September 28, 2016 Edition

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Trammel steps down
as Intermodal chair

Brandon Smith
Star Herald Staff

The Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority Board met Thursday morning at BRTC in Pocahontas and heard the resignation of Executive Committee Chairman Scott Trammel. Trammel will be replaced in the committee by BRTC President Eric Turner with Vice Chair Nick Manatt of Corning stepping into Trammel's position as executive chair.

While the Intermodal continues their search for an executive director, Trammel addressed the Board with a prepared statement: "I believe it is in the best interest of the NEA Intermodal Board for me to step down as chairman. I have served several years as chairman and have had a great experience with what has been accomplished.

"With the past leadership of our former director, Wayne Gearhart, along with political and civic leaders on our board, we have had success in bringing jobs to our region. Now I believe with the absence of a new director, despite our diligent efforts in interviews and recruiting, that it is time for an infusion of new leadership in our executive committee," he stated.

Trammel, whose resignation was effective immediately, assured the board that he's felt no pressure or disgruntlement from anyone. Trammel recommended Dr. Eric Turner, whom County Judge David Jansen officially appointed, to take his position on the executive committee. Trammel will continue to serve in a normal board member position.

"My thoughts are that there is no better way to regionally make us stronger as an organization than to have the president of BRTC as part of our executive committee," stated Trammel.

Trammel said he looks for great things to come from the organization and believes that this change will be very positive for its future.

The board expressed their appreciation to Trammel and reluctantly approved the motion to accept his resignation.

The Intermodal has been searching for a new executive director following former Director Wayne Gearhart's resignation last December. Trammel stated that they've advertised but have been very diligent in not spending too much money in the process. The board did discuss one possible lead Thursday morning and plans on looking into that lead further.

Update given on
flood devastation

In other business, Nathan Davis, field representative from Sen. John Boozman's office, briefed the board on recent updates from the senator's office. Speaking on the recent flooding the area received in August, he stated that the USDA already has a precedent set in that they don't see any initial help coming other than what is already available. He said that the area was already in disaster declaration from back in the spring and the way the rules work is that any neighboring counties around them are also eligible for the benefit from the USDA.

Davis said that in Louisiana, they've shown around $327 million in devastation in agriculture. Davis explained that he's been in contact with legislative aids to see if they might be able to talk to Louisiana elected officials and staff about the possibility of piggybacking and working together on the issue.

The University of Arkansas recently came out with a report recording Northeast Arkansas' losses within the $40-$50 million range. "Randolph and Lawrence Counties got anywhere from 12-21 inches of rain in various parts," continued Davis.

Randolph County Judge David Jansen noted during the meeting that the $40-$50 million in losses will certainly go higher as the farmers are just now harvesting and the yields and milling are not going to be there.

Davis reported that Sen. Boozan recently conducted his annual agri tour, including a visit to the new Peco facilities outside Pocahontas.

In other business, the board:

approved a letter supporting the development of a disaster training facility at the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport. Board member Charles Snapp, who is mayor of Walnut Ridge, said they would have the primary campus/training at the airport and a secondary location in Imboden.

"For clarification, the way this letter's worded, the training that they're proposing is not anything in conflict with the police academy here and the fire-training center," explained Snapp. "It would actually work hand-in-hand to some extent with this."

voted to make a donation to a special scholarship fund at Williams Baptist College in memory of Lawrence County Judge Dale Freeman. "I wanted to bring up the impact that Judge Freeman had on this board and how he helped and supported us in the past," Trammel said.

"I went to the visitation ... it was just incredible. I got there at 5:30 and it took me till 7 to get to the front and when I left at 7, they were still backed up all the way to the door. And this isn't a regular funeral home. This is Williams Baptist Manley Chapel. That says a lot for a man. That really said a lot for Judge Freeman, and he will be missed by the community," Trammel added.

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