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Thursday, June 30, 2011

POA lays off 33 employees

Today on KVRE the POA general manager Scott Randall said as part of restructuring the POA he will streamline the workforce. Today 33 POA employees were laid off as part of the restructuring effort. None of those laid off were in the Department of Public Safety.
Facebook is all a twitter with news of the lay-offs.

Blog milestone

In the wee hours of the morning the blog reached over 40,000 hits and is continuing to grow. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Teen returns home

Wednesday June 29, 2011 2:25 PM CDT

Missing Person, Jamie Lynn, has been located by Garland County Investigator's and is at home doing fine.

Garland County Sheriff's Investigator's were able to establish a location for 15 year old Jamie Lynn this morning. Several Investigator's went to the area of Dunhill Road and, after a short search of the area, were able to locate her at a mobile home.

Jamie was returned safely to her parents.

Malvern/ABI blood drive is tomorrow

Arkansas Blood Institute "Guns and Hoses" blood drive is tomorrow.

The annual Arkansas Blood Institute "Guns and Hoses" blood drive is tomorrow, Thursday the 30th, at First Baptist Church on Central Avenue, just across from Oaklawn Park. This event pits the law enforcement gang against the fire department gang to see who can achieve the most blood donated.

If able, please plan to attend between 12 noon and 7pm to represent the Garland County Sheriff's Department in your donation of blood.

See attached information from Bob Woodall of the Arkansas Blood Institute below.

Several patients in our local hospitals are alive today because someone took 45 minutes to give a donation of life-saving blood. You are all heroes everyday, and tomorrow, Thursday from 12 noon to 7 pm is your opportunity to save 3 lives with your blood donation at the First Baptist Church on Central across from Oaklawn Park. You can also come to the center on Higdon Ferry Rd/MLK bypass on Mon, Wed, Fri from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm and (Sat. 8:00 am to 1:00 pm). If you can’t donate, ask someone else.

Eat a good meal, push the water and bring your photo ID (driver’s license) to the drive. You’ll get the Guns ‘N’ Hoses T-Shirt, tickets to a zoo and snacks. You’ll also get a free health screening, donor reward points and a credit for blood if you or your family has a need.

Garvan Woodland Gardens July workshops

Gardening 101 Workshop - July 28
Magnolia Room

Topic: "Bromeliads and Other Great Indoor Plants" - 9:30 a.m. - 12 Noon
Topic: "Cold Hardy & Indoor Tropicals" - 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Nancy Peters, owner of Two Friends Living Creations & Special Gifts, will share her expertise on growing, maintaining, and propgating bomeliads and other indoor plants. She will also provide tips for creating creative home displays. In the afternoon session, advanced master gardener Charles Harper will share his love of palms and other cold hardy tropicals. His presentation will include tropicals great for atriums and green rooms, as well as indoor palms to enhance the beauty of your home.

Gardening 101 sessions are free to Garden members and previously registered volunteers; regular Garden admission applies to non-members. Advance reservations are recommended. Call the Gardens at 501-262-9300/800-366-4664.

Workshops at Garvan Woodland Gardens

Gardening 101 and 201 Workshop - July 19
Magnolia Room

Topic: "Bonsai" - 9:30 a.m. to 12 Noon
Topic: "Herbal Vinegars and How to Use Them" - 1 to 3 p.m.

Join Bonsai enthusiasts Norma Welch, president of the Bonsai Club of Hot Springs, and Weldon Adcock for an informative session on the art of Bonsai shaping aesthetics and techniques. The class will include demonstrations and a walk in the Weyerhaeuser Bonsai Garden with Bob Byers, the Gardens resident landscape architect, and Paula Campbell, the Garden's Bonsai caretaker.

Gardening 101 sessions are free to Garden members and previously registered volunteers; regular Garden admission applies to non-members. Advance reservations are recommended. Call the Gardens at 501-262-9300/800-366-4664.

In the afternoon Gardening 201 session, Debbie Tripp, owner of Rosemary Hill Herb Farm, returns to share ways to use the herbs you grow. During the hands-on class, participants will make three herbal vinegars to take home. Cost is $10.00. Reservations and pre-payment required. Call 501-262-9300/800-366-4664.

Learn to build a Labyrinth at Garvan Woodland Gardens

Adult Naturalist Series: How to Design & Build Your Own Labyrinth
July 10
Magnolia Room; 4 to 7 p.m.

Naturalist Roxanna Rose returns for a fun-filled lesson on creating your own labyrinth. This interactive workshop was a popluar class last year. Space is limited. Advance reservations and pre-payment required. Cost is $10 for GWG members; $19 for non-members. Cost includes supply fees and admission for non-members.

Garvan Woodland Gardens summer workshops

Gardening 101 Workshop - July 7
Magnolia Room

Topic: "What You Need to Know About Herbs" - 9:30 a.m.- 12 Noon
Topic: "Growing a Cut Flower Garden" - 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Debbie Tripp, owner of Rosemary Hill Herb Farm, will provide an overview of herbs and how to start your own herb garden, whether it be a small indoor kitchen size or full plot. She will also have a wide range of ready-to-plant herbs for sale following the class. In the afternoon, Bob Byers shares tips for designing an outdoor garden that will provide an abundance of blooms that you can cut and enjoy indoors.

Gardening 101 sessions are free to Garden members and previously registered volunteers; regular Garden admission applies to non-members. Advance reservations are recommended. Call the Gardens at 501-262-9300/800-366-4664.

Telephone bood recycling drive

The Hot Springs Sanitation Department kicks off this year’s telephone book recycling drive on Monday, July 11, as the new AT&T telephone book is delivered throughout the community. The drive will end on Wednesday, August 31.

City residential recycling customers can simply place their old phone books in one of their current recycling containers curbside on their regularly scheduled recycling collection day. Drop off containers will also be available at the following locations:

· Recycling Drop-off Center, 24-hour location, Valley and Runyon

· Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, Grand and Ouachita

· Garland County Library, 1427 Malvern Avenue

· Hot Springs Memorial Field, 525 Airport Road

· Hot Springs/Garland County Beautification Commission

· Mid-America Science Museum, 500 Mid-America Blvd.

· Hwy. 7 North and 70 West Garland County Transfer Stations

· Hot Springs Village Recycling Center

Area businesses are encouraged to participate in the drive by using one of the drop-off centers. Businesses inside city limits with more than 100 phone books can request a collection by calling Sanitation at 321-6911. Garland County residents and businesses outside city limits can also deposit phone books at the county transfer stations on Highway 7 North and 70 West, or one of the other facilities listed above.

Recycled phone books can be turned into roofing material, home insulation and recycled paper products. Recycling the books saves trees and conserves landfill space. The Hot Springs/Garland County Beautification Commission, Garland County Environmental Services Department, Garland County Library and Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce are partners in the city’s recycling drive. For more information, call 321-6911.

Supporting the arts in Arkansas

Dear Friend of The Foundation of Arts,

As our fiscal year and Community Theatre Season draw to a close, the flurry of activity and promise isn't slowing down at all! Everything is growing around here - the number of classes offered in The Arts Center, the number of instructors, the number of students served, the number of tuition waiver and work study recipients, the number of theatre shows, cast members and patrons, the number of outreach programs, and the list goes on and on! The cost to accomplish it all is growing too. Like so many non-profit organizations and arts organizations specifically, The Foundation of Arts faces financial challenges in these economic times. You may have already received a "Support" brochure in the mail. If you didn't receive one, please consider this as our plea to you. PLEASE take a moment soon to make a donation of $50 or more. You might also consider a monthly gift and/or donating online. A gift of any amount will help us continue to provide the arts to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

"Find the Artist in You" by making a donation to The Foundation of Arts today.

Donate now:

Wendy Stotts
Development and Marketing/PR Manager

The Foundation of Arts
115 East Monroe
Jonesboro, AR 72401

Message from Congressman Mike Ross

The high costs of gas and other forms of energy continue to hamper our nation’s economic recovery and they continue to make it harder for Arkansas's working families to make ends meet.

On June 23rd, the Department of Energy announced it would release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the government’s emergency fuel storage of about 700 million barrels. Another 30 million barrels will also be released from our industrial allies in the global International Energy Agency, making it the world’s biggest coordinated release of oil from strategic reserves.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the release was authorized because of the unrest in Libya, combined with OPEC’s failure to reach an agreement on oil production targets, threatening to skyrocket gas prices to record levels. The Secretary said the political and military unrest in Libya has prevented about 1.5 million barrels of oil a day from entering the world market.

This coordinated release of oil from our strategic reserves will help lower gas prices in the short term, but it is not a long-term solution. Our country spends just over $300 billion a year importing energy from other nations, particularly from the Middle East.

If anything, our present situation makes it clear that our dependence on foreign oil is a threat to our national security and our way of life. We cannot keep dipping into our strategic petroleum reserve every time there is unrest in the Middle East or we will run out very quickly. We need to look long term and find ways we can utilize the energy sources we have right here at home.

First and foremost, we need to drill more, including off the coast and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Earlier this year, I voted for legislation to lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the White House to move forward on American energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources. I also voted for legislation that calls on the White House to streamline the approval process for drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, which is significantly hampering new energy production within the United States.

