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ASU making big changes System president hired; university recognized as veteran-friendly BY SHERRY F. PRUITT SUN STAFF WRITER

JONESBORO — The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees hired Henderson State University President Dr. Charles L. “Chuck” Welch of Arkadelphia as the new ASU System president in November. The only system president ASU has ever had, Dr. Les Wyatt, resigned his position in June, making Welch only the second system president. Welch of Arkadelphia has been president of Henderson State University and is expected to make the transition to ASU within weeks. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1995 and a master’s degree in political management in 1997 from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He received a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock in 2003.

Veteran-friendly campus ASU was selected as the 10th best higher educational institution in the United States for military veterans by Military Times EDGE magazine. ASU ranks 10th among all colleges and universities and is the only university listed in Arkansas. The categories include financial assistance, academic flexibility, campus culture and support services. ASU was one of only three universities to receive the maximum 5-star rating for support services. ASU is recognized as a military-friendly university which offers comprehensive high education and degrees that directly support veterans. A-State was selected as one of 60 elite institutions of higher education in the southern region to be recognized by the editors of U.S. News & World Report in the 2011 edition of “America’s Best Colleges” as a Tier 1 southern regional institution for the first time in

Dr. Charles L. Welch ASU’s history. The long-awaited opening of the Marion Berry Parkway is drawing near. For years those entering campus from the south had to cross railroad tracks or sometimes wait while trains passed by on the Union Pacific and Burlington NorthernSanta Fe railways. The parkway, an overpass west of campus, will ease the traffic flow to and from ASU, officials said. In September 2009 Rep. Marion Berry was honored by the unveiling of the “Marion Berry Parkway” during ASU’s annual Legislative Day. Final completion of the project, valued at $18.4 million, is scheduled for February 2012.


Graycen Colbert | The Sun

Services specialist Kelly Smith (left) tutors and advises Army veteran Austin Phillips at Arkansas State University’s Beck PRIDE Center in Jonesboro on Sept. 16.

In addition to the Marion Berry Parkway, ASUJonesboro has 10 capital improvement projects under way. They include a Commercial Innovation Center, Academic Partnership offices, Institutional Research and Advancement renovations, tennis courts, the College of Nursing, International English Studies building renovations and Ameri-

can Recovery and Reinvestment Act Stimulus projects. On the student side of the campus, new residence halls and a recreation complex were completed, and the Acansa Dining Hall in the Student Union was expanded to accommodate more students. Housing based on students who have similar academic interests is what the new living learning centers on the Arkansas State University campus are all about. Two new buildings went up in 2010 just for that purpose. The two groups named after the selection process were ROTC and a group of science, technology, engineering and mathematics students. Each group shares one of two living learning buildings on the former Whitaker Street. The two 3-story structures, approximately 16,500 square feet each, are identical and house about 50 students each. Brackett-Krennerich Architects of Jonesboro drew the architectural plans for the facilities, and Tate General Contractors was hired to build the centers. In addition to student rooms, each building features a multipurpose room and lobby and space that may be used for study halls or faculty office areas on each floor. A common-area kitchen is available for programs that feature a speaker and refreshments. The $6 million project was funded by a bond issue.

Red Wolf Center The grand opening of the Red WOLF (Wellness Opportunities and Life

Saundra Sovick | The Sun

Workers with Robertson Inc. pour concrete for the columns to support part of the Marion Berry Parkway near the Arkansas State University campus in Jonesboro on March 16. Fitness) Center was held in January 2010. Each day 1,400 students use the facility, and about 800 use it on weekends. In 2007 the Student Government Association at ASU passed a resolution in support of a student fee to build and operate the student recreation and wellness center, with the ASU Board of Trustees giving its approval. The $18 million, 85,000square-foot facility is funded by a bond issue, and a recreation center fee of $7 per credit hour is being charged for construction, operation and maintenance expenses. Hastings and Chavetta

Architects of St. Louis designed the 2-level center, and Brackett-Krennerich was the local architectural firm. CDI of Little Rock was the general contractor. A new seating area in the Acansa Dining Hall at the ASU Student Union accommodates about 220 students. It opened in January. The additional seating allows for better flow and less congestion during peak dining times. On the second floor of the Student Union, an empty space was revamped to include a PLEASE SEE A-STATE, F2

People still donate to charity despite rough economy

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Jonesboro’s health-related foundations have a full calendar of events this year as area residents continue to open their hearts and wallets. “We’ve been very pleased with the level of support we’ve received in the past year, and we anticipate that it will continue,” said Marilyn Hummelstein, president of St. Bernards Development Foundation. “We’ve been able to offer services that people felt were needed. We don’t anticipate any change. We watch every single dollar that we spend.” Hummelstein said she believes things are improving in Northeast Arkansas. “In my heart I do sense that people are feeling a bit more optimistic,” she said. The Women’s Advisory Council of the St. Bernards Development Foundation will sponsor the Threads of Life free quilt show at the St. Bernards Auditorium from April 2-3. A quilt raffle and a silent auction of small quilted, handmade and knitted items and more will benefit the Flo & Phil Jones Hospice House. The St. Bernards Development Foundation’s major fund-raiser is the Triple Swing from June 25-27. It features a dinner dance and auction, a tennis tournament and a golf tournament. The St. Bernards Advocates’ third annual Day of Celebration and Remembrance last Oct. 10 saw the release of 500 butterflies at the Flo & Phil Jones Hospice House. The HMG Health & Fitness Expo will be April 16-17 at the ASU Convocation Center. The physician-led event, which benefits the St. Bernards Development

Foundation, is open to the public and need in our community, and they open up features hundreds of exhibitors, free their hearts and pocketbooks,” she said. health screenings and free educational “People often give because they have an experience with us — they come into seminars. Deaundra Waddell, director of mar- contact with us, either for health care keting for Northeast Baptist Clinic, said or one of our services, and they want to folks in Northeast Arkansas are gener- give back.” Downtown Jonesboro will echo with ous when it comes to causes they believe the sound of motorcycles are worthwhile. e” in the NEA Baptist C June 2-4 with the “I think peop o H ha r for ita return of the ple care and s n b le ar NEA Bapstill see a Y F “ ou of n d g at in i er iasts knit and enthus croc ork het w e l du d e e rin N g


Saundra Sovick | The Sun

tist Clinic’s annual DARE To Ride Biker Classic. More than 1,000 motorcyclists are expected to participate in the annual event, which features a charity bike run and a downtown family festival on Main Street. The NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation Duck Classic will be scheduled when the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission designates a December date as the opening of duck season, Waddell said. Last year’s eighth annual Duck Classic raised $290,000 to support programs that the foundation offers free of charge to the community: Medicine Assistance Program, HopeCircle, Center for Healthy Children, Wellness Works and ShareHope. Hope Week, a series of events and activities to celebrate the spirit of hope, starts Sept. 25 and culminates with the third annual Walk of Remembrance on Oct. 1. The event at Craighead Forest Park honors babies who died during pregnancy, at birth or shortly after birth. The Cardiology Associates of Northeast Arkansas P.A. Foundation works to reduce death and disability from cardiovascular diseases — the No. 1 killer in Arkansas and the nation — and provide medication assistance to those in need. This year’s events include the Heart and Sole Run-Walk, a family event that includes a 5K run-walk, a 1K run-walk and a 13-mile half-marathon open to everyone. Individuals and business teams are recruited to participate in the event that ends with musical entertainment and a cookout and awards program. The event is set for Oct. 1, and the start-finish line will be at Cardiology Associates, 201 East Oak St.









SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011

Area has love for arts FOA adds programs; other artistic outlets grow BY KELLIE COBB SUN STAFF WRITER

The Foundation of Arts continues to see growth. The nonprofit regional artistic service organization coordinates community theater productions and operates The Arts Center, which teaches dance, visual art and drama to children and adults. The organization also provides a variety of community outreach programs focusing on economically disadvantaged children, developmentally disabled adults and children and public schoolchildren. The organization employs six full-time and four part-time employees and 26 teachers in The Arts Center. Wendy Stotts, development and marketing-public relations manager for the organization, said that is an increase from the previous year. “We have more teachers in The Arts Center in order to accommodate more students and more class offerings,” she said. Among the new classes offered was the weeklong drama camp for boys last summer. Around 30 boys ranging in age from 8-5 participated in the free camp, which was designed to introduce them to the foundation’s programs and foster an interest in community theater.

“I think we made a connection,” Shain Fike, one of camp’s instructors, said in July. “Some will be involved in future community theater or school productions. For others, it’s given them a chance to find a creative outlet in other forms.” The foundation also added Saturday workshops. “The free workshops are a great way for kids to get in the door and become familiar with our programming,” Stotts said. The foundation offers unlimited partial and full scholarships and workstudy programs that lower or alleviate tuition costs. “That allows them to get involved on a regular basis,” Stotts added. The foundation also expanded its 2010-11 community theater season. In December it presented “It’s a Wonderful Life” as part of the new “Making a Statement” series. The foundation added a new fund-raiser in March 2010 with the FOA Family 5K walkrun. The event raised $5,700, which Stotts said provided 23 scholarships a semester at The Arts Center. In January the foundation presented the FOA Follies, which featured a variety of local talent. Stotts said the show was a success, and another is

planned for July. Earlier this month the foundation began repairing and replacing each of the 676 seat bottoms at the historic theater. The organization’s facilities and grounds committee is working with the City of Jonesboro, which gave $10,000 for the project. The goal is to have the project completed by June 25 in time for its summer musical, “Oklahoma.”

Delta Symphony Orchestra In May the Delta Symphony Orchestra brought in Broadway star Matt Cavenaugh, a Jonesboro native, to perform at its Spring Pops Concert. The DSO also collaborated with the Jonesboro Visual and Performing Arts magnet school to have Cavenaugh work with students there. This year the DSO will bring in another Jonesboro native and Broadway star, Kyle Dean Massey, to perform at the Spring Pops concert, which will be April 10 in Riceland Hall of the Arkansas State University Fowler Center. In October Neale Bartee, founder of the DSO, and his wife, Elaine, received the Governor’s Arts in Education Award, which recognizes an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution in

Kellie Cobb | The Sun

Rehearsing a number from “Titanic” are (from left) Emily Feezor, Michael Littlejohn, Suh Young Choi and Maggie Xu. The integrating the arts into educational curriculum.

students were participating in a ballet performance camp in summer 2010 at the Foundation of Arts’ Arts Center.

