A record number of voters turned out for the Midterms Nov. 6, and the same rang true for the tri-county area.
On the average, voter turnout in Izard, Sharp and Fulton counties was 54 percent of registered voters. Statewide turnout was 49 percent, and Republicans topped the win list in both county and state offices.
In Izard County, 1,974 of the county’s 8,068 registered voters had cast ballots by Nov. 5.
In Izard County, Judge Eric Smith kept his seat with 3,342 votes over opponent Warren Skelton with 1,135; Earnie Blackley became Sheriff with 3,501 votes over Rick Kimble with 966; for Collector, Paul D. Womack upset incumbent Marilyn Downing in a close race 2,350 to 2,132. Walter Hagan won Justice of the Peace (JP) District 2 with 262 votes against Thomas W. Rushing with 162; for JP District 3, a runoff was declared between John Walker with 199 and Randy “Hank” Sherrell with 145, Jared Johnson received 98; JP District 4, Willie Moser incumbent, won with 205 over Michelle Graetz with 163; JP District 7, Blake Johnson won with 383 over Brian Biard with 147; for Constable of Gid, Donnie Tate won with 63 over George F. Whitfield with 28.
City of Horseshoe Bend, Craig M. Huckaby won the Mayor’s seat with 60.4% of the vote, 464 votes, over opponent Marty McKnight’s 304; Alderman Ward 3, Pos. 1, George Williamson won with 116 votes to O.G. Minze’s 48. City of Calico Rock, Greg Hamby is the new Mayor beating incumbent Ronald Guthrie 196-173; Alderman: Ward 2, Pos. 1, Steven Lively beat Cynthia L. Wildhagen 195-173; Ward 2, Pos. 2, Howard Jeffery won with 262 over Leon Cheatham’s 103; Ward 4, Pos. 2, Jim King won the seat with 257 votes against Fred Blickle with 109. City of Melbourne, Alderman: Ward 4, Pos. 2, Mike Cone won with 121 over Sonia Blankenship with 97. City of Oxford, Douglas Yancey won the Mayor’s seat against Billy Ray Harris with a vote of 155-72. City of Pineville, Joe Stephen won the Mayor’s seat against opponent Sharon K. Sanders, 41-28.
In Fulton County, 1,876 of the county’s 7,100 registered voters had cast ballots by Nov. 5.
In Fulton County, the Judge’s seat was won by Jim Kendrick with 2,010 votes over incumbent Darrell Zimmer with 1,821; JP District 3, Burton Yarnell kept his seat with 238 votes to opponent Gene McBride’s 204; JP District 5, Johnny Moody incumbent, won over Randy L. Wilson 281-178; JP District 7, Ray Matthew beat Tesa Bishop Nelson incumbent, 275-214; JP District 9, Charles R. Kendrick won with 194 votes over Jimmy Marler incumbent, 127. City of Mammoth Spring, Charles Vaughn won in a close Mayor’s race, with 178 to Jean Pace’s 173; Alderman, Ward 1, Pos. 2, Adam Davis beat Wilma Rogers, 191-158; Ward 2, Pos 1, Frankie Joan Baker won over Carla Parnell 194-146.
In Sharp County, 2,860 of the county’s 11,050 registered voters had cast ballots by Nov. 5.
In Sharp County, Coroner, Renee Clay-Circle, incumbent won with 3,494 over Seth H. Wortham with 2,107; JP District 1, Roger C. Stark incumbent, beat Phillip Sullivan, 388-360; JP District 2, Briana Dilorio incumbent, beat Garry Lawrence 453-274; JP District 5, Tony Vaughn incumbent, beat Ruth Rogers 397-192; JP District 6, Everett McGuire incumbent, won with 284 votes over opponents David R. Cook with 89, and Jackie Pickett with 168. City of Cherokee Village, Russ Stokes kept the Mayor’s seat with 741 votes to Darryl Matson’s 679; City Clerk: Deb Weichinger won with 738 over Billie J. Suiters with 621; Alderman Ward 3, Pos. 2, Stephen D. Thompson won with 938 votes over Paul R. Huensch’s 437. City of Hardy, Ernie Rose won the Mayor’s race over three opponents, getting 206 votes to Nina S. Thornton with 12, Jason Jackson with 71 and Timothy Seeger with 6; Alderman: Ward 1, Pos. 1, Bob Gilliland won 163-124 over Vickie Rice; Ward 1, Pos. 2, Penny Mendes Allen won 160-128 over Laura J. Smith; Ward 2, Pos. 1, Bruce Thurow beat Nimmi Desai 188-100; Ward 2, Pos. 2, Matthew Coggins won 182-106 over David Bathrick; Ward 3, Pos. 1, Mark Gordon beat Tracie Moore 178-109, Ward 3, Pos. 2, Sue Taylor won 158-131 over Raymond Hicks. City of Highland, Russell Truitt won the Mayor’s race over Timothy G. Eash, 220-158; Alderman: Ward 3, Pos. 1, Steven Rose beat Johnny Ivey 251-122.
