Clay Herrmann

Military Veterans in GC Detention Center

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Jun 242016

An interview with military veterans in the Garland County Detention Center was accommodated by Sheriff Mike McCormick on June 23, 2016.

Jock McGregor and Jerry Neal of Hot Springs Daily ( sat down with some of the resident military veterans and discussed the facilities pioneering programs with some of the prior-military service personnel currently confined in Garland County’s new incarceration expanse.

The 0.625% county sales tax for construction of the approximately 42 million dollar 156,000 square feet complex is expected to sunset (when bonds are paid off in full) by the end of 2016.

Videography by Clay Herrmann.


Jun 172016


Having video-recorded the only two public forums that I know of (GGGG and HSVTP) about the June 28 Special Election featuring speakers both FOR and AGAINST the ballot measure, having moderated the Hot Springs Village TEA Party forum at Charlie’s Pizza Pub on June 7, and having been asked to share information about pros and cons of the ballot measure, I have herein attempted to share the major arguments FOR and AGAINST.

*If the listing of PROS and CONS does not include one important to you, please add it via the comments section.
Thanks, Clay Herrmann


  1. It has been about a decade since the previously planned bypass extension was stopped, and this ballot measure is currently the only option on the table to get the bypass extended to the Highway 5/7 Junction. (If all goes well, projections are that AHTD could have the proposed 2-lane bypass extension ready for public use by the year 2022 or 2023.)
  2. After AHTD completes the MLK bypass extension project, much of the current truck traffic on Park Avenue and Gulpha Gorge Road will be able to take the bypass instead, thereby relieving pressure on the downtown Park Avenue/Central Avenue traffic bottleneck.
  3. The Garland County Sheriff has indicated that the bypass would save lives, reducing average response times for law enforcement for the north part of the county.  Ambulance drive times to and from north Garland County to Hot Springs hospitals could also be expected to be reduced, also potentially saving lives.
  4. In addition to the $30,000,000 Garland County supplemental contribution to AHTD for the 2-lane bypass extension, another $20,000,000 would be for other road improvement projects in Garland County (allocated pro-rata by census population between the unincorporated part of the county and each of the four cities in Garland County).
  5. The 5/8 of one percent sales tax (0.625) to pay for the bond issue is temporary and forecast to sunset in 5 or 6 years. When the obligations on the bonds authorized by the June 28 ballot measure have been fully paid from the applicable portion of sales tax collections, the temporary 0.625% tax will end.
  6. The tax, scheduled to begin July 2017, can be viewed as replacing the detention center construction tax which is expected to sunset by the end of 2016. After a six month (more or less) reduction, the sales tax rate would return to the same rate we currently pay … with no increase over our current sales tax rate.
  7. In anticipation that at some point in time following construction of the MLK bypass extension to the Highway 5/7 junction, there could conceivably be a project approved to widen the 2-lane roadway to a 4-lane divided highway (to match the rest of the bypass), land to be purchased by AHTD for the bypass extension will be of sufficient width for that future possibility.
  8. If Garland County Voters do not approve this ballot measure, it may be years before AHTD is ready to proceed with another plan that does not require supplemental county funding for extending the bypass to the Highway 5/7 Junction. In addition to 30 million dollars for the bypass, the additional 20 million dollars to be raised in this ballot measure will fund an assortment of local road improvement projects that will not have to wait for completion of the bypass extension.


  1. Barring unforeseen delays, the proposed (and arguably inadequate) 2-lane bypass extension might be ready for public use as early as the year 2022 or 2023. But historically unanticipated delays seem the rule rather than the exception for government projects. So be prepared to pay taxes patiently, and don’t hold your breath.
  2. The bypass extension should be done right the first time as a 4-lane divided highway to match the rest of the MLK bypass. The current AHTD plan is for a 50 MPH speed limit on this downgraded bypass extension. With no passing lane you might get stuck behind a log truck going 35 MPH or worse.
  3. There is never an end to the number of worthy projects and improvements that could benefit society if only taxpayers would cough up more tax money. Arkansas is currently ranked as having the second highest average sales tax of the 50 states! Do we aspire to have the nation’s highest sales tax?
  4. The total number of votes cast in Special Elections is usually very low with proponents of special elections working hard to get supporters of their ballot measures to show. A majority of even a tiny turnout wins! Voting AGAINST special election ballot measures as a matter of principle can send a message to special election proponents that in the future they should schedule their ballot measures for Primary and General Elections to save taxpayer money and so that decisions will be made when voter turnout is highest.
  5. “Partnering” with AHTD adding 30 million dollars over and above what Garland County taxpayers already provide AHTD via existing taxes is redundant.
  6. After defeat of this ballot measure, concerned local officials and community leaders, along with our State Representatives and Senators, and our U.S. Congressmen could aggressively lobby AHTD to put continuation of the previously planned 4-lane bypass to the 5/7 Junction near the front of the list of projects to be worked, in consideration of it being previously halted/delayed approximately 10 years ago on account of the “hot water in a well” issue through no fault of our own. Rather than starting over, the previous 4-lane project requiring no supplemental funding from Garland County should be resumed ahead of more recently planned AHTD projects elsewhere.
  7. The additional 20 million dollars to be allocated to the cities and unincorporated areas of the county for yet-to-be-determined road projects is a sales gimmick, offering a slice of “taxpayer pie” to electors who otherwise would not care about voting in this special election, or who would otherwise vote AGAINST.
  8. As the saying goes: “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary tax increase.” Examples abound that illustrate the folly of being duped by “temporary” tax increase proposals.

