De Queen Area News

Sevier County Quorum Court member passes
HORATIO – Larry Dean Autry age 69, a resident of Horatio, died Tuesday, July 22, 2014 in a Texarkana hospital after suffering a stroke over the weekend.

A former owner of Harris Drug and Gift in De Queen, Autry was a long time pharmacist in the area.

Autry also served on the Sevier County Quorum Court as a Justice of the Peace.

Please see the obituaries page for more information.

Jul 25, 2014, 10:52

New restaurant, La Media Luna, opens
New in Town – De Queen residents Juan and Elvia Alvarado recently opened their first restaurant in De Queen, La Media Luna or The Half Moon. They said visitors to the restaurant will find a wide selection of Mexican cuisine as well as a quiet dinning experience.

DE QUEEN – A new restaurant in De Queen hopes to provide area residents with a wide variety of authentic Mexican and Texmex cuisine while allowing diners to eat in a quieter environment.

La Media Luna, translated as The Half Moon, opened earlier this month and has already become a popular new location among local diners. Owners and De Queen residents Juan and Elvia Alvarado had long set their sights on one day opening their own restaurant.

"It's been a dream of mine for a very long time," said Juan, who has spent the last 28 years cooking and managing at other restaurants. "Cooking is my passion. I tell people that when I'm cooking, I'm working with my heart, not my hands."

The restaurant, named after a popular outdoor localein Juan's birthplace in Mexico, features a variety of authentic Mexican cuisine as well as the staple Texmex menu.

"We wanted to make sure we had everyone's favorites but then also add in some real homecooked, authentic Mexican food on the menu," said Elvia.

To read the complete article, please see the July 24 edition of The De Queen Bee.

Jul 25, 2014, 10:50

Horatio School District under state monitoring after violation of Arkansas accreditation standards
HORATIO ­– The Horatio School District has been placed under active monitoring by the Arkansas Board of Education after it was found in violation of state accreditation standards for a second year in a row.

The state board found a district Gifted/Talented teacher had been instructing the program without the proper certification. Lee Smith, who became the district's superintendent last month, said the district had previously attained a state waiver authorizing the teacher to instruct the G/T program, but that last year's deadline to submit the waiver had been missed.

"If that waiver had been turned it than there wouldn't have been a problem," said Smith.

The district was issued the same violation during the 2012-13 school year but for a separate teacher. Because this is the second year in a row for an accreditation issue, however, the state was forced to undertake corrective actions.

"By the law the board was required to do something, ranging from complete school control to active monitoring," Smith said. "Since this was a separate teacher the board decided to go with the monitoring."

Under active monitoring the state will send advisors several times throughout the 2014-15 school year to ensure accreditation standards are being met.

Smith said the district is taking its own measures to ensure standards are met in the future.

The teacher involved in the current violation has been taking classes to certify for the G/T program and will continue to do so until completed. For the time being, another teacher who holds the certification will teach the class.

"With the actions we've taken I think we've got everything back like it should be," he said. "We're also going to do more to stay on top of issues like waivers in the future."

Jul 25, 2014, 10:48

A Summertime Favorite – Local residents know summer is in full swing when the area peach stands start opening up. Above, Randy and Karen Davis take a moment to chat with friends Kim and Don Peek while operating their peach stand, located east of De Queen across from the golf course. Retired now, Randy and Karen say they both thoroughly enjoy the chance to sell freshly picked peaches during the summer months. Their stand is open six days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Jul 25, 2014, 10:45

Reported rabies cases are double yearly average
More than 100 cases of rabies were reported in Arkansas as of June 24, a number almost double the normal level that state health and animal science experts attributed to a greater awareness of rabies symptoms in infected animals.

“It has been increasing,” said Tom Troxel, associate head of animal science for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Last year, there was a total of 152 cases; in 2012, there were 131 cases; and 60 cases in 2011. The reason of the outbreak is unknown, he said.

“It is already double” the usual number of cases, Arkansas Public Health Veterinarian, Susan Weinstein, said. “Skunks and bats are the reservoir” for the rabies virus.

Of the 103 cases, 86 are confirmed in skunks, Troxel said. Pulaski and Lonoke counties have the most cases - 26 for Pulaski and 13 for Lonoke. Widespread publicity about rabies cases in the two counties may be the reason of the high number of reported cases. People are more aware and submit more suspicious animals, Weinstein said.

“The peak time for rabies cases is March and April, with a smaller rise again in late summer and early fall,” she said.
Even though Weinstein doesn’t expect to see another 100 cases during the rest of this year, this number is still very high.

If the number continues, surely it will be a record breaking, Troxel said.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the nervous system of mammals, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. It is considered one of the most infectious diseases and is fatal for both animals and people, Weinstein said.

To prevent rabies

Make sure pets are vaccinated by licensed veterinarian and don’t rely on over-the-counter rabies medication, Troxel added. There has been one case of rabid dog and two cases of rabid cats this year.
Stay away from wildlife, especially those whose behavior is different from normal. Skunks and bats are nocturnal animals, so if they are out during the day, it may be a sign that they are rabid, he said. Be sure pets and children also stay away from bats and skunks during the day.

