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News Director

Linda Boyer

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Email Tips & Releases to lindab@kthsradio.com

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Winter Weather Advisory Through Tomorrow Morning

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The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for parts of Northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma. 

The advisory is in effect from 9 a.m. today to 6 a.m. Wednesday according to a report from the weather service. Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties are included in the advisory. 

A mixture of freezing rain, sleet, and snow will spread across portions of northeast Oklahoma and far northwest Arkansas, the report said. Portions of Carroll and Madison counties may experience sleet and snow accumulations around one inch. Any icing accumulations are likely to be less than one tenth of an inch, and most areas will experience no more than a light glaze.

Snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches are possible west of Highway 75 in northeast Oklahoma. 

The evening commute could have slippery road conditions and reduced visibility at times.

National FFA Week Celebrated in Carroll County

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In honor of National FFA Week this week, KTHS is featuring interviews with our local FFA Chapter members and their advisors.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to nearly 700,000 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Today we hear from Keith Kilbourn, FFA Advisor for the Green Forest Schools. He has more details about the big Rodeo coming up March 9th...... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/gf-ffa-2019-rodeo-banks-keith-k

Our local sponsors supporting FFA Week include Williams Tractor, Anstaff Bank, Tyson Foods, Edna's Cafe, Kings River Realty, Bailey Ready Mix and Green Forest Public Schools.

Governor Signs Minimum Teacher Pay Bill

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A bill was signed into legislation Monday that will increase minimum teacher pay.

Sponsors of the bill, former teachers who serve on the teacher advisory committee and future teachers from University of Central Arkansas joined Governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson as he signed the bill into legislation.

The bill will increase the minimum teachers salary by $4,000 over the next four years.

The Governor said the bill will impact 168 schools out of 235 school districts that are below the minimum salary schedule. Gov. Hutchinson said they have set aside 60 million dollars to help the school districts meet the minimum in increase of teacher pay.

Prairie Grove Hardware Store Has 79 Guns Stolen

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Prairie Grove Police are reporting four suspects stole 79 guns from Ace Hardware in Prairie Grove Friday.

Capt. Jeff O'Brien said they broke into the store at 116 W. Buchanan St. about 3:08 a.m. Friday. The break-in did not trigger the store's alarm, O'Brien said.

The suspects stole most of the pistols, revolvers and rifles during the two minutes they were in the store, according to video from the store, O'Brien said.

The suspects returned just before 5 a.m. and that entry triggered the alarm, which notified police. They stole several more weapons and were in the store about four seconds. 

They broke a window at the back of the store and broke a glass case to steal the firearms.

O'Brien said weapons were the only items missing from the store.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Shooting Sports Foundation is each offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the persons responsible.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Applicant Files Lawsuit Against Three People

A medical marijuana dispensary applicant has filed a lawsuit asking the Alcohol Beverage Control board to investigate three dispensary applicants who may not have been entirely truthful on their applications. 

It started as a complaint filed with the ABC about the allegations but the plaintiff, Green Remedies Group LLC, ultimately filed a lawsuit. 

According to the plaintiff's attorney, Quentin May, it was brought to the attention of the ABC before the dispensary licenses were distributed. 

The lawsuit alleges that three dispensary applicants, THC RX, Inc. and its principal Todd Sears, Doctor's Orders RX, Inc. and its principal Donald L. Sears, and Pain Free RX, Inc and its principal Mary Sears, who were all awarded licenses in different zones failed to disclose their connection with one another. 

May says his client discovered the three applicants are family members and also affiliated with each other with other businesses in the state of Arkansas, but they did not disclose that on their applications.

The plaintiff's attorney says each of the three applications contains false statements made under oath and it appears they are actively conspiring to create a family monopoly owning dispensaries in three different zones in Arkansas. 

Searcy Up As Finalist for Small Business Makeover Program

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Towns in Oklahoma and Arkansas are among six finalists for a small business makeover program on the reality show "Small Business Revolution - Main Street."

Durant, in southern Oklahoma, and Searcy, in north central Arkansas, among the towns competing for $500,000 marketing support and business advice from show host Amanda Brinkman and co-host Ty Pennington.

