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News for Thursday, October 19
No Opposition to Sewer Rate Increase
Photo left: McKayla Hussey
The Berryville City Council met in regular session Tuesday. All council persons were present, along with Mayor Tim McKinney and City Attorney Clint Scheel.
A public hearing was held regarding a sewer rate increase. The increase for basic service will go up approximately 5%, from $9.00 to $9.50 for the first 2,000 gallons. There was no opposition from the public. Mayor Tim McKinney............
The Ordinance was passed on all three readings and an emergency declared.
In other business, Police Chief Robert Bartos gave the September Report of activity. Police wrote 117 tickets and took 76 offense reports. The most serious offenses include 2 rapes, 3 aggravated assault/battery, 19 thefts and 1 burglary. 61 of the offenses were cleared giving a clearance rate of 80%. The Chief reported Police responded to 18 traffic accidents, most being for improper backing, failure to yield and following too close.
The 1% Sales tax received for September was $120,000 and the 1/2% Dedicated Sales Tax received $60,000.
The next meeting of the Berryville City Council will be Tuesday, November 7th at 6pm.
Carroll County Autumnfest 5K and Walk and Scare Crow Race
Autumnfest will be held Saturday, November 4th, beginning at 9am at the Berryville Community Center. The event is a fundraiser presented by Grandma's House, a division of the Merlin Foundation. Kaleigh Evans with Grandma's House provides KTHS with more information...........
The deadline to register to receive a T-shirt and Goody Bag is Saturday, October 21st.
Two Vehicle Rear-End Collision Results in Minor Injuries
The Missouri Highway Patrol reports a two-vehicle rear-end collision Tuesday. 43-year-old James Walls of Eagle Rock was traveling westbound on Highway 86 in Eagle Rock at 6 p.m., when he ran into the rear of another westbound vehicle being operated by 64-year-old James Cunningham of Eagle Rock.
Walls was taken to Mercy Hospital in Cassville to be treated for minor injuries.
Governor Against Using General Revenue Money for Roads
Governor Asa Hutchinson says he'll "vigorously oppose" any highway funding ballot initiative that calls for tapping into general revenue for road needs.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters Tuesday he opposes any attempt to divert tax revenue from new and used car sales, auto parts or other car-related items to raise additional money for the state's highways. Hutchinson said diverting such money would create a hole in the state's budget that would take away from other needs such as education and public safety.
The state Highway Commission in June voted to pursue putting a highway funding measure on next year's ballot, but has not voted on a specific plan yet. The panel planned to discuss the possible highway funding initiative Wednesday.
Arkansas Woman Impersonating FBI Special Agent Accused of Stealing Money
An Arkansas woman was indicted for stealing money and impersonating an FBI agent while working as a bookkeeper.
Krystle Sheals, from Marion, Arkansas, served as a bookkeeper for Nichols Fire and Security in Memphis. While doing so, investigators said, she used her access to bank accounts to pay off her personal expenses, including credit cards, utilities, car payments, student loans, and mortgage payments.
Investigators also said Sheals used the money to buy a car which she gave away and opened a 401K. The total money she is accused of stealing is $327,000.
Investigators said she also pretended to be an FBI special agent, including wearing clothes with the FBI insignia and conducting interviews while pretending to be an FBI agent.
Sheals faces up to 20 years in prison for stealing and another three for impersonating an officer. She also faces a $250,000 fine.
ACH Doctor Accused of Sexual Assault Involving Teens
A Little Rock doctor and medical school professor has been arrested on sexual assault charges involving teens.
James Nesmith turned himself in Tuesday after a months long investigation.
Police say four victims have come forward so far, police say they expect more.
Nesmith was an associate professor of pediatrics at UAMS and practiced as a physician at Arkansas Children's Hospital.
Police say four male victims, who were in their teens at the time of the alleged acts, came forward saying Nesmith had inappropriate contact with them stemming from 2000.
One victim claimed Nesmith would take the boys on hikes, and they would go skinny dipping. He says Nesmith touched him inappropriately and even fondled himself in front of him on several occasions.
A spokesperson for Arkansas Children's Hospital says Nesmith has been on leave since May.
Groups Want Change to Way Lawsuits Filed and Adjudicated
A coalition of business and health care groups wants to change the way lawsuits are filed and adjudicated in Arkansas.
Arkansans for Jobs and Justice filed paperwork Monday to campaign for a proposed constitutional amendment that goes before Arkansas voters in November 2018.
Civil justice reform legislation supported by the Arkansas Medical Society was adopted in 2003. David Wroten, executive vice president of the Arkansas Medical Society, says the Arkansas Supreme Court has nullified portions of the legislation since then.
Supporters of proposals in other states have said the guidelines help block frivolous lawsuits and reduce malpractice and liability insurance costs for doctors and businesses. But trial attorneys and others say they place unconstitutional barriers to the right to go to court and seek judicial remedies for injuries and wrongful acts.
Prized Tax Breaks Could Be Lost with Trumps Revamp of Tax code
Millions of Americans would lose a prized tax break under President Donald Trump's sweeping revamp of the tax code, but corporations would get to keep it.
The Republican proposal would eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes, a widely popular break used by some 44 million Americans, especially in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois. But corporations, which pay billions in local property levies and state income taxes, wouldn't be affected.
The plan is still evolving with lawmakers filling in the blanks, but the proposed repeal of the state and local deduction has divided Republicans.
Ending the deduction would affect individuals and companies unevenly.
Bluebird of Happiness Creator Passes Away
Leo Ward, the creator of Arkansas' Bluebird of Happiness, died Monday.
Ward, 89, died of cancer after a short stay in a hospice facility.
He created a small, glass bluebird in 1982, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Since then, more than 9 million of them have been sold through Terra Studios near Durham in Washington County.
The glass bluebirds have become ubiquitous across America.
Leo Ward used the money to fund other artistic and economic endeavors.with G
News for Wednesday, October 18
Load Up Your Pickup Saturday
Carroll County residents are invited to participate in the eighth annual "Load Up Your Pickup Day". On October 21st, Saturday, the pickup will be in Eureka Springs at the Lake Leatherwood Park. Gates open at 9am and close at 1pm. This is a free bulky waste collection event for Carroll County residents only and is sponsored by Carroll County Quorum Court and the Carroll County Solid Waste Authority. It is part of Keep Arkansas Beautiful's Great Arkansas Cleanup.
If you miss it, there is another opportunity October 28th in Osage at the Osage Baptist Church.
Accepted items include: Old appliances, old furniture, mattresses and springs, up to ten tires per family (small truck and passenger tires only and without rims), electronics, sinks, toilets and bathtubs. Freon will be removed from appliances free of charge.
Not Accepted Items: Yard waste (limbs, leaves, grass clippings, etc.), hazardous waste, household garbage, commercial waste and agricultural waste will not be accepted. Out of county waste will not be accepted.
Roadside Litter: Residents in these areas are encouraged to spread out on the county roads and gather roadside litter to bring to these collection events.
Calling Volunteers: You are needed! This event has been successful due to the many volunteers and participants who join us at the locations and assist in directing traffic and off loading vehicles. Call Gary Gray at C.C.S.W. 479-253-2727 or 870-423-7156 for more information.
Flu Vaccines Offered to Eureka Springs School Students and Teachers
The Arkansas Depart of Health in partnership with the Eureka Springs School District, will be offering flu vaccines to Eureka Springs School students and teachers on Thursday, October 26th at 8:30am.
While the flu vaccine is not required for students to attend school, it is highly recommended. The flu vaccine helps reduce sick days for both students and parents, and reduces the spread of flu. The flu vaccine is safe and does not cause the flu. Some people may have mild soreness and redness near the site of the shot and a low fever or slight headache.
Students will be bringing home a consent form with the date that the vaccine will be given and a fact sheet about the flu vaccines. If parents want their child to get the vaccine, they must sign and regurn the form. Students will not be able to get the vaccine without signed parental permission.
If you have insurance, the ADH will ask your insurance company to pay for the cost of giving he vaccine. If you do not have insurance or your insurance company does not pay, the vaccine will be available at no charge to you. Only those students with completed paperwork (both ADH and school consent forms) will be allowed to get the flu vaccine. Both the flu mist and flu shot will be available to students at school clinics this year.
Hutchinson Says Plan for the Future Needed for Arkansas Works
Gov. Asa Hutchinson says that President Donald Trump's decision to end a subsidy for insurance companies won't increase the cost of the state's expanded Medicaid program, known as Arkansas Works, but will hurt about 4,000 people who are in unsubsidized plans offered through the state's insurance exchange.
He said Tuesday he shares Trump's goal of repealing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act but disagrees with his fellow Republican's tactics.
"His strategy appears to be just repeal it without a solution, and that's what I've never said is a good policy solution," Hutchinson said during a news conference at his office.
Referring to enrollment in Arkansas Works, he added: "Whenever you're dealing with 300,000 Arkansans, then we have to have a plan for the future. It can't just be disruption."
The subsidy that Trump ended last week is one of two types of assistance that have been provided under the Affordable Care Act to people who don't qualify for Medicaid and buy insurance through health insurance exchanges.
The cost-sharing payments reimburse insurers for increasing the amount of coverage provided through so-called silver-level plans to consumers with incomes below 250 percent of the poverty level.
Such plans are designed to cover 70 percent of a typical consumer's medical expenses. For lower-income consumers, however, the plans are modified so they cover up to 94 percent of the expenses. The cost-sharing subsidies reimburse insurers for providing that enhanced coverage.
Consumers will have a chance to enroll in or change plans during the annual sign-up period that runs from Nov. 1-Dec. 15.
Arkansas City in Top 10 of Small Destinations
An Arkansas city cracked the top 10 on a list of top small destinations in the country.
The U.S. Tourism Quality Index, which comes from the Vancouver-based company ResonanceCo, placed Hot Springs at No. 10 among 69 cities that attract between 3 million and 5 million visitors each year.
The rankings are based on economic performance, social media traffic, culture, entertainment, sightseeing, sports, activities, lodging and food, according to the company's report.
