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Friday, March 30, 2012

Teen dies in car accident on DeSoto Boulevard

A.L. Cornett, director of the department of public safety, Hot Springs Village POA, announced today the death of Thomas C. Hays, 17, a Village resident, as the result of a one-car accident on DeSoto Boulevard near Pontevedra at approximately 2 a.m. March 30. Hays was the lone occupant in a 2002 Nissan Sentra and was ejected when the vehicle left the roadway, struck the ditch and turned over.

Hays was pronounced dead at the scene by the Garland County  Coroner, Stuart Smedley.

The investigation into the accident continues.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Clean slate in board election

Congratulations to Keith Keck, Bobbie Bateman and Frank Leeming, the newly elected HSV POA board of directors' members.

Keith Keck, Frank Leeming and Bobbie Bateman were elected to the Hot Springs Village board of directors for three-year terms. They will be seated at the conclusion of the April regular board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 18. The Election Day Committee of the Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association has certified the following results:

Candidate  Total Votes

Keith Keck 5,823
Frank Leeming 4,513
Bobbie Bateman 4,370
Bob Brandt 3,922
Tom Elliott 3,810
Katie Feather 3,370

New POA board members will be announced today

The Hot Springs Village POA deadline for turning in votes for the board of directors has passed. Today the votes will be counted and the results will be made public. I'll let you know the winners as soon as they are made public.

Duck's probation extended

Kevin Duck, the person of interest in the murder of Hot Springs Village police dispatcher Dawna Natzke, had two years added to his probation sentence by the Hot Springs County court this week.

Charges have not been brought against anyone in the Natzke matter. Duck's extended probation sentence gives Garland County more time to resolve the Natzke case before Duck can leave the area.

April events in the Arkansas River Valley‏

The 5th annual Big To Do on 22 is Wednesday, April 11-Saturday, April 14 along Ark. 22 from Dardanelle to Barling. Sellers find a spot along the highway and set up for sales. Buyers search for sales on and off the highway along the route. Watch for signs, get the local newspapers and stock up on the best bargains of the year from antiques to "another man's treasures." For more information contact the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce at 479-963-2244 or visit

The Booneville Open Cow Pasture Pool is set for Friday, April 13-Saturday, April 14. Participants play golf in a cow pasture. It is a two-man scramble that takes place behind the GMF building on Ark. 10 W of Booneville. Contact the Chamber of Commerce at 479-675-2666 for more information.

Spend a weekend discovering the colorful heralds of spring during Petit Jean State Park’s annual Wildflower Weekend on Friday, April 13-Sunday, April 15 near Morrilton. Join park interpreters for wildflower walks, talks, and evening presentations. Contact the park at 501-727-5441 for a schedule of events. Visit for more information about the park.

The 4th annual Heritage Festival on Saturday, April 14 celebrates Fort Smith's diverse culture and exciting history through music, art, tours of historic locations, and a living history on Garrison Avenue. Take the bus and explore the heritage trail in downtown Fort Smith. Admission is free. For more information, call 479-782-5074.

The 25th annual Spinach Festival in Alma is set for Saturday, April 21. Festivities take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. along Main Street. Festival-goers can enjoy arts, crafts, food, entertainment, and spinach eating and growing contests. The event is free. Visit or call 479-632-4127 for more information.

Hear the history of rock and roll on Saturday, April 21 at the Arkansas Best Corporation Performing Arts Center in Fort Smith. "The History of Rock & Roll" is a unique, energizing presentation of rock and roll styles from its beginning to current trends. Composed by local jazz great, Don Bailey, the work will feature the Fort Smith Symphony along with Don and Terri Bailey, Gary Hutchison, Shane Bailey and others. Depending on seating, admission is $30-$35 for adults and $15-$20 for students. Visit or call 479-452-7575 for more information.

The 13th annual Taste of the Ozarks is Thursday, April 26 at the North Franklin County Fair Building in Ozark. The event takes place from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is a showcase of Ozark's businesses and restaurants. For more information, visit or call 479-667-2525.

A weekend of fun for the whole family, the 8th annual Fourche River Days takes place Friday, April 27-Saturday, April 28 on the courthouse square in Perryville. The event consists of food vendors, local restaurant dining, live entertainment, car and truck show, mechanical bull, washer toss, laser tag, historical museum exhibit, and fireworks. Admission is free. Visit or call 501-889-1571 for details.

Chateau Aux Arc’s annual Bloom-N-Blues Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 in Altus. Enjoy a day of food, live music, wine and games. Vendors sell arts and crafts. Call 800-558-9463 or visit for more information.

Charleston Arkansas Springfest, in its second year, is set for Saturday, April 28. Festivities include a car show, arts and crafts, children’s activities, barbecue and music. The free fun takes place on Freedom Road. Visit or call 479-965-2269 for more information.

April in the Ouachitas

Spring is the time for chirping birds and blooming flowers and there are plenty popping up around Lake Catherine State Park in Hot Springs. To celebrate, the Outdoor Adventure Series-Birds and Bloom Weekend is April 13-15 at the park. Guided wildflower and bird hikes and educational nature programs this weekend explore the many birds and blooms in this Ouachita Mountain landscape. Visit or contact the park at 501-844-4176 for more information.

ONE Day is April 14 in Mountain Pine at Lake Ouachita State Park. ONE stands for Ouachita Nature Experiences. This family-friendly day of activities and skills training is designed for those who want to learn camping skills or improve on skills they have learned but haven’t practiced in some time. A $10 fee includes a Dutch oven lunch. For more information visit or contact the park at 501-767-9366.

A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody is showing April 13-22 in Hot Springs at the Pocket Community Theatre. The story centers on Julia and Matthew Perry reveal their resolutions for the New Year. He vows to kill her and she vows to stay alive. And so a year-long match of wits begin! Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. For more information visit or call 501-623-8585.

Join a park interpreter for a kayaking adventure April 18 or April 25 for a Kayak Cover Adventure at Lake Catherine State Park in Hot Springs. No experience is necessary, but you should be comfortable around water. Kayaks, paddles, and life jackets are also provided. Cost is $15. For more information visit or call 501-844-4176.

The 14th annual Central Arkansas Corvette Club Weekend is April 19-21 in Hot Springs. There will be events and a parade on Friday and Corvettes on display at the Hot Springs Convention Center on Saturday. For more information visit or call 501-922-3898.

Paddle the shorelines of Lake Ouachita with a park interpreter as your guide April 21 during a Kayaking Day Trip at Lake Ouachita State Park in Mountain Pine. Experience the lake in a new way while learning about the history, geology and wildlife of the area. No prior paddling experience is required, but you should be comfortable around water and be fit enough to paddle (at a leisurely pace) for several hours. A $30 fee includes use of a kayak, paddle and PFD. For more information visit or call 501-767-9366.

Develop or enhance your wilderness survival techniques at Daisy State Park in Kirby during a Survival Skills Weekend April 21. Learn the skills needed for wilderness survival through a series of workshops. Choose the ones you want or take them all. Advance registration and a fee is required. Visit or contact the park for more information by calling 870-398-4487.

Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area in Wickes hosts the Little Rock Zoo's "Birds of Prey" program on April 28. The program include several live birds that can be found in the area in the wild. Discover which birds of prey are found here and learn about the individuality of these beautiful creatures. Admission is $3. For more information visit or call 870-385-2201.

Message from Garland County Sheriff Larry Sanders

I would like to remind everyone of our free Sex Offender Database and Registry. From our website you click on the Sex Offender Database and Registry link and either search for, or register to receive notification of, sex offenders in your area.

This service has proven beneficial to our citizens for over 5 years and many have taken advantage of the notification benefit, whereas you are notified if an offender moves into your area.

O.A. Wynn, our full-time sex offender deputy, and I work closely with area law enforcement agencies, the courts and the prosecutor’s office to assure that the information is correct, offenders are following their requirements and bringing them to justice when they do not fulfill those requirements.

Recently, a few of our offenders decided they did not want to comply with the requirements, by moving out of state without proper notifications and/or registration. With the assistance of several out of state agencies, the state parole office and the U.S. Marshall Service, these offenders were swiftly apprehended and have either been brought back to Garland County or are awaiting extradition.

August Kreiner, a level 3 offender convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault on an 8 year old and adult female, fled to Iowa. Within one week Kreiner was arrested and extradited back to Garland County where he was sentenced to 7 years in the Department of Corrections.

Billy Joe Dennis, a level 3 offender convicted of Kidnapping a 17 year old female, during a home invasion, fled to Texas. Dennis was arrested and extradited back to Garland County where he is awaiting trial and facing up to 10 years in the Department of Corrections.

Ray Anderson, a level 3 offender convicted of Sexual Battery, fled to Louisiana. Anderson was arrested within 48 hours and is currently awaiting extradition back to Garland County.

I appreciate the input and assistance that the citizens of Garland County have given to help make this program successful. With your assistance, and Deputy Wynn’s relentless determination, we are guaranteed to have continued success with this program.

Please visit our website,, to search for offenders in your area and to be notified if one moves into your area. I would also ask that if you find information that is incorrect in the database, that you give Deputy Wynn or me a call at 501-622-3690 or 501-622-3660.

Arkansas Agriculture Department announces Century Farm Program

The Arkansas Agriculture Department is accepting applications for the Arkansas Century Farm program, a new program recognizing Arkansas’s rich agricultural heritage and honoring families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. The program is voluntary and places no restrictions on the land.

To qualify, farms must meet the following criteria:

· The same family must have owned the farm for 100 years by December 31, 2012. The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nephews or nieces, including through marriage and adoption.

· The farm must be at least 10 acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said, “The Arkansas Century Farm Program is designed to acknowledge the families who have contributed to our state’s traditions, but also to remind all of us that work is needed to ensure that those traditions continue for future generations.”

Nationally, over 96% of all agricultural operations are family farms. Arkansas currently has over 49,000 farms on 13.5 million acres with the average farm size of 280 acres.

“It’s a privilege to recognize the generations of Arkansas farmers and ranchers who have persevered for a century or more to provide food, fiber, and energy” said Richard Bell, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture.

Qualified applicants will be presented with a personalized metal sign and a certificate. Only the legal owners of the land may apply.

There is no cost to apply for the Arkansas Century Farm program. Applications can be obtained from the Arkansas Agriculture Department by calling 501-225-1598 or from the department’s website at:

Applications must be postmarked by August 1, to be eligible for designation in 2012.

Proposed changes to mining regulation is hearing topic

The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APC&EC) will hold a public hearing at North Little Rock April 5, to receive public comments on proposed revisions to Commission Regulation 15 (Arkansas Open Cut Mining and Reclamation Code). The hearing will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the Commission Room at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) headquarters building, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock.

The most significant proposed changes to Regulation 15 involve:

· Addition of a new section involving penalties for violations of the regulation which resulted in pecuniary gain for violators. In lieu of the normal penalty range, the new section would allow the ADEQ to seek penalties equal to the amount of the pecuniary gain realized by the violators.

· Addition of new language governing transfers of mining permits.

Other proposed changes to the regulation include addition of clarifying language to sections of the regulation dealing with flood control; local government authority for gravel removal; road construction, in-stream mining; temporary variances and interim authority; and permit applications and renewals.

In addition, the proposed changes would remove Appendices A and B from Regulation 15. Appendix A lists streams designated in APC&EC Regulation 2 (Arkansas Water Quality Standards) as “Extraordinary Resource Waters” (ERW) where in-stream gravel mining is prohibited. Appendix B is a map of the ERW streams. Proposed new language in Regulation 15 would direct interested parties to Regulation 2 for the list of ERWs.

Copies of the proposed changes are available for public inspection during regular business hours at the ADEQ Headquarters Building in the Public Outreach and Assistance Division, or at ADEQ information depositories located in public libraries at Arkadelphia, Batesville, Blytheville, Camden, Clinton, Crossett, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Forrest City, Fort Smith, Harrison, Helena, Hope, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Magnolia, Mena, Monticello, Mountain Home, Pocahontas, Russellville, Searcy, Stuttgart, Texarkana, and West Memphis; in campus libraries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the University of Central Arkansas at Conway; or in the Arkansas State Library, 900 W. Capitol, Suite 100, Little Rock. In addition, a copy of the regulation showing the proposed changes, along with related support documents, is available for viewing or downloading at the ADEQ’s web site located at

Oral and written comments will be accepted at the hearing, but written comments are preferred in the interest of accuracy. In addition, written and electronic mail comments will be considered if received no later than 4:30 p.m. April 19, 2012. Written comments should be sent to Doug Szenher, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Public Outreach and Assistance Division, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118. E-mail comments should be sent to:

Parks temporarily close for emergency exercise

Entergy Park, Sunnybrook Landing and Carpenter Dam parks in Hot Springs will be closed to the public between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. today, Thursday, March 29, to facilitate the implementation of a countywide emergency exercise conducted by the Garland County Department of Emergency Management.  The parks will re-open after 3 p.m.

Faulkner Chamber Music Festival fundraiser preview recital 2012 “What Fun, It’s April Fool’s”

April 1, 2012
Hendrix College – Reves Recital Hall
Admission: $5
Silent Auction begins: 4 p.m.
Performance begins: 5:15 p.m.

Information: 773-251-4719

Silent Film
Chamber Music
Hors d’Oeurves
Silent Auction

Faulkner Chamber Music Festival has been providing chamber music education to students in and out of Arkansas for the past 5 summers. We are based in Conway and are hosting our 2nd annual fund raiser event - Preview Recital 2012 - to benefit the festival by providing scholarships and new musical opportunities for our students. This year we are celebrating chamber music by jumping on the silent film bandwagon. With the recent success of the film, 'The Artist', our faculty and guest musicians will perform along to 2 short silent films. Our doors will open at 4pm, at which point the guests can enjoy bidding on 40+ silent auction items, taste our signature beverages and hors d'oeuvres, participating in raffles for both the 'fish bowl' and the 'big ticket' items, all while listening to 3 of our students play great chamber music. At 5:15pm, the performance on stage will begin with musicians from both the ASO and Trio Arkansas, performing excerpts from Ravel, Bottesini, and Schubert chamber repertoire. On screen, we will be joined by Charlie Chaplin and Charlie Chase as we travel back to the 1920s.

