Hempstead County Judge Haskell Morse says the steady rain today (Wednesday) is causing some minor flooding. He noted the road department has marked some of the more hazardous roads and he believes if the rain just stays steady there may not be any major problems. He noted there is flooding on county road 23 and 51 and in some cut-over roads in the Ozan Creek and Little Missouri Bottoms. The judge encourages everyone to use caution and to not drive threw water should it be flowing over a road.
The Hope City Board met Tuesday February 20th. The meeting led off with a presentation from Steve Saum on Small Cell Communication sites. He noted communication companies are starting to put up small antennas for wi-fi and he is not against that; however, some.of these companies put in items that are more bulky than the equipment they promised. Saum said the city can charge franchise fees and other fees on these installations. Saum says Water and Light is working on guidelines for such communication sites as well as a contract for such agreements. City Manager Catherine Cook says they have been approached by at least one carrier who told the city they could put them in without the city's cooperation. Cook says the city attorney got that stopped. No action was taken
The City Board declared a 1996 Caterpillar Track Loader and a 1997 Ford pick-up as surplus. These items will be sold via online auction.
The board looked at annexation of some areas. Some of these areas include the soccer field/skate park on Spring Hill Road, part of the Kiwanis baseball complex at Fair Park, the city radio tower and firing range on US 67 East, Hope In Action #2 on US 67 West, the 3000th block through the 3500th block of Patmos Road, certain residences along 16th between Wilson and Spring Hill Road, Gunter Lane, Spring Hill Road from 16th to the south end of the soccer field, and parts of West Avenue B. Other areas discussed for annexation include North Hervey near Hempstead 183, Smith Road, Brentwood Drive, North Spruce North of the bypass, and areas along 23rd and 28th Street. Police Chief and Assistant City Manager J.R. Wilson made the presentation to the board and noted if the board wanted to take those areas in they would probably want to do it before the 2020 census. Wilson also discussed the methods available in which the areas could be annexed. No action was taken.
After reviewing 2017 expenses, Finance Director Debbie Hall recommended the 2017 budget be amended for 6 items. That included $5,000 for the beautification committee $6,700 for the Chamber Downtown contract, $37,500 for the Dox Building demoliton, $6,750 for the City Hall copier, $135,000 for rail spur work, and $35,000 for ground water monitoring. It was noted sales and property taxes came in over budget for 2017 and the city collected $19,000 on the Fink Building clean-up which went to the Dox clean-up. The city should recoup the rail expenses from local industries. It was also noted there may be bond funds left to help on the ground water monitoring. The board voted to amend the budget by passing a resolution.
The board discussed possibly leasing the former International Paper building at the airport to Pafford Ambulance. The proposed lease would be $400 per month. The lease would be used for aviation operations. Paul Henley noted this could open the door to get more Pafford air operations to the Hope airport in the future. The board approved the lease
The board voted to purchase 600,000 garbage bags . The board accepted the low bid of $39,400 from Houston Poly. The city distributes free bags to Hope residents and also offers surplus bags for sale.
Under the City Manager's report, Catherine Cook gave a report on Main Street visits. She noted they have visited Russellville and El Dorado. She noted Hope has more businesses Downtown than Russellville had 25 years ago when they started in the Main Street program.
Under Citizens Requests, John Akin asked if when the Downtown Pavilion design is drawn up will it be shown to the public. Mayor Steve Montgomery noted it would be.
A homeowner , Marty McKamie, whose home is located in one of the areas which may be annexed noted he is on a septic tank and is charged for wastewater service. Catherine Cook asked him to come see her. Carol Standridge asked about code enforcement. Board member Reggie Easter asked about a project on Hickory for the housing authority. The meeting then adjourned.
Due to the severe weather forecasts, "Keeping it in the Family" Forest Landowners Meeting, which was scheduled for Cothran Chapel CME, Prescott this evening has been canceled. For additional information, please contact Kandi Williams, "KIITF" Outreach Coordinator, at 903.306.8663.
