Saturday, May 24, 2008


Downtown Helena-West Helena, Arkansas was the scene. Food, Folks, Fun and great Gospel Music were on the itinerary. The day was overcast. The temperature was mild. Everybody that wanted to be was in place and the 8th Annual Arkansas Delta Family Gospel Festival kicked off. People came from as near as the next street over and as far as Germany.

It sprinkled a little rain. The stage ambassadors, Johnny, Yolanda, Craig and others prayed that the rain would "go away." It did! The sun broke through the clouds and the crowd swelled to thousands of people.

We are grateful, truly grateful, to Elijah Mondy, Belinda Mondy, MBS Broadcasting and the entire Christian Gospel network. They broadcast segments of this festival live over the radio airwaves to an audience of 1.3 million people in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

We appreciate Mayor Heather Hudson, Mayor of Greenville, Mississippi. During an on air conversation between Mayor Hudson and me (Mayor James F. Valley) she said should would not be able to attend the festival but would send two (2) things: good weather and a contingent of support from Greenville and Washington County, Mississippi. Judge Bush, the Cork Singers and many, many others made the trek up Highway 1 or Highway 61 and spent the day with us. We thank them for that.

We appreciate the Arkansas Department of Heritage and its Delta Cultural Center's staff. We recommend you visit the Delta Cultural Center's musuems and exhibits.

The local choirs and groups really made a difference and enhanced the audience. The local merchants were supportive and accomodating of our visitors.

The slideshow below tells the story of the gospel festival one picture at a time. There are more than 900 pictures in this slideshow. You may also find these pictures in my picture gallery at Gospel Festival Pictures.

I hope you take the opportunity to view these pictures and let your friends and family know where to see them as well. These pictures are candid shots of people enjoying each other and the atomosphere created at the junction of great gospel music, lawn chairs, decent weather, slabs of ribs, homemade cakes, kool-aid pickles, fish, refreshingly thirst quenching drinks, the River Levee,and Historic Downtown Helena-West Helena.

At the conclusion of the festival, there was the First Annual Memorial Day Fireworks Show; the Delta's largest fireworks show. It was fantastic and could be seen from miles around. The fireworks display began at approximately 10:40 p.m. with a 21 gun salute to the Veterans and Members of our Armed Forces. We then had a moment of silence in honor of the legacy of our fallen military heroes. Next the fireworks painted the sky, sequence after sequence that brought smiles to the faces of children while making the toddlers cling to their parents in shock, fear and amazement.

Here are a few of those shots:

We thank the Helena-West Helena Advertising & Promotion Commission for the funding that made the $3,200.00 fireworks show possible. The membership on that commission includes: Attorney Don Etherly (City Council), Mrs. Cathy Cunningham (Southern Financial Partners, At Large), Mrs. Dominic Campbell Gates (Wendy's), Mr. John Crow (Edwardian Inn), Ms. Kinah (Kim) Brown (Arkansas Tourist Information Center), and Mr. Pat Roberson (Sonic). The seven member commission should have its seventh position filled by a city council member soon.

In Helena-West Helena, Arkansas we are "Moving Forward Together!" See you here soon.

ruminate: Word of the Day Word of the Day

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Word of the Day for Saturday, May 24, 2008

ruminate \ROO-muh-nayt\, intransitive verb:

1. To chew the cud; to chew again what has been slightly chewed and swallowed."Cattle free to ruminate." --Wordsworth.
2. To think again and again; to muse; to meditate; to ponder; to reflect.
3. To chew over again.
4. To meditate or ponder over; to muse on.

