Monday thru Friday
8am, Noon & 5pm
Saturday & Sunday
at 7am and Noon
Pledge of Allegiance
Gov. Asa Hutchinson held his weekly
Covid-19 Update on Tuesday....
Incentives Offered to Move to Bentonville
Bentonville, Arkansas, the self-proclaimed “mountain bike capital of the world,” wants to give you a new bike to move there. Not quite enough to book the movers? They’ll even throw in an additional $10,000 to help sweeten the deal. It's all part of the Life Works Here initiative, which highlights the region’s lifestyle and career benefits. The nonprofit Northwest Arkansas Council hopes to use that unique work-life balance to draw even more potential workers to the area. The corporate home of Walmart, Bentonville and its surrounding communities have gone all-in on a comprehensive trail network, building more than 160 miles of paved greenways and 320 miles of single track. You need to already have a full-time remote job or skills needed in the local community, such as tech talent, budding entrepreneurs, graphic designers and other creative types. Surf instructors, lobster fishermen, and potato farmers all provide great services to the world but probably won’t make the cut for this program. Perhaps most importantly, the promise of a free bike is a bit of a misnomer; instead, you get a $600 credit at a local bike shop — which is still good! Just don’t think you can buy a $9,000 Pivot Switchblade and send the bill to the Northwest Arkansas Council. (And if you don’t bike, the council is offering a free membership to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art or one of the area’s other cultural institutions.) Peacock says they’ve already received more than 10,000 applications from all 50 states and even more countries. Winning applicants must agree to move to Northwest Arkansas within six months of being chosen. After they provide proof of a mortgage or lease on an apartment, the $10,000 will be paid out over installments over the next year.
November Beaver Moon Peaks Monday
November’s full moon sneaks in before the end of the month, putting a wrap on the long Thanksgiving weekend. The beaver moon rises early Monday, reaching its peak at 4:30 a.m. ET, NASA says. The November full moon was traditionally called the beaver moon by both colonial and Native Americans. “This is the time of year when beavers begin to take shelter in their lodges, having laid up sufficient stores of food for the long winter ahead,” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. “During the time of the fur trade in North America, it was also the season to trap beavers for their thick, winter-ready pelts.” Viewing conditions for the full moon will depend on the weather and skies in your area. The moon will look full a day before
and after its peak.
Audra Deason Appointed Branch Manager
of Holiday Island CS
Bank Branch Jason Tennant, President and CLO, CS Bank, is pleased to announce the promotion of Mrs. Audra Deason to Branch Manager for CS Bank’s Holiday Island location. Mrs. Deason will be responsible for the oversight of the deposit services staff and daily operations of the Holiday Island facility. As the bank continues to grow its client base, Mrs. Deason will provide sound advice to new and current customers to find products and services to fit their individual needs. Mrs. Deason joined CS Bank in August, after working as a Supply Chain Analyst at Refresco Beverages. Prior to her position at Refresco Beverages, Audra worked as a Partnership Development Analyst for 15 years at J.B. Hunt. Tennant commented, “Audra has shown impressive leadership and her customer service skills set a great example for all of us. I have total confidence in her success and ability to lead our team. This promotion is well deserved and is an exciting time for our bank family as we continue to grow and expand.” Audra currently resides in Shell Knob, Missouri with her husband Ed. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time at the lake and playing with her grand babies.
Sunbeam Multi-Cooker Recalled
Home appliance maker Sunbeam has recalled more than 940,000 of their 6-Quart Express Crock Multi- Cookers due to a burn hazard, according to the manufacturer. The products were sold in the U.S. and Canada at Walmart, Target, and other retail stores nationwide and online at Amazon and other online retailers from July 2017 through November 2020 for between $70 to $100. The recalled crock-pot can pressurize when the lid is not fully locked and may cause the lid to suddenly detach while the product is in use, posing burn risks to consumers from hot food and liquids ejected from the product. “Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Crock-Pot in pressure cooker mode, but may continue to use for slow cooking and sautéing,” Sunbeam said. “Consumers should contact Crock-Pot immediately to obtain a free replacement lid. Consumers who continue using the multi-cooker in pressure cooker mode while waiting for the replacement lid should be certain the lid is securely turned to the fully locked position by aligning the arrow on the lid with the lock symbol on the base.” The crock-pots were manufactured between July 1, 2017 and Oct. 1, 2018, with date codes K196JN through K365JN and L001JN through L273JN. The date code is engraved on one of the prongs of the electrical plug and on the bottom of the base Sunbeam said they received 119 reports of lid detachment, resulting in 99 burn injuries ranging in severity from first-degree to third-degree burns.
Teen Killed in Hunting
A 14-year-old boy was killed in a hunting accident near Hartford Monday afternoon, according to Arkansas Game & Fish. Newt Hodge and his brother, 19-year-old Kasey Hodge, had shot a deer and started to load it into their truck. A gun that was leaning on the truck fell and went off. Newt was hit in the back. The shot went through his body and hit Kasey in the shoulder. The brothers were taken to the hospital where Newt was pronounced dead. Kasey is expected to survive. This the second hunting death in the state so far this year, according to Arkansas Game & Fish.
Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty
Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty Tuesday to three criminal charges, formally taking responsibility for its part in an opioid epidemic that has contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths but also angering critics who want to see individuals held accountable, in addition to the company. In a virtual hearing with a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, the OxyContin maker admitted impeding the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s efforts to combat the addiction crisis. Purdue acknowledged that it had not maintained an effective program to prevent prescription drugs from being diverted to the black market, even though it had told the DEA it did have such a program, and that it provided misleading information to the agency as a way to boost company manufacturing quotas. It also admitted paying doctors through a speakers program to induce them to write more prescriptions for its painkillers. And it admitted paying an electronic medical records company to send doctors information on patients that encouraged them to prescribe opioids. The guilty pleas were entered by Purdue board chairperson Steve Miller on behalf of the company. They were part of a criminal and civil settlement announced last month between the Stamford, Connecticut- based company and the Justice Department. The deal includes $8.3 billion in penalties and forfeitures, but the company is on the hook for a direct payment to the federal government of only a fraction of that, $225 million. It would pay the smaller amount as long as it executes a settlement moving through federal bankruptcy court with state and local governments and other entities suing it over the toll of the opioid epidemic. Members of the wealthy Sackler family who own the company have also agreed to pay $225 million to the federal government to settle civil claims. No criminal charges have been filed against family members, although their deal leaves open the possibility of that in the future.
The Arkansas Department of Health reported 1,017 new cases Monday making a total of 146,190 cases. There are currently 16,727 active cases in Arkansas according to the ADH, and 12 new hospitalizations making a record-high 974 hospitalized due to COVID-19 30 new deaths were added for a total of 2,387 deaths. The Health Department reported the top counties for new cases are Pulaski, Washington, Benton, Sebastian and Saline. Governor Hutchinson released the following statement on today’s COVID-19 numbers: “We saw a decrease in new cases from last Monday, and this is a hopeful sign; but our hospitalizations are still going up. How we handle Thanksgiving this year will determine our hospitalizations around Christmas. Thanks for being a part of turning this fight around.”
Gas Prices Low and Going Lower
Gas prices this Thanksgiving could be their lowest in five years. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Arkansas fell 1.9 cents in the past week to $1.79, according to GasBuddy.com. That’s 6.5 cents a gallon less than motorists paid out last month and 49.6 cents less than a year ago. The national average fell 1.5 cents to $2.10/gallon. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, points to the COVID-19 pandemic with sapping demand for gasoline. “We may end up seeing the lowest Thanksgiving prices in five years if prices continue to trend lower this week,” he was quoted as saying in a Monday, Nov. 23, news release. He expects demand will remain well below prior years between now and the end of the year.
Jim Ranger Picked by Blake Shelton on The Voice
Friends and family of a pastor, whose “Arkansas roots run deep” as his faith, are praying his voice delivers a knockout punch. Newport native, Jim Ranger, appears on the Knockout Round of 'The Voice' with his rendition of 'Humble and Kind' Newport native, Jim Ranger, appears on the Knockout Round of 'The Voice' with his rendition of 'Humble and Kind' (Source: KAIT) Jim Ranger is a third-generation pastor from Newport competing in the NBC hit show, “The Voice.” Monday night, he went head-to-head against his teammate Jus Jon in the Knockout round. Ranger’s voice cracked as he explained to the panel why he chose to perform the song, “Humble and Kind.” “This is that generational song that you pass down,” he said. “I got two knucklehead boys—and they’re awesome—this is one of those songs that we sit around and listen to with my dad, my boys.” He concluded by saying, “I think more than anything, I want people to be nice humans.” Blake Shelton ended up picking Ranger for his performance.
Arkansas Research Group Working on Vaccine
Cases of the coronavirus continue to rise in Arkansas. Statewide there have been over 125,500 diagnosed cases and over 2,300 deaths, with positivity rates increasing to 14.4% over the past several weeks Local doctors and healthcare providers with Woodland International Research Group are working together to conduct clinical research studies in an effort to develop a safe and effective vaccine. “We’re looking at an investigational vaccine that we think may provide some hope in preventing further spread of this disease,” says Dr. George Konis, MD Principal Investigator and Medical Director of Woodland International Research Group. “This trial is noteworthy because the vaccine being researched is based upon the same technology that has had prior success in the development of other safe and effective vaccines. In fact, over 100,000 people have previously been vaccinated utilizing this platform.” “It’s important that we do our due diligence in the clinical trial process to be sure that what we give our patients is safe and effective. I want to stress that this is not a live virus and you will not contract covid-19 from the vaccine. The technology used actually involves an inactivated common cold virus.” Woodland International Research Group located in Little Rock, AR is one of the many research sites across the country currently doing their part to evaluate these vaccines. They are currently looking for generally healthy individuals over the age of 18 to participate and join the fight against COVID-19. Dr. Konis also stresses the importance of getting a broad range of people to participate in this study. “Ideally we need a diverse group including people of all ages and ethnicities to participate. This helps to reflect the population that may eventually take this vaccine as well as study the response between different ages, gender and ethnicities.” “Our goal is clear; to save lives,” says Dr. Konis “We’ll continue in our fight and do our part to help those in our community and around the world.”
Arkansas-Missouri Game Postponed
On Monday evening the SEC & University of Arkansas sent out a press release postponing the Arkansas- Missouri football game, and the Tennessee-Vanderbilt football game. Arkansas Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek tweeting out this shortly after the announcement: @CoachSamPittman and I are disappointed that we could not find a viable path for our student-athletes to safely compete at Missouri this weekend. We will use this week as an opportunity to get healthy again and we look forward to playing Alabama and Missouri to end the season. Arkansas and Missouri could be rescheduled for December 19, 2020, depending on what the SEC decides. The Hogs next game is December 5, 2020, against Alabama.
