The Daily Press The Saline Courier | AP iAtom feed Copyright The Daily Press 2014-09-15T12:55:20-04:00 the Challenge: Bryant students learn to make a difference from tragedy2014-09-15T12:55:20-04:002014-09-15T12:55:20-04:00The Saline CourierOn Thursday, Bryant students learned about Rachel's Challenge. This program is based on the life of Rachel Joy Scott, who was the first victim of the school shootings at Columbine High School in 1999.After her death, her family and friends found an essay she wrote for her fifth-period class. In the essay, she wrote: “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.” Using this idea along with excerpts from her six journals and her life, Rachel’s Challenge was created. Years after Scott’s death, speakers, including her family members, have traveled to schools around the country and world challenging students and members of the community to “start a chain reaction,” said Chris Mowery, who was speaking to students about the program.  On April 20,1999, two Columbine High School students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and a teacher and injured 23 students before killing themselves. Originally Harris and Klebold placed pipe bombs in the cafeteria in the school with the plan to shoot students as they were trying to leave after the explosion, Mowery said. When the bombs did not go off, they entered the school and began shooting.   At the time of the incident, Scott was sitting outside eating lunch with a friend. She was shot four times.  One of the bullets pierced her diary that was in her backpack at time. During the presentation, Mowery showed a picture of the diary. Various phrases that she had written over time were surrounded by pictures of leaves and flowers on the cover. He pointed out one phrase — “I won’t be labeled as average” — which she had written in all capital letters. Next to the words is a small hole caused by one of the gunshots, he said. After her death, Scott’s family received numerous calls from fellow students who had been affected by Scott’s kind actions. One student was Adam, who was not like everyone else, Mowery said.One day at school Scott saw two people bullying Adam. They pushed him against the lockers, and she was furious. She got in between the boys and Adams, balled up her fist and told them that if they wanted to hurt him again, they would have to go through her first.  Since her death, Scott has influenced millions of students across the world, but she knew this would happen. On the back of her dresser, she had traced her hands and written inside the tracing: “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.”She was right. During his presentation Mowery challenged the students to do five things that Scott did during her life: eliminate prejudice, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness and tell the people you love your feelings. “A challenge is not something that is going to be easy,” Mowery said. “It’s going to be difficult.” To keep the program going, students will start a FOR or Friends of Rachel Club. During a training session Thursday afternoon, Mowery met with approximately 100 students who were chosen by the school counselors to show them how they can start the FOR Club and how they can show a little kindness. Before giving them strategies, students were able to speak about their own experiences and tell how Scott’s story affected them. Because of the deeply personal nature of the stories, students' names have been withheld.   Several students said that they had been bullied out of their previous schools before coming to Bryant. One student who is openly gay said she was bullied out of the Little Rock School District because of her sexuality. She said that she was pushed down the stairs, spit on and hit by her fellow students. "I couldn't tell my parents," she said, "because I didn't want them to know their daughter couldn't stand up for herself and allowed herself to be bullied out of a school she really liked." The student also revealed that the bullying didn't stop when she moved to Bryant. "I moved from a predominantly African-American school to a predominantly white school where I went from being bullied because I'm gay to being bullied because I'm black."Another student revealed that she was raped and had been bullied because of it since no one believed her. She admitted to writing numerous suicide letters but made a promise to herself to never let anyone feel the way she feels every day. She said, "Rachel's story reminds me of why I haven't done it (committed suicide)." After she finished speaking, another student from a different social circle walked over to comfort and hug her.A student who revealed she had been bullied and sexually assaulted said, "Even if you think you don't have anyone, trust me; you do. I honestly think we can change something.”When asked what things need to change in Bryant, the students pointed to such things as cliques, people being judgmental, discrimination and pride. Mowery then gave them strategies to curtail bullying such as creating a distraction, removing one of the people from the situation and even telling a teacher. Mowery said that he knows students