Duncan is about 70 miles southwest of Oklahoma City while Searcy is about 50 miles northeast of Little Rock.

Through Feb. 19, the public can visit SmallBusinessRevolution.org to see a brief video and vote. Votes can be cast from each email address a person has once each day voting is open.

The other finalists are Corsicana, Texas; Camas, Washington; Canon City, Colorado; and Washington, North Carolina.

Monday, February 18, 2019

2019 National FFA Week, Feb. 16-23

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Carroll County Chapters of the FFA will celebrate National FFA Week, Feb. 16-23, 2019. This FFA Week embraces more than 91 years of FFA traditions while looking forward to the organization’s future. Nearly 670,000 members will participate in National FFA Week activities at local, state and national levels. These members have a passion for agriculture.

Designated a national week in 1947, the week of George Washington’s birthday, National FFA Week runs from Saturday to Saturday and gives FFA members an opportunity to educate the public about agriculture. During the week, chapters conduct a variety of activities to help others in their school and community learn about FFA and agricultural education.  Carroll County Chapters of the FFA will celebrate National FFA Week by participating in various activities.

Today’s FFA members are the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. Through agricultural and hands-on learning, they are preparing for more than 250 unique career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industry. 

Our local High School FFA Chapters have been in to talk to us recently. We will be hearing from High School FFA members from Berryville, Green Forest, Eureka Springs and Alpena, as well as some of the advisors, such as Keith Kilbourn the Green Forest FFA Advisor. Mr. Kilbourn is inspired by his students..... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/gf-ffa-2019-keith-kilbourn-part-1

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 459,514 alumni members in 2,236 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

Our local sponsors supporting FFA Week include Williams Tractor, Anstaff Bank, Tyson Foods, Edna's Cafe, Kings River Realty, Bailey Ready Mix and Green Forest Public Schools.

Child Killer Getting Re-sentencing Hearing

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Christopher Segerstrom, who killed a 4-year-old girl more than 30 years ago, will get a re-sentencing hearing at which he can present evidence and testimony in his favor, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Segerstrom was 15 on July 26, 1986, when he took Barbara Thompson into some woods behind the Lewis Plaza Apartments several blocks west of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He sexually assaulted her, then bashed her head with a 40-pound rock and suffocated her. He had promised to help her catch butterflies.

Segerstrom, 45, was convicted in 1987 of capital murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

The U.S. and Arkansas supreme courts have ruled in recent years that minors cannot be sentenced to life without parole. Arkansas changed its law to allow life with the possibility of parole after 30 years to comply with the rulings. Anyone who was sentenced as a teenager to life without parole had to be re-sentenced.

CWD Now Reported in 24 States

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Chronic wasting disease has been detected in wild deer, elk or moose in 24 states, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning hunters to avoid handling or eating potentially infected meat.

The disease affects the central nervous system and animals can show signs of drastic weight loss, lack of coordination and listlessness. It can make them more aggressive and less afraid of human contact, the center says.

It's in the same family of disease as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which the CDC describes as "a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurodegenerative disorder."

The center says scientists believe the contagious disease is passed between animals through bodily fluids.

Currently, there is no evidence the disease can spread to humans, but the CDC warned hunters to be cautious around potentially infected animals.

It advised people not to handle or eat meat from deer and elk that seem sick or have been found dead. It says latex or rubber gloves should be worn when handling the meat and contact kept to a minimum -- especially when handling organs such as the brain or spinal cord.

In deer and other cervids, the disease has an incubation period of over a year, with some animals not showing symptoms for years after being infected, the CDC says. But the disease is always fatal.

The disease was first found in captive deer in Colorado in the 1960s and in wild deer in 1981.

Cases of the disease have also been reported in Canada, Norway and Finland

Slight Decrease in Boating Accidents

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According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s recently published annual summary of boating accidents in Arkansas, people who spent time on the water last year saw a 9 percent decrease in boating accidents and a 36 percent decrease in the number of boaters who died from boating accidents.

