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Linda Boyer

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Carroll County Sheriff's Office 2nd Quarter Report

The total number of calls for service were 2,841 for Carroll County, and total for all departments (which include the local police departments) was 7,596.

Arrests included 6 for possession of controlled substance, DWI's 8, domestic battery 17 and numerous others. Complaints include 33 battery/domestic battery, breaking and enering 4, 15 drug violations, 7-rape/sexual assault, 34 thefts, DWI/public intox 7.  Warrants served included failure to pay 135, failure to appear 308, VAHCL felony 30, and misdemeanor VAHCL 180.

Prisoners processed for the quarter were 75 male and 10 female. Criminal investigations totaled 51 with 15 closed cases.

Sheriff Mayfield had to answer J.P.'s Monday about who ordered $50,000 worth of 911 mapping software and laptops that J.P.'s are just now finding out about. The bill goes back to 2016 and so far, nobody has owned up to placing the order. As it turns out, it's not being used and nobody likes it. Regardless, say J.P.'s, they have to pay the bill but want answers first. J.P. Marty Johnson asked J.P. Lamont Richie by whose authority was it ordered............. https://soundcloud.com/katie-912090963/ccqc-part-2-7-16-18

Equity Bank Issues 1st Quarter Report

Equity Bancshares, Inc. the Wichita-based holding company of Equity Bank, reported its unaudited results for the quarter ended March 31, 2018, including net income allocable to common stockholders for the quarter of $8.7 million, or $0.58 per diluted share.

Brad Elliott, chairman and CEO of Equity, said, “We continue to focus on serving as a trusted community bank in our 40-plus bank offices in four states, while adding new communities to our footprint and new talented bankers to our team. In the first quarter, our commercial, mortgage, treasury and retail sales teams worked diligently and effectively to spur organic growth in our markets, including our newest locations in Ponca City, Newkirk and Tulsa. We’ve also added key positions throughout our operations, sales and management teams and we’ll continue to focus on organic growth for our customers and communities.”

Boozman, Warner Encourage Certain Combat-Injured Veterans to File With IRS to Recover Money

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is advising veterans who have been separated from service for combat-related injuries and received a severance payment that was improperly taxed to take advantage of the relief offered to them by the Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act (P.L. 114-292), a law based off a bill authored by U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mark Warner (D-VA).

Under federal law, veterans who suffer combat-related injuries and who are separated from the military are not supposed to be taxed on the one-time lump sum disability severance payment they receive from the Department of Defense (DoD). However, for years DoD improperly withheld taxes on these payments from thousands of qualifying veterans, who were typically unaware that their benefits were being improperly reduced.

The Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act rights that wrong, but affected veterans only have a short window in which to seek restoration. The IRS is advising qualifying veterans to file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to claim a credit or refund of the overpayment attributable to the disability severance payment.

The IRS has posted an announcement with the steps to be taken to recover improperly taxed income and links to Form 1040X.

Rogers Man Gets 5 Years for Dog Business Scam

A Rogers man who defrauded 13 investors out of more than $1.4 million in a dog business scam has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.

Darrell Rosen was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to money laundering and filing a false income tax return. He is also ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution and more than $439,000 to the IRS. 

Court documents show Rosen from 2010 to 2014 tricked people in Arkansas and Texas to invest in an unidentified "dog business" for training and selling dogs to government agencies and private companies. Documents show Rosen used false contracts claiming such buyers were interested and promising generous returns on investment. He used the money for personal expenses. 

Rosen is to self-report to prison Aug. 20.

SWMo Man Arrested for Past Child Abuse

Police have arrested a Noel, Mo., man accused of abusing an Arkansas woman for six years when she was a child.

Leo James Stroud, Jr., 53, was arrested (July 12) in connection with second-degree sexual assault.

The woman told the Benton County Sheriff’s Office that Stroud abused her daily in the late 1990s and early 2000s, saying the abuse began when she was 8 and lasted until she turned 14, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The woman said Stroud forced her to touch him and told her it was a “game” they were playing, according to the affidavit.

Investigators said Stroud blamed the woman for starting the inappropriate touching.

Stroud was being held Monday (July 16) at the Benton County Jail on a $75,000 bond. He has a hearing set for Aug. 20 in Benton County Circuit Court.

Three Pharmaceutical Distributors Shipped Billions of Opioids to Missouri

The three major pharmaceutical distributors in the U.S. - McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Corporation and Cardinal Health, Inc. - have shipped around 1.6 billion dosage units of opioid products to Missouri alone between 2012 and 2017, according to a recent report.

