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Sunday, April 29, 2012

FEMA Region 6 new leader takes over May 6

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Region 6 Office is preparing for a transition in leadership.
On May 6, current Regional Administrator Tony Russell will become the new Superintendent of FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Russell was appointed as FEMA Region 6 Administrator in December 2009, and has been responsible for the oversight of FEMA operations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. He previously served as the Acting Director of FEMA's Louisiana Recovery Office (LRO) and as a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for FEMA Region 8.
"It is very difficult to leave a job that is so meaningful and rewarding," said Russell. "I am honored to have served with our federal, state, local, tribal, non-governmental and private sector emergency partners and look forward to working with them further, but now, on a national level."
Russell's accomplishments while serving as FEMA Region 6 Administrator include the streamlining and reinvigoration of recovery efforts from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike in Louisiana and Texas.
He also oversaw many federal disaster and emergency declarations for events such as flooding, tornados and severe winter storms in all five of the region's states.
FEMA Region 6 Deputy Administrator Tony Robinson will assume the duties of Acting Regional Administrator upon Russell's departure.

Arkansas Heritage Month

Arkansas’s past is filled with determined individuals. Hard work in pursuit of a dream is a lesson every Arkansan should learn.

This year’s Heritage Month theme, Dreams and Determination: Arkansans at Work, recognizes the achievements of all Arkansans, with a special focus on the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the DAH museum that highlights black achievements, particularly in business, politics and the arts.

The Department of Arkansas Heritage will officially usher in this year’s Heritage Month at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock’s historic Ninth Street district. The collectible 2012 Heritage Month poster will be unveiled and available for free at the event.

“This month, we celebrate the movers and shakers of our state’s past,” said Cathie Matthews, Department of Arkansas Heritage director. “From Dr. G.W. Stanley Ish Sr., a renowned Arkansas physician who was the only African American in his class at Harvard Medical School in 1911, to state Rep. Darrin Williams who was recently elected the first African-American Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives, where we are today is because of the determination of these Arkansans and others like them to see dreams become reality.”

In May, Arkansans can explore and develop a greater appreciation for the state’s heritage by enjoying activities, festivals and events in their communities. Numerous communities have already scheduled local Heritage Month events; to find an event in your area, visit

Every year, the Department of Arkansas Heritage awards grants to help communities and organizations develop meaningful programs. This year, a total of $50,000 has been awarded to these organizations hosting Arkansas Heritage Month projects.

• Arkansas River Valley Arts Center in Russellville (Pope County)
• Benton County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee in Bentonville
• Booneville Historic Preservation Society (Logan County)
• Bradley County Chamber of Commerce in Warren
• Clark County Historical Association in Arkadelphia
• DeltaARTS in West Memphis (Crittenden County)
• Eureka Springs Downtown Network Inc. (Carroll County)
• Faulkner County Museum in Conway
• Friends of KLRE/KUAR in Little Rock (Pulaski County)
• Friends of the Rogers Historical Museum (Benton County)
• Jackson County Historical Society in Newport
• Leslie Arts and Heritage Committee (Searcy County)
• Quapaw Quarter Association in Little Rock (Pulaski County)
• Sacred Heart Catholic School in Morrilton (Conway County)
• Valley View Intermediate School in Jonesboro (Craighead County)
• Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville (Washington County)
• Winslow Museum (Washington County)

The Department of Arkansas Heritage sponsors Arkansas Heritage Month to celebrate the state’s history and culture. For more information, visit or To learn more about the history of African Americans in Arkansas and the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, visit or connect at

The collectible 2012 Heritage Month poster is available for free at or by calling 501-324-9150.
The Department of Arkansas Heritage and its seven agencies seek to recognize the state’s heritage and to enhance Arkansas’s quality of life through the discovery, preservation and presentation of the state’s cultural, natural and historic resources. The agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.

May in Central Arkansas

If you are between the ages of nine and 14 and you love to jump, throw and run, be sure you sign up for the Hershey Track & Field Games in Jacksonville. Participants compete in basic track and field events at Jacksonville High School, 2400 Linda Lane. All those who enter have a chance to receive an all-expense paid trip to Hershey, Penn. take part in the annual North American Final Meet. The competition takes place May 3. Phone 501-982-4171 for more details.

Conway invites you to have a “toadally fantastic weekend” May 4-6 as the 31st Annual Toad Suck Daze rolls around. All the festival favorites are back, such as Stuck on a Truck, arts and crafts, 5K and 10K races, the Toad Market, the Toadal Kids Zone, the Toadal Game Zone, and Mardi Daze parade. Also taking place are performances by the Faulkner Academy of Arts members, Toad Suck car show, the Toad Daze pageant and the kid’s crawl, drag and squirt. New this year is a bicycle safety rodeo and tune-up shop.

Special guest entertainers this year are En Vogue on Friday evening, Indian Rodeo, Drake White, Randy Houser and Jamey Johnson on Saturday, and Jonny Diaz and Todd Agnew on Sunday. Highlight of the event is, as always, the World Famous Championship Toad Races.

All proceeds fund scholarships for Faulkner County students. Downtown Conway is home base for the festival. Admission is free. Visit for a full schedule or phone 501-327-7788 for more information.

It’s that wonderful time of the year again when fresh Arkansas produce is available. The Certified Arkansas Farmers Market opens May 5 for the season. The CAFM, in the heart of historic downtown Argenta, opens at 7 a.m., closing at noon. The market is located on the River Rail Trolley route in downtown North Little Rock at the corner of Main and 6th Street and has an abundance of free parking. Visit or phone 501-379-9980 for information.

