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News for Wednesday, February 22

Green Forest Man Killed

A two-vehicle accident Monday afternoon took the life of a Green Forest man.  According to Arkansas State Police Bobby Johnson of Green Forest was westbound on Hwy. 412 near Osage in a 1991 Chevrolet, when a eastbound 2011 Buick crossed the double yellow line and collided with the Chevy.  The Buick was driven by 53 year old Melinda Jones of Van Buren and contained a one year old child.  The occupants of the Buick sustained injuries and were taken to an area hospital.  Numerous agencies responded to the accident scene to provide assistance and help with

National FFA Week Celebrated

We continue today with our recognition of National FFA week.  The local chapters of Berryville, Green Forest and Alpena have celebrated the week by working together at last Saturday's Benefit Rodeo at the Carroll County Fairgrounds.  Each chapter are also spreading the word about FFA in their own schools this week.  Chris Adams is the Alpena FFA Advisor.  He talks about that role in a previously recorded interview with us........

Our local sponsors for our FFA interviews include Kavan Maybee Insurance Agency, Powell Feed and Milling, FNB of NA, Worley Tire, Meeks, MFA Agri Services, Arvest Bank, Thurman & Flanagin, Williams Tractor, Warren Welding, Equity Bank, Reliable Poultry and Odus and Ella Fiveash.


Steve and Sharon Stafford Make Donation to new Children's Hospital

The Stafford family of Green Forest has donated $100,000 to help with the construction of Arkansas Children's Northwest.  Steve and Sharon Stafford of Green Forest, along with their family, are donating the money to help with the construction of  the Hospital.  The family say they are donating the money to honor their grandson, Stafford Waller, who spent three weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock after being delivered at 32 weeks. Today, 10-year-old Stafford is thriving.

Arkansas Children's Northwest is under construction at Interstate 49 between Don Tyson Parkway and West Sunset Avenue, across from Arvest Ballpark in Springdale. The hospital is scheduled to open in January.

A play area on the hospital's third level will carry the Stafford family and Anstaff Bank name. Arkansas Children's last month announced a $250,000 gift from Anstaff Bank where Steve Stafford serves as chairman and CEO.

The project is expected to create 250 jobs and to cost $427.7 million in construction, technology, equipment and operating expenses over the next five years.


More Than 900 Arkansas Nonprofits to Participate April 6 in ArkansasGives Online Giving Event

More than 900 Arkansas nonprofits signed up by the Feb. 14 deadline to participate in ArkansasGives, a one-day online giving event presented by Arkansas Community Foundation April 6. A list of nonprofits by location and category is available at 
www.arkansasgives.org to help the public make plans for ArkansasGives donations.

“We are thrilled with the response from our state’s nonprofit community,” said Heather Larkin, Community Foundation President and CEO. “Last year 600 nonprofits raised more than $4 million. The fact that we have 900 participants for 2017 bodes well for achieving our $5 million goal.”

Arkansas Community Foundation provides a $400,000 bonus pool to help Arkansas nonprofits raise funds for their organizations through ArkansasGives. The more money supporters donate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 6 through ArkansasGives.org, the more bonus dollars the nonprofits receive. For example, if a nonprofit receives two percent of the total amount given online April 6, it will receive two percent of the $400,000 bonus pool or $8,000 extra, with a chance for one of the additional prizes linked to most dollars and most donors by size and category.

In addition to matching bonus pool funds, nonprofits will compete for $60,000 in prizes from First Security Bank for nonprofits in small, medium and large categories earning the most dollars and having the highest number of individual donors. Jane Hunt Meade will provide $10,000 in prizes for most dollars in 10 service categories.


Tyson Foods Transitioning to Antibiotic Free Chicken Products

A top Tyson Foods Inc. executive says in June the company will switch its retail line of company-branded chicken products to birds raised without any antibiotics, accelerating the meat sector's shift away from the drugs.

Sally Grimes, the company's president of North American retail, on a webcast of an industry conference said the change will make Tyson, which is the largest U.S. chicken processor, into the world's leading producer of chicken raised without antibiotics.

It challenges other chicken companies, such as privately held Perdue Farms, that compete for sales to consumers concerned about the use of antibiotics in meat production. In October, Perdue said it had become the first major poultry company to eliminate the routine use of all antibiotics.

Scientists have warned that the routine use of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent illness in healthy farm animals has contributed to rising numbers of dangerous human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria dubbed "superbugs."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 2 million people in the United States are infected with drug-resistant bacteria each year and that 23,000 die as a direct result.

Tyson previously said it would remove antibiotics that are important to human medicine from its chicken production by autumn 2017. It announced the latest change as new Chief Executive Tom Hayes is finding his footing after taking over for Donnie Smith on Dec. 31.


