Berryville  Elementary Pledge of Allegiance


03-30-2020

Covid-19 Update

New BVPD Police Officer Sworn-in Friday

Medical Marijuana Sales Skyrocket

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  There are now 426 cases of the coronavirus in the state as of Sunday afternoon, according to Arkansas Department of Health.

The ADH has reported a new death linked to COVID-19 bringing the total to 6 deaths in Arkansas.

According to the ADH website, 28 people have recovered, but five people in the state have died due to complications of the virus..........https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/update-3-29-20-gov-hutchinson 

The counties with the most cases are Pulaski, Cleburne, Faulkner, Benton and Jefferson counties. 

Carroll County still has no confirmed cases.

Medical Marijuana Sales Skyrocket

New BVPD Police Officer Sworn-in Friday

Medical Marijuana Sales Skyrocket

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  While many businesses have been hit hard by the Coronavirus outbreak, one industry in Arkansas has seen their biggest profit yet. It's medical marijuana.

"We have seen roughly a 75 to 80% increase in business from volumes of patients and sales all across the board," said Kyle Campbell, the assistant manager of the ReLeaf Center in Bentonville. "I think that's due to patients thinking we may close, so they're trying to stock up, as well as maybe there's a heightened level of stress."

The Arkansas Department of Finance Administration reported 92 pounds of cannabis were purchased on March 20, 2020 alone. That amounts to a revenue of about $565,000.

Scott Hardin said all 21 dispensaries open in the state are taking safety precautions during the coronavirus outbreak, from sanitizing surfaces to cleaning out stores. Plus many are offering curbside or delivery, like the ReLeaf Center.

New BVPD Police Officer Sworn-in Friday

New BVPD Police Officer Sworn-in Friday

Corps of Engineers to Close Hwy. 165/265 Over Table Rock Dam for Repairs

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  Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos said a new police officer was sworn-in in a brief ceremony with just a few people in attendance due to the coronavirus on Friday at the Police Department. Christopher Hill was sworn-in by Mayor Tim McKinney with Hill's wife and other policemen present.

Corps of Engineers to Close Hwy. 165/265 Over Table Rock Dam for Repairs

Corps of Engineers to Close Hwy. 165/265 Over Table Rock Dam for Repairs

Corps of Engineers to Close Hwy. 165/265 Over Table Rock Dam for Repairs

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  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will close Highway 165/265 over Table Rock Dam from 8:00 P.M. until 6:00 A.M. on March 30th, March 31st, and April 11th.

The closure is required to facilitate the heavy equipment needed for the installation of an intake gate on the dam.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and appreciate your patience. For more information about this or general questions about Table Rock Lake, please contact the Table Rock Project Office at 417-334-4101.

NWS Confirms 3 Tornadoes in NE Arkansas Saturday

Corps of Engineers to Close Hwy. 165/265 Over Table Rock Dam for Repairs

NWS Confirms 3 Tornadoes in NE Arkansas Saturday

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  As of 8 PM, Sunday, the National Weather Service, through preliminary reports, confirms three tornadoes occurred during the severe weather event on Saturday, March 28th, 2020.

Of those three tornadoes, the one that struck Jonesboro has been determined to be an EF-3 with maximum winds of 140 MPH.

Including the tornado count from Saturday, this brings the 2020 total to 18. The yearly average for Arkansas is 33.

Surveys of storm damage are still being conducted. As new information comes in, it will be added to this story.

Survey information from Jonesboro tornado:

Estimated Peak Wind: 140 MPH

Path Length: 12.55 Miles Path Width: 600 Yards

The tornado started approximately two miles southeast of Jonesboro and ended nearly three and a half miles northeast of Brookland.

Damage: The tornado developed north of I-555 and west of Caraway Road. It quickly intensified and caused EF-2 damage at the Mall At Turtle Creek. As it continued on its path, it reached the Jonesboro Airport causing severe damage there as well to a residential area to the northeast of the airport. In those areas, EF-2 to EF-3 damage was discovered. The tornado began to weaken after crossing HWY 49 northeast of Jonesboro with the last of the damage observed in the Brookland area.

So far, only 22 injuries have been reported. No fatalities.

AG&F Encourage Trips Outdoors for Fresh Air

Corps of Engineers to Close Hwy. 165/265 Over Table Rock Dam for Repairs

NWS Confirms 3 Tornadoes in NE Arkansas Saturday

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  With coronavirus forcing many to stay home, away from crowds, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission encourages everyone to get out for a breath of fresh air. Just keep your distance.

The AGFC announced Friday it is extending the temporary closure of its offices, nature and education centers, and shooting ranges until further notice.

However, lakes, boat ramps, fishing accesses, and wildlife management areas will remain open to the public.

“Field staff is still working, managing the state’s wildlife and fisheries resources,” according to a news release.

Noting that turkey hunting season is set to open on April 11-12 for youth hunting and April 13 for regular turkey season, the AGFC said “scouting for the birds is an excellent way to get out and avoid crowds.”

It also encourages residents to grab a pole and go fishing, just “keep a fishing rod’s distance.”

Missouri Governor Signs Executive Order for National Guard Help

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger March 27, 2020

Valuable Tips for Unpacking Groceries or Takeouts During Pandemic

  Gov. Mike Parson has signed an executive order to begin having Missouri National Guard members aid in the state’s battle against COVID-19. In a press release, Parson says soldiers will help to provide more immediate resources to Missourians and enhance the state’s ability to overcome the global pandemic.

Parson made the decision after conferring with some state department leaders.

“The COVID-19 crisis is constantly developing and changing, but we are taking steps each and every day to slow the spread and protect public health and safety,” says Parson. “Mobilizing the National Guard will help us provide more immediate resources to our citizens and enhance Missouri’s ability to overcome this global pandemic.”

Adjutant General Levon Cumpton says the Guard is providing specialized health and safety training to all personnel being mobilized in addition to guidance already received from the federal government.

“The National Guard is ready and poised to assist local and state civilian authorities in response to COVID-19,” Brigadier General Levon Cumpton says. “The Guard has flexibility in utilizing resources and deploying them around the state where they are most appropriate.”

Valuable Tips for Unpacking Groceries or Takeouts During Pandemic

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger March 27, 2020

Valuable Tips for Unpacking Groceries or Takeouts During Pandemic

  Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen shared some valuable tips for unpacking your groceries or takeout during the global coronavirus pandemic.

VanWingen demonstrated a "sterile technique" to unpack food. He recommends designating a portion of your kitchen, like one half of a table, as the "clean side."

This area should be thoroughly disinfected before bringing the groceries in.

VanWingen says the food itself is not the biggest problem, as the coronavirus does not live well on food. the problem is the packaging, which can house the virus for days. Coronavirus can live on metal or plastic for up to three days. If possible, he suggests leaving your groceries in the garage or your car for three days. If not, you should disinfect them.

For items like bread, you can empty out the package into a clean container and throw away the packaging. That way, if the plastic around the bread was housing the coronavirus, you wouldn't have any future contact with it.

For items like jars, cans or other sturdy packaging, you can simply disinfect the outside of the sealed container. He says you should make sure to focus on areas you think a person may have touched. The virus is mostly spread through human contact.

With items like fruit, he recommends cleaning them with soapy water for 20 seconds--just like you wash your hands, since you don't want disinfectant directly on your food.

With takeout, he recommends taking the food out and putting it onto a clean plate without touching the food in the process. This way, anything that could be on the wrapper will not transfer to another surface.

If possible, microwave or heat your food. He says even a few seconds in the microwave can kill the coronavirus. Choose hot takeout foods whenever possible.

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger March 27, 2020

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger March 27, 2020

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger March 27, 2020

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  LITTLE ROCK – The legislature convened in special session to address potential revenue shortfalls, resulting from the sudden economic downturn caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Applications for unemployment insurance had averaged about 1,500 per week. After so many businesses closed to prevent any further spread of the virus, more than 18,000 applied over a two-week period.

The sharp increase in job layoffs caused sales tax and personal income tax revenue to go down. Another decrease in state revenue is predicted to result from the extension of the filing deadline for taxes, from April 15 to July 15. 

In his call for the special session, the governor noted that extending the tax deadline would cost the state millions of dollars this fiscal year, but it was the right thing to do to provide relief to taxpayers.

Budget officials predicted that revenue would be short by $353 million because of the slowdown in economic activity, combined with the extension of the tax filing deadline. June 30 is the final day of the fiscal year.

Arkansas operates under a balanced budget law, known as the Revenue Stabilization Act, which prioritizes state agency spending. When revenue drops, spending by the state government drops proportionately. Unlike the federal government, the state does not borrow to pay for budgeted programs, a practice commonly known as deficit spending. 

The state has reserve funds because it has consistently approved very conservative budgets. 

In order to protect vital services provided by the state Health Department and medical programs in the Human Services Department, the legislature voted on a transfer of money from a reserve fund to operating accounts. The reserve fund has $173.6 million.

Legislators took unique precautions during the special session in order to maintain social distancing. They did not all sit in their usual desks in the Senate chamber, but sat further apart than usual. Some senators participated from the public galleries.

The House of Representatives had more difficult challenges, because there are 100 representatives compared to 35 senators. The House convened in the basketball arena of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, which is large enough that representatives and essential staff could keep at a safe distance from others. It has seating for 5,600 people.

The hospitality and service industries have been hit hard. The state has closed DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Mount Magazine State Park, Petit Jean State Park and Queen Wilhelmina State Park.

Barbers, hair salons and gyms have been closed. Church services are being video streamed, because health officials strongly advise against any gathering of more than 10 people. 

The Department of Workforce Services has waived the one-week waiting period that had been required of laid off workers before they could apply for unemployment, to accelerate the payment of claims. However, due to the spike in claims, be prepared to wait when you file a claim.

The Board of Nursing and the Medical Board are accelerating their licensing processes, so that the next generation of medical providers can get to work faster.

Banks have been notified that some regulations will be modified, to encourage them to restructure loans to troubled businesses.

03-27-2020

Covid-19 Update - Gov. Hutchinson

Government Stimulus Package Will Stabilize Local Economies

Covid-19 Update - Gov. Hutchinson

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  Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson held his daily press conference Thursday afternoon in Little Rock, along with Dr. Cam Patterson from UAMS......https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/update-gov-3-26-20 

As of late yesterday, there are now 349 cases of the coronavirus in the state, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

National Agriculture Week

Government Stimulus Package Will Stabilize Local Economies

Covid-19 Update - Gov. Hutchinson

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  National Ag Week, March 22-28, 2020, is being celebrated across America.

Here in Arkansas Agriculture is big business.

Agriculture is Arkansas' largest industry, adding around $16 billion to the state's economy annually. ... There are 49,346 farms statewide and 97 percent of Arkansas' farms are family-owned. A mere 16 percent of Arkansas' farms account for a whopping 92 percent of production.

In today's Agriculture Week feature, we're going to hear from County Extension Agent Olivia Foster, after this feature from USDA about the Farmer and Rancher Program....https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/olivia-foster-agriculture-week 

Arkansas Landscape
Agriculture and Forestry use more than 95 percent of Arkansas’ land resources.

· 14.5 million acres of farmland 

· 6.2 million acres of crops 

· 8.3 million acres of livestock and hay 

· 18.8 million acres of forest

Farming Facts - The Average Arkansas Farm

· Acres: 308 

· Farmer’s Age: 57 

· Value of Land and Buildings: $658,732 

· Value of Equipment: $90,822 

· Yearly farm expenses: $124,324 

· Yearly farm revenue: $160,270

Arkansas Agriculture Fun Facts

· Only 11.6-cents of every dollar you spend at the grocery store goes to a farmer. 

· More than 30 cents of every dollar you spend will go to the processing, packaging, transporting, and energy costs of that product. 

· In the next 50 years farmers around the world will have to feed more people than we did the previous 100 years. 

· Farmers will have to become more productive to feed the growing world population. 

· Today, with almost 7 billion people there is only 1.7 acres of agricultural land in the world per person. 

· Each U.S. farmer already feeds more than 150 people up from 43 just 50 years ago. 

National Agriculture Week features are brought to you locally by Williams Tractor, Carroll County Cattlemen's Association and Shumaker Tire.

Government Stimulus Package Will Stabilize Local Economies

Government Stimulus Package Will Stabilize Local Economies

State Board of Corrections Votes to Expedite Parole Consideration for Some

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  The federal government’s huge stimulus package will stabilize local economies, said a University of Arkansas professor, but further action may be needed in the future to keep services and staff afloat.

Economist Mervin Jebaraj and a team of UA researchers crunched the numbers, and they calculated that there’ll be an expected decline in four major industries that’ll result in $200 million in lost revenue.

Sales tax collections in leisure and hospitality, recreation and personal care services will drop by about $4 million, as well, Jebaraj said. The negative impacts of such losses will be seen if the federal government doesn’t intervene with aid to municipalities.

“Police, fire, all of those are funded largely through sales tax,” Jebaraj said. “All the city employees that operate utilities, all of that, is funded through the sales tax.”

The country is likely already in a recession, Jebaraj said. Last time that happened, the federal government sent money to local governments, which should be done within the next four months to keep cities from cutting services or staff, he said.

State Board of Corrections Votes to Expedite Parole Consideration for Some

State Board of Corrections Votes to Expedite Parole Consideration for Some

State Board of Corrections Votes to Expedite Parole Consideration for Some

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  The Arkansas Board of Corrections voted to expedite parole consideration for 114 state inmates on Wednesday, over concerns that an outbreak of the coronavirus would be especially harmful to crowded prisons.

The board unanimously invoked the one-year provision of the Emergency Powers Act, which allows the Department of Corrections to send the Parole Board a list of qualified inmates who are within a year of eligibility for supervised release. The Parole Board can then begin considering those cases immediately.

