of A student body president joined others behind Old Main to discuss the importance to having a polling site on campus. The closest voting location to the university is Central United Methodist Church on Dickson Street.
The Washington County Election Commission will officially vote to see if the U of A will become a polling place on July 25.
Woman Arrested - Skeletal Remains Found
An Paragould woman living inside a home where skeletal remains were found Tuesday has been arrested, police said.
Gloria Tensley, 65, is being held on charges of abuse of a corpse and fraud related to the receiving of Social Security disability benefits after a beneficiary's death, according to Lt. Ken Jackson with the Paragould Police Department.
Jackson said the skeletal remains have not been identified, though authorities believe the body is that of a long-term boyfriend who lived with Tensley in the house in the 100 block of North Fourth Avenue in Paragould.
Another resident at the property, an unidentified man, said a homeowner told him not to go to a certain part of a house, but he opened a door anyway. At that point, police said, he found the remains.
No additional arrests are expected at this point in the investigation, Jackson said.
Tensley remained at the Greene County jail as of Wednesday morning, records show.
Boozman, Murphy Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Recognize “Century Farms”
U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced legislation, called the Century Farms Act, to recognize farms that have been in continuous operation for 100 or more years.
To date, over 30 states–including Arkansas and Connecticut–have established Century or Centennial Farms designations and awards. However, no federal recognition for 100-year-old farms currently exists. The Century Farms Act will direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a program honoring and recognizing the invaluable contributions of century-old farms.
“In Arkansas, the family farm is a vital part of our state’s rich agricultural heritage. This is true across the country. In fact, according to the Department of Agriculture, 97 percent of farms in the United States are family-owned operations. Many of those farms have been passed down for generations. The dedication and commitment these families continue to show to farming is vital to the history of rural America itself, which is why we should honor and recognize the contributions of America’s century farms,” Boozman said.
Family farms represent 97 percent of all farms in the United States. Of those family farms, 90 percent are considered small farms.
Listeria Fear Prompts Bar-S Hot Dog/Corn Dog Recall
More than 372,000 pounds of hot dogs and corn dogs made earlier this month are being recalled over concerns of listeria contamination.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Alstus, Oklahoma-based Bar-S Foods is recalling five chicken and pork products that could potentially be contaminated with listeria. The USDA says Bar-S hasn't received test results, but is recalling the items due to recurring listeria issues at the company.
The recalled items include Bar-S bun-length and classic franks made with chicken and pork, Bar-S classic corn dogs and Signature Pick 5 corn dogs. They were made between July 10 and 13.
Listeria primarily affects older adults, pregnant women newborns and adults with weakened immune systems.
The government says no reports of illness have been linked to the products.
News for Wednesday, July 20
Green Forest Man Arrested for Rape
A press release from Green Forest Police Chief John Bailey confirms that on June 3rd, Green Forest Police Department began an investigation into the alleged rape of two minor children. The investigation led to an arrest warrant being issued.
On July 18th, the GFPD executed an arrest warrant for Victor Scharrer, 34, along with a search warrant for his residence in Green Forest.
Berryville Police assisted with locating and arresting Scharrer in Berryville. Scharrer was arrest for four (4) counts of Rape involving persons under 14 years of age.
The GFPD also executed a search warrant at Scharrer's residence in Green Forest where items of possible evidence were seized.
The case is still under investigation and no other information is available at this time.
Berryville City Council Report
The Berryville City Council met Tuesday for their second meeting of the month. All aldermen were present along with City Attorney Clint Scheel and Mayor Tim McKinney.
Mayor Tim McKinney had comment on the Berryville City Cemetery maintenance........
Police Chief Robert Bartos gave the Berryville Police Department report for June. Tickets written were 132, and 73 offenses were reported to police. The most serious were 2 rapes, 9 aggravated assaults and 10 thefts, and numerous lesser offenses. The police continue a high clearance rate with 82% of offenses cleared. Traffic accidents for June totalled 20, most for failure to yield and improper backing.
The 1% Sales Tax collected in June was $118,356.00.
The 1/2% Dedicated Sales Tax collected $59,178.00
The next meeting of the Berryville City Council will be Tuesday, August 2nd at 6pm in Berryville City Hall.