Federal and State office results: U.S. Congress, District 1, Congressman Rick Crawford won with 69.83%; Gov. Asa Hutchinson won with 65.49%; Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin won with 64.36%; Atty. Gen. Leslie Rutledge won with 61.97%; Secretary of State, John Thurston won with 60.82%; State Treasurer Dennis Milligan won with 71.02%; Auditor of State Andrea Lea won with 72.47%; Commissioner of State Lands, Tommy Land won with 60.23%; State Senate District 19, James Sturch won with 72.90%; State Representative District 61, Marsh Davis won with 50.63%; State Supreme Court Associate Justice Pos. 3 Courtney Goodson won with 55.60%.
Issue No. 2 requiring photo ID to vote, Issue No. 4 Arkansas casino gaming, and Issue No. 5 increasing the Arkansas minimum wage, all passed.

The Horseshoe Bend Area Chamber of Commerce will host Pizza and Politicians, a question and answer session for Izard County candidates running for Tax Collector, Judge and Sheriff. This event will take place on Thursday, July 19 at 6 p.m. in the Recreation Center at Crown Point Resort. Papa Dick’s Pizza will cater the event, cost is $10 per person. The deadline to reserve your seat is noon on Tuesday, July 17.
Questions for the candidates will be read by a moderator and their responses will be timed. The deadline to submit your questions is also noon on Tuesday, July 17. To RSVP or to submit a question, please call the Horseshoe Bend Area Chamber of Commerce at 870-670-5433 or email horseshoebendarcc@yahoo.com. You can also RSVP/submit questions via Facebook at www.facebook.com/hsbacc.

by Karen Sherrell
On November 6, former Izard County Judge David Sherrell entered a negotiated plea of guilty to charges, formally filed five days earlier, of criminal use of property or laundering criminal proceeds, forgery (two counts) and theft.
Sherrell waved his right to a jury trial, and with his attorneys L. Gray Dellinger of Melbourne and Tom Thompson of Batesville, appeared before Circuit Court Judge Tim Weaver, who asked Sherrell if he understood the charges against him, to which Sherrell replied, “Yes.”
Sherrell was sentenced to six years in the Regional Correctional Facility in Osceola, and ordered to pay $35,000 restitution to the victim, the taxpayers of Izard County, plus $1,920 in fines and court costs.
“Basically we have to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money,” said Izard County Judge Eric Smith. “It makes me sad when someone takes advantage of their power. We are to watch the money, spend it wisely and not steal from the public.”
According to Sherrell’s sentencing order, $25,750 is payable by Sherrell, and $9,250 is payable by Sherrell and his son-in-law Matt Orf. Payments must begin within 30 days of Sherrell’s release from prison, and be not less than $500 a month.
Sherrell, Orf and Paul Shuttleworth were arrested following an investigation into discrepancies of equipment purchases and sales from March 2015 through December 2016.
Sherrell, who served as the county judge from 2011 to 2016, was investigated by Dennis Simons, with the Arkansas State Police, when Sixteenth Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Holly Meyer opened the investigation in February 2017.
Charges were in connection with the purchase and sale of a 20 ton trailer, purchase of a John Deere road grader and a Case bulldozer, and theft of tools and equipment, all belonging to Izard County.
Orf was charged with criminal use of property or laundering criminal proceeds, in connection with the sale of the trailer, and Shuttleworth was charged with forgery in the second degree, in connection with the purchase of the road graders.
Both Orf and Shuttleworth are scheduled to appear in court on November 22.
Sherrell was reprimanded to the custody of Izard County authorities immediately following his plea agreement November 6. In lieu of the State charges, the U.S. Attorney’s office will not seek Federal charges, according to the agreement. Sherrell could face civil charges for ethics violations, through the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

Son-in-law and equipment salesman also charged in case
by Karen Sherrell
A former Izard County judge and two other men have been arrested following a nine month investigation into discrepancies of equipment purchases and other items involving the county judge’s office, and taxpayer’s money.
