Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative to Launch in January

Pulaski County has been approved to participate in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a nationally recognized model created by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to promote detention reform. The model will be implemented in the county under the leadership of the juvenile courts and the Office of the County Judge and County Attorney.

This initiative is an opportunity to improve the “front-end” of the juvenile justice system based on research and evidence-informed practices, as part of larger juvenile justice reforms in the County.

Center for Children’s Law and Policy will provide technical assistance. Pulaski County is the third JDAI site in Arkansas following Benton and Washington Counties. Since implementation, the number of youth committed to state custody in Benton and Washington Counties dropped by 30 and 25 percent respectively.

“Our current juvenile system needs improvement. Having the guidance of JDAI and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, we are poised to make the necessary adjustments to the juvenile justice system thereby improving the lives of at-risk youth in Pulaski County,” said County Judge Barry Hyde.

In June, Pulaski County released the findings of its juvenile justice system assessment study performed by the CCLP. Using the JDAI framework, CCLP provided suggestions for areas of improvement including collaboration among stakeholders, data collection and analysis, case processing and alternatives to detention and incarceration programs.

CCLP also provided recommendations for the Pulaski County Juvenile Detention Center “conditions of confinement in facilities that house youth.” These recommendations included discontinuing the use of orange jumpsuits and the 24-hour lock down after admission. Shortly after reviewing the recommendations, the juvenile detention facility discontinued the 24-hour lock down and offers khaki pants and polo shirts as standard attire for those housed in the facility.

“Young people make impulsive decisions but that shouldn’t mean we give up on them. We can hold young people accountable but give them the guidance, education and support they need to get their lives back on track toward a bright future. By working with JDAI, DYS and the juvenile courts that bright future will be realized,” said Hyde.

Pulaski County will host a kick-off meeting Tuesday, January 23 at the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce Conference Center at 9 a.m. at 100 Main Street. Representatives from JDAI, DYS and Pulaski County will convene to discuss the process toward participating in the initiative. Speakers will include County Judge Barry Hyde and Pulaski County Circuit Judge Joyce Warren. Governor Asa Hutchinson has been invited attend.

Deputy County Attorney Chastity Scifres presenting one of four training sessions that introduces JDAI core strategies. Attendees represented various organizations and agencies such as DHS, LRPD, LRSD, Circuit Court and the Public Defenders’ Office.

Pulaski County Big Fix – More than 100 Pets Receive Spay/Neuter Services

The Pulaski County Big Fix was a success with 34 public pets receiving spay or neuter surgeries at Arkansans for Animals. The surgeries were funded by the “Give 5” campaign, which is a voluntary tax added to property taxes, and provides money to offer county residents a way to spay or neuter their pets–for FREE. The overall goal of the “Give 5” campaign is to reduce pet populations in animal shelters around Pulaski County. Through the generosity of Pulaski County residents, approximately 150 public and shelter cats and dogs will receive surgeries. While the program is only for county residents, the impact is statewide. If you are interested in donating to Pulaski County Spay and Neuter Fund, next time you pay your Personal Property Taxes you can “Give 5.” If you are interested in having your pet spayed or neutered please call Arkansans for Animals at 501-455-5400.

Sold out event raises funds for youth services programs

The 2017 Champions of Youth Awards Dinner was Pulaski County Youth Services’ largest and most successful event to-date. More than 200 attended the sold-out event honoring Theresa Timmons Shamberger, Kathy Webb, Dawn Scott, and Rick Fleetwood. Special guests included: Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde, event emcee Craig O’Niell, Reverend Betsy Synder, Judge Rita Bailey, Judy Tenenbaum, and Angela Moody. CLICK HERE to see photos of the event.

Brownfields Accepting Public Comments for Subgrant Award

Pulaski County Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund is accepting comments during a 30-day period on the subgrant award to First United Methodist Church Downtown Little Rock. The purpose of the public notice is to inform the public of the environmental issues present, and the proposed cleanup process for the property located at 307 West 7th Street, Little Rock, AR 72205. First United Methodist Church Downtown Little Rock has been awarded a subgrant from the Pulaski County Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund for the abatement of contaminates found on the site. Public comments will be accepted through November 28, 2017.