This summary does not assign weight to the itemized Pros & Cons. For example many north Garland County residents may consider that ANY measure that will result in an MLK bypass extension to the Highway 5/7 Junction will trump every possible argument against the June 28th ballot measure. In the mind of an elector (either FOR or AGAINST), a single benefit or detriment standing alone can outweigh a hundred reasons to vote the other way.

Vote FOR or AGAINST the June 28th ballot measure. Early voting starts June 21st. Vote your preference, and remember:
“If you don’t vote, don’t complain.”

-click thumbnails to enlarge-

by Clay Herrmann

May 132016

by Clay Herrmann

The Garland Good Government Group (GGGG) hosted a forum at the Garland County Public Library on May 12, 2016 about the Garland County Special Election scheduled for June 28. The measure if approved by Garland County voters would authorize a bond issue to raise approximately 56 million dollars and also would authorize a 5/8 percent sales tax to pay down the bond issue(s) over an estimated 5-6 year period. 30 million dollars of the funds raised by the proposed bond issue is designated to be a contribution to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) slated to be used toward an estimated 65 million dollar cost for bringing a 2-lane extension of the MLK bypass to the HWY 5/7 Junction north of Hot Springs.

This contribution would be on top of other taxes that fund AHTD, including the aggressively and successfully marketed 1/2 percent state sales tax passed by Arkansas voters in 2012.

Garland County Judge Rick Davis led in speaking FOR passage. He addressed various aspects of the proposal at some length and invited citizens to visit the website GCPAVEITFORWARD.COM for additional details.

Garland County Sheriff Michael McCormick expressed his reluctant support stating that he hates paying high sales tax and considers himself to be very conservative in general, but was supporting this measure.

Ronnie Weaver, Director of Operations at LifeNet EMS spoke about the time-saving benefit for ambulance transport from the Hot Springs Village and the northern part of Garland County to the two Hot Springs Hospitals.

George Pritchett, spokesperson for the Garland County Tax Alliance (GCTA), spoke in opposition to the sales tax and bond issue to be voted on in next month’s special election.

Hot Springs National Park Superintendent Josie Fernandez was reported to be out of town and unable to attend. Approximately ten years ago work on completing the bypass to the 5/7 Junction was halted on account of the “hot water in a well” issue by the intervention of the recently arrived HSNP Superintendent. A two year geological study followed and evidently in the meantime the money allocated for the bypass by AHTD went elsewhere. Questions the Superintendent could have spoken to include:

1) What possibility might exist that she or someone else with NPS could find reason to stop the bypass again?
2) At this public forum Judge Davis spoke of his view that there would likely be 2 or 3 interchanges along the route of the bypass extension. Senator Alan Clark expressed his understanding based on conversations with you and other stakeholders two months or so ago, that at the very least there would be an interchange for Millcreek Road. In my interview with you a couple of weeks ago, my questions included asking you about interchanges. I understood you to say very clearly that you were opposed to ANY interchanges along the route. Have I misunderstood you? Two or three interchanges? Only Millcreek Road? Or none?
3) I also asked you about whether or not you oppose a 4-lane divided extension to match the rest of the MLK bypass. Judge Davis informs us that the plan calls for acquiring land of a width along the route sufficient to accommodate 4 or 5 lanes … in anticipation of possible future widening. For Hot Springs watershed or other reasons, do you or would you object to a 4-lane divided highway to match the rest of the bypass?

Also not available for questions at this meeting was any representative of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

There was opportunity for the audience to ask questions at the end of the program. The forum was ably moderated by Tom Wilkins (The Five Star Dinner Theatre).

Term Limits, Constables, & Loco Bonita Ranch

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May 042016

Tim Jacob  – 2016 Term Limits Petition

“The way they gain real power is by attaching themselves to long-term incumbents …”
(Tim Jacob speaking of lobbyists and bureaucratic organizations)

Tim Jacob addressed the Hot Springs Village TEA Party on May 3, 2016 regarding the current term limit petition applicable to Arkansas legislators. If successful the measure will appear on the November General Election ballot for approval or disapproval by Arkansas voters.

“This effort began as soon as the AR Legislature passed ISSUE #3 … We feel it is only right to have the voters of the state decide on term limits with an HONEST BALLOT TITLE … the legislature as a whole should be ashamed of the 2014 effort to fool voters …” says Tim Jacob.

Jacob grew up in North Little Rock and graduated from Hendrix College with a degree in political science. He currently lives in Little Rock where he manages a small business: Modern Image Systems.

