February 15, 2017 Edition

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Court hears concerns on
truck traffic increase

A County Road 210 resident came to the Lawrence County Quorum Court Monday night with concerns about his and his wife's wellbeing due to the increased truck traffic required by American Silica, LLC.

The truck traffic circulates heavy dust from the gravel road, making the air hard to breathe at times, according to the resident, who has lived there since the 1950s and is considering moving.

County Judge John Thomison said he will look into what the county can do to help, and he added that he would speak with Silica about watering the gravel roads.

Justice Alex Latham asked Thomison to also look into dust retardant, which he understood has a longer life cycle than other methods.

Kandy Hart (from left), Lloyd Clark, Wings of Honor Museum Board President Harold Johnson and Dina Rose discuss plans to mark the 75th anniversary of the Walnut Ridge Army Flying School.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Museum to mark 75th anniversary of flying school

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Walnut Ridge Army Flying School in 1942. The annual Walnut Ridge Air Field Reunion and Wings of Honor Festival on the weekend of May 6 will kick off a yearlong celebration.

For Harold Johnson, museum board president, the main goal is to bring visitors to the airfield to see and learn so the stories will continue to be shared.

"Our main goal is to preserve the history and honor the folks who have served and those who still serve," Johnson said.

In addition to the traditional events held during the weekend, plans are underway to host an air show that Saturday afternoon.

Airport hires engineering firm

The Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Commission approved to contract with McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc., of Little Rock for the next five years.

The firm will work with the airport on any projects it may have, as well as providing a variety of planning, design, funding and construction services.

Commissioners met with both McClelland and Miller-Newell Engineers, Inc., of Newport Thursday morning. Commission Chair Don Cavenaugh said that both firms were good candidates, having worked with several airports of similar size.

However, Cavenaugh said McClelland received the contract due to it being a more full-service firm that wouldn't require much sub-contracting, which often slows down projects.

Committee releases findings

The Walnut Ridge Economic Impact Committee, formed in May of 2016 by Mayor Charles Snapp, released some of its findings in a press release on Tuesday.

According to Alderman Jon Walter, chair, the Economic Impact Committee (EIC) was formed to assess the true liability and economic impact on the municipality and government functions of Walnut Ridge, given a possible consolidation with Hoxie within a year.

The committee, which also consists of Gail Jones, David Coker and John Householder, have met seven times to date. According to the release, some meetings were held with Walnut Ridge municipal government department heads or representatives, including fire, police, water and sewer, street, sanitation and general administration.

New intermodal director resigns

Just a couple weeks after being formally hired to serve as executive director of the Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority, Derrick Harris submitted his resignation from the position.

According to reports he resigned on Feb. 8, citing concerns about the instability of the position and his family’s future. The Intermodal Authority depends on membership fees that come from several counties and cities to be able to fund the position.

Harris has taken a planning position in the Orlando area.

NEARIFA is expected to advertise the position again.

BPW project funds scholarships

The Walnut Ridge Business and Professional Women's Club again undertook its popular project of selling chocolate-dipped strawberries for Valentine's Day.

Last year, the club was able to award some $6,000 in scholarships through the project, and this year's effort appeared to be on track for another successful venture.

The Main Street Church of Christ annex served as headquarters for the project, and on Monday, strawberries covered most every table and serving area in the hall. The smell of fresh berries and melted chocolate filled the room with a sweet aroma.

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