Curtis Wilburn Edmondson

Curtis Wilburn Edmondson, 80, of Conway, Arkansas passed away at his home surrounded by family on February 12, 2019. He was born on January 2, 1939 in Lonoke, Arkansas to the late Glyn and Geneva Edmondson.

Curtis was retired from FMC and Polyvend. He enjoyed spending time with family, listening to Elvis and fishing. He was an avid Dallas Cowboy’s fan and enjoyed watching NASCAR and sitting in his favorite chair with his pug, Tuffy Romo. In his younger years he was known for his athletic ability especially in football and track. Curtis was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years Pat Brown Edmondson, his children, Kelli Wilson (John); Tonia Walsh (Tommy); Rowdy (Shelly) all of Conway, AR; sister, Sue Parks (Bobby); brother, Larry Edmondson both of Lonoke, Ark. Also survived by his grandchildren, Zach (Zach-O), Alex, Whitney (Ryan), Haley (Justin), Jack, Justin, Patrick, and Samantha.

Visitation will be held at 1-2 p.m., Friday, February 15 at Grace Presbyterian Church, 1010 Hogan Lane, Conway, Ark. 72034. On behalf of Curtis’s request he has asked for jeans and casual dress attire. A celebration of life service will be held 2 p.m., Friday, February 15th at Grace Presbyterian Church with Joe Pruett officiating.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials made to Alzheimer’s Arkansas, Faulkner County, and P.O. Box 758, Conway, Ark. 72033. Online Guestbook available at www.rollerfuneralhomes.com/conway.

OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
Roller-McNutt / Conway
8th and Vine, P.O. Box 249, Conway, AR
Phone: 501-374-2731

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AR Firefighters Seek Ruling on Promised Salary Increases

Conway firefighters have sued the city seeking money for salary increase they were promised as a result of increased sales tax.

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Conway, Ark. Jan. 29–Attorneys representing local police and firemen are asking a circuit judge to find the city of Conway at fault and declare it liable for money that police and fire department employees were promised but reportedly did not receive for a number of years.

A motion for summary judgment was filed in circuit court in December and, on Thursday, attorneys representing the city of Conway were granted more time to respond to the request made by plaintiffs in the matter.

The lawsuit stems from a Conway City Council-approved quarter-cent (0.25 percent) sales tax that was to be used "exclusively to the salaries of the employees of the City of Conway," according to the ballot resolution that was passed by Conway voters in August 2001. Employees allege they did not receive money they were promised.

A formal complaint regarding the unpaid monies was filed in 2012, and in December 2015, Circuit Judge Troy B. Braswell gave the green light for the case to move forward as a class-action lawsuit. During the 2015 hearing, Braswell also struck down the plaintiffs’ argument that money was illegally spent on the city’s behalf for other purposes rather than improving police and firefighters’ pay.

The certified class includes about 200 police and fire employees that were employed with the city between Dec. 1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2012. Attorneys representing the city’s police and firemen argue a summary judgment is necessary and appropriate because dispositions of parties involved in the suit "clearly show that there are no genuine issues of material fact."

The city should be held liable, attorneys Thomas Thrash and Russell Wood said, because it was "contractually obligated to pay its police officers and firefighters in accordance with the pay scales adopted by the city council on December 1, 2001" but did not do so.

According to the recent motion for summary judgment, they city distributed the same pay grid to employees prior to hire and others already employed and told each the grid represented their salaries.However, the motion claims employees were not compensated accordingly.

Several employees, agreed to take the initial pay cuts working for either the Conway police or fire department because there was more money promised in coming years.

"Unfortunately, the City ended up breaking its promises," the motion for summary judgment reads in part. "Although the City for a number of years made good on its pledge to honor the mandatory, and ‘automatic,’ step raises, it refused in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to approve yearly salary increases pursuant to the Pay Grids for Police Officers and Firefighters."

The step raises were to be paid for through the 0.25 percent sales tax increase passed in August 2001 by Conway voters because "police officers and firefighters [were] being cherry picked by higher-paying departments in the Central Arkansas area," according to a statement by former Conway Mayor Tab Townsell.

"This impacted public safety, given that the loss of ‘better trained employees to other departments’ made it necessary to ‘backfill them … with less trained’ personnel," Townsell reportedly admitted during a disposition with the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

An investigator with the Conway Police Department said during a disposition that he was assured he would receive a higher pay in accordance with the step grid, which "played a major part in [his] decision to accept the job."

A Conway firefighter also said he "relied on the pay scale when making [the] decision to accept the employment offered by the City of Conway … or [were] subject to the pay scale after [their] hiring and relied on said pay scale to continue employment," according to a disposition affidavit.