A huge array of traditional Jewish dishes awaits those who attend Little Rock’s annual Jewish Food Festival, Sunday, May 6. These include old fashioned corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, kosher hot dogs, cabbage rolls, blintzes, latkes, kugel and other ethnic delicacies. Homemade Jewish treats such as rugelach, honey cakes, challah and mandel bread are featured in the bakery. Visitors can also sample Israeli foods such as kabobs, falafel and salad. In addition to all the good eating, there will be cultural and religious booths showcasing various aspects of Jewish life from Arkansas to ancient Israel. The kids’ area will have plenty of activities, ranging from face painting to an area for jumping. Admission is free and all events are held at the River Market Pavilions. Visit or phone 501-663-3571 for additional information.

If you’re a numismatist, make a note of May 11-13 in Jacksonville. The 41st Annual Razorback Coin Show takes place at the Jacksonville Community Center, located at the intersection of Municipal Drive and West Main. It features dealers from throughout the region who buy and sell gold, silver, U.S. and foreign coins, currency, medals, tokens, jewelry and supplies. Admission is $2. Additional details are available by calling 501-985-1663.

One of the most beautiful areas of the Capital City is highlighted during the 48th Quapaw Quarter Association's Spring Tour of Historic Homes, May 12-13. P. Allen Smith’s original Garden Home, the Charles Thompson-designed Croxson House and the recently rehabilitated Boyle House are some of the featured structures. Several other privately owned homes along Arch and Gaines Streets are also a part of the event. As is traditional, there will be a candlelight tour followed by a dinner and gala at the Spanish Revival YMCA on Saturday. The Sunday afternoon tour is from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Event prices vary from $20 to $150 and can be found on Phone 501-371-0075 for additional information.

“Wicked Divas” will be on stage along with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra May 12-13 at Robinson Center Music Hall in downtown Little Rock. Eden Espinosa and Emily Rozek will be performing popular favorites from “Wicked,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Chicago.” Espinosa is an acclaimed vocalist best known for her portrayal of Elphaba in the Broadway production of “Wicked.” She has also performed the role of the green witch in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Rozek appeared at Glinda in the Los Angeles performances of “Wicked.” The curtain rises at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket prices range from $20-$65; $10 for students. Tickets can be ordered online by visiting Phone 501-666-1761 for more information.

Friday, May 18 brings Argenta's 3rd Friday ArtWalk in downtown North Little Rock. The event is held third Friday of the each month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is along the River Rail trolley route. Over 10 businesses on Main Street from Broadway to 7th Street, then along Maple to 4th Street participate. Art works are found inside and out of the shops and galleries in the Argenta Arts and Entertainment District. Admission is free. Visit for a map and more information or call 501-758-1424.

An abundance of food is available at the 28th Annual International Greek Food Festival, May 18-May 20 in Little Rock. Various culinary traditions include Greek, Armenian, Georgian, Romanian, Russian, Indian, Middle Eastern, English and a dash of American dishes. In addition, music, dance and other cultural traditions are explored as well. A special kid’s area features face painting, a candy walk, a climbing wall, rides and grilled hot dogs. The indoor Old World Market has an ethnic grocery, frozen dinners to go, pastries, Stavriana jewelry, and other items. Guided tours of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church are also scheduled. Everything takes place at the church, located at 1100 Napa Valley Drive in Little Rock. Visit for a complete schedule of activities or phone 501-221-5300.

Get your shopping mojo going because the Antique Alley Arkansas Antique Show features over 40,000 temperature-controlled square-feet of antiques from around the country just waiting for you. Architectural salvage, Depression glass, antique and primitive furniture, estate jewelry, coins, antique silver, shabby chic d├ęcor, and more will be for sale May 19-20. The Conway Expo Center is located at 2505 E. Oak Street. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for ages 12 and younger. Visit or phone 501-230-5728 for more information.

The 35th annual Riverfest will “Let the Good Times Flow!” May 25-27 as Arkansas welcomes the beginning of summer. Activities take place in Riverfront Park and River Market District in Little Rock and the North Shore Riverwalk/Argenta District in North Little Rock. Headliners for 2012 are Joe Walsh, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boyz II Men, Government Mule, Mute Math, Chevelle, Third Eye Blind, Little Big Town, Snoop Dogg, Staind, B.o.B., Neon Trees and Trout Fishing in America.

The Rock-N-Stroll 5K Fun Run & Walk takes place on May 26 on the north side of the Arkansas River. The race covers a flat, fast course through the historic Argenta District. Dress as your favorite rock 'n roll star or cartoon character. Prizes for runners, prizes for the best costumes, and rock 'n roll music at the conclusion of the race. Registration fee includes a 3-day admission pass to Riverfest and a race T-shirt.

Tons of children’s activities, including squirt art on canvas, fanciful face painting, finger casts, a bean bag toss, bubble blowing, chalk it up fun, and hula fun take place in both the KidZone Playtime Promenade and KidZone Craft area located in the Ozark Pavilion. A huge array of food vendors will once again stretch the entire length of Riverfront Park including funnel cakes, cotton candy, corn dogs, turkey legs, burgers, brats, nachos, roasted corn, pies, ice cream, barbecue, pizza, Greek, Phillipine, and the world famous doughnut burger.

