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News for Friday, January 20

Deadlines Loom for Grant Applications and Arkansas Gives Day Participation

Carroll County Community Foundation reminds nonprofits working in and for the people of Carroll County that there are two important deadlines coming up in February.

The deadline for online applications for our spring grant cycle – the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) Grants – is February 15, 2017, and the deadline for 501(c)3 nonprofits to sign up to participate in the Arkansas Community Foundation’s final Arkansas Gives Day will be February 14, 2017.

Each of these programs is another example of the many ways Arkansas Community Foundation, and its local affiliate, gives back to our community.

Our YAC Grants are part of our signature Giving Tree grantmaking program and benefits organizations throughout Carroll County which have programs for local youth and children. These grants range from $100 to $1000. Applications can be found and completed online at 

Our Arkansas Gives Day is a one day, 12-hour, online giving day created and sponsored by Arkansas Community Foundation to help grow the love for Arkansas nonprofits. Last year $4.1 million was raised on April 7, 2016. With the addition of bonus dollars and prizes, more than $6.9 million has been dispersed in total to participating nonprofits during two years of the event.

Contact Carroll County Community Foundation at carrollcounty@arcf.org or 870-423-9251 with any questions regarding these important online deadlines.


Cassville Man Injured in Barry County Wreck

Missouri Highway Patrol reporting a two vehicle accident Wednesday morning on Hwy. 86 at CR1187, 3 miles east of Eagle Rock.  The accident involved a 2003 Oldsmobile driven by Sean Evans, 31 of Cassville, and a 2009 Pontiac, driven by 63 year old Jacquelyn Williams of Ridgedale, Mo.

The accident report said the Olds driven by Sean Evans swerved to avoid a third uninvolved vehicle and struck the Pontiac.  Both vehicles sustained heavy damage.  Evans was transported to a Cassville Hospital for treatment of injuries.


Companies Will Start Accepting Food Stamps Online

Americans will soon be able buy their groceries online, using food stamps.

This summer, Amazon and six other companies will start accepting the benefits. It's part of a pilot program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, since the U.S. government is working to expand the reach of its supplemental nutrition assistance program.  Experts say the program could help alleviate what is known as "food deserts," which are areas where residents have little access to fresh food and groceries. They believe it could also relieve the negative stigma of using food stamps.

During the winter months, it can be difficult to eat fruits and vegetables that are not in season. Experts say eating seasonally is cheaper, but it's also better for you. Seasonal produce is fresher and more flavorful.

Root vegetables, like turnips, carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes are in peak during the cooler months. Those can be roasted or added to soups and stews. Dark leafy greens, like kale, spinach or collard greens are packed with antioxidants. They also have calcium and are good sources of iron. Winter squash has a lot of vitamin A and potassium.

New research, from the University of Vermont says eating red hot chili peppers might help you live longer. Researchers found that people who ate the peppers had a 13% lower risk of an early death than those who never ate them. Experts credit capsaicin, a compound in red chili peppers, for the health benefits.

AMMC Close to Deadline to Have Industry's Rules and Regs Ready

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission is getting closer to the deadline by which they need to have the industry's rules and regulations ready.

Four of the five commissioners were at this week's meeting.

Much of the discussion was centered around where the 32 dispensaries will be located. Some of the options were based on population, or which counties voted in favor of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment.

They also began establishing a "scoring method" for applicants wanting to apply to run cultivation facilities.   The commissioners say they're well on their way, but tell us they are still early in the legalization process.

Tuesday, the State House of Representatives voted to approve a plan to delay implementing the State's Medical Marijuana program. State agencies will now have until May to approve rules for the program.


Legislation Needed to Combat Human Trafficking

About a dozen lawmakers Wednesday supported the need for more legislation to combat human trafficking for the issue's January month of awareness.

The lawmakers were joined by Louise Allison, the executive director of Partners Against Human Trafficking, who said 80 percent of the victims found in the state are born and raised here. The sponsor of a 2013 law that strengthened penalties for traffickers, Rep. David Meeks, R-Conway, said the state went from having some of the weakest laws in the nation to having some of the toughest against human trafficking.

Meeks said there is still room for improvement, and he has filed House Bill 1013 to expand the law against Internet stalking of a child. Rep. James Sturch, R-Batesville, said he is still in the drafting stages of a bill to offer more education for teachers and college students to recognize victims of human trafficking.


Senator Hendren Introduces Bill Making Shooting at Police a Class Y Felony

When it comes to firing shots at police officers in Arkansas, current state law says it's a Class "D" felony. That means six years, or less, behind bars.

Nearly every state has a hate-crime statute that increases penalties for shooting at police officers. In May, Louisiana passed "Blue Lives Matter" legislation. Now, half a dozen additional state including Arkansas are considering similar changes to their hate-crime laws.

