Hempstead County Judge Hosts Hempstead County Mayors Meeting

Hempstead County Judge Haskell Morse hosted an historic meeting of Hempstead County Mayors Friday March 27th at the court house. The mayors heard about grant opportunities available from Southwest Arkansas Planning and More »

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Missing Nevada County Man

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the help of the public in locating, Jonathan Crews. Jonathan is a white male, with a date of birth of 06-25-81. 6’0, 130 lbs, More »

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Local Railroads Recognized

Three local short line railroad operations have been recognized with 2014 safety awards from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. The Prescott & Northwestern Railroad and The Arkansas Southern Railroad More »

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Hempstead County Quorum Court Meets

The Hempstead County Quorum Court met Thursday (3 – 26) for their March meeting. After the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance the JP’s discussed paying their part of the 9 – 1 More »

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Elkins Ferry Legislation Passes

An Act to make an appropriation to the Department of Arkansas Heritage-Historic Preservation for the purchase and improvement of the Historic Elkin’s Ferry Battlefield near Prescott is on its way to Governor More »

Van Dale  Stueart age 67 Nashville, Arkansas

Nashville Man Charged with Sexually Grooming a Child

On March 19, 2015 The Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the parents of a 9 year old female that they had learned their daughter had been videoed naked and had More »

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AHTD Pulls Projects Including Some or Hempstead County

Hempstead County Road Projects Cut The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has withdrawn 56 construction projects scheduled for consideration in its April 21 bid opening due to continuing uncertainty of Federal-aid reimbursements More »

Wesley Livingston was found 3/25/15

Missing Ashley County Man Found Dead

The Clark County Sheriff’s Department is reporting that the body of 24 year old Wesley Livingston has been found. Livingston’s body was apparently found late Tuesday (3-24).  No details are available as More »

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High Speed Chase Results in Wreck

At approximately 10:55 pm on March 20, 2015 Deputy Neil Barwick advised dispatch that he was in a pursuit heading east on Avenue A. Deputy Barwick advised that he lost sight of More »

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Hempstead County Sheriff Receives Grant for Body Cameras

Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton announced today that his office has received a $4,200.00 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Grant to purchase body cameras for deputies in his department. The funds will be used More »

Hempstead County Judge Hosts Hempstead County Mayors Meeting

Hempstead County Judge Haskell Morse hosted an historic meeting of Hempstead County Mayors Friday March 27th at the court house. The mayors heard about grant opportunities available from Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development. Pictured is Blevins Mayor Bobby Steed, Oakhaven Mayor Troy Lerew, Sr., Emmet Mayor Dale Booker, Hope Mayor Dennis Ramsey, and Washington Mayor Paul Henley

at 10:40 AM

Missing Nevada County Man

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The Nevada County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the help of the public in locating, Jonathan Crews. Jonathan is a white male, with a date of birth of 06-25-81. 6’0, 130 lbs, blue eyes, blonde hair. Jonathan left his residence on Highway 24 in Nevada County on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. traveling to work in Texarkana. It was confirmed that he left Texarkana at 5:00 p.m. traveling back towards Nevada County. Mr. Crews has not been seen or heard from since. Jonathan is driving 2001 Ford F150 White with Arkansas license 588 WAH. All help is appreciated. If you have any information about Mr. Crews, please contact the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department office at 870-887-2616.

Local Railroads Recognized

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Three local short line railroad operations have been recognized with 2014 safety awards from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

The Prescott & Northwestern Railroad and The Arkansas Southern Railroad were both recognized with “Jake Awards With Distinction” for being member railroads with no Federal Railroad Administration reportable injuries for the previous year. PNW serves Firestone in Prescott while ARS has two operations; Nashville to Ashdown and from Heavener, Oklahoma to Waldron, Arkansas.

The Kiamichi Railroad, which serves Hope, was awarded a “Jake Award” for its injury frequency rate that is less than or equal to the FRA national average.

Mike Lundell, vice president of compliance and safety for Genesee & Wyoming, Inc. was named Safety Professional of the Year. Genesee & Wyoming is a short line hold company that owns the Prescott & Northwestern and Kiamichi Railroad.

