Charleston Chamber of Commerce members met Wednesday, September 5 at the Gathering Place, with President Cody Sosebee opening the meeting. Local resident Jim West started by thanking everyone for the calls and visits he got while hospitalized recently. First Baptist Church Pastor Artie Hudson announced the new afterschool Bible club the church is sponsoring at the school on Tuesdays for 3rd and 4th graders, the church fair booth which will be serving free ice cream and snow cones, and the upcoming fish fry to be held at the church.

Franklin Co Judge Rickey Bowman announced the new RAVE security system for all county employees and offices. It is an emergency notification for active shooter situations. The county also received a $15,000 grant for the security system in the Ozark courthouse. A new video conferencing system for bond hearings has been set up in Ozark and will hopefully be implemented in Charleston soon. Groundbreaking for the new jail is Monday, September 10 at 10 AM on Airport Road in Ozark.

Daniel Thueson, Pastor at the United Methodist Church, talked about the afterschool program they are starting on Wednesdays for elementary to high school ages.

Ellie Lindgren with Maggie House announced the groundbreaking for the Young Children’s Activity Center in Chaffee Crossing on September 25 at 10 AM.

Jeff Stubblefield, Charleston public schools, had a reminder to watch the upcoming laws that are before the Legislature to see how they affect things locally. He also mentioned the Foster grandparent program and stated that Homecoming is coming up soon.

Joe Finley, candidate for Franklin County judge, was present and announced that he will have a booth at the fair to visit with the community.

Lacey Neissl, Simmons Bank, talked about the upcoming Chamber of Commerce lip-sync contest at the South Franklin County fair. Several businesses are slated to participate. It will raise money for local charities.

Paul David Gramlich announced that the chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade will be Saturday, December 1, at 5:30 PM Participants should be at the school at 5 PM. No prior sign up is required.

Tabitha Hester, candidate for Charleston Mayor, was present and will also have a booth at the fair with giveaways and would like to visit with area citizens about concerns and expectations.

Donna Presnell, River Valley Quarries, was present and announced that they have opened a new Sand Plant in Fort Smith recently.

Jonas Schaffer, Greenhurst, said everything is going well at Greenhurst and they have been full except for therapy rooms. He also spoke briefly about issue 1 that is in the legislature for vote at this time.

Brooke Robins, Zoe Bugs Boutique, announced that they will have a group in the lip-sync contest, and will be open on Mondays starting this week.

Representatives from the Arkansas Drug and Alcohol prevention foundation were present and stated they have Power point presentations available for local schools.

Misty Hawkins, Charleston public library, announced that it is national Library Card Month. Library fines will be waived in exchange for donated cans of soup, which will benefit our local food bank. She also commended the local churches who have stepped up to take care of the after school care needs in our community. The library will also have a group in the lip-sync challenge.

Tammy Sisson, Candidate for Franklin county clerk, was present and stated that the county has purchased new voting machines and will cut the polling sites from 13 to 6. However, citizens may vote at any site. She will also have a booth at the South Franklin County fair.

Susie Potts of the Charleston City Council was present, and stated that there would be a meeting soon for the community watch program that she is helping to form.

Brooke Robins also announced that there will be a meeting on Wednesday, September 12 at 8 AM at the Gathering Place for anyone who would like to promote small businesses in our local area. Everyone is invited to attend this round table meeting to share ideas.

President Cody Sosebee announced a town hall meeting on Tuesday, September 18 at 6:30pm in the middle school auditorium to meet and hear local political candidates. Every citizen is encouraged to attend.

Pastor Daniel Thueson closed the meeting with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

The next Charleston Chamber of Commerce meeting will be Wednesday, October 3 at noon in the gathering place. Please come and get involved in all the good things happening in Charleston!