De Queen Area News


Area runners finish Chicago Marathon
Chicago Marathon – Chicago hosted the running world once again Sunday as nearly 45, 000 runners took to the streets for the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  Runners snaked through several Chicago neighborhoods on a grand tour of the city, which continues to make its way to the forefront of the running scene. The Chicago Marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors along with Boston, New York, London, Berlin, and Tokyo. Two De Queen runners, Jason Barker and Lacey Young, qualified to run in this year’s race.  This was Barker’s second Major marathon after running Boston in April and Young’s first.  Young has qualified for Boston and will run there in April. Lacey finished Chicago in 3:13:34 which put her at the 2251st place overall and the 287th female to cross the finish line.  That put her in the top five percent overall male and female and the top 1.5 percent female. Jason finished in 3:13:02 which put him at the 2190th place overall and 1909th male to cross the finish line.  This put him also in the top five percent of all runners and top 10 percent male. 

CHICAGO, ILL. – Chicago hosted the running world once again Sunday as nearly 45, 000 runners took to the streets for the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. 

Runners snaked through several Chicago neighborhoods on a grand tour of the city, which continues to make its way to the forefront of the running scene. The Chicago Marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors along with Boston, New York, London, Berlin, and Tokyo.

Two De Queen runners, Jason Barker and Lacey Young, qualified to run in this year’s race.  This was Barker’s second Major marathon after running Boston in April and Young’s first.  Young has qualified for Boston and will run there in April.

Lacey finished Chicago in 3:13:34 which put her at the 2251st place overall and the 287th female to cross the finish line. 

That put her in the top five percent overall male and female and the top 1.5 percent female.

Jason finished in 3:13:02 which put him at the 2190th place overall and 1909th male to cross the finish line.  This put him also in the top five percent of all runners and top 10 percent male. 

Oct 23, 2014, 14:21


A few things to know about Ebola before panicking
The first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread. That patient, Thomas Duncan, died in a Dallas hospital.

Authorities are working on tracking anyone who might have had contact with Duncan during his flight to the United States and before he was administered to the hospital.

Still, public health officials say there is an extremely low chance for the virus to spread, as it can only be spread by handing the contaminated blood or bodily fluids of an infected patient.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it is extremely unlikely for the virus to spread through the country, but said people should become knowledgeable of Ebola to protect themselves and to prevent spreading misinformation concerning the virus.

"I have no doubt that we will control this importation or this case of the Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden.

"It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member, or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here."

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the CDC said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.
Once a person is infected, the CDC said there are several ways Ebola can spread to other people:

• Touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen. To become infected with the virus, you would need to get some of the ill person’s bodily fluids into your mouth, nose, or eyes, or into your body via a cut or a needle stick.
Doctors say that there is no evidence anyone has ever been infected via sweat.

• Touching objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment

• Touching infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat

• A cough from a sick patient could infect someone close enough to be sprayed with droplets of mucus or saliva.
People dealing with anyone who may be ill are told to stand at least three feet away, preferably six.

Being within three feet of a patient for a prolonged time, without wearing protective gear, is considered direct contact, according to Frieden.

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air (the virus doesn't drift through the air like germs that cause measles or tuberculosis) or by water or food. However, that may not have been the case in some cases in Africa, where Ebola may have been spread through the handling of wild animals hunted for food and contact with infected bats, according to the CDC.

What Are the Symptoms of Ebola?
The following symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure:
• Fever
• Headache
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Stomach pain
• Unexplained bleeding or bruising
• Muscle pain

Generally, after 21 days, if an exposed person has not developed symptoms, he or she will not become sick, the CDC said.

However, the Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to three months after exposure, so those who have recovered from the virus are advised not to have sex, or else only to have sex using condoms, during that time, according to the CDC.

Are Patients Who Recover From Ebola Immune for Life?
Evidence shows that people who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, or longer, according to the CDC. But it's not known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola.
Can Ebola Become Airborne?

According to experts, it is very unlikely that the virus would mutate to become airborne. The Ebola virus has not previously mutated in this way, and experts say there is no other virus that has changed from non-airborne to airborne in humans.

Can Mosquitoes Spread Ebola?
There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit the virus, according to the CDC. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys and apes) have shown the ability to spread and become infected with Ebola virus.
How Long Does the Ebola Virus Live?
The virus can survive for a few hours on dry surfaces like doorknobs and countertops, according to the C.D.C.