The Emergency Powers Act, which has both 90-day and one-year eligibility provisions, has been used on a regular basis for more than two decades to release inmates as state prisons struggle with overcrowding. The Board of Corrections last invoked the one-year provision of the law in January, for 75 inmates, and Chairman Benny Magness said the board took the unusual step of using the longer provision again in a short time span because of concerns about the coronavirus.

Inmates with violent criminal records or with disciplinary issues in prison were excluded from the list of 114 made eligible for early parole, Magness said.

The list had 35 women and 79 men.

McDonald's Cutting Some Menu Items

State Board of Corrections Votes to Expedite Parole Consideration for Some

McDonald's Cutting Some Menu Items

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  McDonald’s is cutting items from its menu in an effort to make things easier for its employees working during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement Wednesday, McDonald’s said it plans to roll out a limited menu in the U.S.

The limited menu will not include all-day breakfast items, salads, grilled chicken sandwiches, and chicken tenders, according to a report.

Rather, restaurants will continue to serve the fast-food chain’s best-sellers like McMuffins and McGriddles in the morning, as well as hamburgers and fries for the rest of the day.

The change they said was only temporary.

REAL ID Postponded for a Year

State Board of Corrections Votes to Expedite Parole Consideration for Some

McDonald's Cutting Some Menu Items

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  The deadline to obtain a REAL ID, federally mandated identification that will be needed for passengers to board aircraft, will be extended until Oct. 1, 2021 — a year past the current deadline, according acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

Before the coronavirus outbreak swept across the U.S., states were preparing to issue residents "REAL ID-compliant" driver's licenses or identification by the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline.

"States across the country are temporarily closing or restricting access to DMVs," Wolf's statement read. "This action will preclude millions of people from applying for and receiving their REAL ID. Extending the deadline will also allow the department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the current health crisis concludes."

As of last month, only about 35% of U.S. IDs complied with the REAL ID Act, a post-9/11 law that establishes security standards for licenses. Once in effect, travelers flying commercially in the U.S. will need to have a REAL ID, which is marked by a star on the top of the card.

Even before the outbreak, it was unlikely that all states would meet the deadline. Last month, Wolf told lawmakers that the prospect of all states being able to issue their constituents a REAL ID by October 2020 was "probably fairly small."

03-26-2020

Covid-19 Update - Gov. Hutchinson 3-25-20

Covid-19 Update - Gov. Hutchinson 3-25-20

Covid-19 Update - Gov. Hutchinson 3-25-20

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  Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson held a press conference Wednesday afternoon.......

At the end of the day Wednesday, the confirmed cases had risen to 301. There are no confirmed cases in Carroll County.

Flu Season Winding Down

Covid-19 Update - Gov. Hutchinson 3-25-20

Covid-19 Update - Gov. Hutchinson 3-25-20

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  Arkansas Department of Health reports 9 people died last week from flu-related illness.

That brings the total death toll in Arkansas to 105.

Advertisement 

It certainly looks like flu season is winding down after the state braces for the COVID-19 virus, according to data from Arkansas Department of Health.

In the new weekly report, the state reported flu activity is "minimal" or 2 out of 10 for ILI intensity. Three weeks early, the CDC had Arkansas in the "high" category.

While schools are canceled because of the threat of the coronavirus, the state says during this past flu season 42 school districts had to close because of absenses.

CDC estimates a total of 23,000 flu deaths have occurred nationwide including 149 pediatric deaths reported this season.

National Agriculture Week

Covid-19 Update - Gov. Hutchinson 3-25-20

Federal Financial Help Package Passed

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  National Agriculture Week runs through March 28th, and it’s a great time to promote the people behind the food and fiber we often take for granted of. National Ag Week is about recognizing and celebrating how agriculture impacts our everyday lives and the many ways people rely on the food, fiber and renewable resources farmers and ranchers produce.

As the state’s No. 1 industry, agriculture is crucial to Arkansas’s economy. More than 44,000 farms spread across 13.8 million acres annually contribute more than $20 billion to the Natural State. That’s nearly one quarter of the state’s economic activity. Additionally, Arkansas agriculture provides jobs for one of every six citizens.

Arkansas ranks in the top three nationally for broilers, catfish and several other commodities, as well as fifth in timber production, eighth in egg production, and 10th for soybean and grain sorghum production. If that’s not impressive enough, the state is actually ranked nationally in the top 25 in production of 23 different agricultural commodities.

While the crops are important, it’s really the men and women behind the tractor that keep Arkansas agriculture strong. Arkansas has just under 69,000 farmers. Many grew up on the farm, and are continuing to carry on the family tradition. In fact, 77 percent of Arkansas farmers have been operating for 10 years or more. 

The Arkansas Agriculture Department is working to promote the state’s agriculture, both at home and abroad. With the innovation and knowledge of Arkansas’s farmers, growers and producers, the state’s industry is poised for even more success.

We'd like to thank our local sponsors this week for supporting National Ag Week. They include Carroll County Cattlemen's Association, Shumaker Tire, and Williams Tractor.

We will feature County Extension agent Olivia Foster on tomorrows Ag Week Feature.

Federal Financial Help Package Passed

Boone County Chief Deputy Appointed to Fill Sheriff Mike Moore's Term

Federal Financial Help Package Passed

  Congress has passed a $2Trillion Package.

The package would send checks of up to $1,200 to most taxpayers, and more for those with children, as well as extend hundreds of billions of dollars in loans and grants to companies hurt by the downturn.

State financial help

On the state level, low-interest disaster loans for small businesses and non-profits affected by coronavirus have been approved.

In a press release, the Missouri Department of Economic Development says the move makes low-interest disaster loans available to small businesses and private non-profits severely impacted by the coronavirus.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business or non-profit. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Here’s the process for accessing SBA’s Coronavirus Disaster Relief Lending:

· Applicants will be able to apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information, and download applications at https:..disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

· Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

The Department of Social Services Family Support Division has been approved for a waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), to extend Food Stamp/SNAP certification periods by six months for those re-certifications coming due in March, April and May.

This means that food stamps benefits will continue through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“For the health and well-being of low-income Missourians who rely on Food Stamp benefits, Missouri sought changes to the administration of the Food Stamp program in this state to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Governor Parson. “No Missourian will have their Food Stamp benefits end for the present time, and they do not need to take any actions to ensure their benefits will continue.” 

The state will also issue Pandemic Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (P-SNAP) benefits. This means all households currently eligible for SNAP will receive the maximum amount for the household size. 

According to a press release, this increase will affect 310,000 Missouri households (660,000 people). For example, for a family of three under P-SNAP, the maximum allotment is $509, and for a home of four, the amount is $646.

In addition to P-SNAP, families with children eligible for free or reduced-price lunch in all Missouri school districts that close at least five consecutive days will get a Pandemic EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) (P-EBT) card benefit for March, April and May. The amount is determined by the federal government and will be the value of the number of missed meals. 

“Every Missourian must have access to food, and the Department of Social Services has taken these actions so that low-income individuals and families have what they need to make it through this critical time,” said Jennifer Tidball, acting director, Department of Social Services. “Our most vulnerable citizens in Missouri must have essential needs met to ensure they can cope with the impact of COVID-19.” 

To apply for any services, click here.

Eureka Springs Police Say Body Identified

Boone County Chief Deputy Appointed to Fill Sheriff Mike Moore's Term

Boone County Chief Deputy Appointed to Fill Sheriff Mike Moore's Term

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  Eureka Springs Police report the body pulled out of Lake Leatherwood Saturday has been positively identified and the family notified. The man's identity will be released when and if the family wants to. Police say no foul play is suspected in the death.

Boone County Chief Deputy Appointed to Fill Sheriff Mike Moore's Term

Boone County Chief Deputy Appointed to Fill Sheriff Mike Moore's Term

Boone County Chief Deputy Appointed to Fill Sheriff Mike Moore's Term

  Boone County Justice of the Peace Glenn Redding posted on his Facebook Page this week that the Boone County Quorum Court met in Special Session Tuesday evening and appointed Tim Roberson to become Boone County Sheriff on April 5th.

After current Boone County Sheriff Mike Moore leaves his post in April to go work for the State of Arkansas, his Chief Deputy, Roberson, will move into the top spot.

Roberson will fill the rest of Moore’s term as Sheriff which goes until December 31, 2022. Moore is taking a position with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

FBI Kills Terrorist in Belton, Mo.

Arkansas Unemployment Expected to Explode

Arkansas Unemployment Expected to Explode

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  The FBI says a man who was shot and killed by an agent Tuesday was planning to bomb a hospital after he became frustrated with government action to stop the spread of coronavirus.

On March 24, the FBI said one of their agents was involved in a shooting that left one man dead in the 100th block of Wilbur Parish Circle in Belton.

The FBI now says the man who died in the shooting was 36-year-old Timothy Wilson. The incident occurred when agents tried to arrest Wilson, who was armed at the time.

According to the FBI, Wilson was the subject of a domestic terrorism investigation and that the investigation revealed that he was a potentially violent extremist who was motivated by racial, religious and anti-government sentiments.

After the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent social distancing efforts implemented by local governments, Wilson “decided to accelerate his plan to use a vehicle-born improvised explosive device in an attempt to cause severe harm and mass casualties,” according to a press release from the FBI.

Wilson decided on bombing an area hospital and had taken steps to get the materials needed to build the explosive device. The FBI did not name the hospital that Wilson intended to target.

The shooting occurred after the FBI tried to arrest Wilson when he arrived to pick up what he thought was a truck bomb.

Wilson was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead Tuesday evening. No other civilian or law enforcement officers were injured.

The FBI’s Inspection Division is handling the investigation.

Arkansas Unemployment Expected to Explode

Arkansas Unemployment Expected to Explode

Arkansas Unemployment Expected to Explode

  Arkansas businesses will continue to face job losses and reductions in consumer spending over the remainder of the year, plunging the state into a recession and leading to an unemployment rate that will reach 8.7%, a level not seen in a decade, according to a state economic forecast.

Arkansas will follow the nation in an economic decline that will last throughout 2020 as a result of the coronavirus spread, according to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock forecast.

The study led by economist Michael Pakko said that "a recession appears inevitable" as the nation and the state experience disruptions in critical supply chains, declines in personal income and consumer spending, a major manufacturing slowdown and the shuttering of small businesses caused by the crisis.

Arkansas could experience unemployment levels of 8.7% by the end of the year, according to the study. Economic development officials agree that the unemployment rate will more than double from recent levels of just more than 3%.

"For the most part, this is going to be a broad downturn across the economy and across the state," Pakko said Tuesday.

Pakko's study, which can be found at arkansaseconomist.com, is one of several reports that give a glimpse of the havoc the spread of the coronavirus could have on the national and state economies.

The economy will trouble the state throughout the year, according to the report.

03-25-2020

Covid-19 Update from Governor Hutchinson

Tyson Foods Distributes Chicken in Pine Bluff

Covid-19 Update from Governor Hutchinson

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  Gov. Asa Hutchinson and other state officials held their daily news conference Tuesday afternoon......https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/update-governor-3-24-20 

By Tuesday night the confirmed cases had risen to 232. 

National Agriculture Week

Tyson Foods Distributes Chicken in Pine Bluff

Covid-19 Update from Governor Hutchinson

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  What Is Ag Day?
It's a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture.

Ag Day is celebrated on March 24, 2020. National Ag Day falls during National Ag Week, March 22-28, 2020.

The Agriculture Council of America hosts the campaign on a national level. However, the awareness efforts in communities across America are as influential - if not more - than the broad-scale effort.

Ag Day is about recognizing - and celebrating - the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:

· Understand how food and fiber products are produced.

· Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.

· Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

Why Celebrate Agriculture?
Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. But too few people truly understand this contribution. This is particularly the case in our schools, where students may only be exposed to agriculture if they enroll in related vocational training.

By building awareness, the Agriculture Council of America is encouraging young people to consider career opportunities in agriculture.

Quite simply, American agriculture is doing more - and doing it better. As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States.

The Carroll County Cattlemen's Association and Shumaker Tire are proud supporters of National Agriculture Week.

Tyson Foods Distributes Chicken in Pine Bluff

Tyson Foods Distributes Chicken in Pine Bluff

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks Coronavirus Update

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  Tyson Foods gave away 40,000 pounds of chicken to hundreds of people in Pine Bluff to lend a helping hand amid the new coronavirus global pandemic that has upended life across the nation. 

The giveaway Monday offered people from all over the state 10-pound variety bags of pre-cooked chicken strips in several flavors, pre-cooked popcorn chicken, buffalo-style chicken wings, uncooked leg quarters and other selections. 

Derek Burleson, Tyson's public relations manager, said the company donated more than 2.6 million pounds of product in 18 states, including a million pounds in Arkansas.

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks Coronavirus Update

Arkansas Division of Emergency Management Urges Families Statewide to Sign Up for Smart911

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks Coronavirus Update

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  Reserves of blood and plasma are at normal levels – center is strongly urging for local donors to give for local patients

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO), the sole supplier of blood and plasma to patients at more than 40 area hospitals, is urging healthy individuals to continue to donate blood at an upcoming CBCO donor center or blood drive in the region. They are calling on donors and community partners to help keep adequate blood reserves available by maintaining a regular schedule of giving.

Current blood reserves are at a three-day inventory level. But cancelled mobile blood drives now through the end of April are now approaching 75, affecting over 3,000 potential donations. The U.S. Surgeon General has declared that blood donation is safe and Americans, if they’re feeling well and healthy, need to continue to give blood.

With the cancellation of many mobile blood drives, CBCO is urging donors to give at a CBCO Donor Center in Bentonville, Springdale, Joplin or Springfield.

It is especially important to note that Community Blood Center of the Ozarks blood donors are the sole providers of blood to patients at more than 40 area hospitals. Blood donated to organizations that are outside of our service region may negatively impact our ability to provide these lifesaving products, putting patient health at risk. “With the number of drives that have been cancelled over the next few weeks, we are facing the real possibility of a blood shortage in the very near future,” said Chris Pilgrim, Media Relations Representative for CBCO. “Giving blood for local use is vitally important anytime, especially in the wake of this COVID-19 crisis. The only way you can help the blood supply for your local hospital is to give to the true local providers of that blood.”

