By John R. Schirmer
Efforts to secure the return to the United States of a Cossatot Community College University of Arkansas biological sciences teacher continue, according to Dr. Steve Cole, CCCUA chancellor.
Molly Sirigiri, 33, a native of Hyderabad, India, was denied re-entry into the United States earlier this month following a church mission trip to Guatemala.
She was detained at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston as the mission group was en route from Guatemala City back to Little Rock. Officials at first said she would miss the evening flight to Little Rock July 8 but would be on the first flight to Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport the next morning.
Instead, Sirigiri was placed on a plane for Munich, Germany, about 24 hours after landing in Houston. From Munich, she flew to Mumbai, India. Authorities did not tell her the plane’s destination when she boarded in Houston.
The Indian Consulate at Houston told the mission team that it “appears as though she was pending approval of an H1B visa and was not eligible for revalidation as she was not arriving from contiguous territory with an absence of less than 30 days. In lieu of deportation, she was permitted to withdraw her application for admission and returned to India. This will allow her to have her visa approved and return to the U.S.”
Dr. Cole said that the process to return Sirigiri to the United States is underway. “As her employer, we filed the premium processing fee” with the Department of Homeland Security, he said. “The employer has to pay it” for a visa enabling her to return to her job at CCCUA.
Premium processing of Sirigiri’s visa paperwork will expedite the process, officials told Dr. Cole.
“We filed a form I-907 July 16. By the end of the month, we should know yea or nay. We think it will be yea,” Dr. Cole said. There is a 15-day response time on the application.
“We’re hoping she’s on a return flight to be back here by Aug. 18” when classes start, Dr. Cole said. “Our instructors have covered her summer classes,” and the school has a plan if there’s a delay in Sirigiri’s return.
A University of Arkansas attorney is helping with the Sirigiri case. So are the offices of Sen. Mark Pryor and Sen. John Boozman.
Sirigiri has taught at CCCUA for the past three years.
By John Balch
The Pike County Quorum Court took action on two matters Monday night in hopes of persuading a Texas investment group to purchase the sawmill in Glenwood and stimulating the local economy.
The court voted to authorize a $25,000 payment to the Southwest Arkansas Regional Coalition (formerly the Southwest Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority) to be used to expedite a permit process in case a group of Texas investors decide to purchase the former Bean Lumber Company. The name of the investment group has not been made public and the court approved the payment without inquiring about the investors’ identity.
Darwin Hendrix, a member of the regional coalition, told the court Monday that there are three environmental permits involved with the sawmill – an air permit, a storm water permit and an overall discharge permit. The air and storm water permits are still valid and can be transferred to a new owner, but the overall discharge permit has expired and has to be reapplied for in a lengthy process, according to Hendrix.
The $25,000 approved Monday will be used to pay for attorney fees and pay back assessment fees, but more importantly, according to Hendrix, will be a strong show of faith that Pike County is serious about reopening the saw mill. He also described the Texas group as being “serious investors.”
“If it doesn’t open, you know, it’s just money that’s gone,” Hendrix said. “But, still, I think it shows our interest. It will show Caterpillar that we are interested in keeping that sawmill and we appreciate what they’ve done, and it shows the new investors that we’re progressing around here and we want to get things going.”
Caterpillar, doing business as the Florida-based FCC Equipment Financing, purchased the Bean Lumber Company and its assets in October of 2011 for $4 million. The purchase included 43.44 acres of real estate in Glenwood.
Hendrix has said in the past that Caterpillar has been a “good corporate citizens” in maintaining the Glenwood facility. The company could have scrapped the mill but Hendrix said officials decided to maintain the facility because they realize the importance of again making it operational.
Hendrix added that Caterpillar has spent “in the six figures” to maintain the facility since it was purchased in 2011 and now the company is not interested in putting any more money into the facility until “they have a buyer on the dotted line.”
One point of contention concerning the possible purchase of the sawmill involves a massive “fly ash” pile located on the property. The pile reportedly covers two to three acres and is two to three stories high. The removal of the ash pile, which is a wood waste byproduct, could cost at least $1 million to remove.
Hendrix said Monday the issue with the ash pile is being examined and that the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality may allow it to be covered to keep storm water and the nearby Caddo River from washing it away.
The vote to approve the $25,000 was approved by a 9-0 vote.
Also Monday, the court voted to enter a tax abatement agreement with Great Southern Wood, the company currently operating the old sawmill’s treating plant. The plant, described by Johnny Plyler as a cabinet shop, makes step stringers and 2”x2” ballasts. The plant serves Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Louisiana and parts of Alabama and Tennessee.
Great Southern Wood currently employs 44 people and an expansion project is expected to create 18 more jobs at a rate of pay of $12 per hour and a $450,000 annual payroll. The estimated cost of the project is $765,650.
The tax abatement agreement will allow the State of Arkansas to reimburse Great Southern Wood the local and state sales and use taxes involved in the total project cost. The estimated tax reimbursement would be $15,000 to $20,000.
Plyler said the city of Glenwood would lose some tax revenue but said it was a “win-win situation” to trade off the tax reimbursement for more jobs and a $450,000 annual payroll.
The tax abatement agreement could also benefit the county in courting the unknown Texas investors looking at the sawmill. Plyer said the cost to purchase and get the sawmill running again is approximately $11.3 million.
Bean Lumber Company was once one of Pike County’s largest employers. The company closed in 2007 but restarted in 2008 before financial troubles forced the business to shutdown again. The company once employed 125 workers at the mill and created hundreds of more jobs for area logging companies.
Earlier this year, Hunt Forest Products of Louisiana, backed out of buying the sawmill.
By John Balch
GLASGOW, Scotland – When the 2014 Commonwealth Games get underway this week, a former Mineral Springs Hornet will be there to coach one of the United States’ top collegiate divers.
Andy Scott, the son of Royce and Barbara Scott of Nashville, coaches diving at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and will attend the games with sophomore Maria Zarka, a two-time NCAAA diving champion. Scott is in his fourth season at Kenyon College where he has been twice voted the NCAA Diving Coach of the Year. He has coached Zarka to a national title in three-meter competition and a third-place finish in one-meter competition.
The Commonwealth Games’ opening ceremony was held July 23 in Glasgow, Scotland. Scott and his diver will participate in diving events July 30-Aug. 2 at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.
Scott is a 2000 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education and biology at OBU before receiving his master’s degree in physical education from Springfield College.
At OBU, Scott was a four-year letterman diver and was a one-meter and three-meter NAIA All-American diver in 1997. He was a two-time conference champion in 1999 and was named the Arkansas Male College Diver of the Year in 1999 and 2000.
Scott helped establish a diving program at the University of Incarnate Word, an NCAA Division II institution in San Antonio, Texas where he coached three All-Americans and four NCAA national qualifiers. He also coached at Incarnate Word High School.
The former Hornet has also coached at Springfield College and Duke University, a NCAA Division I school where he is credited with doubling the size of the program. At Duke, he coached four NCAA zone championship qualifiers and while at Springfield he coached two NCAA Division III All-Americans, including the 2002 NCAA Division III Female Diver of the Year.
“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to to work with such a talented athlete,” Scott said in a release from Kenyon College about Zarka. “You never know in diving how things will work out because each individual dive in each meet has so many variables, but (Maria) has been consistent in everything she’s done from day one and it has paid off.”
If Zarka, a native of Kaneohe, Hawaii, advances through the preliminary rounds and places high enough in the finishing order, she could open the door to possibly competing in the 2015 World Championships, the 2016 World Cup, and maybe the 2016 Summer Olympics.
(All information for this article and the accompanying photograph were used with permission from the Kenyon College Sports Information Department)
By John Balch
An investigation involving former Pike County sheriff, Preston “Pep” Glenn, has concluded and will result in no charges being filed despite a special prosecutor’s belief there was criminal activity and a major lapse in record-keeping during Glenn’s time as sheriff.
Ninth West District Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir provided The Nashville Leader with a copy of a two-page letter, dated July 10, 2014, addressed to Judge Charles Yeargan from Arkansas State Police Special Prosecuting Attorney Jack McQuary concerning the special investigation’s conclusion and outcome. The newspaper intends to file an Arkansas Freedom of Information request with the Arkansas State Police for additional information when the case is officially made available.
State police spokesperson Bill Sadler stated in an email Monday, “The case file is being transported to Little Rock later this week. Upon receipt, I will begin the redaction process and keep you apprised of an availability date.”
McQuary stated in his letter he believes there was “criminal activity concerning accounts of the Pike County Sheriff’s Department” under Glenn, but there is not enough evidence to “prove the case to the highest burden in our judicial system.” McQuary also noted that the case “truly causes me anguish” and he felt the need to explain the decision not to file charges.
Glenn had worked for the county since 1999. He was hired as a full-time deputy in 1999 and took office as sheriff on Jan. 1, 2009. Glenn left office before his term was complete after being defeated in the last election cycle by current sheriff, Charlie Caldwell. Glenn took a job with the South Central Drug Task Force, then left that post to work in another area of law enforcement.
The letter also noted that “proper accounting procedures now appear to be in place” at the department under Sheriff Caldwell.
The following is the entire text of the letter to Judge Yeargan from McQuary:
Please accept this as the State’s official notice that the investigation based upon audits of the Sheriff’s Department during the tenure of ex-sheriff Preston Glenn, has come to an end. The investigation was thoroughly conducted by the Arkansas State Police and centered not only on the information brought forward by Legislative Audit, but also into information as the investigation progressed. As you are quite aware, Prosecutors, in order to file charges against someone, must present to the judiciary probable cause for that person to be arrested, then must prove the charges against that person beyond a reasonable doubt for conviction. Prosecuting Attorneys must question themselves throughout the entire process of filing charges and actual prosecution of individuals.
In this case, do I believe there was criminal activity concerning accounts of the Pike County Sheriff’s Department? Yes. Is there enough evidence to prove this case to the highest burden in our judicial system? No.
Ordinarily, I understand that a “cut to the chase” decision by the Prosecutor, as to whether charges are to filed or not, is all that is needed at the close of an investigation, but this case truly causes me anguish and I want to explain my decision not to file charges in this matter.
This investigation began based upon irregularities found in an audit by Legislative Audit of the State. “Irregularities” does not aptly describe what this investigation found. The Sheriff’s Department, under then Sheriff Preston Glenn, and in most instances, prompted Glenn, lacked any accounting concerning the acceptance, collection of, and spending of monies coming into or out of the Sheriff’s Department. It is precisely the lack of records and controls that keeps the State from being able to file charges in this matter. There is evidence of the then sheriff endorsing checks submitted to Pike County for taxes, from citizens, and cashing them at a local grocery store. There is evidence of missing funds that were seized as part of a criminal investigation being “found” by the ex-sheriff in a personal file cabinet after he left office. There is evidence of the ex-sheriff writing check for supplies, but instead of writing the checks directly to the merchants, he would write the checks to himself, endorse and cash them at the grocery store and then, according to Glenn, he would purchase what the check was intended to purchase to begin with. There was a huge lack of receipt keeping for purchases made. There was a huge lack of record keeping. There was also evidence of some money returned, after Glenn left office, that he had “found” that belonged to a specific account and it turned out it was more money than what could be determined missing from the records of the account. There was also an account set up through a vending machine in the Sheriff’s Department which the record keeping was so poor, one could never determine if money was stolen. Vending accounts are supposed to be run through a county’s general fund and should never be controlled by independent departments.
The State’s investigation is as complete as can be, with the records are they are. With the return of monies by Glenn, after leaving office, the State cannot determine if any money is missing due to lack of accounting procedures. With the investigation complete and with no charges being filed, the file is now open under the Freedom of Information Act. The file will be stored with the Arkansas State Police. The public should know that proper accounting procedures now appear to be in place concerning the Sheriff’s Department of Pike County.
By John R. Schirmer
HOT SPRINGS – Nate Steel of Nashville, Democratic nominee for Arkansas attorney general, squared off with Republican Leslie Rutledge and Libertarian Aaron Cash in a debate Friday morning during the Arkansas Press Association convention.
Steel differed with his opponents on several issues, including the role of the attorney general in dealing with the federal government.
Rutledge said she would “take action to oppose Obamacare [the federal Affordable Care Act]. We’re in a real crisis with an overreaching federal government. Obamacare hurts communities. I’ll go after the federal government when necessary. I’ll use the office of attorney general to oppose the feds when necessary.”
In response to Rutledge’s statement, Steel said he is “as frustrated with a lot of actions as anybody else. But I don’t think the solution to an overreaching federal government is an overreaching attorney general. We have so many problems at home. It would be a huge disservice to have the attorney general focused on the federal government. My primary focus will be on Arkansas and Arkansans.”
Rutledge said Attorney General Dustin McDaniel “didn’t join the Hobby Lobby fight. I’ll fight for Arkansas values.”
Steel said Hobby Lobby is a private company. “The state was not a party to the case. This involved a private company.”
Cash said the AG should “focus on Arkansas. If you’re fighting the feds on an issue, you’ll lose. It’s a waste of resources.”
While Steel and Cash agreed that the attorney general’s primary role is to focus on Arkansas, they differed on legalization of marijuana.
Cash said he is in favor of legalizing marijuana. “We need to stop focusing on non-violent drug offenders and focus on violent offenders. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. People die from prescription drugs. They die of drug overdoses. They die of alcohol. I don’t think the federal government should tell us what to do. Prohibition didn’t work. We will cut the cash flow to the drug cartel by legalizing marijuana. It doesn’t kill. Enforcing marijuana laws is a waste of tax dollars. I don’t smoke marijuana, by the way.”
Steel said he opposes legalization of marijuana. “Drugs are at the core of many problems. No one is in the Arkansas Department of Correction for simple possession of marijuana. It’s not contributing to prison overcrowding. I don’t think we should open the floodgates of more crime in our communities. It wouldn’t create any benefit, only harm. There would be no benefit small towns.”
Rutledge also opposes legalization of marijuana. “It’s a gateway drug. The last thing we need to do is keep families form having money for their children. I’ll defend and enforce the law as attorney general.”
Steel said that drug offenses are at the core of many prison sentences. “I’ll combat drugs in general and work with the federal government” to deal with the problem, he said.
The candidates were asked if they would defend laws which conflict with their personal views.
“I’ll be an objective attorney general. I won’t do what the party says to do. I’ll enforce the law whether I agree with it or not,” Steel said.
Rutledge said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder “likes to play God as attorney general. I won’t be like that. I support pro-life and man-woman marriage. If there’s a law I don’t favor, I’ll represent the state” regardless.
All three candidates voiced support for the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. “I promised my newspaperman Louie [Graves] never to touch the FOI. It’s an important tool. I’m a strong proponent of open government, and I’ll staunchly defend the FOI.”
Rutledge said she would “protect transparency in government. Citizens need to be able to ask how their money is spent.”
Steel said that he will have a legislative package ready if he’s elected AG. “After the election,I intend to have a package in January. Having legislative experience [as state representative] is critical to getting that package of bills passed. We need an attorney general ready on Day 1 to get the package passed.”
Rutledge said the role of the attorney general is “to help write good, clean laws. I’ll use my experience as counsel to [Gov. Mike] Huckabee to talk to the legislature about the laws the pass. We need to work with the legislature, not against, to fix laws.”
Cash said he doesn’t plan to have a legislative package. He said immigration laws that tear families apart should be reformed. He said Arkansas has the second highest meth problem in the nation and promised to deal with it. He also said he would work on parole problems.
On the subject of open-carry firearms, Rutledge described herself as pro-Second Amendment. “Whether we agree with open carry or not, the law allows open carry.”
Steel said it is “up to the courts to interpret the law. I’m a strong defender of the Second Amendment. I’ve voted on behalf of gun owners. We have to strike a balance between the Second Amendment and danger to others. I’ll listen to law enforcement and work to have a fair, clear statute.”
Cash said he is also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.
In closing statements, Cash said he is “running on individual liberty. People are tired of the two-party system.” He described the AG as the “manager of a large law firm. The AG doesn’t have time to evaluate what every employee is doing. The AG is a manager and works with the state’s lawyers to take care of cases.”
Steel said the state is in “a critical time. We need all hands on deck. We have a parole crisis. Children are being victimized. We need an AG ready to work on Day 1 with law enforcement and not have an eye on D.C. politics. There’s not a Democratic or Republican way to do that. I’ll have a partnership in place in how we enforce the law. I’ll be an objective, fair and tough attorney general.”
Rutledge said she hears constantly about how “overreaching the federal and state government are. We need an AG with the right experience to take them head on.”
By Molly Freel
“Satan did everything he could to steal our joy and to steal our mission and we never let him. Through it all everyone stayed focused on what God had planned for us to do.”- Kristy Vines
Tuesday, July 1st, 30 students and adults from First Baptist Church of Nashville and other area congregations began their journey to Casa Aleluya in San Bartolome, Guatemala. As the church van drove the curvy roads to Arkadelphia, the group encountered the first trial of the trip, a flat tire. Quickly, they pulled into a shop and got a mechanic to put them on a new one so that they wouldn’t miss their flight out of Little Rock.
Once the group landed in Guatemala City, a bus shuttled them to Casa Aleluya orphanage where they would be spending their week helping fix up and redecorate in order to get ready for an inspection.
“At first I really didn’t want to go, but once I was there I loved it. I really got a blessing out of this experience and am more thankful than ever for my family, friends, and community,” said Braden Hood.
Casa Aleluya is a Christian-based orphanage run by Mike and Dottie Clark, who are originally from Louisiana. The orphanage had 480 children when Nashville’s group arrived and even more by the time that they left.
Kids that live in Casa range in age from infant to early 20s. At Casa Aleluya children are given food, shelter, education, love, and given the opportunity to hear the gospel. Primary and elementary students went to school from early morning until lunch, while junior high and high school students went from noon till dinner time.
In the mornings the Nashville mission group worked on various projects. The men helped to pull weeds, rewire some of the electrical appliances, help get rid of mold, and put up new walls.
Meanwhile, the women of the group were holding down dorm rooms, cooking, and redecorating dorms. Terri McJunkins was head of a remodeling of junior high girls dorm rooms. She had collected comforters and quilts while in Nashville to take with her for this project.
“My favorite part of the whole trip was getting to see the girls’ faces light up when they went into their rooms after they were completely redone,” said Jenna Hendry.
In the afternoons the group would play and love on the kids that were in the orphanage. “They can’t always give as much attention to the kids as they would like to since there are so many of them. Thats where we come in. We go love on them and show them that Christ’s love is worldwide,” said Kaylie Efird.
The group of 30 stayed in a large room that had bunks. They were with another group from Washington state.
Along with helping get tasks done for Casa Aleluya, the Nashville team members had to take care of themselves. Beverly Starr was in charge of the kitchen and getting everyone fed.
“I didn’t do it by myself. Every day three people came and helped me prepare for that day’s meals. They were all so willing to help and did such a great job,” said Starr.
“On the last day as I was saying my goodbyes, one of my girls came up to me and said, ‘I’m not going to cry this time because I know you’re coming back.’ This let me know that they trusted me enough to know I’d come back to see them,” said Vines.
Many people that went on the mission trip had been to Guatemala before and had the opportunity to see some of the same kids that they had years before. However, quite a few got to experience Casa Aleluya for the first time.
“After seeing the presentation from last year’s mission trip, I wanted to be part of this team, to learn about Casa and see what I could do to help out with the children and Casa,” said Dale Patrick.
Molly Sirigiri, a teacher at CCCUA Nashville, went on the trip as well. However, on her way home she was detained in Houston. Originally being from India, Sirigiri’s visa didn’t allow her to leave the country. However, when applying and getting a passport to go to Guatemala the officials didn’t tell her that.
After being held in a room like a prisoner for over 24 hours, the officials sent her back to India. Thankfully, Sirigiri is in good spirits and is already working to get back into the United States and keep on teaching.
“Satan did everything he could to steal our joy and to steal our mission and we never let him. Through it all everyone stayed focused on what God had planned for us to do,” said Kristy Vines.
After surviving a flat tire, earthquake, deportation, a stomach virus, and a storm preventing them from getting home on time, the First Baptist group finally made it home with full hearts and feeling accomplished on July 8.
“I think everyone should experience a mission trip. Most people in America take for granted having food, shelter, and a family that loves them every day. Casa provides all of those needs to them. And to go over to another country it is really an eye opener to how lucky we really are here in our little town of Nashville,” said Kaycee Patrick.
HOT SPRINGS – The Nashville Leader won top honors in its division from the Arkansas Press Association Saturday afternoon at Embassy Suites in Hot Springs.
The Leader received first place in APA’s general excellence competition. The award was presented during a luncheon at the conclusion of APA’s summer convention. First place in general excellence is the newspaper equivalent of a state championship.
General excellence is based on the results of individual contests in writing, photography, design and coverage. Entries were published in 2013 and were judged by members of the Tennessee Press Association. The Leader competes in the medium weeklies division.
Including general excellence, the Leader received 17 awards in APA’s Better Newspaper Contest. They include five first-place awards, seven second place, two third place and two honorable mention.
First place awards and judges comments where available include the following:
News story – John R. Schirmer for “Indelible date: Nov. 22, 1963.” The story was Secret Service agent Clint Hill’s account of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Hill spoke Oct. 30 at Arkansas State University. “Best writing and story flow,” the judge said. “I grew up with the assassination and still found plenty to keep my interest here.”
Best beat reporter – Schirmer for sports beat. “Complete coverage. Very well written. Good job,” the judge said.
Humorous column – Louie Graves for “1.4% disaster.” The judge said, “I laughed and laughed, and I reckon that’s what this category is all about.”
Headline writing – Emily Alexander for “About 10,550 kids called her Mrs. K.” The story was about the retirement of Jimmie Lou Kirkpatrick as Nashville Junior High secretary.
Coverage of health/medical – Louie Graves, John R. Schirmer, Emily Alexander, John Balch and Jana Copeland. The entry included six stories related to health and medical topics. “Great variety of reporting, and I like how your photos/layouts added to each story,” the judge said.
Second place awards include the following:
Sports news story – Schirmer for “MS resident avoids injury in bombing.”
Humorous column – Graves for “Flame in my ear.” Graves won first and second place in humorous column.
Single feature photo – Schirmer for “Cool treat,” a picture of Halton Howard eating a sno-cone at last year’s Relay for Life. “‘Rascally’ little boy brings brightness to serious subject,” the judge said. “Love the cap.”
Single sports action photograph – Schirmer for “Going after the ball.”
Picture page/photo essay – Schirmer for “Two in a row,” the Scrapperettes’ second consecutive state softball championship. “Stong entry, especially the shots showing emotion,” the judge said.
Coverage of education – Schirmer, Graves, Alexander, Ashley Starr- Thompson and John Balch. “Covers schools like dew on grass. Nice column by Louie tracking local Merit scholars,” the judge said.
