The regular monthly Charleston Chamber of Commerce meeting was held on Wednesday, April 3 at the Gathering Place in Charleston. There were forty-one members and guests present. President Donna Martin opened the meeting and asked for an update from area businesses. Ryan Chronister, owner of Tiger Ice, was present and reminded everyone the ice machine located in front of Kats Kitchen also has water available. He stated how much he appreciates local business. Paul Allen Neissl was present and announced the Ribbon Cutting today following lunch to welcome All-N Pawn & Loan to the Chamber. Medisav employees reminded everyone they have Chamber Banquet tickets for sale. Jeff Stubblefield and Shane Storey gave an update on Charleston School business- upcoming events are the Prom, which will be held at the Community Center in Charleston this year on April 6, Graduation on May 16th, and construction taking place on the new activities building near the football field. Pastors Artie Hudson and Damon McKenzie of First Baptist Church reminded everyone to celebrate the upcoming Easter season. Mayor Tabitha Hester gave a lengthy update on Charleston city projects and improvements. She announced improvements to the volleyball court, the organization of a new Charleston Sports Association, the upcoming implementation of online payments for city utilities and other payments, the revisions to the Community Center rental policies and procedures, and road improvement and police equipment grants the city is applying for. She also reminded everyone of the upcoming United Way Day of Caring on April 25 (please contact City Offices if you need something hauled away and are physically unable to do it) and the City Fishing Derby to be held on Saturday, May 18at the Charleston City Fishing Pond off Guy Fenter Drive. This event is open to children ages 2-14.

Joy Sewell of Simmons Bank announced her upcoming retirement on April 26, and that April Newhart will be filling her position. Pastor Daniel Thueson of Charleston United Methodist Church announced Easter services to be held there on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Everyone is invited to attend. Sharon Sharpe of the Charleston City Council announced that the city will be needing extra volunteer trailers to haul off trash on the Day of Caring. If you can help, please contact City offices. Donna Presnell with Fostering Change was present to remind everyone of their upcoming banquet in Fort Smith to raise money and awareness of local needs in the foster community. Shannon McChristian of The Daily Dose Book Store discussed the upcoming Annual Chamber Banquet. Tickets are still for sale for $20 each through this week at various local businesses, or you may contact any Chamber officer or Board Member. It will be held Saturday, April 13at the Charleston Community Center. Eddie Lee Herndon, Fort Smith United Way President, will be the featured speaker, with 5NEWS Meteorologist Joe Pennington as the Master of Ceremonies, and Main Street BBQ providing Dinner. A silent Auction will be held during the banquet to raise funds to help make our local city parks handicap-friendly, and to help with the Downtown Christmas Lighting Fund. Auction items can be dropped off at The Daily Dose on Main Street through Friday, April 12. Chris Hoover, representative with Senator Tom Cottons office, was present at the meeting. He helps serve eighteen area counties on behalf of the senator and reminded area citizens to let him know of concerns or issues that may need to be addressed by his office. Misty Hawkins introduced her guests- Nancy Smith of Ozark Library and Linda Halmes, Library Board Member. Misty announced that the Growing a Healthy Charleston Organization had been successful in obtaining grant money for a shade structure for the City playground childrens area. Jonas Schaffer, Administrator of Greenhurst Nursing Center, announced they have been chosen as a finalist for the Healthcare Heroes Award, representing top place in the Nursing Home category. He also talked about a program he will be leading this week at the Charleston Library on preparing financially for senior adult years.

Brandon Fisher of Arkansas Valley Electric announced the winning Youth Representatives who will be traveling to Washington DC this summer- Madison Price of County Line High School and Peyton Orrick of Ozark High School. Alison LaRue R.N. with Mercy Hospital Ozark was present to remind area citizens of the outpatient and other services offered at the hospital. Brooke Bell-Whitburn of Zoe Bugs Boutique announced they will be celebrating six years in business on April 19 and 20 with sales and specials in the store.

Representatives of PrairieClipper stated they now carry live plants, seeds, and all kinds of lawn and gardens treatments and products. Please check with them for all your Spring planting needs.

Misty Hawkins was the featured Guest Speaker this month as National Library Week is in April. She reminded everyone of the services the library offers- such as movies, music, training, online services, etc. in addition to books and reading programs. Pastor Artie Hudson closed the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and Prayer. *The Chamber would like to remind everyone of the BIG TO-DO on 22 Yard Sale to be held April 10-13 all along Highway 22 from Dardanelle to Barling. The Chamber encourages everyone to find a spot along Main Street or Highway 22 to set up and sell your items. We hope this event will bring lots of shoppers, tourists and revenue into Charleston. We would also like to remind everyone of the 1st Annual Tator Hill Fest coming up on June 11, which will include a car show, farmers market and other city wide events. Start planning now to attend! Please contact Brooke Bell-Whitburn for more information on this event.

The Chamber Officers and Board Members will host a Ribbon Cutting for new Charleston Chamber member ‘Young Mugs Coffee Shop’ on April 19 at 8:30 a.m. We invite everyone to attend and welcome this new locally owned business to Main Street! Our next regular monthly meeting will be Wednesday, May 1st at noon at the Gathering Place. Lunch will be served and we invite all local citizens and businesses to come join us and get involved in growing and improving our hometown! #LoveWhereYouLive