Around Town

2013-07-31

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Around Town

For Release 12 noon Wednesday, July 31, 2013

 

By Billy Ray McKelvy

De Queen Mayor

Travelers on Stilwell Avenue have been noticing some construction in the vicinity of the Kansas City Southern Railroad crossing.

This is part of a project to improve safety and add crossing gates that will block traffic when a train is crossing the highway. Construction should take two or three more weeks and the site will have a much improved appearance when it is completed. In addition, the crossing should be safer than before.

City residents are receiving letters that look like bills for insurance on the water service line to their home. The company, HomeServe, is offering water line insurance for $4.99 per month.

The letters look like official communication from the utility company, causing some people to be concerned that it is a bill they owe. But the company is in not associated with the De Queen Water System and the City of De Queen is not recommending the service to its water customers.

The letters state correctly that the water line from the meter to the residence is the responsibility of the homeowner. But the need to insure that pipe against failure is not as clear. Water customers should consider how often that line has failed and what the cost of repair might be if it something happened to it. Also, customers should investigate the company to find out if their record of paying when claims are filed.

Attorneys General in several states have complained that the offers look too much like bills and can cause confusion, instead of delivering peace of mind.

Instead of buying specialized water line insurance, Consume Reports magazine recommends putting the same amount of money in a rainy day fund instead. If you don’t have a leaky pipe, the money is yours to keep.

 

 

2013-07-24

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Around Town

For Release Wednesday, July 24, 2013

 

By Billy Ray McKelvy

De Queen Mayor

About 100 youngsters from the Bogg Springs Church Camp descended on De Queen last Thursday for a day of service. These young people cleaned flower beds, picked up litter, cleaned downtown, washed cars and hosted police and firefighters for a noon meal. The youngsters were a joy to meet and their experience helped them learn about serving others.

If you are considering starting a small business, a program called Operation Jump Start is available to provide entrepreneurs with valuable training.

Operation Jump Start offers 36 hours of training to help determine the feasibility of business ideas and build business skills.

The six-week class will be offered on the CCCUA campus at Nashville from August 10 through Sept. 23. Hours are 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Thursday, plus one all-day session on Saturday.

The program will help examine business ideas from every angle. You can make a decision about starting your own business and find out if the life of an entrepreneur is right for you.

The class concludes with a business plan competition for seed money. The competition is similar to the “Shark Tank” TV program in which entrepreneurs pitch their idea to a panel of business people.

Operation Jump Start is being funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Winrock International Arkansas Women’s Business Center.

For information, contact Continuing Education Services at CCCUA. Hurry, deadline to register is Friday, July 26.

2013-07-17

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Around Town

For Release 12 noon Wednesday, July 17, 2013

 

By Billy Ray McKelvy

De Queen Mayor

The City of De Queen operates water, sewer and trash pickup programs for the benefit of city residents. Although waste water doesn’t get much attention, it is still important.

The city needs help from users to keep drains flowing.

Each month, workers in the city’s waste water department respond to calls about clogged drain pipes. Many of the problems are caused by insoluble items that were flushed down the drain.

Sewer customers are asked not to pour grease down the drain. The grease will flow when it’s warm, but when it cools it solidifies and coats the walls of pipes. When grease accumulates, the pipe stops flowing and waste water backs up in homes or overflows in yards and ditches.

Brown paper towels should never be put down the drain because they will not break down like toilet paper.

Cloth, rags and disposable baby wipes should never be flushed down the drain.

Waste water personnel have found everything from box cutters to plastic packaging in lift pumps. These items can damage pumps and cause them to stop working.

Disposable plastic gloves, like those worn by health care and food service workers, will jam pumps.

Examples of other items that should not go down the drain include needles and sharps, medications, disposable diapers and pet litter.

Finally, it’s a good idea to know where the clean-out on your home’s sewer line is located. In case of a back-up, the clean-out can be opened to allow water to go outside rather than back up into the house.

2013-07-10

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Around Town

For Release 12 noon Wednesday, July 10, 2013

 

By Billy Ray McKelvy

De Queen Mayor

A group of agriculture producers is working to make a Farmer’s Market a reality here.

The Sevier County Farmers Market is held each Wednesday and Saturday morning at the shelter house in Herman Dierks Park. Farmers arrive about 7:30 a.m. Last week the customers were waiting for them.

After a cool, damp spring, area gardens are producing a bounty of vegetables. Last Saturday’s market included tomatoes, squash, peas, peaches and other garden goodies. Other items included locally-produced honey, crafts and home baked goods. Watermelons are expected to arrive soon.

The local farmers market originated in the Chamber of Commerce, but members have organized and adopted their own rules. Producers can buy a season membership or a one-day pass. Dues go to help with promotion and buying supplies such as bags.

Farmers markets are about more than just a place to buy food. They are a chance to buy fresh, products that have not been shipped over great distances. It’s a way to support local agriculture and develop a relationship with people who produce the food. Unlike the grocery store where items are available year-round, customers have to learn what is in season and when it is available.

To get an idea of what items are available, you can check on the markets Facebook page, where they try to list items that will be available on each day. Just search for Sevier County Farmers Market.

If you enjoy fresh tomatoes in season, they are now available. But you have to get there early before they all gone.

2013-07-03

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Around Town

For Release 12 noon Wednesday, July 3, 2013

 

By Billy Ray McKelvy

De Queen Mayor

Several new state laws will go into effect on July 1, including an increase in the state’s sales tax.

Amendment 91 was approved by voters in the 2012 General Election and it will increase the state sales and use tax by one-half percent, beginning July 1. The increase puts the sales tax at 6.5 percent; however, it will not affect the sales tax on food which has been reduced to 1.5 percent.

The new, temporary sales tax will be collected for 10 years for the improvement of Arkansas highways. The additional sales tax will be shared with cities in the form of additional street turnback funds.

As part of the highway package, one cent of the existing fuel tax has been transferred to the state aid program for city streets. The revenue will provide grants of 90 to 100 percent to municipalities for street projects. These funds are awarded by a committee of mayors across the state. The first round of grants has already been approved.

Another tax issue that might be of interest will be the Sales Tax Holiday on back-to-school supplies. This year’s tax holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3 and end on Sunday, Aug. 4, at 11:59 p.m. Additional information is available on the Department of Finance and Administration website at www.dfa.arkansas.gov.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable Fourth of July holiday. Remember, the city’s fireworks ordinance limits fireworks use within the city to July 3, 4 and 5, from 11 a.m. until midnight.

 

 

 

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