De Queen Area News

4-H Cloverbud and Junior Day Camp held
On June 9, 2015 Sevier County 4-H held its annual Cloverbud & Junior Day Camp at Cossatot Reefs State Park. This year’s theme was “Wild about the Outdoors” and 24 4-H’ers showed up to learn about outdoor life.

Harrell Sherwood with Arkansas Forestry Commission taught 4-H’ers “Tree ID” while Robin Stacy from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) taught them how to use two sticks to “Fiddle for Worms.”

County extension agent Rex Herring taught “Baitcasting.”
Dawn Leeper, 4-H program assistant, taught them how to identify wild animal tracks and their furs, and Janet Cantrell, county extension agent, taught them how to make their own lunch.

The 4-H’ers had the chance to season their own hamburger patty and then add a variety of vegetables to a foil packet to be cooked on the grill for their lunch.

If you would like more information about 4-H, please contact the Sevier County Extension office at (870) 584-3013.

Jun 26, 2015, 08:57

Southern Arkansas University announces spring ‘15 grads
MAGNOLIA – A total of 366 student completed their academic programs and earned a college degree at the Southern Arkansas University Spring Commencement ceremonies held on May 8, 2015.
From this area, the following students were recognized:

Bethany Baracosa of Horatio was a Teacher Education major and graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the College of Education.

Dara Cowling of DeQueen was a Early Childhood Education major and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the College of Education.

Caleb Erwin of Lockesburg was a Agriculture Business major and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Science and Engineering.

William Erwin of Lockesburg was a General Studies major and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the College of Liberal and Performing Arts.

Amanda Gray of Lockesburg was a Early Childhood Education major and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the College of Education.

Brandon Guinn, of De Queen was a Early Childhood Education major and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the College of Education.

Hannah Hanney of Lockesburg was a Biological Science major and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Science and Engineering.

Raisa Whisenhunt of Dierks was a Early Childhood Education major and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the College of Education.

Brian White of Dierks was a Early Childhood Education major and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the College of Education.

Southern Arkansas University has been recognized nationally for its quality and affordability. With more than 80 degrees and programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, SAU has the complete college experience on campus as well as many online degrees offerings.
For more information, visit

Jun 26, 2015, 08:55

From the cow pasture to Carnegie Hall
Western singer Barry Ward visits De Queen, shares story of musical journey

By Patrick Massey

Western singer Barry Ward of Elbert, Colo. was the featured guest at last Thursday's worship service hosted by the 4C Cowboy Church in De Queen.

A native of Copeland, Kan., Ward's life has been as varied as the venues in which he has performed. Ward grew up tending the cattle farm which his grand-grandparents settled in the late 1880s. He worked alongside his father and grandfather raising cattle on the the family’s homestead.

After leaving college, Ward returned to the farm, but with a desire to try some new things. Ward had always wanted to learn to play the guitar. So, at 35-years-old, he picked on up and began playing.

"It quickly developed into a passion and I spent a lot of time practicing and playing," he said.

His passion then expanded into singing and songwriting. Unfortunately, drought, fuel prices, a lack of interest from younger generations and the other woes plaguing modern cattle ranchers forced Ward's family to give up the cattle business. Ward, however, was able to turn the end of his ranching career into an opportunity to expand his growing love for performing Western music.
Ward started by performing at Farm Bureau meetings, bluegrass festivals and livestock auction barns. As word spread of Ward's popularity, his venues began to grow in size until, in 2003, he was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

There, he performed a song about his grandfather and his military service during the Normandy invasion of the Second World War. In 2010, he played in front of a crowd in Cameroon in Central Africa - the first Western musician to ever do so.

Ward also began performing at Cowboy Churches and other worship halls across the United States.

"I had a very strong upbringing in church, and the Western songs I write usually had a spiritual side to them, so it just seemed right to play in the Cowboy Church setting," he said. who is now 61. "In a way, my ministry is my music, and the biggest payoff is when my music is able to touch the heart of another person. I feel that it's not me that's working when I'm performing, but God working. Everything we do, we're doing for the Lord, no matter how little of a thing it is. That's the message I want to share through my music."

His list of musical achievements began to grow as did his popularity. In 2014 he was named the Male Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists.

May 28, 2015, 17:11

Local bakery moves from home to business
By Patrick Massey

Nati B Cakes – Nati Becerra, owner of Nati B Cakes in De Queen, checks the oven in his new bakery on the corner of Collin Raye Drive and Third Street in De Queen. Becerra opened the bakery this month after more than two years operating one out of his home.

