CITY OF HOT SPRINGS — EMPLOYEE NEWSLETTER
"It's more than a job"
for Denise Watson and
her coworkers at Animal Services
Volume 20 – Issue 3
New year, same mission Coming Events
City employees, December
Christmas in Hot Springs always proves to be a time in which the treasures of City Events
our city and community are never more evident. Downtown becomes illuminated
with more than a million holiday lights thanks to our Dec. 6 – Christmas Memories at
Parks & Trails Department, and merchants downtown Adair Park (page 3)
and throughout Greater Hot Springs welcoming local Dec. 9 – Utilities Chili Cook-off
shoppers and visitors with warm season’s greetings. Dec. 10 – Utilities Safety Awards
Best of all, the City and community come together to Dec. 13 – Home for the Holidays at
expand services and focus on opportunities relevant to the Animal Services shelter (page 5)
the season and beyond. Dec. 19 – City website redesign launch
Dec. 24-25 – Offices closed for
As Christmastime nears, the theme of “peace on earth, Christmas holiday
good will toward men” rises in our hearts and minds, and Hot Springs Events
that has certainly been the case this year. Chief Stachey, Nov. 21-Dec. 31 – Holiday Lights at
Garvan Woodland Gardens
myself and several HSPD officers recently attended Bill Burrough Dec. 5 – Ice on Ice
a community meeting for a new Stop the Violence City Manager Dec. 6 – National Park Medical
Movement coalition in which its members have had Center Christmas Scramble
Dec. 6 – Arlington Lobby Tree
“ENOUGH,” and they started a charge with that acronym that means Evolution Lighting Ceremony
Dec. 9 – Hot Springs Christmas
of the Next Generation Obligated to Unite in Guarding Humanity. They hope to Parade
Dec. 15 – Hope for the Holidays:
reach out to youth on the heels of the Hot Springs Police Department’s Cool 1940's NBC radio broadcast live
Down Hot Springs campaign (www.cityhs.net/cool-down-hs) to address issues Dec. 18 – Andy and the Dandies
Holiday Concert at the Garland
directly with youth and get them engaged in the process. Similarly, Police Chief County Library
Dec. 19 – A Brookhill Christmas
Jason Stachey recently participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Ouachita Dec. 19 – Santa Claus at the Garland
Area Youth Council to discuss ways to protect children from firearms.
Heart of Hot Springs
Safety is and will always be the top priority for our community, so these recent
collaborative initiatives are positive steps as we near a new year. Beyond anti- Published by the City of Hot Springs
violence, our community resolves to continue to provide assistance to the less- Public Information Department
fortunate among us. In this light, we are pleased to be partnering with Jackson
House to launch Hope Works, a program to help our homeless residents by
providing paid labor to pick up litter while also getting them access to additional
services in our area. Hope Works has been modeled off of other municipalities’
successful programs, and the expected benefits will be well worth the efforts
taken by City staff, Jackson House leaders and others who have worked toward
making this a reality for Hot Springs.
Along with looking forward to the new year, we can also reflect back on 2019
to glean from the successes and opportunities. In looking at this past year, I am
filled with gratitude to have worked alongside you and those like Denise Watson
and her Animal Services colleagues who, as she stated in this edition’s cover
story, feel the role they each fulfill for the City “is more than a job.”
Thank you all for all you do, day in and day out, in service to our city and
community. My best wishes to you and yours this holiday and hopes for a happy
and productive New Year for us all!
City Manager www.cityhs.net/heartofHS
City of Hot Springs
Editors: Aaron Street
2 and Katie Yamauchi
In This Edition
City Manager's Letter.................... 2
Coming Events.............................. 2
Cover Story: Labor of Love.......... 4
Jones/Sledd earn HERO honor.... 6
City Spotlights............................... 6
HR Employee Updates.................. 7
Holiday Tips from HSPD............... 8
The Hot Springs Parks & Trails Department
invites you to a very special holiday event
during December's Gallery Walk
Friday, December 6
6 - 8 p.m.
Kenneth Adair Memorial Park
358 Central Avenue
Bring an ornament to hang on the Memorial Trees
in memory of loved ones who have passed
or in honor of loved ones on active military duty.
Denise Watson turned her idea into reality to create a new one-on-one room at the Animal Services shelter. This room will allow potential adoptive
pet owners to interact with prospective pets in any weather, as well as bring their current pets to see how well the animals will interact.
Helping homeless pets is Denise Watson's passion
For Denise Watson, working at the City of Hot Springs Animal Watson”) can see how much her work means to her. What began as
Services shelter is more than a job, it’s become her life’s passion a way for her to try and connect lost pets to their owners has turned
and purpose. into an online community of animal welfare enthusiasts.
Having grown up on a ranch in contact with horses, dogs and goats, Watson used Hot Springs Lost & Found and Garland County
she’s been involved with animals her whole life. She has directed Lost & Found before she turned her personal Facebook profile into
this affection to the animals at the shelter since 2013, barring a year another outlet for the animals.
in which she returned to her home state of California. Meaningful
work, yes; but Watson admits it comes with hefty challenges. “I just started posting them and got hundreds of friend requests
from people I don’t even know. It’s amazing how much our community
“We come in on weekends and on holidays to take care of the shares the animal posts,” she said.
animals. The dogs and cats don’t know when it’s a weekend day,”
she said with a smile. She tries to post photos and information about dogs on the same
day they arrive at the shelter. “A lot of people don’t even know the
Every day starts with a complete cleaning of the shelter, from the Animal Services shelter is here, and they may look for their lost pet
cages in the back up to the front lobby. “Eddy, Travis and I clean the for months.”
whole facility before lunch, then we help people find the right pet. We
talk them into it,” she admitted. Beyond her daily duties at the shelter and her online advocacy
efforts, Watson has also gotten her hands dirty with some construction
For a shelter that sees anywhere from 15-20 incoming canines and remodeling at the shelter. She redid the entire ceiling with new
a day, that type of helpful convincing is imperative (for pets’ sake). tiles that she measured, cut and put up. She also recently completed
When asked about the most challenging part of working at the a one-on-one room where prospective pet owners can spend time
shelter, being that animals that are not or cannot be adopted have to outside of the kennels with a pet they are considering for adoption.
be put down, she said “it takes a toll.”