Wal-Mart e-Commerce Sales Soar

Wal-Mart drew more shoppers to its namesake stores in the United States and its e-commerce sales soared, signs that its efforts to lower prices and improve web services are helping it compete better against online leader Amazon.

The company saw the biggest gain in a key revenue measure in its U.S business in four years, marking the tenth consecutive increase. The number of customers rose for the ninth straight quarter. And online sales rose 29 percent in the third straight quarter of gains after about two years of a slowing trend.

Still, the world's largest retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell 18 percent as its results have been squeezed by its investments in online upgrades and stores. The results did beat Wall Street expectations. And total sales were hurt by a stronger U.S. dollar, which is making its international business more challenging.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. also said Tuesday it has seen sales weaken at the beginning of the first quarter in part because a slowdown in tax refunds amid a new tax rule. And it warned that any tax on imported goods, as in a proposal Republicans in Congress have floated, would raise prices and would hurt shoppers.


Arkansas Legislature News

A Senate panel has advanced a reworked proposal to reinstate an Arkansas voter ID law that was struck down more than two years ago as unconstitutional.

The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday endorsed the proposal requiring voters to show photo identification before they cast a ballot. It's nearly identical to a 2013 law the state Supreme Court struck down in 2014.

The House-backed measure was amended to allow voters who don't show ID to cast a provisional ballot if they sign a sworn statement confirming their identity. The bill now heads to the full Senate.

The bill is aimed at addressing a concern three of the court's seven justices raised that the 2013 law didn't pass with enough votes in the Legislature when it was enacted.


Arkansas lawmakers have approved a bill that would effectively block a push for a satanic monument at the state Capitol.

The Senate on Tuesday voted 27-5 for a House-backed measure preventing the state's Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission from considering proposals to build or remove any monuments without legislative authorization. The bill now heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk.

Current law allows the commission to consider monument proposals and to issue recommendations, even though none can be built without legislative approval.

The bill would block a public hearing planned on a Baphomet statue the Satanic Temple has proposed near the Capitol. The monument was proposed in response to a Ten Commandments monument lawmakers approved in 2015.

The Temple has said it doesn't believe the measure can be applied retroactively.


Saving for Retirement? Many Not

Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

True, this has been a refrain for longer than many can remember. But now some disturbing numbers show exactly how bad it’s gotten. Two-thirds of all Americans don’t contribute anything to a 401(k) or other retirement account available through their employer.

Millions aren’t saving on the job because they either don’t have access to a workplace retirement plan or they do but aren’t putting money in it. Many just can’t spare the cash, but a new analysis shows there are other reasons, too.

Until now, the exact size of the problem has been unclear. Surveys can be unreliable: Small businesses are difficult to assess, and many workers just don’t know what plan options they have, especially if employers aren’t making much effort to sign them up. Information on a 401(k) may be part of a stack of paper handed out on their first day, that they don’t read or understand, and ultimately set aside and never think about again.

Now, U.S. Census Bureau researchers have come up with estimates that rely on tax data, which should be more reliable than surveys. Their conclusion:

Only about a third of workers are saving in a 401(k) or similar tax-deferred retirement plan. Also, the gap is far wider than expected between the number of employers offering retirement plans, and the number of workers saving in them.

News for Tuesday, February 21

National FFA Week Celebrated

FFA members across the nation join together this week to focus on transforming purpose to action.

The week-long tradition began in 1947 when the National FFA board of directors designated the week of George Washington’s birthday as National FFA Week in recognition of his legacy as an agriculturist and farmer. The first National FFA Week was celebrated in 1948.

Today, FFA Week always runs Saturday to Saturday and encompasses Feb. 22, Washington’s birthday.

Locally, FFA Week is a time for FFA members, alumni, sponsors and community members to advocate for agricultural education and FFA, and share what FFA is and the impact it has on members.

Chapters plan events throughout the week allowing them to communicate with the school leadership, the student body and the entire community, demonstrating their passion for agriculture.

Some chapters host teacher appreciation breakfasts, others conduct “Agriculture Olympics” competitions, while others reach out to the community through service projects.

KTHS is featuring interviews with area FFA students and advisors on our news.  Today we feature the officers with the Green Forest Chapter,  President Josie Walker, V.P. Brock Gillam, Kelsey Phillips, Jr. Advisor, Caleb Marroquin, Secretary, and Madison Hudson,Treasurer and Advisor Keith Kilbourn...........