Coverage of tourism – Alexander, Graves, Copeland, Schirmer and Balch. The judge said, “Particularly liked your photos of your events.”
Third place awards include the following:
Best sports page – Alexander and Schirmer.
Best special issue/section – Alexander, Schirmer, Tracy Denny-Bailey, Pam McAnelly. Farm Family of the Year.
Honorable mention awards include the following:
Single news photograph – Balch for “Arrival on Good Friday.”
Single sports feature photograph – Schirmer for “After the game.”
“We are especially pleased with the general excellence award,” Schirmer said. “It is based on all of the factors that make up a newspaper, including the way that a paper covers its community.”
The Leader received first place in general excellence for the second time in the past four years.
By John Balch
The tomatoes are not quite ready and the cucumbers are just starting to bloom, but it won’t be long before the new Caddoan Gardens will be ripe for the picking.
The “you pick ‘em” garden is located at the Murfreesboro tourist attraction, the Ka-Do-Ha Indian Village, and offers a wide variety of vegetables and herbs to the locals as well as visitors. The two-acre garden will also include a farmers market and tours.
Houston Snow of Delight is the garden’s caretaker, according to the Indian Village manager, Karen Bush. “He’s the man with the plan. The master gardener.”
Snow was busy Monday morning trying to beat the heat of the day, collecting zucchini and yellow squash. A few rows over, Brenda and Kent Eatmon, also of Delight, were looking over the honey select corn for a few ears to take home. Brenda said she has a garden but did not plant any corn this year.
Snow said the goal of the garden is to be as organic as possible, opting for practices such as companion planting instead of insecticides to control the bugs. But, sometimes you’ve got to what you’ve got to do (Sevin Dust) to save the plants in the case of an infestation.
In an effort to maintain a healthy bee population, Snow, who keeps bees at home, does not apply the insecticides until after the bees have retired for the night. In the cool of the morning, fresh blooms open to reveal an inviting, dust-free interior.
“We need the bees,” said Snow, who added that his herb garden at home attracts at least six different types of bees. He hopes the herb garden at Ka-Do-Ha will do the same.
Besides zucchini, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and corn, the garden is full of very tall sunflower plants, rows of okra, blueberries and black berries – which are ready to put on thanks to all the recent rains – a variety of peppers, watermelons and cantaloupes.
Snow is also experimenting with raising various gourds and kiwi.
“I read where (kiwi) will grow in this zone, so I’m giving that a try,” he said.
Bush said the garden is billed as a “you pick ‘em” garden but Snow comes in most days and collects what is ready to be picked.
“We realize some of the elderly folks can’t get out there and pick,” Bush said. “So, we will pick for them, if requested.”
The garden is located at 281 Kadoha Road in Murfreesboro.
By John R. Schirmer
Tuesday afternoon, Molly Sirigiri of Nashville was on her way home from Guatemala, where she was a member of a local mission team which spent a week working at an orphanage near Guatemala City.
Less than 24 hours later, she was on her way back to her home country of India after being sent by authorities at Bush International Airport in Houston.
Sirigiri, a native of Hyderbad, India, is a member of the biological sciences faculty at Cossatot Community College University of Arkansas in Nashville. She attends First Baptist Church of Nashville and decided months ago to go on the Guatemala trip, along with members of FBC and other congregations in the area.
Sirigiri’s paperwork was acceptable to get her from Bill and Hillary Clinton Airport in Little Rock to Bush International to Guatemala City on July 1.
She made it back from Guatemala City to Houston at 3:55 p.m. July 8, and that’s where the trip ended.
Sirigiri was held in Houston. Other members of the mission team were first told that she would miss the flight they were on back to Little Rock but would be allowed to return Wednesday.
Those in the group tried to find out what had happened, but to no avail. Wednesday afternoon, Sirigiri was allowed to tell one of the team members that she was about to be put on a plane for India by way of Germany. That was the last contact with her.
The flight to Munich left Houston at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday. From Munich, Sirigiri was to fly to New Delhi, India.
Sen. Mark Pryor’s office has become involved in the case, along other government officials and agencies.
UPDATE: Trip organizers say that a report on the incident says that Sirigiri was issued a visa in 2009. Apparently, the visa is only good for her to be in the United States. It does not allow her to travel outside of the U.S.
If for any reason she does leave, the visa is void and she is not allowed re-entry.
When Sirigiri traveled to Guatemala, she was not allowed re-entry. She will be allowed to reapply for her visa in India, where she is scheduled to arrive July 11.
The Nashville people who organized the trip were told that Sirigiri’s work at Cossatot Community College/UA will be able to help her get back to the states faster because that’s the reason she is here.
Sirigiri has her luggage and all of her belongings. The airlines are responsible for making sure she has food.
People in Nashville offered to wire her money, but her immediate needs are being taken care of.
Unanswered questions about the incident remain, including why Sirigiri wasn’t given an explanation when she was detained, and why she wasn’t notified that the visa appears to have been one-way.
By John Balch
Master Kraft Construction & Supply Company Inc., a business which has operated in Nashville for more than half a century, will close its doors later this month.
The company’s equipment and office contents will be sold at auction on July 16 by Blackmon Auction. The company’s building will be marketed for an extended time before it, too, will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The company is currently not accepting any more business orders, according to a spokesperson.
Master Kraft specialized in a wide variety of construction-related items and services during its 53 years in business, including sheet metal work, welding, fabrication, industrial maintenance, sandblasting and concrete work. The company currently employs 20 workers but once employed close to 40 laborers.
Leon Parker first opened the company, known then as Parker’s Metal, in 1961 on Nashville’s Main Street. The business moved to its current location on Highway 27 North in 1975.
Master Kraft originated from deep roots that began long before the business opened, according to a company press release. Parker quit the eighth grade to pursue a business in the sheet metal industry. He first worked in an Arizona copper mine’s sheet metal plant and also attended refrigeration school to continue learning about the various industries.
“Once Parker obtained a significant amount of firsthand experience and knowledge of numerous trades, he moved his family back to the place they’d always called home in hopes of beginning a business of his own,” according to company history.
Parker integrated his family into the Nashville business and “believed in providing customers with the finest quality work at a fair price and prided himself on hard work, integrity and Christian values.”
Parker passed away in 1995 and his daughter, Elizabeth Crawford and her husband, Donald, took over the company. Crawford had had plenty of experience working with her dad and she adopted his stern work ethic.
“My dad was a great man who put his whole heart into Master Kraft,” Crawford said. “I learned at a very early age all the tools of the trade.”
Crawford recalled with a laugh how when she first started working for her dad that he kept all the company books and paperwork in shoe boxes. “It was quite a chore to get it all straightened out, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.”
Crawford is now preparing to close the company that encompassed much of her life.
“I’m so thankful to have been in business for 53 years,” she said. “I’m eternally grateful for all out loyal customers and vendors. While a part of me is sad to see my father’s legacy end, I’m truly looking forward to retirement.”
Howard County Judge Kevin Smith issued the following statement after learning of the closing: “It is always sad to see a business that has been here in Howard County close after 50-plus years. I am sure it has been a difficult decision for Master Kraft. We will miss Master Kraft and their involvement and in their service to our community. We wish all the best to the employees and families that this closing will affect.”
Nashville Mayor Billy Ray Jones echoed Judge Smith’s sentiment, stating, “I hate any business closing around here. Maybe someone will come along and pick up the pieces and move on.”
Janet Carson, horticulture specialist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service and host of “Gardening from the Gardens” television segments on KATV, will present the program, “Continuous Color in Your Garden All Summer Long” at the Howard County Extension Homemaker Educational Center located on North Second Street behind the courthouse in Nashville.
The program will take place on Tuesday, July 15, beginning at 10 a.m. The public is invited to attend this free program, hosted by the Howard County Extension Homemakers.
Carson has worked with the Cooperative Extension Service for more than 20 years and was instrumental in initiating the Master Gardener program in Arkansas. She has been featured on several AETN programs and radio programs with timely programs on gardening and landscaping.
For more information, contact the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517.
School board position filings ended at 12 noon, Tuesday, and a number of candidates are seeking to fill the re-instated board at Mineral Springs.
Candidates by closing time were:
Zone 1 – none
Zone 2 – Dorothy J. Vaughn
Zone 3 – Zemeria Cecelia Newton, and Violet Kay Thornton
Zone 4 – Mike Erwin
Zone 5 – D.E. Ray and Robert Hawkins, Sr.
Zone 6 – Jaimie Gail Jackson, and Joann Walker
Zone 7 – William Dixon, Jr.
Of the candidates, Erwin, Walker and Dixon were serving on the board when it was dissolved last year by the state department of education.
There is a contested race for the open seat at Dierks. Incumbent Barry Stuard is challenged by Brad Garner.
At Nashville, incumbent Mark Canaday is the lone candidate.
The election will be Tuesday, Sept. 16.
There will be three contested races in the Kirby School District during the annual school election.
Incumbent Mike Putz will be challenged by Bruce Stewart for the three-year Kirby Position 6 seat while Randy Stewart and Ronnie Whisenhunt will face off for the three-year Position 7 seat, which is currently held by Dewayne Mack. For the three-year Position 7 seat, currently held by Lynn Tolleson, Mark Foshee and Clay Krump will be on the ballot.
In the South Pike County School District, appointed incumbent Joe House of Delight filed unopposed for Zone 6’s five-year seat. No candidate filed for the Zone 3 seat, which is currently filled by Chris Sharp, who was appointed to the position. If no one files for the position and Sharp is reappointed, the seat will be up for election again in 2015; otherwise, it is a five-year term.
Only one candidate filed for the two seats up for election in the Centerpoint School District. Incumbent Dale Sutton filed for the five-year Zone 3 seat. No candidate filed for the Zone 4 seat, which is currently held by Kirk Pittman. Both zones are five-year terms.
By John R. Schirmer
Stand Up for America attracted hundreds to the Nashville City Park July 4 for an evening of music, patriotism and fireworks.
Local entertainers performed for about one hour before Michael Hix and Holla of Dallas took the stage at the Nashville City Park.
The Texans sang for almost two hours before the fireworks began, offering music from the 1960s-‘80s, along with more recent country tunes.
Wendy Haddan introduced Mayor Billy Ray Jones, who welcomed the crowd as the program began, followed by Rev. Kevin Sartin with the invocation.
The color guard from Little Rock Air Force base posted the colors as Jenny Westbrook sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
After that, emcee Loren Hinton introduced a host of local singers, including Hailey Nunley, Greg Nunley, Don Porterfield, Jacee Martin, Ethan Kuntz, Hunter Burton, Savannah Halter, Kinley Martin, Allie Westbrook, Joshua Kuntz, Robin Wilson and Abby Furr.
The annual salute to veterans recognized servicemen and women from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The veterans stood as the songs for their branches of the service were played.
Hix and his musicians wrapped up the entertainment, and the fireworks display concluded the evening.
Stand Up for America sponsors included Husqvarna, Wal-Mart, York Gary Autoplex, Tyson Foods, Dr. Glenn Lance, AEP/SWEPCO, First National Bank, Jan-Eze Plating, Ivan Smith Furniture Co., McDonalds, REA/Co-op, Lisa Chandler Insurance, First State Bank, Red River Federal Credit, Dr. Don Sitzes, The Print Shop, Woodruff Pawn, Little Red School House, Regions Bank, CCCUA/Nashville, Centerpoint Energy, R & J Supply and the Home Improvement Center.
By Molly Freel
The Legislature met on Monday, June 31, at 4 p.m. for a special summer session to deal with school employee insurance, prison beds, and the lottery.
Sen. Larry Teague of Nashville said that the session ended on Wednesday July 2, at 12:15 a.m. with a result of three new bills passing.
The first bill had to do with teachers’ insurance and the changes that were going to be made for the 2015 school year. Teague says that now spouses of teachers who are offered insurance from their own job will not be allowed to be on teachers’ insurance. Lap band and other weight loss surgeries will no longer be covered by the insurance policy that the school is providing.
Teague said that the biggest change that the Legislature passed is that part-time workers such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers will no longer be offered insurance through the school system.
Teague did not vote for any of these things to pass. He believes that there is no reason to exclude part-time workers from the insurance that they already have. “The truth is if we are getting an adequate rate for insurance, then it shouldn’t matter; and we aren’t getting an adequate rate with a shortfall projected into this year and it’s just ridiculous. In my opinion it’s time to draw the line, get adequate rates with enough built in to build up some reserves and move forward.”
The next bill that was passed was for money to be moved around in order to be able to open 600 more prison beds in the state. Right now there are 2,900 backlogged prisoners in the state so officials are hoping that this gives prisons a little bit of relief though they know that this isn’t a permanent solution, Teague said.
Lastly, the Legislature passed a bill to keep the Lottery Commission from installing keno and other computer monitor games until March 2015. At that point the Legislature will probably reconsider a permanent ban on keno and monitor games.
Teague said that for the most part the three-day session was pretty uneventful except for a “hiccup with the budget committee” that he is in charge of. There were some wanting to move money around in order to increase prison guards’ pay, but the bill wasn’t included in the session.
The Mine Creek Soil Conservation District’s new conservationist can count on the fingers of one of his sizable hands the number of Delight High School grads he knows who started off to become agri teachers but eventually found careers in other fields.
That number is remarkable, he says, from his vantage point which is also connects Delight to agriculture.
Chu Gordon is the new District Conservationist for the Mine Creek Soil Conservationist, succeeding Clint Ramsey who served here for 24 years before his retirement.
Gordon and his wife, Kimberly, were present Thursday night at a conservation district event which also honored the Mark and Karen Kitchens family, Howard County’s Farm Family of the Year.
Gordon is a 1993 graduate of Delight High School, who went on to get his bachelor and master of science degrees in agriculture from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He began his career with various soil conservation districts in 1997 as a student trainee in Missouri.
He went on serve as a conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Services offices in Hope, covering Hempstead and Nevada counties; Lewisville, covering Lafayette and Columbia counties; North Little Rock, covering Pulaski and Saline counties; before finding his way ‘home.’ Now he’ll be working in both Howard and Pike counties.
Thursday night at the farm family steak cookout at the spacious horse barn on the farm of district board chairman Mark Millwood, Gordon said that he and his wife, Kimberly, and son, Connor, age 2, were looking to purchase a home in or near Nashville.
Kimberly has her own connection to Delight where she attended schools through the seventh grade before moving to Houston. She has relatives living around Delight. Her maiden name was Silva. She is a CPA working for a Little Rock firm, and she said that she would be able to do her work for her firm from home.
Gordon’s family owns 410 acres of Pike County land along the Little Missouri River. He is a cattleman with his father.
Members of the district’s governing board and spouses were present, including chairman Mark Millwood, Kirk Bell, Joe Martin and Cotton Cothren. Board member John Jamison was unable to attend.
Also present were district staff members including water quality technician Jana Gills, who was observing her birthday, district technician Tanner McAlister, and district manager Louise Morris.
The annual Stand Up for America celebration will be held Friday, July 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Nashville City Park.
The evening will include a patriotic program, a Texas singer and a fireworks display.
The featured entertainer will be Michael Hix of Dallas, Texas. Hix is a pop, rock and soul singer, producer, actor and emcee. He has performed across the United States for the past 15 years.
Hix has opened and performed with Cher, Bret Michaels, Sara Evans, George Jones, Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn, among others. He recorded his first album, “Green Light,” in 2011 and is preparing to record his second album.
For 10 years, Hix produced, emceed and performed in a weekly variety show entitled Arlington Live in Arlington, Texas.
The admission price will increase from $1 to $5 for adults at the Stand Up event.
Chamber of commerce manager Mike Reese said the scheduled entertainment was well worth the increase in admission price. Reese said Hix and his seven-piece band specialize in pop hits from the ’60s-’80s. “I think you’ll be pleased with his high-energy show,” Reese said.
Admission for children ages 3-12 will be $3; adult tickets are $5, and up front reserved seating with seats provided will be $10.
“We have tickets for Stand Up available here at the chamber. Avoid the line at the
ticket booth at the park and buy your Stand Up tickets early,” Reese said.
Reese said he thought this would be the 25th gala since it got its “Stand Up” name. A Fourth of July event has existed here for about 35 years, he speculated.
As usual, a part of the show will be dedicated to local veterans of military service. Concessions will also be available. Reese reminded event-goers to bring lawnchairs but not coolers.
The schedule includes:
6 p.m. – gates open
6:30-7:30 – patriotic show
7:30-9:30 – Michael Hix show
9:30 – aerial fireworks display
The city park is located at 1301 Johnson St. in Nashville.
By Louie Graves
By a 7-2 vote the Nashville City Council has authorized Mayor Billy Ray Jones to apply for a grant to buy part of the former Nashville Crate Company property and turn it into expanded site for the city shop.
The resolution seeks a grant of $55,000 to buy the property. Howard County, which has its shop adjacent to the Nashville shop, would buy another chunk of the former crate manufacturing site for its own shop use.
Voting against the resolution were Aldermen Matt Smith and Mike Milum.
The city will seek the funding from the Arkansas Rural Development Commission.
The city may take steps to limit the use of a narrow bridge over Mine Creek by heavily-laden feed trucks making their way to the Pilgrim’s mill. Possible steps to be taken include police presence to issue tickets, or a metal frame limiting the height of truck trailers which can access the bridge. The city recently performed repairs to the bridge, and Public Works Director Larry Dunaway and Mayor Jones said that heavy trucks rattled the structure and will shorten its life. The trucks’ other access to the mill is less convenient.
Aldermen approved expenditure of $30,000 to extend sewer improvements another 1,000 feed down the east side of the city. Dunaway told the council that the city already had purchased the pipe, and had no hope of returning it. The use of the pipe to renovate the sewer is expected to pay off in storm water runoff relief.
Code enforcement officer David Johnson discussed a zoning change for a stretch of South Main and possibly a block of Bell Street where the zoning, Highway Commercial, prevents rebuilding of homes in a mostly residential area. The city will pursue making the change.
Present for the regular meeting for June were Mayor Jones, counsel George Steel, City Clerk Liz McDaniel, PWD Dunaway, Police Chief Dale Pierce, Financial Officer Jimmy Dale, and council members Milum, Smith, Freddy Brown, Nick Davis, Monica Clark, Jimmie Lou Kirkpatrick, Kay Gathright, James Parker, Carol Mitchel and Andy Anderson. Also, alderman-elect Donna Harwell.
By Molly Freel
Ali Barfield, an upcoming junior at Nashville High School; and Derek Hill, an upcoming senior at Dierks High, were both accepted into the MASH program held in Texarkana.
MASH (Medical Applications of Science for Health) gives students a two-week glimpse into the lives of doctors and what they do. This year the MASH program hosted 24 students from June 16-27.
During this two week-week time period which ran from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day, the students get to become CPR certified, learn how to stitch wounds up, put casts on people, become first aid certified, get to work in the ER, and observe surgeries.
They are based at the UAMS center in Texarkana and go out to Wadley Regional Medical Center and Christus St. Michael Hospital for observation and on-field experiences.
For Barfield, the program has already been life changing. “Going into the program I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a physical therapist or an RN. From what all I have seen and learned, it has helped me to make my choice. I’ve observed that RNs are everywhere and constantly doing something, so I think that’s what I see myself doing in the future.”
Barfield said that her favorite part about the program so far is getting to work in the ER. “It’s so fast paced that you never get bored,” she said. She also expressed how much she enjoyed watching surgeries and getting to see how the doctors take something that is so broken and fix it.
Barfield said that they even got to help deliver a baby from a dummy that talks to you!
Hill’s reasoning for getting into the program was to get a general idea of different types of medical occupations. “So far the program has been really fun. I like how everyone is always willing to share their knowledge of professions,” he said. Hill plans on becoming either a sports doctor or an athletic trainer in the future.
Both Hill and Barfield say that they would suggest this program to other students.
Any student that is a sophomore or junior with a minimum 3.0 GPA may apply.
By John R. Schirmer
With at least the possibility of four new physicians moving to Nashville by 2017, Howard Memorial Hospital is looking for ways to provide office space for them.
Dr. Syed Javed will open his practice in Nashville later this year in the Medical Office Building on the HMH campus.
Dr. Rianot Amzat has signed an offering letter to begin her practice in Nashville in the summer or fall of 2015.
Dr. Mgoz Idilenna Wilkins has signed an offering letter and is reviewing an employment agreement to practice in Nashville.
Dr. Catie Ross, salutatorian of the class of 2005 at Nashville High School, has graduated from UAMS and is in her family practice medical residency at Jonesboro. She will complete her residency in 2017 and “will talk to us about coming back,” hospital CEO Debra Wright said at the June 24 board meeting. Dr. Ross is the daughter of Dr. John and Patricia Sayre of Nashville.
The Medical Office Building will accommodate three doctors. Dr. Brian Oge is already located there, and Dr. Javed’s practice will be in the facility. Dr. Amzat will occupy the final office at the Medical Office Building.
Wright discussed the possibility of another office project on the hospital campus. “We need room for four providers and an additional 1,000 square feet for outpatient services,” she said.
The current office building has 4,890 square feet. The projected facility would be about 7,500 square feet in order to house an extra physician and the outpatient clinic.
Wright asked the Howard Memorial Hospital Foundation board about building the new office space during a meeting last month. The Foundation built the current Medical Office Building.
“Board members said they would rather the hospital board handle the next building project,” Wright said.
The cost of the project will be about $1.2 million, according to Wright, including the purchase of land from the Foundation and the cost of constructing the building.
Board member Paul Britt, who also serves on the Foundation board, said the Foundation “has $490,000 in debt responsibility for now. If we accept the responsibility to build a $1.2 million facility, it will stretch the Foundation’s ability to provide equipment and funds for the hospital. It would be better for the hospital to build the Medical Office Building.”
Britt said HMH has about $4.5 million cash in the bank, which is “$1.5 million more than what had been projected. That would pay for the building. The money belongs to the taxpayers of Howard County. We would be putting it back into health care.”
Architect Mark Bailey was scheduled to visit the hospital campus to look at the possible site for the building.
No action was taken on the proposed building.
In other business at last week’s board meeting, Arkansas’s private option health insurance program continues to benefit HMH, according to CFO Bill Craig. “The private option has been a good deal for our hospital,” he said. “Fewer uninsured patients mean more money for the hospital and in the emergency department.”
Howard County has 1,101 residents who have been approved for the private option, according to figures from the Department of Human Services.
May was “a very good month” for outpatient services and the emergency department, Craig said. Outpatient visits were at 112 above budget, and the emergency department was up 67 visits.
May was the “fourteenth consecutive month for us to meet our cash on hand goal,” Craig said. HMH has 124 days of cash on hand, compared to the target of 100 days.
However, the hospital experienced a shortfall of 2.6 patients per day, leaving the inpatient average daily census at 37 percent below budget. “That’s more than $100,000 in cash collection,” Craig said.The hospital lost about $57,200 for the month.