- 32" Panasonic LCD HDTV
- Kindle Touch E-reader
- Private Lessons with ASO musicians and other local professionals
- Fine art & handmade goods
- Wine, chocolate, meats and other food & drink items
- much, much more...

Movie: 'April Fool' with Charlie Chase
Selections from Ravel String Quartet
Joo Yun H. Preece, violin
Geoffrey Robson, violin
Ryan Mooney, viola
David Gerstein, cello

Giovanni Bottesini - Elegy for Double Bass and Piano
Barron Weir, double bass
Louis Menendez, piano

Movie: 'His Musical Career' with Charlie Chaplin
Selections from Schubert 'Trout' Quintet
Geoffrey Robson, violin
Ryan Mooney, viola
David Gerstein, cello
Barron Weir, double bass
Louis Menendez, piano

Pryor Seeks to Reign in Excessive Speculation that Drives Up the Price of Gas

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor recently introduced legislation to put the brakes on Wall Street speculators who are driving up gas prices through excessive speculation.

Pryor said he supports efforts underway by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to curtail excessive speculation that inflates the cost of oil. He wants to address a remaining loophole that enables Wall Street speculators to manipulate the price of oil without ever taking control of the oil. The Closing Loopholes On Speculators in Energy Act will require the CFTC to ensure that a majority of the futures contracts be owned by bona fide end users such as refiners, airlines and farmers who have a reason to hedge on the cost of oil other than solely increasing their profit margins. Currently, Wall Street investment banks and hedge funds control approximately 65-75 percent of the energy futures market.

“Wall Street brought our country to a near economic collapse and cost millions of people their jobs.  We’re seeing big investment banks and hedge funds return to their old tricks, using the courts to delay consumer safeguards and taking advantage of every loophole available.” Pryor said. “Unless we crack down on the multiple avenues Wall Street uses to exploit consumers, this problem will only get worse.”

CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton calculated that excessive oil speculation swindles consumers out of hundreds of dollars per year. According to Chilton, an individual who drives a Honda Civic pays $7.30 more every time they fill up, or $380 a year, due to Wall Street speculators. Individuals who drive a Ford Explorer pays an extra $10.41 or $541 a year; and those who own the popular pick-up truck, the Ford F150, pay an additional $14.56 per fill up, or more than $750 a year.

“Spinning oil prices higher and higher for huge profit is hurting consumers at the gas pump and threatening our nation’s economic recovery.” Pryor said.  “We need to clamp down on the funny business, while also increasing our supply of domestic energy resources and establishing a national energy strategy.”

Close Act

To amend the Commodity Exchange Act to require a regulation to limit
the aggregate positions of nontraditional bona fide hedgers in petroleum
and related products.
introduced the following bill; which was read twice
and referred to the Committee on 
To amend the Commodity Exchange Act to require a regulation
to limit the aggregate positions of nontraditional
bona fide hedgers in petroleum and related products.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Section 4a(a)(6) of the Commodity Exchange Act (7 U.S.C. 6a(a)(6)) is amended— (1) by redesignating subparagraphs (A) through (C) as clauses (i) through (iii), respectively, and in denting appropriately; (2) by striking ‘‘The Commission shall’’ and inserting the following:
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall’’; and (3) by adding at the end the following: 
‘‘(B) PETROLEUM AND RELATED PRODUCTS.—The Commission shall, by regulation, establish limits on the aggregate number or amount of positions in contracts for petroleum or related products that may be held by any person, including any group or class of traders, for each month across contracts described in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (A), so that— ‘‘(i) the short position for traditional bona fide hedgers in the aggregate is not less than 50 percent; and ‘‘(ii) the long position for traditional bona fide hedgers in the aggregate is not less than 50 percent.’’

School Street lane closing

The southbound lane of School Street between Garland Avenue and Ward Street in Hot Springs will be closed all day beginning at 8 a.m. today, Thursday, March 29,  for a gas line project. Signs will be posted, and motorists will need to seek an alternate route.

Special called city board meeting notice

A special called meeting of the Hot Springs board of directors will be held at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 31 in the Central Fire Station small conference room at 301 Broadway. The board will consider city manager applicants.

Tickets still available for Puttin' on the Dog...and Cat

Puttin' on the Dog...and Cat
Tuesday, April 10 at the Coronado Center. Time is 4:30. Tickets are $20 each-not available at the door. Call Julie Keck at 915-9986. Tickets also available at Barkansas, Hallmark at east gate, Company's Coming, A to Zebra Vet Clinic, and LBG Lighting.
Food samples from area restaurants and caterers, silent and live auctions, wine and chocolate fountains, entertainment. Don't miss out - buy your tickets TODAY!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bat encounters in the Village

According to the HSV POA, two rabid bats were found in the Village, one in Garland County and one in Saline County. Dr. Sue Weinstein, the state public health veterinarian, said that information is incorrect. There has been only one rabid bat found in the Village, it was in Garland County.

A map of the rabies numbers throughout the state is available at, go to the letter directory, letter r for rabies, and then go to the maps.

Weinstein said if you should encounter a bat; don’t touch it with your bare hands.

She said you have three clear choices, leave the bat alone, catch it in a box or coffee can or call animal control. Choices one and three are the recommended protocol. The phone number for the Village animal control is 922-6547.

Once the bat is caught it will be euthanized and tested for rabies by animal control, the County Health Unit or by a licensed veterinarian.

Weinstein added, the rule of thumb is to keep your pets away from sick animals. Our vaccinated household pets are our line of defense against rabies. Vaccinating dogs and cats against rabies by a licensed veterinarian is the ultimate protection for people.

She also wanted Villagers not to malign all bats. According to Weinstein, bats eat more than their weight in insects. Less than 1% has rabies.

She added, the ones we see on the ground, the ones interacting with people are more likely to be sick.

If animal control is not available, call Village police at 922-0011.

In an average year there are 35 to 40 reported and confirmed cases of rabies reviewed by Dr. Weinstein. As of March 28 there have been 44 confirmed cases in Arkansas.

Bowfire a go, go, go, go

Last night was the opening night of the Concert’s Association’s run of Bowfire. A dozen extremely talented musicians took the stage at Woodlands Auditorium for the first of many nights to remember.

By intermission I was exhausted by just watching the high-energy performances by the dozen. Lenny Solomon, creator and musical director of Bowfire as well as jazz violinist extraordinaire has put together a highly entertaining show. The performers are multi-talented. In addition to being virtuoso fiddlers, the troupe stepdances and sings. There is never more than a few seconds between numbers. The show flows right along.

