De Queen Area News

From Feb. 26 edition
Mrs. Vivian Davis
Mrs. Vivian Vaughn Davis, long-time resident of the Chapel Hill Community in De Queen, died Feb. 19, 2015 at the age of 95.
She was born March 16, 1919, the daughter of George Vaughn and Rosie Collum Vaughn.

The family welcomed visitors at the home of Imagean Cox, 217 N. 11th St., De Queen.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 in the Wilkerson Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Randy Davis officiating. Burial followed in the Chapel Hill Cemetery.
You can register online at


Jimmy Hooker
James Alton "Jimmy" Hooker, age 75, a resident of De Queen, and former resident of Lockesburg, died Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 at his home.

He was born to Clifton Leo and Faye Conatser Hooker at Brownstown Aug. 3, 1939. He served the military with the U.S. Army in Germany. He was retired from Arkla Gas Company, Hooker Tire Company, Nashville and Tires Plus in De Queen. He was a member of the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

Memorial services were held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 in the Pleasant Hill Missionary Church, Provo Road, Lockesburg, with Bro. Larry Frye and Bro. Joe Carlton officiating, under the direction of Chandler Funeral Home.

The family received friends Saturday, Feb. 21 from 5-7 p.m. at Chandler Funeral Home.
You can send an online sympathy message to


Olan E. Brewer
Olan Eugene "Gene" Brewer, age 72, resident of Avon Park, Fla., died unexpectedly Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 at his home.
He was born in Horatio Oct. 12, 1943 to Hershel "Bigboy" and Marie Green Brewer. He served in the Navy and was a Merchant Seaman traveling the world and seven seas in his younger days.

Memorial services were held at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 at the Stephenson-Nelson Funeral Home in Avon Park, Fla., with his nephew, Joey Brewer, officiating.


Arnold G. McBride
Arnold Gene McBride, Sr., age 71, a resident of Dierks, died Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 in St. Vincent's Hospital in Hot Springs.
He was born Aug. 2, 1943 in Talihina, Okla. He was a Millwright for Weyerhaeuser.

Graveside funeral services were held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015 in the Dierks Cemetery with Chuck Reel officiating, under the direction of Wilkerson Funeral Home in Dierks.
The family received friends from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24 at the Dierks Chapel.
You can register online at


Nelvin Ruth
Nelvin B. "Butch" Ruth, age 65, a resident of Lockesburg, died Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 at his home.

He was born March 17, 1949 in De Queen. He was the owner of B&H Trash Service and was a U.S. Army veteran, having served in Vietnam.

Graveside funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015 in the Chapel Hill Cemetery with Rev. Wesley Blankenship officiating, under the direction of Wilkerson Funeral Home.
You can register online at


Edna Darity
Mrs. Edna Virginia "Dutch" Ray Darity, age 89, a resident of Eagletown, Okla., died Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 in Idabel, Okla.
She was born March 21, 1925 in Cove. She was a homemaker.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 in the Wilkerson Funeral Home Chapel in De Queen with Cy Davis, minister, officiating. Burial will follow in the Eagletown Cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. You can register online at

To read the full obituaries, please see the Feb. 27 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Feb 27, 2015, 15:00

Megan Smith to pass on duties of chamber president at banquet
By Patrick Massey

Outgoing President – Outgoing De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Megan Smith will officially hand over the duties of her position at tonight's membership and awards banquet.

The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce member banquet is scheduled for tonight, and though the event is held to honor the achievements of local individuals and businesses, the ceremony also signifies the changing of the organization's leadership as Megan Lee-Smith hands over the duties of chamber president for 2014-2015.

Smith, who graduated from De Queen High School and earned her masters degree in agriculture, said she was honored by the opportunity to lead the chamber during her presidency.

"It's a real honor whenever you can serve the community in a leadership role and try to make your community an even nicer place to live," she said. "This was an exciting opportunity for me and I really enjoyed it."

Smith first became involved with the chamber after a ribbon cutting ceremony for her grandfather's business, LJ Marine, in 2009. She joined the board soon after and served as secretary and vice president before taking the position of president last year.

"I met a lot of the chamber people during our ribbon cutting and just got interested in what they were doing for this area," she said. "The chamber has a huge purpose in this area so I was glad to become a part of it."

During Smith's presidency the chamber inducted 12 new members - including one of De Queen's newest businesses, The Shipping Place, which Smith opened herself. The business, which serves as an authorized FedEx shipping center, gave Smith another perspective of the chamber and its roles.

"I think opening my own business while I was chamber president allowed me to see the chamber from two angles: as both a board member and as a small business owner," she said. "Both of these things helped me learn a lot during my time as president, especially when it comes to finding new approaches to dealing with the community and our businesses."

Smith said she couldn't pick out a particular achievement during her presidency but hopes she was able to help improve the roles it already carries out.

"Every year the chamber tries to improve what it does while learning from the mistakes of previous years and trying to add new things where it can," she explained.