Americans Not Heeding Travel Warnings
About 1 million Americans a day packed airports and planes over the weekend even as coronavirus deaths surged across the U.S. and public health experts begged people to stay home and avoid big Thanksgiving gatherings. And the crowds are only expected to grow. Next Sunday is likely to be the busiest day of the holiday period. To be sure, the number of people flying for Thanksgiving is down by more than half from last year because of the rapidly worsening outbreak. However, the 3 million who went through U.S. airport checkpoints from Friday through Sunday marked the biggest crowds since mid-March, when the COVID-19 crisis took hold in the United States. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans not to travel or spend the holiday with people outside their household. New cases of the virus in the U.S. have rocketed to all-time highs, averaging more than 170,000 per day, and deaths have soared to over 1,500 a day, the highest level since the spring. The virus is blamed for more than a quarter-million deaths in the U.S. and over 12 million confirmed infections.
Injures Two Teens
Sebastian County Sheriff's Office deputies Monday responded to the scene of a possible hunting accident in the Hartford Township area on Cedar Creek Road, according to Capt. Philip Pevehouse. According to Pevehouse, at this time there is no evidence of foul play. Pevehouse says there are two victims, one 16-year-old and a 14-year-old. One of them was life-flighted to an area hospital and the other was taken by ambulance. Their conditions are unknown at this time. Investigators believe one shot went into both victims and believe the accident happened during the loading of a deer into a vehicle. Arkansas Game & Fish is present with SCSO investigators. Since it has been deemed a hunting accident, AG&F will be the lead agency in the investigation The incident is still under investigation.
The state of Arkansas saw an additional 1,905 COVID-19 cases reported Saturday as the number of hospitalizations statewide was down. The state also reported the number of total deaths went up 16 Saturday. On Sunday, 1,352 Arkansans have been added to the lists of those who have contracted COVID-19 during the pandemic. There have been 20 more confirmed case deaths related to the disease. The Arkansas Health Department reports 2,357 total deaths have occurred in Arkansas due to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. 125,153 Arkansans are considered recovered. There are now 17,646 active cases in the state.
962 people are hospitalized statewide,
that is 37 more than yesterday’s number.
A record 163 people are on ventilators.
Forestry-Rural Fire Protection Warehouse Offers Huge Discounts to Fire Departments
Dozens of volunteer fire departments across the state struggle with tight budgets. They often can’t afford the supplies they need to do their job well. The Forestry-Rural Fire Protection Warehouse in Greenbrier is full of tools and equipment. The Arkansas Forestry Commission gets these leftover supplies from the D-O-D. Then, they open their doors and get local fire departments to get whatever they want – for free. The work of a volunteer fire fighter has little glitz and glory. No pay while doing more with less. The Warehouse also offers fire department vehicles at a huge discount. A tanker that would normally cost a department $250 thousand; they can get at a warehouse for about $5 thousand.
to Fast Track Nursing
Future nurses are bracing themselves for the front lines of the pandemic following a Friday announcement from state leaders. Governor Hutchinson said in a press conference he will fast track 1,104 nursing students so they can alleviate the stress in Arkansas hospitals in just a few weeks. He said the board will expedite their licensure. Hutchison also said their application fees would be waived. However, the background check would still happen and students would still have
to pay that particular fee.
State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger November 20, 2020
Arkansas schools this fall have seen a drop in enrollment of about 6,428 students. The good news is that the number of students in computer science courses is more than 10,000, which is a record high. The number of children being home schooled has gone up by 3,888 compared to last year. The total number of children in Arkansas being home schooled this year is 26,039. The total enrollment in Arkansas public schools this year is 473,004, based on a count done in October by state education officials and reported to the state Board of Education. This year’s enrollment is down more than 1 percent compared with October of 2019, when it was 479,432. The change in enrollment from public schools to home schools can be attributed to parents’ concerns about the safety of their children during the coronavirus pandemic. The younger the age group, the more remarkable is the increase in home schooling this year. For example, there has been a 72 percent increase in the number of kindergarten students being home schooled. For first graders the increase was more than 55 percent and for third graders the increase in home schooled children was more than 51 percent. Public education is high among the priorities of the Arkansas legislature, and state aid provides more than half of local school district revenue. Funding is based on enrollment, so financial consequences follow any changes in the number of children in the classroom. In the proposed budget for state government for next fiscal year, the general revenue fund would be about $5.8 billion. Of that amount, more than $2.5 billion would go into the state’s Public School Fund. During the interim between legislation sessions, the Senate and House Education Committees work at length on the school funding formula, in order to recommend the amount that will adequately fund public schools. The Arkansas Constitution makes it the state’s duty to provide an equal and adequate education for all children, and the state has lost school funding lawsuits when it failed to do so. The number of students in computer science classes rose by 6.5 percent over last year, according to the recent enrollment reports. The Education Department reported that more girls than ever are taking at least one computer science class. The number of female students rose to 3,135, which is 28 percent more than last year and 1,300 percent more than in 2014, when 223 girls were enrolled in computer science classes. When the legislature convenes in January, it will consider a bill that would require all students to pass a computer science class to graduate. It also would require all high schools to hire at least one certified computer science teacher. Enrollment has been dramatically increasing since 2015, when the legislature approved Act 187 to require all Arkansas high schools to offer at least one computer science course. Since then, the state also has increased opportunities for teachers to become certified in computer sciences. There were 274 teachers certified in computer science last year, compared to only six when Act 187 was passed.
