November 11, 2009 Edition

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McDaniel speaks at Chamber banquet

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (from left) visits with Angie Gallaher and Jana Caldwell of Scenic Rivers Realty in Imboden at the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet on Nov. 3 at Williams Baptist College.
Gretchen Hunt

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce heard a speech from Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel during its annual banquet on Nov. 3 at Williams Baptist College.

McDaniel, who is the youngest attorney general in the United States, spoke about his love of Lawrence County, as well as his love for and pride in the state of Arkansas.

He laughingly shared that several of his firsts happened in Lawrence County, including his first speeding ticket, his first job and his first criminal trial.

He also has many relatives in the county, though he was raised in Jonesboro. His ancestors helped found the town of Strawberry, and he continues to have many family members in that area.

"I have a deep connection to this county," he said. "When the people here are doing well I am happy, and when they struggle it troubles me to my core." McDaniel shared that hard economic times being felt locally are also being felt at the state level, but that Arkansas is in good shape compared to many.

"Throughout the state, there is a lot of belt tightening, but Arkansas is doing better than most," he said. "We came into this better than most states. We are one of only six states in the union operating without a deficit."

McDaniel credited this to conservative budgeting. "We don't have some of the high highs, but we haven't had to suffer the low lows because we live within our means," he said. "We are clinging to our jobs, managing our budget - we will come out of this better than others. I'm extremely proud of the progress we've made."

Awards presented

Also during the meeting a PowerPoint presentation of ribbon cuttings and events throughout the year was shown and several awards were presented.

The Community Service Award was presented to Alan Haskins of Walnut Ridge.

Charles and Trent Geurin were recognized as the 2009 Farm Family of the Year.

The Business of the Year Award was presented to Gateway Animal Clinic, owned by Drs. Roger Helms and Darren McVay.

LACO Manufacturing Inc., owned by Rodney Davis, was named Industry of the Year.

The meeting concluded with the naming of the 2009 Man and Woman of the Year. Honors went to Junior Briner of Walnut Ridge and Lorra Whitmire of Clover Bend.

Outgoing Board Chair John Allen received a plaque of appreciation for his service, and new board member Michael "Button" Wallin was introduced.

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