Champions of Youth to Spotlight Heroes of the Community

Pulaski County Youth Services will host ‘Heroes of the Community,’ the 5th Annual Champions of Youth Awards Gala on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Masonic Center located at 712 Scott Street in downtown Little Rock.

Proceeds from the dinner benefit the afterschool and out-of-school programs provided free-of-charge in underserved communities by Pulaski County Youth Services. This year’s award recipients are Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, C. J. Duvall; Advocate for Youth Award honorees, The Little Rock Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.; Visionary Award honoree, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola; and Directors Choice Award honoree Eve Jorgensen.

Speakers include County Judge Barry Hyde, event co-chair Judge Paula Juels Jones, event co-chair Theresa Timmons Shamberger, Little Rock Vice Mayor Kathy Webb, Rick Fleetwood, and Pulaski County Sheriff – Elect Eric Higgins. Youth Services board member, KTHV’s Dawn Scott will emcee the gala.

Donations to Youth Services are tax-deductible and go directly to programs focused on improving academic performance while keeping kids off the street and out of trouble. Support the youth of Pulaski County by joining the ‘Champions League.’

Tickets are $75 each and available online: https://donorbox.org/community-heroes

Pulaski County Youth Services provides year-round afterschool and out-of-school programs for students age 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, our programs are keeping kids off the street and out of trouble. Annually, thousands of young people improve test scores, increase financial literacy, develop job skills, and build self-esteem in more than twenty Youth Services programs.

About Pulaski County Youth Services
Pulaski County Youth Services works to encourage and inspire the youth of Pulaski County. In collaboration with community partners, we seek to encourage academic achievement, build character, and refine healthy habits in our county’s youth.

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Pulaski County Quorum Court Member Appointed to National Steering Committee for Public Safety

Pulaski County Justice of the Peace, Paul Elliott has been appointed to the National Association of Counties’ Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee. Elliott was appointed to the committee to serve a one-year term by the Arkansas Association of Counties and NACo’s President Greg Cox.

NACo’s Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee has jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the judicial system and public safety. For justice, the committee focuses on policy impacting juvenile justice and delinquency, substance abuse, mental health, and other issues that impact county judicial systems.

For public safety, the committee’s focus includes policy related to comprehensive emergency management, first responders (Fire, Police, EMS), Homeland Security, and more. Elliott will focus on public safety, specifically, Homeland Security.

As a member of the Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee, Elliott will have the opportunity to introduce policy resolutions and platform changes before both the Legislative and Annual Conferences.

“This is an honor for me to be appointed to the Justice and Public Safety Steering,” Elliott said. “I’m anxious to begin working with my colleagues to draft policy that will improve public safety in Pulaski County and across the country.”

Learn more about the National Association of Counties at https://www.naco.org/what-we-do/about-naco.

County offices closed Monday

Pulaski County offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 3 to observe Labor Day. No garbage routes will run on Monday but will resume Tuesday and run one day late through Saturday. The Sanitation office will be closed on the Monday.

Proposed Changes to Floodplain Maps Available to Public

Pulaski County will adopt new floodplain maps this fall for areas of Unincorporated Pulaski County near Kanis and Denny Road.  Adoption of these maps is necessary to maintain Pulaski County’s accreditation in the National Flood Insurance Program.  Maps will be available until the close of  November. For questions concerning the proposed changes or to view the proposed map amendments in person contact the Pulaski County Planning and Development Department at 501-340-8260.

Proposed FEMA Flood Panel 05119C3018H

Proposed FEMA Flood Panel 05119C3013H

Proposed FEMA Flood Panel 05119C3014H

Youth Services asks for back-to-school donations

Pulaski County Youth Services, with partners in the community, distributed more than 1,600 backpacks filled with school supplies last year. With your help, we can collect more supplies and do more good in our community. Bring new supplies to the Pulaski County Administration Building at 201 South Broadway in Little Rock. Online donations accepted at https://donorbox.org/supply-drive.

Public Works Director Barbara Richard Retires after 33 years of Service

As a former securities investor and owner of a lumberyard, now retired Pulaski County Public Works Director Barbara Richard is no stranger to difficult and complex projects.

However, during the Great Inflation of the 1970s, the lumberyard closed making life even more complex. Richard held a few office positions, even becoming a decorator for JC Penney, which she loved.

