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Berryville Elementary School






6-25-19

Berryville Receives $1.5 million Federal Grant for Industrial Park Infrastructure

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  The city of Berryville will receive a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide the infrastructure needed to establish a 160-acre industrial park, according to a news release. The project, which will be in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $401,000 in local funds and is expected to create or retain more than 400 jobs and lead to more than $330 million in private investment.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced Friday (June 21) the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding the grant.

“Opportunity Zones were designed to spur investment and lead to good jobs and economic growth,” said U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. “This EDA grant will allow the Berryville industrial park to offer both while leveraging private investment and laying the groundwork for future development. I’m pleased this grant is being awarded to this project and am hopeful it will deliver more benefits to the region in the future.”

“This strategic investment in our community will serve as a catalyst for economic growth and opportunity,” said U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers. “Long-term infrastructure improvements for the Berryville industrial park will create jobs, boost business competitiveness, and support economic growth in Arkansas. Opportunity Zones are unlocking the potential of regions across the country, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact right here in the Third District.”

The project will include street and drainage work and wastewater extensions to the industrial park. The project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District. The EDA gives money to the district to bring together the public and private sectors to spur economic development and strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs, the news release shows.

The federal program to establish Opportunity Zones was included in the $1.8 trillion Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed by Congress in December 2017. Under the tax reform plan approved by Congress, the Trump administration backed a new Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service program establishing qualified Opportunity Zones to spur investment in distressed communities across the country through a new federal capital gains tax incentive. In May 2018, Gov. Asa Hutchinson was notified that the U.S. Treasury had approved his nominations for 85 Opportunity Zones in Arkansas.

Informational Meetings Planned for Berryville's Future Library

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  On May 21, 2019, the Berryville Public Library made the announcement of their intentions to begin raising needed funds to build a new library since he library has severely outgrown its existing space and has been in the same location for over 30 years. The City Council agreed unanimously to give the land to the library for use in building the new structure. 

According to Library Director, Julie Hall, 'Feedback from the community on what they would like to see in a new library is imperative." The library intends on raising the funds before beginning any construction efforts. 

Two informal feedback sessions are scheduled. Thursday, June 27 from 6pm-7pm and the second one is scheduled for July 16 from 6pm-7 at the library. 

Please make plans to attend. RSVP to 870-423-2323.

Spillway Gates Opened at Beaver Dam and Table Rock Dam

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  The Corps of Engineers, opened all seven spillway gates at Beaver Dam Sunday, . The combined flow from the spillways and an electric generation turbine was 11,400 c.f.s.

A later release from the Corp indicated the flow level was being increased to 19,500 c.f.s. Following weekend rains, the lake level at Beaver was approaching 1130 feet above sea level, prompting the additional water release.

The Corps of Engineers will begin a spillway release from Table Rock Dam beginning at 7:00 a.m. today (Tuesday, June 25) as part of the ongoing effort to evacuate water captured during heavy spring rains.

Five spillway gates will be opened one foot each beginning at 7:00 a.m. By 8:00 a.m. all 10 gates will have opened 1 foot releasing about 10,500 cubic feet per second combined with the 24-hour hydropower releases of about 9,500 c.f.s. The combined release will be about 20,000 c.f.s. That equals 8,976,623 gallons pouring from the dam every minute, and 12,926,337,264 gallons for an entire day.

One of the four hydropower turbines is currently off-line at Table Rock Dam.

Two Confirmed Tornadoes in Logan County Sunday

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  Weather forecasters confirmed two weak tornadoes touched down in Logan County on Sunday as powerful storms passed through the state.

Jim Reynolds, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in North Little Rock, said Monday a damage survey showed two EF-0 tornadoes touched down just southeast of Paris early Sunday morning.

Both tornadoes traveled one-tenth of a mile on the ground, causing tree upheaval and damaging the porch of a mobile home, Reynolds said.

"An EF-0 is the weakest tornado that can occur," Reynolds said. "It wasn't so much the speed of the wind but the damage that was done that showed it was tornadoes."

Twenty-four tornadoes have been reported as touching down in Arkansas this year.

Reynolds said they usually see 33 tornadoes in the average year.

Jeremy Hutchinson Changing His Plea

AT&T is launching a new initiative to help hungry Arkansas. 
Later this year, food donations can be

  A former Arkansas lawmaker who is also the governor's nephew is expected to change his plea to federal charges he spent thousands of dollars in campaign funds on trips, groceries and other personal expenses, according to a court document filed Monday.

A change of plea hearing was scheduled Tuesday for former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, who pleaded not guilty in September and had been seeking to have the charges against him dismissed. Hutchinson's attorney and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas office declined to comment on the filing.

Hutchinson was charged with eight counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns. He was charged in a separate case in April with accepting bribes in exchange for helping a Missouri nonprofit. A former executive with the nonprofit, Preferred Family Healthcare, admitted June 12 to taking part in a conspiracy to bribe Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is the son of former U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson and the nephew of Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Federal prosecutors allege that from 2010 through 2017, Hutchinson used campaign money to pay for personal expenses that also included Netflix fees, jewelry, a gym membership and his utility bills. They say he tried to hide by falsifying campaign finance reports and tax filings.

Hutchinson's attorneys have argued that the investigation began with an illegal search of his laptop and that evidence on the laptop that would exonerate him was destroyed.

Hutchinson is among several former Arkansas lawmakers who have been ensnared in corruption investigations since early 2017 

AT&T Contributing to Arkansas Hunger Needs

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  AT&T is launching a new initiative to help hungry Arkansas. 

Later this year, food donations can be dropped off at stores that will then be assembled into what they call patrol packs. 

Police and first responders will hand them out to people they come across in the community who are in need. 

According to Feeding America, Arkansas ranks second for overall and child food insecurity. 

The 'believe Arkansas' initiative is part of a company-wide program. 

AT&T has contributed $100,000 to the campaign so far this year. 

