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Linda Boyer

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

National Farm Safety and Health Week - Part 2

  

On KTHS News this week we are featuring informative and educational information regarding Farm Safety Week across America.

In 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the first proclamation for farm safety due to the high injury rate in agriculture. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries with a death rate of 23.2 deaths per 100,000 workers annually according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013.

However, many injuries are preventable through education. Serious injuries and death can be prevented by cautiously approaching field adjustments or repairs, taking precautions to avoid slips and falls, making smart decisions while assigning tasks to youth, using and maintaining the slow moving vehicle emblem correctly, and retrofitting tractors with rollover structures.

Part 2 today is Farm Safety regarding the transportation of farm equipment........ https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/farm-safety-transporting-equipment 

Our sponsors for Farm Safety and Health Week include Williams Tractor, Kavan Maybee Insurance, Kings River Title and Georgia Poultry Equipment.

Jerod and Summer Newberry Open New Business

Last Saturday, a new business in Berryville held their grand opening on the Berryville Square. The Jerod and Summer Newberry wanted to preserve the heritage of the building they were establishing their Hometown Scoop on the corner of the east side of the Historic Square.

KTHS Gen. Manager Jamie Hussey was at the opening and talked with both Newberrys about their months long work to get the building ready....... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/jerod-and-summer-newberry 

New Tyson CEO's Home Catches Fire

The home of the newly named Tyson CEO caught fire on Monday, the same day he's announced to take over the for Springdale based company.

Multiple crews showed up Monday morning to a house fire off the 5100 block of Turnhouse Circle in Johnson, 

The house belonged to newly named Tyson CEO Noel White.

The fire broke out in the upper corner of the home just after 10:30 a.m. Monday morning, firefighters showed up shortly after to find no one home at the time and no injuries were reported.

Several fire departments rushed to the scene, including Johnson, Fayetteville, and Tontitown to put out the fire.

Fire Marshall Tyler McCartney says Mrs. White was home at the time of the fire. She was preparing the home for a magazine photo shoot and lit the fireplace, that's when the fire broke out.

Firefighters are still investigating what caused the fire to start in the chimney.

No one was injured during the fire.

Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert Systems

Postponed Until October 3, 2018

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on October 3, 2018. The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 PM EDT and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether technological improvements are needed.

October 3 was the previously scheduled back-up date for the test, which was originally set up for this Thursday, September 20. A backup date is always planned in case of widespread severe weather or other significant events on the primary test date. FEMA and the nation’s emergency management community remain committed to the life-saving activities occurring through parts of North Carolina and South Carolina.

More information on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and Wireless Emergency Alerts is available at www.ready.gov/alerts.

Woman Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud

A Fayetteville woman received three-years probation and was ordered to pay more than $70,000 in restitution for Medicaid fraud.

Erin Oliver, 40, pleaded guilty last month to one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herbert Wright ordered Oliver to pay $71,857.60 in restitution and fined her $1,000.

“Erin Oliver took advantage of a vital safety net for many Arkansans, said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

“I will aggressively pursue and prosecute individuals who have committed fraud involving the use or misuse of Medicaid resources.”

Two others were also sentenced for abusing an impaired person in Bradley County.

Jimmie Bradley, 33, of Maumelle, and Nicholas Stephens, 33, of Monticello, both pleaded no contest to one count of abuse of an impaired person. Both men were ordered to pay $500 fines.

Calico Rock Inmate Found Hanged

Authorities are investigating after an inmate was found dead from an apparent suicide at a north Arkansas correctional facility.

The Department of Correction said staff at the North Central Unit in Calico Rock found 39-year-old Eric Fouth hanging in the facility's boiler room Thursday morning. He had been assigned to work. Fouth was discovered by other inmates working in the area. He was pronounced dead after he was taken to an area hospital.

Arkansas state police are investigating Fouth's death, and the corrections department says it's also conducting an internal investigation. Fouth was serving a 30-year sentence for residential burglary out of Pulaski County.

Boozman Supports Comprehensive Opioid Package

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) voted for a comprehensive package to respond to the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities across America.

