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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Arkansas Folk Festival coming this weekend to Mountain View

Music and handmade crafts still take center stage during the Arkansas Folk Festival this weekend in Mountain View. An annual celebration of local heritage held since 1963, the festival draws thousands of visitors and residents each third weekend of April. The Ozark Folk Center will once again host the festival’s kick-off music concert. This year, the show will feature the annual Music Roots Concert featuring the Stone County’s youngest performers. Music programs are also scheduled for the outdoor courthouse stage, while impromptu music groups offering a wide variety of music styles will spring up around the downtown area throughout the daytime hours, and play late into the evening. A variety of professional music shows in local theaters will also be open during the festival. A highlight of the festival is the parade on Saturday morning beginning at 10 a.m. Floats sponsored by local organizations and businesses, dignitaries, the school’s marching band, antique cars, horses and many more entries will travel down Mountain View’s Main Street. Other perennial events are the Artisans Market on the Square, to be held in the lot north of the court square east of Mountain View Music; the Merchant Fashion Show on Friday; the Talent Show on Saturday; and a rodeo. The theme for this year is “Stone County Heritage Pride 1873-2015.” Freda and Loy Massey will serve as Grand Marshals. The Ozark Folk Center state park kicks off its season offering free admission to the craft grounds Friday through Sunday, and free shuttle rides will be offered between the park and downtown on Saturday. Visitors may park at the Folk Center and avoid trying to park in limited space in the downtown area. Other activities available in the area include tours of Blanchard Springs Caverns, mountain biking, camping and hiking in the Ozark National Forest, and fishing on White River. The Arkansas Folk Festival is sponsored by the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce. To contact the Chamber of Commerce about the festival or other local events, call (888) 679-2859 or visit For more information about Ozark Folk Center activities, contact the state park at (870) 269-3851 or visit 

Main Street Batesville to throw downtown block party

To celebrate the completion of the first block of the new downtown streetscape, Main Street Batesville will have a day full of activities free to the community. The event will be Saturday, April 25th starting with music and arts and crafts. Street musicians will perform from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. starting at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and continue along Main Street to the Melba Theatre. There will be free horse-drawn carriage rides from the parking lot of T-Shirt Express from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Batesville Area Arts Council will be open along with Elizabeth’s restaurant, BIGS of Batesville sandwich shop, and the new Chill Factory frozen yogurt shop. Antique stores and other merchants will also be open. Batesville Community Theatre will have a booth with activities in the Pocket Park. And artists will have crafts and jewelry for sale.  At 3:15 p.m. there will be a dedication ceremony with a ribbon cutting by the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce held in front of the old Gray’s Hospital across the street from the Episcopal Church. From 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., there will be an open mic stage in the Pocket Park. At 5 p.m., Main Street will be blocked from 3rd Street to 4th Street in preparation for a street dance that will start at 7 p.m. featuring Danny Dozier and the Lockhouse Orchestra. All the events are free and produced with Main Street Batesville in conjunction with the following sponsors: Merchants and Planters Bank, First Community Bank, Signature Baskets, Batesville Printing, T-Shirt Express, White River Furniture, Bryant’s Pharmacy and Health Care Center, and The Earth Station.  This project was a joint effort between Main Street Batesville, the City of Batesville, and The Earth Station, and was funded by an anonymous donor. 

Karaoke benefits to be held for local child

Benefit karaoke nights are being held throughout the Batesville area to help a local child’s fight against a rare and incurable auto immune disease. Caroline Candler, the daughter of Chelsea Savage Vanscoder, suffers from juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), a condition that manifests in children and results in the body’s immune system attacking blood vessels. Resulting symptoms include severe skin rashes, muscle inflammation, muscle weakness, and contractures. To support “Singing for Caroline,” karaoke nights at The Duck Blind in the Ramada Inn on April 15 and 17 and at the Moose Lodge (both in Batesville) on April 18 will be used to raise money for Caroline’s medical expenses as well as awareness for JDM. For more information, contact Debbie at (870) 230-1773 or Trigger at (870) 612-7281. 

Pictured (from left): Joe Shell, Janelle Shell, Mandi Curtwright and Adam Curtwright Photo by Bron Glasgow Photography

Historic Melba theatre to be refurbished, re-opened

A large crowd was on-hand in downtown Batesville Thursday, April 9, to celebrate a ribbon-cutting for the upcoming renovation and eventual reopening of the Melba Theater Janelle and Joe Shell along with friends, Mandi and Adam Curtwright, both of Batesville, are the new owners of the theater. After initial assessments and consultations with engineers and architects, the group plans to refurbish the historic building in three phases. The first phase will mainly be exterior fixes, particularly with the roof and façade, followed by interior restoration, including reupholstered seats, new curtains, and upgrading the sound and projection. The final phase will be the renovation of the theater’s balcony. The sound and projection upgrade is a major aspect of the renovation, noted the new owners. In recent years, Hollywood studios have forced theaters to convert from 35mm film projection to digital sound and projection. Once installed with the new equipment, the Melba Theatre will continue to exhibit “quality second run movies, ‘throwback’ classic shows, holiday specials, faith-based movies, webinars, conferences, concerts…,” and more, according to a press release. The Melba was originally built in 1875 as an opera house. After an art deco conversion in 1940, it eventually became one of Arkansas’ first Cinemascope theaters. Although closed in the early 1990s, the Melba re-opened in 2000 where second run movies were shown until late last year. The Batesville Downtown Foundation is partnering with the Melba Theater to help with fundraising on the project. To learn about tax-deductible gifts to the Melba, visit their website, or the theater’s Facebook page. 

Pictured (from left): Stephanie Welch, RN, 4East clinical nurse manager; Lauren Wegner, RN; Zoraida Medina and Mary-Kate Wilson, Batesville High School Key Club students; and Karla Wilson, RN, nursing director display a basket of Trauma Dolls. The dolls were made by Medina and Wilson, Batesville High School Seniors, during a recent District Key Club Leadership Conference and were donated to pediatric patients at White River Medical Center. Photo submitted

BHS students create dolls for WRMC pediatric patients

The Batesville High School (BHS) Key Club teaches students about leadership, teamwork, and service to the community. BHS Senior Key Club members, Mary-Kate Wilson and Zoraida Medina were two of six BHS students who participated in service projects at the Mo-Ark (Missouri-Arkansas) District Key Club Leadership Conference in Springfield, Mo. The girls chose a project that would make a big impact on White River Medical Center’s (WRMC) youngest patients: children. For their project, Wilson and Medina chose to sew “Trauma Dolls” and donate them to the children in the pediatric unit at WRMC. Made out of a plain white fabric, the dolls can be colored on with a marker and sent home with the child as a keepsake. However, the dolls serve an even greater purpose. “This doll is important because it is fun for children, but it can also be used as a means of communication between the clinical team and the child,” said Karla Wilson RN, nursing director at WRMC, and mother of Mary-Kate. “Children experiencing pain can use the doll to communicate the location of their pain, and the clinical team can also use it to explain procedures or medical conditions. They are great comfort tools.” Mary-Kate and Medina say they are happy that the project was made available to them, and that it has been very rewarding. “I’m very proud of these girls for the compassion they have shown to our pediatric patients.”