November 18, 2009 Edition

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Chamber winners

Congratulations to the recent winners of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce annual awards. These awards serve a good purpose of recognizing people and institutions that have a positive impact on our area. To recap the winners, Ernest "Junior" Briner and Lorra Whitmire were named Man and Woman of the Year, and Alan Haskins received the Community Service Award. Gateway Animal Clinic is the Business of the Year and LACO Manufacturing, the Industry of the Year.

Junior Briner of Lawrence Health Services is always on the move, getting things done, and he continues to provide leadership in the various organizations to which he belongs, be it Kiwanis Club, Chamber or hospital-related groups and more.

Lorra Whitmire of First National Bank has been the backbone of the effort to revitalize downtown Walnut Ridge through becoming affiliated with the Main Street Arkansas program. One of her passions has been the Iron Mountain Festival, which has seen much success in recent years.

Alan Haskins, Walnut Ridge fire chief, works beyond his job description to make a difference. He worked to implement the Rural Fire Protection District in Lawrence County, led his department in the effort to lower the ISO insurance rating (and rates) from a 5 to a 4, serves on the BRTC Fire Science Advisory Board, helps put on the Duck Calling Contest at the Iron Mountain Festival and more.

Gateway Animal Clinic, the Business of the Year, has grown to three staff veterinarians: Dr. Roger Helms, Dr. Darren McVay and now Dr. Cary Campbell. The clinic is involved in a job-shadowing program for students interested in veterinarian medicine.

LACO Manufacturing, the Industry of the Year, was incorporated in 1970 and has been locally owned by members of the Mel Davis family, including Melvin and now Rodney Davis. The company is involved in general machining and parts fabrication, as well as tool and die work.


The Walnut Ridge Bobcats completed their successful football season with a first-round playoff game at Woodlawn High School, near Rison. The area is in the heart of football country, as Rison, a football powerhouse itself, is just up the road from Fordyce, hometown of college football coaching legend, Bear Bryant. It is also in the heart of deer country, and we passed four deer on one stretch of highway near Rison. Britt Talent, editor and publisher of The Cleveland County Herald in Rison, said that deer even come up to the lawn of the courthouse in the middle of town.

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