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August 8, 2022 at 4:07 a.m.

Editor's Note: At press time, the following events and meetings were known to be still scheduled. Organizers or appropriate officials are encouraged to contact Sandra Hope at to make additions or changes.


Early voting set for Watson Chapel election

Early voting will continue from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Jefferson County Courthouse on Watson Chapel School District's special election. Election day is Aug. 9 and Watson Chapel voters will be asked to accept or reject a district millage rate increase of 5.7, which would make the total millage 39.8. The estimated proceeds from the increase, projected at $8,651,632, would cover Watson Chapel's contribution of a cost-share agreement with the Arkansas Department of Education to construct a new high school at the present junior high location. The state department has agreed to contribute $14,564,877, or nearly 79% of the estimated project cost. Voters will vote at polling sites from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9.

Watson Chapel board to meet

Watson Chapel School District will have a regular school board meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 8 at the district office, 4100 Camden Road. The agenda includes the financial statement, an increase in adult meal prices, the superintendent's report, and personnel. Details: (870) 879-0220.

Tuesday, Aug. 9

Watson Chapel holds special election

Watson Chapel School District will hold special election Aug. 9 on a tax increase with proceeds used toward building a new high school. Voters will be asked to accept or reject a district millage rate increase of 5.7, which would make the total millage 39.8. The estimated proceeds from the increase, projected at $8,651,632, would cover Watson Chapel's contribution of a cost-share agreement with the Arkansas Department of Education to construct a new high school at the present junior high location. The state department has agreed to contribute $14,564,877, or nearly 79% of the estimated project cost. According to the Jefferson County Election Commission, eight polls covering 37 precincts will be open Aug. 9 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.: South Pinewood Baptist Church: 51, 53, 56, 57, 59; Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church: 54, 55, 58, 66, 67; Gospel Temple Missionary Baptist Church: 61, 62, 64, 414, 415, 416; Highland Baptist Church: 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 450; St. Peter's Rock Missionary Baptist Church: 311, 312, 316, 451, 452; Good Faith Carr United Methodist Church: 314, 322, 324, 325, 326, 327; First Missionary Baptist Church: 315, 317, 323; New Town Missionary Baptist Church: 417.

TOPPS gives away food

TOPPS, a non- profit organization, will give away food in a drive-thru method at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday at 1000 Townsend Drive. Food boxes will be handed out on a first come, first served basis until all boxes are gone, according to a news release. Details: TOPPS, (870) 850-6011.

Beginning Tuesday, Aug. 9

Exit ramp closures set along I-530

Overnight ramp closures are scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 9-10, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on several exits along Interstate 530 to replace stop bars and direction signs, according to a news release. Ramp closures will begin at 10 p.m. Tuesday at Exit 32 (Highway 256) on I-530 South. Exits 34 (White Hall), 39 (Highway 79 interchange), and 43 (Walmart) will be closed from 2-4 a.m. Each ramp is expected to be closed for one hour. On Wednesday, work will continue at Exit 20 (Redfield) and will proceed south until completion. Drivers will be directed through ramp areas via message boards, signs, and traffic drums. Additional travel information can be found at or Motorists can also follow ARDOT on Twitter @IdriveArkansas for traffic and @myARDOT for everything else.

Jefferson County election board to meet

The Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners will hold two called meetings, according to chairman Mike Adam. Tuesday, Watson Chapel School District voters will be asked to accept or reject a district millage rate increase of 5.7, which would make the total millage 39.8. The election commissioners will meet Tuesday and remain in session until unofficial election results are announced at approximately 9 p.m. at the election center, 123 Main St. In the event commissioners are required to make a decision requiring a vote while the polls are open, it will be at the election center, according to a news release. Wednesday, the commissioners will hold a regular meeting at 6 p.m. at the election center. The agenda includes an update on an election reimbursement request and public comments on new business agenda items (two minutes per speaker). New business includes to adjudicate any provisional and absentee ballots and approve manual audit of unofficial election results.

ARTSpace hosts Game on Main

Youth in grades 5-12 are invited to Game on Main, a biweekly program at The ARTSpace on Main, 623 S. Main St. This month's dates are Tuesdays, Aug. 9 and Aug. 23 from 3:30-6 p.m. "This event will feature strategy and role-playing games as well as classic games like Guess Who, Uno, and chess," according to the release. This is a free community program and no registration is required. Details: Matthew Howard at or (870) 536-3375.

