Good Ol' Days
Friday May 24th
Saturday May 25th
8:00am - 9:00pm
The Mt. Ida Chamber of Commerce Banquet will be Thursday April 18th at 6:30pm at the Lake Ouachita Baptist Church 3586 Hwy 270 East.
Advance tickets available by calling Sherry Ellison 870.867.7101. Tickets also available at the door.
Tickets are $15.00 each and includes dinner. Tables of 8 are available at $120.00.
Walt Coleman is an American football official in the National Football League (NFL) since the 1989 NFL season.He wears uniform number 65. Coleman resides in Little Rock, Arkansas and is a sixth-generation family operator of Coleman Dairy. Outside of officiating, Coleman serves on many local boards and associations including the Little Rock Boys and Girls Club and Greater Little Rock YMCA. Coleman is a former president of the Arkansas Dairy Products Association and Major Sports Association of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. Coleman was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame on February 23, 2009, joining his father, Buddy Coleman, a 1994 inductee.
NASHVILLE—Seven Montgomery County residents toured the Southwest Arkansas Farmers’ Market Friday, February 22 and heard first-hand tips on how to make the proposed Montgomery County Outdoor Market a success.
Debra Bolding, market manager for the Howard County project told the group that while location is important, establishing rules for operation and showing what growers can expect will help keep the project on track in the beginning and as the market grows.
Growers will want to be a part of a successful operation and will spread the word. In addition the participation of local residents who bake bread and desserts will add much to the event, she noted.
Creation of a successful farmers market will require a lot of coordination in the early days but will offer rewards to both those marketing produce and products as well as a good place for area residents to purchase locally produced fruits and vegetables. Those fresh items will give a healthy alternative to products packed and shipped into the area.
While the Montgomery County Outdoor Market is one of the goals of ARCO, a three county coalition between Montgomery, Scott and Polk counties, it has been a dream of local organizers for several years. Pat Smith, who is spearheading development of a demonstration garden located on Lucerne St., near the old courthouse annex, said the garden is already being developed.
“We want to show local residents that a good organic, low maintenance garden can be built relatively inexpensively,” Smith noted.
Other projects in Montgomery County will include development of several new festival events as well as the monthly outdoor market, according to Kaye Shrout, county chair of University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
Shrout, along with Maryanne Davis, Pat Smith, Laura Relic, Brad McGinley, Marge Skinner and Derwood Brett spent time with Bolding, Rita Rector and Jean Ince in Nashville Friday where they also toured the demonstration garden, which Is located at the site of Howard County’s farmers market.
While in Nashville, the group learned of the necessity of having bylaws to ensure that each grower and vendor knows what is expected of him.
All state guidelines on packaging and proper storage of fresh eggs and vegetables will have to be observed. In addition, all baked items as well as jellies will have to be labeled with content information.
By LeAnn Dilbeck
The Arkansas Regional Coalition of the Ouachitas (ARCO) met last week with representatives from its three counties, Polk, Scott, and Montgomery. Charettes had been conducted in each of the three counties and presented to each county individually but last week’s meeting presented the results of all three jointly, revealing an enormous hidden/under-developed potential for tourism in the region.
Before the almost 40 in attendance saw the presentation, members approved the addition of two new board members, Derwood Brett and John Vacca.
Vacca then reported on a two-day three-city tour in northern Arkansas in that ARCO members attended in November 2012. Presenting the highlights of what they learned from a number of communities and speakers, Vacca said they were encouraged to not be discouraged by “push-back.” Harrison, Ark., which has been tremendously successfully with their downtown revitalization explained that their efforts will not always be met with enthusiasm. They also learned about the importance of grants from Leslie, Ark., which in Vacca’s words, “is located in the middle of nowhere.” A town of just 441 people had received a total of $600,000 from a variety of institutions. Members noted that the Rural Community Alliance could be a very beneficial resource in finding and securing those grants.
