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“This is Home” -Sixty years of Scissors, Succession and Service in Sevier County, Arkansas

Jeff and Gehri in front of Jeff’s Barber Shop

DE QUEEN, AR— After finishing High School, Gehri Packnett was looking for a job when he discovered an opportunity that ended up lasting him a lifetime.

In February of 1962, he walked into a Barber shop in De Queen, Arkansas and he hasn’t had any other job since being given a chance that day. After completing barber college in Little Rock, Gehri began his career at the shop that was then called “George’s,” and after 10 years he bought the business and changed the storefront’s name to his own in 1972. The shop changed ownership again 36 years later in 2008 when Gehri’s stepson, Jeff purchased it and gave the store his name. Now, the duo work side by side together and provide services for a faithful base of clients who have counted on them since the days of their first childhood trims.

 Cutting hair on the Downtown Square in De Queen was the first job Gehri ever got, the only job he has ever had, and the only job he says he ever wants. In February 2022, the Oklahoma native will celebrate 60 years of visiting with customers, sharing stories, preparing locals for special occasions and “making those guys look good.”

For six decades, Gehri has watched the community change and grow as businesses in the Southwest border town have come and gone over the years. Continue Reading →

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The Road to the Death Penalty Often Begins with Childhood Abuse

OKChildren

OKLAHOMA CITY – A warning to readers: this column contains graphic details. Oklahoma inmate John Grant was executed at 4:21 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28. On Nov. 13, 1998, Grant, serving time for armed robbery, fatally stabbed 58-year-old Kitchen Supervisor Gay Carter with a sharpened screwdriver at the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy. Continue Reading →

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Miller County Republican Committee to Host Former State Chair Doyle Webb

Former State Chair Doyle Webb, candidate for Arkansas Lt. Governor will speak at the November Republican Meeting. Miller County, AR: The Miller County Republican Committee (MCRC) will hold their monthly meeting Tuesday, November 9, at Reggies Burger on Stateline. The meeting will start at 6:30 and feature guest speaker Doyle Webb. Webb is a former Chair of the Republican Party of Arkansas and a candidate for Lt. Governor of Arkansas. Webb will speak first, followed by a ten-minute recess to allow guests and members to talk directly with Webb. Continue Reading →

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Four Child Advocates Honored During OICA Fall Forum

OKLAHOMA CITY – During its recently concluded annual Fall Forum meeting, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) announced four winners of two awards recognizing excellence in child advocacy and philanthropy. Nominations for the awards were made online by members of the public. From those nominations, a committee of child advocates selected this year’s winners. Three individuals were selected for the Steven A. Novick Child Advocacy Award:

Kevin Evans, executive director of Western Plains Youth & Family Services (WPYFS);Clotiel Howard, chief executive officer and founder of Hope for the Future, a nonprofit supervised visitation center; andMark Mann, vice president of the Board of Education for Oklahoma City Public Schools and co-founder of the Onward Oklahoma Foundation. The award is named for Steven A. Novick, legal counsel for the children who brought forth the “Terry D” lawsuit against the State of Oklahoma. Continue Reading →

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Michael Rayburn Announces Candidacy for District 8 Justice of the Peace in Miller County

Image provided by Elect Michael Rayburn for District 8 JP

Miller County, AR: Michael Rayburn is announcing his candidacy for Justice of the Peace of District 8. Rayburn is a 1998 graduate of Genoa High School and a Navy veteran. He holds a Bachelor of History and a Masters in business. In 2018, he retired from the Navy and returned to his hometown of Genoa to raise his family.

While serving twenty years in the Navy, Rayburn served in a variety of capacities. He was the Lead Financial Counselor for a large Navy Command where he had to oversee 2400 sailors and their training. He also taught at Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University where his primary focus was to help hundreds of people learn how to become debt-free and retire with financial freedom. During his last six years in the Navy, he was stationed at the National Security Agency as a Cryptologist.

Rayburn currently operates a vending machine company and Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning of Texarkana. He has since opened Oxi Fresh in Sherman, De Kalb, and Clarksville Texas, and has taken over the operation of the Oxi Fresh in Shreveport and Bossier City Louisiana.

Rayburn is a member of the Miller County Republican Committee where he has been active and represented the public as a member of the Miller County Elections Commission.  Rayburn has turned in his resignation to the Elections Commission and will focus his political experience from that position on his run for Justice of the Peace of District 8. 

Michael and his wife Cherrie plan to continue to live in Genoa and raise their three children in that area.  Rayburn states that during his time in the Navy he was in twenty-three different countries, and despite being able to see the world, he could not wait until it was time to retire.  Rayburn says he had one place and one place only where he wanted to spend his life and that was Miller County, Arkansas.  Rayburn says he feels a strong need to serve the community where he grew up and the place he has always called home. Additional information about Michael Rayburn for District 8 Justice of the Peace may be obtained online at Facebook. Continue Reading →

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Chris Carnahan Visits Texarkana on the Campaign Trail

Judge Chris Carnahan is a candidate for the Arkansas Supreme Court, Position 2

Judge Chris Carnahan

Texarkana, AR: Judge Chris Carnahan visited the Miller County Republican Committee in Texarkana Tuesday evening to present his case for election to the Arkansas Supreme Court, Position 2.  He was accompanied by his father, a retired Arkansas State Trooper, and welcomed by the committee for his second visit.  Judge Carnahan presented facts about his history as a lawyer, a Circuit Judge, a Special Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, and his current position as Divisions One State District Court Judge. 

