News Director

Linda Boyer

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

National Ag Week Across America

Today, March 20th, marks National Agriculture Day. Agriculture is Arkansas’ largest industry, adding around $16 billion to the state’s economy every year. The Natural State’s diverse landscape and climate produce a wide variety of agricultural products. Arkansas is a major exporter of rice, soybeans, cotton, poultry and feed grains. There are around 50,000 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. 

This is the 45th Anniversary of National Ag Day. That's over 40 years of recognizing agriculture's role in American life, and that's certainly an achievement worth celebrating!

We know that food and fiber doesn't just arrive at the grocery or clothing store . . . or magically appear on our dinner table or in our closet. There's an entire industry dedicated to providing plentiful and safe food for consumption . . . as well as a wide range of comfortable, fashionable clothing choices. We rely on agriculture for the very necessities of life. From beef and pork to cotton and corn, agriculture is working harder than ever to meet the needs of Americans and others around the world.

And it's important to remember that American agriculture is not just doing it, but doing it better and more effectively! Consider this: 

· Each American farmer feeds about 144 people. Agriculture is America's #1 export. 

· New technology means farmers are more environmentally friendly than ever before.

That's really what this day is all about . . . recognizing the role of agriculture - and celebrating it. 

Our Ag Week Sponsors include Harpo's Das Butcher Haus, Kings River Realty, Carroll County Cattlemen's Association, Carroll County Historical Society, Sunfest Market, St. Francis Vet Clinic, Jackson Insurance Agency, Midwest Equipment Rental & Sales, Reliable Poultry and Williams Tractor.

Berryville High School March CTE Student of the Month

Gage Gustavus, Berryville High School Senior, is the March CTE Student of the Month for Berryville High School.

Career Technical Education (CTE) provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners. In total, about 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in CTE across the nation.

Gage was nominated by the faculty for his enthusiasm and cooperation in always being available to assist. He is a two-way completer in Agri. At completion of his senior year he will be joining the Arkansas National Guard. Gage is the son of Leslie and Kerri Gustavus.

The CTE Student of the Month has been sponsored by Richard and Mary Lou Harp of Shelter Insurance in Berryville for the past three years.

Teens Jump Into Action To Save Burning House

KTHS News heard about three local teenagers who were driving north of Grandview Monday morning when they saw smoke coming from a house that turned out to be a fire.

According to one of the boy's grandfather, the boys left their car and went directly to where the smoke was and grabbed a garden hose. They had to borrow another hose from the house next door and was successful in dousing most of the fire that was coming from the back of the house. The Berryville Fire Department arrived shortly after to finish the job.

One of the Teens was 16 year old Layton Grunwald of Berryville and we have not been able to verify the names of the other two High School boys. We also do not know if the resident was at home at the time the fire started. We do know this was a very brave act these young men performed and hopefully we'll get a chance to tell them in person.

Mobile Mammogram Coming to Berryville March 27th

If you're a woman over 40 who hasn't had a mammogram yet you'll have an opportunity to get one locally Tuesday, March 27th, with a mobile mammogram set up at Walmart in Berryville. Holly Gillies has more information for KTHS..........

That number again to call for an appointment is 800-259-8794.

(Audio may be found below)

Annual Victorian Classic This Weekend

The 2018 Victorian Classic in historic Eureka Springs is this coming Saturday, March 24th. This challenging event will help kick-start every runner’s year including the most serious.

The Victorian Classic 10K is a scenic and challenging certified course through the hills of Eureka Springs. The race begins and ends at the across the street from the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks. Just for fun, there is also a 2-mile walk – run that, thankfully, is on a comparatively level course.

This is one of the Eureka Springs Rotary Club’s most important fundraisers. The beneficiary is Samaritan’s Feet, an international organization that provides shoes to children in need. Funds from this event will go towards the needs of local children, identified by our school teachers and counselors. More information is available at

Baxter County Deputy Kills Man

The Baxter County Sheriffs Office has confirmed a deputy shot and killed a man Monday.

According to a news release, the deputy responded to the Lone Rock Store at 7755 Push Mountain Road at around 6:10 p.m. take a theft report.

When the deputy arrived, someone told the deputy the tractor that was reported stolen was just seen passing by the store.