The Jonesboro School of Art relocated to 2717 East Nettleton Ave., Suite D, last summer to accommodate the increase in students, said Tanya Eddy, school instructor and owner. The school, which was established in July 2009, provides art instruction for students from prekindergarten through adult. She said the enrollment has grown from 35 to 75 students since the school opened. In the past year Eddy has added a cartooningmanga class, an additional adult art class and a youth drawing class.

tions at the historic Collins Theatre, 120 West Emerson St., Paragould, said the program schedule has been expanded. In August the theater became the home of KASU’s Bluegrass Monday concerts, which are held at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month. It is also the home for the Greene County Fine Arts Council and The Collins Players’ productions. A major project involves raising funds to rebuild the theater’s fly lot system, which was removed after the 1963 tornado, Lane said. Other future projects will include replacing the theater’s back stage rigging, lighting and grand drape.

The Collins Theatre

Cross County

Rick Lane, who along with wife Brenda manages the day-to-day opera-

The 200-plus members of the Cross County Fine Arts Council in Wynne

Jonesboro School of Art

hosted a number of art exhibitions in the last year. They also presented a summer program at the Boys & Girls Club, assisted with the “Rumble on the Ridge” in Birdeye and hosted their annual Festival of Trees. The organization has also been working with East Arkansas Community College in Forrest City to promote the new Center for the Performing and Fine Arts, said Mary Anne Cruthirds, arts council president. The council has presented several school programs for students in the Cross County area, including three afterschool art sessions for elementary students at Cherry Valley. In addition, the council presented two $1,500 scholarships — one to a Wynne High School senior and the other to a Cross County High School senior.

A-STATE: New classroom and laboratory building being constructed at ASU-Newport at cost of $1.3M FROM PAGE F1 Starbuck’s that moved from ground level. A lounge and large computer lab adjacent Starbuck’s are now available to students. The area has Internet access, allows space for students to use laptops, provides

additional dining space for take-out from the food court and provides space for student programming. Two ASU-Newport construction projects are in the planning phase. They are the new classroom and laboratory building on the ASU-Newport

Technical Center campus in Jonesboro at an estimated cost of $1.3 million and the Information Technology and Physical Plant renovations and building addition on the Newport campus at a projected cost of $250,000. At the Jonesboro tech-

Ridgefield Christian School

nical center, an Arkansas Entergy Section partnership grant of $100,000 for three years has been secured to teach weatherization, energy efficiency, and building analysis, and the campus now has the ability to offer general education curriculum. At the ASU-Newport’s

Marked Tree campus an energy grant has been awarded to improve the program, and the collision repair technology program has been updated. At the Newport campus a renewable energy program has been established. A weatherization

program teaches students about saving energy. Equipment can test a residence or building for areas that are losing heat or air. And that process is followed by leads on ways to fix the problems and what to use to make the area more energy efficient.

South Mississippi County Public Schools

382 4 C A S E Y S P R I N GS RO AD • JO N ESBO R O AR • 932.7540 Ridgefield Christian School provides a distinctively Christ-centered, Bible-based education for students in Pre-K through 12th grade. The purpose of this ministry is to guide students in the knowledge of God, the development of Christian character and academic excellence. Ridgefield is a non-denominational school and is not supported by any individual church or organization. This school year we have added the Accelerated Math program to our curriculum in grades 7-12 through the form of Math Labs. This program allows for advanced, individualized practice of math concepts outside of the scheduled teaching time. For the 2011-2012 school year, plans are underway to provide concurrent course college credit through John Brown University, for high school seniors in English Composition, History, Biology, and Statistics, which will allow seniors to obtain college credit prior to graduation. These courses will be taught on the Ridgefield campus by Ridgefield teachers who have been approved by the university.

Rivercrest Highschool Keiser Elementary Luxora Elementary Wilson Elementary

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SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011









Area history on display at ASU Museum BY ANTHONY CHILDRESS SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Whether looking back or ahead, the importance of museums and other history-gathering institutions cannot be overstated in Northeast Arkansas. One of the most recognizable and notable of these is the Arkansas State University Museum, located on the system’s main campus in Jonesboro. It opened in 1933 under the name Ar-

kansas State College Historical Museum as the brainchild of the campus’ History Club. Throughout its decades of existence, the museum has maintained broad collections reflecting the state’s history and heritage. It ranks as one of the first American Association of Museums-accredited sites in the nation’s southeastern region and stands as the “largest and most comprehensive museum” in the area, according to

ASU’s Web site. A milestone was achieved in 1948 when the facility was incorporated as the Arkansas State Museum and Historic Library; Sudie Barnett was its first director. Since that time it has enjoyed broad success in building collections records, permanent and temporary exhibits, tours and a host of additional services. Another marker arrived in 1973, when the museum attained accreditation by

AAM. During that same year the ASU Board of Trustees issued a statement of permanence. “The ASU Museum is a hub of lifelong learning for people of all ages and walks of life, serving both the university and the general public. Focusing on the natural history and cultural heritage of the Mississippi River delta region, the museum brings tangible relevance to ASU’s many disciplines and opens doors

Saundra Sovick | The Sun

These African items await a careful examination after having been recently removed from many years of public display at the Arkansas State University Museum in Jonesboro. After they are examined and their current in-

formation recorded, they will be packaged in acid-free, non-gas-emitting archival materials for storage at the museum.

for discovery learning,” Dr. Marti Allen, now the museum director, stated on the museum’s Internet link via ASU’s site. Accreditation was realized for the third time earlier this year when the AAM announced that the museum had once again completed the extensive process of “the highest standards” in collections, education and management. Less than five percent of the nation’s museums receive this distinction. Covering 21,000 square feet of space, the museum is home to permanent exhibits including early Arkansas settlements, “Old Town Arkansas,” the Mary Stack Gallery of Decorative Arts and an earthquake exhibit. There are now iPod tours in English and Spanish for certain offerings. The building plays host to a variety of children’s exhibits and showcases ASU student-curated exhibits. All are free to the public. Online exhibits include “Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes.” Temporary exhibits range from handson programs to more conventional ones. An upcoming exhibit will zero in on Arkansas’ distant past, along with a retrospective on the Civil War and others. ASU’s reach is not only felt on its main campus but also at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott (Clay County) and the Southern Tenant Farmers

QuickINFO | Name: Arkansas State University Museum Hours of operation: Tuesday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Director: Dr. Marti Allen Credentials: Accredited by the American Association of Museums Web site: http://www2

Museum in Tyronza (Poinsett County). Information about both locations can be obtained by visiting www.hemingway.astate .edu and www.stfm.astate .edu, respectively. Many other sites compile and highlight the region’s history, ranging from Hampson Archeological State Park near Osceola (Mississippi County) and Parkin Archeological State Park (Cross County) to historic courthouse grounds stretching from Randolph County to Jackson County and elsewhere. And visitors can see sites dedicated to military veterans harkening back to the Civil War and as recently as conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most are located on courthouse lawns in NEA. History has also literally been documented on foot. Last December, the Harrisburg square (Poinsett County) hosted a walking history tour of different structures that included the courthouse and other notable locales. The tours are held throughout the state and sponsored by the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Wings of Honor Museum adds cadet display and WWII exhibit

WALNUT RIDGE — In 2010 Wings of Honor Museum added an aviation cadet display along with a Walnut Ridge Army Air Field and World War II exhibit. The museum seeks to teach appreciation of American freedoms, to honor those who served for freedom and to pre-

serve the history of Walnut Ridge Army Flying School and the WWII era. Ongoing programs and events include weekly Veterans’ Monday Morning Coffee, the annual Veterans Day Program, the Pearl Harbor Reminiscence on Dec. 7 and tours for area schools.

The Annual Air Field Reunion will be April 8-9. The museum, located at 70 South Beacon Road at the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport, is dedicating its efforts to researching and building the next cadet exhibit, adding hardsurfaced driveways and parking areas, planting

shrubbery and trees, adding more granite memorial slabs and bricks and adding new events to the program. Owners are Harold Johnson, president; Frank Wilson, vice president; Judy Wilson, curator; and Carolyn Propst, secretary-treasurer.

Other board members are Bill O’Barts, Billy Barber, Reta Covey, Sue Whitmire, Harriet Ponder, Dr. Brett Cooper, Darrell Osburn, Lee Turnbull, Dale Freeman, Lewis Slaughter and Linda Pierce. The museum also has 10 volunteers. Sue Gibson, former

treasurer, was recently appointed to the board of Black River Technical College, and Johnson has made presentations to area civic clubs, including Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Club. Visit online at www or call 1-800-584-5575.

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SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011

Technology allows library to add services BY KELLIE COBB SUN STAFF WRITER

JONESBORO — The Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library took advantage of new technology in 2010 to expand its services. In May the library began offering downloadable audio books through its Web site, www.library “We’re trying to tear down the walls of the library — finding ways to make the library come to you. The downloadable audio books is a major step toward tearing down those walls,” Library Director of Information Technology Ben Bizzle said in May. Also in May, library staff implemented the Text a Librarian feature, which opened a new avenue of communication for the library, Director Phyllis Burkett said. Staff members use Google Voice for the texting service, which allows them to view the texted question and respond via the computer. The audio books and texting were just two of the technology-driven services introduced at the library. In August the library launched the Crowley Ridge Regional Pocket Library, the library’s mobile Web site that is accessible with smart phones and other handheld devices. “This is just another step toward having access to the library resources anywhere you are. ... It is just another step in creating our library without walls for the community’s use,” Virtual Library Manager Alissa Reynolds said at the mobile site launch. At m.libraryinjones, patrons can access information on the branch locations, the library’s databases and magazine and journal articles; download audio books; get children’s story time schedules; search the library’s collection;

Kellie Cobb | The Sun

Ben Bizzle, director of information technology at the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library, accesses the library’s Web site. link to its Facebook page; find out about upcoming events; read staff picks; and text a librarian. Earlier this year the library began offering eBook downloads, which can be used on a variety

‘We’re trying to tear down the walls of the library — finding ways to make the library come to you.’ Ben Bizzle director of information technology, Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library of devices like iPads, Sony Readers and others. Titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period, and there are no late fees. “We wanted to add eBooks due to the increase of e-Book readers and tablets. We want to be a library that is everywhere our patrons are, and eBooks are just another way patrons can enjoy library services from their home, office or travel-

ing,” Reynolds said. These services are available at all the branch libraries in Craighead and Poinsett counties, which are part of the Crowley Ridge Regional Library. Patrons must have a library card to access these services.