Republican Senator, Jim Hendren wants to send a message loud and clear, you can't shoot at an officer and get away with the proverbial slap on the wrist. If Senator Hendren's bill passes, you would get 40 to life.

"It's a bill that's going to enhance the penalty for shooting at a law enforcement officer, even if you don't hit him. If you intentionally shoot with the intent to harm a law enforcement officer or corrections officer which makes that a classified felony which means you'll be looking at 40 years to life," said Sen. Hendren.

Hendren hopes the legislation keeps people from even attempting to kill an officer. It will be the first bill of its kind to make shooting at cops at Class "Y" felony.

The bill will be presented to the Senate on Monday afternoon.


Tyson's Investing in Innovative Food Companies and Technologies

Burgers made from vegetables? A smartphone app that alerts potential diners to discounted meals at a restaurant? Data analysis to determine the precise amount of fertilizer to use on small farm plots?

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale is interested in all of those concepts and more, and plans to use the company’s considerable resources to explore how to make them work on a large scale. Tyson announced in early December a $150 million capital investment fund it calls Tyson New Ventures LLC to invest in innovative food companies and technologies.

The fund’s first recipient was chosen before the fund was announced. In October, Tyson acquired a 5 percent ownership stake in Beyond Meat, a private company that makes meatless burgers sold in Whole Foods stores.

For Tyson, the investment in Beyond Meat and the future investments of the fund are about expanding its innovation efforts through an external network. Tyson is not alone in this as numerous food and agricultural companies such as Monsanto, Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s have created funds or internal divisions to expand their innovative reach outside the company.


New Poultry Lab Opening in Springdale

A laboratory testing poultry for diseases unveiled its new facility in the Springdale technology park Wednesday.

Whitbeck Laboratories opened its 7,500-square-foot laboratory and office at 441 Reinert Drive.

The company operates a chemistry laboratory for testing food, feed and feed ingredients, a microbiology laboratory for environmental testing, water testing and egg testing, and a poultry serology laboratory for doing tests on poultry blood diseases, Whitbeck said. He said he has clients across the nation, including major poultry providers Tyson Foods, Cargill and George's Inc.

Tyson Foods is building an incubation technology center on 10.8 acres in the park. Construction should be finished this year.


Daisy Plant in Rogers Expanding

Gamo Outdoor USA and Daisy Outdoor Products, with Gov. Asa Hutchinson, announced on Wednesday plans to expand the Daisy plant in Rogers and create 25 jobs over the next two years.

The announcement was made via Facebook Live from the Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The plant, at 308 W. Stribling Drive, will also be the headquarters of both companies. The New York firm that owns Gamo bought Daisy in July, and Gamo had been headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The project received the following state incentives:

Create Rebate, which provides a cash rebate equal to 3.9 percent of the total payroll associated with this expansion for three years.
Tax Back, which provides sales tax refunds on building materials, taxable machinery and equipment associated with the expansion.
A $50,000 grant for workforce training

Hutchinson called this a very significant announcement that demonstrates the continued strength of the firearms and airgun industries in Arkansas. He added that Daisy, which opened in 1958, represents a tradition for him and the state. His first airgun was a Daisy airgun and both his children and grandchildren have owned Daisy airguns, the governor said.

According to a news release, the Rogers facility currently has 65 employees and 20 seasonal workers, and the consolidated operations of the airguns and accessories lines will require additional square footage at the corner of Second Street and Stribling Drive.

News for Thursday, January 19

Teen Murders Autistic Brother

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office continues their investigation into Tuesday's murder of a 21 year old autistic man by his 17 year old brother.  The juvenile is alleged to have killed Alex Santiago at their home on CR 219 in the Grandview area.  According to a probable cause affidavit the teen allegedly beat his brother to death with a baseball bat and stabbed him with a sword.  The affidavit went on to say the teen went and took a shower and changed his clothes, then went into a bedroom, laid down and watched television until deputies arrived and put him under arrest. 

The CCSO was called shortly after 4pm by the boys' parents, Robert and Jennifer Keever.  They were standing outside the residence when deputies arrived a short time later and told them one son was dead inside the residence and the other in a bedroom watching TV.  The affidavit of probable cause also stated the youth was taken into custody without incident.

District Court Judge Dale Ramsey found the affidavit provided probable cause to charge the teen with capital murder, a Class Y felony; arson, a Class A Felony, and conduct constituting attempt of capital murder, also a Class Y Felony. 

The arson and attempted capital murder charges comes from a previous incident in April of last year  involving the 17 year old at the Osage Mobile Home Park, where the family lived previously.  The boy is alleged to have locked his brother in his room, poured gasoline on the floor of the room, and the floor of his parents bedroom, and set it on fire.   No charges were ever filed in that incident.


Berryville Police Department Shows High Clearance Rate for 2016

Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos gave the Berryville City Council his December, 2016 monthly report and his 2016 Yearly Report of Incidents and Offenses.  Bartos has been Police Chief since early 2016, being name Chief by Mayor Tim McKinney, after the death of long time Chief Dave Muniz.

