January 14, 2009 Edition

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Judge pleased
with county's finances

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

County Judge Alex Latham said in his state of the county address on Monday, "Even though the spring flood and $4-a-gallon diesel presented big bumps in the road, I am grateful that our county finished 2008 in the black financially and is in solid shape at this point."

Latham praised the accomplishments of the county employees in a collective job well done. He also expressed appreciation for the monetary aid sent to the county by the federal government to help with extensive flood damage.

Dan Ellison, Lawrence County sheriff, requested and received approval of an ordinance that would assess a $5 fine to misdemeanor charges. At present, the fines would be collected to help fund upkeep on the county jail. This fine is expected to increase to $15 in July of 2009. Randolph County, cited as a comparison county, has had this ordinance in effect and collected over $16,000 during 2008.

Another ordinance was approved that raised the fee collected by the Lawrence County Health Department for health card certification from $3 to $5. The health cards are required by schools, food handlers and healthcare facilities to certify that an individual does not have tuberculosis.

Jessica Wheeless, Lawrence County 4-H state journal winner, described her experience in attending the National 4-H Congress held in Atlanta. Wheeless, a senior at Walnut Ridge High School, is now eligible to apply for special 4-H scholarships.

"I gained an understanding from this experience that hard work really does pay off," Wheeless said.

Appointments were made to the budget committee for 2009. Members are Junior Briner, Jim Jones, Bob Smith, Dean Davis and Doug Wayland. Meetings were set for the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m.

Jeff Reese was welcomed as the newest member of the Quorum Court. He represents District 3 and will be in office for two years. Reese was born in Walnut Ridge and raised in Black Rock. He now lives in Powhatan.

"I am looking forward to getting more involved and helping where I can," he said.

In other business:

  • the formation of a Lawrence County Rural Fire District was approved.

  • Justice Craig Stone was appointed to attend meetings hosted by the Association of Arkansas Counties.

  • Cathy Coker was appointed to the Lawrence County Library Board.

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