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Linda Boyer

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Berryville Elementary School

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Berryville City Council Report

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The Berryville City Council met Tuesday for their final meeting of the month. 

Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos issued his December, 2018 activity report and the 2018 totals. Police wrote 106 tickets in December and 57 offenses reported. The more serious offenses were 3 aggravated assault/battery, 4 breaking or entering, theft/shoplifting 9, 2 auto thefts, 1 arson, 2 fraud and 3 criminal mischief and narcotic drug laws. Police cleared 75% of the reported offenses. Police worked 17 traffic accidents, most caused by failure to yield, improper backing and following too close.

Council passed on it's second reading, by total only, Ordinance 1045, rezoning a parcel of real property at 803 High Street to R-2 Two-Family Residential Zone. 

The monthly financial report showed for the month of December, the 1% sales tax collected $129,704 and the 1/2% Sales Tax collected $64,852.

Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney's State of the City Address will be on Thursday's news.If customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Clearly list and describe the services you offer. Also, be sure to showcase a premium service.

ADH Reports Three More Flu Deaths

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Three more flu deaths have been reported this season in Arkansas, bringing the total flu deaths to fourteen, according to the CDC. 

The latest Arkansas Health Department report states that two victims were 65+ and one victim was in the 45-64 age range.

The CDC has reported a total of 16 pediatric deaths nationwide this season including one from Arkansas. 

Since September 30, 2018, over 3,100 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers. In Week 2, 56 counties reported influenza cases. The majority of reports came from Benton, Washington, Pulaski, Craighead, Baxter, Crawford, Faulkner, Garland, Saline, Sebastian, Boone, Logan, Lonoke, and White.

Among flu antigen tests that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 75 percent were influenza A, and 25 percent were influenza B.

Tyson's Announce Changes to Enterprise Leadership Team

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Tyson Foods, Inc. has announced changes to the enterprise leadership team that reports directly to President and CEO Noel White, the company announced in a press release.

The changes will be effective Jan. 28 and include:

Donnie King is returning as group president, International and will be responsible for the overall international growth strategy, global business models, and overseas operations, the release said. King previously worked as Tyson Foods' president of North American operations until 2017.

Chad Martin is being promoted to group president, poultry, according to the release. Martin joined IBP, inc., which later became Tyson Fresh Meats, in 1996 and most recently served as senior vice president and general manager, Beef Enterprise for Tyson Fresh Meats.

Doug Ramsey will take the newly created role of president, Global McDonald's Business, leading the relationship with the Tyson Foods customer, the release said. Ramsey has served as group president, poultry since 2017.

Tyson also announced that Frank Ravndal, former president and CEO of Keystone Foods, will be leaving to pursue other opportunities. He will remain through March to assist with the integration process.

More Arkansans Kicked Off Medicaid Coverage

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Arkansas officials say the number of people who have lost Medicaid coverage for not complying with a work requirement has risen to more than 18,000.

The Department of Human Services on Tuesday said more than 1,200 people were kicked off the state's Medicaid expansion for not complying with the requirement for three months. The rule requires beneficiaries to work 80 hours a month. Beneficiaries lose coverage if they don't meet the requirement for three months in a calendar year. The months reset at the end of the year.

Those kicked off the program last year can reapply starting this month.

Arkansas was the first state to enforce the requirement after the Trump administration allowed states to tie Medicaid coverage to work.

The requirement is being challenged in federal court.

State Education Department Offering Educators Course on Sudden Cardiac Arrest

The Arkansas Department of Education, in partnership with ArkansasIDEAS and the Arkansas Activities Association, is offering educators a new professional development course that focuses on sudden cardiac arrest.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arkansas had the fourth highest heart disease mortality rate in 2017, with 10,577 deaths. While the CDC-reported number of deaths due to cardiac arrest in Arkansas were much lower (104 in 2017) than those for heart disease, prevention and training play a critical role in saving lives.

To provide better training in the recognition and management of sudden cardiac arrest in student athletes, Arkansas law outlines training guidelines for school districts and coaches. Sudden Cardiac Arrest: When Seconds Count is one of many resources available for coaches to address the health and safety of student athletes. The course is available on ArkansasIDEAS, a joint partnership between ADE and the Arkansas Educational Television Network that provides free, online professional development for educators. 

The free, online course features expert opinions from a cardiologist, student athlete, and athletic trainers who discuss ways to prevent sudden cardiac arrest, as well as how to identify the warning signs and respond if an incident occurs. The course also includes additional videos that provide more information about cardiac arrest.

Educators can access the training by logging into their ArkansasIDEAS account at http://ideas.aetn.org. For login questions, contact the ArkansasIDEAS Help Desk at 1-800-488-6689.

SMU Football Standout Ben Hicks Coming to U of A

The University of Arkansas landed a graduate transfer quarterback it had been seeking Monday when former SMU standout Ben Hicks announced he would play his final year with the Razorbacks.

Hicks, 6-2, 220 pounds, will reunite with Arkansas Coach Chad Morris and coordinator Joe Craddock, who recruited him to SMU in 2015 out of Waco (Texas) Midway.

