Community Briefs

5A basketball tourney starts today

The 5A State Basketball Tournament will be held at the Pine Bluff Convention Center today through Saturday. Admission is $7 for adults and students. There's no charge for ages 5 and younger, according to a news release.

All tickets must be purchased via, the digital ticketing provider of the Arkansas Activities Association. Secured parking will be available for $5 or $10 payable with debit or credit cards only. Unsecured free parking is also available in outlying lots. Participants should in mind the convention center has a clear bag policy.

The Boys Tournament Bracket is available at The Girls Tournament Bracket is available at


Education forum set March 9

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Delta Omega Omega Chapter, will present a Community Education Forum from 6-8 p.m. March 9 at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center, 211 W. Third Ave. The event will also be held via Zoom, according to a news release.

The community is invited to attend and join the discussion on ballot measures currently impacting school districts.

The panelists will be state Sen. Stephanie Flowers, state Rep. Vivian Flowers, and state Rep. Ken Ferguson. The moderators will be Keidra Burrell, a lawyer, and Frank Dorsey II.

Event partnerships include First Sisters Outreach Inc. and Pine Bluff Interested Citizens for Voter Registration Inc.

TOPPS to give away food

Targeting Our People's Priorities with Service (TOPPS), 1000 Townsend Drive, will hold its monthly food distribution at 10 a.m. March 14. Food will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. Only one box per household will be given away, according to a news release.

Sponsors and partners include Canaan Christian Center, Zion Church of North West Arkansas, Calvary Baptist of Little Rock, Pine Bluff Police Department, Arkansas Food Bank, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, private donors, and TOPPS, a non-profit community based organization.

Links to host Women's Day March 8

The International Trends and Services Facet of the Pine Bluff Chapter of The Links Inc. will host International Women's Day at 7 p.m. March 8 via Zoom.

The public is invited to attend this event saluting 11 women: Kanesha Barnes-Adams, Nyesha Aldridge, Toni Carter, state Sen. Stephanie Flowers, Phoebe London, Dr. Tochi Keeton, Pamela Moore, Ph.D; Kymara Seals, Pamela Smith, Mayor Shirley Washington, and Rosemary White.

The honorees represent the spirit of The Links facets: Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services, and Health and Human Services, according to a news release.

International Women's Day will celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

To join the Zoom meeting, visit with Meeting ID: 987 1228 1470 and Passcode: 531786 or dial by your location to +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) or +1 669 444 9171 US.

Tenita Shannon-Gragg is the president of the Pine Bluff Chapter of The Links Inc. Kelly D. Bryant is the program/technology chair of the chapter.

Underwater robotics event set

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and Arkansas 4-H will host the 2023 Arkansas SeaPerch Challenge, an underwater robotics competition, on Friday at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Aquatic Center.

About 200 students will represent 61 teams from 12 counties. These include contestants from Benton, Boone, Grant, Howard, Madison, Miller, Newton, Perry, Pope, Saline, Union and Washington counties in Arkansas as well as two teams from Grenada, Miss., according to a news release.The SeaPerch is a remotely-operated submersible built from more than three dozen parts, including PVC pipe, pool noodles, three 12-volt motors and batteries.

The winner of the challenge will advance to the International SeaPerch Challenge on May 13 at the University of Maryland.

During the state challenge, teams must navigate their SeaPerch through obstacle courses and complete other tasks, such as moving plastic rings from one part of the course and successfully placing them to another part.

The goal is to ignite students' interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM.) Competitors will use their SeaPerch robots to simulate ocean exploration and mapping, according to the release.

"Arkansas' electric cooperatives are dedicated to providing STEM-based educational opportunities for Arkansas' youth," said Rob Roedel, director of corporate communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. "Our partnership with Arkansas 4-H has resulted in tremendous growth in this program that opens learning paths for the future leaders of our state."

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