Since the step-grid sales tax was adopted 17 years ago, it "has generated annual revenues in the millions … accounting for over $3.2 million in 2012 alone," according to court documents.

Several employees "have over time expressed frustration that Conway has defaulted" on its promise and have sent letters and emails to city officials regarding the matter through the years.

The plaintiffs assert they believe the city "will attempt to excuse its failure to make yearly step increases by claiming that the raises were conditioned upon the ‘availability’ of funds." However, "the funds were available," according to the motion for summary judgment.

Thrash told the Log Cabin Democrat that claims against the city are estimated at more than $2 million. Last month, a mediation to attempt to reach a settlement was held in Little Rock. However, the city did not agree to settle the matter and now the case will continue to trial later this year.

"The city did not agree to settle the case, therefore, the case is going to trial," Thrash said.

Defendants in the matter have until Feb. 22 to respond to the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, per an order signed Thursday by Judge Braswell.

A hearing before Braswell is currently scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. April 23, and a week-long jury trial is set to begin on May 6.

___ (c)2019 Log Cabin Democrat, Conway, Ark.

Visit Log Cabin Democrat, Conway, Ark. at www.thecabin.net

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Other days

100 years ago

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• Falling into the elevator shaft of the Donaghey building from the fourth floor yesterday morning, the Rev. J. T. Howell, aged 50, Baptist minister for the Pulaski County Baptist Association, was instantly killed. Nearly every bone in his body was crushed in the fall. Miss Mabel Powell, in charge of the elevator, was prostrated by the accident and was removed to her home, where she has been under the care of physicians.

50 years ago

Jan. 31, 1969

• After defeating four more amendments offered by Senator Guy H. (Mutt) Jones of Conway, the Arkansas Senate approved a bill (SB 52) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday authorizing a merger of Little Rock University with the University of Arkansas. The vote was 26-8. Jones, who favors elevating State College at Conway to university status rather than locating a state university at Little Rock, had stalled the bill for most of two days with consideration of amendments.

25 years ago

Jan. 31, 1994

McGEHEE — Floodwaters receded here over the weekend, and residents began to move back into homes that had been flooded since Thursday. More than 100 families were forced to flee their homes late last week after three days of steady rains. The Sherland Addition on the west side of town was the hardest hit. The McGehee Police Department reported as much as 4/4 feet of water in some areas of the subdivision. Mayor Rosalie Gould said Sunday that 49 houses, most in the Sherland Addition, suffered heavy damage in the flood. About 85 other houses suffered lesser damage, she said. Gould said many residents were cleaning out their flooded homes Sunday, but she didn’t know how many had managed to move back in.

10 years ago

Jan. 31, 2009

• Little Rock City Directors are being advised to sell Ray Winder Field to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a potential $1.1 million deal that would keep the medical school from expanding into midtown neighborhoods. Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson said the medical school is one of the city’s top employers and draws patients from around the world. It would be the best fit for the former Arkansas Travelers ball field property that sits a few blocks west of the 73-acre campus, he said. Members of a city advisory board chose the medical school proposal over a proposed expansion of the Little Rock Zoo or creation of a nonprofit baseball program, other options under consideration for the property.

Metro on 01/31/2019

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Millions donated to an Arkansas university

Biggest donation in UCA’s history will help many students.

CONWAY, AR (KAIT) -A university received a donation that will make a huge difference in the lives of its students.

Representatives with the University of Central Arkansas announced on Jan. 22 that the largest donation in over 100 years of their existence had been given to them.

The Windgate Foundation donated $20 million for the creation of the new, state of the art Windgate Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

The 114,000 square foot facility will include 44,000 square feet for art space, an exterior space for three-dimensional art, an art gallery, a 450-seat concert hall and a proscenium theatre.

“The Department of Art was one of the original eight departments when UCA was established in 1907, and it remains a high priority for us as we look to the future,” President Davis said. “Today, more than 250 students major or minor in art, and another 750 majors in the other fine arts and communication areas. Student enrollment for all departments has remained at capacity for the past decade. This gift will allow us to fulfill the facilities and scholarship needs that are worthy of our outstanding faculty and students. We will be able to help more students earn degrees in art and related disciplines, while also graduating a workforce of creative problem solvers, critical thinkers, and independent learners. We thank Windgate Foundation for their partnership and incredible show of confidence in UCA’s vision for the arts.”

The remainder of the project will be funded through additional private gifts and other resources, for a total estimated cost of $45 million.

The remaining $1 million from Windgate will be added to the current Windgate Scholarship Fund, which was established within the UCA Foundation in 2005.

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James Campen leaving Packers for Browns

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The Packers are losing their longest-tenured assistant coach, Rob Demovsky of ESPN reports.

