Community Briefs Feb. 9

UAPB sets community festival

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will cap its year-long celebration of its sesquicentennial at its Spring Fling community festival from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 9 at Saracen Landing, 200 Lake Saracen Drive. (The original location of this event has been changed.)

The public is invited to attend this free, family-oriented event. Mayor Shirley Washington, County Judge Gerald Robinson, and Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander will give opening remarks, according to a news release.

The event will highlight the "Mission, Milestones, and Memories" that were cultivated at UAPB during the more than 150 years of its existence. Attendees will experience interactive activities, such as robotics, art, and in anticipation of the upcoming solar eclipse, glasses will be available to take home.

Performances by UAPB's Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South and the Vesper Choir will help kick off the event. Light refreshments will be served and there will also be a prize drawing every half-hour.

UAPB considering online MBA

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is exploring the potential addition of an online Master of Business Administration degree program to its offerings. The community is invited to take a survey to gauge the interest in the program, according to the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce newsletter.

"We kindly request a few minutes of your time to participate in a brief survey designed to gauge the interest and viability of introducing this program. Your feedback will play a pivotal role in shaping the direction of UAPB's academic offerings and ensuring that they align with the needs of local businesses and professionals like yourself," according to the newsletter.

The survey is available at

Webinar to address EPA policy shift

In 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was adopting a new policy for how it would meet its Endangered Species Act obligations when carrying out agency actions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

While many aspects of this policy are still under development, the shift is expected to result in additional restrictions to pesticide applications, according to a news release from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

"EPA claims that this policy will both increase protections for endangered species and be more efficient than its previous approach," said Brigit Rollins, staff attorney for the National Agricultural Law Center. "That being said, some critics say that EPA's new policy is over-broad and could harm the agricultural industry by limiting when and where producers are able to spray."

Rollins will discuss the ESA/FIFRA policy, the various issues at play and what this means for agriculture during NALC's webinar, "What's the Harm? Examining EPA's New Approach to ESA Compliance When Making FIFRA Decisions." The webinar will be on Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. The webinar is free and registration is online.

The Endangered Species Act works to protect species from extinction by requiring the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to identify endangered species, which then receive all the protections offered by the ESA.

To further its goals of protecting species from extinction, the ESA also requires all federal agencies to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service prior to carrying out an agency action. This consultation is used to determine the effects of the action on endangered species, and to develop any mitigation measures that may be required.

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