"The opportunity was too good of an opportunity, and I feel like it wasn't one I could pass up," Hicks said. "Come back and play for Coach Morris and coach Craddock and play in the SEC and try and help the Razorbacks and help the team win games."

Hicks said he planned to report to campus this week to enroll in classes during the first week of the spring semester. He will be eligible to participate in spring drills and compete during the 2019 season.

Hicks is SMU's all-time passing leader with 9,081 yards and 71 touchdown passes.

Morris said Hicks provides depth at the position.

Airbnb Travelers Like Home-Sharing in Arkansas

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More Arkansas travelers are turning to home-sharing site Airbnb for lake getaways, cabin retreats or short stays in Hot Springs.

California-based Airbnb said in a report released today that its hosts in Arkansas were paid a combined $17.4 million last year and welcomed approximately 167,900 guests. Results more than doubled from 2017. Fayetteville profited the most in 2017 from Airbnb, compared with other cities.

Results from 2018 show a slight shift. Most travelers used the home-sharing service to stay in Garland County, home to Hot Springs. A reported 33,500 guests used Airbnb to stay in the county, drawing $3.4 million in host income.

Benton County was a close second, drawing $3.35 million in host income, followed by Washington County ($2.9 million), Pulaski County ($1.7 million) and Carroll County ($1.56 million).

Part of the growth came from more people leasing their properties online. More than 2,300 hosts shared their homes in Arkansas through Airbnb last year, up from approximately 1,600 hosts in 2017. The company said each host earned an average of $5,300 in supplemental income. This is 15 percent more than a reported $4,600 the year before.

Family Owned Purdue Pharma Accused of Deceiving Patients and Doctors About Opioids

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A member of the family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma told people at the prescription opioid painkiller's launch party in the 1990s that it would be "followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition," according to court documents filed Tuesday.

The details were made public in a case brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey that accuses Purdue Pharma, its executives and the Sackler family of deceiving patients and doctors about the risks of opioids and pushing prescribers to keep patients on the drug longer. The documents provide new information about former Purdue Pharma President Richard Sackler's role in overseeing sales of OxyContin.

Purdue Pharma accused the attorney general's office of cherry-picking from millions of emails and documents to create "biased and inaccurate characterizations" of the company and its executives. The company said in a statement said it will "aggressively defend against these misleading allegations."

The Massachusetts case is one of hundreds filed by state and local governments seeking to hold the drug industry responsible for the opioid crisis. More than 1,500 of the cases are consolidated under one federal judge in Cleveland; this Massachusetts case is not among those.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Lady Bobcat Soccer Signings

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Two Berryville Bobcat Seniors signed a letter of intent Monday to play soccer for Williams Baptist University in Jonesboro. Marin Jones and Vickey Villatoro have played soccer since third grade. They were joined by family members, friends and most of their soccer pals in Bobcat Gym for the ceremony. KTHS General Manager Jamie Hussey was there for the signing and talked to the girls and their coach Aaron Hall........... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/soccer-signings-jones-and-villatoro

Super Squares Play Sheets Now Available

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Super Squares, a very popular Annual KTHS feature begins this Thursday, January 17th. General Manager Jamie Hussey went on Tradio this morning to announce the locations where you can get your play sheet........... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/jamie-on-super-squares

Berryville Police Accident Reports

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Berryville Police were called to a two-vehicle accident on January 7th, just after 8am to W. Trimble and 62 Spur.

The accident involved a 2018 Nissan being driven by Julietta Rowlett of Berryville and a 2007 Dodge, being driven by Benjamin Newberry of Berryville.

The Nissan was southbound on 62 Spur and the Dodge eastbound on W. Trimble. The police report indicated the Nissan did not notice the red light and went through the intersection hitting the Dodge.

On Friday, January 11th, a two-vehicle accident happened at Freeman and Hwy. 62. It involved a 2003 Chevy being driven by Aleta Fanning of Green Forest, and a 2006 Honda, driven by Mykal Elkins of Berryville. The Honda was eastbound on Freeman and was preparing to turn left at the intersection when the Chevy, eastbound on 62, turned in front of the Honda causing the collision. Fanning was cited for failure to yield.

Missing Teen Found Safe After One Year

A girl reported missing from Rogers in February 2018 has been found safe in Fayetteville.

Taylor Nickole McGarrah was found Sunday night, according to Keith Foster with the Rogers Police Department. Foster was unable to immediately release additional details.

McGarrah was 17 years old when she was last seen in February 2018. That March her father, Amos McGarrah, offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who could tell him where his daughter was located

Several Bills Filed at Start of Arkansas Legislature

Among the many bills being filed at the start of the session, a push to expand access to medical marijuana. 

Republican Representative Doug House's legislation would add dozens of medical conditions to the list of those that qualify patients to use medicinal cannabis. 

They include asthma, ADD, bipolar disorder, Parkinson's disease, and traumatic brain injury. 

