Friday, July 22, 2016

Hermitage Adopts Ordinance Dealing With False Alarms

After dealing with the regular monthly business of the city, the Hermitage City Council adopted an ordinance ( #112 ) that sets fees for the City of Hermitage Police Department for emergency responses to recurring false alarms.  This means when alarms of businesses or homes malfunction and the police are called over three times within a year the owner will be levied a fee of $25.00 per false alarm.  Failure to pay will result in a citation being issued.  The ordinance will be posted for public view.  Council members voting for the ordinance were: Tonya Kendrix, Frank Ford and Carol Bell.

In new business the council was told a new aerator is needed for the sewer pond.  Prices are being checked.  The aldermen then voted to transfer $3000.00 from the depreciation fund to assist in payment to ETC Engineers to sign off on sewer corrective actions.

Reports were given for the water department, the sewer department, the fire department and the police department.  It was reported that sewer samples were out of compliance due to too much chlorine.  The council was also informed that the levees of the sewer pond were burned off and duck weed was harvested.  There were no fires calls in June and 11 citations issued by the police.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Latest on Rotary

On July 05, 2015 Rotarian Wayman Mann brought his son Brent Mann to sign for
the club.

On July 20, 2015 Rotarian Robert Milton had Coach Bo Hembree to speak about
the upcoming football season and the progress on the new turf field.

Day Campers Create Slime

The Donald W. Reynolds YMCA Summer Day Camp program is a great place for learning while having fun! Earlier this week, the Day Camp staff assisted the Day Campers in doing a chemical experiment where they formed their own slime.  Pictured you will see the Day Campers showing off their creations.  Sign your child up for fun memories like this one today!

Cities And Counties Told They Must Step Up Or Step Out

During the July 20, 2016 Southeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority Board meeting, the Chairman of the Authority, John Lipton, informed the two cities and two counties that created the authority and which own 25% each of the real property and improvements, that in order to entice private industry to locate in the authority's industrial park, the two cities and two counties must step up to the plate with money.  A good deal of the meeting consisted of discussion about what it takes to recruit jobs to south Arkansas and the entire state.  Mr. Lipton and others on the board repeated several times that the way industrial development operates these days, local communities in some way must come up with substantial dollars to contribute.  Mr. Lipton stated that the local communities must "give till it hurts."  To date, Warren, Monticello and Drew and Bradley Counties have paid out several hundred thousand dollars to help develop the intermodal park and the authority continues to carry accounts receivable charged to the four local governments.  As of the July, 20th financial statement, the amounts owed are as follows:
Drew County-$114,874.35
Bradley county-$184,770.99

The intermodal board voted to pay $150,000.00 on the outstanding loan to Commerical Bank.  The amount owed after the payment is $359,147.19.  Information on the remaining expenses for construction work on the site were unavailable.

Other business dealt with during the meeting included the financial report presented by Bob Milton and a very brief update on construction work by Garver Engineers.

Board members were informed by the director of the MEDC that the Monticello Economic Development Commission is talking with and preparing information for a prospect that may have an interest in locating within the park sometime in the future. The board approved a resolution committing around 70 acres of the intermodal park if needed.   

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Native Americans Visit Y Day Camp Program

The Donald W. Reynolds YMCA Day Camp program recently had some Native Americans to visit! During their visit, they did a presentation with Native American music and dance. The Day Camp children and staff really enjoyed their visit and hope that they can come back again.

Officer Miller Speaks to Y Daycampers

Officer Thomas Miller, of the Warren Police Department, spoke to the Donald W. Reynolds YMCA Day Campers Tuesday Morning.  During his visit, Officer Miller spoke about various topics.  He made the children aware of the importance of only using “911” during emergencies.  Making the right choices and listening to parents and guardians was also on the agenda. Officer Miller explained the importance of seatbelt safety and the laws behind it.  Last but not least, he let the children know that the police are their friends and are here to protect them.  Thank you so much for your visit, Officer Miller.  And thank you for your service to our community. 

Fowler Installed as State GFWCA President

Diane Fowler, a member of GFWC Warren Woman’s Club, was recently installed as president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Arkansas.  Diane will lead the state organization until June of 2018.

A member of the local club since 2006, Diane served as Warren Woman’s Club president from 2010-2012 and 2012-2014.  She was also Arkansas’ representative to the GFWC LEADS program at the International Convention in 2007.

