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Archive for January, 2007

Monticello police officer injured in hit and run

Monday, January 29th, 2007

The Monticello Police Department responded to calls at approximately 1:30 a.m. Monday at Connelley and Gaines where initial reports indicated fights had broken out at the Chocolate Factory.

During officers’ attempts to bring order, Monticello police officer George Strain proceeded to the street to apprehend one of those involved in the fights, Christopher Smith, 18. While on the street, they were both hit by a car driven by McGehee resident Keshia Daniels’, 26, as she left the location.

Officer Strain incurred significant injuries and after being initially treated at Drew Memorial Hospital was transferred to Jefferson Regional Hospital in Pine Bluff. His injuries are not listed as life threatening. Smith was also hit and suffered a severely broken leg. He was transferred to the University of Arkansas Medical Center in Little Rock for treatment.

Daniels was arrested in McGehee an hour later for the hit and run.

Recycling. What’s it all about?

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

recyc3.jpgIt’s about making a difference. Recycling is a concern across our nation, and it’s no different here in Monticello.

Some interesting facts about recycling:

  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a TV for 3 hours
  • Aluminum cans thrown away by Americans in one month would reach the moon if stacked end to end.
  • Throwing out one aluminum can wastes enough energy to equal half of the can filled with gasoline. Americans toss 35 billion cans each year.
  • It takes an aluminum can 200 years to decompose.
  • The average household generates 38 pounds of PET plastic bottles (examples are soda and juice containers) each year.
  • If you drink one 20 oz. soda each day, you generate 23 pounds of PET plastic in a year. Two weeks worth, 14 bottles, will yield enough fiber for an XL T-shirt or one square foot of carpeting.
  • Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 110-watt bulb for 4 hours.

recyc1.jpgMonticello’s recycling center currently services only between 300-400 homes, but even that makes a difference. The recyclables from Monticello are compacted into large bundles using the machine pictured here and then sold to ORE-Recovered Material of Clinton, Arkansas. Last year, ORE reported concerning just the paper from Monticello that was recycled. 209.54 tons of paper was recycled from Monticello between the months of January and June, six months. Most of the shredded paper is from UAM but not all of it.

Because of the efforts of Cathy Davis and others at the Monticello Recycling Center and the university’s committment to recycling we saved in just six months:

  • 3,562 trees
  • 859,114 KWH of energy
  • 1,466,780 gallons of water
  • 691 cubic yards of landfill
  • 12,572 pounds of air pollution

recyc2.jpgAlthough Cathy is doing a great job at recycling there are some steps to be taken to make this program even more effective. Recycle products are picked up each Wednesday morning within city limits. To be added to the route and begin recycling, please call Cathy Davis at 367-4407. She is more than willing to answer questions in order to help more and more people get involved.

Once a household is added to the program items for recycling should be grouped into the following categories:

-cardboard (if large quantity of boxes, please flatten)
-newspaper
-shredded office paper (paper that is NOT shredded is NOT accepted at this time)
-aluminum cans (no food cans, no aluminum foil)
-plastic milk jugs, soda bottles, water bottles, etc. (no wide mouth plastics such as peanut butter jars)

At this time, glass is not accepted along with paper plates or stryofoam containers.

To find out more about recycling search the web and the sites are endless. One such site is Recycle City, a great place for people any age, but especially younger students, to learn more about recycling.

One Monticello Life: Rebecca Akin

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

akin1.jpg

“There is a place where dreams come true, where wishes big and small lead to happily ever after.” This is the current advertising campaign for Walt Disney World. It can be heard on most television and radio stations. One of Monticello’s own, Rebecca Akin, just finished being a part of this magical experience. Here is her story:

Rebecca was born and raised in Monticello. Her dad is President/CEO of Akin Industries, which is a furniture manufacturing company. Her mother is a speech pathologist. Rebecca’s fond memories of growing up in Monticello are many. As children, she and her brother John spent time at Akin Industries where they creatively built trampolines out of excess chair foam. She also remembers city parades, her favorite teachers, ninth grade cheerleading, homecoming court and competing in a UAM monologue competition. She graduated from Monticello High School in 2002.