David Sherrell, Izard County Judge for three terms, from 2011 to 2016, has been charged with criminal use of property or laundering criminal proceeds, two counts of forgery, and theft of property, all four felonies.
Sixteenth Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Holly Meyer opened an investigation earlier this year, after reviewing alleged discrepancies during Sherrell’s term, specifically from March 2015 through December 2016.
According to court affidavits filed by Meyer on November 1 containing information from Dennis Simons, investigator with the Arkansas State Police, Sherrell’s charges were in connection with the purchase and sale of a 2001 Ameritrail 20 ton trailer, purchases of a John Deere 670B road grader and a Case 1150K bulldozer, and theft of tools and equipment in the amount of $3,500, all belonging to Izard County.
Affidavit and court filings
During Simons’ investigation, he discovered the purchase of two dump trucks for the Izard County Road Department in June of 2015.
Jeremy Purdue, of Coal Creek, LLC Truck and Equipment Sales, was approached by Sherrell for the purchase of the dump trucks along with an equipment trailer. Sherrell told the company that he could not obtain financing on the trailer and asked them to increase the price of the dump trucks to include the price of the trailer. Coal Creek presented two invoices to Sherrell for his signature, one for the two dump trucks totaling $83,000, and a second invoice for the trailer at no cost. The second invoice was not found in the county records, but was provided by Coal Creek.
The trailer was delivered on June 26, 2015 and Sherrell took personal possession of it. Perdue estimated the value of the trailer between $7,000 and $7,500. In July 2015, the Izard County Quorum Court approved financing the dump trucks, and the trailer acquisition was not disclosed to the Quorum Court. In November 2015 Sherrell arranged for the sale of the trailer from his son-in-law, Matt Orf, to the county. Orf presented a document that stated he was the owner of the trailer, and had the authority to sell the trailer, with Sherrell’s signature of approval. Sherrell approved to pay Orf $9,250 for the trailer, and on November 18, 2015, the county delivered a check for $9,250 to Sherrell. The check was endorsed by Orf and Sherrell and bank records show on that date that $3,000 was deposited in the Sherrell Farm Account, $3,000 was deposited in the Sherrell personal account, and $3,250 was cashed. Simons’ summary in the trailer investigation stated, “Izard County buys the trailer a second time, but this second time, the county actually receives the trailer.”
In 2016, auditors discovered the trailer transaction was not approved by the Quorum Court, which is required for transactions with family members. Sherrell approached the court to approve the purchase of the trailer from Orf, which was done on August 2, 2016.
According to the arrest warrant, Matt Orf, age 39 of Oxford, has been charged with criminal use of property or laundering criminal proceeds, a class c felony, in connection with the sale of the trailer.
In June 2015, Sherrell purchased a pair of road graders from Stibling Equipment LLC, for the Izard County Road Department. The cost of the graders was $143,000 for a John Deere 670G, and $20,000 for a John Deere 670B. Neither the customer order or invoices were found in county records, they were given to investigators by Stribling, and were dated June 26, 2016. Found in county records was a fraudulent invoice, not created by Stribling, for the sale of a single road grader, 670G, to the county for $163,000. On July 2, 2015, Stribling salesman Paul Shuttleworth signed the fraudulent bill of sale in Sherrell’s office. The fraudulent bill of sale was located in county payment records. Sherrell presented the purchase of the 670G road grader for $163,000 to the Quorum Court and on July 6, 2015, the court approved financing. Sherrell never disclosed the acquisition of the 670B road grader to the court, or road department. Simons’ summary in the road grader investigation stated, “Izard County unwittingly pays for the 670B road grader and Sherrell takes unauthorized personal possession of the 670B road grader.” Almost a year and a half later, following Sherrell’s defeat in the November 2016 election, the 670B road grader appeared at the county road shop, in December 2016. It was never listed in the Road Department equipment inventory during Sherrell’s term of office. The hours of operation on the 670B road grader were 11,551 at the time of sale in June 2015, and 11,721 in December 2016.
Paul Shuttleworth, age 52 of Mountain View has been charged with forgery in the second degree, a class c felony, in connection with the purchase of the road graders.