Diane’s great aunt, Mable Fowler Wilson, was a founding member of the GFWC Warren club in 1916 and served as the first president of the local club.

GFWC Warren Woman’s Club will be celebrating their 100th year in September of this year.  Diane is only the 3rd member of Warren Woman’s Club to serve as state president in the organization’s history.  Other local members leading the GFWC of Arkansas were JeNelle Lipton 1996-1998 and Clydine Davis 2006-2008.

Warren Woman’s Club members are proud of Diane’s accomplishments and look forward to her leadership in the new administration of the state organization.

Struggles Continue With Community Action Board

During the July,19th meeting of the Southeast Arkansas Community Action Board, issues brought up by the public continued to be a source of contention.  After conducting the normal monthly business of the Agency, and after sitting through yet another "training session" put on by the state Department of DHS, the floor was opened for public comments.

Earlier in the meeting the board had considered the appointment of three new members, who had been selected by agency procedures to represent the low income citizens Bradley, Chicot and Desha counties.  The selections from Desha and Chicot were approved by secret ballot.  The Bradley County Candidate, also selected by the procedures, was rejected by secret ballot.  Mrs. Angela Meeks was the Bradley County representative rejected.  After the announcement by the Chairman of the secret ballot results, he then called for a public vote to confirm the secret ballot results.  No reason was given for voting twice.  Information on the vote totals was not provided.

When public comments were allowed, a representative of asked if the board had the legal right to reject a potential board member without cause or if cause is not legally required.  He was told very quickly that his time to speak was up.  Other people in the audience asked to speak and some asked questions about procedures of the board and the status of the legality of the board which has been questioned for months.  State officials on hand indicated they believe that all board members are now legal and they will look into the rules and authority of the current board to refuse to seat a person properly selected and eligible.  Issues have been brought to light over the past few months relating to the accuracy of board minutes.  In some cases more than one set of minutes for the same meeting were found.  It has been previously determined that some board members had not been properly selected in the past.

In conducting business, the board approved a decision by the Executive Committee to apply for a grant for Head Start and listened to reports on Head Start and other programs administered by the agency.  Members voted to apply for a nutritional grant and a commodities grant.  The Interim Director briefed the board on several items and told them plans for the regular audit are underway.

By a vote of the board, Mrs. Foster of Ashley County was removed from the board for failure to attend meetings.

New non-credit manufacturing training program

The new certified production technician program at South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado, which begins on Aug. 2, is designed to make students ready for jobs in the local manufacturing sector.

The intensive eight-week course follows guidelines set by the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council and is taught using a hybrid classroom and Internet-based e-learning experience. Students will meet in the classroom from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each Tuesday and Thursday and will have a minimum of nine hours of e-learning each week.

Completion of the course will earn a student a nationally-recognized certified production technician credential. It is the only manufacturing production training program recognized by the American National Standards Institute as meeting the ISO Standard 17024.

Offered through SouthArk’s division of workforce and continuing education, the program does not require credit enrollment at the college.

The curriculum covers safety in the workplace, quality systems and precision measurement, production processes and maintenance awareness (basic electricity, pneumatics, hydraulics, lubrication, bearings and couplings and belt and chain drives).

“Recent high-school graduates, displaced workers and individuals who do not plan to attend college at this time but are seeking a job in the manufacturing industry will benefit from this program,” instructor Donald Lee said. “SouthArk is the only place in the area where you can get this MSSC credential.”

Financial aid may be available for qualifying individuals to cover the $1,125 cost.
For more information, contact Lee at (870) 864-8480.

SouthArk on Tour in Warren

Representatives of South Arkansas Community College will be visiting Warren on July 28, part of the six-city SouthArk on Tour.

Taking place at SouthArk’s Education Center, located in the Brunson Complex at 204 Bragg St., the evening event is intended to reach out to Bradley County residents and discover what their educational needs are, according to marketing coordinator Heath Waldrop.

“We want the people in Bradley County to know that we’re here to provide services to them,” Waldrop said, “whether that be credit or non-credit. We’re expanding our offerings at our Warren location, and would like to get feedback on the kinds of classes that the community wants and needs.”
College spokespeople also will be on hand to provide enrollment and financial aid information and to answer any other questions that visitors might have about SouthArk.

