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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Days of Christmas Giving - Non-Profit Spotlight - ECHO Clinic

In the Spirit of the Season, KTHS is highlighting local non-profit organizations. Today's spotlight is ECHO Clinic in Eureka Springs. 

ECHO Clinic is a faith-based free medical clinic for uninsured, low income individuals. They are a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation that operates 100% by Volunteers and donations. They are located on Hwy. 62 East at Rock House Road in Eureka Springs. Janet Arnett is Clinic Administrator...........

Donations to ECHO Clinic can be made to 4004 E. Van Buren in Eureka Springs, Ar., 72616, or on their website, Donations to ECHO Village can also be made to 4004 E. Van Buren. The phone number is 479-253-5547.

Our spotlight of ECHO Clinic is brought to you by Ozark Physical Therapy.

Quorum Court Report

The Carroll County Quorum Court met Monday with all J.P.'s present except for Roger Hall. 

J.P.'s approved the 2019 Budget for the County and Jack Deaton on the Budget and Finance Committee said some County employees will be getting raises or salary adjustments in 2019, for the first time in years....

Also with comments there were Larry Swofford and Noreen Watson. J.P.'s also approved the following: A Resolution confirming the appointment of commissioners to the Inspiration Point Rural Fire Protection District, Art Klass, James Black and Ed Thomson; An appropriation ordinance allowing vacation pay in lieu of taking off from work; A Resolution re-appointing Joann Griesenauer to the Eastern Carroll County Ambulance District, and as mentioned, the 2019 Budget.

J.P.'s will meet next the first Monday of January at 5pm.

Crews Begin Draining Lake Harrison Looking for Missing Couple

Crews in Harrison began draining a lake in the search for a couple missing since November 30.

John and Amy Villines disappeared during flash flooding around Lake Harrison. Searchers found the Villines' car. But no sign of them.

The lake's walking trail from the old junior high parking lot is closed during the search. It could cost the city up to $400,000 to drain the lake. 

Legislators File Bill to Cut Concealed Handgun License Fee

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is backing an effort to cut in half the license fees for carrying a concealed handgun.

The Governor says he supports legislation filed on Monday to cut the initial filing fee for a concealed handgun license from $100 to $50. The measure would also cut the license renewal fee from $50 to $25.

Hutchinson praised Republican Sens. Trent Garner and Bob Ballinger along with GOP Rep. Jim Dotson, who sponsored the legislation. Hutchinson says he believes the measure strikes the "right balance" in reducing the fees.

Arkansas State Police says the financial impact of the proposed fee cut would be $1.2 million. Arkansas has more than 224,000 concealed carry license holders.

Over 4,000 Arkansan's Lost Insurance Coverage December 1

More than 4,600 Arkansas Works enrollees lost their coverage on Dec. 1 as a result of the program’s work requirement, according to figures released Monday.

The terminations bring the total number who have lost coverage due to the requirement since the state began implementing it in June to 16,932.

To meet the requirement, enrollees who don’t qualify for an exemption must spend 80 hours a month on work or other approved activities. Enrollees who fail to meet the requirement for three months during a year are terminated from the program and barred from re-enrolling for the rest of the year.

The 4,655 enrollees who lost coverage this month is the largest number to be dropped from the program for noncompliance in a single month so far.

Partly as a result of the terminations, the state also reported that total enrollment in the program dropped from 245,553 on Nov. 1 to 234,385 as of Dec. 1.

The program covers Arkansans who became eligible for Medicaid when the state extended the assistance in 2014 to adults with incomes of up to 138 percent of the poverty level.

Lead Hill Man Arrested for Breaking into Impound Lot to Retrieve Car

A Lead Hill man was arrested Monday on multiple felony charges after a man broke into an impound lot after being released from law enforcement custody the same day.

On Sunday Robert Lambert, 44 was released from the Baxter County Jail at about 9:15 a.m. after being arrested by the Mountain Home Police Department on Dec. 14 for various charges, according to a Baxter County press release. His vehicle was impounded by the police on Dec. 14 and taken to a local impound lot.

After Lambert's release he went to the impound lot to find his vehicle. The impound lot was closed, but Lambert was captured on video crawling under a fence into the lot, according to the release.

