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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

David Wyatt remembered as longtime public servant

David Wyatt, of Rosie, Ark., who was in the public service and political arena for over 34 years, passed away Jan. 12 in Batesville. The former Independence County Judge and state legislator was 65 and had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Wyatt served as county judge for 20 years, creating a modern network of paved roads in rural parts of Independence County, expanding trash pickup, establishing a recycling center that was the first of its kind in Arkansas, and helping to build a new county jail to fully comply with state law. He also served four years in the state House of Representatives and six years in the state Senate. In addition to his public service, Wyatt was also a successful farmer and cattleman who, with his brothers, managed one of the largest farm and cattle operations in north central Arkansas. He is survived by Debra, his wife of 44 years; two sons, Mark and Matthew Wyatt; three grandchildren; his father, Gerald; two brothers, Stephen, and John and his wife, Betty Ann. Funeral services were held Jan. 14 at the Maple Springs Missionary Baptist Church with burial in Wyatt Cemetery at Rosie. 

Lyon officially opens Hatcher Wrestling Center

Lyon College in Batesville officially opened the Hatcher Wrestling Center on Tuesday, Jan. 13, as the school welcomed dignitaries from the community and across the state to recognize the hard work that went in to building the first-year program and the 7,800-square feet facility, according to a press release.   The Hatcher Wrestling Center, named after the major donor of the project, Greg Hatcher of Little Rock, is part of a plan by the insurance broker, who has been instrumental in seven other collegiate wrestling programs and 65 high school teams as well. “I am very passionate about wrestling,” Hatcher said at the ceremony. “Loretta Lynn said you had to be first, best or different. I love that slogan. For us in business, it’s our goal to be all three. Lyon College has that philosophy too. You’ve got the first women’s college wrestling team in the state of Arkansas. You’ve got the first NAIA school to come in and have wrestling and you want to be the best at it. “Years from now (the student athletes) will come back and your picture will be up on the wall as the first college wrestling team here. It’ll be something you’ll be very, very proud of. The reason wrestling is working in colleges is that it brings in students. A high school wrestler’s chance of competing in college is less than any other athlete. Only 2.5 percent of high school wrestlers get to wrestle in college.”   Lyon men and women wrestlers were on hand for Tuesday’s ceremony, which took place just hours before the College’s first home match in the history of the institution. The Lyon women defeated Lindenwood University-Belleville, 28-10, and then Scot men dropped a 34-16 decision to the Lynx. “The reason wrestling can be so successful so quickly is because there is no politics in the rankings,” Hatcher explained. “You go get a wrestler; you recruit him; you train him; and if he goes out and beats the other guy, he moves up toward the top of the rankings. And that’s what I love about wrestling is that there’s no politics, no time outs and no excuses; you just have to get out there and wrestle. And that is what life is like when you get out (of college). And of all the sports I’ve ever played, none are more valuable in getting you ready for that.” The Hatcher Wrestling Center consists of a 5,400 square-foot open practice facility, men and women’s dressing rooms, two coaching offices, and a welcome center. Lyon is in its first season of wrestling. The men’s team began the year with 23 athletes, while the women’s team started with 13 competitors. Dr. Donald Weatherman, president of Lyon College, said he is proud of the newest facility on the Batesville campus. “This is a great facility,” said Dr. Weatherman. “I’m delighted, on behalf of the college, to have wrestling here at Lyon. We’re the first college in the state to have both men and women’s wrestling. “Mr. Hatcher has done more for wrestling across the state and beyond than anyone I know, and I am grateful that he has planted one of the seeds for a program here at Lyon. Not only did he give us money to build this building, but he gave us all the start-up costs for our wrestling program. We are, indeed, blessed by his generosity.” The next home matches for Lyon College will be men’s events held on Feb. 3 and 10 in James C. Becknell Gymnasium. Both duals begin at 7 p.m. 


Mark Martin Ford Kia to host CASA event Saturday

The 16th Legislative District’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) organization will conduct “Cars and CASA for Kids,” a volunteer outreach event at the Mark Martin Museum in Batesville on Saturday, Jan. 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The museum is located at the Mark Martin Ford Kia dealership. The need for CASA volunteers in Independence County is great, according to the agency. “The museum has opened its doors as a site where people can come and learn more about what CASA volunteers do, have some treats, tour the racing museum and even take a test drive,” noted CASA representatives in a press release announcing the event. “We were given this opportunity to work with the CASA team here in Batesville and thought it would be a great and positive way to start off the New Year,” said Mooney Starr, general manager for Mark Martin Ford Kia. “We would love to have a good turnout and hope interested members of our community think that becoming a volunteer might be a wonderful way to kick off 2015.” The role of a CASA volunteer is to speak for the child that has been taken into foster care due to neglect or abuse. They also investigate and inform the court of the activities of other individuals and agencies involved in the child’s case. The goal of all CASA efforts is to secure a permanent and safe home for the child that will allow them to continue to thrive. Angela Chaffin, Independence County’s CASA volunteer coordinator, will be on hand to welcome and inform guests that stop by and share more about CASA’s mission for children. “I believe that when people find out what CASA volunteers do, and how they operate under the auspices of the judge and the courtroom on behalf of the child, that they will want to know more, and hopefully, become involved,” said Chaffin. 


WRMC partners with The BridgeWay to provide mental health treatment

One in four adults experiences mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI). More specifically, NAMI’s statistics also indicate a lack of available inpatient mental health facilities in Arkansas. In an effort to meet those needs, White River Medical Center (WRMC) has partnered with mental health organization, The BridgeWay, to bring an Inpatient Acute Adult Psychiatric Unit to Batesville. The BridgeWay at White River Medical Center is located in a secure space inside WRMC. The unit consists of 12 beds, a lounge area, a quiet room, and community room. The BridgeWay at White River Medical Center offers an inpatient program that serves adults, ages 18 to 55, who are experiencing acute psychiatric problems such as depression, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts, or other issues. The program is designed to give patients the encouragement and tools needed to improve their overall quality of life. A treatment team, consisting of psychiatrists, advanced practitioner registered nurse, therapists, nurses, and patient advocates, work together to create individualized plans for each patient. Treatment plans include setting goals, learning to manage medication, crisis stabilization, and participation in group therapy, family therapy, educational therapy, and activity therapy. The team aims to help patients develop interpersonal communication skills and positive relationship skills to regain healthy lifestyles and routines. “Statistics tell us that there is a need for mental health treatment in our area,” said Gary Bebow, CEO of White River Health System. “We are proud to partner with The BridgeWay to meet the needs for our area and offer a service that will have such a positive impact on lives.” Shay Carter, director of the unit, says they began accepting patients Jan. 12. “We look forward to working with our patients to help them improve their overall quality of life, and we are fortunate to have WRMC as a partner in this endeavor,” she said. The BridgeWay at White River Medical Center accepts most insurance plans including adult Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. The BridgeWay at White River Medical Center adds to the list of comprehensive care provided by WRMC to meet the needs of those affected by social, psychological, and behavioral conditions. Other services currently being provided by WRMC include Senior Haven (WRMC’s Geriatric Psychiatry Unit), and the White River Health System (WRHS) Behavioral Health Clinic, an outpatient facility in Batesville. Those interested in The BridgeWay at White River Medical Center, can call (870) 262-1641 anytime, day or night.