New this year is "Ruff on the River,” a pooch parade to be held at 3 p.m. on May 26. Get creative in costuming your dog then head to the River Market District to register and take park in the stroll. Tickets at the gate are $30. A full schedule of events is found on Additional information is available by calling 501-255-3378.

Two holiday events featuring the Riverfest fireworks display take place Sunday, May 27 on the river in downtown North Little Rock. Maddie's Memorial Day Maritime Bash begins at 7 p.m. at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. Sponsored by Arkansas Patriot Guard Riders in cooperation with museum, it includes live music, a picnic, and the viewing of Riverfest fireworks from the deck of the USS Razorback submarine. Dinner includes hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, baked beans, cole slaw, cookies, and a soft drink. There will be a donation bar as well. Admission is $25 and is tax deductible. AIMM is located at 120 Riverfront Park Drive. Visit or phone 501-371-8320 for more information.

The Arkansas Queen Riverboat is hosting a Fireworks Dinner Cruise, also on May 27. The menu features a garden salad, roasted pork tenderloin, queen’s chicken, scalloped potatoes, Southern-style green beans, whole kernel corn, rolls, Captain’s dessert, and beverages. The price is $41.95 per person. Visit or call 501-372-5777 for more details.

Blood drive May 10 in Mena

Blood donors can not only save lives but also support Arkansas Children’s Hospital at the United Bank of Mena drive with Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI).  It will be held from 12:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Thursday, May 10, at 303 Highway 71 North.  Each donor will receive an insulated travel mug, free health screenings and Donor Rewards Points.

However, any donor who wishes to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals -  locally, Arkansas Children’s -  can forgo the insulated travel mug offered in appreciation for giving.  In turn, Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) will make a monetary donation of similar value to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. It’s a chance to ‘doubly give’ to Arkansas children battling critical health conditions – through the life-saving gift of blood and  support  for pediatric medical research, community outreach and treatment initiatives.

“We appreciate each donor for making blood donation a priority,” said John Armitage, M.D., Arkansas Blood Institute president and CEO.  “Each donation, which generally takes no more than an hour, ensures that our family members, friends and neighbors have the life-saving blood they need.”

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. 

Anyone, 16 years or older*, can typically donate blood.  Blood can be given every 56 days. To find out more or make an appointment to donate, call 877-340-8777 or visit  

Bless you Mrs. Donnelly

Dorothy Dorman Donnelly, retired principal of Riverdale High School, died Wednesday at East Jefferson General Hospital. She was 76.

Mrs. Donnelly was born in Birmingham, Ala., and lived in New Orleans for 70 years. She graduated from Holy Name of Jesus, Mercy Academy and Ursuline College, and received a master's degree from the University of New Orleans.

She also was a teacher at Riverdale. The philosophy she tried to pass on to her students, she once said, was "Learning is a beauty, a joy." Mrs. Donnelly retired from the Jefferson Parish public school system in 1986. She was recognized as an outstanding alumna of Ursuline College and was a member of the American Association of University Women. Survivors include a son, Dennis J. Donnelly; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. A Mass will be said Monday at 10 a.m. at Jacob Schoen & Son Funeral Home, 3827 Canal St.Visitation will be today from 7 to 10 p.m. and Monday at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Garden of Memories.

Dorothy Donnelly was the principal of Riverdale High School in Harahan, Louisiana, suburban New Orleans, when I was a student there from 1970 to 1974. She was responsible for the guidance of over 2,000 young women each year. There were 507 girls in my graduating class in 1974. She knew each of our names and a little something about all of us. Every morning she addressed us as young ladies on the intercom system and made clear her expectations. I have thought of her often over the years, mostly with a smile or a laugh. She was much appreciated and will be missed.

Community development meeting Thursday

The Hot Springs Community Development Advisory Committee will meet at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 3 in the City Hall Board Chambers, 133 Convention Boulevard.  Items for discussion include proposed amendments to the program, raising the spending cap, and scheduling of rehabilitation projects.

Mail carriers will collect food for drive May 12

On May 12, local communities across Arkansas and America will be asked to join the U.S. Postal Service and its letter carriers to combat one of this nation’s growing problems — hunger.

About 50 million Americans — including 17 million children — now live in families that lack sufficient food.

The Postal Service, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), Campbell Soup Company, Feeding America and other partner organizations are working together to collect food donations on May 12. It is the nation’s largest single-day food drive in local communities across America — including Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

Now in its 20th year, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive benefits Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

“The Postal Service is pleased to continue supporting the National Association of Letter Carriers as we enter our 20th year together to help Stamp Out Hunger in America,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “I am confident the 2012 campaign will be our best ever because the need continues to grow.”

In 2011, letter carriers collected 70.2 million pounds of food donated by customers on their delivery routes, which marked the eighth consecutive year the total food collection was at least
70 million pounds. Arkansas collected 315,494 pounds of food donated by customers.

This year, Nick Cannon, multi-talented entertainer and member of the Feeding America Entertainment Council, is the national spokesperson for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive for the second consecutive year. The drive particularly hits home for Cannon, who experienced hunger and visited food pantries as a child. Cannon will promote the drive on television and radio, as well as in print and social media to encourage even greater participation and donations.

To participate in the 20th Stamp Out Hunger food drive, residents are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal next to their mailbox prior to the time of regular mail delivery on Saturday, May 12. Letter carriers will collect these food donations as they deliver the mail and take them to their local food bank or pantry.

Post cards and shopping bags promoting the food drive will be delivered by letter carriers to more than 90 million homes across the country as a reminder to participate in the drive.