Literacy stations Craighead County and other public libraries throughout the state received Early Literacy Stations from the Arkansas State Library. The stations are computer systems designed for users ages 2-10. The system features around 75 programs in English and Spanish that focus on math and problem solving; reading and phonics; science and nature; reference; music and arts; writing and computer skills; and social studies and geography. “Pre-schoolers can use them. They don’t have to be able to use the mouse since the computer has touch screens. They can even push keys on the keyboard and get a response. ... The children can use these computers without feeling left out,” CCJPL children’s librar-

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ian Kay Taylor said in October. The ASL bought 204 Early Literacy Stations and the equipment needed for the systems. The CCJPL bought an addi-

tional ELS unit. In September the library began offering Zumba classes on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. in the Round Room. This is in addition to the Wii Fitness sessions at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. In January the library added martial arts lessons to its offerings. The lessons are at 5 p.m. Wednesday. All fitness classes are free of charge and held in the Round Room. The library is in the process of renovating the information services desk and area. As part of the project, the adult information-help desk would be moved to a more central location in the library and feature built-in catalog computers. Craighead branches: • The Caraway Public Library, 102B East State St., received eight new public use computers. The library also received a ESL computer. • McAdams Library in Lake City also received

QuickINFO | Name: Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library Address: 315 West Oak Ave., with branches in Caraway, Lake City and Monette Phone: 935-5133 Web site: www.libraryin Directors: Phyllis Burkett, library director; David Eckert, assistant director; and Kay Taylor, director of youth services

an ELS computer for children, as well as began offering gaming for teens with the Nintendo Wii and a big screen television. The library is also expanding its DVD collection. “Lake City does not have a video store or Redbox. So the library is purchasing new releases,” branch manager Donna Vickers said.

Area libraries remodel, offer computer access BY KELLIE COBB SUN STAFF WRITER

Teaching immigrants English, remodeling the teen section and adding more cardholders were just a few of the highlights for the Jackson County Library in Newport in 2010. The library was one of only 70 in the country to receive the American Dreams Start @ Your Library grant through the American Literacy Association and Dollar General Literacy Foundation, said library Director Darby Wallace. The library implemented classes for adults on Mondays and acquired more language learning materials. The focus of the project was to help immigrants learn English to continue their education, help their children in school, get better jobs and become American citizens. Spanish language magazines and newspapers were added, as well as the Mango Languages for online learning. “The Mango program features instruction in Spanish, French, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Mandarin Chinese, Greek, Italian, Russian and more,” Wallace said. She said the library added 400 more cardholders in 2010, bringing the total to 11,200. The library remodeled a new section especially designed for teens. They also received an Early Literacy Station for children. In addition, the library offers book study, movies and arts and crafts for adults with developmental disabilities. Book club services for local nursing homes are provided as well. Wallace said that with the help of the Jackson County Historical Society, the library substantially increased its digital collection including historic pho-

tos of Jackson County, Branch High School and the JCHS publication, “The Stream of History.” All digital content is available on the Web site, www.jack She added that the library would like to add e-Books to its collection. Wallace completed requirements for and was awarded a master’s degree in library and information sciences from the University of Southern Mississippi. Also in 2010, Ellen Crain completed her 36th year service at the library, and Sally Dunkin her 26th year. Lee Scoggins and Cheryl Cross joined the library’s board of directors in 2010.

West Poinsett Memorial

The floor plan of the West Poinsett Memorial Library, West Second and Washington streets in Weiner, was changed to add a teen area, a reading area and a computer lab for computer classes, branch librarian Valerie Riley said. The library, which is part of the Crowley Ridge Regional Library, also began offering e-Books and music downloads. “We have developed a library that is more user-friendly to people who don’t usually come to the library with the addition of e-Books and music,” Riley said. “The library is now available everywhere you are with a smart phone app and your library card.” Riley said more work will be done to the teen area of the library. A mural will be painted and a big screen television for gaming will be added to that area in the near future.

Literacy League now serving Greene JONESBORO — The Literacy League of Craighead County extended its services to Greene County and began building new partnerships to reach more students in 2010. “We have established a relationship with the Head Start Program, aiming our attention at parents of the Head Start students who need our services,” said Lynn Dowdy, secretary of the League’s board of directors. A base was established in Greene County, where

there are one tutor and a few places where tutors and students can meet for classes, Dowdy said. The League intends to expand services it offers in Greene County and with the Head Start Program. The Literacy League offers one-on-one reading instruction to adult non-readers or poor readers who wish to improve their skills at no cost. It also offers instruction in basic math and English as a Second Language (ESL). It has a coordina-

tor, assistant coordinator, an employee sponsored by Experience Works and several volunteer tutors. “We also have a very active 11-member board of directors,” Dowdy said. Dowdy has worked with the Literacy League more than 20 years. She started in 1988 as a tutor and became a certified tutor trainer in 1992. In 1994 she became a member of the board of directors. Dowdy also holds tutor training seminars periodically.

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Area churches keep expanding Central Baptist pays off bank note from construction; Red Wolves for Christ raising funds to build new facility Red Wolves for Christ


JONESBORO — A number of large and small churches made strides with new construction and renovation projects last year.

Central Baptist

The note for the massive Central Baptist Church facility was paid off early, Senior Pastor Archie Mason said. The process of relocating and enlarging Central Baptist, 3707 Harrisburg Road, began in 1993. When the church was on Main Street in Downtown Jonesboro, church leaders found they were landlocked, and a street separated their children’s center from the worship building. They started looking for acreage in Jonesboro. Building committee chairman Bill Panneck said in 2004 that planning for the new facility began when the church voted to move from the downtown location it occupied for more than half a century. By 1997 the church had bought the land on Harrisburg Road. In 2001 a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the $18 million facility, and the first service in the new building was on Oct. 31, 2004, said Mason, who was hired as pastor in January 2005. Lewis Elliott and Studer Architectural Firm of Little Rock designed the building, and Vance Group of Jonesboro was the general contractor. After selling a couple of buildings and some land downtown and buying the new property early in the process, the church was funded by two loans, one for $4.5 million and another for $3.5 million, the pastor said.

Deaundra Waddell Director of Marketing

Red Wolves for Christ, a campus ministry that serves students at Arkansas State University, is raising funds to build a new facility. A-State alumnus Chris Buxton was hired in January as director. He said the organization is supported by several Church of Christ churches throughout Arkansas and Southeast Missouri and is overseen by an autonomous board of directors composed of people from several area churches. The temporary location is at 2302-B East Johnson Ave., adjacent to Subway, on the north side of the campus. Plans for a permanent 9,000-square-foot, 2-story facility were organized by a building committee, and the $1 million facility will be built at the Caraway Road-Shelton Street intersection, Buxton said. The center will lease land from ASU for the building. The ministry plans to break ground by spring of 2012.

Forest Home Forest Home Church of the Nazarene, established in 1954, has experienced a major expansion with the completion and opening of its new Children and Youth Education Center. The facility, with more than 13,000 square feet, is located at 1004 Windover Road and has separate classroom and worship areas for children and youth, a large welcome area, offices and a kitchen. It is the first of three buildings to be located at the site.

Seventh-Day Adventist The Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 2317 West

Washington Ave., recently underwent exterior and interior renovations. “The intent was to make a difference,” Pastor Elroy A. Tesch Jr. said. The facility served for years as a meeting site for General Electric employees, but the church bought and used the building as it was until church members could afford to remodel. A new tile ceiling was installed, new lighting was added, and paneling was replaced by drywall and fresh paint. The church has five classrooms, a stage room and a baptistery. Electric work also was done as part of the renovation, Tesch said. A new professional audio system complements the new decor. Thick mahogany front doors were installed, and arched windows are now situated on either side of the main entrance. An awning and a half-brick facade were removed, and stucco and two large columns were added.

First Baptist For 106 years many members of the AfricanAmerican community in Jonesboro have attended First Baptist Church, 700 Kitchen St., an ancient landmark that will be replaced by a new, modern facility within the year. Constructed in 1904 in Downtown Jonesboro, the red brick building, with its exterior preserved by regular sandblasting, has served the community well. Much later, after the church had been built, a basement was constructed underneath the main floor, Pastor Curtis Wilson said. However, church officials have decided time has come for a new facility. As a replacement

on the same grounds, architectural plans by Ken Stacks of Jonesboro have been drawn, and work under the direction of Stonebridge Construction Co. of Jonesboro began on the $1.1 million, 13,000-square-foot facility in 2010. Once complete, the sanctuary should be able to seat 250-275 church members for worship services, Wilson said. He said his initial vision started with a focus on education facilities, but that vision was modified along the way to include a new building.

Bethabara A grand celebration recognized 125 years of Bethabara Baptist Church, 2235 Craighead Road 505, near Lake City was held on June 13, with former pastor and guest speaker Don Strait. Also known as Bethabara Church of Cane Island or Cane Island Baptist Church, the facility is in the Cane Island community. “Cane Island is an island surrounded by the St. Francis River on one side and the Cane Island Slough on the other side,” according to information provided by Janet Brewer. The small gathering place is situated among corn, soybeans and cotton fields. Eaton said the first church in 1885 was used by people of Baptist and Methodist faiths. A year later a new church was built across Craighead Road 505 on the present church grounds. According to church records, the church burned to the ground shortly after it was built. It was rebuilt in the same spot. Since then it has been rebuilt and remodeled into its current form. Today the church has eight classrooms, a pastor’s study, nursery, dining hall and a room for the secretary, Eaton said.

