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Bowie County Launches their ACT® Work Ready Community Initiative

Texarkana, Texas—Bowie County announced today, they have engaged in the process to become a certified ACT® Work Ready Community (ACT® WRC). This practice demonstrates their commitment to developing a strong workforce pipeline, desirable to employers, economic developers, and current and future citizens of the county. Earlier this year, Miller County began the process and now Bowie County is on board to work with the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce and Miller County to enhance our workforce in the Texarkana Region. “Bowie County is excited to work with the Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce and Miller County to become a certified ACT® Work Ready Community.  This is a regional effort to develop a talent pipeline for our employers, and Bowie County is excited to support this initiative. The ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate® (ACT® WorkKeys® NCRC®) is the basis for industry-driven efforts that link education, workforce, and economic development,” said Judge Bobby Howell, Bowie County Judge. Continue Reading →

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Care Providers Oklahoma Responds to President Joe Biden’s Nursing Home Vaccine Mandate

New Requirements Could Cause Unprecedented Workforce Catastrophe

OKLAHOMA CITY – Care Providers Oklahoma, the association representing Oklahoma’s skilled nursing professionals and residents, today released the following statement in response to President Joe Biden’s announcement that all skilled nursing staff must be vaccinated:

“Oklahoma’s skilled nursing facilities, through a combination of successful vaccination campaigns and rigorous safety protocols, are now clearly the safest places in Oklahoma for vulnerable seniors when it comes to COVID protection. In the week of August 8-14, for example, the state’s Epidemiology Report indicates that skilled nursing and long-term care (LTC) settings had just 44 new COVID cases among residents across over 600 facilities, representing just .28% of the state’s total portion of new cases. That number has fallen precipitously since the last week of December 2020, when skilled nursing/LTC reported 443 new cases among residents, representing 2.4% of the state’s total caseload. As the Delta variant continues to explode across the state and country, Oklahoma nursing homes have largely kept COVID under control and offered the most successful protection to their residents available anywhere. “For that reason, it is extremely frustrating and disappointing to see the Biden Administration single out nursing homes as the only health care provider facing a federal vaccination mandate. More importantly, this mandate will transform the current workforce shortage in the skilled nursing profession (where administrators report upwards of 20% of jobs are going unfilled) into an untenable crisis that could result in facility closures and the complete abandonment of vulnerable seniors.“Today, approximately 49% of Oklahoma’s skilled nursing staff and 82% of our residents are fully vaccinated, which significantly outpaces the state average of 42%. Continue Reading →

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TWU Director J.D. Phillips to Retire

TEXARKANA, USA—The Director of the Texarkana Water Utility J.D. Phillips intends to retire on August 30, 2021. Phillips has worked for TWU for 31 years, beginning his career in February of 1990. Phillips began his employment for TWU as the Engineering Manager, and was named Interim Executive Director in 2015. His title as Executive Director became official in May of 2016. Texarkana, Arkansas City Manager Jay Ellington compliments Phillips on his career. Continue Reading →

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TWU -Temporary Change to Water Disinfection Procedures

TWU

Texarkana Water Utilities (TWU) will begin a temporary change to the method of disinfecting our drinking water beginning July 19 and lasting about eight weeks.  The water will remain safe to drink throughout the process.  TWU normally uses chloramine, a mixture of ammonia and chlorine, to disinfect water.  Beginning Monday, July 19 and for approximately eight weeks TWU will use chlorine only, also known as “free chlorine”.  The periodic temporary conversion from chloramine to free chlorine is a widely used preventative maintenance procedure for municipal water systems in both Texas and Arkansas. TWU previously performed this procedure in March-April 2015 and February-March 2018, October-November 2019. Over time minerals may attach to pipes and release when there are changes in pressure that may result in discoloration.  Other processes such as nitrification and the growth of biofilm may also occur in water distribution pipes.  The biofilm growth can cause a reduction in the effectiveness of residual disinfectants over time.  The use of free chlorine will help cleanse the lines, reduce the occurrence of nitrification and biofilm, and ensure that we provide quality water for the customers served by TWU. Citizens may see more flushing of fire hydrants by TWU staff during this process.  Certain water lines with low flow must be flushed more often to ensure the free chlorinated water is adequately moving through the water distribution system. Free chlorine is a stronger disinfectant than chloramine.  As a result, some water-users may experience a slight change in the aesthetics of their water during the conversion, including a noticeable “chlorine odor” and slight discoloration.  This should lessen after a couple of weeks and does not affect the safety of the water supply. Continue Reading →

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COVID Update Miller County and Vaccinations 7-14-2021

The Office of Emergency Management is following the upward trend of the positivity rate within Miller County and the surrounding metro area. While an exact number of new positive COVID-19 cases is unavailable, the medical community is advising more cases of COVID-19 patients are being seen. OEM works closely with area medical facilities, practitioners, state and local Emergency Management agencies to track the trends of the virus. Medical facilities in our area have recorded inpatient care of COVID-related illnesses in the last seven days that closely match that of hospitalizations from March 2021. In February 2021, Miller County Emergency Management normally recorded 175 new positive COVID cases every ten days. Continue Reading →

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SWAAC to Seek Proposals for Art Project in Hope

Area residents will soon have the opportunity to express their desires and opinions on a public art project proposed by the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council.  Two artists, Paul Hester of Fayetteville and Houston,Texas, and David Griggs of Denver, Colorado, have been invited by SWAAC to spend time in Hope to assess needs, assets, and potential of public spaces in order to put together a proposal for the art project. 

