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Metropolitan Statistical AreaGrowth Rate 2013-2014DollarsPercent of U.S.
Fort Smith4.133,90073.6
Hot Springs4.036,21878.7
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway2.640,93588.9
Pine Bluff1.630,98667.3
Arkansas Statewide3.437,78282.0
United States3.646,049100.0

News for February 12, 2016

Five Arkansas Properties Listed on National Register of Historic Places

Five Arkansas properties have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of historically significant properties, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program Director Frances McSwain announced today.

The newly listed properties include:

* The Crescent Hotel at Eureka Springs in Carroll County, an 1886 building that reflects the French Renaissance and Richardsonian Romanesque styles of architecture. “The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa is an architecturally significant work by architect Isaac S. Taylor from St. Louis, Missouri,” according to the National Register nomination. “World-renowned for his leadership in the execution of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, he also designed a total of ten hotels during his career— nine of which were actually built. Only a few remain standing today."

* Overstreet Hall on the Southern Arkansas University Campus, a Colonial Revival-style building constructed 1941-43 through the Works Progress Administration, a Depression-era federal relief program.

* Union Chapel School and Shop Building near Springfield in Conway County, constructed in the late 1930s through the WPA.

* The Little River County Training School Historic District at Ashdown in Little River County, featuring three buildings constructed in the 1960s for the area’s African American students.

* Monroe County Bank Building at Brinkley in Monroe County, built around 1889 and reflecting the Prairie, Craftsman and Colonial Revival styles of architecture.


Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly Will Not Seek Re-election

After 28 years in law enforcement and five consecutive terms as Barry County sheriff, Mick Epperly announced he will not be seeking re-election this year.

Epperly made the emotional announcement in front of 23 of his office's employees, fighting back emotions as he thanked his staff and discussed his reasons for leaving the post in 10 months.

Epperly said the reasons for his decision vary, including stress and difficulty of the job, health issues, tough campaigns and just feeling it is time to pass the torch.  Despite the challenges he's faced in nearly 20 years on the job, Epperly said law enforcement will always be special to him.

Election filings for the sheriff position open on Feb. 23 and close on March 29.


Gas Savings Significant This Year

The average U.S. household is expected to pocket $320 in savings this year thanks to plunging gas prices.

The average price of gas for the full year is forecast to be $1.98 a gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration. That's the lowest full-year average since 2009, and down nearly 50 cents a gallon from last year's average price.

Currently, the average price of gas stands at $1.72 a gallon, according to AAA. But gas is less than $1.50 in 25% of stations nationwide, and near $1 a gallon in some central U.S. regions.

The EIA projects that prices will soon start to climb, but not too high or too fast. Cheap gas is the result plunging oil prices; a barrel of crude was below $28 again on Wednesday. There's a glut of oil on the market due to strong U.S. production, the end of Iranian sanctions and the refusal of some OPEC members like Saudi Arabia to cut back production to support prices.


Garland County Judge Arrested for Death of Son

An arrest warrant filed in Garland County on Thursday says Circuit Judge Wade Naramore is named in the misdemeanor complaint.

The judge's 18-month-old son, Thomas Naramore, died July 24 after being left in a hot car for about five hours. According to the warrant, the judge told police he called 911 after getting in his car to pick his son up from daycare in the afternoon and realizing his son was still in his car seat.

Special prosecutor Scott Ellington said Naramore surrendered and was later booked and released on $5,000 bond.


Personal Income in Arkansas Metro Areas See Increase

The eight metropolitan areas of Arkansas reported increases in local area personal income in 2014, with growth ranging from 1.6 percent in Pine Bluff to 4.1 percent in Fort Smith.

Michael Pakko, an economist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, noted the changes on his blog, ArkansasEconomist.com. The information was based on new data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis late last year.

“As measured by the price index for personal consumption expenditures, the general level of prices rose by 1.4 percent in 2014, so all eight metro areas saw positive growth even after adjusting for inflation,” Pakko said.

Per Capita Personal Income in Arkansas Metro Areas

2014 Per Capita Personal Income



​​Record Number of Americans Dump U.S. Passports

More Americans than ever before are turning their backs on the United States.

The number of citizens and long-term residents cutting their official ties to Uncle Sam jumped more than 20 percent last year to 4,279, according to a CNNMoney analysis of the latest government data.

