updated: 06/14/2013 4:18 p.m.
Residents of the Benton area will soon have a place to chill out this summer.
The Splashpad, a children’s play area with water spraying throughout the site, is set to open in the next couple of weeks, said John Eckart, Parks and Recreation director for the city of Benton.
updated: 06/14/2013 4:19 p.m.
The furry citizens of Conway might soon have a place to run around and meet new friends.
Conway is a finalist in the PetSafe Bark for Your Park contest, where the city can win $100,000 to go toward building a dog park in the city.
updated: 06/14/2013 1:50 p.m.
Michael Counts is still looking for his big break as an actor. A former carnival worker, Counts started his teaching career at Lyon College in Batesville 21 years ago.
Before that and after high school, he spent time with a traveling carnival, where he said he caught the showbiz bug.
Counts said he worked in a tent at the carnival where he was in charge of collecting money for a bingo game, and also in various other game tents.
He did carnival work for about three years, then ended up going to acting school to pursue acting as a career, he said.
Counts saw the movie On the Waterfront, released in 1954. The film featured Marlon Brando, who became a big influence on Counts’ acting career, he said.
updated: 06/12/2013 10:36 a.m.
Before the interstate system, two-lane highways served as the major routes connecting the nation. Those pre-interstate years are often romanticized through word and song, like the tribute to Route 66.
Closer to home, Arkansas 161 funneled Three Rivers Edition coverage area residents to central Arkansas before U.S. 67/167 was completed. Along that route sat the Roundtop Filling Station. For some, the structure is now an abandoned gas station that attracts vandalism, but for others, the site represents a deep history of which the city of Sherwood is proud.
updated: 06/07/2013 9:44 a.m.
Dana Walker of Pangburn has been a nurse for 30 years, but he’s been enamored with the outdoors even longer.
“I’ve hunted all my life, and I’ve always spent time hunting and fishing,” Walker said.
To become a nurse, Walker spent years studying subjects like human anatomy and physiology. For one of his many hobbies, however, he studied animals like white-tailed deer.
His hobby enables him to give back to the community, too.
Walker uses antler and moose sheds, which he finds or buys, primarily to make lamps and sconces, as well as tables.
updated: 06/07/2013 11:59 a.m.
Trinina Pouncy, 32, said she was not the most ideal student in high school.
Now that she has shifted to a different role in the classroom, much has changed. Pouncy was named in May as Conway School District Teacher of the Year.
updated: 06/07/2013 2:15 p.m.
Rhonda Sanders of Bryant has a passion for feeding the hungry, and she will be able to do that in her new position as CEO of the Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock.
updated: 06/05/2013 11:26 a.m.
The ACE program that Sarah Robbins helped establish to assist high school students is addressing problems that are much larger than she had ever realized.
She and two other women involved with Lakeside High School in Hot Springs started ACE, All Created Equal, in 2009. Robbins was the president of the Parent Teacher Organization when the program started.
updated: 06/05/2013 1:28 p.m.
Sarah Keating discovered Lake Dardanelle State Park in Russellville when she was attending college in Kansas, and she never forgot it.
updated: 06/05/2013 10:54 a.m.
For some coaches, work comes to a close immediately after school is out for the summer, but others have one more game to help high school students shine on the field.
The Arkansas Activities Association announced the head coaches and coaching staffs for its 2013 Arkansas Army National Guard/Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star baseball, softball and soccer games on May 21.
updated: 05/31/2013 11:21 a.m.
Jimmy Carpenter’s construction students at Cabot are working to become some of his namesakes as they finish up their year-long construction project.
About 45 juniors and seniors in his
construction class worked on a four-bedroom home in Cabot, the biggest house on which the class has worked. The houses the students build normally have three bedrooms and about 100 square feet smaller.
updated: 05/31/2013 10:43 a.m.
Gene Sparling of Hot Springs has worked with wood all of his life. Sparling grew up in Springfield, Mo., and used to hike his farm in Hot Springs with his grandfather, who previously owned the farm. Sparling had experience building things that he wanted or needed, he said.
updated: 05/31/2013 11:09 a.m.
Sam Lester is at it again — fishing, that is.
Next weekend, which is the Free Fishing Weekend, sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Lester will host his 25th fishing derby.
updated: 05/31/2013 11:27 a.m.
Sam Lester is at it again — fishing, that is.
Next weekend, which is the Free Fishing Weekend, sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Lester will host his 25th fishing derby.
The Sam Lester and Friends Kid Fishing Derby will take place Saturday at the John F. Kennedy Dam Site RV Park in Heber Springs.
