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Virus cases at University of Arkansas approaching 1,000

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The University of Arkansas says the number of active coronavirus cases on its main campus in Fayetteville is approaching 1,000.

The university on Monday reported 439 new cases during the weekend, bringing its total active cases to 923. The vast majority of the cases are students, the university said.

The state Health Department in a separate report said the school has 961 active cases.

The spike comes days after the school moved to restrict on-campus events and off-campus parties over concerns about the outbreak.

Arkansas State University in Jonesboro on Tuesday reported 110 active cases on campus.

Of those 107 cases, 78 are students living off campus, 27 are on-campus students and 5 are university employees, according to the website.

The Arkansas Department of Health on Tuesday reported 294 new confirmed virus cases statewide, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 66,021.

The number of people who died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, rose by nine to 917. The number of people hospitalized rose by 10 to 409.

In Jackson County, the health department reported 195 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 17 active cases, 177 recovered, 5,205 negative, and 1 reported death. The number of confirmed cases increased by 4 over the Labor Day weekend.

On Friday, Sept. 4, the department of health reported 63,081 cases, meaning there were 2,940 new cases reported across the state over the long Labor Day weekend.

On Aug. 31, the state tally stood at 61,224 – an increase of 4,797 since last Monday.

On Labor Day, the state health department reported 350 new cases of the coronavirus and 14 additional deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Deaths in the state were reported to be 861 for the state on Aug. 31, meaning 56 Arkansans have died of coronavirus in the first eight days of September.

The actual number of cases in Arkansas is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

Northeast Arkansas numbers reported by the state Department of Health:

Craighead – 2,139 confirmed (up 181 from Friday), with 347 still active, 1,777 recovered, 25,576 negative tests, 15 deaths.

Lawrence – 271 confirmed (up 13 from Friday), 27 active, 233 recovered, 3,053 negative, 11 deaths.

Greene – 674 confirmed (up 22 from Friday), 52 active, 616 recovered, 10,283 negative, 6 deaths.

Poinsett – 530 confirmed (up 27 from Friday), 65 active, 459 recovered, 5,975 negative, 6 deaths.

Randolph – 325 confirmed (up 13 from Friday), 14 active, 293 recovered, 3,813 negative, 18 deaths.

Clay – 214 confirmed (up 24 from Friday), 35 active, 174 recovered, 3,190, 5 deaths.

Mississippi – 1,442 confirmed (up 54 from Friday), 96 active, 1,312 recovered, 9,999 negative, 34 deaths.

Cross – 337 confirmed (up 48 from Friday), 63 active, 269 recovered, 3,523 negatives, 5 deaths.

Sharp – 157 confirmed (up 5 from Friday), 11 active, 141 recovered, 2,959 negatives, 5 deaths.

WRHS awarded for stroke care efforts

BATESVILLE — White River Health System has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award.

The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

WRHS earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments, aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, schedule a follow-up visit, as well as other care transition interventions.

“WRHS is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines Stroke initiative,” said Gary Paxson, president and CEO of White River Health System. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

“We are pleased to recognize White River Health System for their commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and executive vice chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Entergy donates $1,000 to ‘Monster Nights’

NEWPORT — Unplugged is no way to run an entertainment series. To support the arts scene in Newport, Entergy Arkansas has contributed $1,000 to power the lights at Monster Nights.

The grant will help pay for the installation of a permanent electricity source for the variety of free entertainment hosted by the city.

“Entergy Arkansas employees and shareholders are invested in building communities, not only for our customers, but also because it’s where we live, work, shop and play,” said Michael Considine, Entergy Arkansas vice president for customer service. “In any given year, our donations help a wide range of those in need, from food pantries to United Way chapters that fund local partners like hospital auxiliaries and shelters for abused women and children. One of the areas in which we’re eager to invest in our communities is in arts and culture programs.”

Newport Economic Development Director Jon Chadwell said, “Entergy has always been a valuable partner with Newport and our efforts to improve the quality of life, infrastructure, and economic development for our community. This grant will help with all three areas by helping develop infrastructure for our tourism events, which bring new money into to our economy and provide quality entertainment options for local citizens.”

The city’s Downtown Revitalization and Improvement Volunteer Effort (DRIVE) sponsors free entertainment from May through October each year, including movies in the park, art workshops, live music, cultural performances and events for all ages. The grant from Entergy Arkansas will pay a portion of the costs to install permanent power sources where Monster Nights: Downtown Entertainment Series events are held.

“The DRIVE program has a proven track record of success,” said Area Customer Service Manager Matt Faries, “and we hope this contribution will help the city provide improved infrastructure for larger and more diverse events for years to come.”