It's a trend that's been increasing in recent years. Many of those severing links are Americans living overseas who are tired of dealing with complicated tax paperwork, a headache that has worsened since new regulations came into effect.

Eighteen times as many Americans renounced their citizenship or long-term residency in 2015 compared with 2008. Last year was the third record-breaking year in a row.

Unlike most other countries, the U.S. taxes its citizens on all income, no matter where it's earned or where they live. For Americans living abroad, that results in a mountain of paperwork so complex that they are often forced to seek professional help, forking out high fees for accountants and lawyers.

The regulations are part of a U.S. government campaign to fight tax evasion, given added impetus after major Swiss banks admitted to helping Americans hide assets offshore.

But those efforts are making life difficult for the 7.6 million Americans living abroad.

Some wealthy Americans who are renouncing their citizenship may end up paying lower taxes in the future. But it's illegal to give up U.S. status to dodge paying a tax bill -- and doing so doesn't mean authorities won't come looking for back taxes.

News for February 11, 2016

​Berryville Police Accident Report

On February 4th, at around 7:50am, a two-vehicle accident occurred at Hwy. 62 and Hwy. 21 South/High Street.  The parties involved were a 2000 Buick, driven by Joseph Felder of Berryville and a Ford pickup being driven by Doran Capps of Berryville.

The accident report indicated the Ford pickup was northbound on Ar. Hwy. 21 and had entered the intersection at Hwy. 62, intending to turn left at the light.  The Buick was approaching the intersection, and Felder said he accelerated hard to begin his left turn when the Buick collided with the pickup, flipping the pickup over on its side.  The Buick driver told police the sun was in his eyes and he did not see the red light or the pickup.

Doran Capps, the pickup driver, was transported by ambulance to Mercy Hospital, Berryville.  Felder was cited with disregarding a traffic signal.


Tough Enough to Wear Pink

Coming up Sunday, February 14, the Annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink Event will be held at the GF Cowboy Church, on Hwy. 103 North of Green Forest.  Pastor Billy Williams tells us more about Sunday's event that inc ludes special music, testimonies and prayer.......


H & R Block Awards Another $1,000 to Early Filer

(Left Photo) Chrystal Williams (left in photo) of Berryville and her tax adviser, Kym, is the latest person to be awarded a $1,000 check from H & R Block.  A special presentation was made Wednesday at the Berryville H & R Block office.

Williams told KTHS she just purchased a car and will get the necessary paper work and insurance done and then take her family out for Valentines Dinner.  Darren McCullough, H & R Block manager, said the contest ends Monday, February 15th, so you have time to get your taxes figured and filed at any H & R Block.


Kiwanis District Governor Visits Area

A gathering in Hunstville Tuesday was well attended by area Kiwanians, including President Travis Courtright and Immediate Past-President Mary Ruth Hudspeth of the Berryville Kiwanis Club.

The event was an official visit of Missouri-Arkansas Kiwanis Don Leupold and his wife Lori from Region VI.  It was held at the Carroll Electric Meeting Room in Huntsville.  Richard Gillham of the Huntsville Kiwanis welcomed the group and Emily Mosley, K-Kids President at Huntsville Intermediate School, led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

The Berryville Kiwanis Club meet an Noon, Wednesdays, at the BV United Methodist Church.  Lunch is provided and any new prospective member is welcome to come have lunch and meet the fine members of the Berryville Kiwanis.

The Kiwanis motto is "Serving the Children of the World".  Local Berryville Schools host Kiwanis sponsored programs like the Key Club at  Middle School and High School, Bring-Up-Grades (BUG) and Terrific Kids in the lower elementary.


Body Found in Creek Near NWA Mall

A man died after falling about 20 feet from a tree that was leaning over a creek in Fayetteville, police spokesman Sgt. Craig Stout said Wednesday.  The man's head struck a rock when he fell, Stout said. The death appears accidental.

A woman called police mid-day Wednesday and said she could see the body in the creek from the Razorback Greenway. The trail where the man was found is just north of the Northwest Arkansas Mall, near North College Avenue.

Police did not release the man's name Wednesday pending notification of relatives. Stout said he was not sure when the man died.  The man, in his 30s, had hung his shoes on the tree, Stout said. It appeared he was "taking a break" when he fell, he said.  The investigation is ongoing, Stout said.


Robbery Suspects Turn Themselves in to Authorities

Two men wanted in a January armed robbery have turned themselves in to authorities in Marion County, Ark.

