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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WRMC named Breast Imaging Center of Excellence

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, White River Medical Center (WRMC) recently announced it has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR). WRMC is one of four facilities in Arkansas with the designation by the ACR. Facilities designated as a Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence have earned accreditation in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, and breast ultrasound (including ultrasound-guided breast biopsy). WRMC became accredited in mammography in 1994, and ACR accredited in stereotactic breast biopsy and breast ultrasound this year. Team members of Radiology went through the ACR review process voluntarily in order to achieve the accreditations, and, ultimately, earn the designation as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. This includes earning individual staff certifications and submitting flawless case studies. Peer-review evaluations conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field determined that WRMC maintains high practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs. “Being a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence gives patients peace of mind in knowing that their care is in the hands of well-qualified, talented staff,” said Judy Hance, director of radiology. “It also shows that our facility is equipped to care for patients by standards set on a national level.” WRMC uses state-of-the-art technology to accurately target suspicious lumps or masses in the breast that could potentially be breast cancer. This technology includes digital mammography, breast ultrasound, breast ultrasound biopsy, and stereotactic breast biopsy. The qualified breast care team consists of board-certified radiologists, mammographers, and sonographers. If diagnosis is confirmed, physicians meet one-on-one with the patient to discuss treatment options. For more complex cases, a team of multi-disciplinary physicians, known as The Tumor Board, uses technology and clinical best practices to determine the best course of treatment for patients. WRMC offers many treatment options for patients, including surgical, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of treatments to provide the best outcome. The American Cancer Society recommends women age 40 and over get a mammogram every year, along with a breast exam by a doctor or nurse. Women under 40 should receive clinical breast exams every three years, and breast self exams are always encouraged. All women, regardless of age, need to let their doctor know about any suspicious lumps or abnormalities. Thanks to a grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Arkansas, WRHS is able to assist women who qualify with getting mammograms at no cost. Call Dana Thomas at (870) 262-1035 for more information. WRMCs radiology department is located inside the Josephine Raye Rogers Center for Women and Imaging. In addition to breast care, WRMC also has imaging services available to diagnose a large array of illnesses or injuries. 

ASU-Newport hits high-enrollment mark

Arkansas State University-Newport (ASUN) recently announced its enrollment of 2,494 students for the fall 2014 semester represents a new high-enrollment mark for the two-year college.  The enrollment tops the previous mark of 2,160 set during the spring 2013 semester, and also tops the fall semester enrollment record of 2,043 set in 2012.   Arkansas State University-Newport is a degree-granting community college with campus locations in Newport, Jonesboro and Marked Tree, Arkansas. According to preliminary data recently released by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, ASU-Newport’s enrollment of 2,494 students represents a 22.3 percent increase over the Fall 2013 semester enrollment of 2,039.  That figure represents the highest percentage increase for any two or four-year institution in the state of Arkansas. “I am extremely pleased with our enrollment numbers and feel they reflect the collaborative effort of our faculty and staff,” said Dr. Sandra Massey, chancellor at ASU-Newport.  “Our concurrent enrollment is up significantly, and we have realized increases in all other categories as well, including online and prison education.” “Anecdotally, we attribute the increases to several factors,” added Massey.  “We have undergone a reorganization of vice chancellors and deans, resulting in better alignment of resources and priorities across our three campuses.  ASUN’s remedial course redesign seems to have helped improve overall retention rates and we have also implemented changes in student requirements such as a mandatory freshman seminar course and new student orientation.  Over the summer, more than 740 students and 500 family members attended new student orientation, and students were informed, advised and enrolled before leaving campus. These and other new initiatives follow researched-based best practices for two-year colleges supported by the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and the American Association of Community Colleges.” Arkansas State University-Newport currently has concurrent enrollment agreements with nine area schools, serving students at Bay, Brookland, Harrisburg, the Northeast Arkansas Career and Technical Center, Newport, McCrory, Trumann, Tuckerman and Riverside High Schools.

Maxfield Park fundraising benefit coming to Simply Southern Playhouse in Batesville

