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America's Night Out Against Crime

On Tuesday, August 1st, neighborhoods throughout Jonesboro are being invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the "17th Annual National Night Out". National Night Out, which is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and co-sponsored locally by the City of Jonesboro under the leadership of the Jonesboro Leadership Council, will involve over 9,500 communities from 50 states, U.S. Territories, military bases and Canadian cities. In all, over 32 million people are expected to participate in 'America's Night Out Against Crime' on August 1st. Once again, this year, S.C. Johnson is the national corporate sponsor. NNO 2000 is also supported in part by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

National Night Out is designed to: (1) Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; (2) Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime efforts; (3) Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and (4) Send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

From 5 to 8 p.m. on August 1st, residents are invited to participate in one of the eight major activities taking place across the City of Jonesboro. They are encouraged to turn their porch light on before leaving home and at 8 p.m. will be encouraged to return to their own neighborhood, stay outside and visit with their neighbors until dark. There are several neighborhood activities already planned in addition to the major activities. Citizens are encouraged to plan special events such as flashlight walks or parades for the children or hold anticrime rallies. The Airport Road Baptist Church is throwing a party for their new neighbors in the Countrywood and surrounding areas.

Corporate sponsors will be pitching tents and serving hot dogs and soft drinks to anyone attending one of the eight major sites. A Sunset Symphony is being held in Forum Park beginning at 7:00 p.m. John Dresbach will be playing piano, singing and hosting a sing-a-long from that site. Food will be served beginning at 6:30 p.m. St. Bernard's Regional Medical Center is hosting the neighbors in the area just east of downtown. They will gather at the field just west of the old Kindergarten Center fronting on East Matthews for music, fun, games and free food.

Triple FM Radio will join forces with the Jonesboro Housing Authority to serve up fun and food on the campus of Arkansas State University. They will be located at the southeast corner of the intramural fields on Aggie Road and Stadium. The Housing Authority will be providing transportation for those living in the Apartment City area.

Nettleton School System is sponsoring an event at the Nettleton Central Elementary School on Promise Drive in the old town of Nettleton. There will be both indoor and outdoor activities planned for all ages with music and free food. The school will offer transportation for residents of Nettleton to and from the festivities.

Remax Real Estate Centre is bringing in the REMAX hot air balloon for free balloon rides. They will join with the Human Development Center in serving free food and drinks to everyone attending. The Northeast Arkansas Bootscooters will be dancing at 7 p.m. and there will be bands playing at this, and all sites

Simmons Bank and their employees will host the gathering at the Highland Drive Baptist Church and Trinity Church on Highland Drive at Rains Street. Regions Bank is hosting the gathering at the Optimist Park just north of the SW Church of Christ parking lot and Hummelstein Iron and Metals will host the festivities at Parker Park on North Church Street. The Housing Authority will also provide transportation to the Parker Park site.

The Jonesboro Fire Department will be setting up giant water curtains around the city for the children as well as holding competitive games for children. Deacon, the arson dog will be on site at several of the areas.

All Jonesboro patrol officers will be in the respective areas where they work. This will be an opportunity for the residents of the areas to meet each shift officer in their neighborhood. After 8 p.m. the officers willm Solving has announced plans to participate in national competition for 'Project 365' . 'Project 365' is a year-long cooperative effort by community, police, code enforcement, churches and government to clean up historically problematic neighborhoods. The site will be announced at a press conference on August 1st at Noon at the site of this year's project.

A full posting of all activities at each site will be posted in public places during the week of July 24. These activities will be announced in the media during the next three weeks. Handouts can be obtained for copying at the Jonesboro Police Department beginning July 17.

Individuals or groups interested in hosting a celebration in their own neighborhood and in need of assistance or ideas should call the Jonesboro Leadership Council Chairman Judy Furr at 933-8220.

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Copyright by Larry Heyl and Vivian Heyl, 1997