Monday thru Friday
8am, Noon & 5pm
Saturday & Sunday
at 7am and Noon
Berryville Elementary Pledge of Allegiance
Arkansas has reported 94 new cases of the coronavirus and seven more deaths. The Department of Health on Monday said the state’s confirmed and probable cases since the pandemic began now totals 322,509. The number of people who have died due to COVID-19 now totals 5,250. The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped by 14 to 441. The low number of new cases comes the day after Arkansas saw a spike that officials said was due to a cleanup in virus data. The department reported 636,600 of the 989,580 coronavirus vaccine doses the state has received so far have been given.
Severe Weather Awareness Week Todays Topic for Severe Weather
Awareness Week is Lightning...
The National Weather Service, in cooperation with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, has proclaimed the week of February 28th through March 6th as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Arkansas. A different topic will be discussed each day, and todays topic is lightning. Lightning is a hazard in all thunderstorms, whether they are severe or not. In the last 30 years, lightning was the third deadliest thunderstorm hazard behind flash floods and tornadoes. There are an average of 40 to 50 fatalities a year due to lightning across the country. Across Arkansas in 2020, while there were several house fires triggered by lightning, no fatalities or injuries were reported. Most lightning deaths occur in the summer /June, July and August/ when people are outdoors. Eight out of ten victims of lightning are male. If a person is struck by lightning, that persons body will not retain any electrical charge. Thus, the injured person can and should be cared for immediately. Lightning can strike as much as 10 miles away from a thunderstorm cloud. Given this, it is no surprise that most lightning deaths occur as a thunderstorm is approaching or moving away, and not necessarily overhead. Lightning tends to strike tall objects, but not always. The air is a poor conductor of electricity, so lightning will often go the shortest distance to make a connection from cloud to ground. Statistics show that Arkansas is a top 10 state as far as lightning activity in the last ten years.
The state experiences more than 830,000 cloud-to-ground lightning flashes per year /over 14 lightning flashes per square mile/...
Some Lightning Safety Rules... Remember, it is lightning that causes thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are in danger from lightning. When thunder roars, go indoors. The safest place is a fully-enclosed building that is grounded. A hard-top car is also a safe location. Keep the windows rolled up and do not touch metal inside the vehicle. Do not take shelter in small sheds, pavilions, or tents, or under trees. Stay away from higher elevations spots such as hilltops, and avoid nearby poles and towers. Move away from chain-link fences and other metal fences such as those around ballparks and playgrounds. Motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, and farm tractors are not safe places. If you are in the water, get out immediately. If you are in a boat, head toward safe harbor. Organizers of events/activities are advised to designate a weather watcher. Assign an official who will stop the events/activities when lightning becomes imminent. Havespecific evacuation instructions in place so people know where to go. Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity, so do not use electrical appliances or corded phones. Computers and other expensive electronic equipment may be damaged by power surges. You may consider unplugging these items. Stay out of the bathtub or shower. Get off the golf course. Our Severe Weather Awareness week is brought to you in part by Chester Insurance Group.
Berryville Police Accident Report
On February 23rd, Berryville Police responded to a two-vehicle accident at W. Freeman and Bunch Street. Allen Pederson of Berryville was westbound on W. Freeman and attempted a left turn onto Bunch Street. Pederson, driving a 1996 Jeep, turned in front of a 2016 Jeep, driven by Doraluz Rangel of Berryville, causing the Rangel vehicle to strike the Pederson vehicle in the passenger side. Each driver stated their view was blocked by another vehicle that was stationery on W. Freeman waiting to make left turn onto Elm. No injuries were noted on the report.
School Shooting in Pine Bluff
Authorities say a 15-year-old boy was seriously injured after being shot by another 15-year-old boy at an Arkansas junior high school.
The suspect is being held at a juvenile detention facility. Police say the shooting happened at Watson Chapel Junior High as students were
switching classes about 10 a.m. in a hallway at the school in Pine Bluff, about 40 miles southeast of Little Rock. Officials said the suspect fled on
foot but was found in a nearby neighborhood by a tracking dog. There was some initial confusion about the wounded boy’s fate. A police spokesman at one point reported he’d died, then later retracted that statement and said he was alive.
Stand Your Ground Bill on Governor's Desk
A controversial bill surrounding self-defense and the use of deadly force has passed in both the Arkansas House and the Senate. When it comes to the ‘Stand your ground bill’, it’s now up to Governor Asa Hutchinson to veto, approve the bill to become a law, or do nothing and the bill automatically becomes a law without his signature. State Senator Bob Ballinger is the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 24. The way the law currently stands, it prohibits a person to use deadly physical force in self defense if they can safely walk away from the danger or threat. If this measure becomes a law, it would remove the ‘duty to retreat’ and protects the individual’s use of physical deadly force in certain circumstances. The bill faced opposition from people who say it is a licensed to kill while supporters believe this measure will make self defense rights stronger Matt Durrett, is an Executive Board Member with the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association. The organization opposed the bill in the past. Durrett says that’s because it completely removed the duty to retreat. It’s now taking a neutral stance on it following some changes to the measure. He says the exceptions revolve around making sure that the individual who uses the physical deadly force is not breaking the law at the time. “You have to not be a felon with the possession of a gun. You can’t be the initial aggressor… you can’t be involved in some criminal activity that gave rise to the incident,” said Durrett. It also
includes an amendment that the individual using deadly force has to be lawfully present in the location at the time, for example,
individual cannot be trespassing. Now the bill is left to the governor to make a decision.
