June 23, 2010 Edition

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Local treasures

John Bland

We extend our congratulations to Ethel Tompkins upon her retirement from the Lawrence County Library. Ethel is considered by those who know her to be one of our county's most treasured assets. I have had the privilege of interviewing her and hearing her speak on several occasions. She experienced the Civil Rights movement firsthand and is one of the Hoxie 21, the African-Americans who peacefully integrated into the Hoxie School in 1954. After a stint in the Navy, college and a career in the Los Angeles area, she returned to Hoxie to care for her aging parents.

Ethel has been an invaluable asset to the library for the past 20 years and has generously shared her life experiences with students and educators. The public is invited to a reception in her honor from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday at the library in Walnut Ridge.


We are proud Diana Shelton of Walnut Ridge, who was installed as president of Arkansas Business and Professional Women during the organization's 91st State Convention held earlier this month in North Little Rock. We know she will do a great job and represent her home BPW club and hometown well. Diana is employed by IBERIABANK in Hoxie.


We are encouraged that there is still hope for the Walnut Ridge Country Club. It is sad that it closed Sunday but also encouraging that members were out clearing trees in an effort to bring the airport back into compliance with FAA regulations and possibly save the clubhouse.


The summer heat wave began a little early this year, with a string of days in the 90's with no rain. Maybe we will have a repeat of last year with June being hot and dry, and July being a bit cooler with some rains.


One place that seems to stay cool this time of year is the river. Two recent float trips on the Eleven Point River provided tranquil scenery and good life lessons. We floated from a public boat ramp at Dalton to my cousin Hank McNabb's cabin, about a three-and-a-half hour trip, depending on the flow of the river and the pace of the floaters.

The river and surrounding landscape is beautiful and the river was quiet, even on a holiday weekend. Eleven Point has no falls on this part of the river, but there are some rapids and the water moves faster than one realizes.

I have learned that it is helpful to have water shoes and that some kayaks are much steadier than others. Our group also learned that it is better to stick to the main river channels than to veer off on one of the side paths, even though they look interesting.


Coni Davis of the Farmer's Market in Walnut Ridge reminds growers that they are invited to bring their garden produce to the market to sell each Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. The Farmer's Market appears to be attracting a steady group of customers. Many people are out early on Saturdays to visit yard sales or enjoy other weekend activities, such as the Farmer's Market.

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