The deputy followed the tractor down Baxter County Road 72. He then pulled the tractor over, shortly before 6:50 p.m. and just a couple of minutes later, the deputy radioed that shots had been fired and a man was down. An ambulance arrived shortly after.

The Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division arrived at the scene to investigate. As of right now, they believe the deputy stopped the tractor. The man driving the tractor confronted the deputy with a crossbow. After struggling with the suspect physically, the deputy shot the man with his gun. The man died and the deputy was injured. The deputy is expected to be okay.

The sheriff’s office didn’t release the names of the suspect or the deputy because they are waiting to notify next of kin.

Facebook Shares Tumble On News of Data Breach

Facebook shares took a big hit Monday, shaving about $37 billion off the value of the company.

The stock tumbled about nearly 7% Monday on news that data firm Cambridge Analytica, which had ties to Trump's campaign, reportedly accessed information from about 50 million Facebook users. This is the stock's biggest drop, on a percentage basis, in four years.

Even after Monday's plunge, Facebook is still one of the nation's most valuable companies, with a market cap of about $500 billion. It's behind only Apple, Google parent Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft and about even with Berkshire Hathaway.

Mark Zuckerberg holds about 400 million shares of Facebook, and his net worth plunged by about $5 billion Monday afternoon. Shares closed the day down $12.53.

Of course even with the single-day drop the value of his holdings, Zuckerberg still owns about $70 billion worth of Facebook shares. That's enough to make him the sixth richest man in the world, according to Forbes' real-time billionaire tracker.

To put the dollar drop in context though, when Zuckerberg took Facebook public in 2012, the value of Zuckerberg's Facebook shares was about $19 billion. Facebook posted a drop of greater than 7% in a single day on seven different occasions in its early days of trading. But this is the biggest single-day slide ever in terms of dollar value for the stock.

The stock fell Monday after the Cambridge Analytica controversy prompted some outside observers to suggest that Facebooks should be more regulated. Some users have vowed to stop using Facebook and there are also questions about what the company will have to do to restore public trust in Facebook's commitment to privacy and data protection.

Monday, March 19, 2018

National Ag Week Being Celebrated Across America

March 20th is National Ag Day, a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture.

As the world population soars, there is even greater demand for the food, fiber and renewable resources produced in the United States. The National Ag Day program believes that every American should:

1. understand how food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced. 

2. value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.

3. appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products. 

4. acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries.

Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis, and is increasingly contributing to fuel and other bio-products. Each year, members of the agricultural industry gather together to promote American agriculture. This effort helps educate millions of consumers. By far, the most effective part of this program is the role you play in helping spread the word. 

One of our Ag Week local sponsors is Williams Tractor. Casey Stewart gives us his opinion on the state of agriculture as he sees it.....

Other local Ag Week Sponsors include Harpo's Das Butcher Haus, Kings River Realty, Carroll County Cattlemen's Association, Carroll County Historical Society, Sunfest Market, St. Francis Vet Clinic, Jackson Insurance Agency, Midwest Equipment Rental & Sales and Reliable Poultry.

(Audio may be found below)

US Dept. of Agriculture Designates 80% of State as Disaster Area

The US Department of Agriculture has designated almost 80 percent of Arkansas counties as disaster areas.

Those counties include Washington, Madison, Carroll, and Boone county.

This declaration comes after much of the natural state has suffered from long periods of drought in 2017. 

The lack of rain makes Arkansas farmers and ranchers across the state now eligible for natural disaster assistance.

61 counties in Arkansas have been deemed disaster areas due to drought including counties right here in our area. 

Coach Stafford Announces Retirement

Huntsville Eagles basketball coach Jim Stafford has announced his retirement after his 25th season at the school.

Stafford, 73, won 1,085 games as senior boys coach at various schools and coached a total of 51 years.

Stafford came to Huntsville in 1993. Before Huntsville, he coached in Wonderview, Morrilton, Lead Hill, Palestine and Flippin. He finishes his varsity boys career with a record with 1,085 wins and 507 losses. At Huntsville, his record was 525-226.

Last year, Stafford was inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. He was named coach of the year for 2006-07. His senior high teams won 24 conference titles, one state championship and four state runner-up titles. His teams 32 times won 20 or more games in a season.

Stafford was named conference coach of the year 23 times and was inducted into the Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. He was an all-star coach four times and was named outstanding alumni at Green Forest in 2015. The court at Huntsville High School gym is named for him.

