April 29, 2009 Edition

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WR Council members
assist with storm cleanup



Alderman Michael "Button" operates his equipment to aid in the cleanup.
Frank Witowski Jr.
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council members went beyond the call of duty Saturday morning as they volunteered their labor in the ongoing cleanup efforts following late January's devastating ice storm.

Alderman Michael "Button" Wallin said a lot of the storm cleanup has been completed, but there is still work to be done. "We started looking around and knew there were elderly [residents] who had no means of cleaning up their yards and moving the brush." For this reason, the city council called a workday to help the elderly.

Besides giving his time and effort, Wallin donated the use of his equipment for the endeavor. Wallin, along with his son Michael "Zip" Wallin, Alderman Spencer Ponder, Alderman Jonathan Sanders, Fire Chief Alan Haskins and volunteer Kandy Hart worked sawing limbs, cutting fallen trees down and removing debris. Wallin noted that Mayor Michelle Rogers had intentions to help but was ill at the time.

Walnut Ridge Alderman Johnnie Fears, who has been recovering from recent surgery, was among the individuals who were assisted with yard cleanup. "I appreciate all the hard work," Fears said. "This city has worked hard and long hours [in the wake of the storm]."

The city council members are considering a second day of cleanup for the elderly if it is needed. Besides performing cleanup at individual homes Saturday morning, they took down limbs that were still hanging over streets that posed a possible threat if they collapsed.

Council members noted that initially the fire department was very instrumental in clearing up the streets in the storm's aftermath as some people were literally trapped in their houses.

The street department has been working day and night since the initial cleanup began. "For as much as they had to do, it's going well," the aldermen said.

Although much has been done, the damaging effects from the ice storm are still visible throughout the city, and more tree limbs will need to be cut down that were damaged and pose possible threats of collapsing. Cleanup efforts on the Williams Baptist College campus also continue on a regular basis.

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