CBCO is strongly urging donors to make an appointment to give at https://donate.cbco.org/donor/schedules/centers. Appointments will help to make certain that the donor’s experience will be as smooth as possible by better managing donor flow at donor centers and blood drives. Donors are also encouraged to use the QuickPass feature which allows you, on the date of your scheduled donation, to fill out the health history questionnaire from the comfort of your home or office, saving you time at the blood drive. Find QuickPass on the CBCO website at https://www.cbco.org/quickpass/.

On behalf of local hospital patients, CBCO thanks blood donors from across the region for giving life to your community.

Arkansas Division of Emergency Management Urges Families Statewide to Sign Up for Smart911

Arkansas Division of Emergency Management Urges Families Statewide to Sign Up for Smart911

Arkansas Division of Emergency Management Urges Families Statewide to Sign Up for Smart911

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  As Arkansas responds to the spread of the coronavirus, public health and safety officials ask all Arkansans to sign up for the Smart911 national safety profile registry, a free service that allows individuals and families to provide critical medical information to 9-1-1 and first responders. Arkansas is launching the “Take Control, Let Us Know” campaign to empower the community to take action, and provide valuable and accurate health data that increases the awareness of 9-1-1, first responders, and Emergency Management to an individual’s risk level for coronavirus.

Individuals can create a Smart911 Safety Profile for their household at smart911.com or on the Smart911 App that provides critical medical information for those who may be at higher risk of developing a serious COVID-19 illness. As identified by the CDC, the vulnerable population includes older adults, and those with a history of chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, respiratory conditions, and compromised immune systems. When an individual calls 9-1-1, their Smart911 Safety Profile is automatically displayed, allowing our public safety agencies to send emergency response teams to the right location with enhanced medical data. 

Individuals can additionally self-identify if they are under quarantine, and whether it is self-imposed or directed by a health professional. The Smart911 App allows quarantined individuals to receive check-in messages on their health status. Smart911 also allows individuals to sign up for alerts from emergency management officials to receive reliable information about the changing coronavirus situation. Individuals who sign up will also receive tailored alerts based on their specific needs and geographic location. With enhanced coronavirus awareness, individuals and first responders have vital information to take proper precautions.

To sign up or update your Safety profile, visit www.smart911.com or download the Smart911 app in the Apple Store or Google Play.

03-24-20

Covid-19 Update- Governor Asa Hutchinson

Covid-19 Can Persist on Surfaces for Some Time

Covid-19 Update- Governor Asa Hutchinson

Gov. Asa Hutchinson held his daily Press Conference Monday afternoon....
Since the Governors press c

  

Gov. Asa Hutchinson held his daily Press Conference Monday afternoon....

Since the Governors press conference, the Department of Health reported the total Monday night at 201.


https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/update-3-23-20

Covid-19 Press Release

Covid-19 Can Persist on Surfaces for Some Time

Covid-19 Update- Governor Asa Hutchinson

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FROM CARROLL COUNTY JUDGE, SAM BARR:

ON MARCH 16TH, WITH 16 PEOPLE TESTING POSITIVE WITH THE CORONA VIRUS IN OUR STATE, COUNTY JUDGE, SAM BARR, DECLARED AN EXECUTIVE PROCLAMATION TO TEMPORARILY CLOSE OUR COUNTY OFFICES TO THE PUBLIC. 

IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING IN OUR LOBBY AND FOLLOW THE CDC’S RECOMMENDATIONS TO STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID-19. COURT DATES HAVE HAD TO BE RESCHEDULED, AND ALTHOUGH WE REGRET HAVING TO LIMIT ACCESS TO THE PUBLIC, IF WE ALL WORK TOGETHER AND STAY HOME AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, WE CAN SLOW THE PROGRESSION OF THIS VIRUS IN OUR COMMUNITY. WE WILL CONTINUE TO BE IN OUR OFFICES, TAKE YOUR PHONE CALLS, MAKE APPOINTMENTS IF NEEDED, AND PROCEED WITH THE DAY TO DAY FUNCTIONS OF THE COUNTY. 

ON THE 19TH OF MARCH, THE GOVERNOR, WITH 48 CONFIRMED CASES, REQUIRED ALL “NON-ESSENTIAL” INDOOR FUNCTIONS TO CEASE.. SCHOOLS REMAIN CLOSED UNTIL APRIL 17TH, AND BARS AND RESTAURANTS TO CLOSE ALL DINE- IN SERVICES. 

BY CLOSING ARKANSAS SCHOOLS ANOTHER 3 WEEKS, THIS FURTHER INCREASES THE BURDEN ON PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN, WHO CANNOT BE LEFT ALONE. THE REALITY OF LAYOFFS, CUT HOURS, AND LOST JOBS WILL BEGIN TO TAKE IT’S TOLL IN OUR COUNTY. 

WITH CASES IN COUNTIES ALL AROUND US, WE EXPECT IT IS A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL WE SEE IT HERE IN CARROLL COUNTY. WE KNOW IT’S COMING, AND WHEN IT DOES, IT WILL HIT OUR LITTLE COMMUNITY HARD, IF WE DO NOT PRACTICE THESE MEASURES NOW

ON MARCH 20, JUDGE BARR EXECUTED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER, TO LOWER THE NUMBER OF COUNTY STAFF TO MINIMIZE THE POSSIBLE THREAT OF SPREADING THE VIRUS. EACH DEPARTMENT HEAD, WILL REDUCE AND ROTATE THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES OF ANY GIVEN DEPARTMENT, IN HOPES OF NOT HAVING A TOTAL SHUT DOWN OF ANY OFFICE. JUDGE BARR, ALONG WITH THE OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR, NICK SAMAC, DECLARED A DISASTER EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION THRU THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT. THIS WILL ASSURE CARROLL COUNTY WILL GET ASSISTANCE FROM THE STATE WITH PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT, ALSO KNOWN AS PPES. 

AS OF TODAY, MARCH 23RD, WE HAVE 174 CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19 WITHIN OUR STATE. IN A MATTER OF 6 DAYS, 152 PERSONS HAVE TESTED POSITIVE. THIS WILL GET MUCH HIGHER. STAY HOME WHEN POSSIBLE, PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING, WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN, USE SANITIZER IF AVAILABLE, AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE, AND COVER YOUR COUGH AND SNEEZES. 

AS FOR OUR COUNTY OFFICES….. CALL BEFORE YOU TRY TO COME IN. MUCH CAN BE DONE ONLINE OR BY MAIL. IF YOU MAKE AN APPT WITH A COUNTY OFFICIAL YOU WILL BE GREETED AT THE FRONT DOOR BY A SERCUITY GUARD. HE WILL TAKE YOUR INFORMATION, AND HE WILL USE A NON-CONTACT INFARED THERMOMETER ON YOUR FOREHEAD. IF IT READS 100.4 OR HIGHER, YOU WILL BE TURNED AWAY. WE ALSO HAVE VENDORS THAT COME BY, POSTAL CARRIERS, AND THEY, TOO, WILL BE CHECKED IN AT THE DOOR. 

AS A COMMUNITY, WE NEED TO BE DILIGENT TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID -19, BY LISTENING TO THE ADVICE AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF OUR HEALTHCARE LEADERS. IF YOU HAVE A FEVER OR FEEL SICK….STAY HOME! IF YOU FALL INTO THE HIGHER RISK CATEGORIES, PLEASE STAY HOME AND AWAY FROM OTHERS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. 

THOUGH THESE SEEM LIKE DRASTIC MEASURES, CARROLL COUNTY AND IT’S PEOPLE ARE STILL THE BEST AROUND. OUR PEOPLE HAVE JOINED TOGETHER TO SEE CHILDREN GET MEALS, AND WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT OUR RESTAURANT BUSINESS, AS THEY ARE OFFERING CALL - IN FOR CURB-SIDE PICKUP, AND DRIVE THRUS! 

LET’S SHOW COMPASSION TO OUR ELDERLY NEIGHBORS WHO ARE HIGH-RISK, AND THE MOMMAS AT HOME, TRYING TO KEEP THEIR BABIES HEALTHY. CALL THEM….SEE IF THERE ARE NECESSITIES OR SOMETHING YOU CAN PICK UP FOR THEM! LET’S LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER. LET’S SHOW THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CARROLL COUNTY BY HELPING OTHERS IN THIS TIME OF NEED. 

Covid-19 Can Persist on Surfaces for Some Time

Covid-19 Can Persist on Surfaces for Some Time

Covid-19 Can Persist on Surfaces for Some Time

  

The COVID-19 virus can persist in the air and on surfaces for hours, if not days, according to a new study performed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), CDC, UCLA and Princeton University.

Researchers and scientists found that the new coronavirus was detectable and stable on contaminated objects, suggesting that people could become infected in numerous ways.

The study attempted to mimic the virus being deposited from an infected person onto surfaces in household or hospital settings, such as through coughing or touching objects. Scientists investigated how long the virus remained infectious on those surfaces.

“The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel,” the National Institutes of Health said.

Evidence suggests, according to scientists, that people may be spreading the virus without knowing."Most secondary cases of virus transmission appear to be occurring in community settings rather than healthcare settings," the study said.

Body Found in Lake Leatherwood

Body Found in Lake Leatherwood

Covid-19 Can Persist on Surfaces for Some Time

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Eureka Springs police found a body at Lake Leatherwood on Saturday.

According to police, they located a male body partially submerged in the lake. The Mennonite Search and Rescue Team responded with their airboat to assist in the recovery.

The individual was recovered without incident.

The body has been sent to Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock for processing.

The investigation is still ongoing.

Gas Prices Continue to Fall

Body Found in Lake Leatherwood

Multiple Earthquakes Recorded

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As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, it’s driving down the demand for oil and gas prices.

In Arkansas, gas prices have fallen 10.7 cents in the past week to an average of $1.88/gallon, according to GsBuddy.com.

Prices in the Natural State are 30.6 cents a gallon lower than a month ago, and 48.2 cents lower than this time last year.

The national average fell 12.8 cents per gallon in the last week to an average price of $2.08.

"Gas prices have spent virtually all of March marching lower, with the drop continuing as the coronavirus destroys oil demand globally,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

With oil prices at their lowest in 18 years, DeHaan predicts an additional 35-75 cent per gallon drop at most stations in the weeks ahead.

Prices could fall as low as 99 cents per gallon.

Multiple Earthquakes Recorded

Body Found in Lake Leatherwood

Multiple Earthquakes Recorded

  

Multiple earthquakes have been recorded in northern Tennessee and Arkansas on Sunday and Monday, March 23.

According to the USGS, the largest quake was a magnitude of 2.1 and was centered northwest of Blytheville, Ark. It was registered at approximately 11:42 p.m. on Sunday.

Five other very small earthquakes were recorded near Ridgley, Tenn. They ranged from 1.8 to 1.2 magnitudes.

At approximately 6:44 a.m. a 1.6 magnitude tremor was registered south of Marston, Missouri.

There have been no reports of anyone feeling the quakes.

Arkansas Sports Information

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Arkansas junior Mason Jones was named 2020 Associated Press All-America honorable mention, being 1 of 20 players to be recognized by the AP.

Jones becomes the 31st Razorback to be named an All-American and the fourth since 2000, joining Joe Johnson (2001), Bobby Portis (2015) and Daniel Gafford (2019). Jones and Immanuel Quickley (Kentucky), also an honorable mention selection, were the only SEC players recognized on the AP All-America team.

03-22-20-03-23-2020

Covid-19 Update: 3-22-20

FDA Approves First Rapid Coronavirus Test

FDA Approves First Rapid Coronavirus Test

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  Governor Asa Hutchinson and other officials held their daily conference Sunday afternoon with new information on Arkansas' efforts to stem Coronavirus.............https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/update-3-22-20 

There will be another press conference this afternoon.

FDA Approves First Rapid Coronavirus Test

FDA Approves First Rapid Coronavirus Test

FDA Approves First Rapid Coronavirus Test

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  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first rapid coronavirus test, which produces results in about 45 minutes.

An FDA spokeswoman confirmed the approval after an announcement from Cepheid, a Silicon Valley molecular diagnostics company.

It can take at least a few days to get results from current coronavirus tests, which typically are sent in batches to reference labs, said Dr. David Persing, the company’s chief medical and technology officer.

“What’s really needed is a test that can rapidly determine the status of infection on-site when patients are being seen,” he said on a company video.

“The test we’re authorizing today will be able to provide Americans with results within hours, rather than days like the existing tests, and the company plans to roll it out by March 30, which is an incredibly rapid timeline for such an effort. With new tools like point-of-care diagnostics, we are moving into a new phase of testing, where tests will be much more easily accessible to Americans who need them,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Cepheid said it will begin shipping its tests next week.

Flu-Like Activity is Up in US

FDA Approves First Rapid Coronavirus Test

Arkansas Lawmakers Approve SBA Disaster Declaration

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  Flu-like activity is up in the United States this week, but its severity is moderate to low overall, the CDC reported Friday.

The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 23,000 deaths from flu, 38 million flu illnesses and 390,000 hospitalizations.

Compared to recent years, hospitalization rates for flu-related cases in the United States are moderate, but young children and young adults are a different story.

“Rates for children 0-4 years and adults 18-49 years are now the highest CDC has on record for these age groups, surpassing rates reported during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic,” the CDC said.

“Hospitalization rates for school-aged children (5-17 years) are higher than any recent regular season but remain lower than rates experienced by this age group during the pandemic.”

A total of 149 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported this season. That’s an increase of 5 since last week’s report.

Flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

Different flu shots are approved for people of different ages. Everyone should get a vaccine that is appropriate for their age, according to the CDC.

It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop and provide protection against the flu after your vaccination.

The agency also says you shouldn’t go to an emergency room if you are only mildly ill, but instead call your doctor for advice.