Trey Clark presented a $2,500 check on behalf of the Walton Family Foundation for the Partners for the Future initiative. To find out more, check out www.ARCOStrong.org.
Polk County Pulse
Montgomery County News
February 3, 2013
Planning continues by Montgomery County members of ARCO (Arkansas Regional Coalition of the Ouachitas) as they work to organize a model outdoor market. Group participants seek community input from stakeholders to help develop monthly activities designed to bring tourists to the area and help local craftsmen and producers gain new markets for products.
According to Pat Smith, who serves on the planning committee as well as being involved in several other community projects, one of the first events to be undertaken will be an Open Air Market. "This will be more than just a farmer's market. It will be a place for the entire family to gather and experience a variety of activities."
Smith added that the focus of the events—initially scheduled for one Saturday each month—will be healthy living. "We want to brand Montgomery County as a healthy destination for visitors."
"In addition to local farmer and gardener produce stands, the organizers envision, "there will be cooking stations using locally grown food. Those who attend the market will be able to gather recipes from vendors as well as tips on food preparation."
As the monthly event matures, organizers hope to increase participation by seeking specialty craftsmen who will come to the open air market and actually show how they produce products, Smith said. "We have local people who can show us how they make cheese, bake cookies and cakes, can jellies and prepare honey for sale. We are going to stress vendors from the three-county ARCO area which includes Polk, Scott and Montgomery counties."
Planners are looking for a sponsor who will take ownership of the ongoing project. Representatives met with a portion of the chamber board in January. Smith said, "some of the chamber board members were enthusiastic and agreed conceptually that the Chamber of Commerce would be the best group to manage the open air market on an ongoing basis. But, they were not prepared to formally agree to that until they hired a new director and verify that their event insurance would cover additional events."
In several brainstorming sessions ideas have been presented that would include trades and crafts such as knife sharpening, crystal identification and the proper way to clean them, wheat grinding, sorghum making, soap making and wood carving.
It was also suggested that information be available for activities that might attract repeat visits by those who attend the open air market. "Many of our visitors do not realize the wide variety of activities the area has to offer," Smith added. " We plan to have members of the Traildogs (a local group credited with building nearly 50 miles of hiking trails in Montgomery and Garland counties) on hand to tell hikers and bikers about area trails. We expect they will have maps on hand to show visitors where the trail is located, and perhaps even conduct hikes if interest warrants."
Activities will be planned for all age groups with the potential for musical jam sessions, 3 on 3 basketball tournaments and smash ball. There are basketball goals at Forest Jones Park and a tennis court that could be used for various events.
Another suggestion to help develop publicity could be a guided trip for photographers and planned excursions on various biking/hiking trails in the area.
Representatives of the planning committee have met with the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce and Mount Ida City Council. The group also plans to present the Open Air Market idea to Quorum Court members in an effort to get them up to speed as well.
Plans are being finalized for a February 22 group visit to Nashville to talk with organizers and see firsthand that area's outdoor market. The trip is scheduled for later in February. More information will be provided at a later date.
Smith concluded, "We want to time these events to tie in with all aspects of the area. We can make a difference for our local communities."
Following the final charrette work session held in mid October in Waldron with Dr. Mark Peterson and Mr. Ed Levy, the Scott County ARCO Group planned a Cast-iron Cooking event to further engage the community with the ideas and promising opportunities that emerged from the previous community development meetings that had been held in Waldron.
Dinner, music, and a meeting were all served up on Monday, October 29th at Waldron City Hall. Scott County Judge James Forbes and Scott County Extension Agent Shaun Rhoades lined the sidewalk with cast-iron Dutch ovens that sizzled all afternoon with the slow-cooked foods that were served that evening. Mayor Don Owens was on hand to assist and several City employees enjoyed sampling the foods. Local musicians entertained the crowd of approximately 50 people who also learned more about ARCO and the “Partners for the Future” initiative.
The next local meeting is planned for November 26th. Join us for this important opportunity to envision and plan for our future.