Jacob Eakes, 23, and Richard Johnson. 23, are suspects in a holdup at the Hilltop Liquor Store in Summitt, Ark. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office reports Eakes contacted the office this week, asking why his picture was published in local newspapers and why he was wanted. After talking to a detective, he called back to say he was in Jonesboro and needed a ride. He was arrested without incident.

The sheriff’s office reports that Eakes is also under investigation for robberies in the Jonesboro area.

As investigators were talking to Eakes, a deputy sent a text to Johnson encouraging him to talk  to investigators. A short time later, Johnson texted back that he was in Jonesboro and wanted to turn himself in. Johnson got a ride to Yellville and was arrested Wednesday morning.   Eakes and Johnson are in the Marion County Jail on charges of aggravated robbery.


Recent Powerball Breaks Revenue Records for Arkansas Scholarship Lottery

Fueled by a world-record $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot, Arkansas' lottery generated more revenue and net proceeds in January than it had in any month since ticket sales started in September 2009.

The increased revenue, however, won't result in any changes in the college scholarship program for now, officials said. Any changes require legislative approval.

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery reported $58.7 million in total revenue in January, resulting in $13.8 million in net proceeds, which go to scholarships.

Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said the record Powerball jackpot drove ticket sales significantly in January and was the primary cause for increased total revenue and net proceeds.


Please Be Patient Says MoDot

The Missouri Department of Transportation is asking drivers to be patient when they get to the temporary stoplights around the Kimberling City Bridge. While crews repair the decades old bridge, it's down to one lane that alternates directions with stoplights guiding traffic on either side.

But construction workers have noticed a problem.  "We just have problems with people obeying the signals," MoDOT engineer Johnny Teegardin said.

Crews say impatient drivers run those stoplights causing even more delays along an already congested stretch of Highway 13.  The bigger issue is that it's dangerous for workers who may need to walk on the road and other drivers trying to cross the bridge.  Now crews are asking drivers to be patient for just a few more months.  MoDot hopes to have the work completed by Memorial Day.


Capitol Display Honors Black History Month

Between 1868 and 1893, significant numbers of African Americans served in the chambers of the Arkansas Legislature. Black legislators remained visible and active in both chambers through the 1870s and 1880s but political and social tides turned against them. From 1893, no African American would serve in the Arkansas legislature for eight decades.

The year 1973 saw a new day in Arkansas politics: Richard Mays, Dr. William Townsend and Henry Wilkins III began their careers in the Arkansas House, while Dr. Jerry Jewell entered the State Senate. Since 1973, another sixty-two have taken their places in the Capitol, with some serving in as many as eleven or, in one case, twelve Legislatures, representing both metropolitan and rural districts. Today, African Americans make up about eleven percent of Arkansas’s legislature: three state senators and eleven state representatives.

This February, the Arkansas State Capitol salutes the ”Class of ‘73” and those who followed it with a new display, The Next Generations: Arkansas’s African American Legislators since 1973. The exhibit collects the legislative portraits and service statistics of the sixty-six African American legislators of the Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries. Portraits are drawn from the legislative composite pictures usually viewed on the Capitol’s third and fourth floors, while their years of service derive from information in the Historical Report of the Secretary of State. These legislators’ histories and accomplishments cannot be contained in a single exhibit but their names and their service are worth commemorating: not content to simply honor history, through their service they have made it.

The Next Generations will remain on view in the Capitol’s ground floor Rotunda through the month of February. 

News for February 10, 2016

Green Forest City Council Report

The Green Forest City Council met Tuesday morning in City Hall for their monthly council meeting.  It was a short agenda for February, but Mayor Reece managed to pack alot of information into the meeting.  Here he begins with his Mayor's Update.............

In other business, Buddy Fry reported the Hwy 62 widening project still has some folks are hesitant to give up right-of-ways.  Fry said they only have a week or two to finish the project.  The AHTD would like to see the city "condemn" the properties to obtain the right-of-ways.

The Tyson Foods Plant expansion will likely require the city to upgrade some of their equipment.  The Mayor is negotiating financing options for an expansion of the wastewater plant that could cost $4M.  Tyson is said to help pay for the wastewater plant expansion.

GF Fire Chief Tim Howard reported the new coats for volunteer fireman came in last week, and the city hopes to be able to order a brush truck after the new fire truck is paid off.

The Green Forest Police Department will order another new vehicle for their police fleet this spring and maybe another one late in the year.

