Monthly Features
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July, 2012
Monthly Feature

Helena-West Helena has many things to be proud of including interesting people and events throughout the year.

Beginning this month, this website will feature one person or event with an additional link(s) for more information.

There are a number of people who have worked hard to achieve a dream.   No one epitomizes this more than this month's featured person.

People postpone their dreams for various reasons. Then, as they grow older they begin to realize ‘it’s now or never’. This month’s feature story is about such a person.
Hazel (aka Hays) Williams moved to the Helena-West Helena area in the mid-1970s when she married her husband, Jim. Later she earned her degree at PCCUA, with studies that included a heavy concentration on creative writing and journalism. After college she helped her husband with his business. Through the years she wrote a human-interest column, a newsletter, and a lot of business communications—always with the dream of someday writing children’s fiction. When her husband retired a few years ago, he said, “Okay honey, it’s time for the book writing.”

The launching of Mrs. Williams’ children’s books, The Jenny & Pete Mystery Series, is a lifelong dream fulfilled. The first book in the series, The Mystery of the Dogman, was inspired by an early childhood memory. For more information on Hays Williams and her writing or to buy her books, go to www.hayswilliams.com.  
August, 2012
Monthly Feature

Helena-West Helena has many things to be proud of including interesting people and events throughout the year.

Our community is graced by many inspiring people. This month’s feature story is about another person who serves this community well. 

Susan Winston has lived most of her life in this area.  She has two grown children, Julie and Mickey Rial and is married to Dr.


 

September, 2012
Monthly Feature

Helena-West Helena has many things to be proud of including interesting people and events throughout the year.

Our community is literally world famous in the blues world. That's why the biggest event of the year is being featured this month.This year's 27th King Biscuit Blues Festival will be held October 4th – 6th with up to 100,000 people expected to attend.  The festival has come a long way since the first one was held in 1986 for a few hours one Friday night using a truck bed with holes in it for the stage.  There were no food booths, craft booths, and no bar-b-que cook off contest.
Main Street Helena provided guidance for starting the festival in 1986 as part of the effort to revitalize the downtown area.  Today, the festival has grown into a 3-day event with 5 stages including a permanent stage facing the levee that overlooks the Mississippi River.  The street is permeated with the smell of a variety of food, booths for drinks, crafts, and a popluar bar-b-que contest are now part of what has become a ritual for so many people who come from all over the world to Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. 

The King Biscuit Blues Festival was named after King Biscuit Time which is the longest running radio show still broadcasted daily at the Delta Cultural Center.  The show was originally broadcasted live with Sonny Boy Williamson and other musicians.  The radio show was instrumental in the history of blues in this area where famous people such as Muddy Waters and B.B. King would take their breaks from the fields to listen to the King Biscuit Hour.

This year’s headliner is nine-time Grammy winner Bonnie Raitt.  Visit the King Biscuit Blues Festival web site for more information and buy your tickets early.   Click the logo below to visit the official site for the 27th King Biscuit Blues Festival.

Pass da biscuits, it's King Biscuit Time ya'll.
Sandy Winston.  After receiving a nursing degree at PCCUA and working for several years she has since taken a more domestic route.  But Susan NEVER lacks for something to keep her busy!!!  She stays very busy as a volunteer for the Phillips County Museum and the Eastern Arkansas Audubon Society.  All the photography on the Helena Museum web site is provided by Susan.  She has always had a passion for birds, wildlife, art and photography and loves to dive into these projects whenever possible. You can tell from her work how much she loves what she does.  Sharing her love of photography with others is always a pleasure to her.  Susan’s beautiful works can be seen by visiting her website at:  www.swinstonartistry.zenfolio.com

October, 2012
Monthly Feature

H.R. Williams grew up near Crowley’s Ridge, an area that features in many of his stories. He was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division and claims to have held about a thousand jobs (slight exaggeration) before coming to the conclusion that his only talent lay in writing. His first short story, Shaker Mose, was accepted by Aim magazine in Chicago. “That gave me the encouragement to keep writing and submitting,” he said. Since then his short fiction and essays have appeared in a wide assortment of national magazines and have won numerous awards.