don't want to be a "snitch" because of what people will think, but "there are times when someone's safety or life is at stake. Who cares what anybody thinks?"After the shooting at Columbine High School, there were reports that the shooters had made their plans well in advance and even made videos of them practicing and apologizing to their parents. Maybe, if someone had told a teacher about the students’ plans, the shootings could have been prevented, Mowery said. The small group also thought of different projects they could do to keep the momentum going including purchasing a rubber bracelet for each student to serve as a constant reminder that they can make a difference; or having a week during the school year dedicated to kindness. “What will the story of Bryant High School be," Mowery asked. “I’m excited for what you are going to accomplish.”After the training The Saline Courier spoke with two members of the Student Senate about their experience during the day. “I have committed to live the challenge,” said Abby Washkowiak,the organization's president. Devin Hester, who serves as the Senate reporter and historian, said she was surprised by some of the stories her fellow students revealed. “You don’t know what is going on in someone’s life,” Hester said.  Change may be on the horizon. After Mowery spoke to the students Thursday morning, one student told Mowery that he had planned to commit suicide that afternoon, but Rachel’s Challenge made him change his mind.Another student told Mowery that she received a text message later in the day from a fellow student apologizing for treating her badly. “My codes may seem like a fantasy that can never be reached, but test them for yourself, and see the kind of effect they have in the lives of people around you. You just may start a chain reaction,” Scott wrote. The Bryant Student Senate conducted numerous fundraising projects to bring Rachel’s Challenge to Bryant. The school also received donations from Landers Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Walmart in Bryant. Benton, ARSarah Perry and Bobbye PykeAccepting the Challenge: Bryant students learn to make a difference from tragedyNo source locations set for Sept. 16 school board election2014-09-15T12:47:09-04:002014-09-15T12:47:09-04:00The Saline CourierOn Tuesday, Sept. 16, the Vote Here building across from the Saline County Courthouse will be closed. Voters must go to specific polling sites in each district to cast their ballots.All polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m on Tuesday.Harmony Grove district patrons will vote at the Haskell Fire Department located behind City Hall in Haskell.Bauxite patrons must go to a location specific to the precinct in which their voter registration is set.Residents who would be voting at Bauxite City Hall, First Southern Baptist Church, Highland Heights Baptist Church or Trinity Baptist Church will vote Tuesday at Bauxite City Hall.Patrons who would be voting at New Friendship Baptist Fellowship Hall or Haskell Fire Department will vote at New Friendship Baptist Fellowship Hall.DeKalb 2 residents will vote at the Tull Community Center.Incumbent Andy Kelloms faces a re-election challenge from Jordan Abels in the Harmony Grove District, and incumbent Frank Torres is being challenged by Ryan Jacks in the Bauxite district.Benton, ARBrent DavisVoting locations set for Sept. 16 school board electionNo source County under firewood quarantine for next 120 days2014-09-15T12:40:10-04:002014-09-15T12:40:10-04:00The Saline CourierTwenty-five other counties are included in the quarantine which hopes to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. Quarantined items include firewood of all hardwood species, and the following ash items: nursery stock; green lumber with bark attached; other material living, dead, cut or fallen including logs, pulpwood, stumps, roots, branches, mulch and composted/un-composted chips that are one inch or greater.Firewood is the only quarantined item that relates to all hardwood varieties; all other quarantined items are relative to ash only. Counties affected by the quarantine are Saline, Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Drew, Garland, Grant, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Little River, Miller, Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Sevier and Union counties. Scott Bray, director of plant industry for the Arkansas State Plant Board, an agency within the Arkansas Agriculture Department, said, "This quarantine is our best defense against the Emerald Ash Borer – a pest that has destroyed millions of ash trees across the United States. By slowing the movement of the Emerald Ash Borer, we hope to directly affect Arkansas ash trees as effectively as possible."Six of the quarantines counties have confirmed Emerald Ash Borer infestations: Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Hot Spring, Nevada and Ouachita. The other counties included in the quarantine are considered "buffer" counties. Quarantined items can move freely within the quarantined areas but may not move outside of the quarantined counties. Owners of ash trees should look for damage that occurs from