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Pine Bluff looking for economic boost from tourism

The Golden Lions play Mississippi Valley State on Saturday, while Jehovah's Witnesses will be meeting at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

Center director Bob Purvis told the Pine Bluff Commercial he expects the gatherings to bring between $500,000 and $1 million to the local economy. He said Pine Bluff's 1,200 hotel rooms are booked solid for the weekend.

Purvis says the Jehovah's Witnesses scheduled their meeting when UAPB was to play out of town, but UAPB then changed its homecoming date.

The football game is expected to be a sellout.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

McCollum-Chidester house adds to historical richness of city

Camden has several houses that are immersed in history, many of them preserved, like the McCollum-Chidester House, built around 1847.

During the Civil War, the home served as headquarters for Union General Frederick Steel. The Battle of Poison Springs took place during this time.

The first occupant who built the house was Peter McCollum, who was a local merchant. The house held many ‘firsts’ for the area, including a large iron cookstove and one of the first sewing machines, which still sits inside the house.

The second owner, John Chidester, ran a mail-carrying business and was considered a spy by the Union because he allegedly looked through government mail to help the Confederacy.

Today, the Ouachita County Historical Society owns the house and uses it for its headquarters, but it is also a museum. The furniture inside the house was purchased from two of Chidester’s sons in 1963. The museum is located at 926 Washington Street.

Movies on the River

A special Halloween event starting at 5 p.m. and includes candy, entertainment and the Disney movie "The Haunted Mansion" at 7 p.m. It's at the brand new Riverwalk Amphitheater. Bring your lawn chairs or stadium seats to watch the movie under the stars against the backdrop of the Ouachita River on the big screen with a massive theater sound system.

Wildfire threatens homes in Grant County

[See pictures] This was the scene just a few miles southwest of the Hensley area. Authorities say the fire encompasses about 90 acres of land in Grant County.

The Forestry Service is using three air tankers and five bulldozers trying to get things under control. A few structures in the area have been threatened by the flames.

Joe Potts evacuated her home. She says, "There's a fire and now I'm just wondering where we're going to go. This is our home and they can't get control of the fire, and it's not just me, but there are other people's homes that might burn down."

By late Saturday afternoon firefighters say this particular fire was 80% contained. That means it is still burning, just under control.

Authorities say they are hoping expected rain will help with the statewide fire danger.

Pine Bluff bank robbery suspect well-known to tellers


The Pine Bluff Commercial reports that 44-year-old Michael Lovett was arrested about 30 minutes after he allegedly robbed a Simmons First National Bank branch.


Witnesses told police they knew the man as "Mr. Lovett." Investigators started looking in the neighborhood and found cash stained by a dye pack. Then they found Lovett's name on envelopes in the mailbox of a nearby home.


It took about 15 minutes for someone to answer the door. Inside they found Lovett in his underwear, hiding under a bed. Officers found clothes matching the description from the robbery and arrested Lovett.


Police didn't disclose how much money was taken.

UAPB Homecoming 2010 Parade applications available

The Homecoming Parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, November 6, in downtown Pine Bluff.

The Parade is one of a series of annual events where the university joins all of its constituencies in acknowledgement and celebration of its mission. This year's theme for homecoming activities is "UAPB/AM&N Golden Lion's Kingdom: A Sense of Pride."

A non-refundable application fee will be required for non-university sponsored organizations. The fees are as follows: cars - $50.00, trucks/SUVs - $75.00, and semi-trailer trucks - $150.00.

Current elected officials are excluded. Fees can be paid in School of Business room 310, and in Corbin Hall room 136D. All fees and applications must be turned in on or before October 29, 2010, between the hours of 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Cashier's checks or money orders may be made payable to The UAPB Homecoming Committee. (No personal checks or cash will be accepted.)

UAPB, UALR to receive $149K to help combat cyber crime

U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and U.S. Representatives Vic Snyder (AR-02) and Mike Ross (AR-04) made the announcement Monday.

Three faculty members, two undergraduate students and one doctoral student at UAPB will work with a professor at UALR to analyze intrusions, such as spyware, viruses and hacking, and develop solutions to proactively combat them. This research will help create predictive models to forecast and prevent future attacks on important computer systems, such as those that support power grids.

"I am pleased to announce this investment that will provide an exciting research opportunity for students and faculty at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock," Lincoln said. "Making important science and technology investments in our colleges and universities will help Arkansas attract and retain students and keep our state competitive."