All the local FFA Chapter students participated in this past weekend's Carroll County FFA Benefit Rodeo at the Carroll County Fairgrounds.  Our local sponsors for our FFA interviews include Kavan Maybee Insurance Agency, Powell Feed and Milling, FNB of NA, Worley Tire, Meeks, MFA Agri Services, Arvest Bank, Thurman & Flanagin, Williams "Tractor, Warren Welding, Equity Bank, Reliable Poultry and Odus and Ella Fiveash.


Evan Owens Memorial Toy Drive

Through the month of February the Powell Family will have a toy drive to honor Evan's Owen's giving and loving spirit. All donations will be delivered to local hospitals and foundations that assist children. We will also be accepting safety equipment, such as helmets, to make everyone aware of ATV hazards. These items will be delivered to a local ATV dealership for them to provide to families with children. If you wish to participate, please drop off a new toy, book, board game, crafting sets, etc. at one of the participating drop locations.
Drop Locations:

  • Powell Feed Stores - Green Forest, Harrison, Berryville, Huntsville, Siloam Springs, Yellville, Flippin, Mountain Home
  • Shear Elegance Salon in Green Forest
  • Powell's ACE in Berryville
  • Powell Hardware in Holiday Island
  • Midwest Equipment in Green Forest

Drive will end February 28, 2017
Due to infection control policies hospitals are unable to accept used items, sharp objects and toxic craft supplies. So please make sure your donation follows these standards.


ADH Reports Uptick in Flu Deaths

The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting an uptick in deaths due to influenza compared with last year.

The health department said 19 people have died this season from the flu, and all of them were adults. That's compared with the 11 people who died during the 2015-16 flu season.

The department said it's not too late for people to get vaccinated. Federal health officials said this week that this year's flu vaccine appears to be fairly effective against the most common strains this season.

Among infectious diseases, flu is considered one of the U.S.'s leading killers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates suggest that in an average year, about 35,000 Americans die from flu-related causes.


Human Remains Found Near Siloam Springs

The Benton County Sheriff's Office reports that a second set of human remains has been located in the area of Lookout Tower Road near Siloam Springs.  Law enforcement authorities returned to the area early Sunday (Feb. 19) and that’s when the second set of remains were found.

On Saturday (Feb. 18), a body was also found in the woods off of Lookout Tower Road by a deer hunter.

Both sets of remains have been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy and neither have been identified.

Benton County Sheriff’s Sergeant, and Public Information Officer, Shannon Jenkins said, “this is an ongoing investigation and there is no further information at this point.”

Authorities believe it could be the bodies of a missing Siloam Springs woman and her toddler, not seen or heard from since last November.  They were last believed to have been in that area.


Controversial Bills Fail on Senate Floor

Two bills regarding controversial social issues have failed on the Senate floor.

Republican State Senator Jason Rapert (R)-Bigelow sponsored both measures. Both included calls for a convention of the States to amend to the U.S. Constitution.

One proposal was seeking a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a "right to life" beginning at conception, but failed to get enough votes to pass.

The other proposal would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

He says the bill was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage.

"In my resolution, it does not state anything wrong about any decision about a lifestyle somebody chooses to live. This simply says we stand up and define marriage as it has been defined for over 2,000 years," St. Sen. Rapert said.


Voter I.D. Law Likely to Come to Vote This Week

A Republican legislator who wants to reinstate Arkansas' voter ID law has proposed adding a way for people who don't show identification to cast a provisional ballot if they sign a statement.

But opponents of law say the change doesn't erase their concerns that the requirement will disenfranchise thousands of Arkansas voters.

The amendment to the voter ID measure would allow voters without photo ID to cast a provisional ballot if they sign a statement confirming their identity. The ballot will be counted unless the county board of election commissioners determines it's invalid for other reasons.

The House-based voter ID bill is aimed at reinstating a 2013 voter ID law that the Arkansas Supreme Court found unconstitutional in 2014. It's to go before a Senate panel next week.


Despite Governor's and Chamber of Commerce Warning, So-Called Bathroom Bill Moves Forward

Two years ago, a bill blasted by critics as anti-LGBT upended the final days of a legislative session that Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson had hoped to focus on tax cuts and health care reform. A plan by GOP lawmakers to push for a "bathroom bill" targeting transgender people means the Legislature is about to dive into a reprise of that battle.

A one-sentence bill filed last week offered little specifics, other than saying its purpose was to address "gender identity and bathroom privileges." A lawmaker co-sponsoring the measure said, once finalized, it'll require people to use public restrooms consistent with the gender on their birth certificates.

The plan has spurred warnings from Hutchinson, as well as tourism and business groups, that such a measure isn't needed and could subject the state to the widespread backlash and boycotts North Carolina faced over its bathroom law. That measure prompted the NBA to move its All-Star Game out of Charlotte and the NCAA to pull seven championship events out of the state, while major companies abandoned or halted plans to expand in North Carolina. A similar measure considered in Texas is raising similar concerns of economic fallout, with the NFL warning the state could be passed over for future Super Bowl sites if it becomes law.

"We don't need that in Arkansas, and if there's a North Carolina-type bill, then I want the Legislature not to pass it," Hutchinson told reporters last week.

The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau warned the measure could threaten millions of dollars central Arkansas has seen through meetings, tourism and sporting events.


Stone County Woman Flees Police with Child in Car

A Stone County, Arkansas woman faces aggravated assault and felony fleeing charges after she reportedly led Stone County deputies on a chase, with a 10-year-old child in the car.

Kristen Dannette Walls, 34, was arrested Sunday in Mountain View.  Sheriff Lance Bonds said Stone County deputies got a call from Cleburne County authorities, who had been trying to pull over Walls in a black Toyota RAV4 for a traffic violation.

The pursuit then went into Stone County on Highway 5 South when it nearly became deadly, when Walls tried to ram a deputies car.  Walls was eventually stopped and arrested after spike strips disabled her car.

The child was not injured and was turned over to a family member.

In addition to the aggravated assault and fleeing charges, Walls faces endangering the welfare of a minor and several traffic offenses.


Dept. Of Veteran's Affairs Stepping Up Investigation of Opiod Thefts

Federal authorities are stepping up investigations at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers due to a sharp increase in opioid theft, missing prescriptions or unauthorized drug use by VA employees since 2009, according to government data obtained by The Associated Press.

Doctors, nurses or pharmacy staff at federal hospitals — the vast majority within the VA system — siphoned away controlled substances for their own use or street sales, or drugs intended for patients simply disappeared.

Aggravating the problem is that some VA hospitals have been lax in tracking drug supplies. Congressional auditors said spot checks found four VA hospitals skipped monthly inspections of drug stocks or missed other requirements. Investigators said that signals problems for VA's entire network of more than 160 medical centers and 1,000 clinics, coming after auditor warnings about lax oversight dating back to at least 2009.

"Drug theft is an area of concern," Jeffrey Hughes, the VA's acting assistant inspector general for investigations, told AP. He said the monthly inspections could help the VA uncover potential discrepancies and root out crime.

Both the inspector general's office and the Drug Enforcement Administration said they have increased scrutiny of drug thefts from the VA, with the DEA reporting more criminal investigations.

News for Monday, February 20

National FFA Week Celebrated

FFA members across the nation join together this week to focus on transforming purpose to action.

The week-long tradition began in 1947 when the National FFA board of directors designated the week of George Washington’s birthday as National FFA Week in recognition of his legacy as an agriculturist and farmer. The first National FFA Week was celebrated in 1948.

Today, FFA Week always runs Saturday to Saturday and encompasses Feb. 22, Washington’s birthday.

Locally, FFA Week is a time for FFA members, alumni, sponsors and community members to advocate for agricultural education and FFA, and share what FFA is and the impact it has on members.

Chapters plan events throughout the week allowing them to communicate with the school leadership, the student body and the entire community, demonstrating their passion for agriculture.

Some chapters host teacher appreciation breakfasts, others conduct “Agriculture Olympics” competitions, while others reach out to the community through service projects.

KTHS will be featuring interviews with area FFA students and advisors this week.  Today we begin with the Berryville Chapter and Luke Sugg and Kelby Howerton.  First, Janessa Smith.......


Suspect Attempted to Run Over Deputies - $1,000,000 Bond

On February 16, 2017, CCSO deputies were securing a crime scene on County Road 905, when a vehicle entered the driveway. Deputy Michael Voigt attempted to stop the vehicle, however it drove past him. Reserve Deputy Kristopher Worrell also signaled the vehicle to stop. Instead the driver accelerated toward Worrell. Worrell was able to jump out of the way, narrowly avoiding being struck.

Sergeant Shaun Helmlinger ordered the driver to stop. The driver stopped briefly for several seconds, staring at Helmlinger, and then spun his tires and accelerated directly at Helmlinger. He struck Helmlinger, causing his body to slam onto the hood of the vehicle.

Deputys Michael Voigt and Worrell pulled the driver, Allen Closner, 25, from the vehicle where he continued to fight with them. They were eventually able handcuff Closner.

Sergeant Helmlinger was treated for leg injury at Mercy Hospital in Berryville. He will be off duty for several days, recuperating from his injuries.

Deputies booked Closner into Carroll County Detention Center on charges of Conduct Constituting Attempt to Commit Capital Murder (2 Counts), Fleeing, Resisting Arrest, and Driving on License Suspended for DWI.