He served as the Statewide Petition Director for the TERM LIMIT AMENDMENT in 1992, became chairman of AR TERM LIMITS in 1993 in order to defend the amendment against lobbyists and legislators, and in 2004 led an effort to stop the Legislature from doubling their terms in 2004.

The following year, 2005, he began a career as a freelance artist.

Fast forward nine years … Jacob helped speak against ISSUE #3 (fraudulently titled as an “ethics” amendment on the 2014 General Election ballot). He currently serves as a spokesperson for RESTORE TERM LIMITS during the present 2016 campaign.

 Constable John McCaleb & Loco Bonita Ranch

Constable John McCaleb addressed the Hot Springs Village TEA Party on May 3, 2016 informing the audience about various aspects of the the office of constable, a law enforcement office prescribed in the Arkansas Constitution. Following his constable presentation which included a Q&A opportunity, he shared details about the operation of Loco Bonita Ranch and related inspiring anecdotes about the unusual ministry of the ranch.

John McCaleb is originally from Houston Texas where he served with the Houston Police Department. In 1989 he moved to Hot Springs and married his wife Sonja. He has two married daughters with 4 grandchildren. Sonja and John attend 1st Assembly HSV where they teach and serve on the worship team. John also heads up the safety team.

John is going on his third term as Constable of Whittington Township.  He currently works in the Information Technology industry as owner of I.T. Arkansas. Sonja and John own Loco Bonita Ranch. This is an equine therapy ranch dedicated to connect people with the comfort and love of horses. The Ranch is always free of charge to all.

HSV Town Hall – U.S. Senator Tom Cotton

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Apr 022016

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton appeared before a receptive audience at a Town Hall Meeting at the Coronado Community Center in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas on April 1, 2016.

Senator Cotton spoke at some length about the “threat of Islamic terrorism” and the threat of the “Islamic State”, before addressing a number of other subjects. The Senator, speaking as usual without notes or a teleprompter, took several questions from the audience on a range of topics at the end of the meeting following his premeditated remarks.

Meet Your Election Commission Chairman!

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Mar 172016


Hot Springs Daily did a video interview with Garland County Election Commission Chairman, Gene Haley, on March 16, 2016. Chairman Haley addressed a number of topics including:

  • An after the Primary Election report.
  • The deadline and the process for an independent or 3rd party candidate to get on the Arkansas ballot for the November 8th General Election as a Presidential candidate (easy peasy … and might be something impressive to put on your resume …. e.g. “was on the ballot statewide as a candidate for President of the United States in 2016 and got 3 votes”).
  • The Garland County Election Commission website: – the place to go for election results, sample ballots, voting locations and much more …


Garland County Quorum Court Approves June Special Election

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Mar 152016

by Clay Herrmann

In an 11 to 2 vote at the March 14, 2016 meeting of the Garland County legislature, the Quorum Court approved presiding County Judge Rick Davis’ call for a Special Election to be held on June 28, 2016 for a 0.625% county sales tax, to pay off bonds to be issued “in the maximum aggregate amount of $54,695,000”.

Details of how the nearly 50+ million dollars will be allocated to various projects is not contained in the Special Election Ordinance NO. 0-16-13. Previous to passage of the ordinance, however, Judge Davis in advocating for the measure did distribute information (presumably non-binding) indicating that after the thirty (30) million that would be slated for a county contribution to AHTD for an extension of the MLK bypass to the Highway 5/7 junction north of Hot Springs, twenty (20) million would be for an assortment of projects (some possible projects have been listed but none are confirmed pending determination by a yet to be formed committee) across the county with a portion of the funds dedicated to benefiting each of the four cities in Garland County (Hot Springs, Mountain Pine, Fountain Lake, and Lonsdale). The balance (maximum $4,695,000) would be for bond issuance fees and related expenses.

bypass cost assurance letter_0001


5/8% Sales Tax for MLK Bypass – Committee Hearing & Vote

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Mar 032016

by Clay Herrmann

The Public Health, Welfare & Safety Committee of the Garland County Quorum Court met on February 29, 2016. The major issue under consideration was County Judge Rick Davis’ proposal for another “temporary” 5/8% sales tax, this time to raise approximately fifty million dollars. Approximately thirty million would be for cost-sharing with the Highway Department to continue the MLK bypass to the HWY 5/HWY 7 junction north of Hot Springs.

The remainder twenty million dollars is designated for a wide range of proposed projects around Garland County aimed at appealing to otherwise disinterested voters who presumably will want to know what is in it for them in order to vote for the tax, and promising a portion of the tax largesse to the cities of Hot Springs, Fountain Lake, Lonsdale, and Mt. Pine in anticipation of their support.

The majority of the membership of the Public Health, Welfare, & Safety Committee, chaired by Justice Larry Griffin (JP District 11) voted in favor of the tax. Most outspoken in opposition was Justice Mary Bournival (JP District 4) who voted “NO” with the minority.