Wednesday, Aug. 10

Pine Bluff Commercial sets church news deadline

Church news is printed in The Commercial on Friday. The deadline to submit church announcements is noon Wednesday. Pastors, ministers or others interested in writing for the Devotional Page may also submit columns for consideration. Column writers should have connections to Southeast Arkansas. Articles should be submitted by email to Details: (870) 534-3400, ext. 5.

Thursday, Aug. 11

Veterans Legal Clinic set

The Pine Bluff Veterans Legal Clinic will hold its monthly opening from 9-11 a.m. Aug. 11. The clinic is located at the Sgt. Elga Lee Roberts Veterans Center, 114 S. State St. Walk-ins are welcome, according to a news release. The Center for Arkansas Legal Services (CALS), the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs and the Little Rock VA Medical Center's Justice Outreach Program will have representatives available to consult with veterans. Veterans may also contact the CALS Help Line at 1-800-950-5817. Covid-19 guidelines will still be followed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) Details: Pine Bluff Mayor's Office, (870) 730-2000, ext. 7.

Beginning Thursday, Aug. 11

UAPB offers beekeeping workshop

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) will hold a workshop on beekeeping for beginners from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 11, 18 and 25 in the S.J. Parker 1890 Extension Complex auditorium, 2300 L.A. "Prexy" Davis Drive, according to a news release. Yong Park, Ph.D, UAPB associate professor of agriculture and entomologist/beekeeper, will lead the sessions. The course costs $30. Payments can be made in room 112 of the S.J. Parker Agricultural Research Center, 2102 Oliver Road at UAPB. Payments should be made via check or money order only and payable to the "UAPB Small Farm Program." All monies are non-refundable. Details: UAPB Small Farm Program at (870) 575-7225 or

Neighborhood Watch meetings set

Neighborhood Watch meetings have been scheduled and residents are urged to attend, according to the Pine Bluff Police Department. The following will be held: Central Park and Taylor Association will meet Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. at Family Church, 2309 S. Poplar St. Faucett Road along with Jefferson Heights and Calvary Association will meet Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. at Destiny Worship Center, 4700 W. 28th Ave. Sheraton Park meets Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 4101 Hazel St. East Harding and Belmont/Broadmoor meets Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. at Mt. Harmony Baptist Church, 812 E. Harding Ave. (subject to change.) University Park meets Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. at Family Community Development Center, 1001 N. Palm St.Details: Alicia Dorn at

Friday, Aug. 12

Public meeting set on transit plan

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) will conduct public meetings across the state to seek input on an update to the federally required Statewide Public Transit Coordination Plan. The local event will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 12 at Pine Bluff Transit, 2300 E. Harding Ave., according to a news release. The public may view plan materials and provide written comments through an online survey until 4:30 p.m. Aug. 31. For details, participants may view the following online: Current (2018) Statewide Transit Coordination Plan at . Transit Provider Survey at . Transit User Survey at

Beginning Friday, Aug. 12

Agency sets fund-raiser, school event

Arkansas Community Organizations will host two events. On Aug. 12, the agency will hold a rib tip dinner fundraiser from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 12 at the agency's office, 3712 W. 34th Ave. The dinners will include potato salad or coleslaw, baked beans, dessert, water or a drink for $12, according to a news release. On Aug. 13, from 9-11 a.m. the organization will have a back-to-school supply giveaway/membership drive at Central Park, 600 S. Hickory St. Free hot dogs and other refreshments will be served. Details: Rosetta Madison, (870) 536-6300.

Through Friday, Aug. 12

Delta Dental grants available

The Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation is accepting grant applications from Arkansas nonprofits, according to a news release. Through Aug. 12, eligible organizations may apply for funding for new or existing programs that provide oral health education, dental treatment or preventive oral care. Grant guidelines and the online application may be accessed at

DRA seeks leaders for academy

Delta Regional Authority (DRA) opened the application period for the 2023 Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy. The deadline is Aug. 12. DLI is a nine-month executive leadership program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders from the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. Chosen through a competitive application process, the class will include approximately 30 participants from the eight-state DRA region, including Arkansas, according to a news release. For details or to apply, visit

Saturday, Aug. 13

MLK panel gives away school supplies

The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will host a Back to School Statewide Supply Tour. Free school supplies will be distributed simultaneously at each location on a first come, first served basis while supplies last, according to a news release. School supplies will be given away from noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 13 at the following area sites: Pine Bluff -- New Faith Missionary Baptist Church, 3800 S. Fir St.; Stuttgart -- Stuttgart Police Department, 514 S. Main St.; Dumas -- St. Peter's Rock Missionary Baptist Church, 100 N. Cherry St.

