De Queen Area News

Lions Club radio auction is Dec. 8-9
DE QUEEN – Members of the De Queen Lions Club are preparing for their biggest event of the year, the annual radio auction fundraiser. This year’s auction is set for Monday, Dec. 8 and Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. The auction will be broadcast on KDQN 92.1 FM, but members of the public are also invited to bid in person at First State Bank.
The auction will feature awide variety of items donated by local business and individuals. The number to call to participate in the auction is (870) 642-4423.

This is a great place to do some of your Christmas shopping while supporting the local Lions Club and its mission in the area. Proceeds from the auction will be used to support the Lions Club’s mission to provide eyeglasses for disadvanteged children in Sevier County. On average, the organization donates around 30 pairs of eyeglasses each year.

For more information or if your business or organization would like to donate to this year's auction, contact Teri Hart at (870) 584-4400.

Dec 5, 2014, 09:10

De Queen City Council accepts 2015 budget
By Patrick Massey

The De Queen City Council met Tuesday night to accept the city's 2015 operating budget. Next year's budget will total $6,664,144 in city expenditures.

In contrast to last year's budget - which included $2.5 million for relocation of the city's raw water line - the proposed 2015 budget is fairly lien in capital expenditures.
City employees will see an across-the-board raise of 45 cents an hour.

The De Queen Police Department's buget includes funds for the purchase of two bullet-proof vests as well as two new Chevy Tahoe police vehicles for a cost of $33,000 each. The figure includes the cost of completely outfitting the Tahoes with police packages.

The budget also includes $10,000 for the rehabilitation of the press box at the De Queen Sportsplex, as well as a $12,000 sodium aluminate tank for the city's wastewater treatment plant which would be used to help control phosphates released by the Pilgrim's poultry processing plant. Also included is an extra payment of $255,000 for the city's loan on the sewer plant, which was constructed in 2007.

Overall, city officials say the budget is conservative with no major capital projects or expeditures set for 2015.

Dec 5, 2014, 08:57

Hole in One – T. Ray Wilson of De Queen, pictured center, recently hit his second hole-in-one using a driver on the first hole at the De Queen Country Club. Wilson, who has golfed for nearly 50 years, hit his first hole-in-one five years ago. He is pictured with witnesses Spike Dunlop, left, and Jerry Don Roberts. Herman Jackson also witnessed Wilson’s hole-in-one.

Dec 5, 2014, 08:55

Applications now available for Rescue Unit’s Toys for Tots event
DE QUEEN – Members of the Sevier County Rescue Unit are preparing for their biggest event of the year, the Toys for Tots drive to help bring Christmas to needly children this holiday. A fundraiser was held last month to help raise funds for the annual project, but the work is just beginning as members will soon begin purchasing the thousands of items to be given away to children during this year's event.
Rescue Unit member Mac McDaniel said he and a few others usually spend two to three days shopping for toys.

"We'll go shop for a few hours for two or three evenings," he said. "Altogether I'd say it's about eight or nine hours of buying toys."

Local residents who want to participate in the Toys for Tots program will be able to fill out applications starting in December. Applications have been handed out to a variety of local businesses and offices, including Coy Wiles Tire Company, The De Queen Bee, KDQN, Don's EZ Pay, De Queen City Hall, Shoe Depot and Shur-Copi.

Applications will also be placed in Horatio and Lockesburg.
Parents who wish to have their children participate must present photo ID as well as a current check stub, proof of Social Security income and/or unemployment benefits.
Social Security cards for your children must be presented at time of toy pickup. Applications must be returned by 12 p.m. on Dec. 15. There is a limit of one application per family. No applications will be provided at the door.

The toy drive will be held on Friday, Dec. 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the National Guard Armory on 610 North Lakeside in De Queen.
McDaniel said anyone who didn't make it out to the fundraiser is still welcomed to contribute by mailing their donation to Sevier County Rescue Unit, P.O. Box 884, De Queen, AR 71832.

First founded in 1980, the Sevier County Rescue Unit has been performing the Toys for Tots drive for over 30 years. Members recognized many children in the county were going without Christmas, so they decided to step in to help. Over the years the program has grown by leaps and bounds, from just a handful of kids when the program first started to the hundreds that apply for the program these days. Also, originally limited funds required the group to buy used toys, but nowadays all purchased toys are bought new from stores.

The program has received a lot of help over the years, and not just from the supporters who attend the dinner fundraiser. Besides the National Guard, the De Queen High School Interact Club has provided volunteer labor for years while the Argenbright Band performs annually at the dinner fundraiser.

The Rescue Unit's efforts along with the support the group receives from the community has added up into a successful and much-anticipated program.

"I think this is a really good thing for our community," said Rescue Unit member Jerry Davis. "Without this, some of these kids might not have had anything under the Christmas tree."