This Thursday, February 22, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a public input meeting regarding fisheries management on Upper White Oak Lake. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the AGFC Camden Region Office at 500 Ben Lane in Camden.
"We want the anglers and general public to be a part of the process of updating the fishery’s management plan,” said Andy Yung, regional biologist in the AGFC Camden office. “We’ll have a short presentation on the current status of the fishery, followed by a period of structured public input concerning management of the fishery going forward.”
Yung says regulations, stocking and habitat enhancements will be covered in the future plan, as well as any other concerns directly related to fishing on Upper White Oak Lake. A follow up meeting will be held at 7 p.m., March 1, at the Camden office to go over the information gathered and provided a draft plan for final public input.
“With many of these meetings, some ideas can be implemented immediately, some may require additional planning, and some may not be feasible due to biological reasons, but all of the input brought in will be considered,” Yung said. “We want to work with our local anglers to make this lake fit their needs and desires, and we need their input to make that happen.”
Anyone interested in management of the lake is encouraged to attend both meetings. If you have any questions, please call the Camden Regional Office at 1-877-836-4612.
special thanks to Saratoga Arkansas Digest
PRAIRIE D’ANE BATTLEFIELD ACQUISITION CEREMONY As the Elkins’ Ferry Battlefield acquisition process drew to a close in August 2016, Dr. Nathan Patrick Hale announced that he had a portion of the Prairie D’Ane Battlefield that he wanted to sell for preservation and development as a heritage tourism site. The land lies immediately adjacent to I-30 at the Highway 19 exit. The Civil War Trust had the 808-acre tract appraised and the appraisal came in at $1.4 million. Dr. Hale made the incredibly generous offer to sell it for $900,000 – a $500,000 charitable contribution. The Civil War Trust and Dr. Hale have signed an agreement confirming that contribution and calling for the sale to be concluded by December 2017. Prairie D’Ane was the scene of skirmishing from April 10-12, 1864, as Confederate forces sought to block an anticipated thrust by Steele’s Union army toward the Rebel state capital at Washington. There was a spirited artillery duel on subject property on April 10, 1864, followed by sporadic skirmishing on April 11. The entire Union army moved forward on April 12, only to find that the Confederates had abandoned their works and fallen back to cover approaches to Washington. This ended the Union advance toward Shreveport, and Steele lost the strategic initiative as he turned his starving army toward Camden. He remained on the defensive for the rest of the campaign. Prairie D’Ane marked the high tide for the Union during the Camden Expedition. The National Park Service describes the Prairie D’Ane Battlefield: “While portions of the battlefield have been altered by road construction and growth around the town of Prescott, most of the historic landscape retains good integrity. Prairie D’Ane … will continue to suffer development pressures if preservation of the landscape does not occur in the near future. Prairie D’Ane should be viewed as the highest priority for its protection among the Camden Expedition battlefields given its current good condition and the continuing threat of development.” The Prairie D’Ane Battlefield was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on March 22, 1974, and designated a National Historic Landmark on April 19, 1994. As the effort to acquire the Prairie D’Ane battlefield continued, the Nevada County organizations hired Mudpuppy and Waterdog, Inc., of Versailles, Kentucky, to develop an interpretive plan that will incorporate both the Elkins’ Ferry and Prairie D’Ane Battlefields, in addition to skirmish sites between Arkadelphia and Elkins’ Ferry. This plan has been completed and will enable efforts to commence immediate development of the battlefields as heritage tourism resources. In August 2016 a fund-raising campaign began in order to purchase the Prairie D’Ane Battlefield. In 2017 The American Battlefield Protection Program provided a grant for one-half of the appraised value: $700,000, leaving only $200,000 for the remainder of the purchase price because of Dr. Hale’s contribution. The additional fund raising was successful with the help of the following contributors: Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Senator Bruce Maloch & Senator