Tag Archives: Little Rock District

Some Things are Better Left Undisturbed

Looting or vandalizing a Native American burial ground, or digging for or removing archaeological artifacts from government property is an escalating problem, and action is being taken to stop it. As a result, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has partnered with various agencies such as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arkansas Historic Preservation, and the Osage Nation to spread awareness about the issue and step up efforts to stem the escalating problem of looting.

The goal of this partnership is to not only increase the number of investigations taking place in order to deter individuals from seeking out artifacts on government lands, but to also seek out convictions to show that this is a serious issue that will not be taken lightly.

Aaron Boswell, a ranger for the Little Rock District, installs looting signage at one of the Corps’ many parks. Signage is now being placed at Corps parks in order to bring exposure to the penalties one will incur if found in violation of the law. Not only will perpetrators face prison time up to 5 years without parole, fines can also amount to $250,000.

Signage is now being placed at Corps parks in order to bring exposure to the penalties one will incur if found in violation of the law. Not only will perpetrators face prison time up to five years without parole, fines can also amount to $250,000. Two Arkansan men were recently sentenced to 36 months of jail time and were each ordered to pay restitution of $2,000.

However, this is not an issue solely relegated to Arkansas. In Mississippi, six individuals were sentenced in federal court after being convicted of removing artifacts from government land. Removing or digging up archeological artifacts on federal or tribal lands is a violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. In this particular case artifacts were removed from Corps of Engineers property. Each individual’s sentence varied with one having to pay restitution of more than $41,000.

Excavating for artifacts and selling them for monetary gain is not only unethical, it’s a gross violation of Native Americans’ spiritual beliefs. These artifacts are not merely objects of art, they are sacred. When asked why these items are viewed as sacred, Casandra Beaver a Navajo Indian and Little Rock District Administrative Assistant stated, “When someone is looting and digging up these artifacts they are taking away a part of our heritage. When these objects are created we are putting a spirit into them, they have a purpose, and they have meaning.”

Another reason that this situation is problematic is due to cultural resources not being renewable. When asked for an example of what this means, Little Rock District Archaeologist and Tribal Liaison Allen Wilson, responded, “There are no more Mississippian sites being created. When people destroy areas such as this, or remove artifacts, it takes away from our body of knowledge about the cultures in these regions. The resources that we have to pull from are already limited. It’s about history preservation.”

Chris Turner is “Making a Difference”

Chris Turner makes a difference every day for those U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees on the lower portion of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS), and at the Little Rock District’s annual awards ceremony he was formally recognized for his efforts. Turner received the District’s Making a Difference Award June 21, in front of hundreds of his fellow Corps employees.

Chris Turner (right) accepts the 2018 “Making a Difference” award from Chris Roark, the Little Rock District executive officer. Turner is the MKARNS Lock and Dam Equipment Mechanic Supervisor for locks 1-3.

According to his citation, “Turner has consistently established a high benchmark for safety, integrity, knowledge and dedication to the navigation mission. His “can-do” attitude coupled with his willingness to help others and excellent work ethic has made him an immeasurable members of the MKARNS team.”

The “Making a Difference” award is given to those who consistently go above and beyond all expectations and have garnered unwavering respect from peers and co-workers. The award was created in 2008 by former DPM Randy Hathaway and the awardees include employees and some of our partners and stakeholders. The very first recipient was MGEN Ed Jackson when he commanded Little Rock District in the 2008 time-frame. To date, only 29 “Making a Difference” awards have be presented to deserving recipients.

Spotlight on Chris S. Turner

Position:  MKARNS Lock & Dam Equipment Mechanic Supervisor

Years with SWL:  12 years

Hometown:  Tichnor, Arkansas

Hobbies:  Spending time with my wife and family. I also enjoy going to the deer camp, hunting with my boys, and working in the yard.

Q:  You have been with the district 12 years, how has your job changed over the years?

A:   I spend more and more time on the computer and less time out in the field.

Q:  What positions have you held in the district?

A:  Started out as a lock operator in 2006 then went on to become a lock mechanic in June 2010. From there I was promoted to my current position as lockmaster in August of 2011. I supervise operations at Locks 1-3 on the lower portion of the MKARNS.

Q:  What is your favorite thing about your current position and why?

A:  The diversity of the job.  I am not always doing the same thing day in and day out. Although it is leaning towards more office time.

 Q:  What are your short and long term professional and personal goals?

A:  Professional – To be the best supervisor I can be and to mentor to new employees and try to get them started in their career in the right state of mind to have a long and rewarding career. I want them to be happy and to take pride in what they do.

A:  Personal – To be able to provide for my family and in hopes of someday retiring and watching my children grow up with families of their own.

Q:  What do you do to instill your veteran knowledge in new employees?

A:  I try to lead by example. I do not want anyone to think that I am above getting out there and working. I try to let them know that they will have a name on the river and it may be good or bad, but that is entirely up to them. I try to encourage everyone to help one another.

Q:  What do you enjoy most about your job?

A:  I like the location and that all of my three locks are different from one another and from all the other locks on the river. The three rivers all coming together and the challenges that go with it.

Q:  What are some of the biggest challenges related to your position?

A:  Getting everything I need taken care of in a timely manner. One of my pet peeves is having an email not to get answered, but sometimes I may not get to it in the time I would like due to higher priorities at the time.

Q:  What motivates you to make a difference at work and for the Corps?

A:  I like to solve problems. When someone has an issue I enjoy trying to come up with a solution that will benefit everyone. I love to let my co-workers know that someone does care what they think and that it is not just a government job.  I want them to know the reasons behind the decisions being made.

Q:  What ways have you found to balance your home life with the busy schedule you have at work?

A:  I do what I have to do for both work and home. I knew when I accepted the position what it consisted of, but it doesn’t really interfere with the family time very often. I have a very understanding and supportive wife.

Q:  Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?

A:  I am the local fire chief going on 15 years and I am also a deputy sheriff and have been for 11 years.