A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 from 4:00pm – 6:00pm in the Pulaski County Administration Room 401, 201 S. Broadway, Little Rock, AR.  All public comments on the cleanup process will be considered and a formal response memorandum will be filed in the project Administrative Record. A hard copy of the Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) will be available for review at public meeting.  A copy of the ABCA will also be available at the Pulaski County Brownfields office, 201 S. Broadway, Suite 220, during normal business hours. All public comments should be submitted in writing to the Pulaski County Brownfields or via email to jfout@pulaskicounty.net.

The Brownfields Administrative Record for First United Methodist Church Downtown Little Rock cleanup will be maintained throughout the duration of the project and will be available for review at the Pulaski County Brownfields office, 201 S. Broadway, Suite 220, Little Rock, during normal business hours and at other times by appointment. To make an appointment to review the Administrative Record, or for questions regarding this announcement, please contact the Pulaski County Brownfields Office at (501) 340-3594.

PULASKI COUNTY TO OFFER FREE SPAY/NEUTER SERVICES TO RESIDENTS NOVEMBER 30

Voluntary Tax raised $45,000 for Spay/Neuter Services

In November 2016, the Pulaski County Quorum Court voted to create the “Voluntary Animal Control Spay/Neuter Tax.” This voluntary tax allows county residents to add $5 to their personal or business property tax bill. The County is proud to announce that in its first year, the spay/neuter fund collected approximately $45,000.

A portion of the funds collected will go toward the county’s first spay/neuter event—the Pulaski County Big Fix, Thursday, November 30 at the Little Rock Animal Village. Pet owners for a small deposit of $10 can have their pets spayed or neutered. Pulaski County will cover the cost of the surgery.

“Spay/neuter surgeries can typically cost up to $450 depending on the size or gender of the pet, the vet and the facility,” said Arkansans for Animals Director, Jake Hillard. “County pet owners who would not be able to afford the procedure are getting an invaluable service practically for free.”

Those interested must pre-register November 6 – 9, in person, at Arkansans for Animals at 11701 Interstate 30, Suite 2 Little Rock, AR 72209. Pet owners are asked to bring proof of Pulaski County residency such as a utility bill or a county property tax receipt and the $10 deposit.

The day of the procedure, if an owner can show proof of vaccinations, the deposit will be returned. Without proof, the $10 deposit will go toward a rabies vaccination; a vaccination required by law.

“The amount collected is great for our first year,” said County Judge Barry Hyde. “I thank the Quorum Court for seeing the need and Pulaski County residents for their generosity. With the remaining funds, we will assist city shelters with spaying and neutering their adoptable pets. Through our partnership with Arkansans for Animals and the use of their mobile unit, we will provide subsidized spay/neuter services to residents in the unincorporated areas of the county. It’s my hope to see the fund grow each year, which will allow us to expand the service to more pet owners,” he said.

For more information about the Pulaski County Big Fix, call Arkansans for Animals at 501-455-5400.

PCYS presents Champions of Youth 4th Annual Awards Dinner

Please join Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde for an evening honoring Advocate for Youth Award recipient Dawn Scott, Director’s Choice Award recipient Theresa Timmons-Shamberger, Visionary Award recipient, the Honorable Kathy Webb, and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Rick Fleetwood. Doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, 2017, at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel located at 925 South University Avenue in Little Rock.

Proceeds from the dinner benefit Pulaski County Youth Services’ year-round afterschool and out-of-school programs for students ages 5 – 19. All Youth Services’ programs are free-of-charge, helping hardworking Pulaski County families save an average of $5,000 a year on childcare. In communities all over the County, Youth Services’ programs are keeping kids off the street and out of trouble. Annually, thousands of local young people improve test scores, increase financial literacy, develop job skills, and build self-esteem in more than twenty Youth Services programs.