Dec 5, 2014, 08:53

Art Teacher of the Year – Lori Vallee, De Queen Middle School art teacher, was recently honored as the 2014 Arkansas Middle Level Art Educator of the Year at the recent 2014 Arkansas Educator's Conference in Little Rock.

Dec 5, 2014, 08:52

DQPD, sheriff’s office provide safety tips for holiday season
DE QUEEN – Members of the De Queen Police Department and the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office have provided the public with some tips to keep in mind to prevent thefts during the Christmas shopping season.

“This is the time a lot of people are out there going shopping, but it’s also when we see more burglaries and thefts,” said Sonny Kimmell, an investigator with the DQPD. “Keeping that in mind, the public can do some things to protect themselves and not end up having their Christmas ruined because of a theft.”

The following are tips for preventing a terrible holiday surprise from occurring during your shopping experience:

Package deliveries will multiply as holiday gifts are ordered, shipped to loved ones, and received from generous friends and family. Unfortunately, thieves are out there stealing packages from porches before residents return home from work or from being out and about.

Request a signature confirmation of delivery. By doing this, the deliverer will have to wait until you're available or else deliver the package to an at-home neighbor.

Encourage trustworthy neighbors to watch for deliveries and agree to secure each other's packages. This includes being watchful for any stranger who is going onto porches or following delivery trucks.
If you have an understanding boss, have your packages delivered to you at work.

Track packages online to see exactly when they are en route to your house. Take advantage of couriers' text notification service letting you know when a package has been delivered.
Provide special instructions for where to place the delivered packages. A good place might be on the side or back of the house so that the package is out of sight from the road.

Holiday Shopping means increasing amounts of shopping bags and boxes to cart around. Many people will take these to their vehicles and then go back into the store to continue shopping. Know that there are thieves watching this and then taking the unattended items from vehicles.

They might also try to steal it from the person while on the way to the vehicle. Stressful holiday shopping can cause people who are normally cautious to become careless. Here are some tips to prevent vehicle burglary and strong arm robbery:

Do not leave vehicles unlocked. Some thieves will break a window to get it, but if the door is unlocked it is much easier for them to get inside.

Park in well-lit and highly visible areas.

Make eye contact with every person in the parking lot on your way to the vehicle. Because the potential thief does not want to be seen, this makes you a less desirable target.

Have the keys to your vehicle in hand before walking out of the store. This will prevent you from having your attention diverted digging around for keys.

Stay off your phone while walking. The call or text telling someone that you got the perfect gift can wait until you are safely inside of your vehicle. Talking or texting while walking diverts your attention and makes you a more accessible target.

Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If shopping at night, go with a friend or family member.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. If you are paying with cash, keep it separated in small amounts instead of a large wad that is easily seen when purchasing items. "Don't flash your cash."

Keep purses and wallets under your control. Do not leave a purse in the basket unzipped for all to see what is inside. If you can avoid carrying a purse or wallet, then do so.

Holiday travel will increase due to family members living away from each other. Social media is an excellent way to share with others that we are with our families and having a great time. However, this also lets thieves know when you are not home, and you can potentially be target for a home burglary. Here are some tips to prevent home burglary:

Do not post on social media about being out of town or away from home. If you want to share your visit, wait until you return home. They will all still know, but the post will read: "we had a great time with our family and are happy to be HOME now."

Find a close friend, relative, or trustworthy neighbor to keep an eye on your property while you're gone. This includes taking out the trash on trash day, feeding your animals, and picking up your mail and newspapers. Undone, these are all clear signs that no one is home. Keep in mind gift cards that come in the mail are easy shopping for a thief.

If you have an alarm-monitored home, make sure the contact list is updated. If the alarm is activated and the house needs securing, this is the best way to aid the police in locating a responsible person to secure the home.

Set your alarm if you have one, even during the daytime or if you are going to be out of the house for only a short period. Theft happens during all hours.
Do not leave gifts under the Christmas tree when away from home for an extended period of time. This makes for an easy way for a thief to grab up everything.

Dec 5, 2014, 08:50

Horatio, De Queen Schools receive reward money
LITTLE ROCK – School buildings in both Horatio and De Queen have been recognized by the Arkansas Department of Education for top performance over the past school year.

Based on results from the 2014 school year, as authorized through the Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program, 215 public schools are recognized as high performing schools. This is a 4.87 percent increase compared to last year's results. The program recognizes the top 20 percent of schools based on academic achievement, academic growth and graduation rates.

Those recognized include Horatio High School, De Queen Elementary, De Queen Middle School, De Queen Junior High and De Queen Primary. Each of these schools were listed in the report's top 20 percent.
A total of $7 million from the governor's allocation of the General Improvement Fund has again been designated for the program this school year. 