Arkansas Lawmakers Approve SBA Disaster Declaration

Arkansas Lawmakers Approve SBA Disaster Declaration

Arkansas Lawmakers Approve SBA Disaster Declaration

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  U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman announced that the Trump administration has approved a Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster declaration for economic injury as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The declaration makes additional federal resources available to the state’s small businesses to provide needed relief during this unprecedented time.

“We are pleased with the administration’s quick response for federal assistance to Arkansas. This declaration is critical to supporting small businesses facing financial challenges as a result of the pandemic,” members said.

On Thursday, the Arkansas Congressional Delegation sent a letter to SBA in support of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s call for an emergency declaration. 

Cornerstone Bank and the Impact of COVID-19

Arkansas Lawmakers Approve SBA Disaster Declaration

Cornerstone Bank and the Impact of COVID-19

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  At Cornerstone Bank, the safety and well-being of our customers, communities, and employees is at the forefront of everything we do. To ensure we are doing our part in regard to COVID-19, effective March 20, we have made the decision to temporarily limit lobby access at each of our locations and will be conducting banking transactions through the drive-thru only until further notice.

The drive-thru will operate during normal business hours from 7:30a.m.-6:00p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:00a.m. to Noon on Saturday. As a reminder, Cornerstone Bank offers several ways to access accounts and meet banking needs without physically visiting a branch. We encourage the use of our online and mobile banking features right from your smart phone, home computer, or tablet.

Additionally, our ATM’s will remain well stocked with cash for easy and convenient access to your money at all times. In-office visits may be scheduled by appointment only including lending, access to safe deposit boxes, account opening, etc.

We will continue to monitor developments around COVID-19 and provide updates as they relate to Cornerstone Bank on our website and social media channels which include: Facebook and Instagram. You can rest assured that your funds are safe and secure with us and we will continue to provide reliable access to the important services and solutions you count on. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender.

Tyson foods Boosting Food Donations

Arkansas Lawmakers Approve SBA Disaster Declaration

Cornerstone Bank and the Impact of COVID-19

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  Tyson Foods Inc. is boosting its food donations in light of the spreading novel coronavirus pandemic.

Since March 2, the nation's largest meat company has donated roughly 2.6 million pounds of food to pantries, schools, food banks and other organizations in 18 states in response to the virus.

Springdale-based Tyson is working to donate another 1.5 million pounds of food, bringing that total to 4 million pounds, or roughly 16 million meals.

"In this unprecedented environment, every day, more of our friends are depending on local food banks and community pantries to provide for their families," Debra Vernon, Tyson's senior director of corporate social responsibility, said in a corporate blog post Thursday. "Tyson Foods is committed to addressing this need."

Tyson in recent years has donated millions of dollars in grants and food donations in the United States. When natural disasters such as hurricanes strike, employees often go to affected areas with tons of food for those in need.

As part of this effort, Vernon said 13 trucks carrying about 500,000 pounds of food will be deployed at Tyson processing plants to support its hourly staff as they work to ensure enough food is hitting U.S. stores. Employees are also working to ensure the millions of students who depend on school-provided lunches have access to meals while schools are closed.

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger

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  March 20, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – To cushion the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak on working families, the state has streamlined the process of applying for unemployment insurance.

The Department of Workforce Services, under orders from the governor, will waive the one-week waiting period that had been required of laid off workers before they could apply for unemployment. The waiver will accelerate the payment of claims.

Another step ordered by the governor was to waive the requirement that applicants seek another job for 30 days. This waiver applies only to workers laid off from businesses that have been forced to close temporarily. 

A third waiver of rules provides that unemployed workers will not have to apply in person. They can apply online or by telephone. Search for ezarc.adws to find the Workforce Services Department web page that lists the items you’ll need to file an unemployment claim. 

In numerous other states, public officials have mandated the closing of restaurants and bars. In Arkansas restaurant dining rooms, bars and gyms have been closed. Restaurants can still serve take-out meals.

The state is setting up a program to provide bridge loans for small businesses, to help them stay open through the outbreak. The state will use $12 million in block grant money and as much as $4 million from its quick-action fund, which normally is used to recruit industry.

Under order of the state, the three casinos in Arkansas have closed until the end of March, affecting hundreds of employees. The casinos are in Pine Bluff, Hot Springs and West Memphis.

Concerts and shows are being canceled throughout Arkansas, and the cancellation of college sporting events has a ripple effect through the economy. 

Universities and colleges are switching to online classes. Graduation ceremonies have been postponed.

That reduces demand for ancillary student services near campus, many of which are provided by private sector businesses. Dry cleaners, printing shops with copy machines, pizza joints, fast food restaurants and entertainment venues are all affected.

The Arkansas State Dental Association recommended that dentists postpone seeing patients until after March 27, if the appointments are for non-urgent care.

Arkansas is among the many states that have closed schools temporarily. Students and teachers are maintaining course work online, which highlights the need for high speed broadband access across the state. Internet connections are transmitting more data than they usually do.

Of the state’s 2,000 child care centers, about 800 have shut down. Centers that care for children from low-income families that remain open through March 27 will be reimbursed at a higher rate for the children who receive vouchers, which are a form of federal assistance.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) will suspend the renewal process for child-care vouchers for 30 days. It also will temporarily waive limits on capacity for providers. 

The food stamp program, also called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will suspend the work requirement through the end of April. 

If people apply for food stamps because they lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak, DHS will speed up its decision on their eligibility.

03-20-2020

Covid-19 Update from Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Statement Re: Arvest Bank Lobby and In-Store Branch Closures as of Friday, March 20

Covid-19 Update from Gov. Asa Hutchinson

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  As known positive cases of covid-19 in Arkansas soared to 62 on Thursday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced new measures to limit what he said was “increasing community spread” of the illness.......

Strong Storms Cause Damage and Injury

Statement Re: Arvest Bank Lobby and In-Store Branch Closures as of Friday, March 20

Covid-19 Update from Gov. Asa Hutchinson

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  Storms blew through Thursday night in north and northeast Arkansas, destroying a couple of homes and injuring one person, officials said.

A few suspected tornadoes were in the mix, according to John Lewis, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock.

Lewis said there was damage reported at a school in the Bruno area of Marion County. According to the county's emergency office, the damage likely was caused by a tornado.

The possible tornado set down along Marion County Road 418, destroying a home and some other structures, and damaging several buildings, including the Bruno-Pyatt School, according to Smith. Trees were reported down all over the area.

A woman was injured and sent to the hospital, according to Smith, who did not disclose the extent of the woman's injuries. The county emergency service is continuing to assess the damage, he said.

In Boone County, a home in Everton was damaged and power lines are down, Lewis said.

The National Weather Service will be sending teams to Boone County and Marion County to assess damage, he said.

Statement Re: Arvest Bank Lobby and In-Store Branch Closures as of Friday, March 20

Statement Re: Arvest Bank Lobby and In-Store Branch Closures as of Friday, March 20

Arkansas Delegation Joins Effort to Protect America’s Domestic Food Supply During Pandemic

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  “People helping people” is part of Arvest Bank’s mission statement, and the bank announced that it will close all branch lobbies and in-store branches in an effort to help its communities, customers and associates fight the spread of COVID-19. 

The closures are effective beginning Friday, March 20. Arvest will continue to offer drive-thru and ATM services at all branches that feature those capabilities. Drive-thru hours for each location are available on arvest.com.

Additionally, customers who believe they have matters that require meeting with an Arvest banker can call (877) 848-8373 to request an appointment at a nearby branch location. 

Arvest is taking numerous other steps to meet its customers’ needs. The bank encourages customers conducting routine transactions to use Arvest’s Online Banking with BlueIQ™ and Arvest GO mobile app platforms.

The bank is advising any loan and/or credit card customers dealing with hardship due to effects of COVID-19 to call (877) 483-2940 to discuss their options for assistance and payment deferrals. Customers needing assistance with a business loan should contact their loan officer.

Arvest continues to follow guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as taking additional steps, to ensure its facilities, drive-thrus and ATMs are cleaned more frequently.

Lobbies and in-store branches will remain closed until further notice. As always, Arvest encourages its customers to monitor arvest.com and/or its social media channels for any news related to the bank. Those web properties remain the best, most reliable sources for information about Arvest.

Arkansas Delegation Joins Effort to Protect America’s Domestic Food Supply During Pandemic

Arkansas Delegation Joins Effort to Protect America’s Domestic Food Supply During Pandemic

Arkansas Delegation Joins Effort to Protect America’s Domestic Food Supply During Pandemic

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  WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—pressed the Trump administration to maintain access to vetted, temporary workers to help ensure America’s agriculture industry has the workforce it needs to continue producing our domestic food supply as our nation combats the novel coronavirus.

In a bipartisan, bicameral letter signed by more than 100 members of the House and Senate, members called on the administration to remove a number of specific hurdles in order to ensure the timely processing of H-2A visa requests, which is our nation’s temporary agriculture worker program. 

“We understand the importance of maintaining public health safety during this time and appreciate the Administration’s actions to minimize the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are substantial national security concerns that will arise should our farmers not have the labor they need,” the members wrote.

“Food security is national security,” the members continued. “We believe suspending visa services that our farmers rely on will be detrimental to families across our nation trying to put food on the table. We also believe that protocols should be in place as H-2A applications are processed to help protect public health in the United States should COVID-19 cases increase in Mexico or other participating countries.”

Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Announces Closings and Limiting of Some Services

Arkansas Delegation Joins Effort to Protect America’s Domestic Food Supply During Pandemic

Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Announces Closings and Limiting of Some Services

  LITTLE ROCK—Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism (ADPHT), today announced that ADPHT is instituting closings and/or limited access to some of its parks and museums in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective March 20.

Welcome Centers – Lobbies of the 13 Welcome Centers located around the state, which serve the traveling public, will close until further notice. 

Heritage Museums – The Division of Arkansas Heritage’s Little Rock museums will close to the public until further notice. This includes Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.

Arkansas State Parks – Access to certain park facilities will be limited, effective March 20. Below is an overview; for detailed information visit ArkansasStateParks.com.

“We believe the closing of welcome centers, heritage museums and some limiting of access and services at our parks is the best thing to do for our visitors and our staff,” said Secretary Hurst. “People can still come enjoy our beautiful state parks, where social distancing is achievable; but they can also get some great stress relief by hiking or biking our trails, enjoying our lakes, or just sitting still and taking in the great outdoors.”   

AG&F Commission Waive All Fishing License and Trout Permit Requirements

Arkansas Delegation Joins Effort to Protect America’s Domestic Food Supply During Pandemic

Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Announces Closings and Limiting of Some Services

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  The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has waived all fishing license and trout permit requirements for residents and nonresidents starting this weekend at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21 through 11:59 p.m Sunday, March 29. The special waiver is in response to the extended spring break by many schools and voluntary measures suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to practice “social distancing” to slow the spread of the Novel Coronavirus currently affecting the world.

U of A Stands to Lose Millions from Athletic Event Cancellations

U of A Stands to Lose Millions from Athletic Event Cancellations

U of A Stands to Lose Millions from Athletic Event Cancellations

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  The University of Arkansas stands to lose potentially millions of dollars related to athletic event cancellations prompted by the coronavirus, Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek told UA System trustees Wednesday.

At the same time, the university plans to refund its season-ticket holders for the spring sports events have been cancelled, a cost of $1.75 million.

Yurachek won't know for a few weeks just how much revenue will be lost from diminished Southeastern Conference distributions, he said, but right now schools are looking at losing $2 million to $3 million each.

Prior to cancellations, Yurachek expected about $45 million from the SEC.

The university will break even on refunds and possible repayment of sponsorships when factoring in less money spent traveling and conducting other activities, Yurachek said. But it will have a deficit overall because of the loss of SEC funds.

College athletic conferences across the nation -- although not all -- have canceled spring sporting events to prevent the spread the coronavirus. The NCAA canceled its men's and women's basketball tournaments -- a blow to fans, schools, cities and businesses that make money off of them.

Still, financial challenges may be exacerbated at the system's smaller universities' athletic departments, System President Donald Bobbitt said. Several people audibly agreed.

UA's athletic department is the only one, in the system or statewide, that operates on enough revenue to not need student fees as a supplement.

Yet, Yurachek isn't certain how the school will go about accounting for an added year of NCAA eligibility for spring athletes in terms of its scholarships.

He said he thinks the NCAA likely will allow schools to offer more scholarships, but that doesn't solve the problem.

03-19-2020

Coronavirus Update from Gov. Asa Hutchinson - 3-18-20

Coronavirus Update from Gov. Asa Hutchinson - 3-18-20

Coronavirus Update from Gov. Asa Hutchinson - 3-18-20

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Gov. Hutchinson and other state officials held their daily press conference Wednesday afternoon...........https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/covid-19-update-3-18-20 

ADH Reports Positive Cases Now at 37

Coronavirus Update from Gov. Asa Hutchinson - 3-18-20

Coronavirus Update from Gov. Asa Hutchinson - 3-18-20

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  The Arkansas Department of Health has confirmed 4 more positive coronavirus cases in the state of Arkansas, making the total number of cases 37. 

On Wednesday, Governor Asa Hutchinson gave an update to the media regarding the COVID-19 epidemic. In just seven hours 4 more people have tested positive for the virus. 

He also said the state is allocating $12 million to help businesses amid the coronavirus crisis.

Lawmakers Pass Multi-Billion Dollar Aid Package

Coronavirus Update from Gov. Asa Hutchinson - 3-18-20

Lawmakers Pass Multi-Billion Dollar Aid Package

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  The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to ensure paid benefits for many Americans, while millions are holed up at home against the coronavirus.

Lawmakers say it’s a multi-billion dollar aid package that would provide sick and family leave, boost food assistance programs, while also offering free testing for COVID-19.

The Senate approved the plan with a vote, 90-8.

The bill was sent to the White House for President Trump’s signature and the President signed the bill into law Wednesday evening.