She attended Ouachita Baptist University, mainly due to the influence of her mother and grandfather. Her mother, Susan, was an OBU graduate, and her grandfather, Raymond Coppenger, taught religion and philososphy at the university. OBU had always played special role in her family and was already a special place for her. Rebecca had known from an early age that she wanted to pursue theater.

“OBU is a safe environment to do theater. I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about racy characters at their small theater,” she said.

She also enjoyed spending time with her grandfather who is now 97 years old. She attended church with him and could walk to his house from campus. She graduated from OBU in August 2006 with a bachelor’s of art, double-majoring in Theater and Mass Communications. She was encouraged to find a theatrical internship, and was excited to land one at Walt Disney World.

At the Disney Internship, Rebecca took entertainment and communication classes. The classes were hands-on, and she experienced the in’s-and-out’s of how theater works at WDW. Rebecca also worked daily as a tour guide for the The Great Movie Ride at MGM Studios. On each tour, she would read a fifty-page script to a group of 70 people. She could not deviate from the script unless the car would get stuck for mechanical reasons. This happened quite often. During the wait, Rebecca enjoyed entertaining her tourists. She would usually end up telling jokes like her favorite, “Why was Cinderella so bad at soccer? Because her coach was a pumpkin, and she always ran away from the ball’. Because most of the riders were at a point of impatient frustration, she usually received more groans than laughs. But this did not stop Rebecca from having fun and making the most of her situations.

akin2.jpgAt the end of the internship she was voted on by her peers and manager for the Thunderous Applause Award. This award was confirmation to Rebecca that although she might be different than most of her classmates, her fun spirit and attitude paid off.
Rebecca learned more than theater at Walt Disney World. She also grew in her Christian faith. Walt Disney World is known as a “happy” place, but she found herself unhappy at times. It proved to be quite a culture shock as she discovered the variety of people and backgrounds at the park. There were parts of her experience that she “hated” but that she wouldn’t trade them. She said she grew as a Christian and learned to rely on God on a new level.

Rebecca is unsure what is next for her now that her Walt Disney experience is over. Currently she is working for Akin Industries creating a furniture catalogue. She likes this stage of life where “nothing can hold her back,” and possibilities are endless. She loves theater and wants to keep that avenue open. Already, she has many credentials:

  • Stage Performances- This is Where We Came In, The Art of Self Defense, Anything Goes, Sound of Music, and South Pacific
  • Directed one-act play, The Diary of Adam and Eve
  • Created and directed Monticello Children’s Theater Camp
  • Semester study in Salzburg, Austria

It is obvious that many dreams have already come true for Rebecca. But because of her love for theater and her love for life, it will be interesting to see what other wishes of this Monticellonian are granted. She is proof that there is a place that dreams come true, not only at Walt Disney World but also in Monticello. Thanks, Rebecca Akin- one Monticello life.

Council abolishes Parks and Rec Commission; approves pool repairs

Friday, January 19th, 2007

The Monticello City Council met last night with a long list of topics to tackle, including the city pool issue. After much discussion, the Council voted unanimously to continue the repairs and replacement of the liner with contractor Kenny Johnson for a new contract price of $268,083. The original contract was for $242,585 but Mr. Johnson reported that once the project began it was discovered that “the pool is sub-standard construction-wise”. His concern is having to warranty the job for a year, wanting to be confident in the work he’s done. At $268,083 Mitch Rose, the engineer representing the city from McClellan Engineering, projects 5-10 more years use with the current restoration. At this cost, the liner will be replaced with upgraded material, some pipes will be replaced, the diving board will be repaired, a working drainage system will be installed, and the pool lights will be checked and replaced if needed. Alderwoman Sherrie Gillespie asked why the city keeps pumping so much money into the upkeep and maintenance of the old city pool, but was told that this is the first major renovation in the life of the pool, since 1993.