Pilgrim church to open pantry

Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 2507 Hill St., will open its Raven's Nest Food Pantry on Aug. 13 from 8-9:30 a.m. or until all the food has been given away. Food will be handed out on a first come, first-served basis. Participants must bring a picture identification. This program is a U.S. Department of Agriculture distribution site and equal opportunity provider, according to a news release.

St. John to give away food

St John AME Church, 1117 W. Pullen St., will give away food boxes in a drive-thru setting Aug. 13 from 9-11 a.m. or until all food has been given out. State ID's are required to receive one box per family. Pickup will be in front of the church on Cherry Street. For safety reasons, recipients are asked to stay in their vehicles and open their trunks, according to a news release.

ASC Family FunDay set

Patrons can create beautiful and functional works of art with alcohol ink coasters during the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas' monthly Second Saturday Family FunDay. This session will be held from 1-3 p.m. Aug. 13 at ASC's home facility, 701 Main St. No registration is required.

Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly performs

The R&B group Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly will perform at 8 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, according to a news release. The group has earned 24 R&B Top 40 singles, including "While I'm Alone," "Golden Time Of Day," "Southern Girl," "Runnin' Away," "Before I Let Go," "Back In Stride," "Too Many Games," "Can't Get Over You" and "Silky Soul," according to the release. Tickets start at $50, plus applicable taxes. Secured parking will be available for $20. Tickets can be purchased at The convention center box office will be open starting Aug. 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for those wanting to purchase tickets in person. Details: Pine Bluff Convention Center, or (870) 536-7600.

Sunday, Aug. 14

Union Hopewell honors ushers

Union Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church,1121 Persimmon St., invites the community to its annual Usher Program at 11 a.m. Aug. 14. The guest speaker will be the Rev. Alfred Carroll of Kings Highway Missionary Baptist Church. The theme is "We are Door Keepers for the Lord" Psalms 84:10. Union Hopewell's pastor is the Rev. Antonio Gayden Sr.

St. John observes Men's Day

St. John AME Church, 1117 W. Pullen St., continues its Men's Day observance Aug. 14. Virtual Church School at 10 a.m. will feature Judge Earnest Brown Jr. as the lesson overviewer. At 3 p.m. Aug. 14, the featured speaker will be the Rev. Michael Leon Mitchell, the bishop of the 12th Episcopal District of the AME Church. A Men's Day Choir will be directed by Danny Withers. The public is invited to attend this event in person or virtually. All events can be seen virtually at or via Zoom with Meeting ID: 380 457 5496 and Passcode: 1117 or call-in: 13126266799 and when prompted dial 3804575496#, 1117#.

Through Monday, Aug. 15

Program seeks 10 new entrepreneurs

Applications are now open for a second group of Pine Bluff residents to turn ideas into reality through the Idea Accelerator program. Sponsored by Heartland Forward with partner Builders + Backers, the program will continue at Pine Bluff and the project has openings for 10 new participants, according to a news release. Anyone who has a creative and unexpected idea for solving a problem facing the Pine Bluff community can complete an application at Residents must apply Aug. 15. People with the most promising and innovative ideas will be selected to participate in a two-month long virtual program starting on Sept. 22.

Pine Bluff area grants available

The Pine Bluff Area Community Foundation (PBACF) will accept grant applications through Aug. 15. Nonprofits in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County may apply online for Giving Tree grants through PBACF. The Giving Tree Grant program is the foundation's signature grant cycle supporting a broad range of projects to meet immediate local needs, according to a news release. Organizations can apply at For organizations providing services aimed at educating, assessing and screening members of their organization or the larger community regarding health issues, Jefferson Regional Medical Center has created the JRMC Community Health Endowment. Projects with a special emphasis on early literacy are eligible for Early Literacy grants. Details: or call the Pine Bluff Area Community Foundation, at (870) 850-7934.