This latest step taken by Congress to address the nation’s opioid crisis provides law enforcement with additional tools to combat the spread of opioids, helps Americans struggling with addiction and expands research into non-addictive pain treatments.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Boozman said “the comprehensive response to this crisis shows how committed we are as a nation to combating opioid addiction.”

Boozman specifically praised the bill’s expansion of a grant program to train first responders administering naloxone—the drug that can be used to block the effects of opioids and prevent deaths from an overdose—by highlighting the lives it has saved in Arkansas.

“Since 2017, the Arkansas Naloxone Project has trained more than 3,300 first responders to administer the drug. This effort has saved at least 142 lives. The program continues to grow. It is working. Other states can replicate the success we’ve seen in Arkansas by using grant funds to train first responders,” Boozman said.

Among the highlights of this package are provisions that:

Combat illegal drugs at the border, including additional measure to crack down on the shipment of synthetic opioids;

Encourage recovery by supporting states’ efforts to address substance use disorders by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, health professionals, long-distance care and recovery housing services;

Support caregivers and families by improving plans of safe care and support for substance-exposed babies and their mothers and increasing family-focused treatment and recovery; and

Drive innovation and long-term solutions aimed at spurring development of new non-addictive painkillers and ensuring parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits.

Danger in Infant Walkers

Infant walkers might offer freedom for babies, but doctors are warning of the dangers they possess.

Changes in safety standards have led to a drop in the number of babies injured using the devices, but still more than 9,000 children are injured each year using infant walkers, according to a new study in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Between 1990 and 2014, an estimated 230,676 children under 15 months old were treated for injuries related to infant walkers, the study published said.

More than 90 percent of incidents led to head and neck injuries and the most common cause of injury — 74.1 percent — was falling down stairs. Other causes of injury included falling out of the walker and proximity-related injuries, such as a child pulling or touching an object that they were able to reach when in the device.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has called for a ban on baby walkers with wheels. It suggests parents throw away walkers in their homes and entertain their children in stationary activity centers and with other activities.

The devices have no developmental advantages and create a risk for children, according to the AAP. Other countries, such as Canada, have a complete ban on the sale and manufacture of baby walkers.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Cultivating the Seeds of Safety 2018 - National Farm Safety and Health Week

Agriculture is recognized as one of the most hazardous industries in America and around the world. In the United States, over two million full-time workers were employed in the production of crops, livestock, and poultry in 2017. According to CDC- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 2016, 417 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury. Young workers and youth living on farms are also subject more frequently to injuries and fatal injuries. NIOSH reports that everyday approximately 100 agricultural workers will suffer an injury resulting in lost work time. 

National Farm Safety and Health Week has been recognized for over seventy years, since September 1944. AgriSafe along with partners such as the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) have hosted activities to support awareness for Ag health and safety professionals and farmers alike. This year’s theme “Cultivating the Seeds of Safety” spotlights safe practices such as handling livestock and ATV use for farmers. Many injuries are preventable through.

Today's topic is the Handling of Livestock.......... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/farm-safety-livestock-handling

Our Farm Safety Week Sponsors locally include Williams Tractor in Berryville, Kavan Maybee Insurance in Harrison, Kings River Title in Berryville and Georgia Poultry Equipment Co. in Berryville.

Tyson Foods CEO Stepping Down

Tyson Foods CEO Tom Hayes is stepping down for personal reasons.

According to a release from Tyson, the board of directors has appointed Noel White as president and chief executive officer.

White was formerly group president of Beef, Pork and International and a member of Tyson Foods' enterprise leadership team.

White will take over for Hayes on September 30th according to Tyson.

FEMA to Conduct Test of New Warning System Thursday

If you're near emergency situations, you can expect a message from President Trump soon. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is testing a new warning system.

The goal is to alert Americans on emergencies like severe weather and missing children. 

Most cell phone users will receive the alert Thursday afternoon.

The message will be titled "Presidential Alert" but will indicate it is only a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System.

FEMA will also test the emergency alert system on radio and television stations Thursday. 

Arkansas Has Second Highest Number of Sex Offenders

Arkansas has about 15,800 registered sex offenders -- 526 offenders for every 100,000 residents -- the second-highest total in the country based on population, recent national research shows.

The manager of the state's sex-offender registry says the numbers are misleading.