the top dow, which may indicate the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer, which is a small beetle, about half an inch in size, that originated in Asia. An infestation usually kills the ash tree host within two to five years of infestation. Benton, ARBobbye PykeSaline County under firewood quarantine for next 120 daysNo source accident reported on I-302014-09-15T12:34:59-04:002014-09-15T12:34:59-04:00The Saline CourierThe Arkansas State Police reported that Miguel Cruz, 34, was driving a 2007 Ford Crown Victoria westbound at a high rate of speed when he lost control of the vehicle.The vehicle struck a concrete barrier, overturned and came to rest on its side, according to the ASP report. Cynthia Cruz, 30, of Bryant and Kyle Tyson, 25, of Alexander were passengers in the vehicle and were transported to Saline Memorial Hospital for treatment of their injuries. No condition report for either has been released. Benton, ARSarah PerryFatal accident reported on I-30No source minister to lead Willliams Preaching Series2014-09-13T10:46:10-04:002014-09-13T10:46:10-04:00The Saline CourierThe series will take place Sunday and Monday, Sept. 14 and 15.The preaching series was established by the late Ruth Williams, widow of the the late Curtis Williams, to honor her husband. Among his pastoral appointments was serving as associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Benton.Gilbert will be preaching at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14, and again at 7 p.m. that day in the church’s sanctuary. A potluck dinner at 5 p.m. in the Christian Life Center will precede the Sunday evening service.A luncheon service will be held in the Christian Life Center of the church on Monday, Sept. 15. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and again at 12:30 p.m., and the worship service will be held at noon, also in the Christian Life Center.A nursery will be provided for each service. All services, the potluck dinner and the luncheon are open to the entire community.The series will conclude with a worship service in the sanctuary at 7 p.m. Monday.For two consecutive years Gilbert has received awards recognizing her achievement in evangelism and church growth.She has served at the district and conference levels on the Board of Ordained Ministers. She is a clergy mentor and has served within the Mentor for Clergy Accountability Group as chair of clergy mentors of the Texas Annual Conference.In addition, she has served on various boards, committees and task forces within the Texas Annual Conference.Gilbert earned a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and speech communication from Texas Southern University; post-graduate hours in speech pathology at the University of Houston; a Master of Education degree in education administration from Prairie View A&M University; and a Master of Divinity degree from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.She attended Graduate School of Theology and Austin Presbyterian School of Theology and received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Christian counseling from Cornerstone Seminary in Oklahoma.She is also an educator and instructor. She is a certified speech and language pathologist and has taught public speaking and speech communication at Texas Southern University in Houston and in the Houston Community College in Stafford. She serves on the board of directors of Back On Track Outreach Inc., a nonprofit organization.Gilbert currently has a contract for a book she is authoring. The book it ttitled “Recovery from Spiritual Stolen Identity.”First United Methodist Church is located at 200 North Market Street in Benton. The Rev. David Jones is senior pastor.Benton, ARLynda HollenbeckTexas minister to lead Willliams Preaching SeriesNo source Church to sell bulbs from registered iris grower2014-09-13T10:44:14-04:002014-09-13T10:44:14-04:00The Saline CourierKirtley is known in the area for her expertise in raising the flowers.The sale is set from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, under the Salem Campgrounds arbor on the Salem Church grounds.According to church spokesman Dick Bondurant, varieties that will be available to purchase will include registered day lilies, angel trumpets, grounds cover and assorted perennials."But the big thing is that we'll be selling irises in 100 or so colors," he said.He pointed out that "these are not your average colors.""These are not your purples and yellows and whites," Bondurant said. "We'll have reds and oranges in very unusual shades."These are very hardy plants and very easy to grow," he said. "Nature does an awesome job in taking care of irises."Pretty much all you have to do is put them in the ground and forget about them, except during extreme drought," he said. "When it's done, it's done. "They bloom only once a year," he said.He pointed out that Kirtley's garden has been featured in The Saline Courier and in other publications."Church members will be digging the bulbs this Saturday (today) and have them ready at the sale next Saturday," he said.Benton, ARLynda HollenbeckSalem Church to sell bulbs from registered iris growerNo source to host public