One credentialing item was discussed last week. Carmen Hoffmeyer, a registered nurse, was appointed to the wound care team.
Britt’s tenure on the board concluded at the June meeting. He has served since 2008. “It’s been a learning experience. I hope I’ve made a difference and have done something that’s made healthcare better.”
Board chairman Brenda Ward presented a plaque to Britt.
A 23-year-old Winthrop man was sentenced to time in the state prison Monday after pleading “no contest” to the charges of Internet stalking of a child and possessing drugs after he was taken into custody.
Roy Lynn Scott entered the plea Monday in Pike County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to a total of five years in the Arkansas Department of Correction.
According to case information, Scott was arrested by Pike County authorities after he engaged in online activity, which included “explicit sexual chats,” with a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl. He also had emailed the subject a explicit picture and later arranged to met the girl, who was actually a Pike County lawman posing as a child on a social media account.
When Scott was arrested in March, he was taken into custody and was being booked at the county jail when authorities found him to be in possession of five pills, commonly known as Xanax. Scott had steadily maintained he was not in possession of any contraband during the booking process. The drugs resulted in the charge of furnishing, prohibited articles in a detention facility.
Scott was sentenced to five years on each charge with the sentences to run concurrently.
Also Monday in Pike County, Rodney D. Shields, 42, of Glenwood pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of a firearm by a certain person. He was sentenced to three years of probation, fined $1,500 and ordered to forfeit his weapon to a Glenwood pawn shop.
Dalton Ray Jordon, 22, of Nashville also pleaded guilty Monday to the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was sentenced to five years of probation and fined $2,000 plus court costs.
By John R. Schirmer
Family and friends of the late Ronny Woods joined Nashville city officials under a tent Friday morning to dedicate the Ronny K. Woods Wildlife Trail at the Nashville City Park.
One by one, speakers told of Woods’ efforts on behalf of the park and the entire city.
At the end of the program, twin brother Donny Woods presented a check for $10,000 to the Nashville Park and Recreation System to complete a pavilion next to the wildlife trail.
“The plans for the Ronny K. Woods Memorial Trail include … a pavilion that will enhance the use of the trail. Many friends and park lovers have made contributions toward the completion of this pavilion. To ensure that the pavilion is timely completed, the Woods family is honored on this occasion to present to the Nashville Park and Recreation System our contribution in the amount of $10,000,” Donny said.
Park director Nikki Cherry, park commission chairman Freddie Horne and Mayor Billy Ray Jones accepted the donation on behalf of the city.
Earlier in the program, Cherry said Kirsten Bartlow from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was instrumental in obtaining a grant of $88,400 for the wildlife trail. Cherry said that Ronny Woods “holds a special place in our hearts. He wasn’t just on a board; he actually worked. He helped acquire the property.”
Mayor Jones said that if Nashville “had two or three Ronnys who did half of what he did, the community would be way better. He gave his time unselfishly. This is a small thing we can do for Ronny.”
Horne thanked those who had helped with the wildlife trail from its planning until completion. He listed a number of individuals and organizations, and he said the Rotary Club of Nashville donated $500 toward the project.
Project designer Ken Eastin of Eastin Outdoors Inc. said the walking trail will have “a great role in the community.”
Then it was Donny Woods’ turn. “Ronny loved Nashville, and he wanted to be involved. He and I often discussed how blessed we were and how good the people of Nashville have been to us. We both felt that we had an obligation to give something back to the community that makes it a better place to live, work and raise families.
“When Ronny got involved with a project, he gave it everything he had. If he told you he would do something, you could count on it being done. If there was an event going on in the park, he was going to be present and accounted for.”
Organizations in which Ronny was involved included the Chamber of Commerce, KNVL-TV, the Howard County Children’s Center, the Rotary Club, the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Nashville Volunteer Fire Department and Immanuel Baptist Church of Nashville. “He left his handprints in so many places and in so many ways that it is hard for me to go anywhere in this community and not be reminded of him,” Donny said.
When Ronny became a member of the park commission, he immediately began to refer to the park as “his park,” Donny said. “The park was a place he and I spent more time together, walking the trails, than any other place with the exception of our office. It was quality time spent together rehashing the events of the day, making plans – both personal and business. The park was a place of relaxation and a place where we tried to improve or at least maintain our health as many others do.
“Today, when I visit the park, I see him everywhere and I remember the good times and the sharing that we had here.”
Ronny was instrumental in securing a large part of the land for the park, his brother said. The land was needed for the park’s continuing growth.
“Another individual who deserves proper recognition with respect to the acquisition of this additional land is the late Sen. Jim Hill, who was instrumental in assisting the park in acquiring the land for the purchase. Sen. Hill was a great supporter and friend of the park. The soccer field complex below us carries his name today,” Donny said. Hill’s wife Charlotte attended the dedication.
“Ronny would be humbled to know that the new wildlife trail bears his name. This will be yet another handprint that will be a continuous reminder of how much he loved the park and our community. It will be a personal reminder to me that it really was ‘his park’ after all. Thank you, park commission, for this beautiful tribute to Ronny’s memory. Our family is grateful and overwhelmed at the generosity of Ronny’s many friends and park lovers and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission who have made this memorial a reality not only to honor Ronny’s memory but to provide a place of enjoyment for the community,” Donny said.
Following the program, park staff provided guided tours of the wildlife trail.
The annual Stand Up for America celebration will be held Friday, July 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Nashville City Park.
The featured entertainer will be Michael Hix of Dallas, Texas. Hix is a pop, rock and soul singer, producer, actor and emcee. He has performed across the United States for the past 15 years.
Hix has opened and performed with Cher, Bret Michaels, Sara Evans, George Jones, Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn, among others. He recorded his first album, “Green Light,” in 2011 and is preparing to record his second album.
For 10 years, Hix produced, emceed and performed in a weekly variety show entitled Arlington Live in Arlington, Texas.
Admission is free for children under 3. Tickets are $3 for 3-12 years old and $5 for 12 and older.
Special seating is available for $10.
Stand Up for America will conclude with the traditional fireworks show following the concert.
The city park is located at 1301 Johnson St. in Nashville.
An on-and-off relationship between a Nashville man and woman ended at 11 a.m., Saturday when the former boyfriend pumped three small caliber handgun bullets into the woman, killing her.
The victim, Pamela Harris, 44, black female, was with perhaps as many as a dozen other persons outside a small structure at 1300 S. Main St., when the shooter, Gary Dwayne Swift, 44, black male, drove up. She quickly got in her car and attempted to leave, but Swift approached and shot through the open window. She jammed the accelerator and the car jumped, striking a vehicle ahead of her, then veering off across the street to strike a house.
Harris was taken by Howard County Ambulance Service personnel to the emergency room at Howard Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead by County Coroner John Gray.
Swift fled the scene in his own vehicle, but was later located by a manhunt in a wooded area in the Ozan-Clow area. Police from Howard and Hempstead sheriffs’ departments, the Arkansas State Police, Mineral Springs Police and Nashville Police Department assisted in the hunt for Swift which ended about an hour after the shooting.
Swift is due to make his first court appearance here Wednesday. He has been charged with three felonies: murder in the first degree, terroristic act, and felon in possession of a firearm. His bond has been set at $500,000.
Police were called to provide extra security outside the ER at the hospital after a crowd gathered there.
The 42nd Pine Tree Festival will be held Aug. 1-2 in Dierks and will feature a carnival, games, competitions, live music, bull riding and a “no holds-barred freestyle bullfight.”
More than 40 food and craft vendors will be on hand for the two-day event.
Friday, Aug. 1 will include performances by Harmony, The Cowboy Church Band and The Midnight Hurricanes. Saturday, Aug. 2 will include the annual festival parade through town and will be capped at 8 p.m. with the sanctioned bull riding and bull fighting.
Admission to the bull-riding event will be $10 for adults 13 and up and $5 for ages 7-12 and free to those 6 and under. The event is sanctioned and books will open Sunday, July 28. The entry fee is $80 and there will be $5,000 added money. For information about the bull-riding event, call Sharon Autry at (903) 846-5151.
Admission to the Friday night concerts will be $1 with a chance to win a $250 door prize. Saturday night’s door prizes will include two shots at $500. Drawings will be held at 7:30 nightly and you must be present to win.
There will also be a carnival at this year’s festival and individual ride tickets or armbands will be available.
This year’s Pine Tree Festival is being sponsored in part by Weyerhaeuser, Rich Mountain Electric, city of Dierks, Diamond Bank, First National Bank, First State Bank, York Gary Autoplex and Gentry Chevrolet.
There will be an official festival kick-off event on Friday, June 27 from 12 noon until dark at the Dierks City Park.
During the kick-off event, the Dierks Chamber of Commerce members will be selling T-shirts and concert tickets. They are also inviting residents to set up and bring items that they would like to sell including yard sale items, farm produce and vehicles. There will be no fee to set up a booth.
For more information about the kick-off event, contact Jerry Mounts at 870-557-7298.
By Molly Freel
Rev. Don Jones, who has been the pastor at Cross Point Cowboy church for the last eight and a half years, has decided it is time for his retirement from the church.
He had been involved in Western Heritage ministries and had seen them develop around Texas and Oklahoma areas.
After a great deal of prayer, Jones decided to approach the Little River Baptist Association about starting one here in Nashville. They agreed that it would be good for the community, and in January 2006 they began interest meetings.
In March 2006 the Cowboy Church held its first service in the Nashville Livestock Sale Barn where 29 people attended. Now Jones says that the church averages around 230. For two years the church held services at the sale barn, but it is now located on Highway 371 West of Nashville where members have a bigger building with classrooms and an arena for play days.
Cross Point holds one service on Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and offers aged categorized classes on Wednesday nights.
The church also holds many play days where kids and adults can come and ride horses, bulls, rope, and be a part of many other activities.
Right now they are holding a cowboy Bible camp which is similar to Vacation Bible School. According to Jones, “The difference is that they incorporate sportsmanship through arena time. The kids get to ride horses and learn to saddle them as well.”
Jones said that choosing to retire from the Cowboy Church was one of the hardest decisions of his life.
“It wasn’t easy and it had nothing to do with the people. Originally I was just supposed to be the start-up pastor, but eight and a half years later I’m still here. I just felt God telling me that it was time to step down and for them to begin looking for new leadership,” he said.
Jones said that he doesn’t think it will be a quick process for the church to find a new pastor because it has to be someone with a western heritage mindset, but that members have formed a search committee and are beginning to look for new leadership.
Cross Point Cowboy church of Nashville was the first one done through the association in Arkansas. There are now 20 throughout the state.
Jones has been the Little River Baptist Association missionary for 23 years. Now that he is retiring from the Cowboy Church, he plans on spending more time focused on the association.
A Howard County teen was killed and two others were injured in a one-vehicle wreck Thursday, June 19 east of Umpire, according to the Arkansas State Police.
Jaime Garcia, 15, of Athens died in the wreck. Khristian L. Ratliff, 14, and Sebastian S. Ratliff, 16, both of Newhope, were injured.
The wreck happened about 9:11 a.m. on Highway 84. Sebastian Ratliff was driving a 1996 Toyota Camry east on Highway 84 when the vehicle veered into the westbound lane. The driver overcorrected and the vehicle left the roadway and struck an embankment.
Garcia was ejected from the vehicle and later died at a Hot Springs hospital. The Ratliffs were also transported to Hot Springs with undisclosed injuries.
ASP Trooper Ernie Echevarria reported weather and road conditions at the time of the accident were clear and dry.
Persons who wish to run for a seat on a district board of directors must file a political practices pledge, an affidavit of eligibility, and a petition with the names of at least 20 registered voters who are residents of the district or electoral zone for the position.
Most area schools have just one seat open for election, but at Mineral Springs, which is regaining control of the school from the State Board of Education, all seven school district zones must be filled. All former school board members there are eligible for re-election.
At Nashville, Zone 1 comes up for election, and the incumbent is Mark Canaday.
At Dierks, election is ‘at large,’ and the seat which is open is currently held by Barry Stuard.
The seat which represents the former Umpire School District on the Wickes School District board is not open for election again until 2017. The seat is currently held by Jeff Cook.
At Blevins the seat which is open represents the former Emmet School District area. No one has sought election to the seat for about seven years, according to Blevins School Supt. Billy Lee. Mike Parker was appointed to fill the empty position.
Petitions my be circulated no earlier than 100 days before the Sept. 16 annual school election. Petitions must be filed by noon on July 8. Petition forms may be picked up at school district offices and at the county clerk’s office.
One hundred ninety-six students made the honor roll at Nashville Junior High School for the fourth nine weeks, according to Principal Deb Tackett.
The list includes 74 students who made all A’s and 122 who made A’s and B’s.
Students who made all A’s include the following:
Ninth grade – Kirby Adcock, Rheanna Catherine Anderson, Justin Taylor Bean, Michael Troy Bevill, John Austin Bowman, Marisol Bustos, Esmeralda Ruby Camacho, Kaylea Brooke Carver, Austin Drake Chambers, Alyssa Nicole Cox, Carrington Gabrielle Dougan, Courtly Britt Dougan, Kelsey Lynn Grace, Asia Nashae Harris, Autumn Lanise Harris, Alyssa Beth Harrison, Alexis Holder, Audra Noelle Hughes, Anna Catherine Kesterson, Ella Mae Lamb, Erica Nicole Linville, McKenzie Kay Morphew, Matthew Robert Nannemann, Daniel Pioquinto, Bridgett Puente, Triston James Rhodes, Kelby Nicole Schoole, Mikayla Diane Sharp, Ashleigh Dawn Smith, Tyundra Nycole Stewart, Grace Elizabeth Talley and Kaitlyn Wakely.
Eighth grade – Jasmin Camacho, Peyton Mackenzie Dodd, Felicity Arion Green, Mackenzie Brooke Guffy, Olivia Frances Herzog, Leslie Leeann Lingo, Alma Clarissa Moreno, Alyssa Claire Rather and Zachary Noah Williams.
Seventh grade – Zachary Roy Backus, Laiken Michelle Baird, Hannah Grace Barfield, Erika Bretado, Grace Carrie Campbell, Katie Lynn Carroll, Scott Edward Clay, Kayla Layne Cooper, Taurean Yardell Coulter Jr., Bailey Elizabeth DeWalt, Robert Morgan Dunham, Hannah Cheyenne Faulkner, Julianne Elizabeth Futrell, Karen Garduza, Mea Tateauna Heard, Katelyn Grace Hipp, Kristopher Scott Horne, Jaydon Hostetler, Jon Elijah Howard, William Barrett Jackson, Brody Garrett King, Isabelle Cathryn Martin, Kaitlyn Rose McConnell, Alexandria Leigh Prescott, Andrew Cole Reeder, Brant Lee Reeder, Savannah Grace Smead, Cendy Sanchez, Adriannea Brooke Tait, Garrett Eley Talley, Jordan Cole White, Charles Braden Williams and Dalton Joseph Wilson.
Students who made A’s and B’s for the grading period include the following:
Ninth grade – Austin Trace Beene, Kennedy Brea Blue, Curtis Wayne Boone, Maricela Kay Bustos, Savanah Brooke Carver, Karter Matthew Castleberry, Nicole Michele Dodson, Bailey Anne Dougan, Taylor Austin Ericksen, Jakeb Ernest, Raegan Danielle Erskine, Jason Blaine Erwin, Abbey Nicole Fatherree, Teresa Markade Gastelum, Donavan Blaze Gorena, Victor Glenn Hartness Jr., Jesus Hernandez, Brittany Nicole Hilliard, Kacey Ann Hinds, Zachary Lane Jamison, Hunter Lee Katzer, Kendall Lea Belle Kirchhoff, Lori Landa, Sadie Elysse Leeper, Kenneth Michael Luper, Emily Kaitlyn McCauley, Jamar Anthony Moore, Gabriel James Moorer, Deonte Deshaun Morris, Asia Ja’nea Munn, Kerri Ann Murphy, Matthew Alden Nunley, Luis Gerado Ortiz, Allison Claire Reeder, Jasmin Marie Scott, Christian Fernanndo Sepulveda, Peyton Rheanne Tarno, W.E. Layne Thompson, Jeff Tyrese Turney Jr., William Hunter White, Abigail Grace Witherspoon and Cieria Dawn Wynn.
Eighth grade – Jessica Yamileth Aguilar, Jasmin Bautista, Jessica Rachaele Bradford, Hunter Burton, Malcom Jamall Campbell, Vanessa Juana Carballo, Isaias Castro, Julieta Rodriguez Chavez, Shunta Jerod Childress Jr., Alexa Dawn Copeland, Bailey Larae Denton, Monique Flores, Darsha Daviyona Grundy, Tyler Joe Hanson, Jhamilex Hernandez, Mackenzie Cheyanne Howard, Braylon Cole Kelley, Dylan Scott King, Gage Lee Kropf, Garrett Garner Lance, Madison McRae Miller, Shayla Nichelle Miller, Alysha Tre’shone Morgan, Caleb Alexander Newton, Lindsey Nicole O’Donnell, Stephanie Piza, Laisa Jacqueline Ramirez, Jose Rigoberto Resendez Jr., Alyssa Ryan, Audrie Sheree Scott, Jayla Beth Spoo, Rykia Savon Lee Swift, Haylee Michaela Tribble, Joshua Kyler Whitlow, Aaron Christopher Willard, Yeng Cho and Emily Eve Young.
Seventh grade – Michael Daniel Almond, Brooklyn Michelle Anderson, Steyanna Michelle Bailey, Candice Cheyenne Banks, Pricila Beavers, Liz-Anel Bello, Kalonji Bayette Benson II, Bryanna Rhae Billingsley, Kristin Rayne Boone, Miguel Angel Bustos, Kalob Franklin Carpenter, Makenna Denise Chafin, Karina Grace Cogburn, Marlen Cuellar, Zachary Casen Drummond, Jamarta Dontrell Gilliam, Peyton Charles Haddan, Katilynn Grace Hanney, Miguel Dukes Hernandez, Raynaldo Hernandez Jr., D’ante Tremaine Jefferson, Alaza Sandrea Johnson, Luke Aaron Limon, Samuel “Trey” E. Maroon, Darren Thomas May, Taneya Sha’kiel Mays, William Curtis McAlister, Glenn Wilson McCurdy IV, Zachary Thomas McWhorter, Jacob Wilton Moorer, Arlene Padilla, Keysiya Darshae Nicole Palmer, Bladen Scott Parker, Colton Dale Patterson, Alisha Mariah Perez, Jalyn Laurel Pinson, Alyssa Mariah Powell, Carlos Daniel Torres Rocha, April Rachelle Ruffaner, Joey Charles Scroggins III, Macy Gail Smith, Rachael Leigh Vallee and Kristen Elisabeth Westfall.
One hundred fifty-seven students were named to the honor roll at Nashville High School for the fourth nine weeks, according to Principal Tate Gordon.
The list includes 62 who made all A’s and 95 students who made A’s and B’s.
Students who made all A’s for the nine weeks include the following:
Seniors – Jeffrey Cameron Alexander, Braden Clark Bowman, Carrie Nichole Bradford, Clarissa Michelle Brizo, Xavier Ryan Claiborne, Jana Lynn Copeland, Luke Thomas Dawson, Kelly Danielle Fatherree, Sasha Mahlik Ford, Jarrah Michelle Furr, Chantel Marie Gilliam, Kynnedi Lynn Gordon, Abigail Elizabeth Herzog, Emily Catherine Herzog, Blake Ryan Hockaday, Sydney Alexandra Hughes, Lauren Jean Ince, Kathleen Grace Jones, Avery Christine Kesterson, Alexander Sui Kwok, Kathleen Grace Lance, Brittany Alexander Middleton, Isaiah Mark Motta, Iesha Sharel Neal, John Van Nguyen, Dalton Storm Nichols, Eric Dale Perez, David Alex Perrin, Joshua Allen Rauch, Zachary Tyler Tollett, Katelyn Rae Wall, Kayla Alyse Wilson and Mashayla Danielle Wright.
Juniors – Colleen Nicole Banks, Jackson Charles Beavert, Brooke Ellen Bowden, Brady Andrew Bowden, Rachel Nicole Dawson, Samuel Evan Dean, Sydney Michelle Dean, Jessica Leann Hipp, Chase Zeland Morgan, Nicholas Tyler Myers, Braden Lane Nutt, Miguel Alonso Padilla, Katie Elizabeth Paul, Karie Junique Porter, Timya Marnette Sanders, Lindsey Nicole Smith, Taylor Dawn Spigner, Kailee Sarah Stinnett and Bailey Mechelle Walls.
Sophomores – Brittany Paige Backus, Rachel Brooke Bradshaw, Jordan Andrew Conant, Alexandria Lynn Davis, Patrick Evan Lamb, Haley Jo McMurphey, Sadie Raee Prejean, Victoria Lynn Russell, Elise Lily Vander Slikke and Alexus Marie White.
Students who made A’s and B’s include the following:
Seniors – Ricardo Demartez Baltazar, Bradley Michael Bevill, William Carl-Ramsey Butcher, Katherine Aracely Carballo, Lindsey Taylor Colston, Joyce Judit Flores, Jennifer Rosalynn Gamble, Andrew Graves, John David Griffin, Sara Nicole Hosey, Jayla Rose Jacques, Breona Lachae Jefferson, Cason Thomas Johnson, Kyler Scott Lawrence, Haley Marie Lingo, Jakeb Ross Lockeby, Steven Pineda, Weslie Paul Reich, Jamecia Donte Robinson, Kersty Breeann Ross, Logan Daniel Sanders, Taylor Duane Teague, Sergio Ivan Torres and Asher Jacob Walker.
Juniors – Hailey Jae Allmon, Shuntay Lanae Ballard, Kaitlyn Ariana Burley, Ahyana Heavenly Burns, Jazzmyn Nacole Carver, Anna Hope Couch, Tina Ruth Daugherty, Trace Edward Hamilton, William Cade Hardin, Dernia Delois Hendrix, Chasity Chantal Holmes, Braden James Hood, Matilyn Jewell Jamison, Danielle Vida Jessie, Jazmine Shykeil Johnson, Austin Joel Katzer, Adley Hutton Kirchhoff, Victoria Nicole Lansdell, Lucas Laine Liggin, Brooklyn Dale Maynard, Daysha Marshay Mays, Kolten Kelly McCracken, Alayna Brooke Morphew, Johnathon Robert Morphew, Jaquasha Renee Ogden, Joshua Dale Reeves, Brady Andrew Scott, Fredrick Nathaniel Stinson, Colton Kane Tipton, Jonathan Thomas Van Kirk, Alexis Bianea Wells, Courtney Elaine Whitson, Latrice A’shunti Wiley and Margaret Ann Worthington.
Sophomores – Ali Nicole Barfield, Dreshauna Lynn Benson, Sarah Hayden Butler, Eduardo Capetillo, Allyson Rae Chesshir, Alexis Malonie Claiborne, Caleb Brenen Clark, Dante Lewis Conway, Paulett Flores, Morgan Elizabeth Garcia, Ryan Scott Henderson, Kelsey Nicole Hockaday, Klaire Elizabeth Howard, Jessica Lizet Luna, Marlei Brianna Malchak, Jennifer Rosi Martinez, Michael Dewayne Mills, Ashton Montel Nelson, Ethan Kyle Nolen, Sergio Martinez Pacheco, Kaycee Rose Patrick, Madkson Lane Pope, Peyton Arron Rather, John Reeder Raulerson, Amanda Marie Reed, Lucas Craig Reeder, Timmy Ray Roberts, Shelby Leigh Roquet, Evan Taylor Sanders, Shelby Alexandra Scott, Lee Autrey Scroggins Jr., Ty Garrett Slider, Makenzlie Rose Taylor, Joel Lamont Thurman, McKayla Brooke Vines, R-Taevin Samone Walker and Cha Zong Yang.
When the list for possible jury trials comes out for July, at the top of the list will be the name of Ricky Gower, 61, white male, Newhope.
Gower is ‘first out’ if no pretrial plea agreement is reached because his is the oldest pending criminal case, according to Circuit Clerk Bobbie Jo Green. Gower is charged with class B felony possession of methamphetamine. He will be represented by public defender Greg Vardaman. Pretrial motions will be heard July 2, with jurors to be called July 22. Gower appeared before Judge Charles Yeargan here Wednesday, in a busy day for criminal court proceedings.
Eight defendants pleaded not guilty and were given trial dates.
Two defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced.
Christopher Kerns, 21, white male, 102 Martin Road, pleaded guilty to a class C felony charge of accomplice to commercial burglary, and class D felony accomplice to theft of property. He was sentenced to six years of probation, 180 days in a regional punishment facility, a $1,500 fine and restitution, if any.
A guilty plea was also given by Brandon Eatman, 35, white male, Prescott, who was charged with class D felony possession of drug paraphernalia. He was sentenced to 14 months in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC), plus associated court costs. He was represented by the public defender.
A failure to appear warrant was issued for Lyndell Lofton, 31, black male, Nashville, who missed his courtroom appearance date for a class C felony charge of non-support. The charge was filed in July of 2007. When apprehended, Lofton cannot be released on bail.
Five cases were continued and one probation revocation charge was dismissed on a motion by the state.
Not guilty pleas
Nathaniel Rowland, 33, white male, 600 Blue Bayou Road, Nashville, is charged with a pair of class D felonies: Possession of a controlled substance Schedule II, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Pretrial motions will be heard Sept. 24.
Kara L. Askew, 30, white female, Springhill, La., pleaded not guilty but her counsel was not present due to a mixup. Her case was continued to June 25. She is charged with possession of methamphetamines, a class C felony, possession of drug paraphernalia, a class D felony, and possession of marijuana, a class A misdemeanor.
Charged at the same time, and also giving a not guilty plea, was her companion at the time of their arrest, Billy J. Randall, 51, white male, Springhill, La. His charges were the same as Askew’s, and he was told to report back June 25. Pretrial motions will be heard July 2.
Adam, Ray, 19, white male, Sunset St., Nashville, is charged with possession of controlled substance Schedule VI with purpose of delivery, a class D felony. Pretrial motions will be heard Sept. 24.
A not guilty plea was also given by Anthony L. Thomas, Jr., 20, black male, 400 E. 14th St., Hope, who is charged with class C felony theft by receiving. Because he was late for court, the judge ordered Thomas to remain in jail until bedtime that night — 10 p.m. Pretrial motions will be heard Sept. 3.
A not guilty plea was given by Courtney Thomas, 23, black male, 404 Browning, Mineral Springs, who is charged with a class D felony, being a felon in possession of a firearm. Pretrial motions will be heard July 30.
One defendant who was out on probation after a previous felony conviction, now faces a probation revocation hearing on that charge and a new criminal charge. Dominique Brumfield, 19, black male, 3106 Hwy. 26W., Nashville, will be present for pretrial motions on July 2. He is charged with commercial burglary, class C felony, and theft of property, class A misdemeanor. He was on probation for a previous conviction for breaking into the Center Point Store and stealing items.
A not guilty plea was given by Melissa Kinnu, 40, white female, Blevins, charged with possession of controlled substance, Sub VI, class A misdemeanor; Possession of controlled substance, Sched IV, class A misdemeanor; Possession of methamphetamine with purpose, class C felony; possession of drug paraphernalia, class D felony. Her bond was set at $15,000.
Latre Richard, 34, black male, 216 Graves Chapel Road, Lockesburg, pleaded not guilty to a pair of class D felonies: Possession of methamphetamines and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $100,000 and Sept. 24 was set for pretrial motions.
By Jana Copeland
“Girls State was one of the best experiences in my life,” Jazmine Johnson said.
Five girls from Nashville High School were honored as the delegates from NHS to attend Girls State at Harding University’s campus May 25-30. These five girls were Brooke Bowden, Rachel Dawson, Jazmine Johnson, Taylor Spigner and Kailee Stinnett.
While there, they got to learn about city, county and state government, while making new friends.
Dawson said, “It was a great experience meeting other girls who are as eager to learn as I am. It surprised me that there are actually other girls in Arkansas just like me.”
Stinnett said that her overall experience was great and that she loved learning about voting, government and citizenship.
“I met so many new people, learned a lot about government, and had such a fun time in my city,” said Bowden.
All five of the girls agreed that stepping out of their comfort zones was a huge part of this experience.
Spigner said, “I learned to get to know others and how to work with people you don’t know and not to judge a book by its cover. I also learned to let people really get to know me and my personality. I learned about city, county, and state offices as well.”
Stinnett learned how important the people you elect to city and state positions are. “They have to do so much arguing and thinking on your behalf, so electing the people you think will be the best at that is key.”
Bowden learned from this experience that challenging yourself is the key to your success. She also learned more about the positions held by city, county, and state officials.
Johnson said it helped her find out that there are other people out there like her who want to make a difference.
“I learned that you can never judge someone upon their looks and appearances. So many of the girls I met were unlike any people I have met before. This has definitely encouraged me to get to know more people since I have come back home,” Dawson said.
“I felt that the experience was very beneficial because I will be able to vote next year and I now know a lot more about the voting process and how important it is to vote,” Bowden said.
Spigner and Stinnett felt it was beneficial for them because they both got a look into what our officials and government do.
It encouraged Johnson to try her best in anything that she does, step out of her comfort zone, and meet new people.
Dawson said that her experience at Girls State was very beneficial for her. “Not only because of the great information I learned, but because I got to meet girls that were so inspirational. This benefited my outlook of the people around me in such a positive way.”
Each of the girls had her own special favorite memory of Girls State. Stinnett and Bowden both said theirs were Rally Night.
Rally Night was on Tuesday night. It’s where the Nationalists all sit on the left side of the Benson Auditorium and the Federalists all sit on the right side. Everyone dresses up in her color, either blue or red, and does chants. Then, the girls running for the state offices give their speeches to everyone.
“I loved cheering for the girls we had chosen to hopefully be elected to office,” Stinnett said.
Bowden said it was so fun to cheer on the nominees of her party.
“My favorite memory would have to be bonding with my city and other Girls State Girls, along with all of the songs and dances that we learned throughout the week,” Johnson said.
Spigner said her favorite memory from Girls State was singing all of the songs like “The Girls State Song,” “Friends We Are” and the “Dum Dum Da Da Song.” She also said that she loves all of the friendships she made.
Dawson’s favorite memory from Girls State was definitely her friends, whom she still talks to daily and has some very funny memories that she will cherish forever.
Everyone at Girls State had the opportunity to run for city, county, and state offices if they chose to do so. Bowden held the position of attorney in her city and tax collector in her county. She also was one of the four delegates in her city elected to attend the State Convention.
Dawson had the privilege of being the Senate Chaplain. “My duty was to pray at the beginning of the Senate meeting. It was a great honor that I could profess the name of Jesus Christ in front of so many girls. It was a true blessing and great testimony for Christ.”
Johnson was a City Alderman and Stinnett was the city clerk for her city. “I voted in every election and I really enjoyed it.”
Spigner had the privilege of being the Chancery Judge for her county, Bradshaw County, for the week.
Stinnett said that she had a good time in her city, Massanelli and hopes that she can go back next year to be a counselor.
“I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend Girls State. I really enjoyed getting to meet girls who are leaders in their school and make memories with them. I will never forget my experience at Girls State,” Bowden said.
By John Robert Schirmer
Both were raised on farms. They each graduated from Southern Arkansas University. Their teenage daughters are actively involved in the family farm north of Dierks.
Mark Kitchens, his wife Karen and daughters Alison and Kaitlin are the 2014 Howard County Farm Family of the Year.
Karen grew up on a cattle farm, Mark on a broiler, cattle and timber farm. After graduating from SAU, Mark went to work for Con Agra for nine years as a service tech and a breeder manager.
Their first year of farming, Mark and Karen had 80 acres. His parents gave him 20 head of cattle. The couple built their first two hen houses in 1995.
Today, the family operates a 732-acre farm on Old Liberty Road north of Dierks. The farm includes 146 acres which are rented and 386 which the family owns. Ninety acres are devoted to hay production, with a yield of 4.5 tons per acre.
The farming operation includes 110 head of beef cattle, two hatching egg production farms for Tyson Foods of Nashville, producing 678,000 dozen eggs per year, and 284 acres of timberland.
Hatching eggs are picked up twice weekly by Tyson, and the Kitchens family is paid per dozen hatching eggs produced.
Calves are weaned and, depending on forage conditions, are back grounded on the farm for 60 days or sent directly to one of the local sale barns.
The Kitchens family does custom hay baling for a couple of neighbors. They also clean out poultry houses for one of Mark’s brothers and bale hay for him. “This helps pay insurance and pays my daughters for their labor,” Mark said.
Kaitlin, 16, and Alison, 14, both help on thefarms with chickens and cattle. Kaitlin is a member of the Dierks FFA, which she serves as treasurer. Alison is president of the Dierks Show-N-Shine 4-H club. Both are members of the Arkansas Junior Cattlemen’s association. They are also active members of the youth group at Mountain View Baptist Church, where they participate in community service, mission trips and are Vacation Bible School teachers each year.
Mark said he would like to get all of the pastures cross fenced for better grazing rotation. The project is 75 percent completed, he said.
He also wants to update all four of the breeder hen houses to Tyson premium house specifications, a project which is about 25 percent completed.
The family has had problems furnishing water for the poultry houses. “Fortunately, a group of local people started working toward getting rural water in the area. We became involved with the rural water association. Karen and I both work closely with the association,” Mark said. “We hauled 100,000 gallons of water each summer before the rural water was connected.”
Mark plans to go to a controlled breeding season this year. He would like to double cattle numbers and have a fall breeding herd and a spring breeding herd to better utilize the bulls. He also wants to aerate all meadows and pastures on a semi-annual basis to improve forage and hay production.
The family has worked on protecting the environment and conservation of soil, water and energy. They built a litter stacking shed 10 years ago to store poultry litter in order to apply it at the correct times of the year. They are building a second stacking shed on the farm which was purchased two years ago. Litter is applied according to the nutrient management plan designed by the Mine Creek Conservation District. Herbicides are applied to control undesirable weeds, Mark said.
The Kitchens family is involved in a number of community activities. Mark was in the Umpire Fire Department from 1996-2011, North Howard Community Council 1996-2011 and served as secretary and president, Burg Cemetery Board 2000-2014, North Howard Rural Water Association with 16 years as president, Howard Memorial Hospital board 2010-2014 with Mark serving as board treasurer, and youth leader at Mountain View Baptist Church.
Karen has served on the Burg Cemetery Board from 2014 until the present, and has been a member of the Dierks School Board since 2002. She is the board secretary. Karen is also a youth leader at Mountain View Baptist Church.
A Nashville man who admitted in a police statement to shooting two dogs that were allegedly attacking a neighbor’s cow last month had a “not guilty” plea entered for him Thursday in Howard County District Court.
Michael J. Graves, 56, who resides on Corinth Road, is charged with one misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals in connection to an incident that happened on May 17. The plea was called in by Graves’ brother and attorney, Danny Graves of Nashville, according to docket information.
Michael Graves is accused of shooting one dog in neighbor Kimberly Slayton’s yard on Staggs Drive. Slayton’s 17-year-old daughter, Bailey Walls, was reportedly outside near her vehicle when the shooting occurred. Walls told officials she had heard a gunshot close to the house and then saw Graves parked nearby pointing a pistol toward her dog that “was in my yard between our house and (the) neighbors.”
When Walls yelled at Graves to stop shooting, he allegedly exited the vehicle and yelled “your dog was chasing my cows.” The dog was apparently wounded and ran into the woods in the backyard. The Slayton’s dog survived but the other dog allegedly shot by Graves ran off and died. The dog belonged to the James Conant family, also living nearby.
Graves told a Howard County deputy that he had been sitting on his front porch when he heard some dogs barking in a field belonging to Jerry Christie, who was out of town and reportedly had asked Graves to watch his herd. Graves said he went to the area and noted two dogs — one brown and the other a German Shepherd that belonged to the Slayton family — had a small calf down in the field.
Graves admitted that he shot both dogs in the Christie’s field but the German Shepherd ran off toward the Slayton’s home. Graves said he then chased the dog and found it standing between two houses on Staggs Drive and “tried to shoot it again.”
“Mr. Graves advised that he shouldn’t have shot the dog in the Slayton’s yard,” Deputy Joey Davis wrote in a report.
The case against Graves has been continued until July 24. He faces a fine of up to $440 if found guilty.
A Hot Springs man was killed in a two-vehicle crash Thursday, June 12 near Salem in Pike County, according to a report by the Arkansas State Police.
Stanley L. Chandler, 55, died in the accident around 4:15 p.m. on Highway 70. Injured in the crash was Cherryl A. Grant, 70, of Amity.
Grant was driving a 2006 Jeep westbound on Highway 70 when she crossed the centerline and collided with a 2014 Dodge Charger driven by Chandler, who was later pronounced dead at the scene by Pike County Coroner Sonny Simmons. Grant was transported by ambulance to a Hot Springs hospital.
ASP Trooper Benjamin W. Harrison reported that the weather and road conditions were clear and dry.
Mineral Springs Market Day will be held Saturday, June 21, in downtown Mineral Springs.
Booth spaces are available for rent. They include resale and garage sale items, craft items, farm produce and products, and more.
To reserve a space, go by the Mineral Springs Water Department. The cost is $15-25 per space. The spaces are located on Main Street and will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Other activities include specials and sales offered by area businesses, children’s activities and games, and drawings throughout the day.
By Louie Graves
The administrator of the Howard County Jail tells her staff how to treat the inmates.
Jailers and dispatchers should be friendly and show respect, but “Don’t be their friend.”
Jana Tallant, who has been the jail administrator since 2006, told Nashville Rotarians that she was the longest-serving in that position since it opened in 1993.
She explained that by showing respect to the inmate, the inmate would generally show respect back to the jailer.
A big part of her job is training the persons who serve as radio dispatchers and jailers at the facility. She says that all are ‘cross-trained’ to serve in either capacity. The dispatching duty includes being the ‘point’ for 9-1-1 calls, in addition to fielding calls for officers in Dierks, Nashville, Mineral Springs and all over the county.
She also schedules transportation of inmates to the Arkansas Department of Correction, to out-of-county trials, to medical appointments, and for community service work.
Tallant began working as a dispatcher in 1997 and worked her way to the top spot. Her husband, Todd, is a county deputy and member of the police ‘SWAT’ team. He accompanied her to Wednesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club.
“We’ve not lost a lawsuit, yet,” she said, semi-humorously, in reference to some inmates’ tendency to sue the sheriff, deputies and jail officials.
She described some of her sizeable continuing education and professional training, and said there was a considerable effort made in keeping up with laws.
Although the Howard County incarceration facility is now one of the oldest in southwest Arkansas, she said that visiting inspectors compliment the jail for its orderliness and maintenance.
The Howard County Jail has 41 beds. Often, the inmate population includes men and women waiting for an open spot in a state prison, but the jail also holds persons who are waiting on felony trial dates. Some of the population includes “309s” who are ADC inmates near the ends of their sentences and who are adjudged to be cooperative. They are returned to local jails where they perform duties in the jail, in the courthouse and other places. Tallant noted that 309s keep the county fairgrounds clean. The ‘309’ refers to the Arkansas act which created the inmate status.
Jail inmates get an hour of exercise daily, are served a menu supervised by a licensed dietician, and receive medications as determined by physicians. Inmates also have the option of attending a weekly religious service, or meeting with a minister.
She supervises 11 jailers/dispatchers, and the jail has one kitchen employee.
Via video screens, jailers are able to observe the inmate population at practically all times. Inmates are segregated to keep convicted inmates separate from those who are awaiting trial.
Jailers also conduct surprise and regular inspections of cells and inmates.
One service the public needs to use more is “Smart 9-1-1.” A citizen can go online and fill out a profile, so that needed information is available to police, medical and fire personnel responding to an emergency.
She told one story of a mother who called 9-1-1 because her child had cut his head severely. She forgot to tell the dispatcher that the child was ‘fatally allergic’ to latex. The radio dispatcher caught that information on the Smart 9-1-1 profile and alerted the ambulance crew which was enroute. The EMTs switched to another kind of glove which was carried in the ambulance.
Tallant said that the frantic, distracted mother had forgotten to include the vital allergy information.
The Smart 9-1-1 profile information follows the person no matter where they are, she said. “It has saved some lives.”
To sign up for the service go to smart911.com, she said.
A guest at Wednesday’s meeting was Jessica Bennett of Genoa, who will be the new manager of Southwest Arkansas Counseling and Mental Health. The current manager, Rotarian Telia Dunn, is transferring to an office in another town. Dunn told ‘The Leader’ that she would continue to live in Nashville.
By Molly Freel
ACT school at Nashville High School is a two-week review of English, math, reading and science, as well as test-taking strategies. The review is designed to improve test taking skills and increase knowledge that the ACT requires.
ACT school offers classes in the four main areas. English, which is taught by Holly Couch; math, taught by Aleshia Erwin; reading, taught by Fran Strawn; and science, taught by Scott Horne. Students rotate between each teacher.
During the two-week period, students also take four complete practice ACT exams, which are scored by the teacher’s and then reviewed with the students in the classroom.
NHS has put on the ACT School program for more than 20 years.
However, the two-week process has only been in effect for the last 10 years. Couch says, “We have had great success with this two-week program because it takes place immediately before the June ACT exam. All of the review is fresh on the students’ minds, and they are well prepared to have their best score.”
The ACT school program is offered to any NHS student who has already taken the ACT at least once. Also, students must pay for their materials as well as take the June ACT. Most of the time juniors and seniors are the ones who participate and get the first slots.
Couch has been in charge of the program now for the last eight years. According to her, the program presents great benefits to students. “ACT School is beneficial for any student who wants to improve in some or all areas of the ACT. Some students are trying to get a high enough score for unconditional admission to a college or to avoid having to take remedial courses. Other students are trying to qualify for scholarships. With college costs rising every year, students and their parents are concerned with raising ACT scores.”
By John R. Schirmer
The Nashville School Board considered a number of items Monday night as the district prepares for the 2014-15 academic year.
Board members approved two insurance policies. The board accepted a bid of $63,540.61 from the Arkansas School Boards Association’s Risk Management Program for insurance on the district’s buildings for the coming year. Board members accepted two-year option with the Dwight Jones Agency for student insurance at a cost of $38,743.99 per year.
The board discussed Personnel Policy Committee polices, which are based on model policies from ASBA.
There were not many changes from policies in effect during 2013-14, Superintendent Doug Graham said. Several dealt with cell phones and other personal communication devices, which are now referred to as mobile communication devices.
One policy deals with private sponsorship of extracurricular events. Although no state laws deal with promotional events during athletic events, ASBA suggested that board adopt some type of policy so that they can refer to it when needed.
Graham said that the Nashville district has always looked favorably at student-initiated activities during pre-game and halftime at sporting events. “Those from outside the school, we usually reject,” he said.
ASBA suggested that outside groups wanting to conduct activities during the events should have insurance policies in effect. The Nashville board agreed that the district may “set a lower amount or waive the insurance requirement at the superintendent’s discretion.”
All of the proposed policies received board approval.
Building administrators presented proposed changes to student handbooks for their campuses. Most received little or no discussion from the board, except for student photo ID badges at high school and junior high.
The campuses introduced the badges last spring, and students are required to wear them daily on a lanyard so that they are visible at all times. Junior high Assistant Principal Jason Williamson said the badges “will help our faculty and staff identify and increase the safety of our students.”
Students will use their IDs to check out books from media centers on the two campuses and in the meal tracker system in high school and junior high cafeterias.
Graham said administrators were “ready to punt at the end of the year” in dealing with students who came to school without their IDs. “I asked them to figure out a way to make it work,” he said.
The policy which was presented Monday night was the result of a review of last year’s badge implementation and discussion in handbook committee meetings which included parents.
Parents did not want students sent to ISS for not having name tags, board members were told.
Monday night’s discussion bogged down on the section of the proposed policy dealing with students who show up at school without the badges. First block teachers are to check to see that each student is wearing his or her badge. Those who do not have badges will receive a temporary sticker from the teacher to use for that day.
Students who lose their ID badges will pay $1 for a replacement the first time.
On the second time and thereafter, students will be charged a $5 replacement fee.
The original draft of the policy said that students who forgot their badges or were waiting on replacements for lost IDs would face the following disciplinary action.
“The student’s cell phone will be taken up by the teacher and turned in to the principal for the day. The student will be the last in line during lunch in the cafeteria for the day. The student will not be allowed to leave class for any reason other than a medical emergency for the day. Bathroom breaks must be taken between classes and during lunch only, no office visit, library, parking lot or visits to other classrooms.”
Board member Monica Clark expressed reservations about tying the IDs to restroom privileges. A lengthy discussion followed Clark’s statement as administrators and board members looked for ways to deal with the issue.
Finally, Graham asked if the restroom portion of the policy should be amended. Eventually, Williamson and high school Assistant Kim Slayton and Principal Tate Gordon recommended removing the restroom section from the policy.
Board members approved the handbook changes with the amendment to the ID policy.
Next week’s Leader will review all of the handbook changes from each campus.
Other business during a meeting lasting nearly one hour and 45 minutes included the following:
The board approved indexes for extended contracts with one change. The index for the district’s gifted and talented coordinator will be .14 to “put it in line with academic coaches,” Graham said.
Summer school teachers and summer maintenance workers were employed.
