The Charleston Chamber of Commerce met for the regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 1, at the Gathering Place in Charleston with CV’s IGA catering lunch. Lunch was set up and served by Hug Chevrolet employees Frank Hug and Mark Holloway. There were 31 members and guests present.

Chamber President Donna Martin opened the meeting and asked for new local business announcements.

Mayor Tabitha Hester and Heather Tygart with the City of Charleston gave a report of business with the City Offices and thanked all the United Way Day of Caring volunteers who picked up trash for several days from local citizens who were unable to haul it off. Students from the school, local citizens, city council members and city employees all volunteered time to make this happen. Over 10 dumpsters of trash was filled and the efforts were extended until Monday, with the volunteers trying to pick up as much as possible. Mayor Hester also reminded everyone of the City Fishing Derby coming up on May 18th. It is open to children ages 2-14. Pre-registration is available on the City of Charleston Facebook page. Heather also announced that a City Parks Committee is being formed to oversee the work to make our local parks handicap accessible. Anyone interested in being involved should meet at City Hall on May 16th at 4:30pm. The City is also working to update the policies, procedures and prices on the Community Center and will be bringing a recommendation before the City Council for consideration.

Paul David Gramlich reminded everyone that Alumni Weekend is June 6-9 with lots of activities happening all over town. More detailed information will be posted on the City of Charleston or Charleston Chamber of Commerce facebook pages and in the Charleston Express.

Jonas and Halie Schaffer, Administrators of Greenhurst Nursing Center, shared the news that Greenhurst won the Arkansas Healthcare Hero Award. This was the first time it had ever been awarded to a Long-term Care Facility. They also gave a report of the recent Easter Egg Hunt. Greenhurst dyed 2000 eggs and had 500 stuffed with prizes. It was a huge success with many local citizens and children enjoying the event. National Nursing Home Week is coming up and one of the local events will be a Fishing Derby held at Greenhurst on May 15 at 10am. The 3rd grade classes from Charleston School will attend, along with approximately 10-12 other groups of local nursing home residents.

Ryan Chronister was present and announced that his business, Tiger Ice, is celebrating one year of business on Main Street Charleston this month. They are now offering ice in wholesale quantities for larger events. More information is available by calling him at (479) 883-7489.

Current Charleston Superintendent Jeff Stubblefield and Future Superintendent Missy Moore were present and gave an update of school news. Baccalaureate for the graduating senior class will be held at Life Church this Sunday, May 5th at 5pm, and there will also be a Band Concert at the school this Sunday May 5th.

Additionally, they want the community to know about the free Summer meal program at the school cafeteria. It is for ANY child up to age 18. Breakfast and lunch will be available Monday-Thursday free for children with only a $2 charge for adults. Call the school for more information.

Ricky May, new Charleston Head Football Coach was a guest of Jeff and Missy and was welcomed to the Chamber Lunch. He introduced himself and told a little about his background and family. He is happy to be in Charleston and is looking forward to getting more involved in the community.

Shannon McChristian with The Daily Dose Bookstore gave a brief recap of the recent Chamber Banquet and reminded everyone of the Chicken Mafia Chicken Sale to be held this Saturday, May 4 at noon at County Line Sale Barn.

Misty Hawkins of Charleston Public Library handed out May calendars listing all the upcoming activities going on at the local library. They are busy as usual with all types of interesting adult and children’s classes, school visits etc. They will be sponsoring a Juggling Act at the School on Thursday, May 9 at 2pm. Summer Reading Program sign-ups will kick off June 3. Misty also announced that Photographer Steven Hunter will be holding a Photography Workshop on the Natural Prairie area north of town this Saturday. Participants will be traveling from all over Arkansas and other states for this event. More info can be found on his facebook page. Misty’s visitor this month was Regional Librarian Donna McDonald, who is now working at the Charleston Branch two days a week. Reminder that the Charleston Farmers Market will kick off the season on May 11th at the Charleston Courthouse. For booth rental information, please contact Misty Hawkins at the Library.

Brooke Bell-Whitburn of Zoe Bugs reminded everyone of the 1st Annual Tator Hill Fest to be held Saturday, June 2, sponsored by the Chamber. There will be activities all over town including window displays, festival themed specials, arts and crafts, food trucks, etc. Plan now to be a part of this fun event. A planning meeting will be held on May 20th at 8am at the Gathering Place for anyone interested in helping.

The PrarieClipper was present and thanked everyone for recent business. They are expanding and will soon celebrate one year on Main Street. They now carry mulch, live plants, and small and large mowers. They will be holding an Open House on May 17 and 18 with door prizes, refreshments and special sales.

The Chamber recognized Jeff Stubblefield for all his work and service through the years in the schools and the local community. He was asked to lead the closing pledge and prayer.

Our next lunch will be held on Wednesday, June 5 at noon at the Gathering Place. We would love to have you as a member or visitor! (There will be no lunch held in July due to the 4th of July holiday)