De Queen Area News


De Queen mother charged with introducing controlled substances in newborn infant case
De Queen mother charged with introducing controlled substances in newborn infant case

DE QUEEN – Bond has been set at $50,000 for a De Queen woman who was charged with a felony offense after her newborn infant allegedly tested positive for multiple controlled substances.

33-year-old Jamie Blankenship of De Queen was arraigned during last Thursday's session of the Sevier County Circuit Court for the charge of introducing a controlled substance into another's body.

Investigators with the De Queen Police Department said Blankenship was arrested after they were approached on September 10 by an employee with the local Department of Human Services (DHS) office, who provided a report showing the new born infant had been born with several drugs in his system.

The employee said Blankenship had tested positive for opiates at the time of birth. A toxicology test on the baby found a combination of methadone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and methamphetamine.

To read the complete article, please see the Oct. 2 edition of The De Queen Bee.


Oct 3, 2014, 08:50


From Oct. 2 edition
Thomas E. Hancock
Thomas E. Hancock, age 70, a resident of De Queen, died Friday, Sept. 26, 2014 in the VA Hospital, Little Rock.

Captain Thomas Everett Hancock was born April 7, 1944 in Archer Hospital in De Queen to Noah and Thrada Everett Hancock, Sr.
He had also been employed at Cossatot Community College.

Graveside funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 in the Horatio Cemetery with Rev. Bobby Neal officiating, under direction of Chandler Funeral Home, De Queen.
Memorials can be made to the Chalice Cupboard or to the Horatio Cemetery.
You can send an online sympathy message at www.chandlerfuneral.com.

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Kaden Rains
Kaden Michael Rains, infant son of Alex and Nichole Pollard Rains, of De Queen, died Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014.

Graveside funeral services were held at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, 2014 in the Lovewell Cemetery in Foreman, with Rev. Gary Steiner officiating, under the direction of Chandler Funeral Home, De Queen.
You can send an online sympathy message at www.chandlerfuneral.com.

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Robert Beck
Robert Lee Mickey Beck, age 90, a resident of Gillham, died Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 in Christus St. Michael Health System in Texarkana, Texas.
He was born Dec. 2, 1923 in Ashdown.

A memorial service was held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 in Gillham First United Methodist Church with Rev. Ron Newberry officiating. Burial followed with Masonic rites in the Gillham Cemetery, under the direction of Wilkerson Funeral Home in De Queen.
You can register online at www.wilkersonfuneralhomes.com.

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Mrs. Billie Bigham
Mrs. Billie D. Wilemon Bigham, age 90, a resident of Gillham, died Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 in the Dierks Health and Rehab, Dierks.
She was born to Joe Aaron, Sr. and Etta Lou Whitley Wilemon in De Queen on Dec. 31, 1923.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 in the Chandler Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Homer Frachiseur officiating, under the direction of Chandler Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to the Friendship Baptist Church, De Queen.
You can send an online sympathy message at www.chandlerfuneral.com.

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Mrs. Laura Carden
Mrs. Laura Bell Stutts Carden, age 63, a resident of De Queen, died Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 in Wadley Regional Medical Center, Texarkana, Texas.

She was born June 25, 1951 in Rosedale, Miss. She was a plumber’s helper for Ennis Plumbing and worked in the dietary department at Brookewood Nursing Center.

Burial will follow in the Pauley Cemetery, under the direction of Wilkerson Funeral Home.
The family received friends from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1 at the funeral home.
You can register online at www.wilkersonfuneralhomes.com.

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Bill Nelson
Bill Arthur Nelson, age 81, a resident of De Queen, died Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 at his home.
He was born to Joseph Franklin and Mary Viola Herriman Nelson in Fort Smith on Nov. 18, 1933. He was retired from Weyerhaeuser Company, having worked at Craig, Treating Plant and Mountain Pine. He was a Baptist.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 in the Chandler Funeral Home Chapel with Dennis Pruitt officiating, under the direction of Chandler Funeral Home, De Queen.
You can send an online sympathy message at www.chandlerfuneral.com.

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Dana Harris
Dana Harris, age 72, a resident of Oklahoma City, Okla., and former resident of De Queen, died Friday, Sept. 26, 2014.

He is survived by his wife, Lela Ann Harris, and their children Ronnie, Tracy, Kenneth, Mark, Kathy, Dianna and Karri; 22 grandchildren, and one-great grandchild.
Funeral services were held at the Central Ave. Church of Christ on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.

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Joe Litchford
Joel R. “Joe” Litchford, age 64, a resident of Horatio, died Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 at his home.

He was born to Joel Radford and Ethel Loretta Land Litchford on Sept. 18, 1950 in De Queen.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 in the Chandler Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. John Gutierres and Bro. Ralph Staggs officiating. Burial will follow in the Old Center Cemetery, Horatio, under the direction of Chandler Funeral Home, De Queen.

The family received friends at Chandler Funeral Home on Wednesday, Oct. 1 from 6-8 p.m.
You can send an online sympathy message at www.chandlerfuneral.com.

