De Queen Area News

UA Cossatot instructor back safely in the U.S.after detainment by customs authorities
Back in Class– Molly Sirigiri, a biology instructor at UA Cossatot, is back in the U.S. and teaching classes after an uncertain two months in India. Sirigiri was detained by U.S. immigration and customs authorities in July after returning from a Guatemala mission trip, when she was told her visa would not allow her to reenter the United States. The college worked with several offices to get Sirigiri back.

DE QUEEN – The UA Cossatot instructor who was detained by federal immigration authorities earlier this summer after returning to the United States from a mission trip to Guatemala is home safely, say college officials.

Molly Sirigiri, who teaches biology for the college, was held by U.S. customs officials in Houston upon returning from the trip in July. While there, she and other members of the First Baptist Church of Nashville volunteered in an orphanage. Sirigir was informed in Houston that the visa she used to teach in the United States allowed her to travel outside the U.S., but would not authorize her to reenter the country. She was then detained and forcibly flown back to her native country, India.

Appalled by Sirigiri's detainment, officials with UA Cossatot worked with the University of Arkansas System and U.S. Sen. Mark Pyror's office to get her back in the U.S. Fortunately the advocates were able to appeal the case and get Sirigiri back in the U.S..

“Molly is a special person to UA Cossatot,” said Dr. Steve Cole, UA Cossatot Chancellor. “Not only is she a teaching rock star for us but more importantly, she is a vital part of her church and community. The best possible result came from this, and that was her quick re-entry back into the United States.”

“We owe many thanks to not only our US Senators and the UA System but also to Kelly Plunk, UA Cossatot Human Resources Director and Crystal Sims, Biological Science Instructor who were instrumental in processing her return and covering her academic duties,” Cole added.

“I am thankful to be back in Nashville and teaching,” said Sirigiri. “I am very thankful for people I consider my family in the United States.”
Sirigiri teaches a full course load of General Biology, Microbiology, and Anatomy and Physiology. Sirigiri started back with her full classload on Monday.

Aug 28, 2014, 17:22

Local group to meet and discuss weight loss
DE QUEEN – A local group has begun meeting weekly to discuss weight loss strategies and the challenge of keeping the weight off once it is lost.

Angie Ragan, an employee of Dr. Jason Lofton’s Wellness Center in De Queen, organized the classes based on some of her own experiences.
“I know losing weight can be difficult and keeping it gone even more so, but I think with a support group those who have the same issues might find the help they need,” she said.

The group held its first meeting on Thursday, Aug. 21, but plans to meet each Thursday in the future at 5:30 p.m. in The Wellness Center in downtown De Queen. For more information contact Ragan at (870) 642-4000, ext. 5.

Aug 28, 2014, 17:20

Fair Parade – The main events of the 77th annual Sevier County Fair kicked off in style with the always-anticipated fair parade featuring entries from across the county. This year's parade included the De Queen High School band and cheerleader squad, a fleet of De Queen Fire Department vehicles, a mule-driven stagecoach and a large group of horseback riders. The parade started on Ninth Street and continued through downtown De Queen before heading to the Sevier County Fairgrounds.

Aug 28, 2014, 17:13

State bear survey needs eyes in the field for area
LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission needs your help to determine the number and locations of black bears in bear zones 3 and 4 in southern Arkansas.

“We are soliciting public input from people who have photographs of black bears in those two zones,” said Myron Means, the AGFC’s bear program coordinator.

Zones 3 and 4 include all of Grant, Cleveland, Dallas, Nevada, Ouachita, Calhoun, Bradley, Drew, Ashley, Union, Columbia, Lafayette, Hempstead, Little River and Miller counties, as well as parts of Pulaski, Saline, Hot Spring, Clark, Pike, Howard, Sevier, Jefferson, Lincoln, Chicot and Desha counties.

“The AGFC needs photographs and GPS location information to assess abundance and distribution of the bear population in this part of the state,” Means said.

“Most of the land in this part of Arkansas is privately owned, so the AGFC does not have a large land base to conduct surveys for an accurate estimate of the population. We need documentable evidence and locations for sightings within the last year.”
Means says the AGFC is trying to determine if the population’s abundance and distribution have potential for hunting opportunities.

If you have photographs with GPS information taken within the last year, please send them to Means at by Nov. 30.

Aug 28, 2014, 17:08

De Queen student named to NSHSS
Successful Student – The National Honor Society of High School Scholars has announced Justyce Brown of Lockesburg, a student at De Queen High School, has been selected to become a member of the esteemed organization.

DE QUEEN – The National Honor Society of High School Scholars has announced Justyce Brown of Lockesburg, a student at De Queen High School, has been selected to become a member of the esteemed organization.

The society recognizes top scholars who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, scholarship and community commitment. The announcement was made by NSHSS Founder and Chairman Claes Nobel, a senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes.

"On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice and commitment that Justyce has demonstrated to achieve this exceptional level of academic excellence," said Nobel. "Justyce is now a member of a unique community of scholars - a community that represents our very best hope for the future."

Membership in NSHSS entitles qualified students to enjoy a wide variety of benefits, including scholarship opportunities, academic competitions, free events, member-only resources, publications, participation in programs offered by educational partners, personalized recognition items and publicity honors.

For more information about NSHSS visit

Aug 28, 2014, 17:06

De Queen pilot recognized by Air Evac
Top Pilot – De Queen Base Pilot Supervisor Michael Hambrecht, right, was recently honored as the Air Evac Lifeteam Region 4 Pilot of the Year. He is pictured with Regional Director of Flight Operations Chuck Atkins. (Photo submitted by Air Evac)

DE QUEEN – Michael Hambrecht, base pilot supervisor with the De Queen Air Evac Lifeteam base, was recently honored as the Region 4 Pilot of the Year. Region 4 consists of bases in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

Chuck Atkins, regional director of flight operations for Air Evac, said Hambrecht was quickly promoted to base pilot supervisor not long after joining Air Evac Lifeteam.

