During this hectic back-to-school time of the year, our thoughts often naturally turn to education. The late and great Delta Blues musician BB King spoke of education saying, "The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." That indeed is a marvelous truth.

During this hectic back-to-school time of the year, our thoughts often naturally turn to education. The late and great Delta Blues musician BB King spoke of education saying, "The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." That indeed is a marvelous truth.

Police Chief Green made several announcements this week concerning his police department's outreach into our school system and our system's compliance with a new state mandate targeting school safety.   The state has legislated, that by September 15, all public schools will have a school panic button, under the new Raven Program. In addition to implementing this program, the Helena – West Helena Police Department will also be implementing a young readers outreach program called "Together for Hope" and a behavioral outreach program targeting fourth through sixth graders in our school system.  

In news at Phillips County Community College, Dr. Keith Pinchback has returned to Helena as the chancellor at the school. He brings with him his wife Alana Pinchback. We welcome them back to our community.

As our schools move back into full operation mode, please pay special attention to safety.  Obey speed limits in school zones.  Watch closely for children in crosswalks and on streets. Observe safety rules for school buses, including not passing stopped buses.    

As you have probably noticed, street paving continues all over town.  

You may also soon notice on our streets that one of our new commercial garbage trucks has been delivered.  Our new residential garbage truck is on the way, and we are exploring the possibility of purchasing an additional commercial truck and a small, specialized residential truck, which can service some of our specialized and handicapped citizens. The savings that the city will realize by having these new trucks under warranty and not having to pay for costly repairs will be great.

Patrick Allen has been named our new director of code enforcement and is working closely with Tekelia Martin, who has served the city tirelessly for the last four years as our sole code enforcement officer. Director Allen is asking the community for patience and cooperation as he addresses the primary issues of overgrown lots and properties and abandoned and broken down vehicles on the streets and in yards in Helena - West Helena. 

He has already begun citing properties and vehicles that are in violation and will be enforcing all civil ordinances.  Working as a team, the community and businesses can clean up our city.  Director Allen has plans for participating in the Great Arkansas Clean Up. He welcomes phone calls at 870.714.0238 regarding the cleanup of Helena – West Helena. 

Additionally, Director Allen is asking that businesses without a current city business license purchase those as soon as possible at City Hall, as code enforcement will be checking for valid business licenses soon. 

Helena now has an East Arkansas Planning and Development District recycling trailer, located on the east side of Ohio Street between Market and Perry.  Aluminum cans, metal food and beverage cans, cereal and food boxes, magazines, phonebooks catalogs, plastic bottles, and more can be recycled. This is another way that we can help keep our community clean. 

I hope your fresh new school year is off to a good start.  Make a point to learn something new every day. No one can take that away from you.