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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

First Community Bank presents grant to Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of Independence County is the recipient of a cooperative partnership grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Dallas and its member institution, First Community Bank, according to Dale Cole, chairman and CEO of First Community Bank. “As we are allocating our donations to community projects each year, we look for opportunities to maximize our gift for the recipient,” said Cole. “The grant program through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas provides an excellent source. They took our pledge of $5,000 for Habitat for Humanity and met it with an additional $15,000, bringing the total grant allocation to $20,000. Building houses and maintaining the organization are not without considerable expense. Through this donation, we hope to give Habitat for Humanity a needed boost, enabling families to attain homeownership that is affordable.” Shalyn Carlile, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Independence County says that the timing of the grants couldn’t have been better. “Our local Habitat for Humanity is working toward creating an income stream through internal programs,” said Carlile. “We have recently opened Habitat for Humanity of Independence County Home Store, a resale shop located at 392 Harrison St. in Batesville. As the generous people of our community donate clothing, appliances, furniture, household goods and building supplies, the money made from reselling those items will go directly back into the organization. Thanks to the help from our good friends at First Community Bank and the FHLB of Dallas, we are able to put these funds to good use.” Habitat for Humanity of Independence County Home Store is open each week on Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Herb Lawrence, vice president Government Guaranteed Lending with First Community Bank worked with Carlile to write the grant proposal. “When looking at organizations who could qualify for funds available through the grant process, it’s hard to find one more worthy than Habitat for Humanity,” said Lawrence. “Community volunteers labor alongside families who are willing to work hard for home ownership. This is the kind of thing that brings a community together and makes us stronger and more resilient. Any small part we can play in this process, whether it’s through employee volunteers or working with the FHLB, it’s very rewarding.” Information about Habitat for Humanity of Independence County, Ark. can be found on Facebook, or the organization’s website at For further details, email or call (870) 793-1999.

Outdoor cooking workshop coming to Jacksonport State Park

Jacksonport State Park will host a hands-on outdoor cooking workshop, Saturday, Sept. 20. The menu will include lemon – rosemary – garlic roast chicken, roasted fall vegetables, sweet honey cornbread, and for dessert, a warm, crunchy Cherry Crisp. While waiting for the food to cook, attendees will be instructed in the proper use, care and maintenance of their cast iron cookware. With the proper care, cast iron cookware will last forever. Even if it’s in rusty, awful condition, it can usually be saved from the trash heap with some simple techniques and a little elbow grease. Reservations are required for this workshop and must be made at least two days in advance. Reservations will not be taken after 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18. This workshop is limited to a minimum of six participants and a maximum of 10 participants. The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults and $7 for children accompanied by an adult. For more information, call (870) 523-2143.

Museum to host Home School Day


The Old Independence Regional Museum will host its fall Home School Day on Monday, Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to noon. This fall’s theme will be “Tell Me a Story through Song.” Students will learn about regional folk songs and some songwriters and complete several crafts including making paper roses, creating an “Arkansas Travel Brochure,” and decorating their own bandanas. While discussing songs of the Civil War era, students will have the opportunity to sample chicory and hardtack. The cost for this program is $5 per participant and space is limited to 50. Registrations and payment are due by Sept. 24. Old Independence serves a 12-county area: Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff. Parts of these present-day counties comprised the original Independence County in 1820s Arkansas territory.

