With the Acorn Lady Tigers basketball team winning the Regional Tournament this past Saturday night, they earned a number one seed going into the 1A State Tournament. Their first round game will take place Thursday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. against Hillcrest in Harrison at North Arkansas College. (Photo by Andy Philpot)
Weather delays tourney start; Acorn prepared
For the fourth straight year, the Acorn Lady Tigers basketball team has qualified for the 1A State Basketball Tournament. Each of the last two years, the Lady Tigers have advanced all the way to the State Semi-final game, coming one win short of playing for the state championship.
The Acorn Lady Tigers had an outstanding regular season, only losing three games before they started postseason play. One of the three losses of the season came to the Kirby Lady Trojans, and that was who they faced in the finals of the district tournament. The two teams split their two games during the regular season, and the game to decide the district championship was close all the way until the final minutes when Kirby pulled away and won not only the game, but the district title. This put Acorn with four losses on the year, two of which were to Kirby.
As the 1A Region 4 Tournament got underway last week, Acorn defeated Stephens 89-57 in the first round, pulled out the win against Bradley by a score of 48-41 in the second round, and found themselves in the Regional Finals against familiar Kirby.
Acorn jumped out early with a run and found themselves up 12-0 before Kirby got their first points of the game late in the first quarter. Kirby tightened things up and kept within striking distance for most of the game, but the Lady Tigers pulled away late in the fourth quarter, and won 51-43.
Winning the Regional Championship earned them a number one seed going into the 1A State Tournament, which is to be played at North Arkansas College in Harrison.
The State Tournament was scheduled to get started on Tuesday of this week, which would have been the day Acorn would have played their opening round game. With the wintry weather that hit a big part of the state Sunday afternoon and night, it forced the schedule of the State Tournament to be rearranged not once but twice.
So with the revised schedule, Acorn will play their first round game Thursday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. when they take on a number four see in Hillcrest. If the Lady Tigers win that game, they won’t play their next game until Monday afternoon, March 10, at 1:00 p.m. where they would face the winner of Mulberry and Mount Vernon-Enola. With a victory in that round, the Lady Tigers would be back in familiar territory in the State Semi-finals, which will be played Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. The State Championship game will then be played on Saturday, March 15, in Hot Springs.
“This is a great group of girls, they work hard, they all get along, they have good chemistry, they know who can do what, and they know how to play together,” Head Coach Mike Jackson said. “These girls don’t have to make it back to the semifinals or the championship game for it to still be a great season.”
1-cent county sales tax being voted on
While most people aren’t thinking about heading to the polls to vote until the primary election in May, there is a very important item on the ballot that all registered Polk County voters will get a chance to cast a vote on.
This coming Tuesday, March 11, the polls will be open for the one ballot issue of renewing the special one-cent county sales tax that has been in effect since being first approved by voters in 2007.
This special one-cent county sales tax was voted in to create funds for not just Polk County, but all the municipalities in the county to use for roads. The voters approved it in 2007, and it had a sunset clause of 2014, which is coming up this summer, unless the tax is approved for renewal by voters.
This tax, which is one-percent tax, and amounts to one-cent on every dollar spent, has created revenue that has led to the betterment of roads all over Polk County for the past seven years. Specifically, the money is divided up among the county, and the towns of Vandervoort, Cove, Hatfield, Grannis, Wickes, and Mena.
Population numbers are what determines how much each town gets and how much the county gets.
Through this sales tax, here are the amounts that each municipality receives, and what Polk County receives per year: Vandervoort receives $8,762; Cove receives $38,471; Hatfield receives $41,593; Grannis receives $55,793; Wickes receives $75,935; Mena receives $643,334; and Polk County receives $1,282,540 per year.
All of these areas use the funding for roads, and depend on it annual to do any pavement overlay projects during the summer. With the challenges in the economy that have developed since this was voted in back in 2007, the mayors of each of these towns have stated that if this tax is not renewed, then there will not be funding in their budgets to move over and use for road upgrades and overlay for the foreseeable future.
This one-cent tax creates $2.2 million in funds that are used within Polk County for better roads for all residents to benefit from.
The City of Mena has made some significant strides in road improvements each year, including the paving of Dallas Avenue when the new Mena High School was being built and preparing to open.
The City of Mena also committed in 2007 that 40% of the funds they receive from this tax would go toward the rehabilitation of the city’s aged sewer system.
Since 2007, Mena Water Dept. has been able to install 8,500 of new sewer pipe, rehabilitated 78 manholes, did a sewerline extension to Tapley Park worth $258,000, had a needed flexrake installed at the wastewater treatment plant that cost $405,000. Mena Water has been able to $1,588,500 in needed work with the use of this special tax.