“We’re seeing more and more Bradley County citizens at SouthArk, which is fantastic—but we’d always love to have even more,” Waldrop said. “The feedback that we get from our students from Bradley County is very positive, leading us to believe that SouthArk is a great fit for a lot of students in this area—both traditional and non-traditional. And even if you or someone in your family isn’t in the market for college at the moment, we want to hear from the public just to get a feel for their personal educational experiences and what we could do to meet other needs and interests. A lot of people in Bradley County don’t even realize that we have a brick-and-mortar presence so close to them, and haven’t seen our facilities, so we’d like for them to stop in, too.”

The informal event begins with come-and-go time at 5 p.m. Food and beverages will be provided for those who haven’t had the opportunity to get dinner in the evening. A seated feedback session with college administrators will start at 6 p.m.

For more information contact recruiter Kara Lowery at (870) 875-7237,

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Stop the Hate Unity/Prayer Rally to be Held August 8

A STOP THE HATE UNITY/PRAYER RALLY will be held on August 8, 2016 at 7 pm at the old school campus in Wilmar.  This is a chance for all to come together and take back our community. This is a stand against all acts of violence and HATE.  This is NOT a black lives matter rally, it's for everyone.  Everyone has been affected by violence in some manner.  There will be speakers, a performance, and a candlelight vigil at dusk.  T-shirts are available to order from now until the 25th of July.  The cost of the shirts are $7.  Please contact 870-820-7017 for more information.

Quorum Court Talks Roof Repairs/Overtime Pay

Six of the nine members of the Bradley County Quorum Court meet July 18, 2016 for the July regular Quorum court meeting.  Written reports were submitted by the County Treasurer and the Sheriff and Collector.

Judge Keith Neely reported on minor damage to a down spout on the courthouse building as a result of the severe winds that roared through the community on Thursday evening.  He informed the justices that a low bid of $185,635.01 has been received to level and reseal county road #7.  He went on to tell the court that bids will be let Friday, July 22nd to conduct 5.4 miles of seal work on county roads 19, 225, 147, 220 and 56.  The total amount of work to be completed will depend upon the price bid.

Justices then voted to purchase a new dump truck utilizing a grant in the amount of $29,125.00 and county funds in the amount of $105,504.00.

Judge Neely told the court that he has made an offer to Potlatch to purchase land adjacent to the county park.  He is waiting on a response.

A good amount of time was then spent discussing the need to repair or replace the roof on the building the county has purchased on Cedar Street to house county rescue equipment.  The Judge had some quotes for various options.  Justice Morman asked if there was an emergency to make repairs in order to protect equipment currently in the building.  Chief Deputy Sheriff Hershall Tillman told the JP's he did not believe there was any danger to the equipment at this time.  Members of the court voiced their ideas that it would be better to replace the roof rather than make repairs.  The County Judge is to continue to research the matter and gather additional information and price options.  No action was taken.

Judge Neely then updated the court on new Department of Labor regulations that could affect overtime pay for county employees.  He indicated he remained unsure of all the specifics and that further study is needed.  There was some discussion about adopting a resolution urging the Arkansas Attorney General to file suite to halt the new regulations relating to overtime pay.  Most of the JP's indicated they were not ready to take such actions until they better understood the new requirements.  No action was taken.  

AME Set to Honor Unsung Heroes

The African Methodist Episcopal Church Monticello Warren district is having "An Evening of Elegance Honoring Unsung Heroes" August 13, 2016. It will be at the Star City Civic center in Star City. Dress is semi-formal. Tickets will be available for a $25.00 donation. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Warren School District Hires New Personnel

The Warren School board met for their regular monthly meeting, Monday, July 18 with six of the seven board members present.  They approved the minutes of the June 7 and July 6 meetings.  They received brief reports from each of the school's principals.

Cecilia Whittemore presented a chart of proficiency comparisons of the district test scores to the national test scores in reading, writing, English, Math, and Science.  In nine areas, Warren exceeded the national average.

The superintendent presented a report on the refinancing of district bonds.  He indicated the new interest rate is 1.48% and as a result of the refinancing, the District will save $315,000 in the first year.