A total of 60 reported boating accidents occurred in 2018, resulting in an estimated $456,220 in property damage, 29 injuries requiring medical attention and seven fatalities. Seven of those six victims drowned.

“Every year we see the same thing, if adult boaters would wear a properly fitting and functional life vest, we would avoid nearly all of the fatalities we see on the water,” said Capt. Stephanie Weatherington, AGFC boating law administrator. “Three of the six individuals who drowned were not wearing a life vest, and the other three were either worn improperly or the life vest was found to be in poor condition with flotation missing or damaged.”

Weatherington says many people carry life vests on board their boat just to be legal, but fail to maintain them or make sure they fit properly, rendering them ineffective.

According to the report, out of the 204 people involved in last year’s boating accidents, only 32 percent were wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident. 

Millions of Car Loan Payments Past Due

A record number of Americans are falling behind on car loan payments, as more than 7,000,000 car loans were past due by at least 90 days, according to data released by the New York Federal Reserve.

According to Forbes, there were 74,000,000 car loan accounts across the united states back in 2003.

Ten years later in 2013, that number increased to over 81,000,000.

And recently, the number is now over 100,000,000.

"5G" Next Innovation in Wireless Internet

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A much-hyped network upgrade called "5G" means different things to different people.

To industry proponents, it's the next huge innovation in wireless internet. To the U.S. government, it's the backbone technology of a future that America will wrestle with China to control. To many average people, it's simply a mystery.

The technology is one of the issues expected to take center stage at the MWC mobile conference in Barcelona, Spain, this month. The interest goes well beyond engineers: In Washington, there are fears that China could take the lead in developing the technology and sell equipment that could be used to spy on Americans.

What, exactly, is 5G wireless — and will you even notice when it comes online?

5G is a new technical standard for wireless networks — the fifth, naturally — that promises faster speeds; less lag, or "latency," when connecting to the network; and the ability to connect many devices to the internet without bogging it down. 5G networks will ideally be better able to handle more users, lots of sensors and heavy traffic.

Before we can all use it, wireless companies and phone makers have to upgrade. Phones need new chips and radio antennas. The phone you have today won't work with a 5G network.

Wireless companies have been getting ready. They've been revamping their network equipment, buying up chunks of radio spectrum for carrying 5G signals, and installing new 5G antennas on cellphone towers, utility poles and streetlights. Wireless providers will invest $275 billion in 5G-related networks in the U.S., according to CTIA, an industry trade group.

A true U.S. mobile rollout will start in 2019. It will take a few years to go national, and even then more rural areas of the country will not be covered in the "millimeter wave" frequencies that promise the highest data speeds and capacities, said Michael Thelander, CEO of wireless consultancy Signals Research Group.

Thelander predicts that China may lag the U.S. by a year in its initial rollout, but will ultimately have the biggest deployment, while European countries will build out more slowly.

Once the network is ready, you'll need a 5G-enabled phone to connect to it. The first ones should be available in the first half of 2019, but a 5G iPhone isn't expected until 2020. 5G phones will most likely be more expensive than current 4G phones. Don't worry, even when 5G turns on, you can keep using 4G phones, just not at 5G speeds.

The most immediate impact on consumers will be faster download speeds for movies and other video. Thelander says your phone's internet will work better in crowded locations such as stadiums.

68 Year Old Laysan Albatross Lays Egg

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The oldest known wild bird in the world has become a mother again at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. wildlife officials said.

The Laysan albatross named Wisdom hatched a chick earlier this month at the remote atoll northwest of Hawaii, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

Wisdom is at least 68 years old and has raised at least 31 chicks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said. Wisdom was first banded as an adult in 1956.

Wisdom and her mate, Akeakamai, have been returning to the atoll to lay and hatch eggs since 2006. Laysan albatrosses mate for life and lay one egg per year.

Albatross parents take turn incubating an egg for about seven months. Chicks fly out to sea about five to six months after hatching. They spend most of their lives flying over the ocean — feeding on squid and fish eggs.

Midway Atoll is home to about 3 million seabirds, including about 1 million albatrosses.

They return to the places of their birth to nest and raise their young, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Winter Weather Advisory Until 6PM

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Light freezing rain will move from West to East today across far northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri. This will result in some light icing especially on bridges or other elevated surfaces. 