Early voting is underway and continues through next Monday, as well.
Candidates filing period ends, ballots to be set for elections
The filing period for candidate who wish to run for Polk County offices concluded Monday, giving us an idea of which positions are being contested, which ones will require a primary election in May, and which positions don’t have opponents for the 2014 election season.
According to records from the Polk County Clerk’s office following the close of the filing period, here are the positions, the candidates, and their party affiliation:
County Judge: Richard Pena (Democrat), Brandon Ellison (Republican)
Sheriff: Mike Godfrey (Democrat)
County Clerk: Terri Harrison (Democrat)
Circuit Clerk: Sharon Simmons (Democrat)
Treasurer: Tanya Fretz (Independent)
Assessor: Phyllis Bell (Republican), Jovan Thomas (Independent)
JP District 1: Ben Finley (Republican)
JP District 2: Jim Neugent (Independent)
JP District 3: Harold Coogan (Democrat)
JP District 4: Margo Kemp (Democrat)
JP District 5: Troy Lunsford (Republican)
JP District 6: Terry Terrell (Democrat)
JP District 7: Tommy Floyd (Democrat)
JP District 8: Terry Scott (Independent)
JP District 9: Basil Kesterson (Independent)
JP District 10: Collin Cannon (Republican)
JP District 11: Tawana Gilbert (Independent)
Coroner: Brian Bowser (Republican), Scott Jones (Independent)
Constable Center Township 1: Ron Bristow (Repubican), Andy Barron (Republican), William M. Long Jr. (Republican), Curtis Boyd (Independent)
Constable Acorn Township 4: Kris Lyle (Independent)
Constable Mountain Township 7: Carl Randall Oglesby (Democrat)
Constable Gap Springs Township 10: Donald Gene Hendrix (Democrat)
Constable Potter Township 14: Stanley Watson (Republican), Tommy Hubbard (Democrat)
Constable Cedar Township 14: Vernon Wells (Democrat)
Constable Cove Township 15: Jim Corazzo (Independent)
Constable Eagle Township 16: Ray Hagler (Republican)
Constable White Township 17: Jeremy Lawrence (Independent)
Tri-Lakes Regional Water Board: Leroy Thomas (Write-In)
For any of these positions where multiple candidates are from the same political affiliation, these will be narrowed down by party during the primary election, which will take place on Tuesday, May 20. Once each party only has one candidate representing them, the office will then be decided in the general election, which will be in November.
For the positions that only have one candidate, these will be unopposed, and these candidates will either continue their position or will be sworn into the position on January 1.
These positions do not reflect city or municiple positions, such as mayor, city clerk, city council, etc, which will be filed for at a later time this year.
Cast for OLT’s spring musical Willy Wonka selected, rehearsals underway
The Ouachita Little Theatre is busy as winter continues to linger, but spring is on the horizon. As the OLT was welcoming in the public for three weekend’s worth of showings of Murder in the Magnolias, rehearsals were going on for the OLT’s spring musical of Willy Wonka.
Auditions took place between Feburary 19-22, and according to director Rudi Timmerman, the community turnout for auditioning was fantastic. Timmerman stated that a record number of people showed up over the three days of auditions, with a total of 95 people turning out looking to sing, act, and dance in this highly-anticipated production. Timmerman said that of all the people who auditioned, the ages ranged from 4 years old up through 77 years old.
Directors Rudi Timmerman, Jeffery Mathews, and Judi Kropp spent hours wrestling with finding the best combination of talent for the many different roles in what is sure to be a fun family show when it is ready to hit the stage. Because of the overwhelming interest and the director’s policy of finding a place for all who audition and want to be in the show, it was decided to double cast a number of the parts. That is, one group will perform April 25, 26, and 27 while the other group will perform May 1, 2, and 4 (There will be no Saturday May 3 performance).
Rehearsals started on Tuesday, February 25. The main roles of Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket, and Grandpa Joe were cast to Jerod McPherson, Zane Sherrer, and Michael Cate.
The remainder of the proposed cast will be: Mrs. Bucket played by Renee Hendrix; Mr. Bucket played by Jeff Smith; Grandma Josephine played by Judy Studzinski; Grandma Georgina played by Shirley Nunes-Thornton; Grandpa George played by Larry Kropp; Candy Man played by Chris Benner; Phineous Trout played by Robby Burt; Augustus Gloop played by Kailas Hearn; Mrs. Gloop played by Nadean Williams; Veruca Salt played by Allison Austin; Mr. Salt played by Jeffery Mathews; Violet Beauregarde played by Aimmee Williams; Mrs. Beauregarde played by Brandy Benner; Mike Teavee played by Isaiah Kelly; Ms. Teavee played by Gini Burt; James played by Austin Kain; Matilda played by Kaitlind Bryant; Sophie played by Melissa Rothenay; Danny played by Ian Zeider; Alfie played by Kayleb Starnes; Billie by Tyler George; Geraldine played by April Burt.