Youth Services knows how to do a lot with a little; they stretch every dollar and pinch every penny. Your donation will help students in the ACT Prep program earn higher test scores and students in the Youth Leadership Academy tour a college or university. Your ticket purchase or table sponsorship can help a child to attend an afterschool program, like Little Scholars, and an out-of-school program, like the Summer Day Camp. By donating to Youth Services, you can help put new athletic shoes on the feet of young students in the A Shoe Into Success program and help the young ladies from the Vision 2025 program participate in Dale Carnegie Public Speaking workshops. Your donations go directly to programs that inspire and enrich the lives of young people in Pulaski County.

Tickets are $75 each. For more information please call 501.340.6673 or email hmoody@pulaskicounty.net.

Pulaski County to Host Veterans Benefits Fair

Veterans Benefits Flyer

Pulaski County Community Services will host a free Veterans Benefits Fair, Saturday, October 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pulaski County Regional Building in Downtown Little Rock at 501 W. Markham. This is the first veterans benefits fair held by Pulaski County. Vendors will share information, answer questions regarding healthcare needs and perform wellness checks. Veterans are asked to bring their DD214. Lunch is provided thanks to Ben E. Keith, Riggs CAT and First Security.

“This event offers veterans a direct line of communication with the VA Healthcare System as well as an opportunity to fellowship with other veterans,” said County Veterans Services Officer, Carlos Cervantes. “We have an aging Vietnam veteran population who need healthcare coverage. Our young veteran population often feel that health benefits aren’t needed because they’re young. It’s important to get all of our veterans signed up—they’ve earned it.”

Arkansas is home to more than 225,000 Veterans with 30,934 in Pulaski County. The estimated total Arkansas economic impact is $4.5 billion to $5 billion, making them, if they were an industry, the fourth largest in the state.

About Pulaski County Community Services, Veteran Services:

Pulaski County Community Services is a department within Pulaski County Government aimed at providing economic development assistance, safe and affordable housing, quality of life essentials, and grants assistance to all residents and businesses within Pulaski County. Community Services views itself as a tool to improve the quality of life for each individual in the county. Our goal is to provide the highest quality of service and public value to the citizens and businesses of Pulaski County. The Pulaski County Veterans Services Officer (CVSO) counsels and assists veterans and their dependents with completing VA paperwork and filing claims. The County Veterans Service Officer ensures eligible veterans and their dependents receive their earned benefits through federal, state and/or local organizations. The Pulaski County Judge appoints the CVSO, a veteran of the United States Armed Forces. Along with providing outreach, the CVSO presents programs on veterans’ benefits to the approximately 30,000 veterans within Pulaski County.

 

Thanks to Our Sponsors

 

Pulaski County and Entegrity Energy Sign $4.96 million energy contract to improve energy efficiency

Pulaski County and the Arkansas Energy Office (AEO) recently executed a $4.96 million energy and water savings performance contract, through the Arkansas Energy Performance Contracting (AEPC) Program, to address the county’s deferred maintenance concerns while improving county facilities’ operations. This public-private partnership is possible though Arkansas’ Guaranteed Energy Cost Savings Act. Entegrity Energy Partners, LLC is the Energy Services Company (ESCO) performing the work for the project.

The performance contract is entirely budget neutral and guarantees energy and water savings of more than $8 million dollars for the county, over the financing term of 15 years. The savings are realized through improved equipment efficiency, including new LED lighting, water fixtures, HVAC replacements and building controls. Additionally, AEO estimates the economic impact of the project to exceed $15 million for the Central Arkansas economy.

“We are proud to be the first county in the state to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by AEPC program,” said Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde. “These improvements will help the environment and save the county money in labor and material costs—ultimately saving tax payer dollars.”

 

Photos: (above) Twenty-year-old chiller that cools the county courthouse. (below) New air-cooled scroll compressor chiller set to arrive within the next 90 days has a sound reduction package and ice storage capability to reduce operating costs.