The Free Fishing Weekend allows residents and nonresidents to fish without fishing licenses or trout permits, according to the commission.
Before Lester started the fishing derby, he said that while working for the commission, he saw many fishing derbies during the Free Fishing Weekend but realized the Heber Springs area didn’t have a kids fishing derby.
updated: 05/29/2013 1:33 p.m.
He has farmed, fought in World War II, suffered loss and survived the Dust Bowl, to cite just a few of his experiences. At 94, it’s easy to say that Houston Bell has gone through a lot in his life.
He was born in Center Hill and was about a year old when his family left Arkansas to head to New Mexico.
In Clayton, N.M., Bell’s family fell victim to the Dust Bowl, he said. He worked on a ranch in New Mexico when there was work, but then his family made its way back to Arkansas.
updated: 05/29/2013 11:19 a.m.
Peaking in popularity in the 1970s and ’80s, Schoolhouse Rock! sought to teach various lessons to youths gathered around televisions to watch Saturday-morning cartoons.
updated: 05/24/2013 11:55 a.m.
Albert Einstein, one of the more celebrated minds of the 20th century, is quoted to have said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” It is such a belief that provides Rachel Campbell with an outlet of hope for utilizing her passion to help others.
This comes through in her involvement with Kelly’s Second Chance, a Beebe faith-based nonprofit organization that assists people in overcoming addiction.
Campbell, one of the founding members of Kelly’s Second Chance, said the group has been helping others since 2005.
She is the mother of a recovering drug addict, so she has experienced some of the same emotions as other families dealing with a drug-addicted family member.
updated: 05/24/2013 11:14 a.m.
Donny Forehand is no stranger to being in the role of leader. Forehand has been the head honcho at a school for 18 years. However, he only recently became certified as a Master School Principal through the Arkansas Leadership Academy.
Forehand is the principal at Dover Elementary School.
updated: 05/24/2013 12:10 p.m.
Peaking in popularity in the 1970s and ’80s, Schoolhouse Rock! sought to teach various lessons to youths gathered around televisions to watch Saturday-morning cartoons. One episode of this program featured the song “I’m Just a Bill,” a catchy ditty about a Bill lamenting all he had to endure on his journey to Washington, D.C., to become a Law. Well, a trip to the nation’s capital will be an easier task for three students in the Three Rivers Edition coverage area.
On June 15, three high school juniors from Heber Springs and North Pulaski high schools will embark on a journey to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Their participation is sponsored by First Electric Cooperative. The students will be in Washington until June 20.
The three juniors, who will be part of 1,500 students from across the country, will learn about electric cooperatives, tour historic sites and museums, and meet a member of the Arkansas congressional delegation, according to a news release from First Electric Cooperative.
updated: 05/24/2013 12:27 p.m.
A sprained ankle. A flat tire. A scraped knee. A broken chain. For those who hike or bike, such maladies have befallen them if they’ve logged very many hours on the trail. Hikers and bikers who have previously been weary of such trouble on the Hot Springs Creek Greenway Trail have nothing to fear these days, thanks to the Hot Springs Parks and Recreation Department.
updated: 05/22/2013 10:29 a.m.
The most famous of Jim Henson’s Muppets — Kermit the Frog — once lamented in a popular song, “It’s not easy being green.” Don’t tell that to Rebekah Bilderback’s student council members at Greenbrier Junior High School. They are doing big things, in a green way.
updated: 05/22/2013 11:19 a.m.
Bauxite natives from far and near are preparing to rekindle old friendships and make new ones at this year’s Bauxite reunion.
updated: 05/22/2013 10:16 a.m.
As temperatures rise and summer draws near, sports practices head outside, but with those skyrocketing temperatures, the risk of heat-related illnesses increases.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 17 Arkansans died as a result of heat-related illnesses in 2011.
Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke can occur from prolonged exposure to the extreme heat that accompanies an Arkansas summer.
Many sports teams from schools across the Three Rivers Edition coverage area are gearing up for another sweltering summer.
With football season starting right at the end of summer, football teams will be in the midst of preseason preparations. That means weightlifting sessions, 7-on-7 outings and the dreaded two-a-day practices that mark the beginning of August.
updated: 05/17/2013 11:21 a.m.
Male ducks — otherwise known as drakes — have eye-catching plumage in an array of vibrant colors. Apparently, the work of Carrie Drake’s Pre-Advanced Placement art students are just as eye catching. Lately, the students have been making a name for themselves at the state level.
updated: 05/17/2013 11:46 a.m.