BVHS CTE Student of the Month - Yareli Rangel

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CTE, Career and technical education is a term applied to schools, institutions, and educational programs that specialize in the skilled trades, applied sciences, modern technologies, and career preparation.

About 8.3 million high school students—nearly half the U.S. high school population—were enrolled in one or more CTE courses, according to the most recent data collected for the just-reauthorized Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the main federal law that provides funding for CTE programs. 

Meet Yareli Rangel.......... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/cte-student-feb-yareli-rangel

Thanks to Richard and Mary Lou Harp for sponsoring the Student of the Month.

GF Cowboy Church- Doug Blevins

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This programming note to pass along. Our Gospel programming on Sunday now includes a new show called The Cowboy Way, with Pastor Doug Blevins, at 10am Sunday.

The Cowboy Way is replacing Pastor Billie Williams' Cowboy Corner heard for several years on KTHS. Billie Williams is still going to be active in the GF Cowboy Church, but the new pastor is Doug Blevins........... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/gf-cowboy-church-doug-blevins

Senate Bill Introduced to Make Prescriptions for Opioids e-prescriptions

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Prescriptions for controlled substances such as opioids and narcotics would be moved to a paperless, e-prescription system by 2021 under a bill moving through the Arkansas Legislature.

Senate Bill 174, by state Rep. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, was recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a voice vote Tuesday, its first step toward becoming law. Its next stop is the Senate.

Hammer described his bill as a response to the nation's ongoing opioid epidemic, which data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown to be particularly pronounced in Arkansas.

Between 3 percent and 9 percent of opioid prescriptions in Arkansas are forgeries, according to Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane.

Electronic prescriptions are harder to tamper with, and the technology to receive scripts through the internet is already available to 98 percent of pharmacists in the state, Lane added.

Concerns, however, were raised by several committee members about the effectiveness of an electronic system in rural areas and in the event of a natural disaster. Their concerns hinged on another set of statistics provided by Lane: That while almost all pharmacists can receive electronic prescriptions, only 66 percent of health care providers are set up to use the system.

14 other states have already moved to an e-prescription network without major problems.

Second Sebastian County Doctor Has Lost Medical License

The second of two Sebastian County doctors linked by federal drug investigators to the over-prescription of pain pills to four people who died from overdoses has had his medical license suspended by the Arkansas State Medical Board.

In an emergency order of suspension signed Monday, the board claimed Don Hinderliter violated the Medical Practices Act. It also set an April 4 hearing to determine if Hinderliter violated the act and, if so, what punishment he should receive, such as a suspension or revocation of his license.

An attempt to contact Hinderliter on Wednesday at Hinderliter Pain Clinic in Barling was unsuccessful. The phone line had been disconnected.

The medical license of Cecil Gaby of Fort Smith was suspended in November after allegations that he violated the Medical Practices Act by over-prescribing pain pills. He was scheduled to have his disciplinary hearing before the medical board last week but the hearing was not held and had not been rescheduled as of Wednesday, according to a medical board spokesman.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said in a search warrant affidavit that the two doctors prescribed more than 2 million pills over two years to patients who didn't need the pills or for which they had no paperwork justifying the prescriptions.

HUD Grant to Help Public Housing Residents

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Arkansas received a grant Thursday from U.S. Housing and Urban Development to help families reach self-sufficiency. 

HUD awarded the Natural State over $600,000 to go to 14 public housing authorities across the state.

The funds are intended to continue helping public housing residents participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program and reside in public housing, to increase their earning income and reduce their dependency on public assistance and rental subsidies.

Barry County Teacher Charged With Statutory Rape

A drama teacher in Barry County has been charged with statutory rape after allegedly having sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old student in the high school's "little theater" room.

Chelsie Leroy, 23, of Washburn, was recently charged with four felonies, including two counts of second-degree statutory rape and two counts of sexual contact with a student by a teacher.

She was hired by the Southwest R-V school district in Washburn, just south of Cassville, in August 2018 and was only employed for 95 days. The 875-student district is located in Barry County.