Site Content

Baby Formula Recall

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 The Perrigo Co. issued a voluntary nationwide recall of its 35-ounce containers of Parent’s Choice Advantage Infant Formula Milk-Based Powder With Iron.

The formula is sold only at Walmart. Metal pieces were found in one lot of this product, which includes at least 23,388 containers. The bottom of the affected containers have lot code C26EVFV and a use-by date of Feb. 26, 2021.

If you have some, do not use it and go to Walmart for a refund.

USDA Funding To Eradicate/Control Feral Swine

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  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it is offering $75 million in funding for the eradication and control of feral swine through the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program (FSCP) in a joint effort between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

The 2018 Farm Bill included this new pilot program to help address the threat that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems and human and animal health.

NRCS will direct up to $33.75 million of the allocated FSCP funds toward partnership efforts to work with landowners in identified pilot projects in targeted areas. Applications are being accepted through Aug. 19, 2019, for partners to carry out activities as part of these pilot projects in select areas of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. APHIS has determined that these states have among the highest feral swine population densities and associated damages in the country.

NRCS is now accepting proposals from non-federal partners to provide landowner assistance for on-farm trapping and related services as part of the pilot projects described above. NRCS will provide funding for these services through partnership agreements. The funding limit for a single award is $1.5 million. Awardees will be required to provide at least 25 percent of the partnership agreement budget as a match to NRCS funding.

Additional information on the complete funding announcement and about specific pilot projects, including target areas and the roles for which partner assistance is being requested, can be found on the FSCP webpage.

Lady Razorback Basketball Team to Play Kansas State

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 Arkansas Women’s Basketball will play Kansas State in this year’s edition of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, the league office announced Monday. The Razorbacks will play in the Challenge for the sixth time, and currently sport a 2-3 all-time record.

The Hogs and the Wildcats will square off for just the sixth time, and the ‘Cats currently own a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series. However, Arkansas has never lost to K-State at home, going a perfect 2-0, including a 60-58 win in the teams’ most recent meeting (12/02/09).

Kansas State is coming off of a solid season, as they went 21-12 and 11-7 in the Big 12. The ‘Cats parlayed that success into a NCAA Tournament berth, returning to the Big Dance after advancing to the third round of the 2018 WNIT the season before. The Wildcats will return their leading scorer from a season ago, as senior Peyton Williams, who averaged 15.8 points per game, is back for her senior season. The First-Team All-Big 12 selection powered Kansas State last season, and will present a challenge for the Hogs down on the block.

6-24-19

Storms Produce Floods, Heavy Rain and Tornados Across the Area

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Storms moved across parts of western and northern Arkansas Saturday night and Sunday That prompted several severe thunderstorm, flash flood and tornado warnings on Sunday morning.

Thunderstorms moved northeast across parts of Northwest Arkansas and southeast Oklahoma generally along and east of Highway 75, according to a report from the National Weather Service. Rainfall rates were 1 to 2 inches an hour from the strongest storms.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Benton, Madison, Carroll and Washington counties. Over the weekend, 2.58" of rain recorded in the KTHS rain guage.

Utility provider Entergy was forced to deal with another round of power failures on Sunday just days after powerful storms knocked out power for thousands of energy customers in Little Rock and other parts of Arkansas.

The number of power failures across Arkansas rose over 12,000 Sunday afternoon, a day after it had dropped to fewer than 7,000 as crews continued to repair damage from a storm Wednesday evening.

Storms moving across parts of western and northern Arkansas prompted several severe thunderstorm, flash-flood and tornado warnings on Sunday morning, the National Weather Service in North Little Rock said.

Last week, winds of up to 75 mph uprooted trees, downed 131 power poles and left 82,000 customers without electricity across the state.

Entergy Arkansas requested 1,700 additional workers from Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and contract companies, to aid in the cleanup, bringing the total number of boots on the ground to 2,100.

Green Forest Elementary R.I.S.E. Winner

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 Ten elementary schools were named Tuesday as 2019 R.I.S.E. Arkansas School Award winners for their multifaceted efforts to employ the science behind learning how to read to improve instruction to children.

R.I.S.E., which stands for Reading Initiative for Student Excellence, is a state-promoted program that was started in 2017. It provides principals and teachers with research-based strategies for teaching children phonics and other related reading skills, as well as creating an atmosphere in which reading is a celebrated activity among students, staff members and the community.

The honored schools include:

• Green Forest Elementary School in the Green Forest School District.

An Arkansas Department of Education team visited each of the schools that were nominated for the 2019 honor to select the 10 campuses that demonstrated schoolwide implementation of science of reading practices; administrative support for improved reading instruction; an emphasis on community partnerships; the use of projects that promote a culture of reading; and the ability to serve as models of instructional best practices for other teachers.

Representatives from the winning schools -- which received trophies -- shared their experiences in replacing the "whole language" and word memorization approach to teaching reading with a system focused more on phonics and decoding words.

Boat Explosion on Lake Catherine Injures Six

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Six people were injured when a boat exploded Saturday afternoon on a Lake Catherine boat ramp in Hot Spring County, officials said.

Three people were transported by helicopter to receive medical treatment, and three people were taken by ambulances after the blast that occurred just before 1 p.m., said Doug Davey, chief of the Lake Hamilton Fire Department.

Cheryl Vincent, superintendent of Lake Catherine State Park, said the victims were members of an extended family that included grandparents, parents and children.

What caused the boat to explode was not immediately clear, Davey said.

Also, several nurses and medics who happened to be in the area provided immediate care for the victims until first responders arrived 

More Fire Departments Hiring 18 Year Olds

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  More fire departments in Arkansas can hire firefighters as young as 18 in light of a change in state law.

Fire departments governed by civil service commissions were restricted to hiring firefighters 21 years and older, but Act 206 allows individual departments to decide if they want to lower the age to 18. The Legislature passed the law during this year’s session.