Consideration of the tax moves next to the Finance Committee on March 7th, and then to the full Quorum Court on March 14th. If approved by a majority of the thirteen Garland County Justices of the Peace, a countywide Special Election seeking voter approval of bond issues and the “sales and use tax” is projected to take place on June 28, 2016.

bypass tax_0001 bypass tax_0002 bypass tax_0003


Feb 262016

by Clay Herrmann

Why an imaginary rather than a real interview? In this case it is primarily because I thought an imaginary interview would be much more fun. Hopefully Sheriff McCormick will have a good sense of humor about this, and think so too. With just a few days remaining before the March 1st Primary, you may have noticed that no candidate has more large format signage up in more places around Garland County than unopposed incumbent sheriff candidate Mike McCormick.)

CH:  Sheriff McCormick, you defied the odds and made history in a way no one ever had before in the last election. Running as an Independent without the backing of a political party, you were elected County Sheriff, something that to my knowledge had never been accomplished before your victory … not just in Garland County, but anywhere in Arkansas.

Sheriff McCormick:  Yes, thank you. The last election certainly was a hotly contested and grueling contest, but it was very satisfying to prove that it is possible for a candidate to win as an Independent in Arkansas.

CH: Anyone who has been out and about in Hot Springs or elsewhere in Garland County lately can see that you have a lot of signage up this year in anticipation of the March 1st Primary.  The message is “Re-Elect Mike McCormick for Sheriff”.  How do you feel the race is going? What do you think your chances are for surviving the Primary and moving on to the November General Election?

Sheriff McCormick:  I feel pretty good about it.

CH:  Do you feel that the fact that no one else filed to run against you gives you an advantage?

Sheriff McCormick:  Maybe, but I don’t want to make any assumptions. You know the old saying spelling out the word. When you ass-u-me, you make an ass out of u and me. The main thing right now is to win the Primary.

CH:  And just to be clear, you do believe that being unopposed in the Primary is a good omen?

Sheriff McCormick:  I’m not big on putting a lot of stock in omens, but I would say that I think that being unopposed is more of a plus than it is a negative.

CH:  With respect to all of the other unopposed candidates who have NOT put up signage for their campaigns (evidently hoping to be elected just because no one is running against them) … are they missing the boat by not following your example?

Sheriff McCormick: Maybe, but I don’t want to criticize the choices candidates for other offices make about their campaigns. I am content to concentrate on my own campaign and on what I should do to maximize my chances of victory.

CH: Is there anything in particular that makes this 2016 race especially challenging for you?

Sheriff McCormick: Well there is ONE difficulty that is particularly problematic. Because no one is running against me, it is especially hard to come up with something appropriate to say about my challengers … you know, why people should vote for me instead of for them.

CH: Would it be going too far to say that you are a little paranoid about threats to your reelection in 2016?

Sheriff McCormick:  Let me give you a tip. It’s not paranoia if they REALLY ARE out to get you.

CH: Good point Sheriff, and thank you for granting this interview. We do wish you all the best in the Primary race on March 1st, and if you should survive as an uncontested Primary candidate on March 1st, here’s wishing you success as an uncontested candidate in the November General Election as well.


HSVPOA BOD January 20, 2016 Meeting

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Jan 212016

by Clay Herrmann

The house was packed for the January 20th, 2016 Hot Springs Village Property Owners Association Board of Directors Meeting at the Ponce de Leon Center in Hot Springs Village.

HSV Realtors turned out en-masse along with other property owners concerned about an announced intent to impose a new 0.85% of sales price fee on all HSV real estate transactions, the assessment proceeds to be initially dedicated to fund a planned POA real estate sales operation.

POA General Manager David Twiggs had emailed a disclosure of his plan, including an intended assessment implementation date of April 1, 2016 to the HSV Board of Realtors a few days before the January 20 BOD meeting, asking that the information be kept confidential.

According to Twiggs, on advice of the Board’s legal counsel, the Board of Directors can vote to have the fee assessed without a vote of approval by POA membership.

With cognizance of Realtor opposition and rising public awareness, an email was sent out under signature of the POA Board President before the meeting announcing that the issue was being pulled from the January agenda. However the issue remained on the printed agenda available at the meeting, prompting an oral BOD affirmation that it was in fact pulled.

Nevertheless, in the course of meeting the “pulled” topic was discussed much more by the GM and Board members than one would expect for an item no longer on the agenda. Future public discussion and consideration at a future BOD meeting is anticipated.

HSV (11)


April Fools Day Proposal Not a Joke

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Jan 192016

by Clay Herrmann


– aggressively greedy or grasping –
 – always wanting more money, possessions, etc. –
 – wanting more than is needed or deserved –
e.g. “Government’s rapacious nature is par for the course.”

It was scheduled to take effect April 1, 2016. The Hot Springs Board of Realtors was notified of the plan via email sent to the HSV Board of Realtors on January 12th. Realtors were informed that the plan would be proposed at the January BOD meeting, voted on in February, and if approved as anticipated, the fee would be implemented on April 1st. The POA’s legal counsel has reportedly advised David Twiggs, Hot Springs Village COO that no vote of approval by the POA membership is required to implement the new assessment being called a “Development Contribution Fee” by the POA General Manager.

