De Queen Area News

Police file kidnapping charge against De Queen man
DE QUEEN – Police have filed kidnapping and felony assault charges against a De Queen man for allegedly beating his girlfriend and preventing her from leaving her home.

Justin Ford, 36, was arrested July 13 after a woman claiming to be Ford's girlfriend said he had repeatedly assaulted her throughout the day. She also told police that Ford threatened to kill her with a knife in front of her daughter. Ford allegedly used physical violence to keep her from exiting the home in the 100 block on Treating Plant Road. The woman told police that she escaped only after he fell asleep.

Officers met with the woman and noted several injuries, including bruises, a red mark on her throat and a blackened eye. She told police that Ford was still asleep inside her apartment.

Officers entered the home and woke Ford up. He was arrested and then transported to the Sevier County Jail.

Ford has been charged with felony counts of domestic battery, aggravated assault on a household member, terroristic threatening as well as kidnapping for allegedly refusing to let the woman leave her home.

Jul 19, 2016, 09:30

Rep. Vaught presents $1K to Mary and Martha Center
Funds for Food – District 4 State Representative DeAnn Vaught, pictured center, recently presented the Mary and Martha Center with a check for $1,000 to aid the organization’s local efforts in reducing childhood hunger. Vaught recommended the center receive the state donation.

LITTLE ROCK – The Mary and Martha Center in De Queen received a check for $1,000 to assist with food insecurity needs in their service area from the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. State Representative DeAnn Vaught recommended Mary and Martha's, acknowledging the outstanding work they do to assist those in need.

Arkansas ranks near the top in the country in food insecurity for seniors, children and individuals and families. Kathy Webb, executive director of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, said that "the efforts of Representative DeAnn Vaught are important in the fight against hunger. We appreciate her support of The Mary and Martha Center and their programs, as well as her support of the regional food banks and the Alliance. Many families in the state are helped because of her support." The Alliance is the statewide voice for hunger relief, with over 500 members, including the six Feeding America food banks and hundreds of pantries.

The Mary and Martha Center is a non-profit, after-school program for Sevier County children and based in De Queen. Located on Rockefeller Street near the Sevier County Fairgrounds, the Mary and Martha Center has served hundreds of local children over the years.

Nov 12, 2015, 14:19

Purple Circle Club – Grace Harris of Horatio was inducted October 24 into the Arkansas Purple Circle Club in Little Rock. Harris had the Grand Champion Maintainer Heifer and the Senior Commercial Heifer Showmanship at the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show. Rodney Baker, Arkansas Farm Bureau executive vice president, presented the award. The club is an awards program recognizing junior livestock exhibitors who earned championship honors at the Arkansas State Fair. It is sponsored by Arkansas Farm Bureau.

Nov 11, 2015, 17:28

Brandi Frachiseur and her steer "Red" enjoyed a strong ending to their show season at the American Royal in Kansas City, MO. Red was chosen the Division 1 Reserve Champion Market Steer. Brandi is the daughter of Scott and Tracy Frachiseur and is an active member of the De Queen High School Future Farmers of America Chapter.

Nov 11, 2015, 14:40

Several more arrested for shoplifting in De Queen
DE QUEEN – The De Queen Police Department made several more shoplifting arrests in recent days in separate, unrelated incidents.

According to reports, police officers were dispatched to assist at a traffic stop initiated by a Sevier County deputy on Highway 71. The driver of the stopped vehicle had reportedly stolen several items from the EZ-Mart store at the Highway 70/71 Junction in De Queen. Upon arrival, the suspect reportedly identified himself as 25-year-old Josh McCollum of De Queen.

The deputy of the scene, however, said he knew the name to be false from a separate, past incident. After questioning the suspect, he admitted his first name was James and that he had felony warrants issued for his arrest in Fort Smith.

He was then arrested for the felony warrants as well as additional charges of shoplifting and obstruction of government operations.
The stolen items allegedly included candy and beef jerky.

Also on Nov. 7, officers arrested a man suspected of shoplifting at the De Queen Walmart store. A Walmart employee told police she had seen the man enter the store, take off his clothes, put on several new articles of clothing and then put on his old clothes over the stolen articles. The man, identified as 37-year-old Blake Terrel Dennis of Ashdown, was then arrested and charged with shoplifting and criminal trespass.
Police noted that Dennis has been prohibited from entering any Walmart store on four separate incidents.

Another suspected shoplifter was arrested on Nov. 6, also at the De Queen Walmart store. According to the report, several officers arrived at the store following a call from Walmart personnel about the shoplifter. The suspect, identified as 32-year-old Dalia Jimenez of De Queen, reportedly stole $120 in merchandise by concealing the items in her purse. She was arrested and charged with shoplifting.


Horatio School District gives annual report to public

HORATIO – Horatio School District's annual report to the public began with the opening of the
October regular scheduled board meeting. Superintendent Lee Smith welcomed visitors to the meeting and reported on the district's revenues, demographics of the school district, and employees.