For December of 2016, Police wrote 91 tickets, and reported 58 offenses.  43 of those offenses, or 74%, were cleared.  Thefts still seem to be a problem for Police in Berryville with 13 reported in December.  Police responded to 18 traffic accidents in December, most for improper backing, following too close, and failure to yield.

Chief Bartos also provided the council with his 2016 Yearly Report statistics..........

As you heard, the Mayor and Council appreciative of the good work by the BVPD.

In other business, Council approved a streetlight request from Faith Apostolic Church at the corner of Cedarvale and Morris Street. 

The monthly Financial report showed the 1% sales tax received for December was $115,432, and the 1/2% dedicated sales tax for Police, Fire and Streets received $57,716.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, February 1st at 6pm.


1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa Hosts Awards Luncheon for 2016 "Christmas Forest" Winners

The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is all about tradition. One tradition that started in 2008 as part of the 7th Annual Christmas At The Crescent Celebration was the “growing” of the “Christmas Forest”, an effort to raise money for local and area charities. In the past eight years this forest has harvested $27,002.60 in charitable contributions.

“This town, this region, this state have provided such a wonderful environment for our hotel’s success, it is only right that we, the Crescent and Basin Park Hotels, always give something back. It is our way of saying, ‘Thank you.’” said Jack Moyer, general manager of both properties.

“The concept is quite simple,” Moyer explained. “On or about Thanksgiving each year, we purchase plus have donated, like from our very own Sunfest Grocery Store, around 30 real evergreen trees. The hotel places them on our property adorning each with lights. Charities then come in, usually represented in part by one or more of our employees, and decorate their tree as festively as possible. And what an amazing job they do each year. The trees are absolutely gorgeous.

Those charities that took top honors this year are OARS (Ozark AIDS Resources & Services) in first place with $1,376 in votes, Arkansas Children’s Hospital in second place with $1,349, and Good Shepherd Humane Society in third place with $178.

Twenty-six other charities received honorable mention recognition. “This was yet another record year for donations,” Moyer concluded. “With all of the votes added to our additional cash prizes, local and area charities netted a Christmas present of $4,657 which pushed our eight year total to more than $27,000. Ya see, sometimes money really does grow on trees.”


Secretly Planted GPS Device Catches Cattle Rustlers

Police in Boone County used a GPS tracking device to catch a cattle rustler.

Shane Joseph Horn, 31, of Valley Springs was stealing cattle, hauling the livestock to sale barns and spending the proceeds on drugs and casino gambling, said Chris Carter, deputy prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' 14th Judicial Circuit.

Horn pleaded guilty to one count of theft of property and was sentenced to four months in jail and 16 years of probation, according to a sentencing order filed Thursday in Boone County Circuit Court.

The thefts, involving 40 head of cattle, occurred over a three-month period in 2015, Carter said.

In August 2015, investigators with the Boone County sheriff's office put a GPS device on Horn's cattle trailer, Carter said. The tracker indicated that Horn drove the trailer twice to a farm near Alpena that was owned by James Block. On those nights, cattle disappeared from the farm, Carter said.

Horn was arrested Sept. 14, 2015, at the Farmers Livestock Auction in Springdale with stolen cattle in his possession, according to a news release at the time from the sheriff's office. He was charged with theft of property.

An affidavit from Brent Jones of the sheriff's office stated that cattle were stolen from the Block farm on multiple occasions by Horn and accomplices. The cattle were sold at sale barns in Springdale, Siloam Springs, Green Forest and Joplin, Mo., according to the court filing.

Aaron Wesley Sayres, 31, of Harrison, also was arrested and charged in the cattle case, but charges against him were dropped in December.

Carter said the case remains under investigation.


Kingston School Gym Floor Replaced

The Kingston School Gymnasium floor got a new look over the Christmas holiday.  Crews spent Christmas Break replacing the gym’s more than 20-year-old floor.

The previous floor was made of a rubber material, and concerns arose that it could have been causing more injuries than a standard wooden floor.  Students were having alot of knee injuries on the rubber floor.

The new floor is wooden and includes a new center-court with a Yellowjacket decal. Additionally, the area in front of the three point line – not including the paint in front of the free-throw line – is adorned with a blue honeycomb decoration.


Walmart to Add 10,000 Jobs This Year

Walmart, the nation's largest business employer, plans to add 10,000 U.S. jobs this year.

The job growth will represent less than 1% of the company's current American workforce of about 1.5 million people. But it bucks the trend of major brick-and-mortar retailers, which have been slashing jobs and closing stores.

Macy's is closing 68 stores and cutting more than 10,000 jobs. Sears Holdings is closing 150 Sears and Kmart stores, eliminating an undisclosed number of jobs. The Limited has closed all its stores, and American Apparel is likely to do the same in bankruptcy proceedings.

