Home Plate Heroes auction set for Sept. 17-26 at Thea Foundation

The Jim Elder Good Sport Fund’s annual fundraiser, the "Home Plate Heroes" auction, will be held in the Thea Foundation Center for the Arts again this year. "Home Plate Heroes" is a collection of painted and/or decorated home plate-shaped wooden panels, each to be auctioned to the highest bidder.

The majority of the plates will be on view at the Thea Center, as well as auctioned online at www.jimelder.org from Sept. 17 -26. A live auction of a select few plates and a silent auction of the remaining online plates will take place during a reception at the Thea Center on Thursday, Sept. 27, from 6- 8 p.m. The reception will be free and open to the public. Individuals who register for the auction are eligible to win a print of Ray Winder Field.

All proceeds benefit the Jim Elder Good Sport Fund, which supports these "local heroes": American Diabetes Summer Camp, Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches, Easter Seals, Hearts and Hooves, Miracle League of Arkansas, Police Athletic League of North Little Rock, Positive Attitude Reaches Kids, Reviving Baseball in the Inne rcity at Lamar Porter Field, Rose City Boys and Girls Club, Centers for Youth and Families, First Tee of Arkansas, and Thea Foundation.

North Little Rock mayoral candidates forum set for Sept. 20

The Next Generation Young Professionals of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce will host a "North Little Rock Mayoral Candidates Forum" on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 at the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, Bank of the Ozarks Conference Center, Second Floor, at 100 Main St., North Little Rock. A reception will be held from 11:30 a.m. to noon followed by candidate introductions and questions from noon to 1 p.m.

The forum will include the contested mayoral candidates on the ballot in North Little Rock: North Little Rock City Director of Commerce and Government Affairs Joe Smith; State Representative Tracy Steele; businessman Mark Clinton; and John Parker, a former North Little Rock city alderman and planning commission member. The event will be open to the public and will be broadcast on NLRTV.

Next Generation Young Professionals is sponsored by the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and was formed to help engage young professionals in civic and networking opportunities that stimulate economic, community and workforce development in North Little Rock.

For more information about the event, contact the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce at (501) 372-5959 or e-mail nlrchamber@nlrchamber.org.

Man exonerated from death row to speak in Arkansas

A man who was sentenced to death and later proven innocent by DNA evidence will be sharing his story in Arkansas this October. Ray Krone spent ten years in Arizona prisons for a crime he did not commit before his exoneration in 2002.

Upon his release, he became the 100th person since 1973 to have faced the death penalty and later been set free. He now travels the country raising awareness about wrongful conviction and speaking out against capital punishment.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, Krone will share his story in Fayetteville at Giffels Auditorium on the campus of the University of Arkansas at 7:30 p.m. On Oct. 4, he will speak in Little Rock at the Clinton School of Public Service’s Sturgis Hall at 6 p.m.. Seats for the Little Rock event may be reserved by emailing publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu or calling 501-683-5239. Additional dates may be added.

The speaking tour is being coordinated by the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (ACADP) in conjunction with Witness to Innocence, a non-profit advocacy network composed of death row exonerees.

L’Oreal to speak at upcoming green bag lunch

Representatives from L’Oreal in North Little Rock will speak about the company’s efforts to curb energy usage and reduce waste at a "Putting Green to Work lunch" scheduled during the national Pollution Prevention Week.

Pollution Prevention Week is the third week of September (Sept. 17 – 23) and highlights the sustainability and pollution prevention efforts of individuals, businesses, environmental groups and others. The week’s theme is "Safer Chemicals for a Safer World." To learn more visit http://www.p2.org/.

The lunch will take place Sept. 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock.

The L’Oreal, USA, cosmetics manufacturing facility in North Little Rock was a finalist for the department’s ENVY award in 2011 for its participation in the Home Energy Affordability Loan program, which resulted in increased energy efficiency not only at the company’s plant, but at the homes of company employees as well.

The program, a part of the William J. Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative in Arkansas, involves a zero-interest revolving loan fund to finance industrial energy efficiency improvements, and participating industries establish an internal loan fund to finance improvements on the private homes of company employees.

Since then, the company has launched a training program to teach employees how to reduce their environmental footprints. In October 2011, the company completed a solar demonstration project in partnership with North Little Rock Electric, the Arkansas Energy Office and the University of Arkansas.

From 2005 to 2011, the North Little Rock plant reduced its carbon emissions by 80 percent, water per unit by 43 percent, and waste per unit by 37 percent.

Admission is free, but registration is required for the event, as seating is limited. Attendees should bring their own lunch. To register, contact Audree Miller at (501) 682-0015 or email miller@adeq.state.ar.us by 4 p.m. Sept. 18.

American Red Cross asks Arkansans to give blood during Sickle Cell Awareness Month

The general public is being asked to help the American Red Cross meet the needs of patients by donating blood during September, which is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Sickle cell anemia is a disease that affects around 70,000 in the U.S., most of them of African descent but also some of Spanish, French, Italian, Greek and Turkish descent.

The following are upcoming blood donation opportunities: Sept. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Central Arkansas Christian High School, 1 Windsong Drive, North Little Rock; Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at American Red Cross Blood Center, 4548 JFK Blvd. in North Little Rock.; Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at American Red Cross Blood Center, 4548 JFK Blvd. in North Little Rock; Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at American Red Cross Blood Center, 4548 JFK Blvd. in North Little Rock; Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at American Red Cross Blood Center, 4548 JFK Blvd. in North Little Rock; Sept. 28 from noon to 5 p.m. at Helping Hands, 4901 N. Shore Drive in North Little Rock.

