ALCS Game 5: Houston takes 3-2 series lead with 9-1 win vs. Red Sox

The Houston Astros beat Boston 9-1 in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series on Wednesday, moving them just one win away from another trip to the World Series.

Houston pitcher Framber Valdez was perfect through four innings, bringing a two-hit shutout into the seventh. In all, Valdez gave up one run on three hits, one walk and a hit batter, striking out five. He was also the first opposing pitcher to last eight innings in a postseason start at Fenway since Cleveland’s Charles Nagy went eight in the 1998 Division Series.

Game 6 will be held on Friday night in Houston. Nathan Eovaldi will start for Boston, but Houston manager Dusty Baker has not identified a potential starter as of press time. The Astros can clinch its third pennant in five years with a victory in Game 6. The Red Sox will need a win to force a deciding seventh game on Saturday.

Editorial credit: Keeton Gale / Shutterstock.com

Pass rusher Whitney Mercilus signs with Green Bay Packers after release from Houston Texans

31-year old Whitney Mercilus has signed with the Green Bay Packers, shortly after he became a free agent when the Houston Texans released him on Tuesday. The 10-year veteran turned down more money elsewhere to sign with Green Bay; he had spent his entire career with the Texans after being selected in the first round of the 2012 draft.

The Texans restructured Mercilus’ contract coming into this season, to clear salary-cap space. He signed a four-year, $54 million deal in 2019, but the restructuring included two voidable years that would have made him a free agent after this season.

Mercilus was second on the Texans with three sacks and tied for third with four tackles for loss. He has been an excellent pass-rusher with 115 quarterback hits and 57 sacks in 134 career games. His age and skill set are best served in pass-rush situations.

Editorial credit: digitalreflections / Shutterstock.com

AP: Arkansas governor delays plans for session on tax cuts

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is backing off plans to call the Legislature back to the Capitol next week to take up income tax cuts. The Republican governor on Tuesday delayed the special session he had expected to call for the income tax cut proposal. Hutchinson said he needs more time to discuss the plan with legislators and didn’t say when he hoped to call the session. Hutchinson said he hoped to call the session before Thanksgiving. Hutchinson said his tax cut proposal would cost the state $321 million a year once fully implemented.


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Get up-to-date local and regional news/weather every weekday morning and afternoon from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5

Citizens Bank, Batesville Schools honor Dennis Nephew and Wayne Gibbs for going ‘Above & Beyond’

Pictured left to right; Eagle Mountain Elementary Principal Byron Difani, Kristie Nephew, Wayne Gibbs, and Citizens Bank’s Ashley Engles

Dennis Nephew and Wayne Gibbs, both plumbers with the Batesville School District maintenance department, were named Monday in a special honor to receive the October “Citizens Bank Above & Beyond Award.”

Since 2012, Citizens Bank and the Batesville School District have recognized staff members who go “above and beyond” to realize the district’s mission to empower today’s students for tomorrow’s challenges. Staff in all schools and departments throughout the district nominate award recipients, who receive a Certificate of Excellence, a $25 gift card and a 20-ounce insulated tumbler from Citizens Bank. The award is presented at the Batesville School Board meeting each month.

This month’s award presentation brought special meaning to recipients Nephew and Gibbs. Dennis Nephew, recently passed, was represented by his wife Kristie Nephew.

Fellow colleagues were sure to note Nephew and Gibbs’ unwavering will to work as they selected the two for this month’s award. Eagle Mountain Elementary staff said:

  • “A couple of years ago, we received word around 5:00 a.m. that we had a major water leak at our school. By 5:30, or shortly after, Dennis and Wayne were on scene and quickly started evaluating the situation. They took action and worked hard until late that night until the waterline was fixed. Thanks to these men the major issue was repaired and school were back in session the next day!”
  • “Time and time again we needed a plumber on campus and quickly we would see Dennis and Wayne fixing the problems.”
  • “We are so thankful that Dennis was a part of the great Batesville School District, and we are thankful that Wayne is with our district. Both have always been there for us at Eagle Mountain Elementary. To us, they are superheroes.”

About Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank was founded in 1953 by a group of business and civic leaders. Citizens Bank, with assets exceeding $1.1 billion, is a financial services organization that is committed to serving the needs of the communities it serves. Its progressive community banking model focuses on the delivery of exceptional customer service while employing advanced technology and products which allow its customers to have one bank to serve all their needs. The bank takes pride in a heritage of independence that honors the vision of its founders and remains dedicated to the financial progress of the people it serves. For more information about Citizens Bank and its talented team of leaders, visit TheCitizensBank.net.


Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Get up-to-date local and regional news/weather every weekday morning and afternoon from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5

LISTEN: Busy weekend ahead for Main Street Batesville

Main Street Batesville will be one busy place this weekend with activities throughout downtown.

Events start Saturday morning with Storytime with the Author at the Independence County Library, sponsored by First Community Bank.

Dr. Ashley Wellman author of, “The Girl Who Dances With Skeletons…My Friend Fresno” and, “The Princess and the Pea,” will lead a 10 a.m. storytime. Afterward, there will be a book signing with Dr. Wellman.

Artoberfest begins at 2 p.m. and is presented by the Batesville Area Arts Council and Main Street Batesville. Artoberfest goes until 7 p.m. and pauses briefly at 5:30 p.m. for a Halloween parade.

Artoberfest features local artists and makers, live music, and many family-friendly activities. Artoberfest is sponsored by the Citizens Bank.

Nightmare on Main Street, sponsored by Merchants and Planters Bank, begins at 5:30 p.m. It features the Halloween parade along with games and food in the Citizens Bank Pocket Park.  A costume contest is also part of the festivities.

Main Street Batesville Board Member Shannon Hix (pictured above) and self-proclaimed Queen of Halloween Amanda Roberts (pictured above) dropped by the White River Now studios on Wednesday to chat about this weekend’s festivities with Wes Gwaltney on Arkansas 103.3’s Slighty Scrambled. Listen to their interview below.

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Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Get up-to-date local and regional news/weather every weekday morning and afternoon from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5

Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska is indicted by federal grand jury on charges of lying to the FBI

Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska has been indicted, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Prosecutors said in a tweet that a federal grand jury indicted Fortenberry on charges of lying to federal investigators, and another crime in connection with a probe about illegal campaign donations provided by a foreigner.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said in a press release: ““The indictment alleges that Fortenberry repeatedly lied to and misled authorities during a federal investigation into illegal contributions to Fortenberry’s re-election campaign made by a foreign billionaire in early 2016.” The announcement of the indictment in Los Angeles federal court came hours after a YouTube video was posted, featuring Fortenberry, his wife, dog and 1963 Ford 100 pickup truck, revealing he expected to be indicted for allegedly lying to FBI agents.

Fortenberry is due to be arraigned in that court Wednesday. He is charged with one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators looking into illegal contributions to his 2016 campaign.

Editorial credit: RobertAlvarez201 / Shutterstock.com

Freshman fraternity member at University of Kentucky dies from ‘presumed alcohol toxicity’

Officials say that a freshman at the University of Kentucky died from alcohol toxicity Monday night after he was found unresponsive at his fraternity house. University police officers were called to FarmHouse Fraternity at about 6:22 p.m. Monday where Thomas Lofton Hazlewood, an 18-year-old fraternity member, was unresponsive. Hazlewood, an agricultural economics major. was taken to a hospital where he died.

The Fayette County Coroner’s Office said Hazlewood’s cause of death was “presumed alcohol toxicity” pending investigation, and the manner of death was ruled an accident. In a statement on Tuesday, the University of Kentucky said: “Foul play is not suspected, but police are investigating the circumstances of his death.”