Darrell King Chief Executive Officer

Sherry Pruitt | The Sun

Jose Rivera of Andrew Griffin Masonry of Stuttgart uses cement to build the brick facade of First Baptist Church on Kitchen Street in Jonesboro on March 16. Service days and times include: Sunday school, 10 a.m.; worship services on Sunday, 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.; and Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.

Christian Valley Senior Minister Mitch Ford can watch construction on the expansion of Christian Valley Christian Church from the desk in his church office. The church has been in need of additional space for a while, and members broke ground for a 11,000square-foot expansion in an Aug. 8 ceremony, and construction is under way. CahoonSteiling Studio, a Jonesboro architectural firm, drew the plans for the new facility. Hillpoint Construction, also of Jonesboro, is the general contractor. The $1 million expansion will double the sanctuary’s seating capacity and add new classrooms. The sanctuary will have

Angie Carlton Senior Director of Finance

a seating capacity of 340, with additional space for expansion for up to 500 individuals, Ford said. The church, which has been at 2016 Valley View Drive since 1984, is 140 years old. In addition to the new sanctuary, the expansion will add six classrooms, nurseries and restrooms. Although two classrooms will be lost to the construction project, the new classrooms will make up for the loss. The existing sanctuary will be remodeled into a youth worship center. The kitchen of the facility recently was enlarged and revamped. The church will have a new paved parking lot replacing its chat lot. The main entry of the church will change with the expansion. The new front entrance will face Christian Valley Drive. Some 180-200 members make up the Christian Valley Christian Church congregation.

Scot Davis Chief Financial Officer

Lexanne R. Horton Chief Operating Officer

Meet Our Management Team These are exciting times for Jonesboro, and at NEA Baptist Clinic, we’re committed to keeping up with our city’s growth. That’s why we continue to build our leadership team. As a physician led, professionally managed health care organization, our goal is to bring the best health care to our community. That commitment means that we build a strong leadership foundation. We are excited to announce the following changes to our leadership team.

With 20 years of medical group management experience, Darrell King, recently was named Chief Executive Officer. Darrell joined NEA Baptist Clinic as Chief Operating Officer in 2007. Scot Davis was recently promoted to Chief Financial Officer of the newly established Baptist Memorial Medical Group (BMMG), a physician group with locations in three states. Within those responsibilities, he will continue in his current position here in Jonesboro as the clinic’s Chief Financial Officer.

Lexanne Horton recently moved to Jonesboro to become the clinic’s Chief Operating Officer. Previously, she was Vice President of Child Health Services with University of Tennessee Medical Group (UTMG) in Memphis. Lexanne will oversee the clinical operations of more than 20 regional locations. Angie Carlton, Senior Director of Finance, previously held the position of Controller for NEA Baptist Clinic. Angie is now responsible for the financial operations of the clinic as well as the Central Billing Office and Information Systems.

Rounding out the executive team is Deaundra Waddell, Director of Marketing. Deaundra previously held the title of Executive Director for a local health care organization and brings years of marketing and sales experience to our team. The depth of our management team’s experience reflects the daily commitment of our NEA Baptist physicians to the health of our community.

Your Health. Our Team. Doc+Finder



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SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011

Schools take on expansions to meet needs

The practice area is 30 yards by 42 yards and is equipped with a heating system. More than 450 of Valley View’s 2,300-member K-12 student body will use the building for practicing football, baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, dance, cheerleading, band and JROTC.


JONESBORO — Sixty-six percent of voters in the September 2010 millage election for Jonesboro School District supported raising the property tax from 30 to 33.1, with 2.7 mills going to debt service and the other 0.4 going to maintenance and operation. With 2,378 votes for the tax increase and 1,209, or 34 percent, against it, patrons approved the hike on Sept. 21. Out of the operation fund, the district is moving to break ground on four major construction projects worth an estimated $17.9 million. The projects are as follows: • Annie Camp Junior High School — construction of a new cafeteria and kitchen worth $3 million, and renovation to the entire school worth $1.2 million. • International Studies Magnet Elementary School — new roofing and heating and air-conditioning units worth $1.3 million, and the construction of three new classrooms and the renovation of a media center worth $2.7 million. • Jonesboro High School


Saundra Sovick | The Sun

William Hayes cuts a piece of metal for a railing along the steps of a new band director’s platform at Jonesboro High School on July 29. — construction of a new Hurricane Gymnasium worth $3.6 million. • Jonesboro High School — construction of a new auditorium with an expanded stage and orchestra pit worth $6.1 million. This project will raise the seating capacity at plays and other functions from 600 to 1,000.

Valley View The Valley View School District constructed a multipurpose practice building near the athletic facilities last year. The $2.6 million structure is funded by post-dated warrants. The new practice facility features a 19-stall women’s

restroom and a men’s room with seven or eight urinals, he said. Two large dressing rooms with lockers are available. The Valley View High School football team has access to 75 lockers, and there are an additional 150 double-tier lockers. The weight room is used by participants of all sports, and a trainers’

room is available for injured players. A laundry, which can accommodate football, baseball and other sports; five offices and a film room for coaches; and facilities where officials can shower and dress after games were included in the design. Dance and cheerleading studios are on the second floor.

Because of several instances of people driving onto Westside School District property during inclement weather and causing damage to the grounds during the winter, the school board is preparing to completely fence in its property. The board has approved $2,500 to install gates at all its entrances as phase one of the project. The next phase will be to construct the fencing. “We’ve always had a problem with people driving through the yards and rutting them up,” district security director Ryan Tolbert said. “We had someone do it last time it snowed. We eventually found out who it was and are taking legal action, but we need a way to prevent this.” PLEASE SEE CRAIGHEAD, F7

NEA schools have completed some projects, started new ones in 2010 BY MICHAEL WILKEY AND GEORGE JARED SUN STAFF WRITERS

Greene County Tech Superintendent Jerry Noble said the school is in the middle of construction of a $38 million high school. Noble said construction continued throughout 2010, with the project nearly 80 percent complete. The new high school is being built on U.S. 49, two miles south of Paragould. Noble said the school for students in grades 10-12 will be able

to hold 1,000 students. The school has 700 students in grades 10-12. Another project completed in 2010 was a plan to alleviate drainage issues at the junior high school. “We had moisture that got into the building,” said Noble, who is in his first year at the school. Noble said construction workers removed dirt from around the building and rebricked the area to alleviate the problem. The project was funded by federal stimulus money, he said.

Graycen Colbert | The Sun

Construction on the new Greene County Tech High School continues March 16 in Paragould.

Paragould Voters passed a 4.59mill tax increase in February to pay for six new construction projects

Manila Public School Home of the LIONS a great place to ... Learn, Achieve, and Succeed! Manila School District’s campus includes new buildings in both middle school and elementary. Manila School District is proud to acknowledge that 100% of our teachers are highly qualified. Manila High School is among the six percent of Arkansas high schools to win the ACT College Readiness Award. Manila High School was recognized in the 2010 University of Arkansas Outstanding Educational Performance Awards. 2010 Manila High School Graduates were awarded 2.1 million dollars in scholarships. Advanced technology is provided for grades K–12 including: Smartboards, Front Row Sound Systems, Projectors, and High Speed Internet.

in the Paragould School District. Facilities to be build include a new pre-kindergarten through firstgrade building. A new primary school, middle school expansion and other renovation projects are slated. It’ll cost about $20 million of which the state will pay $7.8 million, according to officials. The first phase of construction will take about 18 months.

Corning A series of construction projects were completed at Corning during 2010, Superintendent J.M. Edington III said. The school completed construction on science labs and classrooms at the high school, a fine arts complex at Central Elementary, a corridor enclosure and multipurpose complex at Park Elementary.

Cross County Cross County School District officials worked throughout 2010 to create a charter school for grades 7-12. The state Board of Education voted in Janu-

ary to create the charter school, which will be affiliated with the New Tech Network. The California-based group teaches learning that allows students to work in groups and be accountable to one another. The charter school will open in August. At Cross County Elementary the district is working on a Child Wellness Intervention Program. The program, funded by the Arkansas tobacco settlement, is designed to increase physical education in grades K-2. The grant will provide funding for new materials, resources and a physical education curriculum, Superintendent Matt McClure said. In a related note, the district also worked on a coordinated school health program to improve student health. The program teaches health education, health services, nutrition, counseling and parental involvement. The project was funded by federal stimulus money, McClure said.

Manila In September a new elementary school on

Davis Street opened in Manila. Manila Superintendent Pam Castor said at the time of a September 2008 property tax vote, which approved a 5.6mill increase, made the difference in getting the project done. “The initial thought was about building insufficiencies here. We had two round buildings that were in poor shape,” Castor said. “We deliberated and passed the millage.” Construction began in June 2009. The district received some financial help from the state through a partnership agreement, Castor said. About 350 students in grades K-4 attend the 24-classroom school that was named in honor of a former board member, Justin Veach, former secretary for the board, who died in July 2008 at age 32.


A $14 million pre-kindergarten through sixth grade school also opened in Newport this past year. PLEASE SEE SCHOOLS, F7

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Private schools make progress Now more than 70 students attend Concordia, which serves preschool through sixth-grade students. He attributes the increase in enrollment to gaining status in the community, providing a satisfactory education experience and pleasing parents.