Once inside the lot, Lambert allegedly gained access to a 2008 Toyota Infinity, which wasn't his vehicle, and drove the car through the gate to the lot.

Lambert then went back into the impound lot, got inside his Chevrolet Blazer and fled, according to the release.

Lambert was found later this afternoon and taken into custody, according to the release.

Lambert is back in the Baxter County Jail on three counts of felony breaking/entering, two counts of felony theft of property, one count of felony criminal mischief and one misdemeanor count of criminal mischief, according to the release.

Lambert has a bond of $50,000. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 10, 2019.

HUD Releases Homeless Numbers

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released it's homelessness numbers across the country.

A little more than 2,700 people experienced homelessness on a single night in Arkansas, according to the 2018 Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.

That's down 9 percent from last year. 

However, the study also shows homelessness rose among veterans by 5 percent and by more than 21 percent for families and children. 

Porch Pirates Beware

Any “Grinch” trying to steal Christmas could spend the holidays in prison on federal charges.

According to a press release, United State Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Cody Hiland announced a joint statewide federal initiative Monday, labeled Operation Porch Pirate

The goal is to catch and federally prosecute mail thieves.

In a press conference, Hiland partnered with the United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Duane Kees and Mona Hernandez of the United States Postal Inspection Service, along with representatives from local law enforcement agencies. This initiative has brought together local police departments and the federal government to provide greater accountability and hopefully deterrence for mail thieves.

Under the umbrella of Operation Porch Pirate, after a local agency makes a state arrest, the case file will be referred to the United States Postal Inspection Service, which will, in turn, send the case to the United States Attorneys’ Offices for review for federal prosecution.

Mona Hernandez, U.S. Postal Inspector, said their message to thieves is simple, don’t take it.

Hiland said as long as criminals keep trying to steal other people’s mail, his office will be ready and willing to prosecute, regardless of the season.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Days of Christmas Giving - Featuring the Mission Clinic of Berryville

We continue today with our Days of Christmas Giving, non-profit hightlight.

The Mission Clinic of Berryville is a place of Christian healing and support, serving the medical needs of those who cannot afford medical insurance. 

It was started a little over 20 years ago by the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. Then about seven years ago they became independent and became a 501C3.

The Clinic sees people who are uninsured or underinsured or between insurance plans, who could easily fall through the cracks if they didn't have some place like the Mission Clinic. They even welcome migrant families who may not be able to get insurance. 

The Berryville Mission cllinic is located on Hwy 62 next to the Catholic Church. Dr. Kevin Richter is a volunteer Doctor at the clinic on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, starting at 5pm. No appointment is necessary and it's first come first served. Nurses come in on Fridays from 1:30-5pm and they can refill medications, answer questions and get you set up to see the doctor if necessary.

Donations can be mailed to the Mission Clinic of Berryville, 700 South Main Street, Berryville 72616. All donations are tax deductable and they will send you a statement if you leave your address. The Clinic is all volunteer and donations help keep the Free Clinic free.

Our non-profit spotlight has been brought to you by Ozark Physical Therapy. 870-423-5363. 

Huntsville Man Remembered

The City of Huntsville is mourning as they remember a man who lived to be 105 years old. 

Noble Bohannan, also known as Tobe, held a special place at Huntsville schools. He leaves behind his wife, Barbara, and a community remembering their favorite janitor. 

Seventy-eight years young, Tobe went back to school to be a janitor at the Huntsville School District.

The hometown hero retired from his position at the age of 102. Just three years later, he died due to complications of a broken hip.

His wife said he was known all over town and people would always wave.

On Friday the City of Huntsville remembered the longtime employee as a loving husband and, of course, a handyman.

SW Mo Man Pleds Guilty of Cattle Fraud Scheme

An Ozark, Mo. man pleaded guilty in federal court to a $2.4 million wire fraud scheme in which he falsely claimed that he had purchased thousands of head of cattle under a contract with a Texas company.

Dwight Moody Cox, 57, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, to one count of wire fraud.

Cox was the owner of Dwight Cox Cattle Company, which provided cattle procurement services. DCCC purchased cattle throughout the region and placed those cattle on land owned or rented by Cox to graze and feed. Once the cattle reached a specified weight, Cox shipped the cattle to his clients.