They include the following:
High school summer school – Holly Couch, Aleshia Erwin, Scott Horne and Fran Strawn, all ACT school; Kim Newton, David Schwope, Amy Bearden and Shawn Dale.
Junior high summer school – John Mark Tollett, math; Tammy Alexander, English; Ashley Riggs, substitute.
Elementary summer school – Twyla Nichols, Karen Kell, Becky Floyd, Kristie Vines, Sarah Smith, Janet McCullough and Tabitha Jones, sub.
Primary summer school – Early bird: Allison McCauley, Shannon White, aide Anna Perez and aide Pilar Nunley; third grade summer school teachers: Jane Caldwell, Vicki Cook, Sarah Horn, Lakan McAdams, Jennifer Pinkerton, Krissie Talley, Tami Westfall and Karlie Worley.
District summer employees – Jala Vett Washington, floor crew, new contract in April; Zach Winton, technology, new contract in july; John David Griffin, technology; Boomer Brown, Scrapper Dome and field house; John Rekowski, floor crew; Laurie Coleman, Michelle Ruffaner and Misty Hill, cafeteria.
Board members approved the district’s proposed budget of expenditures for 2015-16.
Graham said the district will have a sidewalk sale June 24 to get rid of old equipment and other items. “We’ve accumulated quite a bit in storage since we started the construction project We will have a sidewalk sale June 24 and offer these items to the public.”
The sale items will be put on display Monday, June 23, on the old Lewis Food Center parking lot behind Ivan Smith Furniture. The sale will be Tuesday, June 24. Items must sell for at least fair market value, Graham said.
The Nashville School District will sponsor a sidewalk sale Tuesday, June 24, on the parking lot behind Ivan Smith Furniture, the former site of Lewis Food Center.
Items will be on display Monday, June 23, and the sale will be held all day June 24.
Items include a Hobart tray washer, 3 x 5 filing cabinet, meat slicer, cash register, stainless work bench with sink, 2 1/2 x 6 1/2 freezer, two activity boards, industrial stainless wash sink.
Double industrial stainless sink, two buffet warmers with four units, 3 x 6 chest freezer, two 3 x 4 chest freezers, laminator, wooden manager’s desk, roll desk (storage), stainless coat rack, six square tables, six round tables, storage with television and VCR, nine overhead projectors, one stand, two dry erase boards, metal magazine rack.
70 laminate shelving boards, 3 x 3 cabinet with laminate top, Remington typewriter, desk light, round magazine rack, one speaker, 3 x 5 desk with drawers, couch, laminate computer desk, two metal computer desks, 12 6-foot book shelves, 12-foot counter top.
60 1 x 3 shelving boards, 7 7 1/2 shelving boards, 14 metal cabinet frames, 10 6 x 3 metal shelves, filing cabinet, lighted trophy case, 11 3 x 7 wood shelves, four 3 x 7 hanging shelves, 8 3 x 6 1/2 masonite paneling, 36 sets of student lockers, small floor mixer – elementary, gold student chairs, 24 4-piece combination lockers, two industrial deep fryers.
75 student desks, four shelves, three or four filing cabinets, large metal band saw, sewing machine, record player, stainless steel serving line, large cabinet, cafeteria tables, televisions.
By Molly Freel
June or July could see the Arkansas Legislature holding a special session.
According to Sen. Larry Teague of Nashville, the legislature is likely to hold a summer session at some point in order to talk about the school employee insurance issue.
Teague said that he believes it will be a three-day session and is hoping that legislators can make the changes quickly and effectively.
According to Teague, “The teacher insurance issue needs to be settled before August so that it will be ready for the new school year.”
In discussing what is going to be changed, Teague said that for the most part it’s just average details. Not a whole lot will change.
His main issue with the bill is that the legislature is considering taking part-time bus drivers off of teacher insurance. Teague said he is not sure how he feels about this subject yet.
Teague said that he doesn’t believe that the gay marriage issue will come up in any summer meetings. He thinks that it will be handled in 2015. Teague’s prediction is that the state Supreme Court will make gay marriage illegal again until someone challenges the decision. Then the process will start all over.
Teague’s view on issuing marriage licenses to gay couples was made quite clear.
“I just want to make it clear that I am against marriage licenses being given to gay couples being made legal,” he said. Teague co-sponsored the bill against gay marriage licensing when it was first brought up about 10 years ago.
By John Balch
The South Pike County School Board approved the hiring of two new coaches and also accepted the resignation of another coach and a partial resignation of another during the board’s June meeting last week.
The board voted 7-0 to hire new coaches, Marc McRae and Nicole Martin, both Murfreesboro High School graduates. McRae, who is one of Superintendent Roger Featherston’s son-in-laws, will take over the Rattler baseball program and be an assistant football coach as well as teach junior high science. Martin will take over the Lady Rattler basketball program and will also teach junior high science. McRae will join his alma mater after coaching baseball and football at Gurdon while Martin will join the South Pike County staff after coaching girls’ basketball in Horatio.
The board also accepted the resignation of Si Hornbeck, who is Featherston’s other son-in-law and has taken a coaching position with the Farmington School District in northwest Arkansas.
Steve Martin also submitted his resignation from the girls’ basketball head coach position, but will remain the head coach of the Lady Rattler softball program as well as an assistant football coach. Martin told The Nashville Leader he made the decision to relinquish the basketball position for the betterment of the program and commended the board’s decision to hire a new coach for the program.
The hirings and resignations will result in Chuck Lowery taking over the school’s track program while remaining an assistant football coach.
In other personnel business last week, the board accepted the resignation of Rene Campbell, a seventh and eighth grade teacher, who was then hired back as a special education aid. The board also approved the hiring of Debbie Hoover as a cafeteria worker and made minor contractual adjustments for employees custodian Cindy Smith, school nurse Bobbie Higginbottom and maintenance worker Donald Beshears.
The board also approved a proposed budget of expenditures for the 2015-2016 school years and accepted various personnel policy revisions. Both items were approved with no discussion and at the recommendation of Featherston.
Featherston also reminded the board that two positions on the school board are up for election this year. The positions include Delight’s Zone 2, currently held by Joe House, who was recently appointed to fulfill the term vacated by Ricky Buck, and Murfreesboro’s Zone 3, currently held by Chris Sharp, who was appointed to the seat after no one filed for the position in the last election cycle. Featherston said if no one files for the positions this year it was his understanding the two currently board members could “carry on” in those positions.
Twelve defendants were sentenced Monday, June 2 in Pike County Circuit Court after entering true, guilty or no contest pleas.
James G. Haas, 28, of Glenwood, pleaded guilty to introducing controlled substance into body of another and possession of a firearm by a certain person; sentenced to 15 years in Arkansas Department of Corrections with three years suspended and required to forfeit firearm.
Ragan Bailey, 37, of Delight, pleaded “true” to probation revocation and guilty to the charges of possession of a firearm by a certain person and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia; sentenced to six years in the ADC with three years suspended and one year in the Pike County Jail and required to forfeit a firearm.
Jonathan P. Cheek, 32, of Delight, pleaded no contest to charges of possession of a firearm by a certain person, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and manufacturing of a controlled substance; sentenced to 10 years in the ADC with four years suspended and required to forfeit firearm.
Coty Earl Rector, 22, of Delight, pleaded no contest to charge of failure to comply with registration and reporting requirements of being a sex offender; sentenced to 10 years of probation and 2,000 hours of community service and will be fined $10,000 if he returns to Arkansas to reside. Rector may visit his mother in Arkansas for no longer than four days and must notify the proper authorities when he is in the state.
Clyde Royree Allgood, 55, of Delight pleaded guilty to charge of possession of a firearm by a certain person; sentenced to five years of probation, fined $1,500 plus court costs and required to forfeit weapon and ammunition.
Jeremy Laray Williamson, 34, of Glenwood, pleaded “true” to probation and guilty to charges of delivery of a controlled substance; sentenced to six years in the ADC with three years suspended.
Noah W. Miller, 20, of Glenwood, pleaded guilty to fleeing; sentenced to six years in the ADC with two years suspended (credited with time served) and must pay $2,138.14 restitution to Pike County Sheriff’s Department.
John David May, 47, of Nashville, guilty of possession of methamphetamine; sentenced to five years in the ADC with two years suspended.
Paul W. O’Neal Jr., 49, of Kirby, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a certain person; sentenced to three years of probation, fined $1,500 plus court costs and required to forfeit firearm.
Ricky J. Pennington, 31, of Bearden, pleaded guilty to terroristic threatening; sentenced to six years in the ADC with three years suspended.
Johnathan L. Pittman, 25, of Bismarck, pleaded “true” to probation revocation; sentenced to six years in the ADC with two years suspended.
Allen Matthew A. Jones III, 20, of LaJunta, Calif., pleaded guilty to possession of controlled substance with purpose to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia; sentenced to six years in the ADC with two years suspended.
An uncooperative defendant was ruled fit to proceed, and her trial date was set, during last Wednesday’s regular day for criminal court here.
Lameta Graham, 49, black female, Nashville, refused to cooperate with a state psychologist during her court-ordered mental evaluation, but Judge Tom Cooper ruled her fit to proceed with her Aug. 19 trial, anyway.
She is facing two separate criminal cases: (1) aggravated assault, a class D felony and third degree battery, class A misdemeanor; and (2) a class D felony charge of aggravated assault upon a law officer. Pretrial motions will be heard July 30.
A mental evaluation was ordered for another defendant. The evaluation was ordered for James Rogers, 31, white male, Nashville, who is charged with breaking or entering, class D felony, and theft of property, class D felony.
A failure to appear warrant was ordered for a defendant who missed his court date. The warrant is for Brandon Eatman, 35, white male, Prescott, who is charged with class D felony possession of drug paraphernalia. When apprehended, Eatman will not be eligible for release on bond.
A defendant in a complicated case pleaded true in two probation revocation cases, and guilty to to felony charges. Jayme Layne Almond, 30, white female, Nashville, allegedly tried to make police believe her estranged husband possessed contraband because of a child custody case. After a police investigation, she was charged with being an accomplice to unauthorized use of another person’s property to facilitate crimes, class B felony; and filing false reports with law enforcement agency, class D felony. She was earlier charged with class C felony furnishing prohibited articles. She was also charged with failure to meet the terms of her probation on a conviction of second degree forgery, a class C felony.
Her sentence was 10 years in the ADC with two years suspended, on the first count; six years in the ADC on count 2; on her two probation revocation cases she was sentenced to six years in the ADC. All sentences are to be served concurrently.
Four more defendants gave guilty pleas and were sentenced.
Juan Quintero, 19, Hispanic male, Nashville, pleaded guilty to a class C felony charge of theft of property. He was fined $2,000 and was placed on three years probation.
Loc Qui Pham, 28, Asian male, Nashville, pleaded guilty to a class C felony charge of theft of property. His sentence was three years of probation and a fine of $2,000.
Justin Hopkins, 24, black male, Mineral Springs, pleaded guilty to felony charges related to possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was sentenced to 10 years on both counts, to be served concurrently.
Brian Smally, 58, black male, Nashville, was charged with class D felony possession of Sched 1 and II controlled substances, and also had a probation revocation trial for failure to meet terms of his probation for a February 2010 conviction for possession of cocaine. He pleaded guilty to the former, and true to the latter charge. His sentence on each count was six years in the ADC with three years suspended. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
Nolo contendre to
Pike, Howard charges
John Peyton Cox, 20, white male, Nashville, pleaded guilty to a pair of identical sex charges — one from Howard and one from Pike County.
He was charged with sexual indecency with a child, a class D felony, and his plea to each of the charges was ‘nolo contendre,’ or ‘no contest, which has the same effect as a guilty plea. He was sentenced to three years in the ADC on each charge, to be served concurrently. He must also register as a sex offender.
One defendant had his bond re-instated at $5,000 enabling him to attend a rehab program at the Veterans Hospital. George Bamberg, Sr., 65, white male, still has a Sept. 30 trial date on a pair of felony cases, both class D felonies involving possession of controlled substances.
Six defendants were granted continuances, and five persons made first appearances before the judge and are to return to the courtroom June 18 for formal arraignment.
A partnership between three area ‘farmers markets’ gives consumers more opportunities to buy fresh produce, and provides growers more chances to sell their products.
The markets — at Nashville, Hope and Washington — are in their second year of cooperation, Howard County Farmers’ Market manager Debra Bolding told Nashville Rotarians, last Wednesday.
Bolding was accompanied by fellow market volunteer Margaret Vegas. She reviewed the history of the Nashville project from its inception in the winter of 2007 to the early summer of 2014 when a second location was opened in Nashville.
There are no salaries paid to persons who work at the market, and vendor fees pay the market’s expenses. Area businesses have contributed money to be used for advertising.
Friday seems to be Nashville’s favorite day for the market, she told Rotarians, and the location on South Washington Street is open from 7-11 on Fridays.
The ‘new’ location is at the Walmart on Highway 27S on Mondays at 3 p.m.
At Nashville, there is a demonstration garden and a 4-H garden in addition to the old peach shed-style building where cooking demonstrations are given and vendors sell their produce.
Hope’s favorite day is Tuesday. Farm fresh produce is sold directly from the back of trucks. At Washington, the market is open 7-noon on Saturdays. At Washington, crafts are also sold.
Some of the items which shoppers will find at the Nashville market include fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, eggs, flowers, baked goods, preserves and other food-related items.
Usually, some organization provides a hospital table with coffee and light foods.
Bolding emphasized that all products sold at the markets must be grown locally by the vendor.
She explained that the partnership between the three markets improved chances of more vendors making more garden fresh produce available to shoppers.
Club president Margi Jenks presided at the meeting. Program chairman Jimmy Dale introduced Bolding. A guest was Jenny Chandler, spouse of Rotarian James Chandler.
Nashville Junior High School held an awards assembly Tuesday, May 27, in Scrapper Arena.
Tammy Elliott presented FCCLA awards to her officers including Kennedy Blue, Emily McCauley, John Grace, Grace Talley, and Zac Perez. She handed out Star Events certificates to Kennedy Blue, Emily McCauley, Grace Talley, Payton Dodd, Olivia Herzog, Breanna Peebles, Bailey Denton, Gabi Dougan, and Sharie Dixon.
Next, FBLA awards were given out to Austin Chambers, Ethan Kuntz, Garrett Gordon, Peyton Dodd, Zack Perez, Kelby Schooley, Kaitlynn Wakley, Kennedy Blue,Katie Carroll, Kelsey Grace, Emily McCauley, Jake Ernest, Kacey Hinds, Shayla Miller, Autumn Harris, Hunter McMurphy, Chris Waldrop, Audra Hughes, and Grace Talley.
Science Club awards were given out to Anthony Motta and Kayla Cooper for going above and beyond in the work that they did.
FACS awards were given out to Alyssa Rather, Jeremy Conway, Olivia Herzog, JR Robbins, Madi White, Monique Flores, Tyler Hanson, Garrett Lance, Julieta Chavez, Hunter Burton, Gage Kropf, Hunter Jones, Emily Clements, Brookelyen Cox, Abby Frohnappel, Bailey Denton, Unized Hernandez, and Peyton Dodd.
Business awards were given out to Erica Bretado, Barrett Jackson, Hunter Burton, Leslie Lingo, Alyssa Rather, Olivia Herzog, Shayla Miller, Zack Williams, Peyton Dodd, Audra Hughes Matthew Nannemann, Erica Linville, Peyton Tarno, Kelby Schooley, Kaylea Carver, Allyssa Harrison, Anna Kesterson, Justin Bean, Kennedy Blue, Matthew Nunley, Alicia Rojas, and Katie Carroll.
English awards were given to Brooklyn Anderson, Barrett Jackson, Monique Flores, Alyssa Powell, Alyssa Rather, Laisa Ramirez, Bailey Denton, Justin Bean, Kaitlyn Wakley, Austin Chambers, Emily McCauley, Mckenzie Morphew, Audra Hughes, Tyundra Stewart, Triston Rhodes, Grace Talley, Autumn Harris, and Kirby Adcock.
Math awards were given to Barrett Jackson, Erika Bretado, Kayla Cooper, Scott Clay, Kris Horne, Alyssa Powell, Ty Coulter, Jaydon Hostetler, Jordan White, Monique Flores, Ivan Almazan, Zack Williams, Jhamilex Hernandez, Mikayla Sharp, Rheanna Anderson, Chance Hartness, Asia Munn, Asia Harris, Raegan Erskine, Jakeb Ernest, Kaitlyn Wakley, and Audra Hughes.
Social Studies awards were given to Erika Bretado, Braden Williams, Casen Drummond, Darren May, Kim Bell, Konisha Hillary, Alyssa Powell, Jake Ernest, Matthew Nunley, Heaven Oller, Jessica Bradford, Monique Flores, Zach Williams, Leslie Lingo, Garrett Lance, Lindsey O’Donnell, Alicia Rojas, Audra Hughes, Grace Talley, Emily McCauley, Matthew Nannemann, and Mae Lamb.
Science awards went out to Jaydon Hostetler, Ty Coulter, Garrett Talley, Cendy Sanchez, Briana Upton, John Hardin, Zach Williams, Olivia Herzog, Monique Flores, Rigo Resendez, Michael Bevill, and Austin Chambers.
Career Orientation awards were given out to Jaydon Hostetler, Erika Bretado, Kris Horne, Laiken baird, Colton Patterson, and Kayla Cooper.
The two art awards were handed out to Jalyn Pinson and Sally Crawford. These two awards were voted on by students.
Band awards were given out to Rykia Swift, Eli Howard, Dalton Wilson, Hunter Burton, Zack Williams, and Jake Moorer. Color Guard awards went out to Annie Dallas, Jacky Martinez, Mea Heard, Alyssa Ryan, Shayla Miller, Liz-Anel Bello, and Emily Young.
Student Council members were recognized with awards given by Deb Wallis. They include Preston Pope(President), Olivia Herzog (Vice President), Anna Kesterson (Secretary), Kailus Hughes (Treasurer), and representatives Justin Beene, Mckenzie Morphew, Felicity Green, Leslie Lingo, Bravyn Bell, and Colton Patterson.
Office worker awards were given to Nicole Dodson, Alli Reeder, Kacey Hinds, Ruby Camacho, Barrett Jackson, Darius Hopkins, Lindsey O’Donnell, Madi White, Jayla Spoo, Ashley Morris, Autumn Harris, Antasia Hibberd, Destiny Wells, and Layne Thompson.
Library worker awards were given to Alyssa Rather and Kennedy Blue.
Athletic awards were given out to Darius Hopkins (Outstanding Football), Kirby Adcock (Outstanding Lineman), Darius Hopkins (Outstanding Basketball), CJ Spencer (Outstanding Defense), Austin Gibbs (Joe Lee Goodrum Award), Darius Hopkins (Track/Leadership), Asia Munn (Outstanding Basketball), and Brookelyen Cox (Betty Floyd Award).
Cheer awards were given to all of the ninth grade cheerleaders. They include Nicole Dodson, Emily McCauley, Rheana Anderson, Asia Harris, Alyssa Cox, and Mackenzie Morphew.
The Gold Presidential Awards were given to the following: Kirby Adcock, Rheanna Anderson, Justin Bean, Michael Bevil, Kennedy Blue, Austin Bowman, Marisol Bustos, Rudy Camacho, Kaylea Carver, Savanah Carver, Karter Castleberry, Austin Chambers, Alyssa Cox, Sally Crawford, Devin Culp, Nicole Dodson, Bailey Dougan, Courtly Dougan, Gabi Dougan, Jakeb Ernest, Reagan Erskine, Blane Erwin, Marshall Evins, Abey Fatherree, Garrett Gordon, Kelsey Grace, Autumn Harris, Alyssa Harrison, Glen Hartness, Brittany Hilliard, Kacey Hinds, Alexis Holder, Audra Hughes, Zach Jamison, Anna Kesterson, Kendall Krichhoff, Mae Lamb, Lori Landa, Sarah Lawhon, Sadie Leeper, Kenneth Luper, Emily McCauley, Gabe Moorer, McKenzie Morophew, Asia Munn, Matthew Nannemann, Matthew Nunley, Heaven Oller, Zach Perez, Daniel Pioquinto, Preston Pope, Bridgett Puente, Allison Reeder, Triston Rhodes, Kelby Schooley, Trey Scott, Christian Sepulveda, Mikayla Sharp, Ashleigh Smith, Morgan Stanek, Tyundra Stewart, Grace Talley, Peyton Tarno, Layne Thompson, Hannah White, Hunter White, Abigail Witherspoon, and Erica Linville.
The Silver Presidential Awards were given out to the following: Trace Beene, Dalton Billings, Ty Brown, Emily Evans, Ronnie Gainey, Brency Hernandez, Darius Hopkins, Oscar Luna, Ronin McBride, Brooklyn Nolen, Luis Ortiz, Breanna Roberts, Dalton Smead, Cieria Wynn, Kaitlyn Wakley, Asia Harris, and Chance Hartness.
Seventh grade Citizenship Awards were given out to: Hannah Barfield, Bladen Parker, Taneya Mays, Cendy Sanchez, and D’ante Jefferson.
Science Destination Challenge gave out first, second, and third place medals at the awards assembly. First place recipients were: Zach Backus, Mackenzie G Brown, Hunter Burton, Alexa Copeland, Bailey Denton, Monique Flores, Monica Garcia, Tyae Harris, and Breanna Peebles. Second Place recipients were: Brookelyen Cox, John Hardin, Unized Hernandez, Olivia Herzog, Alec Jackson, and Alyssa Rather. Third place recipients were: Vanessa Carballo, Scott Clay, Isaac Connell, Kayla Cooper, Leslie Lingo, Lindsey O’Donnell, Will McAlister, Seth Roberts, and Garrett Talley.
The Robotics Team was recognized with awards during the assembly by Brenda Galliher and Carol Hendrix, the coaches. Nadia Rourk, Monique Flores, Katilynn Hanney, and Isabelle Martin were all apart of this team.
Battle of the Books team members were recognized with awards. Braden Williams, Barrett Jackson, Grace Campbell, Isabelle Martin, Kris Horne, Kayla Cooper, Zack Williams, Melena Cooper, Anthony Motta, Jhamilex Hernandez, Laisa Ramirez, Mikayla Sharp, Kennedy Blue, and Kenneth Luper were all on that team.
