September 15, 2010 Edition

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Frankly speaking...

John Bland

The September issue of Avenues, a monthly magazine for the Ozarks and based in Salem, has a six-page feature on "The Beatles 1964: The year they came to Alton, Mo." The feature includes 13 photos from a private collection.

As many will know, that was also the same trip in which The Beatles landed at the Walnut Ridge Airport. Apparently, our airport was the only one large enough to land their plane. Late on a Friday night, the Beatles flew from Dallas to Walnut Ridge, and from here The Beatles flew in a twin engine Cessna to a ranch in Alton, Mo., where they would relax for the weekend during their second U.S. tour. On Sunday morning, during the church hour, The Beatles would land in Walnut Ridge to fly on to New York.

Walnut Ridge resident Carrie Mae Snapp, a teenager at the time, summed up the experience and what it meant. In the Avenues, Snapp said, "This was a life-changing event and it sort of validated us in our isolated, little town. How many times did the Beatles come to Arkansas? In 1964, at the height of their fame, what were the chances of it? Sputnik could have fallen on us more easily."

Thanks to Scott Edmondson of Cherokee Village for sharing the magazine with us.


The 2010 Arkansas Farm Family of the Year has a tie to Lawrence County. The recipients of that honor are Delia and Bill Haak of Gentry. Delia is the niece of Alene (Mrs. Ferd) Grissom of Hoxie. Delia Jane's mother, Nova Gumm, is Alene's sister. The Haaks raise cattle, hay and "a crop of grandchildren," reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


The late summer drought finally ended in Lawrence County last week when at least two bands of showers brought substantial rainfall to the area. Rains came mid-day last Tuesday, and we had a downpour in Walnut Ridge late Thursday afternoon and early evening. Totals for both bands of rain ranged from over four inches to over five inches.

The rains put a temporary halt to the rice harvest, as some fields had flattened rice and conditions became muddy and messy. However, less than a week later, the rains have been absorbed and the harvest has resumed.


The TD now has a collection box for the Cell Phones for Soldiers project. The non-profit program was founded approximately six years ago by siblings Brittany and Robbie Bergquist, then 13 and 12, of Norwell, Mass. The siblings began collecting and recycling cell phones and using the money to buy calling cards for soldiers. Now there are drop-off points all over the U.S., and if you have an old cell phone you no longer use, please bring it by The TD's collection box. Visit for more information.

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