Some people have a collection of stamps or coins, but Robert Raines of Hot Springs has a collection that’s a little bit different. Raines has a collection of gangster memorabilia.
Raines is executive director of the Gangster Museum of America in Hot Springs.
He grew up in Little Rock and Pine Bluff, where he worked in advertising and computers.
Raines is an alumnus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where he graduated with a degree in music. He pursued a music career briefly after college, but he came back to Pine Bluff, where he starting working in advertising.
updated: 05/17/2013 12:02 p.m.
Karla Tarkington is the master — master principal, that is. On Monday, Tarkington, principal of Badger Elementary School in Beebe, received the status of Master School Principal from the Arkansas Leadership Academy.
Tarkington was required to complete three years of professional development and a year of performance evaluations to achieve the status.
During the three years of working on the Master Principal Program, a principal’s school has to show an upward trajectory in standardized test scores, Tarkington said.
updated: 05/15/2013 10:30 a.m.
Members of the Batesville community are strapping on their biking shoes to prepare for the 2013 All Rise Century Ride.
Bikers will meet Saturday at the Independence County Department of Human Services office in Batesville.
The ride is an “out-and-back,” so riders may choose any distance of one to 100 miles, the entry form states.
Flatland is limited on the route, but there are no major climbs during the ride. This 100-mile bike ride is designed to increase interest in cycling and raise money for the Independence County DWI Court Program, or ICDC program.
updated: 05/15/2013 10:19 a.m.
Faulkner County residents are seeing spots — in their yards.
The Faulkner County Extension Service is getting an elevated number of calls this spring about lawn-care problems in the area.
updated: 05/15/2013 10:54 a.m.
Residents of Bryant who want home-grown tomatoes and strawberries this summer are in luck.
They can rent a plot at Bishop Park for $25 to plant anything they wish, said Brandon Griffin, recreation superintendent for Bryant Parks and Recreation.
“This is the first year for a community garden in Bryant,” Griffin said. “These plots will feed our community and encourage a healthier lifestyle.”
Plots became available to rent on May 6 and will be open to the public to start gardening on Monday.
updated: 05/10/2013 2:41 p.m.
Emily Darnell of Maumelle is making a name for herself. She recently received the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. At the age of 15, Emily has been in Girl Scouts for nine years.
updated: 05/10/2013 10:18 a.m.
Brandon Lercher of Beebe is a star, but not just any star. He was named Arkansas’ Interscholastic Star at the end of April.
“[When I won], I was very excited. I was almost in shock at first,” Lercher said.
The award is presented by the Arkansas Activities Association and State Farm Insurance. The winning student is given a $1,000 scholarship.
Arkansas’ Interscholastic Star program is designed to recognize and reward an individual whose efforts might not otherwise be noticed, said Annette Savage, assistant executive director of the Arkansas Activities Association.
updated: 05/10/2013 10:25 a.m.
For the residents of McCrory, mosquitoes in May aren’t a reason to break out the citronella candles just yet. Mosquitoes are a reason to celebrate.
The 2013 event marks the 28th year for the community’s Mosquitofest, which will be held Wednesday through Saturday in downtown McCrory.
Betty Kate Thompson, McCrory Area Chamber of Commerce president and coordinator of Mosquitofest, said the festival started out as a joke.
updated: 05/10/2013 10:21 a.m.
Nine months after relocating to be closer to the students it serves, Searcy K-Life is going strong.
The ministry, which stands for Kanakuk Life, is an interdenominational Christian organization that reaches Searcy youth through Bible studies, mission trips and after-school activities.
On its website, K-Life’s mission is described as “the ability to build relationships with kids and bring the content of God’s word to bear on those relationships.”
To help further that mission, Searcy K-Life moved last August from a now-demolished house on Elm Street to a one-bedroom ’40s-era home at 810 N. Elm St.
updated: 05/10/2013 2:29 p.m.
First Baptist Church Maumelle is looking for ways to answer calls from foster parents across Arkansas through the church’s ministry The CALL Mall.
It is a branch of The CALL, which stands for Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime.
updated: 05/10/2013 10:29 a.m.
Whether it’s tedious late nights at school, interviews that challenge students’ intellect or snapping a variety of photos at a pep rally, students in Margaret Sorrows’ journalism classes at Bryant High School are expected to go above and beyond to excel in their work on student publications.
updated: 05/07/2013 3:52 p.m.
The Izard County High School chess team is back on top of its game.
The team was able to check back into the top spot at the Class 1A/2A State Chess Championship after a lull in wins. The team won the title in Beebe on April 27.
This marks the eighth time the school has won the state title.