Rock Bluff Collapses Onto Highway 62 East of White River Bridge
The Inspiration Point Fire Department say crews were dispatched to Highway 62, just east of the White River Bridge shortly after midnight on Saturday. Fire Chief Randy Ates says crews arrived on scene to find a portion of the south side of a cliff face eroded away and collapsed across the highway.
Ates says the rubble blocked the entire eastbound lane and some of the westbound lane. Inspiration Point responders managed traffic flow around the obstruction until the state highway department arrived with a backhoe to clear the driving lanes and shoulder.
Ates is warning people in the area to still watch out for rock-falling in that particular area and to watch out for massive chunks of limestone and boulders stuck in the ditches along the roadway.
Shell Knob Woman Injured in Motorcycle Accident
A woman from Shell Knob was injured in a motorcycle accident on Highway 86 in Stone County Monday.
State troopers say 66-year-old Kathleen Harris was eastbound, two miles west of Rich Hill at 9:15 a.m. Monday, when she ran her motorcycle off the right side of the road and overturned after attempting to avoid another vehicle stopped in traffic.
Harris was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Springfield for treatment of moderate injuries.
SW Mo. Man Pleads Guilty to Child Molestation
Sentencing is set for September in Barry County for a Shell Knob man, Richard Bastura, who pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of felony first-degree child molestation.
Bastura, 64, a former substitute bus driver for the Shell Knob School District, entered the plea before Circuit Judge Jack Goodman, who set Sept. 19 as a sentencing date.
Bastura was accused of abusing a child over the past several years. According to the investigator’s probable cause statement, the child, who is now 14 or 15 years old, told investigators Bastura began touching her inappropriately in 2009 when she was 8.
Some of the incidents took place in Bastura's home, according to the PC statement, and continued until November 22, 2015.
Bastura remains in the Barry County Jail until sentencing.
Zika Virus Spread from Patient to Caretaker
Medical detectives are trying to figure out what caused a caregiver in Utah to contract the Zika virus from a patient. They're now looking into whether more needs to be done to protect health care workers or if it was just an extremely unusual circumstance.
The case happened in a part of the country where they don't have the type of mosquitoes that carry the virus.
Arkansas does have the type of mosquitoes that carry Zika, but right now the insects aren't infected and transmitting the disease.
The Arkansas Department of Health is monitoring mosquitoes aggressively to make sure they are not transmitting the virus.
State epidemiologist, Dr. Dirk Haselow says the dept. of health has begun testing in the last few months for the virus through blood and urine samples, recently including testing for antibodies to the virus.
Arkansas Teacher Retirement System Authorizes Investments
The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System's board of trustees Tuesday authorized the investment of up to $100 million in a fund managed by Stephens Inc. of Little Rock and Neuberger Berman Alternative Advisers LLC of New York City.
The fund will be called the Arkansas Opportunity Fund LP and it provides investment opportunities in the range of $6 million to $12 million; that size of investment is below the typical range of system investments on a stand-alone basis, the system's staff said in a memo to the board.
In other action, the system's trustees also signed off on investing up to $25 million in Highland LLC, which is constructing a wood pellet manufacturing facility in the Pine Bluff Industrial Complex near White Hall. The trustees also approved investing up to $30 million in a Maryland-based private equity buyout fund and up to $25 million in a Los Angeles-based real estate fund.
The Teachers Retirement System is state government's largest retirement system with investments of more than $14 billion and more than 100,000 working and retired members.
Gas Prices Still On the Way Down
National gas prices are at a 12-year low for July after a 35-day slide that put the Arkansas average at $1.97 a gallon and the national average at $2.21.
Gas prices continue to drop in most parts of the country due to abundant fuel supplies and declining crude oil costs, according to the latest AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
"Average prices are about 55 cents less than a year ago, which is motivating millions of Americans to take advantage of cheap gas by taking long road trips this summer," AAA states.
Gas prices have dropped below $2 per gallon in 36 states, something drivers have not seen during summer in more than a decade. Prices have fallen 4.5 cents a gallon in the past week, 11.5 cents since last month, and 48.8 cents from this time last year.