meeting in Bryant2014-09-13T10:43:05-04:002014-09-13T10:43:05-04:00The Saline CourierBryant Mayor Jill Dabbs said this will be an "open house" event with no formal presentations scheduled. The public is invited to attend the meeting any time between 4 and 7 p.m. to view exhibits, ask questions and offer comments.The meeting will be held at Grace Church in Bryant, 4200 Highway 5 North. Benton, ARBobbye PykeAHTD to host public meeting in BryantNo source Services to host 'killer' event2014-09-13T10:41:57-04:002014-09-13T10:41:57-04:00The Saline Courier"Murder at the Masquerade," which will serve as Civitan Services' largest fundraiser of the year, will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Benton Event Center. During the event, the audience will be able to try to figure out with their table mates a mystery portrayed by a group of professional actors from Murder Mystery Company in Nashville. Chefs from Dinner's Ready will prepare the meals on-site for the event, said Leigha Jones, community development director. "It is an exciting opportunity for a date night, family outing and professional networking while supporting a great cause," Jones said. Semi-formal attire will be required for the event and an award will be given to the best dressed guest. Guests also can wear a Mardi Gras mask, she said.Masks made by Civitan Services' art classes can be purchased at the event, Jones noted. Tickets can be purchases online at or by calling Civitan services. Currently Civitan Services needs less than $900,000 to complete the goal of raising $3.5 million for the project. Benton, ARSarah PerryCivitan Services to host 'killer' eventNo source announces date for annual horse auction2014-09-12T11:35:09-04:002014-09-12T11:35:09-04:00The Saline CourierThe public will have the opportunity to bid on 25-30 retired horses, colts and mules from ADC's working herd.Those interested in bidding on the animals may view and ride them from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 3 at the fairgrounds. On the day of the sale, the horses may be viewed from 8 a.m. until noon and the sale will then begin at 1 p.m.These horses — some of whose lineage can be traced to the legendary sire Joe Hancock — are perfect for pleasure and trail riding, according to Shea Wilson, pubic information officer."Joe was a big, stout and tough quarter horse who became a match racing sensation in Texas and Oklahoma," Wilson noted."He lived from 1923 to 1943 and sired 15 foal crops that produced 155 registered foals," she said.ADC has crossed quarter horses with draft horses through the years to develop the current working herd, Wilson noted."Crossing the two has made a better line of horses for the prison system and most are not high-spirited," she said.Auctions of prison horses have taken place previously in Benton and have proved to be successful, Wilson noted.The horses included in the ADC auction, during their working years, often ere subjected to long hours and must be strong, healthy animals.Eventually, the time comes for them to retire to a more relaxed, less stressful environment, according to a handler from a previous auction conducted in Benton.In one of the earlier auctions, the adopters included a family who previously had adopted one of the retired animals. They were so pleased with the horse that they wanted a second one, the handler noted.Some of the earlier adopters told The Saline Courier that they would recommend that anyone considering getting a horse choose a Correction Department animal.She said the prison officials were completely honest about the horse's behavior and health.An ADC official said the horses being retired are "good animals that just need to have a slower life."Benton, ARLynda HollenbeckADC announces date for annual horse auctionNo source arrest suspected vandal linked to shooting2014-09-12T11:33:07-04:002014-09-12T11:33:07-04:00The Saline CourierDuring two incidents, Justin Carroll, 18, of Benton allegedly drove by Benton High School late at night and shot at the school multiple times, said Lt. Kevin Russell,police department spokesperson. During the first incident, the glass of the rotunda was shot and during the second incident the digital billboard and a glass door of the cafeteria were damaged, he said. Carroll has been charged with two counts of a terroristic act, two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of unlawful discharge of a firearm, theft by receiving, possession of a defaced firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia and theft of property, according to the Saline County Sheriff's Office inmate roster. Russell said Carroll may face additional charges and there may be another suspect involved in the case. Recently the Benton School District officials released a statement noting that a $1,000 reward would be given for information related to the two incidents. No one will receive the reward because the police department solved the case without assistance from others, said Gwen Walker, administrative assistant to Superintendent Jeff Collum and communications director for the district.Benton, ARSarah PerryAuthorities arrest suspected vandal linked to shootingNo source