Decision Due This Week on Issueing Licenses to Grow Medical Marijuana

An Arkansas judge says he'll issue a decision within the next five days on whether to allow the state to issue its first licenses for companies to grow medical marijuana.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen did not immediately rule Friday on an unsuccessful applicant's request to prevent from the state from granting licenses to five companies. The state's Medical Marijuana Commission had planned to issue the licenses Wednesday but Griffen issued a temporary restraining order.

Griffen heard testimony Friday from officials at Naturalis Health, LLC, which unsuccessfully applied for a license. Naturalis wants an independent evaluator to rank the 95 license applications.

The judge also heard from the head of the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration and an attorney for the state Department of Finance and Administration.

Voters approved medical marijuana in 2016.

School Safety Commission Work Underway

The work of the new 18-member Arkansas School Safety Commission -- appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson after the Parkland, Fla., school massacre -- is underway in its efforts to assess and make recommendations on schoolhouse safety measures.

The commission, which is to submit its preliminary report by July 1 and a final report by Nov. 1, is building on state laws and the work of the legislatively established, two-decades-old Safe Schools Committee. It's also building on the safety features already in place and being further enhanced by school districts.

The School Safety Commission members have divided themselves into subcommittees, each with a particular focus, such as on the law and policies applicable to school safety and on communication of emergencies.

Another is focusing on collecting "intelligence" on potential threats to school safety.

One subcommittee will focus on safety and security audits, emergency operation plans, drills and responses.

Another group is studying building features that heighten security, including single points of entry, while still another subcommittee looks at mental health issues. Another is looking at a wide range of measures to prevent problems -- such as bullying, anger, drug use, gang affiliations or adverse childhood experiences -- that can translate into school violence.

Rogers High School Student Training for FBI

A Rogers High School student is training to be what she has dreamed of being since she was little, an FBI agent.

Kate Nunley trains at the Inferno in Bentonville to stay in top physical shape -- a requirement that could lead to working for the FBI.

Nunley is one of around 29 students to be accepted into the future FBI agents in training program in the state.

She said the program teaches them about FBI investigations and allows those accepted into the program to realize if this is the career they want.

To get in to this prestigious program, Nunley had to send in her grades, as well as essays.

She wrote about integrity, which she said is all about honesty.

Nunley said she feels like running track has been a big part of how she's developed those characteristics.

Nunley says she will still have to apply to the FBI one day, but first she plans to go to college to study topics like criminology and computer science.

Feds Reconsidering "Critical Habitat" Rules

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced that, in light of a lawsuit filed by Arkansas and 19 other states, the federal government has agreed to reconsider rules that restrict property owners’ use of their own land under the guise of a “critical habitat.” 

Rutledge said, “I am pleased that the Trump Administration has agreed to reconsider the federal government’s ‘critical habitat’ rules, which have threatened the rights of property owners for far too long solely based on theoretical chance."

In 2016, federal agencies adopted two new rules that allowed the federal government to designate land as a “critical habitat” for an endangered and threatened species, even if that species did not currently live on that land and if the land failed to possess the biological features necessary for the survival of the species. The “critical habitat” rules even allowed the federal government to prevent activities that could, theoretically, harm habitat features that don’t even currently exist. This is despite stricter standards set forth by Congress, which only allow for unoccupied land to be classified as critical habitat if the currently inhabited land is not adequate to the species’ survival and the unoccupied land is essential to species preservation.

The twenty state lawsuit was filed in November of that year in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama against the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service challenging the two rules as unlawful federal overreach. 

Today’s settlement requires the federal agencies to submit revised rules for public review within 60 days and also retains the states’ ability to file another lawsuit should the new rules perpetuate federal overreach.

Powerball Winner in Pennsylvania

If you bought a Powerball ticket in Pennsylvania for Saturday's drawing, you may be holding a piece of paper worth $457 million.

Powerball officials say a single winning ticket was sold in Pennsylvania that matches all of the winning numbers and Powerball. The jackpot from Saturday's drawing is the eighth-largest ever for the Powerball game.

The specific location where the winning ticket was sold has not been announced.

Powerball is played in 44 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The largest jackpot in Powerball history was $1.6 billion. Three winning tickets were sold in that Jan. 13, 2016, drawing.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Happy St. Patricks Day

Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick ( c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

The first documented St. Patrick's Day Celebration in Philadelphia was held in 1771. 