The recipients of the Microsoft Certification awards were: Devin Culp, Jake Ernest, Marshall Evins, Teresa Gastelum, Jessica Green, Autumn Harris, Brittany Hilliard, Kacey Hinds, Audra Hughes, Hunter Katzer, Sarah Lawhon, Sadie Leeper, Eriva Linville, Robin McBride, Emily McCauley, Matthew Nannemann, Daniel Pioquinto, Bridgett Puente, Kelby Schooley, Peyton Tarno, Rony Calladares, Hannah White, Abi Witherspoon, Matthew Nunley, Kennedy Blue, Kaylea Carver, Alyssa Harrison, Justin Bean, Lexi Holder, Gabi Dougan, Abbey Fatherree, Raegan Erkine, Kaitlyn Wakely, Karter Castleberry, Christian Sepulveda, Luis Ortiz, Maricela Bustos, Jasmin Scot, Anna Kesterson, Lori Landa, Joshua Whitlow, Jhamilex Hernandez, Dajai Hawkins, Monique Flores, Alysha Morgan, Tyler Hanson, Shun Childress, Malcom Campbell, Alicia Rojas, Alyssa Rather, Hunter McGilberry, Stephanie Piza, Jasmin Camacho, Vanessa Carballo, Peyton Dodd, MacKenzie Guffy, Unized Hernandez, Olivia Herzog, Braylon Kelley, Shayla Miller, Seth Roberts, and Zack Williams.
Lastly, the Junior High Quiz Bowl team was presented with awards. Those students include Hunter Burton, Caleb Newton, Shayla Miller, Zach Williams, Leslie Lingo, Breanna Peebles, Alyssa Rather, Garrett Lance, Body King, Joey Scroggins, Braden WIlliams, Grace Campbell, Kris Horne, and Barrett Jackson.
The Christian Health Clinic of Howard County will now be meeting only one time per month – on the second Thursday from 4-6 p.m.
Services are on a first come-first served basis and medical, dental and pharmacy services are usually available.
The clinic is located at 121 W. Sypert in Nashville.
For more information, contact Bill Blakely at (870) 845-0744.
The Howard County Relay for Life entered last Friday night’s fund-raiser at the Nashville City Park with more than $27,000 secured in the battle against cancer.
An evening of food and entertainment at the park added to the collection, with the final total to be announced.
“We relay because every cancer matters,” interim Relay for Life chairman Joanna Howard said. She said that the American Cancer Society and the Relay for Life raised funds for and provided services for all types of cancers.
During Relay, cancer survivors were recognized, along with caregivers and fund-raising teams.
Many teams offered food, games and entertainment in the park with an eye to raise more funds for the Cancer Society. Howard said that 93 cents of every dollar raised goes directly for cancer research and free patient services, and for funds to honor survivors and remember loved ones lost to cancer.
Relay for Life began with a survivors’ reception and concluded with the luminaria service to honor cancer survivors and those who died from cancer. Candles were lit inside personalized bags and placed around the park to recognize those affected by cancer. Tiki torches were also part of the service. Jenny Westbrook and Howard read the names of cancer survivors and those lost to cancer.
Local entertainment was part of the evening, along with the Southern Justice band from El Dorado.
Relay for Life dates back to May 1985, when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Wash., and raised $27,000 for the American Cancer Society.
The next year, 340 supporters were part of the overnight event. Since then, Relay for Life has raised about $5 billion worldwide to fight cancer.
The Mine Creek-Paraclifta Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution met May 13 at Western Sizzlin’ in Nashville. Eleven members and two guests were present.
Regent Velma Owens led the opening ritual. Judy Hile introduced the speaker, Dr. Tony Kassos of Murfreesboro.
He discussed Revolutionary War Lt. William Jenkins, who was buried in the Murfreesboro Cemetery in 1843. Kassos said Jenkins was in several war campaigns in and around the Carolinas.
Jenkins was born in Maryland in 1762. At age 18, he became a volunteer in the South Carolina militia.
After the war, he lived in Tennessee and Alabama before moving to Arkansas with his son Jesse Jenkins, a Methodist minister. Jenkins lived in Murfreesboro for five years. His granite headstone can be seen near the east entrance to the cemetery.
Minutes of the April meeting were read. Treasurer Marilyn Bradley gave the financial report. Owens shared the President General’s message listing three commemorative
events to observe during the year – the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
Hile urged members to buy American products and showed them how to recognize those made in the United States.
Ann Parker discussed the flying of the first American flag.
The nominating committee presented the slate of officers for 2014-16. They include Regent Velma Owens, Vice Regent Charlotte Gibson, Chaplain Vivian Pope, Secretary Charlean Morris, Treasurer Marilyn Bradley, Registrar Judy Covington, Historian Jean Ann Flaherty and Reporter Elizabeth Overton. Members approved a motion to accept the slate.
The chapter’s responsibilities for the 2013 state conference were discussed. Owens will confer with the Caddo District planning committee.
A note of thanks from Kayla Ashbrooks was read. Ashbrooks expressed her appreciation for the DAR Good Citizen Award.
A guest at the meeting was Morris’s sister from Florida.
By John R. Schirmer
Physician recruitment continues to reap rewards for Howard Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Rianot Amzat has signed an offering letter to begin her practice in Nashville in June or July 2015, CEO Debra Wright told the HMH board last week.
She is in the process of reviewing the physician employment agreement, Wright said.
Dr. Amzat is completing her residency in Georgia.
Dr. Syed Javed will open his practice in Nashville later this year. He has accepted an employment offer from HMH and will set up his office in the Medical Office Building on the hospital campus.
Furnishings and equipment have been ordered, and a task force has been selected to set up the practice for Dr. Javed, Wright said.
Dr. Javed is from Pakistan. He completed a family practice program in Toledo and is in London. Wright said he will begin his practice here at some point between September and November.
A third physician, Dr. Mgoz Idilenna Wilkins, has visited Nashville. She is a family practice physician in the AHEC Texarkana residency program, which she will complete in June 2016.
“We’re providing her additional information. We’re really excited about her,” Wright said.
Dr. Amzat and Dr. Javed will join Dr. Brian Oge in the three-office Medical Office Building.
Dr. Wilkins “understands that in order to practice in Nashville, office space will need to be constructed, so I have asked her for as much lead time as possible on her decision,” Wright said.
Another medical office building using the same design as the one which opened last fall could be constructed on the HMH campus if needed for Dr. Wilkins and future physicians.
Stacy Harberson, director of radiology, presented information about upgrading to a 64-slice CT scanner from the current 32-slice. Harberson said the upgrade would mean faster test times and lower doses of radiation to the patient.
The scanner can be personalized for each patient. It is capable of angiography studies and has the option to upgrade to cardiac and neurological studies.
The new unit uses 60 percent less energy than the current model and is lighter weight, according to Harberson.
Board members agreed to move forward with purchasing the new scanner.
Harberson said a mobile scanner will be used to cover the time between removing the old unit and preparing the new one for use.
The new device is expected to be in place by June 30. It will save the hospital about $2,700 per month in payments, compared to the scanner currently in place. “Financially, it’s a good deal. We save nearly $3,000 a month and get upgraded technology,” Harberson said.
CFO Bill Craig said Howard Memorial recorded a profit of $4,652 for April. “We had a very good financial month,” Craig said.
The hospital has 128.6 days cash on hand, a record, according to Craig. Days in accounts receivable were 34.4.
“We’re in a very good cash position,” Craig said.
Arkansas’s private option insurance plan is helping HMH, Craig said. “We’re seeing very favorable results from the private option, the emergency room in particular.”
The private option plan has added $52,000 in collectable cash for April. “That’s a significant impact for the hospital,” Craig said.
HMH reported outpatient visits, emergency department visits and surgery cases all running above budget. The average daily census for inpatients was 1.9 patients per day below budget, however.
The board made the following appointments to the medical staff: Dr. Bhavika Albe, emergency room; Dr. Sami Harik, urologist working in telemedicine.
The board reappointed Dr. Kremer Nicholas, radiologist.
Following an executive session, the board approved a raise for Craig and additional vacation days instead of a raise for Wright.
There will a few new faces among Pike County’s elected officials next year following the Preferential Primary Election held last Tuesday.
In the race for Pike County judge, Dewight Mack of Kirby narrowly avoided a run-off election after securing 822 votes (51.89 percent) over Keith Couch of Nathan with 598 votes. A third candidate, John Young of Newhope, received 164 votes.
Mack, 56, served as a member of the Pike County Quorum Court from 2003 to 2007 and is a longtime commissioner with the Arkansas Manufactured Home Commission, serving by appointment from governors Mike Huckabee and Mike Beebe. He is also owner and operator of Trojan Transport and is a director on the North Pike County Rural Water Board.
In the race for Pike County Justice of the Peace District 2 seat, which was held by Rodney Fagan up until last week when he vacated the position, was won by Robbie Crocker of Murfreesboro with 168 votes (72.73 percent) over Donna Riddle of Murfreesboro with 63 votes.
Delight’s JP District 3 incumbent Ricky Buck edged out challenger Randy Abbott by a vote of 98 to 80.
JP District 7’s race saw incumbent Jerry Kizzia defeated by challenger Kenneth Crow by a vote of 123 to 68. Crow will face Republican candidate David Sirmon in the General Election this November.
A run-off election will be needed on Tuesday, June 10 to determine the winner of the race for the Mountain Township Constable, which drew six candidates for the unpaid position. The run-off will be between Algie Wade Coffman and Chris Thompson. Coffman got 177 votes while Thompson received 128. Others in the race included Brent Staggs (41 votes), Don Comeaux (109), Randy Davis (95) and LaVoyce Wilder (121).
Also on the run-off ballot will be the Republican nomination for the office of Arkansas Attorney General between Leslie Rutledge and David Sterling. The winner of the June 10 election will face Democratic State Representative Nate Steel in the General Election.
Pike County voters also sided with the majority of voters in the State Representative District 19 race. Jeremy Ross of Clark County received 891 votes in Pike County while Matt Smith of Howard County received 604 votes. Ross took the overall race by a vote of 2,315 to 2,198.
Only persons who used a Republican ballot in the Preferential Primary Election, last Tuesday, can vote in the runoff election on Tuesday, June 10. Early voting begins June 2.
There could be no more than 130 Howard County voters, and they will apparently only be seeing one race — for the party’s nomination for Attorney General. Either Leslie Rutledge or David Sterling, who carried Howard County, will face Nashville native Nate Steel in the November General Election.
On the Democratic ballot, voters chose a sheriff, a circuit clerk, and two justices of the peace in local races, and supported a home county candidate in his losing race for the State Legislature.
Howard County’s Chief Deputy Bryan McJunkins handily outpolled Nashville Police Chief Dale Pierce in their race for sheriff. McJunkins won all 35 precincts including absentee and early voting as he swept to a 2,091-544 win.
In the race for circuit clerk, chief deputy Angie Lewis defeated former Sevier Circuit Clerk Laurie Westfall by 1,752-855.
In the race for the District 19 seat in the Arkansas General Assembly, Howard County gave Nashville’s Matt Smith a 460-vote margin, but Jeremy Ross of Hollywood won the race by a 117-vote margin. Precincts in Howard, Pike, Clark and Hempstead counties voted in the race. Ross will have a Republican challenger in November.
There were two races for seats on the nine-member quorum court, and both races were won by incumbents. Former county sheriff Dick Wakefield won the race for the Central District, defeating Nashville school teacher Kimberly R. Adams-Dunham by 260-104. In the Southwest District which includes Mineral Springs, incumbent Jeanie Gorham defeated ‘Nashville News’ employee D.E. Ray by 160-120.
Former U.S. Congressman Mike Ross, who is also a former state legislator, outpolled his opponent easily in Howard County as he swept to the party’s nomination for the governor’s office.
Four persons pleaded not guilty or not true, Wednesday, during the regular day for criminal court in Howard County.
On the bench was Judge Tom Cooper.
The not true plea was by Alan Arce-Gonzalez, 20, Hispanic male, #5 Julia Circle, charged with failure to meet the terms of his probation on a conviction for possession of methamphetamine, a class D felony. His probation trial will be August 27, with an interpreter present. He will be represented by the public defender.
Four not guilty pleas were given, and trial dates were set.
Will Arthur McDonald, Jr., 50, black male, 201 Lee, Mineral Springs, is charged with class C felony failure to comply with registration requirements for sex offenders. He will be represented by the public defender, and pretrial motions will be heard July 30.
Rachel Whitson, 39, white female, Nashville, will have a trial date of September 9 on a class C felony charge of violation of the Arkansas Hot Check law. She will be represented by the public defender.
A not guilty plea was given by John M. Murphy, 45, white male, 962 Row Road, Murfreesboro, who is charged with class D felony possession of a controlled substance, Schedule II drugs. A trial date of August 19 was set.
One person made her first appearance before the judge and will return May 28 for formal arraignment.
By Molly Freel
Becky Reeder has been a teacher for the Nashville School District for the last 30 years. Reeder’s teaching career began in Delight, Ark., teaching third grade and self-contained classes.
After three years, she moved her teaching talents to Nashville where she began teaching primary and elementary kids. Between tutoring and teaching in a classroom, Reeder has taught all grades except for first and second. She is retiring at the end of this academic year.
Reeder’s love for math was shown at an early age. As a young girl she would make up algebra problems on her own to solve in her spare time.
Her love for math was also carried out by being one of the first groups of teachers to get their masters degrees with a math emphasis in 2003 from Southern Arkansas University.
Reeder began teaching because her family needed a steady income. She originally just wanted to be a stay-home mother but knew if she had to work she wanted to be a teacher.
Even at the age of 16, when she began to teach a Sunday School class, she knew that she would love doing something like that for her career. At such a young age she got to see herself making a difference in kids’ lives. She continued to do that throughout her years of teaching.
Reeder says that her favorite part of being a teacher is getting to see that “glow” on a kid’s face when he or she finally understands something for the first time.
Reeder will be retiring this year after 33 years of teaching children. She says that the things she will miss the most are getting to see the kids everyday, and getting to do so much math.
She is looking forward to more family time and continuing her love of teaching through her Sunday School class.
By John R. Schirmer
Although the venue was different, the event it self was much the same – steeped in tradition that go back centuries.
From the processional until the words of the “Alma Mater,” Nashville High School’s graduation ceremony Sunday afternoon was filled with the pomp and circumstance which have characterized countless commencement programs. At the same time, it marked a step into the future.
The setting was the difference – Scrapper Arena. The 1,800-seat facility was filled way above capacity as family, friends and school officials gathered for the Class of 2014’s sendoff.
Weeks of planning were concluded shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday, when valedictorian Alex Kwok and salutatorian Abby Herzog led the 125 seniors from the arena’s southeast tunnel, down the length of the court and into their seats.
“I’m awfully proud of the first year to have graduation in the arena,” Superintendent Doug Graham said. “I’ve heard lots of guesses about the size of the crowd,” with some ranging as high as 2,500. Senior and 200 graduation-goers were seated on the arena floor, with most of the seats in the stands filled and hundreds standing in the mezzanine.
“We have a few things to tweak to make it even better next year,” Graham said. “The graduates get an ‘A+.’ They were wonderful. My hat is off to all who made it happen,” Graham said.
Luke Dawson gave the invocation after the graduates made their entrance. Kathleen Lance presented the welcome, followed by Eric Perez with the Spanish translation.
Salutatorian Herzog and valedictorian Kwok continued tradition with their speeches.
“It is an honor to represent the graduating class of 2014 here this afternoon,” Herzog said. “We are where we are because of the guidance and help from the people that surround us every day.”
Herzog thanked coaches, administrators and teachers for their many hours of work and for teaching the graduates to “strive to be our best in the classroom and also in our everyday lives. To our parents: Thank you for putting up with so much throughout school and especially in our crazy teenage years. What we have learned from you, we will take with us as we begin the next stage of our lives.” She also thanked the community for being “so supportive.”
Herzog said that she had wanted to graduate in the top two since the sixth grade. She said the graduates have “all set goals and dreams for ourselves” in and out of the classroom.
School helped prepare the graduates to “face challenges that may occur along the way. If we can get through long two-a-day practices with Coach Dawson, endless numbers of math problems for homework, courtesy of Mrs. Tollett, reading 20 books before the end of the semester with just a little bit of help from Spark Notes for Mrs. Jones, starting assignments we put off until the very last minute … we can take what all these experiences have taught us and use them to make a difference in our futures.”
As the graduates move on, “I know one thing that will always be true to me and probably to many of you here today; Once a Scrapper, always a Scrapper,” Herzog said.
Kwok said the graduates “celebrate our entrance into the ‘real world,’ a place we have come to believe is the birthplace from which nightmares emerge. Right? Every adult … will say that they miss their childhood, that the would give anything to go back, that the world is full of crooks and thieves who will stab you in the back given the smallest of opportunities.
Time has flown by, Kwok said. “It hit me just last week that never again will I play my trumpet for the Nashville Scrapper band, never will I walk the halls of Nashville High as a student, never will enjoy the sarcastic ramblings of a certain physics teacher who stall remain nameless. To quote one of my favorite television shows, ‘I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.’”
Time moves on, Kwok said, “regardless of our attempts to slow it down. Therefore, we must move on as well.”
Kwok urged the graduates to not “lose sight of the strong moral and ethical values instilled in you by your parents and teachers.”
Although it may seem like there is no place in the real world for Southern hospitality, Kwok told the graduates not to lose it. “Don’t let the real world wash away your sense of right and wrong for a mere dollar.”
Kwok thanked the community, teachers, Nashville band program, parents and family. He also said, “To my bros, thank you for being my friends. Thank you for wonderful memories I’ll carry with me for a lifetime. And to the class of 2014, you, and I sincerely mean this in every sense of the word, were absolutely fantastic. I will always remember this time, where I had the privilege of being your classmate.”
Counselor Kelli Webb said the senior class received more than $1.5 million in scholarships, including almost $109,000 in local scholarships
Aleshia Erwin delivered the faculty charge to the graduates.
Principal Tate Gordon, Assistant Principal Kim Slayton, and school board president Mark Canaday presented diplomas.
Cornell Hawkins gave the benediction, which was followed by the “Alma Mater” and the presentation of the 2014 graduating class by Gordon, whose daughter Kynnedi was among the graduates.
Members of the senior class are Jeffrey Cameron Alexander, Chance Thomas Allen, Ricardo Demartez Baltazar, Anthony Waylon Bates, Ta’Nika Darshae Benson, Bradley Michael Bevill, Braden Clark Bowman, Carrie Nichole Bradford, Clarissa Michelle Brizo, William Carl-Ramsey Butcher, Denis Canales, Olivia Cee Cannon, Katherine Aracely Carballo, Dylan Todd Chambers, Kiana Ann Christopher, Xavier Ryan Claiborne, Amber Nicole Collins, Lindsey Taylor Colston, Aubrie Marie Combs, Jana Lynn Copeland, Lindsay Michaela Coulter, Alex Ray Curry, Luke Thomas Dawson, Corey Dean, Walter Edward Dean, Alexis Diaz, Kelly Danielle Fatherree, Joyce Judit Flores, Sasha Mahlik Ford, Jarrah Michelle Furr, Lydia Marie Gaddis, Kaylee Nicole Gaddy, Jailon Montre Gamble, Jennifer Rosalynn Gamble, Oscar Garcia.
Rashad Darnell Garland, Tracey Maurene Gathright, Brittney Nicole Gilbert, Chantel Marie Gilliam, Sacramento Luis Jake Gonzalez, Kynnedi Lynn Gordon, Lacie Kendall Grace, Andrew Michael Graves, Elizabeth Kiann Green, John David Griffin, Chiquiah Monik Harris, Cornell Edward Hawkins, Senorina Hernande Torres, Cynthia Karina Herrera, Abigail Elizabeth Herzog, Emily Catherine Herzog, William Taylor Hilliard, Blake Ryan Hockaday, Breunna Keshae Hopson, Sara Nicole Hosey, Sydney Alexandra Hughes, Lauren Jean Ince, Johnathan Blake Jacoby, Jayla Rose Jacques, Breona Lachae Jefferson, Cason Thomas Johnson, Destiny Shi-Keyus Johnson, Kathleen Grace Jones, Avery Christine Kesterson, Alexander Sui Kwok, Kathleen Grace Lance, Kyler Scott Lawrence, Rashon Dewayne Lee, Haley Marie Lingo, Victoria Rose Littlefield, Jakeb Ross Lockeby, Gerson Eduardo Magana, Irene Martinez.
Oliver Alex Martinez, Braiden James McAnelly, DeQuan McGraw, Joseph Mykall McLaughlin, Brittany Alexander Middleton, Keeley McKenzie Miller, Gregory Isaiah Morris, Isaiah Mark Motta, Marvin Travone Muldrow, Cynthia Cheyenne Murphy, Iesha Sharel Neal, Jamie D’Angelo Ishmael Newton, John Van Nguyen, Dalton Storm Nichols, Shavonte De’Shun Norvell, Chelsea Marie Judy Osolinski, Tyler Austin Parker, Eric Dale Perez, David Alex Perrin, Steven Pineda, Alejandra Ramirez Velasquez, Joshua Rauch, Justin Len Reed, Weslie Paul Reich, Jamecia Donte Robinson, Doraliz Cantero Rodriguez, Clifton Jarrett Rogers, Elideth Soledad Rosas, Kersty Breeann Ross, Mar’Quaviouse Deante Rowe, Logan Daniel Sanders, Sydney Diane Schooley, Brandon Alexander Shamrock, Katelyn Brooke Smith, Kory Anthony Shodgrass, Kassidy Shandrae Snowden, Kenyon Fisher Taylor, Taylor Duane Teague.
Zachary Tyler Tollett, Sergio Ivan Torres-Gallardo, Chad Matthew-Duncan Tucker, Asher Jacob Walker, Treveeon Dezquan Walker, Katelyn Rae Wall, Morgan Danielle Ward, Abaca Jean Westbrook, Julie Lynn White, Thomas Dwayne Whitworth, Abby Elizabeth Williams, LaCambria Shai’Dai Williams, Kayla Alyse Wilson, Quenya Khadijah Witherspoon, Mashayla Danielle Wright and Cynthia Isabel Zufiga.
By John R. Schirmer
The Nashville School District continues to work with Architecture Plus and Crawford Construction to reduce the cost of Phase 4 of the facilities improvement project.
Phase 4 includes enclosing the NHS courtyard and constructing a cafeteria and commons area.
The project remains about $400,000 over budget, Superintendent Doug Graham told the school board Monday night. Graham had hoped to have a recommendation to the board during the meeting, but the cost control effort led to a postponement.
“I’ve been in daily conversations with [architect] Craig Boone and Crawford,” Graham said.
The school district has about $2 million for Phase 4, and the state will provide about $1.1 million in partnership funds, setting up the $400,000 difference with bids running about $3.5 million.
Graham, Boone and Crawford Construction have developed several revised plans carrying a smaller price tag, and Graham presented them Monday night.
The current cafeteria is about 2,000 square feet, Graham said. The new one will include about 6,000 square feet, making it the largest in the district, according to Graham. A stage in the cafeteria remains in the plans, Graham said.
No date has been set to finalize the project or to begin construction.