Other partner organizations supporting the Stamp Out Hunger food drive are the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, Valpak, United Way, AFL-CIO, Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage and AARP.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive began at the local level in the late 1980s and went nationwide in 1992.

For more information about the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, visit or, and follow the drive at

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Lane closed on George Street tomorrow

One lane of George Street in Hot Springs will be closed until 6 p.m. near 117 George Street on Monday April 30 for manhole repair. Signs will be posted and motorists are asked to use caution when traveling in this area.

Senator Pryor this week

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor announced that he will be traveling around the state to discuss military and defense issues, small business, and job creation in the upcoming week. 

On Monday, April 30th at 10 a.m., Pryor will visit the Buddy Smith Home to receive a tour of the 16-bedroom, two-story home that helps house homeless veterans in the Fort Smith community.  The tour will take place at 500 North 9th St. in Fort Smith.

At 11:30 a.m., Pryor will join members of the 188th Fighter Wing to receive a mobilization update brief from the 188th and to discuss efforts to preserve the A-10 mission for Fort Smith. These events will take place in Building 220 at the 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith. To attend, please contact Lieutenant Colonel Keith Moore at 501-658-2745.

At 1:30 p.m., Pryor will travel to Fort Chaffee to receive a briefing highlighting opportunities for growth at Fort Chaffee and how the Chaffee Maneuver 

Jane Parker's tale of successful Heifer fundraiser at Fountain Lake

The Fountain Lake "Stride for the Hide" was quite a Donation EXTRAVAGANZA, as the last two words of "Stide for the Hide" stood for Heifer International Donation Extravagana.  They raised over $5,000. !!!   The funny and fun time was the build up after the walks, with all the elementary (K--4) kids on the parking lot, cheered on by teacher Barbara Niven.  The teachers had each pledged to kiss a pig if the classes had raised X amount.  So the build up began...  Was $1,000 raised?  Yes!  Ms. Casey has to kiss the pig!   YEahh and "Sowie Pig" calls from the high school helpers!!!  And so it went, $1,500?  $2,000; $2,500?; etc.  Finally to $5,000.? Then the Principal kissed the pig!   Lots of cheers and hog calls.   The pig was actually a cut little black pig, even had a very black snout.  
After that the envelope of money was turned over to Andiana Garcia DeVun, who came from headquarters to receive the money for Heifer International.  Adraina is on the America's team, and particularly involved in the South American projects.  She is also the daughter-in-law of Barbara Niven, the gifted and talented coordinator at FLS.  She said the money would be designated for the Seeds of Hope project in Arkansas. Then  I wasprivledged to present a book from Sarah Donaghy to the school library.  Sarah had sent the wonderful book, Beatrice's Goat, which Beatrice had autographed. 
After all the cheering and hog calling one last big deal ws left, which the kids really loved. Elementary Coach Blees had pledged that he'd allow his head to be shaved if over $5,000 was raised...and it was!  So a razor with a 50 ft. extension cord was brought out and his hair was ceremoniosly removed by the elementary principal, MS. Stacy Smith.  It ended up in a mohawk.
It was fun to watch the teachers and kids and the pig. You missed out by not going to cheer the walk-a thon.  I hope to get some photos from some of the teachers.  There should be some in the Village Voice this next week  Kathy White could not come, but sent another reporter. 
Sincere thanks to Dave Nottrott and Paul Anderson for setting up the Heifer booth, and manning it early in the day.  Then Carol Gardner took over for several hours and had a great manner with the little kids.  Some of the 4th grade "steering committe" students were quite helpful handing out animal stickers and pins. Sarah Donahy had sent pencils too, so all the little ones got something for walking the quarter mile track, which on that sunny, very windy day, was not easy for them. 
The Cuter Morning Star Heifer fund raiser is a barbeque dinner on May 8th.  Dave Nottrott has tickets ($7.00 each).  All proceeds from that will go to Heifer.  The middle school and high school has been involved in learning about Heifer and have done some artwork that we may be able to use at the Living Gift Market next November. 

May in the Ouachitas

The Prairie Grove Band opens the 11th season of The Frontporch Stage May 5 in Mount Ida. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and enjoy an evening of music. The free concerts take place on the courthouse lawn downtown. The concerts ( bluegrass, gospel and country) start of the first Saturday in May and last through October. For more details visit or call 870-867-2761.

Join a park interpreter for a kayaking adventure on Lake Catherine May 5 during a Kayak Cove Adventure at Lake Catherine State Park in Hot Springs. Another program is slated for May 16. No experience is necessary, but participants should be comfortable around water. The cost of the program is $15 and kayaks, paddles, and life jackets are provided. For more information visit or call 501-844-4176.

Enjoy an overnight kayaking adventure May 5-6 during Kayak Campout at Lake Ouachita State Park in Mountain Pine. If you can't make that trip another one is scheduled for May 19-20 too. The trips includes meals and evening programs and information on the history, geology and wildlife of Lake Ouachita. Bring your own kayak and supplies or rent them from the park. Cost of the trip is $85. A Full Moon Kayak Tour is set for May 26 at the park. Cost is $15. For more information on either programs, visit or call 501-767-9366.