The Jake Award was created in 1995 and named after Lowell S. “Jake” Jacobson, a previous recipient of Railway Age Magazine’s Railroader of the Year.

Hempstead County Quorum Court Meets

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The Hempstead County Quorum Court met Thursday (3 – 26) for their March meeting. After the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance the JP’s discussed paying their part of the 9 – 1 – 1 system up front as opposed to paying the approximately $125,000 out over several years. The JP’s approved a transfer ordinance for $ 8, 000 for the Sheriff’s Department and $ 20,000 for the 9 – 1 – 1 maintenance fund. The JP’S passed a clean up ordinance to finish the 2014 budget. The JP’s also approved a “JAG” grant for about $ 4,000 for body cameras for the Sheriff’s Department. A resolution was approved for an ACED grant for $ 250,, 000 for a project for the country road at the Tyson plant. Judge Haskell Morse noted the grant application had been worked on by the late Wesley Woodard. Judge Morse noted Woodard had made many contributions to the county. In a related mode the JP’s approved a resolution designating Southwest Planning and Development as the grant administrator Judge Morse read a letter from the South Central Drug Task Force regarding their efforts to purchase a new drug dog. He also gave a report from Procom on the proposed work on some storm sirens that need work. It was also clarified that dispatch won’t do the Wednesday noon storm siren test if there’s a warning. Judge Morse showed some photos of trash that the county has cleaned up on county roads. The pictures included dumped mattresses and even a boat. Judge Morse noted the dumping fines start at $ 250 and Judge Yocom has proposed increasing those to at least $1,000. Many of these items can now be taken to the county shop for free disposal. The judge also hopes to put some cameras out at the worst places. Chief Deputy Mickey Atkinson gave an update on a rescue from a flooded ditch by Deputy Gary Dorman. Terrie James of the Cooperative Extension Service also gave an update on some youth activities. 

Elkins Ferry Legislation Passes

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An Act to make an appropriation to the Department of Arkansas Heritage-Historic Preservation for the purchase and improvement of the Historic Elkin’s Ferry Battlefield near Prescott is on its way to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s desk after passing in both houses of the legislature. Representative Brent Talley of McCaskill was the House sponsor.

The Act sets aside up to $310,000 for land acquisition and improvement. The Act allows for the additional acceptance of other donations, including Federal funds, in addition to the state appropriation. The Act passed with an emergency clause allowing the Act to take effect July 1.

Thanks to Saratoga, AR Digest…

Nashville Man Charged with Sexually Grooming a Child

Van Dale  Stueart age 67 Nashville, Arkansas

On March 19, 2015 The Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the parents of a 9 year old female that they had learned their daughter had been videoed naked and had been shown some pornographic films. Investigators from the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into the allegations and presented a probable cause affidavit to Circuit Judge Duncan Culpepper who signed the affidavit for the arrest of Mr. Van Stueart 67, of Nashville, Arkansas. On Wednesday March 25, 2015 Mr. Stueart and his attorney came to the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office where Stueart surrendered himself to Hempstead County investigators who arrested the 67 year old and charged him with Sexually Grooming a Child. He was placed in the Hempstead County Detention Center awaiting a first court appearance.
Definition of Sexually Grooming a Child (5-207-307) (b) A person commits sexually grooming a child if he or she knowingly disseminates to a child thirteen (13) years or younger with or without consideration a visual or print medium depicting sexually explicit conduct with the purpose to entice, induce, or groom the child thirteen (13) years of age or younger to engage in the following with a person: (1) Sexual Intercourse; (2) Sexually explicit conduct; or (3) Deviate sexual Activity.