"It's not like we have 16,000 sex offenders roaming loose around Arkansas," said Paula Stitz. "It's more like 9,000."

Arkansas' rank behind only Oregon was based on analysis conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nonprofit clearinghouse that focuses on the prevention of child victimization and recovery for victims. Center researchers evaluated the sex-offender registries of each state and compared those tallies with state-level population numbers kept by the U.S. Census Bureau. The findings were published May 30.

Oregon had 28,119 sex offenders, or 679 offenders per 100,000 people, according to the analysis. Indiana had the lowest rate of offenders at 149 per 100,000 people.

The national average rate is 291 sex offenders for every 100,000 residents when counting all 50 states and Washington, D.C., the data show.

Using Stitz's estimate, Arkansas' rate would be roughly 302 sex offenders for every 100,000 residents, much closer to the national average.

As of Aug. 1, there are 16,049 people registered in Arkansas' sex-offender database, Stitz said. Of those, more than 3,100 are incarcerated, about 3,400 are now outside the state, and 176 offenders have been deported, she said.

Stitz also said Arkansas does a better job than most states in keeping tabs on registered offenders' addresses. Only 224 registrants did not have addresses listed in the database, as of August.

Local officials also began working with the U.S. Marshals Service this year to track down offenders who lack current addresses, Stitz said.

Trucking Officials Considering Allowing 18 Year Olds for Long Hauls

A nationwide shortage of truckers has some industry officials and national lawmakers supporting a plan to allow 18-year-olds to become long-haul drivers, while others in the industry say it's a bad idea that will decrease safety on the nation's road.

Apex CDL Institute in Kansas City, Kansas, trains truckers and would likely have more students if federal proposals to allow those under 21 to drive big rigs across the country. But institute director Jeffrey Steinberg thinks most 18-year-olds would make bad long-haulers.

Bills before the U.S. House and the Senate — co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas — both propose that people under 21 who have commercial drivers' licenses be allowed to take their cargo across state lines. Federal law now requires truckers to wait until age 21 to get a CDL permitting them to drive big rigs across the country, The Kansas City Star reported.

Steinberg is not alone in his objection to dropping that minimum age to 18. The 160,000-member Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, headquartered in Grain Valley. Missouri, has joined more than a dozen traffic safety groups in writing protest letters to a congressional committee that will hear the idea. The federal proposals set training requirements for young CDL holders.

Arkansas Drops in Obesity Rates

Arkansas dropped four spots to seventh in the latest ranking of states' obesity rates, according to a report released Wednesday.

After tying for third with Alabama last year, Arkansas' 2017 obesity rate dropped almost 1 percentage point to 35 percent, according to the The State of Obesity report by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In 2015, 35.7 percent of Arkansas adults were considered obese, data shows.

Although the reduction in the state's obesity rate was minimal, the drop in the ranking came as the rates rose in Iowa, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

West Virginia remained in the No. 1 spot with 38 percent of adults considered obese, and Colorado was again the least obese state at 22 percent, the report states.

Data shows that in Arkansas, the highest obesity rate exists among people aged 26 to 44 and 45 to 64. More than 40 percent of people in those age groups are considered obese.

For youth, Arkansas has the ninth-highest rate in the United States, with nearly 34 percent of 10- to 17-year-olds considered obese. The state also has the most obese high school students in the country at nearly 22 percent.

The report notes, however, that Arkansas has state-wide policies and programs in place aimed at slimming waistlines. For example, Arkansas requires all schoolchildren to participate in physical education and requires early childhood education programs to provide meals and snacks that meet dietary guidelines.

Another Competency Exam for Alleged Murderer

A Missouri man accused of strangling a 6-year-old girl in Branson will get another competency exam.

John Roberts, 58, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jasmine Miller.

According to online court records, Judge Jason Brown ruled there is sufficient reason to be concerned about Roberts’ competency and granted approval for a competency exam.

During a hearing Sept. 5, Roberts’ public defender, James Egan presented three expert witnesses who all said Roberts was unfit for trial. In the court docket, Brown wrote that the new evidence “does cast some doubt” on Roberts’ current status.

Roberts’ competency has been a contested issue in court for more than three years now.

