News Articles

Child Abuse Cases Go Up, Along With Need For Advocates

Child abuse in NWA keeps going up, said director of development & marketing for the Court Appointed Child Advocate (CASA) program Julie Lolley. According to the Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence, numbers rose from 3,670 cases of child abuse in Arkansas in 2011 to 4,528 in 2012 — that’s 19 percent more cases in just one year.

The causes, said Lolley, are not specifically defined by researchers, but many theories have arisen including social factors like the growing rate of poverty and increased awareness.



Turning Fayetteville Into A Food City

There’s a lot of talk about food security these days. With new research showing even the wealthiest communities like NWA contain high amounts of child food insecurity, and even more that show the lack of nutrient-rich foods across the nation, there’s good reason.

In Arkansas there’s even more of a reason to be concerned. According to a report by the Department of Acriculture, Arkansas tops the food insecurity rankings — second in the nation, with 20 percent of Arkansans not knowing where their next meal will come from.



Mayflower: The Sticky Truth

The first night of the oil spill on March 29, the small Arkansas town of Mayflower looked like the scene of a UFO crash, said Mayflower resident Kelly Paige. Exxon and the U.S. government had response crews on scene that night, complete with an army of private and public employees that was still there the day TFW came to town.

One Fayetteville resident driving through Conway the following day, March 30, said the strong smell crept onto the highway and made their eyes water and their head hurt. Meanwhile, right next to the spill, Paige, her brother and disabled father waited in their mobile home to hear what was going on.

“They haven’t said anything to us. We had city employees in our backyard trying to get pictures because they wouldn’t let the cops in the other way,” she said.



Cuts In Technology May Put Students At Disadvantage

At Concordia R-2 School District, and many others throughout the country, children’s access to the latest technology has become a necessity, while funding has turned into a luxury. Without the latest and greatest equipment, Superintendent Mary Beth Scherer and Technology Coordinator Karen Hemme are afraid students may not be able to stand out in a tough job market.

“They’re going to be competing with 15 or 20 people for that position so whatever we can provide them with here that will give them that edge, that’s what we want to do,” Scherer said.



Task Force Protects Internet From Child Predators

Steve Ryun said, luckily, he doesn’t deal with many cases like Derek Shain’s in Lafayette County.

But when a resident of Odessa contacted him with complaints about Shain attempting to have “sexual chats” with their disabled daughter on-line, he began to implement the investigative tactics he uses as a detective with the Western Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.



School Budget Cuts Proving Tough

A quarter of the Concordia R-2 School District’s budget has already been cut in the past two years, and Superintendent Mary Beth Scherer explained how these cuts, along with future predicted shortfalls, are leading to major changes within the district.

The state spared foundation funds–the funds that can be spent anywhere there is a need–which Scherer said has allowed district administrators to maintain a level of comfort for students and parents. Scherer said the cuts have not been so easy on teachers, despite their efficient use of resources.



Feature Articles

Harnessing SpareTime For Good

“You guys are actually part of something big that’s going on,” said Aron Shelton, co-founder of SpareTime, to a group of students at Holt Middle School in Fayetteville last month.

Shelton is a young, charismatic advocate for volunteerism, and the students responded to his eager calls for creativity with their full attention.

“Choose the charity you guys want to help that you feel has an important impact on your community,” he told the students.

As they broke into their groups, the conversations about local nonprofits and their missions sounded like those of young philosophers who understand the basic problems in society, and need few words to describe them. They presented their ideas and with every cause they provided their well-thought-out reasoning.



fromjane. Fashion Line Creates Community Of Sewers

Leah Garrett, her mother Lou Sharp and Michael Downs have a dream to help communities through sewing. Their journey began when they started selling specialty items like reversible aprons and coffee sleeves from reclaimed and environmentally-friendly materials under the brand Olive Loom at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market.

“It was at the farmer’s market we realized there were a lot of people who needed secondary incomes and who sewed at home,” Sharp explained.

That’s when the idea of offering couture clothing made by local home sewers first took shape. What started with one home sewer has now become close to 100, Downs said, and from their talents the fashion line fromjane.



Roots Festival Crowds Confident In Good Music, Great Time

The goal of Roots Festival — founded in Fayetteville by 3 Penny Acre band members Bayard Blain, and Bryan and Bernice Hembree — has always been to create an intimate musical environment where the art can remain center stage. It’s not easy to uphold that standard as the crowds grow each year — from 3,400 in 2011 to 5,000 in 2012 — along with the number of musical guests and expectations.

With over 45 musical artists and nine venues and stages, Bryan, Bernice, Blain and all of their local organizers work hard to keep things in perspective and on-track.



Btiques Offers Easy Way To Shop Local, National Boutiques

It’s your lunch hour on a Thursday, and all you can think about are your plans to go out on the town with friends. Then you realize, you have nothing you want to wear. The need to shop overwhelms you and you begin pulling out your smart phone to see what the local shops have available. Soon, you realize visiting each boutique’s website is tiring, time consuming and leaves you frustrated because once you find the right item, you don’t even know if they have your size.

Scenarios like this will soon be a thing of the past with the launching of Btiques, Sara Beck and Will Carter’s Fayetteville-based start-up company that seeks to bridge the gap between local boutiques and the social and fashion savvy customers who frequent them.



Core Brewing Grows With Top-Quality Product

Core Brewing and Distilling Co. in Springdale is expanding it’s operation with the hopes of becoming a regional, and even national distributor. The new system will allow them to brew the equivalent of 44,000 kegs a year, more than enough to serve all of Arkansas with some left over for neighboring states.

Core Brewing Company went from operating six 25-barrel vessels to an additional 15 50-barrel vessels, a significant growth for the little over a year they’ve been in NWA.



Berry Natural Juice And Smoothies Spread Health

Sharing knowledge may not seem like an obvious mission when starting a juice and smoothie business in the heart of Fayetteville. But if Fayetteville is your home, and organic, natural food in its simplest and most digestible form is your passion, the mission starts to take shape.

“We believe that in a city of 75,000 people and growing, there should be more options for eating organic away from home,” said Ashli Curry, co-owner of Berry Natural, the newest natural and organic smoothie shop located in Fiesta Square, at 3059 N. College Ave.