AHTD Pulls Projects Including Some or Hempstead County

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Hempstead County Road Projects Cut

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has withdrawn 56 construction projects scheduled for consideration in its April 21 bid opening due to continuing uncertainty of Federal-aid reimbursements available from the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Several of those were planned projects in southwest Arkansas, including:

Overlay projects on Highway 278 north of Highway 32 in Hope and from the Red River on Highway 67 to Peavine Creek in the Fulton area…Overlay project in Murfreesboro on Highways 27 and 301, a signal light at Highway 32 and 32Y in Ashdown and a overlay project on Highway 41 in the Foreman area.

The estimated value of the 56 withdrawn projects is more than $112 million dollars and includes $50 million dollars authorized by the Arkansas Highway Commission for its 2015 highway overlay program. This brings the total number of projects withdrawn in 2015 to 61, valued at $162 million dollars.

“Now that we have canceled our overlay program for this year, there are few areas in the State that are not affected by projects withdrawn from the April bid letting,” said Highway Director Scott Bennett. “If you stop and think about the economic impact this has–not only on construction jobs, but the lost commerce that results in each local area because construction isn’t taking place–then you begin to understand the trickle-down effect and the urgency of solving this national problem.”

Since December 2014, the Highway Department has been conducting an evaluation of scheduled Federally-funded projects prior to each bid letting to ensure sufficient State funds are available to fulfill commitments.

Missing Ashley County Man Found Dead

Wesley Livingston was found 3/25/15

The Clark County Sheriff’s Department is reporting that the body of 24 year old Wesley Livingston has been found. Livingston’s body was apparently found late Tuesday (3-24).  No details are available as to where the body was found but the Sheriff’s Department says initial indications are Livingston’s death was self-inflicted.  The body has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy. Livingston was last seen March 10th at the Georgia Pacific Mill in Gurdon. An extensive search was conducted around Hope’s Fair Park after several alleged sightings. The facebook page “Bringing Wesley Livingston Home” is asking for prayers for the family.

High Speed Chase Results in Wreck

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At approximately 10:55 pm on March 20, 2015 Deputy Neil Barwick advised dispatch that he was in a pursuit heading east on Avenue A. Deputy Barwick advised that he lost sight of the vehicle at the intersection of Avenue A and Hervey and then could see the vehicle again as it ran the stop sign at Avenue A and Elm. The vehicle continued going east at a high rate of speed and then wrecked in the 400 block of Avenue A. Upon Deputy Bush’s arrival Deputy Barwick advised him that he observed the vehicle going south on Washington and disobeyed the stop sign continuing south on Washington across Avenue B at a high rate of speed. Deputy Barwick engaged his emergency lights to attempt a traffic stop on the vehicle. The vehicle turned left onto Avenue A and disobeyed another stop sign while turning from Avenue A to Pond Street heading east bound at a high rate of speed. Deputy Barwick then observed the vehicle disobey the Traffic light at Pond and Hervey going strait onto Avenue A in a reckless manner. Deputy Barwick lost sight of the vehicle due to vehicle pulling away from him because he had to slow down for the red light. Deputy Barwick then gained sight of the vehicle again and observed the vehicle disobeying the stop sign at Elm and Avenue a still continuing east bound on Avenue A. Deputy Barwick observed the vehicle disobey another stop sign at Avenue A and Hazel. Deputy Barwick observed the vehicle veer to the right lost sight of the vehicle again Deputy Barwick found the vehicle wrecked in the 400 block of East Avenue A. Deputy Barwick observed the driver, later identified as Logan Ortez, climb out of the vehicle which was on its side in the ditch. Deputy Barwick ordered Ortez to lay face down on the ground at this time he could smell the odor of alcohol coming from Ortez. Upon Deputy Bush’s arrival Ortez was placed under arrest as deputies waited for Pafford EMS to arrive. Deputies turned Ortez over to Hope Police Officer Scott Hurd for him to perform the investigation for DWI. Pafford EMS then transported Logan Ortez to the Wadley Regional Medical Center in Hope. Officer Scott Hurd placed Logan under arrest for Suspicion of DWI. Hope Police Officer Charlie Featherston performed the accident investigation and report. Deputies charged Ortez with disobeying a stop sign four counts, disregarding a traffic light, Fleeing and reckless driving, with a court date of April 20, 2015.

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