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Friday, April 30, 2010

Entergy speaker visits Rotary Club of Scenic 7

Members of the Rotary Club of Scenic 7 quizzed guest speaker Greg Asbell, Entergy southwest region manager, throughout his presentation yesterday.
Asbell is responsible for directing the regions customer service operations and economic efforts. He has worked for Entergy since 1982 and has lived here in the Village for about a year. So he shares our pain when we have power outages.
Asbell showed the Rotarians insulators and how Entergy is trying to cut down on outages by moving to an insulator that does not allow water to seep in, freeze and explode at some unspecified time in the future. The new insulator is more squat and has a wider area of protection.
Asbell told Rotarians Entergy Corp. has only 15,000 employees and almost three million customers. It has closed all of its local offices in order to streamline costs. Entergy is the second largest supplier of nuclear energy in the country.
Entergy is a 30 megawatt supplier. Its sources include nuclear, coal, gas/oil, combined cycle and hydro. Rotarians asked about the percentages of each source. Nuclear power supplies most of the electricity in Arkansas, 70-percent, gas is only 20-percent and hydro is just two-percent. Coal, gas/oil and combined cycle make up the remaining eight-percent.
Although Entergy Arkansas is fairly self-sufficient there are still times in the summer when it has to purchase electricity from other sources. Most of the year it sells its excess power.
According to Asbell, Entergy Corporation would like to grow more in nuclear-based power. In Arkansas the success of its plant in Russelville is good public relations for this type of growth. Other states using Entergy are not so receptive to nuclear power plants. He said it is a good source of clean energy.
Asbell also talked about two cases in front of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, PSC. One of the cases involves a system agreement regarding Arkansas subsidizing operations in Louisiana. The Entergy Corporation system agreements came into effect in 1951. In 2005 Arkansas filed to set aside the agreement with Louisiana. There is a delay in results, the earliest Arkansas can get out of the agreement is in 2013.
If Arkansas walks away from its reciprocal agreement with Louisiana it can join the southwest power pool, work without an agreement or write a new system agreement.
Each state has its own public service commission and it has the ability to overrule any directives by Entergy Corporation. The theory is the customer comes first and the customer’s rights should be respected.
Asbell also addressed the $168 million rate case before the PSC on May 19. According to Asbell, Entergy Arkansas ranks last in return rate to investors. He said the last time Entergy applied for a rate increase was in 2007 and it was denied.
Asbell finished his talk by giving energy saving tips to the Rotarians. Set thermostats to 68 in winter and 78 in summer. Seal leaky duct work. Set water heaters to 115 to 120 for more efficiency.
Rotary Club of Scenic 7 meets every Thursday at noon at the Boys and Girls Club. Bring a brown bag lunch at 11:30 to enjoy socializing before the meeting.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Yesterday Once More

This never saw the light of day so I thought some might enjoy the review.
Yesterday Once More hit all the highlights of music of the 1970s and brought back good memories for most of the audience members.
I started high school in late 1970 and graduated in May of 1974. My senior class song was The Long and Winding Road, the final number in the show. This concert definitely spoke to me but I was surprised that everyone in the audience regardless of age remembered the tunes and responded positively to them.
Prior to the concert there was the drawing for the gorgeous anniversary quilt. Just a last name was on the winning ticket. The name sounded like Beeson. The winner was not in attendance. Bobbie Bateman will contact the winner.
Members of the 40th anniversary committee were recognized and then the best part of the evening ensued.
Time flew because we were having fun. Audience members not only enjoyed the show, they became a part of it. It looked like a giant Richard Simmons exercise class with everyone’s arms above their heads swaying to the music. Later on it was heads bobbing sided to side. Rows and rows and rows of bobble dolls moving side to side instead of back and forth. Everyone had fun.
I suspect my experience was fairly typical. I came home from the concert and started downloading some of the songs by the original artists on my ipod. Its been a long time since I lost myself in the tunes of Karen Carpenter, Billy Joel and Neil Diamond.
Mac Frampton, pianist extra ordinaire, Vincent Talarico, drummer and vocalist and Lisa Balkwill, female vocalist, entertained like the long-time showbiz participants they are. They brought years of experience to a fairly new show. They are still tweaking song selections. It is obvious even to me their selections were right on for the most entertainment value.
A favorite part of the evening was The Television Remembers as Frampton and his very percussively talented band played through several television theme songs of the 70s. Audience members near me were calling out the names of the shows as they recognized them. The medley started and ended with the theme for All in the Family, it touched on themes from Happy Days, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mission Impossible and MASH.
The audience was instructed to clap when they recognized a song from a medley played throughout the evening. There was constant clapping. This was the first time I have seen a Woodlands audience give a standing ovation at intermission.
Time flew because we were having fun. The group’s second half was just as good as the first. Stand outs were Talarico’s time on the drums for the Copacabana and Balkwill’s nod to disco, Last Dance.
The audience urged the performers to an encore. The three rounded out the evening with their renditions of You’ve Got a Friend, Imagine and The Long and Winding Road. The perfect way for me to end the evening.

