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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Northeast Regional Fair Queen finalists named

Three regional winners have been named in the Arkansas State Fair Queen competition Wednesday evening in Little Rock. Savannah Sutton, 18, of Ash Flat; Jennifer Ulloa, 21, of Jonesboro; and Raini Stewart, 20, of Batesville were named finalists and will compete for the state title which, at Arkansas Weekly press time, was scheduled to be held on Sat., Oct. 18. Sutton is a senior at Highland High School where she is a member of Student Council, Beta Club and Skills USA. Her hobbies include basketball, softball and tennis, and she participates in mission trips, serving with Dream Catchers and traveling. Sutton also was recognized with the interview award. Ulloa is a senior at Arkansas State University where she is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta international women’s fraternity, the Red Wolves Dancers Spirit Squad and Honors College. Her hobbies include collecting teapots and postcards, dancing, cooking and painting. Other activities she pursues include Hispanic outreach and participating in the Latino Appreciation Organization, Arkansas State University Pre-Law Club and Walcott Baptist Church. Stewart attends the U of A Community College of Batesville. She is a member of Who’s Who Among American College Students, the Independence Junior County Fair board and the Future Farmers of America. Her hobbies include reading, traveling with family and friends, and learning new things. She is a regular blood donor, currently studying to be a nurse and volunteers regularly at a local food and clothing bank, Help and Hope.

Private Option helping Arkansans and hospitals statewide

The Arkansas Private Option uses federal Medicaid dollars to purchase health insurance for families with income less than 138% of the Federal Poverty level ($31,000 for a family of four). These families, approximately 250,000 Arkansans, were previously unable to obtain affordable insurance or qualify for Medicaid and were, in many cases, uninsured. Arkansas was the first state to offer the Private Option and as a result, 194,000 residents now have health insurance. In Independence and surrounding counties, more than 17,000 residents now have health insurance according to statistics released by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. A simple internet search reveals conflicting opinions and articles on the Private Option, Arkansas’s Medicaid Expansion model. Love it or hate it, the fact that it is helping Arkansans all over the state is a truth that cannot be denied. Uninsured residents often don’t have money to pay for a visit to a physician office. Many times residents delay care or seek care in the local hospital emergency room. With health insurance coverage, residents are more likely to establish a relationship with a primary care provider for routine care. “The private option has reduced uncompensated care in hospitals across Arkansas, including White River Medical Center (WRMC), which is important to our sustainability,” said Gary Bebow, CEO of White River Health System. “Even more importantly, earlier intervention is a key to successful treatment of many chronic conditions, and the expansion of coverage through the private option is providing our most vulnerable residents with access to care. That is really a good thing.” With cuts to Medicare reimbursements as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Sequestration, Federal Tax Acts of 2010 and 2012, and costs associated with the regulations of the ACA, hospitals face financial challenges. On a positive note, expansion of Medicaid through the Private Option brings some of those funds back to Arkansas hospitals. “The board of directors, administration, physicians, and employees are focused on providing quality healthcare,” said Bebow. “Payments from the Arkansas Private Option are just one part of a strategy that includes providing quality healthcare, maximizing operational efficiency, managing manpower, and building volume at our facilities to remain a viable, stable healthcare provider and employer for the communities we serve.” If you believe you qualify for private option, enroll online at  or over the phone at Access Arkansas’s Call Center at 1-855-372-1084.

Arts Council hosting Halloween kids workshop

The Batesville Area Arts Council’s Gallery on Main will be hosting a Halloween Workshop for Kids, Saturday, Oct. 25. The gallery is located at 226 E. Main St. in Batesville. Students will be creating Halloween-themed crafts with help from instructor Leia Parks. The cost for the workshop is $10 per student. Children aged 3 and 4 can attend with a parent or guardian from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Kindergarten through second graders can attend from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and third and fourth graders are scheduled for 12:30 to 2 p.m. Pre-registration is required. For more infor- mation, call (870) 793-3382 or visit to register.