To read the complete article, please see the Feb. 19 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Feb 26, 2015, 17:05

De Queen graduate named to GAC Fall All-Academic Team
All-Academic Team – John Miller, a graduate of De Queen High School and a football player for Southern Arkansas University, has been named to the Great American Conference Fall All-Academic Team.

MAGNOLIA – John Miller of De Queen was recently named to the 2014-15 Great American Conference Fall All-Academic Team as it was announced by the league office.

Miller is a senior Engineering Physics major at Southern Arkansas University and carries a GPA of 3.78. He is the son of Doug and Cecilia Miller.

The All-Academic Team is a distinction sought by many student athletes.

"Division II places the balance of academic and athletic pursuits in its highest regards," GAC Commissioner Will Prewitt said. "I congratulate John Miller and all of these student-athletes for excelling in the classroom while competing and practice hard on the field of play."

Of the 19 SAU all-academic team honorees, six came from volleyball, five from football and women's cross country, and three from men's cross country.

Feb 24, 2015, 17:07

Fire destroys home on De Queen Lake Road
Firefighters say fire started in chimney,
quickly spread to consume entire house

By Patrick Massey

Firefighters with the De Queen Fire Department attempt to put out a house fire Monday morning on De Queen Lake Road. Despite dumping thousands of water on the blaze, the house was considered a complete loss. Gillham and Cossatot firefighters also responded to the fire. An account for the owners - Willie and Genetta Adams - has been set up at the De Queen First Assembly of God Church for anyone in the community wishing to assist the couple.

A fire Monday morning completely destroyed a home on De Queen Lake Road, leaving the owners without shelter and much of their possessions.

According to De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt, the fire started around 8:30 that morning in the chimney of the home belonging to Willie and Genetta Adams before spreading throughout the structure. Mrs. Adams, who was reportedly asleep when the fire broke out, was able to evacuate the home without injury.

Firefighters with the De Queen Fire Department arrived soon after receiving the fire call. After initially believing the fire could be contained and the house saved, Pruitt said the fire reached the attic and ignited the air inside - feeding the fire and causing it to quickly spread.

"It was almost like a bomb went off inside," said Pruitt. "In my years with the department, I've never seen a house go up so quickly."

Firefighters and trucks from the Gillham and Cossatot Volunteer Fire Departments arrived to assist De Queen, which was running out of water to combat the fire. With no fire hydrants or other easy access to water, pump trucks from the other departments were vital just to keep the fire contained.

Despite dumping thousands of gallons of water on the fire, the flames could not be stopped and quickly spread to consume the entire home. Fortunately, friends of the Adams as well as police officers and firefighters on the scene were able to save a few of the couple's possessions before the home was engulfed.

To read the complete article, please see the Feb. 5 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Feb 6, 2015, 15:55

Leopards preparing for soccer season
By Patrick Massey

Leopards soccer coaches Eric Smith and Stephen Sloan spoke to the De Queen Lions Club on Tuesday. Above, Smith discusses how the soccer program has encouraged its players to perform more successfully in the classroom. The 2015 soccer season will start for the Leopards on Feb. 24 with an away game against Poteau.

Leopards high school soccer coaches Stephen Sloan and Eric Smith spoke to members of the De Queen Lions Club on Tuesday about the upcoming season, which starts this month.

Smith, who moved from assistant boys soccer coach to head girls soccer coach last year, started off the meeting by sharing some of the triumphs of the seven-year-old athletic program - during which the Leopards have earned five state championships.

"It's been a huge success just from the sheer number of kids in the program," Smith said. The 2015 Lady Leopards soccer team has 36 members, while the boys team has no shortage of players with 88 in its ranks, making De Queen's the largest soccer program in the state.

Moreover, grades and behavior among the players has increased as students work to join the highly competitive team. Both Smith and Sloan citied the stronger performance they've seen from their players - both in and out of the classroom.

"I really think the program is helping these kids by encouraging them to raise their grades and act better in school," said Smith. "You know, championships and titles are great, but more so these kids are using the program to help turn themselves around."

Sloan agreed and said he has seen issues involving low grades or bad behavior drop to nearly zero.

"We just don't have issues with the students who join the program because the last thing they want is to get kicked out because of their grades or behavior," he said. "Our players have really bought into the program, and when we take them to an away game, they do a really fine job representing De Queen."

The coaches said the Leopards season will kick off with an away game against Poteau on Feb. 24. Having gone undefeated last year to win their fifth state soccer title, Sloan said the boys are working hard to make it a sixth one this season.

To read the complete article, please see the Feb. 5 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Feb 6, 2015, 14:01

Channel 7 back for local cable subscribers
By Patrick Massey

It's been several weeks since local cable subscribers lost access to Little Rock-based programming, but they can celebrate a small victory after the cable company announced it would return Channel 7 to De Queen viewers.

In December, Vyve Broadband - which bought out Allegiance Communications in 2013 - informed subscribers in De Queen and Horatio that they would no longer be able to watch programming on KARK-NBC 4, KATV-ABC 7 and KTHV-CBS 11, all out of Little Rock. The company said Sevier County was considered to be in the Shreveport. La., designated market area, and not the one which covers Little Rock.