Important Arkansas State Basketball Tournament Information for Immediate Release:
The AAA has arranged for all state tournament games to be streamed live on their new app. The Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) in partnership with Mascot Media will be broadcasting live every 2021 state basketball tournament game up to the finals for all classifications 6A through 1A. Due to potential capacity and travel restrictions related to COVID-19 at each host venue, the AAA felt it was important to ensure the parents, fans, students, and any stakeholder could watch their school participate in the tournament. This is made possible by the cooperation of all the host high schools, Fayetteville High School and Morrilton High School broadcast faculty and students, along with broadcasting partners East Arkansas Broadcasters Association, Natural State Sports, and Lake Area Sports; thank you to all of them. How to Watch Games All the games will be streamed
on the new AAA app and on the new AAA broadcast website. The games will also be available at NFHS Network for a fee,
on individual school apps and websites, and on the platforms of the broadcasting partners.
AAA App: Search “Arkansas Activities Association” in Apple AppStore or GooglePlay AAA Broadcast Website: www.AAAScoreboard.com
NFHS: www.nfhsnetwork.com/associations/aaa School Broadcasting
Option A school broadcast team may travel to stream their teams’ games provided they arrange the logistics and get approval in advance with the AAA and the broadcasting school pays the fee to the AAA in accordance with the playoff fee schedule. Please note that each game filmed by our broadcast partners will be sent to a school’s Mascot Media app or website (if available) in addition to the AAA app and website, so multiple viewing options are in place for each school. Playoff Rosters, Brackets, Digital Programs, and Scores Final playoff rosters with correct player numbers should be finalized in DragonFly before Sunday, February 28 if possible. The AAA app will display rosters along with game information for each team. If a roster is incomplete or incorrect in DragonFly, it will show up incomplete in the app. Digital programs may also be created using these rosters and any roster or team photos you want included in any state tournament material should be submitted by February 28 to one of the contacts listed below. Real time scoring and updated brackets will be available on the AAA app. Scores must entered in SBLive following the game.
If anyone needs assistance on this, please contact us.
Also, a reminder that digital ticketing will be required for all games and can be accessed on the AAA app
or via GoFan at www.gofan.co/app/school/AAA
AAA App: Search “Arkansas Activities Association” in Apple App Store or GooglePlay
Customers of Black Hills Energy May See Higher March Bill
Black Hills Energy said Wednesday (Feb. 24) that natural gas customers might see an increase in their bills this March due to the rise in consumption of energy during last week's historic winter storm. The company says that usage is the single largest portion of energy bills, and the weather is the biggest factor in increased usage. When temperatures drop exceptionally as they did in February across the country, the law of supply and demand created a temporary increase in commodity prices for utility companies. Many utility companies were left searching for more resources to get natural gas to their customers. “As the extreme cold set in and widespread customer energy use increased, our teams continued to deliver the most cost-effectively priced energy available," said Chad Kinsley, vice president of gas operations for Black Hills Energy in Arkansas. Black Hills Energy says the possible rise in customers' bills in March is tied to increased consumption and not related to the increased natural gas prices utility companies faced from suppliers during the winter event. The natural gas customers’ fuel use is passed on to them at cost. Black Hills Energy customers in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, experienced an outage during the winter storm where temperatures at times dropped below 0 degrees. The cold snap caused an uptick in demand in Pea Ridge, and the Black Hills Energy system in the city did not have the capacity to handle the demand. The company is working on expanding its system in Pea Ridge to avoid another possible distribution to service during an extreme weather event as the city grows.
They say the recent weather event caused the largest natural gas price increases in the last twenty years.
Gas Could Rise to $3 Per Gallon by Memorial Day
The average price of gasoline continued to rise last week, climbing 7.5 cents per gallon to $2.72, according to GasBuddy data. That’s the highest level the company has tracked since the pandemic began. The national average price of diesel jumped 9.2 cents in the last week and stands at $2.93 per gallon. “Gas prices continued to surge last week following cold-weather-related shutdowns in Texas, but … the impact from the cold has likely run its course. However, several other factors will rise in their influence on gas prices again, including the fact that gasoline demand continues…,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “On the supply side, the number of oil rigs active in the U.S. stands nearly 50% lower than a year ago, which is a large factor driving prices up. To put it simply, demand is recovering much, much faster than oil production levels, which is why oil prices have soared. This week, OPEC will be meeting to hopefully increase oil production to temper the rise in prices, but will they increase oil production enough to match the growing appetite of a global economy that’s seen oil demand jump?” said De Haan. Investors are betting the pandemic will soon be under control, and that should unleash pent-up demand for road trips, cruises, flights etc. The average cost at the priciest 10% of stations stands at $3.50 per gallon, up 13 cents from a week ago, while the lowest 10% average $2.32 per gallon, up 11 cents from a week ago. The states with
the lowest average prices were Mississippi ($2.35), Louisiana ($2.37) and Texas ($2.39). The states with the highest prices were
California ($3.67), Hawaii ($3.41) and Washington ($3.08).
Walmart Removes Minimum Order Requirement for Express Delivery
Walmart is removing the $35 minimum order requirement to receive its Express delivery service, the company announced on its corporate
blog on Monday. The Bentonville-based retailer currently offers Express delivery — which allows orders to be delivered to customers’ doors in
two hours or less — in nearly 3,000 stores. The Express delivery service costs $10 on top of the existing delivery charge, and there is no markup
on items. Walmart+ members must only pay the $10 Express fee.
State health officials said Sunday that there was a drop in both hospitalizations and the number of people on ventilators, as officials also announced a data clean-up in the state’s COVID-19 numbers. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on social media that there were 288 new COVID-19 cases reported to state officials. The total number of COVID-19 cases, as of Sunday, was 322,415, up 3,220 from Saturday; while the death toll dropped 174 to 5,243.
As of Sunday, 627,733 total vaccine doses have been given since the program began in December.