Buddy Fry also Grant money is available for parks and streets for upgrades and improvements in various areas, including the Green Forest Square.

A public hearing will be held February 19th at 9am regarding rezoning of property on 5th street owned by Otis Fiveash.  The request has been approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.


A Journey Through Grief

Losing someone or something you love or care deeply about is very painful.  You may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness you're experienceing will never let up.  These are normal reactions to a significant loss.  But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are healthy ways to compe with the pain that, in time, can renew you and perit you to move on.

Grief is a natural response to loss.  It's the emotional suffering you feel when somethng or someone you love is taken away.  The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief will be. The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people.  Even if you aren't comfortable talking aobut your feelings under normal circustances, it's important to express them when you're grieving.  Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry.  Wherever the support comes from, accept it and do not grieve along.  Connecting to others will help you heal. 

A Journey through Grief Session will be coming up at 'Thinking of You', across from Nelson's Funeral Service in Berryville, beginning February 16th.  Pastor Mark Pepple and Marvin Peterson will be the facilitators..........

More information is available by calling Thinking of You, 870-505-6775.


Affidavits Ordered Sealed in Baxter County Murder Case

A Baxter County circuit judge, Gordon Webb,  ordered the arrest affidavits of three people charged in the slayings of an elderly couple sealed during a brief hearing Tuesday.

Judge Webb said detectives' notes in their investigation into the homicides of Donald Rice, 75, and his wife, Ladonna Rice, 71, of Midway and affidavits that described items seized by police during the search of three defendants' homes would be sealed.

Baxter County deputies found the bodies of Donald and Ladonna Rice in the debris of their rural Baxter County home Nov. 10 after firefighters responded to a fire there Nov. 7.  Authorities found their burned truck Nov. 8 in a field on Baxter County Road 1, about 3 miles from the home.

Police arrested Nicholas Roos, 24, and Mikayla Mynk, 20, of Gassville and Zach Tyler Grayham, 23, of Mountain Home on two counts of capital murder, arson and aggravated robbery each. The three pleaded innocent to the charges. They are being held in the Baxter County jail in Mountain Home without bail.

Police said the three broke into the Rice's home on the morning of Nov. 7, killed the couple and then stole several items, including a large-screen television. They set fire to the home, destroying it, and then left in the Rices' truck, police said. Ethredge said he will seek the death penalty.  The three are scheduled to be tried Sept. 19 in Baxter County Circuit Court.


Eight States Close to $1 Per Gallon Gas

Forget $2 gas. Gas is getting close to the $1 mark in some parts of the country.

There are at least eight states where some stations are now selling gas for less than $1.25 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com. The cheapest gas at the moment is at a 7-Eleven in Oklahoma City, which is selling a gallon of regular for $1.11. In fact, more than a dozen other stations in that city have gas for $1.14 or less. Extremely cheap gas can also be found in Texas, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois Michigan and Kansas.

Nationwide, the average price of a gallon of regular is down to $1.74, the cheapest it's been since early January 2009.

A huge supply of gas is flooding the market, which is driving down wholesale gas prices. A gallon of regular gas was going for just 69 cents on the wholesale market in Oklahoma on Monday morning, according to Tom Kloza, chief analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. Most other regions have wholesale prices below $1.

Gas probably won't go below $1 a gallon, Kloza said, but cheap gas has become fairly common.  Still, Kloza expects gas to stay relatively cheap by historical standards, with the national average for 2016 likely to come in between $2.25 to $2.50 a gallon.


NW Arkansas Named "Must-See"

Northwest Arkansas has made Lonely Planet’s top 10 Best in US list for 2016.

Every year, Lonely Planet’s traveling authors and writers nominate places around the United States where big anniversaries, festivals and events and exciting new cultural additions make them “must-see” spots to visit.

Northwest Arkansas netted the No. 7 spot on the list partly due to its variety, including historical buildings, artsy destinations and hiking opportunities.

The full list:

Lonely Planet’s Best in the United States for 2016

1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2. Natchez, Mississippi

3. Yellowstone National Park (Montana, Wyoming, Idaho)

4. Birmingham, Alabama

5. Alaska

6. Somerville, Massachusetts

7. Northwest Arkansas

8. San Antonio, Texas

9. Southern New Mexico

10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Arkansas Treasurer Calls Police After Scuffle with Attorney

Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan says he will seek charges against an attorney for a former employee after he and the attorney had a physical altercation.