Half of Public School Districts Report 5 or More
Cases of Coronavirus
Active cases in public school systems across the state continued to increase this week, according to data released Thursday evening by the Arkansas Department of Health. There are now 138 districts -- almost half the public school districts and charter school systems in Arkansas -- with five or more active cases, bringing the cumulative total of cases in school systems to 2,559, the Department of Health reported in its educational institution data released biweekly on Mondays and Thursdays. The state has 262 school districts and 24 open enrollment charter school systems, according to the division of Elementary and Secondary Education. Last Monday, there were 2,215 active cumulative cases and 124 districts with five or more positive cases, the Health Department reported. Districts with fewer than five cases are not individually identified for privacy issues, though those numbers are included in the cumulative total. With 160 active cases, the Springdale School District has the most, followed by the Bentonville School District with 103 and the Fort Smith School District with 85. The Springdale district is the state's largest district enrollment-wise. Positive cases at private schools number at 128, with Pulaski Academy in Little Rock at the top of the list with 14 cases, according to the Health Department.
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin Wants to Phase Out State Income Tax
Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin has a bold idea for the upcoming General Session that starts on January 11. In an interview for a Little Rock station, Griffin said he wants to phase out the state income tax. He noted that Louisiana and Mississippi are also considering the idea and that neighboring states Texas and Tennessee already have no state income tax. Griffin also discussed the fact that residents of Texarkana on the Arkansas side of the city are exempt from state income sales tax, Military pay, and military benefits are also exempt.
Hottest Toys for the Holidays
Get your wish lists ready! It’s time to take a look at the hottest toys for the holidays.
Paw Patrol Dino Rescue – Ages 6+
When the dinosaurs yelp for help paw patrol jumps into action saving the day is more adventurous than ever with the Dino Patroller, the first-ever motorized Paw Patrol team vehicle! And has room for all 6 pups. It features oversized wheels, a projectile launcher and an exclusive Chase and T. Rex dinosaur action figure, the other pups are sold separate. Push the button on the top and it drives. It has all terrain wheels so kiddos can rescue dinosaurs in all environments. It also has a projectile launcher and space for chase.
Mixy Squish Mega Pack – Ages 3+
Moldable clay that offer glitter and with accessories to add to your clay. You can squeeze and stretch the clay into fun shapes. It comes with a booklet with ideas to help bring your kiddos artistic creations to life.
Nerf Fortnite Gun – Ages 4+
This is only at Walmart. This is inspired by blaster used in Fortnite. It features 15 dart rotating drum. Pump the priming grip backward and forward to ready the blaster for firing, then press the trigger to fire 1 dart. Pump the grip and press the trigger again to fire another dart. Want to pour on the firepower? Hold down the trigger and keep pumping the grip to blast all 15 darts rapidly with the slam-fire feature. Eyewear is recommended!
Baby Shark 6V Plush Ride-On – Ages 3+
Let’s go ride doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, on our baby shark ride. It’s is chargeable and has automatic pedals. Press the accelerator and then let go to brake. It can go up to 2.5 mph, so please supervise. Once it is done being ridden, he can be stored in his ocean bed crate for a well-earned rest until the next adventure Baby Shark is safe and easy to control. You can even add authentic baby shark sounds.
Frozen 2 “Ice Powers” Elsa Playdate – Ages 3+ Elsa is ready to take your child into the unknown. Frozen 2 “Ice Powers” Elsa Playdate can show off her “ice powers.” Pose her arms, in her signature power pose, to watch blue snowflake lights run down her arms and out her palms, accompanied by powerful freezing sounds. “Ice Powers” Elsa has the power to transform her trusted companion, Disney’s Frozen 2 Playdate Water Nokk, from “water” to “ice” through her touch. All you have to do is place Elsa’s right arm on Nokk’s forehead and see this transformation.
Paint Your Own Mermaid Bank – Ages 5+
Paint and decorate a one-of-a-kind savings bank for a super stylish adventure with the just my style mermaid bank! It comes with metallic paint and add holographic designs to create explore a whole new world of creativity. Remember to keep your mermaid bank in a safe place to save your treasures.
Deadline to Enroll in Ark. Health Insurance Marketplace
- Dec. 15
It’s the time of year that people begin to think about health insurance coverage for the upcoming year and the Arkansas Insurance Department wants people to remember an important date. The last day to enroll in health insurance through the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace is Dec. 15. This is for anyone who is having difficulty getting health insurance. Insurance Commissioner Alan McClain said the plans on the marketplace are designed to meet your needs and fit your budget. The way to evaluate plans is to visit www.healthcare.gov, look at a plan, put in some information, and see what is affordable to you “It’s basically putting in your own information, you know, your date of birth, your name, address, social security number, your income. I mean it’s just the basic information,” Bruce Donaldson, marketplace compliance coordinator said. “You’re going to be able to see the plans that are available and then based on your income, how much tax credit you are going to get to help you pay that premium.” Commissioner McClain says it’s always important to have insurance, but it can be a matter of life and death with COVID-19 and the flu season. If you are having difficulties, don’t have internet, or have very little knowledge about health insurance, you can call the state’s help center at 1-844-355-3262, and they can answer your questions. The helpline is staffed Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you want a face-to-face meeting with a licensed agent, they will recommend an agent to you. You can also visit myARinsurance.com for more help. The standard benefits include inpatient care, outpatient services, emergency care, and prescription drugs. There is also no lifetime limits and no restriction on preexisting conditions.
