YOUR LOCAL AND REGIONAL NEWS
The National Weather Service says that severe thunderstorms will be possible across much of the Mid-South region from late this afternoon (Friday) into the overnight hours.
Damaging winds will be the primary hazard, but large hail and a few tornadoes are possible as well.
The greatest risk will be across north Mississippi and east-central Arkansas. Locally heavy rainfall will contribute to a flash flooding threat.
Gusty west winds are expected in the area on Saturday, mainly across northeast Arkansas, the Missouri Bootheel, and northwest Tennessee.
Wind gusts may exceed 30 mph at times.
PEDESTRIAN KILLED IN SFC IDED
The pedestrian who was killed in the Caldwell area Thursday morning (4/8) has been identified as a Tennessee man.
The St. Francis County Sheriff’s Department has positively ID’ed the victim as 44-year-old Eric Brashier of Memphis.
The accident happened around 6:30 Thursday morning on Evans Road in Caldwell.
Sheriff’s investigators say that Mr. Brashier was lying on the north side shoulder of Evans Road when he was hit by a westbound pickup truck driven by 29-year-old Harland Melton Jr. of Colt.
The victim was transported to Forrest City Medical Center where he was pronounced dead by County Coroner Miles J. Kimble.
Mr. Melton told sheriff’s investigators that he didn’t see the victim lying on the side of the roadway and thought that he’d possibly hit a dog and had no idea that he’d hit a person.
Melton left the scene of the accident and went on to work, but then returned after hearing reports that a vehicle fitting the description of his truck had been involved in an accident in which a person was injured.
The sheriff’s office says that the accident report has been forwarded to the prosecutor’s office to determine what, if any charges should be filed in the case.
The investigation is ongoing.
EARLY VOTING CONTINUES IN FC ELECTION
Early voting is continuing in the April 13th Special Election in Forrest City.
The City of Forrest City is asking voters to extend a 5/8 cent sales tax to pay for around $16 million in capital improvements.
On the ballot, Forrest City residents can vote yes or no on each of the following 11 capital improvement projects:
--$5.9 million for water improvement projects, including a water softener system and water extension to the Bypass.
--$4.1 million in street improvements, including the Deadrick Road expansion and street enhancements in Wards 1 through 4
--$1 million for Police Department improvements
--$970,000 for Fire Department improvements
--$500,000 for Drainage and Flood Control improvements
--$300,000 for street lighting improvements (Clover Leaf lighting)
--$500,000 for Streetscape Improvements
--$1 million for sewer improvements
--$1million for park and recreation improvements (artificial turf for one baseball and one softball field at the Sports Complex)
--$30,000 for Animal Shelter Improvements
--$500,000 for Library improvements as directed by the Library Board
The three-day early vote total at the end of the day Thursday was 111, an average of 37 voters per day.
Early voting hours are 8:00 to 4:30 through Monday, April 12th in the Quorum Courtroom at the St. Francis County Courthouse.
Election Day is Tuesday, April 13th.
JURY TRIALS TO RESUME
The Arkansas Supreme Court has cleared jury trials to resume next month in circuit courts around the state.
In March of last year, the Supreme Court of Arkansas deemed jury trials an “unnecessary health risk” for everyone involved. That restriction is set to be lifted on May 1.
St. Francis County Circuit Clerk Bette Green says that two orientations for the jury pool will be held on Thursday, May 13. She said that the orientation will be split into two sessions to reduce the amount of people in the courtroom at one time.
Nearly 500 St. Francis County residents can expect to see juror questionnaires in the mail soon. Residents are asked to please fill out the forms completely and return them as soon as possible to the Circuit Clerk’s office in person or by mail.
Ms. Green urged residents receiving questionnaires to pay attention to see if they are in Group A or Group B.
Group A will have orientation May 13 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Group B will have their orientation that afternoon at 1:30 p.m.”
Jurors and all court personnel will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing during the orientations.
For more information, call the St. Francis County Circuit Clerk’s office at 261-1715.
FC VACCINATION CLINICS
A Covid-19 vaccination clinic will be held Sunday (4/11) from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Larry Bryant Center in Forrest City.
The clinic will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a drive through option will be available.
The clinic is sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Health, Forrest City Family Pharmacy and the City of Forrest City.
Registration for the clinic is required. If you need help registering, contact City Hall at 870-633-1315.
A Covid-19 vaccination clinic will be held Thursday (4/15) at the St. Francis County Health Unit located at 413 North Division Street in Forrest City.
The clinic will administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which can only be given to persons 18 years and older. Persons who’re 16-17 years old are advised to only receive the Pfizer vaccine at this time.
There is no out-of-pocket expense for the vaccine, but people should bring their insurance cards to the unit. If they don’t have insurance, the vaccine will still be available at no charge.
ARKANSAS VIRUS UPDATE
Arkansas reported just two new deaths from the coronavirus Thursday, raising the death toll from the virus since March 2020 to 5,662.
The state’s count of coronavirus cases rose by 199 Thursday, a slightly lower daily increase than the one a week earlier.
