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They anticipate completion early July and are currently accepting applications for pre-leasing. To get an application you can either call them at 417-337-5655, e-mail a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Berryville Elementary Pledge of Allegiance
Covid-19 cases continue to rise in the state...........https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/update-6-03-20
Another Update will be held this afternoon.
Eureka Springs’ two landmark historic hotels, the 1886 Crescent and the 1905 Basin Park, will be reopening to full service on Monday, June 15. This comes on the heels of several successful “weekend only” careful openings at both properties. Both properties will continue to strictly adhere to health safe protocols as set down by Governor Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) during this reopening phase.
Returning and opening to full capacity in Arkansas’ mountaintop spa resort, the Crescent Hotel, will be nightly lodging, SkyBar Gourmet Pizza and scenic overlook dining, New Moon Spa & Salon, a full slate of daily resort activities, and the ever-popular Crescent Hotel Ghost Tours. The planning for weddings at the Crescent’s numerous venues has also been opened for gatherings up to 50 total attendees.
Downtown Eureka Springs’ centerpiece, the Basin Park Hotel, will also be swinging its doors open fully on June 15 offering guests an even more enjoyable experiential visit than in years past. This follows the recent redevelopment of this seven-story epicenter in the heart of the town’s entertainment district.
Numerous attractions will be open by this time. Attractions that include the Great Passion Play, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs Brewery, Escape Room 13, Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway, Float Eureka, Ozark Mountain Ziplines, Turtle Back Ridge Family Fun Park, Cosmic Cavern, Onyx Cave, Quigley’s Castle, Promised Land Zoo, Eureka Springs Historical Museum, and Eureka Springs Tram Tours. This is in addition to Eureka Springs' host of outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, water sports on this Ozark village’s two lakes and three rivers, and/or just sitting in the city’s numerous parks just living in the moment while people watching, a favorite pastime of visitors and residents alike.
Special events will be returning to Eureka Springs as well. A full calendar of these days and activities can be found at EurekaSpringsOnline.com.
Walmart hosted its 50th annual Shareholders meeting virtually.
The annual meeting, which normally brings thousands to Northwest Arkansas was held online due to COVID-19.
The company announced the election of a board of directors and approved compensation packages for executive officers.
The board rejected four proposals by shareholders some of which would include hourly associates as director candidates, and requesting a report on the retailers efforts to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillion addressed the killing of George Floyd in police custody, reiterating the company’s continued efforts in diversity and inclusion while staying committed to being a positive influence to others outside of the workplace.
\Voters in Taney County have approved a sales tax increase meant to provide more law enforcement services for the county.
The proposal was approved by a vote of 2,898 to 1,847.
The proposal called for a countywide sales tax of three-eighths (3/8) of one percent (1%), for a period of 15 years.
The funding will be used to support capital improvements, equipment and operations of the Taney County Sheriff's Department and Jail, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and the Juvenile Office.
Taney County Presiding Commissioner Mike Scofield told KY3 in February this could bring in nearly $7 million per year.
Unlike last year's proposal, this tax would go away after 15 years, unless voters renew it.
The previously-authorized tax for law enforcement services was one-eighth (1/8) of one percent (1%).
An at-home coronavirus testing kit from Quest Diagnostics has been quickly approved by the FDA.
Users will use a nasal swab and then FedEx the sample overnight to a testing lab.
The results will be available to the user on the website and mobile app, and will be shared with relevant health departments.
Quest says its plans to have 500,000 kits ready to send out by the end of June.
The company said it plans to make the tests available to health care workers, states and businesses for “return-to-work testing programs.”
Quest did not say how long it would take to receive results with the test.
Quest says they are rolling out the launch of this test later this month and will be able to provide more details then.
NASA is keeping tabs on a massive asteroid that’s coming closer to Earth each day.
The space agency’s website has an asteroid watch section showing the next five approaches, which are expected in the next few days.
The largest is estimated to be 1,100 feet wide, approximately the size of a football stadium. Named 2002 NN4, it is expected to come the closest to Earth on June 6. However, scientists don’t expect there to be a collision on Earth. Its closest approach will be 3,160,000 miles away.
There are three others the size of a plane and one the size of a house also making their way toward Earth over the next few days. Scientists don’t believe there are any concerns from those asteroids either. The closest one is expected to come within 1,830,000 miles of Earth on Wednesday.
Carole Baskin won a major victory in court against her “Tiger King” nemesis Joe Exotic on Monday.
In Exotic’s worst nightmare scenario, Baskin is now the owner of his infamous animal park, which was documented in the hit Netflix show.
An Oklahoma judge ruled in favor of Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue Corporation in its lawsuit against Greater Wynnewood Development Group, LLC, a company once owned by Exotic.
The court is giving Baskin control of the 16-acre animal park in Garvin County, Oklahoma, with its array of big cats.
The judgement also awarded several cabins and vehicles to Baskin, according to court records.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, remains in prison for his attempt to hire a hitman to kill Baskin – an animal sanctuary owner who for years had been a vocal critic of Maldonado-Passage’s park.
An attorney for Jeff Lowe, who currently owns the park, told CNN that Baskin’s victory was not unexpected.
Instead of filing an appeal, Lowe is devoting all his energy to building a new tiger-themed animal attraction in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
A publicist for Amy Grant says the contemporary Christian singer had open heart surgery on Wednesday to fix a heart condition she has had since birth.
Doctors discovered Grant had a heart condition called partial anomalous pulmonary venous return (PAPVR) during a routine checkup. Velvet Kelm, her publicist, said Grant's doctor said the surgery “couldn't have gone better.”
Grant, who has been married to country singer Vince Gill for 20 years, is a six-time Grammy winner with well-known crossover pop hits like “Baby, Baby,” “Every Heartbeat” and “That's What Love is For."
She's sold more than 30 million albums, including her 5-times platinum 1991 record “Heart in Motion,” which introduced her to a larger pop audience.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson's Covid-19 Update Tuesday had the biggest one-day jump in positive cases so far..........
Another Update is planned for this afternoon.
The Governor of Arkansas has declared a State of Emergency:
He says “Our citizens have the right to peacefully assemble and protest and the State of Arkansas is committed to protecting those rights and recent assemblies and protests occurring in the State of Arkansas have been overtaken by destructive and violent individuals, creating conditions of distress for the citizens and businesses of the state and the rule of law must be maintained for the protection of citizens and businesses from violence and damage and there is a need to take protective actions to protect lives and property of citizens being currently impacted by this emergency and additional resources of the State of Arkansas are needed to help relieve the conditions of distress and hazard to the safety and welfare of the citizens of the state.”
The Berryville City Council met Tuesday in the Community Center to observe physical distancing, not possible in the City Hall meeting room. All councilpersons were present except for JoAnn Harris. Also absent was Clerk Leonda Davis and City Attorney Clint Scheel.
Council passed Resolution 1079 authorizing the Mayor to apply for matching grant funds from the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism Outdoor Recreation Grant Program to assist in developing recreational facilities for the Berryville Soccer Complex.
The city plans to construct and establish a playground area and outdoor lighting at the new Berryville Soccer Complex.
Mayor McKinney said the city has made a decision with regards to the opening back up of the Community Center..........https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/bvcc-6-02-20-comm-cntr
The Mayor also announced the Saunders Museum will reopen for the season June 22nd.
If you haven't received and/or completed your Census form to date, you may complete the Census form online at my2020census.gov or by phone at (844)330-2020. It is only 10 questions and onlly takes about 5 minutes to complete for 10 years worth of benefits to your city, county and state.
The next meeting of the City Council will be Tuesday, June 16th.
The Eureka Springs City Council have a tough decision to make concerning their annual budget. The $4.5 million dollar budget is suffering tax revenue losses amounting to 1-2 million dollars so far, from the loss of tourism because of the pandemic.
At their last council meeting, Mayor Butch Berry said, "we have been struggling". The financial summary from April showed the General Fund was short by almost a quarter million dollars.
Cuts may be needed in certain departments and likely that will be discussed at the June 8th meeting.
The University of Arkansas will begin re-opening June 15, 2020.
The university released a "Returning to Campus" guide on its website.
Employees who need to be on campus to do their jobs will begin returning on June 15th, as needed. Additional employees will be brought back July 6th.
Employees and students will return for the fall semester on August 3rd and 10th. August 24th is the first day of classes for the fall semester.
Everyone will be required to stay 6 feet away from everyone else, wear face coverings or masks while in places where social-distancing is hard to maintain.