There is still the possibility of an "unexpected events" leading to higher prices later this summer. For example, crude oil costs could rise due to disruptions in supply, stronger than expected economic growth or geopolitical tensions overseas.
Regional prices could also increase due to refinery problems, production cuts, stronger than anticipated demand or hurricanes that impact distribution and production. The bulk of America's refining capacity is in the southeastern United States, and abundant production should keep prices relatively low unless there is an unexpected event, such as a major hurricane.
Most of Us Don't Get Enough Sleep
Recent studies are saying what you might already know -- many Americans aren't getting the sleep they need. Here's how you can change your sleep schedule.
Start snoozing. People between the ages of 18 and 60 need to sleep at least seven hours a night, according to two major sleep-related associations.
But a national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than one-third of us sleep less than seven hours -- and that's a problem.
Research shows the less sleep you get, the more risk you have for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and mental illness.
To make sure you get enough shut-eye, try to stick to a schedule, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including weekends.
Keep your room dark, turn the thermostat low, and get rid of electronics - yes put that phone away.
Before bed, don't eat a big meal, don't drink caffeine or alcohol, and during the day try to exercise.
If you do all that and still don't get enough rest - go the doctor. There may be another problem that's preventing good sleep.
So consider this your wake-up call to start sleeping more.
News for Tuesday, July 19
Carroll County Quorum Court Passes Ambulance Service Improvement District Ordinance
The C.C. Quorum Court J.P.'s Monday passed the long discussed and sometimes contenscious Ordinance that will put the question of an ambulance service district in Eastern Carroll County to the voters.
Western Carroll County has had one for several years. J.P.'s discussed the Ordinance at length before calling for the vote which passed on its first reading. The funding mechanism to pay for the service would come from an assessment of 2.5 mills on real and personal property in the Eastern District precincts the ordinance would cover. Here's some of that discussion beginning with J.P. Larry Swofford............
The only nay vote was J.P. Marty Johnson. Eastern District voters will see the issue on the November ballot if it passes on the 2nd and 3rd reading in August. J.P.'s would have to declare an emergency for it to have time to be placed on the November general election ballot and that would need to be finalized by September. Local businessman Randy Williams spoke against the Ordinance saying he didn't want it and thought voters would not pay the mills to fund it.
In other business, J.P.'s passed an Ordinance revising a certain section of the Personnel Handbook dealing with law enforcement certificates and enhanced pay.
Passed an appropriation ordinance of $19,900 to Central Dispatch relocation expenses. Central Dispatch is moving out of the CC Courthouse to space at the CC Detention Center.
During public comments before the meeting, an unidentified woman complained that the CCSO is not using recording equipment in cars and not wearing body cams. She also stated that no quarterly reports are being issued by the Sheriff's office as had been the normal during former Sheriff Bob Grudek's 8 year administration.
Another woman who lives on the White River asked the Court to reconsider the National Flood Insurance Plan. J.P. Chuck Olson said he has asked a representative from the Flood Insurance program to the Quorum Court next month to answer questions.
New Berryville Police Officer Sworn-in
On Monday, Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney swore-in a new Police Officer on the Berryville Police Department. Billy Phillips has been a Reserve Police officer at Berryville for some time. Phillips told KTHS he always thought he wanted to go into the medical field, but decided to follow in his brother's footsteps as a Police Officer. Billy's brother is Allen Phillips, a Green Forest Police officer. Phillips is married with one son.
Mayor Tim McKinney performed the swearing-in at the BVPD with Chief Robert Bartos and nearly all the BVPD force in attendance to watch. Mayor McKinney took an opportunity to thank the police officers for their service to the city. He said in light of the recent violence against police officers, he understands and appreciates what police go through while performing their jobs in the community. The Mayor also mentioned the importance of the support of policemen's family members and thanked them for their sacrifice.
Traffic Fatality on Hwy. 412
Arkansas State Police report an Arkansas man was killed in a single-vehicle wreck Monday morning.
James Street, 61, of Peel was driving his Toyota RAV4 east on Arkansas Hwy. 412 in Carrollton at 11:08 a.m., according to a crash report from the Arkansas State Police.
Street then went off the road and drove through two fences before hitting a tree, police said. The Carroll County coroner pronounced Street dead at the scene.