The 7th annual Stueart Pennington Running of the Tubs is May 12 in Hot Springs. The race was created in 2006 as a nod to the city’s fabled thermal waters that have for more than 175 years made the city the spot where “We Bathe The World.” The event takes place on Bathhouse Row and revolves around costumed teams pushing regulation bathtubs full of water and one bather the length of the Row. The rules change every year, especially after the race has started, but fundamental rules apply each year. For more details visit

Lapidary Wonders is May 19 at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro. A lapidarist is someone who cuts and polishes precious and semi-precious stones. Join park interpreters in the Diamond Discovery Center classroom to learn what tools are used to cut, tumble, facet, and polish rocks and minerals in this free program. For more information visit or call 870-285-3113.

The 4th annual Heritage Day is May 25 in Mount Ida at the Heritage House Museum. Volunteers, dressed in period clothing, welcome visitors to a homestead heritage themed day of activities. Enjoy demonstrations on the grounds of timber work, blacksmithing, open fire cooking, muzzleloading, butter churning, making hominy, whittling, quilting, knitting and more. Also view the Exhibit Barn, 1880s Log House, Eleanor Outhouse and Sorghum Cook Shed. For more information visit or call 870-867-4422.

The 23rd annual Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival is May 26 in De Queen. During the event, anglers have the chance to fish on three area lakes: De Queen, Dierks and Gillham. Over $10,000 in cash and prizes will be given away during the tournament which begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. The cost of the tournament is $40. For more information check out or call 870-584-3225.

Cast of Van Dyke's production of Southern Comforts

As of May 10, 2012, this show has been canceled with no explanation.

Southern Comforts is a delightful play by Kathleen Clark. Written about six years ago, it may not be familiar to many audiences. But recently, it has starred Michael Learned, John Boy's TV mom in the Waltons, with Granville VanDusen. Dixie Lee Carter and husband Hal Holbrooke also starred in this production shortly before her untimely death.
This is a play about "love, the second time around". Anthony Nicolosi plays Gus Klingman, who lives alone in his New Jersey home minus a wife who died five years before and Judy Corwin plays Amanda Cross an unlikely partner who just happens be be making a church call for her daughter while visiting her from Tennessee. This widowed "southern lady" and gruff New Jersey "northeaster" stumble through an awkward up and down relationship. The play is a rollercoaster of emotions -- funny, sad, and touching.
The play was discovered by Jerry Van Dyke and his wife while in California. Jerry decided he wanted to produce and direct the show, and got the rights. After casting Judy and Anthony, he decided to bring the show to Hot Springs Village where many couples will be able to relate to this senior courtship. The play will be at Woodlands
Auditorium June 21, 22, 23 and 24, with three evening performances and one matinee on Sunday. Tickets are $15 for open seating and can be purchased at the Woodlands office or either of the two ReMax locations. Call 922-4231 or 984-1432 for more information.

Southern Comforts coming this summer

As of May 10, 2012, this show was canceled with no explanation.

Pryor seeks justice for black farmers, introduces bill to require USDA’s timely response on discrimination complaints

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor  introduced legislation to ensure the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) swiftly responds to civil rights complaints in regard to program delivery and the treatment of its employees.

Pryor said more than a dozen Arkansas farmers who have filed discrimination claims with the USDA are not getting the immediate attention or recourse they deserve.  The agency’s swift action is necessary because farmers often apply for USDA-backed loans or other assistance to avoid bankruptcy.  In past Administrations, the USDA has delayed action on civil rights cases in order to surpass the statute of limitations.

During a Senate Appropriations hearing last month, Pryor expressed concern about the time lapse with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and they are working to address the 16 Arkansas cases in which farmers have been waiting over a year for a response.  In addition, Pryor introduced the Fair Claims Act, which requires the USDA to acknowledge to claimants whether it is considering or rejecting a civil rights claim within 45 days.  Once considering a claim, the USDA would be required to process the complaint within 270 days. The timeline for response on the complaint may be extended if a claimant has pursued the option of Alternative Dispute Resolution with USDA.

“USDA has historically had a terrible track record in handling discrimination claims, and it really should have very little leg room when it comes to current and future cases,” Pryor said.  “My legislation simply sets a mandatory deadline, which provides our farmers with more certainty when problems do arise.”

“I commend Senator Pryor for such an outstanding piece of legislation. This is a true demonstration of commitment for justice, within our justice system. As we all know justice delayed is justice denied,” said Dr. Calvin King, Sr. of the Arkansas Land and Farm Development Company.

Pryor did credit the USDA for improvements in its overall civil rights actions.  Since Secretary Vilsack took office in 2009, the average turn around for a decision on a civil rights complaint has decreased from an average of 2-3 years to 6-8 months.  Civil rights complaints in general have also dropped dramatically.

Beware of mowers in Village

The Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association has begun its annual mowing program, which will continue throughout the summer months.

Please remember to use caution around both the machinery and public works crews. Drivers should be aware and keep a safe distance from the mower if it is moving. When able to do so, the mowers will pull over to allow vehicles to pass safely.

The Street Division of the Department of Public Works is responsible for the program. There are three mowers working during the majority of the mowing season. Because of safety concerns, mowers will concentrate on maintaining approximately 88 miles of major roadways.

For more information, contact the Department of Public Works at 922-5524 or 922-5528.

Spring Arts and Crafts Fair

The Coronado Community Center is hosting a Spring Arts and Crafts Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 5. The event will feature local and area vendors. The Optimist Club is offering lunch for purchase.

For more information, call 922-5050.

Muses event

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jerry Van Dyke and Southern Comforts coming to the Woodlands

As of May 10, 2012 - this show has been canceled with no explanation.

Jerry Van Dyke is bringing Southern Comforts to the Woodlands Auditorium in the Village in June.