The board moved into executive session to discuss personnel matters.  When they returned the approved contracts for the school year for the following:

licensed personnel:

Ellie Johnston - 6th grade literacy
Samantha McAlpin-6th grade literacy
Billy Reed-9th grade English
Michael Milum-head baseball coach, assistant football coach,
     elementary PE instructor, contract will begin 7-18-16
Colonel Curtis Kraft-JROTC contingency to hire until new
     candidate can be placed
Evan Comeau-WHS Algebra II
Ashley Hays-Middle School 7th grade math
George Shelton-interventionist, Middle School PE, 8th period sports

classified personnel:

Kenna Glossup-High School secretary
Magdalena Ramos-Special Ed Parapro at ABC Preschool
Leticia Ramirez-ABC Parapro
Brandi Holley-ES Parapro

Courtney Ferrell-9th Grade English
Megan Taylor - 3rd grade teacher
Emily Groves - Parapro at ABC Preschool Teacher's Assistant
Becky Outlaw - aid at ESNVCS
Jane Helton - adult ed
Kimberly Nix - High School Secretary
Sandra Tolefree - high school kitchen manager
Suzanne Tucker - GED instructor at SEACBEC

voluntary transfer:

Shannon Pope - Middle School math to WHS math

The board renewed the leave incentive plan.  They adopted a resolution to request waivers from the Arkansas State Board of Education for teachers.

They approved a resolution for the annual school election to be held September 20, 2016.  The resolution requests that all voting be conducted as early voting and absentee.

They approved a contract for bread and milk for the coming school year and approved program that will allow free breakfast and lunch for all students for the 2016-17 school year.

After hearing and approving the financial report from Debbie Hargrave, the board was told by Mrs. Hargrave that they should be able transfer around $850,000 into the building fund due to a strong financial balance.

In the superintendent's report, Mr. Acklin told the board that Principal Wever of ESNVCS will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to receive her award for being named Principal of the Year.  He also told them that the soccer field work in progressing and the new concession stand is close to completion.  Work on the building that will be used for JROTC is also progressing.  He has been informed that the turf project on the football field should be completed around August 3.  He told the board that they need to have a special meeting to discuss financial planning for Eastside and Physical Education facilities.  He noted that the district is in the process of taking bids on the old portable buildings.

City Council Condems Property to Clean Up Main Street

The Warren City Council met Monday evening at 5:30 p.m. for their regular monthly meeting.  After approving the minutes of the past meeting and the financial reports, Mayor Bryan Martin asked to move an item that was originally scheduled lower on the agenda to the forefront.  The issue in question was dealing with the burned out building on the corner of Main and Cypress which housed Words on a Shirt when it burned several months ago.  Building official Mike May told the council that a letter was sent to the owner on June 6 asking his intentions and urging that something be done. He informed the council members that the property was sold three days later.  After council members asked several times if the city had to start the whole condemnation process over with the new owner before the city could condemn it, Mayor Martin said that he had spoken with legal counsel and that they were in agreement that it was the seller's responsibility to inform the person to whom he sold it. The council then voted unanimously to condemn the property.  This will give the city some "teeth" in getting  the process of removing the potentially dangerous ruins and the cleanup of the property moving forward.

After the vote, two heads of local banks, John Frazer of Warren Bank and Trust and Freddie Mobley of First State Bank, addressed the council in support of moving forward with the removal of the remains of the burned-out structure.  Mr. Frazer told the council that the two banking institutions had a history with Main Street and that he supported cleaning up Main Street.  Mr. Mobley also spoke to the aldermen and told them about a reaction to the state of the building by returning visitors during the Tomato Festival.  While both men wanted to see the building cleaned up, they also indicated that there were other issues on Main Street.  They encouraged the council to "clean up downtown and get the town presentable" and to "move with haste".  Both men expressed their appreciation to the council for taking action.

The city council approved $29,801 in financial aid to be matched with a Department of Heritage Grant of $59,602 that has been awarded to the Chamber of Commerce.  The funds will be used to renovate and repair the old railroad depot adjacent to the City Park on Cedar Street.  Mayor Martin told the council that another grant was pending that would add $200,000+ to the project if funded.

The council also approved Resolution A601 to authorize the city to apply for a $300,000 grant to construct a pistol and rifle range at the Warren Shooting Complex where they already have a top notch facility for skeet and trap shooting.    The grant will not require a cash match but instead will allow the land's value to be applied to the grant.