Governor Extends Public Health Emergency - Mask Mandate Becomes Guideline March 31
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Friday the extension of the state’s public health emergency until March 31. The governor also said all public health directives besides the mask mandate have become guidelines, effective immediately. The mask mandate will become a guideline on March 31 if certain public health goals are met, Hutchinson said. The termination of the mandate would require a combined PCR and antigen positivity rate at 10% or less, with at least 7500 specimens tested on average daily. If testing is below 7500 on average daily, hospitalization rates would become the “indicator for action,” according to the governor. Fewer than 750 hospitalized covid-19 patients statewide would be the “trigger.” Additionally, the governor said all other public health directives will become guidelines, effective immediately. Businesses are offered incentives for following guidelines, because it offers liability protection, he said. If cases were to increase, the governor reassured the emergency order remains in place and can be adjusted as needed, and guidelines may be reinstated as mandates. Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero stressed the importance of Arkansans continuing to wear masks and wash their hands, adding that, despite no findings of covid variants in Arkansas, they may already be in the state. Romero added that despite the mandates becoming guidelines, it is still essential for Arkansans to receive the vaccine, as it is the “only way” we will return to normal.
Arkansas High School Regional Basketball Opponents Set
Opponents have been determined for the first round of the Arkansas High School Regional Basketball Tournaments March 3rd-6th Berryville Lady Bobcats will play Morrilton Wednesday March 3rd at 4PM in Ozark Dolby Williams announcer Green Forest Tigers will play Waldron Wednesday March 3rd at 7PM in Bergman Andy Dean announcer Berryville Bobcats will play Ozark Thursday March 4th at 7PM in Ozark Andy Dean announcer.
We will air all games on 107.1FM Teams that win in the first round will be guaranteed 2 more regional games and
a first round game in the state tournament March 10-13
Arkansas’ Severe Weather Awareness Week is Sunday, February 28th - Saturday March 6th
Todays Topic for Severe Weather Awareness Week is Flooding...
The National Weather Service, in cooperation with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, has proclaimed the week of February 28th through March 6th as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Arkansas. A different topic will be discussed each day, and todays topic is flooding. High water usually comes in two phases: flash flooding and river flooding. Flash floods usually occur within six hours. The rate of rainfall exceeds the rate of runoff; that is, rain falls faster than it can be carried away. Because water has nowhere to go, it covers roads and fills small streams and creeks. Flash flooding is usually caused by very slow-moving thunderstorms, or thunderstorms that repeatedly move over the same areas. Urban settings are especially prone to flash floods due to large amounts of concrete and asphalt surfaces that do not allow water to penetrate into the soil. Places surrounded by steep, hilly terrain are also susceptible to flash floods due to rapid runoff /water moving downhill at elevated speeds/ into streams and creeks. In the last 30 years, flash flooding was the deadliest thunderstorm hazard, and caused more fatalities than tornadoes and lightning. There are an average of 80 to 90 fatalities annually due to flash floods across the country. Roughly half of flash flood deaths occur when people try to drive through flooded areas. Moving water two feet deep is sufficient to carry away most vehicles, even pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. In 2020, despite well above average rainfall and flash flooding at times, high water led to no fatalities. The most deadly flash flood event in recorded state history happened in 2010. The Little Missouri River /a flashy tributary/ rose more than 20 feet during the predawn hours of June 11th. This was after more than half a foot of rain. Campers at the Albert Pike Recreation Area /Montgomery County/ were awakened to raging water, and 20 people drowned. River flooding is a longer term event than flash flooding, and can last for several days or even weeks. Water from flash flooding eventually makes its way into rivers, with excess liquid flowing into nearby towns, fields, etc. Rivers are most likely to overflow when the soil is saturated, and runoff rates are high, and/or water levels are elevated prior to a heavy rain event. When rivers spill over, it can be devastating. Water can overtake homes, businesses, and thousands of acres of cropland. For much of 2020, several tributaries were high including the Black, Cache, Ouachita, and lower White Rivers. Even so, any flooding wasgenerally minor, and the rivers mostly behaved.
...Flood Safety Rules... You should know which places in your area are prone to flooding, and avoid these places in times of rising water. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams while driving or on foot. If flood waters are between you and your destination, the National Weather Service wants you to remember a simple slogan: Turn Around - Don't Drown. Outdoor activities are very popular in Arkansas. If you enjoy camping or similar recreation, be especially careful if you spend the night near streams. A thunderstorm miles upstream from your location could produce enough rain to cause flooding, even if it is not raining much where you are. Never allow children to play around high water, storm drains, and culverts.
Our Severe Weather AwarenessWeek is brought to you in part by Chester Insurance Group.
Lawmakers Return to Little Rock
Today Arkansas lawmakers head back to the Capitol today with another busy week, with bills and an announcement on a proposal for the state’s new Medicaid expansion program. Several bills are on the agenda for the House and Senate, with an announcement expected Monday on the Medicaid expansion program. According to a report from content partner Talk Business & Politics, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and lawmakers will announce the specifics for the program, called ARHOME. Supporters say the program will help 300,000 low-income Arkansas residents who make below 138% of the federal poverty level. The program will use a private insurance model for people to buy health insurance plans like the private option and Arkansas Works, Talk Business & Politics reported. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) and Rep. Michelle Gray (R-Melbourne). Under the proposal, the federal government will pay around 90% of the funding for the program, while the state will pay the rest. Right now under Arkansas Works premium supplements, the state of Arkansas funds about $200 million a year. There is no work requirement but there are incentives for people to work under the program, Talk Business & Politics reported. The state had a work requirement under Arkansas Works but it was struck down in federal court, with state officials awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue. The proposal also includes several plans to help people with insurance. They include RuralLife 360, which will help people in rural Arkansas; Maternal Life360 for pregnant women and families and
SuccessLife360 for veterans, people who are incarcerated and people who are in either foster care or the Division of Youth Services.