It would also remove one qualifying condition, glaucoma. 

Cash, Bates statues proposed for D.C.

The late musician Johnny Cash and Little Rock Nine mentor Daisy Gatson Bates would be honored with statues in the U.S. Capitol under Senate Bill 75 sponsored by Sen. David Wallace, R-Leachville.

Each state is allowed to place two statues in the U.S. Capitol. Arkansas' existing statues were placed there about 100 years ago and honor the late attorney Uriah M. Rose and the late U.S. Sen. and Gov. James P. Clarke.

SB75 would replace the statues of Rose and Clarke with statues of Cash and Bates.

Senate Republican leader Bart Hester of Cave Springs said he is working on a separate bill to replace Rose and Clarke's statues with statues of two people with Arkansas ties in the U.S. Capitol, but he's not ready to confirm who would be honored.

HB1145 by Cozart to lift teacher pay

The House Education Committee chairman on Monday introduced a bill that would raise the minimum public school teacher salary in Arkansas from $31,400 to $36,000 over the next four years.

The plan to raise minimum teacher pay throughout the salary schedule is a pillar of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's 2019 legislative agenda.

SWAT Team Convince Rogers Man to Surrender

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A suspect has been taken into custody following a standoff with the Benton County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team.

Kenneth Farr, 37, was peacefully apprehended following the incident in the area of Cemetery Rd. and Hwy. 62 in Rogers, according to Sgt. Shannon Jenkins with the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies had been called to the scene after a person who lives in the area reported finding a gun in a neighbor's mailbox, according to Jenkins. The loaded weapon was still there when deputies arrived. When they tried to talk with Farr about the gun, they say he ran inside a trailer and barricaded himself inside.

Law enforcement officials tried to get Farr to leave the trailer but he didn't come out until after the SWAT Team was called to the scene.

Jenkins said the mailbox the gun was found in does not belong to Farr. 

Authorities found that Farr was wanted on a warrant for parole absconding. Other charges related to the standoff are pending against him.

Bentonville Man Arrested for Alleged Rape of Three Year Old

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A Bentonville man was arrested Friday in connection with raping a 3-year-old girl.

Tristan Nathaniel Tiarks, 33, was being held Sunday in the Benton County Jail with a $500,000 bond set. He was arrested in connection with aggravated assault on a family or household member, battery in the second degree and rape.

Bentonville police arrested Tiarks after searching his home, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A nurse at the Mercy Medical Hospital Emergency Center in Bella Vista reported to police Friday morning the girl was brought there with injuries from a suspected sexual assault, according to the affidavit.

The girl was later interviewed at the Children's Advocacy Center of Benton County where she said Tiarks had wrapped a green towel around her neck which made her not able to breathe, according to the affidavit.

The girl's medical examination revealed linear marks around her that indicated she had been strangled, the affidavit states. An examination also found evidence associated with sexual assault/abuse, according to the affidavit.

The girl's mother told police she had left her daughter with Tiarks for about 45 minutes while she went to the store, according to the affidavit.

Arkansas SNAP Recipients Getting Food Stamps Early

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Arkansas residents eligible to receive food stamps will be able to get their February benefits early because of the partial federal government shutdown, officials said.

The state Department of Human Services, through its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program, will begin issuing February's benefits on Thursday in an effort to ensure funding is available, according to a news release from the agency.

Benefits will not be issued again until March, if funds are available from the federal government.

As of Dec. 1, 151,283 households in Arkansas participated in the SNAP program, the release said. The program provides nearly $40 million in assistance to participants across the state each month, officials said.

House Democrats Investigate Pharmaceutical Industry's Pricing Practice

House Democrats announced a sweeping investigation Monday of the pharmaceutical industry's pricing practices, jockeying for the upper hand with the Trump administration on an issue that concerns Americans across the political spectrum.

Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said he's sent letters to 12 major drugmakers seeking detailed information and documents about pricing practices for brand-name drugs to treat diseases including cancer, diabetes, kidney failure and nerve pain.

Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, said he wants to find out why prices have increased so dramatically for some existing medications, as well as how drug companies determine the prices of newly introduced medicines. The committee also is seeking information on what the manufacturers do with revenue and what steps can be taken to reduce prescription drug costs.

The Trump administration has been pursuing its own plan to lower drug prices by approving more generic medications and trying to do away with industry practices that allow manufacturers, insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to profit at the consumer's expense. But independent analysts have said the administration's approach does not stop companies from charging high prices to begin with, particularly for brand-name medications with no generic competitors.

Polls regularly show that high drug prices are a major concern for consumers, and that majorities favor government action regardless of political party identification.

Last week, Cummings and other prominent liberals introduced legislation that would tie U.S. prices to what consumers pay in other economically advanced countries, where governments regulate prices. The Trump administration has been moving in the same general direction, with an experiment that would involve a limited set of medications, those administered in a doctor's office.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Condo Fire at Table Rock Landing

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The Holiday Island and Eureka Springs Fire Departments responded to a fire Sunday morning at the Table Rock Landing Condominiums.