Schools in the top 10 percent this year are eligible to receive $90 per student. Schools in the top 11 to 20 percent are eligible to receive $45.10 per student. Schools receiving recognition funds must establish a committee to determine the best use of the funds. The committee includes the principal, a teacher elected by the faculty, and a parent representative selected by the local Parent Teacher Association or another parental involvement group.

Schools can use the funds for faculty and staff bonuses, educational equipment and materials, or personnel to assist with improving or maintaining student performance.

For its performance under the program, Horatio High School will receive an additional $17,569.22 in funding. De Queen Middle School will receive $17,143.75; De Queen Primary will receive $27,608.01; De Queen Junior High will receive $15,113.40; and De Queen Elementary School will earn an extra $24.248.19 in funding.

Lee Smith, superintendent for the Horatio School District, said the high school's scores in the report were a testament to a community-wide effort to increasing student performance.

"This is all due to the work of our teachers, principals, support staff and our students, who are working diligently to keep up their academic success," said Smith. "This is also a result of the parental involvement and support our kids receive at home. The parents have also played a big part in this recognition. This is certainly a well-deserved award for those who worked hard to earn it."

Dec 5, 2014, 08:31

Lawsuit takes aim at new nursing home in De Queen
Litigation in Brookewood contractual breach case
spreads to owners, De Queen Therapy and Living Center

By Patrick Massey

A new lawsuit filed on the behalf of the recipients of a $6 million judgement against Brookewood Nursing and Rehab in De Queen has taken aim at the owners of the former nursing center as well as the facility which recently replaced it.

The suit, filed earlier this month in the Sevier County Circuit Court, claims Brookewood has paid nothing to date toward the $6 million judgement or attorney's fees granted to De Queen Physical Therapy owners Darin and Kim Tollett following a three-day jury trial against Brookewood in July. The suit suggests Brookewood claimed it would be unable to pay the sum due to a lack of liability insurance for such legal action.

In the new lawsuit, the Tolletts are asking the court to pierce the corporate veil by declaring the Marinicks general partners rather than limited partners of Brookewood - thus holding the Marinicks personally liable for the damages awarded to the Tolletts in the earlier lawsuit.

In an amendment to the new lawsuit, the Tollets' company is also suggesting the Marinicks violated state law by transferring the former Brookewood facility to a new operator after the July jury trial in an attempt to hide assets that could be used towards the Tolletts' $6 million award.

The Kilgore family, which owns a consortium of assisted living facilities in Arkansas including the new De Queen Therapy and Living Center (DQTLC), said it signed a seven-and-a-half year lease in September of 2014 to takeover operations at the former Brookewood nursing home.

To read the complete article, please see the Nov. 20 edition of The De Queen Bee.


EARLY WINTER – Residents in Sevier County had a bit of shock when they woke up Monday morning to find the area had already received its first snow of the year. Parts of the county received as much as an inch or more of snow. Fortunately, warmer weather is expected for the near future. More photos of Monday’s snow can be seen in this week's edition of The Bee.

Dec 4, 2014, 08:28

Horatio High School graduate, others killed in I-30 accident
TEXARKANA – A multi-vehicle accident over the weekend took the lives of three college students, including one who recently graduated from Horatio High School.

According to a report released by the Arkansas State Police, Daniel Gonzalez, 18, of Horatio, was killed after a 2000 Freightliner struck their 2006 Mazda on Interstate 30. Investigators determined that the Mazda was hit after attempting to merge onto I-30 around 1:40 a.m. on

Saturday, Nov. 22. Gonzalez, who was attending college in Texarkana, was pronounced dead at the scene along with two other students, 21-year-old Nathaniel Rodriguez and Sofia George, 21. All three were pronounced at 3 a.m.

Three others were injured in the accident and taken to St. Michael for care. The driver of the truck, 25-year-old Gilberto Cardenas, was not injured according to the ASP report.
Students at Texas A&M and Texarkana College held a candlelight vigil for the victims on Monday.

Services for Gonzalez were set for 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 26 at St. Barabara Catholic Church with burial to follow in the Horatio Cemetery. A rosary was held at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Nov 27, 2014, 13:26

Horatio Honor Society to hold Christmas Party for foster children
HORATIO – It is once again time for the Horatio High School Honor Society to host is annual Christmas Party for foster children in Sevier and Little River Counties. The response last year was wonderful and organizers are again asking for the community’s support in bringing joy to these children’s lives.

The group is asking for new toys and cash donations in support of the party. Cash donations can be taken to First National Bank in De Queen and deposited in the Sevier County Cherub Fund. Please list what business or individual is making the donation.

If you would like to donate new toys, bring them to the Department of Human Services office in De Queen. Call (870) 832-4763 for more information.

Nov 26, 2014, 15:26