August 17, 2016 Edition

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WR fire fee removed,
rebates to be offered

After a Freedom of Information Act request came to Walnut Ridge for information regarding what was being labeled as a potential unlawful fire protection tax, the Walnut Ridge City Council voted to remove the fire protection fee from the water bills at Monday night's meeting.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp said this issue first came to his attention Thursday morning upon receiving a fax from Mark Rees Law Firm out of Jonesboro. The fax, addressed to both Snapp and City Water Works Manager Jon Kopp, requested all paperwork related to the passing of a fire protection tax.

Lawrence County Chamber Board member John Householder (left) and Walnut Ridge Alderman Allen Smith (right) visit with Brad Smithee, district maintenance engineer with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department following the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Highway 67's connection to Highway 63 at Hoxie.
TD Photo ~ Megan Heyl

Ceremony marks historic opening of Highway. 67

Fifteen years after the first contracts were let in 2001 for the expansion of Hwy. 67 north of Newport, the ribbon was cut Thursday to open up the highway, signifying the completion of the 34-mile, $160 million expansion from Newport to the Walnut Ridge/Hoxie area.

Less than an hour after the 10 a.m. ribbon cutting, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) had collected all the orange barrels and taken the covers off of the new signage, and traffic was zooming at 70-miles-per-hour on the new 16-mile section of four-lane freeway.

Judge suffers serious injuries in accident

County Judge Dale Freeman is recovering from serious injuries he sustained in a one-vehicle accident on Aug. 10.

According to the Arkansas State Police, Freeman was traveling on Highway 67, near Cabot, early Wednesday morning when the Toyota pickup he was driving left the roadway and overturned.

Hoxie to pursue new businesses

With the purchase of four acres for commercial development within view of the now open Highway 67 near Cox Powersports, Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker announced the formation of a special committee to work with both the city council and the reuse committee to develop a plan for the land.

In addition to adding businesses to the area, the development will also require a new street, to be named Commerce Street, for direct access to the new businesses.

WR council proceeding with sewer rate increase

During Monday night's meeting, the Walnut Ridge City Council approved the first of three readings to increase the cost of sewer by 90 cents per 1,000 of the first 2,000 gallons. This increase would bring sewer to a flat rate of $4.40 per 1,000 gallons. The council also heard a report on a proposed increase in water rates of $4.10 for the first 1,000 gallons, which will still need to be approved by the water board.

These increases would not only help to keep up with rising costs for the department but also build a reserve for upcoming expenses, including building a new sewer plant and painting the water tower.

WRHS seniors win crowns

Two Walnut Ridge High School seniors will reign together as the 2016 Miss Lawrence County and Miss Randolph County.

Hannah Anglin was crowned Miss Lawrence County on Monday evening. She is the 17-year-old daughter of Tony and Gina Anglin and Scott Maronde, all of Black Rock.

County enrollment sees slight decrease

First-day enrollment totals for Lawrence County showed a slight decrease from last year, dropping from 2,972 in 2015 to 2,921 in 2016.

Sloan-Hendrix School District in Imboden and the Imboden Area Charter School showed slight increases in enrollment

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