September 20, 2017 Edition

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Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp (from left), Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse and Imboden Mayor Chris Jones sign the lease agreements for land in both cities to be used for ASU disaster preparedness training.

Lease agreements signed for
disaster training facility

Arkansas State University signed long-term lease agreements Monday with the cities of Imboden and Walnut Ridge for land that will be used to build facilities for disaster preparedness training.

Both lease agreements are for 50-year terms. The lease with Walnut Ridge is for 100 acres of undeveloped land located at the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport at an annual rate of $12,500, and the lease with Imboden covers just over 183 acres at an annual rate of $10,000. The city of Walnut Ridge will pay the first two years of rent on the property at that location, while the Imboden location will be rent-free for the first five years.

As funding becomes available, facilities will be constructed on both locations that would support state-of-the-art training for Arkansas State students, as well as first responders and other emergency managers and providers from across the nation. Arkansas State currently offers a bachelor's degree and an associate's degree in disaster preparedness and emergency management, and a minor in homeland security and disaster preparedness.

Measurable benchmarks give festival high marks

How does one measure the success of a festival? A "good crowd," a "big crowd" or "thousands" were present is often used to describe events, such as this past weekend's Beatles at the Ridge festival.

Those descriptions are apt, but below are a few more ways the two-day event was described.

The Liverpool Legends, a Beatles tribute band from Branson, Mo., was again the grand finale of the festival.

During their performance, the crowd of concert-goers overflowed across the parking lot and streets, leaving only a gap of three-feet on Walnut Street.

WBC Board freezes tuition, approves new band program

Students at Williams Baptist College can count on tuition staying the same next year, following action by the WBC Board of Trustees on Friday. The board also approved the launch of a new band program that will begin next year.

The Williams board, meeting in regular session, voted to freeze tuition for the 2018-19 school year. It will be the third year in a row for WBC to keep tuition at its current level.

"College is a major expense for students and their families, so I am glad we could take this action and hold the line on costs for them," said Board Chair J.R. Cox of Walnut Ridge. "Williams and its Board of Trustees are doing all we can to keep a high-quality, Christian college education affordable."

Hoxie plans street paving

The Hoxie City Council gave Mayor Lanny Tinker approval to move forward on paving projects during the Sept. 12 meeting.

With a budget of $100,000 for paving, the streets being addressed include: Pine, from Miller to Pecan; Cotter, from Pine to Miller; Second, from Peppers to Lewis; and Lewis, from Front to Third. Additional paving will be done on Maple as funds allow.

Also at the meeting, the council approved increasing the water reconnection fee from $15 to $35. This increase was necessary to match the cost incurred by the city when disconnecting and reconnecting water service.

Walnut Ridge prepares for future

With Arkansas State University's decision to move forward on a lease agreement for a disaster training facility in Walnut Ridge, Mayor Charles Snapp said the city is going to get more attention in the future.

"There's a lot of people looking at Walnut Ridge," Snapp said at Monday night's city council meeting. "We have a bright future."

However, with the expected growth of the city comes expected expense. The city's wastewater treatment facility has been a major concern for some time as it has continued to have issues since it was built in 1993.

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