Manila hosts county mayors' meeting

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner welcomed Mississippi County mayors, County Judge Randy Carney and other guests to the Mississippi County Mayors' meeting held at the Manila Depot on Thursday, March 29. Guest speaker was Shirley Connealy, animal advocate.

Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner welcomes guests to Manila.

Manila Business Women provided a home-cooked country dinner for the guests.

Mayor Wagner said he and Leachville Mayor Shelia Spurlock welcomed the mayors and guests to west Mississippi County.

"We have three great areas making up Mississippi County, north, south, and west," Mayor Wagner said. "These meetings are important as we work together and share ideas."

Leachville Mayor Shelia Spurlock and clerk Ruth Ann Keith at the Mayor's meeting talk with Blytheville Mayor James Sanders and Elroy Brown.

Wagner introduced Judge Carney who expressed his appreciation for the lunch. He introduced his staff members, Terri Brassfield and Laura Dillinger, and mayors, Bo McCollum, Etowah; Shelia Spurlock, Leachville; James Sanders, Blytheville; Jerry Larue, Keiser; Dickie Kennemore, Osceola; Otto Warhurst, Wilson; and Jasper Jackson, Luxora.

Also present were District 54 Arkansas Representative Charolette Wagner and her son, Wes Wagner. Wes is a candidate for her position as she will be leaving office under the state's term limit law.

Elroy Brown with the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas spoke briefly to the group about making city parks tobacco free.

Shirley Connealy, animal advocate, was the guest speaker at the Mississippi County Mayor's meeting.

"Leachville, Blytheville and Gosnell have all made their parks tobacco free and Manila is in the process."

He said they are in the process of getting the signs for the parks and encouraged other cities to consider making their parks tobacco free.

Judge Carney said when he first took office he met with city officials to discuss problem areas and one of the major problems was dogs.

"If it is important to you, it is important to me," Carney said. "Shirley Connealy and Osceola Mayor Dickie Kennemore and a board of nine people have been working on plans for a county animal shelter."

Judge Carney introduced Ms. Connealy.

"I am an animal advocate," Ms. Connealy said, "When people ask me why I have such a love of animals, I ask them why they don't. I met with Mayor Kennemore about five or six years ago and we started discussing a county animal shelter."

She expressed her appreciation to Judge Carney for his support in utilizing land near the jail for the future site of a county animal shelter.

Kennemore and Connealy discussed an initial plan, the cost and ways of funding the project.

Connealy said Mississippi County people are the most generous people in the world. She said they are working on getting a 501(c)(3) status for donations making contributions tax exempt.

She talked about inmates working at the shelter.

"Working with animals is good rehabilitation," she said. "We've got the land, we've got people willing to help, we have a start."

She discussed various ways to raise funds and the importance of a county-wide animal shelter.

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