Twiggs wrote that “Initially. this funding will be earmarked to cash flow the early stages of our sales program.” What sales program is that? In recent months the POA website has made numerous content transitions, including eliminating any acknowledgment of the existence of the Hot Springs Village Board of Realtors. Real estate inquiries from are directed to a choice of POA personnel (none of whom, to our knowledge, hold active Arkansas real estate licenses), the list being topped by the General Manager himself. A POA operated real estate sales office and POA real estate sales force funded by real estate transactions made by the sales efforts of others, appears to be in the making. Several months ago the HSV Board of Realtors requested and confirmed an opportunity for Twiggs to meet with the HSV Realtors membership. The POA GM was a no-show to that event. Use of POA funds to employ a Florida real estate broker/consultant for this program is of additional concern.

According to the plan real estate transactions in Hot Springs Village would initially be assessed 0.85% of the sales price (e.g. $1700 for a $200.000 home sale). The formula would be applied to all transactions of both improved and unimproved lots in HSV with four enumerated exceptions (see Article 22, IID).

The GM’s email to Realtors refers to the proposed funding mechanism as “the third and final prong” of a three prong funding plan, the first prong being the two-tiered assessment vote and the second the reduction of golf subsidy.”

Shortly after receipt of the GM’s email, HSV Board of Realtors President James Buss called an urgent meeting of the HSV real estate company owners for 8:00 AM on Wednesday, January 13 at the HSV Area Chamber of Commerce conference room. After discussion, there being a consensus among the real estate company owners that urgent action was appropriate, the Realtors began a coordinated campaign to defeat the proposed measure. On January 18th, a message was emailed under signature of Harv Shelton, President of the HSVPOA Board of Directors stating that the proposed Development Contribution Fee would be pulled from the January 20th BOD agenda.

(Sent: Monday, January 18, 2016 11:43 AM — Subject: Development Contribution Fee Pulled from Agenda)

James Buss (HSV Board of Realtor President and Big Red Realty Principal Broker) along with  Clay Herrmann (HSVBOR BOD member and Herrmann Realty Principal Broker) picked up POA BOD candidate packages from the POA office with less than two days left remaining before the filing deadline.  Working together and with help from other Realtors to get the required petition signatures accomplished, both turned in their completed packages the next day before the 4:00 PM deadline. Confirmation that they are certified candidates came the next day. Five candidates are competing for three open BOD positions.

James Buss, Principal Broker of Big Red Realty and current President of the Hot Springs Board of Realtors files as Candidate for HSF POA Board of Directors.

James Buss, Principal Broker of Big Red Realty and current President of the Hot Springs Village Board of Realtors files as a candidates for the HSV POA Board of Directors.

Clay Herrmann, Principal Broker of Herrmann Realtor and member of the Hot Springs Village Board of Realtors joins Jim Buss in filing as a candidate for the HSV POA Board of Directors.

Clay Herrmann, Principal Broker of Herrmann Realtor and member of the Hot Springs Village Board of Realtors joins Jim Buss in filing as a candidate for the HSV POA Board of Directors.

Development Contribution Fee-1 Development Contribution Fee-2 Development Contribution Fee-3 Development Contribution Fee-4

URGENT CALL TO ACTION emailed to members of the Hot Springs Village Board of Realtors:

From: James Buss

Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2016 8:30 AM
Subject: Call to Action

Fellow Realtors, each and every one of us are independent business owners and most of us live in Hot Springs Village. January 20th at 9:00 AM at the Ponce De Leon Center the Hot Springs POA Board is meeting and one of the topics is a .85 transfer fee on all properties sold. This transfer fee could adversely affect each and every one of us.

Proponents of the transfer fee say it is no big deal and buyers won’t even notice it just like they don’t notice the transfer tax that started out at $25 and is now $150. Ask anyone who lives in Diamante if the transfer fee doesn’t bother them. What is starting out at $850.00 on a $100,000 house will knock some first time home buyers out of the market and some investors will look elsewhere for their investments. What happens when this new transfer tax increases to 5 times its present rate like it did with the current transfer tax. Home sales are just starting to move, this tax could cause the market to spiral downward.

And to top it off, this new transfer fee is going to be used to fund the new POA sales force. Unless you are planning on going to work as a POA sales person, this can’t be too exciting. If you don’t believe me ask a POA board member. I did.

The new transfer tax does not need member approval, so our only hope right now is convince the POA Board Members that this is a bad idea and put a stop to it before it is enacted. I believe this transfer tax will be bad for every property owner in HSV.

Please attend this meeting on January 20th, it could affect your business. If we don’t come out in force it will prove to the POA Board that we really don’t care about what goes on in our community. I am the designated spokesperson representing the HSVBOR and I look forward to your support.

Thank you,
James K. Buss, 2016 President
Hot Springs Village Board of Realtors


Storm Damage

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Dec 282015
150 Oakwood Ave

Storm Damage: 150 Oakwood Ave at corner of Oakwood Ave & Bell, Hot Springs, AR. (photo 12/27/15  by Clay Herrmann)

Champion Christian College

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Dec 272015

by Clay Herrmann

CCC-2 1280w

National Park College is not the only institution of higher learning headquartered in Garland County, Arkansas. Founded a decade ago, Champion Christian College is located at 600 Garland Avenue in Hot Springs on a campus and grounds adjacent to Gospel Light Baptist Church.