In July 2015, the online docket for Roberts’ case showed that an order filed by the Missouri Department of Mental Health found Roberts is “permanently incompetent to stand trial.” The online listing was changed a few hours later to state only that a mental exam had been filed and sent to Taney County Judge Eric Eighmy for review.

Friday, September 14, 2018

BVHS CTE Student of the Month

Pictured receiving the September Career and Technical Education Student of the month Award is Logan Sigmon, Berryville High School senior. He was selected for serving as an FFA officer every year and always participating and being willing to help at all events. Logan has shown cattle all over the U.S. and had great success doing so, including his recent recognition for Grand Champion Senior Showman, Grand Champion Market Steer and Grand Champion Bull at the 2018 Carroll County Fair. Logan is pictured at the presentation with Berryville High School Vice Principal, Joey Curtis and Shelter Insurance Agent, Richard Harp, sponsor of the program. Logan is the son of Mike and Lisa Sigmon.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) gives high school students the chance to get a head start on preparing for college and careers. In CTE programs you will learn how core school subjects like math, science and writing are used in real-life.

About 8.3 million high school students—nearly half the U.S. high school population—were enrolled in one or more CTE courses in 2016-17, according to the most recent data collected for the just-reauthorized Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the main federal law that provides funding for CTE programs. That’s up from 7.6 million in 2007-08. 

The Berryville High School picks one student per month for CTE recognition. Richard and Mary Lou Harp of Shelter Insurance sponsor the CTE Student of the month by posting the students name on their billboard. They also give the students nice gift mementos. This months CTE student of the month is Logan Sigmon...... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/logan-sigmon-cte-student-september-2018

Loaves and Fishes Operation Food for Hungry Kids Update

Loaves and Fishes Food Bank of the Ozarks is a Christian ministry dedicated to feeding the hungry. 

An update on the Operation Food for Hungry Kids Backpack Program is available here with KTHS Intern Eve Linz............ https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/operation-food-for-hungry-kids-eve

Volunteers of all kinds are needed to do various duties at the Food Bank. If you can volunteer some time, stop by the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank during their open hours.

Cultivating the Seeds of Safety

National Farm Safety & Health Week is Sept. 16-22nd. KTHS-FM will be airing pertinent information on News during the week regarding Farm Safety, sponsored by Williams Tractor and Kavan Maybee Insurance. 

A farm safety expert gives his take on trends and safety practices as National Farm Safety Week approaches. Rod Bain with USDA reports..... https://soundcloud.com/kthsradio/usda-9-03-18

Statewide Mass Flu Vaccine Clinics Announced

On Friday, September 28th, 2018, the Carroll County Health Unit of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) will offer flu vaccinations in the local health unit at 402 Hailey Road in Berryville from 8:00am to 6:00pm. People should bring their insurance cards with them to the flu vaccine clinic. If they do not have insurance, or the insurance does not cover flu shots, the vaccine will be available at no charge. 

“We want Carroll County residents to stay healthy this flu season, and getting a yearly flu vaccination is the best line of defense,” Lisa Holt, Carroll County Health Unit Administrator, said. “We encourage everyone to come to the mass clinic or the local health unit to get their flu shot.”

Annual flu vaccination is recommended for most adults and children six months and older. The flu virus changes from year to year, and this year’s vaccine protects against the flu viruses that are expected to cause the most illness this flu season. 

People of all ages can get the flu. Certain people are more likely to have serious health problems if they get the flu. This includes older adults, young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), people who smoke, and people who live in nursing homes. Therefore, ADH strongly recommends that people in these groups get a flu vaccine.

For more information, go to www.healthy.arkansas.gov or www.flu.gov

Corp Delays Road Closure Across Beaver Dam Until October 2

Work on Beaver Dam in Carroll County has been delayed until Oct. 2. A section of Arkansas Highway 187 that crosses Beaver Dam is scheduled to be closed for two weeks while crews work on the dam's intake gate rehab project. 

The closure is being coordinated with emergency services, law enforcement agencies, and local authorities. If traveling in the area, please plan alternate routes and allow extra time to reach your destinations. 

The recommended alternate route for travelers is Highway 62. Traffic will be controlled with signs and traffic cones until the closed section of the road reopens in mid-October. 

If you have any questions about this, or general questions about Beaver Lake, please call the Beaver Lake Project Office at 479-636-1210.

Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Dispatch Linemen to Aid in Hurricane Florence Restoration

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas have sent 118 linemen to the east coast to assist with power restoration efforts that may be required after Hurricane Florence makes landfall.

Crews from Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., Arkansas Valley Electric, C&L Electric, Carroll Electric, Clay County Electric, Craighead Electric, First Electric, North Arkansas Electric, South Central Arkansas Electric, Southwest Arkansas Electric and Woodruff Electric are staged to assist electric cooperatives impacted areas.

The Arkansas cooperatives have also sent approximately 100 pieces of equipment that include service bucket trucks, bucket trucks, digger derricks, pickups and pole trailers. The number of crews may increase as damage assessments are finalized by cooperatives in impacted areas.

Arkansas’ 17 local electric cooperative distribution systems, statewide association and generation and transmission cooperative serve approximately 500,000 members in 74 of the state’s 75 counties. 

Man Sentenced for Stealing Fathers Corvette

Ozarks First reports a man from Arkansas has been sentenced for stealing his fathers Corvette in 2017.

Robert Wayne Files, 39-years-old, has been sentenced to 7 years, concurrently, in prison for second-degree burglary and first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle.

The charges came after a Highway Patrol investigation in April of 2017. During their investigation, the Patrol found that Files was the driver of a Chevrolet Corvette that was discovered in a ditch beside Route F, in the area of Bull Creek, in Taney County.

According to the Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, the Corvette had been reported stolen by Files’ father, and the investigation found that Files had broken-into his father’s home, gaining access to the Corvette.

Files was suspected of having been driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, but no charges were filed relating to that suspicion.

Rep. Micah Neal Gets Probation and House Arrest for Cooperation

Former state Rep. Micah Neal has been sentenced to probation and house arrest after a judge agreed to a reduction in his maximum punishment based on his continuing cooperation with the government in its investigation of corruption in the state Legislature.

Neal was sentenced Thursday to three years of probation, including one year of house arrest, though he will be allowed to leave for work. He also must pay $200,000 in restitution.

The long-time Washington County Quorum Court member and heir to his family’s Neal’s Cafe pleaded guilty in January 2017 and agreed to testify against his co-conspirators. Sentencing was delayed as the cases of two of his accomplices went to a trial.

Thousands Lose Medicaid Coverage This Month

More than 4,000 people lost Medicaid coverage in September after failing to meet the state's new work requirements but some people may not even know they've lost their insurance. 

Under the law that went into effect in June, thousands of people receiving health insurance under Medicaid have to go online to report their work hours to continue receiving coverage. In early September, more than 4,300 people failed to meet the requirements and are no longer covered. 

Laura Kellams, the executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, says many of those people may not realize they've been kicked off Medicaid until they actually need medical care. 

Kellams said although the state made efforts to notify recipients about the new requirements, those on Medicaid often move frequently, work multiple jobs or are responsible for family members and therefore may not have received the notice. 

Those who lost coverage in September will not be eligible to re-apply until January of next year. 

There are more than 5,000 Medicaid recipients who are currently considered out of compliance with the new work requirements and could lose their coverage next month. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Carroll Electric Crew Dispatched to East Coast

Carroll Electric has dispatched 10 professionals today to assist with Hurricane Florence storm damage expected to hit the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland as early as Thursday. Carroll Electric’s three two-men crews, 2 mechanics and large-power equipment are headed to Southside Electric Cooperative in Crewe, Va., approximately 120 miles inland from the Atlantic coast.

With Hurricane Florence predicted to be the worst storm in nearly 30 years, east coast electric cooperatives have already set in motion their Emergency Response Plans. Hundreds of additional crews and equipment from surrounding states and the Midwest are gearing up and heading to help sister cooperatives. Mutual aid assistance arrangements are coordinated through local cooperative safety managers and statewidetrade associations.

Carroll Electric’s safety manager Randy Hooten shared, “Our crews are always ready to assist as needed in times of crisis. This cooperative spirit is prevalent within coops across the nation. They will work as hard for other families following a disaster, as they wouJust one year ago to the day, Carroll Electric crews were arriving in South Carolina to help restore power following Hurricane Irma.

