Sunday, November 15, 2009

State Representative Lindsley Smith's legislative update in honor of Veterans Day 2009

Legislative Update‏
Sent: Sun 11/15/09 8:43 PM
In 1918, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month… the world rejoiced. An armistice was signed to end the “war to end all wars.” The following year, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th to be recognized as Armistice Day. Some two decades later, Congress voted to make November 11th a national holiday to include all veterans of America’s wars.
To honor the service of military personnel and veterans, the Arkansas House of Representatives, in concurrence with the Senate, enacted several pieces of legislation on their behalf during the 87th General Assembly.

· Act 30 of 2009 requires that all state flags on public buildings be lowered to honor and pay tribute to a member of the armed services, who is killed in action.
· Act 944 of 2009 eliminates the requirement that members of the National Guard or Reserve, who are teachers or school administrators, pay for the cost of a substitute employee when the member is on military leave.
· Act 214 of 2009 amends the Arkansas National Guard tuition incentive program by increasing the annual tuition incentive award up to five thousand dollars per eligible service member payable at $2,500 per semester.
· Act 232 of 2009, clarifies the Governor’s power to order the organized militia into active service for the purpose of working with state agencies in the planning and training for emergencies or disasters and to respond to emergencies or disasters.

Additionally, several pieces of legislation were enacted for special license plates to honor military personnel and veterans.

· Act 784 of 2009 creates a newly redesigned military license plate. The plates will be available beginning November 12, 2009, at Arkansas State Revenue Offices that issue special license plates.
· Act 651 of 2009 authorizes the issuance of a special license plate for Cold War veterans.
· Act 685 of 2009 allows the Department of Finance and Administration to issue Gold Star Family special license plates to spouses or parents of members of the armed forces killed in a conflict.
· Act 632 of 2009 amends the Special License Plate Act of 2005 to allow retired members of the armed forces of the United States to obtain special license plates for nominal fees.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation monthly meeting at 10:30 a.m. at the American Legion Post on Curtis Drive a few blocks north of 15th Street in Fayetteville

PO Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702
President Roger McClain called the meeting to order at 10:30.
Recited Pledge of Allegiance
Harold Crivello offered the prayer
1. Jake Lamkins moved, 2nd Aubrey Shepherd the approval of the minutes. Minutes approved.
2. Harold Crivello presented the Financial Statement. Jake Lamkins moved 2nd Beverly Swaim approval of the statement as presented. Motion passed.
3. Harold Crivello suggested we consider getting a CD for $5k at the August meeting. We need to review at October meeting.
4. Wes Stites reviewed donations to date for the 5K Run and led discussion of what we need to do day of event.
1. Ron Butler discussed meeting with Steve Gray regarding the Bartholomew property. The property is still for sale and any sale of the 3 acres that include the parking area would be between the National Cemetery System and Mr. Bartholomew. We would not have any involvement with this.
2. Lot 15 is available for sale. Owner will be getting appraised value he wants and calling back.
1. Everyone please take a few minutes to write a letter to the editor regarding the cemetery. Bring copies of your letter to the next meeting. IF WE DON’T DO THIS, WE WILL BE IN THE SAME SHAPE NEXT YEAR.
2. The VSO office is located on the County South Campus close to the jail. Everyone feel free to stop by and see the new location. They are there to help all veterans
The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Peggy McClain, Secretary
NEXT MEETING 14 November 2009 10:30 a.m. at the Fayetteville American Legion Post 27
Peggy McClain

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Deanna Duplanti of Fayetteville was pleased with the military-style dog tags appropriate trophies for runners in the Veterans Memorial 5K run on November 7, 2009, at the Fayetteville National Cemetery

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Dog tag trophies Vet 5K DSCN7263

Veterans Memorial 5K Race banner at Fayetteville National Cemetery on November 7, 2009, honors top donors: Tyson Foods Inc. donated $1,000 while Hogeye Inc. donated $500 plus pride pins on cards commemorating the inaugural running of the event for all runners

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Veterans Memorial 5 K on November 7, 2009, at the Fayetteville National Cemetery"DSCN7025

Frank Arellano, 43, of Rogers, who previously won his age group in a race at Eureka Springs, wins Veterans Memorial 5K at Fayetteville National Cemetery on Nov. 7, 2009

Frank Arellano, 43, of Eureka Springs wins Veterans Memorial 5K in 17 minutes, 44.2 seconds on November 7, 2009. The race raised money for the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. It began at the Fayetteville National Cemetery
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Rendy Williams wins women's division of Veterans Memorial 5K race at the Fayetteville National Cemetery on November 7, 2009; women's results listed below

