October 28, 2009 Edition

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Newcom resigns
from WR Airport

Gloria Wilkerson
staff writer

The Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Commission held a special meeting on Tuesday night to discuss the letter of resignation received from longtime airport manager Ken Newcom.

Airport Commission Chairman Dan Coker said that Newcom had first brought up the possibility of resigning in June, citing health problems as the reason.

In his letter of resignation presented to the board, Newcom said he was asked last week to retire by the commission chairperson and commissioner Frank Wilson.

The letter reads, "Because of my health and the amount of stress being applied by the golf course issue, I have elected to enter my medical resignation effective Jan. 2, 2010, ending 11 years of service to the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport. I wish the commission wisdom and strength in their future undertakings."

The commission voted unanimously to accept Newcom's resignation.

Coker appointed a search committee to find a replacement for Newcom.

"I'd like to hire someone from Lawrence County as the new manager if we can find the right person," Coker said.

Members of the search committee include Coker, Hal Lady, Sam Massey and Frank Wilson. They will meet again in two weeks.

Coker said he will contact Ed Agnew, Federal Aviation Administration manager for Arkansas and Oklahoma, and John Knight, Arkansas Director of Aeronautics, and meet with them in person to discuss the golf club issue, the search for a new manager and other airport concerns.

Coker told the commissioners he will call the 189th Airlift Squadron of the Arkansas Air National Guard. "We need to let them know the airport will have a new manager and the relationship we have with them will continue," he said.

Commissioners agreed to a request from the Rock and Roll Highway 67 committee to allow them to place a sign on the fence at the airport saying that the Beatles were here and to paint a sign on the tarmac where their plane landed with footprints leading to it.

The signs will be paid for by the Rock and Roll Highway 67 committee.

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