This year, crews from 9 other electric cooperatives in Arkansas are also releasing crews and equipment in support of restoration efforts. Carroll Electric Cooperative is headquartered in Berryville, Ark., with other offices located in Bentonville, Gravette, Huntsville, Jasper and Pea Ridge. Carroll serves just under 100,000 member accounts in 11 counties in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas.

ADEM Teams Headed to East Coast

With Hurricane Florence approaching the southeast United States, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is stepping up to help states in the storm's path.

So far, three advance team members have been sent to assist crews in Virginia. This advance team works to assess needs and direct resources.

Another ADEM staffer will leave for Georgia on Thursday and the department's Spokesman Dan Noble says they expect requests for more of their personnel in the coming days.

Arkansas is just one of many states sending help as part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

Motorcycle Crash in Eureka Springs Kills Illinois Woman

Arkansas State Police report the death of an Illinois woman Tuesday on Hwy. 62W in Eureka Springs. 64 year old Kathy Murfin of Galesburg, Il., was a passenger on a 2015 Harley Davidson motorcycle Tuesday, when the motorcycle failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the roadway and came to rest down an embankment. Steve Murfin, 73, of Galesburg was injured and taken by helicopter to a Springfield Hospital. The accident was just west of Eureka Springs around 3:15pm. Traffic was diverted and shut down while emergency crews provided assistance.

Madison County Man Charged with First Degree Murder

A Madison County man has pleaded not guilty to fatally shooting his neighbor after a fight in August.

Dale Wayne Bryant, 56, of Combs is charged in Washington County Circuit Court with first-degree murder — a Class Y felony.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office said Bryant shot his neighbor, Samuel Scott Hicks, in the back after a fight Aug. 8 near their homes on Arkansas 16.

“They were neighbors and I guess there had been a little conflict that morning and it just escalated to way out of hand,” said Sheriff Rick Evans.

Bryant is free on a $3,500 bond. His next hearing is set for Nov. 13.

Class Y felonies are the most serious crimes in Arkansas not punishable by death. A person convicted of a Class Y felony could face life in prison, according to Arkansas Code Annotated 5-4-401.

Combs is a community of about 510 off Arkansas 16 in southwest Madison County.

Homeland Security Agents Detain Several Dozen Alma Plant Workers

Federal Homeland Security Investigations agents detained at least two dozen employees of an Alma food-processing plant Wednesday as part of a criminal investigation.

Bryan Cox, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under which Homeland Security Investigations operates, would not say what agents were investigating Wednesday morning at Bryant Preserving Co.

He said about 24 people were detained. He said Wednesday afternoon that he did not have a specific number of employees who were detained because some were still being processed. Some had been released, he said.

"If there is some violation of federal immigration law, we do not turn a blind eye," he said.

The U.S. attorney's office for the Western District of Arkansas was aware of the raid at the plant and had no comment Wednesday, spokesman Charlie Robbins said.

Bryant Preserving released a statement Wednesday that said several plant employees were accused of document and identity fraud. It said Bryant Preserving was not a subject of the investigation.

Amazon Opening Distribution Center in N. Little Rock

Amazon's first distribution center in Arkansas is planned as a 16,333-square-foot, one-story sorting facility housed in a "tent structure," according to a proposed site plan submitted to the North Little Rock Planning Department.

Other details in the documents filed with the department indicate the facility is temporary.

The structure will have no water or sewer connections, according to a site plan review application dated Sept. 6. Instead, the facility will be supported by three smaller, modular buildings -- one for restrooms, another to serve as a break room and the third as a general office, all served with water and sewer "supplied ... by temporary/self-contained services."

Word of the online retailer's proposed distribution center came last month at a City Council meeting. The council approved an ordinance to rezone the vacant 4.5-acre site at 1920 N. Locust St. to light industrial from residential and conservation.

Similar Amazon tentlike distribution centers are popping up elsewhere in the United States. 

Ecclesia College President Sentenced to 3 Years in Federal Prison for Wire Fraud

Duane (DAK) Kees, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas announced today that Oren Paris III., age 50, of Springdale, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 36 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Paris was also ordered to pay $621,500.00 in restitution, on one count of honest services wire fraud. Paris was ordered to surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service to begin serving his sentence on October 10, 2018. The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fayetteville. 