In September 2016, Sherrell arranged to purchase a used Case 1150K bulldozer from Scott Equipment Company LLC, and on September 2, 2016, he took possession of the bulldozer, which was receipted as a demo. Sherrell signed a driver receipt which noted Izard County as the customer. He hauled the dozer to his personal farm and unloaded it. On September 12, 2016 Scott created a retail order form indicating Sherrell as the purchaser of the dozer, for the amount of $43,000. Sherrell’s signature appeared on the order. Scott subsequently billed Sherrell for $43,000, sent to his home address, on September 30 and October 17, 2016. Later, Scott invoiced Izard County in the amount of $58,000 for the dozer, indicating a base cost and additional cost of repairs at 15,000. Other information showed Sherrell had the dozer tracks replaced by his mechanic while at his farm. Additionally he paid a county employee out of his own pocket to work on the dozer on his property. Witnessess had seen Sherrell operating the dozer making improvements to his property. County Road Department employee Jesse Morgan picked up the dozer from Sherrell’s farm and returned it to Scott. On November 21, Scott issued an invoice to the county for $60,000, indicating the dozer had a new undercarriage, and noted that the $2,000 increase was due to Sherrell indicating that he wanted the air conditioning fixed. On December 6, 2016, the Quorum Court approved the purchase of the dozer. Another repair order dated December 29, 2016 in the amount of $3,285.34 from Scott, was paid by the county on January 11, 2017. The dozer was then delivered to the road department on January 23 with significant hydraulic issues. The dozer was never taken to the county road shop for use during Sherrell’s term in office.
In March 2015, Sherrell purchased miscellaneous tools and equipment for the Izard County Road Department, from Darren Bates, for the amount of $3,500. County employees accompanied Sherrell to pick up the tools and some of the equipment was dropped off at Sherrell’s farm, including a 100 gallon air compressor and assorted tools. Sherrell requested payment by Izard County to Bates for $3,500, and a check was issued on April 1, 2015. On May 31 of this year, a search warrant was served at the Sherrell residence by investigators with Arkansas State Police. Investigators recovered multiple items identified by Bates as having been purchased by Sherrell, for Izard County.
Sherrell, age 58 of Oxford, surrendered to authorities at the Izard County Jail in Melbourne on November 1, and was released on a $10,000 bond. Orf and Shuttleworth surrendered to authorities the next day and were released on their own recognizance.

by Karen Sherrell
IZARD COUNTY – Sixteenth Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Holly Meyer opened an investigation earlier this year after reviewing alleged discrepancies in the Izard County Judge’s office, as to the handling of equipment purchases and other items, during the term of David Sherrell.
Dennis Simons, Special Agent with the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division, initiated an investigation into allegations of theft of Izard County property committed by Sherrell, according to the Affidavit for Search Warrant filed June 2. Sherrell was the elected judge for three terms, six years, from 2011 to 2016.
According to Simons, during an interview with an Izard County Road Department employee, he learned of the purchase of tools from a Sharp County auction in 2015, some of which were allegedly taken to Sherrell’s farm. The auction was held by Arkansas State Trooper Darren Bates, according to the affidavit, following the death of his father. Bates confirmed the purchase of the tools by Sherrell, and payment by check from the Izard County Treasurer’s office issued to him in the amount of $3,500. Bates told Simons Sherrell did not provide him with any personal money for the tools.
The tools in question included, in part, a Champion Air Compressor, a Chicago 3/4 pneumatic drive with a full set of sockets, a bench grinder, shop press and other assorted miscellaneous tools to be identified by Bates. Simons visited the county shop and was unable to locate the described tools.
On May 31, Simons, along with Izard County Deputy Gabe Sanders and Trooper Bates, executed a search warrant signed by District Court Judge David Miller, on Sherrell’s property located at 1115 Tri Lakes Road in Oxford. Equipment and tools were seized matching the description of the auction items listed on the search warrant, and identified by Bates.
Property seized was a Chicago pneumatic 3/4 impact wrench, a one inch drive socket, three green gas measuring containers, a Craftsman toolbox, Flexible Flyer snow sled, miscellaneous PVC pipe fittings, bailing twine, paint supplies, propane wall heater, two antique Mobile brand gas cans, McCulloch Pro Mac chainsaw, sump pump, Craftsman rotary trimmer-router, navy illumination flare container, antique drill press, two metal saw horses, antique vice, axle with attached wheels, heavy duty tie-down straps, shooting bench rest, pipe threading tools, and miscellaneous plastic containers.
“These items are considered evidence,” according to the search warrant, “and/or fruits of the crime of theft of property.”
When Meyer requested the State Police investigation on Sherrell in February, she also requested an audit of the Judge’s office. Four state auditors conducted the audit for the period of time Sherrell was in office, according to Izard County Judge Eric Smith.
The investigation is still ongoing.

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