June 23, 2010 Edition

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JPs pass ordinance to ban 'K2'

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

The Lawrence County Quorum Court passed an ordinance prohibiting the possession, sale and offering for sale of the synthetic drug known as "Spice" or "K2" in their meeting last Monday.

This substance is often used as a replacement for marijuana. It is potentially dangerous and hospitalizations have resulted from use. The long-term effects are not presently known.

County Sherriff Dan Ellison, who introduced the ordinance to the court members, said, "There are two or three businesses in the county that presently sell this drug."

First time violators will be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000, second time offenders can be fined up to $2,000. An emergency clause was passed that immediately puts the ordinance in effect.

Christy Jordon of the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas presented two requests. She asked for help to raise $1.6 million to match a $7.9 million grant provided by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to build a new facility. Donations in the amount of $1.1 million have already been raised from individuals and businesses.

The Food Bank serves over 5,000 individuals every week, 25 percent of whom are children. The current facility, located in Jonesboro, is small and has limited refrigeration capacity.

"We have to turn away over 100 tons of donated food every year because we can't store it properly," Jordon said.

Once the money is raised and the building completed, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation will donate an additional $1.6 million to fund needed maintenance and $500,000 in a partner agency capacity grant. The new facility will be able to begin operations completely debt free.

Jordon also asked for help to expand the network of food kitchens, food pantries and shelters through interested churches, businesses and individuals in Lawrence County.

"Although we are located in Jonesboro, I think it is very important for people to know that we benefit all of Northeast Arkansas, and that includes Lawrence County residents," she said.

Five different resolutions were passed in order to apply for a grant from the Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program for a disaster relief project. The project will provide a 150-watt generator in Smithville and a 50-kilowatt generator north of Pocahontas Creek that will keep water running to the Lawrence County Rural Water District during an electrical outage.

Janet Lee, of the East Arkansas Planning and Development District, answered questions posed by the quorum members about the resolutions.

"These resolutions need to be passed within every 12-month period. They are necessary to apply for the grant, but will cause few changes in this circumstance."

The resolutions authorize the county judge and county clerk to apply for the grant; name the county judge as administrator of the Disaster Relief Project; provide for housing to any displaced residents because of this project; ensure fair housing practices in Lawrence County; and prohibit the use of excessive force by law enforcement agencies within the county's jurisdiction against individuals engaged in non-violent civil rights demonstrations.

A resolution was passed that supported the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council Scenic Byways initiative. This initiative has three scenic drives that link historic sites and attractions in an effort to boost tourism.

The court approved Latham's appointment of Keith Brand to the hospital board to take the position vacated by Gary Little.

After the meeting, resident Nick Vaccari called the attention of court members to the condition of Lawrence County Road 143. Vaccari said that the gravel road needs maintenance.

Road Foreman Keith Freeman said, "Mail or bus routes take precedence, but we make our best efforts to get to all the requests we receive."

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