Calendar March 31

Editor's Note: At press time, the following events and meetings were known to be still scheduled. Organizers or appropriate officials are encouraged to contact Sandra Hope at [email protected] or use our newsroom email [email protected] to make additions or changes.


Early voting set

The Jefferson County Clerk's Office announced election related dates regarding the April 2 runoff. Early voting will end April 1 at the courthouse. Two races will be on the ballot: Pine Bluff mayoral race between Mayor Shirley Washington and state Rep. Vivian Flowers as well as 3rd Ward city council position between Council Member Glen Brown Sr. and William Fells. On April 2 -- Election day, polling sites will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. For details on absenttee ballot applications or other information, contact the Jefferson County Clerk's Office at (870) 541-5322.

Sunday, March 31

Barraque Street church hosts Easter service

Barraque Street Missionary Baptist Church will hold a Be Our Special Guest Easter Sunday. An Easter program and morning service will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday. There will be an Easter Egg hunt for children following the service. The Rev. Sidney Milton is the pastor.

Amos Chapel sets Easter service

Amos Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, 1307 W. 16 Ave., will host Resurrection Sunday (Easter Sunday) services at 11 a.m. March 31. The sermon will be delivered by Hank Wilkins IV, a bishop and associate minister of the Amos Chapel. The Rev. Robert Willis Jr., pastor, invites the community to attend any service at Amos Chapel.

New Community observes Easter

New Community Church, 321 N. Birch St., will present its Easter Service at 11 a.m. Sunday. The youth will conduct a skit, give speeches and have an Easter Egg Hunt. New Community invites everyone to attend its services. The church has prayer at noon on weekdays and children's church at 11 a.m. Sundays in the fellowship hall. The pastor/apostle at New Community is Patrick Lockett.

Word of Faith hosts family, friends

Word of Faith Full Gospel Baptist Church, 1108 S. Poplar St., invites the community to its Family and Friends Day on March 31. Sunday School is at 9:45 a.m. and worship service at 10:45 a.m. The message will be by the pastor, Henry Land Jr.

Through Sunday, March 31

Grant applications open for educators

Arkansas public-school personnel are encouraged to apply for the 2024 Arkansas Retired Teachers Association (ARTA) Grants Program. Applications must be submitted online and the deadline is March 31, according to a news release. The program funds grants in two categories. The Parsons-Burnett Grant is awarded to certified personnel to help further their education. The Mitchell-Fair Grant is awarded to classified personnel for the purpose of obtaining an Arkansas teaching license. Details:

Arsenal announces controlled burns

The Arkansas Forestry Division will be conducting controlled burns at the Pine Bluff Arsenal today until the end of March, depending on the weather. The community should not be alarmed if they see large plumes of smoke coming from the Arsenal during this time, according to a news release. These burns serve as an environmental benefit, not only to reduce wildfire risk by removing fuel levels and loading from the forest floor, but also act as timber stand and wildlife habitat improvements.

Through Monday, April 1

Deadline set for architecture camp

The Alex Foundation is accepting applications for its architecture and design summer camp recognized by the American Institute of Architects. The free commuter camp will be held for rising 7th graders from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 15-19 and July 22-26. The deadline to apply is April 1, according to a news release. Students will design and build small scale models of structures and historic buildings and create three-dimensional computer models. They will also learn to use drones to make STEM connections, learn engineering and allied professions of architecture. For details and to apply, visit

Tuesday, April 2

Ivy medical club to meet

The Ivy Center for Education's Future Medical Professionals "Club Scrub" will participate in a Zoom Only Scavenger Hunt from 6-7 p.m. April 2. The topic will be "The Importance of First Aid Training In Our Daily Life." This health/educational activity can be played with students and parents working together. The scavenger hunt will be conducted by Danielle Harris, Club Scrub health careers coordinator and education coordinator with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Regional Programs. Prizes may be won. The Zoom ID is 856 8296 4187 and Passcode is 351061. For details, interested 7th-12th graders and parents may email Ivy President Mattie Collins at [email protected].

