Monthly Archives: April 2018

Searcy Special School Board Meeting

The Searcy School Board has a special called meeting today.

The purpose of the meeting is to deal with matters of employment.

This afternoon’s meeting begins at 5:30 in the Superintendent’s Office, 801 North Elm Street.

Child Porn Charges For Harding Student

A Jackson County man was arrested recently on suspicion of 30 counts of distributing/possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.

According to a probable cause affidavit, 21-year old Jacob Austin Ardrey, of Newport, was arrested April 18th after an Arkansas State Police investigation.

Authorities received a tip from the Arkansas State Police Cyber Crimes Unit involving 64 files of possible child pornography reportedly uploaded in November of last year.

The tip listed multiple times and dates in which Ardrey reportedly downloaded the images using a student email address at Harding University.
Jacob Ardrey

Stabbing Arrest Made

Octavia Johnson

The Conway Police Department has arrested 31-year old Octavia Johnson in connection with the stabbing death of 31-year old Jeremy Smith. The incident took place Sunday night on South Ash Street. CPD got a call around 8:30, when officers arrived on the scene they found Smith lying in the doorway of an apartment suffering from a stab wound. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Arkansas Diamond Award Presented To New Honorary Japanese Consul

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin recently presented an Arkansas Diamond Award to Mary Zunick, of Hot Springs. Zunick serves as cultural affairs manager for Visit Hot Springs and has served as Director of the Hot Springs Sister City Program for 10 years.  In February, she was named Honorary Consul of Japan for the State of Arkansas.

Arkansas has enjoyed excellent relations with Japan for many years. As honorary consul, Zunick hopes to help increase cultural and economic opportunities around the state.

Martin and Zunick discussed their thoughts on citizen-led diplomacy at the state and local levels and the benefits those efforts can achieve for cultural understanding, economics, and lessening conflicts around the world.    MORE

U.S. Highway 67 Improvements Require Lane Closures

Construction work to widen U.S. Highway 67 between Jacksonville and Cabot requires numerous lane closures according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials.

Weather permitting, lanes on U.S. Highway 67 and the frontage road will require various intermittent closures between April 29 and May 12. The public is advised to be cautious when traveling in the work zones.    MORE

Velvet Ridge Road Closing

There’s a road closing in White County for today.

Road crews will be replacing culverts and dripping ditches on North Waller Road in Velvet Ridge.

North Waller Road will be closed between highway 167 and Wells Road from 9:00am until 3:00PM.

Harding University Honors Outstanding Faculty And Staff

Nine Harding University faculty members received Teacher Achievement Awards and six staff members received Distinguished Services Awards at the annual faculty and staff dinner on campus Friday, April 20. These annual awards are presented to faculty members for demonstrating excellence in teaching and staff members who showcase great ability, dedicated service and tremendous contribution to the work and purpose of the University.

Faculty members Amy Adair, Ginger Blackstone, Kristi Bond, Rich Brown, Debbie Duke, Lana Gettman, Don Sanders, Patty Smith and Kevin Youngblood, are the 2017-18 Teacher Achievement Award recipients. Staff members Lee Allen, Jeanne Castleberry, Tammy Hall, Alan Nesbitt, Mark Prior and Brenda Seawel are the 2017-18 Distinguished Service Award recipients.

Adair is director of field experience and assistant professor of education in the Cannon-Clary College of Education. She has been a faculty member since 2007. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harding and doctorate in education from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2016.

Allen has been a member of the Harding staff since 1991. He is a master electrician for physical resources.

Blackstone is assistant professor of communication in the College of Arts and Humanities. She has been teaching at the University since 2010. She received her bachelor’s from Harding in 1991, master’s from the University of Arkansas Little Rock in 2011, and Ph.D. in journalism from the University of Florida in 2017.

Bond has been with the University since 2011 and is chair of foreign languages and international studies department in the College of Arts and Humanities. She received her bachelor’s from Harding in 1994 and a M.A. in 2011 and Ph.D. in linguistics in 2013 from the University of Kansas.

Brown is professor and chair of the marketing department in the Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration. He has been teaching at the University since 2008. He received his bachelor’s from Harding in 1988, master’s from Texas A&M University in 1992, and Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1999.

Castleberry is director of admissions for the Carr College of Nursing. She has worked for the University since 1999.

Duke is assistant dean of preprofessional health science programs and professor of mathematics in the College of Sciences. She joined the faculty in 1982. She received her bachelor’s in 1972 and master’s in mathematics in 1985 from Harding and a doctorate in education from Memphis State University in 1992.

Gettman is associate professor in the College of Pharmacy. She has taught at the University since 2008. She received her bachelor’s from the University of California Los Angeles in 1996 and Pharm.D. from the University of Southern California in 2002.

Hall has worked at Harding for 15 years. She is assistant vice president of finance.

Nesbitt has been a member of the Harding staff since 2003. He is band director and Bible teacher at Harding Academy.

Prior is director of HU16 and VideoWorks. He has worked for the University since 1999.

Sanders joined the Harding faculty in 2008 and is an assistant professor of biology in the College of Sciences. He received his bachelor’s from Oklahoma Christian University in 1974, master’s in education from Harding in 1979, and master’s in biology from Murray State University in 1981.

Seawel is assistant athletic director. She has worked at the University since 1999.

Smith is assistant professor of nursing in the Carr College of Nursing. She has been teaching at the University since 2007. She received her bachelor’s in nursing from Abilene Christian University in 1984 and Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences in 2016.

Youngblood has been with the University since 2010 and is an associate professor of Hebrew and biblical studies in the College of Bible and Ministry. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1991 and master’s degree in 1992 from Lipscomb University, Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1994, and Ph.D. in Old Testament language and literature from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2004.

Each award recipient was presented with a $5,000 check and framed certificate commemorating the award.

In addition to the Distinguished Service Awards, the University presented an “Above and Beyond” service award to Judith Hart. Hart is food services director for Aramark who has been working at the University since 2001.

Harding University is a private Christian, liberal arts university located in Searcy, Arkansas. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, it is the largest private university in the state. Harding’s student body represents all 50 states and 54 nations and territories. The University offers more than 100 undergraduate majors; graduate and professional degrees at the master’s, specialist and doctoral levels; as well as numerous study abroad opportunities including locations in Australia, Chile, England, France, Greece, Italy and Zambia. For more information, visit

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