"For us to be in the top 10 is a good thing, and a tribute to our service personnel and owners and everybody involved in the tourism industry in Hot Springs," Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission CEO Steve Arrison.
Hot Springs got its highest rankings in entertainment and sightseeing, according to the report, but scored the lowest of the top 10 small destinations in lodging.
Arrison said that the city probably would have scored higher if all of its hotels were open and renovated. That includes the Arlington Hotel Resort and Spa, which local officials have given a timeline to fix structural problems that prompted a threat of closure.
Tallahassee, Fla., topped the small destination rankings, followed by Lake Charles, La., and Bend, Ore.
Hot Springs ranked higher than any other Arkansas destination in its respective category, with Fort Smith No. 15 on the small destination list and Little Rock placing at No. 40 on the medium destination list.
ADH and EPA Making Public Aware of Radon Exposure
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), Radiation Control Section, is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a nationwide campaign to educate Americans about the dangers of radon exposure and to encourage them to take action to protect their homes and families.
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that is dispersed in outdoor air but can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings. Scientists have long been concerned about the health risk of radon, but never before has there been such overwhelming evidence that exposure to elevated levels of radon causes lung cancer in humans.
EPA estimates that radon is responsible for more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year nationwide. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and inexpensive. Radon test kits can be purchased online or at local hardware and home improvement stores. Prices are as low as $15. Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost similar to that of many common home repairs.
ADH urges Arkansas residents to take action by testing their homes for radon. Radon poses a serious threat to our community’s health, but there is a straightforward solution. For more information on radon, radon testing and mitigation, and radon-resistant new construction, call the Radiation Control Section at (501) 661-2301 or visit our website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov.
Man Arrested for Dragging Two Dogs Behind Motorized Scooter
A Van Buren,Arkansas man is behind bars after allegedly dragging two dogs behind a motorized scooter.
The suspect, Raul Chavez, is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.
After the horrifying ordeal, the two dogs are now recovering.
"The pads of his feet are torn," explained Rebecca Kascubowski with the Almost Home Shelter Rescue. "They had him checked out at the emergency vet. They had everything provided for him that they needed and they were treated."
The smaller dog is Prince. He suffered more severe injuries than his large Great Pyrenees friend the shelter called, "Big P".
"You could tell (Big P) wasn't going to let anyone hurt him," remarked one volunteer at the shelter, "He was right there taking care of him the whole time."
Once the recovery is complete, Almost Home Shelter Rescue will try to find new homes for Prince and Big P.
The hope is that a new home might adopt these best friends together.
"If that can't happen, we'll find them the best possible home. And as cliche as it is, they'll live happily ever after."
U.S. Supreme Court Orders New Mexico City to Remove Ten Commandments Monument
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with a lower court that ordered a New Mexico city to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lawn outside City Hall.
Civil liberties advocates behind the case called the decision involving the city of Bloomfield a victory for the separation of church and state.
ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson said it sends a "strong message that the government should not be in the business of picking and choosing which sets of religious beliefs enjoy special favor in the community."
However, David Cortman, a senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom, said the outcome did nothing to resolve confusion in lower courts involving such monuments.
"Americans shouldn't be forced to censor religion's role in history simply to appease someone who is offended by it or who has a political agenda to remove all traces of religion from the public square," said Cortman, whose group represented the city of Bloomfield.
The decision came after attorneys for the city argued that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ignored previous rulings by the Supreme Court that simply being offended by such a monument did not give someone a legal basis to challenge the monument.
In other cases, a Ten Commandments poster in a Kentucky courthouse was found constitutional and a monument on the grounds of a public building in Arkansas was determined to be unconstitutional.
National Teen Driver Safety Week
In 2016, more than 3,500 teens were killed in car crashes nationwide, including in Missouri. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports about a quarter of the teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking alcohol.
This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week and Matt Nasworthy, a spokesperson for AAA, says car crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens across the country.
“As an age group, teen drivers get involved in more crashes than anyone else on the road,” Nasworthy says.
Although distracted driving is dangerous for anyone, regardless of age, Nasworthy says it appears to be a bigger problem for teens. The distraction doesn’t always involve a cell phone.
“We see that almost six out of 10 of their crashes are caused by distraction…and the number one distraction for teen drivers is having other teen passengers in the car,” Nasworthy says.
Teenage passengers are being encouraged to help the driver keep their focus on the road.
“What we want teens to do is to make sure they’re not getting involved in unnecessary conversations, not pulling the driver’s attention away from the road to look at something else, or text or answer a phone,” Nasworthy says.
A passenger can also assist the teen driver by handling the controls of the radio and the air conditioner or heat.
News for Tuesday, October 17
Citizen Alleges Negligent Hiring and Unethical Behavior in Sheriff's Office
The Carroll County Quorum Court met for their October meeting Monday in the Eastern District Courthouse. A fairly short agenda was dealt with in a little over an hour. During that time, under citizens comments, before the business meeting, a woman named Misty Rupert was allowed to speak. She asked for longer than the normal three minutes allowed, and was approved by all J.P.'s. Rupert is not happy with the way the Sheriff's Office is being run, especially questionable hiring practices. Rupert also cited some high turnover statistics at the department...............