Bluegrass band performing in Paragould

The band Nothin’ Fancy will perform a concert of bluegrass music on Monday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. at the Collins Theatre, 120 W. Emerson St., in downtown Paragould.  The concert is part of the Bluegrass Monday concert series presented by KASU 91.9 FM.  KASU will literally “pass the hat” to collect money to pay the group.  The suggested donation is $5 per person. Nothin’ Fancy has been named “Entertaining Group of the Year” by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) six times since 2008 including in 2014.  The group has also been nominated by SPBGMA for “Vocal Group of the Year” awards, and band members have been nominated for individual awards as well. From the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, Nothin’ Fancy was formed in 1994.  This full-time, professional bluegrass band plays over 140 concerts each year, and the group has released eleven CDs.  The band performs bluegrass standards, gospel songs, original melodies and unique bluegrass arrangements of songs from other styles of music.  Group members are heavily influenced by the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene, two groundbreaking bluegrass groups of the past who were from the same geographical region. Lead vocalist and emcee for the group, Mike Andes, has been performing publicly since age 14.  He was raised in a musical family, and he formed his first band, the East Coast Bluegrass Band, in the early 1980s.  Andes, a founding member of Nothin’ Fancy, also plays mandolin for the band.  He has been nominated for Mandolin Player of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Individual Entertainer of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year awards by SPBGMA.  Andes released his first solo CD in 2013. Mitchell Davis is also a founding member of Nothin’ Fancy.  He plays banjo in the band, and he cites Earl Scruggs and Don Reno as influences on his playing.  He has also been nominated by SPBGMA for the Banjo Player of the Year award. Guitarist Jesse Smathers is the newest member of Nothin’ Fancy.  He sings and plays guitar in the band.  He is a third-generation musician from North Carolina, and he began playing guitar at age eleven.  He won the 2009 Virginia Folk Music Association’s guitar championship, and he is a former member of the James King Band. Chris Sexton was a guest fiddle player on Nothin’ Fancy’s second and third CDs, and he officially joined the band in 2000.  In addition to playing bluegrass, Sexton is a classically trained violinist who has performed with numerous symphony orchestras.  He has obtained a master’s degree in violin instruction from Shenandoah University, and he is an adjunct professor at the Woodbridge Campus of Bluegrass Northern Virginia Community College where he teaches violin, viola and cello.  Sexton is an in-demand session musician in the Washington, DC area.  Recordings of his music have been featured on television programs on the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, PBS and the National Geographic Channel.  Sexton has also produced two solo fiddle music CDs. Bassist Tony Shorter is also a founding member of Nothin’ Fancy who still performs with the group.  Shorter did not become a musician until he entered college, but, by his own admission he “spent more time pickin’ than studying.”  At one point in his musical career, Shorter played regularly with five different groups, performing not only bluegrass but also jazz, reggae and rock music.  He eventually committed to his first musical love, bluegrass, and became part of Nothin’ Fancy. In addition to the concert, Terry’s Café, 201 South Pruett Street in Paragould, opens on Bluegrass Monday nights to welcome bluegrass music fans.  The café serves a catfish buffet meal beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the evenings of Bluegrass Monday concerts.  Concessions will also be available at the Collins Theatre. Bluegrass Monday concerts are held on the fourth Monday night of each month.  These concerts are presented with support from Bibb Chiropractic, the Posey Peddler, Holiday Inn Express and Suites of Paragould, the Northeast Arkansas Bluegrass Association and KASU. KASU, 91.9 FM, is the 100,000 watt public broadcasting service of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.  For more information, contact KASU Program Director Marty Scarbrough at or 870-972-2367.  Bluegrass Monday is also on Facebook (search “Bluegrass Monday”).

Mr. Bobby Morrison (right) of Newark correctly guessed the number of marbles in the jar (205) at the Merchants and Planters booth during the Times and Traditions Festival in Newark on Sept. 6. Morrison won $50 from Merchants and Planters Bank. Presenting Mr. Morrison his winnings is Ann Ring from Merchants and Planters Bank in Newark. Photo submitted

UACCB to offer workshop on ‘Preventing Power Struggles’

The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville’s (UACCB) Community Education Department will offer a three hour class on “Preventing Power Struggles” for parents and caregivers who interact with children, ages one and up. Participants will learn the steps to avoiding a power struggle; discover what creates a tug of war; how to escape and heal. The training was written by Dr. Becky Bailey and is part of the Conscious Discipline series. Mindy Shaw will be presenting the information and has been teaching early childhood classes at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville for 18 years. The class will be held Monday, October 20, 9 a.m. to 12p.m. in the UACCB Row Johns Library Building, room 816. The class is free to participants. Due to limited seating, pre-registration is required. To register, email or call (870) 612-2082.