Steven Walker, who coaches the chess team, is no stranger to winning a state chess title.
Walker is a graduate of Izard County, where he was part of a state-title-winning chess team four times.
updated: 05/07/2013 3:45 p.m.
Shelby Smith, who started bowling when she was 7 years old, is now reaping the benefits of her dedication to the sport as one of the state’s top bowlers.
Smith, who recently signed with Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., to bowl at the collegiate level, has worked hard to get where she is today.
Aside from bowling all four years of high school at Cabot, Smith has bowled with the Arkansas Scratch Junior Bowlers Tour for three years.
updated: 05/08/2013 10:26 a.m.
Saline County Shakes, formerly Saline County Shakespeare in the Park, is working hard to prepare for its production of The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, at the end of the month.
updated: 05/03/2013 1:03 p.m.
Carrie Schatz has worked hard to get to the position she is in today — the adult-services director at Civitan Services in Benton.
“I oversee all programming at Civitan Services,” Schatz said.
Civitan Services offers educational and life-skills training for people with developmental disabilities.
“We offer pre-vocational training in home economics, life skills, leisure arts, community, physical fitness and independent skills,” Schatz said.
Schatz has been with Civitan Services since August 2010.
updated: 05/03/2013 1 p.m.
The Royal Players are preparing to make Benton residents laugh once again. The players will present Dearly Beloved, a Jones-Hope-Wooten comedy, Thursday through May 12 and May 16-19 at The Royal Theatre in Benton.
Frank Butler, director, said the production will bring a lot of laughs to everyone who attends.
updated: 05/03/2013 1:51 p.m.
Ever since she can remember, Carly Dahl has drawn.
“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” she said.
Dahl is the interim director of the Batesville Area Arts Council.
She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking and a minor in drawing from the University of Toledo (Ohio) and was born and raised in Monroe, Mich. She’s been in Batesville for three years.
updated: 05/03/2013 1:39 p.m.
Jeff Owens of Batesville has a passion for sports.
His job as director of parks and recreation for the city of Batesville has allowed him to get paid for doing something he loves.
He grew up in Sikeston, Mo., but made his way to Arkansas when he went to college.
He began at Harding University in Searcy and later transferred to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, where he got his start in the field of parks and recreation.
updated: 05/03/2013 12:56 p.m.
For some parts of Hot Springs Village, cleanup from the Christmas storm of 2012 just started on April 22.
Jerry Pogue, administrative assistant to Garland County Judge Rick Davis, said he is in charge of storm cleanup for Garland County.
updated: 05/01/2013 8:46 a.m.
Nature Celebration Day will give people the chance to see what the South Fork Nature Center has to offer. The Saturday event will mark the first year for Nature Celebration Day.
updated: 04/26/2013 11:21 a.m.
You might not be shocked by something like this in Stuttgart, the Rice and Duck Capital of the World, where duck hunting is second only to religion in numbers of followers. Normally, however, a “quack, quack, quack” is not what a person would expect to hear when walking into church. That will be the case, though, every Tuesday night into October at the Cabot Church of Christ.
Butch Richenbach, founder of the Stuttgart-based Rich-N-Tone duck calls, is giving calling lessons to people in the Cabot area just because of the passion he has for the sport.
updated: 04/26/2013 9:50 a.m.
Students at the University of Central Arkansas gathered at the center of campus April 19 to encourage others to give back to the community.
updated: 04/26/2013 10:04 a.m.
Students at Central Arkansas Christian’s North Little Rock Elementary School will soon not only learn about Arkansas’ wildlife in the classroom, but will be seeing some of it, up close and personal, outside the classroom.
updated: 04/26/2013 11:37 a.m.
People of all ages and backgrounds are invited to read throughout the month of June during the summer reading program at the Arlene Cherry Memorial Library in Cabot.
The program kicks off June 3 and runs through June 30. Daniece Howard, interim librarian for the Cabot branch of the Lonoke/Prairie County Regional Library System, said this isn’t the first year for a summer reading program, but she said she hopes this summer’s program is bigger than ever.
updated: 04/24/2013 9:50 a.m.
Cities across the Tri-Lakes region are gearing up for this year’s Relay for Life events, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
updated: 04/24/2013 11:32 a.m.
Community members are invited to “horse around” at the annual Heber Springs Horse Show.
The shows, held one Saturday a month, are sponsored by the Mountain Top Cowboy Church in Heber Springs.
The next show is 7 p.m. May 11 at the Cleburne County Fairgrounds on Bittle Road.
Linda Dahl, event coordinator, said she became involved a couple of years ago with the show.