Milligan filed a police report Tuesday saying attorney Luther Sutter pushed him and caused him to have chest pains before a 9 a.m. deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by a former treasurer's office employee.

The report filed with the Little Rock Police Department says Sutter entered the court room while on his cellphone and cursed as part of that telephone conversation. He then apologized to Milligan's wife, Tina.

Sutter and Milligan both say the incident then escalated but differ on their accounts of who initiated physical contact.  Sutter says he pushed the treasurer in self-defense. Milligan says he plans to seek charges.

Arkansas State Gets Grant for Innovation Work

The U.S. Commerce Department says Arkansas State will receive $500,000 in grant  through a program to promote innovation.

The university is one of 25 entities to receive money under the Regional Innovation Strategies program. It's money comes from the i6 Challenge, which was established in 2010 as part of the Startup American Initiative. The funding is intended to help turn technology into jobs.

Arkansas State is receiving its money for the East Arkansas Regional Innovation System.

The i6 program includes about $8 million this time around. Additional funds are also being supplied for programs at an earlier stage of development.


"Freak Accident" When Woman Falls Out of 18-wheeler

A Florida woman died when she fell from a moving tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 in Crawford County on Tuesday, according to Arkansas State Police.

Karol Sheffield, 55, of Port Orange, Fla., fell while trying to close a door on the truck near mile marker 20 on I-40. The trailer ran over her after she fell, according to a police report.

Police described the driving conditions as dry and clear when the accident occurred about 2:45 a.m.  State police detectives are investigating, the report said.  Sheffield's death was the 37th on Arkansas roadways in 2016, according to state police.

News for February 9, 2016

Berryville Police Work Two-Vehicle Accident

Berryville Police were called out to a two-vehicle accident Friday afternoon, around 4:30pm, to North Main Street. 

The accident involveda 2008 Nissan Sentra, driven by Alba Sagastume of Green Forest, and Micaela Chaney of Green Forest, driving a 2009 Nissan.  The Sentra was eastbound on the outside lane and the 09' Nissan was eastbound on the inside lane.  The report indicated the Sentra sideswiped the other vehicle, pushing it into the oncoming traffic.

There was no mention of injuries, but Berryville Police cited Sagastume with failure to yield.


Read, Rally, Run, Pray

The 65th Annual National Day of Prayer events in Carroll County will include Reading the Bible, Rally our youth, Run for Jesus, and Prayer Breakfast.  Carroll Countians have many opportunities to be a part of one or all four events taking place. 

The 7th Annual Carroll County Bible Reading Marathon will begin Thursday April 28th at 6:00 pm with Soup Dinner put on by Cup of Love Ministries.  The Opening Ceremony will begin at 7:00 pm, and Reading of the Bible will begin at 8:00 pm.  The 90-hour marathon will continue each day from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Friday thru Wednesday May 4th.

The Bible Reading Marathon will conclude on May 5th National Day of Prayer from 8:00 am until noon with Closing Ceremony and prayer for our nation.   Anyone can come read call Peggy Holmes at 870-726-6037 to sign up for your 15-minute time slot.   Groups, churches, businesses can also sign up for block of time.

All area teens are invited to join together on April 29th Friday evening for our “Word Rally”!  Ronnie Hoover, University of Arkansas campus missionary will be the speaker.  This will be an evening of worship, testimony, the word, and some awesome give-always!  “Don't miss out on this awesome opportunity to get together for a night of worship and fellowship with other young believers!” says Clay & Melissa Headrick, Youth Pastors, Kings River Church and coordinators of the event. 

This year a new event “Run for Jesus” will be held on April 30th, a 5K and 10K race held in Berryville to honor Jesus Christ.  The proceeds will benefit National Day of Prayer and World Vision ministries.

The Western Carroll County Ministers Association will sponsor the National Day of Prayer Breakfast.  It will again be held at the Great Hall of the Great Passion Play.  As in the past a wonderful time of music, food and fellowship will be hemmed in with prayer for the 7 areas of influence in our nation.

If you have questions or would like to be involved please contact Bonnie Roediger at 870-350-0865.


Compton Man Arrested in Stolen Cattle Case

Ronald Clark Shaver of Compton was recently arrested for theft by receiving in a case involving stolen cattle.

According to Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape, Shaver had cattle in a corral by his residence that had been reported stolen from Boone County.