Where we can’t drill here at home, we should rely more on stable, international allies for energy, such as Canada. That’s why I also helped introduce the North American-Made Energy Security Act, H.R. 1938, which will expedite a final decision on the Keystone XL pipepline. When built, this pipeline will carry more than one million barrels a day of crude oil from Canadian oil fields to refineries on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, lowering the price of fuel for all Americans. This bill passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee on June 23rd and I will continue to push for its passage on the House floor.

While we should drill more here at home, we must also look to other sources of American-made energy. That’s why I have also introduced legislation that would increase domestic drilling and then use the royalty revenues from this increased production to make historic investments in alternative and renewable sources of energy – all without adding a dime to our nation’s deficit.

My bill, the American-Made Energy Act of 2011, H.R. 1682, would lower the price of fuel, help secure the nation’s energy supply, increase the use of alternative and renewable energy and create more ‘green collar’ jobs here at home.

Some say we need to drill more and others say we need to invest more in alternative energies, but I believe we can and should do both. By focusing on American-made energy and taking a multi-faceted approach to our energy crisis, we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil in the short term and help secure this nation’s energy future in the long term. If done correctly, we can stop shipping billions of dollars overseas and use the money here at home to make smart investments in technology that helps our environment, creates jobs and lowers the price of fuel for all Americans.

Another disaster assistance center opened today

A Disaster Center will be open Wednesday and Thursday, June 29 and 30 in Carroll County to connect disaster survivors with federal specialists who can help them start their recoveries.

The Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) will operate in the Berryville Fire Department, 400 N. Main, Berryville, AR 72616. Hours both days are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Survivors of the April 14 to June 3 storms, tornadoes and flooding can meet with specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The staff can answer questions and provide information on the recovery process. Advisers from FEMA's Hazard Mitigation unit will also be on hand to answer questions and present information on preventing future disasters and the National Flood Insurance Program.

Arkansans in Carroll County who have already registered with FEMA will receive automated phone calls from the agency to inform them of the center's opening.

To expedite the assistance process, Arkansans are encouraged to register with FEMA before visiting, but registering is not required to receive help at the center.

FEMA cost analysis

An average of half a million dollars a day in state and federal assistance has flowed to Arkansans and their communities since the May 2 disaster declaration for the April 14-June 3 storms, tornadoes and flooding, according to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Nearly two months after the presidential declaration, a total of $28,162,747 in assistance has been approved or obligated. The total includes Individual Assistance grants for Housing Assistance and Other Needs Assistance (ONA) from the state and FEMA, low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and reimbursements from FEMA's Public Assistance (PA) program.

ADEM and FEMA, partners in the state's recovery efforts, provide the following summary of disaster assistance as of Monday:

$16,678,932 / Housing Assistance
$3,007,878 / Other Needs Assistance
$7,837,500 / SBA low-interest disaster loans
$638,437 / Public Assistance

Housing Assistance is provided to eligible Arkansans whose property has been damaged or destroyed as a result of the disaster. The grants are intended for emergency repairs to make homes safe and sanitary; they are not meant to restore damaged property to its pre-disaster condition. Housing Assistance can also include grants for temporary rental costs required because of serious home damage.

ONA grants help eligible survivors replace personal property damaged or destroyed in the disaster. These grants also can help pay medical, dental, funeral and burial expenses incurred as a result of the disaster.

SBA's disaster loans are available to qualifying homeowners, business owners and some nonprofit agencies. PA funds go to applicants - the state and its agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations - to clean up debris and/or help cover the cost of taking measures before, during and immediately after the disaster to protect lives and property. PA reimbursements also help repair infrastructure damaged or destroyed as a result of a disaster.

Additionally, the state and FEMA have launched a Temporary Housing Unit program for survivors who live in areas where available rental housing is extremely limited. Most of the manufactured housing units will go to residents of hard-hit rural Arkansas counties, enabling survivors to stay close to home as they rebuild.

As of Monday, 9,648 individuals and families had registered with FEMA in the 37 counties designated for Individual Assistance. The deadline to register is Aug. 1.

Arkansans can register for assistance or check the status of their application online at, via web-enabled phone at, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. FEMA phone lines are open from 7 a.m. to midnight local time seven days a week, and multilingual operators are available.

Congressman Ross seeks answers for constituents

U.S. Congressman Mike Ross of Prescott yesterday requested a full accounting of the U.S. Postal Service’s review process for closing post offices after his office received erroneous letters involving the closure of three post offices in his district. In a June 28 letter sent to U.S. Postmater General Donahoe, Ross requested a full review of the Postal Service’s closing process, including a detailed account of how the miscommunication to his office happened and the actual role public hearings have in the Postal Service’s decision-making process to close post offices.

On June 24, the U.S. Postal Service mistakenly sent letters announcing a final determination had been made to close three post offices in Ross’s district – Boles, Ozan and Parks – before the closure process was complete and only days after public hearings were held. The erroneous closure notices also listed a nearby post office where full retail services would be available.

In a June 28 letter to U.S. Postmaster General Donahoe, Ross requested a detailed account of how the miscommunication to his office happened, arguing the miscommunication “makes it hard to believe that a simple clerical error was to blame. At best, it appears that letters were pre-prepared to notify of closures and the only error was the premature sending of the letters.”

In his letter, Ross also requested a full explanation from the Postal Service about the factors involved in deciding which post offices to close and the level to which community input is taken into consideration. Finally, Ross asked the Postal Service provide the name and title of all Postal Service employees who conducted each public hearing, why they were selected to participate in the meetings and their notes from those meetings.

Ross said in the letter that his constituents deserve to know whether the Postal Service’s public hearings on the closing of post offices are simply to fulfill procedural requirements or if indeed the concerns of citizens are truly considered. He added, “some believe the Postal Service makes closure determinations without considering public comments and receipt of these letters gives credence to those concerns.”

The full text of the letter is below:

June 28, 2011

Dear Postmaster General Donahoe:

I am writing in response to recent erroneous documents sent to my office by the United States Postal Service regarding the proposed closure of several post offices in the Fourth Congressional District of Arkansas. Three letters from District Manager David Camp dated June 21, 2011 stated that final determinations had been made to close post offices in Boles, Parks and Ozan, Arkansas. However, emails received by my staff on June 24, 2011 indicated the letters had been sent erroneously and were being retracted. Copies of the letters and emails are attached to this letter.

The erroneous letters have resulted in much consternation for myself and for the residents of the rural communities served by these post offices. The letters each noted that “the community’s input was received and carefully considered before making this decision. Ultimately, based on all the factors involved, the decision was made to proceed with the closure.”

However, some believe the Postal Service makes closure determinations without considering public comments and receipt of these letters gives credence to those concerns. In particular, I would like to note that each closure letter listed a nearby post office where full retail services would be available. This makes it hard to believe that a simple clerical error was to blame. At best, it appears that letters were pre-prepared to notify of closures and the only error was the premature sending of the letters.

Therefore, I am requesting a detailed accounting of how this miscommunication happened. This response should include whether closure letters are pre-written for post offices at which final determinations have not been officially made, and if not, at what point such letters are prepared.

In addition, I am requesting a written response indicating what factors are involved in decisions to proceed with closures and the level to which community input is taken into consideration. Furthermore, I am requesting transcripts of the public hearings to discuss potential closure of these three post offices and all other public hearings held in 2011 to discuss potential closure of any post offices, branches and other Postal Service facilities located in the Fourth Congressional District of Arkansas. In conjunction, I am requesting any notes, whether typed or handwritten, from any Postal Service employees in attendance at these hearings or in subsequent private meetings to discuss proposed closures. Finally, I am requesting the name and title of all Postal Service employees who conducted each public hearing or were otherwise present in an official capacity, and why they were selected to participate in these important public meetings.

The people of Arkansas deserve to know whether these post offices have already been slated for closure but have not been formally announced due to procedural requirements, or whether the concerns of citizens are truly being considered. I believe the requested documentation will shed light on this issue. I look forward to your prompt response.


Mike Ross

Member of Congress

Youth turned himself in today

A Garland County juvenile, sentenced to a Pulaski County youth home, turned himself in to the Juvenile Detention Center after stealing a van from the home and driving to Hot Springs.

The 14 year old juvenile walked into the Detention Center and spoke to Sgt. Hadley. He told her that he had just stolen a vehicle from the youth home, drove to Hot Springs and really didn't have anywhere to go and decided to turn himself in.

After locating the 2008 Chevrolet van across the street from the Detention Center, and confirming with Little Rock Police that it was in fact stolen, the juvenile was charged with Theft By Receiving over $2500.00.

Tips big payoff

Of the two alleged suspects in the previous blog entry regarding Garland County Sheriff's Department pursuit of Joshua Perry and Christina Easley, the locations have been determined and one interview has been completed as of Tuesday afternoon on the Burglary/Battery suspects posted earlier.

Within one hour of posting, the Sheriff's Department had numerous calls with information on addresses, places of employment, etc. on Perry and Easley. The tips paid off and by early yesterday afternoon one suspect had been contacted and interviewed.

Sheriff Sanders thanks everyone for assistance and commitment to getting involved and helping.