Cox had a contract with Texas Beef Cattle Company (TBCC), located in Amarillo, Texas, from 2009 until Nov. 30, 2017. During this period of time, Cox purchased cattle from various livestock auction houses and kept them on land he owned or had rented to graze, feed, and provide care. Cox submitted invoices to TBCC for all cattle he purchased, and billed TBCC for feeding the cattle. Once the cattle had reached a weight previously agreed to between Cox and TBCC, the cattle would be shipped by Cox to TBCC. TBCC would then sell the cattle and any profits would be shared equally between TBCC and Cox.

Between April 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2017, Cox submitted 35 different invoices, claiming to have purchased approximately 3,250 head of cattle. Cox also claimed to have those cattle grazing on land he owned or rented. In return for his representations, TBCC issued bank transfer payments in the amount of approximately $2,559,419.Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones.

USDA Takes to the Skies to Fight Feral Hogs

Feral hogs are a menace in parts of Missouri, so federal officials are taking to the skies to combat the wild animal that can destroy multiple acres of farmland in a single feeding frenzy.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a team with the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service shot and killed 103 feral hogs this past week from a helicopter. Ninety-three hogs were on federal wilderness in southeast Missouri's Iron and Madison counties, and the other 10 on private land, killed with the owners' permission.

Most of Missouri's feral hog population is south of Interstate 44. The problem is most persistent in southeast Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Conservation, other agencies and private landowners killed 7,339 hogs through September of this year, 778 more than in 2017.

The so-called "aerial gunning activities" are used as a last resort for hard-to-catch hogs hiding in rugged terrain. Agents often leave hogs shot in aerial operations on site to decompose to feed back into the ecosystem.
Iron County Presiding Commissioner Jim Scaggs, a Democrat, said he tries to eliminate hogs on his 100-acre farm, but they reproduce quickly and have destroyed his crops at least three times.

Affordable Care Act Ruling Must Survive Higher Courts

If you like your Obamacare health plan, you can keep it -- at least for now.

A federal judge’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional was a Friday-evening bombshell and a first-round victory for opponents of the law. But it will need to survive review by higher courts to have any effect on the program that’s credited with expanding health insurance to about 19 million people in the U.S.

A crimson banner appeared on the federally run website over the weekend to reassure potential customers: “Court’s decision does not affect 2019 enrollment or coverage.” People had through Dec. 15 to sign up for coverage for next year in 39 states, and longer in some states like New York and California.

The White House confirmed that the law remains in effect pending appeal, even as President Donald Trump called the ruling “great news” and suggested Congress start working on a replacement. The ruling has “no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan,” Seema Verma, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, tweeted.

Pressure will now be on Republicans, who’ve decried the ACA for years, to offer alternatives that won’t shut out sick people, as insurance markets routinely did before Obamacare. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said the ruling “exposes the monstrous endgame of Republicans’ all-out assault” on access to affordable health care.

Verma last month said she had “contingency plans” to protect people with pre-existing conditions, without offering details.

The ACA has been here before, twice. In the first major legal challenge led by ideological opponents of the law, the Supreme Court in 2012 affirmed that the bulk of the ACA was constitutional, while making Medicaid expansion optional for states. Three years later, the high court left the law intact again.

Five of the current justices on the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice John Roberts, have twice declined to strike down the law. Roberts, now seen as the court’s swing vote, wrote both of the opinions backing the law.

U.S. Congress Votes to Legalize Cultivation of Hemp

Congress voted last week to legalize the cultivation of hemp in the US after months of debate and negotiation between lawmakers.

Hemp legalization was tucked into the 2018 farm bill, a massive piece of legislation that also addresses issues such as nutrition, conservation, trade, energy and forestry.

The bill received strong bipartisan support, and is now headed to President Donald Trump's desk. He's expected to sign it into law.

Now that hemp is (almost) legal, there are all kinds of implications for farmers, researchers and consumers.

For decades, the federal government has treated hemp just like any other cannabis plant. Since 1970, it had been classified as a schedule 1 drug on the Drug Enforcement Administration's list of controlled substances, alongside heroin, LSD and marijuana. The DEA defines schedule 1 drugs as having no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

The new bill takes hemp off that list.