Grey Squirrels played by Rebekah Ponthieux, Summer Nix, Jenna Anderson, Taylor Davis, Mikel Kenyon-Ortiz, Bailey Benner. Anna Burt, and Robby Burt Jr.; Fox Squirrels played by Caroline Ezell, Chloe Kelley, Zoey Andrews, Ella George, Shai Anderson, Bailey Benner, Anna Burt, and Robby Burt Jr.; Chorus of Cooks will be played by Jacquie Velazquez, Linda Johnson, Morgan Richmond, Deborah Tennison, Faith Amidei, Kristie Kenyon, and Deanna Andrews.
Oompa Loompa Team Leaders will be played by Ariana Kelley, Emily Davis, Cherish Robertson, Harmony Chapin, Marsha Hinson, Kelsey Wiggins, Amanda Wiggins, and Katie Mitchell; and Oompa Loompas will be played by Randa Burt, Olivia Butterfield, Zoe McPherson, Hannah Velazquez, William Davis, Sophia Vacca, Aryana Carter, David Nix, Taeyon Anderson, Wilson Hughes, Kinsey Ferguson, Annika Thompson, Alexa Howard, Mercedes Mowdy, Caleb Cecil, Abby McConnell, Kyla Ferguson, Emma Threlkeld, Kylie Cook, Genesis Howard, Nichole Philpot, Ranessa Ricker, Dakota Williams, Katie Benefield, Nicole Medlin, Hannah Jaelyn, Tori Evans, Morgan Caldwell, Krislinn Williams, Kayleigh Williams, Brayden Stockton, Lila Hearn, Emmalee Andrews, Kaleigh Reaves, Taylor Nance, Joy Dickerson, Gabriel Kelley, Kyndall Dycus, and Milia Sibbett.
For more information on the play, rehearsals, and cast members, go online to www.oltwillywonka.com
Chamber plans annual banquet, awards
The Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce will hold their Annual Meeting during their regular monthly meeting in March, which is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18, at noon, and will be held at the LimeTree Restaurant. This meeting is open to all Chamber membership and the public, and the year’s recap and highlights of Chamber business and happening will be recapped. This meeting will be held in accordance with the Chamber bylaws.
The Chamber of Commerce has also announced that their annual banquet will be held on Tuesday, April 8. Further details of a location, time, and other components of the banquet will be announced soon.
In preparing for the banquet, it’s time for nominations for the annual Chamber Awards. Nominations are being accepted at he Chamber Office until Friday, March 14. The categories that can be nominated by the general public are: Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Best New Construction, and Best Renovation/Beautification. Call Paula at 479-394-2912 for more information.
Dr. Liles reflects on 39-year career in vision, patient care
Dr. Wallace Liles enjoyed his retirement reception, held at Liles Vision Clinic in Mena, last Friday, where friends, family, co-workers, and the community came and went to congratulate Dr. Liles and enjoyed refreshments and socializing. Dr. Liles is pictured above with his wife Shirley and children. (Photo by Andy Philpot)
Dr. Wallace Liles has officially worked his final days as a full-time vision care provider, as he declared last Friday, February 28, would be when he stepped away from the full-time profession placed the business of Liles Vision Clinic into the hands of his son Dr. Wally Liles, and began eyeing retirement.
Dr. Liles has been in the practice of vision care for the past 39 years, and of that time, he spent 30 years of it in Mena.
Like many people, the career that he has spent most of his life doing was not his original plans. After Liles got his degree from undergraduate school at Arkansas State University, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he had accepted a teaching fellowship at Vanderbilt University, where he was going to be a math professor. Two weeks before he was to begin this career step, he realized he didn’t want to be a math professor.
With his wife Shirley working in a health care field, he began weighing his options to pursue a health care profession. Knowing that he didn’t want to pursue being an MD, and having been a person who wore glasses, he was led the direction of eye care.
He was accepted into the University of Houston, where he gained the necessary education from 1971 through 1975. Following graduation, he started a practice in League City, Texas, where he stayed for the first nine years of his career.
Having lived in Mena from 1948 until 1964, this area was home, and he moved himself and the family to Mena in 1984 and opened Liles Vision Clinic. The clinic began with just him and one employee, and it was located in the building that is now home to Edward Jones Investments.