In Northwest Arkansas, some departments want to take advantage of the new law. The Civil Service Commission in Rogers voted this week to change the requirement.

Civil service commissions are city boards with nonpartisan appointed members. Commissions are to act as unbiased third parties that regulate police and fire departments and generally set standards for hiring and termination, said Wade Marshall, president of the Arkansas Professional Fire Fighters Association. The 24 commissions in Arkansas are generally in larger cities.

Sandy Brannan, a commission member in Rogers, asked last week whether 18-year-olds would be mature enough for the job. Hollis said the fire academy process is pretty good at weeding out people and pointed out that the military accepts 18-year-olds.

State law mandates police officers be at least 21 years old.

Firefighters in Arkansas have to work for 28 years before they can draw a pension from the state’s retirement program, Arkansas Local Police and Fire Retirement System. Marshall said a potential downside of hiring younger firefighters is they are more likely to retire younger and then draw from the system for longer.

Missouri P.S.C. Approves Wind Project

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  Construction is scheduled to begin this fall on a wind project in southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas.

Liberty Utilities-Empire District announced Thursday the Missouri Public Service Commission   

has approved the project, which the utility says is an investment of more than $1 billion.

The Joplin Globe reports the utility will place about 140 turbines in parts of Jasper, Barton, Lawrence and Dade counties in Missouri. Another 139 turbines will be erected in Neosho County, Kansas.

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Empire's original proposal called for a $1.5 billion project to generate 800 megawatts of wind energy and closing its coal-fired plant in Asbury more than 15 years early. During negotiations, the utility agreed to delay closing the coal-fired plant and to reduce the targeted production to 600 megawatts. 

Several Being Sued Over :Sunday Night Football" Theme Song

  Carrie Underwood, the NFL and NBC have been hit with a lawsuit that accuses them of plagiarizing the “Sunday Night Football” theme song.

Singer Heidi Merrill and three songwriting collaborators filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan, claiming she created a song in 2016 called “Game On” and pitched it to Underwood’s producer, Mark Bright, who passed on it.

Merrill alleges that Underwood’s song of the same name, “Game On,” which was played during the opening of “Sunday Night Football” in 2018, is a direct copyright violation of the song she sent over to the country superstar’s team a year earlier.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages to be determined at trial.

6-24-19 Continued

This Year Fourth Hottest on Record - Next Five Years Predicted Even Hotter

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While 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, British meteorologists are predicting the next five years will be much hotter, maybe even record-breaking.

Two U.S. agencies, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization analyzed global temperatures in slightly different ways, but each came to the same conclusion Wednesday: 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record behind 2016, 2015 and 2017.

The U.S. government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 2018's average temperature was 58.42 degrees (14.69 Celsius), which is 1.42 degrees (0.79 Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average. Much of Europe had its warmest years on record. Records go back to 1880.

NASA and NOAA climate scientists said even though 2018 was a tad cooler than the three previous years that's mostly due to random weather variations.

"The U.S. temperature in 2018 was the 14th warmest on average, said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt.

Last year was also the third wettest on record in the U.S. Nine eastern states had their wettest years on record, "an exclamation point on a trend of big rain" in the age of climate change, Arndt said.

There were 14 weather and climate disasters that cost more than $1 billion, for a total of $91 billion, Arndt said. At least 247 people died in those disasters. That's the fourth-highest number of billion-dollar disasters and the fourth-highest dollar amount, taking inflation into account. The  damage included Hurricane Michael's $25 billion tally and $24 billion each from Hurricane Florence and the western wildfires. 

Boozman Introduces Bill to Make Federal Summer Meals Program More Effective in Arkansas

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  U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is leading a bipartisan charge to make federal child nutrition programs more efficient, flexible and better equipped to reach Arkansas children in need during the summer months.

Boozman and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 to add flexibility to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which offers children from low-income families free lunch and snacks in the summer. The bill gives states additional options to reach hungry children in communities without a centralized feeding site during the summer.

Currently, children must travel to a central location and eat their meals together. This works well in some communities. However, in rural areas, it can be difficult for children to reach a site, if a site even exists. In suburban and urban areas, inclement weather or violence can keep children from these sites and cause them to miss a meal.

The Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 proposes two alternative options states can utilize through the program. The first would allow for meals to be consumed off-site through innovative means like mobile feeding programs and backpack meal programs. The other option would authorize the summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program, which would provide eligible families $30 per summer month per child, with a maximum of $100 per child per year, to purchase eligible food items from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) approved retailers. In USDA pilot programs, summer EBT was shown to reduce child hunger by over 30 percent.

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Bob Ballinger

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June 21, 2019

The legislature updated Arkansas school choice laws when it approved Act 754 of 2019 earlier this year.

One goal of the act is to eliminate possible confusion about what are termed “opportunity choice” options, which allow a student to transfer from a school that is failing academically.

For a long time the state’s “opportunity choice” law allowed student transfers from schools designated as being in academic distress. 

But in 2017 the legislature approved Act 930, a far-reaching modernization of accountability standards. The act erased 40 pages of school standards and replaced them with more modern methods on how to assess the quality of local schools. 

One of the changes made by Act 930 eliminated references to schools in academic distress. Instead, it referred to those schools as needing intensive “Level 5” support from the state Education Department.

To eliminate confusion caused by the deletion of references to schools in academic distress, earlier this year the legislature passed Act 754. It clarifies that opportunity choice is available to students who attend a school needing Level 5 support. It also allows transfers from schools with an “F” on school report cards.

Students who apply for a transfer under the opportunity choice option cannot be denied unless the receiving district has a lack of capacity. In effect, it must show that it would have to build a new classroom or hire a new teacher to comply with standards that limit classroom sizes.

Act 754 makes a minor change in the public school choice option, which is distinct from the opportunity choice option. 

The public school choice option allows students to transfer outside the district in which they live, but with limitations. For example, districts may choose not to allow transfers when they are under court orders to desegregate. 