Garland County Sheriff's Department requestion information regarding Joshua Perry and Christina Easley

Garland County Sheriff's Investigators are looking for current address, work and/or vehicle information on Joshua Perry and Christina Easley.

Information is being sought in connection with an Aggravated Residential Burglary and 2nd Degree Battery against Nathan Bates, that occurred at 187 Loyd Lane in Garland County.

According to a report by Bates, Joshua Perry allegedly broke into the residence and attacked Bates with a machete, causing wounds to his left arm, right side, nose and chest. Reportedly, Perry ran down the road and got into a black 2007 Acura TSX, driven by Easley, and fled the area.

Bates was transported to St. Joe hospital where he was treated and released.

If you have any information on Joshua Perry and/or Christina Easley, you are asked to contact Investigations Lt., Ron Martineau at 501-622-3690.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Clarification of Village sign policy

In response to an increasing number of complaints regarding compliance with Hot Springs Village policies, Planning and Inspections staff is working extra hours to deal with the proliferation of temporary signs clutterring Village rights-of-way.

There are set procedures for signs within Hot Springs Village. Garage/Yard/Moving Signs cannot exceed 144 square inches, example: 12” x 12”, and can be erected one day prior to the sale and must be removed after the sale is concluded.

Signs must be staked into the ground, not attached to cardboard boxes or buckets. The boxes blow away in the wind and end up in the road or as trash on the side of our streets. No sign of any kind can be attached to a POA street sign post.

The POA will remove all signs that do not conform to Hot Springs Village policy.

A complete copy of the sign procedure is available in the Planning & Inspections Department at 895 DeSoto Boulevard. If you have any questions, please contact 501.922.5562.

Additionally, the POA has developed a systematic, pro-active code enforcement initiative. In short, utilizing existing inspection personnel, staff will:

• Visually inspect all properties;

• Upon identifying a code violation (as presently defined by the respective property maintenance codes adopted by Garland and Saline Counties; or ACC guidelines), will immediately convey a “courtesy notice” identifying the violation, a time in which to abate and the date of re-inspection;

• Upon re-inspection, and failing to abate, issue a formal written notice of violation, delivered to both the property owner and resident; again identifying the violation, time to abate and date of re-inspection;

• Upon re-inspection, and continuing failure to abate, proceed with the issuance of a citation for adjudication in the respective County Court.

More water conservation suggestions from the POA

The Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association is encouraging all residents and business to be conscious of the amount of water used each month.

With high temperatures in June combined with low rainfall, higher than normal water usage is being recorded. The POA has exceeded 80% of the water plants production 14 days in June. Raw water supplies are good due to spring rains, however water treatment capacity is limited to four million gallons a day. The plant is currently in the design phase for an expansion.)

Until temperatures decrease and rainfall occurs, residents and businesses are being asked to conserve water and control usage.

1. Do not over water your lawn – 1 inch per week is sufficient.
2. Watering early in the morning minimizes evaporation, 2 a.m.
3. Keep grass 2” to 3” high, which provides shade for the roots.
4. Water the grass, not the street. Check your systems.
5. Minimize vehicle washing during this period.
6. Water on an odd/even schedule; if your address is an odd number, water on odd number days and even number addresses should water on even number days.

At this time no mandatory conservation measures have been put into place. However, if production continues to exceed 80%, the POA will institute mandatory conservation measures.

Village gate rules

The Village POA would like to remind property owners of the proper way to use electronic card gates.

If a car is in front of you, allow the gate to begin closing behind it. Swipe the card in front of the card reader and listen for the acceptance beep. After the gate has reopened, pull through carefully.

All card swipes are recorded at the electronic gates. The Property Owners’ Association is not liable for damage from improper use of these electronic gates including tailgating through the gate.

Independence Day trash pickup schedule

The POA administration building will be closed on Monday, July 4 for the Fourth of July holiday. The lobby will be available on Saturday, July 2 from 8a.m. until 12:00 p.m. for property owner services, including ID cards, golf coupons, parking passes, etc. The POA offices will reopen on Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.

If you have any questions contact Property Owner Services at 501.922.5556.

The following schedule will be used for trash and recycling pick up for the holiday.
Monday, July 4 – No trash pickup.
Tuesday, July 5 – Trash will be picked up as scheduled.
Wednesday, July 6 – Trash will be picked up for Monday, July 4 customers. There will be no yard waste pickup.

If you have any questions about trash pickup, please contact the public works department at 922-5524.

Road closure in Village set for July 13

Beginning July 11 through July 13, weather permitting, the department of public works will be closing Ponce de Leon Drive from Lavanda Lane to Villacarriedo Drive to replace a culvert that is failing.

Detours will be in place to provide access to the homes in the area as well as the Ponce de Leon Golf Course.

Storm debris drop-off site is open again

The Property Owners’ Association has reopened the storm debris drop-off location. The facility will close for good on Friday, July 8 at 4 p.m.

The leased equipment used to mulch the storm debris is no longer in use after an accident that took the life of longtime POA employee J. R. Fisher in early June. The leasing company will be removing the equipment as soon as possible.

The storm debris collection site is located off of DeSoto Boulevard. Turn onto Terlingua near the Faith Lutheran Church, then onto Deposito Paseo. Go past the businesses, when the street turns to dirt; follow through the opened gates into the disposal area. As before, contractors and commercial ventures MAY NOT use this area to dispose of their debris.

The POA continues to clean up from the April storm that moved through Hot Springs Village. The deadline for picking up storm debris at individual properties is Friday, July 8. All debris must be at the street by Thursday, July 7 for collection. Property owners must call the Department of Public Works to schedule a pickup before July 7 at 922-5524.

Individual property owners with storm debris may also take their tree debris to the gravel pit area for disposal until July 8.

Tree Responsibility

• The Public Works Department is responsible for clearing trees from roads and right of ways.

• The Planning & Inspections Department is responsible for clearing trees from common property.

• Private lots owners are responsible for removing trees on their lots, not only for fire safety, but to maintain the aesthetics and property values of Hot Springs Village.

The Property Owners’ Association is providing contact information of property owners with downed and damaged trees so they can make arrangements to have their downed and damaged trees cleared. If you have any questions, please contact Planning & Inspections at 501.922.5562.

Please remember that storm clean up will take months to complete. Please be patient as POA crews work to clear debris while continuing their daily duties.

POA reminds Village residents FEMA deadline is near

A disaster declaration was received on May 2 for Garland and Saline County residents from storms that took place on April 25. This declaration entitles those with damage to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA.

Applicants have until July 2 to apply for assistance.

To apply by phone call 1-800-621-3362; to apply online go to or

Applicants will need the following information to apply: phone number where they can be reached, social security number, current mailing address, address of affected property, brief description of the damages, and insurance information including policy number.

Boating Under the Influence arrest yesterday

Yesterday in Garland County a reckless boating call ended up in a boat pursuit and Boating Under the Influence #2 charge for local resident.

While on routine patrol on Lake Hamilton, Marine Patrol Deputy John Dodd received information of a reckless boat in the area of Blakely Dam. Information received was that the operator of the vessel was driving in a very unsafe manner, which was causing concern for other vessels in the area. A description of the boat and operator were given and Deputy Dodd made contact with it in the area of the 270 West bridge.

Dodd activated his emergency equipment, consisting of lights and siren, which caused the operator to turn around and look at the marked patrol boat, and the boat continued south bound, at a slow rate of speed. As Deputy Dodd pulled along side of the boat, the operator accelerated quickly and was pursued for approximately 1.5 miles before the operator of the boat stopped.

Contact was made with the operator of the boat, John "Butch" Carter, who said that he had been drinking and did not hear the siren. Carter was arrested and charged with Boating Under the Influence #2, after breath tests revealed a .12%.

Senator Pryor speaks to senior this Monday

Senator Mark Pryor will kick off his Senior Tour to discuss Medicare, Social Security, and other issues affecting seniors in Arkansas.

“Seniors have a lot to say about what’s going on in Washington D.C., and I want to hear from them. These meetings will allow seniors from the state to voice their concerns, and enable me to address uncertainties regarding Social Security, Medicare, the budget and other critical issues,” Pryor said.

WHO: Senator Mark Pryor
WHAT: Senior Tour
WHEN: Monday, June 27th at 10:30 a.m. CT
WHERE: Emeritus Senior Living at Pleasant Hills
800 Napa Valley Drive
Little Rock, AR

Message from Congressman Mike Ross

The Energy & Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation on Thursday introduced by U.S. Congressman Mike Ross of Prescott to expedite the analysis and decision process regarding the construction and operation of a pipeline that would carry crude oil from Canada to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico. The North American-Made Energy Security Act, H.R. 1938, which Ross introduced with U.S. Congressman Lee Terry, R-Neb., passed the committee with bipartisan support on a vote of 33 to 13 and will now be sent to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Ross, who is a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, said his bill will expedite a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would allow millions of barrels of Canadian oil supplies to flow into U.S. markets. Specifically, the legislation would require the president to issue a final Presidential Permit decision by November 1, 2011. The pipeline has been the subject of more than 30 months of consideration and a coordinated review by more than a dozen federal agencies. All other cross-border pipelines which have received Presidential Permits have taken between 18 and 24 months.