DE QUEEN – A person needs only to walk by Nati Becerra's building on the corner of Collin Ray Drive and Third Street in De Queen to know what the business is all about - in fact, one might even catch a whiff of the sweet, baked goods from just driving by.

That delicious aroma has already brought much business to Nati B Cakes, a new bakery established by Becerra earlier this month. A tray of flaky creme puffs awaits customers as they walk into the bakery, but they don't last long.

"I call them the new addiction of De Queen," said Becerra, laughing.

The creme puffs are just one of many baked goods lining the bakery's counter, blending into an aroma no one could resist. Becerra said he couldn't be happier with the popularity gained by Nati B Cakes in just one short month - especially since the bakery is the fruition of a decade-long dream.

Although the bakery is new, Becerra's passion for food - especially the sweet variety - is not new. HIs love for cooking began around 12 years ago when he worked as a cook for Lily's Pad restaurant in De Queen.

Becerra and the other employees left after the restaurant burned down. He had trouble finding a decent job, but he had a family to support and couldn't give up. He consulted with God, who provided the answer.

"He told me I was sitting on a pile of gold - my hands," said Becerra. "I loved to bake and I thought it was something I was good at, so I decided to give it a try."

Becerra began collecting the equipment and supplies he would need, and opened an improvised bakery in his home. He began spreading the word on Facebook, and business quickly picked up.

"I outgrew my kitchen pretty fast," he said. "I had to use our dining room as my supply room."

To read the complete article, please see the April 30 edition of The De Queen Bee.

May 2, 2015, 09:29

UA Cossatot to present Diversity Fest this weekend
DE QUEEN – UA Cossatot will hold its second annual Diversity Fest at its amphitheater in De Queen on May 2 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Diversity Fest is UA Cossatot Foundation's largest scholarship fundraiser.

The Foundation's goal is to involve as many community members in supporting scholarships that support the UA Cossatot Colts Soccer Team, Student Ambassadors, Student Diversity Association, and Dreamers. The event will also feature music, food and many activities.

May 1, 2015, 09:37

New DQPD officer hits the streets
Justin Gentry to continue family legacy in law enforcement

By Patrick Massey

New to the force – Justin Gentry recently graduated from the state’s police academy in Camden, and is now serving as a patrol officer for the De Queen Police Department.

De Queen's newest police officer has graduated from the training academy and said he is excited for the opportunity to begin serving the city and its residents.

Justin Gentry recently graduated from the state's police academy in Camden and is now working as a full-time patrol officer for the City of De Queen. A lifelong native of Sevier County, Gentry graduated from Horatio High School in 2006 and, besides five years as an operator for U.S. Steel in Houston, Texas, he has always called the area home.

Gentry said he's long held an interest in law enforcement. With several close family members in the field, inspiration was close at hand: his father, Robert, is an investigator for the Sevier County Sheriff's Office; his mother, Dana, works for the De Queen Police Department; and Gentry's uncle, Ray, serves as an investigator for the Arkansas State Police.

"I grew up with family who worked in law enforcement so it was kind of a natural fit for me," Gentry said. "They were very supportive and excited for me when I told them this is what I wanted to do."

To read the complete article, please see the April 30 edition of The De Queen Bee.

May 1, 2015, 09:37

Police department issues sexual offender notification
Edwin James

NOTIFICATION – The De Queen Police Department has issued a public notice stating Edwin James, a Level IV sex offender, is now residing in the City of De Queen at 606 N. Second Street. Level 4 is reserved for offenders who have a habitual or serious pattern of offending and are deemed sexual violent predators.

This offender is not wanted by law enforcement at this time.

This notification is not intended to increase fear. It is the police department's belief that an informed public will enhance public safety and protection. Information is available through many resources, including the state website maintained by the Arkansas Crime Information Center. Citizen abuse of this information to threaten, intimidate or harass offenders will not be tolerated.

Such abuse could potentially end law enforcement’s ability to share this information with the public. If notification ends, the offender will win since they derive power through secrecy.

May 1, 2015, 09:34

Public invited to attend informational seminar on volunteering with CASA
TEXARKANA, Texas - Every May, we honor our mothers for the compassion and love they have unselfishly provided. While we take the time to celebrate and reflect on the support that we sometimes take for granted, there are children struggling in the child welfare system without a caring mother or mother figure in their lives.

For these children there is no celebration on Mother’s Day – only heartache, as many of them have been separated from their family due to abuse or neglect. Now facing an overburdened system alone, they need someone to guide and support them during this challenging time.

That someone is a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate®) volunteer, a dedicated member of the community appointed by a judge to speak up on behalf of a child’s best interest. A CASA volunteer provides the stability and familiarity a child needs during their transitions through the foster care system.