I preferred Solomon’s virtuosity on the acoustic violin. I am not a huge fan of the synthesized violin. That does not mean he didn’t do a good job, I just prefer the pure fiddle sound. The same thing goes for the bass, acoustic good, synthesized, not so much.

Each violinist had personality plus and didn’t hesitate to shine. Linsey Beckett the petite blond with long tresses fiddled, sang and stepdanced her way into our hearts. Long-haired brunette Stephanie Cadman fiddled and stepdanced around every inch of the stage, an endless font of energy. Often, Cadman and Beckett stepdanced in tandem. Lynae Dufrense, short-haired blond fiddled and showed off her lovely full alto voice in two numbers. Her rendition of Tennessee Waltz was a show-stopper because of its beauty. The last female in the ensemble is the cellist Wendy Solomon. She exudes personality and plays with her heart in her bow.

The men violinists included Bluegrass fiddler Ray Legere. Legere also demonstrated his mastery of the mandolin in several numbers. The effervescent Bodgan Djukic channeled his Slavic roots to bring a haunting sound to the Klezmer Medley. The handsome Shane Cook showed diversity in his fiddling playing several styles with ease and finesse.

The rest of the band was clearly as talented as the visual violinists but tended to stay in their assigned places on stage. Bill Bridges played the heck out of his guitar. His finger-picking was wonderful. Drummer Roger Travassos kept the show moving and in time. Jazz pianist Bernie Senensky was able to show his humor and talent. And finally, the great bass player Lew Mele rounded out the group.

Bowfire is based out of Canada. The group appeared at the Woodlands for the first time in the 2005/2006 Concerts Association season. Members in the audience that had seen both shows said this one was even better than the first time around. The addition of the beautiful and multi-talented young women was a big hit.

My only hesitation in seeing Bowfire again is that I need to rest up before I have the energy to watch them go, go, go, go. A dozen energizer bunnies working independently and together.

Next season there is also much to look forward to, in September the program is the Dallas Brass, for October, Almost Elton John, November brings Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack, February hosts Irish Sopranos and the season will conclude in March with Hotel California. Sounds like more fun. Renewals go out any day now.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

US Airways launches direct flight from Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport to Washington, D.C.‏

US Airway's ceremonial inaugural direct flight from Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock to Washington's D.C.'s Ronald Reagan National Airport took to the sky marking the beginning of daily, nonstop flights from Little Rock to the nation's capital and one of the most popular destinations for business and leisure.

The Presidential Inaugural Flight Ceremony hosted representatives from Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission and US Airways; Stephanie Streett, executive director of the William J. Clinton Foundation; Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola; Arkansas House Speaker-Designate Darrin Williams; and U.S. Congressman Tim Griffin. Street and Airport Commission Chairman Jim Dailey spoke about the significance of a direct flight between two airports named after two of the country's great presidencies. The Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting team fired an official water canon salute over the US Airways airplane as it taxied from the gate to the runway.

"This new direct flight from Little Rock to Washington, D.C., is another way we're working to offer the best in convenience for our passengers. We have many residents in Arkansas who do business in Washington on a regular basis. Offering a daily direct flight will allow for shorter travel times and less hassle," Dailey said.

The US Airways flight will be offered at varying times each day. The flight is just over two hours in length and flies into Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Sunday also served as the first event held at the newly renamed Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport. It was historic in that the new flight connects Clinton National to Reagan National.

Travelers may book flights through the airport's website at or through US Airways' website at or by calling US Airways Reservations at 1-800-428-4322.

About Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport

Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport is the state's largest commercial service airport, serving 2.2 million passengers annually. As Arkansans' "Gateway to the World," the airport is home to six airlines with 124 flight arrivals and departures each day. Non-stop jet service is provided to 16 national gateway cities. The airport is currently in Phase I of a major construction initiative that will eventually transform it into an international airport. Clinton National Airport plays a major role in the city's economy with a more than $1.2 billion impact each year, including providing Arkansans with more than 4,000 jobs on the airport's 2,200.

Congress must work together on federal budget, Congressman Ross says bold, bipartisan, balanced approach needed

Each and every year, Congress must pass a budget to fund the federal government for the fiscal year, which runs October 1st through September 30th. Recently, both the President and the Republican House Majority released budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2013, which begins October 1, 2012.

Unfortunately, neither of these proposed budgets offers bold, substantive solutions that address our nation’s long-term debt crisis. The President’s budget doesn’t go far enough to cut spending and contains unacceptable deficit levels, while the Republican budget offers a plan that doesn’t balance the budget until 2040, accumulates more than $3 trillion in debt over the next ten years and turns Medicare into a voucher system increasing costs for seniors. Neither of these proposals is a workable solution to our nation’s fiscal challenges.

Members of Congress fail to recognize that we have the opportunity and responsibility to come together as Americans, stop the partisan bickering and put forward a budget that gets our fiscal house back in order. Members of both parties should be willing to reach across the aisle, compromise and work together to find a bold, bipartisan and balanced approach to solving this nation’s long-term fiscal crisis and put us on a path to fiscal stability. 

It’s been done before. President Clinton worked with a Republican Congress to not only pass a federal budget, but to also balance it and give us a budget surplus.  Though the budget surpluses didn’t last long after President Clinton left office, the experience taught us that by working together in a bipartisan manner, it is possible to get our fiscal house back in order.  It was done then and it can be done again. 

The roadmaps to achieve this goal are plentiful and bipartisan.  In fact, as a leader of the fiscally conservative, Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, I helped draft the “Blue Dog Benchmarks of Fiscal Reform,” which would cut the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years, stabilize the debt and reduce the size of government.  These benchmarks were based on the Fiscal Commission Report, but there are other large, bipartisan plans that achieve the same goals.  The ideas are out there.  Now we just need to prove that Congress has the political will to do what’s best for America.

We absolutely cannot reduce the deficit or balance our budget by cutting seniors’ benefits or by raising taxes on middle class families.  This is not what I want and this is not what the American people want. 

There is no one silver bullet that will get our nation’s fiscal house back in order.  We didn’t get into this mess overnight and we’re not going to get out of it overnight.  We need a bipartisan, comprehensive solution that includes spending cuts that are fair and make sense, major tax code reform and long-term economic growth that creates more private-sector jobs for more Americans.

Congress must be willing to work together, listen to each other and the American people to get the job done.  No one side has a monopoly on good ideas and I will continue to work with both Democrats and Republicans to reduce our deficit, get our economy back on track and put more Americans back to work.

As a fiscal conservative, I will continue to be a moderating voice in this debate, bringing everyone to the table as we find commonsense ideas that help us return to the days of a balanced budget and a stronger economy.

Informational meeting on fall citizen delegation trip to Japan

An informational meeting for citizens interested in exploring possible travel this fall to Hot Springs' sister city, Hanamaki, Japan, will be held at noon on Thursday, April 5 at the Hale Bathhouse on Bathhouse Row in downtown Hot Springs.