Sen. John Boozman (R-Arkansas) said the first package before lawmakers dealt with the medical community, while a second bill would seek to help people impacted economically.

Boozman said he supports the Trump administration’s approach on the issue and that the next two weeks are very critical.

COVID-19 Guidance for Getting Tested

ADEM Warns Against the Latest COVID19 Scam

Lawmakers Pass Multi-Billion Dollar Aid Package

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  The ADH want to keep you informed regarding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Specifically, they want to inform you about considerations for testing.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath call ahead to your health care provider.

Those at higher risk for serious illness include older adults and people with underlying chronic medical conditions. People who are considered high risk should contact their health care provider early, even if symptoms are mild.

Health care providers will decide if testing for COVID-19 is necessary based on your symptoms and known exposures. Providers can test through private labs.

The ADH does not collect specimens for testing. Only your health care provider can decide if testing is needed and collect the needed specimens.

At this time, the ADH Public Health Lab is only performing tests for Arkansans with possible high risk exposure to COVID-19. However, health care providers have access to testing through other labs.

People who are mildly ill may be able to self-isolate and care for themselves at home. If emergency warning signs develop, seek medical attention immediately. These signs include: difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face.

The ADH is monitoring Arkansans with possible exposure to COVID-19. Depending on travel history, or exposure to people with confirmed COVID-19, some individuals may be placed under home quarantine. If symptoms of COVID-19 do not develop prior to the last date of quarantine, these people will be free to resume their normal activities.

https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-guidance-for-getting-tested

COVID-19 ADH Hotline #1-800-803-7847

Walmart Implements More Changes

ADEM Warns Against the Latest COVID19 Scam

ADEM Warns Against the Latest COVID19 Scam

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  Walmart is making some significant changes amid the coronavirus pandemic, including putting restrictions on some items and creating a special “seniors only” shopping hour.

“Our associates have been nothing short of heroic in their commitment to serve customers, stock shelves as quickly as possible and keep their stores clean. When their communities needed them the most, our people have been at their best. Their efforts continue to be a tremendous source of pride for everyone at Walmart,” said Dacona Smith, executive vice president and COO for Walmart.

The following changes are being instituted immediately:

Store Operating Hours

Walmart U.S. stores will adjust operating hours to 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Stores that open later than 7 a.m. will continue their regular starting hours. This will further help associates restock the shelves for customers while continuing to clean and sanitize the store. While the store hours change for customers, associates will continue to have access to their regular scheduled shifts and full hours.

Special Shopping Hours

Walmart is offering special shopping hours for seniors. From March 24 through April 28, Walmart stores will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older. This will start one hour before the store opens. Pharmacies and Vision Centers will also be open during this time.

Item Limitations

Stores will have limits for customers in certain categories including paper products, milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, water, diapers, wipes, formula, and baby food.

ADEM Warns Against the Latest COVID19 Scam

ADEM Warns Against the Latest COVID19 Scam

ADEM Warns Against the Latest COVID19 Scam

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  NORTH LITTLE ROCK— The Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) is warning citizens that there are persons who are impersonating employees of the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) going door to door and offering COVID19 testing in exchange for money and personal information. ADEM has confirmed that the CDC is not going door to door for testing. 

Arkansas residents encountering someone at their door stating they are there to test them for a Coronavirus or COVID19 should file a consumer complaint with the Arkansas Attorney General's office by calling(501) 682-2007 or (800) 482-8982 or downloading a Consumer Complaint Form at https://arkansasag.gov/forms/file-a-consumer-complaint/

Berryville City Council Report

Berryville Library Cancels Hogwarts Spring Break Camp But Offers Take Home Kits

Berryville Library Cancels Hogwarts Spring Break Camp But Offers Take Home Kits

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  The Berryville City Council met Tuesday for their last meeting of the month. All aldermen were present except for Joanne Harris. 

Council commented on the monthly financial report for the month of February. The city has noticed how much the collections had increased since the internet sales tax was implemented a few months ago. For February the city collected $134,566 from the 1% sales tax, compared to $118,000 in February of 2019. The 1/2% sales tax collected $67, 283 in February.

Council passed Ordinance 1070 on its amended second and third reading. The Ordinance deals with Storage Freight Containers, typically defined as the all-metal sided containers used in the trucking and/or freight industry. The permit gives 30 days for the use of PODS moving containers for temporary storage of household items while a residential structure is under renovation/rehabilitation. Permission must be obtained from the Building Inspector for each 30 day renewal.

Mayor Tim McKinney had these comments at the end of the meeting regarding Coronavirus and the upcoming Census...........https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/covid-19-update-3-18-20 

The next meeting of the Berryville City Council is Tuesday, April 7th at 6pm.

Berryville Library Cancels Hogwarts Spring Break Camp But Offers Take Home Kits

Berryville Library Cancels Hogwarts Spring Break Camp But Offers Take Home Kits

Berryville Library Cancels Hogwarts Spring Break Camp But Offers Take Home Kits

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  March 18, 2020-- Due to the closing earlier this week of the Berryville Public Library building per County and Arkansas Department of Health guidelines, the library had to cancel the Hogwarts Spring Break Camp which was scheduled for next week. They have also had to become very creative in offering services to the public during this time. The library staff has been busy putting together Hogwart Spring Break prep kits which can be taken home and enjoyed for ages 8+. The kits are designed to be a teaser for the real Hogwarts Camp which will be rescheduled at a later date. 

The Hogwarts Spring Break kit contains 2 crafts and 3 activities 'to go'. There is a limited supply of kits available and all kits must be picked up by this Sunday, March 29th. To schedule a curbside pick up time for your kit, contact the library at (870) 423-2323. Other Adult & Kid Craft Packs are available for pick up. Contact the library for more information about the available craft kits. All kits are free.

According to Julie Hall, Berryville Library Director, " We are so appreciative of everyone's understanding and patience during this time of uncertainty. We are working very hard behind the scenes, not only clean and sanitize the entire library, but also create learning activities that our patrons can take home to enjoy. The health and safety of our patrons and staff are of utmost priority for all of us at the Berryville Library". 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Berryville Library, (870) 423-2323. 

Utah Shaken by Earthquake

Berryville Library Cancels Hogwarts Spring Break Camp But Offers Take Home Kits

Utah Shaken by Earthquake

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  A 5.7-magnitude earthquake has shaken Salt Lake City and many of its suburbs.

The quake sent panicked residents running to the streets, knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and closed the city’s airport and its light rail system.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the epicenter was just southwest of the city and was likely felt by an estimated 2.8 million people. Residents felt their homes shake for 10 to 15 seconds.

The extent of the damage wasn’t immediately clear, though there were no immediate reports of major damage.

The Utah Emergency Management agency says it was the largest earthquake to hit Utah since a 5.9 magnitude quake shook southern Utah in 1992.

03-18-2020

Third Judicial District Courts Postponed

Governor Easing Restrictions on Unemployment Benefits

Governor Easing Restrictions on Unemployment Benefits

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  As of March 16, 2020, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the Third Judicial District Courts of Berryville, Green Forest, Huntsville and Eureka Springs, has postponed all court dates currently set for March, April, and the 1st week of May. You are asked to call to get your new court day.

Governor Easing Restrictions on Unemployment Benefits

Governor Easing Restrictions on Unemployment Benefits

Governor Easing Restrictions on Unemployment Benefits

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  Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is easing some of the restrictions for seeking unemployment benefits because of the coronavirus outbreak as two more casinos in the state temporarily closed. 

The Governor said his order on unemployment waives a one-week waiting period and makes those applying immediately eligible.

Hutchinson said he directed Arkansas' three casinos to close for the next two weeks. 

Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis and Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff say they are temporarily closing their facilities over concerns about the coronavirus, which causes the disease called COVID-19. Oaklawn announced Sunday it was closing its casino.

Medicare Expanding Telemedicine

Governor Easing Restrictions on Unemployment Benefits

Facebook Glitch Caused System to Block News on Coronavirus

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  Medicare said Tuesday it will immediately expand coverage for telemedicine nationwide to help seniors with health problems stay home to avoid the coronavirus.

The new option will allow millions of older people to take care of ongoing medical problems as well as new concerns, while heeding public health advice to stay home during the outbreak.

For example, a patient with diabetes wouldn't have to postpone a regular follow-up visit with the doctor to keep safe — he or she could do it via Skype. And people concerned they may have the virus could "see" their doctor or nurse practitioner virtually to find out how to get tested in person.

For seniors who don't navigate technology, relatives or friends can assist. Risk of serious illness from the coronavirus is greater for older people and those with underlying health problems such as lung conditions, diabetes or heart problems. Many Medicare beneficiaries are managing chronic health issues that put them at heightened risk. The telemedicine expansion is geared directly to this vulnerable group.

Current telehealth coverage under traditional Medicare is limited. It's available in rural areas, and patients need to go to specially-designated sites for their visits. Since last year Medicare has also been paying for brief "virtual check-ins." Tuesday's announcement goes beyond that, allowing clinicians and hospitals to bill Medicare for visits via telemedicine that previously had to take place in person, at a medical office or facility. 

The policy change carries out a waiver of Medicare rules recently authorized by Congress, and set in motion under emergency declarations from the Trump administration. Expanded telemedicine coverage will remain in effect during the outbreak.

Facebook Glitch Caused System to Block News on Coronavirus

Facebook Glitch Caused System to Block News on Coronavirus

Facebook Glitch Caused System to Block News on Coronavirus

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  Facebook says a bug in its anti-spam system is blocking the publication of links to news stories about the coronavirus. Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of integrity, said on Twitter Tuesday that the company is working on fixing the problem. 

Users are complaining that links to news stories about school closings and other information related to the virus outbreak being blocked by the company's automated system. 

Rosen said the problems are unrelated to any changes to its content moderator workforce. The company reportedly sent its human moderators home this week. 

A representative for Facebook did not immediately respond to questions on the status of Facebook's content moderators, many of whom do not work directly for the company and are not always able to work from home.

Walmart Commits $25M to Help Meet Critical Needs

Facebook Glitch Caused System to Block News on Coronavirus

Walmart Commits $25M to Help Meet Critical Needs

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To help meet the critical needs resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have committed $25 million to support organizations on the front lines responding to the outbreak.

“In times of need, we see communities come together to do extraordinary things. This pandemic is no different,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart and president of the Walmart Foundation. “We are humbled by the efforts of our store associates, nonprofit partners, and citizens across the globe who are coming together to support those in need. We hope these grants will help to expand critical response efforts as we continue to work together to address the impact of COVID-19.”

The funds will be used to strengthen the global public health response, bolster food security, and support the needs of local communities in the U.S. and internationally. The commitment is intended to provide:

$5 million to support global efforts to help countries prevent, detect and manage the coronavirus;

$10 million to support food banks, school meal programs and organizations that provide access to food for underserved populations; and

$10 million to support efforts in local communities in the United States and international markets.

The first grants are expected to be issued this week. Details regarding individual grants will be made available as they are finalized.

NWA Older Americans Should Be Aware of Scam

Facebook Glitch Caused System to Block News on Coronavirus

Walmart Commits $25M to Help Meet Critical Needs

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  A coronavirus scam is targeting the elderly community in Northwest Arkansas. 

An older woman says two men came to a woman’s door saying they were from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and they wanted to test her for COVID-19 since she was older and in the high-risk category.

“They swabbed her nose and basically told her that her test came back negative," said Vice President training officer at First Security Bank, Jay Crutz. "She was required to pay them, she paid them $50, so she gave them a check. They also got her social security number and date of birth.”

They also got her debit and credit card numbers as well. Crutz and another bank employee encountered this woman at a grocery store this week.

“In these times it’s hard to believe there are folks out there that do not have a moral compass, that do unconscionable things that don’t just affect the elderly but people in general,” Crutz said.

Jennifer Hallum with the Area Agency on Aging says, unfortunately, there are people in our society who like to capitalize on events like the coronavirus that are causing a lot of public anxiety.

“It’s appalling to me that we would want to target our seniors who are vulnerable to this virus. It’s just really unfortunate…I’m just kind of speechless that this would happen this soon,” Hallum said.

Hallum encourages caregivers, friends and family of seniors to warn them of this and other potential scams.

“Oftentimes people in this situation elderly or young, they have a sense of shame and they may not be as forthcoming. If you notice something make sure and ask them questions and support them,” Hallum said.

The Arkansas Department of Health says they nor the CDC would ever come to your home unannounced. 

If you hear of something like this happen to someone you know, make sure to report it to your local police department and to the Attorney General’s office. 

The Area Agency on Aging in Fort Smith also offers resources for seniors who have been scammed.

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks Coronavirus Update

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks Coronavirus Update

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks Coronavirus Update

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 Coronavirus pandemic causes numerous blood drive cancellations and postponements – Donors urged to give now.

March 17, 2020 – Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO), the sole supplier of blood and plasma to patients at more than 40 area healthcare facilities, is urging healthy individuals to continue to donate blood at an upcoming CBCO donor center or blood drive in the region. They are calling on donors and community partners to help keep adequate blood reserves available by maintaining a regular schedule of giving.

Since last week, over a dozen scheduled blood drives have been postponed or cancelled altogether, resulting in the loss of hundreds of previously scheduled or future blood donations. 

As mobile blood drives continue to postpone their blood drives, CBCO is focusing on increasing donations at CBCO Donor Centers in Springfield, Joplin, Bentonville and Springdale. Here are some points the public needs to know.

• CBCO has increased our already stringent standards to ensure the health of our donors and our employees. These will include, but are not limited to:

o Sanitation stations at various points in the donation process.

o Increased availability of personal protective equipment for donor use. These will include hand gel, social distancing protocols, along with protective gloves when handling objects used by the public.

o A temperature check of potential donors will be administered both when a donor comes in to give and at the physical findings check that is required for each donor.

o An increase in aseptic procedures that will ensure a clean environment for your donation.