District Judge Dale Ramsey found sufficient probable cause for arrest of Closner on all charges. Judge Ramsey set bond at $1 million ($1.000.000).


State Police Requested to Investigate Marion County Officer Involved Shooting

Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are investigating an officer involved shooting that occurred at approximately 5:36 this morning, (Sunday, February 19th, 2017) at a residence in the Bull Shoals community of Marion County.

Kyle Riggs, 33, has been identified as the individual who died after he reportedly fired a weapon at local law enforcement officers.

A Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy, along with a Bull Shoals Police Officer, responded to a call of breaking and entering and an assault at a residence. Upon their arrival, the officers were immediately fired upon by the suspect. Both officers returned fire striking Riggs, who was transported to a local hospital where he died. The body will be transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for examination.

No law enforcement officers were injured during the incident. Questions relating to the identity of law enforcement personnel or their administrative status should be directed to the local agencies where the officers are employed.

Upon completion of the investigation, state police special agents will submit an investigative file to the Marion County prosecuting attorney for consideration to determine whether use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was justified as defined by state laws.


Plane Crash Injures Two

Two men from the Ozarks are in the hospital after crashing a small plane in a cow pasture.

It happened off State Highway M in Stone County, just south of the Christian County Line.

Troopers say the pilot made an emergency landing when it appears the engine failed.

The plane is registered to a man who lives in Ozark. It's not known if he was the pilot but troopers say whoever was flying really knew what he was doing.


Highway Commission Approves Bid for Improvements to Reduce Wrong-Way Crashes

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a $3.1 million bid for highway and interstate improvements aimed at reducing wrong-way crashes.

The commission awarded the contract to Ewing Signal Construction of Nixa, Missouri. The project calls for improvements on interstate off-ramps, including sign replacements, lowered signs and other projects that officials hope will cut down on the number of crashes caused by people driving the wrong way on the ramps.

The project includes improvements to 351 off-ramps in the state on interstates and busy highways like U.S. 67 and U.S. 70.

Construction is expected to begin in the next two to four weeks with completion expected later this year.


Governor Rebukes Bathroom Bill

A one-sentence bill filed Tuesday that "concerns gender identity and bathroom privileges" has already been rebuked by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The governor has called the bill, sponsored by Sen. Greg Standridge, R-Russellville,  unnecessary. The LRCVB said substantial research has proven the negative impact similar legislation has had on the other states' tourism and hospitality industry.

"I have consistently said that there is no need for a North Carolina type bathroom bill in Arkansas," Hutchinson said in a statement. "It is unclear as to the specifics of the proposed legislation but if it similar to North Carolina's, I view the bill as unnecessary and potentially harmful."

Bob Major, executive director of the North Little Rock Convention & Visitors' Bureau, told Arkansas Business it shares those concerns.


Benton County Audit Finds Over $1M Allegedly Taken

A state audit has found that more than $1.1 million was taken from a Benton County travel fund over a 10-year period, county officials said.

The county this week received its 2015 audit, which was conducted by the state’s Arkansas Legislative Audit agency, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

The audit shows more than $1.1 million in disbursements from the travel fund were “undocumented and/or posted to the general ledger but not the travel log” between January 2007 and early September 2016. The audit report says “a lack of management oversight permitted these disbursements to be processed.”

“We’re bitter, we’re hurt,” Brenda Guenther, the local comptroller, said of the thefts. “There’s going to be a black eye for the county, we all know it.”

The report said a former county accounting specialist was the custodian of the travel fund. The audit alleges the former employee charged $30,037 in credit card purchases without evident business purpose from October 2015 through September 2016.

No criminal charges have been filed. An investigation also is being conducted by the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI.


Associated Press Obtains Memo Regarding Possible Mass Deportation

The Trump administration considered a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.

Staffers in the Department of Homeland Security said the proposal had been discussed as recently as Friday.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

Four states that border on Mexico were included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Friday the document was "not a White House document."

A DHS official described the document as a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to the secretary for approval.

Governors in the 11 states would have had a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, which bears the name of U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general.

Also dated Jan. 25, the draft memo says participating troops would be authorized "to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States." It describes how the troops would be activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorized immigrants.

The final U.S. agricultural export figures for calendar year 2016 may surprise you. Gary Crawford has the story.

News for Friday, February 17

Carroll County Deputy Injured - Man Arrested

KTHS has learned that there was a Carroll County deputy seriously injured overnight when a suspect he had stopped turned violent and ran over the deputy. 

According to Major George Frye, the suspect is identified as Allen D. Closner 25, of Fayetteville.  The arrest log shows the arrest location was on CR 905 outside of Green Forest. 

Closner was charged with conduct constituting attempted murder, felony fleeing, resisting arrest, driving on a suspended license, failure to appear and failure to pay.