Philadelphia's Friendly Sons of St. Patrick was found to honor St. Patrick and to provide relief to Irish immigrants in the city. Irish Americans have celebrated St. Patrick's Day in Philadelphia since their arrival in America.

Wearing green shirts and leprechaun costumes on St. Patrick's Day are traditions that started in the 17th century, when people wore green ribbons and shamrocks on March 17 to honor Ireland's patron saint. ... Pinching people who didn't wear green reminded them that leprechauns could sneak up on them at any time.

A St Patrick's Day Parade will be held Saturday through downtown Eureka Springs beginning at 2pm.


Oak Grove Fire Department Extinguishes Large Fire Near Missouri Border

A fire near the Missouri border in Carroll County burned around 100 acres of woodland near the Enon community on Table Rock Lake on Wednesday and Thursday and caused no injuries or property damage, the Oak Grove fire chief said Thursday.

Chief Steve Allen told reporters about 10 firefighters from the department and a crew from the Arkansas Forestry Commission were sent to battle the fire 5 or 6 miles from the Missouri border on Arkansas 311 about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Allen went on to say firefighters had the blaze under control about 2:30 a.m. Thursday. Firefighters returned to fight flames in a different part of the same area about 8:30 a.m. Thursday and had the flames extinguished by about 2 p.m.

The Oak Grove Fire Department sent two brush trucks and a tanker to the scene. The Forestry Commission sent a firetruck and a bulldozer, which was used to cut a firebreak to halt the flames' spread. At one point, he said, the fire neared a large chicken house, but firefighters were able to keep it from reaching the structure.

No firefighters were injured, and the only equipment damaged was a burned hose.

Carroll County was placed under a burn ban Wednesday evening by County Judge Sam Barr.

Carroll County was the only county in the state under a burn ban Thursday, according to the Forestry Commission's website. The commission rated the northwest third of the state as having a moderate fire danger.

Allen said the cause of the fire was unknown Thursday, but he cautioned people to be careful about outdoor burning.

Berryville School Board Report Highlights

The Berryville School Board of Education met Monday March 12 for their regular monthly meeting. All Board members were present.

The Board approved the following:

The minutes and financial reports. 

The 2019-20 proposed budget and election documents prepared by First Security Beardsley Public Finance.

Purchasing 12 HVAC units for the Elementary Campus which complete Phase 3 of the project. 

Tabled a request providing the City of Berryville with $100,000 to help cover the expense of the extension of Freeman Street. Several Board members asked about various options.

Discussed the Connect-4 program with James Knight, Director, and approved purchasing the Internet System for C-4.

Discussed various options to increase Safety and Security on all District Campuses and agreed to create a Safety & Security Team to move forward. Mr. Powell stated that a decision should be made at the April School Board meeting in order for things to be in place to start the 2018-19 school year. 

Attendance at Berryville Schools was 1,932 students as of March 5th.

Today's Topic for Flood Safety Awareness Week is Partner Resources...

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Little Rock, Arkansas, along with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management has declared March 12th through March 16th as Flood Safety Awareness Week. Each day during the awareness week will feature information about a different flood related topic.

Partner Resources

The National Weather Service works with and relies on strategic partners involved in river observations, reservoir management, floodplain management, flood hazard mitigation, and flood preparedness, and safety to reduce the loss of life and property due to floods. Today we are sharing some great tools from several of our partners.

American Red Cross Family Disaster Plan:

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH): 


Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): 

United States Army Corps of Engineers Flood Information:

United States Geological Survey Water Alert:

The National Weather Service works with many key partners to complete the mission of protecting life and property. Some additional key partners are the Arkansas Floodplain Management Association, U.S. Geological Survey, US Army Corps of Engineers, Arkansas Natural Resource Commission, media outlets, and many other government and private sector organizations. 

For more information about any of our partners contact our office. As we wrap up the 2018 Flood Safety Awareness Week, remember flooding can occur in any town in Arkansas and at any time of the year. Prepare yourself, your family, and your home. Be aware of potential flooding in your area nd help Arkansas be more of a Weather Ready Nation!

Many Arkansas Counties Declared Drought Disaster Areas

After dealing with severe droughts, relief is in sight for some Arkansas farmers.