The schedule 1 designation made universities reluctant to get involved in hemp research, according to Lawrence Smart, a professor of horticulture at Cornell University.

If you're hopeful about what this bill means for legal pot, don't hold your breath.

This newest Congress seems more open to legalizing pot than ever, but Republicans still control the Senate. And McConnell and many other senators (from both parties) remain opposed to marijuana legalization.

It's true that Trump hasn't been a vocal opponent of marijuana. But he's certainly not leading the charge to light up.

Don't Fall Prey to Holiday Scams

Scammers work overtime during the holiday season, when people generally are busy and a little les vigilant. A few tips can keep folks safe from fraud, especially when shoping online.........

Friday, December 12, 2018

Days of Christmas Giving - Non-Profit Spotlight - Food Pantry at Bethel Baptist Church

In the Spirit of the Season, KTHS is highlighting local non-profit organizations. Today's spotlight is the food pantry at Bethel Baptist in Green Forest. Jamie Hussey talked to co-directors Barbara Lynch and Deborah Spate..............

Other volunteers include Doyle Lynch, Tim McKinney, Darlene Harwood, Grace Marshall, Virginia Roberts, Jerry Carlton, and Bob and Rhonda Yarberry.

Ben Wood helps carry food to cars, Joe Summers Pastor is driver, Johnny Arnold and Jimmy Bishop are unloaders. Monthly supporters include Bethel Baptish, Grandview Baptist, New Hope Fellowship, Victory Tabernacle, Coin Church, Cowboy Church, Farewell 4-H, Kurt Powell, Sr - supplies turkeys for Thanksgiving and Bethel Agape.

Donations can be made to the Food Pantry by calling Barbara Lynch at 423-2654.

Our local non-profit spotlight is brought to you by Suzette Jackson @ Jackson Insurance Agency. 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.

Harrison Officials Approve Spending for Draining Lake Harrison

After impassioned pleas from family members, the Harrison City Council voted unanimously to approve the cost of cleaning and draining Lake Harrison to aid in the search for John and Amy Villines, who were apparently caught in a flash flood on Friday, Nov. 30. Their bodies have not been recovered. 

Authorities believe a flash flood swept the couple away two weeks ago, and they traveled through a dry creek bed that leads to the lake.

The Harrison fire chief said after days of searching as far down the creek as Pyatt, and dive teams, cadaver dogs and helicopters searching the lake, they’re scaling back..”

The cost to the city was estimated to be between $200-400,000. Council also decided to waive bids and hire Crouse Construction in Harrison for the job.

The family, and city and county leaders said they are so thankful to this community for everything they've done.

Hindsville Declined Grant for Walking Trail

Hindsville did not get a grant from Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s “Blue and You” Foundation for a walking trail at Georgia Mae Smith Park.

Natalie Cline, an employee of Anderson’s Gas & Propane, applied in July for a $28,000 grant with the foundation. Cline said last week that she received a letter saying Hindsville was turned down for the grant request.

According to the Madison County Record, the foundation funds about $2 million in grants each year to “nonprofit or governmental organizations and programs that positively affect the health of Arkansans.”

Two pavilions and some playground equipment have been built in the park, which sits next to the Hindsville Fire Department.

Cline said she applied for a similar grant in 2016, but Hindsville was turned down. The city did receive $10,000 in General Improvement Funds through the state and another $10,000 from a Hindsville native who wanted money put toward a walking track.

Cline said she again spoke with State Rep. Bob Ballinger, who said possible matching grants could be available.

Regional Election Officials Meet

Election officials from Northwest Arkansas and around the state met Thursday to review the midterm and runoff election season. 

The regional meeting was hosted by the Washington County Election Commission. It was joined by a number of election commissioners from nearby counties, as well those from the State Board, State Legislators and the secretary of state-elect.

They discussed any problems that might have happened during the most recent election season, as well as solutions. 

Proposed legislation for 2019 and how to prepare for the presidential election in 2020 was also discussed.

Helpline for Medicaid Expansion Program

Arkansas is setting up a helpline for people on its Medicaid expansion program to report hours worked under a requirement that's led to more than 12,000 people losing their health care coverage.