In other business, J.P. Lamont Richie gave an update of the problems with 911/Central Dispatch Upgrade. He advised the Judge has located a used tower over 200 feet that comes in 20 foot lengths that would be easy to transport by the County Road Department personnel.
A Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance passed three readings appropriating $60,000 to the Central Dispatch Capital Fund was approved for the tower and equipment.
A Resolution affirming the sale of County Property was pulled from the agenda.
Under J.P. comments, it was mentioned the Eastern District Ambulance Service Commission have sent out 'Requests for Proposals" and they hope to make a decision sometime in early November after the deadline. It's possible an ambulance service may be contracted with by late November or Early December.
Huntsville Child Struck by Vehicle Dies
An 11-year-old Huntsville boy died Saturday at Northwest Medical Center after being struck by a 2014 GMC, according to Arkansas State Police.
Police aren’t releasing the name of the boy due to the age.
The collision happened shortly before 11:30 a.m. Saturday on County Road 6060, about half-mile west of Highway 23, according to ASP.
The boy was struck while crossing the road, according to ASP.
Berryville Police Respond to Two-Vehicle Accident
Berryville Police were called to West College and Bunch Street Thursday evening to the call of a two-vehicle accident.
The accident occurred around 5:17pm as a vehicle driven by Jamie Grayum of Shell Knob was stopped at the 4-way at Bunch and College. Grayum waited for another vehicle being driven by Jody Harp of Berryville, to clear the intersection then began a left turn as the Harp vehicle entered the intersection from W. College striking the right front quarter of Grayum's vehicle. Harp told Police the sun affected her vision and she thought Grayum was further away when she started the turn.
9th Annual Voices from the Silent City
Believe It or Not! Join your friends for this one of a kind costumed, guided tour set in the the Eureka Springs Municipal Cemetery located on Hwy. 62 East. KTHS talked to Stephanie Stoddard with the E.S. Historical Museum.......
For more information visit www.eurekaspringshistoricalmuseum.org or call 479-253-9417.
Arkansans Prepare to "Shakeout" This Week
This week thousands of Arkansans will participate in the Great Central United States ShakeOut Earthquake Drill. This is the sixth annual drill in the central United States region. The drill is set for Thursday, October 19 at 10:19 a.m.
To date, more than 59,000 Arkansans are registered for the 2017 ShakeOut Drill. Last year more than 56,000 Arkansans participated in the drill.
Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut Drill is a “day of action” providing an opportunity for people to take extra steps to become more prepared for earthquakes and other disasters. The self-led drill encourages participants to practice how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On”.
For most people, in most situations, the recommended earthquake safety action is to:
· Drop where you are, onto your hands and knees;
· Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand, as you crawl for shelter under a nearby table or desk;
· Hold On to your shelter with one hand until shaking stops (remain on your knees and covering your head and neck with your other arm and hand).
The recent M7.1 earthquake that struck near Mexico City serves as a reminder that large, damaging earthquakes can occur with little to no warning. Citizens in Arkansas are not immune to earthquakes—the state is home to several active seismic zones capable of producing damaging earthquakes, including the New Madrid seismic zone.
The ShakeOut is free and open-to-the-public, and participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies. To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to join the drill by registering to participate at www.shakeout.org. Once registered, participants receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.
Turkey Trot Drop Held Saturday Despite Animal-Welfare Activict
Several live turkeys were tossed from an airplane as it flew by the annual Turkey Trot festival Saturday.
But it was a different airplane from previous years and apparently a different pilot.
"My plane is on the ground," texted Dana Woods, a Mountain View alderman and pharmacist who had been "the Phantom Pilot" for the previous 15 years.
The 1966 Piper PA-28-140 that flew by the festival Saturday and dropped turkeys is registered to Aldino Raimondi of Yellville, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.
Three live turkeys were tossed from the plane shortly after noon Saturday, then several more during the afternoon as the plane made circles over Crooked Creek, which is two blocks south of the downtown square, where about 4,000 people were gathered for the annual festival. A few kids left the festival to collect the turkeys.
Animal-welfare activists have been trying to stop the 50-year tradition of the Yellville plane drops, which may have inspired a 1978 episode of the television show WKRP in Cincinnati in which turkeys were dropped from a helicopter as a Thanksgiving promotion.
Due to Volume of Applications Marijuana Licenses Put Off Until 2018
An avalanche of applications to grow or sell medical marijuana in Arkansas, and the tedious work of preparing them for final review, mean a final decision of who receives one of the state's coveted pot business licenses won't be made until well into next year, officials said Monday.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, which met for the first time Monday since the Sept. 18 deadline to apply for a cultivator or dispensary license, set Dec. 15 as the date when it will start receiving applications for review, with names and other identifying information redacted to assure unbiased decisions.
But even that deadline may have to be pushed back, the commissioners conceded, and hundreds of applications will still come in on a rolling basis afterward, possibly for months.