Fall break will be canceled to reduce the chance of the virus being spread by people who travel. The university will also consider going to 100% remote instruction after Thanksgiving.
There were 412 active cases of COVID-19 among Arkansas poultry workers as of Tuesday morning, the Arkansas Department of Health announced.
At least 233 of those cases are in Northwest Arkansas.
The number is up from the 286 cases reported Friday.
Active cases have been confirmed at more than a dozen poultry places across the state, including George's, Pilgrim's Pride, Cargill, Butterball, Tyson and Simmons facilities.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson repeated his praise for the way Arkansas poultry companies have responded to the pandemic. Companies have implemented testing and social distancing measures.
Last week, advocates for poultry workers demonstrated in Springdale, calling on the governor to shut down all poultry plants impacted by the novel coronavirus.
This data was released the same day Arkansas set a new record for the number of new confirmed community cases of COVID-19.
Owners of a Confederate statue in Bentonville said they’re relocating the monument.
The statue of the Confederate soldier has been in the Bentonville Square since 1908 and has been the center of much controversy over the years.
It’ll be moved to the James H. Berry Park in Bentonville, according to the Daughters of the Confederacy who own the statue.
Judge Barry Moehring said moving the statue is a move towards better public safety in Bentonville.
Judge Moehring said the statue will continue to preserve its historic status on the national historic registry pending the approval by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Commission.
After falling with the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System's investments have risen in value during the past two months, an investment consultant told the system's board of trustees Monday.
The investments are now valued at roughly $16.2 billion, system Executive Director Clint Rhoden said after the meeting.
They fell from $18.3 billion to $15.1 billion in the quarter that ended March 31, to post a minus 16.4% investment return for that period, the system's consultant, Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, said in a written report.
So far in fiscal 2020, which ends June 30, the system's investment return through the end of May is about minus 3%, said Katie Comstock of Aon Hewitt.
The investments were valued at $17.5 billion at the end of fiscal 2019, according to Aon Hewitt.
About 4,000 people gathered on the Fayetteville Square Tuesday to protest racism and police violence.
Everyone at the square, protesters and police alike, knelt for eight minutes of silence to mark the amount of time a Minneapolis police officer's knee was on George Floyd's neck.
Speakers stood and shared their thoughts on the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and racism across the country.
The program ended around 8, and was followed by people marching around the square shouting "No Justice, No Peace."
After dark, some protesters threw objects. Other protesters stood between those protesters and police officers.
Tyson Foods announced it will conduct facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at processing facilities and other operations in Benton and Washington Counties, where positive cases of the coronavirus have risen.
The company says it's taking this precautionary measure to protect its team members and as part of its efforts to help affected communities where it operates better understand the coronavirus and measures that can be taken to help prevent its spread.
To date, Tyson has identified a limited number of COVID-19 cases at its facilities in Arkansas.
As of June 1, Tyson is aware of 77 active COVID-19 cases among its nearly 24,500 team members who work in the state. They are still absent from work under the guidelines by the CDC and Tyson to stay home.
“At Tyson, we believe testing can be critical to improving individual health outcomes, helping ensure plant and community safety and ensuring team members feel safe and secure when they come to work,” said Tom Brower, Senior Vice President of Health and Safety for Tyson Foods. “Our testing in other parts of the country has shown a high number of positive cases among individuals who did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified, and we can do a public service in northwest Arkansas by testing at our facilities there as well.”
Matrix Medical, a leading provider of mobile and on-site health care services, will partner with the state and local health officials to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19.
As it has at other facilities where it has conducted facility-wide testing, Tyson will disclose verified test results from the Northwest Arkansas facilities when they are available to health and government officials, team members and stakeholders.
Tyson has also put in place a host of protective measures at its processing facilities that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19.
These include daily clinical symptom screenings for all team members before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members, and a range of social distancing measures including physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms.
Tyson is also providing enhanced education to ensure our team members understand risk factors and protective measures to take so that they can stay safe at work and at home.
Benton County Sheriff Office deputies shot tear gas into a crowd Monday night gathered at the downtown square to protest police brutality.
The firing began after 9 p.m. Monday, according to posts on Bentonville’s Facebook page.
At a little after 9 p.m. a post read, “Crowd size has seemed to decrease. Smaller groups have broken away. One medical call near the statue. Fireworks currently being deployed in the area.”
Updates noted protesters damaged two police cars near the square, and officers requested additional law enforcement.
The Sheriff’s Office issued warnings for the crowd to disperse, according to the Facebook posts. The crowd refused and tear gas was used. A post at 9:25 p.m. said the crowd was still refusing to leave.
Tear gas was fired several times into the crowd as Sheriff’s Office deputies and Bentonville police stood in a line near the front of the courthouse. Some in the crowd pick up the tear gas canisters and threw them back at the officers.
About 10:15 p.m., law enforcement officer were on the steps of the Benton County courthouse in riot gear facing the crowd. Protesters chanted for police to leave.
At 10:24 p.m. the crowd took a knee in front of the officers and chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot.” By 10:30 p.m. there seemed to a lull in the crowd, and one man was seen playing the tuba.
Many of the protesters used phones to film the officers, who wore face shields and gas masks and carried batons. Others took selfies in front of the officers, and two men carrying the Mexican flag plopped down a bench near some of the authorities.
At times, some people in the crowd threw water bottles at the officers. At 10:47 p.m. more tear gas was fired and the officers moved to the edge of the street before fanning out onto the square to disperse the crowd.
Some people fled across East Central Avenue where some threw eggs and hurled insults at the officers.
A Bentonville police officer using a vehicle loudspeaker said the gathering was no longer a lawful assembly and asked the crowd to disperse.
Benton County Sheriff’s Office officials estimated the crowd at about 1,500 people at its peak earlier in the evening.
The protest had been going for several hours, peacefully, until 9 p.m.
In Fayetteville, about 30 residents and a dozen police officers gathered in front of the Police Department on Monday night. The department heard people were planning to demonstrate outside the station and decided to greet them with hot dogs and refreshments, said Sgt. Anthony Murphy, department spokesman.
Courtney Reed, an organizer for Bentonville’s Justice for George Floyd, said she postponed her group’s participation because of threats it received from white supremacists via social media.
At approximately 9:05 PM Tuesday, May 19th, the Sheriff’s Office was notified that two women from Big Flat, Arkansas had gone hiking in the Ozark National Forest in the area of Cook Road, which is a Forest Service Road. A family member had been looking for the two women, a mother and step-daughter, but had not been able to find them.
Sheriff’s Deputies and other responders were dispatched to the area. It was learned that 49 year old Vickie Higginbotham and 30 year old Sheila Honeycutt had left their residence in Big Flat earlier in the day. They had managed to text Vickie Higginbotham’s husband saying that they were lost and needed help in the area of Cook Road and Push Mountain Road. Mr. Higginbotham said he had been searching the area since about 5:00 PM. He could hear the women yelling, but could never find them.
Personnel from the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Forestry Service, United States Forestry Service, Lone Rock Volunteer Fire Department, and Baxter Regional Medical Center all responded to the area to assist with the search. The Sheriff’s Office helicopter was also launched for the search.
Personnel in the helicopter were able to see a fire that the women had built and were then able to guide personnel from the U. S. Forestry Service to their location. The women were then brought out of the forest unharmed at approximately 2:00 AM this morning.
The vehicle the women had been in was said to have been involved in a crash somewhere in the forest. U. S. Forestry Service personnel will attempt to locate the vehicle this morning.
This ADH update allows locker rooms to be used for storing personal items. Social distancing remains in place with 6-12 feet between athletes depending on the situation. Team practice is prohibited for close contact sports like football & basketball, but they can condition and workout in small groups.
Athletes are advised to use their own equipment. The updated ADH directive allows a ball to be thrown back and forth as long as the athletes remain 12 feet from each other. Bands are allowed to practice marching and use non-wind instruments.
The Marshals were serving a high-risk felony attempted murder arrest warrant when the shooting occurred.
The suspect who was shot is a white man, according to police. He was transported to the hospital, and his condition is unknown.
The shooting happened in front of a Fayetteville strip mall on M.LK. Boulevard.
Multiple rounds were fired, and no officers were injured.
