Horatio Schools donates Winthrop property to city
Winthrop Donation – Horatio Superintendent Lee Smith and Winthrop Mayor Heather Long, seated, pose with members of the Horatio Board of Education and the Horatio student body during a press conference held this afternoon to inaugurate the official handing-over of the Winthrop school properties to the City of Winthrop. The Horatio School District has maintained ownership of the Winthrop properties since the school's consolidation in the 1990s, but starting last week the property is now a part of the Winthrop community.


HORATIO – The Horatio Public Schools Board of Education held a press release on Friday, Sept. 26 to announce its decision to transfer ownership of the Winthrop School property to the City of Winthrop.

During the event, Superintendent Lee Smith and Winthrop Mayor Heather Mitchell signed documents authorizing the donation of the properties for $10.

The event is the final step in the process that began under the leadership of former Horatio Superintendent John "Skipper" Ward, and the school board. The only provision under the agreement requires the property to be used solely for educational purposes.

"The Winthrop city council is honored to accept the old Winthrop school buildings from Horatio Schools," said Mitchell.

"These buildings hold a lot of memories for several generations and it will be our goal to preserve and restore the buildings for future generations."

Members of the Winthrop city council, the Horatio Board of Education, and the Horatio student body were present for the conference.
The former Winthrop grade school already houses a museum full of local history along with a veterans memorial room. The Winthrop restoration committee, along with the city council, hope to refurbish the gym and expand the museum to educate the next generations about Winthrop's history.

The donation also opens up new funding opportunities for organizers of the museum. "Now that it's ours, we're able to apply for more grants to help do the things we want to do," said Mitchell. "Our group has some good goals and visions for the future of these buildings."

For those not familiar with the old Winthrop grade school, its architecture is quite similar to that of the well-known schoolhouse in King. "It's a really beautiful building," said Mitchell. "It's just awesome that now we can expand out museum and our efforts into these other buildings of the school. This will go a long way towards preserving our history here."

The Winthrop restoration committee will hold a chili supper fundraiser on Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. in the Winthrop school museum.




Prisons and jobs: area legislators hope to secure corrections facility
Although far from certain, location of prison in southwest
Arkansas would bring needed economic development to region


By Patrick Massey


State legislatures from Southwest Arkansas say they are still working on a proposal to convince officials with the Arkansas Board of Corrections to consider the area as a prime spot to build a new 1,000-bed maximum-security prison.

The board announced its proposal to build a new prison after legislators met earlier this summer in special session to hammer out a solution to the growing number of state prisoners being held in county jails. Because of overcrowding issues in the state prison system, thousands of inmates are being instead held in county jails.

While several counties in Arkansas have expressed opposition to hosting the newly-proposed prison, others in the state are scrambling to submit proposals in the name of economic development.

State Representative Fonda Hawthorne - whose district covers Little River County, most of Sevier and a portion of Howard - said a new prison would bring a much-needed influx of jobs and investment to the area.

"This prison would bring 250 jobs to the area," she said. "The average starting pay would be around $12.75 so this could definitely be an economic boost to our area."

Indeed, many counties are thinking the same thing. Sebastian County, with its larger population and significant financial resources, has announced its intention to secure the new prison. In Arkansas at least, prisons are seen less now as pariahs and more so as sources of sorely-needed jobs.

The new prison would eventually expand to 2,000 beds and 500 employees. State prison officials said the proposed site would require at least 400 to 500, acres and ideally twice that figure. The facility would also need a sewer system with the ability to treat wastewater for 300 homes, or a town about the size of Horatio.

To read the complete article, please see the Sept. 11 edition of The De Queen Bee.

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Leading the way – De Queen High School assistant principal Tuffy Neely leads the Leopards onto the field against Mena. The season opener marked the start of a new De Queen tradition of the team being led on the field by someone who has made significant contributions to the Leopard program. Before moving into administration Neely was a longtime Leopard track and football coach. During his days as a De Queen student Neely quarterbacked the Leopards to a conference title in football and ran on three conference champion and one state champion track team. Neely is still in the Leopard track and field record book as a member of the fastest DHS mile relay team.



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