At the meeting, details will be provided on the trip, which is tentatively scheduled for September 1 through 9. The itinerary includes the 420th annual Hanamaki Festival, along with two days in Tokyo. The delegates will visit area temples, shrines, museums and Hanamaki area attractions. The trip cost, approximately $3500, includes airfare, lodging, transportation, guides, tours and most meals.

For more information, contact Sister City Program Coordinator Mary Neilson, 545-6960 or 

Pryor seeks solution to close black market on cell phones, requests FCC to identify options to stop reactivation on stolen phones

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor recently asked the Federal Communications Commission to identify solutions that prevent wireless providers from reactivating stolen phones, which he believes will crack down on violent cell phone robberies.

Pryor said tens of thousands of cell phones are stolen each year, with many incidents involving violent robberies where criminals can quickly resell phones on the black market to make an easy profit.  Criminals are able to profit from these crimes because service providers are unable to differentiate between stolen and legitimate phones.  According to a recent investigation by NBC’s Today Show, a new technology is now available that would allow manufacturers and wireless providers to identify stolen phones and prohibit reactivation of service.

Medical ionizing radiation licensure committee to meet

Who: Medical ionizing radiation licensure committee (MIRLC)
What: Quarterly MIRLC meeting

When: Tuesday, April 3, at 3:00 p.m.

Where: Arkansas department of health, radiation control/radiologic technology licensure program office, Freeway Medical Building, 5800 W. 10th Street, Little Rock, AR, Suite 100, Room A111

The MIRLC meets quarterly and serves as an advisory committee to The Arkansas State Board of Health. The Committee consists of ten members appointed by the Governor. The MIRLC adopts standards, may grant, deny, renew, suspend or revoke licenses for any cause stated in the act; adopt, publish, review, and revise such rules and regulations not inconsistent with the law as may be necessary to enable it to carry into effect the provisions of the act. The MIRLC reviews allegations and violations, may conduct disciplinary proceedings and issue subpoenas as provided in the act. The MIRLC reviews RTL program reports.

Residents invited to meet city manager candidates at Friday’s open house

The Hot Springs community is invited to meet and greet the candidates for Hot Springs City Manager at an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 30 in the Grand Lobby of the Hot Springs Convention Center.  Refreshments will be served, and the attire is business casual.

The three candidates are Larry Deetjen of Oak Lawn, IL, Randall Dowling of Gordon County, GA and David Watkins of Bryan, TX.  Ron Holifield of Strategic Government Resources, a professional search firm from Keller, TX that was contracted by the Board of Directors to carry out the search for city manager, will oversee the candidates’ schedule of activities while they are in town.

Beauty and the bride at Garvan Woodland Gardens

Beauty and the bride on April 1 at Dierks promenade and Ellen Edmondson great lawn at Garvan Woodland Gardens from 1-4 p.m.

Don’t miss this one-stop shopping event where brides-to-be and their grooms can talk to photographers, cake makers, florists, videographers, DJs, caterers, jewelers, and other wedding oriented businesses. Cost is $5 per person to visit the 30 vendors. Sample cakes and hors d’oeuvres and check out portfolios of area photographers. Door prizes awarded by contributing vendors. Take care of all those tedious tasks of planning a wedding -- all in one beautiful setting with a chance to win a wedding a Garvan Woodland Gardens.

Antique classic boat show at Garvan Woodland Gardens arch 30 and 31

11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday - Boat dock 

Approximately 30 boats and their owners will display their priceless vessels at Garvan Woodland Gardens and discuss with visitors how they meticulously restored the boats, collectively valued at more than $1 million.  Owners from surrounding states are expected to be on hand for the exhibition.  For additional information, contact Patty Thompson in Altus, OK at 580-482-6587.

Rabid bats found in the Village

Two bats found in Hot Springs Village have tested positive for Rabies, one in each county of the Village. Residents are cautioned not to handle any wildlife or suspicious animal.

Surrounding counties have also reported rabid skunks and other animals. Contact HSV Animal Control at 501-922-6547 or the HSV Police Department at 501-922-0011 to report a suspicious animal.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Troubling incident at garage sale ends with POA employee under arrest

I am deeply concerned with the direction the Village POA has taken under the leadership of POA general manager Scott Randall and POA board of directors' president Jerry Kosoglow. On Friday, March 23, Cole P. Atherton, age 53, a part-time building and complaint inspector for the POA's planning and inspection department allegedly assaulted two people at a garage/estate sale at 6 Jumilla Lane.

According to witnesses Atherton allegedly brought pulled-up signs to the Jumilla Lane home, used foul language and assaulted two people, a man and a woman. Both victims were pushed to the ground. The man had a pacemaker put in just last week and the woman had open heart surgery just four months ago. Both victims were over 60 years old.

A.L. Cornett, director, department of public safety, Hot Springs Village POA, reported the arrest of Atherton on suspicion of two counts of second degree battery, a Class D felony.

Atherton was booked into the Garland County jail pending the filing of charges. If convicted, Atherton could be sentenced up to six years imprisonment and fined up to $10,000 on each count.

Atherton's employment with the POA was terminated this afternoon.

According to Cornett, the investigation into the incident continues.

The assaulted woman has requested formal charges be brought against Atherton.

Steve White, director of the POA planning and inspection department was called back from his vacation to deal with this matter. He had no comment on the incident and subsequent arrest.

Village Easter egg hunt

Hot Springs Village property owners association announces the annual Children’s Easter Egg Hunt will be held Saturday, April 7 on the Desoto Event Center grounds.

The children’s activities will begin at 1 p.m with a moon bounce, arts and crafts and a visit from the Easter Bunny.

Children, ages 12 and under are asked to bring their baskets to participate in the egg hunt that will start  promptly at 2 pm. The grounds will be roped off in age groups for the egg hunt.

Bring the children and join the fun on Saturday, April 7 at 1 pm.

Village scavenger hunt in April

Hot Springs Village property owners’ association trails committee has scheduled a spring scavenger hunt to be held on all village trails April 1 thru 30.

To participate, check any trail head box beginning April 1 for official entry form. When you find an object pictured on the form, write down the name of the trail where you seen it next to the photo of the object on the form. When you have located all eight objects, return the completed form to any trail head box by April 30. Participants correctly locating all eight objects will be notified and treated to a picnic lunch with the trails committee on May 15.

Call a friend, come out and enjoy a spring walk on our beautiful trails.

Contact Dale Webb at 915-8042, Ginger Tanner at 922-4386 or Pam Lee at 915-0651, for further information.

Village open house

Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association’s marketing department and HSV Board of REALTORS are pleased to announce the first Real Estate Open House of 2012- March 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Approximately 40 houses in four different price ranges will be featured on the tours (<$100K; $100-$200K; $200-$300K and $300K+). Each tour will have a lunch break at one of our sponsoring restaurants: Paradise Grill, the Pink Olive, Mulligans at Ponce and Diamante.