The council received administrative and standing committee reports from Department Heads and Chairs of Boards and Commissions.   During the police report, two new police officers were introduced.  During the Fire Committee's report, two new volunteer firemen were approved: Tim Watson and Drake Harton.

The aldermen voted to authorize Mayor Martin to enter an agreement to sell the former Ortho Flex facility (old Jack Winter plant) to YCS, Inc. owned by Josh York, for $150,000.  YCS, Inc. will operate a commercial business in the building.  Prior to the city council meeting, the council's Community and Economic Development Committee had met and discussed the proposal.  The committee recommended the action taken.

In order to improve compensation for employees with over five years tenure with the city, financial bonuses were approved.

The council approved a new litter ordinance which will give the building official power to write citations.

Arrest Report: July 18, 2016

The following were booked through the Warren Police Department and are innocent until proven guilty:

Carlton McKinstry, 173 Bradley Rd. 249, Wilmar, AR., age 37, charged with aggravated assault (7-12-16)

Missing Person Found

The missing person that was reported earlier today has been found safe.

Missing Person: Merisha Mitchell

The Warren Police Department has issued an alert seeking help finding a missing 25-year-old woman, Merisha Mitchell.  She was last seen wearing a green tank top and black tights on July 16 at 10:00 a.m. leaving the area of George Street in Warren, Arkansas.

If you have any information, please contact the Warren Police Department at 870-226-3703.


The missing person that was reported earlier today has been found safe.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sales Tax Holiday is Coming!

State Representative Jeff Wardlaw releases information about the upcoming sales tax holiday.  See details on the political page.

High Winds Hit Area with a Vengence

Awning at high school ripped from its supports
Another storm rolled into the area Thursday, July 14 in the early evening hours bringing with it high, straight-line winds producing a lot of damage to trees and structures.  Warren Street Crews were called out to begin removal of trees and large branches that fell across streets.  They worked through
Fullerton Street had to be block off due to fallen trees amid dangerous power lines.
the night and throughout the day Friday.  As of Friday night, Fullerton Street remained closed.  In addition, much of the area was without power as many of the trees fell across power lines, Entergy and C & L crews have been working round the clock to restore power to all areas.  Cablevision workers also have been working to restore service where lines were downed.  The sanitation, police, and fire departments pitched in to clears debris from the storm.
Storage building destroyed on North Martin Street

Damage was widespread.  At Warren High School, an awning covering a walkway was destroyed along with part of the fence at the football field.  Across the street from Johnson's Hardware, a storage building was destroyed.  In that same area, a larger tree was blown on power lines.  Fullertson Street was totally blocked by a downed tree. A tree on Pine Street at the corner of Pine and Seminary lost two very large branches.
Football field fence was ripped down.  (Construction on the new turf continues in background.)

A storm earlier in the week did similar damage.  A large oak tree behind Jim Wheeler's home on West Cedar Street was totally uprooted.
Girant oak uprooted at Jim Wheeler's home on West Cedar Street in earlier storm this week.

Myrtle Street also had tree damage.

It's New, and its FREE

Thursday, July 14, 2016

WHS Literacy Dept. Releases Supply List

Warren High School's literacy department has released their supply list for 2016-17.  It can be found on the schools page.

Hermitage Elementary School Supply List Released

Hermitage Elementary School has released their 2016-17 school supply list.  It can be located on the schools page.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Robertson's Smokehouse Coming to Warren

Members of the Chamber of Commerce, Warren Bank and Trust, a representative of Arkansas Capitol Corporation and family and friends of the Robertsons joined in the ground-breaking celebration.
Coming to Warren later this year will be a new restaurant called Robertson's Smokehouse.  It will be located on Central Street next door to the Donut Palace and just across the street from Mitchell's Lumber.  The eatery will be owned and operated by Cody and Jana Robertson.  They expressed their excitement to bring this new place to enjoy a meal to Warren and the surrounding area.  Jana is the former Jana May.  She grew up in Warren.

Constructing the new restaurant will be Rabb Construction Company.  Helping with the financing is Arkansas Capitol Corporation.  During comments made during the ground-breaking, Jana May Robertson thanked Warren Bank and Trust Company for advice and assistance provided.

