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Sanders addresses Lincoln Day Dinner

Sarah Huckabee Sanders wants to be governor of Arkansas.

The former press secretary for President Donald Trump – and mother of three – explained her reasons as guest speaker at the Greene County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner at the Paragould Community Center held Monday.

“I want to make sure the path for my kids, and the path for every kid is clear,” she said, “so they can go forward full speed towards whatever they want.”

Sanders, daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, noted, however, that there were those in the nation’s capital that sought to “rip that path up” so it no longer exists. “And I refuse to sit back and do nothing while they do,” she said.

For that reason, Sanders said, she rejected criticism that she was nationalizing the Arkansas gubernatorial race. “I say: ‘you bet I am,’” she said. “We have a moral obligation to stand up and fight back for our kids.”

Sanders also said a governor has to be tough to fight against the plans and efforts of the radical Left and the bad ideas coming out of Washington. And she reminded the nearly 400 attendees of her two and a-half years as White House press secretary as evidence of her toughness.

Just as importantly, Sanders said, a governor needs heart and vision, as well as the values that will best serve the state, “And I know that I can be the leader that our state needs,” she said, “at a time that we need it most.”

In spite of nationalizing the governor’s race, Sanders said that she understands Arkansas is much better than statistics would suggest. “Frankly, I am sick and tired of Arkansas being at the bottom,” she said. “I’m tired of being 46th-47th-48th,” she said, “when I know we have the ability and the capacity to be first.”

Sanders said that the state needs somebody who understands that the solution to problems does not lie in government. “Greatness doesn’t lie in government,” she said, “but in God and in our people. And I’m always willing to fight for what’s important.”

Sanders said one of the greatest experiences of being press secretary was that she’d traveled with the president to nearly 30 countries. “And in every single country I visited,” she said, “I was reminded what an incredible blessing it is to be able to call myself an American. We are the greatest country in the world because we are the free-est country in the world.”

Sanders also took the opportunity to praise America’s military by telling a story of the Christmas 2018 visit to a military base in western Iraq. “We left Washington in total secrecy and total darkness,” she said, “and landed 15 hours later in total darkness.”

Sanders said a light shone in what proved to be a dining hall packed with American service personnel, who’d gathered (as they understood it) for a visit by high-ranking military officers. “But they had absolutely no idea that the president and the First Lady were coming to visit,” she said. “And then they did a scene I hope I never forget. In one voice, from every demographic, from every background, in total unison [they started chanting] USA-USA-USA!”

Sanders hailed the troops as representing the very best of America. “One of the soldiers rose from the back,” she continued, “and said: ‘Mr. President, I re-enlisted because of you. And the president replied: ‘I’m here because of you!’”

Sanders said the same soldier came up to her told told her he thought she had a tough job. “‘I take questions,’” she said she’d responded. “‘You take bombs and bullets.”

She concluded by telling the gathering that she would never forget those who’d helped her get where she is and where she aspires to be. “And I’ll never forget the decisions I make as governor will affect my children,” she said.

In addition to Sanders, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has declared her candidacy for governor on the Republican ticket. Three Democrats, Supha Xayprasith-Mays, Chris Jones and James Russell; Independent William E “Bill Gates and Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington, have also declared their candidacies. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is term-limited out.

Vandalism report leads to felony drug arrest

A report to police of vandalism at a local business resulted in felony drug charges for a Paragould man.

Police arrested Joshua Lee Garner, 39, on charges of one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia to manufacture, etc. methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, or cocaine, a Class B felony; possession of less than two grams of a Schedule I/II controlled substance (methamphetamine or cocaine), a Class D felony; plus misdemeanor charges.

According to a probable cause affidavit sworn by Detective Sgt. Michael Oost of the department’s Street Crimes Unit, the arrest occurred Sept. 30 after officers responded to the report of vandalism to the air/vacuum machine at AJ’s of Paragould.

The caller had informed dispatchers that upon stepping outside, the employee heard a loud noise coming from the direction of the vacuum and noticed a person standing by the vacuums. At that point the employee stepped back inside to call police, after which they stepped back outside to observe the individual again allegedly tampering with the machine.

Cpl. Aaron Schenk and Ptl. Austin Matheny responded and located Garner by the vacuums. They told him the reason for their contact and Garner admitted to taking quarters from the machine; however, he denied doing any damage, according to police.

The officers then asked the employee to take a look at the machine to verify whether any pieces were damaged. The employee immediately noticed fresh damage to the base of the machine and a piece of metal on the ground that belonged on the machine. The employee also said a padlock was missing.

Officers detained Garner and escorted him to a patrol car. As Ptl. Matheny was walking back towards the vacuums, he noticed a cellophane wrapper on the ground where Garner had been standing upon their arrival. Inside that wrapper were three Schedule IV pills, and a corner cut baggie of suspected methamphetamine, according to police. During a search on Garner’s person, Matheny located a spoon with residue, miscellaneous tools suspected of being used to tamper with the machine, and quarters.

According to Oost’s affidavit, Garner received a citation to appear in court.

Paragould man drowns in channel

A Paragould man has drowned in a relief channel of the St. Francis River.

According to Greene County Sheriff Steve Franks, two of his deputies in a rescue boat discovered the body of Dannie McClung, 70, in the relief channel at about 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 4, as the result of a search for a person reported missing at about 7 p.m. the previous day.

“A Greene County deputy was traveling on the North Levee off County Road 864 when he was flagged down,” he said. “The deputy told dispatch that we may have a missing person on the river.”

After Franks and Chief Deputy Shanon Anthony received notification of the incident, several more deputies, representatives of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Craighead County Dive Team responded to the location.

“Mr. McClung liked to come to this area and hang out and swim,” Franks said he had learned after speaking with family members.

McClung’s body will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock.