Presentation highlights state’s agri business
From Anne Trevathan Crittenden County Retired Teachers
The Crittenden County Retired Teachers Association resumed their monthly meetings on February 14 after taking a break during the month of January. Thirty-four members and three guests were in attendance. President John Heath gave the welcome and led the group in saying the “Pledge of Allegiance”, and then the group sang “God Bless America”. Heath then introduced the guest speaker, Ross Parker, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Interim Staff Chairman. Parker’s office is located in the Crittenden County Courthouse in Marion, but the Co-op Service has various centers throughout Arkansas. Parker began by relating some of the history of the Cooperative Extension Service including their web site, which is http://www.uaex.edu. According to Parker, the Co-op supports various programs and groups in Arkansas including farmers and ranchers; home and garden undertakings; scholarships to students going into gardening, etc.; sources for 4-H programs; specialists working in the nutrition system and in consumer science; community and economic development; soil testing; and plant and animal identification. Some of the most interesting data Parker reported on included the following: one of every six jobs in Arkansas is related to agriculture. Concerning production, Arkansas is No. 1 in rice; No. 2 in broilers; No. 3 in catfish; No. 4 in cotton and sorghum; No. 5 in sweet potatoes; and No. 10 in soybeans. Parker entertained questions from the members and said he always is glad to have the opportunity to speak to a group about the services provided by the Co-op. Following the program, Heath conducted the business meeting. Since no business meeting was held in December, secretary Shirley Higgins read the minutes of the November meeting written by then acting secretary Lisa Fogleman. Higgins also read the thank-you notes from CASA and the Eighth Street Mission for Jesus Christ, both recipients of monetary gifts from CCRTA in December. Treasurer Charlotte Wicks gave the financial report and reminded everyone that donations for scholarships and annual projects are being accepted. Ruthie Robins gave the scholarship committee’s update. Academies of West Memphis graduating seniors are eligible to apply for the CCRTA scholarship. Next, President Heath reminded the group that the Arkansas Retired Teachers Association Area III Spring Conference will be held in Wynne on May 5 at the First United Methodist Church on Falls Blvd. Cost is $15 in advance and $18 at the door. In preparation for election of new officers, President Heath appointed a nominating committee to present a possible slate of officers at the March meeting. Committee members include Shirley Patton Brown, Lois Croom, Becky Doyle, and Rubye Johnson. Nominations also may be made from the floor. Election and installation of officers will take place at the April meeting. CCRTA will meet again on March 10 at the Marion School District Administration office at 1 p.m. Dr. Ella Walker-Rolfe, ARTA President, will present the program. All Crittenden County school retirees are eligible and invited to join CCRTA. Also, all county school employees who plan to retire at the end of this school year are encouraged to join CCRTA. Yearly dues and assessments currently are $15, $5 of which go for annual dues and $10 go to the Scholarship Fund.