Thanksgiving Meal Cost Down Slightly from Last Year
For the second year in a row, the average cost of the classic Thanksgiving meal reflected a modest decrease, according to Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 35th annual survey of items included in the holiday feast. This year’s meal will cost $57.14 for a family of 10, down 61 cents from last year’s average of $57.75. Mark Lambert, director of Commodity Activities and Economics for Arkansas Farm Bureau, said a decrease in wholesale pork prices offset the slight increase in turkey prices. “Ham prices saw a decrease on a per-pound basis of 20 cents, which can be attributed to record pork production and a six percent decrease in wholesale prices,” Lambert said. “Also, freezers saw a 32- percent decrease from a year ago in their bone-in ham stocks. Turkey prices increased by three cents per- pound, which was due to higher wholesale prices and inventory in freezers almost equal to a year ago.” According to Lambert, disruptions in the second quarter due to covid-19 outbreaks in poultry processing plants had very little impact on turkey stocks. Arkansas food prices remain more affordable than elsewhere in the U.S. American Farm Bureau’s national survey revealed an average price of $60.11 or roughly $6 per person.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Has Changes
Like a lot of things in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic changed the traditional Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from a massive in-person celebration to only a televised event. Some major changes to this year's parade amid the pandemic includes reducing the number of participants by 75%, not using the traditional 2.5-mile parade route, and using vehicles to anchor the giant character balloons instead of dozens of people. "This year the celebration will shift to a television only special presentation, showcasing the Macy’s Parade’s signature mix of giant character helium balloons, fantastic floats, street performers, clowns and heralding the arrival of the holiday season with the one-and-only Santa Claus," Macy's said in a press release.
The number of covid-19 patients in intensive care units, as well as the tally of active cases and the number of coronavirus patients on ventilators, hit all-time highs Thursday after 2,238 new cases were reported, according to data from the Arkansas Department of Health. As of Thursday, there were 361 patients in intensive care units as the number of available beds in critical care units dipped to a low of 68 — even as hospitals are creating and staffing additional intensive care beds around the state. The number of active covid-19 cases in the state jumped by 421 to 16,998, the highest tally since the pandemic reached Arkansas in March. There were 146 patients on ventilators, up by three from the previous day, also creating a daily record. The number of new cases reported Thursday — 2,238 — is the second-highest increase in the state since the pandemic began, and only the second time the state has added more than 2,000 cases in one day. The record was set Oct. 13, with 2,312 new coronavirus cases. The cumulative total of covid-19 cases in the state is now at 139,855, though 120,545 of those are considered recovered. The state's tally of deaths linked to the coronavirus rose by 22 to 2,297. Covid-19 hospitalizations dropped by two to 899, a day after setting a record at 901.
Carroll County totals show 1,205 total cases
since the pandemic began and the
County death toll remains at 21.
ACT Aspire Tests
to Resume in Spring
Arkansas public schools will resume giving the ACT Aspire tests to third-through-10th grade students next spring. The Aspire testing will be done on school campuses -- not remotely -- during a five-week window, April 5 to May 7. The state had a waiver of federal testing requirements this past spring in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Deborah Coffman, the state's assistant commissioner for school accountability, and other state Division of Elementary and Secondary Education staff members told the Arkansas Accountability System Steering Committee on Wednesday that the state doesn't have the authority to forgo the testing program a second year. The student testing is a requirement of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. More than $371 million in annual federal funding for various education programs in Arkansas hinges on the state's compliance to that law, Coffman told the education stakeholder committee chaired by state Board of Education member Ouida Newton of Leola.
Arkansas’ game with LSU on Saturday morning is in jeopardy despite everyone’s desire for it to be played. Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman recovered from COVID and returned to work yesterday. It’s no secret Arkansas is missing a lot of players due to a positive test or contact tracing concerning COVID. They took the final test this week and will get the results back on Friday morning. Pittman was asked if he feels good about the team will have enough to play on Saturday? If the game is played on Saturday the kickoff will be at 11 a.m. in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. It will be televised on the SEC Network.
Governor Issues Curfew for Some Arkansas Businesses
Governor Asa Hutchinson announced an 11 p.m. curfew for Arkansas businesses that are licensed to sell and allow consumption of alcohol on their premises on Thursday. The directive covers restaurants, bars, and private clubs with “on-premise” permits and goes into effect on today, Friday, November 20. It will remain in effect through January 3, 2021. “In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus as a result of prolonged social interaction in group settings, I am accepting the recommendation of the Winter COVID Task Force to require bars, restaurants, and clubs that sell alcohol for consumption in their establishment to close at 11 p.m.,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This is a balanced approach that is limited and targeted as we work to reduce new COVID cases in our state.” According to a release from the governor’s office, the move was recommended by the Winter COVID-19 Task Force.