Larry Teague $50,000, Historic Preservation Program $40,000, Kitty Sloan $35,000, Sturgis Trust $20,000, Charitable Foundation $10,000, Nevada County Quorum Court $5,000, City of Prescott $5,000, Bank of Prescott $5,000, Bank of Delight $5,000, Ross Foundation $5,000, Nevada County Depot and Museum $2,660, and a wide network of supporters for preserving the battlefield donated the remaining $17,340. The Civil War Trust, which has stated that it will cover half of the closing costs and as with Elkins’ Ferry, the American Battlefield Protection Program will cover the other half of the closing costs. The Nevada County Depot Museum, in cooperation with the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, lead the fund-raising effort and will hold title to the property after its purchase; the AHPP will hold an easement on this property. Plans are to preserve both Elkins Ferry and Prairie D’Ane Battlefield sites for this historic value as well as economic potential as a source of heritage tourism for Nevada County and the region. On Friday, February 23rd at 2:00pm, there will be a ceremony presenting the deed for the 808 acres of Prairie D’Ane Battlefield to the Nevada County Depot and Museum. The Acquisition ceremony will take place at First Baptist Church Family Life Center, 201 East Main Street, Prescott, Arkansas. Mike Preston, Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission will be the guest speaker. Mark Christ, Community Outreach Director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program will also speak. Carl Drexler, Archeologist Assistant with SAU in Magnolia, will have artifacts discovered at Elkins Ferry Battlefield on display. The Friends of Nevada County Battlefields, Nevada County Depot and Museum and the Economic Development Office invite everyone to attend this historic event.
Hempstead County Courthouse will be closed Monday, February 19, 2018 to observe Presidents' Day. Resume regular working hours on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
Road and Solid Waste Department will be closed Monday, February 19, 2018. Resume regular working hours Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
Trash Pick Up for Monday, February 19, 2018 and Tuesday, February 20, 2018 Route in the County will be collected on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
By now our community knows that the wife of Hope Police Sergeant Daniel Oller is facing a difficult health crisis with a very difficult Cancer. The support and love demonstrated by the community has been overwhelming. The Hope Police Department wants to make the community aware of the Jessica Oller Love Fund set up at First National Bank of Tom Bean located at 301 N. Hervey St in Hope, AR. Anyone who wishes to support the financial needs of the family may do so by making a deposit to the Jessica Oller Love Fund at this location. A big thank you to First National Bank of Tom Bean.
On February 11, 2018 at approximately 0400 hours, Deputy Kyle Malone was dispatched to 700 Hempstead 40 West regarding a stabbing. Deputies Reyn Brown and Orlando Dennis were in route to the scene as well
Upon arrival Deputy Malone made contact with Deputy Brown and Dennis. They advised that they already had the suspect 43-year-old Melanie Jackson in custody. Deputy Dennis advised that Melanie told him that her husband, Tony Jackson woke her up cussing at her. She advised Deputy Dennis that she started looking for her keys and Tony pushed her. She stated that she then grabbed a steak knife from the kitchen sink and stabbed Tony on the left side on his face.
Pafford Emergency Medical Services advised the victim 59-year-old Tony Jackson was unable to talk due to the injury he sustained. Pafford EMS then transported Tony to Christus Saint Michael's Medical Center in Texarkana. The suspect 43-year-old Melanie Jackson was transported to the Hempstead County Detention Center and charged with Domestic Battery 2nd degree 5-26-304, and is awaiting first appearance.
Tony Jackson is listed in Critical Condition at a Texarkana Hospital
The Hope Rotary Club discussed their recent Centennial Celebration at their meeting February 8th. The program featured Hope native Governor Mike Huckabee who was the recipient of a scholarship from the Hope Rotary Club in 1973. 278 people attended the program and the club awarded scholarships to a senior from each high school in the county. Visitors came from as far away from Illinois and Tennessee for the program and Rotarians from most of the area clubs were also on hand. The club has decided to preserve the sign which advertised the program on the Hope attractions sign downtown.