They come, these scholars, in baseball hats clamped over bald pates or white hair, and polo shirts stretched over bellies more intimate with beer than situps, to ruminate on the game.
-- Edward A. Gargan, "Scholars Look at Baseball and See the American Essence", New York Times, June 27, 1998
Her lyrics are less narratives than fragments of personal philosophy; she ruminates about the miserable ways people treat each other, and looks for comfort in her own solitude.
-- Karen Schoemer, "Good Case of the Blues", Newsweek, March 22, 1999
The people, I observe, are... all of them much given to ruminate tobacco.
-- William Howard Russell, quoted in A Bohemian Brigade:The Civil War Correspondents - Mostly Rough, Sometimes Ready, by James M. Perry

Ruminate derives from Latin ruminatus, past participle of ruminari, to chew the cud, to ruminate, to chew over again, from rumen, rumin-, throat. Entry and Pronunciation for ruminate

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Link to (Amatuer) Photos of Central High School's 2008 Graduation

To see the photos that I took at Central's graduation click here: CHS Graduation 08 Pictures
or copy and paste this link into your browser:
If neither of those work, go to and click on the picture gallery link.
James F. Valley

Stay informed: (Recent Entries on Mayor's Journal)

Honorable James F. Valley
MAYOR - Helena West Helena
P O Box 248
Helena-West Helena, 72342
870-572-3421 Phone
870-572-5034 Fax
870-817-4035 Cell (Email) (Web Pages) (Photo Gallery) (Contact information for City Council)

Weekly Code Enforcement Report

Weekly Department Report Summary
May 18-23, 2008
Department: Code Enforcement
Date: May 23, 2008
Prepared by: PH Allen & J McIntosh

