April 25, 2007 Edition

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Hopes for rebirth
of downtown WR

John Bland
Publisher

People who haven't visited Walnut Ridge in a number of years tell us how sad it is to see the decline of the Main Street and downtown area. Similar to many other small towns across the country, our downtown area has changed and declined over the last 30 to 40 years. We have lost many retail businesses. Some buildings are empty and decaying due to lack of attention, allowing pigeons and mice to set up shop.

However, some town leaders in recent days have expressed interest in working with a program that works to restore and revitalize downtowns. There is hope.

We do have many assets: three banks, several offices, three popular eating establishments, two fitness and health centers, the Gateway Theatre, historic buildings and more. Through the help of experts, and a lot of community support and a can-do attitude, I think our downtown could be revitalized.

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If you're looking for an activity or outing this weekend, consider Racing in the Ridge. The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) will be holding racing on the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport's Swindle Field all day this Saturday and Sunday. The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is hosting the club, admission is free and food vendors will be onsite.

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ATTENTION YOUNG READERS, TEACHERS AND PARENTS: The TD has joined other newspapers, who have been given the rights to publish Beverly Cleary's classic book, "The Mouse and the Motorcycle." Chapter one is published this week on page 2D. Subsequent chapters will be printed weekly until the book is complete. Our Newspapers In Education coordinator, Amber Adams, secured sponsors to allow for the space to reprint the book. We are grateful to these sponsors, and we hope children and their families will enjoy reading this book together.

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We commend the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) Coalition for sponsoring a cleanup this past Saturday. More such efforts are needed.

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After the Easter weekend freeze, much of the new growth on shrubs and some trees was killed. Since that time, several varieties of trees have shed their young leaves as if this season was autumn. It may be too early to tell, but wildlife such as deer and squirrels may be seriously hurting for food next winter due to a lack of acorns and nuts caused by the freeze.

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