 

Arkansas Flood Survivors Urged to Register for FEMA Assistance

 

 

 

 

Congressional Advisory from FEMA

June 23, 2017

FEMA-4318-DR CA 001

Arkansas Flood Survivors Urged to Register for FEMA Assistance

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A June 15 major disaster declaration for Arkansas has opened the door for flood-stricken residents of 13 counties—Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Faulkner, Fulton, Jackson, Lawrence, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Washington and Yell—to apply for federal disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Residents should be aware that FEMA disaster assistance is for specific purposes centered on getting a disaster survivor into a functioning home that is safe for occupancy and secure. FEMA grants don’t cover all damage, especially to insured property, but residents with insurance are encouraged to apply anyway.

Insurance settlements often happen after the FEMA registration period has ended.

FEMA assistance is not the same as insurance and does not cover pre-disaster conditions. Essential personal property, such as a refrigerator, must be significantly damaged and the only such item in the home before replacement may be considered.

Residents of the 13 counties who sustained property damage or loss from the severe storms, tornados, straight-line winds and flooding between April 26 and May 19, 2017, may apply in a variety of ways for assistance to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs or other disaster-related expenses.

  • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or VRS (Video Relay Service) or require special accommodations, call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.;
  • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov (also in Spanish);
  • Download the FEMA mobile app (also in Spanish) at Google Play or the Apple App Store, or visit fema.gov/mobile-app;

Be ready to provide Social Security number, address of the damaged primary residence, description of damage, insurance policy information, current contact information including an address to receive mail, and bank account and routing numbers if direct deposit is desired.

Business owners, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help recover from losses not covered by insurance, grants or other sources. Survivors contacted by SBA regarding a loan application should complete and submit it as soon as possible as it may open the door to other forms of assistance. There is no obligation to accept a loan.

Applicants receive a nine-digit registration number that can be used for reference when corresponding with FEMA. FEMA inspectors contact applicants to conduct a home inspection and carry the applicant’s registration number and photo ID.

Inspectors will never ask for bank account information, and there is no cost for the inspection. Beware of fraudulent inspectors or contractors claiming a fee must be paid to get help.

FEMA inspectors ask for proof of ownership or occupancy. Tax bills, utility bills, rent receipts or other documents may be used as documentation. Applicants also need to present a valid driver’s license or other photo ID.

It is important to read and follow up with any correspondence from FEMA. Survivors may have to log into their account on DisasterAssistance.gov  or call the helpline at 800-621-3362 to keep the application process moving.

Keep address and phone number current with FEMA so you can be reached during the application process.

For updates on the Arkansas response and recovery, follow the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (@AR_Emergencies) on Twitter and Facebook and www.adem.arkansas.gov. Additional information is available at fema.gov/disaster/4318.

 

Juvenile Justice System Study Recommends More Collaboration Among Stakeholders

As stated in County Judge Hyde’s State of the County Address, Pulaski County is reviewing the Juvenile Justice System from top to bottom. In April 2017, the County signed a contract with the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) to conduct a juvenile justice system assessment.

“We are proud to have taken the initiative to use an unbiased third-party to provide an honest assessment—and ahead of schedule,” said Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde. “While the study does point out problem areas; it lays the foundation for future improvements. We hope this study will assist us in partnering with DHS-Division of Youth Services, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative program (JDAI) and Annie E. Casey Foundation.”

Using the JDAI framework for review, CCLP was able to provide suggestions for areas for improvement that include:

  • Collaboration among stakeholders,
  • Data collection and analysis,
  • Use of objective admissions criteria and risk assessment instruments,
  • Alternatives to detention and incarceration programs,
  • Case processing,
  • Reducing the number of youth detained for technical probation violations and failing to appear in court, and the number held in detention awaiting transfer to a residential facility,
  • Combating racial and ethnic disparities; and
  • Conditions of confinement in facilities that house youth.

“The areas identified are not unique to Pulaski County. These issues are seen throughout the country,” said Hyde. “This study gives us an exciting opportunity to make significant changes in our juvenile justice system. We now understand the issues and can make efficient use of resources for the betterment of at-risk youth in Pulaski County.”

Pulaski County Juvenile Justice System Assessment