State owes county jail $15,000 for housing of felony prisoners
By Patrick Massey

A recently released report shows the State Department of Corrections owes over $5.8 million in reimbursement funds to Arkansas counties who are being forced to house state inmates in county jails.

The report was issued by the Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) and details the amount owed to each county as reimbursement for housing inmates who otherwise should be serving their time in a state correctional facility.

Of the almost $6 million in overdue reimbursements, around $15,000 is owed to the Sevier County Jail. While this amount is small compared to some other counties - for instance, the state owes $54,000 to the Howard County Jail, $50,000 to Little River County and $961,000 to Pulaski - jail officials say the debt nevertheless makes a noticeable impact in an era of budget cuts and belt-tightening.

"Sure, it's something we really have to think about when it comes to our budget," said Sevier County Sheriff Benny Simmons. "We're trying to keep costs down on everything we can, so when you have $15,000 floating around out there, it's definitely something that's on your mind."

The reimbursements are designed to pay county jails for the expense of housing inmates who are supposed to be serving their time in a state prison. Because of overcrowding in the state's prison system and stricter parole guidelines which keep inmates in prison longer, the state has been unable to takeover custody of thousands of newly-sentenced inmates.

That means county jails have been forced to foot the bill of housing and feeding these inmates.

The AAC reports nearly 25 percent of inmates currently housed in Arkansas county jails are awaiting transfer to a state prison.

To read the complete article, please see the Oct. 30 edition of The De Queen Bee.

A Helping Hand: Church ministry builds roof for DQ resident
Helping Hands – From left, Horatio First Assembly of God Pastor John Gutierres, homeowner Eugene Edens, and A 2 Z Construction owner Gary Giusti pose in front of Edens home. The church’s Helping Hands Ministry gathered volunteers and material to replace the leaking roof over Eden’s home during an event held Saturday.

By Patrick Massey

Although only a year old, the Helping Hands Ministry at Horatio First Assembly of God has made a name for itself helping folks in need - whether it's fixing a broken step at someone's home or building a wheelchair ramp at a place in need of one. The group, however, took on its biggest task to date when church members met at the home of Eugene Edens in De Queen to replace the aging and leaking roof over his house.

Church members and volunteers met at Edens home on Treating Plant Road Saturday morning to begin working on the roof. Around two dozen people turned out to help replace the roof and assist the volunteers, including a group of cooks who served fried fish and smoked brisket to the volunteers as well as members of the public who stopped by to purchase a plate.

A crew with A 2 Z Construction of Lockesburg provided expert volunteers at no cost to help with the project. Material for construction of the new roof was donated by Bailey Lumber Company of Broken Bow, Okla., Bailey's Discount Building Supply in De Queen and Moyer Equipment in De Queen.

The Helping Hands Ministry decided to take on the roof project after hearing about the leaks and other issues the roof was causing at Edens' home. Edens, who is 85-years-old, had heart surgery scheduled, and church members used the opportunity to surprise him with the new roof.

"The last thing I heard before I went into surgery was that I was getting a new roof," said Edens.

"That certainly lifted my spirits when I went into the operation. What these folks are doing for me by replacing my roof is a real blessing. It shows me there are still a lot of good people in our county."

To read the complete article, please see the Oct. 30 edition of The De Queen Bee.

2012 Graduation

2012 Graduation

Tri State Business Directory

Sevier County voters head to the polls Nov. 4
City Council begins budget discussions
Humane Society hopes to move forward with proposed shelter
Winthrop school committee raises over $4k at benefit
Area runners finish Chicago Marathon
A few things to know about Ebola before panicking
New De Queen business arises from adversity
Local residents show award-winning livestock at Arkansas State Fair
Ben Lomond suffers brunt of storm damage in county
Record passing effort not enough
CC Leopards win conference
Cubs overwhelm Malvern
DHS golfers third, fourth
Fast times for cross country Leopards
Cubs beat Magnolia
Bobcats top Leopards
Leopards win Silo meet
Leopards lose to Panthers
Gators down Lions

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