Fayetteville Police responded to the scene around 8:45 a.m. Monday and are investigating the incident
Arkansas reflects the lack of warmth to helping people vote shown by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and other Republicans in general. But still, the percentage that supported outnumbered the percentage that opposed 42.5 to 25.7, with 31.8 percent neither in support or opposition. A little leadership — not to mention measures to make it clearer and easier with good instructions, mass mailing and return postage — could move that group.
The survey found 27.7 percent of Arkansans would be more likely to vote in November if they could vote by mail. (You theoretically CAN vote by mail in Arkansas already, by requesting a mail absentee ballot. You must check a box attesting to an unavoidable absence from in-person polls. No specific reason is necessary. I suspect if the governor’s doesn’t facilitate easier absentee voting, a campaign will emerge to encourage it all the same as a common-sense alternative to exposure to lines at polling places.)
The polling is from The COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preference Across States. It’s a joint project of Northeastern University, Harvard University, Rutgers University and Northwestern University.
Sadly, there’s a partisan divide with Democrats more likely to favore vote by mail and some red states less enthusiastic (though not critical Florida, for one). Trump supporters are less likely to favor mail voting.
The survey indicates more would vote if given the mail option, which is — or should be — the point.
A majority said they were confident about how to vote by mail except in three states — Mississippi, Arkansas and South Carolina. The state’s with the highest confidence about mail voting also are the most supportive of health guidelines to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Facebook employees are using Twitter and Facebook's internal communications tools to register their frustration over CEO Mark Zuckerberg's decision to leave up posts by President Donald Trump that suggested protesters in Minneapolis could be shot.
Twitter flagged and demoted Trump's tweet about the protests when he used the phrase “when the looting starts the shooting starts.” Facebook has let it stand, and Zuckerberg explained his reasoning in a Facebook post Friday.
“I know many people are upset that we’ve left the President’s posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Angry demonstrations have spread across the U.S. over the past week, creating some of the most widespread racial unrest since the 1960s. The protests, which have been met by violent police action in many cities, were spurred by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned to the pavement by an officer who put his knee on the handcuffed man's neck until he stopped breathing.
Trump's comment evoked the civil-rights era by borrowing a phrase used in 1967 by Miami’s police chief to warn of an aggressive police response to unrest in black neighborhoods.
On Monday, dozens of Facebook employees staged a virtual “walkout” to protest the company's decision not to touch the Trump posts according to a report in the New York Times, which cited anonymous senior employees at Facebook. The Times report says dozens of Facebook workers “took the day off by logging into Facebook’s systems and requesting time off to support protesters across the country."
Gov. Hutchinson did not have a weekend press conference, however, Covid-19 cases still continue to rise...
A press conference is set for this afternoon.
A day of peaceful protests Sunday turned chaotic just after midnight when police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators at the state Capitol.
Around midnight, hours after dozens of protesters had convened at the state Capitol, police in riot gear deployed gas and noise-making devices to disperse the crowd. At 11:56 p.m., the Little Rock Police Department tweeted, "There has been an ongoing peaceful protest at the Capitol, However, some protesters have started causing damage to property. Please avoid this area."
The rounds of chemical agents and flash bangs started soon after. A couple of rounds of fireworks went off low to the ground, too, apparently set off by protesters. Demonstrators remained in the Capitol complex for a short time, but most left as the volume of smoke grew.
Peaceful protests were held earlier Sunday at a police station and at Little Rock City Hall.
Also earlier Sunday, Little Rock officials expressed gratitude that demonstrators in the city protesting police violence after the killing of George Floyd were largely peaceful Saturday, with the mayor and police chief blaming spasms of violence in downtown Little Rock on unknown outsiders.
Limited-contact sports can resume in Arkansas starting today, according to guidelines the governor laid out as part of his Phase One reopening plan.
These sports include baseball, softball, swimming, track and gymnastics. Participants are encouraged to wear masks unless they’re in the act of participation. Contact sports like basketball and football aren’t yet allowed to open, and a date announcement is expected in late June or early July.
The reopening follows a similar restriction rollback for overnight summer camps, which resumed Sunday. Popular wildlife refuge Turpentine Creek announced it’ll reopen with restrictions also today, June 1.
The U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that they have begun to release Economic Impact Payments in the form of prepaid debit cards, instead of the paper checks many were anticipating. In accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the assigned amount of funds will be placed on prepaid debit cards and sent out to eligible taxpayers.
“My Office has received numerous calls from concerned Arkansans who have recently received the Economic Impact Payments in the form of a prepaid card,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans should know these prepaid cards in a plain envelope from Money Network Cardholder Services are actually from the federal government.”
If you receive an Economic Impact Payment Card, it will arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.” The free prepaid cards are issued with detailed instructions on how to easily activate the card. Recipients can transfer the funds from card to an existing bank account without any transaction fees. Funds can also be withdrawn at the ATM, but a transaction fee may apply. The prepaid card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted and provides fraud protections for consumers. Each card gives cardholders the ability to check their balance online, on the mobile app or over the phone without incurring fees.
Rutledge provides the following tips when activating the prepaid card:
Follow the directions provided with the prepaid card and visit EIPCard.com to activate the card.
When activating the card, make sure to have a secure PIN number and do not share the number with anyone.
Watch out for sites requesting your card number and PIN.
Use the EIPCard.com site to search for surcharge-free ATMs, view the fee schedule and cardholder agreement information.
Texas County, Mo. investigators say a man led them to the likely remains of a woman reported missing on May 21.
Texas County Sheriff Scott Lindsey says 28-year-old Dylan Hanger was arrested Saturday, charged with 2nd degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.
Ten days ago US Park Rangers found 29-year-old Brittany Gorman's pickup at Buck Hollow in southern Texas County.
Blood found at that scene suggested she had been injured and a search for Gorman ensued.
Gorman's family said that Hanger is Gorman's estranged husband and that they weren't divorced.
Sheriff Lindsey says Hanger was always a prime suspect because of his relationship to Gorman.
Inconsistencies in his statements to investigators is what helped crack this case.
The Barry County government recently received a distribution from the state in the amount of $4,198,764, money from the CARES Act the county will have to distribute to smaller political subdivisions.
Gary Youngblood, Barry County presiding commissioner, said the county is in the process of determining a distribution method.
Youngblood said political subdivisions within the county may apply for the funds if they had expenses due to COVID-19 that were not budgeted.
Youngblood said there is likely a mechanism in place to prevent the county from keeping any money not distributed.
Youngblood said the money was put into a new fund tagged COVID-19. The county also plans to have outside help in distribution of funds. Officials are working with law firm Ellis, Ellis, Hammons and Johnson, P.C., which Youngblood said is working with other counties going through the same process.
Youngblood said the unexpected money has been a challenge to deal with, but officials are finding time.
JC Penney says it's reopening some of its stores, just two weeks after declaring bankruptcy.
The clothing retailer shut down brick-and-mortar locations due to COVID-19, but now as the U.S. begins to reopen, they plan to begin opening their stores.
JCPenney says it plans to have about 500 stores open again by Wednesday.
While it's reopening some locations based on public health, the retailer is also moving to permanently close others based on finances.
The company announced they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month as well as their plans to close about 200 stores this year.
As if trips to the grocery store weren’t nerve-wracking enough, U.S. shoppers lately have seen the costs of meat, eggs and even potatoes soar as the Coronavirus has disrupted processing plants and distribution networks.
Overall, the cost of food bought to eat at home skyrocketed by the most in 46 years, and analysts caution that meat prices in particular could remain high as slaughterhouses struggle to maintain production levels while implementing procedures intended to keep workers healthy.
While price spikes for staples such as eggs and flour have eased as consumer demand has leveled off, prices remain volatile for carrots, potatoes and other produce because of transportation issues and the health of workers who pick crops and work in processing plants.
In short, supermarket customers and restaurant owners shouldn’t expect prices to drop anytime soon.
Big fluctuations in food prices began in March, when the coronavirus pandemic began to sink in for U.S. consumers.
The Labor Department reports that the 2.6% jump in April food prices was the largest monthly increase in 46 years. Prices for meats, poultry, fish and eggs increased the most, rising 4.3%. Although the 2.9% jump in cereals and bakery products wasn’t as steep, it was still the largest increase the agency has recorded.
Dairy and related products, and fruits and vegetables increased by 1.5 percent in April.
Egg prices also reached an all-time record of more than $3 a dozen in late March, but they have since fallen to less than $1 a dozen.
The situation has been worse for meat prices, largely because of illnesses among slaughterhouse workers. The outbreaks struck pork processing plants the hardest, but beef and chicken processors also saw some impact as thousands of workers tested positive for the virus and the United Food and Commercial Workers union said at least 44 workers had died of COVID-19 as of Friday.