On behalf of the Bradley County Chamber of Commerce, Board Chairman Mike Nichols welcomed the Robertsons to Warren and wished them much success with the new business.

Renea McClendon Named Dean of Students, Executive Director of Residence Life

          MONTICELLO, AR — Renea McClendon has been named dean of students and executive director of residence life at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, according to Jay Hughes, vice chancellor for student affairs.
            McClendon replaces Scott Kuttenkuler, who recently accepted a position as vice president of student affairs at Southeast Arkansas College in Pine Bluff.
            McClendon will serve as the institution’s chief conduct officer and her responsibilities will include oversight of campus judicial procedures, residence life, student programs and activities, intramurals and recreation, and faculty-staff housing. This is McClendon’s third position on UAM’s professional staff. She was previously director of residence life and judicial affairs and most recently served as a financial aid analyst in default management in the Office of Financial Aid.
            “I am pleased to welcome Renea McClendon back to the student affairs staff,” said Hughes. “We are fortunate to have someone with Renea’s background and experience take over this vital position. She will be a tremendous asset to the Office of Student Affairs.”
            A Crossett native, McClendon holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology from UAM and a master’s degree in public administration from UA-Little Rock.
            For more information, contact the Office of Student Affairs at (870) 460-1053.

Hermitage School Board Discusses Charter Application

While conducting routine business during the July 11th monthly school board meeting, the superintendent and the board had a lengthy discussion about the possibility of applying to make the Hermitage School system a Charter School.  As explained by Superintendent Tucker and other school administrators, the benefits would be to provide more opportunities to students of the district.

As the discussion progressed there appeared to be some support for the concept while other members were concerned with how it would be perceived by the patrons of the district.  Dr. Tucker told the board they would decide what type of charter to apply for and that there are groups within and without of state government willing to help.  While no vote was taken, the board agreed to allow the superintendent to begin talking with district staff about the idea.

Reports were given by Dr. Tucker, who stated that the districts finances are in good shape, and by Mistie McGhee, Devin McDiarmid and Kashif Kincaid.  Signature cards were approved for a USDA grant to be used to buy kitchen equipment.

Dr. Tucker informed the board that the state has approved Hermitage for participation in the Community Eligibility  Program which will allow all students in the district to eat breakfast and lunch free.  She also talked about the severe teacher shortage in south Arkansas and the effort by all the schools of the region to secure a waiver that will allow for the hiring of teachers who have yet to receive their license but are working toward completion.

The following contracts for goods and services were approved:
Hiland for milk-sole bidder
Flowers Baking Co.-sole bidder
Farm Bureau-sole bidder for vehicle insurance
Gresham-low bid for propane
HSR was low bid for student accident insurance

Dr. Tucker informed the board that CAPCA terminated their lease of 4 classrooms for the migrant pre-K program.

After returning from executive session, the board voted to take the following actions:
Accepted the resignations of Magdalena Ramos as personal care aide and Carrie Beth Smith as paraprofessional.
Hired Sidney Kidwell for Kindergarten and Caira Willimans for second grade.

Warren Lions Elect New Officers

Outgoing President Brandon Gorman passed the gavel to Clayton Winters, the incoming President for the Lions Club.
The Warren Lions Club meet at Molly's Diner July, 13th and conducted a business session.  The Members elected the following officers for the 2016-2017 year:
Prersident-Clayton Winters
First V.P.-Randy Rauls
Second V.P. -David Mitchell
Sec-Treasurer-Tommy Burrow
Assistant Sec/Trea.-Delbert Zimmerly
Lion Tamer-Joel Tolefree
Tail Twister-Harold Robinson
Bd. two years-Harold Mitchell
Bd. two years-Rev. Gary Harrison
Bd. one year-James Wells
Bd. one year-Gregg Reep

The Club talked about the upcoming year and project plans.

School Board Filings In Bradley County

Tuesday July, 12th was the deadline to file for individuals desiring to run for school board positions in the school elections set for September.  Positions in Hermitage and Warren are scheduled for election in 2016.

In the Warren School District, the position of Zone 7 is due.  The incumbent, Greg Morman filed for reelection.  No one else filed.