Watson requested the opportunity to clean out what was once a
“But somebody has to do it, and it might as well be someone who room for surgery before becoming storage. It took months for her
is compassionate about it rather than someone who treats this as to transform the space, but now guests can spend one-on-one time
‘just a job.’ This is more than a job,” she explained. any time of the year and in any weather. The room features artificial
turf, benches and a window so employees can check in as needed.
Anyone who has found Denise on Facebook (“Denise Drop
4 Continued on following page...
Visitors for the Animal Service’s 2nd Annual Home for the Holidays
event from 6-9 p.m. on December 13 will not only get to see and use
the one-on-one room, they will enjoy holiday decorations, hot cocoa
and cookies and half-price adoptions of $27.50 for dogs and $17.50 for
cats (which includes spay and neuter, microchip and rabies vaccine).
Despite her efforts, Watson tends to deflect recognition or praise.
“The people I work with are amazing. We are a great team, and it takes
an army to run this place.”
Watson earned the Hot Springs HERO honor for her efforts.
Visit www.cityhs.net/hero for more information or to nominate an employee.
Watson uses her
social network to
try and connect
pets that arrive at
the shelter with
their owners or
with new families,
as seen in these
samples of her
Simuel Jones and Jeffrey Sledd stop to help accident victim
Recent Hot Springs HERO
recipients Simuel Jones,
left, and Jeffrey Sledd, third
from left, are presented
their HERO certificates by
Solid Waste Director Randy
Atkinson and Residential
Manager Tonya Burrough.
Jones and Sledd were on
their Earth Angel Recycling
route on November 21 when
they witnessed a disabled citizen get
struck by a vehicle, knocking him
out of his chair as he was crossing
the road at the intersection of West
Belding and Central Avenue. Jones
and Sledd immediately pulled over,
helped the man back into his chair
and waited with him until emergency
responders arrived. Ironically, Jones,
who has been a City employee for
almost 20 years, provided emergency
assistance to a vehicle accident
victim around 17 years ago while
heading to work early one Saturday
morning. In that instance, Jones
literally gave the shirt off his back to
help stop the bleeding from glass and
trauma wounds that nearly took the
driver's life. Jones and his wife later
visited the victim and his family at the
Little Rock hospital where he spent
many months recovering.
City Spotlights www.cityhs.net/spotlights
John Cody Rena
Faulkner Howell Spence
Divisions Manager Facilities Operation Record's Clerk
Public Works Hot Springs Police
Street & Urban Water Production Department
8 years at CHS 2.5 years at CHS
23 years at CHS
Q: What led you to this career? Q: What are you passionate about?
Q: What led you to this career? A: Fourth-generation city employee; A: I'm passionate about meeting
A: The drive to see that our tax dollars
people always need water :) people and helping them to the best of
are spent wisely and the public gets my ability.
taken care of in the best possible way. Q: What is one of your favorite memories
Q: What is your favorite activity to do
Q: What is your favorite activity to do from 2019?
locally? A: Opening for Chris Tomlin at Magic
A: I enjoy walking downtown; I like to
A: Fishing; I can stock the freezer Springs with the band I am in.
see all the new items in the shops.
providing a couple of fish fries a year Q: If you really knew me, you'd know
and still have plenty to eat at home. Q: What trend do you hope makes a
Q: What trend do you hope makes a comeback?
A: I love mountains; I would rather be
comeback? A: For us to be a more family-centric
in the mountains than on any beach.
A: Bell bottom jeans. society.
Read the full list of Q & A's from John, Cody and Rena at www.cityhs.net/spotlights.
Planning & Development hosted a
retirement celebration on November
26 for Mike Chessir, who served
the City for 21.5 years.
Utilities Billing hosted a
retirement party for
Mike Foshee on
Employees with 10 or more years of service.
Randy Norman, Utilities 36 Years Karen Smith, Police 20 Years
Greg Speas, Fleet Service 30 Years Joni Gilmore, Solid Waste 18 Years
Greg Wilson, Fire 30 Years Joshua Lacy, Fire 15 Years
Duane Tarbet, Police 28 Years Kelly Tadlock, Solid Waste 15 Years
Carnell Lemons, Solid Waste 23 Years Mark Fallis, Police 12 Years
Robin Wise, Planning 22 Years Kevin McCain, Fire 12 Years
Kevin Roberts, MCO 21 Years Rod West, Police 12 Years
David Gray, Planning 20 Years
Emanuel Jernigan, Solid Waste Paul Harrison, Utilities
Dustin Brawdy, Solid Waste Sarah Webb, District Court
Dakkota Hayes, Urban Forestry
See more holiday photos at the City's Flickr
The new walk-through Christmas ornament at Hill Wheatley Plaza offers a perfect photo opportunity along with last
year's nearby addition of a life-sized Christmas postcard. Here, families walk through the ornament following the chili
cook-off and lighting ceremony on November 25. Parks & Trails employees install more than a million lights each year,
as well as update/enhance their current inventory and add new elements or displays.