Students moving on from high school who may not be interested in spending two or four years pursuing a pastoral calling or other church-related work may still find reason to spend a couple of semesters at Champion before moving on to other larger institutions, or before entering the workforce to pursue “secular” careers.  Offerings include one-year certificate programs in Bible, Criminal Justice, Worship Leadership, Sports Management, and Management & Leadership. All of the one-year certificate programs include  3-semester hours of Old Testament Survey and 3-semester hours of New Testament Survey among the course requirements.

Current degrees offered include:

  • Pastoral Studies
  • Church Administration
  • Youth Ministry
  • Missions – Men
  • Missions – Ladies
  • Elementary Christian Education
  • Secondary Christian Education
  • Music Ministry
  • Christian Sports Management
  • Associates of Church Office Administration

CCC earned 1280w

Today’s Champion Christian College was first established as Champion Baptist College in 2005 in affiliation with Gospel Light Baptist Church. High-energy CCC President and GLBC Pastor Eric Capaci’s vision for the school has been a persistent driving force for it’s initial inception and continuing development. Transitions in the last couple of years include a partnership with Central Baptist College in Conway that provides the benefit of accreditation for some of the course offerings and a name change from Champion Baptist College to Champion Christian College that removed the Baptist denominational label.  That name change potentially alienates some Baptists, but on the flip-side serves to welcome faculty, staff, and students who are Christian of other denominations, as well as others who embrace no denominational identity. Today the college’s faculty, staff, and student body reflects that increased diversity. The school also enjoys the involvement of a number of local government officials, business and professional leaders, and other community leaders who serve on an advisory council. The college is also currently engaged in the somewhat tedious process of seeking full accreditation through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).

Champion Christian College President Eric Capaci is Interviewed by Hot Springs Daily about the past, present, and future of the Hot Springs based institution.

(CCC President Eric Capaci-

Champion’s focus on educating students for various forms of Christian service is comparable in some measure to the historical reasons for the founding of some of America’s oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning. For example the following is recorded about Harvard, which advertises itself to be “the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.” :

New England’s First Fruits – 1640
(From Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1792, Vol 1., 242-248).
The History of the Founding of Harvard College

“AFTER GOD HAD carried us safe to New England, and we had built our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and led the civil government, one of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust. And as we were thinking and consulting how to effect this great work, it pleased God to stir up the heart of one Mr. Harvard (a godly gentleman and a lover of learning, there living among us) to give the one-half of his estate (it being in all about £700) toward the [found]ing of a college, and all his library. After him, another gave £300; others after them cast in more; and the public hand of the state added the rest. The college was, by common consent, appointed to be at Cambridge (a place very pleasant and accommodate) and is called (according to the name of the first founder) Harvard College.”


Harvard’s original seal and motto. “Truth (Veritas) for Christ (Christo) and the Church (Ecclesiae),” in Latin was adopted in 1692. Over time and by degrees the institution abandoned it’s original focus, to the point of being largely adversarial to Christianity today. The current official seal has removed “Christ and the Church.”

Harvard is not the only Ivy League university initially founded for the explicit and primary purpose of educating Christian ministers for future generations. Princeton and Yale are additional examples of several other colonial institutions originally founded for that singular purpose. Prospective Champion Christian College students will likely be relieved that admission requirements are greatly relaxed academically from what was typical of the colonial institutions of higher-learning. Consider that Harvard’s original admission requirements included a high level of competency in the languages of both Latin and Greek! That was an admittance requirement … NOT a competency to be attained before graduation.


The flag of Princeton University displays the school’s shield and motto. The open book is inscribed with “Vet. Nov. Testamentum” (Old and New Testament). The motto, “Dei Sub Numine Viget,” translates as “Under the Protection of God She Flourishes.”


אורים ותמים (Hebrew) (Urim V'Thummim) Lux et veritas (Latin for "lightand truth")

Yale University motto: אורים ותמים (Hebrew) (Urim V’Thummim) Lux et veritas (Latin for “light and truth”)

For the institution that became the University of Pennsylvania, founder Benjamin Franklin envisioned a curriculum not just for the educating of clergy, but also for the arts and for practical education for commerce and public service. Still, as evidenced by the school’s official seal symbolism, theology was not relegated to a subordinate position of importance.


