Amy Crain makes it to Top 15 in Miss America

Miss Arkansas Amy Crain

Miss Arkansas Amy Crain

Miss Arkansas Amy Crain may have not won the crown, but she did advance to the Top 15 round of the Miss America Pageant Sunday night in Atlantic City, N.J.

The pageant featured 53 contestants representing the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Crain went through three days of preliminary competitions to beat out 38 other contestants to make it to the final competition night. She competed in the swimsuit portion of the pageant, where she was eliminated from the competition after.

Miss New York Nina Davuluri took home the coveted crown of Miss America along with $50,000 in scholarship cash. Davuluri is the first Miss America of Indian descent.

The runners-up are:
The fourth runner-up: Miss Minnesota Rebecca Yeh
The third runner-up: Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones
The second runner-up: Miss Oklahoma Kelsey Griswold
Runner-up: Miss California Crystal Lee

After Miss America is selected she embarks on a year-long national speaking tour. As a national spokesperson and advocate, Miss America travels approximately 20,000 miles a month, to a different city every other day, addressing diverse audiences, increasing awareness and promoting her chosen platform, according to Miss America’s website.

Posted in By Sherelle Black, Entertainment, General | Leave a comment

Remembering 9/11

It’s been 12 years since the tragic and horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened leaving many Americans filled with confusion, somberness and a new sense of patriotism.

On Sept. 11, 2001, several hijackers took control over planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, while a fourth crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, causing a total of nearly 3,000 people to lose their lives.

Today, several organizations, news stations, websites and people are remembering this tragic day.
A photographer has returned to some memorable scenes to compare today’s skyline with 9/11′s skyline.
Since then, new obstacles have arisen, requiring some adjustments in camera angles to align with photographs taken on the day of the attacks. This is the third time Donovan has revisited the New York skyline; each year presents new challenges as the landscape changes. (Yahoo News)
View the slideshow here.
Also, MSNBC is broadcasting their footage and coverage from Sept. 11, 2001.Be sure to watch the coverage as you can relive the first-hand accounts of the day.

We must never forget what happened on this day. It’s important to remember those who lost their lives and — as some of us may have learned in history class — our past is just as important as our future.

Posted in By Sherelle Black, World | 1 Comment

Small businesses invited to meet with Arkansas Blue Cross

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is inviting employers with 50 employees or less to attend a meeting Wednesday at the El Dorado Conference Center to discuss the new health care law and how it will affect their businesses.

“We recognize this is a stressful time for many businesses in the state, and we want to provide as much information as we can to help them make good decisions for their employees,” said Mel Blackwood, senior executive of Regional Operations and northwest regional executive for Arkansas Blue Cross.

While the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced in July that it is postponing enforcement of the employer shared responsibility payments (often referred to as the Affordable Care Act’s “play or pay” provisions) until January 2015, Blackwood said the impact of changing health care coverage for employees still will have repercussions regardless of any penalties in place.

Employers with Arkansas Blue Cross coverage can reserve a space by contacting their closest Arkansas Blue Cross office. Businesses without Arkansas Blue Cross coverage should contact their independent agent or an Arkansas Blue Cross representative for a private meeting to discuss their options under the law.

Businesses can access office locations and contact numbers through the Arkansas Blue Cross website,

Posted in By Sherelle Black, Health | Leave a comment

Apple to unveil two new iPhones

Apple is set to meet Tuesday at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. to reveal a new iPhone with a faster processor, along with a another model that will be sold at a lower cost, according to an article in The New York Times.

It is believed that the higher-priced iPhone will be an improvement over the current iPhone 5 with a faster processor, better camera flash and a fingerprint sensor for security.

The second iPhone is expected to be a cheaper version of the soon-to-be-outdated iPhone 5, coming in a variety of colors, with a plastic case instead of aluminum. Analysts expect the full price of the lower-cost iPhone to be $300 to $400, positioning it as a midtier product.

It is rumored that the higher-priced iPhone will be named iPhone 5S and the lower-priced iPhone will be called the iPhone 5C.