Leroy attended the Southwest district from kindergarten through grade 12 and was hand-picked to take over the theater program.

AA detective with the Barry County Sheriff's Office, interviewed the student from Southwest High School. The teen allegedly told the investigator he had sex with Leroy on two different days.

Mason Lowe Memorial in St. Louis

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The Professional Bullriders Associated will be renaming an event in St. Louis this weekend after the death of one of its riders.

Mason Lowe passed away last month after sustaining injuries from a bull riding competition in Denver. 

The event will be called "Mason Lowe Memorial".

There will also be a special bald eagle release in Lowes' honor.

Lowe was from Exeter, Missouri.

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U.S. retail sales fell in December, posting the biggest drop since September 2009 and delivering more evidence that last year's holiday sales fizzled unexpectedly. Even e-commerce suffered a big setback.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that December retail sales fell 1.2 percent from November. They were up 2.3 percent from December 2017. Total retail sales for 2018 rose 5 percent from the previous year.

Excluding gasoline station sales, which swing widely as pump prices rise and fall, retail sales dropped 0.9 percent in December. Non-store retailers, which include mail-order and e-commerce vendors, saw sales tumble 3.9 percent. That's the most since November 2008 in the midst of the Great Recession.

The discouraging December report raises concern about whether the retail sales slowdown was just a blip or points to a more sustainable weakness in consumer spending. But many analysts, as well as an industry group, questioned the reliability of the data. The National Retail Federation said the government shutdown and the resulting delay in collecting the data made the results less accurate.

The stock market recorded big drops in December. And a partial shutdown of the federal government began Dec. 22 at the end of the holiday shopping season.

A spokesman for the Commerce Department, however, defended the reliability of the data, referring to a statement in the report that "processing and data quality were monitored throughout and response rates were at or above normal levels for this release."

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Green Forest City Council Highlights

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The Green Forest City Council met Tuesday for their February meeting. Mayor Jerry Carlton has some highlights for us which include good news of Hwy. 62 street repair by the Highway Department.......... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/gf-mayor-jerry-carlton

The next meeting of the City Council will be Tuesday, March 12 at 8:30am.

School Board Candidates May Sign up Now for School Election Ballot

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Filing period for candidates desiring to be placed on the May 21, School Election ballot is from 12:00 noon, February 13, through 12 Noon, February 20th. 

Candidates must file a petition of candidacy, affidavit of eligibility and political practices pledge with the Carroll County Clerk.

At of the end of the day Wednesday, two people had filed for Eureka Springs school board seats. They were Joe Hill - Position 5 and Candace Spaulding - Position 6.

Huntsville School Board Votes to Seek a 3.9 Mill Increase for Schools

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The Madison County Record reporting the Huntsville School Board voted Monday to seek a 3.9 mill increase this spring to fund multiple projects within the district, including the construction of a new activity center and a Career-to-Education (CTE) facility.

The proposal, if passed, would increase the district’s millage rage from 32.1 mills to 36 mills. The proposal will be included on the district’s school board election this May.

The increase is expected to generate about $13 million that the district will use for "constructing and equipping an activity center; constructing and equipping CTE classrooms; installation of air conditioning in [the main Huntsville and St. Paul gyms]; and any remaining funds will be used for constructing, refurbishing, remodeling and equipping school facilities."

Of the 236 school districts listed on the Arkansas Department of Education’s 2017 millage report – which was released last fall – only 11 districts currently have a lower millage rate than Huntsville. 

Police Officer Caught on Film Allegedly Stealing Evidence

A Marion, Arkansas police officer has surrendered to authorities after a months long investigation by state and local police.

Lieutenant Freddy Williams is charged with evidence tampering, possession of a controlled substance and violating the rules of conduct by a county officer or employee -- two felonies and a misdemeanor.

According to court documents, narcotics officers within the Marion Police Department set up hidden cameras after they suspected someone of tampering or stealing evidence. 

The cameras caught Williams entering the evidence room 13 times between October and December, and on some occasions they said he could be seen stealing evidence and hiding it in his pants.

An affidavit says Williams later confessed to stealing marijuana and smoking it. 