The Department of Human Services said Wednesday that Medicaid expansion beneficiaries who are subject to the work requirement will be able to report their hours worked by calling the phone line beginning December 19. Beneficiaries previously had to report hours online or by calling "registered reporters" at insurance carriers or other groups that can log in and report for them.

Advocacy groups have criticized the online reporting system, saying it penalizes people without internet access.

The help line, which is 1-855-372-1084, will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Former Lincoln Police Chief Arrested

State police arrested former Lincoln Police Chief Brian Key on Thursday in connection with drug-related offenses.

Key, 41, is accused of tampering with physical evidence and possession of drug paraphernalia, both felonies. He was booked and released from the Washington County Detention Center on $1,500 bond. Key is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 26.

Key altered, destroyed, suppressed, removed or concealed records or other items with the purpose of impairing an investigation in late October, according to an arrest warrant.

Mayor Rob Hulse fired Key on Oct. 27, three days after Hulse placed him on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. Hulse said he made the decision to fire Key based on evidence that developed after the chief was placed on administrative leave. No information was released at the time on why Hulse fired Key.

Assistant Chief Russell Morphis was named acting police chief.

Hulse hired Kenneth Albright as police chief in November. Albright had been with the Washington County Sheriff's Office since 2004.

Key had been with Lincoln police for almost 15 years and was promoted to chief Aug. 22.

Kimberly-Clark to Close Conway Facility

Kimberly-Clark Corp. said Thursday that it will close its Conway manufacturing facility by 2021, ending months of uncertainty about whether the company would choose the Arkansas plant, or a similar factory in Wisconsin, for closure.

The announcement about the Conway facility, which employs 344 people, came after Wisconsin and Kimberly-Clark reached an agreement involving a $28 million incentive package.

The company said that the decision came as part of a global restructuring announced in January to lower costs. The effort is to eliminate 5,000 to 5,500 jobs -- 12 percent to 13 percent of the company's workforce -- and close 10 plants by the end of 2020.

Kimberly-Clark has been a part of Conway's manufacturing base for decades and a member of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce since 1970. The company said it remains committed to its other Arkansas operations, which include a manufacturing facility in Maumelle and an office in Bentonville.

Possible Government Shutdown Looms

A possible partial government shutdown is less than two weeks away with President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats locked in a dispute over border security and no resolution in sight.

Funding expires for a number of key government agencies on December 21 at midnight. And while there is still time to avert a shutdown, so far the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement to keep the government open.

The key sticking point is how much money Congress should allocate for the President's long-promised wall at the US-Mexico border. Trump wants $5 billion, but Democrats are unwilling to agree to that and any spending bill needs bipartisan support to pass Congress, due in part to Senate rules requiring a 60-vote threshold to advance (Republicans control the chamber 51-49).

If a shutdown takes place, it would be limited in scope. That's because Congress has already funded roughly 75% of the federal government through September 2019, including the Pentagon as well as the Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor.

But that doesn't mean a partial shutdown just days before Christmas wouldn't be disruptive.

There are still seven spending bills that need to be passed and funding is set to expire on December 21 for the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Interior Department, the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other parts of the government.

In the event of a shutdown, some federal employees would be deemed essential and would continue to work, but their pay would be withheld until the shutdown is over.

Other federal employees would be placed on furlough, meaning they would effectively be put on a leave of absence without pay. Congress could move to order that furloughed employees be paid retroactively after the shutdown is over, but that is not guaranteed.

Green Comet Visible Sunday

The night sky will come alive this weekend when a green comet streaks by Earth on the heels of the Geminid meteor showers display of green fireballs.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen began brightening in November, but it will make its closest approach to Earth on Sunday and be visible with the naked eye. The comet will come within 7 million miles of Earth — a proximity that won’t happen again for 20 years. That’s 30 times the moon’s distance from us.

The comet should be brightest on December 16, as bright as the star in the constellation of the Little Dipper’s handle, according to NASA. But even now, it’s currently the brightest comet in the night sky, and the brightest of 2018.

The University of Maryland’s astronomy department said that Comet 46P will be the 10th closest comet since 1950 because few comets are ever bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.

The “Christmas comet” appears in our sky once every five years as it orbits the sun. It was closest to the sun on December 12. The comet is named for the man that first observed it in 1948, Carl Wirtanen, a senior observing assistant at California’s Lick Observatory.