Posted in By Sherelle Black, Technology | Leave a comment

City Council to meet today

The El Dorado City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. today in the Council Chamber of City Hall.
Mark Smith, general manager of the El Dorado Water Utilities, is expected to address a recommendation by Mayor Frank Hash to hire an engineering consultant to study the city’s water infrastructure and determine the cause of several water hammers, or pressure surges, that have occurred in the city in recent weeks.
Two of the hammers occurred in June while the El Dorado Fire Department was testing fire hydrants, and the third happened last week as the EFD tapped into a hydrant to fight a house fire.
It was during the latter occurrence that Hash asked Smith to consider hiring an independent consultant.
In other business, Fire Chief Chad Mosby will report on the status of the department’s ambulances.
A proposed resolution to abandon an alley easement is also on the council’s agenda.

Posted in By Tia Lyons | Leave a comment

Senate panel votes to authorize force in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate panel has voted to give President Barack Obama the authority to use military force against Syria in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack.

The vote Wednesday was 10-7, with one senator voting present. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.

The resolution would permit Obama to order a limited military mission against Syria, as long as it doesn’t exceed 90 days and involves no American troops on the ground for combat operations.

The Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker, crafted the resolution.
The vote marked the first time lawmakers have voted to authorize military action since the October 2002 votes giving President George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq.

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Win Razorback Tickets!

The South Arkansas Networking Luncheon sponsored by Simmons First Bank will be giving away two tickets to see the Razorbacks play against Mississippi State in Little Rock on Nov. 23. The tickets will be accompanied with a parking pass.

The luncheon is tomorrow from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the El Dorado Golf & Country Club located at 101 Shadyside.

The event provides attendees the opportunity to meet area professionals in a fun, friendly environment. The cost is $15 at the door. Reservations are required and must be done by the end of today (Aug. 26). For more information or to RSVP, call 870-863-6113 or e-mail

If you are interested in sponsoring an upcoming South Arkansas Networking Luncheon, please contact Kay Smith at 870-863-6113.

Posted in By Sherelle Black, General | Leave a comment

Obama calls for a new college rating system

President Obama spoke to a crowd of more than 7,000 today at the University of Buffalo.
The university was his first stop of a two-day bus tour through New York and Pennsylvania.

While speaking to the university, the President proposed a new government rating system that he would like to have implemented by 2015. The new system would judge schools on affordability and performance and ultimately determine how federal financial aid is distributed.

“It’s time to stop subsidizing schools that are not producing good results and reward schools that deliver American students of our future,” President Obama said.

I for one agree we need a system that will evaluate an university’s academic performance, graduation rates and other criteria, and then base their financial aid off of that.
After all, isn’t the whole purpose of school to help students grow academically, get them to graduate and help them land a job?

Posted in By Sherelle Black, Education, News | 1 Comment

‘American Idol’ bus to stop in Little Rock

“American Idol” will be sending its audition bus to Little Rock on Saturday to find new talent for it’s 13th season, according to an article on

Those that audition in Little Rock will have first dibs on a spot as this stop is the first on a five-city “American Idol Audition Bus Tour.” The bus will be parked at the Clinton Presidential Library, 1200 President Clinton Ave. from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The bus will also make stops in Oxford, Miss., on Monday; Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Aug. 21; Knoxville, Tenn., on Aug. 23; and Winston-Salem, N.C., on Aug. 26.

Posted in By Sherelle Black, Entertainment, News | Leave a comment

Today is for the lefties!

Today marks the 21st annual International Left-Handers Day, where all left-handed people are celebrated around the world.

The day began in 1992 by The Left Handers Club,an organization formed in 1990 aiming to keep members in touch with developments, make their views known to manufacturers and others, provide a help & advice line, to promote research into left-handedness and development of new left-handed items.

Here are some “just because facts” from Scientific American:
• 15 percent of people are left-handed. Males are twice as likely to be left-handed than females.
• Left-handed people are three times more likely than right-handed people to become alcoholics.
• If both parents are left-handed, 50 percent of their offspring will be left-handed. Two righties only have a two percent chance of having a lefty.
• Four of the five original designers of the MAC computer were left-handed.
• Of the last five presidents, three are left-handed. (Obama, Clinton, Bush Sr.)