·         Diamante Round of Golf with Lunch for Four
·         HSVPOA Round of FREE Golf
·         2-Night “Stay & Play” Accommodation
·         HSV Single Membership, value $275
·         2-Hour Tennis Court Coupon
·         Fitness Center one-day pass
·         3 Gift Subscriptions to The Sentinel-Record
*Winners must show proof of attending 5 Open Houses
Hot Springs Village is a wonderful place to live and play only 40 minutes from I-430 and I-30.You are invited to discover Hot Springs Village during our Real Estate Open House March 31st.  Within our unique twenty-six thousand acre community you will find nine golf courses, eleven lakes, a thirteen clay court tennis facility, eight pickleball courts and over twenty miles of wooded, scenic nature trails. Whether you are looking to build, buy an existing home, invest in a second home, townhouse or condo and/or buy a lot… Hot Springs Village is the Right Choice.

Golf front homes and townhouses range in price from $59,900 - $979,900.  Great homes are available with golf course frontage on all of the courses.  If building is an option for you there are golf course frontage lots that may be just what you are looking for.  The median price for a golf course frontage lot is $29,900 and the average is $31,057.

Perhaps lake front living is more to your liking?  The median price for lake front homes and townhouses is $322,450 and the average is $360,318.  Lake front lots are still available, the median is $80,900, and the average is $95,985.

Overall, the median price for all homes and townhouses currently for sale in Hot Springs Village is $184,100, the average is $233,063.  The median for vacant building lots is $15,950 and the average is $34,994.

For more information please contact the Hot Springs Village Board of REALTORS 501-984-5963 and/or visit

Join the Fun - Do not miss the Open House, March 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Village POA annual meeting May 7

Hot Springs Village property owners association annual meeting will be held on  Monday, May 7, at 3 p.m at Ponce De Leon Center in the Ouachita Building.

All property owners are encouraged to attend this meeting.

Hazardous waste meeting

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will hold a free workshop at Jonesboro March 28, 2012, to assist individuals and facilities that generate hazardous wastes with compliance issues involving state and federal laws and regulations. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center, 600 East Lawson Road, in Jonesboro.

ADEQ personnel will provide information on topics such as hazardous waste classification; rules governing accumulation of hazardous wastes; treatment of hazardous wastes; employee training requirements; recordkeeping and reporting requirements; the hazardous waste manifest system; and an inspection checklist for hazardous wastes.

Interested parties should contact Clyde Rhodes, chief of the ADEQ Hazardous Waste Division, for reservations at 501-682-0831, or

Participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch to the workshop. Similar workshops are scheduled for June 20, at El Dorado, and September 26 at Hot Springs.

Tank meeting

The Arkansas petroleum storage tank advisory committee will meet 9 a.m. March 27, at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Headquarters Building, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock. The meeting will be held in Conference Room 1E09 on the first floor of the building.

Items on the agenda include reports on the financial status of the petroleum storage tank trust fund and third-party claims against the fund, and consideration of requests for reimbursements for cleanup operations involving petroleum product releases at Arkadelphia, Benton, Blytheville, Boles, Crossett, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Heber Springs, Jessieville, Jonesboro, Malvern, Morrilton, Mountain Home, Sheridan, and Van Buren.

The committee advises and assists the ADEQ and the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission concerning administration of the state regulated storage tank program.

Another cell phone scam warning

Cellular phone users across Arkansas – in fact, across the nation – have been targeted in the past few weeks by con artists who send text messages in efforts to steal personal financial information.

These unwanted text messages purport to be from legitimate businesses. They attempt to entice consumers into providing their private financial information by claiming the consumer has won a retail-store gift card or by saying a bank’s security department needs account information. Consumers are asked to follow an Internet link or to call a phone number, at which point they may be prompted to provide credit-card, debit-card or Social Security numbers.

Because of the pervasiveness of this scam, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today issued this Consumer Alert to urge Arkansans not to respond to these text messages.

“Consumers should never provide financial information to someone who sends a text message from an unfamiliar number as a means to ask for it,” McDaniel said. “Those who seek that information in unsolicited text messages or emails will likely use it for criminal purposes. Just like ‘phishing’ emails, the best thing for consumers to do when they receive these text messages is to delete them immediately.”

Many consumers are very familiar with “phishing” by email, the practice that con artists use to solicit personal information by posing as banks, credit card companies or even government agencies. These types of phishing schemes have moved to SMS, or text messaging, in a practice the federal government has referred to as “smishing.”

Con artists obtain phone numbers from cell-phone number databases that can be purchased online. Most typically target prefixes specific to mobile phones. One way to reduce unwanted text messages is to register on the federal Do Not Call list, at

McDaniel recommended that consumers do the following if they fall prey to a “smishing” scheme:
  • Do not respond. Remember that no legitimate company will ever send an unsolicited text or email asking for personal information.
  • Contact the business or financial institution directly, using the consumer service number on an account statement or on the business’ website, with any questions or concerns.
  • Contact the cell-phone service provider to find out if there are ways to reduce text spam. Some providers can block all text messages that originate from the Internet. Texts sent via the Internet are more likely than phone-to-phone texts to be scams.
More information about scam e-mail and text messages, as well as other consumer issues, is available at, the website of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. Also, consumers may contact the Division at (800) 482-8982 or (501) 682-2341.

State cracking down on cyber crimes

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced a Sebastian County man pleaded guilty to child pornography charges related to his arrest last year by agents from the Attorney General’s Office.

Manuel Garza-Juarez, 44, of Barling was sentenced to 75 years in prison after pleading eight counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony. Sebastian County Judge Stephen Tabor handed down the sentence during a hearing today in Sebastian County Circuit Court.

“This man was a danger to our State’s most vulnerable citizens,” McDaniel said. “He victimized and exploited children. I appreciate the efforts of Cyber Crimes Unit investigators who pursued this defendant and worked to make sure he can never commit such heinous acts again.”

Garza-Juarez, aka Manuel Jesus Suarez, was the first suspect arrested by the Attorney General’s new Cyber Crimes Unit, which began operations last spring. He is the second suspect to plead guilty to Internet crimes against children. In February, a Waldron man was sentenced to 80 years in prison after pleading guilty to similar charges.

Agents with the Cyber Crimes Unit began investigating Garza-Juarez last May after agents suspected that child pornography was being possessed at his residence, 906 P St., in Barling. Garza-Juarez was arrested last July on child pornography charges and was also detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. Garza-Juarez had previously been deported from the United States because of previous felony convictions of murder, attempted murder and armed robbery in Illinois in 1989.

Agents seized four desktop computers and several compact discs from Garza-Juarez’s residence. Those items were analyzed at the Cyber Crimes Unit Forensic Lab in Little Rock and found to contain images depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.

As a result of his conviction, Garza-Juarez will be required to register as a sex offender. He has been in custody since his arrest and will be transferred to the Arkansas Department of Correction.

Following the investigation, the Attorney General’s Office provided the case file to Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Shue, who pursued the conviction.

“I am very appreciative of the work done by Mr. Shue’s office and by the agencies that assisted us in the investigation,” McDaniel said. “We are glad in our office to be a resource that supplements the already-exemplary work of our law enforcement agencies and prosecutors throughout the State.”