• CBCO is strongly urging donors to make an appointment to give at https://donate.cbco.org/donor/schedules/centers. Appointments will help us to make certain that the donor’s experience will be as smooth as possible by better managing donor flow at donor centers and blood drives. Donors are also encouraged to use the QuickPass feature which allows you to begin the blood donation process from the comfort of your home or office, saving you time at the blood drive Find QuickPass on the CBCO website at https://www.cbco.org/quickpass/.

• There is the strong possibility that future blood drives and donation levels will continue to be negatively impacted over the next several weeks. Please check the CBCO website for the latest drive information, donor center hours of operation and special events. 

It is also important to note that Community Blood Center of the Ozarks donors are the sole suppliers of blood to patients at more than 40 area hospitals. It is important now more than ever for local donors to provide relief and their lifesaving gift for local patients.

On behalf of local hospital patients, CBCO thanks blood donors from across the region for giving life to your community.

Floridians Packing Beaches

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks Coronavirus Update

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks Coronavirus Update

  Some people in Florida are apparently not interested in social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Clearwater Beach was packed Monday with people, including spring breakers, despite recommendations to avoid large crowds.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommended canceling all gatherings that involve more than 50 people. The White House went further Monday, saying people should stay away from any group bigger than 10.

Governments could decide to impose curfews on some Florida beaches later this week.

03-17-2020

Millions Hunker Down for Who Knows How Long

Mercy Hospital Administrator Vonda Moore Explains Restrictions at Hospital

Mercy Hospital Administrator Vonda Moore Explains Restrictions at Hospital

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  Millions of Americans have begun their work weeks holed up at home, as the coronavirus pandemic means the entire nation’s daily routine has shifted in ways never before seen in U.S. history.

Trump administration officials described a targeted, government-driven effort to screen for the virus in the most vulnerable Americans and those able to treat them.

Officials said federal emergency and health workers would partner with states to set up community centers capable of testing 2,000 to 4,000 people per day. The details come amid growing frustration about lack of access to testing and concerns the virus is spreading undetected.

U.S. researchers have given a healthy volunteer the first shot of an experimental coronavirus vaccine as anxiously awaited testing opens.

Monday’s milestone is just the first step in a long process.

The effort is one of several worldwide hunting for protection against COVID-19, even as the pandemic grows.

The study is run by scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle.

The shots were developed by the National Institutes of Health in record time after the new coronavirus exploded from China.

Experts say it will be at least a year before any vaccine is ready for widespread use.

Infections are expected to rise in America as the government steps up testing and financial markets continue to fall. 

Major airlines are scaling back flights dramatically in response to the coronavirus crisis that has seen Europe and the wider world go into lockdown.

Mercy Hospital Administrator Vonda Moore Explains Restrictions at Hospital

Mercy Hospital Administrator Vonda Moore Explains Restrictions at Hospital

Mercy Hospital Administrator Vonda Moore Explains Restrictions at Hospital

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  Vonda Moore, had this update for Justices at Monday's Quorum Court meeting.........

Also at the meeting Monday, an executive proclamation announcing the Carroll County Courthouse will temporarily lock its doors to the public except by appointment only, during regular business hours. It is effective until further notice.

J.P.'s also passed an ordinance addressing leave policies for all Coounty employees in times of public health emergency declared by the Governor. 

Drive-thru Coronavirus Screening is Available in Eureka Springs

Mercy Hospital Administrator Vonda Moore Explains Restrictions at Hospital

Drive-thru Coronavirus Screening is Available in Eureka Springs

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  Washington Regional Medical Center is offering the drive-thru screening at its family clinic at 146 Passion Play Road, Suite A, according to a news release.

Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to the news release from Cynthia Crowder, a spokeswoman for Washington Regional.

As patients enter the parking lot, they will be screened for symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Patients with coronavirus symptoms will be given a mask and directed to park. They will be screened in their vehicles, according to the news release.

Patients who need to go to the clinic for other medical reasons — who don't have coronavirus symptoms — will be able to proceed inside the clinic, according to the release.

The health-care system has more information on the virus at wregional.com/main.

Know the Difference Between Covid-19 and Allergies

Know the Difference Between Covid-19 and Allergies

Drive-thru Coronavirus Screening is Available in Eureka Springs

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  With many people experiencing spring allergies and the potential spread of COVID-19, the symptoms between the two could get confusing.

Dr. Abby Baldwin says it’s good to know the difference between the symptoms of allergies and the coronavirus. She says typical coronavirus symptoms involve fever, cough and shortness of breath.

“Typically, with allergies, there may be a dry cough or a wet cough but there is not shortness of breath involved and there is also not fever, so that’s how you distinguish between the two,” Dr. Baldwin said.

If you do have fever or cough Dr. Baldwin recommends calling your doctor’s office before showing up. But if you are having trouble breathing then you probably need to go to the emergency room. 

She says the most important thing is to not panic when you are out in public but to definitely keep a distance from people who are coughing and sneezing.

“People should cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm rather than in their hand, so if you do touch things you are spreading germs. If someone does sneeze around you then it’s better to go ahead and wash your hands,” Dr. Baldwin said.

Also, remember to not touch your face and if you do to wash your hands to keep from spreading germs.

McDonalds Closing Off Inside Seating

Know the Difference Between Covid-19 and Allergies

McDonalds Closing Off Inside Seating

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  McDonald's is among several restaurants that are closing off seating amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"Ensuring the health and safety of our people and our communities is our highest priority as the United States quickly mobilizes to slow the spread of COVID-19," the company said in a statement Monday.

The fast-food burger chain, which announced the change for its independent franchise owners, will serve customers through drive-thru, walk-in takeout and delivery.

Additionally, PlayPlaces will be closed as of Monday.

Similar seating closures have been announced by Chick-fil-A and Starbucks.

ACT Testing Posponed Until June

Know the Difference Between Covid-19 and Allergies

McDonalds Closing Off Inside Seating

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  The ACT college entrance exam is postponing its April testing until June. 

"The safety of students and test center staff is ACT’s top priority. ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S. in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19)" the organization said in a statement. 

All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from the ACT with information on how to reschedule to June 13 for free. Students will also have the option to reschedule for a different national test date. 

Be sure and check our website at kthsradio.com for closings, cancellations and announcements as they are updated regularly.

03-16-2020

Carroll County Schools to Close Through March 30

President Trump Urges Americans to Cease Hoarding Groceries/Supplies

Loaves and Fishes Food Bank Announce Emergency Operaitonal Plan

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  Gov. Hutchinson has ordered all school districts in Arkansas to close for on-site instruction starting Tuesday through at least the next two weeks. 

Schools are recommended, but have the option to close as early as Monday. The state is allowing one additional day for school districts to prepare their students and faculty for online instruction.

All school districts in Arkansas are ordered to close through at least this week, followed by one previously scheduled week of spring break. This means all schools would be closed through at least March 30. 

This comes after Hutchinson and state officials confirmed four new cases of Coronavirus in Arkansas, which now has 16 active cases that have tested positive. 

Some schools have already sent homework packets or computers with children in the event that schools would close, per state officials in a news conference Sunday. 

Berryville Schools are closed today through March 30th. Students should use their AMI packets for each missed day.

Green Forest and Eureka Springs schools will be closed Tuesday, March 17th through March 30th. Use the AMI packets given to students for each day out of school.

Additionally, at the same news conference Sunday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced price-gouging laws are in effect now, for at least 30 days.

The laws apply to people, on-site businesses and online platforms. making purchases and selling goods and services. Rutledge reported at least one instance in western Arkansas where a pack of water, originally sold at $4, was increased to $8. 

Violators could face a fine of up to $10,000 for every violation, per Rutledge. 

Loaves and Fishes Food Bank Announce Emergency Operaitonal Plan

President Trump Urges Americans to Cease Hoarding Groceries/Supplies

Loaves and Fishes Food Bank Announce Emergency Operaitonal Plan

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  The Loaves and Fishes Food Bank will begin serving clients under a coronavirus emergency operational plan, effective March 16, 2020, in keeping with the President’s recent national emergency declaration.

“We feel the food bank is a critical service to our community, and will continue to be so especially through this period of crisis in our country,” said Lieu Smith, Board Secretary for the food bank. “As such, we wish to keep it open and offering services to the community, but we must balance that community need against the safety of our volunteers, many of whom are of an age that they are in the at-risk group for serious consequences of exposure to the coronavirus. There are no paid employees at the food bank, so our volunteers are critical to the delivery of our mission.”

“Toward that end, we intend to offer a drive-thru service. We will be operating in such a way that clients will not have to come inside the food bank, but will present their ID at the front door. Volunteers inside will verify household size from existing records, and pack a box with an appropriate amount of food that the client may pick up by driving around the food bank to the loading dock. This process will minimize contact between clients and volunteers, help avoid large numbers of people being gathered in the small space of the food bank, and help protect the food items inside from possible contamination from a large number of people entering and leaving the food bank.”

Smith went on to say, “As clients make their visits to the food bank when we are in this operational mode, it will be important for them to remember that we will be limited in what we can do for them. It will be critical for each client who wishes to be served to be prepared to show photo ID. If they cannot produce proper identification, they will be turned away. Clients are used to coming into the food bank and selecting the items they wish to have included in their allotment in addition to government-provided commodities. As they will remain outside while their boxes are being packed, it will not be possible for them to select items from our shelves. Under no circumstances will clients be given entry to the food bank while we are operating under this plan. Additionally, if clients require assistance in getting food loaded into their vehicles, they should bring someone to help them. We know this is an inconvenience, but our volunteers will make every effort to assure both appropriate weight of goods delivered, and also good variety and nutrition. This plan is for the protection of all of us.”

Loaves and Fishes will comply with any governmental mandate that might require the food bank to cease operations, but intends to be open its regular hours as long as there are enough volunteers to safely keep the food bank open. Loaves and Fishes is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10-2 and Tuesday evenings from 4-6. Loaves and Fishes is located at 301 Bunch Springs Road, across from the Berryville Cemetery.

President Trump Urges Americans to Cease Hoarding Groceries/Supplies

President Trump Urges Americans to Cease Hoarding Groceries/Supplies

President Trump Urges Americans to Cease Hoarding Groceries/Supplies

  President Donald Trump on Sunday called on Americans to cease hoarding groceries and other supplies.

Trump assured Americans, after speaking with leading grocery chain executives, that grocers would remain open and that the supply chain remained healthy. Vice President Mike Pence urged Americans to only buy the groceries they need for the week ahead.

The comments from the president after the government’s top infectious disease expert said he would like to see aggressive measures such as a 14-day national shutdown that would require Americans to hunker down even more to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Still, Dr. Anthony Fauci said travel restrictions within the United States, such as to and from hard-hit Washington state and California, probably will not be needed anytime soon.

The push by one of the nation's foremost public health experts for Americans to act with greater urgency came as officials in Washington began preparing for what is expected to be a long-haul effort to try to stem the virus that has upended life around the globe.

Walmart Adjusting Open Hours

Feds Award Money to Two Companies Developing Covid-19 Tests

President Trump Urges Americans to Cease Hoarding Groceries/Supplies

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  Walmart stores across the country will be adjusting their hours of operations in order to restock and sanitize stores, according to a press release.

Starting Sunday, March 15 Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice. Stores who are open for reduced hours (for example 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.) will keep the current hours of operation. 

Employees will continue to work the hours and shifts they are scheduled. The supply chain and trucking fleet will continue to move and deliver products to stores on their regular schedules as well.

Dacona Smith, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart U.S. released the following statement:

"I could not be prouder of our associates and what they continue to accomplish for our customers. I don’t think any of us have been through an experience like this.

Walmart parking lots will host drive-through coronavirus testing centers, Doug McMillon, Walmart President and CEO, announced Friday afternoon at a press conference with President Donald Trump and other business leaders.

Trump said the drive-through testing centers will be placed in critical locations identified by public health officials. Those locations will probably be announced Sunday night.

Patients will be able to drive up and be swabbed without having to leave the car.

Trump expects 1.4 million tests to be ready next week and 5 million in about a month.

Walmart will begin hosting the drive-throughs in only select locations at first and then scale up over time as the supply increases, McMillon said.

Tyson Announces Changes to Policies

Feds Award Money to Two Companies Developing Covid-19 Tests

Feds Award Money to Two Companies Developing Covid-19 Tests

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  Tyson announced Friday it would change some of its policies to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus.

The changes for hourly workers include "eliminating punitive effects" for plant employees who miss work due to illness and waive a waiting period for short-term disability benefits. 

Tyson is also waiving costs for COVID-19 testing and the use of telemedicine.

The company also announced many employers in corporate office locations will work remotely for the next two weeks.

Tyson noted COVID-19 is not considered a food safety concern.

This comes as many local institutions change plans due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Walmart has also instructed employees at its Home Office in Bentonville to work remotely only. 

The University of Arkansas, NWACC, and John Brown University are moving to online-only classes. UAMS cancelled all classes and programs. UAFS extended Spring Break by an extra week.

Feds Award Money to Two Companies Developing Covid-19 Tests

Feds Award Money to Two Companies Developing Covid-19 Tests

Feds Award Money to Two Companies Developing Covid-19 Tests

  The Trump administration is awarding $1.3 million in federal money to two companies trying to develop rapid COVID-19 tests that could detect whether a person tests positive for the new coronavirus within an hour.

The Department of Health and Human Services says Friday it is awarding $679,000 to DiaSorin Molecular, of Cypress, California, and $598,000 to QIAGEN LLC of Germantown, Maryland, to accelerate development of the tests.

The agency says DiaSorin could potentially be ready within six weeks for consideration by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the QIAGEN test could be ready within 12 weeks for EUA consideration by the FDA.

The Trump administration has been criticized for its lack of testing for the virus, compared to other nations around the world.

Clinical Trial to Evaluate Vaccine to Protect Against Virus

Clinical Trial to Evaluate Vaccine to Protect Against Virus

Clinical Trial to Evaluate Vaccine to Protect Against Virus

  A clinical trial evaluating a vaccine designed to protect against the new coronavirus will begin Monday, according to a government official.