Police listed the road conditions as clear and dry at the time of the wreck.
The death was the 282nd on Arkansas roads this year, according to preliminary police records.
Monett, Mo., Man Killed in Sawmill Accident
A Monett man died Monday in a sawmill accident at Ozark Stave Co. in rural Pierce City in Newton County, Mo.
Trenton Goodpasture, 19, of Monett, was struck in the head by a flying log and was airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Joplin, where he did not recover from the injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to investigate the incident Tuesday morning. Goodpasture had recently graduated from Monett High School.
Barry County Drug Bust
Investigators with the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team, which covers Barry, Barton, Jasper and McDonald counties, arrested three Barry County residents Thursday during an open narcotics investigation.
Investigators responded to the residence of Beverly Ball, located at 18348 Hwy. E in Eagle Rock.
Ball was found to be in possession of two ounces of high grade marijuana and 126 pills suspected to be Schedule 2 narcotics. According to a press release from Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly, the pills were bagged for sales and not in prescription bottles.
Ball was transported to the Barry County Jail and charged with possession with the intent to distribute and two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. She remains in custody at the jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.
All Arkansas Schools Getting High-Speed Broadband Network
Schools are connecting to a new high-speed broadband network faster than first anticipated, Mark Myers, director of the Department of Information Systems, told lawmakers Monday.
When the project is completed, Arkansas will become one of three states with high-speed broadband in every school building, he said. The department has also managed to secure a contract for the two school districts that did not receive a bid last year.
"We are moving to the top of the class in connectivity," Myers said.
More than 20 companies have been working to convert the network from copper wire to high-speed, fiber-optic cable, which will transmit information via pulses of light rather than electricity.
Lack of high-speed access has caused problems at schools as more standardized tests are moved to online formats. Also, Act 1280 of 2013 requires that every school district provide at least one interactive online course.
Of the 276 state school districts, 148 were connected to the new Arkansas Public School Computer Network as of last month, Myers told lawmakers. The remaining schools will be connected this fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2017.
He said the state had originally planned to connect 126 schools by the end of June.
Upgrades to the network will cost $49 million in total -- though the federal government is picking up about 80 percent of that cost.
Myers noted that schools are receiving a speedier network for less money with the new network.
When the improvements are completed, the new network will cost $6.7 million per year in transport costs and Internet fees for a total bandwidth of 158,500 megabits per second.
Large Communications Companies Plan to Increase Availability and Speed of Internet
No one is complaining about the population and economic growth in northwest Arkansas, but all that growth is putting strains on the area’s infrastructure.
Nowhere is that more obvious than in the daily commute on Interstate 49, which is being widened to six lanes to handle the increased traffic. But the road system isn’t the only infrastructure in the region; the internet infrastructure is also feeling the stress.
Internet service providers are doing what they can to keep up with the area’s growing demands. The answer is neither cheap nor easy, just as widening the interstate is a costly, time-consuming endeavor.
AT&T Arkansas, Cox Communications and Ozarks Electric Cooperative have all recently announced plans to increase the availability and speed of internet connections. AT&T said it had invested more than $1 billion in the past six years in the state.
Improving internet connections is not as simple as flipping a switch. The faster connections require fiber lines, which have to be installed, and more users mean more relay points and cell towers.
News for Monday, July 18
Equity Bancshares Inc. Purchases Community First Bancshares Inc. of Harrison
Equity Bancshares Inc. of Wichita said Thursday that it had agreed to purchase all outstanding shares of Community First Bancshares Inc. of Harrison in a deal worth about $69 million.
The deal will be the first since Equity went public in November and put Equity in Arkansas for the first time. It will also require Community First Bancshares to dispose of its $8.2 million ownership interest in White River Bancshares Inc. of Fayetteville, which controls Signature Bank of Arkansas and the Bank of Brinkley.
"Our partnership with Community First is an opportunity to strengthen our two companies as one," Equity Chairman and CEO Brad Elliott said in a news release. "We believe that this transaction continues Equity's model of adding mid-size markets to supplement its metropolitan areas of Kansas City and Wichita."
Equity Bancshares is the parent company of Equity Bank, which has $1.5 billion in consolidated total assets and 29 offices in Kansas and Missouri.
