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Dumas man leads D.C. prayer service

WASHINGTON -- Decades after the Rev. Martin Luther King called 11 a.m. Sunday the most segregated hour of the week, an Arkansas minister led a worship service at that very hour, urging people of all colors to join together.

The event was held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

Hundreds of people, in Washington for a prayer gathering, showed up for the Oct. 8 service, according to the Rev. Arthur Hunt, a minister, artist and educator from Dumas.

The service, which drew a diverse crowd, coincided with an event called Awaken the Dawn, a four-day Christian tent meeting on the National Mall that drew thousands from all 50 states.

While they were in Washington, "[we] wanted to bring them to the spiritual landmark and update Dr. King's concern and hope that we would come together in unity, in love, in oneness the way God ordained his church to do so," Hunt said.

The service's theme was "The Church in One Accord: Awaken the Dream."

Crawford on field for football game

When congressmen suited up Wednesday for the 2017 Congressional Football Game for Charity, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro was among those who took to the field.

The lawmakers, joined by a few retired NFL players, faced off against Capitol police officers on the football field at Gallaudet University; the Guards beat the Jonesboro Republican's team -- known as the Mean Machine -- 7-0.

U.S. Bruce Westerman, who played in the 2015 game, was scratched from the lineup at the last minute; a spokesman for the Hot Springs Republican blamed the absence on a last-minute scheduling conflict.

Tickets for the event cost $10, and proceeds were donated to the U.S. Capitol Police Memorial Fund and a couple of other charities.

Mental health CEO lobbies for funding

Jannie Cotton, the CEO of Professional Counseling Associates, spent time on Capitol Hill this month calling on lawmakers to support federal funding for mental health services.

The Sherwood woman said she spent her time "advocating for deals and rights and privileges for our clients with mental health and substance addiction [issues]."

Her organization is one of 14 community mental health centers in the state. Her organization has offices in Cabot, Jacksonville, Lonoke, Sherwood and North Little Rock.

Hundreds of mental health advocates and providers from around the country converged on Washington to lobby.

"We're up here nationally rallying because it's not just an Arkansas thing. It's nationwide," Cotton added.

Westerman speaks

on tree industries

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman spoke about the importance of the nation's trees last week during a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The only member of Congress with a graduate degree in forestry, Westerman noted that this week is National Forest Products Week and emphasized the importance of the industry.

"In my home state of Arkansas, environmentally friendly forestry-related businesses support more than 62,000 jobs with more than $2.4 billion in annual payroll. A strong marketplace for forest products helps keep rural American employed and U.S. forests robust," he said.

A federal law, passed in 1998, designates the third week in October as National Forest Products Week. The statute requests that the White House issue a proclamation each year, "calling on the people of the United States to observe National Forest Products Week with appropriate ceremonies and activities."

Favor for Trump put at 54% in Arkansas

President Donald Trump remains popular in Arkansas, but his support has fallen over the past nine months, according to a survey by Morning Consult.

Overall, 54 percent of Arkansans approve of the New York Republican's job performance, while 40 percent disapprove, the media and technology firm said.

In January, Trump had 59 percent approval. Only 29 percent disapproved.

Arkansas gave the president higher ratings than all but six states: Wyoming, West Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Idaho. He faced the most opposition in Hawaii, Massachusetts and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.

Morning Consult said it surveyed more than 470,000 people in all 50 states for its series of Trump polls.

The margin of error for Arkansas was plus or minus 5 percent.

Churchman stops in at Womack office

The Rev. Ronnie Floyd and several members of his congregation, Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, visited Capitol Hill last week, stopping by the office of their congressman, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers.

Roughly 30 members of the Cross Church School of Ministry made the journey, part of what was described as a heritage tour.

During his time in Washington, Floyd spoke with congressional leaders about the 2018 National Day of Prayer, which will be held May 3. In August, Floyd became president of the National Day of Prayer, an event that has been held every year since 1952.

Floyd, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, travels frequently to the capital and serves on President Trump's evangelical advisory board.

Hill hires Norwood as staff assistant

U.S. Rep. French Hill has hired Neatric Norwood as his new staff assistant. The Pulaski Academy graduate, who holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from Tufts University, previously worked for Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and served as one of Hill's interns, in the district as well as on Capitol Hill.

"He's been terrific in helping our central Arkansas neighbors, and we're excited to have him on board as a permanent member of the team," the second-term lawmaker said.

Dickey, Thornton among 33 prayed for

The United States Association of Former Members of Congress recently held a memorial service for lawmakers who died during the past 18 months.

Two Arkansans were among those remembered: former U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey, a Republican who died in April, and former U.S. Rep. Ray Thornton, a Democrat who died in April 2016.

House Chaplain Patrick Conroy offered prayers for the 28 House alums and five former senators; the service was held in Statuary Hall.

Planning to visit the nation's capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Please contact Frank Lockwood at (202) 662-7690 or Want the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Washington bureau? It's available on Twitter, @LockwoodFrank

SundayMonday on 10/15/2017

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