The fire was called in around 6:30 a.m. Two units in a building of four had fire going through the roofs.

Holiday Island Fire Department responded with a ladder truck and more than twelve firefighters and EMTs. Eureka Springs Fire Department responded with an ambulance and a pumper truck for support, as well as eight personnel members.

Holiday Island and Eureka Spring Fire Departments worked together to prevent the fire from spreading before being brought under control at 9:30 a.m.

#1 Berryville Lady Bobcats Taking on Farmington Lady Cardinals Tuesday

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The #1 Lady Bobcats will take on the #2 Lady Cardinals 6pm Tuesday night in Bobcat Arena. If you're a Bobcat fan, you won't want to miss this one! 

The Senior Boys game will follow around 7:30pm. 

If you can't make it to the game, Kevin K, Smith, Voice of the Bobcats, will call the game on KTHS. Download the KTHS App today and you don't even have to be by a radio to hear it.

Winter Storm Blankets Missouri

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Most of Arkansas dodged another bullet with the winter weather this weekend.

The winter storm from Friday afternoon through Sunday left some of the largest snowfall amounts on record in central and eastern Missouri. Columbia received its third highest dumping of snow ever. 

Meteorologist Ben Herzog with the National Weather Service in St. Louis said members of the public observed some higher snowfall totals over the weekend than the official recording at the Columbia Airport. “The highest we had was 20.3 inches, and that was at the University of Missouri (in Columbia),” said Herzog. “There was another 20 inches in Montgomery City, 19 inches in Mexico, 17 in Fulton. Jefferson City had 15 inches.” The University of Missouri flagship campus in Columbia, which was shut down Friday, continues to be closed today because of the storm.

Meteorologist Scott Blair with the National Weather Service in Kansas City said the snowfall total at Kansas City International Airport was only 4.6 inches although there were heavier pockets in the metro area. 

92nd General Assembly Begins Regular Session

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This is the year for legislative action. The elections are past and it is now time for newly elected and re-elected state officials to begin the 2019 term in office, as the 92nd General Assembly.

The Arkansas State Constitution requires the General Assembly to meet in regular session on the second Monday in January of each odd-numbered year. Therefore, the 92nd General Assembly will convene at noon on Monday, January 14. The Arkansas Senate and the House of Representatives will meet in respective chambers at the State Capitol.

On the House side of the Capitol, the Secretary of State will announce the election results for each of the 100 districts. Shortly thereafter, the duly elected members will be sworn in to office by Chief Justice Dan Kemp of the Arkansas State Supreme Court. The House of Representatives will then elect a member to preside as Speaker of the House.

On the second day of the General Assembly, Tuesday, January 15, the Arkansas House and Senate will meet in a joint session at 10:30 a.m. After the 2018 Arkansas general election results are announced the duly elected state constitutional officers will be sworn in to office by the Chief Justice.

AEDC Awards Wildlife Education Grants

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The Arkansas Economic Development Commission Division of Rural Services has awarded grants totaling $531,602.23 to promote wildlife education and improve school conservation programs to 253 schools and conservation districts in 71 Arkansas counties.

The grant program is funded by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) through fines collected from hunting and fishing violations. Only money collected in the county where the violation occurred may be used as grant funds for that county.

All schools in the state are eligible to participate in the program. The funding schools have received in previous years has helped create and maintain archery, fishing and competitive shooting sports programs. Schools also use the money to help improve wildlife education by purchasing educational materials, materials for the creation of indoor and outdoor habitats, lab supplies, and field trips to AGFC nature and education centers.

Conservation districts use the funding to help promote wildlife conservation awareness in the communities by hosting environmental education days and fishing derbies for children of all ages.

Outdoor education plays a vital role in understanding the need to encourage a more viable existence for Arkansas’ youth, according to AGFC Chief of Education Tabbi Kinion.

In Carroll County, Berryville Middle School will receive $6,030, and Eureka Springs High School will receive $700.00.

Medicare Minute for January

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Rebecca Davis with the Area Agency on Aging........... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/medicare-minute-jan-rebecca-davis

Most School Districts Violating State Law Banning School Suspension

There are 76 school districts in the state that are violating a state law banning the use of out of school suspension for children who chronically miss school.

The districts range from Little Rock and the Pulaski County Special School District in central Arkansas to Fayetteville School District in Northwest Arkansas to Marked Tree and Pocahontas in Northeast Arkansas.

The Arkansas legislature approved Act 1329 in 2013 to deal with the issue.

Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key said the idea of out of school suspension works against the educational process.

“You have kids that are truant and your discipline for them is to kick them out of school,” Key said. “There’s laughter because it is absurd when you think about it.”

Critics say the law has no real enforcement power and that the law is voluntary.

University of Arkansas professor Dr. Johanna Thomas said the situation is serious, especially for children at a young age.

There are other factors that can determine truancy, including single parent households, parents working overnight, transportation, mental health and substance abuse issues.

Key said he has spoken with superintendents in recent meetings, stressing the need for the law.