Close to all of the counties in Arkansas have been declared as disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of drought conditions.

Carroll County is one of the 61 counties designated as drought stricken.

Other counties in our area declared disasters are Washington, Crawford, Johnson, Madison and Sebastian.

Attention Livestock Exhibitors to CC Fair - Pre-Registration Info

Any youth, ages 5 to 18, who wish to show: beef cattle, dairy cattle, goats, hogs or sheep at the 2018 Carroll County Fair MUST have their animal(s) pre-registered by Saturday, July 21, 2018. If your animal(s) are not pre-registered you will NOT be allowed to show.

You MUST contact your school's FFA advisor if you are a member of FFA or the Carroll County Extension agent, Olivia Foster, if you are a member of 4-H. However, ifyou are not a member of FFA or 4-H but a resident of Carroll County you must bring your animal(s) to the pre-registration clinic on Saturday, July 21, 2018 from 8am to 12noon at the Carroll County Fairgrounds.

Check the Carroll County Fairgrounds website for all rule changes, in the livestock department. ALL rule changes WILL BE ENFORCED beginning 2018.

Beaver Lake Master Plan and Shoreline Management Plan Workshop

The Army Corps of Engineers is hosting Beaver Lake Master Plan and Shoreline Management Plan update workshops March 27 through March 29 to share the draft master plan, draft shoreline management plan, and associated environmental compliance documents with the public. We will also collect public comments during the workshops.

Draft Environmental Assessments for both plans, which evaluates the potential impacts of each ahe drop-in style workshops will be held at the following locations: March 27 from 5 p.m. to 7 p. m., Hilton Garden Inn, 1325 N. Palak Drive, Fayetteville, Arkansas; March 28 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center, 207 W. Van Buren, Eureka Springs, Arkansas; March 29 from 5 p.m. to 7 p. m., and Four Points by Sheraton Bentonville, 211 SE Walton Boulevard, Bentonville, Arkansas.lternative, will also be available for review.

Anyone interested in the future of Beaver Lake is invited to drop in anytime during the workshops which will be staffed by representatives from the Corps available to answer questions from the public. 

The public’s input may be provided at the workshops or at any time during the public comment period. 

The comment period will run from March 12 through April 13. Comments can be mailed to the Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, Programs and Project Management Division, ATTN: Beaver Lake MP/SMP/EA Project Manager P.O. Box 867, Little Rock, AR 72203, by fax: 501-324‐6518 or e-mailed to An on-line fillable comment card is available at

The Corps announced a temporary halt to new shoreline use requests in February 2015 to facilitate the master plan and shoreline management plan revision process and it will remain in effect until the completion of the plans. 

The master plan for Beaver Lake is the guidance document that describes how the resources of the lake will be managed in the future and provides the vision for how the lake should look in the future.

The shoreline management plan for Beaver Lake establishes policy and furnishes guidelines for the protection and preservation of the desirable environmental characteristics of the shoreline while maintaining a balance between public and private shoreline use. 

For more information about the draft plans visit the following website:

Insurance Commissioner to Oversee Pharmacy Industry

Independent pharmacies across Arkansas have been in financial jeopardy since the beginning of the year. In turn, those pharmacies say the patients they serve have suffered.

Thanks to a new bill signed into law on Thursday, Arkansans will once again be able to get the care they need from the pharmacists they trust. The bill levels the playing field for independent pharmacies.

PBM's act as middle men between insurance companies, employers and state agencies. They have dictated the price for the prescriptions pharmacist's fill.

The new bill, signed into law changes things. Now, an insurance commissioner will oversee the industry and the fair practices among the groups. And each PBM will be licensed, offering a greater level of transparency.

No Minimum Age to Marry in Missouri

Compared to other states, it's pretty easy for teenagers to tie the knot in Missouri.

Since 1999, more than a thousand 15 year-olds have gotten married in Missouri and according to a study done by the Kansas City Star, many of them come from out of state. Why? Well, the Star's analysis of marriage statues shows that the Show Me state has the most lenient laws in the country. Basically parental consent is all that's required. That's consent from not both parents, just one. 

The Star found that every other state requires some combination of a judges' order, both parents permission, premarital counseling, or proof of pregnancy. But in Missouri, a judge only gets involved in those cases where someone is 14 or younger. 

And how young is too young? Well, in Missouri there is no minimum age for getting married.