The number of people hospitalized with covid-19 in Arkansas fell by nine, to 141, its lowest level since June 4. After a rise earlier in the week, Thursday was the second consecutive day in which the number of people hospitalized with the virus in the state fell.
After dropping Wednesday, the number of the state's virus patients who were on ventilators rose by three, to 23.
The number of covid-19 patients who were in intensive care as of 2 p.m. Thursday fell by five, to 62.
ARK VACCINE NUMBERS
According to the CDC, the number of Arkansans who have received at least one vaccine dose rose Thursday by nearly 17,000, representing about 29.8% of the state's population.
The number who had been fully vaccinated rose by over 15,000, or about 17.2% of the population.
Among the states and District of Columbia, Arkansas rose from No. 43 to No. 42 in the percentage of residents who had received at least one vaccine dose.
But the state fell from 46th to 47th in the percentage of its residents who had been fully vaccinated.
Nationally, 33.7% of people had received at least one vaccine dose, and 19.9% had been fully vaccinated.
Health officials say that the state’s low ranking is partly because some people in Arkansas and other Southern states are "still expressing concerns about the vaccines and have not made a decision yet to be vaccinated."
Officials are hoping that will change as people learn more and the vaccines are provided in more medical clinics, where doctors can help alleviate patients' concerns.
FCPD DRUG ARREST
A St. Francis County man was arrested on felony drug and weapon related charges in Forrest City earlier this week.
Forrest City patrol officers were dispatched to the Econo Lodge on Barrow Hill Road just after 7 o’clock Wednesday morning (4-7) to investigate a report of a male subject rummaging through vehicles in the motel’s parking lot.
When officers arrived, they were informed the suspect was still on the premises. Police found the suspect, 26-year-old Michael Weddington of Colt, asleep inside a white SUV parked in a grassy area on the motel property.
Police searched the SUV and found several items that were stolen from the vehicles, including six credit cards, a driver’s license, a social security card and a check book.
Weddington was also in possession of 6.6 grams of meth and two handguns, both of which had been reported stolen.
Weddington was arrested on numerous felony charges including four counts of theft by receiving, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a certain person.
SENATOR INGRAM REPORT
In his radio address this week, State Senator Keith Ingram talks about school funding and teacher pay raises.
Here’s Senator Ingram:
Thanks Senator Ingram.
SFC AND MONROE CO. JOB OPENINGS
The St. Francis County Sheriff’s Department is looking for qualified applicants to fill jailer and dispatcher positions.
Applications can be picked up at the county jail.
Call 870-633-2611 and talk to Lt. Johnnie Jones for more information.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office is looking to immediately hire a Certified Full Time Deputy.
Applications can be picked up at the Monroe County Jail in Clarendon.
FC LIBRARY EVENTS
A representative from Legal Aid of Arkansas will be at the Forrest City Public Library Tuesday (4/13) from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Please call the library at 870-633-5646 to make an appointment.
The Forrest City Public Library’s 100th Anniversary Celebration will be held Saturday, April 17th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be an open house, food and door prizes.
Plus, Marty Boone, the Magic Balloon man will be performing from 12-2 p.m.
The No. 1 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks are on the road at Oxford, Miss. this weekend for a three-game set at Ole Miss.
The Razorbacks are 24-4 on the year; the Rebels sit at 23-6 and are ranked #3 in Baseball America’s most recent poll.
The two teams enter the weekend tied atop the SEC West division standings, both with 7-2 records in conference, setting up a battle for sole ownership of first place.
We’ll have all three games for you on KXJK; AM-950,106.5 FM and HD-2, 93.5 FM. Here’s the series schedule:
--Friday (4/9) – 6:30 p.m.
--Saturday (4/10) – 4 p.m.
--Sunday (4/11) – 1:30 p.m.
For the first time in program history, the No. 8 Arkansas softball team (32-3, 12-0 SEC) plays in a top 10 series at it welcomes No. 3 Alabama (29-4, 9-3 SEC) for a three-game set this weekend at Bogle Park.
Game one begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 9, while game two is set for an 11 a.m. first pitch on Saturday, April 10. The series wraps up at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 11.
Game two will air on ESPN-2.
--Graveside service for Brenda Williams, 69, of Conway, formerly of Forrest City will be Saturday (4/10) at 11 a.m. at Casteel Cemetery in Forrest City. A walk-through visitation will be Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Taylor Chapel CME Church in Forrest City. Masks will be required. McNeal-Coleman Funeral Home of Brinkley is in charge of arrangements.
--Funeral service for Mark Anthony Fitzpatrick, 58, of West Helena will be Saturday (4/10) at 11 a.m. at Second Baptist Church in West Helena. Burial will follow at Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexa. Visitation will be Friday from 4-6 p.m. at the church. Marianna Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
--A Family and Friends Gathering for Mrs. Tolise Thomas Guyton, 60, of Forrest City will be Saturday (4/10) from 2-3 p.m. at Miles J. Kimble Mortuary & Cremation in Forrest City. Miles Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.