Walmart itself announced a year ago it would close 269 underperforming stores, including 154, employing 10,000 workers, in the United States.

Meanwhile, employment growth has come from online stores such as Amazon, which announced last week it would add U.S. 100,000 jobs.

Walmart said Tuesday it would expand, renovate or relocate 59 Walmart and Sam's Club stores. Some of the jobs will come from expanding or improving e-commerce services.


Erosion from Feral Hogs Posing Problems at Buffalo River

Erosion along the banks of the Buffalo National River and problems associated with feral hogs were among the primary concerns voiced this week during the first meeting of the governor-commissioned Beautiful Buffalo River Action Committee.

Members expressed interest Tuesday in protecting the water quality of the river and addressing concerns about erosion along its banks, which leads to sediment in the river.

"Literally islands are developing in streams," said Kevin Cheri, National Park Service superintendent for the Buffalo River. "So we need to do more research to try and understand the cost of this."

Committee members who represent other state agencies voiced those agencies' roles and concern for the river and its watershed, noting the river's draw as a tourist destination and its surrounding small towns and farms.

Nathan Smith, director of the Arkansas Department of Health, said his agency recently started keeping water quality data on the Buffalo relevant to health issues that can arise in recreational waters.


2016 Earth's Warmest Year Since Records Kept

Last year was officially the Earth's warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880s. That marks a global heat record for the third year in a row, the World Meteroloigical Organization announced Wednesday following similar declarations for 2015 and 2014.

To come up with their figures, the WMO combined global temperature records from various sources, including NOAA, NASA, the UK Met Office and the European weather and climate center ECMWF.

Temperatures over the Earth's continents and oceans in 2016 were 1.1 degree Celsius (1.98 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average. That means we are already a majority of the way to the 1.5-degree warming goal set at the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

Not only was this the third consecutive year to rank hottest than all previous years, it also means 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000, according to NOAA. To put this in perspective, the last time we had a record cold year was 1911.

News for Wednesday, January 18

CCSO Investigating Murder - Juvenile Arrested

On January 17, 2017 at 4:10 PM Carroll County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a reported murder at 92 CR 219. When deputies arrived at 4:19 PM they made contact with residents Robert and Jennifer Keever. Deputies located deceased victim Alex Santiago, 21 years of age, inside the residence.

Deputies arrested a 17-year-old male resident and transported him to the Carroll County Detention Center. Following an interview with investigators, the arrestee was transported to a juvenile detention facility. He is being held without bond on a charge of Capital Murder, Attempted Capital Murder and Arson.

The victim suffered obvious trauma. His remains were taken by the Carroll County Coroner. The State Medical Examiner will determine the cause and manner of death. This death is still under investigation by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.


Berryville Mayor Comments on Internet Sales Tax Legislation

At Tuesday's Berryville City Council meeting, Mayor Tim McKinney commented to Council on Congressman Steve Womack's efforts to introduce Internet Sales Tax Legislation..........

The story of Womack's efforts can be seen below.


Berryville Man Arrested for Sexual Indecency

A 29 year old Berryville man was arrested last Thursday after allegedly exposing himself to a woman in the Walmart parking lot.  Kelly Rizzola was charged with indecent exposure and public sexual indecency.

Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos said a woman left Walmart and was putting groceries in her car, and happened to glance over to the car next to hers and noticed the man exposing his genitals.  The woman got in her car as if to leave, but just went to another parking spot, went inside Walmart and notified management of the incident. 

When Police arrived Rizzola had gone.  Chief Bartos said when the man's identity was learned, a warrant was issued for his arrest, which happened at his place of employment a short time later. He was booked into the CC Dentention Center.

Bartos went on to say, this was not the first time this had happened.  Rizzola had been caught and arrested before and charged with indecent exposure.  Bartos is asking any woman who has had the same situation occur, especially at the Walmart in Berryville, to please call him at 870-423-3343.  Although embarassing, it is important that Police be made aware if you had a similar encounter with this person.


Super Squares Play Sheets Ready

Several locations in Carroll County now have the KTHS and Clay Maxey Ford of Berryville Super Squares Play Sheets.  You can pick one up at the following: Clay Maxey Ford of Berryville, FNB of  North Arkansas (BV, GF and ES locations), Thinking of You, Rancho Latino Mexican Store, Harts Family Center in Eureka Springs, Country Craft Farm and Floral in Green Forest, and Sun Fest Market at Holiday Island.

The Super Squares contest begins next Monday, January 23rd.  Be listening for the Super Squares sounder, have your play sheet with you, call 423-2147, and if you provide the correct name of the person in the square, your name goes there.  Winning numbers will be placed on the chart on the KTHS website.  Only one square per family please.  The winning number will be based on the final score of the Superbowl.  The grand prize is $500 cash.  Get ready to play Super Squares.