Community First Bancshares is the holding company of Community First Bank, which has assets of about $475 million and five branches: two in Harrison and one each in Berryville, Eureka Springs and Pea Ridge.
Once the deal is complete, Community First Bancshares' directors will continue as Arkansas community board members to Equity's Arkansas markets. Equity will add two directors from Community First Bancshares' board to serve on the Equity board.
Equity also will retain some managers in its Arkansas market, including Ann Main, promoted to Arkansas market leader; David Morton as Arkansas CEO; and Danny Criner as chief credit officer of Arkansas locations. Criner will also serve on Equity's loan committee.
ADH Lifted Precautionary Water Boil Order Saturday
The Department of Health has released the “Boil Water” Notice issued on 7/15/2016 9:12:26 AM by Craig Corder for the part of the Carroll Boone system from Eureka Springs to Harrison.. This order was issued as a precautionary measure because of the possibility that contaminated water may have entered the distribution system as a result of complete loss in normal system pressure.
Bacteriological samples taken on Friday, July 15, 2016 were found to be free of bacterial contamination and a satisfactory disinfectant level has been established throughout the distribution system. The water is therefore considered “Safe” for human consumption and the “Boil Water” notice is hereby lifted.
Slight Increase to Attend U of A Fayetteville
An estimate of the true cost to attend college increased by less than $250 for the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville's 2014-15 academic year, the most recent year with data available.
UA's average net price of $14,693 for 2014-15 reflected a 1.6 percent increase over the school's $14,466 average net price for the previous year, according to preliminary data at the governmental website CollegeNavigator.gov.
Average net price is an expenses-minus-aid calculation for students receiving grant or scholarship awards. It takes into account additional expenses beyond tuition and fees while subtracting out what students receive, on average, in governmental and institutional grant awards.
Each year colleges publish an estimate of their total cost of attendance, factoring in both billed costs and indirect expenses. For in-state undergraduate students at UA in 2014-15, the estimated necessary yearly expenses totaled $23,066.
The total for the 2016-17 academic year is $24,302, including $8,820 in tuition and fees and $10,332 in room and board. UA System trustees in May approved a 3.5 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees for the Fayetteville campus and increases of a few hundred dollars for several room-and-board options, including the least expensive double-occupancy rooms.
Two Arrested in Benton County - One Still On the Loose
Two people were arrested early Sunday morning after a police pursuit, and a third suspect is still on the loose, according to the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
Carli Supiran, 19, of Anderson, Mo., and Trevor Meeker, 24, of Pineville, Mo., were arrested after fleeing a traffic stop initiated by the Noel, Mo., Marshal's Office, according to a press release from the Sheriff's Office.
Shawn Turner, 30, of Centerton was not apprehended. Turner was last seen fleeing on foot at Beaty and Craig in Sulphur Springs, the release said. The Sheriff's Office said it doesn't believe Turner is armed or poses a threat to the public.
Supiran was arrested in connection with two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault and fleeing by vehicle with extreme indifference.
Meeker was arrested on an active felony warrant from the Centerton Police Department for aggravated assault and false imprisonment, the release said.
Both were being held Sunday at the Benton County Jail with no bonds set.
Huckabee Won't Speak After All at RNC
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee won't be speaking at the Republican National Convention this week, opting instead to appear on Fox News as a political contributor.
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, had invited his former rival to address the delegates, but the network told Huckabee he'd have to choose between the news set and the convention stage.
He opted for the paid gig.
Fox had allowed Huckabee to deliver convention address in 2008 and 2012 despite being a news channel employee, and he had planned to deliver his remarks today.
But he changed his plan Thursday or Friday after the network informed him of its new policy, he said. He was one of about five staff members who were affected by the policy, he added.
On Tuesday, Fox suspended former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, according to news reports, at a time when he was reportedly on Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump's short list for vice presidential nominee.
Country Music Artist Bonnie Brown Passes
Bonnie Brown, one of three Arkansas-born siblings whose smooth harmonies as The Browns influenced generations of singers from The Beatles to Lady Antebellum, died Saturday at age 77.
Her publicist, Kirt Webster, said Brown died at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock of complications from lung cancer.