Alumacraft Boat Co. in Arkadelphia will be shut down in June by its Canada-based owner, putting 90 people out of work and ending a 46-year history in the town.
The closing of the factory, known for its production of flat-bottom aluminum jon boats, was a tie-in to the decision by its owner, BRP of Valcourt, Quebec, to halt production of Evinrude outboard motors. BRP, also known as Bombardier Recreational Products, announced that decision Wednesday afternoon.
Boat production in Arkadelphia will end in mid-June and will be shifted to a BRP facility in St. Peter, Minn., the company said.
"We were really surprised," Stephen Bell, president and chief executive officer of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance, said Thursday morning. "They'd been talking about a possible expansion. It's been a fixture in the community for years and years."
BRP bought the Alumacraft and Manitou boat companies in the U.S. in 2018 and Australian boat manufacturer Telwater in 2019.
Alumacraft was founded in 1946 and used "Queen of the Waterways" as one of its several advertising slogans over the years. It came to Arkadelphia in 1974 with the purchase of General Marine Corp., according to Alumacraft's website.
May 29, 2020
LITTLE ROCK –More than 10,500 Arkansas businesses have been approved for grants to reimburse them for the expenses of protecting the health of employees and customers.
The grants are worth up to $100,000, and the total amount of approved grants is about $115 million. They were made available through the Ready for Business Program.
Based on a list provided by the Arkansas Commerce Department, 202 businesses qualified for the maximum grant of $100,000.
The department received 12,234 applications, but 201 were withdrawn or determined to be ineligible.
About 2,500 applications lack paperwork and can still be approved if missing items, such as tax forms, are submitted.
Federal funding was made available in Arkansas as part of a national effort to restore the economy from the negative effects of business closures and layoffs caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In mid-May the legislature voted to allocate $147.7 million to the Ready for Business program. The governor appointed a steering committee, composed of legislators and administration officials, to recommend how best to use the $1.25 billion that Arkansas received from the federal CARES Act. That stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Businesses that receive a grant can spend it on supplies such as protective equipment like masks, no-contact thermometers, hand sanitizer stations and cleaning products. They can purchase machines that allow a monetary transaction that requires no contact between the customer and the clerk.
At least 15% of grant recipients must be businesses owned by women or minorities. The Secretary of the Commerce Department said that approved businesses should see checks deposited in their bank accounts within the week.
A state senator on the steering committee said he would like to see some of the CARES Act money be put in a reserve fund.
Another senator on the steering committee noted that Arkansas is obligated to spend CARES Act funding before December 30. If a vaccine is not available before then, it raises the question of whether Arkansas can spend money now from the CARES fund in order to secure future supplies of the vaccine when they do become available. State health officials will look into the wording of the federal funding bill to get an answer to that question.
Food Aid for Children
Financial help is available for families whose children were getting free or reduced-price meals when schools were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
For each child who was enrolled in the lunch program, the family will receive $319. If the family was enrolled in SNAP, the food stamp program, the money will be added to their EBT during the last week of May or first week of June.
If the family was not enrolled in SNAP, the state Department of Education will provide the Department of Human Services with the family’s address, which was on file in the children’s school. DHS will mail an EBT card to the family’s address in June.
The payment will be made only to families enrolled in the free or reduced-price school lunch program when the health emergency was declared and schools were closed. It is a one-time payment, meant to help low-income families who have had to pay for their children’s meals after schools were shut down.
Arkansas saw the largest daily increase of community cases so far.....
Gov. Hutchinson is due to have another update this afternoon.
Following guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), the U.S. Public Health Service, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Buffalo National River is increasing recreational access and resuming overnight access to the park. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Beginning Friday May 29th, 2020, Buffalo National River will re-open access to:
Overnight stays, including campgrounds and backcountry camping
RV dump stations
Pavilions, with a maximum group size of 50 people
Buffalo Point Cabin Rentals (opening June 1st)
Park employees will be staffing trailheads and river access points to provide traffic control and social distancing guidance. Staff will be available to direct visitors to other areas of the park should locations become too congested to comply with health guidelines.
An officer-involved shooting occurred Thursday (May 28) in Springdale.
According to Lt. Jeff Taylor with the Springdale Police Department, the shooting happened just before 5 p.m. on Laura Street just south of E Huntsville Avenue.
Taylor says 30-year-old Sena Doctor was armed with a shotgun when she was shot by police. Police say although she had a gun, she did not shoot anybody. Taylor says calls came in about a woman threatening people inside of a home and neighbors in the area. Multiple officers responded.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident at this time.
“It’s something we don’t want to do unless we just absolutely have to and that’s where this investigation, we’ll look at and see,” Taylor said.
Police say Doctor had a gun in her hands when the first officer arrived at the scene.
Neighbor Conner Lane said he heard multiple shots.
Lane says neighbors quickly gathered in the street to find out what was going on.
The officer involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The officer's identity has not been released.
Details surrounding the shooting have not been released yet.
Brandon Rosecrans, 27, was found with an apparent gunshot wound on May 18.
Kimberling City man, soldier, found dead in Texas
Parents of Brandon, Thomas and Kristi Berg, talk about their son Brandon who graduated from Blue Eye High School. They are still in the grieving process, but they want their son not to be remembered as a victim, but as the bright light he was.
About 48 hours after Brandon was shot to death nine hours away from home, his parents, Thomas and Kristi, were outside their home when they met two men in uniform, asking for directions.
“We found out that they wanted to speak to us,” Thomas said. “It turned out that somebody took his life, on Monday the 18 in Killeen, Texas. He was stationed down there. For that to be taken away four days before his 28th birthday, was probably the worst thing a parent could ever see or ever hear.”
Thomas says one of their proudest moments was the day they found out Brandon wanted to join the Army. Having dealt with ADD and ADHD growing up, they say he graduated from boot camp a changed man.
The parents want Brandon’s memory to be his sweet soul as a son, brother, uncle, and friend. They will lay him to rest next week when his body is returned home. But after that, they plan to see that their son’s killer is caught.
The visitation for Brandon Rosecrans will be on Monday night, June 1, 2020, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Stumpff Funeral Home in Kimberling City. His funeral will be the next day, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at Baptist Church of Kimberling City followed by full military honors upon burial at Philibert Cemetery.
On Thursday morning at a 9:15 a.m., the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a 9-year-old boy who was missing from Mt. Vernon.
His mother told deputies that he went outside to check the mail. When he didn’t return a few minutes later, she looked for him and could not find him.
His mother also stated that she noticed several dogs running from a field near her home. The young boy was found in the field dead from an apparent dog attack.
Faulkner County Major Crimes Unit was called to the scene.
The investigation led to two people being questioned by authorities regarding the incident. Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the Conway Animal Shelter who took custody of two dogs from a residence off Chambers Lane.
The dogs will be quarantined for investigative purposes. This incident is still under investigation
Sebastian County Justice of the Peace Karla Reedy was arrested Wednesday on one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, authorities said.
Fort Smith police responded April 21 to a home on Oak Hollow Lane after calls about an intoxicated person, according to a police report.
Officers spoke with Reedy, who represents District 13 in the county, and she said she had not been driving but had gone to pick up a minor who was at a friend’s house, according to a police report.
Police wrote in the report her eyes appeared bloodshot and watery, and her speech was slurred.
The minor told officers Reedy had driven to pick him up, and he could tell she had been drinking, authorities said. He said she “took off driving through the neighborhood and would not stop,” according to the report
The minor reportedly told officers he jumped out of the car because he didn’t feel safe and went to a friend’s house.
Authorities said a witness to the incident told police Reedy had pulled into his yard, leaving ruts in the grass.
Reedy was released from the county jail on bond about an hour after her arrest, an online jail roster shows.
County Judge David Hudson said he was aware of the incident and could not provide any comment as the situation unfolds. He said more, including how the charges could affect Reedy's position, will be clearer as the case progresses.
The state Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism is accepting applications from nonprofit arts groups through June 8 for grants that are financed with federal coronavirus funds.
The grants will range from $1,000 to $15,000.
After the Legislative Council signed off Wednesday on an appropriation totaling $441,500 for the grants, the department started accepting applications at noon Thursday.
The deadline is 4:30 p.m. June 8, said department spokeswoman Melissa Whitfield.