Possible exposure to rabid animals needs to be taken seriously, Weinstein said. People tend to ignore reporting bat bites, thinking it’s not dangerous, she added. There are series of injections that can be done to prevent rabies. Once the symptoms appear, the disease can’t be treated, she said.

If you see a suspicious skunk, bat, or other wildlife, report to an animal control officer.

To view the Rabies 2014 map and learn more about rabies, visit the Arkansas Department of Health’s website at

Jul 25, 2014, 10:44

Sales tax holiday set for Aug. 2-3
Arkansas will host its second sales tax holiday the weekend of August 2 and 3. Retail stores will not charge sales taxes on purchases of school supplies and some clothing. That means shoppers will pay the sticker price for clothing, accessories and school supplies.
When does it start?

The tax free holiday starts 12:01 the first Saturday in August (2) and ends 11:59 the following Sunday (3).

What Items are Sales Tax Free?
Sales tax will be not be charged on clothing and footwear if the sale price is less than $100 per item, clothing accessories and equipment if the sales price is less than $50 per item and all school supplies, art supplies and instructional material. Accessories include cosmetics, hair accessories, handbags, jewelry, sun glasses, wallets, watches, etc. Art supplies are limited to clay and glazes, paints, paintbrushes, sketch and drawing pads and watercolors. Instructional material includes textbooks, workbooks and references.

Clothing includes all clothing: footwear, diapers, receiving blankets, wedding apparel, gloves, aprons, hats, neckties, coats and jackets, wedding apparel and formal wear if the marked price is under $100. It's listed as, "all human wearing apparel," which means it will benefit more than just the back to school crowd.

Computers, software and peripherals are not tax exempt.

What about coupons?
A store can reduce the price of an item (ie: a sale that offers 20% off a $100 pair of jeans bringing it below the $100 per item maximum) and you'll still get the tax exemption.

However, a manufacturers coupon (ie: a coupon for $20 off a pair of $110 jeans) does not lower the actual sale price and therefore the item would still be subject to sales tax.

Is there a limit?

No, there is not a limit on total items you can buy. The only limit is the price per item limit listed above. You can buy as many $99 shirts as you would like and still be exempt.

Likewise, you can purchase all your school supplies and back to school clothes together. No matter what the total cost, your items will still be exempt if they meet the criteria listed above.

If one item does not meet the criteria (a $101 purse, for example), your other items will still be exempt. You will only be charged sales tax on that particular item.

For non-exempt items, is sales tax charged on the whole amount or just the amount over?

If you purchase a non-exempt item, sales tax is charged on the entire amount. For example, all clothing over $100 is non-exempt. If you buy a $300 suit, you will be charged sales tax on the entire $300, not just the amount over $100.

Jul 25, 2014, 10:35

Area artists, photographers reminded of upcoming entry dates for Sevier County Fair
DE QUEEN – Everyone gets a chance to show their talents  in both art and Photography when fair time rolls around.    

Both categories draw a lot of attention  with an increase in entries each year.  In this digital age when every one has, at the very least, a cell phone to snap that special photo, there are many outstanding pictures to  be seen.    There are 30 categories in the Photography section in both color and black and white.  Photographers may enter one photo in each category.   Photos should be framed and  wired for hanging.  Work that is presented well, even in an inexpensive frame, stands a better chance of winning .   
First, second, third and fourth place ribbons are awarded.   There are divisions for both youth and adults.

For the artists, there are divisions for adult, Junior and high school with several categories in each,  as well as clothsline art for the pre-schoolers and Kindergarten.  Art should be framed  and wired  for hanging except for clothesline art. 

Entry dates for Art and photography will be 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 17 and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, August 18 in the Fairgrounds Educational Building.      

For more information regarding entering   Art and Photography , check the fair brochure or call (870) 642-7170. 

Jul 25, 2014, 10:31

Several projects, events planned at museum
Board of Directors seeking new member; planning underway for 2014 Hoo Rah Days

By Fonda Hill
Sevier County Museum

Okay! let's get the bad news out of the way first: our wonderful, capable, dedicated board president, Marcia Buford is retiring from the board. She will be missed! We are fortunate in that Gary Walker, our able vice president, will take up the reins, and Marcia has assured us that she will stay in touch.

Now the search is on for a new board member...a person who lives in Sevier County, has an interest in the museum, and can devote time and energy to projects benefitting this museum. Do you know such a person? Is the person you? Submit a name.

When your were in elementary school did you learn and sing patriotic songs as a regular part of the school experience? We did, one of those songs being, "The Star Spangled Banner." I wonder if they still do that in school. We've chosen to highlight old and not so old patriotic songs in our monthly variety show coming up on Satruday, July 26, starting at 6 p.m. and lasting about two hours.

The second hour will be devoted to gospel music, and audience participation is welcomed and encouraged.

This month's show will feature the first appearance of our all girls band. You won't want to miss it because it could also be the last appearance! Please come and support the museum with your $2 donation. By the way, we are still looking for singers and musicians. Volunteer -- or volunteer someone you know.

