LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola will spoke at a celebration of the energy-saving Weatherization Assistance Program at 10:00 a.m. on Oct. 28 at the River Market Pavilion in downtown Little Rock.
The program, which makes improvements to the homes of those of low and moderate income to make them more energy efficient, safe, and healthy, is funded by the federal Department of Energy, administered by the state Office of Community Services (OCS), and operated primarily by the community action agencies. Since it was begun in 1976, it has injected more than $160 million into communities to improve more than 73,900 homes, helping Arkansans conserve home energy and save income for other necessities.
In the last two years, the program has improved more than 4,860 additional homes with the help of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds; it also has improved more than 1,800 others through a related state Public Service Commission-approved program the community action agencies operate in collaboration with the seven investor-owned electric and gas utilities.
Rose Adams, executive director of the Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association, said in a news release announcing the event that the program "has developed into the most dynamic, efficient, and effective residential energy-saving program there is and is worthy of recognition and celebration." She noted that the program is working with the ARRA-funded weatherization training centers at Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock and the Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville to "advance the work and gain national accreditation for weatherization workers."
Gov. Mike Beebe praised the program in a proclamation he issued recently, declaring October Energy Awareness Month and Oct. 28 Weatherization Day, stressing that weatherization has contributed to the state's "economic, social, and environmental progress" and urging citizens to "support and strengthen" a program "that has done so much for so many in our state."
Other speakers at the event, which is open to the public, included representatives of state OCS, the community action agencies, Entergy Arkansas, and CenterPoint Energy; clients Legail and Eldred Grant and their great-granddaughter, KaganLee Dannyelle Parker, whose 35-year-old mobile home was weatherized recently, told how the program has helped them.
A mobile weatherization training lab developed by Pulaski Tech was displayed; the Mabelvale Elementary School Drum Ensemble, directed by Frank Williams, performed; and children from Wakefield Elementary School in Little Rock and Townsend Park Elementary School in Pine Bluff, who contributed artwork to the 2012 Weatherization Calendar, were recognized.
Food, including the traditional weatherization cake, and soft drinks were served
Energy-conservation education was provided and weatherization applications are available - the work is done free of charge for those who meet federal income guidelines that define low and moderate income.
For more information about the event, or the program, call (501) 682-8715.