That's more than 260 dosage units for every Missourian during the six-year period.

During 2015 - the peak year for opioid shipments to Missouri during that time span - the three major distributors shipped approximately 52 opioid dosage units per person in the state.

The report, titled "Fueling an Epidemic," was released Thursday by the U.S.Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Sen. Claire McCaskill from Missouri serves as the top Democrat on that committee.

“It’s staggering. Over six years we averaged 260 pills for every man, woman, and child in Missouri," McCaskill said in an email. "The opioid crisis these pills have fueled is a failure of policy and oversight by the government and a failure of basic human morality on the part of many pharmaceutical companies and distributors - a failure that has destroyed families and communities all over our state.

Liver Cancer on the Rise

As mortality rates for cancers fell across the board, rates for those suffering from liver cancer actually raised drastically, according to a report on Tuesday. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the death rate from liver cancer for adults in the U.S. have increased by 43 percent between 2000 and 2016.

Mortality rates for those 25 and older increased for men and women, and men were almost two and a half times more likely to die from diagnosed liver cancer.

According to the CDC’s report, the reason for the increased mortality rate lies with an increased number of people developing the disease.

While the survival rate of the disease relatively stayed the same, the vast majority of liver cancer cases results from underlying liver disease. People who smoke, drink excessively, and/or have poor nutrition face higher risks of developing liver problems.

One expert believes the rising rate of obesity and the number of baby boomers with Hepatitis C are the main reason for the significant increase in liver cancer diagnosis. According to the CDC, people who participated in blood transfusions and organ transplants before 1992 were not screened for Hepatitis C, increasing the risk of transmission.

Additionally, with the increasing opioid epidemic, more people are at risk of sharing contaminated needles and putting themselves in danger of contracting Hepatitis C. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Carroll County Quorum Court Report

The CCQC met Monday for their July meeting with all J.P.'s present except for Larry Swofford. 

J.P.'s passed two Ordinances, one combining the County Finance Committee and the Budget Committee.

J.P.'s passed a Resolution confirming the appointments of Commissioners to the Western Carroll County Ambulance District. They are Jim Hughes from Grassy Knob for a one year term; Connie Deaton from rural Holiday Island for a three year term, and Alvin Selleck from Holiday Island for a three year term.

J.P.'s passed a supplemental appropriation ordinance to pay a year-and-one half old bill for 911 mapping software that nobody knew about. It totaled $50,000. J.P.'s were clearly un-nerved by the amount. Questions were asked who ordered it and where is it being used. Well, it's not being used because no personnel liked it. 20 laptops came with the software and Sheriff Mayfield said some of those were used by deputies in their vehicles. It was brought out that laws were violated because an amount that large must be put out for bids. J.P.'s agreed they have to pay it but want several questions and explanations answered first before it's mailed.

J.P.'s heard resident Lonnie Robbins plead for his CR 608 off Cisco Road to get the paving he was promised 23 years ago when he bought his house. Part of it was paved a few years back, but not the area Robbins lives. Robbins claims the constant dust generated from the frequent traffic is a health hazard for him and his neighbors. Several of those neighbors joined Robbins at the meeting in the appeal to finish paving it.... https://soundcloud.com/katie-912090963/ccqc-7-16-18

Judge Barr told the Robbins in a meeting in June there was nothing he could do and to make his plea to the Court.

Harrison Man Killed in Rollover

A 30-year-old Harrison man died Monday after his vehicle hit a ditch and overturned, authorities said.

The wreck happened at 12:30 a.m. at the intersection of Arkansas 7 and Dick Henry Lane in Boone County, according to a preliminary accident report from Arkansas State Police.

Troopers said Richard Peasley was driving a 2002 Dodge south on Arkansas 7 when he lost control on a curve and left the road. The Harrison resident suffered fatal injuries when the Dodge hit a ditch and overturned.

Conditions were described as clear and dry at the time of the wreck.

At least 252 people have died in accidents on Arkansas roads so far this year, according to preliminary figures.

Body Found in Fayetteville Identified

Police have identified a body found Saturday (July 14) afternoon off Town Branch Trail in south Fayetteville.

Wesley Hunt, 43, of Fayetteville was found by a passerby near the intersection of West 15th and South School Streets.

Investigators said Hunt showed no immediate sign of trauma.

Hunt's body has been taken to the state Crime Lab in Little Rock for an autopsy.

Four Sentenced in Counterfeiting Case

Four Northwest Arkansas residents were sentenced in federal court last week for counterfeiting money last year.

