March 14, 2012 Edition

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Anthony named airport manager

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Airport Commission has named Michelle Anthony as manager of the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport. Following an executive session at their meeting on Monday night, commission chairman Dan Coker announced that Anthony, who has been serving as interim manager following the resignation of former manager Mitch Whitmire on December 31, will now serve as manager. Anthony also received a $100 a month raise along with her new job.

Anthony has been checking on prices for a new regulator needed to correct a lighting problem at the airport. The prices she has found thus far range from $10,100 to $14,814. Any purchase the commission makes over $10,000 has to be bid out.

FEMA will pay for the regulator under their FEMA alternate project.

The airport is also working to establish a fuel contract with the military.

"The military is waiting on us to receive a couple more parts for the fuel farm that will put us in compliance with military regulations for the contract," Anthony said.

The airport's tetrahedron is in need repairs, and commissioners asked Anthony to look into what it would cost to have the work done.

"Our tetrahedron is a piece of history," said Coker. "I would like to see it repaired."

Commissioner Frank Wilson said it was built in 1942 and may be the only one in the state or perhaps in the country outside a military base.

Tetrahedrons were used as directional indicators for landings and takeoffs prior to airports having control towers, as well as to show wind directions.

Anthony gave an update on her recent trip to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Conference in Tulsa, OK.

"It was a little overwhelming, but I learned a lot," she said. "I learned that it will cost us $11,000 for documentation that will put us in compliance with the FAA in order to receive a future grant for drainage and taxiway improvements at the airport."

That project will cost $600,000. The airport has saved several years' worth of grants for this project, and will add the $150,000 grant money they are pursuing to the amount already saved.

Commissioners voted in favor of Anthony and other commissioners attending an FAA conference in Forth Worth in October, and the Arkansas Airport Operators Association (AAOA) Conference in Little Rock in November.

It was also announced that the airport will celebrate its 70th birthday on April 13-14 in conjunction with the annual Wings of Honor reunion.

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