Campen is joining the Browns as associate head coach/offensive line.

Campen was under contract for next season, but the Packers granted him permission last week to interview with the Browns. Campen has a long history with the Packers, and a long history with Browns General Manager John Dorsey, who played for the Packers from 1984-89 and worked in Green Bay for all but one year from 1991-2012..

Campen played for the Packers from 1989-1993 and has coached there since 2004. He has served as offensive line coach since 2007.

This season, Campen earned a promotion to run-game coordinator/offensive line coach.

Six Packers lineman have earned Pro Bowl recognition since 2010, the only team in the league to have six members of the offensive line selected over that span, according to the Packers website.

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Faulkner County diverted $350K from public defender’s office

CONWAY, AR (AP) – A county in central Arkansas won’t reimburse its public defender’s office for more than $350,000 of funding that officials diverted to other entities over almost two decades.

Faulkner County attorney David Hogue tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the county’s Quorum Court has agreed to end the practice of transferring money from the defender’s office to other programs. But the court declined to reimburse any of the remaining money.

Lynn Plemmons is chief public defender of the 20th Judicial Circuit public defender’s office. Plemmons first discovered the money transfers after taking over the circuit position in February.

The prosecuting attorney’s office will return $23,500 of the defender’s funding, but it’s not enough to cover hiring costs.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Luxury apartments coming to Conway, first project on site of former airport

Central Landing Development revealed plans to build a $70 million development that will include 339 luxury apartments over 18.7 acres of the mixed-use development. (Photo: Conway Development Corporation)
Central Landing Development revealed plans to build a $70 million development that will include 339 luxury apartments over 18.7 acres of the mixed-use development. (Photo: Conway Development Corporation)
Central Landing Development revealed plans to build a $70 million development that will include 339 luxury apartments over 18.7 acres of the mixed-use development. (Photo: Conway Development Corporation)
Central Landing Development revealed plans to build a $70 million development that will include 339 luxury apartments over 18.7 acres of the mixed-use development. (Photo: Conway Development Corporation)

CONWAY (KATV) —

Central Landing Development has announced the first project expected to break ground where the Conway airport originally stood.

The announcement revealed plans to build a $70-million development that will include 339 luxury apartments over 18.7 acres of the mixed-use development.

Central Arkansas developer and Burkhalter Technologies Inc. CEO, John Burkhalter, released this statment about the project.

Conway’s economy is strong and growing. We believe the Conway area market is ready for an upscale apartment home community that provides the amenities, services, and standard of living that professionals can expect from a Fountaine Bleau property. Central Landing is a perfect location for this style of luxury apartment home living. We look forward to being a part of this vibrant and engaging community.

The Central Landing development is made up of over 150 acres of redevelopment from what was once Conway’s airport site.

The land was purchased from the city of Conway by the Conway Development Corporation in December of 2017.

“Since closing on the Central Landing property earlier this year, we’ve been balancing an urgency to develop with a desire to develop well,” said Jamie Gates, Executive Vice President of the Conway Development Corporation. “Today’s announcement accomplishes both goals by bringing luxury housing and economic firepower to the project.”

The city of Conway has invested more than $25 million in related transportation infrastructure since relocating the airport.

Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry says the announcement is a positive sign of things to come.

The 6th street overpass, Central Landing Boulevard, and the extension of Bruce Street are already changing the way people move around the city. Today’s announcement shows that those projects also change the way our city develops.

The Central Landing Development has also been confirmed as an "Opportunity Zone".

Opportunity zones were established by Congress to encourage strategic long-term investments that benefit the community. The Opportunity Zone program provides a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into business activities that are within the zone.

Form more information about the project, click HERE.

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Seniors to get gifts

Nearly 15 years ago, a program called Be a Santa to a Senior started in Omaha, Nebraska, within Home Instead Senior Care to provide those who are often forgotten a little joy during the holidays.

The program moved to Conway 13 years ago, Home Instead Senior Care Director of Marketing, Philip Young, said adding that Conway Regional Medical Center joined the effort to provide for seniors in the community.

“It was mainly to be able to give gifts to seniors that normally would not get them, financially maybe not be able to, get anything for Christmas,” he said.

Young has worked with Tyisha Allen, the human resources coordinator at the hospital, for the past five years.

“She’s been a huge part of this process ever since,” Young said.

The program, he said, runs like Angel Tree does for kids … by placing ornaments on a tree with items listed for people to pick up and donate.

“I think it’s a very overlooked population, so, I’m just glad that there is something like this in existence for them,” Young said.

In total, he said, Home Instead serves several counties in the area including Faulkner, County, Pope, Cleburne, Van Buren and Perry counties. He said they end up doing around 500 or more each year, with Faulkner County taking up about half of that.