Mr. Williams’ western novel, Harris: The Return of the Gunfighter, was published by Treble Heart Books in 2007. His mystery
novel, The Whiskey Killing, was published by Thomson-Gale Publications in 2008. In both books the town of Medford is based on Helena, but in different time periods. Prior to publication, The Whiskey Killing was awarded a First Prize by the National League of American PEN Women. His third book, Crowley’s Ridge: Collected Stories of H.R. Williams features more stories set in the Crowley’s Ridge area of eastern Arkansas. All three books are listed with online booksellers and may be found in libraries and book stores throughout the country.

Both novels have been accepted by the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles for possible future promotion.

Mr. Williams and his wife, Nora Lee, have four children and six grandchildren.

To read more about H. R. Williams and his work, visit the following websites:

H. R. Williams on Wikipedia

Books by H. R. Williams
November, 2012
Monthly Feature

(Note from Hays Williams)  Elaine Canady is far too modest to give herself the credit she deserves. It took a lot of persuasion, but she finally agreed to let me interview her and write this month’s feature about her. I’m writing from the heart with the hope that she won’t edit too harshly.
Each month Elaine begins the feature with “Helena-West Helena has many things to be proud of, including interesting people . . .”

What some people may not know is that Elaine is one of those people.  In fact, she’s probably the most interesting person in Phillips County. The following paragraph from her personal website will give you a clue:


I was born and raised in Helena, Arkansas so I’m southern born and southern bred.  I’ve had an interesting life, as I was born with muscular dystrophy. Despite this disability, I chose to focus on my Ability and have achieved more than most people thought I would.  My philosophy in life is to stay focused on the things I can do instead of what I can’t do.  And don’t say you can’t until you try.

Let me tell you about a very special lady—one who has been an inspiration to all who know her. What she has accomplished, in spite of her disability and other problems, is amazing.

This website is her creation and it’s easy to see that she put her whole heart into it. Her positive attitude and outlook, coupled with her talent, helped her to create a wonderful website—one that any city would be proud of.

Elaine is a 1985 graduate of Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas and worked for Mid-Delta Community Services for over 29 years.  In addition to her home-based business (building websites for small businesses and family memorials), she is an ADA Consultant for people with disabilities and businesses and has been an Avon Rep. for 9 years. She also has an impressive list of other accomplishments—listed on her website at www.elainecanady.com.

Elaine is not bashful about her spiritual beliefs. “I’m proud to be a Christian and member of the Church of Christ. I know without a doubt my accomplishments have been His will and I would not have survived without the guidance of God.”

Elaine hasn’t made excuses the way some of us do. She has faced life and all its challenges with courage and determination. Her faith and trust in our Heavenly Father makes me want to be a better person.

Visit Elaine’s website www.elainecanady.com to see her list of references and a link to the websites she has created.
December, 2012
Monthly Feature

This month’s feature is about an organization that has been a leading force in helping many children and families' Christmas wishes come true.  The Phillips County Angel Tree Project has been working for over a decade now and this year will not be any different.   There are many people who are less fortunate than most, even more so during the holiday season.  With the spirit of giving once again upon us, the organization is asking the community to help make this year’s project a success.

According to Chairperson, Leslie Brokeshoulder, “Every child and family has a want and need and our hope is to fulfill

each angel’s desires”.  Even though the work is hard it comes with great rewards for everyone that assist in helping make even the simplest of dreams come true.  Volunteers of all ages can participate by helping with decorating or completing the proper information for each angel placed on the tree.

“We encourage people to participate in the spirit of the season by picking an angel you wish to bless this Christmas.  By picking your angel, you are providing them with a gift that keeps on giving.  We hope to bless each angel with the gifts that they need,” said Brokeshoulder. 

When you choose to sponsor an Angel you are not required to purchase everything listed.   If people can bless a child/family with just one thing on their list it would be greatly appreciated.  Most of the items listed are simple and realistic so anything people do will help.   Please keep in mind that these children and their families can all use  personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, toiletries, and of course food.

The Phillips County Online Angel Tree page is now closed.  Thanks to the generosity of many people the 2012 project was the biggest success ever.