Warrantless Search Bill Headed to Governor's Desk

Arkansas lawmakers are working to pin down what police in the state can search without a warrant. 

A bill that makes it more clear is now on its way to the governor's desk. 

Law enforcement officers are currently allowed to search areas where offenders on parole or probation live, even if the house isn't theirs.

Some people say the law left room for interpretation when it came to what else could be included in that search.

House Bill 1239 clarifies that law enforcement officers are also allowed to search detached buildings such as garages, sheds and old vehicles on the property.

Sen. Ballinger's Bill 156 Protects Free Speech on College Campuses

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A Senate panel has endorsed legislation aimed at protecting speech on college campuses.

The Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 156 by Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville, called the "Forming Open and Robust University Minds Act."

The bill would enshrine into law free speech protections for students, administrators, faculty and staff members, and the guests of those people at state-supported institutions of higher education. The bill comes after several high-profile incidents of speakers being disinvited from appearances on college campuses across the U.S. because of objections from campus groups that disagreed with the speakers' messages.

In Arkansas, the protections in SB156 usually play out in practice, Ballinger said, but he added that some recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have narrowed what free speech on college campuses looks like.

The bill sailed through the committee Wednesday without audible dissent, and no one spoke against the bill. Ballinger said officials from the state's universities were involved in drafting the bill, and none opposed it.

The bill would force changes in policies at two Arkansas universities. Both Arkansas State University and the University of Central Arkansas have designated free-speech zones, which are regularly available for public expression. The schools' policies require approval for demonstrations of public expression on other areas of campus. SB156 would bar creation of free-speech zones.

Arkansas Lawmakers Introduce Resolution to Recognize the Marshallese

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U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton along with Congressman Steve Womack introduced a resolution recognizing the strategic importance of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Marshallese who live in the United States—of whom the largest concentration in the continental U.S. reside in Springdale, Arkansas.

“This resolution acknowledges the unique partnership our country has with the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the need for this support to continue. In Arkansas, the Marshallese have integrated and assimilated into our communities while also preserving and sharing their unique customs and traditions. To better meet their needs it is necessary to better understand and account for this population calling the U.S. home, making the 2020 census crucial to this goal,” Boozman said. 

Since the 1980s, thousands of Marshallese have legally migrated to the United States. The 2010 census estimated 4,324 out of the 22,400 Marshallese individuals living in the U.S. resided in Arkansas. However, that population is actually estimated to be between 8,000 to 14,000. In addition to its embassy in Washington, D.C., the Republic of the Marshall Islands also has a consulate in Springdale. 

The resolution has the support of the entire Arkansas Congressional delegation. The largest populations of Marshallese residing in the U.S. today live in Arkansas and Hawaii.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Affordable Housing Coming to Carroll County

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Carroll County may soon be getting some desperately needed affordable housing. Former Green Forest Mayor Charlie Reece has been working for several years on finding someone willing to come in and build houses and/or apartments. Reece has finally found some traction in getting that someone. Reece came by KTHS to fill us in on the Villages of Carroll County......

Phase One is to be built near the new Harp's Grocery Store.

Amy Villines Body Positively Identified

The Boone County Sheriff Tuesday, confirmed the body found on Saturday, February 9, is Amy Villines.

The Boone County Coroner's office took possession of the body which was later transported to the Arkansas Crime Lab where it was later identified as Amy Villines.

Amy's body was found 17 miles south of Lake Harrison.

John Villines, Amy's husband, was found 20 miles from Lake Harrison early last week.

John and Amy Villines went missing after their car was swept away by flood waters in late November.

Hearing Held on $18 Assessment Fee

A hearing was held in Carroll County Circuit Court recently on motions to dismiss the first of the suits filed regarding an $18 assessment fee. 

The lawsuit is one of six filed in the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District, which consists of Baxter, Boone, Carroll, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties.

The lawsuit filed regards the $18 fee being collected on property taxes to pay off debts on the defunct NABORS landfill.

The plaintiffs are individual residents of each county. Fayetteville lawyers Matt Bishop and Wendy Howerton filed all six suits. Paul Summers of Carroll County is the plaintiff.