JONESBORO — Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, a parochial K6 school in Jonesboro, broke ground for a new facility in July, and work has been progressing since that time. The first of a 3-phase construction project of the Blessed Sacrament Parish Center at 1103 East Highland Drive is a school for pre-kindergartners through sixthgraders, said Gary Wells, parish administrator. Officials considered a facility to replace the aging school at 720 South Church St. for years but felt 2010 was the right time because of growth in the Catholic community in and around Jonesboro. In 1990 the parish included 630 families. This year that number has grown to 1,009 families, Wells said. More than 100 students in grades K6 attend the school. Blessed Sacrament officials purchased 20 acres at 1103 East Highland Drive eight or nine years ago. So far, the Knights of Columbus Hall is the only facility built on the grounds. Albert Frankenberger is the architect, and the general contractor is Ramson for the $2.4 million, 28,400-square-foot school. “The school is being built for existing students, as well as expansion,” he said. The project will include a classroom for each grade level from pre-school through sixth grade and several multipurpose rooms. The school will be equipped with science labs and computer rooms. It will also house a kitchen, dining room and lobby. There will be a playground on the campus. Students beginning the 2011-12 academic year should be able to start school in the


Anthony Childress | The Sun

Arkansas Catholic Bishop Anthony B. Taylor on July 28 blesses the ground where the new Blessed Sacrament School is to be built off Highland Drive in Jonesboro. Blessed Sacrament’s pastor, Jack Vu, stands at his side. new building. The educational complex is being funded through pledges and donations from parishioners. They paid off the land a few years ago, and the next phase will be construction of a gymnasium, storage areas and the remainder of the parish center, he said. The third phase of the project will include offices for youth ministries, adult education and Right of Christian Initiation of adults.

Concordia Concordia Christian Academy marked a milestone during the summer with a 10th anniversary celebration of the school. Russell Shewmaker, pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 1812 South Rains St., said the idea for a school was a desire of the congregations of Pilgrim Lutheran and Zion Lutheran Church in Waldenburg. The two churches are partners in the school.

SCHOOLS: Newport opens new $14M elementary FROM PAGE F6

The new school replaced two older elementary schools — Castleberry Elementary, built in 1960 and Albright Elementary, built in 1954. In 2007 district patrons approved a 7-mill increase that raised nearly $9 million in revenue for the project. The state of Arkansas provided $4.2 million in state partnership money, with the district setting aside $1 million in existing funds for the project. The school on Stegall Road will house 880 students in the district.


A $1 million project to renovate the 60-year-old Trumann Intermediate School began in the summer of last year. Al Fisher, federal programs coordinator at the school, said the project

will replace windows, doors, build new ceilings and improve Internet connections throughout the building. The building on Arkansas 463 served as the district’s high school for many years before a new high school was built on West Main Street. Construction workers will also install SMART boards and liquid-crystal display screens in each classroom, while several built-in room heaters in the building will be replaced.

Lawrence County The Lawrence County School District finalized plans in 2010 for a new high school science, fine arts and sports complex. The $4.6 million project began in February 2011 and is expected to take about a year to complete, according to school officials.

The new complex will include two science labs, five classrooms, band, art and choir rooms. It will also include a new field house and other physical education facilities. It will be located just south of the high school football field.

Pocahontas A fire in inside the Pocahontas High School cafeteria on Feb. 14, 2010, forced the school district into an unexpected construction project — building a new cafeteria. Construction began in the late spring, and by the beginning of the school year the new cafeteria was complete, district food service manager Patty Moore said. “We have a really nice cafeteria,” she said. Four new classrooms and two science labs were also added in the last year, according to officials.


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Ridgefield Christian School, 3824 Casey Springs Road, hired a new administrator in 2010 — Jim Cole of Jonesboro. Cole was tapped to fill in temporarily after Administrator Randy Johnson resigned in June to take a teaching and girls’ basketball position at Trumann High School. Johnson had served at the non-denominational Christian school for about five years. Cole, a 78-year-old veteran educator and administrator, has lots of experience. He retired as superintendent of the Trumann School District, spent 11 years as principal when Jonesboro’s International Studies was East Elementary and served as elementary principal at the Trumann district, among other teaching and administrative jobs. He filled in as Brookland Elementary principal for a year when the district needed an interim administrator. Cole said he has been in the education field for 45 or 46 years and knows how to operate a school. He’s firm, experienced and enjoys his work, he said. He said he’s very passionate about the students and their parents. Ridgefield, accredited by the Arkansas Nonpublic Schools Accrediting Association, was established in Jonesboro in 1993. The school has a pre-kindergarten program and also serves K12 students. About 300 are enrolled at Ridgefield Christian School.

CRAIGHEAD: Dunivan says Nettleton will seek tax increase FROM PAGE F6


Students in the Nettle School District were welcomed back in 2010 with some cosmetic touch-ups, including: • new bleachers at the Nettleton Intermediate Center gymnasium; • a wooden floor at Fox Meadow Intermediate Center’s gym; • substantial progress on the new track-soccer field by Raider Field, the school’s football complex, with help from the Craighead County Road Department; and • new SMART boards in most classrooms. One primary goal for the future is to build a new intermediate center across from University Heights Elementary, allowing seventh-graders from the junior high to be relocated to NIC, while its students (in grades 3-5) would move to the new building. Superintendent James Dunivan said the district will seek a property tax increase from its patrons to help pay for the new intermediate campus. Nettleton’s current tax rate stands at 35 mills, with 26 mills going for maintenance and operation. The remaining nine are dedicated to debt service. “We’re looking at something in the neighborhood of a 2-mill increase,” Dunivan said at a board planning meeting in February. The board could vote at its June meeting to place a tax issue before voters. Discussed projects totaling about $12 million in the event a tax hike is on the ballot and approved by patrons include: • a 60,000-square-foot intermediate school south of UHE; • six new classrooms at FMIS to replace portable buildings now being used there; • a physical education facility and four classrooms at UHE; • a new safe shelter between Nettleton Middle School and Nettleton Intermediate Center; and • more class space and a physical education facility at Fox Meadow Elementary.


In 2010 the Brookland School District completed the middle school physical education building, a construction project funded through the Arkansas Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The facility is for students in grades 4-6, some 380 students, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Reddick said.

Buffalo Island Central

The Buffalo Island Central School District remodeled its former administration building in Monette. It now is fully handicapped accessible. A social studies class meets in the facility, Superintendent George Edd Holland said. Next year a second class may be added to the facility. Also a 60- by 90-foot concrete slab for athletes has been poured at each elementary school in the BIC district — in Monette and Leachville. The improvements were funded by ARRA. Playground equipment also is expected to be installed.

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SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011


A new women’s residence hall is going up at Williams Baptist College. Construction of the 43bed facility is just one indication of the growth experienced this year at the 4-year liberal arts college just north of Walnut Ridge. Workers with Clark General Contractors have been dodging spells of inclement weather since starting construction in January as they attempt to complete the project in time for the 2011-12 school year. “This is going to be a beautiful addition to our campus, but we need a little more cooperation from the weather to get it completed by the desired time,” said WBC President Jerol Swaim. The 9,000-square-foot residence hall will stand two stories tall and have an all-brick exterior, matching the red brick of most other buildings on the WBC campus. Designed by BrackettKrennerich & Associates Architects of Jonesboro, the facility is being built near the south end of Midkiff Lawn and will effectively enclose WBC’s quad area. Cost of the project is estimated at $1.75 million.

Construction of the new residence hall became necessary when enrollment shot upward this fall. Dorms and apartments on campus neared capacity as they absorbed the influx of new students. There were more students enrolled on the WBC campus this fall than at any time in the last 40 years, and the number of students living on campus approached its highest point ever. The oncampus enrollment of 569 represented a 10 percent increase over last year. Big increases were reported across the board, with numbers jumping for both new and returning students. There were 159 freshmen, setting a modern record for the college. The total count of new students — including freshmen, transfers and re-admitted students — stood at 236, a 15.7 percent increase over last year. The number of returning students also made a significant climb. There were 331 returners on the Walnut Ridge campus this fall, a 6.8 percent increase over 2009 numbers. Housing numbers climbed to nearly an all-time high. WBC had 394 students living in its dorms and apartments this year, up 9.7 percent

‘One of the exciting things about having such a large enrollment is that there seems to be activity everywhere you turn on campus.’ Jerol Swaim Williams Baptist College president

Several Williams Baptist College students enjoy a sunny winter day outside. over last year. Some 70 percent of WBC’s students now live on campus. Overall, counting oncampus numbers and two off-campus extensions, 636 students were enrolled at WBC this fall. WBC got another shot of good news from a national magazine in the fall. US News & World Report issued its annual college rankings in August, showing that WBC has advanced into the top tier of Southern colleges. Swaim said WBC’s overall score in US News was likely helped by its growing freshman retention and 6-year graduation rates. Another high point for WBC, according to the

president, is the fact that 86 percent of its teaching faculty are full-time, most of whom have doctorates in their fields. Elsewhere on the WBC campus the home of the college founder was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. Known officially as the Commandant’s House, the structure has undergone preservation work in recent months, and more is on the way. T h e C o m m a n d a n t ’s House was built in World War II as the commanding officer’s home for the Walnut Ridge Army Flying School. After the war approximately 200 acres of the air base was transformed into the campus

of WBC, and the commander’s house became the residence of college founder H.E. Williams, who lived in the home with his family for more than 50 years. Maintenance crews began preservation work last year by giving the structure an extensive cleaning inside and out, making a notable difference in its appearance. Beyond that, a state historic preservation grant and gifts from donors have funded work to seal the house from the elements. New gables, fascia and soffit have been added to the home in the past few months, and a new roof is being installed. WBC also plans

to replace doors and windows, which should give the exterior a thoroughly refurbished look. “We are excited about preserving it for future generations,” Swaim noted. WBC students are also enjoying another feature added to campus in the past year: an 18-hole disc golf course. “Tee boxes” are marked around the campus, and players hurl Frisbee-style discs at a series of baskets. “One of the exciting things about having such a large enrollment is that there seems to be activity everywhere you turn on campus,” the president said. “There are lots of students walking to and from class, watching athletic events and generally enjoying their college experience. They are in one of the most formative stages of their lives, and it is rewarding for us just to be a part of it.”