Frye said Closner attempted to run over two deputies, but just one was hit.  Closner is expected to go before a Judge today and more information will be released after his probable cause hearing.


BV Bobcat Wrestling Team Sendoff

The Berryville Bobcat Wrestling Team took off for Little Rock Thursday to compete in State wrestling championships.  KTHS General Manager Jamie Hussey was at the send-off and talked to some of the boys and their Coach Matt Ferguson....

Go Bobcats!  You can view the KTHS Facebook page to see a video of the walk-through at BV Elementary.


Arrest of Springfield Couple Clears Up Dozens of Thefts

Branson Police say the capture of a couple breaks up an identity theft and stolen vehicle ring.

Investigators say Chelcy McCollegan and David Reeves, now charged with felonies, are both from Springfield.  The pair are alleged to have broken into more than 50 vehicles across both Branson and Springfield and stole several vehicles.

Branson detectives went to a Branson motel and located two stolen vehicles taken from the City of Springfield, while conducting surveillance on the location.

Chelcy McCollegan, 25, and David Reeves, 29, were taken into custody by Branson Police on outstanding Greene County warrants and for other thefts after exiting an undisclosed residence where a brief foot chase involving the male occurred on Tuesday.

Numerous stolen items were recovered from the two suspects and from the stolen vehicles. 

Both individuals are being held in Taney County Jail and had additional warrants from Greene County. Police anticipate additional charges from Taney County.


News from the Arkansas Legislature

* Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law legislation giving state employees four weeks of paid maternity leave that will be taken out of an existing pool of unused sick leave. Hutchinson on Thursday signed the measure to use time from the state's Catastrophic Sick Leave Bank for the birth or adoption of a child. The leave would be available to women within the first 12 weeks after birth or adoption, and the measure does not offer paternity leave.

* The Arkansas Senate has voted to require employees at colleges and universities to undergo additional training if they want to carry concealed handguns on campus. The Senate on Thursday voted 22-10 to add the training mandate to a bill requiring colleges and universities to allow concealed carry faculty and staff. The amendment would require 16 hours of training on active-shooter situations before an employee could be armed on campus.

* The Arkansas Senate has approved a plan asking voters to limit damages awarded in lawsuits and require lawmakers' approval of court rules, a move opponents call a legislative takeover of the judiciary. The Senate on Thursday voted 21-10 to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot. The proposal now heads to the House.


Boozman Votes to Overturn Regulation

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) Wednesday voted to overturn a regulation that strips Second Amendment rights away from seniors and disabled Americans.

By a bipartisan vote of 57-43, the Senate passed H.J. 40, a resolution of disapproval of the Social Security Administration (SSA) rule announcing it will share information with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) on individuals who receive Disability Insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income payments and meet criteria that can easily be misapplied to include millions of law-abiding citizens for the wrong reasons.

Under the rule, Americans placed on the SSA’s list would only be able to seek relief after their Second Amendment rights had been taken away. They would be forced to shoulder the burden of proof of convincing the agency that they are not a danger in order to restore their Second Amendment rights. By contrast, the rule would impose practically no burden on the SSA for putting a person on the list in the first place.

According to the Inspector General’s report, as of July 2016, the rule would have required the SSA to report 80,898 individuals to the NICS.

The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to overturn any new regulation, within sixty days of its submission, with a joint resolution of disapproval. Boozman cosponsored the Senate companion resolution of disapproval.

The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed H.J. 40 so it will now be placed on the President’s desk for signature.


Influenza A Shots Only 43% Effective

The flu shot has been reducing the risk of infections in the United States by about half this season, according to reports issued Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the season is expected to continue for several more weeks.

The predominant virus strain this season is influenza A (H3N2) strain; the estimated effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing illness caused by that strain was 43%. The vaccine's estimated effectiveness against the influenza B virus was 73%. That amounts to overall protection of 48%, the CDC said.

The CDC's interim findings are based on data from November 28 through February 4 for 3,144 children and adults who are enrolled in the United States Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network. The CDC uses information from this network to routinely estimate effectiveness of the flu vaccine as the season progresses.

During the 2015-2016 season, vaccine effectiveness was 47% -- about the same as this season. During the 2014-2015 season, effectiveness was just 19%, according to the CDC.

In a separate report, the CDC noted that flu activity in the US began to increase in mid-December, remained elevated through early February, and is expected to continue for several more weeks. Influenza A (H3N2) viruses have predominated overall, though the CDC also identified influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 and influenza B viruses.


Missouri House Passes Two Bills Protecting Police

The Missouri House passed two bills Thursday that aim to give more protection to police officers.