Toys R Us Closure Will Have Ripple Effect

The demise of Toys R Us will have a ripple effect on everything from toy makers to consumers to landlords.

The 70-year-old retailer is headed toward shuttering its U.S. operations, jeopardizing the jobs of some 30,000 employees while spelling the end for a chain known to generations of children and parents for its sprawling stores and Geoffrey the giraffe mascot.

The closing of the company's 740 U.S. stores over the coming months will finalize the downfall of the chain that succumbed to heavy debt and relentless trends that undercut its business, from online shopping to mobile games.

And it will force toy makers and landlords who depended on the chain to scramble for alternatives.

CEO David Brandon told employees Wednesday the company's plan is to liquidate all of its U.S. stores, according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The Associated Press.

Brandon said Toys R Us will try to bundle its Canadian business, with about 200 stores, and find a buyer. The company's U.S. online store would still be running for the next couple of weeks in case there's a buyer for it.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today's Topic for Flood Safety Awareness Week is National Weather Service Water Resources

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Little Rock, Arkansas, along with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management has declared March 12th through March 16th as Flood Safety Awareness Week. Each day during the awareness week will feature information about a different flood related topic.

National Weather Service Water Resources

The NWS homepage ( provides up to date weather and water advisory, watch, and warning information for the U.S. and its territories. However the NWS provides many additional resourcesto help emergency managers, public officials, and private citizens make water decisions.

The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) provides a suite of river and flood forecasts and water information to protect life and property and help ensure Arkansas' economic well being.

The Weather Prediction Center (WPC) provides precipitation forecasts for the entire U.S. and issues excessive rainfall forecasts, short range discussions on heavy rainfall events, and snowfall and freezing rain probabilities.

The NWS has a network of thirteen River Forecast Centers (RFC) across the United States. There are two RFCs that cover Arkansas including the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center and Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center. These RFCs collect, process, and provide water resource and river forecasts and information for the river basins affecting Arkansas. 

Judge Halts AMMC from Issuing Licenses to Five Companies to Grow Medical Marijuana

An Arkansas judge has temporarily blocked the state from issuing licenses to five companies to grow medical marijuana in response to complaints about the state's process for reviewing applications for the facilities.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday against the state, which had planned to formally issue cultivation licenses later that day. Griffen scheduled a hearing Friday on a request for a preliminary injunction against the state.

Griffen issued the order in response to a lawsuit filed by Naturalis Health, a Little Rock company that was not among the top five applicants.

The state's Medical Marijuana Commission last month named the five companies it intended to award licenses for cultivation facilities. All five firms by Friday paid the licensing fees and posted performance bonds.

State Legislature Approves Bills Regulating PBM's

The Arkansas House and Senate have each approved bills that would regulate pharmacy benefit managers, prompted by complaints from pharmacists about a cut in reimbursements they saw earlier this year.

The House on Wednesday approved by a 92-2 vote the proposal that requires pharmacy benefit managers to be licensed by the state. Later, the Senate voted 30-2 for an identical proposal.

PBMs run prescription drug plans for employers, government agencies, and insurers, among other clients. They use their large purchasing power to negotiate prices. 

The proposal also bans PBM "gag clauses" that prevent pharmacists from discussing the total price of a drug or cheaper alternatives. 

The House measure now heads to the Senate, and the Senate version will be sent to the House.

New Record Set for Flu Deaths

The record number of deaths due to the flu in Arkansas rose by 13 last week and is now near 200 for the current season.

The state Department of Health reports 197 people have died as a result of the illness, the most since the department began tracking the deaths in 2000. 

The previous record of 110 deaths was recorded during the 2014-15 season.

The health department says 828 people have been hospitalized with influenza during the season.

Body Found Near Goshen Likely Missing Man

The Washington County Sheriff's office reports someone fishing around a mile from Twin Bridges near Goshen found a body Wednesday afternoon matching the description of James Valles. 

Valles, 35, of Elkins went missing Feb. 28 after he jumped into Richland Creek. He had been running from a deputy and had been tased.

The body was found about half a mile to a mile from the bridges, according to a sheriff's office spokeswoman.

A positive identification has not been confirmed, she said.

Casino Proposal Again Rejected

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has again rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that would allow four casinos in Arkansas.