It can, however, survive for several days in puddles or collections of body fluid at room temperature. It is not clear how long it may survive in soiled linens and clothing.

A thorough cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants (such as household bleach) will kill Ebola.
How Can Travelers Protect Themselves?

The CDC said travelers can do several things to protect themselves when visiting the area where the outbreak is occurring, including:

• Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Do not touch the blood and body fluids of an ill person or the body of someone who has died from Ebola.

• Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.

• Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.

• Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5oF/ 38.6oC) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, but researchers are currently testing two.

Oct 23, 2014, 14:14


New De Queen business arises from adversity
By Patrick Massey

Three Brothers – Arkansas Cedar Lodge Manufacturing opened for business last year and has since made a strong name for itself in the region for its fine, handcrafted wood furniture. The business is the realized dream of three brother-woodworkers who lost their jobs at a wood shop in Broken Bow, Okla., after it burned down in a fire. Instead of changing careers, the brothers decided to start their own business. Pictured from left to right are brothers and co-owners Bernabe Aparicio, Delfino Gonzalez and Jorge Aparicio. Not pictured is co-owner Ernie Renderos.

One of the area’s newest business is proof that hardships can sometimes open up the path for greater opportunities, especially when a family works together to take on a greater goal.

The story behind Arkansas Cedar Lodge Manufacturing, located just north of the De Queen city limits on Highway 71, is one of determination and risk-taking. Though its doors opened only a year ago, the business has already become well-known in the region for its quality handcrafted cedar furniture.

Like the fabled Phoenix, Arkansas Cedar Lodge is a story of entrepreneurship rising literally from ashes. That tale began last year, when the three brothers Bernabe Aparicio, Jorge Aparicio and Delfino Gonzalez lost their jobs at wood furniture manufacturer in Broken Bow when it burned down in an accidental fire.

After working at the business for years, the De Queen-based brothers were left jobless and with nowhere else to turn to continue their love for crafting wood furniture.

“When it burned down, we lost everything and we had no jobs,” said Bernabe. Woodworking is what the brothers knew best, and changing professions was an option neither one wanted. After much discussion, the three agreed they would try the trade for themselves.

“We decided the best thing we could do was open our own business,” Bernabe explained. “We started slow, we started small but we had one vision in mind: building a large cedar business that would make quality furniture.”

Fortunately, the brothers had a big lead with their experience alone – combined, the brothers’ had decades of knowledge in the woodworking trade. The three partnered with a family friend, Ernie Renderos, whose knowledge of business in general matched perfectly with the brothers’ knack for crafting cedar furniture.

The four men built their shop and headquarters just north of De Queen, at 426 Old Highway 71. They began setting up the necessary components: the jointers, routers, sanders and other tools of the trade.

Now, with a year under their belts, the four have begun to expand and their initial vision – building a cedar business known across the region – became a reality. Arkansas Cedar Lodge Manufacturing has catered to customers from throughout Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Although cedar furniture is the business’ mainstay, the brothers’ craft has expanded to cabinets and many other parts of the home – and not just in cedar, though that is their favorite.

“What we try to do is give people that rustic, log cabin feel right in their own home,” said Bernabe. He said each handmade piece is completely custom, with no two bed frames or chairs exactly the same. The cedar is locally procured, and custom orders are welcomed.

The pieces offered are too varied to mention entirely, so inquirers are advised to visit the business’ webpage at www.arkansascedarlodge.com.

As one could imagine, three brothers working together can mean a little trouble here or there.

“Sometimes we don’t agree and butt heads, but most of the time we get along really well and we work together like a team,” said Bernabe. All four owners are married and have children, who often watch or help out as their husbands and fathers create.

“We get a lot of support from our families, especially from our wives, which is the most important,” Bernabe explained, laughing.

The chance to further their hobbies as a profession is a dream come true, the brothers agree. For those who haven’t seen their furniture around, the brothers invite them to check out the website or just stop by and see the pieces for themselves.

“We are very proud of what we do because we try really hard to make quality work with good prices so that everyone can have a little piece of the cabin in their homes,” Bernabe said.

Oct 23, 2014, 14:11


Local residents show award-winning livestock at Arkansas State Fair
State Fair Exhibitors – Grace Harris, pictured right, the 13-year-old daughter of Nicki Litchfield of Horatio, showed the Reserve Supreme Champion Heifer in the Junior Commercial Heifer Show at the Arkansas State Fair. Her animal was also named the Grand Champion in the Exotic Division of the show. Grace is shown here with Matt Cribb, president of the Horatio FFA, who is holding her trophies. Grace’s cousin, Cash King of Nashville, showed the Reserve Grand Champion in the Exotic Division of the show. Grace and Cash, who is a son of Jodi and Pace King of Nashville, are grandchildren of the late Bill Dyer of Horatio, who was instrumental in staring the junior commercial heifer show at the Arkansas State Fair.