In 1987, Liles opened a vision clinic in De Queen, then moved into their current 3,000 square foot location in 1991, and then expanded his practice into Waldron in 1994. With every step of his career, his goal has been to provide the best eye care to his patients and community.
Aleshire wins second gun through Hunter’s Draw raffle fundraiser
Lisa Aleshire was the winner of last Friday’s drawing in the Hunter’s Draw raffle, and she is picture above receiving a Mossberg .243 with a scope from Polk County Fair and Rodeo Association President John Puckett. This makes Lisa a two-time winner in the Hunter’s Draw weekly raffle since it began in mid-May 2013. The first gun she won was a Henry Golden Boy .22, which was back in late July. Lisa is now the third person two win more than one gun in the Hunter’s Draw raffle. Tickets are now on sale for the next year’s worth of Hunter’s Draw weekly raffle drawings, which will get started in mid-May once this current Hunter’s Draw raffle concludes. Tickets are $50 each, but all tickets are part of each week’s drawing, which is held every Friday for 52 weeks. Even when a winning ticket is drawn, it is put back into the pot of tickets, giving everybody a chance to win multiple times throughout the course of the 52 weeks. Tickets are currently on sale through Tim’s Yamaha, the Polk County Extension Office, and through any member of the Polk County Fair and Rodeo Association. The Hunter’s Draw raffle serves as a fundraiser to help pay for needed repairs and upgrades to the rodeo arena at the Polk County Fairgrounds. The gun that will be drawn for this Friday will be a Stoger 12-gauge. (Photo by Andy Philpot)
QWSP ready for Quilting Series
MENA - Quilting Queen Wilhelmina State Park Interpreter Yvonne Duvall would like to invite everyone to the park for a new twelve month series “Exploring Queen Wilhelmina State Park through Quilting” Starting in March . Whether you are an avid quilter or a novice quilter this is for you.
Each month on a specified Saturday we will meet and discuss our new quilt block. All quilt blocks will relate to the park. I encourage you to join us, and help make this new series a success.
Each month will feature:
A free kit (pattern and instructions) to Make a nature themed quilt block
A program about the nature topic for the quilt block
Classroom discussion on cutting and sewing your block (done by entire group)
Lots of fun and friendship!
By the end of the 12 months- you will have enough blocks to complete an “Exploring Queen Wilhelmina State Park through quilting” quilt.
Please call ahead to reserve your Free Kit. For more information call Duvall at 479-394-2863 or email email@example.com
Polar Plunge sees record turnout, raises funds for Special Olympics
The Third Annual Polar Plunge was held locally at Lake Wilhelmina on Saturday, February 22, and whether it was the warmer weather or just growing support of this great cause, there was a record turnout for this unique event.
While the totals have not been made official yet, there were approximately 62 participants who plunged into the frigid lake water, and the estimation of funds raised is somewhere over $8,500. Both of these are all-time highs for the three years of the event’s history in Mena.
First introduced to the Mena area in 2012, the event was first spearheaded by Polk County Sheriff Mike Godfrey and the Sheriff’s Department, and was quickly supported by many other organizations and individuals to make it as successful as possible. The driving force behind the event has always been to raise money for the Arkansas Special Olympics, and proceeds from the Polar Plunge go toward allowing Special Olympic athletes to train and compete in a variety of sporting events free of charge.
Each of the first two years that the Polar Plunge was held at Lake Wilhelmina, both the air temperature and the water temperature were bitterly cold, so it definitely provides the experience one would expect from an activity named Polar Plunge. This year’s weather was more favorable as far as sunshine and a little warmer air temperature, but the water temperatures itself was frigid enough to keep the name Polar Plunge a true statement.
The name of the game isn’t just all about raising money, because having fun is a big part of it as well. Costumes are not just welcomed, but encouraged. The winners for the costume contest were: School Age Girl Category - Sadie Espinoza for her Ice Cube Mascot costume; Adult Man Category - Harvey Williams for the Hula Girl costume; Pair Category - Krystal Williams and Aimmee Williams for their Raggedy Ann costumes; Group Category - PCDC (Sherry Clement, Justin Hensley, Eve Strother, and Josh Star) for their Duck Dynasty costumes. There were no entries in the categories of School Age Boy and Adult Woman.
Winners in the categories for most funds raised were: Individual - Aimmee Williams with $1,010.36 raised; Group - Hillbilly Healers (Gayla Crowley, Brittney Moon, Gary Buckley, Lori Barber, Robert Coleman, Kathy Lewis, and Ruth Donaldson) with $1,202.54 raised; School - Mena Middle School with $3,605.36 raised.
For the Full Articles, please pick up the March 6th issue of The Mena Star