ANC adds programs, takes on construction BY MICHAEL WILKEY SUN STAFF WRITER

A lot of things happened in 2010 at Arkansas Northeastern College, including several construction projects and new programs. School officials announced in February that they had a 3.9 percent increase in enrollment for campuses in Blytheville, Burdette, Leachville, Osceola and Paragould. The Blytheville campus had more than 1,200

students, while the Paragould campus had a 50student increase, settling at 200, college spokeswoman Rachel Gifford said. One of the areas where growth has happened included an aviation maintenance program on the Blytheville campus. The program teaches sheet metal structure, aviation math and physics, turbine engines, hydraulics and pneumatics among other classes. The college both offers

a 75-credit hour technical certificate in aviation maintenance and a 90hour associate in applied science in aviation maintenance program. Students can take up to 18 months to complete the program and must take a Federal Aviation Administration airframe test to become certified. Twenty-two students are taking aviation maintenance courses, with 16 expected to graduate in May, Dr. Jim Shemwell of the college’s training

program said. Shemwell said six other students are taking general education classes to prepare for the aviation program. The college also created a new degree program — the associate of science in education — this year. Gifford said the college is working with 20 community colleges and nine universities to develop the degree program. In October board members also voted to reconfigure two degree programs, the associate of science in criminology and the associate of science in childhood education. The changes will allow students to transfer to 4-year colleges to study education or criminology once they graduate from ANC, she said.

Construction projects In December college board members voted to approve a bid for a Jonesboro company to build a Nursing-Allied Health building. The $3,859,369

Arkansas Northeastern College aviation maintenance repair students work on a FedEx engine at the college’s classroom on the Arkansas Aeroplex. bid from Construction Network Inc. will help to build a 30,000-square-foot building on the Blytheville campus. Once completed, the building will house the college’s registered nursing, practical nursing, dental assistant, paramedic and emergency medical technician programs, Gifford said. Much of the ground work, including bringing

in dirt, has been completed, she said. Several other projects were completed this past year, Gifford said. Among them were new vestibules and exterior lighting installed in the Sullins administration building in Blytheville and the installation of a heating and air system at the B-wing on the Blytheville campus.


The Career Pathways program at Black River Technical College is doing extremely well. Record numbers are being served, and as a result, the school’s program has obtained additional funding from the state. BRTC Career Pathways coordinator Tom Baker said 599 students were enrolled in the program. Recently, BRTC’s Career Pathways Initiative Program was ranked third highest in a statewide pool of 25 CTI programs. Baker said the program began at BRTC in 2006 and has steadily increased over the years. If accepted into the program, students receive assistance for costs such as tuition, books, fees, child care and transportation. Students must stop by for a weekly visit to the Career

Pathways Office and must have attendance sheets signed by instructors. “If they don’t attend class, they do not get assistance,” Baker said. “Our ultimate goals are to get students enrolled, get them educational training and to help find them employment.”

Nursing program expands “The nursing department is excited about the growth of Black River Technical College,” Director of Nursing Ramonda Housh said. “As the enrollment at BRTC increases, so does the number of students pursuing nursing as a profession. We currently have approximately 500 students declaring health professions nursing emphasis, practical nursing or registered nursing as the degree they are seeking.” As a result of this

growth, the college added a third LPN class beginning in the spring 2011 semester. Two new faculty members, Shay Brewer and Robin Banks, both registered nurses, have been added to accommodate the growing nursing program. Following extensive renovations, the Respiratory Care Program moved into the former autobody building on the campus on Jan. 7, just a few days before classes began for the spring 2011 semester.

Record enrollment

Like other colleges in the state, BRTC has had record attendance during the 2010-11 school year. Enrollment at BRTC broke enrollment records with 2,508 students for the fall semester, a 12 percent increase over the previous high of 2,245 students. Enrollment during the spring stood at 2,469, which represented an 11.3 percent increase over last year’s spring semester record. During the fall 2010 semester the greatest percentile increase occurred at the BRTC Paragould campus, where enrollment spiked to 840 students. The Pocahontas campus increased its student body by 115 students in the fall 2010 semester, an 8 percent increase from the fall of 2009.

Frank M. Witowski Jr. | for The Sun

Respiratory care clinic specialist Jessica Alphin (right) assists BRTC respiratory therapy student Heather French of Pocahontas as she works on a simulator dummy.

Information for this story came from BRTC’s The River Edge.

SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011









Clubs make difference in Jonesboro

with a luncheon and funds an Arkansas State University scholarship Fund-raisers of the group are kettle corn sales at the Northeast Arkansas District Fair and Boston butt sales.


Civic clubs are a vital part of a community. They exist for voluntary or charitable activities and are united by a common interest or goal. Many are devoted to one specific area — hobbies and sports, social activities, political, religious and so forth.

Jonesboro Civitan Club

The Jonesboro Civitan Club is a civic organization whose primary focus is to support mentally and physically challenged children. Fund-raisers are held throughout the year to support club projects, which are based on the needs of the community.

Lions Club

Graycen Colbert | The Sun

Local Artist Sean Shrum paints a piece as a live auction item during the Junior Auxiliary of Jonesboro 40th annual Charity Ball Feb. 20 at the Holiday Inn Holidome.


JONESBORO — Junior Auxiliary of Jonesboro is a nonprofit women’s volunteer service organization founded in 1950. Members look for ways to improve the lives of Craighead County children by developing and implementing programs that instill self-esteem and challenge minds. Gena James is president of the auxiliary. The diamond anniversary of Junior Auxiliary of Jonesboro was celebrated Feb. 19 at the group’s 40th annual Charity Ball. Bridget Burris, Charity Ball chairwoman, selected “Proud to Serve” as this year’s theme to coincide with the auxiliary’s 60th anniversary. Special recognition was given to life and associate members who were special guests at the event. Proceeds from the ball stay in Craighead County and support the group’s 12 service projects: • APPLEseed — The APPLE in APPLEseed stands for Alternative Programs Providing Learning Experiences. The project provides volunteers to teach emergent readers in a one-on-one 30-minute session, two to three times a week at the Kindergarten Center. Teachers identify children with trouble reading printed symbols but who are otherwise verbally and artistically talented. • CityYouth Ministries — Junior Auxiliary members provide and serve dinner weekly to about 60 elementary school children. • Consolidated Youth Services — The committee provides positive direction and mentoring for young women temporarily housed at CYS, a short-term residential treatment center for those aged 8-18 facing challenges in their home, school or community. • Girl’s Enrichment — Committee members offer guidance and friendship by mentoring girls through cultural, vocational and educational programs. • Growing Healthy — Junior Auxiliary members lead sixth-grade students at local elementary schools with pig lung and heart dissections to teach about PLEASE SEE JA, F10

Jaycees help at holidays

JONESBORO — The biggest projects undertaken by the Jaycees are known as the big Christmas three: Christmas parade, Goodfellows and Christmas for Kids. To fund these projects, Jaycees members sponsor the Jaycee Snack Shack at the Northeast District Fair and the Haunted House. After spending the week working at the fair, members begin setting up for the annual Haunted House, which is held in the education building at the fairgrounds. The annual Christmas parade is held the first Thursday of the month of December. The Goodfellows project is one of the oldest projects of the organization. Started in 1950 by The Jonesboro Sun, the Jaycees joined with The Sun in 1952. The support of the Jonesboro community makes it possible to provide a week’s worth of food right at Christmas. Goodfellows helps hundreds of families. Another project is Christmas for Kids, for which toys are also given to the Goodfellows families. These toys are donated by individuals and groups. The Jaycees (originally Junior Chamber of Commerce) has been a part of the Jonesboro community since 1952. The group meets the first and third Thursdays of each month at 7 p.m. at the fairgrounds. Membership ages are between 21 and 40.

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The University Heights Lions Club was chartered in 1963, and like all Lions Clubs its major thrust is sight and hearing. All funds raised by the civic organization are used to buy eyeglasses or hearing aids for people who cannot afford them, perform surgeries and other procedures that help people who need help with sight and hearing difficulties. Special projects of the Lions Club include the annual Jonesboro Car Show held at the Arkansas State University Convocation Center. This year’s show is this weekend. The civic club also holds a fall pecan sale, during which bags of pecans are offered at fair prices. The choices are plain, chocolate, salted and roasted, glazed, and even roasted and salted cashews are available from any club member of online at The club also has a flag project whereby for $35 a year members will place flags at businesses on national flag days. Members put the flags up in the mornings and take them down in the evenings of the flag days. White cane is another project of Lions in which members solicit funds from patrons of various businesses periodically. This is strictly a volunteer endeavor, and all moneys received from what has turned out the be a generous public, goes directly into Lions sight and hearing projects. Each December all local Lions Clubs conduct their annual television auction, which is broadcast on Suddenlink cable. This is an effort of all Lions Clubs in Jonesboro. Donated items are auctioned to the highest bidder either by telephone or Internet. Internet bidding drew participants from several states at the 2011 auction. UH Lions also sponsor the annual Peace Poster Contests that involve art students from all Jonesboro schools.

Altrusa of Jonesboro

Saundra Sovick | The Sun

Olan Gann prepares his 1930 Ford Model A Coupe for the 21st annual Jonesboro Autoshow in the Arkansas State University Convocation Center on March 26, 2010. Funds earned during the event also help fund programs such as youth ministries, the Boy Scouts of America, United Way, the Jonesboro Church Health Center and the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas. “We’ve given in the past to Arkansas Children’s Hospital and CASA, and we also provide some funding for foster kids to receive gifts at Christmas,” Franklin said. “This is the Kiwanis Club’s only fund-raiser, so we rely heavily on this project to fund other necessary activities throughout the year.” The club was organized Aug, 1, 1935. A Circle K Club was started by the Jonesboro group on the Arkansas State University campus.

Jonesboro Rotary Club The Jonesboro charter was issued on Aug. 1, 1919. In the spring of 2003 representatives of the three Jonesboro Rotary Clubs — Jonesboro, Metro and University — and local officials unveiled an admittedly ambitious plan to develop a park that will be the only one of its kind in the area and the largest in the state. Named Jonesboro Rotary Centennial Park, the $570,000 proj-

ect was developed by the three clubs with the City of Jonesboro, Craighead County and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Located at Craighead Forest Park, it is 70 percent universally accessible. Dedication was held in 2005 commemorating Rotary’s 100th Anniversary. The Rotary Cub of Jonesboro pledged $50,000 toward this project. The main project of the Jonesboro Club is the Arkansas Sportshow, which features the latest sporting products to captivate hunting, boating and fishing enthusiasts of all ages; boats and motors; ATVs; fishing equipment; hunting gear; special seminars; outdoor sporting goods; and water sports gear. The show attracts more than 20,000 visitors each year.