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Rendy Williams of Hot Springs, Arkansas, wins women's division of the Veterans Memorial 5K on November 7, 2009, at the Fayetteville National CemeteryDSCN7210
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Veterans Memorial top 30 women finishers at Fayetteville National Cemetery on November 7, 200909

Northwest Arkansas Times reports on Veterans Memorial 5K with nice background article but lists only overall winner

Race Promotes Expanding Cemetery Borders
By Kate Ward
Sunday, November 8, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE — A race across town brought Fayetteville National Cemetery supporters a step closer to expanding property borders on Saturday.
Hosted by the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. the Veteran’s Memorial 5K race marked the group’s first official fundraiser aimed at purchasing the property along Hill Street (Actually South Hill Avenue) to expand the cemetery’s existing acreage.
“We’ve been raising funds for a long time through donations from individuals and various veteran organizations,” said Wesley Stites, race coordinator. “This is a small organization and we don’t have that many people involved. We’d like to attract more attention to our cause and create more expansive goals.”
The group was organized in 1984 to aid in the expansion and improvement of the Fayetteville National Cemetery. The site was established after the Civil War in 1867 as the final resting place for Union soldiers killed in nearby battles. During the past five years, the nonprofit group has aided in expanding the property by 120 percent.
“We’ve been doing this for 25 years,” Stites said. “We’re in this for the long run. No matter how successful you are, there’s always going to be a need for more land. The World War II generation is passing away in enormous numbers. If we don’t stay ahead of things, the cemetery would close in, perhaps, a dozen years. It’s up to us to keep it open.”
Now administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Stites said the cemetery nearly closed in the 1980s, when just a handful of burial sites remained and no federal funding was available. During the past 25 years, the group has purchased houses and lots bordering the site, cleared the land and deeded the property to the federal government to expand the cemetery.
“There are a lot of people who don’t appreciate the fact that Fayetteville is really blessed to have a national cemetery,” Stites said. “There are 11 states that don’t even have one. Arkansas is fortunate enough to have three, two of which are still open. If the cemetery closes, the VA will not be opening a new one near Fayetteville in anyone’s lifetime.”
Blogger's note:
(By the word "closing" the speaker is talking about running out of space for burials. The cemetery would continue to exist and be maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs if space for new burials ran out.)
While there was previous controversy surrounding the purchase of the Washington County Livestock Auction Barn owned by Billy Joe Bartholomew, Stites said the site is too costly for the group to purchase.
“We would love to be able to buy the sale barn and turn that land over to the cemetery, but unless a major donor comes forward, it’s just not realistic,” he said. “Mr. Bartholomew has been a longtime supporter of the cemetery and he even allowed us to start the race on his property.”
Saturday’s race attracted more than 100 area residents. The event started at the national cemetery on Government Street (Actually South Government Avenue) in south Fayetteville, traveled to Wilson Park and looped back around to the starting line.
Rogers resident Frank Arellano, 43, took first place, finishing in just 17 minutes and 44 seconds.
“I had the option of running in a promotional race in Bella Vista, but this was a more important cause to me,” he said. “My stepdad is a veteran and I really respect all those people who risk their lives for our country and for our communities.”
Although Tontitown resident Janet Taylor sat out for this year’s run, she played an integral role behind the scenes in coordinating the event.
“I’m an Army veteran and I work at the VA,” she said. “Whenever there’s an event that supports veterans, I try to be there. I also helped organize a veterans run for the VA in July and I wanted to share some of the tips I learned for this group’s first fundraiser.”
Stites said he was satisfied with the outcome of the race, adding that it likely raised more than a couple (of) thousand dollars.
“There’s a tremendous amount of history in this cemetery,” he said. “It houses those who’ve been killed in every conflict, including Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t have any friends or family buried here and I’m not a veteran, but I think it’s important enough to spend the time and money to make sure it stays open. It’s our way of saying ‘we respect the sacrifices you’ve made for us.’”
For more information about the group or to make a donation, go to

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Air Force and other services represented by runners in Veterans Memorial 5 on November 7, 2009

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Air Force veteran running on Prairie Street stretch of Veterans Memorial 5 K on November 7, 2009DSCN7095

Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation volunteers make a success of Veterans Memorial 5K with the help of sponsors and donors

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Veterans Memorial 5K entry form for Saturday, November 7, 2009

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5K Entry form 09
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Please click on image to ENLARGE view of a sample of items that will be in the goody bags of the first 300 runners who sign up for the Nov. 7, 2009, Veterans 5K.
Please click on image to go to Flickr page to Enlarge logos of first two major sponsors of the Veterans' 5K race set for November 7, 2009, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Bank of Fayetteville ad 09
Condom Sense 09