The first participant in the trial will receive the experimental vaccine on Monday, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the trial has not been publicly announced yet. The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial, which is taking place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, the official said.

Public health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.

Testing will begin with 45 young, healthy volunteers with different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc. There’s no chance participants could get infected from the shots, because they don’t contain the virus itself. The goal is purely to check that the vaccines show no worrisome side effects, setting the stage for larger tests.

Dozens of research groups around the world are racing to create a vaccine as COVID-19 cases continue to grow. Importantly, they’re pursuing different types of vaccines — shots developed from new technologies that not only are faster to produce than traditional inoculations but might prove more potent. Some researchers even aim for temporary vaccines, such as shots that might guard people’s health a month or two at a time while longer-lasting protection is developed.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The worldwide outbreak has sickened more than 156,000 people and left more than 5,800 dead. The death toll in the United States is more than 50, while infections neared 3,000 across 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three weeks to six weeks to recover.

State CapitoWeek in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger

Clinical Trial to Evaluate Vaccine to Protect Against Virus

Clinical Trial to Evaluate Vaccine to Protect Against Virus

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 March 13, 2020

LITTLE ROCK –Pay raises have been proposed for direct care employees at the state’s five centers for people with multiple disabilities.

They live in the facilities, which are known as Human Development Centers, or HDC’s. Residents receive treatment, therapy and education. The range of services is comprehensive, because of the special needs of the 900 people who live in the residential homes.

The five HDC’s are in Jonesboro, Arkadelphia, Warren, Conway and Booneville.

Administration of the facilities is by the Developmental Disabilities Division, a part of the largest state agency, the Department of Human Services.

The Division is proposing significant salary increases for direct pay staff. They will receive free training toward certification as a certified nursing assistant, and the Division also will pay for any testing and application fees they incur. By December of this year, they will be required to have the CNA certificate.

Base pay will increase from $22,000 to $26,000 a year. For supervisors it will increase from $26,000 to $32,405.

Non-direct care staff, such as workers in the laundry, cafeteria and maintenance crews, will see their pay go up to the minimum wage of $11 an hour, when it takes effect January 1, 2021. Non-direct care staff also will have the opportunity to earn a CNA certificate at no cost.

The Division also proposes to raise salaries of licensed practical nurses at the HDC’s.

The facilities have seen huge turnover among staff. The director of the Division said that turnover averaged more than 100 percent at the five HDC’s. The work is difficult, and if the salaries are comparable with fast food work it’s difficult to keep employees.

Also, high turnover is disruptive for the residents being treated at the HDC’s. They respond to treatment better when they know the staff and the staff knows them.

The proposed pay raises have not yet been approved by the legislature.

Lottery Sales

Lottery ticket sales for the first eight months of this fiscal year are down from last year. That’s important because revenue from the state lottery pays for college scholarships, after prizes to winners have been awarded.

The head of the lottery attributed the decline in lottery sales to the lack of an enormous jackpot. In past years, lottery sales in Arkansas have been boosted because of interest created in huge jackpots in national lotteries like Mega Millions and Powerball. Arkansas participates in those national lotteries.

Other factors were the opening of a new casino in Pine Bluff and the expansion of gambling establishments in Hot Springs and West Memphis. Also, Mississippi now has a lottery that participates in Mega Millions and Powerball.

Lottery ticket sales in counties near Mississippi saw double-digit decreases, compared to the first eight months of last year. Jefferson County, home of a new casino, had a 10 percent drop in lottery sales.

About $94.6 million will be awarded in scholarships to about 33,000 college students if people buy as many lottery tickets as estimated by higher education officials.

Some lottery officials want the state to consider adding new varieties to lottery games, such as keno. However, that idea has drawn opposition from key senators who point out that keno was not part of the promotional campaigns for the original lottery amendment when it was approved by voters in 2008.

03-13-2020

Governor Hutchinson Announces Five More Presumptive Positive Cases

State's Public and Private Universities Announce Shift to Online Instruction

Governor Hutchinson Announces Five More Presumptive Positive Cases

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  Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday a total of six people have presumptive positive tests for coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon.

The cases are confirmed in Pulaski, Saline, Jefferson and Grant. Because of the positives tests, school in those counties will stay closed for two weeks. An employee at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock is one of those six tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital is working to identify all staff members and patients who came into contact with the worker.

The Arkansas Department of Health is monitoring the spread of COVID-19 daily. Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday the state’s first presumptive case during a news conference. That person is being treated at a Pine Bluff hospital. The governor declared a public health emergency.

Arkansas Activities Association Postpones Hot Springs Games

State's Public and Private Universities Announce Shift to Online Instruction

Governor Hutchinson Announces Five More Presumptive Positive Cases

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  AAA has postponed the High School basketball championships in Hot Springs today and tomorrow until further notice and the AAA also announced that they will suspend all spring interscholastic competition starting Sunday, March 15th until Monday March 30th and will reassess and announce further plans.

  

Due to heath concerns with COVID-19 Berryville Public School has decided to cancel all athletic events starting today until March 30th. Our student athletes and coaching staff's safety are of the utmost importance. This is a fluid situation and I will pass along information as it becomes available and make a decision on future athletic events. This decision does not come easy but we believe it is in the best interest of our athletic program. 

State's Public and Private Universities Announce Shift to Online Instruction

State's Public and Private Universities Announce Shift to Online Instruction

State's Public and Private Universities Announce Shift to Online Instruction

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  The state's largest public and private universities on Thursday announced a shift to online instruction in response to concerns about the threat of the covid-19 illness, as did the biggest two-year college.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville suspended in-person courses through the end of the spring semester, Chancellor Joe Steinmetz announced in an email to the campus. Campus housing and dining services will remain open or students may return home as remote instruction begins Monday.

Schools in various parts of the state took action the same day Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced five new presumptive coronavirus cases, all of them in four central Arkansas counties, bringing the total to six.

Unlike action taken by some colleges Wednesday, several campuses announcing changes Thursday cited general concerns about the spread of the virus rather than specific cases of students or staff being exposed to someone with a presumptive case of covid-19 illness.

"Basically, it's looking at the increased number of cases there are here in Arkansas," Steinmetz said in a phone interview, explaining the reason for suspending in-person classes in Fayetteville, roughly 230 miles from the state's first presumptive coronavirus case, a patient in Pine Bluff, announced Wednesday.

Four of the new presumptive cases announced Thursday had some type of contact with the first patient, Dr. Nathaniel Smith, the state's top health official, said.

Steinmetz said the shift to remote instruction is about trying to reduce the chance of illness spreading by means of people congregating together.

Carving in the Ozarks Coming in April

Boozman Continues to Advocate for Improvements to VA Suicide Prevention Programs

State's Public and Private Universities Announce Shift to Online Instruction

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  The Eureka Springs Volunteer Fire Department will host the Carving In The Ozarks event on Friday and Saturday April 17th & 18th. The event will be held at 4028 E Van Buren St in Eureka Springs, on Hwy 62 on the East side of town just before Passion Play road. 

This year over 20 carvers will travel from across the country to participate in this competition event. This is a free event to the public where professional carvers can be observed in creating masterpieces of their choosing carved from logs using chain saws & various power tools in a competition against each other. Carvers will be creating all day on both days of the event from approximately 8am to 4pm. 

This will be the 16th year for the event which is a fundraiser for the Volunteer fire department. On Saturday afternoon at 4pm a live auction will be conducted to auction off the carvings created in the competition over the 2 day period. The proceeds from this auction are used to purchase equipment for the fire fighters. Over 40 creations of all types will be available in the auction giving everyone something of interest to bid on. 

The department wishes to invite everyone to come and enjoy the festivities during both days and especially participate in the live auction portion on Saturday afternoon at 4pm. More information is available by calling the fire department or by visiting the department web site at www.eurekaspringsfire.org. We look forward to seeing you there! 

Capital Murder Charges Filed in Police Officer's Death

Boozman Continues to Advocate for Improvements to VA Suicide Prevention Programs

Boozman Continues to Advocate for Improvements to VA Suicide Prevention Programs

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  Capital-murder charges were filed Thursday against a man and woman in the shooting Tuesday of Hot Springs police officer Brent Scrimshire. The state plans to seek the death penalty for both suspects, Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Lawrence said in a news release.

Kayvon Moshawn Daking Ward, 21, who was still being treated Thursday at a hospital, is suspected of being the triggerman and is charged with capital murder with a felony firearm enhancement, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and possession of a defaced firearm.

Coriama Hernandez, 20, was booked into the jail shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday on a 48-hour hold and was charged Thursday as an accomplice to capital murder and with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

The charges against both suspects were filed under seal Thursday by order of Garland County Circuit Judge Marcia Hearnsberger. Lawrence noted that Hearnsberger also planned to seek a gag order limiting pretrial publicity in the case.

Ward has been sought since Aug. 18 on unrelated felony warrants regarding the shooting of Zachary Bennett, 21. The two reportedly fought that August day at 315 Grove St. and Bennett suffered nonlife-threatening injuries.

Boozman Continues to Advocate for Improvements to VA Suicide Prevention Programs

Boozman Continues to Advocate for Improvements to VA Suicide Prevention Programs

Boozman Continues to Advocate for Improvements to VA Suicide Prevention Programs

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  U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee, continues to advocate for improved coordination of suicide prevention efforts to save the lives of veterans.

Over the past month, leaders of veteran service organizations (VSOs) have pressed Congress to do more to address the veteran suicide crisis. VSOs including Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the American Legion have made this one of their top legislative priorities. 

American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford testified on Wednesday that an online mental health survey by the Legion last year showed that 30 percent of respondents knew a veteran who died by suicide and 67 percent indicated they would be willing to get formal suicide prevention training to help reduce the rate. 

Boozman has been a relentless advocate for preventing veteran suicides. He authored the IMPROVE Well-Being for Veterans Act, critical bipartisan legislation to enhance outreach to veterans in the community through grants, improve coordination of veteran mental health and suicide prevention services and better measure the effectiveness of these programs in order to reduce the alarming number of veteran suicides. 

The IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act was introduced in June 2019. Days later, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie called the bill “key” to unlocking the veteran suicide crisis at a committee hearing. 

The legislation was included as a provision in the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, a comprehensive bill that expands veterans’ access to mental health services that recently passed the Senate VA Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Senate.

Gov. Hutchinson Names Marie Holder to State Highway Commission

Gov. Hutchinson Names Marie Holder to State Highway Commission

Gov. Hutchinson Names Marie Holder to State Highway Commission

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  Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday named Marie Holder, a Little Rock business consultant and his top political fundraiser, to the Arkansas Highway Commission to fill out the term of the late Tom Schueck.

Schueck's 10-year appointment ends in January. The governor said he has selected Holder, a 43-year-old Mississippi native, to serve a full 10-year term beginning Jan. 15, a day after her fill-in term ends.

Schueck, 78, died March 3 after an extended illness.

Hutchinson said the vacancy on the five-member commission is too important to remain unfilled for long, noting that voters will consider a proposal to make permanent a 0.5% statewide sales tax devoted to road work in the November general election. In 2012, voters approved the 0.5% tax for 10 years.

"I wanted to make sure we had a full complement of commissioners as we go into a very important time in Arkansas with Issue 1 on the ballot and with so many decisions the Highway Commission has to make daily," he said.

In addition to the death of Schueck, who was in his second year as commission chairman, the Arkansas Department of Transportation, which the commission oversees, had a change in its leadership.

Lorie Tudor, previously the agency's deputy director and chief operating officer, will become director effective March 20. She will replace Scott Bennett, who announced his retirement on Feb. 19 after nine years in the post.

Hutchinson had earlier appointed Holder as a member and consumer representative on the Arkansas Medical Board.

She also is his chief political fundraiser, serving as treasurer for his successful 2018 gubernatorial reelection campaign and running his political action committee, ASA PAC.

In an interview, Holder said she resigned from the political action committee Wednesday.

03-12-2020

Detail your ser Governor Announces First Presumptive Case of Coronavirusvices

Detail your ser Governor Announces First Presumptive Case of Coronavirusvices

Detail your ser Governor Announces First Presumptive Case of Coronavirusvices

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  Governor Asa Hutchinson says the state of Arkansas has its first presumptive case of the coronavirus.

According to the governor, the case is in Pine Bluff and has been quarantined.

The governor says the person had traveled out of state. 

The test result was revealed Wednesday morning.

Officials say there is no evidence of the virus spreading in the Pine Bluff area. 

The test has been sent to the CDC to be confirmed.

The governor has implemented a new travel policy, no out of state travel for state employees without approval from a cabinet secretary. 

Hutchinson says there is no risk to the general public. 

The governor says he does not see a need to be concerned with large events or school activities as of yet, or to interrupt services or work remotely.

Hutchinson is urging Arkansans to reconsider and look into their spring break travel.

The governor says we are “past the point of containment but mitigation”.

Attorney General Warns of Price Gouging

Detail your ser Governor Announces First Presumptive Case of Coronavirusvices

Detail your ser Governor Announces First Presumptive Case of Coronavirusvices

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  With a public health emergency declaration in effect around the state of Arkansas due to coronavirus, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Wednesday people should be careful when paying for goods and services.

Rutledge said people need to avoid certain high-pressure sales tactics to buy things that some may say can keep you healthy. People need to know the average price for things like soap, hand sanitizer and other items used during an emergency and deal with established, reputable businesses.

Rutledge said price gouging will not be tolerated.

Rutledge said in a media release that the state’s ban on price gouging is in effect for at least 30 days on goods and services tied to the emergency and can be extended by another 30 days by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Madison County Record Reports Bomb Squad at Huntsville Walmart

Detail your ser Governor Announces First Presumptive Case of Coronavirusvices

Madison County Record Reports Bomb Squad at Huntsville Walmart

  Statement from the Huntsville Police Department: 

The Huntsville Police Department is currently on scene with a suspicious device at the Walmart parking lot.