LITTLE ROCK – The following is a list of local winners by category of livestock shown at the 2014 Arkansas State Fair:

Tyler Johnson of De Queen showed the Grand Champion Bull in the Open Shorthorn Plus division during the Open Cattle Show.

Luke Smith of Lockesburg showed the Grand Champion Bull in the Open Charolais division during the cattle show.

Kaitlin Kitchens of Dierks showed the Champion Bull in the Junior Limousin division during the cattle show.

Gabbi Litchford of Horatio showed the Reserve Champion Female in the Junior Maine Anjou division during the cattle show.

Brennen Seymour of Horatio showed the Champion Bull in the Junior Limousin-Flex division during the cattle show.

Luke Smith of Lockesburg showed the Champion Bull in the Junior Charolais division during the cattle show.

Allie Marshall of Horatio showed the Reserve Champion Female in the junior Brangus division during cattle judging on Oct. 16.

Ethan Wolcott of De Queen showed the Junior Reserve Grand Champion Doe and the Senior Reserve Grand Champion Doe in the Toggenberg division during the youth dairy goat show.

Ethan Wolcott of De Queen also showed the Junior Grand Champion Doe in the Saanen division during the youth dairy goat show.

Trey Mason of Foreman showed the Reserve Grand Champion Boar in the Open Spotted Swine division during the breeding swine competition.

Rebecca Wood of Lockesburg showed the Grand Champion Boar in the Open Duroc division during the breeding swine competition.

Caleb Shepard of Dierks showed the Reserve Grand Champion Boar in the Open Durac division during the breeding swine competition.

Rebecca Wood of Lockesburg also showed the Reserve Grand
Champion Boar in the Junior Duroc division during the breeding swine show.

Payton Hibbs of De Queen showed the Reserve Champion Purebred Buck in the junior show division during the Boer Goat show.

Brandi Frachiseur of Winthrop and a member of the De Queen Future Farmers Association received a $750 Market Steer Exhibitor Scholarship.

Luke Smith of Lockesburg and a member of the Horatio Future Farmers Association received a $750 Market Steer Exhibitor Scholarship.

Jacie Wilkerson of Wickes receved a $750 Market Hog Exhibitor Scholarship.

Landrie Tadlock of Wickes received a $750 Market Hog Exhibitor Scholarship.

Oct 23, 2014, 14:02


Ben Lomond suffers brunt of storm damage in county
By Doug Dunson
Damage on Mt. Pleasant Road – A tall red oak tree covers most of the parking area at Mt. Pleasant Community Church. The oak was one of numerous tall trees in that area felled by high winds during the pre-dawn hours of Oct. 13.

There were no injuries or loss of life, but the Oct. 13 storm system that passed through southwest Arkansas did a sizeable amount of damage in Sevier County.
In the De Queen area the effects of the storm were most visible on Mt. Pleasant Road.

On the north end of Mt. Pleasant Road a stately red oak tree was felled at Mount Pleasant Community Church.
After it toppled, the old oak covered most of the parking area at the church located near state highway 369.

Further south on Mt. Pleasant Road two homes suffered heavy damage. At one site a twin trunk sweet gum tree fell on two vehicles as well as a house.
Near the south end of Mt. Pleasant Road a giant red oak clipped the end of a home as it fell.

The worst storm damage in the county was at Ben Lomond where at least a dozen homes were damaged, including two that totalled. Ben Lomond Mayor Ronnie Smith said a tornado crossed the south end of the community between 5:30 and 5:40 Monday morning.

"By 5:45 there were probably 50 citizens out cutting limbs," Smith said.

The mayor said the home of Jerry Day and that of Andrew and Ashley Roberts appeared to be damaged beyond repair.
Ben Lomond has received little weather related damage in recent years.

"It's been a very, very long time," Smith recalled. "2001 was the last time we had heavy damage."
Smith expressed appreciation for all the volunteers who helped in Monday's clean up effort.

"It was a great turnout from all our neighboring communities," he said. "We really appreciate it."