For Arkansans who voted last November to legalize medical marijuana, there was no good approximation Monday as to when it could be available on dispensary shelves, said Department of Finance and Administration attorney Joel DiPippa, who advises the five-member commission.
In a positive sign for patients with qualifying conditions, however, the state finance department announced Monday that at least four dispensary applications had been submitted in each of the eight regions of the state that the commission had previously agreed on in order to spread the shops out.
Wal-Mart's Marc Lore Earned Almost $244M Last Year
Marc Lore, the founder and former chief executive officer of Jet.com, which Wal-Mart Stores Inc. acquired a year ago, is by far the highest-paid executive among Arkansas' largest public companies.
Lore, now Wal-Mart's e-commerce chief executive officer, earned almost $244 million last year, six times more than John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods. Tyson, the second-highest paid executive of an Arkansas public company, made almost $39 million last year.
The other highest-paid executives were Tyson Foods' Donnie King, who earned $23.7 million last year; Wal-Mart's Doug McMillon, who earned $23.4 million, and Tyson Food's Noel White, who earned $17.3 million last year.
Information on the highest-paid executives in the state, as well as other financial data, was gleaned from the annual proxy statements filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette follows a formula developed by The Associated Press that reflects amounts identified in the proxy statements that are actually paid to executives.
Lore's total is about $50 million more than the previous highest income for an Arkansas public company executive. Alltel's former chief executive officer, Scott Ford, made $195 million in 2007. Ford was CEO when Verizon bought Alltel for $5.9 billion.
Trial Set in January for Pair Accused of Dragging and Killing Cat Then Posting to Social Media
A pair of Branson men accused of killing a cat by dragging it behind a vehicle, then posting the grisly death on social media, are now scheduled for a jury trial.
Kyle Wayne Williams, 18, and Jordan Michael Derek Hall, 19, are both scheduled to face a jury trial Jan. 29 in Christian County, where the case is being transferred, according to online court records.
Williams is accused of tying the cat, by its neck, to the bumper of a vehicle on June 1. Hall is accused driving the vehicle for several minutes until the cat was dead. Williams then later posted a video of the entire incident to a Facebook group. Many members of the social media group then notified police and media.
Both men are charged with animal abuse and armed criminal action, both felonies. Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell confirmed Friday he plans to try to the two men together.
Although motion for a change of venue is officially being taken under advisement, the parties have agreed to transfer the case to Christian County.
Johnny Cash Heritage Festival This Weekend
A few thousand people will gather in Dyess, a dot-on-the-map Arkansas Delta town, and celebrate Johnny Cash from Thursday through Saturday afternoon.
The endless Delta land, usually broken only by tree lines and its silence ended by the chug of farm trucks hitting a higher gear, will instead be upturned by a mass of people and the air broken by music in praise and devotion to a man now dead 14 years.
It might seem an odd question, especially to an Arkansan, but it's not. Think about it. When's the last time thousands came together in a field to celebrate the career of Sam Cooke? James Brown? The Velvet Underground?
Yet, there these people will be, assembled for the three-day Johnny Cash Heritage Festival. True, the weekend honors Cash, who died in 2003, while also focusing on and raising money for the restoration of Dyess, where Cash grew up. But even the heaviest of heavyweight artists usually get a boyhood home and a museum -- the restored Johnny Cash Boyhood Home is in Dyess, the Johnny Cash Museum is in downtown Nashville, Tenn. -- and not a yearly celebration.
But Cash's standing seems to grow larger and larger every year, not just through the festival, but because Cash has truly become a legend. Not just a music legend. But a legendary figure.
Irregular Heartbeat Striking Younger Men
A new study finds that a type of irregular heartbeat strikes men at a much younger age than women.
Atrial fibrillation causes the heart to quiver instead of beat to circulate blood.
German researchers found men tend to develop the condition about 10 years before women, especially if they are overweight.
News for Monday, October 16
Earthquake in NE Arkansas Sunday
A Magnitude 3.7 Earthquake was detected Sunday in Northeast Arkansas.
The quake rumbled south of Manila around 5:15 Sunday morning.
Hundreds of people reported feeling the tremor to the USGS citizen response system. So far, there are no reports of damage.
State Insurance Department Resubmit Rates in Response to Cost-Share Subsidies Ending
Arkansas has approved average rate increases ranging from 14.2 percent to nearly 25 percent for plans offered through the insurance marketplace under the federal health care overhaul.
The move comes a day after President Donald Trump said he's ending Affordable Care Act cost-share subsidies.
The Insurance Department said Friday it approved a 24.97 percent average increase from QualChoice Life and Health Insurance, 24.66 from QCA Health Plan Inc., 21.4 percent from Ambetter and 14.2 percent from Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The state allowed the insurers to resubmit their silver plan rate requests to reflect the decision to end the subsidies to insurers for reducing copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes.
Arkansas previously approved rate increases ranging from 7.8 percent to 9.9 percent for the plans.
