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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Performing Arts
Series concludes with
“Branson on the Road”

        The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville’s (UACCB) Performing Arts Series, presented by First Community Bank, will have its final event for the 2013-2014 season on Thursday night with “Branson on the Road.” The show begins at 7 p.m. in Independence Hall. Tickets are available at UACCB and First Community Bank’s Batesville and Cave City branches.
    Branson On The Road has over 20 years of experience of performing at the top theatres in Branson on the famous 76 Country Music Boulevard (known as “The Strip”), and is the first national touring show named for the famous city. The show features a collection of some of the finest musicians from Branson performing classic country, bluegrass, rockabilly and gospel music.
    For more information about Branson on the Road or the Performing Arts Series, call (870) 612-2040. Tickets are $10 each, and the doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

MaKenna (right) and Bernice (Center), students at Ascent Children’s Health Services, fill D.L. “Doc” Spurlin’s arms with stuffed animals during a recent donation opportunity. Spurlin, Pastoral Care coordinator at White River Medical Center (WRMC), accepted the stuffed animals as well as a check for more than $200 for the hospital’s Teddy Bear Ministry. Through the Teddy Bear Ministry, many children who become patients at WRMC are provided with a stuffed animal to make them more comfortable. Ascent Children’s Health Services conducted a penny fundraiser to make their contribution possible. Photo submitted

Vital Link celebrates National Telecommunicators Week

     Vital Link recently recognized the men and women of the Vital Link Dispatch Services Center during National Telecommunicators Week, April 13 – 19, 2014.
    Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as Public Safety Telecommunicators. It is designated as a time when citizens can thank public safety men and women who respond to emergency calls and dispatch emergency personnel and equipment during times of crisis.
    The Vital Link Dispatch Services Center has a staff of eleven employees, including one supervisor, four full-time employees, and seven part-time employees. In 2013, dispatchers answered approximately 10,000 emergency and non-emergency calls that came into Vital Link’s Dispatch Services Center.
    Dispatchers are one of the initial points of contact with the community during an emergency. The dispatchers’ role is crucial in gathering information, assessing, and deploying appropriate emergency response when time is of the essence. The skills, knowledge, and dedication each dispatcher exhibits while assisting the public deserves recognition not only during this week of celebration, but throughout the year.
       “Dispatchers are the calm voice at the other end of the line connecting the community to life-saving assistance in a time of need,” said Karen Ryan, chief executive office of Vital Link. “They serve a vital role in ensuring the safety of our community.”
    Vital Link is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that has provided ambulance services in north central Arkansas since 1983. Vital Link currently serves Independence, Izard, and Stone Counties. In addition to emergency and medical transportation, Vital Link also offers pre-employment and random employee drug testing, EMS billing services, and emergency vehicle maintenance and repair.
    Vital Link is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, one of only four CAAS accredited services in Arkansas and one of over one hundred and forty accredited ambulance services in the entire country.

Area group seeking funds to turn newly discovered Newport well into fountain

    A well estimated to be over 125 years old has been discovered in downtown Newport, and now an area preservation team is holding a raffle to help beautify the location.
    When the Sterling building, constructed in 1875 on the corner of Front and Hazel Streets, was razed, workers discovered the water well under the concrete foundation.
    The New Vision Newport Historic Preservation Action Team is now working to not only preserve the well, but to present it as a landmark for all residents and tourists to admire, according to a press release submitted to Arkansas Weekly.  The group is hoping to turn the well into a water fountain, and to help fund the project, they are selling raffle tickets for a Remington 870 shotgun and a Ruger 10/22 rifle.
    The plan is to pour a concrete slab 15 feet in diameter around the well, then install a grate over the opening of the well with a centrifugal pump mounted in the center of the grate. The water will drain back into the well so that it is constantly recycling. They would also like to lay stone around the well to match the existing wall around the lot.
    “We think this is a project worth completing and will complement downtown Newport nicely,” said Josh Brandt from Merchants & Planters Bank and a member of the Action Team.
    Tickets for the raffle are $5 or 5 for $20. The drawing will be held Tuesday, May 6th.  For more information, Brandt can be contacted at (870) 217-1340.

Maggie Williams, vice president of the United Way Board of Directors, poses with Renee Long of Merchants & Planters Bank, after she presents her with the “Award of Excellence” for her volunteer work with ChildCare Aware of America, an organization that works to enhance the quality and availability of child care. Photo submitted

Hopkins announces run for Jackson County Circuit Clerk

        ‘Put experience to work’ is an appropriate slogan for her campaign for Jackson County Circuit Clerk, according to Dana Hopkins of Newport, who recently announced her candidacy for the position in a press release submitted to Arkansas Weekly.
    Hopkins has worked in the Circuit Clerk’s office for seven years, serving as Chief Deputy Clerk the last four. Prior to joining the staff, she was employed 11 years by Miller-Newell Abstract Company and worked numerous hours weekly in the Clerk’s office researching landowners’ titles. (Miller-Newell later became Jackson County Land Title.)
    “Working with an abstract company helped me get familiar with the Circuit Clerk’s office, and the hands-on experience and knowledge gained since joining the staff should provide an edge in the race for the office,” Hopkins said.
    Hopkins noted that she is scheduled to attend a two-week training seminar in July which involves upgrading statewide software for court reporting. “The upgrade will help bring the Newport office up to par with the rest of the offices in the state,” she said. “I am looking forward to being part of that process.”
    “Dana has been a blessing,” according to Vera Brann, who is serving as interim Circuit Clerk. “Her knowledge, dedication and hard work has made a transitional period much easier.”
    Hopkins, who is a member of the Arkansas Federation of Democratic Women, will be challenging two opponents in the May 20 Democratic Preferential Primary. Early voting begins May 5.
    Hopkins, a lifelong resident of Jackson County, has been married 32 years to husband James Hopkins, who retired from the U.S. Postal Service (Newport) in January. She has one stepson, Jason Froman of McCrory, two sons, Aaron (Lesley) of Newport and Zach (Maddie) of Jonesboro, and one grandson, Miles.

The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors recently had a few busy days. Ambassadors and other local dignitaries were on hand for ribbon cuttings celebrating the groundbreaking of the new Scott Wood Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram location at 1674 Batesville Blvd.; the opening of the new location of Impulse Clothing in downtown Batesville; the new office of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services in the Town Plaza Office Center in Batesville; the one-year celebration of Dynamic Designs; and the expansion of the Paper Chase Bookstore in downtown Batesville. Ambassadors were also participated in a “wire” cutting at the new location of the Entergy of Arkansas service center located on General Drive in Batesville. Photos submitted