Two SW Mo Men Arrested for Shoplifting

A Monett man and a Pierce City man have been arrested and charged after allegedly stealing items from the Cassville Walmart, as well as other Walmarts in the area.

Keith Rock, 21, of Monett, and Joshua Rust, 33, of Pierce City, are each charged with felony stealing.

According to a probable cause statement filed by Luke Hackett, officer with the Cassville Police Department, on Jan. 2, police were called to the Walmart in Cassville for a shoplifting report. Witnesses said Rust and Rock entered the store, each took a cart and began going throughout the store putting various items in their carts, including five Hewlett Packard laptop computers, valued at $279 each for a total of $1,395, and other items valued at $115.65.

The witness said Rust allegedly left the store without paying for the items, and the security devices on the laptops activated the alarm. The witness said once the alarm sounded, Rust began running with the cart until he reached a silver sedan in the parking lot. Rock allegedly left his cart and his items at the door when the alarm sounded, running to the same vehicle.

The witness said Rust took four of the laptops with him, leaving one laptop and the other items in the cart as he and Rock sped away.

Rock and Rust were arrested the next day by Monett police, having allegedly stolen items from the Walmart in Monett.


Steve Womack To Introduce Internet Sales Tax Legislation

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack says legislation will be introduced this year to make it easier for states to collect taxes on Internet sales that are owed by consumers but typically go unpaid.

The measure would create a level playing field for Arkansas merchants competing against out-of-state businesses that are able to sell products tax-free, Womack said.

Under current federal law, a state can only force a business to collect sales taxes it is owed if the business has some kind of connection to that state -- a physical store, office or warehouse within its borders, for example.

Because purchasers are failing to pay the taxes voluntarily and businesses can't be compelled to collect the money, state and local governments are missing out on billions of dollars in revenue. Owners of traditional retail stores, which are already required to collect the tax, say the current system gives an unfair advantage to their online competitors.

The measure had the support of many retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon.com. The legislation also was supported by the Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association. It's an issue important to the city of Little Rock, where the Board of Directors wants to meet with the state's two U.S. senators and 2nd District U.S. Rep. French Hill to discuss it.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also favors requiring online retailers to collect the sales taxes, saying the increased revenue would enable the state to lower its income tax rates.


January 31 is Final Deadline to Enroll in Health Insurance

Arkansans wishing to purchase health insurance have until Tuesday, January 31 to sign up on the state’s My Arkansas Insurance Individual Marketplace. Uninsured Arkansans may face federally mandated penalties on 2017 tax returns of up to $695 per person.

“Time is running out for consumers to buy health insurance before open enrollment ends on January 31,” said Cheryl Gardner, executive director of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace. “Those currently with health insurance coverage through the marketplace can also update their plans or change insurers for 2017.”

Individual and family plans are available at 
myARinsurance.com through January 31, 2017. After January 31, consumers can enroll or change plans only if they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to certain life events such as losing coverage, moving or getting married.

Plans include standard benefits such as inpatient care, outpatient services, prescription drugs, and preventative care and screenings. There are a variety of options to fit household budgets and financial assistance is available. Most importantly, there are no lifetime limits and no restrictions for pre-existing conditions.

To begin exploring appropriate plans and to enroll, go to 

Agents, brokers and other licensed experts are located in almost every community in Arkansas to provide assistance, and a hotline staffed by trained professionals is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number is 1-844-355-3262.

The My Arkansas Insurance Individual Marketplace is a partnership with the federal enrollment system, using the Healthcare.gov platform. However, the program is managed in Arkansas.


Bill Requiring End of Publishing Mineral Rights Delinquencies Oppossed by Media Advocates

Media advocates are criticizing a bill that would end a requirement that counties publish in a local newspaper a list of people who are delinquent on paying real estate taxes on their mineral rights.

Mineral rights refer to ownership in underground resources of real estate, such as oil and gas deposits and ores. Those who own mineral rights must pay real estate property taxes on them.

Tom Larimer, executive director of the Arkansas Press Association, said Monday that his organization would campaign against Senate Bill 114.

"If you're a property owner and if you don't even know that you're supposed to be paying taxes on your mineral rights -- if those aren't published somewhere and you don't find out about it -- you could lose your mineral rights without knowing that you had them at risk," he said.

But Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, who is sponsoring the bill, and the Association of Arkansas Counties, which supports it, say it would save the counties money.

The public notices cost $1.50 each and must be published twice, said Josh Curtis, governmental affairs director for the association. While delinquent taxpayers who pay up reimburse the counties for the notification cost, many never pay, he said.


Arkansas Adult Obesity Rate Sixth Highest in Country

The adult obesity rate in Arkansas is 34.5 percent, giving the state the sixth-highest rate in the United States, according to “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America,” a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report, released in September, said that 21.9 percent of adults in Arkansas were obese in 2000, and 17 percent in 1995.