"Now ... the Arts Council can get a grants review committee together," composed of arts council staff members from other states, she said.
"We would really like to get the funds in the hands of the arts organizations that need it by the end of June," Whitfield said.
In the past, the Arts Council has presented grants of more than $10,000 for legislative review, and "we are trying to determine if this will be required for this particular grant," she said.
The department originally announced that it would begin accepting applications May 18. But after consulting with state lawmakers, department Secretary Stacy Hurst decided to postpone the start until the Legislative Council acted on her request to give the agency the authority to spend the money.
The department's Arkansas Arts Council received the money from the National Endowment for the Arts for covid-19 relief for nonprofit arts organizations. The grant is part of the $75 million that Congress appropriated to the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Reptile enthusiasts have expressed opposition to a new restriction that adds five species of large Asian and African pythons to Arkansas' list of prohibited captive wildlife.
The approved regulations bar anyone who did not hold a permit as of May 21 from the breeding, sale and importation of 30 mammal species, eight reptile species and 123 amphibian species.
People with an existing permit can continue to breed, import and sell these animals, but no new permits will be issued under the regulations approved May 21 during a meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
No one in Arkansas currently holds an active permit to import, breed or sell the varieties of large pythons restricted by the regulation, according to commission spokesman Keith Stephens. Only one permit for the breeding and sale of pythons has been issued since 2001 and it has expired, he said.
The pythons added to the state's prohibited list are five species of reticulated, Burmese and rock pythons: Malayopython reticulatus, Python bivittatus, Python molurus, Python natalensis and Python sebae.
"Provided that one of these species was legally imported into Arkansas, a permit is not necessary to simply possess the animal," Stephens wrote in an email. "They can still be kept under Commission non-native pet regulations that have certain restrictions (such as males and females must be kept separately so that they cannot breed)."
Along with the five pythons, other additions to the list include predators like the jaguar and snow leopard; large mammals such as the warthog, rhinoceros and hippo; and the capybara, a South American mammal known for being the world's largest rodent.
Stephens said the breeding, sale and importation of large pythons has been banned in most circumstances in Arkansas for several years because the commission's code incorporated the federal ban on transporting so-called "injurious wildlife."
It’s going to be a sunny weekend so you might be anxious to get out on the water, but be careful, with all the rain lakes and rivers can be dangerous.
In the last few weeks, there have been a dozen water-related deaths in our area.
At the Mulberry River, some areas are closed off due to high waters. The water levels are at 4.3 and need to be at 2.5 or lower for first-time families to enjoy activities safely.
Along with the Mulberry, Beaver Lake has seen quite a bit of flooding to the point that water had to be released from the dam.
Jay Woods with the Army Corp of Engineers says whether on a river or lake, make a plan to stay safe.
Gov. Hutchinson was in Jonesboro Wednesday for his Update.........
As of Wednesday, Carroll County has 21 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 12 recoveries.
Northwest Arkansas is seeing the most growth in COVID-19 cases in the state.
Gov. Hutchinson said he wants people to note that statewide, there has been a large increase in children getting infected during that time period.
“[Ages] 0-17 believes they’re totally invincible from the virus, they believe they’re invincible from any harm in life and that’s just typical of that age group, but the cases grew from 198 on May 17th to 278 one week later", Hutchinson said.
People 65 and older had the smallest growth rate in that time period.
Arkansas Farm Bureau state leaders and policy specialists met via tele-conference Tuesday with livestock producers to inform them about the U.S. CARES Act Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, known as CFAP. Only producers directly affected by the coronavirus who lost 5% or more raising cattle, swine or lambs are eligible for this program. Cow-calf cattle operations are the dominant livestock production in Arkansas.
“Farm Bureau’s staff and county leaders have done a great job working with congressional leaders and key agency staff to secure some of the funding needed to help livestock farmers keep producing the meat protein necessary for a healthy diet for Americans and the world,” said Arkansas Farm Bureau President Rich Hillman. “We are appreciative of any help we can get, however more collaborative work needs to be done to ensure all agriculture producers can continue to provide safe affordable food.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees CFAP through its county-based Farm Service Agency offices. It says the program is designed to provide direct relief to producers who suffered price declines and added marketing costs because of COVID-19. The assistance application period began May 26 and runs through August 28, 2020.
State FSA Executive Director David Curtis spoke to livestock producers during the 45-minute call. He encouraged producers to apply early. The application is available at farmers.gov/cfap.
“We know Arkansas producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” Curtis said. He implored applicants to “Please be patient.”
Curtis says due to the COVID-19 virus, no county FSA office is presently open. The application process must occur remotely. He says the first thing livestock producers should do is call their county FSA office to make a phone appointment.
“FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well,” Curtis said.
To find the latest information on CFAP, go online to farmers.gov/cfap or call 877-508-8364. Information on local FSA office locations is available at https://www.farmers.gov/service-center-locator.
Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO), the sole supplier of blood and plasma to all area hospitals, is issuing a critical appeal for all blood types. Increased local usage and blood drive cancellations continue, with blood reserves below one-day levels for all blood types. Eligible donors are strongly urged to give immediately.
Most of the organization’s mobile blood drives for the months of April and May were cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 6,500 donations have been lost. There are limited opportunities to give this week at mobile blood drive in the service region, but it remains vitally important to continue to see increased donation levels at CBCO’s four donor centers until further notice.
“We came out of the Memorial Day weekend in dire need of help from our donors,” CBCO Executive Director Anthony Roberts said. “We’re having a difficult time keeping our shelves stocked, and since we’re the sole provider of blood to area hospitals, a blood shortage impacts us locally. It is vitally important to help the area where you live by giving blood that will be used to benefit your friends and neighbors.”
“We are so appreciative of our faithful donors and the many first-time donors who have stepped up during this time of need,” Roberts said. “Many of those who donated for the first time when all of this started are now eligible to give again and we are urging them to please consider making another donation. And if you have never donated, now is the perfect time to start.”
During the month of May, all donors receive a free t-shirt and donors at the Springfield donor center will also receive a FandangoNOW home-streaming movie voucher. Donation opportunities exist at CBCO donor centers in Springfield, Joplin, Springdale, and Bentonville. Additionally, the following mobile blood drives will take place during the remainder of the week:
• Harrison, AR - 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Thursday, May 28, 2020, Harrison Community Blood Drive, 814 US Hwy 62-65 N
There’s another sign that we’re closer to sports coming back.
Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek held a zoom press conference Wednesday morning to announce how Razorback student-athletes would return to the hill.
Veterans in football along with men’s and women’s basketball are allowed to come back to campus on June 8th. Swimming and track athletes would return on June 22nd. Incoming freshmen in football and hoops are permitted to be on campus June 29th. Baseball, softball, golf, and tennis head to the hill on July 6th.
“Many of our student athletes in those sports will start arriving back on campus next week,” Yurachek added. “They’ll go through a robust physical examination next week and have to be cleared to participate in any activity starting on June 8th. We’ll shut down all of our facilities on Thursday & Friday of this week, and they’ll go through a very extreme disinfectant and sanitation process in preparation for our student athletes to return.”
Walmart is teaming up with online resale site ThredUP.com to offer nearly 750,000 items of used women’s and children’s clothing and accessories on its website as the retail giant looks to capitalize on the popularity of pre-worn goods.
The move, announced Wednesday, marks Arkansas-based Walmart’s entry into the used clothing business.
A few years ago, it began selling used watches on its site.
The deal is part of an overall strategy for Walmart to boost its fashion offerings as a way to attract millennial shoppers.
Walmart has added nearly 1,000 brands including Champion, Jordache and Levi Strauss over the
The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 2.3 magnitude earthquake Wednesday morning in Northeast Arkansas.
According to the USGS website, the quake was located about 3 miles southeast of Imboden, 12 miles southwest of Pocahontas, and about 33 miles northwest of Jonesboro.
The quake, which had a depth of 11.2 kilometers, struck at 16:30:51 UTC (about 11:30 a.m. local time). Initially, the USGS reported it as being a 2.7M quake but later downgraded it to a 2.3M.
The USGS has not received any reports of people feeling the quake.
Gov. Hutchinson held his Covid-19 Update Tuesday afternoon...........
Another Press Conference is planned for today.
On Saturday, May 23rd, at about 6:32pm, Carroll County Dispatch was informed by Search & Rescue Teams, they had recovered a body of an Asian male on Long Creek, in the area of the County Road 824 Junction.The body was later verified to be Wa Soe, missing since May 17th..Soon after recovering Wa, his body was transported to Nelson’s Funeral Home, and his family was notified.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the many men and women who worked tirelessly for seven days and nights to recover Waeh Soe. Without their efforts and sacrifice, it would not have been possible.