Murder Suspect Has Bond Revoked
22-year-old Hunter Chenoweth of De Queen was arrested Wednesday (Feb. 24) night in Central Arkansas in connection to the deaths of three people who were found dead Tuesday (Feb. 23) in a home near Wesley, Arkansas, a small community in Madison County. A bond originally set for $1 million has now been revoked. Chenoweth and the three people found dead had some sort of family connection, but authorities have not further elaborate on their relationship. The victims have been identified as Tami Lynn Chenoweth, 51, James Stanley McGehee, 59, and Cheyene Chenoweth, 26. Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division Special Agents called to the crime scene were able to begin developing leads in the case, prompting a statewide search for two particular vehicles known to have been at the residence earlier in the day and possibly driven away from the crime scene by the killer. Information was also developed identifying a child believed to have been at the home who was abducted by the killer or a woman who had also been at the crime scene. State troopers assigned to the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division found one of the vehicles abandoned in Faulkner County along Interstate 40 near Mayflower. Troopers secured the truck and transported it to state police headquarters where special agents began searching for evidence associated with the Madison County homicides and child abduction. Around 10 p.m., Highway Patrol Division troopers spotted a van matching the description of the second crime scene vehicle traveling westbound along Interstate 30 near Benton. As state troopers initiated a traffic stop, a passenger in the van exited the vehicle armed with a rifle and began verbally provoking the troopers who had made the traffic stop. Simultaneously other troopers moved-in from behind the gunman and were able to arrest Chenoweth.
Tyson Working With Non-Profit to Provide No-Cost Legal Service to Workers & Families
Tyson Foods is working with nonprofit Arkansas Immigrant Defense to provide no-cost legal services to workers and their families. The pilot program will save Tyson workers in Berryville and Green Forest thousands of dollars in legal fees, Tyson said. The meatpacking company started its own immigrant legal service program in some U.S. processing plants last year after workers expressed concerns about the complex citizenship process, the high cost and limited number of experts available to help, especially in rural areas, said Garret Dolan, senior manager of corporate social responsibility at Tyson. As an extension of the program, Tyson is working with Arkansas Immigrant Defense, awarding the nonprofit an 18-month grant to help with advice, outreach and legal services. Dolan did not say how much the grant was. "Our goal is to help as many team members as possible while we get a better understanding of their specific needs," he wrote in an email Friday. Immigration law is complicated and there is much confusion over how it works, according to the American Immigration Council. The process is tricky without an attorney because the clients seeking relief may speak little to no English or have limited access to a computer, said Beth Zilberman, a law professor and director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. There are not a lot of legal services available for immigrants either, especially in rural areas. "The work is incredibly important because a lot of people are eligible for different statuses, but just don't know about them," Zilberman said. Many forgo expensive legal help. Attorney fees can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars, excluding general application fees. Meatpacking workers on average make less than $14 an hour in Arkansas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "It's just out of reach for a lot of folks," said Stephen Coger, lead attorney and executive director at Arkansas Immigrant Defense. The nonprofit, based in Springdale, has been offering free legal services, education and expertise to immigrants and refugees in Northwest Arkansas since 2015. Dolan said that can mean answering basic questions, filing paperwork to become legal citizens or helping workers with more significant legal issues. With Tyson's grant, Coger said the nonprofit is able to expand its services by opening a small office and hiring a full-time worker to be near Tyson employees in Berryville and Green Forest. Dolan said he was unsure of how many workers will use the pilot program, but "my personal hope is that over 100 team members will come forward and ask for help to become citizens."
"One of the really cool things" about this effort is that it brings attorneys to an area where representation is scarce, Zilberman said.
U.S. Senators Introduce Higher Wages for American Workers
U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), along with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), introduced the Higher Wages for American Workers Act Thursday. According to a news release sent by Senator Cotton’s office, the legislation would gradualy raise the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour and mandate E-Verify to ensure the wage increase only goes to legal workers. The legislation would also index future minimum wage increases to inflation and includes protections for small businesses. “American workers today compete against millions of illegal immigrants for too few jobs with wages that are too low—that’s unfair,” Senator Cotton said. “Ending the black market for illegal labor will open up jobs for Americans. Our bill does both.” “It’s been more than a decade since the federal minimum wage has been increased, leaving millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet,” Senator Romney said. “Our proposal would raise wages for nearly 3.5 million workers without costing jobs. Additionally, requiring employers to use E-Verify would ensure that businesses only hire legal workers—eliminating a key driver of illegal immigration.” “This framework balances the needs of employers with opportunities for employees,” Senator Capito said. “This effort demonstrates there are long-term solutions that can be put forth and debated outside of a partisan process that has dubious merit in its implementation in the name of COVID relief.” “I know how difficult it is for anyone trying to get by on the federal minimum wage, which has not been increased since 2009,” Senator Collins said. “Our bill provides a commonsense solution to help struggling families while avoiding the unintended consequence of small businesses being forced to eliminate jobs or reduce hours for their employees.”
Proposed Constitutional Amendment Aimed at Helping Missouri 100% Disabled Vets
A proposed constitutional amendment aimed at preventing the approximately 13,000 Missouri veterans who are 100-percent disabled from paying real property taxes is backed by a St. Charles County veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. State Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, speaks on the Missouri House floor in Jefferson City on February 11, 2020 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications) O’Fallon resident Charles Frederickson served six tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He traveled to Jefferson City on Wednesday afternoon to testify for legislation sponsored by State Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City. Mr. Frederickson has a total service-connected disability, and testifies he cannot find a job and made only $400 last year. Frederickson also has a daughter, who’s been battling a brain tumor. He testified for House Veterans Committee Chairman Griffith’s proposed constitutional amendment, which would exempt from taxation all real property used as a homestead for any veteran with a total service-connected disability. Representative Griffith also testified before the House Ways and Means Committee, telling Chairman Rep. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, that there are 13,153 Missouri veterans who have a total service-connected disability. Griffith praises Frederickson and Missouri’s other disabled veterans. “These men and women that are 100 percent disabled, they got that way for a reason,” Griffith testifies. “We need to honor them, we need to show them the appreciation that we have for the sacrifice they made and the disability they live with everyday.” Griffith has filed House Joint Resolution 32, which is three pages. If Missouri lawmakers approve Griffith’s measure, it would go to the statewide ballot in 2022.
