June 18, 2008 Edition

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WR postpones purchase
of cars for police dept.

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council discussed purchasing new police cars and hired a new attorney at last Tuesday's meeting.

Budget committee chairman Paula Haskins told the council that the committee had met and concluded the city needs to wait until fall or early winter before purchasing cars for the police department.

"With mosquito treatment costing so much money through the summer months, we need to wait until fall to purchase vehicles," Haskins said. "We don't want to let our general fund get too low in case of an emergency."

Alderman Ron Smith acknowledged that all conditions indicate that mosquitoes will be bad this summer. "But we're only speculating; they may not be. We need the police cars if we can possibly get them."

Walnut Ridge Police Chief Leslie "Gator" Gates told the council that the police department can make minor repairs on the cars they now have and get by with them until fall.

The purchase of police cars was tabled until further notice.

Mayor Michelle Rogers informed the council that former city attorney Larry Steele resigned his post effective May 31, so the city needs a new attorney.

She introduced Ryan Cooper, Lawrence County deputy prosecutor, who lives in Imboden and has an office in Walnut Ridge.

Cooper told the council he would like the job of handling the prosecution side of the city's legal business, and suggested they hire another attorney, paid on an hourly basis, to handle civil matters.

Several council members said they had heard only good things about Cooper, and Jason Quarry of the Walnut Ridge Police Departments told the council that Cooper had done an outstanding job for them in the past.

Alderman voted to hire Cooper, and he will begin work as soon as possible. The city will now need to hire someone to handle civil matters.

Mayor Rogers also told the council that the city has received a letter from the Walnut Ridge Country Club informing her that they have filed a lawsuit against the city and the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Commission. (See related story.)

In other business:

  • Mayor Rogers told the council that the city's fireworks display will be held at Stewart Park on July 5.

  • council members were encouraged by Haskins to attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting at noon on June 25 at the Lawrence County Community Room where the city will be named as part of the Downtown Network. Those attending will have a chance to see the PowerPoint presentation that played a role in the city's acceptance into the project.

  • the city was thanked by Ron Thomas for their help following his recent fall into a ditch in front of his home. "My special thanks go to Jim Poindexter, superintendent of the street department, who quickly placed a grate there to prevent further accidents," Thomas said.

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