Planning has begun for this year's Hoo Rah Days celebration. The theme has been chosen, and it is "History of Medicine in Sevier County." Contributions (ideas, artifacts, money, time, work) are always appreciated. Our first planning session is at noon Aug. 6. Please bring your lunch and your ideas. This is an open meeting.

You will want to mark Sept. 13 on your calendar for the auction being planned at the museum on that date. Proceeds will be earmarked for museum utilities.

Let's face it -- no one wants to go through a museum in the dark! The museum is requesting items to auction valued at $5 or more. I think I'll donate an antique chair that I bought because I "just love it," but I've found no place in my home that it really fits.

Come and visit your Sevier County Historical Museum. Open hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

If you haven't seen it in the last month, you will find different exhibits this month. Visit/like us on facebook or call 870-642-6642.

Jul 25, 2014, 10:29

Bootlegger busted in De Queen
Bootlegger busted, again – Law enforcement officials pose next to confiscated alcohol they believe was being sold out of a home in De Queen. The 63-year-old suspect has been convicted of bootlegging in the past and could face a $2,000 fine for the second offense.

DE QUEEN – A 63-year-old man was arrested again on July 1 for charges of bootlegging after an investigation by local authorities discovered he was selling alcohol from his home in De Queen.

According to information released by the De Queen Police Department, investigators from several local law enforcement agencies received information about possible bootlegging activities in a house on West Altena Street.

Undercover officers performed a sting operation on the home, purchasing alcohol from the suspect and returning later to serve the arrest warrant. The homeowner gave authorities consent to search the home, which uncovered 10 30-pack cases of beer and several bottles of liquor.

The suspect, identified as 63-year-old Salvador Vera Gomez of De Queen, was arrested and transported to the Sevier County Jail.

He is facing a single count of selling alcohol in a dry county. Convicted of bootlegging in 2010, Gomez will face a $2,000 fine if convicted for the current offense. In Arkansas, a third bootlegging conviction is upgraded to a felony.

Agencies involved in the operation include the South Central Drug Task Force, the DQPD, Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Game and Fish officers.

Jul 11, 2014, 08:48

UA Cossatot students earn second place at national roping competition in Wyoming
Strong Finish – The UA Cossatot Colts Team Roping duo of Brody Brayden and Tanner Caudle, both of Horatio, recently finished as Reserve Champions in the National Team Roping event in Wyoming.

CASPER, Wyo. – The UA Cossatot Colts Team Roping duo of Brody Brayden and Tanner Caudle both of Horatio, finished as Reserve Champions in the Team Roping event to secure a 10th place men's team finish at the 2014 College National Finals Rodeo.

The UA Cossatot rodeo team finished the 2013-2014 season Saturday evening at the CNFR with UA Cossatot being represented in the prestigious finals for the first time since the program's inception in 2010.

The team of Braden-Caudle finished in 21st place in team roping in the first go Monday. Their time of 11.3 seconds was slowed with a 5 second penalty. Their second go around run of 5.6 seconds was good enough for a 3rd place finish. A 7.4 second run on their third steer placed them 10th in the third go. They were 6th overall in the event going into the finals on Saturday night.

The top 12 qualifiers in each of the nine events qualify for Saturday's championship finals. When the dust settled in the Casper Events Center, Braden and Caudle's run of 7.0 was not only good enough for a 3rd place finish in the round but also earned them the title of reserve national champions in the team roping.

“I could not be more proud of these two guys,” said Rodeo Coach Valerie Stone. “They represented themselves, their college, and Arkansas with pride. This is the reward for all the long hours and hard work not only in the practice pen but also the classroom. This was their chance to prove that dedication and hard work does pay off."

“When we began UA Cossatot’s Rodeo Program, we had visions of being represented in Wyoming by our students,” said UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole. “This is something that not only Brody and Tanner have been working towards, but also our entire college. With Coach Stone and kids like these, the sky is the limit for our program.”

Additionally during the regular season, Coach Stone's rodeo teams finished sixth in the men's standings and eighth in the women's standings of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association's Ozark Region. Individually, Braden and Caudle were ranked first regionally in their respective team roping header and heeler categories despite competing in only 8 of the 10 rodeos. The Braden-Caudle tandem claimed team roping titles at Murray State University, East Mississippi Community College and University of Tennessee at Martin rodeos to help seal their regional championship.

One of the greatest of all rodeos on the North American continent is the College National Finals Rodeo. The CNFR was held June 15-21. More than 400 cowboys and cowgirls from 100 universities and colleges compete in Casper each year.

College cowboys and cowgirls compete all year in one of the eleven different regions in the United States and four Canadian Provinces for a chance to enter the CNFR arena in an effort to win national titles in saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying. The top three students in each event, and top two men's and women's teams from the NIRA's 11 regions, qualify for the CNFR. The 2014 event marks the 66th year for the rodeo.

The Saturday championship round was televised and will air Aug. 15 on ESPNU. Check your local listings. For more college rodeo information, log on to www.collegerodeo.

Jul 11, 2014, 08:44