Young said they get the client names and their wish lists from the different nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and others. Then they create the ornaments, put tags on them and take them to places like Conway Regional, which are “gracious enough” to house them at their locations.

“To be honest, usually before we even get them, employees start calling and emailing, ‘have we gotten tags, have we gotten tags,’ so they look forward to this every year,” Allen said. “They know … it’s that time, it’s supposed to be here. We start getting employee emails and questions about them early and then once we have them we just send out a huge email and say they’re here, pick them up anytime and they do. They trickle in and out picking up tags.”

Seeing the employees be so supportive and active in the program is “pretty cool,” she said.

“I just love seeing the heart of the employees,” Allen said. “To know that we have employees that look forward to it and to expect it to happen, we have employees that have really big hearts and they are ready to give.”

She said the hospital has some of the best employees when it comes to giving.

“It’s nice to see people that look outside of themselves to bless somebody else. I think that’s the greatest part in our involvement is to know that our employees are ready and are waiting and are looking forward to being a part of this,” Allen said.

She said they also have others outside in the community eager every year to come in and grab an ornament.

“Just yesterday, we had a little lady come in and she wanted to pick one up off the tree and bring it back and she was just from the community,” Allen said.

As of Nov. 20, the tree had around 25 ornaments left for pick up. She said Young had already brought several groups since Be a Santa started on Nov. 2.

“They go like hot cakes,” Allen said. “It’s pretty cool.”

Young said people have until Dec. 2 to pick up and turn in the gifts at the drop-off centers.

The Log Cabin Democrat asked him what type of items are often asked for.

“It’s really interesting to see what comes back, what we put on there for them,” Young said. “It’s really sad because it’s just needs-based items, shampoo, blankets, slippers. It’s not like you would think it would be, a computer [or something]; it’s very basic, needed items and that’s 99 percent of what comes [through].”

The LCD took a look at the tree noting that items listed included one request for large pajama pants and medium shirts, another for stretch pants, long-sleeve shirts and house shoes and chocolate and more requesting similar items.

Young said what drives him to keep doing the event year after year is spreading holiday cheer.

“That’s a given, but at the same time, it’s a way to give back to those seniors that most of them have had pretty big impacts in our lives at some point,” he said. “I just see it as a way to just give back to those who made such an impact on our lives.”

After the gifts are picked up, they are taken to where the clients or residents live. Oftentimes, the homes host Christmas parties together and open the presents.

Young said he gets to go to several facilities and see the reactions.

“Don’t get me started but even sometimes [they’re] brought to tears and stuff like that,” he said. “And of course joy.”

What really gets him, Young said, is when someone asked for something special and they actually get it.

“Those are probably the best things, just seeing that,” he said.

Those moments, Young said, can be emotional, especially after the busy two-month time period it takes to put everything together and then finally see the work pay off.

“It makes me super proud to be a part of Home Instead No.1, just to be a part of being able to do something like this, but yes, it’s a lot of emotion that builds up there, finally,” he said. “It always works out, everybody always gets their gifts, no one’s ever left out.”

Both agreed that they are thankful for those who give.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling to me because we do have that type of community,” Allen said. “Not just with this program, but I think we just have a great giving community. To know that we have a community that don’t want to leave these seniors out, I just think that is so special. We have a community who wants to be a blessing to others and I think that is so special.”

She said we can take for granted that we are surrounded by family and loved ones, especially during the holiday seasons, when that’s not always the case for everyone. Knowing there are ones who think of others, is overwhelming.

Young said they couldn’t do the program without people out there who bend over backward to help those in need.

“Be a Santa to a Senior helps bring comfort and a smile to many seniors,” Home Instead Senior Care Center in Conway owner Paul Fry, said. “It shows them that people care about them and see them as an important part of the community. Social isolation is a concern among seniors and the holidays often intensify feelings of distance and loneliness. When we deliver the gifts and spend some time with them, it makes a big difference.”

For those interested in the program, visit www.beasantatoasenior.com or drop by the Conway Regional Medical Center Human Resources Office — located at the building’s west entrance — where Allen works between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday before Dec. 2.

Be a Santa to a Senior trees can be found at the following locations:

Conway Regional Medical Center, 2302 College Avenue, Conway, AR 72034.Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, 1808 W. Main Street, Russellville, AR 72801.Pope County Senior Activity Center, 110 N. Rochester, Russellville, AR 72801.Better Together Program, Pope Co. Cooperative Extension Service, 105 West B St., Russellville, AR, 72801.Dardanelle Senior Center, 615 N. 5th St., Dardanelle, AR 72834.Baptist Health Medical Center, 1800 Bypass Rd., Heber Springs, AR, 72543.

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