Lawmaker files bill to ban cell phones in public schools

When the 2017 Legislative session begins on January 9, lawmakers will consider a bill that would ban students from using smartphones and other electronic devices at all public schools in Arkansas. State Rep. Kim Hendren, a Republican from Gravette, filed the bill this week It would require each school district to establish a secure, designated area for students to deposit their device at the beginning of the school day and pick them up at the … Continued

Monticello flag lowered in memory of Judge P. Luevonda Ross

The Monticello city flag will be placed at half staff in memory former District Judge P. Luevonda Ross who passed away on Friday. The city flag will remain at half-staff until sundown on Saturday, December 10, the day of Ross’ funeral service. “Judge Ross was passionate about her community and the people she represented on the bench,” said Monticello Mayor Zack Tucker, who signed a proclamation ordering the flag to be lowered. “Her benevolent leadership … Continued

Southeast Arkansas man killed in accident on rain-slick highway

A Rison man was killed late Monday afternoon in a single vehicle accident south of Kingsland in slick highway conditions. Jerry L. Smith, 39, of Rison was traveling north on a rain-slick Highway 79 when his 1990 Honda Accord crossed the center line and southbound lane of the highway before entering the ditch and colliding with several trees. His vehicle came to rest facing south in the southbound ditch, according to an Arkansas State Police … Continued

Plea negotiations underway in Monticello mayor case

Monticello Mayor Zack Tucker will go to trial in February if a plea agreement is not reached by January 17. At an omnibus hearing on Monday, Tucker’s Monticello attorney Hani Hashem told Circuit Judge Bynum Gibson they were close to working out a plea agreement. Gibson gave them a January 17 deadine to work out an agreement. If a plea agreement is not reached by that date Tucker will go to trial the week of … Continued

Ashley County woman dies in automobile accident Monday morning

An Ashley County woman was killed Monday morning in a one-vehicle accident near Portland. Joyce Rita Barbee, 67, of Montrose was traveling north on Highway 165, north of Portland when her vehicle crossed the center line into the southbound lane of the highway, went into a ditch then struck a tree, according to an Arkansas State Police preliminary accident report. Barbee died at the scene of the accident. The accident occurred at 9:35 a.m. The … Continued

Monticello fire contained; one minor injury

  A fierce fire that destroyed the former Burlington carpet mill in Monticello has been contained, but will likely burn for a week before it burns itself out, according to Monticello Fire Chief Kelly Reid. “We’re going to let it burn itself out since there is nothing hazardous there,” Reid said Friday afternoon. “It’s still too hot in there to really get inside to look around at all the debris.” Reid projected it to take … Continued

Two Drew County organizations merge to ‘feed the kids’

As the summer of 2016 unfolded, two Drew County charities found themselves struggling to help those in need. The Drew County Salvation Army’s leader married and moved away, leaving the local organization without leadership. The Advisory Council disbanded. Another local organization, the First Presbyterian Church (FPC) Feed the Kids program, did not have funds to provide for all their clients. The board of directors agreed to continue to feed as many children as possible on … Continued

Drew Memorial named ‘Small Hospital of the Year’ by Arkansas Business

Drew Memorial Hospital in Monticello has been named “Small Hospital of the Year” by Arkansas Business. “We have an award-winning team at Drew Memorial, and I look forward to bringing this back to them,” Drew Memorial Hospital CEO Scott Barrilleaux said as he accepted the award at Arkansas Business’ annual Health Care Heroes luncheon on Wednesday in Little Rock. Arkansas Business Health Care Heroes program honors individuals, companies and organizations that are making a significant … Continued

Update: Suspected car thief captured

3:45 p.m. Orlando Lowe of Monticello was arrested Friday at 3:30 p.m. in southern Drew County about two miles from where he abandoned a car believed to have been stolen Friday morning in Monticello, according to Drew County Sheriff Mark Gober. Lowe’s female companion is also being held for questioning. Law enforcement officials initially believed Lowe’s passenger in the vehicle was a male. While conducting a search of an area west of U.S. 425 South, … Continued

Voter turnout in Southeast Arkansas down from previous presidential election

Voter turnout in Southeast Arkansas was down from the 2012 General Election in all counties except Chicot County which saw a slight increase, according to numbers from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office. Ashley County saw the most significant decrease, followed by Drew County. Voter turnout in Ashley County was down by more than 12 percent from the 2012 General Election, while Drew County saw a decrease of more than 10 percent. In 2012, 7,967 … Continued