Bluegrass Monday to feature Apple, Setser and Rounds plus special guests

The trio Apple, Setser and Rounds along with three special guests will perform a concert on Monday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Collins Theatre, 120 West Emerson St., in downtown Paragould.  The concert is part of the Bluegrass Monday concert series presented by Arkansas State University’s 100,000-watt public broadcasting service, KASU 91.9 FM.  KASU will literally “pass the hat” to collect money to pay the musicians.  The suggested donation is $5 per person. Brad Apple, Pam Setser and Gary Rounds are all Arkansas natives, and they appear together regularly at venues across northern parts of the state.  These three musicians have been performing as a group for over a decade.  They play a mixture of bluegrass, folk, country and acoustic music.  They have recorded one CD together, and each member of the trio also has their own solo projects. Apple is from Independence County and sings and plays mandolin, guitar and bass.  He is a third generation musician, having performed from a young age in his family’s semi-professional bluegrass band.  He has appeared on the worldwide broadcast of the WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour, and he has worked extensively as a recording engineer for other musicians in his own studio and for Raney Recording Studio in Drasco. Setser has been performing since the age of five, beginning alongside her parents in the Simmons Family Band.  She spent three years as the featured lead female singer of “The Country Music Story” stage show in Hot Springs.  Setser also received the second runner-up award in the national finals of the Wrangler Country Showdown talent competition. She is a long-time member of the Leatherwoods, a group that plays folk and traditional music, often performing at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View.  She has appeared on the Louisiana Hayride radio program as well as the television shows You Can Be A Star, Nashville Now, Hee Haw and The Tonight Show. Rounds is a gifted vocalist from Arkansas, and is known for his expressive and smooth singing style.  He is a past performer on the syndicated radio program, At Home In The Country, and has recorded a CD of music ranging from folk songs to bluegrass standards to pop hits. Three acclaimed special guests will also join Apple, Setser and Rounds for their performance in KASU’s Bluegrass Monday concert series. Tim Crouch is a five-time winner of the Arkansas state fiddle championship, and he is a two-time winner of the national fiddle championship.  He has appeared on thousands of recordings for regional musicians and for nationally known superstar performers.  Crouch has recorded or performed with Vince Gill, George Jones, Bill Monroe, Glen Campbell, Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Charlie Daniels, Dierks Bentley and the Oak Ridge Boys. Crouch has also served as the staff fiddle player for the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.  He has performed on numerous television programs including Late Night with David Letterman, Hee Haw, and Austin City Limits. From Memphis, Tommy Burroughs plays mandolin, guitar and fiddle.  He has served as a back-up musician for founding member of the Eagles, Bernie Leadon, as well as for John Prine and Amy LaVere.  He has written songs that have been recorded by county music superstars Restless Heart and Martina McBride.  Burroughs is also a seven-time winner of the Premier String Player award given by the Memphis chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Bassist Irl Hees is a Missouri native.  He is a past member of Rhonda Vincent’s band, The Rage, as well as the Lonesome River Band and Cedar Hill.  He currently performs as part of the bluegrass comedy group The Cleverlys.  He is known for his hard-driving slap bass style of playing, and he has recorded a solo CD. 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. For more information, contact Marty Scarbrough, KASU program director, at or (870) 972-2367.  Bluegrass Monday is also on Facebook.

Ballard seeks assessor’s office in general election

Diann Ballard has announced her intention to seek election for Jackson County Assessor in the Nov. 4 general election. In a press release, Ballard noted she has 16 years of experience working in the assessor’s office, working closely with retiring assessor, Nora Gibson. Ballard is a Level 4 appraiser, after completing all required courses through the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO). A member of the Democratic Women and Democratic Central Committee, Ballard is also a member of both the Arkansas and international chapters of the IAAO. “When the time comes to swear in the new assessor, there will be no time for a learning curve,” said Ballard in the release. “I’m ready to carry on without interruption beginning January 2015.”

Marlin running for Cave City alderman

Nathan Marlin has announced his candidacy for alderman for the City Council of Cave City. Marlin, who is the interim alderman for the council, has worked for the state of Arkansas for over nine years and is currently employed at the Access Arkansas Processing Center. Since 2011, Marlin has been an active member of the Arkansas Army National Guard Bravo Company, and he is a Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador. “I would like the chance to serve Cave City,” said Marlin in a statement announcing his candidacy. “I thoroughly enjoy speaking with our community about city issues that affect them. I intend on working with the council to enhance the quality of life for our citizens – whether that be looking at incentives for new and existing businesses to create new jobs; exploring ways to cut costs in our budget; or researching grant options to improve our streets, parks, pools and other services. “I believe that Cave City has an abundant workforce, and I would love to see new businesses move to our town.”