More information about Entergy grant programs and applications can be found online at

6 Houston men arrested in truck, ATM theft

JONESBORO — Six men suspected of stealing a pickup truck from a hotel and using it in an attempted ATM theft in Jonesboro were arrested Wednesday in East Texas.

In an incident report, the Jonesboro Police Department reported that the men used a chain and white pickup truck to try and steal a machine from the Regions Bank branch on Southwest Drive. The botched theft caused an estimated $30,000 in damage to the ATM.

The attempt was grouped with a report of a truck stolen from Candlewood Suites. The white 2004 Ford F-250 Supercab was registered to Centerline Electric Company, which is based in Bells, Tenn.

“A large amount of tools and personal effects” with an estimated value of $16,233 were inside the vehicle, the report states.

Nacogdoches, Texas police arrested the suspects following a traffic stop on U.S. 59, according to an incident report. Three of them were in the truck, while the others were in a separate vehicle.

“During the stop officers noted signs of possible criminal activity occurring and conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle,” the Texas report read. “Officers located items and tools consistent with criminal organizations involved in burglaries. Officers were able to make contact with the second vehicle and through investigation noted the subjects had been traveling together and also had items related to ATM burglaries.”

NPD learned of the Regions Bank theft through a joint investigation with JPD and the FBI, it read. Alvin Jackson, 26, Reco Ross, 29, Ronnie OBryant Jr., 27, John Joubert, 29, Dreshawn Anthony, 28, and Judah Frankhagen, 27, all of Houston, were subsequently arrested and jailed in Nacogdoches County.

The men were being held on suspicion of engaging in organized criminal activity, which is a second-degree felony in Texas punishable by 2-20 years in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

As of Thursday, only Ross, Bryant and Jackson have been released, records show. The stolen items were also recovered, the incident report read.

In Jonesboro, the suspects face charges of first-degree criminal mischief causing property damage valued at $25,000 or more, theft of property valued at $25,000 or more, theft of a vehicle valued at less than $25,000 but greater $5,000 and theft of property greater than $5,000 but less than $25,000 from a vehicle, records show.

The local police probe into the thefts are ongoing, said Sally Smith, public information specialist.

“JPD is currently working with other agencies. … No other information will be released at this time.”

Community Calendar

The Newport Economic Development Commission: regular monthly meeting will be 7 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, at the Business Resource Center.

The Newport Planning Commission: will meet at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, in the boardroom at the City of Newport Municipal Building.

Farmers Market: The downtown Newport farmers market is open 7 to 11 a.m. every Saturday and Wednesday or until vendors sell out. Shop for fresh vegetables, baked goods, handmade soaps, masks and more. Be sure to sign up for the Saturday Morning Basket Giveaway. The newest vendor has metal art and can customize his metal items to fit your needs.

Monster Nights – Friday, Sept. 11: Artsy Friday in downtown Newport featuring 20 artists and three bands at four locations from noon to 8 p.m. Artists registered to date are Theresa Cates, Coco Cohen, Lois Davis, Linda Fletcher, Karren Patrick, Nila Trautman, Margaret Todhunter, Kelly VanHook, Rick VanHook, and Christie Young. Artists will be at the Newport Business Resource Center, 201 Hazel Street in Newport. Musicians registered to date (to perform at staggered times) are Grateful Impressions of Jerry Garcia at Postmaster Spirits, Danny Rains at the Old Gas Station Bar & Grill, and Terraplane Deluxe at Frankie’s Place. Free admission at all venues, all within walking distance. Call 870-523-1009 for more info.

Monster Nights – Saturday, Sept. 12: Movies in the Park featuring Mulan (2020 Rated PG-13) in Newport’s downtown park, 412 Front Street from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Free admission, kid friendly. Bring your lawn chair or blanket. Coolers welcome.

ASU-Newport Movies in the Park featuring Playing with Fire: will be on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Front Street Park. The movie will begin at sunset. Bring your lawn chair or blanket.

Monster Groovez concert in the Front Street Park: returns on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Luke Stroud will begin playing at 7 p.m. The show is kid friendly. Bring your lawn chair and join the fun.

Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center: will be hosting a free virtual seminar from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, for those considering starting a small business. Ask questions in real time to the experts! Join the seminar via Zoom using the link https://ZOOM.US/J/91342 42186.

A Spanish Fiesta with Cazateatro: will be on Saturday, Sept. 19, on the Terry Scoggins Memorial Stage beginning at 7 p.m. Everyone come and learn Spanish dances and more about Latin American culture through the scenic arts.