The play, Southern Comforts, was produced at Primary Stages in New York City, October 18, 2006, starring Penny Fuller and Larry Keith. It was also presented at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in February, 2006 with husband and wife team, Dixie Lee Carter and Hal Holbrook. Van Dyke's production will feature Village actors Anthony Nicolosi and Judy Corwin.
Southern Comforts takes place in the home of widower, Gus Klingman, when a simple visit made by Amanda Cross for his church turns into an unlikely relationship. The two characters are as different as salt and pepper but the audience quickly realizes that the blend of "seasoning" is exactly what is called for in blending this touching "second-time around" romance.
Jerry and Shirley Van Dyke saw the play in California and felt this would be a perfect play for a retirement community such as Hot Springs Village. Jerry is the director, producer and will introduce the play to Woodlands audiences each performance. The performances are scheduled for June 21, 22, 23 and 24 at the Woodlands.
Anthony Nicolosi and Judy Corwin will perform together in this sweet, charming play about a couple in their 70's who meet and fall in love.
Watch for more information in the coming weeks. Tickets will be $15 for open seating.

Listen for Van Dyke's appearance on Ask Your Neighbor with Tom Nichols on KVRE, 92.9 FM to talk about the show.

Dog tested positive for rabies in Yell County

For the first time in two years, a dog in the state has tested positive for rabies. The dog belonged to a resident of Yell County where it had been living in a pen near the owner’s home. A rabid skunk had gotten into the pen with the dog and subsequently died, presumably after a fight with the dog. The dog started to show symptoms of rabies and was euthanized.
Rabies symptoms in dogs may or may not include the frothing at the mouth commonly associated with the disease. This particular dog was unsteady on its feet, with a dry swollen tongue and an agitated look. There is no test for rabies in dogs other than examination of material taken from the animal’s brain, which means that they must be euthanized first. When animals are outside, even in a pen, they are at risk of exposure to rabies.
According to Susan Weinstein, DVM, state public health veterinarian, the message is that people need to have their dogs and cats vaccinated by a veterinarian. Vaccination is required by state law. It is also important to teach children to stay away from animals in the wild.
“Fences and pens cannot prevent a rabid skunk from coming into contact with family pets. The only sure way to protect your pets and your family is to have your pets vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian,” Weinstein said.
There have been 63 cases of rabies reported this year in the state, a larger number already than last year’s total of 60.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and spinal cord and is a fatal disease. It is most often seen in animals such as skunks, bats and foxes.  Cats, dogs, ferrets and livestock can also develop rabies, especially if they are not vaccinated. The rabies virus lives in the saliva (spit) and nervous tissues of infected animals and is spread when they bite or scratch. The virus also may be spread if saliva from an infected animal touches broken skin, open wounds or the lining of the mouth, eyes or nose. Dogs, cats and other domesticated animals like horses and cattle can be infected through bites or scratches from rabid skunks. Vaccination of pets helps create a barrier between rabies in skunks and people.

The first sign of rabies in an animal is usually a change in behavior. Rabid animals may attack people or other animals for no reason, or they may lose their fear of people and seem
unnaturally friendly. Staggering, convulsions, choking, frothing at the mouth and paralysis are often present. Skunks may be seen out in daylight, which is an unusual behavior for them, or they may get into a dog pen or under a house.  Many animals have a marked change in voice pitch, such as a muted or off-key tone. An animal usually dies within one week of demonstrating signs of rabies. Not all rabid animals act in these ways, however, so you should avoid all wild animals—especially skunks, bats and stray cats and dogs.

If you think you have become exposed to an animal with rabies, wash your wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. Contact your physician and county health unit immediately and report the incident. The animal in question should be captured, if possible, without damaging its head or risking further human exposure.

All dogs and cats in Arkansas are required to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. This not only protects the animal, but also acts as a barrier between the wildlife exposures of rabies and people, as our pets are more likely to be exposed to a rabid skunk directly than we are. Children especially should be reminded not to touch wild animals and to stay away from stray pets. If an apparently healthy domesticated dog or cat bites a person, it must be captured, confined and observed daily for 10 days following the bite. If the animal remains healthy during this period of time, it did not transmit rabies at the time of the bite. The brain tissue of all wild animals must be tested for rabies if human exposure has occurred. 

What can you do to protect yourselves against rabies?

·        Be sure your dogs, cats and ferrets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations
·        Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals
·        Keep family pets indoors at night
·        Bat-proof your home or summer camp in the fall or winter (The majority of human rabies cases are caused by bat bites.)
·        Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if any animal bites them
·        Teach children to avoid wildlife, strays and all other animals they do not know well

Do not let any animal escape that has possibly exposed someone to rabies. Depending
on the species, an animal can be observed or tested for rabies in order to avoid the need for rabies treatment.

Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to your local county health unit.   For more information, visit our website at , or call 1-800-661-2000 or 1-800-462-0599.

Park license plates

Speciality Plate/Placard Preview

The 52 state parks of Arkansas comprise one of the finest systems of parks and museums in the nation. Display your pride in this park system that you own as a citizen of this great state, and help provide college scholarships for the next generation of park professionals, by purchasing a specialty license plate featuring Arkansas State Parks. The new license plate just premiered and is available for Arkansans to purchase at the Office of Motor Vehicles.