Mrs. Susan Nelson, Horatio Elementary Principal, reported on the progress that the elementary has made and where they are now.  She also talked about the future plan and the goals of the elementary.  Mrs. Nelson shared that the school district  received a 21st Century Learning Centers grant for the C.Y.C.L.E. 1 (Connecting Youth and Community through Learning Experiences) afterschool program that is currently service 157 student from both elementary and high school.

Mr. James Dobbins, High School Principal, reported that Horatio High School has a current enrollment of 405 students in grades 7-12. Mr. Dobbins stated that the high school currently has an enrollment of 263 students in either a pre-ap or ap class. He reported that 32 students are currently enrolled at the secondary career center at UA Cossatot.

Mr. Dobbins stated that with these and other courses, the district offers enough concurrent credit classes for a student to earn 35 college credit hours by the time they graduate. Mr. Dobbins then described the virtual Arkansas classes that Horatio students are currently taking and what they might be taking in the future. He reported that there are currently 111 students taking these types of classes.

To close the presentation, Mr. Dobbins had 3 members of the class of 2016 speak to those present about the welcome changes in the cafeteria menus. These students also discussed their educational experiences over the last 3 years while answering question from board members.
Tammy McAlister, Federal Programs Coordinator, reported on Horatio School District Federal programs:

TITLE I is a federally-funded program designed to provide additional assistance for those students who are having difficulty keeping up with their peers due to, among other things, a low-income household. TITLE II-A is a federal grant designed to improve teacher quality through a variety of efforts, among them the reduction of the student-teacher ratio in the primary grades (K-3).  TITLE III is officially known as the English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act. National School Lunch (NSL) funds allow our district to provide many valuable services for our students, among them: materials, supplies, tutoring programs, and professional development.
English Language Learner (ELL) funds have been designated to hire an ESL Coordinator. Alternative Learning Environment (ALE) funds have been designated to hire an ALE instructor.

The Horatio Public School Special Education District Supervisor, Cindy Frachiseur, reported information about the district Special Education department at Horatio and state required information. She reported the current number of students receiving special services and the basic processes involved with instructing students with special needs.

Jenifer Seale, K-12 GT coordinator,  provided information about the basic purpose of the program in gifted education at Horatio, which is to extend the scope and horizons and improve the learning experience for the gifted students by promoting higher level thought processes, critical and creative thinking skills, freedom to study in-depth areas of interest to expand levels of inquiry, and to develop within each individual a sense of individual worth and a responsibility to self and to society.
Twenty-one students are being served in elementary, 16 in junior high and 18 in high school.

For a more detailed information on the annual report to the public please visit


AETN, Sevier County Library De Queen Branch
partner in statewide Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive

DE QUEEN – The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) and the Sevier County Library De Queen Branch have partnered to sponsor a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive as a tribute to Fred Rogers and his example of being a caring neighbor. The drive will be held Nov. 2-30.

Members of the community are asked to donate new or gently worn sweaters at Sevier County Public Library, 200 West Stilwell Avenue, De Queen. A receptacle to collect the sweaters will be located prominently within the library. Sweaters collected in this drive will be distributed locally by the Sevier County Housing Authority and De Queen School District. Statewide distribution will be coordinated by the Arkansas Salvation Army.

“Mister Rogers epitomized the mission of educational public service media,” AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. “He dedicated his career to helping children and families grow together and thrive.

“His legacy is carried on through ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’ – arguably our most popular program for preschoolers – and the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive. We are proud to conduct these drives that help many Arkansas neighbors and keep Fred Rogers’ spirit alive.”

To help set the tone for a “comfortable” visit with his young viewers, Rogers put on a sweater and changed into sneakers as a way to help children settle in for “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” All of Rogers’ original sweaters were knitted by his mother, Nancy McFeely Rogers. Each year, she knitted a dozen sweaters and gave them to family and close friends at Christmas.

“We are very proud to host our second Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive,” Sevier County Library De Queen Branch Head Librarian Johnye Fisher said. “Last year, we raised more than 200 items for our neighbors in need, and this year we hope to help even more.”

Sevier County Library De Queen Branch is one of 20 libraries across Arkansas participating in this year’s statewide Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive. A complete list of libraries is available at

This is the second year for the statewide Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive. In 2014, 15 libraries participated and collected more than 2,000 sweaters for The Salvation Army and local charities.

Nov 11, 2015, 14:35

Sevier County 4-H’ers hold banquet
Award Banquet – Sevier County 4-H’ers show off t-shirts they received during the annual Sevier County 4-H Awards Banquet held late last month at the De Queen Church of Christ. The event featured catering by Big Jake’s BBQ, a silent auction which raised $1,000 and an awards program with State 4-H Ambassador Aaron Morris as master of cermonies. For more information on 4-H call (870) 584-3013.

DE QUEEN – Sevier County 4-H’ers were honored at the annual Sevier County 4-H Awards Banquet on October 26 at the De Queen Church of Christ.