Wednesday, April 3

Pine Bluff Commercial sets church news deadline

Church news is printed in The Commercial on Friday. The deadline to submit church announcements is noon Wednesday. Pastors, ministers or others interested in writing for the Devotional Page may also submit columns for consideration. Column writers should have connections to Southeast Arkansas. Articles should be submitted by email to Sandra Hope at [email protected] or [email protected]. Details: (870) 534-3400, ext. 5.

Through Friday, April 5

Applications available for AgDiscovery

Applications are being accepted for AgDiscovery, a residential career and science exploration program for teens, said Christopher C. Mathis Jr., AgDiscovery program director. The program is scheduled for June 8-21 at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. April 5 is the application deadline, according to a news release. "There are 20 universities participating in AgDiscovery 2024," Mathis said. "During the application process, students can select their host university." A complete list of host universities, application forms and details are available at Mathis said the program allows participants ages 14-17 to live on the UAPB campus and learn about agricultural science, environmental biology, industrial health and safety, plant and soil science, animal science, aquaculture and fisheries, and human sciences from university professors, practicing veterinarians and U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service professionals.

4-H Poster Art contest set

The Jefferson County 4-H Poster Art Contest is open to all 4-H members ages 9-19. Posters should be submitted to the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service by April 5. Posters can be horizontal or vertical and can be created using any of the following mediums: ink, crayon, acrylic, charcoal, colored pencil, collage or digital. Posters should only contain original creations. "Please refrain from using any copyrighted material," county agent Timothy Wallace said in a news release. Details: Timothy Wallace at (870) 534-1033 or [email protected].

Arkansas Rice has scholarship

High school juniors graduating in 2025 are eligible to apply for up to $17,500 in scholarship funding towards higher education. Arkansas Rice's "Rice Reps" is a five month program to help educate students about the rice industry while equipping them to act as advocates in their communities and on social media. Apply online prior to the April 5 deadline. For more information, visit or contact Becky Campbell at [email protected].

Beginning Friday, April 5

Heart and SoulAr Eclipse Festival set

The Heart and SoulAr Eclipse Festival will be held from April 5-8 and coincides with the solar eclipse April 8. The Heart and SoulAr Eclipse Festival will feature events including the Eclipse Golf Tournament, Oil Painting with artist Brenda Lawrence, the Riverfront Jazz Festival -- Sooth Your Soul, SoulAR Time with Jesus, and the Shells & Shadows Solar Crawfish Boil, and will culminate with Eclipse Viewing Parties at Saracen Landing and Pine Bluff's Main Library.

Saturday, April 6

Riverfront Jazz Festival set

Jazz enthusiasts and music lovers are set to experience the Riverfront Jazz Festival, an event taking place at the Regional Park Lakeview Amphitheater in Pine Bluff April 6. The gates open at noon and the show begins at 2 p.m. The festival is part of the HEART & SoulAR Eclipse Festival at Pine Bluff on April 5-8. The event will feature renowned artists, including Boney James, Lalah Hathaway, Justin Lee Schultz, Josh Vietti, and more, according to a news release. For more information and ticket purchases, visit

Area Agency announces Bass Tournament

The Area Agency on Aging of Southeast Arkansas will host the 26th annual AAASEA Reeling for Meals Bass Tournament on April 6 at Pine Bluff Regional Park. Boats will launch according to their paid registration numbers. The early entry fee is $110 per two-person team, which also puts the participant in the $500 Big Bass Pot. The entry fee includes two tickets to the King Kat Fish Fry immediately following the weigh-in, according to a news release. The tournament winners will receive a $2,500 cash prize, and the top 10 places are guaranteed cash prizes, as well. Additionally, the first 75 registered teams will receive a free official tournament shirt. Area Agency provides many services to seniors and those with disabilities including home care, transportation, senior centers, and Meals on Wheels. For detaials, call Area Agency at (870) 543-6300 or toll-free at 800-264-3260 or email Samantha Stichert at [email protected] or Lauren Bland at [email protected].