Anyone wanting to donate blood should call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

NFL Hall of Famer to air broadcast from North Little Rock on Sept. 23

NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw is introducing North Little Rock, Arkansas to over 68 million people when his show Today in America airs nationally on Sept. 23 at 3 p.m.

A project that was a year in the making, the North Little Rock Visitors Bureau was approached by producers, who recognized that in today’s challenging economic times, tourism still has a large impact on the global economy. Producers were impressed by North Little Rock’s desirable location and hospitality.

"It was an exciting time for us. We strive daily to promote North Little Rock and to be offered such a great opportunity like this was amazing and it doesn’t hurt that Terry Bradshaw hosts the show," said Hazel Hernandez, Public Relations Representative at the Bureau.

With the producers, Hernandez worked on a script, shoot locations, and interviews for the segment.

Viewers should check their local listings and tune in to Fox Business Network on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 3 p.m. to see North Little Rock’s famous landmarks and famous faces, which include Mayor Patrick Henry Hays.

Lakeside Neighborhood Association plans National Night Out event Oct. 2

The Lakewood Neighborhood Association in North Little Rock will be sponsoring a National Night Out event on Tuesday, Oct. 2, from 5-7 p.m. near the intersection of Topf and Fairway. The event is designed for the Lakewood neighborhood where people can come together and visit with local law enforcement officers and promote neighborhood safety. The event will have various booths set-up, animal rescue organizations, food, and a chance to register for prizes from local businesses.

The event will be held in the parking lot shared with United Methodist Church of Lakewood and Lakewood Elementary. The coordinator for this event is Nathan Longeway who can be reached at 501-612-9677.

Bark in the Park is set for Sept 29

The dogs are coming out for the Ninth Annual Bark in the Park set for Saturday, Sept. 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in North Little Rock’s Burns Park. The rain date has been scheduled for Oct. 6. North Little Rock Bark in the Park is being sponsored by North Little Rock Friends of Animals (NLRFOA) that holds this fun filled event each year as a fundraiser for their work with animal adoptions, rescues, and spay/neuter programs.

There will be lots of fun that includes demonstrations, raffles, contests, and a variety of vendors. This year our event kicks off with the National Family Pack Walk sponsored by Northshore Animal League America. Registration for this free event is at 10:15 a.m. The walk starts at 10:30 a.m. and will cover a mile around the dog park. Other activities include pet photos, interactive agility, pet grooming, psychic pet readings, airbrush art, micro-chipping by donation on sterilized dogs, and much more. Every dog is invited to bring their human for a little exercise, interaction, and playtime with others.

While the event is free to the public, a small fee will be charged for those wishing to participate in the contests and certain activities. Money raised will benefit the North Little Rock Animal Shelter’s spay/neuter and adoption/rescue programs.

Joy Stevens, founder and President of NLRFOA, explains, "Events like Bark in the Park are not just fun but promote awareness of animal overpopulation and the importance of sterilizing your pet. Nationwide as many as seven million homeless dogs and cats are euthanized annually. We want every pet to be loved and cared for. That is what we work for every day."

Those interested in more information about Bark in the Park or NLRFOA they can visit our North Little Rock Friends of Animals Facebook Page, or call Joy Stevens at 501-758-5482.

Scottish County Dance lessons to be offered in NLR through Nov. 26

The fall session of Scottish Country Dance lessons began on Sept. 10, and will end on Nov. 26. The cost for the 12-week session is $60 or $20 for students 18 and under. Beginners are encouraged to try the first class at no charge. Classes meet at 7 p.m. on Mondays at Park Hill Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 3520 JFK Blvd in North Little Rock. For additional information or to pre-register, call 501-666-9694 or visit www.arkansasscottishcountrydancing.com.

Safety Before Skill Corp. to offer swim lessons

Safety Before Skill Corp., a leader in private swim instruction and water safety, has partnered with the new owners of the former Westside YMCA property, Arkansas Sports Medicine, to lease the indoor pool for its services.

Safety Before Skill specializes in private swim lessons that focus on safety and survival and is best known for offering infant and toddler swim instruction.

The company also offers programs in Conway on the UCA campus and Ricks Dive N’ Travel

Center 2323 North Poplar St., North Little Rock. Acquiring the lease at Arkansas Sports Medicine is part of an expansion plan to serve 200-300 swimmers per week in the lesson program and offer other activities.

The pool is located at 4701 Sam Peck in Little Rock, known as the former "Westside YMCA." Operations began on Sept. 4 with swim lessons and more. New services include lap swim and birthday parties. The pool will also be leased by Safety Before Skill to local swim teams, fitness instructors and therapy groups for private services.

"We are thrilled that the new owners decided to keep and maintain the indoor pool, even though they are not opening an aquatic business, " said Coach Karen Lamoreaux, owner of Safety Before Skill. " It is a gesture of goodwill toward the community to preserve such a resource and serves to support the local economy by supporting the organizations that are leasing it. Furthermore, they are contributing to the reduction of drowning and near drowning incidents and increasing the health and well being of the community that uses it."