Happy Left-Handers Day to all the “Lefties”!

Posted in By Sherelle Black, News | Leave a comment

rue21 opens tomorrow!

In addition to T.J. Maxx, Mellor Park Mall will also be home to the trendy specialty discount retailer, rue21. A ribbon cutting and grand opening will be held at 9:55 a.m. tomorrow.

With more than 950 store locations, rue21 aims to be the “fashion destination for fresh, fun apparel and accessories for girls and guys,” according to the store’s website.

The store was named after the French word for street which is “rue” while “21” embodies the age that “everyone wants to be.”

Posted in By Sherelle Black, News | 1 Comment

Golf Classic seeking teams and individuals

The Sports Hall of Fame Golf Classic benefitting KidsNGolf will be held at the El Dorado Lions Club Golf course Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, in conjunction with the Union County Sports Hall of Fame weekend.

This is a 4-person team scramble event with prizes for the first three finishing positions. The event benefits the Walk 18 with Me KidsNGolf programs serving the youth of Union County.

The fee is $80 per player and includes golf, cart, lunch, range balls, a variety of prizes and a tournament goodie bag. Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. and at 8:30 is the shotgun start.

Forms can be found online at and can be dropped off at the ProShop at the Lions Club Golf Course.

You can also donate directly to the KidsNGolf Walk 18 With Me programs for as little as $1 per hole. Any donation amount is appreciated. Checks to KidsNGolf may be mailed to KidsNGolf, P.O. Box 11754, El Dorado, AR 71730 or visit to donate by credit card.

Posted in By Sherelle Black, Sports | Leave a comment


If you have picked up this morning’s paper you may have noticed the article on the state’s sales tax holiday.

It states the third annual holiday will be this weekend, but what they didn’t mention is Louisiana’s sales tax holiday is also this weekend.

I am currently working on a more local article for this upcoming tax-free weekend.

I would greatly appreciate if you would inform me on whether you plan on shopping inside the state or crossing the border to Louisiana this weekend.

Also, what stores in El Dorado are you looking forward to shopping at this weekend, and what deals are you expecting to find?

Posted in Business, By Sherelle Black, Economy, Money, News | 2 Comments

Electric chair possible solution for executions

An Arkansas judge ruled on August 15, 2011 that certain sections of the state’s execution law are unconstitutional. The question revolved around the wide allowance of drugs used in the lethal injections.

Now, some state legislators are considering other options to carry out the death penalty, particularly the electric chair.

In an article on, Senate judiciary chair Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Benton, says as long as juries hand out death sentences the state should try to carry it out.

“Currently we’re in a pickle, there’s no doubt about that,” Hutchinson says.

He feels the Arkansas Department of Correction could, under his reading of state law, pursue death by electric chair.

“I think that’s what the statute says,” Hutchinson says.

While that’s debated, McDaniel says the state faces three death penalty options; keep it, change it or abolish it.

“I want you to know I will do everything in my power until I leave office to address the death penalty’s legal purpose but I can not tell you how this chapter will play out,” McDaniel says.

Should Arkansas result to using the electric chair again? Or look for a better solution?

Posted in By Sherelle Black, News | 2 Comments

Residents lose power

At approximately 7:41 a.m. on Tuesday, around 3,507 Entergy users located on the west side of El Dorado just below the intersection of College and Timberlane and south of Mount Holly lost power.

Bill Luther, customer service manager of El Dorado, said the outage was caused by a cross arm that broke causing an electrical fault that burned a switch at a substation in control of that particular area.

At 9:20 a.m. he reported that the switch had been repaired and that three of the five circuits were back on and operating. He added that all residents should have electricity on by 9:30 a.m. except for about 255 people who live near or on U.S. 82.

Luther said those residents will have a slight delay because they live close to where a part of the line needs to be de-energized before workers can begin repairing it.
However, he said power to those customers on U.S. 82 should be restored by 10:30 a.m.

Posted in BREAKING NEWS, By Sherelle Black, News | 2 Comments