Notice that  “THEOLOG” (Theology: Study of God) tops the stack of academic volumes in the University of Pennslvania’s  official seal. Penn dates its founding to 1740, Philadelphians erected a great preaching hall (that for a time was the largest building in Philadelphia, drawing thousands of people the first time it was preached in) for prominent traveling evangelist George Whitfield, with a view that it would double as both a charity school and house of worship. “… in 1749, Benjamin Franklin—printer, inventor and future founding father of the United States—published his famous essay, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth, circulated it among Philadelphia’s leading citizens, and organized 24 trustees to form an institution of higher education based on his proposals … The group purchased Whitefield’s “New Building” and in 1751, opened its doors to children of the gentry and working class alike as the Academy and Charitable School in the Province of Pennsylvania. Franklin served as president of the institution until 1755 and continued to serve as a trustee until his death in 1790.” (

Now a senior, business administration major Amber Workman came to Champion Christian College from far away Denver, North Carolina. Conversation about school life includes the topic of relationships and dating, character and trust, academics, a senior’s “burden of expectation”, and her part-time work for a prominent local attorney.

(Amber Workman-

Luke Biter is currently having difficulty staying focused on his academics, for the same sort of reason that many young men in coeducational colleges suffer from distraction.

(Luke Biter-

6’5″ish Cody Connor, who grew up in China and is fluent in Mandarin, is a good guy (for those of us challenged enough just by English) to take to a party or other social event where there will be Chinese speakers who think they can get away with openly engaging in covert conversation with fellow Chinese right in front of us.  Yes, he is also on the men’s basketball team.

(Cody Connor-

A Champion student who actually grew up in Hot Springs, Freshman Elijah Kemp is intending to follow a pre-law track and hopes to be accepted into law school at U of A in Fayetteville in the future.

(Elijah Kemp-

From a large home-schooled family, Lydia Parks is daughter of a former Arkansas legislator and traveled to China to add two zero-English-speaking sisters to her immediate family.

(Lydia Parks-

Arkansas’ summer heat challenged Elijah Smoot to reconsider the wisdom of his decision to move from his home in Maryland to enroll at Champion.

(Elijah Smoot-

Champion offers intercollegiate athletics in Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball and Volleyball and is a member of the Association of Christian College Athletics. Apologies to former student and current faculty member and coach  James Manthe for the background noise. Interview was NOT done in the engine-room of an ocean-going freighter, as might be guessed. Didn’t use an external interview microphone, and the camera’s built-in did an exceptionally good job of picking up the noisy air-handler servicing the room. Will try to do better in the future.

(James Manthe-


  • For more information visit the Champion Christian College website at
  • Call Ashley Connor at 501-625-2333, extension 34, to schedule a visit and tour of the campus.
  • For visitors, Champion Suites on the 3rd floor of the college dormitory are reasonably priced and can be reserved through Annette Sepe at 501-625-2333, extension 31, or if you prefer staff can suggest several area hotels for your lodging consideration.


San Bernardino and Pearl Harbor

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Dec 072015

by Clay Herrmann

This article is much more personal than most that I write. The thoughts may seem a little disconnected at first, but hopefully will cohere for you to some extent by the time you reach the end.

Mom and Dad grew up in Garland County, Arkansas, but I was born in San Bernadino, California over 57 years ago as an Air Force dependent.

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When people ask me where I am from, I sometimes say something along the lines of “What do you mean?” Do you mean where was I born?” (I only lived in San Bernardino about five or six months before Dad’s next transfer to El Paso, TX, then to Germany, etc.). Looking at Google Earth maps and imagery of the location of the Jihadist attack against San Bernardino County employees at a holiday (Christmas?) party I found that the Catholic St. Bernadine Hospital (now St. Bernadine Medical Center) where I was born is about four miles north of the attack site. The home we lived in with neighboring fields and farms at the time, according to Mom, is apparently gone now, and the whole area of fields and farms is overcome by urban sprawl. But our home was located about four miles west of the jihadist attack site.

December 7, 2015, is an anniversary date for America and an anniversary date for me personally as I enlisted in the Air Force on December 7, 1981, 40 years to the day after the December 7, 1941 Japanese surprise attack in Hawaii . Yesterday I went by the home of Jeff Meek, Hot Springs Village Voice Managing Editor and picked-up/purchased a personally autographed copy of a book he authored. I wanted the book because I learned that my friend J.W. Childs, a past member of my Sunday School class at Hot Springs Village Bible Church and Pearl Harbor survivor is featured in it, along with 74 other World War II veterans that Jeff Meek interviewed for the book.

Seventy four years ago on this day someone I had the pleasure of knowing survived the sinking of his battleship on “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”.  Trapped in a communications room during the attack, J.W. Childs nearly drowned in fuel oil … ““Five of us were standing on a ladder hoping to get out. The fuel oil got up to our noses and about that time somebody opened the hatch, said Childs. He went topside and saw attacking planes and fire all around. Childs shed much of his fuel-soaked clothing and ran along the fiery deck.  Once he reached the armor belt of the huge battleship, he jumped off and into the fiery water surrounding the West Virginia. Childs swam to nearby Ford Island. He had no shoes on and cut himself as he crawled up onto the island …” (see pp 25-27 of Meek’s book for more of Childs WWII story)

They Answered The Call - Jeffrey L. Meek

“Long silent on their service, author Jeffrey Meek has gotten them to open up, share their experiences, and in many cases come to terms with what they did and what they saw. With memories long buried for many years, these 75 veterans have finally shared their story so Americans can learn details of the war and keep the memory of their service alive for generations to come.”

