July 13, 2011 Edition

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Hoxie 21 event set

John Bland
Publisher

In honor of the Hoxie 21 students, families and community, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock will host the 56th commemoration of the 1955 Hoxie School desegregation, in conjunction with the Hill Foundation, Inc.

The event will be held at the center, located on Ninth and Broadway streets in Little Rock, on July 23 from 1:30-4 p.m.

Everyone is invited to attend. RSVP is requested by calling 501-683-3592.

Ethel Tompkins of Hoxie, one of the Hoxie 21, says, "I just want the entire community to know that they are invited. I am also glad that there is renewed interest in the story because it is a vital part of Lawrence County history and should be recognized."

Eight members of the Hoxie 21 are expected to be present. The lineup of speakers, each of whom will be brief, includes Lloyd Clark of Powhatan, Secretary of State Mark Martin, Charles Penix, Gene Vance, Chris Mercer and State Rep. Tracy Steele (District 39).

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Sunday, Monday and Tuesday have been three of the hottest days of the summer. Reported local afternoon highs were between 100 and 105 with heat indexes of 110° to 116° . Construction workers and others out in the heat had to be extremely careful.

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John Q. Hammons, the hotel developer, has certainly left his mark in Springfield, Mo., and especially on the campus of Missouri State University. On a visit there, we saw a half a dozen buildings or more with his name, initials or his wife's name on them.

We learned that Mr. Hammons is now in his early 90s, and that he and his wife live in a nursing center. He is still alert and interested in sports and his company, which continues to thrive.

The tallest building in Springfield is the Hammons Tower business building, and there is a University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center that is just a short walk from campus that is one of the Hammons' hotels, where he often ate lunch and worked on plans for his developments.

The Chateau on the Lake hotel and resort, near Branson, is Hammons' personal favorite. He purchased the land for the hotel before Branson was a booming tourist destination. His developments most always include a water feature, which is usually a fountain and waterfall.

"They Call Him John Q.: A Hotel Legend," by Susan M. Drake, is a biography about Hammons. The biography tells about Hammons, born James Quentin Hammons, growing up during the Depression and of the financial hardships of his parents. His story is an incredible one, and his success is only matched by the generosity of both he and his wife.

According to their website, the "John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts is the largest private independent owner and hotel management company in the United States, with a portfolio that includes 78 hotels representing nearly 19,000 guest rooms in 24 states."

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