Meetings This Week:
Green Forest School Board Business Meeting - 5pm Today G.F.H.S. Library
Carroll County Quorum Court - 5pm Today Eastern District Courthouse
Berryville City Council - Tuesday, 6pm, Berryville City Hall
Funds Missing in Farmington - FBI and IRS Investigating
The FBI and the IRS are investigating about $1.57 million missing from accounts in the city of Farmington, a legislative auditor told lawmakers Friday.
The money was from court fines, costs and fees and city general fund revenue that wasn't deposited between 2009 and December 2016, the auditor said.
Jimmy Story resigned on Dec. 5, 2016, as Farmington's court clerk and city finance director after working for the city for 21 years, said Dusty Breedlove, a staff auditor for Arkansas Legislative Audit.
The audit of Farmington has been sent to Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett's office, the U.S. attorney's office in western Arkansas and the two federal agencies, Breedlove said during a meeting of the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee.
Farmington, with a population of about 6,800, is several miles outside Fayetteville in Washington County.
After the committee's meeting, Story's attorney, Kim Weber of Rogers, said that "we disagree with the amount" attributed by legislative auditors to Story.
The federal investigation will come to an end in the next few weeks, she said.
During the committee's meeting, Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-East End, noted the size of Farmington's population and said the missing money "seems like just an outstanding amount of money for a city of that size to be missing, and no one noticed that there's something amiss."
Farmington Mayor Ernie Penn said, "The only thing that we saw was the trend of the revenues from court fines decreasing."
State Ozone Levels Below Federal Limits
Arkansas has posted yet another ozone season below the federal limit for ozone pollution.
After years of higher ozone readings and issuing occasional Ozone Action Days, even the parts of Arkansas traditionally most susceptible to ozone pollution are experiencing levels below the strictest federal standards.
That's because of high fuel standards, lower emissions from vehicles, reduced usage of coal-fired power plants and changes in the trucking industry, officials said.
"Generally, it's difficult to pinpoint with accuracy one particular reason why we continue to see the trends that we are seeing, but I will say I'm pleased that they continue to drop," said Stuart Spencer, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality associate director overseeing the office of air quality.
Ozone season is considered to be from May 1-Sept. 30, when the weather is hotter and air is likelier to interact with car exhaust and other emissions to create ozone.
Benton County Hires Mercy Ambulance for Eastern County Coverage
Benton County has reached an agreement with Mercy Emergency Medical Services for ambulance service in most of the eastern part of the county.
County Judge Barry Moehring told the Quorum Court's Budget Committee on Thursday that Mercy has been chosen to provide ambulance service and air ambulance service to the unincorporated part of the county east of Rogers and south of Beaver Lake. The Rogers Fire Department has covered much of that area for years, with Mercy covering the southeastern corner of the county.
Moehring said the county received two responses to its request for proposals and Mercy presented the best offer. Mercy will partner with the Beaver Lake Fire Department to upgrade the ambulance service that the fire department recently started from basic life support to advanced life support. Mercy also will operate a second ambulance in the service area at a location yet to be determined. Mercy will provide the first-call air ambulance service to the area.
Robert McGowen, the county's emergency services administrator, said the proposal from Mercy will accomplish the four goals the county had when it made the request for proposals: have one contract for the area, provide advanced life support service, offer air ambulance service and lower the county's cost.
Mercy's proposal will provide service to the entire area at a cost of about $546,000 in 2018. In 2017, the county was paying the Rogers Fire Department about $352,000 for service east of the city and paying Mercy $466,000 for the southeastern corner of the county. By combining the service area, McGowen said, Mercy will have a greater call volume to rely on, so it was able to lower the cost to the county. Overall, McGowen said, the county will save about $284,000 next year.
Contractor Working on Buffalo River Watershed Management Plan
Arkansas officials and a contractor held their final meeting last week asking stakeholders for input on how they should write a plan to conserve the area surrounding the state’s most visited river.
The contractor, Little Rock-based FTN Associates, will compile about a year’s worth of research and stakeholder input and issue a draft Buffalo River Watershed Management Plan within the next month, said Kent Thornton, a systems ecologist for FTN who has led four public meetings on the plan.
The Buffalo River Watershed Management Plan would identify ways in which landowners can voluntarily improve the environment surrounding the Buffalo. It would focus on actions that landowners not currently subject to regulatory oversight could take. The plan would not be regulatory, but it could be used by landowners to help get funding from a dwindling pot of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants.
The plan itself is funded with EPA grant money, announced last fall by Gov. Asa Hutchinson as a part of a push to discuss conservation of the Buffalo River after years of outcry over the state’s permitting of the first large industrial hog farm in the river’s watershed.
The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission hired FTN to produce the plan, which would be one of 14 the commission has for rivers across the state.
Concealed Carry Licenses to Include Instruction on Mass Shootings and Marksmanship
Proposed licensing and training requirements for enhanced concealed carry handgun licenses in Arkansas include instruction on handling mass shootings and a marksmanship test.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Arkansas State Police has released the first draft of guidelines for carrying concealed handguns in bars, public colleges and other places where they were previously forbidden.
The proposal states that enhanced carry permit holders must receive instruction on handling "emergent situations," such as mass shootings, and must prove their marksmanship by passing a "live-fire proficiency" test. Applicants must also receive training on how to interact with police in mass shootings and avoid injuring bystanders.