April Raven Stults, 26; Mary K. King, 47; and Allen Dean Vanover, 34, all of Fayetteville; and Garret E. Nichols, 30, of Lowell pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in March. Some charges were dropped in exchange for guilty pleas.

Stults pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting counterfeiting.

After receiving information Stults was involved with counterfeiting, police found fake money, ink cartridges, cutting boards, scissors and chemicals, all related to the production of counterfeit currency, according to her plea bargain.

A search of her car produced more fake money printed on sheets of paper that hadn’t been processed, police said.

Stults was sentenced Friday to time served, 170 days, to be followed by three years’ supervised release. She also was fined $250 and ordered to pay $10 restitution.

Vanover pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting in the manufacturing of counterfeit obligations.

Vanover was arrested after a woman passed a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store in Fayetteville. The woman told police she got the money from Vanover, according to court documents.

Two Casino Groups Raise Over $1M in June

A group trying to put on the Arkansas ballot a proposal to legalize casinos in four counties says it raised more than $1.2 million last month. 

Driving Arkansas Forward reported Monday that it has about $537,000 cash on hand to campaign for its proposed constitutional amendment. The group's proposal would legalize gambling at a Hot Springs horse track and a West Memphis dog track, where video poker and other electronic games are already offered, as well as legalize casinos in Jefferson and Pope counties. 

The secretary of state's office is reviewing petitions the group submitted earlier this month for the proposal. 

The group reported spending $715,711 last month, including $385,728 for advertising.

Most donations came from the Downstream Development Authority of the Quapaw Tribe and Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC.

Group Working to Improve Economic Activity and Quality of Life

An economic nonprofit in northwestern Arkansas is working to guide the region’s development in the next three years to improve economic activity and the quality of life.

The Northwest Arkansas Council has unveiled more than 50 recommendations that touch on education and career training, housing, entrepreneurship, transportation and the arts. The council, based in Springdale, includes executives from the region’s largest companies, schools and health care systems, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

“We want this region to be thought of as one of the top regions in America,” said Ted Abernathy, managing partner at the North Carolina-based Economic Leadership consulting firm, which helped develop the plan. He said the region’s progressing in multiple ways and is one of the fastest growing in the country, but it still has some weaknesses.

The 28-year-old council has led regional projects like the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport and road improvements. It also works as an overarching chamber of commerce to attract people and businesses to the area.

The group decided for its latest plan to consider both incremental improvements and major, transformative change, said council CEO Nelson Peacock.

The plan focuses on partnership, calling on the University of Arkansas to double research and development spending to about $300 million a year.

University Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said he thinks the proposal can be done thanks to the university’s faculty and a student body he predicts will top 28,000 in the next school year.

SEC Commissioner Says Sports Gambling Law Could Require Schools to do Weekly Reports

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey says the Supreme Court ruling that struck down a federal law barring gambling on sports could cause the league to require schools to issue weekly reports that list the status of injured or ineligible players.

Speaking to reporters Monday at the start of the league's annual media gathering, Sankey stressed that gambling's potential effect on games is one of the most important issues facing the league, but the SEC is unlikely to require weekly reports in 2018.

Sports books often use information on injured or ineligible players to hedge the line.

"FERPA and HIPAA requirements, academic suspensions, other team or athletics department-imposed suspensions and NCAA eligibility issues make something more like an availability report relevant for discussion," Sankey said Monday. "I do not believe this has to happen before the 2018 season, either on the part of this conference or the national level.

"I expect, however, the change in sports gambling could be and will be likely the impetus for the creation of such reports in our future."

The Supreme Court ruling in May states that states wanting to take advantage of the ruling can pass legislation to allow sports books to open. Mississippi is the only SEC state currently that will allow sports books to begin taking bets at its 28 licensed casinos — a process that could begin this month. Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri and South Carolina have considered legalizing sports books.

Sankey said the SEC has spoken since 2011 with the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and PGA offices to learn how other leagues are monitoring the issue. The SEC has prioritized its approach to legalized gambling, it will not act hastily.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Woman Falls Off Ledge at Devil's Den

A woman is in serious condition after falling off a ledge at Devil's Den State Park on Saturday. 

According to Tim Scott, Assistant Superintendent at Devil's Den, a woman was riding her bike on the Sawmill Loop on the Fossil Flats Trail Saturday morning. Around 9 a.m., she went off a ledge and had to be rescued. She was then air-flighted to a hospital. 

Body Found in Fayetteville

A body was found Saturday afternoon off Town Branch Trail in a creek, in south Fayetteville, according to police.

