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Governor visits Salem

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

During his speech at the new Melbourne High School, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe spoke about the service of John E. Miller and how he helped introduce Beebe to the capitol and Arkansas State Government. Photo by Jody Shackelford
Governor Mike Beebe made several stops in the area May 16, speaking at the opening of the new Melbourne school and the opening of Superior Sewing in Salem.

Beebe also toured the new Fulton County Hospital addition and made an unscheduled appearance at the North Central Arkansas Regional Economic Development meeting in Salem.

The Melbourne School District has a new 118,000 square foot high school facility which includes 35 classrooms, science and math wings, student union, band room, choir room, business department and a home economics section. The new campus came after Mount Pleasant residents chose the annexation option with Melbourne in 2004.

Beebe spoke to the gathering from the floor of the new two-level gymnasium after being introduced by State Senator Paul Miller. Beebe congratulated the community and complemented the district's achievement.

Beebe said the district has done its job in completing the facility and now it is up to the students to take advantage and succeed in education. "It's a great day, a great place, a great community and a great school. Let's have a great tomorrow," Beebe said to close his speech.

The governor's next scheduled stop was Superior Sewing but he surprised the North Central Arkansas Regional Economic Development organization, who were having a luncheon meeting at the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative building in Salem, where he made an appearance meeting and greeting attendees.

Soon after, the Governor arrived at Superior Sewing were he toured the facility before he spoke to an audience of community leaders, Fulton County citizens and students from Salem and Viola.

The facility produces cheerleading uniforms, custom made jeans and bathing suits for many national retailers including Macy's.

Beebe called the opening of Superior Sewing a double victory saying he appreciated Superior Sewing coming to Arkansas, but specifically to rural Arkansas where jobs are so badly needed. "So that our people have the option to stay and live and work in an area they love ... a place where they can earn a living and support their families," Beebe said.

The unemployment rate, Beebe said, is rising all across the country while in Arkansas it is the contrary, being the lowest it has been since 2001. "While the rest of the world is going down we are going to go up," Beebe said.

"With the SIDC Board working with Governor Beebe and his staff," Fulton County Judge Charles Willett said, "we have added approximately 100 new jobs which, in turn, have a great economic impact in our area for which we are very grateful."

The Fulton County Hospital was the last stop on Beebe's trip to the area where he and other officials toured the new addition. Beebe walked with Hospital Administrator Angie Richmond through the honeycomb of newly built rooms including the new cafeteria area, labs and the new CT room. Beebe said he was pleased with the construction and posed for a few last minute pictures before he traveled to Hot Springs for his next appointment.

Fulton County now has new industry, more jobs and upgraded medical facilities along with a sports complex under construction.

"It's always good news when a company that has already invested in rural Arkansas creates more jobs here," Beebe said. "We hope that Superior Sewing's experience in Fulton County will encourage other industries to invest in North Arkansas."

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