Weekly Activities

  • Revised Posted Property Letter
  • Mailed out contract and quote to Augustine McKinney regarding 1433 Perry St
  • As are going out have added a copy of Chapter 5 Notice and Copy of Lawn Care Providers
  • Road with Oscar to plot lots that have been cut- compiling property list now-Unresolved
  • Created Referral List of Licensed Lawn Care Providers
Campbell's Moving and Lawn Service
Michael Campbell Jr.  Cell; 870-995-9313
Res; 870-228-6100; 870-228-2683
                          Scott's Trick of All Trades; Robert Scott
                                     1221 Porter Street Cell 870-817-1143 or 870-317-7981
                          Smith's Lawn Service ;Office Manager; Shelia Roberson
                                    Owner; Joseph Smith 214-500-9856
                        Davis Lawn Services
                                    Walter Davis PO Box 824 Marvell AR 
  • 140 S 4th St- ho referred to Water Dept
  • 503 Ladino St- Mixed Breed- spoke about privacy fence-Unresolved- Follow Up in 2 weeks
  • 301 Arkansas St- Greer needing to move vehicles and finish privacy fence-Unresolved-Follow Up in 2 weeks
    • Making significant Progress
  • Received complaint that ditch is growing up on lot at 141/143 Anderson St.- Referred to Oscar- Unresolved
·        1 Plaza Ave- C & O Automotive Repair Shop – Resolved
o       Final Notice sent to remove vehicles and erect privacy fence
o       Making progress on erecting fence.
o       Asked for more time- Follow up in 2 weeks
·        Contacted Tom Heisler about his desire to buy 909 Pecan Property. Contacted Mr. Herrara-Unresolved- No reply
  • 316, 322, & 324 Washington St- Unresolved
    • Spoke with Walter about getting property boarded up
    • Property due to be sold.
  • 1222 Ohio St -Received request for quote on demolishing a home
    • Submitted to Sanitation Dept- Victor- Unresolved
  • 1604 Little Rock Rd
    • Ethel Childs request more time to clean up property. –Unresolved
      • Making significant progress
  • Addressed complaint of trash all over the ground
    • Pat Kelly's Trailer Park- (Spoke with Attorney Valley about Code Enforcement authority in regards to properties located in the county.)- Unresolved
·        Addressed Fire Dept Complaints
  • Addressed Water Dept Complaints-
    • 608 Plaza- Ms. Rogers informed Landlord of leak and was told as soon as it dries up it will be fixed Mr. Knowlton will be fixing problem at earliest convenience provided we have dry weather- Unresolved
      • Issued Letter- Spoke with Church Representative- We instructed tenant to stop using washer to allow property to dry and allow plumber to find the leak.
      • Spoke with Tenant and will stop washing this week to allow time for ground to dry
      • Spoke with tenant she has stopped using washer and is still waiting for landlord to send plumber
·        Addressed Street/Sanitation Dept.
      • Mr. Huff called concerned about 339 S 6th St-Unresolved
        • Spoke with owner- waiting for insurance to respond
·        Cited Property for overgrown lots or lawns
·        702 Mimosa
·        205 S. 5th St 
·        1015 Franklin St.
·        36 Parkdale St.     
·        1002 E Garland 
·        403 N. Baringo St.
·        701 Mimosa St.
·        521 St. Jean St.
·        32 Parkdale St.   
                                                                                                                                                                   &nbs p;                                                                                                                                                                                                                   &nbs p;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               &nbs p;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               &nbs p;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               &nbs p;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               &nbs p;                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • Cited Property with debris or trash piles
    • 402 W Russell- Referred Don Coats to licensed lawn care services.
    • 802 Garland Ave.-resolved
      • Property Owner said she sold property but will contact owner
    • 250 N. Sebastian- Unresolved-Sent 3rd Notice Letter
      • Spoke with Mr. Patton- Will comply when he is ready
    • 1111 College St.- Unresolved-Sent 3rd Notice Letter