Photo: Highley and NRECA CEO Jim Matheson

Duane Highley, president and CEO of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), recently received the 2019 J.C. Brown Award for CEO Communication Leadership.

After joining Arkansas’ electric cooperatives in 2011 as CEO, Highley directed the renovation of the lobby at the Little Rock headquarters to include banners showing the seven cooperative principles, floor-to-ceiling vinyl wraps and line worker images. The goal of the effort was to ensure that anyone entering the offices would immediately gain an awareness of Arkansas’ electric cooperatives business purpose.

While at AECC and AECI, Highley has deployed an executive strategy system and business success measurement process. The results of these tools are regularly shared with directors, employees and member cooperatives to improve operations and management processes.

The letter nominating Highley mentioned articles, editorial opinions and issue papers he has written along with his “highly engaging and comprehensive” communication style that appeals to audiences, including directors, policymakers and consumer-members. Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.

Many Believe They Have Food Allergies, But Don't Really

New research suggests Americans may be over-diagnosing themselves with food allergies. A study published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open estimates that nearly 19 percent of adults think they have food allergies, but less than 11 percent actually do.

Experts say the discrepancy likely comes from the misuse of terminology.

In reality, an allergic reaction can be life-threatening.

Milder allergies may not show noticeable symptoms for several hours. However, more dangerous allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, a severe and sudden reaction that can occur within minutes of exposure. If not treated quickly, anaphylaxis can lead to death.

For the study, researchers from Northwestern University surveyed more than 40,000 adults from across the United States. Participants were asked if they had food allergies and for a description of their symptoms. They were also asked if they'd ever received a formal test and diagnosis of a food allergy by a doctor.

The study also found that only half of adults with a "convincing" food allergy had a physician-confirmed diagnosis, and less than 25 percent reported a current epinephrine prescription, like an EpiPen, for treatment of a severe allergic reaction.

The researchers say their data indicate that the most prevalent food allergens among U.S. adults are:

  • Shellfish (affecting 7.2 million adults) 
  • Milk (4.7 million) 
  • Peanut (4.5 million) 
  • Tree nut (3 million) 
  • Finfish (2.2 million)

Plants, Flowers and Gardens

2018 was a pretty good growing season, with plenty of flowers and vegetables. Who knows what’s in store for us the next few months? It’s always best to be prepared for anything in Arkansas! 

Our plants should be in pretty good shape if cold weather does occur. With ample moisture in the ground and thus within the systems of our plants, there should be a good buffer from freezing weather. 

Bulb foliage is very cold tolerant, and they should be fine. If you still have bulbs to plant, do so as soon as possible as they need the winter chilling hours to perform their best. 

We are in the middle of the transplant season. If you have hardy trees or shrubs that need to be moved due to size limitations or sunlight needs, now is a great time to move them. 

Make sure to pick a day that is not too cold and that you have the new hole dug and ready for planting before you dig up the old plant. 

As far as gardening is concerned, you can begin planting English peas and snow peas later this month. Now is also a great time to take inventory of what worked for you and what didn’t last season and to plan out your garden for 2019. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa Announces 2018 “Christmas Forest” Winners

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The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is all about tradition. One tradition that started in 2008 as part of the 7th Annual Christmas At The Crescent Celebration was the “growing” of the “Christmas Forest”, an effort to raise money for local and area charities. In the past 10 years this forest has now harvested nearly $50,000 in local area charitable contributions.

“This town, this region, this state have provided such a wonderful environment for our hotel’s success, it is only right that we, the Crescent and Basin Park Hotels, always give something back. It is our way of saying, ‘Thank you.’” said Jack Moyer, general manager of both properties. “It was a win-win proposition. 

Those charities that took top honors this year are Imagination Library in first place with $3,830 in votes, OARS (Ozark AIDS Resources & Services) in second place with $2,344, and Project Self Esteem in third place with $1,022. “Twenty-nine other charities received honorable mention recognition,"

“This was yet another record year for donations,” Moyer concluded. “With all of the votes added to our additional cash prizes, local area charities netted a Christmas present of $$10,270 which pushed our ten-year total to more than $50,000. Ya see, sometimes money really does grow on trees.”

Area Woman Elected to American Law Institute

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A Newton County Native, Professor Lisa R. Pruitt, has been elected to the American Law Institute (ALI).

A Martin Luther King Jr. professor of law at UC Davis, Pruitt holds B.A. (Journalism) and J.D. degrees from the University of Arkansas, as well as a Ph.D. in Laws from the University of London. Pruitt is a native of Jasper, Arkansas, where she graduated from Jasper High School in 1982. She is the daughter of Thelma Pruitt of Jasper and the late Avery Pruitt. Pruitt was a law clerk to the Honorable Morris Sheppard Arnold of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in 1992-93.

The American Law Institute - widely considered the nation's most important non-governmental organization of legal reform - oversees law-reform projects that often form the basis of laws enacted across the country and become standards cited in judges' legal opinions, lawyers' briefs, and scholarly articles. ALI membership is a distinct professional honor, and the number who can be admitted is limited to 3,000.

