September 10, 2008 Edition

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JPs offer compensation
to election commission

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

The Quorum Court has approved measures to compensate the Lawrence County election commissioners for their work, as well as provide them with a place to complete their tasks.

County Judge Alex Latham said commissioners have been asked to keep up with the hours they put in while working on an election so that they can be paid for their time.

"We don't have a paid election coordinator like some counties do," he said. "They put in a lot of time when there's an election."

Office space for the Election Commission has also been designated in the Lawrence County Community Building off the meeting room. The office space will be shared with the Literacy Council, according to Latham.

Commissioners are putting together a list of items needed for the office. Latham said most of the items should be able to come from excess equipment in other county offices.

Justices endorse plan for Hwy. 67

Also during Monday's meeting, the justices unanimously passed a resolution endorsing a redevelopment plan for Highway 67. Clay Sloan, representing the Highway 67 Coalition, presented information on the redevelopment plan.

"In the interest of completing this project faster, increasing commerce and reducing cost, it is proposed to make Highway 67 from Walnut Ridge to the state line a four or five lane highway, not an interstate as was originally designed," Sloan said. "This will allow the road to be in place in 20 years, or half the time it is estimated that an interstate would be built."

Sloan, who is also a member of Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Board, stated that support is being sought not only from Lawrence County, but also from Randolph County, and the cities of Walnut Ridge, Hoxie, Pocahontas and Corning. Presently the interstate is developed to Newport. It is estimated that it will take another 10 years to develop the road from Newport to Walnut Ridge.

Phyllis Woodard of Lynn presented a statement from Darrell Geurin regarding his previous discussion with the justices regarding the use of out-of-county gravel on Lawrence County roads.

His statement thanks the court for allowing him to express his opinion and recognized several justices for their courteousness during his presentations. He also reinforced that he believes the county could save 65 to 70 percent in fuel cost by using local gravel.

"Not having to travel outside our county will save also on wear and tear of equipment and time saved traveling can result in more loads of gravel for Lawrence County roads. Fuel savings, wear and tear, time savings and added upkeep for our roads certainly seems like good economics to me," his statement read.

"The rationale given for not using the gravel in Lawrence County was that it was of a lower quality; or (consisted of) too much dirt" the statement continued. "I believe the test result in the decision not to use our county gravel was flawed. There is high quality gravel in Lawrence County. There is high quality gravel in Sharp County, also. There is quality gravel in several counties."

In other business:

  • A $750 donation to support the Lawrence County 4-H program was unanimously approved. Interest was also expressed in having 4-H members speak to the court about their activities and accomplishments.

  • Justice Junior Briner discussed the development of a committee that would include Judge Larry Hayes, district court judge, to guide the renovation of the new courtroom that will occupy the old library building.

  • Jerry Wayne Morgan commended the efforts to keep the roads in repair and discussed the need of gravel and road upkeep in the Lynn and Eaton area, especially before harvest time.

  • The court appropriated $1,300 to fund a disaster drill to be held at Black River Fire Training Center on Sept. 29 at 9 a.m. The funding was received through a grant. Sherri Sparks reported that at present time expenses were only $1,100 for the day's events.

  • Funds received from a Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) in the amount of $4,500 were appropriated for the Sheriff's Department to purchase tasers.

  • Briner commended the library staff for the development of the new library. "It is something this community can be proud of," Briner said.

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