Adult obesity rates exceed 35 percent in four states, 30 percent in 25 states and are above 20 percent in all states, the report says.

Louisiana’s rate is the highest: 36.2 percent. Colorado’s is the lowest at 20.2 percent.

News for Tuesday, January 17

Faulkner County Woman Killed in Hwy. 412 Crash

ASP report an Arkansas driver was killed on Hwy. 412, after her vehicle was hit Sunday night.

Megan Margaret Ruth Browning, 24, of Faulkner County was driving a 2004 Lexus west on U.S. 412 in Madison County at 10:19 p.m., when a 2015 Ford heading east crossed the dividing line in the middle of the road and hit her vehicle, according to an Arkansas State Police report.

Conditions were rainy and foggy and the road was wet at the time of the wreck, police said.

Browning's death was one of three reported in the state Sunday. There have been 16 fatal wrecks reported on Arkansas roads so far in 2017, according to preliminary figures.


Best Place to Look for a Job -  Berryville

If you’re starting to look for a job in Arkansas, if you've come to Berryville, you’ve come to the right place.

You might think off the top of your head that Little Rock would be an excellent place to find a job. And while the capital does offer many opportunities, it isn’t the best in the state according to the data.

At Zippia, the Career Expert, they aim to answer questions like this using cold hard facts and analysis. So we set our sights on determining the best place in Arkansas to find a job.

After analyzing all 44 plus places in Arkansas, they came up with this list as the best places for jobs in the Natural State:

  1. Berryville
  2. Jonesboro
  3. Springdale
  4. Bentonville
  5. Farmington
  6. Centerton
  7. Lowell
  8. Trumann
  9. Arkadelphia
  10. Harrison

Berryville Facts:  Population: 5,321
Unemployment Rate: 4.50%
Recent Job Growth: 2.72%
Future Job Growth: 40.90%

Zippia researched detailed data on all places in Arkansas. However, in order to properly compare places in an apples-to-apples manner, they set a minimum population threshold of 5,000 people.

This left them with 44 places in Arkansas to analyze.

They then ranked each place across a number of criteria from one to 44, with one being the best Berryville.

They took the average rank across all criteria, with the place posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place For Jobs In Arkansas”.

The criteria looked at were:

  • Unemployment rate
  • Recent job growth
  • Future job growth
  • Median household income

Berryville Varsity Cheerleaders Geared Up for Spirit Week

Berryville's Varsity Cheerleaders are geared up for Spirit Week this week.  Three of the varsity cheerleaders and assistant coach Missy Jackson came in to our studio to tell us about some acitivities this week...........


Berryville Police Work 2-Vehicle Accident

Berryville Police were called out January 12th to Trimble and Hwy. 62 Spur to a report of a two vehicle accident.

A 1999 Ford, driven by Kayleigh Gardner of Green Forest was attempting a turn off of Trimble into Walmart and turned in front of a 2013 Chevy pickup, causing a collision.  The pickup was being driven by Elizabeth Duncan of Berryville.

No injuries were noted, but Berryville Police cited Gardner with failure to yield.


Eureka Springs Graffiti Being Investigated

People in Eureka Springs are taking a dim view of graffiti that has recently appeared in a few spots.

Many of the stylized, bloated initials read "D.I.M."

In Los Angeles, that could stand for Down Insane Malditos, a Hispanic street gang known for tagging things with "D.I.M." graffiti.

Eureka Springs police Sgt. Brian Young said it doesn't appear to be gang related.

Tucker Mallett, an investigator with the Carroll County sheriff's office, said the graffiti is probably the work of a teenager whose family has recently moved to the area.  Others in town think it could simply be the work of a bored teenager.

The graffiti is problematic in that the entire city limits of Eureka Springs is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Anyplace the subjects put graffiti is damaging historic properties and buildings.  Anyone who witnesses acts of graffiti should call the Eureka Springs  Police Department.


AG&FC Stocking Ponds with Trout

Cold weather means cold water, and that means the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is busy stocking Family and Community Fishing Program (FCFP) ponds with rainbow trout for anglers to enjoy.

“We’re right in the middle of stocking up ponds across the state with trout from our Spring River hatchery in Mammoth Springs,” said Clint Coleman, FCFP assistant coordinator. “Not only that, but we have special tags on some of the trout that anglers can send in to the AGFC to claim an extra prize. We’ll also have a grand prize drawing for fly-fishing rods and reels, fishing clothes and other angling gear.”

Coleman says trout stockings will run through February, but once spring rolls around the water in the ponds will be too warm to support these coldwater fish. Then the ponds will receive channel catfish raised and grown to catchable sizes in the AGFC’s warmwater hatcheries. Visit www.agfc.com/familyfishing to find a local pond, see when it was last stocked, and learn more about the Family and Community Fishing Program.