Graham discussed other facilities-related matters at Monday night’s meeting. He said FEMA contacted him and said that “money is available to give to someone for safe rooms. They noticed that we had applied about two years ago and asked us to reapply. At the time, we asked for $3.2 million to provide four safe rooms, one on each campus,” Graham said.
If the money is approved, FEMA would pay 75 percent of the $3.2 million, with the district paying 25 percent. “Two or three years ago, there was no FEMA money. Now, they’ve contacted us and said we need to apply We got the paperwork refiled,” Graham said.
Approval would mean the district would have to decide how to raise the 25 percent, or $800,000. No timetable was set for FEMA to announce if it will provide any funding.
Also related to facilities, Graham said the district’s masterplan included applying for two classrooms at primary two years ago for construction in 2013-15.
The rooms would be about 850 square feet each and could cost around $238,000 for both of them. The state would pay 53 percent, with 47 percent from the district.
“We’re a month away from that decision. Unless we see we have to build them soon for enrollment numbers, I would rather do Phase 4 first,” Graham said.
He added that the best possible situation would be for FEMA to approve the safe rooms and utilize available funds to combine a safe room with one of the primary class rooms.
In other business, Assistant Superintendent Joe Kell said the district’s accreditation report from the Arkansas Department of Education shows that the district is fully accredited.
Junior high and high school were cited for having teachers on the additional licensure plan. “It’s the state department’s way of reminding you to be sure those teachers get licensed within three years,” Kell said.
Graham said the district is in “good shape” and will have the licensure issues dealt with during the allotted time.
The board approved a 3 percent across-the-board raise for all classified personnel except bus drivers. Their raise will be dealt with in the June meeting.
With the raise, the district will pay more than the current minimum wage of $8.26 per hour for school employees, Graham said.
The board took care of five personnel positions and hired the following:
Zack Winton, technology assistant to Bryce Petty.
Liz Bullock, junior high art. She currently teaches at Arkansas High in Texarkana.
Jala’vett Washington, primary school custodian.
High school counselor Kelli Webb transferred to an elementary school teaching position.
Crystal Evans, middle school counselor at Bauxite, was hired to succeed Webb as high school counselor.
The board accepted resignations from elementary teacher Karen Terrell and bus driver Richard Dyer.
By Molly Freel
For almost the last 10 years Arkansas has tested primary through high school students with the Benchmark exam. This year along with the Benchmark, a select few students got to try out a new test that the state is considering to take the place of Benchmark exams.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test was given to a select number of fifth and sixth graders from elementary school, eighth and ninth grade students from the junior high, and tenth grade students from the high school.
The Arkansas State Education Department gave all of the state’s schools the option this year on whether or not to take the test. According to Joe Kell, assistant superintendent of Nashville Schools, 95% of all schools decided to take the test this year along with the Benchmark in order to let the students get a feel for it.
These questions are supposed to be on a higher thinking level than those on the Benchmark. Instead of more factual questions the state is trying to design this test so that students have to think, analyze, and apply the skills that they have been learning over the year to answer the questions.
The test itself focuses on mathematics and language arts. The language arts portion has several reading responses that include science and social studies so that all core subjects have been covered.
Vicky Beene, literacy coach, said the students took the change well and that they adjusted and will continue to do so when the “official” test comes out. Grades 3-11 will be taking it after the trial stage is over. They predict that the test will be given next year.
Students aren’t the only ones who will be affected by this new system of testing. Teachers have always taught by the state’s curriculum and will continue to do so, but with new change comes new challenges. Students’ results from the PARCC testing will begin affecting teacher evaluations within the next two years.
There is still a lot of uncertainty with the new testing system, but after this year’s trial the state should know more and be able to adjust and have it up and ready to begin in place of the Benchmark next year.
“We ‘relay’ because every cancer matters,” interim Relay for Life chairman Joanna Howard told the Nashville Rotary Club, last week. She emphasized that the American Cancer Society and the Relay for Life raised funds for and provided services for all types of cancers.
The Howard County Relay for Life will be in the Nashville City Park on Friday, June 6. Many teams will offer food and entertainment in the park with an eye to raise more funds for the Cancer Society. Howard said that 93 cents of every dollar raised goes directly for cancer research and free patient services, and for funds to honor survivors and remember loved ones lost to cancer.
One of the speakers was Janice Ragar who talked about her unique Look Good … Feel Better program which is a free program to teach beauty techniques to female cancer patients to help them combat appearance-related side effects of their cancer treatment.
Her program is one of four in Arkansas. Others are at Little Rock, Texarkana, and El Dorado. She told Rotarians that she learned about the program when she was taking cancer treatment. Through her project, cancer patients get a kit to cope with skin changes and hair loss.
The program is very rewarding, she said, although she noted that a missing participant often means cancer has claimed another victim.
Ragar is a two-time cancer survivor.
Another speaker was Rachael Cooper, a Nashville native, who has battled cancer along with her daughter who was born a cancer-victim.
With the group was Stina Brown of Texarkana who is with the Cancer Society.
Rotary Club president Margi Jenks presided at the meeting.
The Pike County Quorum Court approved a resolution Monday night to declare a vacancy in the District 2 seat.
The seat is being vacated by Rodney Fagan of Murfreesboro, who is being required to resign after moving out of the District 2 jurisdiction. The court will meet on June 16 to fill the vacancy.
Pike County Judge Don Baker recommended the court appoint Jamie Terrell, a Murfreesboro banker and brother of current court member, John Terrell, to serve out the remainder of Fagan’s term. Jamie Terrell has served briefly on the court in the past.
In other business, the court approved Treasurer Loletia Rather’s financial report, which included the following beginning and ending balances for April:
By John Balch
The South Pike County School Board took steps last Tuesday to correct an oversight where food and janitorial supplies were being purchased from a company who employs a school employee’s wife.
Superintendent Roger Featherson accepted blame for the situation which involves purchases from Sysco salesperson Cynthia Stone, who is the wife of the district’s maintenance supervisor, Troy Stone. Troy Stone oversees Donald Beshears, who does the ordering for said supplies.
“It’s my fault,” Featherston told the board during its May meeting. “But I did not think that it was a problem because we have been purchasing from (Cynthia Stone) for the last 10 or 11 years.” Troy Stone has been employed at the school for eight years.
“I didn’t think twice about it,” Featherston added.
None of the board members believe anything inappropriate was happening concerning the Sysco purchases, but they did agree it did not need to continue in future. The board approved a purchasing resolution that addressed the issue and will help the district avoid any “audit findings” from the state Department of Education.
Also last week, the board heard a report from Elementary Principal Tanya Wilcher concerning the iPad pilot program currently underway with fifth and sixth graders on the Murfreesboro campus.
Wilcher said she was very pleased with the program, which is a three-year lease program for 120-130 of the electronic devices. She added that next school year she would like to “start moving it down” to the younger students and find more funding to expand the program.
In other business following a closed executive session of more than one hour, the board accepted the resignations of Kathy Stafford, who has worked with the district for 37 years, and Re’ Wilson, a high school special education teacher with the district for three years.
The board also voted to hire Stephanie Cross as high school English teacher, Karen Terrell as a teacher at the Delight Elementary School and Terrell Davis as high school counselor.
The board also made contract addendum for three employees who did extra work with students on credit recovery. The teachers included Melissa Jones and Alma Barnes, who both received $200, and Megan Bonner, who received $100.
After a sometimes heated debate of an hour-plus, Howard County JPs declined to give a five-year ambulance franchise by a 3-6 vote.
Quorum court members heard from John and Laura Gray, owners of Howard County Ambulance Service, and Ryan and Hannah Pate, owners of an ambulance service in Pike County.
In their remarks, the Pates insinuated that the Grays had made baseless complaints which took a lot of time to make required responses.
John Gray responded that he did make a complaint, but did not do so anonymously. He said that the state board which deals with ambulance services took action on the complaint.
The Pates currently have an ambulance service in Pike County. Ryan Pate said it might be as long as 10 months for him to investigate the possibility of locating a 24-hour ambulance service in Dierks, and to hire a staff, get vehicles and licensing.
He also said he could not promise that he would decide to locate an ambulance there. Pate also said that there was another service owner who was interested, also, but who wanted to remain anonymous.
John Gray stuck with his argument that data from nearly 11 years of operation in Howard County convinced him that it was not financially feasible to locate a presence in Dierks.
JP Cotton Cothren, who has been the champion for ambulance service in Dierks, said that many patients were taken to hospitals in private vehicles because they did not want to wait on an ambulance.
Ryan Pate said that he ‘ran’ older ambulances, and admitted that there had been some complaints. His wife said it did not matter if they made a profit.
Voting for the five-year franchise agreement were JPs Jeanie Gorham, Jerry Harwell and Martha Hobbs. In opposition were JPs Cothren, Kerry Strasner, Bobby Don Turner, Janice Huffman, Brent Pinkerton and Dick Wakefield.
The topic will come up again at the court’s June meeting when JPs hope to know if it is legal for the county to extend a franchise.
There was little other action, other than the court unanimously approved the Howard Memorial Hospital recommendation for its board of directors. Margie Green and Mark Kitchens were approved for new terms, and Ken Young was approved to replace Paul Britt who asked not to be reappointed.
Also, the court heard from Dana Newberg of the library commission, who complained that the library was not consulted when the county offered to pay its share of parking lot repairs from library funds. In the end, the county offered to pay about $1,300 and Newberg agreed to pay for about $1,600 but she warned JPs that she would be back sometime in the future to seek pay raises for library staff.
Present for the noon, Monday, meeting were all JPs. County Judge Kevin Smith presided.
A Nashville man is facing a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals after an incident Saturday night during which he allegedly shot two dogs that were reportedly attacking a neighbor’s cows.
Facing charges is Michael J. Graves, no age listed, who resides on Corinth Road.
Howard County Deputy Joey Davis reported he was called to the home of Kimberly Slayton on Staggs Drive, north of Nashville, at around 6:40 p.m. in reference to Graves allegedly shooting a dog in her yard. Slayton advised that her 17-year-old daughter, Bailey Walls, was outside near her vehicle when the shooting occurred.
Walls, who knows Graves, said she heard a gunshot close to the house and then saw Graves parked nearby “with his left hand out of the window with a grey pistol pointing toward my dog that was in my yard between our house and (the) neighbors.”
When Walls yelled at Graves to stop shooting, he allegedly exited his vehicle and yelled “your dog was chasing my cows.” The dog was apparently wounded and ran into the woods in the backyard.
Graves told Deputy Davis that he had been sitting on his front porch when he heard some dogs barking in a field belonging to Jerry Christie, who was out of town and reportedly had asked Graves to watch his herd. Graves went to the area and noted two dogs – one brown and the other a German Shepherd that belonged to the Slayton family – had a small calf down on the ground.
Graves admitted that he shot both dogs in the Christie’s field but the German Shepherd ran off toward the Slaytons’ home. Graves then chased the dog and found it standing between two houses on Staggs Drive and “tried to shoot it again.”
“Mr. Graves advised that he shouldn’t have shot the dog in the Slaytons’ yard,” Deputy Davis reported.
By John Balch
A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit filed by Pike County over substandard construction of the county jail.
Monday night, the Pike County Quorum Court unanimously agreed to accept a settlement offer of $987,500 – of which the county will receive $428,237.05. The remainder of the settlement figure will be used to pay $285,491 in attorney fees and $235,791 expert fees involved in the case.
The lawsuit was filed in November 2011 against Wade Abernathy, Inc.; Purtle & Associates, LC; Trull-Hollensworth Architects, Inc.; Travelers Casualty and Bituminous Casualty Corporation. Plaintiffs in the case were the State of Arkansas, Pike County, the Pike County Quorum Court and County Judge Don Baker.
The $2.2 million 64-bed facility opened in October 2009 and quickly fell into a state of disrepair. The jail has extensive flooring problems, HVAC problems, water damage, leaks, cracks in the floors and walls which the lawsuit contended was caused by “defective or faulty construction work.”
“Based on the foregoing, (Pike County) seeks the recovery of actual damage, incidental damages, consequential damages, interest, costs and attorneys’ fees caused by negligence of Wade Abernathy, Inc. and its subcontractors and breaches of Wade Abernathy, Inc.’s contract and warranties in an amount in excess of that necessary for diversity jurisdiction of citizenship jurisdiction,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit further stated that “acts and omissions” by Abernathy during construction were “motivated by desire to increase its profitability by reducing expenses for needed workers, training and supervision to a substandard level, which would predictably lead to defects in construction, both apparent and latent.”
Abernathy Inc., which is currently involved in similar litigation involving a construction project for the Ashdown School District, was also accused of breach of contract and violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by committing “unconscionable practices” in business, commerce or trade by failing to supervise and direct the work and failing to acknowledge the alleged defective work and making prompt repairs.
The lawsuit contended that Purtle & Associates failed to properly design and install the HVAC and related systems and components. Purtle & Associates were also accused of violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Trull-Hollenworth Architects were also accused of breach of contract for allegedly failing to supervise the project and inform the county of any “problems or sub par work.”
The two bond companies were listed in the lawsuit for “performance bonds” to remedy the default.
The lawsuit was submitted by Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir of Nashville, Chad Trammell of Trammel-Piazza Law Form of Texarkana and Marc. E. Gravely, Matthew R. Pearson and Shannon Lloyd of Gravely and Pearson of San Antonio, Texas.
There was some discussion Monday night about whether the county should accept the settlement and whether the settlement amount would be suffice to remedy the problems at the jail.
“It may be the best we can get,” said Johnny Plyler of Glenwood, who consistently questioned whether the jail’s foundation was correct when the project began in 2009.
The lawsuit was filed in Pike County Circuit Court, but had been recently granted a change of venue for the case to be heard by a Little River County jury this month. Chesshir told the Quorum Court Monday night that the statute of limitations was nearing for the case and he believes the settlement is a good overall deal for the county. Chesshir added that it is unknown how a Little River County jury would have viewed the case.
“I think we’d be crazy not to (agree to the settlement),” said Paul Baker of Glenwood, who made the motion to accept the settlement.
2,788 of 6,804 Howard County voters participated in the Preferential Primary Election.
Here are the local totals:
Bryan McJunkins 2,091
Dale Pierce 544
Angie Lewis 1,752
Laurie Westfall 855
JP District 3 Central
Dick Wakefield 260
Kimberly R. Adams-Dunham 104
Brewer Township Constable
Jeremy Pickett 98
Dwain Wildbur 12
In the Democratic nominee race for State Representative District 19, Howard County voters went with hometown candidate Matt Smith, who pulled in 1,414 voted over Clark County’s Jeremy Ross’ 854 votes. However, overall totals in District 19 handed Ross the nomination over Smith by a vote of 2,314-2,197.
Pike County Judge
Winners in Bold
Dewight Mack 819
Keith Couch 598
John Young 164
Pike County JP District 2
Robbie Crocker 168
Donna Riddle 63
Pike County JP District 3
Ricky Buck 98
Randy Abbott 80
Pike County JP District 7
Kenneth Crow 123
Jerry Kizzia 68
Mountain Township Constable
Algie Wade Coffman 177
Chris Thompson 127
LaVoyce Wilder 121
Don Comeaux 108
Randy Davis 95
Brent Staggs 41
State Representative District 19
Jeremy Ross 890
Matt Smith 603
Unofficial District 19 totals have Ross winning over Smith 2,314 to 2,197
The first time was the charm when Supt. Curtis Turner, Jr., asked the Arkansas Department of Education to take Mineral Springs schools off its ‘fiscal distress’ list.
The school district will be officially off the list in October when a new school board is elected, trained and seated. At that time, Turner, who was appointed superintendent by the ADE last summer, hopes that the new board will hire him to be the permanent administrator.
“It’s a great day for Mineral Springs schools,” he told ‘The Leader’ Friday morning. The state board’s decision came after he heard a report on progress in the MS district.
Turner credited the school’s faculty and employees in the turnaround which made the fiscal exit possible. “Everybody did what the had to do. It was a ‘we’ effort.”
Turner said that the school still answers to the education board.
Qualified electors will be able to file for seats in the school’s seven district. After the board is elected and goes through training, members will draw for term lengths. Local control will actually begin October 1, he said.
In May of 2013 the state board of education removed the district’s school board. Turner, who has had a part in leading several school districts out of fiscal distress, was brought in by the ADE. Because the school has complied with its fiscal improvement plan, has rebuilt reserves and because of the promise of increased taxation revenues from the AEP SWEPCO electric power plant located within the school district, the state board voted to release Mineral Springs.
The school was in financial problems already when the state board discovered that the Saratoga school was in reality a ‘phantom school,’ with students actually coming to Mineral Springs for classes. The Saratoga campus has since been closed.
A roaring hailstorm left damage in its wake in the Nashville area, late Friday afternoon.
The two major local peach orchards were spared, according to the growers, but about 150 exposed vehicles were damaged at York Gary Autoplex.
A spokesman at an insurance agency said that he was receiving calls from anxious homeowners, but had not yet been able to inspect for roof damage left in the wake of the large hailstones and the lingering storm.
Orchardist Joey Jamison said that the hailstorm hit his house, but skipped his orchard near Center Point. Same for orchardist Tim Jones who said his peaches were spared.
Owner Gary Dan Futrell at the automobile dealership said that insurance adjusters are expected to be on site Tuesday.
The dealership will make some repairs, and some vehicles will be discounted and sold with defects. “Whatever the customer wants,” Futrell said.
Mike Aylett of Nashville has been named the new station manager for KJEP Television.
Aylett assumes the position effective immediately, according to KJEP board president Mark Cassady.
“Mike has been one of our most faithful volunteers for many years,” Cassady said. “He probably knows more about the station than anyone else around. We’re fortunate to have him as the new station manager.”
Aylett succeeds Terry Snead, who resigned in February.
The Kevin Baker family of the Glenwood Community have been chosen Pike County’s Farm Family of the Year for 2014, representatives of Pike County Farm Bureau and The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, have announced. The organizations are chief sponsors of the program in Pike County.
Kevin and Mike Baker raise cattle, chickens and hay.
As the Pike County Farm Family of the Year, the Kevin Baker family will join 74 other county farm families in vying for district and state recognition as the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year. The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year will be announced in December, at a banquet at the Wyndham Riverfront in North Little Rock.
First established in 1947, Arkansas’s Farm Family of the Year program is the longest running effort of its kind in the nation. The program sponsors are Arkansas Farm Bureau, Farm Credit Services of Western Arkansas, Farm Credit Midsouth, ACA, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services and the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, with the cooperation of the program partners Arkansas Press Association, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, USDA Rural Development, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Arkansas Department of Workforce Education and the Arkansas Agriculture Department.
A defendant who was the object of a failure to appear warrant for missing his court date last week, missed that court date because he was in jail in Hempstead County on an unrelated charge.
Lee Harris, 31, black male, 432 Rosston Road, Prescott, was due to make an appearance here to answer charges of hindering apprehension or prosecution, a class C felony, and theft of property. Wednesday, he was represented by Lajeanna Jones standing in for public defender Gregory Vardaman, He was given a July 22 trial date for the Howard County charges.
One defendant pleaded not guilty and was assigned a trial date by Judge Tom Cooper who was on the bench, Wednesday, in the regular day of criminal court in Howard County.
Indio Hendershot, 27, white male, Glenwood, faces class Y, B, C and D felony charges related to possession of a variety of controlled substances with purpose of delivery, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance charge.
Pretrial motions will be heard July 30, and his trial date was set for August 19.
One defendant appeared before the judge and said he wanted to have a court-appointed attorney. Loc Qui Pham, 23, Asian male, 912 Peachtree #15, Nashville, is charged with class C felony theft of property. He was instructed to return May 14.
A 5K run later this month will benefit Tyler Hosey-Matthews, 28, a former Nashville resident who has been diagnosed with cancer.
The Team Tyler 5K Run – Losing Is not an Option will be Friday, May 30, at the Nashville City Park.
There is a $25 entry fee. Registration will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the park’s Dogwood Pavilion, where runners may pick up their packets which will include a T-shirt.
The 5K will start at 7 p.m.
There will also be a donation dinner and silent auction that will begin at 5:30. Some of the silent auction items are a homemade quilt from Glenna Dunaway, a yeti cooler, tool sets, custom paintings, items from the different boutiques in town and dessert items.
Anyone may sign up for the 5K online at www.teamtyler.myevent.com
Hosey-Matthews is a 2004 graduate of Nashville High School, where she was editor of the Tattler her senior year.
She is married to Adam Matthews, and they have two sons, Garrett and Trenton. She teaches fourth grade at Horatio Elementary.
On Feb. 17, 2014, she was diagnosed with stage 1b1 cervical cancer, and since then she has had surgery to remove the tumor. However, she found out shortly after that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes which means she will be undergoing more treatments for the next couple of months.
She will have radiation five days a week as well as chemotherapy one day a week at UAMS Medical Center.
During this time, she is moving closer to the treatment center and away from her husband and children while they continue to work and go to school.
Because of the intense treatments and advice from the doctors, she will not be returning to her job this year. This benefit will help the Matthews family during this process.
The Nashville School District will host a retirement reception Wednesday, May 28.
The reception for all retiring employees will be held at 2 p.m. at the elementary school cafeteria.
Kynnedi Gordon, a senior at Nashville High School, was PEO Chapter AM’s first nominee for a PEO STAR Scholarship. There were 1,891 applicants nationwide, with 350 scholarships presented.
The local chapter recognized Gordon for being chosen as its first-ever nominee for the scholarship. “She worked hard on her application,” member Cay Teague said.
“We were impressed with her excellence and achievements.”
Gordon is the daughter of Tate and Jennifer Gordon of Nashville.
She is a member of National Honor Society and Student Council, and she plays first base for the Scrapperette softball team.
The PEO STAR Scholarship was established in 2009 to provide non-renewable $2,500 scholarships to exceptional high school graduating women to attend accredited post-secondary educational institutions in the United States and Canada.
According to PEO guidelines, a woman is eligible to be recommended for the scholarship if she exhibits excellence in leadership, extracurricular activities, community service, academics and potential for future success.
She must be a senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
Nominees must be citizens or legal permanent residents of the U.S. or Canada.
They must receive the vote of a local chapter.
Each chapter may only recommend one applicant per year.
By John R. Schirmer
The Nashville School District continues its search for a junior high girls basketball coach and is awaiting information on state funding for Phase 4 of the facilities improvement project.
About two dozen applications have been received for the coaching position, according to Superintendent Doug Graham. The position is held by Coach Buster Bonner, who is retiring at the end of the year.
A special school board meeting could be called to name the new coach.
The meeting could also consider the final phase of the facilities project.
Officials from the Arkansas Department of Education’s Facilities Division were in Nashville recently to tour the first three phases of construction projects at Nashville High School and Nashville Junior High.
“They were here about 2 1/2 to 3 hours,” Graham said. “They went to the arena, junior high and high school. Everything was complimentary.”
