January 3, 2018 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.

Top stories of 2017
reviewed, part 2

Gretchen Hunt
Megan Heyl
TD Staff

The following is the second installment of a compilation of some of Lawrence County's top stories of 2017. The first half was published in last week's TD.

Stan Jones of Clover Bend was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in July.

The Lawrence County Cooperative School in Portia purchased buildings on the former Black Rock School campus, including the multi-purpose building.

On Aug. 21, the Walnut Ridge City Council filled the vacancy left by Allen Smith when Steven Benesch was approved as the new alderman for ward 1, position 2.

Several from Lawrence County traveled to see the solar eclipse in totality on Aug. 21, while many others experienced it locally. Lawrence County will be in the path of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse

Arkansas State University signed long-term lease agreements on Sept. 18 with the cities of Walnut Ridge and Imboden for land that will be used to build facilities for disaster preparedness training.

During a special chapel service on Sept. 20, it was announced that starting in the fall of 2018, Williams Baptist College would become Williams Baptist University.

The "Hoxie Right in 55" display that shared the history of Hoxie, as well as the story of the integration of Hoxie School, was on exhibit at the capital throughout the fall months.

Gethsemane Baptist Church dedicated its new auditorium on Oct. 7. The new auditorium is expected to accommodate 750 people on the main level with potential to seat a total of over 1,000 people using additional space in the unfinished balcony.

The city of Powhatan was awarded a $73,504 grant to renovate the Powhatan Community Center.

On Nov. 4, Williams Baptist College dedicated the newly-renovated commons area in the Maddox Center in honor of Professor Jerry Gibbens, who marked 50 years of service with Williams in the spring. The area has been named the Jerry D. Gibbens Atrium.

Harold Johnson of Walnut Ridge, who was wounded during a hijacking as a commercial pilot in 1972, was inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame on Nov. 9. He now serves as president of the Wings of Honor Museum Board, preserving the history of the Walnut Ridge Army Flying School.

Dr. Kenneth Startup was named interim president of Williams Baptist College, following an announcement by Dr. Tom Jones that he had taken a position in California. Startup will serve as president until the search committee selects someone for the position.

Hoxie added a new feature to its holiday events with the Ghosts of Hoxie's Christmas Past walking tour on Dec. 3. Approximately 125 people attended the event.

Oak Hill General Baptist Church's live nativity, which began in 1987 after a new church building was constructed on Highway 63 between Sedgwick and Hoxie, marked 30 years with the presentation of the scene Dec. 20-22.

The Hoxie School Board voted unanimously to hire high school principal Kelly Gillham as the district's new superintendent during a special meeting on Dec. 13. Supt. Radius Baker announced previously that he plans to retire at the end of the current school year.

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