One measure would create a “Blue Alert System” that would send out text and broadcast alerts in a locality if a police officer was attacked. A similar system has been established in several other states in response to ambush-style killings of law enforcement personnel.

The other bill would increase criminal penalties for assaulting a police officer, as well as damaging or trespassing on police property.

The House voted overwhelmingly in favor of both proposals. The Blue Alert System bill passed 140-6, but was not without critics.


Arkansas and Missouri Part of Class Action Lawsuit Against Monsanto

Farmers in ten states, including Arkansas and Missouri, have filed a class action lawsuit in a federal court against St. Louis area company Monsanto for damage involving one of the company’s herbicides. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Southeastern Division, on behalf of Steven and Deloris “Dee” Landers and farmers in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

The farmers allege that Monsanto knowingly marketed its Xtend cotton and soybean seeds without any safe herbicide. The suit claims Monsanto knew the only option purchasers would have to protect crops grown from those seeds would be to illegally spray a herbicide called dicamba to protect the crops from weeds.

Spraying dicamba is illegal because it can drift to other farmers’ fields and destroy their crops. The suit alleges Monsanto chose to sell the Xtend seeds knowing that such destructive spraying would be inevitable.


Applications for AGFC Triple Trophy Award Due by April 10th

Deer season may be winding down, but there’s still a reward for those lucky and skilled enough to hit the trifecta of deer hunting. Applications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s (AGFC) Triple Trophy Award may be submitted online by April 10, 2017.

Hunters who qualify for the Triple Trophy Award must, within a single annual deer season, take at least one deer by each of the three legal hunting methods – modern firearms, muzzleloading rifle or pistol, and archery/crossbow tackle. Qualifying hunters receive certificates suitable for framing and a patch to place on their hunting vest or jacket.

The program began in the mid-1980s to encourage primitive weapons hunting. It was intended to accomplish two things – to increase the harvest of antlerless deer, and to spread out hunting pressure and reduce crowding during modern gun season.

In addition to more liberal seasons, hunters using archery tackle and muzzleloaders are more apt to harvest antlerless deer because of the increased difficulty of using those weapons.

Protecting does was essential decades ago, while managers where trying to increase the total number of deer in the state. Now that deer are plentiful, the management goal must shift to keeping the herd at healthy levels for the habitat available.

News for Thursday, February 16

Mercy Hospital Berryville's 14th Annual Black and White Charity Ball

Mercy Hospital Berryville’s 14th Annual Black and White Charity Ball is this Saturday, Feb. 18, at Inn of the Ozarks, located on W. Van Buren in Eureka Springs.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. Attendees will be treated to dinner, as well as live entertainment.  There will also be live and silent auctions.

The Foundation are hoping  to top last year’s donations, which were just shy of $58,000. That money paid for a new device for colonoscopies.  This year’s donations will pay for a new stress test machine – or electrocardiogram – to the tune of about $35,000.  If this year’s goal is exceeded, the extra funds will go toward the purchase of new cardiac rehab equipment.

For ticket information, or to make a donation, call 870-423-5245.


Newton County Jail Tax Rejected

Newton County, Ar., voters Tuesday rejected a proposed 1 percent sales tax that would have provided money to operate the jail and give raises to sheriff's office employees.

The vote Tuesday was 504 for and 580 against.

A Newton County Justice of the Peace said they thought the issue would have had a better chance at 1/2 percent cent rather than 1 percent asked for.

Sheriff's deputies in Newton County are among the lowest paid in the state, with full-time deputies' salaries starting at $22,820 a year.


Two Wanted for SW Missouri Burglary

Active warrants have been issued for two Arkansas residents wanted for a burglary at a home on Private Road 1219 in Shell Knob.

David Clark, 35, and Serina Mathis (Clark Cobb), 32, both of Rogers, Ark., are each charged with second-degree burglary, and stealing a firearm.

The two are alleged to have burglarized a Shell Knob home in January and other residences, where numerous items were taken, including a gun and ammunition.

An investigation found many of the items had been pawned in Bentonville.

Both Clark and Mathis are on probation or parole and are being sought by law enforcement authorities.


Bill Advances Allowing Concealed Handguns on Campus

An Arkansas Senate panel has advanced a bill requiring colleges and universities to allow concealed handguns on campus, rejecting a proposal that would have made school employees who want to carry firearms first receive additional training.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday endorsed the proposal requiring the schools to allow faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns if they have a license from the state. A 2013 law leaves the decision on whether to allow concealed handguns up to colleges and universities, but no schools have opted to.

The measure now heads to the full Senate.

The panel rejected a proposal to require any faculty or staff who want to carry concealed handguns to first undergo 16 hours of training that would prepare them for active shooter situations.