Saturday, Aug. 20

BRAVE sets school supply drive thru event

The Pine Bluff Black Firefighters Association will present its Project Fresh Start School Supply Drive Thru event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Building, 211 W. Third Ave. Students will receive bags filled with school supplies. Free breakfast and lunch will be sponsored by Gould Youth Ministries (G.Y.M.) Better known as BRAVE (Banishing Racial Animosity Vigorously Everywhere), this organization continues its tradition of helping to prepare students for the upcoming school year, according to a news release.

Sounds of Blue to host Horton Band

"Sounds of Blue," Blues from the Highway, will feature the John Horton Band with Jerry McCoy as well as an art exhibit on Aug. 20 at RJ's Grill & Bar, 128 S. Main St. The event is hosted by the Port City Blues Society and RJ's. Patrons can begin the evening at 6 p.m. by meeting the artists and viewing the Delta Art Exhibit. In addition, special presentations will be made followed at 8 p.m. with music from the Horton Band with McCoy. This special program was funded by a grant from Synergy Forum, Inc., according to the newsletter from Pine Bluff Downtown Development.

Yoga in The Loft with Florence Love set

Ages 13 and older are invited to exercise and relax with certified yoga instructor Florence "FloEssence" Love every third Saturday from 1:30-3 p.m. during Yoga in the Loft. The next session is on Aug. 20. The cost is "pay-what-you-can" with $15 being recommended. This program takes place in the Loft Gallery at the ARTSpace on Main, 623 S. Main St. Details: Kourtlynn Pinkins at or (870) 536-3375.

Tuesday, Aug. 23

Manufacturing council sets job fair

The Jefferson County Manufacturing Council (JCMC) will host Manufacturing Made Easy Career Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 23 at the White Hall Community Center, 9301 Dollarway Road. The event will target industrial job seekers throughout the county and surrounding areas. The event is free to people seeking jobs. A $500 fee is for manufacturers that want to have a spot/table at the fair, but are not members of the JCMC. Registration is free to JCMC members. The registration deadline is Aug. 12. To register and/or join the manufacturing council, email or call (870) 535-0110, according to the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Through Wednesday, Aug. 24

ASC hosts Small Works

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will host the 35th annual "Small Works on Paper" exhibition through Aug. 24. The 2022 exhibition features artwork from 28 artists from across the state with 39 pieces on display. ASC volunteer Crystal Jennings of Rison and Pine Bluff native and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff graduate Rashawn Penister are among featured artists, according to a news release.

Thursday, Aug. 25

Jones-Dunklin center plans open house

The Jefferson Regional Jones-Dunklin Cancer Center, 1609 W. 40th Ave., will hold a ribbon cutting and open house. The event will be held at 5 p.m. Aug. 25, according to the newsletter of the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce.

GOP panel to meet

The Jefferson County Republican Committee will hold its regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 25. The event will be held at Larry's Pizza at White Hall, according to a news release.

Saturday, Aug. 27

Ivy Center sets free ACT Boot Camp

The Ivy Center for Education Inc. will host a free "ACT Boot Camp" beginning at 8:45 a.m. Aug. 27 in the Rust Technology Building at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The session will help prepare students for the Sept. 10 exam, according to a news release. The 4-hour group session will feature live training by Charity Smith-Allen, founder of the Arkansas College Prep, and staff. Students may register for the boot camp by sending an email to by Aug. 25. The ACT Boot Camp is for 7-12 graders. (High school seniors are top priority.) Covid 19 Protocol – Masks are required to enter the building. Students who plan to take the Sept. 10 exam must register with ACT by Aug. 5 at or Students must show their school ID to be admitted to the boot camp. Students from all school districts may attend. Those who cannot attend in person may join on Zoom at

Beginning Tuesday, Aug. 30

UAPB slates virtual land conference

The second annual Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Joint Regional Conference will be held virtually from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 30 and 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 31. The free event is co-sponsored by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) Small Farm Program and Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) Cooperative Extension Program, according to a news release. Attendees will learn about timely forestry and conservation topics and receive educational resources that can help resolve heirs' property issues and build generational wealth through forestland management, said Kandi Williams, UAPB Keeping it in the Family outreach coordinator. To register, visit To have the link to the registration form sent to an email address, email

Beginning Friday, Sept. 2

PBHS 1972 class reunion set

The Pine Bluff High School Class of 1972 is planning its 50th reunion for Sept. 2-3 at Pine Bluff, according to a news release. "If you were a member of this class and graduated in 1972, or if you were a member of this class but did not graduate with the class in 1972, we would love to celebrate our Golden Reunion with you. You are also welcome to join us for any future reunions that we may have," according to the release. Participants are also urged to tell other class members about the event. Details: Gail Jenkins Sales, (870) 489-8527 or Mickey Shell, (870) 718-3930.