State Chamber and L.R. Law Firm Working on Clarification to New Medical Marijuana Law

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Cross Gunter Witherspoon & Galchus of Little Rock said last week that they are working on legislation to clarify elements of the state's new medical marijuana law.

The groups aim to have a draft amendment of a bill this week. They say their goal is to minimize potential lawsuits by clarifying issues regarding drug testing, worker safety and workers' compensation. But they said it was too early know which specific issues they would include in a single bill.

CGW&G discussed some of the issues the bill might address with legislators last month.  One of the key conflicts is that the amendment prohibits discrimination against employees authorized to receive medical marijuana. But the amendment also states that employees may not take drugs or be "under the influence" while on the job.

An associate with the law firm, says the problem is that the amendment doesn't define the phrase "under the influence." And the standard test for employers to determine whether someone is under the influence — a urinalysis — would be ineffective, because the results can be positive even if someone used marijuana weeks before the test.


December Sales Weak in U.S.

Sales at U.S. retailers rose less than expected in December to finish the year on soft note, signaling potentially weaker economic growth in the final quarter of 2016.

Retail sales rose 0.6% last month, below the 0.8% growth forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch.

Sales were spearheaded by another solid performance among auto dealers, who set a record in December. Yet the burst in sales was helped in part by big discounts to attract buyers during the holiday season.


Stress Influences Heart Health

Scientists have long known that stress can influence your heart health, but exactly how this relationship takes place has been something of a mystery -- until now.

Activity in the amygdala, a region of the brain associated with fear and stress, can predict your risk for heart disease and stroke, according to a study published in the journal The Lancet on Wednesday.

"The study produced several novel findings. It showed, for the first time in animal models or humans, the part of the brain -- the amygdala -- that links to the risk of subsequent cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, co-director of the cardiac PET/CT program at Massachusetts General Hospital, who was lead author of the study.

"The amygdala is a critical component of the brain's stress network and becomes metabolically active during times of stress," Tawakol said.

He added that the study could provide new insights into how to reduce stress-related cardiovascular diseases.  Community Cardiovascular diseases -- a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels -- are the leading cause of death among men and women around the world, according to the World Health Organization.

In the United States, more than one in three adults has at least one type of cardiovascular disease, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the country.

News for Monday, January 16

Berryville High School Contemplating Schedule Changes

Parents of Berryville High School students are encouraged to attend one of two meetings available on January 19th or January 26th to find out about possible schedule changes to the school day..........

For more information, contact David Gilmore at BVHS.


Bank Robbery Suspect Pleads Innocent

A Berryville man who federal officials say robbed a bank in Eureka Springs and made his escape in a taxi, pleaded innocent to the charge last Friday and faces trial in March.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Ford arraigned Hunter Cody Chafin, 19, on the single bank robbery charge, setting a jury trial for March 6 in Fort Smith.

Chafin, of Berryville, is accused of robbing the First National Bank of North Arkansas' Eureka Springs branch Oct. 14 and using the money to buy a motorcycle.

He told authorities after his arrest he needed some money to change his life, according to a criminal complaint filed against him.

Two weeks after Chafin's arrest, court-appointed defense attorney James Pierce petitioned for Chafin to undergo a mental evaluation, claiming there was reason to believe Chafin may suffer from a mental disease or defect that would render him unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist in his defense.

The results of that evaluation were filed under seal Monday, but Ford said during Friday's hearing that the report concluded Chafin was competent to proceed to trial.

Ford told Chafin that if convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined up to $250,000. Chafin has been held in U.S. Marshals Service custody since his arrest.


Clarksville Man Pleads Not Guilty to Murder of Newton County Woman

A Clarksville man who says his girlfriend was killed when a car fell on her has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the woman's death.

The Harrison Daily Times reports that 44-year-old Johnny Wayne Harderson pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he killed 37-year-old Chasity Bond in December.

An affidavit says Harderson told police he jacked up a car in his sister's driveway in Newton County and removed a tire, then went inside her home. He said he returned to find Bond face down, with the vehicle on her head.

Bond's cause of death was ruled as strangulation and blunt force facial injuries.

Investigators say they found no signs of auto work or a jack being used on the dirt driveway.


Monett, Mo. Man Killed in Crash

A man from Monett, Mo., is dead after a two-car crash in Lawrence County Saturday.

Troopers say 37 year old Michael Blake was killed when he was struck by another car, while trying to make a u-turn on Highway 60 in Aurora. Blake died at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle was William Lawson, 60, of Washburn, Mo. 

Four other people, two in Blakes vehicle, and two in the other car, were taken to area hospitals with moderate injuries.


Mumps Still Lurking in the State

Doctors are reminding Arkansans of mumps symptoms after two more cases were confirmed in northeast Arkansas last week.

On Friday a 6th and 9th grader tested positive for the disease in the Paragould School District.