The Education Department has named 11 districts this year that do not have to allow transfers under the Arkansas school choice law, because they are involved in desegregation cases. Six are in Garland County and two are in Union County.

Precision is necessary in school choice laws, due to their controversial nature. State funding of schools is based on enrollment, so a district can lose substantial sums of state aid when they lose students who choose to transfer to neighboring districts. 

That is one reason for the 3 percent limit on the number of students who may transfer out of a district in a given year under the public school choice option.

The 3 percent limit does not apply to opportunity choice transfers from schools that are failing academically.

Act 754 changes a key reporting date, to better prevent possible disputes over funding. Under the new act, the 3 percent limit on transfers out of a district will no longer be calculated according to enrollment on October 15, but on October 1. 

The newer date is better suited to the dates on which school districts calculate their enrollment. Essentially, the change is meant to avoid the possibility that two separate districts expect to receive state aid for the same student.

6-21-19

Green Forest Police Arrest Two for Meth Possession

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  On Friday, June 14th, at approximately 10:20pm, Green Forest Police officer Josue Rangel noticed a vehicle stopped at the intersection of North Springfield St., and Main Street while the traffic light was green. The vehicle remained stopped until the light changed to red. The vehicle then made a right turn onto W. Main where it then drove left of center.

Officer Rangel made a traffic stop on the vehicle. During the traffic stop, the driver and passenger were identified. Both subjects were currently on parole and were acting nervously.

As a condition of the subjects parole, they had previously agreed to and signed a search waiver. Due to the nervousness behavior, and for officer safety, a search of the vehicle was conducted.

During the search of the vehicle by officer Rangel and officer Shaun Helmlinger, a large amount of crystal methamphetamine was located in a black tool bag along with smaller amounts of drugs found inside of a purse.

Due to the amount of meth found being over 1/2 pound and drugs found in the passengers purse, the driver, Austin Alexander and passenger Cynthia Burgess were charged with "Trafficking a Controlled Substance", (methamphetamine) which is a class Y felony. Other charges include possession of a controlled substance, (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Lucky Grill Winner - Kristin Coalter

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  When Kristin Coalter of Berryville shopped for the freshest and tastiest fruits and vegetables at the Berryville and Green Forest Farmer's Market she entered to win a Green Mountain Grill-Davey Crockett model pellet grill, made possible by your friends of the Farmers Market at KTHS, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas and Farm Bureau of Berryville and KTHS is proud to announce that Kristin was the lucky winning entry. Linda Boyer talked with Kristin right after her name was drawn........https://soundcloud.com/user-851289161/grill-winner-kristin-c0alter

Again, thanks to Powell's Ace Hardware, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas and Farm Bureau of Berryville. Lets celebrate fresh local food and the people that dedicate their life to keeping you healthy all summer long at the Farmer's Market in Berryville and Green Forest.

BV Chamber Seeking Donations from Public to Help Support "Fire on the Mountain"

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  Press Release: Courtesy of Berryville Chamber of Commerce

The ever-popular “Fire on the Mountain” will again feature fireworks from Saunders Heights Overlook. The annual fireworks display will occur on July 4th – a Thursday this year. The fireworks are set to begin between dusk and dark, probably around 9 p.m.
“Fire on the Mountain” is an annual Fourth of July celebration in historic Berryville, Arkansas. The fireworks display is shot from Saunders Heights Overlook, high above the city, providing a great view from just about anywhere in Berryville. It has become a tradition for family and friends to get together for a backyard barbecue, and then as it becomes dark to enjoy the fireworks together. People come to Berryville from far and wide to enjoy the nightsky spectacular.

We're asking for everyone's help to keep growing this annual tradition here in Berryville. As in past years our Chamber is seeking contributions again this year to help support the City of Berryville so this wonderful event can continue. The more we are able to raise, the better the fireworks show. We’re hoping to make this the most spectacular Fourth of July show ever, and we could use your help.

The City of Berryville has designated a fireworks fund and will handle the contributions for complete transparency. Checks can be made out to the 'City of Berryville' and mailed to or dropped off at Berryville City Hall or to our Chamber office, located at 506 S. Main, Berryville, AR 72616. Someone from our Chamber can also pick up your donations if you prefer; all you have to do is call the Chamber office at 870-423-3704 and we will stop by to pick up your donation and deliver it to City Hall. Thank you in advance for your support to keep this family-friendly, fun and patriotic event going strong, celebrating our freedoms and our way of life on July 4th!

Mercy Health Systems Announce 'Restructuring' with Layoffs

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  Citing reduced reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid, Mercy announced Thursday it would be going through some "restructuring" that appears to include layoffs.

The health system issued a statement saying less than 1 percent of its 45,000 workers would be affected.

The statement says the hospital, which is one of Springfield's biggest employers, will be "reducing targeted positions" and moving some employees to new roles.

Employees who lose their jobs will be given severance packages and help finding new jobs, according to a Mercy spokeswoman.

An excerpt from their statement said , "Our transition plan for co-workers who are impacted reflects Mercy’s commitment to dignity and compassion. Our hearts and prayers go out to our affected co-workers and their families. They will receive help finding new jobs and a severance package including compensation and benefits based on their position and length of service."

Thousands Still Without Electricity

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  Tens of thousands of people in Arkansas were without power Thursday afternoon after strong storms moved through late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, downing trees and power lines.

At 4 p.m. Thursday, Entergy reported more than 44,000 customers in the dark, about half of them in Pulaski County.

Workers were dealing with a mix of wind damage, fallen trees, broken utility poles, blown-out transformers and lightning strikes that knocked out power overnight, she said.

More than 70,000 homes and businesses were without power in Arkansas on Thursday, and more than 30,000 power failures each were reported in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, where crews were working to remove toppled trees and clear blocked roads, The Associated Press reported.

The National Weather Service in North Little Rock said the damage was from two storm systems that moved across Arkansas. One moved from the western part of the state, and the other hit the eastern area.

Officials with the weather service said one of the storms moved across the central part of Pulaski County, along Interstate 30 through the heart of Little Rock and up through Jacksonville, with wind speeds of at least 60 mph.

"But there were no confirmed tornadoes in the state," Gilmore said. "It was just an impressive wind system".

Two Ride the Duck Employees and Captain Indicted

  A federal grand jury has indicted two employees of a Florida company that operated duck boat rides in Branson, Mo., as well as the captain of the duck boat that sank last summer, killing 17 people.

Curtis P. Lanham of Gelena, Mo. and Charles V. Baltzell of Kirbyville face federal charges in the seven-count indictment from the Springfield grand jury June 13.

The indictment also included the original charges against Kenneth Scott McKee of Verona, Mo.

Federal prosecutors alleged McKee, who piloted the boat, “committed a number of acts of misconduct, negligence and inattention to his duties while piloting Stretch Duck 7 both before and during severe weather conditions.”

Baltzell directed and allowed McKee to operate the boat in violation of conditions and limitations set by the Coast Guard and “failed to adequately supervise the operation of the tour on July 19, 2018," KY3 reported.

Authorities also allege Lanham, as an executive officer of Ripley Entertainment, “knowingly and willfully caused and allowed McKee, Baltzell and others to engage in neglect, misconduct and violation of law.”

6-21-19 continued

Casville Man Charged with Stabbing Another

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  A Cassville, Mo. man suffered serious injuries after he was stabbed at a home during a domestic assault. 

Alan Mellow, 27, of Cassville faces a first-degree domestic assault charge. 

Investigators say the stabbing happened at a home on Farm Road 1110. The victim suffered injuries on his left side and his upper torso. Deputies say they recovered a large knife used in the stabbing. Investigators accuse Mellow in an altercation with another man.

A judge set bail for Mellow at $75,000.

VA Secretary Calls Boozman Bill “Key” to Unlocking Veteran Suicide Crisis

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 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie expressed his support for legislation authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that would create a VA grant program to leverage veteran-serving non-profits and other community networks in order to reduce veteran suicides.

“What you have is the key, I think, to unlock part of this crisis,” Wilkie said on Wednesday during the Senate VA Committee’s hearing on veteran suicide prevention.  

Boozman’s IMPROVE Wellbeing for Veterans Act would allow the VA to tap into current community programs and provide a framework for better coordinating those community efforts and measuring the results. The legislation creates a new grant program at the VA to expand the reach of services aimed at preventing veteran suicides.

“I welcome Secretary Wilkie’s support of this legislation. The VA has a real opportunity to work with its partners to develop a tool that can be used to measure not just what services were made available to a veteran, but the effectiveness of the programs. I’m hopeful this approach will reduce veteran suicide rates,” Boozman said.

Boozman is also leading efforts to ensure the VA corrects its suicide prevention outreach failures identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as an original cosponsor of the Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act.

Medicaid Work Requirement Led to Lower Levels of Insurance Coverage

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  A study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Arkansas’s Medicaid work requirement led to lower levels of health insurance coverage* among 30- to 49-year-olds in 2018, the group targeted by the first-of-its-kind work rule last year. The researchers also concluded that the policy did not lead to a rise in employment among this target population.

Dr. Benjamin Sommers, the study’s lead author, said researchers compared 30- to 49-year-old low-income adults in Arkansas with other age groups, as well as their counterparts in Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas. The study was limited to households that earned less than 138 percent of the federal poverty line — the eligibility cutoff for Medicaid expansion — and was conducted by telephone survey in November and December. Respondents were asked about their work status and insurance status at that time and during the same month a year earlier, in 2017. In total, 1,500 Arkansans and a similar number of people from the other three states were interviewed. 

“The share of people who are working when you compare across the groups by age and by state seems to be pretty similar,” Sommers, a health economist and physician at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a phone interview Monday. “So if the goal of the policy is to get 30- to 49-year-olds in Arkansas into new jobs, that doesn’t seem to have happened, at least through the end of 2018

However, the researchers did find one significant difference between the groups: “Uninsured rates increased among 30-49 year-old Arkansans from 10.5% in 2016 to 14.5% in 2018, with smaller or no changes in the other groups,” the study says. (The researchers didn’t find a significant reduction in access to medical care, though Sommers said such “downstream effects” would not be measurable until later.)

The findings run counter to arguments made by Governor Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Trump administration. State and federal officials are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn a federal judge's order that halted the Arkansas work requirement in March. 

Some 18,000 beneficiaries were stripped of Medicaid coverage in 2018due to not meeting the terms of the work requirement, according to DHS. But it has not been clear what happened to those people after they were kicked off the program. Hutchinson has downplayed concerns about  coverage losses, suggesting many former beneficiaries found insurance through an employer or elsewhere. DHS officials have also pointed out that most of those who lost coverage in 2018 have not re-enrolled, even though they became eligible to do so as of Jan. 1. As of mid-April, fewer than 3,000 of the 18,000 had re-enrolled in Medicaid.  

Walmart Looking to Driverless Delivery

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  Walmart Inc. came to dominate retailing through its mastery of logistics—the complicated choreography of getting goods from farm or factory to the consumer. But even the world’s biggest store doesn’t make money selling its wares online in the U.S., largely due to runaway shipping costs. So Walmart is turning to robots.

On a drizzly morning earlier this month, Walmart’s U.S. chief Greg Foran led reporters to a curbside package pickup kiosk outside its supercenter in Rogers. Idling there were three Ford delivery vans outfitted with self-driving technology developed by a Gatik, a Silicon Valley startup charged with a trial run aimed at cutting Walmart’s middle-mile shipping costs in half. Going driverless in pursuit of profit is a “no-brainer,” Foran said.