Police said the discovery was made by a passerby near the intersection of West 15th and South School Streets.

Investigators said the victim is a man in his 30s or 40s and that there is no immediate sign of trauma.

The body will be taken to the Arkansas crime lab.

Baxter County Teen Breaks into School and Steals Deputies Gear

A north Arkansas teenager faces four felony charges after allegedly breaking into a school building and stealing a deputy's body armor and duty belt that contained a gun.

The Baxter Bulletin reports that the 17-year-old Yellville teen faces charges of commercial burglary, criminal mischief, theft of property and theft of a firearm.

Police allege the teen spray-painted over a security camera, hurled a rock through a window, then entered the Yellville-Summit School District building and stole the Marion County reserve deputy's equipment and badge. An affidavit says the duty belt contained the deputy's Glock pistol, three magazines, pepper spray and handcuffs.

The charges are punishable by up to six years in prison on each count.

Police say the teen told another student about the theft and the other student notified authorities.

State Education Officials Working on Homeless Children Issues

School officials who work with homeless children say Arkansas’ plan for complying with federal education guidelines will help identify needs and keep more students in school.

The state’s plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, will rank schools on a variety of factors, including absenteeism.

Absenteeism affects learning, and children without stable housing are among the more likely groups to miss school, said Cindy Hogue, assistant to the state’s education commissioner.

And experts say many homeless students miss school because of toothaches.

Hogue was among more than 100 education and school officials from across the state at a conference Thursday and Friday who examined ways to reduce chronic absenteeism among homeless students through improved health care, among other strategies.

The annual McKinney-Vento conference brings together schools’ homelessness liaisons, counselors, social workers and school administrators to discuss how to best help homeless children. The conference is named after a federal law that defines homelessness for people under the age of 18 and the government assistance available to them.

In the final quarter of the 2017-18 school year, there were 13,865 homeless students in the state, about 2,000 more than were counted at the start of October, according to data from the Arkansas Department of Education.

Buffalo River Foundation Wants to Buy 29-mile Connecting Trail

A conservation group wants to buy the final tract of land needed to finish a hiking trail that would stretch about 100 miles along the Buffalo National River.

The tract is the only land along the Buffalo River Trail that is not federal land or already open to public access, said Caven Clark, spokesman for the National Park Service in Harrison. One other gap in the trail exists, between Pruitt and Wollum, but it's on federal land and is being completed gradually.

The Buffalo River Foundation has purchased an option agreement that gives the group until October to raise the $52,000 needed to buy the private land. The group, working alongside other conservation groups, wants to raise an additional $28,000 to survey, appraise and endow the land, among other things.

The land, known as the Roberts Tract, separates two ends of the existing trail. It contains the only feasible spot to build the about 1,600 feet needed to finish a 28-mile connecting trail, said Ross Noland, director of the foundation, a nonprofit land trust. The other 27 miles of the connecting trail are already built but haven't opened yet or been placed on maps so that people are not encouraged to trek over the private land in their quest to traverse the entire trail.

The 28 miles extends the distance between U.S. 65 and Arkansas 14.

Altogether, the several hundred miles of trails would be called the Trans-Ozark Trail, akin to the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, although less than half the length.

Pres. Clinton and Bush Host Presidential Leadership Scholars Graduation

Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were in Little Rock Thursday for the Presidential Leadership Scholars Graduation.

There were 59 graduates at the event. Some asked the presidents about issues concerning the country at present. Topics included everything from immigration to veterans issues.

The presidents gave their advice and also spoke about leadership.

There were doctors, veterans, business leaders, lawyers, and educators from across the country were in attendance.

President Clinton and Bush launched the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program in 2014.

Trump to Nominate Gov. Hutchinson to Council of Governors

President Trump announced Thursday his intention to nominate Governor Asa Hutchinson to a two-year term on the 10-member Council of Governors. 

“President Trump’s nomination is an honor for me and for Arkansas,” Governor Hutchinson said. “It will be a privilege for me to represent our state and to serve the nation as a member of the Council of Governors. With key military installations in Arkansas, it is an important opportunity to serve on the council, which advises on national defense and security issues.”

President Trump’s announcement of his intent to appointment Governor Hutchinson to the Council of Governors was included in a press release Thursday that announced several key appointments.

The Council of Governors was created by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 and formally established by Executive Order on January 11, 2010. The Council is intended to serve as a mechanism for governors and key federal officials to address matters pertaining to the National Guard, homeland defense, and defense support to civil authorities.