Strategic Planning

The strategic planning committee held two open forums yesterday at 3p.m and 6 p.m at the Ouachita Room designed to obtain public input in the planning process.
The goal of the committee is to present the POA board with a plan of action to take the Village to an idealized place ten years from now.
The committee is identifying where we want to be in ten years and how we can possibly get there.
It is looking at the vision, internal and external factors, the coming shifts in population and demographics and how to pay for any future innovations.
Keith Keck, the deputy of process in strategic planning led the presentation. Wilbur Smither, the other deputy in the strategic planning process helped clarify some of the information presented. Four of five of the strategic planning team leaders were present to answer questions as well. Dave Johnston, POA general manager, is at the top of the strategic planning pyramid. He joined the meeting in progress.
Audience members asked for clarification of some points, asked a few questions about the process but also had many suggestions to be included in the plan. Several of the audience ideas were already considered by the sub-committees but the input gave clarification they were on the right track.
Smither said the committee was looking at three different population bases for the future Village, one just like we have now with a mix of retirees and non-retirees, one with baby boomers and one with and one of unknown residents.
The goal of the committee is to anticipate the type of amenities that would attract each of the three populations and how the Village would provide amenities and services to the future population.
The security of the Village as a gated community seems to be one factor that draws the current population and will draw future populations as well.
The strategic planning committee will formulate the information gathered at the two forums and proceed to the next step in its process, a detailed update to the POA board on May 5 with the kick off of the next phase, SWOTs, on May 15. The committee will be on the agenda at the board retreat starting on May 21.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

POA Board Meeting

This was the last POA board meeting for Teri Jackson and Paul Day. Both were singled out by fellow board members for the good job they have done during their tenure. Outgoing board president, Mike Misch, said both Day and Jackson were "excellent board members." Jerry Kosoglow and Jim Owens were sworn in as the newest board members. Both Kosoglow and Owens have wives serving on POA committees. Both women have been asked to temporarily step down from committee service until the Board can amend by-laws forbidding the service on a POA committee of a spouse of a standing POA board member.
Director Jeff Atkins announced the selection of three at-large members for the Chamber’s newly formed advertising and promotions committee. Lee Ann Branch supplied the names of the new committee members, Joyce Benning, Katherine Winslow and Jim Harlow.
Bob Brandt’s quote of the meeting was from Rosemary Clooney, "You can’t be appreciative and unhappy at the same time."
The new board president and vice president elections were held, Bill Linam will serve as president and Mike Misch will serve as vice president, reversing their pervious roles.
General manager Dave Johnston presented a financial contingency plan to help reallocate funds to keep the Village in the black. Some of his suggestions included restructuring a bond fund from a restricted account to an unrestricted account, cancelling the fourth of July fireworks celebration and continuing the hiring freeze.
He did have some good news. The implementation of geothermal at the fitness center and the Balboa club has saved the POA $40,000 in electricity and propane costs.
The cancellation of the fourth of July fireworks display would save the POA an additional $40,000.
He also suggested delaying capital improvements at the DeSoto Games Area and replacement of some POA building roofs and vehicles.
An item brought up for delay was street maintenance above the recent assessment increase. Outgoing Board director Paul Day voiced his unwillingness to cut or delay and street maintenance.
Bill Linam suggested the cutting street maintenance option move to the end of the list. Hesaid, "it should only be done when all other avenues of reduction have been exhausted."
There will be a working board meeting next Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Ouachita room at the Ponce de Leon Center.


Armida is the last high definition broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera for this season. The broadcast is available at Tinseltown in Benton this Saturday at noon.
Gioachino Rossini's Armida features Renee Flemming in the title role. Libretto by Giovanni Schmidt. The Met's production is directed by Mary Zimmerman and conducted by Riccardo Frizza.
Armida is the story of a beautiful and enchanting sorceress enthralling men in her island prison. In addition to the ever popular Flemming, the cast includes Lawrence Brownlee as Rinaldo, Bruce Ford as Goffredo, Jose Manuel Zapata as Gernando, Barry Banks as Carlo and Kobie van Rensburg as Ubaldo.
The sets and costumes for this production were designed by Richard Hudson. Brian MacDevitt designed lighting. Making her Met debut in Armida is dance choreographer Graciela Daniele.
This opera was underwritten by The Sybil B. Harrington Endowment Fund.
The opera Armida is based on a story of the Crusades by Torquato Tasso, Gerusalemme Liberata.
Interestingly, all of Armida’s prisoners are tenors. Armida is the only female role in the opera. Armida falls in love with crusader Rinaldo. Rinaldo’s comrades convince him his duty is with the Crusades. He leaves Armida and she seeks revenge. The sorceress Armida is the star in the opera and all the best music is written for this character. Since Fleming is enchanting, beautiful and immensely talented, this opera is a must see.
The opera is best known for Armida’s unleashing of a vocal coloratura firestorm in act three. There is also a cello concerto which has been called rapturous. The ballet by Daniele has been deemed exquisite. All elements adding up to a memorable and enjoyable performance.
The Village Opera Guild will meet this Friday at 10 a.m. at the Oauchita Room to discuss Armida.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dates to Remember