Slape stated that Franklin County Sheriff’s Office had arrested Shaver, 44,  for theft by receiving when he attempted to sell some cattle at the Ozark livestock sale barn. The remainder of the cattle were found at his residence.

Multiple agencies are cooperating in the investigation, Boone County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Arkansas State Police.


Hackers Access FBI and DHS Employees

Hackers, making good on a threat, published contact information for 20,000 FBI employees Monday afternoon, just one day after posting similar data on almost 10,000 Department of Homeland Security employees.

The hackers, tweeting from the account @DotGovs, claim they obtained the details by hacking into a Department of Justice database.

The hackers boasted on Twitter, “FBI and DHS info is dropped and that’s all we came to do, so now its time to go, bye folks! #FreePalestine.”

The information contained names, titles, phone numbers and email addresses. After the hackers published the data on the DHS employees on Sunday, they tweeted, “Well folks, it looks like @TheJusticeDept has finally realized their computer has been breached after 1 week.”

The Justice Department is investigating the hack.  The hackers taunted federal officials, tweeting, “When will the US government realize we won’t stop until they cut relations with Israel.”


Lawsuit Filed to Take Two Candidates Off the Arkansas Primary Ballot

An independent candidate for president filed a lawsuit to take Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio off the Arkansas primary ballot.

The lawsuit claims that neither candidate is a natural born citizen. It states that Sen. Rubio's parents were not U.S. citizens when he was born, and that Sen. Cruz was born in Canada.

The suit was filed by David Librace of West Helena, Arkansas, who is running as president as an independent.

Court filings show that the defendants have until February 22, 2016 to respond to the suit. No hearing dates have been scheduled.


State Dept. of Education Dropping Proposal to End Annual Payments to Teachers

Facing opposition from teacher groups, the Arkansas Department of Education will drop a proposal to end annual payments to teachers with National Board Certification after 10 years, Education Commissioner Johnny Key told lawmakers Monday.

The move came after a conversation with Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday morning, Key told reporters.

About $13.8 million a year has been allocated for the program, which has been growing quickly. Spending under the program will exceed the amount appropriated by fiscal 2018, according to a projection from the Education Department.

"No commitment on new dollars or anything like that," Key said. "Without changes ... the growth is still going to necessitate a growing allocation of funds, so it's going to continue to be a growing need if we fully fund it."

In a joint meeting of the House and Senate education committees, Sen. Uvalde Lindsey, D-Fayetteville, made a motion for a subcommittee to study the program and look into additional funding. His motion was adopted without dissent.

The proposed rule change had received opposition from teacher groups, including the Arkansas State Teachers Association, which said the cut was ironic considering the governor's plan to spend an additional $3 million on Teach for America instructors.


Zika Virus Of Concern for Arkansas Health Officials

The mosquitoes that can carry the Zika virus are found in Arkansas, a fact that health officials and city governments are keeping in mind as cases of the virus continue to be reported in parts of the U.S. The virus, currently spreading fast across Central and South America, can be carried by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

So far, no cases have been reported of people contracting the virus from a mosquito bite in the U.S., but some have been diagnosed after returning from trips to countries where outbreaks are occurring, including one Arkansan whom the state Health Department has not identified.

Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed one case of the disease being contracted inside the U.S., by a person in Texas who had sex with a person who recently returned from Venezuela. Health officials say the highest potential for the disease to spread in this country is through mosquitoes biting people who have become infected while traveling.

The Health Department says ways to avoid mosquito bites include using an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus; wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers; using air conditioning or window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside; and emptying standing water from containers even as small as a bottle cap.The mosquitoes that can carry the Zika virus are unusual in that they usually bite during the day, Mirivel said.

News for February 8, 2016

McDonald’s Employees Fight Fire

Fast thinking McDonald's employees tackled a brush fire next to their restaurant Friday afternoon. A discarded cigarette started a fire in the row of bushes next to the drive through. The dry conditions allowed the fire to grow quickly and the flames started to climb the wall to the roof's eave. Employees used buckets of water to beat back the blaze.

Engine 1154 arrived on scene and used its deck gun to soak the bushes and flammable scenic materials. Afterwards Fire Chief Randy Ates, with a straight face, presented the McDonald’s employees and management with honorary Junior Firefighter badges in recognition of their impromptu bucket brigade.