In the Hermitage School District, two positions are up in 2016.  One of the At large positions currently held by Mary Hamilton is due.  Mrs. Hamiliton filed for reelection.  She will be unopposed.  Zone #4 currently held by Harold Hampton is also up for election in 2016.  Mr. Hampton did not file nor did anyone else.  This leaves a vacancy on the Hermitage Board which will have to be filled in accordance to law by September.

ACT Work Ready Community Academy – Class 2

The Bradley County ACT Work Ready Community Academy Team has recently returned from their second Academy training in Denver, Colorado. The Bradley County team that attended this training are Donna Lawhon, Director of Bradley County Economic Development Corporation; Angela Scroggins, Hermitage High School Counselor; and Bethany Brukardt, Potlatch Corporation Human Resource Manager. Other members of the Bradley County team that did not travel to Denver are Dr. Tracy Tucker, Hermitage School Superintendent; Jonalyn Reep, Director of SEACBEC; and Kristin Weeks, SEACBEC Adult Ed Instructor. The Bradley County Team is part of the 5-county Workforce Alliance of Southeast Arkansas.

This is the second of four Academy training sessions that is preparing Ashley, Bradley, Drew, Desha, and Lincoln Counties to become certified Work Ready Communities. During the two-day training, the county teams learned their required number of National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRC) that must be earned by each of the three measured groups; emerging (11th & 12th graders), transitioning (unemployed adults), and current (employed adults). The county teams also learned their required number of employer supporters that must be obtained. These goals must be met before the counties can be certified as “Work Ready Communities.”

During the Academy, our teams learned effective ways to reach the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) goals and the employer supporter goals. In Bradley County, Hermitage High School and SEACBEC have programs in place that will require most, if not all, high school students to take the NCRC. The efforts of our schools will ensure that Bradley County will easily meet our NCRC goals in the emerging category. The transitioning category goal may be more difficult to reach. Arkansas Workforce Services and SEACBEC’s Adult Education program have voluntary NCRC training and testing programs for those seeking employment, but at this time the numbers do not reach what we need to obtain our goals. The Bradley County Team needs to work together to encourage unemployed adults to take the NCRC which will show potential employers their skill level and their willingness to increase that skill level. To reach our county goals in the current (employed adults) category, we will need the cooperation of employers. Employers can choose to have current employees take the NCRC to aid companies in identifying employees’ skill levels. Reaching our county’s employer supporter goals requires our County Team to communicate to our existing businesses the benefits of recognizing applicants with the nationally recognized Career Readiness Certificate. Bradley County employers will be asked to sign a card of support that simply states that National Career Readiness Certificates at the bronze, silver, gold, or platinum level will be recognized when presented by an applicant.

Some may ask, “What is a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)?”  The NCRC is a nationally portable, industry-recognized credential that clearly identifies an individual’s WorkKeys® skills in reading for information, applied math and locating information. The test is scored at four levels--the lowest being bronze, then silver, gold, and the top being platinum. ACT has profiled over 20,000 national job types and identified which level is required to successfully perform that type job. A business can also have a certified ACT job profiler profile their specific jobs to determine the required skills level.

To learn more about Work Ready Communities, please visit To get involved in the Bradley County Work Ready Community initiative, contact BCEDC at 870-226-3760 or Bradley County needs your support and participation to accomplish our goals and become a certified “Work Ready Community.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Saline & Ouachita Valley Livestock Association, Big Business

Sitting just west of the Warren city limits on U.S. Highway 278 on a 60 acre tract of land is the sale barn owned by the Saline & Ouachita Valley Livestock Association.  It is open for business every Saturday for buyers and sellers to move cattle and occasionally horses.  On  a given Saturday, 150-200 head or more of cows may be bought and sold.  It is the only auction within a reasonable distance to this part of Arkansas.

The Saline & Ouachita Valley Association began in 1972.  It is a for-profit organization and is governed by a board of directors.  It is currently under the management of Mike Moncrief and Jerry Cruce and operates as Warren Livestock Auction.  The auction is doing a good business and renovations and considerable improvements have been made to the facility including the cafĂ©.

Mike Moncrief sat down with SRC several weeks ago and talked about his passion for the auction and how he ended up coming to Warren to manage the business.  He spoke fondly of his relationship with Odel Wolfe, the longtime manager of the facility, and of his desire to make the auction successful, profitable and family friendly.  Mr. Moncrief is a retired pilot and cattle farmer himself.