Week in Review 11-12 to 11-18

Flippin City Attorney confirms firing of Police Chief, one other

Flippin City Attorney Samuel J. Pasthing confirmed Monday Flippin City Police Chief Dusty Smith and Flippin Police Department's Administrative Assistant Nicole Moore have been fired from their positions with the department. Pasthing says the pair were relieved of their duties November second by text message and the incident (or incidents) surrounding the firing is part of an ongoing investigation.

When questioned by KTLO, Classic Hits 101.7 and The Boot News last Monday, Flippin Mayor Jerald Marberry said comments on the matter would have to go through Pasthing due to the investigation. Pasthing says if the city felt they could have fired Smith and Moore any other way, other than a text message, they would have done so, however circumstances surrounding the investigation didn't leave them any other option.

Mountain Home Police Officer Henry Campfield has accepted the newly vacated position of Flippin Police Chief. Campfield will continue to work for the Mountain Home Police Department, as well as his new position, until the Mountain Home position is filled.

Campfield has been in law enforcement for 16 years working for the Baxter County Sheriff's Department from 2002 to 2009 and for the Mountain Home Police Department from 2009 to the present.

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Father, son charged in sexual indecency case

A father and son from Fulton County have been charged in connection with a sexual indecency case.

According to the probable cause affidavits made available Monday, 76-year-old Larry Allan Ayling has been charged with a felony count of sexual indecency with a child. Ayling's son, 46-year-old Stacy Allan Ayling, has been charged with a felony count of permitting abuse of a child-involved sexual contact. The two are from Salem.

Larry Ayling's bond was set at $15,000, with Stacy Ayling's bond set at $7,500.

The two are scheduled to appear in Fulton County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

The arrests follow a joint investigation by Arkansas State Police and the Fulton County Sheriff's Offices.

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Isabella woman receives 7 years in prison for endangering welfare of child

An Ozark County woman, Jennifer Engles of Isabella, has pled guilty by Alford plea to endangering the welfare of a child. The plea came during a hearing last week in Greene County where the case had been transferred on a change of venue.

The Ozark County Times reports the plea was in connection with allegations Engles was present while her husband, Ernest “Dale” Engles, sexually abused a child younger than 12 between Sept. 1, 2010 and Aug. 31, 2011. Engles was sentenced to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

An additional charge of sexually trafficking a child younger than 12 was dismissed.

An Alford plea is a guilty plea where the defendant in a criminal case does not admit the criminal act and asserts innocence but believes there is enough evidence that a jury or judge would convict him or her.

The allegations in the case accuse Engles of having sex with men for money in view of the child, and at the same time, her husband engaged in sexual acts with the child. The alleged acts occurred at the Engles home in Brandsville; therefore, the charges were filed in Howell County.

Ernest “Dale” Engles was found guilty by a Dent County jury on June 17 of statutory sodomy, two counts of child molestation and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was sentenced to life in prison.

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Cotter School Board to weigh public input regarding shooting range

In Monday night's meeting at Cotter City Hall the Cotter City Council listened to public input regarding a proposal to allow the Cotter School District's Shooting Sports Team to discharge firearms on school property within the city limits. Cotter Mayor Peggy Hammock says the meeting lasted nearly one and a half hours and opinions were offered both for and against the proposal. Nothing at this time has been decided.

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Superintendent of Cotter Public Schools Vanessa Thomas-Jones says she and other school officials listened to and fielded questions from the public. It will be up to the Cotter School Board to weigh that input.

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KTLO, Classic Hits and The Boot news previously reported concerns against the issue. Emails received to the newsroom suggest some residents are concerned with how many shotgun blasts would be heard in any given round. A Cotter citizen writes a single trap shoot contest would consist of five shooters per high school team for a total of 10. Those teams would fire 25 shotgun blasts each for a total of 250 per round. With two rounds per match, a total of 500 shotgun blasts would be heard. The figures do not include practice rounds.

Another concern is the environmental impact of lead shot, if it is used. Lead could potentially contaminate water. According to a local retailer, a box of shotgun shells, consisting mostly of lead, weighs approximately one and one-half pounds.

An argument was also made that the Cotter High School Trap Club already has a facility to shoot in Midway.

Thomas-Jones says she understands those concerns and says the idea for a shooting range started with parents voicing their concerns.

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Because those facilities are in use by a number of other people, some parents say it's sometimes difficult to get in to practice.

Some parents also assert their students might not participate in any school activity if it weren't for the trap team.

The Cotter School Board plans to discuss all issues at their regular meeting Thursday.

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Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass speaks out on the local opioid crisis

Just two weeks after President Donald Trump declared the national opioid crisis a public health emergency, Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass says the situation is dire across the Twin Lakes Area as local and state officials organize to meet the issue head-on.

According to statistics, gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arkansas has the second highest rate in the nation at 114.6 retail opioid prescriptions dispensed per 100 persons on both the state and county level.

Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass is a member of the County Judge Association's Executive Board. The board recently met with legal representatives at the Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) headquarters to share ideas on addressing the issue.

Pendergrass says 2016 statistics also show 175 Americans die each day and 5,000 opioid overdoses occur daily. For every 30 overdoses, one person dies.

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Pendergrass cites statistics demonstrating there is a risk for dependency on any opioid prescribed to be taken five days or longer.

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Pendergrass asserts alternatives must be pursued to stop over-prescribing opioids.

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Pendergrass says opioid addicts wind up in county jails and caught up in the court system, which he believes won't solve the problem.

He says revenue streams should be generated to help addicts.

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According to Pendergrass, a major problem in the county is the prescribed drug being left in medicine cabinets instead of being destroyed. Oftentimes those households are targeted by thieves, and the prescription drugs make their way to the black market.

Pendergrass encourages the destruction of unused prescriptions. He hopes the future will see doctors and dentists prescribing alternatives to opiates and increased public awareness throughout the entire educational system. He also believes updated statistics from coroners regarding opioid-related deaths will be helpful in combating the problem.

Law enforcement and prosecutors will likely target traffickers of the drug and push for stiffer consequences. Legal risk management teams are pursuing litigation avenues in a statewide effort to hold those responsible for contributing to opioid addiction to more severe penalties.

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