State Capitol Week in Review
From Senator Bob Ballinger
February 26, 2021 LITTLE ROCK –
The legislature has approved a broad tax relief measure for businesses that were affected by the pandemic. House Bill 1361 exempts income that people and businesses received through numerous disaster relief programs, such as the popular Paycheck Protection Program. More than 43,000 Arkansas businesses received more than $3.3 billion through PPP loans. As of mid-January, about 19 percent of those loans have been forgiven. The income exemption includes benefits from federal Small Business Administration loans and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. State revenue officials estimated that HB 1361 would save Arkansans $33 million in tax year 2021 and $179 million the following year. Also, the tax relief in HB 1361 is retroactive to tax year 2019. The legislature passed and sent to the governor HB 1112, which tightens procedures that voters must follow when they show their photo ID before they’re allowed to cast a ballot. Current Arkansas law requires voters to present their photo ID in order to cast a ballot. If they don’t have one they can still cast a ballot after signing a sworn statement affirming they are registered to vote. HB 1112 would repeal the provision. Any voter who has no photo ID at the polling site may cast a provisional ballot, but in order for it to be counted they must present their ID to the county clerk’s office by noon on the Monday following the election. Both chambers of the legislature have passed the “Stand Your Ground” bill. It is Senate Bill 24, which removes a provision in current law that says people may not use deadly force if they are able to retreat safely. A similar bill was filed in the regular session of 2019, but was bottled up in committee after much heated debate. The Senate has passed and sent to the House SB 170 to prohibit unlawful “doxxing” of a minor. “Doxxing” is a modern offense that means using electronic media to publish personal information about someone, or identifying information, for malicious purposes. Those purposes include intimidation, threatening, abuse or harassment. An example is to publish a minor’s address on social media, while also urging everyone to go to the minor’s house and “get” them. The Senate also approved SB 301, directing state agencies to return fines collected from businesses last year for failure to comply with directives issued during the public health emergency. The bill’s supporters said that executive branch agencies did not gather input from legislators about the effect the health directives would have on businesses. Also, they maintain that fines were levied predominately against small businesses, and large franchises were given more leniency. The Senate Education Committee advanced SB 107 to require high school students to complete a computer science course in order to graduate. It applies to students who begin ninth grade in 2022. The bill also requires school districts to hire at least one teacher certified in computer
science for each of their high schools, beginning in 2023-2024.
The Arkansas Department of Health reported 726 new cases Thursday for a total of 318,122 cases. There are 4,720 active cases; 522 hospitalized, which is up 26 from Wednesday; 108 on ventilators, which is up 8 from Wednesday, 10 new deaths were added today, for a total of 5,397. Governor Hutchinson released the following statement on the COVID-19 numbers: “We continue to vaccinate Arkansans at a high level. I want to give credit to our staff at the Department of Health, Col. Ator and all our provider partners for their tireless efforts to ensure we can get vaccines into the arms of Arkansans. If Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine is approved, it will provide another tool in our arsenal in the fight against COVID-19.” Gov. Asa Hutchinson is set to make what his office is calling a “significant announcement” today regarding the current health emergency in Arkansas from COVID-19. In a release issued Thursday, the governor’s office said the Friday morning announcement will address the
current status of pandemic response and as give updates on COVID-19 directives in the state.
National FFA Week
Each year, FFA chapters around the country celebrate National FFA Week by sharing what FFA is and the impact it has on members every day. During the week, you'll find FFA members doing several things to celebrate and promote FFA. The Carroll County chapters of FFA are gearing up for a big Rodeo March 13th. Green Forest FFA members have recorded some Public Service announcements to promote National FFA week...
Some famous former FFA members include Taylor Swift and Beyonce.
Farmington Defeats Berryville at District Tournament
Farmington defeats Berryville 62 to 47 in district tournament championship.Berryville trailed by 2 at half but Farmington went on a 9 to 0 run to start the second half and took control the rest of the way. Landon Chester finished with 19 points in the loss and eclipsed 1000 career points . Berryville will play next Thursday in 4A North Regional in Ozark. Opponent to be determined. Berryville Lady Bobcats lost to Harrison in 3rd place game 49 to 38. They will play next Wednesday in Regional Tournament in Ozark. Here's the wrap with Andy Dean...
Quorum Court Report
The Carroll County Quorum Court met Monday for their February meeting. All J.P.'s were present except for John Howerton.
Linda Boyer has that report....
Triple Homicide Victim's Relative Speaks Out
The daughter of one of the triple homicide victims in Madison County is speaking out about the tragedy. Nikki Jackson is the daughter of James McGhee and says most of the family is in shock, but they are making arrangements for the remaining children in the home including the 10-month-old baby to move back down to De Queen while they plan three funerals. Tami Lynn Chenoweth, 51, James Stanley McGehee, 59, and Cheyene Chenoweth, 26 were part of a large blended family. Jackson says the trio were avid churchgoers and tried to put God into the community. Last year, murder suspect Hunter Chenoweth was arrested and accused of stabbing James. Jackson says only Hunter knows the motive for the murders. She says she is not angry with him, but heartbroken. She says she's waiting on police to make strides on their investigation. She says Cheyene adored being a mother, and the baby will have to be raised by other family members now. The family is still working out the details. Arkansas State Police are still leading the investigation and trying to piece together what happened. Hunter Chenowith, 22, is being held in Washington County on a $1 million bond.