Wa Soe and his brother, Sher Soe, both in their 20's, were at Long Creek swimming and enjoying the day, Sunday, May 17th. Sher Soe said he wanted to ride the current and was immediately caught up in a vortex that pulled him under and he disappeared. Witnessing his brother in trouble, Waeh jumped in the creek to help his brother and he too was taken under. Sher's body was recovered right away, and rescuers have been looking for Wa since.
Under Arkansas Statute 14-298-120, Judge Sam Barr has deemed it necessary and proper to temporarily close the low water slab on CR818, also known as 'BB' on Long Creek. With over 29 inches of rain falling over a total of 71 days, the area will close effective immediately, and remain closed until further notice.
According to Lt. Shannon Jenkins, the body of a missing boater on Beaver Lake was recovered Tuesday morning with the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
On the evening of May 17, 2020, a person fishing on the lake saw an empty boat belonging to Richard Steinbeck, age 55, near Prairie Creek. Crews searched overnight and into the following days.
According to officials, on Monday, May 25, a 16-year-old male from Newport, Ark. drowned in the Buffalo River.
At approximately 5:15 p.m. on Monday, notification was received by Buffalo National River dispatch that a swimmer was in distress in the park’s Middle District, at Grinders Ferry.
A 16-year-old male attempted to swim across the river in deep and swift current. Eyewitnesses stated the young man began struggling as he swam and went underwater as he neared the other side of the river and never resurfaced.
Officials say he was not wearing a life jacket.
At approximately 5:45 p.m., National Park Service Rangers arrived on scene and immediately began searching the area via motorized boats. The Searcy County Sheriff’s Office and Searcy County Dive team also responded, and divers entered the water at approximately 6:50 p.m.
At 7:45 p.m. the Searcy County Dive Team recovered the body of the young man in 10-15 feet of swift and murky water.
Berryville Police worked a three-vehicle accident May 18th at Hwy. 62 and W. Carl. The drivers involved were Destini Wilmoth of Berryville, driving a 1999 Lexus, Dale Hostetler of Berryville driving a 2011 Chevrolet and Bracy Hagler of Berryville, driving a 2012 Chevy.
The accident happened when the Lexus attempted to change lanes and didn't realize the Chevy driven by Hagler was overtaking her vehicle in the inside lane. The Hagler vehicle hit the Lexus with the right front tire and the Lexus attempted to swerve back to the outside lane and in the process side-swiped the Hostetler Chevrolet. No injuries were noted on the accident report.
May is Older Americans Month, the time of the year that the nation takes to honor our greatest generation. May is also the month that we do our "There's No Place Like Home" campaign to help those older Arkansans that live in Northwest Arkansas that are unable to fully help themselves.
We all feel better when we are in the comfort of our own home. Being away from home for a while makes us look forward to returning to the familiar, comfortable surroundings of our home. The Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Arkansas and its Foundation are dedicated to help make staying at home a continued choice for our seniors in Carroll County. By donating to the "There's No Place Like Home" annual fund drive, you can help with this effort.
The programs that they provide through federal and state funding encourage them to seek support from the community to supplement the service they provide to the seniors. In Carroll County, services provided through the Area Agency on Aging programs in 2019 were: 38,379 home delivered meals to homebound seniors; 10,102 congregate meals served in the Carroll County Senior Activity & Wellness Center; 12,185 socialization activities provided in the Senior Activity & Wellness Center; 4,211 one-way transportation trips provided by the Senior Activity & Wellness Center; 143 case management clients; 52,004 In-Home Care hours in an attempt to maintain seniors in thier homes and 55 Emergency Response Systems.
Understanding the pressing need for these services as we do, there is no better time to ask you to join me in making a contribution to the Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Arkansas Foundations's annual campaign, "There's No Place Like Home". Donations are tax-deductable and go exclusively to the program that you choose, such as the Client Fund, HOme Delivered Meals or the Senior Activity Center. All money donated in Carroll County is spent in Carroll County.
A team from the National Weather Service in Tulsa continues to evaluate damage from storms that occurred on Memorial Day.
The team found EF-1 Damage was found in West Siloam Springs and EF-0 damage at Lake Tenkiller.
The damage in Sequoyah County was determined to be straight-line wind damage north of Sallisaw.
More information is expected to become available today with a Public Information Statement.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to put pressure on meatpacking plants across the nation.
Senior Vice President of Tyson Foods Hector Gonzalez says the company’s main focus is the safety of its employees.
The poultry giant closed several plants in other states due to outbreaks of coronavirus cases and deaths among workers. At a Tyson Foods pork plant in Iowa, almost 60 percent of the workforce — 730 employees — tested positive for the virus.
Locally, plant employees have protested outside the company for more transparency and increased safety measures.
Gonzalez said, apart from following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, Tyson plants have undergone extensive transformations.
He said Tyson Foods has an ample amount of poultry and continues to meet consumer demands amid the pandemic.
The Better Business Bureau says some of its offices are getting calls from concerned consumers about a prepaid debit card that arrived in an unmarked envelope stating it was their economic stimulus payment.
These payments are legitimate!
Nearly four million people will receive an Economic Impact Payment card instead of a check, according to the IRS.
The card contains the money sent out by the IRS as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
The IRS website states:
“Some payments may be sent on a prepaid debit card known as The Economic Impact Payment Card.
The Economic Impact Payment Card is sponsored by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, managed by Money Network Financial, LLC and issued by Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank®, N.A.
If you receive an Economic Impact Payment Card, it will arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.” The Visa name will appear on the front of the Card; the back of the Card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A.
Information included with the Card will explain that the card is your Economic Impact Payment Card.
As of Monday afternoon, there are 6,029 total cases and 117 deaths in the state, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Of the total number of cases, 1,663 are considered active cases, according to the ADH website.
Governor Hutchinson addressed the number of new cases in his most recent Press Conference.........
According to ADH, 4,249 people have recovered from the virus in Arkansas.
Carroll County now has 15 confirmed cases with five recoveries and no deaths.
According to ADH, 4,249 people have recovered from the virus in Arkansas.
Carroll County now has 15 confirmed cases with five recoveries and no deaths.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District intends to make spillway releases from the White River dams.
The National Weather Service is forecasting significant rainfall in the White River basin over the next 72 hours.
If these forecasts remain true, the Corps will start making spillway releases from Beaver and Table Rock Dams on today (Tuesday), Bull Shoals Dam on Wednesday as well as increasing releases from Norfork Dam on Wednesday. Releases will be based off rainfall runoff amounts.
"Corps policy requires its staff to operate the lakes based upon runoff from rain that has actually fallen and can be measured," said Chief of Hydraulics & Technical Services Branch, Mike Biggs. "Operating the dams based upon 'water on the ground' allows engineers to make data based decisions."
The Corps is advising areas downstream of the dam to begin assessing their respective plans and to begin taking the proper precautions. Landowners with belongings near the river's edge should also begin making plans for high water.
An employee at the Benton County Sheriff's Office Jail has been arrested for rape.
On Sunday (May 24) Benton County Detectives were made aware of a sexual assault that took place in the early morning hours.
Following the investigation, A Benton County Sheriff's Office Jail employee, Teddy Dalton, 29, was arrested and charged with rape.
Dalton is being held for bond at the Washington County Jail.
He is currently on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
No further details have been released at this time.
Dalton is from Pea Ridge, according to the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
The SEC took another step towards the return of college sports. The presidents and chancellors of member schools voted to re-open athletic facilities for voluntary workouts starting on June 8th. This followed a vote from the NCAA to allow schools to resume voluntary activities June 1st. The SEC is the first major conference to follow up by allowing athletes to return.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement, saying "the safe and healthy return of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our greater university communities have been and will continue to serve as our guiding principle as we navigate this complex and constantly-evolving situation. At this time, we are preparing to begin the fall sports season as currently scheduled, and this limited resumption of voluntary athletic activities on June 8 is an important initial step in that process."