According to the evidence presented at trial, Jonathan Woods, 41, of Springdale, served as an Arkansas State Senator from 2013 to 2017. Between approximately 2013 and approximately 2015, Woods used his official position as a senator to appropriate and direct government money, known as General Improvement Funds (GIF), to two non-profit entities by, among other things, directly authorizing GIF disbursements and advising other Arkansas legislators – including former State Representative Micah Neal, 43, of Springdale, Arkansas, to contribute GIF to the non-profits.

Specifically, Woods and Neal authorized and directed the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, which was responsible for disbursing the GIF, to award a total of approximately $600,000 in GIF money to the two non-profit entities. The evidence further showed that Woods and Neal received bribes from officials at both non-profits, including Paris, who was the president of a college. 

For his part in the scheme, Neal pleaded guilty on Jan. 4, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks of the Western District of Arkansas to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. Paris pleaded guilty on April 5, 2018, before Judge Brooks to one count of honest services wire fraud. Sentencing for Neal will be later this month. Woods was sentenced September 5, 2018 to 220 months in federal prison and Shelton was sentenced September 6, 2018 to 72 months in federal prison. 

The FBI and IRS investigated the case. 

Suicide Prevention Efforts Underway in Arkansas

Several state agencies are working together to spread knowledge about suicide prevention efforts in Arkansas. 

Suicide is the leading cause of violent death in Arkansas. 

The Arkansas suicide prevention network says close to 600 Arkansas take their life every year. 

About a quarter of those deaths are veteran suicides. 

Today hospitals, volunteer groups and different organizations learned about training that is available, the Arkansas Lifeline Call Center and the newest legislature efforts to prevent suicide. 

"When you know someone that is possibly thinking of suicide you want to talk to them. Don't make it uncomfortable. As them..ask them if they are thinking about hurting themselves, ask them if they are feeling depressed, ask them, talk to them and get them help," says Tanya Phillips, Coordinator for The Arkansas Prevention Network.

If you or someone you know needs help they can reach out to the Arkansas Lifeline Call Center, National Hotline. 

Area Agency on Aging Has Advice On Medicare Enrollment Period

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Missouri Man Dies in Crash with School Bus

The Missouri Highway Patrol reports a driver died in a head-on crash involving a school bus crash in Barry County, Tuesday evening.

The crash happened around 4 p.m. on Highway 248 near County Road 2080 near Jenkins.

Investigators say Kelly P. Vaught, 47, of Crane, Mo., died when his pickup collided head-on with the bus from the Galena School District. The school district says the bus had eight students on board. One student suffered minor injuries.

Two Earthquakes in Oklahoma

Two earthquakes recorded within less than one minute of each other have rattled an area of northern Oklahoma.

The U.S. Geological Survey says each of the earthquakes was recorded Tuesday about 16 miles (27 kilometers) west-southwest of Perry.

Geologists say a 3.3 magnitude earthquake that was recorded at 11:11 a.m. was preceded by a 2.7 magnitude temblor in the same area about 30 seconds earlier. The earthquakes were recorded at a depth of about 2 miles (3 kilometers).

No injuries or damages were reported. Geologists say damage is not likely in quakes below magnitude 4.0.

Thousands of earthquakes have been recorded in Oklahoma in recent years, with many linked to the underground injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas production. State regulators have directed producers to close some injection wells.

Never Assume You're a Registered Voter

The Arkansas deadline to register to vote in the November 2018 midterms is Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

The Arkansas Secretary of State's website warns to never assume you are registered to vote until you've received your voter registration card from the county clerk.

"Unfortunately each Election Day, many would-be first-time voters in Arkansas do not have their votes counted because they are not actually registered to vote," according to the Secretary of State's website. "Many believed they had registered months before, but failed to follow up when they did not receive a voter ID card from their county clerk."

Your local county clerks office, revenue or DMV office, public library, disability agency or military recruitment office should have voter registration applications.

The 2018 Midterm Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. 

Early voting begins Monday, October 22. Early voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Early voting will end at 5 p.m. Monday, November 5, 2018.