April in Arkansas' Timberlands

Ecore de Fabre: An American Colonial & Early North America Event is April 7-8 in Bluff City. In 1783, a French trader named Fabre settled on a bluff above the Ouachita River and called the settlement “Ecore Fabre,” which is the present city of Camden. In honor of the French trapping days, White Oak Lake State Park in Bluff City is hosting the third Ecore de Fabre. Meet reenactors demonstrating the presence of the French trappers in this part of Arkansas during the 1780s. Discover history through demonstrations of spinning, weaving, cooking, candle making, rope making, musket shooting, clothing making, river trading, fire starting, tomahawk throwing, and a battle demonstration. For more information visit or call 870-685-2748.
The 21st annual Hogskin Holidays Festival & Cook-Off is April 13-14 in Hampton at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds. This family-oriented event celebrates the legend and heritage of Calhoun County and its people. The festival includes a Pork BBQ cook-off, racing pigs, a children's tractor pull, arts and crafts, a quilt show, a vintage car show, a tractors show, a parade, rodeo, and more. For further information visit or call 870-798-2100.
Video Games Live is April 14 in El Dorado at the Municipal Auditorium. Created by the game industry, this show is performed by the South Arkansas Symphony with choir combined with synchronized lighting, video, live action and audience interactivity. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. For more information check out or call 870-862-0521.
Explore the life and times of the famed, and longest-term president, Franklin D. Roosevelt April 14 via Ed Asner as "FDR" at the Perot Theatre in Texarkana. This new production has sold out in New York and Florida. For more information visit or call 903-792-4492.
Join a park interpreter on a trail hike and learn how surrounding plants can be used for your benefit during Edible Plants of Logoly State Park April 21 in McNeil.  Participants receive handouts and an edible plants book. Admission is $25. For more information visit or call 870-695-3561.
A Harness and Driving Workshop is April 21 at Historic Washington State Park in Washington. The course covers the basics of safe harnessing and driving mule teams. Cost of the course is $50 and registration is required. An Introduction to Forging Workshop is also being held at the park April 21-22. Join the park smiths at the James Black Forge, home of the Bowie knife, for a hands-on class covering the basic operations of blacksmithing. Cost of the course is $50 and materials and tools are supplied.  For more details on either of the two classes, visit or call 870-983-2684.
The 32nd annual Fordyce on the Cotton Belt Festival is April 23-28 in Fordyce at the Courthouse Square. The festival includes entertainment, a parade, model trains, a rodeo, a 5K, a car show, arts and crafts, a quilt show, the Redbug Reunion Rally and more. For more information call 870-352-2055.
The Battle of Jenkins Ferry is April 28 in Sheridan at the Grant County Museum. The day will feature re-enactment activities from this battle fought April 29-30,1864 in the area that is now Grant County. For more details visit or call 870-942-4496.

Lots of April fun in Central Arkansas

One of “Good Morning America’s” legal analysts and substitute anchors, Dan Abrams, appears live on April 5 in Conway. Abrams is also the founder of MEDIAite, a news and opinion web site, and a former general manager of MSNBC and NBC News chief legal correspondent. His career path includes NBC News general assignment correspondent, regular contributor to “NBC Nightly News,” “TODAY,” and “Dateline NBC.” Abrams has reported on all of the highest-profile cases of the past decade. In addition to his television work, Abrams has also had articles published in, among others: the New York Times, American Lawyer, and The Yale Law and Policy Review. He also writes a monthly legal column for Men’s Health. Abrams appears at 7:30 p.m. in Reynolds Performance Hall on the UCA campus. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 general admission and can be ordered online. For more information, phone 501-450-3406.

It’ll be a day full of great bargains on April 7 and Greenbrier holds is Spring Community Yard Sale and Pancake Breakfast. This indoor sale features a pancake breakfast from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. for $5. Hot dogs will be served from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Proceeds from food sales benefit a local charity. It all takes place at the City Event Center, 5 Lois Lane. Admission is free. Phone 501-679-6362 for more details.

Enjoy a beautiful day on the Arkansas River with the Easter on the River lunch cruise, Sunday, April 8. The Arkansas Queen riverboat is setting sail at 1 p.m. The menu includes a garden salad, roasted pork tenderloin, queen’s chicken, scalloped potatoes, Southern-style green beans, corn and dinner rolls. The captain’s dessert, iced tea, water and coffee completes the offering. Other beverages are available for purchase. Boarding begins at 12:30 p.m. with expected return time of 3 p.m. Admission is $32.50 plus tax per adult; one child under 10 eats free with each paying adult; price for ages 3-10 is $18.95 plus tax. More information is available by visiting or by calling 501-372-5777.

The 2012 Romance in the Rock Slam Jam Conference is April 11-15 at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Little Rock. The event brings together authors and readers to promote literacy and empowerment among all people. It unites readers and writers of Black romance for literary activities, workshops, entertainment, and a free book signing for the attendees and open to the public. The keynote speaker is Gwyneth Bolton. Registration is $300 for individuals, $275 for group members. The Doubletree is located at 424 West Markham. Visit or phone 501-563-3274 for more information.

Have a “Ragin’ Cajun” good time during CARTI’s 8th annual bash of the same name, Thursday April 12. The River Market Pavilions are where the New Orleans-style crawfish boil with all the trimmings takes place. All proceeds benefit Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute cancer patients. Tickets are $35. Visit or phone 501-296-3429 for additional information.

Over 90 authors are on the docket for 9th annual Arkansas Literary Festival, April 12-15 in Little Rock. Among those scheduled to appear are Hope Coulter, Jay Russell, Roy Blount Jr., Kevin Brockmeier and Gwyneth Bolton. Activities take place throughout Little Rock and North Little Rock including the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library campus, and venues in the River Markets and Argenta Arts districts. The agenda includes a mix of sessions, panels, special events, performances, workshops, presentations, opportunities to meet the authors, book sales and signings. Most events are free and open to the public. Visit for a complete list of events, authors and entertainers appearing or phone 501-918-3098.

The community of England invites you to its 9th annual Celebration, Saturday, April 14. Downtown’s Foster Park is where there will be a live band, a carnival, food, games and crafts. There will also be merchandise booths, exhibits, zumba dancing, an art show, and tours of the Wagon Yard Museum. In case of rain, festivities will be held April 21. Admission is free. Additional information is available by phoning 501-842-3831.

Join MS of Arkansas on Saturday, April 14 in an effort to raise $85,000 for research and programs into this disease. Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is chronic and often disabling, attacking the central nervous system. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. Meet at the Riverfest Amphitheatre in the River Market. Admission is free. Visit or call 501-663-8104 for more details.