Following her brief time with the department store, Richard found her way to Pulaski County Public Works in 1984.

She began as an administrative assistant in the sanitation department, followed by a promotion to sanitation assistant director in 1991. She moved up the ranks becoming a purchasing attendant for road and bridge to assistant director and director in 2001.

As director of Road and Bridge and a woman, she recalls how difficult it was.

“When I was promoted, I required the supervisors to take classes and become educated in new technology,” she said. “The ‘old guard’ made it clear that they were not interested in changing the way things were done.”

One day she overheard them talking and told them that if they were going to continue to talk bad about her that she would pipe in classical music all day, every day. They all laughed, needless to say, the chatter ceased.

Some of her best memories are of the former Public Works Director, Sherman Smith who passed away in 2014.

“Sherman was a classic jokester,” she said. “I remember returning from vacation, to find that he removed the face of the wall clock and replaced it with a picture of himself. He even placed stickers on the back of the former County Judge’s car that read “I Love Sherman Smith,” she laughed. “He drove around like that until someone showed him.”

When Smith got sick, it was hard to watch him grow sicker. She said he refused to give up and worked every day until he was unable to work.

After he passed away, Richard was appointed to acting director of Public Works, where she managed a workforce of approximately 150 and a budget of $27 million.

As a woman who led a predominately-male workforce, her advice to other women would be to use “your brain not your heart.”

“Base your decisions on logic rather than emotion and always be fair,” she said. “Do not show preference to either gender, it’s about who can do the job.”

She said overall, it takes being a multitasker and understanding that the f-word [funding] will be a major factor in planning.

“Funding depends on who’s in office [D.C.] and how much funding is in the Federal Transportation Bill each year,” she said. “The Pulaski County Public Works is in competition with other public works departments in Central Arkansas that also have great projects”.

During her tenure as Road and Bridge Director and Public Works Director, Richard managed hundreds of projects that total more than $100 million including the Two Rivers Bridge, Two Rivers Park—and the Big Dam Bridge.

“The Big Dam Bridge was the best project and the most complicated project,” she said. “Until we received the first vote of confidence from Metroplan we didn’t think it was going to happen. We had to obtain approval from the Corp of Engineers who was apprehensive about building a bridge over a dam. We also discovered there was an historical African American burial site that had the potential to shut the project down.”

Richard and Smith managed to collaborate with several agencies to complete the bridge including the City of Little Rock, City of North Little Rock, Federal Highway Department, U.S. Coast Guard and the Arkansas Department of Transportation. At completion, the Big Dam Bridge, including the decorative lights was a $13 million project.

With the many projects under her belt, she does have a few things that she feels have been left undone.

“If there was anything I wish I could have completed or started, it would be to build another bridge across the Arkansas River at David D. Terry Lock Dam and to see the completion of the Southwest Trail,” she said. “The Southwest Trail is going to be an amazing project once complete.”

In her 33 years of service to Pulaski County, she said she’s made friendships that will last a lifetime and plans to remain connected to those friendships. In retirement, she has no plans to slow down any time soon. Richard plans to travel, consult, spend time with her son and grandson and try her hand at real estate investing—“just for fun.”

College Station Sports Complex Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – July 4

Pulaski County and the Progressive League of College Station will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new sports complex Wednesday, July 4 at 9 a.m. at 5816 Frazier Pike/Sloane Drive.

It has been 21 years since a tornado ripped through College Station, claimed lives and destroyed multiple homes and the ballpark. Since 1997, the championship-winning youth baseball team has been without adequate facilities for games and practice.

The team will now host games in a five-acre complex that includes a regulation-size baseball field, complete with dugouts, bullpens, perimeter fencing, bleachers, asphalt parking lot, landscaping and irrigation. The seating capacity is approximately 100.

“The community is really excited to open the new sports complex,” said Dexter Doyne, Progressive League member. “This will reinvigorate our community and hopefully engage local businesses especially in the Little Rock Port.”

The new construction project was made possible through fundraising efforts and federal grants that totaled approximately $400,000. The progressive league is in phase 2 of fundraising to build a concession stand, a scoreboard, restrooms and ball field lighting.

Image of College Station Sports Complex