Beginning Saturday, April 6

Blues concert series set

The Port City Blues Society will host the third "Blues By Budweiser" concert series at RJ's Grill & Bar, 128 S. Main Street. The doors open at 7 p.m. and music begins at 8 p.m. Port City members are admitted free. There is a $5 cover charge for non-members. MK Distributors is the sponsor, according to a news release. Concerts for 2024-2025 include: April 6, Duwayne Burnside; May 4, Tina Cossey Band; June 1, Kent Burnside Band; July 6, Ghost Town Blues Band; Aug. 3, Amanda Fish; Sept. 7, Garry Burnside Band; Oct. 5, Dirty Red and the Soul Shakers; Nov. 2, Jerry McCoy and the Groove Diggers; Dec. 7, Fonky Donkey; Jan. 4, 2025, Trey Johnson and Jason Willmon; and Feb. 1, 2025, Charlotte Taylor and Gypsy Rain.

Through Saturday, April 6

Unified scholarships available

Unified Christian Alliance Inc. is accepting applications for its 2024-2025 Academic Scholarship Program for high school seniors planning to attend the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The deadline for submission is April 6. Scholarships will be granted based on submitted short essays, and applicants should meet UAPB grade point requirements, according to a news release. Interested students may obtain application forms and guidelines from their counselors' offices or visit the link at Applications and essays may also be mailed to Unified Christian Alliance Inc., 1709 E. Eighth Ave., Pine Bluff, Ark., 71601. Inquiries or email submissions can be directed to Jennifer Lee, Unified Christian Alliance president, at jenniferlee1321@sbcglobal or call (870) 692-0257 or Deborah Thomas, committee member, at [email protected].

Sunday, April 7

Chamber sets eclipse crawfish boil

The Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold a "Shells & Shadows" Solar Crawfish Boil before the historic solar eclipse that will leave many parts of Arkansas in complete darkness. The crawfish boil will be held from 3-6 p.m. April 7 at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas/ARTx3, 701 S. Main St., in the alleyway and parking lot. Tickets are $50 per person. "Desert Rose," a group made up of teenagers from the area, will provide entertainment. "While Pine Bluff will not be in complete darkness, we will be close at 98% totality, and we anticipate and influx of visitors to lodge and dine in our city," according to the Chamber newsletter. There will be crawfish, music and beverages. For tickets or details, call the Chamber at (870) 535-0110 or email Jennifer Kline at [email protected].

Beginning Sunday, April 7

New Community conducts revival

New Community Church, 321 N. Birch St., will conduct revival with these speakers at 7 p.m. on the following dates: April 7, Marcus Clay, pastor of Anointed Praise and Worship Ministries of Pine Bluff; and April 8, David Poe, pastor of Star City United Pentecostal Church of Star City. Prayer begins at 6 each night. The theme is "Returning To The Altar" (Psalms 43:4.) New Community's pastor/apostle is Patrick Lockett. The community is invited to attend.

Tuesday, April 9

TOPPS to give away food

TOPPS, 1000 Townsend Drive, will hold its monthly food giveaway at 10 a.m. April 9. One box per family will be distributed. Participants must provide ID and proof of residency, according to a news release. TOPPS requests that all individuals remain in their vehicles during the event to ensure everyone's safety. The food distribution event is sponsored by Arkansas Community Foundation, Canaan Christian Center, Calvary Baptist Church, Northwest Arkansas Church, Pine Bluff Police Department and TOPPS.

Thursday, April 11

Arsenal announces blood drive

A blood drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 11 at the Pine Bluff Arsenal's Creasy/Plainview Complex, outside Plainview Gate. Participants should look for the Bloodmobile parked outside. The blood drive is being held with Our Blood Institute. Photo ID is required. All donors will receive a T-shirt. To make an appointment, visit or call 877-340-8777, according to a news release.

