Area residents resolve to increase family time, better communities, more

Linda Hicks/Contributing Writer Published January 2, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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Goals or resolutions — many in the River Valley & Ozark Edition coverage area are working on them for 2014. Enhancing self-development, furthering projects and bettering financial matters seems to be at the top of most lists, both personally and professionally.

Russellville Mayor Bill Eaton said he doesn’t generally make personal resolutions. However, he said, he and his wife have made a joint resolution to change their place of worship, but not their faith base, in 2014 after attending the same church for 47 years. “Our faith is very important to us and we have been struggling about it.”

As far as the city, Eaton said, there are plans being made to move forward on the building of “one public pleasure and one public safety” facility. In 2013, voters approved the continuation of a one-cent sales tax to be collected for the next seven years, Eaton said. Two of the projects it will fund, he said, will be an aquatic center and a new central fire station.

Marilyn Williamson, founder of the Main Street Mission in Russellville, said personally she resolves to lose weight in 2014 and to “let my light shine brighter.” As far as the mission, the goal is “to get out of debt,” she said. “We resolve to pay off our mortgage, and we owe somewhere around $300,000.” As far as being able to accomplish it in one year, she said, “You never can tell. If it is God’s will, it will happen.”

Williamson and her late husband, Gary, founded the mission about 19 years ago, with the goal of feeding and clothing those in need. They operate solely on donations and with the help of many volunteers, Williamson said, as well as “on what God brings in.” At no charge, they provide breakfast and lunch to those in need five days a week, in addition to clothing, food boxes and some furniture, especially to burn-out victims. To date, they have provided clothing to about 4,000 individuals, furniture to about 275, about 2,300 food boxes that will feed from one to eight people, and served more than 24,000 meals.

Mayor Mike Watson of Maumelle said he doesn’t make resolutions either. However, he has set lofty goals, along with the Maumelle Forward Committee, in developing a 20- to 30-year strategic plan for the city. Completed in October, he said it took about 18 months to gather information and put together the formal plan, which is about 200 pages long. Touching on a few priorities, he said, attracting commercial growth and addressing transportation issues is tops on the list. Also, he said, there are plans for a third-road access to Maumelle.

Morrilton Mayor Stewart Nelson said he is facing 2014 with reservations about his personal and city goals. Personally, he said, he still has to make up his mind whether he will seek re-election. In his 15th year, and at age 70, he said he has some thoughts about retiring but believes he still has work left to do city-wise before turning over the office. Things are going well in the city, he said, and he has been “blessed” to be able to serve that long. He talked briefly about his co-workers, referring to them as his extended family. One of his main concerns for the New Year, he said, is “the wall” of regulations coming down the pike “from every direction” affecting cities. “My question is, how are we going to fund them?”

On the other hand, he said, the city is in “really good shape” budget wise — about $100,000 under what was budgeted. One goal for his city, he said, is ongoing business recruitment that will add some new jobs.

Other plans that have been laid for 2014 include the following.

“I will strive to have better health. On the job front, my focus will be to continue to improve conditions for people with behavioral issues — a job that will not get accomplished in one year.”

Pat Huckeby Brannin, community services coordinator for the division of Behavioral Health Service, Arkansas Department of Human Services in Little Rock

“This year, I will photograph a black bear in Arkansas.”

Eilish Reding Palmer, photographer, Conway

” I’m going to learn to turn off the alarm on my iPod speaker machine. The 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. beeping is driving me crazy. Technology training is my goal for the year.”

Jeanne Harvey, a teacher at Vilonia Primary School

“Going to get a potter’s wheel so my hubby and I can recreate the ghost scene in the movie Ghost.”

Jackie Romine Atkinson, photographer, Conway

“I want to resolve to actually walk in all the 5K runs that I sign up for this year.”

Amanda Enis, sales associate for radio station My Country Y107

“I plan on getting rid of credit card debt.”

Shawntel Brown, director of career services for Goodwill Industries

“I am going to start my days 30 minutes earlier and take time to enjoy silence of my home with coffee and reflection before my four children begin to bless it with chaos and noise.”

Jamie Loynachan, president of PTO, Vilonia Primary School

“[I plan to] bring peace and happiness and salvation to my friends and my family.”

Margaret Little-Dodd, freelance paralegal and owner of Heavenly Designs, Conway

“[I plan to] enjoy my family and get in shape.”

Kelly Scroggins Lawrence, city clerk for Vilonia

“My resolution is to be more dedicated in working out during the upcoming year.”

Tommy Jackson, public information officer at Arkansas Department of Emergency Management

“[I intend to] go to the gym regularly, but I also want to keep a clean car in 2014.”

Megan Knight, marketing manager at Inuvo

“The best gift you can give your family is them knowing you are going to heaven. I will keep working on that.”

Brian K. Rorie, a teacher at Vilonia Middle School

“I’m going to spend more time with my family this year because without family you don’t have anything.”

Sheldon Brock, a bus driver for Mayflower Public Schools

“Drink more water. Eat more fiber and foods that grow on trees and plants. Stop eating cookie dough and cake batter. Eat because I need to, not because I want to. Fry less and bake more. Get in shape. Don’t buy larger clothes. Keep room clean. Organize closets. Focus. Phone home. Play more games. Go to park more. Talk less, listen more. Gripe less, laugh more. Complain less, pray more. Less me. More you. Learn something new. Be productive. Clean out my inbox.”

Deb Kerr Pate, a professor at UCA

“Simply try to do a little better than the day before in all aspects of my life — relationships, health and work.”

Candie Beck of Conway

“Spend more time helping others. Listen more and talk less.”

Chere’ Beavers, Gifted and Talented program director, Vilonia School District

“[I plan to] be more myself than what other people want me to be.”

Jim Allen of Conway, retired school administrator

“Spend time with family, including my four legged members: dogs Coco and Buddy, and horses Rico and Lady Belle.”

Amy Brazil, circuit court judge in Conway, juvenile division

“Personally, I will be finishing up my master’s degree in human resource management. For selfish reasons, I’m training for and wanting to run my first 50K race by the end of 2014. On a deeper note, I want to continually improve my walk with God and be the best husband and father to my family. Job wise, I’m looking forward to taking on more responsibility and increased leadership roles as an officer in the Arkansas Army National Guard.”

Capt. Barry Eason, public affairs officer, Arkansas Army National Guard

“[My plan is] to do more to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Kelly Jackson, marketing consultant, Reliance Healthcare.

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