Exchange Club The Exchange Club supports several programs, which include Northeast Arkansas Child Advocacy Center, CASA, CityYouth Ministries, Jonesboro Baseball Boosters, Young Citizenship Awards, Santa Project and Give a Kid a Flag to Wave. Each year the club recognizes the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

Altrusa International of Jonesboro is an international, volunteer service organization of business and professional leaders, classified by occupation. The local club was chartered Oct. 21, 1953, and now has 26 active members. Each year the club sponsors the Administrative Assistants Luncheon to recognize support staff. Proceeds from the luncheon are designated for three or four philanthropies. Members of the club also provide birthday cakes and presents for the residents of the Women’s Crisis Center of Northeast Arkansas and prepare and serve snacks for kids at after school Foundation of Arts’ activities. Club members also focus on literacy. Projects include GED graduation, job fair at the Adult Learning Center, “GiveA-Book-Day” for secondgrade students, “Books for Babies” and Make-ADifference Day.

Newcomer’s Club

The Jonesboro Newcomer’s Club was organized as a means to help ease the difficulties inherent in family relocation by providing an opportunity for support, encouragement and connection to women as they transition into Northeast Arkansas. Programs vary from month to month. For March the topic of discussion was “home organization.” Since the club has a permanent “home” at the library, plans are to have a new speaker or demonstration each month.

Jonesboro Kiwanis Club The Jonesboro Kiwanis Club focuses on helping children more through giving and future projects. The 71st annual Jonesboro Kiwanis Pop Stricklin Pancake Day was held March 5 at the Northeast Arkansas District Fairgrounds. Jimmy Franklin, club president, said proceeds from the Pancake Day fund scholarships for local high school seniors who choose to attend Arkansas State University.

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Karin Hill | The Sun

Chief of Police Mike Yates addresses the Kiwanis Club of Jonesboro concerning a public safety vote, while then-Operations Director Gary Harpole listens.

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SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011

Monument serves as place for veterans events BY CURT HODGES SUN STAFF WRITER

JONESBORO — When the concept of a veterans monument to serve all military veterans and to locate it on the Craighead County Courthouse lawn was broached several years ago, some folks had a lot of questions. The idea wasn’t widely accepted at first. But when the plans were made and the concept began to emerge from the ground up, it became clear to many what the Craighead County Veterans Monument Foundation could mean to the community. The CCVMF was chartered in October 2000 and is a 501(c)(3) federal tax exempt organization. The purpose is to “Preserve the memories of the military service” of thousands of Craighead County men and women who have served America through the years, said foundation secretary W. Danny Honnoll. “We invite everyone who has lived, worked, gone to school or who has family or other strong connections in Craighead County to purchase and place an engraved brick on our monument.” The monument was dedicated on Nov. 10, 2001, and as a “living monument” has been added to

Saundra Sovick | The Sun

Veterans Sgt. 1st Class Arlie Williams (left) and Airman 2nd Class Jimmy Foster attend a Veterans Day Celebration in Jonesboro on Nov. 13. Williams served in the U.S. and changed every year since. The monument has become the place where all special occasions involving veterans are held, including sending off and welcoming back local soldiers, including units of the 875th Engineer Battalion. Most notable, however, is that it provides a visible, acceptable and public venue for observance of veterans and patriotic holidays that include Memorial

Army during the Korean War, and Foster served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.

Day, Veterans Day, Patriot Day, Armed Forces Day, Flag Day and Pearl Harbor Day. A lot of people played important roles in planning, developing, finishing and operating the monument, but none more so than the late Ted Pylant, an Army veterans who served with the 875th Engineer Battalion of the Arkansas Army National Guard here and in the regular army in Vietnam.

“It was Ted’s vision that became the Craighead County Veterans Monument,” said Col. Jerry Bowen, U.S. Army retired, who formerly served as director of the National Cemetery System of the Department of Veterans Affairs. “He was the driving force behind it in every way.” That’s not to say that Pylant was the only one who wanted such a monument for veterans. Supporters came from all

veterans organizations, lots of businesses, industry, government and many individuals. It was a large and diverse group who worked to see the monument completed. The monument embraces not only every military service, but the doughboy statue monument from the World War I era, as well as monuments that had been placed for other things, including the Civil War Battle of Jonesboro. The veterans who developed the monument wanted it to be a place of honor and of education. Engraved commemorative bricks with the names and service records of thousands have been placed at the monument. A computer-based index system helps with location of the bricks. The bricks can still be purchased and placed. Placement is done each November coinciding with Veterans Day. The monument is owned by the public and is managed by the CCVMF. The CCVMF board of directors is made up of individuals from each of these five organizations: The American Legion, The Sons of the American Legion, The Disabled American Veterans, The Veterans of Foreign Wars and The Military Officers Association of America.

Military Order of The Purple Heart is pending. The foundation does not solicit nor charge for membership. However, any person who is a member of any of the service organizations or their affiliates and is willing to work to accomplish its purposes is welcome to join. The foundation purchased a 12-passenger van and has also made it available to the Craighead County Veterans Honor Guard for their transportation. The walks of honor containing the commemorative bricks have been expanded to the north side of the courthouse. A flag drop box for worn and non usable flags has been placed on the west side of the courthouse just under the overhead walkway to the annex. Due to some recent damage, a complete refurbishing of the walks of honor is currently under way. It night be noted that treasurer Bob Schoenborn was named by Gov. Mike Beebe to serve on the Arkansas Veterans Commission, and president Jim Lane was elected as North East vice commander for the American Legion Department of Arkansas.

JA: Provisional class of Junior Auxiliary develops, implements teen suicide prevention program this year FROM PAGE F9 risks associated with smoking and sedentary lifestyles. • The Learning Center — Junior Auxiliary members volunteer as aides in classrooms, assist with field trips, at weekly bowling activities and Special Olympic events in this facility that provides educational services for developmentally delayed children and adults. • Literacy and More — Members lead weekly

book clubs in area schools. While the cornerstone of this project is reading, JA members have the opportunity to meet with underserved students weekly during their lunch time. • L.O.C.K. Box — The project is to make a child’s transition from emergency placement at Department of Human Services into foster care as easy as possible by providing clothing, general-care products and a comfort item to immediately meet children’s needs.

• Lunch Buddies — Junior Auxiliary members are matched one-on-one with students in kindergarten through sixth grade to establish a positive relationship and find appropriate channels to meet needs that may arise. • Project Reward — Project Reward is a tutoring program for thirdgraders at area schools that makes memorizing times tables fun. • Scholarship — In 2011 Junior Auxiliary will ex-

pand its scholarship program to offer financial aid to students of Arkansas State University and its 2year affiliates, as well as some vocational and trade schools. • Share and Wear — Junior Auxiliary members work with school counselors to provide clothing and backpacks to needy school children. Preparations are made during the summer to be ready for the school year. Each year the Provisional Class of Junior Auxilia-

ry is asked to develop and implement a service project that does not already exist in their local chapter. The 2010 provisional class selected as a project “Teen Suicide Prevention Training.” Help for the project was through the Alex Blackwood Foundation For Hope and the Arkansas Crisis Center. Provisional members have been training counselors in the area schools and provided information to the St. Bernards Women’s Advisory Group.

Teen Suicide Prevention is the JA national focus this year. Information concerning the project is being submitted to national JA for an award. The members hope other groups, organizations and leaders will recognize the value, importance and potential of the project and take a significant interest in continuing much needed education and training in the area of suicide awareness and prevention.


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SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011









Charitable groups serve variety of needs in area Habitat for Humanity building homes 13, 14 in city

Saundra Sovick | The Sun

Wade Stotts (left) performs with his father Jeff during CityYouth’s seventh annual There is a Hope Concert in the Arkansas State University Fowler Center at Jonesboro on Aug. 21.

CityYouth continues helping city’s children

JONESBORO — CityYouth Ministries, a 10-year-old community-based organization, was the vision of several community and church leaders in Jonesboro. Because of those leaders’ determination CityYouth Ministries has been providing for the emotional and physical needs of children and teens for a decade. “Spiritual, recreational and educational programs enhance the lives of children and teens and develop personal responsibilities, spiritual values and reach young people for God,” said Rennell Woods, executive director. Woods knew when he first served as a volunteer at CityYouth that it was where he belonged. “Something must be right about the program. At present we have more than 750 children and teens in grades 1-12 enrolled in CityYouth Ministries,” Woods said. To keep the programs going, a Journey of Faith banquet is held each year, not only as a fund-raiser for CityYouth but to honor those who go beyond in serving. At the March 10 Journey of Faith Banquet Vickie Tidwell was recognized for her work with CityYouth and presented the John Troutt Jr. Cornerstone Award, and Lynn Suitt received the Volunteer of the Year Award. Parents and former students at CityYouth told of their connection to CityYouth and how it made an impact on their lives. Every day CityYouth provides hot meals to children ages 6-18 at no cost to them. CityYouth also provides tutoring and homework sessions and lifeskill development programs, including resume building, interviewing skills, etiquette and community service. CityYouth offers children and teens a safe place to meet and enjoy indoor recreation sports. Summer camp, arts and crafts and children’s arts programs are also a part of CityYouth’s ministry and service. Volunteers are a vital part of the day-to-day working of CityYouth. “They are the hearts and hands that allow us to provide the guidance, love, care, supervision and attention the youth of Jonesboro need and deserve. Without the volunteers, those who discount services and donate money, we would not be able to provide all the services we have available at the center,” Woods said. “We work with these kids each day, and, if we reach just one, we know we are doing our job,” Woods said. —Myra Buhrmester

JONESBORO — Habitat For Humanity of Greater Jonesboro is an area affiliate for the larger Habitat For Humanity International, a not-for-profit, nondenominational Christian organization serving worldwide. Habitat’s mission statement is to provide safe and affordable housing for low income individuals and families not able to secure mortgages to own their own homes through traditional means. The Jonesboro affiliate has been around since 1992 and is building houses 13 and 14. According to chief executive officer, M.G. Meyering, the past two years have been spent shoring up the affiliate in all types of capacities. “Sometimes it is hard to be patient when you have dreams for an organiza-

tion like Habitat,” Meyering said. “I have spent the last couple of years creating partnerships and building relationships where there were none before. God has been so good to us and has shown us that our hard work and patience to do things the right way the first time is all in his plan. We have had to literally trust him for everything. It is still a walk we are enduring, but the personal rewards are immeasurable.” The organization, with eight board of directors members, is continuing to develop its committees and internal commitment with annual workshops and areas of service such as finance, building, marketing, public activities, family selection, family support and volunteer coordinating.

