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Santa Visits Heather Manor Christmas Party

Heather Manor held their annual Christmas Party Friday December 19th. Santa Claus, as usual, made an appearance and visited with a number of his old friends, some of whom he’s been visiting More »

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Hope City Board Meets, Employees get Christmas Eve off

The Hope City Board held an unusual meeting Friday December 19th. It was the city’s annual “mandatory staff meeting” which is to say the Christmas party. All the staff had their paychecks More »

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Santa Cop

The Hope Police Department would like to thank the many people who contributed to our Santa Cop Program this year.  With the support of our community, we will be able to help More »

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Santa Visits Pre-K

Santa Claus took time out from his busy schedule on Wednesday December 17th to visit with pre-K students on the Yerger campus.  These students are in Mrs. Gentry’s class.  The most requested More »

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2014 Hempstead County Deputy of the Year

Deputy Rebeca Medlen-Billings, as honored by the Hope Rotary Club on Thursday for being chosen as Deputy of The Year for Hempstead County. ASP Trooper Kyle Peek, and HPD Officer Eric Zimmer More »

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Final Chamber Coffee of 2014 Hosted by Lance & Associates

The Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Community Coffee on Wednesday December 17th was hosted by Lance & Associates Real Estate. It has become a tradition since 2006 that Steve Lance and staff More »

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Arkansas Welcome Center in Miller County Celebrates 10 Years

The Arkansas Welcome Center in the east bound lane of I-30 in Miller County celebrated its 10th anniversary Tuesday December 16th.  Events included a flag raising ceremony by Arkansas High ROTC students More »

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Fire Scare at Hempstead County Jail but no Injuries

Hope Fire Department responded to the Hempstead County Jail at approximately 4:04 Am 12/17/14 to investigate smoke coming into one cell block of the jail. The smoke was discovered as detention officers More »

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Hope Platform Committee Finalist for Award

The 2015 Henry Awards winners will be revealed at the 41st Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism to be held in Texarkana in March at the Arkansas Convention Center. There’s a Hope More »

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Santa and Mrs. Claus Visit Making Rainbows preschool in Hope

Santa and Mrs. Claus took time out of their busy schedule to visit the children at Making Rainbows preschool in Hope. The pair shared candy caneswith the children and listened closely to More »

Double Fatality Near Ozan

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Two Hempstead County residents are dead following a head-on collision Friday night on U.S. Highway 278 in Ozan. According to the preliminary report by Arkansas State Trooper Christina Morris, northbound a 2008 Toyota Matrix driven by Linda Gail Palomino, 64, with a rural Ozan address, apparently crossed the centerline and struck a southbound 1998 Infinity Q45 driven by Gregg Lucas, 52, of Hope. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene by Hempstead County Coroner Ben Brazzel. The accident was reported at 7:20 pm. Fire departments from Yancey, Washington and Bingen were dispatched, along with ambulances from Hope and Nashville.

Southwest Arkansas “Blue & You” Grants

Several southwest Arkansas groups and organizations are among the recipients of over $2.6 million dollars in grants from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas through Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shied. *Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church in Hope will receive $5,000 for its Food Pantry Program that provides food assistance to 4,500 individuals, *Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia will receive $149,128 dollars for the SAU Regional Simulation and Training Center to purchase equipment to furnish the first rural regional simulation and training center. *Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department will receive $61,500 dollars for the Healthy & Safe Southwest Arkansas project that supports risk-factor education and behavioral modification through direct training programs for at least 2,980 youth and 300 adults in southwest Arkansas. Since its inception 13 years ago, the Blue & You Foundation has awarded $22 million dollars to 584 health improvement programs in Arkansas.

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Two Southwest Arkansas Farms Recognized

The Arkansas Agriculture Department has announced that 54 Arkansas farms will be designated as Arkansas Century Farms this year, including two in southwest Arkansas. Those are Cox Homestead in NevadaCounty and Possum Hollow Family Farm (PHFF) in ClarkCounty. Arkansas Century Farm signs and certificates were presented to the owners. The Arkansas Century Farm is a program that recognizes Arkansas’ rich agricultural heritage and honors families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. The program is voluntary, places no restrictions on the land, and does not require a fee. Too qualify, farms have to meet two criteria: *The same family must have owned the farm for 100 years by December 31, 2014, *The farm must be at least 10 acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.

Dr. Vic Ford and Staff of Southwest Research and Extension Center Attend Kiwanis Farm-City Week

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Dr. Vic Ford, Director of the University of Arkansas Southwest Research and Extension Center brought the program at the Hope Kiwanis Club’s annual “Farm-City Day” program on Tuesday November 25th.  Dr. Ford brought a number of the staffers from the SWREC to the program.  The Kiwanis Club enjoyed having these fine folks as guests at the annual event.

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas Downtown

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Kirk Gray of the city of Hope Parks Department smiles down from a light pole on Main Street as the parks department began hanging Christmas banners on the lightpoles downtown.  In addition to banners and some lighted decorations on the poles, this year poles have been wrapped with white lights which match the traditional white lights on the shrubbery downtown.  The downtown area has the best decorations it has had in many years and the merchants are quite pleased with what the city has done.

Kiwanis Club Hosts “Farm – City Day” hears from Dr. Vic Ford

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The Hope Kiwanis Club held its annual “Farm -City Day ” on Tuesday November 25th. Numerous local farmers were guests of the club and the program was brought by Dr. Vic Ford,, Director of the University of Arkansas Southwest Research and Extension Center. Dr. Ford noted agriculture is a $20 billion dollar business in Arkansas and is responsible for 1 in 6 jobs in the state. He talked about the importance of agriculture in meeting the need for food for the growing world population. Dr. Ford also noted the importance water supplies will play in Arkansas in the next 15 years. 

