On June 28 and 29, Malvern will celebrate its title as Brick Capital of the World, a dubious designation created by Roy Renfro, director of the Malvern/Hot Spring County Chamber of Commerce around 1980, when the community was home to three brick plants. After several years of hard times for the brick business, this year’s bigger Brickfest reflects the growth of the Acme Brick Co., which operates two large plants in the county.
At the last minute, the 2013 session of the Arkansas Legislature created the Health Insurance Marketplace, a private insurance option for expanding government-subsidized health care coverage to more than 250,000 additional Arkansas residents. Starting in the fall, special health care guides will gather in libraries and with civic clubs and even go door to door to spread the word about the new plan available under the national Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that will begin in January. The Arkansas Insurance Department has signed a contract with the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges Workforce Training Consortium to train at least 537 of these “in-person assisters” to inform almost a half-million Arkansans who qualify for the program about the variety of new insurance options available.
Good school rankings are a matter of community pride on the state and city levels in Arkansas. A report from Newsweek and The Daily Beast has ranked the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, in Hot Springs, as No. 13 on its list of America’s Best High Schools for 2013. The school also topped the publications’ list of top Arkansas high schools. The report from Newsweek and The Daily Beast highlights the top-ranked 2,000 public high schools in the nation. It was the first time for ASMSA to make the list. The school is a division of the University of Arkansas System and invites juniors and seniors from across the state to end their high school career with more challenging levels of study than are found in most public schools.
Most of the time, the Grant County community of Tull is as quiet as one would imagine a town of 448 residents to be — but not this week. This week, families will come in from out of town. There will be planning sessions about everything from traffic control and menus to making sure there are enough song books for everyone who wants to sing.
This is Helen Moseley’s first year to teach at Redfield Middle School — and it will be her last. On May 31, the 75-year-old school will close, and next year, the students will catch the bus to White Hall Middle School. Moseley said teaching at the school in its last year has been special for her. She, like many of the 1,200 residents of Redfield, was a student at the school.
A group of Hot Spring County residents are afraid the area is losing its history, and they asked a group of young people to help them save it.
Monday was a busy day for Dr. Nate Smith of Alexander. He was moving into a new office and holding meetings as he spent his first day as interim director of the Arkansas Department of Health.
“You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression,” Scott Sudduth, coordinator of the Welcome to Arkansas program, told members of the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce at a lunch on May 2.
For the past year, the nonprofit organization that puts on Malvern’s biggest annual event has been setting the stage for a big show to draw more people to the 33rd annual Brickfest.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an impressive speaker. Sure, he is 7-feet, 2-inches tall and the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer, but it is his words that may have the biggest impact. “I can speak to you today because I took advantage of the educational opportunities I had given to me,” Abdul-Jabbar told about 1,200 students gathered in the stands of the Hot Springs High School gymnasium on April 25. The Basketball Hall of Famer was invited to Arkansas to be the keynote speaker for the Open Book Celebration, a fundraising event held to benefit the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts. The event was held the evening of the 25th at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.