For the complete obituaries please see the Oct. 2, 2014 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Oct 3, 2014, 08:32


From Sept. 25 edition
Robert L. Chandler
Robert Lyn “Bob” Chandler, age 64, a resident of Foreman, died Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 at his home.
He was born Dec. 3, 1949 in Umpire.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 in the Crossroads Baptist Church with Rev. Gary Steiner officiating. Burial followed in the Belleville Cemetery, near Lockesburg, under the direction of Wilkerson Funeral Home in De Queen.

The family received friends from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22 at the funeral home.
You can register online at www.wilkersonfuneralhomes.com.

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Gary J. Stuard
Gary Joe Stuard, age 61, a resident of Dierks, died Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 at his home.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 at Holly Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Dierks at 11 a.m. Graveside services will be held Thursday, Sept. 25 at Restland Cemetery in Iraan, Texas at 10 a.m.
Visitation was held Monday, Sept. 22 from 6-8 p.m. at Wilkerson Funeral Home in Dierks.
You can register online at www.wilkersonfuneralhomes.com.
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Patsy F. Cox
Mrs. Patsy Fern Cox, age 77, a resident of Idabel, Okla., died Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 at her home.
She was born May 14, 1937 in Provo Community in Lockesburg. She was a former inspector for Magnavox in Des Moines, Iowa.

Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 in Mt. Pleasant Church with Bro. Alfred Thomas officiating. Burial followed in Green’s Chapel Cemetery, under direction of Wilkerson Funeral Home in De Queen.
The family received friends from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23 at the funeral home.
You can register online at www.wilkersonfuneralhomes.com.

Sep 25, 2014, 07:15


The ultimate ballpark road trip
De Queen family accomplishes nine-year goal
of visiting all 30 major league baseball stadiums


By Patrick Massey

Ultimate Fans – Jay Bunyard and his son, Jacob, pose to autographed baseballs they collected during a nine-year family goal to watch games at all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. They finished the tour in August with a game at Target Field in Minneapolis.

One De Queen father and son now share a special bond that's not just about family, and in the process realized one of the greatest accomplishments in America's most favorite pastime.

After almost a decade in the making, the two have successfully accomplished their goal of traveling to all 30 major league ballparks.
Jay Bunyard and his son, Jacob, recently completed their quest by watching the Twins and Tigers play at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn. last month. The long journey began nine years ago with a visit to the nation's oldest ballpark and the home to the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park.

"Whenever we'd go to a game we'd get our picture taken in front of the stadium and we saw others who were doing the same," said Jay. He started talking to a few folks who said they were traveling the nation to attend games at each ballpark. "I talked about it with the family and we decided it would be a really cool thing for us to do."

So their quest began, and along the way the family not only met players and other fans but had a chance to see parts of the country they had never visited before. They started off by visiting some of the nation's oldest and most historical ballparks like Fenway in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Usually the Bunyards dedicated a week to their trips so they could travel the area and take in the other sights.

"We tried to see all the sights and historical places that we're around the ballpark, so we ended up getting to go to Gettysburg, seeing the Liberty Bell and a lot of other cities," Jay said. During a trip to New York City the family had a chance to visit Ground Zero in Manhattan.

To read the complete article, please see the Sept. 11 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Sep 13, 2014, 16:12


Craig Classic donates boards for Sportsplex
Johnny Bivins with the De Queen Parks and Recreation Dept. works on installing one of three new scoreboards recently donated by the Craig Classic association to the city for use at the Sportsplex softball and baseball fields. The signs carry are value of around $6,500 each.

DE QUEEN – Players and spectators visiting the De Queen Sportspex’s softball fields will notice several new scoreboards keeping track of the games thanks to a recent donation by an area group.

The Craig Classic association, which has sponsored benefit softball tournaments for years, donated three brand new scoreboards to the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department.

The scoreboards carry a value of approximately $20,000.
Craig Classic organizer Kendall Bagley said the group has normally given away scholarships in the past, but wanted to benefit even more area children by purchasing the sorely-needed scoreboards for the Sportsplex.

Workers with the parks department installed the new boards last week.

Sep 12, 2014, 16:30


Second novel by De Queen author releases Friday
SEQUEL – James Babb of De Queen was awarded earlier this year with an IPPY recognition for his 2013 novel, The Devil’s Backbone. His sequel, The Devil’s Trap, releases this Friday.

DE QUEEN – The second novel by De Queen author James Babb is scheduled to be released this Friday and will continue to follow the adventures of teenager Brody Martin in post-Civil War Arkansas.
Babb said the sense of adventure and self-dependence which made The Devil’s Backbone so enjoyable for young and reluctant readers will return in the next novel, The Devil’s Trap.

A reluctant reader as a child, Babb wrote The Devil’s Backbone to engage and entertain children similar to his own younger self. His passion for writing and goal to inspire a love of books among his readers led him on a hunt for the best self-publishing service.
He soon discovered Amazon’s independent-publishing platforms, CreateSpace for print books and Kindle Direct Publishing for eBooks – and he hasn’t looked back since.

To date, James has published two family-friendly titles, both of which have been well received by young readers and their families across the nation. In addition to self-publishing The Devil’s Backbone, James and his daughter, Tayler, recently teamed up to write Batty Wants to be a Bird, a children’s picture book.