Before joining the UC Davis School of Law faculty in 1999, Pruitt worked abroad for almost a decade in settings ranging from international organizations to private practice. She worked with lawyers in more than 30 countries, negotiating cultural conflicts in various arenas, from intellectual property rights to rape as a war crime

Ark. Public Employees Retirement System Going Through Changes

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Leaders of Arkansas’ second-largest retirement system are considering how to adjust retiree benefits with the goal of reducing the system’s nearly $2.3 billion in unfunded liabilities, but retirees are concerned they’ll be financially hurt by the changes.

Trustees for the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System decided this week to draft four bills, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The system has about 36,000 retired members and 46,200 working members, according to Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Co., a Michigan-based consulting firm.

One bill would have newly hired members and members with less than five years of service pay 6 percent of their salary to the system, up from 5 percent. Another proposed change would reduce the benefit multiplier from 2 percent to 1.8 percent.

Trustees are also seeking to increase the period used to determine final average compensation from 36 months to 60 months. The final bill seeks to reduce interest paid on member contributions from 4 percent to 2 percent annually.

The adjustments would’ve saved the system around $24 million if they’d gone into effect in June, according to the consulting firm.

Trustees have also instructed the consulting firm to research the potential savings from adjusting how retirees’ annual cost of living adjustments are determined. Retirees currently receive a compounded 3 percent cost of living adjustment annually. The trustees are considering giving themselves the flexibility to set the adjustment so it doesn’t exceed the inflation rate.

Retirees have expressed concerns that the changes could greatly harm retired employees who live on a fixed income. Lex Dobbins, a retired Department of Health employee, asked trustees to maintain the 3 percent cost of living adjustment rate for those who have already retired.

Bills Filed to Reorganize State Agencies

Two lawmakers filed four bills this week that, if passed, would establish the state Department of Agriculture and three other reorganized agencies as Cabinet-level agencies, part of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to reshape Arkansas government.

Hutchinson wants to reduce the number of state agencies reporting to him from 42 to 15. The bills will be considered in the regular legislative session that starts Monday.

In addition to the Agriculture Department, the measures would establish the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism; the Department of Corrections; and the Department of Inspector General as Cabinet-level agencies.

House Bill 1117 by Rep. Andy Davis, R-Little Rock, and Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, is a 54-page bill that would, among other things, merge the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission into the Department of Agriculture. The Natural Resources Commission establishes policy and makes funding and regulatory decisions related to soil conservation, nutrient management, water rights, dam safety, and water resources planning and development, according to its website.

The Farm Bureau's board will consider taking a position on the proposal during the next two weeks, said Stanley Hill, vice president of public affairs and government relations for the group.

Boozman-Cardin Bill Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment Signed into Law

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President Donald Trump signed into law the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act, legislation that seeks to eliminate global gender-related barriers and empower female entrepreneurs around the world.

The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) and enjoyed support and advocacy from anti-poverty and humanitarian groups in addition to being vocally backed by White House advisor Ivanka Trump.

“Providing women access to tools for economic success supports global prosperity. The WEEE Act empowers women to gain control of their financial futures while simultaneously facilitating improvements in their homes and communities. I’m proud to have led the effort in the Senate to help level the economic playing field for women around the world and I appreciate the tremendous support we received from many in the public and non-profit sectors to help this critical legislation become law,” Boozman said.

Specifically, the WEEE Act will:

  • Establish a development cooperation policy of the United States to reduce gender disparities related to economic participation and opportunity, strive to eliminate gender-based violence, support women’s property rights and increase the capability of women and girls to determine life outcomes. 
  • Direct the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to include efforts that promote equality and female empowerment throughout its programs. 
  • Expand USAID’s microenterprise development assistance authority to include small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with an emphasis on supporting SMEs owned, managed and controlled by women; and 
  • Modernize USAID’s development assistance toolkit to include innovative credit scoring models, financial technology, financial literacy, insurance and actions to improve property and inheritance rights.

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Nominations

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If food is something that really calls your attention in all categories, then maybe you should consider marking your calendar to attend the Natural State's Food Hall of Fame 2019.

A total of 650 submissions, from all 75 counties in Arkansas were nominated for this event. 

"This is the first year we've heard from every county across the state," said the Department of Arkansas Heritage Director, Stacy Hurst. 

The department launched the program three years ago to recognize legendary restaurants, owners of the year, and food-themed events across the state. 

The public nominated in these five categories:

  • Arkansas Food Hall of Fame 
  • Proprietor of the Year 
  • Food-Themed Event 
  • Gone But Not Forgotten 
  • People's Choice 

Pulaski takes the lead in number of votes for Arkansas 'Food Hall of Fame,' and other counties nominated for this category include Garland, Prairie, and Washington. 

Five finalists are left for 'Proprietor of the Year,' and again Pulaski takes the lead with four votes. 

In the 'Food-Themed Event' category, finalists include entries titled with anything from watermelon to duck gumbo.

Five counties were nominated for the 'Gone But Not Forgotten' category. 