“Look towards the east with a small pair of binoculars or a telescope to see the green, fuzzy comet. It will be near the constellation Orion, or the saucepan,” said Brad Tucker from the Australian National University Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Days of Christmas Giving - Featuring Grandma's House

Our featured local non-profit spotlight today is Grandma's House. Their mission is to provide a safe and welcoming environment designed specifically for children, and to help and support them while facing the challenges of abuse, the investigation, and the healing process that lies ahead. We talked to Michelle Steiner, Executive Director............

Your donation can be made by visiting Grandmas, or mail a donation to 501 West Stephenson Ave., Harrison, AR 72601 or call 870-391-2224.

Our non-profit spotlight today was brought to you by Dr. Sidani and Dr. Cutler w/ Arkansas Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.

Local Medical Marijuana Growing Center Under Construction

The construction of a medical marijuana growing center in the area is now underway and officials are hopeful that the construction will bring jobs and visitors to the region.

According to a report from KSPR in Springfield, Osage Creek Cultivation of Berryville was one of the top-scoring growing centers selected by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission earlier this year.

Matt Trulove, an official with the center, said construction will be complete by March 1, with a possible delivery date of June 1 for medical marijuana.

The commission has finished scoring all of the growing center applications while a consulting firm was working on the dispensary applications.

Scott Hardin spokesman for Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said the 32 top-scoring applicants will receive a license to sell medical marijuana.

Stone County Mo. Man Charged with Animal Abuse and Drug Possession

A Stone County, Mo. man has been charged in relation to the abandoned horses and other animals found starved and neglected.

Ray Dean Clark, 56, has been charged with two counts of animal abuse and possession of controlled substances.

Two abandoned horses, as well as other animals, were seized from Clark's home after the animals appeared to be neglected on Tuesday.

His bond is set at $50,000.

Scholarship Lottery Revenue Increased Slightly Over Year Ago

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery’s revenue and the amount raised for college scholarships in November both increased slightly over year-ago figures, the lottery reported Monday.

The lottery’s revenue increased from $36.2 million in November 2017 to $37.7 million last month, while net proceeds, the amount raised for college scholarships, increased from $6.7 million to $6.8 million, the lottery reported in its monthly report to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Legislative Council’s lottery oversight subcommittee.

The lottery has helped finance more than 30,000 Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships during each of the past eight fiscal years.

The total amount awarded for scholarships peaked in fiscal 2013 at $132.9 million, according to the state Department of Higher Education.

The department has projected that about 34,200 students will receive Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships totaling $92.6 million in fiscal 2019.

Teacher and Coach Arrested on Child Porn Charges

A high school basketball coach who was once named Mr. Basketball of Arkansas was arrested Monday on a child porn charge, according to online records.

Brandon Ballard, who is a teacher and coach at Buffalo Island Central High School in Monette, was booked into the Pike County jail shortly after 11:30 a.m., records show. 

Ballard faces a charge of computer child pornography, according to a news release from the Buffalo Island School District. 

The district said that Ballard has been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation. The coach will not be permitted on campus or around students during this period, the release states.

Ballard was named Mr. Basketball, an honor given to the state’s best high school basketball player, while he was a senior at Buffalo Island Central High School. He later played for a season at Arkansas State University. 

Few Days Left to Enroll for Affordable Care Act

With just days left to enroll, fewer people are signing up for the Affordable Care Act, even though premiums are stable, more plans are available and millions of uninsured people can still get financial help.

Barring an enrollment surge, the nation's uninsured rate could edge up again after a yearslong coverage expansion that has seen about 20 million people obtain health insurance.

A status report Wednesday from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showed nearly 20 percent fewer new people signed up than at about the same time last year. New sign-ups drive the growth of the marketplaces, helping keep premiums in check.

The sign-up deadline in most states is this Saturday, for coverage beginning Jan. 1. A few states that run their own health care websites have later deadlines.

Trying to encourage enrollment, former President Barack Obama posted a whimsical video on social media Monday encouraging young adults to sign up for his signature program. That same day, a crush of people tried to enroll in what was the highest traffic this open enrollment season.

