Sen. Lincoln to make visits to Green Forest, Eureka Springs

Monday, March 20, 2006

Senator Blanche Lincoln is scheduled to make two stops in Carroll County next Wednesday, first in Green Forest and later that day in Eureka Springs.

She is scheduled to officially dedicate the Merlin Foundation's Children's Advocacy Center, otherwise known as "Grandma's House," at Green Forest City Hall at 9:30 a.m.

"Grandma's House, which serves all of Carroll and Boone counties as well as the eastern half of Madison, is known as the home of the Drug Endangered Children's Unit," said Merlin Leach, director of the foundation, "and now capacity is up to 300 severe child abuse cases per year, with an average of 100 investigations from Carroll County."

Leach said he will give Senator Lincoln and her staff a tour of the facility at 9 a.m.

Then the group will cross the street to city hall for a brief ceremony including an invocation by Rev. Clare Kelly, pastor of the Eureka Springs and Holiday Island Presbyterian Church, followed by a brief introduction, and ending with a speech by the senator.

The Merlin Foundation was established in 1993 as a publicly supported nonprofit charity to provide assistance to victims of child abuse, rape, and domestic violence in the Ozark Mountain region of Northwest Arkansas.

The center also offers parenting programs, training services, counseling services, and family support.

"Our funding is 100 percent private donations at this point. In the past, we have had some minor state funding, however, we have never had any federal funding," said Leach.

At noon on Wednesday, the Economic Development Committee of the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce will welcome Sen. Lincoln and her staff, hosting "Lunch With Your Senator" at Main Stage Creative Community Center, from noon and until 12:45 p.m. Main Stage is located at 67 North Main Street in the historic downtown area. A hot buffet lunch will be made available to all attendees at a cost of $4 per person, however attendance does not require the purchase of a lunch.

"We are thrilled that our town of just 2,200 can attract the attention of our U.S. Senator," said Jack Moyer, committee chairman. "Our committee has continued to seek support for area projects from Sen. Lincoln's office, and this visit will give her an opportunity to see up-close and personal some of these locations and projects."

Local area projects to be discussed during Sen. Lincoln's visit include the fish hatchery/grow-out facility at Beaver Dam, the minimum water flow issue at that dam, the city transit's "park & ride" lot at the top of Planer Hill, Main Stage itself, and the needed safety improvements to U.S. Highway 62 just west of Eureka Springs.

For more information regarding the event, individuals may contact the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce at (479) 253-8737 or via email at jeff@eureka springschamber. com .

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