If you love orchids then make sure you have April 14-15 on your calendar as the Arkansas Orchid Society hosts its show and sale. The 2nd Presbyterian Church at I-430 and Cantrell Road is where the activity takes place. You’ll be able to see orchids from all over the world, buy orchid supplies, and view the winners. Judging takes place Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 14th and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the 15th. Admission is free. For more information, visit or call 501-835-7164.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra composer of the year, Michael Tork, is featured in the organizations Masterworks VI Concert: Desert and Sea. Performances are in Robinson Center Music Hall on Saturday, April 14 at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. Special guest is Alexej Gerassimez on the marimba. Selections include Wagner’s "The Flying Dutchman," Torke’s "Concerto for Marimba 'Mojave,'” and "La mer" by Debussy. Ticket prices range from $14 to $52. Visit or phone 501-666-1761 for additional information.

A sure sign of spring is the opening of the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market. During the month of April, the outdoor shopping venue awaits visitors from 7 a.m. to noon. Located across from the Argenta Market in North Little Rock’s historic district, it is also on the River Rail trolley route. An abundance of free parking is available. Check out the latest in locally grown produce and other items at the corner of Main and 6th Street. Visit or phone 501-379-9980 for details.

One of the most enduring musical groups in America, The Oak Ridge Boys, is appearing Monday, April 16, in Conway. A long line of hits, including “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue,” “Dream On,” and “Fancy Free,” will have you singing right along. The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of country hits and a #1 pop smash. They have earned Grammy, Dove, Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards and garnered a host of other industry and fan accolades. Tickets range from $10 to $40 for the 7:30 p.m. concert in Reynolds Performance Hall on the UCA campus. Visit or call 501-450-3406.

The picturesque Lester Flatt Memorial Park is the site of the 12th Annual Jammers Jamming Family Fun Week. Dates are April 16-21. Visitors are encouraged to bring their instruments and join in for old-fashioned bluegrass and gospel jamming sessions. There will be opportunities to meet talented musician and hone your craft. The park, which includes a pretty little lake and a full-service RV campground, plus an area for tents is located off Ark. 107 near Vilonia. Visit or call 501-835-2451 for additional details.

You'll be able to witness the rugged life of early explorers and trappers that lived in frontier Arkansas during the early 1800s at Woolly Hollow State Park. On April 20-22, the Mountain Man Rendezvous will feature re-enactors dress in traditional period attire and camp in authentic lodges and tents. Demonstrations include the crafts, games, and survival skills needed during the era of the fur trappers. Meet at the historic Woolly Cabin. Admission is free. The park is located at 82 Woolly Hollow Road in Greenbrier. Phone 501-679-2098 or email for further details and a program schedule.

Help raise funds to fight heart disease during the Central Arkansas Heartwalk 2012, Saturday, April 21. Everything takes place at the Northshore Riverwalk in North Little Rock. The program begins at 8 a.m., followed by the walk at 9 a.m. More information is available by visiting or by calling 501-379-1180.

The Moscow Festival Ballet presents Romeo and Juliet on Thursday, April 26 in Conway. The dance company was founded under the leadership and vision of legendary principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, Sergei Radchenko. It has completed two European tours and has also performed with great success in Turkey, Greece, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong. Combine William Shakespeare’s classic play, Tchaikovsky’s haunting music and the amazing dancers, and end result is an experience the whole family will enjoy. Tickets range from $10 to $40. The Reynolds Performance Hall on the UCA Campus is where the curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Visit or phone 501-450-3406 for more details.

Catch Your Dreams on Saturday, April 28 at Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park in Scott. Many believe that dreams are messages from the spirit world. Good dreams pass through the dream catcher and bad dreams are caught in the web. Learn about traditions and techniques of American Indian dream catchers in this family oriented workshop. Everyone makes and takes one home. All materials are provided. Advanced reservations are required; admission is $10. Phone the park visitor center at 501-961-9442 to get more information.

Celebrate National Astronomy Day on Saturday, April 28 at Pinnacle Mountain State Park in west Little Rock. Park interpreters and members of the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society lead such activities as solar viewing in the afternoon, special indoor programs, and searching the night skies through telescopes from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. Clouds permitting, the evening's telescopic sights include several planets, the moon and other celestial objects. Contact the park for a detailed program schedule for the family friendly event. Admission is free. Phone 501-868-5806 for more information.

If you’re ages 15 and younger, you’re eligible to come try your luck during the Kids' Fishing Derby April 28 at Woolly Hollow State Park near Greenbrier. Held on Lake Bennett, trophies will be awarded in three age groups for first, second and third places, and overall largest and smallest fish caught. Bring your own bait and tackle, plus a lawn chair and picnic to make a day of it. Parents can assist their children but the kids must do their own fishing. Meet at the swim beach; admission is free. Additional information is available from the park at 501-679-2098.

With apologies to The Beatles, strawberry fields are not forever so you need to make sure you don’t miss Cabot’s 10th Annual Strawberry Festival, April 27 and 28. The Cabot Community Center is where local strawberry growers show off the best of their crop for all to taste and purchase. A carnival is open Thursday and Friday, 6 pm.-9 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Vendor booths are open 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The festival pageant is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. There will be games and entertainment for the whole family. The center is located at 508 N Lincoln in Cabot. Admission is free. Visit or call 501-628-4044 for more information.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pryor: bill empowers small business start-ups to succeed part of Pryor’s six point solution for job creation

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor today applauded passage of legislation to make it easier for small companies to raise money from investors.

Pryor said he often hears from the Arkansas business community that burdensome regulations and access to capital stand in the way between success and failure for a small business. He believes the Jump-starting Our Business Start-ups Act will help provide smaller companies with easier access to capital.  The bill relaxes securities laws relating to capital formation. Specifically, it permits “crowdfunding” or the use of social media to finance new businesses. Companies can issue securities totaling up to $1 million without registering the sale with the SEC. Small companies would also be able to sell up to $50 million in shares as part of a public offering before having to register with the SEC.

“For small business owners, I know one of the biggest obstacles for getting a company off the ground or expanding is access to capital,” Pryor said. “My Six-Point Solution to job creation enhances the government’s capacity to help, and this legislation does the same.  It empowers small business start-ups to succeed even during tough economic times.”

The JOBS Act also includes a measure by Pryor and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) to provide regulatory relief for community banks.  The provision maintains the $10 million asset requirement but increases the shareholder threshold for SEC registration for bank and bank holding companies to 2,000 from the current 500 threshold. While the asset measure has twice been increased, the shareholder gauge has not—prohibiting community banks from expanding in fear of the additional compliance costs.

“Community banks are the backbone of economic growth in many small towns, and we need them to keep growing and lending in their communities,” Pryor said. “Updating these threshold numbers removes a major roadblock to their growth.”
“We certainly appreciate the efforts of Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark) along with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) in leading a bi-partisan effort for the cause of small business and community banks in the passage of HR 3606 in the Senate.  The ability to increase the Securities and Exchange Commission threshold from 500 to 2,000 shareholders before embarking on the very costly burden of registration will assist many of our small business’ and banks’ in acquiring the needed capital to fuel their future growth and development.  This effort was a long overdue to help relieve an outdated regulation,” said Scott Grigsby, Executive Vice President and Regional Manager of Arvest Bank.