Stricter Voter I.D. Law Sent to Gov. Hutchinson
The Arkansas Senate has sent Gov. Asa Hutchinson legislation making the state’s voter ID law stricter. The majority-Republican Senate by a 25 to 9 vote approved a bill that will no longer allow people without identification to cast a ballot, even if they sign a statement affirming their identity. The House approved the measure earlier this month. Under the state’s current law, a voter who doesn’t present photo identification but signs
a statement can cast a provisional ballot that will be counted unless the county election commission finds it invalid.
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings Criteria Changed
The National Weather Service will be launching Severe Thunderstorm Warnings based on the threat of damage beginning on April 28. Right now, Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued whenever winds of 58 mph or higher and/or hail 1″ in diameter or larger are expected. The new warning criteria will identify when considerable or destructive damage is possible or expected. Under the new system, when a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued, it will specify if the threat is Radar Indicated or Spotter Observed. It will also be “tagged” with Considerable Damage Threat when winds of 70 to 80 mph and/or 1¾-2½” diameter hail is expected or possible and Destructive Damage Threat when winds of more than 80 mph and/or 2¾” diameter hail is expected or possible. Another addition will be that when a Severe Thunderstorm Warning with a Destructive Damage Threat is issued, it will alert on cell phones as a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) through FEMA‘s Integrated Public Alert And Warning System (IPAWS). As of right now,
there are no plans to change the format of Tornado Warnings as these already broadcast as a WEA through IPAWS.
Bass Pro Shops Makes Forbes' "Best Of" List
Earlier this month, Springfield's best-known private enterprise landed on a "best of" list with the likes of NASA, Yale University and Trader Joe's. Bass Pro Shops was named by Forbes magazine among its 2021 crop of "America's Best Large Employers," according to an article dated Feb. 9. Bass Pro ranked No. 9 in the Forbes survey of 50,000 employees, all of whom have jobs at organizations with at least 1,000 workers, operating across 25 industries in the wider economy. The magazine asked everyone taking the survey to rate how willing they were to recommend their own employers to friends and family. Participants also had the option to nominate companies for "Best Large Employers" that weren't the ones where they work.
With more than 16,000 new vaccinations delivered Gov. Hutchinson announced that the state will begin giving vaccines to those 65 and up. “By expanding the eligibility of those who can get the vaccine to 65 and older, we will continue to administer these shots as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Gov. Hutchinson said. The Arkansas Department of Health reported 803 new cases for a total of 317,396 cases. There are 4,676 active cases, 496 hospitalized, which is down 49 from Tuesday; 100 on ventilators, which is up 1 from Tuesday. 10 new deaths were added today, for a total of 5,387.
National FFA Week
We continue now with our feature this week for National FFA Week, with members of the Berryville and Green Forest Chapters of FFA....
FFA advisor at Green Forest is Keith Kilbourn.....
Carroll County chapters are gearing up for their annual Rodeo, this year on March 13th.
Basketball Playoff Tonight on KTHS
Berryville Bobcats vs Farmington Cardinals The Berryville Bobcats will play for the senior high boy’s 4A-1 District basketball tournament championship tonight against Farmington. Andy Dean, the voice of the Bobcats, will make the call live from Farmington at 6PM on 107.1 KTHS. The Bobcats defeated Shiloh Christian Tuesday in the semifinals by a score of 67-32 and Farmington defeated Huntsville 84-50 in their semifinal game. The two number one seed teams have met only once this season and the Cardinals took the home victory 77-68 on January 16th. The winner will advance to the 4A North Regional tournament in Ozark as the number one seed. Andy Dean will have scoring updates for the Berryville Lady Bobcats as they will play a third place game at Harrison tonight, also with a 6PM tipoff. Down load the free KTHS app or listen online at www.kthsradio.com.
Good luck to the Bobcats and Lady Bobcats!
Keith Rivera Named Carla Younglood Award Recipient
Photo: Award Recipient Keith Rivera & Mary Knight, Berryville Friends of the Library President The Friends of the Berryville Library are pleased to announce Keith Rivera as the newest recipient of the Carla Youngblood Community Service Award recognizing individuals who have made this community a better place to live and work. When Keith Rivera graduated from Berryville High School in 1995, little did he know that over 20 years later he would be returning to the community that raised him and would be given an opportunity to give back to the community that meant so much growing up. After graduation, Rivera joined the Army where he was part of the bomb squad for over 7 years. Stationed in Utah, he was deployed overseas until moving to the civilian side where he was part of the clean up efforts for defense sites in the United States and later spent over 4 years in Iraq continuing the clean up efforts. Rivera, who owns the Fairway Inn has completely remodeled every room at the Fairway Inn and has added a 3 bedroom, 2 bath Cabin behind the motel property. Rivera is working from a 5 year plan that will add 20 additional rooms plus 3 tree house cottages. Rivera also owns the vacant lot beside the motel that he has future plans of building a restaurant building. He has already gotten a verbal agreement from an area businessman who is willing to expand his restaurant business when the building is completed. Rivera has always wanted to do his part in eliminating the great divide between Berryville and Eureka Springs and has since purchased the Chateau Cottage in downtown Eureka and also the Log Cabin Inn at the beginning of the historic loop in Eureka Springs. Having businesses in both towns allows for collaboration opportunities. As the recipient of the Carla Youngblood award, Rivera's name will be placed on a perpetual plaque which is hung prominently in the library along with a paper certificate. When asked who he wanted to give his $25 cash award to, he was quick to state the Carroll County Historical Society and touted
them for keeping the history of Berryville alive through projects such as the Mill Creek Spring improvement project.