Symptoms include fever, body aches, and swelling in the salivary glands.

There are more than two-thousand cases of Mumps under investigation throughout the state.  Arkansas has more mumps cases than any other state in the country.


Arkansas Lawmaker Proposes Closing the 'Wage Gap'

An Arkansas lawmaker proposes to close the wage gap between men and women. The lawmaker says wage discrimination should be amended.

According to the Department of Labor, women make $0.78 to every dollar a man makes. The lawmaker hopes to abolish that statistic, but some say it's not as big of a problem as it seems.

State Rep Fred Love from Little Rock is proposing a bill that would make men and women get paid the same.   It's a bill that will be discussed at the Capitol during the legislative session. He says it would prohibit employers from asking someone what they used to make.

Governor Asa Hutchinson says he hasn't had a chance to read the proposal yet, but has questions about it.   "Obviously, there's always a cost impact that we have to look at in terms of state government as well as the private sector," said Governor Hutchinson.

Some conservatives say the wage gap data is "misleading" and not calculated correctly. They question the value of studies because it doesn't look into career and life choices.

Before Love's bill to pay men and women equally can become law, the battle of wage discrimination will be waged at the capitol.

Some conservatives also say they don't believe men and women should be paid differently, they say it's a different comparison.


Cong. Womack Awarded Special Decoration

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) awarded the Department of the Army Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service – the highest award the Secretary of the Army may bestow upon a civilian – by Secretary Eric Fanning.

“I am truly humbled to receive this incredible honor and am grateful to Secretary Fanning for not only recognizing me with the Army’s highest civilian award, but also for his service to our nation,” said Congressman Womack. “As a 30-year veteran of the Arkansas Army Guard, having the ability to continue working on behalf of our soldiers as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense – as well as help shepherd young cadets on the eve of active service as the vice-chair of the West Point Board of Visitors – is an opportunity of a lifetime. I am proud to tirelessly advocate for our soldiers, including our guardsmen and reservists, and all of our brave men and women in uniform.”

Upon awarding this decoration to Congressman Womack, Secretary Fanning said, “this award represents my appreciation for Congressman Steve Womack's work on the United States Military Academy's Board of Visitors and support to the Army during my time as Secretary. I am grateful for his steadfast support to the Army and our friendship that goes back to my time in the Air Force.”


Arkansas Foodbank Distributes Record 25M Pounds of Food in 2016

The Arkansas Foodbank, which merged with the Arkansas Rick Depot on Jan. 1, 2016, announced recently that it distributed a record 25 million pounds of food last year, besting the previous record set in 2014 by almost 2.6 million pounds.

Last year’s total is also a 28 percent increase from 2015. The nonprofit served 20.8 million meals to 280,000 Arkansans in 33 counties in 2016.

The Foodbank said it was able to continue its focus on more nutritious foods too, by distributing 4 million pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables and 400,000 pounds of locally farmed rice to 450 partner agencies. It also said it had a record number of volunteers, 9,264 who served for 26,000 hours, and monetary contributions were at an all-time high.

CEO Rhonda Sanders credited the merger for the distribution increase. She told Arkansas Business that it allowed the nonprofit to become more efficient and redirect funds from areas like administration and storing food to transporting and purchasing food.


How High is Too High for a Pile of Chicken Manure?

Eight feet, apparently.

Chicken waste is an excellent fertilizer, but with the growing season still weeks away it's piling up in barns across the South. To reduce the risk of fire from spontaneous combustion, poultry experts are warning farmers that piles 6½- to 7-feet high are high enough. One pile caught fire in western Arkansas this week, triggering a wildfire that destroyed a mobile home.

"This hit the sweet spot," said Karl VanDevender, a professor and extension engineer for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, after describing the mix of moisture, texture and decomposition needed to produce a burning pile of waste.

Normal composting at 130 to 145 degrees will kill pathogens, but extra moisture in the stack can help drive temperatures over 170 degrees, raising the risk of a fire, he said.


Legislator Proposes Sales Tax Holiday for Purchasing Firearms

A state lawmaker wants to create a new sales holiday that he says both recognizes the Second Amendment and gives a tax benefit to Arkansans who exercise it by purchasing firearms.

Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, filed a bill Thursday afternoon that would establish an annual “Second Amendment Appreciation Weekend” in which firearms or ammunition bought for personal use would be exempt from sales taxes for a two-day period beginning the second Saturday in September through the following Sunday.

The proposal, SB126, would apply to shotguns, rifles or any handgun, including pistols and revolvers. Hester said he chose the weekend because it’s traditionally a slow one for gun retailers and falls before deer hunting season.

The senator, who has a few firearm retailers in his district, said he hopes stores such as Cabela’s, Academy Sports and Wal-Mart would offer additional discounts during the weekend for other merchandise, like hunting boots, to spur more sales.


News provided by News Director Linda Boyer