      •  Debris and trash- Notified Owner-
      • Received additional complaints form neighboring resident
      • Called said he needed more time to clean up property-1 week extension
    • 334- 336 S 6th St- debris on property- Notified – Resolved
      • Received numerous complaints Citizen is making progress cleaning property
    • 327 N. 9th St- Trash and Debris-Unresolved- Sent 2nd Notice Letter
    • 700 Ohio St – Mr. Hoskins has begun work on removing trash off site and is progressing toward resolution. –Unresolved
    • 909 Pecan St- Unresolved
      • Received May Payment
    • Locust/ Little Rock Rd- Unresolved
    • 337 S. Sam St- the adjacent property- Unresolved- Sent notice
    • 215 N Sam- debris across the street- Unresolved
    • 237 Hernando- in front debris across the street- Unresolved
    • 131/127/129 Sander land Dr-
      • Spoke with Mr. O'Neal who stated he would secure property and place signs at entrances to address citizen complaints –Unresolved
  • Cited House
    • 1127 Franklin St- Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 1131 Franklin St.- Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 1133 Franklin St- Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 1315 Franklin St- Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 1238 Poplar St- Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 122 Walker St.-Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 1415 Walnut St. Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 1513/1517 Franklin St- Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 400 Jefferson St- Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 1429 Holly St.-Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 206 Beech St. Tagged, Pictured-Notified- Unresolved
      • Spoke with Ms. Bynum of Independent Mortgage
      • Property Burned Down- Contacting Owner about Cleanup
    • 214 Beech St- Tagged, Pictured –Notice Burned Contacting Owner about Cleanup
    • 216 Beech St- Tagged Pictured, Notified
    • 1433 Perry St- Tagged, Pictured, & Notified
    • 1535 Sulfur Springs Rd- Tagged, Pictured, & Notified
      • Received response from owner and request an extension
    • 139 S. Ashlar St. – Tagged, Pictured, & Notified- Sent 2nd Notice
      • Received request form owner for an extension
    • 1806 Holly St- Tagged, Pictured, & Notified.
      • Requesting an extension
    • 741 Liberty St- Tagged, Pictured, & Notified
    • 1920 Holly St- Tagged, Pictured,  & Notified- Sent 2nd Notice
    • 326 S Baringo- Tagged & Pictured, Notified- Unresolved
    • 115 S. 4th St- Resolved
      • Sent notice of demolishing house Demolition almost complete
    • 314 Adkins – Tagged, Pictured, Burned, Pending Notification
    • 276 West wood Pl- Tagged & Pictured-Sent 2nd Notice Letter
    • 314 Hernando – Tagged, Pictured, Notified
    • 214 S 4th St – Tagged & Pictured
    • 325 Hwy 44 – Tagged & Pictured
    • 305 Lithicum- Tagged & Pictured-
    • 700 Elm St- Tagged, Pictured, & Notified
      • House boarded up
      • Lawn Needs Cutting
    • 517 Word Ave- Tagged & Pictured
    • 1306 Ohio St. Tagged, Pictured, & Notified
    • 134 Ohio St- Tagged, Pictured, & Notified
      • Demolished awaiting Labor Cost and Disposal Fee- Victor
    • 140 Ohio St- Tagged, Pictured, & Notified
      • Demolished awaiting Labor Cost and Disposal Fee-Victor
    • 150 S Ashlar St.- Tagged, Pictured, & Notified- Sent 2nd Notice Letter
      • Requested an extension
    • 526 E. Cleburne St- Tagged & Pictured
      • Requested 30 day extension-Resolved
      • Boarded Up
    • 327 N. 9th St – Tagged & Pictured- Notified
      • Property needs lawn area cleaned
    • 102 Richmond Hill Dr.- Tagged, Pictured & Notified.
      • Requesting extension to do repairs
  • Cited Vehicles-Unresolved
    • 32 Parkdale- White Buick LaSabre- Tagged
      • VIN 1G4HP54CZMH456598 Lic. None
      • Brown Ford Cougar – No VIN Visible Lic. None
    • 36 Parkdale St- Blue Dodge Dakota- Tagged
      • VIN 1B7FL26XOPS1O8487 Lic. 087ETC
      • Resident called said he is working on cleaning up needs 2 weeks
    • 35 Parkdale St -White Chevy Irocc-z Camaro- Tagged- Resolved
      •  VIN G1FP87F9GLl53007 Lic. W48BCN
        • Vehicle is operational and properly stored
    • 245 S 6th St Burgundy Chevy Caprice Classic- Tagged
        • 1GVBL53E1PR103169
    • 245 Baringo St -Resolved
      • Red Mercury Mystique- Tagged
        • VIN 1melm653xwk613858