Each of the suits alleges the court-ordered $18 fee collected on business and residential property taxes is actually a tax and an illegal exaction. They ask the court to block collection of the fee, which is being used to pay back investors who bought bonds used to purchase the NABORS landfill. 

Lawyers asked Circuit Judge Scott Jackson to dismiss the first of the lawsuits, but he denied and instead set another court date in June.

Trial Date Set for Madison County Man

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A trial date has been set for the man suspected of killing his neighbor in Madison County.

Dale Wayne Bryant, 56, is charged with first-degree murder. 

Bryant is accused of killing his neighbor, 30-year-old Samuel Scott Hicks, during a fight between the two this past August.

The trial is set for July 30 in Washington County Circuit Court.

Bryant was released on a $250,000 bond.

Indictments for Dozens of Arkansas Aryan Members

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A federal grand jury has indicted members of what authorities say is white supremacist gang responsible for multiple acts of violence and drug trafficking in Arkansas.

U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland says indictments were unsealed Tuesday against 54 members of a gang called the New Aryan Empire.

The indictments were returned under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which targets criminal organizations. Hiland says indictments against the organization's leaders and members had inflicted "significant damage" to the group that he says has trafficked "copious amounts of methamphetamine" in the state.

Indictments were returned in October 2017 accusing several members of the same gang of drug and gun crimes. The latest charges allege they operated a criminal enterprise by engaging in acts of violence including attempted murder and kidnapping.

Marion County Man Dies from Tractor Incident

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A Pyatt, Arkansas man died after being ejected from his tractor Sunday, Feb. 10, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said in a press release.

Bobby W. Richardson, 64, of Pyatt, was found dead about twenty feet from his overturned tractor. 

The tractor was found on an embankment near County Road 3012, on Richardson's property. 

Some Arkansas Schools to Get Longer Recesses

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Recess time will be tripled next year for some Arkansas public elementary schools. This pilot program is part of a 2017 Arkansas law to give students at least an hour of unstructured physical activity during school. The pilot program will include surveys to tell the Department of Education how it affects students behavior and learning.

During the 2018-2019 school year, 32 schools across Arkansas will have longer recesses as part of the Extended Recess Pilot.

For kindergarten through fourth grade, students will get at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity. For fifth and sixth grade it will be extended to at least 45 minutes.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends children receive at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day to result in better grades, memory, and behaviors. Only 21.6 percent of kids receive this recommended amount.

The pilot program allows participating schools to arrange the schedules around this new recess time, whether that means time cut from classes or longer school days.

An informational webinar will be held next week. Schools must apply by mid-March and those selected will be notified on April 6.

Arkansas Flu Death Toll Continues to Climb

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The death toll rose by two in Arkansas this past week due to the flu.

According to the weekly flu report from the Arkansas Department of Health, the number of people dead in the state from the flu is now at 25. That includes one pediatric death.

Since Sept. 30, 2018, ADH’s online database has reported over 11,400 positive flu tests.

Last week, 69 of Arkansas’ 75 counties reported flu. 

As of Feb. 9, 2019, the ADH was aware that ten schools in the state closed briefly due to the flu.

College of the Ozarks Wants Own Police Department

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In an effort to establish its own police department, the College of the Ozarks is trying to change Missouri law.

The top safety official on the college's campus in Point Lookout said private colleges and universities just want the same option available to their public counterparts. 

Kurt McDonald, director of properties and operation head of crisis management, said the private college wants to "have that next, and another, layer of safety and protection for our guests, students, faculty, staff."

The change is motivated, in large part, by the prevalence of active shooters on school and college campuses.

The college worked closely with state Rep. Jeff Justus, a Republican from Branson, to craft the language of the proposed "Private College Campus Protection Act."

Justus sponsored House Bill 105, which is making its way through the Missouri General Assembly along with the identical Senate Bill 129, sponsored by state Sen. David Sater, a Republican who represents parts of Barry, Lawrence, McDonald, Stone and Taney counties.

The proposed legislation, which was also introduced late in the 2018 session, is showing early signs of traction.