FarmHouse Fraternity CEO Christian Wiggins said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Thomas ‘Lofton’ Hazelwood, a new member of the University of Kentucky chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and loved ones as well as the entire community. We have encouraged all members and new members to cooperate with any investigation prompted by Mr. Hazelwood’s death. The thoughts of the entire UK community are with his family and all those who knew him.”

Editorial credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

NY Yankees manager Aaron Boone to return; signs three-year extension with team

The New York Yankees announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed manager Aaron Boone to a new three-year contract; Boone’s new contract runs through the 2024 season and includes an option for 2025.

The 48-year-old Boone’s previous contract had expired at the end of the season. He has a 328-218 regular-season record in his four-year tenure with the franchise, and the team has been 11-11 in the postseason under Boone’s leadership. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a news release: “We have a person and manager in Aaron Boone who possesses the baseball acumen and widespread respect in our clubhouse to continue to guide us forward. As a team and as an organization, we must grow, evolve and improve. We need to get better. Period. I know Aaron fully embraces our expectations of success, and I look forward to drawing on his intelligence, instincts and leadership in pursuit of our next World Series championship.”  Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said during a press conference to announce the news: “Aaron Boone is the solution. He isn’t the problem.”  However, Cashman also acknowledged the inconsistency of the ’21 Yankees, calling them “unstoppable” for stretches and “unwatchable” during others.

The Yankees went 92-70 in the 2021 regular season, but lost to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Wild Card Game.

Editorial credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Philadelphia 76ers suspend Ben Simmons for one game due to ‘conduct detrimental to the team’

The Philadelphia 76ers have suspended point guard Ben Simmons for one game for “conduct detrimental to the team,” the franchise announced Tuesday. Simmons will miss the team’s season opener against the Pelicans as a result of the suspension. Coach Doc Rivers threw Simmons out of practice, leading to the eventual suspension. According to multiple reports, Rivers asked Ben Simmons to join a defensive drill today multiple times, but Simmons refused. Rivers told reporters that Simmons’s reluctance to “physically and mentally engage” with the team since his return has been a consistent theme, and said he asked Simmons to leave practice Tuesday because he has been distracting teammates — “I thought he was a distraction today. I didn’t think he wanted to do what everyone else was doing.”

Simmons is set to earn $31.5 million this season; he is signed with the 76ers through the 2024-25 season.  He requested a trade this summer and did not report to training camp.  All-Star center Joel Embiid, Simmons’ teammate for five seasons, told reporters it is not his job to be a “baby sitter” when asked about the point guard. Embiid said Tuesday: “I don’t care about that man honestly. He does whatever he wants. That’s not my job. … I’m only focused on trying to make the team better, win some games and try to lead the guys we have here. I’m sure they [teammates] feel the same way. Our chemistry has been excellent, despite everything that’s happened [with Simmons] in the last few months.”

The 76ers face the New Orleans Pelicans in their first regular-season game at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday in New Orleans.

Editorial credit: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

Independence County Sheriff’s Department reports a missing pregnant woman

The Independence County Sheriff’s Office is reporting a missing pregnant woman.

Deputy Bryon Hightower noted in his report that he visited with Lona Corter on Monday, Oct. 18. Corter informed authorities that Lily Lenderman, 21, formerly of Sidney, has not been seen or heard from since Sunday evening.

Lenderman is described as homeless and does not own a phone. Corter said Lenderman usually stays wherever she can and that she had been staying the last few days at a park area in west Batesville known as, “The Rocks.”

Corter also told police that Lenderman is seven months pregnant.

Lenderman may be traveling with Justin French in a brown Chevrolet truck.

Lenderman has been entered into the Arkansas Crime Information Center as a missing person. Authorities did not have a photo of Lenderman to share at this time.

Anyone aware of Lenderman’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Independence County Sheriff’s Department at (870) 793-8838.


Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Get up-to-date local and regional news/weather every weekday morning and afternoon from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5