Three Men Caught With Four Pounds of Meth

Three White County, Arkansas men are behind bars  after they were caught with about four pounds of meth.

The White County Sheriff's Office has identified the men as Kevin Dillon, Peter Baldenegro and Peter Hernandez.

In an investigation, officers with the Central Arkansas Drug Task Force the Conway Police Department and the Beebe Police Department say they found that Dillon, Baldenegro and Hernandez were in possession of about four pounds of meth, which has a street value of more than $179,000. They say they discovered this through making a controlled delivery in the Beebe area as part of the investigation.

The trio are charged with Trafficking a Controlled Substance, and are being held at the White County Detention Center.


Baxter County Residents Allegedly Stealing Cats Wanted for Parole Violation

Two residents who lived near Gassville, Ark. were arrested after police discovered one of them had not registered as a sex offender, escaped parole, and were accused of stealing cats.

Law enforcement in Baxter County, Ark. received complaints about 46-year-old Vernard Deatherage and 40-year-old Rabonna Ann Jones who were accused of stealing cats.

It was discovered that Deatherage had not registered as a sex offender following his sentence in which he was convicted of statutory rape and sodomy in Douglas County, Mo. involving two nine-year-old girls.

Law officers obtained warrants to arrest and search the residence where Deatherage and Jones lived and found .22 caliber Remington rifle, suspected marijuana, and paraphernalia.

Deatherage has been charged with two counts of failure to register as a sex offender, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, parole violation in Missouri, and parole absconder in Arkansas.

Jones was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and obstruction of governmental operations.


Johnny Cash Heritage Festival to Include Concert with Kris Kristofferson

A concert to close out the first Johnny Cash Heritage Festival will take place in an Arkansas field where the music legend picked cotton as a youth.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that the October concert will be held in a field adjacent to Johnny Cash's restored boyhood home in Dyess. The small town in northeast Arkansas is about 50 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee.

The concert will feature Cash's oldest daughter, Rosanne Cash, and Kris Kristofferson.
The festival is scheduled to run from Oct. 19 through Oct. 21. Along with the concert, the festival will also feature a symposium at the Dyess Colony Circle, regional music in the Colony Circle, a Memories of a Lifetime oral history project, arts and crafts booths, and demonstrations.

Wal-Mart Ups It's Online Offerings

Wal-Mart has acquired the outdoor clothing and gear seller Moosejaw for $51 million as it expands its online offerings.

The cash deal was announced Wednesday. Wal-Mart says Madison Heights, Michigan-based Moosejaw, which is largely online and sells more than 400 brands, will keep operating its site and stores. Its 350-plus employees will stay based in Michigan.

Wal-Mart, which is trying to better compete with online leader Amazon.com, says buying Moosejaw gives it the experience of another well-established e-commerce player with strong industry relationships.

Bentonville-based Wal-Mart also purchased online marketplace Jet.com last year for $3 billion in cash plus $300 million in stock. Wal-Mart's online sales had been slowing over the past two years but notably accelerated during last year's third quarter. It reports its fourth-quarter results next week.


Increase in Traffic Deaths

The National Safety Council released estimates Wednesday that 40,200 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2016. It would be the first time that more than 40,000 people died on U.S. roads since before the Great Recession.

The estimate is a 6% increase in deaths from 2015, and the council pointed to low gas prices and an improving economy as contributors to the uptick.

U.S. roads are still significantly safer than decades ago. But traffic safety advocates are concerned with the increase.

The figures are likely not a surprise to traffic safety experts, as traffic deaths have risen dramatically in recent years. In 2015, the United States saw the largest increase in traffic deaths in 50 years -- 7.2% from the prior year.

The National Safety Council also estimated the cost of traffic deaths, injuries and property damage was $432.5 billion in 2016.

State and nonprofit officials also said distracted driving, particularly people using cellphones, has factored in the rise in traffic accidents and fatal crashes.


German Shepherd Takes Top Dog Honors

America has a new top dog. Nearly 3,000 dogs competed at the 141st Westminster Dog show, but only one could win the top honor.

The German Shepherd, 5 year old Rumor, won Best in Show after narrowly missing last year at Westminster.

The competition was intense it started with nearly three thousand dogs. After two days of primping their pooches...the best in each breed competed for the coveted title.

The beautiful dogs dazzled the crowd. From Max the Pomeranian prancing around the ring, to Tanner the Norwich Terrrier.

Like Super Bowl winners, Rumor will take home some hardware as top dog - a polished pewter bowl and trophy. But the real prize is serious credentials on the breeding circuit.

For the first time, the show named a “Reserve Best in Show” dog or “runner up.” The Irish Setter “Adrian” took home that honor.


News provided by News Director Linda Boyer