LaDonna McCormack had hoped to have a new heart by Christmas.
She didn't get it, but she got the next best thing: a tiny heart pump that is literally saving her life every day.
The Heart Mate II LVAD, or left ventricle assist device, was implanted just beneath her heart a few months ago. Though McCormack's lifestyle has been modified as a result, she faces the future with optimism and gratitude for the additional years this modern medical miracle is giving her.
In the early morning hours of Dec. 20, 1996, Oklahoma University ballerina Juli Busken disappeared from her apartment complex in east Norman.
A man she had never met made certain she would never return to her temporary home nor to her family home in Benton. Her body was found about 12 hours later on the shores of Lake Stanley Draper in Oklahoma City, where she had been bound, raped and shot to death.
Charles Nathan Garrett, age 82, of Springdale, passed away Friday, Dec. 23, 2011.Â He was born in Saline County, Arkansas on Feb. 15 in the year 1929.Â
Nathan was the firstborn child of Charles Dewey and Alberta Johnson Garrett.Â
Â He loved hunting and fishing and was an instructor for hunter safety with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.Â
After retiring from the Arkansas Highway Department in 1987, Nathan became active in â€śCampers on Missionâ€ť and Arkansas Disaster Relief.Â He was a longtime member of Life Line Baptist Church in Little Rocks.Â
Linda Darlene Woods, age 65, of Bauxite passed away Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011.Â She was born Aug. 7, 1946 in Bonham, Texas, to Sam E. Cockrill and Violet Lorene Cockrill.
Mrs. Woods was a physicianâ€™s assistant and a member of Trinity Baptist Church in Benton.
For the past 10 years, the Benton Police Department has instilled a program that not only bridges the gap between officers and citizens, it is a chance for officers to connect and listen to citizens.
Karen Derfler Carter, secretary for Roller-Ballard Funeral Home in Benton, has been chosen as the 2011 Christine Roller Employee of the Year.
The award is given to the individual who demonstrates outstanding service and dedication to families served by Roller Funeral Homes.
A spokesman for the corporation said the honor is presented annually to the employee within the Roller organization who "best exemplifies the traits and skills demonstrated by the firm's founders, Denver and Christine Roller."
Carter joined the funeral home staff in June of 1984.
More than 70 bicycles for people of all sizes and ages, along with a plethora of various toys â€” $25,000 worth â€” filled a portion of the Benton Middle School cafeteria on Wednesday.
All those bikes and toys, thanks to the student-operated Elf Club, will spread Christmas cheer to hundreds of less fortunate families in Saline County.
"This day is all they (students) talked about," said Cindy Haltom, Benton Middle School teacher and Elf Club co-sponsor.
Christmas came early this week for a local nonprofit agency that for many years has fought an uphill battle to provide a refuge for creatures that have no other place to call home.
The Humane Society of Saline County on Wednesday became the grateful recipient of a $41,734 gift from the Ken Young Co.
This gift represented the profits from a house Young's company recently completed in this county.
"This is the largest single cash donation the Humane Society has ever received," said Ann Sanders, president of the organization.
Jeanne Claire McLeroy Kelley, 80, passed away Monday, Dec.19. She was born July 11, 1931 in Yonkers, New York. Jeanne was a retired Certified Nurses Assistant, Member and Past Secretary of Woodman Of The World Lodge #168 of Benton and a member of Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in Traskwood. She was preceded in death by her parents, James and Fern Besacon McLeroy. Â
Daisy Pierce Ward, 67, of Benton died Tuesday, Dec. 20. She was born July 13, 1944 in Benton.
Daisy was a retired nurses assistant and of the Baptist Faith.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Garland and Georgie Owen Pierce; her husband, George Earl Ward; and a daughter-in-law, Charlotte Neal.