"That meant the local stations had to come from Shreveport, not Little Rock," said De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy, who said he stressed to the cable company the importance of keeping the local stations.

Without out those stations, local cable subscribers would miss out on Little Rock-based news and sports - including many Razorback games.

However, McKelvy said he was informed last week that the company would reinstate KATV Channel 7 to the programming line-up for De Queen and Horatio subscribers.

"I wrote the company and told them that we needed at least one of the channels back, with Channel 7 being at the top of the list," McKelvy said.

"They eventually got back with me and said they would put Channel 7 back on the air. I’m glad they were able to do something, because I’m sure the company’s local subscribers would rather watch Little Rock news than that out of Shreveport.”

Channel 7 returned last week, but McKelvy said it is unlikely the two other stations will be reinstated.

Feb 5, 2015, 16:17

Horatio FBLA had 35 students attend the District IV Spring Leadership Conference, held yesterday at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope. They participated alongside forty-eight FBLA chapters from 14 counties in Southwest Arkansas. Nine students from the Horatio chapter received awards for their outstanding performance at this district competition (pictured from left to right): Eleuterio Sanchez - 4th place - Agribusiness; Reece Black - 5th place - Cyber Security; Gustavo Perez - 3rd place - Business Math; Raya Lemons - 3rd place - Securities & Investments; Adilene Arellano - 2nd place - Networking Concepts; Adriana Gonzalez - 2nd place - Database Design; Cassady Rankin - 1st place - Intro to Information Technology; Laney Baker - 2nd place - Intro to Business Communications; Kelsey Rodriguez - 6th place - Business Procedures These nine students will represent Horatio as they compete against other winners from all seven districts at the State Leadership Conference on April 13-14 in Little Rock.

Feb 5, 2015, 16:15

SWADC to introduce Crisis Intervention Program in area
DE QUEEN – Southwest Arkansas Development Council, 605 E Haes in De Queen will begin their Crisis Intervention Program Feb. 3, 2015.

Hours will be 8:30 – 11:30 Tuesday through Thursday. You must provide the following: Proof of Household income for all members 18 and older for the prior month (including all check stubs from previous month, or an earnings statement completed by your employer; proof of household Social Security, SSI, TEA, VA and any retirement benefits.
You must have a copy of light bill, gas bill and valid state or government I.D.

A shut-off is required for Crisis Assistance. Shut-Off date must be within 7 days of disconnect.

Failure to provide verification requested may result in delay or denial of assistance.

For more information call 870-584-3995.

Feb 5, 2015, 16:13

Miss DHS Pageant – Winners have been announced from Saturday's annual Miss DHS pageant. Pictured from left to right are Talent Winner Evelyn Escammilla, First Runner Up Marjie McClelland, 2015 Miss DHS Josie Vaught, Second Runner Up Justyce Brown and Miss Congeniality Miriam Dominguez.

Little Miss DHS – Winners have been announced from Saturday's annual Little Miss pageant held at the De Queen High School auditorium. Pictured from left to right are First Runner Up Laura Figueroa, Little Miss winner Landri Liggin and Second Runner Up Liliana Cruz.

Feb 5, 2015, 16:11

DQPD says new adoption program gaining interest in community
Police department using social media to reunite lost dogs
with owners; find new homes for those without an owner

By Patrick Massey

Checking in – De Queen Animal Control Officer Matt Robinson takes a photo of one of two stray dogs he picked up on Jan. 29 at a trailer home park on Highway 41 South. The photos will be placed on the DQPD's Facebook page to help reunite them with their owners, or, if no one claims them, to put the dogs up for adoption.

The De Queen Police Department says it is seeing encouraging results through its use of Facebook to reunite missing dogs with their owners and provide adoption services for those who have no home.

The social media outreach is part of a renewed city-led effort to reduce the town's stray dog population and remind pet owners of the importance of keeping their animals put up. Any stray dog collected is photographed and placed on the police department's Facebook page in an attempt to reunite the animal with its owner.

"So far it's worked pretty well in getting dogs back to their owners," said Police Chief Richard McKinley. "A lot of people are on Facebook so it's been a good way to get the word out."

Along with the Facebook campaign, McKinley said the police department is also strengthening its enforcement of the city's animal-at-large regulations. Anyone who reclaims a dog from the pound will be issued a citation fee of $35, or $20 if the owner can provide a record of rabies vaccinations.

That still leaves dogs whose owner could not be located, or who have always been strays. The police department also has a plan for these.

"We want to get to a zero euthanization policy, so we're trying to do our best to get these dogs adopted out to new owners," McKinley said.

Dogs collected by the city's animal control officer are made available for adoption if the owner does not reclaim it after five days. Adoption is cheap at $10, but potential owners must sign a contract stating they will have the dog spayed or neutered. The adoption program has so far been met with support.

To read the complete article, please see the Feb. 5 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Feb 5, 2015, 16:08