Huntsville Bus Driver Arrested
A Huntsville School District bus driver was arrested Wednesday afternoon for driving a bus with students on board while drunk. Rock Allen Hatfield, 62, of Huntsville was arrested by Arkansas State Police Wednesday shortly after 4 p.m. near the Withrow Springs area north of Huntsville. Hatfield is charged with driving while intoxicated and endangering the welfare of a minor. According to ASP, Hatfield had been driving a school bus with approximately 30 students onboard. The initial traffic stop involving the bus driver was made by a Madison County sheriff’s deputy who relinquished the investigation to a state trooper who had been monitoring the initial report through law enforcement radio communication with the sheriff’s office. State police took Hatfield in the custody and took him to the Madison County Jail. Hatfield has since been released from the Madison County jail.
Dolly Parton Donated $1M to Covid-19 Research
In April, less than a month after COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic, Dolly Parton donated $1 million to coronavirus research at Vanderbilt University. More than seven months later, it's been revealed that the legendary performer's donation helped fund Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, which this week became the second coronavirus vaccine with a stunningly high success rate. Parton's name appears in the preliminary report on the vaccine among sponsors like the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Dr. Anthony Fauci heads, and Emory University. She originally donated to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in honor of her friend and Vanderbilt professor of surgery Dr. Naji Abumrad. The Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective against coronavirus, according to early data released this week by the company. Vaccinations could begin as soon as late December, Fauci said, though they'll be made available first to high-risk groups like health care workers, the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions. COVID-19 has surged since Parton first made her donation. Then, there were just over 200,000 reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Now, there are over 11.2 million cases and nearly 250,000 Americans have died. COVID-19 vaccineSecond coronavirus vaccine shows early success in US tests Parton recognized then the severity of the virus and urged her fans to donate to Vanderbilt Health's COVID-19 research fund, which has raised more than $98,000 of its $250,000 goal. Her gift was first used toward research for interim COVID-19 treatments while the vaccine was being developed, she said in an April appearance on NBC's "Today" show. "I felt like this was the time for me to open my heart and my hand and try to help," she said in her "Today" appearance.
Multiple Agencies Respond to Eureka Springs Fire
Photo: Eureka Springs Fire Department Facebook
Just after 10pm Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020, Eureka Springs Fire Department responded to a structure fire located at 595 W. Van Buren Street. High winds and dry conditions promoted quick advancement of the fire through the single story, multi use building, part of which was used as apartments. The structure sits very close to the highway with winds carrying heavy smoke and embers across the roadway creating a dangerous situation prompting the closure of Hwy 62 until the fire could be brought under control. Embers created a second fire in a wooded valley across the roadway located between 2 adjacent businesses. Approximately 12 ESFD personnel along with 2 squads, 2 pumper trucks & a ladder truck from the department responded. Mutual aid was received from Inspiration Point Rural Fire Protection District, Holiday Island Fire Department & Berryville Fire Department and very much appreciated. Each supporting department sent personnel with Inspiration Point and Berryville also sending equipment. Due to the wildland fire that was created, the Forestry Department arrived to help contain & extinguish this area along with several of the Berryville FD crew and their brush truck. Inspiration Point crews worked the West end of the structure while ESFD worked from the East end. The structure was a complete loss along with approximately 6 vehicles that were parked across the front of the structure, no injuries were reported. After salvage and overhaul operations were completed final crews left the scene at around 4am. Photos are from bystanders, personnel on scene and Inspiration Point FD photographer.
Arkansas's Share of
Apple Lawsuit $4.2M
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Wednesday (Nov. 18) a $113 million settlement with Apple Inc. regarding Apple’s 2016 decision to throttle, or slow down, consumers’ iPhone speeds in order to address unexpected shutdowns in some iPhones. Arkansas will receive $4,295,115.09 under terms of the settlement. Rutledge and 32 other attorneys general worked together on the lawsuit. Based on the multi-state investigation, the attorneys general allege that Apple discovered battery issues were leading to unexpected shutdowns in iPhones. Rather than disclosing these issues or replacing batteries, however, Apple concealed the issues from consumers.
Creativity Needed for Thanksgiving Celebration
Sharing a turkey around a virtual table. Singing carols to grandparents on FaceTime. Exchanging gifts through the mail. Because of the pandemic, the holidays this year are going to be different than anything else we’ve ever experienced, and our traditions might look a little different too. But, one tradition that doesn’t need to go away is helping your neighbors in need during the holidays. It just may require a bit more creativity. So, bring your holiday (and creative) spirit because we’ve got COVID-friendly ways to give back that you can do at home or safely in-person.
1. Start a family “thankful” jar
‘Tis the season to be thankful. What better way to get your family thinking about all the things they’re grateful for than by writing them down! Put an old mason jar (or any washed-out jar) on your counter with little paper squares and a pen. Leading up to Thanksgiving, ask your family members to write down something they’re thankful for and put it in the jar at least once a day. On Thanksgiving, pull all the notes out of the jar and read them together. To make the tradition even more meaningful, pledge to give a dollar (or a quarter, or whatever works for your family) to your local food bank or
pantry for each note in the jar. Like this idea
and want to take it a step further
Check out how to start a gratitude journal!
