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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lyon receives $1 million gift from Wilson family


 By Hannah Keller

Lyon Communications Specialist  

As the beginning phase of construction starts on new residence halls, Lyon College is proud to announce the receipt of a $1 million lead pledge from the R.E. Lee Wilson Trust Foundation to help fund the new residence halls. “Lyon College is blessed with a long series of Board Chairmen who have been willing to lead by example,” said Dr. Donald Weatherman, president of Lyon. “Chairman Wilson, I am pleased to say, is continuing that tradition.  Lyon is at a critical time in its history, and Chairman Wilson’s leadership sets the right tone at this time for the college and the Board of Trustees.” Lyon will receive the funds in five installments over the next five years. Perry Wilson, Lyon’s chairman of the Board of Trustees as well as a trustee with the foundation, said the foundation trustees believe in the merits of a liberal arts education, which is the basis of Lyon’s curriculum. Wilson serves as one of the foundation trustees along with his uncles, Steve and Bobby Wilson. “The gift from the R.E. Lee Wilson Trust Foundation was prompted by a recognition of the trustees of the foundation as to the important role that Lyon College plays in the State of Arkansas, and by the realization that Lyon College can only succeed in its dynamic growth plan if private foundations and individuals who believe in the merits of a liberal arts education step up and help to fund that vision,” said Wilson. Two new residence halls, projected to be completed in the fall 2015, will accommodate 100 students each. In addition to the new facilities, Brown and Barton Apartments will be completely renovated. Lyon is set to welcome its largest incoming-freshman class in the institution’s history this fall. “Both as chairman of the board of trustees of Lyon College and as a proponent of liberal arts education in general, I am thrilled with the direction in which Lyon is headed,” said Wilson. “Lyon has made several huge changes in the past couple of years, and those changes are paying off already in increased enrollment and a higher profile for Lyon College without compromising admission standards.” Wilson joined the Lyon Board of Trustees in 2009 and was elected as chairman in the spring of 2012. His father, Mike Wilson, was a longtime board member and instilled a passion for education and appreciation for Lyon College in his son. “As a moderate private liberal arts college, Lyon has a significant and unique place in Arkansas higher education,” said Wilson. “I’ve had several people tell me that Lyon College is Arkansas’s best-kept secret.  Let it be a secret no more.  With high admission standards, an incredibly appealing teacher to student ratio, and rigorous academic programs, Lyon College produces graduates who are exceedingly well-prepared to succeed in life and to make a significant impact on the world around them.”

Mountain View artist’s work on display at BAAC Gallery


Work by Mountain View artist, Dusty Mitchell, is currently on display at the Batesville Area Arts Council (BAAC) Gallery on Main Street until Friday, Aug. 8. Mitchell’s sculptural and installation works come together in this exhibition, “All You Can Eat”, which provides a commentary on American culture and the food we consume. Mitchell’s use of unconventional art materials makes for a very entertaining and thought-provoking exhibition. Mitchell earned a BFA in sculpture and degree in art education from Arkansas State University in 2001. In 2004, he graduated with an MFA in sculpture form Michigan State. Mitchell’s sculpture and installation works have been exhibited around the country, and he recently competed on the Bravo television show, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. The reception for this exhibition will be held on Friday, Aug. 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. which will feature a brief talk by Mitchell.

‘Karaoke for a Cause’ to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters

   First Community Bank is the presenting sponsor of Karaoke for a Cause, which will take place on Saturday, Aug. 23, at Josie’s at the Lockhouse in Batesville. Karaoke for a Cause is a way for businesses, individuals, and organizations to raise money for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. The theme is “The Great White Way, a Tribute to Broadway.” Participants are asked to pick their favorite song from a Broadway hit to perform, according to Amber Bass, a board member and the contestant recruiter for this year’s event, Big Brothers Big Sisters is currently searching for contestants for the upcoming event. . “There is practically no limit to the types of music that have been performed on Broadway,” said Bass. “Simply pick your favorite Broadway song and join us for a night of fun entertainment.” While the big winners of this event are the children who receive mentoring and companionship, two contestants will take home awards. Trophies will be awarded to the best overall performer, picked by a panel of judges and to the contestant who raises the most money for the event. Contestants often find a local business sponsor and spend the weeks prior to and during the night of competition raising money. “The Big Brothers Big Sisters program is an investment in the future of our area,” said Boris Dover, president and COO of First Community Bank. “We are excited to do our part in bringing our community together for a fun event that pays off by impacting the lives of at-risk children. The great thing about Karaoke for a Cause is that it doesn’t matter whether you have a great voice or not. Changing the lives of children is truly the most beautiful music of all.” According to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, children from single parent households are at greater risks from negative influences and are more likely to perform poorly in school or become involved in drug and alcohol use. By partnering at-risk children with carefully screened positive role models, or “bigs,” the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization helps children beat the odds. “While there is absolutely no cost to the children in our “bigs” program, there are expenses involved in running the program,” said Jennifer Rodgers, development director of Big Brothers Big Sisters for Batesville. “We are excited about this year’s big Karaoke fundraiser and we are particularly grateful to First Community Bank for again agreeing to be our presenting sponsor.” If you are interested in participating in Karaoke for a Cause, contact Jennifer Rodgers at (870) 612-8888 by Aug. 1

