Sunday, August 14, 2011

Law and Order in the Ozarks (Part LXXXIV): Accumulated news

Issues of the Newton County Times have been piling up while I have been cavorting around the Rocky Mountains, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Here are some headlines:
  • Fire levels apartments. "The Overlook Apartments at Marble Falls was destroyed by an overnight fire. Nothing remained Thursday morning, August 4, of the landmark building perched above state Highway 7 that was part of the former Dogpatch and Marble Falls Resort built in the late 1960s." The cause of the fire is unknown; no one was injured.
  • Lack of jail progress irks Newton JPs. "No change in the status of a new county jail is beginning to try the patience of some members of the Newton County Quorum Court. At its Tuesday, July 5, meeting--delayed a night due to the Independence Day holiday--discussion centered on the jail after quick adoption of two ordinances and a resolution." The report indicates that anger and frustration is targeted at Ron Kincade, who is serving as county solicitor. Kincade earlier introduced a new plan to build a scaled-back, smaller facility than was initially envisaged, but Kincade was not present at the July meeting to follow up on his June proposal which was reflected on "a sheet of tracing paper on which a building contract outlined a drawing" of the downsized facility.
  • Woman dies; man in ICU. "[A] woman died Thursday night and a man was hospitalized Friday after an apparent overdose at a residence off Mt. Hersey Road." The story reports that the two, both in their forties, may have overdosed as part of a suicide pact. The Sheriff reported that "Keys apparently told family members that she wasn't feeling well, and Decker said he'd take care of her. They then went into a bedroom. Sometime later, the [woman's "pre-adult children" who were in the home] went in to check on her and found her unresponsive, along with Decker still barely breathing.
  • No water for county fair? "Ivan Reynolds [sic] the superintendent of the Mockingbird Hill Water System said that there is a conservation order in place through October and doubts that there will be enough of a supply to provide the fair grounds with water during the upcoming Newton County fair. If the fair was today there would be no water, he said Monday afternoon" July 18, 2011.
  • Middleton pleads guilty to theft by receiving, conspiracy. "Ricky Middleton, 52, recently pleaded no contest to charges against him in connection with theft cases and alleged plot to kidnap the son of Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape in late 2009. Middleton will be sentenced to 120 days in prison, but he will also be on probation for 12 years, and the court suspended imposition of another 12 years of prison time based on his good behavior, according to court filings." Read earlier reports about the Middleton matter here and here.
  • Film on herbicide abuse draws public eye. This story is about the screening of "The Natural State of America" in neighboring Harrison. The film is "an expose on government's and industry's abusive use of herbicides and the detrimental impact these chemicals are having in fragile ecosystems such as here in the heart of the Ozarks." Else, the story describes the film as about "a four decade struggle to prevent unnecessary herbicide use in the beautiful and diverse Arkansas Ozarks. The U.S. Forest Service has sprayed herbicides in the Ozarks for years for their vegetative management. Recently, a rural electric cooperative that covers much of the Ozarks has started spraying to maintain their powerline rights of ways." Apparently, "[m]any of the anti-herbicide advocates [depicted in the film] are from Newton County, which for its pristine nature. There are no stoplights or railroads to be found in the entire county. The residents are closer to nature, to say the least." These last two sentences of material I have quoted also show quotation marks in the story, but the report does indicate who is being quoted.
  • Jasper school tax passes. "By 30 votes, voters in the Jasper School District approved a nine-tenths of a mill property tax increase and refunding of existing bonds in a special school election Tuesday, July 12. This will allow the board of education to begin a $3.3 million facility improvement program involving all three of the school district's campuses: Jasper, Kingston and Oark." The referendum was defeated in every voting precinct except Ponca, Kingston and Oark, but it received overwhelming support at Kingston, where it passed 92 to 14. It passed at Oark by a vote of 25 to 8. The Ponca precinct passed the measure by a vote of 22 to 5.

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