“The unrest in Libya and the indecisiveness of OPEC are proof that it is in our nation’s financial and national security interests to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil as soon as possible,” said Ross. “We will never fully revive our economy until we lower gas prices in the short term, and stabilize gas prices in the long term. This Canada-to-Gulf pipeline will carry about one million barrels of North American oil a day to refineries on the Gulf, creating jobs here at home and lowering the price of fuel for all Americans. I’m pleased the committee passed this bill and I will continue to push for its passage in the full House of Representatives.”

Completion of the Keystone XL pipeline would bring about one million barrels of oil per day to U.S. markets – an amount that greatly exceeds the 30 million barrels the Energy Department recently announced it plans to release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Construction of the pipeline expansion is estimated to directly and indirectly create more than 100,000 U.S. private-sector jobs. In fact, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada wrote a letter to Congress urging the passage of the bill arguing the project will generate $6.5 billion in income for workers.

“This is a straightforward action the government can take to create private-sector jobs, boost economic development and lower the price of fuel for all Americans,” said Ross. “The federal government has dragged its feet for way too long on this project and we are simply asking that it set a timetable and make a decision by November 1, 2011. Our nation must take serious steps to reduce our dependence on oil from OPEC and the Middle East because Americans need a stable, affordable supply of energy. The high costs of gas and other forms of energy continue to make it harder for Arkansas's working families to make ends meet and I will keep working hard in Congress to lower the price at the pump and secure our nation’s long-term energy security.”

Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program in Arkansas

The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in conjunction with NeighborWorks® America announced the launch of the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP) yesterday, to help homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure in Arkansas.

Of the $1 billion that Congress provided to HUD to implement EHLP in 27 states and Puerto Rico, HUD allocated $17,736,991 to fund this emergency loan program in Arkansas. The program will assist homeowners who have experienced a reduction in income and are at risk of foreclosure due to involuntary unemployment or underemployment, due to economic conditions or a medical condition.

Designed to help families keep their homes while looking for work or recovering from illness, the emergency loan program is administered by HUD through NeighborWorks® America, and not by the City of Hot Springs. Homeowners interested in finding out if they qualify for the program can find contact information for participating agencies, the Pre-Applicant Screening Worksheet, eligibility requirements and more at or by calling toll free at 855-FIND-EHLP (346-3345). The deadline for submitting a pre-application worksheet is July 22, 2011.

The Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP) can provide eligible homeowners with a 0% interest, forgivable loan that pays past-due mortgage payments (principal, interest, taxes, insurance, attorney fees), as well as a portion of the homeowner’s mortgage payment for up to 24 consecutive months, or up to $50,000, whichever comes first, provided that certain eligibility requirements are maintained.

The EHLP program will pay a portion of an approved applicant’s monthly mortgage including missed mortgage payments or past due charges including principal, interest, taxes, insurances, and attorney fees. EHLP is expected to aid up to 30,000 distressed borrowers, with an average loan of approximately $35,000.

Guns N Hoses in Malvern

Blood donors this summer will “feel strong” when they partner with the Malvern fire department and law enforcement at their annual Guns N Hoses blood drive Noon to 7 p.m., Thursday, July 7 at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall on 531 Main Street. Donors will choose which department to support by donating on behalf of the law enforcement or the fire department.

Not only will each blood donor save up to three lives with their donation, they’ll also receive the annual Guns N Hoses T-shirt and free health screenings.

“As donors plan summer vacations and outdoor activities, we encourage blood donation to be a part of those summer plans,” said Dr. John Armitage, ABI president and CEO. “It’s important to have regular blood donors to maintain our typical three-day supply.”

Anyone who is healthy and 16 years of age can donate* and donations can be made every 56 days.

Blood donors also have the opportunity to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by forgoing the T-shirt offered in appreciation for giving blood. In turn, OBI will make a monetary donation of similar value to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It’s a chance to ‘doubly give’ for Arkansas residents with these blood disorders - through the gift of life-saving blood - and support of research and treatment initiatives.

Arkansas Blood Institute provides every drop of blood needed by patients in 16 hospitals in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma thanks to its volunteer donors. Since 1958, those needing blood in the area have counted on mobile blood drives and donor centers in Fort Smith and Hot Springs to ensure there is an adequate blood supply. In October, it became an affiliate of Oklahoma Blood Institute after previously partnering with United Blood Services. Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, independent nonprofit blood center in the nation. Arkansas Blood Institute was formed at this time to reflect the local commitment to providing for people in the region.

For more information or to make an appointment, contact Arkansas Blood Institute at 877-340-8777 or visit us at

Road closure in Hot Springs

Beginning Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1 Entergy will be replacing electrical lines across the east side of the Highway 7 South Bridge on Central Avenue over Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs. The north bound shoulder of the bridge will be closed from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Please use caution when traveling in this area.

Radon gas a leading cause of cancer

Earlier this week, The U.S Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs have joined forces to help save lives and create healthier home and school environments for America’s families. The plan brings together commitments that help to reduce exposure to radon and protect the health of Americans through leveraging and advancing existing state, local, and national programs. Radon exposure is the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer and leads to an estimated 21,000 deaths each year.

“With nearly one in 15 homes affected by elevated levels of radon and thousands dying each year from radon-induced cancer, it’s time to step up our actions in the federal government,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. “Through the Federal Radon Action Plan, we’re working with partner agencies to raise awareness about the threat of radon in our homes and to take steps to mitigate this hazard. Together our efforts will help reduce radon exposure and make our homes, schools and communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play.”

The Federal Radon Action Plan brings together government agencies to demonstrate the importance of radon risk reduction, address finance and incentive issues to drive testing and mitigation, and build demand for services from industry professionals. The plan will help spur greater action in the marketplace, create jobs in the private sector, and significantly reduce exposure to radon. The plan includes strategies to reach low-income families, many of whom do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect their homes and loved ones. With the help of all agency networks, approximately 7.5 million buildings and homes in the United States will be able to receive information and build awareness around this serious public health risk.

The plan includes federal government actions to reduce radon risks:

· Launching a cross-government outreach initiative to educate families about the health risks associated with radon exposure and the solutions to address the risks.

· Incorporating radon testing and mitigation into federal programs.

· Investing in new standards and updating codes for measurement and mitigation in schools, daycare facilities, and multi-family housing.

· Establishing incentives that drive testing and mitigation in the private and public sectors.

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. Approximately one in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon. Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. EPA and the Surgeon General urge people to test their homes for radon at least every two years. Contact your state radon office for information on locating qualified test kits or qualified radon testers. Learn more about the Federal Radon Action Plan at or by calling 1-800-SOS-RADON.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do's and don't's of roof repair

Usually a home repair solves a problem or prevents a hazard. When it comes to Arkansas roofs battered by this year's high winds, storm debris or hail, however, the repair can create a potentially deadly problem.

Toxic carbon monoxide, or CO, an odorless, colorless gas, may be trapped in a home by damaged venting systems, endangering the people and animals that live there, warn officials from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning, while thousands visit emergency rooms and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The chances of exposure increase in a home that has been storm damaged or one in which repairs were not made correctly, say recovery experts from ADEM and FEMA.

Venting systems are designed to channel CO and other possibly dangerous gases from home living spaces to the outdoors. The systems run from a home furnace, water heater, cooking range or other appliances through the attic and the roof into the open air, where the gases harmlessly disperse.

Venting systems can fail, however, if the roof vents are:

· Damaged by hail

· Blocked by storm debris

· Disconnected by high winds or debris carried by the wind

· Attached or installed incorrectly when a home is reroofed or repaired

Arkansans can prevent this potential hazard by following these tips from the Arkansas Department of Health and the CDC:

· After severe weather, visually check flue vent piping from the gas appliances inside the home and the attic to make sure pipes are not disconnected.

· Check the venting on the roof and clear all vents of storm debris to guarantee air flow.

· Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum or another substance. This kind of patch can cause CO to build up in a home.

· Have repairs made by a licensed plumber or heating and air contractor if problems are noticed.

· Know the proper way to install vent pipes. Horizontal vent pipes to gas-fueled appliances should not be perfectly level. They should slant up slightly as they head toward the outdoors. This helps prevent gases from leaking if the pipes or joints are not fitted properly.

· After a home is reroofed or repaired, bring in a plumber or air and heating contractor to check that venting was installed correctly inside and outside the building.

· Install a carbon monoxide detector in the home, preferably near bedrooms, to alert residents if CO levels rise. A detector is the only way to know when dangerous CO levels are present in a home.

A handout on preventing carbon monoxide poisoning during disaster recovery is available from the Arkansas Department of Health, along with other materials on healthy living, at Emergency preparedness information is posted online at

Outdoor water safety

The Arkansas Department of Health is reminding parents of the danger that is present when young children are around swimming pools, lakes and streams. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning is the sixth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years.”

William Mason, MD, branch chief, Preparedness and Emergency Response branch, said, “The drowning of a young child is a terrible tragedy that can be avoided. Parents are encouraged to be on-guard constantly when their children are near water. Even something as innocent looking as a small blow-up pool in the backyard has the potential for drowning.”

According to the CDC, most young children who drowned in home pools were last seen five minutes before the drowning took place. Fencing around a home pool is recommended when young children are in the area. There is an 83% reduction in drowning when the pool is fenced.