Tomorrow at 5 p.m. is the Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance at the Ponce de Leon Center.
On Wednesday the strategic planning committee will be holding two open forums, one at 3 p.m. and one at 6 p.m. at the Ouachita room at the Ponce de Leon Center. The committee is looking for community input.
The HSV Chamber of Commerce is holding its Business Expo at the Coronado Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Friday.
The live Met broadcast in high definition of the opera Armida is this Saturday at noon at Tinseltown in Benton.
The Hot Springs Concert Band/ice cream social is this Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Woodlands.
The Cedar Mountain Singers are holding their spring concerts on May 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m.

40th Anniversary Wrap-up

The 40th anniversary celebration is complete and life in the Village will soon return to normal.
Bobbie Bateman must be singled out from the rest of the 40th anniversary committee. Bateman put together all of the entertainment events for the celebration. Her crowning glory was the Hollywood Night.
The DeSoto Club was decked out just like in days gone by. All of the ladies were in their finest gowns and the men in formal wear. The band was contracted by Steve Fetcko. He gathered together a supremely talented mix of instrumentalists from inside and outside of the Village. Fetcko played keyboard, Steve Suter on trombone, Bill Morgan on clarinet and sax, Pat Henry on trumpet, Leland Beach on drums, Bill Hunttinton on bass and Hose Horniak on guitar.
The vocalists were on par with the instrumentalists. Dan Utter, Kenny McKay, Jack Iafrate, Carolyn Bodensteiner, Maureen Morgan and Janet Fortune lent their vocal talents to the celebration.
Iafrate was a hoot as the master of ceremonies.
Bodensteiner's When Sunny Gets Blue was my personal favorite. It was a show stopper.
Yesterday, the Jessieville Lions Chorus, the Fountain Lake Cobra Chorus and the Chanticleers provided a memorable afternoon of choral favorites. Blue Skies was a big hit. Many of the children have graced the Woodlands stage before and it was good to see them again. Victoria Carpenter, Camille and Caroline Eisenhauer, Debra Hurley and Hannah McFarland previously appeared in The Music Man presented by the Village Players.
Several of the Jessieville students will be participating in Seusical the Musical this week.
The second half of the concert featured the Fountain Lake Jazz Band and the Jessieville Lions Combined Concert Band. They were both terrific. Fountain Lake gave solo nods to all of its graduating band seniors.
Every one of the chorus and band directors involved in the concert deserves a big hats off. Good job.
Following the concert was the thank you presentation by Heifer Project International acting CEO, Charles Stewart. Tom Gallagher introduced the guest speaker. Stewart's speech was moving and inspirational as he thanked Villagers for giving over $450,000 to Heifer in the 20 years the local Heifer Club has been in existence. He also recognized two couples instrumental in bringing Heifer to the Village. Bette and Merrill Clark and Fae and Chuck Brunsen received a dedicated service award.
The Coronado Library hosted the last public event of the 40th anniversary celebration. The little library was rocking as patrons came by to share in wine, cheese, fruit and good conversation. The library payed special tribute to Village pioneers.
Don't forget the Cedar Mountain Singers concert coming up on May 3 and 4 at the Woodlands. The Dixielanders will be sitting in with the chorus on a couple of tunes. Also, on May 2 is the Hot Springs Concert Band/ice cream social at the Woodlands. On May 16 is the ASO Youth Orchestra concert at the Woodlands.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fresh Start

Now that I am no longer with the Voice, I have time on my hands to create the type of paper I would love to read. One overflowing with the latest news, the funny police reports and up to date arts and entertainment previews and reviews. Sorry, if you are looking for sports, I can't help you.
I will endeavor to create a product that will tell you what is going on in Hot Springs Village right now, not what happened last week but what is happening right now.
Currently, the Village is wrapping up its 40th anniversary celebration. Tonight is the Teen Party at the DeSoto Family Recreation Area for 7th grade through 12th grade at 6 p.m. The party is $5.
For adults there is the Ruby Celebration Hop at the Coronado Community Center beginning at 7 p.m. The dance is $3.