Saturday, April 13

White Hall park to host Kids Fest

The Jefferson County Kids Fest 2024 will be held at White Hall City Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 13. The event is free, according to a Facebook post from the White Hall Community Center. There will be carnival rides, a rock wall, inflatable slide, bounce house, face painting, games, refreshments, representatives from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission as well as police, fire, and military.

Redix Project sets gala at WH

The Benjamen Redix Project will hold its first gala at 7 p.m. April 13 at the White Hall Community Center, 9801 Dollarway Road. The doors will open at 6 p.m. The speaker will be Officer Tommy Norman, according to a flier on the center's Facebook page. "Benjamen Redix was a 2023 senior of White Hall High School. He tragically died the night before graduation. He was a star athlete and was loved and respected by many. After his death, his mother started a foundation called the Benjamen Redix Project," according to the flier. Tickets to the gala are $100 and available at Carpe Diem, 7105 Dollarway Road, #120, or on Eventbrite. Sponsorships are available. Details: [email protected] or (870) 718-8775.

Lakeport to host Reading Retreat

Readers who are interested in delving into the history of the Mississippi River may be interested in attending a retreat at the Lakeport Plantation Museum in Lake Village from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. April 13. Attendees will read Mark Twain's "Life on the Mississippi," published in 1883, and Rinker Buck's book by the same name, published in 2022. Both authors traveled down the Mississippi River and chronicled their experiences, according to a news release. For details or to register, contact Lakeport Plantation at (870) 265-6031 or email Ruth O'Loughlin, [email protected].

Ministry hosts Coffee and Conversations

424 Ministries will present Coffee and Conversations with Aaron and Kae Spencer from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 13 at the Pine Bluff Main Library, 600 S. Main St. "We will provide a light brunch, introduce ourselves, and share more about our ministry's vision, mission and more about our monthly meet-ups," a spokesman said. "Come learn about the various activities and topics we will discuss monthly, community outreach events and more." For details or to register, call (703) 231-1127 or visit The event is opn to the public.

Sunday, April 14

Mt. Moriah to honor pastor, wife

Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church of Gould will celebrate the sixth pastoral anniversary of the Rev. Phillip and Jurmicka Puckett, at 2:30 p.m. April 14. The Rev. Curtis Gibson, pastor of the Bailey Chapel United Methodist Church of Gould, will be the 11 a.m. guest along with his congregation. The Rev. Eric Crowder-Jones, pastor of Another Chance Church of North Little Rock, will be the 2:30 p.m. guest along with his congregation. Everyone is welcome to attend this celebration.

Through Friday, April 19

Small museum grants available

Arkansas Heritage, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, is accepting grant applications for the Small Museum Grants Program. Applications are accepted at The program funds projects of up to $2,500 for Arkansas history museums, historical societies, military museums and historic houses and sites. The spring deadline for applications is April 19, according to a news release. Eligible organizations must have an annual operating budget of $250,000 or less; must have a staff of at least one person, either paid or volunteer; and must be open to the public at least 90 days per year. Details: Debra Fithen, grants manager for Arkansas Heritage, at [email protected].

Saturday, April 20

Home & Garden Show set at WH

The Jefferson County Master Gardeners will present Delta Bloooms & Bees, the 2024 Home & Garden Show, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 20 at the White Hall Community Center, 9801 Dollarway Road. Admission is free, according to a flier. Speakers and topics will include Janet Carson, Gardening in the Natural State; Obadiah Njue, Comparison Planting; and Yong Park, Native Pollinators & Beekeeping. The event will feature family oriented activities, a plant sale, Kids Zone, Ask the Plant Doctor (with a free diagnosis of plant problems), raffles, and vendors. Details: Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service, (870) 534-1033 or Master Gardeners.