        • Vehicle operational
    • 638 Kentucky-
      • Vehicles in back yard- Issued Letter to Resident & Property Owner
        • Lloyd James – Received letter requesting extension of time
          • Making good progress
    • 640 Cooke St- Multiple vehicles on property- Resolved
    • 101 Short Ohio- Tagged & Pictured- Unresolved
      • Came in and is in process of cleaning up property and selling trailer- Sent 2nd Notice
    • 1307 Cherry St.- Tagged & Pictured- Unresolved
      • Will clean property & move vehicles. -Sent 2nd Notice
List Of Condemned Properties Pending submission to Planning Commission
Submitted Packet to Attorney Andre- Completed- Resubmitted
    • 238 Ashlar St- Tagged, Pictured, Notified-
    • 837 Alabama- Tagged, Pictured, & Notified
    • 1325 Pecan St
    • 315 S 6th St.
    • 60 Lincoln Ct
    • 1308 Pecan St
    • 246 N 6th St.
    • 812 Elm St.
    • 212 Buckeye-
      • Pending Billing Invoice
    • 825 Elm St- Partly Demolished
    • 717 Bennett-Called to Remove Meter
    • 208 N. Baringo
  • Mailed certified letters to property owners on severely dilapidated structures located at:
    • Lot 5 Block 43(Franklin & Adams)- Unresolved
    • 326 Hernando St- Unresolved
    • Lot 5W ½ Block 42-(Adams St)-Unresolved
    • 1603 Sulfur Springs Rd- Unresolved
    • 1128 Beech St- Unresolved
    • 1920 Holly St- Unresolved
  • Mailed Regular letters to property owners regarding city's concerns
    • 3 Lincoln Ct- reminder to continue clean up- Resolved
    • 23 Lincoln Ct- 2nd Notice
    • 314 Hernando St- 2nd Notice
    • 1433 Perry St- 2nd Notice
    • 21 Lincoln Ct- 2nd Notice
    • Linda Teague- 2nd Notice
      • 109 S 10th St
      • 915 Plaza St.
      • 759 Nixon St.
    • 1417 Cherry St- Sent landlord and tenant notice- Unresolved- 2nd Notice
      • Ord 05.12.01 and Ord26-2006
    • 313 N. Sebastian St- Reminder to continue clean up
    • 418 St. Jean Dr. Notice Ref. New Construction of Backyard Access
      • Sent copy of Dedication Deed –Referred to Councilman Roy Reynolds and Attorney Andre Valley
    • 432 West St- Reminder to continue clean up- 3rd Notice
      • Requested more time due to family crisis
    • 448 West St. Notice of responsibility of Property Owners
      • Sent Ord05.12.01
    • George Hudson Jr.- 434 West St-Unresolved
      • Citizen complaint about hole dug on West St that is full of water-
        • Notified Owner- Resolved
      • Requested an extension to wait until ground dries
    • Ryan Titus and– Unresolved- Received notice that home is in dispute
      • 181 Oakland Ave
      • 144 Military Rd
      • 202 Madison St.
  • Addressed complaint from concerned citizen
    • Received Complaint about overgrown lawn Next door on 137 S 5th
      • 140 S 4th St
        • Received complaint about hole in ground
    • 10th & Garland Ave- Overgrown Lawn-
      • Received call and owner will resolve problem
    • Vanessa Willis called about Code Enforcement for Elaine- Referred to Mayor Valley- Resolved Pending Conversation with Mayor of Elaine
    • 238 S. Ashlar St- Lori Mosby-
      • Property burned down contacting Owner-about clean up- Unresolved
    • Resident of 233 N 4th St
      • Ditch not draining – Referred to Oscar
      • Grass not cut next door- Contacting Owner- Unresolved
    • 315 Southridge
      • Grass not cut- Contacting Owner- Unresolved
    • Lorna Harcourt
      • 144 Military Rd- Grass 2-3feet tall needs cutting- Referred to Oscar
    • Mertee Montgomery
      • Complaint about Daycare in neighborhood
    • Willie Davis
      • 622 Jefferson St – Tree Falling
    • Jane Hisler
      • Property across from Community Center-909 Pecan- Referred to Victor
    • Thelma Morris
      • House Being torn Down – Referred to Mayor Valley
    • Daniel Carter 569 Nixon St - Resolved
      • Grass growing to tall to see around corner- Spraying lawn
    • Mildred Bryant-Resolved
      • Property on Galloway received quote to demolish
        • 3hours labor & landfill cost.
    • 219 N.10th – Garbage attracting pest-Pictured- Unresolved
      • Continue to receive complaints about pest and trash
        • Issuing 1st Notice
    • Dolly Thomas- Ditch not draining- Referred to Oscar-
      • Waiting for ditch to dry out-Resolved
    • 114 N. 6th St- lawn attracting pest pending contacting owner- Unresolved
    • 207 S. 6th St- Unresolved
      • Ms. Lambert called & said donated property to the city and advised to contact Attorney Roscopf