The Banquet theme was “4-H Round-Up”. State 4-H Ambassador and Sevier County 4-H’er, Aaron Morris was master of ceremonies. He is the 18-year-old son of Ronald and Kim Morris of De Queen. The Cloverbuds opened the program with the pledge of allegiance. The 4-H pledge was led by the junior and senior 4-H’ers.

A slide show detailing all the activities and events they participated in for the previous year was presented by all the 4-H’ers. Awards were presented for record books and activity participation.

A silent auction was held and over $1,000 was raised for next year’s activities.

The meal of pork and chicken was enjoyed by over 100 4-H’ers, families, leaders, and 4-H supporters. Sevier County 4-H Leaders Association provided banquet decorations.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Nov 11, 2015, 14:34

Season Finale – The De Queen Third grade football team recently ended their season with a finally tally of two wins and two losses. Pictured from left to right in the front row are Alexis Huesca, Jason McDaniel, Lance Wise, Avery Lynch, Kyle Williamson, Marcos Martinez, Joseph Kennedy and Landon Pollard. In the second row are Dax McMellon, Nathan Jacobs, Tyler Whisenhunt, Macaden Smith, Braden Valdez, Beau Morris, Trenton Matthews, Evan Lacefield, Carson Coleman and Ulyces Coto. In the last row are Coaches Bruce Wise, Steven Chandler and Adam Matthews. Not Pictured are Trystan McMurry, K'anen Billingsley and Estaban Alvarez.

Nov 11, 2015, 14:32

New wildlife officer hired for Sevier County
MAYFLOWER – Ten cadets have completed more than 700 hours of intensive training to become wildlife officers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The new wildlife officers include one for Sevier County.

The 10 cadets were chosen from several hundred applicants. Requirements for wildlife officer cadets include college degrees or law enforcement experience.

The 16-week training course includes police fundamentals related to wildlife work, training in proficiency with a variety of firearms, first aid and rescue basics, drug enforcement procedures and physical conditioning. The new wildlife officers have state commissions as officers with full police authority, as do the other wildlife officers of the AGFC.
Assignment of the new officers will fill several existing vacancies in the AGFC’s enforcement ranks. They will be assigned to wildlife officer positions across the state, working under experienced officers.

The 2015 graduates and their county assignments are:
Bernardo Soliz, Sevier
Bradley Huggins, Ashley
Kristopher McCrea, Lee
Jeremy Conner, Yell
Kenneth Nelson, Searcy
Ryan Walker, Bradley
Neva Randel, Crawford
Dalton Shaw, Clay
Miles French, Columbia
Brandon Williams, Phillips

Nov 11, 2015, 14:31

Texas woman arrested after pursuit
ASHDOWN – A pursuit which briefly entered Sevier County came to an end in Ashdown on Nov. 4, and the driver arrested after driving at speeds in excess of 100mph with five children in her vehicle.

The woman led police on a 30-mile pursuit following a traffic stop where officers learned that she was suspected of abducting the children in Texas and possibly armed. She was finally stopped after pursuing officers used a "rolling roadblock" to force her to pull over. She was then arrested and identified as Stacy Simpson of Shulenberg, Texas.
Five children, ranging in age from one to 12 years, were inside the vehicle and all were unharmed.

Investigators have determined that Simpson is the biological mother of all five children. She and her husband were wanted in Texas for ignoring a court order requiring them to give up their children for foster care. Her husband is already in custody in Colorado County, Texas.

Simpson faces a number of charges in Little River and Colorado Counties, including child endangerment, interference with child custody and other counts. The Arkansas Department of Human Services is currently working with Texas Child Protection Services to return the children to Shulenberg, Texas, which is located approximately 70 miles west of Houston.

Deputies involved in the pursuit are said to have performed admirably in their effort to stop Simpson's vehicle without bringing harm to any children inside. "We wanted to make sure those kids would be ok and safe," said Little River Chief Deputy Rhonda Green. "It's so fortunate it ended like it did. No one was hurt and we got the kids to safety."

Nov 11, 2015, 14:29

SBA disaster program for Sevier County residents
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Small, nonfarm businesses in 37 Arkansas counties and neighboring counties  in Mississippi and Oklahoma are now eligible to apply for low‑interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the drought in the following primary counties that began October 20, 2015, announced Director Tanya N. Garfield of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center - West.

Primary Arkansas counties:  Arkansas, Clark, Cleveland, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lonoke, Monroe, Montgomery, Phillips, Pike, Polk, Prairie, Pulaski and Saline;

Neighboring Arkansas counties:  Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Faulkner, Hempstead, Howard, Lee, Nevada, Ouachita, Perry, Saint Francis, Scott, Sevier, White, Woodruff and Yell;

Neighboring Mississippi counties:  Bolivar, Coahoma and Tunica;

Neighboring Oklahoma counties:  Le Flore and McCurtain.

“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Garfield said.

Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

“Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for businesses and 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Garfield said.

By law, SBA makes EIDLs available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Secretary Tom Vilsack declared this disaster on October 28, 2015.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance in drought disasters.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more disaster assistance information, or to download applications, visit Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to apply for these loans is June 28, 2016.

Nov 10, 2015, 14:38