AMMC Will Keep Cultivation and Dispensary Apps for 24 Months

In a packed boardroom, the five members of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission agreed to keep cultivation and dispensary applications active for 24 months.

Before Thursday's meeting, any applicant who received a denial letter could appeal by filing a formal lawsuit.

Without a denial letter, Medical Marijuana Association Attorney Alex Gray is hopeful this will help cultivation centers get the ball rolling.

"It sounds like the top 5 will get to work and start constructing their facilities now. I anticipate that there will be lawsuits." said Gary.

With controversy surrounding how the cultivation centers were chosen, the group approved a rule that allows it to hire an outside consultant , if necessary, to score hundreds of dispensary applications received to sell medical marijuana.

"It does not commit us into hiring it, just allows us to," said a commission member.

In the event of a tie while scoring, the commission agreed to use a double-blind lottery to break the tie. By law, the panel can award 32 dispensary licenses.

The medical marijuana commission meets again on July 25th.

Consumer Prices Rise fromYear Earlier

Consumer prices rose in June from a year earlier at the fastest pace in more than six years, lifted by more expensive gas, car insurance, and higher rent.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index ticked up just 0.1 percent in June. But inflation jumped 2.9 percent from a year earlier, the largest annual gain since February 2012. Core prices, which exclude the volatile food and energy categories, rose 0.2 percent in June and 2.3 percent from a year earlier.

Solid economic growth and supply bottlenecks have pushed inflation past the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target, after price gains had languished below that level for six years. That is a key reason that Fed officials expect to raise short-term rates twice more this year.

Price gains may intensify if President Donald Trump makes good on his threat Tuesday to slap tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, including furniture, hats, and handbags. If implemented, those duties, combined with tariffs put in place last week, would mean about half of China's imports would be subject to extra duties, likely boosting costs for consumers.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Lucky or Unlucky Friday the 13th?

It’s Friday the 13th, the last one of 2018, a day considered by many to be “unlucky.”

But where did that idea originate?

According to History.com, the Friday the 13th fear may have come from the superstitions surrounding the number 13 in general. While 12 has been associated with completeness (12 months of the year, 12 signs of the zodiac, etc.), 13 has been considered bad luck, possibly dating back to ancient times.

It’s believed the fear of 13 (called triskaidekaphobia) was spawned from biblical origins, with 13 guests attending the Last Supper the day before Good Friday, when Jesus was crucified.

The number later spawned an 1800s secret society called The Thirteen Club, which dined on the 13th of the month on a 13-course meal, and was joined by four U.S. presidents (Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt).

The number paired with the day hit pop culture in 1907 with the publication of the novel Friday, the Thirteenth by Thomas William Lawson. The “horror” of the day exploded in 1980 with the birth of the Friday the 13th film franchise, which introduced a hockey-masked serial killer named Jason, a string of horrific crimes, and a lot of victims with, well, a whole lot of bad luck.

So what do you think? Is Friday the 13th lucky or unlucky…or just another Friday?

Berryville Man Dies from Gunshot

Berryville Police were called out Thursday morning shortly before 10am, to a call of a shooting. According to Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos, the location was a mobile home park behind the Shamrock Motel, off Eureka Avenue.

When Police arrived, they found 24 year old Nykolas Flores dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot. The Chief said the next of kin was notified, and no foul play is suspected.

Second Plane Crash Wednesday

A Russellville man has been injured in a plane crash in North Arkansas.

The Baxter County Sheriff's Office says it happened just after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Gaston’s Landing Strip.

The injured man is Jeremy Wayne Saul, 38, the pilot/owner of the plane and the only one on board.

Deputies say the aircraft, a fixed wing single-engine Cessna 150H, was found at the end of the airstrip in the tree line. It is believed that Saul was trying to take off from the airstrip. 

He was flown to a hospital in Springfield, Mo. There's no further information on his condition.

The accident is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

A Wheatley, Arkansas Fire Chief Chad McLain was killed Wednesday morning when a crop dusting plane he was piloting crashed in St. Francis County. 

Board of Education Approves Required Courses

The Arkansas Board of Education on Thursday approved the courses that must be offered in the state's high schools along with a menu of optional courses.

English for grades nine through 12, algebra I and II, chemistry, and two years of a foreign language are among the courses Arkansas' public high schools must offer to students in the coming school year, the state Board of Education decided Thursday.

On the other hand, previously required journalism and physics courses are now among multiple optional courses that schools can choose to offer as a way to attain the at least 38 units of study required to meet state school accreditation standards.

