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Beatles symposium speakers to raise money for local fire dept.
It all started when one of the remarkable guest speakers for the 2016 Beatles at the Ridge Authors and Artists Symposium, taking place this weekend, Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17, offered to donate proceeds to a worthy cause in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.
"Giving to Walnut Ridge, the community that is welcoming us so warmly, was the idea of one of our honored guests, one who prefers to remain anonymous," Symposium Chairperson Jude Southerland Kessler explains. "It was a really loving gesture. So I contacted Mayor Charles Snapp and asked him what we could do to help the town."
Mayor Snapp knew immediately where local need was the greatest. "All of our municipal groups are excellent, and donating to any of them would have been a blessing," Snapp said, "but it just so happens that we had just have a bit of a situation involving the Walnut Ridge Fire Department. And because of that experience, funds right now are low."
"Early in 2016, the City of Walnut Ridge received a Freedom of Information Act request referencing a 'Fire Tax' the City has had on the water bill since 1955. However, we did not have a tax, per se. We had an approved city ordinance to fund the Fire Department, a fee that was instituted in early 1955."
In order to bring Walnut Ridge's Fire Department funding method in line with 2016 practices, changes had to be made. All citizens were notified of those changes, and refunds were offered to anyone who had been paying for the Fire Department via their water bill, by laws as established in 1955.
"To date, 183 families have asked for refunds," Mayor Snapp explained. "And therefore, the city of Walnut Ridge has been responsible for about $250,000 in payments." This rather sizable reimbursement was made immediately, but it leaves Walnut Ridge in need.
"The offer of outsiders, of artists and authors coming to our city from out of state, to help us fund our local heroes in the Walnut Ridge Fire Department is going to touch a lot of hearts and help a lot of people," Mayor Snapp commented. "These brave men and women of the Fire Department can use a pat on the back right now, and this is it!"
Every single author, artist, exhibitor, and vendor coming to Beatles at The Ridge's 2016 has jumped on the bandwagon and has readily agreed to donate some of his or her sales proceeds to the cause. Additionally, they will each place a firefighter's hat on the sales booth tables for donations to the cause.
"We want to make a difference and leave Walnut Ridge a happier place when we go," said Ivor Davis, featured author at the symposium, who toured with The Beatles in 1964 and served as a ghost writer for George Harrison. "We have been welcomed to the Ridge as family, and we want to help our family when they need us."
For more information on Beatles at the Ridge, go to www.beatlesattheridge.com. For more information on the Walnut Ridge Fire Department needs contact Mayor Charles Snapp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published September 15, 2016