2. Bake (and share) cookie recipes
for a good cause
While many traditional holiday cookie exchanges won’t be happening this year because of the pandemic, why not start a new cookie-centric tradition this year? Instead of getting together in person and sharing cookies, set up a Zoom get-together with friends or family. Ask everyone to bring their two favorite cookie recipes. Go around the room and let everyone explain why they love their recipes. Afterward, instead of sharing the recipes, “sell” them by having everyone donate to their local food bank or pantry in exchange for their recipe. Then, set up a second Zoom, bake the cookies, and report back to the group!
3. Send words of encouragement
to families struggling this holiday
Sometimes, the simplest way we can touch the lives of our neighbors struggling with hunger is the most important. This holiday, use our easy form to write a note of encouragement to families who need a little extra help affording a Thanksgiving meal. Your card will be delivered to people picking up holiday food. Ask the whole family to participate by writing the note together. Your words will help provide a smile – and hope – for our neighbors this holiday.
4. Volunteer safely during
Thanksgiving or Christmas
Thanksgiving and Christmas are very busy times for food banks and very popular times to volunteer. During the pandemic, food banks and food pantries are taking extra precautions to keep volunteers and visitors safe. This may mean that some of the programs you might be used to volunteering at such as holiday soup kitchen meals or turkey distributions may not be happening, or may look a little different this year. If you want to volunteer this holiday, there are still plenty of options to choose from, as long as you sign up early. Be sure to check with your local food bank to see where they need help, prepare to bundle up
and bring the whole family!
Before you go, use our handy guide to learn everything you need to know about
volunteering at a pantry this holiday.
The Arkansas Department of Health reports there were 1,715 additional cases and 30 deaths added Wednesday. According to the Department of Health’s website, there have been 137,617 total COVID-19 cases and 2,275 deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic. According to ADH, there are 16,577 active cases. ADH officials report there are 901 COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state, 339 in ICU and 142 on ventilators.
Carroll County totals from the CDC Wednesday shows 1,195 total cases and 21 deaths.
on Vaccine Distribution
The Natural State is preparing for a COVID-19 vaccine. The Arkansas Department of Health released a 50-page draft regarding its COVID-19 vaccination plan. The draft includes a three phase approach of releasing vaccines to the public. Phase 1A includes health care workers, first responders, and essential government leaders. Phase 1B includes people with underlying medical conditions, those over 65 and essential workers at an increased risk like law enforcement and school employees. By Phase Two the ADH says the supply of the vaccine will have increased at this point and provide access to more Arkansans through doctors offices and health clinics, and by Phase Three, the ADH says at this point there would be a sufficient supply of the vaccine and would be accessible in more health clinics. The ADH says all the information is subject to change.
Berryville School Board Report
The Berryville Board of Education met Monday for their monthly meeting. The Board approved the following: A fundraiser request for Ciera Woodruff to conduct a raffle for a Yeti Cooler. Demolition of the old Superintendent Building and to table the sale of the old Technology Building and a decision to retain the old Art Building. Under new business: The board approved the pivoting to virtual learning on Fridays, pending approval from the DESE. Approved Grandation Services for May 16, 2021 at 3pm on the Ronnie Clark Field. Supt. Powell reported told the Board that attendance as of November 9th was 1,837 students, which is down 16 students from last year.
in High School
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday he would support legislation in the upcoming legislative session, requiring a computer science credit to graduate high school as the state reaches 10,000 students enrolled in computer science classes. Enrollment increased by 6.5% over the 2019-2020 school year, an 847% increase since 2014-2015. Of those enrolled, 19.6% are African American, exceeding 19.2% African Americans in Arkansas high schools, a first for the state. Girls enrolled in computer science classes went up to 3,215, up 283 from the previous year. “When we became the first state in the nation to require all high schools to teach computer science, our goal was to increase enrollment to 7,500 by the 2019-2020 school year,” Gov. Hutchinson said. “We surpassed that goal a year early, and this year, even with COVID-19, we topped 10,000.” The legislation would also require each high school to have a certified computer science teacher.
Razorback Football Challenged by Covid-19
The University of Arkansas is facing perhaps its most challenging in-season covid-19 football issue of the fall this week, multiple sources have told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Two staff members, who are not on-field coaches, and at least one player received a positive result from coronavirus testing conducted on Sunday. The resulting contact tracing has led to quarantining for a number of personnel, both players and staff. However, Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek said Tuesday afternoon the Razorbacks’ roster
numbers at this point are in good shape as it pertains to the mandatory levels required by the SEC medical guidance task force to play a game. The Razorbacks (3-4) are scheduled to host LSU at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Judge Sam Barr Issues Executive Proclamation
On Wednesday, effective immediately, Carroll County Judge Sam Barr has ordered the closure of the Eastern District Courthouse until December 7th. The various offices will remain open to serve the public, but those wishing to do business there, must call and make an appointment. The Judge said they regret the limited access to the public offices, and will continue to monitor the situation in the coming days and weeks. The Judge said isolation and quarantine can be a necessary and effective public health measure to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Quorum Court Approves Bonuses for Employees
The Carroll County Quorum Court Monday approved the first reading of the operating budget for 2021. They also approved a supplemental ordinance amending this years' budget to include end- of-year bonuses to elected officials and county employees. The one-time year-end bonus will be paid at a rate of $750 for full-time employees and $500 for part-time employees. That does not include Quorum Court members. The bonuses will be paid with the payroll disbursement on November 25th. J.P.'s also approved an appropriation ordinance of $4,750 for repair of the Detention Center roof. J.P.'s passed an Ordinance establishing the compensation for all County Elected Positions. J.P.'s also passed an Ordinance creating a position of Administrative Assistant for District Court East.