A fundraising benefit concert with all proceeds going toward the building fund for the future Maxfield Park to be built in Batesville’s downtown historic district will be held Friday night, Oct. 10. The concert will be hosted by Simply Southern Playhouse located on the corner of Main and Broad streets in downtown Batesville. The featured entertainers will be Pam Setser and Danny Dozier. The music will range from very old folk music to blues, pop, and ragtime played on instruments including guitar, mountain dulcimer, harmonica, banjo, mandolin, resonator guitar and spoons. Setser, of Mountain View, is well known as a singer and mountain dulcimer player and recently recorded a solo CD featuring one of her original mountain dulcimer songs called “Crooked Ridge.” She performs with The Leatherwoods band and other musical friends. Dozier has played music with Pam since the early 80s and is also a member of The Leatherwoods. He will be playing assorted guitar styles and will add some banjo and mandolin. “I am so glad Simply Southern Playhouse will be hosting this event,” said Dozier in a release promoting the event. “Debbie Cochran contacted me after a story in the Batesville Daily Guard came out earlier this year about the piece of property being deeded to the city by Anne Strahl for the purpose of building a city park to be called ‘Maxfield Park,’ and Debbie said she would like to host a fundraiser for the park.” Dozier is now the coordinator in charge of design and fundraising efforts for this cause. “My wife and I live in our wonderful historic district, and I am a board member of the Main St. Batesville organization,” said Dozier. “I see so much potential in our downtown revitalization movement. I think the building of Maxfield Park downtown will be a huge factor to offer a peaceful, friendly, relaxing place to come and bring your children.” The Maxfield family was one of the earliest downtown merchants to start a business in the 1800s in Batesville. As the family expanded over the years, so did their business downtown and in agriculture. Several of the existing downtown buildings were once occupied by the family, and their businesses consisted of some of the highest quality furniture and hardware that could be found from St. Louis to Memphis. The piece of property where the park will be built is located between Central Avenue and Broad Street and along the banks of Poke Bayou. It will feature a memorial fountain in honor of Meredith and David Strahl with a sculpture by renowned artist John Ellis. Sandstone rocks will be removed from the remains of a Maxfield building that once sold Studebaker wagons, and the rock will be used throughout the park. It will have a children-friendly area and also feature stage suitable for concerts and plays. All proceeds from the October 10 concert will go to a building fund for Maxfield Park that is managed by Main St. Batesville. Price of admission for this special event at Simply Southern Playhouse is $15. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the show will begin at 7 p.m. Seating is limited. g

Main Street Batesville: Searching for a comeback – part two

By Bob Qualls Contributing Writer This is the second of a two-part series on the revitalization progress of downtown Batesville. The full unedited article was originally published on the Talk Business Arkansas website which is located at In an August interview, Bob Carius, chairman of the board of directors for Main Street Batesville, and Joel Williams, executive director the organization, talked about the challenges they face in revitalizing downtown Batesville. Carius said the streetscape is just the first part of the program, which he said would take at least two more years. “It’s an evolutionary process,” Carius said. “The goal is to get people to come downtown. Foot traffic will bring more businesses to the area.” Williams cited an analogy that Carius had used when he was asked which comes first, the chicken or the egg. Carius replied, “The streetscape is the nest. It’s necessary for either the chicken or the egg.” “Ninety-nine percent of the businesses are for it,” said Carius. “And the streetscape survey shows 70 percent of respondents are favorable to it. Many of those who oppose it only want a fast thoroughfare to get to Central Avenue, which crosses Polk Bayou and leads to the west side of Batesville, noted Carius. “They don’t want to stop at every block because they are just passing through.” Williams said one of the challenges is the public’s perception of the progress being made. “The opposition is mainly on two points: back-in parking and those who want no changes at all,” said Williams. “Most are just unfamiliar with it, and what it will look like.” “We understand their concerns, but I believe we are going to make it,” he added. To those who want no changes to Main Street, Carius was to the point. “If we don’t change it, it will die.” Main Street Batesville is working on several fronts. An Economic Restructuring Committee has been formed and is looking for businesses that will “fit” the downtown area. Paperwork is being prepared for Batesville Downtown Foundation, Inc., which will raise funds and prepare grants for the revitalization effort. A farmer’s market has been held monthly this past summer at the Pocket Park on Main Street, and Carius and Williams hope it will be available on more weekends next spring and summer because it is popular with the public. Carius said Main Street Batesville is in “total unity with the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce,” and they are working together well. He also praised the city’s help with the program, from Mayor Elumbaugh and the city council to the city’s engineer, Damon Johnson (who helped lay out the streetscape), and the city’s street and landscaping departments. Carius re-established communications with the city council when he took over as chairman, and has appeared regularly at its meeting. He is an advocate of transparency; the Main Street Batesville board meetings are open to the public. The council gave the group a $10,000 grant to purchase and install solar-powered decorative lanterns on poles downtown. The lanterns are from Old World Lanterns by Benoit, a business located on Main Street. “This is an all-encompassing project,” Carius said of the revitalization effort. “Nineteen groups are represented on the advisory committee. It takes a lot of people to make it work.” Anderson said anyone with questions or com- ments is welcome to contact him at (870) 698-1555 or by e-mail at The MSB website is As a 501-3C nonprofit organization, contributions are tax deductible.

Smith to run for Cave City council seat 

Tammy Grady Smith of Cave City has announced her candidacy for City Council, ward 3, position 2. Smith is a 1979 graduate of Cave City High School and has worked at University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville for 13 years. She is currently in the process of completing an associate of applied science degree in medical office management. Smith and her husband, Jerry, have two children and four grandchildren. She has been a resident of Cave City for 45 years. “I love the small town lifestyle where neighbors stop to chat in the yard and have a genuine concern for each other,” Smith said in a release announcing her candidacy. “Family and community have always been very important to me.” Three years ago, Smith started attending city council meetings and says she has learned so much about what is involved in the day to day operations of city government. “Our town is very fortunate to have community leaders that also appreciate the value of family and doing what is right for the community,” said Smith. “I decided to run for city council because I would like to take an active role in helping our elected city officials move our community forward.” g