According to State Parks Director Greg Butts, “This is the first in what will be a series of specialty license plates depicting settings and experiences that can be enjoyed in Arkansas’s state parks.” He noted that this initial license plate features a twilight outdoor scene by historic Mather Lodge at Petit Jean State Park, the native log and stone lodge built in the 1930s when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed Arkansas’s first state park. Each plate includes the two-letter prefix “PK” that is the designation for a park on a topographical map.

Butts noted that depicting a scene from Arkansas’s first state park and including a CCC-built work seemed the right—the natural—choice for this first Arkansas State Parks license plate. In 1923, the area around Cedar Falls on Petit Jean Mountain was acquired by the state as the first land for state park purposes. However, the actual development of Arkansas's state park system began in 1933 with the Great Depression-era work projects of the CCC, the civilian “Tree Army” of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. CCC camps were established at Arkansas's first six state parks. The CCC/Rustic-style facilities constructed at these parks formed the backbone for all future development within Arkansas’s state park system. Here in Arkansas, as in states across the U.S., the significant public works projects of the CCC endure as a legacy to their craftsmanship and conservation achievements.

Butts emphasized, “Arkansas’s state parks are about making special memories in special places. We hope the new Arkansas State Parks license plate will bring memories made in the state parks back to mind, and encourage you to visit these state natural and historic treasures and make new ones.”

The Arkansas State Parks specialty license plate is available from the Office of Motor Vehicles, Special License Unit, of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (ADF&A). Butts noted that proceeds from the sale of the plates will support scholarships to college students in conservation, recreation, and park management programs. The plates cost $35 each, with $25 going towards the scholarship fund and $10 for administration fees to the ADF&A. Details about the Arkansas State Parks specialty license plate and a listing of the Revenue Special License Offices around Arkansas where the plate can be purchased are featured on the ADF&A website at: Specialty Plates.

Kids fly for a penny

SeaPort Airlines today announced the launch of its Kids Fly for a Penny
offer. These will be available for purchase April 30, 2012 – May 31,
2012 for flights from May 31, 2012 to August 31, 2012 for children 14
and under traveling with an adult on the same itinerary. Kids Fly for a
Penny isn’t the only opportunity to save a little extra cash. The “fair”
weather has inspired a number of recent “fare” sales that can’t be beat.
SeaPort announced its Apple Blossom and Memphis in May fare sales
last week, which will only be available for booking for a short period of
time. The fares are specifically geared towards travelers making their
way to the Washington Apple Blossom Festival and Memphis in May
International Festival.

Don’t forget that Pets Fly Free during National Pet Month in April.
Along with the Pets Fly Free offer, SeaPort simultaneously changed their
pet policy to allow relocating military families to take their pets with
them for free at all times during the year when they show valid
relocation orders. SeaPort is hosting a contest on its social media pages
to celebrate National Pet Month; one winner will receive two (2) round
trip ticket vouchers. To participate, post photos of your cat, dog, fish, or
other pet on an official SeaPort Airlines Twitter, Facebook, or Google
Plus page by April 30, 2012. Rules and restrictions apply for all offers

Offer Rules and Restrictions

Kids Fly for a Penny. Offer applies to children 14 and under. Certain
restrictions apply; offer is based on availability and cannot be combined
with other promotions or vouchers. Reservations must be made over the
phone between April 30th, 2012 and May 31st, 2012 for flights between
May 31st, 2012 and August 31st, 2012. Offer is not retroactive. Limit
one child per paying adult. Child and adult must be on same booking.
Not valid on all routes. Valid SeaPort routes include: Wenatchee
Portland, YakimaPortland, Pendleton—Portland, SalinaKansas
City, Harrison—Kansas City, Harrison—Memphis, Hot Springs—Memphis, Hot Springs—Dallas, El Dorado—Memphis, El Dorado
Dallas, JacksonNashville, and JacksonMemphis.

Apple Blossom Fare Sale. Limited number available. Fares available for
purchase until April 18th, 2012 for flights from April 25th, 2012 to May
7th, 2012. Based on availability. Limited number of fares are available,
so when they’re gone, they’re gone! Offer is valid for specific routes
only, including YakimaWenatchee and PortlandWenatchee. Rules
and restrictions apply. Tickets cannot be changed once purchased.

Memphis in May Fare Sale. Based on availability. Limited number of
fares are available, so when they’re gone, they’re gone! Offer is valid for
specific routes only. Rules and restrictions apply. Tickets cannot be
changed once purchased; tickets must be purchased and utilized during
promotional period listed.

Pets Fly Free. Pet must be traveling with an adult passenger on the same
itinerary. Pet carrier required; pet cannot exceed 40 lbs with carrier, and
must have all current vaccinations and flea treatments. See the SeaPort
Contract of Carriage for more details. Offer not valid on flights to and
from Dallas, TX or Nashville, TN.

About SeaPort Airlines

Portland, Oregon-based SeaPort Airlines, Inc. operates daily scheduled
flights in Arkansas, Kansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, Oregon,
Washington, and Alaska. Reservations can be made by calling 888-573
2767, at, or through all major GDS systems.
Follow SeaPort on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and via
their blog, the SeaPort RePort. SeaPort Airlines prides itself on its
outstanding air service. Customers can expect to encounter a unique and
personalized travel experience from the moment they arrive for check-in
at the terminal until they reach their destination.

New natural area protects rare species

by Zoie Clift, travel writer

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Natural areas can be found across Arkansas and they protect the diverse ecosystems that are found in the state. The Longview Saline Natural Area in Ashley County is a new addition to the lineup.

