The number of recoveries in Lawrence County outpaced the number of new cases of COVID-19 during the past week, resulting in a slight reduction of active cases among county residents.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, as of Tuesday, there were 219 active cases among Lawrence County residents, down nine from the 228 reported the previous week.
The ADH website reported 132 new cases for the county with a new cumulative case count of 2,968 up from 2,836 a week ago.
A total of 141 were added to the recovered list, bringing that cumulative total to 2,702 up from the 2,561 reported a week prior.
After four new Covid-related deaths were reported during the previous two-week period, this week saw no change in that total, which remained at 47.
Mable Humble of Walnut Ridge was the center of attention on Saturday, and rightly so, as she celebrated her 100th birthday.
She was honored with a gathering including her children, Ruth Miller of St. Louis, Daniel Humble of Brinkley and David Humble of Japan, as well as extended family. They enjoyed cake, provided by her Sunday school class, and fellowship to mark the occasion.
In addition, a drive-through celebration was held at First Baptist Church in Walnut Ridge, rather than an indoor event. Many came through to share birthday greetings with Humble, who was seated under the portico at the church.
Humble’s yard was also decorated or the occasion, with a giant “100” surrounded by decorative cutouts of gifts, flowers, candles, a birthday cake and more.
Still living on her own, Humble will be remembered by many for her role at Southern Baptist College (now Williams Baptist University), where her late husband, Dr. Earl Humble, was a professor. She assisted him and was an office worker for the college. Prior to that he served as a pastor at numerous churches with his wife at his side.
Friend and fellow church member at First Baptist, Elizabeth Lacy, said Humble was raised on a farm and knew her share of struggles in life.
“She’s not had a real easy life,” Lacy said. “She knows what hard work is.”
That life made her tough, though, and that toughness has helped her these past couple years after she suffered a fall that resulted in a broken bone in her neck that requires her to wear a brace and then underwent hip replacement surgery earlier this year at 99.
“She is tough,” Lacy said. “She’s been very uncomfortable, I’m sure, but she’s not a complainer.”
Humble was presented with a bouquet of roses from her Sunday school class and also received flowers from many others to mark the occasion.
“She loves her flowers,” Lacy said, noting that before she had to downsize her home she had the most beautiful rose garden.
The Board of Trustees at Williams Baptist University elected its officers for the coming year Friday. The board, meeting in regular session on the WBU campus, also heard good news about the university’s enrollment climbing for the third consecutive year.
Dr. Jody Smotherman of Batesville will serve as board chair for the coming year. Smotherman, who is the chief strategy officer with the White River Health System, was elected unanimously by his fellow board members.
“We took time to thank one good friend for his exemplary service, and to welcome another good friend into the chairman’s position,” said WBU President Dr. Stan Norman. “Dr. Smotherman has served a number of years on our board and has been a faithful supporter, plus he has a daughter enrolled at Williams. He believes passionately in WBU’s Christ-centered mission, and we are excited to have him leading the board.”
Smotherman will replace Dave Russell of Jonesboro, who has served as chair for the past three years. Russell, who is president of Tekla Research, is rotating off the board when his term expires this fall.
“I can’t adequately express my appreciation for Dave Russell’s service and his friendship,” Norman said. “We have benefited tremendously from his wisdom as a leader and from his generosity toward WBU. His board term is expiring, but he and Debi will remain a vital and active part of what we do at Williams.”
Other board officers for the coming year will be J.R. Cox of Walnut Ridge, who will serve as vice-chair, and Jamar Andrews of Jonesboro, who will be secretary. Cox and his family operate Cox Equipment in Hoxie, and Andrews serves as the pastor of Word Baptist Church.
The board heard details on WBU’s strong fall enrollment numbers. On-campus enrollment climbed 3.5 percent since last fall. Over the past three years, enrollment on the Walnut Ridge campus has increased by 31 percent. Total enrollment, which includes on-campus, online and off-campus numbers, grew to 629 this fall.
“WBU experienced this growth even in the midst of a pandemic that seriously hindered our traditional student recruitment activities,” the president noted. “The board joined me in expressing our deepest appreciation to the enrollment management team and the entire WBU campus family. This was a true team effort. Above all, we thank God for his providence in once again blessing Williams in this way.”
The WBU Board of Trustees is composed of 24 members from around the state, and they are appointed by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. The board meets three times annually.
Ron Ingram of Walnut Ridge has officially announced his intention to run for Lawrence County judge following an announcement by County Judge John Thomison that he will not seek re-election.
“My wife Keri and I were both born in Lawrence County and are lifelong residents of Lawrence County,” Ingram said in his announcement. “We have one son, Hunter, and his wife, Macee, who also live in Lawrence County. My wife, son and I all graduated from Lawrence County Schools.”
Ingram is currently the president of MEB Trailer Mfg., a family-owned business that was established in 1989.
“I am a conservative business man that believes in accountability, integrity, transparency, honor and dignity,” Ingram said.
He has served on the Lawrence County Quorum Court for the last six years and the Walnut Ridge Airport Commission for the last eight years.
“I feel this experience has prepared me to serve as Lawrence County judge,” he said.
Ingram has also served 10 years on the Lawrence County School Board and is a longtime member of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, having served a four-year term on the Chamber Board of Directors.
“I am a member of First Baptist Church in Walnut Ridge,” he said. “I am extremely involved in the community, and I feel that I am ready for the position of Lawrence County judge. Lawrence County means a lot to me and my family, and it would be an honor to serve the citizens as your Lawrence County judge.”
A Walnut Ridge woman was killed in a one-vehicle accident in Sharp County, according to the preliminary crash summary released by the Arkansas State Police.
Melissa R. Ragan, 51, was traveling southbound on Highway 63 at Martin Creek at 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 when the vehicle failed to negotiate a curve and crossed the centerline.
The 2005 Pontiac Montana then left the roadway and struck the tree line sideways, causing the vehicle to roll several times. The driver was ejected from the vehicle.
A memorial service for Ragan will be held at House-Gregg Funeral Home in Walnut Ridge at a later date. A full obituary can be found inside this edition of The Times Dispatch.