    • Bertha Lucas asked about property that has not been completely cleaned up. Also desiring city to demolish and clean properties already cited – Sent letter with quote awaiting response -Unresolved
      • 333 N. Coanza St-
      •  Sending Invoice for Demolishing
        • 408 S Coanza St- Resolved
          • Demolished – 5 hour labor
        • 712 Elm St.- Resolved-
          • Demolished-$1200.00
·        Outstanding invoices in January will be sent a 3rd notice this week
o       Cooper Demetrius owe $105.00
§         Called will pay send payment 4-25-08-
·        Submitted to Andre for collection
o       Walker CR- owe $52.50
o       Hubbard Ethel Mae owe $105.00
o       William Ernest J. owe $420.00
o       Smith Ophelia owe $105.00
  • Outstanding invoices in February will be sent a 3rd notice this week
    • Denise Bell- owe $705.30
    • Rhondalyn Wilkins- owe $649.14
    • Bobby Jones- owe $1947.48
    • Martha Scott- owe $310.00
·        Outstanding invoices in March will be sent a 2nd notice this week
o       Mary & Henry Wright-owe $581.25
o       324 Adkins- owe $581.25
o       Arlease James-$682.00
o       Jamie or Glenda Woods- $800.00
o       Luther Thomas-$2.228.14
·        Outstanding invoices in April
o       Robert Quick- $814.00
·        Outstanding invoices in May
·        Jannette Hardman- 232.50
Current Contracts
·        1302 Cherry St.
·        914 Alabama St
·        909 Pecan St
·        316 & 318 N Coanza
·        Lot on Norman St.
·        1134 & 1136 Beech St.
·        556 S. 7th St
·        1023 Poplar St
Submitted Ticket Citations
  • Annie Blue
    • 148 Anderson St
Special Weekly Activities
o       Planning Commission Meeting -May 14,2008- Rescheduled
Future Weekly Activities:
  • American Association of Code Enforcement
    • Membership Application- Current Members- Received Packet
    • 2008 Annual Conference- Oct 29-31, 2008
    • 2008 Exam Code Enforcement Certification-
    •  Submitted Cost of Books and Testing Fees to Mrs. Covington -Unresolved
    • Created postcard "Chapter 5 Notice" mass mail out-Pending Mail Out
  • Continue addressing ordinance violations
    • Mayor Valley List
  • Mail out letters to owners
  • Create a mass mailing to notify residents of Stricter ordinance enforcement
  • Compiling list of homes that have exceeded the allotted time limit ready to present to Planning Commission for approval to be condemned.
  • Tag and Tow more vehicles
  • Meet with KJIW about public service ad this week-Pending
  • Review and Update contracts of citizen's who contract with demolished property and debris removal
  • Update payment records and files.
  • Arkansas Natural Resource Commission (Flood Insurance Program)
    • Floodplain Administrator Accreditation Class
      • Received letter packet From FEMA- Reviewing
Follow Up Activities:
On weekly Rotation
            House violations
            Vehicle violations
            Property Violations
  • Continue tagging and towing unauthorized vehicles-
  • Continue mailing out certified letters to property owners or overgrown lots and dilapidated structures.
  • Continue to monitor the progress of demolition and clean up.
Staff Concerns;
·        Air Conditioning not working in vehicles
·        More Training
Vehicle Gas Log;

            Chevy Impala

·        15.8gal- 60.02
Mail Log;
                                                  Code Enforcement Mail Ledger
No. Of Ltrs Reg and Cert
 Postage Amt
 Past Postage Amt
 Current Postage Amt
 $       59.18
 $          319.01
 $           378.19
 $     150.64
 $          378.19
 $           528.83
 $     242.10
 $          528.83
 $           770.93
 $     102.22
 $          770.93
 $           873.15
3 Reg/2Cert
 $           11.99
 $              873.15
 $               885.14
1 Reg/2Cert
 $           11.17
 $              885.14
 $               896.31
8 Reg/9 Cert
 $           51.78
 $              896.31
 $               948.09
5-7 May
4 Reg/0 Cert
 $             1.64
 $              948.09
 $               949.73
8 Reg/ 8 Cert
   $            46.40
   $                949.73
    $                 996.13
20 Cert
   $          109.06
   $                996.13      
    $               1105.19
   $               .42
   $             1105.19 
    $               1105.61
   $               1.68
   $              1105.61
    $                1107.29
28 Reg / 104 Cert
     $            788.88
 $                      788.88