Early Voting Preparations Underway by CCEC

At left, Election Commission Chairman Johniece Dominick and Commissioner Bob Grudek clean the ESS machine Friday during a test of equipment to be used during Early Voting that begins Tuesday, February 16th, through Monday February 29th.


Federal Disaster Assistance Approved for Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington Counties

President Barack Obama has approved Governor Asa Hutchinson's request for federal disaster declarations for Arkansas counties affected by flooding and severe weather in December, 2015, through January, 2016.

This will allow the residents and governments in the those counties to apply for federal assistance. Funds will be made available through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program "to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards for all areas of the state."

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials will be opening offices in the affected areas to accept assistance applications. Preliminary damage assessments estimate there was more than $17 million in damages throughout Arkansas.

According to a release from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, public assistance for "emergency work and repair/replacement of disaster-damaged facilities" will be available for 32 counties, including Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties.


Tyson Foods Predicts Record Profits for 2016

Executives at Tyson Foods, Inc. are predicting record profits for the year, helped along by a steep drop in feed and livestock costs.

First-quarter profit grew 49 percent from the same time last year to $461 million. The company is one of the world's largest producers of meat and poultry. Tyson stock surged on Friday by about 5 percent, closing at $57.10. Before closing, the stock hit an all-time high of $58.95 a share.

Executives also say the company will continue to invest in and build its portfolio of brands that includes Tyson, Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farms.


State Urging Residents to Have Earthquake Preparedness Plan

The state's Department of Emergency Management is urging residents and business owners to develop an earthquake preparedness plan. Arkansas marks the start of its annual Earthquake Awareness Week on Sunday.

The U.S. Geological Survey says Arkansas is at risk for high-magnitude, high-impact earthquakes. Numerous temblors occur every year throughout Arkansas, but most go unnoticed.

Earthquakes have been documented in the state as far back as 1699. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake was felt over an area of 174,000 square miles near Marked Tree in 1976. More recently, dozens of earthquakes have rattled Arkansas' neighbor to the west, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma's earthquakes have been linked to the injection of wastewater underground from oil and gas production. State regulators have recommended reducing the volume or shutting down some of the disposal wells.


Bella Vistan Man Arrested After Exposing Himself to Children at Springdale Wal-Mart

A Bella Vista man, Micah Krol, is accused of exposing himself to children at a Wal-Mart store in Springdale last week, according to police.

Krol, 36, entered the Wal-Mart store at 2004 S. Pleasant St. and "approached two small children who were standing alone … on one of the aisles," authorities said in a preliminary report. Krol exposed himself to the two children standing beside each other, police said, adding that he later targeted another child standing alone in the store.

Authorities said Krol left the Wal-Mart store through the garden center and, through video surveillance, was followed by asset protection associates. He was observed leaving the Wal-Mart in a black Nissan Altima, according to the report.

Krol, who was arrested Thursday at the Alpha Delta Pi sorority house on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, listed the sorority as his place of employment.  He faces three felony counts of sexual indecency with a child and one misdemeanor count of public sexual indecency.


Highway Officials Implementing Efforts to Reduce Wrong-Way Crashes

Arkansas highway officials have initiated systemwide improvements at an estimated cost of $2.8 million with a focus on reducing wrong-way crashes on the state freeway system.

The holistic effort is designed to address a problem -- motorists entering freeways in the wrong direction -- that they say is as random as it is deadly.

An analysis of crashes covering 2009-13 that was performed by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department found 64 crashes of vehicles going the wrong way, including 13 that resulted in 20 people killed. Another 25 crashes involved serious injury, according to the analysis. Seventy percent of the crashes occurred at night and 60 percent involved an impaired driver, the analysis found.

In the years covered by the analysis, an average of four fatalities occurred annually as a result of wrong-way crashes. But in 2015, eight people died as a result of wrong-way crashes, according to department data.


Kentucky, Arkansas Top Coverage Gains as GOP Looks to Remake Medicaid

As Gov. Matt Bevin prepares to remake Kentucky's Medicaid program, a new national survey shows what's at stake: gains in insurance coverage matched only by one other state.

Kentucky and Arkansas had the largest drops in the percentage of people without health insurance in the country, according to the Gallup-Healthways survey. In 2013, more than 20 percent of Kentuckians did not have health insurance. By the end of 2015, after the state expanded its Medicaid program and created a health-insurance exchange, that figure was down to 7.5 percent.



News provided by News Director Linda Boyer