Suspect Arrested in Triple Homicide
A De Queen man was arrested Tuesday night in Saline County in connection to a triple homicide in Madison County. Authorities say Hunter Chenoweth, 22, is suspected of killing three people near Wesley in Madison County. The homicide victims were identified as 51-year-old Tami Lynn Chenoweth, 59-year-old James Stanley McGhee and 26-year-old Cheyene Chenoweth. Special Agents with the Arkansas State Police, who were called in to lead the case, developed Hunter Chenoweth as a suspect. Two vehicles that were noted to be at the home prompted a statewide search for Hunter Chenoweth, an unnamed 25-year-old woman from De Queen and a child that was at the residence who was abducted. State troopers were able to locate a truck abandoned along Interstate 40 near Mayflower in Faulkner County that matched the description of one that was at the home earlier in the day. Just after 10 p.m. Tuesday night, state troopers located the second vehicle near Benton traveling westbound on Interstate 30 near Benton. Troopers stopped the vehicle when Hunter Chenoweth exited the vehicle armed with a rifle and “began verbally provoking the troopers”, according to a news release from Arkansas State Police. Other officers were able to move in from behind the gunman and took him into custody. Officials say the child was found unharmed and the female driver was questioned by state police and released. Hunter Chenoweth is being held at the Saline County Detention Center while the homicide investigation continues. Formal charges associated with the homicides
will be determined by the Madison County prosecuting attorney.
House Approves Stand Your Ground Bill
Arkansas lawmakers have sent Gov. Asa Hutchinson legislation that loosens the state's restrictions on using lethal force in self defense. The House on Wednesday voted 72 to 23 for the bill, which removes the state's duty to retreat before using deadly force. The Senate approved the measure last month. A similar bill stalled in the Legislature two years ago, but the measure this year has moved more easily after groups that opposed it said they were neutral to the latest version. The governor has not said whether he supports the legislation.
Flu Cases Remain Very Low
February is usually the peak of flu season, with doctors' offices and hospitals packed with suffering patients. But not this year. Flu has virtually disappeared from the U.S., with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades. Experts say that measures put in place to fend off the coronavirus — mask wearing, social distancing and virtual schooling — were a big factor in preventing a “twindemic” of flu and COVID-19. A push to get more people vaccinated against flu probably helped, too, as did fewer people traveling, they say. Another possible explanation: The coronavirus has essentially muscled aside flu and other bugs that are more common in the fall and winter. Scientists don't fully understand the mechanism behind that, but it would be consistent with patterns seen when certain flu strains predominate over others, said Dr. Arnold Monto, a flu expert at the University of Michigan. Nationally, “this is the lowest flu season we’ve had on record,” according to a surveillance system that is about 25 years old, said Lynnette Brammer of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitals say the usual steady stream of flu-stricken patients never materialized. The numbers are astonishing considering flu has long been the nation's biggest infectious disease threat. In recent years, it has been blamed for 600,000 to 800,000 annual hospitalizations and 50,000 to 60,000 deaths. Across the globe, flu activity has been at very low levels in China, Europe and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. And that follows reports of little flu in South Africa, Australia and other countries
during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter months of May through August.
Gas Prices Likely To Rise Through Summer
It may feel like gas prices are high right now, but come summer you may be wishing the winter fuel prices would return. The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline jumped 14 cents a gallon over the past two weeks to $2.64, according to the Associated Press. The price at the pump has climbed 46 cents since Nov. 20. Some of the rise this past week was attributable to the deep freeze in the South, which temporarily shut down production at about a dozen refineries in and around Texas. Resumption of production there could bring some temporary relief, but the long-term outlook is not as rosy. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey told the AP that gas prices will likely continue to rise as crude oil costs remain high. Analysts at Gas Buddy see a similar trajectory emerging. “As we near spring weather, we’ll likely see another longer term rise in prices begin as refineries start to transition to summer gasoline,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy said in a blog post this week. De Haan said that $2.80 is a more likely average peak this spring, but Phil Flynn of the Price Futures Group told the paper the $3 mark is a real possibility. Even if the $3 average barrier isn’t broken, rising crude oil prices likely mean averages near $2 per gallon we saw last year are long gone. “The era of low gasoline prices has ended and we are entering a new era of higher prices,” Flynn says. Yahoo Finance points to service disruptions and the pricier summer blends as contributing factors to the price rise but also sees an increased likelihood of post-vaccination travel and stimulus spending as reasons demand will surge. On average, residents of California and Hawaii were already paying over $3 per gallon this week, with the average
price in Washington State sitting at $2.98. The lowest average is $2.20 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
A new group of Arkansans will soon be able to get the vaccination for COVID-19....
National FFA Week Being Celebrated
National FFA Week is always celebrated the week of George Washington's birthday. The event commemorates Washington's dedication and involvement in agriculture. The Furture Farmers of America began as a statewide group for vocational agriculture students and was started in Virginia in 1917. By 1927, a federal agent for agricultural education and a teacher trainer at Virginia State College wrote the first constituion and bylaws for the "New Farmer of Virginia". Their constitution and bylaws helped form the constituion and bylaws of the FFA. Carroll County chapters of the FFA are working together to bring awareness to FFA, and that includes a big Rodeo March 24th. Green Forest FFA chapter members have recorded a series of public service announcements that are airing on KTHS this week....
Some famous FFA members include Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp.