As the buzz about human-carting robo-taxis starts to short-circuit, an unheralded segment of the driverless future is taking shape and showing promise: goods-moving robo-vans. Rather than serving up hot pizza pies or deploying headless robots to carry groceries to the doorstep, robo-vans travel on fixed routes from warehouse to warehouse or to a smaller pickup point, transporting packages to get them closer, but not all the way, to consumers.

This may be the least glamorous part of the driverless delivery business, but the market for these monotonous “middle miles” could reach $1 trillion and may provide the fastest path to prosperity, analysts say.

Driving the demand is the boom in online shopping that has helped cause a severe shortage of truck drivers that tops 60,000 unfilled long-haul positions, according the American Trucking Associations. That has sent costs soaring for a job that is among the most dangerous due to the risk of wrecks and long periods spent on the road.

6-20-19

Berryville City Council Report

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  The Berryville City Council at their Tuesday meeting passed a Resolution authorizing Stephens, Inc., and Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP to proceed with a bond issue to refund the City's Water and Sewer Revenue and Sales & Use Tax Refunding Bonds, Series 2012. The issue would produce a total estimated cash flow savings of $179,995.

The Berryville Police report for the month of May shows 117 tickets were written by Police and 75 offenses reported. Police issued 63 speeding tickets in May. Offenses reported included 10 thefts, 6 burglaries and 5 assault and batteries, plus numerous other offenses. Police cleared 87% of those cases. Nine accidents were worked by Berryville Police in May. As in the past, most are for failure to yield.

The Financial report of operating funds for May shows the 1% Sales Tax received for May was $117,800. The 1/2% sales tax collected $58,910.

The council approved a request from Berryville Christian Fellowship for a Backyard Bar-B-Que on June 22nd, this Saturday beginning at 4pm, to be held at Pioneer Park.

Mayor McKinney reported he has a 'pre-construction' meeting Friday on the Freeman Street project.

The Mayor and Council have been compiling a list of unsightly properties in town. The city notifies the property owners that they have so many days to rectify the problem or face a fine. Once a citation is issued for non-compliance, the fine goes way up if not paid. 

Some choose to ignore the notices.......https://soundcloud.com/user-851289161/bvcc-6-18-19-unsightly-properties

The next meeting of the Berryville City Council is Tuesday, July 2nd, at 6pm.

Harter House in Berryville Close to Opening

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  For 43 years Harter House supermarkets have been serving Southwest Missouri with quality selection, service, and value, and soon that same commitment will be seen in Berryville Arkansas.

KTHS General manager Jamie Hussey visited with construction coordinator recently about the remodeling efforts of the old Price Cutter building which will serve as the newest addition to the Harter House supermarket family. 

The building has basically been completely renovated, especially all the plumbing and electrical and the projected opening date still depends on contractors being able to finish certain jobs before shelves can be stocked, but the project is coming along nicely and doors will be opening soon hopefully before the 4th of July holiday.

Owner Brad Bettlach who also owns the Shell Knob location told KTHS in an earlier interview that he had plans of using as many local area contractors as possible and has teamed up with local bank, Cornerstone Bank. Bettlach went on to say that he very much wants to be community oriented as the Berryville Harter House will provide many jobs to surrounding folks who live here and raise families. 

Harter House is best known for their Quality Meats, and the Berryville location will build on that same reputation. Steve Johnson, the Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce director stated what all of us are thinking, “ I can’t wait til Harter House opens”, and now we know it won’t be long!

Harrison Couple Killed in Crash

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  Two Harrison residents died Wednesday from injuries they suffered when their vehicle was struck by a pickup.

Johnnie I. Carter, 66, and Linda Carter, 66, were traveling in the Highland area of Sharp County when the crash occurred, according to an Arkansas State Police fatal accident report.

A Chevy pickup turned left from Alma Drive onto U.S. 62/412 and struck the right side of the Honda the Carters were traveling in, according to the report.

The road condition was described as dry. No other details were provided in the report.

One Tyson Worker Exposed to Chemicals Still Hospitalized

One patient remained in critical condition at a local hospital Wednesday from injuries he received during a chemical spill at the Tyson Foods' Berry Street plant.

A spokesman at Northwest Medical Center-Springdale, said one of the five patients who were admitted to the hospital had been released. Two other patients remain in the hospital, listed in good condition, and the other was released Tuesday.

The five were taken to the hospital Tuesday after they were exposed to a cleaning agent, Wright said.

Derek Burleson, Tyson spokesman, said Tuesday the spill involved a cleaning material and happened outside the plant. The company is investigating the incident, he said. About 1,200 people work at the plant, where chickens are killed, the company said.

One Tyson Worker Exposed to Chemicals Still Hospitalized

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One patient remained in critical condition at a local hospital Wednesday from injuries he received during a chemical spill at the Tyson Foods' Berry Street plant.

A spokesman at Northwest Medical Center-Springdale, said one of the five patients who were admitted to the hospital had been released. Two other patients remain in the hospital, listed in good condition, and the other was released Tuesday.

The five were taken to the hospital Tuesday after they were exposed to a cleaning agent, Wright said.

Derek Burleson, Tyson spokesman, said Tuesday the spill involved a cleaning material and happened outside the plant. The company is investigating the incident, he said. About 1,200 people work at the plant, where chickens are killed, the company said.

Thousands Without Power After Strong Storms

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Tens of thousands of people in Arkansas are without power after strong storms moved through late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, downing trees and power lines.

Entergy at 6 a.m. reported more than 60,000 customers in the dark with nearly half of them in Pulaski County. An area west of Interstate 430 and south of Kanis Road appeared especially hard hit, but there were outages reported across the city and state.

The National Weather Service said official measurements showed winds peaked as high as 64 mph in Little Rock, though one trained storm spotter in central Arkansas recorded a gust of 70 mph. Large hail was also seen, including some that measured an estimated 4 inches in diameter in Vandervoort in Polk County.