The 'People's Choice Award' has no finalists, because the winner was chosen based on the number of nominations there were for a particular restaurant. 

The public is invited to the event at 5:30 on February, 25, at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock. Tickets are $20. 

Missouri Native Nominated for Induction Into U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame

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A Missouri native and astronaut has been nominated for induction into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. Dr. Janet Kavandi was born in southwest Missouri’s Springfield and grew up in Cassville and Carthage.

Kavandi was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1994 as a member of the 15th class of U.S. astronauts. She has served on three space flights, logging more than 33 days in space and orbiting the Earth 535 times. During her time in the astronaut office, she supported the International Space Station payload integration, capsule communications and robotics and served as deputy chief.

Kavandi is the director of NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland where she is responsible for planning, organizing and directing the activities required in accomplishing the missions assigned to the center. The Glenn staff consists of more than 3,200 civil service and support contractor employees and has an annual budget of approximately $625 million. Her center is affected by the federal government shutdown.

Kavandi was also a part of NASA’s 2017 total eclipse broadcast in Jefferson City. The Capital City was one of the communities considered as one of the best viewing places during the historic event.

Kavandi is a graduate of Missouri Southern State University in Joplin and Missouri S & T in Rolla.

Costco to Open a Chicken Farming Operation

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Costco warehouse club, home of the $4.99 rotisserie chicken, will open a chicken farming operation in Nebraska this fall -- sending a message it's taking on two chicken-processing companies with big presences in the ArkLaTex that have been major suppliers to the retailer.

The hatchery-to-processing-plant operation will provide Costco with 40 percent of its yearly chicken needs. In doing so, the company is saying it wants to partially escape the chicken monopoly run by companies like Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride.

Costco, the second largest retailer after Walmart, sells the $4.99 rotisserie chickens at a loss, using them as a way to get customers into the stores and buy other items.

Costco said it sells about 60 million rotisserie chickens a year, at a loss in the tens of millions of dollars. Having its own operation will provide "chickens it won't have to buy from Tyson and (processor) Perdue," said the company.

Tyson, headquartered in Northwest Arkansas, has hatcheries and processing plants around the ArkLaTex. Pilgrim's Pride, which was founded in Pittsburg, Texas, in the 1940s, also has a heavy presence in this area.

Costco has not opened any warehouse clubs in the ArkLaTex. The closest are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in Lafayette.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

County Quorum Court Sets Meeting Times and Appoints Committees

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The Carroll County Quorum Court met Monday, January 7 for a special meeting to set meeting times for the next two years. J.P.'s decided to keep meetings on the third Monday of each month at 5pm. However, for January and February, the Court will meet the fourth Monday of those months, because of Federal holidays on the third Mondays. Also Monday, Circuit Clerk Ramona Wilson swore in several J.P.'s that had not been sworn in on January 1st.

Judge Sam Barr appointed the following J,P.'s to committees: Budget Committee - Jack Deaton, Chuck Olson, Matt Phillips, Kellie Matt and Marty Johnson. Facilities and Properties Committee will be Jack Deaton, Chuck Olson and Matt Phillips. Public Water Development Committee will be Harrie Farrow, John Howerton and Roger Hall. Personnel committee is Marty Johnson, Kellie Matt and Larry Swofford. County Library committee will be Craig Hicks, Harrie Farrow and Don McNeely. 

The Quorum Court will meet next on January 28th at 5pm.

Carroll County Community Foundation Accepting Online Grant Applications January 10 – February 15

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Nonprofits working in and for the people of Carroll County can go to arcf.org/givingtree beginning January 10 to apply online for Youth Advisory Council (YAC) Giving Tree Grants through Carroll County Community Foundation, your local affiliate of Arkansas Community Foundation. Applications must be submitted online by February 15. 

“These Spring YAC Grants are specifically for programs that support youth and children and generally range from $100 to $1,000,” said Janell Robertson, Executive Director. “Applications will be reviewed by a grantmaking committee made up of Carroll County Youth Advisory Council students as well as local Foundation board members. The work of reading, scoring, considering the data found on aspirearkansas.org that relates to each issue, and determining who will receive the funds is a wonderful learning process for the students.”

Nonprofits can visit arcf.org/givingtree to view Giving Tree grant submission guidelines and begin the application process. 

Any IRS 501(c)(3) public charity, public school, government agency or hospital in Carroll County is eligible to apply. Other applicants may be considered if the project has a clear charitable purpose for the public benefit. Grants are not made to individuals. 

Funding for the Giving Tree program comes from hundreds of Arkansas donors who support the work of the Community Foundation. For more information about our Giving Tree Society, visit arcf.org/localgiving. 

Contributions to the Community Foundation, its funds and any of its 28 affiliates are fully tax deductible.

Reboot Combat Recovery for Veterans and Families

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If you're a veteran with lingering problems from combat, you're invited to join a 12 week program beginning Thursday, January 17th, from 6:30-8:30pm at Southern Heights Baptist Church. The program focuses on the spiritual aspects of combat recovery and they welcome families of veterans also. 