The new numbers suggest there may be less demand for government-subsidized insurance during a time of strong economic growth. But interviews with current and former officials, consumer organizations and independent experts also revealed several factors that appear to be cutting into enrollment.

—Lack of a strategy for expanding, the federal insurance marketplace.

The Trump administration didn't set sign-up targets for the health overhaul, according to a report this summer from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. Such targets are a standard management tool for government agencies.

The administration has been using targeted emails and social media messaging, but that's nowhere near the effort expended in the Obama years. Administration officials say they are focused on providing a smooth sign-up experience for consumers who want coverage.

—No penalty for being uninsured.

The GOP-led Congress repealed the fine for being uninsured, effective this Jan. 1. The tax penalty was the most unpopular part of Obama's law.

Record Number of Mysterious Paralyzing Illnesses in Children

This year has seen a record number of cases of a mysterious paralyzing illness in children, U.S. health officials said Monday.

It's still not clear what's causing the kids to lose the ability to move their face, neck, back, arms or legs. The symptoms tend to occur about a week after the children had a fever and respiratory illness.

No one has died from the rare disease this year, but it was blamed for one death last year and it may have caused others in the past.

What's more, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say many children have lasting paralysis. And close to half the kids diagnosed with it this year were admitted to hospital intensive care units and hooked up to machines to help them breathe.

The condition has been likened to polio, a dreaded paralyzing illness that once struck tens of thousands of U.S. children a year. Those outbreaks ended after a polio vaccine became available in the 1950s. Investigators of the current outbreak have ruled out polio, finding no evidence of that virus in recent cases.

The condition is called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM. 

As of this week, there were 311 illness reports still being evaluated.

This year's confirmed cases are spread among 36 states. The states with the most are Texas, with 21, and Colorado, 15.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Days of Christmas Giving - Non-profit Spotlight - Carroll County Community Foundation

In the spirit of the season, today on news we continue our spotlight of local non-profits. We call it Days of Christmas Giving.

Our featured non-profit today is the Carroll County Community Foundation. Janell Robertson is Executive Director.............

Online donations can be made at, by mail to 149 Huntsville Rd., Ste. C, Eureka Springs, 72632 or call 479-253-8203. Our non-profit spotlight today was brought to you by Bare and Swett Insurance Agency.

ADH Reports Flu Death

A fourth flu death has been reported this season in Arkansas. 

An Arkansas Health Department report states that the victim was in the 45-65 age range. 

The CDC has reported a total of five pediatric deaths nationwide this season. 

Since September 30, over 1,400 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers. In week 49, 34 counties reported influenza cases. The majority of reports came from Sebastian, Independence, Garland, White, Craighead, Izard, Benton, Faulkner, Hempstead, Hot Springs and Van Buren. 

Among flu antigen tests that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 68 percent were influenza A, and 32 percent were influenza B. 

Animals Rescued - Owner Arrested for Drugs

The Stone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri Humane Society seized chickens, dogs, and cats from a home off Trace Hollow Road near Lampe on Tuesday.

The owner of the animals is also the owner of the two horses that were found abandoned on someone else’s land on Saturday. Both horses are deceased due to apparent starvation.

While seizing the other animals, investigators also found drugs in the home.

Sheriff Doug Rader said, "We assisted The Humane Society. We came in and they seized the rest of the animals at the suspect's residence. While at the suspect's residents, meth and part of a methamphetamine lab were discovered. We have served another search warrant now, seizing the drugs and the meth lab."

The suspect has been taken into custody and charges are pending. 

Arkansas Soybean Crop Suffering

Agriculture experts say Arkansas soybean farmers have lost at least $77 million this year after heavy rainfall interrupted harvest season and damaged the quality of the crop.

University of Arkansas researchers found that wet conditions starting with Tropical Storm Gordon in September and continued rainfall in the following months delayed harvest, costing about $56 million in physical damage to soybeans. The university's report says farmers will likely spend another $21 million to repair fields.

The total doesn't account for soybean farmers' losses sustained from having their dominant export market largely close as China responds to President Donald Trump's trade tariffs. The lack of sales has forced many U.S. farmers to store their crops, creating an excess supply.Running a holiday sale or weekly special? Definitely promote it here to get customers excited about getting a sweet deal.