Another major decision reached on the initiation of new Mayor Joe Rogers was his proposal to abolish the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission. Extensive discussion followed this proposal. Rogers responded to Tim Chase’s statement that the city office was taking on more responsibility than they’ve ever had before by saying, “I take full responsibility, 100%”.

As part of this responsibility, Rogers proposed that the city’s Parks and Recreations Commission be done away with, leaving him in control of this area with an advisory board. The Parks Commission has been in place since 1998, serving the community by completing projects such as park improvements, a new baseball complex, a sports complex, among other things. Nevertheless, the Council voted 6-1 with Tim Chase opposing, to grant the disbanding of the Commission.

Just before the meeting adjourned, Parks and Recreation Commission chairman Steve Hartness was given the opportunity to speak. He wanted to voice his concern over the issue and let it be known that the Commission had worked diligently within the boundaries established for them, and that he didn’t understand the decision.

Hartness stated, “Everything we have done has been upfront. I have come to you for two years with budgets and laid it on the line for the city council to approve or disapprove. We’ve accomplished a lot in the past five years. I’m proud of what we’ve done. I’m a little disappointed tonight. I wasn’t considered important enough to even know about this except through the grapevine.”

The mayor argued that he had left a message with Hartness’s wife but Hartness reiterated that he had been contacted at work and on his cell phone on other occasions but wasn’t about the meeting and what was proposed to happen to the commission.

Hartness continued, “There were things in the paper that skirted right on the verge of us being irresponsible with tax money. I hope you don’t think that. I’m not understanding what the difference is in a 15-member advisory board and a parks commission. I’m not understanding how it’s different, other than you’ve got eight more voices or opinions. If something needed done, it’s gotten done.”

He concluded, “I wish ya’ll the best and I’ve enjoyed working with you guys.”

Appreciation for the commission was expressed by Alderwoman Beverly Hudson who said, “I’d like to say they’ve done a tremendous job, and I think that we should thank them for the many hours. I certainly have had no complaints. I think the mayor just wants to take us in a different direction, and we should give him the opportunity.”

Another issue that stirred discussion was the proposal to grant Rogers the ability to approve up to $20,000 in city expenditures without engaging in a competitive bidding process. The previous limit was $10,000. The council also approved that initiative, by a vote of 6-1, with Chase voting against.

Rogers gave his first State of the City address, reading from a prepared manuscript. In it, he stated, “…where others have found persistent problems; let us discover new opportunities.”

Listen to the full meeting on the MonticelloLive-provided podcast here.
(more…)

City council meeting report

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

MonticelloLive is proud to provide you with an audio podcast of Thursday night’s, January 18, Monticello City Council meeting:


You may fast forward or rewind through the podcast by dragging the slider.

Results of the meeting included:

  • Mayor Joe Rogers proposed the abolishment of the Monticello Parks and Recreation Commission. Motion passed, 6-1, with Alderman Tim Chase voted against it.
  • Robert Rosegrant was approved as Roger’s selection for Chief of Police.
  • $262,000 of pool renovations were approved after lengthy discussion. Vote for approving renovations was 6-1, with Alderwoman Sherrie Gillespie voting against.
  • A proposal granted the mayor increased authority to approve up to $20,000 in expenditures without accepting competitive bidding was approved by at vote of 6-1, with Chase voting against. The former expenditure level was $10,000.
  • Contractual services to the following organizations were granted for the 2007 year: Monticello Boys and Girls’ Club, Monticello-Drew County Chamber of Commerce, and the Monticello Economic Development Commission.
  • The city accepted a contract with Garver Engineers for airport layout drawing in preparation for the airport’s capital improvement plan.
  • Mayor Rogers delivered his State of the City address.

A full story about the meeting will be posted Friday.

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