Judge Carnahan has a long history of trying to assist defendants to reclaim their own lives rather than having them spend time in the Arkansas overcrowded prison system.  For nonviolent offenders and traffic offenses, he often seeks community service instead of fines.  Carnahan stated that if a defendant cannot pay their fine, then a court imposing a fine is simply a way to return the defendant time and time again to the same courtroom setting.  By providing alternatives to fines, the community has benefited and the defendant can often avoid a second round in a courtroom over unpaid fines. 

Carnahan currently presides over a Sobriety Court with a target of treating people with alcohol and addiction problems.  One rumor concerning the judge which has followed him into the campaign trail is that he is more likely to sentence a misdemeanor defendant to school.  Often he is faced with misdemeanors where it is apparent to the court that the defendant does not have the means to lift themselves out of the cycle of crime.  Access to a GED and other educational and service-related sentencing has allowed people to find employment and leave criminal activities behind. 

Carnahan has a past history of serving as an Executive Director for the Republican Party of Arkansas.  He is a member of the Gun Owners of American and the National Rifle Association (NRA).  He believes in the rule of law and in providing a fair and open trial for any and all defendants.  Perhaps most importantly in the Judge’s life is his relationship with Christ.  He expresses not only to be a follower of Christ during conversations, but he also proudly proclaims this relationship in his campaign material.  When asked about the Constitution, Carnahan referred immediately to a quote he has on his flyers.  He says, “I will protect the entire Constitution and promise you that I will not legislate from the bench.”  Several legislators were present for the visit Tuesday evening, and Carnahan referred to them for issues of legislation and law-making.  He stressed that was not the job of a judge, an attitude he promises to carry to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Continue Reading →

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Republican Women to Host Social at Crossties Event Center

The Miller County Republican Women will host a social event on Tuesday, September 28, from 4-6 pm at Crossties in Texarkana. Texarkana, AR: The Miller County Republican Women (MCRW) will hold a membership social on September 28th at Crossties in downtown Texarkana. The social event will feature a key speaker, the Republican Chair of Arkansas, Jonelle Fulmer. In addition, several outstanding guests are expected to attend, including chairs from surrounding counties in Arkansas and Texas. According to MCRW member Diana Lowe, elected officials from the area have been invited as well as fellow Republicans from Texas. Continue Reading →

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Bowie County Launches their ACT® Work Ready Community Initiative

Texarkana, Texas—Bowie County announced today, they have engaged in the process to become a certified ACT® Work Ready Community (ACT® WRC). This practice demonstrates their commitment to developing a strong workforce pipeline, desirable to employers, economic developers, and current and future citizens of the county. Earlier this year, Miller County began the process and now Bowie County is on board to work with the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce and Miller County to enhance our workforce in the Texarkana Region. “Bowie County is excited to work with the Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce and Miller County to become a certified ACT® Work Ready Community.  This is a regional effort to develop a talent pipeline for our employers, and Bowie County is excited to support this initiative. The ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate® (ACT® WorkKeys® NCRC®) is the basis for industry-driven efforts that link education, workforce, and economic development,” said Judge Bobby Howell, Bowie County Judge. Continue Reading →

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Care Providers Oklahoma Responds to President Joe Biden’s Nursing Home Vaccine Mandate

New Requirements Could Cause Unprecedented Workforce Catastrophe

OKLAHOMA CITY – Care Providers Oklahoma, the association representing Oklahoma’s skilled nursing professionals and residents, today released the following statement in response to President Joe Biden’s announcement that all skilled nursing staff must be vaccinated:

“Oklahoma’s skilled nursing facilities, through a combination of successful vaccination campaigns and rigorous safety protocols, are now clearly the safest places in Oklahoma for vulnerable seniors when it comes to COVID protection. In the week of August 8-14, for example, the state’s Epidemiology Report indicates that skilled nursing and long-term care (LTC) settings had just 44 new COVID cases among residents across over 600 facilities, representing just .28% of the state’s total portion of new cases. That number has fallen precipitously since the last week of December 2020, when skilled nursing/LTC reported 443 new cases among residents, representing 2.4% of the state’s total caseload. As the Delta variant continues to explode across the state and country, Oklahoma nursing homes have largely kept COVID under control and offered the most successful protection to their residents available anywhere. “For that reason, it is extremely frustrating and disappointing to see the Biden Administration single out nursing homes as the only health care provider facing a federal vaccination mandate. More importantly, this mandate will transform the current workforce shortage in the skilled nursing profession (where administrators report upwards of 20% of jobs are going unfilled) into an untenable crisis that could result in facility closures and the complete abandonment of vulnerable seniors.“Today, approximately 49% of Oklahoma’s skilled nursing staff and 82% of our residents are fully vaccinated, which significantly outpaces the state average of 42%. Continue Reading →

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TWU Director J.D. Phillips to Retire

TEXARKANA, USA—The Director of the Texarkana Water Utility J.D. Phillips intends to retire on August 30, 2021. Phillips has worked for TWU for 31 years, beginning his career in February of 1990. Phillips began his employment for TWU as the Engineering Manager, and was named Interim Executive Director in 2015. His title as Executive Director became official in May of 2016. Texarkana, Arkansas City Manager Jay Ellington compliments Phillips on his career. Continue Reading →

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