Rutledge's opinion released Monday says the popular name of the proposal is too lengthy and the ballot title is misleading and ambiguous.

This is the second time Rutledge has rejected the proposal, which would allow casinos in Garland, Crittenden, Pope and Jefferson counties.

It would dedicate 52.5 percent of taxes collected to highway needs.

The attorney general must certify the measure's wording before supporters can begin gathering signatures to try and place it on the November ballot.

NWA Over 50 Population Growing

The latest census figures show that northwest Arkansas skews younger than the rest of the state and the country, but its population of residents 50 and older is also growing.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that about 25 percent of residents in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metropolitan statistical area were under the age of 18, but those above 55 are catching up in population share. The percentage in between is dwindling.

The region in 2016 was home to 120,000 residents 55 or older, a nearly 40 percent increase in the previous decade.

Experts say that longer lifespans, warmer climate and jobs for older people contribute to the area’s rapid growth of the aging population. They say older residents bring their own health and housing needs, and that the region should prepare accordingly.

2018 Henry Award Winners

El Dorado was the big winner in the 2018 Henry Awards presented by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Madison Murphy, El Dorado native and former board chairman of Murphy Oil, was named Arkansas’ Tourism Person of the Year for his financial support of the Murphy Arts District (MAD) in El Dorado.

Murphy is board chairman Murphy USA and was instrumental in the creation of the Murphy Arts District, known as MAD, in El Dorado. The new arts and entertainment district includes an outdoor amphitheater, farm-to-table restaurant, and music hall. He is also a founding member of El Dorado Festivals and Events, which gave rise to the project.

The district also received the The Natural State Award. The outdoor amphitheater hosts large festivals and events for over 7,000 people with market pavilions for seasonal farmers markets, and the largest park in the city.

The awards were presented Tuesday night during the 44th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism held in West Memphis.

The Henry Awards have been a feature of the annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism since their debut in 1981. The awards are named for Henri de Tonti, founder of Arkansas Post in 1686, and who is often hailed as the first “Arkansas Traveler.”

Following are the other Henry Award winners.

• Media Support Award: AY Magazine, Little Rock

• Bootstrap Award: Visit Hot Springs and 61 Celsius

• Arkansas Heritage Award: Wilson (Town of Wilson and the Lawrence Group)

• Grand Old Classic Special Event Award: Warfield Concerts, Helena-West Helena

• Outstanding Volunteer Service Award: Keep Arkansas Beautiful, Little Rock

• Community Tourism Development Award: Batesville (Main Street Batesville, Batesville Chamber of Commerce, City of Batesville)

Wednesday, March 14, 20148

Today's Topic for Flood Safety Awareness Week is Flood Hazards

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Little Rock, Arkansas, along with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management has declared March 12th through March 16th as Flood Safety Awareness Week. Each day during the awareness week will feature information about a different flood related topic.

Flood Hazards

A flood is defined as any high flow, overflow, or inundation of water that causes or threatens damage. Flooding can occur with prolonged rainfall over several days, intense rainfall over a short period of time, or when water from an existing source moves too quickly. Brief descriptions of the various types of flooding you may experience are listed below.

Flash Flooding: Flash flooding is a rapid and extreme flow of high water into a normally dry area, or a rapid water level rise in a stream or creek above a predetermined flood level beginning within six hours of the causative event.

River Flooding: River flooding occurs when rivers rise and overflow their banks, inundating areas that are normally dry.

Burn Scars/Debris Flows: Wildfires burn away the vegetation of an area, leaving behind bare ground that tends to repel water. When rain falls, it runs off a burn scar towards a low lying area sometimes carrying branches, soil, and other debris along with it. Without vegetation to hold the soil in place, flooding can produce mud and debris flows.

Dam Break and Levee Failure: A break or failure can occur with little to no warning. Most often they are caused by water overtopping the structure, excessive seepage through the surrounding ground, or a structural failure.

Understanding the different flood hazards and knowing the actions to take before, during, and afterwards can help you protect your life, the lives of your loved ones, and the your property. Prepare now by visiting

City of Green Forest Busy with Street and Parks Improvements

Buddy Fry, Green Forest City Superintendent, reported to City Council Monday improvements that are underway with various departments he oversees, namely water, streets and parks......

(Audio may be found below)

Tuesday Special Primary Results for Senate District 16

Results of Tuesday's special primary runoff in Carroll County indicate unofficially that Republican candidate for District 16 Senate Seat will be Breanne Davis. 