State police Maj. Lindsey Williams says the training program will provide guidance to licensed firearms instructors, who will independently develop eight-hour courses for enhanced carry permit holders.
National Weather Service Predicts Moisture and Frigid Air this Winter
While the past two winters ranked among Arkansas' top 10 warmest ever, don't expect another mild winter when December rolls around, weather forecasters say.
National Weather Service statistics show it would be unprecedented for the state to have three consecutive winters with temperatures at least 3 degrees above average. In fact, two consecutive winters with such temperatures have occurred in the state only 17 times in the past 122 years, records show. The average temperature for Arkansas' winter for the past century is 41.3 degrees.
"Statistically speaking, we're leaning toward not as mild of a winter as we've seen," said meteorologist Willie Gilmore of the National Weather Service in North Little Rock. "The odds are against it."
Forecasters say moisture from the Gulf of Mexico should be more prominent in Arkansas this winter. If Arctic air from Canada surges into the state, as some expect, the combination of the moisture and frigid air is apt to produce more snow or ice than usual.
News for Friday, October 13
Berryville Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet
The Annual Berryville Awards Banquet was held Thursday evening at the Community Center. A nearly full crowd enjoyed dinner from the Horseshoe Grill, an interesting guest speaker, Jeff Crow, Executive Director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and the awards banquet.
Recipients of the Awards:
Noteworthy New Business - Coco's - Nicole Toombs
Business Beautification - CC Solid Waste Authority
Youth Ambassador - Claire Watson
Business Excellence - Tyson Foods
Tom Earls Distinguished Ambassador - Bobby Thurman - Nelson Funeral Service
Berryville City Council Calls for Special Meeting Today
The Berryville City Council will meet at 10am this morning for the purpose of:
Review and approve amended MOU with Carroll-Boone Water District
Ordinance No. 1021 – An ordinance waiving competitive bidding for the procurement of the equipment and components for a SCBA Cascade system; and declaring an emergency. (all three readings)
Ordinance No. 1022 – An ordinance amending Chapter 3.10 of the Berryville Municipal Code; establishing millage rates for Calendar Year 2018. (all three readings)
Junior High Lady Bobcat Volleyball Team Has Perfect Season
The Berryville junior high Lady Bobcat volleyball team capped off a perfect regular season last night after they defeated Pea Ridge. Berryville had an outstanding volleyball season going 15-0 and the junior high Lady Bobcats earned the number one seed in the 1-4A conference tournament to be played Saturday in Gravette with a scheduled game time of 11:30am. Congratulations to the junior high Lady Bobcats and good luck in the district tournament
Single Parent Scholarship Fund to host a “Scholarship Soiree”
Single Parent Scholarship Fund of NWA (SPSF NWA) is hosting a “Scholarship Soiree” at the home of Gina and John Gregson to raise awareness about scholarship opportunities for single parents in Carroll County.
Amanda Wombold, a single parent scholarship recipient in Carroll County, will speak to the guests about how SPSF NWA has impacted her family. Wambold will also be presented with the 2017 Entergy Arkansas Scholarship, made possible by a contribution to the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund by Entergy Corporation.
Wambold is pursuing her Associates degree at Northwest AR Community College and hopes to go on to become an Engineer. She was selected based upon academic performance.
Representatives from Entergy Corporation and Single Parent Scholarship Fund will be in attendance. Supporters of Single Parent Scholarship Fund and community leaders are invited to attend.
When: Thursday, October 19,2017 at 6:00 – 8:00 pm. The Entergy Arkansas Scholarship presentation will take place at 6:00, followed by a reception and presentation about SPSF NWA at approximately 7:00 pm.
Where: The home of John and Gina Gregson – 329 Stone River LN Berryville, AR 72616
Why: The Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas (SPSF NWA) works to help low income single parent families in Carroll, Madison and Washington counties become financially stable and independent trough higher education. Through community support, SPSF NWA provides direct financial assistance to single parents who are pursuing a career-related course of study in order to gain sufficient employment to meet the basic needs of their families. Supportive programs are also available to help ensure the success of our recipients.
Family Health Program Coming to Arkansas
More than $7 million in federal government funding is coming to Arkansas for a family health program.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced $7,107,244 in funding to Arkansas through the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. These grant funds allow the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) to continue to provide voluntary, evidence-based and promising practice home visiting services to women during pregnancy, and to parents with young children up to kindergarten entry.
In Arkansas, ADH implements the Nurse-Family Partnership program and partners with Arkansas Children’s Hospital to implement Healthy Families America, HIPPY, Parents as Teachers, and Following Baby Back Home, a promising home visiting approach.
Nationally, the MIECHV Program serves almost 42% of U.S. counties with high rates of low birth weight infants, teen births, families living in poverty or infant mortality. More than 3.3 million home visits have been conducted through the MIECHV Program, serving parents and children in 893 counties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories.
Nationwide, $342 million in funding was awarded to 55 states, territories, and nonprofit organizations.