The visit came as the Facilities Division is determining how much of Phase 4 to fund. The project includes enclosing the high school courtyard and other work, including the cafeteria.
State money will be added to local funds to complete the facilities improvement project. The scope of Phase 4 will depend on the amount of state funding, according to Graham.
“We’re working with the architect and Crawford Construction. When we hear from the state, we will proceed as planned our get the project in budget,” Graham said.
The district has several options in Phase 4 which will be included or omitted, depending on funding.
With the Facilities Division visit completed, Graham expects the project to pick up speed. “I’m optimistic that we will break ground soon,” he said recently.
Rattlerfest 2014, a fundraiser for the Rattler Fan Club, will be held May 30-31 at the Murfreesboro City Park.
Events will start on May 30 at 5 p.m. and kick-off again on May 31 at 8 a.m. Events will include:
Coed softball tournament, 12-and-under and 10-and-under softball tournaments, 3-on-3 basketball tournaments for all ages, volleyball tournament, a 5K run, kid’s games, food, live music and more.
For more information, call (870) 828-1861.
By John Balch
Murfreesboro’s five softball commissioners and four baseball commissioners have agreed to serve on an interim basis to complete this year’s ball seasons.
The agreement was reached when all the commissioners, along with Park Director Terry Jackson, met last Wednesday night with Murfreesboro City Council members Debbie Shukers, Jason Allmon and Dana Stone. The special meeting was called after a few weeks of shake-ups concerning the park, which included the council’s repeal a 24-year-old ordinance that established the park commission. The removal of the park commission brings Director Jackson’s employment and all park operations under the city’s control with the exception of the interim duties of the ball commissioners.
Softball commissioners include John Gleba, Tanya Wilcher, Scott Cox, Trevor Humphry and Josh Campbell. Baseball commissioners are Billy Wilcher, Scott Bailey, Ronald Pettigrew and Tommy Stuard.
The city’s move to dissolve the park commission had also effectively dissolved the ball commissions mid-season, which Mayor Travis Branch said was soon realized to be a mistake. “I was ignorant to the fact of how it was set up,” the mayor said in a recent council meeting. “I didn’t know (the ball commissioners) controlled the money.” Branch and City Recorder/Treasurer Penny Lamb have insisted the park needed to be brought under city control for accountability of public funds and audit purposes.
Shukers said last week’s meeting began with “some tension” and “some resentment” since none of the park or ball commissioners or Director Jackson were made aware of the meeting when the commissions were discontinued.
“Everyone was uneasy at first as to why we made the changes,” Shukers told The Nashville Leader. “We kind of spun our wheels for a while because everyone needed to vent and ask questions about why this was happening.”
She said one baseball commissioner questioned what authority the City Council and the mayor had to make changes within the park operations, particularly the ball commissions since they both have separate bank accounts to conduct the season’s business.
Shukers said it was explained that the park is owned by the city and is also funded in part by state turn back funds collected from a local tax; therefore, the park could be subject to be audited.
Shukers added that the city’s recent actions did not concern any misuse of park funds, but instead the need for accountability. She also said it is not the city’s intentions to micromanage the operations of the ball commissions.
The city’s eventually plan is to reestablish the overall park commission with a new ordinance and work with the ball commissions to understand all the duties and aspects including how fees are collected and how teams are selected, according to Shukers.
“We need to have some structure in place,” she said.
The ball commissions will stay intact for the remainder of the season and members may be asked to be serve again once the park commission is reestablished and by-laws are developed.
“We will continue to work with them and give them direction as soon as the auditors can give us some direction,” Shukers said.
By Abbie Hughes Cogburn
Special to The Leader
Kip Hollin Cogburn was born at 2:39 p.m. Jan. 23, 2014 to Abbie and Cody Cogburn. He weighed 6 lbs. 8oz., and was 19″ long. The doctor realized right away that his cry was not right. The doctors and nurses surrounded him and soon took him away to the nursery.
We didn’t get to hold or touch him and I actually couldn’t even see him from where I was. I don’t know why, but we didn’t really expect anything to be wrong. After several hours, the pediatrician came in and told us that our baby was having some trouble breathing. They said it could be a normal newborn lung problem and it was fairly common, but that he was going to need to be air-lifted to a bigger hospital in Little Rock to find out exactly what the problem was.
The pediatrician said that he would need to be on a ventilator because he was not breathing on his own and that I would have to stay in Arkadelphia to be sure there were no complications from birth. Kip spent the night in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) where they did lung treatments. Even after the treatments, the doctor was not pleased with his oxygen saturation, so he ordered an echo of Kip’s heart. I was released and made it to Little Rock just in time to talk to the doctor.
That’s when we learned that Kip had a rare form of Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) called Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venus Return (TAPVR). He would need a heart surgery. They sent us by ambulance to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. ACH did additional testing and decided the surgery was very urgent.
We were floored, in shock, and completely confused. We didn’t even really know what CHD was or how likely it was that he would survive. His complete diagnosis also included Arterial Septal Defect (ASD) and Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). At right about 24 hours old, when we should have been leaving the hospital with our newborn, they took our baby to prep him for open heart surgery. That was the longest six hours of our lives.
Eventually we got the call that surgery went well, there was minimal bleeding and they were pleased with the repair. I can’t even explain the joy and relief we felt! Kip was then settled into his own room in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU), where we witnessed some of the most heartbreaking things we have ever seen.
The hardest few days were the first ones while we waited for him to wake up. He was very sensitive to the morphine and didn’t move or open his eyes for days. It felt like an eternity. After he woke up, everything went great, his stats remained stable and he showed improvement everyday. We only had one minor setback. After a tube that was draining blood and fluid away from his chest was removed, they found fluid by his lungs and had to put in another drain tube. That was a great and terrible day because when they took the tube out that morning we got to hold him for the first time, but that evening when the tube had to be replaced it scared us so much.
After that day his improvements were quick and very impressive. I guess what amazed me so much is how something so tiny could be so strong. We were then moved out of the ICU room and to our own room where my husband and I could sleep in the room with him and provide most of his care. Cody went back to work and I stayed with Kip. Being alone at the hospital was hard, but I could hold him when I wanted, and that eased the loneliness. I met other parents and joined some Facebook groups to pass the time. Everyone at ACH – doctors, other parents, nurses, and staff – were so supportive, we could not have made it without them. We were so very fortunate, as most babies born with heart defects have a much harder journey than Kip’s.
On Saturday morning, Feb. 8, after two weeks that seemed like years, we were released from children’s hospital. At which time Kip weighed 5 lbs. and 8oz. We could go home and Kip was gonna be okay! The only problem was that southwest and central Arkansas had received somewhere between one to three inches of snow the previous night! So we had a very long and stressful three-hour car ride home.
Kip Hollin Cogburn has been a completely normal and happy baby ever since.
Being in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Arkansas Children’s Hospital is something that no one can be prepared for. There is something so terribly isolating about the beeps and buzzes of the machines. However, for some reason I never saw my child or myself as a victim. I somehow knew he would be okay and we would all survive.
Maybe I just couldn’t consider the alternative. But something I couldn’t prepare myself for was the absolute heartbreak I felt when the code alarm sounded on the floor and every nurse, technician, and doctor ran to the room down the hall where a child was fighting for their life. I didn’t expect to feel the connection to other heart parents, or the need to reach out to them. It is a passion that had grow inside of me.
I feel like what happened to Kip happened so that I could provide a unique perspective and start a campaign to raise awareness for Congenital Heart Defect. Ask your doctor about CHD. Knowing could save a child you love. Please Follow Kip’s Story on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KipHollin
Here are some facts about CHD from the Children’s Heart Foundation:
Congenital heart defects are America’s and every country’s #1 birth defect.
Nearly one of every 100 babies is born with a CHD.
Congenital heart defects are the #1 cause of birth defect related deaths.
- Congenital heart defects are the leading cause of ALL infant deaths in the United States.
- Each year approximately 40,000 babies are born in the United States with a congenital heart defect. Thousands of them will not reach their first birthday and thousands more die before they reach adulthood.
Each year over 1,000,000 babies are born worldwide with a congenital heart defect. 100,000 of them will not live to see their first birthday and thousands more die before they reach adulthood.
Kip’s parents have also started a project called Every Heart Bracelets. Abbie hand makes bracelets and gives them to families affected by CHD as a token of hope and encouragement. The Cogburns are also in the process of planning a toiletry drive for ACH to donate travel-size toiletries for families who are staying at the hospital. For more information and to find out how to help, visit the website www.kiphollin.webs.com
Abbie is the daughter of Gary and Tyra Hughes of Nashville and the granddaughter of Jerry and Carolyn Busby and Frank and Myra Hughes. Cody is the son of Bobby and Joann Martin of Murfreesboro and the grandson of Myra Brasel, Patricia and Hershel Cox, and Jimmy and Shirley Cogburn.
Parents that have a child that will be five years old on or before Aug. 1, 2014 and will be enrolling in Nashville Primary’s kindergarten for the 2014-2015 school year, need to pre-register the child for kindergarten.
Pre-registration will be Thursday, May 1, from 8-3 at the Primary School office. Parents need to bring the child to be pre-assessed while they are filling out registration papers. Parents also need to bring the child’s birth certificate, Social Security card, up-to-date shot records, and a recent physical assessment from a doctor.
If the child attends one of Nashville’s pre-schools or daycare centers, children will be pre-assessed at their pre-school/daycare. Registration papers will be sent home to those parents to be completed and returned to their child’s pre-school/daycare. Those parents and children do not need to attend pre-registration on May 1.
Students cannot be assigned to a kindergarten classroom until they have been pre-assessed, and registration papers with the necessary documents are returned to the Primary School.
The Nashville Band Program will have its annual “Band Kick-Off” Thursday, May 15, from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Scrapper Dome Band Hall.
Any current fifth grader who is interested in joining band this fall should stop by, with a parent/guardian, at any point during these times.
There will be opportunities to try all the instruments, visit with band directors as well as current students and band parents. Directors Sara Jo Morris and Nathan Evans said they are “so excited for what the future of the band program holds and we want as many upcoming 6th grade students to be a part of it.”
For more information, contact Morris at email@example.com or Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call the band hall at 845-7341.
By John R. Schirmer
The gravel parking lot that serves Nashville High School, Scrapper Stadium and Scrapper Arena will soon be paved.
The Nashville School Board Monday night accepted a bid of $122,220 from Tri-State Asphalt of De Queen. Superintendent Doug Graham contacted the company following the board meeting to determine when work might begin.
The most likely start time will be in June, Graham was told, but the company did not rule out an earlier date, possibly before NHS graduation in May.
No start time or completion date has been set.
The project calls for Tri-State to blade the gravel parking lot and compact and set up before an overlay of asphalt. The company will asphalt the parking lot with a 2-impaction of asphalt 182 feet wide and 512 feet long with a total square footage of 93,184 square feet.
The total amount of asphalt is 1,164 tons, according to the bid.
Tri-State will stripe all lines, arrows and handicapped symbols as needed.
Tri-State’s bid was the lowest of four received for the project.
The others ranged from $147,900 to $133,455.
Tri-State also overlaid the parking lot at ABC Pre-School, Graham said.
In another construction-related matter, Graham said the state Department of Education’s Facilities Division cancelled a meeting here last week to discuss Phase 4 of the district’s facilities improvement project.
“They will come this Friday and check the first three phases and look at Phase 4. They will give us bottom line numbers on 4,” Graham said.
The district is awaiting the amount of partnership money which the state for Phase 4, which includes enclosing the courtyard at NHS. Other work will depend on state funding to combine with local money.
“If they give us numbers we can live with, we’ll have a special board meeting soon,” Graham said.
Once the project is approved, Graham expects construction to be completed during the fall semester.
Graham updated the board on plans to replace the Scrapper Stadium light pole which fell onto a car April 8. The insurance company has approved a replacement, Graham said.
The state Class 4A track meet originally scheduled for Nashville has been moved to Heber Springs because district officials decided not to have it at the stadium without one of the four light poles. No date has been set for the new pole to be installed.
An engineer recently inspected the remaining poles and said they are safe, Graham said.
The poles were installed in 1999 and have a life expectancy of 18-20 years, Graham said. “We’re on year 15. This is something we will have to take care of in the future.”
The pole which fell was located on the home side between the stands and ticket booth. Graham said the new pole will also have lighting on its east side to illuminate the parking lot for the stadium and arena.
In other business during the April meeting, the board approved increase to the 2013-14 salary schedule for licensed personnel.
The schedule adds $400 to BSE and BSE 18 with no years of experience; $500 to MSE and MSE 15 with no years of experience; $500 to all steps for years 2-15; and adds a step to the salary schedule for year 16 of $300.
The proposal includes the $100 trust fund raise that the board approved last month, Graham said.
Licensed personnel voted in favor of the proposal 155-0 before it was submitted to the school board, Graham said.
Graham said the district’s $36,600 base starting salary and $41,500 master’s degree salaries “are pretty competitive. The highest we pay [$52,600] is pretty much in line. Other districts may offer more for 30 years experience, but overall we’re competitive.”
Board members approved the district’s 2012-13 school audit. “It was a very good audit overall, maybe one of the best in years,” Graham said.
However, the audit found that “for the second year in a row in food services, there was an audit exception based on the numbers of misclassified free and reduced lunch applications,” Graham said.
The audit found that the district misclassified seven applications for free and reduced meal prices. Auditors pulled about 40-45 applications of a total of 800, Graham said. “They found seven mistakes out of that pool. We want a completely clean audit,” Graham said.
The district filed an action plan to correct the problem. Starting in August 2014, building principals will start calculating their buildings’ applications. Food services director Tina Conzel “will still be ultimately responsible for certifying all applications. She will check all applications as the principals turn the applications in to her office, and she will enter into the computer. I trust that with more people double checking the numbers at the beginning of school in the future, this should correct any issues,” Graham said.
The action plan said that during 2012-13, the district set aside several days when cafeteria managers “came in and worked with Ms. Conzel to certify and double check the applications. Mistakes were still made with this level of safeguard. We intend to upgrade our caution by using building principals in the future.”
Graham said there was “no mis-spent money. The audit found free and reduced applications in error.”
The audit exception in itself “is not the end of the world, but this is the second year in a row. It deals with a federal program. There were too many errors. This put a cloud over a very good audit. Being the second straight year takes it to a whole new level,” Graham said.
The only other note in the audit was a recurring one for many school districts, Graham said. “It found a lack of segregation of duties” in handling money, an issue which occurs annually throughout the state because of small numbers of office personnel. “We’ve grown used to this one. Most districts are written up on it. Our response was that we will add people as money allows.”
Board members re-employed certified and classified staff for 2014-15.
The board accepted the following resignations:
Coach Buster Bonner, head junior high girls basketball coach. Bonner has been in education for 30 years and coached in the district for 12 years, Graham said.
LaDonna Curtis, special education, elementary.
Erin Bell, special education, primary.
Betty Parker, food service manager at ABC.
Hollis Hughes, art teacher at junior high. “He joined us in 1976 and has 37 1/2 years,” Graham said.
J.M. Hartness, custodian at ABC.
The board hired the following staff:
Lou Ann Vance, special ed at elementary, succeeding LaDonna Curtis.
Brad Chesshir, teacher and assistant coach. Chesshir’s hiring follows the earlier resignation of Coach Don Cooley and the transfer of Coach Brian “Boomer” Brown to junior high.
Tami Westfall transfer to special education at primary, succeeding Erin Bell.
Darla Lamb, transfer to manager of food service at ABC, succeeding Betty Parker. Her pay will increase for the manager’s job to $10.04 per hour.
Veronica Fatherree, food technician at NHS.
Kim Reed, high school special education succeeding Cameron Allen, who resigned last month.
Relay season is officially here.
The Howard County Relay for Life group held its annual Kick-Off Saturday, April 12. Joanna Howard, one of the organizers, said that the total raised from the kickoff was around $2,100.
Relay for Life will be held June 6.
“There are 10 teams registered and about six more (for a total of 16) who are working on fund-raising,” according to Howard. “Our teams are doing all kinds of fund-raisers, including photo sessions, bake sales, raffles, etc.”
Currently, the Husqvarna team is holding a raffle for a limited edition pink chainsaw.
The Nashville High School team is hosting a pageant in May to benefit Relay For Life.
Howard said, “It’s not too late to sign up to form a team or participate. We do, however need all teams and participants registered by the end of this week to ensure a correct T-shirt order.”
For more information or to sign up to form or join a team, the website is www.relayforlife.org/howardar. The Facebook page may have more information as well, Howard said.
A defendant who was ordered to have a mental evaluation was found not fit to proceed, and will remain at the state mental hospital until medical authorities find him fit to proceed.
Jerry Smith, 55, black male, Nashville, was facing charges of indecent exposure, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was one of 12 defendants who appeared Wednesday, the regular day for criminal court. On the bench was Judge Charles Yeargan.
Two persons pleaded guilty and received sentences.
Jason Pettit, 36, white male, Hope, waffled between giving a guilty and not guilty plea, and finally decided to plead guilty when he saw results of drug testing, according to court officials. He was charged with possession of methamphetamine, class D felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, also class D. Pettit had told the court that he was unhappy with his legal counsel, and former public defender LaJeana Jones was appointed to represent him. He was sentenced to five years in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC), along with a fine and court costs.
A guilty plea was also given by Gonzollis Chrisp, 64, black male, Mineral Springs, charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, both class D felonies, and possession of marijuana and drinking on the highway, both misdemeanors. He was sentenced to five years in the ADC on Count 1, and the state ‘nolle prossed’ Counts 2, 3 and 4. He will be eligible for participation in ‘drug court’ in the 8th South District. He was also fined $1,000 and court costs.
A father-son duo who were out on bond, made first appearances two weeks ago, and crossed the street from the jail to appear again, last Wednesday, to enter their most recent not guilty pleas. They are charged again with possession of methamphetamine, class D felony.
The father, George Bamburg, 65, white male, Nashville, also had allegedly shot his son, Clint Bamburg, 39, white male, Nashville. The father will be represented by public defender Greg Vardaman, and pretrial motions will heard June 4.
The son, Clint Bamburg, will be represented by former Howard County Public Defender LaJeana Jones. He also has a June 4 date for pretrial motions.
A not guilty plea was given by Willie Lewis, 24, black male, Nashville, who told the judge he did not want the public defender. He is charged with delivery of cocaine, class C felony. His bond was reduced to $15,000 and a July 22 trial date was set. He is to return June 18 with his attorney.
Three defendants pleaded not true to charges that they failed to meet the terms of their probation sentences after felony convictions.
Steve Loment Bailey, 32, black male, Texarkana, Ark., pleaded not true to probation violation on his February 2013 conviction for furnishing prohibited articles, a class C felony. He was convicted of bringing contraband into the jail.
A not true plea was given by LaQuonia Hopkins, 26, black female, Nashville who was convicted in March of 2013 of aggravated assault, class D felony, and second degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. Her probation revocation trial will be May 14.
A not true plea was given by Bennie White, 54, black male, Texarkana, Texas, charged with failure to meet terms of probation on his April 2001 conviction for class D felony non-support. A $1,700 cash bond was set. His probation revocation trial will be May 14.
Lamita Kay Graham, 49, black female, Nashville made two ‘first appearances’ before the court, meaning she had been arrested on warrants but not yet officially charged. She will return next week to enter formal pleas to the two separate charges. Her bond was set at $25,000 on each of the two pending charges.
Nashville Elementary School students take the STAR Reading test every nine weeks. The assessment assists teachers in instructional planning, according to teacher Bernice Jamison.
Data from the test gives teachers an individualized plan of growth for each student and for each class. Test scores also aid students in choosing books from the library.
Students who showed the most growth during the third nine weeks were recognized recently. Ten from each grade ate together in the cafeteria and received special treats, along with a free recess at the end of the day to mark their growth.
“Our faculty is very proud of these students’ efforts,” Jamison said.
Students include the following:
Fourth grade – Peyton Hilliard, Tyler Garner, Kaley Rosenbaum, Jonah Fant, Aaron Hernandez, Garrett Willard, Crystal Torries, Charlie Bissell, Steven Wright and Hayden Patrick.
Fifth grade – Kylie Voeller, Kash King, Kara Connell, Jacob Martin, Braden Funderburk, Olman Pineda, Anna Rhodes, Macy Morris, Chastin Johnson and Ridley Plant.
Sixth grade – Austin Tallant, Damillion Henderson, Torrence Morgan, Devon Barton, Amber Barnett, Cameron Reese, Autumn Miller, Anna Violante, Kendra Miller and Steven Bush.
Charlie Bissell, Kara Connell and Torrence Morgan showed the most growth in each grade, Jamison said.
By John Balch
The Murfreesboro Park and Recreation Commission is no more following Monday night’s City Council meeting when a 24-year-old ordinance that established the park’s governing body was repealed.
The council voted 6-0 to repeal Ordinance No. 195, which was passed June 1, 1990, around the time the city park was built. The repeal immediately dissolved the park commission, as well as the park’s softball and baseball commissions.
“Does everybody understand now the park director and all actions at the park will fall under us?” Mayor Travis Branch questioned council members following the vote.
The vote to repeal the ordinance came after a short executive session called to discuss a personnel issue involving Park Director Terry Jackson, who did not attend Monday’s meeting and later said he was unaware his employment would be discussed. The Nashville Leader questioned how an executive session called for a personnel issue resulted in a vote to repeal an ordinance. Mayor Branch said, “It started out as personnel with Terry (Jackson). Before we could do anything on that action, we had to get rid of the park commission.”
Since discussion to the repeal of the ordinance should have been conducted in open session, the council members were asked to reveal what they discussed about the situation up to the point where personnel issues actually became involved.
Council member Jason Allmon stated that “the park is not being run as it should be” and “things aren’t up to standards that the City Council thinks they should be.”
“So, we are going to try to go a different route, and, maybe, start over,” Allmon added.
Members of the Park and Recreation Commission were Betty Evans, Alan McRae, Robbie Crocker, Tracy Corbitt and Ronald Pettigrew, none of which attended Monday’s meeting. McRae said Tuesday morning he was unaware the commission was on Monday’s agenda.
Softball Commission members were John Gleba, Tanya Wilcher, Scott Cox, Trevor Humphry and Josh Campbell. Baseball Commission members were Bill Wilcher, Scott Bailey, Ronald Pettigrew and Tommy Stuard. None of the softball or baseball commissioners attended Monday’s meeting.
Also following the closed session, Mayor Branch announced a special council meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 22 at 6 p.m. to meet with Jackson, who has served as park director for 13 years. Jackson, along with park bookkeeper Lynn Gleba, are now considered city employees.
City Clerk/Recorder Penny Lamb asked Mayor Branch if the city would takeover the park’s payroll and Mayor Brnach responded, “We are going to act as the park commission.”
Lamb said she would check with state auditors regarding payroll issues.