Davis received 79 votes to her opponent Robert “Bob” Bailey’s 23.

Unofficially, Davis won the total vote in all counties that take in District 16. Davis will face Democrat Teresa Nichole Gallegos in the special State Senate election May 22. The term will last until 2020. This position was left vacant after Senator Greg Standridge passed away in November 2016.

The Alpena School District also held a special school election Tuesday asking patrons for a 3.4 mill property tax to build a new school. Voters rejected the tax voting 191 against. Yes votes got 135. District leaders say there are leaks, and electrical and plumbing issues in the buildings. Class sizes in the building are also up.

SW Mo Woman Killed in Barry County

A southwest Missouri woman was killed in a head-on crash west of Butterfield Tuesday. 

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, a 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis driven by Debra Heffington, 61, of Wheaton, Mo., crossed the center line of Route W just before 7:30 p.m. and hit a 2006 Ford Escape head-on. 

Heffington died at the scene. The driver of the Ford Escape, 60 year old Jacqueline Wasson of Purdy, sustained moderate injuries, according to troopers. 

Special Legislative Session Underway

An Arkansas House panel advanced a proposal Tuesday to regulate pharmacy benefit managers, as lawmakers began a special session focused primarily on addressing a cut in reimbursements rates pharmacists have seen.

The House Insurance and Commerce Committee endorsed a proposal that would also allow the state Insurance Department to require the pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, to license with the state. PBMs run prescription drug plans for employers, government agencies and insurers, among other clients. They use their large purchasing power to negotiate prices.

The legislation was spurred by complaints from pharmacists around the state earlier this year about cuts in reimbursements they received for generic drugs. Under the proposal, the state insurance commissioner may review and approve a PBM's compensation program with a health plan to ensure pharmacists' reimbursements are "fair and reasonable"

Other items on the special session agenda include a variety of technical corrections to laws such as open-container restrictions, tax deferrals on tuition savings plans; also known as the 529 plan and animal liquid waste permits, which have been compared to recent issues with hog farms.

AMMC Receiving Complaints on Growers Issued Licenses

Arkansas regulators are receiving a flurry of challenges to the licensing of the state's first medical marijuana growers.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission announced last month the five companies that scored high enough to receive a license to grow medical marijuana. The cultivation licenses are expected to officially be issued at Wednesday's commission meeting.

One of the unsuccessful applicants filed a letter of protest with the commission Monday, requesting it refrain from issuing the licenses because the scoring process was flawed, and another was filed Tuesday.

The Department of Finance and Administration also says it's reviewing the tax status of those associated with the winning applicants amid delinquency concerns.

David Couch is the attorney who drafted the constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana. He says industry experts expect more challenges in coming days.

Forest Service Offers Reward for Information on Fires

Reward money is being offered after an outbreak of fires in southwest Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest that’s suspected to be the result of arson.

One blaze last month near the town of Rueter in Taney County burned more than 2,000 acres, caused a school district to call classes and destroyed a home. Investigators believe that fire, as well as several others on the same day in the same county, were ignited by arsonists.

Mark Twain National Forest Public Affairs Officer (PAO) Cody Norris says Forest Service Law Enforcement is offering up to $25,000 for useful information leading to arrests or convictions. 

Norris says there’s good fire and there are bad fires. Prescribed fires are executed by the forest service and landowners as a forest management tool to clear out underbrush and open up space for new growth. Prescribed fires are monitored by personnel in place and are only done if the proper conditions are present.

In addition, Norris says arson in wildlands can severely damage natural resources but can also threaten adjacent homes and businesses.

Outlaw Music Festival Tour Coming to Little Rock

An impressive lineup of music artists are headed to the Natural State this summer as part of the Outlaw Music Festival Tour.

The Outlaw Festival will stop at the Verizon Arena on Friday, June 29 at 4:30 p.m.

Tickets go on sale Friday, March 16 at 12 p.m.

The incredible lineup of music stars includes: Willie Nelson & Family, Sturgill Simpson, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Alison Krauss, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, The Head and the Heart, Old Crow Medicine Show, Ryan Bingham, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The Wild Feathers, JD McPherson, Delta Rae, and Particle Kid.

More artists and dates will be announced in the coming weeks.