“People get surprised when they find out that it takes so much to make Habitat run and run well,” Meyering said. “We were very happy to find through the 2010 Governor’s Report on Volunteerism that our affiliate ranked third of all Habitat’s in the state with a 10th of the volunteers. What that really means is that we put in as many hours as larger affiliate areas with only about a tenth of the man power. That really says something about Jonesboro and the ‘Can-Do’ attitude that we have here.” The organization has it sights set on helping more people with housing through different and creative means. The international organization is prodding affiliates to “think outside the box.” “That is exactly what we

have been doing,” Meyering said. “We are currently working in the Old West End and bringing back to life some Victorian properties we’ve acquired. Instead of tearing these homes down, we are fixing them and integrating them back into their neighborhoods with their period characteristics intact so that they fit the look of their architectural surroundings.” Meyering said the Jonesboro affiliate is in the process of trying to obtain more property that currently is a major eyesore in the city. Meyering also owns Interiors By Design, a full interior design business. In March he will join more than 1,900 other Habitat leaders from around the globe in Atlanta for a 5day conference.

Truck helps food bank JONESBORO — At a time when more families in Northeast Arkansas face the threat of hunger, the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas received a refrigerated food truck through a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation and Feeding America. The vehicle is used to pick up fruit, vegetables and other nutritious foods for food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency feeding centers throughout Northeast Arkansas. The truck also delivers food to agencies and programs throughout a 12-county area. The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, founded in 1983, also received a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation totaling $99,936 to boost the capacity of the Food Bank’s partner agency network. Given as part of the Wal-Mart Foundation’s State Giving Program, the grant was used to buy equipment such as freezers, refrigerators and covered trailers to help hunger relief programs serve more families in the 12-county area. The Food Bank of NEA distributed 2.6 million pounds of food and grocer-

Saundra Sovick | The Sun

Howard Shirley (left) and Jimmy Brown sort and stack a pallet of food at the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro on June 22. ies to help families at risk of hunger in 2010. That’s the highest distribution total in the bank’s history. The need for emergency food assistance continues to rise as the Food Bank’s partner agencies report serving more new families that have never asked for help. The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas has been awarded a $7.9 million

grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to build, furnish and equip a 59,000-square-foot Charitable Food Distribution Center. The Foundation awarded the Food Bank an additional grant of $502,000 to buy vehicles, freezers, refrigerators and shelving to the Food Bank’s partner agencies and programs to assist in distributing more food.

The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas is conducting the Building Hope … Feeding the Hungry 20percent challenge match phase of the grant, which will be an earmarked program endowment fund to ensure sustainability and growth of the Food Bank’s programs. There are five full-time employees and three part-time employees at the bank.

Corning Public Schools

Excellence is our Standard We Offer Foundation establishes funds, supports programs JONESBORO — The Craighead County Community Foundation is one of 28 affiliates of the Arkansas Community Foundation. The CCCF allows donors to set up philanthropic endowments and grants money to charities and churches that qualify and inspire solutions to help build the community. Executive Director Barbara Weinstock said that last year the board: • established a fund for hunger in Craighead County; • supported programs

of Out of the Dark through grants and volunteers; • established other funds and scholarships for Arkansas State University (chemistry, physical therapy, music, nursing, criminology, ROTC); memorial endowments; for sports; for churches; and for favorite charities; • granted more than $30,000 to local entities for a 10-year total of $464,074; • granted to middle school science (SIMS) teachers in Craighead

County $500 for each “hands on” project. In the past three years this program has funded more than 140 projects — giving the Craighead County Middle School teachers more than $70,000; and • developed a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) to teach young adults about granting to charities and to learn about philanthropy. —Myra Buhrmester

• Advanced placement and honor courses are offered for advanced learners who desire a high level of challenge and rigor. • College credit can be obtained while still in High School through our Distance Learning Lab. • Vocational programs in Business, Agriculture, Family & Consumer Science, and Computer engineering are offered in addition to core subject and fine arts courses. • Students with special needs receive individual instruction through a variety of programs.

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• Recognizing that student activities play an integral role in the total educational program, the school offers a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs. • Corning High School is also proud to be involved in character education resulting in becoming a character-centered school.

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SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011

Northeast Arkansas is place for festivities in 2010 BY GEORGE JARED SUN STAFF WRITER

The 22nd annual Loose Caboose Festival in Paragould will feature country music star Andy Griggs. It was announced that Griggs will be the headline act at the festival, slated for May 19-21 in downtown Paragould. Griggs is famed for such hits as “You Won’t Ever Be Lonely,” “She’s More” and “Tonight I Want to Be Your Man.” Other attractions include the 5K Run and walk, the 10K bike ride, bluegrass music, children’s events, arts and crafts booths, food vendors and other entertainment. Thousands of people attend each year. The festival was started 21 years ago because organizers thought there was little to do in the spring in Northeast Arkansas andor it would be a good time

to have a festival, officials said.

Portia Picnic One of Northeast Arkansas’ longest running events, the Portia Picnic, is held each July in Portia. During election years, it’s common to find politicians involved in local, state and even national races at the picnic. The first picnic was pulled together by town leaders in 1905 and attracted many from rural areas of Lawrence County and surrounding counties, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Some of the picnics have attracted more than 10,000 visitors.

New events In recent years Walnut Ridge, Pocahontas and Hoxie have also developed their own unique celebrations.

Saundra Sovick | The Sun

Tristen rice, 8, waves to spectators from the Ferris wheel with his father Jason at the annual Portia Picnic on July 3. The Iron Mountain Festival is held each year in October in Walnut Ridge. Live entertainment, bands, dancing, food, a hot dog eating contest, duck call and other events are held in conjunction with the festival. Pocahontas held its second annual “Rock ’n’ Roll

U.S. 67 Music Festival” in October. Musicians performed; a car cruise, crafts and food vendors were available; and a 1950s karaoke contest was held, among other events. The festival is meant to commemorate the area’s strong ties to 1950s music legends Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. In December Hoxie hosts “Dickens in the Park.” Actors perform parts of “A Christmas Carol,” the immortal classic written by Charles Dickens. Christmas carolers serenade the crowd with holiday songs and treats such as hot chocolate, coffee and cookies.

Other counties There are at least a half dozen festivals and events held each year in Mississippi and Poinsett counties. In May Blytheville hosts the Main Street Mayfest, and Osceola hosts the Heritage Musicfest. The 2-day Blytheville event features barbecue, music and a fishing derby. The Musicfest last year featured several blues and southern rock artists including Reba Russell and Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers. In June Harrisburg hosts the annual Festival on the Ridge. The event, centered around the courthouse square, features food, music and a 5-K run for people to enjoy. There are also festivals in Poinsett County in September and October. In mid-September Marked Tree hosts the Delta Cotton Pickin’ Jubilee with carnival games, a parade and other events around the St. Francis River. In early October residents in nearby Lepanto host the annual Terrapin Derby. As many as 10,000 people gather along Greenwood Avenue to watch turtles move along a city street. The event, which fea-

tures a parade, began in 1930 as a fund-raiser for the local American Legion group. Several state and federal politicians appeared at last year’s event. The event now is a fundraiser for the town’s volunteer fire department. Trumann and Weiner also host events in October. The Wild Duck Festival in Trumann brings several thousand people to the Poinsett County town. The festival features a parade, a carnival and softball tournaments at the Trumann Sports Complex. Weiner hosts the Arkansas Rice Festival each year. The event honors the town’s ties to the grain with a rice tasting, a parade and a rice threshing exhibition. In December there is a holiday lights display called “Lights of the Delta” at the Arkansas Aeroplex. Lights of the Delta has around 45 displays based on religious and Santa Claus themes. Last year the display featured a 108foot wide by 40-feet tall replica of the Blytheville Greyhound bus station. Nearly 50,000 people visit the display each year with people from 38 states and three foreign countries making the trek to Blytheville.

Newport This summer will mark the 30th anniversary of Portfest at Jacksonport State Park. The festival is held the first weekend of June each year. This year’s festival will be June 3-4, with the carnival opening Wednesday, June 1. The Charlie Daniels Band will be the headline act Friday night. Daniels and his band combine hardcore county with southern rock, boogie and blues. Best known for his hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” Daniels’ climb to stardom began in the

1970s and continued through the ’80s, but the band remained a popular concert attraction well into the ’90s today. The search continues for Saturday night’s program, which features rock music. Former acts include Molly Hatchet, Blues Traveler and Vince Neil. Portfest is a family event. On Saturday there is a variety of events for the young people. There is a petting zoo, rock wall climbing, toilet races, inflatables and games. Adults can view the craft from around the state. Food vendors provide a variety of cuisine from alligator to blooming onion. Saturday night feature a fireworks display following the main stage concert. For more information and updates on events go to Newport’s other big festival is Depot Days, held in late September. The 1-day music festival honors the art of rockabilly music and features acts like Sonny Burgess and the Pacers, Ronny McDowell and Ace Cannon. Started more than 10 years ago by Newport attorney Henry Boyce, the festival has gown from drawing a few hundred to thousands. It is held on Front Street in Newport. The festival is also the site of the Best Backyard Barbecue Contest, which draws some of the best barbecue cooks in the state. A children’s area, which includes rides, inflatables, horseback rides and games and keeps the children busy while parents relax in front of the main stage to a day of music. The day ends with a firework display. Rock ’N’ Roll Highway 67 was dedicated at last year’s festival. Sun staff writer Michael Wilkey and correspondent Judy Beard contributed to this report.

Graycen Colbert | The Sun

This replica of the old Blytheville Greyhound Bus Station was a new addition to the Lights of the Delta display in 2010.

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