Berryville Library Having
Fun With The Holidays
In an effort to provide some extra cheer this holiday season, the Berryville Library will be holding an Ugly Christmas Sweater Coloring Contest. Public voting will determine the winning entries. Coloring sheets will be available starting Monday, November 16, and can be picked up at the Berryville Library located at 104 Spring Street, or downloaded at www.berryvillelibrary.org. Three age categories are offered in the contest: 7 & under, 8–12, and 13 & up. All entries submitted will be placed on display inside the library. Public voting will be held December 4–15, 2020. Only one vote per person per day is allowed in each category. Everyone is eligible to participate and vote. Entry deadline is Wednesday, Dec 2, with winners being announced on Dec 16, 2020. The Berryville Public Library hours of operation are Monday–Thursday, 9am–7pm, Friday 9am–6pm, Saturday 9am–5pm, and Sunday 1pm–5pm. Curbside service is still available for those who prefer not to enter the library due to the pandemic. For more information, call
(870) 423-2323 or for a complete list of
upcoming events, visit the website at www.berryvillelibrary.org.
The library also has active
Facebook and Instagram pages.
America's Car-Mart Holding
America’s Car-Mart is holding a toy drive across all 150 locations this month through the first week in December to benefit 14 hospitals in the company’s 12-state area, including Arkansas Children’s Hospital. This is Car-Mart’s 12th annual toy drive. According to Car-Mart’s website, people who donate a new, unwrapped toy valued at $10 or more can take advantage of half off the down payment on any vehicle.
Doctors Urge Governor to Impose New Restrictions
Nearly 300 doctors from around Arkansas are urging Gov. Asa Hutchinson to impose new restrictions to curb a surge in coronavirus cases. A letter from the doctors was delivered to Gov. Hutchinson Wednesday (Nov. 18) as the state's COVID- 19 hospitalizations hit a new record level. In the letter, they warned of the strain on the state's health care system. The doctors called on Gov. Hutchinson to close bars and gyms, and to limit restaurants to takeout service only. They also called on him to limit indoor gatherings to less than ten people. Arkansas' probable and confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 1,715 on Wednesday. Dr. Anne-Marie Magre signed the letter. She says she's in agreement and the hospital bed situation is getting out of hand. “We have to hunker down like we did in March when there weren’t that many cases, that’s the irony of it all is that our cases our higher now, our deaths are higher now...42 deaths in a day? If that doesn’t grab your attention, especially in a state with less than 3 million people? And we haven’t even touched flu season yet, I mean, a lot of people get hospitalized due to pneumonia, where are we going to put those people?” Dr. Magre said. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, the state has over 1,000 ICU hospital beds but there are only 83 beds left for patients. In this letter, doctors said their system will be “greatly compromised” if the spike is not reversed.
Berryville City Council Report
The Berryville City Council met Tuesday in the Community Center for their second meeting of the month. Council heard the October activity report from Police Chief Robert Bartos. He reported 133 tickets were written in October and 64 offenses reported. Some of the more serious included 3 aggravated assault and battery, 7 thefts/shoplifting, and 8 frauds. 59 of the reported offenses were cleared by police. Police responded to 9 traffic accidents in October. The monthly Financial Report for October show the city collected $146,000 from the 1% sales tax and $68,000 from the 1/2% sales tax. Council approved a Resolution setting a date of Tuesday, December 1 at 6pm for a Public Hearing regarding a petition to vacate an undeveloped street easement within the Fort Addition #2. Shaun Burch asked the city to abandon a street easemet lying between Lots 9 and 10 of the Fort Addition #2. The property is approximately .10 of an acre, more or less. Council reviewed a Grant Opportunity Announcement. This involves a Business Interruption Grant for qualifying businesses in the personal care, tourism, travel, recreation and hospitality industries. Several Arkansas agencies have received approval to proceed with a $50M grant program for Arkansas small businesses significantly impacted by Covid-19. The grant application period opened Monday, November 16, and closes next Wednesday, November 25, with awards being distributed in December. The maximum amount a business can receive is $250,000. Go to arkansasready.com for more information on this opportunity. Keith Riviera that owns Fairway Inn addressed Council under the Citizen Comments. Essentially, Riviera would like to see "on premises by-the-drink-alcohol-sales" for restaurants. No action was taken on his request. Mayor McKinney concluded the meeting with another plea to residents and visitors to wear face coverings while in indoor places in Berryville.
Isaiah Joe Gets Drafted
by The 76ers
With the 49th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the 76ers have selected Isaiah Joe. Joe made 94 three-pointers, which ranks sixth on the school’s all-time list. The Fort Smith Northside alumnus ranked 18th in the NCAA and led the SEC for total three-pointers made. Joe set the SEC freshmen for three-pointers made per game with 3.32. Despite missing five contests in the 2019-2020 season, Joe led the Razorbacks in scoring eight times. As a Hog, Joe had fifteen games where he scored more than 20 points. During his time as a Northside Grizzly, Joe was the USA TODAY Arkansas Player of the Year as well as the Gatorade Player of the Year for Arkansas.