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Community Briefs

March 22, 2023 at 4:21 a.m.
Carlton Saffa

Chamber names Expo speaker

The Pine Bluff Regional of Commerce will host Carlton Saffa, chief market officer of Saracen Casino Resort, as the 2023 Business Expo Breakfast speaker.

Business Expo will be held May 4 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center beginning with the Business Expo Breakfast at the Convention Center Banquet Hall. The food will be served at 7:30 a.m. and the program will be held from 8-9 a.m. Breakfast tickets are $25 each or $300 for a table of eight."With our casino Expo theme this year, the Chamber wanted to celebrate Saracen Casino and the positive impact it has made on our local economy. Saracen Casino Resort provides 800+ jobs and has boosted Pine Bluff as a tourist destination," according to the Chamber newsletter.

"Saffa oversaw the licensure of the enterprise in all forums, including the property's casino gaming license. In addition, he served as one of the owner's representatives in the construction of the Saracen Annex, a 300-slot machine facility which was completed and operational in 100 days. Saracen's main property was developed in parallel, and Saffa was onsite daily throughout," according to the newsletter.

Currently, Saffa is responsible for the outward-facing functions of the property as well as non-gaming functions and day-to-day management of Saracen employees.

"Notably, Saffa led the effort to regulate mobile sports into gaming in Arkansas, and today BetSaracen books 2/3 of all online wagers in our state," according to the newsletter.

In addition to the breakfast, the Business Expo Trade Show will also be held at the convention center May 4 starting with the VIP Hour from 9-10 a.m. The general public will be admitted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Businesses interested in being in trade show may obtain booth space for $250 for Chamber members and $360 for non-members.

To purchase breakfast tickets or sponsorships or for other details, call Chamber Director Jennifer Kline at (870) 535-0110 or email her at at

Monticello bridge closes for repairs

Arkansas Department of Transportation crews closed a bridge on Highway 83 north of Monticello on Monday to perform repairs. The bridge is located 2.7 miles north of Highway 278. It will remain closed for the next few days until work is complete. Traffic can use Highways 138 and 293 to detour, according to a news release.

Unified offers scholarships

The Unified Christian Alliance Inc. is offering scholarships to area high school seniors who plan to attend the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Students can obtain applications from their school counselor's office. The deadline is April 7, according to a news release. Jennifer Lee is president of the Unified Christian Alliance.

Mayors, GFPB to address retired teachers

The Jefferson County Retired Teachers Association will hear presentations at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Building, 211 W. Third Ave.

At 11:30 a.m. April 20 -- The State of the Cities addresses will be made by Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington White Hall Mayor Noel Foster. At 11:30 a.m. May 18 -- A Go Forward Pine Bluff update will be given. Lunch will be served, according to a news release.

Farm research programs to present updates

For more than a decade, the Discovery Farms program has tested and researched conservation practices on working farms under real-life conditions in Arkansas, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin.

At 9 a.m. March 28, representatives from the four states will present updates on their programs and share conservation learnings during a free webinar. Registration is available at

Three soil and water management continuing education unit credits are available for agricultural consultants, according to a news release from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

"The Discovery Farms concept has proven itself in all four states in terms of conservation methods tested and the resulting recommendations," said Mike Daniels, director of the Arkansas Discovery Farms program. "This is work that will continue to help farmers of all types be the best steward of our resources they can be.

Webinar topics include: Building a Network of Conservation Practices: Can we improve our water quality impact? More Than a Pipe; Expanding the Arkansas Discovery Farm Program; and Managing Nitrogen on Grass Fields.


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