The strong winds downed numerous trees, including some that fell on homes and vehicles. In Lincoln County near Avery, a pole barn was destroyed and in Florence in Drew County, a mobile home was damaged. It wasn't immediately clear if anyone was injured in the storms. In Little Rock, trees fell in a number of locations. One large tree blocked part of Kavanaugh Boulevard in Hillcrest for a time, and another fell through a fence of an apartment complex along    

Sixth Street near Sherman Street. 

Entergy noted "significant damage" and "extensive" outages, noting it's too early to know whencustomers can expect the lights to come back on.

Arvest Million Meals Campaign More Than Successful

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 The numbers are in, and the 9th Annual Arvest Million Meals Campaign has been a rousing success.

Food insecurity is an issue in all four states Arvest serves -- Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

The two-month campaign kicked off in April, and 29 organizations from the four-state area received donations to provide meals to local, hungry families. 

617,314 meals were provided in Northwest Arkansas alone. 

Food pantries typically face shortages in the spring and summer months. Donations are lower and need increases as food insecure children are not receiving food through school nutrition programs.

With your help, Arvest beat its goal of one million meals. 

A grand total of 2,468,873 meals were raised in the four-state area, which is a record for the Million Meals initiative. 

6-20-19 Continued

ORT Recovering from Devasting Bus Fire - New Buses Arriving

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Ozark Regional Transit is on the road to recovery after a fire destroyed 20 busses in January 2017.

Four new buses have been delivered, and two more are on the way to ORT this week. A new bus will be arriving every week until August.

For the past two years, ORT has been using loaned vehicles to cover all its routes.

It will now have 12 new buses, featuring new hardware and software.

Verbalized marquees will be in English, Spanish, and possibly Marshallese.

In addition, you will be able to use one app for both ORT and Razorback Transit routes.

"All that coming together, it's kind of like we are for the first time a truly viable public transit system. It still needs to grow, but we're going to have the tools to truly grow in Northwest Arkansas," says Jeff Hatley, Public Information Officer for ORT.

In September 2017, ORT received a $2.9 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to build a new administration building and command center.

It's hoping to break ground in October, and finish the project in June 2020.

Corps to Close One Lane of Highway 187 Across Beaver Dam for Bridge Inspection

  Corps to Close One Lane of Highway 187 Across Beaver Dam for Bridge Inspection

The Army Corps of Engineers is closing one lane of the Arkansas Highway 187 bridge across Beaver Dam from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. June 26 to conduct a routine bridge inspection. 

Officials at the Army Corps of Engineers regret any inconvenience this may cause, and asks for the   

public's cooperation until the work is complete. The closure is being coordinated with emergency services and law enforcement agencies. Corps officials ask travelers to plan alternate routes and allow extra time to reach their destinations.

Recreation information can be found on the Internet at www.swl.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/littlerockusace, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/usacelittlerock.   

Facebook Unveils Ambitious Plan to Create New Digital Currency

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  Facebook already rules daily communication for more than two billion people around the world. Now it wants its own currency, too.

The social network unveiled an ambitious plan Tuesday to create a new digital currency similar to Bitcoin for global use, one that could drive more e-commerce on its services and boost ads on its platforms.

But the effort, which Facebook is launching with partners including PayPal, Uber, Spotify, Visa and Mastercard, could also complicate matters for the beleaguered social network. Facebook is currently under federal investigation over its privacy practices, and along with other technology giants also faces a new antitrust probe in Congress .

Creating its own globe-spanning currency — one that could conceivably threaten banks, national currencies and the privacy of users — isn't likely to dampen regulators' interest in Facebook.

The digital currency, called Libra, is scheduled to launch sometime in the next six to 12 months. Facebook is taking the lead on building Libra and its underlying technology; its more than two dozen partners will help fund, build and govern the system. Facebook hopes to raise as much as $1 billion from existing and future partners to support the effort.

Company officials emphasized Libra as a way of sending money across borders without incurring significant fees, such as those charged by Western Union and other international money-transfer services. Libra could also open up online commerce to huge numbers of people around the world who currently don't have bank accounts or credit cards.

"If you fast forward a number of years, consumers all over the world will have the ability to access the world economy," Facebook executive David Marcus said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Branson's Grand Palace Theatre Being Torn Down

Construction crews are hard at work in Branson.

The former Grand Palace Theatre is being torn down. The property is being turned into The Branson Boardwalk.

Part of the boardwalk will include the Aquarium at the Boardwalk, which is currently under construction.

The exterior walls of the aquarium are being put up, pipes are being laid out and the support columns to support a large octopus feature on the front of the building is being constructed.

He also said they will work to fix unsanitary and unsafe conditions found in or around the prop

6-18-19

Quorum Court Meeting Draws Standing Room Only

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  There was standing room only last evening for the County Quorum meeting. Approximately 75 people, maybe more, packed the courtroom and people were lined up in the hallway into the courtroom.

What they were there for? To show their solidarity of protest for a limestone rock quarry company operating in the Winona area of Rock House Road, southeast of Eureka Springs. 

The pristine area is being barraged with drilling sounds, muffled explosions of some type, and producing sediment runoff. The company, Legacy Mining has not been given any permits to proceed with the drilling from the proper permitting agencies, such as ADEQ, the Department of Environmental Quality, according to Christopher Fischer, one of the concerned citizens’ spokesperson.

Area residents say the whole project is damaging the environment and ruining their quality of life they enjoy. 

Citizens were allowed to speak with a limit of 3 minutes if they wished. One of those was Christy Braswell who lives right next to the Quarry site…..https://soundcloud.com/user-851289161/ccqc-6-17-19-legacy-mining-1

The crowd was advised that 5 “Notice of Intents” were filed last year and published in the local paper and since that legal notice, no permits have been issued to Legacy. A local stone quarry, Ozark Southern Stone in Elk Ranch has been linked to the Legacy Mining project. 

