Local News | Southwest Arkansas Daily (2022)

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Damaged power line causes outage at DQ four-way, adjacent area 09/09/22

UPDATE: Power has returned to the four-way junction and the traffic lights are again operable

DE QUEEN – De Queen Fire Marshall Dennis Pruitt informed the public Friday morning that damage to a main power line earlier this morning around the Hwy 70/71 Junction in De Queen resulted in a loss of power both north and east of the junction.

In addition there was no power to the traffic lights at the four-way junction. Commuters were advised that delays are likely if their drive takes them through the junction.

De Queen police officers were directing traffic through the four-way.

Power is returned to the traffic lights at the junction and the damaged power line repaired, the De Queen Police Department stated around 9 a.m. Friday morning.

LRCO man pleads not-guilty to first-degree murder 09/09/22

ASHDOWN – A Little River County man has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge after he was arrested in late July for allegedly shooting his girlfriend’s son.

According to records in the Little River Circuit Court, 65-year-old Walter Duermit entered the not-guilty plea during a court appearance on Tuesday. Duermit was formally charged with first-degree murder last week following an investigation by Little River County authorities.

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The charge stems from an incident on July 26. That night Little River County deputies were dispatched to a residence on Little River County Road 170 after receiving a report about a fatal shooting in the home. Dispatchers were informed by a woman on the phone that her boyfriend had shot and killed her son.

When deputies arrived they secured the scene and identified the boyfriend as 65-year-old Walter Duermit. The victim, 37-year-old Joshua Yeager, was found deceased inside the home.

Duermit was then arrested for the offense of murder and taken to the Little River County Jail.

The arrest affidavit states Duermit allegedly admitted to shooting Yeager following an altercation at the home. Duermit reportedly told investigators that Yeager was unarmed when he retrieved a gun and shot Yeager once.

Upon a conviction, the Class Y felony offense of first-degree murder carries a sentence of 10 to 40 years or life imprisonment.

CRSD announces plans for brand-new football program 09/09/22

WICKES – In exciting local athletic news, the Cossatot River School District has plans to launch a brand-new football program for the 2023-2024 school year.

In a press release sent on Thursday, Cossatot River Superintendent Tyler Broyles announced the district is exploring an inaugural football program for the next school year. In addition the district is also looking at a brand-new volleyball program to begin next year as well.

For football, Broyles said interest from students is prompting the district to start with a seventh to ninth-grade junior high football program. He said the district would phase into a senior high program based on advice received from outside officials.

Planning will start immediately with an off season to begin as early as this spring in preparation for games for the next school year in 2023-2024. Broyles said the district will take a similar approach for a volleyball team.

Broyles said the announcement is part of his vision for the district of unity and growth. Starting these programs he explained is essential to ensure the district continues to offer its students exciting options to grow personally, academically, and athletically. Cossatot River School District is the third largest school in its basketball conference, yet is one of the very few which do not offer football and volleyball.

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Broyles said it remains to be seen if the programs will become viable. But, Broyles said, the district is now positioned to successfully expand into these programs.

Broyles added this announcement and other recent developments have made this an exciting time for the Cossatot River School District as it continues to progress forward as a district.

Ashdown Public Schools announces $6K retention incentive for teachers 09/09/22

By Ronda Pounds, Ashdown Public Schools

All contracted staff employees of the Ashdown School District were notified on September 7th that they will receive a $6000 recruitment and retention incentive during the 2022-2023 school year.

According to Superintendent Casey Nichols, “All staff members will receive the incentive as we realize that each employee plays an important role in the daily operation of our district. In addition, the district understands that each group of employees serving our students, are currently difficult to recruit and retain. Therefore, the Ashdown School District is offering a retention incentive, for all ‘contract staff members’ that are under contract at the time payment is issued.”

As part of this incentive, each contract employee will receive a $2,000 payment in September 2022, followed by a $2,000 payment in November 2022, and another $2,000 payment in February 2023. To receive any of these funds, the employee must be a contract certified or classified employee of Ashdown Public Schools at the time of the designated payment schedule above.

The entire $6,000 will be paid for with the district’s remaining ARP ESSER funds. Mr. Nichols also added, “Our goal in this effort is to ensure that we are able to recruit and retain great staff members for our students throughout the duration of the 22-23 school year, despite the difficulties associated with the current pandemic.”

With the announcement, Mr. Nichols thanked all staff members forbeing “ALL IN” for our students!

American Legion hosting Turkey Shoot this weekend in Cove 09/09/22

COVE – The American Legion Post 249 will host a Turkey Shoot competition this Saturday, Sept. 10 in Cove.

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The event kicks off at 10 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m. with a variety of shooting contests throughout the day. That includes a skeet shoot, rifles, handguns, bows and crossbows. Cost is $5 a person per round for all shooters. Organizers say no shot larger than 7 ½ load and shells larger than 2 ¾ are allowed.

Food and drinks will be available during the competition. The event is being held at 1081 Polk Road 31 in Cove. At Cove, turn east and follow the signs.

Proceeds will go to support local veterans in the community.

Giant salvinia concerns return following infestation at nearby Mercer Bayou 09/09/22

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was forced to close all three boat ramps to Mercer Bayou in Miller County near Fouke last weekend in response to the discovery of giant salvinia, a fast-spreading nuisance plant that is not native to the United States.

Matt Horton, AGFC aquatic nuisance species coordinator, said crews worked over the holiday weekend to contain and remove any of the plant they could find and survey the rest of the lake to ensure it had not spread further.

The Norman Westmoreland Boat Access is still closed, but after a thorough search throughout the rest of the bayou and the placement of booms in the canal that block off the affected area, the AGFC has been able to reopen the other two ramps on the bayou.

The infestation was reported late last week and confirmed Friday afternoon. Dylan Hann, AGFC fisheries supervisor in southwest Arkansas said the report came from Joe Stuckey, a retired forester who was enjoying a wildlife-watching trip when he noticed the plant.

Thanks to this early identification, Horton hopes the AGFC can remove the threat, just as it did in 2017 at Smith Park Lake and in 2020 at Millwood Lake.

Conservation departments spend millions each year trying to control giant salvinia and other aquatic nuisance vegetation. As with most invasive species, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Once giant salvinia enters a body of water, it grows rapidly to cover the surface of a lake or stream, spreading aggressively by budding new plants. Giant salvinia can double in mass every three to four days. A single plant can multiply so rapidly that the plant will cover hundreds of acres within a few months. It forms floating mats that shade and crowd out important native plants, reduce oxygen content and degrade water quality for fish and other aquatic organisms, and block fishing and boating access.

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Horton encourages all boaters to visit the AGFC’s webpage on aquatic nuisance species,www.agfc.com/ansand learn how to identify some of the alien invaders that can harm Arkansas’s waters. The page also has a link to a reporting tool in case you see one of these noxious organisms while enjoying a day on the water.

It only takes one tiny plant, stuck to a boat trailer or hanging on duck decoys, to create a new infestation in your favorite fishing or hunting waters. All of this can be prevented by taking a minute to clean off your boat, trailer and recreational equipment between trips and allowing them to dry out.

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