            The two artists will tour Hope and visit with residents on July 14. An open meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 14, 2:30 – 4 p.m. at the local Chamber of Commerce Office.  The public is invited to attend.             “The purpose of public art is to enhance a city and to attract visitors,” said Rodney Steele, chairman of SWAAC’s Public Art Steering Committee.  “Improving areas through public art can also impact economic development and usage of those areas.” 

            Hester and Griggs are no strangers to Hope.  In 1996, the two were commissioned by the arts council to complete a proposal for the brick and wrought iron fence and display, now called the Heritage Wall, alongside the downtown Hope Railroad Depot which also serves as the Hope Visitor’s Center and Museum. 

            Hester, who first came to Hope as an artist-in-residence in Hope Schools, is a photographer.  He received a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Rhode Island School of Design.  His photographs reside in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Wooster Art Museum in Massachusetts, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC, and the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth.  He was on the faculty of the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts, Rice University, Houston, for 15 years.             Griggs is a Denver-based artist who has completed over 60 commissioned works of art throughout the United States.  He is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts.  He has worked in many capacities in the arts, including gallery manager, museum preparator, and studio artist.  For the last 30 years, he has been self-employed as a public artist.  Recent commissions include projects for the cities of Anchorage, Boulder, Chicago, Dallas, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Madison, San Antonio, Santa Fe, Stockton, Toronto, and Washington.  He lives and works with his wife in Denver’s burgeoning Santa Fe Arts District.             Hester and Griggs plan to revisit the Heritage Wall on their upcoming visit, to determine any maintenance or additional work needed, as well as to determine the parameters of a proposal for additional public art.              “These artists are eager for community interaction,” said Steele. Continue Reading →

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The Great Miller County Cleanup

Miller County, AR: Miller County Judge Cathy Harrison wants to invite the citizens of Miller County to join her and other elected officials on Saturday, June 26th from 8a-11a for a countywide cleanup. There will be refreshments, t-shirts for all who participate, and many prizes awarded. Judge Harrison said, “This is a great event to meet people and elected officials in your area as well as do some good for our Miller County.” “This cleanup includes the Cities of Texarkana, Garland, and Fouke as well and it’s not too late to put a team together or if you want to join a team in your area of the county we can help,” said Harrison. Anyone interested can call the Miller County Judge’s Office at (870)774-1301 and ask for Becca so the Judge’s Office can get your packet with a T-shirt ready. There have been many people ready to volunteer so don’t forget comfortable walking shoes, clothes, a hat and if you have a litter grabber please bring it. Continue Reading →

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Miller County Launches ACT® Work Ready Community Initiative

Texarkana, Arkansas—Miller County announced today, they have engaged in the process to become a certified ACT® Work Ready Communities (ACT® WRC). This practice demonstrates their commitment to developing a strong workforce pipeline, desirable to employers, economic developers, and current and future citizens of the county. “Miller County is excited to partner with the Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce to launch ACT® Work Ready Communities initiatives that use the ACT® WorkKeys® NCRC® as the basis for industry-driven efforts that link education, workforce, and economic development,” said Judge Cathy Harrison, Miller County Judge. The ACT® Work Ready Communities (ACT® WRC) initiative empowers states, regions and counties with data, processes and tools that drive economic growth by identifying skills gaps and quantifying the skill level of their workforce. Participants leverage the ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate® (ACT® WorkKeys® NCRC®) to measure and close skills gaps and build common frameworks that link, align, and match their workforce development efforts. Continue Reading →

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Reporting Damage from Flooding in Bowie County

TEXARKANA, TX— Texarkana, Texas and Bowie County residents who have been affected by the recent flooding event need to report damages to the State of Texas Department of Emergency Management so that a total damage cost estimate can be calculated. If you experienced damage due to flooding after May 17, 2021 until the present, please visit https://damage.tdem.texas.gov/ and Click on “May 17-TBD, 2021 Severe Weather”. The objective of this survey is to identify damages across Texas, to help emergency management officials across the state gain an understanding of damages that have occurred during recent natural disaster activity. For more information about disaster relief, resources and recovery, follow @texarkanaoem on facebook. Continue Reading →

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Miller County COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

Miller County, AR: The Miller County Office of Emergency Management has teamed up with College Hill Drug and Lansdell Family Clinic to provide a COVID-19 vaccination clinic Saturday, March 6th from 9am-5pm at the Arkansas High School Razorback Gym located at 1500 Jefferson in Texarkana, AR. Miller County recently began receiving larger shipments of the vaccine and the pharmacies need a larger venue for the rollout. Director Joe Bennett of Emergency Management said, “Coordination efforts between OEM, Texarkana Arkansas School District, Rotary Club of Texarkana, College Hill Drug, Health Mart and various medical facilities have resulted in providing this service to citizens aged 65 and over, staff and faculty at educational facilities, medical personnel and emergency responders, and newly approved to receive the vaccination; agricultural workers and poultry processing workers in the poultry industry, all of which are included in the Phase 1A-1B category.”

Currently, there are approximately 1400 people signed up on the College Hill Drug vaccination web site. OEM receives phone calls daily from citizens who say they have signed up but not have been called. Often, it is revealed that a call was made to the individual but not answered due to a non-recognized phone number. Continue Reading →

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