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Plans for Illinois River watershed models and Mt. Hebron Park opens


New Illinois River Watershed water quality models

Officials from Arkansas and Oklahoma presented plans for water quality models for the Illinois River Watershed at a stakeholder meeting recently.

The models are meant to copy reality and show where specific conservation practices are needed in the watershed. Gregg Kloxin, director of Oklahoma Conservation Commission’s Soil Health program, said the models are not perfect. 

"What you’re going to see presented today, and I’m going to say this multiple times, is not the end-all-be-all emulation of reality," Kloxin said. "But it is a tool that helps us, in the best possible frame, model what might be possible in reality."

Data from the models will be used to design an updated water implementation plan to improve water quality. Issues in the watershed include impairments like phosphorus and soil bank erosion. Officials from Arkansas contracted with the engineering firm FTN Associates, and Oklahoma officials worked with Texas A&M to develop the plan.

Arkansas Oklahoma Gas issues grants to River Valley nonprofits

Five nonprofit organizations in the River Valley will receive grants from Arkansas Oklahoma Gas.

Each non-profit will receive a $4,000 grant this year and for the next two years. The grants are being awarded to the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Clubs, The Donald Reynolds Cancer Support House, Stepping Stone for Exceptional Children, South Sebastian County Boys and Girls Clubs and Arkansas Colleges of Health Education Research Institute Health & Wellness Center.

University of Arkansas faculty members receive grants

A pair of faculty members at the University of Arkansas are receiving grants connected to their work.

Joshua Smith, an associate English professor, will be the project leader for a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant translating the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Born in the late 11th century, Geoffrey is credited with popularizing the tales of King Arthur.

Jacob Hertzog, an assistant professor of music, is receiving a residency grant from the South Arts Organization. Hertzog will use the grant to record an album of original music with a large ensemble orchestra.

USL Arkansas hires first full-time employee

The group bringing professional soccer to Northwest Arkansas is hiring its first full-time employee. 

USL Arkansas announced yesterday Wes Harris will be the managing director of the organization.  Harris has lived in the region for 12 years, and has 15 years of leadership experience in the consumer goods industry and consulting roles at firms like Johnson & Johnson, according to a a press release.

City of Rogers opens Mt. Hebron Park

The City of Rogers opened Mt. Hebron Park last week and inside the space is the largest accessible playground in Arkansas.

The park’s playground equipment and splash pad are designed for people of all abilities and is in the rapidly growing southwest side of the city. Peter Masonis, public relations manager for the City of Rogers, said Mt Hebron is one of a handful of park projects part of a bond measure voters passed in 2018. 

"You know, we obviously saw great stuff down in downtown as well with the renovation with the park down there and what we see there with Railyard Park," Masonis said.

Mt. Hebron covers about 80 acres and includes a baseball field, pond, tennis courts, dog parks, trails and basketball courts.

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Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
Anna Pope is KUAF's growth impact reporter and a Report for America corps member
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