February 25, 2009 Edition

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Frankly speaking...

John Bland
Publisher

"Milton Pitts Crenchaw, of the original Tuskegee Airmen, was one of the first African-Americans in the country and the first from Arkansas to be trained by the federal government as a civilian licensed pilot," states the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Crenchaw will speak at BRTC on Thursday in celebration of Black History Month.

The public is also invited to the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport's Swindle Field at 1:30 p.m. when, weather permitting, a vintage Stearman airplane will be used to take Crenchaw for a ride over the area. Following the ride, the public can meet with Crenchaw at approximately 2:15 p.m. at the Wings of Honor Museum, located at the airport. A movie about the squadron, "The Tuskegee Airmen," was made in 1995.

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The ice storm occurred almost a month ago, but the event continues to affect us, and there continues to be stories of worth regarding it and the ensuing power outages. Everyone in our office knew when TD staffer Tammy Whitehead and her family regained electrical power last Tuesday afternoon. "We've got power!" she exclaimed when the good news came. Tammy and her family live off of Hwy. 412, east of Walnut Ridge. We know of another family whose power was restored last Thursday and hope by now that everyone in the county has power restored.

The Ozark Journal reported that a group of men from Crossett United Methodist Church came last week to help clean up downed limbs and branches from the ice storm at Wayland Spring Methodist Camp near Imboden.

Brent Powell of the Black River Baptist Association told us about a group of volunteers who came from New Mexico to help with the storm cleanup. See the related story in this issue.

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Lawrence County lost two of its high school senior girls in less than a week. Chelsey Linebaugh was a senior at WRHS, while Linda Marie Skaggs of Lynn, was a senior at Hillcrest. Both schools have played a big role in helping their students and school patrons cope with the loss. I know at WRHS, a candlelight vigil in Chelsey's memory was held for students last Monday in the gym after district tournament games had ended for the night. On Tuesday night, after the Lady Bobcats defeated Cotter, the Cotter coach offered a prayer for the players, students and patrons in the gym. The game had been an emotional one for our team and coaches, as they were playing while grieving over the loss of teammate, Chelsey. The Cotter coach was very aware of the suffering, and his actions were much appreciated. We commend the school administrators and faculty at these schools for their compassion and care.

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We salute the efforts of organizers and supporters who helped raise almost $32,000 to build a Lawrence County Faith House at John 3:16 Ministries, Inc., located at Charlotte. The fund-raiser, a fish and chicken dinner and auction, was held Feb. 14 at the Hoxie Service Center and was attended by over 400 people. John 3:16 is known as "a spiritual boot camp for men with addictions." The Lawrence County Faith House will house six men.

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