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RV area planned for Kennedy Park


The Batesville City Council will consider a resolution to allow Mayor Rick Elumbaugh to seek a grant from the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, for assistance in developing a recreation vehicle park at Kennedy Park.

The project would involve putting overhead utility lines in the area underground, and making sure the area remains clean and maintained, while at the same time, keeping the park open and available for use by the public at all reasonable times of the day and year.

The council will also consider a draft ordinance to establish standards and specifications to administer and regulate the right-of-ways and easements permits in the public interest.

The draft ordinance would require that any company doing work on the right-of-ways and easements has an address filed with the city, describing the nature, extent and location of the work, along with a start date, and end date. Contact information of the company, along with the person onsite overseeing the work will be filed with the city. Any company doing this type of work should be able to provide a certificate of authority or other acceptable evidence of authority to operate from the Arkansas Public Service Commission and or the FCC, and any other similar approvals, permits or agreements

The utility application permit fee will be $50. If the work has not begun within six month sof the date of the issuance, the permits will automatically expire.

In the event that a contractor or a utility does not have a plan for scope of work to be performed, an indemnity bond in the amount of $10,000 can be accepted for work start. Once work has started and it appears the first indemnity bond will not cover all work, a second bond will have to be secured. Once work is finished the contractor or utility will provide a detail of all road-cuts and work locations to the city to keep on file.

The draft ordinance included language for emergency situations, the effective period of the permit, cancellations, and required standards.

Equipment and machinery certification and calibrations must be current. The city reserves the right to stop all work if any piece of equipment is found to be out of compliance, especially boring, auguring, or any machine that uses instruments to guide it underground from one location to the next.

Batesville City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at city hall, 500 East Main.

UACCB gets workforce grant

The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville was recently awarded $525,000 in Regional Workforce Grant Phase II funds. UACCB will utilize the funding to purchase equipment to enhance current programs, as well as support the creation of a new Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Operator program.

According to the Arkansas Division of Higher Education’s website, the Workforce Initiative Act Regional Workforce Grant Program seeks to create a statewide, comprehensive structure enabling students in Arkansas universities, community colleges and secondary centers to participate in career and technical education programs developed with input from area employers. Additionally, preparing and encouraging Arkansans to pursue high-demand jobs, including but not limited to, those stemming from industry recognized credentials, career and technical certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees is essential to building a skilled and employment-ready workforce.

The Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Operator program will include a certificate of proficiency in Commercial Truck Driving (CDL), a certificate of proficiency in Heavy Equipment Operator, and a technical certificate in Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Operator. Funding will provide for a Freightliner M2 crew cab semi-tractor, which will allow space for one instructor and three students, a dry van box trailer, a flatbed trailer, a mini excavator, and a skid steer.

“While most people think of over the road (OTR) truck drivers, of which there is great demand, there is a similarly high demand for local and regional drivers,” said Brian Shonk, vice chancellor for academics. “In our region, the poultry processing industry employs many commercial truck drivers to transport grains to feed plants, feed to poultry farms, poultry to processing plants, and various waste to disposal. Our region is home to many rock quarries delivering natural materials for processing and final use. Additionally, like many other locations, our area has a large need for service drivers delivering building materials, fuels, packages, septic services, and more.”

UACCB also plans to purchase an Omnicell autonomous pharmacy management system to be utilized in the registered nursing program. UACCB has a long standing partnership with White River Health System and Unity Health-White County Medical Center. Both healthcare institutions utilize the Omnicell system designed to deliver “the right dose to the right patient at the right time” in an effort to reduce errors in medicine administration. With the purchase of the Omnicell autonomous pharmacy system, UACCB nursing students will have the benefit of training with technology used in the local and regional healthcare systems, providing them with “real-world” workforce training.

The college also plans to enhance its computer technology offerings with the creation of a modern computer lab with 12 Apple iMac computers, a DJI Matrice 300 RTK drone and one Zenmuse H20T combination 20 megapixel camera, thermal camera, and laser range finder.

“Industrial Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) use has increased dramatically and the need for operators, and more importantly, persons to utilize data collected from UAV usage, is greatly needed,” Shonk said. “UACCB currently utilizes six educational drones for instructional purposes. These drones are very limited in their application and will continue to serve a role in the program but are not sufficient to demonstrate real-world capabilities. Technology is advancing at an exponential pace, and this is especially evident in the development of drone technology. This new drone will allow our students to train on the most current flight platform available.”

For more information about programs or admissions to UACCB, contact the admissions office at 870-612-2139.

New bridge for Big Creek

The Independence Quorum Court met in a special session Thursday afternoon to accept a bid for the Big Creek Bridge project near Floral, which will revitalize the connection between Independence and Cleburne counties.

The quorum court meeting scheduled for June was rescheduled for July, but then this came up, so Independence County Judge Robert Griffin called a special meeting.

Four Arkansas-based companies bid on the project. Seagraves Construction out of Pocahontas was the lowest bid at $1,582,440. The second-lowest bid was $2,725,070.

The funding for the project is being provided by a grant from the Economic Development Administration and local funds. Griffin said the county will take care of dirt work and deconstruction of the existing structure, which will knock $156,000 off that amount.

“We are entering a period of inflationary trends and supply difficulties,” Griffin explained.

“I felt it was of utmost importance to expedite the approval of this project due to unprecedented economic conditions. We are very blessed,” Griffin said.

The structure will be concrete and work should commence promptly.

Seagraves Construction is currently working on a Center Grove Road bridge and has constructed a bridge on Johnson Hollow Road in the past.