Please avoid this area.

Walmart will temporarily be closed until there is an all clear, thank you for your patience.

We will update information as it becomes available.

Green Forest City Council Report

Boone County Sheriff Resigning - Taking State Job

Madison County Record Reports Bomb Squad at Huntsville Walmart

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  The Green Forest City Council got an architects rendering of the new Community Center/Pavillion presented by Josh Siebert of Modus in Fayetteville. Siebert here, explains the design, square footage and features.........

Siebert was asked by Mayor Jerry  Carlton  if it could be used as a shelter or safe room in case of tornadoes. He said despite it being built of concrete, the windows would not work because storm shelters have to be windowless. The new Pavilion has a budget of $250,000 and would be located near the soccer and ballfields.

In other business, it was announced the new wastewater plant should be on line by later this month. Council agreed to purchase a new Chevy truck for the Wastewater plant for $29,376.

Council also approved a purchase of $6,000 for seven new hand-held radios for the Fire Department. Fire Chief Tim Howard said the radios would be compatible for whatever new communications system the County was going to upgrade to. Howard also reported that old "turn-out" suits are being donated to the South Carroll County Fire Department.

Police Chief John Bailey asked the Mayor and Council to consider renewing the Community Service program, whereby prisoners are utilized to provide labor for projects in exchange for paying off fines.

Council had an executive session planned to interview and hire a City Recorder to replace Melea Fry. After an hour, they announced they had forgotten to advertise the position in the paper, and will have to start over with the process.

At the end of the meeting, Councilwoman Willa Kerby gave an impromptu emotional accounting of Buddy Fry's 16 years with the city. She cited many, many projects he's overseen for the city through the years and his great attitude for his work and devotion to the city. Kerby was very emotional about Fry leaving and caused several others, including Buddy Fry to also become overwhelmed with emotion. Fry has taken a position in Prairie Grove and will be leaving the city with his wife Melea, whose been serving as the City Recorder.

Boone County Sheriff Resigning - Taking State Job

Boone County Sheriff Resigning - Taking State Job

Boone County Sheriff Resigning - Taking State Job

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  Boone County Sheriff Mike Moore has been hired as regulatory administrator for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Moore will oversee the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, Racing Commission, Medical Marijuana Commission and Tobacco Control Division, according to a news release.

Moore replaces Steve Goode, who recently resigned to pursue private sector work.

Moore's salary will be $120,500, said Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the finance department.

As Boone County sheriff, Moore's current salary is $60,175, said Crystal Graddy, the Boone County clerk.

Moore, 56, grew up in Boone County. He served for seven years as sheriff and for six years before that as the county judge of Boone County.

An advertisement for a sheriff will be published for a week in the Harrison Daily Times. She said the Boone County Quorum Court will meet March 24 to consider the candidates and appoint a new sheriff to fill Moore's term, which ends Dec. 31, 2022.

Young Adults Less Likely to Respond to Census

Boone County Sheriff Resigning - Taking State Job

Boone County Sheriff Resigning - Taking State Job

  Forty-five percent of young adults don’t live at home and are considered less likely to respond to the upcoming census.

These 18- to 24-year-olds are living on their own or with roommates, and tend to be unmarried and renters.

Many have moved so frequently that surveys and mailings from the Census Bureau may never reach them.

Additionally, when census takers attempt to reach them in person, the buildings can be difficult to access because of locked gates or lobbies. If census takers do reach their front doors, often the young people who live there may not be home.

The “young and mobile” population is made up of the youngest Millennials born at the tail end of their generation but includes the oldest members of Generation Z born after 1996. More than 39 percent say they’re not familiar with the 2020 Census and more than 18 percent say they’re unlikely to respond, according to the 2020 Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Study.

Some were too young to take the last census or understand why it’s important, but young adults should participate because their answers will help shape their futures. The count helps distribute billions of dollars a year in federal funding for student-aid programs, urban development, and public transit. Additionally, it will determine how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The census has been a cornerstone of American democracy since the first national count in 1790. 

Rockefeller Foundation and Entergy Arkansas Say Many Not Making Livable Wage

Rockefeller Foundation and Entergy Arkansas Say Many Not Making Livable Wage

Rockefeller Foundation and Entergy Arkansas Say Many Not Making Livable Wage

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  The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Entergy Arkansas released a report showing many Arkansans are not making a livable wage.

According to a news release from the two, 474,000 households in Arkansas are unable to afford basic needs.

Standing for Asset Limited, Incomed-Constrained, Employed, ALICE households have incomes above the federal poverty line but stuggle to afford basic necessities,

In Arkansas, 17% of households lived below the poverty line in 2017, according to the news release and another 24% were ALICE households.

The report also showed the number of households that cannot afford basic needs increased 20% between 2007 and 2017.

In the same time period, the cost of living increased by 32%, the report stated.

“The ALICE report highlights the hardship for families whose income puts them above the limit for public assistance but struggle with cost of child care, health, and the children’s extra expenses,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “This report emphasizes the need to continue our effort to create high-wage jobs and the importance of Arkansas Works health coverage for struggling families.”

The report is a project of United For ALICE, a movement of 600 United Ways in 21 states.

Harps Food Stores Purchasing 20 Stores

Rockefeller Foundation and Entergy Arkansas Say Many Not Making Livable Wage

Rockefeller Foundation and Entergy Arkansas Say Many Not Making Livable Wage

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  Harps Food Stores Inc. of Springdale is buying 20 stores, including five in northeast Arkansas.

The terms of the deal were not released. The stores are being purchased from Town and Country Grocers of Fredericktown Missouri Inc., according to a release Monday.

The Arkansas stores involved in the deal are in Harrison, Highland, Newark, Pocahontas and Piggott. The other 15 stores are in southeast Missouri.

The timetable for the deal hasn't been fully worked out, but both groups expect it to be completed by the end of the summer, according to the news release. The deal still has to be approved by Town and Country Grocers' shareholders and will be subject to due diligence and regulatory requirements.

"Opportunities like this are rare," said Kim Eskew, president and chief executive officer of Harps Food Stores. "We are extremely excited about adding these stores to our Harps family."

Harps is employee-owned and has 92 stores operating in four states -- Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. It employs more than 4,500 people.

Dixie Chicks Making a Comeback

Rockefeller Foundation and Entergy Arkansas Say Many Not Making Livable Wage

Dixie Chicks Making a Comeback

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  It's been a long time coming. Superstar country group the Dixie Chicks have set a release date for their first album in 14 years.

The group announced the album, "Gaslighter," on Twitter Thursday. It will debut May 1 and is already available for pre-order.

A music video for the album's title track hit YouTube Wednesday and quickly racked up more than 1 million views.

The Dixie Chicks initially teased a new album in 2019 when lead singer Natalie Maines posted an Instagram video of the group in the studio, saying the album was coming soon.

The group's last album was "Taking the Long Way," released in 2006. It hit the top of the Billboard 200 charts and sold 526,000 copies in its first week of sales.

The Dixie Chicks website also hints that a tour announcement is on the way. 

"Long Time Gone...But Coming Soon," reads a message on the group's tour dates page. 

03-11-2020

Carroll County Volunteer of the Year Award Open for 2020 applications

Carroll County Volunteer of the Year Award Open for 2020 applications

Carroll County Volunteer of the Year Award Open for 2020 applications

  

The Carroll County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council (YAC students) announces that they are now opening nominations for the 2nd annual Carroll County Volunteer of the Year award. Because of their work with the Community Foundation, YAC students have visited several local nonprofits and met the volunteers that help keep them run smoothly and effectively. The students hope to celebrate the people that give of their time and talents to help others, and encourage more to consider giving back. 

Check the Carroll County Community Foundation Facebook page for more information.

Guidelines for nomination are found online as well. Deadline is April 15, 2020. Volunteer of the Year winners will be announced on May 6, 2020 at the YAC Grant Award Ceremony.

For questions, please contact Carroll County Community Foundation at carrollcounty@arcf.org or call 479-253-8203. 

Explore the World of Harry Potter Over Spring Break

Carroll County Volunteer of the Year Award Open for 2020 applications

Carroll County Volunteer of the Year Award Open for 2020 applications

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  Plans are well underway for this year’s exciting Hogwarts Spring Break Camp to be held from 1pm-5pm, March 23-27 at the Berryville Public Library. The program, offered for ages 8 and over, provides an afternoon each day packed with activities, games, chemistry projects, snacks and even some Harry Potter movies! The Spring Break Camp is FREE to attend and no advance registration is needed. Just show up! Kids can come for all or drop in for part of the Camp. 

The Camp, held each year during Spring Break, offers tweens and teens a safe, fun place to go with friends instead of staying home alone.

On the first day of Camp, everyone will be welcomed to Hogwarts where the kids will be able to make wands and be sorted into their Houses. The rest of the week will be spent completing Hogwarts’ first year of classes. Each day is a different experience packed full of activities, themed snacks and drinks. 

All Hogwarts students wear robes. If you have any spare graduation gowns to donate, please bring them to the Berryville Library.

Spring Break Camp at the Berryville Public Library is just one of the many programs offered to tweens & teens 8 and older. And the best part is that the programs are FREE!

Don’t let your child or grandchild miss out on all the fun this Spring Break at the Berryville Public Library, 104 Spring Street. Call (870) 423-2323 for more information. Our Library, Our Future – the Berryville Public Library.

We've Got Talent Part 2

Carroll County Volunteer of the Year Award Open for 2020 applications

Body Exhumed in Madison County

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  Sharon Parker, President of the Carroll County Music Group is back today with Part 2 of our interview with her about the We've Got Talent Showcase this weekend........https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/weve-got-talent-pt-2 

It's Sunday at 2:30 at The Aud, downtown Eureka Springs.

Body Exhumed in Madison County

Boozman Staff to Host Senate Mobile Office and Census Hiring Events

Body Exhumed in Madison County

  The body of a Madison County unsolved murder victim was exhumed Tuesday in Huntsville as part of a criminal investigation.

Investigators with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office dug up the body of Rex Douglas Terrell, who was murdered in 1977. His case is still unsolved.

The sheriff’s office’s website lists the unknown killer as the most-wanted person in the county. The body is being sent to Little Rock as part of a criminal investigation, said prosecuting attorney Matt Durrett.

Hot Springs Police Officer Killed On-duty

Boozman Staff to Host Senate Mobile Office and Census Hiring Events

Boozman Staff to Host Senate Mobile Office and Census Hiring Events

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  A Hot Springs police officer has died after a Tuesday night shooting that happened during a traffic stop.

The Hot Springs Police Department (HSPD) says Officer Brent Scrimshire was shot in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect around 6:30pm on Kenwood Street.

Officer Scrimshire died after being taken to the hospital. The suspect was also wounded but their name and condition is not yet being released.

Police ask for thoughts and prayers for Officer Scrimshire’s family and the HSPD.

The Arkansas State Police is leading the investigation into the shooting.

Boozman Staff to Host Senate Mobile Office and Census Hiring Events

Boozman Staff to Host Senate Mobile Office and Census Hiring Events

Boozman Staff to Host Senate Mobile Office and Census Hiring Events

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  WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman announced that members of his staff will host five special mobile office events in March in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Each event will give local residents an opportunity to learn about immediate job opportunities with the 2020 Census. An official with the U.S. Census Bureau will be on hand to answer questions and help interested Arkansans apply on-site. In addition, Boozman’s staff will be available at these walk-in events to help Arkansans who are having problems involving the federal government and to hear their thoughts about legislative issues.

“Working through issues with the federal government can often be overwhelming. As a senator, it is one of my privileges to help Arkansans navigate and cut through red tape – making it more convenient for citizens to use government services,” Boozman said. “I am especially pleased that my office is partnering with the Census Bureau to help Arkansans connect with these important jobs and ensure a complete count in our state.” 

The event is open to the public. The closest venue to Carroll County so see Boozman is:

Thursday, March 19th

1 – 3 p.m.

Madison County Public Library

827 N College St,

Huntsville, AR 72740

Walmart Enact Emergency Leave Policy

Walmart Enact Emergency Leave Policy

Walmart Enact Emergency Leave Policy

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  Walmart is enacting an emergency leave policy for its 1.4 million hourly U.S. workers that allowing them to take time off without penalty if they fear the spread of a new virus.

The nation’s largest private employer said Tuesday that a worker at its store in Cynthiana, Kentucky, tested positive for the COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The worker is receiving medical care and her condition is improving, according to an internal memo.

The retailer consulted with state and local health experts after learning of the case, reinforced its cleaning and sanitizing protocol, and the store remains open after Walmart conferred with the state government.

Covid-19 Being Monitored

Walmart Enact Emergency Leave Policy

Walmart Enact Emergency Leave Policy

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  The Arkansas Department of Health is monitoring the spread of Covid-19 daily.

As of March 10, according to the ADH website, there are:

· 0 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas 

· 3 persons under investigation (PUI) 

· 103 people currently being monitored (receiving ADH check-in and guidance) 

· 12 negative tests

So far, the state has tested 12 people. All tested negative. 

“We recognize Arkansans’ concerns about this illness, and we are committed to keeping the public informed with as much information as we have about the virus, while also protecting the privacy of individual patients,” the ADH stated in a news release.

Flu Deaths Increase

Walmart Enact Emergency Leave Policy

Flu Deaths Increase

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  The Arkansas Department of Health reported Tuesday that 17 more people died in the last week, including a second pediatric death, due to influenza.

That brings the total number of flu-related deaths to 86.

During the 2018-19 flu season, 120 Arkansans died from flu-related complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate as many as 20,000 people have died nationwide this season, including 136 pediatric deaths.

Since Sept. 29, 32,960 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers, with over 1,550 positive tests reported this week.

As of March 10, ADH is aware of 41 schools that closed briefly due to the flu this season.

The ADH says since Sept. 29, 12 facilities, including 10 nursing homes, have reported influenza outbreaks.