The CDC also recommends swimming lessons for all young children. African Americans report the greatest lack of swimming skills.

How can drowning be prevented?

• learn how to swim
• always swim with a buddy
• supervise young children around water
• learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
• do not use air-filled or foam toys as flotation devices. These toys are not designed to protect someone from drowning.
• avoid alcohol before or during swimming
• have four-sided fencing around a home pool
• clear the pool and deck of toys so that children are not tempted to enter the pool without an adult present

For more information about safe swimming and pool safety, click on the CDC’s Water-Related Injuries Facts section of the CDC website at

Missing teen from Garland County

Garland County Sheriff's Investigator's are asking for help in locating a runaway, Jamie K. Lynn. Jamie is a 15 year old white female; she is 5'4" tall, weighs 115 pounds, has blond hair, green eyes and is light complected.

Jamie is missing from the Stenzel Lane area and has been missing since the 18th of this month. She may be in the company of another female by the name of either Kristen or Brittney, the last name is unknown.

If you know the whereabouts of Jamie, please contact Investigator Bill House at 501-622-3690.

Political podcasts

U.S. Congressman Mike Ross of Prescott has made his weekly radio reports available directly to his constituents as podcasts through iTunes, the popular digital media player by Apple. Ross currently records a weekly radio report and posts it to his website, but now the Congressman says people can subscribe to his radio report directly through iTunes and download the podcast to their digital media players, such as iPods and iPhones.

“My primary role as Congressman is to listen to my constituents, answer their questions and keep them informed on the issues in Congress and how they will impact their families,” said Ross. “Each week, I record a three to four minute radio report discussing an important issue or bill before the Congress and my position or work on that issue. Now, anyone who’s interested can subscribe to that radio report in iTunes as a podcast, download it automatically to their iPod or iPhone and listen to it on their way to work. Whether it’s through letters, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or now podcasts in iTunes, this is simply another way I am working to keep my constituents up-to-date and informed about the issues in Congress.”

Those interested in subscribing to Ross’s weekly podcasts can do so by visiting his website at or by searching for “Congressman Mike Ross” in the podcasts section of the iTunes store. All podcasts are free. The podcasts are still accessible even without iTunes and can be downloaded individually at and played with any type of digital media player. Ross also sends the text of the podcast out as a weekly e-newsletter, which constituents can subscribe to at by clicking on the e-news icon.

“I still believe the most effective way to listen to the people I represent is by coming home and visiting with them. That’s why I never moved to Washington and why I come home after the last vote each week. It’s also why I continue to hold town hall meetings across my district – at least one in every county every year,” said Ross. “These podcasts are simply another way I can reach out to the people I represent. Working families have busy lives and I’m trying to make a lot of information available in a variety of ways to help as many of my constituents as I possibly can.”

In addition to his podcasts, Ross says he also tries to keep his constituents informed through his website at, Facebook at, Twitter at and YouTube at

Ross, however, says that while these digital mediums are great new ways for him to reach out to the people he represents, he still encourages people to visit, call or write his office when they have a problem with the federal government or when Congress considers an issue they care about.

“Attending a town hall meeting, calling your Congressman or writing a letter are still some of the most effective ways to get your voice heard,” said Ross. “Our democracy requires that people get involved and I want to make doing so as convenient as possible by being as accessible as possible. As challenging are the issues we face, hearing from those I represent is the most effective way I can do my job as a Congressman.”

Anyone can dial Ross’s office toll free at 1-800-223-2220 or write to him at Office of Congressman Mike Ross, 2436 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. Ross also has offices in El Dorado, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff and Prescott and all are open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays. For a complete list of office locations, call 1-800-223-2220 or visit

Transfer of lead based paint program

Earlier this year, the 88th General Assembly passed Act 1011 which transfers the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality’s (ADEQ) authority to operate a lead-based paint program to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). The ADH currently tracks blood levels for lead exposure in adults and children. Additionally, the ADH has the ability to do educational outreach about lead removal in homes and businesses through the 96 local health units statewide.

Teresa Marks, ADEQ director, said, “The transfer of this program will consolidate all lead paint activities into a single agency which will ultimately make it easier on the public when seeking assistance. Since the activities involving our agency concerning lead-based paint focused primarily on public health protection, we felt it was a better fit for the Health Department.”

Dr. Paul Halverson, ADH director and state health officer, said, “We have worked closely with the ADEQ over the years on lead-based paint issues related to health. Our environmental epidemiologists have partnered with ADEQ to assist Arkansans in safely removing lead-based paint from their homes. We are working to make sure that the transition is seamless and there is no interruption in the program.”

Starting July 1, 2011 the ADEQ will no longer operate a lead-based paint program. All valid licenses and certificates issued by ADEQ will remain in effect, regardless of expiration date, until the effective date of applicable rules promulgated by the State Board of Health. If a license or certificate expires before July 1, 2011 and is not renewed by the ADEQ prior to that date, the license or certificate must be renewed by the ADH under rules developed by the agency. The ADH intends to have rules in place on July 1, so that there will be no program interruption; however, it is always possible the rule promulgation may be delayed. If the rules are delayed, contractors will be unable to renew an expired license or certificate until rules

are promulgated. Accordingly, those license or certificate holders who do not want any interruption should promptly submit a renewal application to the ADEQ.

Starting July 1, 2011 all questions, correspondence, applications, Notices of Intent or other contacts regarding the lead-based paint program should be directed to:

Environmental Epidemiology
Lead-Based Paint Program
Arkansas Department of Health, Mail Slot 32
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205

The Environmental Protection Agency retains oversight authority over the lead-based paint program

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Heifer meeting today

Please remember the HSV Heifer Club meeting is in the Conference Room, today, June 22.

Steering committee at 1 p.m.; General meeting at 1:30, both in the conference room, next to the office.

All will be signing a card for our gift in memory of Duane Miller. Our speaker is coming from the Ranch.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The high cost of recovery from flooding and tornadoes

Assistance to Arkansas individuals, families, businesses and communities affected by spring's severe weather and flooding has hit - and surpassed - the $25 million milestone, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials said Friday.

Nearly seven weeks after the May 2 disaster declaration, $25,689,833 in state, FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance is on its way to eligible Arkansans and Arkansas communities. The grants and loans are intended to help them recover from the storms, tornadoes and floods that tore through the state from April 14 to June 3.

"The severe spring weather stretching over a six-week period caused great hardship for many Arkansans, as well as our local communities," said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell. "Getting money out to them as fast as we can helps their efforts to recover."

"We encourage all survivors to register with FEMA by the August 1 deadline," said Federal Coordinating Officer Nancy M. Casper. "We want to ensure all eligible Arkansans get the help they need to repair their homes or move to another safe place as soon as possible."

The state/federal assistance approved or obligated as of Friday is:
· Housing Assistance: $15,567,021
· Other Needs Assistance (ONA): $2,807,675
· Public Assistance: $638,437
· SBA low-interest disaster loans: $6,676,700

Nearly $18.4 million of the assistance dollars will reach some of the 9,200 individuals and families who have registered with FEMA for Individual Assistance. The $638,437 goes to the first applicants that have been approved for grants under FEMA's Public Assistance program, which helps reimburse the state and local communities for costs they incur in protecting the lives and property of Arkansans during the disaster, and cleaning up, repairing and rebuilding afterward.

Of the nearly $6.7 million in SBA loans approved, nearly $6.3 million will help Arkansas homeowners and renters. The rest has been loaned to small businesses and community-based nonprofit organizations.

Arkansans can check the status of their application or register at three FEMA portals: online at, via web-enabled phone at, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. FEMA phone lines are open from 7 a.m. to midnight local time seven days a week, and multilingual operators are available.

Message from Congressman Mike Ross

Earlier this year in February, I held more than 15 roundtable discussions focused on jobs throughout our congressional district, from Texarkana to Pine Bluff and from El Dorado to Paris. Inviting business and community leaders in each county, I wanted to discuss ways the public and private sectors could better work together to foster economic development for our state and to create jobs.

One major concern I heard from both employers and employees was how difficult it can be to match skilled workers with jobs that need those skills. Employers, particularly manufacturers, told me that access to skilled labor is a constant concern, even in times of high unemployment. On the other hand, workers told me they want a more efficient way to be recognized for their skills and to get matched with a job that needs those skills.

I heard your concerns loud and clear. We should find a way to match employers with skilled workers because it’s a win-win situation; employers get the help they need and workers get a job. That’s why I am proud to help introduce the AMERICA Works Act, H.R. 1325, in the House of Representatives. This legislation will help better connect skilled workers with manufacturers and employers who need to hire people with those skills.

The AMERICA Works Act has two main components. The first is to require the U.S. Department of Labor to create a registry of skilled credentials. These would include credentials required by federal or state laws for certain occupations, would be from the Manufacturing Institute’s Manufacturing Skills Certification System, and would be industry-recognized and nationally portable credentials, meaning once you are certified in a certain skill, it’s recognized nationwide. This completely voluntary registry would constantly be updated and validated by a third party to reflect evolving industry requirements.

Basically, the new database allows employers to find job seekers with the skills, credentials or accreditations the vacant job requires. On the other hand, it also allows job seekers to register in the database and advertise their skills, credentials or accreditations to employers in their home state or around the country.

