September 22, 2010 Edition

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HFD preparing for
annual open house

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

At the Sept. 14 Hoxie City Council meeting, Assistant Fire Chief Billy Blair announced plans for the Sixth Annual Hoxie Fire Department Open House and Safety Awareness Day.

The event is to be held on Saturday, Oct. 9, and will start with a health fair from 8 a.m. to noon with the Safety Awareness Day activities starting at 10 a.m. and continuing until 3 p.m.

Activities will be held at the 500 block of Southwest Lawrence in Hoxie, just off Highway 63B and behind Hoxie City Hall.

"Last year we spent only $116, but through the silent auction and bake sale, were able to give away over 800 barbecue sandwiches and had 70 kids go through the safety house. It was a great activity, but I wanted to improve it for 2010," Blair said. "This year we have even more planned. We will have enough meat to provide 1,200 barbecue sandwiches and are giving away 10 smoke detectors. There will also be other safety programs, such as ATV safety. A bounce house and other activities for the kids will be set up, plus Ronald McDonald will be there from noon to 2 p.m."

Blair said the goal of the open house is threefold - helping kids understand safety, giving the community a fun activity and keeping it free to the public. Hoxie School has made the parking lot available for overflow parking. Donated baked goods would be appreciated.

"I'm already planning for 2011 to make this annual event even better," Blair said.

Dickens in the Park is Dec. 4

Hoxie resident Redda Russell also approached the council with a request to improve electricity availability at the Hoxie City Park during the Hoxie Dickens in the Park Christmas celebration. This annual event is in its third year. It is also free to the public and is scheduled for Dec. 4.

Council member Richard Combs said, "I went to one of the planning meetings for this event and was surprised. There is a lot more to Dickens in the Park than I realized. It is a huge event and whatever the council can do to support the planning committee would be worth it."

It was suggested to contact the Hoxie agriculture teacher about building ramps for extension cord safety for the event. Karen Williams, council member and Dickens committee member, requested help for finding or constructing two buildings to house Santa and a Victorian emporium. Individuals are also invited to help on the planning committee and to paint display boards on Oct. 5. Those wanting more information can contact Hoxie City Hall at 886-2742.

A request was also made by Williams to replace Hoxie holiday lighting that hangs from the approximately 120 electricity poles on the two main streets of Hoxie.

"The decorations we have now definitely need to be replaced," Williams said. "Possibly purchase lights shaped like old-fashioned lanterns to mesh with the Dickens theme."

On another topic, council member Adam Pratt talked about the need for a waterline map. He told the council that he believed it would be extremely helpful, in an emergency or for new employees, if a waterline map was created. The map should mark the placing of the waterlines, the size of pipes, water pressure level, as well as meter and shut-off valve locations.

"I think we should invest some money and hire someone to create this map as soon as possible," Pratt said.

Mayor Donnie Roberts said, "The map would be in line with suggestions made by experts to improve our ISO rating."

In other business:

  • Council member Sherry Moore gained permission to come up with a phrase to be used in Lawrence County Living, the publication welcoming visitors to this area. Also a picture of public employees will be taken to put in the publication.

  • Bob Boyd, as water supervisor, was chosen to stay on the Northeast Arkansas Public Water Authority Board. Most of the decisions have been made, and only a small advisory council is needed at this time. John Allen's help on the board has been appreciated.

  • Resident Dale Johnson brought two concerns to the council's attention. Johnson said he believes that the garbage truck has an oil leak. He also said that there is possibly a water bubble on the ceiling above the stage at the community center. Roberts said that he would check out both concerns.

Also, in a special meeting on Sept. 7, the council met to decide whether a grant application would be filed for the fire department or the police department. Rob Needham presented the needs faced by the fire department, and Glen Smith discussed the need to purchase a new police car.

The grant is for a total of $22,000 to $25,000 from the Arkansas Department of Rural Services. The council decided in favor of the police department.

"It was a very difficult decision, because both departments really needed the money," City Clerk Katie Smith said.

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