April 11, 2012 Edition

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Frankly speaking....

It was good to see Saturday that Taylor's Greenhouse and Nursery in Hoxie is going strong this spring, almost a year after the late April floods and levee breaches on Black River brought several feet of water over the nursery. Taylor's suffered major damage and financial loss due to the flood this past spring but is back better than ever.

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Now is the time to be taking advantage of help from your city and county with spring cleanup. In Hoxie and Walnut Ridge, curbside cleanups began Monday and will continue for the next week or so depending on where you live. Lawrence County also has dumpsters available at the former Moore's Feed Store in Black Rock and the Lawrence County Shop on Highway 67, south of Hoxie, for those who live in the county.

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Two important institutions are marking their 70th anniversary this year. As noted on the front page, 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the construction of the former Walnut Ridge Army Air Field. This is also the 70th anniversary of Williams Baptist College. The college was originally Southern Baptist College and started in Pocahontas before moving in 1946 to occupy facilities used by the former flying school.

The 14th Annual Air Field Reunion is set for Friday and Saturday, headquartered at the Wings of Honor Museum.

According to the museum publication, the Army Air Forces Basic Flying School in Walnut Ridge existed from 1942-1944. Other statistics about the airfield are:

  • It provided construction jobs for 1,500 people.

  • It provided full-time jobs for 4,000 military and 800 civilian jobs.

  • 5,310 students entered training and 4,641 pilots graduated.

  • The base served as a Marine Corps Air facility from 1944-45.

  • It served as a temporary POW camp for German prisoners in 1945.

  • The base housed a W.A.A. (War Assets Administration) Warbird storage and sales facility, 1944-46.

  • 4,871 warbirds were salvaged from 1946-48.

  • The C.A.A./F.A.A. (Civil Aviation Agency, Federal Aviation Administration) Flight Service Station was housed at the airbase from 1948-1969.

  • The USAF 725th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron was housed at the airbase from 1956-1963.

As previously noted, the airbase area has also been the home of Southern (now Williams) Baptist College since 1946, as well as the home of many industries that have provided hundreds of jobs since 1948 and has served as a general aviation public airport since 1948.

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Thanks to Aaron Abbott, director of admissions at Williams Baptist College, who provided many of the photos for the features page in last week's TD regarding Mission Thailand. Other photos were taken by various people on the mission trip.

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