Week in Review 1-21 to 1-27

Charges against Bradley Sellers dropped after mother recants statements to law enforcement

Charges against Bradley Gene Sellers of rural Mountain Home stemming from an incident in which he was alleged to have threatened to kill his 74-year-old mother with a hatchet in late February last year will be dropped at the request of the mother.

Seller's mother, Melva Sellers, appeared in Baxter County Circuit Court Thursday and told Judge Gordon Webb she had been untruthful in her report to law enforcement about what had happened and her son's involvement in the events.

14th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge said while the case against Bradley Sellers would be dropped, charges against his mother for making a false report were being considered. After hearing her recant her original story which lead to her son being charged, Judge Webb asked Melva Sellers if she was aware she could be charged with a crime for giving false information to law enforcement. She said she was aware that could happen.

Melva Sellers told the court it was actually an unidentified man who had wielded the hatchet. She said she and her son maintained an "open house" policy allowing people to stay in their home. She said because of that policy, people "came and went" frequently and she was unsure of the identity of the man who had actually threatened her with the ax.

She told the court that she had come up with a rather bizarre plan to get rid of a woman who had a relationship with her son. She said she planned to falsely accuse her son of attacking her with the hatchet hoping he would be charged with a misdemeanor which would land him in jail and keep him out of the house long enough to give her an opportunity to get rid of the unwanted female.

The mother said she was embarrassed over what she had done. She told the court she never intended for the situation to develop as it had, and did not know her son would be charged with a felony.

Ethredge said the type charges Bradley Sellers faced were "victim driven" and that if the victim was unwilling or had been untruthful in the information given to law enforcement, the state had little choice but to drop the case.

The original warrant in the case was issued March 1st last year, but Bradley Sellers was a fugitive until September 1st. He appeared on the "Most Wanted" list maintained by the Baxter County Sheriff's Office.

He was taken into custody by Mountain Home Police officers after he bailed out of a vehicle in which he was a passenger when it was stopped by police near East Fourth and Foster Streets. Police eventually found Bradley Sellers hiding behind a shed after a short search.

The events leading up to Thursday's court session began February 22nd last year when Baxter County Deputies responded to a report of a violent domestic disturbance at a residence along Timberlane Road.

It was during their initial contact with the victim, Melva Sellers, that she began to recount details of the attack to investigators -- a story she recanted in court Thursday. Melva Sellers said her son had become angry with her because he had been put on probation and blamed his mother for is problems with the law.

The mother told the responding deputy that during the confrontation her son had gotten a hatchet and threw it at her. She said the hatchet struck the wall and she kept washing dishes in hopes her son would calm down, but Bradley Sellers escalated the situation when he put the hatchet up to his mother's neck and threatened to kill her.

In her original story, Melva Sellers told investigators she was able to get away from her son, went into her bedroom and eventually escaped through a window and went to another address to seek safety. In the mother's original story, Bradley Sellers was said to have told her he wanted to kill her and further threatened he would do it "sooner or later".

Melva Sellers initially told investigators her son was using methamphetamine. In court Thursday, she said that was not true and it was the unwanted female who both used and sold the drug, not her son.

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Man accused of auto theft claims he got into the wrong car

A Mountain Home man, 36-year-old Mark Allen Hansen, was arrested by Mountain Home Police Monday after attempting to leave the Casey's parking lot in a vehicle that wasn't his. Hansen claims he mistakenly got into the wrong truck and drove off. He was taken into custody before he could leave the parking lot and was booked into the Baxter County Detention Center on a $10,000 bond. He was released the same day.

According to the arrest affidavit, at around 7:15 Monday morning the Mountain Home Police Department received a call of a stolen vehicle from the business. The victim said he was inside the store when he noticed his truck back up, stop and start forward toward Highway 5 North. He ran outside and chased his vehicle with Hansen at the wheel. He hit the side window and Hansen stopped, got out of the truck and charged the victim. He was able to detain Hansen however, until officer’s arrived.

Upon arrival officers searched Hansen and located 1.4 grams of suspected marijuana in his right front pocket. He was interviewed that day and post Miranda, he admitted to previously smoking marijuana and stated he accidentally got into the wrong truck.

Hansen was charged with felony theft of property, misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and public intox.

He is scheduled to appear in Baxter County Circuit Court.

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Proposed shooting range withdrawn from agenda

A controversial proposal for the city of Cotter was removed from the agenda of the Cotter City Council. The council had expected to hear a revamped proposal from the Cotter School District's Superintendent Vansessa Thomas-Jones to allow for a shooting range to be built on the school's campus during the regular session set for Thursday evening.

A group known as "Citizens Against Shooting Range in Cotter"(CASRIC) says they are aware Jones had taken off the proposal. The group submitted petitions with 170 signatures during the December session when Thomas-Jones presented the original proposal for the range. She withdrew the proposal during the meeting with the intention of revising it and presenting it again at a later date.

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Gassville selects new Fire Chief

In Monday night's session of the Gassville City Council, the council gave unanimous approval to accept Mayor Jeff Braim's recommendation to hire Buford resident Will Syfrett as the new Fire Chief. He will take over the position March first.

Braim says Syfrett's background made him the most qualified for the job.

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Syfrett is currently an employee of Baxter County, working as the Coordinator for the Emergency Enhanced 911 Operations Center, and also serves as the Chief of the Buford Volunteer Fire Department. He is an adjunct trainer for the Arkansas Fire Academy.