With older siblings Jim Ed Brown and Maxine Brown, the three helped define the Nashville sound of the 1950s and ’60s. They were inducted in 2015 into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum after Jim Ed’s death earlier that year.
The Browns were from Sparkman. They began singing at school and church functions.
IKEA Recalls Baby Gates
Ready-to-assemble furniture maker IKEA is recalling 80-thousand baby gates.
The consumer product safety commission said this week the gates can unlock by themselves, and lead to falls.
Ten injuries have been reported -- including two concussions -- according to the CPSC.
The recalled gates include the following: the patrull safety gate and extension, the patrull fast safety gate, and the patrull klamma safety gate and extension.
IKEA advised customers to stop using them and return them for a full refund.
News for Friday, July 15
Carroll County Precautionary Boil Water Notice
The Department of Health has issued a 'Boil Water' Notice issued by Craig Corder for the entire system. This order was issued as a precautionary measure because of the possibility that contaminated water may have entered the distribution system as a result of partial loss in normal system pressure.
Under the 'Boil Water' order, all affected customers must be advised that the water may be unsafe for human consumption, and water used for drinking or food preparation must be boiled briskly for one munute prior to use. All ice cubes should be discarded and only boiled water used for making ice.
This "Precautionary Boil Water Notice" will remain in effect until the problem has been corrected, an adequate disinfectant level is established throughout the distribution system and a bacteriological survey shows that the water is safe to drink. The boil water order was due to a main break in a Carroll/Boone water line east of Eureka Springs.
Tyson Foods in Berryville stopped production at their plant until Monday due to the water situation. Maintenance and sanitation should still report as normal.
Severe Weather Hits Central Arkansas
A severe storm rolled across Arkansas on Thursday evening, toppling trees and cutting power to more than 137,000 electric customers.
An upper-level system moved from northeastern Oklahoma to southeast Arkansas, interacting with the remnants of a frontal boundary, said Brian Smith, a senior forecaster for the National Weather Service.
The weather service declared a tornado warning from 5:38 p.m. to 6 p.m. for central Pulaski County and northeast Saline County after radar showed rotating clouds, Smith said. A funnel cloud was spotted in Saline County, but there was no confirmation that it touched down, he said.
Entergy spokesman Sally Graham said the power company is calling in crews from surrounding states, but some customers in the hardest hit areas -- Pulaski, Jefferson and Garland counties -- will be without power until at least Saturday. The pace of repairs will depend on how much help other companies send, she said, as well as the extent of the damage, which was still unclear in some places Thursday evening.
Walton Foundation Donates $2M to Economics Arkansas Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation said Thursday that it awarded a $2 million lead donation to endow the Economics Arkansas Foundation, which aims to advance financial and economic literacy in Arkansas education through the Economics Arkansas program.
Established earlier this year, the Economics Arkansas Foundation wants to establish an $8 million endowment to help the Economics Arkansas program execute its new strategic plan, which will be finalized by year end.
The foundation, led by Ray Hobbs, Wes Kemp and Jim Wooten, said it will add additional board members soon.
Economics Arkansas has grown from training 1,000 PreK-12 teachers annually in 2004 to almost 2,000 in 2016. But the nonprofit aims to do more.
The endowment will support a strategic plan that aims to:
Maximize effectiveness and reach to teachers and students; demonstrate return-on-investment.
Advance financial and economic literacy in Arkansas PreK-12 education.
Ensure the future of Economics Arkansas.
Federal Reserve Survey Shows Continued Improvement
The U.S. economy has continued to improve at a modest pace, according to the Federal Reserve's latest survey of business conditions, released Wednesday.
12 Federal Reserve Districts indicate that consumer spending was generally positive but with some signs of softening and manufacturing activity was mixed but generally improved across most regions from mid-May through the end of June.
Districts reporting on overall growth expect it to remain modest, according to the central bank.
In the St. Louis District, which includes all of Arkansas and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, the report said job growth remained modest, with some employers report ongoing difficulties finding workers to fill vacant positions.