Farm Bill Agreement Signed

Lawmakers have reached an agreement on the farm bill, a mammoth package that will fund key farm safety net programs for the next five years without making significant changes to the food stamp program that serves nearly 40 million low-income Americans.

The agreement, signed on Monday by House and Senate members of the conference committee, is the result of months of negotiations to reconcile conflicting versions of the bill.

The measure bears a price tag of $867 billion over 10 years and is expected to be brought to a vote this week, though exact timing is uncertain.

US Senator John Boozman said, “This is welcome news for farmers, ranchers, rural Americans and consumers. Farmers and ranchers across the country have been dealing with low commodity prices, high input costs, volatile weather events and an uncertain trade environment. This farm bill will bring much-needed certainty and predictability to farm policy for the next five years."

Farm Family of the Year Selected

There is a new Arkansas Farm Family of the year!

The honor goes to Chris and Judy Isbell of Humnoke in Lonoke County.

Isbell Farms is a fifth generation family operation growing 3,000 acres of crop, specializing in rice, including Japanese varieties of rice.

The family farm is also a leader in sustainable production through the reduction of water usage, methane emissions, energy usage, and the creation of carbon offsets. 

Chris Isbell commented, "What we want to do is take this opportunity as a farm family to let people know it's no longer the old man and old lady with a pitchfork. We've had to up our game in order to feed people."

The Farm Family competition is judged on production, efficiency & management of farm operations, family life, leadership, and values.

Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage Recall

CTI Foods, LLC. has recalled Jimmy Dean’s Ready-To-Eat Pork and Sausage products due to foreign matter contamination, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

The pork and sausage products are said to be possibly contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically pieces of metal, said USDA. The product is referred to as 23.4-oz. pouches of “Jimmy Dean HEAT ’n SERVE Original SAUSAGE LINKS Made with Pork & Turkey” with a use by date of Jan. 31, 2019. The product bears case code A6382168, with a time stamp range of 11:58 through 01:49.

USDA says the company received five consumer complaints of metal pieces in the RTE sausage links. No adverse reactions due to consumption have been reported.

Consumers are urged to throw the product away or return them to the place of purchase. Read the full USDA report HERE.

FDA Recalls 9Lives Cat Food

Listen up, cat owners: The Food and Drug Administration has issued a recall alert for certain varieties of 9Lives cat food.

The J.M. Smucker Company is voluntarily recalling its 9Lives Protein Plus wet, canned food due to possible low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1). 

The products affected include:

· 9Lives Protein Plus with Tuna & Chicken, 4-packs of 5.5-ounce cans, with Best if Used by date of Mar. 27, 2020-Nov. 14, 2020. UPC code: 7910021549 

· 9Lives Protein Plus with Tuna & Liver, 4-packs of 5.5-ounce cans, with Best if Used by date of Apr. 17, 2020-Sept. 14, 2020. UPC code: 7910021748

Those who have the recalled products should stop feeding it to their cats.

To receive a refund or coupon for a replacement product, contact the company by completing this form or by calling 1-888-569-6828, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

According to the FDA, no other 9Lives products or J.M. Smucker Company products are affected by this recall.

Cats fed diets low in thiamine are at risk of developing a deficiency which can lead to vomiting, loss of appetite, seizures, and sudden death.

Football Recruit Chooses Arkansas

Arkansas has landed one of its priority recruits with the addition of Iowa Central Community College offensive tackle Myron Cunningham.

Cunningham, 6-6, 300, chose Arkansas over the other finalist Oklahoma. He announced his decision on Twitter on Tuesday.

Arkansas offered Cunningham on Sept. 26. Cunningham now has 15 offers, but at the time of the Razorback offer he only had ones from UAB (July 31), New Mexico State (Sept. 26), Arkansas State (Sept. 23) and Southern Miss (Sept. 19). The Razorbacks made him a priority from the time they offered.

Cunningham is the fourth offensive line scholarship commitment in the Class of 2019. 

Arkansas will also learn the status of Lackawanna (Pa.) Community College offensive tackle Chibueze Nwanna, 6-8, 320, on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Central. Nwanna also was at Arkansas this past weekend on an official visit. His decision is down to the Hogs and Maryland.