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Community briefs

by Special to The Commercial | August 11, 2022 at 2:26 a.m.

NAACP plans annual banquet

The Pine Bluff Branch of the NAACP will present its 30th Dove Freedom Fund Banquet, in person, at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Pine Bluff Convention.

The keynote speaker will be Jackie Harris, circuit judge-elect for 11th West Judicial District of Arkansas, 4th Division, Sub District 11w.1, according to

Harris was born and raised at Pine Bluff and currently serves as a partner at the law firm of McKissic & Associates PLLC. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's William H. Bowen School of Law. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and diploma from Dollarway High School.

The cost of the NAACP banquet is $40 per person. Tables are available for $400.

To purchase tickets, tables or for more details, contact event chairmen Sharon Sergeant at (870) 718-4164 or Marikka Bender at (256) 513-1667, or NAACP President Wanda V. Neal at (870) 536-3141.

Rural health sites to receive $582,000

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, announced investments of nearly $582,000 to increase access to quality health care. Funds were awarded to three Arkansas rural communities, according to the Monday news release.

The Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program is awarding funds to the following:

Mainline Health Systems at Dermott, $200,000;

White River Health System at Batesville; $183,258;

Five Rivers Medical Center at Pocahontas $198,580.


Call 811 to avoid buried utility lines

Each year, Aug. 11 serves as a reminder that residents and construction crews are required by law to contact Arkansas 811 at least two business days prior to any digging or excavation project so underground utility lines can be identified and marked, according to Entergy.

Officials said this process is the best way to prevent injuries to the public and contractors on excavation projects, while mitigating potential property damages and unnecessary utility outages due to striking an underground facility.

Arkansas 811 center operators will connect people with local utility operators who will come out and safely mark the approximate location of buried natural gas, electrical, telecommunications, water and sewer lines.

If digging activity comes within 18 inches of a utility line or pipeline, exercise extreme caution. A gas leak could be occurring if you smell the distinctive natural gas odor, hear a hissing or whistling sound near a gas appliance or see dead vegetation or bubbles near a gas line. Leave the area immediately and call 911. If you suspect damage to Entergy facilities, call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) or dial 811. Details:


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