May 11, 2011 Edition

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JPs pass several resolutions

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

The Lawrence County Quorum Court passed four resolutions at Monday night's meeting and discussed the ramifications of the flood for county residents.

A resolution supporting the Preserve America Community program was approved to begin the process that has the potential to gain federal grants for Lawrence County. The Federal Preserve America program supports both historic preservation and economic stimulus of a community.

Three court members, Junior Briner, Jeff Reece and Alex Latham, were appointed to a committee that will oversee the application process. Grant potential ranges from $20,000 to $250,000.

Program advocate Lloyd Clark said the goal would be to put in the application by the September deadline and prepare Lawrence County especially for its 200th year celebration.

"Our county is filled with many sites of great historic value," said Clark. "This program will help us not only care for these sites, but draw people here to see them."

Blankenship remembered

Another resolution recognized John Blankenship Jr. for his devoted and reliable service to the community for the past 16 years. Shirley Blankenship, John's mother, as well as his niece and nephew, were present to hear the resolution honoring Blankenship, who died on April 5.

"John was an excellent employee and will be difficult to replace," Latham said. "He not only had a vast knowledge of the county, but he was extremely dedicated and hardworking."

A third resolution was passed that officially commended the cities of Hoxie and Walnut Ridge on their efforts to work together to improve the quality of life in Lawrence County.

County Sheriff Jody Dotson initiated a resolution to participate in the Jail-Inmate Litter Pick-Up Program. This program provides the county with free safety vests and garbage bags, as well as $2 per hour per inmate for use in the program to clean litter off roadsides.

Inmates are supervised, and the program is voluntary. Community service hours can also be counted in this program. The resolution passed unanimously.

"About 90 percent of the inmates volunteer to participate in this program," said Dotson. "It's pretty boring in the jail."

Dotson also suggested the court members consider another resolution for the next meeting that is known as the Pay For Stay Program. Basically, those convicted of a criminal offense or misdemeanor will be charged $45 per day to pay for their food and lodging while incarcerated in the county jail. This ordinance will be presented at the meeting in June for approval.

"Lawrence County is the only county in the Third Judicial District that has not yet passed the Pay For Stay ordinance," Dotson said.

In other business:

  • it was announced that it will be at least three weeks before the block is in for improvements to the courthouse bathrooms to make them handicapped accessible.

  • representatives from FEMA plan to visit Lawrence County on Friday to begin assessment of flood damage.

  • Keith Freeman and the County Road Department were praised for their efforts and diligence during the flood emergency. To help in clearing brush, County Judge Dale Freeman plans to purchase a like-new brush cutter for $4,500. New brush cutters run about $25,000.

  • it is planned to reassess the budget in June for all departments. "Presently there is 76 percent left in the Road Department," Freeman said.

  • Dotson reported that the prescription and over-the-counter drug disposal program has been successful. There has been a total of 136 pounds of drugs given to the National Guard to incinerate. Lawrence County is only one of eight in the state with a permanent drop box for prescription drug disposal.

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