Vince Eastwood is a Desert Storm Combat veteran with the Arkansas National Guard. He is very involved in veterans issues here locally and has more on this important program........ https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/reboot-combat-recovery-vince-eastwood

Paul Boss is available to answer questions at 870-350-0273 or email to PBoss@me.com. Vince Eastwood can be reached at 870-480-2057.

AMMC Approves Dispensary Scores for Applicants

The Medical Marijuana Commission unanimously approved Wednesday the scores for the state's nearly 200 dispensary applications.

In two weeks, the commission will officially award the licenses to the top four applicants in eight different zones.

This clears the way for the Arkansas Department of Health to issue registry ID cards to patients in mid-February so they can make out-of-state purchases. 

On New Year's Day, a medical marijuana dispensary, opened in Roland, 10 minutes from the Arkansas border. Oklahoma accepts out-of-state patients with a valid ID card.

The more than 6,700 patients approved in Arkansas have only received letters. The health department planned to print the cards one month prior to the product's availability at dispensaries. 

Cultivators have told the commission they should have the product ready starting in April.

These are the top-scoring companies that have applied for medical marijuana dispensary licenses for Zone 1 which is Benton, Washington, Carroll and Madison. Several submitted applications in multiple zones but will have to choose one zone in which to open a dispensary.

Acanza Health Group

Northwest Arkansas Medical Cannabis (corporate name is Valentine Holdings)

Arkansas Medicinal Source Patient Center

The Releaf Center

Eureka Green - (Only four licenses will be granted and Eureka Green had the fifth highest score. It is possible one of the other dispensary applicants could pull out in Zone 1 if they applied in multiple counties, and some did. If that is the case, Eureka Green in Eureka Springs could be one of the four finalists in this Zone)

Murder Suspect Enters Not Guilty Plea

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An 18-year-old Springdale man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of first-degree murder and engaging in a continuing criminal gang, organization or enterprise in connection with a fatal shooting last month.

Police found Javier Nicolas-Rodriguez, 19, of Bethel Heights about 3 a.m. Dec. 6 in a car crashed in the driveway at 1659 Pioneer St., in the northeast part of Springdale. He died of an apparent gunshot wound, according to a police report.

Anjel Antonio Torres is the suspected shooter. Torres fled to California, but he was arrested Dec. 9 in Barstow. Torres was returned to Arkansas on Dec. 26.

Torres is also charged with committing a terroristic act and three counts of aggravated assault related to shooting at a car with multiple occupants, according to court documents.

Torres faces 10 to 40 years or life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

Another man, Jose Mendoza, also 18, is charged with helping Torres elude police. Mendoza was arrested, along with Torres, in California after police traced his cellphone.

Mendoza, of Springdale, has an arraignment set for Jan. 18 in Washington County Circuit Court on one count of hindering apprehension or prosecution.

Child Involved in DWI Accident Dies

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A Siloam Springs boy involved in a suspected drunk driving accident on Jan. 3 that ended with the vehicle submerged upside down in the fountain near the city’s welcome sign has died, according to Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith.

Tyner Levi Hammett, 11, died Tuesday at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Okla., Smith said. His stepfather, Michael Guest, 38, was arrested in connection with driving while intoxicated and endangering the welfare of a minor after the accident, according to a press release from the Siloam Springs Police Department.

Guest has been released from the Benton County Jail on bond as of Wednesday and will have a court date on Feb. 11. 

Smith said that it is “highly” likely that Guest’s charges will now be upgraded to DWI, negligent homicide, which is a felony that carries from five to 20 years in prison.

School Resource Officer Leaves Gun in School Restroom

A school resource officer in Dardanelle is no longer on on-campus duty after leaving a gun in the restroom of an elementary school.

The Dardanelle School District superintendent told KARK in Little Rock that it happened at the district’s primary school.

The school was notified by a student’s grandparent, who went to use the restroom and found the gun.

The incident happened weeks ago, but officials released information on the incident for the first time on Wednesday.

ASU Football Coach Gets Help After Bowl Loss

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Arkansas State University football coach Blake Anderson said Wednesday he will no longer be in charge of the Red Wolves’ play-calling duties nor will he be the team’s quarterbacks coach or primary offensive coordinator.

Anderson said the plan for Arkansas State to bring in his play-calling successor went in motion before ASU’s 16-13 loss to Nevada in the Arizona Bowl.

Shortly after the bowl, the Red Wolves fired offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner, offensive line coach Allen Rudolph and outside wide receivers coach Chris Buckner.

Arkansas State announced three new hires to its offensive coaching staff on Wednesday, including Keith Heckendorf as the school’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Sean Coughlin as the new offensive line coach and running game coordinator and Malcolm Kelly as ASU’s new outside wide receivers coach.

The movement to find a true offensive coordinator for the first time under Anderson was an idea partially brought forth by Anderson, who said he seeks to reduce his amount of spinning plates as his wife, Wendy, continues an ongoing fight against triple-negative breast cancer.