Duck Boat Owners Dispute Attorney General's Lawsuit

Attorney General Josh Hawley's consumer-fraud lawsuit against the owners of the Branson duck boat that infamously sank in July is "littered with factual inaccuracies and innuendo," according to lawyers for the defendants. 

Hawley filed a lawsuit in late August with the intent of shutting down the Branson duck boat operation after 17 people died during a Table Rock Lake capsizing on July 19.

The suit against Branson Duck Vehicles (BDV) and Ripley Entertainment Inc. alleged that the companies violated state law meant to protect consumers from fraudulent business practices.

Hawley's office alleged that the owners of the doomed duck boat hid information about safety hazards from consumers "and made false promises, fraudulent statements, and misrepresentations to consumers that safety was their top priority when in actuality it was their own profits."

The duck boat's owners have generally put forward a mournful and apologetic public face in the wake of the tragedy. But in Monday's rebuttal to Hawley's effort to shut them down, attorneys for the company argue that the attorney general is putting on a show and does not have his facts straight.

Preferred Family Healthcare to Cease Arkansas Operations

A Missouri nonprofit that once was Arkansas' major behavioral health provider said Tuesday that it will cease operations in the state by Oct. 12.

Preferred Family Healthcare had been trying to sell its remaining clinics in Arkansas to a Russellville company, but said in a news release that those talks had collapsed.

Preferred Family's announcement comes after months of corruption scandals involving former employees and executives and the conviction or guilty pleas of four former Arkansas legislators.

After a former Preferred Family executive was charged with Medicaid fraud, the Arkansas Department of Human Services terminated its contracts with the nonprofit, which provided approximately 5,200 Medicaid recipients with behavioral health services at 47 Arkansas locations.

Preferred Family Healthcare brought in more than $33 million a year through the Arkansas Medicaid program before the state cut the agreements, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

Hogs Coach Still Hasn't Named Starting Quarterback

Arkansas Coach Chad Morris still hasn’t chosen a starting quarterback between Ty Storey and Cole Kelley.

Neither stood out in the Razorbacks’ 34-27 loss at Colorado State last Saturday. Morris expects both to play Saturday against North Texas.

Kelley has completed 15 of 21 passes for 194 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions this season. Storey has completed 17 of 30 for passes for 297 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions and has rushed for 26 yards and a touchdown on five carries.

Morris says rotating quarterbacks three games into a season is not ideal, but he did it in his final year as offensive coordinator at Clemson with Cole Stoudt and Deshaun Watson in 2014. Morris says a decision wasn’t made that year until after the start of conference play.

Colorado Biologist Using Snake Venom in Cancer Research

Most of us try to avoid this reptile at all costs.

One biologist in Colorado, however, is studying how snakes can help fight deadly diseases.

Stephen Mackessy spent decades studying rattlesnake at the University of Northern Colorado.

His current research focuses on their venom.

“We began working with several rattlesnakes to isolate a particular small compound from the venom that doesn't kill cancer cells but instead causes them not to disperse, metastasize through the body.”

Cancers can become particularly dangerous as they spread through away from a tumor site and then spread throughout the body.

Mackessy’s passion for research stems from a childhood experience from snakes.

FDA Warns Against Liquid Nitrogen Fad

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning people to avoid eating, drinking or handling foods prepared with liquid nitrogen just before they are sold.

According to the FDA, liquid nitrogen can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidentally ingested due to the extremely low temperatures it can maintain.

“When you eat something that is extremely cold, I'm talking much colder than ice cream, you're going to get a frostbite-type injury,” says Executive Director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center Dr. Diane Calello.

The FDA says inhaling the vapor released by a food or drink prepared with the substance immediately before consumption may also cause breathing difficulty, especially among individuals with asthma.

“Injuries have occurred from handling or eating products prepared by adding liquid nitrogen immediately before consumption, even after the liquid nitrogen has fully evaporated due to the extremely low temperature of the food,” said the FDA in a press release.

These products are often marketed under the names "Dragon’s Breath," "Heaven’s Breath," "nitro puff," among other names. The FDA says the products may be found in malls, food courts, kiosks, state or local fairs, and other food retail locations.

In general, the FDA says other foods treated with liquid nitrogen, like some frozen confections, aren't dangerous because they aren't so cold by the time they get to the consumer.