Several guidelines will be imposed, including:
-Enhanced education of all team members on health and wellness best practices, including but not limited to preventing the spread of COVID-19
-Testing of symptomatic team members (including all student-athletes, coaches, team support and other appropriate individuals)
-Immediate isolation of team members who are under investigation or diagnosed with COVID-19 followed by contact tracing, following CDC and local public health guidelines
-A transition period that allows student-athletes to gradually adapt to full training and sport activity following a period of inactivity
Arkansas coaches, including Sam Pittman, Eric Musselman, and Mike Neighbors, released statements reacting to the news.
Two months after the creation of it COVID-19 Relief Fund to assist in pandemic relief, Arkansas Community Foundation has awarded $1,000 rapid response mini-grants to 678 organizations in 149 towns located in 67 counties.
In Berryville, grants were awarded to the Freedom Seekers Ministry, the Loaves & Fishes Food Bank of the Ozarks, Inc., Mercy Health Foundation Berryville, and Our Healthy Communities/Berryville Senior Adult Activity Center. In Eureka Springs, grants were received by A Cup of Love Ministry, Eureka Christian Health Outreach, Inc., Eureka Springs Hospital, Eureka Springs School District, Eureka Springs United Methodist Church, and Flint Street Fellowship. In Green Forest, grants were presented to the Green Forest United Methodist Church and to the Jeremiah Recovery House, Inc. And in Huntsville, a grant was awarded to the First Presbyterian Church of Huntsville.
These mini-grants support immediate, essential community needs in human services, food, health, housing, and education.
Community Foundation Phase Two Adaptation Grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 are now being processed and will be awarded by the end of May.
The total amount raised for the COVID-19 Relief Fund has topped $3.4 million, with donations coming from the Community Foundation, other Arkansas foundations, businesses and individuals.
Donations are still being accepted online at www.arcf.org/covid19.
Standing in front of a large shipment of newly purchased personal protective equipment, Bishop Gary Mueller and Methodist Foundation for Arkansas President and CEO J. Wayne Clark announced a grant that will allow all 635 churches across the Arkansas Conference to gather together safely once again.
This is the first grant that the Methodist Foundation has ever presented that affects every local church in the Conference.
This grant will provide local churches with the necessary equipment to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and face masks will be distributed to all 635 United Methodist Churches in Arkansas over the next few weeks.
Bishop Gary Mueller, who is on the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force shared how thankful he is for these grants.
In addition, the Methodist Foundation for Arkansas has announced the awarding of a $10,000 grant to 200,000 Reasons, the Arkansas Conference initiative to end childhood hunger in the state.
Through this grant, 200,000 Reasons is offering grants of up to $1,000 for food and meal distribution ministries that are finding a greater demand for food during the pandemic. In addition, the grant award can be used to provide safety items to clients of a UMC feeding ministry, including masks, supplies to make masks, hand sanitizer, and/or other disinfectant items as well as print resources about COVID-19 and safety measures.
Carroll County native Ann Carter, daughter of the late former County Judge Arthur Carter, has written a book of poetry and is willing to donate the proceeds to the Eureka Springs United Methodist Church for their community efforts to feed the people. Carter explains......... https://soundcloud.com/user-984958735/ann-carter-book-5-21-20
Public Libraries in Berryville, Eureka Springs, and Green Forest are increasing library service hours and access as part of reopening phases startingTuesday, May 26. Please contact your library for details on what and when certain services will be available. Until further notice Carroll County Libraries will be open Monday through Friday 9 am to 6 pm; Saturday 9 am to 1 pm.
The following restrictions were created using guidelines from the Arkansas Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Arkansas State Library to ensure the health and safety of library staff and patrons.
Temporary restrictions for all Carroll County Libraries include:
· No more than 10 patrons will be allowed in any library building at one time.
· Patrons must wear a mask and practice social distancing.
· Patrons must sign in as they enter a library building. Sign in lists will be shredded every two weeks.
· Patrons must make an appointment to use a computer, browse, or use business services such as making copies and faxing.
· Appointments are limited to one hour per patron, per day.
· A limited number of computers will be available for use. After each use equipment will be sanitized by library staff.
· While there will be no in-house library programing, summer programs will be conducted virtually.
· Meeting rooms will remain closed.
· Curbside pickup will be available at differing times at each library.
Berryville Public Library
Eureka Springs Carnegie Public Library
Green Forest Public library
America's Car-Mart reported profit that fell short of analysts' estimates but booked record revenue for its fourth quarter in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, the company said in an earnings release Thursday afternoon.
The Bentonville buy-here-pay-here used-car dealer reported net income of $9.2 million for the quarter ended April 30, or $1.35 a share, compared with $14.55 million, or $2.07 a share, for the same period a year ago. A consensus of four analysts predicted earnings per share of $1.51 for the fourth quarter, according to Yahoo Finance.
For the quarter, Car-Mart reported record revenue of $195.6 million, according to the company. That's an increase of 11.3% compared with $176.8 million for the same quarter in 2019. The analysts had predicted revenue of $175.29 million.
For the year, Car-Mart booked revenue of $744.6 million, up from $669.1 million in 2019. Net income for the period was $51.3 million, or $7.39 a share, compared with $47.6 million, or $6.73 a share.
May 22, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – In June the Senate Education Committee will hear a report on the effect that public schools have seen due to the recent widespread requests for waivers from education standards.
Almost every school district in Arkansas operates with some sort of waiver granted by the state. More than 1,000 public schools, in which 97 percent of the state’s students are enrolled, operate with some sort of waiver. They are in 229 of the 235 school districts in Arkansas.
The most common waiver allows districts flexibility in scheduling the opening day of the school year in August. In fact, all 229 districts with waivers have the waiver that allows flexible scheduling, which enables them to better align their first semester with winter break.
When legislators and consultants study the impact of waivers on public school standards, they will not include a study of flexible scheduling. It is so widespread that comparisons are impossible.
When you remove flexible scheduling waivers from the picture, in the current school year Arkansas has about 500 schools in 118 districts operating under a waiver of education standards.
The most common waivers release schools from state mandates regarding the licensing of teachers and library media specialists. Other common waivers allow schools flexibility in the area of teacher salaries, curriculum and class sizes. Also popular are waivers from state requirements setting the number of hours a student must complete in order to receive credit for taking a class.
The increase in the number of schools seeking waivers from education standards is directly related to the inception of charter schools in Arkansas.
In the 1990s, the legislature approved the creation of charter schools. So-called conversion charters, created by legislation in 1995, are operated by traditional school districts. Open-enrollment charter schools were created in 1999 and are run by non-profit organizations and universities.
When the state Board of Education approves their charters, they are granted certain waivers from statewide education standards. At the same time, however, charters are expected to use innovative strategies that improve educational opportunities, and many charters teach students who do not do well in traditional school settings.
Two recent laws have spurred the explosion in waivers sought by traditional public schools. Act 1240 of 2015 allowed a district to request waivers that are held by charters within that district’s borders. Act 815 of 2019 expanded that provision to allow public schools to seek any waivers that have been granted to any charter in Arkansas.
The Senate Education Committee analysis basically will focus on two areas. One areas is the impact, if any, that waivers have made on student performance. The other area is the financial effect waivers have made on districts that claim them.
Historically, state aid to school districts has been distributed without regard for any waivers that districts hold. That has been the case even though some waivers release schools from requirements that cost money and for which the state provides funding, such as limits on class sizes and requirements to offer a library media program.
The Senate Education Committee is studying data on waivers compiled by legislative staff and by a private consulting firm.
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday, commemorating those who have died in military service to their country. It is observed annually on the last Monday of May.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day - an occasion to decorate the graves of the war dead - and was created in the aftermath of the American Civil War.
Observances are held at military graveyards, cemeteries and memorials, and military themed parades are held across the country. The holiday is also associated with the Indianapolis 500 car race which is held on the Sunday preceding Memorial Day.
Memorial Day, and the long weekend that it creates, is generally seen to mark the beginning of the summer season (while Labor Day marks the end).
Gov. Hutchinson held his daily Covid-19 Update Thursday..........
Another Update is coming this afternoon.
Photo: Michael Bowlin, Pam Page, Tyson Chaplain Chuck Miller
Tyson Foods, the largest employer in Green Forest, has awarded a $5000 grant to the Green Forest United Methodist Church through their new “Covid 19 Rapid Response Hunger Relief” program. The funds will be used locally to support the Green Forest Ministerial Alliance Food Bank and to stock the five “Blessing Boxes” found throughout the town.
“We are so thankful to Tyson for their generosity,” said Green Forest United Methodist Church pastor, Michael Bolin. “These funds will provide much-needed aid for our local community.”