The second component of the AMERICA Works Act would prioritize existing federal resources and workforce training programs so that they are more effectively supporting education and training for in-demand skills and credentials.

With these two components, this legislation helps job seekers and students recognize the skills that are in demand, get the training they need and know that their skills and training will be recognized by prospective employers both locally and across state lines.

The AMERICA Works Act does not create any new government program and it does not add a single dime to the deficit because it simply uses existing resources in a more effective way. It is an example of how the federal government can help the private sector create more private sector jobs without adding to the nation’s deficit and without creating more government red tape.

The bill already has bipartisan support in House of Representatives and I am working hard to build support for the AMERICA Works Act in Congress. As your Congressman, I will continue to support and advocate for commonsense ideas that encourage private sector job growth and boost economic development. While I am working hard to help our economy recover, we still have a long way to go and I will not rest until every Arkansan who wants a job has one.

FEMA still expanding state coverage

Harrisburg area homeowners rebuilding after the spring storms or planning for future emergencies can receive valuable information beginning Monday from specialists with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA's mitigation specialists can answer questions about protecting homes from future disaster damage, as well as offer other home improvement tips and techniques. Topics will include mold and mildew cleanup and prevention, flood- and wind-resistant building methods, wind straps and other measures to make homes stronger and safer. Free publications on these topics will also be available.

The event is free and open to the public. Mitigation specialists will be available June 20-21 from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at:

Food Giant/True Value Hardware
605 N. Illinois St.
Harrisburg, AR 72427

Monday, June 20, 2011

Animal Welfare League Strut Your Mutt

STRUT YOUR MUTT, a Special Fourth of July Celebration for dogs adn their Best Friend. HOSTED BY AWL on Sunday, July 3 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Balboa Pavilion

•Costumed Pet Parade (coordinating people costumes welcome too). Prizes for Best Dressed Dogs.....Patriotic Costumes will catch the Judge's eye!

•"Sit-Stay" at the Cake Walk and win a mini-cake

•Beanie Baby Toss and Prizes for the Kids

•Mini Adopt-A-Thon Showcasing some of our Wonderful Shelter Pets Available for Adoption. On-site Adoptions during the Event.

•Courtesy Nail Clips by Lisa's Mobile Pet Grooming at the Doggie Spa

•Christmas Shopping in July for pet products, goods and services from Barkansas Pet Supply, Heavenly Pets (custom pet costumes, coats, leads; etc..) Waggin' Tails (doggie daycare & grooming) at the Boutiques.

• Yappy Hour fare------Lemonade & Cookies (Dog Biscuits too)

All Village dogs are welcome to bring their people (on leashes, please) to the party

Come join us for an afternoon of fun. There's no admission charge.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Closer opprotunity for opera and ballet

The Carmike Theater in Hot Springs on Higdon Ferry Rd will be showing Verdi's Nabucco on August 9th at 2:30 p.m. It is from the Royal Opera House in London.

On July 9 at 2:30 p.m. there will be a showing of Children of Paradise from the Paris Opera Ballet.

If the theater has more attendees it will follow with Gounod's Faust on September 28 at 1 p.m. and Esmerelda from the Bolshoi Ballet at a TBA.

Another good opportunity to see and hear opera and see good ballet. The Carmike is a little closer than Tinseltown for opera viewing.

Buy tickets now

Arkansas TheatreWorks, Hot Springs’ newest professional theater, presents Moonlight and Magnolias by Ron Hutchinson at the Central Theatre, 1008 Central Avenue in Hot Springs. The play opens June 24 and runs through July 3.

Moonlight and Magnolias is a behind-the-scenes look at what might have happened when legendary Hollywood producer David O. Selznick shut down production of the biggest and most expensive movie of his career, Gone With the Wind.

Selznick has fired the film’s director, pulls high-powered director Victor Fleming off the nearly complete Wizard of Oz, and calls in “script doctor” Ben Hecht to help rewrite the entire screenplay. Unfortunately, Hecht has never read the novel. The three men are locked in Selznick’s office for five days with nothing to eat but peanuts and bananas. Selznick and Fleming act out every chapter of the book while Hecht feverishly rewrites the script. The result is a fast-paced, slapstick farce that will keep the audience entertained and laughing.

For an evening of outrageous fun, reserve tickets online at or call 501-922-6899.

SHOW DATES: June 24 through July 3

Friday, June 24th 8:00pm
Saturday, June 25th 8:00pm
Sunday, June 26th 2:00pm
Wednesday, June 29th 7:30pm
Thursday, June 30th 7:30pm
Friday, July 1st 8:00pm
Saturday, July 2nd 8:00pm
Sunday, July 3rd 2:00pm

TICKET PRICES: $17.50-$25


PUBLIC-CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: Sheldon Kleinman (501) 922-6899

Moonlight and Magnolias Cast:

Thomas Cooper (Royal, AR) – Producer, David O. Selznick
Thomas is working toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts at Henderson State University. He has performed at the Pocket Theatre and Ray-Lynn Theatre in Hot Springs, as well as at Henderson State University.

“In the play David O Selznick describes the magic that occurs ‘when the lights go down and the theatre disappears and the magic starts to happen,’ as he was keenly aware of the escape his work provided for the ‘Joe Blows and Jane Does’ he was determined to satisfy. I hope our production succeeds in recreating some of this magic for our audiences as well.”

Jack Iafrate (Hot Springs Village, AR) – Ben Hecht
Jack has appeared in many stage productions in Hot Springs Village, as well as one with the Pocket Theatre. Last year he appeared with Jerry Van Dyke in the Sunshine Boys in Hot Springs and Branson, Mo. Jack finds Moonlight and Magnolias to be one of the funniest plays he has read. He says he laughed out loud at the script and has continued laughing since. Fun play and fun cast!

Kassie Johnsen (Hot Springs, AR) – Miss Poppenghul
Kassie Johnsen will be entering her sophomore year as a Vocal Music Education major at Ouachita Baptist University after completing her freshman year at Oklahoma City University. She has performed in numerous musicals and plays, including Children of Eden (Eve), South Pacific (Ensign Nellie Forbush), and Once Upon a Mattress (Lady Larken) at Lakeside High School. As a voice major, Kassie has enjoyed performing in various choirs and competitions, including Arkansas All-State and All-Region. She also plays piano and has participated in local competitions and events. Kassie is thrilled to be learning from and working with such a talented cast and crew this summer!

Brian Williams (Benton, AR) – Victor Fleming
Brian Williams has been performing since 2004 in comedies and musical comedies at the Royal Theater in Benton and with the Community Theater of Little Rock. He portrayed Jack in We All Hear Voices at the Royal Theater in Benton and at the Malco in Hot springs.. He directed and starred in Southern Fried Murder.

POA asks Villagers to give up bonus points to help it save money on credit card fees

In a continuing effort to reduce expenses, the POA is again encouraging property owners to use their re-loadable ID card, checks or cash to make purchases at POA facilities.

Many property owners use credit cards in order to earn rewards or other ‘points’. Each time the POA accepts a credit card for payment, the POA pays a transaction fee, as well as a percentage of the total cost in fees.

When possible, the POA would like to encourage owners to use cash or checks. For those using credit cards, cash or checks, the property owners may also ‘load’ their POA ID cards with money to make purchases at the golf and recreation amenities, and POA Administration Building. Upon request, POA employees can print POA card balances on property owner receipts.

Property owners may load their POA ID cards at the POA Administration Building or any of the POA recreation facilities.

Pools are open

The DeSoto Pools are now open for summer. Located between the DeSoto Golf Course and the DeSoto Family Recreation Area, the DeSoto Pools offers something for all ages. There are separate water areas for: the swim tank, three to five feet deep, the dive tank is 11 feet deep and features a diving board, and the wading pool. The pool area has loungers, umbrella covered tables, shaded areas, snack bar and a locker room facility with showers.

Swim lessons are offered throughout the summer and are taught by qualified instructors for children ages 18 months and up, Monday - Friday. Fee is due at registration: $25.00 per child, per session. Children are placed in Class Levels depending on their swimming ability. Each class lasts one week. Classes are held at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Session 1: June 20- June 24
Session 2: June 27 - July 1
Session 3: July 11 - July 15**
Session 4: July 18 - July 22**
Session 5: July 25 - July 29
Session 6: August 1 - August 5
** Infant, 6-18 months, 10 a.m. and Toddler, 18 months up to 3 years, 10:30 a.m. classes will be held during Session 3 and 4 only. A parent or guardian is required in the pool with each infant or toddler.

The pool is also available to rent for birthdays, family reunions, parties, etc. Rental is during non-scheduled hours and includes lifeguards. The cost is $43.00 per hour for 30 people or less with a $25.00 clean up fee; each 10 additional people are $10.00.

2011 Pool Schedule
Monday through Friday
Now through August 12: 11 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
July 4: 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
September 5: 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Now through September 3: 10 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Now through September 4: 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Independence Day Weekend

Hot Springs Village will be hosting three days of fun-filled events to celebrate America’s Independence Day.