Some of the other courses on the optional menu include theater, creative writing, debate, calculus, statistics, U.S. government, visual art, band and orchestra.

The Education Board's 6-0 vote for the mandatory courses and the menu of optional courses comes after the board in May approved the overhaul of the state standards for accrediting districts and schools. The standards in May required the 38 units but did not specify the courses.

Compliance with Arkansas' accreditation standards is important to school districts because a school or district's failure to meet the standards over time puts the district or school in jeopardy of a range of sanctions -- including closure or annexation to another district -- levied by the state Board of Education.

Gentry Man Given Four Life Sentences

An Arkansas man convicted of beating and raping a 69-year-old woman in an attack that led to parts of her arms and legs being amputated has been sentenced to life in prison.

A jury Thursday found 31-year-old Charles Allen Rickman of Gentry guilty of aggravated residential burglary, kidnapping, battery and two counts of rape. A judge sentenced Rickman to four life sentences plus 20 years, to run consecutively.

Testimony showed Rickman pretended to have car trouble and forced his way into the woman's home last October. She'd met Rickman when he helped a painter she hired.

She testified Rickman blindfolded her, tied her hands and feet - affecting her blood flow - and raped and beat her for hours.

Rickman testified he'd used drugs and alcohol before the attack.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission To Keep Applications Two Years

In a packed boardroom, the five members of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission agreed to keep cultivation and dispensary applications active for 24 months.

Before Thursday's meeting, any applicant who received a denial letter could appeal by filing a formal lawsuit.

Without a denial letter, Medical Marijuana Association Attorney Alex Gray is hopeful this will help cultivation centers get the ball rolling.

"It sounds like the top 5 will get to work and start constructing their facilities now. I anticipate that there will be lawsuits." said Gray.

With controversy surrounding how the cultivation centers were chosen, the group approved a rule that allows it to hire an outside consultant , if necessary, to score hundreds of dispensary applications received to sell medical marijuana. One commissioner said it does not commit them to hiring one, but allows them to if agreed on.

In the event of a tie while scoring, the commission agreed to use a double-blind lottery to break the tie. By law, the panel can award 32 dispensary licenses.

The medical marijuana commission meets again on July 25th.

Scholarship Lottery Raises $92M in 2018

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery raised nearly $92 million for college scholarships in fiscal 2018, the third-largest amount raised in its nine years of operation. 

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the lottery also collected a record $500.4 million of revenue in the fiscal year that ended June 30. 

The lottery has been operating since 2009, helping finance more than 30,000 Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships during each of the first eight fiscal years. Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said Tuesday that it's challenging to increase the return for scholarships each year because players were quickly introduced to higher price point tickets that have lower margins.

Information on the total scholarships awarded in fiscal 2018 wasn't available Tuesday, but the lottery reported the figure last month at $91.8 million for more than 34,900 students.

U of A Studies Terrorism Patterns in U.S.

The University of Arkansas is on a search for patterns in U.S. terrorism as part of federally funded research.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the university's Terrorism Research Center has begun the American Terrorism Study, a three-year project funded by a $716,000 National Institute of Justice grant. The study includes about 575 U.S. terrorism-related occurrences or planned occurrences, as many were planned attacks never actually carried out. 

Grant Drawve is a data analyst and assistant professor in the university's sociology and criminology department. He says researchers have been using statistical methods to find patterns on factors like distance traveled by plotters to target sites. 

Drawve says researchers hope to eventually predict some attacks by developing a data-based model to map and find commonalities of terrorism in the U.S.

Spring River Sinkhole Repaired

A sinkhole that opened in the Spring River last month has been closed, Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston announced today.

The Commissioner of State Lands office, alongside the Attorney General’s office, Game and Fish Commission, Geological Survey, the Department of Transportation, Department of Parks and Tourism, Fulton County Sheriff Albert Roork and Fulton County Judge Darrell Zimmer, as well as local landowners and volunteers, completed work Thursday repairing the sinkhole, located south of Mammoth Springs, Arkansas.

The team of officials used a track hoe to collapse the travertine roof of the sinkhole. The structure fell into itself, resolving the water hazard that had been created by erosion and claimed the life of one person in early June.

State, federal and local officials had met in June to discuss the hazard and to determine how to correct the problem and ensure public safety. They enlisted the help of hydrogeologist Tom Aley, PG with Ozark Underground Laboratory in Potem, Missouri. After visiting the site, where Aley conducted a survey of the area with a dye tracing technique to determine the characteristics of the hazard, the agencies began examining potential fixes.

