May 20, 2009 Edition

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Frankly speaking...

John Bland
Publisher

Anyone associated with the schools knows that May is an extremely busy month with end-of-the-year programs, concerts, awards banquets, field trips and graduations. I think we have reached the peak for the amount of news and photos related to these events. Please be patient with us as we process this news as quickly and timely as possible.

*******

I agree with a local resident who expressed his concern to me over the potential for mosquitoes after the frequent and large amounts of rain that we have received in recent weeks. This is a reminder to area residents that many hundreds of mosquitoes can hatch in small amounts of water that remain for extended periods in all kinds of objects, such as old tires, boats, trash cans and so forth. Please police your property in the coming days and drain or eliminate any standing water.

The rains have also caused lawns, weeds, shrubbery and other plants to have an abundance of spring growth. Overgrown lots and unkempt plants can provide the perfect habitats for mosquitoes, and we need to do all we can to keep property mowed and trimmed.

We are thankful that city crews in our towns have been able to pick up most of the stacked tree limbs that resulted from the ice storms. These stacks, which lined both sides of many streets for several weeks after the ice storm, could also have been habitats for mosquitoes and other critters.

Although we may be used to it, for visitors from other areas of the state or country, I think they will readily notice signs of the January ice storm. Many trees are still in need of trimming damaged branches, while other trees had to be heavily pruned or cut down. Pruning of damaged limbs and replacing trees will be an ongoing process for months ahead.

*******

Camp BPW has been held for the past three years at the Walnut Ridge School. The program is designed as a fun way to help teach seventh-grade girls about a variety of topics, such as good nutrition, dental health, careers, manners and planning for college. Diana Shelton of the Business and Professional Women's Club, with help from Raelyne Massey and the FCCLA, has been a driving force behind the project. Diana said Camp BPW has been expanded this year to the Hoxie School and that 24 Hoxie seventh-grade girls will be participating in the program on Thursday.

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I like the Walnut Ridge School tradition of inviting an alumnus of the school to speak at graduation. Most years this tradition is continued, although Bill Clinton did give the address for the WRHS Class of 1977.

Perry Webb, a 1975 WRHS graduate, is this year's speaker. He has been with the Springdale Chamber of Commerce since 1994 and serves that organization as president and chief executive officer.

Since that time, the Springdale Chamber has more than tripled its annual operating budget and doubled membership levels. Most recently, the Springdale Chamber led an effort to bring minor league baseball to Northwest Arkansas. In 2008, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals played their first season in Springdale's new "Arvest Ballpark," funded by a $50 million bond issue approved by the voters and spearheaded by the Chamber.

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