October 4, 2017 Edition

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Dr. Neal Vickers (standing), director of the Trumann Chamber of Commerce, records ideas compiled by the participants at one of the tables at Wednesday's Civic Forum hosted by the Northeast Arkansas Economic Development Coalition. Participants at the table included (clockwise, from left): Coby Wilson, field representative for U.S. Sen. John Boozman; Brookland Mayor Kenneth Jones; community representatives, Daniel Hutchison with Paragould Light Water Cable and Tonya Tucker with Clay County Electric Cooperative; Noah Washburn, LeadAR Program Director with the University of Arkansas Extension Service; and Debbie DeRossitte, Craighead County Extension Agent.

NEA Economic Development
Coalition makes plans

The Northeast Arkansas Economic Development Coalition, which consists of Craighead, Greene, Clay, Lawrence, Randolph and Poinsett counties, hosted a Civic Forum on Wednesday at the Paragould Community Center.

Lesa Walter, Lawrence County Chamber director, and Gretchen Hunt, Chamber board chair, were among those in attendance, as well as Lawrence County Extension Agent Herb Ginn.

The forum, which is the first step in creating an economic development blueprint for the region, was held as part of the Stronger Economies Together program, which is being facilitated by the University of Arkansas Extension Service and USDA Rural Development.

Air Field milestone nears

Seventy-five years ago, the new Walnut Ridge Army Air Field received its first class of 123 aviation cadets and student officers on Oct. 10, 1942. Training began two days later, Oct. 12, at 1 p.m.

"There were 59 instructors and 140 airplanes," Harold Johnson, president of the Wings of Honor Museum Board, said. "Most instructors had only 150 to 200 hours more than the students."

To honor those who trained, served and worked at the Air Field, the museum has invited several WWII training aircraft to the air field on Oct. 14.

"Weather permitting, we expect at least two, and perhaps several planes to show up," Johnson said. "If you would like to view these WWII training planes, they are expected to be on the ramp between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m."

Health unit to offer flu vaccination clinic

On Oct. 17, the Lawrence County Health Unit of the Arkansas Department of Health will offer flu vaccinations at the Walnut Ridge Community Center.

Vaccinations will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. People should bring their insurance cards. If they do not have insurance, or the insurance does not cover flu shots, the vaccine will be available at no charge.

"We want Lawrence County residents to stay healthy this flu season, and getting a yearly flu vaccination is the best line of protection," Karen Sagaskey, County Health Unit Administrator, said.

"We encourage everyone to come to the mass clinic or the local health unit to get their flu shot."

Walmart marks 45 years in Walnut Ridge

The Walnut Ridge Walmart turns 45 this week, and there is an associate who has been at the store since the grand opening in 1972.

Pharmacy OTC Manager Sheila Ingram was there working at the grand opening in 1972.

"It was raining hard," she recalled. "People were trying to park, and they filled up the parking lot. Past that, cars parked on both sides of the highway. People were trying to get in!"

She took five years off to have a child and raise her to kindergarten but got right back to work after that. Asked what her favorite memory was about working at Walmart, Ingram quipped, "Being 21!" She has a total of 40 years of service.

WBC's Harris appointed to State Review Committee

Rodney Harris, assistant professor of History at Williams Baptist College, was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchison to the State Review Committee for Historic Preservation. Harris was appointed in August and will serve on this committee until the end of his term in 2021.

"My parents were both school teachers and we would travel in the summer," Harris said. "I grew up going to historic sites that gave me a passion for history and historic preservation. I am excited to be appointed to the State Review board where I can put that passion to good use."

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