High School Basketball Playoff Update
The Berryville senior high boy’s basketball team advanced to the 4A-1 District tournament championship game after they defeated Shiloh Christian in the semifinals last night by a score of 67-32. Berryville will play Thursday at 6PM against Farmington @ Farmington. Andy Dean will broadcast the game for 107.1 KTHS. The Berryville Lady Bobcats lost to Pea Ridge 57-48 last night in the semifinals of the 4A-1 district tournament. The Lady Bobcats will play a third place game Thursday at 6PM against Harrison @ Harrison. The Green Forest senior high boy’s basketball team fell to number one seed Bergman 76-47 last night in the semifinals of the 3A-1 West district tournament. The Tigers next game will be next Wednesday
March 3rd in the 3A Region 1 Regional tournament in Bergman, opponent to be determined. All three teams have qualified
for Regional tournaments next week March 3-6
Berryville School Board Report
The Berryville Board of Education met for a regular scheduled meeting, Monday, February 22nd. The Board approved the following: Solar Lease and Easement Agreement; Renewal of the School Board/Educators Legal Liability Insurance; the January Fuel Purchase; The purchase of a new Middle School Intercom System; The Salary Increase as submitted; and, The Chenal Agreement. Mr. Powell reported to the Board that attendance
as of February 9th, was 1,833 students, which is down 33 students from last year.
Two People Dead, Two Critical from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Boone County Sheriff Tim Roberson says two people are dead and two others are in critical condition due to carbon monoxide poisoning. According to Sheriff Tim Roberson said on Monday, deputies responded to a call about unresponsive individuals at a home off of New Hope Road. When first responders arrived, they found four people unresponsive inside a small storage structure that the family was living in, according to Roberson. Eston Warren, 59, died at the home, according to officials. The Boone County sheriff said a 9-year-old girl was pronounced dead at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center. A 50-year-old woman and a 29-year-old woman were taken by Med Evac helicopter to a Springfield hospital where they are in critical condition. Investigators say the cause was determined to be carbon monoxide poisoning due to kerosene heaters that were being used in the small space. Sheriff Roberson asks people to use caution when using generators and alternate heat sources in confined living spaces. Carbon monoxide is produced from heat sources and combustion engines and prevents the body from getting oxygen. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, chest pain, confusion and shortness of breath. Roberson encourages families to check
their fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Mercy Hospital and Clinic-Cassville Sustains Fire Damage
The Mercy Hospital and Clinic in Cassville remains closed after a fire on Monday causing six patients to be transferred to the nearby hospital in Aurora. No date has been set yet for the facility to be reopened, but a maintenance worker there is being credited for keeping the situation from being worse than it was thanks to his quick action. No one was injured in the fire. On Tuesday some yellow tape around the entrances and workers in the halls doing repairs were the only major signs there’d been a fire in the building as only about a quarter of the facility had any damage from
the fire that started in an HVAC unit on the building’s roof.
Voter I.D. Law Heading to Arkansas Senate Floor
A bill that would tighten Arkansas' voter-identification law by removing a provision allowing voters without IDs to sign their names in order to have their ballot counted will head to the Senate floor, over the objections of lawmakers and community groups that said it would make it harder for certain populations to cast ballots. House Bill 1112 by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, cleared the Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs, an eight-member panel consisting of seven Republicans and one Democrat, in a voice vote after more than an hour of testimony and discussion Tuesday afternoon. "The intent of this bill is not to disenfranchise. It is not to suppress. It is to have an absolute standard of verification," Lowery said, noting the importance of people having faith in elections. Lowery was also a leader of the effort to enact voter ID in Arkansas, a law that the Legislature passed in 2017. Arkansas voters also approved voter ID as an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution in 2018. In 2017, Lowery said, people from both sides of the political spectrum had persuaded him to add the provision allowing voters without IDs to sign their names. County election officials are required to verify the signature. However, Lowery said, there is no uniform standard for verifying those signatures. Opponents of the bill, including committee members Sen. Breanne Davis, R-Russellville, and Sen. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock, said it would create difficulties for people who are elderly or disabled. Those people may not have a driver's license or may find it difficult to return to their polling place a
second time if they initially forgot their identification.
Stand Your Ground Bill Headed to Legislature for Final Vote
An effort to loosen Arkansas' restrictions on the use of deadly force in self-defense is headed to a final vote in the state Legislature. The House Judiciary Committee voted 10-9 for a bill that would remove the duty to retreat, sending the Senate-backed measure to the full House. If approved by the House, the bill heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk. The bill advanced weeks after the same committee rejected the measure. Most of the debate on Tuesday focused on an unsuccessful effort to loosen the restrictions even further. Similar legislation stalled in the Legislature two years ago.
Must Still Wear Mask After Vaccination
So you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, can you take off your mask for good? According to the physicians NEXSTAR spoke with, the answer is unequivocally no. “You absolutely cannot [stop wearing a mask],” said Dawn Davis, a physician at Mayo Clinic. “We want to make sure that you’re not potentially spreading the virus to others and also that you don’t accidentally pick up the virus from someone else.” Though the vaccine protects you from contracting a severe case of COVID-19, researchers have yet to determine if it also halts transmission, or spreading from person-to-person. Until we know more, public health protocols — wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands — must stay in place. Additionally, while the vaccines are highly effective at preventing you from contracting the virus, there is still a small chance that the virus could break through your defenses.
Current data suggests that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are the only two available in the U.S.,
are 95-percent effective at preventing you from contracting COVID.
Tiger Woods "Lucky to Be Alive"
Golf star Tiger Woods underwent major surgery after he was involved in a rollover crash Tuesday morning and suffered "multiple leg injuries," according to authorities and the golfer's agent. The golf legend's team released a statement late Tuesday expressing gratitude saying, "Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by Orthopedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center." The statement went on to say that Woods had open fractures "affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones." The bones were stabilized "by inserting a rod into the tibia." According to representatives, there were also injuries to Woods' foot bones and ankle bones which were stabilized using screws and pins. Surgical release of the covering of muscles was needed to help trauma of the soft-tissue and muscle, according to Dr. Anish Mahajan, the Chief Medical Officer and Interim CEO at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Wood's is said to be responsive and awake while recovering in the hospital.