This new Hunger Relief program, announced in mid-March, allocates grants in Tyson plant communities to support non-profit organizations working to address issues such as rent and utility assistance, food distribution, health care, childcare, small business support and other economic recovery services.
As need grows during this time of economic instability, this grant lends an important helping hand to those struggling to feed their families.
“One in eight children in Carroll County lives in homes that suffer from food insecurity,” added Pastor Bolin. “Breaking this cycle is a community effort.”
Pastor Bolin, Ministerial Alliance Food Bank coordinator Pam Page, and Tyson Chaplain Chuck Miller encourage local residents to add their support to this effort. As Tyson leads the way in addressing this challenge, all are welcome to join in by donating nonperishable food to the five Blessing Boxes and the food banks in Green Forest.
For more information, please contact GFUMC at 870-438-6122
The Berryville City Council met Tuesday for their second meeting of the month. It was a short agenda and business was wrapped up quickly.
Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos gave the April Activity Report. It showed Police issued 56 citations in April and 54 offenses reported. Both the citations and offenses were down quite a bit from April of last year.
Some of the offenses reported included six thefts and shoplifting, 5 criminal mischief, 4 assaults and battery and 2 burglaries. 42 of the offenses were cleared by the department. Traffic accidents were also down in April, compared to last year. Only 7 traffic accidents worked by Police.
The monthly Financial Report showed the 1% sales tax collected in April was $129,117. The 1/2% sales tax collected $64,558.
The Mayor suggests if you haven't received and/or completed your Census form to date, you may complete the Census form online at 2020census.gov or by phone at (844) 330-2020. It is only 10 questions and takes about 5 minutes to complete for 10 years worth of benefits to your city, county and state.
Benton County Sheriff deputies have scaled back the search for a man who they believed drowned in Beaver Lake after falling out of his boat.
Lt. Shannon Jenkins, a spokeswoman for the Benton County Sheriff's Office, said Wednesday said deputies have not found 55-year-old Richard Steinbeck's body after three days.
"We have covered a lot of area over the last few days," Jenkins said. "We are scaling back our search and rescue teams."
Jenkins said the Sheriff's Office will continue to have boats searching through the weekend and holiday.
The Sheriff's Office was contacted Sunday night when a witness reported hearing a boat and then a loud scream, Jenkins said. The witness saw a boat coming toward him with no one on board, she said.
Deputies searched the area and shoreline Sunday night and have had boats on the lake and using sonar the last three days in an attempt to find Steinbeck's body.
Memorial Day weekend is one of the top three busiest weekends of the year for the region’s lakes and rivers, and officials at the Army Corps of Engineers expect that 2020 will be no exception.
Corps park rangers caution that recreation areas around our lakes, and rivers will likely be congested, and with COVID-19 social distancing rules in effect for all public areas visitors may experience unexpected delays or complications. They ask visitors to use caution on the roadways, and to be courteous while entering campgrounds and waiting at boat ramps.
With water levels high across the state, and with more rain in the forecast, boaters should exercise extreme caution. The Arkansas River currently has a small craft advisory in effect, and law enforcement officials will be on the lookout for water safety and boating violations.
“While you’re honoring those men and women that have fallen protecting this great nation, please keep an eye on safety,” said Little Rock District Commander, Col. Eric Noe. “Seemingly simple choices, such as wearing a life jacket can make all the difference. In fact, more than 80 percent of public water fatalities on our reservoirs involved people who were not wearing life jackets.”
With campgrounds reopening and parks starting to fill up, the Corps reminds everyone that COVID-19 social distancing rules are still in place. These rules and other restrictions are required by local, state, and federal authorities to include the Centers for Disease Control. Current guidance provided by the CDC can be found at www.cdc.gov.
Visit the Little Rock District website at: www.about.me/USACELittleRock.
Taking its resources outside the library's four walls has become the norm for the Berryville Public Library. The library is excited to announce their newest online program, Family Trivia Night, allowing families the opportunity to compete against each other while having fun and learning. Family Trivia Night will be held on Facebook on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 6:00pm. The winning family will receive an e-gift certificate to Pizza Hut valued at $50. There is no cost to participate.
The Family Trivia Night contest will be held on Facebook and is open to any family who would like to participate. Those who are not already Facebook friends of the Berryville Public Library can find the page by opening Facebook and searching for 'Berryville Public Library'. Once on the Library's Facebook page, families will have until 6:05pm to comment on the Family Trivia Night post which will be pinned to the top of the page to declare participation and announce a family team name. There is no limit to the size of the family but each family will need a team name.
Beginning promptly at 6:05pm, the Library host will post the first online question. Family teams will post answers as a comment. Points will be awarded for correct answers. There will be three rounds with different categories in each round. Categories will not be announced in advance and teams have only 20 seconds to post an answer. Scores will be tallied and announced after each round and the family team with the most points will receive a $50 Pizza Hut gift certificate.
According to Julie Hall, Berryville Library Director, "Given we are still being encouraged to stay at home, our staff wanted to create an online event that would promote quality family time while encouraging teamwork, fun, and learning that can be done in the comfort and safety of home. We hope a lot of families will participate in this fun, online event!"
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Berryville Library has maintained most of their services and programs, finding new ways to deliver them outside the four walls since the building has been closed. The library has continued offering curbside services where patrons can request what they want in advance and have a staff member deliver it to them while they wait in their car. Starting May 26, the library will increase hours and access to its building but it won't yet be normal operations. Access to the building will be by appointment only and limited to no more than 10 patrons at one time. Curbside service will still be offered in the mornings. For the latest on library hours and services, please visit berryvillelibrary.org.
For more information on the upcoming Family Trivia Night on Friday May 29, contact your friends at the Berryville Public Library located at 104 Spring Street in Berryville or phone them at (870) 423-2323.
U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—applauded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for awarding $78 million to Arkansas to expand its testing capacity for COVID-19.
The funding is part of $11 billion from HHS to support nationwide testing for COVID-19 and the reopening of America. The investment will be used to develop, purchase, administer, process and analyze COVID-19 tests as well as contact tracing.
“Expanding our testing capability is necessary to combating the spread of COVID-19 and safely getting Arkansans back to work. These funds will be used to respond to this public health emergency and ensure individuals who have been in contact with infected patients are aware of their risk,” members said.
Funding was made available with the support of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation’s approval of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act that was signed into law last month.
An investigation by nearly three dozen attorney generals around the country will bring nearly $30 million in direct payments and debt relief to Arkansas consumers, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said this week.
According to a report from content partner Talk Business & Politics, the settlement with Santander Consumer USA covered nearly $550 million in overall relief to consumers
At least 13,000 Arkansans may be eligible for the $30 million as part of the settlement filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court in Little Rock.
Officials alleged the company violated consumer protection laws by placing subprime consumers into high-risk auto loans with a high probability of default, Talk Business & Politics reported.
Rutledge said in a media release that the actions of the company would not be tolerated by her office.
“Santander’s predatory actions targeted Arkansans for high risk auto loans, and now it will play handsomely for its deceptive practices. The standards set by this settlement should serve as a warning to other bad actors who take advantage of financially vulnerable Arkansans: we will do the fighting for consumers and there will be severe consequences for illegal actions,” Rutledge said.
In addition to the $30 million, the company will also pay $65 million to states for consumer restitution and waive nearly $433 million for people who still owe on loans, Talk Business & Politics reported.
2020 is the year for taking a staycation instead of a vacation.
Many states are starting to reopen some businesses after closing them due to coronavirus, but it will be a long time before the travel and tourism industries are back to normal.
In order to determine the best staycation spots, WalletHub compared 182 U.S. cities, including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state, across two key dimensions: 1) Recreation and 2) Rest & Relaxation.
Fort Smith ranked number six in Wallethub’s Best Cities for Staycations in 2020.
Wallethub writes, “Many people won’t want to be around crowds until the pandemic has fully subsided, and others simply don’t have the money to take a trip with how hard COVID-19 has hit the economy. Luckily, there are certain places that offer plenty of options for entertainment and relaxation at the right price point, making those cities the perfect spots for staying local.”
Their data set ranges from parks per capita to the average home square footage and the idealness of summer weather.
The State of Arkansas will observe Memorial Day as an official state holiday on Monday, May 25, 2020.
The State Capitol building & offices and all state buildings will be closed.
The Capitol Cafe (500 Grill), and the Capitol Gift Shop will also be closed.
Due to current COVID-19 precautions, the State Capitol remains closed to the public until further notice.