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Delta's $2M going to 12 communities

WASHINGTON -- The Delta Regional Authority will provide $2 million in funding for Arkansas projects in a dozen communities, the agency announced Wednesday.

That includes $275,000 for water infrastructure in Wilson; $267,676 to help build an educational facility in Newport; and $256,565 for workforce training in Little Rock. McGehee will receive $250,000 for new digital radiography equipment; Helena-West Helena will get $225,000 to shore up its sewage treatment system; and El Dorado will be awarded $200,000 for a culinary arts center.

Six other communities will receive money for wastewater system projects: Altheimer ($188,000); Newark ($145,212); Wynne ($87,167); McCrory ($80,750); Datto ($42,100); and St Charles ($23,155).

Delta authority chairman Chris Caldwell portrayed the grants as money well spent.

"Every time we invest in critical infrastructure improvements, we are making a commitment to improving lives, growing jobs and enhancing economic competitiveness across the Delta region," he said in a written statement.

Created by Congress in 2000 with the support of then-President Bill Clinton, the Delta Regional Authority covers parts of seven states along the Mississippi River plus Alabama, and encompasses 252 counties and parishes, many of them with high rates of poverty.

Bill aims to widen farewells for vets

As a member of the Old Guard, the U.S. Army's official ceremonial unit, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., helped provide fitting farewells for people being buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

But the veterans' send-offs, he discovered, aren't always equal. Typically, they all are accompanied by a bugle, an honor guard and a rifle volley. Caissons, color guards and military bands, on the other hand, accompany only former officers and those killed in action.

In some instances, Cotton maintains, that standard is too narrow. His Full Military Honors Act of 2018 aims to broaden it.

"The rank of a Medal of Honor recipient or POW should not be the final measure of their service to this country. Instead, their courageous actions and the sacrifices they made should be enough to prove their dedication, and their funeral honors must reflect the same," Cotton said in a news release. "Passage of this bill will show the families of the deceased and members of our military that the United States will always honor its veterans appropriately for their service."

The measure has the support of the numerous organizations, including the American Legion and the National League of POW/MIA Families.

Cotton introduced his bill Sept. 27. Similar legislation has been filed in the House.

Slater builds ties in trip to Baltics

Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater traveled to the Baltics this month, spending time in Riga, Latvia, Tallinn and Estonia.

Slater, who grew up in Marianna, serves on the board of directors of the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation. The organization's mission is "to enrich the ties between the United States and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania through programs of education and exchange centering on economic growth and democratic processes."

The three Baltic countries share a border with Russia. During the 20th century, they endured occupation by Soviet and Nazi forces.

After nearly a half-century of Soviet rule, the three nations regained their independence in the early 1990s. Allied with the United States, they have been members of NATO since 2004.

Slater's itinerary included a visit with the U.S. ambassador to Latvia, a tour of Latvia's parliament and a stop in Tallinn's old town, which dates to medieval times.

The area has been designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO.

UALR educator makes D.C. visit

The chairman of the Department of Engineering Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock attended the Engineering Technology Leadership Institute in Arlington, Va., earlier this month.

Srikanth Pidugu also stopped by Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of engineering technology education. In addition to leading his department, Pidugu is program coordinator for the school's Mechanical Engineering Technology program,

The 43rd annual institute, which was sponsored by Lockheed Martin, is affiliated with the American Society for Engineering Education.

In a news release, Pidugu said the visit with congressional staff members was an opportunity to advocate and "potentially help influence policy and expand the awareness of engineering technology programs and our graduates."

Planning to visit the nation's capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Please contact Frank Lockwood at (202) 662-7690 or flockwood@arkansasonline.com. Want the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Washington bureau? It's available on Twitter, @LockwoodFrank.

SundayMonday on 10/21/2018

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