On Saturday, July 2, the DeSoto Marina will be the site of canoe and paddle boat races beginning at 9 a.m. The DeSoto Pools will be open and feature an inflatable water slide from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Each day he Boy Scouts will be offering hot dogs, nachos, and more for sale at the pool. Hotel California, A Salute to the Eagles is Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Woodlands Auditorium. The performance is already sold out.

On Sunday, July 3, the DeSoto Family Recreation Area will host a three on three basketball tournament at 5 p.m., the DeSoto Pools will hold its annual Biggest Splash Contest at 2 p.m. Strut Your Mutt will take place at the Balboa Pavilion from 1 to 3 p.m. sponsored by the Animal Welfare League. The Big Band Concert and hot air balloon glow is from 7 to 9 p.m.

Strut Your Mutt includes a costumed pet parade, cake walks, beanie baby toss, mini adopt-a-thon, courtesy nail clips by Lisa’s Mobile Pet Grooming, and shopping opportunities from Barkansas Boutique, Heavenly Pets, and Waggin’ Tails. This is a free event hosted by the Hot Springs Village Animal Welfare League.

Monday, July 4, the family recreation area will host a miniature golf tournament and all you can eat watermelon at 1 p.m. while it lasts. The pool will again have the water slide from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Balboa Pavilion and beach area will have a disc jockey spinning tunes, beach activities and food and beverages vendors available at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m. a kayak/canoe tour of Lake Balboa will begin at the Balboa Boat Ramp sponsored by the Hot Springs Village Woodworkers. Additionally, the Woodworkers will be holding a raffle drawing for a wooden canoe at 3 p.m. Raffle tickets are being sold now and will be available before the drawing. There will be a live band for dancing from 6 to 9 p.m. The fireworks are scheduled to go off at 9 p.m.

J. R. Fisher Memorial Fund

The Hot Springs Village POA has created the J. R. Fisher Memorial Fund.
J. R. Fisher was a 17 year POA employee killed in an accident on June 8.
The memorial fund is dedicated to assisting J. R. and Karen Fisher's three young children in pursuing college educations. Donations are being accepted at any Regions Bank, including the local branches on Callela Road and Desoto Boulevard at Carmona Road.
Anyone interested in making a donation is encouraged to do so.

POA water conservation suggestions

The Village POA is encouraging all residents and businesses to be conscious of the amount of water used each month.

The Arkansas Department of Health requires that planning must begin when use hits 80-percent of plant capacity. Hot Springs Village first exceeded 80-percent of plant capacity in 2005 and began planning for an expansion. In 2010, Hot Springs Village exceeded 80-percent on 30 days, most occurring in August. The POA has already exceeded the 80-percent production trigger eight times this month.

The conservation program is meant to delay the cost of expanding Hot Springs Village’s water treatment plant as long as possible. State law requires the POA continue its design plans, however postponing the construction would provide the POA with additional time to save for the estimated $4,000,000 expenditure.

Common techniques for conserving water include changing out old shower heads with new low-flow technology, installing low-flush toilets, and replacing old washing machines with high efficiency washing machines.

Displacement devices can used in toilets without the cost of purchasing a new low-flow toilet. Displacement devices include plastic water bottles filled with pebbles and positioned in the tank of the toilet. This reduces the amount of water used per flush. Adjustable toilet flappers are also available and allow for the adjustment in the amount of water used per flush.

Additionally residents can reduce their water usage by turning the water off while brushing their teeth or shaving, taking shorter showers, and running the washing machine or dishwasher only when full or using a reduced setting to match the load size.

Outside, residents and businesses can harvest rainwater for watering landscapes, use plants that require less water, adjust sprinklers to water landscaping and not the street, house or sidewalks, and water landscape in the mornings or evenings to avoid evaporation. Residents and businesses can also reduce the amount of watering by only irrigating on odd days if your address is an odd number or even days if your address is an even number.

Additionally, allowing the grass to grow slightly taller will reduce the amount of water loss by providing more ground shade for the roots and by promoting water retention in the soil. Mulch should also be used around plants and trees to retain moisture, and drip or other low flow irrigation devices can be used to avoid excess water loss.

At this time no mandatory conservation measures have been put into place. However, if production continues to exceed 80-percent, the POA will institute mandatory conservation measures.

Newcomers coffee coming up

The POA newcomers' coffee is scheduled for Thursday, June 30 at the Ponce de Leon Center. Coffee and donuts will be available starting at 8:30 a.m. and presentations will begin at 9:00 a.m.

Newcomers' Coffee’s are held the last Thursday of even months, except December, which is held the first Thursday in December.

The meeting gives new and long time Village residents an opportunity to hear about the Property Owners’ Association, organizations, and activities in the Village.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Senator Pryor travels today and tomorrow

Senator Mark Pryor today said that he is looking forward to hearing from Arkansans about health care, transportation, and other critical issues during events this week.

On Friday, June 17 at 1:30 p.m., Pryor will tour the Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Institute and will be given an overview of the clinical and research facilities. The tour will take place at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 West Markham in Little Rock.

At 3:00 p.m., Pryor will deliver closing remarks at the “Transportation in the Clinton Years: A Period of Innovation, Vision, and Vigilance” Conference. The event will take place at the Clinton Library, 1200 President Clinton Avenue in Little Rock.

On Saturday, June 18 at 10:00 a.m., Pryor will speak at the Military Officers Association of America Symposium. The event will take place at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Garland County under severe thunderstorm watch untill 11 p.m.











Summer Garden Party this Sunday at Garvan Woodland Gardens

The Muses Creative Artistry Project and Garvan Woodland Gardens proudly present “Summer Garden Party” at 3 pm, on Sunday, June 19 at the gardens’ Anthony Chapel. The concert is the second in the Muses’ concert series, Four Seasons in Art and Song.

Marla Crider, Associate Executive Director for Administration and Marketing at Garvan Woodland Gardens, commented, "We are delighted The Muses will be performing seasonal concerts at the awe-inspiring Anthony Chapel. The beauty of the music they produce is the perfect complement to the Gardens' ever-changing backdrop. It's the ideal cultural partnership -- the Muses and the Gardens."

“Summer Garden Party” will feature the music of Trio Arkansas, with violinist Geoff Robson, cellist David Gerstein, and pianist Louis Menendez. Classically trained soprano Deleen Davidson will perform summer-flavored art songs and light arias by Handel, Schubert, Debussy, Moross, Gershwin, and Lehar, with balmy titles such as “Lazy Afternoon,” “The Daisies,” “Silent Noon” and “Summertime.”

Trombonist Steve Suter will perform summer band music by Arthur Pryor, John Philip Sousa’s principal trombonist. Of special note on the program will be several original compositions and specially adapted arrangements by Menendez and Suter.

Louis Menendez, originally from Manhattan, New York, has conducted and facilitated more than 140 opera productions in the United States, Europe, Israel, and Japan. He served on both faculties of The Curtis Institute of Music and the Academy of Vocal arts for a number of years after his graduate studies at Temple University. As a vocal coach and pianist, he has collaborated with such artists at Sherrill Milnes, Birgit Nilsson, Renata Scotto, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Yo Yo Ma, and others. Most recently, he has formed Trio Arkansas with a member of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. He is a prinicipal player in the Muses Creative Artistry Project and organist at First Presbyterian Church in Hot Springs.

Geoffrey Robson has served as Associate Conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra since 2008. He has designed and conducted many of the orchestra’s subscription series concerts, as well as its children’s concerts and special events. In addition, Robson writes and produces At the Symphony, a concert preview radio series on KLRE Classical 90.5 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Robson completed his masters degree in music at Yale University in 2004, studying violin performance with Erick Friedman. In Connecticut, he served as co-concertmaster of the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and assistant concertmaster of the Waterbury Symphony. Robson also worked as a public schoolteacher in New Haven, CT , and has privately taught violin, piano, viola, and music theory for many years. Robson graduated from the honors college at Michigan State University in 2002, studying violin with Dmitri Berlinsky and conducting with Leon Gregorian.

David Gerstein, a devoted performer of chamber and contemporary music, has played concerts all over the world, from the stage of Carnegie Hall to the Great Wall of China. David is currently the principal cellist of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, where he has been a member since September 2008. Gerstein has played as principal of the Shepherd School Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, the Eastman Philharmonia, and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. He received a bachelors in music with distinction from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with David Ying. He completed his studies at Rice University in 2008, where he earned a masters degre in music under the direction of Norman Fischer.

Steve Suter, a native New Orleanian, is a member of a real New Orleans musical family. His grandfather was the lead trumpet player with The Dawnbusters, the studio orchestra for local New Orleans radio station WWL. His father played bass for years with many musical groups in and around New Orleans. Continuing the legacy, Steve has been fortunate to have performed with such varied musical groups as the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, the trombone funk/rock group Bonerama, the award-winning Asbury Brass Quintet, the Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown Blues Band, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. In 2008 Steve performed with Bonerama and OKGO’s Damian Kulash on the “Late Show” with David Letterman. In 2006, Suter was honored as one of New Orleans Magazine’s “Jazz All-Stars.” He currently resides in Hot Springs, splitting his time between performing, master classes, clinics, and working with The Muses Creative Artistry Project.