Suicide prevention event set for churches

The D'andre Seals Suicide Prevention Outreach Project will host Soul Shop™ for Black Churches from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20 at the main Pine Bluff Library, 600 S. Main St. Participants can learn how to talk about suicide from a faith perspective. Soul Shop™ for Black Churches is specifically designed for pastors, church staff, faith-based clinicians and other lay leaders in Black and African American churches. Admission is free. Workshop materials and lunch will be provided. Topics will include: The role of societal discrimination in suicide rates among black and brown young people; the prominent role of the church in African American communities and how that can be leveraged towards public health; statistics trends and rates of suicide among people of color; and challenges of and ideas for engaging issues of mental health and suicide in black churches. To register for this workshop, visit For details, email Kymara Seals, DSOP founder and chair of the board, at [email protected].

Through Tuesday, April 30

UAPB LIONS open to freshman

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is inviting incoming freshmen to apply for its Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) Program. The LIONS Program prepares incoming freshmen for collegiate life through classes, workshops, and on-campus living. The residential program will be held July 8 through Aug. 9. The deadline to apply is April 30. For details, contact Carolyn Mills at (870) 575-8362 or [email protected] or visit or and click on the LIONS Program tab. For information about financial assistance, call (870) 575-8302 or email [email protected].

Thursday, May 2

Chamber sets Business Expo

The Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold its Business Expo 2024 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center on May 2. The Business Expo Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. and the program starts at 8 a.m. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Director Austin Booth will be the Business Expo Breakfast keynote speaker. Booth will discuss outdoor recreation and its impact on Arkansas' economy. Breakfast tickets are $25 each and a table for eight is $300 each, according to a news release. Simmons Bank is the breakfast sponsor. The Business Expo trade show at the convention center will open with a VIP Hour from 9-10 a.m. and opens to public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The booth fee is $250 for members and $360 non-members. "This year's theme, 'We're Wild About Pine Bluff,' celebrates the beautiful landscape of the delta region from the piney timbers to the winding water of Bayou Bartholomew, the world's longest bayou," according to the release. Details: Chamber Director Jennifer Kline at [email protected] or (870) 535-0110.

Through Friday, May 10

Registration open for college Ag Leaders

Registration for the 2024 Arkansas Future Ag Leaders Tour is now open for college juniors and seniors. This year's tour, from May 13-17, will give participants an overview of the agriculture industry in Arkansas, plus an opportunity to make key connections with future employers or collaborators, according to a news release. Juniors and seniors enrolled in colleges of agriculture or pursuing agriculture-related majors in Arkansas can register for one of 50 spots. There is no cost to participate. The registration deadline is May 10. Participants can register at

Through Friday, May 31

Transportation, trails forms available

Applications for the Arkansas Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and the Arkansas Recreational Trails Program (RTP) are available, according to the Arkansas Highway Commission. Virtual seminars will occur on March 14 and April 2 to inform potential eligible applicants of TAP and RTP requirements and responsibilities. Project applications and registration are available at or Applications must be submitted by 4 p.m. May 31. Also, applications may be submitted year-round for Motorized RTP projects. Details:

Century Farm applications available

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2024 Arkansas Century Farm Program until May 31. This program recognizes Arkansas families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. The program is voluntary and there is no cost to apply, according to a news release. Online and printable applications are available at Applications must be received via email at [email protected] or postmarked by May 31 to be eligible for designation as a 2024 inductee. Details: Beth Moore, (501) 539-4027.


Covid-19 vaccines, testing available

The Arkansas Department of Health, various pharmacies and healthcare providers offer the covid-19 vaccine, tests and other information about coronavirus. Details: Call the Arkansas Department of Health at (800) 985-6030, visit the website at or contact area medical professionals, according to spokesmen.


Unity Christian offers free financial classes

Unity Christian Fellowship Church (UCFC), 2712 S. Bay St., invites the community to its free Small Business and Personal Financial Education classes at 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Recent subjects included "The Importance of Having a Financial Plan" and "Financial Literacy," according to Stuff in the Bluff website. "You cannot afford to miss out on these life-changing classes. We are practicing social distancing and will have hand sanitizer wipes available," according to the site. Anthony Armstrong is the senior pastor. Details: [email protected] or (870) 329-1182.

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