75 years ago
After finding that it would be necessary to remove one oak tree on the site of Faulkner County’s new $100,000 courthouse when the building lines were staked out by Architect George Wittenberg, County Judge J.A. Hutto recalled a provision in a 62-year-old deed that he needed to consult before he felt safe in permitting the tree to be cut down. The deed was that of the late Col. A.P. Robinson, engineer who supervised construction of the Little Rock and Fort Smith railroad and original owner of 640 acres of land embracing the south half of Conway and including the courthouse block. Robinson had donated the beautiful block of ground near the geographical center of Conway on which Faulkner County’s first two courthouses were erected and the third was soon to be built. The ground was covered with magnificent oaks, most of which still survived. Col. Robinson had inserted in his deed to the county that no trees or shrubbery would be cut except for the purposes of embellishment or for opening roads or paths to said buildings or views the same, unless the trees were decayed or dangerous. Judge Hutton decided it would be permissible to cut the one tree to make room for the new courthouse that would be placed directly in front of the present courthouse.
50 years ago
Results of the primary gave Joe Castleberry a fifth term as sheriff and collector of Faulkner County; gave T.D. Reedy a second term as county judge and made O.P. "Jack" Ward the county clerk, Bill Purtle the county treasurer and Jerrell Coker the tax assessor. W.H. "Bill" Sanson led a three-man race for representative and would enter the runoff primary in August. Wendell Bryant was unopposed in the re-nomination for circuit and chancery clerk, and Rufus Haydon was not opposed for re-nomination as surveyor. Gov. Orval F. Faubus swept Faulkner County in about the same manner in which he blitzed the state. Faulkner County also gave solid support to Rep. Dale Alford in his bid for a second term. Graham T. Nixon was the winner for senator in the 14th district.
25 years ago
The Conway varsity and junior varsity cheerleading squads received awards at the Universal Cheerleaders Association Camp held at the University of Central Arkansas. Varsity members attending were Chrissy Acuff, Lisa Clark, Tracy Gordy, Carla Helton, Margaret Henry, Kim Hensley, Bliss Jennings, Kelly Kelso, Lisa Marshall and Lisa Reed. Junior Varsity squad members consisted of: Gigi Allison, Lorri Baldus, Hydi Hyde, Heather Irby, Paige Kerr, Allison Malpica, Kristen Sanders, Amanda Scott and Melissa Williams. Shelley Spradlin received three blue ribbons as the school’s mascot, Cat B’lue.
10 years ago
From second lieutenant to the lofty station of brigadier general is the story of Ronald S. Chastain of Conway. The military man was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and received the command of the 39th Infantry Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, during recent ceremonies at Fort Chaffee. The new general now commands the largest National Guard brigade in Arkansas while in his civilian role he directs a vast federal farm program.
Coming from the small community of Branch, Chastain attended Arkansas Tech University where, after completing his training in the Reserve Officers Training Corps, he was awarded the rank of second
lieutenant. He went on to Fayetteville where he earned a master’s degree in biology from the University of Arkansas. He joined the National Guard in 1974 and compiled an outstanding record of achievement.
Throughout his career, he served in a variety of command and staff assignments in the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade, the 87th Troop Command and the 39th Infantry Brigade. More recently Chastain commanded
the 25th Rear Area Operations Center of the 18th Airborne Corps during the Desert Storm conflict. He is employed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency where he is responsible
for the federal farm commodity, conservation and emergency programs in Arkansas. He has been given numerous awards and decorations during his military career. Among his most notable awards were the
Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Clusters and the Bronze Star. The general has lived in Conway since 1986. He is married to the former Pamela Berry of Dover. The Chastains have two children, Lana
and Lance Chastain.