Oct 23, 2014, 13:48


Motives still unclear after fatal hot pursuit
Authorities say Randy Wayne Jewel, 48, killed
himself following end of chase in Sevier County


Fata Pursuit– Arkansas State Police investigators prepare to remove the body of Randy Wayne Jewel after police allege he killed himself following a chase through Little River and Sevier Counties. Authorities are still unsure what led Jewel to instigate the incident.


By Patrick Massey

Motives are still unclear as to what drove a Texarkana, Texas, man to lead area authorities on a two-county, high-speed pursuit and then kill himself after wrecking outside the De Queen city limits last Friday.

"At this point we don't know what drove him to go this far," said Arkansas State Police Investigator Hayes McWhirter.

Randy Jewel, 48, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound following a 50 mile pursuit through Little River and Sevier Counties, during which he fired a pistol at pursuing law enforcement vehicles while traveling at speeds of over 100 miles per hour.

Jewell's body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy and toxicology report to determine if he was under influence of a controlled substance at the time of the incident. Family members allegedly told authorities that Jewell had been on a two week drug binge before Friday's events, though no controlled substances were found in his vehicle.

Aftermath – Justin Baker of Baker’s Sales and Service helps extricate the car driven by 48-year-old Randy Wayne Jewel of Texarkana, Texas, after he led area authorities on a two-county, high-speed pursuit last Friday. The chase ended when Jewel hit a spike strip just before entering De Queen. He was found inside with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.


Jewell - who had a parole violation warrant in Texas connected to a prison sentence he served for assaulting a public defender - reportedly told family that he refused to return to prison.

"We know he hadn't been meeting with his parole officer and that he told people that he was not going to let anyone take him back to prison," said McWhirter.

The incident began around 7 a.m. Friday morning after authorities in Little River County received a call about a man who had brandished a pistol at another individual at the visitor information center near the Red River Bridge.

Ashdown police and Little River deputies attempted to stop the man in Ashdown along Highway 71 but the suspect, later identified as Jewel, continued north at a high rate of speed.

Investigators said he fired at pursuing police vehicles throughout much of the chase. One round struck the police cruiser's windshield but the officer was fortunately not harmed.

Jewel also fired shots at Sevier County Deputy Roger Ridley, who was the first Sevier County unit to meet up with the chase.

Ridley had parked his vehicle in the southbound lane of Highway 71 near Lockesburg to prevent traffic from reaching the pursuit. As the pursuit approached, Ridley said he could hear Jewel fire shots at a Little River deputy following closely behind, and then fire two more in Ridley's direction.

"I was praying right then, God, please let him be a bad shot," said Ridley. One round struck the front passenger door of Ridley's vehicle as Jewel sped by at 90 mph. He is the first Sevier County deputy to be shot at in 15 years, the department reported.

Close Call – Sevier County Deputy Rodger Ridley shows off the hole from a bullet fired by Randy Wayne Jewel during a high-speed pursuit through Little River and Sevier Counties last Friday. Jewel fired at Ridley when he attempted to stop Jewel south of Lockesburg, hitting his car door. Ridley is the first Sevier County deputy to be fired at in 15 years.


"My wife joked that of course it had to have happened to me," said Ridley, who has been with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office for five years. "Luckily [Jewel] didn't hurt anyone and if the worst we got from this incident was a hole in the door, I'd say we were very fortunate."

Jewel continued on towards De Queen after firing at Ridley, and again hit speeds of over 100 mph while school buses and other morning traffic attempted to avoid the pursuit.
Jewel was eventually stopped just short of the De Queen city limits with a spike strip deployed by De Queen police officers.

Jewel missed the first strip, but a following Ashdown police officer struck it instead. Jewel then hit a second strip, causing his vehicle to careen off the road into a ravine on the north side of the highway.

Authorities say he then shot himself using a 9mm pistol found in the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene by county coroner Rusty Williams.

"The 9mm handgun was in his lap. He had his hand on it when they got to him," said Ninth District West Prosecutor Bryan Chesshir.

"It was a very dangerous situation," Chesshir explained.

"Police in De Queen put the spike strips down to keep him from entering the city limits. With the time of day it was and the school traffic, this could have been a very serious situation. When a man starts shooting, you don't know what he's going to do. Fortunately we were able to avoid any further loss of life or any injuries in this incident."

One Little River police vehicle, attempting to avoid a car carrying a mother and children, also hit another police cruiser, causing damage to its driver door. No other further damages were reported from the incident. In addition, no shots were fired by law enforcement agents during the engagement.

Oct 23, 2014, 13:39


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


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


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