Rogers and Bentonville Want the Same Piece of Land to Annex
Rogers and Bentonville are battling over a piece of land, and now it's embroiled in a lawsuit.
Rogers is set for a special election in November, asking voters to annex a little more than 3,100 acres of Benton County.
Thirty-nine property owners wanted to be in Bentonville instead, so city leaders approved annexing much of the same area.
The city of Rogers filed the suit on Tuesday, in hopes of keeping the land out of Bentonville's hands.
Property owners in the middle of this lawsuit said they're disappointed Rogers is still pursuing their land. Twenty-five additional homeowners have now petitioned to voluntarily annex into Bentonville.
Rogers did release a statement on the lawsuit and said, “The Bentonville annexation attempt raises an unsettled question of law, and the City of Rogers believes the appropriate place for arguments is before the Judge.”
Arkansas Man Arrested for Beating Black Man in Charlottesville, Va
Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested an Arkansas man accused of beating a black man during a white-supremacist rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Va., in August.
The U.S. Marshals Service reported that Jacob Scott Goodwin, 22, was arrested at a residence in rural Lonoke County. Deputy U.S. Marshal Kevin Sanders said Goodwin had been wanted on a felony charge of malicious wounding in Charlottesville.
Goodwin is suspected of being one of several men seen on video beating Deandre Harris, 20, in a parking garage in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, when hundreds of white supremacists, including neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members, marched through the city to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a public park.
The attack reportedly left Harris with a serious head injury, a spinal injury, a broken wrist and bruising across his body. It was one of many violent confrontations between the white supremacists, some of whom carried guns and wore military-style combat gear, and counterprotesters.
One person, Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and at least 14 others were injured when a car was driven into a crowd of counterprotesters. James Alex Fields, 20, who was reported to be a Nazi sympathizer, was arrested in the attack.
Sanders said Wednesday that Charlottesville police asked the Marshals Service in Arkansas on Oct. 4 for help finding Goodwin.
"We had information that he had fled Charlottesville to go back to his parents' house, which is where he was ultimately located," he said.
Goodwin was arrested about 2 p.m. Tuesday. He was being held in the Lonoke County jail Wednesday awaiting extradition to Virginia.
Amazon Plans Major Holiday Hire
Amazon is gearing up for the holidays, and plans to hire 120,000 temporary U.S. workers to help it fulfill the millions of orders coming its way.
The surge of temporary help will nearly double the number of the workers it has at its fulfillment centers, sorting centers and customer service sites. The company will be hiring in 33 states.
Amazon hired the same number of seasonal workers last year, and 100,000 workers for the 2015 holiday season. Overall the company has more than 200,000 permanent U.S. employees.
It's getting harder to find holiday employees with unemployment now at 4.2%, the lowest jobless rate since 2001. The Labor Department said Wednesday that there are 6.1 million unfilled job openings across the economy, essentially unchanged from the record level reached the month before. A little over one in ten of those openings are in retail.
Earlier this fall Walmart, the nation's largest employer, said it would fill its need for more seasonal help by giving additional hours to its existing part-time workers, rather than bringing on additional employees.
Broadcasters Working to Send 10,000 Radios to Puerto Rico
A group of broadcast companies and their associations are working with a pair of Senators to send 10,000 battery-operated radios to Puerto Rico to be distributed to residents affected by Hurricane Maria. The National Association of Broadcasters, the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NASBA) and several U.S. broadcasters are funding the initiative.
The NAB is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local Puerto Rican authorities to make sure the radios are properly distributed to those most in need. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) were involved in coordinating the effort.
Nearly three weeks after Maria ripped through the Caribbean on Sept. 20, only 16% of Puerto Rico’s 3.34 million residents have regained electricity, making radio an essential communications lifeline. “Our fellow Americans in the Caribbean now face a once-in-a-generation humanitarian crisis, and radio is one of the only communications resources available,” NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith said in a release announcing the initiative. “We admire the resolve of our friends in Puerto Rico and are proud to undertake this effort with help from FEMA to keep citizens safe and informed.”
Florida Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Pat Roberts spearheaded the effort on the ground and arranged transportation of the radios from Miami to Puerto Rico.
“This is going to be a very long recovery, and Puerto Ricans are information-starved for where to get help,” Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association Board president Raul Santiago Santos said. “Having local radio in the hands of our citizens will make a real and positive difference for our people.”
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is helping secure a staging ground in Miami for the radios before they’re shipped off to Puerto Rico. “I saw firsthand how the local leadership and residents are eager to restore normal order and the efforts by the NAB and a number of companies in the private sector is what’s making a big difference,” Levine said.
Obese Children 10 Times Higher Than 40 Years Ago
The World Health Organization says the number of obese children is ten times higher than forty years ago.
Out of 32 million children ages 5-19 research shows around 74 million boys and 50 million girls are obese worldwide. The reason lies behind poor nutrition and lack of exercise but the problems they acquire are more than just physical.
These kids develop psychological problems from things like bullying. They are also more likely to become overweight adults.
Obesity rates in poor nations are continuing to rise while the US and UK have leveled off in rates.
News provided by News Director, Linda Boyer