Restaurants Get A Failing Grade for Employee Cleanliness

Employee cleanliness tied to food safety perceptions among customers, restaurants get a failing grade, MU study finds,

Foodborne diseases are responsible for about 48 million illnesses and 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 60 percent of these illnesses are associated with restaurants. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that the cleanliness of restaurant employees is vital to customer perceptions of food safety, equally as important as a clean environment and hygienic food preparation. Restaurants, however, are significantly underperforming in this regard, identifying a clear area for improvement.

“Food safety is a huge factor when consumers decide where to eat,” said Pei Liu, an assistant professor of hospitality management at MU. “Studies have looked at how restaurant managers view this issue, but you need to know how customers think about food safety to really understand what changes need to be made.”

Liu and her colleague, Yee Ming Lee of Auburn University, asked more than 300 adults who ate at a casual restaurant at least once a month to rank the importance of various food safety factors. Respondents then ranked how restaurants performed for these same factors based on their recent dining experience. Three of these factors—employees keeping fingernails clean, wearing clean uniforms and wearing gloves while handling food—were ranked as highly important but received low performance ratings. This indicated restaurants may be harming perceptions of food safety by not meeting customer expectations for the cleanliness of their employees.

Folks Swelter to See Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney fans waited outside the Walmart Amp for hours Thursday before the gates opened. They stood in the scorching sun with umbrellas, fans, and shady hats to keep cool.

Rogers firefighters noticed fans suffering and turned on their fire hose to help cool them down. The hose sprayed out a light mist on fans.

Firefighters also had cooling vests on hand for people to put on for relief from the heat.

During summer concerts, emergency crews and Walmart Amp officials stay on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Motion Made to Dismiss County Tax Collector from Collecting $18 Fee

Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Rogers has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against Carroll County Collector Kay Phillips Brown regarding the $18 fee collected to pay back bondholders after the NABORS landfill debacle and other such motions are anticipated.

Lawsuits have been filed by Fayetteville lawyers Matt Bishop and Wendy Howerton on behalf of taxpayers in the six counties included in the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District — Baxter, Boone, Carroll, Marion, Newton and Searcy.

Although Phillips-Brown wasn’t named in the initial Carroll County version of the lawsuit, an amended complaint was filed a few days later naming her as a defendant.

The respective county tax collectors had already been named as defendants in the initial filings, records show.

At a recent solid waste board district meeting, district lawyer John Verkamp told board members he anticipates similar motions to be filed in the other lawsuits as well.

Just a bit of history regarding the "fee". The board of what is now the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District decided in 2005 to buy the RLH landfill in northern Baxter County.

The district sold about $12.3 million in bonds to finance the purchase. The Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District managed the landfill at first, but the board split ways with that agency in 2009.

There were environmental problems with the landfill at the time of purchase and some money from those bonds was supposed to be used to rectify those problems. ADEQ rejected several plans the district proposed, so those problems were never fixed.

The district had to raise tipping fees charged to haulers when they dumped trash to keep revenue flowing. As those fees rose, some of the six counties stopped using it altogether, which resulted in a loss of revenue.

Eventually in 2012, the board voted to default on the bond sold to finance the purchase. Bank of the Ozarks, trustee for the bond holders, sued the district and a receiver was named to collect money to repay bond holders, which resulted in the annual $18 fee on people’s property taxes.

In the six lawsuits, the $18 fee is called unconstitutional.

Johnson Named Executive Director of Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted at their regular July meeting to name Steve Johnson the Executive Director for the organization. Johnson has served as the Chamber’s interim executive director since May 10, 2018.

“I am very pleased that the Chamber Board voted for me to take on the full duties as Executive Director for the Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce,” Johnson said. “I am honored to gain their trust and support, and to have this wonderful opportunity to serve the Berryville Chamber membership and our local business community.” Landry Weston, President of the Berryville Chamber Board of Directors, said: “This community is fortunate to have someone of Steve’s caliber to lead our Chamber. The Chamber has gained a lot of momentum over the past couple of years and I’m confident Steve will carry that momentum forward and take the Chamber to new heights.”

Johnson will help guide the Berryville Chamber’s mission, which is:

*To promote the civic, commercial, cultural, industrial and agricultural interests and development of the Berryville area and the Northwest Arkansas region.

*To aid in the establishment and development of all worthwhile enterprises which will intend to increase the prosperity and promote the welfare of the Berryville area its surrounding trade are.

*To stand and work for local harmony among all interests of the community. The Chamber is a non-profit organization whose activities shall be nonpartisan and nonsectarian.