“Michael’s aviation skills as a pilot and his professionalism quickly instilled great confidence and trust with the crews,” Atkins said.

“He has great leadership skills and a natural ability to motivate others. Michael is well known throughout the area, and his commitment to providing access and service is highly regarded by the hospitals and ground services in his region.”

Air Evac Lifeteam, an air medical service, provides rapid access to definitive health care for those who live in medically underserved areas.

Flight crews, consisting of a pilot, flight nurse and flight paramedic, are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to the scene of an emergency, or provide transportation between medical facilities. Air Evac Lifeteam currently operates 115 bases in 15 states. For more information, please visit, or like us on Facebook.

Aug 14, 2014, 15:46

Ready for some Football – Head coach Justin Kramer explains a pass route to receiver Kobi Whitmore during practice on Tuesday afternoon. The Leopards will head off for their first scrimmage games of the season against Mineral Springs and Centerpoint on Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Mineral Springs. The season will officially kickoff with a home game against Mena on Sept. 5.

Aug 14, 2014, 15:43

Legacy Academy expands to seventh grade for 2014-2015 academic year
DE QUEEN – Legacy Academy, a private school in De Queen, will launch a new year with its first day of school taking place on Sept. 2. This is the school’s seventh year of operation. The school is a classical Christian school that serves students in Pre-K through seventh grade with plans to expand into higher grades. 

This year the school is expanding to seventh grade and partnering with Stilwell’s Restaurant in a collaborative gardening project.
Another new addition this year is the conversion of a newly blacktopped parking lot into a hard surface playground. It includes a basketball court, hopscotch, running lanes, and other striped play areas.

As a classical school the academy focuses on utilizing the classical academic learning method for educational development. This approach takes the children through very deliberate learning stages and uses a variety of classroom methods that progress the child through natural stages of learning and is designed to ensure every student really does learn and has an opportunity to excel.

In addition to core classes, violin lessons are offered weekly to students beginning in first grade and Latin is taught starting at an early age.
Academics are not the only focus. The school emphasizes its commitment to holistic development of each child.

“Academics are very important. We want our children to receive a first class education and be fully prepared for any educational pursuit. It is also important that we don’t stop there," said Chad Gallagher, who founded the school alongside his wife Jessica. 

“Students spend forty hours a week at school. Legacy provides parents an opportunity for students to be in a safe, caring, Christ-centered environment while receiving the education they need in life."

The school boasts a professional staff and a low student-teacher ratio to ensure each student receives adequate attention and care. The school offers a scholarship program to assist families with tuition.

“We never want financial capacity alone to determine if a child is offered this great opportunity. The scholarship program exists to ensure that any family that wants Legacy Academy for their child can access it.” Gallagher said.
The program can provide scholarships ranging from 10 percent to 100 percent of tuition costs.

To learn more about the school visit, follow on Facebook, or call the office at (870) 642-8937. 

Aug 14, 2014, 15:37

77th annual Sevier County Fair begins this weekend
Ringgold Rodeo, livestock shows, pageant, carnival
and more to be part of the fun at this year’s event

SEVIER COUNTY - Since 1937 the Sevier County Fair and Rodeo has entertained area residents. This year will mark the event’s 77th anniversary and as in years past will be celebrated at the fairgrounds in De Queen.

Around 5,500 people attend the event each year and organizers hope to beat that with a full list of activities and performances for this year’s fair and rodeo.

These eight days and evenings are sure to bring lots of excitement, fun and food to area residents, many who have attended for years. And they will start again this Saturday.

The fair and rodeo will be Aug. 16 through 23 and will offer a great rodeo by Ringgold Rodeo Company, live entertainment, multiple exhibits and a ride-filled carnival by Kenny’s Funland.

The rodeo will be held Aug. 21 through Aug. 23. at 8 p.m. nightly. Admission will be $6 for people age 13 and up, $3 for kids aged six to 12-years-old, while children under five are free.
Kenny’s Funland carnival will open with a special day on Wednesday, Aug. 20 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., when admission and carnival rides are only $1. The carnival will be set up the remainder of the week from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. each evening. Cost of an arm band will be $20.

The popular and well-attended premium sale, designed to highlight local children who raise and show livestock, will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 22 under the sale barn.

For a full schedule of events, please see the Aug. 14 edition of The De Queen Bee.

CAMPAIGN TOUR – James Lee Witt, right, speaks with several De Queen High School students while eating lunch at Papa Poblanos on Friday. Witt and his staff toured De Queen last Friday during a trip through southwestern Arkansas as part of Witt's campaign bid for U.S. Representative over Arkansas' Fourth Congressional District. Witt is running against Republican State Representative Bruce Westerman.

Aug 14, 2014, 11:29

Two races so far in De Queen city council elections
By Patrick Massey

Residents of De Queen will have at least two city council races to decide in the November general election.
Incumbent Sterling Daniel, who represents Ward one, Position two on the six-seat council, will face Bryan Higgins for the position.

Matt King has also filed for the Ward one, Position one seat held by incumbent Kathy Richards, who is seeking re-election.

All are running as Independents.

The Sevier County Clerk's office reports that of Thursday morning some positions were still open in De Queen, Gillham, Lockesburg and Horatio. Only those elected municipal positions in Ben Lomond have been entirely filled, with no races announced as of yet.

The filing period ends Friday, Aug. 15 at noon.

For announcements by Bryan Higgins and Sterling Daniel, please see the Aug. 14 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Aug 14, 2014, 11:16