The area borders a stretch of the Saline River that harbors endangered mussels. It also conserves plant communities, including pine flatwoods, that provide habitat for an endangered bird species.

“This particular natural area has several natural communities that are rare in the state,” said Chris Colclasure, Deputy Director of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC), which manages the System of Natural Areas in the state. “And it supports three federally endangered species.”

These include the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, one of the few bird species endemic to the U.S., and two aquatic mussels found within the stretch of the Saline River that borders the natural area, the winged mapleleaf and pink mucket.

A tiny red streak can be found on either side of the head of male red-cockaded woodpeckers, hence its name. A cockade is a ribbon worn on a hat and this red stripe is the ‘cockade’ of the bird. The red stripe may be hidden though and is very difficult to see in the field.

“The area conserves a portion of the lower Saline River and has countless other species and natural community types that are rare in the state,” said Colclasure.

“This natural area also serves as a wonderful example of public and private partners coming together and working for our state’s long term ecological success,” added Karen Smith director of ANHC.

The Saline River flows southeast from Benton before joining the Ouachita River at Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge near the Louisiana border. It is one of the most biodiverse and species-rich river systems in the state. The river is also known for its abundance and diversity of mussels, which have important functions in aquatic environments. They are a link in the food chain and help maintain water quality. Because they are long-lived and sensitive to changes in water quality, they are important indicators of aquatic ecosystem health. The disappearance of mussels from a river often signals that other aquatic species are at risk.

“It’s a very unique area and because the area is rather large with several miles of Saline River frontage it became a targeted area [for protection],” said Joe Fox, a Forestry Director at the Arkansas Field Office of The Nature Conservancy, which was a partner in the project.

As of now, 527 acres of the natural area are open to the public and work is in progress to include an adjoining 1,696 acres to the area. Which equals a large tract of land for the public to explore. It offers outdoor options like hiking and birding. It also hosts access to the Saline River so fishing, kayaking and canoeing are possible. Walk-in hunting will also be allowed. The goal is to have the land transferred in time for an April 30 dedication of the natural area.

Fox also noted a potential to expand the area in the future. “The possibility exists that it could be a few thousand more acres in 2 or 3 more phases,” he said. “If [certain] negotiations are successful the natural area could grow.”

The project has been a cooperative effort between the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC), the Arkansas Field Office of The Nature Conservancy, Molpus Timberlands Management, LLC, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. For more information on The Longview Saline Natural Area and other natural areas across Arkansas, visit For more information on The Nature Conservancy, visit

Delta Bridge Project construction

Construction of Civil War Helena sites Fort Curtis and Freedom Park will continue throughout 2012, thanks to two Walton Family Foundation grants. A $242,000 grant was awarded to complete the construction of Fort Curtis, which will be the largest earthen-walled Civil War fort in the region.  A $385,000 grant was given for the creation of Freedom Park, the first official “Network to Freedom” Underground Railroad Site in Arkansas. Both grants were sought by the Delta Bridge Project in Phillips County, Arkansas.
Fort Curtis and Freedom Park are two of the three new anchor Civil War Helena
sites and the key recommendations of the Phillips County Strategic Community Plan. When
completed, the Civil War Helena initiative is expected to attract more than 60,000 annual
visitors to Phillips County and create at least 44 tourism-related jobs.

Featuring five main exhibits, Freedom Park will interpret and showcase the experiences
of African Americans during the Civil War from fugitive slavery to freedom. Fort Curtis was
instrumental to the Union Army’s seizure of Helena during the Civil War, while also serving
as a site for African American men to receive training for the United States Colored Troops.

Thus, both sites have the potential to support and enhance multiple Civil War development
projects also in the Civil War Helena tourism plan, including: the restoration of Estevan Hall
(a Union hospital during the Civil War), the revival of Battery C, and 25 other Civil War sites
throughout Phillips County. 

Upon the close of both projects, the Delta Cultural Center, an arm of the Arkansas
Department of Heritage, has agreed to take ownership of Fort Curtis and Freedom Park. A
ceremony will be held at noon on Friday, May 11, 2012 to dedicate the opening of Fort
Curtis. The expected completion date for Freedom Park is October 2012.

Those interested in learning more about Civil War Helena are encouraged to visit the Delta
Cultural Center and Helena Museum of Phillips County in downtown Helena. To find out
about the latest Civil War Helena developments, please visit

The Delta Bridge Project is a community-led effort that unifies citizens to spur
development in the Delta region. It has helped leverage over $99 million in new
investments for Phillips County, Arkansas.

A little time left to be a force of nature

Severe weather can strike anywhere at any time; that's why it's so important to get ready now. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are teaming up to get the word out about preparedness during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which runs from April 22 to April 28.
National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a nationwide effort designed to increase awareness of the severe weather that affects everyone as well as encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to know their risk, take action and be an example.
 "With the tornadoes that struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area earlier this month, and the deadly twisters that spanned the Midwest just days ago, we know the very real risk of severe weather," said FEMA Region 6 Deputy Administrator Tony Robinson. "Because severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every individual, we're calling on people to 'be a force of nature' in their communities to prepare for severe weather."
Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work and how the weather could impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take Action:  "Be a Force of Nature" by taking the pledge to prepare at  When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather.  This includes developing a family communication plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place and getting involved
Be an Example: Share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook, comment on a blog or send a tweet.
More ideas on how you can "Be a Force of Nature" - plus information on the different types of severe weather - can be found online at ,  or the Spanish-language web site