Whitney represents WBC at State Capitol

Collin Whitney with Governor Asa Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson during Arkansas Scholastic Honors Day, April 30.WALNUT RIDGE - Every spring the top students from all Arkansas high schools travel to Little Rock for the Arkansas Scholastic Honors Day. Representatives from the state’s higher education institutions are also present, and this year junior Collin Whitney was the chosen ambassador for Williams Baptist College.

Having student ambassadors from Arkansas colleges and universities helps give college-bound seniors a chance to ask questions and make new friends as they prepare for their higher education experience, according to event organizers.  

All students who attend had the chance to meet Governor Asa Hutchinson and his wife, First Lady Susan Hutchinson.

“The Scholastic Honors Day was an excellent opportunity to meet Gov. Hutchinson, the First Lady of Arkansas, and represent Williams Baptist College,” said Whitney.  “The event recognized the top graduates from every high school across the state, and I considered it a high honor to represent Williams to these high caliber students.  WBC is special place, centered around Christian values, and it is important to spread the word and promote our institution.”

Whitney is from Searcy, and is double-majoring in Christian ministries and business administration.  He is the son of Brian and Jana Whitney of Searcy.


Hope Place in Warren receives $1,000 Entergy Arkansas grant

Wendy Curry, director of Hope Place in Warren, stacks diapers at the crisis pregnancy/family resource center. The Hope Place has been awarded a grant for $1,000 in baby supplies from Entergy Arkansas.WARREN – Hope Place, a crisis pregnancy/family resource center in Warren, has been awarded a grant for $1,000 in baby supplies from Entergy Arkansas.

The grant will provide diapers, wipes and two car seats for the center, which may be earned by clients who participate in the center’s parenting and life-skills classes. The classes are called the Earn While You Learn (EARN) program.

“Clients literally may EARN items they need for their babies,” said Wendy Curry, Hope Place director.

“Entergy is pleased to be able to help support Hope Place Warren. Healthy families are important to us, and Hope Place helps provide a service to mothers who need a little extra help during a time of need in their lives,” said Tandee White, Entergy customer service representative for the Warren area.

Hope Place Warren opened its doors on October 1, 2012. The center is open from 1-5 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Hope Place is not income-based. Biological parents or court-ordered guardians may take the parenting classes, according to Curry. Hope Place is faith-based and pro-life. Since Hope Place is a non-profit 501c(3) organization, it is necessary for the center to fundraise most of its income in order to provide this much needed resource to the area, Curry said.

In the past year, Hope Place has served 382 clients, among which seven babies were born. Additionally, the center assisted 43 clients in gaining employment, with six clients continuing their education. The center “proudly encourages clients to set goals and cheers them along to reach them,” said Curry.

“Hope Place Warren cannot put into words how appreciative they are for this grant. Thank you, Entergy, for supporting us in saving lives, encouraging education, building family unity and so much more,” she said.


Ouachita honors 331 graduates, awards honorary doctorate to Larry Kircher

Trennis Henderson

Ouachita Baptist University

ARKADELPHIA – Celebrating Ouachita Baptist University’s 129th spring commencement on May 14, university officials conferred a total of 337 degrees on 331 graduates, including Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees as well as Ouachita’s first Associate of Arts degrees earned through the university’s Ouachita at New Life Church program.

This year’s graduating class featured 142 honor graduates, including 21 who graduated summa cum laude with a grade point average of 3.95 or higher, 54 who graduated magna cum laude (3.75 GPA) and 67 who graduated cum laude (3.5 GPA). University officials also recognized 14 graduates who completed Ouachita’s Carl Goodson Honors Program and 32 members of the Alpha Chi national honor society. Also honored were three graduates who were commissioned with the rank of Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army: Benjamin Adcock, Joseph Hughes and Noah Myers.

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Dove Award-winning gospel artists, The Martins, in concert June 3 at Arkansas Governor’s Mansion

LITTLE ROCK – A traditional gospel singing featuring Arkansas’ own, The Martins, will be held 6:30 p.m., Friday, June 3, at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock.

The Dove Award winning and Grammy nominated trio (siblings, Joyce, Jonathan and Judy) originated in Hamburg, Arkansas and have enjoyed countless radio hits and performances at concert halls, arenas, auditoriums and churches worldwide. During the 1990s, The Martins rose to national and international success, showcasing their distinctive harmonies before a vast array of audiences, from singer/songwriter Bill Gaither’s multi-award winning Homecoming Video and Concert series to the White House to Carnegie Hall.

Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased online at All concert proceeds benefit the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Association, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that raises funds for the restoration and preservation of the Governor’s Mansion. For more information, call 501-324-9805.



Retha Kilmer, beloved music teacher-leader, dies at 54

Retha Kay Kilmer, 54, died May 5 after a long battle with cancer.  

Kilmer was a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia with a bachelor’s and master’s in music education.                                                                                     

She was preceded in death by her parents and an infant brother. She is survived by a brother.                                                                                           

Kilmer taught public school music for 29 years, with 23 of those being in the Malvern School District. She was named “Southwest Arkansas Choral Director of the Year” in 2004-2005 and 2011-2012. Her teaching helped many students to develop a love for music, to receive college scholarships in music, and to pursue careers in school and church music.                

She served on several church staffs throughout her teen and adult years, and at the time of her death, she had served as pianist at First Baptist Church of Sherwood for 22 years and was also the handbell director.     

She was an important part of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s music ministry, serving as state handbell consultant, an officer and keyboard player for the Master’Singers, the registrar and assistant director of JoyWorks and PraiseWorks worship arts camps, and accompanist at PraizFest state student choir event. She had a lasting influence on many young people through those events.                                       

A memorial service will be held May 14 at First Baptist Church of Sherwood. A special tribute service will be held May 15 at First Baptist Church in Malvern.