In his new position he will be responsible for the administration, overall operation and management of all fire operations, prevention and emergency response activities in the City of Gassville.

The Gassville Fire Department operates with an interagency, day-to-day mutual aid agreement with all of the fire departments in Baxter County.

The council also approved the 2018 budget, the 2017 operating budget reconciliation, and a list of items to be sold by the fire department.

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MH Chamber recognizes several in community at annual banquet

The Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce recognized several businesses and individuals in their 2017 Annual Chamber Banquet and Membership meeting Thursday night including KTLO, Classic Hits 101.7 and the Boot. During the meeting Chamber leaders also outlined their innovative plan to attract more visitors to the Twin Lakes Area.

One of the highlights of the evening showed a short video of a larger production in the works which will give viewers the opportunity to see the Twin Lakes Area through a virtual reality experience. The marketing tool places a virtual reality headset on the viewer's head which will allow them to have a 360 degree view of activities Mountain Home and surrounding areas have to offer. For example, one may be able to see first hand what the White River looks like from the perspective of a fisherman.

The virtual reality tour project is in the works. The chamber intends to take it to trade shows in St. Louis and Dallas, two cities that generate the most internet traffic for interest in our area. The chamber also plans to make it available to chamber members to use as a marketing tool.

Outgoing President of the Chamber of Commerce Board Scott Copeland presented awards in ten different categories including Outstanding Business or Industry, Outstanding Organization, Educator of the Year, Medical Professional of the Year, Spirit award, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, the Jim Gaston Friend of Tourism Award, Ambassador of the Year and the Chairman’s Award.

The Outstanding Business Award is given to a local for-profit entity. The award acknowledges businesses that bring recognition to the Twin Lakes Area because of the commitment made to our citizens. The business of the year is a role model for other businesses and conducts its business in a fair and ethical manner.

KTLO was the winner. Other Nominees were Auto Services, Ritter Communications and XL7.

The Outstanding Organization Award recognizes a local not-for-profit organization. The recipient is selected for its commitment to serve those in the area. The organization excels in putting service above self by serving others in our communities. The organization provides benefits that are an invaluable asset and serve as a model for other organizations.

Care Center Ministries was the winner. Other nominees include Gamma House, Good Samaritan Society, the Mountain Home Education Foundation's Project Promise, Serenity Inc., The Performing Arts Council at ASUMH, and the Twin Lakes Community Foundation.

The Educator of the Year Award recognizes a local individual. This person is dedicated but is also proactive in assuring that the educational needs of his/her students are met.

Dr. Julia Gist, Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences of ASU Mountain Home was the winner. Other nominees include Jeff Kincaid of Mountain Home Public Schools, Jennifer Veloria-Dunn of Baxter County Library, Jill Czenskowski of Mountain Home Public Schools, Martin Eggensburger of ASUMH and Mindy Fulcher of ASUMH.

The Medical Professional of the Year Award honors a unique, respected individual who has given unselfishly of his or her self to promote the best possible healthcare to persons of the Twin Lakes area.

Dr. Tom Knox was the winner. Other nominees include Amanda Thorton, ANP, Corinne Hiser, CNP, Dr. Dan Swoyer, Dr. Gregory Elders, Dr. Jacob Dickinson, Dr. Jennifer Foster, Dr. John Spore, Dr. Louis Elkins, Dr. Mark Ungerank, Dr. Michael Adkins and Dr. Russ Rauls.

The Spirit Award recognizes an individual or entity that acts as an Ambassador to the Twin Lakes Area, continuously promoting our community of "Three Rivers, Two Lakes, One Beautiful Life". The recipient of this award captivates individuals, families, businesses and/or industry with the thrill of living/working in the Twin Lakes Area.

Tommy Hagan was the winner. Other nominees include Jewell Pendergrass, KTLO, Tracy Myers and Wes Wood.

The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient has demonstrated success as measured by sales and profit; increased employment opportunities; developed and/or utilized innovative or creative business method; innovativeness of product or service and contributes to community-oriented projects.

Brendan Shay of Shay’s Appliance was the winner. Other nominees include Ashley Havens of Ashley Havens State Farm, Greg Alexander & James Moore of Vision Amp, Russell Tucker of Rapps Barren and
Scott Estes of Denali Rods & Aspire Outdoors.

This award is designed to honor an individual performing outstanding community service, largely without recognition. The recipient may volunteer in the public and/or private sector with longevity of service playing a role in the selection.

Rick Garner was the winner. Other nominees include Ashley Southard, Audrey Burns, Brandy Jordan, Deborah Knox, Judy Garner, Kelly Nosari, Nancy Tester and Patty Shay.

The recipient of the Jim Gaston Friend of Tourism Award promotes the Twin Lakes Area at each and every occasion and invests themselves in the area to make it a better place not only for visitors but for everyone. The Friend of Tourism not only participates in this industry, but his or her true goal is to share the natural beauty of our area, while teaching others to enjoy it and to treat it with respect.

The late Steve Eastwold was the winner. Other nominees include Bob Knight, Gerald & Judy Oates, Tobias Pugsley.

The Chamber Ambassador of the Year 2017 went to Judy Garner.

The Chairman’s Award went to former Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Tracy Jones.

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