Secretary of State's Office to Present Creative Program Based on Little Golden Books
The education team from the Secretary of State will be presenting a hands-on creative program for children based on Little Golden Books on Wednesday, July 20th at 1:30 pm and on Wednesday, July 27th at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm in the lower level activity room at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library & Learning Center. This program, coupled with a summer-long exhibit, is designed to engage children in the concepts of illustration and story-telling, and is available to teachers for in-class presentations.
In the early 20th century, the New York publishing firm Simon & Schuster, the Artists and Writers Guild, and the Western Printing and Lithographing Company of Racine, Wisconsin, joined forces to create a new series that would transform the world of children's books.
Little Golden Books have gone through several changes, but they have remained a fixture in childhood since the first twelve titles were published in October, 1942. This exhibit draws from the work of some of the more prolific illustrators during the Twentieth century, among those Arkansas-born Mercer Mayer, creator of the Little Critter and Little Monster book series.
The exhibit is from a private collection belonging to Jen Hughes, archives and exhibits specialist for the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office, and was first displayed at the Arkansas State Capitol in December, 2013.
The Little Golden Books exhibit will be on display through the end of September in the lower level of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library & Learning Center, part of the Central Arkansas Library System, located at 4800 W. 10th St. in Little Rock. The hours for the library are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
80% of Drivers Have Shown Road Rage Anger
Road rage affects the majority of U.S. drivers, according to a new study by AAA released Thursday.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that almost 80 percent of drivers have expressed significant anger or aggression behind the wheel in the past year. More alarmingly, some eight million drivers have engaged in extreme examples of road rage - like confronting another driver or even ramming another car.
AAA says to help prevent road rage, don't offend other drivers by causing them to brake or suddenly change their direction. Be tolerant and forgiving -- don't assume someone intentionally did something to wrong you.
And do not respond-- avoid eye contact, don't make gestures, and call 9-1-1 if needed.
Castleberry, Davis named 2016 Arkansas Rural Teachers of the Year
Amy Castleberry of Paragould High School and Linda Davis of L.F. Henderson Intermediate School in Ashdown were recently named as the 2016 Arkansas Rural Teachers of the Year. The award is sponsored by the Arkansas Rural Education Association and the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.
Castleberry of Paragould, who has taught for more than 16 years, is a high school English teacher at the 3,085-student Paragould School District. Davis, a 27-year educator, teaches fourth grade at the 1,411-student Ashdown School District.
The Rural Teacher of the Year Award winner is selected based on the quality and depth of answers to questions in the following categories: professional biography, educational history, professional development, community involvement, teaching philosophy, education issues and the teaching profession.
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 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.
Healthcare Spending to Increase with Baby Boomers
With Baby Boomers growing older, the economy improving and medical prices climbing, health care spending will rise in coming years.
The annual growth in health spending is expected to be 5.8%, on average, between 2015 and 2025, according to data published Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Spending growth had been at record lows in recent years, muted by the weak economy and some Obamacare measures meant to limit expenditures. But it began to grow again in 2014, as more Americans received coverage through the Obamacare exchanges and Medicaid expansion.
In 2015, health spending was expected to grow 5.5% as the newly insured took advantage of their coverage, but it's on track to dip to 4.8% this year largely due to more restrained growth in Medicaid spending as enrollment slows and insurers better manage usage.
After that, however, spending is projected to accelerate once again, increasing to 5.7%, on average, between 2017 and 2019 and to 6% between 2020 and 2025. This acceleration will likely be due to rising medical prices, increasing demand as the economy and personal incomes improve, and expanding Medicare enrollment and usage as the Baby Boomers age.
Health care spending will grow faster than inflation over the next decade and account for a larger share of the national economy, rising to 20.1% of the gross domestic product in 2025, up from 17.5% in 2014, the agency projected.
More of that spending will be paid for by federal, state and local governments in the future. The share of health expenditures covered by government is projected to increase to 47% by 2025, up almost 3 percentage points from 2014.
Americans will continue to pay more for medical care. Total out-of-pocket spending is expected to hit $556 billion in 2025, up from $338 billion in 2015.
Prescription drug spending is projected to grow 6.7% per year between 2016 and 2025, lower than in recent years, when costs were inflated by new specialty drugs, particularly those used to treat Hepatitis C.
News provided by News Director Linda Boyer