June 16, 2010 Edition

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Sale of K2 to be
prohibited in WR

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge City Councilmen banned the use of "Spice" or "K2" within the city limits, established rules and regulations for those selling produce during Farmers' Market hours and approved a land swap between Williams Baptist College and the Walnut Ridge Airport during their meeting on June 8.

The council passes an ordinance effective immediately prohibiting the possession, sale, distribution, delivery, public display for sale and offering for sale a synthetic cannabinoid known as "Spice" or "K2." The substance is often used as an alternative to marijuana and is potentially dangerous to users. Hospitalizations have been reported in connection with the use of the substance, and its long-term effects are not yet known, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance also prohibits the use of any illegal smoking product which includes "Spice"/"K2", as well as tobacco, herbs, incense or any blend thereof which includes the chemicals found in that substance.

Violators of the ordinance can receive a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail.

"The Lawrence County Quorum Court is also in the process of passing an ordinance to ban this substance within the county," Mayor Michelle Rogers told the council.

Council members then addressed the problem of roadside sales of produce at other locations in town during the times of operation of the Farmers' Market. They passed an ordinance making it unlawful to use any public street, parking place or public sidewalk as a place of business to sell produce on Saturday mornings between the hours of 7 a.m. and noon while the market is open for business.

"People can sell produce at all other times as they have in the past," Rogers said. "If they want to sell their produce on Saturday mornings, they need to set up at the Farmers' Market across the street from the courthouse on Main Street."

There is no charge to sell produce at the market.

The council passed a resolution for a land swap with Williams Baptist College and executed their warranty deed to Storage Plus of Arkansas, Inc. Storage Plus has paid the rents and complied with a contract over a period of time to receive title to 10.1 acres near County Road 428.

The city, acting on behalf of the Walnut Ridge Airport Commission, traded 17.61 acres of land to WBC in exchange for 20 acres located along the highway.

Rogers told the council that WBC needed the property near the college to build a new girl's dormitory, and the land near the highway would be beneficial to the city.

In other business, the council:

  • voted to place stop signs at the intersection of Gum and Third streets. They agreed last month to make the intersection of Highland and Ridgecrest Drive a three-way stop.

  • agreed to begin the demolition of a house they previously condemned at 501 Northeast Fourth Street and asked that the owner of the property at 522 West Walnut be notified that the house has been condemned. The owner will then have 30 days to get the house up to code, or the city will take further action.

  • heard a report from Jim McMillon about the street light project he has been working on as a volunteer. "We've made pretty good progress here in town. We have only four more to repair or replace." He recommended the city officials run an article or ad in the paper asking citizens to call city hall when they notice a streetlight is not working. (The city pays a monthly fee for the lights whether they are working or not, he said.) Mayor Rogers thanked McMillon for all his work and told him it was greatly appreciated.

  • tabled a request to have a site used by the city to burn limbs and brush available to the public for the same purpose. The council will explore its options before next month's meeting. Councilman Wendell Jones asked Street Superintendent Jim Poindexter if he would try to find a resolution used by other towns that have addressed this same issue.

  • learned that a tower near McMillon's home needs to have lights on it so it will not be a hazard to low-flying aircraft, such as helicopters spraying for mosquitoes.

  • asked city attorney Brent Crews to see if state law would allow the city to require signs be placed in the yards of registered sex offenders so citizens would know if one lives in their neighborhood.

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