With the New Year arriving, many Pine Bluff leaders are making resolutions related to their personal and professional lives.
The calendar turning to Jan. 1 offers people a blank slate complete with unlimited opportunities for positive changes. The Commercial asked a group of leaders in Pine Bluff about their resolutions.
Outgoing Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth said she and her husband Jack Hollingsworth will be doing a lot of fishing.
“[My resolution] is to catch more fish than him. He always beats me,” Debe Hollingsworth said. “We catch crappie and bass. We fish around small lakes around the White River Refuge. Once I caught an eight and a half pound bass in a lake in lower Texas. We saw alligators.”
Hollingsworth said she vows to “love the present and enjoy my six grandsons. One is getting into golf. I am going to help him.”
Incoming Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington will be sworn into office on Sunday, Jan. 1. She set a goal that coincides with her mayoral duties.
“Right now as I move into office, [my resolution is] to engage with the public in a positive and informative manner,” Washington said. “I think communication will be key.”
Pine Bluff Police Chief Jeff Hubanks resolves to “refocus all of my energies into a successful retirement. Hubanks will have worked for the Pine Bluff Police Department for a total of 31 years and will retire on Feb. 1, 2017.
A blacksmith and motorcycle enthusiast, Hubanks look forward to plying his blacksmith skills and driving his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
“I literally have a blacksmith’s shop and I am going to work on being humble,” Hubanks said. “I am making decorative things for my house and having fun doing that. I intend to ride to Monument Valley in Utah. You see the western movies with the beautiful rock formations. I love Harleys and own stock in the company and own two Harleys. I intend to drive there in the summer. I do not have a problem doing a solo trip.”
Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility Director Ken Johnson set a personal resolution of becoming more conscientious by showing more kindness, compassion and consideration to fellow human beings.
“This is the way I like to remember my mother Doris P. Johnson, who passed away July 19, 2016, in Rison, Arkansas, by her many acts of kindness to people in her community,” Johnson said via email.
Johnson set a professional resolution of becoming more effective in his business practices and striving for exemplary service to all customers to better Pine Bluff.
Pine Bluff City Treasurer Greg Gustek said he does not drink alcohol, does not smoke, does not chase women and does not need to lose weight. As a result, he does not usually make resolutions but because he was asked he offered the following.
“I am goal-oriented,” Gustek said. “[My resolution] is to continue serving the citizens of Pine Bluff the best way I can.”
Bob Purvis, executive director of the Pine Bluff Convention Center, will get married to Maryl Koeth on March 26, 2017, and move to Van Buren, Arkansas. They have dated each other for 20 years. In advance of that move, he will also be retiring on March 1 after 18 years in his present post.
“At my age, my resolution is to live my life to the fullest,” Purvis, 66, said. “I am starting a new journey and I am going to live every moment to the fullest.”
Purvis said he is also looking forward to spending time with his children and grandchildren, who live in multiple locations in Arkansas.