The local CASA for Children is one of the 71 CASA programs across the state that recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for children in care.

“In many cases, a CASA volunteer is the one consistent presence in a child’s life while he or she is in the foster care system,” said Danita Abernathy, executive director of CASA for Children – Texarkana. “That volunteer often fills the role of a parental figure by providing much-needed support and guidance.”

By getting to know the child personally and speaking with everyone involved in the child’s life, the CASA volunteer can make well-informed and holistic placement recommendations to the court with the goal of finding the child a safe, permanent and loving home as quickly as possible.

“This Mother’s Day, we hope you join us in celebrating the volunteers in our community that continue to help lead our children to brighter futures,” said Danita Abernathy.

As a way to honor your mother or another special person in your life, consider volunteering for a child in need. Last year, 92 CASA volunteers served 394 children in the child welfare system in southwest Arkansas and northeast Texas, but twice as many children still need a volunteer to advocate for their best interests.

You can help break the cycle of abuse from one generation to another. Become involved with CASA for Children to learn how you can become a positive role model in a foster child’s life.

Take advantage of one of CASA’s next information sessions to learn more about the role of a CASA volunteer: May 6 and May 7 at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on both days; and again on Saturday, May 9 at 10 a.m. All five information sessions will be held at the Texarkana CASA for Children office located at 1201 Main Street. You can find more information at or by calling (903) 792-1030.

May 1, 2015, 09:33

UA Cossatot student named vice president of district Phi Theta Kappa
PTK District President – Brettny Lynch, a UA Cossatot student from Lockesburg, has been appointed the district vice president of the collegiate honor society, Phi Theta Kappa. She is pursuing a teaching degree. The district includes in 41 chapters throughout Arkansas and Oklahoma.

DE QUEEN – Brettny Lynch, UA Cossatot Student and the Public Relations Secretary for UA Cossatot’s Beta Beta Omega chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, was recently appointed Vice President of the Central District. The Oklahoma-Arkansas Region’s Central District has 41 chapters in two states.

Lynch will serve for a one year term.

Lynch, a Sevier County native, graduated from Lockesburg High School in 2001. Currently pursuing UA Cossatot’s Associate of Arts in Teaching degree, pre-K through 4th, she plans to utilize Southern Arkansas University’s extension program through UA Cossatot to earn her BA in teaching Pre-K through 6th grade.

“Brettny is the eldest of a dozen siblings and is a natural leader,” said Ally Deen, UA Cossatot’s Phi Theta Kappa Advisor. “In addition to PTK, she currently serves as a UAC Student Ambassador and is active in her community.”

Phi Theta Kappa is an international two-year collegiate honor society and students must maintain a 3.5 GPA to be accepted.

Lynch and Deen traveled to the PTK Annual International Convention in San Antonio, Texas this past week.

May 1, 2015, 09:32

Settling in: New pastor of Horatio FBC excited to call Sevier County home
Bro. Jerry Hill began pastoring at Horatio First Baptist Church late last year. He said he’s settling in well to his new pastoral home, and hopes to help the church continue growing into the future.

HORATIO – The recently-installed pastor of Horatio First Baptist Church said he is settling in and being welcomed warmly by his new adopted community.

Bro. Jerry Hill began pastoring at the church late last year after five years as a pastor in Murfreesboro. He said he's been nothing but pleased by his acceptance into the Horatio community, and is excited to call the town home.

"My short time here has already been very good," said Hill, who has served as a pastor for the past 35 years. "If I could describe it in one word, I'd say it's been very interesting. This is a great church and with a lot of great community support."

Hill's move to Horatio is not his first stint in Sevier County, however, having pastored at Gillham First Baptist Church in the 1970s. Hill said the position allowed him to meet many people in Sevier County and develop an appreciation for the area.

"Gillham was the first church where I pastored and it was a fantastic experience," he said. "The people were great, the church was great and God was great to all of us. I felt like we were able to build a really good ministry during my time there."

When Horatio First Baptist announced it was seeking a new pastor, Hill knew it was an opportunity he couldn't refuse.

"God was really good to me and to the church while I was in Gillham," he said. "I had had plans to retire but when I heard about the position in Horatio, I thought it would be a good place for me to go since I knew the area and people. Plus, I found out quickly that retirement just wasn't for me."

Hill, who graduated from Acorn High School, said he's had a lifelong calling for pastoring. He was working as a poultry inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture when the calling came to him.

To read the complete article, please see the April 23 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Apr 24, 2015, 10:10