Deleen Davidson is President and Principal Artist of The Muses Creative Artistry Project, a multi-disciplined non-profit arts organization dedicated to preserving classical art and music through performance and education. The Muses partners regularly with other arts organizations to enhance the cultural life of the region and grow the creative economy. Based on nature’s four seasons, The Muses offers a regular series of concerts, art exhibits and creativity seminars, and has recently opened the 3Arts CafĂ© and Bookstore in the lobby of the historic Hale Bathhouse in Hot Springs National Park. An active recitalist, Davidson presents monthly salon concerts through The Muses. She has also served as Artist-in-Residence at Garvan Woodland Gardens, taught art appreciation at National Park Community College, and is currently Music Director at First Presbyterian Church in Hot Springs.

Other performances this season include the “Magic Flute Cocktail” on September 18 and “Voices of Angels” on December 18. Tickets for the three-concert series are available for $60, or can be purchased individually for $25. Tickets are available at the door or by advance purchase at . For more information, call 501-463-4514.

Pryor asking for additional help for Arkansas tornado victims

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor yesterday joined a coalition of southern senators in sponsoring legislation that would provide tax relief to families, businesses, and local governments who were recently affected by tragic storms in the Southeast.

“After severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding swept through our state, Arkansans lost their jobs, homes, and many of their personal belongings,” Pryor said. “In conjunction with the $60 million in federal assistance already provided by FEMA and the Small Business Administration, this bill will help communities rebuild, recover, and come out stronger than before.”

The Southeastern Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2011 consists of temporary tax provisions that were enacted as part of previous natural disaster responses bills. These include the Heartland Disaster Tax Relief Act, which followed tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest in 2009 and relief bills that were passed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The bill is fully offset by rescinding unobligated federal spending, and it will not increase the federal debt.

The benefits of the legislation would apply to individuals and businesses that are located in declared disaster areas and eligible for individual assistance by FEMA for storms between April 13 and June 7. In addition, a limited number of benefits will be provided for areas designated eligible for public assistance. Thirty of Arkansas’s counties are eligible for individual assistance and 51 counties are eligible for public assistance. Under the bill, states eligible for assistance include: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

Some highlighted tax provisions in the legislation are included below.

Penalty-Free Withdrawals from Retirement Plans

This bill waives the 10 percent penalty tax for early withdrawals from retirement plans to allow individuals who were affected by the storms to utilize their savings in their recovery. The total amount of penalty-free distributions an individual can receive from all plans, annuities, or IRAs is $100,000. Individuals would be permitted to pay the income tax on distributions over a three-year period, and they could also re-contribute the distributions over a three-year period and receive rollover treatment.

Losses to Individual’s Home and Property

Personal casualty losses result from the damage, destruction or loss of property from unexpected events, such as natural disasters. Under present law, these losses are deductible by taxpayers who itemize only to the extent that the losses exceed 10 percent of individuals’ adjusted gross income and a $100 floor. This proposal eliminates the 10 percent and $100 floor requirements for casualty losses resulting from these storms for 2011, allowing the full dollar amount of the losses not reimbursed by insurance to be deducted on individuals’ 2011 tax returns.

Tax-Exempt Bond Financing

This bill provides states and local governments in the Southeastern disaster area the authority to issue private activity bonds to spur private investment in the areas affected by the storms. The amount of tax exempt bonds each state may issue is based on the state’s population in the disaster area multiplied by $1,000, resulting in $3.2 billion in bond authority for Alabama. Bond proceeds can be used to pay for acquisition, construction, and renovation of nonresidential real property, low-income rental housing, low-income single-family residential housing, and public utility property (e.g. gas, water, electric, and telecommunication lines). In order to participate, businesses must have either suffered an economic loss attributable to the disaster or be designated by the state as replacing a business that suffered a loss. These provisions would remain in effect until January 1, 2018.

Employee Retention Credit for Employers

This bill provides a 40 percent tax credit to small businesses who continue to pay their employees while their business is inoperable. These provisions apply to employers with fewer than 200 employees for wages paid up to $23,400 prior to January 1, 2012.

Low-Income Housing Credit

Under current law, states receive allocations of low-income housing credit based on population. This proposal allows states to receive additional housing credit allocations through 2013 of $8 per person in the disaster area.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is the original sponsor of the bill. Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL), John Boozman (R-AR), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Kay Hagan (D-NC), James Inhofe (R-OK) are also co-sponsors of the bill.

Three locals win scholarships

The Arkansas Governor’s Commission on People with Disabilities (GCPD) will award 40 students with scholarships during its annual scholarship banquet at the Governor’s Mansion today, June 16 at 4 p'm. This year’s theme is, “Achieving Our Goals,” and will feature a keynote address from Governor Mike Beebe’s Director of External Affairs Sericia Cole.

The GCPD will award 37 recipients with $1,000 scholarships for the 2011-2012 school year. The students were chosen from more than 100 applicants based on academic achievement, community involvement, and the goals and challenges each student faces. In addition to the scholarships, three students were randomly selected from the pool of applicants to each receive a $200 book scholarship donated from Off-Campus Bookstores.

Local winners include:
Timothy Burrell / Hot Springs Village / University of Arkansas-Little Rock
Jessica Dailey / Jessieville / Arkansas Tech University
Brady Hobbs / Jessieville / University of Arkansas

“This year’s selection process was very competitive,” GCPD Executive Director Leonard A. Boyle said. “The scholarship committee worked diligently for more than three months to grade the applications. All of the applicants worked very hard, and it was difficult to narrow things down. These honorees are an exciting example of the future of our state, and I know Gov. Beebe is just as proud of them as I am.”

The Arkansas Governor’s Commission on People with Disabilities is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of Arkansans with disabilities by promoting advocacy and education, creating independence and celebrating life. For additional information, contact the office at 1616 Brookwood Drive, Little Rock , AR 72203 or call (501) 296-1637. The Governor’s Commission on People with Disabilities is a program of the Arkansas Department of Career Education’s (formerly the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education) Arkansas Rehabilitation Services Division.

Hot Springs touts two of the must see attractions in Arkansas

Yesterday was the 175th anniversary of the statehood of Arkansas. Voting in an online promotion, residents picked the official name of the celebration: Septaquintaquinquecentennial. (sept-ta-kwen-ta-kwen-kwa-centennial)

Then they voted on their favorite places to visit in The Natural State. Whether it’s a hiking trail, a museum, a state park or a farmers market, no other place offers the variety of destinations Arkansas does.

According to the votes on, these are the Top 10 selected Things to See and Do in The Natural State (in alphabetical order):

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock
Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs
Eureka Springs Downtown Historic District
Garvan Woodland Gardens, Hot Springs
MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Little Rock
Ozark Folk Center State Park, Mountain View
Ozark Medieval Fortress, Lead Hill
Petit Jean State Park, Morrilton
Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Springdale
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs

In May, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism announced the list of 175 Top Places to Visit, as determined by activity and searches on, and encouraged residents to visit to vote for their favorite destinations in the state.

More than 50,000 votes were cast during four weeks of voting. The Department invites everyone to celebrate our statehood by getting out to enjoy the many attractions available in Arkansas. To find out more, visit

New Biomass project in Arkansas

U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman, along with Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1) recnetly announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will establish a Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) Project Area in Arkansas. The project, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, sets aside more than 5,000 acres to grow crops that will be processed into renewable energy.

The BCAP Project Area will target enrollment of 5,558 acres of land in Craighead, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Randolph counties. MFA Oil Biomass LLC will sponsor the project, promoting the cultivation of giant miscanthus, a sterile hybrid warm-season grass that can be converted into energy to be used for heat, power, liquid biofuels, and bio-based products. According to the USDA, the project area and conversion facility in Paragould will earn approximately $50 million each year. The project is also expected to create a large number of biorefinery, agriculture, and support jobs. By 2014, the USDA predicts that the project will create 750 jobs in Paragould alone.

“This project helps cultivate the enormous potential our farmers have for producing domestic energy,” Pryor said. “It’s a win-win to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, improve domestic energy security, reduce pollution, and spur economic development and job creation.”

“To address our future energy needs we must use all of our natural resources, including biomass,” Boozman said. “The Biomass Crop Assistance Program helps strengthen and diversify our American energy supply, and we’re glad that Arkansas was chosen to participate in this program.”

“The Biomass Crop Assistance Program will help Arkansas lead the way in next-generation biofuels. This program will create jobs, help our country produce renewable energy, and accelerate economic growth in the First District,” Crawford said.

Beginning on Monday, June 20, Arkansas crop producers and bioenergy facilties may submit proposals to the USDA to be selected as a BCAP project area. Arkansans who may be interested in participating may visit their local FSA county office or visit to find out more information.

Tennis anyone?

The Hot Springs Village Tennis Association Picnic -A Summer Carnival will be held Saturday June 25Th @ Lake Cortez Pavilion from 5 to 10 p.m. Members and their spouse/family/guests are invited to sign up at the Tennis Association and attend!

Sign up cut off date is Wednesday June 22 at 8 p.m. Price is $10 for adults and $5 for kids under 12. BYOB

There will be dunk tanks, ball toss, kissing booth & more. $10 gets an adult in and can eat as much as you want. We will be serving hot dogs, sloppy joes, cole slaw, watermelon, ice cream, lemonade & tea.