J.P. Larry Swofford advised the crowd that several other rock quarrys in the county operated without any bad effects, such as Rock Crusher outside of Berryville.

When it was all over, it was decided the group needed to have a formal meeting at someplace like Carroll Electric and send registered letters to the five mining companies inviting them to come and address the issues of concern for the residents who live next to or nearby the Rock House drilling site.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the project.

Eureka Springs School Board Runoff Election Today

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Residents of Eureka Springs who haven't voted early at the Courthouses should vote at St. Elizabeths Parish Center in Eureka Springs today from 7:30am to 7:30pm. Early voting has been slow at the Berryville Courthouse with only 12 casting votes. The Eureka Springs Courthouse had 48 early voters.

The runoff is between Candace Spaulding and Stephanie Lynn Rains for the Position 6 school board seat.

KTHS will announced the runoff results tonight just as soon as the Election Commission releases the unofficial totals.

COSL Auctions Off Tax-Delinquent Properties

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The recent auction of tax-delinquent properties in Carroll County raised over $80,000, the Commissioner of State Lands announced.

The auction drew 28 bidders, who purchased 10 of the 93 available parcels for a total of $80,496.75 for county and state government.

The Land Commissioner’s office holds one auction in each county each year to return tax-delinquent land to active status.

“Most property certified to our office does not go to auction,” Commissioner Tommy Land said. “The vast majority of owners redeem their property by paying the delinquent taxes. Of course we always prefer that property be redeemed, but it is vital that the parcels return to the county’s active tax rolls.”

Delinquent owners have 10 business days after the auction date to redeem the property, before the COSL office issues a Limited Warranty Deed to the buyer.

The COSL office forwards taxes and interest to the county, whether that money is collected through redemption or sale. 

“Last year, this office sent more than $16 million to school districts and county governments,” Land said. “Of that, $232,332.99 went to Carroll County, helping fund everything from roads to schools.”

Property that did not sell at auction will be available after 30 days and can be reviewed through the Post-Auction Sales List at www.cosl.org

Pocahontas Woman Charged with Capital Murder - No Bond Set

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A judge found probable cause Monday to charge a Pocahontas woman with capital murder in the death of former State Senator Linda Collins.

Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 48, also faces abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence charges.

The judge did not set bond.

O’Donnell was arrested Friday in connection with the case.

Randolph County Sheriff Kevin Bell told Region 8 News that he cannot specify why she is considered a suspect because it would interfere with the investigation.

However, Bell said he arrested O’Donnell around 4 p.m. June 14 after a traffic stop on Highway 62 West near Burgess Road

Officials said the investigation is ongoing.

Collins’ body was found June 4 outside her home on Highway 90 West, law enforcement said at the time.

On June 7, Arkansas State Police confirmed that the remains found at the scenewere those of Collins.

Randolph County authorities, as well as Arkansas State Police, have been investigating Collins’ death as a homicide.

Lockheed Martin Expanding Camden Operations - Hiring Hundreds More

 Lockheed Martin is expanding its operations in Camden as part of a $142 million investment that will create more than 300 jobs, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Lockheed officials said on Monday. 

During the announcement, which came at the Paris Air Show in France, Hutchinson called Lockheed Martin a "leading technology firm." 

“Lockheed’s investment illustrates the fact that Arkansas continues to be a global player in the aero-defense industry,” he said in a statement.

The company plans to hire 326 new employees over the next few years, according to a news release from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. 

Lockheed Martin’s expansion will support new construction and improvements at the company's existing Camden facilities, the release states. The facility produces the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or MIMARS, and handles the final assembly for Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) and Precision Fires products for the U.S. and its allies


Gas Prices Continue to Tumble

 As gasoline prices continue to tumble, analysts say Americans are spending millions of dollars less every day on fuel than they did a year ago

In the past week, according to GasBuddy.com, Arkansas gas prices fell 6.2 cents per gallon to an average of $2.33.

Motorists are paying 17.4 cents a gallon less than a month ago, and 28.8 cents a gallon less than the same time last year.

The cheapest station in Arkansas is priced at $2.04/gallon while the most expensive is $2.99, according to GasBuddy’s weekly survey.

The national average also fell 6.2 cents per gallon to an average $2.67.

“For the sixth straight week, gasoline prices have declined nationally, a feat not often seen heading into the prime of summer driving season,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

He added that last week’s oil tanker attack did not affect prices and that Americans are likely to see the national average drop for a seventh straight week, “barring any curve balls.”

DeHaan cautions that some states like California, Illinois, and Ohio may see an end to the price drops when those states prepare to raise gasoline taxes ahead of the July 4 holiday.

“For the rest of us, not only can we celebrate the holiday with fireworks, but celebrate the falling prices heading into it,” he said. “Not a bad summer to be hitting the road as Americans are spending nearly $100 million less every day on gasoline than a year ago.”

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A growing number of parents are using their retirement savings to financially support their adult children.

And, according to a new study by Bankrate, a consumer financial services company, parents who do that may be digging themselves into a money hole.

Half of American parents surveyed for the study say they sacrifice retirement savings to financially support their adult children.

The study found higher earners with adult children are more likely to dip into their savings, while lower-income parents are more likely to have never saved for retirement at all.

One in six parents making less than $50,000 said supporting their grown-up children prevented them from putting away anything for retirement.

Meanwhile, 60 percent of those with adult children and a household income of $80,000 said they’ve cut back on their retirement savings in order to pay for their adult children’s bills, which could include cellphone and car payments, insurance, housing and student loans.

In general, parental assistance usually ends between the ages of 19 to 23. However, millennials who were surveyed believe the cutoff should be delayed by a year or more.

So, why are parents increasingly dipping into their savings to support their adult children?

The survey mentions “helicopter parenting,” suggesting more parents have been more co-dependent with their children throughout childhood, making it hard to let go in adulthood.

Other possible reasons include a lack of substantial wage growth, the rising cost of education and the rising popularity of higher degrees.

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