Southworth hosts county mayor's meeting

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Pictured are chair of the Blytheville Humane Society (standing) Susie Langston and Pam Ford, adoption coordinator, and Midge Ellison, board member, guests at the Mississippi County Mayor's meeting held at Southworth in Manila.

Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner hosted the Mississippi County mayor's luncheon held at Southworth plant on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Wagner welcomed Judge Randy Carney, mayors and other guests to Manila. He expressed his appreciation to Southworth for opening their doors and providing space for the meeting.

Judge Carney expressed his appreciation to Kerry Pugh, Southworth director of manufacturing, for hosting the meeting and for all they do for the area.

Susie Langston, chairman of the Blytheville Humane Society, Pam Ford, adoption coordinator, and board member Midge Ellison, along with other members of the team, addressed the mayors with an informative program of the activities and needs of the no kill shelter. They talked about the spay and neuter programs, transport program, vaccination, cost of the shelter, and the services they provide throughout the county. Langston gave a financial update of the cost with breakdowns of what is spent on spay/neuter, vaccinations, and transport costs from each township in the county.

"We do not want to take animals away, we want to help people keep them," Langston said. "Thanks to our local vets in Blytheville we can offer a low cost program for spay/neutering."

She talked about relocating dogs through a transport project taking animals, including mother and puppies, to rescues in the North.

"We are making progress," she said. "We need your help."

Ford informed the group that representatives from Paws of Prison tested seven of their dogs. They took two for their program and said they would be back for five more. A woman from Chicago saw a video about the shelter and flew down to check it out. She gave a donation and purchased a washer and dryer for the shelter.

"We are blessed to have our place at the old air base," Ford said. "We are thankful for the support we have from local businesses and individuals."

Langston said they work at raising money. She said a dinner fund-raising event will be held March 12 at the Blytheville Country Club for $50 a person or $75 a couple. For more information on the shelter or the upcoming fund raiser, persons can call (870) 623-2824.

"We want to do everything the correct way," Langston said. "We want to help. We are not about removing people's pets."

Mayor Wagner expressed his appreciation to Southworth, the second oldest plant in Mississippi County.

"We are fortunate to have them here," Mayor Wagner said. "They are expanding and hiring. If anyone is looking for a job they are taking applications."

Pugh gave a presentation giving a history of the 125 year old company with headquarters in Maine.

He said the company was looking for a central location for manufacturing and moved to Manila in 1979. The company has expanded through the years and has three locations in Manila and one in Leachville.

Southworth is community minded and has given back through community service, scholarships, blood drives and more.

Southworth is the largest manufacturer of ergonomic lifting and positioning equipment designed to improve worker safety and increase productivity than any other materials handling company.

Pugh said it has been a good partnership with the town, the county and the state.

Mayors and guests had the opportunity to tour the plant following the luncheon.

Mayors present each gave a short report on projects underway in their towns. Bo McCollum of Etowah; Jasper Jackson of Luxora; Ralph Wells of Leachville; Kenny Gilmore of Dyess; James Sanders of Blytheville; and Mayor Wagner of Manila were among the guests.

Mayor Wagner closed the meeting thanking Judge Carney for putting together the mayor meetings.

"It is good for us to work together and know what is going on throughout the county," Mayor Wagner said.

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