March 12, 2008 Edition

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JPs approve land swap with Hoxie

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

The Lawrence County Quorum Court approved a land swap between the county and the city of Hoxie at its regular meeting Monday night.

County Attorney Dick Jarboe presented the ordinance, which calls for the release of a parcel of land that lies between the two lanes of Highway 63B at the intersection with Highway 67B from the county to the city of Hoxie.

The land was previously released by the Arkansas Highway Department to Lawrence County. In exchange, the county would receive two lots in the Boas Raney Addition.

County Judge Alex Latham said the exchange made sense for both parties.

"This will be a positive land swap for Hoxie," he said. "The land will be much more valuable to Hoxie, because they can make better use of the land than the county."

Also on Monday, Lee Turnbull, election commissioner, addressed the court regarding the Feb. 5 election, electoral problems overcome and progress made by the election commissioners.

He reported that of the 3,318 votes cast on Feb. 5, there were only 256 paper ballots used. Turnbull predicted that the number of paper ballots used will continue to decrease. On Feb. 27, Election Commissioners Pat Whitmire, John Allen and Turnbull attended training to better understand election rules and procedures. More training for election officials and workers is planned, as well, according to Turnbull.

Turnbull then discussed the Election Commission's focus to better organize all electoral equipment and supplies by moving them from several locations to the new Lawrence County Community Center, located in the building donated to the county by Bob and Paula Hutcherson.

He said the move would allow a much smoother procedure during election time. All supplies would be issued and all information received from the one location.

Over time the weight of elections has fallen onto the shoulders of the county clerks' offices throughout the state. Turnbull said the vision and efforts of the present Election Commission is to independently complete the election process then transmit results to the clerk. Purchases, including computer, Internet and a telephone line, among other items, would be needed to reach that goal.

Justice Bob Smith expressed a concern regarding a back-up location in case of emergency. There is no present contingency plan in place.

No action was taken by the court.

In other business, the court:

  • approved a resolution requested by Harold Johnson to support two grant applications to the Arkansas Department of Rural Development for the continued development of the Walnut Ridge Army Flying School Museum.

    The museum will apply for the grant at two levels, $30,000 or $150,000, hoping to receive the larger amount. If received, the money will be used to complete outside improvements, along with the new World War II exhibit. It is also possible that funds could be used for a needed 25-by-80 foot expansion to be used for storage and equipment.

    "The Museum is being well-used by local school kids, homeschoolers and educators," Johnson told court members.

  • approved a resolution supporting the Lawrence County Fair Board Association's application for a $10,000 grant, also to the Arkansas Department of Rural Development. Funds would be used to repair and upgrade the rodeo arena fence.

  • renewed the lease on the county farm by the local Boy Scout troop for five years. It was clarified that 4-H has use of the arena, and the Boy Scouts use the woods.

  • voted to contribute $500 to help in the efforts to revitalize downtown Walnut Ridge through the Arkansas Downtown Network. A minimum of $4,200 is needed for seed money. Latham told justices that if efforts to raise funds are unsuccessful, all donations will be returned to donors.

  • appropriated $4,000 to the circuit clerk's office from the automation fund to train new personnel.

  • learned that courtroom bids are still being received.

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