Collins-Smith announces bid for State Senate


Reining in runaway government is the most important work of the Arkansas legislature, said former State Representative Linda Collins-Smith in announcing she will run for the District 19 State Senate seat in 2014. Collins-Smith, a hotel owner and conservative activist, served from 2010-12 in the Arkansas House representing Randolph and Sharp counties. She narrowly lost a 2012 bid for the District 19 Senate seat, which includes all or parts of Independence, Izard, Sharp, Fulton, and Randolph counties. “Obamacare has come to Arkansas and we already are seeing the disastrous effects,” said Collins-Smith. “Insurance plans are being cancelled and premium rates for new policies are through the roof. Medicaid expansion is causing more government bureaucracy and if we fail to act now, large tax increases are inevitable in the coming years. “As your state senator, I will use all means available to control government expansion, and I will press our congressmen and senators to vote to repeal the entire Obamacare law,” she said. On the issues of jobs and the economy, Collins-Smith said Arkansas’s abundant resources and culture of hard-working, independent people make it a prime location for economic prosperity but “it hasn’t happened because we have treated businesses as income generators for the government, rather than job providers for our citizens.” She said Arkansas has the highest tax burden per capita of any surrounding state. “We can’t compete for the jobs we need because employers who want to locate here can go any direction and pay lower taxes.” She said that to be competitive, “…we must allow businesses to grow and prosper through lower taxes and less government regulation. Texas has been doing this successfully for years, and Arkansas can too.” Collins-Smith also said she believes the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms means what it says. A relentless pro-life advocate, Collins-Smith also believes the Declaration of Independence affirmation of God-given rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is foundational, and extends to babies in the womb. “I have no ambition to be a career politician,” she said, “but I have a burning desire to be a State Senator the people can trust to listen to them, and to vote like I say I will during my campaign for office.  I have no patience with politicians who talk about how conservative they are, who then go and vote against those very values because of political pressures.” Collins-Smith has spent her career as a business woman and entrepreneur.  She has worked as a regional sales manager, a nationally recognized real estate agent, a commissioner with the Arkansas Ethics Commission, president of the Arkansas Lodging Association, and a member of the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Council.  She and her husband, along with their children and grandchildren, own and operate hotel and motel businesses in Pocahontas. She said her experience in the business world has allowed her to understand first-hand the stifling effect of heavy taxation and government over-regulation on the jobs that hard-working people need, and on the businesses – especially small businesses – that are the main providers of those jobs. “The voters of District 19 deserve a voice in Little Rock that will hold fast to the values they believe in,” said Collins-Smith.  “I don’t make a lot of campaign promises, but I do make this one:  As your Senator, I will be the same at the State Capitol as I am here at home, and no political pressure will cause me sacrifice my core values.”

Robertson appearance in Newport re-scheduled to Aug. 23

A shooting commitment for A&E’s Duck Dynasty television show has forced Missy Robertson, a member of the Robertson “Duck Commander” clan, to re-schedule her Aug. 2 appearance at Harris Hospital’s Healthy Woman Women’s Health Expo and Vendor Fair in Newport. The new date for the conference and Robertson’s appearance is now Saturday, Aug. 23, at Arkansas State University-Newport’s Student Community Center’s Center for the Arts, 7648 Victory Blvd. in Newport. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $55 for a “Meet and Greet Backstage Pass” ticket and can be purchased online at For more information, call (870) 523-8911.