2,000 people still without power after Wednesday storm Heavy damage to power lines slowing repairs
Cleaning the Mess - Friends and fellow Arkansas National Guardsmen of John Flores help clear a tree that fell on his home on West Gilson St. in De Queen during yesterday's storm. Although people were inside the home when the tree feel, all were able to escape without injury. Power is still out in parts of the region including over 2,000 people in De Queen.
DE QUEEN – More than 2,000 people are still without electricity in Sevier County after a short but powerful storm system caused extensive damage to the area Wednesday afternoon.
The storm struck De Queen around 4:15 Wednesday afternoon with heavy rain and winds reported to be in excess of 50 mph. Most of the city and surrounding county had lost power by 5 p.m. when the winds caused dozens of trees to fall, many onto power lines. Several homes and vehicles were also damaged throughout the area. No serious injuries were reported but De Queen police officers were notified of a two-vehicle accident on Locke Avenue shortly after the storm began.
Road crews, first responders and linemen braved the storm shortly after it began to begin clearing debris and restoring power, and continued to work into the night and early morning hours. Some reported working throughout the night without rest.
However, by noon Thursday around 2,100 customers in Sevier County were still without electricity. SWEPCO issued an update earlier Thursday explaining some areas of the county would be without power until at least 9 p.m. Friday. Officials say damage was extensive in De Queen and crews were working as quickly as possible.
SWEPCO released the following figures of those affected by the outages and expected repair times in their Texarkana district:
Area abuse shelter preparing for new name, expansion of services DE QUEEN – One out of every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, and a further one in every four American women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. On average, every two minutes someone becomes a victim of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, or more than 12 million people each year. These statistics, compiled by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, highlight a social problem one local nonprofit is hoping to change as it enters a new phase in De Queen.
Courtney White, who took over the duties of Executive Director for the Southwest Arkansas Domestic Violence Center six months ago, said the organization is preparing for an official changeover to a new name, the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center. White said the newly named organization will better reflect the agency’s role in its five-county service area.
“Domestic violence is certainly a major focus for us, but we also tackle a range of other issues including sexual assault, stalking and elder abuse. We also distinguish dating violence from domestic violence," White said.
"We have an array of services available, even if it is only to provide a safe and comfortable place to stay for a night or provide a few groceries to cover them until family members or other support systems can intervene.”
The center will continue to cover an area ranging across southwestern Arkansas, including Sevier, Polk, Pike, Montgomery, and Howard Counties. White said the agency has always included Little River County in its main service area; however, the area also receives services from a domestic violence shelter in Texarkana.
"We felt that they were doing a good job providing services in Little River so we stepped back some from there," she said. "One thing I really want us to focus on now is working more collaboratively with other agencies like the Texarkana shelter, because we can all do a better service to victims out there if we're working together."
The center is also working towards expanding some of its services to Clark County, whose sole abuse center recently closed.
White said one of the team’s big new projects under the Crisis and Resource Center will be assisting victims of human trafficking. The Department of Justice investigates thousands of cases involving people who are bought, sold and smuggled like modern-day slaves each year, and some local officials believe it’s happening locally.
To read the complete article, please see the July 24 edition of The De Queen Bee.