The Devil’s Backbone follows Brody, a farm boy living in post-Civil War Arkansas in the late 1800s, as he embarks on a dangerous journey to find food for his starving family. While crossing the Devil’s Backbone, a treacherous mountain ridge and famous battle site, Brody encounters a terrible accident and meets a delusional ex-slave who believes the war isn’t over and may also be a murderer.

Food is scarce and time is ticking for Brody to return home, but as the story unfolds, he is the one who ends up wanted for murder.
The Devil’s Trap will continue the story, and will be available for Kindle and in paperpack on Amazon this Friday.

Sep 12, 2014, 16:25


Health shake store opens in De Queen
DE QUEEN – A new business in De Queen is hoping to help area residents lose weight by offering supportive services and a line of health shakes.

A Journey to Better Me opened Monday in Suite A of the shopping center 209 E. Collin Raye Drive. A family-owned business, A Journey to Better Me wants to provide those in the area struggling with weight loss a few more resources in their toolkit.

"I know it can be very difficult to lose weight and keep it off," said owner Veronica Ramirez, who worked formerly as a CNA for Brookewood Nursing and Rehab. Ramirez said she used to weigh 400 pounds, but through exercise and diet she has worked to lose the weight. One strategy she found successful in the dietary portion of her weight loss plan was the use of specialized health shakes.

"I have a lot of faith in these shakes because I saw the results myself. If they worked for me than they could work for others, so I thought it was something that needed to be shared with others in the community," she said.

The shakes come in a wide variety of flavors and, when combined with proper exercise and diet, can be a valuable resource for losing weight, said Ramirez.

To read the complete article, please see the Sept. 11 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Sep 12, 2014, 16:23


Health shake store opens in De Queen
DE QUEEN – A new business in De Queen is hoping to help area residents lose weight by offering supportive services and a line of health shakes.

A Journey to Better Me opened Monday in Suite A of the shopping center 209 E. Collin Raye Drive. A family-owned business, A Journey to Better Me wants to provide those in the area struggling with weight loss a few more resources in their toolkit.

"I know it can be very difficult to lose weight and keep it off," said owner Veronica Ramirez, who worked formerly as a CNA for Brookewood Nursing and Rehab. Ramirez said she used to weigh 400 pounds, but through exercise and diet she has worked to lose the weight. One strategy she found successful in the dietary portion of her weight loss plan was the use of specialized health shakes.

"I have a lot of faith in these shakes because I saw the results myself. If they worked for me than they could work for others, so I thought it was something that needed to be shared with others in the community," she said.

The shakes come in a wide variety of flavors and, when combined with proper exercise and diet, can be a valuable resource for losing weight, said Ramirez.

To read the complete article, please see the Sept. 11 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Sep 12, 2014, 16:23


Contestants sought in local area for Hoo Rah Days Beauty Pageant
DE QUEEN – October is just around the corner and that means organizers are preparing for the 2014 annual Hoo Rah Days celebration in De Queen.

The event always features numerous activities, and this year’s schedule will again include the Hoo Rah Days Beauty Pageant. This year’s event will mark the pageant’s 12th anniversary.

The pageant will be held the week before the event’s main activities, on Oct. 4 at the De Queen High School Auditorium. Registration will be held that morning from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The pageant will start at noon.
Registration forms can be picked up at the Sevier County Museum, open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information contact Jackie Gonzalez at (870) 279-1787 or email jackie.gonzalez.sroq@statefarm.com. The pageant is open to girls ages zero to 21 and contestants do not have to be from Sevier County to enter.

Sep 12, 2014, 16:22


UA Cossatot sees another year of record fall enrollment
DE QUEEN – The numbers have all been calculated for student enrollment at UA Cossatot and once again, it is a record-setting semester.

Brenda Morris, Registrar and Director of Institutional Research at Cossatot, announced at the close of the census date, the college’s enrollment stood at 1584 compared to 1575 from the same semester in 2013. Although this number represents only a slight increase, predictions across the state had UA Cossatot staff prepared for a slight decline in enrollment.

“I am thrilled with the enrollment numbers,” said Maria Parker, UA Cossatot’s Vice Chancellor for Academics. “A record enrollment is truly a group effort. From the business office to advising, and many people in between, we are proving that we care about student success. We also have a record enrollment of high school students taking advantage of the opportunities we offer. This means more students than ever will graduate from high school with college credit – either in University transfer classes or from a technical program. These students are already familiar with the college atmosphere and studies show, they are more prepared to succeed and graduate.”

Hispanic student enrollment has also had another increase at UA Cossatot. The enrollment is now 22 percent Hispanic students. Part of the college’s strategic plan has been to increase recruiting efforts within the Hispanic demographic. Fall semester in 2013, Hispanic enrollment was 19 percent. “We are especially proud of this increase,” said Parker.

“We feel our student population should reflect the demographics of the community. We have worked to make students from all walks of life feel comfortable at UA Cossatot.”

Sep 12, 2014, 16:21


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