Governor Asa Hutchinson, AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston, AEDC Executive Vice President of Operations Amy Fecher and Rural Services Director Alex Johnston presented $246,225 to 21 rural communities selected for funding through the Rural Services Rural Community Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2018. The grant awards were distributed October 10 at an awards ceremony held in the Governor’s Conference Room at the Arkansas State Capitol.
In attendance were representatives receiving an Arkansas Rural Services Rural Community Grant award on behalf of Glencoe in Fulton County.
The Glencoe Fire Department received $7,781 to purchase eight SCBA bottles, two SCBA backpacks with bottles and mask, two AEDs, and an auto extrication pump, cutter and spreader.
The Division of Rural Services works in partnership with the Arkansas Rural Development Commission to select the grant recipients. Incorporated cities and towns and unincorporated communities in rural areas of less than 3,000 in population are eligible to apply for assistance through the Arkansas grant program.
All Arkansans are invited to attend the 2018 Rural Development Conference in Little Rock May 22 through 24. Attendees will learn about additional programs and funding opportunities available to Arkansas’ rural communities.
Over 75 state legislators will join over 600 mayors, county judges, other state and federal officials, and community leaders to participate in this annual conference. For more information about the Rural Development Conference or Rural Services grant programs, please contact the Arkansas Division of Rural Services at 1-888-RURAL-AR.
Pictured (l to r) State Representative Scott Baltz, State Senator Missy Irvin, Glencoe representatives, Assistant Fire Chief Doug Shepherd, Captain Reed Fortner, Chief Michael Harlow, ARDC Commissioner Claude Graves, Governor Asa Hutchinson, AEDC Executive VP of Operations Amy Fecher, AEDC Executive Director Mike Preston, ARDC Commissioner Lynn Hawkins, ARDC Commissioner Jamie Pafford-Gresham, ARDC Commissioner Davis Bell.

Fitness icon, Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils has declared war on childhood obesity. To help combat this disease, he is bringing the Foundation’s multi-million dollar physical fitness campaign to Arkansas and has engaged Governor Hutchinson to partner in this effort. The campaign encourages elementary and middle school educators to think outside the box by implementing innovative ideas in fitness and nutrition for its students. The nomination process is open at and will run through mid June. Three schools, selected by the National Foundation, will be deemed National Champion Schools and will each be awarded a $100,000 state-of-the-art Live Positively Fitness Centers for their efforts.
“I am honored to partner with Jake Steinfeld to bring the National Champion Schools campaign to Arkansas schools,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “Jake and the Foundation have done incredible work around the country in the fight against childhood obesity, and I am excited that he has chosen Arkansas to take part in this campaign. Childhood obesity is a significant problem in this great state. I believe this program is a step in the right direction for getting our kids fit and healthy, and I would encourage every elementary and middle school in the state to take part in the nomination process. Three schools in the state will become the recipient of a brand new fitness center, but every school participating in the process will be setting their students on the path to a healthier tomorrow.”
The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils program is set apart from other initiatives because it does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding, making it even more attractive to cash-strapped states. Each fitness center is financed through public/private partnerships with companies like The Coca-Cola Company and Nike. In addition, TuffStuff Fitness International equips all of the fitness centers. The National Foundation’s goal is to build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world.
“When you have the right tools and the inspiration, anything is possible. Today, we are changing the way our kids think about fitness and physical activity. We are changing their habits and in the process changing their lives! And now, Arkansas schools have a great opportunity to make a change that will have a lasting impact on kids well into their future. Academics and fitness go hand in hand. We are not only building bodies, but most importantly we are building confidence self esteem in these terrific kids. By placing fitness centers in elementary and middle schools, we are certain to see positive, healthy changes. Our children are our most precious resource and by providing them with a strong foundation in health and fitness, we can feel confident that they will excel beyond their wildest dreams,” said Steinfeld.
Physical activity and exercise are shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases, enhance individual health and quality of life and reduce health care costs.