Author - Jeffrey L. Meek

“They Answered The Call” Author – Jeff Meek

Oh so reluctantly, President Obama, overwhelmed by undeniable and publically reported  evidence, finally acknowledged yesterday that the attack in San Bernardino was an “ISIL” related “terrorism” event. As might be deduced from the content of his speech to the nation and from numerous ancillary remarks, the President’s greatest concerns in response to the murders of county employees in San Bernardino appears to be his call for the disarming (diminishing the ability of citizens to protect themselves and others) of as many Americans as possible, to seize upon the event as another opportunity to  lecture America about it’s bigotry, and to denounce Americans who hold negative opinions about the peace-loving religion of Islam.

AG L. Lynch crop

The day after the San Bernardino attack, the President’s Attorney General, Lorreta Lynch, was featured speaker at a 10-year anniversary dinner for Muslim Advocates in Washington DC. She heralded her Justice Department’s commitment to defending the civil rights of Muslims in America. She told her audience that her “greatest fear” was something other than jihadist terrorism against America as might be expected. Rather her “greatest fear” involves the threat of violence against Muslims, and she assured her Muslim audience that she stands with them and that under her leadership the Justice Department will vigorously prosecute on their behalf. There seems to be no equivalent zeal in the Justice Department to advocate and prosecute on behalf of the civil rights of Jews and Christians.

The day after the attack on Pearl Harbour President Roosevelt made his “Infamy” speech and within an hour Congress had formally declared war.

Less than four years after Pearl harbor, both Germany and Japan had surrendered, and their imperialistic ISIS-like ambitions to conquer the world were squashed. It has been more than three times that long since America was targeted for jihad on September 11, 2001. In the past we could have fought and decisively won three World War II’s in that amount of time. Yet in the war (to the extent that our leadership in Washington is willing to call it a “war”) against the ambition of muslim jihadists committed to the establishment of a world-dominating caliphate, no end is in sight.

For the sake of my five young grandchildren I hope that it is still possible for America to survive our decline from greatness and again embrace neglected principles that in the past made our nation a beacon of hope to the world in so many ways.


“A WHOLE NEW MIND” for a Different Kind of School

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Dec 062015

by Clay Herrmann

Corey Alderdice, Director of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts was featured speaker at the Ponce de Leon Center in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. His presentation was the last program in the Ouachita Speaker Series for the 2015 calendar year.

Looking at the topic of why and how we learn, he addresses the six competencies of Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning.

Implementation of this learning model at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts aims to maximize the potential of ASMSA students “to become the next generation dreamers, thinkers, entrepreneurs and visionaries for our state”.


Board or Borg – Annexation or Assimilation?

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Dec 042015

by Clay Herrmann

We all belong to the government you will be assimilated resistance is futile

(image from

Former Garland County Judge and current Hot Springs District 4 City Director Larry Williams spoke out passionately in support of the annexation measure under consideration on December 1, 2015.

(Above video of Director Willams is only 3 minutes 11 seconds. Full video below is 1:51:03.)

Mayor Ruth Carney abstained from the BOD vote to annex, which was otherwise unanimous. Following Director William’ remarks, and immediately prior to the vote, she expressed support for annexation of the lands described by city officials as “Enclave A” or “Area A”. The Mayor, however, voiced opposition to the Board of Directors making that decision, rather than putting the question to a vote of “the people”.

(video from City of Hot Springs)


Storm Damage – Garland County Title Company

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Nov 172015

by Clay Herrmann

GC Title Company 03

Hot Springs Fire Chef Ed Davis credited the pictured damage to the Garland County Title Company building located on the corner of Ouachita and Orange Street to “high winds” (November 17, 2015). Thankfully, to the best of our knowledge, no persons were injured when the mass of bricks fell from the top of the building to the sidewalk below.

GC Title Company 07


GGGG Meeting – Annexation, Taxes, Candidates, Water, and More

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Nov 162015

by Clay Herrmann

Justice of the Peace for District 13 candidate Ralph Edds makes a brief introduction to the Garland Good Government Group ( at the Garland County Library on November 12, 2015.

Renee Westfall, candidate for Hot Springs City Director, addresses the Garland Good Government Group ( at the Garland County Public Library on November 12, 2015. Her remarks included some historical (1988) commentary about annexation, taxes, city finances, police and fire retirement, and water issues. She encouraged public attendance at the upcoming Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday evening, November 17 when consideration of a revised 3-part property tax proposal for Hot Springs citizens is scheduled.

Garland County Judge Rick Davis provides an impromptu update on the Lake Ouachita and Lake DeGray water supply issue to the Garland Good Government Group ( audience on November 12, 2015 at the Garland County Public Library at the request of GGGG leader Bob Driggers.

Following the Judge’s remarks there was some follow-up discussion and speculation by others in attendance about whether there is a possibility of inappropriate political influence being brought to bear on the Corps of Engineers resulting in delaying (or potentially denying) approval of the Lake Ouachita option for increased Hot Springs water system capacity.