Nonviolence Youth Summit to be held in De Queen Legendary soccer player Ivan Leon to speak
at event; other highlights include vendors, exhibition
DE QUEEN – The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will host the 2015 “Nonviolence Youth Summit XIV” on Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 6 p.m in the Herman Dierks Park and adjacent soccer field.
This project, known as “Nonviolence Youth Summits”, is designed to encourage youth ages 10 to 18 to engage in positive leadership development and roles within their communities.
"There are many advantages to partnerships in the community, especially in the area of community awareness. As a state governmental entity that is legislatively mandated to the promote the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout the state of Arkansas, the state’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, with the assistance of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, has implemented this program," said a spokesman with the organization.
The Arkansas MLK, Jr. Commission works directly with the youth and others by encouraging them to embrace racial and cultural diversity through collaboration with one of its area partners in education. These summits are a way to help the youth achieve Dr. King’s dream of understanding and acceptance of nonviolence and human equality through building common unity among all Arkansans.
These summits educate our youth on professional development, leadership, Arkansas history, crime prevention, and so much more. The mission of the state’s Arkansas MLK, Jr. Commission is to reach youth in all regions of the state. The Arkansas MLK, Jr. Commission has had great success in holding its past thirteen (13) Nonviolence Youth Summits, which have each garnered the attendance of hundreds of youth.
The event will begin with a VIP reception at 4:30 P.M to engage civic and community leaders with the business community. The Sevier County Farmer’s Market has been asked to provide fresh, seasonal fruits for the Reception.
The special guest speaker will be legendary soccer player and commentator, Ivan Leon. Leon, who now serves as a manager for a Guatemalan soccer team, has played over 10 years for Guatemala's national team - including at four FIFA World Cup qualification matches.
Other highlights of the event will include a vendor showcase, The Mexican Consulate, Special Soccer Exhibition Game and family fun festival. This event is free and open to the public.
City, county still awaiting federal disaster declaration DE QUEEN – County and city officials say they are still awaiting to hear from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on whether Sevier County will be declared a disaster zone in response to the May 25 storm which caused damages estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray and De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy both met with FEMA officials in recent days to survey storm damage and determine if the county would be eligible for the disaster declaration.
"If we get the declaration, it give us some help getting everything back to normal," said Ray.
Ray said the declaration by FEMA would cover up to 75 percent of cleanup and damages to public property such as streets, with the state kicking in another 12.5 percent.
The remaining 12.5 percent would be covered by county funds. Ray estimates cleaning up road debris from the Memorial Day storm has already cost the county approximately $100,000. A FEMA declaration would also open up some resources, like low-interest loans, for private property owners.
"So far we're only using county resources to do the cleanup and repair damages from the storm," said Ray. "We're not hiring contractors [to finish the storm cleanup] until we know we're getting the declaration and getting help to pay them."
McKelvy said the city has also relied solely on its employees for the storm recovery effort. He added that city crews have hauled between 15-20 dump truck loads of brush each day since the storm.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has already declared Sevier County a disaster area along with many others across the state due to storm, flooding and tornado-related damage.
Without a FEMA declaration, the state department of emergency management will fund approximately 30 percent of the county's storm-related damage on public property.
"Hopefully we'll hear something about the declaration soon but until then we're working hard to get this county back to normal," said Ray.