*The Chamber office is located at the Berryville Welcome Center located at 506 S. Main. For more information about the Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce, call (870) 423-3704, or visit their website: berryvillechamber.com

Man That Struck Teacher and Children Could Have Medical Issues

A man is being held at the Pea Ridge Police Department Wednesday (July 11) after police say he hit a teacher and two young children while driving.

Around 10:20 am, the man driving a Dodge Dakota hit a teacher pushing eight children in a multi-seat stroller outside the Pea Ridge Early Head Start Daycare Center, on Halleck Lane.

The driver’s family confirms his identity as sixty-five year old Jim Lotus.

Lotus told officers at the scene he fell asleep at the wheel, but officers believe Lotus could have possibly been impaired. Lotus lives in a house located an eighth of a mile from the head-start daycare center.

His grandson Darrell Brandon said his grandpa has not been capable of doing a lot of things since suffering three aneurysms in five years.

Officers will send Lotus’s blood and urine to the Arkansas State Crime Lab. The toxicology results could take up to six weeks.

The Pea Ridge Early Head Start director declined to comment on the incident at this time.

Wheatley Fire Chief Killed in Crop Duster Crash

The fire chief of an Arkansas town was killed in a crop duster crash Wednesday morning.

Family friends tell our sister station that Wheatley Fire Chief Chad McLain was killed in the crash.

The plane went down in a field off Highway 78 north of Wheatley in St. Francis County, according to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

Friends of McClain say he was a good man. He leaves behind a teenage daughter.

According to the Wheatley Marshal Service on Facebook, McLain had been with the Wheatley Volunteer Fire Department since 1994. He was also a local farmer and agriculture pilot. Funeral arrangements have not yet be set.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also posted her condolences for McClain's family and the Wheatley community on Facebook Wednesday evening.

Two Jail Escapees Caught - One Still at Large

Two of the three escapees have been caught as of Wednesday evening.

According to Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts, Robert Pollard and Christopher Frey were arrested around 6:30 p.m.

The Sharp County Sheriff says an Arkansas State Trooper was in pursuit, when Pollard and Frey abandoned the car they were traveling in.

A search team from the Arkansas Department of Correction was sent, and later found the two escapees, according to Sheriff Counts. 

Pollard and Frey are back in the Sharp County Jail. 

Authorities are still searching for Randall Sledge.

Investigators believe Sledge may be heading towards Missouri in a 2004 Red Cadillac Escalade with Arkansas LPN 031XKU.

15 New Wildlife Officers Cadets Celebrate Graduation

Fifteen new faces will be joining the ranks of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers this summer. The latest class of wildlife officer cadets celebrated graduation from the AGFC’s training program today at Antioch Baptist Church.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke as the keynote speaker of the commencement ceremony for the new officers.

Hutchinson reminded the new officers of their role as representatives of the state of Arkansas.

“We want [visitors to the outdoors] to respect what we have in the state, but we also want them to feel welcome here,” Hutchinson said. “In today’s world, enforcing the law is not easy. You have to be trained in a lot of areas, you have to use good judgement and discretion in how you go about that.”

The process to become a wildlife officer began in March when 17 individuals were selected from several hundred applicants to participate in the AGFC’s wildlife officer training program. All applicants chosen were required to have a minimum of a four-year college degree, four years of full-time law enforcement, four years of military service, or a combination of those criteria.

During their 16-week training, cadets spent most of their waking hours at the H.C. “Red” Morris Training Center east of Mayflower on Lake Conway. They received 740 hours of training in self-defense, firearms, first-aid and rescue, drug enforcement, physical conditioning, criminal law and wildlife code enforcement.

In Arkansas, wildlife officers are certified law enforcement. They enforce state law as well as wildlife law. Much of their job includes keeping the woods and waters safe, and that requires the authority to make arrests for criminal cases as well as wildlife code violations.

Drought Affecting 80% of Arkansas Farmers and Ranchers

Drought has put its grip on nearly 80 percent of Arkansas and the state’s ranchers are having to make decisions to handle rapidly dwindling amounts of forage for their cattle.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday showed the 79.83 percent of the state with some drought rating. Severe drought appeared in 2.19 percent of the state. Moderate drought covered some 35.85 percent of Arkansas.

Extension has a comprehensive guide to drought management and livestock.

The 6-10 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center showed a better than 40 percent chance all of the state would see above normal temperatures through July 15, but normal odds of getting rain over the same period. However, the chances for some precipitation were in the forecast from Sunday through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service at Little Rock.