Beginning Saturday, Sept. 3

Blues concerts on tap for downtown

The Port City Blues Society will host "Blues By Budweiser," live blues concerts on the first Saturday of each month through February 2023 at RJ's Sports Grill & Bar, 128 S. Main St. The doors open at 7 p.m. and music begins at 8 p.m. Port City Blues Society members are admitted for free. There's a $5 cover charge for nonmembers, according to a news release. Performers include Sept. 3 -- Chad Marshall Band; Oct. 1 -- Deak Harp Duo; Nov. 5 -- Kent Burnside; Dec. 3 -- Charlotte Taylor and Gypsy Rain; Jan. 7, 2023 -- Sean Bad Apple; and Feb. 4, 2023 -- Arkaholics. Details: or

Friday, Sept. 9

Governor's Arts Awards deadline set

The Arkansas Arts Council is accepting nominations for the 2023 Governor's Arts Awards. Recipients are nominated by the public, then selected by an independent panel of arts professionals from around the state, according to a news release. Nominations are open in the following categories: Arts Community Development, Arts in Education, Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts, Folklife, Individual Artist, Patron and Lifetime Achievement. The nomination deadline is Sept. 9. Details:'s-arts-awards .

Thursday, Sept. 22

Foundation slates golf tourney

The Jefferson Regional Foundation will host its second annual golf tournament Sept. 22 at the Pine Bluff Country Club, according to the newsletter of the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce.To register or for sponsorship details, contact Laura Beth Shaner at (870) 541-7210 or

Taste of Southeast Arkansas set

The Taste of Southeast Arkansas will be held Sept. 22 at the Pine Bluff Country Club. The cocktail hour begins at 5:30 p.m. and the tasting starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 each, according to the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce newsletter. "Join us for an evening of delicious food as you enjoy samplings from chefs from across Southeast Arkansas. This event is put on by the Jefferson County Young Professionals Network," according to Details: Chamber: (870) 535-0110.

Through Friday, Sept. 30

LIHEAP available for utility aid

Officials with the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) began accepting applications July 25 for help with summer cooling bills, including those from Entergy Arkansas and other utilities. This assistance will be available through Sept. 30 or until funds run out. LIHEAP is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is designed to lower the energy burden for low-income households, according to a news release from Entergy. The program is offered in all 75 counties through community-based organizations. Details: .

Fire suppression applications available

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Forestry Division is accepting applications for Wildland Fire Suppression Kits through Sept. 30. The forestry division received $293,600 through a U.S. Forest Service grant to provide 89 kits this year to rural volunteer fire departments across the state, according to a news release. Rural volunteer fire departments interested in applying should apply online and the applications is available at Paper applications are available upon request. Details: Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at, (501)679-3183 or

Through Saturday, Oct. 22

ASC to open Casiano exhibit

A new exhibition filled with unique portraits by Batesville-based artist Eliseo Casiano is open at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. ASC will host the Color, Faces, People exhibit in the William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery through Oct. 22. Details: or


Farmer's Market open Saturdays

The Farmer's Market at Saracen Landing, 200 Lake Saracen Drive, will be open each Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to the Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department's Facebook page.

Covid-19 vaccines, testing available

The Arkansas Department of Health, various pharmacies and healthcare providers offer the covid-19 vaccine, tests and other information about coronavirus. Details: Call the Arkansas Department of Health at (800) 985-6030, visit the website at or contact area medical professionals, according to spokesmen.


Unity Christian offers free financial classes

Unity Christian Fellowship Church (UCFC), 2712 S. Bay St., invites the community to its free Small Business and Personal Financial Education classes at 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Recent subjects included "The Importance of Having a Financial Plan" and "Financial Literacy," according to Stuff in the Bluff website. "You cannot afford to miss out on these life-changing classes. We are practicing social distancing and will have hand sanitizer wipes available," according to the site. Anthony Armstrong is the senior pastor. Details: or (870) 329-1182.

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