Chief JR Wilson Addresses Hope being the Ninth Most “Dangerous City” on Home Security Shield Website

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Recently I became aware of information posted on the website of Home Security Shield entitled “15 Most Dangerous Cities in Arkansas.”  Hope was listed as the ninth most “dangerous” city by this company based on a composite score of selected property and violent crimes listed on the FBI Uniform Crime Report site. Obviously, I am not writing to dispute the numerical data provided to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.  This data is provided by the Hope Police Department and the numbers are what they are. I am writing to challenge the inference drawn from the data that characterizes cities on the list as “Most Dangerous”.  Home Security Shield’s conclusion is misleading, incomplete and inappropriate. Statistics, in practice, can be divided into 3 areas:  Data Analysis; Data Production; and Statistical Inference. “Statistical Inference moves beyond the data in hand to draw conclusions about some wider universe” (David S. Moore; The Basic Practice of Statistics).  The FBI UCR website clearly warns, “UCR data are sometimes used to compile rankings of individual jurisdictions and institutions of higher learning. These incomplete analyses have often created misleading perceptions which adversely affect geographic entities and their residents. For this reason, the FBI has a long-standing policy against ranking participating law enforcement agencies on the basis of crime data alone. Despite repeated warnings against these practices, some data users continue to challenge and misunderstand this position… the FBI cautions and, in fact, strongly discourages, data users against using rankings to evaluate locales or the effectiveness of their law enforcement agencies.” Based purely on UCR violent crime data measuring Murder, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault for 2012 and 2013, citizens of Hope had a statistical chance of .95% and .82% (less than 1%) respectively of being a victim of a violent crime.  For 2013 this is a 25/100ths of one percent difference from the mean for all departments in Arkansas submitting data to the UCR program.  Taking into account that approximately 73% of all violent crime in Hope, Arkansas is committed by a family member, friend, or acquaintance, this means that a citizen of Hope has a .22% chance (less than 1 quarter of one percent) of being a victim of a violent crime by a stranger. The data suggests that your chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime is more strongly correlated to whom you marry, befriend or associate with as opposed to your geographic location. Even greater correlations may exist with education, employment, poverty, etc.  These figures do not even attempt to address repeat offenders involving the same victim, such as is more common with domestic matters.  Does this justify labeling a city as “Most Dangerous?” Considering property crime data measuring burglary, theft, auto theft and arson for 2012 and 2013, citizens of Hope had a statistical chance of 6.7% and 5.4% respectively of being a victim of a property crime.  For 2013, the mean for all Arkansas submitting agencies was 4.59%; this is a .81 % difference.  Based on this standard alone, Hope would rank as 10th and 21st respectively.  The largest data set in the property crime data category is theft.  Hope reported 420 and 340 thefts for 2012 and 2013 respectively. Did you notice the approximate 20% difference in the two years?  When you take into account that approximately 75% of all thefts and 50% of all property crime in the City of Hope are misdemeanor crimes (22% of which are associated with shoplifting or theft of motor fuel), the chance that a citizen will be the victim of a felony property crime is approximately 2.73%.  Misdemeanor crime by its very descriptive nature is “minor” or “not serious.”  These are crimes for which a person cannot be imprisoned.  I think any serious thinking person would be hard pressed to call a city “Most Dangerous” based on this information. Data users must consider the common sense interpretation of data and be careful drawing conclusions.  For example, the City of Hope had no homicides for a 4 year period, 2008-2011.  In 2012 we had 1 homicide.  Would an article entitled, “Hope Homicide Rate Increases 100% for 2012” properly convey to data users useful information?  Of course not!  While the number is true mathematically, it does not convey useful information to the average reader.  This often occurs in the world of small numbers.  It has been my experience, and I am sure it is your experience, that citizens of Hope can go anywhere in this city without fear of being assaulted, molested, or abused in any way.  Do we have crime? Yes.  What increases our statistical chance of becoming a victim: our association with disreputable people, our choice to remain in abusive family relationships, specific locations and time, lack of education, poverty, etc. In the above paragraphs we have looked at UCR crime data.  Another data set, known as NIBRS (National Incident Based Reporting), measures 23 offense categories made up of 49 specific crimes.  Hope would rank 17th among all cities reporting this information in Arkansas for 2012. Had this data set been used in the same misleading manner, cities such as Caddo Valley, Paragould and Alma would be listed above Hope. How absurd to use these numbers in this way.  All of us common sense folk can understand this. I like to think of UCR and NIBRS data as a quick look at the health of a city.  Much like a doctor looks at numbers associated with blood work and talks with patients about their symptoms. Data can help establish baselines and bring attention to areas of concern for diagnosis and treatment. You may have a cough, feel bad and have some abnormalities in your blood work, but there is a big difference in diagnosing these symptoms as a cold, flu, respiratory infection or cancer.  If you provide a diagnosis of cancer, you certainly want to be sure to some scientific degree of certainty that your diagnosis is accurate. In the case of Home Security Shield, it is my belief they have diagnosed the situation incorrectly and unfortunately caused confusion and worry on the part of some of our citizens.  I hope I have been able to shed some light on these numbers to help you see them in a more balanced way. As citizens, we have a responsibility and moral obligation to work together to bring about a better, more prosperous, and generous city for all. I personally am very proud to live in Hope, Arkansas and work toward this goal.  Is there room for improvement, certainly!  But make no mistake, we live in a safe community with many opportunities.

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